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Bethany

July 16, 2014 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Bethany.

Driving back from Le Roy this afternoon I took the long way home.

Above, field of white flowers off Transit Road, Le Roy.

Below, a field of sweet peas and barn on Cackner Road, Bethany.

July 7, 2014 - 7:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Bethany.

A 10-wheeler is on its side on Route 63 near Little Canada Road.

No word on injuries.

Bethany fire and Stafford fire dispatched.

UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: According to Deputy Cory Mower, it appears the weight of gravel in the bed of the truck shifted causing the driver to lose control rounding the curve just north of Fargo Road. The estimated speed of the truck was 40 to 45 mph. At 8:45 a.m., it was expected it would take at least another hour before Route 63 was reopened. At this time, it's still closed. There were no injuries.

July 4, 2014 - 11:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Bethany.

It was just a storage shed. Some straw. Some sawdust. Bedding for the animals on a farm started by Michael Adams and his family in 1979.

The family built that shed. The first one of the Adams Farm property. Talking to Michael Adams after fire reduced the structure to rubble, you could see those remembrances pass before the long gaze of his eyes.

“Everything here got built by my brother, my dad, myself, my kids, my wife, everybody that’s come along through here," Adams said. "We tried to do all the work ourselves." He paused. "I look at it and start thinking about the days we were building it and, know you. …What can you do?”

The fire at 5664 Little Canada Road, Bethany, was reported at just before 2:40 p.m., but by then it was already too late.

“We were fixing a hose in the shop and came out, just got done with it, sent the neighbor back home with it, our tenant actually, back home with the hose," Adams said. "Came around the corner and looked and seen black smoke coming out the one corner of the barn there and that’s when I called 9-1-1 and tried to get down there and see if there was anything I could do but I couldn’t even get near it. It was already hotter than hot, you know."

The Adams farm specializes in replacement heifers for dairy farms and has about 60 head of beef cattle. The farm also grows corn, soybeans and a little bit of hay, Adams said.

Bethany Assistant Chief Jeff Pietrzykowski, today's scene commander, was in the city when he got the dispatch for the fire. Pietrzykowski could see the smoke column all the way down Ellicott Street. He immediately put out a second alarm for Stafford Fire to respond as well.

The first firefighters on scene found flames leaping from the windows and the roof was already gone.

"Our top priority was keeping it from the other buildings," Pietrzykowski said. "There was heavy fire. It was almost on the ground when we got here, but we were worried it was going to spread."

With no public water in the area, tankers were needed to haul water from a nearby pond.

Mutual aid departments included Alexander, City of Batavia, Town of Batavia, Le Roy and Pavilion.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

"It’s just like everything else around here, probably way under-insured, you know," Adams said. "Maybe we can put something smaller up if possible, but just to store our bedding and whatnot -- for the cattle mostly, that’s what it’s used for."

To purchase prints, click here.

July 4, 2014 - 2:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Bethany.

A barn fire is reported at 5664 Little Canada Road, Bethany. It was called in by the homeowner. It has already gone to the second alarm. Bethany Fire Department is responding. Howard, en route but still in the city, says "I can see it from here." Alexander is called to the scene and to fill in at Bethany's Fire Hall. The city's Fast Team is called along with the Town of Batavia, Le Roy, Stafford and Pavilion.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Command reports the burning structure is a metal pole barn and the fire will likely be contained to that structure.

UPDATE 2:47 p.m.: The first platoon is called to city fire headquarters.

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: The third platoon is called to stand by in city headquarters.

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.: The location is between Fargo and Torrey roads.

UPDATE 3:32 p.m.: The fire still has small flames in a few areas and hot spots but appears to be under control, according to Howard at the scene. The area is still very smoky. The pole barn contained no equipment. It was used to store cattle feed and bedding. The operation there raises beef cattle and replacement heifers, plus corn, soybeans and some hay. A crew from Wyoming Correctional Facility will be arriving sometime in the next hour or so to help out.

UPDATE 4:32 p.m.: Howard interviewed the farmer, Michael Adams, who runs the operation along with his wife, Noreen, and their children. They've owned the property since 1978. It's a little over 500 acres on what was once all corn fields. Of this afternoon's blaze, which totaled the barn built in 1979, Michael said:

“We were fixing a hose in the shop and came out, just got done with it, sent the neighbor back home with it, our tenant actually, back home with the hose. Came around the corner and looked and seen black smoke coming out the one corner of the barn there and that’s when I called 9-1-1 and tried to get down there and see if there was anything I could do but I couldn’t even get near it. It was already hotter than hot, you know."

More T/K

UPDATE 7:49 p.m.: The Bethany assignment is back in service.

July 2, 2014 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany.

It's been a while since I went on an early morning drive around Genesee County looking for photos to make, so I got up this morning at the crack of dawn and went for a drive. There was a lot more cloud cover most of the morning than I would like, but I did come back with these two pictures. Above, three horses at Baskin Livestock on Creek Road, and below, a fallen barn on Silver Road.

June 17, 2014 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Bethany, Stafford.

Power lines are down and there is a large grass fire at 9267 Clipnock Road, near Sweetland Road. Bethany and Stafford fire departments are responding. National Grid is notified.

June 17, 2014 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Bethany.

A transformer is on fire at Old East Bethany Road and Ellicott Street Road. All three primary power lines are also down in the roadway and arcing. Bethany Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 2:14 p.m.: National Grid is notified.

UPDATE 2:21 p.m.: On off-duty law enforcement officer reports the fire is out, but the power lines are blocking the roadway.

June 8, 2014 - 1:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Bethany, Stafford.

A lawnmower fire near a structure is reported at 5461 Ellicott Street Road. Stafford and Bethany fire departments are responding.

May 20, 2014 - 12:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, accidents.

A motorcyclist struck a deer on Route 63, near Clapsaddle Road, in Bethany. Bethany and Stafford fire departments and Mercy medics are dispatched.

UPDATE 12:40 p.m.: Mercy Flight will be responding. Firefighters have to set up the landing zone.

UPDATE 12:47 p.m.: The landing zone will be at the self-storage facility at Route 63 and Stafford Batavia Town Line Road.

UPDATE 1:20 p.m.: The rider was transported by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, mainly as a precaution for a possible head injury. He was wearing a DOT-approved half-helmut. He was riding about 55 mph on southbound Route 63 when a deer ran into the side of his motorcycle, throwing him off the bike and onto the roadway. The bike continued southbound and came to rest off the east shoulder of the roadway. The button buck did not survive the crash.

May 10, 2014 - 9:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany.

In our story Thursday about Jerald Shea and the winter flooding of his property, we failed to clearly state that part of Mr. Shea's complaint is that the town pumped water onto his property.

Mr. Shea feels this is a significant action by the town that contributed to the damage to his house.

Bethany Highway Superintendent Paul Fleming confirmed the town did pump the water, however, it was to prevent Paradise Road from flooding. The drainage pipe under Paradise Road was frozen solid, Fleming said, so instead of the water flowing under the road as it normally would, it flowed over the road. Either way, Fleming said, the water would flow south to north onto Mr. Shea's property.

May 9, 2014 - 8:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, Bethany, Interpretive Center.

Photography students at Genesee Community College have created a series of photographs called "environmental portraits." The photos are currently on display at Genesee County Park and Forest Interpretive Center in Bethany. Above, students Jason Dieter and Lynn Homer hold examples of their work during a reception held this evening.

The students were assigned to photograph a subject in an environment that helped illuminate that subject's life and surroundings.

"Creating a portrait of a subject in its natural surroundings adds elements to their character, and therefore portrays the essence of their personality, rather than merely a likeness of their physical features," said instructor Joe Ziolkowski. 

The works will be on display through August.

May 9, 2014 - 7:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, infrastructure, bethany center bridge.

A lot of snow and ice meant a lot of salt use on roadways this winter, and the nearly century-old Bethany Center Bridge over Route 20 didn't fare well.

The damage is said to be cosmetic, but the sidewalk is chewed up enough that the State Department of Transportation posted a sign and put up barricades closing the bridge to pedestrian traffic.

The bridge isn't scheduled for replacement until next year at the earliest and a spokeswoman for the DOT was out of the office this afternoon and said she couldn't provide immediate information on the bridge's current status.

We also spoke with County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens. He also wasn't in his office at the time and couldn't double-check the paperwork, but said he wasn't aware of any change in plans.

Hens said he doesn't believe the bridge is in any danger of falling down.

May 8, 2014 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany.

Jerald Shea would sure like the Town of Bethany to do something about the way his property floods and the damage flooding did to his house this winter.

To the degree the town has a position on the issue, it's that the problem wasn't created by the town.

Shea bought his house at the corner of Bethany Center Road and Paradise Road four years ago.

A retired truck driver, he suffered back and neck injuries when his truck was rear-ended while he was driving through North Carolina a few years ago. He was living in a retirement home in Oakfield when he was awarded custody of his teenage granddaughter (since moved from his house), so he used his insurance settlement money and bought the house in Bethany.

What he didn't know or didn't notice was that his property is lower than the parcel on the south side of Paradise Road. That parcel is a bit of a swamp and there's a small culvert under Paradise Road that drains the swamp into Shea's back yard.

He wasn't happy when he figured that out and asked the town for help, but it wasn't a big issue until this winter when frozen ground topped with heavy precipitation caused his yard to fill with two or three feet of water.

The cement foundation of his house raised two or three inches, causing some damage to the building (no known structural damage).  

"I've always had problems with this, but I could live with it," Shea said. "If I had to flush the toilet, I could just use a pail of water if I had to, but now, (geez), I'm telling you. It seems like nobody (cares) because every time I talk to anybody all I get is I'm not going to get involved because of politics. What the hell is so big about this town that they've got to be afraid of politics?"

There's evidence of the exterior of the house being damaged along the north exterior wall, with faux brick popping off in places. The paneling in a back room has warped and some of it has popped off, exposing framing and insulation. His septic system is damaged, he said, and muddy, dirty water backs up into his bathtub.

Shea always had problems with his yard filling with water, but his house was largely undamaged from flooding until this winter.

The town is in a bit of a transition right now. Supervisor Louis Gayton died April 14 and that has left things a bit unsettled.

In fact, Shea believes Gayton promised him two days before he died that the town would fill in his back yard and make it less susceptible to flooding. 

Town Highway Superintendent Paul Fleming said he doesn't see the town giving Shea dirt and rock for his yard. That just isn't something towns do.

As far as Fleming knows, the culvert under Paradise Road has been there for 50 years, and probably a lot longer. 

The problems Shea is having with his property aren't from "anything abnormal the town did," Fleming said.

Fleming said years ago the property wasn't residential. It was a mechanic's shop. Some of the structures on the property could be more than 100 years old.

In our short talk today, he wasn't really sure what if anything the town should or could do for Shea.

Shea said he's on fixed income -- $1,000 a month -- and though his home is paid for, he doesn't have the means to move or fix the damage that's been done.

"I didn't know about this when I bought the house or things would have been very different," Shea said.

When the foundation of the house rose, the siding of the house pushed down on a pair of yard tools Shea had leaning against the house, causing small indents in the siding.

Photo provided Jerald Shea he took in February showing a portion of his back yard flooded.

April 25, 2014 - 3:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, accidents.

A car into pole accident, with injuries, is reported at 10661 East Bethany Road. Bethany fire and rescue on scene.

UPDATE 3:27 p.m.: Bethany ambulance is transporting a patient to the hospital in Warsaw. Other units are returning to service.

April 23, 2014 - 3:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany.

A cherished tradition among firefighters is honoring a departed comrade by flying mourning flags on each side of the fire station and displaying a helmet and turnout coat on a folding chair, with a set of boots in front.

And so it was after the unexpected death Monday, April 14, of Bethany Town Supervisor Louis J. Gayton, whose dedicated service to his community was well known and respected. It included more than 50 years as a volunteer firefighter.

The loss of Louie, who was 75, is deeply felt, not only by family and friends, but also many residents in Bethany and the entire firefighting community.

Now there is a lot of outrage, too.

Outrage that someone stole the helmet and the turnout coat from Mr. Gayton's mourning display. (The chair and boots were left there.)

The theft was discovered at about 8 o'clock the next day, Tuesday, and subsequently reported to law enforcement by Bethany Assistant Chief Jeff Fluker. (The chief is out of town for two weeks.)

No suspects as of yet.

The dollar value is estimated to be $350. But you can't really put a price on a gesture of bereavement.

"I've never heard of these items being stolen before," said a dumbfounded Deputy Sheriff Gordon Dibble. "It's a respect thing. I liken it to tipping over gravestones."

April 14, 2014 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany.

After many years of trying to find a proper use or proper buyer for its old Town Hall -- built in 1836 -- the Town of Bethany is prepared to transfer the property to the Landmark Society of Western New York on a $10 purchase price.

The board passed a resolution 4-0 Monday night that will help make transfer of the property to the society.

Officials hope the Landmark Society of WNY is better suited and will have better luck finding a buyer who will preserve the historical character of the building.

April 14, 2014 - 10:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany.

People in Bethany are mourning tonight following the unexpected death of Town Supervisor Louis J. Gayton.

News of Gayton's death spread shortly after volunteer firefighters and medics were dispatched this morning to his home on a report of a 79-year-old unresponsive male.

Town Clerk Debbie Douglas heard the call on the radio and couldn't believe it.

"He worked hard and he did a lot for this town that people will never know," Douglas said. "He was an awesome guy."

The town board had a regularly scheduled meeting tonight and met as planned. Deputy Supervisor Walter Wenhold opened the meeting with a moment of silence and a short prayer.

Afterward, board members remembered Gayton fondly and said he was a great supervisor for Bethany.

"I think Louis was a very compassionate type of guy," Sue Neer said. "He always listened to everybody. He never came out with an opinion and said, 'This is it. We're not going to talk about it.' He listened and listened and listened and wanted everybody's opinion, then he formed his decision."

Ed Pietrzykowski said Gayton pulled the town through some tough times, particularly when he took over as supervisor around 2005 when the fight was on over windmills in the town.

"It was a hard time and it was hard on him," Pietrzykowski.

But he always kept his cool, Wenhold said.

"He was always cheerful," Wenhold said. "I never seen him get crossed, no matter what happened."

Paul Fleming said, "He liked helping the people of the community. He cared about the community."

Most recently, Gayton was a big proponent of public water for Bethany and Gayton was pushing hard to make it happen for the town's 1,800 residents.

"The town has no industry and he always said, 'if you want industry you've got to have public water," recalled Pietrzykowski.

His obituary hasn't been released yet, so biographical details are scarce, but people who knew him said he came to Bethany nearly 50 years ago from Perry, where he still has family.

He was a member of the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department from the 1960s and served as chief around 1988. He was highway superintendent for a number of years before becoming supervisor.

Wayne Walker, also a former Bethany chief in the 1980s and volunteer going back to the 1960s, was at the fire hall tonight and recalled Gayton as a man dedicated to his community who would do anything to help people.

"He wanted to be there for people," Walker said. "He was the same way as highway superintendent. If people needed something he was there to help."

We happened to talk on the phone with former Elba Town Supervisor Lucine Kauffman tonight and she recalled Gayton as one of her favorite people to run into at GAM meetings.

"He was one of those guys who always had a smile on his face," Kauffman said.

Gayton did a lot for the Town of Bethany, Douglas said, but his biggest contribution was putting the town on a strong financial footing.

"He put this town in a fantastic financial situation," Douglas said. "We've had no debt to speak of. We pay off everything in cash. He did a great job with our finances and I think that's very important in this day and age."

Douglas teared up more than once while talking about Gayton, saying she would miss him terribly.

"This town is like family, which is why we all get along so well and we work together so well and he's a family member who's gone," Douglas said.

April 10, 2014 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, accidents.

A rollover accident with injuries is reported at 5461 Ellicott Street Road in the Town of Bethany. Bethany and Stafford fire departments are responding. The location is between Mayne and Clapsaddle roads.

UPDATE 12:11 p.m.: Law enforcement is on scene and reports there are no injuries.

April 7, 2014 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, pembroke, Bethany, corfu, bergen.
Bradley Jordan Amber Reinisch

Bradley R. Jordan, 21, of East Bethany, and Amber L. Reinisch, 18, of Castile, are charged with burglary, 3rd, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th.

The investigation that led to the charges against Jordan and Reinisch began with a resident in the Village of Silver Springs reporting that she observed a male and female break glass in an overhead door and enter the garage attached to her apartment. State Police responded, but the suspects fled before they arrived on scene. Suspect and vehicle descriptions were provided to law enforcement officers in Wyoming County.

Police also received a complaint of a male and female fitting the description of the burglary suspects causing a disturbance at the McDonald's in Warsaw. The vehicle description for the two individuals also fit the burglary description. The vehicle was reportedly seen heading toward Save-A-Lot in Warsaw.

A short time later, a customer at Save-A-Lot reported seeing a male customer in possession of a handgun. The person had not threatened anybody with the weapon, but had removed it from his waistband as he walked through the store and then put it back in his waistband.

Village of Warsaw police officers, Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies and troopers all responded to the area. The suspect vehicle was located and Jordan and Reinisch were taken into custody.

Both suspects are accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart and Olympia Sports in North Warsaw, along with the burglary in Silver Springs. The alleged theft from Walmart was of a compact C02 pistol, which State Police say was the weapon later observed by a customer at Save-A-Lot. State Police alleged that when Jordan observed troopers at the front of the store, he ducked into a bathroom and discarded the weapons in a wastebasket. The weapon was later recovered and secured as evidence.

Jordan and Reinisch were arraigned and jailed on $5,000 bail each.

Tilar B. Clark, 22, of Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Clark's vehicle was stopped by State Police in the Town of Attica, Wyoming County, for an alleged equipment violation. He was allegedly found in possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Paul D. Barth Jr., 23, of Cohocton Road, Pembroke, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Barth was allegedly sending text messages to a person he was ordered by a judge not to contact.

Desiree Michelle Hutchinson, 18, of Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Hutchinson allegedly admitted to Officer James DeFreze that she was hold her baby while in same room with a friend who was smoking marijuana.

Scott P. Rodon, 48, of Garfield Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Rodon was allegedly involved in a domestic incident at 1 a.m. Thursday.

Oliver Thomas, 22, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Thomas allegedly hit a person in the face during an argument, which was reported at 3:45 a.m. Friday.

Taylor M. Andrews, 20, of McKenzie Road, Caledonia, is charged with menacing, 2nd. endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy, 5th. Andrews is accused of encouraging a juvenile to use a crowbar against another person during an argument. The victim was not struck with the crowbar. The alleged incident was reported at 2 a.m. Friday at 21 Wood St., Batavia.

Robi Liam Terziani, 19, of Route 19A, Portageville, is charged with petit larceny. Terziani is accused of stealing hydrocodine pills from a residence in Byron where he was hired to do service work.

Billy Joe Budziszewski Jr., 22, of Route 77, Corfu, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and bail jumping, 2nd. Budziszewski was arrested on warrants out of Village of Corfu Court. He is also allegedly the subject of warrants out of Erie County on burglary, 2nd, and petit larceny charges and out of Wyoming County for failure to pay fine. Budziszewski was jailed on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond.

Chance Robert Cooley, 19, of Route 5 & 20, Canandaigua, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Cooley was allegedly found in possession of marijuana in a medicine container and a glass smoking pipe with marijuana in it. Cooley was the passenger in a vehicle stopped for an alleged traffic violation at 12 :15 a.m. Sunday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Chris Parker. Also charged was Anthony Lee Irish, 22, of Terri Drive, Farmington, who was also issued traffic summons for no front plate and no insurance.

Christopher C. Berg, 27, of Pavilion, is charged with a misdemeanor under the vehicle and traffic law. Berg was stopped by State Police at 8:36 p.m. Wednesday on Veterans Memorial Drive. No further details released.

Adam J. Bobzin, 43, of Byron, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Bozin was stopped at 9:42 a.m. Thursday on West Sweden Road, Bergen, by State Police.

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