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January 11, 2015 - 2:29pm

East Pembroke installs fire officers for 2015

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, pembroke, east pembroke, East Pembroke Fire Department.

Chief Don Newton, East Pembroke Fire Department, received the Service Award for 2014, and Fire Training Officer James Gayton was named Firefighter of the Year Saturday night during the department's annual installation dinner.

Counting fire calls, accidents and EMS calls, East Pembroke went on 350 calls in 2014, up from the recent average year of about 300 calls.

The 2015 firematic officers as elected by members are: Newton, chief; Stephen Smelski, 1st assistant chief; Williams Torres Jr., 2nd assistant chief; Donald Newton Sr., firematic captain; Jose Santini, firematic lieutenant; Lori Ann Santini, EMS captain; Robert Yungfleisch, EMS lieutenant; Ray Schramm, fire police captain; Chris Bennett, fire police lieutenant; Gayton, training officer; Smelski, safety officer.

Candles were lit after the dinner in a memorial service to honor fallen first responders and members of the military.

Genesee County Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger administered the oath of office for department and district officers.

Kim Stimson
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The 1st asst. chief left the scene of a serious atv accident got charged with dwi(but he works for the sherriff dept so that was probably dropped) and gets voted in again. And safety officer. Lol what a joke!

George Larish II
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110% true. Tiny town politics at its finest.

Stephen Smelski
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There has been a lot of comments on here and other website about the accident I was involved in. First, I would like everyone to know this accident had nothing to do with the East Pembroke Fire Department or Fire District. I understand the concerns some may have with me moving forward as an Assistant Fire Chief but I am here to serve our members, and community alike, to do the best job possible, so our community is safe and our members go home safely to their families.
As for my court case, the DWI charge was dropped. It was not dropped because I work for the Sheriff's Office as a dispatcher, but because of a blood sample that was collected and tested at the time of the accident. The test results cleared me of the DWI charge. As for the other charges, leaving the scene of an accident and driving a ATV on the roadway, I accepted a plea offer from the court.
I accept responsibility for my actions. I apologize to anyone who was offended by this incident and holds it as a judgement against me. I will always work hard for all in our community in whatever job I am doing. I thank you for your time and hope you all have a Happy New Year.

George Larish II
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pretty convenient. representing a town, you still should have lost your job. plain and simple. think an off duty cop riding a snowmobile with some booze in him would still have his job after hitting another atv? nope. gotta realize the standard youre tied to when you represent a town or a city. more than meets the eye as to why the charges were dropped. say what you want but most people arent that stupid. unless of course theyre blinded by being related to you. i mean, that helps.

Kim Stimson
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How long after the accident was the blood test? You left 2 people(friends) laying in the road. No chief , fireman or human being should do that!

Howard B. Owens
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Steve was seriously injured in the crash. He was transported by private vehicle to UMMC. He didn't leave anybody.

Steve is a good man, a fine line officer, a great dispatcher and a credit to our community. Beating him up over a mistake serves nobody's purpose.

It's a mark of a good man that he could make a mistake and the people who count on him and know him best still select him as one of their leaders.

It's a shame that coverage of this positive event, which I was honored to be invited to, has been used to try attack somebody.

George Larish II
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is it normal to have your blood tested after being charged with a dwi? like if i get drunk and go driving and get pulled over can i request a blood test to clear me the next day? surprised more people dont take that out. by the way, a public figure accepting a plea deal doesnt take away from the fact that you did something wrong in the first place. the charges in the plea dont change the original charges. just because i get nabbed doing 45 in a 30 and it gets reduced to a parking ticket doesnt mean i wasnt speeding. just sayin. it doesnt make it ok.

George Larish II
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so all the people in the blotter that get dumped on for stealing stuff, getting into fights, driving drunk, all of the negative comments shouldnt happen because they just made a mistake? doubt it. public figure, *driving drunk, charges dropped. if anything being in the public eye should bring more ridicule than just an average citizen driving drunk or even just a little tipsy. remember bill clinton? all he did was get a little stimulation. not risking other people lives. look at all the crap he took. ill bet if someone in that crash died you wouldnt be using the "hes a good man defense" and the rug would have to be a lot bigger to sweep all of the charges under. being voted into a public position doesnt mean people like you. it damn sure does not mean youre the right person for the job. could just mean you have the right friends. look at obama. i live right next to the fire hall in east pembroke. i am very aware of what these people are really like outside of the public eye. its awesome when they rip up and down slusser road allllllll summer on their atvs from early afternoon until 3 in the morning when i have a 3 year old trying to sleep. the day of the mud races is a drunk holiday for them every single summer.

Scott Ogle
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". . .if i get drunk and go driving and get pulled over can i request a blood test to clear me the next day?"

Yet another who struggles with reading for content.

As well, come to think of it, I can't think of anyone I admire and trust who hasn't made a serious mistake of some sort in life. The ones to avoid are the ones who deny it.

George Larish II
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a mistake that could have killed people?

George Larish II
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what im saying is that if it were me that did what he did nothing would have been dropped. period

Scott Ogle
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"a mistake that could have killed people?"

Most mistakes behind the wheel could kill people. You've never made a mistake behind the wheel?

George Larish II
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nothing involving alcohol. if hitting a deer is a mistake then yeah, ive made 7 mistakes. otherwise no accidents other than one weather related accident. i cant believe anyone in their right mind would defend drinking and driving.
better change the name of the "police blotter" to the "mistake but good people blotter."
a normal person charged with a dwi lives with it for the rest of their life and it ends up costing them thousands. but when its a fireman its just a mistake.

C. M. Barons
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I thought the new indoor shooting range in Bergen was a clever idea, bound to be profitable. ...But anyone can visit the Batavian and take potshots for free.

George Larish II
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C.M. i just blew you a kiss.

Kim Stimson
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George is you are a regular everyday person, who does not have a high profle employer, or relatives you can bet charges will not be dropped

Scott Ogle
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If you're telling me you've only made seven mistakes driving (I didn't mention accidents) you're not telling the truth. Or you're fooling yourself. Or both. Perhaps that has something to do with your apparent bitterness. I don't know.

George Larish II
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scott, im not bitter. im an average guy that calls it like i see it. you must be a friend of his or something to condone drinking and driving whether he was drunk or not and you dont know me. i witness first hand what most of these guys are all about. do you?

Scott Ogle
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I'd not heard of Mr Smelski before reading this article. I certainly don't defend drunk driving, and have not done so here -- Mr Smelski was not so charged. But of course you *know* better than that, because, well . . . Zero. Just because!

George Larish II
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talk about not reading for content. here, ill blow you a kiss too. :-* he was charged, then he wasnt. kinda like that flag in the detroit dallas game. sorry im not a sheep. never will be.

Scott Ogle
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Yes . The charges were dropped because the blood test, taken at the time of the accident, cleared him. He does not face a DUI charge. And I don't have to know you to see that, for whatever reason, this stokes bitterness in you. It's obvious that you think, without any evidence, that special treatment was proffered. Any other conspiracy-think topics you'd care to discuss?

Kim Stimson
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I do know that the blood was not taken at the time of the accident because he left the scene. Do know there was 2 people laying in the road.

George Larish II
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it was a mobile blood test? like in the glove box of the truck? oh yea! i have one of those! never leave home without it. scott whens the last time your wool was trimmed? i have some clippers. ill even hug you afterwards. do you live in east pembroke? have you seen these guys on their 4 wheelers racing down streets in the summer? no. no. and no. my eyes are all the evidence i need there chief.

Scott Ogle
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Thanks, George. But I don't know where you've been.

George Larish II
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i said it when this happened that i was surprised it took that long for something like this to happen. a few other people even predicted that this would be swept under the rug and low and behold, BOOM theres a huge bump in my carpet. pretty easy for you to just sit back and read when you dont even live in the town. i can see it from my yard.

Scott Ogle
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"i can see it from my yard."

See what? The huge bump in your carpet?

George Larish II
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you know what scott? i retract when i said im not bitter. i may be a little bitter because ive watched these guys use east pembroke as their personal atv race track for 4 years. then one of them finally screwed up and people just say, oops, slap on the hand. hence the reference of me seeing it from my yard. i get that you wont see if from my angle because youre so far outside of the box. ill stop feeding the trolls. (or troll as the case were) offer is still on the table for that shave followed by a hug. im not hard to find.

Tim Miller
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Seven?!?

Dude - have you ever thought of starting a side business during hunting season where you drive an off-road vehicle in fields where dear are nearby? There has to be a ton of people willing to pay you for your deer attracting skills!

;-)

George Larish II
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yeah man, 3 at once in a dodge shadow. superior custom detailing to the front of that car. it was neat.

Scott Ogle
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"I retract when i said im not bitter. i may be a little bitter"

I'm so glad I was able to help you get in touch with your feelings. It's a great start. Reality is a challenge -- good luck! But my work here is done.

George Larish II
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if your job was being misinformed then good job. i love you.

John Roach
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The really simple point here is that the fire department is a private organization. They are free to elect anyone they want to any position they want. The members of the department are just as familiar with the facts as everyone else on the site. They made a decision they feel is the in the best interest of their department.

Unless you are a member of that department, you really have no business telling them what they should or should not do.

Daniel Neal
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George , did you ever consider that there are more people than just members of the FD in East Pembroke that own 4 wheelers and ride them down the road , how about all the Patrons of Jim's saloon , or how about the kids my age that ride , one of whom lives at the corner of Slusser and Stegman and has one heck of a loud and fast wheeler, just because you are biased against the FD (which is fine, it's not like everyone has to like them , but remember that they will be the ones saving your butt if your house is on fire or if you have an accident) , does not mean you blame everything that makes you mad on them. How about you acknowledge the fact that there are other people that live in town, own 4 wheelers and dirtbikes, ride them on the road and are not members of the FD.

Kyle Couchman
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Interesting to see that one weekend Howard pulls peoples comments because they were defined by him as personal attacks. Yet this forum exchange which he even defines as an attack on someone, seems to suffer no removal whatsoever after many many posts.

Seems a double standard to me.

Howard B. Owens
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There have been posts removed.

What constitutes a personal attack can sometimes be a gray area and a judgement call. There are a lot of factors that figure in.

There are elements to this conversation that get into areas of legitimate public concern (whether I agree with some of the views or not). A public official can sometimes be subjected to public criticism, and criticism is not an attack.

If I think something is mean spirited, I will take it down.

In the end, the final call is mine. Don't like it, oh well, that's the way it goes.

George Larish II
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Daniel, i have no beef with people who ride responsibly. I do however have beef with guys who ride on the road until dawn, which i have witnessed the guy in question do. I dont know you or the kid down the road which most likely means you guys arent out riding like idiots. However, the man in question, yes, i have seen doing it. Up and down slusser road until the wee hours of the morning. No idea what i have to say to make people understand ive SEEN it. Its not speculation. I will agree that a LOT more people do it that arent in the fire department. But then that brings me back to my original point. Since theyre in the public eye those are the ones i can pinpoint because they choose to be what they are. If they want the respect they command then follow the damn rules that everyone else has to follow. And if they break those rules then they should pay the same price you and i are guaranteed to pay. Period. Kyle, agreed. You have to be a wordsmith to avoid censorship on this forum even when there are zero personal attacks being made on my part. Its kind of a cat and mouse game but only the cat is participating.

Scott Ogle
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"No idea what i have to say to make people understand ive SEEN it. Its not speculation. . "

Actual evidence would help, but it's obvious you don't have it, Bubba.

George Larish II
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Support public figures that get special treatment. Support drinking and driving. I dont care. Be that flock of sheep. This is exactly why i rarely comment on here. Scott, keep on trolling buddy. Thats what you do and i love you for it. Move to east pembroke and take a look. Otherwise keep your opinions to yourself, unfounded as they are. I dont know you and i can tell i dont want to. Theres nothing worse than a person on the outside looking in acting like they know what theyre talking about.

Scott Ogle
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"Ive spent enough quarters on the petting zoo food machines. "

Yes. Its truly hard for a boy with no evidence to support his nonsense. It's truly a good idea to take notes and buy a camera. That’s a small price to pay for credibility. Then perhaps next time you'll be prepared to make your argument cogently.

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So it goes from personal attacks to judgement calls. Sounds like censorship seasoned with a little favoritism to me, Attacks are attacks and you yourself gave the opinion that these attacks are in poor taste. So I guess if the attacks are vague enough and by someone you approve of their ok.

You are absolutely right, in the end its your site and your call. But people will judge your integrity by what you do not just what you say.

Kyle Couchman
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Scott you seem to think that a fact has to be proven to you in order to exsist in the world. But that just isnt the case here.

People out at all hours and trespassing? They can occur without your knowledge and approval Scott. Your disbelief doesn't make it untrue.

Scott Ogle
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I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, Kyle . I would maintain that fact always carries a greater burden of proof than opinion. This is a concept that seems to elude you at every turn.

Kyle Couchman
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Scott since you cannot comprehend let me make it simple. Facts do not require that they must be proven as such to Scott Ogle to exist. But truly if you want facts, there are more people than George that have seen the idiots riding atv's at all hours of the night including 12mid to 6am.

http://thebatavian.com/howard-owens/atv-reportedly-hits-gas-meter-route-...

http://thebatavian.com/billie-owens/atv-accident-injuries-pearl-street-r...

Tharon Joseph Kunkle, 52, of Read Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, operating an ATV on a public highway and unregistered ATV. Kunkle was charged after allegedly being observed driving his ATV on Route 5, Batavia at 2:32 a.m. Sunday by Deputy Joseph Corona.

http://thebatavian.com/blogs/howard-owens/atv-accident-reported-harloff-...

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Fire is actually at 369 Wright Road. It's a former U.S. National Gypsum facility, and after that Stylecraft built manufactured homes at the location. It's currently owned by Bill Eberhardt. A large pile of old railroad ties caught on fire. The fire was reported by the pilot of a private airplane. Alabama Chief Gary Patnode said the ties are from a railroad line torn out 25 years ago. He said the property owner told him he's had trouble with trespassers recently, particularly young ATV riders. Deputy Ron Meides said his report will say that a controlled burn -- there's a large section of the property that is being cleared of brush -- ignited the railroad ties. Mutual aid provided Indian Falls, Pembroke and Akron, with East Pembroke filling in at Indian Falls and Shelby filling in at Alabama. (I have one picture to post, but a weak internet signal at my current location ... will add photo to this post later.)

So there is evidence enough for you. I'm sure you'll come up with a snarky response dismissing it all. However I point out again just because YOU dont accept something as fact. It doesn't make that fact any less true.

(sound of mic dropping to floor)

That better? LOL

George Larish II
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Thank you. You beat me to the batavian research because i was almost late for work this morning.

Scott Ogle
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"Kyle forgot the mic drop."

He also forgot the point. Or, like you, missed it entirely.

"what im saying is that if it were me that did what he did nothing would have been dropped. period"

"a normal person charged with a dwi lives with it for the rest of their life and it ends up costing them thousands. but when its a fireman its just a mistake"

You've made repealed assertions that the individual in question managed to evade justice and consequence, on the basis of privilege and association. You've implied that the blood test that exonerated him of the charge was somehow rigged, or was an outright fiction. You have evidence for none of it. This is how prejudice works, and it makes everything you say less credible.

Also, to be charged with something is not the same as a conviction.

Howard B. Owens
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Scott, I'm glad that federal law protects me from libelous statements left in comments.

The law, of course, does not protect the person leaving the comments.

George Larish II
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ok so prove it was a legit blood test. same boat scott. youre the king of filibuster. you should be a politician. how did he have a blood test at the scene when he wasnt at the scene? time passes, the alcohol wears off through sweating, going to the bathroom, ect. how much time went by before the blood test? howard, who did i defame exactly?

Scott Ogle
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". . .I'm glad that federal law protects me. . ."

Yes, an important element that buttresses the First Amendment. There is free speech, but there may also be consequences for the irresponsible.

Howard B. Owens
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Nowhere does it say the blood sample was taken at the scene.

Blood samples are collected at the hospital. Steve was taken to the hospital. That conforms to the statement that blood test were conducted at the time of the accident.

It helps to stick with facts.

Scott Ogle
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"so prove it was a legit blood test"

The burden of proof is on you. You made the assertion -- you back it up.

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