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October 21, 2012 - 3:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in Darien, corfu, accidents.

A head-on collision is reported at Route 20 and Warner Road. One person is unconscious. Mercy Flight is on in-air standby. Darien Fire Department, Mercy medics and law enforcement are responding.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: Mercy Flight is called to the scene and it has about a five-minute ETA. Corfu Fire Police are asked to shut down traffic at Route 20 and Route 77. Traffic will also be stopped at Broadway and Harlow roads. Several ambulances are headed to the scene.

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: Corfu responders are told to use caution when approaching the scene as southbound traffic on Route 77 "is busy and there's no where to pull over." It appears there are only two vehicles involved. Mercy Flight 5 out of Batavia is about to land.

UPDATE 3:28 p.m.: A second Mercy Flight helicopter is called for.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: Mercy Flight 7 out of Buffalo is flying in, with a 12-minute ETA.

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: A third vehicle was also involved in the accident.

UPDATE 3:48 p.m.: The second bird has landed. Two patients will be transported in Mercy rigs and each helicopter will have a patient on board. Buffalo General Hospital is the only destination mentioned so far.

UPDATE 4 p.m.: All patients are going to Erie County Medical Center.

UPDATE 4:10 p.m.: The roadways will remain closed until the accident investigation is completed.

UPDATE 6:40 p.m.: Route 20 is reopened.

October 10, 2012 - 8:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Robert Alexander.

In May, Village of Corfu trustees met in closed session and discussed whether the village court really needed both a full-time and part-time clerk.

A portion of that closed session conversion was leaked to Justice Robert Alexander.

At Monday's meeting where the full-time clerk, Pamela Yasses, raised a formal complaint about alleged harassment by Alexander, Trustee Ralph Peterson was accused of being the source of that leak.

At the meeting, Peterson flatly denied it, but a May 24 memo from Alexander to the village trustees suggests Peterson was the source of the information.

From Alexander's memo:

I was amazed when Trustee Peterson informed me this morning that Trustee Graham reported to the Board that the Village Court Clerk Pam Yasses told him that she didn't need the Part Time Court Clerk, (Tom Ingram) and that she can and is handling all the court business without in the him (sic) in her 40-hour-work week. The court clerk does not have the legal right to speak for the Court or evaluate and or comment on the duties or her performance of the court duties to the Board of Trustee members.

Al Graham said today the only place Peterson would have heard about his conversation with Yasses was in the executive session, held the night before Alexander's memo was issued.

Here's the conversation from Monday's meeting:

Peterson: My question is, what do we do?

Attorney Mark Boylan: What do you not do. What you do not do is get on the phone after the meeting and call the judge and tell him what just happened, first of all.

Peterson: I’m asking a question, the question I’m asking is related to this particular situation and the action of the board to pursue this.

Boylan: I’m concerned about action with individuals, too.

Peterson: Well, OK fine, but ...

Boylan: If you’re not acting in concert, in other words, as a board, you're acting individually against the board's wishes ...

Peterson: Are you accusing me of something?

Boylan: Well, I don’t know how this last issue with executive session could have gotten to the judge so quickly. I don’t have any information, but I’m just wondering.

Yasses: Let me say on the record, Rosie, I’m going to call you out because it was you.

Peterson: Well, I asked, that's right.

Yasses: You lied to my face and then you tried to tell me you didn’t tell Judge Alexander something. You did.

Peterson: Where did I lie?

Yasses: You came to me and then we had that meeting ...

Peterson: Whoa, whoa, whoa ... where was the lie.

Yasses: You breached executive session and then he came to me and told me.

Peterson: No I did not.

Yasses: It's the only way ...

Peterson: I did not.

Yasses: Rosie, ...

Peterson: I did not. I did not tell him. I don't know how he found out, but I did not tell him.

Boylan: What I'm telling you is if anybody, if anybody acts against the agreement of the board, you are subjecting this board to potential litigtion.

Tonight, Peterson said he did talk with Alexander, but only after consulting with a staff member at the New York Conference of Mayors who said the board met in a session that should not have been closed to the public.

Under New York law, elected bodies can -- but are not required to -- go into closed session to discuss personnel matters. Peterson said he was told that since the board was discussing a staff position and not the person who held the position, there was nothing confidential about the conversation. The conversation should have taken place in an open meeting.

In his May 24 letter, Alexander accused the board of conducting an illegal executive session and said he, or any village resident, had the option of pursuing litigation to overturn any decision in an illegal executive session.

Graham said the issue came up in May because he went into the court clerk's office prior to a trustee meeting and happened to ask if the part-time position was really necessary.

Yasses, he said, shared with him her thoughts on the matter. He conveyed those thoughts to the rest of the board, which voted to eliminate the position.

At the time, Graham said, the part-time clerk was apparently working on a project for Alexander and Yasses was handling all of the court's business during her 40-hour work week.

The issue has apparently become a sore point for Alexander (who hasn't responded to our request for a statement or interview) because Yasses said he's raised several times with her his belief that she should have no communication with trustees about court business, even though Yasses is employed by the village.

Because Yasses is an employee of the village, according to Boylan, it's perfectly acceptable for trustees to communicate with her and for her to respond to questions about her duties, responsibilities and how they're are discharged.

In emails obtained by The Batavian as part of a larger FOIL request this summer, after this May meeting, Alexander begins a long argument with Mayor Todd Skeet about the re-appointment of Yasses as his clerk.

In a May 31 email, he suggests that the board of trustees didn't follow proper legal procedure in her re-appointment and that he needed a meeting with Skeet. He concludes: "I would like to fulfill the last year of my 24 years as Village Justice with an experienced clerk. I am therefore asking that you confer with me and re-appoint my court clerk."

Alexander maintains in several emails that he has not been properly consulted, as required by state law, on the re-appointment of Yasses.

According to Graham, the trustees feel Alexander gave his consent to her re-appointment in the May 31 email and in a voice mail he left for Skeet.

The board has taken the position that Yasses is an employee of the board and cannot be dismissed by Alexander.

October 9, 2012 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Robert Alexander.

Some time within the next couple of days, Corfu Justice Robert Alexander will receive a letter from the Village of Corfu Board of Trustees reprimanding him for allegedly harassing and intimidating his court clerk.

Pamela Yasses, who has clerked for Alexander since September 2011, lodged a formal complaint with the trustees at the board's regular meeting Monday night.

The complaint has its roots in how Yasses came to be court clerk in the first place: as a replacement for Brandi Watts, the daughter of Alexander, who was dismissed from her job after it was determined she couldn't work for her father as a clerk.

During this same period of time, a state audit of court records found the court is potentially missing as much as $30,000 in funds received as fines or bail money.

The Judicial Review Commission is reportedly investigating the matter.

Alexander has not responded to an email request for a comment on the complaint filed by Yasses.

According to the account given by Yasses on Monday, shortly after being hired by the trustees, she was asked by Alexander, who is her direct supervisor, to conduct an internal audit of court financial records.

At the same time, Alexander sent a letter to all village residents saying the accusations of financial irregularities could easily be refuted, but "I refuse to lower myself to such tactics, and even much worse by doing so in the news media."

Instead, Alexander announced that he ordered Yasses and then part-time clerk Tom Ingram to conduct an "objective investigation and document the truth."

He promised to release the results no matter what the outcome.

Yasses said Monday night that the internal audit was completed in March and she found evidence of missing funds that "paralleled" the state's findings.

A substantial amount of money is missing, she said, and new evidence continues to emerge of possible misplaced funds the longer she's on the job.

Alexander never released the audit results to village residents as promised, according to the conversation during the meeting.

Instead, according to Yasses, he has tried numerous times to contrive ways to force her out of her job.

"His treatment and attitude towards me has shifted, becoming intimidating, and quite frankly unacceptable," Yasses said. "The continual threat of forcing my resignation or possibly firing me is not something that should be tolerated. I do believe what I am experiencing is classified as harassment."

As a personnel matter, Yasses could have requested her case be heard in closed session, but she said she preferred to address the matter publicly.

While Alexander supervises the clerk's position, the clerk is an employee of the Village of Corfu and only the trustees have the power to terminate her employment, according to village attorney Mark Boylan.

While Alexander has allegedly ordered Yasses on numerous occasions to not communicate with trustees, Boylan said the judge doesn't have the authority to prohibit the clerk from talking to the elected officials who pay her wages.

Though Yasses said Alexander has allegedly harassed her since she completed the internal audit, things apparently came to a head about a month ago after Yasses agreed to do a favor for a Corfu police officer by mailing out a traffic ticket to a citizen.

While it's unclear whether Yasses used an envelope with with a Village of Corfu Court return address, Alexander has accused her of using such an envelope.

Yasses read from an email she said she received from Alexander about the matter:

I'm contemplating what action I am taking about the gross violation of the issue with Officer Retzlaff's ticket. The powers that are in charge are researching whether you committed a violation of the law or just a gross violation of ethical issues in the matter. Hopefully, we'll have the reply by this week or early next week and I will then decide what I am going to do as it applies to your removal from the clerk position, given a chance to resign, or other less drastic measures to see that you never do such an egregious violation.

Boylan told the trustees that the village is facing a potential lawsuit and needed to take action to protect Yasses from Alexander.

"There needs to be a letter, some sort of written admonishment from this board to the judge instructing him to cease and desist his activities," Boylan said. "He cannot continue to conduct himself in this manner. Clearly, this is harassment and clearly this board has an obligation to protect its employee, to safeguard her."

If Alexander fails to comply with the board's request, Boylan said the board could begin proceedings to remove Alexander from office. He said the procedure isn't easy and would take some time.

Out of concern that once Alexander finds out about the complaint lodged by Yasses, but before he receives the letter, he will harass Yasses further, the board agreed to give Yasses a week off with pay. However, upon discussion, it was determined certain court tasks must be completed this week, so she was instructed to only come into the office at times when other employees or trustees are present.

Trustee Art Ianni several times asked Yasses if she understood what she was taking on by bringing a complaint about an elected official to the board.

"This isn't a hot dog stand," Ianni said. "Just because you don't like the guy who puts the mustard on the roll doesn't mean we can get rid of him."

Regardless of how difficult it might be to remove Alexander from office, Mayor Todd Skeet said that as employers, the board needed to ensure employees were protected from a hostile work environment.

"One of the things I think I should say as mayor is that everyone of our employees should come to work happy and go home happy," Skeet said. "If I put myself in Pam's shoes, I'd be pretty unhappy."

September 18, 2012 - 2:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in Basom, elba, Oakfield, byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, corfu, darien center, Milestones, bergen.

Genesee Community College named 633 students to Spring 2012 Dean's List. Students earned a quality point index of 3.50-3.74.

This year's honorees, with their hometowns, are listed below:

Basom

Staci Casper
Andrew Greene

Bergen

Ashley Spangenburg
Jason Birch
Luke Stacy
Amanda-Kay Sands
Jeanette Menzie
Garrett MacDonald

Byron

Reed Olmstead
Morgan Midwick
McKenna Downey
Charlotte Donahue

Corfu

Laura Holovics

Darien Center

Michelle Waldo
James Odell

Elba

Lauren Hughes

Le Roy

Corrie Doeller
Debra McKnight
Rachael Panepento

Oakfield

Alyssa Esola
Cady Glor
Zaneb Silmi
Katie Engle

Pavilion

Jamie Haentges
Taylor Lafferty
Sydney Case
Sarah Nugent



Genesee Community College offers more than 60 academic programs and certificates, including the brand new Veterinary Technology A.A.S. degree and Polysomnographic Technology A.A.S. degree, (the study of sleep disorders).

Genesee is accessible through seven campus locations throughout Western New York in Albion, Arcade, Batavia, Dansville, Lima, Medina, and Warsaw, as well as through online classes in the Distance Learning program.

College housing is available at College Village, just a three minute walk from the Batavia Campus. With small class sizes and state-of-the-art technology both inside and outside of the classroom, Genesee Community College is known for being 'high-tech' and 'high-touch'. Find out more at www.genesee.edu.

September 12, 2012 - 3:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, corfu.

It used to be "The Barn," today it's The Farm, and it's now open on Route 77 in Corfu, stocked full of local produce and locally made products.

Renee Franclemont said she opened the store with her family because she's always liked country items.

"I love the warm feeling," Franclemont said.

The store carries all kinds of decorative and useful items for the home, including handmade wood items created by Renee and her father, Richard Franclemont.

As for fruits and vegetables, what isn't grown on the The Farm is bought from local growers. Renee's partner, Clinton Konfaderath, has years of experience in the produce business.

Right now, the store has large selection of pumpkins, mums and cornstalks for fall decorating.

Most of the retail items for sale are handmade and in the country primitive style. There are also candles and potpourri.

The store will be open daily through Christmas from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

September 3, 2012 - 8:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, byron, pembroke, Stafford, corfu.

Sarah Patricia Nichols, 29, of Pinehollow Drive, Batavia, is charged with falsely reporting an incident, 3rd. Nichols is accused of falsely reporting a larceny from her vehicle while it was parked in the Walmart parking lot. An investigation by Deputy Brad Mazur led Mazur to believe the larceny did not take place.

Patricia M. Anderson, 27, of 6281 Walkers Corners Road, Byron, is charged with petit larceny. Anderson is accused of shoplifting from the Kwik Fill 99 at Jackson and Ellicott streets. Anderson was located at a residence on Central Avenue following a complaint of the theft.

Francis Scott Smith, 18, of Lake Avenue, New York, is charged with petit larceny. Smith was taken into custody in the lobby of city court on a warrant out of Batavia Town Court. Smith was jailed on $250 bail.

Jennifer J. Maggio, 27, of Kingston Road, Leicester, is charged with petit larceny. Maggio is accused of shoplifting $95.32 in merchandise from Kmart by hiding it in her purse.

Raymond Michael Pfalzer, 41, of Brown Road, Corfu, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Pfalzer was charged in connection with an accident at Wilkinson Road and Brown Road, Batavia, at 8:20 p.m., July 22, in which he was seriously injured.

Angela A. Starling, 30, of Pembroke, is charged with disorderly conduct/fighting/violent behavior and harassment, 2nd. Starling was arrested by State Police following the report of an incident at Godfrey's Pond at 10:11 p.m., Saturday. No further details were released.

August 31, 2012 - 12:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, accidents.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at 9049 Alleghany Road. The location is just north of Cohocton Road near the village line. Corfu Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics and law enforcement.

UPDATE 12:53 p.m.: The cars are off the roadway. Injuries are minor. Law enforcement has left the scene.

UPDATE 1:27 p.m.: A 57-year-old man is being taken to UMMC with complaints of neck and lower back pain. This accident occurred when one vehicle rear-ended another. He was a driver.

August 26, 2012 - 2:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, corfu.

State Police conducted a DWI checkpoint Saturday evening on Route 5 in the Town of Pembroke.

Six people were arrested:

  • Mark A. Newton, 42, of Batavia, charged with DWI
  • Edith S. Williams, 48, of Buffalo, charged with possession of a controlled substance, 7th
  • Christopher W. Palmer, 40, of Akron, charged with DWAI
  • Armand Cummer, 54, of Amherst, charged with felony DWI
  • Frederick E. Perry, 31, of Corfu, charged with DWI
  • Nathan C. Swimline, 25, of Corfu, charged with DWI
August 16, 2012 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pembroke, pets, corfu.

UPDATE Thursday 3:15 p.m. (by Billie): Good news -- "Pharoah," the orange tabby, has a new home with lots of love and attention and goods things just for him. He's a special boy who will surely bring special joy!

A week or so ago, Shawn Szczygiel, of Pembroke, went to a location -- we won't say where to protect the possibly innocent -- and spotted an orange tabby cat that needed a home.

A few days later, Szczygiel decided to see if the cat was still available, according to his girlfriend Sara Thayer, and discovered somehow, the cat's tail had been cut in half.

A person in a position to observe the cat told Szczygiel, "I think someone has been abusing him."

He took the cat home and he and Thayer took the cat to a vet. What the vet discovered horrified the couple.

The cat's tail was infected, but worse, the cat had been shot with BBs.

"She also mentioned that he would need X-rays -- she said it felt like he had been kicked and he might have kidney damage from it," Thayer said.

In the short time, Szczygiel and Thayer had the cat, Thayer said they fell in love with it. Like a typical orange tabby, it is friendly and loving and demands constant petting.

"She gave my boyfriend and I an estimate of the care the cat would need," Thayer said. "Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, there was no way for us to afford it. It was heartbreaking for us to agree to this option, but the vet offered to keep it there and do the surgeries and try to find him a good home. So I signed him over, with tears in my eyes."

In signing the cat over, Thayer had to agree that the cat cold be euthanized if no home is found for it.

She's hoping somebody will see this article and agree to adopt "Pharoah."

"I would be heartbroken to find out if he did have to get put down," Thayer said.  "He was so, so, so sweet and just a beautiful cat. If I had any way at ALL to pay for the surgery, I would have kept him in a heartbeat."

Thayer is also concerned that a case of animal cruelty happened so close to home.

"I also want people to be aware of what happened here," Thayer said. "It's sickening. This cat was an angel, and according to the vet only 8 to 12 months old. I am praying that he is given to a good home and that this raises awareness of animal cruelty. He wasn't found in a city like Rochester or anything. This happened right here in Pembroke, where it's quiet and calm, seemingly."

August 13, 2012 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, byron, Darien, corfu.

Robert P. Leiser Jr., of Lockport Road, Oakfield, is charged with assault, 2nd, and criminal contempt, 1st. Leiser was allegedly involved in a domestic incident July 24 at his residence. Leiser allegedly struck a female in the head with a flashlight. The woman required medical treatment. Leiser was allegedly under court order not to have physical contact with the woman. He was located in the City of Batavia, arrested, and jailed on $15,000 bail.

James A. Klotzback, 35, of Rochester, is charged with assault, 2nd. Klotzback was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 9:18 a.m., Wednesday, in the Town of Byron. No further details were released.

Summer Ogden, 36, no permanent address, is charged with trespass. Ogden is accused of being on 400 Towers property after allegedly being previously told by police and management that she was barred from the property.

Morgan B. Mikolajczyk, 18, of 328 S. Jackson St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Mikolajczyk is accused of pushing a family member during an argument.

Jessica R. Johns, 29, of 122 Jackson St., Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Johns allegedly possess marijuana while a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped on Jackson Avenue for an alleged traffic violation.

Cory J. Endres, 18, of 400 B Island Cottage Road, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Endres was arrested Thursday by State Police for an alleged incident reported June 9 in the Town of Darien. No further details released.

Daniel H. Bettilyon, 51, of Hamlin, is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Bettilyon was stopped by State Police at 1:24 p.m., Friday, on Maltby Road, Oakfield.

Emily Ann Lane, 22, of Corfu, is charged with petit larceny. Lane allegedly stole $51.94 in merchandise from Kmart.

Richard Charles Hollfelder, 54, of Oakfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.
August 10, 2012 - 1:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Monroe County Water Authority is shutting off water tonight to at least a portion of the Village of Corfu in order to repair a water main break in the area of 14 E. Main St.

The break was reported at 11:40 p.m. by a Corfu PD officer and a passing motorist.

Tentatively, the work is expected to be completed by early morning.

August 6, 2012 - 9:25am
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, Le Roy, corfu, darien center, Milestones.

The following students were named to the Spring 2012 Dean's List at Buffalo State University.

  • Valerie Klug, a business administration major, from Corfu

 

  • David Dupre, a business studies major, from Corfu

 

  • Kimberly Schildwaster, a career and technical education major, Oakfield

 

  • Brittany Moose, a fashion and textile technology major, from Le Roy

 

  • Rachel Pettys, a hospitality administration major, from Darien Center

 

  • Stephanie Esten, a hospitality administration major, from Oakfield


To qualify, students must earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher and complete a minimum of 12 credit hours. Founded in 1871, Buffalo State is the largest comprehensive college in the SUNY system offering more than 165 undergraduate and 62 graduate programs in the arts, sciences, professions, and education.

August 6, 2012 - 9:21am

Genesee Community College proudly announces that the following students are among 540 students who were named to the President's List for the Spring 2012 semester. Students honored on the President's List have maintained full-time enrollment and earned a quality point index of 3.75 (roughly equivalent to an A) or better. (The college also maintains a Dean's List comprised of students who earn a quality point index of 3.50 to 3.74. Genesee's Dean's List will be released in the next several weeks.)

This year's Genesee Community College Spring 2012 President's List honorees, with their hometowns, are listed below:
 

Basom

Danielle Hirtzel
Jessica Pfalzer
Theresa Rainey
Elias Seward
Leah Snyder

Batavia

Russell Jackson

Bergen

Elizabeth Jarnot
Charles Lee
Lindsay Stumpf

Byron

Tiffany Harrington
Richard Lucas
Stacy Maskell
Arlene Olmstead
Adrienne Payne
Danielle Thom

Corfu

Angel Alexander
Stacy Brockway
Rachel Doktor
Tracy Kearney
Michael Kraus
Kyle Maurer
Kayla Meyer
Alyssa Reeb
Dawn Roberto
Dawn Smith
Trevor Spiotta
Dana Wolbert

Darien Center

Shannon Bates
Kylynn Bank
James Erb
Matthew Herod
Hannah Zimmermann

East Bethany

Autumn Atkinson
Julliane Ingalls
Alec Kirch
Bryce Kirch
Sarah Lawson
Janet Gohlke

East Pembroke

Anthony Nati

Elba

Michael Anauo
Nicole Beardsley
Richard Dorf
Chapin Guthrie
Chelsie Pangrazio
Samantha Walker

Le Roy

Kevin Callahan
Andi DeBellis
Eric Hayes
Stephanie Heisler
Jeanice Howard
Gregory Humphrey
Donald Kahm
Mark McAvoy
Cody Niccloy
Willard Prevost
Michele Rast
Bethany Roth
Heather Schroeder
Brenda Sheflin
Denise Simcick
Michael Sullivan
Conor Tomaszewski

Linwood

Deena Hernandez

Oakfield

Della Balduf
Jonathon Cassiano
Lindsay Chatt
Benjamin Cherry
Angela Larmon
Laura Ostrowski
Sara Read
Joseph Sullivan

Meghan Vandersteur

Pavilion

Samantha Barclay
Patricia Brown
Wendy Edwards
Kaleigh Kingsley
Jonathan White

South Byron

Halle Davalos

Stafford

Michelle Jackson

 

Genesee Community College offers over 60 academic programs and certificates, including the new Veterinary Technology (Vet Tech) and Polysomnography (Sleep Tech) programs. Genesee is accessible through seven campus locations throughout Western New York, as well as through online classes in the Distance Learning program. College housing is available at College Village, just a three minute walk from the Batavia Campus. With small class sizes yet state-of-the-art technology both inside and out of the classroom, Genesee Community College is known for being "high-tech" and "high-touch."

July 30, 2012 - 4:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Darien, corfu.

An oven fire is reported at 2683 County Line Road in Darien. The residents used a fire extinguisher on the blaze but it's unknown if that was effective. They were advised to leave the residence. Darien fire, with mutual aid from Corfu, is responding.

UPDATE 4:41 p.m.: A responder on scene reports nothing is showing (outside). The address is just north of Sumner Road. The residents are in the back yard. The house "is charged with fire (inside)" and the fireman says it looks "like a cake boiled over." The other unit responding is proceeding in non-emergency mode. They're going to check things out with a thermal-imaging camera.

UPDATE 4:53 p.m.: It was burnt food. All units back in service.

July 28, 2012 - 12:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.

UPDATED Saturday at 12:48 p.m. with the names of the suspects and clarified/corrected information from the Sheriff's Office.

A federal helicopter passing over Genesee County this evening just happened to spot what looked like marijuana plants growing in a field off Angling Road in Corfu, and following an alleged frenzied attempt to hide or destroy the crop three people were taken into custody.

The three suspects are being charged with felony counts of criminal possession of marijuana 3rd and tampering with physical evidence as well as a misdemeanor charge of unlawful growing of cannabis.

Taken into custody were James P. Cox, 49, of 2109 Angling Road, Corfu, Jessica D. Cox, 22, of Benedict Street, Perry, and Beau T. Bressler, 25, of Benedict Street, Perry.

Sheriff's dispatchers received a call from a Homeland Security helicopter piloted by U.S. Border Patrol Agents just before 8:30 p.m. saying that the agents had spotted a suspected marijuana field at 2109 Angling Road, Corfu.

"The border patrol was not actively working with us or actively looking for marijuana," said Sgt. Steve Mullen, of the Sheriff's Office. "They just happened to be flying over the area on their way back to their base."

Immediately after the initial call, the agents informed dispatchers that an individual had run from the field into a residence at that address. At least four people immediately left the residence.

Two people reportedly jumped into a white sedan.

The other three people were allegedly spotted pulling up marijuana plants from the ground and carrying them into the house, into a barn, into a cornfield and into a red SUV parked at the house.

The red SUV was reported to leave the scene and was subsequently stopped by a trooper on Angling Road.

"We had communication with the helicopter through the inter-county system and the helicopter was able to tell us what was going on play-by-play and give us a description of the vehicles as they were leaving," Mullen said.

"(They were able to) observe it (the suspected marijuana) being placed in vehicles and observe it being destroyed or tampered with by throwing it into the cornfield in the hope that we wouldn’t subsequently see it or find it."

Several suspected marijuana plants, with their roots still attached and dusted with dirt, were found inside the vehicle (top photo with Sgt. Greg Walker and Deputy James Diehl, who is also the driver in the photo below).

Mullen said all suspected marijuana plants had been pulled from the ground by the three people allegedly involved in the incident. A total of 32 marijuana plants were recorved, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Two individuals who reportedly left in a white sedan told law enforcement that they left the scene when the suspects started to pull up the plants because they weren't involved and didn't want to be involved in what was going on. Neither of those people were arrested.

The residence at 2109 Angling Road is owned, according to the county's online database, by James P. Cox.

Mullen said one of the inviduals arrested was a resident of the property and the other two people were visiting at the time the suspected pot plants were discovered.

"After noticing the helicopter they decided to help (the suspected grower), or so they thought, remove or destroy the evidence."

July 23, 2012 - 8:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, corfu.

A 41-year-old Corfu resident who rolled a sedan in a single-vehicle accident on Wilkinson Road on Sunday evening is in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital this morning.

Raymond Pfalzer, a resident of Brown Road, reportedly suffered a serious head injury in the accident and was transported to Strong by Mercy Flight.

The accident was reported at 8:20 p.m.

Pfalzer was reportedly southbound on Wilkinson Road and failed to negotiate a turn onto Brown Road. His 1976 Chevy two-door sedan began to fishtail and the car went off the west shoulder, striking a utility pole and making a complete rotation before coming to rest on its wheels.

Charges may be pending against Pfalzer.

According to protocol at Strong Memorial Hospital, when a patient is listed in guarded condition it means he's in the intensive care unit.

The accident was investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy EMS assisted at the scene.

(Initial Report)


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July 19, 2012 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Village of Corfu.

The wheels of justice can sometimes turn slowly, especially, it seems, when it comes to investigating the operations of judicial departments.

Sometime earlier this year, the state's Judicial Review Commission opened an investigation into alleged financial irregularities in the Village of Corfu Court.

The months-long process, according to documents obtained by The Batavian through a FOIL request, has village officials wondering when they might be able to file an insurance claim and get reimbursed for money they suspect was stolen from the court.

The allegations of missing funds first came to light with the release of an audit by the state comptroller's office that found at least $30,000 in alleged irregularities in the amount of fines collected, bail money received and reports filed with state agencies.

The village has attempted to file a claim for at least $10,000 with its insurance carrier, but the carrier demands further documentation before it will review the claim.

Internal emails obtain through the FOIL request reveal a degree of frustration and concern among village officials over the lengthy process to settle the matter.

The State Police, according to village officials, are unwilling to launch their own investigation until the Judicial Review Commission completes its work for fear of hampering that investigation.

According to village Attorney Mark Boylan, the commission is a deliberative body that works slowly and takes its time to check and weigh every fact.

An email within the FOIL package indicates that the commission has requested and received "a lot of paperwork."

That's probably the same kind of paperwork needed by the insurance carrier.

"The insured does need to present documentation that would prove they sustained a loss from employee dishonesty for coverage to be provided," wrote Julie Diehl, a property specialist for Glatfelter Claims Management of York, Pa., in a letter to Boylan. "This does require a high level of documentation and each transaction claimed must be shown to us."

The village must also prove that the bonded employee converted the money for personal financial gain.

"The narrative of the audit report ... does not speak to employee dishonesty rather to poor record keeping and a cash shortage due to that poor record keeping. So it is even more important to present the financial records, receipts, bank statements and cashbook entries and other documentation available to show the clerk diverted the monies to obtain personal gain."

Boylan responded and told Diehl "The Village Justice maintains all of his own books and records ... and the village does not have access to those records at this time."

Until the investigation by the commission is completed, and possibly until the State Police complete an investigation, those records probably cannot be turned over to the insurance company.

Glatfelter originally demanded it receive the records by June 6, but the village has been granted a 60-day extension and may apply for further extensions every 60 days as necessary, according to the documents.

For the period covered by the comptroller's audit, Brandi Watts, the daughter of Village of Corfu Justice Robert Alexander, was working as Alexander's clerk. 

Watts was eventually dismissed by the village board after discovering under state law Watts was too close of a relation to Alexander to be working for him and an appeal by Alexander to the state was denied.

According to the FOIL'd documents, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman plans to seek the appointment a special prosecutor (or special district attorney to handle the case).

In an interview this week, Friedman declined to discuss the specific case, but explained that whenever his office might have a conflict of interest -- in this case, working closely with an arm of the judicial branch -- Friedman can petition Judge Robert Noonan to appoint a special district attorney.

The DA is usually selected from one of the surrounding counties.

Because there have been no criminal charges filed in this case, no such request has been sent to Noonan, Friedman said.

The documents received by The Batavian indicate a good deal of ongoing conflict between Alexander and the village board. Officials are concerned the situation is disrupting the normal operations of the court, which is another reason they're eager to get the situation resolved.

"We need to ensure that justice is being served and people’s cases are being heard and the job is being performed," Boylan said.

July 19, 2012 - 11:08am
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, accidents.

A bus and a van collided at the intersection of routes 77 and 33. One person on the bus has a minor injury. Corfu Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding. Law enforcement is on scene.

UPDATE 11:21 a.m.: Two units from Niagara Frontier Transportation Association are responding to take a report, as per protocol in this accident involving a bus.

UPDATE 11:44 a.m.: The Corfu assigment is back in service. The patient is being transported to Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo.

UPDATE 11:56 a.m.: The Dodge van needs to be towed.

July 18, 2012 - 8:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Bethany, corfu.

Earl Edward Vattes, 38, of Jefferson Street, Wellsville, is charged with unlawful fleeing a police officer, 3rd. Vattes was taken into custody on an arrest warrant stemming from an alleged pursuit of a motorcyclist by local law enforcement Aug. 4. Vattes is accused of failure to stop for a police officer who attempted to initiate a traffic stop for an alleged traffic violation in the City of Batavia. The motorcycle operator was pursued into the Town of Bathany where Vattes is alleged to have dumped the bike and fled into a cornfield on foot. A search of the area was unsuccessful in locating the suspect and the Sheriff's Office believes Vattes has been identified as the operator of the motorcycle.

Nichole M. McKerrow, 27, of 227 Ross St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, two counts of aggravated DWI (Leandra's Law, for allegedly driving drunk with children in the car), aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and refusal to take breath test. McKerrow is accused of being involved in a minor motor-vehicle accident. When Sgt. John Peck and Officer Kevin DeFelice arrived on scene, McKerrow was allegedly found passed out in the car. Two children, ages 3 and 5, were also allegedly in the vehicle. McKerrow was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Garth P. Hubbard, 21, of Kibbe Wilcos Road, Pitcher, is charged with public lewdness. Hubbard is accused of urinating in public at Darien Lake Theme Park.

Bernadine Doris Peet, 40, of Town Pump Circle, Rochester, is charged with DWI and speeding. Peet was allegedly caught on radar driving 56 mph in a 35 mph zone in the Village of Corfu at 10:51 p.m., Monday, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.  Peet was jailed on $2,000 bail.

Jason Michael Wagner, 33, of Alden Road, Carnegie, Pa., is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure obey police officer. Wagner allegedly attempted to drive around Sheriff's patrols that were directing traffic at the intersection of Route 77 and Sumner Road, Darien, at 11:29 p.m., Tuesday. Wagner was released on $200 pre-arranged bail.

July 11, 2012 - 5:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, corfu, east pembroke.

A roll-off metal scrap bin is on fire at Eddy Arnold Scrap Processors, Inc., located at 2216 Angling Road in Corfu. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding. The bin is next to the office.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.: The fire is out. They are checking for hot spots.

UPDATE 6:05 p.m.: East Pembroke is back in service.

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