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January 20, 2017 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Notre Dame, basketball, sports.


Even with a couple of key players out because of colds, the Alexander Lady Trojans gave Notre Dame a fight for four quarters, falling short at the end when Callie McCulley sunk a pair of free throws to give the Irish a 34-33 victory.

The home team ended the first and second quarters with leads, but Notre Dame's defense helped keep the game within reach.

McCulley finished with 10 points to go with 10 from Margaret Sutherland and 5 from Natalie Thornton.

For Alexander, Marissa Scharlau, Jordan George, 7, Maci Riggs and Caylin Walton each had 6.









January 20, 2017 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, land use, planning, news, Alabama, batavia, byron, elba, Oakfield, and Pembroke..

Press release:

State mandated 30-day public review period has begun for Agricultural Districts No. 2 in the Towns of Alabama, Batavia, Byron, Elba, Oakfield, and Pembroke. 

The Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board announced that Agricultural District No. 2 will embark on its eight-year review with a 30-day public review period beginning on January 26, 2017. 

As with every eight-year review, landowners with lands in the district under review will be asked to complete a worksheet where they will be given the option to enroll or withdraw property from the district. Only entire parcels can be included or excluded. Landowners will receive the worksheet, along with a letter, informational brochure, and map of the current district boundaries in the next couple of days.  Each landowner will have until Friday, February 24thof this year to mail the worksheets to the Department of Planning in the envelopes provided.  This deadline also coincides with the deadline for the Annual Enrollment Period which allows for inclusion of predominantly viable agricultural land to any of the County’s Agricultural Districts pending review by the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board.  In addition, nearby landowners that are receiving Agricultural Tax Assessments and are not part of the Agricultural Districts Program will be mailed a letter and form inviting them to join the program. 

During this 30-day period, a map of the District will be on file and open to the public in the office of the Genesee County Clerk and at the Genesee County Department of Planning.  Any municipality whose territory encompasses the above Agricultural District, any State Agency or any landowner within or adjacent to the District, may propose a modification of the District during this period.  The District and any proposed modification will be submitted to the Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board for review.  Consequently, a public hearing on the District and any proposed modifications will be held on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 5:30 PM at the Genesee County Old Courthouse, 7 Main Street, Batavia, NY.  At the conclusion of this review, the Genesee County Legislature will vote on any modifications to the District and send the proper materials to the State Department of Agriculture and Markets for recertification.  The public is encouraged to attend all open meetings.

By enrolling land in the Agricultural Districts Program, participating farmers can receive relief from nuisance claims and certain forms of local regulation.  Enrollment is free and voluntary.  For a free informational brochure, please contact the Genesee County Department of Planning. Phone: (585) 815-7901, Fax: (585) 345-3062, Email: [email protected]. Visit us on the web at

January 20, 2017 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Darien.

Julia L. Tombari, 22, of Highland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Tombari was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance not prescribed to her along with packaging and other drug paraphernalia by officer Arick Perkins at 2:45 p.m., Friday, at a residence on Highland Avenue. 

Melissa R. Piazza, 27, of Jackson Square, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property 4th. Piazza is accused of using a stolen credit card to make purchases at the Kwik Fill, 99 Jackson St., Batavia. She was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Kevin E. Dolison, 21, of Meadow Drive, Geneseo, is charged with harassment 2nd. Dolison was arrested on a warrant stemming for an alleged incident reported at 7:04 p.m., Nov. 30, at a residence on South Main Street, Batavia, where Dolison allegedly struck another person. Dolison posted bail and was released.

Carolyn L. Magoffin, 33, of Colby Road, Darien, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear for a scheduled court date. Magoffin posted $500 bail and was released.

Falicia N. Tuczai, 26, of Prospect Avenue, Batavia, is charged with trespass. Tuczai allegedly entered property at 7:16 p.m., Thursday, on South Main Street, Batavia, after being previously told by police not to enter the property.

January 20, 2017 - 9:21am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, WROTB, Batavia Downs Gaming.

Update -- 9 a.m. 1/20/17 --

Assemblyman Steven Hawley said that Gov. Cuomo has proposed in his budget to provide $2.25 million from existing state gaming aid payments for Madison County in connection with the opening of the Oneida Nation casino in Chittenango, and also that the governor wants to cut VTL funding outside of Yonkers by $698,000 -- decreasing the statewide amount of VLT funding to $28.6 million.

"We must remember that this is merely a budget proposal by the governor, and now the legislature will get to work on it and I will be keeping a close eye on this," Hawley said.


Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. officials are troubled about a bill in New York State’s proposed budget that would redistribute available state aid associated with hosting a gaming facility to a county that hosts a tribal casino, but does not receive a percent of the state share of revenue from that casino.

If passed into law, the measure could decrease the amount of state aid distributions to local municipalities that benefit from gaming activities at Batavia Downs, according to WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek.

“If the bill as written should pass, this would not be good for Genesee County," Wojtaszek said following Thursday’s WROTB board of directors meeting.

Wojtaszek said that the bill focuses on the situation in Chittenango in Madison County, home of the Native American-owned Yellow Brick Road Casino.  Madison County is the only county that receives no state share of the revenue from the casino located within its borders, he noted.

Proponents of the bill believe its passage would provide an equitable distribution of state gaming aid. It would take effect on April 1, 2017 and expire on March 31, 2020 to allow for a re-evaluation of the gaming industry in the state.

A summary of the bill’s four sections is as follows:

-- Section 1 would amend the State Finance Law to reduce funds available for distribution to non-host counties in regions hosting a commercial gaming facility by $1.4 million in fiscal year 2018 and $1.55 million in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

-- Section 2 would amend the State Finance Law to provide a county that hosts a tribal casino but does not receive a percent of the state share of revenue from that casino with an annual distribution of $2.25 million.

-- Section 3 would amend the State Finance Law to reduce funds available for distribution to non-host counties in regions hosting a tribal casino by $600,000 in fiscal year 2018 and $500,000 in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

-- Section 4 would amend the State Finance Law to reduce the state aid payment to eligible municipalities hosting a VLT (video lottery terminal) facility by $250,000 in fiscal year 2018 and $200,000 in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

Provisions of Section 4 could negatively impact Genesee County, the City of Batavia and the Town of Batavia -- municipalities that receive VLT funds from the state due to their roles as casino "hosts."

County Manager Jay Gsell said he believes that the dollar amounts in Section 4 of the bill are "global" figures, meaning that the VLT funds distributed to the 18 "host" municipalities across the state would be reduced proportionately.

When contacted about this proposed bill, State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said he is in the process of reviewing Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget, and would call back with comments.

On a related topic, Wojtaszek also said that a bill that would have increased the percentage of net proceeds that Batavia Downs Gaming would be able to keep was vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 31.

“It was vetoed by the governor but we plan to introduce the request to the State Legislature again this year,” he said, noting that the corporation is seeking a jump from 35 percent to 41 percent.

“The primary benefit is that this money would go back to the member communities to help offset taxes and give their residents a reasonable tax rate.”

Wojtaszek said that other gaming facilities have had similar bills passed, and that it is a matter of fairness.

Board Vice-Chairman Thomas Wamp (Livingston County) said the “vendor bill” is crucial to the continued success of Batavia Downs Gaming.

“We’re definitely concerned in light of the new casinos coming, especially del Lago (Resort & Casino in Seneca County), and since Finger Lakes is impacted by this, they will promote more to the west and take some of our customers,” Wamp said.

Wamp and Chairman Richard Bianchi (Monroe County) were unanimously re-elected for another year.  They have presided in the top two positions for the past seven years.

In other developments, the board:

-- Reported that $99,187 in surcharges were generated in November for distribution to the municipalities served by the corporation, and that the casino’s EZ-Bet revenue reached the $700,000 mark in December, increasing the total for 2016 to $10 million.

The $10 million mark represents a 12 percent rise from 2015.

-- Announced that a sports autograph show is set for Feb. 18-19. Among the former pro athletes scheduled to attend is Scott Norwood, placekicker during the Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl era. Also, officials are making plans for two outdoor concerts in June, with Lone Star and Eddie Money as the headliners.

-- Reported that construction of the new paddock will begin in mid-April and, after a break, will continue with an eye toward completion before the 2018 racing season. The project carries a price tag of $1 million.

-- Authorized a one-year contract with Park Strategies LLC of New York City, a lobbying firm founded by former U.S. Senator Alphonse M. D’Amato at a cost of $5,000 per month.

-- Reported that 38 more games are being added to the casino floor, upping the total to 835.

January 20, 2017 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, gcedce, Alabama, business.

What started over a decade ago as a concept to market a site for the emerging advanced manufacturing industry became a reality as the Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved contracts to prepare bids for infrastructure work at STAMP.  The first phase of infrastructure funding is part of the $33 million allocated to STAMP from the Buffalo Billion.

“This is a watershed moment for STAMP,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia.  “We are finally going to start putting shovels in the ground to begin the process of building a next-generation site to bring advanced manufacturing companies to our region.”

The board approved a contract for $380,000 to the engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection for Phase 1 and Phase II work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the town of Alabama water system.  The board approved a second contract for $165,000 to Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of Route 77.  The firm will oversee the drafting, issuance and review of the various bids for the road and water infrastructure work.

“It’s one thing to say to corporate site selectors and economic development officials that you have a site for potential development as opposed to having a site that is shovel ready with road and utility infrastructure already built,” said Steve Hyde, President and CEO of the GCEDC.  “Our site immediately rises to the top of the list among those making decisions about where they are going to build the next new advanced manufacturing facility.”

It is anticipated that the bidding documents for the water and roadway will work be released in mid-February with actual work to begin on site in late spring.

The GCEDC board meeting was held on Thursday, January 19, 2017. 

January 20, 2017 - 9:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, batavia, news.


This friendly pouch was found on Ellicott Street this morning. No collar or tags. Kristin Bates took him to work at Remedy Staffing and he's there now.

"He is a sweet boy, who is clearly used to being in a home," Kristin said.

She can be reached at (585) 993-6336.

UPDATE: Dog and family have been reunited.

January 20, 2017 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
January 19, 2017 - 6:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, batavia, news, business.


The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce celebrated its arrival in a new home, with a new tourism center, on Park Road, Town of Batavia, today, with a ribbon cutting.

While the upstairs offices are a modern and comfortable place for chamber employees to work, it's the downstairs visitors center that is the star of the renovated building.

Chamber President Tom Turnbull noted its close proximity to the Thruway and the nearby hotels, which by the end of the year will have a total of 1,000 guest rooms between them.

"It will now be our job to encourage this visitors to our county to explore deeper into the county to shop, eat, and enjoy many of the fine services available," Turnbull said.

The move was appropriate, said Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature, because tourism dollars are important to the health of our local economy.

"Many people either forget or they may not be aware what a significant impact tourism has on our local economy," Cianfrini said. "Aside from the money people spend on their food and their fuel and their lodging, they also contribute significantly to our sales tax and our bed tax revenues. The Chamber has done a fantastic job of promoting tourism in Genesee County."


Tom Turnbull


Ray Cianfrini

January 19, 2017 - 12:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in smart growth, planning, land use, Oakfield, Alabama.


Up next for the county's tri-annual update to our Smart Growth Plan is a presentation Feb 13 to the Public Service Committee of the Genesee County Legislature.

Planning Director Felipe Oltramari and planning staff have toured the county providing interested residents at town-hall style meetings information and maps outlining the proposed changes to the plan.

The final such meeting was Tuesday at the community center in Oakfield and covered the proposed plan for Oakfield and Alabama.

The goal of the plan is to protect farmland from suburban-like sprawl and guide population centers toward a denser, mixed-use, more pedestrian-friendly environment.

These are the types of communities younger generations of families are workers are looking for, Oltramari said.  Younger families want to have more amenities and services within walking distance of their homes and have a stronger sense of neighborhood than offered by traditional suburban development where all lots are the same size, all homes have the same floor plan and residents come home from work, pull into their garage and never say "hi" to a neighbor.

The plan for Oakfield (pdf) includes allowing development along Pearl Street out to Batavia Oakfield Townline Road.

In response to a resident's question, Oltramari suggested this area is well positioned for the kind of denser, mixed-use, walkable neighborhood many people want these days.

A resident brought up decades hold housing development in Le Roy that is more than a mile outside of the village and noted residents just drive to Tops, and "what's wrong with that," and Oltramari said those are the kind of developments that contribute to the decline of villages such as Le Roy.

Islands of suburban-like development tend to encourage people to move out of older villages and don't bring in new residents, he said, and then the old Victorian homes in the village become multi-unit rentals.

"What happened along with that is their downtown died," Oltramari said. "A lot of people who used to walk into the shops, a lot of families who’s kids used to walk to school and go downtown are not there anymore. They’re being bussed and they’re being driven and a lot of people who live in the village are transient people. There are consequences to doing that, but when you build little neighborhoods, you tend to attract people from the outside."

The Smart Growth Plan contemplates new homes being built that fit into a hamlet's or village's character (differing sized lots, different architectural treatments), but helps keep homes clustered around the village, which will encourage rehab of the remaining older homes.

For Alabama (pdf), growth could mean a demand for more housing, but instead of converting farmland into housing tracts, the plan is designed to grow the existing hamlet into a village.

None of this -- like any planning document -- is written into stone, Oltramari noted after Tuesday's meeting.  There are processes to override the plan, but those are difficult barriers to overcome.  A town's board, the county planning board and the County Legislature would all have to approve a development not fitting in the current development boundaries, and if that happened there would be legal challenges.

The Smart Growth Plan development process dates back to 2001 and was part of the agreement to bring Monroe County Water into Genesee County. The county is required to update the plan every three years in order to continue to expand the public water supply flowing from Monroe County Water.

There are future funding mechanism dependent on abiding by the plan, and the Sierra Club is on record, Oltramari said, of claiming it is prepared to file a lawsuit if the county doesn't develop and abide by the plan to protect farmland.

For more on the Smart Growth Plan, and to view maps for each community that outline development areas, click here.  The Feb 13 meeting, likely at 4:30 p.m. at the Old Courthouse, is open to the public.

January 19, 2017 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, sports.

The Batavia Blue Devils have been selected to play a game the opening weekend of the high school football season in the Carrier Dome Classic, an annual event that brings in football teams from all over the state, Head Coach Brennan Briggs said this morning.

The exact time and date of the game -- either Sept. 1 or Sept 2 -- has not been determined yet, nor has an opponent for the Blue Devils been selected yet. It will likely be a Class B or Class A team out of Section IV, Briggs said.

Batavia was selected after Briggs applied for a slot in the classic a year ago.

"I'm excited for the kids," Briggs said. "It should be a blast. It's exciting for them."

The Carrier Dome Classic also puts the Batavia program on a bigger statewide stage, Briggs said. It will give people from all over the state a chance to see what Batavia football is all about.

Many of this year's team members were able to play a regional championship game in 2016 in New Era in Buffalo, home of the Buffalo Bills, so a game in the Carrier Dome is another nice highlight to their high school football careers.

"There are not too many times you get a chance to play both at New Era and the Carrier Dome," Briggs said. "It's pretty sweet."

The Carrier Dome also hosts the state championships, so Briggs said, that yes, indeed, at some point during the year he can use "get back to the Carrier Dome" to help motivate his team.  It might inspire the players to dream big.

But the 2017 season is going present challenges each week, Briggs said. Besides what will certainly be a tough opponent in week one, week two is a home game against perennial Monroe County powerhouse Aquinas.  The whole schedule for the three-peat Section V champions is likely to be stacked with tough opponents, Briggs said. Honeoye Falls-Lima has been moved to Class B and schools such as Geneva, Hornell and Livonia are always tough.  

"It will be a stacked deck," Briggs said.

January 19, 2017 - 8:10am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news.


Tournament bowling is in full swing throughout the Genesee Region. 

For a recap of the competition at Medina Lanes, Mount Morris Lanes and Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion -- and to read about a 70-year-old Indiana man's moment in the sun --click here for the latest Pin Points column by Mike Pettinella.

January 18, 2017 - 9:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, town of batavia, Southwest Water District.

It has been years in the making but the push to provide public water  for about 40 families living in the southwest area of the Town of Batavia is about to become a reality.

On Wednesday night, the Town Board unanimously voted in favor of a final order establishing the Batavia Southwest Water District for residents of Brown, Halstead, Wilkinson, Lear, Upton and Rose roads, and Windflower Drive.

According to Supervisor Gregory Post, recent approval from the state Comptroller’s Office sets the stage for design, construction and inspection to begin – and possibly finish – in 2017.

“We’ve been working at this for eight years,” Post said. “Actually, we found petitions (from residents) dating back to the late 1970s, but they weren’t officially filed.”

Last spring (after accepting petitions from the residents involved), the board held a public hearing on the project, which calls for the installation of 20,400 linear feet of 12- and eight-inch water main as well as all related right-of-way costs, site work and other ancillary work.

The $1.2 million project would be financed through a grant/loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency in the amount of $500,000 and the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $710,000, offset by any state and federal funds or grants received.

The annual cost to the typical property for public water – based on the debt service and consumption – was previously set at $1,091, but could vary slightly depending upon the final, actual cost of the project.

On another front, Post said he was pleased to learn that an out-of-town developer wishes to construct two 8,000- to 10,000 square foot buildings just east of Home Depot on Veterans Memorial Drive and place up to six retail and restaurant ventures there.

On Tuesday night, Ray Trotta, program/design manager/COO of The HollandTrotta Project of Rochester, told Batavia Town planners that site work would begin in about three months with construction to start shortly afterwards.

The plan is to put three businesses in each of the two structures. Currently, the land is owned by Home Depot but the firm reportedly is willing to sell it for development purposes.

In other action, the board:

-- Accepted a $250,000 grant from the State and Municipal Facility Program (SAM) to offset expenses related to the planning and development of the Ellicott Trail Project, a 4.6-mile, east-west pedestrian and bicycle path known as the Ellicott Trail that will traverse through roads, parks, wetlands and abandoned railway beds in the Town and City of Batavia.

-- Authorized the purchase of two new 2017 Ford F150 4x4 extended cab pickup trucks from Van Bortel Ford at a price of $26,915.70 each for the Building Department and the sale of a 2014 Ford 150 pickup truck and a 2014 Jeep Cherokee at auction.

-- Authorized the purchase of a 2017 Ford F250 4x4 extended cab pickup truck from Van Bortel Ford at a price of $29,390.88 for the Highway Department, and the sale of a 2105 Ford F250 pickup truck at auction.

-- Agreed to utilize a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority standardized permit for solar installation to qualify for a $2,500 grant and for designation as a Clean Energy Community.  The new Unified Solar Permit will be an attachment to the town’s building permit for projects involving the installation of solar energy systems.

January 18, 2017 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

Possible injuries are reported in a two-car crash in the area of 3757 Pearl Street Road, Batavia.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS responding

UPDATE 6:33 p.m.: One of the engines responding is told to come in non-emergency.

UPDATE 6:36 p.m.: Engine 20 can go back in service.

January 18, 2017 - 4:03pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Darien.

Darien Town Supervisor David Hagelberger said a proposal to create a new water district in the municipality will be a hot topic once again as soon as work on an accurate map of the area in question is finished.

"I'm sure the water (district) will heat up in terms of news when we get the map completed," Hagelberger said Wednesday afternoon. "We have been busy detailing the map as far as which properties will be in it and identifying the property boundaries."

Town residents initially heard about the proposed $24.8 million project to supply public water to two-thirds of the population in late September and, following a couple of public presentations by Engineer Steve Mountain, were asked to fill out survey cards indicating their preference.

Hagelberger said that 869 cards were mailed to property owners in the proposed Water District No. 6.

Through Dec. 3, the survey results are as follows:

-- 195 in favor, or 22.4 percent.
-- 309 against, or 35.6 percent.
-- 5 undecided, or .6 percent.
-- 360 yet to be returned, or 41.4 percent.

"As you can see, the biggest group are the non-responders," Hagelberger said. "We're hoping to get more cards back since we really don't know what they are thinking yet."

He said that town and Genesee County officials hope to have the map done by the end of the month and, if that is the case, the issue could come up at the Town Board's next meeting on Feb. 1.

Estimates show that the project would cost property owners, at the outset, about $1,275 annually in debt service and water usage costs.

Back in September, Hagelberger said that this opportunity to provide public water to the 2,095 town residents who have well water was a "go or no go" situation.

The project also comes with grant funding from USDA Rural Development in the amount of $6.8 million -- funds that lower the cost to an affordable level, the supervisor added.

January 18, 2017 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Terrance Johnson, appeared for sentencing in Genesee County Court this afternoon on a robbery conviction.

Johnson was arrested last May for first-degree robbery after being released from a four-month term in the Genesee County Jail for a gang assault in Batavia.

Neither the district attorney nor Johnson’s defense took the opportunity to speak before sentencing; however, Johnson took the chance to casually express that he was “happy to get this out of the way” never taking responsibility or expressing an apology to the victim for his actions.

Johnson was smiling for most of the appearance, glancing and mouthing things to members of the gallery and even laughed to himself several times.

He was sentenced to two years in state prison to be followed by three years post-release supervision and was issued orders of protection for two individuals.

via out news partner, WBTA

January 18, 2017 - 3:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.


At the Jr./Sr. High School (Front, l-r) National Geographic Bee winner Andrew Parnapy and runner-up Richard Denson, with (Back, l-r) social studies teachers Aaron Clark, Nick Muhlenkamp, and Ken Gropp.

Press release:

The local levels of the National Geographic Society's Geographic Bee were held in Byron-Bergen schools on Jan. 5, 2017. At the Jr./Sr. High School, 25 Byron-Bergen seventh-and-eighth-grade students were invited to participate, based on the results of a written test taken in December. They all took part in the preliminary rounds, with the winners—Sadie Cook, Richard Denson, Josh Flemming, Colby Leggo, Andrew Parnapy, Josh Swapceinski, Corden Zimmerman, and Matthew Zwerka—competing in the finals.

The top two contestants, eighth-graders Andrew Parnapy and last year’s winner Richard Denson, went on to match wits in the Championship Round. After answering three challenging questions correctly, Parnapy was declared the 2017 National Geographic Bee champion. He received a medal and a $35 gift card. Runner-up Denson also received a $20 gift card.

The next step for geography expert Parnapy is another written test. If his score is among the highest in the State, he will be invited to the New York State-level Bee. The winner from each state competes in the National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C. hosted by Alex Trebek.

At the Elementary School, students from grades 4-6 qualified for the Bee by achieving the highest scores on a written test taken in December. Student participants were: Jack Benstead, Dayanara Caballero, Cameron Carlson, Caris Carlson, Braedyn Chambry, Noah Clare, Evan Cuba, Kendan Dressler, Gianni Ferrara, Emily Henry, Frank Hersom, Eli Kupfer, Jackson Lundfelt, Stephanie Onderdonk, Elizabeth Piper, Brilyn Rebisz, Quintin Rich, Zoey Shepard, Andrew Zimmerman, and Nicholas Zwerka.

The Elementary School’s 2017 National Geographic Bee champion is sixth-grader Nicholas Zwerka. The runner-up is fellow sixth-grader Cameron Carlson. Zwerka, like Parnapy, also moves forward in the competition.

The National Geographic Bee is an annual competition organized by the National Geographic Society, designed to inspire and reward students' curiosity about the world. Each year, thousands of schools across the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee, competing for college scholarships and the glory of being the National Geographic Bee Champion.


:National Geographic Bee champion at the Elementary School is Nicholas Zwerka, with runner-up Cameron Carlson .


January 18, 2017 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.


Press release:

Seven recent graduates returned to the Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School in January to give current seniors at a glimpse of life beyond graduation. The alumni met with school administrators and favorite teachers, but the greater portion of their day was spent speaking directly with students to help them prepare for the future.

Graduates Kristen Bailey (2014), Celeste Brownell (2016), Bethany Ezard (2016), Allison Kropf (2016), Ashley Montgomery (2016), Brittany Merrell (2014), and Jake Prospero (2016) were honored guests at a special luncheon, and then took part in an Alumni Panel presentation. The panel faced questions about their first year at college and away from home:  how to adapt, the perils of being independent, and how to balance college and a job. Students wondered what alumni wished they had learned in high school, like managing time and money, study skills, and balancing work with play.

The visitors all agreed that the first year after high school was a reality check that made them appreciate their parents more. They advised students to learn the requirements for their career majors, and to listen to teachers “because they actually know what they are talking about.” They encouraged students to really put themselves out there, using all the support opportunities and participating in all the activities their colleges have to offer.

They credited AP classes, along with many of their teachers and counselors, with helping them prepare for life after high school. They also agreed strongly that the District’s expansion of technology and business courses will be a great benefit to future grads.

At the conclusion of the presentation, High School Principal Patrick McGee announced a new Byron-Bergen tradition:  The Commitment to Graduation Gown. Each senior signed the maroon graduation gown as a promise to graduate. At the end of the year, students will choose the teacher who had the strongest influence on helping them graduate and will present the gown to that teacher. 


January 18, 2017 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Pathway to Prosperity, GCEDC, batavia, news.

Press release:

The “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2), the program created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) was showcased at the annual conference of the New York State Economic Development Council in Albany, NY on January 18, 2017.  Batavia City Manager Jason Molino, GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde, GCEDC Vice President Chris Suozzi and GCEDC Marketing Director Rachel Tabelski participated in the presentation at the conference to economic development officials from across New York State.

BP2 was conceived to pool resources in order to invest in distressed areas in the City of Batavia. The BP2 program will be implemented though PILOT increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating.  B2P is supported by the redirection of 50% of new project PILOT payments.  

“This was a great opportunity to showcase what is really a unique economic development partnership that we hope other cities like Batavia could implement in partnership with their respective economic development agencies,” said Molino.  “The Batavia Development Corporation is playing a key role in leading economic development efforts for the city and as a liaison with the GCEDC and others involved in this partnership.”

“The B2P initiative demonstrates the continued collaboration between the public and private sectors in Genesee County,” said Julie Pacatte, B2P economic coordinator.  “It’s extraordinary that all levels of government in Genesee County recognize the importance and priority for the economic well-being of the city of Batavia. It’s a partnership that has already shown early returns.”

The first project to be supported by the B2P program is the $15 million redevelopment of the Ellicott Station site in Batavia.  The development will include a mixed-use residential, office and retail spaces; a brewery; small beverage warehouse and hops processing facility; entertainment and event area; outside seating; and integration of the new Ellicott Trail pedestrian pathway. The development is expected to create up to approximately 60 – 120 new jobs and approximately 120 jobs during construction.  The developer is Savarino Companies in Buffalo, NY.

 “The B2P will help our agency market and attract investment to the most economically distressed areas of the city,” said Hyde.  “Through the Ellicott Station development, we have a tangible project to demonstrate the benefits of the B2P program to others interested in development opportunities in Batavia and Genesee County.”

To learn more about the City of Batavia’s Brownfield Opportunity Area, visit  

January 18, 2017 - 3:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act, guns, news.

The newly implemented pistol permit recertification process in New York has guns owners worried about what the state is up to and more than a dozen gun owners attended Tuesday's Public Service Committee Meeting to hear County Clerk Michael Cianfrini update the legislature on the county's role in the process.

In short, the county has no role.

This is a State Police process, Cianfrini said.

Recertification requires gun owners with pistol permits acquired before Jan. 15, 2013 to fill out a form with information about themselves and their pistols and submit it to the NYSP (there is an online form for this). For those gun owners required to recertify, they must complete the application before the end of January, 2018.

The recertification requirement was part of the SAFE Act and it's taken the state these pass couple of years to come up with a system for implementing it.

Gun owners don't trust the state or the process, said Bill Fox, president of Genesee County Scope.

"I don't trust them for the simple reason there is no reason to trust them," Fox said.

For one thing, Fox said it doesn't seem like the state is entirely transparent about the recertification process.  He alleges there is a secret mental health database the state isn't disclosing that can be used to deny recertification.

The other criteria the state might use to deny recertification isn't clear, he said.

And if a gun owner is denied recertification, he said, the state can use that denial as an excuse to take all of a person's long guns as well.

"That's written right into the law," Fox said.

Fox indicated it would actually be better if recertificate was handled at the county level.

"That way, if there was a problem, I could just go into Mike and straighten it out," he said.

The process is easier and more transparent in Pennsylvania, Fox said.

Cianfrini said the only role for the county is in assisting gun owners in obtaining records and making sure they're accurate to help make the recertification process easier for the gun owner.


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