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Lions Club speaker discusses needs of BCSD students

By Press Release
Photo of Batavia Lions speaker Julia Rogers,
coordinator of Community Schools, and Batavia
Lions President Ronald Metz. Submitted photo.

Press Release:

At the Lions Club most recent meeting, guest speaker Julia Rogers, coordinator of Community School Programs, spoke about her work and a grant that the Batavia City School District received. 

The grant is designed to help students overcome barriers that affect or interrupt their education. Focus on these issues is also available to the families. Necessities such as clothes, food, toiletries, and hygiene materials can be provided to the students, and the program can also help with beds and mattresses for children as well. 

She added that the grant can be used to get mental health for students. The program is looking for volunteers and volunteer groups that can help students through mentoring and other activities. 

Rogers thanked the Lions Club for the sight screening program for preschoolers. In return, she’s boosting the Lions Club among the faculty when she can, and was almost drafted into membership before she left. Rogers said her group looks forward to community contacts for problem-solving.

The Batavia Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. Everyone is welcome to visit the American Legion at 8960 Alexander Road, Batavia.

Tenney announces launch of Community Project Funding process

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of 
Claudia Tenney.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) invited local leaders to sign up for updates for Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) Community Project Funding (CPF). This process is an important initiative for members of Congress to advocate for crucial projects that enhance our communities. 

Instead of relying on bureaucrats to make critical funding decisions, this process provides transparency, accountability, and rigorous oversight with congressional input.  

The FY25 CPF process will allow localities and non-profits to submit requests for federal funding for high-priority community projects in New York’s 24th District. All CPF applications supported by Tenney’s office must meet rigorous eligibility requirements, as outlined in the appropriations guidance. 

Additionally, applicants must exhibit robust community backing for projects and present a clear strategy using the funds in a timely manner. Tenney’s office collaborates with all grantees throughout the process to vet requests and ensure allocated funds are utilized responsibly and for their intended purpose. The CPF process is targeted and limited; it has historically been capped at .5% of federal spending.

Local elected officials and non-profits planning on submitting applications for projects should visit Tenney’s website here to signal their interest. After signing up, interested organizations will be updated when guidance for the FY25 CPF process is released, and the formal application window opens.

Elba Lancers pick up 16-1 win in Girls Softball

By Staff Writer



Elba beat CG Finney 16-1 on Tuesday in Girls Softball.


  • Maddie Thompson was 3-4 and scored twice
  • Maddie Hall was 2-5, 2 RBIs and scored 3 times
  • Madison Marks and Madilyn Marks each had 2 RBIs
  • Adi Norton was 2-4 and 2 RBIs

"Offensively our team had 19 hits and ran the bases well," said Coach Dean Gottler. "Defensively, our fielding was outstanding to back up another great outing from winning pitcher Brea Smith, who struck out four and walked only one."

Photos by Kristin Smith.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Good Shepherd Sunday. Scripture Reading: Psalm 23. Message: “Pursued by Mercy”. Communion this week. 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, 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 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:

Discovery Chapel, 315 West Main Street, Batavia. Pastor Ingrim Green's services are on Sundays at 10 a.m. "Let's Talk Real Talk the Gospel For Real Life." Visit our website for more information.

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

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 The pastor is Michael Davis. Email: / Phone (585) 757-2722

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 190 Oak St., Batavia. We invite you to take part in our service of worship to the Lord Jesus Christ This Sunday at 11 a.m. If you would like to get an inside scoop into the future of the world, come to Bible Study at 9:45 a.m. for a guided tour of Revelation. This Sunday in worship we will be having a testimony service in place of a regular message. Our church is at 190 Oak Street in Batavia. Any questions call 585-343-4905 or email the church at You can also watch our service on facebook at 

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 

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 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 "Blemishes" To view our services online please go to our website for a link for Live Streaming. We offer Sunday School for all ages after the Worship Service at 11:30 a.m. Our Youth Group meets on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of the month from 6:30 - 8 p.m. 

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

Morganville United Church of Christ, 8466 Morganville Rd, Stafford. Please join us and our "God is still speaking" church, at 10:00 Sunday as Reverend James Morasco shares his sermon “What is Wisdom?.” Friend us on Facebook! or better yet, visit us any Sunday!

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. Why is it that in a place where we seek peace, love, and community that sometimes we instead find deep and painful wounds within the walls of our churches? Join us for "Burned,” as we explore the uncomfortable truths: why church hurt happens, how we can navigate healthy conflict within our faith communities, and most importantly, how we can find healing and restoration after experiencing church hurt. Don't miss out on this message series as we embark together on a path toward healing and wholeness! Join us Saturday at 6 p.m., and Sunday at 9:30 and 11 a.m. For more information about Northgate Free Methodist Church and to watch our services online go to or

Oakfield-Alabama Baptist Church, 2210 Judge Road., Oakfield. 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 ( 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

Oakfield Community Bible Church, 82 North Main St. Oakfield. This Weeks “Oakfield Community Bible Church” Sunday Worship Service is at 11:15 a.m., with Special Music by Keith Burroughs & Andrew Lacey. The morning message led by Pastor, Timothy Young. Our Adult Sunday School is at 10 a.m., along with “Sunday School through Age-16”. There will be a Time of “Fellowship Together & a Reception for New Members” following our Worship Service!  Bible Study on Thursday Mornings at 10 a.m. Come out and Join Us, all are welcome!

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 (

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:

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: (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 (April 21) we will celebrate The Fourth Sunday of Easter - The Good Shepherd. The sermon theme: “To Be Good At What You Do” is based on the scripture from John 10:11-18.   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 meets at 9:30 a.m. 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 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 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 for a ZOOM link or for prayer requests.


"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:

BND United hockey player honored by the Wayne D. Foster Foundation

By Press Release

Press Release:

Submitted photo of Ivan Milovidov.

Countless awards, plaques, trophies, jerseys, and team photos lined the stage during this year’s annual hockey banquet at the Batavia High School auditorium on April 14. 

The 2023-2024 BND United hockey season brought much to celebrate and while the many accolades are not surprising for a team led by accomplished coaches and comprised of highly talented players, the true force behind their achievement is not found within every team.  

This year’s team was special, and their unity resulted in an extraordinary season. The appreciation of the sport along with the love between coaches and teammates filled the auditorium and was expressed in the numerous tear-filled and humorous stories shared on the stage. 

The overwhelming feeling of comradery and family appears to be the true force behind their Championship season, and, together, they have created memories and a devotion that will forever connect them. This season’s story is one of hard work, talent, support, encouragement, respect, and selflessness. 

BND United junior, Ivan Milovidov, described as a top-ranked hockey player and a fantastic young man, played a significant role in the team’s unification, strength, and overall success. 

If you had the opportunity to watch Ivan on the ice, you witnessed something special. Ivan is an extremely gifted hockey player with character and leadership qualities that are equally impressive. 

Among the many honors presented during the banquet was the WDF (Wisdom, Determination, Fortitude) Award, granted annually to a deserving BND United hockey player in remembrance of Wayne D. Foster.  

The Wayne D. Foster Foundation Inc. carefully selects a young player who best displays Wayne’s goodwill, courage, and integrity. The honoree is considered based on their work ethic, wisdom, determination, courage, how they interact and care for others, and their unselfish play.  

Through observations and in speaking with coaches, parents, and players, it was clear that Ivan was the perfect choice, making it a great privilege for the foundation, represented by Wayne’s grandson, Chase Pangrazio, to present Ivan with this year’s WDF scholarship and trophy.

The Wayne D. Foster Foundation is proud to recognize Ivan and the BND United hockey program. We wish to extend our congratulations to Ivan and the 2023-2024 BND United coaching staff and team for an outstanding season.

GCC receives recognition as fourth best community college in NYS

By Press Release
Submitted photo courtesy of Genesee Community College.

Press Release:

EDsmart, a prominent education research organization, recently unveiled its annual assessment of New York State's top community colleges for 2024, spotlighting institutions that excel across various criteria including economic value, affordability, student satisfaction, and academic achievement. 

This ranking, informed by a composite score derived from essential metrics such as post-attendance salary, net price, retention, and four-year graduation rates, offers a comprehensive overview of each college's performance.

Among these institutions, Genesee Community College secured an impressive fourth position in the rankings. With a composite score of 96.6 out of 100 reflecting excellence across economic, affordability, satisfaction, and academic domains, Genesee Community College stands as a leader in educational quality and student success.

This noteworthy recognition underscores the dedication of Genesee Community College's faculty and staff to delivering outstanding learning experiences. By prioritizing academic excellence and cultivating a supportive educational environment, the college has rightfully earned its place among New York State's top community colleges.

Genesee County Spartans set high standards as they prepare for 2024 football season

By Mike Pettinella
Harry Rascoe
Harry Rascoe

Supported by a newly formed board of directors that is committed to establishing a sense of pride in the organization, the Genesee County Spartans are back for a second season of competition in the Northeastern Football Alliance.

Harry Rascoe, (photo at right), vice president/head of football operations and head coach, said all members of the semipro team – players, coaches, directors and game-day volunteers – will be held to a higher standard for the 2024 campaign, which gets underway on June 1 against the visiting Lockport Wildcats.

The Spartans will be playing their home games at the Town of Pembroke football field, just down the road from Pembroke High School on Route 77. All home games will be on Saturdays, starting at 3:30 p.m.

In an interview with The Batavian on Tuesday, Rascoe acknowledged the disciplinary and behavior issues that surfaced toward the end of last season. He said all those associated with the club will be required to abide by two codes of conduct – one instituted by the Spartans and the other developed by the NFA.

“It’s not just a question of talent – and we definitely have some talented players, it’s much more than that,” Rascoe said. “We need a good core of coaches and men; people of character as we look to emulate the (Batavia) Muckdogs (baseball team) as a respected, staple of the community.”

Rascoe said 39 players are under contract for the season, many of them from Batavia High, Notre Dame and other local schools. The team’s kicker is Julie Petry, who made her mark as the Blue Devils’ placekicker during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

“We’re glad to have Julie on the team, considering the job she did while at Batavia,” Rascoe said.

Jed Reese
Jed Reese

Key skill players on offense include running backs Jzhon Henderson, whose father, Jermaine, will be serving on the board and also assisting with the defense, and Jed Reese (photo at left), a Notre Dame grad who played at Mansfield University last season.

Currently, Alex Rood (Batavia) and Corey Turpin from Buffalo are battling for the starting quarterback position.

“We also have signed 6-3 and 6-4 receivers in Deyonci Farley of Albion and Julio Gambino of Buffalo,” Rascoe noted. “Last year, we lacked possession receivers who could run.”

Rob Thurston Jr., another Batavia graduate, is the tight end.

Rascoe said the club has put in a new offense, similar to Batavia High’s system that features a short-to-intermediate passing game.

Gunner Rapone
Gunner Rapone

On defense, Gunner Rapone (Batavia) returns after capturing NFA Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2023.

Kaden Marucci
Kaden Marucci

Kaden Marucci, another former Blue Devil, is a stalwart on the defensive side of the ball.

Rapone (photo at right), Rood, offensive tackle Jordan Chambers (Gouverneur) and lineman Baylee Vercruysee (Medina) have been named co-captains.

Jermaine Henderson, who was a Division I running back at the University of Maine after a fine career at Batavia High, said he’s witnessed the team coming together as a unit during practice.

The Spartans host a scrimmage game against the Auburn Pride at 3:30 p.m. on May 11.

“The team’s morale is great and the environment, overall, has really improved,” he said.

Board President Tammy Hathaway said she’s confident that county businesses will rally around the Spartans. She said the team’s sponsors include House of Bounce, Iron Reps Gym, Get Sealed, Ridans Sports Bar and Ken Mistler, and more will be announced over the next few weeks.

Tammy and Jermaine
Board President Tammy Hathaway and Director/Defensive Assistant Jermaine Henderson. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

“We are building on the best of what we learned last year and will be adding on to make this a team that the community can be proud of,” she said.

Sponsorship information can be found on the Genesee County Spartans Facebook page.

Rounding out the coaching staff are Craig Tiberio, defensive coordinator; Jon Grand, defensive assistant, and Burton Howell, offensive coordinator. Lauren Donovan is the board secretary and marketing/media coordinator.

Also on the board of directors are Marc Anthony Bucci, treasurer; Terry Smith, player accountability; Otis Thomas and Victor Thomas.

The Spartans’ final fundraiser is scheduled for May 25 – a golf tournament at Davis Country Meadows in Pavilion.

Genesee County Spartans’ schedule:

May 11, scrimmage, Auburn Pride

June 1 Lockport Wildcats

June 8 at Rochester Chargers

June 15 at East Coast Blue Devils

June 22 at Watertown Red & Black

June 29 Rochester Chargers

July 13 at Lockport Wildcats

July 20 Ithaca Warriors

July 27 East Coast Blue Devils

Genesee County Spartans’ roster:

No. Name Position (If determined)
0 Jedidiah Reese RB
1 Tai Reffell-Pugh
2 Alex Rood QB
3 Deyonci Farley WR
5 Rayshawn Huitt
6 Patrick Krantz DB
7 Gunner Rapone DT
8 Ryley Elliott DL
9 Marley English LB
10 Eric Snell OLB
11 Max Rapone LB
12 Corey Turpin QB
13 Kaden Marucci LB
14 Jzhon Henderson RB
15 Devan Flanagan
17 Nick Santos
19 Jalen White
20 Jzon Richardson WR
21 Delonta Curry LB
22 Cody Wenner WR
23 Kristopher Geising C
24 Michael Jamar Floyd DT
25 Dontre Woods LB
28 Keith Neureuter DE
29 Marcos Velazquez
33 Robert Thurston Jr. TE
40 Matthew Dillon LB
41 Nick Figlow
44 Brian Calderon
45 Amir Cleveland S
52 Jordan Chambers OL
54 Nick Mitchell
56 Steve Kowalczyk OL
60 Thomas Richmond
70 Timothy King OL
71 Anthony Natrigo OL
75 Austyn Fernandez OL
78 Baylee Vercruysse LB
93 Randy Reiner DL

O-A School District residents to vote on budget with proposed 71-cent property tax hike

By Joanne Beck
Christine Griffin

With less state aid and half the federal aid of this past year and expenses of more than $927,000, Oakfield-Alabama’s school board approved a $25 million 2024-25 budget this week that will mean a 71-cent property tax increase for district residents.

The proposed budget of $25,021,919 is an increase of 3.85% from this past year’s $24,094,600, and includes of tax levy of $5,696,634. That levy is $220,107 more than in the 2023-24 budget, or 4.02%. 

“This is largely driven by increases in salaries and the loss of pandemic-era aid causing some salaries to be brought back into the general fund from the federal grants for 24-25,” School Business Administrator Christine Griffin said during Tuesday’s board meeting. “So we had our budget workshop last week, and we presented a long-range financial analysis completed by an outside consultant. This included thorough analysis of our individual revenue lines, state aid, tax levy and other revenues and expense lines, particularly our largest expense, which is we know we're a human capital business, salaries and benefits, which is largely those net expenses largely driven by the collective bargaining agreements.”

Expenses include salaries of $10,627,342 for an increase of $748,392; a BOCES increase of $770,847 for a total of $3,229,547; and equipment costs rising by $63,050 to $553,800. The pandemic resulted in grants to school districts for additional social workers, teachers and programs, some of which Oakfield-Alabama will absorb in its general fund even though the grants are ending in September.

Federal aid will end Sept. 30 of this year, and salaries of $403,000, including $23,000 for the after-school program, will be absorbed into the general fund.

“On the salary lines, there's approximately $403,000 of the increases that are pandemic-funded salaries that are being returned to general funds. All of that $403,000. $222,000 of that is from newly added positions, which is the social worker, math, reading and after-school tutoring,” she said. “BOCES increases are largely due to increases in technology services costs.”

Budget highlights are that this proposed plan would continue after-school tutoring, formerly funded under a federal grant, pilot a new math series, replenish and expand science kits, continue $100,000 of capital outlay projects, and expend $487,000 for transportation vehicles — two large buses at $376,000 and one small bus for $111,000.

Staffing levels are to be maintained, with the following exceptions:

  • Three teachers district-wide (one each retirement, reassignment and resignation)
  • A .4 shared BOCES technology staff
  • Not replacing retirements of two personal healthcare aides
  • One custodian (which was replaced with a federal grant-funded position)

These staff reductions are to save $359,000, Griffin said.

Other expenses are decreasing, including benefits by $56,425, debt service by $592,216, and contractual services by $243,105.

State aid is to increase by $272,307, along with property tax of $220,107 and unclassified revenue of $99,500. The district plans to take nearly $1 million, $998,886, of appropriated fund balance, an increase of $345,405 from this past year’s budget, to offset expenses. 

Fund balance is generated due to lower expenses than anticipated and/or greater revenues than projected, which may accumulate over time, resulting in savings for the district. By state law, the maximum amount of unassigned fund balance in a given fiscal year cannot exceed 4% of the following year’s budget, and some or all of the previous year’s fund balance may be appropriated as a source of revenue in the development of the next school year’s annual budget, she said.

She said the inflation factor of 4.12% and allowable levy growth factor of 2% leave a deficit of 2.12%. The consumer price index limit does not reflect economic reality. 

The maximum levy is 4.02%, which is reflected in an estimated $18.39 per $1,000 assessed property value. If approved by voters, that would mean an increase of $88.75 per year for a home assessed at $125,000.

Citing a Genesee Valley BOCES Region Peer Group chart, officials show Oakfield-Alabama as having the second-lowest tax levy per pupil in 2023, at $7,451.

There will be a budget hearing at 6 p.m. May 14 at the Middle High School and a vote from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 21 in the school's Community Room.

The vote includes Proposition #1: 2024-25 budget of $25,021,919; and two open seats for the Board of Education. There is one incumbent, Maria Thompson, who is running, and one vacancy for the seat of Jeff Hyde, whose term is also up in 2024. Applications for school board are due Monday. 

To view the presentation, go HERE

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of stealing tip jar from store as well as credit cards from cars

By Howard B. Owens
Jennifer Shaffer
Matthew Bader

Matthew O'Neal Bader, 41, of Batavia, and Jennifer M. Shaffer, 41, of Batavia, are each facing several charges. Bader is charged with two counts of petit larceny, burglary, and identity theft, two counts of grand larceny, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of personal identification, and conspiracy. Shaffer is charged with identity theft, criminal possession of stolen property, and conspiracy. Bader is accused of stealing the tip jar from Southside Deli (no time or date provided). He is accused of stealing credit cards from vehicles in two separate incidents (no locations, dates, or times provided) and using the cards at several local businesses.  Shafer has been charged with one of the incidents. Bader also had a warrant for his arrest out of South Carolina.  He was arraigned as a fugitive justice and ordered held in the Genesee County Jail. Shafer's release status is unknown. Bader was also arrested by the Sheriff's Office and charged with identity theft 3rd and criminal possession of stolen property 4th. Bader is accused of using a stolen credit card in the Town of Batavia.

Cody Bush

Cody A. Bush, 38, of Batavia, is charged with attempted assault 2nd, aggravated family offense, unlawful imprisonment 1st, assault 3rd, and obstructing governmental administration 2nd. Bush was arrested April 1 following an investigation into an incident reported on Feb. 25. He is accused of hitting another person numerous times during a disturbance at a residence on Columbia Avenue. He is accused of refusing to let the victim leave a second-floor room, causing the victim to jump out of the window to get away from him, resulting in a serious physical injury. Bush was arraigned in City Court and jailed.

Christopher D. Bisig, 37, of Batavia, is charged with sex offender failure to report internet identifiers within 10 days. Bisig, a Level 3 sex offender, is accused of failing to register two internet identifiers on social media sites. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held.

Robert L. Drennen, Sr., 42, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant on April 5. Drennen was initially charged on Sept. 6 with driving while ability impaired by alcohol and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. He was issued appearance tickets and released. He allegedly failed to appear in court. He was arraigned in  City Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Marcus A. King, 22, of Webster, was arrested on March 27 on a warrant. King was initially arrested on Nov. 6 on a charge of harassment 2nd after allegedly striking another person in the face during a fight on Pearl Street. The warrant was issued after he allegedly failed to appear in court. King was arraigned in City Court and released. 

Evan J. Vanskiver, 32, of Hamlin, was arrested on March 27 and charged with bail jumping 2nd. Vanskiver is accused of failing to appear in court on a prior charge. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held in the Genesee County Jail without bail.

Jennifer L. Elmore, 52, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Elmore is accused of repeatedly standing outside a person's house, yelling at the person, and writing profanities on the sidewalk in front of the person's residence with the intention to alarm or seriously annoy the person. She was issued an appearance ticket. Elmore was arrested on March 26 and issued an appearance ticket.

Jennifer K. Freeman, 40, of Batavia, was arrested on April 6 on three bench warrants. Freeman is accused of failure to appear in court as ordered. She was arraigned and released.

Kathryn Lorrayne Reinard, 29, of Whitetail Run Drive, Pensacola, Fla., is charged with criminal trespass 2nd. Reinard is accused of entering and remaining in a dwelling without permission in Pembroke at 3:30 p.m. on April 5. Reinard was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Matthew Glenn Raffel, 20, of Selden Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, no tail lamps, and no headlamps. Raffel was stopped at 11:37 p.m. on March 22 on East Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Carlos Ortiz Speed. Raffel was issued an appearance ticket.

Terrance Lee Falk, 25, of Dellinger Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Falk is accused of fighting with another person at the Genesee County Jail at 6:55 p.m. on April 6. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Donald John Cecere, Jr., 66, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd, and speeding. Cecere was stopped at 11:53 p.m. on April 4 on West Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jacob Kipler.

David B. Eck Jr., 31, of Bunnel Street, Attica, is charged with tampering with physical evidence and three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Ashley J. Rzemek, 29, of Cambridge Court, Lancaster, is charged with three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th.  On April 2, deputies were dispatched to the Target parking lot to investigate a report of two people slumped over in a vehicle. Eck is accused of possessing cocaine, fentanyl and suboxone. Rzemek are accused of possessing cocaine. Eck is accused of swallowing a suspected narcotic in an attempt to conceal it. Both suspects were released on appearance tickets.

Donald Ryan, 40, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with tampering with physical evidence, criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, and failure to signal; Brandi Hough, 28, of Bank Street Road, is charged with tampering with physical evidence, criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, Elba; and, Eddie Miles, 52, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. A vehicle reportedly driven by Ryan on Park Road, Batavia, was stopped by a deputy for an alleged traffic violation on April 5. They were allegedly found in possession of narcotics. Ryan and Hough allegedly tried to conceal drug paraphernalia.

Jose Antonio Morales, 46, of Marrow Road, Pavilion, is charged with DWI, moving from lane unsafely, and driving left of pavement markings. Morales was reportedly involved in a motor vehicle accident on Perry Road, Pavilion, at 5:49 p.m. on April 8. Morales was charged following an investigation by Deputy Alexander Hadsall. He was arraigned and released.

Joel Morales-Cruz, 49, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .8 or greater, circumventing an interlock device, aggravated unlicensed operation, and failure to stop at a stop sign.  Morales-Cruz was stopped at 2:36 a.m. on April 7 on Park Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jeremiah Gechell. He is accused of driving drunk with a prior DWI conviction. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Joseph Jonathan Kuzma, 44, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, aggravated unlicensed operation, speeding, unlicensed driver, and no inspection certificate. Kuzma was stopped at 7:51 p.m. on April 9 on Buffalo Road, Bergen, by Deputy Zachary Hoy. Kuzma was released on an appearance ticket.

Jon Hoyt Bush, Sr., 64, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal trespass 3rd, driving while impaired by drugs, controlled substance not in original container, and unsafe turn. Bush was stopped at 4:05 p.m. on Feb. 25 on Beaver Meadow Road, Bryon. He was arrested on April 13 following an investigation by Deputy Zachary Hoy.  He was issued an appearance ticket.

Jessica Jane Warning, 27, of Boston State Road, Boston, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, running a red light, unsafe lane change, and drinking alcohol or using cannabis in a motor vehicle on a highway. Warning was stopped at 1:30 a.m. on April 14 on Main Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jacob Kiplar. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Four friends, multiple stories, in Four the Record at Main St. 56 Theater this weekend

By Howard B. Owens
batavia players four the record
Sarah Hill
Photo by Howard Owens

Four friends who have a lot to say, and they say it through song -- sharing their stories, their ups and their downs, and their secrets -- is the motif that makes Four the Record, a cabaret show, an entertaining show at Main St. 56 Theater this weekend.

The four-person cast features four Harvie Award winners: Deacon Smith, Jocelyn Coburn (not available for photos), Sarah Hill and Sophie Houseman.

The show opens on Friday at 7:30 p.m., with performances on Saturday at 7:30 and on Sunday at 2 p.m.

To purchase tickets, click HERE.

batavia players four the record
Sarah Hill and Deacon Smith.
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Sophie Houseman
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Sarah Hill 
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Deacon Smith
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Sophie Houseman
Photo by Howard Owens
batavia players four the record
Sophie Houseman
Photo by Howard Owens

Retiring optician looking to get Batavians framed before closing up shop

By Howard B. Owens
classic optical closeout

Even as he heads off into retirement after 40 years in business, Bob Chiarmonte wants to ensure that many of the 1,500 backstock of eyeglass frames he has go to his former customers and other local residents before sending them to auction.

Chiarmonte is offering the remainder of his inventory of eyeglass frames for $10 to $25 per frame, which can be filled with prescription lenses by any optometrist shop. That's a good bit less costly than the typical retail price of $100 to $150, Chiarmonte said.

Chiarmonte is keeping the shop open into sometime next week in order to sell as many frames as possible. He's also selling all of his store fixtures -- and if there's an  optometrist looking for examination gear, he's got that, too.

Classic Optical is located at 44 Batavia City Centre, Batavia. 

Previously: Optician sets his sights on family, travel in retirement after nearly 40 years

Photos by Howard Owens

classic optical closeout

Photo: Woodchuck poses for photo op

By Staff Writer
Submitted photo from Jason Smith during his peaceful Sunday morning run through St. Joseph’s Cemetery, and a woodchuck popped his head out to say good morning.

Empire State Development to receive partner of the year award at GCEDC annual meeting

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) has announced that the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) will receive its Economic Development Partner of the Year award at the GCEDC’s annual meeting.

“In just the last few years, Genesee County has experienced some of the largest economic development projects in our history, including over $1 billion in investment at the Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) by Plug Power and Edwards Vacuum as well as the recent expansion announced by HP Hood in the Genesee Agri-Business Park,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. 

“This is a long-deserved recognition and one we are proud to make because, with the collaboration and partnership of ESD, these and many other projects have brought great careers and investments to Genesee County.” 

Jeff Janiszewski, ESD Senior Vice President, Strategic Business Development/Global NY, will accept the award as well as provide the keynote address.

“Under the leadership of New York Governor Kathy Hochul and ESD President and CEO Hope Knight we are proud of our work in using our resources to bring private sector investment and jobs to the Rochester and Finger Lakes region, including Genesee County and in particular at STAMP,” said Janiszewski. 

“I look forward to speaking to the attendees at the GCEDC Annual Meeting about our strategic approach not only regarding our investment decisions in Genesee County but in counties, cities, towns, and villages across New York State.”

The annual meeting will be held on Friday, April 26 at Batavia Downs. Approximately 250 business, government, community, and economic development leaders are expected to attend. To register for the GCEDC annual meeting, visit the event’s website or contact the GCEDC at

Holland Land Office Museum announces May events

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce the next edition of its Guest Speaker Series. On Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m., we welcome Buffalo author John Zach as he shares his latest book, "Built to Burn: The Cleveland Hill School Fire." Admission is $5 or $3 for museum members. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or if you plan to attend.

“Built to Burn,” tells the story of the tragic 1954 Cleveland Hill school fire in Cheektowaga, the worst school fire in New York State History. Fifteen children died, sixteen were burned, many critically. Three adults were also injured, one with life-threatening injuries. The cause of the flash fire was never officially blamed on one particular person. The book, however, suggests and tells otherwise. The narrative captures the lives of many of the survivors including one youngster who would later rub elbows with Elvis Presley, Paul Simon, and Art Garfunkel and be inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. The release of my book coincides with 70 years marking the fire, on March 31."

"This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by GO ART!"

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce the next edition of its Concert Series on Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m. Bart Dentino will be playing an acoustic selection of music that will include original compositions and songs by such artists as James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, The Beatles, and others. Bart was twice selected Best Performer and Best Vocalist of the Year by Freetime Magazine. It was the first time in the magazine’s history an artist was selected in two individual categories. Admission is $5 or $4 for museum members. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or if you would like to attend.

"This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by GO ART!"

Join us at the Holland Land Office Museum for the next edition of our Trivia Night @ the Museum on Thursday, May 8 at 7 p.m. In honor of the end of World War II in Europe, our topic will be the 1940s sometimes called "The Flying Forties." Admission is $5 or $3 for museum members. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or if you would like to attend.

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to present the next edition of our Guest Speaker Series. On Wednesday, May 15 at 6 p.m., the museum welcomes Derrick Pratt of the Erie Canal Museum. We will be presenting "The Center of It All: Baseball on the Erie Canal."

"Discover the Erie Canal’s many connections to the earliest days of professional baseball, told through the stories of some of the game’s biggest stars and others long forgotten." Admission is $5 or $3 for museum members. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or if you would like to attend. 

"This project is made possible with funds from the statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by GO ART!"

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce the next edition of our Java with Joe E. series on Thursday, May 23 at 9 a.m. We welcome back Genesee County Historian Michael Eula as he shares snippets from his new book on the history of Genesee County "Historic Chronicles of Genesee County." Copies of the book will be available for $24.99, and Michael will be signing copies. Admission is free with coffee and pastries.

"The dramatic events of American history have left an indelible mark on the life and culture of New York's Genesee County. The Cold War threat of nuclear destruction led to local preparedness drills in the 1950s, and Genesee classrooms and homes were not spared. Social movements, the Great Depression and New Deal-era policies reshaped how residents viewed the role of government in county life. Genesee women led the charge for women's suffrage in the twentieth century and helped forge new opportunities for female roles in work and public life. Historian Michael J. Eula presents a variety of historical essays from throughout Genesee County's past and shows how the nation's story unfolded from Batavia to Bergen."

Java with Joe E. is sponsored by Pub Hub Coffee for 2024.

Town planners set public hearings for solar farm, motocross, snow equipment storage, biogas projects

By Mike Pettinella

The Batavia Town Planning Board on Tuesday night set public hearings for four projects, including a 5-megawatt ground-mounted commercial solar system on a large agricultural parcel at 9327 Wortendyke Rd.

Speaking at the board’s meeting at the Batavia Town Hall, Will Nieles, project developer representing New Leaf Energy said the solar array will cover about 15.7 acres of a 51.3-acre field in an Agricultural-Residential zoned district.

The application has been submitted by Judy Green/Wortendyke Road Solar 1, LLC. Previously, the project was recommended for approval by the Genesee County Planning Board.

Nieles said the site was selected due to its extensive natural screening, noting that no major tree clearing will be needed. Marc Kenward of Erdman Anthony engineering suggested that the board conduct a visual simulation to see how the solar farm will look years ahead.

Kacey Rose, also of Erdman Anthony, said that all setbacks are within town zoning requirements, and that none of the land designated as wetlands will be affected. She added that trucks will be coming and going from the site about 25 times per day during construction.

The board scheduled the public hearing for 7:15 p.m. on May 21. It also called for a State Environmental Quality Review, site plan review and special use permit.

In other action, the board:

-- Set a public hearing for 7:15 p.m. on May 7 to consider a special use permit and conduct a SEQR for East Coast Speedway’s plan to reopen a motocross track on the grounds of the former Polar Wave on Harloff Road. 

Jason Bonsignore of East Coast Speedway said the project has been modified to include one parcel of land – instead of the original proposal of two parcels – in an effort to bring the motorcycle, ATV and go-kart track back “exactly as years ago.”

The board is requiring a special use permit for the project to go forward.

-- Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. on May 21 in conjunction with a request by Peter Yasses of Byron to obtain a special use permit to construct a 100-foot by 50-foot storage facility at 8887 Alexander Rd. to store his loaders and snow removal equipment.

Yasses said he does much snow removal work in Batavia and has found it difficult to go back and forth to Byron.

“I rent space now in the city. I’d like to own something,” he said.

He also is seeking a build a 30x30 enclosed salt shed and will have a couple small piles of top soil on the land that he plans to purchase.

The board voted to conduct a SEQR and seek lead agency status for the proposal.

-- Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. on May 7 in connection with the proposed CH4 Biogas plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. 

Discussion centered around compiling a list of comments from regulatory agencies, the planning board and others to submit to the applicants prior to the board hearing from town residents on May 7.

Next up for new county jail are training and safety measures, filling gaps

By Joanne Beck
new jail feb 2024

Now that most of the physical portion—the $70 million structure and internal components—of the new Genesee County Jail on West Main Street Road in Batavia is in place, Deputy Jail Superintendent Jeffrey Searls says the organizational part is next, and it is the most crucial part as far as the facility's safety and operation are concerned.

Genesee Justice has been moved out of the old jail downtown to its new quarters, and the focus is on training for those employees who need to know the lay of the land, Searls said during this week’s Public Service meeting.

Jeffrey Searls

“The main thing for us now will be getting training hours in and hitting all the topics for the Commissioner of Corrections standards. So we're working with them; their commission is sending at least one person out every other week to work with the transition team and myself on helping classifications and training several. Towards the end of May, we're going to start classes where all the CO’s are coming over, we’ll have a 36-hour class, three days to get everyone through and on board,” he said. “The Commission is also looking for much more training in our control room operations. So what we have done is with the transition team, basically being subject matter experts of the facility, have trained up a number of senior officers and training officers providing security 24/7 now, and then we are systematically training everyone one by one, multiple times working shifts, working security, but also going through the physical plans of the facility — understanding it and getting to know it and through operations and the control room, which are very, I don’t want to say difficult, but there’s a lot of moving parts within the control room.” 

Searls, who worked 23 years with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, began his role at the jail in December. According to an online bio, he has skills in collaborative problem-solving, coaching, security policy development, strategic thinking, leadership, criminal justice and supervisory abilities. 

He said that the new jail would hold an open house for the public to tour the facility, likely during the ribbon-cutting on May 10. Inmates won’t be moved in until everyone is comfortable with the procedures for picking up and dropping them off and the other protocols, he said.

Staff and other agencies, including law enforcement and fire departments will also review potential crisis situations, he said.

“We’ll get Batavia Fire going through doing the training on a regular schedule of Monday night training. So we’ll let them get out there, get full tours, know where everything is, all what they need to know for combating a fire there. I'll have more schematics come through,” he said. “We’re planning on having a law enforcement day. We have a lot of support; the sheriffs’ jail superintendents from around the area who have supported us along the way come through … we'll have the different shifts of the deputies … go through what the procedures will be at the facility, and how things will be the same or different for picking up and dropping off.”

Undersheriff Brad Mazur said that there are six correction officer vacancies, with four candidates in the background check phase. There are nine female correction officers in place since the new facility will house both males and females. 

Due to increased staffing needs for basic operations, work detail programs may be negatively impacted, according to Mazur’s report of the first quarter of 2024. CO training for the new jail, as Searls mentioned above, will result in an increase in overtime, the report states. Overtime in the first quarter was $90,318.

The average daily male population was 60, with 46 females being boarded out at a cost of $18,445, not including March, because that bill had not been received yet. The cost of meals was $38,778.47, at $2.11 per meal for 18,333 meals. 

During the meeting, Assistant Director of Emergency Communications Peter Hendrickson Jr. and Director Frank Riccobono reviewed the increased calls for service amidst the staffing shortage of two dispatcher vacancies. Calls have increased 13.78 percent since 2022, with a 36 percent rise in mental health-related calls. 

Director Frank Riccobono didn’t run the total numbers, he said, “but my gut feeling is they’re way up.”

“We're starting to get mental health calls involving 7-year-olds and 8-year-olds that back, you know when I first started, was unheard of. Right now, any mental health call is a two-car response until we can prove otherwise. There's been cases around the country where a juvenile ends up getting access either to a firearm or to some other type of weapon. So we have to play it safe until we can determine otherwise. It's a changed world,” Riccobono said. “We all know we're dealing with more children coming from broken homes. I’m certain that's probably part of it. But the inability to cope today seems huge, whether it's a child or an adult. I mean, we're getting calls that, you know, people can't even talk to their neighbor anymore, it seems, without having the police involved, and never in our day would we have done that.”

Sheriff’s Office deputies have had training with Genesee County’s Mental Health Department to help them respond to mental health calls, and they have access to a multi-county Spectrum crisis response, which has either determined that no response is warranted or has sometimes taken 45 minutes to arrive, he said. 

“People have talked to me about children in crisis,” Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said. “It’s difficult enough to talk to a 9-year-old … and then to wade into that by yourself, I want to make sure there’s help.”

Deputies have an iPad to make Telehealth calls to a doctor for guidance when needed, Riccobono said. 

Top Items on Batavia's List

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