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Schumer delivers $129 million for NYS to replace dangerous lead pipes

By Press Release

Press Release:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today revealed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide New York a historic investment of $129 million for lead service line replacement through New York’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) as a part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act he championed. Schumer said this is a major boost for New York’s long-term effort to replace lead pipes and will provide the federal support for efforts to provide cleaner, safer drinking water across the state.

“There is nothing more important than keeping New York drinking water safe for our children and families. Now, thanks to my Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Law, a major $129 million is flowing to replace potentially toxic lead pipes across the state,” said Senator Schumer. 

“No amount of toxic lead exposure is safe for our children, which is why I led the charge in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to deliver the funding to get the lead out. This is only the latest in those efforts to bolster the clean and safe drinking water our communities need, all while creating a steady stream of good-paying jobs. I will continue to fight until not one lead pipe remains in New York.”

Schumer explained the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act makes the single-largest investment ever in U.S. water infrastructure. In total, the bill includes over $50 billion for the EPA’s highly successful water infrastructure programs, including $15 billion specifically for Lead Service Line Replacements. 

Specifically, the EPA announced today it will provide New York over $129 million for its Drinking Water SRF Lead Service Line Replacements. SRFs provide below-market rate loans and grants to fund water infrastructure improvements in municipalities across the state. 

Importantly, Schumer fought for a lower state cost share for the early years of this funding and for 49% of the money to be administered as grants and completely forgivable loans, ensuring New Yorkers can get the most out of this funding. More details on today’s announcement can be found here.

Earlier this year, New York received $420 million from the EPA for New York’s Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) to help modernize and clean the state’s water systems. Today’s funding announcement brings NYS’s total BIL water infrastructure funds to well over $1.2 billion, with $358,437,000 of that funding specifically for LSLR.

Six Flags Darien Lake hosts hiring event

By Press Release

Press Release:

Six Flags Darien Lake, The Thrill Capital of New York, will host a spring hiring event Friday and Saturday in the Employment Center. 

Candidates can gain immediate interviews and land thrilling jobs in more than 10 diverse departments including rides, food service, aquatics, and more in preparation for Six Flags Darien Lake’s opening on May 17.

Availability & Eligibility:

  • Operations: Ride Operations, Park Services (Custodial), Public Safety (Security, EMTs)
  • In-Park Services: Food and Beverage Operations, Retail, Attractions
  • Guest Experience: Admissions, Guest Relations
  • Lifeguards
  • Accommodations: Hotel Front Office, Housekeeping, Reservationist
  • Landscaping
  • Maintenance

How to Apply:

Complete a job application at SixFlagsJobs.com, or Visit the Six Flags Darien Lake Employment Center in person Monday, April 29 – May 3 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1501 Sumner Road, Corfu.

Applicants should bring their Social Security Card and a current Photo ID with proof of age OR a school ID & Birth Certificate.

Employee Benefits:

  • Paid Training
  • Free Admission for Employee and a Friend
  • Discounts on Food, Beverages, and Retail
  • Employee Ride Nights
  • Employee Exclusive Events

Applicants with employment-related questions can call 585 599 5108. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com/darienlake.

Proposed consolidation of IDAs would take away local control, county legislators say

By Joanne Beck

A state bill in the early phases of the Senate and Assembly committees that would lump Genesee County’s industrial development agency into a Finger Lakes regional agency of nine counties would not serve the best interests of this county’s residents and economic initiatives, Legislator Marianne Clattenburg says.

The county Legislature is slated to approve a resolution opposing Senate Bill S4545 and Assembly Bill A3069 to amend general municipal law to do just that: force Genesee County’s IDA to consolidate into the larger agency along with Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Wyoming, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca and Yates counties.

“The resolution opposes IDA consolidation because we believe it would result in a loss of control over the operations and priorities of our existing entity. We do work together regionally with our Regional Economic Development Council.  Regional priority projects are promoted with the goal of seeing the entire region grow economically,” Clattenburg said. “That is entirely different than having local control taken away from the legislature that creates and funds its economic development agency. We decide the funding level of the agency, and we appoint the members of the board.  These are local residents who are committed to the betterment of our county and know our communities.  We believe that taking this away is a violation of our ability to control what development happens in Genesee County. 

“It is the essence of Home Rule,” she said. “We are happy to continue to work with partners  to continue to bring jobs to our county, but we are opposed to any changes in our current model.”

The Ways & Means Committee agreed this week to pass the resolution onto the full Legislature for a vote on Wednesday. 

The bill still has to be passed by both the Assembly and Senate and signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The resolution continues to state that there is “very limited justification for this legislation by mentioning only concerns regarding IDA applicants ‘shopping around’ amongst IDA’s with overlapping jurisdiction to attempt to obtain the ‘best deal’ and, WHEREAS, local IDA members have vested interests in the communities in which they live and are far more knowledgeable of the local economic development priorities as comparted to a 15-member regional agency spanning counties, and WHEREAS, many of these 15 appointed members of the regional agency could not be expected to be familiar with Genesee County and the communities served by our existing local IDA, and WHEREAS, accountability for actions taken by industrial development agencies should be vested in individuals who live and work in affected communities and understand the local economic development landscape, and WHEREAS, the Genesee County Legislature agrees with the Genesee County IDA that keeping local decision making on important economic development priorities is imperative and a pillar of local government control accountable to its residents. 

“Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, that the Genesee County Legislature hereby opposes Senate Bill S4545 and Assembly Bill 3069 that attempt to consolidate all 109 local Industrial Development Agencies into ten Regional Industrial Development Agencies, and be it further RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Legislature will send certified copies electronically of this resolution to Governor Kathy Hochul,” and the other involved government leaders, including Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, and any other person or organization deemed necessary.

Space to grow, better parking, among advantages for new Smith's Great Outdoors location

By Howard B. Owens
smith's great outdoors
The staff of Smith's Great Outdoors: Ray Smith, Bayden Smith, Matt Welch, Kevin Corser, Randy DeMars.
Photo by Howard Owens. 

A better spot with more room was a strong incentive to change locations, said Ray Smith, owner of Smith's Great Outdoors, which sells most things any dedicated hunter or fisherman might need.

For the past few years, Smith's has been located at Lewiston Road and Veterans Memorial Drive, near Applebees.

The store is now at 8282 Park Road, Batavia. There will be a grand opening from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. 

"We've always enjoyed the outdoors on hunting, and so why not do it (own a store)" Smith said. "The kids work here so it's great. Brayden is in college. He helps out from college, and my two daughters help out here and there with this and that, and my wife helps. Then we've got a good group of employees to make it all happen."

The location also offers more parking, and the lot is easier to get in and out of, Smith said.

"The main thing here is more room, so we can expand some more and put in a range," Smith said.

He said the range is still early in the planning stages, but it will be inside. He's looking at a 40-yard range, but he's not sure how many targets yet.

"We're just kind of in the beginning stages of that," Smith said.

Smith's has a large selection of guns, bows, crossbows, accessories, reloading supplies, and bait and tackle.

There's no gunsmith at the store, but Smith said the staff can clean guns and do minor repairs.

"We got a new full-time archery kid starting in May," Smith said. "He'll be here all week long, and he'll be able to do any bow, fix just about whatever problems people have."

He invited everybody to come out to the grand opening on Saturday.

"We'll have the Elba High School track team here," Smith said. "They will be selling hotdogs and hamburgers, and we'll have a whole bunch of different reps from different product lines here and a whole bunch of specials, and we've got a bunch of good giveaways and stuff going to go on."

Photos by Howard Owens

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Famed musical Evita comes to 56 Main stage this weekend

By Howard B. Owens
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The Batavia Players production of “Evita,” hitting the 56 Main Theater stage this weekend, is high energy, said director Pat Burk.

There is nonstop singing and frequent dancing, and the main character, Kristen Gelia's Eva Peron, has 15 costume changes.

"Evita is very tough because she's rarely offstage," Burk said. If she's offstage, it's for 30 seconds. She literally sings over half the score, so it's a very difficult role. You need a strong voice, strong acting skills, and the ability to be very quick, manipulate, and move quickly."

Gelia, who was lead in the “Drowsy Chaperone” last spring, is a former Harvie Award winner and has been in a number of other Batavia Players’ productions, is doing a great job in the role, Burk said.

The cast -- which has only four named characters, and everybody else is an "ensemble" -- is active throughout the entire production, and Burk believes audiences will thoroughly enjoy the show they put on.

"I'm very, very pleased with our talent," Burk said. "This cast is doing a tremendous job. We have very long rehearsals, 10 hours on some days. And you're looking at people who volunteer their time to put on something that is not normally done in a regional or a community theater. We have great musicians in the pit, and you know that our tech is great. And so I hope people come and see it. It's a wonderful, wonderful show."

The Batavia Players production of Evita, hitting the 56 Main Theater stage this weekend, is high energy, said director Pat Burk.

There is nonstop singing and frequent dancing, and the main character, Kristen Gelia's Eva Peron, has 15 costume changes.

"Evita is very tough because she's rarely offstage," Burk said. If she's offstage, it's for 30 seconds. She literally sings over half the score, so it's a very difficult role. You need a strong voice, strong acting skills, and the ability to be very quick, manipulate, and move quickly."

Gelia, who was lead in the Drowsy Chaperone last spring, is a former Harvie Award winner, and has been in a number of other Batavia Player's productions, is doing a great job in the role, Burk said.

The cast -- which has only four named characters, and everybody else is an "ensemble" -- is active throughout the entire production, and Burk believes audiences will thoroughly enjoy the show they put on.

"I'm very, very pleased with our talent," Burk said. "This cast is doing a tremendous job. We have very long rehearsals, 10 hours on some days. And you're looking at people who volunteer their time to put on something that is not normally done in a regional or a community theater. We have great musicians in the pit, and you know that our tech is great. And so I hope people come and see it. It's a wonderful, wonderful show."

The story of Evita, meaning how Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice came to write the musical, begins with them writing the eventual hit song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" when Webber and Rice became enthralled with the story of Eva Perón.

They wrote "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and decided to spin it out into a rock opera.  Evita was a concept album released in 1976 before it became a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. The production eventually toured nationally, was adopted to film in 1996, and has been performed on stages from London to Spain, Mexico and South Africa.

The musical tells the story of Eva, who was born poor in the small city of Junin. At 15, she seeks a better life in Buenos Aires and persuades tango singer-songwriter Agustin Magaldi to take her to Argentina's capital city.

Once there, Eva sleeps her way up the social ladder. She becomes a model, radio star, and actress. During this same period, Col. Juan Perón begins his rise to power. 

Following a charity concert in Luna Park to aid earthquake victims, Perón and Eva meet and begin an affair. Eva suggests she can help Perón rise to power.

Once the relationship is public, Eva is introduced to high society, only to be met with disdain from the upper classes and military.

"Surprisingly, at that time, the aristocrats in Argentina were basically people who fled from Nazi Germany as Nazis. In other words, after the war was over they checked out of Germany in order to be safe from being prosecuted," Burk said. "Also, a tremendous number of English people who were fascist and Nazi sympathizers (migrated). So it was a very wealthy group that was trying to run things, and she kind of upset the applecart."

That compelling story, along with the musical's iconic status, energy, and great work of the cast and crew, is why Burk hopes the community will be inspired to turn out for the production.

"It's been a favorite of mine for quite a few years," Burk said. "And it isn't always available for production; we're very lucky we were able to obtain the rights. It took us over two years to do that, to do the production here."

Evita opens at 56 Main St. Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by another 7:30 p.m. performance on Saturday and 2 p.m. shows on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $22 online, or $24 at the door, and students and seniors are $22.

Photos by Howard Owens

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Pembroke students learn the importance of trees during their week long celebration for Arbor Day

By Kara Richenberg
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Principal Norman Foster talking with fifth and sixth grade students about Arbor Day .
Photo by Kara Richenberg

When Arron Brown, a sixth-grade teacher from Pembroke Intermediate School, heard about an opportunity to get money for their school to plant trees, he knew he had to see what it was all about.

Arron applied for a grant through the New York State Urban Forestry Council and was selected to receive $500 for his school to purchase trees. He decided on two trees to plant in celebration of Arbor Day (the last Friday of April). 

“I chose the red maple tree because they are strong and resilient, just like the district is helping them to grow up to be. I also chose a Japanese cherry blossom for its beauty and positivity. If the students are having a bad day they can come look at the tree and think of positive things, like when they all planted the tree this Arbor Day,” said Brown. 

There were two different ceremonies one for the third and fourth grade classes, which planted the red maple tree, and one for the fifth and sixth grade classes, which planted the Japanese cherry blossom.

Students participated in a week-long celebration, where they learned about the history of Arbor Day, the importance of trees, and got creative with a poem contest. 

Students who participated in the poem contest were only given the topic of trees. There was a total of 42 submitted poems. The winners were announced at each ceremony and were awarded a certificate and a Tim Horton's gift card. 

The teachers also awarded a few selected students to help shovel the first scoops of dirt. Students were recognized for their character traits of resilience and caring throughout the year.

Norman Foster, Pembroke Intermediate School Principal, also spoke to the students about how trees play a vital role in our everyday lives and how Arbor Day was recognized in 1972 by former President Richard Nixon who officially made it a holiday.

“Most importantly the students get to remember that they have planted these trees for future students to admire and enjoy,” Brown said.

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Aaron Burch, a fifth-grade teacher, and Leo Zuch (fifth grade) shoveling the first dirt around the Japanese cherry blossom.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Fourth-grade Intermediate school reporters Ellie Benson (left) and Raegan Shay (right).
Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Sixth-grade students (from left to right) Aleanna Lang, Scarlett Baker, Harper Godlove, and Fiona Surdi pose for a photo opp in front of the Japanese cherry blossom tree.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Arron Brown talks with the third and fourth grade students about their red maple tree.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Poem contest winners Harper Ricci, fourth grade (left), and Cecilia O'May, third grade (right). 
Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Autumn Fagan (3rd grade) putting her shovel full of dirt around the red maple tree.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Third and fourth grade students help fill in dirt around the Red Maple tree.
 Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Madilyn Bischoff, sixth grade, and Benjamin Kohn, Intermediate School music teacher, playing with the band.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Students raise their hands to answer one of Mr. Foster's Arbor Day questions.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
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Sixth-grade Intermediate School reporters Norah Webber (left) and Lola Hallett (right).
Photo by Kara Richenberg

GO Health reminds public of responsible contact with wildlife and strays

By Press Release

Press Release:

With the arrival of spring, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health) are encouraging residents not to touch wildlife – including baby animals. 

Touching wildlife disrupts their natural behavior as well as poses risks to both human safety and animal welfare. During the spring months, many baby animals are born, and it can be common to encounter these animals. 

However, it is important to remember that wild animals should be left alone. Baby animals, while cute and seemingly harmless, can carry diseases such as rabies. 

Rabies, a viral infection, is spread by direct contact with saliva through cuts on the skin or mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes. Rabies is mostly seen in wildlife, including raccoons, bats, and skunks. It is essential to remember to keep a safe distance and admire wildlife and stray animals from afar.

In 2023, Genesee County investigated 191 animal bite and rabies incidents, and Orleans County investigated 137. Genesee County submitted 31 animal specimens, and 1 tested positive for rabies. Orleans County submitted 20 specimens, and 1 tested positive for rabies. Both positive tests were raccoons.

“If you come in contact with animals, including baby animals and strays, avoid touching them and call animal control. If you handle a wild or a stray animal or are bitten by one, immediately call the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments,” stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for GO Health. 

“In the event that you are bitten by an animal, you should clean the wound with soap and water and get medical help right away.”

GO Health recommends the following guidance when encountering wildlife or stray animals:

  • Observe from a distance and avoid contact: Love your own, leave the rest alone. Observing wildlife from a distance decreases the risk of disease transmission. By avoiding physical contact, you are keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe.
  • Report concerns: If you come in contact with a wild or stray animal, touch a wild or stray animal, or are bitten by a wild or stray animal, immediately seek medical attention and contact the Genesee or Orleans County Health Departments. If you encounter distressed wildlife, or wildlife is showing signs of rabies, immediately contact your local animal control agency. Signs of rabies in an animal may include aggression, excessive drool or saliva, confusion, hair loss, and loss of movement or function. 

Residents are encouraged to take note of our upcoming drive-thru rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats, and ferrets in Genesee and Orleans Counties that are offered at no charge.

Genesee County Rabies Clinics at the Genesee County Fairgrounds (5056 East Main Street, Batavia)

  • Thursday, May 16, from 4 - 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 8, from 4 - 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 10, from 4 - 6 p.m.

Orleans County Rabies Clinics at the Orleans County Fairgrounds (12690 State Route 31, Albion)

  • Wednesday, June 5, from 4 - 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 10, from 9 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, October 19, from 9 - 11:30 a.m.

For more information on GO Health’s programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org. You can also contact your respective health department:

Follow GO Health on Facebook, Instagram, and X at GOHealthNY.

GC Deputy Sheriff Gechell receives 100 Club of Buffalo 2023 Hero of the Year award

By Press Release
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Submitted photo of Deputy Jeremiah W. Gechell and David A. Hatcher, President of the 100 Club of Buffalo.

Press Release:

On Friday, April 19, the 100 Club of Buffalo hosted the 65th Annual Hero Awards which recognizes first responders and civilians for heroic actions during the past year. 

The event was held at Samuel’s Grande Manor in Clarence, New York, and brought together local law enforcement, fire, EMS, family, friends and 100 Club of Buffalo directors and members to recognize the brave men and women receiving awards. Maryalice Demler, who co-anchors Channel 2 News “On Your Side” served as emcee for the evening. 

Genesee County Deputy Sheriff Jeremiah. W. Gechell was the recipient of one of the 2023 Hero Awards. Deputy Gechell began his career in law enforcement with the New York State Corrections and Community Supervision as a Correction Officer in 2016. 

He was then hired by the City of Syracuse Police Department in 2020 as a Police Officer and then transferred to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office on December 6, 2021. In the short time that Deputy Gechell has been with the Sheriff’s Office, he has received three Commendation Awards.

On August 10, 2023, Deputy Gechell was off duty and driving his personal vehicle when he came upon a two-car accident that had just occurred on Main Road in the town of Pembroke. Without hesitation, Deputy Gechell stopped to assist those involved and immediately contacted the Genesee County Emergency Services Dispatch Center. With his law enforcement background, Deputy Gechell provided dispatch with important information a civilian may not know to relay. 

The serious collision resulted in four people being injured, one with a severe leg injury, and extrication was required from both vehicles. At the time of the accident, the area was experiencing heavy rain which caused a delay in the response time of fire and EMS. Realizing the leg injury required immediate attention, Deputy Gechell ran to his personal vehicle and retrieved a tourniquet and applied it to the severely injured leg that was bleeding profusely.

Deputy Gechell’s decision to use a tourniquet likely prevented the patient from suffering catastrophic blood loss and, undoubtedly, saved his life. Deputy Gechell demonstrated great courage and professionalism during this incident and went “above and beyond” the call of duty.  “Deputy Gechell is an exceptional police officer and is most deserving of the 100 Club of Buffalo Hero Award,” stated Sheriff Sheron.

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Submitted photo of Deputy Jeremiah W. Gechell with his wife, Danielle.

Buffalo-native with more than two decades manufacturing experience named new Chapin CEO

By Howard B. Owens
timothy-onello-chapin-manufacturing
Timothy Onello

Buffalo-Native Timothy Onello has been named president and CEO of Chapin International, taking over from Jim Campbell, who is retiring.

Onello is taking over a company that now has production facilities in the U.S. and overseas but was founded in Oakfield 140 years ago.

The firm is celebrating its 140th anniversary in June. 

From 2020 until February of this year, Onello was VP and general manager of ITW, a Fortune 200 company. He was based in San Luis Obispo, Calif.   Prior to joining ITW, he spent nearly 12 years with JPW Industries in Nashville, rising to the position of VP and general manager.

He has MBAs from Thunderbird School of Global Management and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and a bachelor of science in marketing and psychology from Northern Michigan University.

He's also held positions at Hilti Tools, Positec Tools, and Irwin Industrial Tools.

Chapin manufactures sprayers, broadcast spreaders, handheld spreaders, ATV sprayers, backpack sprayers, and specialty sprayers.

 

Notre Dame tops Holley in softball at GCC, 12-8.

By Press Release
notre dame softball

Press release:

Notre Dame pulled out the close victory over Holley at home on Wednesday at GCC.  

With the score tied at 8 in the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Irish scored 4 runs to provide a little cushion and ace pitcher Loretta Sorochty entered the game and sat down the side in the the top of the 7th to get the save.  

Sophomore pitcher Amelia Sorochty got the start on the mound and went 3 innings, giving up 1 hit, 2 runs (1 earned) and striking out 5.  Sophomore pitcher Mia Treleaven was credited with the win tonight, also going 3 innings, giving up 4 hits, 6 runs and striking out 9.  Loretta Sorochty pitched the 7th inning, giving 0 hits, 0 runs and striking out 2 batters.

Houseknect went the distance for the Holley Hawks, giving up 9 hits, 12 runs (4 earned) and striking out 1.

Leading the way offensively for the Lady Irish was Sofia Falleti with 2 hits, 2 runs and 1 RBI and Penny Jo Thompson with 2 hits and 2 runs scored.  Mia Treleaven had a hit (double), a run scored and 3 RBIs, Olivia had a hit (double) and 2 RBIs, Gianna Falleti and Clairissa Milliman each had a hit, 2 runs scored and an RBI, and Anna Panepento accounted for the other ND hit and added an RBI.

Walker and Church each had 2 hits for Holley, with Walker getting 2 runs scored and an RBI and Church chipping in with a run scored and RBI.  Foose accounted for the other hit for Holley and scored a run.

Photos by Pete Welker.

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Alexander beats Pembroke 9-2 to win fourth straight

By Press Release
Alexander softball

Press release:

Melissa Sawyer went 3-for-3 with a double, three runs scored and a stolen base to lead Alexander at the plate as they beat Pembroke 9-2 Wednesday evening.  

Faith Goodenbury went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base.  Madison Boyce went 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored. While Ella Felski went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

One the bump for Alexander was Emily Pietrzykowski, who went the distance to earn the win. Pietrzykowski pitched sevening innings while surrendering five hits, two earned runs, issued two walks and struck out eight Dragons.

For Pembroke, Aleena went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.  Lefty hurler Jayden took the loss while striking out five Trojans.

"We keep gaining momentum, and we are starting to play ball as we know we can," said Coach John Goodenbury. "Our pitchers are hitting their spots and gaining confidence. Our hitters are continuing to find holes in the defense, and the weather is helping us get consistent games in.  We have more work to do, but it was nice to start the second half of the season with a solid game and earn our fourth consecutive win.  Tomorrow we host Pembroke at 5 p.m. and we are excited to get back at it."

Submitted photos.

Alexander softball
Alexander softball

Otis Thomas named Notre Dame's head football coach

By Press Release

Press release:

Otis Thomas, a member of Notre Dame High School Class of 1997, has been named Head Varsity Football Coach at his alma mater. 

A lifelong resident of Batavia, he attended St. Anthony's parochial school before graduating from Notre Dame, where he excelled in Football, Baseball, Basketball and Track and field. 

Otis won the prestigious Nick Salvador Football MVP award twice. His basketball teams played in three sectional finals, winning in 1995 and 1997 when they won the Western Regional title, which advanced them to the NYSPHSAA Final Four. In Baseball, he was on Sectional winning teams in 1996 and 1997. His excellence as an athlete earned him recognition as ND’s Co-Athlete of the Year in 1997 and also led to his induction into the Notre Dame Athletic Hall of Fame in 2021

Mr. Thomas has held a variety of coaching positions at Notre Dame since 2009. His Football coaching experience includes being the head JV Football coach, a JV Football Assistant, a Varsity Assistant, and most recently, the varsity football defensive coordinator. 

Otis has also been both the Boys' and girls' basketball JV Head Coach and a Varsity assistant for the past 8 seasons while also serving as ND’s varsity softball coach for 6 years, winning a sectional title last year.

When asked to comment on his hiring, Otis said, “ I believe in this school and everything about it. Notre Dame, my coaches, my classmates and their families, along with my own family, have made me into the man I am today. I was coached by two legendary coaches, Mike Rapone and the late Bill Sutherland, both of whom had an impact on me and are a big part of why I got into coaching. I always wanted to be the head football coach of my alma mater and consider myself blessed to have this opportunity. I will work hard from day 1 to maintain the standard and teach the culture built by those who have preceded me. Go IRISH!!

Mr. Thomas is currently employed by Aerosafe Global in Rochester as a manufacturing supervisor. He and his wife Nicole live on Otis Street in Batavia with their three children: Teagyn, Nya, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2021 and Gunnar, who is currently a seventh-grade student at Notre Dame.

 

 

Batavia Iron and Metal remediation produces more than expected, now complete

By Joanne Beck
batavia metal works property
The defunct property of Batavia Iron and Metal Company on Bank Street has been completed for remediation and is now considered for unrestricted use.
Photo by Howard Owens

A revised remedial plan was issued for work completed at the Batavia Iron Metal facility in Batavia due to the amount of PCBs and other contaminants and wetlands discovered at the Bank Street site, Project Manager Lisa Gorton says.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation issued the revision Wednesday now that all work has been completed for the project at the defunct metals processing plant next to Dwyer Stadium. 

"So, initially, those smaller areas that were identified were going to be removed and remediated. However, after our full investigation and design, we ended up removing much more waste than expected. So we essentially just cleaned the site up to a restricted residential use and commercial use standard, so it was much more protective than originally designed or issued under the decision,” Gorton said to The Batavian. “There were a few thousand tons scheduled to move off-site. But ultimately, I think we took 60,000 tons of topsoil off-site. So the work was considerably more than what was initially intended.”

She said all of the PCBs have been removed to an unrestricted use, and wetlands—a new element to the project—were identified and restored. 

“There’s no environmental easement that will be associated with it. It’s not a full unrestricted use only because the unoccupied building there stays in place, so if someone should buy the property and want to repurpose that building, there are some site management elements that go along with that piece of it,” she said. However, aside from that, the remainder of the site can be used in accordance with the zoning right now. So, it was much more protective than we originally had planned on in the decision only because we initially thought it might be used as commercial and would be more restricted under an easement. But just the way the PCBs were present on site and had to meet those regulations, the federal regulation for EPA and PCB removal became much more than we expected, but more protected, in a more protective way.”

The DEC continues to monitor the groundwater, which has tested to be safe, she said. 

The city of Batavia no longer owns the property, and as of November 2023, when remediation was still in progress, the plan was to move on foreclosure and devise a re-use strategy once this project was complete, City Manager Rachael Tabelski had said.

“Re-use of the site will be dependent on the level of clean-up.  If the site has been cleaned to unrestricted, residential and/or commercial activities would be allowed there,” Tabelski said. 

Cost Comparison
The price of this project jumped about $5 million due to “natural inflation from 2013 to 2023, and the increase in volume — approximately three times of material excavated (15,500 cubic yards projected versus 50,500 cubic yards actual) and disposed off site” the DEC report stated. That took the original cost of $8,177,000 up to about $13 million.

In much more expanded language, here are the steps and revisions of the original plan, which can also be found in its entirety on the DEC site (pdf)

Implementation of pre-design investigations and remedial activities described above identified the following new information that differs from the 2013 record of decision (ROD).

Additional impacted material off-site at 299 Bank Street was not identified in the ROD. These areas were identified and remediated during the investigation and remediation of the on-site debris piles at (AOC-3). 

Additional impacted material on-site (AOC-2) after removal of the waste piles. Impacted soil extended throughout the property boundaries, not only in the north and west portions of the site, as indicated in the ROD. 

Based on pre-design investigations for AOC-2, after remediation of AOC-3, neither VOCs or SVOCs were identified as primary contaminants of concern for soil. There were discrete exceedances of residential SCOs for each, but the locations were within the confines of the metals and PCB impacts and were therefore removed during implementation. 

Based on groundwater samples collected following the implementation of AOC-2, GA groundwater standards for VOCs are not currently exceeded. VOCs and AOCs are contaminants.

Sub-slab soil vapor samples collected beneath the on-site building had some detections of select VOCs. However, soil and groundwater beneath the building did not indicate any exceedances of VOC standards. Additional vapor intrusion investigation and mitigation if necessary, would need to be conducted if the building or the building’s footprint is reoccupied or redeveloped with an occupied building. 

Based on this new information and information obtained during the implementation of the IRM and Remedial Action the elements of the ROD are being modified as described further below: 

Record of Decision Design
ROD Element 1 is being modified to align the proposed design elements with the actual remedial action design prepared and executed in 2023. The design phase and remediation included re-delineating the wetland areas, fully characterizing the wetlands, remediating, and restoring the wetlands including additional wetland restoration at 299 Bank Street. The original Element 1 specified excavating contaminated sediment found in the wetland above the ecological SCO. The wetland impacts were fully delineated, remediated and restored, including installation of a 50-foot wetland buffer area. Green Remediation techniques were used as feasible during the 2023 remedial action, including reusing treated construction water from excavation dewatering for dust control, obtaining restoration materials (backfill, topsoil and trees) from nearby sources to reduce truck emissions, using onsite power instead of mobile generators, to lower greenhouse gas emissions and tracking greenhouse emissions during the remedial action to evaluate the green remediation techniques. 

Record of Decision Excavation 
Excavation of approximately 300 Cubic Yards (CY) from AOC #1 (PCB and pesticide impacted fill adjacent to the site building), 11,000 CY from AOC #2 (PCB and metals impacted soil/fill in north and western portion of the site), 4,100 CY from AOC #3 (Solid waste present throughout the site), and AOC #4 (Metals impacted soil at off-site 303 Bank St.).

The Remedial Action conducted in 2023 excavated 67,000 tons (≈(40,000 cubic yards) of impacted soil from AOC #2 and included the removal of the remaining impacted material west of the Site at 299 Bank St. and the remaining impacts from AOC #1. 

Record of Decision Enhanced Bioremediation 
ROD Element 3 included in-situ enhanced bioremediation to be employed to treat VOCs in groundwater in the area down gradient of AOC #2. During pre-investigation activities no VOC source areas were identified, additionally soil impacted with VOCs and SVOCs were co-located with metals and PCB impacted soil and therefore were removed as part of the excavations conducted as part of the 2017 IRM and 2023 Remedial Action. Six new monitoring wells and two temporary wells were installed onsite after excavation was completed in 2023. 

Record of Decision Institutional Controls 
ROD Element 5 included the imposition of Institutional Controls via an Environmental Easement, which included the restriction of groundwater use at the site as a source of potable or processed water, restricting future development for commercial and industrial use and compliance with a Site Management Plan. Based on the post-excavation sample results, the soil conditions generally meet the residential SCOs, and groundwater impacts are minimal. A Site Management Plan (SMP) will still be required to allow for inspection and minor repairs of the restored wetlands for five years after the final restoration is complete in the Spring of 2024 per the requirements of the United States Army Corp of Engineer (USACE) permit and for proper soil handling and disposal for soil under the building should the building be removed in the future. 

Record of Decision Site Management Plan 
Element 6 required an SMP to monitor the institutional controls from Element 5, provide a soil management plan, provide monitoring program to assess the performance and effectiveness of the remedy and provide an Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Plan for in-place treatment systems. Based on the changes noted above, the Enhanced Bioremediation (Element 4) is being removed from the ROD. Due to the increased volume of impacted soil removed from the Site and the post-excavation soil results and post-remediation groundwater sampling results, continuing monitoring of the performance and effectiveness of the remedy is not required. Additionally, no in-place treatment system is required; therefore, an O&M Plan for an in-place treatment system is not needed. 

A Site Management Plan will be required to provide monitoring and maintenance of the wetland and wetland buffer areas for five years, provide a soil management plan to handle material under the existing building and  require a soil vapor intrusion evaluation in the event that the on-site building is reoccupied or the site is redeveloped with an occupied building and periodic groundwater sampling. Element 6 is being modified to include these revised requirements for the SMP.

Site History 
The Batavia Iron and Metal Company, Inc. Site (formerly Batavia Waste Material Co.) is located at 301 Bank St. in the City of Batavia, Genesee County, New York, and is approximately 6.8 acres. The Site operated as a metal recycling facility from 1951 to 1999. Batavia Iron and Metal also purchased and handled electrical transformers on the property. Two furnaces operated at the facility from the early 1970s until 1994 for the purpose of reclaiming wire and smelting white metals. Before using the furnaces, the facility utilized open burning in dumpsters in the yard to remove insulation from the wiring.

Remedial investigations began in 2006 and found surface and subsurface soils were impacted with PCBs and metals, and other pesticides on the immediate and adjacent properties. In 2014, 17 55-gallon drums of debris and waste materials were removed from the building, and a 1,000-gallon underground storage tank was removed from the site. During this time, interim remedial measures were conducted to remove impacted soil at the adjacent properties. Work has continued in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and was completed in April 2023 with the implementation of an on-site remedial action plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Genesee County Fair continues to grow, add events, see success, Ag Society says

By Joanne Beck
https://www.thebatavian.com/howard-owens/three-arrests-made-in-alleged-gunfire-incident-in-the-city-of-batavia/635873
File Photo of The Eaglez Tribute Band, which is scheduled for a return visit to this year's Genesee County Fair, set for July 20 to 27. 
Photo by Howard Owens

While larger city fairs are struggling and even shutting down due to poor attendance, the one on Route 5 in Genesee County only gets better with an expanded schedule, Agricultural Society Treasurer Norm Pimm says.

“There’s very few that grow in attendance, and a lot that are hurting. Probably about four years ago, we went from a five-day fair to a seven-day period and then to an eight-day fair. And really, we’re almost a nine-day fair because now we’re starting the Friday night with the draft horses, because we just tried it, we can’t fit everything in the schedule we have, which is a great problem to have,” Pimm said during his annual report to legislators this week. “A lot of fairs now are actually either shrinking down their days or are, some of them just aren’t having them. So we’ve gotten the county support from you guys, the businesses and the attendees. That means a lot to us because that’s what we can use to keep running forward.”

Those larger areas on either side of this county, including Erie and Monroe, don’t seem as agriculturally focused — cue the more than 1,500 animals, 12 six-horse hitch teams from throughout the country, rating it the second largest show in New York State, 170 4-H youth participants aged 8 to 18 and another 35 ages 5 to 7 — and that seems a big draw from in and outside the county, Pimm said.

They were on track to meet or beat the prior year’s record attendance of 70,000; however, Mother Nature really showed up in full force for a first-time Enduro race, causing organizers to cancel that event. 

“We were going to do $5 admission all day, just to try and make it family friendly, the kids come in, you know, bring a family member and have a good day for 20 bucks. And then we had the rain,” he said. “So the sad part is, we had a ton of messages and phone calls on Friday and Saturday from people, like more than any other event, so we held off as long as we could. But we finally said we gotta cancel that. So that put us back a little bit. But we still had about 64,000, which is the year before it was 70, which was the biggest year ever by far.” 

Unlike in past years, when many outgoing calls had to be made to secure vendors and entertainers, he said many of them are requesting to come back this year. Musical groups, including an Eaglez tribute band and BB Dang, will be returning, and the draft horse show “continues to be really huge.”

“I’m not a horse person, so I don’t understand all of it, but they said our footing is the best around,” he said. “They want to be the biggest show in New York State. But it's the second biggest for now. We just don't have any more room to store any of those big, huge horses. They take a lot of space, so we're working on that. We had 122 of them last year, those big, big horses, which was every pen we had.” 

The Genesee County Fair’s midway is also popular and something not to be taken for granted, he said. 

“Midways are going away; it’s hard to do business in New York State,” he said. 

Although organizers would have liked a full week from Saturday to Saturday, this year’s midway will operate from Tuesday to Saturday, he said, per the company’s schedule. To fill in the first weekend of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, there will be bounce houses, roaming entertainment, and other activities, he said. 

The youth livestock auction will also return, competing with 2023’s record year intake of $340,000 of local support that went right back to the kids and to support youth programs, he said. 

Admission will remain the same at $10 per carload “even though expenses have been up by 20% the last two years,” he said. “We’re trying our best to keep it at that as long as we can,” he said. 

By comparison, Erie County charges $22.60 a person, he said.

The stage will feature new entertainment with Nerds Gone Wild and a fun 80s tribute band that has already attracted a Batavia High School class reunion requesting a piece of the action under the yellow tent.

This year’s fair—set for July 20 to 27—will also include remote-controlled race cars free for kids, an 80s night—come dressed in 80s attire—with discounted prices such as a $2 hotdog, entertainment slated for every night of the fair, two nights of fireworks, karaoke, a demolition derby, truck pull, small tractor pull and figure eight racing, plus, of course, the Chuck Wagon and other midway goodies and treats, games and activities. 

He said it takes large amounts of money to operate the fairgrounds year-round and pay for electrical maintenance—"our electric bill has gone up dramatically," he said—and on-site projects are always in the works.

“People don’t realize what it costs to run the fairgrounds for the year. I mean, it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep that place going, and us being a nonprofit and all-volunteer, nobody’s paid, but we do it obviously because it’s been here forever and wants to keep it going,” he said. “We do a lot outside of the fair. So camping does help when we have these livestock shows and horse shows. Those are good moneymakers for us. The food truck rodeos and the horse shows are booked almost every weekend in the summer between the horse show and the livestock show. And then besides, we have the racetrack that we lease that runs almost every weekend as well.”

Legislative Chairwoman Shelley Stein encouraged him to appeal to the county for more funds, given all that the Society members do and the community participation involved. The county increased its funding by $1,000, he said.

The group reviewed and approved a resolution for $12,000 in funding, $1,000 more than in 2023. The resolution will go to the full Legislature for final approval on May 8.

Mr. Batavia 2024 winner's chosen charity Genesee Cancer Assistance

By Press Release
elijah-abdella-mr-batavia.JPG
Photo of Mr. Batavia Elijah Abdella and Sue Underwood, from Genesee Cancer Assistance.

Press Release:

This year Mr. Batavia 2024 raised a total of $5,200. Since 2013, the annual event has raised more than $43,000 for local organizations. 

$2,600 went to Mr. Batavia Elijah Abdella, whose chosen charity was Genesee Cancer Assistance.

$1,300 went to runner-up Harry Southall's chosen charity, which was Batavia VA.

$1,300 went to runner-up Brian Calderon's chosen charity, Suicide Prevention of Genesee County.

Submitted photos.

harry-southall-mr-batavia.jpg
Photo of Harry Southall, runnerup and Cindy Baker, from Batavia VA.
brian-calderon-mr-batavia.jpg
Photo of Brian Calderon, runnerup and Sue Gagne, from Suicide Prevention of Genesee County.

Batavia Rotary Club high school baseball tournament is Saturday at Dwyer Stadium

By Press Release

Press Release:

The 24th Annual Batavia Rotary Club High School Baseball Tournament will take place on Saturday, May 4 at Dwyer Stadium.

Oakfield-Alabama and Notre Dame will play in the first game at 11 a.m. followed by Le Roy vs Batavia at 1:30 p.m. The Consolation Game will be at 4 p.m. with the Championship Game at 7 p.m.

An All-Day Admission Pass is $5 for an adult and $3 for a student or senior. Cash, Venmo, or credit card will be accepted for payment. All proceeds from the tournament will help benefit Batavia Rotary Club charities.

New this year:

  • We will be having the Batavia High Baseball Team’s “Senior Night” prior to the 1:30 p.m. game.
  • Youths age 12 and under will get in free if they wear their baseball or softball uniforms to any of the games and attend with a parent/adult family member.
  • Any Challenger Sports athletes and Unified Sports athletes will get in free if they wear their uniform or tee-shirt, and come with a parent/adult family member or adult caregiver.
  • Tickets for the Rotary Club’s Fly-In Breakfast on Father’s Day will be available for purchase.

We look forward to seeing the community come out to cheer on our local athletes!

Saturday morning kids culinary classes at GO ART!

By Press Release
go-art-culinary-camp.png
Submitted photo

Press Release:

GO ART! is running a 4 week Saturday morning kids Culinary class starting May 4.

This class is tailored to students in grades 1-6. Each week we will be baking, cooking or learning about proper safety in the kitchen. All supplies will be included. 

For more informations go to https://goart.org/programming/exlporeart/exlporeart-children/, call (585) 343-9313, or
email Jodi at jfisher@goart.org.

Construction is to begin at County Building #1 and Old County Courthouse in Batavia

By Press Release
staging-plan-5_1.jpg

Press Release:

Genesee County is upgrading essential infrastructure at County Building No. 1 and the Old County Courthouse to address water penetration concerns and ensure the safety of all occupants and visitors.

Project Details:

  • May 3 - Protective enclosures will be installed around entrances to County Building No. 1 to ensure safety during roof and exterior masonry work.
  • May 6 - Masonry work will commence on the parapet walls, followed by the roof recovery of County Building No. 1 and copper installation at the east entrance of the Old County Courthouse.
  • During the project, all entrances will remain accessible.
  • A protective enclosure for material storage will temporarily block off the central sidewalk, but access will still be available on both the east and west sides of the courtyard.
  • The projects are expected to be completed by the end of June with a 2-week additional window for inclement weather.

Although minimal disruption to daily operations is expected, a safe working zone is of top priority, and the following safety measures have been implemented: 

  • Designated areas for materials and equipment storage.
  • Parking adjustments, including dumpsters in a street parking zone and coned-off contractor access to the lawn.
  • Protective enclosures around entrances to County Building No. 1
  • Please see the included staging plan for more details.

We appreciate the cooperation and understanding of all during this construction period.

Top Items on Batavia's List

The City of Batavia is accepting applications for a Full-time Water Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee (Salary $23.65/hr.) This is a trainee position involving responsibility for learning the duties and routines in the operation and maintenance of a water treatment plant.  The work is performed under the immediate supervision of a qualified operator. Does on-the-job training to become qualified as an operator of a water treatment plant. Does related work as required. Applicant must be a graduate of a senior high school or possess a New York State high school equivalency diploma. Please submit a completed Civil Service Application to Human Resources, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020 or tdean@batavianewyork.com. Background check, psychological assessment, physical and drug testing are required. Candidate must become a resident of Genesee County or any adjacent town to the County of Genesee within 6 months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City of Batavia. EEO. Applications can be found at https://www.co.genesee.ny.us
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