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November 18, 2015 - 9:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, arts, entertainment, Talent Show, batavia.


Cameron Bontrager performs "Sweet Child of Mine" during the 2015 Batavia HS talent show Tuesday night in the school's auditorium.


Tzyonah Scheffield-Reese performs "Photograph."


Madison Hoerbelt and Eryn Dunn perform "For Good."


Ross Chua and Chelsea Jensen perform "I'm Yours."


Hannah Bluhm performs "Dear Future Husband."

November 17, 2015 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, batavia, business.


Press release:

The Genesee ARC Redemption Center is open for business!  “Bring us your cans and bottles,” said Director of Operations, Paul Saskowski.

Along with offering new employment options for individuals with disabilities, Saskowski said, “The expansion of our transfer station allows customers to drop off refuse, recyclables and now get their deposits on beverage containers back so these chores can be done in a ‘one-stop’ concept.” 

The Genesee ARC Redemption Center, 3785 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, is open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays until 8 p.m.

“The hundreds of community members that visit monthly for trash and recycling now have an even greater convenience,” Saskowski said.

“The best thing about the ARC-operated redemption center is additional employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” the director said.  “This expansion aligns with Genesee ARC’s mission of supporting people with disabilities in partnership with their families and the community."

All NYS beverage bottles and cans are accepted at the site. Customers wishing to donate their refunds to a nonprofit can designate Volunteers for Animals, Boy Scouts of America, Crossroads House or Genesee ARC. Organizations wishing to hold a can drive can contact Paul Saskowski or Redemption Center Manager Carl Jones at 343-4203 to set it up.

Photo: Carl Jones, Redemption Center manager, with Mark and Wesley, employees of the Genesee ARC Redemption Center.

November 17, 2015 - 12:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, Talent Show, arts, entertainment, batavia.


Batavia High School hosts its annual faculty and student talent show tonight in the auditorium starting at 7 o'clock.

Pictured during yesterday's rehearsal are Tzyonah Sheffield-Reese (top) and Kesa Janes.



November 17, 2015 - 12:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, batavia, Wonderland of Trees.


Yesterday, volunteers were busy preparing baskets for the auction Friday during the Holland Land Office Museum's 14th annual gala for the Wonderland of Trees.  The opening night festivities get under way at 7 o'clock. General Admission is $25 per person or $20 for Museum members. There will be live Christmas music, a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, basket raffles, catering by D&R Depot, and nearly 40 Christmas trees and displays -- thanks to the generosity of you, our community. Tickets can be purchased in advance in the Gift Shop or the night of the Gala.

Pictured are Kathy Jasinski, Mary Jo Eddy, Theresa Potter, Donna LaValle.





November 16, 2015 - 12:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, bergen.

A tractor-trailer is on fire on Route 33 near Route 19 in Bergen.

Bergen fire is responding.

UPDATE 12:31 p.m.: The fire is contained to a roll-off dumpster, which has been removed from the vehicle. The location is in front of the Bergen C-Store.

November 16, 2015 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, alexander, byron, Attica.
 Abraham Martinez

Abraham R. Martinez, 31, of Alexander, is charged with assault, 2nd. Martinez was arrested by State Police following a month-long investigation into an incident in the Town of Orangeville. A female was struck in the mouth with a bottle, resulting in the need for dental surgery after she lost part of her front teeth. State Police were provided with the first and last name of a suspect but had no other information to go on. Troopers, with the assistance of Border Patrol agents, obtained information that indicated the suspect might be located at a farm in Alexander, where he had been employed for about two weeks. Martinez was located and arrested and processed in Warsaw. He was jailed on $10,000 bail.

Alicia Kimberly Urban, 30, of Main Street, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. Urban is accused of stealing $432.96 in merchandise from Kohl's.

Luke William Ritzenthaler, 32, of Route 237, Byron, is charged with aggravated family offense and criminal contempt, 2nd. Ritzenthaler allegedly had contact with a female by phone and letter in violation of a court order while incarcerated at the Genesee County Jail.

A 17-year-old resident of Exchange Street, Attica, is charged with petit larceny. The youth allegedly shoplifted at Walmart. The youth allegedly placed electronic merchandise in her purse and exited the store.

Kelvin B. Murphy, 42, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Murphy allegedly pushed another person at 3:47 a.m., Nov. 8., at an address on State Street.

Gregory S. Yark, 51, of Roosevelt Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Yark was arrested on a warrant. He was jailed on $1,000 bail. Yark was also charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. Yark was allegedly found in possession of these items at the time of his arrest.

November 15, 2015 - 10:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, batavia.


November 15, 2015 - 10:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, sports.


Cheektowaga's athletic playmakers and Batavia's inability to convert a couple of scoring opportunities in the first half were the big difference in the Blue Devils' second consecutive try at a Far West Regional Championship.

A win would have propelled Batavia into the state championship Class B semifinal. Instead, as happened last year, the team traveling to Syracuse is the Warriors.

Batavia led from the opening drive until nine minutes left in the game, when Cheektowaga tied it up at 36-36. When Batavia couldn't sustain a drive on the following possession, the Warriors moved the ball downfield effectively and scored on a four-yard by Tyr Willingalea with 1:36 left on the clock. A turnover with less than 20 seconds left in the game, and the score 43-36 gave Cheektowaga the championship.

"They played so well and they've been such tough kids," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs. "My heart breaks for them. I mean, right now, my heart's broken, really. These guys, I love them. We've got 18 seniors and it's going to be very tough saying goodbye to them."

Briggs felt coming into the game his team would be able to run on the Warriors and Dom Mogavero put together a great game. He rushed for 125 yards on 33 carries. He carried the ball in twice and scored another touchdown on defense with a fumble recovery. QB Greg Mruczek had four carries for 76 yards, including a long of 61 yards. Ray Leach carried the ball six times for 29 yards, and Jonathan Barber had two carries for 19 yards and a TD.

Mruczek was 7-20 passing, including two interceptions. 

Ryan Hogan caught four of those passes for 108 yards, including a long of 58 yards. 

Batavia scored easily on its first drive and scored again less than a minute later on an Adonis Davis interception, making the score 14-0. Cheektowaga struck back quickly on its next position, but from then on until the fourth quarter, Batavia always managed to keep the game out of reach of the Warriors. Or, the Warriors used their athletic weapons to keep the Blue Devils in reach.

Cheektowaga had the last three scores of the game, a 27-yard run by Willingelea that put the Warriors within eight, a five-yard run by Eric Bartnik and a two-point conversion that tied the score, and then the final TD that sealed Batavia's fate.

"They're an athletic team," Briggs said. "They've been known for it all year. They've been down and they've come back. Even when we were up two scores, I said it to my guys, 'They are the comeback kids. They did it last year and they did it this year. They're a good football team.' "



Leach picking up a fumble that set up a Batavia TD.



Terren Lorrie was defensive player of the game.








To purchase prints of game photos, click here.

November 14, 2015 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Williams Park, batavia, football, Turkey Bowl, sports.


Photos from the finals of the annual Turkey Bowl at Williams Park. We expect to hear later who won.







November 13, 2015 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
    Frank H. McEwan

An arrest has been made in a case involving two people who were assaulted by multiple people in the area of Harvester Avenue and East Main Street in the early morning hours of Oct. 25 after one of them had made a run to 7-Eleven from a Halloween costume party on Swan Street.

Charged with gang assault, 2nd, robbery, 1st, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and criminal use of a firearm and petit larceny is 16-year-old Frank H. McEwan, of 3 McKinley Ave., Batavia.

McEwan was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $25,000 bail.

The alleged assault involved multiple people and there was possibly a handgun displayed. A victim's wallet was stolen. 

One victim was transported to UMMC and later transferred to ECMC with serious injuries. Det. Todd Crosset said the victim is doing medically fine and is recovering.

The Batavian exclusively reported on the alleged assault Oct. 28 and did a follow up two days ago reporting that an apparent lack of cooperation from witnesses was hampering that investigation. That story led to more calls to the police, which provided the break in the case leading to the arrest of McEwan, said Det. Eric Hill.

There remain other suspects at large, and the group of alleged attackers includes individuals described as black and as white.

A gang assault under New York penal code, means an assault perpetrated by three or more people. It does not necessarily mean the individuals involved have any sort of gang affiliation or would comprise a gang in the common use of the term.

The investigation is ongoing and police are still seeking witnesses or information from people who might know anything about the case. Those with information are asked to contact Det. Todd Crossett at (585) 345-6353.

November 13, 2015 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.
   Marlek Holmes

Press release:

The City of Batavia Police Department is looking for the communities help in locating a level 3 sex offender who has failed to change his address and appear at the police department for his 90 day verification. Marlek Holmes is a male black about 5’7”, 160 pounds with a shaved head.  If he is seen out, you are asked to call 9-1-1. If anyone has additional information on where he may be located you are asked to call the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370. If the media is looking for any further information please contact me at 585-345-6353.

November 13, 2015 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in p.w. minor, batavia, business.


Now you can design your own Batavia-made boots.

p.w. minor announced today the launch of their new product line and brand, the Abram Boot Company.

The new boots are the same p.w. minor quality, and made right here in Batavia, but you, the customer, design your own boots at

You can also visit p.w.'s local outlet store at Main and Jackson to try on boots and sit at an in-store computer to design your custom boots.

Customers can choose leather, sole, eyelets, speed hooks, toe type and laces to fashion the look they find most appealing.

Local customers are invited to use the promo code "Batavia Made" when ordering their boots online for $200 off the purchase price.

The new line is named after Abram Vorhees Minor, the younger brother of Peter Wycoff Minor. The brothers founded p.w. minor in Batavia 149 years ago.

More than a year ago, Pete Zeliff and Andrew Young purchased the company, which was about to be shut down, and saved it, investing substantially to expand production, modernize the plant and bring jobs back to Batava that had been transferred to China.

Top photo: Lisa Paul-Khan.


Full press release after the jump:

November 13, 2015 - 8:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, bergen, business.

Press release:

Town and village officials from Le Roy and Bergen, along with the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), today announced the submission of a community revitalization plan for consideration as part of the second round of America’s Best Communities (ABC) $10 million prize competition.

Le Roy and Bergen are one of 50 communities that have submitted plans intended to stimulate economic revitalization in small towns and cities across the United States. As a quarter-finalist, the Le Roy and Bergen team was awarded $50,000 in June 2015 to develop a plan aimed at accelerating the revival of the local economies and quality of life in both towns and villages.

With the assistance of Saratoga-based firm Camoin Associates, Le Roy and Bergen developed a plan which includes a proposed budget and long-term vision for economic revitalization, highlighting objectives to expand the commercial and industrial base in both towns and villages while sustaining the continued vitality of the agricultural community.

If awarded funding, the plan budgets for the use of funds to: determine gas pipeline capacity infrastructure at the Le Roy Food & Technology Park and Apple Tree Acres Corporate Park in Bergen; conduct a survey of current broadband capabilities for residents and businesses in both municipalities; and identify opportunities to enhance workforce development initiatives. The plan also recognizes the importance of using incentives and existing programs to enhance residential and commercial mixed-use developments in the downtown areas in both villages.

Only 15 communities will be selected for the competition’s semi-finalist round to win $100,000, in which each semi-finalist will make a presentation to a panel of judges about why its community should receive funds to advance its revitalization plan. In addition, three grand prize winners will be selected to win top prizes of $3 million, $2 million and $1 million.

"Through the ABC challenge process, our communities have rediscovered optimism, volunteer spirit and community assets that are highly valued,” said Shelley Stein, Genesee County legislator. “We demonstrate being America's ‘Best Community’ daily in our rural community pride and livability corridors, and have this unique opportunity to improve our shared livelihood by adding basic gas mains and broadband to support our local businesses.”

Anna Marie Barclay, Village of Bergen mayor, said, "The ‘America’s Best Communities’ competition has given the towns and villages of Le Roy and Bergen the opportunity to do what we are committed to: dedicate our time and passion to value and honor our history; enhance the quality of life and sense of place to all who live and work with us; encourage our young people to join us with their families and businesses in our rural environment; support our agricultural resources; and create and maintain economic development in a way that builds on the quality and hometown essence of small town America."

"It has been a great experience working with the ABC team and Bergen and Genesee County officials on this project,” said Stephen Barbeau, Town of Le Roy supervisor. "Community support has been overwhelming and our town board remains very optimistic that we will be able to establish our commercial park, injecting some new, clean commercial growth to our tax base while not detracting from our residential neighborhoods and rural character."

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC), an affiliate of GCEDC, is the entity which administered the grant dollars and oversaw the selection of the consultants used in the development of the revitalization plan.

“The submission of the community revitalization plan serves as a monumental step in moving on to the next stage of this prestigious nationwide competition,” said Thomas Felton, GGLDC chairman. “Every official and community leader involved in this process has played a critical role in making sure this plan comprehensively reflects the business and economic development needs of the Bergen and Le Roy communities.”

November 13, 2015 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, volleyball, sports.


Byron-Bergen put themselves in a position to advance in the state tournament Thursday night, up 24-17 in the fifth set, but let the lead slip away, dropping the game 27-25 to Honeoye. The first four sets were 25-19 Byron-Bergen, 17-25 Honeoye, 25-14 Byron-Bergen and 14-25 Honeoye.

The match, played in Le Roy, was a consolidation round for the Class D1 and Class D2 champions in Section V.

Genesee County's other Section V champion, for Class C, was Le Roy, and the Oatkan Knights lost its state qualifier last night at Pioneer in Arcade to Eden, 25-15, 25-11 and 25-15.












November 12, 2015 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Catherine Roth, batavia, Stafford.


Going back to Joseph Ellicott, you would be hard pressed to find anybody has had more of a local impact over a sustained period of time than Catherine Roth.

And she's leaving us.

At age 95, Roth is moving from The Manor House in Batavia to an assisted-living facility near Albany, where she will be closer to her son and grandchildren.

"She really, physically worked hard with the organizations she was involved in," said Lucine Kauffman, a former Town of Elba supervisor and currently president of the  Landmark Society of Genesee County, which Roth helped found. "Some people just want to throw money around, but she actually got her hands dirty. She worked hard and she was passionate. She was definitely one of my mentors and one of the first friends I made when I moved here."

We will need to write out a long list with numerous bullet points to list out all Roth did in her some 70 years of living in Genesee County, but let's do it anyway:

  • Founding member of the Landmark Society in 1964;
  • Spearheaded publication of "The Architectural Heritage of Genesee County";
  • Started a swimming class for children in what is now known as Genesee ARC;
  • She spent decades as a Girl Scout troop leader;
  • Served on the Batavia City Council in the 1970s and served on the Master Plan Steering Committee;
  • Member of the UMMC Hospital League, and baked and donated hundreds of pies to be sold in the snack shop at the hospital, where she also volunteered her time;
  • A trustee with the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia, which she helped get listed on the National Register of Historic Places and took a leadership role in getting the tower restored;
  • Planted flowers and weeded in numerous public places, including Dwyer Stadium and the Batavia Cemetery;
  • Served on the YMCA Board of Directors;
  • Served on the Holland Land Purchase Historical Society Board of Directors;
  • Founding member of the Sun Catchers Garden Club;
  • Board of Directors, Stafford Historical Society;
  • Board member of the Batavia Cemetery Association, where she established the James T. Roth Memorial Arboretum, in memory of her son who was killed by an elderly driver in a car accident;
  • Helped get the Batavia Cemetery listed on the National Register of Historic Places;
  • Recipient of numerous local awards;
  • With her sisters, a member of the oldest living triplets in the United States;
  • Lobbied for years, after her son was killed, to change NYS law on allowing elderly people to retain driver's licenses and gave hers up when she felt she was too old to drive.

Roth was honored -- one of several such gatherings planned around the county before she departs for Albany on Nov. 17 -- yesterday in the Stafford Town Court by the Stafford Historical Society.

She said she was embarrassed by the attention. She never volunteered for anything to get attention, she said. She volunteered because she could.

"I'm embarrassed to say, but I didn't have to work," Roth said. "My husband (Dr. Lawrence Roth) was an obstetrician-gynecologist and I just never had to work, which is very different from what women have to do now."

Roth was born and raised in Long Island and she and her sisters graduated from William Smith College, which they attended on a scholarship. Each of the young ladies met their future husbands while in college, and all three young men were graduates of Hobart College.

Dr. Roth was a decendent of a family, the Tyler family, that settled in Stafford in 1810. The Tyler's roots in the colonies go back to the early 17th Century (one branch of the Tylers, not the branch that came to Le Roy) produced Ernest Hemingway.

When Dr. Roth returned to Batavia to begin his medical career, he brought his bride with him and she got involved early in the life of the community.

She adopted it as her own and cherished the things that made it unique, which made her a staunch opponent of urban renewal, a turn of events in the city's history that she's still bitter about.

"They really ruined Batavia, as far as I'm concerned," she said yesterday.

Her activism in fighting urban renewal paved the way for the creation of the Landmark Society and launched her local political career, prompting her to run for City Council.

"I was the biggest vote-getter," she said.

Her time on council is among her proudest achievements, as well as teaching developmentally disabled children how to swim, saving the Batavia Cemetery and building the arboretum in honor of her departed son.

Laurie Oltramari, currently director of the Batavia Improvement District, and a former president of the Landmark Society, said at yesterday's gathering that Roth gave her confidence to be a leader, even if that meant ruffling feathers along the way.

"Sometimes I was dubbed 'Little Catherine' because I don't like to take no for an answer and I'm not afraid to burn bridges and lose friendships when it means doing the right thing," Oltramari said. "That's really a hard thing to do, but when you have somebody like Catherine saying it's 'OK, you'll be OK,' it really is a life lesson."

Roth's example -- she's thought of by many as somebody who demonstrated equal rights for women long before equal rights for women really became a movement -- has inspired many women, including Rev. Roula Alkhouri, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia.

"I always felt affirmed because you always told me the truth," Rev. Alkhouri told Roth during Wednesday's gathering. "You would share your opinion, but it was never in the spirit of you don't know what you're doing because you're young. It was in the sense that I felt affirmed as a woman being in ministry and welcomed."

"I felt really affirmed," she added, "and I realized that when I met her sisters. They came up one time and they said 'You know what, we haven't heard anything bad about you.' "

Kauffman said she always found Roth kind and kindhearted, and a lot of people did, but she was also always strong willed and had deeply held beliefs. That sometimes rubbed some men the wrong way.

"A lot of men thought she was a loudmouthed broad and a pushy broad and I've always wondered, as a woman myself, if she was a man, would they say 'He's pushy,' or 'He's a loudmouth'? No, they would just say 'He's a leader and he had a vision.' "

Roth said there was no grand vision to her service. She just did it.

"I didn't want to be bored with life," she said.




November 11, 2015 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

The police investigation into a reported assault two weeks ago that left one man with serious injuries has been stymied by a lack of cooperation from one of the victims and the failure of potential witnesses to come forward, said Det. Todd Crossett.

The Batavian reported on the assault Oct. 28, which reportedly involved a group of people attacking a young man returning from 7-Eleven to a Halloween party on Swan Street with pizzas and a friend who went out apparently looking for the attackers. That second man was hospitalized after he was attacked by a group of people.

The victim who was seriously hurt has cooperated with investigators, but the first reported victim, who was the person who contacted The Batavian about the case, has declined all interview requests with police and police have found it repeatedly difficult to get in touch with him.

Several people posted comments online indicating they know who the attackers are, but police attempts to contact those potential witnesses have been unsuccessful and none has voluntarily contacted police.

Crossett is asking that those potential witnesses please come forward and answer questions.

"I'd like to talk to you and find out how you might know who these people might be," Crossett said.

Crossett's direct line is (585) 345-6353.

The information contained in the original story on The Batavian about the attack is consistent with what the police have been able to learn so far, but without further cooperation from victims and witnesses, it will be difficult to successfully close the case, Crossett said.

November 11, 2015 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Veteran's Day, batavia.















November 11, 2015 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Upton Monument, batavia.


Veterans were a baffled by this setup when they arrived at the Upton Monument this morning. They aren't sure if this was meant as some sort of message or it's just somebody's litter. The boxes were all empty.

Submitted photo.

November 10, 2015 - 8:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in art, artists, batavia society of artists, Zentangle, Karen's Yarn.


Karen Crittenden, owner of Karen's Yarn, Paper and Scissors, was the guest instructor tonight at the regular meeting of the Batavia Society of Artists at GO Art!. Crittenden's class tonight was a new art form known as Zentangle. Zentangle is described as an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns that is fun and relaxing. It was invented by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts.




November 10, 2015 - 6:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, BID, batavia, Art Ah La Carte, business.


Kimberly Yasses Argenta has moved Art Ah La Carte from Harvester Avenue to Downtown Batavia, into a storefront on Jackson Street.

She moved the art studio and classroom space because she needed more space, she said, and she thought the location would give her better exposure.

"Already, people have come in off the street, so that's a good thing," Argenta said.

She also thought it would be beneficial to be part of the Business Improvement District and enjoy those promotional opportunities.

This Friday and Saturday she is hosting "Brush Out Cancer," an event to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Friday is an art show, vendors' auctions and a 50/50 raffle. On Saturday, from noon to 1:30 p.m., there is Kids Paint. The cost is $30 and pre-registration is required (call (585) 245-1655). And in the evening, starting at 6, Monet and Merlot, which costs $45 and includes refreshments, though if you want wine, you need to bring your own bottle. There will be a wine tasting. Saturday evening's event also includes auctions and a 50/50 raffle.

The fundraisers are in memory of Argenta's mother, Mickey Yasses, who passed away in December, 2013.




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

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