Skip to main content


Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 12:58 am

Byron Heritage Day, Saturday, July 30 - Schedule of Events

post by James Renfrew in byron, festivals


Byron Heritage Festival Calendar of Events

July 30, 2011

Fishing Derby    8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. (Ages 12 and under)  (Sponsored by Byron Kiwanis)    (sign-in begins at 7:30 a.m.)

5K Run     7:00 a.m. Registration  (Sponsored by Boy Scout Troop #13)                                 8:00 a.m. Race Begins.  9:30 a.m. Race Results

Craft and Food Vendors    9:00 a.m. – ?

Garage Sales      9:00 a.m. – ?

Bounce House    10:00 a.m. - ?    (Sponsored by Fullerinos)

Parade         11:00 a.m.

Cruise In        11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Byron Museum       Open to the public 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Raffles       Winners announced starting at 3:00 p.m.

Horseshoe Tournament        4:00 p.m.      (Sponsored by Sue Fuller)

Basketball Shootout           2:30 p.m. (Basketball Court)

Garden Contest      Winners announced at 3:00 p.m.

Chicken BBQ       4:00 p.m. until Sold Out   (Sponsored by Byron Kiwanis)

Ghostriders         1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Brick Band           5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Big Money Bob      8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Fireworks        9:30 p.m.

Outdoor Worship at the Byron Presbyterian Church on Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 9:45 a.m.  Please bring lawn chairs.  For more information, please call 548-2800.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Officials wrapping up investigation into death of Iraq vet on Darien Lake rollercoaster

post by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park

State regulators are expected to meet with investigators from the Sheriff's Office tomorrow and present their findings from their investigation into the death Friday of Iraq war hero James Hackemer, who was ejected from the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake Theme Park.

Until then, it's hard to say, according to Deputy Chief Jerome Brewster, if there will be any evidence to take to the District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution of any staff members at the theme park.

"At this point, we don't see any evidence of criminality," Brewster said. "But we'll have to see what the Department of Labor comes up with in their half of the investigation. If in their half, they find training records that show a supervisor or employees were trained not to let an amputee on the ride (for example), then maybe there is something to take to the District Attorney to review."

Brewster said, rather than a criminal complaint the findings might support a possible civil action by Hackemer's family, noting, however, that in any case where there is an injury or death on an amusement park ride, some sort of civil action is likely.

"Just off the top of my head I would think there’s some potential for civil liability, but criminal liability remains to be seen," Brewster said.

The Sheriff's Office has completed its investigation, Brewster said. The DOL investigators were at the scene of the accident today and are expected to return to Darien Lake in the morning before meeting with the Sheriff's Office in the afternoon.

Darien Lake officials are being exceptionally tight lipped about the accident.

Cassandra Okon, spokeswoman for the theme park, today repeated what she's told every news outlet that's called her: Officials at the park have no idea how long the investigation will take and until then park officials have no comment on the accident.

Asked if there would be a press conference after the investigation is completed, Okon said that hasn't been decided.

She took The Batavian's e-mail address and said if there are any further statements from Darien Lake, the statements will be e-mailed to all of the media outlets on her list.

The story of Hackemer's death has been reported throughout the world.

He lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq and twice nearly died as a result of his wounds.

Hackemer's family told the Buffalo News that the 29-year-old father of two "died happy."

"I have no doubt in my mind that he died happy," his sister, Jody Hackemer, said Saturday as the family gathered at Hackemer's parents' farmhouse in Gowanda. "I know that's hard to comprehend. But really, he was doing what he wanted to do. And that's the important thing."

While there have been rumors since the accident that Hackemer insisted on getting on the ride over the objections of Darien Lake staff, the family contradicts those account in the Buffalo News article.

"We in no shape or form hold Darien Lake accountable," the sister said. "They weren't negligent. It's nobody's fault. It was an accident. James thought it wasn't an issue."

Brewster said that what he's seen from the investigation reports so far indicate that Hackemer wanted to get on the ride and family and staff assisted him. There was no attempt that Brewster is aware of to stop Hackemer from taking a seat on the Ride of Steel.

"Nobody has indicated that at this point," Brewster said.

Brewster confirmed accounts that Hackemer was ejected from the ride at the crest of a hill on the ride the runs parallel Route 77 where other rides have said the gravitational shift causes riders to lift out of their seats.  

Hackemer had already been though bigger hills in the ride, so it's still not clear why he was ejected at this point in the ride.

The accident has revived an attempt by a Massachusetts congressman to take theme park regulation out of the hands of state officials and put regulation and investigation into federal officials' hands.

The local and state regulators who currently oversee amusement parks may lack the budget resources and technical experience to carry out effective safety checks and investigate accidents, Markey said.

"While the cause of the accident that claimed the life of Sgt. Hackemer is still unknown, one thing is crystal clear: Hypercoasters that hurtle riders at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour along 200-foot drops should not be exempt from federal safety oversight," Markey said.

He plans to introduce legislation, which he has proposed multiple times before, to make fixed-site amusement parks subject to the regulatory authority of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal consumer protection body. The move could prevent future injuries, he said.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Driver in accident on Indian Falls Road still unable to answer questions from investigators

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Indian Falls Road, pembroke

The driver of a red SUV that crossed the center line causing a serious-injury accident on Indian Falls Road on Thursday, remains in serious condition at ECMC and hasn't been available for interviews, Undersheriff Bill Sheron said. 

Sonya M. Charache, 30, of Gorton Road, suffered a head injury in the accident. It's unclear what caused her SUV to cross the center line, Sheron said.

"It's not unusual that in such accidents where there are head injuries that the victims don't remember much of the accident, or they can't recall what happened just prior to the accident," Sheron said.

It's possible prescription drugs could have been a factor, Sheron said, but toxicology reports have not been returned yet, so neither drugs nor alcohol as a contributing factor have been ruled out.

Three children in Charache's SUV and the driver of a blue pickup truck that was eastbound on Indian Falls Road were also injured.

The other driver, Donald Sage, 70, of Judge Road, Oakfield, remains hospitalized at Strong with multiple fractures and facial injuries.

The 6-year-old injured, Garrett M. Talbot, remains hospitalized. Sheron said he is making good progress toward recovery.

"None of the injuries are considered life threatening at this point," Sheron said.

The other two children, Jackson K. Gilbert, 2, and Kayda L. Charache, 1, both of Gorton Road, Alabama, are out of the hospital.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm

RN accused of creating inflated call claims to steal more than $14,000

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A former Bergen resident who was recently accused of stealing a mailbox from a neighbor is facing a grand larceny charge for allegedly stealing $14,650 from her former employer.

Michele Ann Case, 46, of 1037 Chili Center-Coldwater Road, Rochester, a registered nurse, is accused of submitting inflated mileage claims and fraudulent "call-in" claims that, in effect, diverted $14,650 from her employer.

Case worked for the company, which is not named in the press release, from late 2008 through January 2011. She is accused of filing the inflated claims from January 2009 through January 2011.

Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, Case was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

The alleged larceny was investigated by Det. Charles F. Dudek, Batavia PD.

In June, Case, who was listed as a resident of North Bergen Road, Bergen, in previous arrest reports, was accused of stealing a mailbox. In comments on The Batavian, Case said she thought the mailbox was unused and was merely recycling it.

Previous stories about Case:

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Vehicle hits tree, then house on Holland Avenue in the city

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A vehicle struck a tree, then a house at 15 Holland Ave. in the City of Batavia. There are no injuries reported. City fire responded and is clearing. There is a small amount of structural damage to the porch and a little damage to the vehicle.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Smoke billowing behind business on Clinton Street Road, Bergen

post by Billie Owens in fire

A large amount of smoke is reported in the area of 7427 Clinton St. Road. Bergen Fire Department is responding to investigate. It's coming from behind a truck parts business.

UPDATE 1:29 p.m.: The chief reports that the fire is visible from Dublin Road and Route 33. It is said to have started accidently. A grass truck from Le Roy and another one from Stafford are requested. The location is between Lyman Road and Maple Avenue, far back on the property at Demo's Truck Parts, Inc.

UPDATE 1:41 p.m.: Byron and South Byron fire departments are called to bring a tanker truck to the scene.

UPDATE 1:56 p.m.: The fire is out.

UPDATE 2:06 p.m.: Firefighters finishing up the work have asked for water and the ladies' auxiliary is going to bring it to them.

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: Stafford was put back in service some time ago. Now Le Roy, Byron and South Byron fire departments are also back in service. The Department of Environmental Conservation is sending someone to investigate the situation.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Two-car accident with injuries in Pavilion

post by Billie Owens in accident, Pavilion

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at Telephone and Cook roads in Pavilion. It's possibly a head-on collision. Pavilion Fire Department and Mercy EMS are responding and the availability of Mercy Flight is being checked.

UPDATE: 1:10 p.m.: A responder on scene says there are minor injuries, including a chest injury and an arm injury. No need for Mercy Flight. Three vehicles are involved.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Truck drivers get special enforcement attention from Batavia Police

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A total of 36 tickets were issued to 11 drivers of commercial vehicles during a check point set up on Route 98 near the Thruway entrance on June 23, Batavia Police announced.

Besides the citations, two trucks were taken out of service until necessary repairs could be made.

The city's enforcement effort was funded through a Selective Enforcement Program grant through the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

The police department said such enforcement details will continue throughout the summer and fall.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Police Beat: Choking law used in alleged domestic incident case

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy

Patrick John Tomai, 30, of Clinton Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and endangering the welfare of a child. Tomai is accused of being involved in a domestic dispute with his wife at 8:38 p.m. Saturday while his children were present.

April Lynn Burke, 30, of Golfshire Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to signal. Burke was stopped at 12:33 a.m. Saturday on Route 33, Town of Batavia, by Deputy Jason Saile.

Stephen Wade Thompson, 34, of West Main Street, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. Thompson is accused of trying to conceal $64.78 in stolen merchandise at Kmart in the box of an air conditioner he had purchased and picked up from layaway.

Ricky Oliver Cooper, 34, of Warsaw Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely and no seat belt. Cooper was stopped at 10:33 p.m. Sunday on Sweetland Road, Stafford, by Deputy Matthew Butler.

Andrew Charles Maier, 25, Sumner Road, Corfu, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving left of pavement markings. Maier was stopped at 2:41 a.m. Monday on Broadway Road, Alexander, by Deputy Howard Carlson.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Two arrests, 31 underage drinking citations at Sugarland concert

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien

The following arrests were made by the Sheriff's Office on July 8 during the Sugarland concert at Darien Lake Performatin Arts Center.

Tina M. Smith, 42, of  Coburn Street, Elmira is charged with harassment, 2nd. Smith is accused of striking a security guard will being ejected.

Margaret B. DeMarco, 18, of Hughes Street, Buffalo is charged with false personation and possession of alcohol under age 21. DeMarco is accused of providing a false name and being under 21 in possession of alcohol.

After the jump, a list of citations issued for alleged underage drinking. 


Monday, July 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

Photo: Traffic light work on Bank Street

post by Howard B. Owens in Bank Street, batavia

Workers from a Rochester-based contractor on Bank Street this morning installing traffic sensors for the traffic lights.

Monday, July 11, 2011 at 11:11 am

Photo: Summer rec program visits fire station

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Children participating in one of the city's summer recreation programs paid a visit to City of Batavia Fire Department today and got to meet firefighters and learn about their jobs and see the equipment they use.

Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Smoke reported on east side of Fargo Road, Darien

post by Billie Owens in Darien, fire

Smoke is reportedly coming from the woods along the east side of Fargo Road, south of Reynolds Road, in Darien. Darien Volunteer Fire Department is responding. The caller said there was a large amount of black smoke pouring from the area.

UPDATE 8:42 p.m.: Firefighters on scene report that, at this time, the fire is deemed to be a controlled burn.

UPDATE 8:52 p.m.: It is a controlled burn and those responsible for it are putting it out. Darien fire is back in service.

Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Anglers vs. swimmers at Munson Street Bridge, Le Roy

post by Billie Owens in Le Roy

Anglers on the Munson Street Bridge (also known as the Red Bridge) in the Town of Le Roy are complaining that some swimmers have shown up, thereby impinging on their afternoon fishing enjoyment. Law enforcement is called to handle the matter.

Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

Photo: Reader looking for owner of lost dog

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, batavia, pets

Reader Jane Johnson said this pooch appeared in their yard this morning, very friendly, loves being around kids and had a collar and rabies tags.

But she has no idea who owns the dog.

The owner can contact Johns at 739-0378.

Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 8:47 am

Controlled burn that may have spread reported on Bloomingdale Road

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, fire

A controlled burn that may have spread is reported at 1046 Bloomingdale Road in Alabama. Alabama Fire Department is responding.

A live wire that is arcing is also reported there. National Grid has been notified. No ETA given.

UPDATE 9 a.m.: The fire chief says the situation is under control. National Grid is expected any minute now.

Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 12:12 am

Iraq vet, double amputee, dies after being ejected from ride at Darien Lake Theme Park

post by WBTA News in accident, Darien, darien lake theme park

The victim of a tragic roller coaster accident at Darien Lake Theme Park this afternoon was 29-year-old James Hackemer, of Gowanda. He is a veteran of the Iraq War and a double-amputee. One of his legs was removed at the hip, and other below just above the knee.

The Ride of Steel is a lap-harness-only roller coaster. Its restraint system includes a yellow lap bar that covers approximately hip-to-hip, and a lap-only seat belt. There are no other bodily restraints built into the ride. Hackemer was not wearing prosthetic legs this afternoon.

At a news conference this evening, Genesee County Sheriff's Sergeant Greg Walker confirmed that Hackemer was riding in the front seat of the front car on The Ride of Steel at the time of the incident. He was sitting next to a family member. Sgt. Walker estimated the roller coaster was traveling about 50 mph. He could not say how far Hackemer had fallen.

Sheriff's investigations will continue tomorrow. Darien Lake officials and the NYS Department of Labor are also looking into the matter. No charges have been filed.

Park officials declined comment this evening, other than to say that the theme park will remain open on its normal schedule tomorrow. The Ride of Steel will remain closed. A message to the public has been posted on the Darien Lake website.

PHOTO: Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Mullen, left, and Sgt. Greg Walker. Photo by Geoff Redick of WBTA.

CORRECTION (1:04 a.m.): Victim's name updated to reflect proper spelling.

Friday, July 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Possible house fire reported on Hutchins Street in the city

post by Billie Owens in batavia, fire

A possible house fire is reported on Hutchins Street near South Jackson Street. A neighbor reports smoke is pouring from the roof. City fire department is responding.

UPDATE 10:17 p.m.: Firefighters on scene see fire and smoke coming from the area of 146 Hutchins St. Southwest winds at 1 mph. "It's a personal bonfire." City ladder truck 15 in service. Police who responded said the smoke was caused by juveniles at the site putting leaves on the fire. The bonfire is apparently legal.

UPDATE 10:32 p.m.: The people enjoying the bonfire put it out.

Premium Drupal Themes