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Hawley advocates for review of New York's COVID response

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of 
Steve Hawley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) attends press conference with his colleagues in the Assembly and Senate to call for a review of the state’s COVID response.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) joined his colleagues in the state Assembly to call for an independent and public review of the state’s COVID response. On March 7, 2020, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, shutting New York down for over a year, and exactly four years ago on March 25, 2020, Cuomo made the unthinkable decision to force COVID-positive patients into nursing homes. 

During the pandemic, roughly 80,000 New Yorkers died while families and local businesses struggled to make ends meet and keep the lights on. In May of 2022, Gov. Hochul called for a multimillion-dollar study of the state’s pandemic response. Nearly two years later, no due date has been announced and New Yorkers are still left to wonder why their government failed them. 

This proposed independent study will bring clarity and closure to those who suffered and lost loved ones in the pandemic while holding officials accountable for their actions.

“New Yorkers have suffered through unconstitutional lockdowns, mandates, and unscientific guidelines. Now is the time for answers,” said Hawley. “Gov. Cuomo’s reckless policies put countless people in harm's way and in many cases led to the tragic loss of lives. Nursing homes were forced to take in COVID-positive patients and hard-working communities were given curfews and told to stay home while their kids lost valuable time in the classroom. No number of independent reviews can reverse the pain and suffering New Yorkers experienced during that time, but it is our duty to be open and transparent with the public. It’s time for New Yorkers to learn the truth so we will not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley represents the 139th Assembly District, which includes parts of Erie, Genesee, Monroe and Orleans counties. For more information, please visit his official website. 

City of Batavia Police drug disposal bins are out of service, other options available

By Press Release

Press Release:

Currently, the drug drop boxes located at the City of Batavia Police Department, 10 West Main Street, Batavia, are out of service as we work to upgrade and relocate them. 

Anyone looking to dispose of unwanted or outdated prescription medications can take them to any pharmacy that participates in a disposal program, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office located at 165 Park Road, or New York State Police Troop A Headquarters located on Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia.

Sponsored Post: Meet The Artist: Andy Reddout | Genny The Cow - Book & Poster Signing on April 5th

By Lisa Ace
Remote video URL


Meet The Artist: Andy Reddout | Genny The Cow -Book and Poster Signing

Friday, April 5th: 4:30-6:30pm

Join us as we kick off our GeneSEEtheEclipse festivities! Andy Reddout, illustrator of our Genny Sees The Eclipse original children's book and Genesee County's commemorative eclipse poster will be at the Genesee County Visitor Center located at 8276 Park Rd. in Batavia.

Stop in for a free, signed commemorative poster, to have Andy sign your purchased Genny Sees The Eclipse books, or purchase a book when you get here!  We'll also have our Genny cow-print solar glasses for sale and photo ops with life-size Genny The Cow!  Check out the quick video to see how Andy made Genny come to life over the pages of the book!

 

Event Details here: https://visitgeneseeny.com/events/andy-reddout-geneseetheeclipse-artist-book-and-poster-signing-genesee-county-visitor-center

 

Orleans County judge allows suit against state over changes to Western OTB voting structure to proceed

By Tom Rivers
batavia downs
File photo of Batavia Downs. 
Photo by Howard Owens

A State Supreme Court judge ruled today that a lawsuit can proceed challenging a new weighted voting system for the 15 counties and cities of Rochester and Buffalo that make up Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp's ownership.

Through the first 50 years of WROTB, each entity had the same vote, or one vote, for each municipality, regardless of the population.

However, the state budget approved about a year ago included legislation that implemented a new weighted voting system. It gives 99 votes total, with more populous municipalities getting more votes. Erie County gets the most with 24 votes, while the four smallest counties, Orleans, Wyoming, Seneca and Schuyler, get one each.

Here is the breakdown of votes per municipality:

  • Erie County: 24
  • Monroe County: 20
  • City of Buffalo: 10
  • City of Rochester and Niagara: 8
  • Chautauqua: 5
  • Oswego: 4
  • Steuben, Wayne, Cattaraugus, Cayuga: 3
  • Livingston and Genesee: 2
  • Wyoming, Orleans, Seneca, Schuyler: 1

Six counties filed lawsuits against Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, the State Senate, and the State Assembly.

The counties in the lawsuit are all Republican-led and include Orleans, Genesee, Niagara, Livingston, Wyoming, and Seneca. Oswego was also added to the lawsuit today.

The lawsuit was filed in September in Orleans County, and a motion to dismiss the case was heard today by Judge Frank Caruso.

Joe Terragnoli, representing the Attorney General’s Office, appeared in court today with Dennis Vacco, representing the seven counties.

Vacco said the case is a very important challenge, showing smaller rural counties standing up to a “power grab” imposed by the state.

“I’m a little emotional about it because I think they receive these types of shenanigans from Albany all the time,” Vacco, a former state attorney general, told the judge in court this afternoon.

The municipalities in WROTB fronted the money to start WROTB in 1973, which has returned about $245 million in profits to the municipalities. Terragnoli said the initial funding to start WROTB has been paid back – many times – to the counties.

“It’s been a very lucrative deal,” he said. “They gave loans, and they were paid in full.”

That contribution never guaranteed an equal vote for perpetuity. The money didn’t purchase voting rights, Terragnoli said.

The state has the right to restructure the board with a weighted vote, he said.

Vacco said the smaller counties never would have put up the money if they had such a small voice at the board table.

He said the change could harm the smaller counties economically, especially if the four members with the most votes – Erie, Monroe, Rochester and Buffalo – get together and make a decision that could hurt the payouts to the other counties. Vacco said the four larger municipalities could go on a hiring spree, approve a capital project the others oppose, or even sell Batavia Downs.

The racetrack in Batavia has 912 video gaming machines that generate about $7 million in profits each month. WROTB also has nine OTB branches and 24 EZ Bet locations.

Vacco also said the legislation approved in May 2023 specifically targeted WROTB and not the other regional OTBs in the state – Capital OTB, Catskill OTB, Nassau OTB and Suffolk OTB.

Terragnoli acknowledged the legislation, pushed by State Sen. Tim Kennedy of South Buffalo, was partly in response to allegations of mismanagement by WROTB. The organization was faulted in an audit by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who said the organization’s leadership did not properly account for $120,000 worth of sports and event tickets purchased by the company. Kennedy and others have characterized the account error as "corruption." 

WROTB has said there are tighter controls now for how those tickets are distributed.

The state comptroller and attorney general also have questioned WROTB for providing fully paid health insurance coverage to board members. The organization has also ended health benefits for new board appointees.

Terragnoli said the WROTB board didn’t do enough to self-correct, which prompted the legislation with the weighted voting for the board. That legislation also removed all the board members at the time, with the 15 counties and two cities to appoint either the same representatives or new ones. (Orleans County opted to reappoint Ed Morgan to the role. Genesee County's director, Richard Siebert, turned in his resignation over the board restructuring and later was replaced by former Genesee County Court Judge Charles Zambito).

Terragnoli said the counties that have sued the state over the changes with the board at WROTB are now claiming they could be hurt financially.

“Where was the concern when the comptroller’s report came out?” he said in court about the unaccounted tickets and perks intended for Batavia Downs customers.

Vacco also said the legislation championed by Kennedy twice failed to pass the Legislature on its own merits. It only passed when it was included in the state budget vote in an act of “subterfuge.”

The legislation would needed a two-thirds majority vote if it had been a standalone bill, Vacco said. It didn’t get the two-thirds threshold as part of the state budget, which is another reason the weighted-voting change should be negated, he said.

Vacco said the counties will wait for the state to file its response to today’s ruling. An evidentiary hearing could also be one of the next steps in the case.

Tom Rivers is editor of Orleans County Hub

Genesee County recognizes the 'value women bring to leadership' during Women's History Month

By Joanne Beck
Women's History Month
Several women representing the various departments in Genesee County government celebrate Women's History Month Wednesday during the county Legislature meeting. 
Photo submitted by Steven Falitico

Although it's toward the end of March, Genesee County Legislature members didn't let the month slip by without recognizing the importance of Women's History Month with a proclamation presented by Legislative Chairwoman Shelley Stein and Legislator Marianne Clattenburg, pictured above on either side of the certificate. 

Ever since it was proclaimed in March 1987, Women's History Month has given a nod to all of the feats and accomplishments made possible by women, who locally serve on government and school boards, as leaders of companies, role models and motivators in schools, industries, and organizations and as volunteers for various efforts throughout the county. 

The proclamation sums it up below:

WHEREAS, American women of every race, social stratum and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth and strength of our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways, and

WHEREAS, American women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural, and social role in every sphere of the life of the Nation by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home, and

WHEREAS, American women were particularly important in the establishment of early charitable, humanitarian, and cultural institutions in our Nation, and

WHEREAS, American women have been leaders, not only in securing their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, but also in the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the industrial labor movement, the civil rights movement, and especially the peace movement, which creates a fairer and just society for all.

WHEREAS, currently there are fourteen departments being led by influential women within Genesee County such as Legislature, Office For The Aging, Commissioner of Jurors, Compliance, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Elections, GLOW Solid Recycling, Human Resources, Job Development Bureau, Mental Health, Genesee Justice, Department of Social Services, STOP-DWI, Business Education Alliance and many more women in supporting roles throughout Genesee County.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Genesee County Legislature resoundingly embraces Women’s History Month and recognizes the value women bring to leadership in our community with many different professions. Evidence of this value shines through our staff, management, administration and local elected leaders.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, there are continuous contributions made by the women of Genesee County. They capture the spirit of women’s determination and clear, forward thinking by demonstrating creativity, courage and forging career paths for women of all levels of society.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Genesee County Legislature proclaims March as “Women’s History Month.” A month to take notice and appreciate the hard work women have done, and the continued work ahead for women in all societies.

Haz-mat situation reported at Yancey's Fancy in Pembroke

By Howard B. Owens

Firefighters are dealing with a hazardous materials situation at Yancey's Fancy, 857 Main Road, Pembroke.

A flammable liquid contained to a barrel reportedly had a chemical reaction with another substance.

The building was evacuated.

Pembroke Fire and Indian Falls Fire were initially dispatched. The call came in at about 10:45 a.m.

Office of Emergency Management is on scene.  The county's haz-mat team dispatched. Newstead is responding mutual aid.

 

BCSD superintendent answers questions of staffing at school district

By Joanne Beck

Batavia City School’s board met earlier this week and discussed the latest proposed budget, which includes a 2.26 percent tax rate increase, the use of a mental health grant for five positions, and the prospective use of additional state aid for more personnel and/or to reduce the amount of reserves being used to offset expenses. 

To summarize the budget as of Monday evening, the board is expected to vote on a proposed $60,373,861 plan during its meeting on April 22. That’s a 2.38 percent increase, or about $1.4 million more than this year’s budget. This spending plan would include a tax levy of $20,339,336 for a tax rate increase of 39 cents per $1,000 assessed value. That would be an extra $48.75 a year on a home assessed at $125,000.

The Batavian reached out to Superintendent Jason Smith with some questions about the newly introduced mental health grant and other items, and here are his answers:

Jason Smith

1. The five positions being added with the mental health grant: that remaining $1.1 million is expected to retain those positions for how long? Will the funding go toward salary, benefits and teacher retirement? What's the plan once that funding runs out? 

Answer: The District will plan to allocate as much of the funds as possible to cover all costs with these positions.  

Not all of them are “new” positions, however, as three of them are instructional coaches who currently provide valuable support to our students and teachers—these positions are, in essence, being retained. The remaining two new positions will provide Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programming to our students across the District.

Once the funding runs out, we can either pursue a new grant, consider placing some or all of these positions in the general fund, or combine the two. Another option would be to eliminate the positions upon the grant's expiration.

2. Can I please get a list of the types/locations of positions that aren't being retained at the district (similar, I believe, to what John Reigle requested), including the seven full-time that were COVID grant-funded, five reduced due to enrollment and four retirement/resigned positions?

Answer: Yes. That list is being developed and finalized as I write. Once I share it with the Board per their request and they have had time to review it, I will provide you with this information (likely next week).

3. If the district receives more state aid, and it's $300,000, how many teachers would that add, and how do you account for future expenses? Do you calculate cost per position for a year plus benefits and then hope to acquire more funding the next year, or calculate it for a few years out? 

Answer: Should this come to fruition, we could conceivably restore 2-3 teaching positions back into the budget. We estimate the costs per position and will need to plan accordingly in future budgets with respect to state aid projections, use of reserves, tax levies, or some combination thereof.

4. With decreasing enrollment projections and class sizes remaining at or around 20 according to staff and a board member's statements, why the need for more teachers? Are other types of staff needed according to the district?

Answer: To be clear, the request is not to add “more” teachers but rather to try to keep our existing staff as close to current levels as possible.  

While we are proud of our academic achievements, student needs continue to rise. As I have stated in previous articles, public schools currently provide a wealth of essential resources and services to our families across the community.

5. Do you feel the district has adequate staff coverage with the budget as it is?

Answer: I have been a Superintendent since 2012 and have consistently presented a budget to each Board with adequate staff coverage, which is fundamental to providing students with the quality education they deserve. Creating the district's budget is a comprehensive and collaborative effort involving close coordination between the District administration and the Board of Education. Our approach is holistic, aiming to balance the essential elements of student needs, staff levels, infrastructure maintenance, and innovative educational programming.

The current level of staffing was in part driven by COVID grant funding, which was designed to be used to close learning loss gaps through additional instructional support as well as to reduce class size.

We strive to make decisions that are not only educationally sound but also fiscally responsible to our tax-paying community. This necessitates a delicate balancing act, as our resources must be allocated in a way that maximizes educational outcomes while being mindful of our fiscal constraints.

The Board of Education ultimately has the responsibility of approving the budget, but this is done through discussions and a shared commitment to meeting our community's educational aspirations within our financial means. The question of staff coverage is not about adequacy in isolation but is one piece of a larger puzzle we diligently work to solve each year, aiming to strike a balance that serves the best interests of our students, staff, and community.

Annual spring yard sale host seeking donations to benefit future Habitat homeowner

By Joanne Beck
File Photo of Angelina Pellegrino with some donated items for her annual yard sale at 150 State St., Batavia. Pellegrino is a recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home and has been paying it forward ever since by hosting a yard sale to help future Habitat homeowners. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

It's time once again for Batavia resident Angelina Pellegrino's annual yard sale to benefit a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, she says. Before that can happen, Pellegrino will be collecting items beginning now through the sale in May.

She has appreciated the contributions in past years, she said, and hopes that people will be as generous and anxious to do some spring cleaning to clear out their homes of treasures for someone else to use.

This year's yard sale will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 17 and 18 at 150 State St., Batavia. 

"They may drop off, or we can also do pick-ups," Pellegrino said about donations. "People can also reach out to me directly at 585-356-4867 or email at angelinapellegrino@ymail.com. We accept most items except for large furniture, such as couches, hutches, etc. As always, any and all proceeds go directly to the next Habitat homeowner."

Pellegrino has been holding this yard sale as a way to pay it forward since she was a recipient of the Habitat home ownership program. 

POP hosts second annual Peruvian dinner fundraiser at GO ART!

By Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

The Peruvian Outreach Project (POP) is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit working in Tarapoto, Peru for two major initiatives, the Hogar Hermelinda Home for Young Women and the Aldea Infantil Virgen del Pilar.  

This project is hosting its second annual Dinner and Basket Raffle fundraiser April 6 at the Genesee Orleans Council on the Arts located at 201 E. Main St., Batavia to help support these initiatives.

There will be a cash bar and basket raffle as well as a delicious meal.  The meal includes authentic Peruvian cuisine, including chicha Morada ( a drink made from purple corn), Causa Rellena ( potatoes layered with chicken and avocado), lomo saltado ( beef with rice) and suspiro limeña ( a delicious custard).

The Hogar Hermelinda is a home for young women established by POP in 2022.  It is a safe home for six young women who come from rural areas of the Amazon who otherwise would not have the opportunity to study after high school.

POP provides room and board for these young women who are all studying to become nurses.  They will graduate next year!  The second focus for POP is to improve the quality of life for the children living at the Aldea Infantil Virgen del Pilar Orphanage.  

Recently POP has provided a music workshop and a sewing workshop. Also POP purchased three new computers to replace the computers the children were trying to use in their school. They also received new school uniforms, school supplies and an annual Christmas Celebration. 

Organizers of this event have come to realize that this is a busy weekend with the upcoming eclipse, and they promise that the meal is worth it as an authentic and enjoyable experience. 

Tickets must be pre-purchased for $25 per dinner at www.wnypop.org or by check, sent to: Peruvian Outreach Project, P.O. Box 234, East Pembroke, NY, 14056.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., dinner starts at 7 p.m., and basket raffle winners chosen at 8:30 p.m.

Please consider joining us to celebrate with a delicious and unique Peruvian meal.

Grand Jury Report: Suspect accused of burglary in Le Roy

By Howard B. Owens

Raymond Stanley is indicted on counts of burglary in the third degree, a Class D felony, grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and criminal trespass in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Stanley is accused of entering a building on Lake Street, Le Roy, with the intent to commit a crime. He's accused of stealing property with a value in excess of $1,000. He is accused of possessing stolen property with the intent to benefit himself while impeding the recovery of the property by the rightful owner. He is accused of being on property owned by another without authorization.

Jacob J. Russell and Connor L. Andrews are indicted on counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Both Russell and Andrews are accused of possessing brass knuckles while having been previously convicted of a crime on Dec. 23 in the city of Batavia. They're also accused of possessing cocaine.

Jennifer M. Shaffer is indicted on counts of aggravated driving while intoxicated, a Class E felony, and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Shaffer is accused of driving drunk and under the influence of drugs, a misdemeanor, in the city of Batavia on Oct. 10. Shaffer is accused of driving while impaired with a child age 15 or younger in the vehicle.

Susan A. Samanka is indicted on a count of failure to appear for a photo as a registered sex offender, a Class D felony. Samanka is a registered Level 2 sex offender and is accused of failure to provide a current photograph of herself within the time period provided for by law. She is also indicted on a count of sex offender failure to register change of address, a Class E felony.

Jarvis D. Seymore is indicted on counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Seymore is accused of possessing a 2008 Nissan Altima on Oct. 28, 2022, with the intent to deprive the vehicle's rightful owner of the property. He's also accused of possessing cocaine.

Amy M. Gambino is indicated on a count of criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony. Gambino is accused of violating an order of protection at a location on Alleghany Raod in Darien on Aug. 28.

Shante C. Johnson is indicted on a count of burglary in the second degree, a Class C felony, and criminal mischief in the fourth degree. Johnson is accused of entering a residence on Thorp Street, Batavia, on Sept. 26 with the intent to commit a crime inside the building. Johnson is accused of intentionally damaging a door and door frame at the residence.

Jarrod K. Foriathis is indicated on a count of escape in the second degree, a Class D felony, attempted escape in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and criminal mischief in the fourth degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Foriathis, after being charged with a felony, allegedly escaped from custody at the Genesee County Jail on July 15. He is accused of attempting to escape. He is accused of damaging a wall at the jail.

Chad M. Johnston is indicated on counts of burglary in the second degree, a Class C violent felony, attempted burglary in the second degree, a Class D felony, and criminal mischief in the third degree, a Class E felony. Johnston is accused of entering a dwelling on Liberty Street on Dec. 6 with the intent to commit a crime inside. He is accused of attempting to enter the building. He's accused of damaging the property of another person with a value of more than $250.

Micahel J. Torres is indicted on counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony, and obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Torres is accused of possessing more than 500 milligrams of cocaine with the intent to sell it on July 12. He is accused of attempting to prevent a public servant from performing the servant's official duties.

Mark L. Frongetta is indicted on counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony, and menacing in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Frongetta is accused of possessing a dangerous instrument with the intent to use it against another person in the town of Batavia on July 1. He allegedly placed another person in fear for his or her safety.

Paul Lee is indicted on counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, two counts of identify theft in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and two counts of petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor. Lee is accused of possessing a debit card belonging to another person with the intent to deprive the other person of possession of the property. He is accused of the identity of another person. He is accused of stealing property at a location in Batavia on Aug. 24.

Lavar V. McKnight is indicted on a count of criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony. McKnight is accused of violating an order of protection at 8250 Park Road, Batavia, on May 25. He is accused of pushing the protected person.

Neikia D. Newton is indicted on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony, and aggravated unlicensed operation. Newton is accused of possessing with intent to sell more than a half ounce of cocaine in the city of Batavia on Sept. 27. Newton is accused of driving a 2012 Ford on Route 98 in Batavia on a revoked license.

Owen C. Scouten is indicted on counts of vehicular assault in the second degree, a Class E felony, DWI, a misdemeanor, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, a misdemeanor, endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor, and unlawful dealing with a child in the first degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Scouten is accused of driving a vehicle on a public highway, Lewiston Road, Batavia, on Aug. 20 in such a way that it caused serious injury to another person. He is accused of acting in a way that knowingly endangered the physical, mental, or moral health of a child less than 17 years old. He is accused of providing alcohol to a child.

Terry J. Wickham is indicted on counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, a Class C felony, seven counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, and criminal possession of a rapid-fire modification device. Wickham is accused of possessing a loaded AR-15 firearm on Oct. 25 outside his home or business. He is accused of possessing an AR-15 with the ability to accept a detachable magazine, flash suppressor, muzzle break (sic) or muzzle compensator, folding or telescoping stock, and a pistol grip that extends conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon. He is accused of possessing six clips capable of storing more than 10 rounds. He is accused of possessing a binary trigger system. 

Kiara A. Bates is indicted on two counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree. Bates is accused of possessing a stolen 2019 Accura with a value greater than $3,000 and of passing fragrances belonging to Ultra Beauty with a value in excess of $3,000.

Casper Farm donates farm-raised meat to new Pantry of Blessings at Cornerstone Church in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
casper farms cornor stone church
Carolyn Casper, Marianne Fish, Brandon Ramirez, Caleb Baker, Crystal Casper, and Jason Casper.
Photo by Howard Owens

For the second time, the owners of Casper Farm, a farm and retail meat shop on Route 5 in Stafford, have made a substantial donation of steaks, roasts, ground beef, and other cuts of meat to Cornerstone Church in Batavia.

"This has been such a blessing," said Marianne Fish, a member of Cornerstone who helped pick up the donation at the farm on Tuesday evening. "We just started the Pantry of Blessings and were lacking in meat."

Fish said the pantry is open to anybody who needs food assistance. Many people in Batavia access the pantry, she said, and the church makes deliveries to people being housed in local hotels. There are also people from Rochester and Buffalo who come to the pantry for assistance. 

"They're helping the community tremendously," Fish said.

The Batavian just happened to be in the shop when the folks from Cornerstone stopped by to pick up the donation.

"We do this because we want to help the community with product we have an abundance of, and if this community is in need, we want to be able to help the community out," Crystal Casper said.

This donation had a retail value of $1,000.

"We feel that this is a good thing to do, to give back to our community," Casper said.

Le Roy swimmers recognized by school board for Section V championship

By Howard B. Owens
le roy swim team
Erik Fix, Gary Donofrio, Carter Fix, Lucas Morrison, Gabriel Vallese, Jack Walker, and Sara Stockwell.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The Le Roy High School members of the Byron-Bergen/Le Roy Swimming and Diving Team were honored at Tuesday's Le Roy Central School District Board of Education meeting for their Section V Class C championship.

The team went 10-1 on the season. 

Coach Sara Stockwell said that accomplishment is all the more notable because the team didn't have its own pool for training this season. The Byron-Bergen pool is undergoing renovations.  The team practiced in Chili.

"Ten and one is a huge improvement over last year and the year before," Stockwell said. "They were 2-10, so it's a major improvement. We were the Genesee Regional League champions, and we won the Genesee Region League meet championship, so they won the meet and the league. 

She said, "Our kids swam phenomenally all season."

Young man from Greece with ties to Albion and Batavia reported missing

By Howard B. Owens
cooper karas

A 21-year-old man from Greece who is missing and was last seen two days ago in Albion has ties to Batavia, and family members are asking local residents for any help in locating him.

Cooper Karas was last seen wearing black sweatpants, a black hoodie, and a black NF jacket.  

At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, he drove his 2013 silver VW Jetta to his grandmother's house in Albion and left his dog in the fenced yard (the dog is fine) and left.

He has a history of mental health issues and may have been upset at the time he disappeared. 

He is 5 feet 8 inches tall and 180 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

He attended Batavia High School for a time a few years ago and has family in Batavia.

If you have any information regarding Cooper’s location or safety, please call Orleans County Dispatch at 585-589-5527, the Albion Police Department at 585-589-5627 or Greece Police Department at 585-581-4033 or Genesee County Sheriff's Office at 585-343-5000.

UPDATED: Sheriff's Office, firefighters searching for missing 18-year-old woman from Niagara County in Oakfield

By Howard B. Owens
oakfield fire search
Photo by Howard Owens
serenity-joy-quiett
Serenity Joy Quiett.

UPDATE 8:49 p.m.: Chief Deputy Brian Frieday confirmed that Serenity Joy Quiett has been located and is safe.

UPDATE, Press Release:

The Missing Vulnerable Adult Alert for Serenity Joy Quiett out of Niagara County has been canceled, and Serenity was located safely this evening, March 27, 2024. 

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the public for their assistance in successfully locating Serenity. The search was assisted by the Batavia Police Department, Oakfield Fire Department, Elba Fire Department, Genesee County Emergency Management Office, Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center, and the New York State Police.   


Emergency personnel have been working in Oakfield searching for a missing 18-year-old woman from Niagara County whose phone was tracked to the area.

She is considered a vulnerable adult who may need medical attention.

Chief Deputy Brian Frieday said the Sheriff's Office was alerted to the trace of her phone in the Oakfield area yesterday and began a search for her. Additional search teams from Oakfield Fire and Elba Fire were brought in to assist this morning.

Niagara County is also participating in the search. 

Frieday said on Wednesday afternoon that the woman's phone had recently been traced again to the area.

"We're trying to check whatever leads we can," Frieday said.

The woman was identified in a press release as Serenity Joy Quiett and described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, 120 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, and white.

She is described as autistic. 

She was last seen in Barker on foot wearing all-black clothing and black earrings.

The Office of Emergency Management is assisting in the search, and the command post is located at the Oakfield Fire Hall.

Anybody with information that may assist can reach the Sheriff's Office at 585-343-5000.

 

Zonta of Batavia helps Community Action with storage shelves project

By Press Release
img_6821.jpg
Submitted photo of Andre’ Miller, of Zonta, and Kathrina Chaffee, from Community Action.

Press Release:

Community Action is redoing the food pantry room and their shelves are outdated and bulky. 

Community Action reached out to Zonta International of Batavia for help.

The Zonta club was able to present them with a check for $500 towards these new shelves. This will help store food more efficiently for members of our community in need.  

Take a ‘remarkable journey’ with Books Sandwiched In

By Press Release
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Submitted photo.

Press Release:

The Spring 2024 session of Books Sandwiched In will take place on Wednesdays in April at Richmond Memorial Library! The theme for this series is “Remarkable Journeys,” as reflected in the book selections. 

First started in 1981, Books Sandwiched In is a program that invites guest speakers to review books, which are generally non-fiction. Each session will take place from 12:10 - 1 p.m. in the Reading Room and will include coffee, tea, and cookies. 

All who attend can enter for the door prize of a gift certificate to a local lunch spot. Feel free to bring your lunch. You do not need to read the books in order to attend!

Sessions will also be recorded and available to view on the library’s YouTube page following the presentations. The fourth session will feature a raffle of a signed copy of The Wager by David Grann!

Spring 2024 Lineup: 

Wednesday, April 3: Take a Journey to Space

Recent Batavian (and avid reader) Jessica Postle will review The Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts by Loren Grush.

“When NASA sent astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s the agency excluded women from the corps, arguing that only military test pilots - a group then made up exclusively of men - had the right stuff. It was an era in which women were steered away from jobs in science and deemed unqualified for space flight. 

Eventually, though, NASA recognized its blunder and opened the application process to a wider array of hopefuls, regardless of race or gender. From a candidate pool of 8,000 six elite women were selected in 1978--Sally Ride, Judy Resnik, Anna Fisher, Kathy Sullivan, Shannon Lucid, and Rhea Seddon.” (from publisher summary)

Wednesday, April 10: Take a Journey to Freedom

Holland Land Office Director Ryan Duffy will review Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom by Ilyon Woo

“In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in American history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North. Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. 

Americans could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who traveled another 1,000 miles crisscrossing New England, drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionist luminaries of the day.” (from publisher summary) 

Wednesday, April 17: Take a Journey of Faith 

Retired teacher Jim Kelly reviews: Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain by Jack Hitt. Jim will also share about his own personal pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago!

“When Jack Hitt set out to walk the 500 miles from France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, he submitted to the rigorous traditions of Europe's oldest form of packaged tour, a pilgrimage that has been walked by millions in the history of Christendom...Along the way, Jack Hitt finds himself persevering by day and bunking down by night with an unlikely and colorful cast of fellow pilgrims. In the day-to-day grind of walking under a hot Spanish sun, Jack Hitt and his cohorts not only find occasional good meals and dry shelter but they also stumble upon some fresh ideas about old-time zealotry and modern belief.” (from publisher summary) 

Wednesday, April 24: Take a Journey at Sea 

RML Media Services Librarian Laura Dumuhosky reviews The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann.

“On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty's Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon...it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing nearly 3,000 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes. But then... six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes - they were mutineers.” (from publisher summary)

This session will also feature a raffle for a signed copy of The Wager!

'We've only just begun' guest speaker presents Scam 101

By Press Release

Press Release:

“We’ve Only Just Begun” Sr. Luncheon will be Tuesday, April 16 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the South Alabama Firehall, 2230 Judge Rd, Oakfield (Route 63).

This will be our Welcome Back Luncheon for 2024.  Our Guest Speaker is Dan Lyon from Lifespan in Rochester.  He will be presenting SCAM 101, a very important topic in our society today.  

Every second of every day someone is out there trying to scam you out of something.  He will be discussing Fraud, Scam, and ID theft. So let's listen and get prepared. It could happen to you!

We are open to the public just ask that you bring a dish-to-pass or make a donation at the door! Enjoy lunch and an afternoon of fun with Old and New friends.

Contact LaNora Thompson (630)-888-8966 with any questions.

Nominations for the 2024 OACS alumni hall of fame will be accepted until May 15

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding OACS alumni who have achieved distinction in their lives and chosen field after high school through significant contributions to their career, community or through personal achievements; to provide an incentive for current and future students.

If you know a person who meets the following criteria, please consider nominating him/her for this prestigious honor: 

Nominees must be graduates of OACS or one of its predecessors or have been active in school classes and activities during their senior year. (Nominees who left school while in good standing to perform military service are also eligible. Deceased alumni are not eligible for induction until the fifth anniversary of the year of their death.)

Nominees must have graduated before 2009.

Selection is based on achievement after leaving OACS which includes a noteworthy record in more than one, and exemplary achievement in at least one of the following categories:

  • Job-related achievements
  • Professional honors and awards, professional affiliations, publications
  • Civic or community involvement
  • Personal achievements/accomplishments
  • Positive impact on the communities in the Oakfield-Alabama school district
  • Other appropriate qualifications which the committee believes merit consideration

Anyone may submit a nomination for any person meeting the criteria stated above. Nominations must be made during the nomination period only (March 1 – May 15) by using the Online Nomination Form or the PDF Nomination Form (see link below). 

Electronically submitted nominations are strongly preferred over mailed-in, hardcopy nominations. Access the Online Nomination Form here.

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