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May 19, 2019 - 6:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in farm labor bill, farm labor, agriculture, news, notify, corfu, video.
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Sen. Rob Ortt visited Reyncrest Farms in Corfu on Friday as part, he said, of regular visits to farms in Upstate New York to learn more about the potential impact of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.

He said he feels obligated to do it because the supporters of the bill, who have no farms or farmworkers in their districts, aren't doing it and they're not holding hearings on the bill in Western New York.

"We know that the sponsor is not visiting farms," Ortt said "She doesn't have a farm in her district. So I'm trying to fill that void to push back on some of these narratives that are being justified as to why we need to have this legislation in New York."

Ortt is the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee. He's also a potential candidate for the Republic primary race in the 27th Congressional District.

Sen. Jessica Ramos, chair of the Senate Labor Committee, and a first-term representative from Queens, is the Senate sponsor of the bill. She did visit Genesee County a few weeks ago and met with farmers and farmworkers and tried to prevent the press from covering her visit. She heard from many farmworkers who said they didn't support the legislation because it would mean they would make less money.

The bill, as written currently, would give farmworkers the right to join labor unions, as well as mandate an eight-hour workday and 40-hour work week. Both farmers and farmworkers say it is the cap on work hours that will do the most economic damage.

Earlier this month, Ortt lead a roundtable discussion of the bill and afterward indicated a willingness to negotiate on both of those main points. Friday he said that willingness is based on the feedback he's getting from farmers who tell him, he said, that if passage of such a bill is inevitable, then can it at least be made less draconian?

So far, he said, he's seen little willingness by the sponsors to negotiate.

Reyncrest is exactly the kind of family-owned dairy farm that stands to be most severely hurt by the legislation if it passes as is, he said.

"They have three farmers, (ages) 28, 26, and 25 -- a new generation, right? The next generation of farmers here to keep this going," Ortt said. "But they need to be able to sustain each of those individuals. This farm needs to be profitable for all three of those family members and if they can't make it a go, maybe they're unable to continue on and that impacts consumers.

"That impacts folks here in New York State who want to buy their products from New York State farmers, who want to buy their products from locally grown farms, locally grown here in New York. And so every time we add onto the burden here, and especially when it's being done by people who haven't stepped foot on a farm, who don't understand the dynamics of what they're doing, now I think that should be a real cause for concern for all New Yorkers."

May 19, 2019 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sunny's Restaurant, news, batavia, business.


Sunny's in Batavia is closing its doors for the last time tonight.

Late this afternoon, Skinny Rose wasn't at the restaurant and Tiny Rose declined to comment about the closing.

May 19, 2019 - 5:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Stafford.

A motorcyclist reportedly hit debris in the roadway on Randall Road, Stafford.

The driver is reportedly down but alert. 

Stafford Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

May 19, 2019 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Fresenius Kidney Care, batavia, business.


Local officials, including Rep. Chris Collins, were on hand Friday for an open house and ribbon cutting at Batavia's newest medical clinic, Fresenius Kidney Care, on Veterans Memorial Drive, just north of Home Depot.

The new facility will be staffed by 20 healthcare professionals and able to treat 102 patients per week.

It opens tomorrow.

Director of Operations Kenneth Crine said Fresenius came to Batavia because the current dialysis clinic is typically booked to capacity.

"I felt excitement for being able to provide needed dialysis services in a community that has a need for that," Crine said. "I think Batavia has been in that situation for a little while, where the current facility is kind of full and people have been displaced because of that, and being able to provide a center where people can have access to convenient healthcare is really important to me. So, you know, I feel good about that."


Kenneth Crine and Chris Collins


May 19, 2019 - 8:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in WNY Tech Academy, byron-bergen, news, schools, education, business.


National Grid was recognized Friday by the WNY Tech Academy at Byron-Bergen High School as the Business of the Year for the company's support of the program, particularly for the $25,000 National Grid had already donated to the student's greenhouse project. On Friday, executive Ken Kuwaja and Paul Gister delivered another $50,000.

The student-conceived project involves building a greenhouse and starting a business to grow greens and farm tilapia in a hydroponic environment.


Kelly Yates, pictured with Principal Thomas Schulte, was named Mentor of the Year.


Students named Professional of the Year: Samantha Lucki, Petyon Penders, and Evan Harter.

May 18, 2019 - 6:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake, darien lake theme park, Darien.


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Officials at Darien Lake Theme Park invited the media yesterday to preview the park's newest thrill ride, SkyScreamer, which opened to the public today.

Here's a press release about the ride:

Six Flags Darien Lake – The Thrill Capital of New York – is proud to announce the opening of its newest attraction, Six Flags SkyScreamer.

Yesterday, members of the media were invited to be amongst the first to experience this 24-story, sky-high swing ride. Towering above the park at an incredible 242 feet, Six Flags SkyScreamer is the tallest thrill ride in New York State. 

“Six Flags continues to lead the way in innovation as we bring the state’s tallest ride to Western New York," said Park President Chris Thorpe. "We are thrilled to add this shining beacon and iconic landmark to the Six Flags Darien Lake skyline.

"From this impressive tower guests will soar high among the clouds, taking in majestic views of the park and surrounding countryside below.”

By night, Six Flags SkyScreamer’s bold, synchronized lighting package will light up the sky and beckon thrill-seekers near and far.

  • A soaring 24-stories tall;
  • 32 riders, sitting two across in open-air swings; and
  • Spinning round and round a 98-foot circle at 35 miles per hour. 

Six Flags SkyScreamer will open to the public Saturday, May 18. For more information on Six Flags Darien Lake’s 2019 season visit www.darienlake.com

Six Flags 2019 Memberships and Season Passes are now available. Members can enjoy priority park entry, preferred parking and tremendous discounts of up to 50 percent on nearly all food and merchandise purchases all season long.

Gold Plus, Platinum, Diamond and Diamond Elite levels are available featuring all the perks of a Season Pass plus other benefits including admission to all Six Flags branded theme and waterparks, skip-the-line passes, unlimited soft drinks and much more!

For more information, visit the Membership Sales Center or go online to sixflags.com/darienlake and sign up.

Here are some stats on the Six Flags SkyScreamer:

At a staggering 242 feet high Six Flags SkyScreamer is the tallest thrill ride in New York State. It takes riders seated in swings up 24 stories and spins them around a 98-foot circle at speeds up to 35 mph. Riders will experience breathtaking views of Six Flags Darien Lake they have never seen before at thrilling speeds.

  • 242-feet high, 24 stories
  • 32 swing seats
  • Speeds up to 35 miles per hour
  • 1,600 LED lights on the tower, more than 1,100 additional puck LED lights on the globe
  • Ride time is approximately three minutes
  • Spins in a 98-foot circle
May 18, 2019 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, Pavilion, pembroke, news, DIGIES.

Lyla Bynum from Le Roy Central School District is the First Place winner in The DIGIES' PreK-3 Audio category with her submission "Cats and Kittens."

Submitted photo and press release:

LE ROY -- The DIGIES is an annual digital media conference and festival run by the School Library Service, a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. 

This year’s festival awards event was held on May 16 at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester.

The mission of The DIGIES is to strengthen the digital media continuum between Pre-K-12 schools, higher education and professional institutions. The DIGIES recognizes student potential in an annual festival format and draws student entries from throughout the region and the Upstate New York area.

Emilee Williamson and Andrea Fetterly, Library technologies’ specialists; and Brian Mayer, game librarian, coordinate this conference. Mayer noted how this year’s festival drew a variety of entries.

“We had another wonderful year with strong submissions from both the Genesee Valley Region and beyond," Mayer said. "Submissions continue to come in from both school and public libraries, with students not only sharing curricular projects but personal work as well."

Below is a listing of all the event categories, age groupings, award winners and their school districts.

Congratulations to these imaginative students!



1st Place – Lyla Bynum -- "Cats and Kittens" – Le Roy Central School

Grades 4-6

1st Place – Ben Knapp -- "The Pink Fluffy Unicorn’s Problem" – Le Roy Central School

2nd Place – Sophie Beikirch -- "The New Old Book" – Livonia Central School

3rd Place – Matthew Parry -- "Nintendo Designer" – Livonia Central School

Grades 7-9

1st Place – Mina Stevens – "O’er Th’ Loch" – Pittsford Central School

2nd Place – Trey Prevost, Kailyn Tresco, Amara Condidorio, Lola Forte, Hailey-Jay Michel, Alli Privatera, Angela Allen, Adele Feeley, Ashley Michel – "Las Excusas"  – Le Roy Central School

3rd Place – Evie Babcock – "Quien Soy Yo" – Le Roy Central School

Grades 10-12

1st Place – Peyton Martin – "Lost At Sea" – Mount Morris Central School

2nd Place – Leslie Arneth, Katie Carmichael, Kassidy Steffenilla "ASMR: An Episode of Knightly Knews" – Le Roy Central School

3rd Place – Hailey Grasso, Alexis Pfendler – "Real Feminism Podcast" – Le Roy Central School



1st Place – Reese Koukides – "Reflection of Fire" – Le Roy Central School

2nd Place – Sean Kantorowicz – "Altered Photos" – Livonia Central School

3rd Place – Broton Folts – "Best Part of Me" – Livonia Central School

Grades 4-6

1st Place – Kayden Sweet – "Egyptian Pyramid" – Livonia Central School

2nd Place – Paolo Quintana – "Altered Photos" – Livonia Central School

3rd Place – Seaenna Ford – "The Chipmunk" – Livonia Central School

Grades 7-9

1st Place – Victoria Feng – "Platonic Sculpture" – Rush-Henrietta Central School

2nd Place – Nhu Tran – "Giraffe" – Rush-Henrietta Central School

3rd Place – Mackenzie Pustulka – "Virtual Gallery" – Rush-Henrietta Central School

3rd Place – Kaylen Petramalo – "Credo Stellae" (latin) (Believe in Stars) – Rush-Henrietta Central School

Grades 10-12

1st Place – Nathan Coy – "Layne Staley" – Pavilion Central School

2nd Place – Jayde Wilkin-Smith – "Grandparent’s View in Germany" – Livonia Central School

2nd Place – Ella Sexton – "The Water View" – Livonia Central School

3rd Place – Allana Knopp – "Teepee" – Holley Central School



1st Place – Cora Weaver, Bailey Caton, Kylie Wilson, Leah Cashin – "It’s Time for a Change" – Le Roy Central School

2nd Place – Peyton Bennett – "Crossing the Delaware" – Livonia Central School

Grades 4-6

1st Place – Lily Sharp, Hannah White, Leah Whittel – "Jack and the Hairy Beanstalk" – Livonia Central School

2nd  Place – Nadja Emmendorfer – "Greece" – Le Roy Central School

3rd Place – Matthew Covert, Andrew Greene, Fernando Cacho – "Space: Our Galaxy, Universe and Beyond!" – Le Roy Central School

Grades 10-12

1st Place – Casey Wurtz – "College Photo" – Pembroke Central School

2nd Place – Faith DesRoches – "An Exploration of New Social Landscape" – Pembroke Central School

3rd Place – Evan McCoy, Sam Heck – "Rent-a-Pet" – Livonia Central School



1st Place – Pedro Segatto, Wyatt Sattora, Rivers Thomas, Mason Patterson, Ceci Prince, Mackenzie Partridge, Sainelys Diaz, Scott Ho, Jagger Lee, Mason Bowick, Trenton Konzel, Finley Weingaertner, Sandy Godinez – "Composite Shapes in Spring" – Geneseo Central School

2nd Place – Chloe Richardson, Dylan Bogdon, Justin Ferguson, Kylee Wonsey, Noah Johnso – "Blooper Reel" – Livonia Central School

3rd Place – Jane Fischer – "Fun with Animations!" – Livonia Central School

Grades 4-6

1st Place – Helio Quintana, Carson Beardsley – "A Quick Trip" – Livonia Central School

2nd Place – Leila Haines, Leona Savino, Anna Reilly, Lucas Savino – "Ridiculous Ocean" – Victor-Farmington Public Library

3rd Place – Taila Cavalcante-Bezerra, Isabella Hennessy, Chloe Meys – "Viruses Going Around" – Livonia Central School

Grades 7-9

1st Place – Mina Stevens – "The Monster in My Closet" – Pittsford Central School

2nd Place – Amy Eck – "Clearly" – Le Roy Central School

3rd Place – Jack Tonzi, Jake Marcello, Nate Yauchzee – "Bohemian Immigrant" – Le Roy Central School

Grades 10-12

1st Place – Jacob French – "Dominos" – Geneseo Central School

2nd Place – Alexis Verrall – "What You Don’t Know About ME" – Tonawanda Central School

3rd Place – Marquise Bennett – "Ageism" – Pittsford Central School

About the School Library System

It is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, based in Le Roy. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

May 18, 2019 - 2:37pm

An invitation from Bob Bialkowski, Batavia City councilman at large:

This is an invitation to all members of the community to participate in this year’s Batavia Memorial Day parade on Memorial Day Monday May 27th.

The City of Batavia is sponsoring the parade and we are looking forward to another great turnout.

The parade will kick off at 9:45 a.m from the Eastown Plaza on East Main Street and end at the Alva Place parking lot downtown. People can then attend the Veterans Memorial Service at the Memorial site across the street at the Jerome Center.

Any veterans wishing to participate in the parade can just show up at 9:15. Veterans needing a ride in the parade please contact me.

Any groups wishing to participate please let us know as all are welcome. Please keep the theme of respect to all our veteran and first responders.

Let’s show our support to our veterans and first responders! Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy our annual parade.

Thank you,

Bob Bialkowski

585 409-3624

May 18, 2019 - 1:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, batavia.

A one-vehicile accident with minor injuries is reported at Route 63 and Batavia Stafford Townloine Road. Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 2 p.m.: A second ambulance is called to the scene and a first responder reports there are three patients.

UPDATE 2:06 p.m.: The second ambulance is cancelled; two patients are sign-offs.

UPDATE 2:21 p.m.: One person was transported to UMMC.

May 18, 2019 - 12:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, batavia, scanner.

A caller reporters that two men are lying in the grass near Blondie's Sip 'n' Dip on East Main Street Road, Batavia, and they were hitting themselves.

Now they've stopped and are just lying in the grass.

A deputy has been dispatched.

May 18, 2019 - 1:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

One thing Rep. Chris Collins told The Batavian before the 2018 campaign season is that the one thing he appreciated about The Batavian is that we may ask him tough questions but we always reported his views accurately.

Then after he was indicted on insider trading charges he refused to talk to us. That was baffling given his previous praise of our reporting. On Friday, we asked him about his decision to avoid almost all media coverage in 2018. He said that was a campaign strategy but that things would be different if he runs in 2020.

We should trust him on that promise, he said.

"I am not hiding from anyone," Collins said. "I'm talking to you today. Am I not answering every question you're asking? For two months I was running a very difficult election with a strategy to win and my strategy was correct."

Once it was clear in 2018  that Collins was cutting off access to The BatavianThe Batavian publicly announced that it wouldn't run his campaign press releases unless and until he agreed to an interview.

The response?


"For those two months you weren't part of my strategy," Collins said. "And I won or I wouldn't be here talking with you today."

Now, we're supposed to trust Collins.

Collins was indicted by the Federal prosecutors on a bevy of charges related to an alleged insider trading conspiracy on Aug. 9 and refused that day to take any questions from The Batavian and refused subsequent requests for interviews. The charges stemmed from his alleged tip to his son Cameron that a critical drug trial by a company he had pumped, Innate Therapeutics, had failed.

The target of Collins' ire, he said, however, wasn't The Batavian. It was the Buffalo News.

"I am out and about talking to you today and I've said I always will," Collins said. "Last year was a unique year with the Buffalo News being my primary opponent with a lot of fake news, a lot of biased news; a lot of distorted news. So I did make a decision, I wanted to win the election and I won the election and now I'm talking to you today. I'll talk to you wherever I am."

Pressed for examples of "fake news" from the Buffalo News, Collins said almost everything the paper reported about his relationship with Innate Therapeutics was inaccurate; that his work on the 21st Centuries Cure Act was falsely reported; that his attempts to get drugs to market quicker were misrepresented, as well as his attempts to get more dollars diverted to cancer research.

"They reported that was all to benefit a company I was invested in," Collins said. "It was absurd. They reported that Tom Price and I got special pricing on a stock, which was also totally not true, and was so reported by the Office of Congressional Ethics. They reported these things time and again. I don't want to get into a litany but primarily if you read a Buffalo News story, the bias just pours out."

He said the Buffalo News has been reporting about him inaccurately for 12 years, going back to his stint as Erie County Chief Executive.

The one representative The Batavian knew to reach out to directly to seek comment from about Buffalo News reporting on Chris Collins was political reporter Jerry Zremski who said in an email, "We stand by our stories."

Collins supports Donald Trump. Donald Trump has admitted that he has redefined the phrase "fake news" to mean any news report he doesn't like, no matter if it is true. Collins said that is not how Trump uses the term. However, none of this was reassuring to The Batavian that in 2020 he will be any more accessible than he was in 2018.

So, this exchange:

The Batavian: "Can I get a promise that as long as I always report you accurately, I can get an interview with you in the future?"

Chris Collins: "Yes."

So, we'll see if that is "fake news."

See also: Chris Collins says that if he runs he will beat any primary or general election challenger

May 17, 2019 - 11:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.


It doesn't matter who runs against him, if Rep. Chris Collins is a candidate in the NY-27 race in 2020, he will win, he said today following a ribbon cutting at Fresenius Kidney Care on Veterans Memorial Drive.

He will win in a primary. He will win in a general election.

He will win, he said, because he has more money. He will win because the folks of the 27th District will believe he's done a good job for them. He will win because he supports President Donald Trump.

"My accomplishments and my effectiveness speak for themselves," Collins said. "And if somebody wants to pretend otherwise, he'll have to better explain that."

Collins is unperturbed by the close call he suffered in 2018 beating challenger Nate McMurray by less than 2,000 votes, nor is he ruffled about his criminal indictment on alleged insider trading charges, nor an ongoing Congressional ethics investigation. 

"If I do decide to run, I'm confident I will win a primary if there is a primary," Collins said. "I'm also confident in a presidential year with my past support of President Trump, which is well known, with my seven, then eight, years of service in the community, I'm confident I would be reelected.

"While the last election was closer than I might have wanted it to be, that was a terrible year for Republicans. It was not a presidential year and I had an opponent who did not fully disclose where he stood on the issues. Next year, any Democrat that's running is going to have to run with the Democrat platform and the Democrat platform will be socialism replacing a free market."

Today, news reports said that state Senator Chris Jacobs plans to run a primary campaign against Collins if he decides to run and Sen. Rob Ortt told The Batavian in an exclusive interview that if he runs, he will also mount a primary challenge to Collins if Collins runs.

Collins said today that he remains undecided on whether to seek reelection.

"I have not made up my mind," Collins said. "I've said it would be later this year when my legal situation is better known, so I'm not saying yes and I'm not saying no. We'll make that decision later this year."

On potential opponents, Collins concentrated his fire on the one seemingly for-certain candidate, Chris Jacobs.

"If there's anyone who doesn't fit the profile it would be Chris Jacobs," Collins said. "You know, he is, I think, the second most liberal Republican in the state Senate. He's a Never Trumper, he is pro-abortion, and I would say that his resume does not suit New York 27."

Besides Ortt, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Iraq War veteran David Bellavia both told The Batavian today that they are considering runs for the NY-27.

Collins said he isn't afraid of a primary fight, and the more the merrier.

"If you're gonna be in a primary you want it to be 10 people if you're the incumbent," Collins said. "So again, that's not going to make my decision for me. I'm confident I would win a primary if I decide to run and they decide to run against me in a primary, much like happened in 2012. I have confidence that my résumé, of what I've accomplished for this district."

In Jacobs' campaign announcement -- reportedly, since he didn't include all media in the NY-27 (apparently, Genesee County doesn't matter) -- Jacobs said Collins has been ineffective. Collins, of course, disagrees.

"Interesting that he brought that up the same day that Jane Corwin was confirmed as the new chairperson of the International Joint Water Commission," Collins said.

Collins also took credit for the appointments from Michigan and Nevada, the Army Corps of Engineers' approval of a project at Athol Springs, the appointment of a new U.S. Marshall, and he also mentioned his new legislation to help dairy farmers with immigration labor.

"That's all within the past week," Collins said.

In GOP circles, there is some speculation that Collins won't get the GOP endorsement in 2020 even if he decides to run. Again, Collins isn't worried.

"I would hope to get it," Collins said. "But if you recall in 2012 I didn't and I won the primary pretty handily."

Collins also suggested he will outspend any potential opponent. His latest fundraising reports have shown pretty dismal reports, however. He said that's by design. He didn't directly address whether he would self-fund his campaign, but he suggested he will do better at fundraising from this point forward.

"I have not attempted to raise funds the last four months," Collins said. "I know coming in, off of all the bad publicity that I faced, the Buffalo News and otherwise, we decided we'd sit tight for four months and see how things kind of played themselves out and it's been a very positive reaction in Washington, so we are now going to start doing fundraising."

In the last election, he barely beat challenger Nate McMurray. He is facing legal and ethics proceedings in federal court. Some Republicans think he should step aside to protect the district. The Collins retort: He barely beat McMurray because McMurray wasn't honest about who he really is. 

Collins suggested that McMurray is really a closet socialist because he's a Democrat.  

We pointed out the lengthy profile published by The Batavian on May 17, 2018:

Profile: Nate McMurray, Democratic capitalist, bucking the trend of his party

"He doesn't tell the truth," Collins said. "He can say anything he wants. Think back to Kathy Hochul and everything she stood for until she became lieutenant governor and then the true Kathy Hochul showed up."

The Democrats, he said, lie and distort about who they really are.

"You know they pander they lie they distort," Collins said. "But ultimately people realize I'm a conservative Republican. I am pro-life. I've served or eight years. With Trump, I'm the first member to support Trump. I was at the White House two days ago.

"I'm as effective as I've ever been or more so if you look at what we've accomplished the last week. So I'll run on my record and challenge anyone else to at least be honest with the public on where they stand."

See also: Chris Collins promises to speak to The Batavian if he runs for reelection

May 17, 2019 - 6:30pm

New Listing: 7051 Maple Road, Basom. Solid spacious and super homey is what you will find with this country charmer! Three bedroom, two full bath home with a great layout and many upgrades.

This home features spacious room sizes, a large living room, cozy family room with wood burning stove and sliding door outlooking pretty stamped concrete patio and great yard! New electric service, hot water tank and 6-year-old propane furnace and central air! Full bath on both floors and first floor laundry being completed makes for extra convenience for all!

Located on almost 1.5 acres there is storage galore. Large 2-car garage that is heated and ready for hanging out and puttering around. There is a large handy shed for outside supplies AND a large two story barn/workshop with loft and electric for all the other toys.

Check it out! Call Lynn Bezon at 585-344-HOME today or click here for more information on this listing.

May 17, 2019 - 5:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GO ART!, news, arts, entertainment, batavia.


Janet Root opened her art show of fabric art Thursday night at GO ART! called "Innovations." The show runs through July 6 in the main gallery.




During the show openings, Thursday, Valerie Antonetty and Katie Elia served as guest bartenders with their tips benefitting GO ART!


A mixed-media show by Lydia Zwierzyanski and Megan Peters (not available for photos) also opened Thursday.


In the bar, there is now a member's art show on display, including work by David Burke (top painting).

May 17, 2019 - 5:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, artists, John Hodgins, notify.

Photo of John Hodgins in February 2005 with an en plein air painting of his, courtesy of his daughter Joyce Dwyer.

Beloved local artist, Batavia businessman and former county legislator John Jay Hodgins died this morning. He was 87.

Born in Basom on Dec. 12, 1931 to Ora and Velma Hodgins, he grew up to become a printer, sign painter and entrepreneur who founded Batavia Press, Hodgins Printing, Hodgins Engraving, papersigns.com, and John’s Studio.

Hodgins also served his community -- eight years on the Batavia City Council and eight years on the Genesee County Legislature. He was a former member of the Oakfield Lions Club, a director at the Richmond Memorial Library, and a director of the Genesee County Baseball Club.

A longtime member of Batavia Society of Artists, he had been its treasurer and president, and had many shows of his work locally. He taught local students to paint and draw, and held art workshops in Maine and Florida. He authored and published four books, hiked most of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, ran four marathons, and was a big fan of the Batavia Muckdogs baseball team.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years Mary T. (Paul) Hodgins, six children, 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

As a young man, Hodgins supported his family by delivering milk and baked goods, then he went to work in the printing business, starting as a compositor.

He worked at the Orleans Republican-American, Medina Daily Journal and the Buffalo Evening News before launching his own small printing operation from his barn in Basom in 1957. An initial investment of $500 bought a hand-operated letterpress, a few cabinets of lead type and a manual paper cutter.

The nascent business was moved to Batavia in 1961 and husband and wife worked side by side to grow it. Batavia Press, located at 30 Seaver Place, thrived and in 1971 an offer was made to buy it and the Hodgins accepted the offer. They subsequently started Hodgins Printing and sold only by mail order to out-of-town customers.

But within a year, the new owners of the Batavia Press failed and Hodgins Printing returned to serving the business community in Genesee County. In 1983, son Robert Hodgins started Hodgins Engraving, a printing die-making service for printers nationwide.

To meet the need for a local commercial printer serving Western New York, Batavia Press was reestablished. The family's second and third generation now manages the operations of: Hodgins Printing Co. and John's Studio -- in the Harvester Center -- and Batavia Press and Hodgins Engraving on West Main Street. There is also an online company, papersigns.com

John Hodgins retired in 1985.

Beyond his success as an ambitious businessman, John was a lifelong lover of all things art. He produced a prodigious amount of distinctive, unique and colorful creations.

His interest in drawing was first piqued in elementary school when his fifth-grade teacher asked him to draw a knight on a horse.

When John moved to Batavia, he became acquainted with the masterful Roy Mason, a nature-loving watercolorist known for his sporting and wildlife landscapes. Years later, he spent three summers in Maine under the tutelage of famed watercolorist Edgar A. Whitney, best known for his coastline art.

In the mid-1980s, John and fellow Batavia artist Don Grieger started painting en plein air, French for outdoors painting. The practice was not widely popular as it is today. In a kind of spoof of a Canadian group of plein air painters in the early 20th century called "The Group of Seven," the duo called themselves "The Group of Two."

Inevitably, more artists came along and thus "The All Weather Gang" was born. They still get together some Saturday mornings for breakfast at a local diner before heading out to paint scenic vistas, usually in Genesee, Wyoming or Livingston counties, irrespective of the clime. Among their favorites places to paint are creeks: the Tonawanda, the Little Tonawanda, and Oatka.

"You get the feel of the place more when you're outdoors," Grieger said, "rather than painting from a photograph."

Just as he was mentored by quality artists, Hodgins was a mentor to young people.

Among those who learned a thing or two from him is Mark Fanara, who took drawing and painting lessons from Hodgins as a second-grader. Fanara won awards for his art in high school and while studying at SUNY Brockport, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He has been a tattooist since 2005 and opened High Voltage Tattoo in Batavia in 2006.

Another mentee is Batavia native Bill Mancuso, assistant professor of Art and chair of the Department of Art and Design at Ohio Northern University. He curated an exhibit last fall about the All Weather Gang at ONU's Elzay Gallery and wrote a book for the exhibit about the All Weather Gang and its members past and present.

Mancuso is working on a biography/retrospective about John Hodgins.

"I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today without John Hodgins and Don Grieger," Mancuso said. "John was generous. He lived a big, full life. ... John painted ordinary things and made them extraordinary -- Gardner's Barn, the Pok-A-Dot. He saw beauty in everyday things, the way they really are; not like scary museum Art with a capital A."

His appreciation for the unpretentiousness of small-town life was writ large.

Asked about his inspirations for artwork, Hodgins once said he tried to be original and do something different, regardless of the medium he chose. He could be inspired by something as mundane as sneakers, as common as milkweed, and as mythical as flying pigs. He put his special imprimatur on them all.

For John Hodgins full obituary, click here

(Below is a file photo of John Hodgins' "News Stand" which The Batavian acquired in December of 2009.)

May 17, 2019 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in SkyScreamer, darien lake, news, darien lake theme park.


We will have a video about Darien Lake's new ride, SkyScreamer later today or tomorrow but here is a picture from this morning.

May 17, 2019 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rob Ortt, chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.


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If Rep. Chris Collins, dogged by ethics and criminal investigations, decides to run for reelection in 2020, he could face a primary challenge from fellow Republicans, including Sen. Rob Ortt, who visited Reyncrest Farms in Corfu this morning.

"I'm going to make my decision based on my own discussions with my wife, discussions with my family and friends and people I trust, and will do what I think is best for the district," Ortt said. "Obviously, I've got to make the decision that that's right for Rob Ortt, where I think I can serve best to be a voice on issues that matter to me whether it's in the State Senate or in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"So, you know, we'll make that determination on our own timeline. Obviously, probably sooner rather than later, but we're going to make that decision of on our own timeline apart from whatever other people may do."

Other people, of course, includes Collins, who told The Batavian three weeks ago that he has yet to decide whether he would run for reelection.

Collins is facing a Federal court trial on charges stemming from an alleged insider trading conspiracy. Collins, along with co-defendants Cameron Collins and Stephen Zarsky, is accused of securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to FBI agents.

Besides the criminal case, a House of Representatives Ethics Committee is also looking into his conduct involving his holdings in Innate Therapeutics.

Other people mounting a primary challenge would also include State Sen. Chris Jacobs, who reportedly announced his intention this morning to run against Collins, and Batavia-resident Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Reached by text message this afternoon, Hawley said he is indeed considering challenging Collins, depending on the situation with Collins.

"I'm strongly considering it," Hawley said.

Another Batavia resident, combat veteran David Bellavia is also considered a potential candidate. Bellavia has yet to respond to a text message asking him about his intentions for 2020.

Ortt, himself also a combat veteran, said his decision will come entirely independent of what Collins decides to do.

"He's got to do what he thinks is right," Ortt said. "Again just like me, he will do what he thinks is right for himself, for his family and given his situation, but he also has a responsibility to do what's right for the district.

"If he does not think he can serve this district in an effective way, then I think the right thing would be at some point to make a determination to step aside and let someone else come in."

Collins narrowly beat Nate McMurray in the 2018 election and McMurray seems to be a likely Democratic contender in 2020. We asked Ortt, given a potentially strong Democratic candidate and the legal and ethical issues facing Collins, if Collins should step aside and Ortt said he would never suggest to Collins, or any other potential candidate, that he not run.

"This is America," Ortt said. "There will be a lot of people I imagine that might jump into this race. If (Collins) thinks he can make an effective argument of why he should be retained as the congressman, I would welcome that as much if I was in the race as anything.

"I'm not going to say one person should run or should not run because ultimately the people of the 27th District, particularly Republican voters in a primary, they're going to make that determination about who they think can effectively, not only defend the president's agenda or defend the agenda that's important to this district, but also represent them in a way that they think they'd be proud of."

UPDATE 3:50 p.m.: We heard back from David Bellavia. He is considering a run for Congress in the 27th. "Not afraid of primaries," Bellavia said in a text message. "Especially ones involving Rep. Collins and Senator Jacobs."

UPDATE 5:34 p.m.: Statement from Nate McMurray on the possibility of a primary challenge to Collins:

"It's understandable that some would see an opportunity in Collins' legal predicament, but let's not pretend that Collins was an effective leader prior to that. Our grassroots network has been fighting for the people of the 27th Congressional District well before his indictment last August and never stopped.

"I think it's unfortunate that anyone would evaluate running in this district based on personal political gain, or in order to keep it in Republican hands. Hyper-partisanship is the last thing the people of Western New York need right now and the voters here confirmed that last November by reelecting Collins by a mere .37%. The district went purple and people crossed party lines. It shows that business-as-usual will no longer fly. We will continue to prepare for whatever comes next, and look for opportunities to bring people together."

May 17, 2019 - 7:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia kiwanis, schools, education, news.


On Thursday, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia held its annual luncheon recognizing the Top 10 academic students of Batavia High School.

Top Photo: Ryann Stefaniak (first row, left), Madison Dedman, Pierce Corbelli, Kristen Gloskowski, Emily Caccamise (back row, left), Lyndsay Debo, Brianna Bromley, Karissa Kesler, Tracy Lin, Julia Spiotta. Spiotta is top in her class.


The annual music awards went to Eryn Dunn for Outstanding Service in Chorus, Zak Jantzi for Outstanding Service in Orchestra, and Elise Hoerbelt for Outstanding Service in Band.


Karissa Kesler and Emily Boldt received Citizenship Awards. Besides the plaques, Kesler and Boldt received $1,000 each.

Below, a submitted photo from last week of the Top 10 students from Notre Dame High School.


Mary Vandenbosch (first row, left), Hannah Gualtieri, Faith Falkowski, Meghan Stella, Elizabeth Fuentes, Gemma Bochicchio (back row, left), Daniel Bergman, Samuel Bowman, Bella March, and Mary Warner.

May 17, 2019 - 6:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Durin Rogers, City Court, video.


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Thursday evening, Judge Durin Rogers, and one of two candidates for the full-time City Court judge position held a "coffee and conversation" event at the Holland Land Office Museum.

Since we haven't had a chance to cover Rogers at a public event since the campaign started, and we did cover Benjamin Bonarigo's campaign kickoff, including a short video interview, we wanted to be sure to provide Rogers with similar coverage.

We wound up with a 10-minute interview with Rogers and decided to post the entire interview.

Rogers hosts another "coffee and conversation" event at the Richmond Memorial Library on May 25 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

To view our previous coverage of Bonarigo's campaign kick-off, click here.

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