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March 24, 2012 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, charity, Rochester, Oakfield, Alabama.

Photo: Randy Tonner Jr., Maddos, 6, and Maddox's mother, Michele.

Randy Tonner Jr., hasn't worked since July 2.

That was the night he was brutally attacked on a street in Rochester that put him the acute brain injury unit at Strong Memorial Hospital for more than a month.

At the time, Tonner was a single parent raising his 6-year-old son, Maddox, living and working in Rochester. He was an independent contractor, installing flooring for Sherwin Williams.

With no employer-provided insurance, he's had no means to care for himself or his son and had to give up custody of Maddos and move back to Oakfield.

Today, the community rallied around Tonner with a fundraiser at the American Legion Hall in Alabama, which featured a chance auction and a beef on weck lunch.

"People have been great," Tonner said. "The show of support, not just for me, but for my family, has just been fantastic."

Tonner was living on Park Avenue the night he walked by 25 Park Ave. with friends at about 2 a.m.

There was a group of people having a party on the porch and some sort of scuffle ensured.

Tonner's father, Randy Tonner, said the detective described it as something relatively minor, like you might find on any college campus on a Friday or Saturday night.

Seconds after it broke up, a man sucker punched Randy Jr. from behind.

"The dectective said it was the sucker punch of all sucker punches," Randy Sr. said. "From the tape (there was a surveillance system installed at the house), you could see he was out before he hit the ground. His head hit the cement and then another man came up and kicked him in the head."

A woman rushed to Randy Jr.'s aid. When police arrived, they found him lying beside the road in a pool of his own blood.

Two men were arrested, Justin Cropo and Nicholas Vitale, and a grand jury indicted them on a count each of assault in the second degree. The men are awaiting trial on the charges. (In an interesting footnote on the case, another man at the scene who looks like Vitale, and actually came to Randy's aid, was arrested initially, but the charges were dropped).

Randy Jr. said as far as he can remember, he's never met either of the men before.

After being released from the hospital, Randy Jr., has been on anti-seizure medication and his father said his main issue is the lack of mental endurance to work a full day.

He should be able to work again some day, but doctors are unsure when. After his next doctor's visit, they hope he will be cleared for part-time work.

"If you ask me, from the second I got out of the coma I wanted to go back to work, but I don’t know, whatever the doctor says," Randy Jr. said.

The damage to Randy's brain has forced him to learn to read again and he also lost sight in one eye.

His father said today's fundraiser was really an emotional event for him and he was especially grateful to Ron Sessaman, who has a history of organizing fundraisers in the community and arranged this one.

"For him to take the time for these people to come out here, I get choked up," Randy Sr., said. "It just touches the heart more than you can know. It’s just so, so special.  I think this also great for Randy. This keeps his strength, because this is hard. This keeps his attitude up."

Individuals who wish to make a donation to Randy Tonner, which are aimed at just helping him meet basic living expenses until he can return to work, can call Sessaman at (585) 734-7998.

March 20, 2012 - 3:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A grass fire is reported at 2408 Lewiston Road. Alabama Fire Department is responding. The location is between Lockport and Knowlesville roads.

UPDATE 3:57 p.m.: East Pembroke Fire Department's grass truck is requested to the scene.

UPDATE 4:05 p.m.: Manpower and an engine out of Oakfield are requested. Also, they have called for mutual aid from Wolcottsville, in Niagara County. "It's up into the woods pretty good," says a firefighter at the scene.

UPDATE 4:08 p.m.: Some of the flames are heading toward a barn. "All the fire is up at the west end here." In one section, as soon as a firefighter beats down the flames, they are said to come back twice as big.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: They seem to be making progress on fighting the blaze and it is contained in some places. They are going to concentrate on the north edge of the fire now.

UPDATE 4:23 p.m.: Some firefighters say they are "all set" and they are going to start picking up their water lines. But there's still a 7- to 8-foot swath of fire that's moving northward. 

UPDATE 4:27 p.m.: "The fire's been extinguished." They are checking the perimeter one last time.

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: A fire engine from Elba also responded and is now back in service.

UPDATE 4:52 p.m.: Wolcottsville responders are thanked and released from the assignment. Others at the scene are filling up tanks and otherwise breaking down and preparing to leave.

March 19, 2012 - 3:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, byron, Le Roy, Alabama, corfu.

Jason William Wolf, 36, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, unlicensed operator and aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st. Deputy Kevin McCarthy was reportedly on routine patrol in the Village of Corfu at 3:51 a.m. Sunday when he observed a vehicle pulling randomly into driveways. Wolf was arrested following further investigation.

Jessica M. Miller, 18, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Miller is accused of hitting another person during a dispute.

Evan Ryan Anderson, 30, of 2832 Pearl St. Road, Batavia, is charged with operating while ability impaired by drugs. Officer Darryle Streeter responded to a report at 3:43 a.m. Saturday of a person passed out behind the wheel of a car with its engine running at 419 W. Main St. Anderson was allegedly found at the wheel of the car.

Daniel Jeffrey McGiveron, 26, Phelps Road, Basom, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. During an unrelated investigation at 9:50 p.m. Saturday in Oakfield, McGiveron was allegedly found in possession of suboxone. Deputy Brian Thompson was assisted by K-9 "Pharoah."

Jessie Lee Jackson, 27, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Jackson was reportedly involved in a domestic incident in which he allegedly struck a vehicle with a skateboard and hit a person in the side of the head with his hand. Jackson was jailed on $800 bail.

Alexandra R. Wood, 21, of 8193 McCall Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, unsafe start and failing to yield the right of way. Wood was stopped at 2:14 a.m. Friday on Myrtle Street by Sgt. Michael Hare. Wood allegedly refused to submit to a breath test.

March 15, 2012 - 4:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A large field fire is reported in the area of 1283 Lewiston Road, just west of Alleghany Road. Alabama Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 4:03 p.m.: The fire is under control.

UPDATE 4:10 p.m.: The fire is out. All units returning to service.

March 15, 2012 - 8:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Pavilion, Alabama.

Joseph A. Monkelbaan, 40, of Tesnow Road, Akron, and David J. Albright, 51, of Meadville Road, Basom, are charged with trespass. Monkelbaan and Albright are accused of trespassing on property on Wright Road, Alabama, while riding ATVs.

Gregory Angel DeJesus, 21, of Perry Road, Pavilion, is charged with disorderly conduct. DeJesus was arrested following an argument with a family member at 12:25 a.m., Wednesday, and jailed on $250 bail.

Mickey Harlen DeJesus, 23, of Perry Road, Pavilion, is charged with disorderly conduct. DeJesus was arrested following an argument with a family member at 12:50 a.m., Wednesday, and jailed on $250 bail.

Darik R. M. Orbaker, 19, of 12 Elm St., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Orbaker was allegedly observed with a person protected by a "stay away" order.

March 12, 2012 - 6:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, Event, doug hagen.
Event Date and Time: 
April 1, 2012 -
12:00pm to 4:00pm

Submitted by a reader:

Twelve months ago I almost lost my dad. He had a massive stroke on February 22nd, 2011 as a result of high-blood pressure. It was the day after my mom’s 50th birthday party and I was 22 weeks pregnant with his first grandson.

My dad, Doug Hagen, is my Superman. He is the most kind-hearted, hardest working, funniest and by far one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He has owned and operated his own business for over 20 years which has always kept him close to home and always available to his family.

March 5, 2012 - 6:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A brush fire is reported on Alleghany Road near Ledge Road in Alabama. It is said to be less than a foot away from a trailer. Alabama Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 6:39 p.m.: There's a large pile of brush on fire near an outbuilding on Ledge Road. It is west of Alleghany Road.

UPDATE 6:43 p.m.: The fire is not near a structure. One unit from Alabama will remain on scene. The others are returning to quarters.

UPDATE 6:51 p.m.: The homeowner was advised about new open burning regulations. There is no danger present now. Alabama is back in service.

March 5, 2012 - 12:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, Le Roy, Alabama, corfu.

Eric Charles Zglinicki, 49, of Alleghany Road, Darien Center, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Zglinicki was allegedly found in possession of three shotguns following an investigation and search of his residence by the Genesee County Probation Department and the Sheriff's Office. Zglinicki has a prior felony conviction.

Samantha Mary Williams, 31, of Warsaw Road, Le Roy, was arrested on a bench warrant out of the Hamburg Town Court to appear on charges of resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental administration. Williams was turned over to the Hamburg Police Department.

Allen Skye Dockstader, 29, of Council House Road, Alabama, was arrested on a bench warrant out of Genesee County Court on a charge of violating probation following an investigation into a criminal mischief complaint.

Cody L. Osborn, 24, of 3265 State St., Caledonia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, inadequate head lights, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle and unlawful possession of marijuana. Osborn was stopped in the early hours Saturday by Le Roy Police. He was jailed on $1,500 bail.

Shawn Richard McGiveron, 23, East Main Street, Corfu, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. McGiveron is accused of violating an order of protection by calling and sending text messages to a protected person.

March 3, 2012 - 2:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, Alabama.

Nominations for Oakfield-Alabama Central School 2012 Alumni Hall of Fame are now being sought and will be accepted through April 30th.

Nominees must have graduated from OACS at least 15 years ago (class of 1997 or earlier). The committee seeks to honor alumni who have had significant success in their chosen field or who have contributed greatly to the Oakfield-Alabama community or both.

Anyone may nominate an individual by completing an official nomination form.

The online form may be found at:

http://oacsalumni.org/content/HallOfFame/NominationProcess/ (click on either the "online Nomination form" link or the Hornet logo).

We encourage you to use the electronic form; however, paper forms are available in the OACS middle/high office, which is located at 7001 Lewiston Road in Oakfield.

March 2, 2012 - 9:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, pembroke, Le Roy, Alabama.

Shane Scott, 17, of Forestville, Pa., William Gorton, 17, of 92 Lake St., Le Roy and a 15-year-old boy are accused of participating in a burglary. Shane and William are charged with burglary, 3rd, and attempted burglary, 2nd. They are accused of entering an apartment building Thursday on Bacon Street, Le Roy, and attempting to steal property from the apartment. The 15-year-old will be referred to Family Court. They were arraigned and released under supervision of the probation department. William was also charged with burglary, 2nd, in connection with an alleged break-in Feb. 19 on Myrtle Street. Additional arrests in the case are pending.

Katie L. Orlando, 19, of 24 Craigie St., Le Roy, is charged with coercion, 1st. Orlando is accused of going into the apartment of a person and threatening that person. Orlando allegedly later called that person on the phone and issued a threat. The alleged threats came after the victim reportedly called 9-1-1 the night before and were allegedly intended to intimidate the victim from calling 9-1-1 in the future. Orlando was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Steven Carnell McKnight, 18, of 14th Street, Buffalo, is charged with burglary, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 2nd. McKnight allegedly forced his way into a residence on Gabbey Road in Pembroke on Feb. 14 in order to steal property from the residence.

Willie F. Irvin II, 29, 12 Elm St., Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and reckless endangerment of property, and Randy Johnson, 24, of 110 Walnut St., Batavia, is charged with reckless endangerment of property. Irvin and Johnson are accused of fighting in a bar in Batavia and in the process damaging a video game and glass display case.

Casey Willowbear, 52, of Sanford Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Willowbear was stopped for allegedly speeding at 9:12 p.m., Wednesday, on West Main Street Road by Deputy Matthew Fleming. She was allegedly found in possession of a glass pipe containing burnt marijuana inside her vehicle.

A 17-year-old of Judge Road, Alabama, is charged with petit larceny. An employee at Wilson Farms, 25 Main St., Oakfield, observed the youth allegedly trying to leave the store with merchandise concealed under her shirt.

February 25, 2012 - 1:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents.

A car struck a pole, but the driver is not injured, on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. The location is 7405 Reuben Road. The pole is leaning and there may be wires down. Alabama Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 1:49 p.m.: The pole is down and blocking one lane of traffic.

UPDATE 4:26 p.m.: The roadway is clear and Alabama is back in service.

February 23, 2012 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, crime, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Federal authorities raided four smoke shops on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation this morning, seizing alleged untaxed cigarettes, synthetic marijuana and bath salts, according to U.S. Attorney for Western New York William Hochul.

Authorities are investigating whether the so-called synthetic drugs were being sold for human consumption, Hochul said.

Sale of products such as K2, Spice and bath salts for human consumption is illegal as an analogue to controlled substances.

"There's been reporting throughout the country on how dangerous these substances are," Hochul said. "Obviously, we want to reduce that danger where we can."

"It's 100 percent a public safety issue," Hochul added. "Whether it comes to bath salts or even untaxed cigarettes, you don't know what's in these substances."

At least one of the smoke shops is also under investigation for alleged sale of counterfeit merchandise, Hochul said.

No charges have been filed, Hochul said. This is an ongoing investigation.

The shops raided were The Rez, Arrow Hawk, Sacajawea and Smoke Rings.

Unrelated, there was also apparently a raid (or raids) this morning in the City of Batavia by members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force. There is no more information available at this time on this activity.

February 12, 2012 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Alabama.

A father saved his baby son today moments before the room where he was sleeping burst into flames.

Peter Dart was downstairs in a two-resident house at 7650 Macomber Road, Alabama, when he and his wife smelled smoke.

He rushed upstairs to his 13-month-old son's room. The room was filled with smoke, smoke so thick he couldn't see anything.

He had laid the toddler down for a nap just 30 minutes earlier.

Dart found the boy's crib just by memory, grabbed him, pulled him to his chest and rushed out of the house.

Investigators have determined the cause of the fire was related to an electric heater plugged into an extension cord.

The fire was reported by Dart's wife at 10:36 a.m. When the first firefighters arrived on scene from East Pembroke, the northwest corner of the 180-year-old house was fully engulfed in flames.

Lorna Klotzbach, a Town of Alabama Planning Board member, owned the house and lived in the other half.

The house sits in an area of Alabama without public water. Tankers were dispatched to the scene from 15 fire departments to draw water from creeks, ponds and the closest fire hydrant.

Many of the nearby ponds had frozen over in the past couple of days, making it harder to draw water from them, said East Pembroke Chief Don Newton.

"A good supply of water definitely would have helped," Newton said. "We ran out of water quite a few times. We did not have enough water to fight the fire to the best of our ability."

The entire second floor of the house was destroyed.

Newton said much of the first floor was saved, and the residents would be able to recover personal belongings from downstairs.

The wind and cold weather didn't help in fighting the fire, either, Newton said.

Dart's son was taken by private vehicle to UMMC and treated for smoke inhalation. Dart said he is doing fine.

At least four emergency responders suffered minor injuries related to the incident. One firefighter was transported to UMMC with a hand injury.

At least one of Klotzbach's three cats survived the fire and Lorna said her dogs escaped safely.

Responding to the scene, along with East Pembroke, were Alabama, Town of Batavia, Oakfield, Darien, City of Batavia's Fast Team, Pembroke, Indian Falls, Elba, Barre, East Shelby, Byron, South Byron, Alexander, Bergen, Attica, Wolcottsville, Mercy EMS and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

CORRECTION: We initially reported the child was a girl. That was based on what I thought for sure was the father saying "she" when I interviewed him. Even after reviewing the tape, that's what I thought I heard; however, there is some wind on the recording. Another, reliable source assures me the child is a boy. The story has been changed accordingly.

If you're unable to view the photo slide show, click here.

Prints of these photos may be purchased by clicking here.

Initial report posted here.

February 11, 2012 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

An Orleans County woman was allegedly driving too fast on snow-covered roads this afternoon leading to a crash that sent her to the hospital.

Teresa Lynn Wilkins, 38, of West Avenue, Medina, was transported by Mercy EMS to Medina Community Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The accident was reported at 11:49 a.m. in the area of 1630 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

No other vehicles were involved.

Her 2008 Chevy pickup reportedly hit a tree.

She was issued citations for alleged speeding and failure to keep right.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Chris Parker.

February 6, 2012 - 10:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

Press release:

Information addressing the comments of the Western New York Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) Final Generic Impact Statement (FGEIS) was discussed on January 26th at the Town of Alabama Fire Hall. Over 100 residents and interested constituents were on hand to receive an update on the progress of the WNY STAMP project.

A general overview of the project, the environmental review process, and responses to common topics from the Draft Generic Impact Statement (DGEIS) were presented by the GCEDC. Residents were given an opportunity to ask questions and provide additional feedback on the project.

On February 9, 2012 the GCEDC board, lead agency of the environmental review process, will consider a written findings statement for the WNY STAMP project. If the findings statement is approved, the environmental review process for the WNY STAMP project will be complete. At that point, the GCEDC will seek approval for the project from the Town of Alabama. The following steps will follow:

  • Negotiation and adoption by the GCEDC, and the Town of Alabama on an incentive zoning agreement that will provide relief from some of the Town’s zoning laws in exchange for amenities provided by the GCEDC to the Town.

  • Once the incentive zoning agreement is in place the Town of Alabama Planning Board and the Town of Alabama will begin consideration of the GCEDC’s application to rezone the STAMP site to a Technology Park and to amend the Town of Alabama Comprehensive Plan to address the STAMP project.

  • In conjunction with the Town’s rezoning process, the County Planning Board will hold a public meeting, review, and make recommendations to the Alabama Town Board on the rezoning application.

To further assist the Town with its decision-making process, a public opinion survey of the project will be distributed to the residents of the Town of Alabama. The survey will be conducted by a third party legal, and market research company that specializes in public opinion polling. The results of the survey will be presented to the Town for their consideration at the conclusion of the survey.

After the planning agencies return comments to the Town of Alabama, the board will hold a public hearing on the rezoning application. This public hearing will give the residents of Alabama another opportunity to comment, on the record, regarding the proposed rezoning of the WNY STAMP site.

Simultaneously, with the Town’s approval process the GCEDC, in conjunction with state and federal representatives, will continue to pursue funding sources that will be used in the event the STAMP project is approved by the Town of Alabama.

State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer and National Grid have, and continue to be of assistance to the GCEDC to obtain funding for this important project. Senator Ranzenhofer’s recognition of the regional impact of this project and his commitment to it are reflected in his recent state budget request for funding of the STAMP project.

This comprehensive environmental review process, as outlined in the State Environmental Conservation Law, is the same process that was conducted for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in the Town of Batavia.

If, after careful review and consideration the Town of Alabama approves the GCEDC application to rezone the STAMP property, the GCEDC can begin to work with engineers to develop infrastructure plans for the site and strategically engage in a sales and marketing process to attract the first tenant to the STAMP site.

January 31, 2012 - 1:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported at the sharp curve in the area of 1013 Ledge Road in Alabama. There are injuries. The location is west of Route 77, on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 1:21 p.m.: A responder on scene says there is one vehicle involved and it is off the roadway and in the woods.

UPDATE 1:38 p.m.: The vehicle is a 1994 green Ford Explorer. The driver and a passenger are from Rochester.

UPDATE 2:38 p.m.: Alabama Fire Department is back in service. Didn't hear an update on the occupants. Presumably they are OK.

January 31, 2012 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, Mike Ranzenhofer, STAMP.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has written to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, requesting his continued support in the form of a $9 million investment in the STAMP project for each of the next two years to bring the project to Shovel-Ready-Lite status.

“Support is now needed in the form of a funding commitment to complete the process needed to bring this site to Shovel-Ready-Lite status. Over the next several years, this is anticipated to require funding of $20 million. The 2011-12 SFY Budget has already committed $2 million to this project,” Senator Ranzenhofer said.

“A commitment for an additional $9 million per year over the next two fiscal years to assure timely Shovel-Ready-Lite status will allow immediate marketing of the STAMP site to national and international tech companies to expedite the successful build out of this project.”

The STAMP project has the potential to create up to 10,000 high-paying jobs at full development, in addition to jobs created during construction and development of the site, and up to $2.5 billion in private investment. In the letter to Governor Cuomo, Senator Ranzenhofer also noted the possible economic benefits to residents beyond the Buffalo and Rochester regions.

“This project, with its offer of advanced manufacturing, is the only one of its kind in Western New York. In fact, we believe that it is the only remaining available Mega-site in New York State. It provides the legitimate promise of a significant private investment and thousands of desperately needed high-paying jobs for the residents of the Buffalo and Rochester areas as well as all the residents of the region including Erie, Monroe, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, Livingston and Wyoming counties.”

Senator Ranzenhofer forwarded copies of the letter to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, Genesee County Legislature Chair Mary Pat Hancock, Empire State Development Corporation President and CEO Kenneth Adams and Genesee County Economic Development Center President and CEO Steve Hyde.

The Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) is a 1,243 acre mega-site modeled after the Albany area’s Luther Forest development. Located in the Town of Alabama, the site is strategically ideal due to its access to three high-level electric transmission circuits, close proximity to the Empire pipeline – a 24-inch natural gas line– and only five miles distance from the New York State Thruway.

January 27, 2012 - 3:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

An unknown type of fire is reported in a field on Gorton Road, just north of Ledge Road. Alabama Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 3:33 p.m.: Firefighters on scene report this appears to be a controlled burn.

UPDATE 3:34 p.m.: Alabama fire crew is returning, in service.

January 27, 2012 - 1:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

The next phase in seeking approval for a 1,200-acre high-tech industrial complex in the Town of Alabama is to sell it to the town board.

And by sell, we mean, offer incentives attractive enough to please residents and for the board to approve a change in zoning for the land that Genesee Economic Devlopment Center officials hope to turn into a lucrative and bustling complex employing 9,300 people.

Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC, said negotiations are starting on the incentive package with the town and they will include financial assistance with the needs of the town to accommodate the project as well as possible cash grants for a "community chest" (money that can be spent on whatever the town board decides to spend it on).

Information on the final Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the project known as STAMP (Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park) was presented Thursday night to about 100 area residents at the Alabama Fire Hall.

With the GEIS done, the town board will be given an opportunity wthin the next month or so to either green light the project or not.

Prior to the vote, GCEDC officials will try to come up with a package of incentives that might help sway town residents and the board to support the project.

Once the incentives are hammered out, there will be a public meeting where the package will be presented and the public will be given a chance to comment on the proposal.

Attorney Adam S. Walters (top inset photo), representing GCEDC, said if the town board doesn't approve the zoning change for STAMP, the project is dead.

One audience member pressed Walters on whether GCEDC or anybody else could sue the town if it doesn't change the zoning to GCEDC's liking. Walters said he knew of no legal grounds to support such a suit and the town's attorney, Mark Boylan, nodded in agreement.

The time is ripe, according to Masse for the town to approve the project. He indicated there is a company that is looking to build a million-square-foot high-tech manufacturing facility. The company will be ready to start its site selection process in 2014.

Asked if it was a foreign company, Masse said, "It's American."

No company, especially one looking at building a million-square-foot facility, will even consider a site that doesn't already have zoning approval, Masse said, since such approvals take so long to get. 

Earlier, town Planning Board Member Lorna Klotzbach (inset photo below) expressed concern that, the way the plan is written out, the entire 1,200 acres could just fill up with a lot of small companies.

"If this site is allowed to be gobbled up by a database company here, a retail store there, a warehouse over here -- what's the chance that a big anchor company is going to want to come in if all of these other uses take up all the space?" Klotzbach asked.

Walters said that, as a practical matter, that isn't going to happen.

The big anchor tenant is needed first so the infrastructure can be built to support all of the smaller tenants that will help fill out the park and provide support services to the large tenants.

"The concept is to form the park around high tech manufacturing," Walters said. "That's the goal of this project and to do it in a way that makes sense. What keeps a Tim Horton's or a couple of warehouses from coming in first is the dollars necessary for the infrastructure. The smaller projects can't afford it.

"The plan calls for a million-square-feet high-tech manufacturer in phase one," Walters added. "If you don't have that, you don't have the money to put in the infrastructure to make any of the other stuff happen."

Until then, Masse and Walters explained, the arable land within the park's proposed footprint will still be farmed and the people living in houses will still live in their houses.

In fact, soon-to-be-former Village of Oakfield resident Joseph Bradt (bottom inset photo) expressed a unique concern about what will happen to residents living within the STAMP area.

Bradt said he recently bought a home in Alabama in order to move his family out of the village.

Pointing at the site plan on the projector screen, Bradt said, "My house is off the map and I haven’t even moved in yet."

Masse said that until a portion of the park is needed for a new tenant, no offers to buy out residential homes will be made, and when they are made, the offers will be at fair market value or or just above assessed value.

Ask if eminent domain would be used to remove people from their homes if they didn't want to sell, Masse said, "no."

"If you don't want to sell you're property, we'll figure out how design around it or if we can move the project to another part of the park," Masse said.

As for Brandt, Masse said it could be up to 20 years before it's time to try and buy him out of his house.

The final GEIS addresses at least some of the concerns raised by residents over the past couple of years.

Regarding the John White Wildlife Management Area, that's been completely removed from the site plan and won't be developed.

Regarding lost agricultural land, the crop land that will displaced represents only .65 percent of the 148,584 acres of farmland in Genesee County and only .23 percent of the total prime farmland.

There are also at least 17 possible farm-protection strategies for the town board to consider to protect the remaining farmland. Some of them, according to Walters, are very expensive. Some, such as rezoning, cost nothing.

On wetlands mitigation, the footprint of the building space was reconfigured to protect more of the wetlands within the park. One of the early plans would have destroyed 69 of 106 acres of wetlands within the park area. The new plan protects all but 10 acres of the land.

The acres protected will be enhanced and restored.

"Many of those wetlands are not in great shape today, and without this project, they would be subject to further degradation," said Roger Person, the consultant heading up the environmental review process.

The report also deals with impacts on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation and traffic flow.

Officials are working with representatives of Tonawanda to minimize impacts and while traffic will increase in areas, some of the proposed improvements to roadways and intersections will bring relief to some traffic flow problems already present in Alabama, Person said.

When a member of the public expressed concern that if the zoning change were approved, what would stop developers from doing something different than what residents are being told now would happen?

Walters explained that the way the process works, the final GEIS acts as a box.  The box contains everything that is currently permissible within the STAMP project area.

"If a proposal comes along that doesn’t fit inside that box, it requires a supplemental analysis and perhaps a supplemental environmental impact study," Walters said. "Everything has to fit within the box."

January 24, 2012 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Alabama.

Jonathan Donnie Laverne, 47, of Council House Road, Alabama, is charged with assault, 3rd, unlawful imprisonment, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 4th. Laverne is accused of biting the face of another person during a domestic incident Jan. 17. Laverne allegedly took the mobile phone of the person and prevented the person from leaving or calling for help. Laverne was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Gregory Seppe, 53, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with five counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Seppe was arrested following a report at 10:22 p.m., Monday, of a man causing a disturbance at the Arrow Mart store on Clinton Street Road, Batavia.

Andrea Linda Kempisty, 23, of Lovers Lane Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to stop at stop sign, failure to yield right of way at stop sign and moving from lane unsafely. Kempisty was stopped at 2:17 a.m. Monday on Route 5, Batavia, by Deputy James Diehl.

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