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Howard B. Owens's blog

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Person flees scene of rollover accident on Reservation

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama, Tonawanda Indian Reservation

There is a rollover accident on Council House Road on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

There was initially a report of a serious injury and Mercy Flight was being dispatched.

There is also a report that a person has fled from the scene.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS are responding.

UPDATE: A first responder says there is nobody in the vehicle.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Dryer fire reported in Darien Center

post by Howard B. Owens in Darien, fire


A gas dryer is reportedly on fire at 1325 Broadway, Darien Center.

There is no structure fire at this time.

Darien Fire and Alexander Fire have been dispatched.

UPDATE 4:42 p.m.: It is now a structure fire. Corfu is also responding. Flames reported on the outside of the building.

UPDATE 4:48 p.m.: Broadway and Route 77 are being shut down. Batavia's Fast team is being dispatched.

UPDATE 6:18 p.m.: Firefighters continue to battle hotspots inside the house. The amount of smoking billowing from out of the attic has subsided substantially, but there's clearly still fire burning in the interior. In addition to Darien, Corfu and Alexander, companies from Alexander, Alden and Bennington are on scene. Route 5 remains closed, though 77 is open.

UPDATE 8:39 p.m.: All units back in service.

UPDATE: More pictures after the jump.



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Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 10:11 am

Prison time ordered for man with lengthy criminal record

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield

A man who admitted in July that he tried to steal a truck from a local car dealership will spend two to four years in prison.

He will also be given a chance at rehabilitation for substance abuse.

Carl Rivers, 41, apparently obtained a 2000 Chevy Silverado from an Oakfield car dealership, drove it until it broke down, and took some money that was supposed to go toward purchase of the vehicle and used it to buy drugs.

Rivers admitted on July 1 to attempted grand larceny, 4th.

For the purposes of sentencing, it was his second felony offense. The first was a burglary charge in Orleans County in 1996. That conviction falls within the 10-year limit for a predicate felony because of time Rivers spent in jail in the intervening years.

Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini told Judge Robert C. Noonan that Rivers had a lengthy criminal record with numerous arrests in several states, but Public Defender Gary Horton noted that Rivers' arrests in North Carolina and California did not lead to convictions.

Horton said all of Rivers' difficulties with the law can be traced to his substance abuse.

"Mr. Rivers has reached point in life where he knows he must change where he is going," Horton said. "He must address the substance abuse problem or he’s going to spend the rest of his life bouncing in and out of penal institutions, and he doesn’t want that to happen."

Prior to sentencing, Rivers acknowledged he had a substance abuse problem and said he wasn't interested in making excuses.

"I want to deal with my addiction," Rivers said. "I don't want to say being in jail is easy, but doing time isn't hard. Anybody can do it. Dealing with my addiction is what I’m ready to do."

Noonan said it was important to ensure Rivers, with his record, spend some time in prison, but he also ordered him to participate in a CASAT substance abuse program, if he is accepted.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 8:20 am

Batavia Sports Park has room to grow

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Sports Park, Batavia Turf, recreation, sports


When loyal Batavian Bea McManis visited Hornell for a horseshoe tournament she was impressed with what she found -- a city-sponsored, championship-caliber facility that brought in people from all over the state to stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants.

In a comment on The Batavian, she also noted Hornell annually closes down Main Street for a basketball tournament.

"In my opinion, Batavia is shortsighted when it comes to utilizing its best asset," Bea wrote. "We are located in a perfect spot to make the city a mecca for recreational events such as Hornell had over the weekend."

Ted Hawley shares the vision.

A couple of years ago he approached Craig Yunker, owner of Batavia Turf, about letting him organize soccer tournaments on the grass he grows.

After ironing out some details with the Town of Batavia, Hawley and Yunker opened the Batavia Sports Park off Bank Street Road.

The Town of Batavia chipped in $41,000 to lease the land from Yunker and provide an entrance and gravel parking lot.

"We already know just on that first tournament, the pay back," said Town of Batavia Board Member John Gerace. "We don't know dollars yet but we'll be looking at some numbers on what the pay back is to the town and Genesee County and the city."

This spring, Hawley attracted two significant soccer events to the new sports park -- an Olympic team camp and an Empire United Soccer Academy event.

But Hawley's vision doesn't stop with soccer -- he sees no reason that the facility can't become a major stopping off point for tournaments, camps and clinics for lacrosse, baseball and softball and any other sport.

He would like to see expanded facilities and more fields.

"In my wildest dreams, this could really be a great product between Rochester and Buffalo," Hawley said.

And Yunker is certainly open to expansion. He pointed to a cornfield and said, "we could put another three soccer fields there and another three in the next field over."

"There's 74 acres here," Yunker added.

Nobody's yet talking about the dollars and cents to make it happen, but the town board visited the facility Wednesday to see what some of the immediate issues are, which include some sort of shelter for players and parents (protection during storms), expanded parking and a second access point to Bank Street Road, so there would be only one way in, and one way out for drivers.

Even as board members Hawley and Yunker expressed pleasure and awe at all of the families making use of the facility on Wednesday, Yunkers noted that the future of the Sports Park isn't a done deal.

"The town hasn’t committed past this year. I haven’t committed past this year," Yunker said. "This is sort of a see-how-it-develops and see-if-the-community-supports-it and see-if-it-makes-sense."

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 8:19 am

Police Beat: Harassment charge filed

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba

Max Louis Orr, 55, of Barrville Road, Elba, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Barr allegedly punched another person the chest during an argument.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 8:15 am

Town Board approves lower speed limit on road passing GCC

post by Howard B. Owens in Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley Drive, batavia, GCC


Get ready to drive slower on Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley Drive.

The Town of Batavia board approved a resolution Wednesday asking for a speed-limit reduction on the road that passes between Genesee Community College and the new Med-Tech Center.

The entire length of Hawley Drive will see a lower speed limit, if the proposal is approved by the County Highway Department and the Department of Transportation.

Directly between the college campus and the new facility, the speed limit will drop from 45 to 30 mph. From Bank Street Road to the college, the speed limit could be lowered from 55 to 40 mph.

The change was made at the request of GCC.

In a letter to the board, Kevin Hamilton, VP of Finance and Operations, said increased enrollment, the new nursing program at the Med-Tech Center, and more patients from UMMC going to the facility will be an increase in traffic.

The school is also concerned about students walking from the campus, across the road, to the center.

"Our overall goal is safety awareness and accident prevention to ultimately improve safety for all those who are driving, bicycling or walking near our college community," Hamilton wrote.

A letter to the board from Sheriff Gary Maha said the Genesee County Traffic Safety Board discussed the matter at its June 17 meeting and concluded that no new crosswalks or sidewalks were needed immediately, but a reduction in the speed limit might be advisable.

The town board recommended the speed-limit reduction in a unanimous vote.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Decorated veteran, volunteer firefighter honored in Alabama

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama


A man who was a hero to his country and his community was laid to rest in Alabama this afternoon.

Thomas CortrightThomas Alan Cortright, 56, of Basom, died Sunday at his residence after a lengthy illness.

Cortright received the the Distinguished Flying Cross while serving in Vietnam in 1972-73. He was also Fire Police captain for the Town of Alabama Volunteer Fire Department and worked as grounds keeper for the State Police barracks in Batavia.

"He may have been the most decorated veteran in Genesee County," said Ron Konieczny, commander of Batavia's American Legion post.

At least 100 people attended his burial shortly after noon in the Town of Alabama cemetery, including numerous members of Alabama Fire and volunteer firefighters from throughout the county. Friends, family and fellow veterans also attended.

Cortright was honored with a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps while his mother, Eleanor Sullivan Cortright, and his wife, Mary Ann Brodfuerer Cortright, sat beside his flag-draped casket.

For the full obituary, and a complete list of all his military honors, click here.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Alleged credit card larcenist also accused of violating probation

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

mug_kyle_monroe.jpgKyle Christopher Monroe is facing a charge of grand larceny, 4th, but today he was in Genesee County Court on another matter -- alleged violation of probation.

Monroe, who was accused most recently of taking credit cards from parked cars on Gateway Drive and using them to buy merchandise at stores on Veteran's Memorial Drive, is accused of missing probation appointments and not providing probation with a correct home address.

Of course, the grand larceny charge is also an alleged violation of probation.

Monroe was convicted of possession of stolen property in an unrelated incident and was placed on probation.

In October, 2009, Monroe was found driving an allegedly stolen Caravan. The next month, County Manager Jay Gsell reportedly saw Monroe trying to evade capture after allegedly trying to steal a car.

Apparently Monroe had a pretty recognizable face once a picture of him leaving a local retailer, where he allegedly used stolen credit cards to make a purchase, was posted by The Batavian and WBTA1490.com. Batavia Police reportedly received a number of phone calls identifying Monroe as a suspect.

On the probation charge, bail was set at $10,000. Bail on the grand larceny charge, which is being heard in Batavia City Court, was previously set at $5,000.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 10:43 am

Case delayed for man charged with public lewdness

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Suzanne Corona

Justin Amend, that man allegedly caught with his pants down in Farrall park, appeared in Batavia City Court today only to be told to reappear on Aug. 9.

There is no plea offer in the case yet.

Amend, an Oakfield resident, is charged with public lewdness, a Class B misdemeanor, for allegedly engaging in sexual intercourse with Suzanne Corona. Corona still faces adultery and public lewdness charges.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Zickl requested an evaluation of Amend by a counselor before he would make a plea offer.

Zickl has not had a chance to review the evaluation report yet, and he was unavailable for a court appearance today.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 10:35 am

Man with 26-year-old ticket finally appears in City Court

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Court, crime

Peter Nasca will finally pay his debt to society.

For 26 years, the Florida resident has been tagged by Batavia City Court as a "scofflaw."

Since 1984, his New York license has been suspended and he's had an unpaid traffic ticket.

That hasn't stopped him from making his living as a truck driver, and even hauling loads through his former home state, but then he didn't know -- he says -- that he was a wanted man.

"All these years, nobody ever caught it," Nasca said after appearing in court. "Even when I do my FBI background check every year, they never caught it."

Apparently, law enforcement in Missouri is a little more on the ball. During a routine inspection of his rig, an officer said, "Oh, by the way, you can't drive in New York."

"What?" was Nasca's jaw-dropping response.

His Florida driver's license allowed him to drive in any state in the union, but New York wanted him to pay his fine, which is $180 for allegedly driving on a revoked driver's license in 1984.

Nasca, a native of Buffalo, was a Tonawanda resident at the time.

(Nasca is spelled like NASCAR, he said, "but without the money.")

Nasca did appear in City Court in 1984 and entered a not guilty plea. He eventually forgot about the charge and figured there was a statue of limitations on it. But there wasn't.

In 1984, Judge Robert Balbick was the prosecuting attorney in City Court, though he doesn't remember if he appeared on the Nasca case. Even so, he had to recuse himself, so Nasca's case was adjourned to Aug. 3, when Judge Michael Delplato can hear the matter.

As for his suspended license, he cleared that up today by filling out some paperwork. He didn't have to pay a fee because in 1984 there was no fee for a "Scoff."

City Court Clerk Linda Giambrone said there are scoff cases on file at City Court going back to the 1970s. They will never be purged and the scofflaws could still be hauled into court.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Biker reportedly injured at Area 51

post by Howard B. Owens in area 51, batavia, accident


A reader provided this mobile phone photo of Mercy Flight at Area 51. A motocross rider reportedly suffered a back injury in an accident this evening.

More information if it becomes available.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 11:44 am

Photos: Batavia Downs - Behind the scenes on opening day

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, harness racing, photos, sports


Yesterday, Batavia Downs opened its 64th harness racing season. Officials were kind enough to let me hang out in the stables and take pictures.

Thirty-three more pictures after the jump:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 10:05 am

Latina's property manager makes court appearance

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, code enforcement, downtown, Latina's

Scratch Tom Lewin off Batavia's "Most Wanted" list.

The man city inspectors believe is responsible for another summer of gull poop and stink around the former Latina's Foodland voluntarily appeared in Batavia City Court yesterday morning with his attorney.

An arrest warrant was issued for Lewin after he failed to appear in court last week. 

On Friday, Amherst PD reportedly went to his house looking for him, but he wasn't home.

Lewin did not enter a plea to the code violation charges against his company, LKLWL Properties, which owns the Ellicott Street building. He is schedule to appear in court again at 10 a.m. on Aug. 20.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

Young rape victim searched Facebook to identify alleged attacker

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, crime

A 14-year-old girl who was raped in a Corfu parking lot did a bit of her own sleuthing online to help investigators identify her alleged attacker.

The girl, at first too embarrassed to come forward, only knew her alleged attacker's first name. Friends had introduced him and they exchanged some text messages before agreeing to meet.

When they got together in June, 2009, in a Corfu parking lot, the man reportedly served her wine coolers. Then he allegedly forced her to have sex.

Eventually, using Facebook, according to Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, the girl found the 20-year-old man she believed raped her.

Arrested last week and charged with rape, 1st, rape, 2nd and unlawful dealing with a child was Randy A. Reiss, of 23 Danita Drive, Akron.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 8:37 am

Police Beat: Man accused of throwing phone at girlfriend's car

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

Wayne P. Fielding, 23, of East Bird Road, Byron, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Fielding is accused of throwing his mobile phone at the windshield of his girlfriend's car, causing the windshield to break. Fielding was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Cassandra L. Brunea, 37, of Alexander Road, Alexander, is charged with offering a false instrument for filing. Brunea is accused of signing a statement against a suspect in another case. Some of the information in the statement was allegedly falsified.

Kimberly Melissa Volk, 21, address not released, is charged with petit larceny. Volk is accused of stealing cash on several different occasions while working food stands at Darien Lake.

Donald A. Carney, 50, of Pavilion, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child, 1st. Carney was arrested by State Police at 11:05 p.m., Saturday. No further details were released.

Albert C. Osborne, 24, of Cheektowaga, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Osborne was stopped at 11:20 p.m., Friday, by State Police, on Route 77, Darien.

Carl R. Caughill, 20, of Niagara Falls, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 and failure to keep right. Caughill was stopped by State Police at 10:30 p.m., Friday, on Route 77, Darien.

Monday, July 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Motorcycle hits deer on West Main Street, Batavia, two injured

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident


A motorcycle has hit a deer in the area of 4003 W. Main St. Road, Batavia.

Two people are reported unconscious.

Mercy EMS and Town of Batavia Fire responding. Mercy Flight is on stand by.

UPDATE 3:00 p.m.: Two Mercy Flight helicopters requested to the scene.

UPDATE 4:37 p.m.: No official word yet on the investigation. Two people were transported by Mercy Flight, and at least one of those helicopters went to Strong Memorial Hospital. An officer said it didn't look like either rider was wearing a state-approved safety helmet (though they were wearing helmets). The injured deer was put down after the accident. More information when it becomes available.

UPDATE: The driver and passenger have been identified: Driver, David L. Patrick, 63, of 21 Birchwood Acres, Perry. Passenger, Nancy L. Patrick, 58. The driver was taken to ECMC and the passenger to Strong. The accident investigation revealed that the deer entered road from the southern shoulder and ran into Nancy, causing David to lose control of the bike.

UPDATE: Both people were taken to Strong. Both are listed in guarded condition. At Strong, "guarded" means the patient is in the intensive care unit.

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Monday, July 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Fire reported at residence on Ridge Road, Elba

post by Howard B. Owens in elba, fire

The initial call was for a "couch on fire" at 5006 Ridge Road, Elba, but a chief on scene reports that actually, it's a riding mower outside the residence that is on fire.

Elba Fire is responding.

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