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April 24, 2014 - 10:29am
posted by Michele Lawson in austin park, free, cookouts, meals.

The warm weather is coming, the cookout vehicle is being readied, and the grills are being tested!!!! Why???? Well, the reason is simple….free community cookouts are about to begin at Austin Park.

Care-A-Van Ministries will begin their 8th summer of hosting free community cookouts and their 3rd year at Austin Park!!!! Cookouts will begin on Thursday, May 15th and run through September 18th from 5 pm until8 pm ---- rain or shine.

Each meal consists of a choice of hot dog or hamburger,potato and macaroni salad, pickles, chips, watermelon and a drink. In 2012, during the first summer of cookouts at Austin Park, 4388 meals were served, and 4936 meals were served during the summer of 2013. Care-A-Van expects that the summer of 2014 will see even more meals served as schools will be closed (no free/reduced lunches for children), as many individuals are still facing economic hardship, and most importantly, many just love to come out and enjoy a warm summer evening of fellowship, music, and a great meal.

Each week, cookouts are highlighted with an inspirational gospel message by a different Pastor from a local community church and uplifting music provided by the Care-A-Van Band. Many organizations, including the Salvation Army, Eagles Fountain Fellowship, Fidelis Care, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Genesee Country Church, Truth Ministries, R2R Ministries, Living Waters Apostolic Ministries, GCASA, and Discovery Chapel have come out on these Thursday nights to share information about their services, their churches, or just to fellowship with those attending the cookouts. The YMCA and EaglesFountain Fellowship generously provided a bounce house last summer which was a highlight with all the children attending.

Care-A-Van encourages any organization or church that is interested in setting up a table or activity to contact Paul Ohlson at 343-0328. We welcome those interested in serving their community.

Wouldn’t you like to be part of the local missions field????

See you at Austin Park!!!!!

April 24, 2014 - 8:30am

Every year thousands of people flock to Letchworth State Park and of course all who come to the park want a look into the Genesee River Gorge, the Grand Canyon of the East. Among the sights in the gorge, several hundred feet below on the river's surface, are what appear to be blips of white. Those blips are waves of white water and all but unnoticed against a panoramic vista from the overlooks. There, high above the river, they appear somewhat obscure, maybe even miniscule -- unless you maneuver over and through those waves via raft or kayak. And only then will you get a real sense of what the Genesee River Gorge is all about.

Might anyone be interested in seeing the gorge from below, Adventure Calls Outfitters is ready to accommodate. Not only is there an opportunity to view the gorge from the "bottom up," one gets to take a thrilling ride at the same time. 

The accompanying whitewater pics, courtesy of the folks at ACO, were taken during the first two weekends of the rafting season on April 12th, 13th and 19th. With snowmelt and spring runoff in high gear, now is the optimum time for a wild ride with Western New York's premier river runners.                        

Adventure Calls Outfitters is owned and operated by Stafford resident Kevin Kretschmer who has spent 32 years as a whitewater guide on the Genesee River Gorge, the Salmon River up at Pulaski and Cattaraugus Creek through Zoar Valley. He has been the owner of ACO for the past 16 years. 

ACO has a large contingent of skilled guides on hand, each of whom love their work and enjoy nothing better than taking customers through some smashing whitewater.                                                                                                   

Midway through every trip, groups stop for pictures at the base of Wolf Creek Waterfall. Here guests have the opportunity to take the "leap of faith" -- a plunge into a hole beneath the falls. Not to worry, no one's ever been lost taking the leap of faith.                                                                                                     

The user-friendly and highly maneuverable inflatable kayak...aka  funyak!      

Riding a wave train along the wall. Is this stuff thrilling? Invigorating?   

You bet it is! BOOYAH!

The ACO rafting season is just getting under way. The season on Cattaraugus Creek runs from April though June. Release dates for the Salmon River are July 5th, 6th, 19th and 20th and Aug. 2nd and 3rd. While rafting is their mainstay, Adventure Calls Outfitters offers a variety of packages and events throughout the season. Check out their Web site at http://www.adventure-calls.com/rafting_letchworth.html

April 24, 2014 - 1:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Well, here it is 1:20 a.m. and I have to get up in a couple of hours to head to Rochester to catch a flight to New Jersey.

I'll be at Montclair University to participate in a conference called Innovating the Local News Ecosystem. Specifically, I've been asked to share about how The Batavian has become so successful.

As for coverage: I'm taking some work with me and we have some other stories lined up, and of course, Billie will be here to cover what needs to be covered. There should be a supply of news to keep things interesting over the next two days.

Lisa Ace can help local businesses with any advertising needs, as always. Employers with job openings should call Lucie Ann Griffis. Both can be reached at (585) 250-4118.

April 24, 2014 - 1:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

UPDATED AT 5:37 a.m.

A 19-year-old Genesee County resident died Wednesday night after he was struck by an SUV on Route 33 in Darien just east of County Line Road.

Dean Cullinan, of Corfu, was walking with his bike along Genesee Street heading east when an eastbound vehicle driven by Kris Clark, 32, of Corfu, struck him.

Cullinan was pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Kristine Flanagan.

Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble said the Cullinan appeared to have been in the driving lane when he was struck.

"We don't see any signs of lights or reflectors on the bicycle," Dibble said. "That would be a factor in the accident."

Cullinan's name was not released until some hours after the accident pending further family notification. Some members of his family where on scene after learning of an accident involving a bicyclist.

The accident remains under investigation and the belief that the rider was in the driving lane is still a preliminary conclusion, Dibble said.

"We have some work to do," Dibble said. "Some of the work will have to be done in the daylight when we have better lighting, but we've done what we can do tonight."

Clark also apparently had a hard time seeing Cullinan because Cullinan was wearing dark-colored clothing, according to the Sheriff's Office. There was also an oncoming vehicle that created difficult site conditions prior to the accident.

There was an initial attempt to perform CPR on the victim, but a deputy arrived on scene minutes later and informed dispatchers the accident was a fatal.

Darien Fire, Darien Ambulance and Mercy EMS responded to the scene.

The name of the SUV driver has not yet been released either. The SUV was towed from the scene. Its passenger-side headlight assembly was heavily damaged.

"It was dark. It was unlit road. I don't think he (the SUV driver) had much time for reaction," Dibble said.

(Initial Report)

April 23, 2014 - 11:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime.

A fight is reported outside The Harvester bar on Harvester Avenue in Batavia and the caller says there are chairs being thrown. City police are responding.

UPDATE 1:21 a.m. (by Howard): Apparently, two of the people involved in the original fracas tangled again. Police are looking for a suspect and an ambulance has been requested to The Harvester to treat a victim with an injured nose.

April 23, 2014 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien, corfu.

A car has reportedly hit a bicyclist in the area of 475 Genesee St., Darien

That's between South Lake Road and County Line Road.

CPR reported in progress. Mercy Flight in Batavia is on a ground standby.

Mercy EMS, Darien Ambulance and Darien Fire Department dispatched.

April 23, 2014 - 10:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in law enforcement, State Police.

Ron Burroughs sent in these pictures of the State Police aviation unit training at the Genesee County Airport this morning.

The State Police helicopter is actually no longer stationed in Batavia, having been moved to Rochester, according to county officials. The move has cut into the county's fuel tax revenue from the airport.

April 23, 2014 - 9:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in emergency dispatchers.

Genesee County's emergency dispatchers were honored this evening by the the County Legislature for their service to local residents as part of National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week. The dispatchers were presented with a resolution honoring their work.

Undersheriff Bill Sheron told legislators, "They are the lifeline of Genesee County. They handle life and death everyday." Chairman Ray Cianfrini thanked them for their dedicated service.

Photo, bottom row from left: Robert Tripp, Beth Hynes-Fisher, Adam Miller, Nathan Fix, Lynn Riccobono, Daniel Rieks, Bill Sheron, John Spencer II, Jim Tripp, Jason Holman, Steve Sharpe.

Not pictured: Barbara Eddy, Michael Sheflin, Frank Riccobono, Steve Robinson, Steve Smelski, Peggy Richardson, Kelly Tripp, James Sheflin, Andy Merkel, Jenna Bauer and Zackery Czudak.

April 23, 2014 - 8:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCC, Batavia Loop Trail.

In something like a dress rehearsal for their big presentation in Albany on Friday, five Genesee Community College students stood before local officials and the media and made their pitch for a bike and walking trail that would surround Batavia.

The Batavia Loop Trail project is one of the finalists the Social Entrepreneurship / Nonprofit category in the fifth annual New York Business Plan Competition.

A win could mean a $50,000 prize for the project.

City Manager Jason Molino said at the end of the presentation, the project sounds like a winner even if it doesn't win the competition.

"Personally, I think it's a home run," Molino said. "It's closely accessible to residential property and adds a quality-of-life perspective that right now isn't there."

The Batavia Loop Trail would leverage an already-funded trail -- to the tune of $1.5 million provided by the state's Transportation Enhancement Program -- and create a closed circle around the city, providing safer, quicker bicycle access to the college campus from the city.

The total cost of the project hasn't been determined, but the students said their plan calls for it being completed by 2025.

"This is really a transformative project and we feel like we're the students to get it off the ground," Maryssa Peirick said.

Besides making the GCC campus and the city better connected, the trail plan passes within a block or two of 100 local businesses and several parks.

Students said the loop -- and Assemblyman Steve Hawley agreed -- will help attract bike riders from throughout the region. Hawley said he frequently goes to neighboring counties, such as those along the Erie Canel, to ride his bike.

If the students can win the top prize it would fund a feasibility study, which would help determine the final route and the project costs.

Molino said there are several potential grants from both public and private funders for such a project and winning the competition would certainly help attract more support.

"If you came back with $50,000 ready to roll, that would pull in a lot more interest," Molino said.

The students also anticipate doing local fund raising to help pay for the project.

Potential project partners include the city and town of Batavia, City Schools, the Chamber of Commerce, Genesee County Economic Development Center, Leadership Genesee, local civic clubs and Vibrant Batavia.

Hawley said he found the students' presentation impressive.

"Quality of life is an important issue for economic development," Hawley said. "It will help retain our current population and attract new people to visit and live right here in our area. All of this means new revenue, and spreading of the oppressive tax burden among more, thereby lessening the individual burden for all."

This is the projected trail map. It could be revised through the feasability study process.

April 23, 2014 - 3:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany.

A cherished tradition among firefighters is honoring a departed comrade by flying mourning flags on each side of the fire station and displaying a helmet and turnout coat on a folding chair, with a set of boots in front.

And so it was after the unexpected death Monday, April 14, of Bethany Town Supervisor Louis J. Gayton, whose dedicated service to his community was well known and respected. It included more than 50 years as a volunteer firefighter.

The loss of Louie, who was 75, is deeply felt, not only by family and friends, but also many residents in Bethany and the entire firefighting community.

Now there is a lot of outrage, too.

Outrage that someone stole the helmet and the turnout coat from Mr. Gayton's mourning display. (The chair and boots were left there.)

The theft was discovered at about 8 o'clock the next day, Tuesday, and subsequently reported to law enforcement by Bethany Assistant Chief Jeff Fluker. (The chief is out of town for two weeks.)

No suspects as of yet.

The dollar value is estimated to be $350. But you can't really put a price on a gesture of bereavement.

"I've never heard of these items being stolen before," said a dumbfounded Deputy Sheriff Gordon Dibble. "It's a respect thing. I liken it to tipping over gravestones."

April 23, 2014 - 3:30pm

The end result of cross-training, Steve Wakefield said, is functional fitness. Your body is better conditioned to work for you.

For example, your body is built to squat. That's something that can be harder to do with any stamina if you haven't developed your muscles appropriately.

"I spent three years in Afghanistan and every meeting for me was in a squat," Wakefield said. "I was like, 'oh, I've got to squat again,' but that's what your body is supposed to do. Cross-training teaches your body to go back and use the movement it's supposed to."

Wakefield, a certified Cross Fit trainer, is the cross-training coach at Oakfield Fitness and Cross Training Center, 116 N. Main St., Oakfield.

Oakfield fitness recently moved into a larger building with an expanded cross-training center.

Wakefield said cross-training is a suitable physical fitness program for just about anybody, whether you're already athletic or haven't worked out in years and need to lose weight.

"You can do every workout to your own ability, which is awesome and I love it," Wakefield said. "Even as a trainer, I'm not as strong as some of these guys, but I lower the weight to my ability and I do what I can do. I've got an older lady, in her 60s, who's here every day. She can do the workout. It's scaled to her."

Cross-training, by definition is a constantly varied functional workout. Every session is different and it's not just about lifting weights and working specific muscles. You won't come in one day thinking, "this is my day to work my biceps" as you would with traditional fitness regimes.

"We've been taught for years that 'today I'm going to do by bis and back and tomorrow my tris and chest,' " Wakefield said. "Cross-training is breaking out of that model of isolated muscle movement. It's whole body, functional fitness."

The program also includes seminars on nutrition.

"You can workout every day, but if your nutrition is off, it's not going to work," Wakfield said. "Cross-training isn't who is the fittest. We want to get you healthy."

Since cross-training is usually a daily workout with a regular group of people, and the classes become more like a group of friends.

That's one of the things that kept Wakefield interested cross-training once he got started.

"We get to know each other," Wakefield said. "We get to know each other's families. We get to know each other's strengths and goals. We clap harder for the person who is last trying to finish up than the person who is done first."

It costs $80 per month to take part in cross-training at Oakfield Fitness, and that includes full 24/7 access to the entire gym.

For more information, visit OakfieldFitness.com.

More pictures after the jump:

April 23, 2014 - 3:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in volunteer firefighters, FASNY.

Press release:

Genesee County volunteer fire departments will open their doors to residents this weekend so they can learn about what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter. This is part of the fourth annual RecruitNY statewide initiative of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY).

Over the last several years it has been very tough for many fire departments throughout New York State to recruit and retain volunteers for a variety of reasons. Like most volunteer fire departments, those in Genesee County need to bolster their emergency response numbers so they can continue to provide the optimal level of protection for residents.

As part of RecruitNY, this Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, the volunteer fire departments listed below will be open along with others throughout the state for a unified recruitment drive. This will be an opportunity to highlight the duties and rewards that come with being a volunteer firefighter; it's also a chance to check out the equipment, try on the gear, and tour the station.

Volunteer firefighters will be on hand to discuss the requirements to be a volunteer, and they will also conduct demonstrations, answer questions and let visitors know how to get involved in their fire department.

Last year, more than 500 fire departments in 55 counties statewide held recruitment Open Houses. FASNY is hoping for an even higher turnout this year.

Over the last year and a half, FASNY has worked exceptionally hard to build and deploy a multi-tiered plan for helping the state's 1,700 volunteer fire departments recruit more than 15,000 new volunteers by using federal SAFER grants for programs, including the "Fire in You" ad campaign, and the FASNY HELP community college reimbursement program, plus recruitment training programs.

Here is the line-up of Open Houses and activities at fire departments in Genesee County: (Information as provided by the individual departments and may not include everything offered; for more information contact the local department.)

Saturday, April 26:

Bethany -- 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- Coffee & Donuts, Open House, and Demonstrations

Byron -- Burn Car & Open House

Elba -- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- Open House & Soft-serve Ice Cream

Indian Falls -- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- Open House

Pembroke -- Open House, Auto Extrication & Other Demonstrations

Stafford, Pavilion, Le Roy -- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- All three departments will converge at the Stafford Fire Station and will offer many demonstrations, an Open House, and a light lunch.

Sunday, April 27:

Alabama -- 12 to 3 p.m. -- Open House & Ice Water Suit Demonstration

Bethany -- 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- Coffee & Donuts, Open House, Demonstrations

Byron -- Auto Extrication & Free Spaghetti Dinner

Elba -- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- Open House & Soft-serve Ice Cream

April 23, 2014 - 1:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Batavia High School.

Press release:

Batavia High School Class of 2015 will be hosting the Dodge Test Drive Fundraiser and a Clor's Chicken Barbecue, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, at Batavia High School.

This fundraiser is open to all community members, age 18 and over, and is extremely easy to participate in. For every community member who comes to Batavia High School on May 10, and test drives a new Dodge and fills out a brief survey, the BHS Class of 2015 will receive a donation from Dodge toward the class senior trip and prom. Participation is free and takes less than 10 minutes.

The test drive will also coincide with the class chicken barbecue, which will be sold during the event.

Please come out to support the Class of 2015 and their exciting plan for their senior year by participating in the Dodge Test Drive and purchasing some delicious Clor's barbecue. 




Batavia High School


260 State St., Batavia

(585) 343-2480

April 23, 2014 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, education, fashion show.

The students in the Genesee Community College Fashion Merchandising and Design Program are excited and nervous about Saturday.

For the 33rd year, the college will host its spring fashion show, which is the culmination -- and final exam -- of the students' efforts to learn about the world of fashion and retail clothing.

Nearly all of the students are planning to move on to the next level of education or start working in the field upon graduation.

The show this year is called "Ethereal" and Professor Rick Dudkowski said there are a record number of designers participating with more than 100 models who will strut down the catwalk.  Show times are 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and tickets are $7 at the door.

More than 1,400 people are expected to attend the two shows. Dudkowski said GCC's show is the largest fashion show in WNY.

"People who attend our show will see a lot of creativity and originality," Dudkowski said.

Some of the sets include: "Grecian Utopia" -- designed and produced by Catherine Kelkenberg with assistance from Asahi Nakamigawa; "Americana" -- designed and produced by Tyler Annalora and Alaina Shannon; "Revival" -- designed and produced by Natalie Brown; and "Catherine Ivelisse" -- designed and produced by Catherine Morales.

Alania Shannon and Taylor Bunch have put together a set featuring clothes from Gymboree in the Eastview Mall. 

Bunch, the only man in the class, is from Buffalo and was a Finance major at Canius when he decided he wanted to do something more creative with his life. He transferred to GCC specifically for the fashion design program.

He explained that he and Shannon saw the show as being about youth, and youth is about rebellion or breaking the mold. So they wanted to evoke the roots of popular youth rebellion in popular culture, and drew on the inspiration of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. Bunch's repertoire for men will be bold and bright colors and Kesterke went with neutral tones and soft pinks often associated with Monroe.

NYC clothiers Buffalo David Bitton and Maurices have shipped a new line of fashions that will make their debut at the GCC show in a set produced by Shelby Wallenhorst and Ashley Husted.

The show's 11th and final set is "Ambiance" -- produced by Kelly Wetherby and Lekha Anderson with apparel from M.A. Carr Bridal and Charles Men's Shop. Carr donated $18,000 in top-line wedding gowns, which the designers have reshaped and recolored and reimagined into new dresses.

It takes nearly the whole school to put on the show: students from Criminal Justice studies provide security; the media department records it; the Events and Hospitality program provides support and hosts the after-party; and the Graphics students design posters and other promotional material.

Shelby Wallenhorst is in charge of decorations and Amanda Joyce helped head up the event planning.

For the Fashion and Merchandising students, the show is supposed to bring together all they've learned through the two-year program.

Students graduating this year will go on to further studies in NYC and fashion programs there, or into the fashion program at Buffalo State (which recently invested $63 million in its fashion technology lab), or right into the work world.

Ashley Husted is already a manager at the Maurices store in Batavia. In fact, all five of Maurices locations in WNY are managed by graduates of the GCC program.

"I love working for them," Husted said, and Dudkowski added, "We're very proud of our students who are with Maurices."

Only one of this year's grads is going in a different direction. She's going to major in environmental science at St. Bonaventure.

Top photo: Candace Cooper.

Kelly Wetherby.

Natalie Brown

April 22, 2014 - 5:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, arts, entertainment.

Batavia resident Rashaad Santiago, whom we featured in a story last month, is one of three finalists in the reality TV series "Face Off."

The show airs at 8 p.m. on the SciFi Channel. 

Santiago will be at City Slickers tonight for the season finale to celebrate the event and answer any questions people might have about the show.

April 22, 2014 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

Press release:

With the arrival of the fire department's new rescue truck the Le Roy Fire Dept. truck committee, with permission from commissioners, wanted to place a new decal on our apparatus to show our support to the community. What better way than through our kids... we decided to go with the school logo.

With the assistance from Principle Tim McArdle, who was able to send us the school logo, we then forwarded it to the company that letters all our apparatus and they were able to match the correct size and make the logo reflective.

The first set of decals arrived and was placed on the new rescue about a week ago and the others should be on shortly. The truck was brought to the school on April 21. Pictured below with the truck is Principle McArdle, Vice Principle Linda Lowe, Athletic Director Brain Moran and Coach Moran 3rd period gym class. Thank you to everyone involved and GO KNIGHTS!!!

April 22, 2014 - 5:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, elba, weather.

As it is every year, local farmers are playing the weather lottery. What numbers will come up, nobody knows.

In the meantime, they're planning their crops, waiting for a little dry spell and a bit warmer weather to start planting.

"We always hope every single year that Mother Nature will give us a good growing year," said Barbie Starowitz, of Star Growers Farm in Elba. "We think that every year. We hope every year for a good year just to pay the bills."

For many crops, now is the ideal time for getting seeds in the ground, but when the soil is still too soft from rain or the temperature still a bit cold (as it's expected to be for the next few nights), then farmers may run out of time to sow all their fields, if any.

CY Farms has started planting onions -- as have other farmers -- because, as CEO Craig Yunker says, "the muck is more forgiving," but his crews still haven't started on peas or corn.

Yunker said they like to start planting around April 1 and corn seed should start going in the ground by April 20. So far, CY has yet to plant a single acre of corn or peas.

"We'd like to get going," Yunker said.

This year, CY Farms will return to growing cabbage. The Yunkers made headlines last year when they decided to forgo cabbage.

Craig Yunker cited three reason for cutting the crop: The uncertainty raised by the employer mandate in Obamacare; the loss of labor to an immigration audit; and the high price of corn.

This year, the employer mandate is delayed for at least a year (allowing CY Farms to employ more than 50 people); Yunker has been able to find some qualified help to replace the workers he lost; and corn has dropped nearly $2 in price per bushel and is now trading at just under $5.

Those three factors led Yunker and his managers to decide to cut corn acreage this year and grow cabbage again.

For Star Growers, the crop mix will be pretty much the same as always -- corn, peas, soybeans, wheat, cabbage and onions.

Most of what Star grows goes to canning factories, either Seneca or Bonduelle.

"We've been waiting for a good growing season, but Mother Nature seems pissed at us," Starowitz said. "It's either too wet or too dry."

Like Star Growers, MY-T Acres grows mainly for canners and food processors. Pete Call said this year's crop will be pretty much like the last few years: green beans, peas, cabbage, potatoes for potato chips, spinach, sweet corn, red beets, grain corn, wheat, rye, oats and alfalfa.

We couldn't reach Torrey Farms, another large crop farm in the county, for comment.

Top Photo: Craig Yunker, CY Farms, with buckets of onion seeds. Each bucket holds 500,000 seeds and costs the farm $1,410. "It's the most expensive seed we buy," Yunker said. Below, preparing the muck to be seeded.

April 22, 2014 - 3:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, accidents.

A pickup truck slammed into a pole at 8596 W. Bergen Road. The driver is still inside but can talk, according to a responder on scene. Le Roy fire and ambulance responding. Fire police are requested to shut down West Bergen Road at Quinlan and at Randall roads.

UPDATE 4:33 p.m.: Once the driver was extricated and evaluated by medics, he declined further medical assistance. National Grid is on scene to fix the pole. The road remains closed until the truck is towed and a tow-truck company is en route.

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

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