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Schumer announces Senate passage of bill to continue grants for fire departments

By Press Release

Press release:

After an all-out push launched to save federal funding for New York Fire Departments, standing with firefighters from the Capital Region to the Southern Tier, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced the Fire Grants and Safety Act of 2023, which would save this vital lifeline has passed the Senate.

Schumer explained the main federal firefighter funding programs - the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program – which help hire new firefighters and purchase lifesaving equipment, are both at risk of being eliminated this year.

Schumer, who helped create these programs, said the new bill, which has now passed the Senate, would extend this funding through Fiscal Year (FY) 2030, preserving this critical funding that has delivered over $682 million to firefighters across the Empire State. 

“When our New York fire departments smelled smoke on how devastating these cuts would be, I traveled to every corner of the state standing with our firefighters to sound the alarm. Everyday our brave firefighter in Upstate New York risk their lives to keep their communities safe, and I promised to use all my clout as majority leader to hold feet to the fire and lead this bill to passage; And a promise made is now a promise kept,” said Senator Schumer. “Since the start of the AFG and SAFER programs, which I helped create, New York has received nearly $700 million in federal funding through these critical federal lifelines. That is money for new fire trucks, better equipment, and to hire more firefighters in the Upstate communities that need them most. I’m proud to have led the Fire Grants and Safety Act to passage in the Senate, and I will continue fighting tooth and nail to ensure that NY firefighters get the federal support they need to keep our communities safe for years to come.”

Schumer traveled across Upstate New York, from the Capital Region to the Southern Tier to the Hudson Valley, to sound the alarm on the potential elimination of this lifesaving federal funding for NY fire departments, promising he would not relent until the bill had passed the Senate. Schumer originally created the AFG Program in 2002, which later expanded to also include the SAFER and Emergency Response (SAFER) Program, and the Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) programs.

Schumer explained that these federal programs have been a lifeline for firefighters and have become essential to their continued operations. Fire departments, especially those in Upstate New York, often face budget shortfalls and extremely high costs that mean they cannot purchase the modern equipment they need to combat emergencies to keep firefighters safe. Schumer said that the AFG and SAFER grants have positively benefited fire departments in every corner of Upstate New York, and with the passage of the Fire Grants and Safety Act, NY firefighters will continue to receive the federal support they need to purchase lifesaving equipment and hire more firefighters throughout Upstate.

Specifically, the Fire Grants and Safety Act reauthorizes the U.S. Fire Administration, the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program, and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant Program through Fiscal Year (FY) 2030. The bill also extends the sunset for both SAFER and AFG from 2024 to 2032 and increases the authorization for the U.S. Fire Administration by about $20 million, while maintaining the authorized funding level for SAFER and AFG at $750 million, each.

The senator is now calling on the House of Representatives to quickly take up the legislation he led to passage in the Senate, and to get the bill to the President’s desk ASAP to be signed into law.

Schumer said, “Now the House needs to quickly take up the Fire Grants and Safety Act and pass this vital legislation so fire departments across America can continue to receive the federal support they desperately need, and I will not stop turning up the heat until this vital legislation for our firefighters becomes law.”

Since the start of these programs in 2002, the grants have delivered nearly $700 million in federal funding to NY firefighters. Schumer said that losing this funding would be felt especially hard for firefighters across Upstate New York, who have received over $78.5 million in federal funding through these programs in just the past three years.

Schumer said that if the programs were to cease that would mean lifesaving equipment and the hundreds of New York firefighters that have been hired, or recruited in the case of volunteer departments, thanks to this funding might never have happened. For example, last year, the Troy and Saratoga Springs fire departments received nearly $8 million to hire 30 new firefighters, and in 2019, the Buffalo Fire Department received nearly $10 million to hire 50 new firefighters. Over the past few years, multiple fire departments have received millions to purchase new ladder trucks, radio systems, self-contained breathing apparatus devices, cardiac monitoring devices, and other lifesaving equipment.

Tenney supports bill she says will protect female sports

By Press Release

Press release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) voted in favor of H.R. 734, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023. The legislation ensures that biological females are not forced to compete against biological men in women's competitive sports funded through Title IX.

Tenney was an original cosponsor of this legislation and introduced this bill on February 1, 2023, on behalf of the bill’s original lead sponsor, Congressman Greg Steube (R-FL). This bill passed the House by a vote of 219-203.

“On National Girls and Women in Sports Day this February, I walked up the Capitol steps alongside tremendous female athletes to introduce the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “Today, House Republicans kept yet another commitment to the American people by voting to pass this commonsense bill. Across the country, the Biden administration is allowing, even encouraging, biological men to participate in women’s sports. This is fundamentally unfair and diminishes equal opportunities for women in athletics, which we fought for decades to achieve. By passing this bill, we are protecting opportunities for female athletes to train, compete, and thrive.”

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

Brayden Smith's big day at plate, on mound, sparks O-A 28-0 win

By Howard B. Owens


Brayden Smith tossed a five-inning no-hitter and was 3-3 at the plate with three RBIs and four runs scored as part of a dominating win by Oakfield-Alabama over Holley on Friday.

The Hornets banged out 19 hits and won 28-0 to move to 7-0 on the season while Holley falls to 0-4.

Aiden Warner was 2-3 with four RBIs and five runs scored. David Schufer was 2-3 with three RBIs. Colton Yasses, 2-4, three runs scored, and Brenden Wescott 2-4.

Thirteen players collected hits for O-A.

Smith K'd 13.  Only one hitter reached base on an error.

Submitted photo.

BHS senior Brendan Burgess wins Mr. Batavia 2023

By Steve Ognibene


The Mr. Batavia event -- in its 10th year and featuring 10 contestants on Friday -- has been a great tradition at Batavia High School, said Lisa Robinson, chairperson of the annual contest. 

Not only is the event a source of local entertainment featuring Batavia High School students, but it also serves as a fundraiser for charities, mostly right here in Genesee County. 

"I am so incredibly proud and very appreciative of all past and present hostesses, contestants and committee members, as well as the amazing staff who has supported myself and everyone involved over the years.  I could not do it without them," Robinson said.

Friday's event surpassed $5,000, bringing the 10-year fundraising total to nearly $38,000.

Each contestant performed their best in different categories, such as group dance, talent, swim strut, lip-sync, tux walk, and question and answer.

Brendan Burgess will get 50 percent of proceeds to donate to his charity, Volunteers for Animals.  When they read his name, his first thoughts were "all the money for the charity for such a good cause."

"I was thinking of my fellow contestants on how much work we all put in.  My coaches, my family, on how much they all supported me through the process," Burgess said.  "I really strengthened my friendships with my close group of friends, and some I have not talked to over a couple years. It helped bond us together even more.  It’s really awesome to come together and make new friends and strengthen those connections."

There was a tie for second place.  They were Cooper Fix (Ricky Palermo Foundation) and Fabian Vasquez (Golisano’s Childrens Hospital).  They will each get 25 percent of the proceeds to donate to their charities.

Vasquez said it was a "shell-shocking, amazing feeling" to win. 

"I was really impressed with this and we all put a lot of hard work and dedication into this," he said. "I don’t feel like there (were) any flaws and we put on a really good show tonight, and I hope it’s loved for many years for those who attended."

Fix had similar positive sentiments about the experience, regardless if he won or not.

"I was so excited and happy, I didn’t expect to place. There were so many talented guys out here that it could have gone either way, so I was so excited especially to share it with one of my friends; it was a great feeling," Fix said.  "We were all friends coming into this, but we got so much closer, seeing each other every day before school, working hard with each other every day it’s like building a new family."

Other contestants and their charities were:

  • Garrett Schmidt – All Babies Cherished
  • Ifran Armstrong – Crossroads House
  • Aidan Anderson – Batavia VA
  • Aden Chua – Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Alex Johnson – Dave McCarthy Foundation
  • Shawn Kimball – Habitat for Humanity
  • Michael Marchese – Batavia Community Schools

Judges were Michelle Gillard, Batavia Business & Professional Womens Club; Christian Yunker, Owner/Managing Member at CY Farms/Batavia Turf; Jay Gsell, retired Genesee County Manager; Carly Scott, hostess of Mr. Batavia 2015; and Jordan Fluker, winner of Mr. Batavia 2015.

Hostesses were seniors, Clara Wood, Maya Schrader and Lucy Taggart.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase photos, click here.










Disgruntled pharmacy customers speak up about lag in meds, phone system

By Joanne Beck


After her first trip to the hospital for a nasty bout of bronchitis, Roberta White was issued a prescription for a steroid inhaler, which was sent to CVS on West Main Street in Batavia.

That was the first week in April.

As of Friday, April 21, she’s still waiting for it. In between that time, White has made additional trips to the hospital for treatment, and, eventually, antibiotics and prednisone, the steroid she needed in the first place, she said.

When she tried to contact CVS by phone, she could not get through to the pharmacy, even when the front store staff transferred her, she said. Already diagnosed with severe asthma, she struggled to breathe and walk very far with her bronchitis at its worst, she said, and couldn’t go to the store until her symptoms got better.

“I had been working with my doctor’s office, they'd call CVS … they weren’t filling my other prescriptions either,” White said. “Yesterday, I decided to contact CVS, and the phone system was down.”

She believes that her visits were an irritation to hospital staff, as they asked why she hadn’t gone to get her prescriptions filled. She explained that she couldn’t because she was continuously told that they were “on hold.” She called CVS corporate and said that not only did the person she spoke to have no answers, but also couldn’t get through to the Batavia pharmacy by phone.

Mary Jo Ognibene is shopping around for another pharmacy that will take her insurance. She wasn’t pleased that the Main Street, Batavia CVS took five and a half hours to fill her child’s two prescriptions, and another CVS branch didn’t answer the phone, she said.

Some online reviewers — for a cumulative rating of 2.8 — were equally unhappy. Carissa Augello said she understood that “there are staffing shortages, but holy cow.”

“I can’t even get through to talk to someone, and when it says I can leave a message, I can’t because the mailbox is full,” she wrote. “I’ve been waiting four days for my child’s prescription.”

Another online reviewer complained that she has “literally been waiting 3 months for my prescription to be filled.”

“Understand there (is) a shortage, but every time more comes in (they’re) supposedly out and say first come, first served, but been waiting 3 months,” Alicia Brenkus wrote.

White added that her mother, a diabetic, has also experienced a lag in getting her prescriptions. Her mom has received a message that her medications are in, and when she goes to pick them up, she’s told they’re not ready, White said.

Full disclosure: this reporter has experienced similar issues of prescriptions not being filled on time, not being able to get through to anyone on the phone after multiple attempts, and then after going in person to pick up scripts that were supposed to be ready, was told that they were not.

To be fair, the two employees that were behind the pharmacy counter during a more recent trip frantically worked to fill orders and do what they could in the moment. One of them explained that the lack of staff has put them two weeks behind.

A couple of signs were posted at the pharmacy counter that said there are issues with volume and staffing.


Apparently, that team has been struggling to fill its roster. The Batavian contacted CVS corporate Lead Director of External Communications Amy Thibault Thursday about the issues at the Batavia store.

“We’ve experienced an unexpected staffing issue at our West Main Street pharmacy, which has led to some delays in service, in-person and over the phone,” Thibault said. “We’re working to bring in additional pharmacy team members from neighboring CVS stores to assist, and we apologize for any delays patients may experience.”

Staffing shortage or not, meds — and lack thereof — are nothing to mess around with, White said. With her severe breathing issues, many medical conditions, including bronchitis, can become a life-and-death matter. “I could die from this,” she said.

This isn’t to say that the employees working at CVS are necessarily doing anything wrong — many are hard-working people trying to serve the needs of customers in the face of apparent staffing hardships and a dysfunctional phone system. However, customers seem to be bearing the brunt of the store’s struggles, and they shouldn’t have to wait days, weeks, and months for necessary medications.

Hopefully, Thibault’s remedy to bring in additional staff from neighboring CVS stores has already begun. Another trip to the pharmacy Friday evening found the drive-thru closed due to the staffing shortage. Adding more personnel couldn’t happen soon enough.

If you’re experiencing issues at CVS, let us know at


Photos by Howard Owens.

Still in the midst of recovering from fire, The Firing Pin hosts a Chamber After Hours

By Howard B. Owens


It's been less than four weeks since a fire in the firing range at The Firing Pin on Buffalo Road in Bergen nearly shut the business down.

But it isn't shut down.

A sign of that was owner Brandon Lewis and his staff hosting an After Hours event for the Chamber of Commerce -- an event that had been scheduled before the fire.

Lewis saw no reason to cancel it.

His 7,500 square-foot retail space and indoor firing range are gutted, but he rented a mobile firing range and converted a 500 square-foot storage area and studio into a new retail space, so the Firing Pin Remains open to take care of its customers, conduct classes, and keep everything going while he works out recovery details with his insurance carrier.

"It's been an adjustment, but we're making the most of it," Lewis said. "Obviously, if it were up to me, we'd already be half rebuilt already. But, you know, we're working within the limitations that we've got. I couldn't be more thankful for my team. You know, I couldn't imagine where we'd be without their efforts."

Previously: Three days after devastating fire, owner of The Firing Pin looking ahead

Photos by Howard Owens: Top photo, Brandon Lewis and his daughter Emmie.


Kelly Bermingham, membership director for the Chamber, with a cookie made for the chamber event featuring The Firing Pin logo.



John Huther, director for training at The Firing Pin, inside the mobile firing range.

Batavia defeats Brockport 6-1 in Boys Tennis

By Steve Ognibene


Batavia picked up their second win of the season in Boys Tennis with a 6-1 victory over Brockport on Thursday.

The deciding match for Batavia's victory was Andrew Beal and Ethan Bradley at first doubles. Beal and Bradley won 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) and took the pressure off the remaining singles matches.  Batavia is now 2-2.  

Match results (Batavia are first player(s) listed:

  • Orion Lama defeated Jason Kleehammer, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (10-5)
  • Jack Pickard lost to Alex Kuhn, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
  • Finn Halpin defeated Lucas Rodgers, 7-6(8-6), 3-6, 7-6(10-4)
  • Talyn Kennedy defeated Alex Cole, 7-5, 6-1
  • Andrew Beal/Ethan Bradley defeated Arjun Dwivedi/Noah Ryan, 6-4, 7-6(7-5)
  • Ben Stone/Luke Babcock defeated Bryce Gaylor/Jake Rookey 6-1, 6-3

One match was a forfeit.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.





Hornets remain undefeated with 13-3 win over Alexander

By Howard B. Owens


Brodie Hyde and Colton Yasses combined to strike out 12 Trojans over six innings to help lead Oakfield-Alabama to a 13-3 win over Alexander (1-2) on Thursday.

The Hornets are now 6-0 to open the season.

David Schnaufer drove in three runs for O-A, going 2-4.  He had O-A's only multi-hit game. Brayden Smith was 1-3 with three RBIs. Hyde collected a hit and two walks, scoring all three times he reached base.  Aiden Warner also scored three runs, and Brenden Wescott scored twice.

Anthony Auricchio was 1-3 for Alexander, driving in two runs.

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more game photos, click here.







Amelia McCulley named first-team All-Greater Rochester

By Howard B. Owens


Submitted photo and information.

Notre Dame's Amelia McCulley made first-team All-Greater Rochester for the 2022-23 basketball season.

McCulley, a senior, will be attending Hobart/William Smith in the fall.

The only other player from the GLOW region to make the AGR first team is Kylie Buckley, from Livonia, who will be attending Niagara in the fall.

In her senior season at Notre Dame, McCulley led Section V Girls Basketball with 88 three-point shots, which is the second most all-time in the section.  She was fourth in points per game with 24.4 and fifth in steals with 104.

In her career at Notre Dame, McCulley scored 1,449 points, which is the second-highest total in school history in Girls Basketball.

Photo from the Ronald McDonald All-Star Game. Photo by Luke Photography.


Brownfield cleanup to begin next month at Basket Place site in Batavia

By Joanne Beck


A city site known for the creation of collectible woven baskets, novelties and other manufacturing purposes will soon be a scene of environmental cleanup at the edge of Batavia.

Basket Place LLC, at 22 Clinton St., is 22.9 acres and is bordered to the north by Clinton Street (Route 33), to the south by the Erie Railroad, and to the east and west by residences. Properties south of the Erie Railroad are commercial/light industrial in nature, with some residences intermixed, according to a state Department of Environmental Conservation Fact Sheet.

The site was used to manufacture agricultural and highway equipment from the mid-1920s until the early 1990s. The current owner operates a warehousing facility for baskets and novelty items. Beginning in the late 1980s and continuing into the mid-1990s, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the NYSDEC evaluated the site.

In the late 1990s, the previous site owner, O&K Orenstein & Koppel, Inc., conducted additional investigations after the site was sold to Basket Place, LLC. The on-site and off-site remedial investigations began in 2003 when CNH Industrial Baumaschinen GmbH entered into a Voluntary Cleanup Agreement (VCA). However, the Voluntary Cleanup Program was terminated by the NYSDEC in 2018.

The cleanup activities will be performed by CNH Industrial Baumaschinen GmbH with oversight provided by the state DEC, which has determined that the Remedial Action Work Plan submitted by GHD Consulting Services, Inc. on behalf of CNH, protects public health and the environment and has approved the plan.

Remedial activities are expected to begin in May 2023 and last about five months.

The goal of the cleanup action for the site is to achieve cleanup levels that protect public health and the environment. The key components of the remedy are:

  • Excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated surface soil across the Site.
  • Treating contaminated soil and groundwater through soil mixing with injection of In-Situ (i.e., in place) Chemical Reduction.
  • Bioremediation injection into the groundwater as a barrier to treat and prevent further off-site migration of groundwater contamination.
  • Collecting and analyzing post-remedial soil and groundwater samples to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedy.
  • Importing or reuse of clean material that meets the established Soil Cleanup Objectives for use as a cover system.  Placement of a cover system, including a demarcation layer over areas of spot excavations to address contamination remaining above commercial use soil cleanup objectives.
  • Restoring the site cover where it is compromised, or placement of a 1-foot clean soil cover.

New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) encourages the voluntary cleanup of contaminated properties known as "brownfields" so that they can be reused and redeveloped. The city of Batavia and Batavia Development Corporation have Brownfield programs for remediation and redevelopment of properties, such as the former Della Penna property on Ellicott Street, and the Creek Park property behind the ice arena.

These uses include recreation, housing, business or other purposes. A brownfield site is any real property where a contaminant is present at levels exceeding the soil cleanup objectives or other health-based or environmental standards, criteria or guidance adopted by DEC that are applicable based on the reasonably anticipated use of the property, in accordance with applicable regulations, the Fact Sheet states.

Action on the privately owned Basket Place parcel is to begin in May, and that will address contamination related to the otherwise known "Ex-Eaton Site" located at 22-40 Clinton St., Batavia. Refer to the green outline in the image above.

A site-specific health and safety plan and a Community Air Monitoring Plan will be implemented during remediation activities. These plans establish procedures to protect on-site workers and residents and include required air monitoring as well as dust and odor suppression measures.

Next Steps
After the applicant completes the cleanup activities, they will prepare a Final Engineering Report and submit it to NYSDEC. This report will describe the cleanup activities completed and certify that cleanup requirements have been achieved or will be achieved.

When state DEC is satisfied that cleanup requirements have been achieved or will be achieved for the site, it will approve the Final Engineering Report. DEC will then issue a Certificate of Completion to the applicant. The applicant would be able to redevelop the site in conjunction with receiving a Certificate of Completion. In addition, the applicant would be eligible for tax credits to offset the costs of performing cleanup activities and for the redevelopment of the site.

DEC will also issue a fact sheet that describes the content of the Final Engineering Report and identify any institutional controls (for example, environmental easements) or engineering controls (for example, a site cover) necessary at the site in relation to the issuance of the Certificate of Completion, the agency stated.

In 2019, remedial investigations continued at this site under the Brownfield Cleanup Program. Additional site details, including environmental and health assessment summaries, are available on NYSDEC's Environmental Site Remediation Database (by entering the site ID, C819022) HERE

Meanwhile, cleanup efforts have been scheduled to resume this spring at the defunct Batavia Iron and Metal on Bank Street. 

To learn more, go to the Brownfield Cleanup Program

Image of map from NYSDEC.

Vehicle off the road in Byron, unknown injuries

By Howard B. Owens

A vehicle has gone off the road and into a field in the area of 6355 Cockram Road, Byron.

Unknown injuries.

Byron and South Byron fire departments dispatched.

UPDATE 10:22 p.m.: Law enforcement on scene reports a vehicle a couple of hundred yards off the roadway in the field.

UPDATE 10:29 p.m.: Mercy Medic 2 is put back in service.

UPDATE 10:54 p.m.: Byron and South Byron assignments are back in service.

Lancers open golf season with win over Pembroke


Submitted story and photos.

The Elba/OA Lancers got off to a strong start with a 192-286 win over the visiting Pembroke Dragons at Batavia Country Club on Thursday.

Elba/OA senior Jake Walczak earned medalist honors with a round of 40, while  Elba/OA freshman Eli Loysen (46) and Jada Fite (48) both had strong rounds as well.

The Dragons were led by Cody Captain with a round of 56.

The Lancers are now 1-0 on the season, while the Dragons fall to 0-2.

Photo: Elba/OA Senior Jake Walczak teeing off 10 at Batavia CC

Alexander softball blanks Pembroke 11-0 as Pietrzykowski tosses a complete game 1-hit shutout.



Submitted game story and photos.

Emily Pietrzykowski was in control on the rubber against Pembroke, leading Alexander to the win allowing just one hit while walking three and striking out nine over seven innings. 

Pietrzykowski also led Alexander at the plate, going 2-4 with a home run, a double and four RBIs.

For Alexander, Madison Boyce went 2-3 with a double and three runs scored. 

Olivia Delelys and Lillian Szymkowiak each knocked a double, and Faith Goodenbury hit a triple with two RBIs for the Trojans.

Pembroke's Reagan Schneider broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the fourth with a single to center, and Aleena Maynard took the loss pitching while collecting seven strikeouts on the day.

Alexander played solid defense and did not commit an error in the field in support of the shutout. 

Alexander's next game is Friday, when they host Oakfield-Alabama at 5 p.m.





Sponsored Post: Open House Saturday - 71 E. Main St. LeRoy

By Lisa Ace

OPEN HOUSE: 71 East Main Street, LeRoy – Saturday 11am - 1pm.
 Introducing this impeccably maintained vintage village charmer located on E Main Street in the Village of LeRoy! You will love the home’s style, character, and attention to detail as you pass through each room of this 4308 sq ft stunner. Public records indicate 5 bedrooms, but multiple bonus rooms and finished spaces could also be bedrooms as new owners see fit, including 2 on the first floor. Hardwoods, crown moldings, Front and rear staircases, WBFP, Sunrise double hung vinyl windows, newer boiler, and updates throughout make this one of the most desirable homes in LeRoy. Location, location, location - tree lined main street w/ village sidewalks - you will love love love being in this home! Again, do not let this one slip by. It could be years before another one of these historic LeRoy homes comes up for sale! Showings begin Friday 4/21 @ 10am and Negotiations may begin anytime after 8pm Wednesday 4/26.

Todd Bender named honorary chair for 2023 Cougar Classic

By Press Release


Press Release:

The Genesee Community College Foundation and Cougar Classic Scholarship Scramble Honorary Chairperson, Todd Bender '89, have announced the Annual Cougar Classic Golf Tournament is scheduled for Monday, July 17, 2023 at Stafford Country Club in Stafford.

Bender, a Batavia resident, earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Science from GCC in 1989, and went on to earn an associate degree in Electrical Engineering and a bachelor degree in Business Management and Decision Sciences from RIT. Bender is married to Kathy Bender and is the proud father of three children and spouse/fiance, Ryan & Courtney, Lindsey & Jason and Evan & Savannah. Todd is the co-founder of The Igniter Group, a point in time investment company that holds a number of operating companies within their portfolio. Todd is a serial entrepreneur with several successful start-up companies and acquisitions throughout his career.

A member of the Foundation Board of Directors since 2007, Bender has led the Board as President as well as served on the Housing Corporation Board of Directors and numerous committees. Todd and is wife, Kathy, also chaired Encore, the Foundation's largest annual fundraising event which benefits the GCC scholarship program.

"I am sincerely grateful to Todd for serving as chair for this year's Cougar Classic," remarked Justin Johnston, GCC Foundation Executive Director. "He has supported the Foundation and College and is a proud GCC Alum. Todd's leadership is vital to so many areas of GCC, and I look forward to working with him on this important initiative to raise scholarship funds for our GCC students."

"It is my honor to chair this year's Cougar Classic Golf Tournament", said Bender. "I have been a participant for many years now and really enjoy it. It is well run, held on a beautiful local golf course, there are a lot of community members I see every year and it is always a lot of fun! Most importantly, I am so thankful to help raise money that goes directly into the hands of the students in need at GCC. I look forward to seeing everyone on July 17th!"

The Cougar Classic Scholarship Scramble allows up to 36 foursomes for the 18-hole event at the esteemed Stafford Country Club. Registration includes 18 holes of golf, a golf cart, all beer and nonalcoholic beverages during play, lunch and dinner with a cash bar, and much more!

Most importantly, all proceeds from the Cougar Classic support GCC's student scholarship program, making higher education possible for deserving students in our communities.

Businesses and individuals looking to take advantage of this event's advertising opportunities and lock in sponsorship levels are encouraged to act early as this event sells out quickly! Event details, registration and sponsorship forms are available by contacting the Foundation office at (585) 345-6809 or via email at

For more information or photographs contact Vice President, Development and External Affairs Justin Johnston, at 585-345-6809, or via email:

Photo submitted by GCC. 

STOP-DWI efforts in 'full force' Thursday and Friday

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Batavia Police Department and the Village of LeRoy
Police Department will be stepping up patrols and participating in a coordinated effort with the STOP-DWI
program to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI efforts begins Thursday and will continue through Friday. New York State Police, County Sheriffs and municipal law enforcement agencies will be out in force during this across the board effort. Incidents of drugged driving are on the rise. Even though some marijuana laws have changed. It is still illegal and unsafe to drive while impaired by marijuana and other drugs. Drugs impair your ability to drive safely and make it just as dangerous as driving drunk.

“Have a Plan” to get a safe ride because impaired driving is completely preventable – all it takes is a little
planning. Visit for more information.

City parking lot between Court and Jackson streets to be closed for milling April 27-28

By Press Release

Press Release:

The City parking lot between Court Street and Jackson Street (commonly referred to as Save A Lot parking lot) will be having the surface milled and resurfaced beginning on Thursday, April 27.

The milling will begin on Thursday, April 27 and is anticipated to be completed on Friday, April 28. To begin, the west half of the parking lot will be closed to traffic on April 27 and then the east half will be closed to traffic on April 28 for milling. The parking lot will reopen for the weekend once completed.

The paving portion of the parking lot is expected to take three days to complete and is scheduled for Monday, May 1 through Wednesday, May 3. The parking lot will be split into thirds and will be affected similarly to how it will be for the milling operation, closing and resurfacing one section at a time until lot is completed.

Once the parking lot is completely resurfaced, City of Batavia staff will begin restriping parking spaces and driving lanes. Parking will be closed off in sections as crews work from east to west during the repainting process.

Vehicles that are using permitted parking are asked to temporarily use the City lot off of School St. or any other permitted parking areas in City owned lots.

Batavia juvenile being questioned about phone call that led to all-school lockout

By Press Release

Press release:

At approximately 1:07 p.m. the Genesee County 911 Dispatch Center received a report from the Veteran's Administration Hotline that a male subject had called them and stated they were going to get a weapon and "shoot up a school". This information was immediately relayed to patrols in the City and throughout the County working. An initial trace of the phone number provided showed the phone to be in the City of Batavia area. Patrols were dispatched to each school in Genesee County as a precautionary measure, and all county-wide schools were placed into lockout.

Officers and investigators from multiple law enforcement agencies followed up on leads and determined the threat to not be credible and, in fact, was false. Currently, a juvenile is being interviewed by the City of Batavia Detective Bureau regarding the matter, no further information regarding the juvenile will be released at this time. 

All schools were released from lockout at approximately 2:25 p.m.

We wish to thank the public, the school districts and the other members of law enforcement for their assistance during this investigation.

UPDATE, statement from Batavia Superintendent Jason Smith:

After the events of this afternoon, I wanted to provide additional information regarding today’s lockout.

At around 1:30 p.m., the Batavia Police Department received a tip that a threat had been made against a local school. While no specific school was directly named in the threat, all schools in Genesee County went on lockout.

The Batavia Police Department worked quickly to identify the suspect, and after an investigation, the threat was deemed not credible. The lockout was lifted at 2:30 p.m..

At this time, there is no additional threat to the Batavia City School District, so all school activities will resume as normal.

While this was a stressful situation for all involved, I want to thank the Batavia Police Department, our administrators, teachers, and staff for handling our lockout procedures quickly and efficiently. While we train for situations like these and have strict protocols, we never want to have to use them. I thank everyone for their quick actions and commitment to keeping our students safe.

Please feel free to reach out to me or your student’s building principal should you have any additional questions or concerns. Thank you again for your cooperation and support.

Previously: UPDATED: Schools throughout Genesee County on lockout

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