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November 12, 2013 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

There are some residents who have been pushing to dissolve the Village of Corfu for a decade, said Trustee Ken Lauer.

Depending on the outcome of a meeting early next month, they may get their chance to take a serious look of what the future would look like without a Corfu municipal government.

At its first meeting in December, the village trustees will hear from a grant writer who will explain what it takes to study whether to dissolve the village.

The cost of the study can be from $40,000 to $50,000, according to Deputy Mayor David Bielec.

While there's grant money available from the state, if the village accepts the grant and then doesn't complete dissolution, the local government will be on the hook for half the cost of the study.

"There's a very good possibility the village won't want to take that kind of chance," Blelec said.

The study will answer, or try to answer, all of the unknown questions of dissolution -- will elimination of the court and police department save money; who will plow sidewalks and pick up yard waste; what other services will be lost; how will it effect sewer payments; what happens to the current village department; and most importantly, can village residents realistically expect lower taxes?

"I think it's a good idea, but until you do the financials, you really don't know," Blelec said.

Lauer is also on the fence.

"Am I for it or against it? I want to see the study," Lauer said. "There's good points and there's bad points as far as I can see. As a citizen I've often said what am I paying for?  If I'm paying $300, $500 a year in taxes to the village, what do I get? The sidewalks plowed. Brush pick-up. That's really about it."

Both Lauer and Blelec said they don't believe the turmoil of the past two years -- from the theft of court funds to the behavior of Mayor Ralph Peterson -- are what's driving talk of dissolution. The idea was already in the air before those issues came up.

"It helped bring it to a fruition, but I don't think it was a cause, a direct cause," Lauer said.

November 12, 2013 - 1:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, corfu.

Power lines are reportedly sparking along Route 77 near Cohocton after a dump truck hit them.

The driver is out of the vehicle.

Corfu fire is responding.

November 6, 2013 - 11:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, corfu, Robert Alexander, Brandi Watts.

It's likely the taxpayers of Corfu may never know just how much money went missing from the Village Court during the years that Judge Robert Alexander sat on the bench and his daughter, Brandi Watts, was his court clerk.

Watts has already reimbursed the village $10,128 as part of her agreement to plead guilty last week to a single count of tampering with government records, a Class D felony.

A report issued yesterday by the NYS Judicial Review Commission says its investigation found more than $14,000 went undeposited in the court's bank acount from Jan. 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.

That's one of the problems with the case, said Special Prosecutor Donald O'Geen -- nobody can agree how much money is missing. The comptroller came up with a different figure and Pam Yasses, the current court clerk, did her own audit and came up with a completely different figure.

At the heart of the judicial commission's review, as it was with the comptroller's original audit, is that the bookkeeping was apparently just plain sloppy during Alexander's administration of the court.

For example, there's more than $51,000 in funds received by the court during the period reviewed by the commission that aren't properly recorded. The commission said there is simply no record of where the money came from.

In 39 out of 50 cash deposits during the time period, the court records and bank documents don't reconcile.

Watts allegedly failed to issue receipts for payments on fines in 379 traffic ticket cases during the review period.

O'Geen said the easiest part of the case to prove against Watts, and what eventually led to her guilty plea, was the paper trail indicating the Watts would charge people paying a traffic ticket by check more than the fine imposed by Alexander. O'Geen said he believes Watts was using that higher charge to back fill for funds she was taking from cash fine payments.

The possibility of more missing money from the same time period isn't likely to lead to new charges against either Alexander nor Watts, O'Geen said. In the case of Watts, it would constitute double jeopardy to charge her for essentially the same crime twice, and for Alexander, there's no indication he ever actually took any money himself.

Alexander is legally liable for any missing funds in the court during his time in office. However, it would be up to the Village of Corfu to decide what it could prove is missing beyond the $10,128 already paid back and any potential higher amount believed missing.

"One of the biggest problems with this case," O'Geen said, "is the records are simply in disarray."

The judicial commission's report also complains that Alexander was reducing the fine amount on traffic tickets and waiving surcharges so that the state wasn't getting its share of the revenue.

More than 2,300 traffic tickets during the review period should have resulted in fines being remitted to the state, but did not, the report states.

O'Geen noted that in just about every jurisdiction in the state, judges routinely reduce traffic violations to a parking ticket with a fine that goes entirely to the local jurisdiction.

To fix that, the state recently added a surcharge to parking tickets, O'Geen said.

The commission also criticized Alexander for hiring his daughter without proper judicial commission approval.

During our conversation, O'Geen also referenced a comptroller's audit in October of the court in the Town of Alexander that found the court failed to maintain good accounting records, with nearly 1,900 traffic tickets still pending that should have been resolved.

The local municipal justice system is broken, O'Geen said.

"They're (Corfu) are not unique and that's part of the problem," O'Geen said. "There's a larger conversation to have that the system is bigger than part-time judges and part-time clerks can handle."

In calling for Alexander's removal from the bench -- Alexander resigned from his remaining court position in Pembroke last week -- the commission used harsh language to criticize the former justice.

The commission said Alexander "failed to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary by failing to maintain high standards of conduct," that he "failed to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety," that he "failed to respect and comply with the law and failed to act in a manner that protects public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary."

November 4, 2013 - 8:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

This letter was distributed today to Village of Corfu residents.

The purpose of this Concerned Citizens Committee’s letter is to distribute important information so all of you are aware of the following issues with Mayor Ralph Peterson. We believe that his actions reflect poorly on our village and do not provide us with an honorable and respectful form of governance.

  • Harassment complaints filed by Sandra Thomas, Village clerk, and Denise Beal, Deputy Village clerk; Cease & Desist notification sent by Mark Boylan, Village attorney.
  • August 6 – a 2-page FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request for 13 items sent to mayor. No response as required by NYS law.
  • False claim of racism allegedly from Mayor Peterson against Ms. Ware apparently in retaliation for her reading the above August 6 document into the public record on behalf of the 17-member committee.
  • Two requests from the Village board calling for his resignation – no response.
  • August 21 letter to the Village board requesting an investigation of possible mal, mis, and nonfeasance.
  • Missing numerous Village meetings without his submitting a written request for excuse for medical leave – he is apparently still going to work and still going out to Muckdog events and OTB /Batavia Downs. Is he still getting paid for a no-show job?
  • Using his personal e-mail account to conduct Village business. This mailbox is full; relevant and possible critical documents are being sent back to senders. How can the Village board on behalf of you, the residents & taxpayers, conduct business??
  • His behavior is inexcusable and incredibly disrespectful. His campaign promise was to stop the personal attacks. Why then does he repeatedly, during Village meetings, refer to trustee Ken Lauer as Ken LIAR?

Respectfully submitted, the Concerned Citizens Committee Members:

Jenny McMartin, Nicholas Skeet, Al Graham, Debbie Graham, Jean Marsick, Pam Ware, Todd Skeet, Lois Ingalsbe, Mary Ellen O’Connor, Richard DeGrood, Doris Matteson, Sandra Szumigala, Charles J. Lenhard, James A. Rupracht, Lori L. Rupracht, Ryan J. Rupracht, Jennifer Eck.                                             

November 1, 2013 - 8:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

Trustee Ken Lauer sent The Batavian the following statement following an e-mail conversation about the guilty plea yesterday of Brandi Watts, the former court clerk in Corfu who falisfied court documents to help her steal more than $10,000 from the village. Lauer was reacting to statements by Special Prosecutor Donald O'Geen about the conviction marking a new day, a day to move forward, in Corfu.

I'm a pretty pessimistic guy and I don't really agree with this as a close of a period nor the moving on statement. We have already been moving on and as a community we stood up to the bullies and their abuse of public funds, property and personnel. Justice is always slower. The issue of Peterson is still not done. The wasting of close to $50K in public funds just by the village for legal services related to Alexander, Watts and Peterson is far from covered by the $10K she paid (Note: The Comptroller office did not audit her entire term as court clerk. They only did November 2009 through February 2011. I'm sure a larger audit and call to the public would uncover more but I doubt that the cost could be justified). The amount that this circus has cost the taxpayers of Genesee County and NYS in audits, law enforcement and legal costs I'm sure exceeds what the village paid. And that doesn't account for the lost time that could have been spent on other matters NOR the level of distrust that this case has put on the NYS Judicial office and our 'little speed trap' here in Corfu. 

For 22 plus years Alexander ruled Pembroke like a judge Roy Bean. He certainly tried to be on the 2012 ballot for the Corfu Justice post despite the investigation. It was only the unified efforts of citizens in Corfu that kept him off the ballot as he tried for both the Dem. and Rep. endorsement. Not Albany or the NYS Judicial system. However, to put all the blame on the former judge is not entirely fair. Corfu is not an isolated incident of abuse. Instead it is a perfect example of a problem that often occurs in NYS with courts and fines because there are gaps and "special keys"  in the system that can tempt even the most honest of civic officials. We as individuals need to pressure Albany to fix this. We need to trust that our money is being properly appropriated by government officials.

As a community, we still have work to do cleaning up the issues Alexander, Watts and Peterson have created for the village and it is not going to happen overnight. Restoring a trust lost is a very hard thing to do and it will take time. Two of the three are now out of power positions. The third is still an issue that has not been forgotten. Thankfully citizens of Corfu and Pembroke have been coming to meetings now and are more involved than ever in the operation of the local government. Involvement is the only way to understand what is going on and it promotes official integrity. 

Personally I'm thankful that certain individuals in the NYS Troopers and State Comptrollers office took this matter seriously and investigated. I also appreciate the efforts of Donald O'Geen and Mark Boylan. The efforts of The Batavian and YNN to report the story with integrity have also helped the community deal with a difficult situation and get some restitution…thank you! I'd also express a deep appreciation to the village clerks (Sandy, Denise and Pam) for all they did and put up with during the last couple of years. Their professionalism outlasted all the plots, traps, public/private humiliations and schemes intended to remove them from positions they excel at.

October 31, 2013 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, corfu.
Brandi Watts

The way special prosecutor Donald O'Geen sees it, today should mark a new beginning for the residents of Corfu.

Brandi Watts, the former court clerk at the center of a 20-month-long controversy over missing court funds that has spilled into village politics, issued a check to the village today for $10,128.

She also entered a guilty plea in County Court to one count of tampering with government records, a Class D felony.

If Watts obeys court orders and stays out of trouble for the next 12 months, she can avoid any jail time. She would also be given a chance at a conditional discharge of all 61 counts against her. If she violates her interim probation, she could be facing up to seven years in prison.

The full payment of restitution was "absolutely non-negotiable," O'Geen said. "That was a big component of the plea arrangement."

The guilty plea and restitution puts the cap on a case that O'Geen said dragged on too long because the slow pace of the state's Judicial Conduct Commission.

The commission was called upon more than 18 months ago to review the case of missing funds in the village court following a comptroller's audit that found books had been cooked and money had disappeared.

Watts was the clerk at the time and her father, Robert Alexander, was the village justice.

O'Geen has heard, but hasn't seen (nor is it listed on the commission's Web site) that the commission finally issued a report on its finding within the past few days.

The slow pace of the commission delayed the investigation by O'Geen and state police, which delayed prosecution of Watts.

O'Geen, who is the district attorney in Wyoming County, was appointed special prosecutor because local prosecutors have handled cases -- and were handling cases at the time the investigation started -- in Alexander's courtrooms (he was also a justice in the Town of Pembroke). He did not seek reelection in Corfu last year.

Alexander, who is charged with two counts of coercion and one count of official miscondut, did not appear in court today. He's scheduled to appear Nov. 18. He did officially resign today from the Town of Pembroke justice position, after previously having his cases reassigned and being suspended by the state.

"To me, here's the guy who kind of ran the show, so to be forced out (of office) before he wanted to be is a big deal from a public perception standpoint," O'Geen said. 

Asked if the $10,128 in restitution covers the full amount of money Watts stole, O'Geen indicted it's as close as the government will ever get to the correct amount, if the actual amount stolen is different at all.

"There are records that indicate there could be more money missing, or there could be documents filed just to make it look like there was money collected but there is no money taken," O'Geen said. "The amount we settled on was what the comptroller came up with because that's what we knew we could prove. To be honest, we don't think there's much more missing."

After the comptroller's report about the missing funds was released in January 2012 and what followed was endless turmoil in the village, with then-trustee Ralph Peterson seemingly running interference with the board of trustees on behalf of his friend Robert Alexander.

After a new court clerk was appointed, Alexander asked her to audit the court's books, and when the clerk, Pam Yasses, said she found the same irregularities, Alexander allegedly harassed her (which is at least part of the reason he faces the criminal charges he does).

Peterson was elected mayor and throughout the first half of 2013, he's been accused by his fellow trustees of an endless string of problems for village employees, other trustees and former trustees.

The situation in Corfu has taken on a reputation throughout Genesee County as a soap opera. Readers have recently contacted The Batavian wanting to know when the next installment is going to run.

Two months ago, Peterson took medical leave, reportedly because of stress. He's scheduled to return to his mayoral duties Jan. 2, and since then, there've been no new controversies coming out of Corfu.

O'Geen said there's no reason now for the issue of missing court funds to hang over the village and interfere with village business.

"I think what this does for the people in the Village of Corfu is it puts behind them a period of unrest in the sense this whole thing, as of today, is over," O'Geen said. "This is the first day of the people of Corfu getting their village back and getting back to normal. It's the first day employees do not have to worry about retribution and can move on and get back to doing what they do best, which is provide services for the people of the Village of Corfu.

"If anything, this is kind of a lesson in civics, that people should be more involved, more aware of what's going on, that every vote counts, all of those cliches," O'Geen added. "I wish the Village of Corfu all the best and hope they move forward."

October 23, 2013 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu.

What should Corfu become? That was the question hanging over a village planning board meeting Tuesday evening when an agenda item about rezoning evolved into a discussion about how to boost business and get more people to visit.

The conversation was partly spurred by resident Tsabelle Cyra raising concerns about Dollar General looking for a store location in the village.

"It's ugly," Cyra said. "Did you see the facade of this place. It's not only ugly outside, it's ugly inside. It would do nothing for the esthetics of this village. On weekends, it's just packed with kids and indigent people. Is that what we want image-wise for Corfu?"

Trustee Art Ianni quickly turned the discussion to what it would take to get people to stop in Corfu.

He said one problem in Corfu is the village itself is ugly.

"I'm going to raise my hand and say it's ugly," Ianni said. "Yes, it's ugly."

He had a copy of a 2007 study that offered suggestions for improving the esthetics of Corfu, such as applying design standards, putting in sidewalks, street lighting, landscaping and attractive crosswalks, among other things.

"These are the recommendations of 2007 and nobody's moved on it," Ianni said. "Nobody's touched it and some of it is simple."

Several residents and board members agreed that what Corfu needs is a small grocery store.

"Right now, you have to go 26 miles round trip to get groceries," Dave Stehlar said.

Stehlar thinks a five-acre parcel on the east side of the village would be a good location for a new grocery store and bring people into the village and down Main Street.

The problem is, the owner wants top dollar and won't sell the property in divided parcels.

Cyra said when she worked in one of the state prisons years ago, all of the employees would drive out of their way to come to Corfu because they could get great meat at the grocery store. That kind of quality grocery store is needed again, she said.

The other problem, David Saleh said, based on his discussions with previous grocery store owners, is that the stores always did great in the summer, but business would come to a crawl in the winter. That makes it very hard to stay profitable, Saleh said.

Stehlar pointed out that there are about 10,000 people living in a 10-square mile area around Corfu. Those are a lot of potential customers for Corfu businesses if more of them could be enticed into the village.

One of the problems Corfu faces, Cyra noted, is the perception that it's a speed trap, so people avoid the village.

"Would you go on the record with that?" Ianni asked.

Ianni also raised the idea of exploring historical designation opportunities and maybe the village should bring in somebody to talk with them about that process.

Stehlar pointed out that the now vacant Union Hotel has a lot of redevelopment potential.

Ianni mentioned an article he'd seen about all the success with old building redevelopment in Perry, so maybe Rick Hauser should be asked to share his knowledge on the subject.

Whatever the village residents want to do, Saleh noted, it's going to take more support than the handful of people at Tuesday's planning board meeting.

"All of these things take a commitment of time and effort," Saleh said.

October 22, 2013 - 12:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu.

A man caught his arm in a piece of machinery at Ed Arnold Scrap Processors, located at 2216 Angling Road in Corfu. Employees were able to carry the victim to the front of the facility for medical aid. East Pembroke Fire Department, Mercy medics are responding and law enforcement is on scene. The availability of Mercy Flight is checked.

UPDATE 12:16 p.m.: Mercy Flight in Batavia is unavailable because it is on a call and has another one pending. Mercy Flight Central is deemed too far away. "We'll handle it from here," says a responder at the scene.

UPDATE 12:28 p.m.: The victim is being transported via ambulance to Erie County Medical Center. The East Pembroke assignment is back in service.

October 22, 2013 - 9:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, corfu.

Michael C. Kraatz is indicted on a count of robbery, 2nd, a Class C violent felony, and grand larcney, 2nd, a Class C felony. Kraatz is accused of robbing the 7-Eleven store at 505 E. Main St., Batavia, on Oct. 6, and in the process injuring another person who was not a participant in the crime. Kraatz is accused of stealing cash from the store, regardless of value, by extortion of the victim.

Jon T. Magliocco is indicated on eight counts of rape, 3rd, a Class E felony, and nine counts of criminal sexual act, 3rd, a Class E felony. Magliocco is accused of being older than 21 years old and on at least eight different occasions, engaging is sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with a person less than 17 years old. All but one occasion is alleged to have occurred in a house in the City of Batavia and the other incident was allegedly sexual intercourse in a tent in the Town of Batavia.

Aaron W. Clark is indicted on one count of burglary, 2nd, a Class C violent felony, and 11 counts of criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, a Class E felony. Clark is accused of entering a garage of a house on South Bennett Heights, Town of Batavia, on Aug. 3, with the intent of committing a crime. He is accused of unlawfully possessing eight credit cards and three gift cards.

Patrick M. Hackett is indicted on a count of rape, 3rd. Hacket is accused of being 21 or older and engaging in sexual intercourse with a person less than 17 years old.

Heather D. Stone is indicted on a count of burglary, 3rd, a Class D felony, and a count of petit larceny. Stone is accused of entering a residence on Hebard Road, Town of Le Roy, on Aug. 2 or Aug. 3, 2012, with the intent to commit a crime. Stone is accused of stealing deep cell marine batteries.

Brett C. Bartolotta indicted on a count of DWI, a Class E felony. Bartolotta is accused of driving drunk in the Village of Corfu on July 6. Bartolotta was allegedly convicted of a prior DWI in the City of Rochester in July 2010.

October 15, 2013 - 7:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, pembroke, corfu, indian falls.

Two nearly simultaneous car accidents require the response of both the Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments, along with Corfu and mutual aid from Darien.

At 7:07 p.m. a car-into-house accident, with injuries, was reported at 721 Akron Road. The side porch was "completely taken out and there is substantial damage to the vehicle," according to a responder.

This may connected to a just-prior accident at 878 Gabbey Road where a car reportedly went off the road and there are injuries. The pickup truck involved is said to have fled the scene.

A responder said he was nearly hit head on by the pickup truck believed to be the same one which left the Gabbey Road incident.

Darien Fire Department is requested to aid in shoring up the residence that was struck on Akron Road, wherein one person suffered a hand laceration.

7:35 p.m.: One person is being loaded into a Mercy rig for hospital transport. The natural gas fuel provider is called to the scene since the house that was struck had its gas on at the time of impact.

7:55 p.m.: One person was taken to ECMC. National Grid was also called to the scene.

October 3, 2013 - 6:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, corfu.

Press release:

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council is pleased to announce the winners of its 2013 Accordion Fest Prize Package Giveaway. Winners were drawn at the event on Sept. 28 in Medina:

  • Yamaha Guitar Package from Roxy’s Music – Joyce Kohorst, of Corfu
  • Fall Foliage Excursion for Two from Medina Railroad Museum – Rich Pastuch, of Rochester
  • $25 Gift Certificate from Shirt Factory Café, Medina – Charles Kohorst

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all participants. Proceeds from the drawing support the programs and services of the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!), a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that supports and promotes art and culture in Genesee and Orleans counties.

September 23, 2013 - 4:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, pembroke, Darien, Alabama, corfu, east pembroke, indian falls.

A shed fire (which has also been referred to as a barn) is reported 653 Main Road in Pembroke near South Lake Road. Pembroke command on scene says "there are exposure issues," to a nearby structure. Route 5 and South Lake Road are being shut down. Called to provide mutual aid are: Darien, Corfu, East Pembroke, Indian Falls, Alabama, and Akron.

UPDATE 5:07 p.m.: The fire is knocked down. No exposures involved. They are doing rehab on the shed. Responders still headed to the scene are told to come in non-emergency.

UPDATE 6:13 p.m.: The road is reopened. All responders are back in service.

UPDATE (by Howard): Photos added. No official cause, but it's possibly an electrical fire according to preliminary indications. A van and an ATV were destroyed along with tools.

September 22, 2013 - 5:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield, corfu.

A 9-year-old girl from Corfu lost consciousness following an accident this afternoon in Oakfield and was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital.

After the girl regained consciousness, Samantha Davis started screaming and was screaming as she was loaded onto the helicopter. First responders took her screaming as a good sign.

Samantha was a passenger in a 2010 sedan driven by her mother, Christine A. Davis, 33, of Pratt Road, Corfu.

According to Sgt. James Meier, Davis was driving south on Lewiston Road and started a left-hand turn onto Maltby Road.

Her car was T-boned by a 2012 Ford pickup truck driven by Jon Doran, 48, of Weber Avenue, Oakfield.

Doran, his wife, Kimberly, 46, and son, Cody, 23, all suffered minor injuries and were transported to UMMC.

Christine Davis was transported by ground ambulance to Strong.

She was cited for alleged right-of-way violation.

The investigation was conducted by Deputy Lonnie Nati.

Oakfield fire and Mercy EMS responded to the scene.

(initial report)

September 17, 2013 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke, corfu.

Funeral services have been set for Kevin Doktor, a local businessman killed in a heavy machinery accident Sunday at his home in Corfu.

Doktor owned Doktor's Welding on Route 5 in Corfu and enjoyed auto racing and making his own inventions.

Friends are invited to a time of sharing and memories from 4 to 7 p.m., Friday, at J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home, 2 Bogue Ave., Batavia.

The funeral service is at 10 a.m., Saturday, at Pembroke Community Church, 692 Main Road, Corfu.

(Full Obitutary)




September 15, 2013 - 11:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, corfu, east pembroke.

State Police are continuing to investigate the apparent accidental death of Kevin Doktor, of Boyce Road, Corfu, late this afternoon.

According to what East Pembroke firefighters were told when they arrived on scene, Doktor was operating a CASE Model 1840 skid loader when it became stuck, said Stephen Smelski, assistant chief for East Pembroke.

Doktor's son went to get a piece of equipment at Doktor's nearby house to pull it out and returned to the skid loader with a neighbor.

The 54-year-old Doktor was reportedly caught between the loader's bucket and the front of the seat area of the loader.

Smelski said it appeared Doktor was either trying to repair something or get back into the skid loader when the bucket fell.

There should be safety devices on the loader to prevent such accidents said a neighbor who works regularly with skid loaders. It's not known at this time why such a safety device might have failed.

At this stage of the investigation, State Police are not discussing any details of the incident, but it is being investigated as an accident.

Smelski said when firefighters arrived, they tried to lift the bucket, but the apparent equipment malfunction prevented them from moving it. Even if they had been able to move it, Doktor's injuries were too severe for first responders to have saved him, Smelski said.

Doktor was well known in the Corfu and East Pembroke communities. He owned Doktor's Welding on Route 5.

September 15, 2013 - 4:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, pembroke, corfu, east pembroke, accidents.

A man is reported to be stuck -- "not sure if he's inside or under" -- a bulldozer or some other type of machinery on Boyce Road. Mercy medics are responding along with East Pembroke Fire Department and mutual aid from Alexander. Mercy Flight is on ground standby in Batavia.

UPDATE 4:28 p.m.: "Patient is still trapped underneath a skidster," says a responder from Corfu Fire Deparment, adding that the patient is way back behind the house.

UPDATE 4:29 p.m.: The path back there is problematic because it's likely trucks would get stuck if they tried to drive on it.

UPDATE 4:31 p.m.: They need manpower to go back to the accident site with hand tools. They are to stage at their trucks for now. An investigator is called to the scene.

UPDATE 4:34 p.m.: Mercy Flight is cancelled.

UPDATE 4:35 p.m.: A rep for Case tractor / farm equipment is sought so responders can get information on how to work the machine's hydraulics.

UPDATE 4:41 p.m.: A man is at the scene who is either a rep for Case or who is knowlegable about the machinery in question, but he is told the State Police investigators must complete their work before he go back there.

UPDATE 5:09 p.m.: This is a fatal accident.

September 12, 2013 - 8:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, corfu, bergen.
Kristen Brightenfield James Kavanagh

Kristen L. Brightenfield, of South Byron, and James M. Kavanagh, 23, of Chili, are charged with one count each of burglary, 3rd and grand larceny, 4th. Brightenfield and Kavanagh were arrested following a lengthy investigation by Le Roy PD into a burglary in April 2012 at the old Jell-O Factory, 57 North St., Le Roy.

John O'Shea was arrested for the burglary shortly after it occurred and is currently serving a sentence in State Prison. Brightenfield and Kavanagh are accused of being accomplices. Investigators executed a search warrant at a location in Monroe County and allegedly recovered stolen property. DNA evidence linking Brightenfield and Kavanagh to the crime was also reportedly found at the scene. Both suspects were arraigned and released on their own recognizance.

Rachel Lynne Chatley, 18, of Angling Road, Corfu, is charged with petit larceny. Chatley and a 17-year-old friend (name withheld by the Sheriff's Office) are accused of shoplifting $115.55 worth of merchandise from Walmart.

Christopher John Naugle, 44, of Appletree Avenue, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Naugle is accused of throwing a lit cigarette at another person and hitting that person in the face with it. During the investigation, Naugle was allegedly found in possession of marijuana and a pipe with marijuana inside of it. Naugle was jailed on $300 bail.

September 11, 2013 - 6:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, corfu, infrastructure.

Right now, it's just a big ditch, but eventually it will hold a sewer pipeline that pumps effluent from Pembroke to the the Corfu sewer treatment plant. The $1.7 million project provides for upgrades to the plant, providing Pembroke, the school district and the area's business parks created by the Genesee County Economic Development Center with needed wastewater service. The project is partially funded by Department of Environmental Conservation grants, GCEDC grants and ratepayers. Construction started yesterday.

September 9, 2013 - 7:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, Ralph Peterson.

A concern about spending taxpayer money has prompted the Village of Corfu Board to assign trustees Art Ianni and Keith Busch the task of contacting Mayor Ralph Peterson to find out if he intends to take a leave of absence.

Peterson did not attend Monday's village board meeting.

The village received a copy of a doctor's note Aug. 29 that said Peterson was advised to take a leave of absence through the end of the year, but Peterson has not communicated to the trustees or anybody else official whether he intends to follow the doctor's advice.

There's been no communication from him since.

"We need something signed by him," Bielec said.

Deputy Mayor David Bielec suggested the board have Village Attorney Mark Boylan contact Peterson to clarify the leave of absence situation and reiterate the board's request that Peterson resign from his post.

Ianni asked if he could just contact the mayor himself.

"If you think you can make headway, go ahead," Bielec said.

Busch said rather than spend money on an attorney, both he and Ianni should contact Peterson, he said.

"We don't want to spend too much taxpayer money," Busch said.

He took the same stand on the notion of filing a petition to the Supreme Court to have Peterson removed.

"The court procedure, from what I understand, is very expensive," Busch said.

Bielec said Boylan told him it only has a 50-50 chance of succeeding.

Peterson has been under fire throughout the first year of his first term, being accused of lying to the board, harassing employees, exercising authority he doesn't have and trying to cover up for his friend Robert Alexander. Alexander is a former village justice. His daughter, Brandi Watts, was indicted on grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing more than $10,000 in court funds while working as a clerk for Alexander.

Peterson would continue to draw, by law, his mayoral stipend, while on medical leave. Trustee Ken Laurer said he continues to work at his day job.

Peterson is reportedly suffering from medical issues related to stress. He was reportedly hospitalized for a time prior to trustees receiving his doctor's note.

For prior Ralph Peterson coverage, click here.

September 2, 2013 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, corfu, scott doll.

The murder conviction of Scott Doll, and whether he should have been read his Miranda warnings prior to questioning, will be reviewed by New York's highest court, according to an AP story on the Wall Street Journal's Web site.

The Court of Appeals heard arguments on Tuesday and could issue a ruling within a month.

Doll was convicted in a jury trial May 20, 2010 of murdering Joseph Benaquist, a friend, fellow former corrections officer, and a business partner.

On a cold winter night, Feb. 16, 2009, Doll was spotted by Deputy James Diehl, walking on Lake Road, Pembroke, wearing blood-soaked coveralls and carrying a tire iron.

Initially, Doll reportedly said the blood came from a butchered deer. Investigators were skeptical and questioned him for several hours.

At trial, defense attorney Paul Cambria tried to get Doll's statements thrown out because Doll had not been read his rights. The prosecution countered -- and Judge Robert C. Noonan upheld -- that under rules known as the "emergency doctrine," law enforcement can question a person without reading that person his rights.

The fear, according to the prosecution, was that a person was badly injured and in need of immediate medical attention.

The defense has maintained that without any actual evidence that a person was in fact hurt the emergency doctrine does not apply.

Some of the statements used against Doll where made to a friend who came to the Sheriff's Office on Park Road to talk with him while he was being held there. An investigator was in the room, taking notes during the conversation.

Even if the court rules in favor of Doll, the court would not necessarily order a new trial, but that could be a possible outcome if jurists find that Doll should have been read his rights prior to questioning, or at some point earlier in the investigation.

At trial, evidence against Doll included his blood-splattered overalls, titles and receipts for cars he and Benaquist bought and sold, and his proximity to the murder scene. At the start of the trial, Cambria raised the possibility that one of Doll's sons did the deed, but Doll's son had an alibis for the time of the murder. The prosecution's case largely rested on "if not Scott Doll, then who?"

Doll was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. 

He subsequently beat a jail contraband charge in a trial in City Court over some white powder found in a balloon on his body after his conviction. The powder turned out to be aspirin.

At the time of his arrest in 2009, he was already an announced candidate for mayor in the Village of Corfu. He lost the election to incumbent Todd Skeet.

For our prior Scott Doll coverage, click here.




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