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Alabama

April 17, 2014 - 6:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Dozens of law enforcement officers were on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation for about four hours this afternoon to help keep the peace while two factions of the same family tried to resolve an ownership dispute over Arrowhawk Smoke Shop.

Tom Peters (top photo), who said he's been managing the business recently for his family, said members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office showed up this morning with a court order giving his niece, Corrine Thomas, control of the property.

The order was signed by Judge Robert C. Noonan, Peters said, but Peters said Noonan had no jurisdiction of the land of his nation.

This is reservation land and any court order from any judge is not valid out here," Peters said. "He has no right to be here. He doesn't have jurisdiction here."

There's a bit of a contradiction over how the dispute was resolved for the time being today. Peters said a higher court issued a stay of Noonan's order, but Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble said he was unaware of any such order. He said the Tonawanda chiefs brokered a deal to take control of the property until the issue can be resolved.

There were about 10 members of the Sheriff's Office on scene and more than two dozen troopers, including at least two K-9 units, which arrived to provide back up.

Asked if this was a typical response, Dibble said, "Is this typical? This isn't a typical situation. I've never seen a situation like this in my 38 years, so I wouldn't call it typical. I don't know that there is such a thing as a typical police response. We respond and do what we have to do for the safety of the people, and I think we were successful. Nobody got hurt."

Dibble and about 10 members of the Sheriff's Office delivered the court order from Noonan this morning about 7:30. According to Dibble, the order gave Thomas the right to inventory the property and its contents.

Peters said he was evicted from his apartment above the restaurant on the property. 

The dispute is about three years old, Peters said, going back to the death of his brother. His brother left a will and Peters said there are provisions in the law that contradict tribal law. He said it gave away property that belongs to the Tonawanda nation.

It's unclear at what point Thomas became the estate's executor, but it was apparently because she has been named executor that she was there this morning.

Once the order was delivered, the Sheriff's personnel left the reservation, then early this afternoon there was a small fire at the location and Dibble said there were "threats made."

That brought deputies back to the scene and a host of troopers to provide back-up.

Dozens of residents of the nation mingled in the surrounding area, along with some customers of the nearby smoke shops and gas stations, and watched as a group of chiefs and others sat on chairs and talked outside the Arrowhawk.

At around 4 p.m., Thomas and her supporters -- Peters called them "warriors" and "mercenaries" hired by Thomas -- left.

Dibble and Peters may not agree how the settlement came about, but they both agree the matter is now in the hands of the chiefs. Peters said he believes federal courts will overturn Noonan's order.  In the meantime, it's unclear if the Arrowhawk will reopen before the dispute is resolved.

Dibble said the chiefs will post guards on the property.

April 10, 2014 - 5:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A field fire is reported at 935 Bloomingdale Road on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. The caller to dispatch says it's moving toward her house. The location is between Parker and Martin roads. Alabama Fire Department is responding along a tanker from Akron, mutual aid.

UPDATE 5:39 p.m.: Fire is out. Responders are back in service.

March 28, 2014 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Alabama.

Zoe A. McClure, 44, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with attempted petit larceny. McClure was allegedly observed by management at the Dollar General Store trying to conceal several items in her purse, coat and pants.

Sharon E. Herdtner, 51, of Jackson Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to appear. She was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Brian D. Fisher, 60, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, was arrested for allegedly failing to answer to a parking ticket (2 a.m. to 6 a.m. on a city street). Fisher was located during an investigation into an unrelated matter and was arrested. He posted $70 cash bail.

Kenneth H. Holley, 24, of River Road, Caledonia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Holley was arrested by Officer Stephen Cronmiller following a traffic stop by Deputy Joseph Corona on East Main Street, Batavia, at 12:13 a.m. March 23.

Dawn L. Sedita, 50, of Buffalo, is charged with petit larceny. Sedita was arrested by State Police for allegedly stealing cartons of cigarettes from Jan's Smoke Shop.

March 26, 2014 - 12:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, OACS, Alabama, hall of fame.

Press release:

Nominations are currently being accepted for this year's induction class of the Oakfield-Alabama Alumni Hall of Fame. It recognizes outstanding OACS alumni who have achieved distinction in their lives and chosen field after high school through significant contributions to their career, community or through personal achievements.

If you know a person who meets the following criteria, please consider nominating him/her for this prestigious honor:

  • Nominees must be graduates of OACS or one of its predecessors, or have been active in school classes and activities during their senior year; (Nominees who left school while in good standing to perform military service are also eligible. Deceased alumni are not eligible for induction until the 5th anniversary of the year of their death.)
  • Nominees must have graduated prior to 1999;
  • Selection is based on achievement after leaving OACS, which includes a worthy record in more than one, and exemplary achievement in at least one of the following: job-related achievements; professional honors and awards, professional affiliations, or publications; civic or community involvement; personal achievements/accomplishments; positive impact on the communities in the Oakfield-Alabama school district.

Anyone may submit a nomination for any person meeting the criteria stated above. Nominations must be made during the nomination period only (March 1 - April 30) by using the Online Nomination Form or the PDF Nomination Form (see links below). Electronically submitted nominations are strongly preferred over mailed-in, hard-copy nominations.

Online Nomination Form - http://www.oacsalumni.org/content/HallOfFame/NominationProcess/OnlineForm
PDF Nomination Form - http://www.oacsalumni.org/content_files/HallOfFame/NominationProcess/form.pdf

March 20, 2014 - 4:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A possible chimney fire is reported at 6581 Alleghany Road. That's just south of Church Street, one the east side of the roadway. Alabama Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 5:56 p.m.: Alabama is back in service.

March 7, 2014 - 6:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported on Crosby Road, possibily near Lewiston Road.

Unknown injuries. The caller left the scene. The caller guessed it was closer to Lewiston.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 6:45 a.m.: A chief on scene wants to ensure law enforcement is in route. One of the Alabama engines responding can stand down and the Mercy ambulance responding can stand down.

March 6, 2014 - 3:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Oakfield, Alabama, east pembroke.

A garage fire was quickly knocked down within the last half hour at 2999 Batavia Oakfield Town Line Road. Oakfield fire responded, along with mutual aid from Town of Batavia and East Pembroke, and Alabama had a crew stand by in Oakfield's quarters. A portion of the roadway for eastbound traffic was also closed.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: All responders are back in service.

February 28, 2014 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

Two people suffered minor injuries Thursday following a two-car collision in the area of 1630 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

The accident was reported at 12:40 p.m.

Injured were A.M. Vanwyngaarden, 23, of Jackson Road, Holley, and Phillip C. Rhoades II, 46, of Main Street, Candor.

According to the accident report written by Deputy Chris Parker, Vanwyngararden's 2004 Pontiac sedan was heading west on Lewiston Road when it traveled off the north shoulder. It then moved back across the eastbound lane and struck the 2011 Hyundai sedan driven by Rhoades.

Vanwyngaarden was issued citations for alleged failure to stay on the right side of the road and uninspected motor vehicle.

(Initial Report)

February 27, 2014 - 1:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama.

A house is reportedly filling with smoke at 6912 Macomber Road, Alabama. The location is between Judge and Ham roads. Alabama Fire Department is responding. Dispatch says it is possibly a chimney or wood stove problem.

February 27, 2014 - 12:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama.

A two-car head-on collision with minor injuries is reported at 1630 Lewiston Road, east of Route 77. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE: Photo submitted by Bruce Webber, who said he was in the area working on his truck and saw the crash. The silver car, he said, went off the north side of the road and the driver appeared to over correct and hit a Honda almost head on. "I was a couple of feet away," Webber said. "Parts and pieces everywhere."

February 26, 2014 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.
Earl Sprague

There will not be a second trial for convicted child molester Earl Sprague, who has already been sentenced following his first trial to 21 years in prison.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman made a motion this morning, which was granted by County Court Judge Robert Noonan, to dismiss the remaining charges against Sprague.

The 42-year-old Sprague was facing a possible trial on eight felony counts, including two counts of burglary, 1st, sexual abuse, 1st, criminal sexual act, 1st, aggravated sexual abuse, 1st, two counts predatory sexual assault, a Class II-A felony, and one count of assault, 1st.

Friedman said he could not discuss the reason for the motion to drop the charges.

"We made a determination we couldn't really proceed with the remaining charges," Friedman said. "That's all I can really say."

The former Alabama resident was convicted by a jury on 28 counts of sexual abuse.

February 20, 2014 - 11:21am
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, corfu, accidents.

A two-car accident with minor injuries is reported at 192 Sumner Road in Darien. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 11:35 a.m.: The accident is in Crittenden. Erie County and Alden are handling. The patient is a sign-off. Darien and Mercy medics are back in service.

February 13, 2014 - 10:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

Within the past hour, a gun shop on Route 77 in Alabama was burglarized and guns were stolen.

The suspect vehicle is a dark colored pickup truck, unknown direction of travel.

State Police are on scene.

UPDATE 10:43 p.m.: Orleans County dispatch has informed Genesee County dispatch of a possible related burglary in that jurisdiction. Communication equipment, such as that used by fire and police personnel, were taken. It occurred after the Alabama burglary. The Alabama suspect vehicle is described as an S-10 type of pickup truck, dark in color, with a loud exhaust.

UPDATE 11:45 p.m.: Seven double-barrel shotguns are missing, too.

February 1, 2014 - 6:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents.

A motor-vehicle accident, reportedly a T-bone with at least two injuries, is reported at Tesnow and Wright roads in the Town of Alabama. Alabama Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics. This is east of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

UPDATE 6:16 p.m.: A rescue unit from Akron is requested to provide mutual aid to the scene. Indian Falls Fire Department is asked to shut down Tesnow at Akron Road and also Bloomingdale Road.

UPDATE 6:21 p.m.: A Mercy medic confirms two injured parties in a pickup truck. No extrication needed. Akron can stand down.

UPDATE 6:24 p.m.: A second Mercy ambulance is requested.

UPDATE 6:25 p.m.: The Highway Department will be notified that "salt is needed on this hill."

UPDATE 6:35 p.m.: Two patients transported to St. Joe's in Buffalo.

January 30, 2014 - 3:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.
Earl Sprague

It's still not clear who will represent Earl Sprague in his second trial on child sexual abuse charges.

Sprague, already serving a 21-year sentence on child sexual abuse charges, appeared in County Court today dressed in state prison green, to hear Judge Robert C. Noonan tell William Tedford from the Public Defender's Office that regardless of who represents Sprague, the trial is going forward March 24.

The 42-year-old former Alabama resident faces an additional eight felony  counts, including two counts of burglary, 1st, sexual abuse, 1st, criminal sexual act, 1st, aggravated sexual abuse, 1st, two counts predatory sexual assault, a Class II-A felony, and one count of assault, 1st.

The Class II-A felony carries a possible life sentence.

Last week, Sprague asked that Fred Rarick, who was court-appointed to represent him in his trial on 28 felony counts, be dismissed as his attorney for the second trial.

Noonan granted his wish and assigned the case to the Public Defender's Office.

Today, Tedford asked Noonan to delay the case because Tedford already has four possible trials between now and April, plus the office will be short-handed at the end of March because Public Defender Gary Horton is retiring.

"My personal trial schedule will give me a limited time to prepare," Teford said. "While I consider myself a quality attorney, I submit that six weeks to properly preper for a trial on such serious charges would result in ineffective counsel for Mr. Sprague.

Noonan said it's actually seven and a half weeks, which should be enough time to prepare; however, Noonan said taking everything into account, he has arranged for an attorney from the assigned council office to come to court tomorrow and go over the case with Sprague and Tedford and see if he will be able to take on the case and be ready for trial March 24.

"This case has lingered on far too long," Noonan said.

January 29, 2014 - 7:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, Oakfield, Pavilion, weather, Alabama.

Oakfield-Alabama schools are closed this morning, due to weather.

Pavilion school is closed, due to plumbing issues.

Pavilion students scheduled to take a regents exam at Pavilion High School are to report to the elementary building at their scheduled test time.

The National Weather Service has a wind chill advisory in effect until 10 a.m. with wind chills expected to be 15 to 25 degrees below zero.

January 23, 2014 - 6:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.
Earl Sprague

Earl Sprague, sentenced yesterday to 21 years in prison for child sexual abuse, will have a new attorney when he goes on trial -- possibly in March -- on a separate set of charges, including predatory sexual assault.

During an appearance today to set a trial date on the eight counts still pending against Sprague, attorney Fred Rarick told Judge Robert C. Noonan that it was apparent to him that Sprague no longer had confidence in him and that a new attorney should be appointed to represent the 42-year-old Alabama resident.

Noonan expressed some skepticism that Sprague really needed a new attorney, praising Rarick's ability as a criminal defense attorney.

"Mr. Rarick is one of the most experience criminal defense attorneys we have around here in handling very serious matters such as yours," Noonan told Sprague. "He worked very hard on this case. If there was a difference over strategy, that's not unusual."

Sprague told Noonan that he felt there was evidence that Rarick didn't bring out at trial that he thought should have been presented to the jury.

"I won't get into specifics, but there was a point in the trial where he said if we do this, they're (motioning toward the prosecution) is going to try and do something else," Sprague said. "We talked about it. I thought about it and then I said go ahead and he didn't go ahead and do it. None of it was brought up."

Noonan expressed concern that a change in attorney could delay the second trial, but after a little more conversation with Sprague and Rarick agreed to refer the case to the Public Defender's Office.

Sprague faces a trial on eight felony counts, including two counts of burglary, 1st, sexual abuse, 1st, criminal sexual act, 1st, aggravated sexual abuse, 1st, two counts predatory sexual assault, a Class II-A felony, and one count of assault, 1st.

Noonan set a trial date of March 24.

Sprague be back in court Jan. 30 to ensure a new attorney has been appointed and is working on the case and can be ready for trial on that date.

January 22, 2014 - 4:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.
Earl Sprague

Convicted by a jury on 28 counts of sexual abuse, Earl Sprague will soon begin a 21-year prison term while still maintaining his innocence.

The 42-year-old Alabama resident was sentenced in Genesee County Court today by Judge Robert C. Noonan.

"It's a very sad circumstance, but the saddest part is that two kids have been victimized repeatedly over an extended period of time," Noonan said. "I do believe a serious sentence should be imposed over a lengthy period of time."

On the first three counts of sexual abuse the jury said Sprague did commit, Noonan gave Sprague seven years on each count to be served concurrently. On counts four through 17, again, seven years each, served concurrently, but consecutive to the first seven years. On counts 18 through 28, seven years each, running concurrent to each other, but consecutive to the first two groups of counts.

The three groups of seven-year sentences, served consecutively means Sprague will be locked up for 21 years, barring any time off for good behavior.

The sentence was the maximum available to Noonan under state sentencing guidelines.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told Noonan he would recommend Sprague spend the rest of his life in prison, if only that were an option for Noonan.

"It would be appropriate to send him to prison for the rest of his life, but that can't be done," Friedman said. "We will once again have to worry about what this defendant is going to do once he's out of prison. I would ask that you do everything in your statutory power to keep this defendant locked up for as long as possible as required by law."

Sprague will be on parole for 10 years following his release from prison.

Defense attorney Fred Rarick told Judge Noonan that his client had been prepared to make a statement in court, but after Noonan ruled that a television camera could record the proceedings, Rarick said his client informed him he would not make a statement.

"He can choose to make a statement or not make a statement," Noonan said. "This is a public courtroom and the presence of a camera only enhances the public nature of it to some extent. It's his choice."

Sprague made no statement.

The two young victims he was convicted of molesting had originally requested to appear at the sentencing and make victim impact statements, but neither appeared today. Instead, Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini read statements from both victims.

Rarick filed a notice of appeal and explained after court that he did so primarily to preserve his client's right to appeal his conviction. Rarick said it will be up to an attorney who specializes in appeals to review the transcript of the case and determine what if any issues might be proper for appeal to a higher court.

There could be an issue, Rarick said, with Noonan allowing the jury to hear evidence of Sprague's prior bad acts, including prior accusations of children molestation going back 30 years.

"My client respectfully disagrees with his ruling," Rarick said. "We thought he shouldn't let any priors in because it would take the jury's mind off what the real issues are."

From Rarick's point of view, those issues include an estranged wife who had motivation to keep Sprague from gaining custody of their children after she was accused of burglary and theft. According to Rarick, Penny Sprague made statements prior to Earl Sprague's arrest that she knew how a woman could get a man in trouble and that children could be convinced to make accusatory statements.

Rarick said there were never any accusations or concerns raised about Earl Sprague molesting these particular children until Penny Sprague became a suspect in a burglary.

Sprague will be back in court tomorrow because he still faces eight felony counts from another grand jury indictment, including two counts of burglary, 1st, sexual abuse, 1st, criminal sexual act, 1st, aggravated sexual abuse, 1st, two counts predatory sexual assault, a Class II-A felony, and one count of assault, 1st.

January 20, 2014 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, Oakfield, byron, Darien, Le Roy, Alabama, corfu, bergen.

James Mitchell, 35, of Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Mitchell was arrested following a months-long investigation by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office into reports of stolen co-payments at a doctor's office where Mitchell worked in Avon. The investigation took time, according to LCSO, because of lengthy billing cycles and victims coming forward. Mitchell was allegedly stealing co-pays as patients checked out at their physician's office. The investigation was conducted by Deputy Dan Rittenhouse, Deputy Ross Gerace, Deputy Steph Schroeder and Deputy Mike Yencer.

Kelly M. Zwolinski, 34, of Broadway Road, Darien, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and resisting arrest. Zwolinski was identified as a suspect in possession of a stolen horse saddle that was taken from a farm in Niagara County and an arrest warrant was issued. When Deputy Kevin McCarthy and Investigator William Ferrando attempted to place Zwolinski under arrest, she allegedly resisted arrest.

Darlene Ann Kingdollar, 51, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Kingdollar is accused of entering the 7-Eleven store in Oakfield while intoxicated and after she was denied the purchase of alcohol, she allegedly left the store with a can of beer without paying for it.

Bruce J. Brade, 33, of Galloway Road, Batavia, is charged with stalking, 4th, and criminal contempt, 2nd. Brade allegedly violated an order of protection.

Mark J. Price, 37, Township Road, Ashland, Ohio, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear for an alleged traffic violation in Batavia City Court. Price was aprehended during a traffic stop in the Village of Attica. Price was issued an appearance ticket.

Jeffrey A. Pionessa, 32, of Glenwood Drive, Attica, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding in zone. Pionessa was stopped at 2:30 a.m. Sunday on Law Street, Batavia, by Officer Arick Perkins. Pionessa allegedly had a BAC of .11.

A 17-year-old resident of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. The youth is accused of damaging the mobile phone charger of another person by throwing it against a wall and grabbing the arm of the alleged victim and pushing the person's face.

John K. Rolls, 34, of Mill Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of forcible touching. Rolls is accused of forcibly touching a 17-year-old girl on Jan. 7. Rolls is incarcerated in the Genesee county Jail on an unrelated matter and was issued an appearance ticket.

Brad Strzelecki, 19, of Hunter Street, Bergen, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Strzelecki was reported at a location on Bank Street at 10:01 a.m. Jan. 13 when he was allegedly found in possession of marijuana by Officer Eric Foels.

Rodeny Lowell McKenzie, 49, of Weaver Street, Buffalo, is charged with petit larceny. McKenzie was located by Transit Police in Buffalo during a check-the-welfare interview and identified as a warrant suspect for allegedly stealing items from Kmart on Dec. 12.

Bryant William Hardtner, 28, of State Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Hardtner is accused of taking a vehicle Sunday without the owner's consent.

Kimberly Diane Ribbeck, 27, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving a vehicle with obstructed vision and no or inadequate plate light. Ribbeck was stopped at 2:33 a.m. Sunday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Michael Gerald Pernicano, 21, of Lake Road, Holley, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to signal and no plate light. Pernicano was stopped at 2:29 a.m. Saturday on North Byron Road, Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Lena Marie Evans, 26, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Evans was arrested for allegedly shoplifting at Kmart by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Carey Anthony Bedell III, 18, of Lehigh Avenue, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Bedell was arrested on Clinton Street Road, Byron, at 9:43 p.m. Friday.

Matthew R. Smith, 21, of Basom, is charged with forcible touching. Smith was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at noon Thursday.

Mark A. Allison, 52, of Lockport, is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Allison was arrested by State Police following the report at 9:29 p.m. Thursday of a two-car accident at 372 Bloomingdale Road, Basom. One person was injured. The driver of the other vehicle was Alexander Shirira, 56, of Buffalo. No other details released.

January 17, 2014 - 9:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Alabama.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported at 373 Bloomingdale Road, Alabama. Mercy Flight is called to respond and a landing zone will be set up at the parking lot of the Tonawanda Community Building. Alabama Fire Department is on scene along with Mercy medics and State Troopers.

UPDATE 9:51 p.m.: This accident also involves a 16-year-old male who was riding a bicycle. He is said to be disoriented and unaware of what took place.

UPDATE 9:54 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 has landed.

UPDATE 10:03 p.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne and headed to Erie County Medical Center.

UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: Alabama fire is back in service.

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