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October 15, 2012 - 2:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

Ajia R. Hasenauer, 19, of 73 S. Main St., Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th, and 16 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, 2nd. Hasenauer is accused of cashing 16 checks from a closed bank account. Hasenauer was jailed without bail.

Cynthia H. Owens, 37, of 28 Buell St., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Owens was taken into custody on a warrant and jailed on $1,000 bail.

Derek G. Thomas, 36, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Thomas is charged with a felony for allegedly violating an order of protection by being at the residence of a protected party. He is also accused of a parole violation. Thomas was jailed without bail.

Dajuandrick C. Gardner, 35, of 212 State St., Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Gardner was charged in connection to an alleged incident at his residence at 5:35 a.m., Tuesday. Gardner was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Five people were charged with possession or consumption of alcohol under age 21 at 11:51 p.m., Saturday, at College Village. Charged were Kiera Monet Smoot, 19, Trevlyn Caljic Hentry, 19, Brendaliz DeJesus, 19, Ilkia Solana, 19, Drema Ramona Bautista, 19.

Kara Brooke Sass, 18, is charged with criminal trespass. Sass is accused of being at Residence Hall at College Village at 11:21 p.m., Oct. 6, after being barred from the property.

Jeffrey Michael Johnson, 24, of Forest Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with appearing in public under the influence of a narcotic or drug other than alcohol. Johnson was jailed on $300 bail.

Summer Ogden, 36, no permanent address, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd. Ogden is accused of trespassing on Batavia Housing Authority property.

October 14, 2012 - 8:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, outdoors, Marty McDonald.

Today, Marty McDonald invited me out to his place in Stafford for his annual trap shoot and chili feast.

McDonald said the event started a few years ago with just him and about four friends and over the years, more and more people asked to be invited.

Today, there were a few dozen people at his place mostly shooting and enjoying a huge spread of chili, soups, grilled chicken, meatballs, sausage and a variety of desserts.

Not all of the shooters were interested in shotguns and clay birds. McDonald also provided a pistol range.

The only thing I shot was my camera.

More photos after the jump (click on the headline):

October 14, 2012 - 8:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, bergen.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries has been reported on Route 33 and West Bergen Road.

Bergen Fire Department and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 8:05 p.m.: First chief on scene reports a car off the side of the road.

UPDATE 8:09 p.m.: A chief reports no entrapment. Everybody is out and walking around. Minor injuries. Route 33 is being closed.

UPDATE 8:13 p.m.: Two flatbed trucks requested for the tows.

October 14, 2012 - 11:00am

It's the time of year again for The Batavia Cemetery Association's annual Candlelight Ghost Tours at the historic Batavia Cemetery. The first tour was Saturday night and another will be held at the cemetery this Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost is $10 and proceeds benefit the association and upkeep of the cemetery.

Sue Conklin as a Gypsy fortune-teller.

Tim Buckman as Philimon Tracy.

Charlie and Connie Boyd was Dean Richmond and his wife.

October 14, 2012 - 10:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, elba historical society, Elba Barn Dance.

Saturday, the Elba Historical Society hosted its annual barn dance at the Torrey Farm barn on Route 98. The barn dance is one of the major fundraisers for the historical society. This year, the event was held in honor Ron Komar, the former president of the historical society who passed away in July at age 63.

October 14, 2012 - 12:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, Cross Country.

Dr. Micheal Merrill shared these pictures of the Batavia HS girls cross-country team from their meet Saturday in Alden. There are no results available from the meet.

October 13, 2012 - 11:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, football, sports, Notre Dame.

Tim McCulley and Jared Thornton made quite a duo on Saturday, helping to lead the way for a Notre Dame victory over Attica in an overtime game, 32-26.

The quarterback and receiver connected 10 times for 240 yards and four touchdowns.

The two biggest plays came in the fourth quarter and OT.

Down 26-18 with less than three minutes on the clock, Thornton jumped off sides to turn a fourth-and-five into a fourth-and-10.

"I just wanted to make it up to my teammates," Thornton said. "I just tried to make it up best I could."

When the ball was snapped on that fourth-down play, McCulley dropped back and looked for Thornton cutting across the field. He put the ball up and Thornton snagged it.

I just wanted to make the first down," Thornton said. "I caught the ball and somebody hit me, but I just bounced right off him so I just kept going."

The score followed by a two-point conversion knotted the game at 26 apiece.

On its next possession, Attica stalled and with less than 30 seconds on the clock, just let time expire, deciding to roll the dice on OT.

The Blue Devils won first possession of OT and on the first play from scrimmage, QB Austin Skawienski ran a sweep to the far sideline. Attica dodged a bullet when he fumbled the ball was ruled down before the ball sprung loose.

Two plays later, Skawienski tried for a corner end zone pass but Notre Dame's Josh Johnson stepped in front of the ball and pulled it down.

The Irish took possession on the 20-yard line, but before the first snap, a player jumped off sides.

From the 25, McCulley dropped back to pass, Thornton streaked toward the back corner of the end zone, McCulley tossed it high, Thornton jumped, but so did Zach Kozma. Kozma actually got his hands on the ball first, but Thornton pulled it away.

As the players tumbled to the ground, Thornton's helmet popped off, but he held firm to the ball.

TD and a ND win, 32-26.

"He’s really good at jump balls, kind of like Calvin Johnson, I guess," McCulley said of Thorton. "I just throw it up there and he goes up to get it."

With the win, Notre Dame secured a first-round home game in sectional play.

"It was a fantastic game," said Head Coach Rick Mancuso. "I thought both teams played their hearts out. It’s a shame that anybody had to lose that game. I give all the credit in the world to Attica. They lose the quarterback in the first quarter and they gutted it out and they gave it everything they possible had. We just managed to pull it out in the end. I’m really proud of our guys."

The Irish defense had their hands full with junior running back Matt Perry who carried the ball 27 times for 181 yards and one TD.

"Perry is a workhorse," Mancuso said. "He can take the ball 50 times and be as tough on the last carry as the first carry. He’s a heck of running back and they have a great line."

QB Skawienski was 3-6 for 58 yards and one interception for Attica. He replaced Corey Ruddock in the first quarter after Ruddock was transported by Mercy EMS to an area hospital with possible back and leg injuries.

While Attica dominated on the ground -- 287 total yards to Notre Dame's 139, the Irish looked at times like Air Coryell. McCulley was as likely to drop back and look for an open man as he was to hand it off. On the day, the junior QB was 14-22 for 270 yards and the four TD tosses to Thornton.

On the ground, McCulley carried the ball 11 times for 79 yards. Nick Taylor had six carries for 35 yards and Andrew Mullen had six carries for 25 yards.

In those final minutes of the fourth quarter, the situation did look pretty bleak for the Fighting Irish.

After the Blue Devils marched the ball 70 yards down field, and knocking at the door of another TD, Perry coughed the ball up on the one-yard line.

That could have been a turning point for Notre Dame, a chance, down 19-18, to move the ball into scoring position.

After a second-down penalty negated the positive gain of a first-yard play, McCulley ran a bootleg. He never made it out of the end zone. While it appeared that he was trying to pass the ball while being dragged by Jake Dollard, the play was ruled a fumble. Attica recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.

For a lot of teams, that would have been the game right there.

"I just told my guys, a win starts with belief," said senior lineman John Lapple. "If you believe you can win, great things can happen, never go down on yourself. You’re always positive and you know what’s going on."

On defense, Aaron McDonald and Josh Johnson had nine tackles apiece. Johnson also had the interception. Thornton and Taylor each had 6.5 tackles. Jason Hart and Charlie Hebert had five apiece.

In other football action Saturday:

  • Elba/Byron Bergen (6-1) crushed University Prep 55-18. Zack DuBois had 271 yards and three TDs on 24 carries. It was his fifth game this year of at least 200 yards on the ground. He finishes the regular season with 1,572 rushing yards and 17 TD. Zac Gillard was 7 for 9 for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He added  26 rushing yards and one TD. Andy Underhill recorded 18 tackles and an interception. Nate Jonathan had 10 tackles.
  • St. Mary's beat Batavia, 37-14.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here. To purchase prints of these pictures, click here.

October 13, 2012 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy.

Tie game, the 80th meeting of Cal-Mum and Le Roy, and a coach on the side lines yells, "Just give it to Mistersaro."

During the next drive, Marcus Mistersaro's #40 was called at least four times and the senior who is listed on the roster as a tight end, gained most of the 95 yards he had on the night in those carries.

With runs of 28 and 31 yards, Mistersaro helped set up a three-yard push by Tom Kelso with 39 seconds left in the game to give the Oatkan Knights a 19-12 win.

The loss for the Red Raiders (4-3) knocks Cal Mum out of the playoff picture for the first time in a long, long time.

The Knights (6-1) were already guaranteed a first game at home for the Section V Class C tournament.

After the game, Head Coach Brian Moran praised Mistersaro's work ethic.

"There’s a perfect example of a young man who spent his winter in the weight room and it showed in the 4th quarter," Moran said. "He just dominated the 4th quarter.

"There was a young man who put the weight of the team on his shoulders and said, ‘we’re not going to lose tonight,' " Moran added.

It was a big deal, Mistersaro said, to be given a chance to make a contribution in a big game.

"It means a lot," Mistersaro said. "It's 12-12 against Cal-Mum. You just kind of have to step it up."

For senior outside linebacker Archie Cappotelli the win was special on a couple of levels. One, his family is from Cal-Mum. Two, it's the first time senior players from Le Roy experienced a win against the Red Raiders.

"It means a lot to the whole team," Cappotelli said. "We’ve all been working hard since the beginning of August and even before that in the weight room."

The 6-1 record, Cappotelli said, proves what the players knew even before the season started. This is a good football team.

"Everybody was down on us at the beginning of the season, but we’ve been showing them," Cappotelli said. "We can play. We’re for real. We’re ready to go for sectionals now. This game is going to feel good for tonight, but next week we’ve got to focus and get ready for our next team."

You knew this was going to be a hard-fought game when the first quarter ended without a score from either side.

Cal-Mum got on the board first with a two-yard run by Kurtis Haut, but failed its two-point conversion attempt.

Le Roy struck back on the next drive when QB Mike McMullen hooked up with  Ryan McQuillen on a 53-yard pass. A Dylan Johnson extra point made the score 7-6.

The Red Raiders opened the second half with a TD drive capped by Haut's one-yard dive into the end zone.

But the Knights didn't get down, Cappotelli said.

"We never gave up," Cappotelli said. "This team is like a big family. We're all good, ready to go. We knew we were going to win."

A safety later in the quarter made the score 12-9, setting up a big decision in the fourth quarter when Le Roy was near its own end zone on 4th down with four yards needed for a first down.

At first, Moran sent out the offensive unit, ready to go for it, but as the Knights lined up for a play, Moran called time out.

Thomas took the field and kicked the ball through the up-rights to tie the game.

"12-12 is 12-12," Moran said. "If we tie it up, we extend the game. Dylan did a great job for us tonight."

Moran was excited about the win and his players. After a big stop at the close of the first half when a Cal-Mum drive stalled one the one yard line, Moran charged onto the field pumping both fists, congratulating his players.

He was just as excited when time ran out and the win was secured.

"These games are always big," Moran said. "Caledonia is six miles down the street. Any time you play them, it’s a big game. It’s great for our communities, and that’s what it’s about. High school football. These kids know each other and they talk all the time. It’s just nice to get together."

He's also proud of his team's 6-1 record going into sectionals. He said this team has been special.

"It’s enjoyable when you come to practice and kids are ready to work hard," Moran said. "When you have young men who want to learn and do the things you ask them to do, it’s just a pleasure to coach them. You know, they’ve done the things we’ve asked and it’s shown on the field."

In the game, besides Mistersaro's 95 yards on eight carries, Kelso had 16 yards on 16 carries and one TD. Dylan Johnson had four rushes for 10 yards. McMullen was 2-8 for 53 yards and was intercepted twice.

On defense: Kody Lamkin, 10 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 pass breakup;  Zack Fitszimmons, 10 tackles, 1.5 for loss;  Cappotelli,  9 tackles, .5 for loss;  Kelso, 9 tackles, 1.5 for loss; Mistersaro, 5 tackles; Sean McMullen, 5 tackles; Alex Dunn, 4 tackles, 2 pass breakups; McQuillen, 3 tackles, 1 interception.

In other Friday night action:

  • Holley beat Oakfield-Alabama 36-0
  • Alexander beat Pembroke 42-6

No stats are available for these games.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here. To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

October 13, 2012 - 3:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A woman who came home to her River Street apartment about 10:30 p.m., Friday, was unable to rescue her dog and firefighters believe the dog had already passed by the time they found it in a back bedroom.

"She said she tried to get the dog out but the smoke was too thick," said neighbor Ed DeJaneiro. "She crawled but couldn’t reach him."

Lt. Marty Hinz, city fire, said when firefighters arrived a partition in the apartment's living room was engulfed in flames. The first order of business was suppressing the fire. Then they located the dog.

When the dog, "Scooter," was brought outside, the resident and neighbors tried to resuscitate it but where unsuccessful.

As a result of her attempt to rescue her dog, the woman suffered smoke inhalation and was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy EMS.

Her name at this time has not been released.

The fire was likely the result of an electrical problem, Hinz said.

There's no damage estimate available.

The fire was contained to 102 River, which is the left side of a duplex. The other apartment had no fire damage.

The woman's husband had left for work at 4 p.m., Hinz said. Investigators have not yet been able to interview the woman and neighbors provided conflicting accounts of when she might have left.

Accounts do agree that she returned around 10:30 p.m. She found smoke coming from her residence and went to her neighbor's apartment to report the fire. The neighbor evacuated his three daughters and called 9-1-1. He then tried to attack the fire with a fire extinguisher, but was unsuccessful.

Batavia PD officers were first on scene.

By that time, DeJaneiro said, flames could be seen in the living room.

According to DeJaneiro, he and his wife left for dinner about 6 p.m. At that time, he said, they smelled smoke and commented that somebody must already be using their wood-burning stove this time of year.

The temperature at 6 p.m. was into the 30s or low 40s.

Another neighbor thought he heard a smoke detector at one point, but didn't pinpoint the location, DeJaneiro said.

"This may have been going on since six o’clock," DeJaneiro said. "I don’t know. It may just have been smoldering and unfortunately, this is the end result."

DeJaneiro said the woman's husband was particularly fond of Scooter.

October 13, 2012 - 1:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ross Street.

Officer Thad Mart points out to a parent a newly installed "No Stopping" sign installed on Ross Street across from Batavia Middle School.

Lt. Eugene Jankowski explained that parents parking across from the school on Ross are a traffic hazard. The street isn't wide enough to accommodate parking on both sides. The area had been posted no parking, but parents picking up their children would protest that they weren't parking, but just stopping. Now, no vehicles will be allowed to park or stop on this section of Ross during morning and afternoon school hours.

Officer Mart was assigned the duty today to ensure parents take note of the signs.

October 13, 2012 - 12:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

At about 3 p.m., we noticed a problem with the Web site. The wrong headlines were appearing on stories. The wrong comments were appearing on stories. If we tried to edit a story, the wrong edit screen would open.

All of the content of The Batavian is served out of a database. Databases have segments known as tables. Different tables perform different functions and are related to each through numeric sequences. One of the tables of our database stores revision history. This table had become corrupted, which caused the content to get scrambled.

We don't believe any malicious act caused this, or even human error. It just happened.

The most recent available back-up of the site was from 10 p.m., Thursday.

It took a great deal of time to first figure out the problem and then look over our options for recovery. We decided to back up some files on the server, back up the back-up database and then install everything on a secondary server and make sure that the restored database wasn't also corrupted.

We then had to restore the primary server.

All-in-all, the site was offline for about seven hours. It came back online at 10 p.m. or so while I was at the Cal-Mum vs. Le Roy football game. Then we had a house fire on River Street, so this is my first opportunity to post something and fill you all in on what happened.

The worst of the news is -- besides being down for seven hours -- is that everything posted on Friday was lost. The good news is, I was able to manually save copies of all the home page posts from Friday, so my next task is to repost those. From the best of my memory I'll time stamp the stories to the approximate times originally posted.

Unfortunately, all of the comments left on those posts are gone. Any obituaries, events, announcements, etc., posted on Friday are gone, too.

We apologize for the inconvenience of all of this. It wasn't any fun for us, either. It reminds me of the time I was a reporter at a daily paper in California and the press broke down just as it started the afternoon paper's run. The sense of helplessness feels the same. It's an unhappy situation, but tomorrow's a new day.

October 12, 2012 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Mike Lullo kept the key tacked to a bulletin board in his office for years.

"I told my wife, 'I'm going to ride that motorcycle again.' "

Her response, "yeah, yeah, yeah."

Soon, Lullo will ride that motorcycle again.

The motorcycle in question arrived in Batavia last night and was uncrated outside his insurance office on Center Street this morning.

It's a 1969 BSA Rocket III, a highly desirable bike in its day that Lullo acquired in 1975 while attending college in Albany.

It was his primary transportation for awhile. He took it on some road trips, and on one of those trips it broke down.

Lullo took the bike into the basement of a building he owned and started repair work.

"It was at the time what’s known as a basket case," Lullo said. "It had broken down, had some engine problems and was being repaired. It was somewhat disassembled, so to the untrained eye it was just a bunch of parts, a frame with some wheels on it."

One of Lullo's tenants took it upon himself to sell the bike to somebody locally. It was some time before Lullo discovered the bike was missing and about 11 years ago, he reported it stolen.

The former tenant still lives in Batavia and recently told police, Lullo said, that he sold the bike because Lullo told him to clean out the basement and get rid of everything.

"Yeah, right," Lullo said.

Even if the former tenant admitted to stealing the bike, it wouldn't matter much now.

"The statute of limitations is only five years," Lullo said. "That was 14 years ago. There's no touching him at this point. I'm just happy to get the bike back."

The tenant got $150 for the BSA and it changed hands a couple of times before it was sold to a man in Syracuse for $200.

That buyer sold the motorcycle on Ebay last November for $3,350.

In March, one of Lullo's insurance customers came into his office and they started talking motorcycles.

Lullo mentioned he once owned a BSA, and the customer said, he once did, too.  Lullo asked him to describe the bike.

"It was your bike, wasn't it, Mike?" the customer said.

With that clue, Lullo was able to find the guy in Syracuse who wound up with the motorcycle and sold it on Ebay.

At that point, Lullo recontacted Batavia PD. Det. Pat Corona got involved in the case and between the two of them -- Corona contacted Ebay for help -- they were able to track down the online transaction and the buyer in England.

The buyer in England is a retired fellow, Lullo said, who is quite into motorcycles and buys and sells parts on Ebay.

"He was a bit taken aback when he discovered he had purchased a stolen motorcycle and really didn’t want to give it back because he had invested a lot into the restoration," Lullo said.

The man shared receipts with Lullo showing $7,500 in work on the motorcycle.

The restoration project was never completed because once the man found out he would be sending the motorcycle back to the U.S. he stopped working on the project.

He returned the bike and all the original and restored parts, professionally packed in a well-constructed crate.

Lullo paid for the shipping and reimbursed the man in England for some of the restoration, otherwise, the man in England is out his purchase price and some of the restoration expense.

While Lullo expressed some sympathy for the man, he did buy a motorcycle without absolutely no documentation and once Lullo established rightful ownership the man in England, legally, had to turn it.

According to Lullo, because the buyer is in England, Ebay's buyer protection program doesn't apply to the transaction.

Proving Lullo owned the BSA wasn't necessarily easy. 

Back in the 1970s, New York didn't issue title on motorcycles, so all he had was sales receipt and a registration. Those documents disappeared with the bike.

One of the things Lullo learned about the bike the man in England had was that it was missing a side panel.

When the bike was originally stolen, the thief and/or buyer left behind a side panel.

The paint job was a custom color and that color matched the color of the bike at the time the buyer in England received the motorcycle pieces.

That helped prove Lullo was the proper owner of the motorcycle.

Getting the motorcycle back to the United States proved problematic. It was shipped to England as motorcycle parts along with other freight, so there was no export record for a motorcycle, so to customs it looked like a new import. Lullo had to produce police records and other documentation to prove the bike was being repatriated to the U.S.

After not hearing from customs, Lullo called Newark and this time he apparently got the right guy on the phone who said simply, "Your bike is ready. Come and pick it up."

Immediately, Lullo jumped in his pickup truck and drove down to Newark to retrieve a very important connection to his youth.

After unpacking it today, he stood back, held his arms out wide and with a broad grin said, "It's back home."

October 12, 2012 - 8:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Sponsored Post, contests.

The winner of last week's contest was Jacob Quinn, who was among six people who picked Curtis Lofton for most tackles. Quinn's name was selected in a random drawing of those six people.

To enter this week's contest, click here.

October 12, 2012 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield.

A one-car accident on Lockport Road, Oakfield, claimed the life of a 21-year-old South Alabama resident and sent another man to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The accident occurred at 7:19 p.m. near the intersection of Bliss Road.

Stephen T. Ferry was driving a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix when he lost control of the vehicle for unknown reasons. The car slid sideways, struck a small pine tree and then a larger tree on the driver's side.

Ferry was pronounced dead at the scene.

His passenger, 19-year-old Jonathan T. Coombs, of Orchard Street, Oakfield, was apparently ejected from the vehicle.

Coombs was transported to ECMC by Mercy Flight with what authorities describe as life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the accident has not been determined.

Responding to the accident were Oakfield and Alabama fire departments and Mercy EMS.

The investigation is being conducted by Deputy James Diehl, Deputy Eric Seppala, Deputy Patrick Reeves and Investigator Timothy Weis.

Assisting at the scene were Deputy Joseph Graff and Trooper Holly Hansel.

(Initial Report)

October 12, 2012 - 2:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

At about 6:12 p.m., Thursday, a gold-colored Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck reportedly struck another vehicle on East Main Street at Elm Street and fled the scene.

Batavia PD is looking for assistance in locating the vehicle and driver.

The other car reportedly suffered extensive damage.

While the license plate number is unknown, it's believed the truck had New York Empire gold and blue license plates.

The truck should have extensive hood and front passenger-side damage.

The vehicle was last seen heading north on Elm Street.

The driver is described as a white male, from 30 to 40 years, average height and blond hair.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Batavia PD at 345-6350. The confidential tip line is 345-6370.

October 12, 2012 - 2:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Alabama, outdoors, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, nature.


One thing I haven't spent enough time doing is exploring the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge -- what a great resource for Genesee County.

Prior to the public hearing in Alabama Thursday night, I headed out to the refuge a few hours ahead of time with the specific idea of going to a part of the park I'd seen previously and thought was quite scenic. It's actually in Orleans County, but hey, most of the refuge in in Genesee County. I believe the area is called Ridgeneck Ringneck Marsh. It's off Oak Orchard Ridge Road, which is in the northern part of the refuge.

Here are the pictures I took.

BTW: Not that any of these pictures are worthy of entry, but entries are being accepted now for the Friends of Iroquois NWR photo contest. The deadline is Sept. 1, 2013.


October 12, 2012 - 2:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

For Holly Nelson, the proposed 1,200-acre technology business park in the Town of Alabama is both something to dread and something that seems like a good opportunity.

She's not alone in her conflicted feelings. Nearly a dozen people spoke at a public hearing Thursday night in the town's fire hall and expressed both a wish that Alabama remain a small, rural community, and that it embrace jobs and growth.

"I moved back here so I could be in the country," Nelson said during a short statement where she fought back tears. "If we had known what would happen, that this would be proposed, when we started building our home, we never would have built it. My whole family is here and loves Alabama. I don't want to lose that, but I do want my kids to be able to stay here and have a place to work. I'm so torn."

After speaking another minute or so, she said, "I'm scared," and seemingly unable to hold back the tears any longer, she walked away from the mic.

The purpose of Thursday's meeting was to give interested members of the public -- especially Alabama residents -- a chance to raise any issues with a proposed compensation package from the Genesee County Economic Development Center and the necessary changes in zoning for the site.

In all, the total estimated benefit to the town is $8.5 million, including $5.2 million for a new public water system. The town will also receive a commission on the sale of the land in park -- to be known as the Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) -- as manufacturers are signed to build facilities on the property.

The first speaker was an organized labor representative who encouraged Alabama residents to support STAMP because both in the construction and in the new factories, it could bring good-paying jobs to the region.

He was followed by Alabama resident Doug Crosen who encouraged the town board to not be swayed by outside voices.

"There's going to be huge pressure from the outside both for and against it, but the decision better be about our town," Crosen said.

Among Crosen's concerns is whether the money for public water will cover hook-ups for residents, and whether residents will have the option to say on well water.

Anita Goras said she had split feelings about the project.

"This is going to be in my back yard and that's where my cows are right now," Goras said. "I am open. I know I'm not going to live forever and I would like to see my grandchildren be able to come back here and work."

Kevin Sheehan, deputy mayor for Albion, told the board that if Alabama didn't want STAMP, Orleans County will take it. He encouraged the board to approve the project for the sake of all of Western New York.

Bruce Pritchett -- who grew up in Alabama, still lives on Maple Road, and teaches in Albion -- said he understands the desire to keep Alabama a small farming community, but young people, he said, need jobs, they need a reason to say in Genesee County.

"There are not a lot of jobs available," Pritchett said. "We send our jobs overseas. There's nothing here for people. This is a great opportunity. As a community, I hope we take advantage of this opportunity we have and make the best of it."

Tom Walsh, a Corfu resident, said he understands the resistance from some, but encouraged Alabama to move forward with the project.

"I know it scares a lot of people," Walsh said. "If it came to Corfu, I'd probably be a little scared for me at first, but I would know at least there would be some work for people."

Vance Wyder Jr., said he's a 40-year-old disabled military veteran who really only knows farming. He isn't sure he and other farming community members can really be trained for the kind of jobs STAMP will bring. He's worried about losing farming jobs, which are harder and harder to come by in Alabama, and then the new jobs not being filled by local residents. He said nobody has really assured him that local residents can and will be trained for the jobs.

"My message to the board is be cautious, be wary, make sure you are doing the right thing for our town and not for the almighty dollar, because in the end, the almighty dollar might kick us in the ass," he said.

Another speaker, a gentleman who has worked in IT for 20 years and is a resident of Alabama, said the board should be mindful of the potential for spinoff businesses from high-tech manufacturers.

He encouraged the board to ensure any businesses coming in reinvest in the local business community, such as by creating an incubator for start-up tech firms.

"We don't need some monolithic company with 1,800 jobs that never talks to the town after it's in place," he said.

Max Merten seemed the most strongly opposed to STAMP. He said he moved to Alabama 20 years ago to live in a rural community and he doesn't want it to change. He said he raised his kids to work, not push paper.

He's worried, he said, that the project is being pushed through the process too quickly.

"We don't need more jobs in a cornfield," Merten said.

Angela Kost concluded the round of speakers with the same ambiguity that set the tone for the meeting.

"I don't want to see it in my back yard, obviously," Kost said. "I don't think anybody in Alabama wants that, but it is a good opportunity."

The town board will meet within two weeks to take formal action on the proposals.

October 11, 2012 - 9:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield.

Investigators are on scene in the area of 2625 Lockport Road, Oakfield, for a fatal motor vehicle accident.

At least one other person was seriously injured and transported by Mercy Flight to an area hospital.

The vehicle hit a tree and came to rest about 50 feet off the road and at least one person was trapped in the vehicle.

It's unknown at this time if there were other victims.

The accident was reported at 7:19 p.m.

Oakfield Fire and Mercy EMS were dispatched and Alabama Fire provided fire police to close Lockport Road.

Oakfield Fire is now back in service.




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