Skip to main content

Bethany

Law and Order: Woman arrested for striking another person at Batavia gas station

By Howard B. Owens

Toni M. Drake, 42, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Drake is accused of striking another person in the face on Aug. 28 during an argument in the parking lot of the Mobile gas station on East Main Street, Batavia. Drake was issued an appearance ticket.

Rodrigo G. Vasquez, 26, of Batavia, is charged with DWI. Vasquez was stopped by a Batavia patrol officer on Sept. 2 at an undisclosed location following several citizen complaints of an erratic driver. Vasquez was issued traffic citations and released.

Danvor E. Hodgson-Aguilar, 34, of Silver Springs, Maryland, is charged with petit larceny. Hodgson-Aguilar was arrested after an investigation into a theft at Tops on Sept. 2. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Robbie C. Scheib, 21, of Rochester, was arrested on a warrant containing a charge of harassment 2nd. Scheib is accused of being involved in a disturbance on Aug. 30 in which he allegedly subjected another person to unwanted physical contact. Scheib was arraigned in City Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Jon H. Bush, Jr., 40, of Batavia, was arrested on Sept. 1 on two arrest warrants. The first warrant is the result of a traffic stop on Washington Avenue on June 5, where Bush was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle 2nd. The warrant was issued after he allegedly failed to appear in court. The second warrant stems from an incident on Aug. 3, where police attempted to stop Bush for a traffic violation while he was riding a bicycle. Bush allegedly refused to stop and fled on the bike. Bush was arraigned in City Court and released. 

Bradley Robert Jordan, 30, of Silver Road, Bethany, is charged with petit larceny. Jordan is accused of a left from a store on Lewiston Road, Batavia (the Sheriff's Office withheld this public information). Jordan was issued an appearance ticket.

Yovani Hernandez, 28, of Melvin Hill Road, Geneva, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, obstructed view, and dirty or covered plate.  A passerby reportedly found Hernandez asleep and slumped over the wheel at a location on South Lake Road in Pavilion at 6:12 p.m. on Sept. 3. Hernandez was arrested by Deputy Jacob Kipler, issued traffic tickets, and released.

Alexis Joy Dugan, 22, of Miller Road, Albion, is charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, inadequate headlamps, and moving from lane unsafely. Dugan was stopped on Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia at 8:20 p.m. on Sept. 9 by Deputy James Stack. Dugan was issued appearance tickets are leased.

Stephen Hunter Heil, 21, of Million Dollar Highway, Medina, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right, and moving from lane unsafely. Heil was stopped at 6:55 p.m. on Aug. 29, on Bloomingdale Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, by Deputy Alexander Hadsall.

Kevin Allan Knickerbocker, 52, of Mill Pond Road, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Knickerbocker is accused of violating a stay away order of protection at 6:50 p.m. on Sept. 12 at a location on West Main Street, Byron.

Jeremiah William Krupp, 45, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal contempt 1st. Krupp is accused of placing phone calls to a protected person in violation of an order of protection on Aug. 29. He was held pending arraignment.

George J. Budzinack, 43, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Budzinack is accused of a theft at 10:02 a.m. on Sept. 16 at an undisclosed location in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket. The NYSP did not release more information.

Robert G. Reiner, 37, of Akron, is charged with criminal mischief 4th, criminal tampering 3rd, and resisting arrest. Reiner was arrested by State Police in connection with an incident reported at 3 p.m. on Sept. 16. His release status is unknown. The NYSP did not release more information.

Lei Ti campers raise more than $9K to assist veterans

By Press Release
Image
campers lei-ti recreation resort
Campers at Lei Ti Recreation Resort raised $9,283 for group serving veterans. From left are Sheila Hollwedel (Lei Ti owner), Val Rosehart, Gerald Sekuterski, Lauren Coe representing One Soldier at a Time,  Elizabeth Skokowski, and Joe Bellardo.
Submitted Photo

Press release: 

Campers at Lei Ti Campground in Bethany held their annual auction fundraiser on Sept. 2 in support of One Soldier at a Time, and on Saturday, presented a check for $9,283 to Lauren Coe.

Coe said One Soldier at a time runs three primary programs.  One provides gifts for wives and mothers of military members deployed overseas for Christmas, Valentine's and Mother's Day.  Another provides care packages for soldiers on deployment.  The third, which this donation benefits, assists veterans who are homeless, impoverished, in PTSD housing or in similar hardships with care products to take care of them from head to toe, from hair-care products to socks and shirts and ties, and for veterans who have passed, suits "so they can be buried with dignity." 


 

Too expensive to bring up to code, old Bethany Town Hall demolished, cupola and bell saved

By Howard B. Owens
Image
bethany town hall demolition
A member of the demolition crew uses a chainsaw to cut one of the supports of the cupola before a crane lifts it off in one piece for the purpose of preservation.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Before Tuesday, the last person to ring the bell in the cupola of the old Bethany Town Hall was now-retired Town of Bethany employee Kenny Morgan.

That was 25 years ago, at least.

And he got in a bit of trouble for doing it.

"Why did you ring the bell?" The Batavian asked.

"I don't know," Morgan said. "We had to go over there and do some work, so I figured since I was there and the rope was dangling down out of the opening, I would just ring it a little bit."

All of the "old timers," as he put it, started calling the Town Hall and showing up in the parking lot to see what the emergency was, he said.

The town supervisor at the time told him, "Don't ever do it again."

Today, the bell was rung one last time while it was still, technically, in the cupola (the top of the structure had just been removed) by a member of the demolition crew hired to take down the old town hall (see video at the bottom of this story).

The building represents memories and their community to the residents of Bethany, but strictly speaking, it's not a historical building, so there's no funding to bring it up to code for public use, which would cost in excess of $2 million. The town board decided to hire a firm to bring it down before nature and vandals cause any issues.

The cupola and bell are being saved (the bell, once removed, was taken off-site by the contractor to a secure location to protect it from potential thieves) for a small park that will take the place of the old town hall.

The whole project is costing the town $119,000, said Supervisor Carl Hyde.

"The past residents of Bethany smiled on us today because the cupola came down without a problem," Hyde said. "All in one piece. The bell in the yoke came down without a problem and in one piece, so evidently, it was meant to be. The way I look at it, everything went smoothly. You know, it's a sad day, but it's gonna preserve the property. It's going to preserve the bell and the cupola in a green space. That will let people know that there was actually something here that was important to the residents."

The contractor doing the demolition work is out of Akron, Wargo Enterprises.  

Demolition started with the removal of the cupola and bell, which took a couple of hours of meticulous work.

The crane operator predicted the cupola would weigh between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds. If it weighed more than 12,000, he was going to call in another crane.  Once it was off the building, he said gauges indicated it weighed less than 6,000 pounds.

The bell was made in Batavia by James H. Cochran in 1884.

With the cupola and bell safely removed, the Wargo crew got busy with heavy equipment smashing down the building.

Wayne Walker, who was born and raised in Bethany -- and last heard the bell ring long ago when he first got out of the military service and rang it himself -- said it's time to move on.

"It's seen its time," Walker said. "You would need to spend a lot of money to get it the way it should be. It's just a waste of money."

Previously:  Out of options, Bethany Town Board seeking bids for demolition of old town hall

NOTE: This story contains nine photos. The Batavian prepared 39 photos for publication.  To view all 39 photos, click here.  At the bottom, the photos below is a video of the bell ringing.

Photos by Howard Owens.

Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Remote video URL

Photos: Bethany Town Hall demolition

By Howard B. Owens
Image
bethany town hall demolition

Related story: Too expensive to bring up to code

Photos by Howard Owens.

Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition
Image
bethany town hall demolition

Power outage reported in Batavia, Stafford, Byron and Bethany

By Howard B. Owens

There are 2,133 National Grid customers without power in an area that stretches from the northeast quadrant of the City of Batavia to the Town of Le Roy on the east, and from north of Clinton Street Road in Bryon to Route 63 in East Bethany.

The power outage was reported at 6:23 and is expected to be resolved by 8:30 p.m.

UPDATE 7:18 p.m.: National Grid is on scene on Clinton STree Road but has not yet located the source of the outage.

Batavia man accused of assaulting medic on ambulance

By Howard B. Owens

A 50-year-old Batavia resident is charged with assault in the second degree after allegedly assaulting a emergency medic while riding in an ambulance early Saturday morning.

James Ronald Tillery, of Farwell Drive, was being transported to a hospital for medical treatment from Route 63 in Bethany when he allegedly attacked the medic.

It's alleged that he caused physical injury to the medic.

Tillery was taken into custody by Deputy Nicholas Chamoun and Sgt. Andrew Hale and transported to the Genesee County Jail and held pending arraignment.

Tillery has three prior arrests reported locally.  In April 2022, he was charged with criminal mischief for allegedly damaging property at a restaurant on East Main Street. In 2020, he was charged with criminal tampering for allegedly mowing a profane word into the grass of city property.  And in 2018, he was charged with harassment for allegedly striking another person.  The status of those cases is not known at this time.

Out of options, Bethany Town Board seeking bids for demolition of old town hall

By Howard B. Owens
Image
old bethany town hall
The Old Bethany Town Hall, built in 1832, is fated for demolition.
Photo by Howard Owens

Even many of Bethany's oldest residents, said Town Supervisor Carl Hyde, have come to accept the unpleasant but unavoidable and undeniable reality of the situation. The old Town Hall, built in 1832, must come down.

The town is currently accepting bids from demolition contractors.

But there is a plan in place to preserve a bit of history and provide residents with a new park where the town hall currently stands.

"It's a hard decision that we had to come to, but the reality is, I can't raise taxes. I can't double everybody's taxes to come up with $2 million to save the building," said Town Supervisor Carl Hyde during an exclusive tour of the structure with The Bataivan. "It's a hard spot as a town supervisor to be in when you have to deal with something like this."

There are several factors that have the town in a seemingly unsolvable dilemma.  

  • The town has been trying to sell the building for many years with no takers, even offering to sell it for $1 if the buyer will ensure it is usefully occupied;
  • One reason there are no buyers, and why the town can't use the building, is to make use of the second floor for any public purpose, is an elevator needs to be installed, as well as make other ADA-compliant upgrades;
  • The building isn't connected to water and can't be connected to water unless a new water district is approved for the hamlet, and there's no guarantee that will happen;
  • Under current state law and regulations, the building needs plumbing connected to a septic system.

The septic system issue is its own set of complications, Hyde explained.

"For this building to be used for anything, somebody's going to have to put in a septic system," Hyde said. "So the property line goes to 15 feet off the back of the property. On the north side, the property line is the edge of the building. And then you have what little bit of property there is out front. So there's no property to put a septic system in."

If the town wanted to install a septic system, it would have to tear down the highway department building behind the structure, and then that building would need to be replaced by a new structure at another location.

That's another "astronomical" expense, Hyde said.

So the price tag to save the building is at least $2 million, and then there's no guarantee the building can get public water.

"We've reached out to Genesee Valley Museum in Caledonia-Mumford, a place on Long Island and a place in New Hampshire, to donate the building to have them come to take it apart, relocate it, and they're not interested because of the cost factors," Hyde said.

It's a beautiful building inside and out, but state officials have said emphatically that it has no historical value. No famous historical figure ever visited it. Nothing of historic significance ever happened inside the building. There is no barrier to tearing it down, and Hyde said the town board feels it's left with no other option.

"So we've got some structural issues plus the ADA issues plus the no septic issues plus the no water issue," Hyde said "We can't use it for anything. What we're going to do is take the building down before it falls down, and we're going to turn the property into a green space."

A green space that preserves the history of the old town hall.

"The cupola is going to stay on the property, the yoke is going to stay on the property, and the bell is going to stay on the property," Hyde said. "That's going to be the centerpiece of a display in the middle of the green space. So the town board has put a lot of work and effort and thought into doing the best we can with what we have to do."

Hyde plans to be on hand during the demolition, especially when work crews get down to the foundation.  Nobody knows if there is a cornerstone with a lockbox of 1832 history in it.  Hyde wants to make sure the structure is thoroughly searched for such a historical artifact. 

As many artifacts as possible from the building are going to be stored by the county for safekeeping.

The request for proposals process from contractors closes on June 27.  Hyde said the town has set a budget for demolition but doesn't want to release that figure so it doesn't influence bids by contractors.

Hyde said he's already spoken with some contractors about trying to preserve as much history as possible from the old building.

"We've told them as they're tearing the walls down and stuff, they're gonna be looking for oddities; what's between the walls? We don't know what's between the walls."

It's not easy to be the town supervisor responsible for overseeing the destruction of one of the town's most recognizable landmarks, but Hyde sees no way out.

"I grew up here in Bethany," Hyde said. "The town court was here, the town clerk was here, the town supervisor, the office, this was the town hall. But unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, such as water, septic, this whole ADA thing -- unless somebody wants to write a check for $2 million and guarantee water, we can't figure anything out."

Image
old bethany town hall
On the second floor, a stage and a floating hardwood dance floor.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Image
old bethany town hall
Photo by Howard Owens.
Image
old bethany town hall
One of the artifacts still in the building that will be saved.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Image
old bethany town hall
A rendering of the proposed green space with the cupola, yoke and bell preserved and on display.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Image
old bethany town hall
The first floor, former meeting space and courtroom.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Image
old bethany town hall
Many of the old chairs in the building were sold to local residents. Some are still left.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Image
old bethany town hall
The Navel Reserve travel case of the late William P. Walker will be returned to the Walker family.
Photo by Howard Owens. 
Image
old bethany town hall
Display cases and artifacts that will be stored by the county.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Image
old bethany town hall
The handpainted stage backdrop with advertisements for businesses in Genesee County.  There were people who wanted to buy it, Carl Hyde said, but they were going to cut it up and the town board didn't want to see it destroyed, so it will be stored by the county.,
Photo by Howard Owens.

SUNY Canton announces spring 2023 president's list

By Press Release

Press Release:

SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran recognizes students for earning a spot on the spring 2023 President's List.

"Congratulations to all the exceptional SUNY Canton students who have earned a well-deserved spot on the President's List for the Spring 2023 Semester," Szafran said. "Your remarkable achievement is a testament to your dedication, perseverance and outstanding academic abilities. I take immense pride in witnessing your success and seeing you excel in such a highly competitive academic environment. I hope this accomplishment serves as a stepping stone towards even greater achievements in your future endeavors."

To earn a spot on the President's List, full-time students must earn a 3.75 or greater GPA during a single semester. A complete list of all honor students runs on www.canton.edu.

  • Katharine N. Smallwood, a SUNY Canton Health Care Management major from Corfu.
  • Zechariah Gowanlock, a SUNY Canton Emergency Management major from East Bethany.

Photo: Goodyear Blimp flying over Genesee County Park

By Howard B. Owens
Image
goodyear blimp

Reader Jeremy McClellan spotted the Goodyear Blimp flying over the Genesee County Park on Wednesday afternoon.  It is apparently in the Rochester area for the PGA tournament.

Local Residents Earn Award from WGU

By Press Release

Press Release:

The following local residents have earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University. The award is given to students who perform at a superior level in their coursework.

  • Sabrina Richley of East Bethany has earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University Leavitt School of Health.
  • Tammy Russell of Le Roy has earned an Award of Excellence at Western Governors University College of Business.

Power outage reported in Genesee County

By Press Release

Multiple small power outages are reported in Genesee County, and two affect at least 600 National Grid customers each.

A power outage throughout most of Bethany stretches from Route 20 to the City of Batavia and another within city limits is in the southeast corner of the city.

On the first one, National Grid expects to restore power by 1:30 a.m.  On the second, in the city of Batavia, the ETA for power restoration is 3 a.m.

Law and Order: Man accused of pointing rifle at juveniles

By Howard B. Owens

Douglas M. Ashworth, 48, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with menacing. Ashworth is accused of pointing a rifle at two youths on Oct. 9 on Vine Street in Batavia and placing the individuals in reasonable fear of injury or death. He was arrested on Feb. 28 and issued an appearance ticket.

John J. Saddler, 35, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with burglary 2nd, aggravated criminal contempt, grand larceny 4th, and petit larceny. Saddler is accused of entering the home of a person projected by a court order and stealing property, including an NYS benefits card and then using the card at a local business. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed until his next court appearance.

Sarah A. Malone, 40, of Graham Street, Batavia, is charged with theft of services and criminal impersonation 2nd. Malone is accused of dining at a restaurant in the City of Batavia on Feb. 21 and leaving without paying for her meal. Once located, Malone allegedly provided officers with a fake name and date of birth. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Ariel N. Pontillo, 32, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWAI drugs and failure to keep right. Pontillo was stopped by Officer Joseph Weglarski at Main and Court streets in the City of Batavia on Feb. 25.

Michael E. Wilson, 29, of East Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI and insufficient tail lamps. Wilson was stopped at 2:32 a.m. on Feb. 26 on East Main Street in Batavia by Officer Joseph Wglarski. Wilson was issued an appearance ticket.

Rebecca R. Fugate, 22, of Woodrow Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Fugate is accused of striking another resident of a residential care home in Batavia on Feb. 24. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Heather L. Armstrong, 46, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Armstrong was arrested on Feb. 28 following a report of a disturbance at a business in Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Brittany L. Hollaert, 26, of St Paul Street, Rochester, is charged with failure to appear. Hollaert is accused of failing to appear in court as ordered on charges of grand larceny 3rd, petit larceny, and criminal trespass charges. She was released on her own recognizance and admitted into a drug treatment facility. Her case will be transferred to SAFE Court.

Grant J. Fremstad, 22, of Ekern Street, Westby, Wis., is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, improper lane usage, and open container. Fremstad was stopped at 2:23 a.m. on March 5 on East Main Street by Officer Joseph Weglarski. Fremstad was released on an appearance ticket.

Demerio J Watts, 38, of Eggert Road, Buffalo, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right, and failure to signal. Watts was stopped at 1:18 a.m. on Ellicott Street in Batavia by Officer John Gombos. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Phillip D. Byford, 32, of Brockport Spencerport Road, Sweden, was arrested on City Court bench warrants. The first warrant for an alleged petit larceny on Jan. 24, 2020. He was issued an appearance ticket and allegedly failed to appear in court. The second warrant was for an alleged petit larceny also reported on Jan. 24, 2020. He is accused of failure to appear on an appearance ticket. The third warrant is for a charge of criminal trespass 2nd at a location on East Main Street, Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and allegedly failed to appear.  He was arraigned in City Court and ordered to appear at a later date.

Myia N. Sobus, 19, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, and Timothy J Alis, 18, of Park Road, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny. Sobus and Alis are accused of filling a shopping cart at an undisclosed store (UPDATE: Through court records, The Batavian confirmed the location was Tops) in Batavia with $897 in merchandise and leaving the store without paying for the items. They were released on appearance tickets.

Shawn M. Sloan, 38) of Porter Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and criminal trespass 2nd. Sloan is accused of entering an apartment on Bank Street, Batavia, on March 3, and stealing a kitchen utensil. Sloan was released on an appearance ticket.

Shannon B. Harder, 38, of Bowen Road, Attica, is charged with DWI, unsafe turn, speed in zone, and failure to keep right. Harder was stopped on Center Street, Batavia, on March 8, by Officer Sam Freeman. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Brian Eric Dagar, 37, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny. Dager is accused of shoplifting at Walmart in Batavia on Feb. 26. Dagar was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released.

Evan Francis Maynard, 22, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Maynard is accused of shoplifting from Target in Batavia on March 2. He was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Jeanna Marie Hattaway, 36, of Park Road, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd. Hattaway was allegedly found in possession of multiple controlled substances during a traffic stop conducted by Sgt. Kyle Krzemien at 3:38 a.m. on March 3 on Lewiston Road, Batavia. She was released on an appearance ticket.

LeeAnna Krull, 53, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with promoting prison contraband 1st and promoting prison contraband 2nd. Krull was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance while inside the Genesee County Jail on March 1 at 4:07 p.m. She was arraigned in Centralized Arraignment Court and ordered held.

Beglervoic Denis Ikonic, 20, of East Ridge Road, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Ikonic is accused of shoplifting from DIck's Sporting Goods on March 5 at 4:30 p.m.  He was released.

Marie Tiffany Walter, 31, of Putnam Road, Bethany, is charged with petit larceny. Walter is accused of shoplifting from Walmart. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Zachary Austin Laird, 26, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, and criminal mischief. Laird is accused of damaging property at a location on Bethany Center Road at 8:15 p.m. on March 1. He allegedly left the scene and drove back while intoxicated. He was arrested by Deputy Nicholas Chmoun and Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush and was held in the Genesee County Jail pending arraignment.

Jeffrey M. Schneider, 44, of Alexander, is charged with DWI. Schneider was stopped by State Police at 7:50 p.m. on March 11 in the Town of Alexander. He was released to a third party.  No further information released.

Bethany Fire salutes volunteers, honors top members for 2022

By Howard B. Owens

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023.jpg

William Thurley and Lyle Boundy, pictured with Chief Jeff Fluker on the left, by a vote of the membership, were selected as co-Firefighters of the Year for the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department.

They received the award Saturday night at the Batavia Country Club during the department's annual installation and awards banquet. 

During the evening's remarks, Steve Breckenridge, administrative president, noted the importance of the department to the community.

"The fire department is our community's largest service organization," Breckenridge said. "As we don't have any formalized groups like Kiwanis or Rotary. There's a 20 percent chance that sometime during the year, you're going to need some of these volunteers to come in and help you. Without their dedication and commitment, our community would suffer. My point is that we need more volunteers. We need to find more neighbors and enlist their assistance in keeping our community safe. We don't just need firefighters or EMT personnel. We need accountants. We need carpenters, metalworkers, anyone would be a huge benefit to our organization."

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023-2.jpg

Chief Jeff Fluker, left, received the EMS Award.

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023-3.jpg

Wayne Walker Douglas, in black, was honored for his life-long dedication to the department.

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023-4.jpg

Walter Wenhold delivered the invocation and closing prayer.

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023-5.jpg

Top responders in 2022 were Lyle Boundy, Carl Hyde, Vicki Wolak, Jeff Wolak, and Brian Britton (unable to attend, not pictured).

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023-6.jpg

Jeff Wolak received the President's Award from Steve Breckenridge.

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023-7.jpg

Jeff Fluker presented the Chief's Award to Vicki Wolak and Debbi Donnelly (unable to attend, not pictured).

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023-8.jpg

Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger administer's the oath of office.

Image
bethanyfireinstall2023-9.jpg

The Bethany Volunteer Fire Department.

Law and Order: Rochester woman accused of fleeing police

By Howard B. Owens

Brittany Leann Hollaert, 26, of Saint Paul Street, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny, unlawful fleeing a police officer, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd, unsafe passing on left, speed not reasonable and prudent, and failure to obey a police officer. Deputy Mason Schultz attempted to stop a vehicle on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia at 1:22 a.m. on Feb. 3. As a result of the incident, Hollaert was arrested. Information on what was allegedly stolen was not released. Release status was not included in a press release. 

Justin Swift, 43, of Gilbert St Le Roy, is charged with grand larceny 3rd.  Swift was charged after an investigation by Genesee County Department of Social Services Investigator Robert Riggi.  It is alleged that Swift failed to report that he had earned wages through employment, resulting in him receiving $3,324 in SNAP benefits he was not entitled to.  Swift was arrested and arraigned in Batavia Town Court and released on his own recognizance.'

David Michael Wahl, 57, of Scottsville, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, aggravated unlicensed operation 2nd, no left-side mirror, unsecured license plate, and uninspected motor vehicle. Wahl was allegedly found in possession of narcotics following a traffic stop by Deputy Andrew Mullen on Feb. 6 at 9:08 p.m. on South Lake Road in Bergen. He was released on an appearance ticket.

James Dean Conway, 36, no residence provided, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property 4th. Conway is accused of operating and possessing a stolen vehicle on Route 20 in the Town of Bethany on Feb. 6 at 1:34 p.m.  He was apprehended by Deputy James Stack. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Town of Bethany GOP seeking candidates for office

By Press Release

Press release:

The Town of Bethany Republican Committee is seeking registered party members that are interested in being selected as the endorsed Republican candidate for the following offices in the November General Election:

  • County Legislator District #6 (Alexander, Bethany and Pavilion)
  • Town Supervisor
  • Town Highway Superintendent
  • Town Board -- two seats
  • Town Clerk

All the above offices are four-year terms.

Those interested, please send a letter of intent and resume by Feb 10 to: Gregg Torrey - 6005 Torrey Rd Stafford, NY 14143, or contact at 585-507-8139 – [email protected]

Deputy cleared in fatal motorcycle crash in Stafford after chase in July

By Howard B. Owens

Image
accidentfargo2022-2.jpg

A State Police investigation into a fatal motorcycle accident, following a high-speed pursuit by a sheriff's deputy in Batavia and Stafford, cleared the deputy of any fault in the incident, according to a report obtained by The Batavian through a Freedom of Information Law request.

Nicholas L. Keiffer, 26, of West Center Street, Medina, lost control of his 2001 Kawasaki Ninja on July 6 on Route 63 as he entered a curve in the roadway just north of Fargo Road after fleeing an attempted traffic stop by Deputy Zachary Hoy.

The state's Executive Law requires the Office of Attorney General (OAG) to open an investigation when a person's death may have been caused by a police officer. Based on findings by the State Police, the OAG informed District Attorney Kevin Finnell on Aug. 2 that the evidence indicated the OGA had no statutory authority to open a criminal investigation into the conduct of the deputy.

In other words, the OAG informed the county that there is no evidence of misconduct in the incident by the deputy.

Investigator Thomas K. Rzepecki, of the Troop A Collision Reconstruction Unit, completed an accident reconstruction report for the State Police, and he concluded that Keiffer was at fault in the accident. 

"The primary contributing factor to this collision, as it relates to the analysis of the evidence, was the failure of the operator of Vehicle 1, Nicholas L. Keiffer, to remain within his appropriate lane of travel," he wrote in the report. "The high speed at which Mr. Keiffer entered the right-hand curve prior to the intersection contributed to his failure to keep right, and also to the severity of the injuries sustained in the collision. An additional factor to consider is Mr. Keiffer's failure to comply with Deputy Hoy's attempt to affect a traffic stop on SR 5."

He also states, "Roadway defects, environmental conditions, and vehicular defects have all been considered and ruled out as contributing to the cause of the collision."

Investigator Eric Daigler officially closed the investigation based on the findings on Dec. 22.

150 mph
The incident began shortly before 6:50 p.m. on July 6. Hoy was running radar in the parking lot of A-1 Self Storage, 5658 Main St, Stafford, when he observed a motorcycle passing another vehicle on westbound Route 5.  The radar indicated the motorcycle was traveling at 150 mph.

Hoy entered the lane of traffic and activated his emergency lights.

The motorcycle initially pulled over as if stopping for the officer near the Department of Transportation facility at 5441 Main St., Stafford. As Hoy pulled in behind the motorcycle, the driver fled.

Radio transmissions acquired by Daigler from the Sheriff's Office, indicate that Hoy informed dispatchers at 6:50 p.m. that the motorcycle was fleeing. Hoy activated his lights and siren and began a pursuit.

The motorcycle turned left on Batavia-Stafford Townline Road.

Data, obtained by Daigler, recorded on the patrol vehicle's computer system, indicate the top speed of Hoy's vehicle while on Batavia-Stafford Townline Road was 104 mph. 

A resident's Ring camera captured the motorcycle passing that location (the address is redacted in the report) at a high rate of speed and then recorded Hoy's vehicle passing with lights and sirens 18 seconds later.

Hoy observed the motorcycle turn left onto Route 63. Vehicle data indicate Hoy's vehicle turned left 20 seconds later. Hoy's top speed on Route 63 was 120 mph.

Near Route 63 and Mayne Road, at 6:52 p.m., Hoy informed dispatchers he had lost sight of the motorcycle and was discontinuing the pursuit.

He deactivated his lights and siren and slowed his speed, and continued southbound. 

At 63 and Fargo, Hoy told Senior Investigator Brian Howard during an interview on July 11, that he spotted a small dust cloud along the roadway and thought perhaps the rider had crossed into the shoulder while negotiating the turn.  

His speed at that intersection was 53 mph. 

Hoy continued into the hamlet of East Bethany at 30 mph, where he turned around.

When he again reached 63 and Fargo at 6:55 p.m., with a northbound vantage point on the intersection, he spotted Keiffer's motorcycle on its side in a field behind a hedge row.

According to scanner traffic at the time of the incident, a person at the scene -- likely Hoy -- attempted CPR on Keiffer.  Keiffer would later be pronounced dead at the scene by a county coroner. 

Among the first Sheriff's Officer personnel on scene was Investigator Ryan Delong. He photographed the scene. Those photographers were later turned over to State Police.  DeLong also told State Police that the NYS Office of the Attorney General was advised of the accident. Detectives from the OAG's Office of Special Investigations responded to the scene.

Soon after the accident, Sheriff William Sheron requested the State Police conduct the investigation because the incident involved one of his deputies.

Evidence
Rzepecki described the intersection in his report. 

Route 63 contains a dip in the roadway followed by a right-hand curve with an uphill grade, according to the report. There is a yellow advisory sign about 500 feet ahead of the curve that recommends vehicles slow to 45 mph.  The posted speed limit is 55 mph.

Evidence at the scene consisted of tire marks, furrows, an impacted signpost, vehicle debris, pavement scrapes and gouges, and disturbed vegetation. 

Rzepecki stated that tire marks were found on the east shoulder of Route 63 and continued southeast across the shoulder into a grassy area north of the intersection, where it transitioned into a series of furrows.  Investigators determined it was at that point that the motorcycle overturned and struck a signpost.

Vehicle debris and grass fanned out southeast of the impact point across Fargo Road and led to a series of pavement scrapes and gouges.  There was vehicle fluid and tire marks within the northbound lane and east shoulder of Fargo Road and disturbed vegetation and vehicle debris that led to the location of the motorcycle.

Rzepecki wrote, "The observed evidence indicates that Vehicle 1 was traveling southeast on SR 63. It crossed the center line and exited the east shoulder of the roadway, overturned, struck a signpost, and became airborne across the southbound lane of Fargo Road. Vehicle 1 landed within the northbound lane and east shoulder of Fargo Road, continued southeast down an embankment, and came to an uncontrolled final rest in the field east of the roadway."

The driver was ejected and sustained fatal injuries, Rzepecki reported.

Hoy's patrol vehicle was undamaged, and Rzepecki said there was no evidence of contact between the patrol vehicle and the motorcycle.

Based on an investigator's calculations, the maximum speed a vehicle can negotiate the curve is 91 mph.  Based on calculations using evidence at the scene, Keiffer's Kawasaki was traveling at between 87 and 92 mph just before it came to the curve. That calculation does not include the possibility of any breaking by Keiffer just prior to that point.  At the point the bike became airborne, after it left the pavement, it was likely traveling at 77 mph, according to the report.

Daigler obtained Keiffer's mobile phone. Keiffer's mother signed a consent form allowing the State Police to search the phone. A forensic investigator later informed Daigler that all pertinent data from the phone was stored in the Google cloud.  Daigler contacted Douglas Curella, the law clerk for County Court Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini, about obtaining a warrant ordering Google to turn over the data. Curella later informed Daigler that Cianfrini would not sign a warrant "because no legal action is being taken by the State Police and the only individual who committed crimes related to the investigation is now deceased."

In addition to patrol vehicle data, video footage, physical evidence at the scene, and recorded and timestamped radio transmissions, investigators interviewed 19 witnesses.

Among those witnesses was the mother of Keiffer's girlfriend. 

Keiffer was reportedly living at their house at the time, and he and his girlfriend's mother were speaking outside at about 6:15 p.m. when they observed a motorcycle pass their location. Keiffer reportedly observed that the motorcycle was a 'nice bike' and informed the mother he was going to go for a ride.

Top Illustration: Screenshot of an illustration in the State Police report.  For a higher-resolution version, click here.

Image
76_accident.jpeg

Accident scene photo from July 6 by Howard Owens

Image
accidentfargo2022_1.jpg

Screenshot of illustration in State Police report.

Law and Order: Two people accused of attempting to smuggle contraband into jail

By Howard B. Owens

Jose A. Rivera, 36, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 1st, attempted promoting prison contraband 1st, and Ida M. Vanorden, 36, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with conspiracy 5th. Rivera and Vandorden are accused of conspiracy along with an unknown male, to introduce contraband into the Genesee County Jail. The contraband was intercepted by corrections officers on Dec. 26. Rivera is accused of violating a stay-away order of protection. Both Rivera and Vanorden were issued appearance tickets.  The investigation is ongoing, and deputies are attempting to identify the third suspect. Any person who may have additional information are requested to contact Deputy Nicholas Charmoun at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3258

Ledeja K. Wright, 32, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with torture/injure animal/fail to provide sustenance. Wright is accused of leaving a dog in an apartment after moving out and failing to provide sustenance to the animal. The incident was reported Nov. 30. Wright was arrested Dec. 15. She was arraigned in City Court and released. The dog is at the Animal Shelter. 

Vicki Lynne Manns, 52, of Brookville Road, Alexander, is charged with menacing 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon 4th, assault 3rd, and harassment 2nd.  Manns is accused of throwing a tray at a person, causing an injury. She is also accused of pointing a firearm at the same person. She was issued an appearance ticket.Robert L. Drennen is charged with criminal mischief 3rd. Drennen is accused of causing damage to a residence in the City of Batavia on Dec. 23. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Julie R. Richardson, 31, of Batavia,  is charged with grand larceny 4th, petit larceny, conspiracy 5th and tampering with evidence. Richardson is accused of stealing from a vehicle on South Main Street, Batavia, on Nov. 16. Richardson was arrested after an investigation by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Andrew A. Crimes, 50, of West Main Street Road,  Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 1st and aggravated family offense. Crimes is accused of violating an order of protection by contacting the protected party on Dec. 9. He was arraigned in City Court and released.

Deanna L. Yox, 37, of Clifford Street, Buffalo, is charged with petit larceny. Yox is accused of stealing from a business in Batavia in February 2020. She was arrested Dec. 21 following an investigation by officers Felicia Martinez and Wesley Rissinger. Yox was released on an appearance ticket.

Malinda J. Falk, 41, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd and criminal obstruction of breathing/blood circulation. Falk is accused of attacking another individual on Dec. 17 at a location on East Main Street, Batavia. Falk was arraigned in City Court and released on her own recognizance. 

David L. Weaver, 32, of Atlanta, Illinois, is charged with harassment 2nd. Weaver is accused of striking another person during a disturbance on Dec. 10. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Dustin T. Forkell, 31, of Holley, is charged with petit larceny and false impersonation. Forkell is accused of stealing property from a local business on Dec. 11 and fleeing. He was located at another business in the Town of Batavia, at which time he allegedly provided a false name to officers. He was arrested, processed at Batavia PD, and issued an appearance ticket. The incident was investigated by officers Wesly Rissinger and Megan Crossett

An 18-year-old of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with assault 3rd and criminal mischief. An 18-year-old resident is accused of attacking another person on Dec. 14 with an iPad, causing an injury. The youth was arraigned in City Court and released. 

Brittanee J. Hooten, of State Street, in Batavia, was arrested on two bench warrants after having failed to appear on an appearance ticket on prior arrests. Hooten was arraigned on Dec. 14 in City Court and released. 

Karrie A. Morrow, 40, of Summit Street, Batavia, was arrested on several outstanding Bench Warrants. Morrow was arrested on Dec. 14 after she was located during an unrelated incident. The warrants stem from several petit larceny cases at local businesses. Morrow was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision.

Jeffrey M. VanEpps, 45, of Albion, is charged with criminal mischief and attempted assault 3rd. VanEpps was allegedly involved in a disturbance at a business on West Main Street on Dec. 14. He was arraigned in City Court and released.

Jacob A. Richards, 34, of Rochester, is charged with possession of a forged instrument 1st and grand larceny 4th. Richards allegedly passed a forged check at a local bank. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on bail.

Terrance L. Falk, 24, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief 4th and assault 3rd. Falk was allegedly involved in a disturbance on an unspecified date in the City of Batavia. After initially fleeing the scene, according to police, he was located and taken into custody without incident. He was arraigned in City Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Byron K. Bell, 53, of Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property 3rd, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd and speeding. Bell was stopped on Dec. 11 in the City of Batavia by Officer Josh Girvin and Officer Bryan Moscicki. Bell was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle while on a suspended license. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed.

Harry R. Silliman, 58, of Batavia, is charged with trespass. Silliman was allegedly on property on Maple Street without permission. He was arrested and issued an appearance ticket.

Zakara R. Jackson, age 19, of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, is charged with bail jumping 2nd and failure to appear. Jackson was arrested on a warrant on Dec. 8 He was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision.

Daquan J. Butler, 26, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny.  Butler is accused of stealing an iPhone 13 from another person on Ross Street on Dec. 3. He was arraigned in City Court and released.

Raymond Lunday Kelley, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with a false written statement. Kelley allegedly provided law enforcement with a false written statement related to an incident reported at Batavia Downs at 11:59 p.m., Dec. 16. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Douglas Wayne Logsdon, 74, of Big Tree Road, Pavilion, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment 2nd. Logsdon allegedly threw items at a person while a child was present during an incident reported at 5:41 p.m., Dec. 16 at a location on Big Tree Road, Pavilion. Logsdon was arraigned in Town of Pavilion Court and released.

Rachel B. Solomon, 30, of North Lake Road, Pembroke, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd and harassment 2nd. Solomon is accused of violating an order of protection by harassing an individual at 1 p.m. on Dec. 22. She was arraigned in Town of Pembroke Court and ordered held without bail. Solomon is also charged with aggravated criminal contempt, assault 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. The charges stem from an incident reported at 2:45 a.m., Jan. 2, at a location on Meadville Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Solomon was jailed pending arraignment.

Joseph Michael Morelli, 54, of Orchard Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Morelli was allegedly found to be intoxicated at 2:02 p.m., Dec. 14, while at the Genesee County Probation Department on Main Street, Batavia, and arrested by Deputy Jonathan Dimming. Morelli was released to a third party on an appearance ticket. 

Adam Joseph Pape, 35, of Morrow Road, Pavilion, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, driving without an interlock device, and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle on a public highway. Pape was stopped at 8:11 p.m., Dec. 30, by Deputy Zachary Hoy and released on an appearance ticket.

Nia Hanevin Spring, 23, of Griffin Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd and grand larceny 4th. Spring was arrested on Dec. 30, processed at the Genesee County Jail, arraigned in Town of Alabama Court, and released under supervision. 

Ronald Charles Inzinna, 54, of Le Roy, is charged with criminal mischief and harassment 2nd. Inzinna is accused of subjecting another person to unwanted physical contact and preventing that person from contacting 9-1-1 during an incident reported at 6 p.m., Dec. 30, at a location on East Main Road, Le Roy.  Inzinna was arraigned in Town of Stafford Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Arthur James Felski, 45, of Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with harassment 2nd. Felski was charged following an investigation into an incident reported at 3:25 p.m., Jan. 1, in Basom. He was arraigned in the Genesee County Centralized Arraignment Court and released on his own recognizance.

County secures funding emergency vehicle Bethany Fire can use for rescues in County Park

By Press Release

Image
medlite_1.jpg

Press release:

Genesee County Emergency Management Services is pleased to announce the deployment of a MedLite Transport Bed for use by the Town of Bethany Fire Department. This equipment was obtained through the procurement of Homeland Security grant funding, is the property of Genesee County and is being deployed to the Bethany Fire Department for use at the Genesee County Park and Forest.

The State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and the State Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program (SLETPP) are the two-core homeland security grant programs in New York State. Every county in the State, along with the City of New York, receives funding under these programs.

“The MedLite Transport Bed was deployed with Bethany Fire Department because they are the first responders to the County Park. The equipment fits their UTV and allows Bethany and Mercy Flight to more efficiently make extractions of injured individuals in the rough terrain of the County Park,” said Gregg Torrey, Genesee County District 6 Legislator.

The MedLite Transport Bed is a medical rescue skid unit for Utility Task Vehicles that has the ability to transport one patient on a long board or stokes basket and one attendant in a seat. The equipment also has the ability to be fully removed from the vehicle in the field. A video of the MedLite Transport System can be seen here.

Paul Osborn, Deputy Highway Superintendent, spoke to the use of the equipment at the Genesee County Park and Forest, “The use of it in a UTV will allow for access into areas of the park that aren’t accessible by a standard vehicle, and ultimately provide more safety for the guests of the park.”

Submitted photo: From left to right, Tim Yaeger (Genesee County Emergency Management Services), John Szmkowiak (Bethany Fire Department), Gregg Torrey (Genesee County Legislator) Paul Osborn (Genesee County Highway), and Jeff Fluker (Bethany Fire Department).

Image
medlite_2.jpg

Authentically Local