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Elba beats Avoca Prattsburg 55-47 in Class D girls semifinal

By Staff Writer
Elba basketball

The Elba Lancers, the #3 seed in Class D Girls Basketball, beat the #2 seed in a semifinal game on Wednesday, 55-47

Next up, #1 seed C.G. Finney on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Finger Lakes Community College. Finney scored 71 points against Genesee Valley-Belfast in its semifinal game.

For the Lancers, Sydney Reilly scored 18 points, Brea Smith scored 14, and Ava Buczek scored 13.

Photos by Debra Reilly.

Elba basketball
Elba basketball
Elba basketball

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 "God Really Loves Us", led by Rodney Stringham (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. Scripture Readings: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 and John 2:13-22. Message: “Our Rock and Our Redeemer”. Choir practice and Trustees meeting following today’s service. 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 Fake Flavors. We hope to see you there! You can also join us online on our Facebook Live Stream at https://www.facebook.com/EmmanuelBaptistChurchBatavia.

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. We’d love to meet you! Please join us and our "God is still speaking" church, at 10 a.m. Sunday as Reverend James Morasco shares his sermon “Holy Silence.”  The Sacrament of Holy Communion will be served. Please bring food items for the LeRoy Food Pantry. Friend us on Facebook! or better yet, visit us any Sunday! Mark your calendar now for our take-out, pre-sale Ham and Scallop Potatoes Dinner on Saturday, April 13. Call 585-757-2257 to reserve tickets.

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 (March 3) we will celebrate The Third Sunday in Lent. The sermon theme: “The Letter to Pergamum: Idolatry is the Deadliest Sin” is based on the scripture from Revelations 2:14a.   Adult Bible Class meets 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

Chamber Awards: Batavia resident travels afar to discover local community need

By Joanne Beck

 

michelle gillard genesean of the year chamber awards
Batavia resident Michelle Gillard, recipient of this year's Geneseean of the Year Award, and many of her cherished keepsakes from mission trips are below. 
Photo by Howard Owens

NOTE: This week, The Batavian is highlighting the annual Chamber of Commerce Award winners with a story each day through Friday. The awards dinner is Saturday evening at Batavia Downs.

It took traveling thousands of miles from home to realize how much need there was right in her own backyard, Michelle Gillard says. 

And from that point on, she’s been on a nonstop mission to help out locally.

“When I was growing up on South Jackson, we didn’t have a lot; my parents weren’t wealthy; we lived paycheck to paycheck, but we never wanted for anything. I never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from, I had a roof over my head, we were taken care of as kids, my parents were hard workers,” Gillard said during an interview with The Batavian. “I was honestly pretty oblivious to the need and unfortunate lifestyles other people had to endure. I didn’t know there was homelessness, I didn’t know there were people that didn’t have meals; I was very naive to all of that. It all kind of turned for me when I went on a mission trip in 2018 to Africa with the Young Living Foundation.”

She and her group washed people’s feet full of jiggers, which are parasitic sand fleas, hung mosquito nets in remote villages, and observed “the real-life tragedy of human trafficking” before their very eyes, she said. 

“So when I came home from that trip, I think I had PTSD, I was a little shell-shocked,” she said. “It really opened my eyes, too. There’s a whole lot of need in this world that I didn’t realize was there. And I started digging in more around our community.”

After that first mission trip, she went on a couple more, including to Puerto Rico, still devastated by a hurricane two years earlier. That’s what prompted her own local missions that just “kind of morphed,” she said. 

Her dad, Louie, that kind of guy who would stop and help you out if stuck on the side of the road, gets some of the credit. If you ever needed something in the neighborhood, “he just went and helped you,” she said. She watched her father as he became a true role model and mentor for giving back. He didn’t want any money; it was “just something he did.”

So naturally, Gillard gravitated to groups that did likewise, such as the Batavia Business & Professional Women’s Club, which has raised money to hand out scholarships to students or donate to Genesee Cancer Assistance and Crossroads House to help them continue their missions.

Gillard admits to straddling the line of extremes after returning home from Africa. She wanted to clear her entire home of all material possessions, similar to how people lived so meagerly there. They had one room and few items, and yet seemed happy, she said. They appreciated the simple things in life and found them more meaningful.

“I said, ‘We’re doing everything wrong.’ How wasteful we are,” she said.

That experience shifted her perspective to the point where Gillard became a regular volunteer, first for Habitat for Humanity and then the Salvation Army, the Batavia Business & Professional Women’s Club and Batavia Girls Fastpitch Softball.

It is for her community service over the years and involvement with these organizations that Gillard has been named the recipient of this year’s Geneseean of the Year Award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

When asked why she thinks it took a trip to Africa to expose her to the need here, Gillard paused only a few seconds.

“I was really blind and naive to all of it,” she said. “ I’ve always been in a two-income family; money was never something we had to worry about. It opened my eyes. Until I started looking, I can help the world for as many people as I possibly can.”

She’s a collector — not of figurines and knick-knacks — but, rather, diapers and soaps and shampoos on sale. Then, she gathers the items and donates them to people or places that can use them. 

“I like to collect things. It's funny, I don't keep that stuff, but I collect food for people, or I collect diapers for people, or I collect whatever it is. I run this kind of almost drives. I collect whatever it is in as big of a quantity as we can, and then we get it where it needs to go. It's just, to me, it’s, I don't know, I just enjoy doing it,” she said, naming one of her favorite programs. “The Salvation Army Christmas program. Those really hit, so people come in, and we take their application, and we get their needs, and a few wants for the children. But a lot of those scenarios are a grandmother got her three grandkids two weeks before Christmas or a month before Christmas because dad's in jail and OD’d on drugs, or you know a woman left a domestic violence situation and is now living in a hotel with her three kids. I get very attached to it because I try to put myself in that situation, and it's heartbreaking.

“I delivered presents and a Christmas meal to a lady at the Red Roof, and I can't imagine being in a hotel with my kids on Christmas like that. There are so many families, and so many donations are needed. I put a post out, and we got hundreds of donations. The universe or God provides,” she said. “Volunteers are such great people. Whenever you hear somebody complain about Batavia, it angers me -- just do something small for somebody; it fills your soul. Neighbors help neighbors. We need it so badly, whether it’s holding the door for somebody or paying for someone’s coffee.”

Bobbi Norton was one of the people who nominated Gillard for this award, and she said that as she thought about the letter she'd write, "Unlimited thoughts enhance all the fine qualities that Michelle possesses, filling my heart and mind with nothing but good words and thoughts."

"I had the opportunity to meet Michelle through the Batavia Business and Professional Women's Club several years ago. Not only did she welcome me with a warm, friendly smile, she was there to support me and provide any answers to my questions. We have now become good friends and work collaboratively on the BBPW Board of Directors," Norton said. "There are unlimited activities within the Batavia community and the Genesee Region that Michelle has supported over the years. She is currently extremely active with the Salvation Army, dedicating countless hours to ensure that families and individuals receive a little gift and/or food at Christmastime and all year long. She's a bell-ringer, planner, organizer, gift wrapper, you name it -- she does it, all while wearing a smile in even the most stressful, overwhelming times.

Michelle also has professional connections with Genesee County Youth programs, A Day of Caring, serving as a judge for Mr. Batavia, Project Stork, as a former finance director for Batavia Middle School Parent Boosters, and is treasurer for the Batavia Business and Professional Women's Club, Norton said. The list goes on and on, she said. 

Furthermore, Michelle just coordinated a gift-raising effort to supply local veterans with baskets of essential items to get them through the holidays. She volunteers her time at the animal shelter, Crossroads House, Food Pantry, and photos with Steve Ognibene, all while working and running a household. 

"As a businesswoman, Michelle works full-time, is a small business operator (Young Living Essential Oils), a dedicated, loving wife to her husband, Scott, and mom to their daughter, Olivia," Norton said. "From what I see, her family and friends are held close to her heart, always including them and looking out for them. She is constantly sensitive and caring to the needs of others." 

Beyond the organization and cause, there’s a primary reason why she devotes so much time to them.

“People are the main reason why I do what I do. I’ve formed so many friendships,” she said, describing how she responded to being named for this award. “I couldn’t talk, and if you know me, I’m Italian and I have no shortage of words. I really was just so honored and blown away, being honored by the Chamber. It’s really a little surreal.”

Her family includes mom and dad Louie and Linda Scafetta, husband Scott, 12-year-old daughter Olivia, and "bonus kids" Tori and Brendan. 

Photos by Howard Owens.

michelle gillard genesean of the year chamber awards
michelle gillard genesean of the year chamber awards
michelle gillard genesean of the year chamber awards
michelle gillard genesean of the year chamber awards
michelle gillard genesean of the year chamber awards

Professional development courses give boost, broaden ethics insights, to deputy manager

By Joanne Beck
Tammi Ferringer with wall art
Deputy County Manager Tammi Ferringer in her office at the Old County Courthouse in Batavia.
Photo by Joanne Beck

A quick glance around Deputy County Manager Tammi Ferringer’s office gives the impression of a light-hearted, whimsical air, with upbeat quotes on the wall from Dr. Seuss to author Erin Hanson, a mischievous elf devilishly hanging upside down near the window and other unpretentious decor dotting the shelves.

Yet this administrator -- a longtime county employee of more than 18 years --  has taken her career and job duties seriously while shying away from the limelight. So when her boss, County Manager Matt Landers, publicly congratulates her for a job well done in completing the necessary course work for a certificate from the state Association of Counties and Cornell University, it’s worth noting.

Ferringer was recognized this week at NYSAC as one of five graduates from the County Government Institute. 

"First, I just want to recognize Tammi Ferringer, who was recognized at the conference we always went to for completing the training of the county government institute," Landers said during Wednesday's Legislature meeting. "This is something that I had gone through and some legislators have gone through as well. So she's done the coursework and the classes ... good work."

Ferringer's class included a legislator from Niagara County, a supervisor from Seneca County, a Madison County finance director and an Orange County legislator. She registered for the program in 2022 and celebrated graduation Tuesday in Albany.

“There's criteria that they outline, from learning about budgets to learning about the organization of county government and how it works with the state. It helps to guide leaders in county government and the ins and outs of New York State,” she said. “And from ethics to the organization of counties, how they intertwine. And then there's electives that you can choose to take throughout the program. And there's specific courses that you have to take. And then, when you go to conferences, there are other criteria that can count as credits toward graduation. It's not something that you have to do; it was something I was interested in. And I was going to conferences anyways, so I might as well record that as credit towards continuing education.”

Required courses for a certificate of achievement include Building Consensus in a Political Environment, Principles of County Budget and Financial Management, Foundations of County Government, Public Sector Labor Management Relationships and Ethics in Government.

There are many other electives to choose from, such as health and human services, public safety, social media training, government technology and economic and rural development.

What did you find to be most insightful?
“I think that ethics piece was the most insightful because I only knew what I knew from our ethical procedures. But this broadened that for me,” Ferringer said. “I knew the importance of serving your community and our role and how important that role is to the community. And no one should take advantage of that power along the way.”

Ferringer, a Batavia resident, has worked in many positions since beginning her career with Genesee County in 2005, first as señor financial clerk-typist in the Health Department after earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration/finance from Brockport State College and steadily advancing from that point on. 

She became an accounting supervisor, administrative officer, director of fiscal operations and child support for the Department of Social Services, and county compliance officer before accepting her current role during the 2020 pandemic. Her job title was changed to deputy county manager in January 2024.

She appreciated the opportunity to strengthen her skills and understanding through these professional development courses, which have also been taken by the county manager and legislative chairwoman, Shelley Stein.

So just what is a piece of whimsy on the wall of her downstairs office in the Old County Courthouse? It’s a popular quote borrowed from author Erin Hanson that she has obviously taken to heart:

“What if I fall — Oh, but my darling, what if you fly.”

Longtime employee honored for 'spirit of collaboration' and dedication

By Joanne Beck
Mary Spaulding and Marianne Clattenburg
Mary Spaulding receives a proclamation for her more than 40 years with Genesee County from Legislator Marianne Clattenburg Wednesday. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Sometimes all it takes is a retirement to prompt folks to show up at what’s often a sparsely attended county Legislature meeting.

And so was the case when clerk typist Mary Spaulding, a 40-plus year employee at the Job Development Bureau was celebrated for her dedication with a proclamation Wednesday at the Old County Courthouse.

Gensee County Legislator Marianne Clattenburg read the citation as a group of supportive colleagues sat in the audience in the legislative chambers.

WHEREAS, Mary Spaulding has loyally served the County of Genesee for over 40 years and will retire on March 4, 2024, and

WHEREAS, on Dec. 12, 1983 Mary began her decades-long employment with Genesee County as a Part-Time Clerk Typist working at the Job Development Bureau, and

WHEREAS, Mary was subsequently promoted to the positon of Senior Account Clerk on July 23, 1984, and then Principle Account Clerk on July 1, 1987 serving in those capacities for over 16 years of her career, and

WHEREAS, Mary was promoted to the position of Accounting Supervisor on May 13, 1998, and has faithfully discharged the many diverse duties of that position since that date, and

WHEREAS, Mary has devoted her career to the Job Development Bureau as well as serving the citizens of our community, and

WHEREAS, over the many years of steadfast service to Genesee County, Mary has demonstrated fiscal responsibility, a spirit of collaboration and cooperation, and a willingness to do what it takes to keep the office organized and our valued citizens served.

Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, that the Genesee County Legislature does hereby commend Mary Spaulding for over 40 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Genesee County and be it further

RESOLVED, that well-deserved congratulations and sincere thanks are extended to Mary, along with best wishes for a retirement rich in good health and happiness.

After a round of applause and congratulations, she was offered the chance to say a few words and joked that “I’ve always got something to say.”

“Thank you for this honor and allowing me to be part of the Genesee County team. Over 40 years I have met and worked with several wonderful people, not only in Job Development, the Career Center and several Genesee County departments,” Spaulding said. “I plan on spending more time with my family and friends, continue community service work that I do, and also finally do some traveling; I haven't done much since COVID. So once again, thank you for this recognition. I truly appreciate it.”

Sponsored Post: Tapas & Tastings at Batavia Downs tonight

By Sponsored Post
batavia downs tapas tastings

By James Fink.

 In keeping with his promise to promote local and regionally grown and produced food products, Batavia Downs Executive Chef Daniel Fernandes has created a special event highlighting not only regional foods and ingredients but also a prominent Italian-based wine that Victor-based Constellation Brands Inc. owns.

The culinary event, called Tapas & Tastings, is set for Feb. 29 at Batavia Downs and will showcase a specially created menu by Fernandes that is paired with various Ruffino wines, which have been owned since late 2011 by Constellation Brands.

The event is the latest in a series of culinary-based promotions that Fernandes is creating as part of his plan to showcase and highlight regionally grown and produced food items.

"In this case, we are using food as a bridge to the wine," Fernandes said. "This is all part of our plan to showcase our region's cultural heritage."

The final menu includes:

Insalata Tropicale di Langostino is a fresh lobster salad of green mango, pineapple papaya, and petite basil delicately tossed in a tangerine and cardamom vinaigrette.     

Quatro Formaggio Tortaloni Bolognese - Tortelloni Filled with A Blend of Parmigiano Reggiano, Grano Padano, Impastata Ricotta And Fiore Sardo Tossed In A Classic Lamb Bolognese Sauce.  

Guancia Di Vitello Brasata Con Risotto Ai Funghi Selvatici - Brunello braised Beef Short Ribs cheek served atop creamy wild mushroom risotto, infused with the rich and intense flavors of Tuscany.    

La Tavola Rustica di Salumi e Formaggi - A tantalizing flight of local and Italian cured meats & artisanal cheeses.

Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake - Sicilian souffle’d ricotta cake made with organic free-range eggs, baked at high heat to form a caramelized exterior, forming a natural crust and creamy interior and finished with vibrant strawberry coulis.  

Each course will tie in with the appropriate Ruffino wine.

"Every ingredient, every food item, is being given special consideration," Fernandes said.

Tapas & Tastings is the first of several culinary-related special events Fernandes will create this year at Batavia Downs.

"Why not?" Fernandes said. "We have some incredible local products that we can showcase."

Tickets can be purchased at Bataviaconcerts.com for $60 and include the tasting plus $30 in Free Play. 

James Fink writes on behalf of Batavia Downs.

Genesee County seniors have until Friday to file for new tax law 'to help them stay in their homes'

By Joanne Beck

If you’re a senior aged 65 or older living in Genesee County, you have until Friday to file for a real property tax exemption that the Genesee County Legislature just voted to adjust as a means to help out qualifying property owners.

The Legislature unanimously approved Section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law during Wednesday’s meeting to give Genesee County the option of granting a reduction in the amount of taxes paid by senior citizens based on a sliding scale of income amounts.

Deputy Treasurer Kevin Andrews brought the issue to the attention of legislators a few weeks ago, suggesting that they may want to consider shifting the income amounts to better reflect this county’s senior incomes and cost of living increases and correlate with adjacent county numbers.

“So the exemption is intended to benefit individuals who are 65 years or older that are on a limited income. So for those individuals, it's a means to help them stay in their homes and afford the taxes to remain in their homes,” Andrews said, giving a tangible example of how this new law can help. “So it depends on their income threshold. At the maximum end of the scale, if their income qualifies, they'll get a 50 percent exemption on their taxes. So let's say we had somebody who had an assessment at about $100,000, and they're getting a 50 percent exemption … that would equate out to roughly $400 of savings for county tax purposes.”

That senior would own a home valued at $100,000, and with the sliding scale for an income of more than $23,800 but less than $24,800, that person would receive a 50 percent break on taxes for the $400 in savings.

The higher the income, the lower the discount, up to $32,200 at five percent. The full table is below. The caveat is that folks have until Friday to file at their assessor’s office. Andrews said that there will be an application available on the county’s website on Thursday, or one would be available at each municipality’s assessment office.

“It’s going to be a very tight turnaround, which is why we have been as proactive as possible. Kevin, your office has sent out press releases and worked very closely with the assessors in the community so that they would know this was coming out. We did have a comment from one assessor who indicated that she was going to be contacting the folks in her community that were now eligible for this revised and higher limited tax exemption,” Legislative Chairwoman Shelley Stein said. “We’re grateful for her; we're grateful for the work that you've put together to make sure that we get this information out as fast and as credibly as possible.”

There was a public hearing about the proposed change during the meeting, and no one showed up to speak.

In its resolution, the Legislature voted to adopt this measure “to keep pace with increases in social security income and to assist senior citizens with limited incomes to be able to afford to stay in their homes.” 

The scale tax exemption is as follows:

  • Less than $23,800 - 50%
  • Equal or more than $23,800 but less than $24,800 - 45%
  • $24,800 but less than $25,800 - 40%
  • $25,800 but less than $26,800 - 35%
  • $26,800 but less than $27,700 - 30%
  • $27,700 but less than $28,600 - 25%
  • $28,600 but less than $29,500 - 20%
  • $29,500 but less than $30,400 - 15%
  • $30,400 but less than $31,300 - 10%
  • $31,300 but less than $32,200 - 5%

This action is to take effect March 1, 2024.

Table Top Art Show winners unveiled at Eli Fish

By Howard B. Owens
table top art competition 2024
Chris Stangler, pictured with Brian Kemp, won the annual Table Top Art Competition, collecting a $200 cash prize.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Nearly 100 artists -- 99 to be exact -- entered 264 works of art to the annual Table Top Art Competition, which honors winners with cash prizes and reproductions of their work on placemats that will be on table tops at local restaurants in March.

From that wealth of creativity, 20 finalists were selected and unveiled at Eli Fish on Tuesday night.

There were five honorable mentions and 15 winners, with each of the 15 works of art being reproduced on placemats and the top three winners receiving cash prizes of $200, $100, $50, and a People's Choice winner receiving $100.

The top three winners were Chris Stangler,  Vanessa Loftus, and Debra Meier.  Shauna Blake won the People's Choice voting.

There are 34 area restaurants participating in the art show.
 
table top art competition 2024
Vanessa Loftus, second place, with Brian Kemp.
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Debra Meier, third place, with Brian Kemp.
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
table top art competition 2024
People's Choice Winner Shauna Blake.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Car reportedly hits house on Akron Road, Pembroke

By Howard B. Owens

A car has reportedly hit a house at 304 Akron Road, Pembroke.

Dispatchers are checking on the availability of Mercy Flight.

Entrapment is reported. 

Pembroke Fire and Indian Falls Fire along with Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 10:20 p.m.: The Indian Falls chief on scene reports the house WAS NOT struck. A fence was struck away from the house.  He is checking for entrapment.

UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: The chief reports the driver says he is not injured. Firefighters will need to get the door open.

UPDATE 10:25 p.m.: The driver is out of the vehicle.

Sponsored Post: Investment opportunity! Just listed - 8468 Seven Springs Road, Batavia

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8468-sevensprgsrd

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Soul Food Brunch dishes ‘food for thought’ while commemorating Black History Month

By Mike Pettinella
kenyetta
Kenyetta Reese
Photo by Mike Pettinella.

The first Soul Food Brunch at GoArt! on Tuesday afternoon provided both tasty African-American cuisine and some honest food for thought.

The gathering at East Main and Bank streets drew about 60 people, including members of Genesee County’s Black-owned businesses that were featured on a flyer handed out to the attendees.

After enjoying a menu of fried chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, eggs, greens, macaroni and cheese, banana pudding and lemon pound cake, many of the attendees stuck around for a brief presentation led by brunch organizer Kenyetta Reese, a case manager at UConnectCare.

While the event was set up to highlight Black History Month, Reese noted that she and her family have been subjected to racism in recent months and years.

“I’ve actually experienced racism in the past six months,” she said. “So, if you could raise your hand here if you have also experienced racism in the past six months? How about in the past 30 days?”

Several people raised their hands.

Reese said recent events “have stirred up some trauma that she had from all of the hockey seasons that I was quiet.”

RECOUNTING INSTANCES OF RACISM
“My presence was loud, but I was somewhat quiet,” she recalled. “So, this event is for my son. He’s somewhere in this building.

“For every single time he was called the N-word on the ice, from the stands, for every unnecessary penalty, for the time parents called the police on him for checking their kid into the boards. Yes, someone actually called the police.”

She said her son was kicked out of games “for no reason.”

“For every game he cried, and I didn’t know. This event is for him, and I will no longer be quiet. His time is right now,” she said to applause.

Reese said that blatant racism is dismissed or disregarded.

“Microaggressions or exclusionary behaviors, if you will, boldly still exist and live hard for people of color still in 2024,” she offered. “With that said, we are here to celebrate Black History Month by sharing knowledge and a meal. Most importantly, to celebrate one another with two allies of our community and our workplace.”

She encouraged attendees to meet someone new today as “there’s a lot of power and strength in this room and in this building right now.”

MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT IS LACKING
Reese’s daughter, Tzyonah, took the stage, providing statistics pertaining to Black people and mental health.

“Did you know that 63 percent of black people believe that a mental health condition is a sign of personal weakness?” she said. “People may experience shame about having a mental illness and worry that they may be discriminated against due to a condition.

“Nearly 90 percent of Black and African American people over the age of 12 with a substance use disorder did not receive treatment.

"In 2018, 58 percent of Black and African-American young adults with serious mental illness did not receive treatments.

"According to the APA (American Psychological Association), only 4 percent of psychologists are African-American. African American adults are 20% more likely to experience mental health issues than the rest of the population.

"Twenty-five percent of African-Americans seek treatment for a mental health issue compared to 40 percent of White individuals.”

Tzyonah said that she “struggles with” mental health issues … but continues to “work on myself and I continue to grow.”

“I remain so unbelievably vibrant, positive, resilient, strong, independent, hardworking.”

She said her custom printing business, Made by Tzy, provides her with a creative outlet “that brings me joy.”

“It gives me a voice and a platform to create dialogue and showcase the beauty, triumph and struggle of the Black experience through my art.”

THE MOORS: AHEAD OF THEIR TIME
From there, Brandon Armstrong, owner of the first Black-owned barber shop in Genesee County – Royals at 317 Ellicott St., Batavia, took a few minutes to talk about the Moors, African people around the 700s AD that, in his words, “were very smart and civilized back in those days.”

“They were well-studied in science and math … and they ushered in like a renaissance era,” he said. “Europe was very uncivilized. They weren’t bathing; there was a lot of sickness, a lot of diseases, and they were living with their animals.”

Armstrong said the Moors “came in with medicine – rubbing alcohol, disinfectant, soap – and showed the people how to groom themselves and bathe. They brought them clothing.”

He mentioned that the Moors originated the famous Italian dress shoe, the Moorigator.

“If you just look at that the word Moori, it’s a variation of the word Moorish. Right? And then if you look at the gator, the gator isn't indigenous to Italy, right? So, we see the black influence, even to this day, down to the shoes and from African culture.”

GOART! TO CREATE ‘BLACK SPACE’
GoArt! Executive Director Gregory Hallock followed Reese by announcing the agency has received a grant from BlackSpace, a New York City-based nonprofit collective of planners, architects, artists and designers devoted to creating spaces in communities to shine a light on Black culture and creativity.

He said he has scheduled a gathering at 6 p.m. March 11 at GoArt! for people to share ideas with architects for the new space.

“So, a space that we're digging down is available for us to do what we want to it, because it's not historic,” Hallock said, speaking of plans to install two art studios/classrooms, wood workshop, storage room, gallery and other amenities in the building’s basement. “It will become historic once it’s finished.”

Cathy Mack, a GoArt! director said most in the Black community aren’t aware of the programs that are available and encouraged those citizens to make reservations to attend the meeting and provide their input.

Hallock also reported that the agency is collaborating with another nonprofit to build a new 18,000-square-foot space in Medina that will include galleries, a podcast studio, a film studio, artisan shops, a music studio, artist-in-resident spaces, art classrooms and a music garden.

soul food brunch
Fried chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and mac and cheese were on the menu at Tuesday's Soul Food Brunch at GoArt!
Jada
Jada Rolle of Le Roy's Transformation Salon addresses the gathering at the Soul Food Brunch on Tuesday. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

Pembroke will play for C2 championship after win over East Rochester

By Howard B. Owens

Pembroke beat East Rochester on Tuesday, 54-36, to advance to the Class C1 championship game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena.

Tyson Totten scored 22 points for the Dragons. Avery Ferreira scored 17 points.

"One of the staples of our program has always been defense, and when you play games this late in the season against quality teams, sometimes that is what you have to hang your hat on, and that is precisely what we did tonight," said Coach Matt Shay. "I was very pleased with our effort tonight and how we battled on that end."

The #3 seed Dragons take on #1 seed Lyons on Saturday.

 
 

Trojans to take stage at Blue Cross Arena for Class C2 final on Saturday

By Howard B. Owens
alexander basketball

The Alexander Trojans, seeded #2 in Class C2 is heading to Blue Cross Arena on Saturday to via for a sectional championship after beating Bolivar-Richburg on Tuesday 52-49.

The Trojans will face #1 seed Byron-Bergen.

Game time is noon.

Dylan Pohl scored 26 points for Alexander. Trent Woods scored 16.

Photos by Brennan Bezon.

alexander basketball
alexander basketball
alexander basketball
alexander basketball

Chambry sinks final shot free throw to send Byron-Bergen to C2 finals

By Howard B. Owens
byron bergen basketball

Byron-Bergen's Class C2 semifinal game came down to the last shot, with the ball in the hands of the Bees top scorer, Brayden Chambry.

Of course, he sunk the free throw.

Final score: Byron-Bergen, the #1 seed, 61-60, over #4 seed York.

Chambry scored 30 points. Brody Baubie scored 13, Brendan Pimm, 10, and Colin Martin, eight.

Next up: #2 seed Alexander, at noon on Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena for the Class C2 championship.

Photos by Jennifer DiQuattro.

byron bergen basketball
byron bergen basketball
byron bergen basketball
byron bergen basketball
byron bergen basketball

Notre Dame topples #1 seed to advance to final in Class C3

By Howard B. Owens
notre dame semifinal basketball

Notre Dame earned a trip to Blue Cross Arena this Saturday with a 73-65 win over Fillmore on Tuesday in the Class C3 semifinal.

The Fighting Irish will play Arkport-Canaseraga for the championship at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

ND came into the game seeded #4 and went on to upset #1 seed Fillmore behind 23 points for Jaden Sherwood and 21 points for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Jay Antinore scored 11 points and Chase Antinore scored nine.

Sherwood also had eight rebounds.

Jay Antinore was assigned Fillmore's leading scorer, Zach Sission, on defense and held him scoreless from the field. Sission's five points in the game came on free throws. Antinore had six steals.

Arkport-Canaseraga is the #3 seed.

Photos by Pete Welker.

notre dame semifinal basketball
notre dame semifinal basketball
notre dame semifinal basketball
notre dame semifinal basketball

Borrello announces his candidacy for reelection

By Press Release

Press Release:

Senator George Borrello officially announced he is seeking re-election to the New York State Senate to represent the 57th District.

“Representing my constituents in Western New York is a great privilege and one that I strive to honor by giving 110 percent every day.  Albany is dominated by New York City legislators and activists whose priorities and values are a world apart from ours. I’ve made it my mission to be a champion for our district and rural New Yorkers,” said Senator Borrello.

“Right now, our state is facing a crisis of epic proportions caused by the unrelenting influx of migrants into New York. It is consuming billions in taxpayer funds at an alarming rate. Yet our governor refuses to rescind the ‘sanctuary’ status that is fueling the crisis,” said Sen. Borrello. “We need elected officials who will stand up for everyday New Yorkers who are rightly saying ‘enough is enough’”.

“As the City’s dominance has grown, the fight to secure our fair share of resources for our schools, roads, and other essential services has intensified. It is also critical that we continue to push back against one-size-fits-all policies that neglect to account for upstate realities,” said Sen. Borrello. 

“There is no better example than the natural gas bans and electric school bus mandates that are slated to go into effect in just a few years. Our rural setting and cold, snowy winters aren’t compatible with all-electric energy sources and, in the worst scenario, represent life and safety hazards.”

Senator Borrello noted that while statewide issues garner headlines, constituent service is a core priority.

“I am proud of the record my team and I have when it comes to helping our constituents. We logged more than 2,000 constituent cases in 2023 alone, spanning a wide range of issues. Behind those figures are real folks who reached out for help with problems – some complex and others that were addressed through a phone call. But in a rural area like ours, where services can be scarce, we recognize the vital importance of this assistance.”

“I’ve been a leading voice against the government overreach that is threatening our constitutional freedoms. We not only won the first court ruling against the governor’s ‘isolation and quarantine’ procedures, but we’ve also mobilized people across the state who realize the risks of giving the executive too much-unfettered power,” said Sen. Borrello.

“New Yorkers are asking for help. In the most recent Siena poll, a majority cited affordability and crime as their top concerns and a majority also said the quality of life in our state is declining. There is too much at stake to sit on the sidelines. That is why I am running for re-election. The future of our region and our state is at stake, and I am committed to doing everything I can to make the changes we need to not only survive but thrive in the years ahead," said Sen. Borrello.

Senator Borrello has represented the 57th District since winning a special election in 2019 and being re-elected in 2022. The district, one of the Legislature’s largest geographically, encompasses Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Genesee, and Wyoming counties, as well as a portion of Allegany County.

More information on George Borrello is available at www.georgeborrello.com and @BorrelloforNY on Facebook.

GO Health warns of increased encounters with wildlife

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health) are warning residents to stay away from wildlife and stray animals.

“Due to the mild winter and warmer temperatures, there has been a rise in the instances of people encountering wild animals and strays throughout Genesee and Orleans Counties,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for GO Health. “In the past month, several residents have required rabies treatment following an animal encounter.”

Rabies is most often found in wildlife such as raccoons, bats, and skunks, but pets can be at risk of the virus too. “If you see an animal in need, even if it is a baby animal, avoid touching it and contact animal control, stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for GO Health. “It is also important to keep your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination.”

Rabies can be fatal if left untreated. It can be transmitted through direct contact with saliva through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth. 

If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention. All bites should be reported to the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. 

To prevent the spread of rabies, the health department reminds residents to take the following precautions:

  • Keep your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations
  • Obey leash laws. Keep your pets under direct supervision and on a leash so they do not come in contact with wild or stray animals. If an animal bites your pet, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact the health department.
  • Avoid contact with wild or stray animals. Do not handle, feed, touch, or attract wildlife (raccoons, skunks, bats, bunnies, rabbits, and foxes) or stray dogs and cats.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. 
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters. If you find a bat in your home, safely capture it and call the health department. DO NOT release it! For a video on how to safety capture a bat, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puP8qbATPKg
  • Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood or if you see an animal showing signs of rabies. Signs of rabies in animals may include aggression, excessive drool or saliva, confusion, hair loss, and loss of movement or function.

Residents are encouraged to take note of our upcoming drive-thru rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats, and ferrets in Genesee and Orleans Counties which are offered at no charge. 

Genesee County Rabies Clinics at the Genesee County Fairgrounds (5056 East Main Street, Batavia)

  • Thursday, May 16, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 8, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 10, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Orleans County Rabies Clinics at the Orleans County Fairgrounds (12690 State Route 31, Albion)

  • Saturday, April 13, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, June 5, from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 10, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, October 19, from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m.

For more information on GO Health’s programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org. You can also contact your respective health department: 

  • Genesee County- 585-344-2580 x5555 or Health@co.genesee.ny.us 
  • Orleans County- 585-589-3278 or OCPublicHealth@orleanscountyny.gov 

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