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Le Roy

February 22, 2012 - 5:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Lehigh Valley Derailment Site.

With news today that crews were starting to remove the drums of rock and soil from the Lehigh Valley Train Derailment site, I drove out for pictures of the activity.

Prior to leaving Batavia, I made repeated requests to move closer to the work than just the gate at the front driveway of the site. EPA spokesperson Mary Mears said no each time, telling me I could get adequate pictures from Gulf Road and the television stations were satisfied with that location. When I arrived on site, I called Mears and repeated my request, telling her the distance and vehicles in the entryway obscured much of the activity. She said she would call the site manager and pass along my request. 

My request was pretty clear and simple: Walk up the driveway, where no heavy equipment was operating and take pictures from outside the fenced area, where, again, no heavy equipment -- no equipment at all -- was operating. 

The supervisor reportedly told Mears that it would be unsafe for me to walk in for closer photographs.

I walked to three different locations along the perimeter and using a long lens, took these photos -- the best I could get under the circumstances.

February 22, 2012 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Lehigh Valley Derailment Site.

Press release:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the removal of 235 drums from the Lehigh Railroad Derailment Superfund site in Le Roy, N.Y. will begin today. The EPA reviewed the sampling results for the contents of all the drums and in all cases considers them to be non-hazardous. The drums, which contain soil and rocks generated when wells were drilled at the site, were sampled during the past month.

A December 1970 train derailment resulted in the release of liquid trichloroethene (TCE) and cyanide crystals. The material in the drums was tested for these and other contaminants. No tested contaminants were detected in materials from 203 of the drums. In 32 of the drums, some detectable concentrations of contaminants were found.

Specifically, eight drums had detectable levels of TCE only, eight others had detectable levels of cyanide only and eight drums had detectable levels of both. One drum had detectable levels of TCE and cis-1,2-dichloroethene, which is a breakdown product of TCE. The remaining seven drums primarily had detections of either common lab contaminants or contaminants typically associated with petroleum products. These contaminants include: acetone, carbon disulfide, ethylbenzene, toluene, total xylenes, methylcyclohexane, and 2-butanone (MEK). In all cases the levels of these contaminants were low and are below health-based levels.

While the EPA considers the drums non-hazardous and eligible for disposal as non-hazardous waste, the Lehigh Valley Railroad has arranged for material to be disposed of at a landfill that is permitted to accept hazardous waste. The facility set to accept the waste is EQ-Wayne Disposal, Inc., Landfill in Belleville, Mich. Drum removal from the site will begin this morning and is expected to be completed by the end of the week. The Lehigh Valley Railraod will pay the cost of disposing of the drums, not taxpayers.

February 21, 2012 - 5:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Press release:

Los Angeles – Erin Brockovich today released a statement regarding the growing health concerns potentially caused by contamination in Le Roy, NY.

“Contrary to an erroneous news report, I want to make clear that my investigation into possible sources of environmental contamination in LeRoy, New York that may or may not be linked to the serious illnesses suffered by various members of the community is not complete. In fact, it appears the number of people in the area displaying alarming health issues that can be caused by TCE is growing.

It took the EPA 40 years to investigate the contamination from the train derailment and it will take us more than 40 days to get to the root of the problem in Le Roy. I want to further stress that we have not ruled out the TCE plume from the train derailment as a source of contamination at Le Roy High School. All existing tests are preliminary and we will announce our full and definitive test results in the weeks to come. We will not release them piecemeal.

In the meantime, we have several areas of high concern in Le Roy that we are investigating including, but not limited to, the train derailment site, the local quarry, the six fracking wells at the high school, and the MtBE contamination in local wells.

We have a lot more testing to do before we can rule anything in or out as a cause of toxic contamination in Le Roy and what may or may not be causing the very serious health problems of people and families in Le Roy. While we certainly do not want to cause a panic in the community, we do want to be thorough and get to the bottom of what is going on in Le Roy.”

February 21, 2012 - 2:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, Milestones.

Emilie M. Wetzel, of Le Roy, has been selected for inclusion on the Deans' List for academic achievement during the Fall 2011 semester at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.

To be eligible for the Deans' List at St. Lawrence University, a student must have completed at least four semester units and have an academic average of 3.6 (based on a perfect 4.0 scale) for the semester.

Wetzel, a member of the class of 2013, graduated from Le Roy Central School.

St. Lawrence, the oldest continuously degree-granting coeducational college in New York State, is a residential, liberal arts institution of about 2,300 students.

February 21, 2012 - 9:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

A residence on Myrtle Street in Le Roy was broken into over the weekend and Le Roy Police are looking for assistance in identifying the perpetrator.

The home was burglarized between 1 and 5:30 p.m., Sunday.

The resident returned to find his front door and inside door had been forced open and items were missing from inside the apartment.

Anybody with information that might help, including seeing a person or persons lingering on Myrtle Street or in the area are asked to call the Le Roy PD at 768-2527.  

February 20, 2012 - 7:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, volunteers for animals.

UPDATE 1:57 p.m., Feb. 21: Spay Our Strays -- S.O.S. -- the organization which is undertaking this effort, contacted The Batavian to say it has enough humane traps and transportation volunteers for next week's journey. S.O.S. is most thankful for the help!

Press release:

There is a very large feral colony in Le Roy that Volunteers for Animals S.O.S. -- Spay Our Strays -- is trapping and taking to Habitat for Cats in Henrietta for spay and neuter on Wednesday, Feb. 29. Appointments have been made for 30 cats and help is needed with trapping and transporting.

At least 40 humane traps will need to be set to catch 30 cats. If you have a trap you can lend, please contact S.O.S.  ASAP.

Trapping: Monday Feb. 27 or Tuesday Feb. 28 in Le Roy

Transporting: Wednesday Feb. 29 from Le Roy to Henrietta and then back to Le Roy.

If you are able to help by lending a trap or with transportation, contact Kathy Schwenk at 716-472-8968 or email [email protected]

Please DO NOT call the Genesee County Animal Shelter with questions or for help.

February 20, 2012 - 9:34am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Le Roy.

A semi-truck is reportedly on fire at mile marker 377, east of the toll booths, on the westbound Thruway. The truck's cargo is unknown. The call came from the Thruway Authority. Le Roy Fire Department and Ambulance Service are responding.

UPDATE 9:37 a.m.: The Thruway Authority reports "the truck has moved on its way." The Le Roy assignment is back in service.

February 17, 2012 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Over the past week, there have been no new patients at Dent Neurological Institute from Le Roy with any kind of movement disorder, according to Dr. Laszlo Mechtler.

During the same time period, the national media spotlight on Le Roy over what some outlets have mischaracterized as a "mysterious illness" has nearly faded away.

A search of Google News indicates there's been no national news coverage since Feb. 8.

Mechtler said the lack of new patients and decrease in coverage is no coincidence.

"Mainstream and social media have exacerbated the movement disorder,"  Mechtler said.

In the two weeks prior to Feb. 8, when much of the national media was in a frenzy over the situation in Le Roy, the number of patients tracked by Dent jumped from 12 to 20.

Dent doctors diagnosed their patients with conversion disorder, a psychogenic illness that is brought on and exacerbated by stress.

Mechtler has stated previously that of the original 11 girls seen by Dent, all had significant stress factors in their lives.

Meanwhile, the patients who have continued with Dent, according to Mechter, have shown continued improvement.

"Some have no symptoms at all," Mechtler said.

February 17, 2012 - 2:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, byron, Le Roy, Milestones.

The College at Brockport, State University of New York, recently honored students who excelled academically by naming them to the President's List for the Fall 2011 semester. To achieve the honor of being on the President's List, a student must earn a grade-point average of 4.0.

Brittany Bills, of Oakfield

Patricia Johnston, of Byron

Kara Miller, of Le Roy

Joel Pitts, of Le Roy

Maureen Weinman, of Le Roy

Jeffery White, of Le Roy

The College at Brockport is a comprehensive four-year public college, located in Brockport. It offers 50 undergraduate majors, more than 40 graduate programs as well as 24 teacher certification programs. The college is rated among the "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, a "Best Regional University" by U.S. News & World Report, and a "Best Value" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

February 17, 2012 - 1:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in Basom, elba, Oakfield, byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford, corfu, Milestones, bergen.

The College at Brockport, State University of New York, recently honored students who excelled academically by naming them to the Deans' List for the Fall 2011 semester.

Students who earn a GPA of 3.70–3.99 are named to the Deans' List with Honors, while students who achieve a GPA of 3.40–3.69 are named to the Deans' List.

The honorees are:

Deans' List with Honors

Jeff Appis, of Byron
Brian Burgay, of Bergen
Shane Chatham, of Bergen
Kayla Chiocco, of Elba
Carly Crnkovich, of Elba
Samantha Denton, of Oakfield
Samantha Elliott, of Bergen
Zackary Kibler, of Oakfield
Jennifer Lazarony, of Corfu
Christina Mancuso, of Le Roy
Joanna Menzie, of Bergen
James Mignano, of Stafford
Erika Parmenter, of Pavilion
Theresa Raponi, of Pavilion
Rebecca Smith, of Bergen
Lori Stellrecht, of Basom
Patricia Van Buren, of Bergen
Danielle Wojtaszczyk, of Le Roy

Deans' List

Sarah Amico, of Le Roy
Dylan Ashley, of Le Roy
Zachary Bannister, of Elba
Gregory Barron, of Le Roy
Justin Becker, of Le Roy
Nicholas Bonin, of Bergen
AnDrea Carrigan, of Pavilion
Kristen Casper, of Oakfield
Chelsea Dillon, of Le Roy
Emily Drzewiecki, of Bergen
Donald Fonda, of Byron
Danielle Ford, of Le Roy
Molly Geissler, of Elba
Abigail Graham, of Le Roy
Natalie Haas, of Le Roy
Casey Herman, of Corfu
Brittany Kessler, of Byron
Gena Korn, of Le Roy
Emily Kovatch, of Le Roy
Chelsey Macomber, of Le Roy
Antonio Madau, of Le Roy
Jason McElroy, of Le Roy
Danielle Merica, of Le Roy
Melanie Monroe, of Bergen
Joseph Patton, of Le Roy
Ethan Reynolds, of Corfu
Lyman Rhodes, of Le Roy
Krystal Rivers, of Basom
Katherine Rogers, of Le Roy
Peter Subsara, of Darien Center
Christian Townes, of Le Roy
Kelsey Wright, of Pavilion

The College at Brockport is a comprehensive four-year public college. It offers 50 undergraduate majors, more than 40 graduate programs as well as 24 teacher certification programs. The college is rated among the "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, a "Best Regional University" by U.S. News & World Report, and a "Best Value" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

February 17, 2012 - 1:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, Le Roy.
Event Date and Time: 
February 22, 2012 -
6:00pm to 7:00pm

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) is hosting his regular monthly outreach meeting for Genesee County residents at Le Roy Town Hall this coming Wednesday. All members of the public are invited and encouraged to attend.

“The meeting will offer the people of Western New York a chance to share their views, concerns and suggestions to improve the quality of life in our area,” Hawley said. “I strongly encourage all local citizens to attend this event.”

The meeting is from 6 to 7 p.m., Feb. 22. Le Roy Town Hall is located at 48 Main St., Le Roy.

February 17, 2012 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

The services of an unnamed substitute teacher will no longer be needed in the Le Roy Central School District, according to Superintendent Kim Cox

The teacher reportedly made an "insensitive comment related to the current health situation."

Cox said, "Given the poor judgment shown with respect to the comment, the individual was informed that his services were no longer needed by the district."

A reader who contacted The Batavian said the teacher made a remark about being glad he didn't live in Le Roy or "otherwise he would be ticking."

The incident comes on the heels of the reported dismissal of a basketball coach with York who allegedly tried to lead his team in a chant of "1, 2, 3, Tourette's" before a game in Le Roy. The players reportedly did not join in with the chant.

February 17, 2012 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Grand Jury, bergen.

Stephen I. Stone is indicted on a charge of predatory sexual assault against a child, a Class A-II felony. Stone is accused of committing a sexual act against a child of less than 13 during the summer of 2011.

Brett A. Simcick is indicted on a count of felony DWI. Simcick is accused of driving drunk Sept. 4 on Munson Street, Le Roy.

Matthew C. Higgins is indicted on a count of felony DWI. Higgins is accused of driving drunk Oct. 21 in the Town of Le Roy.

Matthew R. Klump is indicted on counts of felony DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Klump is accused of driving drunk Oct. 8 on Clay Street and Myrtle Street, Le Roy.

February 16, 2012 - 2:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, Le Roy, corfu, darien center, Milestones.

Four area residents were named to the Deans' List for the Fall semester at SUNY Oswego.

Showing academic achievement, with their major in parentheses, are:

Lindsey C. Glazier, of Caswell Road in Byron, a senior (elementary education).

Shannon E. Christiansen, of Phelps Road in Corfu, a junior (communication).

Nikki M. Parlato, of Seven Day Road in Darien Center, a senior (public justice).

Courtney M. Brooks, of Washington Avenue in Le Roy, a sophomore (public justice).

The President's and Deans' lists represent the academic top 24.4 percent of the Oswego student body. To be included on the Deans' List, students must have a semester grade average of 3.30 to 3.79.

Admission to SUNY Oswego is competitive. U.S. News & World Report named it among the "Top Public Regional Universities in the North" for 2012, the Princeton Review and USA Today named SUNY Oswego to their 2012 list of 150 "best value" colleges and universities in the nation.

A 151-year-old comprehensive college in the State University of New York system, Oswego enrolls more than 8,000 students in its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; School of Business; School of Communication, Media and the Arts; and School of Education.

February 16, 2012 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Le Roy Historical Society, barn quilts.

When Lynn Belluscio first proposed starting a barn quilt project in Le Roy, she was hoping to get 30 or so quilts installed on barns in Le Roy by June.

Well, 30 or so won't be a problem, it turns out. The idea caught on fast. Now she's thinking maybe 50.

The project was conceived to help promote the Le Roy Bicentennial, which the town, village and historical society will celebrate this summer.

Belluscio first heard about barn quilts -- large sections of plywood painted with the patterns of quilts -- on a phone call of town historians. Then she saw how the idea had taken hold in the Town of Neversink, so she thought it would be a great project for Le Roy.

After Belluscio got the support of the historical society and announced the plan in the Le Roy Pennysaver, she started getting handfuls of requests for barn quilts.

"People say to me, 'Did you ever expect it to be this popular?' and I would say, 'I was hoping it would be,' " Belluscio said.

The quilt patterns might come from a family heirloom, a quilt in the historical society collection or a pattern from a book, but all are intended to help weave a story together of the history and culture of Le Roy.

Quilt sizes include 4x4, 6x6 and 8x8. They might be hung on a barn, an outbuilding or a garage.

The historical society is maintaining a library of paints and other supplies for residents who want to paint their own quilts.

One of the quilts being painted by Belluscio is 8' x 8' and based on a quilt that was given by members of the Methodist church to a departing pastor in 1898 (top photo). It is signed by 200 members of the congregation.

The completed barn quilt will be auctioned off March 10 at the historical society's annual dinner, with a minimum bid of $150, with that amount going to the bicentennial project.

Even though the historical society has yet to publish a map of all the installed quilts -- and they're not all installed yet -- people are already discovering the project and driving around looking for the quilts, Belluscio said.

"People are discovering their own back yard, or back roads," Belluscio said. "They're going out to find them and we're happy to see that happening. It's something really neat that is happening."

Any other Le Roy residents interested in a barn quilt, Belluscio can be contacted at 768-7433. The society has also set up a website for the project.

Here's a list of installed quilt locations:

  • 46 E. Main St.
  • 8148 North Road
  • 8042 Lake Road
  • 8041 R. Main
  • 8457 North St. Road
  • 63 Lake St. (Rt. 19)
  • 9573 Asbury Road
  • 9743 Asbury Road (4) & across road
  • 6195 Sweetland Road
  • 8506 Lake Road
  • 23 E. Main St.
  • 9423 Summit St. Road
  • 6849 W. Main Road
  • 8283 Harris Road
  • 9396 South St. Road
  • 8587 North Road
  • 8090 Black St. Road (corner of Linwood Road)
  • 9290 York Road
  • 1719 Craig Road, Linwood
  • 9696 Asbury Road
  • Conlon Road (south of North Road)
  • 8343 Gully Road
  • 36 Lathrop Ave.
  • 13 Summit St.
  • 8171 W. Bergen Road

Route 5, Town of Le Roy

Asbury Road

Asbury Road

Stein Farms

Route 19

February 15, 2012 - 9:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, Le Roy.

Out and about in Le Roy this afternoon taking photos for a story I hope to write tomorrow, I came across this scene on Black Street Road.

February 15, 2012 - 7:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Le Roy Fire Department and Ambulance Service is dispatched to 8404 E. Main Road, Le Roy, for a report of a natural gas leak in the residence.

Reportedly, the stove was left on all day.

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.: All residents out of the building. Only one truck responding, per the chief. Le Roy ambulance is tied up on another call. The chief doesn't require another ambulance to respond.

UPDATE 7:47 p.m.: Le Roy fire back in service.

View Larger Map

February 15, 2012 - 11:57am
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, Milestones.

Andrew Lowe, of Le Roy, has been awarded approximately $4,350 per year for the "All-American Scholarship" to attend Alfred State College.

He is slated to graduate in 2012 from Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School and intends to enroll in the electrical construction and maintenance electrician program.

The "All-American Scholarship" (free board) is awarded to students who possess an 88 or better high-school average through their junior year and who have achieved at least a 1100 combined SAT score or a composite ACT score of 24. Recipients must maintain a required GPA (grade-point average) to continue to receive free board in subsequent semesters.

Fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Alfred State offers some 52 associate degree programs, 19 baccalaureate degree programs, and three certificate programs.

February 14, 2012 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in environment, Le Roy.

The amount of carcinogenic agent reportedly found in a water sample from a private well in Le Roy is at a concentration level below legal limits, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The agency also plans to seek its own sample from the well, but it's unclear if the DEC will investigate further, such as trying to determine the source of the possible containment.

The chemical is known as MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether). It has been used as an additive in gasoline and diesel fuel, but was outlawed for such use in New York in 2004.

Bob Bowcock -- a researcher from California who took water samples in Le Roy more than two weeks ago at the behest of environmentalist / lawyer Erin Brockovich -- said Friday that the chemical turned up in a sample from a private well at a residential property.

According to Bowcock, MTBE could be part of any hydrofracking fluid (there are various mixtures) that uses gasoline or diesel fuel.

Fracking was used to open the natural gas wells on the property of the Le Roy Central School District and there are reports that at least one of the wells suffered a leak or spill of fracking fluid.

DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said DEC staff conferred with Bowcock today and concluded that the sample taken by Bowcock had six micrograms per litre, which is below the state's limit of 10 micrograms per litre.

It's also below the federal Environmental Protection Agency's drinking water advisory for MTBE, which is 20 to 40 micrograms per liter, she said.

DeSantis offered no opinion from the DEC on how the MTBE got into the well, which is according to Bowcock, a little less than a mile from the southeastern-most natural gas well on Le Roy school district property.

Yesterday, the DEC -- through spokeswoman DeSantis -- expressed little interest in Bowcock's reported finding. DeSantis maintained that MTBE is not used in fracking fluid and the DEC had no reason to believe the company that fracked the Le Roy school wells used MTBE as part of its mixture.

After being pressed for more information, DeSantis arranged for Bowcock to speak with DEC staff. It was only after further email exchanges with The Batavian that DeSantis confirmed the DEC would conduct its own testing.

Since 2008, companies engaged in fracking gas wells are required to disclose the chemicals used in the process, DeSantis said.

"While the most recently drilled wells on the LeRoy CSD property were permitted prior to this requirement, the well driller informed us of the chemicals used to fracture the wells and MTBE was not used," DeSantis said. "Again, MTBE is not used in hydraulic fracturing."

When told of DeSantis's statement, Bowcock said he was flabbergasted by her response. He said prior to even coming to Le Roy, he had had conversations with DEC staff on other matters about MTBE being in fracking fluid.

While there are numerous environmental websites that say MTBE is contained in fracking fluid, it's harder to locate a neutral source online, even the EPA.

Bowcock supplied an EPA document that said a Bureau of Land Management report confirmed MTBE in fracking fluid, but the same paragraph in the same document says the EPA has not confirmed the use of MTBE in fracking.


EPA also obtained two environmental impact statements that were prepared by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In these impact statements, BLM identified additional chemical compounds that may be in fracturing fluids including methyl tert butyl ether (MTBE) (U.S. Department of the Interior, CO State BLM, 1998). However, EPA was unable to find any indications in the literature, on MSDSs, or in interviews with service companies that MTBE is used in fracturing fluids to stimulate coal-bed methane wells.

The MTBE issue isn't his main focus, Bowcock said, but resolving the issue for property owners is important to him. Further testing could make the case for the homes to be put on public water -- possibly at the expense of the energy companies (paid for, possibly, as part of a prior environmental settlement).




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