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August 18, 2017 - 2:06pm

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Community Action of Orleans & Genesee hosted its fourth annual Children's Carnival in Austin Park today, with local agencies providing crafts, games and activities for local families.

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August 18, 2017 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county libertarian party, batavia, news.

Press release:

Today, August 18, 2017, Batavia City Council Libertarian Candidates Lisa Whitehead, Mark Potwora and James Rosenbeck submitted ballot petitions totaling 378 signatures. That is more than double the requirement set by the Board of Elections. 378 Batavians say "Change the Direction in This Election". Thank You to those who signed, without your support this would not have been possible. Lisa, Mark and Jim will continue to visit with Batavians to hear your concerns and work with you to shape a financially responsible direction for the City of Batavia. Please learn more at www.facebook.com/Liberty4Batavia.

August 18, 2017 - 9:42am
posted by Billie Owens in fire, batavia, news.

City fire is responding to the County Courts Facility, at 1 W. Main St., which is evacuated, because a smoke alarm went off.

August 18, 2017 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

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A fire with flames showing is reported at 3 McKinley Ave., Batavia.

The fire is reportedly in the bathroom.

City fire responding.

UPDATE 9:24 p.m.: Fourth Platoon requested to headquarters.

UPDATE 9:34 a.m.: Command reports "the situation is under control; beginning overhaul."

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.: City fire's response time was under two minutes and Chief Steve Napolitano said the city crew's fast, aggressive action saved the house. “The guys put a good knock on the fire and confined it to the room of origin," he said. A grandfather and two grandchildren were home at the time the fire was discovered. They safely evacuated before fire crews arrived. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

UPDATE: Photos by Frank Capuano.

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August 18, 2017 - 7:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STOP-DWI, news.

Press release: 

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers announced today that the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of Le Roy police Department will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

While we spend the Labor Day holiday and the end of summer celebrating with our loved ones, law enforcement officers across New York State will take to the roads in an effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on Aug. 18th and will end on Sept. 4th. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force.

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem.

According to new data released by NHTSA, the nation lost 35,092 people in traffic crashes in 2015, ending a five-decade trend of declining fatalities with a 7.2-percent increase in deaths from 2014. The data showed a 3.2-percent increase in drunk driving fatalities, resulting in 10,265 deaths in 2015, compared to 9,943, in 2014. The vast majority of drivers involved in these crashes were behind the wheel of a passenger car or SUV.

The STOP-DWI Labor Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from our STOP-DWI Foundation and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Throughout the remainder of the year the Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign will also target Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!

August 17, 2017 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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A residence at 404 S. Jackson St., Batavia, that was destroyed in a fire March 8 is finally coming down.

A demolition crew started its work this afternoon.

One worker said there have been people coming by today and applauding their work.

The bank that took possession of the property is paying for the demolition.

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UPDATE: Photo by Steve Ognibene:

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August 17, 2017 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, fire, news.

An unknown type of fire is reported behind a residence in the Barbary Coast Mobile Home Park, located at 7862 Clinton Street Road. Byron and South Byron fire departments are called to respond, mutual aid to the Bergen call.

UPDATE 1:37 p.m.: The Bergen chief on scene says South Byron can stand down; the other unit can continue in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 1:39 p.m.: The chief puts the assignment back in service.

August 17, 2017 - 1:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, Announcements, art, ILGR, disabled.

Press release:

The second ARTiculations Ability Exhibition -- a forum for artists with disabilities in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties to display their work publicly -- will open at Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) in Batavia on Sept. 5th.

Titled “Faces and Places,” it features the work of two artists: Gary Appis, whose paintings depict rural landscapes and farm scenes; and Timothy Logston, whose detailed graphite portraits feature celebrities as well as the artist’s family members.

A product of a partnership between ILGR and the University Heights Arts Association (UHAA), the Exhibit will be on display through Dec. 3rd.

The opening reception is on Friday, Sept. 8th from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at ILGR’s office, 113 Main St., Suite 5, in Batavia.

Other artists with disabilities residing in the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County areas are encouraged to submit their work to this juried competition, as there will be additional ARTiculations planned quarterly exhibits in the future.

For more than a year, ILGR has been “art partnering” for people with disabilities with the UHAA, a group of artists in North Buffalo with a commitment to community that places art in businesses and nonprofits through an established ARTpartnering program.

The organizers are pleased to note that the ARTiculations Ability Exhibitions has “mapped” into UHAA’s system by placing a plaque with a Quick Response (QR) code scatter bar graph that can bring up information about it when scanned by your smart phone.

For questions on the event, please call Emily Dale at (585) 815-8501, ext. 400.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

August 17, 2017 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news.

Genesee County added 100 more jobs in July, in a year-over-year comparison, according to data released today by the NYS Department of Labor.

In July 2017, there were 23,700 jobs in the county, compared with 23,600 a year ago.

Over the past decade, the highest job count for July was in 2014, with 23,800 jobs. 

The state added 18,800 jobs in July, according to the report.

August 17, 2017 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

A potential plea deal for a man accused of taking a woman's mobile phone and punching a beagle was put on hold in County Court this morning after his attorney expressed reservations about his client's ability to comprehend the court proceedings.

Attorney Micheal Locicero said that based on a recent mental health evaluation and his own conversation with his client this morning, he's concerned that Shawn M. Twardowski is confused by the proposed plea deal.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Zickl objected to a request for a detailed mental health examination.

"There didn't appear to be an issue when the defendant was seeking a judicial diversion," Zickl said. 

After a sidebar with the two attorneys, County Court Judge Charles Zambito said he would like more information from the counselors at the Mental Health Association who examined Twardowski.

Zambito did not grant what's known as a 730 exam, which is a mental health exam aimed at determining a defendant's mental fitness to proceed with a legal case. 

"I want more information, more specifics," Zambito said.

Twardowski, 34, was arrested Jan. 26 following an incident on Bank Street where Twardowski allegedly strangled and punched a beagle and stole a woman's mobile phone, then when police arrived, barricaded himself in a bedroom. He allegedly struggled with officers once they gained access to the room.

A follow-up hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Sept. 1.

August 17, 2017 - 8:57am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, Richard C. Call Center, GCC, schools, education.

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Genesee Community College’s new Student Success Center and Richard C. Call Arena are finished with construction just in time for the start of the academic year and the 50th anniversary.

The dual construction project of the new facilities began last spring, costing $25 million. Donna Rae Sutherland, the associate director of Marketing Communications, said more than $5 million was raised by the community.

“We’re very proud, grateful and pleased to have this new space available for community use, as well as student use,” Sutherland said.

The 18,478-square-foot Student Success Center is an addition of the Technology building, becoming the new “front door” of the campus.

Sutherland said the plan was to take all of the student services and bring them in a more cohesive place. The new building is home to GCC’s success coaches, staff members who are specifically trained and assigned to designated students to assist them throughout their entire academic career. These coaches assist students from the first phase of admissions, financial aid and academic advisement, through the process of earning their degrees, graduation, or helping them transfer or secure career placement.

“A few months ago, Financial Aid was in one part of the building, Admissions is across the hallway and down a little bit, the Career Services is on another floor,” Sutherland said. “We had all these student services in one building, which is great, but then you have to climb the stairs and find them. People weren’t sure where to start.”

Having offices in different parts of buildings was hampering student success, Sutherland said.

“The Student Success Center is a model that we think is going to become something other colleges may be interested in,” Sutherland said. “Maybe it will become a model for the nation.”

Now that the old space is vacated, the next step is to repurpose that space for student success and need, Sutherland said.

Shelitha Williams, the associate vice president of Student Services, said students are excited about the new center because of “the idea that their experience is now streamlined. They don’t have to go to five offices, they have seven departments now under one roof.”

The coaches will proactively introduce themselves and identify themselves as a resource to the students of GCC.

“What sets us aside is the intentional engagement, instead of reacting to students' concerns,” Williams said.

The new Richard C. Call Arena is located on the west side of the Batavia Campus and is not connected to the main building. Sutherland said the new facility is the largest, open, flexible floor space in the GLOW region. The 45,000-square-foot arena will be open to the community to rent for events, but the student need will come first.

“We talked to the people in the community and it was recognized that there’s not really a big events center,” Sutherland said.

Some of the athletics were moved into the new building, while some are in the main building. They are currently working out the logistics of being able to rent out the facility in order to make the public space available.

“We are just getting ready to open up the facilities towards other types of events,” Sutherland said. “Anything from a home show, to a tractor show, to a coin show, to all kinds of public events. Whatever a convention center might offer in Buffalo or Rochester, we will be looking for the same.”

There may be some limitations due to it being a college campus, but they are open to different events.

The first big public event in the new Richard C. Call Arena will be on Sept. 23. The Genesee Symphony Orchestra will put on a special concert with new music. The concert is free and will be open to the public. 

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Photos above taken by Maria Pericozzi.

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Photo above provided by Donna Rae Sutherland.

August 17, 2017 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, Le Roy.

mccracken_matthew_a2017.jpgA 33-year-old Le Roy man arrested on Christmas Eve for threatening to kill a neighbor and starting a fire with a blowtorch will spend the next five years in State Prison.

Matthew McCracken, who was babysitting a 2-year-old child at the time of the incident, and previously pled guilty in the case.

He had been charged with attempted criminal mischief, 4th, harassment, 2nd, attempted arson, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child, for the incident at 10 1/2 Clay St., Le Roy, the night of Dec. 24.

This is his second felony offense.

August 16, 2017 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, accident, bergen.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported at West Bergen Road and Clinton Street Road, Bergen.

Bergen fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

August 16, 2017 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A car and motorcycle accident is reported in the area of 668 East Main Street, Batavia.

The motorcyclist reportedly suffered an ankle injury.

The location is east of Cedar Street.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

August 16, 2017 - 3:24pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in morganville united church of christ, Stafford, news.

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The Morganville United Church of Christ in Stafford is celebrating its 200th anniversary this fall, inviting members of the community to take part in the festivities.

On Oct. 14, there will be a spaghetti dinner for the community and the 200th anniversary service will be on Oct. 22. The church is located at 8466 Morganville Road. 

“The service will go back 200 years,” Pastor James Morasco said. “We’re going to dress the part. We want to capture the time period.”

According to a history compiled by Grace Woodworth in 2003, on Oct. 20, 1817, Elders Levi Hathaway and Joseph Badger, traveling ministers, organized “The Church of God in Stafford, New York.” The church started off with 11 members, but grew to 50 in a couple months.

The church has around 70 members now. Morasco said the church is slowly growing.

“It’s a nice place to be,” Morasco said. “It’s very welcoming. People say when they come here that it’s a warm church. They feel the warmth from everybody.”

Marianne Garigen was baptized in 1952 at Morganville UCC and became a member 13 years later. Her mother was a member of the church.

“When I first started, [the church] was very active,” Garigen said. “Sunday School had 80 children. Back then, the church was your social network.”

She currently serves as the financial secretary, but has held many other positions with the church.

“I moved away for seven years and then moved back to the area,” Garigen said. “I’ve been here ever since. It’s a part of me.”

Her husband, Barry Garigen, has been a friend of the church for 45 years and recently became a member, but currently is the church moderator. He runs the quarterly and annual meetings, and serves as an ambassador for the church, speaking on behalf of the congregation.

“We got married in this church,” Barry said. “All our kids were baptized here, so it’s been a part of their lives since the beginning.”

Marianne said the future is looking better for the church, but she would like to see younger families join the church to keep it going.

“We would like to continue being a part of the community and reaching out,” Marianne said. “We want to let them know we are here and that anyone is welcome.”

The church organizes a food link once a month, serving hundreds of people. Barry said it is a way to reach out to the community.

“Anybody that needs it, gets it,” Barry said. “The volunteers from the church set up. People come through, sign in and they can help themselves to the provided food.”

Barry said people line up hours ahead of time and they are very thankful.

In celebration of 200 years, the congregation is attempting to perform 200 random acts of kindness by the end of the year. A member can do anything from welcoming a new neighbor, cook a meal for someone, or leave notes of encouragement on cars.

“It’s an opportunity to show the community that we’re here,” Morasco said.

The Morganville UCC has a Facebook page located here and Morasco said they’re currently working on a website.

After the 200th service, there will be a hymn sing at 2 p.m. with the organist, Carin Wade.  

“We have an outstanding organist who will be very entertaining for the hymn sing,” Barry said. “Music is a big part of our service here and she’s added to it.” 

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A poem written by Pastor James Morasco for the 200th anniversary.

August 16, 2017 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, music.

Submitted photo of musicians Marta Driscoll and John Ryan performing.

Press release:

GLOW Traditions at GO ART! presents "Accordions ‘round the World" -- the melodious sounds of accordions and concertinas from diverse musical traditions found in Western New York. It will take place under the tent at Le Roy Country Club starting at 7 p.m. this Friday, Aug. 18. A $5 donation is suggested.

The country club, which is cosponsoring the event, is located at 7759 E. Main Road, Le Roy. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs! A full menu is available in the Club or on the deck, so guests are invited to come early and enjoy a dinner, or snacks throughout the concert.

SUNY Geneseo Professor of Music Jim Kimball is the concertmaster.

As an ethnomusicologist focusing on traditional music of our region, Kimball has documented numerous old time and ethnic musical cultures in which the accordion takes a lead role. These include Irish, Italian, Danish, Polish, German, and old-time square dance music.

The concert will feature musicians from these communities: Ted McGraw, Marta Driscoll and John Ryan (Irish), Alex Alexandrov (Bulgarian and Eastern European), Ken Machelski and Casey Kliszak (Polish), and Frank Reino (Italian).

Each of the musicians have perfected their craft primarily in the context of their particular community: trading tunes at weekly Irish music sessions in and around Rochester; serving as concertmaster for the National Accordion Orchestra of Bulgaria; playing in nationally recognized Polish polka bands from Buffalo; or learning the accordion at a young age from an Italian uncle.

The performers collectively illustrate the breadth of experience found in traditional expressive culture in our region. They each perform on their own finely crafted and often unique instruments.

The accordion is a reed instrument developed in Germany in the 1820s. After traveling around Europe, it became popular in New York by the 1840s. As it moved through Europe, its form and sound changed in response to different musical cultures.

Accordions use a “free reed” system to produce their sound, similar in concept to the metal reeds in a harmonica, where the player blows air across the reed to produce musical notes. The accordion was the technical marvel of its day, and its portability enabled many an immigrant to carry his music along with him to New York, Louisiana, Argentina, Mexico, Asia and the Middle East—virtually everywhere.

Rose Caccamise at Roxy’s Music in the City of Batavia has provided additional promotion. Founded in 1934 by Roxy and Nellie Caccamise, accordion virtuosi in their own rights, Roxy’s Music has promoted the instrument throughout the region for more than 80 years, and remains a hub for accordion sales, repairs, information, players and enthusiasts.

The event is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.

August 16, 2017 - 1:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Gardening, Announcements.

Press release:

Save the date! Saturday, Sept.16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Genesee County Master Gardeners will be hosting their annual Fall Garden Gala at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, 420 E. Main St. in Batavia.

The plant sale features hardy perennials, most which are grown by Master Gardeners, as well as house plants. A selection of locally, field-grown mums will also be for sale. Fall is a good time to plant many perennials as they will have time to grow a strong root system before winter.

Stop inside to check out the Chance Basket Auction and Silent Auction. You never know what treasures may appear, including unique garden art. The Master Gardener Helpline will also be open to answer your gardening questions. Not sure what your garden pH is? Bring in a soil sample for free soil pH testing.

Learn how to artfully arrange fresh flowers at the “Flower Arrangements from the Garden” demonstration at 11 a.m. A variety of fresh flower arrangements and bouquets, created by Master Gardeners, will also be for sale.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up some great plants and treasures for your garden! Plant sale starts promptly at 10 a.m. No early birds please. The Chance Basket Auction drawing will begin at 12:30 p.m.

For more information contact Brandie Schultz at CCE of Genesee County, (585) 343-3040, ext. 101, stop by the Extension office at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia, or visit our new CCE website http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/gardening or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CCEofGenesee.

August 16, 2017 - 1:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, 9/11, Announcements, RSVP, Americorps, volunteers, food drive.

Press release:

Genesee County’s RSVP and AmeriCorps programs are coordinating a service project to help community members in need as a way to honor 9/11 victims and those who rose in service in response to 9/11. Non-perishable food items will be collected from Aug. 14 – 31 at the following RSVP volunteer stations, AmeriCorps host sites and County Government offices: 

  • Genesee County Office for the Aging & Youth Bureau, 2 Bank St., Batavia;
  • Genesee County Building I, 15 Main St., Batavia (3rd Floor near elevator);
  • Genesee County Building II, 3837 W. Main Street Road, Batavia;
  • Catholic Charities, 25 Liberty St., Suite 7, Batavia;
  • Gillam-Grant Community Center, 6966 W. Bergen Road, Bergen;
  • Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia.

All donations will be delivered to local food pantries during the week of 9/11. 

For more information, please contact Courtney Iburi (RSVP) at 585-343-1611 or Kathy Frank (AmeriCorps) at 585-344-3960.

August 16, 2017 - 1:11pm

Genesee County Sheriff's Office Investigator Tim Wescott will lead a free public workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, on learning how to recognize and avoid scams.

It will be held at the East Pembroke Volunteer Fire Department's pavilion, which is accessible using either Main Road or Slusser Road behind the fire hall. The fire hall is located at 2663 Main Road in Corfu.

Topics to be covered include: identity theft, credit cards, telemarketing, Internet scams, and home-improvement scams.

The presentation is provided by the Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the East Pembroke Neighborhood Crime Watch.

August 16, 2017 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A Niagara Falls man who walked into the Key Bank branch in Batavia in December wearing a Batman beanie and walked out with more than $10,000 in cash entered a guilty plea to robbery in the third degree yesterday.

Joel Zsebehazy, 33, an Iraq War vet who has a prior criminal record that includes bank robbery, will be sentenced Sept. 18.

Zsebehazy was arrested in April near Belle Rose, La., after being identified as Batavia's warrant suspect by authorities there.

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