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April 9, 2016 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, winter, photography, poetry, news, arts.

Press release:

Finding beauty in a Western New York winter is not always an easy thing to do. For Genesee Community College's JoNelle Toriseva, director of English, Communications and Media Arts and assistant professor of English, channeling the sometimes treacherous outside conditions into works of poetry and photography recently earned her recognition from the public charity Writers Rising Up.

It named her the Winter in Variations: Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest Winner, Writers Rising Up to Defend Place, Natural Habitat, Wetlands for 2015.

The contest required a submission of six original, unpublished poems about witnessing some everyday occurrence in winter and additional photography, which is not Toriseva's strong suit.

"When I received the email that I had won, I was surprised," Toriseva said. "I was also very happy; however, they told me that I needed to take pictures of what I considered winter and I am more apt to be the person who gets a photograph of someone's feet or the back of their head, so I sought help."

Toriseva called on Joseph "Joe Z" Ziolkowski, GCC instructor of Photography, who guided her through taking shots outdoors with surroundings that included freshly fallen snow. The photographs, candid's of crab apple trees on the GCC Batavia Campus and a few of brush in the Bergen Swamp at dusk, were accepted by the organization as part of her winning submission.

Writers Rising Up is a public charity that focuses on nature education and writing through the literary arts at community events, contests, workshops, literary performances interpretive installations and publications. The organization hosts numerous poetry and literary contests, competitions and events for writers to submit and perform literary interpretations related to place, natural habitat and wetlands.

Toriseva's award-winning work included original poems titled "Perceive," "Dart," "Talking in Snow: A Short History of Sound," "The Benchmark of Winter," "Crossing" and "Winter, December #73," and can be viewed online at

A native of rural Minnesota, the home state of the award-honoree Bill Holm, Toriseva grew up an admirer of the author of nine books of both poetry and essays.

"I have known about Bill Holm for a long time. He is a staunch supporter of nature, which greatly interests me," Toriseva explained. "The fact that the Writer's Rising Up organization and the award raise awareness about wetlands and natural habitat makes this very special to me."

For further information about Writer's Rising Up and to view Toriseva's award-winning work, including her photography, visit the organization's Web site:

April 9, 2016 - 3:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Le Roy.

Press release:

Rebecca Schwan of the RIT women's track and field team was named Liberty League Field Rookie of the Week for the week ending April 3. It is her third honor of the year.

Schwan placed second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:24.53 and was part of the 4 x 400-meter relay team that was also second in a time of 4:16.38, as RIT opened its outdoor season at the Geneseo Early Season Invitational on Wednesday.

Rochester Institute of Technology offers 24 intercollegiate varsity sports, including 22 at the Division III level and Division I men's and women's ice hockey. For three decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation's leading comprehensive universities. RIT's student-athletes are no exception, combining to post a 3.26 grade-point average during the 2014-15 academic year. For complete RIT Athletics news, features, stats, photos, and coverage, visit

April 9, 2016 - 3:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, oak field.

(Submitted photo: Erin Hale, of Oakfield, enjoys the North Carolina scenery during a hike.)

Press release:

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Four homes, four families, countless smiles: that’s the sum of the hard work provided by 25 Lycoming College students, including Erin Hale, of Oakfield, and college staff during the Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge held over spring break last month.

After traveling to Winston-Salem, N.C., the Lycoming group teamed up with the Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County affiliate to lay subflooring and roofing, install vinyl siding, put up patio railing, and clean at four houses.

“Signing up on a whim for my first Habitat for Humanity trip turned out to be one of my best experiences at Lycoming,” said Hale, a senior Biology major who participated in the challenge all four years at Lycoming, and who organized the last two as a leadership development opportunity.

“The trips remind me that a lot of people are struggling with more extreme conditions than a typical college student. The new homeowners are very thankful and the other volunteers, including the construction site leaders and retired people who contribute regularly, have made a big impact on me. These role models have inspired me to continue to give back in the best way that I can."

April 9, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, muckdogs, sports, scholarship.

Press release:

The Class-A Short-Season New York-Penn League and its member clubs are proud to announce that the league's philanthropic arm, the NYPL Charitable Foundation, will once again award more than $10,000 in scholarships this summer to deserving high school graduates from the league's 14 markets.

Now in its eighth year, the 2016 NYPL Scholarship Contest is open to any graduating senior from a public or private high school within the league's footprint. Any student who has been accepted at a two- or four-year college or university, vocational school, or technical education institution is eligible. Applicants will be judged based on academic performance, volunteer and extracurricular activities, and the impact their local NYPL club and Minor League Baseball have had on their lives.

The scholarship contest will consist of two stages - a local round and a league round. In the local stage, students will apply directly to their local NYPL team, with one applicant chosen by each of the 14 teams to advance to the league/final round. The 14 finalists will then be judged by league representatives. Three applicants will be selected to receive the top prize of a $2,500 scholarship. All other finalists will receive a $250 book award.

“The New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation and our 14 member clubs are pleased to have the opportunity to assist outstanding high school seniors within our league’s footprint for the eighth consecutive season,” said Ben J. Hayes, president of the New York-Penn League.

“This program will again recognize those seniors who not only meet and exceed traditional scholarship criteria, but demonstrate the positive community impact and lifelong memories fostered by their local NYPL clubs throughout the year.”

High school seniors interested in entering the 2016 Scholarship Contest can obtain the official application at Dwyer Stadium or by visiting The deadline to submit applications is May 20.

Each club's winner, including the three $2,500 scholarship recipients, will be selected in mid-June.

The New York-Penn League and its 14 member clubs created the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, in 2003. The mission of the Foundation is to provide focus and support for the collective and individual charitable and community efforts of the New York-Penn League, its clubs, and their staff.

April 9, 2016 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in richmond library, Lucine Kauffman, batavia, news, dolly parton.

The Richmond Memorial Library is proud to announce Dolly Parton's Imagination Library!

The Imagination Library brings the excitement of books to every child, from birth to age 5, by mailing an age-appropriate book to directly to them, in their home, in their very own name, to keep, forever! Playing with books in the home at a very young age is the best preparation to have for a lifetime of reading and learning.

So join us for a special story time at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26. Celebrity impersonator Lucine Kauffman will read, entertain and delight children of all ages, while library staff register kids up to age 5 for the book delivery service. Refreshments will be served.

April 9, 2016 - 2:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, drug task force, batavia, news.

    Jerry Riley III

Press release:

The Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprised of police officers from the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Batavia Police NET officers, and the Le Roy Village Police Department, concluded an investigation into the illegal possession and sales of narcotics from a Bank Street residence in the City of Batavia with the arrest of a man and woman from Rochester on Thursday afternoon.

Jerry Riley III, 38, of Jay Street, is charged with: two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, a Class B felony; criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd, a Class A misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Brianna L. Meacham, 26, of Dewey Avenue, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

The defendants were arrested Thursday afternoon following the execution of a search warrant at a Bank Street residence. Members of the Batavia PD Emergency Response Team and the Genesee County Drug Task Force executed the warrant and allegedly uncovered a quantity of "crack" cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride, heroin, marijuana and U.S. currency.

Riley was jailed without bail. Meacham was issued appearance tickets and turned over to the Cheektowaga Police Department on an outstanding warrant.

The investigation is continuing and further charges are pending.

Task Force members were also assisted in the investigation by the Genesee County DA's Office and uniform members of Batavia PD.

April 8, 2016 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, water line repair, news.

Press release:

Due to a private problem with the water service at the Monsignor Kirby apartments off of Oak Street, the City Water Department had to shut down water service on Oak Street north of Union Street at approximately 3 p.m. today. Water service will be restored as quickly as possible once the repair is complete.

UPDATE 4:38 p.m.: Water service has been restored.

April 8, 2016 - 3:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Chorale, news, Emily Helenbrook, alexander.

(Submitted photo: Alexander native Emily Helenbrook, soprano.)

Press release:

The Genesee Chorale is excited to offer two performances of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” on Friday April 22nd and Friday April 29th. The April 22nd performance will take place at 7 p.m. in Kilbourne Hall at the renowned Eastman School of Music in Rochester. The April 29th performance will be at 7 p.m. in the beautiful sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia.

“Performing this amazing work will truly be a memorable experience for us and for the audience,” said Ric Jones, director of the large, Batavia-based community chorus. “This performance will run the gamut of human emotion; excitement, intrigue, humor, and love all rolled into one amazing work."

“Carmina Burana” is a scenic cantata based on a collection of 24 of the 254 poems found in the medieval collection "Carmina Burana" -- a manuscript composed of 11th – 13th century poems and dramatic texts, believed to be written by clergy in Italy and Western Europe for traveling scholars, universities and theologians. The collection of texts was discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria (Germany).

You might recognize the exciting “O Fortuna” which was first introduced to mainstream media in the 1981 John Boorman film "Excalibur." Other appearances in movies include "Glory" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), and "The General’s Daughter" (1999).

The Chorale will be accompanied by three outstanding soloists: Emily Helenbrook, soprano; John Clayton, tenor; Joe Finetti, baritone.

Alexander native Hellenbrook is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carol Webber. Helenbrook has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and in several appearances with Ars Nova Musicians in the Viva Vivaldi Festival. She also appeared twice on the nationally acclaimed show "From the Top," recorded at the Chautauqua Amphitheatre and Kodak Hall at Eastman.

Clayton is a tenor based in Buffalo. He has been described as “One of Buffalo’s top vocalists” who performs “gallantly.” He studied music and voice at SUNY College at Buffalo and has worked with vocal coaches from across America and Europe. Clayton is a frequent soloist with choral ensembles in Western New York. He has also been featured in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nickel City Opera. He has sung the National Anthem for Buffalo Bills home games and is a current member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Finetti, bass – baritone, enjoys various performing opportunities in the Rochester area. He recently appeared as the beleaguered Herr Schlendrian in Bach’s "Coffee Cantata" at Nazareth College, interpreted the Bass role of Haydn’s "Creation" several performances with the Finger Lakes Chorale, and sang Broadway favorites as a guest of the Irondequcit Chorale. A longtime member of the baroque ensemble The Publick Musick, he has sung solo roles in numerous Bach cantatas and masses as well as period performances of Handel’s "Messiah." Finetti performs regularly with the Renaissance group Musica Spei, the annual sponsor of the Rochester Early Music Festival as well as the well-known local chamber choir Madrigalia. He has a practice of family medicine in Greece, NY, and lives with his wife Maria Mastrosimone, also a family physician, in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.

The performances will also feature two talented pianists, Doug Hanson and Howard Spindler. Five percussionists from the Batavia and Rochester area will accompany the work.

Tickets for the performance in Kilbourn Hall at

Tickets for the performance at St. James are available on the Genesee Chorale Web site,, from any Chorale member, or at the door. For more information please contact the Chorale president, Heather Lovelace at (716) 531-8986.

Genesee Chorale Director Ric Jones is the owner of Imagine Music Publishing. In addition to being the musical director of the Genesee Chorale, he serves as musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir. He is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

The Genesee Chorale is a community choir comprised of singers from all walks of life. It draws membership from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The repertory of the Genesee Chorale encompasses a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals, and jazz. Over the years, the Chorale has championed contemporary works for choir as well as larger liturgical settings.

The upcoming performances are made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee Regional Arts Council.

April 8, 2016 - 2:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Alabama, Bethany, news.

Damien Allen Boyd, 32, of Meadville Road, Alabama, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, five counts of criminal possession of stolen property, 5th, and five counts of petit larceny. Boyd allegedly stole a debit card on Feb. 6, which he used to withdraw money from an ATM. In another case, he is charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing electronic devices while at a residence on Council House Road, Alabama, on March 22. He was put in GC Jail on Thursday in lieu of $15,000 bail. Both cases were handled by Sheriff's Deputy Bradley Mazur..

Jessica Lynn Garofalo, 28, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with speed exceeding 55 mph, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and uninspected motor vehicle on March 25. She was arrested at 5:15 p.m. on April 6 on a bench warrant out of the Town of Bethany Court and released under supervision. She is due in Bethany Town Court on May 17. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl.

A 39-year-old female who lives on Leicester Street in Perry is charged with falsifying business records, 1st. She was arrested after it was alleged that she made false entries on a financial aid application on Jan. 21, 2015, which allowed her to receive $7,96.50 in student aid while attending Genesee Community College. She was issued an appearance ticket and is scheduled to be in Batavia Town Court on April 25. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Chad Minuto.

April 8, 2016 - 2:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia bulldawgs, sports, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors and coaching staff of the Batavia Bulldawgs Youth Football & Cheer program are excited to announce open registration will take place on Saturday, April 23, for the upcoming season. We look forward to welcoming new and returning athletes to the Bulldawg family.

Registration is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Batavia City Centre (east entrance, near Sunny’s Restaurant).

Boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 14, or will be 6 by Dec 1 attending Batavia area schools (that are not affiliated with another NOFA team) are eligible to participate, with no weight restrictions. All athletes will be placed in developmentally age appropriate divisions based on the following league age rules:

Football divisions (NO WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS):
Beginner (ages 6­7; must be 6 by 12/1, can’t turn 8 prior to 12/1) Mini (ages 8­9; must be 8 by 12/1, can’t turn 10 prior to 12/1)
JV (ages 10­11; must be 10 by 12/1, can’t turn 12 prior to 12/1) Varsity (ages 12­13; must be 12 by 12/1, can’t turn 14 prior to 12/1)

Cheer divisions:
Beginner (ages 6­7; must be 6 by 12/1)
Mini (ages 8­9; must be 8 by 12/1)
JV (ages 10­11; must be 10 by 12/1)
Varsity (ages 12­14; must be 12 by 12/1, can’t turn 15 prior to 12/1)

Football & Cheer Registration fees can be accepted via credit/debit card, check or cash and includes:

­ High­ quality, annually certified safety equipment ­and full game day uniforms
­ Practice uniforms
­ Accident & liability insurance

­ Cheerzone competition
­ End of season banquet
­ Participation trophy
­ Possible playoffs for mini squad thru varsity based on record of wins/losses

**A multi­-athlete family discount is available as well as payment plan options. Scholarships are also available for those who apply based on eligibility. A minimum of $50 is required at time of registration.

The Bulldawgs eagerly anticipate the summertime announcement of our 2016 game schedule with locally affiliated NOFA teams in the surrounding areas of Attica, Alexander, Pembroke, Oakfield/Elba, Akron, Albion, Medina, Roy­Hart & Newfane.

All contests will take place on Saturdays from late August through October. Every player will get the opportunity to participate in every game, where we never keep track of individual player statistics, only player participation and team records. USA Football certified coaches, using the Heads­Up Football philosophy to reduce the risk of injury, will coach our athletes. In addition, certified coaches will help to train our current cheer squads towards continued great success in the 2015 Cheerzone competition.

About Batavia Bulldawgs

Batavia Bulldawgs Football and Cheer is a family­oriented volunteer, non­profit organization affiliated with the Niagara Orleans Football Association, established in 1999. Since our inception in 2011, we have been committed to providing a high­quality youth football program where we are dedicated to the instruction of football, the philosophy of teamwork, the development of sportsmanship and competition in a safe and respectful environment, while promoting personal responsibility and offering participants an opportunity to enjoy all that is best about youth sports.


Barry Warner, League Commissioner, (585­) 217­-1213 or e-mail [email protected]

April 8, 2016 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, batavia ophthalmology.

Press release:

HEALTHeLINK today announced Batavia Ophthalmology, PLLC, is the newest participant in Western New York’s clinical information exchange. 

Currently more than 4,000 physicians, all of the area hospitals and many independent laboratory and radiology practices are connected to HEALTHeLINK with a goal of improving the quality of care, enhancing patient safety and reducing health care costs.

With patient consent, participating physicians can securely and electronically access clinical information on the patients they are treating at the point of care. Approximately 810,000 Western New Yorkers have signed a consent form to provide treating medical professionals with this access through HEALTHeLINK. Ask your physician for a copy or download one at HEALTHeLINK’s Web site

About HEALTHeLINK:  HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, is a collaboration among the region’s hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers to serve the eight counties of western New York State. HEALTHeLINK was created to enable the exchange of clinical information in secure and meaningful ways to improve both efficiency and quality, while also helping to control health care costs. Patients who provide consent allow physicians and providers directly involved in their treatment to securely access relevant medical information via HEALTHeLINK, resulting in more timely and effective treatment at the point of care. 

HEALTHeLINK is part of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), a technology framework spanning the entire state that allows health care providers efficient access to their patients’ data. HEALTHeLINK has been recognized for its work in building a regional health information technology infrastructure and for testing innovative approaches by both state and federal agencies, including being named a Beacon Community, an effort funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. For more information about HEALTHeLINK, please visit

April 7, 2016 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county, highway department audit, news.

A state audit report was completed last month by the Comptroller's Office of Genesee County's procurement practices for the Highway Department and the use of purchasing cards by county employees. The audit was discussed at the Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday.

Local officials say the Comptroller's Office lacks real-world pragmatism when it comes to its bidding and procurement recommendations for construction and road projects; and they claim its findings of inadequate oversight of "P-cards" or purchasing cards are simply wrong.

The random audit looked at the period Jan. 1, 2014 through June 12, 2015.

Key Findings:

  • The Highway Department did not have documentation that it always made purchases from the vendor with the lowest bid price;
  • County officials and employees who were provided with purchase cards did not always comply with the purchase card policy;
  • The Treasurer’s Office did not adequately audit purchasing card transactions.

Key Recommendations:

  • Maintain adequate documentation to help ensure that purchase contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder in accordance with the GML;
  • Ensure that employees who are provided with purchase cards understand their responsibilities, sign the cardholder agreement and adhere to the policy;
  • Perform a thorough audit of purchasing card activity to determine if County policies are being followed and cost savings opportunities are being realized.

According to Katherine "Eve" Hens, director of Purchasing, it is patently false that P-cards did not have properly signed user agreements on file.

"All of the documentation for P-card holders and their transactions is on file, including past P-card holders," she told the committee. She said she gathered up the files and met with the auditors to set the record straight and the auditor looked at the files and said "OK, fine, I guess everything's here." And that was that.

Hens also said P-card holders are given a policy book on card use guidelines and they must watch a tutorial video; they must sign agreements acknowleging they understand the rules.

There are 125 P-card holders in Genesee County government.

"We have a more efficient system than in the past," said Treasurer Scott German.

The state had criticized the few instances of above-limit purchases, but German said those cases had special circumstances. The example he gave was a deputy going to Florida to retrieve a prisoner and using his P-card to cover several transactions at one point of sale. Hens noted that in such cases, one of three people has to approve the transaction or the card will automatically be declined: Scott Germen, herself, or "Heather."

German said there were some "semantics" involving people from the Comproller's Office, which led to some miscommunication.

"What a fun audit that was," said Tim Hens, County Highway superintendent.

It was later noted that the audit occured during a "time of transition."

Tim Hens said the way in which projects are put out to bid with vendors is in keeping with how his department has operated for 60 years, ditto for other counties in Western and Central New York.

With a three-month seasonal window of opportunity to do outdoor work once bids are processed and awarded, there needs to be flexibilty, Tim Hens said, or the work wouldn't get done.

The state wants "to help ensure that purchase contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder."

To an auditor in Albany, that means award a single contract to the lowest bidder.

But what Genesee and Monroe and Livingston and Orleans and other counties do is put out a "catalog" of bids to a variety of vendors for materials such as asphalt, pipes, quarry rock, etc., and select the mix that offers the best overall value.

For example, Tim said, if the low bid comes from a quarry in Pembroke, but the job's in Pavilion, the additional mileage to haul in materials will add 50 cents per ton to the job, so a vendor closer to the job site would likely be chosen even if their bid was a little higher.

As a compromise, the state suggests creating zones.

"The state says we should have zones set up in the County with lowest-priced vendors designated in each one," Tim said. "It works from a computer screen in Albany, but not in the real world, and not with a three-month construction window."

The county agreed to the state's recommendation to keep a journal. It will cite specific reasons in each instance that a purely low-price bid was not accepted.

"We will have that documentation to show in the event of another audit," Tim said.

The audit unearthed about $7,000 in overpayment for 24 miles of road striping for town roads, but there was no breakdown provided for it. Going back through all the road logs and trying to determine where .5-percent in a year's worth of road-work expenses were incorrectly calculated would be impractical, Tim said.

"If there's a good faith audit, then there should be give and take for errors," Committee Member Marianne Clattenburg said. "That would be a waste of money."

The county's written corrective action plan will be completed and forwarded, as required, to the state within 90 days.

To view the full audit click here.

April 7, 2016 - 1:51pm

The state Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation has recommended -- mandated -- a 20-percent raise in the annual salary of the District Attorney.

The increase of $27,705 for 2016 -- effective this April 1 -- would not be reimbursed by the state and would come out of the county's Contingency fund.

The compensation for Lawrence Friedman, the man who would benefit from the largess, would go from $152,500 a year to $183,000.

And his counterparts in counties statewide, likewise, would receive a pay hike, if the Commission's recommendations are heeded.

But the push back was swift and decisive when the resolution was presented at Wednesday afternoon's Ways & Means Committee. County Manager Jay Gsell was required to draft the resolution for the "2016 salary schedule amendment/budget transfer-District Attorney salary increase."

It was characterized as another example of Albany trying to "shove something down our throats."

Rather than voting on the resolution, the committee voted to table the matter and agreed that a letter should be drafted and sent to state officials voicing their opposition to the salary increase. Staff will also reach out to the state association of counties and seek its support in fighting yet another unfunded mandate.

"I'm appalled at this and think every county in the state should oppose it," said Chairman Robert Bausch.

To put it in perspective, fiscally speaking, Gsell said, statewide it amounts to $1.6 million out of a $154 billion budget. The proposed raises, all less than $50,000 each, account for a one-quarter of 1 percent of the budget.

"You want to give somebody a raise?" said Committee Member Ray Cianfrini. "God bless you. You pay for it."

Committee Member Marianne Clattenburg said what's the point of getting a 2-percent property tax cap in place and working to stop unfunded mandates, only to have salary increases forced upon you? You're back to square one.

The New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial, & Executive Compensation is an independent body tasked with examining, evaluating and making recommendations with respect to compensation for New York State’s judges, members of the state legislature, and state officials named in section 169 of the Executive Law. The recommendations take effect unless modified or abrogated (annuled) by legislation prior to taking effect. 

Every four years, beginning last June, the Commission is established with seven appointed members – three are designated by the Governor, one by the President Pro Tempore of the New York State Senate, one by the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, and two by the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, one of whom serves as chair of the Commission.

They are: Sheila Birnbaum -- chair, Hon. Barry A. Cozier (retired), Roman B. Hedges, Mitra Hormuz, Gary Johnson, Hon. James J. Lack (retired), and Fran Reiter.

They made their decision in accordance with Judiciary Law 183-a, "which links judicial salaries with county district attorneys' salaries and requires district attorneys' salaries to be at least as high as the County Court Judge in the County." In turn, "the salary of a state Supreme Court Justice was fixed as of April 1 to be 95 percent of the salary of a Federal District Court Judge in effect at the time.

The break down of Friedman's $27,705 raise would be:

  • Personal Services -- $22,406
  • Social Security Tax -- $1,389
  • Medicare Tax -- $325
  • Retirement -- $3,585
April 7, 2016 - 12:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee County Farm Bureau, news, scholarship.

Press release:

The Genesee County Farm Bureau (“GCFB”) is awarding a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating high school senior in 2016. The award will go to a student member or to the son or daughter of a regular or associate member of the Genesee County Farm Bureau.  


Eligible students must be continuing their education beyond high school through a trade-school or two-year/four-year collegiate program.

Application Forms & Deadlines

Scholarship application forms are available from the Genesee County Farm Bureau office by calling 585-343-3489, by going to the GCFB Web site at, or by replying to this e-mail.

The award decision will be based on: involvement in agriculture and the applicant’s stated intentions to remain involved in agriculture; scholastic participation; activities; application responses and essays. The GCFB Scholarship Committee will review all applications and make a final decision about the award recipient.

Completed applications must be returned to the GCFB office no later than April 30. Interviews will be held if necessary. The award recipient will be notified by June 1st.

Award Details

The $1,000 award will be provided in two payments:  the first will be awarded on September 1st and the second will be awarded upon receipt of the first semester grades.  A copy of the first semester transcript must be sent to the GCFB office for review.  The student must obtain a minimum 2.5 GPA or higher to receive the second scholarship payment.

Contact: Diane Chamberlain, resource specialist


 29 Liberty St., Suite 212 Batavia, NY 14020

1-877-383-7663 (toll free) or 585-343-3489

April 7, 2016 - 12:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs Gaming, news.

Press release:

Today, as part of the release of the New York Gaming Association’s 2015 Annual Report, Batavia Downs announced new data detailing the significant economic benefits generated by Batavia Downs to state and local government. Located in Western New York, Batavia Downs is a significant source of funding for New York public schools, revenue for local governments, and quality jobs for members of the local community.

“Here in Genesee County we are very pleased to be part of one of the fastest growing economic regions in the State,” said Batavia Downs COO, Michael Nolan. "We will continue to strive and grow our business as a leader in entertainment and tourism in Western New York.

"With growth comes new business and job opportunities in the Genesee County Region. With an 84-room hotel currently under construction this only solidifies our commitment to the community."

NYGA facilities have been a strong source of economic activity on the state and local levels, providing critical funding for our public schools, tax revenue for local governments, capital investment that generates construction jobs, and support for businesses, including the local tourism and hospitality industry.

Top findings for Batavia Downs include:

  • Employs 253 people from the local community; supports 836 jobs in the local community
  • Has an economic impact of $83.4 million
  • Generated $21.5 million for education in New York State
  • Generated $3.4 million to participating municipalities

Top statewide findings include:

  • $3 billion in combined economic activity in 2015
  • $888 million generated in funding for New York State education aid in 2015, and a total of $6.4 billion from 2004 to 2015.
  • $77 million in tax revenue for state and local governments in 2015, and $304 million since 2007.
  • $40 million in capital investments to NYGA’s facilities in 2015, and $1.5 billion since building the original facilities.
  • $218 million in support of New York’s racing industry both Standardbred and Thoroughbred
  • $27 million for breeding and agricultural related businesses such as family farms, feed producers and veterinarians.

The full NYGA report can be found here, including a breakdown of top line findings from each of NYGA’s nine member facilities:

Western OTB is a public benefit corporation owned and operated by 17 Western New York municipalities: Cattaraugus County, Cayuga County, Chautauqua County, Erie County, Genesee County, Livingston County, Monroe County, Niagara County, Orleans County, Oswego County, Schuyler County, Seneca County, Steuben County, Wayne County, Wyoming County as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo.

Headquartered in Batavia, NY, WROTB owns and operates 27 OTB branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

April 7, 2016 - 11:36am
posted by Billie Owens in city of batavia, yard waste station, news.

Press release from the city Bureau of Maintenance:

The city Yard Waste Station will open for the season on Tuesday, April 12. It will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

City residents are requested to bring all yard waste material (grass, leaves and limbs) to the Law Street Yard Waste Station as there is no spirng curbside pickup of these materials.

No building materials or other debris will be accepted.

Please use Law Street to enter and exit the city Yard Waste Station.

April 7, 2016 - 11:19am
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, Office of the Aging.

Press release:

The Genesee County Office for the Aging in partnership with the Batavia United Methodist Church will be hosting, “Quality Living: A Plan for the Road Ahead.”

This program is a six-week educational series focusing on helping caregivers, older adults and professionals, but is appropriate for any adult.

Jill Yasses, caregiver counselor at Office for the Aging noted that, “We have seen an increase in the number of caregivers seeking assistance for their loved ones.  In response to this need, we have put together this series to provide critical information.” 

When asked about the April 12th keynote speaker from the Laugh Academy, Yasses said, “We understand how stressful aging and caregiving can be and would like to help people find constructive ways to manage their stress. So, we are very excited to kick off the series with a ‘Laughter Therapist.’  We hope community members will take advantage of this great opportunity and join us Tuesday evenings in April and May for good food, great information, book signings, door prizes and laughter.”

The programs will take place at the Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., a light supper will be served at 6 p.m., and the program will start promptly at 6:15 p.m. and end at approximately 8 p.m. The programs are as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 12th: Stress Less, Laugh More

Keynote Speaker: Nancy Weil, The Laugh Academy

Topics: Stress reduction and  importance of laughter;  RSVP – Benefits of Volunteering

  • Tuesday, April 26th: Legal Planning

    Topics: Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of WNY – Community & Nursing Home Medicaid, Pooled Trusts, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy

  • Tuesday, May 3rd:  Organizing, Downsizing and Housing

Keynote speaker: Jennifer Ford Berry, Life’s Organization Expert & Best-selling Author

Topics: Organization, downsizing and housing options in Genesee County

  • Tuesday, May 10th: Protecting the Ones We Love

Topics: Safety at home presented by Alzheimer's Association WNY Chapter and Lifespan

  • Tuesday, May 17th: Driver Safety

Topics: AARP – Driver safety and transportation options in Genesee County

  • Tuesday, May 24th: Funeral Pre-Planning

Topics: Funeral Pre-planning presented by NYS Funeral Directors Association

These are free programs but seating is limited. Please call the Genesee County Office for the Aging/NY Connects at 585-343-1611 to reserve your seat and/or for more information. Please call at least five days prior to the date of the program you wish to attend.

For individuals with disabilities or language interpretation needs, requests for reasonable accommodations should be made with at least five days’ notice.

These programs are being sponsored by Sponsored by: Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service, Inc.; J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home, LLC; H.E. Turner & Co., Inc.; Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel; and RSVP of Genesee County Volunteer Placement Program.

This program is also funded through grants from the NYS Office for the Aging, NY Connects, the Older Americans Act, and the generous support of the Genesee County Legislature.

Special thanks to: Batavia First United Methodist Church and Older Adult Ministry, Genesee Senior Foundation, Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of WNY, the Alzheimer’s Association -- WNY Chapter, Lifespan of Rochester, AARP, NYS Funeral Directors Association and Muriel H. Marshall Fund Grantees.

April 6, 2016 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in michael ranzenhofer, 2016-17.
Press release:
State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) budget cuts for school districts have been permanently eliminated. The 2016-17 State Budget abolishes the $434 million remaining of the GEA cuts this school year.
Senator Ranzenhofer advocated for the end to the GEA as a member of the Joint Budget Subcommittee for Education.
“I vowed earlier this year to do away with the GEA for students, parents and our communities, and I kept my word. While Governor Cuomo proposed a phase-out over two years, I am proud to report an end to the GEA this school year,” Ranzenhofer said. “Finally, millions of dollars will be restored to our school districts, and a better future is ahead for our children. This boost in funding will also help to protect taxpayers from higher property taxes. This is a major victory for parents and taxpayers.”
The GEA was first imposed in 2010 by former Governor David Paterson and the Democrats who controlled the Senate and Assembly. Senator Ranzenhofer voted against the GEA because it made severe cuts to the bottom lines of school districts in Western New York.
Since it was first approved, Senator Ranzenhofer has been leading the charge to eradicate the GEA and deliver major funding increases to help mitigate its devastating impact on education. Last year alone, Senator Ranzenhofer successfully pushed for an additional $603 million to help schools overcome the GEA challenge.
April 6, 2016 - 1:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, GCC, literary club.

Press release:

The GCC Literary Club will host an afternoon reading by Lytton Smith, Ph.D., and Jess Fenn, Ph.D., from 12:20 to 1:15 p.m. on Monday, April 18, in the Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Art Gallery at the main campus in Batavia. All are welcome and the event is free.

Smith is the author of two books of poetry from Nightboat Books, "While You Were Approaching the Spectacle But Before You Were Transformed by It" (2013) and "The All-Purpose Magical Tent" (2009). He is also the translator of several contemporary Icelandic novels by Jón Gnarr, Bragi Ólafsson and Kristín Ómarsdóttir. He is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at SUNY Geneseo.

Fenn, a lecturer of English at the State University of New York at Geneseo, specialized in the literature of late medieval England while obtaining M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. She has published scholarly work on Geoffrey Chaucer in Studies in Philology (2013) and her short fiction has appeared in such places as Versal, PANK Magazine, and Flash: The International Short-Story Magazine. Fenn was awarded the Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction in 2013 for her work, "Where We Went and What We Did There."

As friends of Toriseva, JoNelle wanted to bring them to campus to give students and the community the opportunity to hear these wonderful writers and translators.

"Hearing writers read their work and talk about their process inspires and broadens the perspective of students, as well as fellow faculty and colleagues," Toriseva said. "We hope students, staff, faculty and the general public will join us." 

This event is presented by The Literary Club and sponsored by GCC's Student Activities. The Literary Club has been active on campus for many years, hosting a monthly Open Mic in the Student Union, National Novel Writing Month activities in November, a Poetry Contest, and the Little Library in College Village, among other events and opportunities.

April 6, 2016 - 12:56pm

Press release:

The Batavia Cemetery Association will hold a Victorian Home Tour from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 15th. The interior home tour will feature some of Batavia's finest examples of Victorian architecture.

The tour starts at the Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased online at, in person (after April 16th) at Pollyanna & Dot at the Hidden Door, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, or by calling (585) 343-0248. Any remaining tickets may be purchased at the cemetery the day of the tour, however advance purchase is recommended as a limited number will be sold.

No children under the age of 12, please.

All proceeds benefit the upkeep and restoration of the Historic Batavia Cemetery, which was founded in 1823 and was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2002.




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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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