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Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Route 77 at Route 20 is closed in Darien after accident causes power outage to stop lights

post by Alecia Kaus in accident, Darien, power outage

Route 77 at Route 20 is closed because a power outage caused by an accident has disabled the stop lights.

No one is injured, but there's no power in that area.

The vehicle apparently slid off the road and hit a meter box. National Grid has been notified.

UPDATE 3:54 p.m.: Darien fire says the meter box has power, but will have to be turned off so the DOT can fix the stop lights.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: Darien fire is back in service and law enforcement is at the intersection.

UPDATE 7:09 p.m.: Law enforcement on scene says the DOT may not be able to complete all the repairs to get the signal lights working again. They are requesting portable stop signs for the night.

Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Darien judge honored for efforts to curb underage drinking and drunken driving

post by Howard B. Owens in Darien

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) helped present Judge Gary Graber of Darien Center with the Century Council’s Kevin E. Quinlan Award for Excellence in Traffic Safety. The Century Council recognized Judge Graber for being a longtime advocate for improving and strengthening underage drinking and drunk driving laws in New York State. Graber was honored today along with nine others award recipients at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

(submitted photo)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Grand Jury indicts man for first-degree sexual abuse of child under age 11

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, byron, crime, Darien

These are the latest indictments issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury.

Patrick E. Sewar is indicted for first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D felony, for allegedly subjecting another person under the age of 11 to sexual contact on June 24 in the Town of Darien.

Saul D. Standsblack is indicted for second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony, for allegedly knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling on Bloomingdale Road in the Town of Alabama on Oct. 13 with the intent to commit a crime.

Michael B. Kropp is indicted for driving while intoxicated, a Class D felony, for allegedly operating a 1995 Ford on June 17 on Freeman Road and Ivison Road, Town of Byron, while intoxicated. In count two, he is further accused of aggravated driving while intoxicated, also a Class D felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time. In count three, he is indicted for aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony, for operating a motor vehicle at the time of the incident while knowing or having reason to know that his driving license was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn, and the defendant was driving while allegedly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 6:23 am

Car wreck requiring extrication reported at Herkimer and Warner roads, Darien

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Darien

A motor-vehicle accident with is reported at Herkimer and Warner roads. Extrication is needed. Darien fire and rescue responding.

UPDATE 5:28 a.m.: Mercy medics are called to the scene.

UPDATE 5:32 a.m.: The victim has been "cut away" from entrapment but will remain in the vehicle until medics arrive.

UPDATE 5:36 a.m.: The chief tells medics, who are about 10 minutes away, that the victim's primary complaint is lower right leg pain. No cuts, abrasions or loss of consciousness. He is to stay in the vehicle "due to the weather."

UPDATE 5:40 a.m.: Command says to dispatch "Start me a tow for a full-size Chevy Suburban, thoroughly totaled and wedged between two trees about 30 feet off the road."

UPDATE 5:54 a.m.: The patient is now on a stretcher, being readied for hospital transport.

UPDATE 6:10 a.m.: Mercy medics are taking the patient to Erie County Medical Center.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:34 am

Route 20 closed for truck accident, downed wires

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien

Route 20 in Darien is closed for an accident involving a tractor-trailer that hit at least one utility pole. 

A second truck apparently became entangled in low-hanging power lines following the initial accident. 

The driver of that truck has been instructed to stay in his cab pending arrival of National Grid. 

Two utility poles are down.

The first truck may be transporting some sort of radioactive material, perhaps used in X-rays. 

Darien Fire Department is on scene. 

Alexander fire has Route 20 shutdown at Route 98. 

UPDATE 12:39 a.m. : A chief informs dispatch, "we have power lines down on both sides of the road and a truck in the middle of the road that is energized. We're really not going to be able to do anything until National Grid gets here. No ETA for National Grid. 

UPDATE 5:41 a.m.: Route 20 is being reopened.

Friday, October 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

Law and Order: Two drivers involved in accidents charged with DWI

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, crime, Darien

Robert Daniel Nowakowski, 38, of Bonnie Brae Drive, Darien, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to keep right. Nowakowski was arrested following an investigation into a traffic accident on Route 20, Darien, at 6:39 p.m., Thursday. Nowakowski stated he swerved to avoid a deer and reportedly overcompensated. His car struck a National Grid utility pole, shearing the pole near ground level. The accident was investigated by Deputy Patrick Reeves. (Initial Report)

Richard Matthew Godlove, 35, of Main Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, failure to obey traffic control device, moving from lane unsafely and failure to notify DMV of address change. Godlove was involved in a motor vehicle accident at 7:03 a.m., Sept. 14 on Route 237, Byron. Godlove reportedly drove his vehicle on a closed portion of Route 237 and struck a concrete barrier. Godlove was arrested following completion of a toxicology test.

Ellen Marie Martinez, 26, of Main Street, Batavia, is charged with falsifying business records, 1st, and grand larceny, 3rd. Martinez is accused of falsifying Section 8 records while receiving benefits through Pathstone, resulting in $10,054 in wrongfuly obtained benefits.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Car rams into pole on Route 20, Darien

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Darien

A car rammed into a power pole at 2510 Broadway Road (Route 20), west of Darien Alexander Townline Road. Live wires are down, a transformer is also down and leaking fluid. "The road is smoldering from arcing wires." Darien fire is responding and Mercy medics.

UPDATE 6:48 p.m.: Alexander Fire Police are called to stop all westbound traffic on Route 20 at Route 98. National Grid has been notified; no ETA given. A responder says a live line is down across the car. The driver is out and denies any injuries.

UPDATE 7:05 p.m.: Attica Fire Police are responding to shut down eastbound traffic on Route 20 at Route 238.

UPDATE 7:54 p.m.: The power for the lines has been shut off.

UPDATE 8:07 p.m.: Route 20 is reopened. Darien, Attica and Alexander are back in service.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Legislature asked to consider water hook up for home in Darien that is outside development area

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, Darien, smart growth plan

Some time prior to 2010, a family in Darien decided to build a new house on land outside of the county's defined development area.

Since then, they've had to pay a water district tax of about $400 a year even though they've twice been denied an application to hook up to the water system.

Yesterday at the Public Service Committee meeting, David Hagelberger, Town of Darien supervisor, appealed to the Legislature on the resident's behalf to allow a water hook-up for the home.

Rather than take action immediately, the committee asked County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari to find the minutes for the meetings where first the county's water committee and then the county's planning board denied the water hook-up applications.

In 2001, when the county's current water system was being developed, the state required the county to develop a plan to protect farmland, ensure development took place in already developed areas and encourage revitalization of existing industrial areas, business districts and residential neighborhoods in the City of Batavia and developed village areas.

So the county adopted a "Smart Growth Plan" that defines development areas and establishes procedures for revising the plan.

The subject of the house in Darien came up now, again, because the county is wrapping up an every-three-year review of the plan and revising it to allow for development of the WNY STAMP project in Alabama.

Part of Hagelberger's argument on behalf of his local resident is that if the county can revise the plan for STAMP, why not revise it for this family as well?

After the meeting, Oltramari explained a little further why the Smart Growth Plan exists.

It's very easy for new development to follow infrastructure. By putting in the water system, without a plan, the county could lose a lot of farmland along the paths of water mains.

The concern has never really been about big developments, but about farmland disappearing in a piecemeal fashion -- a house here, a new business there, a little strip shopping mall on this or that lot. The goal of the Smart Growth Plan is to try and prevent that sort of development.

Since it was adopted, there have been 40 applications for development outside of a designated development area, Oltramari said, and all but three have been approved.

"For the most part, people understand -- keep out of farm fields," Oltramari said. "Keep it in the woods or where there's already a lot of housing, but not in the middle of a field, not in good productive farmland."

Oltramari noted that farming and residential development sometimes don't mix well.

"Farmers will tell you when you have a neighbor who doesn't really like your operations, they can make your life a nightmare," Oltramari said.

The county has no idea how the homeowners are getting water now. The is no known well on the property.

One reason the homeowners still must pay the tax for the water district is that particular district isn't bill on a per-hook-up basis, but rather is taxed based on land assessment for each parcel.

Land that is in an agricultural district is exempt from the tax, but for some reason that isn't clear, the house in Darien is outside the nearest ag district. Oltramari said it will take more research to figure out what happened in that particular case.

"Somebody can make the point that they do benefit from the water district because there is a fire hydrant available," Oltramari said. "Somebody could make that case."

DOWNLOAD: Smart Growth Plan (pdf)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Niagara County officer admits to assault during concert at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien

A Niagara County police officer who was involved in an altercation at Darien Lake in 2012 admitted in county court today that her reckless conduct while intoxicated caused injuries to another concert goer.

Kelly L. Alcorn, 48, entered a guilty plea to third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor, with no condition on sentencing.

The Grand Island resident was originally arrested Aug. 25 and charged with harassment, 2nd, but after the victim in the case went to the media claiming serious injuries and drawing attention to Alcorn's law enforcement status, the District Attorney's Office took a closer look at the case.

In February, Alcorn was indicted on a single count of assault, 2nd.

As part of her plea today, Judge Robert C. Noonan asked Alcorn a series of questions, starting with whether she was at the concert and whether she was intoxicated, which Alcorn admitted.

When Noonan asked Alcorn if her body came into contact with the body of the victim, causing her to hit a cinder block wall, Alcorn conferred with her attorney.

Alcorn admitted to wrestling with the victim on the floor and hitting her and that those swings recklessly caused injury to the victim.

Section 120(7) of the NYS penal code defines one type of third-degree assault as recklessly causing injury to another person.

At time of sentencing, Alcorn will be seeking a relief from civil disabilities, which is a form Noonan can sign that would enable Alcorn to continue her law enforcement career, or take other government employment, or seek employment in certain state-licensed fields.

Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Jan. 9.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Prehistoric artifacts found at site of planned emergency communications tower in Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in Darien, history

To the untrained eye, the 11 objects found in Darien last week look just like a handful of rocks, but archeologists have determined they are prehistoric artifacts. They're also a wrinkle in the county's plan to build a 21st Century emergency communications system.

The artifacts were found at the site of a planned communications tower near the Darien Fire Hall.

The county's contractor hired an Atlanta-based archeological firm to do a test dig on the site, which uncovered the artifacts.

The artifacts have not been dated nor their origin determined. They're just obviously very, very old.

Contrary to rumor, Undersheriff William Sheron said, the site is not an "Indian burial ground."

A report has been sent to the state's Office of Archeology and the county expects to receive instructions on what to do next.

Sheron noted that when Tops built a new distribution center off Genesee Street, an Indian burial ground was found and the project was delayed six months so the remains and artifacts could be properly secured.

In other words, Sheron said, the artifacts found in Darien do not necessarily mean the site can't be used for a communications tower.

The county is building three new towers as part of the $10.8 million communications upgrade project. While the county must complete phase one of the project -- under a federal mandate -- by February, the towers are all planned for phase two of the project, which isn't scheduled for completion until next summer. 

While the Sheriff's Office would like to stay on schedule, Sheron said officials recognize the find in Darien could delay construction of that tower.

"We hope it doesn't get delayed, but if there are issues that need to be addressed, we'll address them and meet whatever requirements we need to meet," Sheron said. "If it becomes cost prohibitive, we'll look for another site."


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