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December 30, 2016 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news, wheel of fortune, Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew.


Lauren Fritz doesn't have regrets about that one spin. She knew she could solve the puzzle. The answer was obvious to her. "The National Mall in Washington." But she played an aggressive game and flicked the wheel around one more time. She hit the big black "Bankruptcy" card on the big wheel on Wheel of Fortune.

"I've thought about it a lot," Fritz said. "I thought about it on the plane ride back, but I wouldn't change a thing."

Appearing on Wheel of Fortune was a lifelong dream for Fritz. As soon as she turned 18, she started applying. When the online application was just putting in her name, she applied. When she had to write a paragraph, she applied. When they started asking for pictures, she applied. When they required a video submission, she applied.

She's not embarrassed to admit, she said, that she's applied hundreds of times, more times than she can count, and during some periods in her life, she's applied every single day to get on the Wheel of Fortune.

She finally made it this year and last night, the episode where she played and hit that bankruptcy aired. The Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew in Le Roy hosted a viewing party for Fritz, her future in-laws, friends and anybody else who showed up, and a lot of people showed up.

She thought it was pretty awesome that her adopted hometown, where she hasn't even lived for that long yet, came out to cheer her on.

And the crowd cheered. They cheered when her face first appeared on the six or seven TV screens in the bar and she was introduced as a resident of Le Roy, NY, which meant more cheers, and they booed when the other contestants were introduced. They cheered when she solved the opening phrase. They moaned in anguish when she hit that bankruptcy.

She won $17,000, which includes a $6,000 trip to North Carolina. That's good enough for Second Place.  

The First Place winner on the episode pocketed $60,000 after qualifying for, and winning, the bonus round.

The way the game played out, Fritz thinks the guy would have made it to the bonus round even if she hadn't hit the bankruptcy. If she hadn't taken one more spin, she would have claimed only a few hundred dollars if she had solved the puzzle at that point.

"I was very happy for him," Fritz said. "It was something I always wanted to do, my lifelong dream. I wish I had made it to the bonus round, obviously, but he has a young family and like anybody, he can use the money, so I was very happy for Lou."

The whole experience was great, said Fritz, who is originally from Grandhaven, Mich. Pat Sajak, Vanna White and the whole Wheel of Fortune crew were super nice, she said. It was touching how they opened their hearts, the studio and the set for two youngsters who spent the day at the studio as part of their Make-a-Wish Foundation wish.

The excitement and fun of the TV show appearance was enhanced, she said, by the getting the support she did from the Le Roy community at the Smokin' Eagle last night.

Fritz is engaged to Jake Whiting, son of Reid Whiting. Lauren and Jake met at the University of Michigan Law School. They will be married in September. Fritz is now an attorney in Rochester and Jake Whiting works with his brother in his father's law firm in Le Roy.  

The couple will settle in Le Roy, she said.

"I appreciate everything everyone has done for me," she said. "It feels like my hometown. Everyone has been so nice."


December 30, 2016 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in p.w. minor, batavia, business, news.


The p.w. minor factory was open last night for a "friends and family night" with tours, refreshments and a chance to buy a new pair of p.w. minor shoes.

The event was part of p.w. minor's rollout of new product lines, the Abram Boots and Batavia Boots and Shoes.

Above, CEO Pete Zeliff shows off a pair of Patriot boots to Brian Kemp. And below, Ron DiSalvo, the former owner of DiSalvo's Shoes, a retail outlet he operated in Downtown Batavia from 1967 to 2007.

Retail shoe sales are returning to Downtown Batavia through a partnership between p.w. minor and Charles Men's Shop.


December 30, 2016 - 6:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, thruway, news.

An accident with possible injuries is blocking traffic on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 401.1 in Pembroke.

Pembroke fire and Indian Falls fire along with Mercy EMS dispatched.

December 29, 2016 - 4:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Grand Jury.

Antoine T. Clark (AKA "Mike") is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on June 29 in the Town of Batavia that Clark knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug, cocaine, with intent to sell it. In count two, Clark is accused of the crime of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, also a Class B felony. It is alleged that on June 29 in the Town of Batavia that the defendant knowingly and unlawfully sold a narcotic drug, cocaine.

December 29, 2016 - 4:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.
Rosemary Waters, 30, of Batavia, was arrested on Monday (Dec. 26) by SP Batavia Troopers and charged with third-degree burglary following a shoplifting complaint at Walmart. After being taken into custody for allegedly shoplifting, it was discovered that a previous shoplifting arrest had left Waters prohibited from entering Walmart property. Waters was processed, arraigned and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail.
James Jayhaij Spivey, 18, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 8:23 p.m. on Dec. 6 at a store on Veterans Memorial Drive following an investigation into a shoptlifting incident. Spivey allegedly stole merchandise from a local department store and was issued an appearance ticket returnable to Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 5. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jenna Ferrando, assisted by Deputy Michael Lute.
A 17-year-old youth who lives on Holland Avenue in Batavia was arrested Dec. 27 on a warrant issued because the youth allegedly failed to appear in Town of Batavia Court as ordered. The warrant stems from a petit larceny charge issued at 1 p.m. on Dec. 19 on West Main Street in Batavia. The youth was jailed on $250 bail or $1,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Batavia Town Court at a later date. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Deputy Andrew Hale.
December 29, 2016 - 3:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in lost pets, pets, animals, batavia, news.


Russ Marchese took this cat to the Animal Shelter after finding it near the railroad tracks on Wortendyke Road, Batavia.

December 29, 2016 - 3:00pm

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December 29, 2016 - 2:07pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports, Genesee Community College, Mancuso Bowling.





About 50 students from Batavia High School, Batavia Middle School, Byron-Bergen Central School, Albion Central School and Medina Central School took part in a recreational field trip this afternoon (Thursday) at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia. They participated in the Liberty Partnership Program, which is coordinated by Genesee Community College in conjunction with the NYS Department of Education.

Mary Ann Bowman, program director, said the outing provided an opportunity to "keep the students connected" while school is in recess. The students bowled two or three games and enjoyed pizza and pop during their time at the East Main Street facility.

The Liberty Partnership Program, in its 28th year, provides service to students in public and non-public schools grades five through 12 in an effort to maximize high school graduation and to encourage them to pursue higher education or post-secondary vocational training.

The Program promotes collaboration between colleges and universities, community based organizations, school districts, parents, volunteers, businesses and industry in providing comprehensive services for students to enter the workforce prepared with the necessary skills to be successful.

Liberty Partnership provides the following services: Academic/Personal Advisement, Homework Assistance, Career Awareness, Cultural and Enrichment Activities, Family Casework, Mentoring, Home Visits, Parental Involvement, Service Learning Projects/Civic Duty, Preparedness and College Tours and Summer Programming.

Photos -- From the top: Batavia High School students; Novalee Pocock, B-B fifth-grader; Batavia Middle School students with caseworker Kristen Calarco-Gomez; Jayden Doyle, B-B eighth-grader. 

December 29, 2016 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, Oakfield, news.


A house fire was reported at 7506 Lewiston Road, Oakfield about 15 minutes ago. 

There were flames showing and heavy smoke.

Oakfield fire along with Elba, East Pembroke, Town of Batavia and Alabama responding.

UPDATE (By Billie) 2:26 p.m.: A man at home alone heard the smoke detector alarm and discovered fire in the master bedroom. He got out safely along with a pet cat. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is being investigated A quick response by volunteer firefighters is credited with keeping the blaze contained to one room before it was extinguished.



December 29, 2016 - 10:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, news, Sheriff's Office.


With his family all around and many lifelong friends in attendance, William Sheron, after 21 years as undersheriff, became Genesee County's top cop Wednesday evening during an oath-of-office event at the Old Courthouse.

Administering the oath for Sheron was Thomas Graham, town justice in Oakfield, who was Sheron's first trainer when Sheron first joined the Sheriff's Office, walking into dispatch one day in 1977 and meeting Graham as a fresh-faced 18-year-old who "had no clue as to what I was doing, no clue at all." Graham had just been promoted to deputy and said, "sit down and start learning. The sooner I get you trained, the sooner I get to move on to being a deputy."

"He was at the start of a career that has been just phenomenal and the best part about it has been the people," Sheron said. "You’re not going to find nicer people. Every time I’ve progressed, people have stepped up and said they would help me out, ‘whatever you need, Bill.’ This is just the culmination of many, many years and I’m extremely proud to become Sheriff."




Greg Walker was sworn in as undersheriff.


Don Coleman, county coroner. 


Scott German, county treasurer.


Kevin Andrews, deputy county treasurer.


Shirley A. Gorman, assistant district attorney.


Karen Lang, county coroner.


Randy Baker, town justice, Oakfield.

To purchase prints, click here.

December 29, 2016 - 9:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

bpdpoidec2016boogsingle.jpgPolice have yet to locate Jeremy "Boog" Armstrong, a person of interest in a shooting that occurred Dec. 2 in the area of 107 Jackson St., Batavia.

Investigators have been attempting to locate Armstrong since the shooting, which sent a man to the hospital reportedly with a chest and shoulder wound.  

Det. Todd Crossett said this morning that Armstrong's whereabouts are still unknown and there is no new information available in the case.

Armstrong is described as a light-skinned male black about 5’10”- 6’ with a thin build. He has a deformity to his right ear and also to one of his hands.

Police say, if seen, do not confront Armstrong, but call 9-1-1 immediately. Information can also be supplied to Batavia PD through the confidential tip line at 345-6370, or Det. Sgt. Crossett at 345-6353.

Also, regarding the Key Bank robbery two days ago, Crossett said police have received hundreds of tips and are currently working through the leads.

December 29, 2016 - 9:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.


A brief burst of heavy snow is heading toward Genesee County, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow is expected midmorning.

Snow accumulation could be about an inch, falling within about a 45 minute time period.

Expect slippery roadways and fast accumulation on recently cleared surfaces.

"Motorists should slow down and allow some extra time to reach their destination through mid morning," the weather service advises.

December 28, 2016 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, schools, education, news.

Press release:

In sports, it's the MVP or most valuable player. In journalism and the arts, it's a Pulitzer Prize. Film has its Oscars and Academy Awards, and television has the Emmy Awards. But in the serious business of higher education, standards of excellence and adherence to quality are gauged by the Commission on Higher Education, a voluntary, non-government, regional membership association that assures institutional accountability, improvement and innovation through a rigorous application of standards within a peer reviewed process.

James M. Sunser, Ed.D., president of Genesee Community College, was recently appointed as one of 26 commissioners (board members) of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), which oversees 530 colleges and universities within New York State, as well as Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. He was selected from 85 nominations for just three open seats, and he is one of the few community college presidents to serve as commissioner.

MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation to accredit degree-granting institutions which offer one or more post-secondary educational programs of at least one academic year. Sunser joins the team of academic leaders who help define, maintain and promote educational excellence across many institutions with diverse missions, student populations and resources. Prior to his appointment as a commissioner, he served as a chairman or a member of an evaluation team within the peer-review process on more than a dozen occasions over the past 20 years.

To earn and retain accreditation through MSCHE, each institution of higher education undergoes a multi-stage accreditation review process every 10 years that begins with an intensive self study. The institution appoints a steering committee and working groups, and organizes campus-wide discussions to prepare a comprehensive Self-Study Report focused on specific accreditation standards. The Report also helps frame the three-day site visit by an assigned evaluation team made up of members from peer institutions.

After careful review of the Self-Study Report and numerous on-campus interviews, the evaluation team chair compiles an Evaluation Report summarizing the team's overall findings. In the end, the commissioners of MSCHE can affirm accreditation, require follow-up action, or remove accreditation.

Ironically, Genesee Community College is currently undergoing its decennial evaluation and is in the final stages of completing its 150+ page Self-Study Report with its MSCHE site visit scheduled April 2-5. (To avoid all conflicts of interest, the commissioners recuse themselves from all discussions involving their own institutions of employment.)

President Sunser is a native of Syracuse and has spent the majority of his professional career in higher education. He is a graduate of Onondaga Community College, earned his BS degree from Syracuse University, an MS from SUNY College at Brockport, and a Certificate of Advanced Study and his Ed.D. Degree from the University of Rochester. He came to GCC in 2011, after working at Onondaga Community College in several capacities including as the bursar and vice president for finance, and vice president for continuing and extended learning.

"I am truly honored to be a part of such an important organization within higher education," President Sunser said of his new appointment. "Accreditation is the lynch pin that holds higher education together. From setting policy to the self-assessments, team reviews during on-site visits, Middle States has imparted leadership in higher ed throughout its nearly 100-year history."

December 28, 2016 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pathstone, housing, news.

A portion of $8 million being set aside for low-income home ownership will wind up in Genesee County, according to the governor's office.

In a program administered by the  Rural Housing Opportunities Corporation, based in Rochester, qualifying low-income residents will be able to get assistance with repairs and upgrades related to health and safety concerns, code violations, energy conservation and other environmentally friendly improvements.

RHOC, part of Pathstone, is receiving $440,000, which will be divided among applicants in Genesee, Monroe, Orleans, Ontario, Seneca and Wayne counties.

The funding is the latest round of nearly $170 million set aside by the governor over the past several years for such projects. 

The program targets households at or below 80 percent of the area median income, with a maximum AHC allowable income limit of 112 percent of HUD’s low-income limits, adjusted for family size.

Homeowners who qualify can apply for up to $40,000 per dwelling.

December 28, 2016 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, hockey, Notre Dame.

Press release from Notre Dame High School:

“After considering the information presented to the Section V Executive Committee at the administrative hearing held on Dec. 19, the Executive Committee has ruled that there has been no violation of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (“NYSPHSAA”) sport standard #24 -- RECRUITMENT AND UNDUE INFLUENCE by Notre Dame of Batavia High School.”

Notre Dame is relieved for these three students, their families, and our hockey coach, Mr. Marc Staley.

It was unfortunate that our students, families, and staff, had to face these unfounded allegations of wrongdoing. Whether in the classroom, on the ice, or through community service, Notre Dame remains committed to instilling in our students the faith, knowledge, and confidence they will need to succeed in an ever-changing world. We are thankful for the thoughtful deliberation and time the Section V Executive Committee gave Notre Dame in making this decision.   

December 28, 2016 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in County Court, Charles Zambito, elba, news.


In his legal career, Charles Zambito has been a clerk for a county court judge, a defense attorney, a prosecuting attorney, an attorney in private practice and a county attorney, and last night he took the oath office for what he said may be the most significant role an attorney can play in a democratic society: a County Court judge.

Elected without opposition in November, the lifelong Genesee County resident who resides in Elba took the oath administered by Wyoming County Court Judge Michael Mohun while surrounded by his family.

After being sworn in, Zambito delivered a few remarks.

Judges, he said, play a vital role in protecting the freedoms we all enjoy. Yes, the court is indispensable in protecting law-abiding citizens from those who break the law and providing for victim's rights, but judges must also safeguard the Constitutional rights of those accused of crimes, as well, in order to ensure the rights of us all are protected. 

"It’s just as important if not more important for a judge to be aware of that," Zambito said. "Without an independent judiciary, you wouldn’t have that. It’s really the foundation of a democratic society."

When discussions about his swearing-in ceremony came up, Zambito said his first impulse was not to make much of it, but his friends, including Mohun, who will serve as his mentor, impressed upon him the idea that the job isn't just about him.

"It’s about the position that a county court judge has in the community and the importance and significance that has, not only in this community but in all communities across the state and the country," Zambito said.



Attorney Ben Bonarigo, outgoing president of the Genesee County Bar Association, delivered a few opening remarks in praise of Zambito's service to the community.


December 28, 2016 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lion's Tournament, basketball, sports, batavia, Notre Dame.


Batavia and Notre Dame will meeting in the Lions Tournament final on Thursday at Genesee Community College after the Fighting Irish knocked of Roy-Hart 47-41 and the Blue Devils topped Albion 60-43.

For the Irish, Nico Zambito scored 14, including a pair of threes, Ryan Moffat had 13 points, including three triples, and Anthony Gugino hit a pair of threes for six total points.

In the nightcap, Tee Sean Ayala dropped seven three-point shots for 21 points on the night and Antwan Odom added 16 points.  

For Albion, Lamar Chambers had 19 points.








December 28, 2016 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sponsored Post, Shop Local, advertisement.


How many local businesses do you love? Share why they're your favorites on and you become eligible to win a $50 gift certificate for Alex's Place (two winners). Go to and post as many recommendations as you want. Every recommendation posted before Jan. 4, 2017, increases your chance of winning.

The winners of the Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle gift certificates were Steven Pagano, of Spencerport, and Pamela Morris, of Batavia.

December 27, 2016 - 11:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Stafford.


A motor-vehicle accident with ejection is reported in the area of 5631 Clinton Street Road, near Mill Road, in Stafford.

Stafford fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE(S) (By Billie) 11:22 p.m.: This is a two-vehicle collision with injuries. Extrication is required. The county Highway Department is notified that the roadway is extremely icy. Route 33 at Prole Road will be shut down. Mutual aid is requested from South Byron fire police to shut down Route 33 at Route 237.

UPDATE 11:47 p.m.: This was a head-on collision involving two vans. No one is believed to be seriously injured, although one person was unconscious at the time first responders arrived. A total of four people were involved; three of them were taken to area hospitals, primarily for evaluation. There was an ejection, but no entrapment.The accident occurred about 25 yards northeast of the Thruway overpass on Clinton Street Road (Route 33). The roadway there is described as being like "nothing but a thin sheet of ice."

UPDATE 12:38 a.m.: Stafford assignment back in service.







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