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March 2, 2018 - 7:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.


This is what it looked like in Oakfield at about 1 a.m. The photo was submitted by Jackie Ferringer.

Email your storm photos to [email protected]

March 2, 2018 - 7:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, accident, batavia, thruway.

A vehicle has reportedly hit a bridge abutment off the Thruway in the area of mile marker 390.

Unknown injuries.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

March 2, 2018 - 7:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, closings, news.

These are the closings and cancellations we've been notified about:

  • All courts in Genesee County are closed today
  • Batavia City Schools, including the Richmond Memorial Library
  • Oakfield-Alabama Schools
  • Genesee Community College
  • Alexander Central School
  • Byron-Bergen Central School (Tonight's musical is still scheduled)
  • Elba Central School
  • Le Roy Central School
  • Notre Dame HS
  • Pavilion Central School
  • Pembroke Central School
  • St. Joe's
  • Bergen Town Clerk's office
  • Bonarigo & McCutcheon Law Office
  • UMMC's office of Pembroke Diagnostics
  • These UMMC offices are delayed opening until 10 a.m.: Bergen Family Medicine; Le Roy Internal Medicine; Tountas Family Care, Le Roy
  • Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA): Batavia location is OPEN but Albion location is closed today
  • Classic Optical in Batavia City Centre
March 2, 2018 - 7:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Pavilion.

A single-vehicle accident is reported on Ellicott Street Road just south of Route 20 with three minor head injuries reported.

Pavilion Fire and Alexander's ambulance dispatched.

March 2, 2018 - 7:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office has issued a travel advisory for Genesee County.

No unnecessary travel is advised.

High winds is causing low visibility.

The travel advisory was issued at 3:15 a.m.

March 1, 2018 - 11:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in Gardening, Cornell Cooperative Extension, news.

Press release:

Join the Genesee County Master Gardeners this spring as we “Catch the Gardening Bug.”

We will be offering four gardening programs through the season with our first one from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 28. Master Gardener Brenda Fox will present “Companion Plants for Bearded Iris.” Bearded iris are some of the most beautiful flowers, yet are surprisingly easy to grow.

The first half of the program will focus on how best to grow iris, and will discuss when to plant or divide, soil preparation and sun requirements.  The second half will explore colorful combinations with shrubs and perennials. These will be illustrated with lavish photos showing both contrasting and complementary color schemes.

On April 5 join us for “Dahlias 101.” Dahlias come in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes and produce beautiful blooms up until frost. Get your dahlia questions answered as Master Gardener Brandie Waite discusses how to plant, grow and over winter the tubers. Once you start growing dahlias you won’t be able to stop! Registration required by March 29.

Permaculture is based on natural systems. On April 18 learn more about this topic at “Permaculture 2.0.” Building on last year’s program when participants learned about zones, sectors, guilds and edges as they apply to permaculture, Master Gardener Dan Esler will present on the considerations for successful guild design and a reasonable timeline when developing a permaculture site. Registration required by April 13.

Get tips from Master Gardeners for “Dividing Perennials,” on April 25. Three good reasons for dividing perennials are to control the size of the plants, to maintain plant health and to increase their number.

Since many perennials respond well to being divided in early spring, we’ll demonstrate the steps for dividing a variety of perennials.  Weather permitting we’ll use plants right out of the garden. Registration required by April 20.

All classes will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension at 420 E. Main St., Batavia. Cost is $10 per person, per class. Preregistration is required as class size is limited. Contact Brandie at 585-343-3040, ext. 101 or stop by our office to register.

Visit our website at: for more information.

March 1, 2018 - 10:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, Pavilion, news.

Fire police from Pavilion fire have been requested to Route 19 and Route 63 to shut down northbound traffic due to weather conditions.

March 1, 2018 - 6:46pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in The Firing Pin, bergen, news, Chamber Awards, business.


This is the fourth in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

The Firing Pin in Bergen is a friendly place to visit. Owner Brandon Lewis is a big reason why. Open and gregarious, he's eager to help his customers and ensure when they come to use the range they do so safely and get the most enjoyment from it as possible.

The store is brightly lit, clean and well-stocked.  

It's no wonder, the Firing Pin was selected by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce as the Innovative Enterprise of the Year.

Lewis, the owner, said he was humbled to receive the award.

“When you go into business, you never know what’s going to happen,” Lewis said. “To be recognized for the work you do is the icing on the cake. It can’t get better than that.”

Lewis started planning to open The Firing Pin in 2011. He wanted to offer a facility with a full range of products and services, that was not a typical gun shop. He felt it was something the community needed, and the public responded well to the business.

“We cater to those who are afraid of guns, and those who use guns,” Lewis said. “We cater to every skill level. We’re a destination for anyone who is looking to be better.”

The facility, located at 8240 Buffalo Road, was built in 2013 and opened in 2014.

Lewis went to Alexander High School when he thought of the idea of running his own place. The idea took time to develop, so he went to St. John Fisher College.

He took a job at Gander Mountain, and decided he wanted to open a place that gave more training, the right training, and safe training.

Lewis is an eagle scout, a certified NRA pistol and rifle instructor, a certified GLOCK Armorer and a black belt in Taekwondo.  

“Everywhere down south there are gun shops and ranges,” Lewis said. “It is popular down south and it’s something I felt we needed.”

The Firing Pin is open seven days a week, Monday from noon until 8:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. They offer group rates, memberships and firearm rentals, in addition to one-on-one training with NRA certified instructors.

More information and pricing can be found here.







March 1, 2018 - 6:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Cedar Street Sales & Rental, batavia, news, notify.


Guy Clark Jr., pride was apparent in his smile today as he spoke about his business, Cedar Street Sales & Rentals, celebrating its 25 anniversary.

Getting to this milestone was a lot of hard work, he said.

"It's still long hours and taking the time taking care of customers," Clark said. "I think it's all about relationships and not being afraid to try new things and being innovative."

Clark was a heavy truck mechanic when he decided to open an underfunded tool and rental business in Le Roy. Then one day Harvey Cummings of Cummings and Baker in Batavia suggested he sell his business and partner with Cummings and Baker to open a rental shop in Batavia. Cummings and Baker had an empty building on Cedar Street that would be suitable to the new enterprise and Ricky Palermo came on as a business partner as well.

In Le Roy, Clark wanted a tool shop. He didn't plan on getting into a rental business but found people wanted to rent things, so that's what he did. Part of the motivation for opening in Batavia was that the owner of the rental shop that was in town the owner was older and ready to retire, Clark said, so that seemed like an opportunity.

The first employee didn't draw a paycheck. That was Clark's mother, who wouldn't think of it. After his father retired, he worked at the shop for 10 years before he passed away. Now the business is all Clark's and he works with his two sons (his daughter has also worked at the business in the past).

Working with his family is just a lot of fun he said.

"The whole family has worked here at some point," Clark said. "It is just plain fun and we get along so great. We all do the same thing every day. Whoever's available, you wait on someone or take care of them or do what you need to do. There are no real roles per se. You just show up and do what you got to."

There was no real plan to bring his sons Adam and Connor into the business. It just happened.

"About the time Adam got out of college the wife of one of our longtime employees pass away and he abruptly retired," Clark said. "Adam was just graduating and I said, 'I know that's not your plan, but could we count on you for the summer anyway just to get us there' and that was five years ago."

When Connor graduated, he decided he wanted to give the family business a try himself.

"He said, 'Hey, if there's room for me I'd like to give it a shot.' "

Clark said he couldn't be happier working with his sons every day.

"It's credible," Clark said. "It's a lot of fun. I mean, it really is. We have a great time and 2017 was our best year ever in virtually every department and I think a lot of it's due to them. Their new vision, their new attitude. They are one step ahead of me with everything. I mean they're motivated and into it."

With 25 years under his belt, Clark hasn't forgotten how he got his start.

"I owe thanks to Harvey Cummings and Ricky Palermo for the opportunity to begin with," Clark said. "It's been great. People are pretty cool around the Genesee. The relationships you build over the years is pretty special."

The anniversary celebration is Friday and Saturday. There will be a free breakfast and a free lunch, equipment demos (including the new robot lawnmower pictured below), prizes and drawings and a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. tomorrow.


March 1, 2018 - 5:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Eli Fish Brewing Company, batavia, business, news.


Eli Fish Brewing, the new downtown restaurant and brewery going into the former Newberry building, was adorned with its new sign on the front of the building today.

Inside, managers and more than a dozen new staff members were busy with training and setup.

The business should be open to the public within a couple of weeks.

March 1, 2018 - 5:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, entertainment, GCC, news.


The GCC Fine Arts Students annual exhibit, this year titled "Master Peace," opened today in the Roz Steiner Art Gallery.

The exhibit runs through April 6.







March 1, 2018 - 4:27pm
Press release:
Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer today called for local student entries for the New York State Senate’s Earth Day Poster Contest, a statewide competition that raises awareness of environmental issues.
“Earth Day celebrates the great strides made in protecting our environment," Ranzenhofer said. "This poster contest is an opportunity for local school districts to share that commitment with our students. By educating our young minds about protecting our planet, they can be a part of the many New Yorkers who are already helping to improve the quality of air we breathe and the water we drink."
The Earth Day poster competition is for children in grades K–6. The theme of the contest is “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” Students are encouraged to be creative and convey a real commitment to making the environment a better place.
The focus is to emphasize the importance and encourage the exchange of ideas about recycling and waste reduction, as well as stimulate creative thinking about solutions concerning these issues.
School districts and students wishing to participate in this year’s event must submit their entries by April 13 via Senator Ranzenhofer’s website, Entries should be photographed and submitted electronically, preferably in a jpeg format. 
Winning posters will be displayed at Senator Ranzenhofer’s website. All participants will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation.
Since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, more than 20 million Americans have participated, helping to improve the quality of our air and water. In addition, Senator Ranzenhofer voted for a landmark $2.5 billion investment in statewide clean water projects last year, including:
Creation of the new Drinking Water Quality Council to bring together experts to review existing evidence, study contaminants of concern and make recommendations to the Department of Health regarding drinking water safety, including state specific thresholds and public notice procedures;
Establishment of the Emerging Contaminant Monitoring Act to require all public water systems to test for unregulated contaminants that are known, or anticipated to be present in drinking water; and
$275 million in continued funding for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and $20 million from the Environmental Protection Fund to be used for clean water projects.
March 1, 2018 - 4:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, Genesee County Fair, scholarships.

Press release:

The Genesee County Fair announces today that up to seven $1,000 scholarships will be awarded across New York State to current New York State high school seniors and also students enrolled in college.

The New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs and the New York State Showpeople’s Association sponsor the scholarships.

Qualifying students must be active at the Genesee County Fair, or with the New York State Showpeople’s Association (NYSSA). All applicants from Genesee County must submit their applications through the Genesee County Fair, or the NYSSA, no later than Friday, April 13.

Information is available at the Genesee County Fair office (Genesee County Fairgrounds, 5056 E. Main Street Road, Batavia) through the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County and from local high school offices. Applications must be printed and completed from the Web at

For more information, contact Alton MacDuffie at the Genesee County Fair at (585) 752-3600.

March 1, 2018 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, batavia, City Schools.


The Batavia City School District continues to adopt technology as part of the learning process and coursework, IT Coordinator Jeff McKinney told the school board during its meeting Tuesday night.

His presentation was followed by demonstrations of some of the robots and programming projects students have been working on this year.

McKinney said 2,000 Chromebooks have been deployed to students. Students have visited more than one million websites. There are 266 active Google classrooms and students are creating 50,000 new documents each month.

Internet access has become so critical to the educational process that McKinney has come up with a plan for a backup bandwidth provider so that if the primary provider goes offline, teachers and students don't lose access.

"I'm really proud of where we're going and what we've done," McKinney said.

He said a key advantage of the STEM program currently in place is it helps students learn through discovery and studies show students retain new knowledge better when it comes through discovery.

It isn't always the teacher teaching anymore, either, said Melissa Calandra, a STEM teacher at John Kennedy Elementary School.

"It's kind of hard as a teacher not to know all of the answers but that's the world we live in now," she said.

Other faculty participating in the presentation, Katelin LaGreca, JK Library Media Specialist, Karen Shuskey, JK ACE Teacher, and Marie Martell, JK Computer Literacy/Math AIS Teacher.

Top photo: Phoebe Beal, grade 3; Brock Bigsby, grade 3; Ryan Bigsby, grade 3; Ella Shamp, grade 4; Landon Hamilton, grade 4;Tosh Spilberg, grade 4.


March 1, 2018 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Notre Dame, football, batavia.

Press release:

Notre Dame announces the hiring of Joe Zambito as their Varsity Football Coach replacing Rick Mancuso who retired to spend more time with his family.

He was a highly successful Genesee Region Football and Basketball Coach at Elba from 1999 through 2006. Zambito joined the Notre Dame coaching family in 2010 as a volunteer coach on Coach Mancuso’s football staff a position he held for the past seven seasons.

His relationship with the Notre Dame side of one of Section V’s biggest rivalries began a few years earlier in the fall of 2007 with the enrollment of his nephew Vincent (Class of 2011).

It continued for the next 11 years as nephews Gianni (Class of 2010 and a current Social Studies teacher at ND), Luca (Class of 2016 Valedictorian), Nico (Class of 2018) and cousin Anthony (Class of 2021) all made Notre Dame their high school choice.

During his eight-year stint as the head football coach, his Elba teams were recognized in both the GR and Section V as being physical, well-prepared and disciplined football squads. They excelled on the field winning 3 GR Championships and the 2005 Section V Class D Championship, an accomplishment that led to Zambito being recognized as 2005 Section V Coach of the Year.

He was also a very successful basketball coach winning GR championships in 2005 and 2006, and a Sectional title in 2005 when he was both the Section V and Genesee Region Coach of the Year. During his coaching tenure, his teams also earned numerous NYS Scholar-Athlete team recognition.

Zambito, who is employed as both Race Secretary and Track Announcer at Batavia Downs, holds a bachelor's degree from SUNY Brockport. He is married to the former Kelly Degenhardt whose mother Anne Palmer (Degenhardt) is a 1966 graduate of Notre Dame.

When commenting on his appointment, Coach Zambito said,” I am looking forward to working with the student-athletes at Notre Dame to help them grow, progress and maximize their potential both on and off the field. Here Come the Irish!”

March 1, 2018 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, Congressman Collins, veterans.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) will host a workshop for veterans to receive information about the many services our local, state and federal agencies have to offer tonight.

Congressman Collins is planning to be at the event around 5:45 p.m. to make welcoming remarks and greet those in attendance. It will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. at Genesee County Office Building Number 2, Large Conference Room, 3837 W. Main St. Road, Batavia.

State, county and local officials will also be there and everyone is welcome to attend, especially veterans and their families.

March 1, 2018 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia CTE, Ron Smith Auto Tech Competition, news.

Photo: Bob Yates, Batavia CTE Center Auto Technology instructor, with Ryan George and Cassidy Cater.

Submitted photo and press release:

Despite a tough contest, Cassidy Cater and Ryan George, Batavia Career and Technical Education Center Auto Technology students, placed fourth in the Ron Smith Auto Tech Competition, sponsored by the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association.

Cassidy and Ryan are seniors from Attica Central Schools.

Beforehand, Cassidy and Ryan worked every school day for two weeks at Basil Ford in Cheektowaga. There they practiced with a technician on a 2018 Ford Escape.

During the competition, Ryan and Cassidy worked through timed stations where they were required to complete tasks such as precision measurement, drop voltage, balancing a tire, splicing a wire, and soldering. In order to receive points, these assignments needed to be completed in less than 10 minutes.

“I was comfortable doing these tasks because I was familiar with this work,” Ryan said. 

“These are things that we learned in our class. Mr. Yates prepared us for what we might have to do during the competition,” Cassidy said.

A total of nine teams competed, all from schools and career and technical education centers across Western New York. Cassidy and Ryan were in the senior division. The daylong event was held at Erie Community College Vehicle Technology Training Center in Orchard Park. 

Competition was fierce said Bob Yates, Auto Technology Instructor at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center.

Ryan and Cassidy were required to diagnose and repair a 2018 Ford Escape that was bugged with many mechanical issues.

“There were very intricate and technical bugs that were set up in the car," Yates said. "Even a seasoned technician would have struggled with some of these problems. The rear hatch would not open and Ryan had to reprogram it and he got it to work. Very few teams got the car to operate and Ryan and Cassidy got the car to start and run."

“We also had to do a pinpoint test, which is a step-by-step procedure on how to fix the car. We got a perfect score on the alignment and the alignment test,” Cassidy added.

“The competition was scored on a total of 1,000 points," Yates said. "The difference between the first-place score and fourth-place was only 21 points." 

Ryan described the event as a great experience.

“It was fun, hands-on and taught me a lot about electrical systems in cars.” Cassidy said “It gave us a taste of what working in the real-world will be like.”

About Batavia CTE 

The Batavia Career and Technical Education Center is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

March 1, 2018 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, news, schools, education.


The Batavia City School District Board of Trustees honored several people at the start of Tuesday's meeting with certificates of appreciation for the difference they're making at the Batavia schools.

Above, Board President Pat Burk with Lucy Lefevre.


Amelia Tripp


Luca Garland


Landon Minuto


Ottoniel Ramirez-Garcia


Camden Reimer


Members of the STAR staff.


Detective Richard Schauff




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

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