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Borrello supports proposal that would help restore balance between executive and legislative branches

By Press Release

Press Release:

Senator George Borrello recently attended a legislative briefing in support of a bipartisan initiative he cosponsors that would prevent policy proposals from being included in the budget, a practice which has generated significant criticism in recent years.

In the twenty-five years since the ruling in Silver v. Pataki, which gave the Governor of New York unprecedented power in the budget process, many legislators and good government groups have claimed the governor’s ability to include policy in the budget places excessive power in the hands of the Executive branch. They have cited the many negative impacts of this practice, including late budgets, vetoed bills, and compromised policy.

Senate Bill 2062 sponsored by Senator Fernandez would introduce transparency and resolve the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches by amending the state constitution to prohibit non-fiscal policies and programs from being included in the budget.

"Currently, the NYS Constitution allows the Governor to unilaterally insert non-budgetary policy in the state budget, which often includes the most controversial and politicized issues. The Legislature is then required to vote on the Governor's budget proposal as presented and cannot remove policies, regardless of whether or not they have any budgetary implications,” said Senator Nathalia Fernandez, 34th Senate District.

“S2062: Protect the People's Budget (PPB) Act would provide that the Governor's appropriations must be constrained by existing law and cannot modify existing law outside of monetary changes. The bill would restore the separation of powers necessary in our government by limiting the Governor's ability to legislate in the budget," said Senator Fernandez.

First introduced in 2018, the legislation has gained bipartisan support this year with Senators Borrello, Gallivan, Rivera, Salazar, Krueger, Ashby, Brouk, Cleare, Comrie, Gonzalez, Griffo, Helming, Jackson, May, Murray, Oberacker, Ramos, Rhoads, Sanders, Sepulveda, Stec, Tedisco, Walczyk, Webb, Weber, and Weik signing on as co-sponsors of the bill.

“I’ve always been opposed to including policy into the state budget. Policy in the budget prevents full review of controversial issues, provides political cover to legislators, and causes standoffs during the budget process resulting in late budgets,” said Sen. Borrello.

“I’m happy to be in support of this bipartisan initiative, that will restore the balance of power between both branches of government,” said Sen. Borrello. “This is legislation that is needed and long overdue. I thank my colleague Senator Fernandez for bringing this issue forward.”

Free youth event promises music, fellowship, a 'safe space' during Fridays at the Rock

By Joanne Beck
Fridays at the Rock
Photo from Cornerstone Church social media post about Fridays at the Rock!

A fairly new collaboration between the traveling ministry of Glorious Destiny and Cornerstone Church has brought a youth-based event to the Batavia church that includes a live and lively musical performance and lots of free goods, from snacks and drinks to groceries, games and gift cards.

With enough negative energy already in the world, these Friday evening gatherings are meant to offer a peaceful and fun alternative for kids and families, organizer Omar Herrera says.

“And of course, in this day and age, you know that there's a lot of violence and other things that the youth shouldn’t be doing. So we just definitely want to steer the community away from that type of lifestyle, away from just getting distracted and away from going astray or anything like that. So we just want to create a safe space where people can come and really just want to be safe, be secure, and know that they are loved, know that they are cared about, know that they have a plan, that God has a plan for them, that they can be somebody,” Herrera said to The Batavian Friday afternoon. “Pastor Paul (Doyle) came to us, he used to have a youth program and wanted something new. He had a building and he had the resources, so we sat down and brainstormed some ideas to reach the youth.”

Fridays at the Rock is at 6 p.m. every Friday at Cornerstone Church, 8020 Bank Street Road, Batavia. 

These upbeat nights are opportunities for kids to “eat, fellowship with everybody, have games, prizes, live performances, and give an encouraging word,” he said.

“It’s one of the methods to reach people,” he said. “Anyone can go if they want to go, and whoever wants to come can come. We have had many families with a single mom who might not have a car … we will pick them up and take them home when they want to go home.”

Organizers provide free transportation to and from the event, and only ask that participants register in advance by a QR code or phone. From the first event, attendance has been at least 40 strong, with at least 100 people showing up by the fourth event, he said. 

“I would say one of the biggest visions that we have is — because of certain circumstances that are going on in our life, in this day and age, basically, in this world — we want to create that space where they can come in and not think about those problems, that they're going to not think about their situations or not think about anything, but really just enjoy life,” he said. “Let the kids be kids. Let adults enjoy their kids and just see them have fun. And really have fun with them, and win prizes as well. You just have a great space where people can really just enjoy life.”

There is also a free grocery giveaway after the church service at 10 a.m. Sundays. An assortment of free goods, including meats, breakfast items, bread, dry goods, fruit, vegetables and baby food will be distributed after the service. 

When asked the source of all the free goods, Herrera attributed it to God’s power and the generosity of Western New York’s businesses and farmers. 

“One of the guys who helped me, he had connections with stores and farmers, and they just donate to us,” Herrera said. “We can give out food to the community. It just started out of nowhere. God told us to go to these stores, and they are constant suppliers. 

“Where our vision is, our vision is the world. However, we’re based in the United States and right now, we’re doing a lot of work in the United States, and, of course, we’re based here in Batavia, and a lot of what we’re doing is out of New York.”

Glorious Destiny is a nonprofit that is now based in Batavia and working with Cornerstone Church, though Herrera said that he and the 40 or so missionaries do a lot of traveling, whether it’s to Rochester for a blanket and glove distribution or farther away to hand out jackets, socks and blankets to homeless in Philadelphia and New Jersey. 

Many of those missionaries are young musical artists who provide the live performances for the Friday rock series, which might feature some hip hop or rhythm and blues, he said. 

Glorious Destiny Missions, Inc. is a Christian organization that is "committed to spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ through various means around the world," according to its website. Its vision is based on Habakkuk 2:14, which states, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

For more information about these programs or to get a ride, text ROCK (for Friday) or PANTRY (for Sunday) to 347-352-6720.

Sponsored Post: Reliant Real Estate Open House tomorrow - 151 Vine Street, Batavia

By Sponsored Post
Reliant Real Estate
OPEN HOUSE - SATURDAY 11AM - 12:30PM. 151 Vine Street, Batavia-City, New York 14020. Don’t pass by this great City home-you will be pleasantly surprised as soon as you pull into drive and see the oversized 3 car garage with 4th pavilion style bay-perfect for your grill and picnic table-Your friends will be jealous! Inside the home features inviting large oak kitchen with loads of cupboard space spacious dining area and large and bright living room. This home was made for large gatherings and entertaining! Not only is there a good size first floor bedroom and bath there is also another large room which would make awesome office/playroom with pretty French doors leading to large and bright heated and fully glassed three season room featuring cozy free standing fireplace to take the chill out! This room features sliding glass doors leading to a large deck which also connects to side enclosed back porch which once held a busy -and still intact-barbershop! Before you go outside don't forget that if you go upstairs there are THREE MORE big bedrooms and another full bath! There is plenty of storage and closets throughout the home, and don’t forget the large full dry basement! This home packs a lot in-you will be amazed! Delayed negotiations until Monday Feb. 26th

Alexander Varsity Riflery team competed at the 2024 CMP 3PAR championships

By Press Release
Alexander riflery 0
From (left to right): Abigail Russel, Harrison McPhee, Charlotte Saraceni, Morgan Kidder, Devin Bubel
Submitted photo.

Press Release:

Members of the Alexander Varsity Riflery Team, sponsored by the Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post 332 Batavia, competed at the 2024 CMP 3PAR Championships held at the American Legion Post 787 in Cicero on Feb. 18.

The team was led by Devin Bubel, placing 21st overall with a score of 502, followed by Morgan Kidder (35th) with a score of 464.

8th graders, Morgan Kidder and Harrison McPhee were awarded medals in age group 3. McPhee placed 3rd in the kneeling position, while Kidder placed 2nd in prone, kneeling, and overall.

Rounding out the team were Charlotte Saraceni and Abigail Russel, placing 38th and 42nd, respectively.

While the American Legion season has ended, Bubel, Kidder, and Alexander teammate Katelyn Green will be competing in the NYS High School Championships being held in Orchard Park on March 2.

Alexander riflery 1
Photo of Harrison McPhee and Morgan Kidder
Submitted photo.
Alexander riflery 2
Submitted photo.
Alexander riflery3
Submitted photo.

GCC's Professor Jones to receive a Fulbright award for 'Color Connection' exhibit

By Press Release

Press Release:

Genesee Community College was honored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for its distinction as one of the leading institutions with a significant representation of faculty and administrators chosen for the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. 

Institutions like Genesee Community College, recognized as Fulbright Top Producing Institutions, actively promote global engagement and facilitate their campus community members in seizing international opportunities.

Heather Jones, GCC professor of fine arts was selected for a Fulbright award for the 2023-2024 academic year. While collaborating with Professor Jose Luis Gonzalez-Cabrero and the Industrial Design Department at the University of San Luis Potosi, Professor Jones will be implementing an international cultural color study project with students from both Mexico and New York, which will culminate with a student art exhibit titled "Color Connection." 

She will be teaching a series of seminars on color theory in Mexico, that will be available online for her students taking classes at GCC. Students in Mexico and GCC will photograph one color in their daily lives and facilitate conversation online by sharing these images on the dedicated Color Connection social media pages. 

The goal of the project is to take a deeper look at the expressive meaning of color in design, utilize the subject of color as a social bridge to break down cultural stigmas and reinforce empathy and respect for cultural diversity. Photographs will be juried by the students and 100 plus photographs will be exhibited simultaneously at UASLP and in GCC's Roz Steiner Gallery during March 2024. The exhibit will then be available to travel to other SUNY campus galleries.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international academic exchange program. Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided over 400,000 talented and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds with the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research abroad. Fulbrighters exchange ideas, build people-to-people connections, and work to address complex global challenges.

Dr. James Sunser, president of Genesee Community College, expressed his gratitude stating, "This recognition underscores our unwavering dedication to fostering international opportunities for our faculty and administrators. At Genesee Community College, we believe in the transformative power of global connections, and we are proud to support our campus community members in their pursuit of scholarly endeavors worldwide."

"Fulbright's Top Producing Institutions represent the diversity of America's higher education community. Dedicated administrators support students and scholars at these institutions to fulfill their potential and rise to address tomorrow's global challenges. We congratulate them, and all the Fulbrighters who are making an impact the world over," said Lee Satterfield, assistant secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Fulbright is a program of the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program.

Fulbright alumni work to make a positive impact on their communities, sectors, and the world. They have included 41 heads of state or government, 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows, and countless leaders and changemakers who build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

For more information contact Vice President, of Development and External Affairs Justin Johnston at (585) 345-6809, or via email: jmjohnston@genesee.edu. Details about the Fulbright Program can be found at https://fulbrightprogram.org/.

Schumer supports Genesee County's broadband expansion efforts

By Press Release

Press Release:

Genesee County is embarking on an ambitious mission to ensure universal broadband access, with the County Legislature demonstrating unwavering determination to reach every unserved address point.

County Manager Matt Landers personally engaged with leadership in each of the thirteen towns with unserved residents, leaving no address point overlooked in the pursuit of connectivity.

In a significant stride towards enhancing the quality of life for all residents, businesses, and educational institutions, Genesee County has approved a contract with Charter Communications Inc. to spearhead the deployment of high-speed internet infrastructure.

“This project will help close the digital divide in Genesee County and will bring gigabit broadband connectivity to over seven hundred residents and small businesses,” said Mark Fitchett, Regional Vice President of Operations at Charter. “We look forward to building our network and serving new customers.”

The Genesee County Legislature, in conjunction with the County Manager, has designated $2 million from the county's $11.1 million allocation of ARPA funds to support the broadband project. Allocation of ARPA funds must adhere to criteria established by the US Treasury Department. Senator Schumer has been a vocal advocate for infrastructure and broadband investments, and his proactive approach has played a pivotal role in securing the resources essential for advancing this project. 

“Access to reliable, fast internet service is not a luxury, but a necessity. In my first major act as Majority Leader, I led the American Rescue Plan to passage with billions to help hard-hit communities recover from the darkest days of the pandemic and make long-term investments to strengthen their communities, including essential infrastructure like broadband,” said Senator Schumer. 

“I am proud that Genesee County is leveraging $2 million of the overall $11.1 million in ARPA funding I delivered to finally close the digital divide in Genesee County and get Finger Lakes residents and businesses the service they require in the modern economy. Today is the start of connecting Genesee County to the future and a better quality of life for all families in every corner of the county to access the high-speed internet they need to succeed.”

The broadband expansion project aims not only to connect every corner of Genesee County, but also to elevate the overall quality of life in our communities. By increasing access to online resources, educational opportunities, telehealth services, and economic development prospects, the County is paving the way for a more vibrant and inclusive future. 

"Our contract with Charter Communications marks a significant milestone in our efforts to ensure equitable access to high-speed internet for all residents, students, families, businesses, and government entities in Genesee County," remarked Shelley Stein, Chair of the Genesee County Legislature. "With Senator Schumer's unwavering support and tireless efforts, we are poised to usher in a new era of connectivity and opportunity for all."

iGaming, EZ Bet expansion into Erie County on list of WROTB's lobbying efforts: Wojtaszek

By Mike Pettinella

The president and chief executive officer of Western Region Off-Track Betting Corp. said he is “paying close attention” to potential legislation that would permit online wagering in New York State.

Speaking by telephone this morning, Henry Wojtaszek also said leadership of the public benefit company is making its collective voice heard to loosen the restrictions on placement of EZ Bet locations in Erie County – a topic that was reported by The Batavian last September.

Concerning online wagering, known as iGaming, Wojtaszek said that he and Board Chair Dennis Bassett traveled to Albany for a “lobby day” a couple weeks ago to speak with lawmakers and their staff.

“We’re paying close attention to the legislation, and we will make sure that we attempt to be included in the bill as being eligible for iGaming,” he said. “It remains to be seen whether or not there's enough support to pass it this year. We made our position known to them that we were unified with other OTBs that we wish to be included in that legislation.”

Asked whether WROTB was in favor of iGaming, which opponents contend would hurt brick-and-mortar facilities such as Batavia Downs Gaming, Wojtaszek was noncommittal.

“At this point, we're open to seeing what the numbers are, what the study shows,” he responded. “I don't think we have enough data yet to determine how it'll affect our industry. I guess the bottom line is if it’s going to come to New York, we want to be part of the process.”

Last month, state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who represents Queens, reintroduced legislation to permit remote bets such as blackjack, poker and craps. Addabbo said iGaming, along with iLottery, could generate around $1 billion per year.

His action prompted casino workers in Queens to send a draft a letter stating that Addabbo is trying to undermine their ability to make a living. Addabbo is the chair of the Senate committee on racing, gaming and wagering.

According to reporting by the New York Post earlier this week, the letter was sent by the Hotel & Gaming Trades Council union on behalf of employees at Resorts World casino at Aqueduct.

WROTB Seeks More EZ Bets in Erie County

Several months ago, Wojtaszek said WROTB “could easily get between five and 15” more EZ Bet locations in Erie County if a state law giving Hamburg Gaming (Buffalo Raceway) veto power over EZ Bet placement was changed or eliminated.

Today, he said the corporation has a new board member, Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney, who says she would like to see more Erie County businesses have the opportunity to set aside a portion of their venues for those wishing to place remote bets.

The law on the books currently states that Hamburg Gaming can prevent any EZ Bet locations within a 30-mile radius of its facility. WROTB has 28 EZ Bet locations, but only one in Erie County, that being The Cove on Transit Road in Depew.

EZ Bet (standalone terminals without employees) is a money-maker for the corporation as it generated $428,000 in profit last year and is projected to increase the bottom line by $492,000 in 2024. EZ Bet wagering also makes money for the businesses, which split the proceeds with WROTB.

Wojtaszek said Rodriguez-Dabney approached him and wanted to know why the corporation wasn’t able to locate more EZ Bets in Erie County and the City of Buffalo.

“When I explained to her the statute, she said then we need to look at having this revised to accommodate some of the businesses that want to have them,” he said. “And I agree with her.”

Wojtaszek also said WROTB had been open to a revenue-sharing agreement with Hamburg Gaming, adding that several businesses have approached him about become EZ Bet sites only to get turned down by Hamburg Gaming.

He said lobbyists will continue to push for a change to this law until the end of the current legislative session, which ends in June.

“We’ll keep up our lobbying efforts because it affects other OTBs across the state as well,” he said. “Again, we went there with a unified voice two weeks ago to bring that up as part of what we’re looking for.”

Sponsored Post: Sports collects event at Batavia Downs promises memories and smiles

By Sponsored Post
batavia downs card show

By James Fink

To Bobby McClaine, it is all about memories and smiles.

McClaine and his two business partners, Brian Burke and Chris Sabatello, are presenting the upcoming "Legends & Stars Batavia Sports Card Expo," set for Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 at Batavia Downs.

The event, which features sports cards and memorabilia vendors and collectors along with a laundry list of former professional sports stars, is designed as a "family-friendly" gathering.

"We want to give everyone the experience of their lifetime," McClaine said.

Some come for the chance to buy sports-related cards and memorabilia. Others come to meet and rub shoulders with sports legends.

"It's all about the experience," McClaine said. "To see the smile on someone's face because they just met one of their sports heroes is priceless."

In addition to the deep pool of vendors, among the sports stars scheduled to appear to include current Buffalo Football Player Rasul Douglas and former National Football League stars as Thurman Thomas (Buffalo), Don Beebe (Buffalo), Lawrence Taylor (New York), Don Majkowski (Green Bay), Keith McKeller (Buffalo), Ron Jaworski (Philadelphia) and from the National Hockey League Dave Andreychuk (Buffalo), Wendel Clark (Toronto), Darryl Sittler (Toronto).

Also scheduled to appear is WWE star Kevin Nash, former Major League Baseball pitcher Jack Morris (Minnesota and Toronto) and actors Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos, The Matrix, The Fugitive) and D.B. Sweeney (Eight Men Out and Fire in the Sky)

McClaine and his partners have been presenting the Legends card expo since 2018 - usually twice a year at Batavia Downs.

Batavia Downs works for its central location between the Buffalo and Rochester markets, and the event serves as another way for the venue to attract visitors not only to the gaming and entertainment destination but also to Batavia.

"People do come in for these shows," McClaine said. "Especially something like this that is geared and designed as an all-age event." 

The expo is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 24 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 25. 

Admission is $10, with children under 12 years of age admitted for free. Admission includes a $10 "free play" at Batavia Downs.

James Fink writes on behalf of Batavia Downs.

Today's local deals: Alex's Place, Oliver's, Batavia's Original, and more

By Kara Richenberg

NOTE: Members of Early Access Pass get first crack (four hours earlier access than non-members) at making Deals of the Day purchases. Join Early Access Pass today to ensure you don't miss any valuable deals.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered you must sign in using the "sign-in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • You will receive your physical gift certificate through postal mail. If you have questions about the receipt of your gift certificate before opening a dispute with PayPal, please use the contact email address below.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Sign-in issues? First, make sure you are registered for Day using the link at the top of this post; Second, if you know you're registered, use the "sign-in" link in this post; do not use the "login" box on the left side of the page.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Kara Richenberg:   kara@thebatavian.com

Le Roy resident working to bring joy and a bit of nostalgia to Christmas in the community

By Howard B. Owens
jim delooze cinnamon beat joy of christmas le roy
Jim DeLooze
Photo by Howard Owens

First and foremost, says Jim DeLooze, it's about joy.

Namely, the joy of Christmas, the joy of magic, the joy of wonder.

And then what he's planning in conjunction with St. Mark's Church in Le Roy will also help local businesses by, hopefully, bringing more visitors downtown during the Christmas season.

DeLooze is heading up what he's calling The Joy Project, a plan to bring diorama to St. Mark's based on the old-time holiday radio show, "The Cinnamon Bear," and well as set up displays that recall wonderland that was once Sibley's Department Store in Rochester.

"Step one, is just put people in the Christmas spirit," DeLooze said, "make them happy and really wanting to see it. Number two is that it will be a draw. I plan on drawing people from anywhere between Rochester and Buffalo here to Le Roy. Business is a numbers game. If you own a restaurant, and you've got an additional 1,000 people who come into town, in a community, that's 4,000, that's gonna help your business."

He presented the plan to Le Roy's village trustees at their regular meeting on Wednesday, not to ask for the assistance of the village but to inform the community of the project.  He is hoping for volunteers to step forward to help and for residents to make donations.  

There are two main components to the project.  First is the diorama based on "The Cinnamon Bear."

"The Cinnamon Bear" is an old-time radio show, a serial that was launched in 1937 by a Los Angeles-based marketing company to help department stores attract more of a Christmas crowd.

In an era before corporations owned nearly all of the nation's radio stations, many programs were syndicated to independently owned and operated radio stations. The Cinnamon Bear was picked up by stations in every state, with 26 episodes, each with a cliffhanger ending, airing each evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The program is the story of Judy and Jimmy Barton, who travel to the world of Maybeland in search of their missing Silver Star tree ornament.  They are helped along their way through various adventures by The Cinnamon Bear, an assistant to Santa Claus.

The story has proven enduring. There are still radio stations that carry the show each year, and now, of course, it can be streamed online.

"Tony is the son of the person that built it," DeLooze said. "He said he and his mother were very impressed with my knowledge of old-time radio and the fact they thought it was a lot better going to a home here where people would be able to come in and see it free of charge rather than having to pay in an amusement park to see it."

To go along with the diorama, DeLooze is moving one of his other hobbies out of his basement -- his annual Christmas build of a display meant to model the Christmas presentation of the old Sibley's Department Store in Rochester.

For decades, area residents flocked to Sibley's during the Christmas season to take in Toyland and the Magic Corridor and see that animatronic elf along with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

For years, DeLooze has been building his own train set to create a miniature version of what Silbey's offered, and in recent years, he has been posting photos and videos on social media to show his progress and the completed project.

He's always gotten positive feedback for the video, including from a friend in California who once told him, "'Jim,' he goes, 'I gotta tell you, I was in a bad mood when I clicked on this,' he says, 'but literally halfway through, I was smiling and in the Christmas spirit.'"

And that was exactly what Jim said he likes to hear.  He wants to know he's helping to spread joy.  And that is what he hopes to do this year and for many years to come with The Cinnamon Bear and the Sibley's display.

"Our church was really looking for a way to participate in Winterfest," DeLooze said. "Hopefully, this will continue year after year. It will become a Christmas tradition that parents and grandparents will look forward to bringing their children to see, and that's why I've actually wanted to do this project since the early 1980s. That is just about the time that Sibley stopped doing it. My son got to see it. My daughter never got to see it. And I just wanted to be able to bring something like this back so my kids and grandkids can enjoy this."

To pull off all this joy, DeLooze said he and the folks at his small church will need additional help from the community, such as volunteers from community groups as well as community donations. He said the project will cost from $7,000 to $9,000 and that $3,000 has already been raised.  He has a list of items for people to donate and what volunteers can do to help.  For more information, email Jim DeLooze, jim@delooze.com.

Spiritual Connections

By Press Release

Arbor House, 350 Bank St., Batavia. We are a community of believers and disciples of Jesus Christ. Arbor House was founded to be a place of safety, refreshment, and renewal for all. Each week we gather to hear the spoken Word, eat from the Lord’s Table, and enjoy fellowship with all who come. If you have been hurt by a church before we want to be the place where you can find healing and hope. All are welcome! Service will be in person on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and available live stream on Facebook. For more information about Arbor House visit arborhousefmc.com.

Alabama-Basom Methodist Church, 1392 Lewiston Road, Alabama. Join us for worship at 10:30 a.m. This week our sermon title is "Faith, Hope, Trust", led by Celinda McQuistion (CLM). 

Ascension Parish - Roman Catholic Church, 135 Swan St., Batavia. We are open for Mass in the Church on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We hope to see you there! 

Assemblies of God-New Covenant Chapel, 6690 Oak Orchard Rd., Elba.14058. We welcome all seeking a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through His finished work on The Cross with The Power of The Holy Spirit. John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you want a small, close-knit church family and a place to make a difference, please join us. Worship Service is Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Bible Study Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m. Contact us at (585)-757-6651 (585)-969-1528 or visit us on Youtube.

Batavia Assembly of God, 24 North Spruce St, Batavia. Join us for coffee in our café before our Sunday morning service that begins at 10:30 a.m. We offer "Movement Kids" (age 4 - grade 5) at 10:30 a.m. and "MVMT YTH" (grades 6-12) meet on Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Batavia First Baptist Church, 306 E. Main St., Pastor David Weidman, where "Christ the Center, Love for All" is very evident to all who enter. We invite you to our Full Gospel Sunday services at 10 a.m.; The Thrift Shoppe is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., come and browse in our beautifully renovated space. Donations are accepted during business hours. You can also enjoy a light lunch at Lydia's Kitchen while you shop. Questions? Email: firstbaptist2002@yahoo.com. Call us at (585)343-9002.

Batavia First Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Main St., Batavia, invites you to join us for in-person worship on Sundays at 9 a.m. (Arise-relaxed with band music) or 10:45 a.m. (Sanctuary -liturgical and organ) or on Livestream via Facebook Live for both times at: https://fpcbatavia.org/  or https://www.facebook.com/fpcbatavia/videos/.

Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia. Our mission & vision statement:  “To be disciples, we must listen, learn, lead, and love our way to God.” Reverend Wayne Mort leads our worship service every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. in the church sanctuary. Childcare is offered for children birth-3 years old and Sunday school is offered for children ages 4-14 years old. You can also find the service on Facebook. We invite you to learn more about Batavia First UMC by visiting our website at www.BataviaFirstumc.com.

Byron Presbyterian Church, 6293 W. Main St., Byron. Pastor: Rev. Michael Fry. Musical Director: Laurence Tallman. Service and Sunday School at 9:45 A.M. Guest Preacher – Laurence Tallman. Scripture Readings: Psalm 22:23-31 and Romans 4:  13-25. Message: “Hail the Sun/Son of Righteousness!”. All are welcome!

Calvary Baptist Church of Le Roy, 8703 Lake Street Road, Le Roy.  If you do not already have a church that you attend regularly, we would like to invite you to give Calvary Baptist Church a try.  It would be a pleasure to have you join us for worship and fellowship on a Sunday morning or at one of our other mid-week events. As a multi-generational congregation that enjoys our time together, our Sunday worship service typically includes singing a mix of both traditional and contemporary songs and hymns, a children’s message, and a sermon from the Word of God. Our Sunday worship service begins at 10:15 a.m.

City Church, 210 E. Main St., Batavia, invites you for our Sunday morning services at 8:30 and 10 a.m. with Kids ministry at 10 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.  Everyone is welcome to join us for worship and a message. We believe in doing life together and would love to do life with YOU!  You can also connect with us online at www.thecitychurch.com, through our Facebook page, The City Church, or our YouTube channel.  We do life together.

Corfu United Presbyterian Church 63 Alleghany Road, Corfu. Corfu United Presbyterian Church welcomes all visitors to come to worship with us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. in person or via our Facebook livestream led by Pastor Evan Wildhack. Our mission at CUPC is to connect with Christ, connect with others, and connect others with Christ. Weekly Bible study is held on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. CUPC's food pantry is open on the third Saturday of the month from 9 - 10 a.m. Contact the church office by phone at (585) 599-6414 or via email at office@corfuchurch.org Office hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cornerstone Church of East Pembroke, part of American Baptist Churches USA, 2583 Main Road, East Pembroke. Our Sunday service is at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Glenn Bloom preaching. Bible Study is every Wednesday at 10 a.m. We are a small church and welcome new members. (585) 762-8721

Darien Disciples Church, 1951 Broadway (Route 20), worship at 9 a.m. on Sundays. Prayer requests to Jerry at: jeromedmorrison@yahoo.com.

East Bethany Presbyterian Church, 5735 Ellicott Street Road, East Bethany. Our Sunday morning worship service is held at 10:30 a.m. and is led by Rev. Dr. Shiela McCullough. Visitors are always welcome. You can find out more information on our Facebook page or by emailing us at ebpresbyterian@gmail.com.

Elba First Baptist Church, 31 S. Main St., Elba, is open for the main service in person at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays. For more information about our church go to www.fbcelba.net. The pastor is Michael Davis. Email: office@fbcelba.net / Phone (585) 757-2722

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 190 Oak St., Batavia. All are welcome to join us for Sunday Worship at 11 a.m. and Bible Study (currently studying the book of Revelation) at 9:45 a.m.  We are a small church where each person is treated like they are family. This week the message is to run, don't walk, to Jesus. We hope to see you there!

EverPresent Church, 4 Batavia City Centre, Batavia(off of Bank Street). We welcome you to come to experience the Holy Spirit in a fresh way. Jesus wants to set you free from your bondages. Wednesday Service at 6 p.m. & Sunday Service at 10:30 a.m., Toddlers dismissed at 10:15 a.m., Children's Church dismissed after 2nd Worship Song. For more info visit www.everpresentchurch.com. 

Grace Baptist Church, 238 Vine St., Batavia. Sunday Morning Worship begins at 9:30 a.m. Grace Kids for ages nursery – 5th grade meets during the 9:30 hour. The service is live-streamed at www.gracebatavia.org. or view it on our Facebook page: Grace Baptist. Kid Zone & Grace Student Ministries meet on Sunday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m. Visit our website or our Facebook page for other events happening throughout the year. 

Indian Falls Methodist Church, 7908 Alleghany Road, Corfu. We have our worship service at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings, led by Rev. Karen L. McCaffery. This week's message is  "To Surrender is a Choice". To view our services online please go to our website https://indianfallsgmc.com/ for a link for Live Streaming. We offer Sunday School for all ages after the Worship Service at 11:30 a.m. Our next Youth Group meeting will be on Sunday, March 3rd from 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Le Roy First Presbyterian Church, 7 Clay St., Le Roy. Sunday morning in-person worship at 10 a.m. followed by coffee fellowship. We are an open and accepting church of all people.

Morganville United Church of Christ, 8466 Morganville Rd, Stafford. Please join us and Pastor James Morasco this first Sunday of Lent for our 10 a.m. service. Fellowship and refreshments will follow.

North Darien Bible Church, 9768 Simonds Road, Corfu. We are open! Sunday worship service begins at 10 a.m. Children's Church classes are available for children ages birth through sixth grade, including a classroom for children with special needs. For more information, visit our website. You can also watch LIVE on our Facebook or YouTube channel. Join us from 9 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of every month for our free community closet, full of clothing, coats, and shoes for all. (585) 547-9646.

Northgate Free Methodist Church, 8160 Bank Street Road (North Campus), Batavia. Get ready for an exploration of the Gospel of Matthew in our new message series: "Love God. Love People.” The title of this study of Matthew is much more than a catchphrase; it is a call to action. We’ll dig into what it means to love God and love others even when life gets complicated. We want to push you to rethink how you live out the Gospel message in your own day-to-day life. Invite your friends and family as we embark on this adventure of love, growth, and transformation together! Join us Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday morning at 9:30 and 11 a.m. For more information about Northgate Free Methodist Church and to watch our services online go to northgatefmc.com or facebook.com/northgatefmc.

Oakfield-Alabama Baptist Church, 2210 Judge Road., Oakfield, NY 14125. Join us for Sunday School for all ages at 9:45 a.m., followed by our worship service at 11 a.m. every Sunday! Visit our website (www.oabchurch.com) for additional information about our church, our beliefs, upcoming activities, and past messages. Men’s and Ladies’ Bible studies also meet on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on the church grounds. We look forward to worshiping and fellowshipping with you! Questions? Email Pastor Matt Ervin at mervin@tyndale.edu.

Our Lady of Mercy (44 Lake St. LeRoy) & St. Brigid (18 Gibson St. Bergen) parishes; Parish Office - 44 Lake Street, Le Roy. Weekend Masses Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (livestreamed); Sunday at 7:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. (livestreamed), and 5:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Mercy. Also, Sunday at 9 a.m. at St. Brigid. Daily Masses Monday-Friday at 7:30 a.m. (livestreamed) and Saturday at 9 a.m. at Our Lady of Mercy and Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at St. Brigid. View on YouTube and Facebook. Please visit the parish website (https://www.ourladyofmercyleroy.org/).

Resurrection Parish (St. Mary and St. Joseph churches in Batavia). St. Joseph’s Church masses are on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at noon. Confessions are held at St. Joe's on Saturdays from 3 - 3:30 p.m. St. Mary's Church mass is on Sundays at 7:30 a.m. Vigil & Holy Days to be announced.

St. James Episcopal Church, 405 E. Main St., Batavia. Join us on Sundays at 9 a.m. on zoom, 10 a.m. in the church building, and on Facebook Live. Links and the bulletin can be found on our website: https://www.sjecbataviany.org/

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1 E. Main St., Le Roy, is open for in-person services at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. Communion will be offered to people in their seats and will only include bread. We welcome you to join us -- either in person or online. For more information, visit our website.

St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, 18 W. Main St., Corfu. Weekend Masses are celebrated: Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Corfu Church Site; and at 9 a.m. Sunday at the East Pembroke Church site, 8656 Church St., East Pembroke. Weekday Masses are celebrated on: Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in East Pembroke and Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Corfu followed by Adoration. Corfu Masses are also available for viewing on our YouTube channel. All information is on the church website and on Facebook. Email: stmaxkolbe09@gmail.com (585)-599-4833.

St. Padre Pio Parish, St. Cecilia, 56 Maple Ave., Oakfield Mass is celebrated on Sundays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. OR Our Lady of Fatima Church, 65 S. Main St., Elba, Mass is celebrated on Saturdays at 5:45 p.m. and Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

St Paul’s Episcopal Church, 6188 Main Road, Stafford. In-person service, including Holy Communion, is at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings. All  Are Welcome. 

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Batavia, 31 Washington Ave, Batavia. This coming Sunday (February 25th, 2024) we will celebrate The Second Sunday in Lent & Lutheran Schools Sunday. We warmly welcome guest Pastor, Rev. Carl Prostka. The sermon theme: “We'll Make It” is based on the scripture from Romans 5:1-11. Adult Bible Class will resume on March 3 at 8:30 a.m. and will continue with their study on Revelations. Our service begins at 10 a.m. or can be viewed 'live' on Facebook. Our Youth class will meet from 8:45 - 9:30 a.m. for their study on Romans. Sunday School children will attend the service through the children's sermon and will then go to their Sunday school rooms for their studies. Communion is part of the service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Our Quilters group meets on Tuesdays from 9-11 a.m. God continues to bless us richly as we focus on Him and His plans for our congregation and community.

The Church In Alexander, 10540 Main St., Alexander. Join us for Sunday Worship at 10 a.m. weekly. For more information please visit our website at www.thechurchinalexander.com. We offer a Free Food Pantry for people in our community, please call ahead if you need items from our pantry. For more information on Programs and services please contact us at (585)591-1765 or by email at thechurchinalexander@gmail.com. Church office hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:15 - 11:15 a.m.

Trinity United Methodist Church, 75 Main St. in Attica, worships together at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays. All are welcome! Contact Frank White at uncleferter@msn.com for a ZOOM link or for prayer requests.

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"Spiritual Connections" -- The Batavian will post updates to connect people with their places of worship, religious services, fellowship opportunities, and/or spiritual advisors, etc. There is no charge for this service.

If you have information to announce, please email: news@thebatavian.com

Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation accepting applications Feb. 26-March 18 for 2024 Community Youth Grant

By Press Release

Press Release:

The board of directors of the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation is excited to announce the opening of their 2024 Community Youth Grant application. 

This grant will be awarded to charitable organizations whose primary mission is facilitating youth activities for children up to age 18. It supports one of three mission priorities established by the foundation - "to assist youth organizations and youth athletics." 

The 2024 Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Community Youth Grants will be awarded based on the schedule below. This will be the only grant cycle for 2024.

2024 Funding Cycle:

  • Application form available on Feb. 26 (ONLINE ONLY)
  • Applications are due on March 18
  • Award notices will be sent to applicants on April 11

On Feb. 26 the online grant application will be available at https://michaelshope.org/grants. There are no geographic limitations for recipients, but preference may be given to the Western New York region. 

Event or program advertising requests will be directed to the appropriate grant cycle. Typical grant awards range from $250 - $1,500 depending on number of applicants and funds available for each year.

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation, Inc., established in 2007, is in memory of Michael C. Napoleone, the eight-year-old son of Mark and Laurie Napoleone from Batavia who died from Burkitts Lymphoma/Leukemia, an aggressive form of blood cancer. During Michael's illness, the community rallied around the family to assist with food, gas, medical bills, and other necessities.

The not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization was created to give back to those who cared, to give forward to those in need, and to support research efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer. For more information to support the foundation, please visit www.michaelshope.org.

BND gets semifinal win in Class B hockey

By Howard B. Owens
batavia notre dame united hockey

Batavia Notre Dame United moved one step closer to a Section V title in hockey, winning the Class B semifinal over Canandaigua on Wednesday 5-4.

Scoring:

  • Jameson Motyka scored two times and had one assist
  • Ivan Milovidov scored two times and had one assist
  • Brady Johnson scored once and added one assist.
  • Orian Lama had two assists

Goalie Rhys Tanner made 18 saves on 22 shots.

Mason Smith had 2 goals and 1 assist for Canandaigua.  

While United managed 40 shots in the game, Canandaigua goalie Charlie Fuller stopped 35.

United will play for the Class B title on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at RIT against Webster Thomas.

Photos by Pete Welker.

batavia notre dame united hockey
batavia notre dame united hockey
batavia notre dame united hockey
batavia notre dame united hockey
batavia notre dame united hockey
batavia notre dame united hockey
batavia notre dame united hockey
batavia notre dame united hockey
batavia notre dame united hockey

WROTB to honor Batavian Richard Siebert with plaque in new-look Genesee banquet room

By Mike Pettinella
Richard Siebert

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. officials today said they will be honoring former director Batavian Richard Siebert for his many years of service to Batavia Downs and Batavia Downs Gaming.

WROTB President/Chief Executive Officer Henry Wojtaszek, at today’s board meeting at the Park Road facility, said that Siebert will be recognized at a noon reception on March 28 with a plaque in the newly remodeled Genesee banquet room on the second floor of Batavia Downs Gaming.

Siebert (photo at right) served on the board for 29 years until resigning in early May after it was announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul that the governing body would be dismantled and restructured.

Wojtaszek said that he’s contacted Siebert about the recognition.

“Dick said he’s going to try to bring his family,” he said. “He was very touched, and he definitely wants to be here.”

Wojtaszek also raved over changes that are being made to what had been known as the Grandstands banquet room.

“Our staff did a great job,” he said. “We’re expanding our catering services … and the room looks fantastic. It’s not done yet, but we’re pretty close to it.”

In other developments from the meeting:

-- Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach reported five-year earnings and surcharge distribution figures totaling $28,387,714.

“With Western OTB, if we have losses in a year, we cannot offset future earnings with those losses. So, for really a four-year period (not including 2020 when there were no earnings), we've distributed $28.4 million, which I feel for a small venue is extremely impressive,” she said.

WROTB distributed $5.8 million in surcharge and earnings to its 17 member municipalities in 2021, a year after having only 722,740 in surcharge distributions, due to the pandemic.

The number jumped to $8.4 million in 2022 and $9.7 million last year, including fourth-quarter earnings distributions of just shy of $1.9 million.

Genesee County received $208,114 in surcharge and earnings distributions in 2023, up from $179,105 in 2022.

Looking forward, she said the corporation is aiming for a net win (money left in the video lottery terminals after payouts) in 2024 of $89 million.

“If that’s the case, it could very well (exceed $9.7 million),” she said.

Leach pointed out that “back in the day, when our pari-mutuel (horse race wagering) was, like 1990 when it was $200 million, our surcharge distributions were close to $4 million.”

“That’s not the case anymore, but our earnings distribution – $9.1 million for 2023 – was the highest in the corporation’s history,” she noted.

-- Board Chair Dennis Bassett (City of Rochester) said that the company’s internal investigation into a lawsuit by three former bartenders at Batavia Downs Gaming is ongoing.

“We talked about it in executive session and our investigation continues, but I have nothing new to report,” he said, adding that he hasn’t heard anything more from attorneys representing Tara Sweet of Elba, Corrine Armison of Batavia and Brooklynn Cline of Belmont.

The trio is suing the corporation, claiming wage theft by supervisors who kept a share of pooled tips. Also, Sweet is alleging sexual harassment against Chief Operating Officer Scott Kiedrowski and Director of Security Daniel Wood.

Kiedrowski and Wood are named as defendants, along with WROTB and Batavia Downs Gaming, in the suit that was filed in Supreme Court in Genesee County. Both Kiedrowski and Wood are working while the lawsuit unfolds.

-- The board voted to amend a pair of resolutions authorizing the purchase of concert tickets and parking passes for all shows at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in 2024 and for Buffalo Bills’ licensing fees, tickets and a suite through 2026.

The Darien Lake cost went up from $30,000 to $35,000 while the cost for the Bills’ games has been set at $157,202.90 in 2024, $163,413.05 in 2025 and $165,733.70 in 2026.

When asked about the value received for these expenses, Bassett firmly defended the need to continue this practice.

“I will stand up in front of anybody. We’re an organization that is competing against the municipalities around us, competing against other people for their time and we have to treat our special customers special,” he said.

“We have a benefit of having a winning football team in our presence. And I've been on the board 14 years, and it hasn't been a winning football team all the time. As a matter of fact, when I first came on the board, we couldn't give the Buffalo Bills tickets away.”

Bassett acknowledged that WROTB has gotten “slammed for entertainment,” but added that directors have put processes in place to identify who is attending.

“We provide host, and the host entertains our customers. And as far as I know, it's a good investment for us to entertain our what I consider our special customers. And were going to continue that.”

File photo by Joanne Beck.

No appeal planned after DWI charge dismissed when DA's office didn't comply with discovery rules

By Howard B. Owens

The District Attorney's Office will not appeal the dismissal of a DWI charge against a Bethany resident over a procedural error by prosecutors, Assistant District Attorney William Zickl says.

The case was dismissed on appeal by County Court Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini, upholding an earlier ruling by City Court Judge Durin R. Rogers that a defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated because of the procedural error.

Zickl told The Batavian in a statement that filing an appeal would require the DA's office to convince judges at the appellate level that a question of law -- not facts -- was in dispute.  A state appeals court taking on such a case is rare and far from automatic, Zickl said, so the DA's office would need to make a compelling case that the law was improperly applied in dismissing the charge.

"I believe there is a substantial threshold issue presented in this case regarding whether such a pure question of law exists to allow the Court of Appeals to entertain the matter," Zickl said. "Based upon the foregoing procedural backdrop and the fact that this decision will not have broad application due to its highly unusual fact pattern, we have decided not to attempt to gain leave to appeal the decision of the County Court to the Court of Appeals."

Rogers dismissed the case, according to a court document, because the DA's office was not ready for trial more than a year after the arrest of the defendant. The Sixth Amendment guarantees those accused of a crime the right to a speedy trial.

Background
On July 3, 2021, Gregory R. Solomonidis was arrested in the city of Batavia following a traffic stop on East Main Street. Solomonidis was accused of driving with a BAC of .08 or greater.

On Aug. 26, 2021, at a City Court hearing on the case, ADA Joseph Robinson filed with the court what is known as a Certificate of Compliance, which is a document that informs the court and the defense that all material in possession of the prosecution that the defendant has a right to review has been turned over to the defense.  The defense has a right to review all material relevant to the charges, including material that might aid the accused.

On Sept. 17, the defense filed a motion seeking dismissal because the prosecution did not provide a copy of the dispatch center recording of police transmissions relevant to the arrest of Solomonidis. The prosecution countered that the discovery material included notice that the recording existed with instructions on acquiring a copy of the recording if the defense wished to listen to it. 

According to court documents, ADA Jenna Bauer, who took over the case at this time, argued in court that as a former dispatcher, she understood the difficulty in retrieving recordings given the limitations of the communication system in the dispatch center and that retrieving recordings took considerable time for a dispatcher.

On Nov. 30, 2021, the court held a hearing to examine the evidence in the case and the arresting officer was called to the stand.  During cross-examination, the officer was asked about his prior employment as a part-time police officer in the village of Perry. The officer testified that he had left the job because he believed he had violated the department's social media policy with a post or posts on Snapchat.  In court documents, this is called "the Snapchat incident." 

The officer said the department did not discipline him due to this incident.  Batavia PD subsequently hired him, and he remains a Batavia police officer.

Even so, the defense argued that this incident, which was apparently not discussed in detail during the hearing, constituted "50-a" material, or material in an officer's personnel file that could conceivably impeach the officer's credibility. 

The court gave the prosecution -- in keeping the existing case law -- more time to comply with the discovery requirements.

At a hearing on March 1, 2022, Bauer informed that no effort had been made to obtain information on the "Snapchat incident."  On March 17, she requested more time to obtain the information. 

"I have started my inquiry with the Perry Police Department," she told the court.

On March 28, the DA's office received a letter from the village of Perry clerk regarding the incident, and that letter was provided to the defense.

A month later, Rogers dismissed the charge against Solomonidis.

Appeal to County Court
In her ruling, Cianfrini overturned Rogers on the issue of the dispatch center recording. She determined the DA's office had complied with discovery rules by informing the defense the recording existed and providing instructions on how to obtain it and that once the defense made a request in court, the DA's office produced the recording within two days.

Cianfrini did find, however, that prosecutors failed to exercise "due diligence" in trying to acquire documents from the Perry Police Department regarding the "Snapchat incident." 

Cianfrini compared prosecutors' actions with a ruling in another case, People vs. Godfred, where a prosecutor provided extensive details on how she tried to obtain discovery material but could not.  The documentation provided to the court in that case demonstrated "due diligence" and "reasonable effort" as required by the law.

"... the Appellant's Brief is absolutely silent as to the steps the various prosecutors assigned to this case took to ensure that it had ascertained the existence of all discoverable information as it relates to impeachment materials, most notably the "Snapchat incident," Cianfrini wrote. "There is no explanation as to why the People were unaware of these potential impeachment materials. It is nearly impossible for this Court to gauge how obvious the missing materials would have been, given the dearth of information provided by the People. Moreover, the People provided a letter from the Perry Village Clerk. No letter was received from the PPD itself."

And she continues, "Unlike the prosecutor in Godfred, no clear record was made by any of the prosecutors assigned to this case as to specifically whom at the PPD was contacted to obtain the information (such as the police chief or supervising officer), method(s) of contact and attempted contact, or if they even spoke with the Officer himself about the violation after learning about it."

Cianfrini is a former first district attorney in Genesee County and noted in a footnote that the lack of due diligence could result from multiple ADAs handling the case, which led to the procedural issue being overlooked. 

"Given the lack of record of the efforts taken to ascertain the existence of the Snapchat incident, this Court is constrained to find that the prosecutors did not exercise due diligence or make reasonable inquiries to discover the existence of the same," Cianfrini ruled. "Thus, the initial COC and any subsequently filed COC were illusory, and the People were not ready for trial."

The COC is the Certificate of Compliance that all discovery has been turned over.  If evidence is missing, the legal term for the defect is "illusory." 

The lack of readiness for trial denied Solomonidis his right to a speedy trial, Cianfrini ruled. Thus, she upheld the dismissal of the DWI charge.

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch expressed dismay at the case's outcome, saying that the officer in question is a valued law enforcement officer.  He issued the following statement:

A recent ruling by a Genesee County Court dismissed a DWI charge made by a Batavia Police Department officer because of a prosecutorial error. 

The Court determined that the prosecution did not disclose that the arresting officer resigned from his position as a part-time officer with the Village of Perry Police Department over a social media matter. The officer resigned and subsequently joined the Batavia Police Department.

Our officer fully disclosed this matter during his interview with us. The Batavia Police Department fully supports our officer, and he has an exemplary service record.

O'Lacy's Irish Pub to continue with new owner

By Joanne Beck
o'lacy's

City of Batavia businessman Derek Geib confirmed to The Batavian Thursday that he's applying for a liquor license for O'Lacy's Irish Pub as part of a transaction to purchase the School Street bar and restaurant.

The site has been vacant since former owner Roger Christiano announced in November 2023 that he was closing due to family illness. 

Geib, who owns other successful downtown places, including Coffee Press, Bourbon & Burger, and Roman's, said that "in the next few weeks, the deal will be closed, and then we'll go onto the next phase" of re-opening the pub. He could not give a definite date as to when that will be as of yet, he said. 

Sponsored Post: Avoid the rush and get your GeneSEEtheEclipse commemorative ISO certified-safe eclipse viewing glasses now

By Lisa Ace
Chamber of Commerce


Avoid the rush and get your GeneSEEtheEclipse commemorative ISO certified-safe eclipse viewing glasses now! Stop into the Genesee County Visitor Center in Batavia today to purchase your glasses, order online at ShopGeneseeTheEclipse.com for pick up at the Visitor Center, or to ship direct to you.

Online orders can be shipped through March 15th cut-off date.  We have a limited supply, so don’t delay!

HUD awards $1.1M to GO Health with improved home safety in mind

By Joanne Beck

A federal Housing and Urban Development grant of more than $1.1 million for Genesee Orleans Health Department will put money right into the homes that need help to combat everything from infectious pests and noxious materials to fire hazards and ventilation obstructions, says Kaitlin Pettine, director of Health Promotion.

The grant of $1,182,681 was announced this week as part of a larger $39 million package for 15 states, including three recipients in New York counties of Albany, Madison and Genesee.

Families can own or rent a residence and would qualify by having some type of health and safety hazard, Pettine said. They would be assessed for radon, lead, mold, fire, trip, fall and fire hazards, ventilation and pest issues, asthma triggers, and “anything else that can reduce health and safety for residents,” she said.

“Funding from the program will be used to hire contractors and purchase supplies to remediate hazards found in the home,” she said to The Batavian Wednesday. “Many of these families disproportionately face disease and injuries in the home because of housing-related health hazards but are unable to remediate the hazards themselves. The ability to fix these health and safety hazards will help families, especially children, older adults, and people with disabilities, to live healthier, safer, and more independently in the home.” 

For example, radon can negatively affect one’s health, and GLOW counties have a high average indoor radon level, she said. This program may help to mitigate that substance in those eligible homes. 

Once a household qualifies, staff would then complete a “Healthy Homes” inspection, and if problems are detected, staff would complete a scope of work and coordinate with contractors to finish the project. Owner-occupied residents and landlords with eligible tenants are able to apply for the program.

“Another example would be if a ramp is needed for a resident to safely get up porch steps,” she said. “The grant may be able to help pay to get a ramp installed to prevent fall hazards.”

Pettine expects the local program to begin in mid-April for the GLOW region, as it is open to Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming county families that meet low-income eligibility of at or below 80 percent of the area median income level. It will run for 42 months, and GO Health staff is hoping to renew the grant for another term after this one ends, she said. 

“We are pleased so many local and non-profit leaders are interested in participating in this grant program in order to make the homes of low-income people safer and healthier,” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in a press release. “Our partners are acting to intentionally address home health and safety hazards, and HUD is proud to support them.” 

Officials said that these investments will protect low-income families and children by eliminating significant health and safety hazards in more than 2,400 homes nationwide, including 55 families in the GLOW region, provide resources to build capacity for healthy home interventions and support the development of local workforces to hire housing renovation contractors and healthy housing practitioners to complete critical healthy homes work.  

For more about GO Health's community health services, go to www.GOHealthNY.org.

New Genesee County Jail inches closer to completion, still on course for March 15 deadline

By Joanne Beck
new jail feb 2024
Photo by Howard Owens

Hard to believe, but nearly two years have passed since the groundbreaking for the new Genesee County Jail, and officials are now talking about its completion being on time for this spring.

"I took a tour of the jail. Things look really good," Legislator Gary Maha said during this week's Public Service meeting.

Beyond aesthetics, crews have been on site ensuring that safety, infrastructure and technology have also been properly put in place since construction began in May 2022 after several years of the county's initial planning and saving for the $70 million, 184-bed facility. 

Regular updates by The Pike Company Senior Project Manager Carl York have kept legislators apprised about change orders, on-site tasks, weather issues, supply chain delays, worker injuries (there have been few), and the expected timeline with each passing month.

About 100 oversized cement pods made news in January 2023 as they were slowly hauled down Route 5 to the site of the new jail at 3839 West Main Street Road, Batavia. A ceremonial beam signing took place in July 2023 as work crews continued to put the pieces together for what York has continuously labeled a financially on-target and on-schedule project.

True, there have been supply chain issues and change orders throughout the construction process, but all the while York said spending was on budget. At one point, the timeline lost seven days due to rain, but the project remained on course, he said, and that still holds true for a March 15 deadline.

Legislature Chairwoman Shelley Stein asked if there would be tours available for remaining legislators, and Deputy Highway Superintendent Paul Osborn said most likely by April. The prison is expected to be up and running in June or July.

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TAKE NOTICE THAT The Town of Elba is requesting Bids for the 2024 Cemetery Mowing season, with extra clean-up and trimming of trees/bushes. This will include three (3) cemeteries, Pine Hill Cemetery on Chapel Street, Maple Lawn Cemetery on Maple Avenue and Springvale Cemetery on Edgerton Road. Bids are for a 1-year contract and the successful bidder must provide their own $500,000.00 Liability Insurance certificate. A complete list of specifications/properties can be obtained by contacting the Town Clerk’s Office at (585)757-2762, ext. 10. Sealed bids should be clearly marked “Elba Cemetery Mowing Bids” and submitted no later than 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 7, 2024 at the Town Clerk’s Office, 7133 Oak Orchard Road, Elba, NY 14058. Bids will be opened at 1:00 p.m. at the Town of Elba Town Hall on Monday, March 11, 2024. The Town Board reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids that do not comply with their specifications. By Order of the Town Board, Trisha Werth Town Clerk
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Part -Time Children's Library Clerk Position available at the Haxton Memorial Public Library Application is available on the library website: haxtonlibrary.org Or apply at 3 North Pearl Street , Oakfield. Any questions please call 948-9900
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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying. We are a non-for-profit organization that provides its services free of charge. We run on a supportive community and selfless volunteers. With out both of those we would not be able to serve our community. If you have a caregiver's heart and 2 to 4 hours a week, we would love for you to become a part of our Crossroads House family! No experience required, we will train you and provide mentors and experienced volunteers to guide you. Please go to Crossroadshouse.com to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email Ashleymanuel@crossroadshouse.com
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