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University of Mississippi celebrates December 2023 graduate Zachery Greer

By Press Release

Press Release:

Zachery Greer, of East Bethany, is among the more than 670 students who graduated from the University of Mississippi in December 2023.

Greer, who majored in Criminal Justice, received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree in the School of Applied Sciences.

"Congratulations to our December 2023 graduates who are distinguished by their dedication to academic success," UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. "They accomplished so much during their years at the university. I applaud them and can't wait to see all the ways they will continue building their legacies that began here."

December 2023 graduates are invited to walk across the stage at the University of Mississippi 2024 Commencement exercises, which will be held May 8-12. Morning Convocation will be held on Saturday, May 11 at 9 a.m. in the Grove. In the case of inclement weather, Morning Convocation will be held at 9 a.m. in the Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss.

Preparing for eclipse visitors with ramped up staffing, new parking fee at county park

By Joanne Beck
Paul Osborn and Laura Wadhams
Genesee County Deputy Highway Superintendent Paul Osborn and Assistant Engineer Laura Wadhams discuss plans to deal with an expected surge in traffic and visitors for the April 8 eclipse. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

If you’re planning to visit Genesee County Park to see the total solar eclipse on April 8, you might want to take some refreshments, a blanket, and for certain — Alexander Hamilton.

County Highway officials have suggested charging $10 per vehicle for parking that day due to the expected surge in visitors and the need for additional staffing, overtime, traffic control, and related additional expenses. 

“So we're on the list with the Chamber of Commerce. We're also on the list with Rochester Museum and Science Center. We received a telescope from them, and then we also received eclipse glasses, 1,000 eclipse glasses to hand out, so we'll be doing that at the gate when we collect the fee to park,” Deputy Highway Superintendent Paul Osborn said during Tuesday’s Public Service meeting. “Since it's April 8, it's a month earlier than we normally would open the park, so we have to turn the water on ahead of time. Plus, we're going to have it at three o'clock when the actual event takes place. So we have staff that has to do traffic control and whatnot, so we're gonna have additional overtime.”

Parking will be directed to fill several lots, he said, and on Memory Lane, with no clearcut way to know just how many visitors will actually come to the park that day.

“There’s no perfect thing. I mean, we’re anticipating a quarter of a million people added to the county area, so we’re hoping that it could be less, it could be more,” he said. 

Assistant County Engineer Laura Wadhams added that the Chamber of Commerce staff has said to expect the day to be busy.

“The Chamber of Commerce is telling us they are expected to come to this region that day, they’ll be split up between Rochester and Buffalo and all those places, but Genesee County is in the path of totality,” she said.

The path of totality — when the moon completely covers the sun, creating a total eclipse -- will provide a few minutes of eerie and atypical darkness for the region, given it will be around 3 p.m. in the afternoon. 

The park’s path will be one-way in and out, from Bethany Center Road in and out the Raymond Road entrance, Osborn said. The parking fee is to generate $14,000 of revenue for the county park, which would offset that extra staffing expense, he said.

“So there has been a lengthy process with the Rochester Museum and Science Center and the Transportation Authority, looking at how many cars came into the one out west in 2017. And the traffic patterns in and the traffic patterns out, along with the fact that we are a day trip from the greatest population centers, and all of the hotels in Rochester and Buffalo are already booked out,” Legislative Chairwoman Shelley Stein said. “That kind of supports the math that has gone into their estimates.”

If you check out most charts of the path of totality for the impending eclipse, it travels from the southwest United States and hits nearby locales of Rochester and Buffalo, though Genesee County Chamber staffers have listed several local sites for viewing, including Alexander, Batavia, Bergen, Corfu, East Bethany, Oakfield, Pembroke and Stafford.

For more information about the eclipse, additional viewing locations and related events, go HERE.

Law and Order: Bliss man accused of attacking a cop in ER

By Howard B. Owens
Dylan Jordan
Dylan Jordan

Dylan T. Jordan, 22, of Bliss, was arrested on a warrant on Jan. 29.  The arrest stems from an incident reported on Jan. 15. Jordan is accused of engaging in a fight with police officers in the emergency room at UMMC. Jordan allegedly placed an officer in a headlock and attempted to strangle him. Jordan was charged with attempted assault 2nd, attempted strangulation 2nd, criminal obstruction of breathing, obstructing governmental administration 2nd, and harassment 2nd. Jordan was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision.

Edmund Sobresky, 54, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI/Drugs. Mathew Parker, 34, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd and criminal possession of a controlled substance 4th. Katelyn Jimenez, 30, of Eagle Street, Medina, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance 4th, and criminal impersonation. Deputies conducted a traffic stop at 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 8 at Route 33 and Route 5, Batavia. Deputies determined that Sobresky appeared to be driving while under the influence of drugs. During the traffic stop, found the occupants of the vehicle were allegedly in possession of a large quantity of narcotics, enough to lead to accusations of dealing drugs.  Jimenez is also accused of providing deputies with a false name. All were held pending arraignment.

Tajhenne T. Walker, 28, of Buffalo, and Ericka K. McBride, 34, of Buffalo, are charged with grand larceny 4th, possession of burglar tools, and conspiracy 6th. Walker and McBride are accused of stealing merchandise from Ulta Beauty on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, at 7:28 p.m. on Feb. 3rd. They were released on appearance tickets.

Danny D. Williams, 35, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 1st.  Williams is accused of violating an order of protection on Jan. 28. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held. 

Olivia J. Patten, 26, of Oakfield, was arrested on Feb. 1 on a warrant issued by City Court. Patten was initially charged on Nov. 1 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle 3rd. She was accused of driving with a suspended license. A warrant was issued after she failed to appear in court. Patten was arraigned in City Court, where the case was settled.

Scott D. Murray, 38, is charged with criminal contempt. 2nd. Murray is accused of violating an order of protection on Jan. 31 by making contact with a protected party while at the Genesee County Courthouse. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed.

Jeanna M. Hattaway, 37, of Batavia, was arrested on Jan. 30 on a warrant issued by City Court. Hattaway was initially charged on Dec. 13 with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th in connection to an incident reported in April, 2023. A warrant was issued after Hattaway failed to appear in court. Hattaway was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision.

Adrienne S. Bechtold, 28, of Batavia is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and criminal use of drug paraphernalia 2nd. Bechtold was allegedly found in possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia after police responded to a report on Jan. 27 of a suspicious vehicle on East Main Street, Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket.

John A. Cabrera, Sr., 56, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Cabrera is accused of stealing merchandise from Kwik Fill on Jackson Street, Batavia, on Jan. 26. He was issued an appearance ticket.

James W. Zurek, 20, of Batavia, was arrested on Jan. 29 on two warrants. The first warrant stems from an incident in August 2022 when Zurek was charged with strangulation 2nd, assault 3rd, and petit larceny after a disturbance on Cedar Street. The second warrant charged Zurek with bail jumping 3rd. He was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision.

Andrew William Taylor, 36, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Taylor is accused of stealing $39.97 worth of merchandise from Walmart at 1:07 p.m. on Feb. 2. Taylor was released on an appearance ticket.

Richard Wayne Rumble Jr., 39, of Scribner Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation 1st, unlicensed operator, and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. At 12:27 a.m. on Jan. 16, a caller reported a vehicle swerving into oncoming traffic on Route 5 in Pembroke. The caller followed the vehicle to Crosby's in East Pembroke and stayed on scene until Deputy Carlos Ortiz Speed and Deputy Ryan Mullen arrived.  The deputies reportedly found a driver asleep behind the wheel of the pickup truck. Rumble was released on appearance tickets.

Philip Stewart Mayberry, 52, of South Geddes Street, Syracuse, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and criminal use of drug paraphernalia 2nd.  Mayberry was arrested following an investigation into an incident at 8250 Park Road, Batavia, at 11:47 a.m. on Jan. 22. Mayberry was released on an appearance ticket. Also charged, Shandell Marie Lissow, 35, of Allen Road, Albion.

Ashton Lea Mohney, 33, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with promoting dangerous contraband in prison 1st. Mohney was arrested in connection with an incident reported a 8:15 a.m. on Feb. 5.  The incident was investigated by Deputy James Stack. Mohney was arraigned in City Court and ordered held. No further details were released.

Jacob William Patterson, 28, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of controlled substance 7th and criminal use of drug paraphernalia 2nd. Patterson was arrested during a check-the-welfare call at a hotel on Park Road at 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 6. He was held pending arraignment.

Jacob William Patterson, 28, of East Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with introducing prison contraband 1st. Patterson was arrested in connection with an incident at the Best Western Hotel in Batavia and transported to the Genesee County Jail. He is accused of bringing dangerous prison contraband into the jail. He was held pending arraignment.

Mary Ann Virgilio, 48, of State Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal tampering 3rd. Virgilio is accused of entering a residence on State Street Road, Batavia, at 4 p.m. on Feb. 1, and then denying the resident of the property access to the home by locking an internal screen door. Virgilio was issued an appearance ticket.

Austin Chase Durham, 28, of Dewey Avenue, Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment 2nd. Durham is accused of repeatedly sending text messages on Feb. 6 to another person with the "intent to harass, annoy, or alarm, with no legitimate communication," after being warned by a police officer to cease communication with the person. Durham was ordered held pending arraignment.

Thomas Matthew Gang, 43, of Alleghany Road, Alabama, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater.  Gang was stopped at 5:03 p.m. on Feb. 5 on Roberts Road, Alabama by Deputy Nicholas Chamoun. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Kristan Rae Aquino, 40, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief 4th. Aquino is accused of intentionally damaging a bed inside the Genesee County Jail at 4:46 a.m. on Dec. 3. Aquino was arrested on Feb. 6 and issued an appearance ticket.

Jeanna Marie Hathaway, 37, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd. Hathaway was stopped at 1:20 p.m. on Feb. 9 on South Main Street, Elba, by Deputy Jacob Kipler. She was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine. Hathaway was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released on an appearance ticket.

Jeanna Marie Hathaway, 37, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Hathaway is accused of stealing merchandise from Ulta Beauty at 3 p.m. on Jan. 30. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Stephanie Marie Hockenberry, 36, of Thomas Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd, driving on a suspended registration, and no motor vehicle insurance. Hockenberry was stopped at 8:07 p.m. on Feb. 9, on Route 33, Stafford, by Deputy Jacob Kipler. Hockenberry was issued an appearance ticket.

Luis Alexis Harloff, 41, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and unlicensed driver. Harloff was stopped at 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 10 in the parking lot of a location on South Main Street, Elba, by Deputy Jacob Kipler.

Rob Arthur Shuttleworth, 66, of Scotland Road, Akron, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, aggravated unlicensed operator 2nd, driving without an interlock device, and driving left of pavement markings. Shuttleworth was stopped at 2:13 am. on Feb. 10 on North Lake Road, Pembroke, by Sgt. Mathew Clor.

Janell Marie Sauer, 48, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Sauer was charged following a traffic stop at 2:13 a.m. on Feb. 10 on North Lake Road, Pembroke, by Sgt. Mathew Clor. Sauer was a passenger in the vehicle.

Richard James Burdick, 46, of Coward Road, Byron, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle 3rd, unlicensed operation, and failure to keep light. Burdick was stopped at 6:20 p.m. on Feb. 12 on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Mason Schultz. Burdick was released on an appearance ticket.

Lisa Marie Fox, 52, of Crimson Heights, Albion, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and facilitating aggravated operation 3rd. Fox was allegedly in possession of narcotics while a passenger in a vehicle stopped at 6:20 p.m. on Feb. 12. She is accused of knowing the driver was driving on a suspended license. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Amy Susan Goodenow, 43, of East Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Goodenow is accused of stealing a person's car keys and refusing to return them in an incident reported at 12:22 a.m. on Jan. 20. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Christine M. Caplis, 43, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Caplis was arrested on Feb. 13 in connection with an alleged possession of a controlled substance on April 18 during a traffic stop in Corfu. She was arrested after police investigated a disturbance on Dellinger Avenue, Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Erich Douglas Hildebrant, 45, of Batavia Bethany Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.  Hildebrant was charged after an incident reported at 9:20 a.m. on Feb. 2. He is accused of holding a firearm in his hands while making statements and conducting himself in a manner that was detrimental to three children in his presence at the time.

Bethany drought creates support for Water District 5, dairy farm closure, future uncertainty

By Joanne Beck
bethany water district 5 meeting
Eric Weiss, a consultant with Clark Patterson Lee, shows the proposed Water District #5 in Bethany on a map to residents attending a public hearing at Bethany Town Hall on Wednesday.
Photo by Howard Owens.

All but a few of about 200 residents were on board with creating Water District #5 in the Town of Bethany, and after the Town Board approved a resolution for a revised water district Wednesday evening, those property owners have 30 days to challenge the move or let it ride into the next phase of development, Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. says.

The new Water District 5 is without Sweetland Road and a portion of Fargo Road that connects Clapsaddle Road to Stafford's existing water on Fargo Road because "Monroe County Water Authority will not allow us to hook up and run the water into their water system coming in from the west side of Bethany from the town of Batavia, which is a blend of Monroe County and water from the water treatment plant in Batavia," Hyde said. 

“The town of Stafford is having a meeting on Monday,” he said, regarding the dozen homes removed from Bethany’s Water District 5. “They’re considered out-of-district users. They do not count for our water district.”

Wednesday’s meeting was to review all of those legal aspects and the important financial details of the plan — a $21,680,000 project funded with a $16 million 38-year low-interest loan (with annual debt service of $554,107), yearly payments from Genesee County and a $5 million state infrastructure improvement grant. 

All of those numbers boil down to an estimated unit cost (unit = property) of $1,220. That cost doesn’t follow the property owner, as it remains at that property address. 

What does this mean? Public water for 350 users, Hyde said. If none of them opposes or challenges this water district, then it goes on to the state Comptroller for review. After that, it would go to bid, “and then, hopefully, we should start digging in September,” Hyde said.

If someone opposes the plan, it will be brought to a vote, and 51 percent of the property owners must say yes in order for it to proceed. That opposition will also delay the process by 90 days.

“Now it’s just a waiting game; it’s all up to the residents. The board has done everything it can do,” he said. “I’m glad. The residents asked me to get the funding, and I got the funding. 

“I do have some residents who have gotten a little bit of water back in their well. They were all excited because they could use their toilet twice a day. But I do still have a lot of people whose wells have not come back yet,” he said, sharing the worst news to come out of the drought so far. “One farm is no longer in the cattle business. Because the cost to haul water is not worth the price you pay for milk. He’ll be doing some crop farming but is retired from the cattle world. Dairy is Western New York’s largest commodity; when we start losing cattle farms, what else is there? The wells still aren’t recovered. After about 14 inches of snow, and it's gone, we've had no rain, and if we don't get snow, I am really afraid of what's going to happen this July and August.”

Hyde is especially worried about what to expect down the road once spring and then summer roll around again if winter continues to be this lackluster and rain still circumvents his town. The drought has been downgraded to moderate, which he thinks is “hooey.” And the long-range forecast in the Farmer's Almanac is "not good," he said, prompting him to make his own future plans.

“I’ve got residents still picking up water because they’ve got no water,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get the tanker back in the spring. Who’d have thought in the year 2024 in New York State that it’s a third-world country? Our homes may look a little better than theirs, but it’s a third-world country with no water.”

He’s counting on having made prior contacts with the state governor, Comptroller, and Office of Emergency Management, that there will be people to help out again later this year with a water tanker when possible. Emergency Management loaned a 6,700-gallon tanker to the town this past fall so that residents could fill their water totes for a month at Bethany Town Hall. 

Meanwhile, at least 350 property owners can cling to another water district’s formation by this fall, once and if all gets approved, for a completion by 2026.  That district would run down Townline Road north to Route 20 and be in the center of town. It has been a long time coming, with conception in 2017 and a USDA low-interest loan of $16.5 million. It was looking hopeful, and then COVID came along, and prices shot up for an escalated total project cost of $21.5 million.  The town was turned down on its first attempt at a state $5 million grant to make up the difference, but fortunately received better news this past December, and now has the funding.

Property owners would be responsible for the pipe service to their homes, at about $15 to $25 per linear foot, which engineer Eric Weiss of Clark Patterson Lee estimated to be about $500 total, depending on the size of the property and circumstances.  The cost of water would be about $6.48 per 1,000 gallons, for an estimated $388.80 per household. All of the debt service costs roll into the approximate yearly bill of $1,220 per property owner. 

During the meeting, a resident asked what would happen to all of the trees along her property. The answer covered trees, flowers, driveways and other similar items on properties, and that was “we’re going to avoid as much destruction as possible,” Weiss said. 

Contractors are given directions for how to navigate obstructions such as long tree roots. “They will excavate on either side and will push the pipe through it,” he said. As for other outdoor landscaping, “they will restore it to the way it was.”

A few folks didn’t like government-funded programs of any type, but by and large, the majority of attendees seemed in favor of proceeding with this water district. 

"The residents are happy that it's moving forward," Hyde said.

bethany water district 5 meeting
Bethany Town Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr.
Photo by Howard Owens.
bethany water district 5 meeting
Photo by Howard Owens.
bethany water district 5 meeting
Photo by Howard Owens.

First the paperwork, then the footwork and eventually Water District 5

By Joanne Beck
bethany water tanker nov. 2023
2023 File Photo of a Bethany resident filling up his water tote due to severe drought and dry residential wells, a situation that hasn't changed as we head into 2024. 
Photo by Howard Owens

Declaring a State of Emergency hasn’t produced a miracle in terms of water for the dehydrated town of Bethany, Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. says, but it has established the seriousness of what town residents are facing for their future needs.

“It lets the state and federal officials know the dire situation we are in, and when we file paperwork for Water District 5, that it is expedited,” Hyde said to The Batavian Thursday. “The DHES (Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services) is looking to figure out what else they can do to help out the residents. And when it comes time to review the paperwork, we have priority.”

As the declaration stated, there are 100 residential properties and two large farms without water due to empty wells. All of them are having to travel to fill water totes on a regular basis to meet their needs, including one farm that requires 60,000 gallons a day to sustain its operation. 

“That means having drivers and trucks, some are paying to have it hauled, and the fuel expense,” he said. “There’s a lot of money tied up in this.”

Lack of precipitation has taken the blame for the severe drought in the area, and with little rain and snow yet to come, wells have not recharged and “we still have people that are running out of water,” Hyde said.

There have been a few bright spots in this section of Bethany desert: a state water tanker was sent to the town for a month so that citizens could get their water totes filled at town hall; private donations generously supplied residents with several pallets of bottled drinking water; and a second attempt for a state grant to shore up funding for Water District 5 was approved at the end of 2023. 

Right now, it’s full steam ahead with the legalities for the water district, Hyde said. Since the original budget and related funding fell through due to COVID issues, a new budget and paperwork need to be drafted, and another public hearing will have to be scheduled, he said.

“The water district is still moving forward. We’re waiting to hear from the town’s attorney about the public hearing … that should be in the next two to three weeks. Because of the budget overrun, we have to take it back to the residents,” he said. “We have the full funding for the project, (the residents’) cost doesn’t go up, we have to make them aware of where we’re at in the process of doing the legal stuff.”

In the midst of drought, Bethany gets a splash of good news with $5M grant

By Joanne Beck
bethany water tanker nov. 2023
2023 File Photo of Bethany Town Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. reviewing the town's water districts, including the latest Water District 5, which will be a go, thanks to the $5 million WIIA grant awarded to the town. 
Photo by Howard Owens

Tuesday afternoon was unexpectedly busy and gleeful for Bethany Town Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr.

And while still being embroiled in town residents’ plight of dry wells and being in need of daily water supplies, he found something to smile about, he says.

“We’re on the list,” he said about the town’s placement on the state’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Award approvals. “My phone’s been ringing off the hook. I heard from Steve Hawley and J.W. Cook from the governor’s office. He called to say congratulations, you got your grant. I’m very happy.”

Bethany was approved for a $5 million WIIA grant for its Water District 5. 

The town has been enduring dozens of dry wells for home, business and farm owners the last several weeks, with one large farm hauling 60,000 gallons of water a day and residents making weekly treks for water to sustain their household needs. A tanker from the state Office of Emergency Management and generous donations from private companies have helped fill the gap as the town anxiously waited for news about a second application for the grant.

The first application was denied, and town officials submitted a second one earlier this year, anticipating to hear back by the end of December. Water District 5 runs north to Route 20 and includes 440 residential properties. 

Two-thirds of town residents will have public water by the time the district is completed, and then District 6 will be next. That will require a survey to find out if those residents are in favor of a water district, he said, because at least 51 percent will need to be on board with a yes for it to proceed.

“I’ve got a lot of paperwork to do before it goes out to bid. And they’ve got to review the bids when they come back. So, with any luck, our word, according to the engineers, my discussion with the engineering firm is our goal is to start digging by August … for a completion 16 to 18 months after that.

He notified board members, who were “ecstatic,” and let some businesses and farmers know about the grant. 

“They understand it’s a long process, but at least it’s light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. 

The town has already received a low-interest (2 percent) USDA loan of $16.5 million to be paid back over 38 years by property owners, and the $5 million is a grant with no pay-back strings attached. There will have to be budget amendments due to the price adjustments of a previously lower-cost project before COVID came along and caused delays and price increases, he said. 

But that won’t undermine his momentary good spirits and the news that residents should celebrate, he said.

“It’s a good thing, it’s a bright spot in our dark time here in this drought,” he said. “But it’s not gonna save us at the moment.”

Residents are still showing up at the town hall for twice-weekly water fills, at the rate of 2,000 gallons every two hours. Hyde estimated that the 6,700-gallon tanker might be empty again by Thursday, which will be the second time so far. Genesee County has been transporting the tanker for refills. 

Two other Genesee County municipalities were also on the list for awards:

  • The Town of Le Roy was on the list for a $5 million WIIA grant for Water District 12. Town Supervisor Jim Farnholz was not available for comment late Tuesday afternoon.
  • Genesee County was also listed for a $30 million bond for its Phase 3 water project. County Manager Matt Landers was not available for comment late Tuesday afternoon.


Santa visits Bethany Friday morning, in the form of a water donation, as officials wait for word on district funding

By Joanne Beck
Water donation in Bethany
A donation of four pallets of drinking water by Eric Santos, second from left, of Casella Waste Systems, arrives at Bethany Town Hall Friday morning for residents who have been struggling without water.
Submitted Photo

As town officials and residents work through a water shortage brought on by drought, all of them have said it has been the worst they have ever seen since living in Bethany, many of them for decades. Fill dates are being scheduled week by week from a tanker that was provided by the state Office of Emergency Management.

Santa came early again for a visit Friday morning, in the form of a donation of four pallets of bottled water all ready to be distributed to residents, Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. said. Operations Manager Eric Santos of Casella Waste Systems had heard about Bethany's plight and showed up with his crew and the much-welcomed donation of water at town hall, Hyde said.

"The town of Bethany will start distributing these cases to the residents on the list whose wells have gone dry on Tuesday morning during normal office hours during the week and on Tuesday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. during tote fill time and Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m.," Hyde said. 

Bethany residents in need who have not yet called the town hall for help are asked to call 585-343-1399, Ext. 202 to leave your name, phone number and address to be put on the list for the town supervisor.

At least 100 residents -- though some people have claimed it's far more than that through social media postings -- have been without water due to their wells being dry, and they have had to transport water from other areas up to the tanker being delivered this past week. 

Hyde said that more dates will be scheduled soon, as the plan is to continue to fill residents’ totes until the tanker is empty, get that refilled by the county, and then repeat for as long as the town has the tanker.

Donation of water in Bethany
Submitted Photo

Getting their fill: Few residents show to first-time call to fill water totes, more dates set

By Joanne Beck
bethany water tanker nov. 2023
Bethany Town Board member Timothy Embt helps out at the water tanker on Saturday at the town hall parking lot.
Photo by Howard Owens

Jerry Kujawski had no trouble with Saturday’s rule of first-come, first-served to fill up his 300-gallon water tote. In fact, he made a return trip to fill it up a second time to help out a neighbor, and he was only the third or fourth person who had been at Bethany Town Hall to do so for the two-hour fill-up period.

When it seemed as though there would have been dozens of people clamoring for a go at the pump connected to a tanker of water to shore up their dried-up wells, the parking lot was empty most of the time. 

Town Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. had put out the notice that anyone with no water could get their totes filled between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday at the town hall, and he and members of the Bethany town board and fire department stood at the tanker ready and waiting.

Kujawski, a resident of Bethany for the last 28 years, had never seen a drought this bad, he said, though it’s been steadily getting drier the last three years or so. He had a 300-gallon tote on a trailer and dumped that into his well to be used for necessities in the household and, through reverse osmosis, drinking water.

He then returned to fill it again for a neighbor who didn’t have the means to transport a tote. 

“We've had just a little bit of a drought sometimes in the summertime, and then we wait about a week or two, but other than that, it's just the last three years have been the worst,” he said. “Since the end of July, I’ve been hauling water. I’ve been getting it at Stafford, at the highway department, it’s an 18-mile round trip, sometimes twice a week.”

By comparison, it’s only a couple of miles from his house to Town Hall, where he’ll be able to fill up for the next month while the town has possession of the tanker. New York State Office of Emergency Management drove it from the Albany area filled with 6,700 gallons of water and has loaned it to Bethany for 30 days. Genesee County personnel will transport it for refills, County Manager Matt Landers said Thursday.

“And I appreciate it, I don’t know what I’m gonna do in another month after this leaves, they’ll have to come up with another system, hopefully, for us,” Kujawski said. “This is the worst year that we’ve had, to haul all summer, probably into September or maybe when you get to July and somewhere in there in August … I never had to haul water this long, I’m gonna go towards Christmastime. So it’s kind of crazy.”

Hyde took the low turnout in stride, saying that he was “disappointed, but I’m not disappointed.” 

 “I have several residents who said they were going to come today and get water, they know we're going to be open 11 to one, they know we're doing this, those that show up and get water, get water and those that don't show up, they’re on their own. The town board is here making an honest effort to do something for the residents of Bethany. If they don't take advantage of it, there's nothing we can do about it,” he said. “We're gonna do it again Tuesday between 5 and 5:30 for two hours, and maybe Thursday or Friday, the same thing, we'll know more as we go. It all depends on how much we take out of the tank. Once we get the tank down to zero or close to it, I have to call the county. They're gracious enough to come and get the tanker, haul it into Batavia, fill it and then bring it back. So it all depends on how many show up. Or how many don’t. So when it's empty, it's empty. There's nothing I can do about it for two or three days.”

He has set two more days for fills: 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Town Board member Diane Fowler is one of the lucky ones with water, but she understands what so many are going through, she said.

“The situation around us is really horrendous for people that have to live without water. And even the people that have water, it may not be drinkable, you know, or it's just eating up their pipes, their appliances, and different things like that. So, to get public water here, this is the biggest water district that we're trying to put in, District Five, and to get this water in will give the majority of Bethany public water, which will make such a difference to improve their lives,” she said. “And I mean, that's what we want to do. We want to make it healthy for people to live here. And people want to come here, that's the next thing. Some people may like the idea of being in a rural community and love the idea of Bethany, because it's what, seven miles to Batavia, seven miles to Le Roy, seven miles to Warsaw. And it's a great place. But when you hear these stories about not having water, then it keeps people away. “

The town applied for a state Water Infrastructure Improvement Assistance grant once and was denied. Another application has been submitted, and town officials are waiting to hear about that, hopefully by the end of the year, Hyde said. The grant would supplement another grant of $16.5 million already obtained to install District Five, which is geographically central to Bethany.

The other option would be to obtain a low-interest loan for the $5 million needed to complete the project, which would be paid for by district residents. 

Meanwhile, town residents have been driving several miles roundtrip to fill totes with water. Firefighter Don Frank thought that perhaps residents hadn’t heard about the tanker and that it would take time for word to get around. 

“We’re going to hit every household with a flyer,” he said. “This is just the beginning of what has to happen. This is going to be a big project.”

Another consideration is that not all residents have a 250- or 500-gallon tote handy, the trailer necessary to haul it behind their vehicle, he said, and the means to empty it into a well. Water is 8.34 pounds per gallon, so a filled 250-gallon tote weighs 2,087 pounds.  

Jeff Fluker, a board member and chief of Bethany Volunteer Fire Department, said there’s a whole other issue that’s at stake with the ongoing drought situation: the potential for not having enough water to fight fires.

“There's a big, big water shortage. So in order to get water, the ponds have now dried up. The ponds are very low, there's hardly anything in the ponds at all,” Fluker said. “So now we’ve got to drive farther away to a hydrant across town to get water from there. Or if there's a creek, a spot in the creek where we can get something in there, maybe, but other than that, it's gonna be a tough goal.” 

Fluker hopes that someone — perhaps Genesee County legislators — will have a plan to help out these areas of highest dehydration. Otherwise, there may come that moment of reality when flames are blazing, and the hose is dry.

“So that’s something that we need to get moving on, yesterday. I don’t know if anybody realizes what it’s like not to have water. I mean, they think they don’t have water for their homes. But what if something happened, a fire comes along, does anybody think about that?” he said. “What’s going to happen there? That’s even worse yet. Now you’re going to be homeless, just because we didn’t have water that probably could have been fixed awhile ago.”

He said that there are discussions happening, but it’s hard to get water with farther drives and “a long, drawn-out process trying to get something done in a short period of time.”

“And it’s, you know, it’s an uphill battle,” he said. “Even in the middle of the winter, you can cut a hole in a pond and get your water out that way. You can’t even do that. You don’t even have water to cut out to get.”

Town Board member Tim Embt feels “very fortunate” that he has water and a water system installed at his home, he said, but also understands that “everybody else here has been fighting this for years and years.”

“I mean, we arguably should have had municipal water here 30 years ago, through the county, but that never happened. So this is where we are today. All we can do in the short term is help people out as best we can and hopefully get the grants from the  State to actually go through with the project as planned without having to bump their taxes up to a reasonable level,” he said. “Because that's the only thing that really concerns me is, I know we have a lot of retirees on fixed incomes in the town here, and that's a lot of money on top of what they're already paying. I understand you’ve gotta have water, I certainly understand that. But unfortunately, in this world, nothing is free.”

All of them said that they will most likely be there for water fills a few times a week, including Saturdays, for the next month. Hyde will issue public notices of future times and dates on The Batavian. 

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Bethany Town Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. explains a map of the Bethany water districts and how an acquifier runs all the way around the town property but not on it. 
Photo by Howard Owens
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Bethany resident Jerry Kujawski fills up his tote with water Saturday morning at Bethany Town Hall.
Photo by Howard Owens
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Bethany firefighter Don Frank helps out with the water-filling process Saturday.
Photo by Howard Owens
bethany water tanker nov. 2023
Photo by Howard Owens

Law and Order: Batavia woman facing drug dealing charges

By Howard B. Owens
joanna larnder
Joanna Lardner

Joanna F. Larnder, 30, of Batavia, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance 3rd and criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd. Larnder was arrested by deputies on a sealed indictment. Larnder is accused of selling crack cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force. She was previously arrested on charges stemming from a warrant executed by the task force in late August in the City of Batavia. During the search, she was allegedly found in possession of cocaine with the intent to sell. She allegedly failed to appear in court as ordered on those charges. Larnder was released on her own recognizance in compliance with current bail laws on the drug charges. She is being held on bail-jumping charges.

Carrie Ann Stewart, 43, of West Avenue, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. Stewart is accused of shoplifting from Old Navy on Veterans Memorial Drive at 4:48  p.m. on Sept. 27. She was arrested on Nov. 11. She was processed at the Genesee County Jail and issued an appearance ticket.

Katherine Marie Fremgen, 35, of East Avenue, Clarence, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, failure to yield right of way, and moving from lane unsafely. Fremgen was stopped for alleged erratic operation at 10:29 p.m. on Sept. 27 on Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia, by Deputy Alexander Hadsall. Fremgen was arrested on Nov. 13 based on the results of a blood test.  Fremgen was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

edward Ruckdeschel
Edward Ruckdeschel

Edward G. Ruckdeschel, 61, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny 3rd and two counts of grand larceny 4th. Ruckdeschel was arrested on Nov. 14 by State Police on a theft reported at 9:07 a.m. on Oct. 19 in the Town of Batavia, on a theft reported at 5:55 p.m. on Oct. 19 in the Town of Bethany, and on a theft reported at 7:14 a.m. on Oct. 20 in the Town of Alexander. He was ordered held. The State Police, contrary to state law, did not release any further details of the cases.  )See previously: Parolee with lengthy criminal record accused of multiple vehicle thefts in the county)

Richard W. Rumble, 38, of Corfu, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Rumble was arrested by State Police at 2:32 a.m. on Nov. 12 in the Town of Pembroke.

Bethany resident who loves Halloween invites public to haunted house and graveyard trail

By Howard B. Owens
bethany haunted house

The fact that Jennifer Cobb's birthday and Halloween fall so close together may be why she has such an affinity for the holiday, Cobb conceded during a tour of the haunted house she, her husband, and children created on their property in Bethany.

"My mom always kind of combined them," she said.

For one of her birthdays in her 20s, her mom bought her a casket.  

"Every year since I was a little kid, I've enjoyed Halloween," Cobb said. "I've always done big, extravagant things. This year, I decided to go super, super big. In the years past, I've built haunted houses out of my parent's garage and let the public in. I was on the news for that in Buffalo. Then we moved out here and did big huge parties, but I'm like, 'nobody's gonna come out here.' It's too much of a drive, and then we were like, we'll give it a shot, and I hope it's gonna be good. So we'll see. But I love Halloween. I love to scare people."

Her birthday is five days before Halloween.

If you visit the Leising Manor and Graveyard, you will start in the house's dining room, where you will gaze upon a rather macabre dining scene, then you will walk through a haunted kitchen and into the expansive back yard into the trails in the woods where you will find ghouls, goblins, witches, ghosts, cadavers and skeletons among the graveyards scattered among the trees.  

Asked why she likes Halloween, Cobb said, "I don't know. I think it's just because it takes people out of their element. Sometimes it makes them really question, 'What drives me, what scares me, what are my fears?' I don't know. I like the gore and the creativity of it. It means something to everybody different. It's just one of them things that you don't have to be a certain religion to like Halloween. You can just like it, you can be young, or old. It doesn't matter. There's no age limit."

The attraction is free, but Cobb said she is asking for donations.

"I'm trying to raise money for a friend who just recently had a fire and lost everything in the fire," she said.

The haunted house is open from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Monday and on Halloween, which is Tuesday.  If it rains, Cobb said, "we'll make the best of it."  The address is 9772 Bethany Center Road, East Bethany.

Photos by Howard Owens

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bethany haunted house

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
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
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.

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Remote video URL

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
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."

old bethany town hall
On the second floor, a stage and a floating hardwood dance floor.
Photo by Howard Owens.
old bethany town hall
Photo by Howard Owens.
old bethany town hall
One of the artifacts still in the building that will be saved.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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.
old bethany town hall
The first floor, former meeting space and courtroom.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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.
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. 
old bethany town hall
Display cases and artifacts that will be stored by the county.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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

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

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