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June 7, 2012 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos will be in Batavia today, at the offices of Genesee County Economic Development Center, to announce approval of $2 million in funding to advance the development of the STAMP project in Alabama.

The project is a planned 1,300-acre high-tech manufacturing park and the funding will help pay for design and infrastructure work.

Joining Skelos at the press conference will be Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde.

Skelos is also expected to attend a campaign fundraiser tonight for Ranzenhofer in Erie County.

June 4, 2012 - 3:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, alexander, Le Roy, Alabama.

Rodney L. McKenzie, 47, of Orangeville, is charged with two counts of menacing, including a count that alleges the use of a weapon. McKenzie was arrested by State Police in connection with an incident reported at 11:20 a.m., Sunday, in the Town of Alabama. No further details were release.

Paul H. Burch, 32, of Townline Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding. Burch was stopped by Le Roy Police Saturday in the Village of Le Roy.

Roger K. Rumble, 27, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, refusal to take a breath test and speeding. Rumble was stopped by Le Roy Police Saturday in the Village of Le Roy.

Marche La'Shon Brown, 26, of Doran Street, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to keep right. Brown was stopped at 3:15 a.m. Sunday on Route 98, Batavia, by Deputy Matt Fleming.

Coretta Melissa Pitts, 44, of Swamp Road, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Pitts was allegedly at the residence of a person she was ordered not to contact.

Jeffery M. Johnson, 24, no permanent address, is charged with menacing, 3rd. He was arrested by State Police for an incident reported at 11:27 a.m. Sunday in Oakfield. Johnson was held in jail.

Jerod P. Norcross, 33, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief. Norcross was arrested by State Police in connection with an incident reported at 3:50 p.m., April 11, in Alexander.

Michael J. McCarthy, 24, of Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 and inadequate plate lamp. McCarthy was stopped by State Police at 2:35 a.m. Saturday in the Town of Batavia.

May 31, 2012 - 9:54pm

Press release:

The Board of Education is proud to announce our unanimous selection of
Mr. Mark Alexander as the next superintendent of the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District. Mark began his career as a third-grade teacher at the Churchville-Chili Central School District before joining the faculty at Oakfield-Alabama in 2000. He was promoted to the position of elementary principal in 2008.

Mark has also served as an adjunct instructor at Genesee Community College where he was awarded the prestigious National Institute of Staff Development and Organizational Development Award for Excellence in Teaching and Leadership.

Mark earned degrees in mathematics education and curriculum specialization at the College at Brockport before pursuing his certification in school leadership through the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. 

Mark has served in many leadership positions while a member of the Oakfield-Alabama team, including: chair of the Safety, Health and Wellness Committee; Anti-Bullying Committee member; past chair of the District Advancement Team; past chair of the Career Day Committee; and past president, treasurer, and Negotiations Team member of the Oakfield-Alabama Teachers’ Association.

Most importantly, Mark is an educational leader who has a demonstrated record of commitment to the children of this community, their families, support staff members, teachers, administrators and the broader school community. He is a leader of great character, passion and intelligence.

The board would also like to take this opportunity to express our community’s gratitude to Chris Todd for his outstanding leadership over the past five years. We wish Chris and his family well as he begins his new position as district superintendent of Oswego County BOCES on June 1. We also would like to welcome Mr. Ed Orman, our interim superintendent, who will stay on board with Oakfield-Alabama through our transition in leadership.

Mr. Alexander is a uniquely talented educational leader who will be leading a wonderful school system. He attended and graduated from Oakfield-Alabama and has deep roots in our community. The board looks forward to welcoming Mark and his family with great anticipation and enthusiasm.

Please join us in welcoming Mark on Tuesday, June 12 for a light refreshment reception, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Middle-High School Community Room.

May 30, 2012 - 4:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A driver may have failed to signal before making a left-hand turn on Route 77 in Alabama this afternoon leading to a collision with a semi-truck that was trying to pass his vehicle.

Both the driver and one of his passenger's were injured in the 1:06 p.m. accident at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road.

No citations were issued, according to the accident report prepared by Deputy Chris Parker.

Suffering minor injuries were Randolph S. Mattice, 44, of Court Street, Syracuse, and Christie A. Rogers, 51.

Both a witness and the truck driver reported they didn't see a turn signal on Mattice's vehicle.

The truck driver, William Conroy, 42, of Williamee Road, Trumansburg, was not injured.

Suzanne M. Walsh, owner of the 2000 Pontiac Driven by Mattice, was also uninjured.

(Initial Report)

May 30, 2012 - 1:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents.

A motor-vehicle accident with minor injuries is reported on Route 77 between Ledge and Marble roads. Alabama Fire Department is responding along with medics.

UPDATE 1:21 p.m.: The accident involves a car and a tractor-trailer.

UPDATE 1:24 p.m.: A second ambulance is requested, out of Oakfield. The tractor-trailer's fuel tank is intact.

UPDATE 1:46 p.m.: One patient is being transported to the hospital in Warsaw.

UPDATE 1:49 p.m.: A second patient is being taken to the Warsaw hospital.

UPDATE 2:07 p.m.: Alabama is back in the hall, in service.


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May 29, 2012 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Alabama.

William Henry Foote, 57, of Myers Road, Oswego, is charged with felony driving while ability impaired by combined drugs and alcohol, felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and felony driving while ability impaired by drugs. Foote was arrested after deputies responded at 3:35 p.m., Monday, to a report of a person who said he had burned himself by spilling coffee on his chest. Foote was evaluated by ambulance medics, but refused further treatment. Further investigation by Deputy Joseph Graff and Deputy Howard Carlson led to Foote's arrest.

Russell Hosahi Blumer, 39, of Gillate Road, Alexander, is charged with assault, 3rd, resisting arrest, aggravated DWI and DWI. Blumer was allegedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident on Gillate Road, Alexander, at 4:23 p.m., Monday. Blumer was later located operating a Kubota tractor and was allegedly intoxicated. Blumer was allegedly verbally combative and physically resisting arrest, causing a hand/finger injury to a deputy. The deputy was treated at UMMC and released.

A 17-year-old resident of River Street, Batavia, and a 16-year-old resident of South Main Street, Batavia, are charged unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under age 21. The youths were allegedly found in possession of beer at 11:42 p.m., Saturday, at a location on Lewiston Road, Batavia.

Deidre Roshelle Scott, 25, of an undisclosed address, Rochester, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and inadequate headlights. Scott is accused of giving a false identification following a traffic stop at 2:03 p.m., March 15. Scott's alleged deception was discovered after Scott reportedly failed to appear in court and the person whose identity she allegedly used was issued a summons for failure to appear.

James Thomas Kusmierczak, 27, of Chestnut Street, Medina, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and possession/consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Kusmierczak was stopped for allegedly consuming beer in a motor vehicle. During the stop, Kusmierczak was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Jeffery Scott, 29, of Keeney Road, Le Roy, and Adrian James, 32, of East Main Street Road, Le Roy, are charged with trespass and petit larceny. The two men were arrested following a report of people removing property from a local business. When approached, Scott was immediately taken into custody. James was captured after initially fleeing on foot.

Melissa G. Betances, 31, of 180 1/2 Pearl St., Batavia, is charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs and moving from lane unsafely. Betances was stopped Monday on Pearl Street by Officer Darryle Streeter.

Josanne Alysse Schultz, 23, of Wolcottsville Road, Akron, is charged with petit larceny. Schultz is accused of shoplifting at Kmart.

Brett Douglas Perfitt, 17, of Bennett Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, speed not reasonable and moved from lane unsafely. Perfitt was reportedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 2:10 a.m., Monday, on Bloomingdale Road, Alabama.  Perfitt allegedly failed to reduce speed when approaching a curve and traveled off the roadway into the woods. Perfitt said he was not injured in the accident and declined medical treatment. The accident was investigated by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

May 26, 2012 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

Alec Covel and the Oakfield-Alabama Hornets persevered through seven innings of playoff baseball Friday to secure berth in the Class CC finals Tuesday against #1 seed Lyons.

Covel gave up 11 hits against Perry, but more importantly, he struck out 10 and surrendered only two runs to lead the Hornets (17-4) to an 8-2 victory.

Covel said he just wanted to "win one for the team."

The Yellow Jackets got to him for a quick run in the first inning, but then Covel settled in and gained confidence as the game went on.

"In the beginning I had trouble spotting my curve ball," Covel said. "It started coming through. It was working and they weren’t hitting it so I kept throwing it."

The sophomore mixed his off-speed stuff with a dominating fastball to keep the Perry hitters off balance for most of the night.

His lone base on balls came in the final frame, when Perry scored its only other run of the night.

Co-head Coach Dan Gilbert, who shares the position with James Patrick, said the win was a team effort -- Covel was backed by solid defense, but praised Covel's attitude and work ethic.

"It's a combination of Alec's temperament -- he's a great pitcher, great work ethic, hard-nosed kid who doesn't get rattled, and he had great defense behind him," Gilbert said.

Gilbert said the Hornets knew they would have their hands full with Perry, but the team never gave up and the five-run sixth was just what the Hornets needed to put away the #11 seed.

"We knew coming in they were scrappy and they played scrappy," Gilbert said.  "We knew we would have to persevere through any kind of adversity or bumps in the road. We had a couple of mistakes along the way that we had to persevere through and we didn’t quit and we didn’t give up. And we got the big inning when we needed it."

The offense was led by Kurtis Dunlap, who reached base four times -- one hit, two walks and one hit by a pitch -- and scored three runs.

Tommy Manzella had a triple and a run scored.

Hunter Spiotta had his second 2-3 game of the playoffs and scored a run.

The Hornets go into the finals as the #2 seed and getting to the championship game is what O-A's seniors have had in mind all season, Gilbert said.

"The senior leadership has been phenomenal," Gilbert said. "They’ve had a desire to make a run the whole year. They’ve picked up everybody along the way. Our hats go off to the seniors every day because sometimes when you’re a senior, senioritis kicks in. These guys just want to play baseball, do the best they can for the team. That’s been the key to our success all year."

Even though they will be facing the #1 seed, Gilbert said the Hornets are ready for the challenge.

"We feel confident," Gilbert said. "We know we have a chance. We’re going to have to play quality baseball, but we have good quality kids who are going to work hard and leave it on the field."

The game will be played Tuesday at a location yet to be determined.

If you have trouble viewing the slide show, click here.  To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

May 18, 2012 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Alabama.

A 40-year-old Batavia woman who bilked two elderly patients out of more than $308,000 faces up to seven years in prison and significant restitution after pleading guilty this morning to four felonies.

Heidi L. Schollard, 161 Bank St., Batavia, entered a guilty plea to three counts of grand larceny, 3rd. Each Class D felony carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, but under the plea deal, Schollard's sentences will be served concurrently.

She also entered a guilty plea to grand larceny, 4th, a Class E felony with a maximum sentence of four years.

Schollard is ordered to repay $265,131 to one elderly victim and $43,000 to another, plus $23,414 to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance and $2,485 to the Department of Labor.

Schollard was initially arrested in December 2010 for allegedly stealing about $250,000 from a Batavia resident.

She was out of jail during the proceedings in that case and was arrested again in March and accused of defrauding another elderly person. The alleged victim in this case is a resident of Alabama.

In both cases, Schollard was reportedly a caregiver for the victims.

Sentencing is set for 9 a.m., Aug. 9.

May 17, 2012 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A motorcycle accident with minor injuries is reported in the area of 1138 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

Alabama Fire Department and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.: Patient being transported to UMMC.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Alabama back in service.


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May 10, 2012 - 10:22am
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Oakfield, Lions Club, Alabama.

Press release:

Arbor Day was celebrated on April 27 this year and 69 fourth-graders at Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School rolled up their sleeves and planted a tree. The students became members of the Fourth Grade Foresters.

The project’s goal is to help revitalize a remarkable idea: observation of Arbor Day in America’s Schools. Each Student receives a tree to take home and plant.

“This project was made possible by the Oakfield-Alabama Lions Club which covered the cost of each individually packaged evergreen tree, so that there would be no cost to the students, the teachers, the school or the taxpayers," said Debra Ersch, co-founder of the Fourth Grade Foresters Project. “It’s a wonderful way to show support for the community, education and the environment."

Fourth Grade Foresters USA was created to provide a simple and inexpensive way for any individual, business or organization to send the fourth-grade students at an elementary school home with a tree of their own to plant and care for. Each Student receives an individually packaged 12”-18” evergreen tree seedling packaged by workers with disabilities.

Lions Clubs from around the world have been committed to protecting the environment for several decades and they understand that every small effort makes a big difference. That is why the Oakfield-Alabama Lions Club is doing its part to reach Lions International’s goal of planting a million trees.

May 5, 2012 - 1:00pm

Ten local students representing Genesee Valley Educational Partnership were honored at the New York State Health Occupations Students of America Leadership Conference held last month in East Syracuse.

These exceptional students earned six medals, three achievement awards, two service project awards, one Barbara James Gold Community Service Award, one Presidential Gold Community Service Award, one “Outstanding New York State HOSA Officer Award" and one HOSA Chapter Poster Award.

Ten members of the HOSA chapters from the Batavia campus participated in competitive events and leadership activities.

Members from Charter #17115: Heather Hicks (Batavia High School); Feyza Osmancikli (Oakfield-Alabama Central School); and Courtney Zufall (Attica).

Charter # 17125: Mechelle Bradley (Caledonia- Mumford); Kelly Cook (Elba); Jeffery Elleman (Alexander Central School); Jessica Fuller (Byron-Bergen High School); Brianna Hofert (Elba); Jenna Pangrazio (Elba); and Keri Ramsey (Alexander Central School).

Charter #17115 earned the HOSA Chapter Poster Award, and Feyza Osmancikli earned First Place in Job Seeking Skills.

Charter # 17125: Mechelle Bradley earned Third Place in Medical Photography; Kelly Cook earned First Place in Interviewing Skills and Third Place in Personal Care; Jeffery Elleman earned First Place in Medical Photography; Jessica Fuller earned Second Place in Interviewing Skills.

Brianna Hofert earned a Barbara James Gold Community Service Award; a Presidential Gold Community Service Award -- and the most prestigious award -- New York State Outstanding HOSA Officer for 2012. Brianna is required to attend the National HOSA Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla., where she will be honored for all three of these awards. (Brianna participated in the National HOSA Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C., September 2011.)

Kelly Cook was elected to serve as a New York State HOSA State Officer for the 2012-2013 School year. Kelly will serve in the role of NYS secretary and Region E vice-president. Kelly is required to attend Officer Training Camp June 25-28 in Albany.

Heather Hicks, Feyza Osmancikli; Courtney Zufall; Jenna Pangrazio, Mechelle Bradley, Kelly Cook, Jeffery Elleman, Jessica Fuller and Keri Ramsey participated as volunteers in the New York State HOSA Courtesy Corp. Keri Ramsey also volunteered her time as a patient in two competitive events, “EMT” and “First Aid and Rescue Breathing."

Susan Mills (NY State HOSA chaperone, and Attendance Officer for GVEP), Jenna Pangrazio, Kelly Cook and Jessica Fuller earned the NY State HOSA Achievement Award.

All students who have received a first-, second- or third-place honor, per the HOSA National Charter, have earned the right to attend the National HOSA Leadership Conference in Orlando.

Karen Emerson attended the event as a chaperone. Richard Queal provided transportation for the group. Don Shucknect was the male chaperone, Mary Beswick was a bus chaperone, and Sue Mills was the extraordinary overnight chaperone and HOSA supporter. Bonny Shelby is the HOSA advisor and Health Dimensions instructor for the students named above. Shelby is also a registered nurse at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership -- Batavia campus.

Help us reach our fund-raising goal to send these students to Nationals by joining us for a pancake breakfast at Applebee's Restaurant in Batavia from 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12. Tickets are $5.

May 4, 2012 - 12:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Alabama.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported at Route 77 and Ledge Road. Alabama Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics. There is one patient with a facial injury who is also complaining of chest pain.

UPDATE 12:39: Southbound traffic is blocked. Fire police are needed for traffic control. Law enforcement is on scene.

UPDATE 1:17 p.m.: Alabama is back in service. One patient is being transported to Erie County Medical Center.

April 30, 2012 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, Darien, Alabama.

Gorge L. Correa, 19, of 72 Ward St., F, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, trespass and possession of marijuana; Arami Morales, 16, of 72 Ward St., F, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd, resisting arrest and trespass; Markeef H. Royal, 23, of 9 Beechwood St., Rochester, is charged with trespass; Joshua L. Burris, 22, of 21 Baumen St., Rochester, is charged with trespass; Malik J. Johnson, 19, of 916 Plymouth Ave., Rochester, is charged with trespass. The five suspects were arrested after Batavia PD responded at 6:40 a.m., Sunday, to a report of a disturbance at the Batavia Gardens Apartments, 679 E. Main St., Batavia. Morales is accused of hitting Officer Darryl Streeter. Further investigation led to the alleged discovery of a handgun and marijuana in the vehicle of Correa. Burris was turned over to Rochester PD on an arrest warrant. Correa and Morales were arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed on $5,000 bail each.

Joel D. Prouty, 25, of Maple Avenue, Oakfield, is charged criminal contempt, 1st, unlawful imprisonment, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Prouty is accused of violating an order of protection by slammng a woman who is seven-months pregnant into a doorway and threatening to punch her in the stomach. Prouty also allegedly smashed the woman's mobile phone while she tried to call 9-1-1 and restrained her against her will. Prouty was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Gary Robert Dean, 61, of Buffalo Street, Alexander, is charged with felony aggravated unlicensed operation, DWI and a violation of unlicensed operation. Dean was stopped at 9:32 p.m., April 4, on Broadway Road, Alexander, by Deputy Howard Carlson.

Marquis Kwanaine Saddler, 21, of Brockport-Spencerport Road, Sweden, is charged with violation of sentencing conditions. Saddler was arrested by Village of Brockport PD on a warrant out of Batavia City Drug Court and jailed on $100,000 bail.

Raymond Kyle Jonathan, 23, of Bloomingdale Road, Alabama, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, unlicensed operator and failure to stop at stop sign. Jonathan was arrested by Deputy Kevin McCarthy following an investigation into a rollover accident at 3:17 a.m., Sunday, at 890 Judge Road, Basom.

Tara L. Hall, 33, of 132 State St., lower, Batavia, is charged with two counts of harassment, 2nd. Hall is accused of threatening two people.

Jennifer L. Stack, 25, of 5861 Walkers Corners Road, is charged with failure to appear. Stack was arrested after being located at an apartment on South Main Street during a disturbance at that location. Stack was jailed on $500 bail.

Sky M. Lewis, 18, of 38 Walnut St., lower, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Lewis is accused of fighting with another person while in the presence of two young children.

Shawn Michael Kwiatek, 33, of Alleghany Road, Darien, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Kwiatek is accused of bringing alcohol to a party and serving it to people under age 21.

April 29, 2012 - 5:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A car fire "with complications" is reported at Lewiston and Meadville roads in Alabama. Alabama firefighters are dispatched.

UPDATE 5:46 p.m.: Apparently the fire is out. No idea what the complications were. The vehicle was a Chevy Camaro registered to a Gasport driver. A tow was called to haul it away.

UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: Alabama is back in service.

April 13, 2012 - 6:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents.

A motorcycle accident with minor injuries is reported in Alabama at the curve where Ledge and Reuben roads meet. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 7:24 p.m.: Alabama is back in service.
April 13, 2012 - 8:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, Alabama.

Robert Anthony Holley, 41, of Overlook Drive, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment, 2nd. Holley is accused of grabbing his son, throwing him to the ground and kicking him during an argument. Holley is also accused of throwing his wife to the ground when she reportedly tried to stop him. Holley was jailed on $500 bail.

Uriah Ian Charles Smoke, 27, of Bloomingdale Road, Basom, is charged with reckless endangerment, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Smoke is accused of failing to appear in the Town of Alabama Court following his release from the Erie County Correctional Facility and was arrested on a warrant.

David Christopher Dodd, 23, of County Road 132, Ovid, is charged with two counts of aggravated DWI (child passengers under 16), operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs and failure to stop at a stop sign. Dodd was arrested following a report at 9:05 p.m., Wednesday, that a vehicle was operating erratically on Park Road. Dodd was stopped by Deputy James Diehl.

April 12, 2012 - 8:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama.

By all accounts, when Don Sage climbed aboard an Alabama Fire Department engine a couple of weeks ago, he was all smiles, like a kid getting to blare the siren for the first time.

It had been several months since Sage -- a former chief and former fire district president with more than 50 years of fire service under his belt -- had been out on an emergency call.

Sage has been out on one other call since, but he says he'll go on more as he gets his health back.

"To me, being a volunteer fireman is a good way to serve your community and help your neighbor," Sage said. "That's what life is all about, isn't it?"

The 70-year-old Alabama resident was seriously injured July 7 in a head-on collision in East Pembroke. Sage suffered massive internal injuries and would eventually have a leg amputated.

When he arrived via Mercy Flight at Strong Memorial Hospital, doctors gave him only a 30-percent chance of surviving.

Sage has three children, including two sons who are also volunteers with the Alabama department.

Brian Sage said it's good to see his dad back out responding to calls.

"On that first call, he was barking orders, so I knew he was back," Brian said. "It was good to see him back."

In his 50 years, Sage said he's been there to help other people, "but I never needed help myself, and when I did, my brothers and sisters (in fire service) came through for me."

As I was getting ready leave, Don Sage pulled me aside and said, "I know you're going to do a little write-up. Be sure to mention that I'm here only by the grace of God. That's important to me."

Photo: Don Sage is back row, left. Next to him are, Bill Schutt, Tony Mudrzynski, Todd Thompson, Gloria Abrams, Ralph Bauer, Hank Mudrzynski, and front row, Brian Sage, Kasey Thompson and Kaitlyn Allen.

April 12, 2012 - 7:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, kathy hochul.

When there is an emergency call on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, the Alabama Volunteer Fire Department never shirks its duty -- the volunteers suit up, jump on their trucks and head out to whatever emergency is toned out.

Even though, for a number of years, there's been no money coming in to support the department from residents of the reservation.

For years, the department has lobbied the Bureau of Indian Affairs for some reimbursement of its expenses -- something not uncommon across the nation, and even in Western New York.

Today, Rep. Kathy Hochul announced that after some efforts on the part of her staff, the bureau has agreed to reimburse the department for its calls on the reservation up to $69,000 a year.

"There are a lot of people over there who need our services," said Past Chief Bill Schutt. "This was never about not providing those services, but getting funding for those services. They are part of our town and they're our neighbors. We've never considered not going there."

Hochul announced the agreement during a brief visit with the Alabama firefighters at their fire hall today.

The department has a budget of $180,000, mostly funded by a fire district tax levied against town landowners, but since the reservation is sovereign land, residents there don't pay the tax.

Schutt said exactly how the new pot of money will be allocated in the department hasn't been decided yet, but there's always equipment to replace or repair.

The department has about 50 volunteers, two of whom live on the reservation, according to Schutt.

April 12, 2012 - 7:39am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama, indian falls.

A fully involved shed fire with exposure to a residence is reported at 245 Martin Road, near the intersection with Bloomingdale Road in Alabama. Alabama Fire Department is responding. Akron is responding because it had somebody already at the scene. Indian Falls is standing by in their hall. The shed is about 10 by 15 square feet.

UPDATE 7:42 a.m.: The fire has been knocked down. Firefighters are checking for any extensions.

April 7, 2012 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Alabama.

A vehicle fire is reported on Route 77 near Bloomingdale and Judge roads. It's in a field on the east side of the roadway. Alabama Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.: A possible field fire is reported as a result of the vehicle fire.

UPDATE 5:54 p.m.: The fire chief on scene says the vehicle fire is fully involved and the field is also on fire.

UPDATE 5:58 p.m.: Fire police are requested to the scene for traffic control.

UPDATE 6:07 p.m.: The fire is under control, but some small blazes have cropped up nearby. More manpower is requested and law enforcement is also responding.

UPDATE 6:12 p.m.: All fire is out.

UPDATE 6:29 p.m.: Alabama is back in service.

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