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County dedicates new jail that officials expect to serve community for at least a century

By Howard B. Owens
genesee county jail dedication
Sheriff William Sheron.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Last month, Genesee County experienced a total solar eclipse, a once-in-a-lifetime event for many.

On Friday, Sheriff William Sheron said it was a once-in-a-lifetime event: the dedication of a new county jail.

The jail is expected to be the county's lone place of inmate incarceration for at least 10 decades.

"We'll never see one of these built again, nor do we want to," Sheron said.

The new jail's construction was a long journey, Sheron said, but a necessary one.  The new facility will serve the community better, providing greater opportunities to help offenders improve their lives and keep corrections officers safer.

"Today marks a significant milestone in our county's journey towards justice and rehabilitation," Sheron said. "It's with great pride and humility that we gather here to dedicate the new Genesee County Jail. This facility is not just a testament to our commitment to public safety but also a symbol of our unwavering dedication to accountability, rehabilitation and hope."

See also: Photos: Tour of the new Genesee County Jail

Sheron noted that incarceration is not the ultimate goal of local law enforcement. 

"Rather, it's a means to an end, an opportunity for individuals to reflect on their actions, take accountability for their actions and their mistakes and embark on a path towards positive change," Sheron said.

To that end, the new jail will offer better access to mental health assistance, educational opportunities, and access to counseling.  Inmates will have access to resources and programs aimed at addressing the root causes of their behavior with the hope of guiding them toward a more productive future.

"Accountability is the heart of the justice system," Sheron said. "It's about holding individuals responsible for their actions and also providing them with the support and the tools they need to reintegrate into our society as productive and law-abiding citizens."

Allen Riley, chairman of the state's Commission of Corrections, which mandated that the county build a new jail to replace its deteriorating, aging facility Main Street in Batavia, which was becoming costly to maintain, he said, praised the new facility.

"It will provide greater space for enhanced educational opportunities for the incarcerated population, which will provide opportunities for advancement and a chance to become a productive member of society upon their release and reduce recidivism rates here in Genesee County," he said.

The 184-bed facility was built at a cost of $70 million. The jail is divided into four units. To start, only three units will house inmates: two males and one female. It's the first time Genesee County will house its own female inmates.

Assistant Jail Superintendent Jeff Searls told visitors during a guided tour that he anticipates opportunities to house inmates from other counties, especially for a couple of neighboring counties that are just starting the process of building new jails in their communities and providing custodial care for people being held for the U.S. Marshall's and Homeland Security. Holding inmates for other jurisdictions will generate revenue for the county, which will help offset the jail's cost.

County Manager Matt Landers noted that the jail was built during challenging times.  Project planning began in 2017 and by the time the county was ready to begin construction, the world was hit by a pandemic, then rising interest rates, followed by inflation, along with bail reform.

"At one point, I was wondering if we're building this jail too small," Landers said. "If you go back to 2019, we had 140 individuals in the care of Genesee County Sheriff's Office that would essentially be full today. Then, within one year, the numbers dropped from the pandemic and from the bail reform. And we weren't quite sure. So, we commissioned a second jail-needs study. And the results of that study were basically to keep the same number we had before. And now here we are today with, I would say, an appropriate size jail facility for the next 100 years."

genesee county jail dedication
Photo by Howard Owens.
genesee county jail dedication
Photo by Howard Owens.
genesee county jail dedication
Allen Riley, chairman of the state's Commission of Corrections
Photo by Howard Owens.
genesee county jail dedication
Photo by Howard Owens.
genesee county jail dedication
Legislative Chair Shelley Stein presents follow legislators, Gary Maha, left, and Christian Yunker, with plaques for their service to the county as the Legislators' representatives during jail construction.
Photo by Howard Owens.
genesee county jail dedication
Photo by Howard Owens.
genesee county jail dedication
Photo by Howard Owens.
genesee county jail dedication
Photo by Howard Owens.
genesee county jail dedication
County Manager Matt Landers
Photo by Howard Owens.

Jim Campbell passes Chapin's leadership role to WNY native Tim Onello

By Howard B. Owens
Timothy Onello and Jim Campbell, Chapin International
Timothy Onello, left, the newly appointed president and CEO of Chapin International, based in Batavia, and Jim Campbell, who is retiring as president and CEO.
Photo by Howard Owens.

As Chapin International prepares to celebrate its 140th year in business, it will do so with a new president and CEO in place, a Western New York native whose manufacturing career has taken him across the United States.

Chapin was founded in Oakfield and remains based in Batavia, with its headquarters on Ellicott Street. The company's growth has led to the opening or acquisition of plants in other states and parts of the world.

With all of that, and the challenging business climate in New York, Chapin remains committed to Batavia, said the new CEO, Tim Onello.

"I think that is where our priority is," Onello told The Batavian in an exclusive joint interview On Thursday with Jim Campbell, who is retiring as president and CEO. "I know the company is 100 percent committed to this area and to ensuring we're a good employer in the region. So, yes, our number one commitment is to stay here in Batavia."

Onello said he is looking forward to continuing the growth Chapin has enjoyed under Campbell's leadership. Campbell was Dave Ward's successor. After Ward, Campbell was the second non-family member to run Chapin. With 20 years in the CEO seat, Campell was the longest-serving person in that position.

Though Onello has been an executive with lawn and garden manufacturing companies throughout much of his business career, Chapin's line of sprayers and related products is a slightly new field to him. 

"I think what attracted me to the company was, first, all of the product range," Onello said. "Even though it's a little bit outside of my background, my background is hand tools and power tools, a lot of them are sold in the same channels as Chapin."

That mix of products at Chapin and its track record of growth is an opportunity and challenge, Onello suggested. 

"Where's that next growth coming from? So, I think part of where we'll dig in with the team is just to find out how can we grow the business and take it to the next level," Onello said. "Jim and team have done such a great job at growing this business over the past 20 years, and I think Jim took it four times where it used to be. It's my job, with all the marketing and product experience, to really look at adjacent areas for this company to manufacture new products and take it to that next level."

Onello was VP and general manager of ITW, a Fortune 200 company. While employed by ITW, 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.

Chapin was founded in 1884 in the back of a hardware store in Oakfield, where R.E. Chapin made oil storage containers for oil lamps.  In the early 1900s, the company moved to Batavia and started manufacturing garden sprayers. 

Today, the company has six major product lines with more than 650 different items for sale to retail and business customers.

Campbell is proud of the company's accomplishments during his tenure. 

"If you're not growing, you shrink," he said, which is why the company works through five-year strategic growth plans. The most recent plan expires as he exits. 

"This will be the first year that we didn't quite meet the strat plan," Campbell said. "That's because in the strat plan was another acquisition for about $40 million. We didn't do another acquisition. That's the only part of the five-year plan we didn't meet. All the organic growth we did meet, and (the company) is still growing. We should be able to make another $50 million to $60 million in three or four years."

That's gross revenue.

Chapin isn't a publicly traded company, so it generally does not disclose revenue and profits, but publicly traded companies, such as another big manufacturer in Batavia, Graham Corp., are required to release financial reports, and so Campbell offered this comparison: "We do more dollars than Graham." 

Graham's reported revenue for 2023 was $147.1 million.

Campbell's role in helping the board of directors select a new CEO focused primarily on ensuring the board understood the complexities of the job. He put together a job description that filled a three-ring binder with 150 pages.

He said job candidates also agreed to a psychological profile, which is common in the business world these days, especially for executive positions. 

Onello was attracted to the job not only because of the product line but also because it offered him a chance to move back home to raise his three teenage daughters close to family in Western New York.

"I grew up in Cheektowaga and went to schools in West Seneca," Onello said. "I have a ton of family in Buffalo and was bringing my family back here three times a year to visit the area, so when the opportunity came up to return to Western New York, to be able to jump into an adjacent industry, to be back with family and friends, it was just ideal."

Onello said he was impressed with Chapin's culture and praised Campbell's ability to maintain a loyal workforce.

"One of the biggest things, it's always about the people, right?" Onello said. "I think Jim's built an incredible culture here where you have long, tenured, loyal workers who really care about the brand and care about the company. There's a lot of pride in the company. Many employees have 30 years or 40 years of tenure, and that just doesn't happen in so many other areas. That loyalty to the brand, to the company, is really exciting."

Campbell's plans in retirement — he's rooted in Western New York with a residence just inside of Erie County from Pembroke — and a plot of land in Pembroke with an orchard and elderberries and a big barn, don’t include moving elsewhere.

He said he plans to spend more time with his wife Caite.  They also have a cottage in Canada.

"We're a real outdoor, hunting and fishing kind of family," Campbell said.

He also enjoys blacksmithing, primarily making knives.

As for Onello, he doesn't have time for many hobbies.  His daughters are 13 and 15.

"When I'm not working, I'm usually chasing them around, taking them to their events and sports," Onello said. "Of course, naturally, I look forward to being able to go to  a few Bills and Sabres games now that I'm back in the region."

As warm weather approaches BPD reminds public about crosswalk safety

By Press Release
A pedestrian waits at a crosswalk at Ellicott Street and Jackson Street on Friday.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Press Release:

As temperatures rise and more and more people are outside taking advantage of good weather there will be increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well. With that comes the potential for motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians. 

Below are key points from New York State’s Vehicle and Traffic law on pedestrian safety. For more information visit (courtesy of the NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Committee) 

When there are traffic-control signals:

  • A pedestrian has the right of way whenever a traffic signal shows a steady “Walk” or a walking person. 
  • A pedestrian must not cross if the phrase “Don’t Walk” or the upraised hand is flashing, even when crossing signals display a countdown showing remaining time left to cross. 
  • A pedestrian must not cross if the phrase “Don’t Walk” or the upraised hand is steady.
  • If a person has already started crossing on a “Walk” and the signal changes, then he or she can continue to a sidewalk or safety island. 

When there are crosswalks*:

  • Pedestrians have the right of way if there is an intersection or any marked crosswalk on the road and no traffic signals.
  • Drivers must yield, slowing or stopping, to allow pedestrians to cross. 

When there are no crosswalks*:

  • Drivers have the right of way if there are no intersections or no marked crosswalks on the road. 
  • Pedestrians must yield the right of way to vehicles.

*Definition of crosswalk from NYS V&T Section 110: (a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway between the curbs, or the absence of curbs, between the edges of the traverse roadway. 

The City contains several mid-block crossings, similar to those found along the Ellicott Trail. These crossings are clearly marked and traffic must yield to pedestrians in these crosswalks.

GO Health encourages public to get homes tested for radon

By Press Release

Press Release:

You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. But breathing in high levels of radon can increase your risk of lung cancer even if you don’t smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and it is estimated to cause over 21,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is the reason it is so important to get your home tested for radon. 

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that seeps into your home through cracks in the foundation, walls, and joints. It can be found in well water and dirt floors. Whether your home has a basement, sits on a slab, is brand-new or old, radon can build up and go undetected.

“Testing your home for radon is one of the easiest preventative health measures a homeowner can take,” stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “If your radon levels are low, we suggest you test every couple of years. If your radon levels are high, we can give you information about how to mitigate the radon. Either way, you have made an important step to keep your family safe.”

Testing your home with a short-term radon test kit is a quick and easy way to determine if there are high levels of radon in your home. Short-term test kits can be purchased at your local hardware store or through the New York State Department of Health website.  

For more information on radon or Health Department programs and services, visit or call your respective health department at: 

  • Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555 
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3278

Photo: Red-bellied woodpecker

By Howard B. Owens
red-bellied woodpecker
Jason Smith submitted this photo taken on Saturday morning in his Southside Batavia back yard of a red-bellied woodpecker.

Readers Photos: Northern Lights over Genesee County

By Howard B. Owens
northern lights frank capuano
Frank Capuano

An aurora borealis, or northern lights, was visible in Genesee County on Friday night.

The event, created by a solar storm, will return on Saturday evening; however, the forecast for partially cloudy skies could hinder visibility.

When there is a solar storm, some of the energy and small particles travel down the magnetic field at the north and south poles into the earth's atmosphere. The particles interact with gases in the atmosphere, creating a stunning light show.

Thank you to all the readers who submitted photos.

northern lights frank capuano
Frank Capuano
northern lights frank capuano
Frank Capuano
lisa ace
Lisa Ace
Marianne Newmark
Marianne Newmark
 Shannon Coniber northern lights
 Shannon Coniber 
NOT READY, don't publish, photo coming
 Shannon Coniber 
NOT READY, don't publish, photo coming
 Shannon Coniber 
 Cory Coles
Cory Coles
Cory Coles
Cory Coles
Cory Coles
Cory Coles
Cheryl Netter
Cheryl Netter
gia keene
Gia Keene
Gia Keene
Aniston Puma
Aniston Puma

Batavia Muckdogs sign 10 players and announce early season events

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Batavia Muckdogs are excited to announce the signing of 10 players to the 2024 roster this summer. 

Diego Alvarado (INF, Hendrix College, Jr.), Justin Austin (INF/OF, Cerro Coso Community College, So.), 2023 Returner - Trey Bacon (RHP/UTIL, University of Auburn-Montgomery, Sr.), 2023 Returner - Garrett Beaver (RHP, Salisbury University, So.), Bryceton Berry (RHP/OF, Flagler College, Fr.), 2023 Returner - Tucker Beving (RHP, University of Wisconsin-Stout, So.), James Bolton (Catcher, SUNY-Courtland, So.), Devin Brooks (RHP, Alabama State University, So.), Garrett Brunstetter (LHP, University of Missouri-St. Louis, So.), Jake Butler (INF, George Mason University, Fr.). 

The Muckdogs will also take part in several events this season including walking in the Memorial Day Parade, Eli Fish Season Ticket Holder Party, The Tiney Piney Meet & Greet, and Bowling with the Muckdogs at Mancuso Lanes.

Diego Alvarado is a 6’ utility player from Hendrix College. A native of Visalia, California, Alvarado is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. Alvarado played at Gateway Community College where he played in 38 games, hitting for a .279 average, and having 14 runs batted in. In his first season at Hendrix, Alvarado started 12 games for the Warriors while posting a .211 batting average, while driving in 8 runs, on 8 hits.

Justin Austin is a 5’7” infielder from Cerro Coso Community College. A native of Winter Park, Florida, Austin is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. In 27 games played for the Coyotes, Austin had a .318 batting average, with 27 hits, 28 runs batted in, and 1 home run.

Trey Bacon is a 5’11” right-handed pitcher from the University of Auburn at Montgomery. A native of Tampa, Florida, Bacon is a familiar face amongst Muckdogs fans as he is returning for his 4 th season. Bacon in 13.2 innings had 13 strikeouts for the Warhawks, and hitters having a .209 batting average against him. Coach Bush at Auburn-Montgomery had high praise for the senior pitcher.

Garrett Beaver is a 6’1 right-handed pitcher from Salisbury University. A native of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, Beaver is returning for another season in Batavia. Beaver, last season at Salisbury, pitched 36.1 innings, with a 3-2 record and 3 saves, struck out 34 batters with a 2.94 earned run average. His career numbers with the Seagulls are 47 innings pitched, with a 3-2 overall record, 3 saves, 46 strikeouts, and a 2.87 earned run average, with hitters having a .190 batting average against him.

Bryceton Berry is a 6’1 right-handed pitcher and outfielder from Flagler College. A native of Batavia, Berry is starting his first season with his hometown team. Berry’s first season at Flagler had him make appearances in the outfield and on the mound for the Saints. On the mound, Berry pitched 13.1 innings, while striking out 11, posting a 4.73 earned run average, and hitters had a .239 batting average against him. At the plate, Berry had 1 hit in 3 at bats, giving him a .333 batting average. Berry was also the MVP of the Batavia Rotary Club Tournament this summer at Dwyer.

Tucker Beving is a 6’ right-handed pitcher from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. A native of Norwalk, Iowa, Beving is entering his second season with the Muckdogs. Beving had 39.2 innings pitched, with 35 strikeouts for the Blue Devils. In his career, he has 82.1 innings pitched, with 73 strikeouts, tallying a 7.43 earned run average. Hitters have a .309 batting average against him. This season, Beving’s goal this season is to drop his ERA and opposing batting average to lead the pitching staff.

James Bolton is a 6’2” catcher from SUNY-Courtland. A native of nearby Webster, New York, Bolton is entering his first season with the Muckdogs. Bolton is looking to bring leadership and playoff experience to Batavia following his college season where SUNY-Courtland made a deep playoff run. 

Devin Brooks is a 6’3” right-handed pitcher from Alabama State University. A native of Alabaster, Alabama, Brooks is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. In his most recent season at Alabama State, Brooks pitched 27.2 innings while striking out 22 batters, giving him a 1-2 record. In his career with the Hornets, Brooks has 31.1 innings, with 24 strikeouts, and a 1-2 record, with opposing hitters having a .239 batting average against him.

Garrett Brunstetter is a 6’2” left-handed pitcher from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Brunstetter is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. In 52 innings pitched for the Tritons, Brunstetter struck out 65 batters, posting a 5.71 earned run average, and hitters had a .254 batting average against him.

Jake Butler is a 5’11” infielder from George Mason University. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Butler is starting his first season with the Muckdogs. In 23 starts for George Mason University, Butler has a .256 batting average with 21 hits, in 82 at bats, 9 runs batted in, and 2 home runs. Butler is looking to make an impact for Batavia in his first season.

Fans can see the Muckdogs before the action starts on Monday, May 27 in the annual Memorial Day Parade. 

On Tuesday, May 28 the Muckdogs will host their annual Season Ticket Holder Eat & Meet at Eli Fish Brewing at 6 p.m. 

Then on Wednesday, May 29 join the Muckdogs at The Tiney Piney (5609 Main St. Batavia). 

Fans can bowl with the Muckdogs on Tuesday, June 4 at Mansuco Bowling Center/T.F. Brown’s at 6 p.m. as well. They can contact Manscuso Bowling Center directly at 585-343-1319 to reserve their spot to Bowl with players. 

Opening Day is Saturday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. vs the Elmira Pioneers with Post Game Fireworks presented by Graham Corporation & Batavia Downs. Call 585-524-2260 for single-game tickets & season ticket plans start at just $99.

Arc GLOW outfits sites in Genesee County with AEDs

By Press Release
Corinne Phelps and Martin Lattin next to the AED at Arc GLOW’s Genesee Administration
Building on Walnut Street in Batavia.
Submitted photo. 

Press Release:

Arc GLOW purchased a total of 19 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Genesee and Wyoming counties due to generosity by two different organizations.

Fifteen AEDs in Genesee County were purchased with assistance from the Genesee County New York State Opioid Settlement Fund. 

Of these 15 AEDs, four are at Arc GLOW’s public facing offices — the Genesee Administration Building, Business Services and Transportation building, Community Center in Batavia and Elba Day Habilitation. 

These AEDs are in a cabinet at a set location, and have been added to the Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) program — if someone calls 911 in need of an AED, an operator will be able to direct them to one of those four buildings for assistance. The case will make a sound when it is opened, and there will be a child/pediatric cartridge at each location and an additional adult cartridge.

The four AEDs in Wyoming County were purchased due to grant funds from the William F. Thiel Trust at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. These four plus the 11 from Genesee County went to Arc GLOW’s 11 individualized residential alternatives (IRAs) where individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) live.

“Everyone wants to go about their day thinking what they’re doing is making some kind of difference. Not every project has the luxury of visual evidence like this one did,” said Jeff Kantrowski, quality assurance coordinator at Arc GLOW. “At one point there was a literal wall of life-saving AEDs sitting behind me. It’s awesome to be able to have a hand in putting those units into the world all over Genesee and Wyoming counties; especially knowing that several of the units could have an impact in the community beyond Arc GLOW.” 

According to the American Red Cross, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is among the leading causes of death in the United States. In fact, more than 350,000 people will suffer a SCA this year. 

Currently, the only way to restore a regular heart rhythm during a SCA is to use an AED. Without immediate cardiac medical intervention, the person will die of cardiac death within minutes.

When SCA occurs, rapid treatment with an AED can be lifesaving. But defibrillation is time sensitive. The probability of survival decreases by 7 percent to 10 percent for every minute that a victim doesn't receive treatment.

Individuals with IDD are a vulnerable population that is susceptible to having medical emergencies. For more than a century, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has enhanced and encouraged long-term philanthropy in the Western New York community. 

A 501 (c)(3) organization, the Community Foundation’s mission is connection people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. Established in 1919, the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care. Learn more at

Arc GLOW is a private, non-profit organization founded by parents and friends of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. 

It is dedicated to helping people with IDD meet their full potential and find fulfillment in learning, personal relationships, employment, volunteerism, recreation, the arts, and more. Arc GLOW serves up to 2,000 individuals with IDD of all ages throughout the GLOW counties. For more information, visit

Le Roy resident, Thruway worker, killed on the job on Thursday

By Howard B. Owens
vinny thruway
Submitted photo of Vincent J. Giammarva of Le Roy.

A 62-year-old resident of Le Roy, Vincent J. "Vinny" Giammarva, was killed on Thursday while working on the Thruway in Chili after being struck by a tractor-trailer.

According to the Thruway Authority, Giammarva was inside a work zone when he was struck. His co-worker, Mark Vara, 58, of Scottsville, was seriously injured when the eastbound tractor-trailer entered the work zone just before 12:30 p.m.

The accident occurred near mile marker 368, between Exit 47 in Le Roy and Exit 46 in Henrietta.

Giammarva was pronounced dead at the scene. Vara is listed in critical condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

"Our Maintenance employees embody the heart and soul of this organization. Roadside workers risk their lives daily to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road," The Thruway Authority released in an unattributed statement. "The entire Thruway family is in mourning, and our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of everyone involved."

Giammarva was a heavy construction equipment operator for the Thruway Authority. 

In a statement, the Thruway Authority also said, "Vinny was a dedicated public servant who worked in the Thruway's Henrietta Maintenance Section for nearly 20 years. Vinny’s unwavering dedication embodied the very essence of this organization, which is now left with an unimaginable void and a long grieving process ahead."

The 64-year-old truck driver from Oswego has not otherwise been identified. State Police investigators said they don't believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash. There have been no charges filed but the investigation is ongoing.

Former security adviser Flynn to debut film at Cornerstone Church Friday evening

By Joanne Beck

Controversial U.S. Army veteran Michael Flynn, who last visited Batavia with the Reawaken Tour in 2022, will be showing a film he produced aptly titled "Flynn" during another evening visit to Cornerstone Church.

The film is described as "A gripping and revealing true film exploring the life of General Michael Flynn, from his rise in the US Military to the severe political persecution he faced exposing corruption as the National Security Advisor to President Trump."
Flynn, who served more than three decades in the military and at one point was head of the U.S. Intelligence Agency, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was later pardoned by former president Donald Trump. 
In addition to himself, the film also features family members, talk show host Tucker Carlson, businessman Devin Nunes and journalist Lee Smith.
Flynn appeared with a host of other guest speakers during the 2022 Reawaken Tour, which rolled into Batavia after being barred from a Rochester site due to concerns of potential violence over the tour's talking points and subject matter. 
The event will begin at 5 p.m., and the film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. at Cornerstone Church, 8020 Bank Street Road, Batavia. 
Tickets are $35 and $200 for a VIP package. To purchase, go HERE.

Tenney introduces the Essential Caregivers Act

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of 
Claudia Tenney.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24), alongside Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Congressman John Larson (CT-01), and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Essential Caregivers Act today.

This bill would protect the residents in long-term care facilities, giving all residents nationwide the right to have in person access to an essential caregiver when visitations are restricted due to a declared emergency. The bipartisan bill seeks to prevent a repeat of the isolation and lack of care that long-term care residents were unjustly subjected to during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also requires CMS to set clear and fair guidelines for essential caregivers to protect the safety of facility staff and residents.

Additional cosponsors of this legislation include Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Adrian Smith(NE-03), John Rutherford (FL-05), Derrick Van Orden (WI-03), Susan Wild, (PA-07), Mike Carey (OH-15), Mike Lawler (NY-17), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Susie Lee (NV-03), Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06), Don Bacon (NE-02), and Donald Davis (NC-01).

“Under federal law, nursing homes and long-term care facilities have the obligation to allow their residents access to caregivers,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “Sadly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, this right was denied to many residents and families, causing many seniors and patients to suffer and die alone. This injustice should never occur again, which is why Congressman John Larson, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Senator John Cornyn and I introduced the Essential Caregivers Act. We must fix this loophole to protect the rights of senior citizens, those with disabilities, and their families during the next public health crisis.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the vital role family members play in the care and wellbeing of their loved ones in long-term care facilities,” said Senator Blumenthal. “The Essential Caregivers Act ensures that in the event of a future emergency, residents in these facilities will still be able to receive the support, care, and companionship that their family members provide. This commonsense legislation allows at least one designated essential caregiver to have safe, in-person access to their loved ones at all times—ultimately protecting the overall physical, emotional, and mental health of long-term care residents.”  

“The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that isolation hurts all of us, yet countless families were prevented from being with their loved ones during their time of need,” said Congressman Larson. “I am glad to join Rep. Tenney and Senators Blumenthal and Cornyn in this bipartisan and bicameral effort to expand visiting access for essential caregivers during future public health emergencies to ensure residents can get the support they need from their loved ones and never again face the isolation that was a reality for far too many patients.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic showed just how invaluable caregivers are to the physical and emotional wellbeing of long-term care facility residents and their families,” said Senator Cornyn. “This bill would ensure residents have consistent access to their loved ones or other designated caregivers, even during public health emergencies when regular visitation may be limited.”

Pembroke coach who brought community together over 30-year career honored with field dedication

By Kara Richenberg
Ron Funke throws first pitch to Jessica Edwards.
Photo by Kara Richenberg 

On Wednesday a little rain couldn't stop the Pembroke community from coming out and honoring one of its own with one of the highest honors for a coach. 

Ron Funke, retired Pembroke teacher and Varsity Softball coach, was honored with Funke Field and a dedication ceremony.

More than 100 community members, alumni, and teachers came out to honor Funke before the Lady Dragons' home game against Oakfield-Alabama. The Pembroke Marching Band also entertained the crowd.

Arron Brown, a sixth-grade teacher and president of the Pembroke Teachers Federation began the ceremony and spoke "Many of us had the pleasure and the privilege to coach with Ron. What he shared during long bus rides or early morning practices helped us all become better coaches, educators, and people. Those conversations mean so much to so many of us."

Superintendent Matthew Calderon and John Cima, Board of Education president, both spoke about Ron's legacy and commitment to the Pembroke community.

"I would have never been able to do this alone. I would like to thank Bruce Phalzer, Ken Maurer, JC Kabel, and Al Miano," Funke said. "I have many great memories and have all the former Lady Dragons to thank for that."

After the unveiling of the official Funke Field sign, all past and current Lady Dragon softball players were asked to gather around the pitcher's mound for the first pitch of the game.

Funke threw the first pitch to Jessica Edwards, who is a Pembroke graduate, a former Lady Dragon softball player, and a Board of Education member.

The umpires then officially ejected Funke from the game. Everyone in attendance laughed. Calderon congratulated Funke. 

Matt Calderon and Funke
Superintendent Matthew Calderon, congratulates Ron Funke.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
Pembroke Marching Band entertains the crowd. 
Photo by Kara Richenberg
Funke family gets ready for the unveiling of the sign.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
Unveiling of the Funke Field sign.
Photo by Kara Richenberg
Ron Funke with the new Funke Field sign.
Photo by Kara Richenberg

Emily Pietrzykowski tosses 1-hit shutout as Alexander beats Perry 5-0.

By Staff Writer
alexander softball

Junior right-hander Emily Pietrzykowski spun a gem for Alexander in softball on Thursday, going the distance and surrendering only one hit in a 5-0 shutout over Perry.

Sophomore Ava Yax led the Trojans at the plate, going 2-2 with an RBI, two walks, a run scored and a stolen base. 

Pietrzykowski was 1-2 with a double, a walk, and a run scored and a stolen base. 

Melissa Sawyer, Melanie Bump and Ella Felski all landed singles on the day.

"This was a bit of a pitcher’s duel today, and both girls pitched very well," said Coach John Goodenbury. "Emily really had her changeup working great and kept their hitters off-balance in the box. Our girls also played a very solid game on defense to back her up.  I feel like we turned a corner after a tough 1-3 loss to Avon on April 23.  Since then we have gone 7-1 and have outscored our opponents 94-17.  Today, Perry showed us their ability to put the ball in play, and I am sure they will be a tough matchup for anyone moving forward.  We look forward to a difficult 5 p.m. matchup with Notre Dame on Friday at GCC."

Submitted photos 

alexander softball
alexander softball
alexander softball
alexander softball
alexander softball

Notre Dame defeats Elba 10-2 to lead Class D heading in to softball sectionals

By Press Release
Pitcher Mia Treleaven lead the offense for Notre Dame.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Pitcher Mia Treleaven lead the offense for Notre Dame.  Photo by Steve Ognibene

Press release:

Sophomore Mia Treleaven got the start in the circle for the Lady Irish tonight and pitched a gem, going seven innings, giving up 2 hits, 2 runs (0 earned) and striking out 9 batters while only walking one.  

Brea Smith took the loss for Elba, pitching 6 innings, giving up 11 hits, 10 runs (7 earned) and striking out 1 batter and walking two.

Leading the way offensively for the Lady Irish were Emma Sisson, Katie Landers and Anna Panepento, each contributing 2 hits.  Sisson also added a run scored and an RBI, Landers had a double, runs scored and an RBI, and Panepento scored 2 runs.  Loretta Sorochty, Mia Treleaven, Sofia Falleti, Amelia Sorochty and Olivia Gillard each contributed hits.  L. Sorochty had a run scored, and an RBI, Treleaven had a double and 2 RBIs, A. Sorochty added a run and 2 RBIs and 7th grader Gillard added a double, a run scored and 2 RBIs, along with drawing a walk.  

For the Lady Lancers, Smith and Thompson each had a base hit, and Thompson drove in 2 RBIs.

The win moves the Lady Irish to 13-2 on the season and drops Elba to 7-7.  

To view or purchase photos, click here.

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

Notre Dame senior breaks 48-year-old school record in shot put

By Howard B. Owens
mavrik hall shot put

Mavrik Hall, a senior at Notre Dame High School, broke a school record in shot put at the Batavia Track & Field Invitational on Saturday that has stood for 48 years.

Hall threw 51 feet, one inch, breaking Mike Cordes's 1976 record of 50 feet, eight inches.

According to Mike Rapone, Notre Dame's principal and athletic director, Hall is a five-sport athlete who excels in football, basketball, indoor track, golf and outdoor track. 

He is the defending Section V B5 champion in both the shot put and the discus. 

Loni Hall, Mavrik's proud mother, said her son hasn't had a shot put coach at Notre Dame and that he is self-coached.

She said Mavrik intends to attend Columbia College in South Carolina for business, where he will also throw shot put.

Submitted photos.

mavrik hall shot put

Batavia PD releases safety tips after bear spotted in back yard on Vine Street

By Howard B. Owens
bear on vine street batavia

Batavia PD has a timely reminder for city residents: Never approach a bear.

The warning comes after a Ring camera on a residence on Vine Street recorded a bear walking through backyard.

Other safety tips:

  • Secure food, garbage and recycling;
  • Do not leave pet food outside;
  • Remove bird feeders if you spot bears in your yard;

More tips regarding being bear-wise can be found on the DEC website.

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