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December 21, 2009 - 1:51pm
posted by Amy Weidner in batavia, YMCA, Toys for Kids.

group photo

Families arrived yesterday at the Batavia YMCA around noon to kick things off at the annual Toys for Kids Christmas event. The children played together in the gym while parents snuck away to receive some secret extra gifts. Up on the third floor, a room was filled with large, black garbage bags discretely holding toys for Christmas morning.

Pictured above are five children with Don Carroll and Santa Claus. From left to right, Luvena Wagner, age 3, Giovanni Smart, 5, Bianca Jackson, 9, and Blayke Jackson. In front is Lillian Smart, age 3.

Luvena's mother, Christina Wagner, especially appreciates the event in these tough financial times.

"One of my friends was telling me about it," she said. "Her mom was helping with it and she knows that I don't have a job right now. She knew I didn't have much money, so they invited me."

Saturday's shopping spree played out just as event coordinator, Don Carroll, had planned. This year, Carroll raised money and purchased over $7,000 worth of gifts for 120 lucky children. When I asked him what makes this charity event so successful, he gave credit to the fact that it is something he puts effort into all year long.

"What separates what I do from a lot of other places is that they wait until it's time for the holidays," he said. "That's probably why they don't raise as much money. I'm going to be collecting donations again in a couple weeks and it's going to be all the way until this time next year."

Volunteer Lori Wendt says clear organization is also key to event's success.

"A few weeks ago, parents were asked to submit a list of items their kids wanted for Christmas," Wendt said. "That way, Don and the other volunteers would know what to get them. It was so organized.

"We all got our lists with a couple families, and my husband and I went around picking up the gifts. It was fun, and it was fun to know that kids would get what they want."

Kids in Gym

After playing in the gym, all of the children came up to the room on the third floor where they were served a lunch of pizza, soda pop and holiday cookies.


Good old Saint Nick made an appearance at 1 o'clock when he made his way around the room to have a word with each and every child. The kids were excited to see him and couldn't wait for their moment to talk with him.

santa and girl

After having a turn speaking with each of the children, it was time for Santa Claus to hand out some gifts. (But first, he helped this little girl with her boot laces.)

Each child received one gift at the event. Four lucky kids received iPods as a special gift from the Sheriff's Department.

Look for donation jars and other events throughout the year that sponsor the Toys for Kids charity to support the cause next year.

December 12, 2009 - 2:45pm
posted by Amy Weidner in batavia, Don Carroll, Toys for Kids.

As a parent, it feels good to be able to give your children the gifts they want on Christmas. Unfortunately, not all families have the means to do this, especially in these hard economic times.

Don Carroll after(2).JPGLuckily, there are people like Don Carroll who are here to look out for these children. He started Toys For Kids seven years ago as a way of "paying it forward." 

“I lost my parents when I was 5 and people were very generous to me and my sister at Christmas time," Carroll said. "That’s something I never forgot. So, that’s why I do it.”

He collects money year round to plan for the holiday season. He has been collecting gifts, monetary donations, and has even been getting some help from a collection jar full of change at Clor’s Meat Market. Each year he organizes a solid routine to prepare for the toy drive.

“The way our program is set up is that we go shopping with the money that has been donated. This year we’re probably going to spend a little over $7,000 on buying gifts for the kids. Then we’ll wrap all of the presents the day before. On Sunday, the 20th we invite the families to the Y at noon and we have Santa Claus come, and we provide a hot meal and we give out the gifts. We give out some of the gifts there and we give gifts to the parents to give to the kids at Christmas time."

This year, there are more families in need than ever, so all donations are graciously accepted.

“We’ve helped a lot of people like mothers who have a lot of kids or grandmothers who are raising their grandkids, and there are working parents who don’t make a lot of money. We get the names of the families from schools, churches and the YMCA.”

If you’re not able to donate gifts or money to the cause, you are welcome to donate your time. The event is expected to be pretty large and all volunteers can be put to good use.

“We’re putting out a sign-up list that’s going to be at the Y for people who want to help us wrap gifts on the 19th.  Also, on the 20th we’ll need people to help parents put gifts in their cars and we’ll need help serving food.”

All gifts and cash donations will be accepted at the Batavia YMCA until Saturday, Dec. 19. Checks can be made out to the YMCA including “Toys for Kids” on the memo line.  Anyone who is interested in volunteering their time can sign up there also.

The YMCA is located at 209 E. Main St. Phone is 344-1664.

December 7, 2009 - 3:14pm
posted by Amy Weidner in batavia, Christmas, Christmas lights, Fargo Road.

The DiSalvo's Christmas light display is always a showstopper. Cars line up and down the length of their property on Fargo Road in Batavia, slowly driving along the shoulder.  People come from all around the county to make sure they get a glimpse of the lights at least once before the end of the season.

Here are some photos to enjoy the decorations at home.  But, if you're looking to fully capture that Christmas spirit and holiday atmosphere, the trip is worth the drive.


December 1, 2009 - 2:47pm
posted by Amy Weidner in business, alexander, Molasses Hill Bulk Foods.

While a lot people shop at the big-box stores for brand names, others choose to support local businesses because they offer unique items and provide good customer service.

Alexander's Molasses Hill Bulk Foods, located at the four corners on Main Street in Alexander, is a successful hometown business that has developed a loyal, local clientele.

Opened by sisters Lucinda and Meghann Morse in December of 2005, Molasses Hill has prospered in a small town.

"Alexander is our hometown. We wanted to be close to home." said co-owner Lucinda Morse.

Though the store is small, it is packed to the brim with quality products. The front of the store carries their baking items and the back of the store is where they serve their well-known subs, salads and soups.

The store carries a wide variety of cooking items, too.

"We have all the baking supplies, candies, spices, dried beans, jellies, soup mixes, and this time of the year we carry the seasoning for jerky." Morse said.

"I like that it's close and convenient," said Connie Bruggman, a longtime resident of Alexander.  "I go there for the bakery items. They have lots of special chocolate chips for cookies; the raspberry ones are really good."

Molasses Hill Bulk Foods is worth a trip.

"They're comparable for their quality, you get what you pay for. They buy bulk and break it down to offer their products for a cheaper price." Bruggman said. "I just think it's a nice addition to the town. It brings people into the village and gives the school kids somewhere to go."

November 22, 2009 - 12:37pm
posted by Amy Weidner in LeRoy.


LeRoy's 9th annual "Turkey Trot" 5K Run/Walk drew a crowd Saturday morning. People of all ages met at the Summit Street tennis courts to raise money for LeRoy Nursery School.

"Past students and board members come out to run," said current board member Debbie Chipre, "people come back. It's a small community."

With the help of several sponsors, trotters raised $700 in funds that will be used to support the nursery school.

turckytrot_t.jpgThe 5K course, which is the equivalent of 3.1 miles, began at the tennis courts and ran the length of Summit Street and back. All participants received a Turkey Trot T-shirt and the chance to win one of several raffle prizes.

"Our bigger sponsors donated the money and the smaller ones provided the products for our raffles," said Karen Samis, president of the nursery school board of directors.

Race winners took home a turkey and raffle winners got to choice from several prizes including Mary Kay products and gift certificates to local businesses.

LeRoy native 18-year-old Jake Krautwurst was the first to cross the finish line, clocking in at 18.30 minutes. The rest of the participants weren't far behind. While some chose to run, others walked and a few children rode bicycles.

The 10th annual Turkey Trot is already planned for Nov. 6 next year. Until then, you can support the nursery school, of course. The next fundraiser is a special breakfast with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 6 at McDonald's in LeRoy.

October 13, 2009 - 10:50pm
posted by Amy Weidner in construction, LeRoy.

I'm sure you've heard the joke that in Western New York there are only two seasons - winter and construction. Around this time of year, the road work wraps up and we are able to enjoy the results of our paid taxes. Unfortunately, not all taxpayers are pleased.

This was the first topic of discussion at the LeRoy Town Board meeting Thursday night. Randall Road resident Paul Mooney brought attention to concerns he had about the work done in his and his neighbors' front yards.

"They did the water project out there much to the dissatisfaction of almost all of the folks on that short strip," he complained.

"I think my driveway is the biggest problem that I have. Installing the pipe along the road required that the construction company dig up a good portion of residents' lawns and driveways to complete the project. When they finished, the way they repaired the lawns and driveways were not up to everyone's standards.

Mooney was left asking, "...where do we go from here?" The board assured him that they would have the work reviewed again, but other residents have taken repairs into their own hands. Another Randall Road resident spent over $1,000 of her own money to have her damaged driveway repaired to its pre-construction condition.

While the building process was a temporary nuisance, the scars are here to stay. The driveways show apparent damage that no homeowner wouldn't appreciate. When does improvement become damage? 


Randall Road Driveway

This driveway shows a wide strip that was taken out along with a concrete patch placed there to repair damage. There are no plans to bring the property back to its original state.


NOTE: Randall Road is a county road and the construction was carried out with the Genesee County Highway Department, not the Town of LeRoy Highway Department.

September 30, 2009 - 1:50pm
posted by Amy Weidner in LeRoy.

A black bear has been seen on Vallance Road in LeRoy.

The first sighting was reported two weeks ago by a concerned LeRoy citizen but others say the bear has been in the area for at least a month.

"We first saw him in the field where there was corn being chopped, from there he went down Vallance Road," said the citizen who reported the incident.

Residents also noted that at a neighbor's house, the bear knocked over some garbage cans and had been attracted to, and damaged, both of their bird feeders. The citizen tells of other reports around town that the bear has been spotted near the Thruway exit.

Pat Flaherty, a Vallance Road resident, said, "The first time the bear came here was during the night when it knocked down bales of hay in our yard that were being used for archery."  She said that happened about a week ago.

"It completely took down a big birdhouse on a pole and had broken down a clothesline that (we found) lying on the ground," she said.

LeRoy Bear

On Aug. 22, a LeRoy resident shot this photo of the bear in his yard enjoying yet another bird feeder. The incident was reported to DEC that same day. Below is a picture taken early in the morning on Sept. 28 of bear prints across the same resident's driveway.

Bear Prints


According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 80 percent of bear sightings are related to bird feeders. The DEC says, "Although many people find it difficult to believe, an animal as large and powerful as black bear is readily attracted to bird feeders as a source of food."

It is important to break them of this habit because the bear will associate the areas with bird feeders as a good place to get food. Removing the feeders is the only sure way to avoid attracting bears. The DEC claims that "bears that learn to approach one house will approach other houses."

Other options include bringing the feeder in at night and removing excess seed. Without available food, the bear shouldn’t return to the area.

In the event of a black bear sighting, it is advised that you contact the DEC at 585-226-6335.

September 28, 2009 - 12:07pm
posted by Amy Weidner in batavia, music, Glass Roots.

If you’ve ever driven down Center Street, I’m sure you’ve noticed the garage next to the Smoke House painted as a “Fire Headquarters.” This garage has just recently become the newest spot for local bands to perform.

Hosted by Glass Roots next door to it, the venue's third show took place Friday night. It's open to artists of all types and Friday’s show featured three very different genres of music. 

First to perform was Greengage, a local jam band with a reggae influence. Then, the duo known as Davey O. played a set of acoustic folk rock. Lastly, Steve Ditzel, a Batavia resident, took the stage with his turntables and got the crowd moving to his electronic beats. 

The show started around 7:30, drawing a large crowd of highly diverse people and ran up until last call for drinks. There was a 50/50 raffle, too. While there's no firm schedule for future events, Glass Roots shop owner Jeremy Almeter says that there will be more shows and to stop by for more details.




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