Photo: Shiny lake at DeWitt Recreation Area
It was a sunny, windless morning when Jason Smith took his morning run through DeWitt Recreation Area, and he captured this photo of a glassy lake in the park.
It was a sunny, windless morning when Jason Smith took his morning run through DeWitt Recreation Area, and he captured this photo of a glassy lake in the park.
For the first time in a decade and the second time in program history, Batavia's softball lifted a Section V trophy over their heads after beating Waterloo for the Class B1 crown, 7-2.
Giana Mruczek tossed a complete game three-hitter, fanning seven and going 1-3 at the plate and driving in a run.
The City of Batavia Police Department is currently investigating a serious motorcycle vs. passenger vehicle accident that occurred May 26, 2023 on West Main Street at the Tops Supermarket intersection.
The motorcycle, operated by Gregory Vigiano (age 34), of Batavia, was eastbound on West Main Street at the Tops intersection when a passenger vehicle being operated by Rebecca Santiago (age 32), of Stafford, made an illegal left turn colliding with the motorcycle.
The victim sustained serious injuries and was transported to Strong Hospital in Rochester via Mercy Flight and is currently listed in guarded/critical condition. The driver of the passenger vehicle was ticketed for making an illegal left turn and operating with a suspended drivers license. The accident remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Sam Freeman at (585) 345-6350 or submit a tip at www.bataviapolice.org.
Photos by Howard Owens.
The Oakfield Hotel and Bowling Lanes has new owners.
Batavians Tom Fluker, a Pepsi account executive, and Patrick Wester, owner of A to Z General Contracting, have teamed up
to purchase the bar/restaurant and 12-lane bowling center.
The facility had been owned since 2019 by Cory Paris, also a Batavia resident.
Prior to that, the Scopano family owned the business – known as the Oakfield Hotel and Scopano’s Paradise Lanes -- for more than 50 years.
Speaking by telephone to The Batavian this morning, Fluker indicated the duo has an ambitious plan to increase the entertainment options at the South Pearl Street location.
“We’ve got a lot of ideas. There’s really five aspects to the place,” Fluker said, rattling off the following areas that need to be addressed – rooms for rent, outdoor pavilion, bowling lanes, interior renovation and the bar/restaurant.
He said there are eight one-bedroom apartments, plus a loft and a two-bedroom unit upstairs.
“Over the course of time, we want to keep the loft and the two bedroom and then we want to take the eight apartments and make two or three one-bedroom apartments and have some for office space,” he said. “We’d like to rent out some office space for meetings, or maybe a lawyer or somebody wants to come in.”
Fluker said he and Wester eventually want to utilize the huge outdoor pavilion for summer activities such as horseshoes, volleyball and cornhole.
“The biggest issue is there is such a big walk from outside to go inside to get beer and food or whatever. So, we're going to put some coolers and some grills outside for the players to have quick access to their drinks and for something to eat,” he said.
Bowling has always been a large part of the operation, but there haven’t been any certified leagues there recently. Fluker said that he and Wester aim to rectify that situation.
“We’re going to go through the lanes – pinsetters, scoring and the oil machine – to make sure that things are running the way they need to be to have league bowling,” he noted. “We’re looking at this in three phases, over the next three to four years, with the goal of making it a high-end bowling center.”
He said they are looking at upgrading the scoring, adding flat screens, purchasing glow house balls and installing black lights and specialty lighting for cosmic bowling on the weekends or for birthday parties. Fluker, who served as president of the Genesee Region USBC for several years, said he also wants to restore the youth bowling program in Oakfield.
Once up and running, the lanes will be called Strike Force Lanes, he said.
As far as the bar and restaurant are concerned, Fluker said they are looking at a train theme, tipping their cap to the history of the railroad that ran near to the building.
“If I’m looking at the picture correctly, the railroad ran about 40 to 50 feet away from the building, and I think across the road, kind of diagonally, was the West Shore (Railroad) depot,” he offered. “I’ve been getting some West Shore memorabilia and will also incorporate some old pictures from the Oakfield Hotel from back in the day. And, for sure, we’ll be adding some lighting and getting rid of the taxidermy that has been there forever.:”
Fluker said the kitchen will be remodeled to increase efficiency and TVs will be added in the restaurant area, which eventually will take on a sports theme. The partners also are looking to add about 20 arcade games, separate from the bar area, and will keep the big room off of the bar for extra seating and for larger gatherings.
“We’re going to get in there in July and take a look at the situation,” he said. “Get into the walls and ceiling to see what’s going on. Obviously, we’re going to take a look at the roof over the bowling lanes. If you don’t have a (solid) roof, you don’t have bowling. Plus, we're going to make it handicapped accessible."
The business is currently closed.
A May 19 entry on the Paris Oakfield Hotel Facebook page read as follows:
As many of you have heard we have sold the hotel. We as a family have decided this was in our best interest. We would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts who have supported us these last five years. We will miss all of our regulars and all the relationships that were built. We appreciated the opportunity of being a part of this community. We wish the new owners nothing but the best!
Our last day open will be tomorrow 5/20, come on down for one last drink at the Paris Oakfield Hotel!
To help a friend with a project, I needed to head out to Oakfield to take some landscape photos, and Friday evening seemed like perfect weather for such an excursion.
Photos by Howard Owens
To help a friend with a project, I needed to head out to Morganville in Stafford to take some landscape photos, and Friday evening seemed like perfect weather for such an excursion. I also stopped by the Stafford Country Club.
Photos by Howard Owens.
As Memorial Day weekend was creeping closer on Friday, Rev. Tom Tharp was already getting his fill of fresh air and sunshine.
No, he wasn’t prepping the grill for a weekend barbecue or mowing the grass to host picnic guests. Rather, Tharp, leader of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Batavia, was up to his elbows in coconut chips, mixing them with water to combine with soil for garden plots behind the Oak Street church.
What prompted the church to build its own community garden?
“We were building it because they were housing all of the homeless population in the town of these two hotels over here. But then that didn't really work out. The hotels were condemned and shut down … but we still thought that there was a need, that the community is nearby the neighborhood, especially down Gateway, Noonan, etc., Oak Street, that people might want to partake of growing their own food,” Tharp said. “And we might meet some of the additional costs that are coming up, over and over, at the grocery stores. It's not like we can provide eggs, though. But the good thing, the price of those has gone down.”
Thanks to a grant and donations of goods and volunteer time, there are 20 garden plots, soil for planting, a 1,000-gallon water tank, donated by Norton Dairy, assorted vegetable seeds, and tools for people to use. The garden is protected by a locked fence, and anyone who buys a plot will receive a key for 24/7 access.
There wasn’t going to be a charge for those that filled a garden plot themselves. However, no one showed up Friday to do that, Tharp said, so he was spending his Friday filling the boxes and testing his own green thumb abilities (he claimed not to have any) by putting in roma tomato plants for a couple of his wife’s plots.
People have so far reserved 11 plots, which means that nine remain available for purchase. They are $20 each. Everything is included, such as seeds for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peas, different kinds of peppers and other veggies, water, soil and a periodic lesson on gardening how-tos.
“At least you'd be able to get enough for a family, if you have the means of, you know, freezing the stuff and then keeping it for a while. I am not a natural gardener. So I don't know exactly how much we'll get out of this," he said. "We have some people from the church coming out who are going to be planting, and some people in the church who are just donating plants from their gardens to put in. And if we have stuff that doesn't get used, it will go to a local food pantry."
There’s certainly plenty of space for the garden, with about six acres behind the church. Parishioners — church membership is about 45 people — at one point wanted to revamp the softball field so they could begin a softball league during COVID.
The church received a grant, and there was interest, but, because it was COVID — they couldn’t get any contractors to do the work, Tharp said. So they had to return the grant and moved on to another project. “It would have been nice,” he said. “We’ve got the space, and we want to use it.”
For now, though, there is the community garden, and anyone may participate.
“If you have even the slightest bit of green thumb, you can come out and pretty much grow your own vegetables for free here,” Tharp said. "We've got everything that you need to get started. And we'd love to have you."
For more information, or to reserve your plot, call 585-343-4905.
A motor vehicle accident involving a car and a motorcycle, unknown injuries, is reported in the area of 390 West Main St., Batavia.
In front of Tops.
City Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.
UPDATED 6:18 p.m. by Joanne Beck: The patient is being transported by Mercy Flight, and the landing zone is being set up at the VA Hospital.
Mary Tucker was packed and ready to leave her house with some important items Friday.
She had some 2017 pay stubs and insurance documents in a box. Just as she was heading out, her husband asked if she could grab some of his paperwork and take that as well.
“I said that I was all ready to go. I told him no,” Tucker said at the annual Shred Day event downtown. “This is wonderful.”
Hosted by Brighton Securities, this was the 12th yearly event to take in people’s old documents and securely shred them to eliminate any opportunities for identity theft.
There were about a dozen Brighton Securities employees helping to unload boxes and bags of papers — taxes, junk mail, receipts, personal and professional documents deemed obsolete by folks, you name it — and feed them into the shredding truck.
There was even a video camera and screen so that people could view their items being shredded in the moment to know that stuff is actually gone.
What began as a courtesy to customers that first year has blossomed into a free yearly event for a busy line of vehicles, branch manager Steve Hicks said. The event was scheduled from noon to 2 p.m.
“It has grown every year,” he said, as staff members encouraged visitors to grab a bottle of water on their way out. “And now people are so concerned with security, and cybersecurity. It has been nonstop. They started coming at 11:40, and we may even extend it an hour or two.”
The Oakfield-Alabama Boys Tennis team was invincible until it wasn't.
The Hornets finish the season at 15-1 after droppingthe Class B3 Section V final to Cal-Mum 3-2.
This was a great final," said Coach David Carpino. "I'm extremely proud of our team. They are a great bunch of kids, and they had a great season. I will miss them!"
Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here.
Batavia, the #2 seed in the Section V Class B Girls Softball tournament, beat Midlakes on Thursday to advance to the finals, where they will face #1 seed Waterloo on Saturday.
The final score was 5-4.
Libby Grazioplene was 2-4 with three RBIs, including driving in the winning run with a two-run single.
Julia Clark was 2-3.
Lila Fortes had an RBi while going 1-4.
Giana Mruzcek tossed a complete game for the win, striking out nine.
Saturday's game is at 11 a.m. at Webster Thomas High School.
Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here.
Notre Dame, the #4 seed in Class D, jumped on top-seeded Keshequa early, scoring two runs in the first and two runs in the third inning and then held on for the 7-4 victory in the Girls Softball Section V semifinals.
Keshequa threatened with three runs in the 6th inning, aided by two Irish errors, but back-to-back strong plays by shortstop Katie Landers (6-3 each time) ended the Keshequa rally.
Loretta Sorochty pitched the complete game for the Lady Irish, going seven innings, giving up six hits, four runs (1 earned) and striking out six batters. Sorochty helped her own cause with 4 fielding putouts during the game.
Keshequa pitcher Aurora Sabins pitched a complete game, 7 innings, giving up 10 hits, 7 runs (4 earned) and struck out 11 batters.
Offensively for Notre Dame, four different batter had two hits each: Sorochty, Landers, Mia Treleaven and Emma Sisson.
Sorochty helped her pitching effort with a sixth-inning solo shot over the left field fence, along with a single, two runs scored, and one RBI. Landers had a double, single, one run scored and one RBI, Treleaven had a double, single and two runs scored, while Sisson had two singles. Kaydence Stehlar had a single, one run scored, and one RBI and Sonji Warner had a double and RBI
"The ladies are really playing as a team right now, and it is great to watch," said Coath Otis Thomas. "I told them the job wasn't finished tonight, we have one more game to get. We will enjoy this tonight but be back to work tomorrow to prepare for the finals on Saturday."
The Irish will play for the Class C Section V block at Filmore High School on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Lyndonville.
Submitted info and photo.
Move over Islands Hawaiian Grill, a new name, concept and slightly revised menu will be truckin’ into town within the next month or so, owner Kourtney Kunichika says.
She and business partner Mike McCartan plan to unveil the Islands Hawaiian BBQ food truck by the end of June or early July in Genesee County, with other eventual stops to be in Erie and Monroe counties. The grill's last day will be June 10.
“What I would like people to come away with is an authentic taste of Hawaiian comfort food. Japanese comfort food. And then the fusion of Hawaiian and Japanese comfort food into something that you can walk away with easy. Or take away easy. Street food, that's what I would like,” McCartan of West Seneca said during an interview Friday with The Batavian. “It has to be quality. It does. That's the most important thing. I would like people to walk up, look, maybe (they’re) a little bit uneasy. But hopefully, there's a big wide opening smile to draw people in. Just give us a try. Give it a try. You'll like it.”
Given the positive reception that the brick-and-mortar restaurant has received in Batavia, Kunichika is confident that people are open to trying new cuisines and will enjoy a taste of the islands once they do give it a try.
She and McCartan are counting on that willingness to transfer to the food truck concept, which will be a quicker-paced lunch experience for items such as a hot chicken sandwich or a shrimp po’boy, a lunch of white rice and mac salad plate, kalua pork and cabbage, Hawaiian bbq short ribs, fish tacos or a big island burger.
Islands Grill opened in August 2019, and it found success at Batavia City Centre on Main Street with an outdoor patio and a regular customer base, Kunichika said. One “bittersweet” aspect of closing the doors will be “I feel like I let my customers down,” she said.
“Because there's a lot of customers, you know, we have a lot of regular customers,” she said. “And we want to be able to offer them the island-style food, and show that we really appreciate and acknowledge that they've been very positive and just definitely built relationships with them and friendships that we want to maintain, and see how they're doing and be able to serve them as well.”
She recently notified her staff of 10 to 15 employees that June 10 will be the site’s last day. Regular business hours for the restaurant will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 9 and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 10.
Kunichika and McCartan hope to have the food truck wrapped in its new logo and on display in front of the restaurant for a special Pride weekend and trial run event from 10 p.m. to midnight on June 9.
As they’re learning — McCartan especially, since his role is the administrator and taking care of county health department and state permits -- is that paperwork can be a time-consuming process. Fingers crossed, they’d like to be serving out of the truck that evening.
McCartan has been a patron of Islands Grill over the last several months, he said, and he and Kunichika struck up a friendship and have been kicking around ideas for some time now. Add to that the arrival of Ryann, Kourtney and her wife Cait’s daughter, and raising a family has added to the stress of restaurant hours and responsibilities, Kourtney said.
“It’s hard not owning the building. And I'm realizing parking is kind of tough in this location. But more so, it's me kind of just now having a family — we have a daughter. She was born almost a year ago now,” she said. “So I think for me, it's just, I'm looking for something with a little more flexibility while being able to still serve the food I really enjoy, and I want to bring to people still in Genesee County, but also Rochester and Buffalo, I'm hoping to be able to serve them as well.”
Anyone with Islands Grill gift certificates may use them at the food truck or redeem them for cash at the restaurant. Food truck hours and dates will be posted online, and the business partners would like to book entire days, versus a few hours at a time, in Genesee County. If any businesses have a parking lot or space for them to set up for a time period, they want to hear from you at [email protected]
This business can even go year-round, McCartan said, and bust through the winter doldrums.
“Say, it’s February, and everyone’s sick of the snow, and you want to have a little get-together, we’ll cater it,” he said. “And we’ll bring a luau to wherever.”
Property owner Ken Mistler said that he has no one going into the restaurant location, which had previously been Larry's Steakhouse. If anyone is interested in a turnkey restaurant, contact Mistler at [email protected]
We have been alerted through the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) of a scam targeting families we may have recently served. The predators are targeting those who have recently experienced a death by using recently published obituaries as well as those who may have made preneed funeral arrangements.
For the families who have recently experienced a death, scammers posing as a member of the funeral home’s staff are calling to tell families that they owe another $1,000 (or some other amount) for the service.
Families are also being contacted to say that a “security deposit” of $1,500 (or some other amount) is needed for their preneed account. The scammers threaten that if the deposit is not paid immediately, the funeral home cannot guarantee that the service will take place.
“While we have not been made aware of any specific instance of this scam happening locally, we certainly encourage all families in our community to be aware of this ongoing situation and to contact their funeral home of preference independently of any phone call received making such claims,” said Justin D. Calarco-Smith, funeral director and president of H.E. Turner & Co. and its affiliated funeral homes in Genesee and Wyoming counties. “If this is indeed happening in our area, we’d like to be aware,” added Calarco-Smith.
Nearly 100 youths gather in Washington D.C. to protest Altria Group, Inc.’s shareholder meeting and expose Big Tobacco’s lies and schemes to addict kids.
Last week, Abbigayle Leone and Judith Newton - Reality Check leaders from Batavia High School - joined more than 125 youth and advocates from 15 different states to protest Altria Group, Inc.’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. These advocates held a demonstration outside Altria’s Washington, D.C. office, while several youth activists had proxy tickets to directly address Altria’s executives and ask questions during the virtual shareholders’ meeting.
“I’m so proud of my youth for fighting against the manipulative tactics the tobacco industry uses to target them,” said Brittany Bozzer, Youth Coordinator at Tobacco-Free Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming (TF-GOW). “After using their powerful voices in Washington, D.C., the teens plan to continue to address the challenges of tobacco use in their communities back home, as well as mobilize their peers to take action.”
This year marks the eighth consecutive year that Mobilize Against Tobacco Lies (MATL), a collaborative of youth programs and national partners, gathered to expose and fight back against the tobacco giant’s lies. Reality Check youth from across New York State rallied with a coalition of seven tobacco control youth programs and five national partners, including Michigan Making It County, Texas Say What, New Hampshire Dover Youth to Youth, Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, Wisconsin FACT, Delaware Kick Butts Generation, Indigenous Peoples Task Force, Corporate Accountability, Counter Tools, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Center for Black Health and Equity and Truth Initiative.
Altria sells the number one most popular cigarette brand among kids, Marlboro, and has long targeted kids and other vulnerable groups with its products. Altria claims to be “moving beyond smoking,” but the truth is that they rake in billions from cigarettes and other tobacco products, hook kids with new products like e-cigarettes, and fight real efforts to reduce tobacco use.
Despite Altria and the tobacco industry’s efforts, the United States has made great progress to reduce youth smoking. However, the latest government survey shows over 3 million U.S. middle and high school students still use tobacco products, including over 2.5 million who use e-cigarettes.
Reality Check is a teen-led, adult-run program that seeks to prevent and decrease tobacco use among young people throughout New York State. For more information about Reality Check, visit realitycheckofny.org.
Submitted photo courtesy of Gretchen Galley
An alleged open burn with smoke blowing into a residence is reported at 86 South Main St., Batavia.
City Fire dispatched.
Law enforcement is in route.
Starting May 30, Genesee County Offices will shift their hours of operation from the previous hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to the summer hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
As in years past, this slight shift of hours will not affect the total number of hours that County Offices will be open to the public.
These new hours will remain in effect until Sept. 1.
The West Division Champion, Batavia Muckdogs, have announced their final 10 more members to their 2023 roster. The final Muckdgos include Giuseppe Arcuri from Saint Leo University, James Aselta from Lafayette College, Garrett Beaver from Salisbury University, Tucker Beving University of Wisconsin-Stout, Trace Florio from Lafayette College, Sean Ladd from Dallas College Mountain View, Eric Swiencicki from Le Moyne College, Michael Pedraza from Kentucky St. University, Ben Webber from Salve Regina University, and Lucas Lopez from St. Thomas University.
Standing at 5'9 and weighing 175 pounds, Giuseppe Arcuri is an infielder from Saint Leo University. This past year saw Giuseppe crush the ball when he hit 4 home runs, 17 RBIs, and a .934 on-base slugging. Also, in 2017, Giuseppe won a state championship with the Allentown Redbirds.
Standing at 6’1 weighing 195 pounds, James Aselta is a utility guy from Lafayette College. With an 86-mile-per-hour fastball in his arsenal as well as being able to play behind the plate and in the infield, James will be a great platoon option for this Muckdogs roster. His freshman year saw him pitch 10.2 innings, took 8 at-bats, and had a perfect fielding percentage.
Standing at 6’1 and weighing 175 pounds, Garrett Beaver is a pitcher from Salisbury University. Garrett will be a great addition to the Batavia bullpen due to his 9.2 innings of relief work this past season, he put up a 2.79 era, 11 strikeouts and a 1.03 whip.
Standing at 6’0 and weighing 150 pounds, Tucker Beving is a pitcher from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Tucker in his freshman season in 8 appearances, recorded 38 strikeouts, a 3-1 record, and opponents had a .239 batting average when Tucker was on the mound.
Standing at 6’0 and weighing 180 pounds, Trace Florio is a left-handed pitcher from Lafayette College. Trace, in high school, was named Most Valuable Pitcher and was a member of the All-FAA First Team during his junior season.
Standing at 6'3 weighing 250 pounds, Sean Ladd is a first and third baseman from Dallas College Mountain View. This past season saw Sean have a .282 batting average, 2 home runs, and a .791 on-base slugging. Also, on stolen bases, he went an efficient 6 for 7.
Standing at 5'11 and weighing 190 pounds, Eric Swiencicki is a pitcher from Le Moyne College. Swiencicki, in his 29 innings pitched this last season, saw him go 2-1 in his 14 total appearances, get 34 strikeouts, and only walk 8 batters.
Standing at 5’10 and weighing 190 pounds, Michael Pedraza is a pitcher from Kentucky St. University. Pedrazza is another addition to the bullpen where he’ll show why this past season, in his 30.2 innings pitched, he recorded 32 strikeouts.
Standing at 6’6 and weighing 210 pounds, Ben Webber is a pitcher from Salve Regina University. The second tallest pitcher on the team, Ben, in the previous season, had 3 starts in which he did not have a loss to his name and also recorded 12 strikeouts to only 3 walks.
Standing at 5’9 and weighing 175 pounds, Lucas Lopez is a second baseman from St. Thomas University. This past season, Lucas had a .216 batting average, along with 12 runs batted in and a .346 on-base percentage.
You can catch the brand new 2023 Batavia Muckdogs complete roster in their home opener at Dwyer Stadium against the Elmira Pioneers on Saturday, June 3rd. Following the opener will be a fireworks display for all to enjoy. For both individual and season tickets, as well as keeping up with future games and promotional nights, please check out our website https://www.canusamuckdogs.com/ or call 585-524-2260!
Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works: