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December 2, 2018 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Park, news, Bethany.


Kaylee Brown, 5, with her father Chris Brown, shows off the reindeer she made at yesterday's Create-A-Critter session at the Genesee County Park Interpretive Center.

A couple of dozen children showed up over two sessions yesterday where the kids could create small little animals out of corncobs, pine cones, thistle pods, and other natural materials.

Below, Rhowen Torrey, 4, with Gregg Torrey.


November 25, 2018 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Bethany.

A rollover accident with a minor injury is reported on Silver Road, just south of Route 20, in Bethany.

A Bethany chief on scene reports the driver is out of the vehicle. Traffic is not blocked.

Bethany fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

November 8, 2018 - 2:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Le Roy, Bethany, byron, batavia.

Julia A. Hawley, 41, of Coward Road, Byron, is charged with operating a motor vehicle while ability impaired by drugs, failure to keep right, and moving from lane unsafely. Shortly after midnight on Wednesday Nov. 8, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received a call about a single-vehicle accident with injuries on Batavia-Elba Town Line Road. Investigation by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office determined Hawley was the sole occupent of the Chevrolet Silverado that left the roadway, striking a tree stump. Hawley was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by Mercy Flight. She was allegedly impaired by drugs at the time of the accident and arrested. She was also issued citations. The accident was investigated by Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Deputy Jenna Ferrando. Elba Fire Department also Mercy EMS assisted at the scene. (For previous coverage, click here.)

Shante C. Johnson, 21, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree. A complaint of a wallet and credit card stolen in September was reported to the Le Roy Police Department and investigated. Johnson was arrested on Nov. 6 and issued an appearance ticket to be in Le Roy Town Court on Dec. 3. It is alleged that Johnson stole the wallet from a fellow employee while working in the Village of Le Roy and then attempted to use a credit card from the wallet in the City of Batavia.

Miguel Hernandez-Gonzalez, 35, of East Road, Bethany, is charged with driving while intoxicated, DWI with a BAC of .08 percent or higher, and unsafe backing. Hernandez-Gonzalez was arrested following a motor-vehicle accident on East Road in Bethany at 4:42 a.m. on Nov. 3. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Bethany Town Court on Dec. 27. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Mathew Clor, assisted by Deputy Andrew Mullen.

November 5, 2018 - 9:52pm

The only contested race on Election Day in the Town of Bethany is for the position of highway superintendent.

The post was formerly held by Joel Merle but he left after giving his two-week notice earlier this year and three candidates were interviewed to replace him: Mike Adams, Barb Czworka and Jeffery Fluker.

Adams, who says he was asked to apply, was appointed as highway superintendent in March.

Now he is seeking to retain the $52,000-a-year post, the term for which expires next November, and Czworka is running to unseat him. Fluker remains a trustee on the town board.

Whomever is elected tomorrow as highway superintendent will have to run again in 2019.

The highway superintendent’s main duties are keeping the roads in good shape – 30.84 miles of town roads and 30.08 miles of county roads must be mowed, salted and plowed. Plus the town must maintain its own roads and do culvert and sluice replacements as required. Responsibilities also include removal of downed trees from roadways, etc.

Bethany's approved highway department expenditures for 2018 amounted to $226,000. There’s about $240,000 in savings and the estimated department annual budget is about $800,000.

Adams said he’s by no means a politician but feels he has the credentials to do right by taxpayers.

The 61-year-old sole proprietor farmer raises beef and dairy replacement calves up to 4 months old, in addition to growing crops on more than 450 acres. He’s been a farmer since the age of 20, a testament, he says, to his strong work ethic.

He says the highway superintendent’s job is evaluated this way -- whether the work that needs to get done, is done, rather than by the clock. With that in mind, he’s proud of his brief tenure.

“I’ve been told that we got more work done this summer than has been done in a long time, and it’s more than surpassed people’s expectations,” Adams said.

Czworka worked in Bethany’s Highway Department as a laborer for 17 “full years” before being laid off.

“I’ve been a grunt, I’ve done the dirty work, I have been down on the asphalt with the guys,” Czworka said. “I can mow roadsides. I don’t just whack weeds and mow lawns."

Asked why she’s running, she says simply “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. ... I want to do a good job when I get in there. I feel I'm a hard worker."

The contest has gotten testy.

Adams and some of his supporters point out that he’s had a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for more than 30 years.

“There ain’t much I can’t drive,” he says matter of factly, adding that he has the capability of a “backyard mechanic” to keep that equipment in working order.

Bethany operates a highway shop that employs Teamsters Union workers and Czworka has been a Teamsters steward.

After so many years, she knows every aspect of Bethany’s highway department and feels she has a lot to offer voters although she does not have a CDL.

“You can pull your weight without a CDL,” Czworka said. “Being in a snowplow is NOT a good use of a highway superintendent’s time.”

Adams says flatly “She has no ability to get the license.”

His opponent counters that shoveling snow off sidewalks, opening bigger intersections up that have snowed over are two additional ways to be helpful while others are plowing routes.

Town Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. said in an email: “There are no exemptions in the NYS DMV laws for municipalities: you must have a CDL to drive plow truck or town dump truck.

“Here's the problem -- a driver does not show up for plowing or calls in sick, then the Super has to get in a truck and plow in Bethany. NO license, NO plowing.”

"The CDL issue is petty," Czworka replied in a phone interview this evening. "I've never needed one. We have two backup part-time drivers and they do a good job. The CDL is being made into a big issue by people who've never done the job.

"I've been a wing person. I've trained new drivers on routes. I don't sit in an office somewhere and tell people how I think they should do their job."

Czworka prides herself on having run a positive campaign. She said she was upfront with Adams in May and told him she would be running for his job. She says he told her didn’t know if he would to be on the ballot.

Adams says he doesn’t want to be negative, but he’s seen some things over these past few months that make him shake his head as a taxpayer.

Like the front-end loader that was driven down to a heavy equipment company some time back to have an oil change for $1,080, which is something Adams would have just handled himself.

The reason for taking the loader out for maintenance some years was to have the maintenance for the machine recorded in the company's record. The point being that after a certain time, that piece of equipment could be cashed in, “but the town would not cash it in,” Czworka said.

Hyde said the agreement with the company regarding the front-end loader was before his time in office; he started in 2015.

One of the times the Teamsters took the town to arbitration since 2015 was because it outsourced labor from a non-union man, according to Czworka.

Hyde said that man was brought on as Adams' deputy highway superintendent and paid the same as a machine equipment operator (MEO) on an as-needed basis.

A highway superintendent can legally select his appointment as deputy and the appointee can be either union or non-union. The selection does not violate union rules so long as that deputy is not a full-time worker.

"The town actually double paid to have material hauled to the shop," Czworka countered.

​Since at least 2015, Hyde said there has been ongoing debate about staffing of the Highway Department; he claims Bethany could not afford four full-time employees.

"We always could in the past," Czworka said, noting that the town hired two MEOs at a higher rate of pay, added the deputy Super yet could not afford the laborer post (her post) that was less than $14 per hour.

"Hyde's math doesn't add up," Czworka said.

Hyde says it's not just his math that is used in the town's decision-making process.

"Let's just say I hope the most qualifed person gets the job," Hyde said. "I can't let taxpayers down. That's my job."

November 3, 2018 - 3:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, news.


The parking lot at East Bethany's Presbyterian Church was overflowing today as holiday shoppers swarmed over the crafts and goods being offered by vendors throughout two floors of the church.






November 3, 2018 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Little Canada Road, Bethany, news, photos.


A scene on Little Canada Road, East Bethany, early this afternoon.

November 1, 2018 - 2:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, alexander, Bethany.

David J. Somerton, 36, of Kelsey Road, Batavia, (in photo above) is charged with five felony counts of disseminating indecent material to a minor. Somerton was arrested and arraigned on Oct. 31 following an investigation into an offense that occurred on Kelsey Road in the Town of Batavia on Oct. 13. Additional charges are pending. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator Howard Carlson, assisted by Investigator/Youth Officer Timothy Westcott. The Genesee County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division was assisted by the FBI Buffalo field office.

Victoria Lynn Jacques, 49, of Seward Road, Alexander, is charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, with a BAC of .18 or higher, and DWI -- first offense. Jacques was arrrested at 8:42 p.m. Oct. 27 on Broadway Road in Bethany. She was operating a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle cited in a traffic offense complaint called into the Emergency Dispatch Center. Genesee County Sheriff's deputies pulled her vehicle over and allegedly determined she was intoxicated. She was transported to Genesee County Jail and released on appearance tickets for Town of Bethany Court Nov. 22. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Deputy Mathew Clor.

October 7, 2018 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Bethany, notify.


Investigators have yet to determine why a 2015 BMW driven by 61-year-old Syed L. Rahman, of Williamsville, crossed the center line and crashed into an ambulance from the Bethany Fire Department on Route 63 just before midnight Saturday.

Rahman was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Don Coleman.

A heavy rainstorm was passing through the area at the time of the crash. There's a slight curve in the road near the area of the crash scene.

Rahman was northbound on Ellicott Street Road. The ambulance, driven by volunteer medic James L. Duval, 65, of Bethany, was southbound. The ambulance and three-person crew were returning to the Bethany station after handling an earlier EMS call. Since the crew wasn't on a call, the ambulance was not in emergency mode, no lights or siren, and was not carrying a patient.

Duval and crew members Christopher Page and Melody Davis, all volunteers, were not seriously injured but were transported to UMMC for evaluation and treatment.

Duval, is the former Genesee County planning director. He retired in 2012 after 36 years as a county employee.

The accident investigation is being handled by Deputy Andrew Mullen. Assisting at the scene were Chief Deputy Joseph Graff, Investigator Chad Minuto, Sgt. John Baiocco, Sgt. Jason Saile, the Bethany Fire Department, Stafford Fire Department, Town of Batavia Fire Department, and Mercy EMS.

(Initial Report)




October 7, 2018 - 12:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Bethany.

A serious injury accident involving a car and an ambulance is reported in the area of 5566 Ellicott Street Road, Bethany.

Bethany fire, Stafford fire, and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 1:30 a.m.: Route 63 is closed between Bethany Center Road and Paul Road. It will likely remain closed for a couple of more hours. 

UPDATE 3:35 a.m.: We can now confirm this is a fatal accident. The victim was the driver of a sedan, heading northbound on Route 63, that crossed the center line in heavy rain and struck a southbound Bethany Volunteer Fire Department ambulance. The driver of the sedan was pronounced dead at the scene by Coronor Don Coleman. The ambulance was returning to the Bethany Fire Hall after responding to an earlier call and was not carrying a patient. A three-person crew was aboard the ambulance. All three were taken to UMMC for evaluation of non-serious injuries. The accident remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Crash Management Team. The Sheriff's Office will release the name of the victim later this morning. We are withholding publication of photos from the scene until after the name is released.

October 2, 2018 - 9:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Bethany, news.

A shed fire is reported at 5222 Broadway, Bethany.

Bethany fire dispatched.

Mutual aid requested from Pavilion, Le Roy, Town of Batavia, and City Fire's FAST Team.

September 27, 2018 - 9:06am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, Bethany.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported at 9647 Creek  Road, between Putnam and Old Creek roads, Bethany. A first responder on scene says the 34-year-old male driver is out of the vehicle, which landed off the roadway in a cornfield.

He is standing up because he says "it hurts too much to lay down." He is complaining of right shoulder pain. Bethany Fire Department and fire police are responding; Mercy medics just arrived.

September 26, 2018 - 11:51am

Press release from the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management:

Ten area firefighers from six fire departments successfully completed the Rope Rescue Basic course held at the Genesee County Fire Training Center on Sept. 17.

This 24-hour course prepares students for a wide variety of possible rescue scenarios.

Specialized rescue, search, technical rescue management, risk and priorities, use of ropes, knots and rope systems in a low angle environment as well as establishment of landing zones for helicopter operations were addressed. The program involved demonstrations as well as practice sessions.  

Congratulations to the following personnel:

City of Batavia FD

  • Stefano Napolitano

Town of Batavia FD

  • Joshua K. Boyle
  • Clayton A. Gorski

Bethany FD

  • Richard J. Klunder III

Corfu FD

  • Glenn J. Eck
  • Daniel Smith
  • Jacob D. Stiles

Elba FD

  • Michael Pfendler

Stafford FD

  • Dean A. Brooks
  • Randal J. Henning

Visit your local fire department to find out more about volunteer opportunities.

September 18, 2018 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, news.

The decision on creating a new water district for public water in Bethany is really up to residents of the proposed district, Eric Wies told about 300 people at a meeting at Bethany Town Hall on Monday evening.

Wies is a senior associate with Clark Patterson, the consultant on the proposed project.

The Town of Bethany has created prior water districts but this would be the largest one, as District #5, so far, with 28 miles of pipe installed to deliver water to the equivalent of 500 water customers.

The estimated total cost of the project is more than $13 million. The direct cost to residents in the proposed district can be reduced if the USDA determines the median income in the district is low enough, which would enable the district to qualify for a low-interest loan and about a $2 million grant.

Breaking down the cost per water customer, Weis said the calculation begins with determining an "equivalent dwelling unit" (EDU). An EDU is one household with one family. There is a usage formula to determine costs for commercial users.

Multi-family units are calculated based on one EDU for the first family and a half an EDU for each additional family.

There are approximately 500 EDUs in the proposed district.

Customers who hook into the public water will pay a quarterly fee to the Monroe County Water Authority, plus their share of the debt for installation of the infrastructure.

The most optimistic calculation is $1,000 per EDU per year. The most conservative estimate, Wies said, is a bit more than $1,100 per year.

A typical EDU in Genesee County uses 63,000 gallons of water a year. The current Monroe rate is $2.43 per gallon, plus a base charge of 21 cents per gallon. There is a Genesee County surcharge of 60 cents per gallon but the rate will go up to $1.20 per gallon.

At those rates, the average EDU will pay to MCWA a total of $386.34 per year. (NOTE: See clarification below)

"You've really got to do the math and your own evaluation," Weis said.

Only those residents and businesses that connect to public water will pay for water.

But all property owners in the district will be in debt necessary to build the infrastructure.

Currently, residents in the proposed district are being asked to complete an income survey. If the district qualifies as low income, the USDA will provide the district with a low-interest loan and a $2 million grant. Genesee County will also pay $4.5 million of the cost.

The balance of the $13 million cost will need to be financed.

The estimated debt service under this scenario is $519,910.

The loan would take 30 years to pay off but the responsibility for repayment is attached to the property not the property owner.

Each EDU's share of the annual debt payment would be $631.87.

These numbers are just estimates and if the USDA doesn't provide a low-interest loan and grant, the costs would go up slightly.

Given the topography of the district, the infrastructure requirements include two water storage tanks and two pumps.

Residents with well water would either need to cap off those wells or install a backflow system to block backflow of well water into the public water lines. The cost of backflow blocks and connection to the public water line are the responsibility of the property owner.

UPDATE: After comments about the rate calculation, we contacted Eric Wies and asked him for clarification.  Here is what he provided:


  • $0.21 per day x 365 days = $76.65
  • $3.43 per 1,000 gallons x 63,000 gallons = $216.09

Genesee County

  • $1.20 per 1,000 gallons x 63,000 gallons = $75.60

Total Annual Water Cost = $368.34

September 18, 2018 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, news.


The sky was beautiful yesterday evening in Genesee County. I was in Bethany but without my camera. I ran into Patrick Reynolds who was out with his Nikon taking pictures so I asked him to send us something.

August 31, 2018 - 2:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany Center Road Bridge, Bethany, infrastructure, news, notify.


A dispatcher just notified the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department that the Bethany Center Bridge has reopened.

The old bridge was built in the 1930s and in recent years had eroded into a crumbling, rusting eyesore. It was replaced this summer with a new $1.4 million span by the Department of Transportation.

Photo: From Aug. 17, when a construction foreman told The Batavian work would be completed by the first week of September.

August 23, 2018 - 5:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, water district #5, news, infrastructure, Announcements.

There will be a public informational meeting for the proposed Bethany Water District #5 on Monday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Bethany Town Hall. This is to discuss the $14.5 million water project for most of Bethany.

The public is encouraged to attend.

Bethany Town Hall is located at 10510 Bethany Center Road in Bethany.

August 17, 2018 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Bethany, Bethany Center Road Bridge, infrastructure.


These are pictures from this morning of the ongoing work on the new Bethany Center Road Bridge over Route 20 in Bethany.

A foreman said the work is on schedule and they expect the bridge to be ready for traffic the first week of September.





August 13, 2018 - 11:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, Alabama, Darien, corfu, Oakfield, Basom, bergen, Bethany, elba.

Antonio Diego Dames, 42, of Knowlesville Road, Oakfield, is charged with: DWI; driving with a BAC of .18 or greater; aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st; driving without an interlock device; and moving from lane unsafely. Dames was arrested following an investigation by Deputy Travis DeMuth into a one-car accident reported at 4:28 p.m. Thursday on Lewiston Road in Alabama.

Yahaira Ann-Marie Brown-Diaz, 19, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana, and speeding. Brown-Diaz was stopped at 8:28 a.m. Friday on Maple Avenue, Bergen, by Deputy Ryan DeLong. Brown-Diaz was transported to the Sheriff's Office where she was evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert.

Genna Lynn Miller, 33, of Center Street, East Aurora, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to comply with traffic control officer, and failure to keep right. Miller was stopped at 12:16 a.m. Saturday on Alleghany Road, Darien, by Deputy Patrick Reeves after her vehicle's mirror allegedly struck a traffic control officer in the arm.

Matthew Paul Sunseri, 33, of Harlem Road, Rochester, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Sunseri was charged following an investigation by Deputy Mathew Clor into a disturbance reported at 10:50 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of Darien Lake Theme Park.

A 17-year-old resident of Buffalo is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was allegedly found in possession of marijuana by State Police in the Village of Corfu at 11:05 a.m. on Aug. 5.

Walter B. Hale, 65, of Oakfield, is charged with: felony DWI; felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater; failure to keep right; and moving from lane unsafely. Hale was stopped by State Police at 1:40 a.m. Sunday on Route 98 in Elba.

Casandra E. Holloway, 25, of Newfane, is charged with: DWI; driving with a BAC of .08 or greater; no headlights; failure to keep right; moving from lane unsafely and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. Holloway was stopped by State Police at 11:01 p.m. Friday on Colby Road, Darien.

Scott P. Rammacher, 42, of Lockport, is charged with DWI and impeding traffic. Rammacher was stopped by State Police at 6:35 p.m. Thursday on Route 77, Darien, for allegedly driving too slow.

Christian A. Dangelo, 28, of Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Dangelo was stopped by State Police at 9:44 p.m. Thursday on Route 33, Bergen.

Kyle J. Howard, 29, of Basom, is charged with criminal trespass. Howard was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at 1:30 p.m., Aug. 6.  No further details released.

August 4, 2018 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Bethany.

Speed may have been a factor in an accident at 2:08 p.m. Thursday, on Fargo Road, Bethany, according to an accident report released by the Sheriff's Office.

Ronald J. Maniace Jr., 24, the driver, suffered minor injuries and was transported to UMMC for evaluation.

No citations have been issued. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

According to the report, Maniace was driving a 2007 Chevy sedan southbound on Fargo Road. He was unable to negotiate a curve in the roadway, perhaps due to speed, and the sedan went off the west shoulder. Maniace apparently overcorrected and steered into the northbound lane. As he attempted to move back into the southbound lane he lost control of the vehicle and he went off the south shoulder and struck a tree.

The accident report was prepared by Sgt. Andrew Hale.

August 2, 2018 - 4:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Bethany.


A car vs. tree accident is reported in the area of 9509 Fargo Road, Bethany.

Unknown injuries.

Bethany fire and Stafford and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: Units can respond non-emergency.

UPDATE 4:58 p.m.: The Fargo Road assignment is back in service. One person transported to UMMC.

Photos by Timothy Chugg.


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