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December 23, 2016 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Batavia City School District’s Jackson Primary School teacher, Melissa Mattice, was presented with an Outstanding Employee Award by Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Dec. 20 Board meeting.

She was nominated by Jackson Principal Diane Bonarigo, who wrote, “Mrs. Mattice is a kindergarten teacher at Jackson School. She is a teacher leader and serves Jackson Primary School in many different ways year after year. She has volunteered her time on the School Improvement Team, PARP (Parents as Reading Partners) Committee, Parent Home School events and works closely with administration and staff to promote a positive and collaborative culture in the building as well as on the APPR District committee.

"Mrs. Mattice sets high academic standards and builds strong relationships with her students. She has earned a great deal of respect in the community as evidenced by the number of parent requests we receive each year, asking for Mrs. Mattice to be their child’s teacher.”

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Batavia City School District’s Jackson Primary School teacher, Marie Bigsby, was presented with an Outstanding Employee Award by Board of Education President Patrick Burk at the Dec. 20 Board meeting.

She was nominated by Jackson Principal Diane Bonarigo, who wrote, “Mrs. Bigsby continues to serve the students and families of Jackson Primary with great enthusiasm and dedication. Mrs. Bigsby is a standing volunteer member on many Jackson committees. Over the past several years, however, she has also dedicated a great deal of her time as a Jackson Teacher Representative and meets monthly with our parent group volunteers and the Parent Co-Presidents to support the school with evening and weekend events.

"You can always find Mrs. Bigsby volunteering to get the school ready for Fall Carnival, Breakfast with Santa, and Family Learning Nights. She works closely with staff to create a strong partnership with our families and is able to initiate great school support throughout the year. We appreciate her hard work and am thankful for her continued contribution to Jackson School.”

Photos and info submitted by Kathy Scott, Batavia City Schools.

December 23, 2016 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, batavia, news, domestic violence.

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Lawley Genesee staff members Sherri Wahr, Beth George, Lori Crandall and Lisa Barie deliver a bounty of gifts to YWCA of Genesee County as a yearly effort to add some joy to a family affected by domestic violence that served by YWCA. The nonprofit has served more than 680 new domestic violence victims so far this year and is extremely thankful for the generosity of Lawley Genesee to brighten the lives of those impacted by domestic abuse, Executive Director Jeanne Walton says.

Photo and info submitted by Joanne Beck, YWCA.

December 22, 2016 - 6:00pm

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December 22, 2016 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, batavia, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

A sell-out crowd of 320 guests enjoyed a celebratory night at Encore 2016 last week, Genesee Community College Foundation's annual holiday fundraising event featuring a holiday concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The Dec. 13th celebration continued the long-standing 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. More than $50,000 was raised.

Following the theme, "A Star Shines On," the event recognized both the 25th anniversary of Encore together with the Genesee Community College's 50th anniversary. This year, Encore was organized by a chairing committee featuring the two sisters who organized the first of the Encore events in 1991, and their multigenerational families. The co-chairs included Glenn and Rosalie Maguire Simon, joined by Rosalie's sister, Lucy Barnett and her husband, Timothy; daughter Jessica Maguire Tomidy and her husband, Alan; as well as son, Andrew Maguire and his fiancée, Jamie Beswick. In addition, Encore included special programming just for children the first time this year, allowing the children and grandchildren to attend as well.

"Planning the first Encore is a very fond memory for me and my sister Lucy. We were delighted to bring in the next generation for this significant milestone and also give children a chance to experience the arts and this incredible event," Rosalie Maguire Simon said. "We specifically revisited the theme from 25 years ago, 'A Star Shines,' and featured the star logo and artwork designed by GCC's late art instructor, Michael Powers from many years ago."

The evening featured four segments: the Prelude in the Genesee Center for the Arts; Dinner with numerous food stations set up in the central William W. Stuart Forum; the BPO concert in the Stuart Steiner Theatre featuring soprano soloist Emily Helenbrook; and finally desserts in the Wolcott J. Humphrey III Student Union.

The Genesee Community College Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to providing volunteer and philanthropic support to Genesee Community College. Formed in 1986, the Foundation has been instrumental in providing thousands of scholarships over the last decade, and assisting with the funding of numerous capital projects including the Student Success Center and the Richard C. Call Arena currently under construction and scheduled to open in the summer at GCC's Batavia Campus. The Foundation also supported the construction of the Conable Technology Building, the Humphrey Student Union, and the expansion of College Village, Genesee's student residence.

Top photo: The event's co-chairs; bottom photo: Roseann and James Sunser, and Emily Helenbrook.

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December 22, 2016 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, news.

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Members of the Kiwanis Club of Batavia were at their Secret Santa location yesterday getting ready dozens of holiday tote bags and other gifts for families that will be invited today to that location to pick up the care packages, receive gifts and visit with Santa.

The project is an annual event organized by the Kiwanis Club.

The families receiving the assistance are identified by local organizations and invited to the event.

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December 21, 2016 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia MS, schools, education, news, batavia.

In an effort to help students who are falling far behind in their studies, to the point where the students start to lose hope of catching up, principals Scott Wilson, Batavia High School, and Ashley John Grillo, Batavia Middle School, have developed an innovative new afterschool program to help the students make up for lost time.

Wilson described the program as "creative" at Tuesday's meeting of the City Schools Board of Trustees.

The board unanimously approved implementation of the program after Wilson's presentation.

The program will be held at the high school on Mondays through Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Wilson said he would anticipate from five to 15 students participating in each five-week segment.  

There would be a rotating group of teachers running the sessions each day and the program uses online courses designed to help students with makeup work as well as group learning.

"The goal is to have enough progress for the students to recover," Wilson said.

Students fall behind for a variety of reasons, from home life, to illness to other distractions and they often would like to keep up with their school work, Wilson said. That's hard to do when each day is filled with the current day's schoolwork.

During the course of the academic year, students get grades that are really just progress markers, Wilson explained, but the most important grade comes at the end of the school year, so the goal of the program is to provide midyear course correction for those who "go off-roading," Wilson said.

Wilson hopes to implement the new program starting in January.

December 21, 2016 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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There's a family in Batavia whose Christmas is going to be a whole lot brighter thanks to Liz Machala.

That's because there's a baby who is alive who might not be if not for Machala's ability to remain calm under stress and her knowledge of CPR.

Yesterday at Settler's Restaurant, Machala was eating lunch with friends, as she often does on Tuesdays at Settler's, when there was a big commotion on the other side of the restaurant.

"The father was yelling, 'she's not breathing, she's not breathing, somebody do something.' "

Restaurant owner John Spyropoulos immediately called 9-1-1 and dispatchers sent an ambulance for a 6-month-old in cardiac arrest.

Machala rushed from her seat and found the baby was turning blue.

"I turned her on her side," Machala said. "I pounded her on her back. I stuck my fingers down her throat. She had something stuck. I pounded her on her chest and flipped her over again to pound her on her back and she started screaming."

Machala said her only thought at that point was, "I'm happy."

The baby was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital for evaluation and this morning the baby's mother came in the restaurant and said she wanted to do something for Machala but Machala said she isn't looking for any attention.

She doesn't like a lot of attention on herself she said and was a bit reluctant to even talk with a reporter about yesterday.

"Anybody would have done what I did," she said. "Unfortunately, nobody did. People don't like to get involved. I, unfortunately, am one of those people who will get involved and get my ass kicked in the end." 

Machala learned CPR when she worked with mentally disabled people years ago.

This morning, Machala was in Settler's, as she usually is on Wednesday morning, with a group of friends.

As she was leaving, and the friends were all wishing each other a Merry Christmas, one of them told her, "Liz, I'm proud to know you."

"Now you're making me blush," Machala said.

UPDATE Thursday, Dec. 22, 10:20 a.m.: Falicia Tuczai posted the following on our link on Facebook:

I do not want my corrections to come across as rude, or negate the fact that I am truly grateful beyond measure for the impeccable aid my daughter received from Liz and everyone's assistance. But because this has gained so much publicized attention, I wanna clear up any inaccurate facts. First, I wanna bring attention to the other nurse that was involved in helping my daughter. She too was present, and from what I've gathered was actually the one who performed CPR. She certainly deserves as much praise as the lady already mentioned. However, I will not disclose her name with not having any type of prior consent. Thank you both sincerely for all your efforts in helping my daughter! We could obviously never repay such an act! The article does mention the "mother" going to the restaurant this morning to repay this nurse, however, that was not me as I have been with my daughter at the hospital. Additionally, my daughter's age is actually 14 months old. What she suffered from was a seizure. This has now been a reoccurrence to one she had in August. We hope to find answers to these sporadic unexplained episodes, but all things set aside she is healthy and happy and doing extremely well! So we appreciate all who were aware that reached out to us to check on her. As far as cardiac arrest, that is not something that occurred. It is common for the heart to shallow to a point it's hard to detect for a brief moment till your body stabilizes naturally. As she may have had food in her mouth, the seizure is what caused her to choke not visa versa. Seizures themselves are non-life threatening. It's other sources such as eating, driving etc. while an episode is happening that can be. I would never wish this experience on anyone, but with how common I learned of them to be, it never hurts to be knowledgeable on how to aid someone properly during a seizure and recognize the signs! It can be very intense and scary. Golisano children's neurological team has been amazing both times in our scares to bring comfort and awareness to us as well. And again thank you all so much to the nurses, EMTs, Drs Etc as well the outpouring of concern we received. Macie is one blessed and loved little girl.

December 21, 2016 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, schools, education, batavia, news.

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During Tuesday's City Schools board meeting, held at Jackson School, students and their teachers did a show-and-tell on some of the skills they've been learning through innovative classroom activities.

Above, kindergarteners count in increments of two to start a demonstration that included jumping in increments of two on a floor map, and then on a second trip through the map, picking up building blocks, which provides a lesson in groups and multiplication. Their teacher is Melissa Mattice.

Bottom photos, teacher Jessica Torrey works with her students in first grade on a demonstration of their writing and storytelling abilities.

During her presentation about progress at the school, Principal Diane Bonarigo said teachers and staff are very aware that the study skills and attitudes toward learning developed in kindergarten and first grade will have a big impact on a student's ability to eventually graduate from high school. 

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December 20, 2016 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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     Victor Guy

A 30-year-old Batavia resident has been arrested on a warrant for allegedly selling drugs to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force.

Victor D. "Grimes" Guy, of Pearl Street, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

It's alleged that Guy sold heroin to an undercover agent on two separate occasions.

He was picked up on the warrant after being arrested by Batavia PD on Saturday on an unrelated incident and then turned over to the task force on the warrant.

He was arraigned in County Court yesterday and jailed on $25,000 bail or $50,000 bond.

Guy was arrested this week by Batavia PD on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, obstructing governmental administration and DWAI drugs.

In 2012, Guy was accused of dealing crack cocaine. Information is not immediately available on the resolution of that case, but the Department of Correction's website indicates Guy has never served a prison term.

December 20, 2016 - 2:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

The former Batavia resident who is accused of leaving her twin sons home alone one night in May before they died in a fire has hired a new criminal defense attorney.

Benjamin Bonarigo Sr. is now representing Heather Ace.

Ace is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The 25-year-old Stafford resident appeared in Batavia Town Court yesterday with her new attorney, who replaces Public Defender Jerry Ader.

No other actions were taken on her case and she is scheduled back in court in January.

She has pled not guilty to the charges.

According to court documents, Ace went out the night of May 26 after putting her kids to bed at 8 or 8:30 p.m. behind a door locked on the outside. She intended to go to the movies, according to statements, but instead went to a friend's house, smoked some marijuana and then went to a store and bought an alcoholic beverage called Four Loko. She then went to another friend's house and hung out.

Her mother called her to tell her her house was on fire. Ace was reportedly distraught and rushed to the house.

Micah and Michael Gard, both 2, succumbed to smoke inhalation, according to reports.

(Our news partner WBTA contributed to this report.)

December 20, 2016 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia, outdoors, news.

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Tim Hens clears snow from the new outdoor ice skating rink at DeWitt Recreation Area in Batavia and he said the rink should open today, but if not today, tomorrow.

The rink was made possible when the Town of Oakfield donated it to the county for use in DeWitt.

Most days while there is ice will be open skating, Hens said, but he anticipates having puck and stick days (no hockey games, and there are no nets) on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Staff from Cedar Street Sales and Rentals are helping maintain the rink during the winter.

December 20, 2016 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at Oak Street and Park Road, Batavia.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

December 20, 2016 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Old Courthouse, batavia, news.

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D.J. Snyder, a maintenance mechanic with Genesee County, shared these pictures he took from the cupola of the Old Courthouse in Batavia. He was up there with coworker Randy Boyce to replace fuses in the star hanging on the west side of the cupola.

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December 20, 2016 - 9:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A pedestrian has reportedly been struck by a car and there is a reported injury at West Main Street and North Lyon Street, in the City of Batavia.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 9:31 a.m.: Minor, if any, injury. Patient transported to UMMC for evaluation. Adult male. No damage to vehicle. 

December 19, 2016 - 3:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, music, entertainment, arts.

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The Batavia High School Choir is singing Christmas carols all over Batavia, mostly at businesses that made a donation to help cover the $50,000 it will cost for them to travel and participate in a competition in Washington, D.C.

We happened to catch up with them while they were at Valle Jewelers.

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