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May 9, 2016 - 11:28am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Alabama, Stafford, Le Roy, bergen, Oakfield.

Dakota Scott Pocock, 19, of Townline Road, Bergen, is charged with five counts of sexual misconduct following an investigation in the Village of Oakfield. The defendant allegedly had sexual intercourse with the victim without consent five times between August and December. He was issued an appearance ticket for Oakfield Town Court at 5 p.m. on May 16. The investigation was conducted by Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Forsyth and Investigator Bradley Mazur.

Duty E. Caswell, 24, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, was arrested for having a vicious dog. The arrest stems from an incident on March 7 wherein his dog, according to police, attacked two people and another dog. Caswell was issued an appearance ticket and released and is scheduled to appear in Batavia City Court at 10:30 a.m. on May 13. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Devon Schulman, 20, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd. It is alleged that at 6:52 p.m. on May 5 Schulman displayed a knife to a subject at an apartment on Liberty Street and made comments that led the victim to believe Schulman intended to use the knife against the victim. Schulman was jailed without bail and was to be in City Court on May 6. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen, assisted by Chad Richards.

Shawn C. Smith, 35, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated unlicensed operation, first, and speeding. Smith was arrested at 6:24 p.m. on April 30 following a traffic stop on East Main Street, Batavia, and following arraignment was jailed without bail. He was to be in court May 2. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Shane Michael Green, 28, of Trapping Brook Road, Wellsville, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and moving from lane unsafely. At 7:36 a.m. on May 6, Green was arrested on Batavia-Stafford Townline Road, Stafford, for allegedly driving while the ability to do so was impaired by drugs. The arrest was the result of a complaint for erratic operation of a motor vehicle. Green is to be in Town of Stafford Court on June 6. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, assisted by Deputy Christopher Parker.

Ryan James Sundown, 35, of Meadville Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He allegedly violated a complete stay away order of protection at 6 p.m. on April 25 on Council House Road. He was arraigned on the charged on May 5 in Alabama Town Court. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputyt Kevin McCarthy, assisted by Deputy Kyle Krzemien.

A 17-year-old female who lives in Batavia was arrested at 4:06 p.m. on May 2 and charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. She allegedly broke a window during an argument. She was issued an appearance ticket for May 17 in City Court. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Arick Perkins.

Jany Girwath Jock, 20, of Batavia Stafford Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with identity theft, 3rd. The defendant was arrested following the investigation into the unlawful use of a credit card at 10:30 p.m. on May 3. Jock was issued an appearance ticket returnable to Batavia City Court at a later date. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong.

Mary Finnegan, 68, of Lake Street, Le Roy, was arrested on May 7 and charged with one count of criminal trespass in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Le Roy Village Police Department responded to a local apartment house after receiving a complaint of a subject on the property trespassing. Upon arrival Finnegan was allegedly located on the property after she had previously been advised she was no longer allowed on the property. Finnegan was taken into custody and charged accordingly. Finnegan is to appear in the Le Roy Town Court on May 19 to answer to the charge.

May 7, 2016 - 11:02am
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, east pembroke, news.

A multi-vehicle accident with possible serious injuries is reported on the eastbound Thruway at mile marker 396.7. Mercy Flight #5 out of Batavia is going in the air. East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding. Town of Batavia Fire Department is asked to assemble a crew in their hall in case they are called to the scene.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: The accident is east of the Slusser Road bridge.

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Mercy Flight has landed.

UPDATE 11:24 a.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne, going to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: A state trooper at the scene said there was one victim, a male driver in his 20s who sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Indications are he fell asleep at the wheel, the trooper said.

May 6, 2016 - 1:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, Batavia Downs, kentucky derby, news.

Press release:

Live racing doesn’t return to Batavia Downs until Monday July 25, but the grandstand will be filled with race fans this Saturday (May 7) as the track hosts its annual Kentucky Derby bash in the Paddock Room from 11:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

The $10 “Kentucky Derby Meal Deal” deal includes your choice of five entrees, a $2.00 Kentucky Derby wager and $5.00 in free play on the gaming floor. Programs, live tellers and plenty of big screen TV’s will be available throughout the facility.

In Thurman Thomas’s 34 Rush Sports Bar, drink specials include $6 mint juleps served in the official Kentucky Derby commemorative glass along with $2 drafts. Both will be available from 11:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.

“The Derby party has really developed since 2005 and we are expecting in excess of 400 people to attend this year,” said Todd Haight, general manager/director of Racing at Batavia Downs. “It’s amazing how popular it has become and how much it has grown."

All the Western Regional OTB branches in Western New York will open at 10 a.m. Friday (Kentucky Oaks Day) for advance wagering on the Derby and again at 10 a.m. on Derby day.

Last year, WROTB had its second best handle ever and paid out more than it took in for the first time, dating back to 1974.

May 6, 2016 - 11:23am
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, batavia, news.

A dog is reportedly locked inside a white Kia in the parking lot in front of Aldi's on East Main Street, Batavia. The windows are shut. Law enforcement is responding.

May 6, 2016 - 9:48am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, pembroke, indian falls, news.

Due to a motor-vehicle accident in Erie County, westbound Route 5 at Crittenden Road is being closed to traffic by fire police from Pembroke and Indian Falls.

UPDATE 10:31 a.m.: The road is reopened. Pembroke and Indian Falls are back in service.

May 5, 2016 - 2:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A Batavia man is in Orleans County Jail charged with first-degree rape of a victim under age 11 -- in this case a 5-year-old child.

Nicholas L. McKague, 24, of West Main Street Road, was arrested April 18. He is also charged by Orleans Sheriff's Investigator K. Strickland with endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges, announced May 4, followed a two-month investigation conducted by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office related to an incident that allegedly occurred in the Town of Clarendon in 2011.

McKague was arraigned by Town of Clarendon Justice DiFante. McKague was put in the custody of the Sheriff and transported to the Orleans County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond. McKague is scheduled to appear in the Town of Clarendon Court at 6:30 p.m. on May 9.

Additional charges are forthcoming as the Investigation continues. The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Justice for Children Advocacy Center, Orleans County Child Protective Services and the Batavia Police Department.

May 5, 2016 - 2:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, news.

Brian E. Bisig, 57, of 25 Clay St., Le Roy, is charged with DWI following a report of a vehicle which had been involved in an accident and had left the scene on Summit Street Road. Bisig was allegedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at about 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4, which was observed by a concerned citizen. The citizen was able to provide a description of the vehicle to police and followed the involved vehicle to a residence located on Clay Street in Le Roy. After a brief investigation, Bisig was found to be allegedly intoxicated and was charged. In addition to the DWI charge, Bisig was also charged with DWI with a BAC of .08 percent or more. Bisig was also issued a summons by a member of the State Police regarding the accident occurring in the Town of Le Roy. Bisig will answer the charges at a later date in the Town of Le Roy Court.

Christopher M. Smith, 21, was arrested May 1 for petit larceny after he allegedly stole 15 packs of Pokemon cards valued at $63 and exited a local store, passing all points of sale; Smith attempted to hide the merchandise underneath a vehicle in the parking lot. He was transported to State Police barracks in Batavia for processing and issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Batavia Court on May 9.

Dawn Viehdeffer, 57 was arrested May 2 for petit larceny from Walmart after taking miscellaneous items totaling more than $45. Viehdeffer was allegedly observed placing items in her purse as she shopped but failed to remove the concealed items upon checkout; Viehdeffer did not scan the items and proceeded to exit the store, passing all points of sale. She was transported to State Police barracks in Batavia for processing and issued an appearance ticket returnable to the Town of Batavia Court on May 17.

May 4, 2016 - 7:37pm

An independent film company today asked to film in and around the old Genesee County Courthouse for a movie titled "Marhsall" about the early legal career of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

A resolution recommending that filming be allowed was approved unanimously by the Ways and Means Committee, which met at Genesee Community College this afternoon. The Legislature will have to approve it first however.

The courthouse will be a stand-in for a courthouse in 1940s Oklahoma, when Marshall was working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). At that time, the great grandson of a slave born in the Congo traveled throughout the United States defending African-Americans in often controversial cases. The case depicted in the film to be partially shot here -- for one day, perhaps slightly over that -- is based on the case of a black chauffeur who was accused of the rape and attempted murder of a white woman, according to the film company's location manager, Michael Nickodem, who attended the Ways and Means Committee meeting.

"I think it's a fairly worthwhile project," said Committee Member Marianne Clattenburg.

It will take of lot of work and planning by a lot of people to create historic realism for the film, and our old courthouse may wind up with only five minutes, or less, of limelight in the finished product.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens and another county employee are assisting as need be; the state Department of Transportation will need to sign off on temporary road closures and then a crew of about 80 people will descend on Genesee County and the triangular swath of real estate at Ellicott and Main streets sometime in the first week of June. Law enforcement is also in the loop with the project. Parking, including handicapped-access parking, will be temporarily blocked for the project.

Of these crew members, about 40 to 50 people will be inside for courtroom scenes, and perhaps 10 to 20 outside; Nickodem wasn't sure.

There will be about 50 extras, too, Nickodem guesstimated.

"Everybody get out your SAG cards," quipped County Manager Jay Gsell, referencing the Screen Actors Guild.

It will indeed be a union operation, including Teamsters, too.

"Camperland" will be set up close by. That's what they call the grouping of trailers for the stars, hair and makeup artists, etc.

Most of the film locations for "Marshall" are west of here in Buffalo, other places in Erie County, and Niagara County. Genesee County is affiliated with the greater Rochester-area film commission, although Nickodem acknowleged he should call them "because they probably don't know anything about this."

The old Genesee County Courthouse was found by a production designer who works with Nickodem.

"He's got a great eye," Nickodem said. "The challenge for the entire movie is finding places (where) we can shoot."

The location manager told the Ways and Means Committee that in scouting for the stand-in for a 1940s-era Oklahoma courthouse, once they saw Genesee County's building "It spoke to us...it read as more rural." Although it was built around 1843, it was thought to be a sublime choice for this indie film's purposes.

But that will require "adjustments" -- none at the county's expense of course, and anything done will be undone and put back the way it was once filming wraps up. A crew was at the Old Courthouse today and the list of "adjustments" that will be needed include disguising or covering emergency exit signs and lighting, putting a fake door in front of the elevator doors, and otherwise air-brushing out or working to eliminate evidence that it's 2016 -- the view of Wendy's across the street, ditto the Mexican restaurant on the opposite side.

Gsell promised "no action scenes, no superheroes, nobody jumping out of cupolas."

Also, when asked about the impact on regular work going on inside the facility -- in offices adjacent to the courtroom -- it was emphasized that normal operations will not be impeded by the film project.

Nickodem said the historical film is not considered what it is referred to as "ultra low budget," but it is low budget, though he couldn't provide a budget figure. (For indies, it is standard practice to name the production company -- created specifically for the film -- after the movie. Thus, it is known as Marshall Film LLC in Los Angeles, but since a different name is required for New York, they chose Marshall Movie, Inc.)

"Marshall" will probably be released by year's end and then be screened at Indie fests like Sundance in the hopes that it will be optioned by a big motion picture studio.

The star is Chadwick Boseman who played legendary baseball great Jackie Robinson in the Warner Bros. movie "42" opposite Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers' General Manager Branch Rickey. Other casting is still under way.

May 4, 2016 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, batavia cemetery association, news.

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 bataviacemetery.com, 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.

May 4, 2016 - 2:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Terrence D. Johnson

A Batavia man was arrested Tuesday, May 3, after being indicted by a Grand Jury on a charge of first-degree robbery and 11 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.

Terrence D. Johnson, 21, allegedly robbed an employee of the Bahama Bay Salon at 2 School St., Batavia, in January. He is in jail without bail.

He is to appear in Genesee County Court this Friday. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Det. Kevin Czora.

May 4, 2016 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, news.

Kenneth Michael Gray Jr., 24, no permanent address, is charged with second-degree criminal trespass. He was arrested on May 3 after he allegedly entered a second-story window at 3:05 a.m. on Lake Street Road, Le Roy. Gray is in jail on $10,000 bail. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Young, assisted by Deputy John Baiocco.

Justin Allan Putney, 25, of Borden Avenue, Perry, is charged with driving while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or more, and speeding. He was stopped at 12:16 a.m. today for speeding on East Main Street Road in Batavia and was allegedly found to be intoxicated. He is to appear in Town of Batavia Court on May 16. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy John Baiocco, assisted by Deputy Ryan Young.

May 4, 2016 - 1:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, sheldon silver, Albany, politics, news.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) issues statement on the sentencing of Sheldon Silver:

“I am glad to finally see Sheldon Silver meet the fate he deserves. I am extremely dismayed to hear that he will be receiving a near six figure taxpayer-funded pension behind bars. No one who purposely betrays the public for decades and denigrates his/her office like Silver should receive any form of taxpayer-funded pension. The Assembly Majority promised us comprehensive ethics reform months ago. Since then they have ignored the desires of New Yorkers in exchange for protecting one of their own. Corruption in Albany should not be business as usual and I will continue to beat the drum for a return to integrity here in the Capitol.”

May 3, 2016 - 8:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, east pembroke, news.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at the intersection of Hopkins Road and West Main Street Road (Route 5). A person is said to be pinned inside, but conscious and alert. East Pembroke Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics. A first responder on scene says two people in one vehicle will probably need transport, along with the driver of the other who requires extrication.

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: Darien Ambulance is requested to the scene to provide mutual aid.

May 3, 2016 - 5:05pm

Mercy Flight Air Ambulance enjoyed another successful year of aiding people in Genesee County, according to a presentation Monday afternoon before the Human Service Committee.

County Manager Jay Gsell requested contract approval for the provision of air medical transfer service in Genesee County for the 2016-17 fiscal year in the amount of $14,250, the same as it's been since 2011.

At the end of a presentation about the agency from Outreach Coordinator Lynn O'Donnell and Mercy EMS Operations Manager Larry Baumgardt, the committee recommended without discussion that the Legislature approve the status quo funding.

(The county is not involved with funding the ground ambulance services.)

Highlights of Mercy Flight for fiscal 2014-15 include:

  • A total of 179 requests for Air Ambulance (helicopter) from Genesee County; 91 transports completed;
  • Total Mercy Flight transports for 2015 were 1,100;

For Mercy EMS, in operation for six years now:

  • 7,377 requests for services; 4,824 transports completed;
  • In the City of Batavia, there were almost 3,000 calls for Mercy EMS in 2014; that number grew to 3,500 in 2015.

Call Types (55 percent were on scene; 45 percent were inter-facility transfers)

  • Adult Trauma -- 38 percent
  • Adult Medical -- 37 percent
  • Adult Cardiac -- 13 percent
  • Pediatric Medical -- 7 percent
  • Pediatric Trauma -- 4 percent
  • Neonatal -- 2 percent

Destination Hospitals:

  • Erie County Medical Center -- 33 percent
  • Buffalo General -- 23 percent
  • Strong Memorial -- 15 percent
  • Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo -- 12 percent
  • Mercy Hospital -- 6 percent
  • Other NY Hospitals -- 5 percent
  • Hamot Medical Center -- 3 percent
  • Other Pennsylvania and Ohio Hospitals -- 3 percent

Funding goes to:

  • Operations/Programs -- 93 percent
  • Development & Fundraising -- 7 percent
  • Misc. -- .5 percent

O'Donnell reported that Mercy Flight continues to upgrade its aircraft. Its Bell 429, the company flagship based in Batavia, recently completed its fourth year of service. Four American Eurocopters have all been refurbished, updated and painted to match the Bell. A Lear 31 twin engine jet is also housed at the Batavia base, in partnership with Thunder Run Aviation. The jet provides advanced life support transports beyond what can be provided by the helicopters.

Due to the new partnership between UMMC and Rochester General Hospital, more transports are being logged to Rochester General.

A good deal of time is spent promoting the agency and working with fire/EMS crews and community organizations, O'Donnell said. For example, Mercy Flight offers first responder ground crew safety training that teaches when and how to request Mercy Flight along with the safety requirements for preparing for a safe landing. There were six trainings in Genesee County in the 2014-15 fiscal year, and 84 first responders attended, a total that is "significantly up" from the previous year.

Another community involvement opportunity that Mercy Flight engages in is prom safety/DWI drills and local high schools. These help students make good decisions, reducing DWI-related accidents. Two were held in 2014-15 -- at Elba and at Byron-Bergen. Funding from the Governor's Traffic Safety Grant makes these possible and they will be offered again this year.

Strong partnerships continue with fire/EMS, law enforcement and UMMC, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.

For Mercy Flight, base tours and participation in community events such as the Genesee County Fair, YWCA Penny Carnival, UMMC Teddy Bear Clinic, Pembroke Winterfest, Summer in the City, Brick House Corners Fair and the Oakfield Christmas tree decorating help educate the public and help with fundraising, according to the report. Fundraisers such as the annual Hackers for Helicopters Golf Outing and dinner events at Batavia Downs Gaming and Batavia Country Club are important for these reasons, too.

For Mercy EMS, the ambulance fleet continues to be upgraded, including "graphic schemes that match the helicopters." Three new ambulances will be replacing three old ones. Also, two bases of operations are in place to improve response times for more remote location calls -- one in South Byron, the other in East Pembroke.

Taking part in the UMMC Teddy Bear Clinic and Mash Camps allow preschoolers and pre-teens to learn about EMS. Parades and EMS standbys for community events also provide outreach opportunities, as does allowing local EMT students and UMMC residents-in-training the chance to shadow EMS providers for real-life experience.

Committee Vice Chair Marianne Clattenburg, who represents District 8, asked if recruitment of EMS personnel is difficult.

"Absolutely, this is a nationwide problem," Baumgardt responded.

After a person is already a certified EMT, there's an additional two-year training period required to become a paramedic. That's is a daunting commitment for some and the pay rate in a small market like Genesee County compared to bigger markets does not help any.

"You've served Genesee County for 35 years and we're extremely happy and thankful for that extra level of protection," Committee Chair Rochelle Stein (District 5) said about Mercy Flight.

May 3, 2016 - 3:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, batavia society of artists, art.

The Batavia Society of Artists 2016 Spring Art Exhibit will be held at Richmond Memorial Library from May 9 to May 29.

The Opening Reception with artists will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 12. At 7 o'clock that night, the society will present the Virginia Carr Mumford Memorial Scholarship to a student from Genesee Community College.

Carr Mumford was a long-standing member of the society and over the years her family has graciously continued the yearly scholarship.

In addition, at the reception there will be award recognitions for the 2016 show and the drawing of a raffle winner of Brian Kemp's demo painting. It is a collaborative abstract painting titled "#17." Raffle tickets will be availble for sale until 7 p.m. They are $5 each or three for $10.

All proceeds will help the society to hold more art demos.

For additional information, contact Terry Weber at 993-0509 or [email protected].

Richmond Memorial Library is located at 19 Ross St. in the City of Batavia.

May 3, 2016 - 1:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, human service committee.

There's every reason to think this summer's fair will be as good as last year's, which had the largest attendance in decades -- about 21,000 -- and plans are afoot to bring in thousands more to the fairgrounds for new events that include a statewide sheep show and Christian music concerts.

That was what the Human Service Committee was told at its Monday afternoon meeting by Norm Pimm, treasurer of the Genesee County Agricultural Society, which oversees the fairgrounds.

"We ran out of parking two nights," Pimm said, noting they found more space somehow, because "if they were going to pay $5 for parking, we were going to find a place for them."

Pimm credited the record-breaking number of fairgoers to lots of positive publicity by local media and the most coverage to date from news outlets in Buffalo, including TV channels 2, 7 and 4, The Buffalo News, and a morning radio showwhich drew more people than ever from the neighboring Erie County.

"We had to get the kids up early so they could be out with the animals," Pimm said about working to get publicity.

Another plus in 2015 was the biggest midway yet, including 18 mechanical rides, and the bonanza that ensued from having a $5 three-hour limitless ride opportunity for children on a Saturday.

"Parents said you couldn't go to another amusement park for that price," Pimm said.

The plan is to expand the three-hour ride bonanza by adding one more day this year -- a Friday AND a Saturday.

"I like the price for the kids' rides," said Committee Member John Deleo, who represents District 7.

The fair officials also want "to try and pick up some pieces" of the shattered good times due to the necessity of fair cancellations by fire departments in Elba and Stafford. To that end, they plan to hire the Syracuse-based band Under the Gun, which regularly played the Stafford gig, to entertain fairgoers.

"They have a huge following," Pimm told the committee, and so does the country band Branded and the Buffalo-based blues trio the Jony James Band, both of which are also going to be on the 2016 roster.

Of Jony James, a Buffalo News writer noted "(Jony’s) slashing, quivering guitar cuts like lightening through the smoke and grit of rough and tumble roadhouses, while his voice carries a touching sort of quiet sadness.”

Also, a magician has just been signed to perform daily at the fair. The price for parking will remain unchanged at $5 per vehicle and admission will remain free to the fair, despite the fact that many others are starting to charge an entrance fee.

The Batavia Speedway will continue its operations.

Beyond the fair, the Empire Sheep Show is a statewide showcase that will bring people to Genesee County for four days. And the largest hitched horse show in New York is in the plans, too, one of two new horse shows planned for the venue.

To accommodate these and upgrade the fairgrounds, a loan was just signed to build a new 60 by 130 foot barn. The old barn will remain standing and can be used when additional show space is needed. Grants are being pursued for electrical improvements at the fairgrounds.

This fall, a brand-new Farm Museum will open at the fairgrounds, and a key goal is to attract youth to agricultural pursuits. Local farmers provided the seed money for a 40 by 130 foot building to house the museum, which will include a classroom, exhibit space and room to expand. Plans call for an animal clinic for youth focusing on both health and showmanship.

"At the end of the day, if we don't get youth involved, there won't be a fair in 10 or 20 years," Pimm said.

Lastly, Pimm said the Ag Society was approached by a couple of local churches wanting to hold Christian music concerts. The estimated number of potential attendees quickly ballooned he said, and is now hovering between 3,000 to 5,000 people.

Ed DeJaneiro Jr., committee member representing District 9, said Pimm's report of the Ag Society underscores its aim to provide educational and entertainment value at affordable prices.

By the by, here's a video of the Jony James Band from 2011's Artpark festival in Lewiston.

May 3, 2016 - 12:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, GCC, poetry, novelist, Louise Wareham Leonard.

Award-winning writer Louise Wareham Leonard will give a reading at Genesee Community College this Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 12:20 - 1:15 p.m. in room T-203 of the Conable Technology Building. The event is free and open to the public. Interested attendees are asked to RSVP with JoNelle Toriseva, GCC director of English, Communications and Media Arts by e-mailing: [email protected].

Louise Wareham Leonard's first novel "Since You Ask" was released in 2004, and was published in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. It received the James Jones Literary Society First Novel Award. Wareham Leonard has also been shortlisted for the Prize in Modern Letters. Her second novel, "Miss Me A Lot Of," was published in 2007 and became a bestseller in New Zealand. Her latest collection, "52 Men," was published by Red Hen Press last fall. She has also published in literary journals, including "Poetry" and "The Rumpus," including the recent "How to Date a Writer" which can be reviewed online at: http://therumpus.net/2015/09/funny-women-132-how-to-date-a-writer/

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Wareham Leonard immigrated to New York City, where she attended Dalton School and the United Nations International School. She graduated from Columbia in New York with a degree in Comparative Literature and Society. At Columbia, she was awarded the Andrew D. Fried Memorial Prize for excellence in critical and creative writing. She represented Columbia in the Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Contest. Along with New York and New Zealand, she has lived and worked in Mississippi, Europe, the Caribbean and the outback in Western Australia.

Living internationally features in her writing, and Wareham Leonard reflects on her unique ancestry and heritage.

She said: "New Zealand has a strong, strong pull for me. We drove all over both islands when I was a girl, staying at motels with hot swimming pools and Maori dances, visiting the pancake rocks and Mt. Cook and Franz Josef Glacier. I have come back from New York several times as an adult to live for extended periods in Wellington, and always ended up in Paekakariki. Turns out I have ancestors there and around Whanganui, and recent revelations around that have made my visceral attachment to New Zealand make more sense. It's something powerful and unexpected, a draw to the intensity and stunning beauty. I have a good mind to come back and live in a campervan in Northland sometime. On the other hand, my education was mostly Northeastern American and that, as well as being turned inside out – from a quiet reserved NZ girl to an outspoken New Yorker – has formed my personality and my sensibilities as a writer. It's an odd mix. I have often felt flung out into the world, but now I realize I actually have ties."

JoNelle Toriseva, director of English, Communications and Media Arts, knows Wareham Leonard through their work on the literary publication, "Tin House," where work is reviewed and considered for inclusion in the magazine.

May 3, 2016 - 12:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in liberty pumps, bergen, business.

Liberty Pumps hosted hundreds of visitors for their 2016 Open House held on April 27. The event was planned with two separate segments, one for family and friends of employees and one for the community.

The company welcomed visitors to show the completion of the recent three-phase expansion which nearly doubled the size of the facility. In total, the expansion added over 123,000 square feet to the corporate operation in Bergen. New additions included manufacturing areas, engineering lab and test facilities, as well as a new training center.

Attendees were treated to a tour of the facility, product demonstrations and a presentation and dedication of the new facility by Charlie Cook, president and CEO.

May 3, 2016 - 12:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, YWCA, Women of Distinction.

Press release:

The 2016 Women of Distinction Awards Committee is thrilled to announce this year’s slate of recipients. These community members not only embody YWCA’s mission and vision but they also represent a wide cross section of people working toward the good of others.

They are:

  • Jennifer Nunnery for the military/veteran category;
  • Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s Culinary Arts Program for economic empowerment;
  • Courtney Turcer for racial justice;
  • Tompkins Bank of Castile for corporate social responsibility;
  • Genesee County Mental Health Services for peace;
  • and City of Batavia Police Officer James DeFreze for advocacy/civic engagement.

Although some people may think of these awards as only about honoring women, they are acknowledgments to all of those deserving people, organizations and businesses that contribute to the mission and vision of YWCA.

They embody our ultimate goal to empower women, eliminate racism and encourage economic independence, healthy relationships and a community free from violence, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

“Through their work, these people and organizations have truly created paths of a more hopeful future for area youth, speakers of other languages, people with mental health needs, domestic violence victims and community members at large," Walton said. "These recipients are all excellent choices for our very diverse award categories. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments during the second annual Women of Distinction Awards Gala next month.”

The Gala is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia. An awards ceremony will be at Stuart Steiner Theatre, to be followed by dinner, social time and an art auction in the Forum at 6:30.

Tickets for the Gala are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For tickets or more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Jennifer Nunnery, a Batavia native, was nominated for Military/Veteran for her dedication to fellow veterans and willingness to share her own Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a way to make her peers more comfortable. After graduating from Batavia High School she joined the Army Military Police Corps where she deployed to Iraq twice in 2003 and 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning home, she attended GCC, obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Brockport State College and pursued law at University at Buffalo Law School. While there, she interned at the Genesee County Public Defender's Office and the Monroe County Public Defender's Office gaining valuable experience and mentorship from some of the most experienced public defenders in Western New York.

Nunnery, who recently opened her own law office Downtown, believes in giving back to her community. For three years she volunteered as a Veteran Mentor with the Batavia Veterans Treatment Court in Batavia City Court and she also serves as an advisor on the GCC Paralegal Advisory Committee and the Alexander High School’s Mock Trial Team.

Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s Culinary Arts Program not only gives students the experience and hands-on training needed to operate an efficient kitchen, but the program, led by Chef Nathan Koscielski, allows students to compete in culinary events, operate an on-site café and develop all of the necessary skills to enable them to pursue this or a related career field after graduation.

The Batavia-based group was nominated for Economic Empowerment because students learn every facet of the business, from meeting expenses and operating a profitable business to food presentation and farm-to-table concepts.

Courtney Turcer is a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages at Batavia High School. She was nominated for Racial Justice as a passionate teacher who works tirelessly to provide equal opportunity to the Batavia community’s English language learner population. This year she decided to volunteer her time for a free adult ESOL class on Sunday nights for parents in the Batavia area.

Her commitment and drive have enabled parents and students alike to communicate and understand the English language and therefore be able to pursue their educational and career goals. Her efforts garnered Turcer recognition as a Member of the Month by the state’s TESOL organization.

Genesee County Mental Health Services was nominated for Peace as a result of the agency’s impact on the lives of Genesee County residents each and every day. Agency staff has demonstrated a willingness to become more accessible before, during and after hours, which has kept crisis situations from turning into tragedies. The compassion, patience and understanding shown by all staff members, along with their ability to come together with their skills and talents as a team, is what makes the quality of services provided “priceless.” The effects are far reaching and often touch the lives of family members and friends who have been a part of the clients’ healing journey, a nomination letter stated.

Batavia City Police Officer James DeFreze was nominated for Advocacy/Civic Engagement due to his role of being a lifesaver. Not that he hasn’t had other positive encounters with domestic violence victims, but one in particular says she owes him a debt of gratitude for how he so swiftly came to her side with compassion and patience as she began her journey away from horrific abuse.

“It was the most terrifying and demoralizing experience," she says. "I did not have the strength or courage to go forth with any criminal charges on my abuser because he stripped me of having that power. I cannot express my appreciation or gratitude enough to you.”

Tompkins Bank of Castile was nominated for Corporate Social Responsibility for its constant presence out in the community while also being a source of encouragement for company employees. They contribute thousands of hours to various organizations each year, from coaching little league and picking up litter to gardening, painting and helping to renovate a dilapidated house.

Tompkins has record turnouts during Genesee County United Way’s Day of Caring and countless employees have served in leadership roles at Rotary, YWCA and Business Improvement District boards plus many other nonprofits. Marketing Officer Krysia Mager believes that if it hadn’t been for Tompkins’ management supporting her efforts on the city’s Centennial Committee, she would not have been able to be part of that historic effort. That’s just one of many examples of how a business like Tompkins can have that personal connection with its staff and community members, Mager said.

May 3, 2016 - 12:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news batavia, corfu.

Christopher Michael Smith, 21, of School Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass. He was arrested at 12:23 a.m. this morning for allegedly trespassing at a department store on Veterans Memorial Drive after being told not to return. He is to appear in Batavia Town Court on May 16.

Marlicia L. Johnson, 29, of Buffalo, was arrested May 3 for unlawful possession of marijuana after a traffic stop on Route 77 at Water Street for allegedly speeding. During the traffic stop, the officer detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Johnson was allegedly found to be in possession of three marijuana cigarettes. Johnson was issued tickets and an appearance ticket returnable to the Village of Corfu on June 6. The case was handled by Corfu Police Officer Michael Petritz.

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