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Seneca Nation sues Wildlife Service over approval of STAMP pipeline

By Howard B. Owens

Asserting rights over the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, the Tonawanda Seneca Nation has filed a lawsuit against the federal government in U.S. District Court over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approval of a right of way for an industrial wastewater pipeline through the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

The lawsuit asserts that the Nation has standing to sue because the refuge is historically and culturally interrelated with the Nation's ancestral territory, even though it is outside the boundaries of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. 

The pipeline, which received approval from both the Fish and Wildlife Service and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, is intended to move wastewater from WNY STAMP in the Town of Alabama to the north. 

Orleans County, despite previous approvals within its jurisdiction, has also sued to stop the pipeline.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center, developers of STAMP, are not named in the Nation's lawsuit.

An official with GCEDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Nation is claiming that the pipeline approval violates the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.

The pipeline is not compatible, under terms of the law, with the purpose of the refuge, the suit claims.

The suit asserts that the Wildlife Service violated these laws granting approval for construction of the pipeline and seeks injunctive relief, which would mean stopping further construction of the forced main.

"Consultation with an Indian Nation must occur regarding sites with 'religious and cultural significance' that are off tribal lands, and federal regulations instruct agencies to consider that historic properties of religious and cultural significance are often located on ancestral or ceded lands," the suit claims.

NOTE: The lawsuit is 82 pages long. This story is a summary of key points of the suit. To read the full document, click here (pdf)

The Nation claims that a 19,000-acre area that includes the Refuge, the Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area, the John White Wildlife Management Area and the Tonawanda Seneca Nation Reservation Territory from the Tonawanda Iroquois Oak Orchard Wetlands Complex, an area the nation is claiming is important to the Senecas for cultural and historic purposes.

"This relatively undeveloped corridor protects the culturally significant plants, animals, land, and water resources that are essential to Tonawanda Seneca traditional cultural practices and beliefs," the suit states.

The suit asserts the Nation wasn't afforded its right, under Federal law, to participate in the pipeline approval process.

"The Nation retains the right to practice its culture, religion and traditional lifeways within its ancestral Territory, both inside and outside its Reservation boundaries," the suit states, adding, "Cultural resources and historic properties of importance to the Nation are located on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, based on traditional cultural knowledge of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation and as confirmed by the Fish & Wildlife Service’s 1992 survey of the entire Refuge."

The Nation will be harmed if construction of the pipeline is allowed to continue, according to the suit.

"Construction and operation of the industrial wastewater and treated sewage pipeline through the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge will harm Nation citizens and their enjoyment of the Refuge, as well as the Nation’s cultural resources, which include both historical and archaeological resources and wildlife, plant, and water resources in their ancestral territory in Western New York."

The suit claims the wastewater treatment facility that will be connected to the pipeline will lead to noise, traffic, odors, vibrations, light, air, and water pollution, and that it will "negatively affect the Nation’s lands, waters, environment, cultural resources, and places of religious and cultural significance."

The suit claims that the Nation previously communicated its rights under the law to GCEDC in a letter in 2016:

The Nation’s sovereign right to its territory, including the natural resources of the territory, is protected by federal treaty. The Nation has federal reserved water rights attached to our territory and the STAMP project lies entirely in Seneca aboriginal land. Waters, including streams and wetlands, span the boundary between the STAMP site and the Nation. From time immemorial, our people have used and occupied the forests, streams and wetlands of the Nation’s territory, including those directly adjacent to the STAMP site. Fish, birds, deer and other wildlife pass freely through this area and many trees and plants, including medicinal plants, grow there. All of these are an integral part of the natural world that we give thanks and acknowledge every day as Haudenosaunee with the words given to us by the Peacemaker.

Previously, and primarily in response to the Orleans County lawsuit, GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde said he is not concerned about the legal challenges facing STAMP.

From The Batavian's prior coverage:

The northern route for the sewer line, he said, is the most environmentally sound option, which is why the route was recommended by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

"If you look at the reality of what we're dealing with, in that case, that particular situation, it is DEC permitted," Hyde said. "They spent three years reviewing the plans. The DEC directed us to put the flow there because it was the best place for the care of that water body versus where we were looking as an option in Genesee County. It would have been more environmentally challenging than to do it in Genesee, and that was the reason they selected that area. There was careful study by the authority that has the responsibility for maintaining and protecting our environment. And they issued the permit. And that permit is far more stringent than what the Medina Wastewater Treatment Plant is currently operating under because they're grandfathered. 

"So when I look at the challenges that are before us and presented, it's procedural things, and with procedural things, there are always ways to find solutions. So I am not at all concerned about proceeding, because it's a long pathway to do all this stuff anyway. And at the end of it, by proceeding, we're going to enjoy greater economic vibrancy here in this region."


ACORNS group offers first hike of 2024 for free on Jan. 1

By Press Release

Press Release:

What better way to greet the New Year than with a hike in the forest? 

On New Year’s Day 2024, ACORNS (Association for the Conservation of Recreational and Natural Spaces) is offering a First Day Hike at the Genesee County Park & Forest! Hike starts at 10 a.m. at Pavilion B on Raymond Road at the Genesee County Park & Forest. This FREE guided hike is for you and friends of all ages to welcome the coming year in the outdoors while getting healthy exercise and connecting with nature.

This casual recreational event offers 2 hiking options! Hike 1 is approximately 3 miles over rolling hills with moderate terrain. Hike 2 is approximately 1.5 miles over easy terrain. Both hikes begin and end at Pavilion B and feature time in the forest, beautiful natural scenery and snacks by a fire in an enclosed pavilion. 

Trails are not stroller-friendly and may have tree branches overhead. All ages are welcome, dogs are also welcome and must be on a leash at all times. 

Seize the day and enjoy the natural beauty of the Genesee County Park & Forest! We hope you’ll make hiking a habit for a healthy 2024! Please pre-register by FB message @GeneseeCountyACORNS or by email Walk-ins are also welcome.

Borrello releases statement on extension of Seneca Nation gaming compact

By Press Release

Press Release:

“The news that an agreement has been reached on an extension of the Gaming Compact between the state and the Seneca Nation is welcome news to those of us who have been urging the Hochul administration to act before the Dec. 9 expiration date.

The Seneca Nation is a valued neighbor in Western New York and their gaming facilities and resorts are a major economic driver. This agreement relieves a measure of uncertainty that has increasingly clouded this issue as the expiration date approached.

I urge the Hochul administration to use this extension productively rather than as an excuse to kick the can down the road. The Governor and her team need to come to the table with a commitment to engaging in good-faith negotiations on an agreement that is fair to all parties. That commitment has been lacking in this process up until now.

The gaming landscape has changed profoundly in the last two decades and any new agreement should reflect that while simultaneously assuring that critical funding to host communities is sustained.”

Alexander scores 104 points in win over Lyndonville

By Howard B. Owens
alexander basketball

Alexander had an easy time of it against Lyndonville on Monday, netting the Trojans their second win of the season, 104-18.


  • Trent Woods, 12 points, 10 assists, two rebounds.
  • King Woods, 14 points, four assists and two rebounds.
  • Dylan Pohl, 17 points and eight rebounds.
  • Anthony Pellegrino, 14 points (four three-pointers)

Also on Monday, Oakfield-Alabama beat Barker, 64-44.

Photos by Pete Welker.

alexander basketball
alexander basketball
alexander basketball
alexander basketball
alexander basketball
alexander basketball
alexander basketball

Karl Marth Cup bowling: North edges South to keep title

By Mike Pettinella

For the second straight year, the Karl Marth Cup came down to the final match and for the second straight year, the BBA North team came out on top.

In competition on Saturday at Medina Lanes, the North squad, comprised mostly of bowlers from the Medina and Oakfield area, defeated the South team of mostly Batavia-area bowlers by a score of 62.5-60.5.

Points were awarded for winning scores in Doubles, Singles, Baker Doubles and Baker Team events. The North team now holds a 17-12 advantage in the series, which began in 1994 as a Batavia versus Albion match in the former Batavia Bowling Association.

This year, the North withstood a spirited rally by the South, surviving by taking one of three closing Baker team events. The North came out hot, winning all six Doubles matches.

The teams split the points in Singles and Baker Doubles, and the South won two of the three Baker Team events but just fell short.

Last year, the North won, 62-61, at Mancuso Bowling Center.

Individually, Alex Allis of Medina earned the Scott Wright Memorial Award by winning three of his four matches for the North. The South’s Paul Bacon received the Joe Trigilio Memorial Award, also taking three of his four matches.

Scott Gibson and Jake Rosenbeck each averaged 229 for the day to lead the North while Scott Culp’s 225 and Mike Johnson’s 223 paced the South.

Members of the BBA North team, winners of the Karl Marth Cup on Saturday, are, kneeling from left, Scott Allis, Jake Rosenbeck, Mike Lavender and Roger Allis; standing, Garrett Gibson, Dean Cadieux Jr., Jason Mahnke, Scott Gibson, Alex Allis, Hayden Allis, Jim Foss and Brian Cline. Submitted photo.

Genesee County considers use of AI to analyze bridge reports with $30K subscription

By Joanne Beck

Think what you will about the use of artificial intelligence for making up silly random songs and possibly helping to write that late-night term paper, but there are certainly more cutting edge, time-saving uses for the technology.

Just ask Genesee County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens. He recommended that the county purchase a $30,000 subscription to an AI service that will analyze state Department of Transportation bridge and culvert reports, identify problem areas and help county personnel potentially whittle a job from 12 months down to two or three weeks.

Tim Hens

"So after the first of the year, we're going to upload all of our bridge inspection reports to the company. And they're going to use the AI software to just quickly analyze all the pictures and the data. And there's, I mean, each bridge probably has a 15- to 20-page report that comes with it, they're gonna go through each report, look at all the pictures that AI literally scans the photos,” Hens said after Monday’s Public Service meeting. “And I don't know how exactly it works. Yes, the software can detect things. I mean, you know, a human could detect it as well if we were going through it, but it's literally 1000s and 1000s of pages. And we only have two or three people. And we have other stuff like a jail and a water project that are being built. So you just nip away at it. And you might get through two or three a week. But we've got 374 bridges and culverts that have got to be inspected. And then someone's got to go through those reports. So this is kind of a quick way. 

“Again, using AI software, which is brand new to the industry, to review all of those pictures and photos and then just spit out a report saying okay, you've got 20 bridges that have concrete abutments that need repairs, you've got 10 bridges that have bad bearings, you've got two bridges that should be painted, and here's the costs, and here's the locations,” he said. “It's got to be fixed. And it's pretty impressive. It literally will do in two to three weeks what it would take two to three humans to do all year long.”

He’s got faith in the company, Dynamic Infrastructure, which is just breaking into New York State, with Genesee County being one of the first counties to use this technology. He knows that some are using it in Iowa and Minnesota, with some counties here investigating it, “but I think we’re one of the fist ones in New York State” to be using it. 

“I’ve seen a demo multiple times. I’ve been through an hour-long presentation on it. It’s very impressive,” he said. “It’s gonna be, I think, a good tool for us, hopefully moving forward.”

It is about prioritizing, he said, and will also involve some strategy once he can see what kinds of repairs are needed and where.

“Because if you have similar repairs on bridges, but they're spread out in seven or eight different locations, you might just issue one contract. You know that the contractor might go from bridge to bridge to bridge fixing the exact same thing in six different locations, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than putting out six different contracts and then having six different contractors, piecemeal, yeah, so it's going to allow us to kind of, you know, kill two birds with one stone, and probably get a little bit of bang for our buck too, because you're gonna be hiring a contractor to do 10 locations as opposed to one at a time,” he said. “So I think it's gonna be a really powerful tool.”

The Public Service Committee agreed with his recommendation and moved the resolution on to Ways & Means, and then it will go to the full Legislature for a final vote that Hens recommends further analyzing county bridge and culvert inspection reports with artificial intelligence software to quantify and estimate repairs identified in the reports.

Hens has evaluated a proposal for this work and has recommended the purchase of an annual subscription to this service from Dynamic Infrastructure of New York, NY, at a cost not to exceed $30,000 for the period from Jan. 1, 2024, through Dec. 31, 2024.

He doesn't believe that it will be necessary to have a yearly subscription, so once the brunt of the work is done and details obtained, it can be canceled until the county needs updated information, he said. 

The contract will be funded by the Large Span Culverts Capital Project, which has an available balance of $2,739,357.

STEP takes a leap over to St. Anthony's on the Southside

By Joanne Beck
October 2022 file photo of Carla Mindler
2022 File Photo of Carla Mindler when she was explaining a need for Social Services to fill the gap left by no more STAR with the Student Transformation and Empowerment Program (STEP), and on Monday, she explained that STEP was now in need -- of new space -- since its current contract at Robert Morris was being terminated after this school year.
Photo by Joanne Beck

In October 2022, Social Services Commissioner Carla Mindler was figuring out how to fill a gap when the STAR program ended, and the Student Transformation and Empowerment Program (STEP) was put in its place and operated at Robert Morris in Batavia. 

This year, Mindler had to find new space for STEP when she learned that Robert Morris would no longer be able to house the program and its middle and high school student participants after the end of this school year, she said. 

As it happens, she knew a guy who knew a guy — Ryan Macdonald of City Church — who offered to rent out a portion of St. Anthony’s for the county-run program. 

“So I'm looking to enter into a lease agreement with City Church, which is doing the business of St. Anthony's Church, to move the STEP program. We were notified by Batavia City School District that Robert Morris would not be available after the school year, so we've been looking for a site. We did find this location, it absolutely meets all of our needs,” Mindler said during Monday’s Human Services meeting. “We have access to all of the rooms, we have a gym, we have classrooms, we have an office. I had to go to the school district and ask that they terminate our lease early because it went through August, and we wanted to move in sooner just so we didn't lose the spot. And we're also hoping to move between when they're off for Christmas. So we're looking to start this January 1.”

The contract with the school district was $3,000 a month for Robert Morris, and it will be $3,500 a month for St. Anthony’s, she said. 

The program includes academic lessons, physical exercise, and behavioral therapists. It is considered a preventive program for at-risk youth within child welfare and prevention.

STAR had an ongoing contract for these services, and program leaders did not renew the contract last fall, leaving a potential void that Social Services personnel opted to pick up. That included the hiring of full-time adolescent behavioral specialists I and II, and a full-time adolescent behavioral coordinator to work directly with the youth in their homes and schools to mentor, guide and assist them with their required tasks.

There have been about 40 kids in the program, Mindler has previously said. 

“So we need two classrooms because we keep the kids separated by age, so kind of the middle school and high school kids. We have an office for the program coordinator, then we need access to the gym because we like to get them moving, especially in the morning. They do their exercises, calisthenics, and we have them back there in the afternoon,” she said. “We need space for when the therapist comes in and does group meetings with the kids. And so it's all right there kind of on the floor. It really checks all of our boxes. So we don't want to lose the space.”

The committee agreed to pass along the contract to Ways & Means, and then it will go to the full county Legislature for a final vote. 

If approved, the contract would be for $3,500 a month from Jan. 1, 2024, to Dec. 31, 2028, for St. Anthony’s Church at 114 Liberty St., Batavia. The expenses are paid out of funding for Community Optional Preventive Services, which are 36.3 percent local share, or $15,246 per year. 

Genesee County Health Department seeks renewal for rabies treatment services

By Joanne Beck

Have you ever seen those appeals from the health department looking for the owner of a dog that recently took a bite out of someone on the street?

That’s because those random bites of unidentified animals result in rabies treatments for the victims. Just how often does this happen, Genesee County Legislator John Deleo asked during a Human Services meeting Monday.

More than you might think. 

“You see a lot of press releases, particularly in April and May when the animals come out and people go out, and the weather gets better. On average, 25 to 30 people a year, with dog and cat bites,” Public Health Director Paul Pettit said while requesting a contract renewal for rabies treatment services between the county and United Memorial Medical Center. “Sometimes we're looking for a dog that maybe bit somebody, and we're trying to find the owner. That's been successful from time to time. And bat season is typically in August, where you get a lot of bats in the home at night while people are sleeping. Unfortunately, they let them go. And they just happen to test a lot of people.”

UMMC provides a post-exposure rabies vaccine to those bitten by animals suspected of having rabies or when it’s unknown whether they may have the disease. 

The agreement is expected to result in a budget impact of a reduction of expenses for the vaccine and an increase in insurance reimbursements, according to the county resolution. The Human Services Committee agreed, and it is to move on to Ways & Means and then to the Legislature for a final vote.

The committee also approved Pettit’s request for an agreement to pay $750 to The Harvester Center for winter storage of the health department’s RV and trailer; and $8,000 for public health advertising about the ill effects of lead at Dwyer Stadium and the David McCarthy ice arena in Batavia. The advertising expenses are covered by a grant, Pettit said. 

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of using handgun to threaten another person, resisting arrest

By Howard B. Owens
John A. Cabrera
John A. Cabrera

John A. Cabrera, 56, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon 3rd, menacing 2nd, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration 2nd,  harassment 2nd, and promoting prison contraband 1st. Cabrera is accused of threatening another person with a handgun during a fight on Washington Avenue, Batavia, on Nov. 24. He is accused of fighting with police when they attempted to take him into custody. While being booked at the Genesee County Jail, Cabrera was allegedly found in possession of contraband. He was arraigned and released.

Shawna L. Lamont, 34, of Perry, is charged with bail jumping 2nd. Lamont is accused of missing a court date after being released on a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance 5th. She was arraigned in City Court and released.

Benjamin G. Evans, 35, of Batavia, was arrested on three warrants on Nov. 28. Two of the warrants are related to incidents where Evans allegedly stole packages from porches. The other is related to a trespassing complaint on Swan Street on Sept. 19. Evans was arraigned and released. 

James L. Dart, 70, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Dart is accused of spitting on another person during a fight on Tracy Avenue on Nov. 27. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Carla L. Spikes, 33, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Spikes is accused of punching another person in the face during a fight on Hutchins Street, Batavia, on Nov. 18. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Trevon L. Armstrong, 38, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief 4th. Armstrong is accused of damaging a window at a residence on Denio Street on Nov. 16. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Haley M. Larnder, 24, of Batavia, is charged with two counts of bail jumping 3rd. The charges stem from two separate cases where Larnder is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. She allegedly failed to appear in court as ordered. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Daniel N. McDaid, 40, of Tonawanda, and April J. Conley, 39, of Lewiston, are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. McDaid and Conley were charged following a traffic stop on Ross Street by a Batavia patrol officer. They were allegedly found in possession of narcotics. Conley was additionally charged with Tampering with Physical Evidence. She allegedly attempted to hide evidence. Both were issued appearance tickets.

Allyson P. Lawrence, 29, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Lawrence was allegedly found in possession of narcotics on Nov. 26 while being arrested on an unrelated warrant. Lawrence was arraigned and released.

Alex P. Brasky, 32, of Batavia, is charged with DWI. Braskey was stopped by a Batavia patrol officer on Nov. 22 on South Jackson Street, Batavia. He was arraigned and released.

Russell H. Blumer, 51, of Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and harassment 2nd. Blumer is accused of punching another person during a fight on Thorp Street on Nov. 12 while a child was present. He was arraigned and released.

Jerome W. Amesbury, 58, of Batavia, was arrested on Nov. 26 on a warrant. The warrant stems from a traffic stop on Ellicott Street on June 23, which led to a charge of aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd and several traffic violations. Amesbury is accused of failure to appear in court as ordered. He was arraigned and released.

Trevawn O. Wright, 23, of Le Roy. Wright was arrested on a warrant on Nov. 23. Wright was initially charged on Aug. 13 with aggravated unlicensed operation 2nd after he was involved in a traffic accident on South Main Street, Batavia. The warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court. He was arraigned in and released.

Jonathan W. Dodson, Jr., 37, of Holley, is charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse 3rd. Dodson was arrested by State Police in connection with an incident reported at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 1 in the Town of Elba. He was issued an appearance ticket. No further information was released.

Mark P. Heale, 55, of Bethany, is charged with torture/injury/not feed an animal. Heale was arrested by State Police in connection with a report taken at 2:14 p.m. on Nov. 21 in the Town of Bethany. He was issued an appearance ticket.  No further information was released.

Susan Ann Samanka, 60, of West Main Street, Batavia, was charged on Dec. 4 with sex offender failure to appear for photo. Samanka is accused of failing to report to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office as required for a photo as a registered sex offender by the required date. Samanka was held pending arraignment.

Joe Andrew Cortez, 41, of Park Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Cortez is accused of violating a stay-away order of protection at 12:43 p.m. on Nov. 23. Cortez was issued an appearance ticket.

Michael Robert Hawkins, 27, of Route 98, Attica, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd, speed not reasonable and prudent, and moving from lane unsafely. Hawkins was reportedly involved in a traffic accident on Simonds Road, Darien, at 11:51 a.m. on Dec. 1. During the investigation, Deputy Stephen Smith determined Hawkins was allegedly in possession of a large quantity of controlled substances. Hawkins was held pending arraignment.

City Hall video shows vehicle hitting Wendy's building on Friday

By Howard B. Owens
Remote video URL

There were no injuries on Friday afternoon after a car jumped a curb, struck a truck on Jefferson Avenue in Batavia and then turned sharply to its right and headed straight for the Wendy's building.

Sgt. Dan Coffey, Batavia PD, said it appeared that the driver mistakenly pressed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal as the vehicle attempted to enter a parking space.

The vehicle struck a construction truck, a street sign, a pickup truck and then the Wendy's building.

There were no citations issued.

A camera mounted on City Hall captured the incident.

Annual 'Shop with a Cop' announced for Saturday

By Howard B. Owens
shop with a cop 2021
File photo from Shop with a Cop in 2021
Photo by Howard Owens

Press release:

The City of Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff's Office, and the Le Roy Police Department are preparing for the Ninth Annual “Shop with a Cop” event.  

The event will take place Saturday, Dec. 9 at Walmart located at 4133 Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia. 

For those not familiar with the event, local children -- with the help of school resource officers and school officials from each school in Genesee County are selected to participate.  Children are provided funds and their own personal police officer/deputy to accompany them on a Christmas shopping trip at our local Walmart.  

Walmart graciously hosts and staffs the event.  Walmart also provides funding and goody bags for each child.

Grant money from Walmart, donations from the City of Batavia Police Benevolent Association, City of Batavia Civil Employee’s Association (CSEA), the City’s “Jeans for Friday” program, and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Employee Association make this event possible.  

All the participating agencies want to thank everyone in advance, especially during this time of the year, as it is an event that we are grateful to be able to participate in and provide for our community. In the past, community members/businesses have inquired about donating to the cause.  Donations can be brought to 10 W. Main St. Batavia N.Y. (Attn Detective DeFreze) or 165 Park Rd. Batavia N.Y. (Attn Sgt. Sanfratello).  Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 299 Batavia, N.Y. 14020 (Batavia PD) or P.O. Box 249 Batavia, N.Y. 14020 (Genesee County Sheriff’s Office).  Donations will allow more children to participate, or potentially increase the amount each child is provided, and lessen other costs associated with the event.  Any excess funds will be designated for the following year's event.  As of this writing, there are sufficient funds to cover this year’s event.  

We graciously ask that you keep us in mind next year!

Boy Scout Troop 650 hosts Breakfast with Santa fundraiser

By Steve Ognibene
Photo with Santa of Boy Troop 650 of Alexander NY  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo with Santa of Boy Troop 650 of Alexander
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Boy Scout Troop 650 hosted a Breakfast with Santa on Sunday in Alexander.  More than 300 people atteneded.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

Some scouts serving to the public.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Some scouts serving to the public.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Many families gathered to eat breakfast, show local support and visit Santa.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Many families gathered to eat breakfast, show local support and visit Santa.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Committee members from Troop 650 giving information out for Boy Scouts.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Committee members from Troop 650 giving information out for Boy Scouts.  
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Borrello is honored for commitment to his constituents and improving the region's quality of life

By Press Release
Submitted photo of Senator Borrello with Ambassador Sanon and his awards.

Press Release:

Representing the Council for Justice, Equality and Peace (COJEP International), Ambassador Hugues Sanon presented the Global Distinguished Leadership Award, Key to Sustainability, and Medal of Honor to New York State Senator George Borrello for his service and dedication to the residents of the 57th District.

“Senator Borrello has devoted more than a decade to improving the quality of life in our community and our region through public service roles at both the local and state levels of government,” said Ambassador Sanon.

“He has raised awareness of issues and problems that are impacting families, small businesses, and farmers. He has been a champion of tax relief to ease residents’ financial burdens and make our region more competitive. As a lifelong Western New Yorker, he is unwavering in his dedication to securing the future of the region and that is inspiring and an example that deserves to be recognized,” Ambassador Sanon said. “That is the intent behind this award.”

The VIP dinner was hosted by Ambassador Sanon at his residence on the North Side of Jamestown. In attendance was Mayor Randall G. Holcomb of Lakewood NY, the Blue Star Mothers NY4's Vice President Kathy Collver, Vietnam Veteran Stanley Collver, Pastor Mark Hinman and Mrs. Hinman from Hillcrest Church, Dave Anderson and his wife Holly Anderson, Mr. Jon Elder and Emmanuella Sanon, wife of Ambassador Sanon and COJEP representative at the United Nations.

COJEP International, headquartered in Strasbourg, France, promotes humanitarian values and works in support of peace, justice, freedom and democracy. The organization has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, UNESCO (NGO Liaison Committee), the Council of Europe (Conference of NGOs), the OECD and is accredited by the European Parliament and the OSCE.

Ambassador Sanon praised Senator Borrello for “his commitment to making our community and the world at large a better place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Your tireless efforts have had an impact and brought hope to many. Continue to shine your light, demonstrate compassion and empathy, and transform lives through your important work. The world needs more people like you.”

Senator Borrello expressed his appreciation for the award and extended his thanks to Ambassador Sanon for his work in the City of Jamestown and Chautauqua County.

"I am humbled by this honor and your kind words. I am also grateful for your contributions to Jamestown and Chautauqua County. In the relatively brief time you’ve lived here, you’ve invested yourself deeply in our community. You’ve worked in partnership with local officials, law enforcement, clergy, and non-profit organizations to reach common goals and help those in need. You’ve shown great leadership and have built bridges between people and groups that will make our region and this world a better place,” Senator Borrello said.

“We all recognize that achieving greater justice, equality, and peace are critically important goals. You bring that vision to your efforts, which benefits us all,” he added.

Ambassador Hugues Sanon has presented the Medal of Honor to a number of international and national dignitaries as well as several local leaders including the City of Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas, Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel, County Sheriff James Quattrone, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Rev. Mark Hinman of Hillcrest Baptist Church.

The Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Art Gallery Presents: Handicraft Habitat

By Press Release
An image of Julie Lambert's Genesee Country Museum, handmade paper courtesy of Genesee Community College.

Press Release:

The Roz Steiner Art Gallery at Genesee Community College is excited to announce its latest group exhibition, Handicraft Habitat. This invitational explores the world through the eyes of artists. It aims to showcase the beauty of both the natural environment and the manufactured realm. 

This exhibition plays with the dichotomy between abstract art and realism, as well as being a multi-media experience. The gallery is excited to be working with three incredibly talented artists from Western New York to bring this stunning new show to life.

David Burke is a lifelong resident of the Rochester area where he raised and homeschooled is two children. He began his artistic journey by drawing, painting, and taking photographs sporadically while doing other work. In 1999, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from SUNY Brockport, where he studied ceramic sculpture and painting.

In 2015, David realized making art was his passion and what he wanted to pursue for the rest of his life. His focus since then has been acrylic painting. His artwork is inspired by nature, and to a greater extent, his connection to the life of the earth and the mystery of the world. David uses light, shadow, color, and composition to evoke memories and emotions. 

In the past few years, he has been getting away from purely figurative painting to explore different ways of applying paint and experimenting with abstraction. This enables him to express the subtle, intangible energies of life. A collection of David's abstract expressionism and his realism paintings will be part of this exhibition.

Julie A. Lambert is a master papermaker; creating, transforming, and exhibiting the unusual art of handmade paper. The artist has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from SUNY Oswego. While attending Oswego, a professor introduced the artist to papermaking; a medium she spent over 25 years enhancing her techniques and understanding both her perspective and relationship with her surroundings. 

Nature has become her muse. Her work explores the natural and mankind's created impacts on the landscape. The pieces she creates are based on landscapes that convey a mood that speaks to the artist. To the surprise of the viewer, Julie A. Lambert's works are often first mistaken for paintings. But as the viewer is drawn in, they realize that the works of art are individual pieces of handmade paper, dyed, textured, cut, torn, and layered by the artist to express how she sees the world. The viewer steps back with a greater understanding of the complexity required to render her visions.

Originally a native of southeast Kansas, Steve Piper moved to the Finger Lakes region in 1978 to pursue his graduate studies in photography at RIT. He is a freelance photographer (Gelfand-Piper Photography), specializing in photographing people and events for publications and annual reports. Major clients have included Eastman Kodak, Xerox, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield. 

Mr. Piper taught photography at St. John Fisher College and is currently an adjunct instructor of photographic arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His artistic vision is greatly inspired by his rural life growing up in the mid-west. Through color, texture, and composition, he is able to take a recognizable image and create something representational. The viewer finds meaning and emotional response through the sumptuous color and intriguing lines. Steve's colored abstract photographs of railway cars will be on exhibit in Handicraft Habitat.

The Handicraft Habitat exhibition will run from Dec. 7 to Feb. 1. Gallery hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 3 - 5 p.m., as well as Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Don't miss the chance to attend the opening receptions on Dec. 7  from 12:30 - 2 p.m. and 5 - 7 p.m. Stay tuned to the gallery's social media pages for any updates or changes to the schedule.

For more information contact Jessica Skehan at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery by email at, or (585) 343-0055 ext. 6490

Bergen's Chase Cone posts 300 game at Mancuso's

By Mike Pettinella

Chase Cone of Bergen experienced the thrill of a United States Bowling Congress-certified 300 game this week when he strung 12 consecutive strikes in the opening game of the Tuesday Night Coed League at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia.

The 37-year-old right-hander registered a perfect game a couple years ago, but it was in a non-certified league at Mancuso's.

By rolling a 300 game in a certified league, he can claim his ring from the USBC.

Using a Brunswick Infinity bowling ball, Cone put all 12 shots in the 1-3 pocket, finishing on lane 13. He added games of 236 and 208 for a 744 series.

Employed as a damage prevention tech at Bermex Inc. in Rochester, Cone's previous high certified game was 279.

In other Genesee Region USBC league action:

-- Robbie Hanks stayed hot in the Thursday Men's Triples at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion, posting 264-276-216--756 to lead the way.

-- Rich Wagner of Batavia topped the list of scores in the Toyota of Batavia 4-Man at Mancuso's with 263-245-244--752.

-- Matt Bourg of Alexander recorded his first 700 series, starting with 265 in a 707 effort in the Brighton Securities Tuesday Triples at Mancuso's.

For a list of high scores, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of the home page.

Crossroads House lights first Remembrance Christmas Tree at Eli Fish

By Howard B. Owens
crossroads christmas tree

Supporters of Crossroads House were invited to hang an ornament on a Christmas tree to display at Eli Fish for the holiday season, with the tree being lit in a ceremony at the tavern in Batavia on Saturday.

Pinecone ornaments cost $25 each, and Crossroads was able to raise $2,500 to support its operations.

"Our memorial cones are all personalized with a person's name," said Debbie Paine, who chaired the fundraising effort and is secretary of the board of directors. "There are some that honor volunteers or whatever somebody felt that they wanted to buy and remember somebody for. It's a holiday fundraiser that first allows people to memorialize someone and also brings together our community."

This is a first-year event for Crossroads House, which provides hospice care at no cost to people in their final stages of life in Genesee County.

Photos by Howard Owens

crossroads christmas tree
crossroads christmas tree

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