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August 21, 2017 - 12:41am
posted by Billie Owens in elba, fire, news.

A house fire is reported in Elba at 4827 Hundredmark Road. The structure is roughly 30 feet by 30 feet in dimension. It is near Spoil Bank Road. Mercy medics and Elba Fire Department are responding, along with mutual aid from Town of Batavia, Bergen, South Byron, Oakfield and Stafford.

UPDATE 1:15 a.m.: Attacking hot spots; mutual aid responders can return to service.

August 20, 2017 - 11:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, Le Roy, news.

An accident with injuries is reported in the eastbound lane of the Route 490 at mile marker 1.

Le Roy fire and Bergen fire dispatched.

Dispatchers have received only one call on the accident.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m.: Minor injuries, if any.

UPDATE 11:31 p.m.: The vehicle is about 50 feet in the swamp.

UPDATE 11:41 p.m.: Tow company will check on the vehicle. If they can't extract it tonight, they'll come back in the daylight to remove it.

August 20, 2017 - 11:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke, news.

A two-car accident with entrapment and injuries is reported on Route 77 in front of the Flying J, Pembroke.

Pembroke fire and Indian Falls fire dispatched.

Two ambulances requested to the scene.

UPDATE 11:12 p.m.: Two people entrapped, including the driver. The other in a backseat. All other occupants out of the vehicles.

UPDATE 11:15 p.m.: Ambulance from Darien requested, non-emergency.

UPDATE 11:26 p.m.: First patient extricated.

UPDATE 11:27 p.m.: Second patient extricated.

August 20, 2017 - 9:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, wildlife, Le Roy, DEC.

Some sort of injured hawk is reportedly perched on the fence at 8700 Vallance Road, Le Roy, at the Ontario Service Center. A Trooper is on scene and will handle, pending the response, in approximately an hour or so, of a representative from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Initially, the injured fowl was thought to be an eaglet or turkey vulture.

UPDATE 9:38 p.m.: A trooper says he's unable to locate the bird, which was reported from a passerby on the Thruway. 

August 20, 2017 - 5:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news.

City firefighters are on scene at 114 Vine St. to investigate a complaint of residents burning garbage.

UPDATE 6:02 p.m.: Fire extinguished. Residents advised. Assignment back in service.

August 19, 2017 - 8:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, notify, bergen.

A car has reportedly stuck a tree and at least one person is entrapped with possible serious injuries in the area of 321 Bovee Road, Bergen.

Begen fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE: We heard no more traffic on this call. It was actually in Monroe County (though still Bergen's district). It's not likely we'll have any further updates.

August 19, 2017 - 7:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, batavia, news, alexander.

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Two of the Sheriff's Office longest-serving members retired yesterday, John Dehm and Barb Eddy (pictured with Undersheriff Greg Walker and Sheriff Bill Sheron).

Dehm started with the Sheriff's Office in June 1980. By then, he'd earned a degree from Buffalo State in Criminal Justice and scored second on the deputy's exam. After a short stint at Genesee Community College as a security guard, then-Sheriff Roy Wullich called him for a job, assigning him, as was the case with all new deputies who hadn't yet been through the academy, to guard duty in the jail.

He worked road patrol until 1993 when he became the agency's youth officer, a job he described as both richly rewarding and stressful.

"I might still be part of interacting with the Child Advocacy Center to see that that's carried out and that the cases of child sexual abuse are handled in the correct way," Dehm said. "I really believe it takes special training in order to investigate those types of offenses. A lot of compassion and we have a team, not only just one person, we have a whole team of experts who collaborate together to make sure the best outcome prevails."

In 1989, Dehm was trained in forensic interviews, a skill that was a major part of his job as a youth officer.

"One of my passions is getting sex offenders," Dehm said.

When Dehm started as a youth officer, the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program was still active and that was a big part of his job in the beginning, but becoming certified as a DARE officer wasn't easy. He had to travel to Albany, be interviewed by multiple people to ensure he was the right caliber for the job and pass a test.

"I actually see many of my students who are probably now  36 or 37 years old and they still say 'Hi' to me," Dehm said, "to this day. It was a wonderful experience working directly with the kids."

In retirement, he's still going to be working with kids. This fall, he starts a job as a security aide at John Kennedy School.

"I think with all the skills I have as a youth officer, I think I'm going to be able to use those skills and my talents as a youth officer to the advantage of the kids in that school," Dehm said.

While Dehm, a father of three adult children and stepfather to an 18-year-old daughter, anticipates having more time to do things around the house and spend more time with his wife, he isn't giving up on his other passion -- scuba diving.

For years, he and his partners (other men in law enforcement) have run a scuba business. It's something he still enjoys and thinks he's good at, he said.

"I've been scuba diving for 40 years," Dehm said. "I've been doing a dive business fo over 20. We do underwater video photography. I think my skills are pretty sharp underwater. We can tell how different things work for different municipalities and assisting in whatever underwater things that they need. And any infrastructure that needs to be inspected."

Dehm, a 1975 graduate of Notre Dame High School, said he also looks forward to spending more time outdoors -- hiking, biking, camping, and he would really like to delve more into photography. (He's been documenting various Sheriff's Office events for a few years.)

Barb Eddy's law enforcement career actually started with the FBI in its Buffalo office; but having been raised in Bethany and attending Alexander schools, she missed Genesee County.

"Obviously, the FBI was a great job but my my heart wasn't in the City of Buffalo," Eddy said. "My brother (a deputy sheriff) said a typist job was open at the Sheriff's Office and he said, 'You should apply.' "

So she did. She was actually the first person interviewed for a job by the new sheriff, Doug Call.

"He kind of laughed because he said 'you've got an FBI background already so we don't have to do a background check,' " she recalled.

Eddy was hired as a typist in 1981 and soon promoted to clerk typist. 

Through the '80s, Eddy was very involved in her community, including the Alexander Volunteer Fire Department; so in 1990, making the move to dispatch seemed like a good fit for her.

"I've always enjoyed the fire service and what they do and that's where my heart was and I decided that's where I needed to be," Eddy said.

It's been a very rewarding job, she said.

"The main thing that I like about dispatch is that every day I come here into the office, I know I'm going to help someone," Eddy said. "You know it's not always the tragedies, the horrible things of having a baby not breathing on the other end, or a person screaming that their child isn't breathing, or their loved one isn't breathing.

"Those are the things I'm going to choose to kind of block out of my memory. It's the simple things, just knowing that I'm helping someone, even if it's finding a phone number or an address or whatever. It's just knowing that every day I walk in here I'm helping someone in the community that needs help."

Eddy also thinks she's leaving the 9-1-1 Center in capable hands.

"There's a younger group coming up through the ranks and they're doing a great job," Eddy sadi. "They're trained very well. The Sheriff makes sure that they are trained. They're doing a very good job."

She's retiring after 36 years and her husband retired two years ago as a State Police dispatcher. They're looking forward to time for family and travel and returning to some of the community involvement she's had to set aside for a few years. 

"Since I took my promotion as a senior dispatcher, I've been working the three-to-seven shift so I've lost track of some things that I really enjoy with my community," Eddy said. "I've been involved in the Alexander Fire Department and I'm also with the Boy Scouts. I got involved with the Boy Scouts because my son is an Eagle and I am lucky enough to be able to continue with that and be the liaison with the Fire Department, which sponsors the scouts."

And then there is the chance to get back involved with music.

"I did play an instrument when I was in high school and I haven't touched it since," Eddy said. "I thought about that maybe some singing or some music, some things that I haven't done in quite a long time and I might actually have time for now."

She is going to miss working at the Sheriff's Office though. It's like family, she said.

"After all, sometimes you spend more time here than with your own family," Eddy said. "I just love the people I work with and I'm going to miss them. But I might become the coffee guy now, you know. I can be the girl who calls up and says, 'You've been here 12 hours -- you need a cup of coffee?' "

August 19, 2017 - 5:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pavailion, news.

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Jenny Kalancer and Gary Harding draw tickets for the chance raffle at a fundraiser in Pavilion today to benefit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Besides the chance auction, there was a 50/50 drawing, vendors, and a BBQ.

Kalancer said suicide prevention is an issue near and dear to her family's heart because her brother took his own life in 2000.

"We want people to know that it’s OK to not be OK," Kalancer said. "We want them to know there are resources for people, people just to talk to and get them help."

August 19, 2017 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, batavia, news.

Press release:

In the last few days since the events of August 11 and 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia, we have found ourselves horrified by the hate and fear that was on full display by the white supremacists of those events. It was surreal to see people motivated by hate of others and a sense of superiority be armed and organized in public in the 21st century in a country that strives to provide liberty and justice for all and not just for certain groups.

We found ourselves as Christian pastors wondering how to respond to such hate and violence in the way of Jesus. It is easy to succumb to feelings of hate and to our desire to eliminate those who threaten to harm others. But the way of Jesus calls us to nonviolent resistance that holds the possibility for transformation for all.

So we invite you to join us in condemning any ideology or religious claims that promote racism and hate. Any person who says that there is one race that is better than another is in direct defiance of God’s will for diversity and harmony. We also invite you to join us in recommitting ourselves to working for justice and peace in our community in ways that do not turn us into the evils we are trying to resist.

We have to be intentional in our efforts to never fall into the trap of using violence and hate as means to resist them. We will be holding a prayer vigil for peace and justice on Thursday, August 24 6:30 p.m. at the YWCA at 301 North Street in Batavia.

We are grateful that the YWCA will be hosting this event as part of their commitment to eliminate racism. We hope that you will join us to unite our hearts to dedicate our lives once more to the ways of love.

August 19, 2017 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, notify, Le Roy.

A bicyclist was seriously injured this morning in an accident on Route 5 in Le Roy after the cyclist allegedly failed to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.

The cyclist was struck by a vehicle at 8:17 a.m.

Darwin G. Matthews, 73, of Le Roy, was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by Le Roy Ambulance with serious physical injuries. 

The driver of the vehicle, a 2003 PT Cruiser, Megan L. Furr, was treated at the scene and released.

The accident is being investigated by Sgt. Jason Saile, Investigator Chad Minuto, Deputy Andrew Hale, Deputy Lonnie Nati, Le Roy PD Officer Emily McNamara. 

Le Roy Fire Department also responded.

August 19, 2017 - 1:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, batavia.

An accident with possible injuries is reported at North Spruce Street and East Avenue, Batavia. City fire, police and Mercy medics are responding.

August 19, 2017 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, bergen.

An early-morning, one-vehicle accident on Route 19 in Bergen caused a utility poll to fall and damage a 2000 Harley-Davidson and a pickup truck parked at a residence.

There were no injuries reported.

Kenneth Richardson, age not provided, of Warboys Road, Byron, was southbound in a 2008 Chevy sedan when he reportedly lost control of the vehicle. It rotated clockwise, traveling off the west shoulder of the road, striking a mile marker sign, then continuing south and hitting a National Grid utility pole. The pole broke, causing damage to the motorcycle and a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado.

The accident report indicates Richardson may have been traveling at an unsafe speed.

The accident, which occurred at 3:11 a.m., was investigated by Deputy Travis Demuth.

August 19, 2017 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Cancer Assistance, batavia, batavia country club, news.

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Genesee Cancer Assistance held its annual gofl and bocce ball tournament at Batavia Country Club yesterday. This year, in memory of Joe Gerace, one of the agency's founders and a tireless supporter and volunteer.

There were 97 golfers and 18 bocce ball players, plus 30 volunteers, on hand for the festivities.

The event raised more than $15,000 for Genesee Cancer Assistance.

Photos and information submitted by Kayla Underwood.

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August 18, 2017 - 2:06pm

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Community Action of Orleans & Genesee hosted its fourth annual Children's Carnival in Austin Park today, with local agencies providing crafts, games and activities for local families.

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August 18, 2017 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county libertarian party, batavia, news.

Press release:

Today, Aug. 18, Batavia City Council Libertarian Candidates Lisa Whitehead, Mark Potwora and James Rosenbeck submitted ballot petitions totaling 378 signatures. That is more than double the requirement set by the Board of Elections. A total of 378 Batavians say "Change the Direction in This Election."

Thank You to those who signed, without your support this would not have been possible. Lisa, Mark and Jim will continue to visit with Batavians to hear your concerns and work with you to shape a financially responsible direction for the City of Batavia. Please learn more at www.facebook.com/Liberty4Batavia.

August 18, 2017 - 9:42am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news.

City fire is responding to the County Courts Facility, at 1 W. Main St., which is evacuated, because a smoke alarm went off.

August 18, 2017 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

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A fire with flames showing is reported at 3 McKinley Ave., Batavia.

The fire is reportedly in the bathroom.

City fire responding.

UPDATE 9:24 p.m.: Fourth Platoon requested to headquarters.

UPDATE 9:34 a.m.: Command reports "the situation is under control; beginning overhaul."

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: City fire's response time was under two minutes and Chief Steve Napolitano said the city crew's fast, aggressive action saved the house. “The guys put a good knock on the fire and confined it to the room of origin," he said. A grandfather and two grandchildren were home at the time the fire was discovered. They safely evacuated before fire crews arrived. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

UPDATE: Photos by Frank Capuano.

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August 18, 2017 - 7:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI, news.

Press release: 

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

While we spend the Labor Day holiday and the end of summer celebrating with our loved ones, law enforcement officers across New York State will take to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on Aug. 18th and will end on Sept. 4th. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force.

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem.

According to new data released by NHTSA, the nation lost 35,092 people in traffic crashes in 2015, ending a five-decade trend of declining fatalities with a 7.2-percent increase in deaths from 2014. The data showed a 3.2-percent increase in drunk driving fatalities, resulting in 10,265 deaths in 2015, compared to 9,943, in 2014. The vast majority of drivers involved in these crashes were behind the wheel of a passenger car or SUV.

The STOP-DWI Labor Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from our STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Throughout the remainder of the year the Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign will also target Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!

August 17, 2017 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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A residence at 404 S. Jackson St., Batavia, that was destroyed in a fire March 8 is finally coming down.

A demolition crew started its work this afternoon.

One worker said there have been people coming by today and applauding their work.

The bank that took possession of the property is paying for the demolition.

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UPDATE: Photo by Steve Ognibene:

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August 17, 2017 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, fire, news.

An unknown type of fire is reported behind a residence in the Barbary Coast Mobile Home Park, located at 7862 Clinton Street Road. Byron and South Byron fire departments are called to respond, mutual aid to the Bergen call.

UPDATE 1:37 p.m.: The Bergen chief on scene says South Byron can stand down; the other unit can continue in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 1:39 p.m.: The chief puts the assignment back in service.

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