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Proudly serving the community for 134 years and counting

By Timothy Paine

Seaman's Hardware is Genesee County's oldest family owned business. I spent some time yesterday just browsing through the store and reliving my past. I remembered the many times I went with my Dad to the local Hardware store when I was little. I’d wander the isles just looking at all the things on the shelves and wondering what I could build with them. My Dad is a pretty handy guy, he did everything at home himself. He built a house, barns and sheds. He did plumbing, electric, roofing and mason work. I learned a lot from him, mainly that I prefer to write a check when my house needs repair. (I never was as good at it as he was).

I spoke with Jim Seaman about the history of the Hardware store. He said he is fourth or fifth generation. The reason for this is he can’t find any receipts from Charles. He has the paper trail for Ezra, Web, Gail and himself. Since he doesn’t have any paper evidence of Charles and the sales from the wagon he considers it a fourth generation business. What an enormous accomplishment to keep a family business a float for 134 years. Surviving the Great Depression and who knows how many recessions. Keeping a business in the family through two World Wars and numerous other ones. Just being able to operate any business in this State is remarkable. To keep one this long and under the same name is astonishing. While I was there customers came in one after the other. After every sale Jim came from behind the counter and asked every one how could he help them. Every person was given the same personal attention and guidance towards what they needed. As I walked around and looked at every shelf I was amazed about the shear variety of items they had. Everything from power tools to P-traps to canning pots to ping-pong balls. With my son being a new Scout I picked him up a compass and a pocket knife (he starts working on his whittling badge this week). Even though the store may not appear very large, they seemed to have anything you would expect at real Hardware store.  Through the years he has changed thigs only when his customers wanted it. After all, you don't mess with something that works. Over the years he has added outdoor equipment and tool rentals, maybe a few other things. But he has always stayed true to the old time true Hardware store. If you need it, he's probably got it.

I asked Jim what his theory on success is, and what has lead his business to such a long history in our County. He said his key has been, find out what customers want and make sure you always have it. He continued, offer them more than just a product at a reasonable price. Make sure you give them service and stand behind it. While I was there a gentleman came in for a special light bulb that he happened to be out of stock on. Instead of saying “I’m out of them” he said “I’ll have one for you tomorrow”. He’s right. That’s the difference between selling to a community and serving one. I encourage everyone to stop in and see Jim the next time you’re on Route 5 in East Pembroke. It’s a great place and the biggest example of why it’s good to shop local. You’ll never get Jim’s kind of service at a box store.  They're located at 2602 Main St in E. Pembroke. Ph# 762-9211.

     Seaman's Hardware (Est. 1875) is located on Rte 5 in East Pembroke (just west of Batavia) is Genesee County's oldest family owned business. Charles Seaman and his son Ezra were tin smiths who sold their wares out of a wagon. They eventually built a wooden structure and upgraded to the current brick building in 1916. Part of the original wooden structure is still attached.

I received a bunch of e-mails about businesses around the County. I can use a buch more! If you know a business that's been here a long time, let me know and I'll feature them. Send e-mail to:    timpaineforbatavia@yahoo.com  Thanks!

FAA investigates plane rollover at LeRoy Airport

By Philip Anselmo

Investigators out of the Rochester division of the FAA will look into the accident at the LeRoy Airport over the weekend, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Sixty-one-year-old Peter Bonneau, of Rochester, was landing his single-engine Cessna in LeRoy Friday morning when his plane flipped over the end of the runway.

Bonneau was coming in from the Monroe County Airport on a recreational flight when he attempte to touch down on the runway and wound up sliding off the northern edge and into a snow embankment. From there, the craft continued on in the snow until it slowed and overturned, deputies said. Bonneau was fortunately uninjured.

News roundup: Public hearing tonight on proposed city budget

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia's City Council will hold a public hearing tonight at 7 o'clock on the proposed budget for next year. Council has worked the property tax increase down to about 3 1/2 percent according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. Further budget cuts have reduced the increase to 2.17 percent. Water rates are slated for a 4 percent hike. That meeting will be at City Hall.

On the Beat: Weekend DWIs

By Philip Anselmo

Shawn R. Goburn, 26, of Williamson, was charged with felony driving while intoxicated Sunday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Goburn was stopped on Route 33 in the town of Bergen for an alleged traffic violating. He was also ticketed with speeding. The charge was a felony because of a prior DWI conviction in 2006.


Amy W. Peters, 36, of Pembroke, was charged with driving while intoxicated Friday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Peters was stopped on Pratt Road in Pembroke for an alleged traffic violation. She was also ticketed with changing lanes unsafely.

Airplane flips at Le Roy airport

By Brian Hillabush

The Genesee County Sheriff's office received a phone call at 11:23 this morning from the Le Roy Airport.

A plane slid off the end of the runway and flipped over, according to dispatcher Steve Robinson.

There was one person inside the plane and no injuries were reported. Deputies are still on the scene investigating.

Steve Hawley calls for study on split New York into two states

By Howard B. Owens

In an article by Tom Rivers on legislators calling for caps on spending, we find this interesting passage about Assemblyman Steve Hawley's musing on secession:

Hawley last month sent a letter to seven universities in the state, asking them to consider the potential political and financial pitfalls of separating upstate from New York City, and creating two different states. The divergent interests of rural upstate and the city of 8 million people makes it difficult to govern the state, and create laws and regulations that work for both regions, Hawley said.

He isn’t necessarily pushing for an upstate-New York City separation, he just wants some facts on the long-simmering issue. He knows many upstaters would like to divorce NYC.


“Can there be a new New York and a New York? I don’t know,” Hawley said. “But it would be foolish to introduce some legislation without knowing the impact.”

He sent letters to universities across the state, from the University at Buffalo to Columbia University in New York City, seeking their help with the study.

Now, secession in New York is an old idea, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea.  If Hawley's requests for information and studies are answered, the information would certainly be useful. It could be the nail that closes the coffin on talk of breaking apart the state or it could nail a revolutionary manifesto to the door of every town hall in Upstate and Western New York.

Bill Kauffman is expected to have a book out in the spring on secessionist movements in the United States.  Here's an article along those lines from a few months back. Kauffman writes:

Some of the contemporary secessionists are puckish and playful; others are dead serious. Some seek to separate from the main body of a state and add a fifty-first star to the American flag while others wish to leave the United States altogether. Some proposals are so sensible (the division of California into two or three states) that in a just world they would be inevitable; others are so radical (the independent republic of Vermont) as to seem risibly implausible—until you meet the activists and theoreticians preparing these new declarations of independence.

My sense is, that while many in the state outside of The City, are dissatisfied with the direction of government and have a long list of complaints -- from unequal services to high taxes to overregulation -- there's no sense that splitting the state will mend any of the people's grievances.   On the other hand, it contradicts the flow of history to assume that today's boundaries and political alignments will remain indefinitely as insoluble marks on maps .  Somehow, someway, things will change someday.  The question is, will we be  masters of our destiny or victims of historical fate?

The longer we wait to repair the mounting problems confronting New York, the less control we will have over the final outcome.

Great White Shark Encounter: Death of a Skin Diver

By JIM NIGRO

There are annual reports of sharks attacking surfers, divers and, as of late, the lethal attack of a triathlete-in- training. The following account took place 50 years ago in Southern California waters and helped launch today’s intensive research and in-depth studies in shark behavior. I first read of the attack back in the early-seventies, possibly in “Blue Meridian” or “Blue Water, White Death.” The details in that first account were much the same as in the documented report available today. The major difference being the book claimed the surviving diver was beneath the surface when the Great White first appeared.

In June of 1959, Robert Pamperin and Gerald Lehrer took their girlfriends to the beach at La Jolla Cove, California. The women stayed on the beach while their boyfriends went into the sea in search of abalone, an edible mollusk found in the Pacific. Pamperin, age 33, and Lehrer, age 30 were free diving – using only masks, fins and snorkels. They were without wet suits. The water was estimated between 30 – 40 feet deep. The depth indicates the men were exceptional skin-divers.    

In their quest for abalone the pair slowly drifted apart by 15 meters or more.

Lehrer was near the sea floor when a very large shadow passed at extremely close range, blocking out a good deal of the sunlight filtering down. Looking up, Lehrer saw a huge fish with a white underside. Its large tail sweeping from side to side, the fish kept going, disappearing into a dense stand of kelp. A bit unnerved, Lehrer was making up his mind whether to continue searching for abalone or alert his buddy and head for ashore. Before doing either, he needed air.

After Lehrer shot to the surface, he heard Pamperin shout for help. Thinking his friend might be having a leg cramp he turned in the direction of the shout and saw his companion with his head up and unusually high above the surface, minus his mask. In the next instant, he saw his friend disappear beneath the surface. Lehrer swam quickly toward where he last saw his companion, took a breath and dove. Twisting and turning in a sandy pocket on the bottom, was a large shark, estimated to be 7 meters (approx. 23 ft.) in length.   Pamperin was in the shark’s mouth, his legs not visible, and being violently shaken from side to side. The predator’s large, triangular teeth – firmly clamped around Pamerpin’s torso, told Lehrer the shark was a Great White.   

After surfacing for air, Lehrer reportedly dove again, approached the shark and began waving his arms in a desperate and futile attempt to frighten it off.

Realizing there was nothing he could do, Lehrer swam toward shore. About fifteen yards from the beach he was met by an onlooker who had come to help. William Abitz had been standing on an elevated rocky point overlooking the attack sight. “He (Pamperin) was thrashing his arms and looked to be running from something. Then he went under,” said Abitz.

Within the hour a scuba diver dispatched from nearby Scripp’s Institute of Oceanography combed the sea floor and found no trace of the victim.

Further investigation revealed three events may have aroused the Great White.

Prior to Lehrer’s and Pamperin’s arrival at the cove, several fish had been taken by spearfishermen. Distress signals given off by speared fish may have been an attractant. Secondly, not far from La Jolla Cove was a harbor seal rookery, known prey of Great Whites. Lastly, and perhaps most significant, the previous evening a dead whale had washed up on the beach at La Jolla Shores, about a half-mile away. Currents and winds likely created a natural chum slick or “odor corridor” attracting the shark.        

Is the shark’s notoriety warranted? Do they swim about, endlessly looking to devour anything in their path?  

I’ve seen recent footage where a team of divers – one by one - exited a shark cage and swam among multiple Great Whites. The sharks, ranging in size from fourteen to sixteen feet, made what appeared to be curious, non-aggressive passes. Two of the divers actually placed their hands against the shark’s flanks as the big fish swam past.

Like any wild creature, sharks are unpredictable. And we play the percentages whenever we enter their realm.

Most viewed posts for January

By Philip Anselmo

Most viewed posts for January:

• City Council officially gets out of the ambulance business, by Philip Anselmo

• Big changes could be coming in NYSPHSAA, by Brian Hillabush

• City poised to scrap county-wide ambulance service, by Philip Anselmo

• Now is the Time to Renew, by Patrick Burk

• Rural Democrats respond to Chris Lee's first week in office, by Philip Anselmo

• Caroline Kennedy reportedly withdrawing from Senate consideration, by Howard Owens

• Inauguration party Tuesday at TF Brown's sponsored by The Batavian, by Howard Owens

• Batavia wrestling coach chimes in on economic changes, by Brian Hillabush

• Consolidation: Five questions... Charlie Mallow, by Philip Anselmo

• Poll: Looking for a good cup of joe..., by Philip Anselmo

If you have a "favorite" post that maybe wasn't one of our most viewed for January, please add it in the comments section. This is a great way for folks to go back and check out what they may have missed.

News roundup: Another downtown restaurant closes its doors

By Philip Anselmo

A third restaurant in 30 days has closed its doors in downtown Batavia. Grugnale's Italian Deli on Jackson Street is shuttered today. A sign on the door states that the deli has closed temporarily while the owners seek out a new location, WBTA's Dan Fischer reports. "The owners there have said they hope to re-open the business," says Fischer.

South Beach on Main Street and Sallome's Deli on Oak Street have also recently closed their doors.

Homeowners association tells couple they can't fly American flag

By Tasia Boland

My husband and I are house hunting, and recently we found a house we fell in love with except, it is part of a homeowners association. Now we have been asking friends and family what they know about homeowners associations. Today I heard about this story and am giving second thoughts to being involved in an association.

From the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet:

When their son was deployed to Iraq in October, Terry and Sue Lewton installed a flagpole outside their Loveland, Colo. home to fly the American flag 24 hours a day until his return. Sgt. Jason Lewton is still stationed in Iraq, but his parents’ homeowners association asked them to remove the 20-foot flagpole to maintain “the high standards of the community.” Sue Lewton refuses to remove the flag until her son comes home. The flagpole is not taller than the Lewtons’ home, the flag is kept in respectable condition, and they received no objections when they asked their immediate neighbors before installing the flagpole.

What rights would you give up to live in a more structured community?
( surveys)

Sudanese refugee and GCC student becomes United States citizen

By Philip Anselmo

From Genesee Community College:

Helen Keller once said: "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

Moses Nhial, a refugee from Sudan and a full-time student at Genesee Community College, has experienced trials and suffering that most Americans can hardly imagine much less endure. Through it all, Moses has overcome adversity to become an ambitious young man, flourishing in an environment very unlike what he experienced growing up.

Genesee Community College is honored to announce Moses Nhial will take the Oath of Allegiance to become a United States citizen on February 12, 2009 in Rochester at the Federal Building. A College Citizenship celebration is planned for February 19 at 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. at the Batavia Campus in the Library Media Room. After much preparation for the Naturalization examination and a childhood replete of hardships, this occasion marks a pinnacle in this young man's life.

Born in 1987 in Sudan, Moses' childhood was filled with attacks on his village and constant fleeing to new refugee camps and other countries to avoid violence and brutality. As a youth, he took refuge in Ethiopia and Kenya with help from the United Nations. While in Ethiopia, he not only encountered the outbreak of another civil war, but his mother, the only family member with him at that time, died of an illness. Moses then relocated to northern Kenya and remained there until 2001, when he came to the United States.

Moses first applied to a refugee program in 1999 and through much diligence he was moved to the U.S. with help from Catholic Charities. He settled into Rochester with a foster family through the Catholic Family Center. He attended Thomas Jefferson High, where he flourished as a remarkable student. During his junior year at Thomas Jefferson, he was voted vice president of the student government and the following year he was voted president. Moses graduated high school in 2007 and started Genesee Community College in 2008.

Moses is now 21 and is no longer with the regional foster program. He lives in College Village, Genesee's campus housing facility, but he frequently visits his foster family for holidays and special events. He is studying General Studies with his favorite subject being History. He plans to one day work in International Relations. He has a work study position in the Library at Genesee and is enjoying his studies and time in College.

"I think my favorite part about Genesee Community College is that all the teachers and staff are really nice," Moses said.

Nina Warren, Director of Library Services at Genesee, first came to know Moses when he applied for a work study position. She and the library staff had learned some things about his life from his resume and through conversations during his first weeks of work. During the last week of October, he requested working Friday instead of his usual Thursday shift because he was scheduled to take the Naturalization tests to become a U.S. citizen.

"We not only willingly agreed, but we were awed by this young man's quiet progression in his life and his immense integrity," Ms. Warren said.

After he took the test and passed, the library staff talked at greater length and learned about Moses' challenging past and inspiring life story. There was also a new collective awareness about the long process required to become a U.S. citizen, and everyone waited with great anticipation for the official letter to arrive with news of Moses' final step-his Oath of Allegiance in downtown Rochester.

"We are all very excited and honored to have Moses working here in the library during this very significant event in his life," Ms. Warren said. "Everyone enjoys working with him because he's smart, calm, polite and enthusiastic about doing a wide range of tasks and projects for the library. His great smile is a perfect match for his patience that serves him well on either busy or slow days, or when assigned tasks by one or even five staff members."

Moses has adjusted to an American way of life and has taken the opportunity to share his life's tragic past with others. In November, he spoke at St. John Fisher College as part of a viewing and discussion for the documentary film, "The Lost Boys of Sudan."

A Citizenship Celebration is planned for February 19 at 1:00 p.m. in the Library Media Room at the Batavia campus. A pre-celebration Media Hour is scheduled from 12:00-1:00 p.m. for reporters or photographers interested in meeting and interviewing Moses. For further information, please contact Nina Warren at 585-343-005 x6256 or at ntwarren@genesee.edu.

Economic developer optimistic for future businesses in Batavia

By Tasia Boland

Don Burkel, Executive Director of the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), said there is hope and incentive for future business owners and shoppers downtown. Burkel said some of the incentives currently in the works could include: a coupon book and a shop-and-dine night—during which downtown shoppers can get discounts at local eateries and find sales at local merchants. Businesses may also look to benefit from cooperative advertising with the media.

The BID continues to plan events coming up in March and April and has already confirmed the bands, the Formula and Ghost Riders to perform at Jackson Square this summer.

On the Beat: Former Batavia business owner accused of selling cocaine

By Philip Anselmo

Nekia "Nick" Newton, 32, formerly of 7 Central Ave., Batavia, was charged with two felony counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance Thursday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Newton had allegedly become aware of a pending drug charges against him in December. At that time, he moved out of his residence in Batavia at 7 Central Ave. and closed his business on West Main Street, the Batavia Detail Center.

Members of the county's local drug task force then tracked Newton to Rochester, where he was located and apprehended at a motel by investigators from the Rochester police department. Newten was sent to Genesee County Jail yesterday pending an arraignment in court today.


Donald Cordoba, 26, of Darien, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Thursday, deputies said. Cordoba was found to be in possession of the drug at 282 Route 20, Room No. 6, Darien.


Elizabeth Weiner, 18, of Rochester, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Saturday, deputies said. Weiner was found to be in possession of the drug following an interview on Silker Road in Pembroke.

Standoff subject in LeRoy was being investigated for videotaping children

By Philip Anselmo

A man who was found dead in his home earlier today following a police standoff in the village of LeRoy was being investigated for "unlawful videotaping of underage persons," village police said this hour.

The man's identity is still being witheld pending notification of his next of kin. He lived at 128 Lake Street in LeRoy, where the apparent suicide took place earlier today. Please see our earlier post for the rest of the details.

Updated (6:06 p.m.): Village police have identified the man who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound today as 38-year-old Cary M. Felgenhauer of 128 Lake St., LeRoy.

LeRoy man found dead inside his home following police standoff

By Philip Anselmo

A 38- or 39-year-old man who has not yet been identified was found dead inside his home of a gunshot wound following a police standoff outside the Lake Street residence, according to LeRoy Chief of Police Christopher Hayward. Police will not yet comment if the wound was self-inflicted, though Hawyard said that it does not seem to be otherwise.

Hayward explained that village officers went to the home at 128 Lake Street at 10:30 a.m. to execute a search warrant. When the officers approached, they heard a gunshot and immediately backed off to "establish a perimeter." Assistance was requested from the state police, county sheriff personnel and the city of Batavia's Emergency Response Team. A robot was also brought to the scene to enter the residence and establish contact with the individual believed to be inside.

Police attempted to enter the residence with the robot, but it was unable to negotiate the "layout" of the home. Entry was made by the SWAT team into the home some time before 1 o'clock and officers found the individual inside dead from a gunshot wound.

Residents in the homes adjacent to the property were all evacuated, but they have since been allowed to return to their homes, said Hayward.

"What brought us here, the investigation itself, was less than 24 hours old," said Hayward, adding that the individual in question was "not known" to himself prior to this incident, indicating no prior criminal history. "It would not be appropriate to comment at this point."

Hayward also declined to comment on the nature of the search warrant.

"I don't want to leave it open to speculation as to why we were there."

We are expecting more information on the incident later today. We will report it as it becomes available.

Chief Hayward:

Standoff in downtown LeRoy

By Philip Anselmo

LeRoy village police are expected to hold a press conference at 1 o'clock today at the Village Hall on the "police incident" that has been ongoing since this morning. At last report, police were prepared to enter a home on Lake Street where an individual is believed to be holed up inside with a weapon. A robot was going to be used to enter the premises, but reports on the scanner indicated the robot was not functioning.

We will have more on this as it becomes available. Video of the press conference will be available later this afternoon.

Lake Street (Route 19) between Main Street and West Bergen Road is still closed at this hour.

Flying truck tire smashes into oncoming car on Route 33

By Howard B. Owens

The driver of a small passenger car was unhurt after the tire of an oncoming semi-truck flew off the wheel and was hurled into her front windshield.

I happened upon the accident driving into Batavia this morning.

The incident was on Route 33 north of Ivison Road.

The driver the car was suffered a minor cut, according to an official on scene, but she declined an interview request. She appeared pretty shaken up.

We'll have a short video from the scene soon.

Route 19 shut down in LeRoy for unknown "police incident": Updated

By Philip Anselmo

We're trying to get information on a "police incident" in the village of LeRoy that's got county-wide attention at this hour. The "incident" has closed down Lake Street (Route 19) in the village between Main Street (Route 5) and West Bergen Road. LeRoy police are handling the situation, we've been told. However, we were unable to get any more details. A LeRoy dispatcher informed us that she was too busy to talk about what was happening. We will keep on this throughout the afternoon.


View Larger Map

Update (11:48 a.m.): Dan Fischer reports on the WBTA Web site that the incident is near the 100 block of Lake Street (Route 19), and that homes adjacent to the property inquestion have been evacuated.

UPDATE (12:07 p.m. by Howard): Dan Fischer just said there were reports of shots fired this morning, but whether shots were fired are unconfirmed.  Philip is headed to the media staging area and will report from the scene.

UPDATE (12:32 p.m. by Howard): Dan Fischer reports that one person with a weapon is believed holed up in a home on Lake Road.

Can we ever fix Albany?

By Philip Anselmo

Buffalo News columnist Rod Watson doesn't hold back in his indictment of our state legislature in today's edition of the paper. He goes for the jugular in this piece, comparing the cast of characters in Albany to the fabled mafia crew of television's Sopranos.

Consider what passes for governance here:

Legalized bribery and extortion, which is what the campaign system amounts to. Buying loyalty with high-priced, do-nothing committee assignments. Running a front-operation that meets in the legislative chamber while all of the decisions are made in the back room.

[...]

But even when the needed reforms — campaign finance limits, independent redistricting, etc. — are apparent, how do you change a system when the ones who write the laws are the ones who benefit most from it?

Of course, the answer, as always, is us. It's all about us paying attention and demanding change. Watson calls for a C-SPAN of the state legislature. If they're being watched all the time, maybe they will start to behave. Or that's the idea.

What do you think? Are we capable of paying attention en masse, because that's what it would take, it seems? A few gadflies here and there will only get swatted down. Or are we too complacent, too ready to buy into the aggressive campaigning of specialty groups who spur an uproar every time their funding is threatened? Or too complacent, too willing to chew on the fodder of smallish political victories passed off as significant achievements—think of Chris Lee recently championing how he saved local libraries from the big bad government? Or should we even be blaming ourselves?

While you brood over that, I would recommend checking out Watson's article.

A Look Back At The World Record Tiger Shark: Part II

By JIM NIGRO

At the conclusion of Monday’s post, Walter Maxwell and his fishing companions watched in disbelief as a monster tiger shark swam off with their homemade gaff. The shark came away the victor after an hour-long battle at the Cherry Grove, South Carolina pier. Down but not deterred, the trio spent the rest of that day and the entire evening fishing from the pier.

 At daybreak on Sunday, June 14th, 1964 the anglers caught several skates – small rays – and rigged them on large hooks. Using a row boat, one of Maxwell’s companions took the skates a considerable distance from the pier and dropped them over the side. The only action early on came from smaller sharks which persisted in picking up the baits and running for a short distance before dropping them. Eventually a group of larger sharks moved into the area, one of which inhaled a skate, ran with it a short distance before cutting through the line. Not long afterward, while watching one of his friends fight a rather large shark, another fish took Maxwell’s bait. The fish was about thirty yards from the end of the pier when it jumped clear of the water. The noise made by the gargantuan fish as it landed back on the surface startled the anglers as well as the spectators that had gathered. As this was taking place, the aforementioned school of large sharks began inhaling the other baits. This resulted in more chaos – and broken lines.              

During all the fuss and ado, Walter Maxwell’s line was sizzling once again, and he jammed the butt of his fishing rod into the belly plate of his shoulder harness. Tightening the drag, he was instantly pulled against the pier railing and knocked off his feet. Struggling to stand, Maxwell had all he could do to control his fishing rod as it bucked and lurched. Moments later onlookers gasped as the shark once again breached the surface, this time 500 feet from the pier.

The shark then began a line-sizzling run to the northeast, in the process nearly stripping all 1400 yards of 130 lb. test line from Maxwell’s reel. At this point his friends began pouring water onto the scorching reel.  The giant shark was nearly ¾ of a mile from the pier before Maxwell was able to finally halt its run. The reprieve was momentary, however, as the shark began another powerful run, this time heading southeast. To everyone’s relief, with but a few yards of line left on the spool, rather than swim out to sea, the fish began swimming parallel to the beach.

 As the fight neared the five hour mark, Maxwell brought the leviathan alongside the pier. By this time it was after 6 p.m. It wasn’t until the next morning when the shark was weighed on government certified scales. With overnight temperatures in the 80’s, it was estimated the shark lost 10% of its body weight due to dehydration. Nonetheless, it still pushed the scales to the 1780 lbs. mark.

Eleven years after Maxwell brought his big “tiger” alongside the pier, big sharks hit the silver screen.  In the years immediately after Steven Spielberg’s epic “Jaws”, shark mania was at an all time high. Even today shark fishing became the rage on many fronts, with weekend shark tournaments being held up and down both coasts. From Martha’s Vineyard to Miami, from Port Hueneme to San Diego, teams of shark hunters head offshore in search of monster fish.

Despite the influx of shark fishermen and their state-of-the-art equipment, Walter Maxwell’s tiger shark remains the all-tackle world record for the species. His record catch came long before the shark gained such widespread notoriety. And he wasn’t fishing for a record. Nor was he looking to pad his wallet - he and his buddies went down to the Cherry Grove Pier just to fish on their day off. 

NOTE: This was the second in a three-part series on sharks. Friday’s post will feature a seldom told account, a catalyst behind the shark’s notoriety

 

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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying. We are a non-for-profit organization that provides its services free of charge. We run on a supportive community and selfless volunteers. With out both of those we would not be able to serve our community. If you have a caregiver's heart and 2 to 4 hours a week, we would love for you to become a part of our Crossroads House family! No experience required, we will train you and provide mentors and experienced volunteers to guide you. Please go to Crossroadshouse.com to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email Ashleymanuel@crossroadshouse.com
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