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September 29, 2015 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

A series of daylight residential burglaries has swept through the Town of Darien, reports the Sheriff's Office, and officials are asking for citizen help in thwarting the criminals.

In a statement from Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, the office is asking that residents who see vehicles driving slowly through neighborhoods, stopped along the side of the road, or unfamiliar people walking down driveways or emerging from fields or wooded areas, be reported immediately.

Suspicious activity can be reported by calling 9-1-1 or (585) 343-5000.

Vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers are helpful if they can be obtained without risk.

There were three burglaries on Route 77, Darien, on Thursday and another was reported on Route 20 yesterday.  

Brewster said these crimes mirror similar reports in Erie and Wyoming counties, where jewelry and weapons have been stolen.

September 29, 2015 - 7:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in centennial committee, centennial celebration, batavia.


The Batavia Centennial Committee and its Legacy Sponsors are ready to present a gift to the city that LeAnna DiRisio, director of Vibrant Batavia, says will stand the test of time -- a sundial.

The sculpture, designed by local architect Ed Smart, would sit in the plaza in front of City Hall. The $15,000 to $20,000 expense is being paid for by the contributions several local businesses made to the Centennial Celebration as "Legacy Sponsors."

There's no expense to the city, but the City Council must approve placement of the sculpture on city property. The council will vote on the proposal at its next business meeting.

Made of steel and teak, with stainless steel lettering, DiRisio said the sculpture will be virtually maintenance free.

"The materials are solid," DiRisio told the council Monday night. "It will last a long time."

The committee hopes to start installation by the end of October and finish the project in early November so it's in place as the city wraps up its year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the city's incorporation.

September 29, 2015 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barry Miller, bergen.
The Bergen Fire patch with Barry Miller's Line of Duty Death black band that has been common on Facebook the past few days.

Miller's funeral service is at 11 a.m. at Pearce Memorial Church, 4322 North Buffalo Road, North Chili.

Click here for his full obituary.

The death of Barry Miller has affected many people in Genesee County, not just his fellow volunteers in the fire services or in the close-knit community of Bergen.

In stores, during public events, at coffee shops and restaurants, on social media, it's what people have been talking about.

Shock, grief and an understanding that our community has lost somebody who made a daily, positive contribution are the thoughts and emotions people are dealing with.

Barry Miller touched a lot of people throughout the county.

"Over the past 10 years, knowing Barry has been one of my more cherished relationships I've been able to develop," said Batavia City Manager Jason Molino.  

Molino first got to know Miller through Leadership Genesee and their paths cross professionally many times over the years, including during meetings and discussions about the city's ambulance service in 2009.

Molino remembers Miller was just a very caring and dedicated person with real sense of esprit de corps.

"He was very gung-ho and very supportive of the community as a whole," Molino said. "Some people have a gift for giving and I think Barry was one of those people. It was something he really valued and something he took a lot of pride in and I think it showed in the outpouring for him and for the Bergen Fire Department."

If gusto for life is measured by how much you do with it, Miller's cup was never half empty. He owned a successful cabinet-making business and a vacation lodge in the Adirondacks, served on town council, was deeply involved in the Bergen ambulance service, was a county coroner and organized or participated in numerous county events. Through all this, hundreds of people in Genesee County came to know Miller as a kind, fun and caring man.

"He lived life the way you should try to live it," said Rusty Breton, a local contractor and another fellow graduate of Leadership Genesee. "He was like a little headlight on a good way to get through life."

Miller was a mentor to many -- all of the people he helped get through EMT training in Bergen and to more than one new county coroner, including Karen Lang.

"If you came into this and didn't already love the coroner thing, he would make you love it the way he loved it," Lang said.

Lang said Miller was fascinated by the details of the job. Lang and others we've spoken to about Miller's coroner's work said he was fastidious about the details, never wanting to overlook anything that might be relevant to a case, and he was fascinated by the nuances and variances of each case he handled.

"We talked to each other all the time about our cases," Lang said. "I'd text him or he would text me, 'I've never seen anything like this before.' We knew each other would appreciate it."

Lang and Miller went to coroner conferences together, eager to learn and share knowledge.

"He always told me if I got stuck on something, I could call or text him anytime," Lang said. "It could be 10 a.m. or it could be 3 a.m. and he would always answer right away."

Social media has been packed with tributes to Miller, with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people changing their avatar to a copy of Bergen fire's arm patch with a black band and white letters reading "L.O.D.D. 9/23/2015" (Line of Duty Death). 

Retired deputy Dan VanValkenburg posted such a tribute in part because he's one of the people Miller inspired to become a volunteer EMT. For VanValkenburg, Miller is the second closest associate he's lost in a LODD. He wrote on Facebook: 

On one of the worst days of my professional career, I was sent to the home of Deputy (Frank) Bordonaro to meet his wife after his tragic death on July 8, 2014. Although that didn't transpire, I only received comfort from the county coroner who arrived on scene for the pronouncement of his death. Barry walked me through it after I sobbed at the loss of my friend. I now mourn him after his tragic death. He helped me obtain my EMT certification earlier this year and I hope to make him proud. I will miss you and god speed to your heavenly journey.

Deputy Chris Parker worked with Miller both on cases involving real loss for friends and family and the imaginary loss of DWI drills at area high schools. Miller, Parker said, was always a ready volunteer to play the part of coroner at a fatal DWI crash at any high school in the county, and whether on a drill or in the event of an actual death, Miller was professional, compassionate and cared about the details.

"He was meticulous," Parker said. "He was good at being able to sit down with the family and get to know that person to make sure he did his job correctly and that he honored the person and was true to that person. It seemed that way for every call he went on."

Miller was a man of many talents. Anybody who has seen the podiums and desks and media centers that came out of Miller Millworks knows how he had finely honed his craft. Those who served with him politically and in community service say he was adept at dealing with any situation he might confront. He also ran a heck of an inn, according to those who have stayed at the Beaver River Lodge.

"I don't think there wasn't anything he couldn't do," Lang said. "All of these people who think he was so amazing don't even realize a quarter of the stuff he could actually do."

Breton stayed at the lodge several times, usually in winter during snowmobiling trips. The lodge is an old resort well off the beaten path, the way Breton described it. In the winter, it was a seven-mile snowmobile trip to get to it, but on weekends that Miller was going to have guests staying there, he would leave work on Thursday, haul propane and beer and food those seven miles and de-winterize the place and get it ready for guests.

The lodge could accommodate 30 guests, though there were seldom that many for winter stays, Breton said, but it was usually booked full on summer weekends.

Annually, Miller donated a stay at the lodge to the auction of Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia, which helped raise money for the Child Advocacy Center. It was always a popular auction item.

"It was an awesome place and it was awesome because of Barry," Breton said.  "He made it awesome. I don't know that anybody could do it the way Barry did it. Most people aren't wired like that. He made you feel like you were staying in your own place."

Though as contractor and cabinetmaker, Breton and Miller frequently did business together, Breton said he's most going to miss Miller as a friend.

"As I've gotten older, I understand better how important it is to surround yourself with quality people," Breton said. "You could bounce ideas off of Barry. Whatever your struggle was, business, family, life, whatever your struggle, you could bounce it off him and he would just have some wisdom for you."

Lang felt much the same way. There was hardly a day since she became a coroner that she and Miller didn't at least text each other, always about what cases they were working on or new things they were learning.

And Barry always answered immediately.

Until last Wednesday morning.

At 7:40 that morning, Lang learned a Bergen ambulance had been involved in an accident. She knew Miller might be on that accident, so she sent him a message.

No response.

"Please text me and tell me and tell me you're OK."

No response.

"I knew it was him," she said. "I knew he was gone."

September 28, 2015 - 4:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider applications for two projects at its board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce plans to purchase and renovate an existing building at 8276 Park Road in Batavia for use of its offices, as well as the County’s tourism office. The total capital investment is $930,000. The project will retain six jobs and create one part-time position. 

Reinhart Enterprises, Inc., plans to add 16,000 square feet of additional warehousing space to its current location at 36 Swan St. for its growing distribution center. The capital investment is approximately $600,000 and the project is expected to create six new jobs. 

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

September 28, 2015 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia.


It's amazing what a bit of new carpet can do to freshen up a room, especially when what you're replacing is 20 years old and been trod upon by hundreds of thousands of feet, but the interior of the Richmond Memorial Library has a whole new feel to it after being close for two weeks for some renovations, including new carpet. 

Workers covered 26,000 square feet of floor space in that span of time.

“This is part of the massive capital improvement campaign that was approved by Batavia City School District voters in 2013,” said Library Director Bob Conrad (pictured). “When I started here in July 2014, the roof was already being replaced. Two ADA-compliant parking spaces and a new driveway were added this summer. We appreciate the public’s patience as those improvements were made.

There’s a lot more to come, like energy-efficient windows and a drive-up book return, but the library will be open through the remainder of the renovation. Just for the carpet, we had to close, because we had to move pretty much everything in sight.”

Moving everything in the library was not a simple undertaking.

“School district crews had to move all of the shelves and desks and furniture to one side of the library so the old carpet could be stripped," he said. "Then as soon as the new carpet was down, they had to put everything back. And then, back and forth again, to do the other side. This was going on upstairs and downstairs simultaneously.

"But before school crews could move anything, library staff and volunteers had to move all of the music and movies and most of the books. We had them in piles and in rows in all of the uncarpeted rooms. It was hectic at times but I’m pretty sure we got everything back in order."

Next on the agenda for the library is expanding media and youth services.

“We’ve budgeted to get some additional shelving to expand the Media collection," Conrad said. "It’s a full 30 percent of our materials circulation, but it does not command a 30-percent share of our floor space. You have to take a merchandising approach to what the community is using and let popular collections grow.

"And we’re looking at ways to bring console video games into the library, in a limited way at first. The people who ask us for video games are not who you probably imagine, kids and teens and such. They are adults in their 40s and 50s. We seem to be overdue for their inclusion.”

Conrad reminded parents that the library is still a great place for after-school study help. Children under 10 must be accompied by a parent or supervising adult.

“We have a certified teacher in the library every day after school – she’s there for crowd control as much as for homework help, that’s just how busy we are," Conrad said. "And we have an expanded Youth Services team in place, led by our new Youth Services Librarian, Andrea Fetterly. Andrea was our Teen Librarian until very recently.

"When we had two Children’s librarians resign in rapid succession, I asked Andrea, who has a degree in Child and Adolescent Development and years of supervisory experience, to schedule herself in the Children’s Room and supervise the team of Library Associates I assembled to get us through the Summer Reading Program. That left the Teen Corner unstaffed for some of the summer, but Children's Services are the higher priority.

"Now, it’s counter-intuitive, but putting Andrea in charge of both areas actually allowed us to bring on more hands to cover both service points, at no extra cost. We were able to double the number of Library Associates on staff by provisionally appointing Katie Elia to a full-time position at our board meeting last week. She’s been with us for nine years on a part-time basis, and has her background in Psychology and Social Services to families and children.

"She joins Kelly March, who’s been with us nearly as long and is formerly the director of the Corfu Free Llibrary. Finally, we retain two part-time recruits, one of whom is a library graduate school student at the University of Buffalo – a future Children’s Librarian in the making. The goal is to expand on Teen and Children's programming, and to keep that Teen Corner more consistently staffed after school and in the summer.”

After-school programs will include craft projects, supervised computer gaming, Lego Club, Coder Club, Chess Club, and pick-up matches of collectible trading card games like Yugioh and Magic: The Gathering.

“But nothing’s on the calendar yet!” Conrad said. “We went right from Summer Read to being closed for renovations, and the staff appointments weren’t finalized until last week. Believe me though, there will be plenty of opportunities for kids to spill glitter on the new carpet -- we're here every day.”

September 28, 2015 - 4:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

From our news partner, WBTA:

Feral cats, a new police station, a gift of a sundial, and the restoration of a "rocket car" are all on the agenda for tonight’s meeting of City Council. A local automobile collectors' group is seeking to restore what is being called a “Rocket Car” developed and built in Batavia almost 80 years ago.

In 1938, Charles Thomas, of Batavia, built an egg-shaped vehicle that many car enthusiasts consider to be very advanced for its time.

David Howe is among the group looking to restore the car.

He says, "The car ended up touring around the country to dealerships as 'the car of the future' and attracted big crowds wherever it went around the country."

During the national tours, Ford liked the car, but since it was so radically different, the company did not think they could retool and make the vehicle.

The group restoring the car knows what needs to be done and plans to put it back together exactly as it was built. Upon completion, the group seeks to present the car to the City of Batavia as a gift.

Tonight, Howe plans to ask City Council for permission to present the car as a gift to the City for public display, highlighting not only its local historic value, but the national history within it as well.

"They're interested in bringing the history back and giving it back to the City of Batavia. I think it could be a real source of civic pride and a good sense of history for our city," says Howe.

City Council meets tonight at 7 at the Batavia City Centre.

September 28, 2015 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake, batavia, elba.

Tammy Kay Zasowski, 47, of Clinton Street, Elma, is charged with attempted petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Zasowski was allegedly found inside a vehicle Sunday she did not have permission to be in by Darien Lake Theme Park security. Upon further investigation, she is a suspect in larcenies from cars in the Darien Lake parking lot on July 26. She was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Jeremy Jamal Barnett, 24, of Brooks Avenue, Rochester, is charged with possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, 4th, conspiracy, 5th and harassment, 2nd. Barnett is accused of stealing merchandise from Marshall's and concealing the store alarm tags with covers. He allegedly struggled with store staff after leaving the story. He was jailed on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

Robert Emery Moore III, 29, of Ridge Road, Elba, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Moore's vehicle was stopped at 8:35 a.m. Sunday on East Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Chris Parker, for allegedly not having a front license plate. He was allegedly found in possession of a small bag of marijuana and a pipe.

Deborah Kristen Dibble, 46, of Shady Lane, Batavia, is charged with falsely reporting a crime, 3rd. Dibble is accused of falsely reporting a crime related to a domestic dispute Sept. 14 while knowing the allegation was false.

September 28, 2015 - 8:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animal shelter, girl scouts, Troop 42110, corfu, pembroke.


Photo and information submitted by Jan Seaver.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 42110, from Corfu-Pembroke, presented the Genesee County Animal Shelter with two kitty climbing trees on Sunday. The girls made the trees for their kitten interactive room, along with some cat toys and blankets. The girls are Cadettes and are earning their Silver Award. The wood was donated by Potter Lumber.

September 28, 2015 - 8:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, red osier, Stafford.

Press release:

After 36 successful years in business, Bob and Noreen Moore, owners of the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford, N.Y., will retire and are seeking a buyer for the restaurant. The Moores are looking to sell their business to an experienced restaurant operator who will uphold their hard-earned reputation and continue employment for their qualified and dedicated staff. During the transition, The Red Osier Landmark Restaurant will remain open and will continue the wonderful quality service the restaurant is known for. 

The Moores purchased the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in 1979 in an effort to refocus their priorities and start a family business. Their sons, Robert and Michael, were 13 and 3 years-old, respectively.

“We moved from a four-bedroom home with an in-ground pool in Greece to a two-room apartment over the restaurant in the country,” Bob Moore said.  “We opened the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant and served 18 dinners the first Sunday we were in business. Today, we see 1,500 dinners through the kitchen doors each week, Tuesday through Sunday and one ton of beef each week.”

The Red Osier Landmark Restaurant quickly became famous for prime rib dinners, hand-carved tableside, and served to any temperature of the customer’s choice. The restaurant is also known for its Caesar salad, lobster/crab bisque, and banana foster flambé, each presented and prepared tableside. Today, it is the only restaurant in the Greater Rochester Area to offer this dining experience.

The Moore brothers became engrained in the family business early on, with Michael bussing tables by age 10 and serving as general manager as an adult. The eldest, Robert, also immersed himself in the business and successfully owns and operates Red Osier kiosks and concession stands as well as Red Osier Ridge Road Catering.

Red Osier kiosks and concession stands including The Greater Rochester International Airport, Total Sports Experience, Frontier Field and Red Osier Ridge Road Catering are not for sale and will continue their operations. 

For years the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant has hosted a popular annual “Christmas in November” promotion, selling gift certificates as “buy $50 and get $20.” In light of the transition, the Moores will temporarily suspend the promotion this year as well as the sale of all gift certificates.

The Moores' retirement and the sale of the business is bittersweet for a family who has spent nearly four decades serving the Greater Rochester area, but according to Bob Moore, it is time.

“We are incredibly grateful to our employees, many of whom we consider our extended family, our loyal customers and the community for their support, friendship and patronage over the years,” he said. “But after 36 years in business and 52 years of a happy marriage, it is time for Noreen and me to enjoy our retirement with our family.”

The Moores look forward to another busy fall season ahead. With the exception of gift certificate sales, the Moores' intend to continue with business as usual until an experienced restaurant operator expresses interest in buying the business.

The price of the business is not being made public. Those interested in pursuing details about the sale of the restaurant, please contact Mike Kelly at Transworld Business Advisors, 716-201-0552.

September 28, 2015 - 8:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in nature.


From Jim Burns.


From Michelle Caballero.

September 27, 2015 - 11:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nature.


Shot at 10:48 p.m., ISO 12,500, 1/160 f2.8

The shots below taken at various settings over the course of the eclipse's progression. Shooting at 200mm and then cropping tightly in Lightroom.









September 27, 2015 - 11:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Notre Dame, pembroke.


The Notre Dame Fighting Irish played their homecoming game under the lights Saturday night, defeating the Pembroke Dragons 34-7.

The Irish are now 4-0 on the season and alone atop the Genesee Region standings, with Attica losing this weekend to University Prep. 

Notre Dame and Attica square off Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in Attica.

Against the Dragons, Notre Dame amassed 383 total offensive yards, with 360 coming on the ground. 

Jack Sutherland had 26 carries for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Peter Daversa added another 74 yards and a TD on 10 carries. Etan Ozborne had a rushing touchdown and 33 yards on five rushes.

Connor Logsdon was 3-6 passing for 23 yards, no TDs and no interceptions.

For Pembroke, Reid Miano was 6-12 passing for 105 yards and a TD. Jake Jasinski had 18 rushes for 21 yards. Zack Swank had four receptions for 93 yards. Zach von Kramer had Pembroke's lone TD reception.

On defense, C.J. Suozzi had six and a half tackles, Jake Weatherwax and Etan Ozborne had four apiece. Ozborne also had a sack. For Pembroke, Brian Seweryniak had seven, Dylan Miserantino six and a half, Brandon Kowalski, six, von Kramer, five and a half, and Jack Thomas, five.


At halftime, Notre Dame honored Bill Sutherland, a former head coach who won 111 games, eight GR titles and four Section V titles in 23 seasons. He's been with the school for 41 years. He's a member of the Notre Dame High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the Section V Football Hall of Fame. Standing alongside Sutherland is his nephew, running back Jack Sutherland. Presenting the award is current Head Coach Rick Mancuso along with Athletic Director Mike Rapone.






To purchase prints, click here.

September 27, 2015 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Photo by Howard Owens
Story by Amanda Dolasinski, 
The Fayetteville Observer
Story republished with permission


Less than four seconds after Sgt. Shaina Schmigel jumped from a C-17 as part of a nighttime airborne operation, she was being dragged behind the aircraft. She became entangled in the next jumper's suspension lines and died of severe neck injuries.

Schmigel, 21, was killed after she jumped with a T-11 parachute at Holland Drop Zone on May 30, 2014. An investigation into her death found the most glaring error was the jump master's failure to inspect the static lines of her parachute.

Schmigel was an intelligence analyst with the 37th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. She joined the Army in 2010 and had been assigned to 2nd Brigade since June 2011.

Paratroopers administered first aid when they found her on the ground, but she was declared dead at the drop zone.

Changes in airborne operations were formed from recommendations made by investigators after Schmigel's death, said Master Sgt. Patrick Malone, a spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division.

"This accident was thoroughly investigated, and the entire airborne community has implemented measures that will mitigate the probability of similar accidents happening in the future," he said. "Airborne operations are inherently high-risk, and we are committed to ensuring they are executed as safely and effectively as possible."

News of Schmigel's death has been hard to process for her mother, Karie. The two were close, and Karie had just left Fort Bragg after spending Mother's Day weekend with her daughter.

The day following Schmigel's fatal jump, Karie said she knew something wasn't right.

"I was trying to call her that day," Karie said from her home in New York. "I went to call Shaina. Voicemail, voicemail, voicemail."

Karie stepped outside her home to continue calling. That's when she said the men in uniforms pulled up.

"I'll never forget that," Karie said, sobbing. "I'm like, 'No, not my baby girl.' I knew right away."

Maj. Gen. John Nicholson, then-commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, ordered an investigation into Schmigel's death in June 2014.

The nearly 300-page investigation includes airborne operation briefings and manifests, interviews with witnesses and flight data.

Investigators said there is no evidence that the aircrew, aircraft or weather contributed to Schmigel's death, but there were several areas of negligence that needed to be addressed as safety factors, according to the report obtained by The Fayetteville Observer through the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The report found:

Following the death, the safety who failed to check Schmigel's static line was recommended to be permanently decertified from duties as a jump master. That person's name is redacted in the report.

The status of the safety was not current at the time of the airborne operation. The safety was out of compliance by five days for completing baseline certification, according to the report.

The safety also skipped the jump master briefing before the operation the day of Schmigel's death, according to the report.

Investigators made eight other recommendations to correct or improve operations and procedures surrounding airborne operations.

Investigators also found the airborne operations called for two safeties per door, but that's not what happened on Schmigel's flight. One "simply stood by" as the other worked, according to the report.

Another concern about the safeties was that all four safeties on the aircraft -- two on the right door, two on the left door -- were rookies, performing their first duties as safeties, according to the report.

Investigators recommended the Advanced Airborne School direct safeties be paired with a more advanced jump master. Also, no more than half of the safeties assigned to a flight can be on their first duty, according to the report.

Safeties also must inspect static lines all the way down to the curved pin protector flap, which protects the main curved pin until it is activated to release the parachute. One of the safeties told investigators that static lines were only inspected to the pack tray, not to the protector flap that covers the pin.

Investigators believe Schmigel's static line was loose and became caught under the protector flap. Since the flap did not open, the main curve pin could not deploy, therefore delaying the release from the pack tray.

A main curve pin's failure to deploy is "a single point of failure," meaning every action after the failure also will not occur, said Maj. Craig Arnold, commander of Fort Bragg's Advanced Airborne School.

After the pin deploys, the deployment bag is released, risers are stretched outward and the parachute inflates.

Jump masters had never seen a curve pin failure due to loose static lines before, and therefore didn't know it was a deficiency, Arnold said.

Arnold, who said he has reviewed the investigation into Schmigel's death, said jump masters took note of the deficiency and immediately began inspecting static lines all the way down to the curve pin protector flap.

Static lines can become loose as a jump master runs his or her fingers under them or, if paratroopers are sitting in a C-130, the paratrooper gets stuck in the netted seat, Arnold said. As a second line of defense, riggers are called to inspect the static lines after the jump master to ensure the lines are tight and not caught under the flap, Arnold said.

"Now that we have identified (the deficiency), we put proper measures in place to prevent it from happening again," Arnold said.

Another immediate change was an update by the Advanced Airborne School requiring jump masters to check the universal static lines modified three times. A memo released by the school in June 2014 includes a note in all capital letters: Do not rush the inspection of the universal static line modified in order to make time to exit paratroopers.

The airborne operation on May 30, 2014, was designed to increase jumper proficiency and increase proficiency in airfield clearance missions. The paratroopers were to be dropped onto Holland Drop Zone, practice seizing the airfield, conduct accountability of personnel and equipment, then redeploy to Fort Bragg.

The training mission began at 1 p.m. with the jump master briefing in the 37th Engineer Battalion conference room. Both safeties who worked on the right door -where Schmigel was positioned - missed the briefing, according to the report.

One of the safeties told investigators he missed the briefing because he was on a jump follow-on mission at the time and was back briefed by his commander. The other safety did not offer a reason for missing the briefing, according to the report.

Paratroopers conducted sustained airborne and mock door training at Green Ramp at 4:30 p.m. About two hours later, the paratroopers picked up their parachutes and were inspected by jump masters.

Paratroopers loaded the C-17 about 7:30 p.m. for the scheduled drop at 9:30 p.m., according to the report.

When the paratroopers stepped on the aircraft, the seat configuration didn't match the original plan, so four jumpers switched to be part of the plane's first pass rather than its second.

Schmigel was among those four.

She was initially supposed to be the 20th jumper but was moved to be the 16th jumper.

Photos taken as evidence show that Schmigel's combat equipment was rigged properly, according to the report.

When the appropriate commands were given, jumpers began to exit the aircraft. About halfway through, a gap opened, causing jumpers - including Schmigel - to "rush" the door, according to the report.

Because it was dark, the other jumpers didn't realize at the time that had been a problem.

In just two seconds from the time Schmigel jumped from the C-17, her static line became caught under the main curve pin protector flap, causing a delay in her T-11 parachute's deployment sequence. She became a towed jumper, meaning she was being dragged behind the aircraft.

Jump masters can typically tell if a paratrooper becomes towed based on the position of the static line after the jumper exits the aircraft. The static line should hit the middle of the door. If it hits near the bottom of the door, the paratrooper is likely being towed.

Once a paratrooper is towed, all jumps are ceased as safeties work to pull the jumper back into the aircraft, Arnold said. If that fails, the safeties will alert the Air Force's load master, who informs the pilots so they can move to a higher altitude and adjust their flying pattern to set up a retrieval system to pull the jumper inside the aircraft.

When Schmigel was being towed, her feet were pointing away from the aircraft and the top of her upper body was facing the direction of flight, according to the report. Her weight against the static line would have forced her to be generally facing the ground or rotating slightly to her right or left.

She would have been conscious at this time, according to the report.

About two seconds later, Schmigel became entangled in the suspension lines of the parachute of the 17th jumper.

While she was being towed, Schmigel may have been struck by the pack tray from the 17th jumper, according to the report. That jumper, whose name is redacted in the report, said he or she has no memory of colliding with Schmigel.

The suspension lines from that jumper's rear risers became wrapped across her throat, according to the report. The lines lacerated her neck.

The force pulled Schmigel's head back, causing her to rotate vertically around her center of gravity. As her head was pulled back over her feet, her static line was routed over her right shoulder, according to the report.

The rotation caused her static line to come free of the main curved pin protective flap and deploy as designed.

For a fraction of a second, Schmigel was pulled toward the aircraft by her static line and away from the aircraft by the 17th jumper's suspension lines, according to the report.

Investigators used the blood patterns on Schmigel's clothing and equipment, as well as the suspension lines of the 17th jumper, to determine her laceration was caused by the jumper's suspension lines, not Schmigel's static line.

The force of the suspension lines from the jumper broke Schmigel's neck in three places and dislodged her jaw on both sides, according to the report.

Because there was no blood or abrasions on Schmigel's hands, investigators said the ordeal happened so fast she didn't have time to reach up to yank at the lines caught around her neck.

Once the jumpers landed on the drop zone, two soldiers checked each other for injuries.

"Mainly, 'Are you OK?' 'You good?,' " according to a statement from the soldier. "I was extremely tangled up in my chute and began trying to get everything off."

Simultaneously, the second soldier walked over to Schmigel. That soldier, who is only identified as a male, shook Schmigel's shoulder and noticed the injury to her neck.

He screamed for a medic, according to the report.

"I vigorously tried getting everything off so I could help with whatever was going on," according to the first soldier's statement. "I then saw an unconscious soldier laying on the ground, got close enough to see there was a serious injury on the neck of the soldier."

The second soldier said there was no pulse and it seemed the neck was broken, according to the report.

"I ran to the top of the hill we were close to and began spinning a chem light and was screaming for a medic," said the first soldier.

Schmigel's decision to join the Army surprised her mother, but nonetheless, Karie said she was supportive.

Schmigel was an intelligence analyst with the 37th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, according to officials. She joined the Army in 2010 and had been assigned to 2nd Brigade since June 2011.

Later that year, Schmigel deployed to Iraq with the brigade.

Karie said she didn't know her daughter was in Iraq until she called from the country. Schmigel said she didn't want to worry her mother, so she waited until she arrived safely to share the news of her six-month deployment.

The women would video chat regularly, but it was difficult for Karie.

"I'd see missiles. I'd see huge jets flying over," Karie said. "She'd say, 'Mom, relax.' I'd say, 'I love you, but I gotta go. I don't like this.' "

During her daughter's deployment, Karie mailed numerous care packages filled with treats from home. The beef jerky was usually a greasy mess by the time it arrived in Iraq, but Karie said her daughter enjoyed canned soup and gummy worms. She also sent paper, pens, envelopes and stamps to write home, Karie said.

Two weeks before Schmigel's death, Karie said she debated making the nearly 650-mile drive to Fort Bragg from her home in New York. She wasn't going to make the trip but decided to since she would be able to spend Mother's Day with her daughter.

"We weren't going to go see her," Karie said, remembering the plans. "But she was like, 'Mom, it's Mother's Day. I have time for leave.' "

It was the last time Karie would hold her daughter.

"I'm glad I got to see her," Karie said. "Two weeks later, I lost my daughter."

The next time Karie visited Fort Bragg was for All American Week in May 2015. A group of officers arranged to drive Karie and her family to Holland Drop Zone, where they laid yellow flowers in memory of Schmigel.

"They took us to the drop zone where they said they found her body," Karie said.

During the week, Karie said she met with some of her daughter's friends to share their memories of her. The group went to Schmigel's favorite bar, Cadillac Ranch, to line dance.

Karie danced with the friends but felt an emptiness.

"I think my daughter should have been next to me," she said. "I just miss her."

See also: Paratrooper's death prompts 82nd to implement changes to airborne operations

Previously on The Batavian:

September 26, 2015 - 1:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, history, batavia.


Assemblyman Steve Hawley presents a proclamation today to Jeff Donahue, director of the Holland Land Office Museum, during a rededication ceremony on the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Holland Land Office. 

Dr. Roger Triftshauser, a retired Navy rear admiral and former chairman of the County Legislature, gave the keynote address.



September 26, 2015 - 12:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Genesee ARC, 5K.







September 26, 2015 - 8:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy.


Le Roy and Bath entered Friday night's game at Hartwood Park with identical 3-0 records and tied for the lead in Livingston County Division I, but the game soon proved the simularities stopped there.

Amassing 361 total yards on offense, the bigger, faster, stronger Bath team took control of the game early and never let go, winning with a final of 32-6.

The Oatkan Knights are a good football team. Bath looks unstoppable.

Nick Egeling carried the ball for 119 yards on 18 rushes. Josh Laurie was four for 11 passing for 20 yards.  Dom Filio scored Le Roy's only TD and carried the ball 26 yards on five attempts. Reed Kacur had two receptions for 12 yards. On defense, Egeling had six tackles, Luke Hogle, six and Filio, four.

In other Friday Night Football:

  • Batavia defeated Edison Tech, 42-0
  • University Prep over Attica, 40-26
  • Elba/Byron-Bergen over Oakfield-Alabama, 42-18
  • Cal-Mum over York/Pavilion, 12-0

In today's action, Alexander travels to Holley. Game time is 1:30 p.m. It is homecoming for Notre Dame, so the school has rented lights for a rare night game on its home field. The Fighting Irish host the Pembroke Dragons. With Attica's loss, Notre Dame, at 3-0, sits alone atop the GR league.












September 25, 2015 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC.


UMMC's personnel practiced dealing with a mass casualty scenario today with area high school students filling in as patients. The scenario involved a collapse of bleachers at a sporting event. The primary purpose was for staff to practice triage and workflow in dealing with a large influx of patients into the emergency room (a hallway next to the actual emergency room was used to simulate the emergency room).



The command center.


Personnel in a staging area awaiting assignments if more patients come in.

September 25, 2015 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in county health department.


More than 100 volunteers and staff practiced a mass emergency medical drill today in the Genesee Community College Forum.

Called "Anthrax in Autumn," the drill was designed by the state Health Department and is designed to test the county Health Department's ability to deal with an urgent health and welfare situation affecting a large population of people.

In this case, the hypothetical scenario involved terrorists getting access to the marketing mail distribution of a large financial institution and mass mailing anthrax to population centers in credit card solicitations. 

"There's a high likelihood that because anthrax has been used for a weapon before, it can be used again," said Kristine Voos, public information officer for the county Health Department.

While local officials knew a drill was coming, they were only provided with details of the scenario a week ago.

In a typical real-life situation, the county would expect to have 48 hours to set up the distribution center.

The federal government has numerous locations around the country where the antibiotics needed to treat anthrax are stored. Once a distribution of anthrax is detected, local officials begin to mobilize their resources and the feds deliver the antibiotics. 

Today, the drill was about anthrax, but many of the skills and routines necessary to set up the distribution center would be used in a variety of health emergency situations.

While many of the volunteer patients today were students, members of the community were invited to participate. Upon arrival, they were registered, screened and then taken to a nurse who dispensed the medication with instructions on how it's administered.

For drill purposes, patients could pick either M&Ms or Skittles as a substitute for the antibiotics.

They were then treated to a lunch of pizza.







September 25, 2015 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Blue Devils Hall of Fame, Batavia HS, batavia, sports.

The Batavia Coaches Association hosts the 14th annual Batavia Blue Devil Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner tomorrow Terry Hills Restaurant and Banquet Facility.

Cost is $30 per person. Social hour begins at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6.

Tickets are available at the Athletic Director's Office at Batavia High School. For more information, call 343-2480, ext. 2003.

Below, reproductions of the plaques to be presented and hung at the school.












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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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