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Shooting halted at Gowanda prision rifle range

Vandals have struck again at the town park in Collins after a new drinking fountain was tipped over and broken, officials said at the Aug. 11 town of Collins board meeting. The latest vandalism brings the monetary damage at the park to a total of $2,600 since May when boundary markers were uprooted. The board stated that the New York State Police are investigating and asking anyone with information to come forward.

During the meeting, Mark Hoffman addressed the board about what he felt was a misuse of the shooting range at the Gowanda prison. He said they were using AR-15 Hi-Powered rifles at the range, which the range was not designed for, and their use there had been denied. Hoffman declared that the range was not safe for these rifles as they shoot into an earthen bank toward Gowanda, and a slightly high shot could easily overshoot the bank and end up in Gowanda.

His critique of the range was apparently unwelcome as he said he was told that if he set foot again on the property, the police would be called to arrest him. Collins Town Councilwoman Janet Vogtli stated that when she visited the range with Hoffman to take some photos, she was also threatened with being arrested if she continued.

Vogtli produced a memo from James A. Ogorman, of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervisions, addressed to Mitchell Martin, a representative of Senator Patrick Gallivan, which read: “Shooting at the rifle range has been temporarily suspended…while certain improvements are undertaken to further increase the safety of staff and the surrounding community. This does not include the separate small arms range at the facility.” Collins Superintendent David Tessmer expressed a desire to meet with prison officials to come to a conclusive understanding on the matter.

The board also addressed the issue of cars leaking oil on the dedication bricks at the Collins Public Library. Tessmer stated that cars have been driving onto the etched dedication bricks, to most likely deposit books in the book drop, and have been leaking oil onto the paid dedications. He asked that whoever is guilty to please walk the extra few steps. Tessmer also said the town will look into putting up some sort of blockade to prevent this in the future.

In other board matters:

– Collins Town Clerk Becky Jo Summers reported transactions in her office for July came to $6,574.75 of which the town’s portion was $6,375.89.

– Water line flushing will be taking place on various circuits from Aug. 18 - 22, announcements will be made in the Gowanda News for dates of lines.

– Faith Hoffman addressed the board with a complaint of poor drainage where her driveway meets the road, making for an especially dangerous icy condition in winter. Tessmer asked Highway Supervisor Denny Jensen to investigate.

– The board accepted the resignation of Scott Martindale from the job of custodian effective Aug. 29.

– Rhiannon Starks was appointed the position of custodian with 19.5 hours weekly at a pay rate of $10.20 per hour and a probationary period of 90 days, effective Aug. 28. James Smith was appointed as an alternate to fill in as necessary at the same rate.

– Tessmer was authorized to send a letter to the Helmuth Joint Service Agreement member communities advising them of the Collins intent to explore other options available for dispatch service.

– The resignation of Jeff Johnson as Youth Recreation Director was accepted, effective Aug. 22.

– The board resolved that, effective Aug. 11, the town of Collins Parks and Recreation Committee positions shall be eliminated, and the supervisor will appoint two town board members to act as liaisons to the Parks and Recreation departments.

The next regular meeting of the town of Collins board will be on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Collins Town Hall.

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