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May 24, 2016 - 3:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in Suzanne Corona, batavia, news, crime.

After violating her one-year interim probation twice, Osterhout Avenue's most infamous denizen, Suzanne Corona, was back in Genesee County Court today for a bail review.

Her attorney, Brian Degnan, brought a freshly minted certificate of completion for a 28-day stint in an inpatient recovery facility for substance abusers, which was ordered by the court last month after Corona's second violation -- both for using alcohol.

On April 13, she admitted to Acting Judge Michael F. Pietruszka that she laced her coffee with the almond-flavored Italian liqueur Amaretto. With the admission, Pietruszka allowed her to continue serving probation without any additional penalty.

But a week later, she tested postive for alcohol again and was sent to jail for the weekend (mug shot at right). On April 25, she was back in court wearing a bright orange jailhouse jumpsuit. Degnan said a bed in a recovery facility was available immediately and the judge released her to their custody for a month after signing a court order for the medical care.

Despite the certificate for completing rehab as required, it was determined that she had violated the terms of her release under supervision, as set forth last year when she admitted selling $60 worth of suboxone to an undercover drug task force agent. (She pled guilty to attempted fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony. By doing so, she avoided serving up to one and a half years in prison and got one year of post-release supervision and probation instead...until now...)

She is to be sentenced in Genesee County Court at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 14. 

May 24, 2016 - 2:35pm

Press release:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration (NCA) announced the name "Western New York National Cemetery" for the new national cemetery planned for construction in Pembroke, New York.

“The Veterans of Western New York deserve a final resting place worthy of their service to our nation,” said Ronald E. Walters, interim under secretary for Memorial Affairs.

National cemeteries are named based on the geographic location of the cemetery. VA relies on local veterans and community leaders to submit name suggestions. Of the names submitted, “Western New York National Cemetery” best met VA’s naming criteria and is consistent with the requirements specified in title 38 United States Code § 531, requiring VA property, including national cemeteries, to be named for the geographic area in which the facility is located. Any other name suggestion, such as that of a particular person, requires congressional action.

VA purchased the Genesee County property at 1232 Indian Falls Road off Exit 48A on Interstate 90 for $625,000 in May 2014. The cemetery will serve more than 96,000 veterans, their spouses and eligible children in the Buffalo and Rochester areas. The initial phase of construction will develop approximately 70 acres and provide for approximately 10 years of burials, accommodating both casketed and cremated remains.

The nearest open national cemetery is Bath National Cemetery located in Bath, New York, approximately 85 miles away.

May 24, 2016 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news, Ladder 15.

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This week, city firefighters will be training in Batavia's new ladder truck.

Representatives of E-One, the company that delivered the truck, will be on hand to train firefighters on all aspects of the truck's operations and equipment.

"As with any new piece of equipment detailed and repetitive training is required to develop the 'muscle memory'that enables the CBFD to perform in a proficient and expeditious manner under emergency conditions," said Capt. Robert Fix.

As part of the training, crews will set the truck up at various locations throughout the city over the next week. At times, this may cause some roadway lane restrictions as well as minor inconveniences near mid-rise and high-rise buildings, Fix said.

The new truck is expected to be in service by June 1.

(Yes, I was given a ride all the way up the 100-foot ladder.)

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May 24, 2016 - 12:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news, Darien, bergen, Alabama, alexander.

Julia K. Hahn, 18, of Lyman Road, Bergen, is charged with public lewdness. She was arrested at 3:54 p.m. on May 19 after she was allegedly found by police to be engaged in sexual activity with another individual in DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street in the City of Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket for 1 p.m. on May 31 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Robert V. Wasinger, 18, of Delevan Elton Road, Delevan, is charged with public lewdness. He was arrested at 3:54 p.m. on May 19 after he was allegedly found by police to be engaged in sexual activity with another individual in DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street in the City of Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket for 1 p.m. on May 31 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Britanny B. Cina, 27, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI -- common law, and DWI per se. At 1:56 a.m. on May 21, Batavia police responded to the 7-Eleven store on East Main Street for the report of multiple subjects fighting in the parking lot. Upon further investigation, Cina was arrested after it was learned that she allegedly drove a motor vehicle to the convenience store in an intoxicated condition. She was arrested and processed at BPD headquarters where a chemical test was administered, and allegedly it found her BAC to be over the legal limit. She was issued traffic tickets and her City Court date is set for June 1. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Police Chief Shawn Heubusch.

Alexander J. Jasinski, 22, of Godfreys Pond, Bergen, is charged with: driving with a BAC of more than .18 percent; DWI; third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation; failure to stop at a stop sign; and moving from lane unsafely. At 9:52 p.m. on May 21, Jasinski was allegedly involved in an accident at the intersection of West Avenue and Weatherwax Road in the Town of Elba. He was westbound on West Avenue when he allegedly failed to stop at the stop sign and his pickup truck went through the intersection and struck a 15-by-15 foot building, a fence and a parked car before coming to rest. The case was handled by Sheriff's Sgt. Ronald Meides, assisted by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Byron Gilbert Keller, 21, of Sumner Road, Darien, is charged with: driving with a BAC of more than .08 percent; driving while intoxicated; unlawful possession of marijuana; and failure to keep right. At 4:59 p.m. on May 21, following a report of a motor-vehicle accident at 9864 Alexander Road in the Town of Alexander, Keller was arrested and charged as noted above. Keller is to appear in Town of Alexander on June 14.

Nikki L. Stonebraker, 27, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Stonebraker was arrested following an investigation into an alleged distrubance on Liberty Street at 9:21 a.m. on May 19. The defendant was issued an appearance ticket for this afternoon in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted byn Officer Kevin DeFelice. At the same incident, she was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child following a physical domestic incident with her former boyfriend which was allegedly witnessed by her children. For that case, she was released under supervision of Genesee Justice and is to be in City Court to answer the charge at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence, assisted by Officer DeFelice.

Christopher T. Sprague, 22, of 36 Dellinger Ave., Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested at 5:55 p.m. on May 12 after NYS Parole checked his residence and allegedly found drug packaging material inside. He was issued an appearance ticket for City Court on June 14. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Selina Sarai Tapia, 20, of State Street, Holley, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. She was arrested following a traffic stop at 4:20 p.m. on May 16 on Alleghany Road in Alabama during which time was allegedly found to be in possession of marijuana. She was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Alabama Court on June 21. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute.

May 24, 2016 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, softball, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

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Oakfield-Alabama will advance to the Section V, Class C2 championship game after beating Geneseo on Monday at GCC, 4-2. 

Hannah LaGrou tripled home her sister Madi for the go-ahead run. Hannah later scored on a wild pitch.

O-A faces Cal-Mum at 5 p.m., Wednesday, at GCC in the final.

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May 24, 2016 - 9:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, Vibrant Batavia, deer management, BID, business.

Rather than a typical Monday night meeting, the Batavia City Council is holding its conference meeting tonight, Tuesday night, and discussions are expected to include what to do about deer, what to do with funds previously earmarked for Vibrant Batavia, what happened with funding for the Business Improvement District.

The city's deer population has been a point of discussion with the council before, and after researching the issue, City Manager Jason Molino is asking the council for direction on what to do next, how much city staff time should be spent on the issue and what approach might the city take on the topic. Council members received, as part of their agenda packet, a 50-page pamphlet on community-based deer management. There are several approaches the city could take, Molino said in his memo to council, and the best approach depends on the situation in the community and what community members will accept as an appropriate response. "There is no right answer," the memo says, based on the recommendations of the pamphlet authors.

Councilman Adam Tabelski requested an item on tonight's agenda regarding the disposition of funds previously earmarked for Vibrant Batavia, which the council decided to defund at its last meeting.  That creates a pool of $97,000 in unallocated funds. Tabelski is suggesting the money be used for the as-yet unfunded Batavia Pathway to Prosperity Capital and Reinvestment Fund. New PILOT agreements with property developers is supposed to generate funds for that program, which is intended to help mitigate clean-up of brownfield sites in the city. That creates a bit of a chicken and egg problem, because funds are needed to clean up brownfields and there's no money in the fund. "Kickstarting the BP2 fund with a significant amount of seed money will help turn an innovative approach to target economic development into reality," Tabelski wrote in his memo.

The council will also discuss changes in the funding formula for the Business Improvement District. The reduction in funding for the BID prompted its board of directors to cancel Summer in the City.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

May 24, 2016 - 6:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

City fire is responding to a report of possible power lines down at Ross Street and North Street, Batavia.

The roadway is partially blocked.

No arcing or sparking reported.

May 23, 2016 - 5:48pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Gregory H. Walker has been selected by the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) New York State to receive its “2016 Special Recognition Award." He was one of only two individuals statewide to be selected for this award.

Sgt. Walker was nominated by Genesee County Sheriff Gary T. Maha for his extensive involvement with DWI enforcement and drug recognition throughout his 28 years at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. 

In 1999, Sergeant Walker was the Office’s first DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) and was certified as a DRE Instructor in 2003. He continues to be very involved in the DRE program by assisting the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee with its DRE training, which covers several neighboring counties. He has played a role in reaching more than 300 educational professionals. Sgt. Walker has instructed 11 DRE classes and has conducted 169 DRE evaluations.

The award was presented to Sgt. Walker during a luncheon held in Schenectady on May 18. Attending the luncheon were Sheriff Maha and Chief Deputy Gordon L. Dibble.

May 23, 2016 - 5:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, developmentally disabled, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) hosted a forum in Batavia focused on supporting the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities. Invitees included people with developmental disabilities and their families, nonprofit organizations, mental health experts and community leaders.

Last Thursday's forum, held at Genesee Community College, was the ninth in a series of forums being conducted around the state in response to concerns from families, non-profits, community organizations and individuals with developmental disabilities about the impact of the Olmstead Decision.

Discussions focused on identifying better ways to support the rights of people with developmental disabilities; expansion of community-based care programs; the effectiveness of current transition plans for individuals in sheltered workshops; and identifying whether the input and desires of people with disabilities are being considered.

“Information gathered at the forum will help us to better serve the needs and choices of people with developmental disabilities,” Hawley said. “For many, the transition process to a more integrated work setting has resulted in frustration and disappointing changes in services and care programs. New York must do a better job of assessing and meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities."

Participants included representatives from Genesee ARC, ARC of Orleans, ARC of Monroe, New York State School for the Blind, Western New York Independent Living and local families. 

“As legislators and residents of this state, it is our obligation and goal to provide services and address the needs of every New Yorker, regardless of age, religion, creed or disability,” said Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch (R-Bainbridge), task force chairman. “These forums provide us with the opportunity to hear from families, caregivers and individuals with developmental disabilities to offer another layer of support when it comes to aiding those with disabilities in communities across our state.”

The next Assembly Minority Task Force on Protecting the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities forum will be held on Thursday, May 26, in Buffalo. For more information on the task force, please contact the Assembly Minority Office of Public Affairs at 518-455-5073.

May 23, 2016 - 5:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, news, beauty pageants, Milestones.

(Submitted photos.)

Alexander High School graduate Fleur Remington (Class of 2013) was crowned Miss New York State in Syracuse on Sunday after winning the Sunburst Beauty Pageant there on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Genesee County native grew up in the Bethany hamlet of Linden and will be attending her second semester at SUNY Brockport this fall, where she will continue her studies as a Biology major, with a minor in Forensic Science.

As pageants go, she's pretty new to the scene. She competed with young women who've been participating in them since kindergarten. Remington's first beauty competition was at age 18 when she was a freshman at Genesee Community College. It was the Sunburst Miss USA Pageant in Watertown. She tied for fourth place. The experience allowed her to gain some useful experience and knowlege and, since she didn't win the crown, a chance to enter other pageants.

In the Miss America system, she won titles such as Miss Flour City, Miss Finger Lakes, and Miss Upstate New York.

In Saturday's pageant, she also won Photogenic categories A and B, Swimwear, Top Model Look and Model Search, and was second runner-up in Casual Wear. 

"I cried, to be honest," she said of being named Miss New York State. "It was so surreal for me. I worked so hard and I was competing with girls who've been doing this since age 5. It doesn't feel real yet."

Now that she's won a state crown, she will compete in July for the Florida-based Sunburst Pageant's International crown, which is sort of a misnomer: "It's called the International Pageant, but only girls from the U.S. compete."

When proof of talent is called for, she has the gift of song.

"I can sing," she said. "I've been singing since I took chorus in fourth grade. I was the only soprano to make all-county chorus every year from sixth through 12th grade."

In fact, Remington will perform at a USO show in Rochester on the 4th of July. She hasn't decided what song she'll perform yet.

Her minute in that bit of limelight comes at the behest of beauty pageant maven Mary Therese Friel, a native (born in 1960) and current resident of Pittsford who won the titles Miss New York USA and Miss USA. She later modeled and opened her own agency and now trains pageant participants.

Friel is credited with teaching her about the world of pageants. And Remington's experiences to date have helped her to become, as she puts it, "a professional young woman."

"I represent myself, my hometown, my family, and Genesee County," Remington said. "I want everyone to see me, and them, as part of a great community."

Besides making lasting friendships with her peers, she has gained self confidence by taking part in pageants. She tries her best, she said, and knows that with persistance and work she can achieve her goals.

And when she's ready to start a career, she has known since age 10 what she wants to do -- work in a crime lab. The gross things that those scientists get to study and investigate absolutely fascinate Miss Fleur Remington.

May 23, 2016 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in County Airport, news.

A plane that made an emergency landing on East Saile Drive on Thursday afternoon was in a mishap on the runway of the Genesee County Airport moments before and caused possibly as much as $20,000 damage, according to County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

Hens does not yet have actual estimates to fix the damage yet, but he's figuring it will be at least $15,000 and possibly as much as $20,000.

The county will seek reimbursement from the pilot's insurance carrier, Hens said.

The name of the pilot is not yet available, but Hens said he is apparently inexperienced and was performing touch-and-go practice at the airport when his plane veered off the runway for some reason.

The plane struck a light, a guidance sign, more lights and another guidance sign. There were very visible wheel marks in the grass along the south side of the runway, to the pilot's left, The marks go for at least 500 feet after the last sign was struck and then the pilot took off again, but he was losing fuel fast from a puncture in one of his tanks.

"It's pure speculation on my part as to why he took off again," Hens said. "It's almost like a hit-and-run or maybe he panicked and pulled up on the throttle, but when you're driving a car and hit something, you don't usually speed up."

The FAA is investigating the accident.

Losing fuel as fast as he was, he was unable to maintain altitude and was forced to find a place to land quickly.

"How he managed to not hit any power lines or the fence and still land on Saile Drive is beyond me," Hens said.

May 23, 2016 - 12:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal rescue, lost pets, Oakfield, news.

Submitted photo of little lost Akira. 

This is a photo of "Akira," a small Japanese breed of hunting dog called shibu inu. She disappearred from her home on Albion Road in Oakfield on Saturday. The family and especially the grandchildren are heartbroken.

Due to skin allergies, she was not wearing a collar at the time she disappeared.

Her loved ones say she resembles a fox in size and appearance. Sometimes the shibu inu is translated as "little brushwood dog." Adult females typically weigh about 18 pounds. It is an agile, independent breed. The Japanese breed standard says it exhibits: "A spirited boldness, a good nature, and an unaffected forthrightness, which together yield dignity and natural beauty."

In the photo above, Akira is waiting patiently for her master to get in the car and take her on an adventure -- traveling anyplace in the car is an adventure. Here she's thinking "C'mon, what's the hold up? I can't believe you can't find your sunglasses. You just had them on your head two minutes ago. ARGH! People!"

Anyone with information is asked to call Matt at (585) 704-9400.

May 23, 2016 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, schools, education, news.

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Sebastian Maroundit, a Sudanese Lost Boy who came to the United States as a refugee, spoke with students at Le Roy High School this morning.  

He is the cofounder of Building Minds in South Sudan along with his cousin Mathon Noi.

This was the school's final PRIDE assembly of the year.

Born in the rural Village of Mayen-Abun in Twic County, South Sudan, cousins Sebastian Maroundit and Mathon Noi were less than 10 years old when war came to their village and separated them from their families. They escaped to Ethiopia only to experience war again within four years. In 1991, they escaped from Ethiopia and spent a year walking across the hot desert to a refugee camp in Kenya. In this camp, both were educated through the eighth grade. In 2001, Sebastian and Mathon were selected as two of the 3,800 who would resettle in the United States. Mathon recently graduated from Niagara University majoring in Accounting, while Sebastian is pursuing his Business Degree.  

In the summer of 2007, they both returned to their village. Though Sebastian lost his father during the war and Mathon lost his mother, they were reunited with their surviving parents after 18 years apart. They were dismayed to find their village in poor condition, with no roads or clean water. The children of the village were being taught under a large tree, because the school had been destroyed.

Since that visit, they have been passionately committed to helping rebuild hope in their village by building a school to provide a basic education for the children. Their efforts have raised thousands of dollars through BMISS and built a new school that now serves more than 800 children. They have begun to build a second, eight-room all-girls school in Majok Keen, four miles from the Ajong Primary School. Three hundred girls are already signed up and it is projected that it will also house 800 girls.

The school's Rotary Interact Student Club organized the event and also made a donation to the BMISS at the end of the event. The Interact students will sell paper bricks the rest of the week in lunches to students or staff for $1 to raise more money to give to the organization. The sold bricks will be hung as a visual reminder about the support.

Photos and info submitted by Principal Tim McArdle.

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May 23, 2016 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's School, batavia, schools, education, animals, pets, news.

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Students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades of the Saint Joseph School in Batavia, all members of the National Junior Honor Society, collected useful items and monetary contributions for the PAWS Animal Shelter in Albion over the course of two weeks. All SJS students and their families donated pet items, pet food, cleaning supplies, and money to the fundraiser. Friday, the NJHS members delivered more than 300 items and $150 to PAWS.

Info and photo submitted by Alicia Palmer.

May 23, 2016 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Chorale, batavia, music, entertainment, arts, news.

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Press release:

As we watch our favorite films, it is often the music that brings to life what we see on the screen. A soundtrack can tug at your heartstrings, incite a fit of giggles, bring tears to your eyes, or put you on the edge of your seat. Ric Jones, musical director of the Genesee Chorale, has created a performance that takes those moments off the screen and brings them to a live audience.

The Genesee Chorale invites the community to "Meet Me at the Movies"! This performance will feature a multimedia presentation of movie clips followed by a live performance of featured songs by individual singers, small ensembles, and the entire 60-member Genesee Chorale.

Song selections will come from some of your favorite movies, including "Grease," "The Bodyguard," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," and many more. This performance will also feature the Genesee Children’s Chorus, directed by founder Heather Lovelace. The Children’s Chorus will be performing songs from "The Sound of Music" and Disney Pixar’s "Brave."

“The last time the Chorale performed 'Meet Me at the Movies!' the event sold out,” Jones said. “The community’s response was overwhelming and we have so much great music to choose from in films, we couldn’t resist doing a second performance!”

This exciting event will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, at Northgate Free Methodist Church, North Campus. It is located at 8160 Bank Street Road in Batavia.

Refreshments will be available for purchase by concertgoers at the concession stand. Presale tickets cost $8 and can be purchased from any Chorale member or online at www.geneseechorale.com. Tickets will also be available at the door for $10.

May 23, 2016 - 10:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in IAFF Local 896, batavia, MDA, City Fire, news.

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Members of the Batavia City Firefighters from IAFF Local 896 will fan out across the streets with boots in hand for this year’s drive on Friday, June 3rd.

Batavia’s Fill the Boot drive is organized by firefighter Chris Morasco. 

“In 2015, our members with the generous help of the community were able to raise $7,523 for the MDA! We are going to try our best to top the $10,000 mark for this great cause," Morasco said.

The event is from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Main Street and Court Street and at Ellicott Street and Court Street.

Pictured with city firefighters are Patti Arroyo and her daughter Zoey.

They are a local family that has been touched by the MDA directly. They met with firefighters to explain how the MDA has helped them. 

"It was a great opportunity to put a face to the cause and see that our efforts are truly making a difference and changing lives," Morasco said.

May 22, 2016 - 1:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Foxprowl, professional wrestling, batavia, business.

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James "Jim" Fullington, better known by his professional wrestling ring name, "The Sandman," hams it up with Bill Hume, owner of Foxprowl on Ellicott Street, Batavia, during a visit to the store, where he met with fans yesterday.

May 22, 2016 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Habitat for Humanity, batavia, news.

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It was a long journey for James and Jessica Maskell and their two young children, Bailey and Sophie, to finally get to the day where they could move into their new home on Pearl Street.

The journey started long before the Maskells even knew they would get a home through Habitat for Humanity, when City Manager Jason Molino guided Habitat's Jessica Maguire-Tomidy and P.J. Riner through the house and Riner argued against Habitat taking on the project. 

The house was such a mess, but according to Riner's account, Molino pressed the issue and Maguire-Tomidy agreed they should give it a try.

"The city is instrumental in its vision in developing these homes and these neighborhoods," Riner said. "Jason has brought that vision to fruition here in this home. He walked us through and I said, 'no.' I think it was the first time I ever said no to a house. This house looked terrible, but after we got started on this house, we found there was much here to be saved."

He said the house has a great floor plan, had a solid structure and turned out to be worth saving.

"I actually like doing these rehabs more than the new builds," he said. "These houses have more character and more space."

The long journey included hundreds of hours of volunteer labor from people throughout the community and students from RIT and thousands of dollars in donated material from area businesses.

"We after week, they show up when it's raining, it's snowing, it's cold, it's hot and they do the hard and very important work of building the actual house," Maguire-Tomidy said.

James Maskell said he and his wife were so grateful to all the volunteers and the donors that made their new home possible.  

"We really didn't expect this to happen," Maskell said. "When we first signed up, we thought, why not give it a chance, and now, here we are."

Like all new Habitat homeowners, James and Jessica also pitched in on the rehab effort as their down payment on their mortgage.

"When we hand over a project like this that's complete, we feel like we've made a difference not only the in lives of the family but in the community we live in, Maguire-Tomidy said.

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