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November 20, 2013 - 1:38pm
posted by Bonnie Marrocco in batavia, Vibrant Batavia, Leanna Di Risio.

With a bachelor’s degree in communications, a record of community involvement and eight years experience in advertising, Batavia native Leanna Di Risio knew when the Vibrant Batavia Community Organizer position came along, it was the perfect fit.

While Di Risio worked for the Genesee Valley PennySaver, she volunteered for the Business Improvement Distirct, and that really opened her eyes to community involvement.

“The first event I took part in was the Taste of Fall Wine Walk, which has become a well-known event for Downtown," Di Risio said. What made that event so worth the effort as a volunteer was seeing the streets filled with people; people who were going from business to business. This created a feeling of exhilaration, just to know that I was a part of making this event possible and it was successful, as it was well attended.”

Vibrant Batavia is a group of dedicated volunteers; both business owners and residents who wish to help Batavia realize its "vibrant" potential.

The City of Batavia and Vibrant Batavia, in partnership with NeighborWorks Rochester, hired the 1998 Batavia High School graduate for the job in community relations. The 34-year-old is paid by Vibrant Batavia, which was given $45,000 from the city to hire a coordinator and plan neighborhood events and the city’s upcoming centennial celebration.

Di Risio was one of six candidates interviewed by a group of city leaders including City Manager Jason Molino and Pastor Marty Macdonald of City Church.

“Leanna was chosen for the position because of her 'can-do' attitude," Molino said. "She brings an excellent work ethic to community development efforts in the City and she’s a natural people person. Working in neighborhoods with residents and business owners requires you to have a positive attitude and genuine interest in what people are telling you. Leanna has interest in the residents of this community and wants to be a part of making this community a better place for everyone.”

Although Di Risio has the education and background to lead the way in community revitalization, during college she did not see herself coming back to live in her small hometown. She was attending Buffalo State College where she was planning to become an elementary school teacher.

“In the course of my experience in a classroom, I realized that it was more than just playing games and doing projects with kids, which was what I desired," Di Risio said. "At that point I gave all of my past teachers MUCH credit for doing what they did and retired the idea."

During this time her mother passed away at the young age of 45 and she came back home to help care for her 8-year-old brother. She transferred and commuted to Brockport State College, where she received her degree in communications.

Di Risio currently lives in Batavia with her husband Dan and their two children: 9-year-old Vincent and 4-year-old Luciana. She is enthusiastic about her new position and has already had the opportunity to meet with many residents throughout the City for Coffee Talk events. The five Coffee Talk Events were successful and Di Risio was able to compile a list of ideas generated by residents through surveys, which are still available at

“Leanna is strong on her way to fulfilling some of the objectives that the Vibrant Batavia Team had established based on City Council’s findings,” Macdonald said. “Leanna's passion is recognized in everything she does.”

The goal is to build upon neighborhood strengths and assets. With guidance from residents, Vibrant Batavia will highlight characteristics and unique personalities of each neighborhood in an effort to rebuild connections.

“In some cases, it is a matter of focusing on your own property, planting flowers, keeping up on regular maintenance of your home and then reaching out to help others," Di Risio said. "That could be as simple as helping an elderly neighbor shovel snow in the winter months or chipping in on maintaining a vacated lot by mowing the lawn so these properties represent the tidiness of the street. I have already begun to coordinate block parties, street clean-ups and community events to open the lines of communication between neighbors and make for a stronger neighborhood.”

Last weekend, Vibrant Batavia hosted a Fall Frolic Clean-up covering Bank Street, Tracy Avenue, Hart Street and North Street. The event was supported by Batavia Ramparts Squirt Travel Hockey Team, which Di Risio’s son plays on. Team members, as well as their parents, joined in the clean-up effort. Afterward Tracy Avenue residents Bob and Char Grimm hosted lunch, which was provided by Vibrant Batavia.

Vibrant Batavia is now working with Genesee Cancer Assistance to promote the Holiday Tour of Homes. The event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 8 and includes six homes in Batavia. Interested participants can contact Di Risio at 585-738-7388 to purchase tickets and they will also be available the day of the tours at each of the homes.

Moving into the winter months, Vibrant Batavia will focus on community events, such as a sledding celebration at Centennial Park and having NeighborWorks Rochester lead community-wide forums to discuss the opportunities to further improve the community. Batavia residents can follow their efforts on Facebook and see upcoming events at

November 19, 2013 - 10:50am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

The main campus building of Genesee Community College was evacuated after a fire alarm sounded. Campus security called dispatch to report the source was burnt toast inside the main campus. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 10:54 a.m.: Firefighters report nothing showing from the outside. The burnt toast is said to be inside a second-story faculty break room.

UPDATE 10:56 a.m.: Command says responding units can continue, non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 11:23 a.m.: The town assignment is back in service.

November 18, 2013 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, Pavilion, Alabama, bergen.

Thomas Monte Carlo, 57, of Lewiston Road, Basom, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, unlawful possession of marijuana and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Carlo was apprehended by Deputy Joseph Corona following a reported one-vehicle motorcycle accident at 7:23 p.m. Saturday on Lewiston Road, Basom.

Matthew James Florian, 25, of Slusser Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant related to an aggravated unlicensed operation charge. Florian was stopped by State Police on Route 5, Town of Batavia, and turned over to the Sheriff's Office on a warrant. Florian was jailed on $200 bail.

Michael Scott Vanburen, 46, of Alexander Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, unsafe backing and consumption of alcohol in a vehicle. Vanburen was arrested after he reportedly backed his 2004 Pontiac GTO out of his driveway, across the road and into a ditch at 12:27 a.m. on Saturday.

Dana Lewis Toates, 19, of Roosevelt Highway, Hilton, is charged with unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21. Toates was reportedly a passenger in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation and found to allegedly be in possession of alcohol.

Corey M. Vickers, 29, of Morrow Road, Pavilion, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed operation and stopped on pavement. Vickers was charged after being observed by a Wyoming County deputy allegedly stopped on the roadway in the Town of Perry, outside of his vehicle, vomiting. Vickers' driving privilege was suspended after he allegedly failed to appear for a summons in the Village of Portville.

Alissa A. Fodge, 23, of Bergen, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Fodge was arrested by State Police in the Town of Barton for an alleged act reported Oct. 18. No further details released.

November 18, 2013 - 9:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A donation fund has been set up to assist Candee McConnell, who lost her husband and had a portion of her house damaged in a fire last week.

Donations can be made at any Bank of Castile location in the name of Candee McConnell.

Candee and George McConnell were married for 25 years and were active in the SPCA. George was retired from the U.S. Postal Service and a World War II vet and avid baseball fan, according to his obituary.

For health reasons, George was unable to exit a second-floor bedroom of the McConnell's home on Davis Avenue after the fire broke out in that part of the house.

The back section of the house was heavily damaged.

Donations will assist Candee with various needs arising from the tragedy.

November 16, 2013 - 10:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Fire.

City firefighters got their hands on new extrication tools tonight that were acquired with a FEMA grant the department received in January.

The tools are manufactured by Holmatro and include a cutter, a spreader and two rams along with rocker panel support.

The grant was for $60,000 and the money as also used to purchase struts for building and vehicle supports.

Tonight's training was conducted by Tim Norris, a rep for Holmatro.

Capt. Craig Williams said the department reviewed equipment from six different companies and invited four of them in for a head-to-head competition.

What he likes about the Holmatro products, he said, is the tools are the only one on the market that cut and spread in three stages. When there's no pressure on the blades, they move easily. As they feel pressure, they clap down harder, and in the third stage, when extra pressure is needed to finish the cut, the tool delivers maximum pressure.

Also, Williams said, the tools can be hot swapped from their hydraulic lines, meaning the line doesn't need to be drained of pressure before trading out a tool for a particular job.

Shifts of firefighters will be training with the new tools over the next few days.

Holmatro rep Tim Norris, center, conducting training.

November 16, 2013 - 7:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

The lower apartment at 142 State St., Batavia, is reportedly filling with smoke.

City fire responding.

The occupants have been advised to evacuate.

Engine 11 is on scene with light smoke showing.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m.: Small fire in bathroom. Fire knocked out. Checking for extensions.

UPDATE 7:55 p.m.: City assignment back in service.

November 16, 2013 - 10:38am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding to a stove fire at Alex's Place restaurant, located at 8322 Park Road. Darien's rescue truck is requested to stand by in quarters.

UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: Fire is out. The assignment is back in service.

November 15, 2013 - 3:45pm

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, our to do lists get longer and longer, from planning holiday parties to shopping for Christmas. This year why not have Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, Bistro, and Banquets help with your holiday needs? There is a wide selection of services available to cater to you.
For Thanksgiving, we are offering a couple of specials including pies and cheesecakes. Choose from fruit or cream, and all homemade pies are made with the freshest ingredients. This year we are offering to bake it in your pie dishes! Take your homemade pie in your own dish!
Lots of shopping to do on Saturday? Let us make you breakfast. We are now open for breakfast on Saturdays from 7 to 11 a.m. Our breakfast menu includes jumbo stuffed French toast served with a fruit kabob, your choice of meat or how about a large omelette made with fresh oven-roasted potatoes, a croissant and a fruit kabob. We also have weekly specials like pumpkin spice pancakes and red velvet Belgian waffles. Don't have time to eat it here, how about taking a quiche home? Order a fresh quiche with your choice of ingredients. 
Let's make the holiday parties even easier. We will set up, cook and clean it up so all you have to do is enjoy. Our minimum is only 10 people and we can hold parties up to 50 in one room or 100 in multiple rooms.  
  • Able to integrate a menu that suits your company's special considerations while maintaining and enhancing the holiday spirit.
  • Tasteful, classic, and elegant holiday decorations.
  • Traditional Friday & Saturday nights available along with the increasingly popular weekday events.
Many holiday parties are postponing their employee events into January and February when it's less hectic. Ask and we will try to accommodate you! Limited number of prime dates are still available!
Sweet Ecstasy Bakery | Bistro | Banquets
Tonisha M. Price, owner
Monday-Friday 10am-6pm -- Lunch Served 11am-2pm
Saturdays 7am-2pm -- Breakfast Served 7am-11am 
November 15, 2013 - 8:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, ARC.

Press release:

Community members, area businesses, ARC families and staff have donated more than 100 baskets for Genesee ARC’s 3rd Annual Chili & Chowder Fest and theme basket raffle.  The event is scheduled for Saturday, November 16 at the Genesee ARC Community Center, 38 Woodrow Road, and runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“We have a wide range of themes this year ranging from movies and tools, to candles and restaurants and everything in between,” said Shelley Falitico, ARC Development Director and event chair.

With every $10 ticket, participants will have 25 chances to win, along with a chance to win one of two door prizes. There is a group of specialty baskets, valued at $50 or more with 10 tickets at $15. Featured specialty items include Sabres baskets with tickets and parking passes and a wheeled trash can full of cleaning supplies.

This year’s grand prize is a chest freezer that comes with gift cards to area grocers and meat markets, so the winner can fill the freezer. Grand prize chances are $2 each, 3 chances/$5.00 and 8 chances/$10.

A baked goods sale is also planned along with chili and chowder in bowls, to eat in or quarts to take home.

Winners need not be present. The drawings will begin promptly at 1:30 p.m. Funds raised will benefit disability services in our community.

New this year is a ticket-only sale on Friday, November 15 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

“We know this is a busy time of year with a lot of weekend events,” Falitico said. “The Committee wanted to offer everyone a chance to win, even if they cannot attend the actual event."

Community members with questions may call Shelley Falitico at the Genesee ARC Community Relations office at (585) 343-4203, ext. 222.

November 14, 2013 - 9:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, basketball, sports, high school sports.

In recent years, even on the first day of practice, Buddy Brasky said he was eager for go-time. He thought his teams were ready for their first regular season game.

This year, with six seniors graduating and a roster stocked with sophomores and juniors, it's going to take a little time to get the team into championship form.

"We've got to get better throughout the year," Brasky said following a practice at Batavia High School today. "We get a little bit better, a little better, a little bit better, and hopefully we peak by the end of the year. Where in the past couple of years we've been really good right from the beginning, I think it's going to take a little while this year."

The core of the starting squad appears to be Justice Fagan, a senior guard, and Jeff Redband, a junior forward whose clutch buzzer beater in last year's regional championship helped send the Blue Devils to the state championship semi-finals.

"We've got two really good players, two first-team, all-league type of players," Brasky said. "If we can get the guys around them to step up, yes, we can win the league title and then the next step from there is sectionals."

It's a little bit of a setback, Brasky said, that Redband is sitting out pre-season wth an injured ankle. He's already been sidelined for three weeks and is at least two weeks away from returning for action. He may not be ready for the opening tip-off.

Also missing a big chunk of practice time is starting senior guard Andrew Turner, who will miss the next 10 days of practice after suffering a mild concussion.

Brasky is also expecting a big contribution from sophomore forward Malachi Chenault, who made the varsity last year as a freshman.

Coming up from JV is that squad's second-leading scorer last year, guard Jerrett Laskett, a junior.

"These are good kids," Brasky said. "They listen. They're coachable. Our schemes are pretty complicated. Our defenses are not easy to pick up, so little by little, I see improvement every day. I'm pretty pleased with how they're working right now."

The Blue Devils, in Class A-II this year, opens the season Dec. 7 against Williamsville South at Niagara Falls HS. There are no home games scheduled before the Lions Tournament, Dec. 27 and Dec. 30 at Genesee Community College.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

November 14, 2013 - 8:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Two callers, one on Wood Street, report hearing the sound of a gunshot.

The sound was a single boom with a sustained echo (we heard it, too).

Batavia PD is responding to the area.

UPDATE 8:56  p.m.: A reader e-mails saying he heard what sounded to him like a 12-gauge shotgun in the area of Cherry/Wood/Jackson.

UPDATE (by Billie) 9:02 p.m.: An off-duty police officer told dispatch it sounded like a pop from a blown transformer. Subesequently, a police officer reported that people interviewed on Wood Street say the noise came from Cherry Street. Officers are now scouring the area of Cherry and Pringle Avenue to try and determine the cause of the sound.

UPDATE 9:11 p.m. (by Howard): An officer I spoke with over on Pringle said the sound I described sounds more like a wire arcing than a shotgun, especially since the sound has reportedly been heard over a wide area of the city, not just the Southside. He said a gunshot sound would not carry to such a wide area. Also, another caller reports seeing a bottle rocket in the area of Cherry and Liberty. One officer expresses skepticism that that was the cause and another recalls there were reports of fireworks from that area over the summer.

UPDATE 9:28 p.m.: Officers are clearing the call. "It's probably a power arcing issue," reports an officer. "Nothing else has been found."

November 14, 2013 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Syd's Automotive.

With 25 years in the auto repair business -- a career that took him from mechanic to district manager and vp of operations for other people's businesses -- Steve Getty says he's found a place he wants to put down roots, in Batavia.

Getty has acquired a former oil change and auto repair location at 4003 W. Main St. and opened up Syd's Automotive.

"It feels really good to own my own business," Getty said, "especially being where I live."

Asked what will set his business apart, he said, "quality."

"Most companies in the industry I'm in focus on the fast," Getty said. "We'll be quality first, fast second. It's still a fast oil change, but you're getting a quality oil change, quality repair work."

Photo: Getty left with Scott Levensailor, who is also working in the shop.

November 14, 2013 - 2:01pm
Event Date and Time: 
December 15, 2013 - 10:00am to 1:00pm

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA at Daphne's Restaurant & Lounge.

November 13, 2013 - 5:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A male claims he was chased by a trio of individuals on Jackson Street. He called police at the Kwik Fill gas station, at Jackson and Ellicott streets in Batavia, where officers met up with him to take him to his residence on Central Avenue. He described those who allegedly chased him as two black males and a black female.

November 13, 2013 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Current booking photo Sex offender registry

Sean M. Vickers, the man accused of being a predatory child molester in Niagara and Genesee counties, with alleged victims from up to 20 years ago, won't get a chance to post bail.

Vickers appeared in County Court today to be arraigned on a new 11-count indictment that accuses him of sexually assaulting four children in Batavia from the 1990s to the early 2000s.

Citing the possible multiple life sentence faced by Vickers, Judge Robert C. Noonan said Vickers posed too great a flight risk to have an opportunity to post bail.

Bail was set at $500,000 when Vickers was arrested on the first set of sexual assault charges in May.

Public Defender Gary Horton asked Noonan to set a bail amount, saying that bail out of Niagara County Court, he believed, was set at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond.

As is usually the case for defendants at an arraignment on new charges, Vickers entered a not guilty plea to all 11 of the counts.

He was indicted by a grand jury last week on: one count of a course of sexual conduct against a child, a Class B felony; two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, a Class A-II felony; six counts of criminal sexual act first, a Class B violent felony; one count of sexual abuse, 1st, a Class B felony; and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

The 44-year-old Vickers was a resident of Geneva at the time of his arrest in May.

The local investigation into Vickers started after detectives in Niagara County contacted Batavia PD about a case they were working on. That helped to bring to light alleged molestation against at least one victim and the ongoing investigation turned up more victims and more evidence to base the new charges on.

Det. Kevin Czora, leading the local investigation, said over the weekend that it's possible there may be alleged victims in the community local law enforcement doesn't even know about. 

Anybody with information that may assist in the investigation can contact Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350 or outside the city, contact your local law enforcement agency.


November 13, 2013 - 12:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A "cherry picker" truck, or portion of it, landed on a car causing a hand laceration at Walnut and South Main streets in the city. Mercy medics and city fire are responding.

UPDATE 12:07 p.m.: Responders tell medics they can proceed in non-emergency mode. Police are on scene.

UPDATE 12:32 p.m.: An adult male is being transported to UMMC with a minor hand laceration.

November 13, 2013 - 8:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A motor-vehicle accident with a possible minor head or neck injury is reported on Park Avenue, City of Batavia.

City fire and Mercy EMS are on scene.

The vehicle hit a utility pole. 

View Larger Map

November 12, 2013 - 8:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire, Davis Avenue.

Investigators have determined that the fatal fire early this morning at 10 Davis Ave., Batavia, was caused by "careless use of smoking materials, i.e., cigarettes and lighters."

The fire, first reported around 2 a.m., took the life of 87-year-old George A. McConnell.

McConnell's wife, Candace McConnell, was not injured in the fire.

George was apparently unable to exit his second-floor bedroom after the fire started. Candace made her way to the first-floor back porch and was assisted from the house by Officer Darryl Streeter.

The fire investigation was conducted by the Batavia Fire Department and the Batavia Police Department.

Previously: Fire on Davis Avenue claims life of 87-year-old resident


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