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May 27, 2013 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans, Memorial Day, parade, corfu.

There were about 20 Memorial Day events in Genesee County today. Here are photos from four of them: Services at the NYS Vets Home, the Upton Monument and parades in Batavia and Corfu.

And Ken Mistler's giant flag on the Carr's building.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

May 23, 2013 - 7:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, pembroke, corfu.

Bruce Jeramie Brade, 32, of Stroh Road, Attica, is charged with identify theft, 3rd. Brade allegedly used the personal information of another person, including a credit card number, for personal benefit.

Llani Marie Gerrastzu, 18, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Gerrastzu was allegedly found in her home with marijuana at 6:35 a.m., Wednesday.

Shannon Ann Caton, 38, of Fisher Road, Oakfield, is charged with harassment. Caton was allegedly involved in a fight at her place of employment on April 2.

Eric A. Ion, 40, of Brant, is charged with criminal contempt. Ion is accused of violating a court order in Alexander at 4:14 p.m., May 14. Ion was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Michelle G. Robb, 55, of Corfu, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs. Robb was stopped at 8:06 p.m., May 14, by State Police on Route 77, Pembroke. No further details released.

Richard A. Demmer, 20, of Oakfield, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Demmer was arrested by State Police related to an alleged incident reported at 5:20 p.m., May 14.

May 20, 2013 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Le Roy, Pavilion, corfu.

David E. Muffley, 63, of Druck Valley Road, York, Pa., is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Muffley was reportedly involved in an accident at 6:20 p.m., Thursday, at the intersection of Route 63 and Route 20. Muffley was allegedly operating a loaded tractor-trailer while intoxicated and attempted to turn right onto Route 63 and struck a vehicle stopped on Route 63. The accident was investigated by Deputy Cory Mower.

Clifford Leo Regimbal, 34, of Granite Street, Webster, Mass., is charged with criminal possession of stolen property with a value of more than $3,000. Regimbal was arrested in Webster, Ma., on unrelated charges and held as an alleged fugitive from justice on the Genesee County charge. He was returned to New York and jailed on $20,000 bail. Regimbal also has warrants issued by the courts in Corfu, Alexander and Rochester.

Francis E. Ikokide, 42, of 3330 Weston Road, Apt. 316, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Ikokide was stopped at 6:22 a.m. on Oak Street by Officer Felicia DeGroot for alleged defective brake light. Ikokide was allegedly found to have a suspended license. Ikokide posted $100 police bail and was released.

Nicholas Christian Doell, 22, of Lippold Road, Darien, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a controlled substance not in original container. Doell was allegedly found by his probation officer in possession of controlled substances concealed in a cigarette pack at 5 p.m., Friday. He was jailed on $500 bail. (Doell was allegedly involved in a high-speed chase with deputies and tasered Saturday night.)

Amanda Rose McDonald, 31, of Cherry Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. McDonald is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Terry Lynne Butler, 54, of Genesee Street, Le Roy, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, recless driving, moving from lane unsafely and improper signal. Butler was allegedly observed driving at 11:54 p.m., Friday, on Lewiston Road when her vehicle nearly collided with oncoming traffic. She was arrested by Deputy John Weis.

Dylan Jacob Keem, 19, of Folsomdale Road, Cowlesville, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Keem was allegedly found in possession of marijuana concealed in a vehicle during an investigation on Route 77, Darien, by Deputy Patrick Reeves. Also arrested was Benjamin Edward Burek, 19, of Burrough Road, Cowlesville. Burek was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and consumption of alcohol under 21 years of age.

Terry Robert Konfederath, 51, of Meadowbrook Terrace, Corfu, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .01 or greater, failure to keep right and moving from lane unsafely. Konfederath was stopped at 12:47 a.m., Saturday, on Genesee Street, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Daniel Lynn Diguardi, 31, of Upper Holley Road, Holley, is charged with falsifying business records, 2nd. Diguardi is accused of claiming ownership of property owned by Rent-a-Center that he allegedly pawned at Pawn King. Diguardi turned himself in on an arrest warrant to Deputy John Baiocco.

Benjamin Gove Evans, 24, of Maple Street, Batavia, was taken into custody on arrest warrants for alleged failure to pay fine on an attempted petit larceny charge. Evans appeared before Justice Tom Williams and promised to return the next day and make a fine payment and to make his payments every week until paid off.

Mary Jean Daniel, 26, of Morrow Road, Pavilion, is charged with petit larceny. Daniel allegedly stole an unassembled TV stand from Kmart.

Derrick R. Kio, 22, of Wyoming, is charged with criminal mischief (preventing emergency call), harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Kio was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 10:24 a.m., Saturday, in the Town of Pavilion. No further details were released.

May 17, 2013 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, Milestones.

SUNY Geneseo student Alaina Chapman, from Corfu, was recently inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society during an induction ceremony on campus. Juniors or seniors with a grade-point average that places them in the top 15 percent of their class are eligible for membership.

Golden Key International Honour Society provides academic recognition to top-performing college and university students as well as scholarships and awards, career and internship opportunities, networking, service and leadership development opportunities. The society has more than 400 chapters at colleges and universities around the world.

On the Web:

May 14, 2013 - 12:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Former Village of Corfu Justice Robert Alexander is being threatened with civil action if he doesn't pony up $10,628 by May 31 for funds the village believes went missing during his tenure as justice.

The board of trustees approved a letter threatening legal action at its Monday night meeting.

It's the second letter the village has sent this year to Alexander demanding payment, but the first to threaten him with litigation.

Mayor Ralph Peterson voted against sending the letter to Alexander. Trustee Keith Busch abstained, with trustees Art Ianni, Ken Lauer and Dave Bielec all voting yes on the motion to send the letter.

The letter was drafted by village attorney Mark Boylan.

The letter reserves the right of the village to seek further compensation should an ongoing investigation uncover more missing funds.

Text of the letter:

Back in February I was instructed by the Village Board to write to you to demand payment for the “cash shortage” in your justice court accounts. To date the Village has yet to receive payment from you.

I have now been instructed by the Village Board to write you to inform you that unless you pay the entire amount owed ($10,628.00) by May 31, 2013 the Board has authorized me to commence litigation against you to collect that amount.

Please note that this demand does not release you from any future obligation to reimburse the Village for any funds determined to be missing pursuant to any pending investigation.

May 13, 2013 - 1:16pm
posted by Rex Ellis in events, corfu.
Event Date and Time: 
May 18, 2013 - 9:00am to May 19, 2013 - 4:00pm

Antiques, furniture, tools, collectables and much much more....Sale May 18th and 19th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Located 13 Maple Ave., Corfu.


May 6, 2013 - 12:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, Alabama, corfu.

Antonio Lester James, 22, of Rochester, was arrested on a bench warrant from Genesee County Court on a charge of grand larceny, 4th. He was arraigned and bail set at $25,000. He was returned to Monroe County Jail where he is being held on unrelated charges.

Kevin J. Weber, 42, of 5 Columbia Ave., Batavia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing/blood circulation, coercion in the second degree, and harassment, 2nd. He is jailed on $2,500 bail or $5,000 cash bond. Weber was arrested after a domestic incident wherein it is alleged that he shoved a female into a wall after an argument and grabbed her by the throat.

Justin C. Hofert, 25, of 81 Woodstock Gardens, Batavia, was arrested May 2 by Batavia Police officer Perkins in the UMMC parking lot after it was reported that he allegedly pushed a female while their child in common was present. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance, charged with harassment, 2nd, criminal contempt, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child,

Lakeisha A. Gibson, 26, of 1353 Lewiston Road, Alabama, was arrested on warrants May 2, and charged with criminal mischief, 4th, harassment, 2nd, and disorderly conduct. She had an arrest warrant for the first two charges, and a bench warrant for the disorderly conduct charge. She was arraigned in city court and released on her own recognizance.

Samantha Brooks, 26, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, was arrested by a Sheriff's deputy April 30 and and charged with petit larceny. She is accused of shoplifting $21.98 worth of merchandise from Kmart. She was issued an appearance ticket and has to return to Batavia Town Court on May 20.

Stephanie Grace Pelkey, 18, of Snipery Road, Corfu, is accused of stealing $38.87 worth of merchandise from Kmart on May 3. She will be arraigned May 30 in Batavia Town Court on a charge of petit larceny.

Joshua Michael Pierce, 18, of Meadowbrook Terrace, Corfu, is accused of stealing $38.87 worth of merchandise from Kmart on May 3. He will be arraigned May 30 in Batavia Town Court on a charge of petit larceny.

Autumn M. Sierra, 19, of Brooklyn, was arrested by Batavia Police and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and not wearing a seat belt. The defendant was arrested after a traffic stop by officer Darryl Streeter after he allegedly observed her sitting on the lap of the front middle passenger of a vehicle on East Main Street. She was issued an appearance ticket and released.

Caitlin A. Hanley, 24, of 8080 Batavia Stafford Townline Road, was arrested May 3 by Batavia Police officer Marc Lawrence on a bench warrant out of Bergen County, New Jersey, for failure to appear. She was arraigned and put in Genesee County Jail without bail, awaiting extradition.

May 3, 2013 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba, pembroke, Le Roy, corfu.

Jesse M. Woods, 18, of Lake St., Le Roy, is charged with assault, 2nd. Woods allegedly fought with a person outside a residence on Myrtle Street, Village of Le Roy, and as a result the other person suffered serious injuries. Woods was jailed on $500 bail.

Matthew Brian Starowitz, 24, of Whitney Mill Road, Elba, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, criminal possession of marijuana, 5th, and parking on a highway. Starowitz was allegedly found parked the wrong way on Whitney Mill Road at 3:06 a.m. by Deputy Frank Bordonaro.

Daniel Taylor Manhardt, 20, of Hopkins Road, Corfu, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Manhardt's vehicle was stopped for alleged equipment violations at 2:01 a.m. Thursday on Cleveland Road, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

May 2, 2013 - 8:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, Alabama, corfu, indian falls.

A man complains of back pain after falling on the north side of the Indian Falls behind the Log Cabin Restaurant on Gilmore Road. He is said to be "struggling a bit" in the water, according to the caller, and fell at the bottom of the falls. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are responding and Mercy Flight is on standby.

UPDATE 8:39 p.m.: A rope rescue extrication team is called in. A responder on scene says it looks like a male and a female are in need of rescue. They are "in the middle of the flow" and it is pretty heavy. The extrication process is expected to be lengthy. Extrication will be made from the southside, where the creek water is moving slower, and the operations headquarters will be in the Log Cabin restaurant parking lot. "It looks likes there's one patient down there holding onto the rocks."

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: "The male is in the middle of the falls at the base and anyone coming in, I'd like to have water suits on." Law enforcement is called in. Another victim has fallen approximately 40 yards into the creek in a futile attempt to rescue the distressed parties. Now he is in need of rescue.

UPDATE 8:52 p.m.: Alden's Water Rope Rescue Team is called and is responding. The second victim at top of the falls is out, and both victims at the bottom of the falls are now upright.

UPDATE 8:56 p.m.: Emergency responders are staging in the restaurant parking lot at 1227 Gilmore Road, Corfu.

UPDATE 9:01 p.m.: Mercy Flight is called in.

UPDATE 9:17 p.m.: Alabama Fire Department Rescue is to handle the Mercy Flight staging, which will be at the Indian Falls Methodist Church, located at 7908 Alleghany Road, Corfu. The helicopter is to land in a grass field there.

UPDATE 9:32 p.m.: Mercy Flight has landed.

UPDATE 10:09 p.m.: Those in need of rescue from the swift water of the falls are being brought up to within reach of the emergency crews. Pembroke went back in service at about 9:57 p.m.

UPDATE 10:15 p.m.: "The patient is topside."

UPDATE 10:32 p.m.: Alabama reports that Mercy Flight is in the air, heading to Erie County Medical Center.

UPDATE 10:36 p.m.: Alabama is back in service.

UPDATE 10:46 p.m.: "...all equipment from down below is now topside." The remaining responders are picking up their gear and preparing to return to service.

UPDATE 11:05 p.m.: All responders are in service.

May 1, 2013 - 9:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu.

A dryer fire is reported in a laundromat at 1 Corfu Plaza, Corfu.

A chief on scene reports flames showing from a dryer.

Corfu Fire with mutual aid from Pembroke, East Pembroke and Darien dispatched along with the City's Fast Team.

The City is requesting the Fourth Platoon to headquarters.

UPDATE: A first responder reports the fire is knocked down.

UPDATE 9:07 a.m.: City of Batavia can stand down.

View Larger Map

April 30, 2013 - 9:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

The Village of Corfu will rely less on reserve funds and more on a tax increase to balance the 2013/2014 budget.

Trustees approved the $788,332 spending plan Monday night.

While spending drops from the previous year by $106,000, property taxes go up 5 percent to $3.11 per thousand of assessed value.

The sewer fee goes up 4 percent to $6.24 per thousand.

The reserve fund will be tapped for $3,200.

The village will spend $1,500 on training for its first-term mayor.

With the resignation of the police administrator, the village cut police department spending by $20,000.

Two staff members took voluntary cuts to 32 hours a week.

Non-union employees receive a 1 percent pay increase to offset an increase in health insurance premiums.

April 30, 2013 - 2:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, Darien, corfu, accidents.

A head-on, two-car accident with multiple injuries is reported at 352 Main Road in the Town of Pembroke, near the Erie County line. Corfu, Pembroke and Darien fire departments are responding and Mercy Flight will be also.

UPDATE 2:39 p.m.: Traffic is backing up and Route 77 is reduced to a single lane in some places. The landing zone will be a lot at Jim & Bob's Service Co. Route 5 is being shut down. Akron Fire Department is requested to shut down 5 at Crittenden Road. In addition to Mercy Flight, an ambulance is needed at the scene. Responders are working to extricate victims.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: Corfu fire is going to shut down Lake Road at 5 to westbound traffic.

UPDATE 2:28: Fire police will also shut down Route 5 at Route 77. Mercy Flight has landed and the ambulance is on scene.

UPDATE 2:57 p.m.: It appears they are going to keep 5 at 77 open at least for the time being.

UPDATE 3:14 p.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne but no destination reported yet.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: Genesee County Coroner Kristine Flanagan has arrived on scene.

UPDATE 4:48 p.m.: The roadways are reopened. Responders are back in service.

April 25, 2013 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, pembroke, corfu, CSX railroad.

Two of the group of railroad crossings between the Genesee and Erie County line that had been closed reopened this morning by 9, but the rest remain closed and according to a CSX manager at Wortendyke Road, will remain closed through tomorrow.

Upton and Snipery roads are open.

Route 77, which had been partially closed for some repair work was open at 10:30 a.m.

The closures are affecting travel for residents, bus drivers, and of course, emergency responders

We requested comment from the CSX media center last night and again today but have yet to get a response.

Crossing above: Wortendyke Road.

UPDATE: As soon as I hit save on this, a representative from CSX called. He needed to get more information so he could get us more information. We'll update this post accordingly when we hear back.

Wilkinson Road

Ellinwood Avenue

Colby Road

Fargo Road

April 24, 2013 - 6:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Darien, corfu, east pembroke, CSX railroad.

Some railroads crossings of the CSX line in Genesee County will be temporarily closed this evening in portions of the Town of Batavia, Darien, Corfu and East Pembroke.

Railroad crossings will be closed to all traffic on Wortendyke, Upton, Wilkinson and Colby roads, and Ellinwood Avenue, and possibly at other locations along that rail route.

The closure is expected to last until approximately midnight.

April 22, 2013 - 11:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Mayor Ralph Peterson is taking over supervision of the Corfu Police Department with the resignation today of Police Administrator Jim Meier.

In a resignation letter read to the village board this evening, Meier cited what he called "numerous attacks" leveled at him by Peterson and Officer Gene Nati as the reason for his resignation.

He said the attacks began with a claim, later found to be unsubstantiated by a State Police investigation, that the department was filing for DWI grant money it didn't deserve. The recent complaints -- and potential lawsuit -- about how part-time officers are scheduled for work are a continuation of those attacks, Meier wrote in his letter.

As soon as Trustee Ken Lauer finished reading the letter, Peterson quickly said, "resignation accepted."

Trustee Art Ianni asked whether the board should vote to accept the resignation and Peterson agreed to a vote.

Peterson, along with trustees Keith Busch and David Bielec voted yes. Lauer and Ianni voted no.

Through the course of the meeting, it was determined that Peterson would not only oversee scheduling of officers, but other supervisor duties, at least until the village figures out what to do with the police department.

Former mayor Todd Skeet said he hired Meier because he figured out he couldn't do the things the village needed to maintain a police department, such as ensuring officers are properly certified with their weapons and process tickets.

"I didn't know about any of that stuff," Skeet said. "I don't think the current mayor is trained in law enforcement. It opens the whole village up to a possible lawsuit. The things the police administrator does is more than just scheduling, which is only about 10 percent of his job."

The board agreed to form a committee to study what should happen with the police department -- whether to continue with the current system of a part-time administrator and several part-time officers, hire a full-time officer with fewer part-time officers or contract with the Sheriff's Office.

Two residents along with Peterson and Ianni will serve on the committee. The first action, Peterson said, will be to set up a meeting with Gordon Dibble, chief deputy in charge of road patrol for the Sheriff's Office.

At the start of the meeting, Peterson announced the meeting would be run according to standard open meeting rules -- sticking to the agenda and allowing public comment only during a prescribed portion of the meeting.

Public comments were held until after village business was completed.

Village resident Greg Lang spoke first and complained about all of the negative scrutiny the village has received recently, and without naming Peterson, said there was only one person responsible.

Lang rattled off several incidents that Peterson has been implicated in recently, from reportedly calling Lauer saying a meeting was canceled, to allegedly firing the village clerks, to today's controversy over an anonymous letter sent to the owner of Camden Group trying to silence former trustee Al Graham.

While nobody directly accused Peterson of being behind the letter, Graham said the letter was turned over to the special prosecutor looking into the village court's missing money case and that it would be tested for fingerprints.

Lang asked that Peterson resign his office. Peterson shook his head, "no."

Another resident pointed out that the letter threatens to get Camden's contract pulled for operation of the sewer plant, but only somebody on the village board would have the power for such action.

The second speaker was Justice David O'Connor.

On April 10, O'Connor spoke to the board about the village court budget and questioned some of what has happened in the court over the past couple of years and brought it under the scrutiny of the Judicial Review Commission.

Following the meeting, O'Connor claimed that former village justice Robert Alexander sent him a nasty e-mail saying that somebody had played a tape for him of his comments at the April 10 meeting.

Alexander's daughter, Jenny Warner, left a comment on The Batavian challenging O'Connor's claim that Alexander wrote a "vile" e-mail.

She wrote:

The allegations that were made by Justice O"Connor about a "vile" and "threatening" email from my father Robert Alexander bothered me since it was so out of character for my Dad. Howard I think this email should be posted so the public can decide if they think it is vile and threatening.

Tonight, O'Connor read the e-mail he said came from Alexander at the meeting.

Dave please do not email me ever again. I want no communications or interaction with you in any form. I heard the tape from the meeting and read the comments of you trowing (sic) me under the buss (sic) and making those comments about me. You are not a friend and obviously all that bull about thanking me for dropping out of the Corfu race and asking support of you was a big lie. I guess I should have had your arrested after you flipped out and physically attacked me with those body blocks when I came to do the arraignment, but I gave you grace and forgiveness.

O'Connor said the accusation of a physical attack was complete fiction.

Graham also addressed a comment left by Warner saying the disagreements with Peterson are over his race.

"There is not one person here or in this village who has ever heard me ever say anything racist," Graham said. "I don't even tell racist jokes, but Bob's daughter wants to make this about race. This is not about the color of the man's skin. This is about a man's integrity and the truthfulness of the man. It's about me letting you as residents of the village know when he's lying to you."

During the meeting, Peterson did not address any of the comments made about him, except to deny any involvement in either the civil service complaint or the potential lawsuit over scheduling of police officers.

April 22, 2013 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

More controversy in Corfu today has put the owner of a sewer facility management company in the unusual position of defending his employee's free speech rights.

Kenneth G. Scherrieble, president of the Camden Group, received an unsigned letter that threatened to seek a termination of his company's contract with the Village of Corfu unless one of his employees stops speaking at public meetings.

Camden manages Corfu's wastewater treatment facility and former trustee Al Graham is a Camden manager.

"While Al Grahm (sic) attends board meetings and railroads village business and spews negativity about certain board members," the letter says, "I will consider this brash situation of a huge conflict of business between your company and I will look to generate interest to replace your company. I don't believe that is good business for you or your company!"

In response, Scherrieble fired off a letter today to the trustees that defends Graham's right to participate as a village resident in village discussions.

"I will not be threatened by anyone," Scherrieble writes. "If I lose the Village of Corfu contract because one of my employees exercised their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT, then so be it. But that will be a truly sad day for the Village and for America."

In his letter, Scherrieble notes that Graham's son served in Iraq and Afghanistan and his own son is entering the Marines.

"Why do these young men put their lives at risk?" he writes. "Because they believe in the rights guaranteed to them as a Citizen of this Country. They believe that United States Constitution is a sacred document, and that the tenants within, those Rights given to all Citizens of this Country are worth laying their lives down for. "

There is a regular village board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

April 19, 2013 - 2:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Corfu's budget hearing Thursday night wasn't without its moments of conflict.

Newly elected Village Justice David O'Connor confronted Mayor Ralph Peterson over an e-mail O'Connor said he received from former village justice Robert Alexander.

The village board and residents also spent several minutes discussing whether the village should continue to have a police force, or what type of department it should have, especially in light of the recent threat of a lawsuit from six police officer employees.

O'Connor was the first to speak and he wanted to know if Peterson played a tape recording of Tuesday's meeting for Alexander.

According to O'Connor, Alexander sent O'Connor a "vile" and "threatening" e-mail and said he had heard a recording of the meeting.

Peterson did have a tape recorder on the table in front of him during the meeting.

O'Connor made some critical remarks of Alexander, particularly in light of the comptroller's audit of the court and the allegation of missing court funds.

Among O'Connor's pointed remarks was that court commission officials don't often worry about the courts around the state, but they wake in the middle of the night with worry about Corfu's village court.

Peterson denied playing the tape for Alexander.

"I've gotten no control over what other people do," Peterson said.

There was a person at the meeting using a Droid tablet to video record the meeting.

As for the police department, one resident questioned why the village even needs to employ its own police officers.

Peterson said he's researched whether the village could contract with the Sheriff's Office for village law enforcement and found it's an expensive proposition. The Sheriff's Office would charge the village up to $32 an hour for the hours a deputy would work in the village.

Trustee Art Ianni pointed out that a contracted deputy wouldn't generate the revenue village officers do to help pay for the service.

"I'm not a big fan of the Corfu ticket-writing machine, but are deputies going to write 100 tickets a week?" Ianni said.

Trustee Keith Busch said on average, deputies won't respond as quickly to a complaint as an on-duty village police officer responds.

Trustee Ken Lauer suggested that the village go to a department with one full-time officer and two part-time, which could solve some of the current conflicts within the department about work hours.

The entire discussion seemed prompted by the threat of a lawsuit over an alleged violation of civil service law.

There was also some confrontation over Peterson's pay.

The mayor's budget is $5,700, which includes $1,500 for mayoral training.

"Obviously, I need it," Peterson said.

Resident Greg Lang wondered why, if Peterson is new on the job, why is he being paid the same as former mayor Todd Skeet? Lang pointed out that the trustees cut O'Connor's salary by $2,000 annually because he's new in the job.

When asked if he would take a pay cut, Peterson said flatly, "no."

Ianni said none of the trustees are taking a pay cut.

Lang wanted the mayor's pay put to a vote, but none of the trustees made such a motion.

Some residents complained that Peterson wasn't taking a pay cut when employees were being asked to take a pay cut, but Clerk/Treasurer Sandra Thomas pointed out that the only employees with pay cuts are employees who came forward and volunteered to take a cut in pay.

The total general fund spending plan for the village totals $682,109. The proposed tax rate is $3.11, up from $2.97.

The trustees meet again at 6:30 p.m., Monday.

April 18, 2013 - 11:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, pembroke, Darien, corfu, east pembroke.

A structure fire is reported 735 Genesee St., Corfu.

Corfu fire along with Pembroke, East Pembroke, Darien and the City's Fast Team all dispatched.

Firefighters on scene say people are still in the house and they're trying to get them out. The fire is at the back of the structure, possibily on a porch.

UPDATE 11:34 p.m.: The City's Fast Team is cancelled.

UPDATE 11:35 p.m.: The fire is knocked down. Crittendon and Akron were also called, but now are cancelled.

UPDATE 12:15 a.m.: Corfu returning to quarters.

April 18, 2013 - 7:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Village of Corfu officials have been notified that five part-time police officers are considering a lawsuit against the village over an alleged violation of civil service law.

Some of the village's part-time officers have been upset that Police Administrator Jim Meiers is not scheduling them for work shifts while scheduling other part-time officers for more than 19.5 hours of work a week.

The officers who have retained legal representation are in what is known as "competitive" positions, meaning they took exams and went through the civil service hiring process. The officers reportedly receiving more work hours were hired on a "non-competitive" basis.

A letter to Mayor Ralph Peterson and village board from attorney Andrew P. Fleming of the Hamburg-based law firm Chiacchia and Fleming, states the village is on notice of a possible suit and should explore whether it is interested in pursuing a settlement.

"We believe that you and the Village Board are familiar with the factual basis for the complaints that our clients have made," the letter states. "In essence, your so-called police administrator, James Meier, has been running roughshod over the rights of our clients in retaliation for their having raised a number of concerns and for their stated intentions of forming a union."

Represented by Fleming are Gene Nati, Richard Retzlaff, Peter Scanio, Michael Okal and Simon Biegasiewicz.

The letter also alleged that one of the clients was threatened because of his political activity.

Fleming also claims that back pay is owed to his clients, without specifying the amount of back pay being sought.

"We urge you and the Board to take a proactive approach to trying to resolve the problems that have arisen in your Police Department," Fleming writes. "It is my opinion that things are out of control, but that sound leadership can restore some semblance of balance in the future."

The board is holding a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the village's proposed budget.

April 16, 2013 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

It was pretty much back to business as usual Monday night in the Village of Corfu, which should be good news for residents concerned about the possible loss of the village clerk and assistant.

Sandra Thomas, the village clerk/treasurer and Denise Beal, assistant, returned to work Monday, following a week of turmoil sparked by an incident between the two employees and Mayor Ralph Peterson.

Thomas had no statement about her return to work, but smiled and said yes when asked if she was glad to be back.

In a budget meeting Monday, the trustees got down to business and, compared to a board meeting a week ago, there was much less rancor and a greater focus on getting work done.

The current budget proposal -- which is still in draft -- would raise the village property tax rate from $2.19 $2.97 per thousand to $4.20 per thousand.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday.

The meeting opened with a presentation by Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC. Earlier this year, Masse learned that a new grant became available through the USDA's Office of Rural Development for certain types of job creation projects.

The planned expansion of the village sewer treatment plant in conjunction with the Town of Pembroke is a qualifying project.

The expansion at cheese maker Yancey's Fancy depends on the sewer project, Masse said.

"We really need the sewer project," Masse said.

The board approved applying for the $99,999 grant ($1 less than $100,000, Masse said, because the scoring of the application goes down with that additional dollar).

The section of the budget discussed was the Village Court.

Newly elected village justice David O'Connor (top photo) made it clear right away he wasn't happy with Peterson's proposal to eliminate the full-time court clerk position and replace it with two part-time positions.

"With the case load we have, we should have one full-time and one part-time clerk," O'Connor said. "The paperwork with one traffic ticket is about an inch high and if you don't get it right, it's not fair to the people and guess who it all falls on? Me."

The Pembroke Town Court has two full-time clerks to handle 3,400 cases a year. Corfu's case load is 2,600.

O'Connor praised current clerk Pam Yasses and said she is doing an outstanding job of handling court business by herself.

Yasses said there is minimal need for a part-time clerk, but she would like to have help on court night.

At the request of O'Connor, Peterson reappointed Yasses as clerk. If the budget is approved, the position will be full time.

Some residents questioned and pushed back on the idea that O'Connor will only be paid $15,000 this year when last year the justice was paid $17,000.

O'Connor said several times, "I'm OK with $15,000."

During the discussion, Yasses noted that in 2011, the last year Brandi Watts served as clerk, the court collected $221,144, while in 2012, the first full year Yasses handled court duties, ticket fines jumped to $309,726.

Watts is the daughter of former justice Robert Alexander.

A comptroller's audit alleges that at least $10,000 was missing in 2011 from the court's treasury, but some village residents fear the number could be higher.

There was also concern, noted in the comptroller's audit, that Watts often wasn't in the office when people came in to pay traffic fines.

A special prosecutor is now overseeing the State Police investigation into the alleged missing funds.

Perhaps the most contentious issue of the evening had to do with the police department and how administrator Jim Meier is scheduling work hours for all of his part-time officers.

Recently, part-time officer Gene Nati has complained that the officers hired through the civil service process (competitive hires) are being given almost no hours, while non-competitive hires are being given, in some cases, more than 19.5 hours per week.

Nati brought the issue to the attention of Karen Marchese, HR director for Genesee County, complaining that civil service law prevents non-competitive employees from working more than 19.5 hours a week when there are competitive employees on staff.

Marchese wrote a letter to Peterson on April 10 informing him that working non-competitive staff more than 19.5 hours a week is a violation of the civil service law.

At a meeting on April 10, Nati demanded the mayor enforce the language of the letter immediately, requiring Meier to start scheduling more hours for competitive employees.

"Karen Marchese may have some ax to grind against the village," Meier said.

Peterson gave Meier until Monday (yesterday) to bring forward information that would back his position.

According to Peterson, he spoke with Marchese yesterday (she reportedly retired Friday), and Marchese stood by her letter of April 10. (UPDATE: County Manager Jay Gsell said this morning that Marchese's last day was yesterday.)

"I would like us to come into compliance," Peterson said. "In my position, I'm the one who got the formal letter saying we're not in compliance. It's my name on the letter. I would like to be in compliance until it's resolved."

Meier asked for more time, saying Marchese did not return his calls all last week and other people who can help provide information that will back his position have not returned his calls.

He said if he starts scheduling competitive employees for more hours, and the non-competitive can't work more than 19.5, the village will be left without police protection at times, because the competitive employees often call in sick.

County officials have been aware of what Corfu has been doing for a long time, Meier said, and nobody at the county raised a red flag until this month.

"The fact is, we've been scheduling non-competitive employees for more than 19.5 hours a week for four years and it hasn't been an issue until a lone person went to Karen Marchese last week and complained," Meier said.

Trustee Art Ianni expressed concern that this issue was being used to undermine the authority of the police administrator.

In the end, Peterson agreed to give Meier until May 1 to either get another opinion the village can rely on or change his scheduling practices to comply with Marchese's opinion of civil service law.


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