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Photos: Sunset in Indian Falls

By Howard B. Owens
indian falls sunset
Joanne Meiser provided this photo of the sunset last night over the cemetery in Indian Falls.
Another photo by Joanne Meiser showing contrails making an X over Pembroke.

Two-vehicle accident reported in Indian Falls

By Howard B. Owens

A two-vehicle accident is reported at Route 77 and Indian Falls Road, Pembroke.

One vehicle rolled over but the occupant is reportedly out of that vehicle.

Unknown injuries.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 8:31 a.m.: Minor injuries. All occupants out of the vehicles.

County's smallest department kept travelers fed, warm, and safe during Winter Storm Elliott

By Howard B. Owens


Genesee County's smallest volunteer fire department shouldered a big burden during the pre-Christmas blizzard that blew through Genesee County a week ago, providing rest, warmth and food to about 60 people stranded in the area by the storm.

The Indian Falls Volunteer Fire Department has 12 members, but only six could muster the storm response because the rest were trapped in their homes by heavy snow.

For Chief Ed Mileham, the department's response began Friday morning, Dec. 23, when the dispatchers informed him that deputies had rescued two people and wanted to bring them to the Indian Falls Fire Hall to provide them shelter.

Sure, Mileham said, he would be to the hall in 20 minutes.

But getting there wasn't that easy. The storm was already blowing through the area and the passage from his home on Indian Falls Road to the fire hall on Route 77 was already covered in snow drifts.  It took close to half an hour for him to make the trip.

At 2 p.m., a couple more people arrived, then a few more, then a few more. 

"After a couple more people arrived, I called Lu (Lu Anne Mileham) and said, 'hey, can you put out a message to anyone available?'" Mileham said.

Dave Olsen said he couldn't get out of his yard, but Mileham spoke with another resident who had a snowplow, and he went and cleared a path for Olsen and his son Max.

With Max Olsen on board, the department could start participating in some rescues. 

"I started to get actual phone calls here at the Fire Hall," Mileham said. "'Hey, we're stuck here. We're stuck there.' Max went out, picked them up and brought them in. By five o'clock, I think we had 12 people here. By six o'clock, I called Lu and I said, 'Hey, can you do some sloppy joes up?' I said. 'I got 12 people down here,' but the time she got done making sloppy joes and I sent Max down to pick them up, and it was seven o'clock, and we had 20 people."

By midnight, the count was up to 40 people, and by Saturday morning, it was 60.

And it was quite a mix of people -- a group of young Asians, a couple from Munich, a couple from Poland, folks from California going to Niagara Falls, an ER doctor returning from work in Rochester to his home in Williamsville.  There were people from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Canada, and Maryland.

"It was a large number of people that were either coming from or going to Canada," Max said. "I think that might have been like a GPS thing. It wasn't the whole crowd by any means, but there was a definite consistency that they were all using their GPS, and it kept closing roads and redirecting them, so like, it seemed they kind of almost got funneled into this area."

The Indian Falls response to this influx of people was handled by Ed Mileham, Lu Anne Mileham, Dave Olsen, Max Olsen, Matt Delre, and Randy Filter.

The leadership came from Mileham, and Dave Olsen gives him all the credit for keeping things in order.

"We got a lot of comments that (the situation) was handled, probably, as best as it possibly could be," Olsen said. "With some of the people, they complimented the chief quite a bit for his professionalism and the way he kept everything in order and had a plan and kept things written down. You know, he had an organization. He thought ahead. He thought about getting the food and things that, Most of us were just thinking about, 'Oh, what's the next fresh hell is that this storm is going to bring?'"

No serious issues
In Oakfield, volunteers were called upon to deal with a couple of hypothermia cases that were very serious. Indian Falls was spared any dire medical cases but there was a woman who arrived at the hall from Oakfield. She has epilepsy and had left home without her medication. It had been more than eight years since she'd had a seizure.  After several hours, she informed Mileham that she was getting a headache, so he arranged for one of the convoys that were sweeping the area to pick up stranded motorists to transport her back to Oakfield.

Then there was the guy who showed up in a kevlar vest packing a sidearm.

It turns out he is private security for a company in Rochester.

"He walked in, and there were like five deputies, and one was Joe Graff (the chief deputy of investigations)," Mileham said. "He comes walking in. He's got his bulletproof vest on. He's got his pistol on. It's like two o'clock in the morning. 'Whoa, wait, who are you? Let's see your permit.' Had no ID. No wallet. Nothing."

He had left his wallet in his car.

The deputies took his vest and gun and secured it, and told him he could pick it up Monday at the Sheriff's Office.

"The guy said, 'Hey, I've got no problem with it. I'll see you Monday or Tuesday.'"

That level of cooperation was apparent throughout the two days folks were stranded at the Indian Falls Fire Hall, Mileham said.  People just got along and cooperated.  

The first night's sleeping arrangements weren't ideal. Since the number of travelers coming through the area was unexpected, Indian Falls wasn't quite prepared to host 60 people.  There were no cots or blankets on hand.

Fortunately, the hall's floor is heated.

"Everybody said that, once they got laid on the floor, they were pretty warm and comfortable," Mileham said.

The Red Cross delivered cots and blankets on Saturday so the second night at the shelter was a bit more comfortable.

Feeding sixty unexpected guests
The hard part was food.

Lu Anne Mileham hadn't exactly prepared to feed 60 travelers, but with the storm coming, she had stocked up in case she needed to feed department members.

"On Wednesday or Thursday, I happened to be at BJs and I thought, you know what, I'll pick up a couple of loaves of bread, some chips, some lunch meat and stuff," Lu Anne said. "I'm thinking if our guys get caught here, at least we'll have that, and we've got water and soda in the fridge, so but at least they'll have something to eat a little bit."

She also had some supplies at home, and with some kids in the hall, a couple of boxes of mac and cheese came in handy.

On Saturday morning, Mileham contacted Crosby's in Corfu and ordered six sheets of breakfast pizza.

Later that day, he ordered pizza from a new pizza shop in Corfu, and by then, he was aware that some of the Indians in the group were vegans, so he had to get some meatless options.  One guy wanted a white sauce pizza, too, so Mileham ordered a pizza with white sauce.

The one difficulty Mileham couldn't solve for one of his department's guests was getting the Buffalo Bills game on the TV.  Spectrum was out of service during the storm.

"He goes, 'really?' I go, 'Hey, I'm with you. If you can get it on your phone, great."

When The Batavian told Tim Yaeger, Genesee County's emergency management coordinator, that we were doing a story about the storm response of the Indian Falls Volunteer Fire Department, he texted back immediately, "Ed and Lu Anne Mileham specifically are truly amazing people.  From working the COVID vaccination site at GCC to covering calls in the West Battalion on a daily basis, we would be lost and in trouble without them."

It turns out, so would have been a bunch of people from throughout North America and Europe on Dec. 23 and 24 when Winter Storm Elliott hit Western New York.

See previously: 'Fast Eddy' hangs up badge after 32 years of police work

Top photo: By Howard Owens, of Max Oslen, Dave Olsen, Lu Anne Mileham, and Ed Mileham.

Photos below, courtesy of Ed Mileham.




Chimney fire reported on Indian Falls Road

By Howard B. Owens

A chimney fire is reported at 1279 Indian Falls Road, Pembroke.

No flames show but there is smoke in the residence.

Pembroke Fire, Indian Falls Fire, and Corfu Fire dispatched.

UPDATE 3:12 p.m.: Crittenden asked to standby in Corfu's hall to standby for anything in Corfu, Pembroke, or Indian Falls.

UPDATE 3:16 p.m.: National Grid requested to the scene to cut power.

UPDATE 3:19 p.m. Tankers from Darien and Alabama requested to the scene.

UPDATE 3:26 p.m.: "It looks like we're getting a knock on the fire."  Crews are pulling exterior walls to check for extension.

UPDATE 3:38 p.m.: Red Cross shelter requested for two adults.

UPDATE 3:49 p.m.: Fire is out. Starting overhaul.

WNY National Cemetery to give final salute to Avenue of Flags for the year

By Joanne Beck


November 11, Veterans Day, will cap this year’s first-ever flag-raising Memorial Day ceremony, as the Avenue of Flags will be taken down at Western New York National Cemetery, William Joyce says.

Filled with interment flags that had either draped a veteran’s casket or accompanied a veteran’s urn to a final resting place, the Avenue is a traditional honor each year from Memorial to Veterans Day. It was installed in 2021 and inducted with a ceremony on May 29 of this year.

As director of Genesee County’s Veterans Services, Joyce gave his annual report Tuesday to the Human Services Committee, including how the inaugural flag ceremony went.

“It was well attended by the public and so well received. I know there wasn't much advertisement, but without the advertisement, there were still a lot of people present for in-ground burials. For cremation section 10 is now closed. It's due to its capacity. Now they're moving to Section nine. It's right next to it,” Joyce said. “And to this date, there have been 1,207 burials, that's as of today. And of those, I can proudly say I assisted 18 families with arrangements for burials at the National Cemetery.”

He is the only Memorial Council member in this area with authorization to arrange burials at the National Cemetery, he said. That just “broadens my scope on what I can do for the veterans and families,” he said.

A prior budget approval to purchase uniforms for the Honor Guard was well used, he said — “they spent every bit of that” — and Guardsmen now have a cohesive, professional appearance.

“They’re all looking the way they're supposed to out there, in the same uniform,” he said.

Two weeks ago he learned that the Department of the Army will pay volunteers $50 for every service they perform on behalf of fallen veterans. They will have to go through training first to become certified to perform services at the WNY National Cemetery, he said.

His office had 1,452 contacts and provided 5,321 client services during the past year, including help to file 106 veterans’ property tax exemptions. The first veteran burial at the new cemetery was on Oct. 18, 2020, and there has been an average of four to six per weekday ever since at the site at 1254 Indian Falls Road, Corfu, he said.

Construction has been ongoing to expand the original site due to a lack of capacity. Click here to see the latest drone flyover taken in August.

The Cemetery was approved in 2021 to display the Avenue of Flags from Armed Forces Day to the Saturday after Veterans Day. Joyce said that there will be an official ceremony on Nov. 12 to dispose of any flags that aren’t “serviceable,” he said.

Each flag had been presented to the next of kin of the veteran on behalf of the President of the United States and the branch of service the veteran served. Families donate their veterans’ interment flags to fly along the Avenue to represent their service and sacrifice to the country.     

The Memorial Council is responsible for the maintenance of the flags as well as collecting the donated flags.

For more information about the cemetery and related services, click HERE.

2021 File Photo of the Avenue of Flags at WNY National Cemetery in Corfu. Photo by Howard Owens.

Accident reported in Indian Falls

By Howard B. Owens

A motor vehicle accident with injuries is reported at Route 77 and Indian Falls Road.

Indian Falls Fire, Pembroke Fire, and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 10:32 a.m.: Minor injuries.

UPDATE 10:35 a.m.: T-bone accident, one vehicle off the road.  At least one patient will be a sign-off.

Photo: Storm clouds over Indian Falls

By Howard B. Owens


Joanne Meiser submitted the photo of storm clouds rolling in near McAlpine Road in Indian Falls.

There is a strong thunderstorm alert for parts of Genesee County through 8:30 p.m.

Winds could exceed 35 mph and there may be pea-sized hail.

Areas affected could be Batavia, Darien Lakes State Park, Le Roy, Pembroke, Pavilion, Byron, Oakfield, Stafford, Alabama, Corfu, Elba, and Alexander.

Photos: Yesterday's Sunset

By Howard B. Owens


I should have posted these photos earlier today but got sidetracked or something.  I took the top photo on the drive home from Rochester yesterday on Route 33.  The bottom photo is from Indian Falls by Joanne Meiser.


Photos: Yesterday's sunset

By Howard B. Owens


This is a photo I took on Route 262 approaching Bryon yesterday evening.  Below, a shot from Frank Capuano in Batavia and one from Joanne Meiser in Indian Falls.



A motor vehicle with possible serious injuries reported on Route 77

By Howard B. Owens


There may be serious injuries following a motor vehicle accident on Route 77 at Indian Falls.

Dispatchers are checking on the availability of Mercy Flight.

The accident involves a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle. 

Pembroke and Indian Falls along with Mercy EMS  dispatched.

There are power lines down in the area.

UPDATE 1:52 p.m.: A person is trapped in the vehicle.  Mercy Flight is on in-air standby.  East Pembroke responding mutual aid.

UPDATE 1:58 p.m.: Mercy Flight is canceled.

UPDATE 5:20 p.m. (Information and Photos from Alecia Kaus/Video News Service): According to Chief Deputy Brian Frieday, emergency crews were called to Rt. 77 and Indian Falls road about 1:47 pm. Preliminary investigation shows a passenger vehicle was headed west on Indian Falls Road and failed to stop at the intersection at Rt.77. The passenger vehicle was struck by a northbound tractor-trailer. Both vehicles ended up in a field northwest of the intersection. Frieday confirms there are two fatalities in the passenger vehicle.  The driver and one passenger in the tractor-trailer were not injured.



Owner temporarily closes Log Cabin over rodent concern

By Press Release

Press release:

The Genesee County Health Department is aware of concerns about rodents at the Indian Falls Log Cabin restaurant located in Corfu, NY. 

Public Health Sanitarians conducted an inspection this morning, August 13th, 2021, and the owner has voluntarily closed the restaurant.

The facility will remain closed until further inspections are completed. 

Caller notifies law enforcement of people in water at Indian Falls

By Howard B. Owens

A caller to emergency dispatch reports there are people in the water at Indian Falls.

The caller stated that the people parked their cars in the Log Cabin parking lot, on the south side of the falls, and walked around to the north side to enter the water.

A deputy is responding.

UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: The caller is no longer at the restaurant but provided a description of the vehicles to pass along to a deputy.  The deputy has found the vehicles.

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