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July 18, 2014 - 4:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, GCC.

Press release:

This week, Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees elected Diane D. Torcello as chair for the 2014-2015 year. The Board also elected Laura J. Bohm as vice chair and Donna M. Ferry as secretary.

Torcello, of Pavilion, is a Bank of Castile executive. Bohm, of Batavia, is a retired housing administrator. Ferry, of Darien, is secretary/treasurer of S.J.F. Construction, Inc.

In other business, the Board of Trustees:

•    Approved a technical amendment to the College's 2014-2015 operating budget, reducing anticipated sponsor support by $250,000 and increasing fund balance support by the same amount.
•    Welcomed two new members of the Board of Trustees: Robert L. Boyce and Jacalyn F. Whiting, both of Le Roy. Boyce was appointed by the Genesee County Legislature and Whiting was appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Both members will serve seven-year terms. The 10-member volunteer Board of Trustees is the governing body of Genesee Community College.

January 13, 2014 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Announcements.

Press release:

Genesee County has been chosen to receive $2,800 to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county. The selection was made by a National Board that is chaired by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from: American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America; The Salvation Army; and, United Way Worldwide.

The Local Board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country. A Local Board made up of (the Mayor, United Way, et al.) will determine how the funds awarded to Genesee County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area. The Local Board is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds and any additional funds made available under this phase of the program.

Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies chosen to receive funds must: 1) be private voluntary nonprofits or units of government, 2) be eligible to receive Federal funds, 3) have an accounting system, 4) practice nondiscrimination, 5) have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and 6) if they are a private voluntary organization, have a voluntary board. Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.

Genesee County has distributed Emergency Food and Shelter funds previously with Community Action, The Salvation Army and Ministry of Concern participating. These agencies were responsible for providing meals and lodging.

Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Major Patricia Kurtz at [email protected] or 585-343-6284 for an application. The deadline for applications to be received is FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2014 by 3 p.m.

November 21, 2013 - 4:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, business.

Responding to tragedy involving widespread disaster and death is something Randy McIntire has done on several occasions and last week he attended training with other veteran emergency responders in Albany.

He is a funeral director at H.E. Turner and former chief of the Town of Batavia Volunteer Fire Department who brought a lot of experience to share with peers taking part in the "Mass Fatality Incident Response Course" presented by the NYS Office of Emergency Management.

As a member of the New York State Funeral Directors Association's Family Assistance Commission (FAC), a nonprofit, volunteer group of licensed funeral directors, he attended the Albany workshop.

"The whole premise is to train for the dignified return of victims to their families, and to learn how different agencies work together to accomplish that goal," McIntire said.

FAC members are prepared to assist local governments in the event of a disaster occurring within their borders and they work in tandem with others tasked with the recovery, handling, identification, and return of remains following a mass fatality incident.

His extensive background in emergency training began in the mid-1970s. And he was at the scene of Egypt Air flight 990 in 1999, the World Trade Center bombing, Hurricane Katrina (made worse by Hurricane Rita), and the crash of Continental Airlines' flight 3407.

Whether the catastrophe is a plane crash or a hurricane, the process varies little. FAC members help recover the dead, protect their dignity, take them to a morgue, where a coroner conducts scientific tests for identification, and through that process the victims are returned to their families.

A myriad of skills must be employed quickly, smoothly and under intense stress -- interviewing survivors/next-of-kin, processing paperwork to assist in identifying and facilitating the release of remains to the next-of-kin or other representatives, and more -- all vital services during a time of extreme confusion and grief.

The training is not new -- McIntire took the course in 1997 -- but he says over the years the state had pretty much done away with it and is now rekindling its efforts.

"It was unique training (last Thursday and Friday) because a high number of participants were mass fatality responders," McIntire said.

Their broad experience added some boots-on-the-ground pragmatism that was useful, especially for other responders, each with different responsibilities.

“Trainings such as this allow us to ... properly care for the dead as well as the living,” said Douglas R. Brueggemann, FAC committee chair.

June 27, 2013 - 4:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements.

Batavia native Gina Peca has written a book entitled "I Wouldn't Change a Thing" -- about her daughter's life journey after being diagnosed at age 6 with a rare pediatric cancer, neuroblastoma. She will be at Coffee Culture on Court Street in the city on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to sign copies of the book, which sells for $25.

But it's not a book about a deadly disease which took Catie Hoch's life when she was 9.

Rather, it's about how this little girl's courage and vitality taught others valuable lessons and how she wound up being penpals with author J.K. Rowling (who wrote the hugely popular Harry Potter books). Peca says Catie was an inspiration to Rowling who told her "Catie left footprints on my heart."

Proceeds of book sales will go to the Catie Hoch Foundation which helps children with neuroblastoma. In addition to being available at the book signing, it can be purchased at the Holland Land Office Museum, and at, as well as the Catie Hoch Foundation's Web site.

April 21, 2013 - 2:43pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in Announcements, GCC, fine arts, art.

Jennifer Spychalski, a freshman at Genesee Community College, is the winner of the college's "Fine Arts Student Show."

Her work, and that of other students enrolled in GCC's Fine Arts program, will be featured in an exhibit that will be open through Thursday.

According to a press release from Elisa Di Pietro, this exhibit "features two- and three-dimensional artwork" and "reflects the diverse coursework from drawing (to) painting, photography, 2D and 3D design and ceramics."

The exhibit is at GCC's Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Art Gallery at 1 College Road in Batavia.

For more information, contact Di Pietro at 356-2338.

Photo and information submitted by Elisa Di Pietro.

April 15, 2013 - 3:43pm

Genesee County Libertarian Committee held its first meet-and-greet fundraiser over the weekend and it was a huge success.

“Saturday night's Celebrate Liberty Night event was a great success! Not only did we raise money, but we had the pleasure of meeting many new people that will become new members!” says Phil Ricci, county chairman.

“It goes to show that anywhere you find the will to achieve something, you will find achievement! I would personally like to thank all of the members of the Membership Committee, their chair, Bob Brown, and everyone of you that added to the experience!”

Approximately 70 people were in attendance at the event which was held at Batavia Downs Casino. A great dinner and excellent service accompanied the fun casino atmosphere and social vibe of the Grandstands Bar. A basket raffle was held also with 14 baskets donated by members and supporters. Thanks to all who attended and supported the local liberty movement.

Do you think these four people know how you should live your life?

Neither do they, that's why they are Libertarians.

Genesee County Libertarian Committee Board:

 L to R: Dave Olsen, vice-chair; Jim Rosenbeck, secretary; Phil Ricci, county chair; Chelsea O'Brien, treasurer

What is a Libertarian? A Libertarian is someone who holds the rights of individuals as paramount, and seeks to minimize the role of government wherever possible.

Most Libertarians start out from one of three reference points, and then discover that all three are inseparable: Personal liberty, economic liberty and non-intrusive government. Libertarianism (small letter “l”) is a political philosophy that places Liberty – the absence of government in personal choice – as its first principle. This was the bold American ideal, the noble purpose for which our nation was formed, the reason we prospered. It was radical at first, then mainstream, and is now radical again.

The Genesee County Libertarian Committee (soon to be Party) has three parts to its message: Education, Advocacy and Choice.

The GCLC is not a homogeneous group, nor seeks to be one by defining what is right for one or all of society. Further, we maintain that no government, political party, or any societal group ever has the right to impede those individual freedoms by legislation, blunt force, taxation, or other types of coercion. We are quite different from all other political parties. These differences make us lively debaters, and a most entertaining crowd to socialize with.

For more information we openly invite those who ‘lean libertarian’, or are just curious to like us on Facebook at or e-mail at [email protected].

March 8, 2013 - 12:17pm

The Batavia City School District’s May vote will include decisions on two Board of Education seats, as those held by Patrick Burk and Steve Mountain are ending.

The available seats are for three-year terms (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016).

Petitions for those interested in pursuing a Board seat will be available on March 12, 2013, at the District’s administrative offices, located at Batavia High School (260 State St.). They must be returned to the Business Office at the District’s administrative offices in Batavia High by April 24 before 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 21 is voting day with polls open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

January 4, 2013 - 2:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Announcements, thebatavian.

A reader of The Batavian has helped another recover a ring lost the day after Christmas that was more precious than valuable.

Lynn Halicki posted a lost-and-found notice to The Batavian's "Announcements" section and another reader spotted it, called her and returned the ring.

"The ring really has no monetary value - just sentimental value," Halicki said in her post.

After getting her ring back, Halicki posted a comment and wrote, "It made me extremely happy and proud that there are so many GOOD people!!!!!!"

July 13, 2012 - 4:13pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Announcements, austin park, cancer victim, benefit.

Jonathan Martinez is a happy, energetic young man who has come across a tough break.

Known by the nickname "Tan-Tan" to his co-workers at Rancho Viejo Mexican Restaurant (and formerly to his co-workers at Margarita's), Martinez is well liked by everyone.

"He's always smiling," said his sister, Elena Vega. "He's a really humble, amazing person."

Martinez, 24, was diagnosed with germ cell cancer in December. The cancer was successfully removed, and he enjoyed a period of remarkable recovery until he returned to the doctor for a follow-up in March. It was then that he was diagnosed with spindle cell cancer, which was found around his liver.

He is now in hospice at Batavia's Crossroads House. Things are tough, but he has a positive attitude and is confident that he can beat the cancer.

There is a benefit fundraiser for Martinez today at Austin Park, at the corner of Washington and Jefferson Avenues in Batavia. It started at 1 p.m. and will last until dusk. There is no admission fee, but donations will be collected.

Live music will be featured, including performances by Soulcraft and Amos Williams. Jerry Smith, known in local circles as "Honeybun," will be the master of ceremonies.

Donations will be used to help with the medical expenses of Martinez' treatment, which are quite daunting.

"It's really expensive," Vega said. "We haven't paid for anything yet."

Services from the past seven months for which Martinez' family must still pay include chemotherapy, surgery, X-rays, CAT scans, biopsies and blood transfusions (Vega said her brother's cell count is still very low).

Throughout all the challenges he has come to face, Martinez has been sustained by the love he has for his family -- especially his 3-year-old daughter, Jonelis (pictured).

"He keeps saying he's going to 'come out standing like a rock for his baby girl,' " Vega said. "She is his life."

Martinez' faith has also been key to his positive outlook.

"He has tremendous faith in God," Vega said. "We know there's a purpose in this. We're just waiting for a miracle."

Photo taken by Nelle Williams

May 23, 2012 - 3:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, business.

Bill Ruffino, owner of Bill's Auto on Evans Street in Batavia did a little giving back today. Ruffino, who is on the advisory committee for the automotive program of the Genesee Valley Education Partnership drove to Mt. Morris and conducted a seminar for the students on software transfer and computer programing on automotive computers and modules.

"This not only allowed the students to see this process firsthand, but it also started them networking with a leader in the industry that they hope to someday soon be a part of," said Michael Johnson, the class teacher, who provided the photo and information.

April 20, 2012 - 1:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, theater, WNY Arts Society.

"Legally Blonde" is a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and script by Heather Hach. Local auditions are scheduled next weekend and the show will premiere in Genesee County in July.

The show is based on the novel "Legally Blonde" by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name.

It tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial.

"Legally Blonde" will be directed by Ann Marie Gsell, with vocal direction by Jacqueline McLean, choreography by Kris Ashley, and produced by Jason Juliano in conjunction with the WNY Arts Society.

Auditions are at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, and at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 (with call backs at 6:30 p.m. on the 29th). Auditions are at Stuart Steiner Theatre at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, in Batavia.

Auditioners are asked to prepare a song of at least 16-bars from a modern/pop musical that showcases his/her vocal abilities. An accompanist will be provided. Auditioners are asked to bring their own sheet music. There will be a dance/movement portion of auditions; those auditioning should come prepared to dance. Those considered for a role will be asked to stay or return for call backs to sing a song selection from the show and read from the script.

(The musical was recorded in September 2007 and aired on MTV in October 2007. Following this, a reality TV show was aired showing the audition process for the next person to play Elle Woods on Broadway.)

In the Genesee County premiere, performances of "Legally Blonde" will be at 7:30 p.m. July 12-14 and there's a matinee at 2 p.m. July 15.

For more information, those interested in auditioning can call Jason Juliano at (716) 390-7615 or visit

November 14, 2011 - 11:17pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in Announcements, Elba Central School, Bullying, prevention.

All Elba residents are invited to a bullying prevention information session at Elba Central School on Thursday, Nov.17. Topics will include a review of current code of conduct, school response to bullying, prevention strategies, and parent resources. The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

The information session will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Library Media Center. For more information, call Kelly Carlie at 757-9967, ext. 1602, or Donna Lougheed at 757-9967, ext. 1603.

August 10, 2011 - 3:42pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in Announcements, 5K, First Presbyterian Church of Elba.

After the success of its first effort a year ago, the First Presbyterian Church of Elba has organized another 5K Run/Walk in Elba for 9 a.m. Aug. 20.

The course is a lovely country route through some of the back roads of Elba. (See the website for a specific course map.) There will be a water stop at the turn around point, and refreshments will be available after the race.

The first 75 registrants will receive a T-shirt.

Participants can pre-register, either online at or by sending the completed registration form (available online) and payment to Dave Bateman (address listed at the bottom of the article), or they can register on race day.

Race day registration begins at the Elba Veterans Memorial Park at 8 a.m. and ends at 8:45 a.m. All participants must meet at the park during that time to receive their number and confirm their attendance. 

Registration fees are as follows: 

Before Aug. 13: $15 (under 18: $12)

Race Day: $18 (under 18: $15)

Family rate before Aug. 13: $12 per runner (multiple runners at same household, mail forms together)

Sponsorship forms are also available online.

All proceeds of the race will be used toward the mission and ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Elba.

For more details, see

Where to send your registration form and payment: 

Dave Bateman, 5 Lincoln Ave., Batavia, NY 14020

June 23, 2011 - 2:36pm

This information is from Community Partnerships for a Tobacco Free New York.

The Community Partnerships for a Tobacco Free New York has launched a campaign to educate New Yorkers about the benefits of tobacco-free outdoor recreational areas: "Keep butts away from where we play!"

The campaign helps raise awareness of the environmental impact of tobacco litter, dangers of secondhand smoke and influence on children when tobacco use is not restricted.

Tobacco litter is poisonous to children and wildlife. Discarded cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. Studies show they are toxic, slow to decompose and costly to remove. Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals and can cause digestive blockages. Children routinely pick up these toxic butts and try to put them in their mouths.

“The Community Partnership has designed a paid media campaign to educate communities about why we need to adopt more tobacco free outdoor policies,” said Kevin Keenan, Genesee County program coordinator for Smoke Free NOW; a program of GCASA. “Family recreation for children should not mean having to play among cigarette butts or being exposed to secondhand smoke."

The U.S. Surgeon General has declared that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

“When we consider that children have smaller lungs than adults and consequently breathe in 50 percent more air pollution, it’s clear that we need to do everything we can to expand smoke-free outdoor areas so we can reduce exposure and prevent tobacco-caused disease," said Dr. Irwin Berlin, board chair of the American Lung Association in New York.

Public support for outdoor tobacco use restrictions is growing. Currently, outdoor tobacco use policies have been enacted in more than 280 local municipalities throughout New York State. Local Community Partnerships can provide sample policies, signage and/or assistance in creating outdoor tobacco-use policies. Visit to learn more.

June 20, 2011 - 5:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements.

Batavia High School's Class of 1976 is having a casual gathering to reunite with friends and socialize on Friday, July 1 at the Smoke House restaurant on Center Street.

The 35th Reunion will be from 6 to 11 p.m. on the second floor. Attire is casual, so is attitude. There will be a cash bar and food available.

The organizers ask that you inform any and all contacts from the Class of '76 and advise them to reply as to whether or not they will be attending at <[email protected]>

"Thanks and we look forward to seeing all of you there!"

June 1, 2011 - 12:08pm

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce invites everyone to stop by Oliver's Candies parking lot -- at 211 West Main St. in Batavia -- today for their bumper-to-bumper brochure exchange.

Set to run from 3 until 4:30 p.m., this event is a great opportunity to learn about the many attractions in Genesee County and the surrounding region. Representatives from each organization will be there to talk with people and provide information.

The following organizations from Genesee County are participating:

  • Oliver's Candies
  • Simply Homespun
  • Batavia Bus Service, Inc.
  • Coffee Culture
  • Darien Lake Theme Park Resort
  • D & R Depot
  • Jell-O Gallery and the Historical Le Roy House
  • Batavia's Original (formerly Pontillo's)
  • Copper Top Gardens

Other organizations from our region will include:

  • Hidden Valley Animal Adventure (Wyoming)
  • Genesee Country Village & Museum (Monroe)
  • Genesee Country Campground (Livingston)
  • Barn Quilt Trail (Orleans)
  • Watt Farms (Orleans)
  • Orleans County Tourism
  • Artists of the Oak (Orleans)
  • Medina Railroad Museum (Orleans)

"Yankee Doodle Brochure Distribution" will also be represented.

For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 343-7440.

May 2, 2011 - 6:52pm

The Richmond Memorial Library, at 19 Ross St. in Batavia, will hold its budget vote and Board of Trustees election tomorrow from noon until 9 p.m.

All residents of the Batavia City School District are eligible to vote. Voting will take place in the library's Gallery Room.

The results of the election will be posted tomorrow. Call the library at 343-9550 for more information.

August 19, 2010 - 6:26pm
posted by Gretel Kauffman in Announcements, elba, 5K, First Presbyterian Church of Elba.

This Saturday, the First Presbyterian Church of Elba will be hosting its first 5K run/walk.

Race-day registration will be from 8-8:45 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park (located on Main Street in Elba) and is $18 a person ($15 for participants under the age of 18).

The 3.1-mile race will begin at 9 a.m. on Maple Avenue and will go down West Avenue -- with drinking water at the turn-around point at Weatherwax Road -- and end at the park. 

Post-race festivities in the Veterans Memorial Park will include the awarding of prizes and giveaways for the participants, refreshments, a bake sale, 50-50 raffle and live music from The Thunderbirds. All proceeds will be used toward the mission and ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Elba.

"This is an exciting first effort for our congregation," says Reverend Barbara Tipton. "The pre-registration response has far exceeded our expectations. The cooperation of the community officials in helping us organize our run/walk has been extraordinary.

"Our goal is to raise funding not only for important projects in our church, but to enable us to support those community agencies that address needs on all of our behalf."

For more information go to or contact Dave Bateman by e-mailing him at [email protected] or calling him at (716) 374-4741.

August 16, 2010 - 1:05pm

Genesee County Habitat for Humanity is starting its eighth house in about 11 years.

The blessing, with the new family that will be working along with many volunteers to completely renovate the house, was held Saturday afternoon with friends and relatives in attendence.


Angelina, Nikalina and Carmelina have been selected for the house at 150 State Street in Batavia.

The mother of two will have to complete hours of "sweat equity," and when finished, the keys will be turned over to her family.

Habitat will carry a 30-year, interest-free mortgage on the cost of materials.

Check for updates on the progress of the renovations and all questions about Habitat.

Jessica Tomidy, executive director of GCHFH, on right, assisted with the blessing.

July 22, 2010 - 2:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, muckdogs, sports.

The Muckdogs return home this Sunday, July 25, for a two-game series with the Williamsport Crosscutters, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Game time is 5:05 p.m., with gates opening at 4.

With every Sunday, we’ll once again have Bob Evans Restaurant’s Post Run the Bases with Homer. All kids have the opportunity to run the bases with Homer after the game! Every child who runs the bases will receive a free kid’s meal coupon courtesy of Bob Evans Restaurant.

Monday, July 26, the Muckdogs will once more face the opposing Crosscutters. Game time begins at 7:05 p.m., with gates opening at 6.

Monday offers a Bike Raffle courtesy of the Lion’s Club of Batavia. The Lions Club will be giving away a bike to one lucky boy and one lucky girl. It will also be Muckdog Monday presented by The Daily News, where fans receive a $1 off a general admission ticket with coupon in the Saturday edition of The Daily News.

Monday is also a Knot Hole Gang game courtesy of Turnbull Heating & Air. At every Knot Hole Gang game, members can get a general admission ticket for just $2 and their parents/guardians also receive a $1 off their ticket.

To find out more information on the Knot Hole Gang, check out

For tickets, call the Muckdogs Box Office at 343-5454, ext. 1005.




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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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