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April 29, 2016 - 4:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Oakfield, news.

A diesel fuel spill has been located along Route 63 that stretches across both sides of Batavia Oakfield Townline Road.

Oakfield Fire is on scene and a Town of Batavia chief is responding.

The Oakfield chief is asking that traffic in the area be slowed by fire police because of the spill.

April 29, 2016 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Vinyl Record Revival, business, batavia, downtown, news.

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The sale of vinyl records has reached its highest level in 28 years and Batavia resident Richard Mistretta is betting that trend continues.

His own research and experience tells him vinyl, once considered a relic of history, has achieved its own kind of staying power.

"Last year, I first had a thought of opening a brick and mortar store," Mistretta said. "I wasn't sure what I'd be selling, but I started selling online and I noticed albums were selling well.  I was selling a lot of vinyl, so with my online business, I switched over to exclusively selling vinyl and the sales numbers continued to go up."

Tomorrow he opens Vinyl Record Revival at 220 E. Main St., Batavia.

He's spent the past couple of weeks building bins for records, CDs, reel-to-reel and he even has a couple of boxes of 8-track tapes, but vinyl is clearly where the action is at.  It attracts collectors of all ages these days.

"The big age group right now is young people, teenagers are getting into it," Mistretta said. "I've been hearing about it from a lot of people. They find it fascinating.  They find it is something interesting to collect, and, also, the sound is different. That's the big thing, but, also, it's tangible. You can hold it, you can look at it, the artwork, it's easy to read. When something is digital, you don't get all that."

Clearly, vinyl records can't beat digital, especially in the age of cloud storage and streaming services, for convenience, but beside the tactile and aesthetic appeal, most connoisseurs  tip in favor of vinyl for the superior audio performance of analog, which doesn't suffer from the loss of dynamic range found in compressed sound files. 

It might be surprising, but as Mistretta noted, when teenagers take an interest in The Beatles, they seek out vinyl, some becoming die-hard collectors.

That works out well for Mistretta, who is a lifelong fan of The Beatles and is stocking a full range of Beatles records, books and memorabilia. 

But the Beatles aren't the only hot seller from previous generations. There's also The Who, Queen, the Rolling Stones and Led Zepplin, and, Mistretta noted, even before he died, he couldn't keep Prince in stock.  When it put Prince records up for sale online, they would often be gone within hours.

Record stores in WNY are now few and far between, so he's hoping to draw clientele from throughout the GLOW region as well as Rochester and Buffalo.  One of his goals is to get to know his customers, know what they're looking for and work with his wholesalers to find it for them. 

Mistretta is 60 and recently retired after 20 years at the University of Rochester.  He lived in Rochester when he met his wife, Michelle, and fell in love with her and fell in love with her hometown, Batavia.  He's lived her for three years.

When he decided vinyl would be the speciality of his retail store, he started buying boxes and boxes of records, including one large collection from a seller in Pennsylvania.   He said he's found some real gems among these big collections.

"The poor UPS drivers,"  he said. "Those poor delivery people probably have sore backs from carrying in boxes."

He's found the type of customers range from young to old, from those looking for just specific artists, to those who buy everything in a genre and those who are more interested in album covers or just exploring.

He has set up several listening stations in the store so customers can sample before they buy.

Right now, the store is strictly used records, tapes and CDs, but with most top current recording artists releasing their albums on vinyl again, he is hoping to find the right distributor so he can carry new inventory as well.

He also sees a need to supply area audiophiles with turntables, receivers and speakers.

"Manufacturers are starting to get back into making a nice receiver, making a nice phonograph and the big speakers, because everything did switch over to something that was more portable," Mistretta said.

Store hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.  He's not settled yet on what his Saturday hours will be, but he will be closed Sundays and Mondays.

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April 29, 2016 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ladder 15, batavia, City Fire, news.

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City firefighters got a first look at their new ladder truck today as it stopped by the fire hall on its trip to Hamburg, where it will receive final setup before being ready to go into service.

After that setup and training for fire crews, it will go into service, about a month from now.

The truck is a dealer's demo built in early 2015 and cost the city $912,000.

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April 29, 2016 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander Central School, alaxander, news, schools, education.

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Students at Alexander Central School tried to break three world records today, securing their own legacy in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The effort was the culmination of a class assignment from Miss Colleen McNamara for her fifth-grade class. The students researched potential world records and wrote essays on why their records should be attempted.

The records attempted were the most people doing sit-ups simultaneously, the longest pop-n-lock arm wave and the most high-fives in one minute.

These photos are from the sit-up attempt. We don't yet have the results of the attempts.

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April 29, 2016 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in criminal justice awards, Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, news.

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Sheriff Gary Maha was honored for his 49 years in local law enforcement at the annual Criminal Justice Awards dinners sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia and held at Batavia Country Club.

For details on the awards, click here.

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Batavia Police Officer James M. DeFreze, nominated by the YWCA (Director Jeanne Walton, who is also this year's president of the Kiwanis, in the background) for his work with victims of domestic violence.

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State Police investigators Ronald Wilson and Michael Sims were honored for their work on a four-county burglary investigation. Also pictured, in the middle, Lt. Martin McKee, who presented the award.

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Chaplain Allen A. Werk, was honored for his countless hours of volunteer service to local law enforcement and the families he is sometimes called on to serve through the Sheriff's Office.

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Sarah Palermo received an Exceptional Service Award from GCASA for her volunteer work on the DWI Victims' Impact Panel.

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David Saleh was honored for his years of volunteer coaching with mock trial teams.

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The keynote speech was delivered by Thomas A. Belein, chairman of the NYS Commission of Corrections.

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Attorney Ben Bonarigo, president of the Genesee County Bar Association, was emcee.

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The Pembroke Mock Trial Team, which won this year's competition.

April 29, 2016 - 2:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in criminal justice awards, batavia kiwanis, batavia, news.

Press release:

Kiwanis Club President Jeanne Walton and Genesee County Bar Association Benjamin Bonarigo, Sr. announced the awards during an annual dinner held at Batavia Country Club on Thursday, April 28, 2016.  The speaker at the dinner was Hon. Thomas A. Belein, Chairman of the New York State Commission of Correction.

 

Kiwanis Criminal Justice Award

The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.

THE 2016 AWARD RECIPIENTS ARE:

Sheriff Gary T. Maha, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Gary T. Maha has been a member of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office for over 49 years.  He started his law enforcement career as a dispatcher for the New York State Police in 1966 and became a Deputy Sheriff in 1967.  He was promoted to a Senior Investigator on July 16, 1969, and then promoted to Chief Deputy on June 4, 1977.  In 1988, he became Sheriff of Genesee County and has been ever since.  Sheriff Maha is very disciplined, beyond reproach, has served well as the commander in chief of a quasi-military organization, has adapted well to five decades of technological and other advancements in law enforcement and has been actively involved in his community as a member of the Kiwanis Club, serving as the Club President, a member of the Board of Directors and a pancake maker at the annual Pancake Days, along with many other projects.  He has earned the respect of his employees, the other professionals he works with in the Criminal justice System, his colleagues throughout NYS and the citizens of Genesee County.  Sheriff Maha was nominated for this award by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman.

 

Police Officer James M. DeFreze, City of Batavia Police Department
Police Officer James M. DeFreze has been a member of the City of Batavia Police Department since 2010.  He serves as a Field Training Officer and Crisis negotiator while remaining very active with all of the department’s community events.  This past December, Officer DeFreze spearheaded and helped organize the department’s first ever Shop-with-a-Cop Event in conjunction with Wal-Mart of Batavia.  The event was a huge success and reached every school district in the county.  Officer DeFreze has gone above and beyond routine assistance to
not only respond to victims of domestic violence but to make them comfortable and secure with the way in which he treats them.  Officer DeFreze has demonstrated a depth of knowledge and understanding of the very dynamics of domestic violence.  This has enabled him to appropriately respond to each victim’s fragile emotions with amazing sensitivity, tact and patience.  His concern for domestic violence victims is unsurpassed.  Police Officer DeFreze was nominated for this award by Justina Garner, YWCA Program Manager for Domestic Violence, and Holly Baxter, YWCA Program Manager – Care & Crisis Helpline. 

 

Investigators Ronald W. Wilson and Michael D. Sims, New York State Police

In August of 2015, the State Police BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigations) adopted a burglary investigation in the Town of Darien.  Throughout the following weeks, additional burglaries were reported to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office as well as the New York State Police.  Investigators Wilson and Sims worked diligently on all of the complaints in an effort to connect them and identify the perpetrators through evidence, interviews, and the sharing of intelligence with their counterparts at the Sheriff’s Office.  Similar daytime residential burglaries were occurring in Erie and Niagara Counties.  Wilson and Sims met with representatives of the agencies involved and together they formulated a plan to monitor and eventually arrest the suspects.  In October, four suspects were arrested and charged with more than 30 residential burglaries spanning four counties in Western New York.  Two of the defendants were additionally charged for their confession to an armed robbery that occurred earlier in the year.  Investigators Ronald W. Wilson and Michael D. Sims were nominated for this award by Major Steven A. Nigrelli, Troop Commander, Troop A.

Chaplain Allen A. Werk, Genesee County Sheriff’s Offic

Charles L. Mancuso Mock Trial Award

The “Charles L. Mancuso Award” was presented to the members of the Pembroke High School Mock Trial Team as winners of the 2016 GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties) District Competition in the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament.  The award reads “Dedicated to the Memory of an Outstanding Attorney-Citizen”, Mr. Mancuso, a Batavia lawyer, served as coordinator of the local competition until his untimely death nine years ago.  The Pembroke High School team members honored at the dinner include:  Alison Reiner, Kilian Lewis, Matthew Reeb, Sophia Zwolinski, Samuel Lang, Kassandra Sanner, Seth Librock, Tyler Wood, Johnathon Doud, Bethany Zwolinski, Eli Fox and Coach Paul L. Schuler, Jr.  Coordinator of the local Mock Trial Program, Kristie DeFreze, and Genesee County Bar Association President Benjamin Bonarigo, Sr. presented the award.

 

Genesee County Bar Association SPECIAL PRESENTATION

David Saleh

Attorney Mary Ann Wiater made a special presentation to David Saleh on behalf of the Genesee County Bar Association.  Mr. Saleh has been a mock trial coach at Pembroke since the high school first started to compete.  The success of a high school team many times is determined by attorney coaches who dedicate valuable time, spending innumerable evening hours and countless weekends to assist the team of students.  The students of Pembroke high school are very fortunate to have had the dedication from David who is one of the finest advocates in the legal profession.  He coached his children when they attended high school, and even though his children have long since graduated, David continues to coach.  David believes in the Mock Trial program and in the value it provides to the students of Pembroke.  Because of David, Pembroke has never been without an attorney coach, and under his tutelage, Pembroke has made it to the regional competition twice. 

Genesee/Orleans Council on Substance Abuse (GCASA) Award

Exceptional Service Award – Sarah Palermo

Sheila Harding, Prevention Educator/VIP Coordinator for GCASA, presented the Exceptional Service Award to Sarah Palermo.  Sarah attends almost every monthly DWI/Victim Impact Panel as a member where she shares her experiences and personal story of her daughter being a victim of a drunk driving crash.  Sarah not only speaks on the Genesee County Panel but on other surrounding county panels.  She demonstrates respect and genuine kindness towards GCASA staff and the offenders who attend the panel.  Sarah is always willing to volunteer her time to speak for the panel, and speakers like her are the true reason why our DWI/Victim Impact Panel makes an impact in our community.  

April 29, 2016 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal rescue, missing pets, east pembroke, news.

A dog that is part Labrador retriever and chow chow is missing from its East Pembroke home.

"Shadow" has not darkened the doorstep of his owner's home since Friday, April 22.

If you glimpse Shadow, please call 585-813-6491 with information.

April 29, 2016 - 10:56am
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county youth bureau, law day, news.

Press release:

Calling all eighth- though 11th-graders in Genesee County and any other individuals interested in Youth Court! On Tuesday, May 3, Genesee County Youth Court will be celebrating Law Day from 5:30-6:30 p.m. to show the community how our court operates.

Applications and brochures will be available along with program staff to answer questions for anyone who is interested in joining.

Youth Court is a voluntary alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement. Youth who are referred admit to the charge and appear before a court of their peers. There are three youth judges who listen to both sides of the issue and determine an appropriate disposition. The goal of youth court is to improve youth citizenship skills and decrease problematic behavior.

Youth Court members learn about the judicial process and law enforcement, group decision making and they get to develop their public speaking skills, participate in a great leadership opportunity, and learn and participate in all roles of the courtroom: judge, prosecution, defense, and bailiff. 

Eighth- though 11th-graders who are interested can attend Law Day on May 3 or go online to download an application from the Genesee County Web site www.co.genesee.ny.us, where you will find a link on the Youth Bureau page. Applications are due by July 29. Interviews of potential candidates will take place in August with the training to begin in October. 

For more information on the Genesee County Youth Court, please contact Chelsea Dillon at the Genesee County Youth Bureau, 344-3960.

April 29, 2016 - 10:16am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, news.

From a Batavia PD press release:

A registered sex offender who allegedly failed to register his address as required by law was the subject of a manhunt in the city on Thursday in the area of Walnut Street.

Marlek E. Holmes, 42, no permanent address, was arrested after he fled from officers who were attempting to arrest him on a bench warrant out of City Court for the violation.

After being located on Walnut Street, he fled from officers and a foot pursuit ensued. A perimeter was set up in the vicinity and the Sheriff's K-9 unit with "Destro" assisted Batavia PD in finding the suspect, who was hiding on a porch at a residence in the area. Holmes was jailed without bail. Additional charges are pending.

April 28, 2016 - 11:59am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, sports, news, Milestones.

Submitted photos and press release:

Last week, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) honored four local high school sports teams for winning championships in their respective conferences. Hawley presented Assembly proclamations, the house’s highest honor, to the Batavia Notre Dame Hockey Team, Batavia Girls Basketball Team, Batavia Boys Basketball Team and Batavia Girls’ Indoor Track and Field Team.

Hawley spoke to the teams about the value of teamwork, perseverance and strength and offered his advice and good fortune to the teams for next year. 

“Batavia is my hometown and I appreciate the strong tradition in athletics that is perpetuated by these gifted athletes,” Hawley said. “Non-professional athletics is one of the purest forms of sport out there because athletes do not have hidden agendas or are distracted by salary requirements.

"Lessons learned in high school sports such as leadership, the strength to fight through adversity and mental fortitude will have profound impacts on these young men and women and help them succeed after high school. I wish these teams the best of luck for next season.”

April 28, 2016 - 11:39am

Press release:

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is looking for a few good architects (we really need those!), historic district residents (and these!), historians, or volunteers who have significant interest in the commitment to historic preservation.

If this sounds like you, and you are a City resident, submit your application today.

The HPC works toward the protection, enhancement, and perpetuation of landmarks and historic districts in the City of Batavia. For about an hour a month you can help preserve our historic community.

Volunteer today to see the difference you can make! Applications are available at the City Clerk’s office or online at www.batavianewyork.com in the documents section.

April 28, 2016 - 11:35am
posted by Billie Owens in washington avenue sewer project, news, batavia.

Press release:

The Washington Avenue Sewer Project is expected to impact traffic in that area and will start on or about May 2. Once construction begins, Washington Avenue will be limited to “local traffic only” in the specific section of Washington Avenue that is being worked on. The expectation is that the first section to be closed off would be Bank Street to Summit Street, followed by Summit Street to Ross Street.

During this time, thru traffic will not be allowed, only access for residents/deliveries/emergency services. It is expected that sidewalks will always be open and passable, but caution should be observed as it is a construction zone.

Once completed, construction will then shift to the Jefferson Avenue – Bank Street block of Washington Avenue. An additional notice will be provided for work on State Street which is also part of this project.

Work is expected to be completed on the entire project, including pavement resurfacing from Ellicott Avenue to Ross Street, by Aug. 19.

Construction updates, schedules and traffic plans will be posted on the City Web page, and should be available by the end of the week. You can access it here.

For additional information contact:

April 28, 2016 - 11:30am
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, Alabama, news, Announcements.

Oakfield-Alabama kindergarten registration is scheduled for Monday, May 2nd through Friday, May 6th at the elementary school office between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 p.m. It is located at 7001 Lewiston Road in Oakfield.

Information packets have been sent to families. If you did not receive a packet or are new to the district, please notify the elementary office at 948-5211, ext. 3211 and we will send one to you.

Please bring the following mandatory documents with you: a completed Student Information Form (from the packet received in the mail), your child’s birth certificate, two proofs of residency, a current immunization record and a current physical examination.

Only children who have reached their 5th birthday on or before Dec. 1, 2016 may be registered for the 2016-2017 school year.

April 28, 2016 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Emily Helenbrook, Genesee Chorale, batavia, arts, entertainment, music, news.

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Press release:

The Genesee Chorale, under the direction of Ric Jones, is excited to offer a performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 29th, in the beautiful sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church, located at 405 E. Main St. in Batavia. 

“Performing this amazing work will truly be a memorable experience for us and for the audience,” said Jones, director of the large, talented community chorus based in Batavia. “This performance will run the gamut of human emotion; excitement, intrigue, humor, and love all rolled into one amazing work."

“Carmina Burana” is a scenic cantata composed by Orff and based on a collection of 24 medieval poems. You might recognize the exciting “O Fortuna,” which was first introduced to mainstream media in the 1981, John Boorman film, "Excalibur." Other appearances in movies include "Glory" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Doors" (1991), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), and "The General’s Daughter" (1999).

Orff’s Carmina Burana is based on 24 of the 254 poems found in the medieval collection Carmina Burana, a manuscript composed of 11th – 13th century poems and dramatic texts, believed to be written by clergy in Italy and Western Europe for traveling scholars, universities and theologians. The collection of texts was discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria (Germany).

The Chorale will consist be accompanied by several three outstanding soloists: Emily Helenbrook, soprano; John Clayton, tenor; Joe Finetti, baritone.

Hellenbrook is a senior at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Carol Webber. Helenbrook has performed several times as a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and in several appearances with Ars Nova Musicians in the Viva Vivaldi Festival. She also appeared twice on the nationally acclaimed show, From the Top, recorded at the Chautauqua Amphitheatre and Kodak Hall at Eastman.

Clayton is a tenor based in Buffalo. He has been described as “One of Buffalo’s top vocalists” who performs “gallantly.” He studied music and voice at SUNY College at Buffalo and has worked with vocal coaches from across America and Europe. Clayton is a frequent soloist with choral ensembles in Western New York. He has also been featured in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Nickel City Opera. Clayton has sung the National Anthem for Buffalo Bills' home games and is a current member of the Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Finetti, bass – baritone, enjoys various performing opportunities in the Rochester area. He recently appeared as the beleaguered Herr Schlendrian in Bach’s Coffee Cantata at Nazareth College, interpreted the Bass role of Haydn’s "Creation" in several performances with the Finger Lakes Chorale, and sang Broadway favorites as a guest of the Irondequoit Chorale. A longtime member of the baroque ensemble The Publick Musick, he has sung solo roles in numerous Bach cantatas and masses as well as period performances of Handel’s "Messiah." Finetti performs regularly with the Renaissance group Musica Spei, the annual sponsor of the Rochester Early Music Festival as well as the well-known local chamber choir Madrigalia. He has a practice of family medicine in Greece, NY, and lives with his wife Maria Mastrosimone, also a family physician, in the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.

The performance will also feature two talented pianists, Doug Hanson and Howard Spindler. Five percussionists from the Batavia and Rochester area will accompany the work.

Tickets for the performance at St. James are available on the Genesee Chorale Web site, www.GeneseeChorale.com, from any Chorale member, or at the door. For more information please contact the Chorale president, Heather Lovelace at (716) 531-8986.

The Genesee Chorale is directed by Ric Jones, owner of Imagine Music Publishing. In addition to being the musical director of the Genesee Chorale, he also serves as musical director of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra and The Middleport Community Choir. Jones is also the organist at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Medina and Trinity Lutheran Church in Wolcottsville.

The Genesee Chorale is a community choir comprised of singers from all walks of life. It draws membership from Genesee County and seven surrounding counties. The repertory of the Genesee Chorale encompasses a wide variety of music in various styles from motets and madrigals of the Renaissance, to folk, musicals and jazz. Over the years, the Chorale has championed contemporary works for choir as well as larger liturgical settings including Bach's St. Matthew's "Passion," Charpentier's "Midnight Mass for Christmas," the Mozart and Brahms requiems, and several masses by composers such as Schubert and Mozart. Additionally, the Chorale has performed "Die Fledermaus," Mendelssohn's "Elijah," Handel's "Solomon," Haydn's "Creation," Vivaldi's "Magnificat," and Vaughan William’s "Hodie."

This concert is made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Genesee Regional Arts Council.

April 28, 2016 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, news.

The call started with "two cows and a horse" in the road at Stubb Road and Route 19, Pavilion, but now deputies are informed there are "several animals" in the road at that location.

Dispatchers are trying to contact a farmer in the area.

Deputies are responding.

UPDATE 10:47 a.m.: One of the owners of the property has been located and "he's working on a plan." Earlier, a deputy told dispatch, "we also have a bull to deal with."

April 28, 2016 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

The halls at Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School were full of colorful and imaginative artwork and pottery, and the cafeteria was filled with music as hundreds of community members, parents, teachers and students got their creative buzz on. The school’s third-annual Buzzin’ Bistro event showcased a wide range of talent and drew a huge, enthusiastic crowd on April 22.

The Buzzin’ Bistro began with the opening of the District Art Show, which featured visual arts from the elementary and jr./sr. high schools. Participating art teachers Melissa Coniglio, Sandy Auer and Justine Fritz displayed the best work from their classes in a variety of media, including several exceptional student portfolios.

The main event, however, was the music. The Buzzin’ Bistro is an opportunity for students from grades five through 12 to perform with each other in front of a community audience. They are also able to sing and play as equals alongside their music teachers and talented musicians from the Bergen community. This year, guest artist Johnny Cummings, talented songwriter and Byron-Bergen alumnus (2000), and his band entertained and inspired the young artists.

The musical portion of the evening began with the fifth- and sixth-grade Jazz Band and Jazz Choir, directed by teachers Robert Lancia and Karen Tischer, with impressive solos from students Cameron Carlson and Angel Heick. Teacher Kevin Bleiler directed both the jr. and sr. high jazz bands in several numbers that had the younger members of the audience on their feet dancing. The Singing Silhouettes, a select group of high school chorus members, led by teacher Laurence Tallman, swung a wonderful version of the classic “In the Mood.”

Students took a breather to let staff members Amanda Cook, Alyson Tardy, Amber Taylor-Burns, Jodie Vandelay and Megan Wahl, along with community musicians Steve Keenan, Chris DeValder and Bob Wilkins, join the music department to perform a few numbers. Johnny Cummings and his band, Something Else, followed with a showstopping 30-minute set that had all the students up and dancing. The evening concluded with a rendition of “Twist and Shout” involving the jr. high band, sr. high band and community members.

Buzzin’ Bistro was sponsored and supported by the Byron-Bergen Music Boosters, Todd Sloat from T.S. Lighting, LLC, Ralph Marsocci from McCullagh Coffee Roasters, Ralph & Rosie’s Delicatessen, and Greg’ry’s Bakery.

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April 27, 2016 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, fire, news.

From Patrick S. Privatera, president of Le Roy Physical Therapy:

I'm writing to give you an update on our incident this morning. There was a small electrical fire which was sparked by a bird which had built a nest inside an outdoor electrical box housing our service connections. Humphrey Electric is on scene currently making repairs, but Le Roy PT, Village Fitness, and Dollar General will be closed the rest of the day until power can be restored.

We expect to reopen by mid-morning tomorrow. Despite the inconvenience, there were no injuries and things could have been much worse. We're very grateful to Le Roy, Stafford, Pavilion, and Bergen‎ Fire Depts and the Le Roy Police Deptartment for their assistance.  

Previously: Smoke coming from back room at Le Roy's Dollar General store

April 27, 2016 - 4:05pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia city schools, news.

Not only does the Batavia City School District's proposed 2016-17 budget have no tax increase, the average homeowner can expect a decrease in the tax levy.

The good news doesn't stop there.

Come October, homeowners can expect a property tax rebate check in the mail from the state.

"I think it's pretty impressive that the tax rate is flat and that the average homeowner can expect a tax reduction," said Superintendent Chris Dailey, "because of the district's efficiency."

The district is saving taxpayers' money and planning program enhancements, Dailey said.

The spending plan totals $44,366,439.

It is because the district is keeping the tax levy below the tax cap (up to 1.48 is allowable with a simple majority vote; more requires a super-majority vote), that homeowners are once again eligible for a State property tax rebate, to be mailed directly to them this fall from NYS.

Adopted budgeted expenses for the upcoming academic year, and the corresponding percentages of the budget, are:

  • General Support -- $5,5333,723  (12.5 percent)
  • Instructional Support -- $26,092,772  (58.8 percent)
  • Transportation -- $1,817,170  (4.1 percent)
  • Employee Benefits -- $10,517,772  (23.7 percent)
  • Interfund Transfers -- $405,000  (0.9 percent)

Overall, expenditures are up 2.9 percent over last year, primarily due to increases in the cost of employee benefits and the need to replace some equipment which has been postponed for a number of years, Dailey said.

Payroll expenses have gone up slightly each year -- .39 percent -- over the last nine fiscal years through 2014-15, an average of $71,413 annually districtwide.

To save money, the district shares a number of services with other area districts. These positions are a curriculum coordinator, ESL Services, Athletics, and a Nutritional Services director. Althogether, the savings from shared services are in the six figures annually, Dailey said, noting that whenever sharing is feasible to do "it's always a good thing."

Proposed enhancements to programs for 2016-17 include the following:

  • One Jackson School Reading/Math AIS teacher
  • One John Kennedy School elementary teacher
  • One high school Math teacher
  • One John Kennedy School Computer Skils/AIS Math teacher
  • One (part-time to full-time) high school/middle school Art teacher
  • Four Jackson/Kennedy teacher aides
  • One high school Security aide
  • One Jackson buildings and grounds cleaner
  • One middle school date processing clerk
  • One district Instructional Teachnology coordinator
  • One-to-World Chromebooks, grades 5-12
  • Recordex Interactive Monitors
  • $100,000 NYS aidable Capital Outlay Project for middle school cost-efficient lighting upgrades

City schools spend less per pupil when compared to schools statewide. The total average expenditure per pupil in Batavia is $19,207, according to the district's budget synopsis, compared to a statewide average of $21,812.

As a matter of standard practice, the district continues to pursue alternative funding sources. These include renting space at the vacant Robert Morris School.

"It's at 60 percent (rental) capacity, which pays for the custodian and the utilities, easily, and it turns a profit for the district, which is pretty unique," Daily said. "We are negotiating with several parties and expect to announce some deals soon."

Also, the newly formed Batavia City School District Foundation enables donors to receive a tax deduction for contributions while creating an alternative funding source for the district.

The district also competes annually for state and federal grants -- anticipated at $2.5 million for 2016-17. Some grant money is available because 54 percent of the district's students qualify for free and reduced-priced lunches.

The grant money contributes to targeted programs to improve learning for disadvantaged students, to supplement professional development and provide universal Pre-K, which "helps 75 percent of incoming kindergarteners to get a jump on school success."

The proposed budget calls for using just over $2 million from the Unemployment Insurance Reserve, surplus Fund Balance, the Employee Benefits Accrued Liability Reserve, Repair Reserve and the NYS Employee Retirement Reserve.

"New York State encourages school districts to spend down their reserves," Dailey said. "We use our savings to help out."

The proposed budget is on the ballot on Tuesday, May 17, along with three vacancies on the Board of Education. Voting will take place between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Residents north of Route 5 (Main Street) vote at Robert Morris School building, 80 Union St.; residents south of Route 5, vote at Batavia High School, 260 State St. If you need clarification of where to vote, please check the street-by-street guide on the district's Web site or call the Business Office at 343-2480, ext. 1002.

April 27, 2016 - 3:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Jacquetta Simmons.

simmonscourtapril27206.jpg

After being among Batavia's wanted for 18 months, Jacquetta Simmons, 30, appeared in court today following her arrest in Rochester last night, to answer to a charge of harassment 2nd.

Simmons, out of jail on $300 bail, asked for an adjournment of her case because on short notice, her attorney, Ann Nichols, could not appear in Batavia today.

The case was docked for May 25. 

In the meantime, Judge Durin Rogers issued an order of protection, which Simmons signed, barring her from any contact with the alleged victim in the harassment case, a 54-year-old woman.

Simmons was allegedly in an altercation of some sort with the woman back in October during a meeting at the YWCA. A couple of weeks later, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Simmons on the harassment charge. The warrant was reported by local and regional media in January.

The former Batavia resident gained international notoriety after punching a 70-year-old Walmart cashier on Christmas Eve, 2011. In August, 2012, Simmons was found guilty of assault in the second degree by a jury and later sentenced to five years in state prison. The sentence was later ruled too harsh by an appeals court and Simmons was resentenced to one year in jail.

Also in City Court today, 54-year-old Darlene M. Callan, charged with arson, 3rd, for allegedly starting a fire inside her home Monday at 189 South Main St., Batavia. Callan is being held on $25,000 bail and her attorney asked for her to be released under supervision given her lack of criminal record and ties to the community. Citing a low score on a bail review worksheet and concerns over recent substance use issues, Rogers declined to reduce the bail.

April 27, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A person was reportedly outside his vehicle at John Kennedy School when another vehicle struck it, causing the man's vehicle to strike him.

The man reportedly suffered a minor injury.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

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