Friday, Aug. 22, 2008

Ontario County board votes to create public defender's office

CANANDAIGUA — In an overwhelming vote, the Ontario County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to create a public defender’s office in the county.

Of the 20 supervisors who attended Thursday’s meeting, only one supervisor — Naples Town Supervisor Frank Duserick — voted against the resolution. East Bloomfield Supervisor Dorothy Huber was absent.

Don Ninestine, D-city of Geneva, said after the meeting that he was pleased with the board’s decision. Ninestine headed the committee created to examine whether a switch to a public defender’s office would be beneficial to the county.

“I believe it’s the right thing to do. We’re going to make sure that indigent people get the best representation in Ontario County,” Ninestine said.

John Tyo, esquire of the Ontario County Bar Association, expressed his concerns with a public defender’s office before the vote and urged the board to stick with its assigned-counsel program where the county contracts with private attorneys. However, he did not stay to witness the vote, as he left the meeting as soon as he finished addressing the board.

Tyo used the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” to plead his case with the board.

Tyo said a public defender’s office would be hit with “overwhelming caseloads” and would not be able to give its clients the best representation.

Ninestine sees the office having the opposite effect.

“I think the caseloads will be reduced,” he said.

Public defender’s office employees will work for the county and not have any type of private practice.

Alfred University welcomes Class of 2012

ALFRED — Around 550 new students attended Opening Convocation in the McLane Center at Alfred University Thursday afternoon to sign the school’s charter and hear faculty speak.

The gathering is part of a four-day orientation program that started Wednesday and is designed to welcome new students and teach them about AU.

Dr. Gary Ostrower, professor of history at AU, was this year’s convocation speaker. He gave a speech titled “Critical Thinking at Alfred.”

“I implore you to think about the world critically ... question what you are told by people of authority,” he said in a room filled with a majority of freshman.

Ostrower briefly took the students back in time to how different AU was in the 1950s and related the past with issues in contemporary society. He used facts from several historical events to explain to students the importance of critical thinking.

“At the end of the first semester, I’ll know how the speech went,” said Ostrower, adding, “If the students exhibit a real interest in developing those critical thinking skills then I will know my comments were not in vain.”

After the speech, students signed AU’s charter which encourages active leadership at the school and academic diligence.

The charter will be displayed at The Arthur and Lea Powell Campus Center for a year and will be stored at Herrick Library until commencement in 2012.

Man faces murder charge in connection to infant's death

FULTON —  A Liverpool man is facing one count of murder following the death of a 15-month-old infant, Aug. 18, at 1100 Emery St. Apartment 123 in the city of Fulton.

Jay John Barboni, 30, of Falcon Drive in Liverpool was arrested Thursday afternoon after Fulton police conducted an extensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the infant’s death.

Barboni has been charged with murder in the second degree for the death of the infant, a class-A felony. He was arraigned at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, at Fulton City Court and was sent to the Oswego County Correctional Facility without bail. Barboni is slated to reappear in court Tuesday at 11 a.m.

The autopsy results were released Thursday by the Onondaga Medical Examiner's office. Fulton police would not disclose the findings of the autopsy Friday afternoon.

The investigation, a coordinated effort among Fulton police, the New York State Police, the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office and the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office, is ongoing at this time.