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Friday, November 8, 2013 at 12:05 am

Structure fire at 9778 Creek Road, Bethany

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Bethany, fire

A fully involved structure fire is reported at 9778 Creek Road in Bethany. Bethany and Town of Batavia fire departments are responding. It is near Putnam Road.

UPDATE 11:07 p.m.: Mutual aid is called from Byron, Alexander, Pavilion, Stafford, the City Fast Team, and others.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m.: Calls are out for East Pembroke, Le Roy, and Elba.

UPDATE 11:34 p.m.: A tanker from York is called to the scene and an engine from there to the Bethany hall, along with the same equipment from Caledonia. National Grid is notified about power lines at the site and there's a 15-20 minute ETA.

UPDATE 11:45 p.m.: The lack of public water is hampering the firefighting efforts at Baskin Farms and the main structure(s) on the property are in peril. South Byron is also on scene and National Grid has arrived.

UPDATE 12:24 a.m.: Oakfield is at Town of Batavia Fire Hall filling in. National Grid has cut all power to the grounds. A tanker out of Gainsville, Wyoming County, is called to the scene.

UPDATE 12:27 a.m.: The mandate -- more tankers, more water, more tankers, more water.

UPDATE 12:34 a.m.: Mutual aid from Perry Center is requested to fill in at Pavilion's fire hall.

UPDATE 12:36 a.m.: Equipment from Perry Barre is called to stand by in Elba.

UPDATE 12:38 a.m: Equipment from Clarendon is requested to fill in in Byron.

UPDATE 1:45 a.m. (by Howard): The fire is largely knocked down. A firefighter reports that there are no flames showing at this time. There's still lots of smoke. It's hard to say at this point how much of the main feed processing facility was saved.

UPDATE 2:12 a.m.: Bethany command reports the fire is out. Overhaul starting. Tankers will start breaking down.

UPDATE 2:26 a.m.: South Byron, the first company to be released from the scene.

Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Photo: Fall at Genesee County Park pond

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Genesee County Park

Dylan Brew sent in this photo from Genesee County Park.

Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 9:47 am

Letter: Douglas family thanks community for saving their house from DOT wrecking ball

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Suicide Corners

Letter:

The unbelievable has happened! The Roundabout for East Rd. and Rt. 20 in Bethany is officially cancelled. The DOT has withdrawn the plans for the roundabout and went with what the public wanted, a more practical, fiscally responsible and incremental approach.

Debbie and I wish to whole heartedly thank all of our family, friends, neighbors, strangers, officials and the media who supported us during the past 5 years as we opposed this project and fought to save our home.

Thanks to the almost 10 thousand people who signed our petitions or the facebook page to support our effort.

Thank you to Senator Michael Ranzenhofer & Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who with NYS DOT representatives Eric Thompson and Kevin Bush crafted a compromise to benefit the public. I think Washington could learn a lesson here.

Thank you to Genesee County Legislators and all of the other County officials who, with the Town of Bethany Supervisor and Town Board members would not let our fight die and kept the pressure on.

We wish to extend a special thank you to Jamie McClurg for creating “Save the Douglas House” Facebook page.

Again, a thousand thank yous to all for your help in saving our 200 yr old home while still improving the safety of the intersection. We are so grateful for all the support we have received.

Sincerely
Tom and Debbie Douglas
 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Breaking: DOT cancels plans to build roundabout at Suicide Corners

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Suicide Corners

A group of local officials met with staff members of the NYS Department of Transportation in Bethany today and learned the state is dropping plans to turn Suicide Corners -- the intersection of Route 20 and East Road -- in Bethany into a roundabout.

Tom and Debbie Douglas would have lost their home -- a former hotel more than 200 years old -- if the state had gone forward with building a roundabout.

Tom Douglas called The Batavian after the meeting, ecstatic to learn he and his wife  won't lose their home, which they've put so much time and effort into restoring.

"I'm really amazed," Douglas said.

He said the DOT will release a formal announcement today.

The new plan is apparently to increase signage and lighting at the intersection.

Legislator Esther Leadley said she spearheaded bringing today's meeting together to lobby one last time against the roundabout, but gave a lot of credit for bringing things together to Legislature Chair Mary Pat Hancock.

"Mary Pat's got a lot of clout," Leadley said.

Both Douglas and Leadley expressed a sense of surprise that the state actually listened to the concerns of Bethany residents.

"I have represented the folks in Bethany and all those who drive along Route 20 and I'm pleased that it's worked out this way," Leadley said. "I have problems with people who, or who at least I think, don't hear. They call a hearing and it's just kind of whistling Dixie. Very clear, though they conveyed at the hearing that they were not listening to us, in fact they did listen. I'm delighted. I'm happy for Bethany."

UPDATE: Press release from the DOT:

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) today announced it will enhance signage as part of safety improvements at Route 20 and East Road in Bethany, Genesee County.

In response to public comments, agency officials have decided not to construct a roundabout there. They met with community leaders today to discuss the decision and next steps.

NYSDOT originally proposed a roundabout to reduce the frequency and severity of motor vehicle accidents at this intersection. After receiving comments from local residents and community leaders, NYSDOT is developing a new plan that will include enhancing approach signs that warn drivers of the stop signs on East Road.

“This project is a great example of how public involvement works,” NYSDOT Regional Director Bob Traver said. “We informed the community about this intersection and our recommended improvements. In response, the public commented and drove our decision to change our plan.”

NYSDOT presented the safety needs and a recommended solution to the community at a public hearing on Sept. 12 at the Bethany Town Hall. Information was also available online at www.dot.ny.gov/20eastroad

NYSDOT will continue to emphasize the importance of motorists to follow the rules of the road when approaching all intersections. Motorists should not drive distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

UPDATE: Assemblyman Steve Hawley called and said that he and Sen. Ranzenhofer also lobbied the DOT to change its position on the roundabout.

"We didn't think that it was A, something that was going to work, and B, the cost of the project was onerous and expensive, and C, the taking of a house that old was objectionable, and D, the board and town residents had been quite clear about their concerns," Hawley said.

Hawley said his office became involved in the issue in the fall of 2012, when it was clear that redistricting was going to put Bethany in his district.

"There were many people working on this. DOT has listened and has done the right thing," Hawley said.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Possible house fire on Telephone Road, Pavilion

post by Billie Owens in batavia, alexander, Bethany, fire, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford

A possible house fire is reported at 7635 Telephone Road. The homeowner called dispatch and said the house was full of smoke. Pavilion Fire Department is responding along with mutual aid from Le Roy. The location is between South Street Road and Asbury Road.

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: The first responder says "I've got a lot of smoke." A second platoon is called.

UPDATE 2:35 p.m.: Mercy medics are also called along with mutual aid from Stafford, which is sending a tanker to the scene and a fill-in crew at Pavilion Fire Hall. The occupants are out of the home. The first floor is fully involved.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: Bethany is responding, too. National Grid is called. A power line is down and dangerously close to firefighters -- "about five feet away."

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: Bergen is called as well as Town of Batavia. Caledonia, which is to fill in for Le Roy, will also be asked to help access or set up apparatus to aid the firefighters.

UPDATE 2:53 p.m.: National Grid is asked to expedite the response because "there are power lines down all over the place.

UPDATE 2:56 p.m.: National Grid has a 15-minute ETA. Firefighters can't access part of the structure until power is shut off. "There's a power line right in front of it, can't access the east side at all."

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: National Grid is on scene.

UPDATE 3:04 p.m.: Wyoming County dispatched Perry to the scene. The power is cut off.

UPDATE 3:10 p.m.: Firefighters are told there is gunpowder inside the home along with guns and propane cylinders.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: Alexander is on scene.

UPDATE 3:41 p.m.: The American Red Cross is called to provide emergency assistance to one adult. Churchville is called to fill in at Le Roy's Fire Hall.

UPDATE 4:12 p.m.: Inmates from the Wyoming Correctional Facility are being transported to the scene to help.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m.: Brothers James Lawrence Bearce and Kenneth Vincent Bearce lived in the house, along with a couple of dogs, which they saved. Along with brother Jack, they were traveling musicians years ago and had a recording studio in the structure. Ken said he's not sure how much of their inventory of recording tapes are salvageable, ditto for tools that were kept in the basement.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Photos: A morning and afternoon drive through Bethany

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, photos

Slow news day. I had some business to conduct in Le Roy this morning, so naturally I took just about the longest route I could without leaving Genesee County. That took me through Bethany. In the afternoon, I was going to cover a story in Pavilion, but that didn't pan out, and as the late afternoon sun bent toward the West, I found myself again in Bethany.

Above, telephone poles on Brown Road.

Again, on Brown Road.

From Brown Road.

Jerico Road and East Road.

East Bethany Le Roy Road.

The Little Tonawanda off Mill Road, Linden.

I was fascinated by this large leaf I found on the ground next to the Little Tonawanda. I brought it home to Billie.

A little flower by the roadside of Mill Road.

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 10:58 am

Photo: Old truck next to cornfield

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany

Well, the morning started out nice. Then the sun disappeared. Here's a picture from Cook Road, Bethany, from my short drive this morning.

Friday, September 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

Law and Order: Another shoplifting arrest at Kmart

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, Bethany, crime

Tracy Lynn Damato, 47, of Horsehoe Lake Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Damato is accused of stealing $19.99 in merchandise from Kmart.

Jordon Elizabeth Prescott, 19, of Ellicott Street Road, Bethany, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, and criminal contempt, 2nd. Prescott is accused of being at College Village after being barred from the property. She is accused of violating an order of protection by coming into contact with the security guard that was on duty at College Village.

Travis S. Bartz, 37, of Alexander, is charged with a violation of probation and criminal contempt, 2nd. Bartz was allegedly located at a residence on Route 98, Town of Attica, Wyoming County, by State Police in violation of probation conditions and a current stay-away order of protection.

Kimberley A. Smith, 36, of Alexander, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or higher and failure to stop at stop sign. Smith was arrested at 6:27 p.m. Wednesday on Brookville Road, Alexander, by State Police. Following her arrest, she was released to a third party.

Lamar Iteef Randall, 28, of Spruce Avenue, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 5th. Randall was arrested on a warrant out of Stafford Town Court upon his release from Monroe County Jail where he was being held on an unrelated charged. He was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Working barn fire reported on Roanoke Road, Stafford

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Bethany, fire, Le Roy, Pavilion, Stafford

A working barn fire is reported 9418 Roanoke Road, Stafford. There is heavy black smoke visible. Stafford Fire Department is responding, along with mutual aid from Bethany, Le Roy, Pavilion and Town of Batavia. The latter is to stand by in Stafford's hall.

UPDATE 7:28 p.m.: A secondary explosion is reported and there is livestock involved.

UPDATE 7:31 p.m.: A firefighter in the area says the barn "looks like it's fully involved."

UPDATE 7:33 p.m.: Command asks that National Grid be contacted.

UPDATE 7:42 p.m.: Stafford commands says all responding tankers can go back in service. The equipment on scene with suffice.

UPDATE 7:44 p.m.: South Byron is asked to stand by in Stafford's fire hall instead of Town of Batavia.

UPDATE 7:46 p.m.: An engine out of Caledonia is asked to stand by in Le Roy's fire hall.

UPDATE 8:03 p.m.: Bethany is back in service.

UPDATE 8:23 p.m.: Howard interviewed property owner Terry Smart at the scene and the man said he lost four pigs, 16 chickens and two dogs in the blaze. He said he had just completed work on his new pig pen today and doesn't know how the fire started. Three years ago, in the same location, his house burned down.

UPDATE 9:13 p.m. (by Howard): Photo at the top by Doug Yeomans. Doug also sent over video that I'll post as soon as it's uploaded to YouTube. We also have our own photos coming.

UPDATE: Video by Doug Yeomans. Copyright by Doug Yoemans. Used with permission.

UPDATE 9:24 p.m.: Le Roy fire back in service.

UPDATE 10:34 p.m.: Stafford units back in service.

Monday, September 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

Law and Order: Grand Island man accused of causing disturbance at local hotel

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bethany, crime, Le Roy, Pavilion, south byron, Stafford

James Alvin Daigler, 58, of Stanley Road, Grand Island, is charged with resisting arrest, trespass and disorderly conduct. Daigler is accused of causing a disturbance at the Clarion Hotel, 8250 Park Road, Batavia, at 1:20 a.m., Sunday. He allegedly refused to leave after being ordered to leave and used obscene and offensive language while in public. Daigler was jailed on $500 bail.

Ted E. Kingsley, 40, of 117 State St., upper, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. Kingsley allegedly failed to appear on a petit larceny charge related to a theft of beer from Tops. Kingsley was jailed on $1,000 bail.

James A. Chase, 33, no permanent address, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Chase is accused of violating a no-offensive-conduct order of protection by shoving and spitting on the protected person. Chase was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Reinaldo Roman, 41, of 130 W. Main St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Roman is accused of repeatedly threatening to kill another person while in the presence of police. Roman was jailed on $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond.

Shane Zimblis, 42, of 24 Hutchins St., upper, Batavia, is charged with trespass. Zimblis is accused of trespassing on a property on Hutchins Street.

Jamie M. Hamill, 36, of 209 W. Park St., Albion, is charged with criminal trespass. Hamill was allegedly ordered to leave a residence several times and refused to leave.

David N. Taplin, 36, of 54 Newport Drive, Brockport, was arrested on a bench warrant. Taplin allegedly failed to show up at the jail for an imposed weekend sentence. Taplin was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Terry T. Saddler Jr., 37, of 112 State St., lower, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Saddler was picked up on a warrant out of Brockport by Batavia PD and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Brandy Lee Stalica, 38, of Route 63, Pavilion, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Stalica allegedly subjected another woman to physical contact during a custody exchange. The alleged incident was reported at 8:31 p.m., Friday, at a location on East Bethany -- Le Roy Road.

Jennifer Joan Wolcott, 43, of East Bethany -- Le Roy Road, Stafford, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wolcott allegedly had physical contact with another person during an argument. The alleged incident was reported at 8:31 p.m., Friday, at a location on East Bethany -- Le Roy Road.

Eric Jon Merritt, 24, of Rose Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, reckless driving, failure to stop at stop sign, failure to signal, failure to yield to emergency vehicle and failure to keep right. Merritt was stopped at 4:06 p.m. Saturday on Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Deborah Ann Scholonski, 43, of Keeney Road, Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Scholonski allegedly sent a text message to a neighbor she had been told not to contact.

Marilyn Lois Weinert, 61, of Route 237, South Byron, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to dim headlights and failure to keep right. Weinert was stopped at 2:06 a.m. Saturday on Byron Holley Road, South Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Thomas Patrick Lester, 45, of Lake Road, Brockport, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, driving left of pavement markings and failure to keep right. Lester was stopped at 4:12 p.m. Thursday by Sgt. Ron Meides.

Timothy M. Fingland, 24, of Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Fingland was stopped on Route 63, Batavia, at 8;59 p.m. Friday by State Police.

Tammy L. Long, 40, of Cheektowaga, and Paul J. Dipalma, 49, of Cheektowaga, are both charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Long and Dipalma were arrested by State Police in connnection with an alleged crime reported in the Town of Batavia on Jan. 17. Both were jailed on $5,000 bail each. No further details released.

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