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Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Driver cited for failure to stop in minor injury accident in Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien

A driver was cited for alleged failure to stop at a stop sign following a minor-injury accident at 7:11 a.m., Friday, on Route 77 and Sumner Road.

Debra Lynn Knauber, 50, of Harlow Road, Darien Center, reportedly told Deputy Chris Parker that she knew the stop sign was there but was unable to stop.

Judith A. Slyle, 47, of Garden Drive, Batavia, the driver of the second car, and her passenger Abigail E. McLean, 14. Neither victim required ambulance transport.

Slyle's second passenger, Colin J. McLean, 11, wasn't injured, nor was Knauber.

(Initial Report)

Friday, April 11, 2014 at 7:21 am

Minor injury accident reported at Route 77 and Sumner, Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien

A minor injury accident is reported at Route 77 and Sumner, Darien.

Dispatchers spoke with both drivers, who declined medical assistance, but a resident in the area "reports otherwise."

Darien fire and ambulance dispatched.

A responder reports a juvenile was struck by an airbag and an evaluation is requested.

Friday, April 4, 2014 at 9:33 am

Darien Lake's new manager combined love of coasters and teaching young people into one career

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

When Rod Rankin -- the new general manager of Darien Lake Theme Park -- was a young man, he never thought he'd wind up running facilities with rollercoasters and waterslides.

"If you'd asked me I would have said you were crazy," Rankin said. "I was going to be a high school teacher."

He studied secondary education at the University of Southern California and was working as a production manager at Paramount Pictures when Paramount bought a chain of six entertainment parks. Paramount transferred him to the theme park division. He's been working in and running theme parks for 25 years now.

But it's worked out for the would-be high school teacher. Asked what his favorite part of his job is his first response is that it's working with the youngsters who take jobs in the parks each summer.

"It's the good and the bad of this industry," Rankin said. "You're training a new generation of children every year, because this is really kind of a first job. That's the good part." Then he laughs (Rankin, a big man, has a hearty laugh). "The bad part is you're training a new generation of kids every year."

Rankin replaces Bob Montgomery, who ran the park for two years, but decided over the winter that he wanted to return to his native Canada to pursue opportunities closer to home.

Under Montgomery's leadership, Darien Lake was working on developing more of a local flare, bringing in Anchor Bar to serve wings, serving Weber Mustard and Dippin' Dots. That's a trend that will continue, Rankin said.

Besides hiring Nik Wallenda to provide entertainment throughout the season, Three Brothers Winery has agreed to set up a wine-tasting area, a wine shop and will cross promote Darien Lake with tags on its bottles at retail locations.

Another change coming to Darien Lake is a redesigned menu for Beaver Brothers and Maria's Italian Kitchen. The new menu will focus on lighter fare for health conscious diners, Rankin said. Just this week he hired a new chef to oversee the creation of the new menu.

With Paramount, Rankin started out as a project manager and was involved in rollercoaster development.

He describes himself as a coaster junkie. A native of the Los Angeles area, Rankin had plenty of access to coasters at numerous theme parks growing up, notably, of course, Disney and Knotts Berry Farm (he spent a lot of time at Knotts, he said).

Does that mean there's a new coaster in the works for Darien Lake? He won't say. He did say, "It's really fun when you go into a facility to learn the new coasters and then hopefully, eventually, build a new coaster."

Rankin spent 22 years with Paramount and its successor company, before leaving in 2007 as the Western regional vice president. He's been with Herschend Family Entertainment for four years, most recently as general manager of the company's park in Denver (unrelated side note: Herschend recently acquired the Harlem Globetrotters).

A certified master gardener, Rankin is looking forward to putting down roots in Genesee County.  He was excited that he had no trouble selling his home in Denver. He's looking forward to visiting the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Batavia. His gardening interest drifts toward heirloom tomatoes and roses. In fact, he's started a rose garden at every theme park he's run and Darien Lake will be no different, he said.

Darien Lake Theme Park's opening day is May 10. The park is hiring now for seasonal positions.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

House-trailer fire on Broadway Road, east of Tinkham, in Darien

post by Billie Owens in alexander, Darien, fire

A house-trailer fire is occurring at 1765 Broadway Road, just east of Tinkham Road. Darien fire is on scene. The structure is next to a barn.

UPDATE 7:14 p.m.: Alexander is requested to respond, mutual aid, with a tanker to the scene.

UPDATE 7:32 p.m.: Darien command reports the fire is out; overhauling the structure now.

UPDATE 8 p.m.: Command calls for Wyoming County inmates to respond to help out as needed. It will take an hour or two to make that happen, according to dispatchers in contact with the prison officers.

UPDATE 8:36 p.m.: All Darien units are returning to service.

Friday, March 21, 2014 at 4:38 am

Fire heavily damages barn on Brown Road, Corfu

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alexander, corfu, Darien, east pembroke, indian falls, pembroke

The initial call came in as a chimney fire, but when East Pembroke Fire Chief Don Newton first got on scene he could see it was more than just the chimney on fire. Nearly the entire back wall of the barn at 2689 Brown Road, Corfu, was on fire.

He immediately called for a second alarm.

Firefighters were initially hampered by a lack of water, so Newton called on more tankers from neighboring departments.

But even facing these difficulties, the volunteer firefighters were able to save much of the structure and most of the contents, including a 40-foot yacht.

Besides East Pembroke, the departments responding were Corfu, Pembroke, Indian Falls, Town of Batavia, Alexander and Darien.

Mercy EMS also responded.

There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire.

(Initial Report)

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:01 am

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of fighting with police

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Oakfield
Tyquawn D. Bethel

Tyquawn D. Bethel, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal trespass, 2nd, and petit larceny. Officers were dispatched to an address on Prune Street for a report of an argument at 10:06 p.m. Tuesday. Bethal allegedly entered the residence uninvited and refused to leave. Bethal allegedly argued with a person at the residence. He allegedly grabbed money from the purse of the resident and then attempted to leave with the money. When patrols arrived, Bethal was allegedly combative with officers and refused to comply with verbal commands. Bethal allegedly initiated a fight with the officers. Children were allegedly present during the scuffle. He was subdued and taken into custody. Bethal was jailed on $2,500 bail. The investigation was handled by Officer Kevin DeFelice and Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Robert L. Peachey Jr., 30, of Gibson Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Peachey is accused of stealing a bottle of Jack Daniel's Honey from YNGodess on Feb. 28. (Previously)

Shaumyk Antonio Santiago, 21, of St. Paul Street, Rochester, is charged with burglary. Santiago is accused of forcing entry into a residence on Tinkham Drive, Darien, on or about Dec. 27, and stealing handguns, cash, jewelry and other property. Santiago was arraigned, released on his own recognizance and turned over to another police agency on unrelated criminal charges. A second arrest in the case is pending. The investigation was conducted by Investigator William Ferrando and Sgt. Ron Meides.

Christopher M. Colantonio, 34, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with failure to appear. Colantonio was arrested on a bench warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Elizabeth A. Denise, 33, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. Denise turned herself in. She was released on $100 bail.

Kevin R. Baumgarte, 39, of Birchwood, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, passing a red light, leaving scene of a property damage accident and failure to keep right. Baumgarte was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident on South Main Street at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Batavia patrols subsequently located Baumgarte. The accident was investigated by Officer Eric Foels.

Micahel Samuel Yamonaco, 41, of Trumbull Street, Mount Morris, Kathleen Melissa Pritchard, 35, of Spartan Drive, Farmington, Aaron Michael Higgins, 34, of Genesee Street, Piffard, and Miranda Ariene Ralston, 27, of Genesee Street, Piffard, are all charged with grand larceny, 4th. The four suspects are accused of stealing a TV from the Batavia Walmart. They were arrested by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and found with the allegedly stolen TV. 

Monday, March 10, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Photo: Darien fire rekindle

post by Howard B. Owens in Darien, fire

Brittany Hodge sent his picture of the rekindle of this morning's fire at 1363 Broadway, Darien.

There have been a couple of rekindles today, but this one required both Darien fire and Corfu fire to be dispatched, along with a fill-in by Pembroke at Corfu's hall.

UPDATE 6:10 p.m.: Alexander fire has been dispatched to the rekindle.

Previously:

Monday, March 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm

'Training just kicks in' as volunteers help evacuate their burning apartment building in Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in Darien, fire

A classic, fully restored Harley was lost, as well as a restored Jeep. Six residents lost their personal belongings. The apartment building at 1363 Broadway, Darien, was destroyed.

Sadly, a dog lost his life.

But no people were seriously hurt, or worse.

That bit of good fortunate is a credit, it seems, to the professionalism of two members of the Darien Volunteer Fire Department who lived in the apartment building.

Joshua Reeb and Paul Redden were home when the fire broke out sometime around 4:30 a.m.

Redden smashed through Reeb's door and woke his fellow volunteer. He said he smelled smoke. Reeb felt the door into the hallway. At that point, he said, his fire training kicked in.

"It was all fire training," Reeb said. "I knew right away from the smell and the heat it was a real one. It wasn't somebody burning something. It was real."

Reeb and Redden helped alert the other residents, including the landlord, who owned the building and had lived in the main apartment for 30 years. Reeb helped him down the second-floor fire escape.

"I knew I had to get out and I had to get out now," Reeb said.

The two volunteers then rushed to the Darien fire hall -- less than a half-mile away -- and got their trucks "ready to rock and roll."

"I knew I wasn't going to be able to fight this fire," Reeb said. "But I knew I could get to the hall, open the doors, get the truck ready and let other people take over."

It was pitch black coming out of the apartment onto the fire escape. Knowing the layout, staying calm, not trying to grab his belongings, and being aware of what was going on around him made all the difference, said the 22-year-old Reeb, who has been a volunteer for five years.

"The training just takes over," Reeb said. "There's no fear. It's just respect for the fire, knowing I've got to do this and I've got to do this. All of that training just kicks in. It didn't hit me until I saw the flames coming out of my bedroom window and then it took me to the ground."

The initial investigation indicates the fire originated in the basement garage where fumes from spilled gasoline may have ignited when a hot water heater kicked on.

The building was owned by Scott Gielow, a mechanic who had converted his basement into a garage where he restored the vehicles he loved -- Harleys and Jeeps. In addition to losing the restored vehicles, he had two Jeeps that were still projects.

The fire was reported at 4:35 a.m. and as soon as Darien Chief Jim Marino got on scene he called for a second alarm. Flames were shooting out of the back of the building.

Two residents suffered minor burns and were treated at the scene.

The century-old structure was balloon construction with no insulation. Aluminum siding helped contain the fire to the interior of the building, but the flames just shot up the walls, unhindered by the kind of blocks between floors used in more modern buildings.

New hot spots seemed to flare up faster than firefighters could pour water on other involved parts of the building.

"The nature of the fire, the wind, the balloon construction, where it started, just made it hard to attack," Marino said.

Marino said it sounded like Reeb and Redden did a good job of making sure everybody got out of the building safely.

"It could have been a lot worse," Marino said.

Responding departments included Darien, Alexander, City of Batavia (Fast Team), Town of Batavia, Corfu, Pembroke, Alden and Bennington. Marcy EMS and Darien Ambulance also responded and deputies were on scene.

The Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents.

UPDATE 4:52 p.m.: Darien has been dispatched for a possible rekindle of the fire. It's the second rekindle this afternoon.

UPDATE 4:54 p.m.: Per chief, all units can remain in quarters.

UPDATE 5:29 p.m.: Darien and Corfu dispatched for a rekindle.

Joshua Reeb looks over the damage to the apartment building where he had been living.

To order prints of photos, click here.

Monday, March 10, 2014 at 4:41 am

Apartment on fire with three people possibly trapped inside on Broadway Road, Darien

post by Billie Owens in Darien, fire

A structure fire with possible injuries is reported at 1363 Broadway Road. There are flames coming from the basement of an apartment building and there are three people trapped inside. Darien Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics.

UPDATE 4:47 a.m.: All occupants are out of the building. It is a two-story wooden structure with flames now shooting out of the second story. The incident has gone to a second alarm, with two engines and a rescue unit from Corfu called to scene along with the city's Fast Team and equipment from Alexander. A fill-in crew from East Pembroke is requested to Corfu's Fire Hall. Traffic is being shut down at Route 77 and Warner Road.

UPDATE 5:04 a.m.: Traffic is also being shut down at Route 77 and Harlow Road.

UPDATE 5:56 a.m.: The fire is showing periodic flames at this point and heavy smoke. Interior crews from Pembroke and Indian Falls are called in.

UPDATE 6:19 a.m.: Town of Batavia fire is requested to the scene in emergency mode, to stage in Darien Fire Hall.

UPDATE 6:30 a.m.: Flames and heavy smoke still spewing from the structure, which is quite old and has "balloon construction." This is frustrating the firefighters' efforts to douse the blaze. They put out flames in one spot and the fire climbs up the wall to another place. Alabama is asked to fill in at Indian Falls Fire Hall.

UPDATE 6:49 a.m.: There were four six residents in this building comprised of five apartments. All got out safely, but one man's dog perished in the fire. Two of the tenants are volunteer firefighters for Darien and both were both home at the time.

UPDATE 7:47 a.m.: Howard, who is at the scene, interviewed one of the two volunteer firefighters, Joshua Reeb. Here's some of what he said:

"I was sleeping in my bed and my roommate, who happened to be awake, busted in my door, opened my door and said 'Come on, come on out. There's smoke. It smells like fire.' I woke up my girlfriend and said 'Grab your purse. You've got to go out the window.' I wasn't even going to try the door. I'm not going to risk it with that much smoke.

"I went to check on my neighbor -- he's older -- to make sure he could get out. He couldn't get out the front door so he went out the fire escape, which is connected to my neighbor's window. I came down the fire escape and made sure to get everybody out of the house. Got in my truck and went to the fire hall and got the (fire) truck prepped."

He credits his firefighting training with helping him to stay calm and provide direction. The other firefighter, "Paul," did likewise. Unlike another neighbor, Paul was able to save his dog. After making sure the occupants were safe, both went to the hall, which is just around the corner, to get things "ready to rock."

UPDATE 7:50 a.m.: They are still battling the fire, but there are fewer flames and a lot less smoke.

UPDATE 8 a.m.: The owner occupies the main apartment and has lived there 30 years. He's a mechanic and in his basement were a fully restored Jeep and a fully restored Harley-Davidson motorcycle and two other Jeeps that he was in the middle of restoring. All gone now.

UPDATE 8:09 a.m.: The Darien fire chief says the fire is knocked down. Overhauling the structure.

UPDATE 1:29 p.m.: The fire has reignited in some places and Darien Fire Department is responding.

Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

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

post by Howard B. 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.

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