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August 22, 2016 - 12:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, SUNY awards, Le Roy, batavia, corfu.

Photo provided by GCC. Award winners -- all wearing medals around their necks -- are pictured from left: Michelle A. Peck, M. Richard Dudkowski, Rafael Alicia-Maldonado, Ph.D, Karen Huffman, Ph.D, Carol Marriott, Pamela N. Lusk, Edward J. Grabowski, and Karen K. Wicka. (Not shown: Roxanne M. Holthaus.) GCC President James Sunser is standing in back in the center. Chair of GCC's Board of Trustees Laura Bohm is standing in front with her hands clasped together. 

Press release:

Nine members of the Genesee Community College faculty and staff, two of whom live in Genesee County, have been recognized by State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher for outstanding contributions to their profession, the campus and the community. The Chancellor's Award for Excellence is given in recognition of consistently superior professional achievement and encourages the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

The following GCC faculty and staff members earned the 2016 award and were honored at a reception on the Batavia Campus Thursday, Aug. 18, in the Stuart Steiner Theatre.

Award for Excellence in Teaching

***Roxanne M. HolthausAssistant Professor, Nursing – Holthaus joined GCC as a full-time faculty member in 2009. With over 16 years of experience, both as a highly engaged registered nurse and a family nurse practitioner in a university setting, Holthaus was promoted by the College to the rank of assistant professor of Nursing in 2015. She earned a bachelor's degree in Biology from SUNY Binghamton and a bachelor's and master's degree in Nursing from the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Entirely dedicated to the success of her students, Holthaus is the coordinator and point of contact for the "Nursing Boot Camp" program, a series of clinical lab and simulation exercises run for two to three nights during the months of July and/or August, as a means of helping students maintain their nursing skill set during the semester break. In the classroom, Holthaus uses multiple techniques to enhance the learning environment and believes that all students enrolled in the nursing program have the right to learn and the chance to be successful. She believes that students need to be reached where and how they learn best, which means understanding that the same approach will not work for all. ***Holthaus resides in Le Roy.

Karen K. WickaAssistant Professor of Criminal Justice – Wicka was an attorney who left the practice of law to pursue her passion of teaching. She began her time at GCC as an adjunct professor of criminal justice in 2001 and was hired as a full-time instructor in 2008. As of 2012, Wicka has held the title of assistant professor. In addition to classroom learning, she has taken an active role in promoting learning through other school activities, including the Criminal Justice Club which she is a co-advisor for. Within the club, Wicka aids students in running various activities and events which help them learn more about and participate in the criminal justice field. She has also inspired in students to give back to the community through various service activities such as raising money for the Genesee County K-9. Wicka obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science from SUNY Potsdam before earning a juris doctorate from Albany Law School of Union University. Her legal experience includes serving as an associate for Bond, Shoeneck & King, LLP, in Buffalo and O'Connell and Aronowitz, P.C. in Albany, where she previously worked as a law clerk. Wicka is a member of the Criminal Justice Educators Association of New York (CJEANYS), Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New York Bar Association. She continues to give back to the College with her time as a volunteer for the Scholars Symposium and the New York State Historical Society Essay Contest for GCC, helping students prepare and revise essay submissions. She resides in Hamburg.

Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching

Edward J. Grabowski, Adjunct Instructor of Social Science and Business – Grabowski teaches a variety of courses at GCC across multiple disciplines, including Criminal Justice, Business Law and Paralegal Studies, and at several locations. He has taught on an adjunct basis at the College since 2007, bringing a level of excitement and entertainment to the classroom. Grabowski's teaching style creates an atmosphere that is highly conductive to student learning and he does whatever he can to help students be successful, frequently going above and beyond expectations of adjuncts to help a student in need. His career in law enforcement began with an A.A.S in Police Science from GCC in 1976. He then earned a B.S. in Police Science and Education from Buffalo State College and finally, Grabowski received a J.D. from the University at Buffalo School of Law in 1997. Heavily involved in his community, he has been a Boy Scout leader for 20 years and teaches law and criminal justice-related merit badges to Boy Scouts. Grabowski is a member of the Orleans Niagara BOCES School Board and has a professional Santa Claus costume, portraying Santa since 1982 at local events. He resides in Medina.

Pamela N. Lusk, Adjunct Instructor of Social Science and Health – Lusk has taught for GCC since the Albion Campus Center opened in the fall of 1990. Her background and education allow her to teach in multiple subject areas, including Psychology, Health, Human Services and Sociology. Lusk obtained a dual-major bachelor's degree in Health Education and Community Development and a master's degree in Health and Social Sciences from The College at Brockport and completed her Ph.D in Psychology from Cornell University. She has been so highly regarded at Genesee that she has been asked to fill other temporary assignments for the College including acting associate dean for the campus center and wellness coordinator the Title III Grant. In addition to teaching, Lusk volunteers her time both within the College and in her community and encourages her students to do the same. She has led the Albion Campus Wellness Student Club and has overseen numerous fundraisers and other service projects to help those in need. Lusk's exuberance and positivity is contagious, not only with students, faculty, and staff but also with community members.

Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

Karen Huffman, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Biology – Huffman has been a member of the College's Science faculty since 2011 and has become an integral part of the department, being promoted to the rank of assistant professor in the fall of 2014. She has been instrumental in developing service learning at Genesee and has worked to develop coursework with colleagues from across the academic divisions to help students learn better study skills, note taking, and develop writing skills. Huffman graduated with Honors from Indiana University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. She then moved to Texas and completed a Ph.D in Biology at the University of Texas, teaching, carrying out original research, and presenting at national meetings. Her teaching includes stints as an adjunct professor at a number of community and four-year colleges in Chicago and Buffalo, and as a high school biology teacher at Mt. Mercy Academy in Buffalo. Beyond GCC, Huffman serves on several state level committees including the NYS Science Content Advisory Panel and the Science Teachers Association of New York State, where she serves on the Board of Directors and was recently elected as the statewide college level representative. She was instrumental in planning and executing the College's first Scholars Symposium Day, which was held in the spring and provided a platform for students and faculty to present their research on topics of interest to them. Huffman continues to represent GCC through presentations that she makes at local, state and national conferences as well as through a long list of publications.

Award for Excellence in Faculty Service

M. Richard (Rick) Dudkowski, Professor of Business/Marketing/Fashion – Dudkowski has been a valued member of the GCC faculty since 1984, making significant contributions to the College and in particular, the Fashion Business program. He was hired as the first full-time faculty member in the Fashion program and through his leadership, the program has grown from 12 students to its current enrollment of 73 students. He is well known in the Western New York fashion industry and is frequently sought after to serve as a guest speaker or judge for an event. "Mr. D," as he is called by his students, was the 2001-2002 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2008-2009 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. He is currently co-chairing the College's 50th anniversary steering committee and he co-chaired the 20th anniversary steering committee, helping to organize special events to recognize the founding of GCC. Under Mr. D's watch, the annual fashion show celebrated its 35th anniversary in the spring and has grown into the largest and longest-running fashion show in Western New York. For the past 15 years, under the direction of Mr. D, the Business Forum Club has hosted the annual "Ducky Derby," raising thousands of dollars to support the United Way. Richard earned an associate degree in Business Administration from Erie Community College, a bachelor's degree in Consumer and Business Studies from Buffalo State College, a master's degree in Vocational and Technical Education from Buffalo State College, and he has completed all but the dissertation at the University at Buffalo in the Educational Doctorate program in Vocational Education. He resides in Clarence.

Award for Excellence in Professional Service 

Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Ph.D, Dean of Math/Science and Career Education – "Dr. RAM," as he is known on campus, came to GCC as an instructor of Chemistry in 2000. He received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004-2005 and after reaching full professor status in 2010, and he won again in 2011 for Faculty Service. He oversees 40 academic programs, a significant portion of the Academic Affairs division. A native of Puerto Rico, Dr. RAM earned a bachelor of science degree in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico and a doctoral degree in Chemistry from the University at Buffalo. He was awarded the Mattern-Tyler Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of Chemistry at UB, has authored several publications, and has presented at over a dozen conferences. In August of 2011, Dr. RAM was became the academic dean of the Math, Science & Career Education Area at GCC after the College conducted a nationwide search for the position. He currently teaches the Intro to Chemistry course in an online format, which he developed. Dr. RAM resides in Buffalo.

***Carol Marriott, Associate Vice President for Institutional Research and Assessment – Marriott's career at the College began in 2000 as a temporary grant coordinator to oversee operations of a Title III Grant. Under her direction, the grant provided GCC with a strengthened endowment and several facilities that greatly improved the quality of the learning experience, setting the College apart from its peers. At the end of the grant, Marriott returned to school and obtained a master's degree in Higher Education from the University at Buffalo before returning to work at Genesee as the director of Institutional Research. She advanced to the position of associate dean for Institutional Research and Assessment in 2009 before being named associate vice president in 2012. Under Marriott's leadership, Genesee has never missed a deadline, or been unable to accommodate a change to reporting requested by external stakeholders such as SUNY or Middles States Commission on Higher Education. Her creative and innovative approach to problem solving has resulted in the development of major decision-making tools at the College, such as the Genesee Strategic Intelligence (GSI) system. Her leadership has put GCC at the forefront of its peers and been recognized at the state level as well as by Middle States. ***Marriott resides in Corfu.

Award for Excellence in Classified Service

Michelle A. Peck, Secretary of Health, Physical Education and Athletics – Peck started her career at the College in 2007 and she has been an integral part of the Health, Physical Education and Athletics departments from that time forward. Serving as secretary to both the director of Athletics and to the director of Health and Physical Education at GCC, Peck's work requires a high level of organization and her daily routine consists of multitasking to complete several projects in a timely manner. She has served on several search committees and is a member of LEAD, which is a leadership, development committee for student athletes. Peck actively assists in organizing and participating in several events each year, such as the GLOW Corporate Cup, athletic team games and fundraisers, Mission Condition, Athlete Olympics, Mini-Summit, Athletics Hall of Fame, and more. She continuously meets the needs of hundreds of students, faculty, athletes and coaches each year while balancing her responsibilities and efforts under two supervisors. Peck resides in Orangeville.

August 22, 2016 - 10:02am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A one-vehicle accident occurred on Lewiston Road in front of the Town of Batavia fire station and the driver may have a minor injury.

"The vehicle then continued, unoccupied, across the street into the Tops parking lot," says the dispatcher.

It struck a parked vehicle and came to rest against it. 

Because multiple jurisdictions are involved, town and city fire were notified. A State Trooper is responding and so are Mercy medics.

August 22, 2016 - 7:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A motor-vehicle accident with unknown injuries is reported on Oak Street at Burke Drive.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 7:47 a.m.: Single vehicle. One patient, who will be a sign-off.

August 21, 2016 - 7:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

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A Rochester resident who was apparently thrown from his vehicle in an accident last night on Clinton Street Road is listed in fair condition this evening at Erie County Medical Center, where he was taken by Mercy Flight after being found laying in the roadway.

While the accident remains under investigation, the Sheriff's Office reports that Derek E. Wilcox will be charged with DWI. Other charges are pending and the Sheriff's Office alleges that speed was a contributing factor to the crash.

Wilcox was reportedly eastbound on Clinton Street Road at 10:09 p.m. when his vehicle traveled off the north shoulder hitting a sign, a large tree and a junction box as it overturned in the embankment along the roadway and struck another tree.

The first people on scene called 9-1-1 and reported a pedestrian who had been struck by a car was lying the road.

First responders quickly determined that it was the driver, and not a pedestrian, who was on the pavement of Route 33.

A mobile home was damaged by debris from the accident. 

The accident was investigated by Sgt. Jason Saile and Deputy Micheal Lute. Town of Batavia fire, Batavia PD and State Police assisted at the scene.

(Initial Report)

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August 20, 2016 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

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A car has reportedly hit a pedestrian in the area of 5210 Clinton Street Road.

A man is reportedly down in the road.

There's a second call on Clinton Street Road in the same vicinity for a car into a house.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 10:43 p.m.: The person reported in the road was the driver of the car. He was apparently thrown from the car after it left the roadway, while heading north, striking a mobile home, a couple of trees and rolling over in the ravine along the west shoulder. The driver was taken by Mercy EMS to the airport. He will be transported by Mercy Flight to ECMC. His injuries appear to be serious. Route 33 is being shut down now at East Avenue. NOTE: We're withholding photos that clearly show the vehicle involved until the morning, by which time we should have the press release from the Sheriff's Office with more details.

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August 20, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, elba, Alabama, Le Roy.

Shawn Thomas Rushok, 17, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with first-degree sex abuse. He is accused of having "inappropriate sexual contact with another person" on May 24 in the Town of Le Roy. He was arraigned on Aug. 15 in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy John Dehm.

Gannon David McNall, 20, of Centerline Road, Varysburg, is charged with public lewdness. He was arrested on Aug. 15 after allegedly being observed masturbating in the parking lot of a Batavia department store on Veterans Memorial Drive at 5:39 p.m. He was released on an appearance ticket returnable to Town of Batavia Court at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Michael Lute.

John Kauffman Stone, 49, of Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. The defendant was arrested for allegedly pushing and slapping another person on West Main Street Road, Batavia, at 8:52 p.m. on Aug. 14. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and jailed on $500 bail. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Robert Henning, assisted by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Michael John Jarmuz II, 26, of Idlewood Drive, Tonawanda, is charged with second-degree criminal impersonation and second degree aggravated unlicensed operation. The subject allegedly gave the arresting officer his brother's information during a DWAI/drug arrest at 3:06 a.m. on Aug. 13 on Oak Orchard Road, Elba. The subject's "common law" stepmother reported to the arresting officer two days later with the subject's correct information. The subject allegedly gave his brother's information because he had a suspended driver's license and a warrant from another county. He is due in Elba Town Court on Sept. 7. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Chris Parker, assisted by Deputy Eric Meyer.

Bradley Edward Moore, 18, of Manning Road, Holley, is charged with petit larceny. The subject allegedly stole two cartons of cigarettes from a smoke shop on the Tonawanda Indian reservation at 2 p.m. on June 6. He is due in Alabama Town Court on Aug. 30. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Chris Parker.

Gina Lynn Avino, 41, of Haven Lane, Batavia, was arrested Aug. 19 on a bench warrant out of the City of Batavia PD following the investigation into a motor-vehicle accident in the Town of Batavia on that date at 3:25 p.m. on West Main Street Road. The case was handled by Sheriff's Dpeuty Michael Lute, assisted by Dpeuty Rachel Diehl.

August 20, 2016 - 12:58pm

Genesee County Master Gardeners will be hosting their annual Fall Garden Gala from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 E. Main St. in Batavia.

There will be a plant sale featuring hardy perennials, house plants and local field grown Mums. Fall is a good time to plant many perennials as they will have several months to grow a strong root system. There will also be a Chance Basket Auction, free soil pH testing and plenty of gardening advice from Master Gardeners.

There will be a “Flower Arrangements from the Garden” demonstration at 11 a.m.  Learn how to artfully arrange fresh flowers from your garden. A variety of fresh flower arrangements created by Master Gardeners will also be available for sale.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up some great plants for your garden! Plant sale starts promptly at 10 a.m. No early birds please. Due to the drought, the number of plants we have to offer this fall may be limited. The Chance Auction drawing will begin at 12:30 p.m.

For more information contact Brandie Schultz at CCE of Genesee County, (585) 343-3040, ext. 101, stop by the Extension office at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia, or visit our new CCE website http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/gardening or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CCEofGenesee.

August 20, 2016 - 12:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, fire, batavia.

A first responder on scene confirms a working garage fire at 25 Trumbull Parkway. City fire is responding. A dispatcher says several callers report hearing explosions inside the garage.

August 20, 2016 - 11:06am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Don Carroll Race, 5K, batavia, sports, Don Carroll.

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The 35th Annual Donald R. Carroll Toys for Kids 5K Run/Fun Walk was this morning at a new starting point Kibbe Park on Oakland Street Batavia. 

Many local sponsors helped support the event, Beth and Brian Kemp of T-Shirts Etc. were directors of today's race.

There were 72 participants. The winner was Eric Boyce pictured below with a time of 17.50. Other top-five finishers are: second place -- Zak Jantki, 18:05; third place --Mike Richenburg, 18:08; fourth place -- Kevin Sheehan, 18:15; and fifth place -- Andy Cowan 19:22.

Top woman was Kimberly Mills, with a time of 19:44.

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August 19, 2016 - 7:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

A caller who lives on Bank Street called city police earlier today and accused her neighbor of stealing a white, wooden church replica from her garden. Now she reports that she just witnessed the neighbor whom she accused of stealing the church earlier, taking pieces of the church inside her house. Police are responding to speak with the complainant again.

August 19, 2016 - 3:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Zachary Dabb, 23, of Westwood Road, Alden, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI (BAC .18 percent or higher) and open container of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle.

The charges stem from an accident last night around 9 in which Dabb was the operator of motor vheicle that struck the east side of Burger King on West Main Street in Batavia.

Dabb told police he thought he was in another one of his vehicles, which has a standard transmission. Thinking the vehicle on Thursday night was in neutral, Dabb took his foot off the brake, causing the car to move forward and collide into the east side of the building.

Following field sobriety ptests, Dabb was allegedy determined to be driving while intoxicated and was arrested on the charges. He was processed and released on an appearance ticket. He is due in Batavia City Court on Aug. 31. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Chad Richards, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

According to our news partner WBTA, a lucky patron inside the restaurant had just gotten up to get a beverage when the vehicle crashed into the building.

August 18, 2016 - 9:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A car has struck the Burger King building at 230 W. Main St., Batavia.

Unknown injuries.

City of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 9:14 p.m.: Law enforcement on scene reports no injuries.  

August 18, 2016 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Joshua Dent, business, batavia, news.

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Joshua Dent, after a decade with Merrill Lynch, has joined the ranks of small business owners in Genesee County, becoming an independent investment advisor with an office in the First Choice Travel building at 3080 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

"A big reason for the move is it changes my role from working for somebody else like I have for 13 years now (he was with Edward Jones before Merrill Lynch) and I'm a small business owner just like a lot of my clients," Dent said.

As his own boss, Dent said he can offer more services to his clients, set his own fee structure and take on clients with smaller investments that larger agencies tend to avoid. He thinks that model, with all the small business people in Batavia, is a much better fit for the local community.

Dent has developed strong community ties since joining Merrill Lynch's branch in Batavia. He worked with his colleagues there organizing the GLOW Corporate Cup and serves on the board of the YMCA.

Eventually, he'll develop a new brand name for his firm, but he'll affiliate with Raymond James, to access that financial services firm's technology and resources; day-to-day operations and decisions will be entirely his own.

"I like having the ability to determine the clients I work with and the pricing of their assets under management," Dent said. "It offers a lot more flexibility. When you're the one who owns the business, you get to make those decisions and price things more appropriately. Sometimes with clients at other firms, you have to have high minimum fees or high minimum account values. Those things kind of go away when I'm calling the shots."

Dent's new office number is (585) 418-4163.

August 18, 2016 - 10:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, batavia, news, micheal ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced $250,000 in state funding to assist with the construction of the Ellicott Trail, the first pedestrian and bicycle trail within Genesee County.

The proposed 4.6-mile multi-modal pedestrian and bicyclist trail will provide a new route through the City and Town of Batavia, including off-road sections, to offer more efficient and safer options for travelers.

“I am pleased to have been able to secure funding for the Town and City of Batavia to construct the Ellicott Trail. The trail will connect major activity centers and commerce, while offering a new, safer way for residents to get around in the community,” Ranzenhofer said.

New off-road trail sections will improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists as they will not need to compete with vehicular traffic. In addition, the on-road sections will be signed and striped for bicyclists to alert motorists; crosswalks at key intersections will also be signed, and in some instances enhanced, to emphasize pedestrian crossings along the route.

"I’m extremely pleased with the efforts of the City and Town collaborators with the Senator’s office to help make this project a reality. This will be a first of its kind in Genesee County, and just the beginning of what will hopefully be a County-wide trail," said Town Supervisor Greg Post.

“This has been a collaborative effort from the beginning, and we are extremely pleased to have an asset like the Ellicott Trail come through the center of our City. The Ellicott Trail, once constructed, will be a permanent fixture that will bring commerce and recreational users to our County for years to come,” said City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr.

Ranzenhofer secured the funding through the State and Municipal Facilities Grant Program. Construction of the new trail is expected to start early next year and be completed by the end of 2017. The total cost of the project is $1.36 million.

In 2014, the Town of Batavia, in partnership with the City, received $1 million in federal funding, through the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP), to complete a 4.6-mile multi-modal pedestrian and bicyclist trail. The TEP program required a $341,500 local match to complete the project. Senator Ranzenhofer’s grant will be used to offset the local match.

August 18, 2016 - 8:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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   Katelynn Higgs
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   Amber Jacznski 
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  Katherine Shannon
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   Michelle Preston

The Local Drug Task Force has announced the arrest of four Batavia residents on charges stemming from four separate investigations into the suspected criminal sale of narcotics.

Katelynn M. Higgs, 31, of Grandview Terrace, Batavia, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd. Higgins is accused of selling a quantity of oxycodone to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force. She was jailed without bail.

Amber L. Jacznski, 24, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Jacznski is accused of selling a quantity of fentanyl to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force. She was jailed without bail.

Katherine M. Shannon, 55, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Shannon is suspected of selling a quantity of oxycodone to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force. She was jailed without bail.

Michelle L. Preston, 50, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. Preston is accused of selling a quantity of crack cocaine to an agent of the Local Drug Task Force and was allegedly found in possession of marijuana at the time of her arrest. She was jailed without bail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 17, 2016 - 2:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Main St. Pizza Company, batavia, business, news, downtown.

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Ever since he opened Main St. Pizza Company on East Main Street 11 and a half years ago, Vic Marchese has wanted to serve pasta dishes featuring his mom's sauce and meatball recipes, but the small kitchen in the busy and crowded pizza shop just didn't give him room to grow his business that way.

Two months ago, at the end of a three-year planning and building process, Marchese was finally able to expand his restaurant, building a bigger kitchen and adding a new, large (75 seats) and attractive dining area.

And since then, the customers have been pouring in.

"I always knew we would do well because people always liked my mother’s sauce," Marchese said. "She just passed away four years ago. I wish she was here. She would really enjoy this. She would be out here, talking to everybody, and she would be involved here in the kitchen, I know she would."

The expansion helped Marchese fulfill a few dreams -- serving his mom's recipes, bringing Italian dining back to Batavia, double the number of diners his restaurant can serve at one time and providing a more upscale dining experience.

He designed the new dining room himself, with help from his wife and an interior designer who suggested the tabletops and upholstery on the long booth that sits under the custom-made Main Street sign on an interior wall, framed by two racks of wine. The wood and brick ambiance gives the restaurant a classic, urban feel.

"I wanted to build something that was over the top," Marchese said. "I wanted it to be the best restaurant Batavia could have, as good as anything in any big city."

Customers have told him, he said, that they feel like they're in a restaurant in Boston or Montreal when they're in his new dining room, or with the big meals, friendly atmosphere and good food, they feel like they're home. Both compliments apply.

"The best compliment anyone has ever said, people just thanked me for building this for them," Marchese said. "That says a lot right there. Food aside, pizza aside, spaghetti aside, people say the building is for them."

The homespun atmosphere is accentuated by a wall of photographs of local scenes, alongside shots of the family dog, Winston, and a couple of the restaurant's dishes. The local photographs are the work of Batavia residents Mark Gutman and Howard Owens.

Marchese is particularly proud of the 16-foot front window that opens easily when the weather is good, giving diners not just a view of downtown life on the sidewalk, but an open-air cafe feel, much like any big city bistro.  

Main St. now takes reservations, and that's not a bad idea on most nights, and tables by the window are the most requested by those callers making reservations.

While mom's sauce and meatballs anchor the new dining room's menu, much of the culinary creativity comes from Main St.'s new executive chef, Jason Ball, a native of Batavia who got his culinary degree from Erie County Community College and has been a sous chef and executive chef at several restaurants and hotels in the region. He was most recently sous chef at Orazio's in Clarence, where he was part of a team that won four Taste of Buffalo awards. He spent about 10 years at Orazio's with a break in the middle to be executive chef at Byrncliff in Varysburg.

Ball started hearing talk more than a year ago that Marchese wanted to meet with him and discuss an executive chef position and Ball's first reaction, he said, was "executive chef in a pizza shop? No way," but then once he sat down Marchese and understood his vision, he said he was sold on the idea.

"This is something special right here," Ball said. "I've long wanted to come back to my hometown and do something special and this is it. This is great. We said it would be great and we're doing it."

In preparing for the job, Ball took a family vacation in New York City and visited the bistros of Little Italy. He said he absorbed ideas and atmosphere, and during their planning, Marchese took Ball to Tony B's in Rochester and Marchese had a steak there and told Ball he'd like to include a steak on the menu for the new dining room.

Ball found a cut of Angus filet mignon that costs $20 per cut, which means it's $38 on the Main St. menu, but Ball described it as an amazing cut of meat, and since customers keep ordering at that price, it must be pretty good. Ball said the goal was to offer the best cut of steak in Batavia.

Marchese and Ball want everything to be first-rate, he said, so they only get the best ingredients, including cheese from Yancey's Fancy (for dessert, homemade ice cream from Oliver's Candies, to continue that local theme). 

Ball has the freedom to offer unique and creative specials every night, including some really special specials on weekends, such as this past weekend when the menu included an ahi tuna steak with vegetables and a jasmine rice.

The appetizers include the Winstonator (named after the Marchese family pet), which is comprised of two 10-ounce meatballs in mom's sauce with cheese, and Ball introduced his own take on Arancini, a Sicilian rice ball with asparagus, ricotta, various cheeses and a roasted tomato sauce and chive oil. 

It's quickly become one of the most popular items on the menu, Ball said.

"We want customers to have a great experience," Ball said. "I believe sitting down and enjoying a meal is an experience. Anybody at home can cook spaghetti and meatballs, but here we want it to be an experience. We want to it to be a top-notch-level service, an amazing atmosphere and great food like this town has never seen before. We’ve set our standards very high."

Marchese said he hopes people feel like they've had a real Italian dining experience after a meal at Main St., and not just because they had a pasta dish or a meatball.

"When you go to an Italian family’s house, you always eat well and you never leave hungry," Marchese said. "That’s what I want to emulate here. Our portions are always huge. I don’t want anybody to go away hungry. So far, it’s been good. People are leaving with doggie bags and I like that."

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Jason Ball

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August 17, 2016 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Gateway I, batavia.

Plans for a new 62-room hotel in the Gateway I Corporate Park off Route 98, north of the Thruway, continue to move through the approval process without a hitch.

Last night, the Town of Batavia Planning Board approved an environmental review assessment and the previous evening the Zoning Board of Appeals approved variances for the height of the building and signage. 

The proposed Fairfield Inn will be the second hotel built in the Gateway development within the past five years. In 2011, local hotel owners objected to the planned Holiday Inn Express in the park, but it was approved and built.

The Fairfield Inn will be owned by the Patel family from Erie, Pa., a family that already owns hotels in Batavia.

An attorney for Oakfield Hospitality, LLC, said the owners have marketing studies that show there is still a growing need for hotel rooms in the Batavia market.

The hotel needed a height variance because it will be four stories tall instead of three stories. There is also a plan for a free-standing sign of 147 square feet.

The project must still undergo a site plan review before final approval. The developers are also waiting for the DOT to approve a traffic study.

If there are no delays in the approval process, construction could begin within two months.

August 17, 2016 - 9:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tracy Avenue, batavia, infrastructure.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be making a repair on a broken water line on Tracy Avenue between Washington Avenue and North Street starting at 9 a.m. today. Tracy Avenue will be closed from Washington Avenue to North Street for all traffic. Please avoid Tracy Avenue until repairs are made. Water service may be interrupted on Tracy to make the repair.

August 16, 2016 - 3:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

 

Anthony Antinore, of Churchville, has been arrested and charged with disseminating indecent material to a minor, a Class E felony.

It is alleged that the 51-year-old Antinore, while employed by the City of Batavia School District as a middle school teacher, had the victim send sexually explicit photographs of himself to Antinore.

This allegedly occurred between 2011-14.

Antinore was arraigned and released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

He is due back in court for further proceedings on Sept. 20.

The case was investigated by Batavia Police Det. Thad Mart.

UPDATE: Statement from Batavia City Schools:

On Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, the District was informed of the impending arrest of Anthony Antinore following an investigation by the Batavia Police Department into allegations of inappropriate interactions with a Batavia student who has since graduated.

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Dailey said, “Parents expect their children to be safe in school. While we cannot control the conduct of every teacher in every situation, we expect and require our employees to be held to a high standard of character. The conduct alleged in these charges represents a serious breach of trust, responsibility, and the law. Therefore, after review of the available information, the District immediately sought Mr. Antinore’s resignation which he submitted.”

Given the ongoing criminal proceedings, the District will not have further comment on this case.

August 16, 2016 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, news, Batavia HS, batavia.

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It's August, and Batavia High School Coach Brennan Briggs couldn't be happier. He's got his team right where he wants them, preparing for another football season.

“We’re enthused to be playing football again," said the Blue Devil's head coach. “We back on the gridiron and we love it. We’re excited to be out on the practice field at Van Detta."

Typically, this time of year, Briggs is taciturn about his team's chances in the upcoming season. This August, he isn't mincing words. He's raising expectations for his young players, many of whom are replacing starters that helped Batavia win consecutive Section V championships.

"We need to stay the course, keep the expectations high," Briggs said. "Even though we're young, it doesn't mean we can't go out there and compete for our third title in a row. They need to set the bar high. They have the ability to win a section championship. We've just got to make sure we enjoy the journey and make sure we're getting better every week."

The heart of any offense is the quarterback and with Greg Mruczek's graduation, that opens the position for the 2016 season. Senior Jerry Reinhart has the inside track, but he's got some competition for the slot. Junior Chandler Baker has a chance to win the job.

"Baker is a fantastic athlete and he's pushing Jerry," Briggs said. "He's done a great job. It makes for a great, healthy competition for both guys to compete for the spot. Regardless of who gets the spot, both would make fantastic QBs and both are fantastic receivers. Their athleticism will have an impact, one that is notable on Friday nights."

Both have good arms and can run, Briggs said. Reinhart has a little more experience after backing up Mruczek last season.  

The offensive line is young and several guys are competing for starting positions, but it will be anchored by the experience of Anthony "Butchy" Ray.

On defense, Briggs said the Blue Devils will have bulk on the line and athleticism on the outside, led by Eric Davis and Sam Marble. 

"They're athletic on the ends, so we might be able to get creative with those guys out there," Briggs said. "We might be able to unleash them a bit, which is good if they make sure they know what their number one responsibility is and buy totally into the system. It will give us a different look."

Last year's team was notable for the tight-knit, family-like culture of the team. The young guys aren't quite there yet, but Briggs thinks with time they will get there. It will help with the resilience they'll need to call upon on Friday nights.

"We have a positive group of kids and I'm excited about what they can do," Briggs said.

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