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July 1, 2012 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, corfu.

On my way back to Batavia, after being in Darien this morning, and before being rerouted by Billie out to Alabama for the cornfield fire, I stopped along Ellinwood Road, Corfu, to take pictures of this field of yellow flowers.

Before that, I took pictures of trains at the Colby Road crossing.

July 1, 2012 - 9:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

The following arrests were made by the Sheriff's Office on Saturday night in connection with the Rascal Flatts concert at Darien Lake.

Anna V. Brucket, 18, of  2nd Street, Geneseo, is charged with trespass for allegedly reentering the concert venue after she was previously ejected from the concert.

Justin R. Edder, 30, of Shirley Road, North Collins, is charged with trespass for allegedly reentering the concert venue after he was previously ejected from the concert.

Robert A. Pelusio, 22, of Frostholm Drive, Rochester is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Sheriff's deputies issued tickets to 59 people for alleged possession of alcohol underage 21. The names of the individuals were not released.

July 1, 2012 - 9:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A 20-year-old resident of Mumford died this morning from injuries sustained in an accident on Sumner Road, Darien, last night.

Investigators said that at 9:05 p.m. Casey J. Parnell stepped from the south shoulder of Sumner Road into the roadway for no apparent reason.

He was struck by a 2009 Kia minivan driven by Amanda Cline, 39, of Homer.

The accident was reported at 1516 Sumner Road, at the base of an area known as "The Hill" or "Cherry Hill," and is reportedly a privately owned parking lot favored by many young people going to concerts at Darien Lake.

Parnell's action was described as "sudden."

While the accident remains under investigation, no charges are anticipated.

Parnell, who was flown to Erie County Medical Center by Mercy Flight, succumbed to his injuries at 5:23 a.m.

None of the occupants of the minivan were injured.

Assisting the Sheriff's Office at the scene were State Police, Darien Volunteer Fire Department and Mercy EMS.

(Initial Report)

UPDATED 11:40 a.m.: Added photos from the accident scene this morning of Deputy Ron Meides and Sgt. John Szumigala taking measurements to aid in the investigation.

July 1, 2012 - 12:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A rollover accident with multiple injuries is reported at Route 33 and Wortendyke Road, Batavia.

East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy EMS are dispatched.

UPDATE 12:30 a.m.: Not sure if this is related, but a dispatcher informs a deputy that another deputy "has the subject detained on Wortendyke."

UPDATE 12:33 a.m.: Mercy Flight on ground standby.

UPDATE 12:39 a.m.: Mercy Flight #5 requested to the scene.

UPDATE 12:50 a.m.: Mercy Flight #5 on the ground.

UPDATE 1:02 a.m.: Mercy Flight #5 in route to Strong.

UPDATE 1:08 a.m.: One patient being transported by Mercy EMS to UMMC with a minor leg injury.

UPDATE 1:15 a.m.: East Pembroke back in service. Mercy Flight is on the ground at Strong.

July 1, 2012 - 12:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Le Roy.

A dryer fire is reported at a mobile home on Lake Street, Le Roy.

A Le Roy PD officer reports smoke in the residence.

The occupants are out of the home.

Le Roy Fire Department is responding with mutual aid from Bergen.

UPDATE 12:26 a.m.: Pavilion firefighters are asked to stand by at Le Roy's hall.  The fire is knocked down. Fans requested.

UPDATE 12:35 a.m.: Fire contained to the dryer. No extension. The fire is out.

UPDATE 12:48 a.m.: Bergen back in service.

UPDATE 1:06 a.m.: Pavilion back in service.

June 30, 2012 - 9:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba.

A caller on Pekin Road, Elba, reports that a man is shooting at her house.

The man is described as wearing a black shirt and blue jeans. He has a ponytail.

The caller says she may know the subject and that he appears to have a long gun and a pistol in his possession.

He is approximately 150 yards from the house.

Law enforcement is responding.

June 30, 2012 - 9:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, darien lake.

A car has reportedly hit a pedestrian at an area known at "The Hill" on Sumner Road in Darien.

The location is across from Darien Lake Theme Park and is used for parking by people going to concerts at the performing arts center.

A deputy on scene requested Mercy Flight.

Darien Fire Department and an ambulance being dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 9:12 p.m. Mercy Flight #7 out of Buffalo in route. Traffic being shut down at Sumner and Route 77, and Colby and Sumner. The street address for the location is 1516 Sumner Road.

UPDATE 9:18 p.m.: The Darien chief wants access to the scene blocked for all non-emergency personnel. "I don't want nobody down here. Nobody," he said.

UPDATE 9:24 p.m.: An investigator at scene requests another investigator to respond with a camera. Also, Mercy Flight has landed.

UPDATE 9:28 p.m.: A reporter has shown up. No access to the scene for the media.

UPDATE 9:46 p.m.: Patient being loaded into Mercy Flight #7 now.

UPDATE 9:50 p.m.: Mercy Flight is in route to Erie County Medical Center.

UPDATE 10:01 p.m.: Sumner Road is open and Darien fire is back in service.


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June 30, 2012 - 5:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, education.

A 29-percent graduation rate may not sound impressive, but that rate makes GCC one of the very best community colleges in New York State.

Data complied by Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) shows GCC is ahead of neighborhing schools in Erie, Niagara and Monroe counties for gradutation rate.

CNN reported last week that GCC is among the top 100 community colleges in the nation for either graduating students or helping them get into a four-year school.

According to CNN, 54 percent of GCC's full-time students obtained either a degree or a transfer, tying the school with Herkimer Community College for best student success rate in New York.

“The IPEDS data and follow-up report validate what we are most proud of at GCC — that we are a student-centered institution and we understand that students come to our doors with all kinds of interests, needs and capabilities,” said Donna Rae Sutherland, GCC’s associate director of marketing communications. “At every level of this institution, student success is our primary motivator and it is reassuring to see this culture play out in nationwide statistics and reports.”

Like all community colleges, GCC accepts students from all walks of life with a variety of backgrounds and educational needs. Many of the students are not necessarily focused on either a degree nor moving onto a four-year school.

For those who are, the available data seems to indicate that GCC is among the best schools students can pick, which was the point of the CNN article titled, "Community college: How to avoid 'dropout factories'."

With tuition at four-year colleges skyrocketing, a growing number of high school seniors are looking to community colleges as a low-cost option.

But figuring out which community college will give you the best chance of transferring to your dream school can be difficult. There's very little standardized information out there that students can use to compare community colleges. As a result, many students end up enrolling in the community college that is closest to them, not realizing that a school just a few miles away might be a much better option.

The CNN report is based on data besides IPEDS, but the IPEDS reports support the underlining message of CNN's story.

Here's a chart using the latest available IPEDS data showing how GCC ranks compared to neighboring community colleges:

College Grad Rate Transfer Rate
GCC 29% 26%
Erie 17% 19%
Finger Lakes 30% 19%
Herkimer 30% 23%
Monroe 23% 21%
Niagara 24% 14%

Sutherland said GCC ranks highest, as well, among its peer-group of 30 schools, which are medium-sized, rural community colleges.

"More and more the cat's getting out of bag that GCC does a pretty good job at accomplishing our mission," Sutherland said. "They’re always challenges and we always want to improve. Just as Stuart Steiner always challenged us to improve, President Jim Sunser is following the same path. The culture at GCC is pretty good. We remain focused on the students."

While not all students come to GCC with the intention of graduating or moving onto a four-year school, many who do are not as prepared as they should be for the rigors of a college education, which is another challenge for GCC to overcome.

According to data provided by GCC, 70 percent of GCC’s first-year students require remedial assistance in math comprehension and 36 percent require remedial reading.

Even so, it's not just IPEDS data that shows GCC is outpacing most other community colleges in student success rates.

In April, GCC was one of the top 120 colleges recognized by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and invited to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

GCC was selected for the prestigious competition based on data reflecting rates of graduation, transfer, retention, performance improvement and equity in completion outcomes.

The college submitted the follow-up application in late May. The 10 finalists for the Aspen prize will be announced in September. The prize will be awarded next spring.

The other recent honor for GCC was being chosen for the Voluntary Framework of Accountability.

GCC is just one of 40 community colleges in the nation chosen and the only one in New York.

The VFA selection is based on longer-term outcomes and an improved set of indicators to more accurately measure performance in the areas of community college readiness, student progress and completion, job preparation and employment. The VFA is a collaborative effort with the American Association of Community Colleges, Association of Community College Trustees and the college board with a grant from the Gates and Lumina Foundation.

“IPEDS, Aspen and the VFA -- these are all great indicators that GCC is a great place to get ahead," Sutherland said. "So, while summer may be a good time to relax, it’s also the perfect time to start thinking about the future. We encourage anyone who has ever considered college to visit one of our seven campus locations and consider enrolling this fall.”

June 30, 2012 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A 73-year-old motorcycle rider suffered only very minor injuries Friday after losing control of his bike on a road in Le Roy that had recently been resurfaced.

William J. Smith, of Le Roy, was northbound on Route 19 and turned onto Parmalee Road when he lost control of his bike.

Smith's bike went off the west shoulder and Smith went to the ground with the bike.

He did not require transport to a hospital.

No citations were issued.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Graff.

June 30, 2012 - 4:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

Three people suffered minor injuries leaving the Eric Church concert Thursday night after the car they were in rear-ended two other vehicles.

All three patients were transport by Mercy EMS to UMMC.

Kayrene S. Demster, 56, of 29th Street, Niagara Falls, was northbound on Route 77 near Sumner Road, Darien, at 12:25 a.m. in stop-and-go traffic when she reportedly struck a car driven by Amber Nicole Mathies, 19, of Barker, pushing it off the roadway, and then striking from behind a car driven by Daniel J. Kremer, 47, of North Canal Road, Lockport.

There were four passengers in the vehicles driven by Mathies and Kremer and neither Mathies and Kremer nor their passengers were injured.

Demster suffered a minor injury as did her passengers Elaine C. Mahowish, 60, and Greta L. Maines, 23. The third passenger, Marnie C. Mahowish, 33, was not injured.

No citations were issued.

The accident was investigated by Deputy James Diehl.

June 30, 2012 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Jackson Square.

People of all ages were entertained in Jackson Square on Friday night as Penny Whiskey kicked off the 2012 season of Concerts in the Square.

The calendar of upcoming shows is posted here.

June 30, 2012 - 8:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, pembroke.

A transformer fire is reported at 1145 Main Road, Pembroke.

The location is right in front of the Pembroke Highway Department.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments dispatched.

The fire appears to have burned itself out.

UPDATE 8:49 a.m.: A fire responder says the fire is out. The pole is a little charred.

UPDATE 9:36 a.m.: Power is out for fewer than five customers. National Grid expects repairs to be completed by 12:15 p.m.

UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: The traffic lights at Route 77 and Route 5 will be out for an hour during transformer repairs. A deputy is being dispatched to direct traffic.


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June 29, 2012 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, education.

Osvaldo Succi Jr., center, with Don Brown and Donna Ehrhart were at Genesee Community College this afternoon where a group of faculty and staff completed a week-long course in Portuguese taught by Succi.

The course is part of an exchange program between GCC and Faculdade de Tecnologia de Amercicana in Brazil that will include students, faculty and administrators.

Brown and Ehrhart will travel to Brazil at a later date to teach fashion design.

Succi said he really enjoyed his week in Batavia.

"I was impressed with the community," Succi said "It's very lively, very friendly. I think it is a very lovely place."

He said he hopes the exchange will expand the global view of students from both GCC and Brazil.

June 29, 2012 - 3:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Health Care.

Already burdened by a seemingly intractable unfunded mandate in Medicaid, Genesee County isn't being burdened much by the Affordable Healthcare Act, according to County Manager Jay Gsell.

Even the provisions treating the county as an employer, which have been in effect for two years, Gsell said, have had negligible impact on the budget.

While the act, often referred to as Obamacare, is increasing the size of the pool of local residents who have health care coverage under Medicaid, Gsell said if the state follows through on seeking funding from the federal government, county taxpayers won't be shouldering that burden.

The act requires states to offer Medicaid to people with annual incomes of 133 percent of the poverty rate or less, Gsell said, and NYS already offers Medicaid at 150 percent of the poverty rate.

Also, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already instituted insurance exchanges.

With those two criteria being met, the state should receive funding from Washington to cover increases in Medicaid coverage, if the state applies for it.

The state will cover the increases in administrative costs, Gsell said, for new Medicaid recipients.

Gsell said the new group of people who will be covered by Medicaid have traditionally just gone without medical coverage, meaning they get no preventative care and seek only emergency care that the hospital can only write off as "charity care."

Now these people can establish a relationship with a doctor or clinic, get check ups and physicals and better monitor their health concerns.

"From a community standpoint, I think that's better health care," Gsell said.

June 29, 2012 - 7:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff Gary Maha.

Press release:

Genesee County Sheriff Gary T. Maha announced today that 12 children from the county are attending the New York State Sheriffs' Association Institute's 2012 Summer Camp.

The Sheriffs' Summer Camp is designed to provide a solid recreational program combined with the development of a sense of good citizenship. This will mark the 36th year of the camp's operation.

The Sheriffs' Summer Camp, which is located near Penn Yan in Yates County, is supported by the Sheriffs' Association's Honorary Members through their contributions and annual dues. This year, the camp will accommodate more than 900 deserving boys and girls from across New York State.

Sheriff Maha, in discussing the objectives and goals of the camp said, “The Sheriffs’ Summer Camp Program is designed to provide a child who ordinarily would not have the chance an opportunity to go away during the summer.”

Sheriff  Maha pointed out that, “The primary objective is to create a positive interaction between the kids attending camp and the Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs who participate in the camp programs. We have found from experience during the first 34 summer camps that the kids develop a renewed respect and understanding for the men and women who enforce our laws. The deputies become their friends and, in some cases, substitute parents for a week.”

Throughout the weeklong stay, the children observe special exhibits and demonstrations presented by Sheriffs’ Offices from across the State. Included in these presentations are D.A.R.E. presentations, boat and bike safety programs, law enforcement equipment and technical demonstrations, archery competitions for accuracy, and even a talent show just for fun.

Upon completion of the kids' stay, all children will be awarded a diploma for their participation in a program of “Good Citizenship and Law Enforcement Studies.”

June 29, 2012 - 7:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

The following people were arrested in conjunction with the Eric Church concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday.

Jon A. Naumowicz, 36, of Meadowbrook Parkway, Cheektowaga, is charged with two counts of harassment, 2nd, public lewdness and criminal impersonation. Naumowicz allegedly urinated on a female and then got into a physical altercation with the female and a male acquaintance. When security officers intervened in the physical disturbance, Naumowicz displayed a gold badge and identified himself as a Cheektowaga Police Officer. Investigation revealed that Naumowicz had displayed a gold badge that identified Naumowicz as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician.        

Elizabeth M. Czerniak, 22, of Fairview Drive, Alden, is charged with harassment, 2nd, trespass and criminal trespass, 3rd, for allegedly being in an area that she was restricted from being. When Czerniak was approached by security officers she allegedly fought with security guards.

Jamie D. Doelman, 20, of Fox Trace, Lancaster, is charged with two counts of harassment, 2nd, for allegedly striking two individuals in the face.   

Daniel J. Jankowiak, 23, of North Star Road, East Aurora, is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Jankowiak allegedly interfered and caused a disturbance in the parking lot while deputies were conducting an investigation. When the deputies attempted to place Jankowiak into custody, he attempted to flee from the officers. Jankowiak was caught after a brief foot chase. 

Alicia M. Kessel, 22, of Tiverton Court, Derby, is charged with trespass. Kessel allegedly entered the concert venue after having been previously evicted from the concert.

David J. Vattes, 35, was arrested on a violation of probation warrant from Cattaraugus County. Vattes was turned over to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office.

Joseph E. Amadori, 19, of Tillen Road, Boston, is charged with DWI, Driving with BAC of .08 or greater and following too closely after an alleged accident in the parking lot. 

The following citations were issued for alleged underage possession and/or consumption of alcohol.

Thomas J. Coleman, 17, of East Avenue, Gasport. Coleman was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, for allegedly possessing a quantity of marijuana. 
Ashley E. Avino, 19, of Woodsfield Drive, Lakeview
Dylan J. Scinta, 17, of Huntingwood Drive, East Amherst
Alexander T. Miller, 18, of Golden Pheasant Drive, Getzville
Evan A. Lang, 18, of Forestbrook Court, Getzville
Rickard K. Woodrow, 18, of Garlow Road, Lewiston
Bridget N. Gromley, 17, of Danbury Lane, Kenmore
Sydney D. Phillips, 20, of Lovers Lane, Batavia
Patricia L. Larkin, 19, of Countryside Lane, Williamsville
(Name Removed Upon Request), 18, of Oakfield Lane, Williamsville
Stephanie A. Plair, 17, of Westminster Road, West Seneca
Taylor C. Petroff, 17, of Lake Avenue, Orchard Park
Paul W. Kucinski, 17, of Millcreek Drive, East Amherst
Kayla M. Bennion, 17, of Liberty Street, Arcade
Karolyn M. Frangos, 16, of North French Road, Amherst
Benedict C. Ferro, 17, of Emerald Trail, Williamsville
William M. Coyne, 16, of East Avon Road, Avon
Ashley J. Lyskawa, 17, of Pinehurst Court, East Amherst
Rebecca S. Czarniak, 19, of Fairview Drive, Alden
John Zaccarella, 16, of Slusarie Road, North Tonawanda
Daniel J. Harrington, 18, of South Transit Road, Lockport 
Dina M. Giancarlo, 18, of Crescent Court, Cheektowaga
Kathryn C. Horvatits, 18, of Katherine Street, Lancaster
Chad M. Mahoney, 19, Sunset Lane, Springville
Andrew J. Baranyi, 19, of Carriagehill Court, Williamsville
(name redacted upon request), 18, of Delemere Road, Williamsville
Ryan J. Winkler, 17, of Deer Ridge, Getzville
Michael A. Nowicki, 18, of Tiburon Lane, East Amherst
Dylan J. Coldiero, 20, of Tucarora Road, Buffalo
JoAnna M. Dunn, 19, of Twilight Lane, Hamburg

June 29, 2012 - 12:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, elba.

Over the past five days, 400 boys from throughout the GLOW region were in Elba to do something that doesn't happen much in June -- practice football.

But that's not all the camp was about. The players also were given talks on a few life lessons, such as integrity, good grades and time management.

The camp is jointly sponsored by the NFL and the National Guard and organized by local coaches.

"The NFL and National Guard have gone off chart (on funding the camp)," said Dan Geiger, now an assistant coach with Elba/Byron-Bergen. "No other professional sports program is that willing to put out this kind of money to really go after what they claim is their goal. You know, they talk about character, well they put their money where their mouth is and provide a camp like this."

The players don't need to spend a cent on the camp and the sponsors provide jerseys and workbooks that serve as a time-management tool (mainly, it's a calendar) along with advice on everything from homework tips to exam advice, an NCAA eligibility guide plus action shots of NFL players.

"There’s a lot of great football going on here, a lot of great football learning, but on top of that, there’s a lot of every night the kids learn about character and integrity," Geiger said.

At 400 participants, the local camp is almost certainly the best attended in New York and perhaps the United States.

The week began Sunday night with a some guest speakers, both motivational and inspirational, and players said they found the talks meaningful.

"I personally like the guest speakers," said Nate Jonathan, a senior defensive end from Alexander. "I think it’s cool – a little motivational stuff."

Alton Rupp, a junior fullback and outside linebacker from Alexander, said one inspirational speaker was especially touching.

"Recently my mom passed away," Rupp said. "It kind of helped me because yesterday we talked a little about faith. I believe that my mom is still with me, so it kind of helps out a little bit. I’m doing this right now to help get better for the season and just help make my faith for the season a little bit better."

Austin Schroeder, a senior from Oakfield-Alabama, focused most on the football aspect of the camp.

"It's awesome how many kids are here and it’s set up really cool," Schroeder said. "I get to practice fundamentals of the line that I need to and it's nice to be able to hit before the season."

Asked how much he loved football, Schroeder said, "It's the only sport I play, so that sums it up, I guess."

The camp is one of about 180 throughout the nation and Elba/Byron-Bergen Head Coach Mike Cintorino said teams participating this year came not only from his school, but Batavia, Alexander, Alabama-Oakfield, Holley, Brockport, Albion and Barker/Roy-Hart (Gasport).

Area college football coaches Rocco Salomone, of Buffalo State, and Buddy Sims, of St. John Fisher, also helped out with the camp, Cintorino said.

"It gives them a chance to come out and talk to the kids and tell them what they’re looking for, not just as an athlete but also for students," Cintorino said. "(They tell them) the fact that you’ve got to be a good kid and have to do well in the academics to get into the school."

Geiger said the camp, which he started promoting a few years when was coaching the Batavia Blue Devils, is so popular because so many coaches in the area support and believe in the lessons it aims to teach the boys.

Cintorino said he hopes it's those life lessons that have the most impact on the players.

"We talk about how there’s more to football than just the game," Cintorino said. "There’s a lot of life lessons to be learned -- teamwork, trust, relationships, integrity, honesty, character -- all of those things, so I hope that first and foremost they get to take that way from it."

June 29, 2012 - 12:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A three-car accident with multiple minor injuries is reported on Route 77 in Darien in front of the hotel at Darien Lake.

The accident is also blocking.

There was a concert at Darien Lake tonight and law enforcement has been tied up all evening dealing with fights and traffic. At about 11 p.m., Route 77 was reportedly backed up all the way to the Thruway.

Darien fire and ambulance along with Mercy EMS are responding to the accident.

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