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September 7, 2017 - 1:06pm

Press release:

A new restaurant ownership training course is slated to begin in October featuring two monthly classes over the winter, or approximately 26 hours of training that concludes in February.

The program involves two juried tastings that each class participant is required to prepare. Registration opens online Friday, Sept. 8th at Top contestants of the freshLAB Foodie Challenge may win free tuition to attend the freshLAB Boot Camp. 

A range of small business specialists and industry experts have been coordinated by the Batavia Development Corporation to prepare the aspiring restaurant owners for a business sector that is reported to have a multimillion dollar opportunity in Genesee County.

Genesseans are assumed to spend approximately $20,000,000 to eat, drink and be entertained some place other than Genesee County. The downtown strategy is to keep the dining dollars local by becoming a dining and entertainment destination that will capitalize on the market opportunity.

“We are hosting a Foodie Challenge Sept. 23rd to stir food creativity,” said Barb Shine, coordinator of the program and Batavia Development Corporation Board member. “Good flavors come first, we want creative cooks to consider opening his/her restaurant.

"To follow, we’ve assumed a bigger role to coordinate the Boot Camp. We’ve corralled the necessary resources and experts for talented and industrious operators to seriously consider the restaurant business.”

Research and local experience shows that a written business plan is not a sufficient judge of a candidate’s readiness to get started or grow. In fact, 59 percent of hospitality businesses fail within three years according to Restaurant Management Software POS Sector study. One reason for failure is noted as the lack of a strong concept setting the business apart from the competition.

The Boot Camp instruction has carved-out more than three hours to discuss the trends and market opportunities in food service, a highly competitive and shifting business.

“What’s your 'Because?” " asked Katie Frilllici, representative of JFS/Curtze food distributor. “You must have a compelling reason for people to select your eatery over another.” 

JFS/Curtze should know, they have been in the food business for 135 years. Frillici and her colleagues have been invited to participate as guest instructors for the Boot Camp where they, too, will share trade ideas to help develop a winning concept. JFS/Curtze is a full-line food service distributor now serving eight states.

Other select instruction will be led by Palmer Food Services, Chef Tracy Burgio of Batavia Career & Technical Education Center and Matt Gray, entrepreneur and owner of five restaurants. Legal, insurance and regulatory representatives in addition to agriculture business educators will be on hand.

Tentative Boot Camp program schedule:

  • October: Program Orientation and introduction of restaurant operations, concepts, etc.;
  • November: “Back of House” featuring inventory management, food safety in addition to a juried tasting prepared by Boot Camp participants;
  • December: Finance and accounting for the restaurant business, freshLAB support area;
  • January: Concept development and business pitch, topped with final juried tasting;
  • February: Independent study, final business plan due;
  • March: two candidates will each open a restaurant at freshLAB restaurant incubator turn-key space, pre-approved for a $30,000 special rate loan

Industry experts will lead the classroom training in operations, marketing and financial management. Other mentors will guide menu planning to inventory management, distributor purchasing to farm sourcing. Estimated Course Value more than $1,300 being offered for $349.

The Boot Camp is considered a prerequisite for entrepreneurs considering to lease space at the new freshLAB restaurant incubator foodhall now under construction on Main Street, Batavia. The Foodie Challenge will reward the top five competitors by offering TUITION FREE invitation to the Boot Camp.

freshLAB restaurant incubator was conceived to strengthen the local food service industry and capitalize on more than $20,000,000 that leave Genesee County each year when residents eat, drink and enjoy entertainment elsewhere.

The project is funded, in part, by USDA Rural Development to intentionally link regional agriculture to the menu. A program coordinated by the Batavia Development Corporation in cooperation with the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Batavia Business Improvement District and Batavia Career & Technical Education Center.

September 7, 2017 - 12:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

(Photo of Celebrity Ruth with driver Jason Bartlett.)

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

There were record breakers coming from everywhere at Batavia Downs on Wednesday night (Sept. 6) as the track standard was breached three times during the proceedings of the $108,2000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) and $30,000 Excelsior A series for 3-year-old trotting fillies.

In the first $59,100 division, Mamora Bay (Sam Schillaci) got away fourth behind a heated front-end battle between Deli-Delite (Drew Monti) and Busy Doing Nothing (Ray Fisher Jr.) that lasted until the half. At that point Schillaci pulled his filly, went three-wide around the fading Busy Doing Nothing and took the lead from Deli-Delite by the three-quarter pole in 1:27. Now on a track record pace, Mamora Bay looked like the only thing to beat was the clock, but Deli-Delight came back on and chased her to the wire. But Mamora Bay hung tough to win by a half-length in 1:57.2, which tied the track record for age, gender and gait.

It was the second win of 2017 for Mamora Bay (Chapter Seven-Guilie Bi) who now has earned $95,881 this year for owner Peter Barbado. Mamora Bay ($3.40) is trained by Sam Schillaci.

In the second $59,100 split, Celebrity Ruth (Jason Bartlett) took the lead by the quarter pole and was never headed from there as Bartlett sat chilly the whole mile after the favored Barn Bella (Jeff Gregory) made a break by the eighth pole. Setting easy early fractions of :29.2 and :59.4, Bartlett loosened the lines a bit to try and put some distance between his horse and Ostrich Blue Chip (Scott Zeron) who was sitting on his back. They smoked the third quarter in 1:28.2 and then with one line-tap from Bartlett, Celebrity Ruth trotted home in :28.2 to win by a length in 1:56.4 which broke the track record.

It was the second win in five days for Celebrity Ruth (Archangel-Celebrity Obsession) and sixth on the season. The winner’s share of the purse has pushed the filly over the quarter-million dollar mark in earnings this year with $250,983 now in the bank. Celebrity Ruth ($4.30) is owned by White Birch Farm and trained by Trond Smedshammer.

Just because the NYSS divisions were over didn’t mean the record breaking had ended as well. There were still two $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A series to be run and one of them got in on the action.

(Photo of Seventh Heaven with driver Jason Bartlett.)

Seventh Heaven (Jason Bartlett) got off the wings third and took advantage of an expeditious half of :57.2 (which was faster than either NYSS contest) set by Billie Blue (Chris Lems) and take the lead at the three-quarters before coasting home under wraps in 1:56.4 to tie the three-race-old track record.

It was the seventh win for Seventh Heaven (Chapter Seven-Porque) this year and her efforts have now benefitted owner Richard Balog with $50,800 in purses. Seventh Heaven (2.90) is trained by Linda Toscano.

The second Excelsior A division was won by Aunt Susie (Credit Winner-Aunt Mel) who went gate to wire in 1:58.2. Aunt Susie ($4.60) is owned by the Ervin Miller Stable, Paymaq Racing, the Nick Surick Stable LLC and Louis Willinger. Nick Surick does the training and Jim Morrill Jr. was in the sulky.

September 6, 2017 - 6:16pm

Press release:

Join us for some spooky fun on Saturday, Oct. 21st, when the Batavia Cemetery Association will host a candlelight guided ghost walk through the Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue in Batavia.

The tours will feature the famous and infamous movers and shakers who shaped and influenced the City of Batavia. The guided tour will bring guests to meet men and women of Batavia, who, for various reasons, held great power and exerted great influence in their day, were victims of tragic events, or both.

  • Philemon Tracy, one of the few Confederate officers buried in the north;
  • Ruth the unknown victim of a horrendous murder;
  • Joseph Ellicott, a man of great power and great flaws; and
  • William Morgan, the man who disappeared and was allegedly murdered before he could reveal the secrets of the Masons, are some of the ghosts who will tell their stories on the tour;
  • Also visiting will be Rev. John H. Yates, poet, preacher, philanthropist, journalist and author of nationally known hymns;
  • Civil War veteran General John H. Martindale, who was Military Governor of the District of Columbia in 1865;
  • Dean and Mary Richmond, who greatly influenced civic life in Batavia in the 1800s, will meet with guests in their mausoleum on the last stop of the tour. Dean Richmond made a great fortune in Great Lakes shipping and was the second president of the New York Central Railroad. Mary Richmond vastly expanded her husband’s fortune after his death and sat on the boards of many businesses and civic organizations.

Tours begin at 7 p.m. and run every 15 minutes until 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes refreshments. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Some tickets may be available at the gate the evening of the event at Historic Batavia Cemetery, Harvester Avenue, Batavia. Proceeds benefit the upkeep and restoration of the cemetery.

For more information, or to make reservations, contact 343-3220.

September 6, 2017 - 5:48pm

Press release:

Monarch Butterflies -- "Masters of Migration" -- travel through New York during the month of September!

Seize the last few days of summer with a visit to a butterfly meadow and a journey into their world! Join us for "Watching Monarchs" from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9th, at Genesee County Park & Forest.

Take part in a nationwide Monarch conservation project, see how they are tagged and released, and meet these masters of migration up close and personal Learn all about their fascinating lives and discover what you can do to help them out!

Price is $5/person, $10/family. Space is limited, preregistration is required! Call 585-344-1122 to register.

GC Park & Forest is located at 11095 Bethany Center Road in East Bethany.

For more information visit their website here or contact Shannon Morley at [email protected] or (585) 344-1122.

September 6, 2017 - 3:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, Announcements, Run for the Acorns.

Press release:

East Bethany -- The fifth Anniversary Run for the ACORNS is Sunday Oct. 1st, and promises to be the best event yet!

Grab a friend for some great exercise, fun and free stuff! Run for the ACORNS 5K/10K trail run and walk will be held at Genesee County Park & Forect.

This race is part of the United Way of Genesee County race series which is sponsored by LaCivita Enterprises.

Race signup includes coupons and special offers from local businesses and restaurants! This year's race will feature the first-ever Kids Fun Run! Free to youth 10 & under. Must register on race day. Age-appropriate categories and distances. Run is on a grassy playing field. Everyone is a “winner”! This 5K/10K trail run and walk is designed for people of all ages and activity levels.

Surround yourself in the beauty of the forest in October on trails through the woods, along the headwaters of Black Creek and over rolling hills. Walk or run on single and double track trails through the forest, along a creek and up and down rolling hills in the Genesee County Park & Forest, with an estimated 100 feet of climb in the 10K loop. Trails are very wide and easy to negotiate (minimal rocks and roots). The course starts on asphalt and then leads into the woods for a truly beautiful run through the
countryside. Enjoy post-race snacks and drinks as you congratulate your fellow participants!

All proceeds benefit the ACORNS, the nonprofit organization that supports the Genesee County parks with a mission to enhance the visitor experience and foster environmental stewardship and education. Awards prizes will be given to the top overall male and female running finishers in each race. Awards will also be given to the top male and female running finishers in each age group.

Check-in begins at 8 a.m. The 10K run begins at 9 a.m.; the 5K run/walk begins at 9:15 a.m. Kids Fun Run begins about 10:30 a.m.

Registration is required! Fee is $25 before Sept. 27th; $30 late registration. Register before Sept. 17th to get your long-sleeved race tech shirt! Special fifth year anniversary shirts to participants registered for this and all other previous Run for the ACORNS races!

Register online by clicking here or at check-in on the day of the race.

Enjoy the morning in the forest and run for the ACORNS – You’re “NUTS” if you don’t! See you there! For more information visit our website here or call 585- 344-1122. 

September 6, 2017 - 3:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, golf, Announcements, GCSEA.

The GC Sheriff's Employees Association Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, Sept. 23, at Terry Hills Golf Course in Batavia.

Cost is $75 per person and includes green fees, cart, lunch, dinner, awards and prizes.

Registration and lunch starts at 11 a.m.

Shotgun start for golf at noon.

Sponsor a tee or green or $100; sponsor a deputy for $375 -- includes tee/green sings & 1 foursome.

Proceeds go to help support the GCSEA Fundraiser Account and Veterans One-stop Center of WNY Inc.

The golf tournament is open to everyone. Come enjoy a great day of fun and golf; help support our veterans, the GCSEA and the nonprofits is helps throughout the year.

Terry Hills is located at 5122 Clinton Street Road.

For more information, contact Norman Itjen at (585) 409-4540 or email  [email protected]

September 6, 2017 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in Taste of Independence, news, Announcements, ILGR, charity.

Press release:

A Fourth Annual Taste of Independence food-sampling extravaganza is being held by Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Taking place at Batavia Country Club, 7909 Batavia-Byron Road, Batavia, the event will offer guests a chance to try some signature dishes of the Genesee Region’s finest restaurants, plus a basket raffle and 50/50 split club.

The participating restaurants include: D & R Depot Restaurant, Sweet Sarah’s, Pizza Land, Lori’s Delectable Edibles, Tops Friendly Markets, T.F. Brown’s Restaurant, Rock & Roll Bar & BBQ, The North Pole Restaurant and Party House, Red Osier Landmark Restaurant and Wegmans.

Our thanks to non-restaurant event Bronze Sponsors: iCircle Services of the Finger Lakes Inc., Arctic Refrigeration Company of Batavia Inc., Henry J. Mager Scholarship Fund, Debra McKnight, and Thrivent Financial Action Team. Friend Sponsor: Tompkins Insurance Agencies.

Tickets are $15 and can be picked up at the ILGR office, 113 Main St., Suite 5, Batavia. Space is limited! To R.S.V.P., become a sponsor, or get more information call Donna at 585-815-8501, ext. 411, or email [email protected].

Independent Living expects the event to increase awareness of its programs to help people with disabilities living in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties to remain independent and empowered, to which programs the funds raised will be directed.

Its services include independent living skills training, advocacy, peer counseling, diabetes self-management classes, a loan closet of medical equipment, housing and employment assistance, Social Security and Medicaid assistance information and referral, and many more.

September 5, 2017 - 2:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Two of the best 3-year-old trotting fillies on the Grand Circuit will be at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 6) in a division of the $108,200 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS). Barn Bella and Celebrity Ruth will go head to head in the second $59,100 division (carded as race four) of the NYSS in what looks to be a heavyweight battle for the ages with possible track record implications.

Barn Bella (Conway Hall-Bravissima) comes into the race as the second richest ($329,584) and third fastest (1:51.3) 3-year-old trotting filly in North America. She has scored 10 wins in 12 starts this year, making breaks the only two times she hasn’t finished first.  

Having campaigned exclusively in New York State this year, Barn Bella has won five legs of the NYSS as well as the $228,250 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) at Vernon Downs in 1:51.3, which was her lifetime best effort.

In her last start on Aug. 18, Barn Bella was racing older male trotters in the overnight Open at Tioga Downs and made a break in the first turn while everyone was jockeying for position. This will be her first start back in 18 days and she looks to rebound with a big effort in the short six-horse field.

Barn Bella will be a big hometown favorite as all her connections are from only a few miles of Batavia Downs. Co-owner/trainer Steve Pratt, co-owner Wanda Polisseni and driver Jeff Gregory all call Batavia Downs their “home track” and will converge there with high expectations for their star performer.

Barn Bella has drawn post six and has been made the 8-5 morning line favorite.

Looking to spoil the homecoming is Celebrity Ruth (Archangel-Celebrity Obsession) who comes in fresh off a win in the $119,010 Hudson Trot final at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (Sept. 2).

Celebrity Ruth was unraced at two but has made up for time lost this year. She has won three legs of the NYSS as well as the afore mentioned Hudson Trot. She also took a major check finishing second to Barn Bella in the EBC. In all, her five wins and five seconds have put $280,938 in her bank account this year. She has a lifetime mark of 1:53.4 taken at Tioga Downs but has been race timed in 1:52.1 at Vernon.

Trond Smedshammer trains Celebrity Ruth and has regular driver Jason Bartlett up once again and the pair will depart from post two, listed at 3-1.

In the first $59,100 division (carded as race three) Mamora Bay will start at Batavia Downs only four days after competing in the Hudson Trot as well where she finished third behind Celebrity Ruth.

Prior to Saturday, Mamora Bay (Chapter Seven-Giulie Bi) had been off since Aug. 1 as she was trying to get over the effects of a virus she has been dealing with all year, as reported by her trainer Sam Schillaci in a recent interview. With that said, she did look good qualifying twice at Northfield Park getting ready for that big stake.

In the Hudson, Mamora Bay got away sixth and was forced to come third-over in a dull outer flow and had to overcome a strong front-runner, the rain and a breaking horse around the last turn but still closed well to finish third, beaten less than four lengths.

With $66,331 on her card so far in 2017, Mamora Bay has only one win in six starts this year and her connections are hoping she gets back to her form of last year now that she is back in action.

Sam Schillaci is aboard once again and has been named the early favorite at 9-5 leaving from post three.

Looking to challenge for the spoils is Maewegonow (Deweycheatumnhowe-Mauresmo) who is the highest money earner in this leg with $91,220 banked. But she also only has one NYSS win to her credit.

Maewegonow has shown versatility racing on the front end as well as from behind and in this short field could be successful with either strategy. She has hit the board in seven out of 11 starts and took a lifetime mark of 1:55.3 in her last outing at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs in an overnight event.

Charlie Norris trains and drives Maewegonow who has drawn post two and is tabbed at 5-2.

The current track record for 3-year-old trotting fillies is 1:57.2 set by Cowgirl Hall in 2012 and matched by Bouncing Bax in 2013.

There are also two divisions of the $15,000 Excelsior A series on Wednesday that are programmed as races six and seven.

Post time for the first race Wednesday is 5 p.m.

September 5, 2017 - 2:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in east pembroke, news, Announcements.

Press release:

Please take notice that a workshop meeting will be conducted by the East Pembroke Fire District from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5th at the East Pembroke Fire Hall, located at 2623 W. Main Road, East Pembroke.

Purpose of the meeting is 2018 Fire District Budget.

September 4, 2017 - 10:06am
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, news, Labor Day.

A participant in the Oakfield Betterment Committee's annual Labor Day Parade fell off a horse and sustained a head injury. Oakfield fire responded along with Mercy medics. Mercy Flight was called and it just landed.

UPDATE 10:16 a.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne, en route to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE: A witness emailed: "The participant on the horse in the Labor Day parade did not sustain a head injury. She was stepping on her horse, slipped and fell on the ground and landed on her back and was taken by Mercy Flight as a precaution."

September 2, 2017 - 6:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in frank santorelli, Le Roy, news, Announcements, comedy, the sopranos.

Frank Santorelli’s character on HBO's classic “The Sopranos” was a bartender at the Bada Bing who ended up getting on his boss’s every last nerve. He got beat for it, of course.

You may recall the episode in which that character, Georgie Santorelli (yes, the same last name), bought “Tone” a phone answering machine that featured a singing fish.

When a call came in, the fish flipped its tail, then swung its head around and “sang” the Talking Heads’ “Take Me to the River.”

At first, Tone is amused by “Big Mouth Billy Bass” -- a novelty bought at Rite Aid by his bartender.

But the modern don’s thoughts quickly turn dark and he instead hears mockery in the fake bucketmouth's tune. So he yanks it off the desk and stomps into the bar and beats Georgie savagely with it.

The actor Frank Santorelli is a rarity -- with bragging rights that the late actor James Gandolfini (AKA Tony Soprano) clocked him with a gag gift.

The native of Cleveland is also a gifted comedian and he will bring his act to Genesee County on Sunday, Oct. 8, in a special appearance at Capish! Brick Oven Pizza Ristorante in Le Roy. Doors open at 2 p.m., show starts at 3; tickets are $20 each, with a two-drink minimum and a limited menu available.

You can get a sense of his humor by watching one of his routines on You Tube. (Like this one here. (Warning: Not Work Safe; adult material.))

He tells about his horrific experience cross-country skiing one New Hampshire winter with Olympic athletes. Wasn't a good idea. He shows us how idiotic it is to try and appear menacing at a bar with a troublemaker when you no longer drink, so your beverage is served with a big crazy straw. Deadpanning "Don't mess with me pal," while trying to manage a long straw fails to menace. So does breaking out the Chapstick and then smacking your lips together after saying "Don't even think about it."

He pokes fun at everyday life, the aging process (he's born in 1957 -- "the Chinese calendar's "Year of the Cock"), New Yorkers, hirsute Italian women who taught all the men in his family how to shave, riding the subway, whatever. It's a crack up."Capisci?!"

Capish! Brick Oven Pizza Ristorante is located at 49 Main St. in the Village of Le Roy. Parking in front and out back. Phone is (585) 768-1000. To buy tickets in advance go online to

September 2, 2017 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

Photo of driver Drew Monti winning the 2014 race in the closest finish ever in the annual drivers' bike race (Photo courtesy of Paul White).

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

A full card of harness racing action, food specials and a drivers' bike race are all on tap as part of the annual Labor Day extravaganza at Batavia downs on Monday (Sept. 4).

The live harness racing kicks off at 1:15 p.m. with 12 exciting races. But there will also be something for the whole family to enjoy all day long and no one will go hungry for sure.

The featured meal deal is a $10.95 chicken barbecue provided by the Center Street Smoke House from noon to 3 p.m. in the clubhouse. The smell of the on-site prepared barbecue chicken with “all the fixin’s” will permeate the grandstand and come with a built in value. Every meal purchased comes with $10 in Batavia Downs Gaming Free-play to be used on the gaming floor after earning one base-point.

If chicken is not to your liking, there will also be $1 Sahlen’s hot dogs, $1 draft beer and $1 soda available on the track apron outlets from noon to 4 p.m.

Then after the seventh race, Batavia Downs will present the annual Driver’s Bike Race sponsored by Crazy Cheap Cars of Oakfield. This race features eight of the top drivers at the Downs competing in a race on bicycles that will then be given away to the fans who correctly picked the winner of the race.

Our live guests may place an entry in the box of the driver that they think is going to win in the Paddock Room from noon to 2:30 p.m. There will be eight names chosen from the winning driver’s box after the bike race is completed and each name drawn will receive one of the bikes used in the race. There is no purchase necessary, you must be 18-years-old or older to enter and you must be present to win.

This year’s competing drivers include (in post-position order) Larry Stalbaum, Mike Caprio, John Cummings Jr., Rock Vinci, Jim McNeight Jr., Shawn McDonough, Drew Monti and Denny Bucceri.

Caprio, Vinci, Monti and Bucceri have all won this race before and bragging rights are on the line for the next 12 months. 

September 2, 2017 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.
Photo of Hitman Hill with driver Brett Miller.
By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
The track standard of 1:53.2 for 2-year-old pacing geldings was lowered substantially on Friday night (Sept. 1) when Hitman Hill (American Ideal-Fox Valley Shaker) torched the Genesee County oval in 1:52.4 in the $106,000 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) at Batavia Downs. 
Leaving from post one in his $53,500 division, Hitman Hill (Brett Miller) shot right to the lead and dictated fractions that would put him in the record books. 
After stopping the clock at :27.3, :56.1 and 1:25.1, the only threat of the race came at the three-quarters when pocket-sitting Casual Cool (Drew Monti) pulled and advanced to within a neck. But Miller tapped the gas and Hitman Hill responded by pacing home in :27.3 to win by four lengths in 1:52.4 to set the new track record. 
The previous mark was held by Pointomygranson (Marcus Miller) who paced in 1:53.2 last year. 
"This colt, from the first time I sat behind him; I told (trainer) Chris Oakes the could be one of the best colts I've ever sat behind" said driver Brett Miller. "And I still feel that way."
Hitman Hill ($2.40) is now a perfect four for four this year and has earned $79,383 for his owners Tom Hill and Northfork Racing Stable. 
In the second $52,500 division, Jersey Jim (Artiscape-Jersey Pearl) matched his lifetime best clocking to score his third win of the year, two of which were in NYSS action. 
Jersey Jim (Jim Devaux) got away last as the heavily favored Paprike Blue Chip (Jim Morrill Jr.) led the way. But after Silver Arrow (John Macdonald) pushed the issue in the third quarter, Jersey Jim made a bold three-wide, three-quarter move and drew alongside Paprike Blue Chip at the head of the lane. From there he out-muscled the pace setter to the wire to win by a length in 1:54.1. 
Jersey Jim ($5.80) has now banked $62,933 in 2017 for owners Robert and Gail Sanders and trainer Perry Simser. 
There were also two $15,000 Excalsior A series contests on the card. 
In the first split, Real Rayenbow (So Surreal-R Reva Raye) won in 1:58.4 for Chuck Connor Jr. Real Rayenbow ($23.40) is owned by Janice Connor, Arden Homestead Stable and Crawford Farms Racing and is trained by Chuck Connor Jr. 
In the second leg, Major Sugar Rush (Art Major-Sugarcoated) registered a 1:56.2 victory for Ray Schnittker. Major Sugar Rush ($7.90) is owned by Ray Schnittker and Steve Arnold and is trained by Ray Schnittker. 
September 2, 2017 - 2:58pm

Press release:

Please take notice that a workshop meeting will be conducted by the East Pembroke Fire District from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5th at the East Pembroke Fire Hall, located at 2623 W. Main Road, East Pembroke.

Purpose of the meeting is 2018 Fire District Budget.

September 1, 2017 - 5:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

A 19-year-old Nigerian college soccer player was sentenced to time served today after agreeing to a plea bargain on a sex charge.

Hamma S. Yusuf Jr. has been incarcerated for 11 months (nine in Genesee County; two in North Dakota for reasons not explained). In Genesee County Court this morning, he pled guilty to a Class A misdemeanor -- sexual misconduct, on an "Alvord basis," meaning without a factual admission of guilt. The maximum sentence he could serve on that misdemeanor is one year.

He was originally charged with first-degree rape in a case involving a 13-year-old girl when he was 18. He was also granted "youthful offender" status today, which means in due time his crime can be expunged from his record, provided he does not commit another one.

But Yusuf is not home free. Although he was released today from Genesee County's custody, an immigration detainer was filed by the U.S. Immigration Service. Therefore, he will imminently be in their custody and his temporary visa status will be reviewed and possibly revoked.

Judge Charles Zambito clearly and articulately explained the proceedings to Yusuf and was careful that the client of defense attorney Michael D'Amico understood them and the impact the guilty plea may have on his immigration status.

D'Amico described the athletic teenager as articulate, thoughtful and a good soccer player who realizes "he got himself in a tough spot." When asked, the soft-spoken African said he completed two years of college and could write and speak English fluently.

Nothing was said about regrets.

Zambito agreed to issue the requested order of protection for the victim and fined Yusuf $175 plus a $25 mandated surcharge.

Then the orange-jumpsuited, handcuffed teen was led away to be processed and transferred to the custody of immigration authorities.

September 1, 2017 - 4:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Bethany, news.

A registered sex offender and former resident of Chaddock Road, Bethany, was in Genesee County Court again today for a probation violation.

According to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, Christopher Joseph Campbell has been staying with a woman and her three children, which is a violation of his probation.

"He can't be around children, even if the mother has no objection," Judge Charles Zambito told the defendant and his attorney, Michael Locicero. "It's not up to her. It's up to me."

The mother, who was sitting in the gallery, was asked by the judge if she understood that. She said yes, and was asked to state her name for the record.

The defendant, with nearly shorn hair and sporting a Van Dyke (see photo, taken in February), was dressed in street clothes -- jeans, a gray T-shirt, and turquoise, gray and white zip-up fleece jacket. He looked over at his girlfriend and shrugged his shoulders a couple of times during the proceedings.

Although his attorney said he is employed full time, Friedman said that it is his understanding that Campbell was fired from his job.

Zambito said he will revoke Campbell's probation if he is found around children and he will be arrested. Period.

Last October, Campbell was charged with failure to report a change of address as required by law. It is a felony. He formerly resided on West Main Street Road in Batavia before moving to Bethany. But the state database for sex offenders, as of today, lists him as residing on West Main Street Road.

According to the state database, the 39-year-old, who is 5'10" and weighs about 190 pounds, was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in 2007. He was a "non-stranger" who sexually abused two girls, ages 10 and 7, in the summer of 2005. Although force was not used, according to the record, he is listed as "sexually violent." He was arrested for the sex crimes by Monroe County authorities.

Campbell served two years in state prison.

Campbell is due back in court at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

September 1, 2017 - 3:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news, animal abuse.

A man accused of forcibly stealing a cell phone and beating and strangling a woman's beagle will get a thorough mental health exam to determine his fitness for court proceedings, Judge Charles Zambito ordered today in Genesee County Court.

Shawn Michael Twardowski is charged with one count of third-degree robbery, a Class D felony, for allegedly taking a cell phone from a woman on Jan. 26 on Bank Street in the City of Batavia; and one count of cruelty to animals, a Class A misdemeanor.

A possible plea deal was withdrawn, for now at least.

His attorney, Michael Locicero, told Judge Zambito that his client "displayed competency issues in his last court appearance" in August. Today, Locicero reiterated his concerns, saying a recent "mental forensic evaluation" does not address Twardowski's "competency per se" and he again expressed reservations about his client's "fitness to proceed," and comprehend a plea bargain.

Locicero said his client told him that at some point he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but nothing in his file confirms that diagnosis. He described his client as "non-responsive" in face-to-face dealings with him. Indeed throughout his brief appearance in County Court this morning, the tall, lanky Twardowski, handcuffed and wearing inmate orange, sat or stood slope-shouldered, staring vacantly at the table. 

The defense attorney once more asked for a "730 Exam" -- a comprehensive mental health evaluation of his client.

Last month, Assistant District Attorney Robert Zickl objected to that request and noted that no comprehension issue was raised when the defendant sought a judicial diversion. Zambito, who subsequently called for more information and specifics to be gathered in the intervening weeks, seemed reluctant to grant the 730 Exam request.

"I've reviewed the records," Zambito said. "There's nothing to indicate he's incompetent, but I have not dealt with him personally."

Zickl again objected to the request, adding that the plea offer would be withdrawn and if he is found competent, the case would go to trial.

"If he's (found) not competent to stand trial, he's not competent to consider a plea offer," Zambito said, making Zickl's point moot.

Zambito ordered a 730 Exam for Twardowski.

The case is on the docket again at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13.

August 31, 2017 - 5:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, Alzheimer's, news, Announcements.

Press release:

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. It is a progressive and fatal brain disease that is the most common form of dementia.

“The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease” is a free class presented by the Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter for anyone who would like to know more about the disease and related dementias.

The program will be offered in Le Roy at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14 at Woodward Memorial Library at 7 Wolcott St.

Attendees will learn:  

  • Symptoms and effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia
  • How Alzheimer’s affects the brain
  • Causes and risk factors
  • How to find out if it’s Alzheimer’s disease
  • The benefits of early detection
  • Treatment
  • Resources in your community, including the Alzheimer’s Association WNY Chapter  

There is no cost to attend this public presentation, but reservations are encouraged by calling 1.800.272.3900.

August 31, 2017 - 2:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in history, Announcements, Great War, hlom.
Free presentation at HLOM:
"Notes from Armageddon: Popular Propaganda, Postcards, and the Great War"
Andrew Nicholls, Ph.D., SUNY Buffalo State
7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20
Notes from Armageddon explores popular sentiments prior to and during the First World war through the medium of postcards. Drawn from a collection of more than 5,000 images, the presentation considers how contemporaries viewed the "War to End All Wars."

If you would like to RSVP, please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected].
August 31, 2017 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, Announcements, Thomas Jefferson.
HLOM presents: 
"Thomas Jefferson and the Times that Shaped Him"
Featuring Greg Kinal & Don Reed
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9
Free admission
The presentation will travel through the life of Thomas Jefferson and what molded him into the man that we know from history today.
Various topics of his life will include: his early life, life at Monticello, Revolutionary period, and his views on the social and political climate. The presentation will also focus upon bringing the thoughts of Thomas Jefferson into today's world and what relevance they truly have.

If you would like to RSVP, please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected].




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

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