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Lancers advance in softball after 9-7 win

By Staff Writer
elba softball

Elba beat CG Finney 9-7 on Sunday in a first-round Section V playoff game in softball.

Maddie Hall was 2-4, two RBIs and a run scored. Brea Smith was 2-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Madison Marks was 2-3 with a double. Kaelin Ball was 2-4 with an RBI. Lydia Ross was 2-4 with a triple and run scored. 

Smith was the winning pitcher, giving up three hits, two walks, and one earned run. She fanned six.

Photos by Kristin Smith.

elba softball
elba softball
elba softball

Notre Dame tops Andover-Whitesville 3-0 in first-round softball game

By Press Release

Press release:

The #2 seed Lady Irish leaned on ace pitcher Loretta Sorochty on Saturday afternoon at GCC to come away with the 3-0 victory over 15-seeded Andover-Whitesville.  

Sorochty pitched a complete game one-hitter, allowing no runs and striking out 17 batters.  Makaila Brewster took the loss in the circle for Andover-Whitesville, going 6 innings, allowing 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned) and striking out 1.

Offensively for the Lady Irish, Sofia Falleti led the way with 2 hits (1 double), while Emma Sisson, Hannah Tenney and Olivia Gillard each had a hit.  Sisson's hit was a triple, and she scored a run, and Tenney's base hit resulted in an RBI.  Katie Landers had a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 4th following Sisson's triple, which scored the game's first run and proved to be all Sorochty would need for run support.  Ava Grace accounted for the lone base hit for Andover-Whitesville, with a blooper base hit over second base. 

"It's good to get this first sectional win behind us, even if it wasn't as pretty as we would have liked," said Coach Otis Thomas. "We put the bat on the ball, but give credit to Andover-Whitesville for making the plays in the field to keep the score close.  Loretta gave us another strong outing in the circle, and hopefully, we can give her a little more run support next time.  We look forward to the next game coming up on Tuesday." 

Alexander wins pitchers duel in first round of Section V playoffs

By Press Release
alexander softball

Press release:

Both teams were strong in the circle on Friday, but the Alexander Trojans defeated York 2-1. 

Madison Boyce started the game on Friday before the game was cut short because of rain. 

Boyce picked up Saturday morning, where she left off the day before and earned the win for Alexander, while Emily Pietrzykowski had Boyce’s back and nailed down the save.  

York drew first blood in the contest when they scored on a wild pitch in the top of the first. Then, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Melissa Sawyer put one in the left-center gap for a double before she advanced to 3rd on a past ball. Sawyer scored on a fielder’s choice to second hit by Melanie Bump to tie the game at 1. 

Alexander didn't take the lead until the 5th inning when Ava Yax singled scoring Kaylin Dinkins, who was pinch running for Brianna Neyman after she landed a one-out single.  

The Alexander defense tightened up to close the door on York and advance to the second round on Tuesday, where they will travel to Pavilion for a 5 p.m. semifinal game. 

Sophomore Ava Yax set the tone at the top of the lineup, leading Alexander with two hits in three at-bats, a stolen base, and an RBI.  Boyce, Neyman, and Sawyer all had hits on the day.

Madison Boyce earned the win for the Trojans. Boyce only gave up one hit and one run (zero earned) over five innings, striking out seven and walking six. Pietrzykowski only surrendered two hits while striking out two to earn the save.

"We learned tonight that we never want to be a part of another weather-suspended game ever again," said Coach John Goodenbury. "We let in an unearned run in the first inning and had to stew on it for the night as the game was suspended heading into the 3rd inning. In a ball game, an offense can start to wear down a pitcher with quality at-bats, but this unique circumstance allowed both teams to pitch two innings and then get the night off to reset for the next day when play resumed.  This takes away the nuances of the game, and we had to focus on a fresh pitcher who only had to go 5 innings after a full night's rest.  We had to rely on our girls adjusting in the box to her after seeing her once the day before. That is a ton of pressure for our girls, but they dealt with it, and we are moving on.  It wasn’t our finest game, but we got the win to stay alive, and we are now focused on Pavilion for Monday.  Today was a total team effort and we know Pavilion is a very good team this year so we are not taking this next match lightly, it’s do-or-die time.  I would like to give a special thank you to our AD Eric Romesser and the outstanding Alexander maintenance crew for working magic to get our field ready after the pounding rain it took yesterday."

Submitted photos.

alexander softball
alexander softball
alexander softball
alexander softball
alexander softball
alexander softball
alexander softball

Sponsored Post: Join the Early Access Pass today and receive a $50 T.F. Brown's gift card

By Sponsored Post
Early Access Pass, T.F. Brown's

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Members of Early Access Pass help support local journalism and get early access (currently, four hours) to select stories published by The Batavian.

'Call'ing all graduates during GCC's 2024 commencement gathering

By Joanne Beck
GCC 2024 grads with balloons
Signature colored gold and blue balloons fall on the Class of 2024 graduates during the 56th annual Genesee Community College commencement ceremony Saturday in Batavia. 
Photo by Nick Serrata

As he addressed a packed Richard C. Call Arena filled with anxious impending graduates and Saturday afternoon, Genesee Community College history professor Charles Scruggs drew upon where they sat and what it meant in every sense of the word.

He first gave the precise location of where they sat — 43.1059 degrees north of the equator and negative 78.1404 degrees west of the Prime Meridian.

“But today is really not about pinpointing degrees; it’s about conferring them. And that will be done right here in the Call Arena. What a fitting and proper name, a call arena with which to complete the delineation of our commencement address. The most obvious observation to make in defense of my thesis is that while each part of today’s program is integral to the whole, we are all eagerly awaiting the time at which the provost will quite literally call the name of each graduate,” Scruggs said. “My thesis finds further support … the Latin verb is vocare, which means to call, and its ‘voc’ stem makes its way into English and a number of words which are astonishingly relevant to our celebration this afternoon.”

He cited three examples: convocation, which means a calling together of a community of scholars to mark the milestone; vocation, the work we are called to do to fulfill a higher purpose; and the word advocate, meaning one who calls for public support of a cause.

“My colleagues and I, decked out in our academic regalia, are not contractually obligated to be here today, but our presence today has nothing to do with a contract and everything to do with answering a call to pay tribute to you, the Class of 2024,” he said. “May each of you in the Class of 2024 find your calling as my colleagues and I have found ours as educators. May each of you in the Class of 2024 follow the lead of Richard C. Call and be an advocate in your personal and professional lives. If Call is a fitting and proper name, so too is arena, and they complement each other perfectly.”

He referred to the frequently quoted speech given by Theodore Roosevelt about the Man in the Arena.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short, again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming,” he said. “But who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

“The Class of 2024 is positively resplendent in its diversity. In striving to complete a challenging curriculum, each of you in the Class of 2024 has dared greatly, and today, we celebrate your triumph of high achievement,” he said. “May you continue to dare greatly in the arenas of your choosing, and may you always remember that you have family, friends, and a faculty and staff that are never more than a call away.”

GCC 2024 Dr. James Sunset

Outgoing college president Dr. James Sunser officiated the 56th commencement ceremony and was keynote speaker. Sunser had previously announced that he would be retiring from his post at the end of this college year after assuming the role in the summer of 2011.

Before coming to the Batavia campus, he had been an administrator at Syracuse University for five years and Onondaga Community College for more than 22 years, and he had worked in other senior-level positions throughout his education-focused career.

“Dr. Sunser is known for his collaborative approach, bringing together stakeholders from across the academic community to drive positive change and achieve shared goals,” Board of Trustees Chairwoman Jackie Whiting said. “During his career, he has spearheaded initiatives aimed at expanding access to quality higher education, fostering a culture of academic excellence and promoting student success. Dr. Sunser has left a lasting impact on the college and broader community that is inspirational to future generations of educators and leaders.”

Sunser said that he hoped his words would perhaps serve as a bit of inspiration since, as a first-generation college student who worked his way while pursuing degrees, from an associate's to a bachelor’s degree in science on to his master’s and finally a doctorate from the University of Rochester. He didn’t stop there, also completing postdoctoral work at Harvard and Cornell universities, certainly walking his family’s talk and beliefs in the importance of obtaining a solid education.

The son of a blue-collar father who worked hard for 25 years before being let go when the company left New York, Sunser learned early on how difficult it could be to be left in the lurch with only a high school diploma and a company pin to show for it. 

His father, a dedicated employee who was then in his 40s and unemployed, had to shift his previous thinking about sending the kids to college full-time while also realizing the difficulty of finding a job without a higher education.

“My older sister and I saw the impact it had on our family, and as things tightened more and more, we had a conversation with our parents. We talked about shifting our focus from full-time college and part-time work to full-time work and part-time school so we could help out more at home. That was an extremely hard conversation for my father to listen to. And when he did not immediately say no to our suggestion, we knew how serious it really was. After that conversation, my nontraditional higher education journey began in earnest. I spent the next few years working full time at everything from being a janitor in the local church that was near my community college to overnight as a loader for UPS while I also attended college both full- and part-time until I finished my associate's degree,” he said. “Following my associate's degree, I worked in the private sector and continued to take part-time classes and work towards more degrees, actually having earned two at Syracuse University. An opportunity arose while I was working to work for Syracuse University. And at that time, I was able to work full-time and attend college full-time, allowing me to earn those degrees. And I was very grateful for that opportunity.”

He credited his wife Roseanne for helping him through the rest of his journey so far, encouraging graduates that “we all need help and support to live our best life,” and said that his father ended up getting a job that he loved and seeing all three of his children walk across the stage as college graduates. 

“And it was one of his proudest moments,” Sunser said. "Sadly, my father passed away at 64. Coincidentally, the age I am as of today is far too young in my mind, but I’m grateful he lived long enough to see his biggest personal regret of us having to alter our college plans rectified with all of us graduating. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, being able to attend some of the best colleges and universities in the world. 

"I’ve done it with a lot of help and support, but none of it was done with an eye towards becoming a college president and how that could play a role in impacting others. But fortunately for me, it has led to that very result," he said. "I don’t say this as a kind of boast or self-adulation; I say to you because I want you to see firsthand an example of how education, staying open to opportunities, and working hard can lead to success in your life and career.”

He then gave the audience a quiz based on famed cartoonist Charles Schultz’s philosophy about the type of people who really make an impact on one’s life. After asking folks to name the wealthiest people, Heisman Trophy and Pulitzer Prize winners and such, and acknowledging that he, too, came up short on naming names, Sunser then asked attendees about friends who helped them through a very difficult time, taught them something worthwhile, made them feel appreciated and special, and are people they enjoy spending time with. 

“Was that easier? I think so. The lesson: the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most,” he said. “Graduates, tell the people who have made a difference in your life today what they've meant to you, and going forward, take baby steps and commit yourself to being that special person for others. It may not seem like much, but can you imagine how much better the world would be if we all follow those simple rules? 

“It may not seem significant, but that philosophy has made a tremendous difference in my life. And I hope it can for you also. Don't get consumed or overwhelmed thinking you really can't make a difference because you can. Don't be frozen by thinking that the world is ending tomorrow. It won’t. In fact, as proof, I can tell you, it's already tomorrow in Australia,” he said. “Commit yourself to taking baby steps, and you can make everyone's tomorrow brighter and better. Just follow the simple philosophy of Mr. Schultz. Congratulations, Class of 2024. Go forward, take baby steps and make a difference in the world.”

Photos by Nick Serrata

Charles Scruggs
GCC history professor Charles Scruggs offers some words about the venue and its deeper meaning Saturday during the GCC graduation ceremony. 
Photo by Nick Serrata
GCC 2024 diplomas
GCC 2024 Sunser with graduate
Retiring GCC President James Sunser presents diplomas to 2024 graduates.
photo by Nick Serrata
GCC 2024 processional
GCC 2024 with parents
GCC 2024 student sings God Bless
GCC graduate Mya Thomas sings "God Bless America" during the 56th annual commencement ceremony Saturday at the Richard C. Call Arena in Batavia. 
Photo by Nick Serrata
GCC 2024 brass
Batavia Brass Society provides musical entertainment Saturday at GCC's 56th annual commencement ceremony in Batavia.
Photo by Nick Serrata
GCC 2024 graduation crowd

Fire hydrant flushing set for Monday and Tuesday on city's east side

By Press Release

Press Release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Monday, May 20, and Tuesday, May 21, and Wednesday, May 22 from approximately 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the general area of North of East Main Street and East of Bank Street.

Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about 5 minutes or until clear.

This annual testing is essential to maintain the communities class III Insurance Services Office (ISO) public protection classification and to assure that fire hydrants are operating efficiently for fire protection purposes.

Along with maintaining the fire rating, the test monitors the health of the city's water system, identifies weak areas in the system, and removes material that settles in the water lines.

Checking each hydrant improves fire department personnel knowledge of the hydrant locations. If you have any questions or should notice a hydrant in need of repair, please contact the fire department at 585-345-6375.

Tenney backs legislation to support law enforcement officers

By Press Release

Press Release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) voted in favor of seven pieces of legislation focused on supporting our law enforcement officers and ensuring they have the resources and tools they need to keep our communities and themselves safe.

These bills all passed the House of Representatives with Tenney’s support:

H.R. 354, the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA) Reform Act, broadens the ability of qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms in areas such as school zones, national parks, federal facilities open to the public, and state, local, or private property open to the public.

H.R. 8146, the Police Our Border Act, requires the Attorney General to report detailed information on how Biden’s border crisis impacts our law enforcement, including exposures to fentanyl, injuries sustained, financial burdens, and operational strains.

H.R. 7343, the Detain and Deport Illegal Aliens Who Assault Cops Act, requires that illegal aliens who assault law enforcement officers are quickly arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until they are removed from the United States.

H.R. 7581, the Improving Law Enforcement Officer Safety and Wellness Through Data Act of 2024, requires the Attorney General to assemble reports on violence against law enforcement officers and the effectiveness of programs meant to provide law enforcement with wellness resources and protective equipment so we may comprehensively enhance the safety of police officers.

S. 546, the Recruit and Retain Act, expands the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program to include recruitment and retention efforts and establishes the COPS Pipeline Partnership Program to support partnerships between local schools and law enforcement agencies to improve recruitment.

H. Res. 1213 addresses violence against law enforcement officers by condemning calls for defunding police and anti-police sentiment that have increased violence against police, acknowledging the mental and physical impacts such violence has on police, and expressing condolences and appreciation to the families of fallen law enforcement officers.

H. Res. 1210 condemns President Biden’s border crisis and the dangers and burdens it has created for America’s law enforcement officers and urges the Biden Administration to support the law enforcement officers defending our homeland.

“Our courageous law enforcement officers risk their lives every day for our communities, and they deserve to have the tools, legal protections, and support they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “Yet thanks to the ‘defund and demoralize the police’ movement perpetuated by President Biden and the Left, assaults on our law enforcement officers have hit a ten-year high. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have abandoned these brave men and women, choosing instead to support dangerous illegal immigrants and criminals. During National Police Week, House Republicans reiterated our support for our men and women in blue and passed multiple bills dedicated to combating skyrocketing crime and protecting our police officers. I will always Back the Blue and support our nation’s law enforcement officers!”

GO Health reminds public about diabetes prevention

By Press Release

Press Release:

According to the New York State Department of Health Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System 2021 report, Genesee County has 13.4% of adults and Orleans County has 11.4% adults diagnosed with prediabetes. 

People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Genesee County Health Department has reviewed feedback from a recent survey and will be hosting the Lifestyle Change Program starting Wednesday, June 12 from 5 - 6 p.m. at the Town of Oakfield Community and Government Center, 3219 Drake Street Rd., Oakfield. 

If your healthcare provider told you, you have prediabetes or are at risk of prediabetes; if you have been told you are overweight; if you have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes; if you had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds; this program may be for you.

The Lifestyle Change Program group meets for a year — weekly for the first 6 months, then once a month for the second 6 months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.

“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “The Lifestyle Change program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”

Participants learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes.

Now is your time to take control of your health and lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Register for the class now to claim your seat for better health: , e-mail, or call 585-344-2580 x5528.

For more information on GO Health programs and services, visit or call your respective health department at: 

  • Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3278

Follow GO Health on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at GOHealthNY. 


Shifting community schools program to fit budget needs, vote on May 21

By Joanne Beck

A community schools program at Batavia City School District initially promoted as a strategy to help with each child’s well-being, success and educational equality is being realigned with a reduced coordinator position that will be responsible “for the most critical elements of the program,” Superintendent Jason Smith says.

The program that was implemented in 2021 by district social worker Julie Wasilewski and then-Batavia High School Assistant Principal Julia Rogers was centralized at Robert Morris, where Rogers was later relocated and made full-time community schools coordinator. 

The adopted $60,294,755 million 2024-25 budget — which will go up for a vote on May 21 — includes some staff changes, including making the coordinator a part-time position. One of the job’s responsibilities has been to forge relationships with outside agencies and organizations to serve as resources for students and families and have a presence at vendor fairs that were held at Robert Morris and other public sites. 

Smith said that other staff will be there to help fill the gap.

Jason Smith

“BCSD currently employs five social workers who will continue to foster positive relationships with our families and community providers/agencies,” he said.

During a presentation to the school board in 2021, Wasilewski and Rogers talked about how Robert Morris was converted into a community center for children and parents to obtain assistance for school work and many additional other life needs, from laundry to filling the gaps of clothing, school supplies, hygiene products, toys, bedding, food and other missing items in their households. 

The Batavian asked Smith if community schools offerings would remain or how they might shift with the staffing change. Those life needs resources have been collected and provided at Robert Morris through a community closet in the Heart of Kindness Center. 

“At this point, the district intends to maintain the critical elements of the Community Schools program, which could include things like the Heart of Kindness Center,” Smith said. “All BCSD schools and programs have strong connections to our community. Schools host programs throughout the year, such as Family Fun Nights and Reading Nights, which are well attended. 

“We are exploring different ways to integrate community vendors into these robust school-based activities to provide the most value and assistance to our families and partners,” he said. “Given the budget challenges this year, it was imperative for the Board of Education and district to focus on the core elements of our academic, extracurricular, and social-emotional programs.”

During this week’s budget presentation, which drew even less than the one attendee who asked questions last year, Smith referred to his teeter-totter scenario of how trying to balance out the budget to serve the needs of both sides. 

“As you know, this was a particularly challenging budget year for many school districts, we were not the exception,” he said. “There were several extenuating circumstances, issues with state aid, foundation aid, COVID funding. So all of those are taken into account.”

He emphasized that foundation aid remained flat. It did not increase, though it also did not decrease; that aid remained at $24,191,855. The transportation contract calls for a $556,263 increase of $3.3 million, a 20 percent increase, a general support increase of $514,943, and an employee benefits increase of $313,405 for a total hike in expenses of $1,323,981.

The budget also includes a tax levy increase of $450,345, for a total levy of about $20.3 million. District voters will be asked to consider a property tax increase of 39 cents per $1,000 assessed value, or $48.75 more per year on a home assessed at $125,000. 

Other personnel changes include reducing seven grant-funded positions due to a nearly $6 million COVID-related grant drying up by this fall and five more through attrition but retaining seven other positions by moving them out of the general fund and into other ongoing grants. 

While that’s the good news for those seven, it’s “going to be challenging next year,” to figure out how to continue funding those, Smith said. A mental health grant will reestablish three social-emotional learning positions and three instructional coaching positions, he said. 

He pointed out the nonmandated items that made the list — those things that really make “a school a school” but aren’t required to be offered — such as music lessons, social workers, drama club, the technology program, art shows and exhibits, interscholastic activities, school resource officers, girls flag football, Link Crew, Advanced Placement and college credit courses, and summer programs.

There is a capital project for $100,000 at Robert Morris tucked into the budget for door security work, which is state reimbursed at a 92% rate, he said. He referred to a small city comparison review for how the district has held up in grades three through eight in math, numbers that administrators take pride in, he said. The graduation rate took a dip from 2021’s 95% to 2023, at 87%, and the average class size was 19.

There are 21 public schools serving 7,900 students in Genesee County and, according to Public School Review for 2024, Batavia High School ranks third place, with math in the 85 to 89 percentile, and reading at or greater than 50%.

John Kennedy Intermediate comes in at No. 14, with math at 35% and reading 50%, with Batavia Middle School at 17, with math at 23% and reading at 50%, followed by Jackson Primary, with math at 50 to 54% and reading at 40 to 44%, making those at the bottom 50 percent. (Pembroke Intermediate School came in first, with math scores at 68% and reading at 66%.)

The ballot includes Proposition #1 to approve a general budget of $60,294,755 and to vote for three board members with candidates Michael Bromley, Korinne Anderson, Jen Lendvay and John Reigle running. 

The vote is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 21 at Batavia High School, 260 State St., and Robert Morris School, 80 Union St., depending on the voter’s residence.

For residents living north of Route 5 (Main Street), vote at Robert Morris, 80 Union Street  (Multi-Purpose Room). Enter on Union Street at the entrance across from Notre Dame.

For residents living south of Route 5 (Main Street), vote at Batavia High School, 260 State Street (High School Library).

If you need clarification on where to vote, check the street-by-street guide on our website or call the Business Office at 585-343-2480, Ext. 1002.

Tractor-trailer vs. car accident reported at Jackson and Ellicott, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
ellicott accident may 2024

A tractor-trailer and car have collided at Jackson Street and Ellicott Street, Batavia.

Injuries are reported. 

Traffic is blocked.

City Fire responding.

UPDATE 9:37 p.m.: Two patients critical, both pinned. 

UPDATE 11 p.m.: Capt. Bob Fix said both patients appeared to be in serious condition following the accident and were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by ground ambulance. At least one of them may have been transported by Mercy Flight crews hadn't been grounded by weather. The Sheriff's Office Crash Management Team was requested to the scene to conduct a thorough investigation. In the preliminary stages, Batavia police officers have no information on what may have occurred leading to the accident.  The truck driver was not injured. There were only two people in the passenger vehicle.  

Photos by Howard Owens.

ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024

Photo: Puddles of fun in Pavilion

By Howard B. Owens
pavilion flood swim
Photo by Shari Joy.

Localized flooding in Pavilion created a swimming opportunity for two kids in their own front yard on Perry Road, said Shari Joy, who spotted the kids having fun in the large puddle on Friday afternoon.

Garage fire reported on Summit Street in city

By Joanne Beck
Summit St. fire
Photo by Howard Owens

Town of Batavia and Le Roy fire departments have been called to assist with manpower and an engine at 21 Summit St., Batavia at approximately 7:40 p.m. Friday for a garage fire.

UPDATE 7:52 p.m.: The fire is out, and an overhaul has begun. Any responding units have been informed to respond in nonemergency mode.

The City of Batavia Fire Department responded to the scene, and a second alarm was put out for Town of Batavia's fast team and Town of Le Roy Fire Department.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Capt. Jamie Call said the cause of the fire appears to be accidental. It was contained to the back of the structure and there is no structural damage.

Tenney’s End Zuckerbucks Act advances in Ways and Means

By Press Release

Press Release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24), co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus, announced the End Zuckerbucks Act passed the Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 23-17.

Tenney’s bill, the End Zuckerbucks Act, amends the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations from directly or indirectly providing funds for the purpose of the administration of elections.

In the 2020 election, Mark Zuckerberg used a non-profit organization called the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to distribute $350 million to local boards of elections in left-leaning county governments in Texas, Ohio, Nevada, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania under the guise of “making voting safer amid the pandemic.” Yet less than 1% of those funds were spent on PPE or other measures to implement safety protocols at voting sites and were provided with little to no oversight on spending. 92% of the funds went to left-leaning districts, where reports say they were used to fund advertising, vehicle purchases, and other activities unrelated to the pandemic.

“Twenty-eight states have banned Zuckerbucks, prohibiting partisan bureaucrats, billionaires, and corrupt special interest groups from interfering in our election process. It’s time for the federal government to follow suit,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “As the founder and co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus, I am pleased to see this common-sense election integrity bill advance in the Ways and Means Committee and move one step closer to being signed into law. We must restore confidence in our self-governing Constitutional Republic by ensuring that Americans in every state and territory have free, fair, accurate, and transparent elections.”

“During the 2020 election cycle, we saw private donations worth hundreds of millions of dollars laundered through 501(c)(3) organizations into Democrat-run cities and counties in swing states that appeared to favor one political party over another,” said Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith. “The U.S. Tax Code should not be used to support the electioneering efforts of wealthy private donors. Rep. Tenney’s bill, the End Zuckerbucks Act, protects the integrity of our elections by prohibiting charitable tax-exempt organizations from providing direct funding to official election organizations.” 

Sponsored Post: Reliant Real Estate: Open House tomorrow - 3220 Broadway Road, Alexander

By Sponsored Post
Reliant Real Estate
3220 Broadway Road,  Alexander. Fantastic solid country ranch ready to go! This well taken care of home was completely gutted and remodeled 10 years ago so has little to nothing for the new owner to do but move in. Home has great curb appeal with double wide drive and open front porch and attached garage. When entering you are welcomed into oversized tiled mud room with first floor laundry, large pantry closet and half bath! From there you step into BEAUTIFUL open kitchen with gorgeous hickory cupboards and granite counter tops and oversized kitchen island for meal prep and entertaining! Bright and open large living/dining area with pretty hardwood floors throughout which leads you to screened enclosed back porch overlooking very pretty back yard and patio area! This home is located in Alexander School District and is perfect for starters or downsizers and is conveniently located for quick and easy commute to Buffalo or Batavia and with all the rural charm and peacefulness that you are looking for! Delayed negotiations until Monday May 20th at 7:00.

Borrello honors mental health professional Sue Gagne as 2024 Woman of Distinction

By Press Release
From left to right: Senator Borrello, Sue Gagne, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first woman to lead the New York State Senate, and Neil Gagne, Sue’s husband.
Submitted photo.

Press Release:

Mental health professional Sue Gagne was honored this week as a New York State Senate 2024 “Woman of Distinction” at a ceremony in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, alongside fellow honorees from across the state. The award program honors women who've made remarkable contributions to their professions, and their communities and serve as inspiration for others.

“With extraordinary expertise and compassion, Sue Gagne has devoted her career to helping vulnerable individuals access the services they need to build stronger, better lives,” said Senator Borrello. “It’s difficult work, particularly in rural communities like those in my district. Resources are scarcer and the fear of being stigmatized can prevent people in need from seeking help until they’ve reached a crisis point. We are fortunate to have such a committed, effective and courageous professional on the front lines.” 

“Sue’s work in the fields of mental health and recovery has truly been a calling for her. At a time when we are seeing mental health crises reach unprecedented levels, Sue’s dedication is an inspiration,” said Senator Borrello. “It was a privilege to honor her in Albany along with extraordinary women from across the state. I am grateful to Sue and all of our honorees for their contributions.”

Starowitz Road culvert replacement project to begin Monday

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Highway Department announces a temporary closure on Starowitz Road, effective May 20. This closure is necessary to facilitate a ten-week-long large-span culvert replacement project. Traffic will be unable to pass through the affected area during this time.

This project reflects a commitment to enhancing Genesee County's infrastructure. The long-term safety and durability of this road segment will be ensured by replacing the culvert and improving water flow.

Memorial Day events in Genesee County

By Press Release

Press Release:

On May 18 at 2 p.m. the Western New York National Cemetery, 1254 Indian Falls Rd. Corfu, will be holding its Flag Up, which is the installation of the yearly "Avenue of Flags" display. Then on May 25 at 10 a.m. they will be holding their Memorial Day Ceremony, public is invited.

Memorial Day Schedule of Ceremonies:

  • 7 a.m. - Genesee Co. Park - Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVA #193)
  • 8 a.m. - Williams Park W.W. I Memorial (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 8:30 a.m. - Batavia VAMC
  • 8:45 a.m. - NYS Veterans Home
  • 9:30 a.m. - Harvester Ave. Plot (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 10 a.m. - Upton Monument (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 10:30 a.m. - UMMC–Jerome Center (Memorial Day ceremonies: Invocation; Nat’l Anthem w/Batavia Concert 
  • Band; G.A.R. Order of the Day; Veterans Service Organizations Commemorations; Wreath Laying w/Gold Star Mothers; Honor Roll w/drum roll; Rifle Salute; Taps; Benediction; “God Bless America”)
  • 11:30 a.m. - Glenn S. Loomis Grave - Elmwood Cemetery (Legion #332)
  • 12 p.m. - Hansen Bros. Grave – Grandview Cemetery (MCL #951)

Participating Organizations:

  • Veness-Strollo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post # 1602 
  • Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post #332
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #193
  • Sons of Union Veterans Abraham Lincoln Camp #6

Post events after ceremonies:

  • Open House VFW Post 1602 Veness-Strollo, 25 Edwards St. Batavia.
  • Luncheon for veteran participants of the ceremonies ALG Post 332, 8960 Alexander Rd. Batavia.

2024 Memorial Day Ceremonies:

Alexander: Parade starting at 10:15 a.m. beginning at the Rec Hall traveling to the Alexander Village Cemetery (a.k.a. Railroad Avenue Cemetery) with the ceremony at 11 a.m.

Batavia: Parade starting at 9:30 a.m. beginning at the East Town Plaza traveling west along Main Street and ending at Alva Place.

Bergen :Parade starting 9 a.m. from Buffalo Street to Hickory Park with the ceremony to take place at Hickory Park at 9:30 a.m.

Byron: Parade starting at 11 a.m. from Terry Street to Byron Cemetery with ceremony to take place following the parade.

Corfu: Parade at 12 p.m. from Corfu Fire Hall on Rt. 33 to the Intermediate School on Rt. 77. Ceremony to take place following the parade.

Elba: Ceremony at Maple Lawn Cemetery at 10 a.m.

Le Roy: Parade at 10:30 a.m. from the American Legion to Trigon Park with a ceremony at Trigon Park at 11:00 a.m. immediately following the parade.

Standardized procedures, recruitment push among key strategies to fix fire, emergency response issues: Yaeger

By Mike Pettinella
Tim Yaeger

The task force charged with finding ways to stabilize fire and emergency medical service in Genesee County has identified eight priority measures from a list of about 100 recommendations provided by an independent consulting firm.

County EMS Coordinator Tim Yaeger (photo at right) on Thursday said the task force is meeting regularly in an effort to implement these strategies, with a focus on developing standards that all local fire departments or companies can follow and finding efficient ways to recruit potential volunteer firefighters.

In July 2022, the Genesee County Comprehensive Fire & Emergency Medical Service Implementation Plan (Fire & EMS Plan) was finalized. Since that time, the task force received feedback on the recommendations from Municipal Resources, Inc. of Plymouth, N.H., and has decided to start with the low-hanging fruit – items that won’t take years to put into practice.

Yaeger said that two key recommendations fall into the fire operations category.

From the task force report:

-- The Genesee County Fire Advisory Board, working collaboratively with the Genesee County Emergency Services, should form a committee to begin the development of a comprehensive County-wide Standard Operations Procedures/Guidelines (SOP/SOG) manual utilizing existing SOPs/SOG’s as a starting point. They should also consider the development of County-wide operational manuals based on the Northern Virginia Regional Fire Services manuals. This could even be pursued as a regional endeavor with the other counties in the GLOW region.

-- The Genesee County Fire Advisory Board, working collaboratively with the Genesee County Emergency Services, should adopt a standardized SOP/SOG form.

“Right now, we operate, I would call it regionally,” Yaeger said. “There’s not many calls that the single fire department handles by themselves. Most incidents are now handled by two or more fire companies. So, it makes sense to be basically operating off the same sheet of music. That approach in other parts of the country has had very good success.”

Yaeger said having the same strategies and tactics for all fire departments is “really a safety component.”

“By doing this, we want to make sure that we're all providing a better level of service while maintaining the safety of the firefighters.”

Another of the eight recommendations deals with volunteer recruitment and retention. 

From the task force report:

-- The Genesee County Emergency Services Task Force and Genesee County Fire Service Advisory Board, assisted by the Genesee County Department of Emergency Services, should establish, and recommend the use of a uniform application and screening process for all new members of the fire and EMS services throughout Genesee County. Although these personnel are volunteers, they still enjoy all of the rights of full-time public safety personnel and possess the same high ethical and moral character.

The report states that all volunteers must have a valid driver’s license and submit to background and credit checks, and drug testing.

“The operations group is looking at ways to streamline the application process and the onboarding process of volunteers into the EMS system, or fire and EMS system, and is looking at better ways to market and advertise the need for volunteers,” Yaeger said.

Rounding out the priority recommendations:

-- The Genesee County EMS Council should be reactivated to meet monthly with representatives from local fire departments, Genesee County Sheriff's Department 911 Dispatch Center, Genesee County Emergency Services, Mercy EMS, and LeRoy Ambulance. This group would meet and discuss any documented concerns or thoughts from the previous month to help enhance services in the future. The EMS Council should not be considered as a forum just for the airing of any grievances but an open forum for communication and feedback to improve the quality of EMS service to Genesee County.

-- Working collaboratively, the Genesee County Fire Advisory Board and the Genesee County Emergency Services should develop a plan to deploy several daytime quick response units; fire apparatus staffed with an officer and three firefighters, positioned strategically around the County in fire stations that wish to host them.

-- Genesee County's fire and EMS providers should consider the implementation of a reward, recognition, or incentive program for members that attain a level of more than 25 percent response. An example would be to provide gift certificates for local restaurants, concerts, or other entertainment as a reward for attaining a high level of response.

-- Working collaboratively with their partners at Genesee County, the Genesee County Emergency Services Task Force and Genesee County Fire Advisory Board should explore the feasibility of standardizing many of the tools and equipment utilized by the County's fire departments to allow for cost savings generated by group purchasing arrangements.

-- The Genesee County Legislature should consider funding regional or county positions that would reduce the overall burden on local fire and EMS organizations and enhance operational capability and efficiency. Examples of those positions are training officer, fire operations officer, health and safety officer, fire prevention officer, recruitment and retention officer and human resources officer.

Yaeger said he is encouraged by Genesee County’s move to contract last fall with Le Roy Ambulance and Mercy EMS.

“It seems to have stabilized both organizations, and we consistently continue to monitor their performance because it's fragile,” he said. “The whole EMS system is extremely fragile –both statewide and nationwide. So, we're hoping that the subsidies that the county’s providing to both agencies will be sufficient enough to sustain that reliability, performance and staffing level that we're expecting from those two agencies.”

He also pointed to the significance of having “elected officials at the table with fire service officials,” something that Genesee County EMS is facilitating.

“It’s so important that the elected official understands what's going on in the fire service and the fire service understands where the elected officials are coming from,” he said. “So far, these meetings have been very, very successful.”

Yaeger said he plans to update the Genesee County Legislature on the task force’s work, possibly as soon as next month.

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