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December 26, 2009 - 6:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, Batavia Lions Club.

cctv_lions_augello.jpgThe Batavia Lions Club has purchased a device that helps people with severe eyesight problems see better -- well enough to read a  book or continue with favorite hobbies.

The first person to get to use the device is Tamara Augello of Elba. Augello lost sight in her right eye due to complications from diabetes. While she relies on her left eye to see, that eye has been losing its vision.

The Lions Club has loaned her a $3,300 machine called a Topaz CCTV. It magnifies items, such as books, so that people using the machine can see to read.

Augello also enjoys needlepoint and the machine will help her complete some projects she's been working on.

“Not only can I read any book I choose, but also, my little grandson can sit on my lap while I read him all the books he loves," Augello told the club in a letter.

Half the cost of the machine was covered by a grant from the New York State and Bermuda Lions Foundation MD-20 Grant Program, and the remaining funds for the purchase were raised by local club members.

In a statement, the club said:

We wish Tamara many years of enjoyment as she uses this equipment to again do what she loves. We also encourage local people with special vision needs to contact the Batavia Lions Club. It is our goal to work hard to provide assistance to the visually impaired in our area.

December 25, 2009 - 1:24pm

More than 300 area residents attended Encore 2009, Genesee Community College Foundation's annual holiday fundraising event. The Dec. 9 gala continued the tradition of a fun and festive evening with new and old friends coming together in the spirit of raising funds for the college's numerous scholarship programs.

This event was the first time the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) had played at Genesee since the opening of the Stuart Steiner Theatre in 1992.

Batavia residents Todd and Kathy Bender, who attended with their children, chaired Encore 2009, and were assisted by a committee of more than 20 community members. The new elements the Benders and the entire committee brought to Encore were very successful, especially the BPO.

The orchestra was a big hit with all attendees. During the performance, conductor Paul Ferington announced that the BPO was up for its third Grammy nomination. Also, a guest-conductorship was awarded to Mary Alice Yaiko, who conducted a memorable rendition of the holiday tune 'Sleigh Ride.'

The evening began with a private, prelude reception with Ferington. Guests enjoyed gourmet food, featuring all new selections, in the William W. Stuart Forum, then they proceeded to the Stuart Steiner Theatre for the holiday pops concert. Afterward, they enjoyed delectable desserts in the College's Forum.

Contributions totaled more than $55,000 and are still coming in, said foundation Executive Director Richard Ensman. "We deeply appreciate the generous support of our Student Scholarship program. Encore is truly an investment in the future leaders of our communities."

The foundation also thanked Five Star Bank, the lead corporate benefactor, for its continued support of Encore.

The Genesee Community College Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to providing volunteer and philanthropic support to Genesee Community College. Formed in 1986, it has been instrumental in providing more than 3,000 scholarships over the last decade, assisting in the funding of the Conable Technology Building and the Humphrey Student Union and the expansion of College Village, Genesee's student residence.

December 23, 2009 - 4:13pm
posted by Robin Walters in batavia, Announcements, Care-A-Van Ministries.
Event Date and Time: 
December 26, 2009 -
10:30am to 12:00pm
Care-A-Van Ministries will be at State Street this Saturday morning from 10:30 AM until Noon for grocery distribution and prayers.
December 23, 2009 - 2:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Genesee Community College, education.

Genesee Community College is accepting nominations for Honorary Associate degrees that are conferred at the annual commencement ceremony each May. Any person is welcome to make nominations. Nominations are due by Feb. 1.

Genesee seeks individuals associated with the college who have achieved business, professional, civic and scholarly accomplishments, as well as made notable contributions to the college or to academic disciplines taught at the college.

Recipients of honorary degrees are individuals whose accomplishments, contributions or leadership are well beyond ordinary standards, and serve as an inspiration to members of the college community and as role models for students and citizens of the region.

Nomination forms can be retrieved online at the following Internet address:

For Honorary Degree guidelines, please go to:

The completed forms should be submitted to: Cathy Costello, executive assistant to the president and secretary to the board of tustees, Genesee Community College, One College Road, Batavia, NY 14020. For further information, please call Cathy at 585-345-6812 or email: [email protected]. <http:[email protected]>

December 23, 2009 - 2:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Genesee Community College.

Patrick Walter has been selected to replace Priscilla DiRisio, who is retiring after serving for more than 20 years as transfer coordinator at Genesee Community College.

His responsibilities include: creating smooth transitions for students interested in earning bachelor's (or higher) degrees; establishing and retaining articulation agreements with baccalaureate granting institutions; and guiding students through course selections to help ensure a smooth transfer process.

"I hope I can help any student who walks through my door make a seamless transition to a four-year institution without any hiccups," Walter said. "I anticipate continuing the great transfer programs we have here, along with facing the challenges of preparing students to select the appropriate courses and programs of study to be able to transfer without the loss of credits."

He will also focus on the unique educational needs of veterans going back to school.

"Genesee needs to be 'vet friendly' to troops returning from abroad and to our vets who served several years ago," Walter said. "I am working with various departments to make sure we are recruiting, retaining and assisting many different types of veterans."

Walter hails from Hilton, NY, but has lived in Tennessee for the last 18 years. For the past six years, he has worked at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville as an educational specialist and a student-athlete mentor and tutor. His work with high school students, veterans and student-athletes has prepared him to take the position of transfer coordinator at Genesee's Career and Transfer Center.

Walter began his education and career in the hospitality and restaurant industry. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Penn State and worked as a professional chef for five years. He later moved into the food sales industry where he was an account executive until 2003. He enjoyed training and educating the people through his sales position, but the corporate environment wasn't as appealing. As a result, he turned to the educational arena, and went back to school and earned his Master's of Science in Educational Psychology from the University of Tennessee.

He lives Rochester, while his wife, Deanna, is still living in Tennessee with their three hound dogs Nutmeg, Mandy and Augustine. Together, the Walters enjoy rescuing and fostering dogs as well as hiking, canoeing and other outdoor activities. Patrick also likes cooking and entertaining and visiting his family now located in Rochester and in the Finger Lakes region. Plus, he restores old cars.

Patrick Walter can be reached at (585) 343-0055 x6430.

December 19, 2009 - 6:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Genesee Community College, education.

An innovative new program called "Pathways" is offered by Genesee Community and Empire State colleges. It gives Genesee students the opportunity to earn bachelor's degrees by spending an extra semester at Genesee and three semesters pursuing study at Empire.

Jonathan R. Franz, Ph.D., dean of Empire State College's Genesee Valley Learning Center, told the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees about Pathways on Monday evening.

Under the program, Genesee students can earn up to 83 credits toward a bachelor's degree at the Batavia Campus, at any of the college's six campus centers or via the online  equivalent of five semesters of study. Most Genesee associate's degrees require between 62 and 64 credits of study.

Students then enter Empire State's program of individualized study for the balance of their baccalaureate education. They can complete their studies at Empire through independent study, group studies or online studies, all guided by highly qualified local mentors. Those who have gained college-level learning through the workplace or other experience may apply for college credit by evaluation.

Although Empire does not offer traditional "classes," the Empire program is rigorous and requires a high level of academic commitment.

"We expect a lot of writing and a lot of reading," Franz told the trustees. "Students are expected to engage in critical thinking, and participate in discussions with mentors and other students, whether face-to-face or online."

The program is especially appropriate for students who may not have the flexibility to drive to a distant campus for classes or participate in a fixed class schedule, Franz said. Students will be able to complete coursework in their own communities, usually on their own schedules. They will participate in designing their own Empire degree programs. The most popular degrees are in Community and Human Services, Business Administration, and Human Development.

Empire State College, a college of the State University of New York, was founded in 1971 to serve motivated adult learners. Originally dubbed a "college without walls," Empire has become widely recognized as an innovative and respected college focusing on the needs of mature students.

Empire State College has about 19,500 students enrolled statewide but does not have traditional "campuses." Instead, it houses operations in seven "learning centers" located throughout the state. In turn, these centers sponsor local "units," which bring Empire services to their respective service areas.

The Genesee Valley Learning Center, which Franz leads, is based on the east side of Rochester and has about 1,200 enrollees. It sponsors units in Canandaigua, Alfred, Corning and Batavia.

The Batavia Unit was originally located at Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus, but moved to Ellicott Street three years ago due to space constraints. It serves almost 200 students each year.

"The quality of GCC students is excellent and GCC students who come to Empire are very well prepared," said Edward Warzala, Batavia unit coordinator. "I feel great confidence when I see a student with a Genesee Community College transcript. I know that if they can succeed at Genesee, they can succeed at Empire."

Warzala noted that Steven Schutt, Genesee's student trustee, will be one of the first students to enter the Pathways Program after graduating from Genesee next month.

December 19, 2009 - 6:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, events, religion, Churches.
Event Date and Time: 
December 24, 2009 -
5:00pm to 6:30pm

The Anglican Community Church invites everyone to its 5 p.m. Christmas Eve Service. The traditional Anglican service will include the Holy Eucharist, Lighting of the Advent Wreath and Choir.

Coffee and treats follow the service, which is held at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church at 101 Richmond Ave. in Batavia.

December 18, 2009 - 6:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, veterans, PTSD.


Dr. Terri Julian, program manager for the PTSD clinic at the VA center in Batavia received a proclamation this week from Congressman Eric Massa honoring her for her work on behalf of veterans suffering from PTSD.  We spoke with Dr. Julian a few weeks ago about the PTSD clinic.

December 17, 2009 - 1:33pm

The Salvation Army has sent out an S.O.S. in an effort to shore up a big gap in giving this holiday season. Here's the press release:

The Salvation Army of Batavia is $6,000 behind in its Red Kettle Campaign, compared to this time last year, and is barely half-way to its $65,000 goal, reported Captain Robert Kurtz, director.

Describing the situation as urgent, he attributed the shortfall to the tough economy, not enough outdoor bellringers, the weather, and, with the prevalence of debit/credit cards, fewer people carrying cash.

“We need more bellringers, especially in the evening,” the captain said. “Even though we are quite a bit behind, we trust in the community to help us serve those in need. We have committed to provide food and toys for 760 needy families this Christmas.”

The community can help in three ways, he noted.

  1. Become a bellringer (especially groups). Call 585-343-6284; call The Red Kettle  Center toll free at 1-877-764-7259, or go online to
  2. Become a virtual bellringer by going to
  3. Send a tax-deductible check directly to the local Salvation Army, 529 East Main St., Batavia, NY  14020

He added: “We thank everyone who has volunteered or made a donation, and we are grateful to our community and neighbors who remember those less fortunate.”

December 15, 2009 - 3:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, GCC, education, college foundation.

Genesee Community College Foundation's Annual Campaign is underway. This year's theme is "Extraordinary."

"Everyone has a vested interest in making this campaign a success," said Le Roy resident Robert Boyce, foundation board director and general chair of the campaign. "A stronger Genesee Community College helps make our Western New York region a better place to live and work for all of us. Campaign division chairs share the responsibility to attract and retain students and to promote the value of the college to the community."

He added that there are several divisions in the Extraordinary Campaign. Each division chair is responsible for a portion of the overall $459,000 goal. Division chairs include:

Associates Division: Jane Scott, of Stafford, branch manager, Five Star Bank

Batavia Faculty and Staff Division: Marirose Ethington, of Pavilion, professor of biology

Genesee Division: Michael Grammatico, of Batavia, vice president, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisors

Heritage Division: Patrick Forsyth of Batavia, CPA, John J. Forsyth, CPA, PC and foundation board director

Leadership Division: Roger Christiano, of Batavia, president, Christiano Cellular and foundation board director

"Independent auditors estimate a $501 million dollar impact of the college on our region," Boyce said. "The figure includes college spending, faculty, staff and student spending and the increased earning power of graduates who remain in the region.

"This extraordinary impact alone is justification for encouraging students to attend Genesee as high school students obtaining college credit, as potential transfer students to a four-year college, or as students seeking degrees or certificates to prepare for specific careers. As community members, we encourage enrollment at the college through our involvement and our financial support of the foundation's programs."

Leadership Chair and foundation Board Member Christiano said the new campaign theme, Extraordinary, reflects the many positive and special aspects of the college.

"Our financial gifts support excellence in the classroom through scholarship incentives to students with the potential for high academic achievement, and we make higher education available to all area residents who are capable, regardless of their ability to pay," Christiano said. "The economic vitality that the college brings to our region is tremendous as tomorrow's leaders are trained and our local workforce is strengthened through career and certificate programs such as nursing, respiratory care, physical therapy assistant, human services, business, criminal justice, marketing and retail."

The college's enrollment is at a record level this year with over 7,200 full- and part-time students. The Extraordinary campaign's overall goal of $459,000 includes $80,000 for an endowment challenge grant from the federal Department of Education.

"Only a small number of community colleges across the nation receive the endowment challenge grant each year," said Professor Ethington, Chair of the Faculty and Staff Division. "Fortunately, Genesee Community College was awarded one this fall and for five successive years the endowment challenge grant will match, dollar for dollar, every dollar we raise on behalf of students in need, up to $80,000 a year.

"Each year, as we achieve our goal, we will build our endowment by $160,000. This means that after five years the endowment will have $800,000 to support awards to deserving students. Our 2009-2010 campaign is committed to meeting the endowment challenge grant. We are paying ahead for future students and to do this, college employee, corporate and community support is vital."

The Genesee Community College Foundation was formed in the mid-'80s as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing service to and support of the college. Its 30-member board of directors is comprised of business and civic leaders, and last year, the foundation's philanthropic support provided 536 scholarships to Genesee students totaling $284,184.

Contributions for support for the college programs and students may be sent to the Genesee Community College Foundation, One College Road, Batavia, NY 14020. For more information contact the foundation (585) 345-6809 or [email protected].  <http:[email protected]>

December 15, 2009 - 11:33am
posted by Jeffrey R. Bartz in batavia, Announcements, Christmas.
Event Date and Time: 
December 20, 2009 -
11:00am to 6:00pm

Join us for a special musical presentation that celebrates the Season, the Story and the Savior of Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

11 AM & 6 PM

(refreshments to follow evening presentation)

Grace Baptist Church

238 Vine Street



December 12, 2009 - 1:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, pets, volunteers for animals.

Oops! Time's running out! Santa is at Petco in Batavia today until 4 p.m. giving pet owners a photo op for their critters. Cost is $8.95, with $5 of that going to Volunteers for Animals to assist animals at the Genesee County Animal Shelter.

The Petco is located at 4226 Veterans Memorial Drive.

December 11, 2009 - 9:51am
posted by Robin Walters in batavia, Announcements, Care-A-Van Ministries.
Event Date and Time: 
December 12, 2009 -
10:30am to 12:00pm
Care-A-Van Ministries will be on Central Avenue this Saturday morning for grocery and clothing distribution from 10:30-Noon. If you or anyone you know is in need of food, please stop by. God Bless and Keep the Light On!
December 10, 2009 - 3:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements.

St. James Church has 2010 Calendars of Historic Churches of Genesee County available for sale. The full-color calendar is $15 and can be purchased by contacting the church at 343-6802. The proceeds will benefit the Restoration Fund of St. James Church.

December 10, 2009 - 3:21pm

Due to the severe-weather travel advisories and lake-effect snow warnings, the following closures have been reported to us:

United Memorial Medical Center outpatient sites

• Byron Family Care
• Batavia Family Care
• Tountas Family Care
• Tonawanda Seneca Family Care
• The Jerome Center
• Corporate Health
• Pembroke Diagnostics
• LeRoy Diagnostics
• Surgical Practice Office

Patients with appointments for today have been called and will be asked to reschedule.

The Hospital and Emergency Department are open. Please call 9-1-1 for emergency medical attention.

Genesee Community College is closing at 4 p.m. -- no classes for tonight.

The Byron-Bergen Public Library is closed today.

December 10, 2009 - 1:31am

           12-10-2009 1;21;04 AMDec.12,2009.JPG


                                                            Santa and Mrs Claus.jpg

December 9, 2009 - 7:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements.

Crossroads of Harmony has become a steadfast Genesee County Christmas tradition in the last 15 years.

With an ever-growing number of singers from Genesee County and the surrounding counties, its four-part harmonic, a cappella songs create warmth and wonderful Christmas imagery.

"Our goal is, and has always been, to bring smiles and positive energy tothose who are listening to us through the use of barbershop (-style singing)," says Beth Allen, a member for the past six years.

They sing at a variety of venues -- including festivals, hospitals, nursing facilities, apartment complexes and schools -- and help create an atmosphere of joy and "meaning" with each performance, which can range from 30 minuntes to an hour.

"We love to watch the transformation that occurs within our audiences," Allen said. "When we first arrive, we often see a group of individuals who are having a so-so day. Then we turn it into a sparkling, memorable day with smiles and laughter."

For more information on how Crossroads of Harmony can perform for your group or organization, contact Shirley at 948-9385 or Mary at 343-4556. For anyone interested in singing with Crossroads of Harmony, they meet at 7:30 p.m. every Monday night at the Genesee County Nursing Home on Chandler Avenue in the City of Batavia.

December 9, 2009 - 7:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, GO ART!.

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) is seeking artists interested in exhibiting their work, including the local one at the Genesee County Senior Center, 2 Bank St., in Batavia.

Since 1977, GO ART! has served area artists by providing exhibit space for their work. Gallery shows are typically displayed for two months. Artists must be 18 or older. Current local openings are at the Batavia Satellite Gallery in the Senior Center, January/February, March/April and July/August 2010.

For additional information, contact the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council at 343-9313 or download an application online at

December 9, 2009 - 6:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Genesee Community College, alumni.

Genesee Community College's Alumni Office has been awarded a $1,000 from the State University of New York Council for University Advancement (SUNYCUAD) to develop an Alumni Career Network program. Led by Alumni Coordinator Jackie Christenson, plans call for the inaugural program to be up and running next year.

The Alumni Career Network will be a career mentoring program to assist students with career planning and goal setting. The mentor program will match students with alumni who have similar academic interests, career goals, personal interests and hobbies for the purpose of encouraging, supporting, advising and motivating. Alumni mentors will guide students in understanding their field of interest and sharing various levels of expertise.

The goals include helping students develop professional, interpersonal and networking skills critical to their success, and also keeping students informed about career choices through consultations with alumni volunteer mentors. Mentoring can be done in person; through e-mail or by phone; shadowing opportunities at a workplace, or a short- or long-term internship. The key is to begin a small program to guide students toward being successful both academically and professionally and to build the network in years to come.

Students involved in the program can expect to develop a clearer understanding of their career choice, be comfortable with it, possibly make a career change and/or continue their education. Alumni mentors can expect an opportunity to share experiences and to guide a student, which fosters personal and professional skills such as listening, coaching, guiding and teaching.

"We are very excited about developing the Alumni Career Network at Genesee," Christenson said. "Especially during tough economic times and ever-changing employment prospects, there is a real need for a mentoring program to connect our successful alumni and our current students who need career advisement. This is a perfect fit for our alumni and students."

Alumni interested in volunteering in the Alumni Career Network program at Genesee Community College should contact Jackie Christenson at 585-343-0055 x6265 or at [email protected].

December 9, 2009 - 6:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, genesee county, events, military families.
Event Date and Time: 
December 15, 2009 -
5:45pm to 7:30pm

The Military Pride Friends and Family Network invites people to attend its next meeting, from 5:45 until about 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15. It takes place at 2 Bank St., Office for the Aging, second floor, in Batavia.

The group's goal is to support troops and and their families in Genesee County.


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