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Friday, August 22, 2014 at 10:12 am

Two arrests reported at Linkin Park concert at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake performing arts center

The following people were arrested during the Linkin Park concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday.

Joseph T. Roth, 19, of North Marion Street, North Tonawanda, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Dalton T. Carroll, 19, of Wheatfield Street, North Tonawanda, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Friday, August 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

Law and Order: Felony DWI arrest at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien

Nancy Jo Sabourin, 54, of Henderson Avenue, Tonawanda, is charged with felony DWI (two previous convictions within 10 years) and felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. Sabourin was stopped at 10:24 p.m. Thursday in the Darien Lake driveway by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Sherika Kendra Dixon, 21, of Franklyn Avenue, Kingston, Jamaica, is charged with petit larceny. Dixon is accused of shoplifting from Kmart.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Taking the afternoon off

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

Billie and I are celebrating our 21st anniversary today. We'll be away from computers and scanners for a few hours.

We're going to see Nik Wallenda at Darien Lake -- a show I highly recommend (pictures here). We're also going out to dinner.

I've asked a couple of people who would be in a position to know to text me if anything big comes up, but hopefully everything will be nice and quiet for the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Hearing on motions in Frost Ridge case will determine fate of lawsuits, and campground

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Frost Ridge, Le Roy

Two witnesses in a hearing related to the Frost Ridge lawsuits testified today that a key document was filed with the Town of Le Roy months before an April 8 statute of limitations date that is part of the dispute over live music at the campground.

It's all more complicated than even that convoluted sentence, however.

The hearing wasn't even completed today. Judge Robert C. Noonan was scheduled to hear a case in Rochester at 2 p.m. and with at least one more witness scheduled to be called, continued the hearing to 10:15 a.m., Tuesday.

Before adjourning, Noonan continued the stay of his temporary restraining order barring live music at Frost Ridge, which means that the Phil Vassar concert scheduled for Saturday will go on as planned.

The concert is a fundraiser for the Golisano Children's Hospital.

Vassar has said Frost Ridge is one of his favorite places to play and asked to be included in this season's line-up.

The hearing was limited to two motions under consideration by Noonan: 

  • Whether the statute of limitations for challenging a ZBA determination that nonconforming uses at Frost Ridge, contrary to current zoning law, were "grandfathered in," and,
  • Whether there is what is known as a "jurisdictional defect" in the ZBA's determination.

The key document relevant to the statute of limitations motions is the Zoning Board of Appeals minutes from its Sept. 25, 2013 meeting.

At dispute is whether the minutes were filed with the town before April 8. 

If the minutes were filed before April 8, that would mean one of both lawsuits were filed after the statutory period for challenging a zoning board's determinations.

But, did the ZBA under the circumstances of Sept. 25 have the authority to make that determination, which is something the attorney for the Cleere/Collins side of the suit is challenging.

Noonan's eventual ruling on these motions could either allow one or both lawsuits against Frost Ridge to go forward, and perhaps to trial, or determine whether one or both will be dismissed. 

Frost Ridge and the campground's owners Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell are being sued by the Town of Le Roy and Frost Ridge neighbors, the families of Cleere and Collins (who are related to the original Frost Ridge owners). Cleere/Collins is also suing the ZBA.

First to testify was Town Clerk Patricia Canfield.

There is much about when the minutes were first publicly available that Canfield can't remember.

She testified that as standard and permissible procedure, the ZBA minutes are kept in a file in the office of Jeff Steinbrenner, zoning and code enforcement officer for the Town of Le Roy.

She couldn't recall with certainty when she first had reason to retrieve the Sept. 25 minutes from the file, but said they were requested more than once through various Freedom of Information Requests, including requests by Marny Cleere.

Canfield said Cleere filed more than five FOIL requests, but not more than 10, and she couldn't remember if the one requesting ZBA minutes came in 2013 or 2014.

She couldn't remember if any of the other FOIL requests for the minutes came in 2013.

Under questioning from Noonan, Canfield said most FOIL requests are written, though she accepts verbal requests. Written requests are kept on file, she said, but there was no indication that any written FOIL requests were in court today.

As for the ZBA hearing itself, Canfield testified that if there was a public notice published of a meeting to discuss Frost Ridge's non-conforming use, she would have known about it, and she said she was unaware of any such publication.

David Roach, the Frost Ridge attorney, also called Steinbrenner as an "adverse witness."

Steinbrenner was also questioned by attorney Karl Essler, representing the ZBA.

Under questioning from Essler, Steinbrenner said that once the minutes from a meeting were approved at a subsequent meeting, he would place those minutes in his file.

He agreed that the Sept. 25 minutes were approved by the ZBA board at its Oct. 22 meeting and that he probably filed the minutes that night or the next morning.

As for the meaning of the minutes, Steinbrenner danced around the issue, often skirting direct questions.

He said he didn't recall live music being discussed as a prior nonconforming use at the Sept. 25 meeting.

Roach and Steinbrenner wrangled over the course of several questions whether an e-mail Steinbrenner sent to Frost Ridge in August 2013 was meant to put them on notice that a long list of alleged zoning violations included live music.

Mindy Zoghlin, attorney for Cleere Collins, when cross-examining Steinbrenner, read off a list of alleged zoning violations related to roadways and the placement and setbacks of campsites. 

While never explicitly stated, the clear implication of the line of questioning is an attempt by the plaintiff's side to establish that the ZBA ruling, if valid, was limited to land use issues and the ZBA didn't at all consider, nor was it asked to consider, whether live music is grandfathered in.

"When we first started with Frost Ridge about this, we saw two aspects to it," Steinbrenner said. "There was a need for special use permit for the campsites and one for concerts. At the time, we decided to go after the campground sites at Frost Ridge and the go after the concerts once they were up to compliance and in code."

Steinbrenner's August e-mail twice uses the word "etc." when referring to the alleged zoning violations.

When Roach would ask in various ways whether "etc." includes live music, Steinbrenner repeatedly deflected the question by staying he was merely forwarding what Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau had said was discussed at a prior town board meeting (which Steinbrenner didn't attend).

Under questioning from Roach, Steinbrenner admitted that he had verbally told David and Greg that live music shows were a possible zoning violation.

The third and final person to testify today was Debra Jackett, chairwoman of the ZBA.

Jackett testified that the board approved its minutes from the Sept. 25 meeting at its Oct. 22 meeting and that Steinbrenner received a copy of the minutes at that time, and she considered them filed with the town at that time.

Zoghlin asked several questions related to public notification of hearings and filing of notices and Jackett answered each time that it wasn't the board's job to deal with notices and outside communications.

"Our only job is to show up at meetings and make decisions," she said.

Over the repeated objections of Roach (each overruled by Noonan), Zoghlin kept asking about what happened at a ZBA meeting in 1998. 

Jackett was a member of the board in 1998, when the ZBA issued a determination that Frost Ridge was grandfathered in as a campground, even though it was an agriculture/residential area.

The meeting was 16 years ago, Jackett said, and she couldn't remember specifics about the meeting, but Zoghlin persisted.

"If you're going to ask me what I said 16 years ago, I'm going to tell you, I don't recall," Jackett said at one point.

Roach objected to the line of questioning because it's his contention that what happened at the meeting in 1998 isn't material to the plaintiff's motion that the ZBA decision of 2013 suffers from a "jurisdictional defect."

Another ZBA board member is expected to testify Tuesday. Noonan's ruling on the motions will come some time later.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Donations still needed for K-12 school supply drive

post by Billie Owens in la mexicana, school supply drive

Stopped by La Mexicana on Monday, the little bodega in the Valu Plaza, to see the status of a K-12 school supply drive.

It's sponsored by La Mexicana, Inc., The KinderArt Klub, and Batavia resident Jill Hart, an agent of RealtyUSA.

They've got two or three folding tables stacked with basic items and some filled boxes underneath, but needs are many and these won't go far.

Here's a list of items they could use more of:

  • Regular lined notebook paper
  • Pencils
  • Black and blue ink pens
  • BACKPACKS
  • Individually packaged snacks
  • Three-ring binders
  • Manila dividers with subject tabs
  • Plastic pencil pouches for three-ring binders
  • Little Kleenex packets
  • Crayons
  • SCISSORS
  • Pencil sharpeners

Of course, any and all new or like-new school supplies will be greatly appreciated.

Regular store hours are noon to 6 p.m., closed Tuesdays, and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

The supplies will be organized and a school supply store will be set up where parents can shop for free. The shopping days are set for Wednesday, Aug. 27, through Thursday, Aug. 28, from 12 to 6 p.m. at La Mexicana, 4125 W. Main St.

If you have questions, please contact Danielle at 813-2891 or e-mail at <[email protected]>

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:48 am

Law and Order: Woman accused of using another person's ID when arrested at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, crime, Darien, Le Roy

Laura Anne Costa, 20, of Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd, and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. Costa allegedly used another person's lost NYS driver's license as identification while being arrested on a trespass charged during a concert at Darien Lake on Aug. 16. The other person was subsequently identified in a news release as a person arrested at the concert, leading to the discovery of the alleged criminal impersonation.

Kodey R. Mills, 21, of Myrtle Street, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Mills was stopped by Le Roy PD on Monday and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Robert Holland Cokely, 26, of Merrill Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, speeding, driving left of pavement markings and no/inadequate plate lamp. Cokely was stopped at 11:32 p.m. Wednesday on East Main Street, Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Scott R. Booth Jr., 23, of Attica, is charged with petit larceny. Booth is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Andrea Baccas, 19, and Nellisia Pryce, 20, both of Jamaica, are charged with petit larceny. Baccas and Pryce are accused of shoplifting from Walmart. Both were jailed on $250 cash bail or $500 bond each.

Rebecca J. Cornell, 39, of Sand Hill Road, Caledonia, is charged with petit larceny. Cornell is accused of stealing clothing items from a store in the Village of Le Roy. Surveillance video was used to identify the suspect vehicle and the suspect and make an arrest.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 8:25 am

Three city streets closed tomorrow for resurfacing

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

The city has announced road closures tomorrow for roadway resurfacing. Residents are asked not to park on the street and to avoid the roads as a travel route. The streets will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed are:

  • Bank Street from Douglas to the city line
  • Sumner Street
  • Denio Street
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Football Preview: Oatkan-Knights have a lot to play for in 2014

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

There's a few story lines we could take with Le Roy football for the 2014 season.

The return of starters Mike McMullen at QB and Ryan McQuillen at receiver. A team coming off a 7-1 season but a need to avenge a disappointing OT loss in the Class C sectional final. The expectations on a team with a storied tradition that has a lot of tools, but will be relying on young offensive and defensive lines.

And then there is the final season of Head Coach Brian Moran, in search of his 200th victory, a possible 14th sectional title and -- dare we say it -- a second state title in 26 years at the helm.

The story line Moran has the least interest in, his final season.

"We don't really worry about the final year," Moran said. "We just come out and prepare these kids as best we can. Whether it's your first year or last year, we just want to focus and coach kids up best we can."

Starting with McMullen and McQuillen, the Oatkan-Knights do have some key starters returning, and all of them are guys that are in their third or fourth years on varsity, such as Jon Pierce, Jake Henry, Tom Kelso, Nick Egeling and Kody Lamkin.

That's a lot of talent on a team that we know will be well coached. Is it unfair to have high expectations?

Moran won't go there.

"Every year you come in, you expect to be successful," Moran said. "That's the first thing. Hopefully, we can get ourselves better and compete for a championship again. That will be interesting to see, but it will be up to how the kids perform and how they work together."

Much will depend on the big men up front.

"We're a little inexperienced up front and you're only as good as you play offensively and defensively on the line," Moran said. "Those kids are going to have to really focus and get themselves ready."

One thing's for sure, if history is any indication, Moran and his staff will do everything they can to prepare this team to compete at a high level. Coach's last year, or not.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Stove fire on Railroad Avenue, Alexander

post by Billie Owens in alexander, fire

A working stove fire is confirmed at 3517 Railroad Ave. in Alexander. Smoke is showing. The stove is centrally located in the residence. Alexander fire is responding and Town of Batavia, as mutual aid, is called to the scene. The location is next to Z&M Ag and Turf.

UPDATE 5:19 p.m.: This is now a working house fire. Equipment from East Pembroke and Bethany are also called in, along with a tanker from Darien. Plus, a crew from Darien is asked to stand by in Alexander's quarters.

UPDATE 5:31 p.m.: Help from Attica is on the way, too.

UPDATE 5:36 p.m.: A search has confirmed there is no one inside the house.

UPDATE 5:54 p.m.: East Pembroke and Darien tankers are returned to service.

UPDATE 6:25 p.m.: All units back in service.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Hawley applauds new law that assistance veterans

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia), a veteran of the National Guard and Army Reserves and ranking member of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, is applauding Gov. Cuomo for signing a military assistance bill into law that the assemblyman wholeheartedly supported in the Assembly.

“Our state and our country are forever indebted to those who have served us at home and abroad,” Hawley said. “This law tackles the red tape that hampers professional certification for family members of active duty officers who are moved from station to station. We have also expanded New York’s supplemental burial allowance to include those who were injured on the battlefield, but died here at home − an oversight that was far too tragic to continue.”

Hawley added, “Another great aspect of this newly signed law is how it assists children affected when their families move from station to station. Every state has its own difficult requirements for high school graduation, and that is often overlooked in legislation that attempts to honor our servicemen and women. Through this much-needed law, we have cut the red tape affecting children’s academic well-being and enrollment issues. This is one law we can all support, and I’m proud to have helped pass it.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Circus at the Genesee County Fairgrounds this evening

post by Howard B. Owens in circus, genesee county fairgrounds

This might be a surprise to you. Perhaps not. There's a circus in town. There's been some posters around town, apparently, but I didn't learn about it until I drove past the fairgounds today.

They performed last night and will perform again tonight.

Performances are at 5:30 and 7 p.m. Adult tickets are $15 each. Two children can get in for free with a paid adult.

The circus is produced by Walker International.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Pickup truck ablaze at Route 19 and Selden Road, Le Roy

post by Billie Owens in fire, Le Roy

A fully involved pickup truck fire is reported at Selden Road and Route 19. Town of Le Roy fire is responding.

UPDATE 1:56 p.m.: Le Roy ambulance is called to the scene to aid a firefighter with a possible head injury.

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