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Youth camp students and local artists have eclipse focus at GO ART!

By Steve Ognibene
Students from various schools create solar systems during youth camp at GO ART !  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Some students pictured above during K-6 Creative Arts Camp during April break with eclipse-themed art.
Photo by Steve Ognibene

During Easter vacation, students enjoyed working on many eclipse-related projects during youth camp.  

Jodi Fisher, program director of GO ART!, said the program had two dozen students create solar systems, landscape universe models, and transform chocolate-covered pretzels into aliens. They also worked on various planet projects, along with making solar systems out of clay and paper drawings.

Creativity and art kept the K-6 kids learning more about the upcoming eclipse, Fisher said.

Local artists displayed eclipse-themed art in the various galleries.

 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene
 Photo by Steve Ognibene

Corfu's solar eclipse weekend events include Carruba's Chicken BBQ today

By Kara Richenberg

Carruba's Chicken BBQ is one of many events happening in Corfu this weekend. 

All they are selling chicken barbecues for $15 each, which includes buttered spuds, coleslaw, and a roll. 

When The Batavian stopped by, Jeromy Fincher said that they are only there until sell-out but they should have enough to last until 5 p.m.

All proceeds raised by this event will help benefit the horses at Cherry Hill Farm Sanctuary. For more information about Cherry Hill, visit their website here.

Corfu's next event is the Alien-Themed Parade starting at 6 p.m. It begins at the fire hall on Route 33 and ends at Pembroke Intermediate School on Route 77.

Photos by Kara Richenberg


With longtime family tradition in mind, Garlocks take over Le Roy printing company

By Joanne Beck
Scott, Lynn, and Tom Garlock.
Photo by Joanne Beck.

While working as manager of Stafford Country Club a year and a half ago, Lynn Garlock first heard that the Pennysaver in Le Roy was being sold, and she and husband Scott shared their interest as prospective proprietors.

Owned by David and Danette Grayson for over 40 years, the weekly publication and printing company LP Graphics appealed to the Garlock couple and their son Tommy. However, that idea didn’t go anywhere for the next several months until the topic came back around in December of 2023, Scott said.

“So we just kind of put it on the back burner, like, we'll see. And it went a solid year, because it kind of got to where we kind of forgot about it until this past December. I found out by accident that they were going to be more than likely shutting down. So I called David and said, Hey, if you want to talk, we'll talk again, this is probably around the holidays. They wanted to retire. I mean, they're at that point, after 40 years, it was time to to call it. So they were interested in moving the business and moving it along,” he said. “So after the first of the year is when we started a little bit of back and forth. This was all taking place in the end of January, beginning of February. And by mid-February, it was accepted.”

That successful negotiation for LP Graphics put the Garlocks into the fourth generation of a family printing business that began with Scott’s grandfather in 1955. While the Pennysaver shut down, the Garlocks opened LP Graphics on March 1 and wanted to retain the name based on its longtime reputation and symbolic G of graphics to also stand for Garlock.

“It’s the same, other than the Pennysaver is gone. The product is the same, we do apparel screen printing and embroidery, promotional products, traditional printing, checks, full color printing, brochures, and sales collateral,” Scott said. “There are only a few things we won’t do, like wraps for cars.”

Tommy is the fourth generation of Garlock men to be involved in this type of business. He will handle sales and customer service, and “I bring joy to the office,” he said. 

He oversees a portion of the ground floor that is devoted to Emergency Pride, a realization of something he’s wanted to do for the last several years to supply job shirts and other related items, such as jackets, hoodies, duffle bags, coolers, coffee mugs, koozies, hats, you name it, for fire departments and emergency responder units in Genesee and surrounding counties.

“Ever since 2015, I wanted to start my own company; I’ve been doing it on the side,” he said. 

Creating their own designs of flags and logos, plus helping departments create their own designs is near and dear to his and dad Scott’s heart — they each serve as volunteer firefighters, with Tommy at Pavilion and Scott at the town of Batavia fire departments. 

The company has a staff of four, including an embroidery artist, graphic artist, screen printer/social media manager, Tommy, and Scott as president. Lynn plans to help out when she can during golf season and then move over to work full-time during winter.

The brick building at 1 Church St., Le Roy, is enormous at 16,000 square feet and four floors deep, with two floors beneath the ground floor. One floor up is used for production, and one floor below is where they burn all the screens, Tommy said. 

The name S.C. Wells is on the wall, indicating it was once used to make pharmaceuticals, and Brown Manufacturing took over at some point to make rat poison before the site became known as host to the Pennysaver for the last four decades.

The family has garnered plenty of experience as entrepreneurs, dating back to the late 1980s when Scott began working for his father at a print shop on Center Street in Batavia, and eventually moving a version of the business into his home, closing in 2004.

“I still saw my customers, but as a distributor, a broker, to maintain something. I've never stopped that. That's been going ever since in some fashion, even to this day, I mean, up until we started this. And then the fire departments and emergency services started becoming more and more what we were doing. And again, right out of the house, that was starting to become more and more what we were doing,” he said. “But again, then we were just planning, working, continuing that and trying to build that business up, when all of a sudden I get this phone call or I get the message that they're selling or they're closing. So that kind of changed things just like that.”

He and Lynn launched Grugnale’s Italian Market and Deli on Jackson Street in Batavia, and closed it in 2009 in lieu of Kravings, a cafe in Valu Plaza on the west end of the city. Three years later, on Thanksgiving eve, a beleaguered Scott was manning the shop, which was bustling, he said, but “it just wasn’t going the way I wanted.”

He had no idea earlier that day the decision he would end up making, he said.

“I went to the back room and decided to close. I told the employees ‘we’re done,’” he said. 

He has been working at Sherwin Williams since 2016, and is now back in the driver’s seat, which, as any business owner knows, brings its share of anxiety along with the excitement.

I’m used to this, but it’s tough; it brings me back to the restaurant days when there was a lot of money going out, and I’m sure hoping it’s gonna come back, because, again, we jumped into it quick,” he said, sharing about the transition from the Graysons. “So in addition to trying to like pause, get orders ready for customers and take care of them. One day, it was their business and they were billing, the very next day we were here. And it was kind of funny because I think someone came in, and they were kind of joking, ‘Well that's your customer now.’”

Lynn added that “They were absolutely amazing to work with, it was a nice transition” as Scott finished the thought with “It was almost like flipping a light switch.” 

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 585-768-2201.

Watercolor painting demonstration Tuesday at GO Art!

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Batavia Society of Artists is hosting artist Jody Ziehm on Tuesday, April 9 at Go-Art/Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St., Batavia starting at 7 p.m. Jody will be demonstrating watercolor painting.  

Non-members are welcome for a $5.00 fee. Accepting new members, all medium and skill levels. 2024 memberships are $30 per person, $50 per couple, and $10 for students or veterans. 

Light refreshments will be served.  Tavern 2.o.1. will be open for cash purchases.

Jody Ziehm

Jody Ziehm

Residing in the town of Wheatfield, I am a full-time watercolor artist. I have a love of painting and am devoted to watercolors. Inspired by my surroundings. I enjoy plein air (painting outside on site) and whenever possible, work from live models.

Much of my work is done in my studio from photos taken. My work is distinguishable by its vivid colors and dynamic compositions. I also enjoy teaching and hold weekly classes at both Partners in Art in North Tonawanda and the Amherst Museum.

I also travel extensively throughout the summer months to outdoor art festivals throughout New York I am a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, Buffalo Niagara Art Association, Fine Arts League of Buffalo, and Tonawanda Council of the Arts. 

I am represented by Kittenger Gallery in Williamsville, Finger Lakes Gallery, and Frame in Canandaigua, Gallery Morada in Islamorada Florida, Barton Hill Resort and Spa in Lewiston, and The Mansion in Buffalo.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of her painting. Spotlight on the Artist: Jody Ziehm

Submitted photos


As the eclipse draws near, you may want to run errands ahead of time and plan for traffic

By Joanne Beck

While the path of totality may not lead to a wild and crazy affair, it should — and can be — a fun and safe event for everyone as long as they keep in mind some basic rules of behavior, Genesee County Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger says.

“It’s not a rock concert, but we can make sure it’s a safe and enjoyable time. We sometimes border on making it seem like bad things are gonna happen,” Yaeger said Thursday. “We’re prepared to respond to anything. We want everybody to take their time and have a good time.”

Yaeger’s department and other sectors of law enforcement and transportation, including the county sheriff, Batavia, Le Roy and New York State police, Department of Transportation and state Thruway officials, plus emergency responders, began to have eclipse-related meetings a year ago. 

How many people are expected to arrive here?
“It's difficult to tell. I mean, there's estimates all over and we kind of look at not only our county but the region because what happens in the region is going to affect us. We've been planning and in public safety planning for about a year. So our biggest concern is traffic. It's just the amount of truck traffic congestion that can occur with that many people coming to our region in a short term or time frame because I just actually got an update from the Chamber of Commerce, and they're getting so many phone calls that so many of these people are coming in the day of,” he said. “So they're not coming in over the weekend, although there are many people coming in already. I know in the state, there's already many airports that are receiving small aircraft coming in already. So traffic is the biggest issue. We're working with, obviously, the state partners in New York State Thruway Authority, the state police, York State emergency management, New York State DOT. And they're part of our planning program along with all the public safety partners in Genesee County, as well as the state agencies and probably our biggest concern right now is the New York State Thruway.”

The plan is to make sure there are no stranded motorists on the Thruway, he said. Extra tow trucks and the means to respond to vehicles in need of fuel or an electric charge will be available.  

“I think they've learned by talking to other state agencies that have experienced these eclipses from 2017 and what their deficiencies were and how they can plan better. So I'm very confident that we have a good plan in place,” he said. “And working with the state partners, our county Emergency Operations Center will be open. It will have a representative from New York State emergency management there, along with our Sheriff's Office. And then we will call in if we need near state DOT, New York State Police representatives, they're all in the area, if they need to come in to support, they will come in, it's just a matter of they want to be where they need to be. So we don't want to tie up personnel that need to be somewhere else because we know the Niagara Erie region is going to be very busy. So the exodus is back, both coming through our county and then leaving through our county. So we're going to be watching that and monitoring that.”

What can spectators do to help alleviate the traffic congestion? 
“We don't want people pulling over to the side of the road to watch this. We want them to go to the county park, to the steam show grounds in Alexander, to Genesee Community College (refer to the eclipse list below). So we're working with them to try to get people into safe locations to watch it and make it a great, enjoyable event instead of being on the roadway where it can be dangerous. We expect the state roads to be busy. We expect a lot of traffic in the city of Batavia,” he said. “So people need to be patient and basically plan for those things. There is going to be a lot of traffic congestion, so plan for it. That's really even talking about making sure that if you're planning to get medications or you need to run to a store for food, you may want to be doing that on Saturday or Sunday and not wait to the last minute and then get frustrated because there's so much traffic on the roads which there will be.

“There will be a lot of people; that's why we ramped up our EMS capability and our departments to be staffed. Our concern is if the amount of traffic, if it's that heavy, and if we have to transport the patients to Buffalo or Rochester, Erie County or Monroe County, they all have lights and sirens, so they're gonna get there, it's just there may be a lot of traffic for them, it's going to be a little bit slower than normal. So we put on extra ambulances,” he said. “There is a lot of public safety entities, the state, county and city throughout the region, throughout the state that are prepared to respond to pretty much anything, but they're also the reminder out there that this is an event that should be enjoyable. So everybody just takes their time, be patient, and we'll be fine.”

Eclipse provides teachable moments for students before arrival, county schools closed on Monday

By Joanne Beck
Julia Rogers with students
Julia Rogers, community schools coordinator for Batavia City School District, with students.
Submitted Photo

All county schools will be closed on Monday because of the total solar eclipse. The village of Corfu has booked activities at Pembroke Intermediate School beginning on Saturday, while Elba Central School will host several activities on Monday. 

The decision to close Batavia City Schools was made “to prevent any potential risks associated with walking home in reduced visibility and to cut down potential driving hazards during the eclipse,” said Community Schools Coordinator Julia Rogers. “While no formal events have been planned for the district, we have shared many resources and safety tips with our families and have included them in our community schools' local activities calendar so that our families can participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

The district formed a Total Eclipse Planning Committee of 25 people from all school buildings, she said, including administrators, teachers, aides and clerical members who worked with their buildings on developing awareness for students.

“We have been teaching students about the Eclipse since January throughout various lessons, such as:

  • Read-alouds of “Genny SEES the Eclipse” during library time and Family Nights 
  • Astronomy units in science classes  
  • Building-wide art contests 
  • Guest visits from Genny the cow
  • Discussions of cloud formations and how to be a scientist with Kelly March from Richmond Memorial Library 
  • Safety during the Eclipse
  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) lessons dedicated to the eclipse
  • Designing pinhole viewers
  • Space exploration in 21st Century Learning Center's after school programming
  • Playing eclipse games and singing eclipse songs during physical education and music classes 
BCSD eclipse games
Batavia City Schools students playing eclipse-themed games with Marc Anthony Bucci of United Way.
Submitted Photo

John Kennedy Intermediate School focused on the eclipse during school family meetings, students played a trivia game to share their knowledge, took photos with Genny the cow, and sang a rap that music teacher Robin Crowden wrote about the eclipse.

Middle School students in Spine Support Club, a student volunteer group based out of the school library, Junior National Honor Society and Mentor Club, along with library staff and faculty, put together over 900 Make and Take craft bags for students to take home during the break, Rogers said.

“After the eclipse, middle school students will be sharing information about what they saw, heard, and what they'll always remember and add it to an interactive bulletin board,” she said.

Genny visit BCSD
Genny the Cow.
Submitted Photo

The Chamber of Commerce gave copies of “Genny SEES the Eclipse,” a children’s book about how animals experience the eclipse, to the school libraries, “and each level used it in a variety of ways and they also provided our students with the safety glasses they would need to look at the eclipse,” she said.

United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes and Paychex provided us with 600 more glasses, so that we were able to distribute them to families on Wednesday, she said. 

Word had it that many people would be taking the day off from work to participate in eclipse viewing activities, and some employers, such as the school districts, made the decision easy by closing. Genesee County will close government offices by noon on Monday, and the board of Western New York Independent Living Family of Agencies voted to give the staff of most of their offices in Batavia, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Niagara Falls, Lockport, and Albion a paid day off for the occasion, a press release stated.

Independent Living officials want to remind those who are blind or have a visual impairment that the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service, in conjunction with NASA, can provide an alternative way to experience the eclipse.

Radio Reading has secured 10 oversized braille books from NASA, and these books “allow people to feel what an eclipse will look like with their fingers and use them to trace the path of totality across a map of the United States,” said Michael Benzin, executive director of the service.

Radio Reading encourages its listeners and others with smartphones and tablets to get in on the event and download the free Eclipse Soundscape app. The app provides a multi-sensory experience where users will find a countdown, real-time narration of the event with illustrative audio descriptions and even a “rumble strip” that allows users to hear and feel the eclipse on their device as the eclipse progresses through each stage.  Plus, NFRRS will have a special program featuring local and national experts for two hours that afternoon, Radio Reading stated in a release issued Thursday.

For more information, go to

As for eclipse events happening sooner, there is a special visit from the “Genny Sees the Eclipse” artist Andy Reddout, who will be at the Chamber’s Visitor Center from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday. Chamber staff want folks to know that the Visitor Center will also be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Monday for those looking to purchase a pair of Genesee County Commemorative ISO-certified solar viewing glasses while supplies last. 

For more eclipse activities, go to our Eclipse Calendar 

phases of moon activity
Submitted Photo
BCSD student with Genny the cow
A Batavia City Schools student with Genny the Cow.
Submitted Photo

Former county attorney dies unexpectedly

By Joanne Beck
James Wujcik

Former Genesee County attorney James M. Wujcik died Wednesday evening unexpectedly, according to Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service’s online tribute archive.

Wujcik was 48 and lived in Le Roy. He had served as the county attorney from 2022 through 2023. 

A complete obituary has not yet been posted.

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of fighting with police during disturbance on Thomas Avenue

By Howard B. Owens
Allister Gunter

Allister L. Gunter, 28, of Batavia, is charged with attempted assault 2nd, attempted robbery 3rd, four counts of unlawful imprisonment 2nd, two counts of criminal mischief 4th, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest, two counts of obstructing governmental administration 2nd, and harassment 2nd. Gunter was charged following an incident reported on March 17 on Thomas Avenue. Patrol officers responded to a report of a disturbance. A victim reported a fight. Gunter is accused of barricading the door, requiring officers to make a forced entry into the residence. When officers attempted to take Gunter into custody, he allegedly resisted arrest and fought with officers. The victim alleges that Gunter attempted to assault her and would not allow her or her children to leave the residence. He allegedly prevented her from calling the police for help. He was arraigned and released under supervision.

Jorgia Fotiathis

Jorgia A. Fotiathis, 30, of Batavia, is charged with assault 1st and criminal possession of a weapon 4th. Fotiathis was arrested on March 19 following an investigation into an incident reported on March 4 on Hutchins Street.  Fotiathis is accused of stabbing another person. He was arraigned and jailed.

George J. Budzinack, 44, of Batavia, is charged with burglary 3rd and petit larceny. Budzinack is accused of entering Tops on March 29 after being barred from the property and stealing merchandise from the store on March 29. He was arraigned and jailed without bail.

Luc A Baillargeon, 42, of Batavia, is charged with menacing 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon 4th, and criminal contempt 2nd. Baillargeon is accused of throwing a knife at another person on March 27 during a fight on Prospect Avenue. He allegedly violated an order of protection by sending unauthorized text messages. he was arraigned in City Court and released.

George Budzinack

James R Briggs, 48, of Walden Creek Drive, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument 2nd and criminal possession of stolen property 5th. Briggs was arrested following a traffic stop on March 24. He was allegedly driving a vehicle with a stolen license plate and forged registration sticker. He was arraigned and released. Briggs is also charged with petit larceny. He is accused of shoplifting from Walmart at 7:34 p.m. on March 14. 

Mark L. Farley, 55, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 1st and harassment 2nd. Farley allegedly threatened another person on March 23 in violation of an order of protection. He was arraigned and released. On March 25, he was charged with harassment 2nd in connection with an incident reported in February where he allegedly grabbed another person. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Miya R. Houseman, 23, of Batavia, was arrested on March 27 on a warrant. Houseman was initially arrested on a charge of DWI Nov. 21, 2021. A warrant was issued after she allegedly failed to appear in court. She was arraigned in  City Court and released. 

Martin J. Rodgers, 40, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 1st. Rodgers is accused of violating a stay-away order of protection. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered jailed on $4,000 bail. 

Carl E. Canterbury, 53, of Batavia, was arrested on March 22 on a warrant. Canterbury was charged on Jan. 23 for allegedly operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration. A warrant was issued after he allegedly failed to appear in court. Canterbury was arraigned and released. 

Joey A. Evans, 33, of Batavia, was cited for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk. Evans was charged after an accident on March 22. He allegedly struck a pedestrian while riding his bike. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Mark. A. Constable, 35, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Constable is accused of grabbing another person by the arm during a dispute on Ganson Avenue on March 23. he was issued an appearance ticket.

Mark. A. Constable, 35, of Batavia, and Kayleen M. Laird, 28, of Batavia, are charged with theft of services. Constable and Laird are accused of leaving Gilliana's Diner on Jackson Street on March 19 without paying for their meals. They were issued appearance tickets.

Kenneth H. Avery, 53, of Byron, is charged with DWI. Avery was charged following a traffic stop on March 17 on Clinton Street by a Batavia patrol officer. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Ronald W. Lewis, 36, of Ogden, was arrested on March 20 on two warrants. The first warrant stems from a larceny complaint in July of 2023. Lewis allegedly stole merchandise from Tim Horton’s. The second is the result of a trespass charge in September of 2023 at UMMC. He was arraigned and released.

Canden J. Thomas, 29, of Albion, was arrested on March 20 on a warrant. Thomas was initially charged on Nov. 22 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle 3rd, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and other traffic violations after a motor vehicle crash on Bank Street. He was arraigned and released.

Nathan W. Campbell, 43, of Batavia, is charged with trespass. Campbell is accused of entering Save-a-Lot on March 28 after being barred from the property. He was issued an appearance ticket/

Lewis A. Morris, Jr., 69, of Batavia, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing and harassment 2nd. Morris is accused of putting his hands around the neck of another person and of striking that person in the face during a disturbance on Brooklyn Avenue on March 15. He was arraigned and released.

Patricia M. Anderson, 39, of Batavia, was arrested on April 1  on two warrants on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. The first warrant is related to an incident in August of 2023, where Anderson was allegedly found in possession of cocaine while being arrested on an unrelated warrant. The second warrant stems from an incident in October of 2023, where Anderson was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl while again being arrested on another unrelated warrant. She was arraigned and released.

Douglas G. Bryant, 52, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant on March 29 on a charge of criminal contempt 2nd. Bryant is accused of violating an order of protection by posting about the protected person on social media. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed.

Michael C. Smith, 32, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Smith is accused of stealing merchandise from Tops on March 29. He allegedly fled the store. Store employees followed him to West Avenue and Union Street, where police took him into custody. He was issued an appearance ticket and turned over to the Sheriff's Office on a warrant.

Thomas Joseph Mitchell, 34, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle 3rd, unlicensed driver, and no inspection sticker. Mitchell was stopped at 3:50 a.m. on March 22 on Route 33 in Bergen by Deputy Jacob Kipler. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Jennifer Lynn McCoy, 46, of Main Street, Attica, is charged with grand larceny 4th, three counts of unlawful possession of personal identification information 3rd, and petit larceny. McCoy is accused of stealing $2,800.67 from a location on South Main Street, Oakfield, between Oct. 19 and Jan. 28. She is also accused of stealing a donated bicycle from a non-profit organization in Stafford on July 25. McCoy was issued an appearance ticket.

Joshua John King, 34, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .18 or greater. King was stopped at 1:57 a.m. on March 24 on West Main Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jeremiah Gechell. He was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Scott Robert Stine, 40, of Alleghany Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, reckless driving, open alcohol container in vehicle, speed unreasonable, and failure to keep right.  Stine was allegedly involved in a single-vehicle property damage accident at 9:22 p.m. on March 28 on North Lake Road, Pembroke. He was arrested by Deputy Ayron Blankenberg, processed at the Genesee County Jail, and released.

Michael Anthony Sweet, 38, of Raymond Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Sweet was stopped at 11:38 p.m. on March 26 on Clinton Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Ryan Mullen. Sweet was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Jared Ryan Burns, 37, of Clinton Street Road, Batavia, is charged with falsely reporting 3rd. Burns is accused of calling emergency dispatch at 3:26 p.m. on March 31 to falsely report an incident that was "about to occur" at a location on Clinton Street Road. He was issued an appearance ticket.

James Thomas Cooke, 30, of Sandy Beach Road, Grand Island, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and unregistered motor vehicle. Cooke was stopped at 12:59 a.m. on March 30 on West Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Jeremiah Gechell. Cooke was issued an appearance ticket.

Paul Lee, 52, of Helen Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th.  Following a complaint at 3:41 p.m. on April 2 on Buffalo Road in Bergen, deputies Mason Schultz and James Stack made contact with Lee. He was allegedly found in possession of narcotics. He was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Matthew O'Neal Bader, 41, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with identity theft, 3rd, and criminal possession of stolen property, 4th. Bader is accused of stealing a credit card and using it to make purchases in the city of Batavia on March 15. Bader was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Nickolas Adam Figlow, 22, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with making a threat of mass harm. Figlow is accused of making a threat of mass harm against a business on Lewiston Road, Batavia, on April 2. Figlow was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Chamber kicks off eclipse weekend with 'Genny The Cow' artist Friday at the Visitor Center

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is excited to kick off GeneSEEtheEclipse weekend activities by inviting the community to a “meet the artist” event at our Visitor Center. 

Andy Reddout, illustrator of Genesee County’s commemorative poster and “Genny SEES The Eclipse” original children’s book will be at the Visitor Center on Friday, April 5 from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. 

Guests can get a free signed poster, purchase a book for signing, or bring in their previously purchased book to have it signed. Genny the Cow will also be on hand for you to grab a photo with to commemorate our community’s once-in-a-lifetime event.

The Visitor Center will be open this weekend Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and Monday 8:30 a.m. -noon for those looking to purchase a pair of Genesee County Commemorative ISO certified solar viewing glasses, while supplies last.

“We are excited to see our community’s collaboration and planning of the last year come together this weekend. Currently, there are over 60 various events and activities listed on our website calendar that organizations have put together to entertain residents and visitors. I’m extremely humbled by their participation and proud of our Chamber team’s dedicated effort to helping promote this once-in-a-lifetime event to our community”, says Brian Cousins, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce - President.

For the latest events and special promotions, as well as to see the events map, visit 

The Visitor Center is located at 8276 Park Road in Batavia. ISO-Certified solar glasses are being sold for $2.50/each +tax, via credit or debit card only. 

Zonta Club to accept applications for annual scholarship until April 12

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Zonta Club of Batavia - Genesee County is pleased to announce that they are now accepting applications for their annual Scholarship Awards. 

They encourage all high school seniors in Genesee County to apply. 

Applications can be obtained through your school's guidance office, career center office, or online by emailing

All applicants will be asked to schedule an in-person interview with our scholarship committee. Submission deadline for applications is April 12.

Bergen company celebrates another 'moment of validation' with groundbreaking

By Joanne Beck
craft cannery bergen ground breaking 2024
Craft Cannery CEO Paul Guglielmo talks to community members gathered for a groundbreaking Wednesday at the Bergen facility.
Photo by Howard Owens

Just about a year ago, Tom Riggio, partner with Paul Guglielmo of the booming Craft Cannery business venture in Bergen, spoke about the site's future expansion on Appletree Avenue and plans to hire more employees along with the physical growth.

Food and manufacturing officials brought the shovels out Wednesday for the ceremonial groundbreaking and celebration of the $1.5 million, 6,300 square-foot warehouse that will allow for a second kitchen and bottling line facility and, in turn, take on more clients, churn out more products and create more jobs.

Despite the continuous growth, there’s one element that has remained throughout the manufacturing process that may take a little more time but has most definitely been worth it for a winning product in the end, Guglielmo says.

“We make it exactly how you would make it at home. We put oil in, we let the oil get hot, and we put onion, garlic bell pepper in there and we sauté, then we add our tomatoes after that, our spices after that, and then we bottle it,” he said to The Batavian. “So, really, there's no difference between what I actually do at home versus what we're actually doing in the plant. And I think that's the secret when you get into big industrial packing. There are some secrets to how they're able to move so fast. That takes away some of that homemade aspect. So it really has to do with just making it exactly the way you make it home, just at a bigger scale.”

He spoke to a small gathering as part of the celebratory event, sharing how it all began with two special memories.

“The life-changing moment that really occurred first was when my wife told me it wasn't a stupid idea to start bottling sauce back in like 2013. The second life-changing moment was when a category merchant from Wegmans named Dan Mezzoprete showed up … and he's the guy who actually said we're gonna give this a shot, kid. So thank you,” he said to the small crowd gathered at the property. “So I think that today is really nice and validating. Grow New York was a validation for us. Today's another validation for us that we did what you set out to do when you start a business: find a problem that needs to be fixed. And I really feel as though we have found a problem that needs to be fixed.”

The company specializes in producing pasta sauces, barbecue sauces, salad dressings, oils, marinades and such on a large scale for local and regional food brands, retailers and restaurants that may not have the money, facilities, time and labor to do it themselves. As Guglielmo said, "Problem fixed."

“This world of contract manufacturing has a lot of big players who do a phenomenal job, but it doesn't have a lot of small players. There are some commissaries and commercial kitchens, and then there are big industrial co-packers, and people are doing really good jobs in those areas. But there's this thing that Cornell University described to me years ago, as almost like a death valley of contract manufacturing, and my partner Tom and I feel we really identified a niche, a problem,” he said. “And that is, our three main types of customers needed us: one was the startup entrepreneur with $1, and a dream, they want to bring their product to market, like Jerri Lynn from Blue Ridge BBQ. There's the restaurant food service, somebody who says, look, it doesn't make sense for us to come in and make dozens and dozens of gallons of barbecue sauce every day. What if you batch it for us? That will help our business efficiencies grow. And then of course, there's the regional players, like Wegmans, who we’re so proud to see here today as well, who say, Look, you know, we've got some skews that require a little more culinary expertise that we'd really like to see brought to market.”

Working at a small co-pack facility such as Craft Cannery allows staff to “really take your time on those kinds of recipes” before bringing them to market, he said, giving a thoughtful and modest nod to the company team that does “all the actual work.”

Riggio credited his partner’s dedication as the reason everyone was there to celebrate. They acquired the business nearly four years ago, and at the time, it was doing “minimal business,” Riggio said. 

“We do more in two weeks now than the business used to do in a year. The employees were three at that point. We’ve now got 15 full-time employees. When this expansion is complete, we’ll be adding another six to eight employees. We’ve actually had to turn business away over the last four years; some major players have come to us, and we just couldn’t support the business,” he said. “There are a bunch of products that are in those storage containers outside to make room for you to stand where you're standing. This is a great opportunity for us to continue to grow our business and support additional small clients, midsize clients and larger clients. We are looking forward to adding in the 6,300 square feet, looking forward to adding a second kitchen, second production line, second bottling line, and a second shift to support all of those, and we are really happy that you guys are out here.”

In the middle of COVID, about April 2020, an unflinching Guglielmo approached Wegmans Italian Foods Category Manager Steve Chichelli with his idea to open his own facility and forge a collaboration with the grocery giant. Chichelli had already known of Guglielmo as a radio personality with his stories about his grandfather’s homemade pasta sauce, and all of that had been "a great interaction.”

“So I'm thinking a guy, a local guy, ready to give jobs to a local community. And that's what Wegmans is about, too; we share a lot of the same values that he does, building up local businesses and creating jobs. So it was at that point we were like, hmm, how do we get him more? He's got his branded product, so I'm like, let's talk about private labels. Where could he fit in being a small co-packer, but let's partner him with our chef team,” Chichelli said. “So we started our endeavor with our first private label product with him, which is our Wegmans brand spicy tomato oil, one of my favorite items we have ever developed at Wegmans in the Italian categories. And that item has just grown to be great. When that launched, I mean, it was cross merchandised everywhere in the store, all departments got behind it: bakery department, prepared foods, we displayed it, and it's turned into a great item for us.”

He also said that they are developing a lemon butter and a marsala sauce to be launched this fall. 

“I give Paulie all the credit here. I'm just the guy who forms a strategy. He's the guy who works hand in hand with our chef team,” Chichelli said. “The tenacity, the passion that comes out in him—the chef team absolutely adores him.”

Major portions of the company’s growth have also been possible with infusions of funding — including $500,000 from winning second place at 2022 Grow-NY, a global food and agriculture innovation competition. 

“What began as a dream, nurtured by innovation and fueled by determination and unlikely a little bit of Paulie’s abundant energy, led to Craft Cannery’s Grow-NY winner's badge in 2022, and ultimately, a pivotal moment when their team now stands ready to embark on a new chapter of growth and success,” Program Manager Sarah Meyer said. “Beyond bricks and mortar, today we celebrate the profound impact Craft Cannery has had on its community, the Grow-NY Region and New York State as a whole. Since receiving their $500,000 prize, Craft Cannery has created and cultivated opportunities for growth and advancement as a contract manufacturer. They have established a space for innovation and created numerous job opportunities, fueling economic growth and fostering talent within their local community.”

Business neighbor Charlie Cook, founder of Liberty Pumps, further confirmed what a stellar job Gugliemo did on his Grow-NY pitch, which is viewable on the company website. Cook can see a lot of parallels between Liberty Pumps and Craft Cannery, he said.

“That we started from pretty basic beginnings and identified a niche that we could succeed at and excel at it,” Cook said. “And to have him right here in Bergen, being a Bergen business, especially a manufacturer in Genesee County, is fantastic. And it’s just been fun to watch him grow, and really, we wish him the best going forward.”

The company also received approval from Genesee County Economic Development Center for payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), sales, and mortgage tax exemptions valued at $72,496 to support the expansion. The proposed incentives for the additional 4,000 sq. ft. are estimated to return $3.06 million in projected wages and municipal revenues. The project would generate a $62 economic impact for every $1 of requested incentives.

“With their flexible and hands-on approach, we’ve seen Craft Cannery become a go-to provider for contract manufacturing,” said Chris Suozzi, Vice President of Business and Workforce Development at GCEDC. “The GCEDC was thrilled to support the expansion of Craft Cannery in our Appletree Acres business park. This project is yet another example of the continued growth of the food and beverage sector in Genesee County.”

craft cannery bergen ground breaking 2024
Participants in ceremonial groundbreaking pose for photos outside the Craft Cannery shop in Bergen.
Photo by Howard Owens.
craft cannery bergen ground breaking 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
craft cannery bergen ground breaking 2024
Tom Riggio, Craft Cannery co-owner.
Photo by Howard Owens.
craft cannery bergen ground breaking 2024
Charlie Cook, chairman, Liberty Pumps
Photo by Howard Owens.
craft cannery bergen ground breaking 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
craft cannery bergen ground breaking 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.
craft cannery bergen ground breaking 2024
Photo by Howard Owens.

The 2024 Women of Inspiration luncheon to honor 4 locals

By Press Release

Press Release:

The YWCA of Genesee County will honor four incredible local women at the 2024 Women of Inspiration Awards Luncheon on Sunday, April 28 from 12:30 - 3 p.m. at Batavia Downs. Come hear from Keynote Speaker Deanna Dewberry and celebrate our four outstanding, inspiring women!

Submitted photo of
Judy Fuller.

Judy Fuller 

Judy is a dedicated volunteer, passionate about the YWCA and supporting this important cause. She volunteers many hours, coordinating and managing My Sisters Closet for the YWCA - a quality boutique that supports the YWCA Domestic Violence Program and provides clothing to the women in the program. She has taken this on as her own and is always trying to come up with new ideas to help the program grow and reach more people in the community. 

Judy is a first-rate mom who has two very successful daughters. She worked hard for everything that she had and passed those values onto her daughters; both who have now also made a huge impact on our community. Judy has helped many women and does it because it’s the right thing to do, not ever thinking she is deserving of recognition. 

“Judy is a hidden gem that sparkles even without the spotlight. Let’s put her in the spotlight to shine”, says nominator Susie Ott.

Submitted photo of
Sue Gagne.

Sue Gagne

Sue has been a proactive human service advocate, volunteer and employee for decades. She has an extensive background in mental health, criminal justice and substance use disorders. 

Early in her career, Sue worked at ARC, and as an Assistant for the Genesee County Mental Health Association (GCMHA). She later became the Director of the GCMHA. Sue volunteered on the board of directors for NAMI NYS, The GOW Opioid Task Force and the Suicide Prevention Task Force for GOW. She was instrumental in the founding of the GCASA Recovery Station and worked as Coordinator of the Recovery Station through COVID.

Sue is currently the Assistant Director of Adult Services at Wyoming County Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Genesee County. While working, she completed her degree in Nursing at GCC and received the Leadership Award. She is now furthering her education at SUNY Brockport.

Sue is a gifted and dedicated support for the many individuals who come to her for help. She is an excellent role model for all women. Sue’s many talents and gifts include being exceptionally strong in faith, her loyalty to others, especially those in need, her wonderful sense of humor and her ability to immediately make others feel at ease and comfortable. 

“Sue is an important attribute to the community and its well-being. She is a remarkable visionary and her spirit reflects that”, says nominator Cheryl Netter.

Submitted photo of 
Susie Ott.

Susie Ott

Susie joined Lawley Insurance on December 1, 2008 with no insurance experience. She grew into her job quickly, starting as an account associate, then as Commercial and Personal Insurance Team Leader in 2017, and as Branch Manager for the Batavia office in 2022. In 2013 Susie earned the Certified Insurance Counselor Designation (CIC).

Susie is very active in her community, supporting many agencies and projects. She is currently the President of Batavia Rotary, Chair for the United Way Day of Caring, Treasurer for Batavia Job Development, Board Member for United Memorial Medical Center, and Committee Member for the Wings Over Batavia Air Show. 

She has received several awards for her volunteer work and community support, including, 2011 Leadership Genesee Outstanding Alumnus Award, 2007 and 2022 Rotary Club Paul Harris Award, 2015 Geneseean of the Year and 2017 United Way Barber Conable Award.

Over the past 15+ years Susie has grown into a position that is historically dominated by men. She has earned the respect and confidence of her clients, 21 associates (18 women and 3 men) and her community. 

“Susie makes the community a better place to live in and raise a family” says nominator Bill Fritts. 

Submitted photo of
Sandy Wojtaszczyk.

Sandy Wojtaszczyk

Sandy began her career at Genesee County Department of Social Services in 1998. In 2009, she became a Department Supervisor and was charged with training new workers in her unit regarding child abuse and the safety of children in Genesee County. 

During her career, Sandy collaborated with many agencies, including the YWCA, CASA, Juvenile Justice, Genesee County Family Courts, Genesee County Schools, and law enforcement to ensure the safety of the children she served. They were her number one priority and because of that, she was often at work before anyone else and long after everyone left. 

Sandy witnessed very serious cases of abuse but always maintained her professionalism, compassion, and empathy for those she assisted. 

In 2013 Sandy received an award for her Outstanding Achievements in Law Enforcement. In 2021 she received the Leadership Genesee Outstanding Alumnus Award. When Sandy isn’t working she is spending time with her grandchildren or volunteering. She enjoys volunteering at Salvation Army, Elba Fire Department, and assisting with the United Way Day of Caring. She also helps deliver food to families in need through the City Church.

“Sandy has been an icon to women in this field, showing that with dedication and compassion – and a little bit of humor – you can positively impact thousands of people”, says nominator Mary Jacobs.

“So many incredible women were nominated this year it was hard for the committee to narrow it down to just four. However, the four women who were chosen are simply rock stars! They have done so much for our community and the people in it. Combined, these four women have impacted over 20 non-profit agencies just in Genesee County alone; this does not include the countless community events, committees, and civic organizations they have supported. Judy, Sue, Susie, and Sandy truly embody the mission of the YWCA and the spirit of our community”, says Executive Director Jamie Rada. 

Tickets for the Women of Inspiration Luncheon are $40 each. To purchase tickets visit or mail a check to the YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North Street, Batavia Attn: Women of Inspiration.

GO Health urges public to know how to prevent lead poisoning

By Press Release

Press Release:

Did you know lead poisoning is 100% preventable? 

“Lead is a metal that is toxic to our bodies and can cause serious health issues for children who have been exposed,” stated Gabrielle Lanich, Lead Program Coordinator of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “Young children under 6 years old are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies are rapidly developing.” 

The health effects of lead poisoning are permanent and can affect a child into adulthood. Childhood lead poisoning can harm the brain and nervous system leading to learning difficulties, lower IQ, difficulty paying attention, organ damage, and at very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal. 

Lead poisoning can also be dangerous for pregnant women because lead can be passed to the baby during pregnancy.

Here are some easy ways to prevent lead poisoning: 

  • Take everyday steps to stay healthy. Eating a well-balanced diet, especially foods high in calcium, iron, and vitamin C can help reduce the body’s absorption of lead. Washing your hands and children’s hands with soap and water several times a day can help limit lead exposure. You should also wash children’s toys, bottles, and pacifiers regularly to avoid exposure to lead dust, and regularly clean your home with a damp cloth, sponge, or mop to minimize possible lead dust. 
  • Check your home for lead. If you live in a home built before 1978 you may consider having your home checked for lead. Our Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming (GLOW) Counties Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) may be able to help you with this. You may qualify for a home lead inspection if your home is in the GLOW area, was built before 1978, and a child under 6 lives there or spends more than 6 hours a week there.
  • Renovate lead safe. Homes built before 1978 are more likely to have lead-based paint that can be disturbed when renovating. If you are renovating, repairing, or painting a home built before 1978, use a Lead-Safe Certified contractor. If you are planning on doing your own work, use lead-safe work practices to protect both you and your family. For tips on how to be lead-safe when renovating visit Also, our GLOW Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes Program may be able to renovate for you. Contact the Genesee County Health Department to see if you qualify.
  • Get your child tested. The only way to find out if there is lead in a child’s blood is to take them for a blood lead test. There are no obvious signs or symptoms of lead poisoning, that’s why it’s important to get them tested. Children should be tested at ages 1 and 2. Talk with your pediatrician to determine if your child should be tested further. GLOW CLPPP is able to offer transportation to lead testing at no cost for parents or guardians and children under 6 years old. Contact the Genesee County Health Department to determine if you are eligible for this service.

For more information or to learn more about our programs contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 ext. 5555 or You can also visit

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By Lisa Ace
Bontrager Auctions

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Seniors on wait list for an aide get potential lift, remodeled shower as way to stay home

By Joanne Beck
File Photo of Genesee County Office For the Aging Director Diana Fox. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Although healthcare aides aren’t always available to tend to people in their homes, Diana Fox says there are sometimes other ways to address their needs.

And Genesee County’s Office for the Aging has found that way through bathroom remodeling. A $125,000 grant and a trusty contractor have made it possible for fragile seniors to be more independent, she said during this week’s Human Services meeting.

“We have worked with this company. for several years, I really liked them; we're really pleased with the work that they did. And we're very happy to be able to come back with them. The the cost in terms of the average cost for a shower is a little bit higher than it had been, and the average is about $15,796. With the $125,000, that would allow us to do about eight of them a year,” Fox said Monday during the county meeting. “And it's funded through unmet needs, which is there's no cost involved in that. And unmet needs pay for things that when there aren't enough aides, we can leave people on the waitlist for an aide. And when we are able to do things like modify the bathroom so that they could get themselves clean, and they can stay in their home instead of having to leave to have that done.”

People often find out about the program when someone calls seeking help for a parent, and OFA will conduct a home visit assessment to determine what the senior may need as part of daily living or is lacking, she said.

“That's pretty much how they find out about it. It's first come, first serve. We really haven't had any problems. But there's always the potential that they tell their friends to hey, I want to get that shower. We talked a little bit about the case management program and things like that. So I'm sure from time to time it's mentioned. There is a qualifying income. We can also, if they don't meet that, there may be a cost share involved in it. And it's not eligible for people who, if they're on Medicaid, then that would be a whole separate something,” she said. “So last year we did nine; it was a big year. This year, we've already done two showers in February and two in March from last year's funding, and in 2022, we have done five, and in 2021, we did two. So it's definitely something that's increasing.”

They passed the resolution, which will go on to the full Legislature for a final vote on April 10. It grants the OFA to work with Caring Environments J&H, Inc. of Clarence to provide tub/shower modifications using the OFA’s targeted home and community-based funding. 

This funding of $125,000 allows for certain services that maintain or promote the independence of older adults who meet eligibility criteria. These services include but are not limited to, the removal of physical barriers (such as changing out tubs for walk-in showers, providing raised toilets, grab bars, etc.) and wraparound services such as purchasing/renting, maintaining, and repairing appliances.

According to the resolution, due to the lack of personal aide services for those eligible for such services, tub/shower modification has been identified as a need in Genesee County and is in greater demand with the increasing number of older adults in our county needing in-home and community support services in order to remain in the home of their choice; and WHEREAS, the Committee on Human Services and Ways and Means does recommend approval at this time, and WHEREAS, this initial contract is effective April 14, 2024 –April 13, 2025, with renewal options for two additional one year periods. Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, that the Chair of the Genesee County Legislature is hereby authorized and directed to execute the necessary documents to award the contract to Caring Environments J&H, Inc. 4365 Ransom Rd. Clarence, NY, 14031, to serve as an installer at a cost not to exceed $125,000 for the period of April 14, 2024-April 13, 2025.

Unmet Needs grant funds offset the costs of this program, for which there is no county match. The costs are in the approved 2024 county budget in the Homecare and Maintenance/Equipment lines.

A second amount of $22,500 to the same company was also approved to be passed on to the Legislature for a stair and wheelchair/vertical lift program. 

“So basically, it’s the same thing, same company, same funding stream through the unmet needs grant only. This is for stair lifts and wheelchair lifts. And the average cost of those is about a little over $5,000. So, with $22,500 put into this line, we do an average of four. We have two pending for the year 2024. Last year, we only did two, we didn't do any in 2022, and we did one in 2021, so it's not nearly as popular,” she said. “I don't know, just a differing level of what somebody needs. This has more to do with, I’m thinking, that they've been able to actually get into their home. So, again, it’s the same process, a case worker will go out, make an assessment, see what they need.”

Legislators didn’t have too many questions, but an important observation.

“So it’s keeping people in their homes for longer,” Legislator Brooks Hawley said. 

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