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Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 12:11 am

Photos: Opening day at Darien Lake

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

In another sign that spring is really here, Darien Lake opened to the entire public today (season pass holders had access last weekend).

Friday, April 25, 2014 at 7:21 am

Trial scheduled for man accused of assault at Kid Rock concert

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien

Via WBTA:

The case of a Canadian man accused of seriously injuring an Alden native at Darien Lake with a single punch will head to trial.

Jury selection will begin for 34-year-old Craig Lawson of Ontario June 23. He’s charged with second-degree assault.

The deadline passed today for a plea deal. Although defense attorney Joel Daniels said in county court today that there was an offer, he said it was not accepted by the prosecution.

Lawson’s accused of punching Jason McNeil of Tuscaloosa, Ala., at a Kid Rock concert last July. McNeil was in a coma after the accident.

Daniels said he expects the trial to run a full week.

Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 1:00 am

Bicyclist dies in late night accident on Route 33, Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien

UPDATED AT 5:37 a.m.

A 19-year-old Genesee County resident died Wednesday night after he was struck by an SUV on Route 33 in Darien just east of County Line Road.

Dean Cullinan, of Corfu, was walking with his bike along Genesee Street heading east when an eastbound vehicle driven by Kris Clark, 32, of Corfu, struck him.

Cullinan was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Kristine Flanagan.

Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble said the Cullinan appeared to have been in the driving lane when he was struck.

"We don't see any signs of lights or reflectors on the bicycle," Dibble said. "That would be a factor in the accident."

Cullinan's name was not released until some hours after the accident pending further family notification. Some members of his family where on scene after learning of an accident involving a bicyclist.

The accident remains under investigation and the belief that the rider was in the driving lane is still a preliminary conclusion, Dibble said.

"We have some work to do," Dibble said. "Some of the work will have to be done in the daylight when we have better lighting, but we've done what we can do tonight."

Clark also apparently had a hard time seeing Cullinan because Cullinan was wearing dark-colored clothing, according to the Sheriff's Office. There was also an oncoming vehicle that created difficult site conditions prior to the accident.

There was an initial attempt to perform CPR on the victim, but a deputy arrived on scene minutes later and informed dispatchers the accident was a fatal.

Darien Fire, Darien Ambulance and Mercy EMS responded to the scene.

The name of the SUV driver has not yet been released either. The SUV was towed from the scene. Its passenger-side headlight assembly was heavily damaged.

"It was dark. It was unlit road. I don't think he (the SUV driver) had much time for reaction," Dibble said.

(Initial Report)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Bicyclist hit on Route 33 in Darien

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, corfu, Darien

A car has reportedly hit a bicyclist in the area of 475 Genesee St., Darien

That's between South Lake Road and County Line Road.

CPR reported in progress. Mercy Flight in Batavia is on a ground standby.

Mercy EMS, Darien Ambulance and Darien Fire Department dispatched.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 11:12 am

BBQ & raffle to benefit victims of Darien house fire in March, including two volunteer firefighters

post by Billie Owens in Darien

Two Darien volunteer firefighters -- Joshua Reeb and Paul Redden -- and several other residents lost everything they own in a devastating house fire on March 10 at 1363 Broadway Road. The firefighters helped people evacuate safely. A pet dog died in the blaze.

A fundraiser for their benefit is planned for Sunday, May 4, at the Darien Fire Hall, which is located at 10537 Alleghany Road in Darien Center.

There will be a chicken BBQ, Chinese auction, and 50/50.

Dinner includes: half chicken, two sides and dinner roll. Hot dogs will be provided to children too young for the BBQ plate. Presale tickets are $10. A limited number will be available at the door.

The organizers are still seeking donations for the raffle baskets!

To purchase tickets, make a donation, or for questions, contact any of the following people:

Deanna Crawford  (716) 310-3083

Austen Gielow (716) 783-2562

Paul Redden (585) 356-0466

Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Field fire off Sumner Road, Darien

post by Billie Owens in Darien, fire

A field fire is reported in the area of 550 Sumner Road, on the north side. Darien fire and EMS are responding. The location is between Harlow and County Line roads.

UPDATE 2:24 p.m.: Darien command requests Alexander to bring its Gator to the scene.

UPDATE 2:57 p.m.: Darien command reports the fire is out.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 10:14 am

Law and Order: Oakfield woman accused of stealing business records from employer in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, crime, Darien, Le Roy, Oakfield, Pavilion

Marianne B. Molaro, 53, of 2224 Ham Road, Oakfield, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Molaro allegedly removed business records from her place of employment containing data of a scientific or technical process.

Meaghan L. Schiavi, 21, of 43 N. Main St., Perry, is charged with identity theft. Schiavi allegedly used credit card information from a friend and made a purchase in the Village of Le Roy.

Bernard Lee Evans, 43, of Cato Street, Pavilion, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and aggravated harassment, 2nd. Evans allegedly contacted his ex-girlfriend 16 times by mobile phone in an alleged violation of a court order of protection.

Bryon Gilbert Keller, 19, of Sumner Road, Darien, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Keller allegedly violated an order of protection.

Justin L. Pyatt, 26, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of harassment, 2nd, criminal mischief, 3rd, and petit larceny. During an incident reported at 4:40 p.m. Wednesday, Pyatt allegedly made threats to harm another person, took property that belonged to that person, shoved that person and hit a refrigerator causing damage to the person's property.

Paul Dennis Barth Jr., 23, of Cohocton Road, Corfu, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Barth allegedly approached a person while in Tops Market whom he has been ordered by a judge to not contact at all. Barth then allegedly followed the person to the Sheriff's Office on Park Road. The alleged incident was reported at 3:15 p.m.. Barth was arrested by Officer James DeFreze and jailed on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond.

Christopher R. Hoover, 27, of North Drive, Rochester, is charged with possession of a forged instrument, 2nd. Hoover was turned over to Batavia on a warrant after he was taken into custody by Greece PD. He was jailed without bail.

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.

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