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Bethany

December 6, 2013 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Bethany.

A driver reportedly over corrected after her passenger side tires left the roadway on Route 63 on Wednesday, leading to an accident that injured two people.

The accident was reported at 2:23 p.m. Wednesday in the area of 5647 Ellicott Street Road, Bethany.

Isabel E.Cicero, 86, of Main Street, Leicester, was driving a 2011 Mercury sedan east on Route 63 when her vehicle left the roadway.

Aaron M. Titus, 40, of Wyoming Road, Wyoming, was behind another vehicle in the eastbound lane.

The first vehicle was able to pull to the shoulder and avoid a collision with Cicero, but Titus apparently could not.

Neither Cicero nor Titus were seriously injured.

Cicero was issued a citation for alleged failure to move safely from lane.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Andrew Hale.

(Initial Report)

December 4, 2013 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Bethany.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at 5647 Ellicott Street Road, Bethany.

Bethany and Stafford fire departments are both dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

There was initially a report of a vehicle fire, but the first responder says there is no fire and possibly only minor injuries.

UPDATE 2:40 p.m.: Pavilion Fire Police requested to Texaco Town to shut down traffic on Route 63.

UPDATE 3:41 p.m.: Route 63 was reopened about 20 minutes ago.

November 12, 2013 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, fire, Bethany, Baskin Livestock.

The Friday morning after a fire destroyed key components of the feed-making process at Baskin Livestock, one of Bill Baskin's newest hires walked into his office. He was certainly wondering if he still had a job starting Monday morning.

"I said, 'Joe,' " Baskin said, " 'Don't worry about it. Come here Monday. You've got a job.' "

Baskin hired two new workers last week and both, like his other 50 employees already on the Baskin payroll, all have jobs, he said. There will be no layoffs even though it will be months before the feed operation is fully operational again.

The feed portion of Baskin's business involves collecting waste from large bakeries operating throughout the Northeast, drying it (if it's not dry), separating it from packaging (if it's packaged) and grinding it into grain that can be used as feed for cows.

Baskin Livestock processes 1,500 tons of feed each week.

The company has hardly missed a beat since Thursday night's fire. Trucks keep bringing in waste product and Baskin has lined up agreements with three other similar operations to buy the waste Baskin collects and sell him back the finished feed, which he can then sell to his customers.

There's been some lost sales in the immediate aftermath of the fire, Baskin said, but the procurement side of the business has continued nonstop.

"Procurement is important because a place that is making cookies or donuts or cakes, if they can't get rid of their waste, they have to shut the plant down," Baskin said.

We may never know how the fire started.

The ignition point was somewhere in the area of the equipment that screens and separates material for feed.

"Was it in the fan, was it in the cyclone, was it in the compactor motor? I can't tell you, but that's where the fire started," Baskin said.

Ironically, Baskin was just four weeks from finishing the installation of new equipment that would have pretty muck taken the equipment where the fire started out of production.

"If that was the case (the new equipment in place), the part that failed, whatever part it was that failed, would not be in use," Baskin said.

Baskin hasn't sat down and totaled up the cost of the damage yet, he said, but it's probably approaching seven figures and could exceed a million dollars.

That doesn't count temporary lost sales and the big cut into profit margins while his feed is being processed in out-of-state plants.

The big unknown is how much damage the main building, the warehouse, sustained. It will take a battery of structural tests on the I-beams and foundation to determine if the building is still structurally sound.

"Our structural engineer who designed the building said it's all a function of how hot it got and how fast it cooled," Baskin said.

"You don't want to have a two-foot snowstorm," he added, "and have your roof sitting on your equipment."

The other irony of the fire, Baskin said, is it started in the screening area of the process, not with the burners.

The fire that severally damaged Baskin Livestock five years ago started in the burner and the current system is built with state-of-the-art fire-suppression technology.

If the burner detects even an errant spark it ejects the product being dryed onto a cement pad outside the building and the system is deluged with water.

"We've got so many safety features built in on the drying end because you figure you're running 1,400 or 1,500 degree burner to dry this feed, 25 million BTUs, with all kinds of opportunities for failure there, so everything is designed around that," Baskin said. "Then we've been running this (the screening area) for years without a problem and that's where the failure was."

Baskin had just climbed into bed when he got the call from an employee that there was a fire and when he and Susan looked out their window, they could see the glow.

Baskin jumped in his car and rushed to the plant. He immediately got an a skip loader and created a fire break in the warehouse, moving product on the floor away from the burners and the north side of the building to slow the opportunity for the fire to spread to those pieces of critical and expensive equipment.

When firefighters were on scene and had sufficient water supply, he implored them to fight an interior fight in the warehouse to keep the fire from spreading north, and the strategy appears to have worked.

Baskin is grateful for the support of so many people in the community, the close friends he and his wife, Susan Blackburn, have made in the 21 years they've lived here. He also praised the Bethany Fire Department in particular, but all of the departments that responded to the fire, for their hard work and dedication to their jobs.

Even his customers have set aside hard-nosed business negotiation to offer their support and express their desire to keep doing business with Baskin Livestock.

"The bakery people say we're glad you're OK because you're really important to us," Baskin said. "I've had customers say we can cut back a little bit but we really want to keep your product in our product flow. What can you so to help us get through until you're back full steam? It's gratifying that at the end, after you're done fighting over price, fighting over product, there's that kind of concern."

He's told his employees not to worry about their jobs, that Baskin Livestock will be a bigger and better company once the plant is fully functional again.

Baskin estimates the plant will be 75 percent operational by Christmas and up to 100 percent by March 1.

In an interview Monday, Bill Baskin was all business talking about his business, but when asked what was different or what was the same about this fire and the fire five years ago, Baskin said there was a key similarity between the two fires -- and this is when he got a tad emotional -- that nobody was hurt.

"I couldn't have been through it once, much less twice if anybody got hurt," Baskin said. "The rest of it can be replaced. It can be rebuilt and be bigger and better or whatever, but for me, that's the take home. Nobody got hurt."

Top photo: Bill Baskin, right, meeting with an insurance adjuster Monday afternoon.

Here's the slide show we published Friday morning of Thursday's fire:

November 8, 2013 - 3:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, fire, Bethany, Baskin Livestock.

There isn't much new to report from the overnight fire at Baskin Livestock in Bethany.  I was out to the property this afternoon and firefighters were on scene dealing with hotspots and flare-ups.

Bethany Fire Chief Jeff Fluker hadn't even been home since arriving on scene shortly after 11 p.m. last night. He started to leave early this morning and then there was a small fire that broke out in the cyclone (it separates packaging from discarded baked goods).

I interviewed Fluker, but my phone died in the middle of the conversation, so no direct quotes here, working off memory.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

The main structure is largely intact, but it's too soon to estimate the extent of the damage and how much of the feed-processing equipment was damaged, but some of it was damaged.

We spoke about the water supply, which was definitely a problem, but for a fire this size, he said, with three ladder trucks going, even a public water supply would have a hard time keeping up. It takes 10 tanker trucks to service one ladder truck.

November 8, 2013 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, St. Joe's, Baskin Livestock.

St. Joe's School in Batavia is organizing an assistance drive for the Baskin family following last night's massive fire at Baskin Livestock.

Electricity to the property was cut because of the fire and the school is primarily looking to make a food donation to the family, said Karen Green, principal of St. Joe's.

The daughter of Bill Baskin and Susan Blackburn attended St. Joe's.

“We are reaching out to the community to see if they can help  us in providing some food for the Baskin family," Green said. "They are without electricity, they have 100 50 employees, we would like to see if we can gather food together from area businesses and we will take them out to the Baskins around noon today.”

Green said volunteers from St. Joes would pick-up donations or donors could leave their contributions at St. Joe's at 2 Summit St. in Batavia. The school's phone number is (585) 343-6154.

Previously: Major fire causes severe damage to one of Genesee County's largest ag businesses

November 8, 2013 - 3:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, Bethany, Baskin Livestock.

A lack of public water along Creek Road, Town of Bethany, hampered firefighting efforts at Baskin Livestock on Thursday night after a barn fire was reported just before 11 p.m.

Bethany, Town of Batavia, Alexander and Pavilion fire departments all responded quickly after their fire tones sounded, but as the Baskin barn burned, most of the firefighters on scene could only watch while they waited for tankers to arrive and porta ponds to be erected.

Baskin is one of the largest ag-related employers in Genesee County, with more than 100 workers. The company specializes in converting waste baked goods into animal feed.

Owner Bill Baskin is popular in the local business community, beloved by his employees and was named 2011 Agriculture Business of the Year.

The fire appears to have started in a barn-like structure where trucks pull in to be loaded with feed.

The structure was completely destroyed.

While the fire spread into the adjoining production facility, it's unclear how much damage was done.

At one point during the fire fight, Baskin was pleading with fire chiefs to send in a hand-line crew through a doorway on the north side of the processing building.

"I know my building," he said. "You can save it if you send a crew in here."

It took some minutes, but crews were sent into the building through that door. The fire was pretty much stopped at that point.

Paul Kennedy, a former Dansville firefighter, was among the first people to see and report the fire. He and a friend had been out hunting when they saw the smoke.

"The heater between the two big buildings was on fire," Kennedy said. "It wasn't much at first, but it turned into something quick with the wind."

Minutes after Kennedy arrived on scene Baskin arrived, and Kennedy helped him pull trucks away from the building and close the doors on the back of the building.

Bethany Assistant Chief John Szymkowiak said a lack of water definitely played a role in making the fire harder to fight and contain.

"This fire had a big head start on us," Szymkowiak said.

This is the second major fire at Baskin Livestock in just about five years. In 2008, Baskin suffered a serious fire, but did rebuild.

Fire companies from five counties -- Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Wyoming and Monroe -- responded to the fire or provided fill-in support at local fire halls. All but three departments in Genesee County -- Alabama, Pemborke and Indian Falls -- responded to the fire scene.

Ladder trucks for the town and City of Batavia along with Le Roy helped fight the fire.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

UPDATE Friday 9:07 a.m.: Bethany Fire is dispatched to Baskin Livestock for a cyclone fire.

UPDATE 10:29 a.m.: The fire was put out about 20 minutes ago but they are still working on dousing some hot spots.

UPDATE 11:33 a.m.: Mutual aid is called from Town of Batavia Fire Department to assist Bethany in fighting a sawdust fire in the rafters of a structure.

UPDATE 11:40 a.m.: A tanker from Attica is called to respond.

UPDATE 11:52 a.m.: A tanker from Stafford is requested.

UPDATE 12 p.m.: Aid from Alexander is requested.

(Initial Report)

Bill Baskin pleading with firefighters to use a hand-line crew on the north side of the building.

Baskin, far right, and an employee showing a chief the situation inside a doorway on the northside of the building.

Perhaps one of the largest porta pond operations ever assembled for a fire in Genesee County.

November 7, 2013 - 11:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire, Bethany.

A fully involved structure fire is reported at 9778 Creek Road in Bethany. Bethany and Town of Batavia fire departments are responding. It is near Putnam Road.

UPDATE 11:07 p.m.: Mutual aid is called from Byron, Alexander, Pavilion, Stafford, the City Fast Team, and others.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m.: Calls are out for East Pembroke, Le Roy, and Elba.

UPDATE 11:34 p.m.: A tanker from York is called to the scene and an engine from there to the Bethany hall, along with the same equipment from Caledonia. National Grid is notified about power lines at the site and there's a 15-20 minute ETA.

UPDATE 11:45 p.m.: The lack of public water is hampering the firefighting efforts at Baskin Farms and the main structure(s) on the property are in peril. South Byron is also on scene and National Grid has arrived.

UPDATE 12:24 a.m.: Oakfield is at Town of Batavia Fire Hall filling in. National Grid has cut all power to the grounds. A tanker out of Gainsville, Wyoming County, is called to the scene.

UPDATE 12:27 a.m.: The mandate -- more tankers, more water, more tankers, more water.

UPDATE 12:34 a.m.: Mutual aid from Perry Center is requested to fill in at Pavilion's fire hall.

UPDATE 12:36 a.m.: Equipment from Perry Barre is called to stand by in Elba.

UPDATE 12:38 a.m: Equipment from Clarendon is requested to fill in in Byron.

UPDATE 1:45 a.m. (by Howard): The fire is largely knocked down. A firefighter reports that there are no flames showing at this time. There's still lots of smoke. It's hard to say at this point how much of the main feed processing facility was saved.

UPDATE 2:12 a.m.: Bethany command reports the fire is out. Overhaul starting. Tankers will start breaking down.

UPDATE 2:26 a.m.: South Byron, the first company to be released from the scene.

November 2, 2013 - 10:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Genesee County Park.

Dylan Brew sent in this photo from Genesee County Park.

November 2, 2013 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Suicide Corners.

Letter:

The unbelievable has happened! The Roundabout for East Rd. and Rt. 20 in Bethany is officially cancelled. The DOT has withdrawn the plans for the roundabout and went with what the public wanted, a more practical, fiscally responsible and incremental approach.

Debbie and I wish to whole heartedly thank all of our family, friends, neighbors, strangers, officials and the media who supported us during the past 5 years as we opposed this project and fought to save our home.

Thanks to the almost 10 thousand people who signed our petitions or the facebook page to support our effort.

Thank you to Senator Michael Ranzenhofer & Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who with NYS DOT representatives Eric Thompson and Kevin Bush crafted a compromise to benefit the public. I think Washington could learn a lesson here.

Thank you to Genesee County Legislators and all of the other County officials who, with the Town of Bethany Supervisor and Town Board members would not let our fight die and kept the pressure on.

We wish to extend a special thank you to Jamie McClurg for creating “Save the Douglas House” Facebook page.

Again, a thousand thank yous to all for your help in saving our 200 yr old home while still improving the safety of the intersection. We are so grateful for all the support we have received.

Sincerely
Tom and Debbie Douglas
 

October 30, 2013 - 3:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Suicide Corners.

A group of local officials met with staff members of the NYS Department of Transportation in Bethany today and learned the state is dropping plans to turn Suicide Corners -- the intersection of Route 20 and East Road -- in Bethany into a roundabout.

Tom and Debbie Douglas would have lost their home -- a former hotel more than 200 years old -- if the state had gone forward with building a roundabout.

Tom Douglas called The Batavian after the meeting, ecstatic to learn he and his wife  won't lose their home, which they've put so much time and effort into restoring.

"I'm really amazed," Douglas said.

He said the DOT will release a formal announcement today.

The new plan is apparently to increase signage and lighting at the intersection.

Legislator Esther Leadley said she spearheaded bringing today's meeting together to lobby one last time against the roundabout, but gave a lot of credit for bringing things together to Legislature Chair Mary Pat Hancock.

"Mary Pat's got a lot of clout," Leadley said.

Both Douglas and Leadley expressed a sense of surprise that the state actually listened to the concerns of Bethany residents.

"I have represented the folks in Bethany and all those who drive along Route 20 and I'm pleased that it's worked out this way," Leadley said. "I have problems with people who, or who at least I think, don't hear. They call a hearing and it's just kind of whistling Dixie. Very clear, though they conveyed at the hearing that they were not listening to us, in fact they did listen. I'm delighted. I'm happy for Bethany."

UPDATE: Press release from the DOT:

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today announced it will enhance signage as part of safety improvements at Route 20 and East Road in Bethany, Genesee County.

In response to public comments, agency officials have decided not to construct a roundabout there. They met with community leaders today to discuss the decision and next steps.

NYSDOT originally proposed a roundabout to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle accidents at this intersection. After receiving comments from local residents and community leaders, NYSDOT is developing a new plan that will include enhancing approach signs that warn drivers of the stop signs on East Road.

“This project is a great example of how public involvement works,” NYSDOT Regional Director Bob Traver said. “We informed the community about this intersection and our recommended improvements. In response, the public commented and drove our decision to change our plan.”

NYSDOT presented the safety needs and a recommended solution to the community at a public hearing on Sept. 12 at the Bethany Town Hall. Information was also available online at www.dot.ny.gov/20eastroad

NYSDOT will continue to emphasize the importance of motorists to follow the rules of the road when approaching all intersections. Motorists should not drive distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

UPDATE: Assemblyman Steve Hawley called and said that he and Sen. Ranzenhofer also lobbied the DOT to change its position on the roundabout.

"We didn't think that it was A, something that was going to work, and B, the cost of the project was onerous and expensive, and C, the taking of a house that old was objectionable, and D, the board and town residents had been quite clear about their concerns," Hawley said.

Hawley said his office became involved in the issue in the fall of 2012, when it was clear that redistricting was going to put Bethany in his district.

"There were many people working on this. DOT has listened and has done the right thing," Hawley said.

October 9, 2013 - 2:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire, alexander, Le Roy, Pavilion, Bethany, Stafford.

A possible house fire is reported at 7635 Telephone Road. The homeowner called dispatch and said the house was full of smoke. Pavilion Fire Department is responding along with mutual aid from Le Roy. The location is between South Street Road and Asbury Road.

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: The first responder says "I've got a lot of smoke." A second platoon is called.

UPDATE 2:35 p.m.: Mercy medics are also called along with mutual aid from Stafford, which is sending a tanker to the scene and a fill-in crew at Pavilion Fire Hall. The occupants are out of the home. The first floor is fully involved.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: Bethany is responding, too. National Grid is called. A power line is down and dangerously close to firefighters -- "about five feet away."

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: Bergen is called as well as Town of Batavia. Caledonia, which is to fill in for Le Roy, will also be asked to help access or set up apparatus to aid the firefighters.

UPDATE 2:53 p.m.: National Grid is asked to expedite the response because "there are power lines down all over the place.

UPDATE 2:56 p.m.: National Grid has a 15-minute ETA. Firefighters can't access part of the structure until power is shut off. "There's a power line right in front of it, can't access the east side at all."

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: National Grid is on scene.

UPDATE 3:04 p.m.: Wyoming County dispatched Perry to the scene. The power is cut off.

UPDATE 3:10 p.m.: Firefighters are told there is gunpowder inside the home along with guns and propane cylinders.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: Alexander is on scene.

UPDATE 3:41 p.m.: The American Red Cross is called to provide emergency assistance to one adult. Churchville is called to fill in at Le Roy's Fire Hall.

UPDATE 4:12 p.m.: Inmates from the Wyoming Correctional Facility are being transported to the scene to help.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: Brothers James Lawrence Bearce and Kenneth Vincent Bearce lived in the house, along with a couple of dogs, which they saved. Along with brother Jack, they were traveling musicians years ago and had a recording studio in the structure. Ken said he's not sure how much of their inventory of recording tapes are salvageable, ditto for tools that were kept in the basement.

October 8, 2013 - 9:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Bethany.

Slow news day. I had some business to conduct in Le Roy this morning, so naturally I took just about the longest route I could without leaving Genesee County. That took me through Bethany. In the afternoon, I was going to cover a story in Pavilion, but that didn't pan out, and as the late afternoon sun bent toward the West, I found myself again in Bethany.

Above, telephone poles on Brown Road.

Again, on Brown Road.

From Brown Road.

Jerico Road and East Road.

East Bethany Le Roy Road.

The Little Tonawanda off Mill Road, Linden.

I was fascinated by this large leaf I found on the ground next to the Little Tonawanda. I brought it home to Billie.

A little flower by the roadside of Mill Road.

September 27, 2013 - 10:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany.

Well, the morning started out nice. Then the sun disappeared. Here's a picture from Cook Road, Bethany, from my short drive this morning.

September 20, 2013 - 8:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, alexander, Bethany.

Tracy Lynn Damato, 47, of Horsehoe Lake Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Damato is accused of stealing $19.99 in merchandise from Kmart.

Jordon Elizabeth Prescott, 19, of Ellicott Street Road, Bethany, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and criminal contempt, 2nd. Prescott is accused of being at College Village after being barred from the property. She is accused of violating an order of protection by coming into contact with the security guard that was on duty at College Village.

Travis S. Bartz, 37, of Alexander, is charged with a violation of probation and criminal contempt, 2nd. Bartz was allegedly located at a residence on Route 98, Town of Attica, Wyoming County, by State Police in violation of probation conditions and a current stay-away order of protection.

Kimberley A. Smith, 36, of Alexander, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or higher and failure to stop at stop sign. Smith was arrested at 6:27 p.m. Wednesday on Brookville Road, Alexander, by State Police. Following her arrest, she was released to a third party.

Lamar Iteef Randall, 28, of Spruce Avenue, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Randall was arrested on a warrant out of Stafford Town Court upon his release from Monroe County Jail where he was being held on an unrelated charged. He was jailed on $5,000 bail.

September 18, 2013 - 7:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire, Le Roy, Pavilion, Bethany, Stafford.

A working barn fire is reported 9418 Roanoke Road, Stafford. There is heavy black smoke visible. Stafford Fire Department is responding, along with mutual aid from Bethany, Le Roy, Pavilion and Town of Batavia. The latter is to stand by in Stafford's hall.

UPDATE 7:28 p.m.: A secondary explosion is reported and there is livestock involved.

UPDATE 7:31 p.m.: A firefighter in the area says the barn "looks like it's fully involved."

UPDATE 7:33 p.m.: Command asks that National Grid be contacted.

UPDATE 7:42 p.m.: Stafford commands says all responding tankers can go back in service. The equipment on scene with suffice.

UPDATE 7:44 p.m.: South Byron is asked to stand by in Stafford's fire hall instead of Town of Batavia.

UPDATE 7:46 p.m.: An engine out of Caledonia is asked to stand by in Le Roy's fire hall.

UPDATE 8:03 p.m.: Bethany is back in service.

UPDATE 8:23 p.m.: Howard interviewed property owner Terry Smart at the scene and the man said he lost four pigs, 16 chickens and two dogs in the blaze. He said he had just completed work on his new pig pen today and doesn't know how the fire started. Three years ago, in the same location, his house burned down.

UPDATE 9:13 p.m. (by Howard): Photo at the top by Doug Yeomans. Doug also sent over video that I'll post as soon as it's uploaded to YouTube. We also have our own photos coming.

UPDATE: Video by Doug Yeomans. Copyright by Doug Yoemans. Used with permission.

UPDATE 9:24 p.m.: Le Roy fire back in service.

UPDATE 10:34 p.m.: Stafford units back in service.

September 16, 2013 - 9:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion, Bethany, Stafford, south byron.

James Alvin Daigler, 58, of Stanley Road, Grand Island, is charged with resisting arrest, trespass and disorderly conduct. Daigler is accused of causing a disturbance at the Clarion Hotel, 8250 Park Road, Batavia, at 1:20 a.m., Sunday. He allegedly refused to leave after being ordered to leave and used obscene and offensive language while in public. Daigler was jailed on $500 bail.

Ted E. Kingsley, 40, of 117 State St., upper, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. Kingsley allegedly failed to appear on a petit larceny charge related to a theft of beer from Tops. Kingsley was jailed on $1,000 bail.

James A. Chase, 33, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Chase is accused of violating a no-offensive-conduct order of protection by shoving and spitting on the protected person. Chase was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Reinaldo Roman, 41, of 130 W. Main St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Roman is accused of repeatedly threatening to kill another person while in the presence of police. Roman was jailed on $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond.

Shane Zimblis, 42, of 24 Hutchins St., upper, Batavia, is charged with trespass. Zimblis is accused of trespassing on a property on Hutchins Street.

Jamie M. Hamill, 36, of 209 W. Park St., Albion, is charged with criminal trespass. Hamill was allegedly ordered to leave a residence several times and refused to leave.

David N. Taplin, 36, of 54 Newport Drive, Brockport, was arrested on a bench warrant. Taplin allegedly failed to show up at the jail for an imposed weekend sentence. Taplin was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Terry T. Saddler Jr., 37, of 112 State St., lower, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Saddler was picked up on a warrant out of Brockport by Batavia PD and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Brandy Lee Stalica, 38, of Route 63, Pavilion, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Stalica allegedly subjected another woman to physical contact during a custody exchange. The alleged incident was reported at 8:31 p.m., Friday, at a location on East Bethany -- Le Roy Road.

Jennifer Joan Wolcott, 43, of East Bethany -- Le Roy Road, Stafford, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wolcott allegedly had physical contact with another person during an argument. The alleged incident was reported at 8:31 p.m., Friday, at a location on East Bethany -- Le Roy Road.

Eric Jon Merritt, 24, of Rose Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, reckless driving, failure to stop at stop sign, failure to signal, failure to yield to emergency vehicle and failure to keep right. Merritt was stopped at 4:06 p.m. Saturday on Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Deborah Ann Scholonski, 43, of Keeney Road, Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Scholonski allegedly sent a text message to a neighbor she had been told not to contact.

Marilyn Lois Weinert, 61, of Route 237, South Byron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to dim headlights and failure to keep right. Weinert was stopped at 2:06 a.m. Saturday on Byron Holley Road, South Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Thomas Patrick Lester, 45, of Lake Road, Brockport, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, driving left of pavement markings and failure to keep right. Lester was stopped at 4:12 p.m. Thursday by Sgt. Ron Meides.

Timothy M. Fingland, 24, of Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Fingland was stopped on Route 63, Batavia, at 8;59 p.m. Friday by State Police.

Tammy L. Long, 40, of Cheektowaga, and Paul J. Dipalma, 49, of Cheektowaga, are both charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Long and Dipalma were arrested by State Police in connnection with an alleged crime reported in the Town of Batavia on Jan. 17. Both were jailed on $5,000 bail each. No further details released.

September 14, 2013 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, Bethany, genesee county libertarian party.

Press release:

The United States Constitution was crafted to protect the rights of individuals. An Eminent Domain clause was entered into the 5th Amendment to protect individual property owners from seizure of their property without the just cause of “public use,” and not without "just compensation."

We at the Genesee County Libertarian Party (GCLP) stand firmly against the seizure of the Douglas family home in East Bethany, NY. There can be no "just compensation" for a family who is forced to sell their home against their wishes. This violation of rights affects all taxpayers as well, since there is no justice in forcing said taxpayers to compensate property owners for a theft committed by bureaucratic means.

While it may be so that a roundabout will reduce the chances of accidents at this particular intersection, the GCLP believes that there are less expensive, and less intrusive solutions available to the NYS DOT which would could help alleviate this issue, while still respecting the individual rights of its citizens.

The GCLP urges the NYS DOT to explore those options, save the taxpayers undue expenses, and offer the Douglas family the security of knowing they are safe from government eviction.

September 13, 2013 - 9:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, Bethany, Suicide Corners.

Town of Bethany residents heard for the first time Thursday night details from Department of Transportation officials on their plans to build a roundabout at Suicide Corners.

There were dozens of citizens in the room. None seemed to favor the roundabout proposal, even after a stats-packed presentation by the state's leading specialist on roundabouts.

"Yeah, something needs to be done, but I don't believe spending that much money is the way to go," said resident Jeff Bloomberg. "I think there are cheaper alternatives."

DOT officials said they looked at all of the alternatives -- from rumble strips to four-way stops -- and concluded a roundabout, at a cost of $2.6 million, is the only solution that addresses all of the issues that have contributed to so many accidents at the intersection.

Where East Road and Route 20 meet, there is a hill to the west that provides less than ideal visibility while a driver looking to the east can see for up to a mile.

Ironically, nearly all the crashes involve cars and trucks coming from the east.

"People get fixated on the hill and even though they can see a mile down the road (to the east), they miss the car 100 feet away," said DOT Project Engineer Eric Thompson (inset photo).

For the study period, going back to the 1990s, there have been 36 total crashes at the intersection and three fatal accidents. There have been 18 right-angle crashes (meaning cross traffic) and 14 of those have involved westbound vehicles.

The agency has tried widening the intersection, adding more signs and adding bigger signs, but nothing, Thompson said, has really improved the intersection much.

There isn't much you can do about inattentive drivers other than slow them down and lessen the chances of right-angle impacts, officials said.

A roundabout does that.

Rich Schell (second photo), the state's roundabout specialist, said that on a nationwide basis, roundabouts have reduced accidents where they've been installed by nearly 40 percent. The number of injury crashes by 76 percent and the number of fatal accidents by 89 percent.

Colorado is one of the nation's leaders, with 200 roundabouts now, in installing such intersections.

Schell referred repeatedly a DOT-installed roundabout in Mendon. The intersection, like Suicide Corners, is rural and involves a heavily trafficked highway with a lot of truck traffic.

During one woman's comments, Schell again pointed to the Mendon roundabout and the woman snapped, "I'm tired of hearing about Mendon. Let's talk about here."

"Well, I like to talk about success," Schell said.

The most serious accidents at Route 20 and East Road involve either northbound cars blowing right through the intersection or making a rolling stop and then continuing.

Only a roundabout, Schell said, addresses both of those issues.

Schell played a video of at least a dozen accidents at intersections that had red light cameras installed. Repeatedly, cars didn't even slow as they approached the red light, even with tractor-trailers in their path or four or five cars crossing in front of them.

"Red light cameras do not save lives," Schell said.

There's simply no device that can be installed at an intersection that solves the problem of distracted drivers. 

"Everybody has had the experience of driving through an intersection and saying, 'Damn, I just ran a red light,' " Schell said. "A roundabout demands your attention and that is what's needed at this intersection."

Rumble strips might slow drivers, but that still doesn't mean they will be as attentive as they should be at the intersection. Rumble strips would not have saved the driver in one accident at the intersection who came to a rolling stop before proceeding.

Many area residents who have seen the roundabout at Oak Street question the raised red-brick median in the middle of the intersection. People have called it a design flaw and implied it's not well thought out.

The raised center serves a very important purpose, Schell explained after the meeting.

"That's important to keep cars from straightening out the curve and going 40 miles per hour through there," Schell said. "Curves dictate speed. There's a direct relationship. People don't like to hear their tires squeal, so putting a curb out there allows trucks to still get through but deflects cars and lowers their speed. Lowering speed is what it's all about."

Slower cars give drivers a better chance at driving defensively and more reaction time to avoid drivers who are ignoring the rules of the road, Schell said.

Even after Schell's presentation and a more than 30 minute question and answer period, the public speakers were uniformly opposed to the roundabout proposal.

"I am dismayed that the only solution that seems to be, at least according to the NY DOT, is a roundabout," said County Legislator Esther Leadley.

There was a sense, people said, that the decision has already been made.

"I think this meeting has been educational and it's got a lot of information," Frank Morris said. "I do think the DOT has turned a blind eye to everything but a roundabout. This meeting is just a formality. Your minds were all made up before we came in here. The input we put in here tonight, I don't believe it was welcomed and I don't believe it was taken seriously."

To some degree the very proposal of a roundabout can be traced back to a petition Tom and Debbie Douglas passed around several years ago.

And that's ironic, Tom Douglas (top photo) noted, because if the roundabout is built, it is his home that will be destroyed.

A firefighter, Douglas is all about safety, but he doesn't believe a roundabout is the logical next step for the DOT, not before rumble strips are tried.

"A simple solution, that I brought to you before, is rumble strips," Douglas said. "In 2004, I was standing right outside, on my front law and I watched that vehicle on East Road. I could see them. I heard the Jake brake. They were talking, having a conversation. They never even touched a brake. A rumble strip would have woken them up."

The couple has raised five children in their more than 200-year-old home. Even though DOT officials promise to do everything possible to find them a suitable replacement home to their liking, that's easier said than done, Douglas noted after the meeting.

He likes older homes, but doesn't want to repeat the massive amount of restoration work and expense he's already put into his house.

The house was once a road stop for weary travelers on historic Route 20.

Dave Carley, a town resident and architect noted that Route 20 was once the longest continuous highway in the nation. It's history goes back even further than English settlements.

The former tavern is more than just a building inconveniently located for new construction.

"It is a piece of our historical heritage in our town," Carley said. "(Tearing it down is) one of the things that happen and continues to happen across the country that we should not allow to happen. It's a beautiful old building."

UPDATE: There is a Facebook group now, Save the Douglas Home in East Bethany.

Dave Fleenor

September 10, 2013 - 7:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Bethany.

A trailer fire is reported at Lei-Ti Campgrounds, at 9979 Francis Road, Bethany.

Bethany and Town of Batavia fire departments responding.

UPDATE 7:38 p.m.: A chief responding can see smoke. Alexander's tanker requested to the scene. The fire is in the back in the "overflow" area.

UPDATE 8:10 p.m.: The fire is out.

UPDATE: The trailer was a 30-foot, fifth-wheel travel trailer that had sat unoccupied for about two years. The cause of the fire is not yet determined.

September 9, 2013 - 1:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Route 20, Suicide Corners.

Press Release:

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) officials will host a public hearing Thursday to detail proposed safety improvements at the intersection of Route 20 and East Road in the town of Bethany, Genesee County. NYSDOT will present the preferred alternative for the project, which includes construction of a modern roundabout and lowering the hill.

The public hearing will convene at 6:30 p.m. at the Bethany Community Center, located at 10510 Bethany Center Road. A short project overview including engineering, traffic and environmental, and right-of-way aspects of the project will be presented. Verbal comments will be recorded and written comments will be received.  Comments received by September 23 will be made part of the official project record and evaluated prior to finalizing the design alternative.

Highlights of the project design proposed under this alternative include lowering the profile of the hill on Route 20 just west of the intersection as well as building a modern roundabout to replace the existing dual stop signs and flashing red light. A roundabout will require vehicles approaching the intersection from both roads to decrease travel speeds. More information about the safety benefits of roundabouts can be found online at www.dot.ny.gov/20eastroad.

Accident statistics since 1998 show 36 total collisions including three fatal crashes. The accident pattern shows right angle and sight-distance related collisions, mainly from vehicles entering the intersection from East Road and often times failing to yield. The purpose of the project is to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes at this intersection.

The Draft Design Report is now available for public review. It is a comprehensive document that presents details of the preferred design alternative along with all the required supporting engineering evaluations and environmental studies.  A copy is available for viewing at the Bethany Town Hall or at the DOT Regional Office, located at 1530 Jefferson Road in Henrietta.  Portions of the report are also available on the project Web site at www.dot.ny.gov/20Eastroad  .

Construction for this $2.5 million project is scheduled for the summer of 2015.  Under this proposal, traffic would be maintained on Route 20 with construction of a temporary by-pass road. East Road traffic would be detoured.

The location for the meeting is accessible to people with disabilities. If anyone requires special accommodations to participate in this meeting, please contact Eric Thompson at 585-272-349.

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