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August 3, 2013 - 11:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, corfu.

A four-wheeler has hit a utility pole in the area of 29 W. Main St., Corfu, near the corner of Prospect Street.

A person is injured. Mercy Flight requested to the scene. A landing scene will be set up at the Corfu Fire Hall.

UPDATE 11:20 p.m.: The patient is seriously injured.

UPDATE 11:24 p.m.: The landing zone is being switched to the area behind the primary school.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m.: Mercy Flight is on the ground.

UPDATE Midnight: Patient transported to ECMC.

August 3, 2013 - 3:14pm

Today the Indian Falls United Methodist Church held its annual Community Days -- Blueberry festival. The festival featured a car/tractor show. There were complimentary hot dogs, baked goods and other items for sale by the churches members. 

At 4, the church held a kids peddle kart race for children of all ages to come out and race each other. 

At 5, the church hosted a lawnmower race that was open to everyone to come out to and race. 

The Indian Falls Fire Company also attended community days, bringing along two trucks with them. 

July 30, 2013 - 6:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, corfu.
Event Date and Time: 
August 6, 2013 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

The Corfu Concerned Citizens next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the Pembroke Community Center, located at 116 E. Main St., in Corfu. The meeting is open to the public.

July 29, 2013 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Bethany, corfu, walmart, bergen.

Kyle Jackson, 21, of Slusser Road, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Jackson allegedly drove an electric shopping cart across the Walmart parking lot, onto Route 63 and into the parking lot of Rite Aid at 4:30 a.m., June 12.

Douglas G. Goodwin Jr., of 130 Bank St., Batavia, is charged with offering a false instrument, 2nd, grand larceny, 4th, and criminal mischief, 3rd. Goodwin is accused of entering an apartment and stealing a hot water tank, gas and water lines and other items. Goodwin was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Foster M. Brandt, 22, of 20 Tracy Ave., Batavia, was arrested on warrants for obstruction of governmental administration and criminal mischief, 3rd. Brandt was jailed on $2,000 bail.

Christina A.M. Deluna, 33, of 122 State St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Deluna was arrested by Batavia PD following an investigation into a domestic incident reported at 6 p.m, Friday.

Angela S. Bianco, 42, of 137 State St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Bianco was allegedly seen on security footage at Save-A-Lot taking a Red Osier billfold belonging to another customer.

Bryon Gilbert Keller, 18, of Sumner Road, Corfu, is charged with petit larceny. Keller is accused of stealing a laptop computer from a residence in Darien.

Frank Lyman Stanton, 32, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and no/inadequate exhaust system. Stanton was stopped at 12:32 a.m. Sunday on South Lake Road, Bergen, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Joshua Todd Fullmer, 20, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and unlawful growing of marijuana. At 5:48 p.m., Saturday, deputies responded to a report of a fight at 3124 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. Upon investigation, Fullmer was allegedly found in possession of brass knuckles and had several marijuana plants growing on his property.

Joshua Christopher Uptegrove, 27, of Meadville Road, Alabama, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Uptegrove allegedly pushed another person during an argument.

July 26, 2013 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Le Roy, corfu.

Anthony L. Holohan, 77, of Gilmore Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal mischief, 2nd. On July 11, an employee of the Log Cabin Restaurant arrived at work and found a hole in a picture window in the dining room. Later he found another window was damaged. After an investigation, Holohan was arrested and accused of damaging the windows at about 3 a.m., July 11. The estimated damage is $2,260. There's no known motive for the alleged crime. Holohan posted $5,000 bail and was released.

Ryan C. Riggi, 18, no permanent address, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of stolen property, 4th. Riggi is accused of twice possessing and using a credit card of another person, stealing more than $3,000. Riggi was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Danielle Marie Stevens, 36, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Stevens is accused of stealing a bottle of hydrocodone pills from the purse of another person.

Matthew Charles Olcott, 34, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, was arrested on warrants out of the Town of Pembroke and Town of Batavia, for criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, violation of probation, attempted unauthorized use of a vehicle, 3rd, and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 2nd. Olcott was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court on all charges and jailed on $500 bail on the Town of Pembroke charges.

July 25, 2013 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

The two members of the Village of Corfu office staff have formally filed letters of complaint with the trustees accusing Mayor Ralph Peterson of creating a hostile work environment.

In her letter, Assistant Clerk/Treasurer Denise Beal said she believes Peterson's treatment of her is meant to demean her as a woman and is therefore a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Both Beal and Clerk/Treasurer Sandra Thomas said they do not want to take further legal action but may be left with no choice if the trustees are unable to stop Peterson's alleged harassment.

The trustees received the letters Monday and voted to forward the complaints to Village Attorney Mark Boylan for his advice on how to handle the complaints.

Beal's letter indicates that it's mostly a feeling she gets from Peterson that he tries to harass and intimidate her because she is female. The one concrete example she gives of different treatment of her and Thomas is that Peterson allegedly demanded Beal and Thomas give him copies of office and file cabinet keys but has not made the same demand of the all-male maintenance staff.

Both Beal and Thomas said things kind of came to a head in the past week with Peterson's alleged insistence that his criticism of the office staff be included in the village newsletter.

"His subjective comments he wrote in the village newsletter are embarrassing," Beal wrote. "I have been employed by the Village of Corfu for over 5 years. Never have I felt so degraded and harassed by a male. I have always taken great pride in my work and have performed my duties with great confidence, the highest levels of professionalism, efficiency and accountability. I have always enjoyed my job, but the hostile work environment that has been created by Mr. Peterson is making it difficult to be at work."

Peterson has not yet responded to a request for comment sent via text message.

Both Thomas and Beal said they believe at least some of the motivation for Peterson's conduct is the fact that they are potential witnesses in the criminal case against Brandi Watts, the former village court clerk accused of stealing more than $10,000 in court funds.

Special Prosecutor Donald O'Geen has warned Peterson and the trustees that there should be no interference with the investigation.

As part of their complaints, Thomas and Beal cite Peterson's alleged attempt to fire them, his request for passwords and keys, his moving a desk and chair for himself into Beal's office, and constant assertions of authority and intimidation when he's in the office.

"I could go into many detailed examples of Ralph Peterson's barrage of threats, innuendos, accusations, falsehoods and harassment," Thomas wrote. "Some are a matter of public record, and many have been made behind closed doors and in emails. He has now made public his contempt and made insinuations of incompetence of the office staff in the Village Newsletter to Village residents. This is unacceptable."

Thomas concludes, "Although Mayor Peterson is smugly confident that he is untouchable and (can) do and say absolutely anything he wants, I am filing this complaint imploring the Board to put a stop to this deplorable situation and prevent any further harassment and retaliation."

July 24, 2013 - 2:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, corfu, Dan Burling, Burling Drugs.

The way Dan Burling sees it, the cards are stacked against the small business owner these days, especially for independent drug store owners.

Reimbursements from big insurance companies for customers' prescriptions have shrunk dramatically in recent years, Burling said. In his view, big mail-order firms engage in anti-competitive practices designed to cripple local pharmacies. And the coming implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act is just going to make matters worse.

So the former State Assemblyman did the only thing he thought he could do: Close.

Yesterday was the last day of business for Burling Drugs in Corfu.

"When I came here 21 yeas ago, there was no pharmacy here," Burling said. "It was shut down. I opened the store up. I put a lot of my heart and my soul into it."

There's no way an independent shop can survive, he said, on what insurance companies are willing to pay these days.

"It looks to me like the insurance companies are ratcheting down their reimbursement to match what the large chains can pay," Burling said. "I have no quarrel with the large chains, Rite-Aid or anything, but our margins just weren’t enough to sustain our business."

To survive recently, Burling had to borrow money and that's something he is no longer willing to do.

"I wasn't taking much out of the business," Burling said. "I did everything I could possibly do to try and stay profitable, but the profits just weren't there."

Big mail-order houses also put the squeeze on independent pharmacies, he said.

As a member of the Legislature, Burling sponsored a bill that made it illegal to force patients to buy prescriptions by mail order. The big firms just ignore the law, Burling said.

"They constantly badger my customers," Burling said. "They get the data and they call them and they market their mail-order business directly to them."

And the crony capitalists in Washington continue to work against the survival of the little guy.

"Medco and Express Scripts merged, and as far as I'm concerned, that never should have been allowed," Burling said. "Being in politics as long as I was, I know how it works. Big money goes to the politicians in Washington and they ignore the little guy and get paid off."

Obamacare -- the Affordable Health Care Act -- Burling said is going to put the squeeze on all sorts of small businesses in medicine. The law will force even smaller reimbursements and the mandated cost cuts that small business owners won't be able to manage. You'll see a lot of health-care providers go out of business when that happens, Burling said.

He understands some people are upset by his store's sudden closure, but his co-op contract with Rite-Aid gave him an out now and he decided to exercise it.

Over the 21 years he's run the store in Corfu, Burling said not only has he provided a pharmacy to the community, he's also brought in doctor offices -- doctors who have since relocated to their own practices.

"These are contributions that I made to the community that I think were significant," Burling said, "but there comes a time in your life, you know, when you're at my age, that this is the only way I'm going to be able to retire, the only way I'm going to be able to enjoy life."

July 22, 2013 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu, Robert Alexander, Brandi Watts.

Former Village of Corfu justice Robert Alexander said after his appearance in County Court this afternoon that he would never, ever, do anything to hurt the people of his lifelong hometown.

Alexander would not discuss the specifics of the case against him -- he's charged with coercion and official misconduct -- but reiterated in a short statement to media gathered outside the courthouse that he's a born-again Christian and that he wouldn't break the law.

"I had the privileged of serving in the Village of Corfu for 24 years," Alexander said. "I grew up there. I love that village, and when I see people or hear people in social media or on television or anything like that say anything about a case, I say, let a case run its course, number one, but number two, the wonderful people of Corfu shouldn’t have to be put through all those kinds of things where it’s played out in the media versus where it’s played out in a court."

Asked whether he would take the case against him to trial, Alexander said that's something for him and his attorney to discuss and otherwise declined to comment.

The changes stem from what may have been an alleged attempt by Alexander to clear the name of his daughter, Brandi Watts.

Watts worked for Alexander as his court clerk from 2009 to 2011.

After Watts was named in a NYS comptroller's audit that allegedly found the court was missing more than $10,000 in funds, Alexander reportedly asked his new court clerk, Pam Yasses, to audit the court books. Yasses reportedly completed the audit and found the court was missing funds.

According to Yasses, who spoke about the situation at an Oct. 8 meeting of village trustees, Alexander did not accept the results of the new audit and Yasses complained that Alexander was trying to intimidate her and get her to quit her job.

The allegations against Alexander reportedly stem from that incident.

Alexander denied breaking the law.

"I won’t say anything about the case, except I will only say I love the people of Corfu and never do anytihng, as a born-again Christian, as a man serving them, I would never even think of breaking the law in any way, shape or form, no less doing it," Alexander said. "I would certainly would never, ever, ever want to bring anything that would hurt those people that I served for 24 years. We'll let it play out in court."

Alexander also told reporters, "I’m a Christian, I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe in the end I will be vindicated."

Neither Watts nor Alexander entered a plea today and both are scheduled to reappear at 2:15 p.m., Aug. 12, in County Court.

July 22, 2013 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, corfu, bergen.

David Bruce Brusie, 40, of Fancher Road, Holley, is charged with assaul,t 2nd. Brusie, an inmate at the Genesee County Jail, is accused of punching another inmate and breaking his nose.

Rosemary R. Waters, 27, of 4035 W. Main Street Road, lowrr, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and trespass. Waters is accused of stealing makeup, valued at $6, from Dollar General. Waters was allegedly previously barred from the store for a prior shoplifting complaint.

Matthew W. Clark, 31, of 10 Washington Ave., Batavia, was arrested on a warrant from City Court for a traffic citation -- parking on a city street, 2 to 6 a.m.

Daniel P. Callahan, 29, of 8 Old Meadow Lane, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher and driving without stoplights. Callahan was stopped on Main Street at 12:01 a.m., July 9, by Officer Chad Richards.

Lizbel D. Cramer, 35, of 8 Lewis Place, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant out of City Court for traffic citations for alleged failure to obey stop sign and parking violations.

Bryon Gilbert Keller, 18, of Sumner Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child. Keller is accused of allowing people under age 21 to consume alcohol while attending a party on his property.

Dariel Solivan Mendoza, 28, of Church Street, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Mendoza allegedly pushed a person to the ground during an argument.

Lance Joseph Seppe, 27, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and disorderly conduct. Seppe is accused of breaking items and issuing verbal threats while at a residence in Corfu at 7:39 p.m., Tuesday.

July 19, 2013 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

Corfu Mayor Ralph Peterson is reportedly going to publicly criticize village office staff in his column in a newsletter being sent to village residents today.

Trustee Ken Lauer, who shared a copy of the mayor's column with The Batavian, called Peterson's words unprofessional and said trustees tried to dissuade him from publicly criticizing employees.

In the column, Peteson portrays himself as a reformer who is trying to bring more cordial communication and greater efficiency to village government, but that office staff is refusing to cooperate.

Peterson writes:

Attempts are being made to work with the all of the Village staff. We have been successful with the Maintenance, Court, and Police however we are struggling with the Office Staff. For us to improve we must communicate and understand the authority of the Mayor.

Peterson said he has been consulting with the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) and that he's been told that as mayor he has a right to access all files and data owned by the village, but his efforts to exercise his lawful authority as mayor is being undermined by staff and trustees.

The lack of understanding of the lawful authority of the Mayor by employees and Trustees has made my first three-month as Mayor interesting. I want to insure the people who are responsible for me becoming the Mayor of Corfu I remain steadfast.

In April, Peterson allegedly fired Sandra Thomas and Denise Beal, but when the women refused to work after a confrontation with Peterson, the village office was left without any staff. The trustees did not support Peterson's actions and Lauer negotiated the return to work of Thomas and Beal.

The column characterizes a village in disarray and not up to "2013 standards." Peterson vows to fix these issues.

My goals as Mayor have not changed I trying change the tone from of communication from confrontational to teamwork. This has truly been a struggle. I realized my comments will not set well with some employees, trustees and residents. However, I must be truthful in my evaluation of the Village business at this time to the residents. I will remain focused on the goals I promised.

July 18, 2013 - 10:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, corfu.

The state's commission on judicial conduct has ordered that all cases assigned to Town of Pembroke Justice Alexander be reassigned to Justice David O'Connor.

Alexander, the former justice for the Village of Corfu, was indicted yesterday on three misdemeanor crimes, including coercion and official misconduct.

An e-mail was sent to officials in Corfu and Pembroke today informing them of the order.

The e-mail reads:

For your information, kindly find the attached administrative order AO/201/2013 signed by the Hon. A. Gail Prudenti reassigning all judicial matters currently pending before the Hon. Robert E. Alexander, Town Justice, Pembroke Town Court, to the Hon. David M. O'Connor, Town Justice, Pembroke Town Court, effective immediately, and direct that no further judicial matters be assigned to Justice Alexander until further order of the Chief Administrative Judge.

Thank you.

Kate Breen
Court Analyst
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge's Office
for Courts Outside New York City

The Batavian has not yet obtained the attachment cited in the e-mail.

Alexander is the father of Brandi Watts, the former court clerk in Corfu who is accused of stealing more than $10,000 in court funds and filing false documents.  Alexander was charged with crimes related to his alleged attempts to disprove there were missing court funds.

O'Connor is a justice in the Town of Pembroke Court and the Village of Corfu Court.

UPDATE: The attachment, the actual order, is short and to the point:

Pursuant to the authority vested in me, I hereby reassign all judicial matters currently
pending before the Hon. Robert E. Alexander, Town Justice, Pembroke Town Court, to the Hon. David M, O’Connor, Town Justice, Pembroke Town Court, effective immediately, and direct that no further judicial matters be assigned to Justice Alexander until further order of the Chief Administrative Judge.

It's signed by Judge A. Gail Prudenti.

July 18, 2013 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.
Brandi Watts

Of 61 criminal counts lodged against Brandi Watts, the former court clerk in the Village of Corfu, 53 of them deal with allegedly filing false time cards exaggerating the number of hours she worked.

Watts and her father, Robert Alexander, former justice in the village and a current justice in the Town of Pembroke, were arraigned on criminal charges yesterday following an 18-month State Police investigation into alleged missing funds from the court.

A state comptroller's audit and uncovered the potential of as much as $10,000 being diverted from the court treasury.

The Batavian obtained a copy of the 42-page indictment this morning from Donald O'Geen, district attorney in Wyoming County, who is acting as a special prosecutor on this case.

Watts is also charged with two counts of grand larcen,y 3rd, and one count of grand larceny, 4th.

In the indictment, she is accused of stealing $8,819 between 2009 and 2011, and of stealing another $3,770 in that same time period. She is also accused of stealing $1,308 on June 7, 2011.

She is also accused of altering the files of six traffic citations, leading to six counts of tampering with public records in the first degree.

Alexander was also arraigned on two counts of coercion. The indictment contains no details on the specific acts that led to the charge, but accuses Alexander of using the power of his office as justice to induce fear to cause a person or persons to do something they might not otherwise do.

He's also charged with official misconduct, which accuses him of performing acts as a justice that he was not authorized to perform.

UPDATE: We've learned that the charges against Alexander stem from a harassment compliant lodged by current court clerk Pamela Yasses. At an Oct. 8 meeting of the trustees, Yasses said Alexander threatened her job and tried to intimidate her after she completed a financial audit of the court -- at his request -- that she said reached a conclusion similar to the comptroller's audit.

Yesterday's story: Former Village of Corfu court clerk charged with grand larceny

July 17, 2013 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu.

The cause of a fire at Ed Arnold Scrap Metal Processors this afternoon remains under investigation.

The fire is out at this point, but fire crews remain on scene putting out hot spots.

East Pembroke Fire responded with mutual aid from Corfu, Alabama, Darien, Alexander, Pembroke, Indian Falls and the Town of Batavia.

UPDATE 6:54 p.m.: Fifteen agencies responded to the blaze. East Pembroke, Pembroke/Indian Falls, Alabama, Alexander, Town of Batavia, Corfu, Darien fought the fire. Crews were on stand by from Elba, Crittendon, Alden, Akron and Attica. Plus, Mercy EMS helped along with Genesee County Emergency Management Office and Wyoming County Correctional Facility.

In addition, The Salvation Army provided cold drinking water.

July 17, 2013 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.

The former court clerk for the Village of Corfu has been indicted on two counts of grand larceny stemming from an investigation by State Police into missing court funds that originally were uncovered by a state comptroller's audit.

In all, Brandi Watts was charged with 53 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, five counts of tampering with public records along with the two grand larceny, 3rd, counts and a count of grand larceny, 4th.

Her father, former village justice Robert Alexander was arraigned today in Genesee County Court on three misdemeanor counts of coercion (two counts) and official misconduct.

Watts was jailed on $10,000 bail and Alexander was released on his own recognizance.

The prosecution of the case is being handled by Donald O'Geen, district attorney for Wyoming County, to help avoid any potential conflicts of interest with the Genesee County District Attorney's Office. Attorneys from the DA's office would have prosecuted cases in Alexander's Corfu courtroom and still do prosecute cases in the Town of Pembroke courtroom.

O'Geen said his office has also overseen a criminal investigation involving Corfu mayor Ralph Peterson, but there has been insufficient evidence uncovered thus far to charge him with any crime. There have been allegations raised in Corfu that Peterson has tried interfering with the investigation into Watts and Alexander. O'Geen said the investigation remains open, but he indicated he doesn't expect to file charges based on available evidence.

MORE T/K

July 17, 2013 - 1:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, corfu, east pembroke.

A large pile of cars is on fire at Ed Arnold Scrap Processors at 2216 Angling Road in Corfu. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding along with an engine and tanker from Corfu.

UPDATE 1:48 p.m.: Alabama Fire Department is called to respond mutual aid. Foam will be needed to fight the fire, which includes other debris such as "ground-up tires" and upholstery. An ambulance is called to provide aid to firefighters if need be.

UPDATE 1:58 p.m.: Darien, Alexander, Pembroke, Indian Falls and Town of Batavia are also called in, along with fire police to control traffic.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: All traffic is being shut down at Route 33 and Angling Road.

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: Fire is knocked down. Now doing overhaul.

UPDATE 5:13 p.m.: The roads are reopened.

July 17, 2013 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

A small group of Corfu residents gathered in the Pembroke Town Hall on Tuesday evening to discuss what's been happening in the village recently, and more specifically, what to do about Mayor Ralph Peterson.

The consensus of those who attended is that the mayor is not acting in the best interest of village residents.

Pam Ware, who said she paid the $25 fee to rent the space for the meeting, acted as facilitator for the meeting, which started at 5:30 p.m.

"I thought we could come together and discuss what we can do to address the situation and not be tied up in that meeting (a regular village trustee meeting) with all that anger and all those issues going on," said Ware, a 25-year resident of the village.

Two lines of thought emerged -- protests (favored by Charlie Flagg) and gathering documentation and presenting a complaint to the Genesee County Ethics Commission.

The state doesn't allow recall elections and removing an elected official from a local public office is exceptionally difficult in New York.

Flagg thought public pressure -- from 3 a.m. protests at Peterson's house, to posting videos of Peterson at trustee meetings to YouTube -- could force Peterson, who only has a year left on his term, to resign.

"We just keep after him," Flagg said. "There's nothing he can do to stop us."

Ware favored a more measured approach -- using the Freedom of Information Law to gather documents and write a detailed report for the ethics commission.

Any finding by the commission against Peterson, however, would be non-binding and not necessarily lead to his ouster from office.

The list of complaints against Peterson include: harassing village staff; seeking questionable access to village computers and filing cabinets; hiring police officers without authorization; failure to support recovering funds allegedly missing from the village court; interfering with the employment of a former trustee with a village contractor; and lying to the trustees about various issues.

"I think we've seen enough so far that this should go before the board of ethics," Ware said.

Trustee Ken Lauer, who attended the meeting, warned that any thought of getting Peterson to resign is probably fanciful.

"I asked him to resign and he wouldn't," Lauer said. "That's the problem. This guy is not going to leave voluntarily."

Former trustee Al Graham responded, "You keep shedding light on him."

Former mayor Todd Skeet, who lost by two votes to Peterson last November, also attended the meeting.

Skeet noted that he appointed Peterson to a seat on the board of trustees originally.

"He was a decent guy and then things got really ugly," Skeet said.

Things went bad, he said, after a comptroller's report found about $10,000 was missing from the village court. Peterson and former justice Robert Alexander are reportedly friends.

The committee has tentatively scheduled a meeting for 10 a.m., July 23, at the Pembroke Town Hall, if the space is available.

Last night's attendees hope that a Saturday morning meeting will be more convenient for people to attend.

July 11, 2013 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Press release:

The newly formed Corfu Citizens Committee has scheduled its first organizational meeting for Tuesday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Corfu Fire Department meeting room. This ad hoc committee will provide a forum for attendees to get involved in the community and express their concerns outside of the board meetings and public hearings. 

July 8, 2013 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Le Roy, corfu, bergen.

Charles Wayne O'Shea, 35, of East Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. O'Shea was arrested twice for alleged drunken driving within a four-hour period. The second arrest came after a traffic stop at 8:36 p.m. Saturday on Route 19, Le Roy, by Deputy Chad Minuto. Minuto said he observed O'Shea driving and knew from being involved with a prior arrest of O'Shea that O'Shea allegedly did not have a valid driver's license, so he initiated a traffic stop. Upon further investigation, Minuto concluded O'Shea was allegedly driving while intoxicated. Four hours earlier, according to Minuto's report, Minuto assisted Deputy James Diehl while Diehl arrested O'Shea for allegedly driving drunk.

Selime Bela, 49, of Crimson Drive, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Bela is accused of shoplifting $67.49 in merchandise from Kmart.

Brandon Marshall Weig, 25, of Buffalo Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd (physical contact). The alleged incident was reported at 1:02 a.m., Friday. No further details released. Weig was also arrested on a bench warrant for alleged criminal contempt, 2nd, and disobeying a mandate.

Michael T. Dibble, 21, of Corfu, is charged with DWI. Dibble was arrested by State Police at Erie County Medical Center for allegedly driving drunk in the Town of Pembroke at 4:19 p.m., Wednesday. No further details released.

Jeremy M. Sheehan, 30, of Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sheehan was arrested by State Police following an alleged incident reported at 1:49 a.m. Thursday in the Town of Le Roy. No further details were released.

July 6, 2013 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Some folks in Corfu are upset over a new sidewalk along the west side of Alleghany Road that they say they didn't want, don't think is needed and didn't know was coming until construction was already under way.

The sidewalk was installed last month by NYS Department of Transportation.

"This section of highway was evaluated for improved pedestrian mobility from the residential area on the south side of the village towards the business district where likely destinations of foot traffic travel to including the school, retail and service areas," said DOT regional public information officer Lori Maher.

While the sidewalk removes what some residents once considered a part of their yard, the sidewalk is entirely within DOT right-of-way, Maher noted.

But that's not the worst of it. Residents complain about grading, leaving gas line extensions exposed and the poor quality of fill dirt used for landscaping.

They also say the sidewalk is a potential pedestrian hazard on both ends of the 113-yard-long strip of concrete.

On the north end, tractor-trailers making a right-hand turn from Genesee Street onto Alleghany have no choice but to cross over the top of the sidewalk.

On the south end, the sidewalk ends about 20 yards short of the viaduct, leaving a pedestrian planning on continuing south -- perhaps to the Pizza Pantry, no choice but to cross Route 77 at a point where northbound drivers might have a hard time seeing an unexpected pedestrian.

"Every piece of sidewalk starts someplace and ends in a logical terminus," Maher said.

Jenny McMartin, an Alleghany Road resident who, with her husband, had to spend more than $300 on new landscaping after the DOT chopped a steep incline into their front yard, attends every village board meeting and said the village was presented with three sets of plans for the project. None of them included the sidewalk.

Maher acknowledged that the DOT dropped the ball on notification to the Village of Corfu.

"The new sidewalk was constructed in the state right-of-way so no land was acquired, hence no formal notification prior to construction was made," Maher said. "During the construction phase, we worked with individuals to get grading releases, etc. Sidewalks are generally welcomed as a safety measure and added curb appeal. Since this was a fraction of the project’s scope, deliberate outreach with the homeowners was overlooked. We apologize for the oversight and will reevaluate our polices for future projects."

Grading releases were necessary to regrade driveways along the route.

Rob McNally kind of now regrets agreeing to his. He has two driveways on his property and now one of them is a bumpy ride in and out. A volunteer firefighter who rents the second floor of his house to tenants, McNally worries that anybody trying to make a quick exit off Route 77 into his driveway will hit that bump and lose control.

"Each of the driveways were built to standard and should pose no further concern," Maher said.

Last Saturday, McNally (top photo) spent the afternoon regrading his front lawn and removing a wheelbarrow full of pebbles and rocks from the fill the DOT dumped on his property.

At that point, the hydroseed -- which should sprout in seven to 10 days -- was two weeks old and hardly a blade of grass had sprouted in many areas. There were also patches in the parkway where no seed was applied.

Maher said the DOT will monitor the grass situation, but the fill used was up to state-approved specifications.

Earlier this week a DOT designer did meet with some of the residents, including McMartin and Trustee Dave Bielac.

The DOT's position, McMartin said, is that if the village thinks a guard rail is necessary at the south end of the sidewalk, the village will need to install it.

"They also said they are not putting in crosswalk," McMartin said. "If you need to cross the road go to Genesee and cross there."

McMartin praised Bielac for trying to work with the DOT to resolve the issues.

"Dave has been great during all this," she said.

June 25, 2013 - 6:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

Over the past several years, the Village of Corfu has hired police officers without the Board of Trustees ratifying the new hires.

The apparent oversight came up during a discussion Monday night of Mayor Ralph Peterson hiring two part-time police officers.

Peterson acknowledge that he hired the officers. He said the village department will need more manpower in July because Darien Lake has a packed concert schedule for the month.

Mark Boylan, attorney for the village, said that in the past week it's come to his attention the police officers hired in recent years were hired without being properly ratified by a vote of the trustees.

Those past hires without board approval do not justify new hires by Peterson without board authorization, Boylan said.

Trustees expressed concern that the two new officers were hired without interviews, filling out an application form or passing a background check.

Village resident Greg Lang said he saw the two new officers working on Sunday and Officer Gene Nati said he worked with one of the officers on Sunday.

Before the end of the meeting, the trustees agreed that seven officers had been hired without proper board authorization and passed a resolution authorizing all seven hires.

Peterson is expected to interview the two new officers and ask that the board ratify their employment at a future board meeting.

Trustee Art Ianni expressed frustration that Peterson hired two officers -- an expenditure of $5,000 or $6,000 -- without board discussion.

"Can't we have a little discussion here?" Ianni asked.

Peterson said the new hires were within budget.

Lang accused Peterson of trying ram through the hires and once again being "dictatorial."

"Don't say I've got to stop talking," Lang said. "I'm a taxpayer in this community. One of the highest taxpayers in this community and this is ridiculous. What's going on, Rosie? You keep just going and going and going. What's going to be the next meeting, Rosie? I can't stand it any more, sitting here looking at this. It's absolutely ridiculous."

The meeting started with an update on the joint Pembroke-Corfu sewer project.

Bids have been received from contractors and the cost of Corfu's part of the project will run $750,000 more than budgeted. 

Both Corfu and Pembroke have received Department of Environmental Conservation grants for the project -- for Corfu, grants to help pay for upgrades to the sewer treatment plant and for Pembroke grants to help pay for transmission lines.

The state favors the project moving forward as a joint facility because of the potential economic development in the area, which is why the Genesee County Economic Development Center is putting in more than $800,000 into the project.

Bids for Pembroke's share the project are approximately $750,000 less than budgeted, so if the DEC and Comptroller's Office will approve the transfer, some of Pembroke's grant money will go to Corfu, plus a portion of the money pledged by GCEDC will help offset the higher-than-anticipated bids.

As part of the deal, rate payers in Pembroke's sewer district will pay 3 percent less than the rate originally set. The decrease will mean that both Corfu and Pembroke rate payers will pay $6.24 per thousand gallons of sewage.

The issue of Peterson trying to get former Trustee Al Graham banned from the sewer treatment plant was also discussed.

Peterson said he had an agreement with the owner of Camden Group, Graham's employer and contractor that runs the sewer plant, that Graham be barred from the facility.

Trustees were unanimous in telling Peterson that they thought Graham should be allowed on the property and that his expertise would be necessary during the sewer project.

Peterson said it's always been his position that if Trustee David Bielec, who is the trustee in charge of overseeing the sewer project, wanted Graham involved, than Graham could have access to the sewer property.

Bielec said he did want Graham to participate.

The board also voted 3-0, with Peterson and Trustee Keith Busch abstaining, to authorize Boylan to take legal action to recover more than $10,000 in alleged missing funds from former village justice Robert Alexander.

Peterson tried to question whether it's been proven that the funds are missing. Boylan said the village has a Comptroller's audit showing the funds are missing. He said that by law, Alexander is obligated to pay the village back for the missing funds, regardless of how the funds went missing.

Busch said he abstained because he wasn't a trustee at the time the missing funds issue first surfaced.

Peterson wasn't going to vote at all on the motion -- until goaded by village residents in attendance to say what his vote was.

Top photo: Trustee Ianni with Peterson, while Ianni complains about the lack of discussion for hiring two new police officers.

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