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Job fair focused on trades give seniors a chance to talk with employers, learn more about careers

By Howard B. Owens
boces job fair

Getting time to meet and talk with the people who hire workers at local companies is a valuable experience for soon-to-graduate seniors, said Chris Suozzi, VP of business development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Suozzi and Karyn Winters, director of the Genesee County Business/Education Alliance, put together a job fair for graduating seniors from the region and local businesses at BOCES on Friday.

 The job fair was open to both BOCES seniors and non-BOCES students.

"We're excited that the companies are here, meeting, and trying to recruit the seniors who are going to be graduating here shortly," Suozzi said. "As we all know, everybody needs workforce."

The event is a chance for high school students to practice interview skills as well as learn about employment opportunities in Genesee County.

"A lot of them, as you know, may not have a job yet," Suozzi said. "They don't even have a part-time job. So they use so soft skills today, where their eye to eye with a company."

Photos by Howard Owens.

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boces job fair

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

By Joanne Beck
Bob Chiarmonte, retired now after nearly 40 years as business owner of Classic Optical in Batavia City Centre, takes a seat in his exam room at the downtown shop.
Photo by Howard Owens

In 1984, Pete Rose returned to the Cincinnati Reds as a player-manager, Lee Trevino won his second PGA championship, the last Volkswagen Rabbit was produced, and Prince’s “When Doves Cry” was a Number One hit.

It was also the year that Bob Chiarmonte took a leap and got into business with Classic Optical, taking up his first property next to the former Jack’s Sports shop, now Hawley’s Insurance, in what was originally the Genesee Country Mall. Nine years later, in October 1993, Chiarmonte moved to his current location at 44 Batavia City Centre, and now Chiarmonte has retired and closed the store after nearly 40 years. 

“It's tough to put it into a few words, but it was a great pleasure and honor to serve people here, and the job that I do is a job that I love. Working with eyeglasses and contact lenses, helping people see, it's very satisfying to me.” -- Bob Chiarmonte
Photo by Howard Owens

A lot of things have changed during that time — the mall had many more clothing and shoe stores — and there was a longtime Sterling Optical that had been where the current Batavia Stagecoach Florist is, he said.

“I thought it’s either the craziest thing I’ve ever done or the smartest thing I’ve ever done,” Chiarmonte said during an interview Friday. “They closed the following year. It was just my luck I moved here when I did.”

That’s one of the memories he’ll hang onto now that he has retired as of the end of December. He obtained his business certificate on Aug. 9, 1984, and it would be 40 years this August of sustaining all of the challenges of legal woes between the Mall Merchants Association and the city, the aftermath of Urban Renewal, COVID and the resulting pandemic, and the typical ups and downs of operating a business in changing economic times. 

“COVID was tough because I was closed for three months. A lot of businesses went out of business right after COVID, because it's hard to get through that. I was able to do it … I'm sure I lost customers during the time because people don't wait. But I have a lot of loyal people that stayed with me. I'm very grateful for that,” he said. “A lot of the clientele that I've retained over the years actually became friends. So I will miss the friendship from the people that I got close with over that period. I have had some very loyal clients for all 39 years.” 

You might say that Chiarmonte’s path was chiseled while he was still at Williamsville North High School. His brother David, four years older than Bob, was an optician, and his father suggested that Bob also go into the field.

“So that's where I got the idea started. I got a job at a laboratory in downtown Buffalo making eyewear. So I was a lab technician, and I did that for several years, and then just decided that if I was going to stay in the business, I should go back to school, and get my license,” he said. “So that's what I did. Which, consequently, is when I met my wife, she's also an optician.”

He went to Erie Community College, which is where he met his wife, Lisa. After working some more, he wanted his own optical business, and ended up purchasing the Batavia location through a Buffalo optometrist who also had other locations, he said.

That optometrist had a lucrative state contract that catered to union personnel, such as prison guards, for Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties, and that “brought a lot of people to me,” Chiarmonte said. It was only when he wanted to slow down a bit that he signed off the contract and cut back on his hours three years ago, he said. 

He acknowledged that he was an eager 28-year-old when he first began, and now, at 68, he’s ready to take a pause to enjoy and visit family, which includes daughters Tristen in Colorado and Leah and his grandson in Vermont, and travel. 

He’s proud of what he and his wife largely did by themselves when moving into their current 1,100 square-foot site, which used to house a bank, Chiarmonte said, pointing in front of the counter to indicate where the teller line used to be. 

They had a wall and doorway built to form an exam room on the other side of the main reception and display area, and he built the mounts for glass shelving that displays eyeglasses. Lisa refinished all of the furniture — benches and chairs — that greets customers. 

At its height, Classic Optical employed four staff for reception, frame styling, and billing work, plus an optician. 

He served as president of the Mall Merchants Association for six years and was happy to see a final positive outcome when both sides came to an agreement. He believes that he is leaving the mall on good terms for the future, he said.

“The roof is fixed. All entrances are next on the docket. And there have been a few sales of property here, and a couple of new businesses that have opened. And I think if we continue on this path, I think it's gonna get better,” Chiarmonte said. “I’d like to see something happen with Penney's space, it's such a good space, but otherwise, I think the smaller spaces are going to be easier to sell. 

“I’ll still be in contact. I still have friends here, so people will see me around here and there. I spent more of my life in Batavia than I did in Buffalo where I was born,” he said. 

Chiarmonte has closed his shop, and plans to sell off the merchandise and eventually sell the property, he said. 

Investigators expect to dig deep to uncover cause of fire that destroyed former Backhoe Joe's

By Howard B. Owens
swan street fire
A backhoe removing rubble to help investigators access the foundation of the former Backhoe Joe's at 46 Swan St., Batavia, late Friday afternoon following a fully involved fire that destroyed the structure.
Photo by Howard Owens.

No piece of lumber, so to speak, will go unturned at 46 Swan St., Batavia, the former Backhoe Joe's, as fire investigators attempt to determine how a conflagration enveloped the vacant building on Friday afternoon and brought it to the ground.

Both Chief Josh Graham, City Fire, and Capt. Robert Fix, said as of yet, they have no clue how the fire started or why it spread so quickly.

An initial caller at about 12:10 p.m. reported smoke coming from one of the windows.  A few minutes later, Fix was leaving the County Courthouse, where Engine 17 had been dispatched earlier for a medical call, and he saw a tower of smoke to the east and immediately called for a second alarm.

"Upon arrival, it was fully engulfed in fire throughout all the windows," Fix said. "That's when we went to a third alarm because of the large brick exposure building and set up for defensive operations."

All City Fire platoons were dispatched to the fire. Oakfield Fire filled in at City Fire's hall. Town of Batavia, Stafford, and Elba all responded to the scene.

There have been no reported injuries.

Fix said the first concern was protecting nearby buildings, particularly the closest structure, a brick building to the south of 46 Swan, which explains the defensive posture of fire crews.

There was also an issue with sufficient water flow from one fire hydrant.

"The problem is with the fire, this fire, if you start using too many hydrants in the same neighborhood, you're robbing water from each other at that point," Fix said. "So we had some of the mutual aid fire departments come in off Liberty Street and start bringing a water supply from a different area."

As for potential reasons why the fire spread so quickly, Fix suggested the afternoon's strong breeze fed the flames. 

"There was a pretty good east wind here like there is now, you know, during the fire and having the vacant lot across the street and the railroad tracks, the wind is whipping right through here pretty good," Fix said. "But other than that, I don't have a reason why it got such a good head start on us."

Graham noted the age of the wood structure. Also, since the building was in the midst of demolition.

"It's an older structure," Graham said. "There's a lot of holes in it, a lot of ventilation and stuff to feed the fire. So it could be as simple as that. I can't rule anything out. We just don't know at this point."

Neither Graham nor Fix would speculate on the possible cause of the fire.

The structure has been vacant for a long, long time -- nobody at the scene seemed to know how long.  Over the summer, there were signs of work being done on the building, then a safety fence was erected around the entire lot, and a sign for Viele Construction was on the Swan Street side of the property.

The county lists 46 Swan Street LLC and the property owner. That LLC has a mailing address of 61 Swan St., Batavia, which is the location of Viele Construction.

County tax records say the "actual year built" for the structure was 1920, with an "effective year built" of 1970.  The lot size is .16 acres. The commercial use is listed as a tavern with 1,943 square feet. The total area of the structure was 3,886 square feet. 

In 2002, Joseph Garland sold the property to 46 Swan Street LLC for $70,000.  The LLC sold it in December 2011 for $1 to Julie Pappalardo.  The City of Batavia is listed as the owner prior to a sale on March 27, 2018, to Richard Borrell. He owned it until June 26, 2018, when 46 Swan Street LLC reacquired it for $1.  With the exception of the 2002 deed record, the property is listed as unusable for valuation. 

Its most recent total assessed value is $22,000. The land is assessed at $6,400.

For more photos, when the building was fully engulfed, click here.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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County tax record photo of 46 Swan St., Batavia.
before it became backhoe joe's
Photo of 46 Swan St., Batavia, taken by Chuck Barnard in 1985, after it was Angel's but before it became Backhoe Joe's.  Bernard said it was originally Kornowski's Hotel, and the second floor was the first home of the Polish Falcons.
Photo of 46 Swan St., Batavia, taken by Chuck Barnard in 1985, after it was Angel's but before it became Backhoe Joe's.  Bernard said it was originally Kornowski's Hotel, and the second floor was the first home of the Polish Falcons.
Photo of 46 Swan St., Batavia, taken by Chuck Barnard in 1985, after it was Angel's but before it became Backhoe Joe's.  Bernard said it was originally Kornowski's Hotel, and the second floor was the first home of the Polish Falcons.


Be prepared in advance of winter storm this weekend: state of emergency declared

By Joanne Beck

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office has issued a warning and reminder for residents to be prepared for an impending storm by taking care of errands in advance, while Gov. Kathy Hochul has already declared a State of Emergency for several New York State counties including Genesee in light of forecasts for strong winds, freezing temperatures and lake effect snow over the next three days.

The feisty winter weather is likely to cause power outages and potentially life-threatening conditions beginning on Saturday, although the call for strong winds have been issued for Friday evening, according to weather forecasts. 

Whiteout conditions are possible Saturday and Sunday, with difficult to near-impossible travel conditions. There is a travel ban for empty and tandem trucks/trailers to begin Saturday at 9 a.m. on Thruway and other  state roads in Western New York.

Hochul has deployed 100 members of the New York National Guard to Western New York to support emergency response operations, and encourages New Yorkers to enjoy the Buffalo Bills game from home. Those planning to attend should pay close attention to weather and travel updates, a press release from Hochul's office states.

New Yorkers Can Subscribe for Emergency Alerts Here

The Genesee County Sheriff's Office further advises that, due to the winter storm anticipated to affect the Genesee County area starting Friday evening with high winds and continuing throughout the weekend with the addition of areas of heavy snow accumulations and zero visibility, residents should "plan ahead, complete any necessary errands now and avoid traveling during these storm-like conditions."

UPDATED 10:28 p.m. from the National Weather Service:

WHAT: Heavy lake effect snow and very strong winds expected. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet in the most persistent lake snows, with local amounts 2 to 3 feet where the bands persist the longest. Winds gusting as high as 65 mph early in the event will diminish somewhat late Saturday night. Blizzard conditions will be possible at times, especially Saturday night and Sunday.

WHERE: Erie, Genesee, and Wyoming counties.

WHEN: From 10 a.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. EST Monday. The band of heavy lake effect snow is expected to oscillate north and south several times through the course of the event, resulting in varying conditions over time.

IMPACTS: Travel will be very difficult to impossible at times with deep snow cover on roads. Widespread blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility. Very strong winds could cause extensive tree and powerline damage.
Last updated 48 mins agoSource: National Weather Service

Tenney responds to Ways and Means vote to pass pro-life legislation

By Press Release

Press Release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) today announced that a bill she co-led, the Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act, passed the House Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 24-18.

This legislation was introduced by Congresswoman Michele Fischbach (MN-7). Congressman Smith (NJ-4) was also an original cosponsor. It would prohibit the Biden administration from limiting the ability of states to spend Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds on pregnancy centers.

"Crisis pregnancy centers play a vital role in delivering crucial medical care, essential supplies, and unwavering support to pregnant women, new mothers, and both their unborn and born babies,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “The Biden administration's efforts to divert TANF funds away from specific crisis pregnancy centers is a direct assault on pro-life institutions and jeopardizes access to invaluable resources for countless women. By passing this bill today in the Ways and Means Committee markup, House Republicans are fulfilling our promise to always stand with the unborn while further protecting our country’s foundational values of life, individual rights, and freedom.”

"Pregnancy centers offer a wide array of services and support for expectant mothers, fathers, and their families," said Congresswoman Fischbach. "Women who face an unexpected pregnancy should be able to safely go into a facility that is not going to push abortion on them and instead provide them with the education and support they need. And yet, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a rule that could restrict states from using TANF funding for these important resources, and encourages funding to go to facilities that provide abortions. This is one more example of this Administration's anti-women, pro-abortion agenda."

“Pregnancy centers across our country provide crucial services to close to 2,000,000 patients that encompass parenting and prenatal education programs, counseling, and critical material support—including pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, millions of baby outfits, millions of packs of diapers, and tens of thousands of new car seats and strollers,” said Congressman Smith. “This critical legislation will block the Biden Administration’s efforts to strip these centers of federal TANF funding and will help ensure that their dedicated and compassionate staff can continue to provide much-needed assistance and quality care for pregnant women and their precious unborn babies.”

"National Right to Life applauds Reps. Michelle Fischbach, Claudia Tenney, and Chris Smith for their work on H.R. 6918, the Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act. Pregnancy centers serve millions of clients annually and offer hope and support for women and their unborn children. This legislation protects access to maternal care by blocking the Biden Administration from implementing a rule that could endanger funding for pregnancy centers in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. In a post-Roe America, it is more important now than ever that pregnancy centers are able to effectively support mothers and their babies. National Right to Life strongly supports this legislation," said Carol Tobias, President National Right to Life.

Tenney delivered remarks during the markup, which can be watched here.

Independent Living now offers special health care needs resource library

By Press Release

Press Release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), working in cooperation with the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, has opened a Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Family Resource Library.  Relatives of young people with disabilities from Genesee and Orleans Counties can make appointments to investigate adaptive devices and other equipment before investing in them, and perhaps arrange a short-term loan of an item.

About the Resource Library: The CYSHCN Resource Library is for children and their families to be able to test and identify tools and supports that will help their child/ youth in areas such as development, emotional regulation, support with health conditions or disabilities, sensory processing, communication, learning disabilities, advocacy, and more. This is a great way to try items for FREE, to see what works or doesn’t work before buying.  

Supportive Equipment and Assistive Technology: Equipment is expensive, so this is a great way to try different items to see what works, or what does not, with no out-of-pocket expense. Some equipment available includes sensory toys, busy books, balance seats, tools that can support occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), speech goals, communication tools, and much more.  

Books: We have a variety of books and workbooks that support parents, children, and youth of all ages.  

For more information, contact April Fearby, CYSHCN Program Specialist at ILGR, at, or by calling 585-815-8501, extension 401.  

Fire reported on Swan Street

By Howard B. Owens
swan fire
Reader submitted photo

A fire is reported at 46 Swan St., Batavia.

A firefighter on scene reports, "heavy fire."

The location is the former Backhoe Joe's.

City Fire is on scene.

A second alarm is requested.  Town of Batavia requested to the scene.

A commander says, "We're going to be defensive on it."  Train traffic is being stopped.

UPDATE: Photos by Frank Capuano.

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UPDATE: A reader shared this photo of the smoke pillar from the fire as seen from way down on West Main Street, Batavia.

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Pembroke gets sixth win, 63-38 over Elba

By Staff Writer
elba pembroke basketball

Pembroke's Tyson Totten scored 24 points to help lead the Dragons to a 63-38 win over Elba on Thursday in Boys Basketball.

Totten also had eight rebounds.

Avery Ferreira scored 17 points, hitting three threes.  Sam Pfeiffer, 11 points, with three threes, and Sean Pustulka had eight assists.

For the Lancers, Nicholas Scott scored 16 points.

"We had three good defensive quarters to close out the game," said Dragon's coach Matthew Shay. "I thought we did a nice job managing the game, which is a credit to Sean."

Pembroke is now 6-2. Elba is 2-7.

Photos by Debra Reilly.

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Batavia's Alpine Ski Team has good showing at first meet of season despite warm conditions

By Staff Writer
alpine ski team
Abby Bestine, Lily Wagner, and Quinn Woeller.
Submitted photo.

Story by Coach Matt Holman:

It was windy and snowy for the first race of the 2024 ski season on Wheels Run. 

The warm daytime temperatures left the race course softer than ideal conditions would provide. After the modified field had completed its first run, the course had been worn with ruts and large snow piles for the racers to navigate.

The Batavia Alpine Ski team fared well, with a third-place finish for the boy's team and a 4th place finish for the girl's team.

Leading the way for the team was a ninth-place finish for senior Ben Stone. Ethan Bradley (12th grade) was 15th, Gunnar Pietrzykowski (9th Grade) was 18th. Freshman Nolan Radly had a first run time good enough for 16th place but was unable to finish his second run.

Lily Wagner (12th grade) finished 11th for the girls. Quinn Woeller (12th grade) and Abby Bestine (11th grade) had good first runs (15th and 17th, respectively) but were unable to finish their 2nd.

"This first race sets the stage for a good season," Holman said. "The young skiers have learned some things tonight that you can't outside of an actual ski race, and I believe these teams will only get better as the season goes on."

alpine ski team
Ethan Bradley, Nolan Radley, and Ben Stone.
Submitted photo.
alpine ski team
Lily Wagner.
Submitted photo.
alpine ski team
Ben Stone.
Submitted photo.


USDA declares Genesee County drought disaster area, opens door for emergency aid

By Joanne Beck

In a move that would surely come as no surprise to many folks in Genesee County, the United States Department of Agriculture has declared the county as a drought disaster area, qualifying farm operations for emergency loans to recover from any drought-related losses. 

The natural disaster designation allows the USDA’s Farm Service Agency to extend “much-needed emergency credit” to agricultural producers. Loans can be used to meet various needs, including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of the farming operation or refinancing certain debts, a USDA press release stated late Thursday.

Farmers have until Sept. 9 to apply for a loan. Eligible counties also include Wyoming, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Erie, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara and Orleans.

Residents in pockets of Genesee County have been hit hardest by drought and resulting dry wells since summer 2023, including in Pembroke, Pavilion, and especially in the town of Bethany -- which has declared a State of Emergency -- with at least 100 households, and several businesses and a handful of farms with little to no water on their properties.

As Bethany Town Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. has said, it’s hard enough to have no access to water, but then to have to spend the time and money to drive — for some farms on a daily basis — several miles roundtrip to fill containers with up to 60,000 gallons of water and haul it back, it takes a big toll financially. 

“That’s not sustainable for a farm,” Hyde has said in a prior interview with The Batavian. “And if they were to sell off the dairy herd, they’ve got 100 employees. What are you gonna do, kick them to the curb? And it’s not just like one dairy farm.”

Bethany has about five of them, all battling the elements of no rain and dry wells, he said. 

The town is in progress with paperwork for Water District 5 and a public hearing since the project had to be budgeted for increased costs, which will be covered with grants for $16.5 million and an infrastructure improvement grant for $5 million, which was just awarded at the end of 2023. 

Hyde will be formally announcing that public hearing, which has been set for 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at Bethany Town Hall. Water District 5 runs north to Route 20 and includes 440 residential properties. Two-thirds of town residents will have public water by the time the district is completed, and then the town will pursue District 6 next, he said.

The Town of Le Roy also received a $5 million water infrastructure grant for its Water District 12, and Genesee County was given a $30 million bond for its Phase 3 water project to ensure a strong water system throughout the county. 

As for Pembroke’s water shortage, Town Supervisor Tom Schneider said that there were a dozen residents having issues with dry wells that the town was aware of in mid-December. The town offered them an option to fill water totes at the town hall.

“We have been (getting) one or two people every other day coming to fill water totes,” Schneider said. “We always will seek funding for any new water districts. Grants and low-interest loans are the only way to make water districts work in low-density areas.”

Water District 4, which covers most of the roads north of the Thruway, has been approved by the state Comptroller, and the town is in progress with putting it out for bid. Water District 5, covering Pratt, Kilian and Slusser roads south of the Thruway, is awaiting the Comptroller’s approval “due to the proposed debt service being a few dollars higher than the Comptroller’s automatic approval threshold,” he said.

“We have very preliminarily looked at the cost of water districts to the parts of the town, but do not have any concrete plans for any new districts,” he said. “We’re hearing some residents have drilled their existing wells deeper with success.”

Developer says 80-unit complex across from GCC to be market-rate apartments

By Howard B. Owens
david mazur medtech landing gcedc
Developer David Mazur presents plans for MedTech Landing, an 80-unit apartment complex, to the GCEDC board of directors on Thursday.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Grand Island-based developer David Mazur isn't just 100 percent sure his proposed 80-unit apartment complex across the street from Genesee Community College will consist only of market-rate apartments. He's "1,000 percent" sure.

He's not going to turn to state or federal agencies to help fund his project, as Sam Savarino did with Ellicott Station, he told The Batavian during an interview on Thursday after he presented his plans to the Genesee County Economic Development Center board of directors.

He told The Batavian the same thing he told the GCEDC board a few minutes earlier.  In 18 years of building apartment complexes, he's only built and leased out market-rate units. That's his business model. That's what he knows how to do.

The proposed complex, now called MedTech Landing, on Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley Drive, will cost $15 million to build. It will be 100,000 square feet with 80 apartments and 60 parking garages.

When completed, there will be 24 three-bedroom apartments, 42 two-bedroom, and 14 one-bedroom, with rents ranging from more than $1,300 a month to more than $2,000 a month.  

Tenants will be required to have a job with a monthly income of 3.5 times the monthly rental price, which, Steve Hyde calculated, would mean at least $55,000 in annual salary for a one-bedroom apartment and more than $82,000 for three bedrooms.

Hyde said he wants people to hear that the complex is going to be market rate because, "you know, of the challenging situation we had downtown with an affordable complex that is now stuck. I wanted to demonstrate how different this is from that and that this really what this agency's focus is trying to bring up."

In an earlier press release about the project from GCECD, a point Hyde also emphasized on Thursday, a 2018 housing study for Genesee County indicated a strong need for market-rate houses and apartments in Genesee County.  There needs to be more than 4,000 new units built in the county over the next 20 years, according to the study.

Mazur said, based on his 18 years of experience, about half of his tenants will be retirees, and about half will be professionals.

The retirees like the first-floor apartments, he said. 

"Some people have never lived in anything brand new," Mazur said. "They don't want to deal with their house anymore. A husband or wife has passed. They want to have a sense of a little bit of community, but not too much of a community where they can have a couple of neighbors, it's okay. But they don't want to take care of the lawn, the ice, the snow, the plowing, all that stuff. For them, it's clean, it's fresh."

He recalled one tenant he had in one of his complexes who was excited to live in a place with brand-new plumbing and fixtures for the first time. 

"She's 70-something years old, lived her whole life, you know, and now she has the opportunity to live in something that's brand new and fresh and modern," he said.

Not all professionals, for various personal reasons, are ready to commit to homeownership, and apartments are a better fit for their lifestyles.

Mazur said after a previous story by The Batavian about his plans, an attorney with one of the local government agencies contacted him.

"He said, 'Hey, when are you going to have these ready? I'd love it. I want to move in,'" Mazur said. "It's just one of those little things that I think, as soon as the word gets out, people start seeing and hearing about it, they want to get in."

Even though the complex will be across the street from a community college, Mazur doesn't anticipate any college student tenants.  The typical college student can't afford market-rate rents, he said, and all tenants must meet the income requirements, and he doesn't allow tenants to have co-signers.

These will be nice apartments, Mazur said. Quality fixtures, hardware and fittings with granite countertops.

The nearly 10-acre lot Mazur plans to build on is adjacent to the MedTech Center, which contains GCEDC's main office.  It's west of the building. Mazur has an approved sale agreement with Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation, an adjunct to GCEDC, for $200,000.

MedTech Landing LLC is seeking a sales tax exemption estimated at $720,000, a property tax abatement of approximately $3,031,048, and a mortgage tax exemption of $120,000.  

The board approved a resolution on Thursday to accept the application and direct the staff to schedule a public hearing. The date for the hearing has not yet been announced.

Mazur expects to finalize financing for the $15 million project with a local bank today (Friday).  Once that's in place, he indicated, there will be no need to turn to NYS Homes and Community Renewal, as Savarino did, to close the financing gap.

Pending that final financing letter, and some loose ends to tie up with the Town of Batavia on project approval, he will sign contracts with a bevy of subcontractors, which are already committed through letters of intent, he told the board.  

The disruption to construction material prices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is waning, he said, though finding trade workers is still a challenge.

Weather permitting, he expects the first shovel in the ground in March, with the first units available for tenants by December.

While he said there aren't really "phases" to the construction plan, he does intend to have units available for new tenants before all 80 units are completed.

Even though the complex is outside the City of Batavia and away from its primary commercial center, he expects local businesses to benefit from the new complex, he said.

He said people who want a little more spaciousness, more of a country feel, will be attracted to his units. 

"I'm never going to compete against somebody that wants to be downtown and live in downtown," Mazur said. "(But) the benefit to the city, is absolutely, you're gonna have 80 units. Maybe it ends up being two people per unit, there's one bedroom or three bedrooms, but an average of two (per unit). It's 160 people. They still gotta shop. They gotta eat. They're gonna visit the local bars and the eateries downtown. So, yes, I think there's gonna be an economic value to the city itself."

Countryside Apartments MedTech GCC
Complex design drawing previously submitted by David Mazur.
Countryside Apartments MedTech GCC
Complex design drawing previously submitted by David Mazur.
Countryside Apartments MedTech GCC
File photo of the proposed apartment complex site.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Photo: A grey winter afternoon in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
grey afternoon gcc
It seems that winter is finally coming around to settle in for a little visit in Genesee County.  It was a grey, snowy afternoon on the campus of Genesee Community College (as seen from the parking lot of the Medtech Center).
Photo by Howard Owens.

There is a winter storm watch in effect for this weekend.

GO ART! is seeking submissions of artwork for upcoming exhibit

By Press Release

Press Release:

GO ART! is seeking submissions for an upcoming exhibit, This Art is Garbage which provides artists an opportunity to explore the possibilities of garbage and waste as a medium for creativity. Artists are asked to redirect items that would normally be thrown away, into works of art. 

Open to artists of all skill levels, we are actively seeking submissions from students, emerging artists, and professionals. Garbage is a theme that connects us all and we hope to showcase a wide variety of skill levels and perspectives.


  • Oliver’s Gallery, GO ART! Seymour Place, 201 E Main Street, Batavia.


  • Work Drop Off: Feb 7 - 10, 2024, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • On View: Feb 14 - Mar 30, 2024
  • Artist Reception: Feb 15, 2024, 5 - 8 p.m.


  • This Art is Garbage


  • Open to all levels of artists: students, emerging, and professionals


  • Works of art may include a component of garbage in the finished piece, garbage may be used in the art making process (for example, creating texture and pattern), or garbage as the subject of the piece (for example, creative photography of discarded objects). “Upcycled” items, such as painted furniture, are not accepted.
  • Work must not exceed 36”x 36”
  • Artwork must be wired and ready to hang (GO ART! reserves the right to turn away any submitted work that is not properly wired and ready to hang.)


  • There is no entry fee
  • Each artist may submit up to two works.
  • Exhibit applications can be found here: 

For more information visit 

This exhibition is organized by Leigh LeFevre and Rebecca LeFevre. Feel free to reach out with any questions or follow us on Instagram for updates. Contact Leigh at or @takeastepback_podcast. Contact Rebecca at or

Master Gardeners begin free monthly 'garden talk' series

By Press Release

Press Release:

Join the Genesee County Master Gardeners for their monthly Garden Talk programs starting Feb. 1, at Noon. Master Gardener Denise K. will be our presenter for “Gardening in a Warming World.” Denise will discuss the whole landscape approach to gardening. You will learn techniques on how to better prepare and help your garden flourish.  We'll also cover some Integrated Pest Management (IPM) information.

March 7 - Let’s “Travel to the Canary Islands” with Master Gardener Kathie W.  Ever wonder what it would be like to garden in a place where there is no level ground? Or on a volcano? Take an armchair trip with us as we travel to Funchal, a volcanic island off Portugal, and Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands. Learn about gardening on volcanic islands. Explore someplace new!

April 4 - “Bluebirds!” with Master Gardener Chee L. Everybody loves bluebirds, that’s why they’re the official bird of New York State. If you are new to bluebirding, this program will cover everything you need to know to attract them to your property. If you’re an old pro this will help refresh your memory of why you love them!

May 2 - “Hardscape in the Garden” with Master Gardener Roberta T. Not every part of a garden has to have plants. Hardscape is any of the non-living elements in your landscape design. We’ll give you some ideas on how you can easily add stone elements to your landscape.

June 6 - Master Gardener Maud C. will do a demonstration on “How to Create a Terrarium.” Always popular, they are sometimes referred to as “gardens under glass.”  Whether you would like to create a theme-based garden or just a plant jungle, the principles are the same. Maud will walk you through the steps so you can build your own and also give you tips to keep your terrarium looking spectacular.

Garden Talk programs start at Noon and can be 30 to 60 minutes long, depending on the topic. This free series is open to all, but registration is required. You can attend in person at the CCE office (420 East Main Street, Batavia) or via Zoom.

To register for a Zoom link, visit our Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County website at A Zoom link will be sent to your email with your personal link to the event. 

To attend in person please contact Laura at 585-343-3040 x101 or Upcoming Master Gardener events will also be posted on the CCE Genesee County website. Garden Talk programs are recorded and posted to our CCE Genesee YouTube page at 

Town of Byron Republican Committee seeks candidates

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Town of Byron Republican Committee is seeking registered party members who are interested in becoming endorsed Republican candidates for the following Town of Byron open positions:

2 - Town Justices (Town Clerk / Tax Collector, Deputy Town Clerk)
3 - Planning Board members

Those interested send a letter of interest or call:

  • Steve Hohn Chairman - or 585-703-5528
  • Jim Northup Vice Chairman - or 585-409-4327.

The Town of Byron Town Board and Supervisor will also be conducting a search for interested candidates for open positions from any registered political parties.

Winter storm watch in effect for Saturday through Monday

By Howard B. Owens

Up to seven inches of lake-effect snow is possible this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm watch is in effect from Saturday afternoon through Monday morning.

Wind gusts could reach 65 mph.

The weather service states, "Travel could be very difficult to impossible during the weekend. Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The strongest winds will occur Saturday, which could cause tree damage and power outages."

Holly scores more than 40 points for third time this season in Le Roy win

By Staff Writer
le roy basketball
Adam Woodworth.
Photo by Carter Fix.

For the second straight game, Merritt Holly scored more than 40 points, leading Le Roy to a 70-53 win over Geneseo in Boys Basketball.

With 44 points, it's the third time this season that Holly scored more than 40 points in a game.

Holly also had 14 rebounds and was 21-28 from the field.

Jean Agosto also notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, adding four assists and two steals.

Adam Woodworth, six points and eight assists, Matthew Hockey, six points.

Jackson Willis scored 32 points for Geneseo, hitting four three-pointers.

le roy basketball
Alexander Spezzano.
Photo by Carter Fix.
le roy basketball
Merritt Holly.
Photo by Carter Fix.
le roy basketball
Photo by Carter Fix.
le roy basketball
Photo by Carter Fix.

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TAKE NOTICE THAT The Town of Elba is requesting Bids for the 2024 Cemetery Mowing season, with extra clean-up and trimming of trees/bushes. This will include three (3) cemeteries, Pine Hill Cemetery on Chapel Street, Maple Lawn Cemetery on Maple Avenue and Springvale Cemetery on Edgerton Road. Bids are for a 1-year contract and the successful bidder must provide their own $500,000.00 Liability Insurance certificate. A complete list of specifications/properties can be obtained by contacting the Town Clerk’s Office at (585)757-2762, ext. 10. Sealed bids should be clearly marked “Elba Cemetery Mowing Bids” and submitted no later than 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 7, 2024 at the Town Clerk’s Office, 7133 Oak Orchard Road, Elba, NY 14058. Bids will be opened at 1:00 p.m. at the Town of Elba Town Hall on Monday, March 11, 2024. The Town Board reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids that do not comply with their specifications. By Order of the Town Board, Trisha Werth Town Clerk
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