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September 8, 2015 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson School, schools, batavia.


The first day of school, and the first day of a new drop-off and pick-up configuration at Jackson School, and parents so far are taking a wait and see attitude about the change.

Of the parents we talked to, everybody seems to think the new system will work, but nobody was giving it two thumbs up just yet.

It's only the first day of school, they said.

"This is going to change," said Joe Heath after dropping off his first-grader with his wife, Lisa. "Everybody walking their kids in after parking. It's not drop your kids off and go, right now. It's going to be a little different probably, within this next week."

As an observation: Today wasn't nearly the hectic, frenetic, crowded mess school drop-off seemed to be on a typical day last year.

The goal of the change is first and foremost safety, said Principal Diane Bonarigo.

Jackson School is decades old and built at a time when it was intended to serve just the immediate neighborhood and almost all children walked to school. Now, it serves the whole city, many children are bussed, some are driven by parents and only a few walk. That's created a lot more traffic around the school on streets, and the parking was not initially designed to handle that flow.

The new configuration includes a new driving lane/bus drop-off in front of the school on South Jackson Avenue, instead of behind the school. That parking lot area is now intended for parents to use for drop off and pick up, or children should be taken to the entrance at the corner of the building opposite Max Pies. It's also possible, after the buses are done, for parents to pull into the driveway and drop off kids at the main entrance.

"It is a new system, so it will take us a couple of days to get it running smooth," Bonarigo said.

Rich Schauf, Batavia PD, working at the school this morning, said he thinks the change was a good idea.

"It was a safety issue where people are exiting cars with a lot of traffic, doors are opening, cars are trying to get around, little children are exiting out of vehicles, crossing the street. Now this can all take place, the entering and exiting of cars can all take place in parking lots, which is a lot safer," Schauf said.

The parents we spoke too generally still seemed unsure of where to go or what to do, which door or parking lot or lane way to use, and felt other parents were unsure as well, but also said they believe the confusion will work itself out and everything will settle into a reliable, predictable pattern.

"Yeah, it's safer, probably, but I feel it's going to take quite awhile to get all the kinks worked out," Doug Fisher said. "It's been my experience whenever they hurry up and change something without the proper notification it seems like it takes half of the school year to get all the kinks fixed, but then it runs smoothly."




September 8, 2015 - 11:48am


(Photo by Howard Owens; Bill Fox walking in yesterday's Labor Day parade in Oakfield.)

Press release:

The Le Roy American Legion, Botts-Fiorito Post #576, is proud to announce this year's selection for "LeRoyan of the Year" -- Mr. Bill Fox, a well-known local contractor, having maintained his business, "Bill Fox & Son, Construction and Remodeling, LLC" in the area for over 25 years.

Bill is married. He and his wife of 34 years, Anne, have three children, sons Bill Jr. "Billy," and his wife, Mady; Andrew, and daughter Marisa. Billy and Mady have two children, Farrah and Easton. 

An integral part of the community, Bill has devoted countless hours in support of local sports programs, participating when and where he could as his kids progressed through soccer, baseball and football.  He has lent his hand in contributing time and effort to school sports projects including such things as a new trophy case, after a  Section V championship.

He has been instrumental in organizing support groups to meet and "Welcome Back” veterans returning from "Honor Flights" from Washington, D.C., at the Rochester Airport. In addition, he has organized Christmas visits at the Veterans Administration Facility in Batavia and has sponsored ice cream socials there as well.

Bill has a strong interest in community awareness projects and leading educational programs involving hunting, hunter safety and animal awareness. He continues to instruct the DEC Hunter Safety program for youth; and has conducted numerous animal education programs for nursery schools and preschool children in the area.

One of Bill's strongest endeavors involves the "Shooters Committee on Political Education" or SCOPE. Bill has served as the Chapter chairperson for Genesee County for two years and was previously the secretary for three years. He continues to serve as the second vice-president of the New York State SCOPE organization.

Bill strongly believes in several essential principles, the Constitution and our God-given rights and his local community. In his own words: "Being an area businessman myself, I firmly believe that we should shop and do business locally. I am all for helping to keep businesses alive in Le Roy."

For these reasons, and many more we feel very pleased to present Mr. Bill Fox as the 2015 “LeRoyan of the Year," the 47th recipient of this prestigious Award.

Tickets for this year’s Award Dinner are available at the American Legion. Cost is $20 per person.

September 8, 2015 - 11:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.


Batavia PD, the Sheriff's Office and State Police are coordinating a commercial vehicle enforcement detail today at two locations -- Oak Street and Ellicott Street. All vehicles must pass through the checkpoints, but officers are specifically looking for enforcement issues related to commercial vehicles. Vehicles that need a more detailed inspection are directed either to a location near the Thruway toll booths or behind Falleti Ice Arena.






September 8, 2015 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, Labor Day Parade, Labor Day, Labor Days, parades.


Layla and Elizabeth, both 4 years old, dance to the music of the Old Hippies as their float passes by on Main Street in Oakfield during the community's annual Labor Day parade.


Remember Rocky? He's the dog whom authorities say was scaled by hot water. His owner surrendered ownership in court. He's living at the Animal Shelter still. He's one of several dogs Volunteers for Animals walked through the parade, all in need of adoption. Rocky is a sweet, loving canine. Hopefully, he finds a new forever home soon.


Willie Brooks, center with sash, was the Grand Marshall. Brooks is a former county legislator and longtime volunteer and leader in the Oakfield community.


The start of the parade, which tradition preserved as Sheriff Gary Maha leads the way.


Vietnam Veterans of America Color Guard.


The longest line yet of classic cars in the parade.


Legislator Ray Cianfrini tosses candy from the GOP float.


Oakfield-Alabama Hornets football team.






To purchase prints of these photos or those in the slideshow, click here.

September 7, 2015 - 9:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, weather.


 Corey Reigle shared this photo of a unique cloud formation he spotted in Darien.

September 6, 2015 - 6:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, byron-bergen, Elba/Byron-Bergen, football, sports.

Saturday night at Byron-Bergen, the Elba Byron-Bergen Lancers beat the Pembroke Dragons, 28-6.

For the Lancers, John Hochmuth was nine for 14 passing for 74 yards, and had a 10-yard carry for a TD. Richard Flores rushed for 226 yards on 17 carries, scored one TD through the air and one on the ground. Tucker Bezon had nine carries for 57 yards and a TD. Robert Stevens, three carries, 24 yards and a TD. Dakota Dillon hauled in three receptions for 41 yards and was 4-4 for point after attempts.

On defense, Flores had nine tackles, a fumble recover and blocked punt. Andrew Gottler had 12 tackles. Rider Farnsworth, eight tackles and Brendon Marsocci, six with a fumble recover.

On offense for Pembroke, Reid Miano, 12-29 passing for 195 yards and a TD. Zach Von Kramer, four receptions for 83 yards, Dakota Dieter, four catches for 53 yards and a TD, Zack Swant, four receptions for 60 yards and Jake Jasinksi, 18 carries for 61 yards.

Defensive stats for Pembroke are not available.

September 6, 2015 - 6:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia.

Smoke is showing from a train car that is stopped in the Upton Road area, Batavia.

East Pembroke fire is responding.

September 6, 2015 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, Labor Days.


Here's a sampling of what there was to see and do and eat at Labor Days in Oakfield today. Festivities continue tomorrow, with the parade at 10 a.m.









September 6, 2015 - 10:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in area 51, batavia, accident.

Mercy Flight has been dispatched to Area 51 for an injured motorcycle rider.

At the time of the dispatch the rider was unconscious.

East Pembroke fire is on scene.

UPDATE: Patient was airlifted to ECMC. 

September 5, 2015 - 1:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake, darien lake performing arts center, crime.

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department during the Luke Bryan Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sept. 4.

Casey W. Ault, 25, of South Main Street, Holley, is charged with trespass, resisting arrest and criminal mischief after allegedly refusing to leave the venue area after being told to leave several times. Ault resisted arrest and damaged a fence. Casey was arraigned in Darien Court and put in jail in lieu of $500 bail.

Daniel S. Furner, 43, of Mill Hill Road, North Brookfield, is charged with second-degree criminal impersonation after allegedly identifying himself as a police officer when in fact he is not.

Bryan P. Haude, 24, of Jade Drive, Hilton, is charged with third-degree criminal trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Tyler C. Deets, 21, of Route 21, Williamson, is charged with third-degree criminal trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Julie A. Margolycz, 40, of McGuire Road, Rochester, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance in the concert venue exit area.

Grace M. Simmons, 17, of Hemlock Road, Eden, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Aaron P. Santoro, 20, of Albano Drive, Hilton, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

September 5, 2015 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy, Oakfield, alexander, Notre Dame.


Apparently, Le Roy hasn't missed a beat. With a new head coach, new defensive cooordinator, first-time starter at QB, the Oatkan Knights started off 2015 in familiar territory -- by winning.

Le Roy beat Letchworth/Warsaw, in the first game for the two merged programs, 42-7.

The bulk of the offense came on the legs of Nick Eggling, who rushed for 255 yards and four TDs on 20 carries.

Josh Laurie, in his debut as the varsity starter, was 3-4 passing for 19 yards. He rushed 12 times for 43 yards and two touchdowns.

Dom Filio carried the ball seven times for 60 yards and Nate Flint nine times for 51 yards. Single receptions were recorded by Jason Doemling and Ryan Boyce.

On defense, Reed Kacur had nine tackles, Egeling, six and Filio five.

Also in Genesee County's Friday Night Football action:

Alexander beat Finney 47-14. Senior running back Jake Wozniak rushed for 290 yards on 19 carries. He scored four TDs. Dane Heberlein gained 80 yards on 13 carries, with two TDs, and QB Jared Brown had a TD pass of 15 yards to Derrick Bushe and had a two-point conversion through to Dustin Schmeider. 

Notre Dame beat Oakfield-Alabama 26-12. For Notre Dame, Connor Logsdon was three for six for 54 yards passing. Allen Chatt, QB for the Hornets, was 18-33 for 305 yards and a TD. For the Irish, Jack Sutherland ran 29 times for 185 yards with three touchdowns. Peter Daversa ran 12 times for 93 yards with one touchdown. For the Hornets, Sal Schwable had five receiptions for 73 yards, Austin Fisher, one for 71 yards, Jon Harris, three for 66 yards and a TD, Reice Woodward, four for 57 yards and Josia Yantz, four for 34 yards.  Defensively for Notre Dame, C.J. Souzzi had seven tackles as did Casey Midwick. For O-A, Gage Dieterie, seven-and-a-half tackes. Jon Harris, Cameron Smith had seven each, Sal Schwable, six and a half, and six for Josiah Yantz.

NOTE: Section V had an error on the schedule for today's games. Elba/Byron-Bergen hosts Pembroke at 7 p.m. at Byron-Bergen.

Photos by David Boyce.








September 5, 2015 - 11:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS.


University Prep walked onto Woodward Field on Friday night with a reputation for being big, fast and athletic, and as a Class A team, the Griffins were expected to give the Batavia Blue Devils all they could handle.

Instead, the tables were turned. UPrep was a tough challenge for the defending Section V Class B champions, but even after giving up a couple of big plays, Batavia seemed to be in charge and never really surrendered that all-important intangible, momentum. 

Even so, this wasn't a statement game for the varsity squad, said running back Dom Mogavero.

"Every game is important to us," Mogavero said. "We work so hard, all the way from two-a-days, we've been working out since winter; we've all been together, doing the off-season work, and all of that just leads up to this game and then the next one. We just wanted to play as hard as we can, get a W and start the season right."

Mogavero once again proved to be a key part of the Blue Devils' effort on offense and defense, helping the Blue Devisl to a 33-26 victory. Offensively, he had 23 carries for 135 yards and two TDs. He had eight tackles.

QB Greg Mruczek was 13 for 18 for 124 yards and one touchdown.

Newcomer Ray Leach opened the game with a kick return for a TD and 110 total return yards.

Danny Williams, back on defense this year, had eight tackles.

Even for all the success on opening night, Head Coach Brennan Briggs wasn't entirely satisfied. The defense exposed a couple of weaknesses and missed some assignments. That left the fourth-year coach a little frustrated after the game, a fact he shared with his team.

“Obviously a win is a win, but we talk about improving ourselves every single week and I guess this is the baseline right here," Briggs said. "If we can improve our mistakes and tighten up some things we didn’t do right, I think we can get to where we need to be."

Picked as the preseason #1 small school team in Section V in a coaches' poll, Batavia has a schedule full of strong teams looking to knock down the top team, so Briggs said he expects the hard work to continue.

“It was great having to defend athletes like this because there is no doubt that they are very athletic and a very good football team,” Briggs said. “I’m proud of these guys because the next three weeks we play against teams that are very much like this.”











To purchase prints of these photos. click here.

September 4, 2015 - 4:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, YARD SALES.


You would have needed to get to out to Herb Neal's yard sale on Harvester Avenue this morning pretty early to buy this nice white casket. Neal said he sold it within 10 minutes, and a few minutes later he sold the military casket (below) he also had out.

He said he acquired the caskets in a trade.

His son Matthew is in the top picture.


September 4, 2015 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.


The 2015 football season kicks off this evening. It should be an interesting year. Batavia High School starts the season ranked #1 in the region. Le Roy, always a powerhouse, has a new coach. And the Genesee Region league is stacked with talent and experienced, quality coaches.

The Batavian will cover games every week, doing our best to cover each team at least once.

This year's schedule for local teams is below. Head out to a field near you and catch a game. It should be interesting and exciting.


  • University Prep at Batavia, 7:30
  • Notre Dame/Batavia at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 o'clock
  • Le Roy at Letchworth/Warsaw, 7:30


  • Pembroke at Elba/Byron Bergen, 1:30 p.m. (CORRECTION: Section V listed this game on the schedule incorrectly. It's at 7 p.m. at Byron-Bergen's field)

Friday, Sept. 11

  • Cardinal O'Hara at Batavia, 7:30 p.m.
  • Pembroke at Attica, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 12

  • Alexander at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m.
  • Elba/Byron-Bergen at Holley, 1:30 p.m.
  • Dansville at Le Roy, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 18

  • Batavia vs. Wilson, at Sahlen's Stadium, 7 p.m.
  • Oakfield-Alabama at Pembroke, 7 p.m.
  • Attica at Alexander, 7 p.m.
  • Le Roy at Wayland-Cohocton, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 19

  • Notre Dame at Elba/Byron-Bergen, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 25

  • Edison Tech at Batavia, 7:30 p.m.
  • Elba/Byron-Bergen at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 p.m.
  • Bath-Haverling at Le Roy, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 26

  • Alexander at Holley, 1:30 p.m
  • Pembroke at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 2

  • Batavia at Penn Yan, 7 p.m.
  • Notre Dame at Bishop Kearney, 7:30 p.m.
  • Holley at Pembroke, 7 p.m.
  • Oakfield-Alabama at Alexander (TBD)
  • Le Roy at Hornell, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 3

  • Attica at Elba/Byron-Bergen, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 9

  • Wayne Central at Batavia, 7:30 p.m.
  • Le Roy at Cal-Mum, 7:30 p.m.
  • Alexander at Pembroke, 7 p.m.
  • Notre Dame at Attica, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 10

  • Oakfield-Alabama at Holley, 1:30 p.m.
  • C.G. Finney at Elba/Byron-Bergen, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 16

  • Batavia at Geneva, 7 p.m.
  • Attica at Oakfield-Alabama, 7 p.m.
  • Elba/Byron-Bergen at Alexander, 7 p.m.
  • Livonia at Le Roy, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17

  • Holley at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m.

Here's a recap of our football preview stories:

Here's a slide show of all of our pre-season photos, including some that weren't published with the original stories. Prints of photos may be purchased through this link to my photography Web site.

September 4, 2015 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, schools, education.


Yesterday, Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School hosted its year-opening Pride Day. Principal Tim McArdle sent over these photos and this message:

Today (yesterday) we kicked off our Le Roy PRIDE character education program by hosting our annual school-wide assembly. Our newly named All-State Music performer, Sophie Farnholz, played the national anthem to begin the festivities!

I then reviewed highlights from last year and shared how we want to continue our momentum into this year. We talked about the importance of students honing their own character skills and how they will be vital in being career ready. Our Student Council president Kieran O’Halloran addressed our students encouraging them to rally around each other and fully support all of our teams, clubs and music groups this year.

The assembly was highlighted by national motivational speaker Zach Gowen. Zach is a professional wrestler who has overcome many obstacles in his life, one being losing his left leg when he was 8 years old. He is the first one-legged competitor in professional wrestling. His real life message was well received by our students and teachers. We hope that students really take to heart his story and the many important points he made.

I would like to thank senior Paul Elliott who originally pitched Zach as a potential speaker last spring and also our Emerging Knights Leadership Team who interviewed Zach this summer to confirm he would be a perfect fit for our assembly and, boy, was he! Please ask your child about their impressions from today’s assembly! 





September 4, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, oakfield-alabama.


There was a point during the off-season where it looked like the tradition of Hornets football might come to an end. The team was struggling to fill its roster and negotiations were under way to merge with Pembroke.

But the coaches and the players rallied, and when Oakfield-Alabama takes its home field tonight against Notre Dame, 26 players will suit up.

"We talked about keeping the football team here and keeping the tradition here and they (players and coaches) really stepped up to the plate and did a nice job of being here and keeping our program going," said Head Coach Brian Palone.

This will be a season where a young team needs to grow, especially on the lines, where this year's starters are last year's second string, or modified player. But it's also a team other GR coaches acknowledge needs to be taken seriously every week with returners Allen Chatt at QB and Sal Schwable and Reice Woodward as wideouts. Those three alone give Palone some weapons he can use to challenge opponents.

"Our goal is to improve every day," Palone said. "I tell the guys how fortunate they are to come out every day and wear the Hornets' uniform and represent their school and their community. We're going to compete and get better every game."







September 4, 2015 - 12:27pm


(Photos from last night's show.) Luke Bryan headlines a second, soldout show, at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center tonight.











September 4, 2015 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Farm to Fork, Le Roy, Stein Farms, agriculture.


Amidst verdant rows of corn in nearby fields, with rays of golden, late afternoon sunshine lighting the sky, and a bounty of locally grown meat and vegetables ready for the guests, Shelly Stein beamed.

"We love this land," Stein said. "We really love this land. What we hope to do tonight is really invite others to have this same experience that we do every day out here, on the land, appreciating all of the food and the good fiber it provides for us, every day."

The Stein family opened their land to the community for a feast called Field to Fork Feast. It was a fundraiser to help support the America's Greatest Communities effort, but it was also a chance to highlight Genesee County's beauty, abundance and goodwill.

"There's a great deal of hard work that goes into what we do, but there's also a deep appreciation and the fact that we don't farm alone," Stein said. "We always farm with God and Mother Nature at our right and left hands, along with our family, and we're just blessed to be able to to support the contest that is America's Best Communities for Le Roy and Bergen and to share our passion. We feel honored."

The locally grown food was prepared by D&R Depot and served by their catering staff.

About 150 people attended and the goal was to raise $5,000 of the $15,000 needed in support of the America's Best Communities contest.

"We call Genesee County the 'Breadbasket of Western New York,' " Stein said. "All across the country, we are known as a county that is highly educated in our agricultural fields and that we adapt technology quick and fast and we are great producers here, so to be able to share that tonight is incredibly important."








September 4, 2015 - 11:48am


Batavia resident, decorated Iraq War veteran, author and former congressional candidate David Bellavia (center) will be the emcee for the annual Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala at Genesee Community College on Sept. 19.

The annual event is a fundraiser organized by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia to benefit the Child Advocacy Center and Justice for Children. In its fifth year, organizers expect to cap the initial goal of raising $150,000 for a new CAC center. The CAC is now in quarters on East Main Street and the money may be used for rehabilitation of that facility.

The event is in the Forum starting at 5:30 p.m. and includes live, silent and basket auctions, entertainment and food. Tickets are $50 per person or $400 for a table of 10. 

To make a donation, become a sponsor or purchase tickets, visit

With Bellavia in the photo, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and CAC supervisor Anne Bezon.

September 4, 2015 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, BARNS.


This shot is actually from a couple of days ago, but I didn't get a chance to post it then.





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