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September 15, 2010 - 5:53pm

Our Lady Knights of Columbus invite you to a Chicken BBQ on Sunday at St. Mary's Church, 20 Ellicott St. in Batavia. It will start at 10:30 a.m. and continue until sold out.

Each individual dinner includes 1/2 chicken, macaroni salad, baked beans, a roll and butter. The proceeds will go toward local charities.

To purchase presale tickets, please call Mike at 343-3810.

September 10, 2010 - 4:12pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Churches, Anglican Community Church, mission.

Pictured above is a recent mission trip in which Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and Non-Denominationalists helped out the residents of a small Peruvian village suffering from severe poverty.

This missionary group included Fr. Gus Calvo -- second from left in front -- the pastor of Batavia's Anglican Community Church (see January article on his first service).

Having recently returned from this trip, Calvo was happy to share the experience with The Batavian and extend information about the program to anyone in the area who might be interested in next year's trip.

Calvo has been going on these missionary trips -- most of which last about 12 to 14 days -- on an annual basis for the past seven years. It all started when he was working in Honduras under the supervision of another missionary leader.

"My friend and ministry colleague Jeff Miller and I met in Honduras," Calvo said. "Our leader later left that area, so we got together and decided to put together a team each year for mission trips."

They then contacted SAMS -- the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders -- an organization that sponsors various projects in needful areas. All of the missions Calvo has been involved in these last seven years have been acquired through them.

September 10, 2010 - 2:35pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Announcements, Alzheimer's, walk.

The Alzheimer's Association will be hosting a "Memory Walk" in Batavia on Saturday, Sept. 11. It will begin at the Genesee County Nursing Home, at 278 Bank St., and proceed along Chandler Avenue, North, Bank and Ross streets, and Washington Avenue.

Anyone who wants to take part can show up the morning of the walk for registration, which begins at 9 a.m. The walk itself will start at 10 a.m. and cover about two miles. Brunch, entertainment from Pete Gomez and a Chinese auction -- with gift certificates and  prizes donated by area businesses -- will follow in the nursing home dining room.

Walkers will be raising money via sponors for the benefit of Genesee County residents coping with Alzheimer's Disease. People are encouraged to raise all funds by Saturday, but funds will be accepted until October 29.

For further details or to register in advance, please call (716) 626-0600 or go to www.memorywalkwny.com. If you would like to donate items to the Chinese auction, call Sue Buckley at 344-0584, ext. 2116.

September 10, 2010 - 2:11pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in Announcements, business, Present Tense Books.

Present Tense Books & Gifts, Batavia's premiere full-service bookstore, will be celebrating an important milestone on Saturday, Sept. 18. An anniversary party lasting from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. will celebrate five years of successful business.

Free and open to the public, the event will take place at the bookstore, which is at 101 Washington Ave. The festivities will include refreshments, prizes and a raffle, as well as the annual fall open house and holiday preview.

There will be discounts on all regular priced items on that day as well.

For more information, please call 815-7640 or e-mail [email protected].

September 6, 2010 - 3:07pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Announcements, City Church, crossroads house.

Crossroads House will be hosting another 'Musical Memories' concert on Saturday, Sept. 25 at the City Church, at 210 E. Main St. in Batavia. All proceeds will benefit Crossroads House and go toward two months care for terminally ill residents.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and include performances by Greece Jazz Band, Derek Reese & Quartet, St. Joseph's Brass Ensemble, Ghost Riders, Mini Drum & Bugle Corps, Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Drum Corps and special guest appearances.

Tickets are $5 apiece and can be purchased at Roxy's Music Store, Millenium Computers, Valle Jewelers and the Crossroads House. Last year's concert sold out, so it is recommended that you buy tickets ASAP!

Please call Frank Panepento at 409-4364 for more information.

September 6, 2010 - 2:04pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, business, tourism.

If you like good wine, you'll love a new event coming to downtown Batavia in early October. The premier of the "Taste of Fall Wine Walk" will introduce you to 15 of the finest wines produced in Western New York.

And it will give you a chance to take your own sweet time visiting 15 participating businesses and see what they have to offer. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 2, anytime from 5 until 9 p.m.

Tickets are $15. The Wine Walk ends with a raffle for prizes.

It is sponsored by the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

The self-guided tour begins at the chamber office -- at 210 E. Main St. -- where each person will be given an etched wine glass and a program to guide them from location to location.

There will be plenty of hors d'oeuvres to sample along the way, too.

In preparation, businesses will be going autumnal in decor. BID Executive Director Don Burkel said that he and the BID Promotional Committee hope to get started with decorating after Sept. 11.

Burkel also said that anyone who'd like to help decorate is more than welcome.

"Just give us a call," he said, adding, "We'd like to see the businesses get creative with this. For example, each business might have a different type of scarecrow to distinguish itself."

Michael Anthony's Salon & All-Star Barbershop is way ahead of things. The proprietor has gone well beyond scarecrows, creating stunningly beautiful wreaths and floral arrangements that he made himself. He also sells the needful beauties. Many are on display in the salon and he crafts custom-made ones as well.

The impetus behind the Wine Walk, according to Dawn Ireland-Monsees, the chamber's tourism information coordinator, is to promote Batavia as "a great place to be in the Fall."

"It's also a great social opportunity and a reason for people to get together in small groups," Ireland-Monsees said. "Wine tours have always proven to be very popular."

Did you know that Western New York is second only to California in wine-grape production in the United States? And it offers wines that can stand up to long-famous European vintners, particularly its white varieties.

The regional portfolio includes perennial favorites like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, and more.

Forget about "forward" "nose," "finish" and other wine terminology used by aficionados. Most wine experts say a good wine is simply one you enjoy. Price does not necessarily dictate taste.

Tickets can be purchased on the evening of the event, in advance at the chamber or at these businesses:

  • Adam Miller's Toys & Bicycle, 8 Center St.
  • Michael Anthony's Salon, 43 Jackson St.
  • Next Level Fitness, 85 Main St.
  • The Daily Grind, 85 Main St.
  • Valle Jewelers, 21 Jackson St.

You may also reserve your tickets by calling the BID at 344-0900 or the chamber at 343-7440.

For more information, visit www.downtownbataviany.com.

September 2, 2010 - 1:12pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, religion, Churches, St. James' Episcopal Church.

Some of our readers had questions about the Bell Tower Restoration project at St. James Episcopal Church.

After the Aug. 25 article, church officials and committee members were kind enough to answer some additional questions about the nature of the tower's condition, the cost of the project, and other issues addressed by our readers.

They submitted the following information via e-mail:

The deterioration that we’re trying to address is structural in nature. This stems from water infiltration and the use of an overly hard mortar when the Church was re-pointed in the 1950s-1960s. As you can see if you look at the Bell Tower façade, some sections of the stonework have actually fallen off and we have had to rope off the front of the building.

We believe that the first phase of the Bell Tower reconstruction project, which includes rebuilding the top 10 feet of the tower and the roof, will cost no more than $500,000.

After completion of this first phase, we will attempt to address the additional issues relating to the stonework façade of the Bell Tower and the remainder of the Church in a multi-phase process. While the additional costs relating to the façade repair may run twice the cost of the original phase, the additional phases will no doubt take many years to complete.

The reason the cost is so high is that the project is very labor intensive, involves heavy materials and the work involving the first phase must be done at a height of 70 to 80 feet above the ground.

Neither the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, nor the Episcopal Church of the United States are directly involved in the project. Nor under our form of church governance would we expect them to be directly involved.

Even though the building is a source of concern, it does not diminish our desire to reach out to the community to fulfill our missions. St. James’ outreach to the community comes in many forms:

- George Rupprecht Fund: This summer, over 150 girls from 84 families have received school clothing, footwear and school supplies. At Christmas, we will again help the same number of girls with Christmas gifts. Year round, we help pay for extra-curricular activities and work to assure that each girl has a comfortable bed in which to sleep at night. This year, our budget is $72,000.

- Thrift Shop: St. James expanded its shop hours in 2010 to serve the community. Apart from clothing, we sell household items, books, toys, small furniture and lots of bric-a-brac. Persons coming to the George Rupprecht Fund are often given bags of clothing and household items for free. Four times a year, we host clothing giveaways.

- Episcopal Community Services: Serves the underprivileged in the Diocese of WNY.

- Bishop Masereka Christian Foundation: Sponsors children in Uganda to assist with schooling and medical needs.

- Comfort Food Dinners: Two dinners were held at St. James this past winter. All proceeds went to local charities.

- St. James is the local meeting place for other churches in the Deanery.

- St. James donates to the local food pantry, collects school supplies for children and, each Christmas, selects a local charity to support.

- We host many programs in the church so that the community can enjoy the ambience and the musical acoustics of the building, such as the Genesee Symphony, Genesee Chorale, Go-Art! and Crossroads House.

We have made the hard decision to stay at this location because of its viability to the community. St. James would exist and function without the building, but the building needs a caretaker and we have chosen to take on that role.

The alternative would be to leave a large untended building on Main Street. If we did not try to take care of the building, we would not be very good stewards of the building or good members of the community.

For more information, please call the church at 343-6802 or visit its website.

August 28, 2010 - 11:56am

The Batavia Business and Professional Women's Club meets on the first Thursday of every month from Sept. through June. This month, the group will meet at the Cornerstone Church, at 2583 Main Road (at the corner of Slusser Road) in East Pembroke.

A social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:15. The event is scheduled to last until 9 p.m. 

Dinner costs $10 and includes sliced ham, scallop potatoes, apple sauce, tossed salad, a vegetable, rolls and butter, dessert, coffee and tea.

The event program is "Touching Lives One on One, a training program for home visitations to shut-ins," by Mary Alexander.

For more information or to RSVP by Aug. 30, please call Carol Rowcliffee at 343-3457 or Doris Naegely at 343-2755.

August 27, 2010 - 12:48pm

It all began with Hunter James Kelly, the little boy who wasn't supposed to live to see his second birthday.

Shortly after he entered this world, Hunter was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects one in every 100,000 children.

While his battle with the condition did ultimately cost him his life, Hunter beat the odds and made it to age 8. This was partly owing to his own strength and will to live, but also to the tireless efforts of his parents, who worked very hard to make sure he had the care and support that he needed -- both medical and personal.

His father is Jim Kelly, former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. His mother is Jill Kelly, a former model, a longtime Attica resident and an alumnus of Notre Dame High School in Batavia.

The Kellys were devastated by the loss of their son, and this devastation could easily have shattered their family.

Instead, it brought them closer together.

The same devastation could also easily have snuffed out any faith they had in the possibility of any meaning, purpose or goodness in the universe.

Instead, it drew them into a close, personal relationship with a loving God.

Hunter's ordeal, the hurdles Jim and Jill faced in their marriage, their love for their children, the faith they both found...these are some of the subjects that Jill covers in her new memoir, "Without a Word: How a Boy's Unspoken Love Changed Everything." 

"Without a Word" will be Jill's third published work. The others are "Prayers for Those Who Grieve" and "Prayers of Hope for the Brokenhearted."

As you might expect, the memoir is told mainly from Jill's perspective. But it also includes contributions from Jim and the couple's two daughters, Erin Marie and Camryn Lynn. Each member of the Kelly family shares his/her experience as part of a family that has suffered together, loved together, struggled together, and believed together.

Jill will be featured on NBC's "Today Show" on Sept. 10 (the day after the book's release) and on "Fox and Friends" on Sept. 11.

In the meantime, she was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to talk with The Batavian about the faith that has sustained her throughout all of her ordeals and given her a strength, peace and joy that inspires everyone around her:

August 25, 2010 - 1:52pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, religion, Churches, St. James' Episcopal Church.

"Save the clock tower! Save the clock tower!"

Some of our readers will remember that line from the 1985 movie, "Back to the Future." Well, Batavia's St. James Episcopal Church has its own version of that plea:

"Save the bell tower! Save the bell tower!"

The tower, pictured above, was built in 1908 and has been showing signs of wear in the last 10 years.

"Especially in the last couple of years, we've noticed deterioration," said Cathy Judkins, a member of St. James who is also on the committee for the tower's restoration.

St. James Vicar Steven Metcalfe said there has been a "real push" since 2008 toward preserving the tower, which is very important to the religious heritage of St. James Church -- not only because of its historical significance (St. James is one of the oldest religious communities in Batavia and makes use of the old, awe-inspiring cathedral architecture -- see the April 12 article on the stained-glass tour), but also because of what it means to St. James as a family in faith.

"We have a very vibrant, caring and faithful worship community," Metcalfe said. "We want our building to reflect that."

To that end, he also offered this defense of the importance of restoration: "It's like what they say about a house turning into a home: it becomes more than just a building when it's been lived in."

The church and the various fundraising committees dedicated to preserving and restoring the tower have worked hard over the last couple of years. They have hired architects and consulted stonemasons; they have organized fundraising events -- including concerts, a calendar sale during the Christmas season, and fish fries every Friday during Lent; they are starting a Captial Campaign next month, and have applied for four grants -- three from private organizations and one from New York State.

According to Judkins, they have divided the overall project into six phases in order to make it more "financially manageable."

"The first phase is the most expensive," she said. "We're trying to raise about $500,000. We hope to have at least a fail-safe project by fall, something that can hold us together until we've reached our goal."

The church will accept monetary donations from anyone who would like to help out. People can also assist their efforts by supporting and/or attending their fundraisers, which are well-publicized.

Upcoming fundraisers include the second annual "Pedal to Save the Church", which starts at the church -- at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia -- around 8 a.m. (check-in) on Sept. 11, and a theatrical performance of "Tuesdays with Morrie," starring Batavia Players' Norm Argulsky as Morrie, on Oct. 16-17. All are invited to attend.

Additionally, Metcalfe invited anyone interested in lending a hand to come to the congregation and "get to know us." 

Marcia Gann, another member of St. James and the preservation committee, said that this project has garnered "great community support." She gratefully cited the support of the churches involved in the stained-glass tour, Adam Miller's Toys & Bicycles, and Present Tense Books as examples.

For more information on the bell tower restoration project and related fundraisers, please call the church at 343-6802 or visit their website.

August 24, 2010 - 7:41pm

John Hatch, pastor of Batavia's United Pentecostal Church, will be hosting a Chicken Barbeque with Clor's Meat Market, at 4169 W. Main St. Road in Batavia, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday. The proceeds will benefit the family of Matthew Ware, a 22-year-old Oakfield resident who was killed in a car accident earlier in the month.

Ware was a graduate of Oakfield-Alabama High School and a member of the Pentecostals of Genesee in Batavia. His pastor and family hope for a generous response from the community.

The cost is $8.50 per dinner. For more information, please call Clor's at 343-5122 or The Pentecostals of Genesee at 345-0925.

August 19, 2010 - 3:32pm

Batavia Players, Inc. presents "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," their 2010 Summer Youth Theatre production.

The play will be performed at Batavia High School, at 260 State St. in Batavia. Show dates are Thursday, Aug. 19, Friday, Aug. 20 and Saturday, Aug 21. All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and last about 90 minutes.

"Seven Brides..." is the story of Adam Pontipee, a backwoodsman living in 1850s Oregon. He brings a new wife home one day and then, all of a sudden, his six brothers want to get married, too!

Filled with energetic dance numbers, great music, colorful costumes and the performances of 54 youth from Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming, Monroe and Seneca counties (ages 4 to 21), this play is sure to please. Don't miss it!

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors. For more information, please call 343-9313, ext. 31.

August 13, 2010 - 1:14pm

This entry concludes Sunday's article on the comments of Victor DeSa, M.D., who spoke to senior citizens at Batavia's First United Methodist Church last week.

Please remember, this is a summary of DeSa's presentation and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Batavian:

Medicare, Medicaid and senior services

By requiring insurance companies to expand coverage, the new health care law will drive costs up, according to DeSa. The government has told consumers that these costs will be offset by subsidies for people making less than $80,000 per year.

These subsidies will be coming, in part, from a $500 billion cut from Medicare -- and that's where senior citizens and others eligible for Medicare should be concerned.

But this is not the only problem. Both Medicare and Medicaid, which DeSa called "the original two public options," have met with disaster. Medicaid has already failed, and Medicare is on the brink of failure.

"The government has no idea how to handle the rising costs. Their idea of handling the costs is to take a machete to (the programs) and cut."

August 8, 2010 - 12:33pm

Dr. Victor DeSa talked with seniors Friday about the federal government's new health care legislation. This followed his hour-long presentation, sponsored by the "Older Adult Ministries" program of Batavia's First United Methodist Church.

DeSa is a retired surgeon who had a private practice in Batavia for many years and currently serves on the United Memorial Medical Center Board of Directors. He is well renowned and respected in the community and very knowledgeable about how the health care field works -- including the role of legislation and the relationship between health care and the government.

There is a lot of misinformation about the new health care law and how it could affect  people -- especially Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

The doctor expressed disappointment in the mainstream media's handling of the topic.

"The people in the media are not doing their job," DeSa said. "The media used to look out for the common man, but now they have a bias and a preference. (Consequently), the news we get is filtered and we don't have all the information we need in order to make informed decisions."

For those who could not be there, here's the gist of DeSa's presentation (it will be divided into two parts for the reader's convenience) -- it reflects the arguments he made based on careful and meticulous research, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Batavian.

August 5, 2010 - 12:17pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in genesee county, elba, Onion Festival, legos, lego league.

Elba resident Chantal Zambito and her family will be parading through Elba this weekend at the Elba Onion Festival. Their vehicle: a LEGO float promoting the town's FIRST LEGO League team.

FIRST ("For Inspiration and Recognition in Science & Technology") LEGO League is an international organization that partners with experts in the fields of science and technology to get kids ages 9 to 14 involved in working with robotics and engineering.

The float will showcase robots made by the kids in Elba's FIRST team, which Zambito coaches along with Evelyn Hunt. These 'bots are connected with very simple tools and can be made to move by being hooked up to laptop computers.

Zambito says her goal is not only to promote Elba's team, but also to encourage other kids to join the leagues and form their own teams -- which can be associated with towns, local organizations, etc.

Zambito has been working closely with Genesee County communities and school districts for this purpose.

"Right now I think there are only three teams in Genesee County," she said. "I'd like to see at least six to eight teams -- that way we'll have enough teams that we can build a Genesee County Region section for the leagues."

At this time, Genesee County teams need to go to Monroe County -- which has 72 teams -- in order to compete.

"I hope to change that," Zambito said.

Zambito has been in talks with technology personnel at GCC, and they are very interested in doing this in conjunction with their Tech Wars program for high schoolers.

Each year, a different challenge is issued to the teams in terms of building their robots. This year's challenge is called "Body Forward" and will have the kids exploring the world of biomedical engineering.

Zambito and her family will be handing out informational brochures as the float passes along the parade. These brochures will include contact information.

The LEGO float will be featured in Friday night's parade -- which starts around 7 p.m. at Oak Orchard Road and lasts until about 8:30. It will also be in Saturday's "Kiddie Parade," which starts at noon on Maple Avenue and lasts about a half-hour.

Photos submitted by Chantal Zambito

August 3, 2010 - 1:07pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, driving, senior citizens.

Watch out for the little old man hobbling along with his walker the next time you're at the store -- he could be dangerous.

Dangerous on the road, that is.

Batavia resident Catherine Roth said she has seen a number of people out in public -- most of them senior citizens -- who drive even though they shouldn't.

"I once saw this man who could barely walk, and he's got an SUV!" Roth said.

Roth is well-known in Batavia for voicing her concerns about elderly drivers. This started with the death of her 30-year-old son almost 20 years ago.

Jim Roth was killed in October 1991 by an 81-year-old man driving the wrong way on Route 481 in Syracuse.

Catherine and her husband, who died two years ago, both worked hard to toughen the rules regarding elderly citizens on the road. Roth defends her position by citing laws in other states -- including "Katie's Law" in Texas, and a New Hampshire law requiring drivers over 65 to be tested every five years -- that regulate and limit senior drivers.

She has caught wind of some resistance to her efforts among Batavia's older population, but she sticks to her guns nonetheless.

"We have all these laws for young drivers," Roth said, "but when we talk about laws for elderly drivers, forget it!"

The trouble is, Roth has come to the point where she herself might have to surrender her place behind the wheel. She will be 90 years old soon, and has concerns about whether or not she should still be driving.

"I've been thinking about giving up driving for the past several years," she said. "When I realized I would be turning 90 and that my license was going to expire (this month), I realized I had to decide whether to renew the license or quit driving."

Roth said she doesn't have any specific problems that compromise her ability to drive safely, but she worries that "reaction time" might slow with age.

"Right now I drive as little as possible," she said. "I drive to Stafford three or four times a week to work at the museum. Everone who's rode with me has said I'm a good driver. But I've already begun to explore different ways of getting around (like taking a taxi)."

Roth actually asked to be re-tested to see if her driving skills were up to par -- her request was denied.

At this point in time, New York State has no system set up for that sort of thing. Re-taking the driver's test is only possible for those who have been reported.

This is an important issue for Roth, because better testing for senior drivers is one of the reforms she and her husband pushed for over the years.

"A lot of times, all it seems to depend on is eyesight," she said. "If someone's eyesight is good, he can mail in his license and get it renewed. That's just wrong!"

She then pointed out that the person in question could have very good eyesight, but at the same time barely have the ability to walk.

Sometimes, according to Roth, even a doctor's caution is unhelpful.

"If their doctor tells them they shouldn't drive, they'll go to a different doctor."

Roth understands seniors' reluctance to give up their licenses and, by extension, their independence.

"I've been without a car for the past week, and it's been driving me nuts!" she said.

Most of Roth's friends are in their 80s and in the same boat. She is far from unsympathetic to the tough decision facing older drivers.

"I know you want your independence -- but darn it, don't kill my son or anyone else."

She shared some recommendations for seniors who would like to continue driving, but not be a danger to other drivers: don't drive at night; avoid streets near schools around the end of the school day; and avoid big cities.

In addition, she listed some decent alternatives to driving for seniors who still need to get around.

"The Office for the Aging has some good programs," she said. "And you can take a taxi in Batavia for about $5. And then there's always the option of turning to friends, but you try not to bother people for little things.

"It's best to do all of your errands in one trip (so you don't have to call your friends whenever, for instance, you need some milk). You try to keep your independence, even if you have to be dependent in some ways."

 ADDITIONAL FACTS ABOUT ROTH:

Roth is on the Board of Trustees for the Stafford Historical Society, and just finished -- after nine years -- serving on the Board of Trustees for Batavia's First Presbyterian Church. She is also a volunteer at the Batavia Cemetery.

A most interesting fact about her is that she is a triplet. She and her two sisters will be celebrating their 90th birthday very shortly.

"As far as we know, we're the oldest living triplets in the United States," Roth said.

July 24, 2010 - 1:55pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Announcements, cancer, relay for life.

The American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life" comes to Batavia on Friday, Aug. 13! This is an overnight event and will take place from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following morning.

It's at the Van Detta Stadium track, at 120 Richmond Ave. in Batavia, and is open to walkers and runners of all ages.

"Relay for Life" will involve teams of people running or walking around the track. Everyone is encouraged to participate, even if they cannot stay for the whole thing. However, each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times for the duration of the event (since "cancer never sleeps").

The overall event will consist of three parts -- a "Survivors Lap" in which those who have lived through the ordeal of cancer circle the track to celebrate their shared victory, a "Luminaria Ceremony" commemorating loved ones lost to cancer, and a "Fight Back Ceremony" in which participants make a personal commitment to fight cancer.

There is a fee of $10 per person, due at the time of registration. For more information, call Stacie Waddell at 1-800-227-2345 or visit relayforlife.org/bataviany.

July 23, 2010 - 12:50pm

Pictured: two Boy Scout troupes from the Iroquois Trail Council (ITS), which covers Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Orleans and Niagara counties.

This band of 36 youths -- ages 13 to 17 -- are going to Fort A.P. Hill, Va., for the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree, which takes place from July 26 until Aug. 4. Fort (Ambrose Powell) Hill, named after a Confederate general, is an active-duty Army installation near the town of Bowling Green.

The Jamboree normally takes place every four years; this time, however, there was a five-year interim so it would coincide with the 100th anniversary celebration of Boy Scouts of America.

The boys will be accompanied by two adult Scoutmasters -- Guye Smith, of Lima, and Jim Yencer, of Avon, and two youth assistant Scoutmasters (one of whom is from Alexander), making a total of 40 area scouts attending this national event.

Planning for this trip started about two years ago, according to Smith. Since then, the boys have worked very hard to raise money in order to cover the cost.

"Some of them raised every penny (that they needed to pay their individual fares)," Smith said. "That's part of the scout way -- to pay your own way."

The ITS scouts raised money by doing two bike-a-thons, one in July 2009 and the other in October 2009.

The boys biked all the way from Lockport to Brockport -- with an overnight stay in Albion for the first one -- and then from Holley to Macedon all in one day for the second.

The troupes are leaving by bus today. Yencer said they will spend Saturday in Philadelphia, then take the U.S.S. New Jersey (a retired navy vessel) to Aberdeen, Md., to visit the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum on Sunday morning. From there, they proceed to Fort A.P. Hill.

While attending the Jamboree, the boys will be treated to a wide variety of activities such as air-rifle shooting, scuba diving, canoeing, archery and a 5K run; there will also be a musical group performing at the "arena show" (which will be broadcast online) on Saturday, July 31, and if tradition is kept, they may also get a visit from President Barack Obama.

Not only is this Jamboree historic because it is being held during the scouts' centennial, it is also the last one to be held in Fort A.P. Hill (where it has taken place since 1981).

For more information on the Jamboree, please visit www.bsajamboree.org.

For more information on the ITC, visit www.itcbsa.org/Joomla/index.php.

Photo courtesy of Jim Yencer

July 22, 2010 - 5:03pm

Middle-schoolers from all over the county came to Batavia Middle School on Tuesday for the "MST Explorer Camp" (see June 19 article for more information). The camp involved students in hands-on learning activities using math, science and technology.

A 13-year-old race car driver and Batavia Middle School student Val Stephens -- pictured center -- helps with a demonstration designed to give the kids a lesson in aerodynamics:

Kevin Raymond, a teacher in the Keshequa School District and a hot-air balloon enthusiast, talks to the kids about the type of energy that powers hot-air balloons. He shows them how they work, using an ultra-light balloon as an example (keep in mind that about 10 of these could fit into one of the larger ones):

July 16, 2010 - 4:36pm

"Sand Between Your Fingers" was the third program for teens in the Richmond Memorial Library's Summer Reading Program.

They got to try their hand at sand art, mixing a variety of colored sands to make "sand pens," which they could then take home and use for writing and drawing.

The library's Teen Program is open to students entering grades six through 12. The program extends through Aug. 4, so sign up soon if you haven't done so already!

Visit the library, at 19 Ross St. in Batavia, or call 343-9550 for more details.

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