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Friday, October 12, 2012 at 2:10 am

Photos: Ringneck Marsh, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge


One thing I haven't spent enough time doing is exploring the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge -- what a great resource for Genesee County.

Prior to the public hearing in Alabama Thursday night, I headed out to the refuge a few hours ahead of time with the specific idea of going to a part of the park I'd seen previously and thought was quite scenic. It's actually in Orleans County, but hey, most of the refuge in in Genesee County. I believe the area is called Ridgeneck Ringneck Marsh. It's off Oak Orchard Ridge Road, which is in the northern part of the refuge.

Here are the pictures I took.

BTW: Not that any of these pictures are worthy of entry, but entries are being accepted now for the Friends of Iroquois NWR photo contest. The deadline is Sept. 1, 2013.


Friday, October 12, 2012 at 2:00 am

Speakers in Alabama express hope and fear over proposed 1,200 acre technology park

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, business, GCEDC, STAMP

For Holly Nelson, the proposed 1,200-acre technology business park in the Town of Alabama is both something to dread and something that seems like a good opportunity.

She's not alone in her conflicted feelings. Nearly a dozen people spoke at a public hearing Thursday night in the town's fire hall and expressed both a wish that Alabama remain a small, rural community, and that it embrace jobs and growth.

"I moved back here so I could be in the country," Nelson said during a short statement where she fought back tears. "If we had known what would happen, that this would be proposed, when we started building our home, we never would have built it. My whole family is here and loves Alabama. I don't want to lose that, but I do want my kids to be able to stay here and have a place to work. I'm so torn."

After speaking another minute or so, she said, "I'm scared," and seemingly unable to hold back the tears any longer, she walked away from the mic.

The purpose of Thursday's meeting was to give interested members of the public -- especially Alabama residents -- a chance to raise any issues with a proposed compensation package from the Genesee County Economic Development Center and the necessary changes in zoning for the site.

In all, the total estimated benefit to the town is $8.5 million, including $5.2 million for a new public water system. The town will also receive a commission on the sale of the land in park -- to be known as the Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) -- as manufacturers are signed to build facilities on the property.

The first speaker was an organized labor representative who encouraged Alabama residents to support STAMP because both in the construction and in the new factories, it could bring good-paying jobs to the region.

He was followed by Alabama resident Doug Crosen who encouraged the town board to not be swayed by outside voices.

"There's going to be huge pressure from the outside both for and against it, but the decision better be about our town," Crosen said.

Among Crosen's concerns is whether the money for public water will cover hook-ups for residents, and whether residents will have the option to say on well water.

Anita Goras said she had split feelings about the project.

"This is going to be in my back yard and that's where my cows are right now," Goras said. "I am open. I know I'm not going to live forever and I would like to see my grandchildren be able to come back here and work."

Kevin Sheehan, deputy mayor for Albion, told the board that if Alabama didn't want STAMP, Orleans County will take it. He encouraged the board to approve the project for the sake of all of Western New York.

Bruce Pritchett -- who grew up in Alabama, still lives on Maple Road, and teaches in Albion -- said he understands the desire to keep Alabama a small farming community, but young people, he said, need jobs, they need a reason to say in Genesee County.

"There are not a lot of jobs available," Pritchett said. "We send our jobs overseas. There's nothing here for people. This is a great opportunity. As a community, I hope we take advantage of this opportunity we have and make the best of it."

Tom Walsh, a Corfu resident, said he understands the resistance from some, but encouraged Alabama to move forward with the project.

"I know it scares a lot of people," Walsh said. "If it came to Corfu, I'd probably be a little scared for me at first, but I would know at least there would be some work for people."

Vance Wyder Jr., said he's a 40-year-old disabled military veteran who really only knows farming. He isn't sure he and other farming community members can really be trained for the kind of jobs STAMP will bring. He's worried about losing farming jobs, which are harder and harder to come by in Alabama, and then the new jobs not being filled by local residents. He said nobody has really assured him that local residents can and will be trained for the jobs.

"My message to the board is be cautious, be wary, make sure you are doing the right thing for our town and not for the almighty dollar, because in the end, the almighty dollar might kick us in the ass," he said.

Another speaker, a gentleman who has worked in IT for 20 years and is a resident of Alabama, said the board should be mindful of the potential for spinoff businesses from high-tech manufacturers.

He encouraged the board to ensure any businesses coming in reinvest in the local business community, such as by creating an incubator for start-up tech firms.

"We don't need some monolithic company with 1,800 jobs that never talks to the town after it's in place," he said.

Max Merten seemed the most strongly opposed to STAMP. He said he moved to Alabama 20 years ago to live in a rural community and he doesn't want it to change. He said he raised his kids to work, not push paper.

He's worried, he said, that the project is being pushed through the process too quickly.

"We don't need more jobs in a cornfield," Merten said.

Angela Kost concluded the round of speakers with the same ambiguity that set the tone for the meeting.

"I don't want to see it in my back yard, obviously," Kost said. "I don't think anybody in Alabama wants that, but it is a good opportunity."

The town board will meet within two weeks to take formal action on the proposals.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Commercial truck on fire at Lamb Farms

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, fire

A commercial truck fire is reported at Lamb Farms, 1705 Lewiston Road. Alabama Fire Department is responding. The vehicle is in a field on the south side of the road, west of the barns.

UPDATE 2:33 p.m.: Firefighters on scene report seeing no sign of fire.

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: They have located the truck and found the fire is already out. They will be returning to service.

UPDATE 2:54 p.m.: All Alabama units back in service.

Monday, October 8, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Photos: Fall day drive through Oakfield, Alabama and Indian Falls

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, indian falls, Oakfield, photos

With the afternoon shaping up as a beautiful fall day and some time on my hands, I took a drive out toward Alabama with the intention to make some pictures. Here are six shots that I came across.

Above, cattle in pasture off Bliss Road, Oakfield.

Tree on Roberts Road.

White birch off Sour Springs Road.

Stand of Pine Trees, Sour Springs Road.

Hay field off Roberts Road.

Sunset off Route 77 near Indian Falls.

Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

SUV crashes into tree, minor injury, in Alabama

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Alabama

An SUV crashed into a tree at 1825 Lewiston Road in Alabama. It's near Knowlesville Road in the area of the hunt club. The driver is out and there is reportedly only a minor injury. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 11:39 am

Passenger in vehicle at scene of property damage accident left behind

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation

A property damage accident is reported on Sand Hill Road, on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. The driver of the vehicle which reportedly struck the involved property fled northbound in a green Chevy Astro van. But the driver left his or her passenger at the scene.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Lost hunter reported off Judge Road

post by Billie Owens in Alabama

A hunter is lost in the woods somewhere off the dead end of Judge Road in Alabama. Emergency dispatch is in phone contact with him and help is on the way to try and locate him.

UPDATE 2:18 p.m.: Just around the bend, on Feeder Road, he says he parked his green Subaru and went into the woods across the road from where it's parked. That's in the Tonawanda State Wildlife Management Area.

UPDATE 2:22 p.m.: The hunter is said to possibly be walking along where power lines are strung up. Law enforcement is going to sound their sirens at the junction of Feeder and Judge.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m.: The hunter can hear the siren. They are going to turn their lights on to help guide him, but the area "is pretty dense" with trees.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Dispatch has lost phone contact with the hunter and hope he's able to call them back.

UPDATE 2:57 p.m.: About five minutes ago, an officer said "We have the subject and we're taking him to his vehicle and we'll be clear." It's not clear if this statement pertains to the hunter. If not, of course, we'll update further.

Monday, October 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm

OA varsity volleyball team holds game to benefit breast cancer research

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, breast cancer, events, Oakfield

The Oakfield-Alabama Hornets Volleyball Team will be hosting a Dig Pink Volleyball game at 5:30 p.m.on Friday, Oct. 5. The varsity match starts at 6.

There will be a 50/50 raffle, serving contest, and refreshments. Admission to the game will be donation only. All proceeds will go to the Side Out Foundation to support breast cancer research.

Event Date and Time

October 5, 2012 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:48 am

Law and Order: A fire and two arrests on Summit Street over the weekend

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

Brandon M. Maldonado, 24, of 146 Summit St., Batavia, was arrested on warrants for alleged petit larceny and criminal mischief. Maldonado was located at the scene of the fire Sunday night at 140 Summit St.

Bethani M. Dibble, 20, of 146 Summit St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Dibble allegedly drove her vehicle into the porch and fence of her residence and then left the scene of the accident at 2:38 a.m., Saturday.

Daniel E. King, 36, of 2058 Phelps Road, Basom, is charged with petit larceny and harassment, 2nd. King is accused of stealing a can of Mike's Hard Lemonade from a convenience store on West Main Street and then hitting the store manager when confronted.

Daryl R. Hamler, 18, of 6786 Westcott Road, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Hamler was charged after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana while driving through a DWI checkpoint on Clinton Street.

Alicia M. Stanwick, 21, of 318 E. Main St., Apt. 2, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and inadequate stop lamps. Stanwick was stopped at 1:36 a.m., Sunday, on Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Katelyn Louise Hodgins, 24, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving left of pavement markings and open container. Hodgins was stopped at 1:17 a.m., Saturday, on Seven Springs Road, Batavia, by Sgt. Greg Walker.

Thomas Allen Pfalzer, 45, of Harper Road, Darien, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving while on a mobile phone, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and unlawful stopping or parking in the roadway. Pfalzer was allegedly located at 2:04 a.m., Saturday, in his vehicle stopped on Sumner Road, Darien, talking on his mobile phone. Upon investigation by Deputy Jason Saile, Pfalzer was allegedly found to be intoxicated.

Darrell Jerrod Holloway, 44, of Crowydon Road, Rochester, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay a fine. Holloway was taken into custody following his release from the Elmira Correctional Facility, where he was held on an unrelated matter. Holloway was jailed pending a court appearance.

Tyanna Desiree Green, 17, of Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Green allegedly stole two CDs from Kmart.

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm

At half-time, Blue Devils and Hornell tied 14 to 14

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Alabama, Oakfield, sports

At half-time, the football game between between the Batavia Blue Devils and Hornell is tied 14 to 14.

Hornell came into the game with 43 straight consecutive wins.

Look for complete coverage Saturday.

UPDATE 8:54 p.m.: Complete coverage is currently available via WBTA radio.

UPDATE: At end of third, Hornell 20 to 14.

UPDATE: Final, 30-14.

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