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Today's Local Deals: Settler's Family Restaurant, Batavia's Original, Alabama Hotel, and more

By Howard B. Owens

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered you must sign in using the "sign-in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Sign-in issues? First, make sure you are registered for Day using the link at the top of this post; Second, if you know you're registered, use the "sign-in" link in this post; do not use the "login" box on the left side of the page.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Howard Owens:   [email protected]

Man suspected of shoplifting seen fleeing Walmart

By Howard B. Owens

A suspected shoplifter has run from Walmart and was first reported heading toward the old Kmart, ditching his loot along the way.

He's described as a white male with a blue cap and a light green jacket.

An off-duty officer spotted him running behind Pawn King.

Multiple patrol units responding.

UPDATE 12:52 p.m.: A deputy is out with the suspect in the Batavia Downs parking lot.  There has apparently been merchandise found under a pickup truck in a nearby parking lot.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: The suspect is in custody. Additional merchandise has been recovered in the Country Max parking lot.

Volunteer Lawyers Project signs lease for office space in Gautieri building on Ellicott Street

By Mike Pettinella


The transformation of the Save-A-Lot grocery store building at 45-47 Liberty St. took another significant step forward on Tuesday when the executive director of the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc., signed a long-term lease for 7,630 square feet of commercial office space on the ground floor.

“We’ve outgrown our space at our current location (in the former Kozak plant on South Lyon Street), so it seemed like a good opportunity to start looking around,” said Gretchen Gonzalez, an attorney who directs the Buffalo-based program. “We were looking at some other spots, but it's very difficult to find the size that we needed in Batavia. So, finding this space with Victor (Gautieri) was great and to be able to break it up to what we need.”

Gonzalez and Gautieri, president of VJ Gautieri Constructors, building owner and developer, agreed to terms and signed the contract yesterday afternoon at the VJ Gautieri office on Liberty Street.

Gavin McKeirnan Townsend, licensed real estate salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA on Jackson Street, also attended.

“Obviously, piggybacking on the beautiful apartments upstairs and knowing that we had about 16,000 square feet available of commercial space downstairs, we definitely wanted to leverage that and keep the momentum going,” said Townsend, who brought the two parties together. “It’s great to have prime commercial space here in the city of Batavia with sort of the resurgence of everything that's happening in downtown.”

Last fall, VJ Gautieri completed a $3.1 million project supported by $1.15 million in New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding that resulted in the City View Residences -- 10 upscale apartments on the second floor of the building -- along with first-floor storefronts and building-wide façade improvements.

With VLP’s signing, VJ Gautieri now has about 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor available for leasing.

Gautieri said offices of the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, known as VLP, will be located in the southwest portion of the building.

“They’re not taking the storefront. They’ll be able to walk out there – we’re going to create a new entry for them – and look almost directly at Batavia Tailors,” he said. “We will be doing the lease build-out – creating the space and dividing it to set up their offices.”

He noted that DEAN Architects of Depew, the firm that designed City View Residences, has been hired to configure the space for VLP’s 23 offices.

“We did an in-house version of a few things just to get the ball rolling, but the architect is going to play off of that and say, ‘Okay, here's what you need,’” Gautieri said. “He's going to also meld all the code requirements in to make sure everything is good. We have to construct the restrooms, entry lobby, reception area and then all the individual offices for the folks who will be working there.”

Gonzalez talked about VLP’s mission and the importance of a presence in Batavia.

“Our initial office is in Buffalo, and we've had a secondary office in Batavia for a number of years,” she said. “We started off with renting space for one office for one attorney – a paralegal that was out here all of the time – and then in 2016, we leased more space there and we now we have around 15 attorneys and five paralegals and two social workers.”

She said VLP is a “hybrid legal services organization” that has attorneys on staff plus a bank of nearly 500 lawyers in private practice that volunteer their time and provide expertise at no cost to clients.

“VLP is the largest provider of indigent immigration services outside of New York City in the State of New York,” she said. “Our Batavia office houses part of our immigration program. It's funded by a grant from the New York State Office of New Americans to provide a public defender-style representative representation to anyone who's detained (and facing deportation) at the federal detention facility (in Batavia).”

While the immigration piece is key to work in Batavia, it’s just a part of what VLP does, Gonzalez noted.

“I always like to say that we do anything under the sun except for criminal law. Because in Buffalo, we have housing attorneys, we have family law attorneys, we do divorces, end of life planning, wills, power of attorney, healthcare proxy,” she said.

“We have a low income taxpayer program that helps people who have cases and controversy with the IRS. We have a program that's specifically designed to serve people who are HIV positive. And we have another portion of our immigration program in Buffalo that provides services to people who are not detained and mostly provide services to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence and other sorts of crimes.”

Gonzalez, who has been with VLP for 10 years, said about 20 full-time employees will be working out of the new Batavia office, and will be supported by attorneys at other locations who volunteer their time.

Gautieri said he is keeping another 1,000 square feet in reserve just in case VLP needs to expand in the future. He said the anticipated move-in date for VLP is Aug. 1.

CLICK HERE for more information about the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, Inc.

Photo at top: Gretchen Gonzalez, center, signs a contract to lease more than 7,500 square feet of office space at 45-47 Ellicott St., site of Save-A-Lot and the City View Residences, as Victor Gautieri, president of VJ Constructors, and Gavin McKeirnan Townsend of HUNT Real Estate ERA, look on. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Previously: Ribbon cutting marks completion of City View Residences revitalization project in downtown Batavia

Chamber Award: Jay Lazarony still has a passion for helping youths find the right career paths

By Joanne Beck


 Jay Lazarony may not know every child he’s encountered by name, but he sure knows their struggles and accomplishments over his last two-plus decades in Genesee County.

Lazarony has worked with thousands of kids to introduce them to vocational opportunities and lessons about required job skills, from time management to good work ethics. He’s had a passion for offering those opportunities since beginning his career journey at Arc of Genesee County and then embracing his roles at Genesee County Job Development Bureau, Adolescent Vocational Exploration Program, Genesee County Youth Bureau, and more recently, at GLOW Workforce Development Board.

”Really, who I'm proud of are the youth that I've worked with and assisted over the years, and helping them to reach a certain level of success. Because they're an open book. They come in and you give them an opportunity. You can fill that book up with enthusiasm, with knowledge about careers and how to go after careers rather than, you know, this is what I'm always going to be,” the GLOW Work Force Development Board executive director said to The Batavian. “And you can give them all the career possibilities and all the opportunities. It’s nice to know you had some effect on them. There have been some great success stories.”

There was the shy 15-year-old who ended up becoming a nurse practitioner and the student who didn’t even think he was going to make it through the program and went on to obtain an education at Rochester Institute of Technology. 

Those 25 years plus his own hands-on job development working in the family business has not only equipped Lazarony with notable skills but now also with recognition as a 2021 Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Geneseean of the Year Award. 

Karyn Winters, director of Genesee County's Business Education Alliance, nominated him for being an "exemplary professional and volunteer," and embodying what's great about Genesee County," she said. He founded GLOW With Your Hands in 2019 and has been a "selfless, kind, motivating and fearless leader," she said.

"While his career alone warrants recognition, what truly makes Jay an admirable Geneseean is his infectious enthusiasm to mentor local youth," Winters said in her nomination.

Do a quick rewind to 1975, when Lazarony graduated from Batavia High School. A few years later his family bought a failing but well-known restaurant franchise — KFC — in 1978, and he worked there until 1990. Lazarony watched his father Horace put in long hours and weekends to make it a success.

“When we took over, it was really rundown, one of the worst in the nation. I watched my dad open and close every day, I watched his enthusiasm for what he did,” Lazarony said, noting one big lesson he learned from that. 

“Now, I didn't love the restaurant business, and many people know that. But what I learned from him is that … find the thing that you love the most and make it your career. And that's what I got from him. And you know, it's funny, because in 2005 or 2004, he was a 73-year-old man at that time, and he was working probably 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, only about five or six hours on Saturday or five or six hours on Sunday. And he did that for 28 years that way. And we watched that,” Lazarony said. “Whether you like that business or not, you know that in order to be successful, sometimes you put in the hard work. So I think I learned that from being in that family business.”

He also imparts other nuggets from those restaurant days: be kind to your employees and co-workers, understand that they’ve got busy schedules with other activities, so cut them some slack when needed, and believe that kids can learn good work ethics with a mix of patience and tough love. 

A huge music fan, Lazarony said only two things kept him from a singing career: he couldn’t carry a tune or play guitar. He has enjoyed going to concerts and music events, including one at which Neil Young played “beautiful music for hours and hours.” 

Jenn, one of Lazarony’s program participants who saw him as a father figure, asked him to walk her down the aisle for her wedding. He proudly accepted. The experience was “one of the thrills of my lifetime,” he said. She thanked him with a hand-drawn sketch of Young on an old magazine cover. It’s framed and hanging on Lazarony’s office wall.

“It will be here until I retire,” he said. 

As for retirement, he will face that “when I get tired,” he said, which certainly isn’t any time soon. He’s having “way too much fun” right now and focused on getting a skilled workforce in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. 

“And to inspire people to work. We have a gap, and that’s why we have GLOW Work With Your Hands, to provide a skilled worker, and a job for every job-seeker,” he said.  “COVID really hurt us. We’re recovering … we’re in pretty good shape.”

His professional bucket list is to continue that mission and to use grant funding judiciously to assist those people who want to work with related “wrap around” services, such as paying for night nurse or welding certification costs, durable boots for the newly hired manufacturing worker, a five-hour safety course fee for a truck driver or mileage money to get to and from a job. 

“There’s plenty of need,” he said. 

He remembers his lack of enthusiasm when his family moved from Liverpool to Batavia in his senior year of high school. He wanted nothing to do with it, he said. Funny how time changes things.

“I've fallen in love with Genesee County, especially the city of Batavia; I think it's a great place to raise a family,” the 63-year-old said. “I think it's a wonderful place to just live, shop, and work. And I don't ever want to leave now.”

He and wife Donna will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary this summer and he is an unapologetic doting grandpa to his seven grandchildren. 
The best part of a weekend is when a grandchild wants to come over for the day, he said. That, supporting the Buffalo Bills, reading, gardening and Netflix rounds out his leisure activities.

As for the award, “I was shocked,” he said.

“And then extremely excited,” he said, mentioning his GLOW staff of 45. “I’m not here without any of them.”

Top photo: Jay Lazarony shows one of his favorite pieces of art, a handmade sketch by Jenn, a former program participant. Photo by Howard Owens.

This is the second of four articles highlighting the 50th Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards. The annual dinner is Saturday at Batavia Downs, with hor d’oeuvres at 5 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. For more information about the dinner, call the Genesee County Chamber at (585) 343-7440.

Chamber Awards: Recognition icing on the cake for Muckdogs owners after successful inaugural season

By Mike Pettinella


The Batavia Muckdogs’ selection as the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneurial Business of the Year” is the icing on the cake, says team owner Robbie Nichols, who was the catalyst and driving force behind the rejuvenation of summer baseball at Dwyer Stadium in 2021.

Speaking on behalf of co-owner and wife, Nellie; son-in-law/general manager Marc Witt, and his staff, Nichols said he is “really thrilled that the county recognized our hard work and hard effort that we put into this season.”

“And we are just thrilled with the season -- the way the sponsors, the season ticket holders, and all the fans took to us – and we’re so extremely pleased with the way the year turned out. Getting an honor like this is just the cherry on top.”

It was January 2021 when Nichols, a longtime professional hockey player in the American Hockey League and hockey/baseball owner in Elmira, approached the Batavia City Council with the idea of fielding a team in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Negotiations between the two entities were fruitful, and baseball was back in Batavia after a one-year hiatus.

Attendance increased significantly from 2019 – Nichols said the per-game average exceeded 1,700 with more than 500 season tickets sold. Fans enjoyed the numerous promotions, which included the KMS dance crew, kids running the bases, and in-game host “Kin Dog" (Batavian John Kindig).

Outside of baseball, Nichols attracted dance competitions and clinics, PRIDE Festival, Challenger Baseball, GLOW Academy Youth Baseball and Battle of Badges, high school baseball, Alzheimer’s Walk, Muckdogs Monster Mash, among other events, to the stadium at the intersection of Bank and Denio streets.

Furthermore, the Muckdogs’ players always were available for community appearances and marched in the City’s Memorial Day Parade.

Nichols said he appreciates the way the fans responded to the team.

“It was just a fun season,” he said, “and it’s even crazier as we approach this season. Games already are close to being sold out for next year (2022). We’ll do even better this year. That’s what we're so excited about.”

When it was mentioned that the word “entrepreneurial” was in the title of the Chamber award, Nichols acknowledged that it fits him to a T.

“I think people have always said that (about me). If you look at my background, I guess that would be a pretty accurate word,” he said. “I was signed by the Detroit Red Wings and I was playing in the American Hockey League and I had a hockey card business on the side. And I made more money (with that) than I did for my NHL contract.”

He recalled that he made and sold T-shirts when his team was going to the championship game.

“People are leaving the doors and I'm out on the ice, selling T-shirts as people are walking out. We won the championship. So, I’ve always had that entrepreneur … trying to make it make a buck with a side hustle,” he said.

Nichols also mentioned “a rumor” that a show called The Flint Tropics was based on his seven years managing the Flint (Mich.) Generals.

“They said that they copied all of the crazy things that I did as far as promotions; a lot of stuff they did in that movie was stuff that I did on the ice,” he said. We will do any promotion – and we’ve got some crazy ones coming up this year.”

Although his permanent address is in Elmira, the 57-year-old Nichols said that Batavia has come his second home – literally.

“My wife and I have bought a home in Batavia now – right around the corner from the ballpark,” he said. “We’re really honored the way the City of Batavia has treated us. We can’t ask for better folks; they’re just like family.”

In his nomination of the Batavia Muckdogs for the award, lifelong Batavian Tom Turnbull said the city and county have been enriched because of Robbie and Nellie Nichols’ hard work and community spirit.

“While the Batavia Muckdogs may not seem like a new business due to the continuation of the name (from the former New York-Penn League), the new Batavia Muckdogs … are not only an incredible local business success story but have enhanced the quality of life for the residents of Genesee County,” Turnbull wrote.

Top photo: Robbie and Nellie Nichols on opening day 2021. Photo by Jim Burns.

Game photos below by Philip Casper

This is the first of four articles highlighting the 50th Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards. The annual dinner is Saturday at Batavia Downs, with hor d’oeuvres at 5 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. For more information about the dinner, call the Genesee County Chamber at (585) 343-7440.





Many of us have been spelling Thorp Street in the City of Batavia wrong for years

By Howard B. Owens


For years, we've all been getting it wrong.  We've been misspelling the name of Thorp Street.

Until today, The Batavian never published a story that didn't spell the name of the Southside street between Watson and Maple, parallel Evans, as "Thorpe," with an unnecessary "e" on the tail.

It's not just us -- Google, Apple, scores of real estate-related sites, and even the Batavia Daily News, have been spelling it "Thorpe" for who knows how long.

That spelling may be traced to a mistake by a now-long-retired and unknown city worker who made a street sign for the roadway and for some unknown reason added that pesky "e."

City Manager Rachael Tabelski said she checked with Ray Tourt, superintendent of the Bureau of Maintenance, who said some years ago a city crew made a routine sign replacement while other roadway maintenance was being performed on Thorp and this apparently is when the spelling was misspelled for, perhaps, the first time.

Tourt said he isn't sure how the crew came up with "Thorpe Street."  Perhaps spell-check offered the alternative spelling.

The mistake was recently discovered and the street signs were corrected.

That doesn't change the archives of The Batavian, nor the Batavia Daily News.  In the case of The Batavian, there's no indication we've ever spelled it "Thorp" and the Daily News has one instance of "Thorp" we could find in a search of its website, which returned 95 articles from the past decade.

Records indicate the street was dedicated in 1894 as "Thorp Street." 

Before that, it was known as "Thorp's Alley."

County Historian Michael Eula said that county records indicate that local landowner David Thorp opened the alley, which ran in a southern direction from the New York Central Railroad to the former Hill Street.

City Historian Larry Barnes said in the city's Official List of the Streets" from 1912, and another from 1920, list the street as "Thorp." 

County Clerk Michael Cianfrini said a search of land records from the 19th Century produced several landowners in the area who spelled their name "Thorp" but none who spelled their name "Thorpe."

County Planning Director  Felipe Oltramari said the county's 911 database spells it "Thorp" as well, which means it is also "Thorp" in the state database. 

The County's tax records site contains the correct spelling, "Thorp," but search Google and pretty much everybody spells it "Thorpe."

"Google has it wrong as Thorpe probably because their latest StreetView imagery (Sept. 2017) shows the old street signs that say Thorpe," Oltramari said. "I submitted a request to Google, Apple, and MapQuest to change it to Thorp but may be rejected until new StreetView imagery can confirm it."

The Batavian discovered the mistake when local real estate broker Lynn Bezon placed an ad for a property at 1 Thorp that is for sale.  We wanted to correct the spelling. She corrected us.


Photo: Screenshot from Google StreetView showing the old "Thorp" street sign misspelled "Thorpe."

County seeks restitution for removing debris, barn along right-of-way in Town of Pavilion

By Mike Pettinella


Genesee County will be seeking at least $7,800 from a Batavia man in connection with a code enforcement dispute involving property that he was leasing in the Town of Pavilion.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens today informed The Batavian that he made several attempts – unsuccessfully -- to contact Justin Hofert and have him remove items and debris from the county right-of-way on property off Transit and East Bethany Le Roy roads.

“After no response from Mr. Hofert, the county removed the items at our costs and we will be seeking restitution from Mr. Hofert for these costs,” Hens said. “We’re still assembling final costs from dumpster expenses; we have $7,800 in labor and equipment thus far.”

The dispute, which had been going on for more than three months, centers upon a lease agreement between Hofert and an elderly East Bethany woman who owned the property just outside the Town of Stafford border.

Hens said problems arose when it was discovered that a county-owned abandoned right-of-way (formerly County Road 2) was part of the property being leased.

“County Road 2 was relocated many years ago, but the county has maintained the drainage from the older section as well as the new drainage along County Road 2,” he said.

The woman entered into a lease agreement with Hofert, who owns neighboring land, Hens said, inadvertently including the county-owned parcel in the deal. Previously, the county also had informed the woman that her barn on the property was encroaching on the abandoned right-of-way.

Hens said that Hofert proceeded to place many items and debris on the property and in the barn, prompting complaints to Town of Pavilion officials, who, in turn, notified the county of the code violations.

“Most of the junk is on county-owned property so technically speaking, the county would be the one in violation of the property maintenance code,” Hens said.

Working with the county attorney, Hens eventually was able to get the woman’s approval to remove the junk from the property.

“As much of Mr. Hofert’s debris was in and around the barn -- which was also built partly on the right-of-way without authorization -- the county obtained an affidavit from (the woman) to demolish and remove the barn as well, and that has been done,” Hens said. “Aside from seeking restitution from Mr. Hofert, the matter is settled.”

Aerial photo above shows the right-of-way property in dispute (shaded in red) and the barn that was on that parcel along East Bethany Le Roy Road in the Town of Pavilion.

Law that creates conditional license to grow cannabis is 'fantastic' news, says co-owner of Empire Hemp Co.

By Mike Pettinella

A new law that creates a Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license in New York represents a high note for private businesses, including Empire Hemp Co. in Batavia, that have found their niche within the guidelines of the state’s Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act.

Late last month, Gov. Kathy Hochul put her name on legislation that now permits hemp farmers in the state to apply for a conditional license to grow cannabis during the 2022 season for the approaching adult-use retail market.

Chris Van Dusen, who, along with Shelley Wolanske, owns Empire Hemp, called the recent development “fantastic news for us.”

Empire Hemp operates in two locations in the city: a processing facility on Swan Street and a retail store at 204 East Main St.

According to information from Hochul’s office, under the law, conditionally licensed cannabis farmers must meet certain requirements, including safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation practices; participation in a social equity mentorship program, and engagement in a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization.

Van Dusen (pictured at right) said Empire Hemp is in a position to benefit from the legislation.

“We're eligible both on the growing side and the processing side because there's also a provisional processing license, and we're one of 17 in the state that's eligible for processing,” he told The Batavian on Monday. “And we're one of less than 200 that are eligible for the growing side because we did grow two seasons in a row. That’s just one of the prerequisites for that.”

The law carries several requirements, including one that allows hemp growers that have grown in the past two or more years to plant one acre of high THC cannabis for recreational uses.

Van Dusen said his company, after harvest, “will take that cannabis, that flower, and bring it to our facility, and turn it into a host of products, whether it's pre-rolled cigarettes, vape cartridges, pre-packaged smokable flower as well as edibles, namely gummies. That’s what we’re going to be focused on; those are going to be our top four products.”

He also said he will incorporate the cannabis into topicals and other products that Empire Hemp sells on the CBD side of things. Currently, state law prohibits Empire Hemp, as a grower or processor, from having any financial interest in a dispensary.

Batavia’s City Council previously voted to opt in to the MRTA to host cannabis dispensaries, seeking to capitalize on the tax revenue associated with retail sales.

Empire Hemp is a CBD dispensary, Van Dusen said.

“We sell all the products that we make in our facility as far as therapeutic CBD oils and topicals, as well as skincare and self-care products. And we do sell some smokable hemp,” he said, adding that sales have been robust and that he and Wolanske are prepared to add employees and ramp up production as a result of the new law.

When asked if he saw any downside or “unintended consequences” from the legalization of cannabis for recreational use, he said that he believes that some smoke shops are selling marijuana without a license, looking to avoid paying taxes to the state.

“It’s something that needs to be talked about even if people just think it's no big deal,” he said. “I think it is a big deal because we want to play by the rules and we want to be part of the program that they're putting together and be successful at that. These guys that are doing it (illegally) are just going to make quick short term gains.”

Van Dusen said he knows that the state’s Office of Cannabis Management has been sending out cease-and-desist letters to shops that they suspect are operating outside of the law.

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Notre Dame drops Andover-Whitesville 38-34 in state qualifier

By Steve Ognibene


The Lady Irish of Notre Dame faced Andover-Whitesville at Dansville High School on Monday night to see which Class D team will represent Section V the Far West Regional championship game this weekend and Notre Dame prevailed 38-34.

Andover led 10-9 by Vanissa Hall who scored 7 out of the 10 points in the opening quarter.

The Lady Irish went to work to take over the lead by one point at the half 17-16.  Emma Sisson, Maylee Green and Avelin Tomidy added points in the second quarter.

Hall was held scoreless in the next two quarters as the Irish played tough defense and offense against the junior star who averages 30 plus points per game.

Both teams were evenly matched but Notre Dame went ahead early in the fourth quarter on an 8 point run 32-24. 

Andover crawled back into it to come at times within three points but Emma Sisson created many free throw attempts and scored 6 for 8 late in the game to give the Irish the win.

Notre Dame plays in the Far West Regional this Saturday at Rush-Henrietta High school at 1pm.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene





Pavilion beats archrival York to stay alive in postseason

By Howard B. Owens

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Pavilion and York have become quite the area rivalry, especially in girls basketball.

On Monday night in Letchworth, it was on full display as fans filled the house and kept the noise level at maximum volume through nearly all 32 minutes of hoops to see which Class C champion will move forward in the postseason.

Last year it was York that prevented Pavilion from winning a second consecutive Section V title (Pavilion, the C2 champs this year now have two trophies from the past three seasons) after Pavilion beat York twice in the regular season.  This year, York prevailed in regular season play but on Monday, when it mattered most, the Gophers were golden, coming out on top 40-28.

They next play East Rochester to see which Class C team will represent Section V against Section VI in the Far West Regional championship game.  The game will be played Wednesday at Rush-Henrietta.

Tonight, Lauren Kingsley was dominant scoring 16 points.  Kylie Conway scored 10 points and Karlee Zinievich scored even.

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of not paying taxi cab driver

By Howard B. Owens

Cameron J. Sokolowski, 29, of Batavia, is charged with theft of services. Sokolowski is accused of refusing to pay cab fare at 10:03 a.m., Feb. 20.  It's alleged that Sokolowski accepted a ride from a taxi driver and when he reached his destination, went inside and refused to come back out and pay the driver. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Benito A. Gay, 33, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Gay is accused of stealing beer from the cooler at the Kwik Fill on Jackson Street, Batavia, at 8 p.m., Feb. 20. He allegedly took three beers and exited the store without paying for the beer. He was arrested and issued an appearance ticket.

Kenneth T. Marrocco, 29, of Batavia, is charged with burglary 2nd and criminal contempt 1st. Marrocco allegedly violated a stay-away order of protection by being inside the residence of the protected party at 1:54 p.m., Feb. 25, on Montclair Avenue. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $5,000 bail, $10,000 bond, or $20,000 partially secured bond.

Angie C. Maniace, 40, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd and criminal contempt 1st. Maniace is accused of violating an order of protection and striking the protected party at 7:35 p.m., March 2 at a location on Chandler Avenue, Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Laura R. Mroz, 32, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd and criminal contempt 1st. Morz is accused of violating an order of protection during a disturbance reported at 7:53 p.m., March 2. on Chandler Avenue, Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Julius L. Sanford, 29, of Buffalo, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument 2nd, failure to stop for a stop sign, unregistered motor vehicle, and uninsured motor vehicle. Sanford was stopped by a Batavia patrol officer on East Main Street, Batavia, at 1:14 a.m., Feb. 13. He was arraigned in City Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Derrick M. Williams, 32, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief 4th. Williams was arrested on a warrant stemming from an incident reported at 4:18 a.m., Sept. 25. He was arraigned in City Court and released.

Michelle D. Ulickey, 45, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Ulickey was allegedly found in possession of cocaine during a traffic stop by a Batavia patrol officer for allegedly driving with no headlights at 3:15 a.m., March 2, on East Main Street, Batavia. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Tonya M. Weber, 38, of Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant. Weber is charged with petit larceny in connection with an incident reported on Ellicott Street, Batavia, at 6:01 p.m., Dec. 7. Weber was arraigned in City Court and released under supervision.

Antwoine Kush, 19, of Rhulman Road, Lockport, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Kush allegedly violated a complete stay-away order of protection by contacting the protected party at 2 p.m., Jan. 8. Kush was issued an appearance ticket.

David Michael Milillo, 63, of Rochester, is charged with menacing 2nd. Miller is accused of displaying a pistol during a business transaction at 12:30 p.m., Sept. 2, at a location on Byron Holley Road, Byron, causing the victim to fear physical injury or death. Milillo was arrested following an investigation by Investigator Joseph Loftus and was issued an appearance ticket.

Nicholas Adam Pietrzykowski, 45, of East Road, Middlebury, is charged with DWAI/Drugs and criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Pietrzykowski was stopped at 7:25 p.m., July 25, on East Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Nicholas Chamoun. He was arrested on March 3 following an investigation and issued an appearance ticket.

(name redacted upon request), 47, of Alexander, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. xxxx allegedly violated a stay-away order on eight different locations. He was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released on his own recognizance. 

Deanna Rae Lynn Couchman, 27, of Chili Avenue, Rochester, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to keep right, and failure to signal. Couchman was stopped at 3:12 a.m., March 5, on Route 33 in Bergen by Sgt. Mathew Clor. She was issued appearance tickets.

Andrew Luis Coffey, 33, of South Goodman Avenue, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property.  Coffey was allegedly found in possession of property previously reported stolen from Kohl's Department Store at 2:32 p.m., March 1. Coffey was issued an appearance ticket.

Jonah Ty Luplow, 19, of Pearl Street Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and failure to use designated lane. Luplow was stopped at 1:44 a.m., March 6, on Bank Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Joshua Brabon. He was issued appearance tickets.

Amanda Beth Hopkins, 42, of Bethany, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, endangering the welfare of a child, and moving from lane unsafely. Hopkins was reportedly involved in accident at 5:15 p.m., Jan. 21, on Ellicott Street Road, Pavilion.  Her BAC was allegedly greater than .08. Their was allegedly a child in the vehicle. She was arrested on March 5 by Deputy Nicholas Chamoun.  Hopkins was issued an appearance ticket.

Sandra L. Berrios, 62, of Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Berrios was stopped by State Police at 10:58 p.m., March 5, in the Town of Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket. No other information released.

(Name redacted upon request), 20, of Byron, is charged with petit larceny. xxxx was arrested by State Police in the Town of Batavia for an incident reported at 1:30 p.m., March 2. He was released on an appearance ticket. No other information released.

Gerald L. Arnett, 49, of Rochester, is charged with felony DWI, felony aggravated DWI, and driving without an interlock device. Arnett was stopped by State Police at 3:54 p.m., Feb. 28, in the Town of Byron. There was allegedly a child in the vehicle. He was released on an appearance ticket. No other information released.

Man walking in Woods in Bergen during windstorm dies after being struck by falling tree

By Howard B. Owens


A 61-year-old man walking in the woods off Sackett Road in Bergen during yesterday's windstorm was killed when a tree fell and struck him in the head.

Dispatchers received a report of an unresponsive male pinned under a tree at 5:58 p.m.

The victim is identified as Steven K. Reber.

Lifesaving measures were attempted at the scene by family and emergency personnel but Reber was pronounced dead at the scene.

Foul play is not suspected.

Photo by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

One-eyed Nimitz missing on Tracy Avenue, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


Nimitz is much missed in the Clark household after the one-eyed feline went missing recently.

Danielle Clark is offering a return for his return.

The grey and white kitty was last seen on Tracy Avenue in Batavia.

If you see Nimitz or know where he is, Clark can be reached at (585) 409-9833 or email [email protected]



Developer proposes retail/restaurant businesses on former Kmart property along Lewiston Road

By Mike Pettinella


Are they ever going to do something with the former Kmart at the corner of Lewiston and Park roads?

That is yet to be determined but the Benderson Development Co., which owns the building, is ready to place a couple of commercial ventures on another section of the 10.3-acre property at the corner of Lewiston and Park roads in the Town of Batavia.

According to a letter sent to the Town Planning Board by James Boglioli, Right-to-Build Northeast US director for the Buffalo-based real estate firm, two retail/restaurant businesses are being proposed for the site along Lewiston Road – south of the Kmart building:

  • A 4,000-square-foot restaurant with a drive-thru and bypass lane to be located in the southwest corner of the property;
  • A 6,752-square-foot retail/restaurant building with a 2,000-square-foot endcap coffee shop with drive-thru in the southeast corner of the property.

Contacted by telephone this morning, Boglioli declined to provide further details until Thursday night’s Genesee County Planning Board meeting, which is set for 7 o’clock and will be conducted via Zoom videoconferencing.

Furthermore, per the letter, the project also will include drainage upgrades to bring the site into compliance with the current storm water regulations, an increase in overall greenspace and landscaping, utility upgrades and new curbing, pavement and site lighting around the proposed buildings.

As far as parking is concerned, Boglioli’s letter states that the two proposed outparcel buildings will require 84 parking spaces – much less than the 366 parking spaces on the property.

Boglioli’s letter also indicates that, at this point, there are no proposed uses for the 116,238-square-foot Kmart structure – “and any reuse of (that building) is anticipated to require significantly less parking than the former K Mart required per code, and it is expected that the use would be compatible with the proposed outparcel project.”

The referral to be considered by county planners calls for the issuance of a special use permit.

The letter contends that proposed drive-thru configurations will not adversely affect the surroundings and “provide sufficient stacking within two dedicated drive thru lanes and any additional stacking that extends out of the dedicated drive thru lanes would be captured internal to the site.”

Drawing at top shows two restaurant proposals for the former Kmart property along Lewiston Road in the Town of Batavia. The Kmart building is labeled "vacant" at the top of the site map. Provided by Genesee County Planning Department.

Genesee County ranked #5 in most active micropolitans for economic growth

By Press Release

Press release:

Following a record-setting year of projects, Site Selection Magazine has ranked Batavia and Genesee County as the fifth most active micropolitan in the United States for business growth. Batavia and Genesee County continue to be recognized for financial investment and job commitments and economic impact at the region’s various shovel-ready sites.

Site Selection Magazine noted that the GCEDC assisted many businesses who made significant financial investments at its shovel ready sites across the county in 2021, including the Gateway II Corporate Park, Apple Tree Acres Business Park, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Buffalo East Tech Park, and Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).

Among the projects cited by Site Selection Magazine were Plug Power’s $232 million financial investment at STAMP. Plug Power has commenced construction at the 1,250-acre mega site on North America’s largest green hydrogen project. The project is targeting to create 68 new jobs and will generate the largest contributions toward local municipalities and infrastructure of any commercial-industrial project in Genesee County.

"The Site Selection Governor's Cup Rankings once again confirm that Genesee County continues to build a strong and diverse economy,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Pete Zeliff. “I am proud of the work of our board and hard-working staff at the GCEDC to be once again recognized by Site Selection Magazine."

“Genesee County continues to demonstrate that our community is a great place to work, live and recreate through the significant financial investments being made by the private sector,” said Genesee County Chair Shelley Stein.

Projects assisted by the GCEDC in 2021 resulted in $343.5 million in financial investment and 171 new jobs being pledged. These projects are estimated to result in an economic impact of $645 million in Genesee County.

“Site selection professionals are increasingly seeing the Buffalo-Rochester Tech Corridor's talent, low-cost 100% renewable electricity, and sites like STAMP as a competitive combination of assets,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.  “The efforts by Governor Hochul and the New York State Senate and Assembly to commit funding to making sites like STAMP even more shovel-ready will make us even more competitive both nationally and internationally.”

This is the seventeenth consecutive year that Batavia and Genesee County have been recognized as the top micropolitan for business growth in the northeast U.S., and as a top 5 micropolitan in the U.S for the 11th time since 2005.

Batavia Downs hosted annual wedding show on Sunday

By Howard B. Owens


It was a busy afternoon for prospective brides and grooms at Sunday's wedding show at Batavia Downs, according to Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Western OTB, with more than 200 people attending the event.

There was plenty for them to see with dozens of vendors and a fashion show featuring wedding dresses from various designers.

Submitted photos.





Talk of oil sanctions against Russia sends prices soaring, average up 48 cents in Genesee County

By Press Release

Press release from Automobile Association of America:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $4.07, up 46 cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.77. The New York State average is 4.26, up 46 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.83. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia - $4.23 (up 48 cents from last week)
  • Buffalo - $4.21 (up 46 cents from last week)
  • Ithaca - $4.22 (up 41 cents from last week)
  • Rochester - $4.24 (up 45 cents from last week)
  • Rome - $4.22 (up 44 cents from last week)
  • Syracuse - $4.24 (up 49 cents from last week)
  • Watertown - $4.25 (up 46 cents from last week)

According to, the United States has confirmed that it is in talks with European allies to potentially sanction Russian crude oil in response to Moscow's ongoing aggression in Ukraine – that sent oil prices over $130. This morning, oil prices are more than $124 per barrel – in August, oil prices were $30 per barrel. At one point during the pandemic they were below zero, in negative territory.

From Gas Buddy:

“There are few words to describe the unprecedented rise in gasoline prices over the last week, with massive spikes coast to coast in both gasoline and diesel prices, as oil prices jump to their highest since 2008. Forget the $4 per gallon mark, the nation will soon set new all-time record highs and we could push closer to a national average of $4.50/gal. California could be heading for $5.50 per gallon with more stations charging $6 and beyond," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "We've never been in this situation before, with this level of uncertainty. As we lose a major global producer under the weight of deserving bipartisan sanctions for invading a sovereign country, the cost is high. Americans will be feeling the pain of the rise in prices for quite some time, with little good news foreseen."

Photos: Resurrection Parish hosts confirmation retreat

By Howard B. Owens


Resurrection Parish hosted a confirmation retreat this morning at St. Mary's Church.

Candidates made coats of arms, studies in the Corporal Works of Mercy, made church collages, and presented their saint research projects via role-play style interviews among other faith-based enrichment exercises. 

Jason Smith and Ron Chrzanowski facilitated the retreat.

Candidates will be confirmed on Pentecost Sunday, June 5 at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Buffalo by Bishop Michael Fisher.

Photos and information submitted by Jason Smith.






Top Items on Batavia's List

4 BEDROOM SINGLE FAMILY HOME. Walnut Street, Batavia Available 1/1/24. Three bedrooms upstairs, One bedroom 1st floor, (Possible 5th bedroom 1st floor), One bathroom, Dinning room, Laundry hook-ups in kitchen, large yard, full basement, parking for two cars. $1,100 includes weekly trash pickup 2 bags. HUD approved. Background check and good references required. Call 585-300-9111
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City of Batavia, NY Position: Cleaner The City of Batavia is accepting applications for a Part-Time Cleaner. The hourly rate is $15.43. The position is responsible for routine and repetitive manual work calling for the performance of simple cleaning duties. Work is performed under direct supervision of a supervisor who assigns tasks and frequently inspects and evaluates the employee and their work when completed. Civil Service applications and job description may be picked up at the City’s Human Resources Office, 2 nd Floor, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY. Please submit completed applications to Rebecca McGee, Human Resources Director, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY by December 15, 2023. Background check and drug testing required.
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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying. We are a non-for-profit organization that provides its services free of charge. We run on a supportive community and selfless volunteers. With out both of those we would not be able to serve our community. If you have a caregiver's heart and 2 to 4 hours a week, we would love for you to become a part of our Crossroads House family! No experience required, we will train you and provide mentors and experienced volunteers to guide you. Please go to to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email [email protected]
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