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April 27, 2017 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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With creek water running high, Capt. Bob Fix wanted to use the opportunity this week for swift water training for City of Batavia firefighters.

This morning, a crew assembled on the banks of the Tonawanda just off South Lyon Street to first practice keeping themselves safe in the water and then work at grabbing a floating person and hauling him to shore.

The safety training involved floating down the stream feet first and then trying to climb over a boom (simulating a log in the water). Fix wanted firefighters to see that if they encountered such an obstacle in a real-life situation, they could never pull themselves over it. On the next evolution, the firefighters swam hard right at the "log" and then propelled themselves over it.

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April 27, 2017 - 4:26pm

Press release:

Last month, the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) Chapters inducted 58 career and technical education students from Batavia Career and Technical Education Center. Evening candlelight ceremonies took place at Elba High School.

These students met a rigorous criteria set forth by this national organization. The minimum grade-point average for acceptance is a 3.0. Students are also selected based upon credit hours completed, attendance, volunteer service, and membership in other student organizations.

The inductees are noted below.

Agri-Business Academy

Elizabeth Jurs -- Elba CS

Emily Mikel -- Pavilion CS

Melissa Keller -- Pembroke CS

Animal Science

Breanne Duzen -- Pembroke CS

Jazmin Mateos Rendon -- Oakfield-Alabama CS

Peyton Mackey -- Byron-Bergen CS

Shelby Brandes -- Le Roy CS    

Auto Technology

Jacob Borkholder -- Oakfield-Alabama CS

Tyler Weaver -- Pavilion CS    

Building Trades    

Brandon Lewis -- Byron-Bergen CS

Brandon Perry -- Attica CS

Cameron Brumsted -- Byron-Bergen CS

Chandler Bow -- Byron-Bergen CS

Dillon Montgomery -- Byron-Bergen CS

Ethan Conrad -- Notre Dame CS

Gaven Cassidy -- Le Roy CS

Jacob Morgante -- Byron-Bergen CS

Joseph Aguglia -- Attica CS

Kylar Chambry -- Byron-Bergen CS

Computer Information Systems

Daniel Jensen -- Byron-Bergen CS

Cosmetology

Alaila Velez -- Pembroke

Anna Field -- Attica

Rachel Tebor -- Pembroke CS

Tapanga Wheaton -- Batavia CS

Zara Lohman -- Attica CS

Criminal Justice

Brandon Cutter -- Attica CS    

Electronics

Jacob Keiper -- Attica CS

Kyle Evans -- Le Roy CS

Nicholas Zenzen -- Caledonia-Mumford CS

Steven Lyness Jr. -- Le Roy CS       

Graphic Arts

Haley Wasikowski -- Alexander CS

Isaiah Ciociola -- Batavia CS

Jenica Hickey -- Byron-Bergen CS

Jenna Scott -- Caledonia-Mumford CS

Jeremiah Keaton -- Pavilion CS

Jorgette Mezydlo -- Attica CS

Makayla Carpenter -- Caledonia-Mumford CS

Sarah Howden -- Pavilion CS

Sean Vasko -- Oakfield-Alabama CS    

Health Careers Academy

Alyssa Weaver -- Pembroke CS

Amy Chasse -- Pavilion CS

Garrett Downs -- Elba CS

Hailey Stevens -- Elba CS

Mackenzie Good -- Pavilion CS

MiKayla Tillotson -- Pavilion CS

Molly Neidrauer -- Oakfield-Alabama CS

Paige Hameister -- Batavia CS

Rebecca Reamer -- Pavilion CS

Health Dimensions

Casey Shaw -- Pembroke CS

Victoria Welka -- Byron-Bergen CS

IT Academy

Sophia Matla -- Le Roy CS

Metal Trades

Aiden Schadt -- Attica CS

Brent Schum -- Alexander CS

David Paddock -- Pavilion CS

Dillon Stein -- Caledonia-Mumford CS

Garrett Sando -- Byron-Bergen CS

Joel Jackowski -- Attica CS

Zach DiLiberto -- Caledonia-Mumford CS

About the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

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.

April 27, 2017 - 4:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, business, ferrellgas, Announcements.

Ferrellgas in Batavia will hold a Customer Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13th.

There will be $5 grill tank exchanges and raffles for a new grill, Omaha Steak packages, Ferrellgas merchandise, a flat-screen TV, plus drawings for free propane for all Ferrellgas customers.

All proceeds will benefit the locally based Michael Napoleone Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.

Ferrellgas is located at 655 Ellicott St. in Batavia.

April 27, 2017 - 2:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, alexander, batavia.

Submitted photo and press release:

Last month, the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association held its Beginner Timbits Cross-Ice Jamboree at the Falleti Ice Rink.

For the event, Coach Jim Kujawski divided the 60 plus Beginners into six teams featuring the Blue Line Bandits, Orange Blaze, Purple Rhino’s, Yoda Force, Rowdy Red Rascals and The Avengers.

The teams played three “cross-ice” (Benches to Bleachers) against one another. The games were 16-minutes long with 4-minute shifts. A great time was had by all.

At the beginning of the Jamboree each player’s name was announced as they came onto the ice and they lined up for the National Anthem sung live by Shawn Calmes, of Alexander. They were so in the moment and so excited to begin play.

The players range from age 3 to 14 and their hearts are 100 percent into the learning to skate if needed; and then into developing hockey skills. Coach Kujawski and his team of on-ice helper coaches and dads as well as several GAHA student on-ice helpers follow USA Hockey’s American Development Modules (ADM) and you can experience each player’s development week after week.

The bleachers were packed with parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, as well as cousins and friends. At last count there were 375 spectators for this Jamboree. The space along the boards was also filled to capacity. Everyone was into the games.

The GAHA Beginner Program is sponsored by Tim Hortons’ who provided the jerseys and also provided refreshments for the players and family after the event.

GAHA offers this program in two Sessions – Session I begins the first week of October and has 15 on ice sessions; and Session II begins the first week of January and also has 15 on ice sessions. Players are encouraged to attend both sessions.

If interested, you can contact Sharon Valyear-Gray, the Beginner Player coordinator, at [email protected]

April 27, 2017 - 2:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, batavia, elba, pembroke, byron-bergen.

Submitted photo: Batavia CTE Center FFA members, from left: Alex Morales (Batavia), Rebecca Meyers (Batavia), MacKenzie Fox (Byron-Bergen), Melissa Keller (Pembroke), Tracy Rudgers (Attica), Stella Glosser (Warsaw), Cherie Glosser (Warsaw), Rebecca Semmel (Warsaw), Elizabeth Jurs (Elba), Allison Pajda (Attica), Rachel Smith (Churchville-Chili), and Tyler Curbelo (Batavia).

Press release:

Two Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center students will be representing the Western Region at the New York State FFA Convention in Leadership Development Events on May 11-13 at the State University of New York at Morrisville.

While competing at the FFA sub-states competition on March 18 at Pioneer High School, Allison Pajda, an Attica High School junior in the Animal Science program, placed first in the People in Agriculture Leadership Development Competition, and Melissa Keller, a Pembroke High School senior in the Agri-Business Academy, placed second in the Employment Interview Skills competition.

In the Employment Interview Skills competition, students had to complete a phone interview, an in-person interview with three evaluators, and write a follow up letter. In addition, students’ resumes, cover letters, and applications were also evaluated. The judges’ scores in all of the above areas were averaged to determine the overall placing. For the People in Agriculture competition, Allison had to research and present on five different careers in agriculture and choose one career to write an essay about. Allison interviewed a local livestock producer and wrote her essay on his career.

New York State has three different sub-state regions and the top two students in each region move on to compete at the State Convention for the Leadership Development Competitions. Prior to the sub-states competition, 12 Batavia CTE Center students competed at the district competition, which was held at Springville High School on Feb. 28. Those 12 students scored high enough to advance to the sub-states competition.

The Batavia CTE Center FFA program focuses on premier leadership, personal growth and career success. The advisors are Holly Partridge, Animal Science instructor, and Kerri Richardson, Agri-Business Academy instructor.

Sub-states Competition Results:
Employment Interview Skills -- Melissa Keller (Pembroke), second
People in Agriculture -- Allison Pajda (Attica), first
People in Agriculture -- Tyler Curbelo (Batavia), third
Parliamentary Procedure Team -- third

District Competition Results:

Prepared Public Speaking -- Melissa Keller (Pembroke), first
Prepared Public Speaking -- Rebecca Meyers (Batavia), sixth
Extemporaneous Public Speaking -- Tracy Rudgers (Attica), fifth
Extemporaneous Public Speaking -- Cherie Glosser (Warsaw), ninth
FFA Creed -- Liz Jurs (Elba), third
FFA Creed -- Alex Morales (Batavia), fourth
Employment Interview -- Tracy Rudgers (Attica), second
Employment Interview -- Melissa Keller (Pembroke), third
Employment Interview -- Stella Glosser (Warsaw), fifth

People in Agriculture -- Allison Pajda (Attica), first
People in Agriculture -- Tyler Curbelo (Batavia), second
Agricultural Issues – MacKenzie Fox (Byron-Bergen), Rachel Smith (Churchville-Chili, and Rebecca Myers (Batavia), second
Parliamentary Procedure -- Rebecca Semmel (Warsaw), Melissa Keller (Pembroke), Tracy Rudgers (Attica), Cherie Glosser (Warsaw), Elizabeth Jurs (Elba), and Stella Glosser (Warsaw), second

About the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

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

April 27, 2017 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Grand Jury.

Glenn H. Quintern is indicted for the crime of second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 5 Quintern knowingly entered or remained unlawfully within a dwelling on Central Avenue in the City of Batavia with the intent to commit a crime.

April 27, 2017 - 2:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, Announcements, GC Republican Women's Club.

The Genesee County Women's Republican Club will hold its annual Spring Breakfast beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, at the Dibble Family Center.

Cost is $20 per member, or $25 for nonmembers. If you like, you can sign up to become a member at the breakfast.

RSVP and payment must be received by May 8. Contact Michele Smith at [email protected] or mail to her at 20 Canterbury Lane, Bergen NY 14416.

The Dibble Family Center is located at 4110 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

The full breakfast will include eggs, fresh fruit, Danish, muffins, bacon, potatoes, and a carving station.

April 27, 2017 - 1:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, batavia.

Cindy Skalny, of Batavia, was named to the Emerson College dean's list for the Fall 2016 semester. Skalny is majoring in Media Studies. The requirement to make Emerson's dean's lst is a grade-point average of 3.7 or higher.

About Emerson College

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city's Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has approximately 3,500 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs at Emerson Los Angeles, located in Hollywood, and at its 14th-century castle in the Netherlands. Additionally, there are opportunities to study in Washington, D.C., London, China, the Czech Republic, Spain, Austria, Greece, France, Ireland, Mexico, Cuba, England, and South Africa. The College has an active network of 37,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit emerson.edu.

April 27, 2017 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, batavia.

Jordyn Vanelli, of Batavia, was recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Vanelli was initiated at Ithaca College.

Vanelli is among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation only and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10 percent of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 under the leadership of Marcus L. Urann who had a desire to create a different kind of honor society: one that recognized excellence in all academic disciplines. Today, the Society has chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States and the Philippines. Its mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."

More About Phi Kappa Phi

Since its founding, 1.5 million members have been initiated into Phi Kappa Phi. Some of the organization's notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, novelist David Baldacci and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley. The Society has awarded approximately $15 million since the inception of its awards program in 1932. Today, $1.4 million is awarded each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives. For more information, visit www.phikappaphi.org.

April 27, 2017 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in GO ART!, batavia, Announcements, news, photography.

GO ART! will present a collection of photographs depicting the lives and sacrifices of Latino workers in this country along the U.S.-Mexican border and the families they left behind in Mexico in a special exhibit next month.

"DREAM of America: Separation & Sacrifice in the Lives of North Country Latino Immigrants" is the title of the collection by Lisa Catalfamo-Flores.

The opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16, at GO ART!, located at 201 E. Main St. in Downtown Batavia.

The exhibit will be subsequently available for viewing during these gallery hours:

Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., 6 – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10  – 11 a.m.

Contact:
Gregory Hallock, assistant director
(585) 343-9313
[email protected]

April 27, 2017 - 1:03pm

Most of this information is from Katherine Bunting-Howarth, New York Sea Grant associate director, Cornell University, the rest is from GLOW Solid Waste:

Twice a year New York residents can take their unused pharmaceuticals back to collection sites statewide --  "no questions asked." It's part of the National Presecription Drug Take Back Day. The first such event for 2017 is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, April 29.

In Genesee County, the drop-off sites set up outside (for drive-by drop-offs) for this occasion are at:

  • the Batavia Police Department parking lot, 10 W. Main St. in the City of Batavia;
  • the Pembroke Town Highway barns at the junction of routes 5 and 77, East Pembroke, the drop-off site will be manned by the Sheriff's Office;

In addition, drop boxes are located at the NY State Police -- Batavia Barracks, 4525 W. Saile Drive, Batavia; the GC Sheriff's Office at 165 Park Road, Batavia; and the Village of Le Roy Police Department, 3 W. Main St. (The Le Roy location also accepts sharps, according to GLOW Region Solid Waste.)

Why people should properly dispose of unwanted medications -- both presription and over-the-counter -- is highlighted in the "Undo the Environmental Chemical Brew: Keep Unwanted Medications and Chemicals Out of the Great Lakes" guide developed by New York Sea Grant.

The guide is posted online at www.nyseagrant.org/unwantedmeds.

The guide written by New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske, associate director of the Great Lakes Program at the University of Buffalo, Buffalo, includes tips on how citizens can keep unwanted pharmaceuticals and personal care products, also called PPCPs, out of local waters and out of the Great Lakes system.

"Taking unused prescription drugs to collection sites helps reduce the impact of unwanted substances on the water resource that provides drinking water to 42 million people in the United States and Canada and aquatic habitat for a host of fishes and other wildlife," Domske said.

The Undo the Chemical Brew guide lists 17 different types of PPCPs, including antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives, antidepressants, cosmetics, and vitamins, that are finding their way into the Great Lakes, the source of drinking water for 42 million people in the United States and Canada.

Research by New York Sea Grant and other science organizations has tracked the feminization of fish populations downstream from wastewater treatment plants to estrogen and its components found in prescription drugs.

"Researchers are increasingly documenting the impact of bioactive chemical substances in PPCPs throughout the aquatic food web on fishes, frogs, mussels and other freshwater organisms. We do not want people flushing unwanted and unused medicines down the toilet or drain," Domske said.

A New York Sea Grant-funded, two-year research project that began in February 2016 is examining the effectiveness of advanced water treatment options, environmental levels and potential effects of pharmaceuticals in New York waters.

The biannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Days are an initiative of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in cooperation with law enforcement agencies nationwide. Authorized collection sites are posted on the website at https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/

New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. New York Sea Grant has Great Lakes offices in Buffalo, Newark and Oswego.

April 27, 2017 - 12:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in GC Youth Court, law day, news, Announcements, batavia.

Press release:

Calling all eighth-11th graders in Genesee County and any other individuals interested in Youth Court! On May 2, Genesee County Youth Court will be celebrating Law Day from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Old Court House (7 Main St., Batavia) 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 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-11th graders who are interested can attend Law Day on May 2 or go online to download an application from the Genesee County website www.co.genesee.ny.us , where you will find a link on the Youth Bureau page. Applications are due by July 28. 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 Elliott at the Genesee County Youth Bureau, 344-3960.

April 26, 2017 - 6:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, batavia, news.

Roamer, who went missing two days ago after escaping from his owner when charged by another dog, was spotted today by Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian on Clifton Avenue.

Christian called Batavia PD and Animal Control Officer Jimmy Shefflin responded, but he couldn't find him.

At 5 p.m., Rose Mary and her daughter Raelene went looking again. Raelene spotted Roamer behind a house on Clifton Avenue. She didn't try to approach Roamer, she said, because he seemed really scared. She called Don Mengs who came over right away with his wife and Roamer's brother Elvis. 

From the video, you can see, Roamer was definitely happy to see Don.

Raelene said she and Rose Mary only knew about Roamer because they had seen the posts on The Batavian.

April 26, 2017 - 4:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in richmond library, news, batavia, Announcements.

The Richmond Memorial Library's budget vote and trustee election takes place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 4th.

Rebecca Long is running unopposed.

Voting takes place in the Library's Gallery Room.

Any registered voter residing in the Batavia City School District is eligible to vote.

The library is located at 19 Ross St.

April 26, 2017 - 11:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Press release:

For the second consecutive year, the City of Batavia is proud to announce national award recognition as one of the Healthiest Companies in America by Interactive Health, a national leader known for its personalized wellness solutions. The City is one of 156 companies across the country being recognized for helping employees make significant and sometimes life-saving changes to improve their health.

With the help of strategic and flexible wellness initiatives, the Healthiest Companies in America recipients have accomplished tremendous success, achieving participation rates in excess of 70 percent and a low-risk health score for their total population based upon rigorous and clinically sound health evaluations.

Participants in Interactive Health’s wellness program receive a thorough health evaluation to identify risk and learn about their health status. Through a combination of rapid outreach, connection to personal physicians and tailored resources, a personalized course of action is delivered to the participant resulting in improved or maintained health. 

The City of Batavia employees and their spouses had a participation rate of 98.2 percent in the wellness program last year.

“This is continued recognition through our wellness program that City employees and their families are proactive about making healthier lifestyle choices,” said City Manager Jason Molino. “We continue to see results from the program with greater productivity and in general a happy and healthier workforce.”

“This increase in healthy lifestyle choices is a win-win for the City and its employees in terms of cost avoidance,” explains Dawn Fairbanks, Human Resource Specialist. “The healthy employee typically costs approximately $362 per year.

"This healthy rating equates to approximately 88 percent of current employees. In contrast the unhealthiest employee may cost as much as $23,191 per year.”

Last year 50 City employees and spouses improved their score and 33 remained the same.

April 26, 2017 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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At the end of seven days on the job, City Fire's new chief Stefano (Steve) Napolitano said he likes what he sees -- he likes what he sees of the City of Batavia and he thinks the local fire department is filled with good people from the rank and file up to the line officers.

"This city is very well served by the men and women of this department," Napolitano said. "I can tell you that in seven days of being here, talking with them, of working with them, meeting them, watching them, listening to them, this city is very well served by these fine men and women here."

He said the department was in good hands for the past 16 months with Dan Herberger serving as interim chief and he takes over a department that is in good shape. Right now, he's getting to know department policies and procedures, but he doesn't anticipate any big changes in operations.

"I don’t see any need to change anything and if were are gong to change anything it will be consensual among officers and the rank and file to see where we can improve, what we can improve and what services we can offer," Napolitano said.

The rise to chief comes after a 25-year career in Herkimer that took him from a rookie firefighter to assistant chief. Over that span he attended more than 600 career-related classes and earned a master's degree in executive fire service management.

A lot of young firefighters start out thinking they would like to rise to the rank of chief, but Napolitano stuck with the career path. This is his first chief assignment.

"It's a great feeling when you finally get here on one aspect and it’s a huge unnerving feeling on the other aspect knowing that you are responsible for the lives and property of 15,000-plus people and the men and women in the fire department," Napolitano said. "I’m responsible not only to the citizens but to these men and women, and these men and women’s families, to make sure that our firefighters are safe and that they get home at the end of their tour."

Napolitano said he recognizes his fiduciary responsibility to manage taxpayer money well and make sure it is spent wisely and to its proper purpose. He's also motivated, having worked hard to make it to the top, to work hard at being the best chief he can be.

"It's a great feeling being here," Napolitano said. "I feel I've accomplished a goal, but my goal is not just to have the position, but to excel at the position, to enhance the department."

Napolitano isn't married. He has a lady friend in Herkimer with a son who is a junior in high school, so she's staying in Herkimer for the time being and they'll spend weekends together. He's rented an apartment in town and is getting settled in.

His friend and Napolitano's family were part of the decision on whether to take the job in Batavia, he said.

"She and the rest of my family were definitely behind me taking the position," Napolitano said. "I made sure. I said I’m not going to do this unless you guys are supporting me. I don’t think a person is anything without their family. I’ve got a good support system."

He said he's enjoyed exploring the city, getting to know the local restaurants and finding out more about the community.

"I've really enjoyed myself so far," Napolitano said. "The city's a cute city. It's a cute city with a lot of amenities. I think it's just going to keep getting better and better."

April 26, 2017 - 6:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news.

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Anne Stefaniak, City fire's first female firefighter, who joined the department April 13, 1997, is retiring.

A farm girl from Attica, Stefaniak said she grew up a bit tomboyish and thought becoming a firefighter -- with its physical work, problem-solving requirements and helping-people aspect, would suit her. She wasn't trying to do anything special.

"I wasn’t trying to cause waves or blaze trails," Stefaniak said. "I just wanted a chance to do something I thought would fit me and I would really want to do, and I was right. I love it. I still love it to this day. I’ll miss it terribly."

Yesterday, barring an emergency call between now and Saturday, was Stefaniak's last official day of duty.

She's retiring right at 20 years, she said, because it will allow her to devote more time to her youngest children, two daughters -- a junior and a senior at Batavia High School, and because of health concerns associated with being a firefighter.

"Cancer rates are so much higher for firefighters," Stefaniak said. "Twenty years is long enough to poke that bear and take that risk."

Growing up on a farm prepared her well for the job, she said.

"I’ve never been a girly girl, like prissy, do my hair, do my nails or makeup, and you definitely can’t be that way if you are in this job," she said.

She said it's always been in her nature to try to get through, get around, get over barriers and obstacles, which is part of what's involved in firefighting, but it's also a job that involves people and helping people, and that appealed to her, too.

"I like to help if I can and this gives you an opportunity to do that," Stefaniak said. "I feel really blessed."

Stefaniak said there were some adjustments members made when she joined the department and that wasn't always easy.

"I think it was rough on the guys, too," Stefaniak said. "It’s a small town and they never thought they’d have to work with a girl."

It was the older department members who welcomed her into the fold first, she said.

"In the long run, the oldest guys became my best friends because they were very much 'if you can do the job, then welcome,' " Stefaniak said. " 'If you can’t, get out.' That’s how they treated any new guy."

Since she didn't set out to be any kind of example, she just wanted a chance to be a firefighter, she didn't think much about that aspect of what she was doing, but looking back, she's proud to have been in that position.

"When people tell me it made an impression, yeah," she said. "I didn’t realize at the time or even until I hear it, but yeah. It’s probably good they didn’t tell me that I'm ahead of time because I would have felt like pressure to be that (a role model), but it was like just good to do my thing and find out after the fact."

April 25, 2017 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, batavia, news.

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We told you about Roamer yesterday, the German shepherd pup belonging to Don Mengs. Roamer ran off into the woods near Country Max and went into the DeWitt Recreation Area. Roamer is still missing. It's possible somebody has found him and still has him. If you see Roamer, contact Don at (716) 698-6096.

April 25, 2017 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

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We do not have any new information about the fire at this time.

UPDATE: Bob Tripp, 1st assistant chief for Town of Batavia, and scene commander yesterday, said the cause of the fire is still undetermined, but it appears to be electrical in nature. There was still electricity going to the barn complex and a portion of the barn has been damaged by the wind. That may have caused a line to short out and yesterday's wind fanned the sparks into flames.

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April 25, 2017 - 4:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, batavia, news.

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Here are a few photos from the fire this afternoon on Oak Orchard Road, Batavia.

The first two are by Frank Capuano. The others are reader submitted.

I was at the fire and will have photos posted later.

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