Morning News Briefing

Written by on April 14, 2021

Michael Tomaszewski, the former local funeral home owner accused of misusing his client’s deposit money and improperly disposing of human remains, has pleaded guilty to felony charges that could send him to prison for up to seven years. The plea offer included no promise of a sentence of lesser than the statutory time in prison of two and a third to seven years for his guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial. The sentences for each count will run concurrently under the terms of the plea.  Sentencing for the 49-year-old Batavia resident is scheduled for July 13 at 1:30 p.m.

All fans attending Buffalo Bills and Sabres home games next season will be required to show proof of COVID vaccination…that’s the word from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Poloncarz says the policy should be in place by the time the Bills start their preseason games this summer. The plan does not need New York State approval.

Genesee County reports 19 new cases of COVID-19. Six of the current positive individuals are hospitalized. One of the new positive individuals in an inmate at the Genesee County Jail. Orleans County reports 14 new cases. Wyoming County confirms just four additional cases.

Genesee County will be taking walk-ins for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic this afternoon at Genesee Community College from 1 – 4 p.m. No appointment necessary. This will be for the first-dose Moderna vaccine. Those getting a first dose today will have to schedule the second dose while at the clinic. The college is located at 1 College Road in Batavia, off of Stephen R. Hawley Drive.

After investigating a domestic squabble in Pembroke, sheriff’s deputies arrested 26-year-old Caleb Swendsen of Akron Road. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. He’ll appear in court May 24th.

New York hit a new record high in vaccine distribution in the last seven days. More than 1.5 million doses were administered during that time and more than 200,000 in the last 24 hours. New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

According to the New York State coronavirus website, international travelers are no longer required to quarantine upon arrival — including travelers who are unvaccinated. The state cites the CDC guidance which requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test. New York still requires the completion a health traveler form.

A Rochester man is facing three felonies after three people were arrested following a traffic stop on Route 33 in Bergen. The operator, 29-year-old Paula G. Pierce of State Street in Batavia, was allegedly driving with a suspended NYS driver’s license. There were two other occupants, 48-year-old Michael R. Whitman of Federal Street in Perry, and 29-year-old Justin P. Porter, of Bennington Drive, Rochester. Deputies conducted a vehicle search and allegedly found drugs and the three occupants were arrested. Porter is accused of providing deputies with a fake name and refusing to disclose his true identity. It is also alleged that while in custody at the Sheriff’s Office, he attempted to conceal drugs by hiding them in an interview room. Porter was charged with felony criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree — with intent to sell, felony tampering with physical evidence, felony conspiracy and several other counts. He was released on his own recognizance. Pierce and Whitman were issued appearance tickets on charges of fourth-degree conspiracy and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.

On Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Batavia Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will provide the public the opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to the Alva Place parking lot across the street from Batavia Showtime (located in the Genesee Country Mall). Sharps will also be accepted at this location, as the United Memorial Medical Center will have staff on hand. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. To keep everyone safe, collection sites will follow local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, which include masks for citizens dropping off medication.


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