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January 15, 2013 - 2:26pm



Late fees will be assessed to registrations received after Jan. 18.
Registrations will not be accepted after Feb. 15.
You can register and/or pay online or in person. Regardless of how you plan to register, please read the registration information/parent handbook carefully and thoroughly before entering the online registration system or coming to our walk-in registration. Thank you!
TIME: 6 P.M. TO 8 P.M.
At walk-in registration you can manually register your child if you choose not to use the online registration/payment process. Just print out the registration form to hand in at that time or forms will be available at registration. You may also turn in any information needed to complete your online registration, i.e., picture, birth certificate, payment, sign up for volunteer duty, or to ask questions.
Registration Information / Parent Handbook
After you have read the registration information you can begin the online registration process. 
January 15, 2013 - 2:22pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in chase batavia.

A male Kmart employee has taken chase after a female shoplifter near the Verizon Plaza.

Law enforcement has found the suspect and the Kmart employee near Mark's Pizzeria.

There may be another female suspect hiding inside Mark's Pizzeria. Deputies are checking the store.

January 15, 2013 - 2:17pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in accident, alexander.

A flatbed truck on Route 98 lost some of its scrap metal load, striking a parked snowmobile in front of Sunnyside Cycle Sales in Alexander. A vehicle driving behind the flatbed called 9-1-1 to report that the driver did not stop after the incident.

Sheriff's deputies reported a large back end of an old pickup truck in the road. The damage to the snowmobile is minimal.

Law enforcement has the flatbed truck stopped on Angling Road. The driver will return to Sunnyside Cycle Sales with his insurance information.

January 15, 2013 - 10:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia PD.

Lt. Eugene Jankowski is coming to grips with the fact that his 34-year career with Batavia PD is probably drawing to a close.

He hasn't officially announced his retirement yet, but that's probably what he will do before his job as a lieutenant is eliminated April 1 as part of department restructuring.

"I'm glad I was given the opportunity to serve for 34 years," Jankowski said. "It's been good for me. I love what I do and I hate to leave it. It's not about the money. It's never been about the money, but now's the time to find another worthy cause. I'm still young enough to go out and find another worthy cause."

Jankowski disputed a report coming out of Monday's city council meeting that he, along with Lt. Jim Henning and Lt. Greg Steel were offered a chance to stay with the department if they would each accept a demotion to sergeant and that all three turned it down.

None of them, according to Jankowski, has reached a final decision yet.

Henning and Steele are off duty at the time of this story posting so we can't reach them for comment.

For Jankowski, becoming a sergeant isn't even an option. If he accepted a demotion, it would be to patrol officer.

Under civil service law, when a job/rank is eliminated, the employee is offered the job he or she held prior to promotion. For Jankowski, that was patrol officer, not sergeant.

"If it were a sergeant's position, I might consider it," Jankowski said.

City Manager Jason Molino said he wouldn't discuss with a reporter personnel issues and what may or may not have been communicated between city supervisors and the lieutenants.

According to Jankowski, the lieutenants were told they would not be considered for the new deputy chief position.

"We don't know why," Jankowski said. "He didn't give us a reason. He said we won't put anybody in the deputy chief position until you're long out of here."

Molino said that once the position is created, probably after the budget is approved in February, any qualified personnel -- including the lieutenants -- in the department could apply for the job.

If they retire before the job is created, then they won't be eligible for the position.

The three lieutenant positions will be reallocated, creating two new patrol positions and one sergeant's positions.

"The plan is, you're going to have more guys on the street than you have now," Molino said. "With more officers in the field, there's more contact with the community."

The deputy chief position, which will be non-union, will be an increase by one the number of sworn members of the department. 

The restructuring is expected to save the city $10,000 a year.

Jankowski said he doesn't understand why the city wants to eliminate all three lieutenant positions at once. Why not, Jankowski wondered, stagger the retirements over three years so those experienced supervisors would help mentor the new deputy police chief?

"Why would you eliminate 100 years of experience like that?" Jankowski said.

Police Chief Shawn Heubusch is proving a great asset to the department, Jankowski said.

"I like the chief," Jankowski said. "He's going to be great. I like him. He brings out the best in guys. I wish I could work with him longer."

Jankowski, a competitive shooter, isn't sure if he will stay in New York after he retires. He's concerned that gun ownership rules being changed by Albany politicians will make competitive shooting in the state all but impossible. Some ranges, he said, will likely shut down. Limits on magazine size and changes to rifle scopes are big concerns, he said, for competitive shooters.

The changes to the police department don't make him mad, Jankowski said, but the changes being considered in Albany certainly do.

January 15, 2013 - 8:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke.

Ramon Roberto Domanski, 51, of South Avenue, Lake Bluff, Ill., is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Domanski is accused of stealing two tractor-trailer tires from a located at 8420 Route 77, Pembroke. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Daniel DiLaura, 38, of Brooklyn Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and criminal mischief. DiLaura is accused of stealing a TV from Walmart and damaging a security device.

January 15, 2013 - 1:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement, The Batavian Club.

In the morning, members of The Batavian Club will receive an e-mail with a coupon from T.F. Brown's for 15-percent off.

Join The Batavian Club by 8 p.m., Wednesday and receive the same coupon, which is good until Jan. 30.

The coupon is addition to the $285 in gift certificates members will receive to local businesses. For a list of participating businesses, click here.

TO JOIN: Use PayPal buttons below, or to pay by check (annual only) or credit card, click here to download form. Or call (585) 250-4118 to pay by credit card.

Monthly Single Membership - $5 per month
Includes membership card and bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Monthly Household Membership - $10 per month
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual Single Membership - $50 per year
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual Household Membership - $100 per year
Includes two membership cards and two bumper stickers, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


Annual membership, one payment of $60
Includes membership card, bumper sticker, package of gift certificates to local businesses.

Annual household membership, one payment of $120
Includes two membership cards, bumper sticker, one package of gift certificates to local businesses.


January 15, 2013 - 12:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas are now accepting entries to name the Hall of Famer’s new restaurant on site at Batavia Downs Casino.

The facility’s $28 Million dollar expansion begins within a month and includes construction of a new Thurman Thomas sports bar. Customers may tweet a suggestion for the Sports Bar’s name on Twitter by tweeting from their account and including the name of the Sports Bar with the tag @BataviaDowns. The contest will end at Noon on Friday, Jan. 18.

Staff from Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas will review the entries and declare a winner before the end of January.

The person that submits the winning name will win dinner for two inside the new sports bar with Thurman Thomas and Batavia Downs Staff when the new facility opens sometime in the fall. The winner shall also receive a Batavia Downs Casino Prize Pack valued at more than $250.

If more than one person suggests the winning name, then one person shall be randomly chosen from those who suggested that name. Winner will be notified via twitter that they have won. Full rules can be found on Batavia Downs Casino’s Web site at

“Thurman’s new sports bar will offer great food, a stage for live entertainment on weekends, and many large flat screen TVs where our patrons can enjoy all their favorite sporting events,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “It will also feature various pieces of football and Thurman Thomas memorabilia.”

January 15, 2013 - 12:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, budget.

Information courtesy WBTA:

A big change in garbage pick up, a shake up of the police department and a pay raise for council members are the main features of the proposed city budget.

City Manager Jason Molino told council members about the proposed changes in garbage collection, dubbed PAYT for "pay as you throw," which will remove garbage collection from property owners' tax bills and have users of the service foot the bill.

The user fee will extend to nonprofit agencies and churches.

"You pay for what you throw away," Monlino said. "So, if you want a smaller tote or larger tote, you are going to pay respectively. If you throw away more, you are going to pay more. You throw away less, you are going to pay less. Another aspect of the program is unlimited recycling, and that also has the ability to help control your costs of what you throw away."

The automated system -- one-driver trucks will use a mechanical arm to pick up the totes -- will also help reduce costs, Molino said.

The apparent lower bidder for the program is Allied/Republic, a national waste management company headquartered in Phoenix. The company operates in 39 states and has 30,000 employees according to its Web site.

Allied/Republic submitted the lowest of four bids at $4.34-million dollars over the next five years.

Genesee ARC, which had been providing the service to the city for nearly 30 years, bid 4.99-million dollars. It appears ARC's bid was the highest.

ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski said the loss of the city contract hurts the human services agency:

"I will have to lay off between 8 and 10 people," Saskowski said. "The agency will loose $800,000 in revenue, and we will have to find different jobs for the people with disabilities."

Saskowski said half of the people expected to lose jobs have some form of developmental disability.

The 2013-2014 proposed budget technically calls for a reduction in the city tax rate from $10.71 to $9.15. However, when the average cost of the garbage fee is factored in, Molino said the impact on the average homeowner will be a “wash.”

A big change in police department operations will save about $10,000, according to Molino.

Currently, the supervisory structure of the department includes three lieutenants. The lieutenant position will be eliminated, replaced by two police officers, a sergeant and a deputy chief.

The deputy chief position will be non-union.

The current lieutenants, Eugene Jankowski, Jim Henning and Greg Steele, have elected to retire rather than accept a demotion to sergeant, Molino told council members.

As for council members, a raise for the elected officials approved 6-3 in February, will be instituted, increasing compensation from $2,000 per year to $3,500 per year, beginning April 1.

The only way pay raises could be prevented, Molino said, was for the council to vote down the entire budget proposal or opt to pull the pay raise allocation from the budget plan and vote on it separately.

Council members Patti Pacino and Pier Cipollone said on Monday night they would not support a pay raise. Both had supported the pay raise measure in the February vote.

UPDATE: The city has posted all available documents about the changes to garbage collection.

January 15, 2013 - 12:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy.

A Le Roy resident who trashed the home of a person she knew and was later charged with burglary will be required to pay $169,161.71.

Karen L. Stone, of Elm Street, will also serve six months in jail and five years on probation.

Stone was arrested in August and entered a guilty plea Oct. 30 to burglary in the third degree.

January 14, 2013 - 11:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Bogue Avenue.

Water line repairs in the area of 10 Bogue Ave., Batavia, on Tuesday will disrupt traffic access and water service.

The work will begin at 8:30 a.m. and result in possible lower water pressure and possibly discolored water.

January 14, 2013 - 10:12pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in batavia, accident.

A car, deer accident at Walnut and South Main Street has been reported. Batavia Police are on scene. 

No report of any injury to the driver.

January 14, 2013 - 10:03pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in rollover accident Town of Batavia.

A rollover accident with minor injury has been reported at 8825 Route 98, near L&L Transmission.

The vehicle is off the road in the ditch.

Mercy medics and Town of Batavia Fire Department are on scene.

UPDATE 10:06 p.m.: Subject is not injured at all and the car is well off the road. Town of Batavia back in service.

January 14, 2013 - 8:22pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in batavia, State Street.

Batavia police are responding to a residence on State Street to help a homeowner with a cat that is preventing the resident from getting in the house.

The cat is located on the porch and won't leave. Dispatch says it might be 110 or 115 State St.

January 14, 2013 - 5:51pm


   On February 5, 2013, the Batavia City School District will implement an Emergency Go Home Drill to comply with New York State’s school safety plan requirements.  All students, pre-kindergarten through grade 12, will be released between 12:45 and 1:20 p.m. depending on the building and busing. All students will be off campus by 1:30 p.m. The specifics for each building are as follows:

  • Jackson Primary: Dismissal at 12:45; buses depart between 1:05 - 1:10 p.m.
  • High School: Dismissal at 1:00 p.m.; buses depart between 1:05 - 1:10 p.m.
  • John Kennedy Intermediate: Dismissal at 1:10 p.m.; buses depart between 1:15 - 1:20 p.m.
  • Middle School: Dismissal at 1:15 p.m.; buses depart between 1:20-1:25 p.m.

   First Student (the bus company) has indicated that students will arrive home (to their afterschool stop) approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes earlier than their normal time.  

   Afterschool and evening activities will not be affected by the drill and will take place as previously scheduled.

   Parents and other caregivers are being alerted to the drill so they can discuss and implement plans for their child(ren).

   While faculty and staff will remain at work, they will be utilizing the time to attend a presentation that is also a requirement of the NYS Education Department.

   Thank you for your cooperation in the success of this mandated emergency drill.

January 14, 2013 - 9:28am
posted by Lisa Ace in Deal of the Day.

Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia, NY: Feel like a kid in a toy store again, or treat your kids to the greatest toy store they will ever see. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alabama Hotel, 1353 Lewiston Road, Basom, NY: A historic and legendary tavern and restaurant. The Alabama Hotel is famous for its fish fries, but also serves a variety of top-quality entrees, featuring Certified Angus Beef. Now with expanded hours. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Bohn's Restaurant, 5256 Clinton St., Batavia, NY: Fine dining in an atmosphere of casual elegance. Lunch and dinner, steak, prime rib and seafood. Ask about Bohn's catering services and banquet facility. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Ficarella's Pizzeria, 21 Liberty St., Batavia, NY: Dine-in, drive-thru or delivery. Featuring fresh, hearth-baked pizza since 1985, plus wings, pasta and more. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10. (Good only at the Batavia location.)

Greg'ry's Bakery, 13 N. Lake Road, Bergen, NY: The bakery offers a variety of the finest cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes, breads, breakfast and lunch sandwiches and so much more. Each treat is made the same as it has been for decades and baked right here. Come in and sample some for yourself! We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Palm Island Indoor Water Park, 8250 Park Road, Batavia, NY: The newest family fun center in Genesee County, featuring a hot tub, monsoon lagoon pool and play area, tipping buckets, water slides, arcade with 15 games and birthday party rooms. We have a pair of gift certificates worth $40 in merchandise or services for $20.

Salsa & Curry, 13 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: An authentic Mexican restaurant, offering all of your favorite dishes from enchiladas and burritos to tacos and fajitas, as well as daily Indian food specials. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew, 9 Main St., Le Roy, NY. The kind of downhome, laid-back and comfortable place that just feels right. Open daily for lunch, dinner and drinks, this eatery and bar features a variety of eats and drinks that are outstanding. Specializing in smoked meats -- each meat is dry rubbed with a proprietary mix of seasonings, then smoked slowly in their on-site smoker for maximum flavor and tenderness. With a variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, combo platters and entrées, there's always plenty of choice for even picky eaters. Great food, frosty brews and some of the best folk around call the Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew their favorite -- make it your favorite today! Don't forget to ask about our catering! We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy, NY. Le Roy's favorite sports bar, where fun and good food are always on tap. Come try one of our many delicious burgers that we have to offer, as well as our HUGE Bomber Sandwich, homemade chicken fingers made to order, and the all-time favorite Dumpster Plate with many choices. We deliver. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY. A retail and special order bakery located in Stafford. Offering a wide variety of items such as cookies, filled cupcakes, quick breads, pies, breakfast pastries, daily. On Fridays, Sweet Ecstasy Bakery offers fresh artisan bread like baguettes, sourdough and rye starting at noon. The custom cakes are out of this world with 3D characters or gorgeous wedding cakes to suit any budget. For all your sweet treats, we have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Sweet Pea’s Cupcakery Café, 23 Jackson St., Batavia, NY. We are a full-service Cupcake Bakery and Café. We provide a variety of baked goods, mainly varieties of specialty and traditional scratch-made cupcakes, as well as other bakery items such as cookies and brownies. We also offer a variety of hot and cold coffee beverages. Check out our location, or place an order for parties, gatherings or any other reasons you can think of to enjoy some cupcakes. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

The Mane Attraction Salon and Spa, 99 Main St., Batavia, NY: offers "Affordable Luxury" in Downtown Batavia. We pride ourselves in the great customer service we give to the entire family. Men, women and children are all welcome either by appointment or walk-in. We offer all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, facials, leg and back waxing, Shellac Polish System, manicures and pedicures. We are the only salon in Batavia that has an airplane chair for kids' cuts! Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Note: If you've never purchased Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and processclick here.
January 14, 2013 - 9:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Attica, crime, elba, Oakfield, byron, Le Roy, Pavilion, bergen.

Christina M. Sanchez-Anderson, 24, of 2 Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Sanchez-Anderson is accused of leaving her two children at home alone and unsupervised. Her 3-year-old was allegedly found at 9:58 a.m., Saturday, outside and not wearing any shoes. Sanchez-Anderson was jailed on $2,500 bail. Department of Social Services assisted in the case.

Ashley M. Kreutz, 25, of 10 Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged endangering the welfare of a child. Kreutz allegedly left her two children unsupervised for more than four hours Saturday morning. One child was transported to UMMC for a medical evaluation. Kreutz was jailed on $5,000 bail. Department of Social Services assisted in the case.

Eric J. Bratcher, 24, of 7 1/2 South St., Le Roy, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd. Attica PD responded to a report of a complaint of noise and underage drinking at an address on Washington Avenue, Attica, and Bratcher allegedly gave police officers a false name. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Wendi L. Provost, 37, of 19 Riverside Parkway, Massena, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, driving without headlights and failure to keep right. Provost was stopped 1:10 a.m. on West Main Street by Officer Eric Bolles.

Bryan Pettinella, 27, of131 Bank St,, Apt. A, Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. During a verbal argument, Pettinella allegedly punched the car of another person causing damage.

Curtis J. Doward, 18, of 25 Ganson Ave., Batavia, is charged with two counts of failure to appear as directed, criminal contempt, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child (second two counts are warrants). Doward turned himself in to Batavia PD on a failure-to-appear warrant. He was jailed on $2,500 bail on each count.

Christopher W. Cummings, 33, of 19 Cherry St., Batavia, is charged with coercion, 2nd, aggravated harassment, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. Related to a domestic incident, Cummings allegedly sent numerous unwanted text messages in an attempt to compel or induce the victim to engage in conduct she had the legal right to abstain from, thereby threatening her. Cummings is also accused of spitting on the victim.

Christopher W. Colantonio, 23, of 110 South Swan St., Batavia, is charged with a violation of probation. Colantonio was taken into custody by the Probation Department for an alleged violation of probation.

Pavel V. Yefremenko, 24, of 8 Walnut St., Batavia, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, speeding and consumption of alcohol in a vehicle. Yefremenko was stopped at 1:27 a.m., Sunday, on West Main Street, Batavia, by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Kayla Marie Baker, 22, of Union Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Baker is accused of stealing more than $900 in merchandise from Target over a several month period.

Howard Clarance Schultz, 54, of Keeney Road, Le Roy, was arrested on a warrant out of Greece, for aggravated harassment, 2nd. Schultz was located during an incident at 8798 Keeney Road, Le Roy, reported at 9:51 p.m., Friday.  Friday's incident remains under investigation.

Joshua James Burns, 26, of North Main Street, Oakfield, is charged with stalking, 4th. Burns is accused of sending a text message to another person after being warned by law enforcement to cease all contact with the person.

Philip Chase Smith, 28, of South Old Wire Road, North Carolina, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and obstructed license plate. Smith was stopped at 11:05 p.m. Friday, on Route 5, Batavia, by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Jason Lee Perry, 18, of Telephone Road, Pavilion, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Perry is accused of violating an order of protection barring him from offensive conduct toward a family member.

David Bernard Marsceill, 35, of Old Ford Road, Elba, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, strangulation, 2nd, and criminal mischief, 3rd. Marsceill is accused of choking another person during a domestic incident, causing that person to lose consciousness, of damaging a vehicle during the incident and possessing brass knuckles on two separate occasions.

Randy Lee Smith, 55, of Swamp Road, Byron, is charged with petit larceny and trespass. Smith is accused of stealing railroad tie plates located in the CSX Railroad right of way in the area of Route 19, Village of Bergen.

Russell P. Cessna, 24, of Batavia, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Cessna was arrested by State Police in connection with a burglary reported in the Town of Stafford on July 28. No further details released.

Jimmy R. Wenzel, 26, of Wyoming, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th. Wenzel was arrested by State Police in connection with an alleged incident reported at 2:45 a.m., Saturday, in Pavilion. No further details released.

January 13, 2013 - 11:08pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in batavia.

Friends and family of Kelsey Milks met at the Richmond library parking lot this evening to walk in remembrance of her. Milks, 19, died in a three car motor-vehicle accident Dec. 16, 2012 on Route 63 in the Orleans County, Town of Shelby.

Daniel King says he decided to organize a walk for Kelsey because some people were unable to make the prayer walk they had for her in Pembroke on December 19th.

King says, "People do care care and need more love and community. It's important to show how much people matter. She made a difference in a lot of lives."

About 20 people walked from St. Joseph's Church down Main Street to the Falletti Ice Arena on Evans Street. She loved to ice skate King says. Kelsey's dog Ace made the trip, too.

Jesse Winnicki, from Corfu, says Milks helped him through college.

"She made such an impact on me," Winnicki said. "I don't know how things are going to be without her."

January 13, 2013 - 9:18pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in batavia, St. Anthony's.

Parking was at a premuim near the corner of Libery Street and Central Avenue this morning as hundreds of Catholics filled St. Anthony's Church for the closing Mass of Thanksgiving. Bishop Richard Malone of the Buffalo Diocese presided over the last mass at the proud Italian parish.

Since 1908, St. Anthony's has served many on the Southside of the city. Today, some parishoners said they felt like they were attending a funeral. Many with tears in their eyes, and some even dressed in black. Ann Valerych has been going to St. Anthony's for 84 years. "This is more of a funeral Mass. It's the end of St. Anthony's and it didn't have to be."

In 2008, St. Anthony's was merged with Sacred Heart to become Ascension Parish. This was part of the Buffalo Diocese's Journey in Faith and Grace program. In September, the Ascension Parish Council recommended that St. Anthony's close its doors Jan. 1, 2013, because of the financial difficulties operating both churches.

The only bright spot of the Mass was one last baptismal. Daniel Fix and Gretchen Gautieri and Godparents Aaron and Kristen Fix brought Sadie Lynn Fix to the alter before the Bishop and the congregation to instill a feeling of a new beginning and celebrate a new life in the church. Gretchen and her family are long-time members at the parish.

"We still have a church to go to, even though it's not this one," Gretchen said. "It's still a sense of community and we will be able to pray together no matter where we are." 

In his homily, Bishop Malone expressed his understanding of people's feelings of anger and sadness over the closing. Malone says there are many Catholics across the Northeast experiencing the same things as you are here. He told parishoners, "We do this as a people who are strong in faith, who have profound hope that Christ leads us forward and to be able to have a kind love in our hearts to overcome the wounds. It's time for a real act of trust."

Paula Fischer says she has tried to fit in with folks at Sacred Heart but has had enough politics. She says it's bittersweet and she won't be staying with Ascension Parish/Sacred Heart.

"I don't feel that sense of community. The meshing of the two parishes never happened and I don't feel welcome." Fischer says. "The Catholic Church in America today, I don't like the path it is going. I have a strong faith, I will always be Roman Catholic. I will find another place to worship."  

The Buffalo Diocese has not said what its plans are for the church or any of the buildings on the property.





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