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Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Darien Lake looking to fill 2,500 positions for the coming season

post by Howard Owens in business, Darien, darien lake theme park

Press release:

The region’s largest seasonal employer is looking to fill approximately 2,500 open positions across its operations, including the amusement park, water park, lodging, entertainment, food, and retail departments.

More than 50 percent of eligible employees from 2013 plan to return to Darien Lake this season, including local area teachers, seniors, high school and college students. Returning employees, along with new team members, will support weekend and holiday operations starting May 10, with daily park operations beginning June 13. Staffing levels adjust during these time periods and increase once the season is in full swing. 

"There’s something special about working a summer job at Darien Lake,” said Jan Peters, Darien Lake director of human resources. “We’re looking for energetic, friendly applicants of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in learning new skills and helping to create memorable experiences for our guests. It’s hard not to have a fantastic summer when you’re around great people in an environment that’s as fun as Darien Lake.”

Immediate opportunities are available in food services, park services, ride operations, retail, accommodations, campground housekeeping, games, gift shop sales, aquatic operations, skilled trades and park maintenance, entertainment, guest services, safety and security.

Interested applicants can apply online at www.DarienLake.com/jobs or call the Darien Lake Job Line at 585-599-5108.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Trial date set for man accused of throwing punch Kid Rock concert

post by Howard Owens in crime, Darien

A trial date has been set for Craig Malcolm Lawson, the 34-year-old Canadian citizen accused of throwing a single punch following a Kid Rock concert at Darien Lake and seriously injuring a former WNY man.

Jury selection is set to begin at 10 a.m., June 23 for an anticipated four-day trial.

Lawson is accused of punching Jason McNeil, of Tuscaloosa, Ala. McNeil reportedly hit his head on the pavement. He was in a coma following the incident and sources say he will never fully recover.

He is charged with assault in the second degree.

It remains possible Lawson will accept a plea offer. He has until April 24 to decide, Judge Robert C. Noonan said.

Lawson did not appear in court today and the last time he appeared -- for an evidence hearing -- he was 45 minutes late.

Noonan asked his attorney today why Lawson had a hard time crossing the border that day and the attorney said INS agents would not initially let him cross because of the pending felony charge. The attorney said he will provide his client with a letter to present at the border before his April 24 appearance.

Friday, February 14, 2014 at 9:25 am

Law and Order: Parolee accused of possessing needle

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Le Roy

Michele L. Difalco, 25, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Batavia PD assisted NYS Parole at the residence of Difalco. Difalco was allegedly found in possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Dustin M. Fleming, 26, of Telephone Road, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Fleming was arrested after Batavia PD officers responded to Denny's Restaurant to investigate a complaint of an intoxicated person at that location. Fleming was found allegedly in possession of a small amount of marijuana and a glass pipe.

John Thomas Harley, 35, of Rich Place, Lacawana, is charged with operating with a suspended registration and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. Harley was arrested on a warrant upon his release from the Erie County Jail. Following arraignment in Darien Town Court, he was jailed on $500 bail or $1,000 bond.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Photo: Snow ripples off Richley Road

post by Howard Owens in Darien, weather

I started to call these snowdrifts, but they look more like the ripples left in sand as the tide retreats at a beach.

We are more than half way through winter.

The photo was taken off Richley Road, Darien, this morning.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Nik Wallenda to perform twice daily shows at Darien Lake this summer

post by Howard Owens in business, Darien, darien lake theme park, nik wallenda

Press release:

With decades of experience captivating audiences around the world, aerialist and high-wire artist Nik Wallenda will spend the Summer of 2014 high above Darien Lake. Heralded around the world as “King of the High Wire,” Nik’s high-flying stunts have landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records eight times and his 2012 walk across Niagara Falls made him a household name across the globe.

Darien Lake and presenting sponsor Tim Horton’s Café and Bake Shop announced today that the internationally renowned daredevil will star in “Nik Wallenda: Beyond the Falls,” featuring the Wallenda Family. The 60-minute thrill spectacular will be produced by Nik himself, exclusively for Darien Lake.

Showing twice daily in the 1,800-seat Galaxy Theatre from June 23 through Sept. 1st (dark Mondays), the show will mesmerize audiences with performances from the world's best aerialists and stunt performers and climax with the breathtaking Wallenda Family Pyramid finale. The amazing stunt features Nik, his wife Erendira, and other members of the Wallenda family walking untethered, high above the stage.

Wallenda’s involvement won’t stop at the Galaxy Theater. Nik Wallenda Productions, Inc., will be crafting additional entertainment for Darien Lake, including a short film chronicling the history of the Wallendas, an interactive tight-rope training academy with hands-on instruction for park guests, and “pop up” performances throughout the park from the cast and crew.

All performances will be free with park admission and for Darien Lake Vacations guests, with preferred seating and VIP packages sold on a limited basis. 2014 season-pass holders will receive exclusive show offers and event invites throughout the show's run. Discounted early-bird season passes are available at Tops Friendly Markets and online at www.darienlake.com.

“The level of entertainment Nik will bring to our guests this season is unprecedented,” said Vince Nicoletti, director of Marketing at Darien Lake. “This truly will be an incomparable entertainment experience.”

“My family and I are thrilled to be back in the area and spending our summer at Darien Lake,” said Nik Wallenda. “With more than a million people coming to the park every season, it’s the perfect location for our act and we can’t wait to get started.”

Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Assault suspect reportedly told deputy 'he never should have shoved my wife'

post by Howard Owens in crime, Darien
Craig Lawson

The man accused of punching another patron following the Kid Rock concert in July at Darien Lake kept muttering, "he shouldn't have shoved my wife," according to the deputy who arrested him.

The officer testified at a hearing in Genesee County Court today, called a suppression hearing, which is a chance for the defense to challenge whether certain pieces of evidence will be allowed at trial.

In this case, Judge Robert C. Noonan ruled that Deputy Lonnie Nati will be allowed to testify about what the possible statements made by the suspect, 34-year-old Craig Malcolm Lawson, of Talbot Street, Courtland, Ontario, Canada.

Lawson is charged with assault in the second degree, a Class D felony.

He allegedly delivered a single punch to Jason McNeil, a former WNY resident who lives in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

McNeil was hospitalized and in a coma for weeks following the incident.

A source in contact with the family said McNeil is back in home, but "he will never be the same." His injuries are described as "catastrophic" and McNeil requires 24/7 care.

Nati was on the stand for about 30 minutes, being peppered with rapid fire questions from, first, Robert Zickl, an assistant District Attorney, and then by Jessica Kulpit, representing Lawson.

Nati testified that he was working the night of the incident in the parking lot of the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

At some time around 11 p.m., after the concert, deputies were handling crowd control and traffic during a period known at "the dump" (when everybody leaves and deputies and Darien Lake security work to get the parking lot cleared of cars as quickly as possible). 

Nati received a call of a fight in the area of South PAC. He was only about 50 or 60 feet away at the time of the call, he testified.

When he arrived, concert security had Lawson detained and another man was laying on the ground.

Nati directed Lawson over to a bench. Lawson said, "he never should have shoved my wife," while sitting on the bench, Nati said.

Within a minute a woman ran up, whom Nati later identified as Lawson's wife, and told Lawson not to talk to Nati.

"It was kind of funny," Nati said, "she kept running up to him, putting her hand on his mouth telling him to 'shut up, you want an attorney.' "

During this period, Lawson said he wanted an attorney.

In a few different ways and a few times, Kulpit asked if Nati read him his Miranda warnings. Nati answered pretty much the same each time: "No, because I didn't ask him any questions."

Nati said at no time did he ever question Lawson except to obtain what's known as pedigree information (name, date of birth, address, etc.).

From the time Nati first made contact with Lawson, through the ride in the security golf cart to the security trailer, to the time sitting in his patrol car while being booked, Nati said Lawson kept mumbling, "he never should have shoved my wife."

Nati described Lawson as intoxicated, but very cooperative.

"He was continuing with his drunken mutterings about 'he shouldn't have shoved my wife,' " Nati said.

The officer said he didn't observe any cuts or blood on Lawson.

After the hearing, when asked if she anticipated a trial for Lawson, Kulpit -- filling in for attorney Joel Daniels -- would not answer the question.

No trial date has been set. Lawson is scheduled to appear in court again at 1:30 p.m.

Previously:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Popular Color Me Rad 5K returning to Darien Lake on June 21

Press release:

Back by popular demand, the Color Me Rad 5K, a nationally recognized human tie-dye spectacle and run/walk, is returning to Darien Lake for its second year bigger and better than before. More than 6,800 racers came out for the event last year, raising $15,000 for the Special Olympics of New York. This year, registration will be open to 10,000 participants so even more color-plastered racers can get in on the fun while supporting a great cause.

What makes Color Me Rad so unique is the excitement and entertainment generated by thousands of racers running through the scenic grounds at Darien Lake while a Color Bomb Squad takes aim their shirts, faces, and hair with a rainbow array of colors. A new element to the fun this year, racers will get hand-held color blasters so everyone can get in on the action.   

The event is June 21.

Registration for the run/walk is now open at http://www.colormerad.com/race/buffalo.  

“We strive to partner with organizations and families to create special moments that their kids will share with their kids. There’s no doubt that this is going to be a colorful memory worth sharing,” said Rod Rankin, vice president and general manager of Darien Lake. 

Participants are encouraged to continue their fun after the race with a day at Darien Lake. Accommodations packages are available for registered participants at www.godarienlake.com.

"Special Olympics New York is delighted to be the beneficiary of, and to partner with, Darien Lake and Color Me Rad 5K for this tremendously fun event in June,” said Special Olympics of New York President and CEO Neal Johnson. "Color Me Rad 5K is an energetic event for all, where the volunteers have just as much fun as the participants. Whether you register to run or volunteer for the race, you'll be helping Darien Lake and Color Me Rad 5K support more than 56,000 Special Olympics athletes across the state."

More than 5,000 pounds of FDA-approved, colored cornstarch will be used during the event. In addition to “Color Bomb Squad” volunteers spread along the 3.1-mile course, walkers and runners will also be able to toss their own bags of color into the air, creating an unforgettable display of color.

Photos from last year's Color Me Rad at Darien Lake by Howard Owens.

Monday, January 20, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Law and Order: Le Roy man accused of stealing co-pays at doctor's office

post by Howard Owens in Basom, batavia, Alabama, bergen, byron, corfu, crime, Darien, Le Roy, Oakfield

James Mitchell, 35, of Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Mitchell was arrested following a months-long investigation by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office into reports of stolen co-payments at a doctor's office where Mitchell worked in Avon. The investigation took time, according to LCSO, because of lengthy billing cycles and victims coming forward. Mitchell was allegedly stealing co-pays as patients checked out at their physician's office. The investigation was conducted by Deputy Dan Rittenhouse, Deputy Ross Gerace, Deputy Steph Schroeder and Deputy Mike Yencer.

Kelly M. Zwolinski, 34, of Broadway Road, Darien, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and resisting arrest. Zwolinski was identified as a suspect in possession of a stolen horse saddle that was taken from a farm in Niagara County and an arrest warrant was issued. When Deputy Kevin McCarthy and Investigator William Ferrando attempted to place Zwolinski under arrest, she allegedly resisted arrest.

Darlene Ann Kingdollar, 51, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Kingdollar is accused of entering the 7-Eleven store in Oakfield while intoxicated and after she was denied the purchase of alcohol, she allegedly left the store with a can of beer without paying for it.

Bruce J. Brade, 33, of Galloway Road, Batavia, is charged with stalking, 4th, and criminal contempt, 2nd. Brade allegedly violated an order of protection.

Mark J. Price, 37, Township Road, Ashland, Ohio, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear for an alleged traffic violation in Batavia City Court. Price was aprehended during a traffic stop in the Village of Attica. Price was issued an appearance ticket.

Jeffrey A. Pionessa, 32, of Glenwood Drive, Attica, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding in zone. Pionessa was stopped at 2:30 a.m. Sunday on Law Street, Batavia, by Officer Arick Perkins. Pionessa allegedly had a BAC of .11.

A 17-year-old resident of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. The youth is accused of damaging the mobile phone charger of another person by throwing it against a wall and grabbing the arm of the alleged victim and pushing the person's face.

John K. Rolls, 34, of Mill Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of forcible touching. Rolls is accused of forcibly touching a 17-year-old girl on Jan. 7. Rolls is incarcerated in the Genesee county Jail on an unrelated matter and was issued an appearance ticket.

Brad Strzelecki, 19, of Hunter Street, Bergen, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Strzelecki was reported at a location on Bank Street at 10:01 a.m. Jan. 13 when he was allegedly found in possession of marijuana by Officer Eric Foels.

Rodeny Lowell McKenzie, 49, of Weaver Street, Buffalo, is charged with petit larceny. McKenzie was located by Transit Police in Buffalo during a check-the-welfare interview and identified as a warrant suspect for allegedly stealing items from Kmart on Dec. 12.

Bryant William Hardtner, 28, of State Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Hardtner is accused of taking a vehicle Sunday without the owner's consent.

Kimberly Diane Ribbeck, 27, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving a vehicle with obstructed vision and no or inadequate plate light. Ribbeck was stopped at 2:33 a.m. Sunday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Michael Gerald Pernicano, 21, of Lake Road, Holley, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to signal and no plate light. Pernicano was stopped at 2:29 a.m. Saturday on North Byron Road, Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Lena Marie Evans, 26, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Evans was arrested for allegedly shoplifting at Kmart by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Carey Anthony Bedell III, 18, of Lehigh Avenue, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Bedell was arrested on Clinton Street Road, Byron, at 9:43 p.m. Friday.

Matthew R. Smith, 21, of Basom, is charged with forcible touching. Smith was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at noon Thursday.

Mark A. Allison, 52, of Lockport, is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Allison was arrested by State Police following the report at 9:29 p.m. Thursday of a two-car accident at 372 Bloomingdale Road, Basom. One person was injured. The driver of the other vehicle was Alexander Shirira, 56, of Buffalo. No other details released.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 8:24 am

Law and Order: Woman who allegedly used stolen gift card to purchase cake at Walmart arrested

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Alabama, crime, Darien, Stafford

Angela Irene, 44, of South Grand Road, Medina, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Irene was arrested as a result of reports on The Batavian and OrleansHub of a purse being stolen from a shopping cart in the parking lot of the Batavia Walmart and a gift card subsequently being used to purchase a cake at the Walmart in Albion. As a result of the publication of the surveillance photo from the Albion Walmart, the suspect turned herself in to local law enforcement. The Sheriff's Office also received numerous phone calls identifying the suspect. The case was handled by Investigator Kristopher Kautz and Deputy James Diehl.

Jillian E. Dibble, of Akron, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Dibble was stopped at 7:50 a.m. Sunday on Route 77 at Reynolds Road, Darien, by State Police.

Alexander E. Dills, 23, of Stafford, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, possession of a hypodermic instrument, unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and aggravated unlicensed operation. Dills was arrested by State Police at 8:55 a.m. Saturday. No further details released.

Darrnell J. Barnes, 51, of Alabama, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Barnes was stopped at 7:42 p.m. Saturday on Alleghany Road in Alabama by State Police.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Two accidents reported, one in Darien, another in the city

post by Howard Owens in batavia, accidents, Darien, Pavilion

There are two accidents reported -- one on West Main at Lyons and the other in Darien on Route 20 near Harper Road.

The accident in the city is reportedly head-on, but with one minor injury.

Minor injuries also reported in Darien. The conditions there are described as zero visibility.

Alexander is asked to close Route 20 to westbound traffic.

From the fire in Pavilion, Pavilion fire is back in service.

Because of ongoing server issues, it will likely be impossible for us to update this post.

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