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September 13, 2019 - 3:08pm

By Jason Politi / New York Sire Stakes:

Drivers and trainers will be hoping for their chance to chat with Heather Wilder at Saturday’s New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) Night of Champions at Batavia Downs.

A familiar name to many through her work with the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) and United States Harness Writers Association’s (USHWA), Wilder will be cohosting the broadcast of the Night of Champions with Peter Kleinhans.

Kleinhans will provide analysis and handicapping insight while Wilder will conduct winner’s circle and trackside interviews for their eight NYSS finals and the Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace (Race 6).  

While assisting with managing her family’s stable, Altmeyer Wilder Racing, which also involves her parents, Ruth and Dan Altmeyer, and her husband, Mike Wilder, she has taken on a role as special events broadcaster, which she says is a perfect fit for her.

“My earliest memories are in the barn. I love to give back to the sport in any way that I can,” Wilder said. “The Night of Champions will be a very special place to be, with top-notch names on the Grand Circuit in one place at the same time. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am.”

The Night of Champions will also be a night of firsts for Wilder: her first time working with Kleinhans, and her first time at Batavia Downs.

“I love seeing new tracks and how they run," Wilder said. "I’ve heard nothing but good reviews for Batavia Downs, so I’m really looking forward to getting there and working with Peter on the broadcast.”

Todd Haight, director/general manager of live racing at Batavia Downs, echoed the anticipation of having the team on site for the Finals.

“We are very excited to add such accomplished and professional talents to our production of the Night of Champions,” Haight said. “The Night of Champions is special for Batavia Downs and we couldn’t be more pleased to have both onboard.

"Heather and Peter have performed at the highest levels of the sport both on and off the track and will bring a unique perspective to the show for our fans.”

The Night of Champions is New York’s richest night in harness racing, with $1.8 million in total purse money on the line. Post time is 6 p.m. Entries for the event are available here.

“It is a magnificent card with some of the best horses, horsemen and horsewomen all assembled as part of one event,” Wilder said. "New York’s racing program is just first class and everything is in place for this to be a great night with huge stars. I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

September 13, 2019 - 2:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Oakfield.

Michael S. Colombo, 39, of Batavia, is charged with second-degree assault on an officer/firefighter/EMT. On Sept. 1, Mercy medics were transporting Colombo to Wyoming County Community Hospital when he allegedly became combative in the ambulance. He is accused of punching both EMTs in the face with a closed fist, causing injuries. He was later taken into custody and allegedly found to have an active arrest warrant for two counts of second-degree assault by the Batavia Police Department and the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office. Colombo is accused of head butting a Batavia Police officer during the exchange of custody, but he did not injure the officer. Colombo was arraigned in Warsaw Town Court and put in Wyoming County Jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. He is due to return to Warsaw Town Court on Sept. 16. The case was handled by WC Deputy Nowack and Deputy Houghton.

Kishonti D. Williams, 27, of Batavia, was arrested at 8:58 a.m. on Sept. 9 following a traffic stop by Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies on Route 246 in the Town of Perry. Deputies stopped him after allegedly observing him attempting to pass another vehicle on the right side as it was heading northbound. He is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree. It is also alleged that he has 10 active suspensions on his driver's license. He is due in Town of Perry Court on Oct. 16. The case was handled by Wyoming County Sheriff's Deputy Daniel J. Kemp.

Sophie McGowan Cegielski, 18, of Pine Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. At 3:20 p.m. on Sept. 12, Cegielski was arrested at Oakfield-Alabama Central School on Lewiston Road in Oakfield. She is accused of stealing property out of another student's bag during after-school hours on Sept. 11. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Oakfield Town Court on Sept. 23. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy David Moore.

September 13, 2019 - 2:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, sports, golf, hole in one.

Photo and information from Brian Stone, of Bergen:

My father, Ted Stone, had a hole in one at Le Roy Country Club today.

Hole #17 -- 140 yards with a 6 iron.

He is 83 years old.

Two weeks ago he beat his age at Churchville Golf Course, shooting 79.

September 13, 2019 - 2:15pm

Information from a press release:

Along the Haunted History Trail of New York State, you will find the largest collection of haunted and Halloween events statewide.

Three sites on the trail are in Genesee County: the historic Seymour Place building at 201 E. Main St. in Downtown Batavia, home to GO ART!; Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany; and the Haunted Bergen House, built in 1858 and located at 6571 W. Sweden Road, Bergen.

More than 500 events -- from authentic ghost hunts and paranormal investigations to staged haunted houses and Halloween hayrides -- can be found on the Haunted History Trail's online event calendar, offered now through the end of October.

Ghost hunting is offered year-round in historic Palmyra and its William Phelps General Store, with special events in the fall.

Home to all things paranormal, 365 days a year, the Haunted History Trail features more than 90 authentically haunted locations across the state. These locations offer investigations, ghost hunts, guided tours, and other experiences that allow visitors to interact with the haunted side and seek out spirits during a dining experience, special event, or overnight stay.

But, during the "spooky season" in the time leading up to Halloween, the trail opens its offerings to all forms of haunted events -- from the serious spirits right down to the spirited pretenders.

"We see a lot of attention this time of year due to the season and the nature of our trail," says Kelly Rapone, administrator of the Haunted History Trail.

"People are seeking out opportunities to be scared -- whether that's on a guided tour that tells them about ghost sightings and the history behind them or experiencing a jump-scare as they go through a haunted house. We want to be their resource for all things haunted."

While many of the trail events lead up to Halloween as the major fall holiday, Sept. 28 also marks a holiday celebrated by select Haunted History Trail partners. It's "National Ghost Hunting Day," established in 2016, which "recognizes and celebrates the novice, curious and expert execution of ghost-hunting methods."

Several trail locations, including Palmyra's William Phelps General Store, East Bethany's Rolling Hills Asylum, and the Haunted Hinsdale House in Hinsdale, participate on that date in the "World's Largest Ghost Hunt" -- an international phenomenon that brings people together from across the globe to take part in a night of paranormal investigations.

Themes for the 2019 event will include historic preservation, celebrating haunted towns, and exploring cultural diversity within the ghost-hunting field around the world.

To learn more, visit the Haunted History Trail of New York State's website here.

To view the online trail brochure, click here.

About the Haunted History Trail of New York State

It is the only statewide ghost tourism initiative in the United States. It was created in 2013 by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with tourism promotion agencies across the state and with support provided by Empire State Development's I LOVE NEW YORK program under the Market NY initiative.

The Haunted History Trail of New York State features more than 90 haunted locations found within almost every region of New York State. Guided ghost tours, paranormal investigations, haunted dining and overnight stays are available on the trail, with many of the attractions tying back to New York's local history.

(Photo from Haunted History Trail of New York State website.)

September 13, 2019 - 1:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in fashion, GCC, education, Fashion Speaker Series, news.

Press release and submitted photo:

Each semester, the Fashion Program at Genesee Community College hosts its Fashion Speaker Series, which introduces students to experts from all areas of the booming industry.

The first speaker in the 2019-2020 series will be lecturer, writer and fashion aficionado, John A. Tiffany, who presents "DAWN: The Career of Legendary Fashion Retailer Dawn Mello" at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, in room T102 on GCC's Batavia Campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Tiffany has been called a fashion historian and expert on the history of fashion in the 20th century. But, more than anything, he is a passionate storyteller who uncovers and shares the incredible untold stories of pioneering women.

Tiffany's most recent book, "DAWN: The Career of Legendary Fashion Retailer Dawn Mello" is a lavishly illustrated biography that spans her impressive career.

In 1975, Mello was hired as the fashion director and vice president of the department store Bergdorf Goodman, and charged to turn the retailer around and remake it in the image of Ira Neimark, who was the CEO at that time.

Together, they transformed a once dowdy department store into the retail center of luxury fashion.

Mello's strategy not only redefined and repositioned Bergdorf Goodman, but in doing so, she discovered and encouraged the rise of exciting modern designers, while inaugurating an exuberant, new type of fashion show.

After leaving Bergdorf Goodman, Mello moved on to revitalize Gucci, which became a modern case study for resuscitating a luxury brand. By the time she left, Gucci was back on top.

"Our faculty and students are both very excited to have Mr. Tiffany speak at our campus," Donna Ehrhart, GCC professor of Business and Fashion Design, said. "Each year, GCC's students plan and execute their own full-scale fashion show.

"Many students use their experience to launch their own impressive careers. Being able to hear the story of Dawn Mello will be very inspiring for their work this year."

GCC's Fashion Business degree program includes four separate areas of concentration:

  • Fashion Design: covering the necessary principles and techniques of consumer and commercial fashion, apparel, accessories, and the management of fashion development projects. (A one-year certificate is also available for students who want to just hone their hands-on techniques.)
  • Fashion Merchandising Management: providing the skills needed to succeed in a global, ever-changing billion dollar business of fashion buying, display, public relations, styles and sales.
  • E-Commerce: preparing students to manage online inventories, design digital marketing plans and media, and to explore the world of online fashion retail.
  • Event Planning: teaching the principles of event management, consumer behavior, space design, culinary choices, securing entertainment contracts and endorsements, and much more.

"One of the goals of the Fashion Speaker Series is to expose the students to as many possible careers in the industry as possible and to let them hear about the many paths to success," Ehrhart added. "Tiffany's work and his breadth of experience with a variety of individuals in the fashion industry made him a great choice for the first speaker in the series this year."

Tiffany grew up in California's Santa Ynez Valley, earned a bachelor's degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu in 1988, and has been a professional speaker, writer and author since 2011.

His first book, "Eleanor Lambert: STILL HERE" recounts this extraordinary and bona fide American pioneer's incredible journey which is credited with single-handedly putting American fashion on the global stage.

In addition to the speaker series, GCC Fashion students participate in trips to New York City to experience the Fashion District, and they tackle all aspects of producing a professional fashion show: designer, scene coordinator, director, marketing, public relations, and many other responsibilities from public safety to parking.

Each year, the Fashion Show draws an audience of more than 1,500 and is also live-streamed around the world.

This experience leads many GCC fashion majors to transfer agreements with institutions such as FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and LIM (Laboratory Institute of Merchandising) in NYC, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and others.

September 13, 2019 - 1:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in marksmanship, sports, batavia, gun competitors.

Submitted photos and press release:

NEW TRIPOLI, Pa. -- Eugene Jankowski Jr. finished in third place Practical Division and fourth place overall at the 2019 Pennsylvania State 3 Gun Championship held Labor Day weekend at the Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club in New Tripoli, Pa.

Jankowski worked through a rifle malfunction early in the match, adding a fraction of time that would later move him out of second place by a 10th of a second.

Approximately 144 competitors from Pennsylvania and the surrounding states completed eight challenging stages of fire during the two-day match.

Three gun competitors systematically used a handgun, rifle and shotgun to shoot a variety of targets from multiple positions during each of the eight courses of fire.

“Using the three different firearms feels like you’re shooting three different matches at the same time," Jankowski said. "It’s full of action and the clock is ticking.”

Jankowski is president of the Batavia City Council and a retired Batavia police lieutenant.

September 13, 2019 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Notre Dame, football.

The Fighting Irish trounced the Perry Yellow Jackets in Thursday night football action in Perry, 64-3.

Notre Dame picked up 585 total yards on offense, including 512 rushing.

Jed Reese carried the ball 21 times for 250 yards and three touchdowns. He also had five tackles on defense.

Dylan Warner rushed eight times for 103 yards and three TDs.

The defense dominated with seven sacks and two interceptions and held Perry to negative 10 yards of rushing offense.

QB Gabe Mcdonald was 3 for 5 passing for 75 yards and two TDs. He also ran for 95 yards on three carries, scoring twice. He also caught a pass on a two-point conversion.

Cody Henry led the defense with 10 tackles. He also had a pass reception for a touchdown.

Anthony Zambito caught a pass for a 62-yard TD and had three tackles.

September 13, 2019 - 12:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, roadwork.

From the city Bureau of Maintenance:


Temporary road closures planned Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 16-17 in the City of Batavia are delayed.The new dates are Tuesday, Sept.17 and Wednesday, Sept. 18:

These road closures will now occur on Tuesday:

  • Florence Avenue -- Between Cedar Street and Howard Street.
  • Carolwood Drive – Between Garden Drive and end of road.
  • Belvedere Lane – Naramore Drive to Naramore Drive.
  • Woodcrest Drive – Between house #2 and #15.

The following roadwork is now planned for Wednesday:

  • Union Street –Between Richmond Avenue and Oak Street. This impacts residents that live on Union Square limiting access. Any work not completed Tuesday is also going to be completed.

Residents will be notified by the company performing the work, Suit Kote, of the actual work schedule via fliers delivered door to door on the impacted streets a day in advance.

Residents of impacted areas are asked not to park on these streets while the work is ongoing and to park on adjacent side streets if possible.

This work is weather dependent and if delayed due to wet conditions the work will resume the next business day.

Contact the Bureau of Maintenance and ask to speak to the Superintendent at 585-345-6400, opt. 1, if you have any questions.

September 13, 2019 - 12:05pm

Press release:

Ithaca Beer Co. and Batavia Downs announced today they will launch the sale of the new Thurmanator Beer at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19th at the 34 Rush Sports Bar.

“We’ve been looking forward to this special release for some time," said James Sapienza, head of Brand Development for Ithaca Beer Co. “The Thurmanator beer is an easy-drinking lager we hope will score big with hardcore Buffalo football fans, as well as those seeking a refreshing and crisp, light golden lager with a subtle sweetness and restrained hop character that lends a gentle floral quality and clean finish.”

The public event will include an appearance by the beer’s namesake, Buffalo Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas, and sampling from many of Ithaca’s line of products while attendees enjoy the Thursday Night Football game on the big screens.

Batavia Downs is located at 8315 Park Road in the City of Batavia.

About Ithaca Beer Co.

Begun in 1998 in a small renovated retail store just outside of Ithaca, the original space had a small seven barrel brewhouse, a modest tasting bar and sold full growlers to go as well as homebrew supplies.

Today, Ithaca Beer brews about 25,000 barrels of beer per year and features both 50 and five barrel pilot brew houses. In addition to a state-of-the-art brewing facility, Ithaca Beer has fully automated packaging capabilities for bottling, canning and kegging.

Ithaca Beer distributes beer to 54 wholesalers in 14 states in the Northeast from New England in the East to Ohio in the West and Virginia and North Carolina to the South.

September 13, 2019 - 10:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in van detta stadium, batavia, video, Batavia HS.
Video Sponsor

The new Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium officially opens tonight with a game between the Batavia and Livonia at 7 o'clock.

There will be a ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m. and the public is invited.

September 12, 2019 - 6:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

From Alecia Kaus/Video News Service:

Malik I. Ayala, 27, of Walnut Street, Batavia, was to be sentenced on this afternoon (Sept. 12) in Genesee County Court, but he did not show up.

Public defender Jerry Ader told the court he could not appear today because he was admitted to an inpatient treatment program called Reflections at the Eastern Niagara Health System in Lockport.

The program is a chemical dependency treatment program available to adults ages 18 and over to help them recover from dependence on alcohol or other drugs. The program provides short-term treatment services.

Ader asked Judge Charles Zambito for an adjournment.

Ayala will remain at the inpatient facility until Oct. 2nd.

Ayala has already accepted a plea deal and pled guilty to a charge of third-degree burglary, a class D felony.

He was picked up on Nov. 15 in connection with a string of burglaries in Genesee County after Investigator Chris Parker with the Sheriff’s Office identified a vehicle that was wanted in connection with the burglaries.

The vehicle was being operated by TeeSean T. Ayala, 20, Malik’s brother.

After the vehicle turned into a driveway at 317 Washington Ave., a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol was thrown from the vehicle. The Sheriff’s Office says TeeSean Ayala was in possession of a stolen handgun that had a defaced serial number in the vehicle during the traffic stop.

TeeSean Ayala, 20, of Batavia, was sentenced in Genesee County Court to five years in prison and five years post-release supervision last month. TeeSean pled guilty to one count of criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, which satisfies seven other residential burglary charges dating back to 2015.

Due to Malik I. Ayala’s criminal history, First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini opposed the adjournment today.

“We feel he is a second felony offender, prison is mandatory, we are opposed to this adjournment,” Cianfrini said.

Judge Zambito explained that there was no commitment on sentencing and that Ayala was not recommended for the inpatient treatment.

“The fact (is) that he is in treatment; we will adjourn until afterwards,” Zambito said.

The new sentencing schedule is 9:15 a.m. Oct. 3.

September 12, 2019 - 6:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in Ghost Walk, history, batavia, hlom, news.

Press release:

Back and expanded by popular demand, please join the Holland Land Office Museum for a Westside Ghost Walk on three Fridays in October.

The walks led by Connie Boyd will take place at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11, 18, and 25.

Take a walk on the Westside and hear tales of murders, hangings, grave robbing, ghosts and other eerie happenings from Batavia's past.

Hear stories of Joseph Ellicott, E. N. Rowell and other famous and infamous Batavians.

Admission is $10 and reservations are required.

Tours are limited to 25 people each. The tour begins and ends at the museum and is approximately one-and-a-half to two hours in length.

For tickets or more information, please call (585) 343-4727, email at [email protected], or stop by at 131 W. Main St., Batavia.

(Also, be sure to check out the Old Batavia Cemetery's Guided Ghost Walk on Saturday, Oct. 26; must RSVP by calling the Batavia Cemetery Association at (585) 943-5662.)

September 12, 2019 - 6:06pm

Living history reenactors portraying Dean and Mary Richmond; taken by Howard Owens on Oct. 13, 2012.

Press release:

Join us to meet the famous and infamous movers and shakers who shaped and influenced the City of Batavia on Saturday, Oct. 26th, when the Batavia Cemetery Association will host a candlelight guided ghost walk through the Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue in Batavia.

The guided tour on candlelit paths will bring guests to meet men and women of Batavia, who, for various reasons, held great power and exerted great influence in their day, were victims of tragic events, or both.

Philemon Tracy, one of the few Confederate officers buried in the North; Ruth the unknown -- victim of a horrendous murder; Joseph Ellicott, a man of great power and great flaws; and William Morgan, the man who disappeared and was allegedly murdered before he could reveal the secrets of the Masons, are some of the ghosts who will tell their stories on the tour.

Also visiting will be Civil War veteran General John H. Martindale, who was Military Governor of the District of Columbia in 1865.

Dean and Mary Richmond, who greatly influenced civic life in Batavia in the 1800s, will meet with guests in their mausoleum on the last stop of the tour. Dean Richmond made a great fortune in Great Lakes shipping and was the second president of the New York Central Railroad. Mary Richmond vastly expanded her husband’s fortune after his death and sat on the boards of many businesses and civic organizations.

Come and have some spooky fun! Tours begin at 7 p.m. and run every 15 minutes until 8:30.

Admission is $10 and includes refreshments. Reservations are required. For more information, or to make reservations, contact (585) 943-5662.

Proceeds benefit the upkeep and restoration of the cemetery.

September 12, 2019 - 5:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in RPEA, Milestones, genesee county legislature.

Submitted photo and information from the Retired Public Employees Association:

Gordon Dibble of the Genesee County Legislature commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Retired Public Employees Association (RPEA) this week.

Dibble presented a 50th Anniversary Proclamation to Genesee Valley Chapter Chair Jan Beutner (photo, middle) and Chapter Member Susette Langston (at right).

RPEA is celebrating 50 years as the only organization in New York State whose sole purpose is to advocate on behalf of state and local government retirees and their beneficiaries.

September 12, 2019 - 5:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, farmers, 2015 WOTUS rule.

New York farmers, Congressman Chris Collins and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applaud today's announcement that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

From the New York Farm Bureau:

Repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States rule is a victory for clean water and clear rules, according to New York Farm Bureau.

“Farmers share the goal of protecting the nation’s water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable,” said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher.

“It made protecting water quality and conservation efforts more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers, especially when what waters would be regulated under the old rule could not be clearly defined. This turned farming into a guessing game on which land use required federal permits and what did not.”

The administration’s repeal announcement follows a multi-year effort by the American Farm Bureau, New York Farm Bureau and an array of allies to raise awareness of overreaching provisions of the rule.

“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious,” Fisher said. “We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.”

From Congressman Chris Collins:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) praised EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s signing of the repeal of the Obama-Era Clean Water Rule, commonly known as the, “Waters of the United States.”

The signing of the repeal is part of a two-step process ordered by President Donald Trump in February 2017. This first step overturns the Obama-era regulation and reenacts rules established prior to 2015. The second step of process is for the EPA to propose a replacement rule, which is expected before the end of this year.

“This was nothing more than a giant power grab by the Obama Administration that had real and harmful consequences on America’s hardworking farmers and small business owners,” Congressman Collins said.

“This rule has serious implications for our local farmers, it allows bureaucrats to determine if small divots or puddles were considered ‘navigable waters’. President Trump made a promise to farmers across the nation and I applaud him for keeping it by repealing these outrageous regulations. &rdquo

In 2014, Congressman Collins attempted to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from expanding federal control under the Clean Water Act by leading a letter to the EPA Administrator and the Department of Army Secretary urging them not the move forward. A majority of Congress signed on to Congressman Collins’ letter.

Congressman Collins additionally was a cosponsor of H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, which would prevent the EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers from implementing the proposed rule that would redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This legislation passed in the House but was not taken up in the Senate.

The repeal is expected to be challenged in court by a number of environmental groups.

From U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue:

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking another step to fulfill President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

“Repealing the WOTUS rule is a major win for American agriculture. The extreme overreach from the past Administration had government taking the productivity of the land people had worked for years,” Secretary Perdue said.

“Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.” 


One of President Trump’s earliest acts in office was an Executive Order directing EPA and the Army Corps to review and potentially replace the Obama Administration’s definition of the “Waters of the United States.”

The EPA and the Army Corps have repealed the 2015 Rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

The agencies upcoming action will restore the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule and will end the inconsistent regulatory patchwork that has created uncertainty and has hindered projects from moving forward that can benefit both the environment and the economy.

The repeal remedies the legal and procedural deficiencies of the 2015 Rule, addresses the extensive litigation surrounding it, and recodifies and restores a regulatory process that has been in place for years. The new rule will provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses as to the definition of “Waters of the United States.”

To learn more about EPA’s WOTUS Rule, click here.

September 12, 2019 - 4:57pm

Press release:

New York’s richest night of racing will be contested at Batavia Downs this Saturday, Sept. 14, with the $1.8 million New York Sire Stakes “Night of Champions,” celebrating its 30th year.

Eight finals races featuring the best state-bred 2- and 3-year-olds will be contested for $225,000 purses each. Post time is 6 p.m. A full list of entries can be found here.

Batavia Downs was selected as the site of this year’s “Night of Champions” through a competitive proposal process among tracks which host NYSS events. Tracks were considered on various criteria, including the offering of a 24-hour detention barn, and the ability to promote the event and offer an exciting fan experience.

“We are thrilled to be at Batavia Downs this year, which has done an amazing job of generating excitement in the ‘Night of Champions’ being held in Western New York,” said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. “On the track, our horses proved once again that New York State is a major player in Standardbred breeding and racing and we are excited to showcase their talents.”

“The management of Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel was proud and excited to be named the site of the 2019 Night of Champions," said Todd Haight, director/general manager of Racing. "Western New York has been a hotbed of harness racing since pari-mutuel betting was legalized in 1940 and remains that way today.

"Western Regional OTB has put numerous improvements into this facility over the years to draw better horses and in turn, maintain a strong customer base. We look forward to hosting all the connections of these championship-caliber New York-bred horses on Saturday and putting on the best show possible for everyone."

Race sponsors for the event include New York-based breeders and institutions:

Race 2: Cameo Hills Farm Final for 3-Year-Old Pacing Fillies
Race 3: Allerage Farm Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Fillies
Race 4: Winbak Farm Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Fillies
Race 5: Crawford Farms Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Fillies
Race 7: Genesee Valley Farm Final for 2-Year-Old Pacing Colts
Race 8: Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund Final for 2-Year-Old Trotting Colts
Race 9: SUNY Morrisville Equine Institute Final for 3-Year-Old Trotting Colts
Race 10: Blue Chip Farms Final for 3-Year-Old Pacing Colts

A cocktail reception for the connections of the horses in the finals, cosponsored by Purple Haze Standardbred Adoption Program, will take place prior to the event.

The NYSS Consolation Finals will be held at Vernon Downs on Sunday, Sept. 15. The finals for the NYSS Excelsior A Series are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21 at Saratoga Casino Hotel.

The New York Sire Stakes program promotes the breeding, buying, and racing of Standardbred horses in New York State, and is administered by the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund. It was the first program of is kind, featuring 2- and 3-year-old colts and fillies, and has become the model for state-bred racing programs in North America.

About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund

The Fund is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the Fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the State.

To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes races, Excelsior/State Fair Series races, and County Fair Races. Additionally, the Fund provides assistance to county agriculture societies and contributes to the statewide 4-H program and to the Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research.

September 12, 2019 - 4:46pm

Press release:

Sixth Annual Taste of Independence food-sampling extravaganza is being held by Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Ascension Parish -- Slomba Hall, 17 Sumner St., Batavia.

Guests can try some signature dishes of the Genesee region’s finest restaurants, plus a Live Auction, a basket raffle and 50/50 split club.

Among the restaurants that have signed on (in alphabetical order): Batavia’s Original Pizzeria; Black Creek Cidery; BW’s Restaurant & Banquet Facility; Eat Well Grill – Batavia; Eden Café & Bakeshop; Farmer’s Wife; Fishtails Hideaway; GVEP (Genesee Valley Educational Partnership) BOCES; Main St. Pizza Company; Pizza 151; Pizza Land; Smokin’ Eagle BBQ & Brew; T.F. Brown’s Restaurant; Tim Hortons; and Wegmans Food Market (Brockport).

Our thanks to non-restaurant event Bronze Sponsors: Crickler Vending Company Inc.; Design & Drafting by Gina LLC, Elderwood Residences, Fidelis Care; iCircle Care; United Healthcare Medicare Insurance; and Friend Sponsors: Fox Farm; and Gerace Realty. Additional sponsors would be welcome.

Tickets are $20 and can be picked up at the new ILGR office in the Crickler Building (former Pepsi Building), 319 W. Main St., Suite 10, Batavia. Space is limited!

To R.S.V.P., become a sponsor, or get more information call Donna Becker at 585-815-8501, ext. 411, or email: [email protected]

Funds raised will be used to help people with disabilities living in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties who are in emergency situations with employment, or moving forward with life goals, when there are no other financial resources available. 

ILGR's services include independent living skills training, advocacy, peer counseling, diabetes self-management classes, a loan closet of medical equipment, housing and employment assistance, Social Security and Medicaid assistance information and referral, and many more.

September 12, 2019 - 4:21pm

Information from New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health:

Genesee County is one of the state's top five farming counties by sales, with more acreage dedicated to corn for grain and silage than any other local crop. And this is the time of year motorists can expect to begin sharing the road more frequently with tractors, combines and other farm equipment.

So it's an especially good time to pay attention on rural roads to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

A fatal accident involving farm equipment occurred this year in Genesee County. In any given year, there are also accidents here involving farm equipment and motorists that result in minor or serious injuries.

Though only 19 out of every 100 Americans live in rural areas, more than half of fatal roadway accidents take place in rural areas, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that agriculture, forestry, and fishing as an occupational group has the third highest rate of work-related roadway crashes.

Collisions involving tractors and other farm equipment are the deadliest rural road accidents in New York.

In fact, crashes involving agricultural vehicles were found to be five times more fatal than that of non-ag crashes, according to the Rural Road Accident Study by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH).

The study was funded by Columbia University Center for Injury Science and Prevention and published recently in the Journal of Agromedicine. It was conducted because although agriculture-related crashes have been explored in the Midwest and South, little was known about agriculture-related crashes in the Northeast, specifically in New York.

NYCAMH released its findings this week in advance of National Farm Safety & Health Week (Sept. 15-21) and as the harvest season approaches.

For the study, electronic records from the NYS Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Accident Reports (MV-104) for 2010-2012 were analyzed. Agricultural cases were identified using variables for the vehicle body type and vehicle registration.

During this three-year time frame, NYCAMH researchers identified 203 agriculture-related accidents involving 381 vehicles and 482 people.

Of the agriculture incidents, 91.6 property caused property damage, while 36 percent caused injury.

Incidents involving farm vehicles or equipment tended to be more severe than non-ag crashes in terms of the number of vehicles involved, the extent of the injuries, and the number of resulting deaths.

Of the agriculture-related incidents, the most common event was a collision with another vehicle (80.8 percent). The second most common was a collision with a fixed object such as a ditch or embankment (10.3 percent), followed by an overturn/non-collision event (3.4 percent).

Poor weather conditions were rarely a factor in these events.

The study found straightaways tend to be most common crash site and crashes on straight roads with a grade were twice as common in ag-related crashes than in non-ag crashes.

NYCAMH deputy director Erika Scott speculates that this is due to non-agriculture vehicles attempting to pass slower-moving agriculture machinery on straightaways.

Although one likes being caught behind a tractor or other slow-moving farm vehicle, waiting a minute or two before you pass could make a lifetime’s difference.

NYCAMH has worked with the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee on issues surrounding slow-moving vehicle use. These initiatives have brought together the farming community, safety professionals and emergency services to raise awareness of slow-moving vehicles on the roadway.

If you’d like more information on this research, please contact the NYCAMH information specialist at [email protected] The abstract for this article can be found here.

Know the Signs

A bright orange triangle-shaped Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem, by law, must be mounted on any machinery that travels less than 25 mph on public roads.

NEW: A Speed Identification Symbol (SIS) is newly required by NYS law for equipment that moves between 25 and 40 mph.

Examples of slow-moving vehicles that these regulations apply to include tractors, self-propelled agricultural equipment, implements of husbandry, road construction and maintenance machinery, and animal-powered vehicles.

Seconds Count -- Tips for Sharing the Road with Farm Equipment during the Growing Season:


  • Slow down. The faster you drive, the longer the stopping distance. When speed doubles from 30 mph to 60 mph, the stopping distance more than triples.
  • Never pass with limited visibility or in a no-passing zone.
  • Be alert for farm equipment that may be turning left. Tractors not only turn onto roads or into driveways but can also turn into fields.
  • Slow down and increase following distance if you come upon equipment with an SMV emblem.


  • Machinery must display a slow moving vehicle emblem when traveling under 25 mph. In addition to the SMV emblem, tractors and machinery must also display a speed-appropriate speed identification symbol (SIS) when travelling between 25 and 40 mph. Never exceed the top-rated speed of any trailed implements.
  • Use proper lighting on farm equipment, including flashing amber lights in the front and rear. Use lights and flashers at all times of the day for increased visibility. Use of lights on tractors is required after dark and during times when visibility is reduced under 1000 feet.
  • Stay in the lane, do not drive equipment half on the shoulder and half on the road. A tractor can easily lose control on a soft shoulder. Ditches that parallel most rural NY roadsides can cause potentially fatal rollovers for tractors.


  • Look down the road as far as possible to be aware of what is coming and increase your warning time. At 60 mph, a vehicle is covering 88 feet per second.
  • Distractions can double your reaction time. Pay attention and keep your phone shut off while driving. Hands-free phones are legal to use but can still be a distraction.

Top photo -- file photo from accident scene on April 13, 2017 on Route 20, Bethany. The wrecked tractor-trailer passed another tractor-trailer on a hill only to come upon a farm tractor towing a manure spreader. The farm tractor had just made a left-hand turn into a driveway, but the manure spreader was still in the roadway and the passing tractor-trailer clipped the rear of it and tore off the spreader's rear axel. Loaded with 80,000 pounds of cargo, the big rig continued off roadway into a guard rail and down a deep culvert into a creek filled with water. The trucker suffered a big bump on his forehead. Citations were issued. They had a lot of manure to clean up on Route 20 as a result of the accident.

Inset photo of SMV/SIS sign and bottom photo on rural road courtesy of New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health.

NYCAMH, a program of Bassett Healthcare Network, is enhancing agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness.

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