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Batavia deals Notre Dame first loss of the season in Rotary Tournament final

By Howard B. Owens

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The Blue Devils jumped to an early lead; Notre Dame came charging back but could never pull ahead, leading to a 10-9 victory and the 2022 Rotary Tournament trophy at Dwyer Stadium on Saturday night.

The Fighting Irish were down 8-0 after 2 1/2 frames, then scored two runs in the third, five in the fourth (after Batavia tacked on two more in each of their half of the middle innings to reach 10 runs), one in the fifth, and one in the seventh.

Vincent Graziolplene and Mekhi Fortes each picked up two hits for Batavia. Graziolplene also had two RBIs as did Dan Dombrowski.  Cole Grazioplene scored three runs and Fortes scored twice.

Jesse Reinhart tossed 3 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and seven runs (four earned) and striking out five to pick up the win. 

For Notre Dame, Jay Antinore had three hits and scored twice. Vincent DiRisio was 1-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Gavin Schrader scored two runs and had a hit.  Ryan Fitzpatrick scored twice.

Fitzpatrick was the starting pitcher for Notre Dame and took the loss, giving up four hits and seven runs (three earned). 

Photos by Pete Welker

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Vince Grazioplene was selected tournament MVP.

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Person reports arm injury after accident in Pembroke

By Howard B. Owens

A one-car motor vehicle accident is reported in the area of 9435 South Lake Road, Pembroke.

One subject reportedly has an arm injury.

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

UPDATE 7:21 p.m.: More manpower needed for extrication.

UPDATE 7:23 p.m.: Corfu Fire requested to the scene to assist with extrication.

Person reportedly unresponsive following accident in Byron

By Howard B. Owens

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A motor vehicle accident is reported at Byron Holley Road and Cockram Road, Byron, with a subject in a vehicle unresponsive.

A power line is on the vehicle.

A transformer is down in the road and smoking.

Byron, South Byron, and Elba fire departments dispatched along with Mercy EMS.

UPDATE 1:18 p.m.: National Grid expected on scene in 30 minutes. 

UPDATE 2:19 p.m.:  A silver four-door sedan was westbound on Cockram Road, and it appears to have failed to stop for a stop sign.

A maroon SUV was southbound and attempted to swerve to avoid a collision. The sedan T-boned the SUV, which then left the roadway and struck a utility pole, said Sergeant Michael J. Lute of Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

The sedan had one occupant, the driver, who was uninjured. The SUV had two occupants; both sustained minor injuries. Because of the angle of the SUV wedged under the utility pole, the initial caller could not have a clear view of the passenger compartment of the vehicle and thought at least one of the occupants was unresponsive, but neither occupant ever lost consciousness, Lute said.

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Le Roy, Notre Dame, Attica, and Batavia make pitch for Rotary baseball crown at Dwyer today

By Press Release

Press release:

The Annual Batavia Rotary Club High School Tournament will take place today at Dwyer Stadium.

Le Roy will play Notre Dame in the first game at 10 a.m., followed by Attica vs. Batavia at 1 p.m. The consolation game is scheduled for 4 p.m. with the championship game played under the lights starting at 7 p.m.

Admission is $5 for an adult all-day pass and $3 for a student or senior all-day pass.  All proceeds from the tournament will help benefit Batavia Rotary Club charities.

Montclair Avenue home heavily damaged by fire

By Howard B. Owens

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All of the occupants of a residence at 29 Montclair Ave., Batavia, safely escaped a house fire that was reported at 8:53 p.m., Friday.

City Fire responded to the structure fire and upon arrival found a large volume of fire from the front to the two-and-a-half story, single-family home.

Fire crews knocked down the bulk of the fire and entered the home to find fire on the first and second floors and extending into the attic, according to Interim Fire Chief Daniel Herberger. 

Crews were initially hampered by downed power lines and difficult access to the rear of the house.

Several occupants were home at the time the fire was reported, Herberger said.  None were injured.

The American Red Cross is assisting one resident.

 

A firefighter was transported to UMMC by fire department personnel with heat exhaustion.

City Fire and Batavia PD are conducting a joint investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

City Water, Town of Batavia Fire, Alexander Fire, Elba Fire, Emergency Dispatch, National Grid, and National Fuel all assisted in the operation.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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Sponsored Post: Just listed: 25 North Pointe Drive - Call Sabrina today

By Lisa Ace


25 North Pointe Drive, Batavia. This tasteful townhome has been completely redone (2018-19) and no expense spared. This home welcomes you with a skylit entry and stylish finishes. Uniformed light flooring carries you through to a dining & living space with high vaulted ceilings, generous lighting for any mood and a quaint enclosed sunroom. The gem of the home has a timeless white kitchen boasting with ample cabinetry, beautifully unique diamond backsplash, quartz countertops & wide floor tiles. The same pleasing design is carried through the main bath. The perfectly private master En-suite encompasses a broad vanity, ageless backsplash, dual sinks, abundant natural lighting, and walk-in closet storage. This home was also designed to be energy efficient with LED lighting, LG kitchen appliance suite and Samsung washer and dryer units. This one is truly a move-in ready home and you can relax on your back patio while all of the exterior maintenance is done for you! Call Sabrina McGinnis today! Click here for more information on this listing.

Jacobs praises officers during National Police Week

By Press Release

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement in recognition of National Police Week.

“Each day, law enforcement officers serve our communities, not knowing if they will return home that night. Each day, these brave men and women selflessly serve and put themselves in harm's way to keep others safe.

"Our nation cannot survive without the dedication and courage of our law enforcement officers. We have a duty in Congress to ensure they have every resource available to not only keep us safe but to do their jobs safely and return home to their families as well.

“I am proud to stand with our law enforcement officers. This National Police Week please join me in thanking those who keep us safe and honoring those officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

“May God bless our law enforcement officers.

Nominations sought for BCSD Foundation scholarships

By Press Release

Press release:

Nominations are being accepted for the 2022 BCSD Foundation, Inc. Scholarship.   This scholarship will be awarded to a graduating Senior from Batavia High School.  The nominee has been successful in their educational program and has sought out skills to further their career.  In addition, they exemplify our Batavia school culture and climate of “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe, Be Connected and Be Ambitious.”

Any local community member may nominate a Batavia HS Senior who meets the above criteria.  Nomination forms are available on the Batavia City School District website, https://www.bataviacsd.org/page/bcsd-foundation. You may complete the Google Form or the pdf document to nominate a deserving Senior.  All nominations need to be received by May 27, 2022.

A copy of the nomination form is attached to this press release.                 

Upstate Niagara names new CEO

By Press Release

Press release:

The Board of Directors of Upstate Niagara Cooperative has announced that Kevin Ellis was chosen to become its new CEO, replacing current CEO Larry Webster, who will be retiring.

Ellis is currently the CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients, an Auburn, N.Y.-based producer of high-quality specialized dairy ingredients, and Cayuga Marketing, a 9C cooperative of members who own and manage successful dairy farm businesses in Central New York. He will assume the position of Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s CEO no later than September 6, 2022.

“Kevin is a visionary leader who will be communicative and approachable at all levels of the organization,” said John T. Gould, President and Chairman of the Cooperative’s Board. “It is also our belief that working with Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s dedicated executive team and staff, he will not only help to continue Upstate Niagara’s legacy but build upon and enhance it.”

Webster, who joined Upstate Niagara Cooperative in 2005 and served as CEO for the past decade, announced his retirement in January. The Board began the process of finding and naming his replacement immediately thereafter.

“We wanted to ensure a seamless transition,” said Gould. “And Larry has generously agreed to continue leading the Cooperative until that transfer has been successfully completed. It’s important our farmers and customers are assured nothing will change in the interim, and know Larry is leaving Upstate Niagara in an excellent position.”

Webster’s tenure at Upstate Niagara Cooperative was marked by the company experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and expansion, recently becoming a billion-dollar business.

“I’m extremely proud of the success we’ve seen over the past decade,” said Webster, “but I’m looking forward to relaxing and spending time with my family.”

Ellis has extensive experience in C-Level management, with concentrations in finance and marketing. He was CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients and Cayuga Marketing for 14 years, and has also held positions as a dairy nutritionist, loan officer and financial consultant. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University, and an MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School.

“Upstate Niagara’s tagline - ‘Milk is Our Life’s Work,’ immediately resonated with me,” said Ellis. “I grew up on a dairy farm, which is still in operation. I’ve dedicated my professional life to helping the dairy farming industry produce nutritious milk products. I look forward to building upon Upstate Niagara’s core values and leading the cooperative into even more exciting and fruitful enterprises.”

Chamber announces new tourism website

By Press Release

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, acting as the official Tourism Promotion Agency for Genesee County, is pleased to announce the completion of a new Genesee County tourism website.  VisitGeneseeNY.com is the “go-to” online resource for all things tourism, hospitality, recreation and special events in Genesee County.

 The well-established site provides a digital presence for nearly 400 tourism-related businesses in Genesee County.  Each business has a landing page including business contact information, hours of operation, a description of goods or services and image gallery.  The site curates the content, so if a business is included in a blog, has events on the calendar or offers packages, the information is also displayed on the landing page – tying together all of the information that is displayed in various sections of the website. A requested custom feature on all business pages is the “What’s Nearby” filtering capability.   Users can see by distance, tourism-related businesses and filter to display the results based on type of attractions, restaurants and/or lodging.

The Chamber maintains an extensive county-wide (tourism-related) events calendar, which features over 400 events year-round, ranging from theater and arts workshops, outdoor nature programs, history-related or agritourism events, live racing and more.  A submission button is provided for area event coordinators to add their events as they become finalized.   In the coming days, the Chamber will also be announcing information on the live music section of the website (which can be easily found at JamInGenesee.com)

The site also includes information for event planners, tour operators, an in-depth collection of county-wide sports venues and more.  It was designed by Chamber member Corporate Communications located in Rochester, and replaces the 2017 site which they also created.

We encourage you to use bookmark VisitGeneseeNY.com as a resource for area businesses, as well as for year-round things to do with family and friends.

Free anti-rabies immunization clinic scheduled for Thursday in Batavia

By Press Release

Press release:

The Genesee County Health Department will be hosting a FREE drive-thru anti-rabies immunization clinic on Thursday, May 19th, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Genesee County Fairgrounds (5056 East Main Street, Batavia).

“We encourage all residents to take advantage of this opportunity to make sure that their animals are immunized against rabies and that the vaccinations are kept up to date,” stated Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Please leave wildlife alone and do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals (including baby wild animals), stray dogs or cats.”

Vaccinations are free for dogs, cats and ferrets, but voluntary donations are accepted. Animals must be at least 3 months old. Each animal must be leashed or crated and accompanied by an adult who can control the animal—limit 4 pets per car maximum.

To save you time, please click here to fill out your registration form in advance. Be sure to print out two copies for each pet to be vaccinated and bring them with you to the clinic.

The next anti-rabies immunization clinics are as follows:

  • Genesee County Clinics at the Genesee County Fairgrounds (5056 East Main Street, Batavia, NY)
    • Thursday, August 11th, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 15th, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    • Thursday, October 13th, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Orleans County Clinics at the Orleans County Fairgrounds (12690 Rt. 31, Albion, NY)
    • Saturday, June 4th, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Saturday, August 13th, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
    • Saturday, October 15th, 2022, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

For more information on Health Department services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call 589-3278 for Orleans County or 585-344-2580 ext. 5555 for Genesee County.

Photos: Le Roy HS's Mom Prom at Red Osier

By Howard B. Owens

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Le Roy High School held its annual Mom Prom on Wednesday night at Red Osier in Stafford.

The event was put on hold for a couple of years due to the pandemic, but Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly said organizer Samantha Vagg "made it a priority to get this event back up and running this year for our students and families."

The event is a chance for seniors to invite a mother or other special person who provided support and guidance over the years as they worked their way toward graduation.  The event is usually held around Mother's Day.

Holly said 101 students and moms or special guests attended, which was held for the first time at Red Osier.   The event included a buffet dinner, music, games, and prizes. 

Photos submitted by David Russell.

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Photo: Sunrise in Bergen

By Howard B. Owens

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Brandan Smith submitted this photo of this morning's sunrise in Bergen by his uncle Dan Maher.

Video: An oriole at a feeder in a Batavia backyard

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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Video submitted by Jason Smith, along with the photo of the female grosbeak below.

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Former state senator with his own corruption history files lawsuit against Batavia Downs alleging corruption

By Howard B. Owens

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A former state senator with a history of illegal activity while in office has filed a lawsuit against Batavia Downs and its leadership alleging that officials have engaged in "shameless and blatant corruption."

The suit concentrates on previously investigated accusations that officials at Western OTB have misused tickets to sporting events and concerts and that Western Regional OTB has improperly provided lucrative health insurance coverage to appointed board members.

George Maziarz, who represented Niagara County in the State Senate from 1995 to 2014 and was once considered one of the most powerful men in Niagara County, expressed some frustration today that none of the allegations against Western OTB, and in particular against his former political ally, Batavia Downs President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek, have led to anything more than recommendations for changes in procedures.

"Quite frankly, I'm disappointed that the Attorney General and the United States Attorney, the FBI hasn't done anything yet," Maziarz said during a press conference outside the casino on Park Road. " I keep being told over and over again that they're working on it."

Wojtaszek said that nothing more has come of the allegations -- either because corrective action has been taken or the claims of wrongdoing are not as clear cut as Maziarz represents.

From Wojtaszek's point of view, Maziarz is engaged in a vendetta against Western OTB. He said Maziarz was fired as a lobbyist about eight years ago, was passed over for the CEO position, and Wojtaszek participated in investigations that eventually led to Maziarz's own public corruption conviction. 

"I think he's just a bitter individual," Wojtaszek said during an exclusive interview with The Batavian immediately following the press conference. "He has a vendetta against many individuals and the corporation itself. He's made complaints to every conceivable agency and regulatory body in New York State, and they've all turned down his requests to take action against OTB. They've all investigated and found that nothing was amiss here at Western Regional OTB.

"Whatever remedies or suggestions they had for us to improve our business, we follow them. We will continue to follow them and improve our organization. We hired Terry Connors to do an in-depth look at what was going on here at Batavia Downs. Terry is a well-respected individual within the legal community all across the state. We're very confident in his findings and his suggestions, and we've implemented his recommendations. We'll continue to work with him."

He said Batavia Downs has also hired a compliance company out of Buffalo, headed by a former FBI agent, to review its policies and procedures.

The Lawsuit
Attorneys for Maziarz filed the lawsuit in Niagara County on May 3.  It alleges that Wojtaszek and board members misused and manipulated programs meant to attract patrons to the Batavia Downs Casino by using for themselves tickets to sporting events and concerts. 

For example, according to records, the OTB purchased 5,800 high-end tickets to Buffalo Bills games, Sabers games, and concerts at Darien Lake, and 10 percent of those tickets, worth about $120,000, wound up in the hands of OTB officials and their friends and family members. 

The suit alleges tickets were freely handed out at board meetings and were even used to provide a board member's daughter with a birthday party.

The suit also alleges that Wojtaszek failed to correctly record and report his personal use of a vehicle provided to him by Western OTB.

Western OTB board members are also accused of receiving gold-plated health insurance coverage in violation of state law and contrary to recommendations in a Comptroller's Audit Report, and a report compiled by attorneys hired by Western OTB to review the matter.

The suit states that these actions amount to Wojtaszek and board members using Batavia Downs as a personal ATM to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense with no real public oversite of the agency's policies and procedures.  

"Over time, this almost honor system-like structure led to dishonor, cronyism, and shameless, blatant corruption," the suit states. "The corruption has been normalized, legitimized, and covered up by the Board and a bipartisan network of high-powered consultants and lobbyists hired by CEO Wojtaszek (again, with little oversight by the public) to prevent public scrutiny or reform."

The Response
In his interview today, Wojtaszek defended how Batavia Downs has handled tickets to events.

Batavia Downs acquires tickets as perks for high rollers and special guests, Wojtaszek said.  A host from Batavia Downs typically accompanies these guests to the events. The role of the host is to ensure things go smoothly, that people get their tickets, get into the venue, receive the service expected for the event, and the host takes care of any issues that arise.

"Previously, if you were host, we provided a ticket to the host and then the host was allowed to bring a guest with them," Wojtaszek said. "At that point, they may have brought somebody from a wife, a husband, a son, or a daughter with them. We have since corrected that. Subsequent to the recommendation from the compliance company, it's just a host who takes care of whatever event, hockey game, football game, concert, and I think we're doing it properly now."

He said that the accusation that board members could just casually ask for tickets to Bills or Sabers games at board meetings and receive them misrepresents what actually took place. He said anybody, including board members, could ask for tickets on behalf of patrons of Batavia Downs.  They were not, he said, asking for themselves and friends and family.  However, to help improve the procedure, all requests must now be in writing and clearly state who is receiving the tickets. 

According to the audit report Maziarz cites, Wojtaszek said, "there were thousands of tickets accounted for.  There are a few, 100 I believe, that aren't, which equates to a reasonable amount of money but don't forget, each one of those tickets went to a host to host the game."

As for tickets being used for a birthday party for the daughter of a board member, that never happened, Wojtaszek said.

As for the use of a company car, Wojtaszek said, yes, he failed to complete the proper paperwork to record his personal use of the vehicle, and at the board's instruction, he reimbursed Western OTB $3,000 to resolve the issue.  And yes, he is now receiving a transportation allowance -- Maziarz claims $7,000 -- but Western OTB was already in the process of eliminating agency-owned vehicles for staff when the issue came up.  Besides potential liability, a car allowance for executives is more in keeping with standard practices in the business sector, Wojtaszek said.

As for health insurance for board members, Western OTB has attorneys working on the issue.  The agency does not agree that board members can't receive health insurance coverage.  

While Maziarz says that the Comptroller's Office and a legal firm hired by Western OTB say the practice is illegal, the issue doesn't appear to be that cut and dry. There is an older Comptroller's opinion that says the practice is permissible.  The memo on the topic, prepared by attorneys Gabriel M. Nugent and Robert J. Thorpe for the board, cites the 1978 opinion as well as the later opinion and suggests board members no longer accept health insurance.  It doesn't, as Maziarz claims, call the practice illegal.  

Health insurance, Wojtaszek said, is justified because pretty much every other public benefit corporation in the state offers it, and Batavia Downs operates in a very competitive environment and needs to attract and retain the most qualified board members. 

"What the board does here is some extremely important work," Wojtaszek said. "It is a multi-100-million dollar company that has performed extremely well over the last three to five years and has returned record amounts of revenue to the municipalities that it serves.

"If you're in a business that is very competitive -- which Batavia Downs is -- we have other private-sector casinos that we have to compete with here," he added. "And, by the way, we compete extremely well with them. You need to attract top-level talent to have those people serve on the board. And that's what we have here today. We have many, many excellent board members who have excellent business backgrounds and who lend a great deal to make this organization work. We say the compensation should be set accordingly. This is a competitive industry. It's not like a water district or sewer district. That is a monopoly where there is no competition going on."

The Players
In 2018, Maziarz entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of filing a false instrument and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine. He also admitted to hiding $95,000 in campaign payments to a former staff member accused of sexual harassment. He was initially charged with five felony election law violations. The investigation into Maziarz's activities began with the Morland Commission, which had been formed to investigate public corruption. 

Maziarz was also the subject of an FBI investigation. During the investigation, but before he was notified not to discard records, Maziarz reportedly had his staff shred campaign records going back to 1995.

During the press conference today, when asked about document shredding, he denied such shredding ever took place.

When asked today about his misdemeanor conviction, his first response was that Wojtaszek has one, too. Which is true.  Both convictions stem from the same Attorney General investigation.  Maziarz said both he and Wojtaszek received conditional discharges, which means the record is expunged if they avoid illegal activity for a specified period of time, usually six months.

Wojtaszek has been president and CEO of Western Regional OTB since 2016. Before that, he was the general council. He's been an attorney for 26 years and was active for years in Niagara County Republican politics, including a stint as chair of the county committee. He began his legal career as city attorney for North Tonawanda.

Wojtaszek said he and Maziarz once worked closely together.

Maziarz says the FBI is investigating Western OTB and Wojtaszek.  

In 2019, Batavia Downs officials denied there was such an investigation.  Today, Wojtaszek said the only knowledge he has of an investigation is the claim by Maziarz that a board member has been interviewed by the FBI.  He said he's aware of one other inquiry by the FBI in the past three years and that dealt with a contractor and the purchase of broadcast air time. In that case, the FBI was saying it was Batavia Downs that was getting ripped off.  Wojtaszek said FBI agents have never questioned him about anything related to Western OTB.

The lawsuit wasn't Maziarz's idea, Maziarz said.  He said after a story appeared in a New York Times publication, an attorney for Advocates for Justice contacted him and asked him to be the face of a lawsuit against Batavia Downs on behalf of taxpayers.

Maziarz, a man who admitted to public corruption, said Advocates for Justice specialize in fighting public corruption.

The lead attorney on the case is Arthur Z. Schwartz, the organization's president and founder.  Also signing the filing is Nathan McMurray, the former Delaware North attorney who unsuccessfully ran three times for a congressional seat in the NY-27, most notably losing to Chris Collins, then under indictment himself (he eventually entered a guilty plea) for insider trading. McMurray went to work for the law firm in November 2021.

As Wojtaszek noted, Maziarz has pursued corruption allegations against Western OTB for several years.

The Batavian obtained a copy of a deposition transcript from a confidential source related to a lawsuit filed by Michael Nolan, the former COO of the OTB, that reveals some of the connections between some of the players involved in the legal maneuvering and publicity-seeking of the principals.

Nolan's suit claims he was retaliated against for responding to FOIL requests from the media and others.  Wojtaszek said Batavia Downs has always been transparent and has always complained with the law on requests for public documents.

Nolan was the subject being deposed in the case in January 2021 when his attorney, Stephen Cohen, jumped in and attempted to clarify something his client had said. Cohen ended up talking at length about the connections between himself, Maziarz, and reporter Phil Gambini, who has doggedly pursued corruption allegations at Batavia Downs for several years.

In the deposition, Aaron Saykin, the Western OTB attorney in the case, attempted to uncover a possible connection between Nolan and Maziarz.  Cohen provided the opening because he tried to bill Batavia Downs for a phone conversation he had on behalf of his client with Maziarz.

Cohen said he did discuss Nolan's case with Maziarz but only in the service of trying to get more information from Maziarz that might assist his client's suit. He admitted that he knew Maziarz regularly spoke with Gambini and was likely the source of information that appeared in Gambini's stories about Batavia Downs.

Saykin's questions suggested that Saykin suspected Cohen of trying to plant stories with Gambini, including a March 29, 2019 story about the supposed FBI investigation.  Cohen deflects the questions and denies any interest in press coverage.

He said his only real interest was getting more information from Maziarz.

"I sought to get whatever I could out of Senator Maziarz," Cohen said according to the transcript.

Mr. Saykin: Because you knew he was pissed at Henry?

Mr. Cohen: Yes.

Mr. Saykin: And you knew he wanted to hurt Henry?

Mr. Cohen: Yes.

Photos by Howard Owens

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During the first several minutes of the press conference this afternoon in the back parking lot of the former Kmart building, across the street from Batavia Downs, two Batavia Downs work trucks paraded up and down Park Road and through the parking lot (Park Road is undergoing reconstruction) and honked their horns, disrupting the press conference. Maziarz called the action sophomoric and evidence that Western OTB officials want to prevent the public from finding out what is going on at the facility. Batavia Downs President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek said when he found out what was going on with the trucks, he put a stop to it.

Male falls down creek embankment in Le Roy

By Joanne Beck

A 55-year-old male has reportedly fallen 15 feet down an Oatka Creek embankment behind the post office in Le Roy. Genesee County dispatch has requested emergency response.

UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: The patient is conscious and alert. Rope rescue is not needed.

Hornets pick up 10th win of baseball season

By Howard B. Owens

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Oakfield-Alabama (10-2) beat Webber High School on Wednesday, 8-3.

Colton Yasses pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out 12, to pick up the win.

He also had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run.

Kyle Porter had two hits in two ABs and a walk, also scoring once and driving in a run.

Brayden Smith was 2-3 and scored twice.

Photos by Kristin Smith.  For more, click here.

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Tractor trailer-motorcycle accident

By Joanne Beck

Genesee County Dispatch reports a tractor trailer and motorcycle accident at Route 77 and Main Road in Pembroke.

Pembroke Fire and Indian Falls fire responding. Corfu is providing traffic control at Cohocton Road. 

UPDATE 7:44 p.m.: Mercy Flight is en route to the scene.

UPDATE: 8:03 p.m.: Mercy Flight is on the ground.

Batavia City Schools on track for robust summer

By Joanne Beck

Batavia City Schools leaders have a “robust” summer school plan, they say.

Summer session will open July 12 and run for a month, to August 11. It’s a countermeasure for the ill effects of pandemic shutdowns. Instead of in the past, when students went to central designated sites, they will go to their own schools this year. Lessons will be taught from 9 a.m. to noon three days a week, and breakfast, lunch and transportation will be provided, said Molly Corey, executive director of curriculum and instruction.

“We’re being deliberate, the kids will stay at their own school. So Jackson is hosting their own summer school program, and John Kennedy and the middle school are as well. And we added extra staff for those locations, and we're combining transportation, that's a big variable as well.” she said during an interview Wednesday with The Batavian. “We want to ensure that we get kids there. And right now our numbers are looking really good. At Jackson, it’s 150, where normally we would have 50 students.”

Those grades — Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade — are the “critical grades” to reach in July, she said. They will be taught basic literacy skills so that, by third grade, students are expected to “be reading to learn” and to enjoy learning to read.

“So we hired more teachers and we have a longer day than we traditionally have had. Last summer it was a two-hour program; this summer it's a three-hour program just so we have adequate time,” Superintendent Jason Smith said.

Strategies also include pairing students with trusted adults and an element of compassion for what the students have already gone through, Corey said.  The district is targeting 500 students for the summer school program in all three schools while extended days have already been implemented at the high school.

There will also be more teachers, albeit with a more summertime feel, at the middle school. Unlike a stiff remediation vibe, the Ross Street school will offer math and literacy camps with “high engagement” for middle school students and veteran teachers serving as coaches, Corey said.   

“It’s really just hooking them into the learning,” she said. “Giving them more purposeful practice while they do so.”

Smith believes it’s essential to not only bolster students but teachers also.

“Teachers have had very, very busy days, they make thousands of decisions every single day. So we want to give them support, so they can best support our students,” he said. “And one way to do that, one effective way to do it, is to appoint math coaches. We have literacy coaches currently in place through COVID funds as well. At the high school, we’re using the extended day to help kids recover credit from where they didn't meet the expectations during credit from the previous year.”

The district applied for federal COVID funds made available to New York State in 2020. Batavia was awarded $9 million over a three-year period to afford measures such as additional personnel, programs, extended school days and transportation and meals during summer school. 

Smith feels the district must be doing something right, given its recent ranking in U.S. News as being in the top 40 percent of schools in the country.

“So we're doing well,” he said. “We're on track.”

Enrollment is still open for summer school. For more information, call the district at (585) 343-2480.

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