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April 23, 2011 - 5:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Oakfield.

The initial call reported a female driver either partially ejected from or underneath a vehicle which rolled over in the area of 7178 Hutton Road, Oakfield.

A first responder says there's one person trapped in the car, but appears uninjured. Another person is unaccounted for.

There are power lines down in the area, but power appears to on. National Grid requested to the scene as a precaution.

Oakfield Fire Department responding.

Mercy Flight is not available due to weather.

UPDATE 5:12 a.m.: A second ambulance requested to the scene, but apparently no more Mercy EMS rigs are available, so Medina is requested to the scene.  Mutual aid response from Town of Batavia Fire requested.

UPDATE 5:20 A.M.: Medina's response cancelled.

UPDATE 5:27 a.m.: It sounds like law enforcement thinks the driver has walked away from the accident. A search is in progress.

UPDATE 5:52 a.m.: The trapped person has been extricated. No word on the location of the driver.

UPDATE 6:41 a.m.: The road is reopened.

UPDATE 4:10 p.m.: Based on the accident report, there was only one person in the car, the driver. 

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April 22, 2011 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

Angelo Merica III, the second driver in Wednesday's fatal crash that took the life of 37-year-old Jonathan Colby remains in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Family members are concerned that he may never walk again.

WBTA's Geoff Redick spoke with Merica's uncle, Jamie Merica, who said Angelo -- the father of two young children who recently moved to Batavia from Pavilion -- was planning to get married in July.

Now family members worry that he won't be able to walk down the isle.

"He's going to have a long, tough road ahead of him, for sure," Jamie said.

Though conscious and alert when he was extricated from his car, the 27-year-old Angelo Merica is now in an induced coma.

April 22, 2011 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Gardening, Soil and Water Conservation District.

The Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District is holding a tree and native plant sale at the fairgrounds today and tomorrow.

Most of the plants were pre-sold, but there are seedlings still available as well as flower seeds, bird feeders and bird houses.

The sale runs until 6 p.m. today and from 8:30 a.m. to noon tomorrow.

Above, George Squires, left, helps Charles Bartlett of Darien with his pine tree order. Below, Cindy Smith arranges some of the native plants that have been sold.

April 22, 2011 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.

A suspected drug dealer allegedly struggled with members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, causing minor injuries to two officers, when they attempted to arrest him Thursday evening on Liberty Street, Batavia.

Taken into custody, following an investigation into the sale, transportation and possession of cocaine in and around Le Roy and Batavia, was 21-year-old Craig A. Tiberio-Shepherd, of Lathrop Avenue, Le Roy.

Once Tiberio-Shepherd was taken into custody, members of the task force along with uniformed deputies and officers from Batavia PD and Le Roy PD, executed search warrants on Tiberio-Shepherd himself and his residence.

Investigators allegedly found a quantity of cocaine, a quantity of Suboxone (a controlled substance), numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia, drug packaging, digital scales and $310.

Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, Tiberio-Shepherd was jailed without bail.

Tiberio-Shepherd was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance, 4th, assault, 2nd, and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. In Le Roy Court, Tiberio-Shepherd was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminal using drug paraphernalia, 2nd.

The injured members of the task force suffered twisted fingers and minor cuts and bruises.

April 22, 2011 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

Timothy J. Wood, 28, of 4 N. Spruce St., Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Wood was arrested following an investigation at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, of a 1-year-old baby being left unattended on the front porch of a residence. Wood was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Joshua L. Baltz, 35, of 29 Tracy Ave., Batavia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Baltz is accused of being involved in a domestic incident on Wednesday. Baltz was jailed on $2,000 bail.

A 16-year-old resident of West Avenue, Medina, is charged with petit larceny. The youth is accused of shoplifting from Kmart.

Habibah Tywell Caldwell, 19, of Batavia-Stafford Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with trespass. Caldwell is accused of trespassing at College Village after being banned from the property.

Robert Paul Leiser, 42, of Lockport Road, Oakfield, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, unlawful imprisonment and harassment, 2nd. Leiser allegedly became involved in a fight with a protected person while in the Town of Batavia. Leiser was jailed on $15,000 bail.

Benjamin Gove Evans, 22, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Evans allegedly stole property from Home Depot. Evans was located riding a bicycle on Washington Avenue and taken into custody. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Daniel J. Saeva, 31, of 6283 Sweetland Road, Stafford, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Saeva allegedly knocked another person down during an argument on April 10. Saeva turned himself in to Batavia Police after a warrant was issued.

Ricardo Brown, 21, of Cedar Avenue, Mount Vernon, is charged with assault, 2nd. Brown, originally from Jamaica, is a detainee at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility on Federal Drive, Batavia, where he allegedly got into a fight with another detainee. Brown allegedly kicked the other inmate in the head several times. Brown was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and returned to the detention facility.

April 21, 2011 - 10:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Funeral arrangements have been made for Jonathan Colby, 37, who died Wednesday morning in an auto accident on West Main Street Road.

A celebration of life service will be held at the Gilmartin Funeral Home, 329-333 W. Main St., Batavia. Calling hours will be Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.  There will be no calling hours Easter Sunday.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the family for a college fund for his 7-year-old daughter, Aurelia.

Full obituary.

April 21, 2011 - 8:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A pole is reportedly on fire on Alexander Road, south of the overpass past the first railroad track on the west side.

It's apparently the same pole that caught on fire at 4 a.m., Wednesday.

Town of Batavia Fire Department responding.

April 21, 2011 - 7:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, UMMC.

UMMC is making progress in dealing with a recent outbreak of Clostridium difficile, according to spokeswoman Colleen Flynn.

The number of patients being screened for potentially having C. diff has dropped from six last weekend to three.

And staff, using a sterilization machine designed to clean potentially contaminated surfaces, has learned how to use the equipment to exceed the manufacturer's standards for cleaning surfaces.

"We would really like the current cases to be the last cases," Flynn said. "We don't want any more hospital-acquired cases. We want to eradicate it all together."

Dealing with C. diff and other infectious bacteria is a concern for all hospitals, but the recent outbreak at UMMC brought the local hospital into the spotlight.

Flynn said staff noticed an uptick in C. diff cases before the news hit local media and began new procedures -- in consultation with the State Health Department -- to deal with the spike.

"We immediately took steps to see what else we could do," Flynn said.

When the weekend rolled around and the number of patients at the hospital (called the "census") dropped, staff was able to move patients out of some rooms and group patients together based on their treatment. The hospital also began extra sterilization procedures where necessary and increased staffing to stop the spread of the bacteria.

"We told the Department of Health what we would like to do and the Department of Health concurred that these were great steps," Flynn said.

From Feb. 28 to April 15, UMMC has reported 11 hospital-acquired cases of C. diff and six community-acquired cases (meaning the patients had C. diff before arriving at UMMC), according to Department of Health officials.

One patient who contracted C. diff died in March, but the cause of death has not been determined. The patient had other serious health issues and the cause of death may not have been due to C. diff.

Currently, there are five patients with C diff at UMMC. Four are being treated and one is in comfort care.

Every patient that displays C. diff symptoms -- particularly, diarrhea -- is tested for the bacteria.

Currently, only three patients are being screened, which Flynn said is a good sign the hospital's procedures are working.

"For what we usually see, this is a positive trend for where we want to be," Flynn said.

Tom Allocco, a spokesman for the Department of Health, said the spike in UMMC's numbers is not so great that it should cause public concern. When the department used the term "outbreak" in a previous statement, it merely signified an increase over previous reports of C. diff.

Flynn said UMMC went six straight months earlier in 2010 without a single case of C. diff and finished off 2010 with five straight months of no C. diff patients.

Flynn said the hospital recently purchased a machine designed to eliminate most C. diff bacteria on hard surfaces.

Staff followed the manufacturer's recommended cleaning solutions and procedures for sterilizing surfaces. Then, when scanned for the presence of live matter on the surfaces, the count came within the expected range.

However, that wasn't good enough for UMMC, Flynn said.

They tried again using extra friction and when they scanned again, there was no live matter at all on the surfaces.

"We learned something," Flynn said. "We learned, OK, use the solution mixture recommended by the manufacturer, but (by applying) more friction, we could bring the count down to zero."

In a follow up e-mail, Flynn provided this statement on UMMC's C. diff procedures.

Clostridium difficile precautions at UMMC:
If a patient is admitted with diarrhea, or develops it, while hospitalized and is being tested for C. diff, the patient is immediately placed on Contact Plus Precautions. This means that the STOP sign is placed under the room number so it can be seen before someone enters, and a Contact Plus Precautions sign is posted on the PPE caddy. It specifies that hands are to be washed with soap and water, to wash any spores that may have gotten on the hands of the person down the drain.

April 21, 2011 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office.

The past year was another busy one for the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, with members of the department handling 21,334 calls for service.

While the number of calls for service was down, the overall number of calls to the dispatch center was up, according to Sheriff Gary Maha.

Increasingly, Maha said, people are using 9-1-1 or the 343-5000 number to seek all kinds of information and help.

When people don't know what to do, who to call, or after business hours for other government agencies, they call the dispatch center.

"That's fine," Maha said. "That's what we're here for -- to provide public service."

Dispatchers, Maha said, may not be able to help the caller directly, but may be able to point them to the right resource for help.

The Sheriff's Office released its 2010 annual report today, which breaks down most of the statistics related to call volume, number of criminal reports, accidents and arrests.

In recent times, in a bad economy, the Sheriff's Office has had more and more activity to deal with, Maha said, adding that less money leads to more police activity as well as tighter government budgets.

"We haven't asked for any more help," Maha said. "In our current budget situation, I certainly don't want to lay anybody off. That would put the public in jeopardy if I had to lay off any deputies and it would put my own people in jeopardy."

Maha said police services remain local government's number one priority.

"What kind of quality of life is it if you don't feel safe?" Maha asked. "If you're going to the store at night, or walking down the street, you don't want to worry about getting mugged. What kind of quality of life is that?"

Here's some highlights from the 2010 report:

More than 1,100 people were booked into Genesee County Jail. The highest single-day population was 99 and the lowest was 35. In all, 70,761 meals were served. Education services were provided to 116 inmates and 11 received GEDs.  Inmate medical expenses totaled $204,438.

There were 202 DWI arrests. Of those, 50 people age 21-24 were arrested for DWI, and 34 in the 25-29 age bracket. Males were arrested far more frequently than females, at 140 to 62. Saturday is the biggest DWI arrest day at 68 followed by Sunday at 43. Most arrests are between midnight and 3 a.m., with 83 total arrests during those hours. Two people arrested had a BAC of .31 or greater. A total of 43 people had BAC of .18 or greater. There were 27 felony DWI arrests.

There were 1,360 motor vehicle accidents handled by the Sheriff's Office. Of those, 202 were personal injury and five were fatal.

There were arrests made on 75 felony counts by the Sheriff's Office and 354 misdemeanor charges.

Crimes reported: 106 were burglary, 140 were criminal mischief, 155 were harassment, 367 were larceny, 133 were liquor law violations, and 117 were unlawful possession of marijuana.

In all, there were 1,680 criminal reports made in 2010.

There were 573 domestic incident reports.

Here's the number of calls for service by community:

Alabama: 770

Alexander: 844

Town of Batavia: 8,122

Bergen: 1,139

Bethany: 635

Byron: 695

Corfu: 252

Darien: 1,306

Elba: 728

Le Roy: 1,442

Oakfield: 1,059

Pavilion: 685

Pembroke: 1,628

April 21, 2011 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

This afternoon a jury returned a verdict of guilty in the trial of Donald F. Stillwagon, 25, of South Main Street, Batavia, who was accused of biting a Batavia Police officer.

Stillwagon was convicted of assault, 2nd, and faces a possible seven-year prison term.

On Sept. 29, Batavia Police responded a reported disturbance at Stillwagon's residence. A man there was reportedly choking another person. When police arrived, they tried to take Stillwagon into custody and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, Stillwagon bit Sgt. John Peck on his forearm.

Peck was cut deeply enough to bleed significantly. He was treated and released at UMMC and missed two days of work.

In order to convict Stillwagon, the jury needed to decide whether the defendant had the intent of harming Peck.

Much of the closing arguments of both Public Defender Gary Horton and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman centered on whether Stillwagon was too intoxicated to form a coherent intention.

"Either Donald Stillwagon is a huge jerk or he had to be intoxicated," Horton said. "You saw Donald Stillwagon as he sat in this courtroom, you saw his demeanor, you saw him testify, can you believe he would have done these things without being intoxicated?"

Friedman argued that Stillwagon, who had apparently been at a local bar drinking prior to the incident, clearly had the presence of mind to form intent because he was able to unlock a deadbolt after his mother had locked it in order to go outside, and when he tried to escape from police, he told a State Trooper, "That's a bad idea."

"He was aware enough to know his plan of escape wasn't working out for him," Friedman said.

Sentencing has been scheduled for June 20.

In March, Stillwagon turned down a plea offer that would have capped his sentence at six-months "shock probation" and opted to take his case to a jury.

April 21, 2011 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs.

Genesee County's jobs picture continues to improve, as the rate of unemployed residents has declined and some 200 new jobs were created in the county in March.

Data released from the State Department of Labor shows the unemployment rate for March in Genesee County at 8 percent, down from 9 percent in March 2010. 

There are 2,800 job seekers in Genesee County, down 100 from February.

Meanwhile, 100 new "goods producing" jobs were created in Genesee County, March compared to February. The number moved up from 3,600 to 3,700.

Government jobs also grew by 100 new positions, growing month-over-month from 6,200 to 6,300. That's the same number of government jobs in the county a year ago.

Other sectors of job creation remained steady.

There are now 22,300 non-farm jobs in Genesee County, compared to 22,100 in February and 21,900 in March 2010.

April 21, 2011 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press Release:

WILLIAMSVILLE – Matthew Harakal, communications director for Jane Corwin for Congress, made the following comments today regarding Kathy Hochul’s continued silence on the $14.3 TRILLION debt facing our country:

“Despite our fiscal crisis, Kathy Hochul continues to sit silently with Nancy Pelosi and refuse to say how she would cut spending. While Kathy Hochul refuses to take a stand, our national debt has increased $32.72 billion.

Western New York taxpayers deserve an answer from Kathy Hochul on spending. Does she support the president’s $1.5 trillion tax hike on families and small businesses? Or will she finally stand with Jane Corwin and commit to cutting spending?

Every day, another $4.09 billion is added onto our national debt, but Kathy Hochul remains silent. Kathy Hochul says she fights for Western New York, but it’s hard to win a fight without saying a word or taking a stand.”

Statistics on our record-high national debt can be found HERE <> , and information on how Jane Corwin would cut spending can be found HERE <>.

April 21, 2011 - 12:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Pavilion.

The  second driver involved in yesterday's fatal head-on collision on West Main Street Road, Batavia, remains in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Angelo A. Merica III, 27, of Pavilion, was westbound on Route 5 when his car was struck by an eastbound car driven by Jonathan M. Colby, 37, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia. Colby was pronounced dead at the scene.

At Strong, a patient in the intensive care unit (ICU) is listed as as "guarded."

While investigators have determined that Colby's car made a slow, steady drift into the oncoming lane, what hasn't been determined is why Colby's car drifted.

Colby had recently been working overnight shifts at Lowe's and may have been fatigued at the time of the crash.

Colby, a Muckdogs fan and involved in community theater, was married and the father of a 7-year-old girl.

April 21, 2011 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron.

A driver who allegedly fled the scene of an accident Wednesday night has been charged with felony DWI.

Two people were hospitalized as a result of the accident at 9:19 p.m. in the area of 6312 Townline Road, Byron.

Taken into custody after reportedly being located at the Byron Hotel was Chester Llewellyn Sherman, 52, of East Lee Road, Holley.

Injured in the accident were Mark J. Puma, 40, and Carlos M. Chavez, 29. Both were taken by Mercy EMS to UMMC. Puma lives on Creamery Road in Bergen.  Chavez's residence was not contained in the accident report.

Besides the DWI charge, Sherman was charged with a felony count of driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and following too closely.

Sherman was driving a 1998 Chevy pickup eastbound when he reportedly rear-ended a 1999 Chevy sedan driven by Puma. Puma had just backed onto the roadway and was headed east when his car was struck by Sherman's. Puma's car was forced off the roadway into a mailbox and then the car hit the front porch of a residence.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Joseph Graff.

(initial report)

April 21, 2011 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Stafford.

Francisco Martinez Jr., 37, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Martinez was taken into custody by Batavia Police on an arrest warrant issued in City Court after Martinez allegedly violated a "stay away" order of protection. Martinez was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Eric M. Duda, 49, of 6303 Main Road, Stafford, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Duda allegedly violated an order of protection by going to an apartment where the protected person was staying. Duda was jailed on $1,000 bail.

April 20, 2011 - 9:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, byron.

The driver of one vehicle in a two-car crash at on Townline Road near Byron-Holley Road, Byron, has disappeared according to a chief on scene.

Byron and South Byron fire departments are responding. A chief asked to confirm that law enforcement was en route.

No report on injuries.

April 20, 2011 - 8:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in health, UMMC, Genesee County Nursing Home.

The recent outbreak of the potentially fatal bacteria commonly called C. diff at United Memorial Medical Center is having a ripple effect on the Genesee County Nursing Home.

Nursing Home Administrator Charles Rice told the legislature's Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday afternoon that "a lot of people are coming out of the hospital now" with C. diff.

After the meeting, Rice and the Nursing Home's Nursing Director Dawn Canale backed down from that statement. Rice and Canale said the Nursing Home has always been on alert for C. diff, but recent media reports about the C. diff outbreak at UMMC has the Nursing Home stepping up its infection control measures.

No Nursing Home residents have C. diff, Rice said, and Canale explained that any potential transfer patient from UMMC who tests positive for C. diff is not accepted as a resident at the Nursing Home.

Asked if there has been a spike recently in the number of potential transfers who test positive for C. diff, Canale said, "I don't want to say that," adding, "because two or three to me is a lot, but to you guys ..."  Canale's statement trailed off.

Canale said that every transfer from the hospital is screened and must have two negative tests for C. diff before becoming a resident at the Nursing Home.

"They always tell us (if a patient had C. diff) and we always make sure they’ve been treated and they're not contagious," Canale said.

If a person had C. diff but has recovered, the patient can be transferred, but the resident is either given a room with an other former C. diff patient or given a private room.

"We don't unnecessarily expose our fragile residents," Rice said. "Most of the time they've been treated, but we still keep a good eye on them."

Dealing with the outbreak of C. diff has been difficult, Rice said, because there is limited bed space in the Nursing Home and special precautions must be taken to separate potential C. diff carriers from other residents.

Rice also said that employees are given extra instructions on infection control and extra attention is given to disinfecting the facility.

April 20, 2011 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

A large power outage has hit the Byron-Bergen area and another smaller outage has hit Wyoming and covers most of Pavilion.

The Byron-Bergen outage effects about 790 National Grid customers. The affected areas include South Byron, West Bergen and Jericho Corners, but not the villages of Byron or Bergen.

Power went out at 3:57 p.m. and is expected to be restored by 6:30 p.m.

The Wyoming-centered outage, effecting 350 customers, stretches up the west side of Route 63 to Route 20.

Power went out at 4:15 p.m. and is expected to be restored at 6:30 p.m.

There's also a small outage -- less than five customers -- just west of North Bergen.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.: A transformer fire is reported in the area of 9097 Tripp Road and power in that vicinity is out. Byron and South Byron fire departments are called to respond. National Grid notified, no ETA.





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