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Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Tire fire reported in Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, fire

There is tire fire, reported as a "large tire fire," at 7508 Swamp Road, Bergen.

Byron Fire dispatched.

UPDATE Sunday: The resident at 7508 Swamp Road e-mailed to say the tire fire was not at this address.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Grand Jury indictments: Man accused of second-degree assault for allegedly injuring victim with scalding water

post by Billie Owens in batavia, bergen, byron, crime

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

James T. Saddler III is indicted on a charge of second-degree assault, a Class D violent felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 21 in the City of Batavia, with intent to cause physical injury to another person, he caused such injury by means of a dangerous instrument -- scalding water.

Ronnie R. Simpson is indicted on a charge of aggravated driving while ability impaired by drugs, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on March 29 in the Town of Byron Simpson drove a 2001 Chevrolet on Route 262 while his ability to do so was impaired by drugs and while a child age 15 or less was a passenger.

Kassandra R. Funk is indicted on a change of drving while intoxicated, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 6 in the Town of Bergen Funk drove a 2006 Pontiac on North Bergen Road while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, she is accused of aggravated drving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time.

Friday, August 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Former nurse from Bergen given probation following second conviction on grand larceny

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, crime

None of it is her fault, former Bergen resident Michele Ann Case told Judge Robert C. Noonan in County Court today during a sentencing on her second grand larceny conviction.

In fact, managers at HomeCare & Hospice, the former employer Case was convicted of stealing from while working as a nurse, concocted the whole scheme against her in order to steal insurance money, she said.

"How could hospice make such a colossal mistake (claiming she broke reimbursement rules)?" Case read from a three-and-a-half page written statement. "Simple, it was no mistake. These rules were new, and used retroactively to make my legitimate paid time into unpaid time in an attempt by hospice to claim I stole from them and in effect steal themselves. They then fraudulently submitted their so called losses to insurance and filed a false report to the police."

Noonan didn't buy any of it.

"I do have a feeling that you see everything through your own little prism of view and that's how you look at it," Noonan said. "You took a nursing job that didn't pan out because other nurses are paid more elsewhere. The detective didn't look at this or look at that ... at some point, you should sit back and look at this the way 24 separate jurors have now looked at it and concluded that you didn't just make mistakes. You stole money."

According to evidence presented at both trials, Case stole more than $14,000 by filing doctored time cards and incorrect mileage logs.

Case's first conviction, in 2012, was overturned on appeal, with the higher court finding that summary sheets tallying the amount of money Case stole was not properly supported by documentation.

In July, Case was convicted a second time by a new jury of grand larceny in the third degree.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman argued today that rather than re-imposing the five-year probation sentence Case got the first time around, she should be sent to prison.

"She still views herself as a victim in this case and absolutely continues to deny any responsibility," said Friedman in a statement prior to Case getting up to speak. "Your honor, it is our position that she is not an appropriate candidate for probation and that she should receive a sentence of incarceration."

And by incarceration, Friedman meant state prison, stating that local jail time would mean no period of parole after serving her time, making it harder for the county to collect restitution from her. Also, only a state prison term would expose her to programs that might benefit her rehabilitation.

To a degree, Noonan said he agreed with Friedman's position, however, he never discussed a state prison option. He spent more time weighing the differences between a sentence of probation and time in the county jail.

A harsher sentence than the first one, Noonan said, could be perceived as retribution for appealing her prior conviction and winning a new trial; however, Case's violation of probation, failure to make any restitution payments after her first conviction, suggests she's not a good candidate for probation.

Also, having sat through two trials and hearing the evidence twice, Noonan said the mere fact that Case continues to deny any wrongdoing could be a foundation for a harsher sentence.

Noonan, however, doesn't consider Case a threat to return to a life of crime.

He imposed five years probation, and with credit for time served, she is not likely to serve any more jail time if she complies with the terms of probation.

Case now lives in Erie County. Her oldest child is a freshman at a local university and her youngest is a freshman in high school. Her attorney said she has returned to factory work (what she did prior to becoming a nurse) at minimum wage (she said she earned $60,000 annually as a nurse).

Noonan noted that early on in this case, she was offered a disposition that would have allowed her to keep her nursing license, but she rejected it.

Friday, August 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Collins announces funding for volunteer fire departments, including Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, chris collins, NY-27

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced $118,137 in federal funding for three local fire companies. The local fire companies are the Depew Fire Department, the Bergen Fire Department, and the Upper Mountain Fire Company. The grants were allocated through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), which is designed to help first responders improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.

“Providing the necessary funding for our first responders is an excellent use of federal resources,” Congressman Chris Collins said. “Our local heroes need the proper resources to do their jobs and protect our communities. Many small fire companies are unable to purchase necessary equipment upgrades due to financial limitations. This funding will provide new breathing apparatus, nozzles and hoses, equipment to prepare for chemical fires and hydraulic rescue tools creating more efficient and effective first responders. I am proud I was able to help secure this money.”

Specifically, the funding will be used to purchase a new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) filling station for Bergen Fire Department. Depew Fire Company will use the funds to replace aging hoses and nozzles, some of which have not been upgraded since the 1960s, and purchase foam educators to better prepare for chemical fires. Upper Mountain Fire Company will purchase hydraulic rescue tools.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Seneca zoo and Bergen Swamp preservationists to hold public social at Gillam Grant

post by Billie Owens in announcements, bergen, swamp

Press release:

Residents in Genesee County and surrounding areas know the Bergen Swamp is a special place. But how many have actually seen some of the swamp’s most famous denizens? Now’s your chance!

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22, the Seneca Park Zoo and Bergen Swamp Preservation Society will hold an Endangered Species "Meet and Greet" at the Gillam Grant Community Center. Refreshments will also be served.

Meet some of these fascinating animals in person with Zoo herpetologists. Learn about the natural history of the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, among other reptile species found in the swamp, as well as what to do if you encounter one!

Bergen Swamp Preservation Society trustees will also be on hand to answer any questions about the swamp’s special flora, fauna and geology.

The Gillam Grant Community Center is located at 6966 W. Bergen Road in Bergen.

Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Memorial to Derek Sheldon erected in Trestle Park in Byron

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, byron, trestle park

Friends and family of Derek Sheldon gathered this afternoon in Trestle Park in Byron to remember the young man who died a year ago tomorrow in an accident at West Bergen Road and Selden Road, Le Roy.

Friends created a memorial to Sheldon near the pond in the park. It consists of the memorial post that was originally erected at the accident site, a tree and a log bench inscribed with Sheldon's name, birthdate and date of his death, and a quote from Derek, "People come and go I guess that's life no matter how hard times get put your head up and take the punches because someone's always looking down on you."

The bench was designed and built by Jake Maurer and Josh Lathan. Devon Jessop, JBR Grafx, sandblasted the words onto the back of the bench. Dan Sheldon provided the marker on the original tribute pole.

After people visited for about an hour at the site, Derek's mother, Karen Lashbrook, said a word about how it's hard to believe Derek's already been gone a year.

Ashley M. Stillwell, who was riding on the back of Derek's motorcycle and was seriously injured in the crash a year ago, was at the gathering today and is in much better health.

Previously:

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 6:44 am

Byron Heritage Festival

post by James Renfrew in bergen, byron

CORRECTED VERSION:

Where is the center of the Universe?  On Saturday, July 26, it will be Byron, New York.  So look it up on MapQuest, orient your GPS and set your Bat-radar for Byron.  Your life will improve, the community’s spirit will be lifted, flags will wave, and the world will be better!  Just look at these great activities and special events taking place throughout the day:

 

8:00 – 9:00 AM            Fishing Derby at Trestle Park (sponsored by Byron Kiwanis & Sackett Merrill White American Legion Post), for ages twelve and under.  Sign-in begins at 7:30 AM.  No entry fee.  Prizes will be awarded.

 

8:30 AM                       5K Run at Fireman’s Park (sponsored by the Byron Rescue Squad).  Registration begins at 7:00 AM, the race begins at 8:30 AM, and results are posted at 9:30 AM. 

 

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM      Craft and Food Vendors (in Fireman’s Park).  Contact the Town Clerk (548-7123 x 10) to reserve a space.  Non-profits may reserve for free, and a modest fee for others.   During this time the Byron Fire Department will be offering activities and games for children to enjoy.

 

9:00 AM - ??                Town-wide garage sales.  Contact the Town Clerk at 548-7123 x 10 to have your location added to the publicity list.  Lawn space is available for free at the Presbyterian Church in the center of town (please call 548-2800 to reserve space).

 

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM     Raffles (tickets sold at the Gazebo in Fireman’s Park).  Winners announced 3:00 PM.

 

10:00 AM - ??              Bounce House at Fireman’s Park (sponsored by Fullerino’s)

 

11:00 AM                      Red, White and Blue Parade.  Fire companies, vintage vehicles, and community organizations are invited to participate.  Please register with the Town Clerk (548-7123 x 10).  The parade will form on Caswell Road.  A panel of judges will review the parade.  Prizes will be awarded to fire companies and to community groups. 

 

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM     Cruise In.  Vintage vehicles are invited to participate in the parade, and then park in Fireman’s Park for judging by the public.  Trophies and door prizes will be awarded.  No pre-registration required, no entry fee.

 

3:00 PM                       Garden Contest.  Please register with Jeanne Freeman (548-7197).  Entrants must be from the Town of Byron.  Photos of your garden will be taken and then the public votes for their favorites at Fireman’s Park.  Prizes will be awarded.  Winners announced at 3:00 PM.

 

4:00 PM                       Horseshoe Tournament in Fireman’s Park (sponsored by Sue Fuller).  You may sign up at any time before 4:00 PM.  Prizes will be awarded to winning teams. 

 

4:00 PM                       Chicken BBQ (sponsored by Byron Kiwanis) at the Byron Fire Hall.  Continues until sold out!

 

12:00 PM – 11:00 PM     Live Music in the Fireman’s Park Pavilion

12:00 - 2:30 PM   “Side By Side”.  

3:30 PM – 6:30 PM   “M.A.C.”

7:30 PM – 11:00 PM    “Savage Cabbage”

 

9:30 PM                       Fireworks (best location for viewing is Fireman’s Park)

 

For up-to-the-minute information about the Byron Heritage Festival, please visit Town of Byron Heritage Festival on Facebook. 

Event Date and Time

July 26, 2014 - 7:00am - 11:55pm

 

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 8:25 am

Rt 262 CSX Crossing to be closed Friday morning

post by Timothy Hens in bergen, Closures, Highway Construction

CSX Railroad has notified the Genesee County Highway Department of a short-term emergency closure of the CSX rail-grade crossing at Route 262 in the Town of Bergen. The closure is required to replace a broken rail within the crossing. The closure is scheduled for Friday morning (7/25) and should last about 5 hours. A detour will be posted on site.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Former nurse convicted for second time of stealing $14K from employer

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bergen, crime

It took a jury all of 30 minutes to return a guilty verdict against former Bergen resident Michele Ann Case of grand larceny in the third degree.

This is the second time a jury in Genesee County has found Case guilty of stealing more than $14,000 from her former employer, HomeCare & Hospice.

The first conviction, in March 2012, was overturned on appeal because state justices found that summations of her thefts were improperly prepared and presented to the jury.

Case, 47, was represented in this trial by attorney Larry Koss, who argued before the jury in closing statements this afternoon that the extra compensation received was all just a big misunderstanding.

"The fact that there are discrepancies doesn't mean anything was done intentionally," Koss told the jury. "People make mistakes. I submit to you, if you're in the profession she's in, your primary concern has to be your patients. If you want to be a good nurse, you want to care for your patients. They have to be your primary concern. They have to be what you pay attention to."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told the jury that the evidence was clear: Case submitted claims for "call outs" (patient visits supposedly outside of regularly scheduled hours) during her normal work shift; that she submitted claims for call outs that she didn't make; and that she claimed mileage that was greatly exaggerated.

Koss said it was a lack of proper training and clear policies that caused Case to submit inaccurate claims for compensation.

There's nothing in the polices that define what allowable mileage is (to which Friedman responded during his close, "I think the answer is you're expected to record mileage truthfully."

During her employment with HCH, Case submitted 61 mileage claims. Of those, Friedman said, 60 of them contained wildly inflated mileage, up to 100, 200 and 300 more miles than Case possibly could have driven.

For a trip to Crossroads House on Liberty Street from the HCH office on East Main Street, Batavia, Case claimed 30 miles.

When confronted by Det. Charles Dudek (now retired) about the discrepancy, Case claimed at one point her trip that day originated in Warsaw, but even those miles -- combined with the side trips she claimed -- didn't add up, Friedman said.

When she went to Delavan for training, Case claimed mileage that was nearly double the actual trip, even using the longest possible route offered by MapQuest for the drive, Friedman said.

That didn't happen just once, but twice.

Case told Dudek that she forgot to reset her trip counter on her odometer and didn't realize her mistake when submitting her mileage reports.

Friedman said the pattern of Case's inflated claims made it quite clear she was trying to increase her compensation illegally.

On 69 occasions, Friedman said, Case claimed compensation for call-outs during what should have been her normal, salaried working hours. Those claims alone totaled $5,300 in extra compensation.

"There is one common scheme to illegitimately and illegally increase what she saw as her insufficient income," Friedman said.

To Koss's argument that HomeCare & Hospice neglected to spot and correct Case's false claims for two and a half years, Friedman said such fraudulent claims went undetected because they were unexpected.

"The defendant was a registered nurse," Friedman said. "She's a professional and they expected her to be professional and honest when she documented her claims, and it turned out, they couldn't count on that."

At the start of his summation, Koss quoted Oscar Wilde.“The truth is rarely plain and never simple.”*

The case against his client, he said, was complicated and obscured by poorly written policies and inadequate training.

Friedman said at the close of his summation, that actually, the facts of the case were pretty straightforward.

"The plain and simple truth is this defendant stole more than $14K by falsifying time vouchers and mileage records," Friedman said.

With uncommon speed, the jury reached the same conclusion.

NOTE: Wilde's correct quote is, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 8:51 am

Holley man dies after car hits pea combine on Route 19 in Bergen

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, bergen

A man was killed early this morning after his car crossed the center line on Route 19 near Bissell Road in Bergen and struck a pea combine head on.

Carmelo Rivera, 22, of Holley, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The accident was reported at 2:32 a.m.

Rivera was driving a 2004 Mercury Sable northbound when it crossed the center line and ran into a OXBO 9500 XP Pea Harvester.

It's possible another vehicle was in the area at the time of the crash and if so, investigators would like to interview that car's occupants. Anybody with information should call the Sheriff's Office at (585) 345-3000.

The accident is being investigated by Deputy Frank Bordonaro, Deputy Howard Carlson, Sgt. Eric Seppala and Deputy John Duyssen of the Crash Management Team.

Responding to the scene were the Bergen Volunteer Fire Department, Mercy EMS and State troopers.

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