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October 11, 2015 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bergen Family Shenanigans, bergen.


The folks in Bergen hosted a great family event yesterday in Hickory Park, an autumn festival they called "Shenanigans." The event featured dozens of games and contests, which allowed children to win tickets for prizes. There were also several local vendors selling things such as mittens, candles, wine and honey.








October 11, 2015 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

City Fire and Batavia PD are dispatched to an address on Bank Street for a report of a person burning plywood in the backyard of a residence.

October 10, 2015 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia's List, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement.


I'm long overdue for taking care of this -- we promised to give away an iPad Mini to one lucky poster during the first month of our newest Web site, Batavia's List.

The winner is Mike McDonald. Mike increased his odds during the month-long contest by posting three home rental ads.

Since he already owns a tablet, he's donating his prize to John Kennedy School so it might go to a student who can't afford such a device.

We have a new contest: Post something to the marketplace on Batavia's List between now and Nov. 10 and win a $100 gift certificate to Larry's Steakhouse.  No purchase necessary. To post for free e-mail [email protected] for a coupon code for a free post.

We're also now running our community calendar through Batavia's List. Post your events on our calendar and they appear on both sites. You must register for Batavia's List to post calendar items. Once you do, and you're logged in, you will see a button for posting events on the Calendar Page.

If you're on Facebook, you can get updates of postings to Batavia's List by liking Batavia's List on Facebook

Finally, please be sure to sign up for our new daily e-mail newsletter

October 10, 2015 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ziebart, batavia, business.


Ziebart, an auto service shop, held its ribbon cutting this morning to celebrate opening the new location. Franchise owner Tony Mattiacio holds the giant scissors. This is Mattiacio's fourth franchise location for the national chain of outlets that provide a variety of services including detailing, wraps and starters.

October 10, 2015 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Planned Parenthood, batavia.


Photo from Greg Rada who said his father, Richard Rada, took it and is participating in the anti-abortion protest this morning outside the Planned Parenthood office on West Main Street, Batavia.

October 10, 2015 - 9:00am


Workers with Department of Social Services wore pink Friday as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and they shared pink snacks with each other. So far, they've raised $140 for Genesee Cancer Assistance and will continue fund-raising efforts throughout October.

Reader submitted photo.

October 10, 2015 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy.


Perhaps the outcome of Friday night's 50th Le Roy vs. Cal-Mum matchup would have been very different if not for an interception deep in Le Roy territory by Reece Tresco. The Red Raiders seemed to be on an unstoppable, inevitable march toward a touchdown.

The Oatkan Knights were unable to move the ball on its set of downs and a poor punt gave Cal-Mum great field position, but the exchange seemed to give the Le Roy defense a chance to reset itself and the best Cal-Mum could muster was a field goal.

Cal-Mum never even sniffed the goal line the rest of the game and Le Roy waltzed away with a 28-3 victory.

Livingston County divisional realignment almost prevented this 50th meeting and without extrodinary efforts in the coming years, it could be the last time these two long-standing and storied rivals meet on the gridiron.

Nick Egeling and Josh Laurie led the team on both offense and defense. Egeling carried the ball 15 times for 85 yards, had one reception for 15 yards, and on defense had six tackles and an interception he returned for a touchdown that gave Le Roy its first lead. Laurie was 5-7 pasing for 159 yards and three TDs. He also rushed for 15 yards on seven carries. He had four tackles and an interception on defense.

Nate Flint's two receptions in the game, for 137 yards, accounted for two of Laurie's TD passes. The other went to Ryan Boyce on a 20-yard catch and run, giving Boyce his first score of the season (top photo).

Justin DiFalco had seven tackles, including a sack. Anthony Natrigo had five tackles. Luke Hogle had a fumble recovery to go with three tackles. 

Also on Friday night:

  • Batavia won its homecoming match up over Wayne Central, 54-0. More coverage in a separate post later.
  • Attica and Notre Dame went deep into the second quarter with a scoreless tie, before Alex Piechocki scored on an 11-yard run to give Attica a 6-0 half-time lead. With 14 more points in the third quarter, a fourth-quarter rally wasn't enough to save the Fighting Irish, who lost 20-13. Connor Logsdon was 9-15 passing for 116 yards and a TD and an interception. Jack Sutherland rushed for 105 yards and a TD on 19 carries. Luca Zambito and C.J. Suozzi each had three catches, with Zambito gaining 53 yards and scoring a TD and Suozzi going for 42 yards. Sutherland and Suozzi each had nine tackles, Logsdon five and a half, and Etan Ozborne and Caleb Wolcott, four apiece.
  • Alexander beat Pembroke, 40-7. Jake Wozniak gained 165 yards on 13 rushes and scored three times. Zach Jasen gained 30 yards and scored on three carries. Jared Browne was 4-6 passing for 57 yards and a TD. Dustin Schmeider had a TD reception of three yards. Derrick Busch had 54 yards on three receptions. Busch also came up big on defense with three interceptions for 140 return yards, including a 65-yard pick six. He also had a fumble recovery.
  • Avon beat York/Pavilion 26-14.





Le Roy and Cal-Mum also clashed at halftime in flag football action.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

October 10, 2015 - 8:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway.

An accident involving a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle is reported in the westbound lane of the Thruway in the area of mile marker 398.

Injuries are reported.

East Pembroke fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

October 9, 2015 - 5:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, football, sports.


It's a big night for prep football, with Notre Dame (4-1) and Attica (4-1) battling in Attica in a game that could determine the Genesee Region title, Batavia hosting Wayne Central on homecoming night, and the biggest rivilary in WNY sports, Le Roy and Cal-Mum renews in Caledonia.

Perhaps this week's action will produce another Player of the Week, as last week did when Pembroke's Zach Von Kramer was named Section V's Defensive Player of the Week (#7 above in a game against Notre Dame). 

Pembroke hosts Alexander tonight.

Tomorrow, Elba/Byron-Bergen is at home against C.G. Finney and Oakfield-Alabama travels to Holley.

October 9, 2015 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Pellegrino Auto Sales.



Pellegrino Auto Sales in Batavia is growing -- again.

In 2013, the company added office space to the front of its building, then it bought the acre of land next door so the car lot could be expanded and now Pellegrino's is adding a new five-bay service center with an expanded customer service area.

"We're just growing," said Guy Pellegrino (pictured). "We're doing more business, both service and sales. We're busting at the seams."

Pellegrino has added 5,000 square feet of blacktop and the lot's inventory will expand from 75 vehicles to 100.

The new five-bay service center will mean more employees and Pellegrino's will also start doing alignments in-house.

The current service bays, which provide service on inventory cars, those sold by Pellegrino's as well as to service-only customers, will be used for space to take pictures inside of cars for marketing, online sales and for detailing. 

The latest expansion project represents an investment by Pellegrino's of more than $200,000.

October 9, 2015 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in kiwanis club, batavia.


Jeanne Walton, center, was installed Thursday night as the new president of the Kiwanis Club of Batavia. Walton is executive director of the YWCA. Theresa Asmus-Roth, left, is now the immediate past president. The installation of officers was conducted during the club's President's Night dinner at Larry's Steakhouse by District Lt. Governor Anne Kelly.

October 8, 2015 - 2:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

Brandon Maldonado appeared before Judge Robert C. Noonan this afternoon to learn if he might get something less than the 18 months in state prison he agreed to when he accepted a plea bargain in his animal cruelty case. 

Maldonado said he's a changed man since he was last sentenced by Noonan three years ago. He said he cares now about being a good father to his son. 

"I'm not the guy you knew before," Maldonado said. "Going to prison changed my life in a big way. Instead of doing what I want to do, I learned to do what I'm supposed to do."

At no point did Maldonado mention the dog, Rocky, he was accused of dumping scalding hot water on in July. 

When Maldonado entered a guilty plea Sept. 22 to aggravated cruelty to an animal, he did so on an Alford basis, which means he did not admit to the actions underlying the charge, just that he recognized a jury would likely find him guilty if the case went to trial. 

Noonan told Maldonado that frankly he didn't remember him from three years ago. There was nothing to distinguish him from the hundreds of other defendants he's seen since. The judge said defendants are often under the mistaken impression that an Alford plea will lead to a reduced sentence. He noted that Maldonado, while claiming to be a changed man, made no reference to the crime that brought him into court today. He called Moldonado's crime "horrific."

"It makes me shiver to think somebody could do this to a helpless animal," Noonan said. 

The judge then told Maldonado he is being sentenced to the full year and a half term negotiated as the cap under his plea deal. (Absent the deal, the longest possible sentence is two years.)

With credit for good behavior, Maldonado could be eligible for release in 12 months. 

His actual release date will also depend on the parole board. His parole stems from a prior conviction in 2013 for second-degree attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument.

October 8, 2015 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, GCEDC, business.

Video produced by Greater Rochester Enterprise covering yesterday's announcement at GCC.

October 8, 2015 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Stafford, bergen, batavia.

Patricia Jean Kendall-Cargill, 50, of Swamp Road, Bergen, is charged with two counts of criminal contempt, 2nd. Kendall-Cargill allegedly violated an order of protection out of Family Court on two occasions.

Heidi Marie Keller, 37, of Gillette Road, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Keller allegedly stole $35.70 worth of makeup from Walmart.

Kyle Kenneth Eldridge, 39, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation and failure to dim headlines. Eldridge was stopped at 3:34 a.m. Sunday on Route 33, Stafford, by Deputy Christopher Parker.

October 8, 2015 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, GCEDC, STAMP, Alabama, business, GCC.


Frank van Mierlo is clearly a man who believes he has a role to play in changing the world.

The phrase "change the world" did, in fact, pass over the lips of the solar energy entrepreneur once today while he addressed a room full of local and state dignitaries in Stuart Steiner Theater at Genesee Community College. Van Mierlo was there, joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to unveil ambitious plans for a $700 million investment by his company to build a silicon wafer factory on 105 acres of Genesee County land that could employ 1,000 people as soon as 2017.

Even the name of his company, 1366 Technologies, is a homage to van Mierlo's far-reaching global ambitions. Sunlight falls on the planet at the rate of 1,366 Watts per square meter, hence 1366. The number is significant because at that rate, the sun sends us 130,000 terawatts of energy each year. We only need a fraction of that, 17 TW, to power civilization.

"We need to rapidly deploy solar," van Mierlo said in an interview after the announcement. "We need to grow this industry at 30 percent a year. If we do that and we keep growing at 30 percent a year, by 2030, we will produce enough solar energy to power the planet."

And at a price cheaper than coal.

The solar energy market has been growing by 30 percent a year for 30 years, with rapidly improving technology, and like the power of compound interest, the rate of advancement is seemingly -- seemingly -- accelerating.

The technology that powers 1366 was incubated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and van Mierlo describes it as a game changer. The company's process cuts silicon waste, reduces the expense of production by 50 percent and takes a third less energy to produce a wafer than current manufacturing techniques.

Ely Sachs, a former MIT professor, is a partner in 1366 and the engineer behind the process 1366 uses to create its wafers. Rather than make clumps of silicon that are carved and cut into wafers, as is common in manufacturing solar wafers now, the 1366 process is more like making sheets of glass, poured directly from molten silicon.

The goal of 1366, van Mierlo said, is to make solar more affordable than coal.

"When solar was first introduced in 1970s, the cost was $7 per kilowatt hour," van Mierlo said. "A kilowatt hour, a little bit of a wonky term, but if you take an old-fashioned 100-watt lightbulb, you leave it on for 10 hours, that's a kilowatt hour. At the time, $7 per kilowatt hour, was extremely expensive. Now, 40 years later, unsubsidized, the cost on a good installation, in a sunny area, the cost is down to 7 cents per kilowatt hour.

Coal is currently about 3.2 cents per kilowatt hour.

The word unsubsidized is important. Solar may be one of the most heavily subsidized industries in America right now.

While states, including New York, offer tax credits for consumers and businesses to install solar panels, the federal government offers a 30-percent tax credit, but that's a tax credit set to expire next year and there is opposition in Washington to extending it. There is some concern that the solar industry has already grown "too big to fail" and ending the tax credit will cost more than 100,000 jobs nationally.

The political winds of the issue leave van Mierlo undaunted. Solar is simply an imperative society must pursue if we're going to change the world.

"A 30-percent growth rate only works when it's a team effort, so it's absolutely essential that everybody pitches in," van Mierlo said. "People like us have to pitch in. We have to come with the technology and the innovation. We have to deliver the cost reductions and we absolutely need broad support to keep growing fast enough. In the end, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you believe in it, you support it, the cost will come down and it will bring economic prosperity. If you say it's never going to work and you walk away from it, well, then it will become impossible to make progress and that also becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy."

Cuomo has bet big on solar, backing a $1 billion investment known as NY-Sun and WNY is now poised to become a hub of solar energy production. Earlier this year, Solar City began construction on a 1.2-million-square-foot solar panel factory in Buffalo with the promise of creating 1,400 jobs. A major investor in Solar City is Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who helped launch PayPal and used the fortune that company brought him to launch Space X and Tesla Motors. Officials with Solar City said just a week ago that the panels it will produce in Buffalo will be the world's most efficient, using its own proprietary technology.

Musk is well known in tech circles for dreaming of saving the world through technology. Like Musk, van Mierlo is leveraging prior business success to help fund his own plant-saving ambitions. Prior to cofounding 1366, he owned a robotics company, again based on technology developed at MIT, that he eventually sold.

"It's true that I have some economic freedom, and working on something that matters, that's just a fun thing to do," van Mierlo said. "Given a choice, you outta do something that is worthwhile. Energy is an interesting problem and one that needs solving and I think we're going to play a big part in the solution."

The new 1366 plant will take up only about 8 percent of the 12,500-acre WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- STAMP -- in Alabama, a project Genesee County Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde has been working on for more than a decade. Nearly every speaker today, including Cuomo, Empire State Development CEO Howard Zemsky, Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle praised Hyde's vision and tenacity in creating and sticking with STAMP, even as doubters and naysayers predicted it would never work.

"This is a game changer," Cuomo said. "A hundred-and-thirty-thousand-square-foot building. At the end of the day, as many as 1,000 jobs. Quality jobs. High-tech jobs. Well paying jobs feeding off an educated workforce being nurtured by some of the great educational institutions in this state. That is the future.

"And the way it happened is the way it should happen," he added. "The IDA worked with the county. The county worked with the region. Two regions collaborated. Western New York and the Finger Lakes, not competing, but actually collaborating and getting a world-class entrepreneur with a phenomenal product that not only can create jobs and make money but can also make this world a better world."

Van Mierlo said when the 1366 plant is fully operational, it will churn out enough wafers each year to generate three gigawatts of power. A nuclear power plant, by comparison, might generate a single gigawatt of power each year.

Increased production and distribution will help bring the cost of solar energy down, which is what van Mierlo said he is really after.

"When solar is 2 cents a kilowatt hour, we can pay for installations that are less than ideal, can pay for energy storage and you will end up with a clean solution that is actually affordable," van Mierlo said. "I'm a firm believer that it's actually possible here to have a solution that helps the economy, but it's not going to come easy.

"The important thing now: Manage the energy supply so that it doesn't threaten life on the planet and that we end up with a solution that doesn't compromise our economy either. We absolutely need investment. We need support. But we also need to bring the cost down so it helps the economy and not just a continuous investment plan."

With the first project scheduled to break ground in the spring, the state will now release some $33 million in grant money pledged to create the infrastructure -- roads, sewers, utilities -- necessary for STAMP to attract manufacturing businesses. While 1366 will benefit indirectly from this investment, the direct subsidies 1366 will receive are those frequently approved by the GCEDC board, from a reduction in taxes on the increased assessment of the property (and the increased assessment will be substantial in this case), to mortgage tax relief to sales tax abatement on materials. The total package will be worth $97 million over 10 years.

Those incentives certainly played a role in 1366's decision to come to Genesee County, van Mierlo said, but he was also attracted by the workforce the area's universities can provide, the central location between Rochester and Buffalo and, most importantly, the inexpensive, clean energy provided by Niagara Falls.

"Hydropower is a real attraction and will be one that is a real advantage to us," van Mierlo said. "It cuts the cost of making the wafer by a factor of three and it's clean. The use of hydropower means there is no C02 at all. Steve Hyde calls it 'clean to green,' and that's a phrase that has really come to life."

Now that 1366 is coming to STAMP and boosters have a real project to talk about with site selectors and potential tenants, it's going to get easier to attract the next business into the park, both Hyde and Mark Peterson, CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise said.

Those who make decisions about where to construct high-tech facilities are going to become believers in STAMP now, Peterson said.

"People are going to say, 'wow, holy cow, this is real,' " Peterson said. "This a mega site, 1,250 acres. You don't have very many of those with power and water to them in the world, so we're on the world stage right now and this is only going to make us more competitive. Genesee County is right in the middle of Buffalo and Rochester. This is going to be the place to be."

Peterson said computer models run by GRE indicate the 1366 plant, with an economic multiplier effect, will generate more than $4.3 billion in spending regionally over the next five years.

Like the governor, Hyde called the 1366 announcement a "game changer."

"This is a new day," Hyde said. "We have technology companies to the left in Buffalo, to the right in Rochester, and now they're right here right now. Where else would you rather be today? We have opportunities through investments and technology and terrific companies like 1366 Technologies that are going to be here for years and create thousands of high-paying jobs for our kids."


Gov. Andrew Cuomo.


Steve Hyde flanked by Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Gensee County Legislature, and Mark Peterson, CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise.


Members of Genesee County SCOPE were set up on East Saile Drive, across the road from the County Airport, prior to the governor's arrival in Batavia, to protest the SAFE Act. There were also picketers on Bank Street Road, on R. Stephen Hawley Drive and just outside the GCC entrance.

October 7, 2015 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, schools, education.


Maya Rademacker tries out a drunken driving simulator during a stop at Notre Dame High School of the Save a Life Tour while her classmates look on. The tour also lets students test their abilities, and learn from their failures, while driving distracted. The drunken driver simulator delays the response of the steering wheel, gas and braking to help provide students with what they might experience if driving while over the legal limit.

Here's a press release from Notre Dame that explains more about the program:

One of the most dangerous temptations our teens drivers face today is distracted driving. Whether it is a text, a call or finding a song on their phone, doing it while driving is not the right decision. Parents of Notre Dame (POND) felt strongly that the students at the school needed to know these dangers. Since this past Spring they have been working to bring in a program to educate the students about the dangers of distracted driving.

“We found the Save a Life Tour online and found they had been at another local school. After speaking with the administration at that school, they highly recommended the program,” said Arna Tygart, POND president. “Since then we have been working to raise the money and set a date to bring this important program to our school and today is the day."

The Save A Life Tour Distracted Driving and Alcohol Awareness Program starts with a general assembly for all students, then students will come down by grade level to experience the hands on exhibits and driving simulators.

“This will give them the real life experience of distracted driving, but without the danger,” Tygart added.

Principal Wade Bianco was right on board with bringing the program to Notre Dame.

“In an effort to continue to provide an emotionally and physically safe environment for our students, and help them build skills that they can use as they navigate the complex world they live in this is the right program for them," Bianco said.

POND added a couple of fundraising events specifically marked to fund this program.

“We would like to thank the community for their support of our fundraising efforts that help to bring these important programs to our students,” Tygart said.




October 7, 2015 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.


Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies, a Boston-based, MIT-bred solar energy company, presents Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a commemorative silicon wafer during today's announcement of a $700 million investment by the company in a new production plant in Genesee County.

This is the first major project to sign on with WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama. The CEO said his company intends to break ground on construction in the spring and be fully operational by 2017. The facility will manufacture silicon wafers for solar panels and could employ as many as 1,000 people in what Cuomo described as good, high-paying jobs.

While STAMP has benefited from state and federal grants to build infrastructure to support the kind of manufacturing facilities officials hope to attract, the only subsidies going directly to this project are standard tax breaks on the increased assessed value and sales tax abatements. The total incentive package is $97 million spread out over 10 years.

We'll have an in-depth story on today's announcement tonight or first thing in the morning.

October 7, 2015 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Hannah Dibble, corfu, pembroke, Bethany.

At the request of her attorney, Judge Robert C. Noonan today authorized in-patient alcohol treatment at Horizon House for 22-year-old Hannah C. Dibble, charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter and other crimes stemming from a Feb. 21 accident that claimed the life of an 18-year-old GCC student.

The stay at Horizon House is part of a series of treatment steps Dibble is going through while the legal case against her continues to wind through the county's legal system.

Noonan informed the attorneys today that he mailed them his written decision on a number of pre-trial motions. The attorneys said they have not yet received the ruling, which wasn't available in court. The attorneys, along with Dibble, are scheduled back in court Oct. 20 for a hearing on any pending motions.

Attorney Ben Bonarigo asked Noonan to allow Dibble to stay at Horizon House until she is released by the facility, however long that takes. 

She's expected to enter the facility this afternoon.

On July 24, Dibble pled not guilty to an 11-count Grand Jury indictment that included: one count of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree; two counts of vehicular assault in the first degree; three counts of assault in the second degree; three counts of vehicular assault in the second degree; and two counts of DWI.

Corfu resident Alyson D. Krzanak, 18, was killed in the crash. James Scherer, 21, Brandon Danser, 22, and Felecia J. Fazzio, 20, all suffered serious physical injuries after the 1997 Chevrolet Geo that Dibble was driving crossed Route 20 at Molasses Hill Road, Bethany, and was struck by a semi-truck.

October 6, 2015 - 7:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC.

Sources tell us Gov. Andrew Cuomo is coming to GCC tomorrow to announce a major investment in the WNY STAMP project in Alabama, but nobody has been willing to confirm anything on the record. The governor's office and Empire State Development have even declined to confirm the governor will be in town.

Tonight, the D&C reports that the CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise is planning on attending the announcement tomorrow and said this is "the largest project in our organization's history."

The name of the company coming to STAMP has not yet been disclosed, nor the segment of tech industry it represents.

The most recent schedule for Gov. Cuomo for tomorrow does not include a visit to Batavia, but it's not unusual for the governor's office send out multiple updates over a 24-hour period.

UPDATE Oct. 7, 11:34 a.m.: The governor is expected at Genesee Community College's Stuart Steiner Forum at 2:15 p.m. today. He will announce that a solar company based in Bedford, Mass., (a suburb of Boston) plans to create between 700 to 1,000 jobs over a five-year span at the planned Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama. Here's a link to the Democrat & Chronicle story:

October 6, 2015 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in square dancing, Silver Stars, batavia, entertainment.


Dean Rich, a resident of Pratt Road, started square dancing in Batavia 60 years ago. He's danced in California, Arizona and Florida and remembers the time he danced to a caller from Alaska.

"I enjoy it because you meet so many interesting people," Rich said.

As if to prove it, he told an engaging story about himself. Now age 88, he's retired from MY-T Acres farm where he spent most of his farming career, invested his money wisely and was able to quit 28 years ago.

"I was working for my uncle for $50 a week and Bob hired me for $55 a week," Rich said. "Plus, I didn't have to come in until seven and I got a pig. Bob's dad said, 'You're paying him too much,' because the guy I replaced was making only $35 a week."

Rich and his wife had been married four years when a neighbor invited them to their first square dance, and soon they were regulars and including square dancing in all their travels. They were together 64 years. Rich took some time off while she was ill, but after she passed, he couldn't stay away from square dancing. He just enjoys it too much.

"There are so many interesting people and you never meet anybody who's rowdy," Rich said. "You cannot drink and do this, when you really get to square dancing."

Rich is one of 24 members of the Silver Stars, who gather every Monday at the VA Center in Batavia.

It's one of at least 15 clubs in Western New York, said caller and Buffalo resident Bill Ryan, who started calling 52 years ago at age 14.

"It's just a whole lot of fun," he said.

It's also good exercise, Ryan said, and, he agreed, you meet some great people.

Jean McCoy (top photo) said she would go stir crazy if she had to stay home, so she square dances to keep herself active. 

"Truthfully, I like the outfits," she whispered when asked what she likes about square dancing, but then added, "I like the camaraderie. You have to be out and be around people when you live alone, otherwise you'll wind up in the psych ward."

The age range of the club runs the spectrum and the youngest dancer at Monday night's club gathering was 7-year-old Caylin Perry, of Batavia. Caylin was too shy to tell us why she likes square dancing. She just said she does. She looked like she was having fun.














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