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February 13, 2012 - 1:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, alexander.

A two-car accident in Alexander shortly after 10 Sunday night, which resulted in minor injuries, was caused by a driver allegedly traveling at an unsafe speed for road conditions, according to the accident report.

Alexander resident Nicholas P. Hiscutt, 19, was driving a 2000 Chevy sedan southbound on Route 98 near Dodgeson Road at an allegedly unsafe speed for road conditions. He reportedly lost control of the car and it crossed into the northbound lane, a witness told the investigating officer, Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Hiscutt's car was struck by a 2003 Chevy Suburban driven by 29-year-old Jon D. Smith, of Prune Street in Batavia, causing both vehicles to veer onto the east shoulder of the roadway. Sylvia L. Smith was a passenger in the Chevy Suburban.

Minor injuries were reported and Jon Smith was taken to UMMC. Hiscutt was issued a citation for allegedly driving at an unreasonable speed.

February 13, 2012 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, pembroke, Le Roy, bergen.

Barry R. Robinson, 29, of 16 Park Ave., Brockport, is charged with promoting prison contraband, 1st, unlawful possession of marijuana, DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to keep right, unsafe tires and unlawful possession of marijuana. Robinson was arrested at 1:54 a.m. Sunday on Clinton Street by Officers Darryl Streeter and Marc Lawrence following an accident in which Robinson apparently lost control of his vehicle and drove off the roadway. Robinson's driver's license allegedly had 19 prior suspensions. He was jailed on $2,000 bail. At 8:29 p.m., Sunday, while in the Genesee County Jail, Robinson was allegedly found in possession of six bags of marijuana in his sock and underwear. Investigators said the marijuana appeared to be packaged for sale. Robinson is scheduled to reappear in Batavia City Court at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday.

Paul Hipolito Colon, 29, of Marne Street, Rochester, is charged with possession of untaxed cigarettes and failure to stop at stop sign. Colon was stopped at 9:31 a.m. Friday on Akron Road, Pembroke, by Sgt. Brian Frieday for an alleged traffic violation. Colon was allegedly found in possession of 400 untaxed cigarettes.

Delmus M. Holton, 35, of Clinton Street, Rochester; Preston L. Lawrence, 38, of Afton Street Rochester; and, Ray M. Little, 49, of Langham Street, Rochester, are charged with trespass. At 10:56 a.m. Friday, a resident in Bergen reported seeing a suspicious vehicle in the area of 7427 Clinton St. Road, Bergen. The vehicle was located, parked off the road, across the street from Demo's Truck Parts. The three men allegedly entered the Demo's property without permission. (Initial report)

Jason M. Norton, 39, and Michelle T. Norton, 51, of 7198 Pekin Road, Oakfield, are charged with trespass (both), disorderly conduct (Jason only) and resisting arrest (Jason only). The husband and wife duo were arrested following an alleged incident at a West Main Street business.

A 17-year-old resident of Le Roy is charged with petit larceny, criminal possesion of stolen property, 5th, and burglary, 3rd. The youth was arrested Saturday morning after Le Roy PD received a report of a person going through several vehicles in the parking lot at 18 Genesee St., Le Roy. The youth was apprehended following a brief foot chase. Property was found at the scene and Le Roy PD is asking anybody who may have missing property to contact the police department. Le Roy PD did not release the name of the suspect.

Timothy James Ziminski, 19, of Walden Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 5th, and displaying forged inspection certificate. Ziminski was allegedly found to have a forged and stolen inspection sticker on his vehicle.

February 12, 2012 - 10:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported in the area of 9491 Alexander Road, Alexander.

Alexander Fire Department and ambulance responding.

UPDATE 10:28 p.m.: Accident is not blocking traffic.

UPDATE 10:31 p.m.: One person is injured.

UPDATE 10:38 p.m.: Mercy EMS responding to assist with patient on scene.

View Larger Map

February 12, 2012 - 8:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford.

A car has hit a pole on Route 33 237, according to a fire police volunteer from Elba who came across the accident.

There are no injuries, but the pole is leaning and wires over the roadway are now too low for a truck to pass under.

The fire police volunteer is shutting down traffic at Route 237 and Route 33 (aka Byron Holley Road and Clinton Street Road).

Stafford Fire Department dispatched.

UPDATE 8:32 p.m.: Responders are advising almost white-out conditions at the scene.

UPDATE 8:36 p.m.: The accident scene is actually on Route 33, just east of Griswold Road.

February 12, 2012 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Alabama.

A father saved his baby son today moments before the room where he was sleeping burst into flames.

Peter Dart was downstairs in a two-resident house at 7650 Macomber Road, Alabama, when he and his wife smelled smoke.

He rushed upstairs to his 13-month-old son's room. The room was filled with smoke, smoke so thick he couldn't see anything.

He had laid the toddler down for a nap just 30 minutes earlier.

Dart found the boy's crib just by memory, grabbed him, pulled him to his chest and rushed out of the house.

Investigators have determined the cause of the fire was related to an electric heater plugged into an extension cord.

The fire was reported by Dart's wife at 10:36 a.m. When the first firefighters arrived on scene from East Pembroke, the northwest corner of the 180-year-old house was fully engulfed in flames.

Lorna Klotzbach, a Town of Alabama Planning Board member, owned the house and lived in the other half.

The house sits in an area of Alabama without public water. Tankers were dispatched to the scene from 15 fire departments to draw water from creeks, ponds and the closest fire hydrant.

Many of the nearby ponds had frozen over in the past couple of days, making it harder to draw water from them, said East Pembroke Chief Don Newton.

"A good supply of water definitely would have helped," Newton said. "We ran out of water quite a few times. We did not have enough water to fight the fire to the best of our ability."

The entire second floor of the house was destroyed.

Newton said much of the first floor was saved, and the residents would be able to recover personal belongings from downstairs.

The wind and cold weather didn't help in fighting the fire, either, Newton said.

Dart's son was taken by private vehicle to UMMC and treated for smoke inhalation. Dart said he is doing fine.

At least four emergency responders suffered minor injuries related to the incident. One firefighter was transported to UMMC with a hand injury.

At least one of Klotzbach's three cats survived the fire and Lorna said her dogs escaped safely.

Responding to the scene, along with East Pembroke, were Alabama, Town of Batavia, Oakfield, Darien, City of Batavia's Fast Team, Pembroke, Indian Falls, Elba, Barre, East Shelby, Byron, South Byron, Alexander, Bergen, Attica, Wolcottsville, Mercy EMS and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

CORRECTION: We initially reported the child was a girl. That was based on what I thought for sure was the father saying "she" when I interviewed him. Even after reviewing the tape, that's what I thought I heard; however, there is some wind on the recording. Another, reliable source assures me the child is a boy. The story has been changed accordingly.

If you're unable to view the photo slide show, click here.

Prints of these photos may be purchased by clicking here.

Initial report posted here.

February 12, 2012 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, byron.

A one-vehicle rollover accident reported in the area of Warner Road and Route 33 with possible minor injuries.

Byron Fire Department and Mercy EMS responding to the scene.

February 12, 2012 - 11:21am
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, accidents.

A car accident is reported at Route 33 and Read Road in Pembroke. A female in the car is conscious and alert. She's "shook up" but apparently has minor injuries. Alexander Fire Department is responding due to East Pembroke Fire District's manpower being employed elsewhere. Medics from Bethany are also en route.

UPDATE (11:23 a.m.): The car is in a ditch.

UPDATE 11:41 a.m.: A 40-year-old woman is being transported to UMMC.

February 12, 2012 - 11:15am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accident.

A car has crashed into a tree at 5018 Clinton St. Road near Terry Hills Drive. Because the Town of Batavia's fire crews are working a structure fire, a unit from Bethany is called to the scene, along with Mercy medics. A person is complaining of back pain.

UPDATE 11:42 a.m.: One person was transported to UMMC Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

February 12, 2012 - 10:55am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, east pembroke.

A confirmed, working house fire is reported at 7650 Macomber Road in East Pembroke's fire district. All available manpower from that district is responding to the scene along with mutual aid from Alabama, Indian Falls, Elba, Pembroke, Corfu and Oakfield. The Town of Batavia Fast Team is also responding and another unit will fill in at the East Pembroke Fire Hall.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: Town of Batavia will switch from filling in at the East Pembroke hall and head straight to the fire. Alexander firefighters will fill in at East Pembroke. A firefighter upstairs reports near-zero visibility, which will "make the advance difficult...we're going to backdown the stairs until we can get the roof knocked out." Fire police are going to handle traffic control and "rubberneckers." ... Now all interior firefighters are ordered out of the structure.

UPDATE 11:08 a.m.: A tanker from Darien is called to the scene.

UPDATE 11:11 a.m.: An engine out of Stafford is called to the scene.

UPDATE 11:27: Shelby is called as mutual aid to fill in at Alabama's fire hall. Mercy medics have been on scene since shortly after the initial call went out.

UPDATE 11:34 a.m.: Akron is called as mutual aid to fill in at Pembroke.

UPDATE 11:44 a.m.: The house was built sometime in the 1830s. It belongs to Lorna Klotzbach, who is a member of the Town of Alabama Planning Board. Inmates from the Wyoming Correctional Facility will be transported to the site to help out. The fire departments in Wolcottsville and Barre are called to provide mutual aid.

UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: More help is coming from Byron, South Byron, Attica and East Shelby.

UPDATE 12:01 p.m.: The Ladies Auxiliary of the East Pembroke Fire District are called to provide refreshments at the scene.

UPDATE 12:46 p.m.: A person from the scene is being transported to UMMC. The patient is a man with an ankle injury.

UPDATE 1:08 p.m.: Shelby and Barre firefighters are released and will be returning home.

UPDATE 3:32 p.m.: Town of Batavia is the latest fire company, of a few of them, to go back in service.

UPDATE 4:25 p.m.: Ambulance requested to the scene for a person with a hand injury, requested transport to UMMC.

UPDATE 5:32 p.m.: Ambulance requested to the scene non-emergency for a person with a shoulder injury.

UPDATE 5:56 p.m.: Oakfield's tanker requested back to the scene, non-emergency.

UPDATE 6:25 p.m.: All units, back in service.

February 11, 2012 - 8:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Bethany, outdoors.

John Starkweather is lucky to be alive. He knows it. He wants other hunters to know it, too.

According to hunting safety instructor Bill Fox, in Western New York this past season, five people fell from tree stands. Four died. Starkweather made it, though he almost didn't.

"I love hunting," said Starkweather, whose father, a chicken farmer in Pavilion, first took him out looking for game 30 years ago. "If I can save one person, whoever it is, I would feel I've done my part. I don't want someone to go through what I've gone through."

An avid bow hunter and a truck driver for Wegmans, Starkweather scheduled his vacation to coincide with bow season, and on his second day out, Nov. 1, Starkweather went to a tree stand he's used a few times over the past four years.

He arrived at about noon on his aunt's property on Gilhooly Road in Alexander and climbed up to the stand with his bow and arrows.

And he waited. And he waited. And he waited. Starkweather was skunked.

As evening approached and an afternoon of zero game passing within range, Starkweather decided it was time to climb out of the tree stand.

The 45-year-old father of two teenagers unbuckled from his harness and climbed out of the stand.

"I've stepped on that branch many times over the years," Starkweather said. "This time, the branch broke."

He fell 26 feet.

He doesn't know how long he laid on the ground unconscious.

When he awoke, he knew he was badly hurt. But he was able to reach his mobile phone in his pocket and call 9-1-1.

Alexander Fire Department arrived within minutes, with firefighters riding a gator to his location, guided by information he gave to emergency dispatchers who relayed it to responders. 

Mercy Flight was called to the scene and he was airlifted to Erie County Medical Center.

His injuries were extensive and serious.

"I had eight broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade, collapsed lung, lacerated liver and two cracked vertebrae," Starkweather said, and looking at his wife, Stephani, "Is that it?"

"Yes," she replied.

"Oh, and two chipped teeth," John added. "There was so much. The list never stops."

After a week in the hospital, Starkweather returned home to begin his recovery.

On his fourth day home, Starkweather tried to scratch his back and the main artery to his liver broke open.

Stefani, an assistant physical therapist, said he stopped breathing and was turning blue. She could hear his heart, and also knew because of the cracked ribs, chest compressions were not an option. She started mouth-to-mouth and their son called 9-1-1.

When East Bethany firefighters arrived they put him on oxygen and he started to revive. He remembers being carried outside and when the cold air hit him, he said he was fully aware from that moment on of what was going on.

He needed another airlift, but Mercy Flight #5 was out of the area and too far away (Starkweather was likely the first patient on the brand new Mercy Flight #5 on Nov. 1). The State Police helicopter from Batavia was called to the scene and Starkweather was airlifted to Erie County Medical Center.

Surgeons opened Starkweather, who was in an induced coma, and left his body open for three days to ensure all bleeding was controlled. They inserted a stainless steal tube to replace his damaged artery.

"I was in the hospital for my vacation, my birthday and Thanksgiving," Starkweather said.

He still has visible bed sores on the back of his head.

"He's lucky," Fox said. "He's absolutely lucky. That's why I so intensely want him to come and talk (to a safety class). Hopefully, for the younger generation, instead of us telling them, 'This is what can happen,' he can show them."

Fox said it's especially important to stress tree stand safety with bow hunters. Because of the limited range of bows, they use tree stands in the hope of passing game and the chance to get within 20 or 30 yards in order to fire off a shot.

The week Starkweather was in the hospital, another bow hunter seeking game in Genesee County, fell to his death.

Charles E. Sossong, 42, of Lockport-Olcott Road, Newfane, was in a tree stand located off Sour Springs Road, Alabama. When he didn't meet his hunting partner, his partner went looking for him and found him on the ground seriously injured.

There are no details available on how Sossong fell or what safety device he might have been using.

"It's a big issue and we stress tree stand safety a lot in the course because it's especially important for bow hunters," Fox said.

In Starkweather's home are a few trophies bagged with his bow, from a bear to a deer with a nice eight-point rack and the skull of a wild boar he killed on a hunting reserve overseas.

He said he knows all about safety, but on Nov. 1, maybe he got just a little bit complacent, a little too comfortable with something he's done many times.

Starkweather said the harness he was using that day was kind of old-school. It's designed to hold the hunter in the tree stand once he takes position. It offers no protection while getting in and out of the stand, which is the most dangerous time.

A newer harness would connect from the top of the stand to the ground, and if a hunter started to fall, the belt clip would catch, much like a car's seat belt, preventing a fall.

The systems are expensive, though, which may be why hunters still don't use them as much as they should, though Starkweather is now convinced they're worth it.

"You always say, it can't happen to me," Starkweather said. "That's the cliche, right? Well, it can happen to you."

As for Starkweather, he said the only tree stands he will climb into in the future will use a ladder. He's not taking any more chances.

"There's never been any doubt he would keep hunting," Stefani said. "He loves it too much. It's who he is."

Just like John, Stefani doesn't want to see another hunter's family go through what the Starkweathers have been though, which is why she supports John talking about his injuries so publicly.

"He's always been so active, so strong and so on the go," said Stefeni, who for the first time while we talked, struggled against a few tears. "Seeing him so injured, having to put his life on hold, has been hard, especially for somebody you love so much."

Starkweather knows just how fortunate he is, and part of the reason he's alive, he acknowledged, are the emergency personnel who responded, first to his accident, and then to his medical emergency at home.

He especially wanted to thank the personnel of the Alexander and East Bethany volunteer fire departments, Mercy EMS, Mercy Flight, the Sheriff's Office and State Police.

"I'll never get another piece of paper from Mercy Flight or a volunteer fire company asking for money and just throw it out," Starkweather said.

February 11, 2012 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

An Orleans County woman was allegedly driving too fast on snow-covered roads this afternoon leading to a crash that sent her to the hospital.

Teresa Lynn Wilkins, 38, of West Avenue, Medina, was transported by Mercy EMS to Medina Community Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The accident was reported at 11:49 a.m. in the area of 1630 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

No other vehicles were involved.

Her 2008 Chevy pickup reportedly hit a tree.

She was issued citations for alleged speeding and failure to keep right.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Chris Parker.

February 11, 2012 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisment.

There are now 118 businesses signed on as sponsors of The Batavian. That's the highest total ever.

In the past two months, we've been please to have the following businesses sign on as sponsors:

I've written before about how supporting local businesses keeps more local dollars in our home community. Communities with vibrant local businesses demonstrate all kinds of benefits for local residents.

Along those lines, a recent study found that counties with thriving small businesses also have healthier residents.

The study of 3,060 counties and parishes in the contiguous United States -- published online in the "Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society" and forthcoming in its March print issue -- brings new evidence to a body of research literature and a debate among sociologists, who traditionally have advanced two competing hypotheses about how small business impacts public health.

Some sociologists argue that small businesses — unlike chain retail "big box" stores and large manufacturing plants — have a greater investment in the community and thus have more at stake when it comes to the well-being of employees, customers and other local citizens. The LSU and Baylor University researchers, who analyzed national population, health, business and housing data, found that the greater the proportion of small businesses, the healthier the population.

"Some communities appear to have thriving small-business sectors that feature entrepreneurial cultures that promote public health. A place like this has a can-do climate, a practical problem-solving approach in which a community takes control of its own destiny," said co-author Charles M. Tolbert, Ph.D., chair of the Sociology department at Baylor. "The alternative is the attitude that 'Things are out of our control.' "

It's critical we all do all we can to support locally owned businesses.

On The Batavian, you can find information, now, about 118 local businesses. On Shop Batavia, there are now close to 157 local businesses posting information about who they are and what they do.

In other words, it's now easier than ever to support your local business community.

Here's a complete list of sponsors of The Batavian:


February 11, 2012 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street.

(Pictured are the Smiths, from left, Michelle, Alex, Tom and Matt.)

Tom Smith has a simple goal: To be known as -- "The Sub King of Batavia."

Smith, with help of his brother, Matt, and wife, Michelle, opened New York Subs and Deli at 234 Ellicott St., Batavia, on Friday.

It's a shop that Smith has been planning for 20 years.

He said he always felt he couldn't get a good sub outside of Rochester, and he thought, "I can do that, too."

"There's an art form to a good sandwich and I've mastered the art form," Smith said.

There's at least one convert in Batavia -- a local resident stopped into the shop this afternoon to report back that he and his wife were duly impressed with the subs they had just eaten for lunch.

"I'll definitely be back," the customer said.

Smith said he spent a lot of time traveling to Rochester, buying subs, bringing them home and deconstructing them -- measuring out every ingredient.

Besides getting the amount of ingredients right, the other secret to a great sub is fresh bread, meat, cheese and vegetables.

"I figured out what they were doing and how to make some improvements," Smith said.

February 11, 2012 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

Liz, 13, was downtown with her mother this afternoon in her fine winter hat she bought at JCPenney.

It was a bit like winter in Batavia today, with a couple of inches of snow falling so far.

More snow is on the way, with less than an inch expected overnight, but then tomorrow, three to five inches is expected, some of it in "squalls," with winds up to 20 or 30 mph.

Today's weather seems to have contributed to more than a half dozen, or more, property damage and minor injury accidents around the county.

February 11, 2012 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, hlom.

Maddie, 8, on the left, with Maranda, 9, and Tess, 9, decorate cookies this afternoon at the Holland Land Office Museum.

The Valentine's-themed event was put together by Tonisha Price, owner of Sweet Ecstasy Baker in Stafford.

Children were invited to HLOM throughout the afternoon to decorate heart-shaped cookies.

Below, Tess with her cookie.

February 11, 2012 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A car has reportedly hit a tree in the area of 10903 Alleghany Road, near Herkimer Road.

A deputy on scene reports minor injuries.

Darien Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

View Larger Map

February 11, 2012 - 10:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Funeral services for Alyce M. Huntoon, the 24-year-old Batavia woman who died under undetermined circumstances Wednesday night, will be at 10 a.m., Monday, Grace Baptist Church.

Huntoon, originally from Elba, leaves behind two small children, Ava and Maddox. She was a 2005 graduate of Batavia High School.

From her obituary:

She was a secretary at Zirbel Automotive and had just begun working part time at Tully's. A shy, family oriented person, Alyce had a great love for her family and her world was being a mommy to her sweet babies, Ava & Maddox. She loved holidays, baking, family dinners and family traditions.

Calling hours are today from 6 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel, 4120 West Main Street Road, Batavia.

Previously: Batavia woman's cause of death not yet known

February 10, 2012 - 8:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield.

An alarm of fire is reported at a natural gas compression station located behind a residence at 3337 Lockport Road in Oakfield. The caller reported hearing a loud bang followed by the sound of the fire alarm.

Law enforcement and Oakfield Fire Department are en route.

UPDATE 9:02 p.m.: Oakfield fire on scene reports nothing showing.

UPDATE 9:04 p.m.: A National Fuel Co. rep is on scene en route, with an ETA of about 20 minutes. The other responders are staging outside the main gate.

UPDATE 9:07 p.m.: National Fuel tells dispatch that the station is programmed to automatically shut down if excess gas is present. A responder says there is excess gas pressure at the site and it is "bleeding off." Winds are blowing southwesterly at 9 mph.

UPDATE 9:15 p.m.: A key holder to the property has arrived and is being escorted into the area by a deputy. A responder says "It seems there is no power at the plant at this time."

UPDATE 9:21 p.m.: A rep from National Fuel is now on scene.

UPDATE 9:24 p.m.: A senior foreman for National Fuel is headed into the compression station.

UPDATE 9:27 p.m.: Deputies are escorting the National Fuel rep to the station and the expectation is  "we'll be released shortly."

UPDATE 9:45 p.m.: The Oakfield assignment is back in service.





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