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Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Man falls 'at the very bottom' of the north side of the falls off Gilmore Road, Corfu

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, corfu, indian falls, pembroke

A man complains of back pain after falling on the north side of the Indian Falls behind the Log Cabin Restaurant on Gilmore Road. He is said to be "struggling a bit" in the water, according to the caller, and fell at the bottom of the falls. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are responding and Mercy Flight is on standby.

UPDATE 8:39 p.m.: A rope rescue extrication team is called in. A responder on scene says it looks like a male and a female are in need of rescue. They are "in the middle of the flow" and it is pretty heavy. The extrication process is expected to be lengthy. Extrication will be made from the southside, where the creek water is moving slower, and the operations headquarters will be in the Log Cabin restaurant parking lot. "It looks likes there's one patient down there holding onto the rocks."

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: "The male is in the middle of the falls at the base and anyone coming in, I'd like to have water suits on." Law enforcement is called in. Another victim has fallen approximately 40 yards into the creek in a futile attempt to rescue the distressed parties. Now he is in need of rescue.

UPDATE 8:52 p.m.: Alden's Water Rope Rescue Team is called and is responding. The second victim at top of the falls is out, and both victims at the bottom of the falls are now upright.

UPDATE 8:56 p.m.: Emergency responders are staging in the restaurant parking lot at 1227 Gilmore Road, Corfu.

UPDATE 9:01 p.m.: Mercy Flight is called in.

UPDATE 9:17 p.m.: Alabama Fire Department Rescue is to handle the Mercy Flight staging, which will be at the Indian Falls Methodist Church, located at 7908 Alleghany Road, Corfu. The helicopter is to land in a grass field there.

UPDATE 9:32 p.m.: Mercy Flight has landed.

UPDATE 10:09 p.m.: Those in need of rescue from the swift water of the falls are being brought up to within reach of the emergency crews. Pembroke went back in service at about 9:57 p.m.

UPDATE 10:15 p.m.: "The patient is topside."

UPDATE 10:32 p.m.: Alabama reports that Mercy Flight is in the air, heading to Erie County Medical Center.

UPDATE 10:36 p.m.: Alabama is back in service.

UPDATE 10:46 p.m.: "...all equipment from down below is now topside." The remaining responders are picking up their gear and preparing to return to service.

UPDATE 11:05 p.m.: All responders are in service.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 8:03 am

Dryer fire reported at laundromat in Corfu

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, fire

A dryer fire is reported in a laundromat at 1 Corfu Plaza, Corfu.

A chief on scene reports flames showing from a dryer.

Corfu Fire with mutual aid from Pembroke, East Pembroke and Darien dispatched along with the City's Fast Team.

The City is requesting the Fourth Platoon to headquarters.

UPDATE: A first responder reports the fire is knocked down.

UPDATE 9:07 a.m.: City of Batavia can stand down.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Corfu passes budget that cuts spending, but increases taxes

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu

The Village of Corfu will rely less on reserve funds and more on a tax increase to balance the 2013/2014 budget.

Trustees approved the $788,332 spending plan Monday night.

While spending drops from the previous year by $106,000, property taxes go up 5 percent to $3.11 per thousand of assessed value.

The sewer fee goes up 4 percent to $6.24 per thousand.

The reserve fund will be tapped for $3,200.

The village will spend $1,500 on training for its first-term mayor.

With the resignation of the police administrator, the village cut police department spending by $20,000.

Two staff members took voluntary cuts to 32 hours a week.

Non-union employees receive a 1 percent pay increase to offset an increase in health insurance premiums.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Head-on collision on Route 5 near Erie County line, Pembroke

post by Billie Owens in accidents, corfu, Darien, pembroke

A head-on, two-car accident with multiple injuries is reported at 352 Main Road in the Town of Pembroke, near the Erie County line. Corfu, Pembroke and Darien fire departments are responding and Mercy Flight will be also.

UPDATE 2:39 p.m.: Traffic is backing up and Route 77 is reduced to a single lane in some places. The landing zone will be a lot at Jim & Bob's Service Co. Route 5 is being shut down. Akron Fire Department is requested to shut down 5 at Crittenden Road. In addition to Mercy Flight, an ambulance is needed at the scene. Responders are working to extricate victims.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: Corfu fire is going to shut down Lake Road at 5 to westbound traffic.

UPDATE 2:28: Fire police will also shut down Route 5 at Route 77. Mercy Flight has landed and the ambulance is on scene.

UPDATE 2:57 p.m.: It appears they are going to keep 5 at 77 open at least for the time being.

UPDATE 3:14 p.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne but no destination reported yet.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: Genesee County Coroner Kristine Flanagan has arrived on scene.

UPDATE 4:48 p.m.: The roadways are reopened. Responders are back in service.

Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

CSX has opened two railroad crossings, but five remain closed

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, CSX railroad, pembroke

Two of the group of railroad crossings between the Genesee and Erie County line that had been closed reopened this morning by 9, but the rest remain closed and according to a CSX manager at Wortendyke Road, will remain closed through tomorrow.

Upton and Snipery roads are open.

Route 77, which had been partially closed for some repair work was open at 10:30 a.m.

The closures are affecting travel for residents, bus drivers, and of course, emergency responders

We requested comment from the CSX media center last night and again today but have yet to get a response.

Crossing above: Wortendyke Road.

UPDATE: As soon as I hit save on this, a representative from CSX called. He needed to get more information so he could get us more information. We'll update this post accordingly when we hear back.

Wilkinson Road

Ellinwood Avenue

Colby Road

Fargo Road

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm

CSX Railroad crossings closed to traffic in portions of county until midnight

post by Billie Owens in batavia, corfu, CSX railroad, Darien, east pembroke

Some railroads crossings of the CSX line in Genesee County will be temporarily closed this evening in portions of the Town of Batavia, Darien, Corfu and East Pembroke.

Railroad crossings will be closed to all traffic on Wortendyke, Upton, Wilkinson and Colby roads, and Ellinwood Avenue, and possibly at other locations along that rail route.

The closure is expected to last until approximately midnight.

Monday, April 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm

More turmoil in Corfu: Police administrator resigns

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu

Mayor Ralph Peterson is taking over supervision of the Corfu Police Department with the resignation today of Police Administrator Jim Meier.

In a resignation letter read to the village board this evening, Meier cited what he called "numerous attacks" leveled at him by Peterson and Officer Gene Nati as the reason for his resignation.

He said the attacks began with a claim, later found to be unsubstantiated by a State Police investigation, that the department was filing for DWI grant money it didn't deserve. The recent complaints -- and potential lawsuit -- about how part-time officers are scheduled for work are a continuation of those attacks, Meier wrote in his letter.

As soon as Trustee Ken Lauer finished reading the letter, Peterson quickly said, "resignation accepted."

Trustee Art Ianni asked whether the board should vote to accept the resignation and Peterson agreed to a vote.

Peterson, along with trustees Keith Busch and David Bielec voted yes. Lauer and Ianni voted no.

Through the course of the meeting, it was determined that Peterson would not only oversee scheduling of officers, but other supervisor duties, at least until the village figures out what to do with the police department.

Former mayor Todd Skeet said he hired Meier because he figured out he couldn't do the things the village needed to maintain a police department, such as ensuring officers are properly certified with their weapons and process tickets.

"I didn't know about any of that stuff," Skeet said. "I don't think the current mayor is trained in law enforcement. It opens the whole village up to a possible lawsuit. The things the police administrator does is more than just scheduling, which is only about 10 percent of his job."

The board agreed to form a committee to study what should happen with the police department -- whether to continue with the current system of a part-time administrator and several part-time officers, hire a full-time officer with fewer part-time officers or contract with the Sheriff's Office.

Two residents along with Peterson and Ianni will serve on the committee. The first action, Peterson said, will be to set up a meeting with Gordon Dibble, chief deputy in charge of road patrol for the Sheriff's Office.

At the start of the meeting, Peterson announced the meeting would be run according to standard open meeting rules -- sticking to the agenda and allowing public comment only during a prescribed portion of the meeting.

Public comments were held until after village business was completed.

Village resident Greg Lang spoke first and complained about all of the negative scrutiny the village has received recently, and without naming Peterson, said there was only one person responsible.

Lang rattled off several incidents that Peterson has been implicated in recently, from reportedly calling Lauer saying a meeting was canceled, to allegedly firing the village clerks, to today's controversy over an anonymous letter sent to the owner of Camden Group trying to silence former trustee Al Graham.

While nobody directly accused Peterson of being behind the letter, Graham said the letter was turned over to the special prosecutor looking into the village court's missing money case and that it would be tested for fingerprints.

Lang asked that Peterson resign his office. Peterson shook his head, "no."

Another resident pointed out that the letter threatens to get Camden's contract pulled for operation of the sewer plant, but only somebody on the village board would have the power for such action.

The second speaker was Justice David O'Connor.

On April 10, O'Connor spoke to the board about the village court budget and questioned some of what has happened in the court over the past couple of years and brought it under the scrutiny of the Judicial Review Commission.

Following the meeting, O'Connor claimed that former village justice Robert Alexander sent him a nasty e-mail saying that somebody had played a tape for him of his comments at the April 10 meeting.

Alexander's daughter, Jenny Warner, left a comment on The Batavian challenging O'Connor's claim that Alexander wrote a "vile" e-mail.

She wrote:

The allegations that were made by Justice O"Connor about a "vile" and "threatening" email from my father Robert Alexander bothered me since it was so out of character for my Dad. Howard I think this email should be posted so the public can decide if they think it is vile and threatening.

Tonight, O'Connor read the e-mail he said came from Alexander at the meeting.

Dave please do not email me ever again. I want no communications or interaction with you in any form. I heard the tape from the meeting and read the comments of you trowing (sic) me under the buss (sic) and making those comments about me. You are not a friend and obviously all that bull about thanking me for dropping out of the Corfu race and asking support of you was a big lie. I guess I should have had your arrested after you flipped out and physically attacked me with those body blocks when I came to do the arraignment, but I gave you grace and forgiveness.

O'Connor said the accusation of a physical attack was complete fiction.

Graham also addressed a comment left by Warner saying the disagreements with Peterson are over his race.

"There is not one person here or in this village who has ever heard me ever say anything racist," Graham said. "I don't even tell racist jokes, but Bob's daughter wants to make this about race. This is not about the color of the man's skin. This is about a man's integrity and the truthfulness of the man. It's about me letting you as residents of the village know when he's lying to you."

During the meeting, Peterson did not address any of the comments made about him, except to deny any involvement in either the civil service complaint or the potential lawsuit over scheduling of police officers.

Monday, April 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Corfu sewer contractor reacts to anonymous letter threatening his business with the village

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu

More controversy in Corfu today has put the owner of a sewer facility management company in the unusual position of defending his employee's free speech rights.

Kenneth G. Scherrieble, president of the Camden Group, received an unsigned letter that threatened to seek a termination of his company's contract with the Village of Corfu unless one of his employees stops speaking at public meetings.

Camden manages Corfu's wastewater treatment facility and former trustee Al Graham is a Camden manager.

"While Al Grahm (sic) attends board meetings and railroads village business and spews negativity about certain board members," the letter says, "I will consider this brash situation of a huge conflict of business between your company and I will look to generate interest to replace your company. I don't believe that is good business for you or your company!"

In response, Scherrieble fired off a letter today to the trustees that defends Graham's right to participate as a village resident in village discussions.

"I will not be threatened by anyone," Scherrieble writes. "If I lose the Village of Corfu contract because one of my employees exercised their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT, then so be it. But that will be a truly sad day for the Village and for America."

In his letter, Scherrieble notes that Graham's son served in Iraq and Afghanistan and his own son is entering the Marines.

"Why do these young men put their lives at risk?" he writes. "Because they believe in the rights guaranteed to them as a Citizen of this Country. They believe that United States Constitution is a sacred document, and that the tenants within, those Rights given to all Citizens of this Country are worth laying their lives down for. "

There is a regular village board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Friday, April 19, 2013 at 1:25 am

Trustees in Corfu get through budget hearing, but not without some sharp words

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu

Corfu's budget hearing Thursday night wasn't without its moments of conflict.

Newly elected Village Justice David O'Connor confronted Mayor Ralph Peterson over an e-mail O'Connor said he received from former village justice Robert Alexander.

The village board and residents also spent several minutes discussing whether the village should continue to have a police force, or what type of department it should have, especially in light of the recent threat of a lawsuit from six police officer employees.

O'Connor was the first to speak and he wanted to know if Peterson played a tape recording of Tuesday's meeting for Alexander.

According to O'Connor, Alexander sent O'Connor a "vile" and "threatening" e-mail and said he had heard a recording of the meeting.

Peterson did have a tape recorder on the table in front of him during the meeting.

O'Connor made some critical remarks of Alexander, particularly in light of the comptroller's audit of the court and the allegation of missing court funds.

Among O'Connor's pointed remarks was that court commission officials don't often worry about the courts around the state, but they wake in the middle of the night with worry about Corfu's village court.

Peterson denied playing the tape for Alexander.

"I've gotten no control over what other people do," Peterson said.

There was a person at the meeting using a Droid tablet to video record the meeting.

As for the police department, one resident questioned why the village even needs to employ its own police officers.

Peterson said he's researched whether the village could contract with the Sheriff's Office for village law enforcement and found it's an expensive proposition. The Sheriff's Office would charge the village up to $32 an hour for the hours a deputy would work in the village.

Trustee Art Ianni pointed out that a contracted deputy wouldn't generate the revenue village officers do to help pay for the service.

"I'm not a big fan of the Corfu ticket-writing machine, but are deputies going to write 100 tickets a week?" Ianni said.

Trustee Keith Busch said on average, deputies won't respond as quickly to a complaint as an on-duty village police officer responds.

Trustee Ken Lauer suggested that the village go to a department with one full-time officer and two part-time, which could solve some of the current conflicts within the department about work hours.

The entire discussion seemed prompted by the threat of a lawsuit over an alleged violation of civil service law.

There was also some confrontation over Peterson's pay.

The mayor's budget is $5,700, which includes $1,500 for mayoral training.

"Obviously, I need it," Peterson said.

Resident Greg Lang wondered why, if Peterson is new on the job, why is he being paid the same as former mayor Todd Skeet? Lang pointed out that the trustees cut O'Connor's salary by $2,000 annually because he's new in the job.

When asked if he would take a pay cut, Peterson said flatly, "no."

Ianni said none of the trustees are taking a pay cut.

Lang wanted the mayor's pay put to a vote, but none of the trustees made such a motion.

Some residents complained that Peterson wasn't taking a pay cut when employees were being asked to take a pay cut, but Clerk/Treasurer Sandra Thomas pointed out that the only employees with pay cuts are employees who came forward and volunteered to take a cut in pay.

The total general fund spending plan for the village totals $682,109. The proposed tax rate is $3.11, up from $2.97.

The trustees meet again at 6:30 p.m., Monday.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Fire reported in apartment in Corfu

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, Darien, east pembroke, fire, pembroke

A structure fire is reported 735 Genesee St., Corfu.

Corfu fire along with Pembroke, East Pembroke, Darien and the City's Fast Team all dispatched.

Firefighters on scene say people are still in the house and they're trying to get them out. The fire is at the back of the structure, possibily on a porch.

UPDATE 11:34 p.m.: The City's Fast Team is cancelled.

UPDATE 11:35 p.m.: The fire is knocked down. Crittendon and Akron were also called, but now are cancelled.

UPDATE 12:15 a.m.: Corfu returning to quarters.

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