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Byron-Bergen wins history-making Section V title

By Howard B. Owens
byron bergen alexander section v title game

Saturday's win at Blue Cross Arena by Byron-Bergen over Alexander was more than the Bees claiming the Class C2 title.

It was also history.

It was the school's first Section V championship in boys' basketball.  The last basketball title for the Bees came 40 years ago for the girls, and Roxanne Noeth, this year's boys coach, was a star on that girls team, so Noeth has the distinction of being the only person with a piece of both of Byron-Bergen's basketball titles.

And as far as any school official knows, any Section V official knows, and by consensus of all the media covering the game -- Noeth is also the first woman in Section V history to coach a boys' team to a championship title.

One Section V official said there have been other women coaches in Boys Basketball but he doesn't believe any of them ever won a championship.

Being the first woman coach to win a boys' title is "cool," Noeth said.

"But I'm just excited for my alma mater, Byron-Bergen, because I know a lot of great players have played here and they've never achieved this level of success. I just think it's really super cool."

About wining the first boys title, she added, "It's pretty incredible. Like, no doubt, pretty incredible. I don't know. Like I said, I graduated from there. I know a lot of great players that have played there, including Ricky Palermo sitting there and his brother Jimmy. It's just, it's just amazing. Like, it's surreal."

Palermo was excited to see his former team win its first championship, and led by his friend, Roxanne.

"This is just amazing," Palermo said. "There are a lot of years that we came within one point to getting this far, and now we made it. It's just incredible to be part of this. They worked hard all year, and it paid off. Roxanne does a great job."

A big part of the credit for the championship should also go to Braedyn Chambry, who dominated not just on Saturday, but throughout the season, and in the process, becoming the school's career scoring leader.

He was excited to be part of the historic moment.

"Just winning sectionals alone is really awesome because we're going to be remembered forever at the school as the first team ever to do it, but also, we have the first girl coach ever to do it. It means so much, especially with our team. We've been a family since third grade, working together as a family to get here. It means so much more to win with people you love."

Many of the players on the Bees are also the same athletes who carried Byron-Bergen to a shot at a state championship in soccer this fall, including Chambry.

Noeth said that success taught her players that they could persevere. 

"They've got that winning attitude," Noeth said. "They knew that if they got down throughout their soccer season, that there's just no quit in them. They were always gonna go as hard as they could. They were gonna play for each other. And they were just gonna do all the things if they had to, whatever it took to make sure they came out on top. So really proud of them in that respect."

Chambry said there is s a core group of athletes in Byron-Bergen who have been together since they were children, and they know they can count on each other.

"No matter what we do, we're doing it together, in sports or out of sports, our little group, we love each other, we take care of each other," Chambry said. "We work hard with each other. We sweat with each other, and we want to win together. It's all that matters to us."

Alexander Head Coach Jalen Smith
The other storyline of the game was the return of Jalen Smith to Blue Cross Arena. Smith led the Batavia Blue Devils in 2013 to a Section V title by scoring 25 points at Blue Cross, then was part of the team with Justin Washington and Jeff Redband, who was a first-year varsity player, that won a Far West Regional game on a Redband buzzer beater in the same venue, giving the Blue Devils a shot at a state title. Batavia lost to Watervliet, led by two D1 recruits at guard, in the state semifinal in Glens Falls, 60-53.

This year, Smith made his high school head coach debut with the Alexander Trojans, taking over a program that had been 6-14 last season and leading it to a 19-5 record and sectional title shot this season.

"It was something we honestly talked about in the summer and the hope that we can maybe get here," Smith said. "It was really just unbelievable to see this group get to Blue Cross. I've been talking to them all week about my experiences here. The wins and the losses that come with it, how hard you really have to play to win one of these games. I think they really answered the call. And I just think we came up short a little bit in some areas."

Smith said he was well aware of the Trojans' past struggles when he agreed to take the job, but he knew the talent on the team and thought he could win with the players already on the roster.

"When we took over this program, I knew what came with it," Smith said. "I knew some of the players from the summer and spring ball. And actually, we had these expectations early. We bring energy. We really try to bring the best out to each player. And we knew we had size. We knew we had athleticism and scoring, so we knew we really had a chance with this group."

Smith played for one of Section V's most legendary coaches, and as a JV coach was for a time part of Buddy Brasky's program at BHS as a coach, and he said Brasky has been a huge influence on him.

"Everything you see that I do is basically Buddy Brasky from the defense to my mannerisms, that passion," Smith said. "It's funny because I get the quote that I'm like a younger Brasky. I take everything from him. That's someone I've always looked up to and someone who I will continue to learn from."

Noeth praised Smith's success in turning around the Alexander program and said she knew going into the game, the two teams were mirror versions of each other.

"We both have a dominant big man," Noeth said. "We have good guard play. I knew their guards were a little more scoring-oriented than ours, but we just had to play one possession. We just got to beat them on one possession, and then we're all right. So, I mean, even when we give up a lead, and we go down, (the team) just never loses faith. And that's what you want."

Smith said he coaches Chambly in summer league and thought he had a good game plan to slow him down, but he's hard to beat.

"I we knew what he was going to bring," Smith said. "We had a good answer for him. It's just he won the matchup today. So, I give him credit."

Chambry scored 24 points for the Bees. Colin Martin scored 14 points. Brody Baubie and Brendan Pimm each scored six points.

For the Trojans, Kingston Woods scored 22 points, and Trenton Woods scored 12.

Photos by Jennifer DiQuattro.

byron bergen alexander section v title game
byron bergen alexander section v title game
byron bergen alexander section v title game
byron bergen alexander section v title game
byron bergen alexander section v title game
byron bergen alexander section v title game
byron bergen alexander section v title game
byron bergen alexander section v title game
byron bergen alexander section v title game

Motyka's overtime goal sends BND United to state final four tournament

By Steve Ognibene
Jameson Motyka scores a goal in the second period.  Motyka added two more goals go get the hat-trick including the game winner in overtime.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Jameson Motyka scores a goal in the second period.  Motyka added two more goals to get the hat-trick including the game winner in overtime.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene

The third goal, the hat-trick for Jameson Motyka, was the game-winner in overtime for Batavia Notre Dame United in its regional state qualifier at RIT on Saturday.

United beat Kenmore 3-2 to advance to the state semifinal game on Saturday at Harbor Center in Buffalo. Game time is 2 p.m.

BND had a chance to jump to an early lead when Kenmore got into penalty trouble in the first period, at times, being down by two men, and while United managed 14 shots, none made it into the net.

The game was scoreless after the first period of play.

Kenmore took the lead midway into the second period and then with three minutes left, United tied it up on a pass from Noah Whitcomb to Sam Pies to Jameson Motyka.   

In the third, United took a penalty with eight minutes remaining in the game, and Kenmore scored shortly after to lead 2-1.  With 1:48 left, Motyka netted his second goal with assists to Whitcomb and Brady Johnson to send it into overtime.  

Motyka's game-winning goal came eight minutes into OT.

Coach Marc Staley praised his team for its second straight post-season OT effort.

"I can't be more proud of this team," Staley said. "These kids are the most resilient team I have ever had the pleasure of coaching. They believe in each other. They commit 100 percent to the systems and structure we have laid out. They play for each other. They love each other, and they just never get rattled.

"The support we have received from the community has been overwhelming," he added. "Truly overwhelming. Local businesses, our youth hockey program here in Batavia, the entire staff at the McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena, family, friends, alumni, you name it. There are so many people along for the ride with these kids right now. It's a 'feel good"' story for Batavia, and nobody wants it to end. One way or the other, it's going to end this weekend."

The win put United in rarified company in high school hockey, Staley noted.

"There are only four teams in New York State still playing hockey right now, and we are one of them," Staley said. "I feel in my heart that nobody deserves this more than these kids do. I do know one thing: whatever happens this weekend, we are coming to play. We are not afraid. We're going for it."

BND will play its semifinal game against Skaneateles. That team is the defending state champion and is 22-1 on the season. United, which won its first Section V title this season, is 22-2.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Sam Pies shoots a puck just wide in the first period.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Sam Pies shoots a puck just wide in the first period.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Ivan Milovidov crosses the blue line going to the net. Photo by Steve Ognibene
Ivan Milovidov crosses the blue line going to the net. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Brady Johnson on the attack for BND United.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Brady Johnson on the attack for BND United.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Young hockey fans of BND United showing support with wigs and signs.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Young hockey fans of BND United showing support with wigs and signs.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Post celebration of BND United.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Post-game celebration of BND United.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Pembroke falls to top seed Lyons 71-54 in Class C1 final

By Staff Writer
Tyson Totten double teamed in the paint.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Tyson Totten double-teamed in the paint.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Pembroke couldn't overcome #1 seed Lyons in the Class C1 final at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, falling 71-54.

Jayden Bridge led the Dragons in scoring with 15 points. Tyson Totten scored 14, Avery Ferreira scored 10, and Sam Pfeiffer scored nine.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Jayden Bridge blocked looking to shoot.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Jayden Bridge blocked, looking to shoot.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Avery Ferreira going up court.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Avery Ferreira going up court.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Pembroke cheerleaders showing sideline support.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Pembroke cheerleaders showing sideline support.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Sean Pustulka going to the net.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Sean Pustulka going to the net.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Pembroke players consult with each other post game.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Pembroke players console each other after the game.
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Elba falls to Avoca-Prattsburg in Class D final

By Staff Writer
elba boys basketball

Coming in as the #7 seed, the Elba Lancers lost to #1 seed Avoca-Prattsburg in the Class D championship game at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday.

The final score was 50-37.

Angelo Penna scored 15 points for the Lancers. Ashton Bezon scored eight. Both Penna and Bezon were named to the all-tournament team.

Photos by Debra Reilly.

elba boys basketball
elba boys basketball
elba boys basketball

Elba captures Class D title in Girls Basketball

By Staff Writer
elba girls basketball

Elba captured another Girls Basketball title on Saturday, beating the #1 seed C.G. Finney 56-54.

The Lancers, the #2 seed in Class D, overcame a 10-point half-time deficient, outscoring Finney 16-12 in the third quarter and 20-12 in the fourth to secure the two-point margin of victory. 

Sydney Reily, who was named tournament MVP, scored 23 points. Lydia Ross scored 11 points and Mariah Ognibene and Brea Smith each scored seven. Ross and Smith were both named to the all-tournament team.

Photos by Debra Reilly.

elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball

Enter your 'ulti-mutt cutie' to be top dog in 2024 Pooch Playoffs fundraiser

By Joanne Beck
Ashley Bringenberg lab photo
Photo by Ashley Bringenberg

So, you’ve got a pretty adorable, or goofy, or otherwise photogenic pooch, eh?

Well now is your chance to see where all of that cuteness can take you by entering your faithful companion in the 2024 Pooch Playoffs, “a competition for the ulti-mutt cutie.”

Ashley Bringenberg, owner of the photography studio of the same name, is hosting the competition as a fundraiser for Western New York Heroes, which offers eight different programs that serve veterans in 14 surrounding counties, including Genesee. 

Bringenberg’s focus is the Pawsitive for Heroes program, which assists veterans struggling with post traumatic stress, anxiety, MST, suicidal thoughts or hyper vigilance who may be eligible to enter this program for training of the veteran and his or her dog. In the event that the veteran needs a dog, one may be paired up with the veteran based on disposition.

“Last year, I photographed 16 dogs at a $99 entry fee and raised $1,584 for the program. This year, my goal is to photograph 32 dogs at the $125 entry fee.  That, combined with sponsorships from local individuals and business owners, is how I plan to reach my goal this year of $5,000,” she said. “Five thousand is the cost to fully fund the 18-month long training process for one dog and help change the life of a local veteran.”

She has been booking appointments for the competition and has some spots left. She will take the photo for a $125 entry fee, and your pooch then competes for exciting prizes, including to be top dog.

Portrait sessions will be at Ashley Bringenberg Photography at 56 Harvester Ave. in Batavia, where she moved into this January. Each round will match two dogs at a time for voting until that Ulti-Mutt Cutie is selected.

Winners of the final four will receive gifts from local pet-friendly businesses, Bringenberg said, and all entrants will receive an acrylic photo keychain and goodie bag of fun items. 

For more information or to book your appointment, go to Pooch Playoffs 2024.

Ashley Bringenberg dog photo
Photo by Ashley Bringenberg

The biggest change coming for The Family Diner in West Batavia -- it's closing

By Howard B. Owens
the family dinner west batavia
Brian and LeeAnn Swimline, owners of The Family Diner in West Batavia, which is closing on Sunday.
Photo by Howard Owens.

A lot can change over four decades.

Eleanor Swimline remembers that when she and her husband, Harold "Red" Swimline, first started running The Family Diner on Pearl Street Road in West Batavia in 1980, eggs and toast cost 50 cents, coffee was a dime, and a hamburger or slice of pie was a quarter.

"Everything changes over the years," said Eleanor. "I've had a lot of things change over the years.  It's hard to describe all of the changes."

A big change came 17 years ago when her son Brian and his wife LeeAnn took over the business and leased the building from Eleanor. And things changed again when COVID-19 struck, and those changes have a lot to do with the decision by Brian and LeeAnn to close the diner.  The diner's last day of business is Sunday.

"It's just sad," Brian told The Batavian on Friday morning. "I wish I didn't have to do it. It was a tough decision to come to, but it's realistic."

Before COVID, The Family Diner was open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, even on Mondays.  Since the pandemic, it's been closed on Mondays and open only for breakfast and lunch, and the breakfast and lunch crowd is dwindling.

Brian said food costs are going up, the cost of help is going up, and people aren't seeking out sit-down meals like they used to.

"The main thing (as a result of COVID) in my opinion, is, people realized during those four months how much money you save when they're not eating out all the time," Brian said. "That is a big thing right there."

Eleanor also blames the rise of fast-food chains -- that competition for people's dining dollars started before the pandemic, but the pandemic seems to have only made matters worse.

"When I started, there weren't all the fast-food places like there are now," Eleanor said. "Families all came here. I mean, I had people who were here three times a day. When they came along with fast-food places, that changed a lot."

A story that appeared on Friday in Bloomberg News supports her theory.

"Fast food -- the most prevalent dining option across the US -- has seen profit margins improve compared with those at sit-down, non-chain eateries, despite its price increases outpacing those of table service," Bloomberg reported.

Brian said he hasn't yet started losing money on the restaurant. Still, the profit margin has become so slender it isn't worth the extra hours of work -- he also owns a dump truck business with his brother -- and the difficulties that go with running a food business.

Eleanor talked about the difficulty in finding help.  She remembers when teenagers used to line up for dishwasher jobs. Now, they don't come around looking for that kind of work. 

"After a while, you get burned out," said Eleanor, who still helps at the restaurant. "The finances. It's hard to get help. Everything is different since COVID. It really just destroyed things, and prices have gone up."

To stay in business, Brian said, he would need to charge $20 for a breakfast that now costs $10.  He doesn't see that kind of price for a breakfast meal as an option.

"Ever since the pandemic, we've seen a lot of it is people saving money," Brian said. "A lot of it is fast food, also, employees, inflation, with what you've got to pay people now, it's tough. It's just all bottling up. I'm frustrated. I don't want to do it (close), but for all the work you do, it's just not really worth it, you know?"

And Brian doesn't blame people for wanting to save a buck here and there.

"Personally, if I was looking at the same situation, I'd go, 'Look, I saved all this money. I do it. Wouldn't you?" Brian said.  "The times change. You see less and less of these places. That's what's sad. Now it's Applebees or it's this or that but you like to go to places where you know everybody, and basically strangers come in and by the time they leave they're your friends."

Brian started working in his parents' business when he was 10.  He washed dishes, and he remembers making doughnuts before catching the bus for school.  He's always loved the business, he said, especially the customers.

"I just like people," Brian said. "I like seeing how happy they are when they're here. The joking around, you know, the closeness, I like seeing other people talking with each other. This is just natural to me."

He said that he doesn't think the full weight of closing the business has really hit him yet.

"It's really gonna affect me next week," he said. "When it comes Tuesday, then it's gonna really mess with me. I know it, you know. You just gotta accept it for what it is, you know? I don't know. Regroup? See what happens, I guess."

the family dinner west batavia
Photo by Howard Owens.
the family dinner west batavia
Eleanor Swimline.
Photo by Howard Owens.
the family dinner west batavia
Photo by Howard Owens.

Eclipse viewing party at Batavia Downs includes live music, snacks, and more

By Press Release

Press Release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced details for their Eclipse Party, scheduled from 1 - 4 p.m. on Monday, April 8 during the Total Solar Eclipse happening that day.

Tickets are just $20 and attendees receive back $10 in Free Play. Attendees will receive ISO-certified Eclipse Viewing Glasses, Snacks, and Beverage Sampling courtesy of Tops Markets, Starry, Sunkist, Blue Moon, Heron Hill, and the Totality Black Lager from Rohrbach, Strangebird, and Three Heads Brewing.

There will be Live Music courtesy of Nerds Gone Wild, WNY’s Premier ’80s Party Band from 1 - 3 p.m. Attendees will have access to the track apron for Eclipse Viewing for the 3-minute, 43-second Eclipse.

The gaming floor will have promotions and giveaways prior to the party as well.

“We are excited to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event with the people of Western New York and beyond, “said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO for Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “We look forward to entertaining all those coming to the area and are keeping our fingers crossed for clear weather.”

Tickets are available now on

Hotel Packages for this event for out-of-towners, or locals wishing to take a staycation, can be booked by calling Sara at (585) 344-6155. Hotel packages include 2 nights of accommodations (Sunday and Monday) alongside a free blanket and complimentary welcome dinner on Sunday night.

Other events scheduled on Eclipse weekend include the Experience Psychic Fair April 5 - 7.

Derby Gala, Tacos and Tequila, and more return to Batavia Downs

By Press Release
derby gala batavia downs 2018
Derby Gala at Batavia Downs, 2018.
File photo by Howard Owens.

Press Release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for events taking place onsite alongside the 3 Triple Crown Races this spring as well as newly announced vendor shows and fundraisers.

The Derby Gala returns on the first Saturday in May - May 4. Cost is $139 per person and includes Buffet Dinner, Open Bar, a $20 Wager on the Derby, Derby Glass, a Derby T-shirt, $60 in Free Play, and bourbon sampling from Woodford Reserve, the official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby.

A limited number of hotel specials are available on that day - The special is $449 and includes 2 entries to the party and a hotel room that evening.

On that same day, the Park Place Room will be host to the Superfecta Special - which includes a $25 Free Play, $5 Wager on the Derby, Derby Program, and a Lunch. The cost is $30 per person and attendees can pay at the door.

On Preakness Stakes Day - Saturday, May 18, the 3rd Annual Tacos and Tequila event takes place inside the Park Place Room. The cost is $35 and includes Tequila Sampling from multiple vendors, a Taco Bar, $20 in Free Play, a $5 wager on the Preakness Stakes, and a Taco Holder to take home. Early Bird Tickets will be available for $30.

The hotel special for this event is $229 and includes 2 entries to the event and a hotel room that evening.

The final jewel of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes, this year in Saratoga, on Saturday, June 8. That same day inside Park Place is the Bourbon and Whiskey Fest. The cost is $35 and includes Bourbon and Whiskey Sampling, Grazing Stations, $20 in Free Play, and a $5 wager on the Belmont Stakes. Early Bird Tickets will be available for $30.

The hotel special for this event is $299 and includes 2 entries to the event and a hotel room that evening.

Tickets to the Derby Gala, Tacos & Tequila, and Bourbon and Whiskey Fest can all be purchased at

Those wishing to book the hotel specials can find direct links to do so on the hotel deals page on the Batavia Downs website at

“Last year our Triple Crown events had record attendance,” said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “Our events calendar is more packed than ever to keep guests coming back for outstanding, unique experiences onsite.”

Prior to the Triple Crown, other Spring events announced by Batavia Downs and available on include:

The Batavia Downs Record Riot Vendor Show is Sunday, March 24 - attendees will be able to browse multiple vendor tables to discover a wide selection of vinyl records including rare finds, all while connecting with fellow music lovers.  Tickets and details are available at

The Batavia Downs Silent Disco returns on Saturday, March 30 - Tickets are $20 and include $10 in Free Play.  Attendees can listen to 3 different channels of music on headphones and dance the night away.

The 2nd Annual Fur Ball Gala Animal Fundraiser on April 13 - Tickets are at $75 and monies raised go to the Whispering River Animal Rescue & Begin Again Horse Rescue.

Nickel City Wrestling’s return to Batavia Downs is on Sunday, April 14 - tickets are available at

Tickets are also on sale on for Music of the Stars, Prince Tribute Show, and the entire Rockin’ The Downs Summer Concert Series.

Byron-Bergen announces second quarter honor and high honor roll

By Press Release

Press Release:

The 2nd quarter High Honor and Honor Rolls have been released for Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School by Principal Paul Hazard. Hazard and the Byron-Bergen Central School District staff offer their congratulations to these students. 

HIGH HONOR ROLL – Charlotte Bloom, Riley Boland, Evelyn Borycki, Madison Carson, Alyssa Chupp, June Dorman, Katherine Erion, Leland Fregoe, Aaiden Gaiser, Olivia Galdun, Connor Hoopengardner, Hunter Jarosinski, Isabella Kessler, Delilah Malin, Sophia Matthews, Jack Miller, Maylee Moore, Trevor O'Brien, Lia Ray, William Scharvogel, Miranda Stanton, Landon Starkweather, Frank Trigilio, Contessa Vander Wyst, Benjamin Vargas, Kaylanah White, Teagan Williams, Dahlia Wolff

HONOR ROLL Tristen Davidson, Ce'Andre Johnson, Emmarose Michaels, Kelly Parsons, Caleb Rassel, Ava Smith, Gunner Starowitz, Connar Tuerk

HIGH HONOR ROLL - Evan Bannister, Eala Coniglio, Samantha Copani, Emily Diehl, William Duell, Mason Farner, Zachary Gay, Cambria Goodenbery, Lila Graff, Ainsley Kent, Ruth Kuipers, Alexander Kuszlyk, Isabella Lewis, Taylor Louis, Levi McGrath, Lillian Meier, Liliana Moore, Parker Moore, Brook Pagels, Evan Phillips, Alexandra Pocock, Natalie Randall, Lucy Rea, Jenna Redick, Audrey Rimmerman, Michael Rogoyski, Cooper Sandow, Owen Sinclair, Genevieve Smith, Madeline Smith, Miley Stalica, Xavier Vargas, Jillian Weaver, Carson Wells, Willow Wilder, Paige Winkler

HONOR ROLL - Ryanna Armstrong, Cole Carroll, Brooklynn Culmo, Stryker Emrich, Colton Erion, Carter Fogg, Annabelle Haywood, Josiah Hiscutt, Annabella Madera, Olivia Mundell, Laney Niedzwiecki, Dominik Redmon, Dylan Utter

HIGH HONOR ROLL - Nataly Barrera Zuniga, Zoey Bower, Rylee Burch, Emalyn Canfield, Cody Carlson, Gianna Cicatelli, Lauren Gartz, Isabella Gifford, Wyatt Lewis, Taylor Lundfelt, Logan Marou, Emma Matthews, Hannah Riedmiller, Brandon Schuck, Kyle Smith, Elliana Tanner, Jack Walker, Rena Wilson 

HONOR ROLL - Tyler Barberio, Joseph Brumsted, Audrey Dorman, Brayden Gelsomino, Ian MacMillen, Seth Prefontaine, Theodore Schelemanow, Bradley Tatar 

HIGH HONOR ROLL - Sara Bishop, Sarah Campbell, Adam Cardenas, Gianna Clark, Connor Copani, Addison Cummings, Justin Deleo, Gary Donofrio, Gianna Graff, Mia Gray, Megan Jarkiewicz, Pearl Jolliff, Carter Kuipers, Malacai McGrath, Maryn Meier, Grace Mundell, Paige O'Brien, Evan Orto, Bradley Pocock, Colin Rea, Katherine Rogoyski, Simone Scharvogel, Rayne Sheard, Solomon Smith, Hayden Starkweather, Elizabeth Starowitz, Aubrey Stein, Emma Wolfe 

HONOR ROLL - Katelyn Ball, Liam Boyle, Laura Curts, Logan Czachorowski, Grace DiQuattro, Ava Goff, Hayleigh Griffin, Abigail Mattern, Allison Rimmerman, Kane Tyson, Andrea White, Evan Williams 

HIGH HONOR ROLL - Aiden Barberio, Ryan Benstead, Jake Carlson, Deborah Catalino, Kendall Chase, Abigail Cook, Lea Donofrio, Ava Gray, Rachel Hanel, Ella Lewis, Jackson Lundfelt, Anna McLaughlin, Connor Moran, Meghan Muscarella, Ian Pulcini, Sydney Salmonds, Ashley Schlenker-Stephens, Lily Stalica, Rose Wilson, Jade Wolff, Mikayla Yohon 

HONOR ROLL - Zachary Brookhart, Noah Clare, Isabella Davidson, Craig DiQuattro, Annabelle Erion, Jack Farner, Chesney Fregoe, Logan Fregoe, Haylee Gartz, Peyton Goodenbery, Samuel Hersom, Eli Kupfer, Martin Mac Connell, Arianne McLaughlin, Kasey Pagels, Adam Piper, Rayden Robinson, Trent Sheard, Roman Smith, Shawna Spinks, James Starowitz, Hannah Wittman 

GRADE 12: 
HIGH HONOR ROLL - HannahRae Amador, Emma Balduf, Carlee Barons, Brody Baubie, Jeffrey Borycki, Tyler Chapman, Gabrielle Graff, Autumn Hafner, Mackenzie Hagen, Makala Hoopengardner, Kaidance Kimble, Hanna Loewke, Lincoln McGrath, Dru Nowatchik, Stephanie Onderdonk, Jillian Peters, Novalee Pocock, Carter Prinzi, Quintin Rich, Victoria Rogoyski, Travis Shallenberger, Riley Sharpe, Malachi Smith, Lydia Zaffrann 

HONOR ROLL - Trevor Beale, Chloe Gilbert, James Heick, Colin Martin, Brendan Pimm, Andrew Smith, Emma Starowitz, Connor Windhauser, Megan Zwerka 

GCC Board of Trustees honor a legend on and off the court, Dr. James Sunser

By Press Release
Photo of Dr. James Sunser with GCC Trustee Ms. Jacalyn Whiting, courtesy of Genesee Community College.

Press Release:

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees took the opportunity during halftime of their Men's final home basketball game of the season to celebrate the career of someone who has been a true legend both on and off the court. 

Dr. James Sunser is concluding his final academic year as President of Genesee Community College, and this was the first of a few events planned to honor his service.

Throughout Dr. Sunser's career, he was known to step onto the basketball court with students. His willingness to engage in friendly matches, share his love for the game, and connect with students beyond the traditional walls of academia has set him apart as a leader. 

Dr. Sunser's approachability and enthusiasm, whether in a Board Meeting Room or on the Basketball Court, created an atmosphere where students feel not only supported but genuinely connected.

That evening, those present not only honored his role on the court, but his role in shaping the course of this institution. In his 13-year career at the college, Dr. Sunser has been a leader who has tirelessly worked toward the betterment of the college and the success of its students.

During Dr. Sunser's tenure, his efforts spearheaded major capital campaigns for the Student Success Center and the Richard C. Call Arena. Innovative academic and student spaces were also developed such as a state-of-the-art criminal justice lab, vet tech lab, solar electric lab, and student eSports space. 

In addition, his leadership within the GCC Foundation led to extensive renovations of College Village to provide students with enhanced living space, social space, and technological improvements.

Dr. Sunser accepted a basketball signed by each Trustee as a token of their appreciation to symbolize their heartfelt gratitude for his outstanding contributions and commitment to students.

Genesee County Interagency Council announces scholarship opportunity

By Press Release

Press Release:

Genesee County Interagency Council Inc. is pleased to announce that we will be offering a $1,000 scholarship for the Fall 2024 semester.

Those eligible to apply: 

High School Seniors living in and attending a high school in Genesee County (including those home-schooled)

  • Who are enrolling in a Junior College or University and majoring in Human Services, Social Work, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Studies, Sociology, or Psychology. 

Genesee Community College Student living in Genesee County and currently majoring in Human Services, Social Work, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Studies, Sociology, or Psychology.

  • Who are remaining at G.C.C or transferring to a 4-year university

Because the goal of this scholarship is to support those students who have a strong drive to contribute to the field of Human Services, special consideration will be given to those students in good academic standing, who have already demonstrated a commitment to the field through their employment, volunteer, academic, and/or extracurricular pursuits.

Completed applications must be received by Friday, May 3. The awardee will be notified by phone by June 3. The award will be presented at our June picnic meeting at Dewitt Park Recreation Area (detailed information will be provided during phone notification). 

We look forward to having the opportunity to support a Genesee County student in their pursuit of a degree in the field of Human Services. 

Please call Kari Heidemann (Scholarship Chair) for an application and more information at 716-550-0934.

Looking for something fun to do with your dog? Toss and Fetch is coming, informational meeting Saturday

By Joanne Beck


Soka with frisbee
Soka, eager participant of Toss and Fetch and the youngest member of Christi Waldron's team, goes after a roller. 
Submitted Photo

If you and your four-legged friend are looking to shake things up with a little competition, exercise, fresh air and amusement, Katie Ellsworth of Countryside Canine and her co-captain Christi Waldron are gathering a K9 Toss and Fetch Frisbee league in Genesee County.

Small dogs, big dogs, shy or feisty, all are welcome to participate in this timed fetching event with options of using rollers on the ground or frisbees in the air, Ellsworth says.

“It’s something fun to get people out with their dogs,” she said. “It’s an affordable, fun time and really doesn’t require a lot of skill. It’s something we can all build together. So you start with rollers and then you can learn how to throw a frisbee and your dog catches it. So it’s just something fun to get people out there with their dogs and enjoying their time together.”

There will be an informational meeting for people — no dogs this time — at 11 a.m. Saturday at Countryside Canine, 9207 Alexander Road (Route 98), Batavia. 

Ellsworth and Waldron will review the rules of the game and etiquette, as well as how the league works — including that the ranking is posted as part of an international league competition.

If you and your partner are serious enough, you might qualify for international Toss and Fetch, they said.

“You’ll be competing against hundreds of other teams and clubs worldwide,” Waldron said. “Above all else, it’s a great activity to just have fun with your dog and meet great people.” 

The five-week league begins at 9 a.m. on April 21 and the fee is $25 per team (person and dog), and $20 for a second dog.

The response has been enthusiastic so far, Ellsworth said, with 40 members registering. There is no limit to participation, so additional people are welcome and encouraged to attend the weekend meeting. Each team is given 60 seconds to see how many times the dog can retrieve the frisbee and bring it back, and repeat. 

Points are given for each team, and those scores are posted at Toss and Fetch. Don't worry about this being too highly technical or overly competitive, given its online description: “the easiest, friendliest, funnest dog sport on the planet.” Tucked into the myriad worldwide league locations on the map is Batavia, NY. 

Ellsworth has been involved with animals since childhood, having grown up on a dairy farm near North Java and being part of 4-H early on, she said. She hopes to return to 4-H, incorporating her love for dogs, with details yet to be worked out, she said.

She and her husband Andy opened Countryside Canine in Hamlin three years ago and then moved in November to an extensive 78-acre lot in the town of Batavia. She and Waldron have been friends through herding and other dog events, and then Waldron also suggested bringing a disc league to the area.

“And that was my whole goal, and opening a dog place in the area was to kind of bring that back because there’s really not much in the area that offers fun stuff with your dogs,” Ellsworth said. “I don’t think there’s an actual daycare facility, so I’m going to do that soon. I’m just trying to figure out proper personnel being there and such because my husband and I are doing everything by ourselves right now.” 

Plus, with three little kids, that adds to the challenge, she said. Once up and running with a complete line of services, they want to offer boarding, grooming, lessons, doggie daycare, groomed trails for pack walks and hikes, and the Toss and Fetch leagues (there are seven five-week seasons per year). The site is open now for some of those services, and they are planning to expand those this year.

For more information about the league, email for more info or to sign up. Or go to the LINK for the private group. 

Go to Countryside Canine for more details about its services or email Ellsworth at

NYS Association of Counties recognizes deputy manager, other leaders with certificate

By Press Release
NYSAC photo with Tammi Ferringer
Submitted Photo

Press Release:

County officials from across the state this week honored five of their peers for graduating with a certificate from the County Government Institute. The Institute, founded in 2004, is part of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC). 

The graduates included:

  • Tammi Ferringer, Deputy County Manager, Genesee County
  • Anthony J. Nemi, Legislator, Niagara County
  • Elizabeth Partee, County Supervisor, Seneca County
  • Lou Anne Randall, Director of Finance, Madison County
  • Paul Ruszkiewicz, Legislator, Orange County

The graduation was held during the 2024 NYSAC Legislative Conference in Albany County, in a ceremony honoring the county officials for upholding the pillars of leadership, accountability, and integrity at their graduation ceremony from the County Government Institute.

“CGI has been instrumental in helping me stay current on a broad array of issues and topics that go right to the nuts and bolts of local government operations,” said Anthony J. Nemi. “I am convinced that CGI has made a more effective legislator for those I represent.” 

The County Government Institute is an educational program in partnership with Cornell University. CGI instructors are NYSAC staff, county leaders, and Cornell faculty members who are experts in local government structure and issues. County leaders who graduate from CGI have earned a certification that demonstrates their dedication to good government and to upholding CGI’s high standards of county leadership.

“The County Government Institute’s comprehensive curriculum prepares county officials with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the intense demands of local government today,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario.

The Institute's curriculum includes extensive course work on government ethics, building consensus in a political environment, principles of county budget and finance, and public sector labor/management relations. The courses are supplemented with electives, training sessions, and continuing education courses.

“The wide range of topics and chance to meet with colleagues from around New York State oftentimes give me a new perspective on an issue we may be facing,” said Lou Anne Randall. “We need to continue to encourage others to take advantage of the great resource we have in NYSAC. 

“The County Government Institute is an outstanding program that has helped me to more effectively perform my duties as a County Legislator,” said Paul Ruszkiewicz.

Courses are offered at all NYSAC conferences, and regionally throughout the year, to enable county leaders to stay up to date on timely issues and opportunities in local government. The knowledge and skills gained through CGI will serve county officials throughout their time in public service and beyond.   

“By completing the County Government Institute coursework, graduates demonstrate a commitment to excellence in local government that is at the heart of our association’s mission,” said NYSAC President Daniel P. McCoy. “The skills and knowledge they acquire are a great asset to them and the communities they serve. On behalf of our entire association, I offer my congratulations.”  

For more information about the County Government Institute, visit or reach out to Chancey Young, NYSAC Member Information Manager via email at

Leap Year Baby born at UMMC

By Staff Writer
leap day baby born at UMMC

Finnegan Alexander Wilson was born on Thursday, Feb. 29, at UMMC, making him a Leap Year Baby.

 His parents are Laura and William Wilson.

Barn destroyed in early morning fire in Alexander

By Howard B. Owens
alexander barn fire

A hay fire was reported inside a barn at 10216 Alexander Road, Alexander, at 1:18 a.m. on Friday, and the barn was quickly fully involved.

Alexander Fire responded along with Elba, Town of Batavia, City of Batavia FAST Team, Corfu, Attica, East Pembroke, Le Roy, Oakfield, Bethany, Darien, and the Office of Emergency Management.  Barre was on standby for Elba. Wyoming County Correctional assisted at the scene. 

The cause and origin of the fire are under investigation, according to Alexander Deputy Chief Nathan Fix.

No animals were involved and no injuries were reported.

The location is Blumer Dairy.

Alexander cleared the scene at 9:10 a.m.

Photos submitted by Deputy Chief Nathan Fix/Alexander Fire.

alexander barn fire
alexander barn fire
alexander barn fire

Genesee County high school musicals

By Kara Richenberg

With the high school musical season in full swing, here is a rundown of all of the musicals being performed at Genesee County high schools:

  • Alexander PTA presents "Finding Nemo Kids." Show times are March 1 at 7 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m.
  • Batavia High School presents "Footloose the Musical." Show times are March 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students/seniors. 
  • Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School presents "Beauty and the Beast." Show times are March 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students/seniors, and 4 and under are free.
  • Elba Central School District presents "The Little Mermaid." Show times are March 1 at 7 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. 
  • Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School presents "Chicago: Teen Edition." Show times are March 7, 8, and 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students/seniors.
  • Notre Dame High School presents "Anastasia." Show times are March 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. 
  • Oakfield-Alabama High School presents "The Wizard of Oz." Show times are March 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students, and kids 5 and under are free.
  • Pavilion High School presents "The Sound of Music." Show times are March 15 at 7 p.m. and 16 at 2 p.m. Donations will be accepted at the door and will be used to defray the cost of future PCS productions.
  • Pembroke Jr. Sr. High School presents "Cinderella." Show times are March 8 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for k-12, and kids 4 and under are free.

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