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November 6, 2021 - 12:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, oae, oakfield-alabama, elba.

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The Oakfield-Alabama/Elba Aggies advanced Friday in Section V Class D semifinal competition with a resounding 54-20 win over Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen.

Gaige Armbrewster gained 161 yards on 14 carries and scored three touchdowns. Noah Currier had four carries for 152 yards and scored twice. He also had a 63-yard interception.

QB Bodie Hyde was 2-for-5 passing for 64 yards, and he rushed for 56 yards on six carries and scored two TDs.  On defense, he had 11 tackles.

Brayden Smith had 17 tackles, CJ Gottler 12 and a fumble recovery.   Ethan Cramer and TJ Andrews had nine tackles each and Kaden Cusmano had eight.  Connor Scott came up with three tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery return for a 35-yard TD.

"It was nice to see our boys get a big win on their home field in a semifinal matchup," said Head Coach Tyler Winter.  "We did a lot of good things tonight, but also need to clean up a few things to be ready for next week.

"We're excited about the win, but we are already thinking about the next game.  Our group is focused and ready for the challenge that next week is going to present."

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here.

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November 6, 2021 - 11:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chipotle Mexican Grill, batavia, news.

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Mitch Gonyea wanted to take his mother Sonja to Chipotle Mexican Grill yesterday on its first day of business in Genesee County for her birthday.  Sonja's husband, who provided the photo (taken by the Chipotle manager) and information, said they were super excited about the opening and got there early -- 10 a.m. for a 10:45 a.m. opening.  The manager noticed them outside and figured they were cold so he let them wait inside the restaurant until the official opening, making them the first customers of the new location on Veterans Memorial Drive.  As the first customers, the manager gave them each a T-shirt.

November 6, 2021 - 11:22am
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, notify, Section V football, Section V girls volleyball.

Updated, 9:50 p.m. Nov. 7:

FOOTBALL
SEMIFINALS
CLASS B

Batavia 60, Wayne 21
Honeoye Falls-Lima 41, Dansville/Wayland-Cohocton 18
Finals: No. 2 Batavia vs. No. 1 HF-L, Nov. 13, 6 p.m., at Pittsford Sutherland High School

CLASS C
Haverling 14, Le Roy 7
East Rochester/Gananda 29, Letchworth/Warsaw/Perry 13
Finals: No. 1 ER/G vs. Haverling, Nov. 13, noon, at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School

CLASS D
Avon 13, Alexander 7
Oakfield-Alabama/Elba 54, Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen 20
Finals: No. 1 O-A/Elba vs. No. 2 Avon, Nov. 12, 7 p.m., at Van Detta Stadium, Batavia

EIGHT-MAN
Red Jacket 52, Pembroke 12

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
FINALS
CLASS C

Le Roy defeated Attica, 20-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-21 (story below)
Le Roy, 22-1, advances to Far West Regionals on Nov. 13 at 2:30 p.m. vs. Portville of Section VI or Skaneateles of Section III. The game will be played at Le Roy High School.

CLASS D1
Alexander defeated Letchworth, 25-21, 25-21, 17-25, 25-23
Courtney Schum, tournament MVP; Sam Sawyer, Alyssa Kramer, all-tournament selections
Alexander, 19-3, advances to a Class D crossover game at 6 p.m. Tuesday vs. Fillmore. The game will be played at Pavilion High School.

CLASS D2
Pavilion defeated Harley-Allendale-Columbia, 25-11, 25-15, 25-11
Adeline Milligan, tournament MVP; Lauren Kingsley, Shannon Campbell, all-tournament selections
Pavilion, 23-0, advances to the overall Class D finals on Thursday vs. the winner of Alexander-Fillmore at a site to be determined.

November 6, 2021 - 12:04am

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In a battle of Section V volleyball powers, the Le Roy Oatkan Knights rallied to defeat Attica in four games for the Class C championship Friday night at Avon High School.

Coach Sue Staba’s squad dropped the opening game, 25-20, before coming back to post 25-23, 25-16 and 25-21 wins for its first sectional title since 2017.

Second-seeded Le Roy, 22-1, has advanced to the finals for the past seven seasons.

Staba was named Class C Coach of the Year following the match.

“The girls worked hard all season for this,” Staba said. “They were not going to give up even after dropping the first set. We settled in during game two and started playing our game.”

Le Roy went up 19-14 in the second game, but Attica scored eight of the next 12 points to close within one at 23-22 before the Knights prevailed.

In the third game, Le Roy took control early and the Blue Devils could get no closer than 15-10.

The fourth set was close throughout, with Attica taking a 17-14 lead before Le Roy pulled into a 17-17 tie. With the score tied at 20, sophomore Dana Reschke served the Knights to a 24-20 and, following an Attica point, Le Roy ended it on a Blue Devils’ miscue.

Tournament MVP Allie Ingles filled the stat sheet for the winners, tallying 13 kills (hits that were unreturnable), 11 digs (first contact after the opposition returns the ball) and two blocks (defensive play at the net).

Ingles received plenty of support, with senior co-captains Riley Wood and Hailey Johnson recording 30 digs and 14 assists, respectively, en route to being named to the All-Tournament Team.

Reschke registered 13 assists, while junior Emma Hobart had 19 service points and six kills; senior co-captain Quinn Doty had four kills and five digs; junior Katie Salphine had three kills and four blocks, and junior Sophia Braun contributed four kills.

Other members of the Le Roy team are juniors Rylee Burns and McKenna Coniber, sophomore Lily Uberty and freshman Kylee Green.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team and all of their hard work and dedication,” Staba added.

The fourth-seeded Blue Devils, who end their season at 18-3, have been in the finals the past three years – and took the Class C1 crown in 2019.

Coach Nici Parkhurst credited her squad for hanging in there against a Le Roy team that finished the season with 19 straight victories.

“We played tough defense and served well tonight,” she said. “The team worked hard and stayed in each set.”

Sophomore Ellie Cusmano (five kills, three aces and 24 digs) and senior Tori Walker (three aces and 29 digs) were named to the All-Tournament Team. Senior Chase Harding added six kills and nine digs, senior Emily Gadd had nine kills and Olivia Mercado chipped in with five kills and three blocks.

Le Roy moves on to regional competition with a game at home next Saturday (Nov. 13) at 2:30 p.m. against either Eden or Portville of Section VI.

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Le Roy's Hailey Johnson spikes one over the net past two Attica defenders. No. 13 for Le Roy is Emma Hobart.

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Tournament MVP Allie Ingles (5) gets off the ground in an attempt to get the ball past Attica's Chase Harding, left, and Emily Gadd.

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Attica's Olivia Mercado makes a play on the ball at the net.

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The Oatkan Knights got plenty of support from their fans.

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Quinn Doty (2) gets ready as Hailey Johnson sets it up.

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Attica's Maddie Robinson, Chase Harding and Tori Walker ready for the next vollley. 

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Le Roy Coach Sue Staba and her Section V Class C championship squad.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase prints, click here.

November 5, 2021 - 11:18pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, notify, Batavia High Blue Devils, Section V football.

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The Batavia High Blue Devils took care of business in convincing fashion on Friday night before the home fans by rushing for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns in a 60-21 rout of Wayne in a Section V Class B semifinal football game at Van Detta Stadium.

Junior running backs Aiden Anderson and Cam McClinic (photo at top) combined for the five touchdowns on the ground, with Anderson amassing 142 yards on 16 carries and McClinic picking up 151 yards on just five attempts.

"Our offensive line did a fantastic job winning the line of scrimmage and the running backs did their job -- they ran hard and saw the field well," said Batavia Coach Brennan Briggs." 

The victory sets up a rematch between second-seeded Batavia, 9-1, and No. 1 Honeoye Falls-Lima, 10-0, at 6 p.m. next Saturday night at Pittsford Sutherland High School for the Class B crown. HF-L defeated the Blue Devils in the title game last season, and also posted a 27-26 win at Batavia earlier this season.

HF-L topped Dansville/Wayland-Cohocton, 41-18, on Friday night.

"Our team is excited for another opportunity to play HF-L," Briggs said. "I expect a great week of practice. I’m proud of this team."

Against Wayne, Batavia scored on both first-quarter possessions as Anderson slashed through the defense for touchdown runs of 10 and 17 yards. The visitors also scored on their initial two drives, with Dylan Vance converting short runs to make the score 14-14 midway through the second quarter.

From that point on, however, it was all Batavia as Carter McFollins scored on a 45-yard run before Anderson scampered in from three yards out – his third TD – to make it 28-14 at the half.

Batavia kicker Julia Petry was successful on six of eight point after touchdown attempts for the game.

The Blue Devils outscored Wayne, 26-0, in the third quarter with McClinic scoring on runs of five and 53 yards, and McFollins scoring on a 52-yard catch-and-run toss from QB Jesse Reinhart and later on a 40-yard interception return.

Wayne scored midway through the fourth quarter to make it 54-21 before senior Ethan Loaeza completed the scoring for the Blue Devils on a three-yard run with 2:37 to play.

Loaeza carried eight times for 64 yards. Reinhart was 4-for-4 passing for 80 yards, with McFollins catching two of those throws for 75 yards.

On defense, Kaden Marucci had 12 tackles, Abel Hammer came up with seven tackles and a sack, and McFollins had five tackles.

Photos by Jim Burns.

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Carter McFollins closes in on Wayne's Dylan Vance.

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Batavia's Aiden Anderson hauls in a pass from QB Jesse Reinhart.

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Carter McFollins at the end of a big gain for Batavia.

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Batavia's Javen McFollins defending a pass to the end zone.

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Abel Hammer comes away with the ball as Wayne turns it over.

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Ethan Loeaza bursts into the secondary.

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Loeaza celebrates in the end zone.

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November 5, 2021 - 3:54pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, GSO, batavia, GCC, music, arts, entertainment, notify.

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As the 75th anniversary of Genesee Symphony Orchestra quickly approaches, the planning of its concert this weekend has been anything but rushed.

In fact, Conductor Shade Zajac has been thinking about the event for the last few years.

“I’ve been so looking forward to this particular season for so long, not for any personal reason. I just want the orchestra to be celebrated, for people to know that this incredible thing exists,” Zajac said during an interview with the Batavian. “I am not the same guy I was when we started … and the orchestra is not the same. GSO will always be part of my history and part of my family.”

The 75th celebration concert titled Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Genesee Community College’s Stuart Steiner Theatre, 1 College Rd., Batavia. 

Years in the making ...
Zajac, whose first season was in 2016, has been mulling the 2021 musical season “for a lot of years now,” he said. He had discussed it with Co-President Roxie Choate and had several ideas amidst a pandemic that had canceled many public events. 

“It was touch and go whether or not we would actually be having a season,” he said. 

Once venues began opening up, Zajac and staff plunged ahead with mapping out an agenda of nostalgic and meaningful pieces. History has been the focus of the orchestra’s return to the stage, exactly 75 years to the date it first debuted as Batavia Civic Orchestra. 

A letter in Richmond Memorial Library’s archives demonstrates just how delicate GSO’s formation really was. Zajac stumbled upon it, he said, while scouring the vast relics for concert ideas. It was fairly early on after the orchestra’s 1947 founding, and it was an ominous musing about whether it was worth it to carry on.

“Do you want the Civic Orchestra to continue? If so, will you work for it?” the letter began. “It will be a sad loss to the community to end the orchestra. It seems better, though, to end it quickly than to drag on to a slow death.”

Written by then-President Virginia Trietly, the letter ended with a hopeful encouragement to “muster up enthusiasm — lasting enthusiasm” that would allow the group to survive longer than 11 years. It’s safe to say that community members rallied to carry on and endure the next several decades.

“And here we are 75 seasons later. Yeah, through this horrible pandemic where many orchestras haven't been able to do a thing, and we've been fortunate enough to continue to make music. That's a really incredible thing,” Zajac said. “And it's a testament to the musicians, of course, to all the people that have worked on the board of directors and also to this community that continues to support us through tough times, and through great times. Without all of these components … we wouldn't be having this conversation.” 

As for the music, a concert lineup is chock full of classical compositions, a guest performance, and a piece of freshly crafted work. Mikhail Glinka’s “Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla” is not unfamiliar to orchestras, as it has been performed “many, many, many times” by GSO and others, Zajac said.

“Because it's just a complete fireworks spectacular showcase for the orchestra,” he said. “It’s breakneck fast, and then it gets even faster at the end. It’s a statement to start a program with that piece.”

“Prelude to Act III, Dance of the Apprentices, Final Prelude and Intermezzo,” from Cavalleria, was featured in the very first orchestra performance. Zajac discovered the musical score in library archives labeled with the group's original name. Considered a “classical repertoire,” the prelude is “just gorgeous,” he said.

“I really wanted to do something different, something from the very early season … the librarian gave me the score. And the coolest thing is, stamped on the cover is the Batavia Civic Orchestra, which is, of course, the name before,” he said. “So that is a cool find. And that's a really great piece.”

Then and Now ...
Guest soloist Mia Fasanello will also become part of the orchestra’s history by performing a concerto 75 years after her own grandfather, Sebastian Fasanello, played one during the first concert. No stranger to the GSO, Fasanello won its Young Artist competition for her oboe performance and was a featured soloist with the group for “Concerto for Oboe and Strings” in 2017. Currently studying with the Juilliard School, Fasanello’s talent prickled the judges’ ears from the very first tuning note.

“Oboe is a really tricky instrument to play. And for such a young person to have such a mature sound, it was a no-brainer that she had to be the winner,” Zajac said.  “So it's really great for us to have her come and perform, and to work with us in this collaboration. And it just plays into the whole idea that this is a generational thing.”

From the past of a musician’s grandfather, the concert also includes the present with a “world premiere” of Nancy Pettersen Strelau’s original piece, “A Simple Beautiful Idea.” 

Zajac wanted someone connected to the orchestra to compose a piece for the celebration but wasn’t initially sure who that should be. He chose Strelau for her role as his teacher, mentor, and sounding board throughout his education at Nazareth College School of Music. She even nudged him into applying for the conductor position when it became vacant in 2015. 

“I owe so much to her, she’s an incredible human being; she’s always been there,” he said. “It’s a really beautiful piece … the idea of back when they first wanted this orchestra, how daunting it must have been. It’s a very special piece to me.”

A majestic and lively “Hungarian Rhapsodies no. 2” ends the lineup with a melody often heard during popular cartoons Tom and Jerry, and Bugs Bunny. Don’t be surprised if your mind conjures up a sneaky little rodent wreaking havoc during portions of the song, Zajac said. 

The program includes proclamations from state Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Genesee County Legislator Rochelle Stein; and a display that highlights “certain aspects of our history,”  said GSO librarian and second chair clarinet Joanne Tumminello. A GSO calendar will be available for purchase to support the orchestra and provide a cherished collection of photos across the decades, she said. 

A member since 1995, Tumminello has been in charge of gathering and preserving tidbits of time in the form of news articles, photos, videos and other materials. This year has brought with it a sense of celebration to the wide assortment of members young and old and from all walks of life, she said.

“It’s definitely brought excitement to the orchestra,” Tumminello said. “It has brought us together.”

Shirts with the new GSO logo — selected from entries of a prior logo contest — have been made for members to wear during rehearsal, she said, noting that the 75th will be removed for next season and beyond. That’s a sign that “we can endure anything,” she said.

“The community has a love of history and enjoys supporting us, and that tells us to keep going,” she said. 

Zajac emphasized that although he may be the “face” of the orchestra, it takes the whole body of musicians, board of directors and community support to make a concert, and this celebration, happen. One musician in particular has become part of the 27-year-old conductor’s future: his wife Nicole. Before they were married, she filled in as a pinch-hitter for a vacant French horn seat. The late Bob Knipe, heavily active in the GSO and local music scene, had also “invited her to come and play” in the group. She eventually became a permanent member of GSO.

“I was in the thick of my first season with GSO and knew I needed a sub for Horn. And she turned me down, and we kind of kept talking,” he Zajac said. “And then as that particular concert approached, we needed an extra horn player last minute. So she stepped up, played, and then they kept inviting her back.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Tickets are $15 adults, $10 seniors and free to students with a student identification card, and may be purchased at Holland Land Office Museum, YNGodess or online at www.geneseesymphony.com.

Photos: File photos from previous seasons' rehearsals.  All photos by Howard Owens. Top photo, S. Shade Zajac in 2019.  Videos below from 2019.

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November 5, 2021 - 2:56pm

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Batavia City School District Community Schools leaders announce the first official Community Expo, set for Nov. 9 at Robert Morris. Photo by Howard Owens.


Ever since Batavia City Schools District landed on the idea of having a central place for family support earlier this year, the effort has grown in scope and reach.

Julia Rogers is coordinator of the new effort, called Community Schools. It is based out of the Robert Morris site at Richmond Avenue and Union Street, and serves as the umbrella for the Family and Community Engagement Center, Integrated Student Supports, Enhanced Enrichment, and Leadership initiatives. It’s all about providing help where it's most needed, Rogers says. 

“That’s what we’re here to do, is to help,” she said during an interview with The Batavian. “It’s very individualized.”

Say one family is struggling to make ends meet, and could use some groceries. District Social Worker Julie Wasilewski identifies the specific needs and works with Rogers, who oversees the financial end, to get that family assistance. If there tends to be an increasing trend for Batavia families to obtain groceries, the scope will expand to help additional families beyond that first one identified.

There have been donation drives at various locations in the city and a blood drive so far. The first major event is set for Nov. 9. Community Schools Expo, offered in conjunction with Business and Education Alliance, will run from 2 to 7 p.m. with several employers there to recruit, answer questions and discuss potential job opportunities. Job-seekers are encouraged to attend, and masks are required inside the building.

Job fair vendors include Batavia City School District, Batavia High School for student working papers, City of Batavia Fire Department, Genesee Valley BOCES, Land Pro, Liberty Pumps, Lifetime Assistance, NY Army National Guard, Horizon Health Services, Student Transportation of America, Community Action of Orleans and Genesee and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

A second vendor fair, aptly titled Warm the Night, is set for 5 to 7 p.m. and will feature a variety of organizations with information and interactive games to engage and inform visitors about the local services available. There will be a selection of free winter items — hats, scarves, gloves, coats — for families to shop.

Warm the Night vendors include Hillside Children’s Center, Healthy Living, Genesee County Park, Genesee County Office for the Aging, Valu Home Centers, SUNY Brockport ROTC, The Manor House, United States Navy, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Genesee Orleans Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse and Literacy West.

Familiar faces from the district — Nate Korzelius, Heather McCarthy, Trisha Finnigan, Kellie Marciano — will be serving up grilled hotdogs outside. Students will receive a “passport” to take around to vendors for a mark to confirm they visited, and prizes will be given out for those that visited each site. Winners need not be present to win a prize. 

If transportation is an issue for families, a district bus will be making loops to specific destinations for pick-ups of students and families and drop-offs later in the evening. There are several pick-up sites that begin at 4:30 p.m. at 679 East Main St., and include Jackson Primary School, City Church at St. Anthony’s, 193 South Main St., 200 Oak St., 4371 Federal Drive and John Kennedy Intermediate School. Departures are to begin at 6:15 p.m. and drop event visitors off at the same pick-up sites. 

A clothing closet, chock full of donated clothes, accessories and new hygiene items for all ages, will be open for viewing in the Family and Community Engagement Center. There’s also everything from diapers, bedding and DVDs to purses, blouses, canned goods and toys. It often goes as quickly as it comes in, Rogers said.

“If someone wants to donate, there’s always a need,” she said. 

The center has a washer and dryer for clothing donations that need some freshening up. If district families are in need of laundromat facilities, help may also be available to get that done, Rogers said.

“We look at all the options,” she said. 

Those interested in shopping for all of the free goods during a quieter time can make an appointment by calling Wasilewski at 585-409-9508.

This event is open to the community. The parking lot at Vernon and Richmond avenues will be closed during this time, and parking will be available across the street at Van Detta Stadium. Look for the balloon clusters to indicate the event entrance at Robert Morris on the Vernon Avenue side. Warm the Night is scheduled for outdoors, weather permitting. 

For more information, go to bataviacsd.org and click on Community Schools, or call Rogers at 585-343-2480, Ext. 1004.

November 5, 2021 - 12:44pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, notify, Notre Dame boys basketball, Mike Rapone.

Press release:

The Notre Dame Board of Trustees on Wednesday announced the hiring of Mikey Rapone as the varsity boys basketball coach beginning in the 2022-23 season, replacing his father, Mike Rapone, who has compiled the most victories in Section V boys basketball history over a 42-year career.

Previously, Mike Rapone announced that he would be stepping down after this season. He has a 708-208 record at the varsity level.

Mikey Rapone (ND Class of 2002 and member of 2001 ND NYS Championship basketball team) has over 15 years coaching at Notre Dame, working with athletes, parents, administrators, and community members.

During the interview process, he commented that coaching in various positions at Notre Dame has enabled him to learn how to successfully motivate student-athletes by ascertaining their strengths as well as their weaknesses and to use this knowledge to assist them in working to achieve beyond their limitations while forging a team first attitude.

"I have gained an understanding of the unique balance of discipline, respect, support, and approachability one needs to maintain with student-athletes to be a successful coach," he said. "I feel that I have developed a great rapport with the teams I have coached and am proud of the relationships we share.”

Rapone said he developed his coaching style by learning from excellent coaches, including his father and also Bill Sutherland, Bill Wade, Dave Pero Sr., Wade Bianco, Marc Staley, Joe Zambito, Rick Rapone, Billy Sutherland, Rick Mancuso and Jim Fanara.

"That is a coaching tree that anyone interested in becoming a coach would love to have been able to learn from and it has prepared me well to maintain the tradition of excellence that is Notre Dame basketball," he said.

He acknowledged that "nobody can replace my father," but added that, "there is nothing more I would like to do than to be the next coach of the Notre Dame basketball program that he spent 40-plus years building."

"I plan to coach in the way that he has envisioned his program to be run by his successor and in a manner Notre Dame can be proud of.  I am not my father. We haven’t always agreed on coaching strategies and personnel but the one thing I definitely share with my dad is his love and passion for Notre Dame, the student-athletes and especially the Notre Dame boys basketball program,” he offered.

November 5, 2021 - 12:13pm

A public hearing on the Town of Batavia’s 2022 contract with the Town of Batavia Fire Department is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Town Hall, 3833 West Main St. Rd.

The proposed contract, which would take effect on Jan. 1, calls for the town to pay the fire department $1,185,265 for fire protection for all of next year.

Town residents fund the fire department through a separate special district tax, which is expected to remain at $2.34 per thousand of assessed valuation – the same as 2021.

The town board announced the public hearing date at its meeting on Wednesday night.

In other action, the town board:

  • Approved an agreement in which the town will provide code enforcement services to the Town of Alabama, specifically for development at the WNY Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park.

According to the resolution, the Town of Alabama shall pay the Town of Batavia $55.44 per hour during normal business hours Monday through Friday. The charge for field inspections outside of that timeframe will be $83.16 per hour. Mileage incurred by enforcement officers also will be reimbursed.

  • Completed the preliminary 2022 budget process, setting the property tax rate at $2.51 per thousand of assessed valuation. The rate is a 12 percent decrease from 2021, and will generate $1,236,000 in property taxes – the same amount as last year.

The sewer rate remains the same as 2021 -- at $7.09 per 1,000 gallons used -- while the water rate for both residential and agricultural consumers is going up by 2 percent – to $6.32 and $5.12 per 1,000 gallons, respectively.

Salaries for elected officials are as follows:

  • Supervisor Gregory Post, $40,000.
  • Deputy Supervisor Dan Underhill, $18,000.
  • Council members Patti Michalak, Chad Zambito and Sharon White, $12,000.
  • Town Clerk/Tax Collector Teressa Morasco, $74,541.
  • Highway Superintendent Tom Lichtenthal, $20,101.
  • Town Justices Lisa Funke and Andrew Young, $28,840.

No one from the public spoke at public hearings on the budget, sewer and water rates on Wednesday.

November 5, 2021 - 11:51am
posted by Press Release in Batavia Community Schools, batavia, City Schools, news.

Press release:

Batavia Community Schools is hosting a Fall Expo on Tuesday, November 9, at its Robert Morris location.

The event will include a job fair from 2-7 pm, in conjunction with the Genesee County Business and Education Alliance (BEA), and the annual “Warm the Night” activities from 5-7 pm.

Addition information on the Fall Expo events:

FALL EXPO

Date: Tuesday, November 9

Location: Robert Morris: 80 Union Street, Batavia, NY

JOB FAIR @ the FALL EXPO

Time: 2-7 pm

Location: Robert Morris Multi-Purpose Room

  • Representatives from local businesses and organizations will be on-hand to discuss job opportunities and answer questions
  • Eligible students will be able to obtain their working papers from 5-7 pm
  • Open to all

WARM THE NIGHT @ the FALL EXPO

Time: 5-7pm

Location: Outdoors in the parking lot on the corner of Richmond/Vernon Avenues

  • Donated coats, scarves, gloves, and hats will be available for children and families
  • Local agencies and organizations will have tables set up to educate the community on the services they offer
  • Food will be served by BCSD Administration, and all registrants will be eligible for raffle prizes

COVID PROTOCOLS

  • Masks will be required in the building
  • Tables will be socially distanced
  • All participants will need to register before entering

Batavia Community Schools was launched in 2020 with a vision of building a better Batavia by promoting equitable learning opportunities, cultivating healthier families, and establishing a stronger community. The program aims to unite the community through shared resources, working partnerships, and open, collaborative communication.

Batavia Community Schools, located at 80 Union Street, also includes a Family and Community Engagement Center run by District Social Worker Julie Wasilewski. The Center hosts a Community Closet, which provides free clothing, hygiene products, food, and household items to those in need. The Center is also set up for meetings, computer access, and a children’s reading area.

Additional information on our Batavia Community Schools can be found here.

November 5, 2021 - 10:00am


Click here for more information!

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November 4, 2021 - 6:30pm


For more information on 181 Vine St., Batavia, click here.
For more information on 6457 Mill Pond Road, Byron, click here.

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November 4, 2021 - 3:47pm





 

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November 4, 2021 - 2:22pm

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District is hosting its annual Christmas in the City event from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 4 with a holiday parade down Main Street to follow at 6 p.m.

The BID is inviting any business, organization or group to walk, ride or enter a float for the parade which runs from Jefferson Avenue to Summit Street. Downtown businesses are encouraged to host an activity or offer store specials during the event. Vendors are welcome.

This year’s event includes train rides, pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, crafts, and a Downtown Scavenger hunt with chances to win some great prizes.

The BID also is hosting its second annual Wreath Contest for Downtown Batavia.  Again, any business, group, organization or family are invited to enter the contest.

For $20, each participant is provided with a 16-inch plain wreath to decorate. Participants can pick up their wreaths on Sat., Nov, 20 and will have a week to decorate it before dropping the wreath off to the BID for community volunteers to put them up downtown.

Voting for most creative will take place from Dec. 4-24. First place winner receives $100 cash prize, second place $75 and third place $50.

To participate in Christmas in the City or the Wreath Contest, contact Beth Kemp at [email protected] or find all forms online at DowntownBataviaNY.com.

November 4, 2021 - 11:57am

pettit_head_shot.jpgThe Centers for Disease Control’s approval of a vaccine for 5-11-year-olds provides a new weapon in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic that has buffeted society for going on two years, Genesee & Orleans Public Health Director Paul Pettit said this morning.

Pettit (pictured at right), speaking to the media via Zoom, continued to spread the word about the effectiveness of the three authorized vaccines – Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson – in helping to prevent and reducing the severity of the coronavirus.

He also touched upon this week’s CDC approval (and New York State’s acceptance) of Pfizer’s vaccine for youth in the 5 to 11 age range.

“Under emergency use authorization, it's a little bit different than the full dose Pfizer vaccine for adults,” Pettit said. “It's actually a third of the adult dose, same time period. You're going to have a dose on day one and then you'll also be given a dose 21 days later to be fully vaccinated.

“And again, it'll be two weeks after that second dose that anybody would be considered fully vaccinated. So, it's a five week period, technically, if you look at it from start to finish when you get your first dose.”

He said the one-third dose that was tested showed sufficient antibody response for kids in that age group and has been shown in the trials to be effective at preventing disease and preventing symptoms in those who may again acquire the disease after being fully vaccinated.

Pettit said the COVID-19 vaccines “have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring through the development of it in U.S. history, and vaccinating children will help prevent and protect them from getting COVID-19 and therefore reduce the risk of severe disease hospitalizations and developing long-term COVID complications.”

Children at that age can be carriers of the virus, even if they are asymptomatic, Pettit said.

“They can bring COVID back home to their loved ones, including those that may be more susceptible to severe illness, even if they are vaccinated … So, this is the next tool for us as far as moving forward.”

He said he advises parents to talk to their healthcare providers, mentioning that children – like adults – have varying medical histories.

“We're not giving medical advice here. We are talking about the vaccine and the importance and the role that it will play in protecting children,” he said. "But ultimately, every child has their unique medical history, just like we all do as adults. And we want to make sure that any parents that have any questions or concerns … to become educated, to do your research, to evaluate and look at your own individual situation with your kids and talk to your doctor.”

Pettit spoke on a variety of subjects related to COVID and the activities of the Genesee and Orleans county health departments.

GUIDANCE, RESTRICTIONS IN SCHOOLS

Weekly conference calls with school superintendents continue, Pettit said, adding that, generally speaking, schools are doing well as the health department tracks the number of cases at all districts.

“I would say on average, we're probably around 15 to 20 percent of our active cases are in school aged kids, not necessarily indicating that it's school related spread,” he said. “But these are kids that are positive. So again, that number does vary -- vary up and down.”

The state continues to require masks for everyone indoors at schools – a mandate that has been “frustrating for parents” and “controversial,” Pettit said.

“But ultimately, we have seen a significant improvement in the reduction of quarantines in students this year. And what that has allowed for is better continuity of education. Kids have been able to stay in school and continue to learn in the in-class environment, which is, you know, something that our superintendents have been very vocal about in wanting to make sure we can keep these kids in-person and keep them learning and keep that continuity.”

Pettit mentioned “test and stay” -- a program under consideration by the NYS Department of Health that would allow students testing positive for COVID to remain in school and to avoid a quarantine as long as they are tested every day.

He acknowledged many logistical and supply challenges in implementing this program.

“We are exploring this,” he said. “We're looking at our different funding streams to see if we can … put together the resources to be able to purchase the supplies to get the staffing we need to be able to carry this out.”

Responding to a question from The Batavian on whether discussions are taking place regarding the number of 5-11-year-olds receiving the vaccine and it’s effect on the masking requirement, Pettit said he has not been advised of any verification of what percentage would have to be reached.

He did, however, offer some statistics pertaining to student vaccination rates.

“In Genesee County, the 12-15 age group, we’re at 35 percent vaccinated; the 16-18 at 52.3 percent, and in Orleans County, we’re at 39.1 percent in that 12-15 bucket and 47.1 percent in the 16-18. And the 5 to 11 has just started, so I'm sure we don't have very many there yet,” he said. “But, as far as the masking, that's going to be a decision most likely that's going to be carried out at the state level, not locally.”

POSITIVITY RATES

Pettit said the positivity rates in both counties are hovering around 20 to 30 positives per day, with active cases typically around 200 to 225.

“We have noticed over the last week or two, though, there has been some regional uptick in cases,” he said. “This isn't necessarily something to be unexpected as it is getting colder out … and as we start to come indoors now, there's obviously increased exposure risk, not just the COVID, but flu and other respiratory illnesses, other viruses.”

He advised everyone to “start refreshing” some of the precautionary measures such as masking and social distancing to minimize the spread -- and to stay home if you aren't feeling well as what may be thought of as a bad cold could actually be COVID.

In Genesee County to date, there have been 7,310 positive cases, with 222 currently in isolation and 15 of those active cases in the hospital. A total of 6,459 have recovered and been removed from isolation, while, unfortunately, there have been 135 deaths, he said.

The average seven-day positivity rate in Genesee County is around 8.1 percent.

As far as vaccination rates are concerned, in Genesee County, 64.6 percent of the population has received at least one dose and 58.6 have received the completed series, he said. The highest percentage is in the 65-74 age range – 83 percent.

As far as breakthrough cases in Genesee County, Pettit said 445 of the 1,891 new cases (23.5 percent) from Aug. 1 through Nov. 1 were contracted by those who had been fully vaccinated.

BOOSTER SHOTS

Booster shots of all three vaccines are available and the ability to “mix and match” is an option, Pettit said.

“So, depending on what vaccine you may have received the first time around, if you want to try something different that has been approved and has been shown to be safe, you are able to move to a different vaccine,” he said. “Again, that's completely up to the individual.”

Parameters that govern when people can get the booster shots exist, depending upon the brand of the shot being administered, he added. That information is available on the GO Health website -- GO Health - Genesee & Orleans Public Health Departments (gohealthny.org)

Pettit said the Moderna booster is a half-dose, while Pfizer and J&J are full doses.

“The booster shots are currently recommended now, especially with the Delta variant circulating,” he said.

Third doses, which are different from boosters, have been available since late August, Pettit said, and are recommended for those with compromised immune systems.

Vaccinations are being administered by the health department on Wednesdays in Genesee County and Thursdays in Orleans County. Testing (BinaxNOW, not PCR) is done on Fridays in Genesee and on Tuesdays in Orleans.

Previously: Pettit: County health department COVID booster shot clinics to begin Wednesday; about 120 signed up

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November 4, 2021 - 10:00am

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November 4, 2021 - 9:20am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, town of batavia, three+one, CashVest.

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The Town of Batavia’s money management policies are having a significant impact upon its bottom line, so much so that it is being recognized by the Pittsford firm that has helped guide the municipality’s investments in recent years.

At Wednesday night’s Special Town Board meeting at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road, Alex DeRosa, relationship specialist with CashVest by three+one, presented the town with the “90+ CashVest Award” which is given to public entities that received a CashVest score of 90 or higher for four consecutive quarters.

“This score takes into consideration everything from the way the town receives payments, makes payments, what you're doing with your cash while it's at the bank, ensuring you have the appropriate bank account structure and a fair banking relationship,” DeRosa said. “The town has hit this mark above 90, not only just for four quarters, but for actually more than eight quarters consecutively.”

DeRosa said the town has gone “above and beyond the normal line of duty.”

“I don't think there's anything in legislation or law that states a town must do everything they can to maximize the value of cash; it just seems like the right thing to do,” he said. “But over the past 18 months, we've actually seen audits from the New York State Comptroller on some small towns, villages and school districts that really gave those towns a red mark on their audit saying they didn't go out and try to maximize value, they did not talk to multiple things, they did not have cash flow forecasts into the future.

“And that's the type of thing that can make headline news, not only for finance staff, but the whole town board and the town as a whole. This work is appreciated by three+one because of our mission. And it should be appreciated by every taxpayer in the Town of Batavia, that you all are going above and beyond to consistently maximize that value.”

Town Supervisor Gregory Post said he believed the town has earned almost $300,000 in unanticipated interest on investments since contracting with three+one.

“… I don't have the numbers exactly in front of me, but I believe our last quarterly report shows that since our inception of working collaboratively on this account have realized nearly $300,000 in interest above and beyond what was anticipated or budgeted,” Post said. “So, that's real dollars and real cash that have assisted us in our migration through the COVID pandemic as well as into the 2022 fiscal year.”

Photo: Hiedi Librock, secretary to the Town of Batavia supervisor, accepts the 90+ CashVest Award from Alex DeRosa of CashVest by three+one. Photo by Alecia Kaus.

November 4, 2021 - 8:30am

bed_tax_graphic.jpgA public hearing regarding Local Law Introductory No. 6, which modifies the Genesee County Hotel and Motel Occupancy Tax Law to include Airbnb-type short-term lodging sites, has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Old County Courthouse in Batavia.

The Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday voted to set the public hearing as required by Municipal Home Rule Law while approving a resolution to replace the occupancy (or bed tax) law that initially was adopted as Local Law No. 2, Year 1995, and has been amended several times since then.

The current version is set to expire on Dec. 31 of this year.

County Attorney Kevin Earl said the primary changes focus on the number of units and the number of days in which properties are rented. The proposed amendments have been discussed at length by legislators and officials of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in recent months, 

“Our current law only applies to six or more units," Earl said. "So, we eliminated that threshold to apply to single units. In other words, if somebody rented out their house, it would apply now. But they would have to do it for overnight accommodations and rent it out for more than 14 days in a year.”

Earl said the 14-day provision was put into the wording to exempt a homeowner who may rent his or her house occasionally, such as for a couple days or a week.

The restated law also includes a definition for booking companies, Earl said, notably Airbnb, Flipkey, Home Away, VRBO and Relators. The new law, if approved by the full legislature next week, would take effect on Jan. 1, 2022 and run through Dec. 31, 2024.

The revision certainly will increase the county’s bed tax income as these short-term, home-based properties would be subject to the 3 percent fee that already is added on to hotel/motel bills.

Exemptions to the fee include permanent residents for a period of occupancy in excess of 30 days; persons placed in a hotel or motel by the Department of Social Services, the Red Cross, Salvation Army or other similar organizations due to emergency housing needs; housing for indigent or homeless persons; or exempt organizations.

Earl told legislators that a formal agreement between the county and Airbnb is in the works as the revised law will result in greater responsibility of those renting out homes or similar facilities.

In a related development, the committee approved a resolution brought forth by Kevin Andrews, deputy county treasurer, to use up to $2,250 from the bed tax reserve to fund an audit on the amount of money generated in occupancy tax from local hotels. The Freed Maxick accounting firm has been selected to perform the audit.

Andrews said that, to his knowledge, an audit of this type has not been done before, and that the treasurer’s office will be providing records from three hotels in the county for the audit.

In other action, the Ways & Means Committee approved the following resolutions:

  • An intermunicipal agreement between the county and City of Batavia to the Water Infrastructure Investment Act, which provides up to 40 percent of capital project costs in grants since it is the county’s responsibility to fund and provide for capital improvements at the City Water Treatment Plant.

County Engineer Tim Hens said the total cost of several planned projects at the plant are expected to be around $3.4 million, adding that the improvements are necessary to maintain production as the Countywide Water Project moves into Phase 3. He said the City of Batavia will act as the lead agency in the grant application process.

  • Acquisition by the county of an easement of a parcel of land on the west side of the South Lyon Street bridge in the city in order to keep the replacement of the bridge on schedule. The bridge, which was constructed in 1910, is closed now and due to be replaced in 2022.

Hens said the county previously acquired properties at the four corners of the bridges, and the only easement remaining was an area “through the (Tonawanda) creek bed, along the west side of the bridge.”

He also said that, according to land records, no individual owns the parcel in question.

“So, you’re essentially acquiring an easement from an unknown entity or not an entity at all,” he said. “It’s a very hard thing to describe.”

After discussions with New York State officials, Hens said acquiring the easement – equating it to using eminent domain on an unknown owner -- would be the fastest way to put the county in position to replace the bridge.  

  • The appointment of Chad Brade of Oakfield to fill an unexpired term as county coroner until Dec. 31, 2022.
  • The appointment of Chandy Kemp to the Genesee County Economic Development Center board of directors through June 30, 2024, replacing Amy Vanderhoof, who resigned on Sept. 28.

Previously: Lawmakers continue to ponder whether to impose a bed tax on internet lodging booking agencies

November 3, 2021 - 10:01pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, business, batavia, open house.

 

wisteria.jpeg

After 26 years of being cautious, solo beauty stylist Cheryl Fisher has decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Her new business, Wisteria Studios Inc., is open for business at 617 East Main St., Batavia.

“This is kind of a lifelong dream. I never really expected it to come to fruition,” Fisher said Wednesday at her site. “I got lucky, and I fell upon this building. I’m stepping outside my comfort zone. God has me in this place for a purpose.“

Fisher, an Alexander native and Batavia resident, is proud to show off her business during an open house Friday. From 6 to 7:30 p.m., beauty professionals are welcome to check it out, ask questions and obtain more information about renting one of the two available studios. Friends and family may then also browse the gray marble floor, silver, white and gray-themed decor and a splash of painted lavender accents from 7 to 9 p.m. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be part of the celebration, she said. 

Fisher, a licensed cosmetologist, began her career with the late Joseph Gerace, who she credits for her success.

“I would not be where I am without him,” she said. 

She was with Gerace for 10 years before operating a home salon for another eight years. Then life happened, and a divorce prompted her to move her beauty services in 2012 to a shack next to O’Lacy’s on School Street. Nine years later she spotted her next venture: the former Kentucky Fried Chicken-turned-auto shop-turned computer store on East Main Street. 

Major renovations included a complete dig-out of the foundation via Bobcat, removal of the signature KFC cupola and other restaurant memorabilia left behind of the Colonel Sanders fame. Fisher wants to preserve the history of when the Lazarony family bought the building for KFC in 1963, and how it transformed into other businesses up to now.  

Floor space of 2,000 square feet has been subdivided into four studios.

“It’s gorgeous. Hopefully it’s going to stay like that for a long time,” she said. “There’s a common waiting room, a break room, a corridor and each stylist renting a space will be behind closed doors.”

Her dream included a studio salon at which clients aren’t clustered next to each other during services. So the studios — fully equipped with storage cabinets, freestyle dryers, a shampoo station and styling chair — provide a comfortable and private environment for each client, Fisher said. Add to that amenities of on-site laundry, WiFi, garbage removal and snow plowing. She already has one tenant to offer Mary Kay products, facials and classes, and is looking to fill two more spaces with stylists, a barber or esthetician.

Supported by a silent partner, Fisher said this venture has been filled with challenges, from lack of supplies due to COVID-19 to not being able to do hands-on shopping for decor and accessories. She wasn’t certain of what to name the place, and came across some wallpaper with purple wisterias dripping down from ceiling to floor. She liked the color, and locked in her business name after reading a definition of wisteria: “a plant that never settles and never stops growing,” she said. 

“The beauty industry is the same, it never settles and never stops growing. And that’s me,” she said. “I want (tenants) to come in, be happy, have fun and enjoy what they do. Everyone is their own entity, they all do their own thing. I’m looking forward to my own space, but having people in the building. I have put my lifetime investment into it.” 

For more information, call 585-343-1247 or email [email protected].

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wisteria_indoor_1.jpegwisteria_indoor_2.jpeg

Stylist and business owner Cheryl Fisher works on a customer's hair at her new place, Wisteria Studios Inc. Photos by Jim Burns

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