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July 13, 2010 - 2:57pm
posted by joseph bradt in Announcements, events, family, fundraiser, Oakfield.
Event Date and Time: 
July 17, 2010 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Please join Oakfield Cub Scouts Pack 19 on Saturday, July 17th for our first Cub Scout Sponsored  fishing derby at the Oakfield Rod and Gun Club (@ Maltby Rd. and North Pearl St. Oakfield) from 10AM - 1PM. All kids ages 5-17 welcome. $6 entry fee includes hot dog, chips and drink. There will be food  available for those not participating in the derby. Kids should bring their own bait. No lures. Prizes will be awarded. For more information, contact Committee Chair Patty Fitch (585)297-9538 Cubmaster Steve Kruppenbacher (585)356-0784 or Assistant Cubmaster Joe Bradt (585)356-7930
July 12, 2010 - 9:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield.

kerry_hoffman_leavingcourt.jpg

Kerry H. Hoffman, the former Oakfield-Alabama band teacher who admitted May 10 to an inappropriate relationship with a female student, will serve 60-days working for the county jail on weekends, three years probation and is required to surrender his teaching credentials.

The sentence was close to what Hoffman agreed to in a plea bargain two months ago.

Rather than jail time, Justice Thomas Graham said he wanted Hoffman working for the jail, out in the community, where people could see him.

"I don't feel that jail is much of a punishment, where you can sit around playing cards and watching TV," Graham said.

Hoffman will be required to lecture twice a year on teacher ethics at a teacher's college. Graham said he wanted future teachers to learn from Hoffman's mistakes.

He will also be required to undergo sexual abuse counseling, even though it was not part of the plea agreement and the probation department pre-sentence investigation found he is highly unlikely to commit sexual abuse in the future.

Hoffman, in pleading guilty in May, did not admit to sexual relations with the girl.

When given a chance to speak prior to sentencing by Graham, Hoffman declined.

The victim's mother did speak and she accused Hoffman of destroying her relationship with her daughter.

"She won't even talk with me anymore," the mother said. "You filled her head full of lies. You told her I didn't care about her or understand her. How was I supposed to compete with that?"

Hoffman is accused of taking the girl shopping and sending her numerous text-messages.

Her friends are said to have alerted her mother about the relationship with Hoffman, whose wife gave birth to a little girl within the past year.

But both her mother and Assistant District Attorney Kevin Finnell describe a situation in which the girl is no longer able to attend school, that she's been robbed of her senior year, because some at the school have apparently taken Hoffman's side.

Twenty years from now when Oakfield-Alabama holds its reunion, this is going to be what she thinks about," Finnell said. "Her 20th reunion, her 30th reunion, her 50th reunion, if she even attends. It's always going to be there, what he's done to her."

If not for people coming forward and alerting her parents, Finnell said, the situation was "just a whisper away" from becoming something more serious.

Attorney Thomas D. Calandra said that in giving up his teaching credentials, Hoffman, who has no prior criminal record, will suffer punishment enough.

"He has master's degree in music that is probably of little use to him now and in the future," Calandra said.

Calandra reported that Hoffman completed three different sexual offender tests for the probation department, and in all of them he scored only one or two points (one test out of a possible 12 and another out of a possible 54).

"He's absolutely no danger to the community," Calandra said.

Graham said it was a very tough case to decide.

"You were given a position of trust," Graham said. "An educator has an extremely high level of responsibility and trust. You hurt the victim, the victim's parents, the victim's family, your wife, your daughter, your family and her family. That bond of trust was broken by you."

But, Graham noted, Hoffman has a lot going for him -- the love of his wife and support of his family, including his in-laws (his father-in-law nodded vigorously as Graham spoke). 

"I can only hope that everyone can heal," Graham said. "Something that you will understand with your Christian background, Mr. Hoffman, someday you will be judged by a higher authority other than myself."

July 8, 2010 - 5:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, sports, Oakfield.

Nick Ficarella hit a walk off 3-run homer to finish the game 12 to 2 over Oakfield.

Oakfield scored with their first batter. Hale lead off the game with a home run to left field.

Batavia bounced back with a 3-run inning with runs scored by Trevor Sherwood, Tyler Prospero and CJ Suozzi to take a 3-to-1 lead after the first inning.

Batavia shut out Oakfield in the second inning with great pitching by Dominic Mogavaro (9 strikeouts on the day).

Prospero came up with a big 3-run homer over the left center-field fence to advance Batavia to a 6-to-1 lead after two innings of play.

Batavia's Dakota Swimline hit a solo home run in the third. His second homer in two games. Oakfield's first baseman Hamm followed with a towering home run to right center in the fourth inning.

Ficarella came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth to ice the game with a 3-run homer.

Batavia had multiple hits by Sherwood, Prospero, Swimline, Suozzi, Ficarella, Noah Dobbertin, Ryan Cummings, Jarret Lasket, Mike Falitco and Greg Mrucek.

Batavia is now 2-0 in pool play with a big game this Thursday at home against highly rated Geneseo.

This information was submitted by a reader.

July 7, 2010 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, corfu.

Cassandra D. Griffin, 37, of Liverpool, is charged with driving while impaired by alcohol, endangering the welfare of a child, and driving with driver's view obstructed. Griffin was stopped by Deputy Kevin McCarthy at 11:13 p.m., Tuesday, on Route 77 in the Village of Corfu. Griffin allegedly had her three daughters with her, all under 17 years old.

Kyle Roger Esten, 25, of South Main Street, Oakfield, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Esten is accused of making harassing phone calls to his ex-girlfriend.

Tama Lee Reiss, 46, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, unsafe backing, refusal to take pre-screen test, failure to keep right. Deputy Patrick Reeves responded to a report of an erratic operator on Route 33 in Pembroke at 8:05 p.m., Tuesday. When Reeves reportedly tried stopping Reiss's car, she eventually pulled over and then attempted to back up, causing both lanes of traffic to stop in order to avoid a collision.

Cody A. Bush, 24, of Oak Orchard Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Bush is accused of pushing and striking another person during an argument at a residence on East Main Street Road, Town of Batavia.

June 30, 2010 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

justin_amend.jpgThe attorney for Justin Amend, charged with public lewdness for his alleged part in a public sex act, plans to ask the District Attorney for a plea deal.

The 29-year-old Amend, of Oakfield, wasn't in court today, and his case was continued to July 27, giving attorney Tom Williams time to discuss the case with the DA's office.

Public lewdness is a Class B misdemeanor. It is the only charge Amend is facing from the alleged early June encounter in Farrall Park, Batavia, with alleged partner Suzanne Corona, so it wouldn't seem there is much room to bargain.

Williams said he didn't want to speak for the DA, but he mentioned as an example, the charge could be reduced to disorderly conduct.

"It's a B misdemeanor," Williams added. "It's less serious than stealing a candy bar. You can get a year in jail for stealing a candy bar. You only can only get 90 days for this."

If a deal isn't struck, Williams said, then the July 27 court date will be used for filing motions in preparation for a possible trial.

Corona, who is also charged with adultery, is scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. today.

The case has brought an international spotlight to Batavia because the adultery charge is so unusual.

Television camera crews from Rochester were on hand for Amend's hearing this morning.

June 29, 2010 - 6:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, Oakfield, Labor Day, Alabama.
Event Date and Time: 
September 6, 2010 - 9:45am to 8:00pm

Oakfield will hold a community celebration on Monday Sept. 6. The Labor Day event is called "A Day in the Park" and will be an alcohol-free family extravaganza!

It takes place at Elroy D. Perkins Park on Drake Street. There will be a parade down Main Street at 10 a.m. and games and entertainment for everyone.

Music will be provided by Duck 'N Cover and The Trolls. There will be a car show and many local crafters selling all kinds of stuff.

June 28, 2010 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, Le Roy.

Jeremy Dean Lyons, 25, of Judge Road, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful growing of cannabis and unlawful possession of marijuana. Lyons is accused of having four marijuana plants growing outside of his residence in plain view. He was arrested at 6:42 p.m., Sunday, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

James C. Cooper, 47, of 7 1/2 North St., Le Roy, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Cooper was taken into custody after Le Roy Police responded to a report of a disturbance at 1:27 a.m., Saturday, on North Street.

UPDATE: Two additional items from the weekend that did not initially reach our inbox for some reason:

Robert Steven Zona, 53, of Lake Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with rape, 1st. Zona, reportedly a resident of Le Roy Manor, is accused of attempting to rape another resident. Zona was arraigned and released under supervision of Strong Memorial Hospital for mental health evaluation.

James Christain Oehler, 18, of Lake Road, Bergen, is charged with unlawful fleeing a police motor vehicle, and numerous other alleged traffic violations. Oehler is accused of failure to stop his motorcycle on Route 19 in the Village of Bergen. Oehler was reportedly first observed doing 49 mph in a 30 mph zone on Route 19 near Rochester Street in the village. Oehler reportedly turned onto Hunter Road and then Swamp Road, where his speed allegedly exceeded more than 25 mph over the posted speed limit. Oehler was subsequently located at his residence on Lake Road. Upon investigation, Oehler was allegedly operating an unregistered and uninsured motorbike with improper license plates.

June 24, 2010 - 6:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, weather.

oakfieldtornado.jpg

Reader Chad Hilchey sent in this picture at 11:14 p.m. of a funnel cloud spotted in Oakfield. 

A dispatcher who worked overnight had heard nothing of a possible funnel cloud and said there wasn't a single report of storm damage over night. "Not even a tree limb down," he said.

There was a severe thunderstorm watch overnight, which was lifted at 6 a.m.

UPDATE: Chad clarifies that he took the picture around 6:30 p.m.

June 23, 2010 - 6:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield.

Kimberly Lynn Blue, 21, of 7 Wood St., Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Blue was reportedly a passenger in a vehicle stopped for alleged traffic offenses 5:53 p.m., Tuesday. During the stop, she was allegedly found in possession of a quantity of marijuana and Ritalin. The stop was made by Deputy Brian Thompson.

General G. Sanders, 38, of Haxton Lane, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Local law enforcement made contact with Sanders when a van was stopped in order to execute a bench warrant out of the Town of Batavia for a passenger in the van, Jeremy Lyons. The stop was made at 2:33 p.m., Tuesday, by Deputy Brian Thompson and a unit from the State Police. During the stop on Angling Road in Pembroke, Sanders was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Luke M. Tarnacki, 19, of Sandridge Road, Alden, is charged with driving while impaired by drugs, failure to keep right, unlawful use of an electronic device (texting) and aggravated unlicensed operation. Sheriff's deputies Ron Meides and Chris Parker were dispatched at 7:47 a.m., Wednesday, to the scene of an alleged accident on Route 33 near Read Road in the Town of Batavia. A vehicle had driven through a ditch and left the scene. Tarnacki was located later and reportedly admitted to texting while driving. Tarnacki reportedly crossed two lanes of traffic and drove off the roadway on the opposite shoulder. Upon further investigation, deputies determined that Tarnacki was allegedly driving while impaired by drugs. Tarnacki was jailed on $3,000 bail.

June 19, 2010 - 6:26pm
Event Date and Time: 
June 19, 2010 - 6:20pm to July 15, 2010 - 6:20pm

The Oakfield Community Celebration Committee is looking for Craft Vendors and Parade participants for their "Day in the Park" celebration to be held on Monday, September 6, 2010.  Please contact Melissa @585-314-4501 or Janette @ 585-704-3194 for vendor applications ($50 per 12X12 site) or parade participation.  The deadline for craftor applications is July 15, 2010.

June 18, 2010 - 10:38pm
posted by Melissa Haacke in Oakfield, Labor Day, labor daze, Oakfield Alabama, crafters.
Event Date and Time: 
June 18, 2010 - 10:30pm to July 15, 2010 - 10:30pm

The Oakfield Community Celebration Committee is seeking craft vendors for the September 6, 2010 "Day in the Park"  For more information, please contact Melissa Haacke @ 585-314-4501 or Janette Veazey Post @ 585-704-3194, we will gladly send you the packet.  Deadline for crafters is July 15, 2010.

June 15, 2010 - 4:00pm
posted by joseph bradt in Announcements, fundraiser, Oakfield, fishing, Cub Scouts.
Event Date and Time: 
July 17, 2010 - 10:00am to 1:00pm

Please join Oakfield Cub Scouts Pack 19 on Saturday, July 17th for our FIRST Cub Scout FISHING DERBY to be held at the Oakfield Rod and Gun Club (@ Maltby Rd. and North Pearl St. Oakfield) from 10AM - 1PM. Boys and their siblings ages 6-17 welcome. $6.00 entry fee includes Hot dog, Chips and Drink. There will be food and snacks available for those not participating in the derby. Boys should bring their own bait. NO LURES! Prizes will be awarded!! Questions? Contact Committee Chair Patty Fitch (585)297-9538 Cubmaster Steve Kruppenbacher (585)356-0784 or Asst.

June 15, 2010 - 1:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, Fickel Murder.

mug_steven_rebert.jpg(Revised at 3:49 p.m.)

If the Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster -- who's been the lead investigator on the Bill Fickel murder for five years -- is going to make a case against "person of interest" Steven Patrick Rebert, it seems like he's got a lot of work ahead of him.

"In order to arrest someone, you need probable cause, you need more than a mere suspicion," Brewster said this morning. "Do we have probable cause at this point? Absolutely not."

Yesterday, in an interview with WBTA 1490, Brewster said there are some tantalizing coincidences that make Rebert a person of interest following his arrest on a double homicide charge in Jefferson County, Pa.

"There are some commonalities that would make a prudent person go, 'um, I wonder if this is something there we should be looking at,'" Brewster said.

Those commonalities might include (our own list, not from Chief Brewster):

  • Rebert knew Fickel. They went to the same high school, but it is not known whether they attended it at the same time.
  • The two men lived less than a mile apart in 2005 (Fickel on Burns Road, Rebert on East Shelby Road);
  • Both Fickel and the homicide victims in Pennsylvania -- James and Victoria Shugar -- were shot to death;
  • Pennsylvannia investigators say Rebert was doing computer searchs on the murders of the Shugars, Bill Fickel and Kevin Smith (Smith was killed in 2007 in Orleans County and Rebert is now considered a person of interest in that case as well).
  • Fickel was killed with a 30-30 and Rebert reportedly told investigators in Pennsylvania that the only gun he owned was a 30-30;
  • For the last five years of his life, Fickel worked as a cable installer with Time-Warner; at the time of his arrest, Rebert was a contractor for Zito Media installing fiber optics. There's no information that Rebert ever worked at TW.
  • Both men enjoyed hunting.

Those commonalities are mostly coincidences that certainly don't tie Rebert to the Fickel murder. The two most intriguing coincidences are that Rebert knew Fickel and that Fickel was reportedly doing internet news searches on the Fickel murder.

Knowing somebody, however, isn't a crime, and Rebert could simply have been checking for an update on the death of somebody he knew (though reports indicate Rebert was pretty obessively seeking out news reports on the Shugar murders).

Coincidences, also, don't establish probable cause. There also needs to be evidence.

Such as the DNA found at the scene of the Fickel murder. It's DNA that doesn't match Fickel, and no match has ever been found in the national criminal database.

Pennsylvania State Police will likely obtain a sample of Rebert's DNA, and if it matches the sample Brewster has tagged as evidence, it would likely place Rebert at the scene the night of the murder.

But putting Rebert at the scene, Brewster was quick to point out, doesn't mean Rebert is the killer.

"A match itself is not probable cause," Brewster said. "Just putting you at the scene doesn't mean you where the one who pulled the trigger."

Brewster has long suspected there were two people at 5820 Burns Road when Bill Fickel walked out onto his driveway at 7:55 p.m., Nov. 10, 2005, because a flatbed truck had just arrived and Bill and Lisa thought somebody was there to look at a van they had for sale.

Finding just one of those two people, even if the person identified didn't pull the trigger, would be a big break in the case.

Brewster is naturally reluctant to discuss details of other evidence that might be used in building probable cause, but it's obvious that finding the murder weapon would also be a big break in the case.

Rebert was arrested in Genesee County on June 3 on a weapons charge (he was allegedly carrying a switchblade knife).

Last Friday, Rebert waived extradition back to Pennsylvania, where he was arrested and charged with charged with two counts of criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of burglary.

When he waived extradition, only a mind reader would know if he realized he was going to face murder charges. The waiver affidavit charged him only with manufacturing/delivery/possession of a controlled substance and a small amount of marijuana for personal use, though he had been questioned in the murder investigation on April 25.

June 14, 2010 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, fire, Allens Inc..

A general fire alarm has sounded at Allens, Inc., the food processing plant on Stevens Street in Oakfield.

The facility was the site of an ammonia leak on Saturday.

The building is being evacuated.

The alarm company tells Genesee dispatch that they don't know what caused the alarm.

An assistant fire chief is on scene. He reports nothing showing. The building is evacuated.

UPDATE 2:24 p.m.: Oakfield Fire has cleared the scene. Back in service.


View Larger Map

June 12, 2010 - 7:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, Allens Inc..

amleak02.jpg

Officials have yet to determine what caused an ammonia leak this afternoon at the Allens, Inc., food processing plant on Stevens Street in Oakfield.

The leak prompted a call for residents to evacuate the south side of the village, including the baseball fields and park off Drake, which was filled with families and children on a warm, reasonably sunny Saturday.

Oakfield's big garage sale day was interrupted by the emergency, but some sellers tried to carry on even as fire police were keeping anyone from entering the cordoned area.

“Oakfield fire company responded very quickly," said Allen's plant manager Jeff Clark. "Genesee County (hazmat) came in. We were able to work together with their people and my people being able to go in, discover the (origin) and shut off the values to stop the leak."

The initial call came in at about 12:30 p.m. The leak was contained at about 2:30 p.m. (The Batavian's initial report is available here.)

Visibility in the room with the leak and the heat of the day made it especially challenging to get to the proper valve and shut off the ammonia, officials said.

amleak06.jpgOne firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and was transported by ground ambulance to an area hospital. He was doing fine an hour or so later, according to Oakfield Chief Sean Downing.

Clark said no Allens personnel were in the machine room when the leak occurred and no Allens personnel were hurt.

"We have hazmat drills several times per year," Clark said, explaining that employees know exactly the process for evacuating the plant when an alarm sounds.

The heat, one official said, causes the ammonia to stay close to the ground, making it more of a health hazard, and also making it more likely to settle in the basin where the community ball fields are located.

The wind, which was blowing at 15 to 20 mph, Downing said, spread the plume further than it might otherwise move, but also helped dissipate the gas more quickly.

Residents within a half-mile radius of the plant were notified of the leak using the county's reverse 9-1-1 system. They were advised to stay inside and close their windows.

The biggest concern, Downing said, was people with respiratory problems being exposed to the fumes. No medical issues were reported in the village related to the leak.

Emergency personnel were called in from Alabama, East Pembroke and Elba fire departments. The Monroe County hazmat team was dispatched to the scene to provide relief to the local hazmat teams. Shortly after the Monroe County team arrived, the leak was contained, so the team was sent into the village to test the air quality.

amleak05.jpgNo heavy concentrations were found after the leak was contained, said Deputy Fire Coordinator James Bouton.

Ammonia is used at the plant in the refrigeration system.

“It’s part of our system to freeze the vegetables that are harvested locally," Clark said.

The system contains 38,000 lbs. of ammonia, Clark said, but not the entire system was effected by the leak. He could not say today how many pounds of ammonia escaped the plant.

The plant operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day. More than 200 people are employed there during peak season, and 65 employees were working today's day shift.

Allens, Inc., is based in Siloam Springs, Ark.

Allens acquired the Oakfield plant from Birdseye about three years ago, Clark said.

About four years ago, the plant had another ammonia leak. In that case, Clark said, a pressure valve gave way and the leak was contained in about 15 minutes.

Clark said he couldn't immediately estimate the financial loss to the company from the leak. He said all of the vegetables exposed to the ammonia will be thrown out.

Top inset: Jeff Clark; Bottom inset: Chief Sean Downing

amleak04.jpg

amleak03.jpg

June 11, 2010 - 7:31pm

It appears that when Mother Nature heard that "Make a Splash at Your Library" was going to be the theme of the Haxton Memorial Library's upcoming summer reading program, she took it a bit too literally.

Interim Library Director and Children's Librarian Kimberly Gibson met with a surprise when she came into work on Monday morning. She went downstairs to the children's room, followed by a group of youngsters eager for story hour...only to find the place flooded up to her ankles.

She called in Warren's Carpet Cleaning Service to take care of the problem -- which was no easy task.

"It took two full days to to dry the place out," Gibson said. "And they had to use 10 huge blowers and two humungous dehumidifiers."

The water extended from it's point of origin (which is inside the room slightly right of center, behind the table) all the way to the carpet used for story hours and also sideways to where the stairs are located.

The Warren's employees on the job told Gibson it was lucky she contacted them when she did, because the humidity was already at a very dangerous level.

"We probably would have lost all of our carpeting and everything if we'd waited much longer," Gibson said.

Things could have been a lot worse, and the place is steadily drying out. The saddest part of this whole ordeal for Gibson, though, is that she had just purchased 22 ocean-related books for the summer reading program, and 13 of them were completely ruined.

"I don't think we're going to be able to salvage them," she said. "It's crushing, because I worked so hard to plan these programs, and I bought these books because I thought the kids would really like them. In fact I was just getting ready to put them on display."

The flooding resulted from this past weekend's continual torrential rain -- which, according to Library Trustee Ann Engel, Oakfield residents are saying amounted to about two and a half inches.

Gibson said the same thing happened six years ago.

"We've been lucky not to have anything happen in six years," she said. "But this time it was worse than before."

In spite of this misfortune, Gibson has tried to remain upbeat and to keep her leadership mentality all along. After the initial shock of discovery on Monday morning, she immediately resolved to "just stay focused and get things taken care of as soon as possible." 

"She's a trooper," another library trustee said of Gibson.

Still, Gibson, the library's two other staff members, and the board of trustees would gladly accept any assistance the community would be willing to provide. Gibson said that monetary donations would be especially helpful.

"We have a small budget here at Haxton, and this is obviously going to cost more money than we had planned on spending. With the cost of the books [that were ruined] and the bill for Warren's services, we would certainly welcome any monetary assistance."

The Haxton Library has basic insurance, but they are hoping that they will not need to turn to that to pay for the damages.

"We have a $2,500 deductible," Gibson said, "so we don't want to go to our insurance unless we have to. We don't know what the overall cost will be yet, but hopefully it won't exceed that. Plus, I'm not sure if flood damage is covered, since that kind of thing is fairly unusual in this area of the country."

Gibson arranged for all children's activities to be held upstairs this week, but she hopes to have the children's room open to patrons again on Monday.

June 11, 2010 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, Darien.

Kevin Andrew Hinca, 18, of Brunswick Road, Depew, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Hinca was reportedly on a 12-grade field trip from a high school in Erie County to Darien Lake. He was allegedly found at Darien Lake in possession of hydrocodone and MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy.

James Thomas Pero, 18, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Pero was allegedly found in possession of marijuana in the parking lot of Batavia High School following a random sniff search with the Sheriff's Office K-9. The search was conducted at the invitation of the school.

Megan T. Suttell, 20, of Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Suttell was cited by State Police at 12:25 a.m., Thursday. No further details were released.

June 10, 2010 - 2:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, Fickel Murder.

The ongoing investigation into the 2005 murder of Bill Fickel is moving forward, there have been new leads, but the case is far from solved.

Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office is obviously reluctant to discuss details, but he said that recent leads "take us in a direction we want to go."

Lisa Fickel said she's heard news from the Sheriff's Office that indicate new progress is being made.

"It makes me hopeful," she said.

But both Brewster and Fickel said nobody should expect an arrest any time soon.

By now, most Genesee County residents know the story of Bill Fickel's murder.

At about 8:30 p.m., Nov. 10, 2005, Lisa saw a flatbed truck back into their driveway. She told Bill she thought somebody was there to look at the van they had for sale. Bill put on his shoes, grabbed a flashlight and headed outside with their dog. Lisa, who was in the kitchen of their Burns Road home, heard two shots. She ran outside just in time to see the truck driving away. She found her husband lying the the driveway. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Bill Fickel was 46 years old at the time of his death.

Lisa said the Sheriff's Office remains in constant contact with her as investigators continue to work the case. She put up billboards, especially in Orleans County, asking anybody with information to call the Sheriff's Office.

Brewster said even with new leads, it's a complicated investigation. He compared it the Scott Doll case, where investigators had a blood-covered suspect caught near the scene of the night of the murder, but getting a conviction was still no easy process.

"Here we have the complexity of gathering evidence five years later," Brewster said.

That evidence includes DNA evidence, he said. He said every two weeks the Sheriff's Office gets its turn to run DNA evidence from the Fickel case through the national DNA database. If a suspect were to be convicted of a crime in New York, the rest of the U.S. or Canada, his DNA would eventually wind up in the databank and perhaps a match would result.

"We are making progress," Brewster said. "We continue to work the case. We are hopeful, but we're not about to make an arrest."

Brewster asks that anyone with any information that might help in the case should call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 345-3000.

June 10, 2010 - 11:13am

oaprom01.jpg

Colleen Fisher just may be the most popular Prom Queen ever selected at Oakfield-Alabama High School.

In a landslide of ballot votes, the 18-year-old garnered all but about two votes to be crowned at the junior/senior prom held at Stafford Country Club.

She is a graduating senior, very well liked, who happens to have Down syndrome.

“She is a wonderful young girl,” said High School Principle Lynn Muscarella.

oaprom02.jpgColleen’s teacher says Colleen’s thrilled with the honor.

“She’s on Cloud 9,” teacher Adrienne Fuore told Muscarella. “Being named Prom Queen has made her whole year.”

And it has been a busy one. She studies basic life skills for a half-day, then takes vocational classes --called the West Program – at Boces.

In addition, she’s been active in Drama Club and this year she started learning how to play clarinet.

For the spring musical presention, the musicians all learned a song that Colleen could perform on her clarinet. It was the traditional standard “Hot Cross Buns.” She also played the final song with the group and the audience was delighted.

“I’ve never seen or heard of anyone with Down syndrome being named Prom Queen,” Muscarella said. “I am just so proud of my kids here. It tells you a lot about them.”

Colleen's mother, Dawn Fisher, said the event was the highlight of her daughter's senior year.

"She was excited about the prom in general, about life, and when she won she yelled 'I won!'" Dawn said. "It is awesome that the kids chose her. They recognized her. It was very selfless of them."

Prom royalty pictured on top, from left: Princess Randi Zakes, Prince Nathan Klos, Queen Colleen Fisher and King Kevin Beuler.

Inset above, the royal couple, King Kevin and Queen Colleen.

June 7, 2010 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Oakfield, pembroke, Stafford.

Richard John Abramski, 22, of Main Road, East Pembroke, is charged with disorderly conduct. Abramski is accused of obstructing traffic in the area of 1993 Genesee Street, East Pembroke, by standing in the drive lane, causing traffic to move to avoid hitting him. Abramski was allegedly drunk at the time. The alleged incident occurred at 11:23 p.m., Saturday.

Danny J. Torok, 23, of 12 Elm St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Torok is accused of slapping, pushing and pulling the hair of his girlfriend while holding his 4-month-old daughter. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Jeremy Dean Lyons, 25, of Judge Road, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, unsafe lane change and speeding. Lyons was stopped by Deputy Thomas Sanfratello at 5:25 p.m., June 1, at 14 Weber St., Oakfield.

Joseph Stephen Vernaccini, 34, of Clipnock Road, Stafford, is charged with DWI, failure to keep right and refusal to take breath test. Vernaccini was reportedly involved in a one-car accident 12:44 a.m., Saturday, in the area of 7000 Route 5, Le Roy. Vernaccini was jailed on $500 bail.

Justino Sanchez, 50, of West Ridge Road, Brockport, is charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to keep right, improper right turn. Sanchez was stopped by Deputy James Diehl at 10:47 p.m., Friday, in the area of Route 98 and Edgerton Road, Elba. He was jailed on $1,800 bail.

A 17-year-old from Clarence was arrested by State Police in Darien at 8:05 p.m., Wednesday. She is charged with DWI, failure to keep right, crossing road hazard markings and unlawful possession of marijuana.

A 16-year-old from Williamsville was arrested by State Police at 8:05 p.m., Wednesday, in Batavia for unlawful possession of alcohol.

John J. Smalley, 47, of Oakfield, is charged with harassment and criminal mischief. Smalley was arrested by State Police at 12:50 a.m., Sunday, in the area of 7020 Macumber Road, Oakfield. No further details were released.

Accidents from the State Police blotter:

4:57 p.m., June 5, Bernd Road, Pavilion, two vehicles; Driver 1: Laurie Jean Lerkins, 33, of Le Roy; Driver 2: Heather M. Coates, 24, of Rochester. One injury reported.

4:46 p.m., June 3, Genesee Street, Pembroke, one vehicle: Driver 1: Jennifer L. Mroz, 49, of Batavia. One injury reported.

10:32 p.m., June 3, Lewiston Road, Batavia, two vehicles: Driver 1: Robert M. Laskowski, 24, of Chaffee; Driver 2: Matthew J. Quinn, 25, of Attica. No injuries reported.

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