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Flautist to perform music 'from the last 100 years' during free concert

By Joanne Beck

 

Jaclyn Breeze
Jaclyn Breeze of Chili during one of her flute concerts. She will be performing at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Batavia First Presbyterian Church.
Submitted Photo

While the thought of composing a song with indigenous birds may seem intriguing, doing so for two violins, which at first blush don’t quite seem to fit the mode of a tweet or cackle, and for seven minutes, sounds even more daunting a task.

Yet songwriter Jaclyn Breeze of Chili, who obtained her master’s in music composition this May from Syracuse University and bachelor’s in flute performance from Roberts Wesleyan College,  described it as anything but.

“A teacher in Wisconsin at St. Norbert College was having a bird-themed recital this fall, and she was familiar with my work. And she said that she wanted to use the calls of the birds in her area kind of as a basis for the piece. And so from there, I was free to do what I wanted. Just with that idea in mind,” Breeze said during an interview with The Batavian. “It was fun. It’s going to be premiered in November.”

Breeze’s primary focus while pursuing her master’s degree was composing music, which she does on a commission basis for groups and individuals, but then she began to miss the performance aspect of her work, she said, and so she promoted her flute concerts to area churches and organizations.

“I loved going for my master's degree doing composition. But I found that I really missed performing, which, you know, I got to do a lot as a performance major in my undergrad,” she said. So after I graduated, I decided that was something that I was going to make a priority in my life, make sure that I was still getting my performance.”

She will be part of the Fall Concert Series at Batavia First Presbyterian Church, with a concert at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 300 E. Main St., Batavia.

As many kids do in elementary school, Breeze began her instrumental career. When asked why she picked the flute out of all the possible instruments, Breeze wasn’t entirely sure. 

“I don't know, I just enjoy it. It's fun to work on. I'm not really sure why I chose that. I guess when I went to college, I kind of was deciding between doing flute and going for vocal performance. And I just started on flute,” she said. “And that was kind of that. I had taken lessons for both in high school. I don't really know when this decision was made, or why I made it.”

She also plays piano and saxophone, and comes from a musical family — her mom always sang with Breeze as a child, she said, and her great-grandpa played a lot of different instruments. 

“He was always trying to get different instruments and getting new things. He usually had a harmonica with him. And I remember him playing just different string instruments. I'm not sure exactly. You know now I can't remember what they all were,” she said. “When it came time to pick an instrument in fourth grade, I was really excited about it. I think by the time I was in high school, I knew that music was what I wanted to do.”

Breeze has taught music at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University as a teaching assistant and was a guest lecturer at the University of Kentucky for Intro to Music and Jazz History. 

She has collaborated on new music compositions with the Society for New Music in Syracuse the last two years and has also had several commissioned works with groups including the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Rococo Quartet.

Self-described as a “composer, collaborator and creator” on her website, she’s a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, an age group winner of the 2022 Warren County Summer Music School’s Promising Young Composer Competition and received Honorable Mention in 2021 for the Hypotenuse Trio COVID Commission.

When asked about the difference between playing the flute and clarinet, two woodwind instruments usually found near each other in a band, she said that all of the air has to be blown into the clarinet, versus the flute, which gets about 70 percent of the air, meaning that 30 percent of the air is lost. 

“So it definitely takes a good amount of air to get that going, get the sound going, and keep it,” she said, addressing prospective concertgoers. “I don’t want them to see a flute concert and think ‘Oh, this is going to be boring.’ The program that I have set up is music of pretty much the last 100 years. And some of that is really beautiful impressionist music, and some of that is rock music that was written six months ago. The program is varied and there is stuff that anyone who likes going to a strictly classical concert will enjoy. There’s also stuff that people who don’t typically enjoy classical music will enjoy.”

Her portion of the concert will be about 45 minutes, and local musician Melzie Case will lead a hymn sing for another 15 minutes. The concert is free and open to the public. 

Breeze is also scheduled for a free concert at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 22 at Le Roy Presbyterian Church, 7 Clay St., Le Roy. 

To hear samples of her work, go to https://www.jaclynbreeze.com

Benjamin Sputore rolls 300 game, 720 series in Mancuso Bowling Center youth league

By Mike Pettinella
Benjamin Sputore

Batavia High School senior Benjamin Sputore on Saturday morning became just the seventh United States Bowling Congress-certified youth bowler in Mancuso Bowling Center history to roll a 300 game in league competition.

Competing in the Batavia Youth League, Sputore (photo at right), a 17-year-old right-hander, finished his three-game series with 12 consecutive strikes on lanes 11-12.

The perfect game capped his first 700 series ever, following games of 221 and 199 for a 720 total.

Despite putting the first nine deliveries squarely in the 1-3 pocket, Sputore, son of Mancuso Bowling Center Manager Mike Sputore of Batavia and Julie Hawley Paradowski of Oakfield, said he wasn’t overly confident heading into the 10th frame.

“I expected to leave a 10-pin somewhere in the 10th frame,” the soft-spoken teen said, acknowledging that he was “pretty nervous.”

Using a Storm Dark Code ball that he switched to after the second game, Sputore was equal to the task, however, as he put the ball in the pocket on each of the final three shots on lane 11. The last ball was a bit light in the pocket, but it threw the 5-pin into the 7-pin for the 300.

Sputore’s 300 game comes five years after his father rolled a perfect game at Mancuso’s (on Oct. 21, 2018) and eclipses his previous high game of 278.

He has been bowling in the youth program at Mancuso’s since the age of 6, and also bowls in the T.F. Brown’s Adult-Child League and in the Genesee Region USBC Youth Travel League, where he averaged 193 last season. He also works part-time at the lanes.

Sputore joins Mike Pettinella, Jerry Geissler, Rich Wagner, James Walker, Jordan Fluker and Tony Sprague on the list of youth bowlers with certified 300 games at Mancuso’s.

In Genesee Region USBC adult league action this week:

  • Warsaw left-hander Kevin Gray Jr. kept the hot hand in the Thursday Owls League at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen, posting a 297 game en route to a 735 series. Righty Harris Busmire of Bergen took top honors for the night with a 752 series.
  • Wagner came up with two strikes and nine pins in the 10th frame of game three to carve out a 234 triplicate in the Toyota of Batavia Thursday 4-Man League at Mancuso’s.
  • Curtis Foss of Medina led the way in the Sneezy’s Monday Night League at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion with a 278 game and 760 series.
  • Hayden Allis topped the list in the Sunday Rolloffs League at Medina Lanes with a 258 game and 709 series. Allis posted a 300 game and 765 series in the Wednesday Community League on Oct. 11, four days after getting married. Other recent high scores by Medina bowlers include Alex Allis’ 299 in the Wednesday league on Oct. 4 and Jim Foss’ 300 game at Airport Lanes in Buffalo on Sept. 29.
  • Gary Macomber of Dalton, 70, registered his first perfect game on Oct. 8 in the Sunday Night Merchants League at Mount Morris Lanes. 

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

Batavia beats Rochester Prep 40-0

By Howard B. Owens
Batavia football

In a rare Saturday afternoon game for Batavia at Van Detta Stadium, the Blue Devils beat Rochester Prep 40-0.

Batavia improves to 5-2 and is currently seeded #3 in Class B with one regular season game left on the schedule.

The Batavian has not received stats for the game.

Photos by Debra Reilly

Batavia football
Batavia football
Batavia football

Frannie captures wiener dog race at Batavia Downs

By Staff Writer
Remote video URL

Frannie ran straight and fast and came from behind to win the Batavia Downs Wiener Dog Race on Sunday.

Her owner receives a "Stay and Play," which includes hotel accommodation for one night, $50 food gift certificate and $25 each in free play for two people.

In second, Piper, and in third Stacey.

More than 1,000 people attended this year's Family Fun Day.

Attendees enjoyed free pumpkins for kids 12 and under, pumpkin decorating and coloring, face painting, pony rides, and carriage rides. Mr. Scribbles was in attendance.

Vietnam vet seeks recovery of bike, his only mode of transportation

By Howard B. Owens
stolen bike

Retired postal carrier and wounded retired Vietnam veteran Larry Fuchs reports that his German bike, valued at $2,000 was stolen on Friday.

He said the bike is his only mode of transportation.  

He reported the theft to the police he said but was hoping members of the public might be able to provide information to recover the bike.

"It would mean the world to me to recover my only transportation," Fuchs said. 

Information that may assist in the recovery of the bike can be submitted to Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350 or the submit a tip feature at www.bataviapolice.org.

New coalition seeks fairness for workers at Batavia Downs, other casinos, in new Seneca gaming contract

By Press Release

Press Release:

A coalition representing gaming, organized labor, and community interests across the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions has formally launched the Fair Compact for All coalition to ensure a transparent and equitable process as the State negotiates a new gaming compact with the Seneca Nation.

The current 20-year compact between the Seneca and the State expires on Dec. 9. The coalition strongly believes that a new compact must treat everyone across the Finger Lakes and Western New York fairly so all communities can continue to reap the full benefits of the existing gaming operations that provide family-sustaining jobs, widespread local economic impact, and support of nonprofit organizations. Fair Compact for All has launched a website — FairCompactForAll.com — to outline the value of existing gaming and the need for fairness in the next agreement.

The four existing Finger Lakes and Western New York gaming facilities – del Lago Resort & Casino, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Hamburg Gaming, and Batavia Downs Gaming – employ more than 3,500 New Yorkers, the majority of whom are union members, and pay close to $180 million in annual state gaming taxes.

That is far more than the annual gaming taxes paid to the State by the Seneca Nation under its existing compact. Meanwhile, many of the Western New York communities where Seneca gaming operations are located have seen their populations and property tax bases steadily shrink. None of the workers at any of the Nation’s gaming operations are union members.  

“Our casino alone, which is the largest entertainment employer in Seneca County, has generated more than 1,500 direct and indirect jobs along with more than $200 million in annual sales of goods and services pre-pandemic,” said Lance Young, Vice President and General Manager of del Lago Resort & Casino. “We are still building back our operations. A truly fair Seneca gaming compact will recognize the importance of these contributions and enable us to continue to grow and support the community for years to come.”

This past June, many Fair Compact for All coalition members rallied in opposition to a deal that would have brought a new Seneca casino to Monroe County. Fair Compact for All continues to oppose any new Seneca gaming operations, as oversaturation of gaming is a serious threat to the tax revenues, jobs, and other community benefits provided by existing gaming facilities across the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions.

A 2021 study conducted by Spectrum Gaming for the New York State Gaming Commission found that the upstate gaming market is already oversaturated. In addition, the state comptroller has warned that further oversaturation in the market threatens the benefits existing gaming facilities generate for their respective host communities.

“We cannot and will not tolerate any middle-of-the-night deals that lack transparency, public input, and data-driven economic analysis,” said Chris Riegle, President and General Manager of Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack. “We welcome competition, but we can’t compete without a level playing field. We look forward to working with our coalition members, local elected officials, and representatives in Albany to secure a truly fair compact for all.”

“Tourism-generated labor income in the Finger Lakes region totals $1.8 billion and represents a significant area of potential growth for the local economy,” said Gary Bonadonna Jr., Manager of the Rochester Regional Joint Board/Workers United. “Unionized hotel workers enjoy family-sustaining wages and benefits that enable them to contribute to their respective communities. Their jobs would be endangered by a new Seneca compact that fails to recognize the need to preserve and protect existing gaming operations. We refuse to let that happen.”

“Our members work seven days a week, 365 days a year because horses don’t take vacations and need daily care,” said Austin Reed, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “We don’t just work in this community, we live here, pay taxes, and send our kids to school here. We deserve a fair and transparent Seneca gaming negotiation process that protects our jobs and our significant contributions to our local economy.”

“We are a public benefit corporation owned by the 15 participating counties that rely on us to generate funds for their operating budgets,” said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming. “Unfair competition dropped on top of us would not only hinder that mission but also the welfare of our employees and the hard-working men and women in the harness racing industry who depend on us for their livelihoods.”

Independent Living hosting reception for artist Peter Langden

By Press Release

Press Release:

The ARTiculations Exhibition at Independent Living is featuring the paintings of Peter Langden from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 at the Independent Living Center located at 319 West Main St., Batavia. An Artist Reception is being held from 4 to 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16. Light refreshments provided.

Artist statement:

As a young boy, I always wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I spent time drawing whenever I could, I found a new outlet for my restless energies. While I did not take to formal schooling too much I did graduate high school with an art major in 1988, and from there making art continued to hold my interest. In 1995 I took up painting after I had finished up years of making metal sculpture. Through the years afterwards I went through difficult times but my art was always there for me. It was back in 2018 when I bought my first easel and by that time I was well committed to the idea that I was working on what I considered my life’s work. I still like to draw but it seems that people like my paintings.

Tenney stands with Israel introduces legislation to restock Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of 
Claudia Tenney

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24) introduced the “Operation Swords of Iron” Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act alongside Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Max Miller (R-OH), and Brad Schneider (D-IL) to appropriate $2 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

Additional original cosponsors include Michael Lawler (R-NY), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Zach Nunn (R-IA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Nicholas Langworthy (R-NY), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), David Kustoff (R-TN), Jim Banks (R-IN), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Lance Gooden (R-TX).

The “Operation Swords of Iron” Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act has received widespread support from a range of stakeholders, including FDD Action, JINSA, CUFI Action, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).

This past weekend, as millions of Israelis were celebrating Shabbat and Shemini Atzeret, Hamas launched a surprise air, land, and sea invasion of Israel. Hamas, which has ruled over Gaza since 2007, showed its savagery during this invasion by killing, raping, torturing, and kidnapping Israeli civilians, including children, women, and the elderly. As of Monday, the attacks have killed over 900 Israelis, including 11 Americans, and over 100 Israelis are being held hostage. These attacks have been supported by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are starting to get involved.

“This week, we’ve seen the full depravity and inhumanity of the Palestinian leadership,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “This is not Hamas fighting a war against IDF soldiers; this is Hamas attempting to kill, rape, torture, brutalize, and kidnap as many Jews as possible, particularly civilians! In response to these abhorrent crimes and attacks, Israel announced Operation Swords of Iron, a full-scale mobilization of troops, and a massive ground operation in Gaza. I unequivocally support Israel’s right to self-defense and am introducing the “Operation Swords of Iron” Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act to support Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Without the critical Iron Dome system, which intercepts Palestinian rockets in the air, many, many more civilians would have been wounded or killed. Additionally, during the 53-day 2014 skirmish with Gaza, Israel’s Iron Dome intercepted approximately 700 rockets. Just in the last few days, Israel’s Iron Dome has intercepted over 3,200 rockets. The United States must stand with our Israeli brothers and sisters and support our strongest ally in the Middle East in its unequivocal right to defend itself and pursue justice for the Israeli and American citizens harmed by Palestinian leadership.”

“Radical Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists are kidnapping, torturing, raping, burning alive, and brutally murdering innocent babies, children, women, men, and grandparents in Israel — parading their bodies through the streets,” said Congressman Gottheimer.  “Rockets continue to rain down on Israel, and sirens blare in population centers like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where Israelis fear for their lives in bomb shelters. I will always stand with Israel — the democracy in the region — and support our partner’s right to defend herself from those who seek her destruction. The ‘Operation Swords of Iron’ Iron Dome Appropriations Act is critical to increasing American security assistance for Israel’s missile defense system, which is saving millions of innocent lives. The U.S.-Israel relationship will remain, as it has for decades, ironclad.“

“The United States stands in solidarity and strength with our ally Israel as they are attacked by Hamas,” said Congressman Schneider. “Hamas started this war massacring civilians and terrorizing communities across Israel with wanton rocket fire. Congress now must urgently provide assistance to Israel and Americans abroad. This bipartisan initiative will make sure that Israel has the resources it needs to defeat Hamas, rescue hostages, and protect innocent civilians.”

“Israel has the absolute right to defend itself and its people from terrorists who do not believe it has the right to exist, and it must have the means to do so,” said Congressman Miller. “Israel has long been our strongest, and only democratic, ally in the Middle East, and the United States must remain steadfast in our support for our great friend.”

CASA for children hosts 11th annual CASAblanca casino fundraiser

By Press Release
casablanca-2023.jpeg
 Submitted photo of event guests. 

Press Release:

Close to 80 guests gathered at Terry Hills Banquet Facility on Saturday, Sept. 30 for the 11th Annual CASAblanca Casino Fundraiser put on by the Genesee County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children. 

"It was wonderful to see so many people come out to support such an important cause. The evening was filled with laughter, basket raffles, a silent auction, and Las Vegas-style casino games provided by Upstate Vegas Events out of Rochester NY." Said Jennifer Metz, Executive Director of Genesee County CASA. 

There was a special guest speaker who was very familiar with the work that Genesee County CASA for Children does. Her name is Madi Coniglio and she spoke about her experience with CASA and how CASA helped to change the trajectory of her life.

“When I first started with CASA my hope and stability returned. My voice was heard, and I was listened to for once. In a Life full of doubt, I knew I never needed to doubt CASA’s ability to make sure I would be safe and loved.” Madi stated.

Pamela Wentworth, Board of Director Member and Volunteer Advocate, and the Honorable Thomas Williams, Genesee County Family Court Judge, also shared a few words with the crowd on Saturday.

“The guests had a great time playing games, enjoying the delicious meal catered by the wonderful staff at Terry Hills, and socializing with each other. I'm sure it was a night to remember for everyone who attended. The event was a huge success, and those funds will go to support the important work of CASA for Children throughout the community. Overall, it was a fantastic evening for a great cause, and everyone left smiling,” said Metz. 

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our sponsors, who make our work possible. It is thanks to their generosity that we can make a difference in our community.” Metz continued. 

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our "Ricks Café" sponsor, West Middlebury Baptist Church, as well as our King-level sponsors, Empire Building Diagnostics and Liberty Pumps. We also want to thank our Queen-level sponsors, including Upstate Niagara Cooperative - OATKA, Batavia Downs and Gaming, Terry Hills Golf Course & Banquet Facility, Western Regional Off Track Betting Corp, and Main Street Pizza Company. Finally, we would like to acknowledge our Jack-level sponsors: Tompkins Community Bank, Craig and Kimberly Yunker, Dr. Robert Marchese, Lawley Insurance, Batavia Legal Printing, and Torrey Farms, INC. Thank you all for your incredible support! We would also like to thank Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac, Genesee Feeds, The Torrey Foundation in memory of Jordyn, Jennifer L. Kapela Froebel DDS, Becker Farms, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo Bisons, Genesee Country Village & Museum, Zeliff Aviation, Strong Museum of Science, and the many area businesses that graciously provided beautiful gift baskets, gift certificates, and silent auction items for this year's event. We are profoundly grateful for the outpouring of support from our community.” 

Genesee County CASA is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to train and supervise a diverse group of volunteers to advocate for children who have been abused and/or neglected.  The family court system appoints cases to CASA and we then assign them to our volunteer advocates.

The children appointed to us are at risk of being removed from their homes or they have already been placed into the foster care system. CASA's goal is to ensure that all of these children have safe and permanent homes as quickly as possible. A child who has a CASA advocate has significantly fewer placements than a child without one. The involvement of a CASA advocate helps to improve the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of the child.

“We are always recruiting new advocates,” said Metz. 

If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer or would like more information about the program, please contact Executive Director Jennifer Metz at 585-815-7809 or send an email to director@geneseecountycasa.org. 

jennifer-.jpeg
Submitted photo Executive Director Jennifer Metz.
madi.jpeg
Submitted photo of guest speaker Madi Coniglio.
bod-.jpeg
Submitted photo of CASA for Children's Board of Directors. From left to right: Back Row (left to right): Michelle Dills, Pamela Wentworth, Patricia Wormley, Executive Director Jennifer Metz, Volunteer Coordinator and Advocate Christine Belongia, Nicole Kresock, Christine Ditzel, Front Row: Deb Davis, Carla Franklin, Bev Hoy.

Genesee County Board of Elections informs public of election information and deadlines

By Press Release

Press Release:

As the General Election approaches, the Genesee County Board of Elections is committed to providing comprehensive information on voting, early voting, and registration deadlines. 

Please find the essential details below: 

Early Voting: 

Dates: Oct. 28 - Nov. 5 

Location: ARC Community Center, 38 Woodrow Rd., Batavia

Schedule:

  • Saturday, Oct. 28: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 29: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 30: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 31: 12 - 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 1: 12 - 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 2: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 3: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 4: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, No. 5: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

General Election:

Date: Nov. 7

Polling Hours: 6 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Find Your Poll Site: Visit voterlookup.elections.ny.gov or call (585) 815-7804.

Absentee Ballot Information:

Call (585) 815-7804 or use the NYS Portal at absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov 

Key Dates:

  • Oct. 23: Last day for the Board of Elections to receive an absentee ballot application and the last day for change of address to be received.
  • Nov. 6: Last day to apply for an absentee ballot in person. The ballot must be received at the poll site or Board of Elections by 9 p.m. on Nov. 7.
  • Nov. 7: Last day to postmark your ballot. The Board of Elections must receive it by Nov. 14. Military/Special Federal absentee ballots must be received by Nov. 20.

Registration Deadlines:

  • Oct. 28: Last day to register to be eligible to vote in the 2023 General Election and the last day for the Board of Elections to receive a registration form. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Find registration forms at the Genesee County Board of Elections website. For questions or assistance, call the Genesee County Board of Elections at (585) 815-7804 or visit the Genesee County Board of Elections website.

GSO's musical director balances what audiences know and what is unfamiliar in planning new season

By Howard B. Owens
Shade Zajac 2019 file photo
S. Shade Zajac conducting the Genesee Symphony Orchestra during a rehearsal in 2018.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Audiences can be unpredictable, suggested Genesee Symphony Orchestra Music Director S. Shade Zajac while discussing how he's programmed the 2023-24 season and especially the season's opening show next Sunday, Oct. 22.

"Sometimes you think something is really going to connect with people, and it receives a lukewarm reaction," Zajac told The Batavian. "And sometimes you think, oh, boy, this is going to be tough for people to grasp, and then they go wild for it. You never really know."

The lineup for the opener for next Sunday's concert:

  • Romanian Dances, by Béla Bartók
  • Háry János Suite, by Zoltán Kodály
  • Trail of Tears Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, by Michael Dougherty
  • Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 in A Major, by George Enesco

Zajac thinks audience members will find the music of the concert both challenging -- because some of the selections might be unfamiliar to many people -- or engaging -- either because of the dynamics or sheer beauty of the selections. 

"I'm always trying to bring things that the audience really will connect to and also maybe give them something a little new," Zajac said.

The program selection is built around the Trail of Tears Concerto, which will feature Rebecca Gilbert, principal flutist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Composed by Dougherty in 1989, the piece commemorated the 150th anniversary of the forced march in 1838-39 of Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, Chickasaws and the Seminoles off their land in the Southeastern U.S. more than 1,500 miles to what is now part of Oklahoma.

"It's a very, very interesting piece," Zajac said. "It's got some really beautiful and emotional moments in it. And it's got some unbelievable virtuosic playing for the solo flute. He (Dougherty) asks her to do a lot of different kinds of techniques to sound like a traditional Native American flute, so what we call breath tones and pitch bends and slides. It sounds very, very authentic, ethnic, which then kind of ties the rest of the program together."

The ethenic theme of the program is set up by the Bartók and Kodály (pronounced co-die) pieces.  Both Bartók and Kodály were composers, but they were also ethnomusicologists, perhaps the first ethnomusicologists, something that wasn't really possible before the invention of machines that record voices and music. They both traveled to Transylvania with a Thomas Edison invention, a wax cylinder recorder and recorded the music of the towns and villages in that part of Romania. They then incorporated the unique musical elements of those songs into their own compositions.

"The Kodály is a really wild piece of music," Zajac said. "Again, I've never conducted it before. And it calls for a very large orchestra, I think, like six trumpets and a smattering of percussion. We're just we're having tons of fun doing it. And it's a very colorful, colorful piece of music."

The final piece of the program returns to a Romanian setting. 

Enescu, born in Romania in 1881, building his fame as a composer in the early 20th Century, was often compared to Mozart.  This piece was composed in 1901 and is perhaps his most famous work.

"It's really virtuosic and showy for the orchestra features a lot of people," Zajac said. "After our last two seasons with the 75th season, which was two seasons ago, and then last season, you know, doing all this Brahms and all this heavy dramatic music, I kind of wanted to go in a completely different direction. When you finish a monumental project like that, you're like, 'Okay, what do we do next?' And this seemed like a different way to go. And the orchestra is really enjoying it. I think the audience will really like this program."

Earlier in the conversation, discussing the challenges of selecting pieces for an orchestra concert, Zajac compared some pieces of music to "comfort food."

"It is called comfort food for a reason because, you know, mom's chicken pot pies always gonna taste good," Zajac said. "So if she asked someone what they want to eat, they're gonna say, chicken pot pie. It's scarier to go out and try something new. You're gonna take a chance. There's a chance you really like it, and you find something that you really like, and there's a chance that this is going to be terrible. And now you feel like you've just wasted dinner. So I think there's a human need to feel comfort. I know how this is gonna go. I'm not going to be surprised."

Zajac said comfort food on a program helps the less familiar pieces go down a little easier for audiences.

“Romanian Rhapsody” is perhaps the comfort food on the first program, Zajac said.

"Whether or not you know, if you sit down and you listen to this piece, there is no way, if we do our job, and the GSO always does its job, there's no way you're gonna be in your seat because it's just, it's one of those pieces. It's a showpiece. There's fireworks and fast playing and all sorts of things. So that's probably the comfort food, but the Bartok and the Kodály, even though they may be unfamiliar, they're just excellent pieces of music, and they're wild."

After Sunday's concert, the GSO has five more performances this season -- three concerts as part of its regular season and a performance at the GCC Foundation's annual Encore event.

The holiday concert will, of course, include the ultimate in comfort foods, "Sleigh Ride," by Leroy Anderson. 

The program will also feature a solo by GSO's concertmaster, Julia Plato, on the winter movement of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

"She's a wonderful, wonderful leader and an excellent musician, so we're excited to feature her," Zajack said.

The Dec. 15 Encore event will also be filled with holiday music but not all the same pieces as the GSO's annual Holiday Concert.

In February, the GSO's theme turns British, with English composers being featured, including Sir Paul McCartney.  The former Beatle has written -- even some of his biggest fans aren't aware of this -- a number of classical pieces.

Zajac predicts his mom will especially like the concert.

"My mom is like the world's biggest Paul McCartney fan," Zajac said. "I know every fan says that they're the biggest Paul McCartney fan. My mom is like the biggest Paul McCartney fan. In fact, when she met my father, she goes, 'Well, just so you know, there is one other man, and that man is Paul McCartney.'"

The anchor piece of the program is Elgar's “Enigma Variations.” 

"It's one of my favorite pieces in the entire literature," Zajac said. "It's a very special piece. I've conducted only one movement from it (previously). It's a remarkable piece of music. Every note, every bar sounds like English music, which is incredible because you can trace every note to some other composer. You can hear the influences of Beethoven and Bach and Wagner. But somehow, he makes it all sound like English music."

The GSO will close out the season with a concert comprised entirely of works by American composers.

"I'm a sucker for American music," Zajac said. "I wish we did more American music here in America, aside from, you know, Copeland, and there's nothing wrong with Copeland. Indeed, we're doing Copeland's Appalachian Spring, which is a great piece of music, but there's so many other things.”

The program will include pieces by David Diamond, a contemporary of Copeland's, and is from Rochester, along with an often overlooked black female composer, Florence Beatrice Price.

"Her music has been enjoying a revival these days," Zajac said. "A lot of people have been doing her first symphony and those big pieces. I decided to program this little piece called Dances in the Canebrakes. It's just really fun, beautiful. It just reeks of America. You hear it, and it's like, yes, that is an American sound."

Also on the program is William Grant Still, another black American composer with ties to Rochester. The orchestra will perform “Summerland.”

And just like an American program probably must include Copeland, it will also include Gershwin's Piano Concerto, featuring the winner of GSO's Young Artists competition.

Perhaps the most familiar piece on the program is Appalachian Spring.

"I've never had a chance to do the piece before though I've known it for many years," Zajac said. "I've studied it. The orchestra hasn't played it in a very long time. It's a beautiful piece, and it ends quietly. Sometimes I like to end programs quietly. It's great to end with fireworks and huge standing ovations and sometimes it is really meaningful and really poignant to end a concert quietly, and indeed ending the season quietly."

That ending, Zajac said, will be a tribute to Roxanne Choate, the former GSO board president who passed away this past week at age 80.

On the topic of performing American composers, The Batavian asked Zajac if he would consider Duke Ellington. 

"I've been thinking about doing a jazz-inspired program at some point because there's some really great pieces," Zajac said. "Of course, there's Gershwin, An American in Paris. I'd love to do it with the orchestra. I've only gotten to do the piece once. But Duke Ellington, I'm so glad you said something because I know there are things that we can do, but I haven't really thought about him. That might be an excellent addition if I ever get around to doing this program. That would be really cool."

All of GCC's concerts this season are at GCC:

  • Sunday, Oct. 22, 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 10th, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 5, 4 p.m.

Fire fought at residence on Broadway Road, Alexander

By Howard B. Owens
3274 Broadway Road fire alexander

A structure fire was reported at 3274 Broadway Road, Alexander, shortly before 6 p.m. 

Alexander Fire, Town of Batavia, East Pembroke, and Attica responded.

It took about 20 minutes to put the fire out.

Photographer Philip Casper said a cat was taken from the residence but he doesn't know the status of the cat.

Photos by Philip Casper

alexander fire
3274 Broadway Road fire alexander
3274 Broadway Road fire alexander
3274 Broadway Road fire alexander
3274 Broadway Road fire alexander
3274 Broadway Road fire alexander

Pembroke improves to 7-0 with 71-42 win over Wellsville

By Press Release
pembroke dragons football

Press release:

The Pembroke Dragons Varsity Football team improved to 7-0 on the season with a 71-42 victory over Wellsville despite having just 17 eligible players.

Behind the blocking of Ben Steinberg, Jayden Mast, Jayden Bridge, Madden Perry, JJ Gabbey, Octavius Martin and Hayden Williams, The Dragons racked up over 500 yards of offense, drawing first blood with a 30-yard passing touchdown to sophomore tight end Madden Perry. 

Tyson Totten ran for 345 yards and four touchdowns. 

Junior Fullback Caleb Felski had 126 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just seven carries. He also took the opening second-half kick return 88 yards to the house. 

Junior Quarterback Vijay Dhanda and Senior Sean Pustulka each had a rushing touchdown; Pustulka's coming from 20 yards out with 10 seconds left in the first half to break the one-score game. 

Defensively the Dragons were led by linebacker Vijay Dhanda with nine tackles. Nose Guard Jayden Mast added eight tackles of his own, while Totten, Kimmel and Perry had seven each. Junior Jayden Bridge added 2 sacks each in a game that saw zero turnovers.  

Also on Friday, Le Roy beat Livonia 42-21

Submitted photos.

pembroke dragons football
pembroke
pembroke dragons football

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Carrying on a tradition of strong business with renovation that connects to city's past

By Joanne Beck
Casey Delplato Law Office
Photo by Howard Owens

This week’s open house of the DelPlato Casey Law Firm was an exciting mix of longtime planning, contemporary architecture, embedded history and future growth, as attorney Peter Casey welcomed dozens of well-wishers to the elaborate, upscale space in Downtown Batavia.

For those longtime locals who had seen the space at 73 Main St. before it was occupied by Alberty’s Drug Store, Thursday brought some nostalgia back with a central staircase that led down to a break room that once upon a time was the ground level of Sleght’s Book Store. 

Sleght’s book and stationery store was part of downtown from 1907 to 1999, housed for 20 years at the Genesee Country Mall until 1975 when it moved across the street to 70 Main St. 

This blond wooden staircase is definitely a focal point, with a geometric light fixture of squares overlapping with one another hanging over top of the backlit handrails. A great deal of attention was paid to lighting, from the series of black cylindrical hanging lights at the entrance to the subtle wall sconces juxtaposed with more utilitarian long tube lights over workspaces.

“Specifically, as many people who are from the area know, this was the home to Sleght’s Book Store for many, many years. You'll remember the stairs, it did go down a little bit smaller than these ones here. And then afterward, the Alberty Drug Store occupied this space for 20-30 years at least. I wanted to thank Greg Gluck … and his parents ran Alberty’s Drug Store. They were kind enough to entrust this building to us, and I thank Greg for allowing us that opportunity,” Casey said. “As for the work that we've done here, there's a few things to kind of know that we think are pretty cool.”

Some of those things include the names of the conference rooms, each one with a theme, including the W. Douglas, after Doug Call, who was a partner with Mike DelPlato when at the office next door for many years — and “among many other talents, for anybody that knew Doug, he was a woodworker, and he built the table that’s in the conference room,” Casey said. 

“He was a good man, an excellent attorney, and he was a minister and a sheriff. So we know where he is now,” he joked. “He was a great mentor to me and many other lawyers in the community. So we want to honor his legacy here forever. He also hired my mom Mary Kay, to be his secretary. So, I guess I kind of owe him for getting me the job.”

The site also has an Oakfield Room, since the firm serves so many clients from the Oakfield area, and a City Conference Room in front along Main Street, which doesn’t need much explaining, he said.

“But we’re really proud to be here in downtown. We’ve got a great city view out there,” he said. “The pictures, you’ll see the photos hanging up primarily in the conference rooms, as well as out here. Those were Howard Owens’ originals. And those are just stunning photos, we’re so happy that you were able to help us with those.”

There were plenty of nods to go around, from Ray Cianfrini and his law firm, which partnered with DelPlato and Casey in 2015, David Ciurzynski Consulting, which was instrumental in getting the project off the ground over the course of three years, David Schoell, the architect who assisted with the staircase and light fixtures, Thompson Builds as general contractor, Tompkins Bank, the Small Business Administration, Batavia Development Corporation and the City of Batavia.

“So none of this happens, not a swing of a hammer, a piece of drywall, none of this happens without, honestly, without you people, without our friends and our clients. And, you know, I'd like to just give you all a round of applause,” Casey said, pausing to clap for the rooms filled with attendees. “I really do believe that, and I know I speak for my staff when I say this, that, you know, we get to know you initially as lawyer and client. But you've become our friends. At least, we think so. And you're here tonight. So we mean that from the bottom of our hearts. I remember Mike saying that when I first started out as an attorney, you know how elated he is just to be able to help his friends. And, you know, this project, in part, was to be able to better serve you and be more accessible. So we're so happy to be here to be able to continue to serve you for a long time.”

He thanked DelPlato for his partnership especially given “as great of a lawyer as he is, as wonderful as a legal career as he’s enjoyed, he’s an even better person.”

“I could not have been more fortunate to be able to learn from such a patient, understanding and kind human being,” Casey said, then referring to his former partner and his mom Mary Kay. “They both retired in the last couple of years. And you know, due to COVID and then not wanting to admit that they retired, we never had a party. So here we are … cheers to Mike and Mary Kay for a happy, healthy retirement.”

He also thanked his mom for her help and support over the years and pointed to the three other women who help with firm operations -- paralegal Karen Vallese, legal secretary Kathy Grayson and secretary Michelle Clattenburg.

Grayson came on board two years into the planning stages of the renovation, so floor plans had been drawn up and she was hearing about what was to come. 

The finished result did not disappoint.

“I love the office, it’s beautiful, it’s modern … it’s so inviting,” she said. “It was comfortable and cozy, but he kind of outgrew the space. And being upstairs, some clients had a problem with the stairs. This is more accessible being downstairs.” 

Casey was one of the city property owners who qualified for money through BDC’s revolving loan fund that can be used for loans and/or grants. Casey’s renovation qualified for a $20,000 grant. BDC Director Tammy Hathaway said that she doesn’t look at the funds going to people as much as being invested into the properties themselves.

“It’s the injection into the actual building stock that we have. Beyond Peter Casey and Mike DelPlato, whoever's going to own this building, we're still going to experience it. So we want to make sure that we're extending the longevity and the life of these buildings in our community,” Hathaway said. “This building alone, as many of them in our downtown, have history. There are so many people out there right now that are attending that remember when it was Sleght’s, they remember when that staircase was open. So to see it come back into life, what was it going to be if Alberty Drug Store wasn't here? Well now we know. Somebody was going to be here. And what a fabulous renovation for all of us to experience.”

Casey Delplato Law Office
Peter Casey
Photo by Howard Owens
Casey Delplato Law Office
Photo by Howard Owens
Casey Delplato Law Office
Photo by Howard Owens
Casey Delplato Law Office
Photo by Howard Owens
Casey Delplato Law Office
Photo by Howard Owens
Casey Delplato Law Office
Photo by Howard Owens
Casey Delplato Law Office
Photo by Howard Owens

Complaints raised at planning board meeting about STAMP, Edwards Vacuum, addressed by officials

By Howard B. Owens
Kirk Scirto, Akron
Dr. Kirk Scirto, a family physician in Akron, spoke in opposition on Thursday night to plans for Edwards Vacuum and WNY STAMP.
Photo by Howard Owens.

CLARIFICATION: Dr. Kirk Scirto informed us on Oct. 18 that he did not say that he represented the Seneca Nation. 

It's unusual for opponents of a development project to speak at Genesee County Planning Board meetings, but two people opposed the proposed Edwards Vaccum plant at WNY STAMP and of the STAMP project itself were at Thursday's meeting.

Both spoke after a representative of Edwards made his presentation to the board and after the board voted to recommend approval of the site plan review and final subdivision.

Both speakers raised a number of environmental concerns, all of which were later refuted in interviews after the meeting by representatives of Edwards and the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Edwards is proposing a manufacturing facility that will be 236,000 square feet and sit on a 50-acre parcel.  The company is a subsidiary of Atlas Copco Group and is planning a $319 plant that will build a semiconductor dry pump, a necessary component in maintaining cleanrooms for companies that make computer chips.

Dr. Kirk Scirto, a family physician in Akron, said he represented the Seneca Nation as well as a coalition of environment groups and as many as 500 residents who oppose both the Edwards Vacuum project as well as STAMP.

"I urge you strongly to recommend disapproval of the Edwards vacuum project," Scirto said. "Know that Tonawanda Seneca Nation lies at the border, immediately at the border of STAMP. They have sued to block its development along with a separate suit to do the same by the Orleans County Legislature. And now the town of Shelby has joined us in the suit. The community impacts of this project in Genesee County are also very troubling, and it's shocking that entities in Genesee County have not yet sued. Although that should change shortly."

The other opposition speaker was Evelyn Wackett, who admitted that she didn't know anything about WNY STAMP, despite heavy coverage of the high-tech industrial park in local and regional news outlets for more than 13 years, until this past Arbor Day. Wackett, a resident of Buffalo, said she is a licensed wildlife rehabbed in Erie County.

"As I looked into it and learned about it, I kind of started getting a little bit upset," Wackett said. "It seems to me a little fishy the way things are going on with this whole project. We come out of the COVID lockdowns, and all of a sudden, Plug Power is there. And now Edwards is coming in."

Vehicle Traffic
Scirto's first objection was to traffic in and out of the Edwards site, both for the additional traffic on local roads and emissions.

"The Edwards Vacuum project would be an immense generation of traffic, according to the February 2023 SEQR that was written by the Genesee EDC," Scirto said. "We've heard some different estimations today, so I'm a bit confused about that. According to GCEDC, vehicles would be expected to enter the leave STAMP every one to two seconds all day every day. This would dramatically slow down local routes, including routes 77 and 63, which may be forced to become 30-mile-per-hour roads."

It's not clear where he got the speed-limit change data.

"Air pollution would be a second major impact, and it will be produced by diesel trucks and other vehicles, and in the chemical emissions of Edwards vacuum itself," Scirto said.

Mark Masse, senior VP for operations for GCEDC, suggested Scirto is misreading the SEQR (an environmental review document) that included the WNY STAMP infrastructure projects and both Edwards Vacuum and a parallel warehousing development that hasn't been discussed much publicly.  In the SEQR report, nearly all of the contemplated traffic, Masse indicated, could be attributed to the warehouse project.

The estimated one or two truck trips per day for STAMP, as discussed by David Ciurzynski, a local consultant representing Edwards Vacuum in the meeting, is accurate, Masse said.

"It (the SEQR) was about a 23-page resolution," Masse said. "I'm sure if somebody was unaware of what they were looking at, it would be easy for them to get confused."

Toxins and Chemicals
"If they're able to dodge the extensive lawsuits already initiated and those which will be coming shortly, then they will be allowed to emit various toxins into the air," Scirto said. "Some of these toxins can cause cancer and irritate the eyes in the respiratory tract of people. This, combined with air pollution, would cause or worsen asthma, allergies, emphysema, respiratory infections, and heart disease, especially for those living closest to the factory and its intense traffic."

He said documents on the company website reveal that Edwards Vacuum uses chemicals and fibers that are dangerous to human health.

Ciurzynski said that Scirto is using outdated documents and documents not relevant to this project to make his claims.  He said Edwards makes a wide range of products that are referenced in publically available documents, but the company is making a very specific pump in the facility. There is no foundry, and nothing dangerous will be emitted from the factory, so much of what Scirto referenced is irrelevant.

"We're not releasing any toxins," Ciurzynski said. "Our process -- we're not releasing anything. Air permits will be issued by the DEC. They're required because every building has exhaust, so we have to get permits from the DEC. They are going to be approved by the DEC to all be basically zero emissions. We're not releasing anything into the sewers other than toilets and sinks and things like that. So it's human waste, you know, from people working in our plant. Our process water, any wastewater that we have (from manufacturing), is getting toted off-site. Everything that we're doing is intentional to minimize the effect on our community and our systems. We're not, we don't want to tax any part of the community. We don't want to tax the community. So that's why we made these extra efforts to make sure that those processes are handled properly."

Fire safety
"The protection of community character would be challenged by the threat of explosions from Edwards vacuum," Scirto said. "According to their safety data sheets, they use dozens of flammable and several explosive chemicals."

Ciurzynski said, "We're building a specific pump here. It's not all of Edwards vacuums products. We don't have chemicals that are spontaneously going to combust. Everything is going on is within the regulations of the EPA and the DEC."

Wetlands
Scirto also claimed that Edwards is planning to build on top of environmentally sensitive wetlands and faulted The Batavian for previously reporting otherwise.

The Batavian's prior story was based on official government reports that could have easily been obtained by Scirto prior to the meeting.  Both representatives of Edward and GCEDC said both the planning document and The Batavian's story were accurate.  There will be no wetlands disturbed by the Edwards facility.

Wackett said, "In the article in The Batavian, I read about the wetlands and not disturbing the wetlands. Well, let me make a comment that we already disturbed the wetlands. How many spills have we had now already trying to construct this sewer pipe? 600 gallons of fracking fluid is now inside the refuge. That endangered bog turtle. That endangered short-eared owls. And all that endangered northern Harrier -- all those species depend on these wetlands. It's a migratory bird route that you guys just decided to, I don't know about you guys (meaning the planning board), but Genesee County Economic Development Center decided to just plop an industrial park right in the middle of the Tonawanda State Wildlife Management Area, the Iroquois National Wildlife Areas, protected area. I don't understand how they can just put a sewer pipeline in the middle of it."

The STAMP project is entirely outside of both protected areas.

Masse said in the hallway as soon as the meeting was over, "To clarify, there are no wetlands being impacted by this project."

Ciurzynski immediately added, "Your story was accurate. Our survey has been registered with the town and this county. To avoid this (wetlands), we didn't buy that land (containing wetlands)."

As for Wackett's claim that GCEDC that "600 gallons of fracking fluid is now inside the refuge," Masse said that statement isn't accurate.

He said during the construction of the wastewater pipeline, a channel is drilled through the subsurface and then filled with what is essentially mud to hold the line's shape while the pipe is slid into place. "

"It's basically water and clay," Masse said. "The soil is so soft that it actually ended up going out through the soil. We've done the appropriate cleanups, we had an approved frac-out plan with the DEC ahead of time as part of our permitting. We are making improvements to it, and all of that cleanup and review is subject to the DEC review."

Asked to clarify what happened, Masse said, "In some cases in the refuge, the ground is so porous that when they put the mud in, it leaks out through the sides. It came up to the surface. And that's what they call a frac-out. But it is nothing more than mud. So we had vac trucks on site and cleaned it up. We have subject to DEC inspection on that and in accordance with our frac-out plan."

He said the frac-out has been cleaned up, and while still subject to a DEC follow-up inspection, Masse indicated the event posed no threat to wildlife.

Owls
"I just need to make the comment for the short-eared owl," Wackett said. "From what I understand and what I've read, that the short-eared owl has already declined in numbers since this project has started."

Masse said GCEDC has followed all DEC guidelines and regulations regarding the short-eared owl and north Harrier. 

"Essentially," Masse said, the short-eared owl northern Harrier issue has been resolved as we've received a permit to be able to develop that property. As a part of that, we've created a grassland habitat for those birds as the offset for the impact and taking that property. And that permit was issued, I think, in June or July."

As for Wackett's claim that the owl population has already declined, Masse said there is no evidence of that, and there can't be any definitive evidence because of the migratory habit of the species.

"We've done studies over the years, and those birds are non-geo specific, which means they don't come back to the same location every year," Masse said. "So they could be here one year, they could go somewhere else for six years, they could come back here in year seven. I'm sure statewide studies are being done, but whether those are higher or lower, it's hard to tell."

Lawsuits
At the start of his talk, Scirto said the Seneca Nation had sued to stop the STAMP development.  It's unclear if that was a reference to the 2021 lawsuit filed against GCEDC that was later settled or if he believes there is a pending lawsuit. GCEDC officials are unaware of any pending lawsuit filed by the Seneca Nation.

Orleans County has filed a lawsuit in a dispute over the sewer pipeline project that runs north into Orleans County. It's not clear from the language of the suit that the aim is to "stop" STAMP, as Scirto claimed during the meeting.  The Town of Shelby recently voted to join the lawsuit, even though Shelby previously approved the pipeline.

Whatever is going on with the lawsuits, Edwards Vacuum is not concerned, Ciurzynski said.

"It doesn't concern us because we do care about the environment," Ciurzynski said. "We care about the local people, the farmers. Something people need to know is Edwards Vacuum and Atlas Copco are really conscientious and intentional about their science-based initiatives to reduce their global footprint, global carbon footprint."

Returning to the issue of emissions raised by Scirto, Ciurzynski indicated Edwards has a plant in Korea doing what the Alabama plant will do, but it is "landlocked." It can expand. The STAMP site gives Edwards room for growth, but it also means its products will no longer be shipped by air cargo to the U.S., which will cut carbon emissions.

"Unfortunately, in building, you're not gonna make everybody happy," Ciurzynski said. "We can't keep everything pristine and green. We're trying to keep more than 60 percent of the site green. We're trying to make the building as green as possible by going all-electric, not having fossil fuels.

As part of the green effort, the site will have walking paths so people can enjoy the green space.

Masse said GCEDC has been complying with environmental regulations throughout the planning and development process.

"We've been working with the DEC, the Army Corps of Engineers, and our permit through the Wildlife Refuge took five years to obtain. There were two public meetings, and public hearings were held, and with that, there was a NEPA process done. We followed all the appropriate regulatory steps through this process to date. We are as transparent, and I think you would admit that we are as transparent and organization as you're going to find. We've done everything out in the open. We've done everything in the public. We've done every approval we need to do, and we continue to, and I don't think people realize how much the regulatory agencies have oversight over all construction, over all of the development. You talk stormwater management to the DEC. You talk about construction safety to the Town of Alabama. Operational-wise, it's the town of Alabama, it's the DEC. So there are enough regulatory agencies where I don't think a company would be able to do some of the things that had been said here today without being found immediately, without having somebody know what's going on. So I don't know if they just don't understand how development works. But the amount of oversight and regulatory oversight that happens in New York State is a lot."

The Seneca Nation
Both Ciurzynski and Masse said Edwards and STAMP want to be good neighbors to the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

"We do care about Native Americans," Ciurzynski said. "We want them to be part of our facility. We want them to work with us. We want them to work at our facility. We want to provide livelihoods so that they can have generational jobs that they don't have to drive miles to get to. It's right next door. You can have a good job and work with wonderful people in a LEAD-certified building that's as green as possible."

Masse said GCEDC has always been open to working with tribal leaders.

"We've been outreaching with the Nation diligently for at least the last seven years, if not the last 13," Masse said. "They just choose not to participate, which is their right."

Public Awareness
As to the implication raised by Wackett that people have been kept in the dark, Masse noted that GCEDC has hosted a number of well-publicized public meetings and public hearings.  There was ample opportunity 13 years ago to raise the objections being raised now.

"There are 60,000 people in Genesee County, and we had two people show up who opposed this and said they said they had 500," Masse said. "In the grand scheme of things, you know, I understand people want to be heard. But the majority of the people here, like the Town of Alabama, spoke 13 years ago. And quite honestly, the time to express your concerns about the project would have been 13 years ago when we were going through the EIS process. I think we held 25 to 30 public meetings. So you know, that process was a public process. And there are a lot of concerns voiced, but at the end of the day, the community overwhelmingly was in favor of it."

David Ciurzynski
David Ciurzynski, a local consultant representing Edwards Vacuum, during his presentation on Thursday to the Genesee County Planning Board.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Evelyn Wackett
Evelyn Wackett, a wildlife rehabber from Erie County, spoked against STAMP at Thursday's Planning Board meeting.
Photo by Howard Owens.

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Reliant Real Estate

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City looks to Creek Park to fit the bill for potential market rate housing

By Joanne Beck
Aerial view of Creek Park
Aerial view of Creek Park in Batavia. 
Photo from City of Batavia

As city officials pursue market-rate cottage and condo neighborhood development in the area coined as Creek Park behind the McCarthy Ice Arena, the idea has been met with mixed reactions online.

An aerial view photo was posted on the city’s social media site, which prompted several responses, from “What happened to the outdoor ice rink that was potentially in the works?” to “This is an awful idea. Rather than take such a large green space in the city, develop it into something everyone can use — shelter picnic area, fenced-in dog park, etc.” and “That’s one of the only green spaces in that area of town. I know it’s not as cost-effective for companies, but I wish we would push for reusing abandoned spaces rather than destroying green space.”

Some people definitely seem to be fixated on the flailing Ellicott Station, stalled since August and in limbo as to when and if it will get finished. Case in point, one commenter said, “I hope they can find someone to finish the project on Ellicott Street first,” while another said, “stupid idea. Got one now that just stands there unfinished.” 

Not everyone was a naysayer, however. As one poster said, he thought that “done right, with the proper restrictions on the developer/owner, to prevent what Savarino did, this would be a great idea.” 

The Batavian asked City Manager Rachael Tabelski if those comments would be taken into consideration, even if it seemed as though a majority were trending negative, as can happen on social media. 

“Yes, we like to get feedback, and we appreciate the views of residents and potential residents alike,” Tabelski said.  “The site lends itself to both uses, housing and usable green space.  The intent and design of the site will be for mixed-height residential, not a five-story building like Ellicott Station.  It will incorporate green space and make use of the waterfront. We are working on renderings for the site, but these are the concepts we are interested in seeing on the site.”

Those renderings are below courtesy City of Batavia.
 

Creek Park rendering
Creek Park rendering-2
Creek Park rendering-3
Creek Park rendering-4

Creek Park, one of the city’s latest real estate initiatives that sits alongside Tonawanda Creek and behind the ice arena, may be eligible for the Brownfield Cleanup Program, which comes with related tax credits.  

The city has agreed to spend $15,000 of committed funds to contract with Roux, which has merged with Benchmark Environmental Engineering & Science PLLC and Turnkey Environmental Restoration LLC, to prepare the limited PHASE II environmental investigation in the Creek Park area. 

The city had to wait for the Batavia Development Corporation to obtain the title of 60 Evans St. from the Town of Batavia, which it has done. 

City Council approved the expense and environmental study during its business meeting this week. Meanwhile, the city floated its idea of developing Creek Park on social media.

Creek Park model

Fire Prevention Week reminds all to be careful in the kitchen

By Joanne Beck
Tim Yaeger, Gary Patnode, Gary Maha
Recognizing Fire Prevention Week: Genesee County Legislator Gary Maha, right, presents a proclamation to  Genesee County Emergency Management Services/Fire Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator Tim Yaeger, left, and Gary Patnode, on behalf of the 17 volunteer fire departments and one career fire department in Genesee County during the county Legislature meeting Wednesday.
Photo by Steven Falitico

City of Batavia and Genesee County fire department and management leaders have been on site with fire trucks, issuing reminders and presenting a proclamation, all in an effort to recognize and promote the importance of Fire Prevention Week, which ends on Saturday.

Although the week officially runs from Oct. 8 to 14, Batavia Fire Department Lieutenant Bob Tedford wants citizens to remember that cooking safety begins with you, no matter when that is. Cooking is the leading cause of home fire injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association, with nearly half of all home fires involving cooking equipment, according to a press release sent from Tedford on behalf of the NFPA.

The City of Batavia Fire Department, therefore, wanted to share the following cooking safety messages to support this year’s cooking safety theme, he said. 

• Always keep a close eye on what you are cooking. For foods with longer cook times, such as those simmering or baking, set a timer to help monitor them carefully.

• Clear the cooking area of combustible items and keep anything that can burn, such as dish towels, oven mitts, food packaging, and paper towels away from the cooking area.

• Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.

• Create a “kid and pet-free zone” of at least three feet around the cooking area and anywhere else hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

As the biggest annual campaign at NFPA, Fire Prevention Week works to educate people about the leading risks to home fires and ways they can better protect themselves and their loved ones. Local fire departments play a key role in bringing Fire Prevention Week to life in their communities each year and spreading basic but critical fire safety messages.

To learn more about Fire Prevention Week, its 100th anniversary, and this year’s theme,  go to www.nfpa.org/fpw.

County legislators also recognized the week during the Legislature’s Wednesday meeting with a proclamation, which was presented to Emergency Management Services and Fire Coordinator Timothy Yaeger and Assistant Coordinator Gary Patnode on behalf of the 17 volunteer and one career fire department in Genesee County.

The proclamation states:

WHEREAS, the week of October 8 th through the 14 th , 2023 is Fire Prevention Week where the goal is to raise fire safety awareness and help ensure your home and family is protected, and

WHEREAS, fire is a serious public safety concern both locally and nationally, with homes being the location where people are at the greatest risk from fire, and

WHEREAS, cooking is the leading cause of house fires, with nearly half of all house fires involves cooking equipment and the other involves unattended cooking, and

WHEREAS, residents should stay in the kitchen when frying food on the stovetop, keep a three-foot kid-free zone around cooking areas and keep anything that can catch fire away from stove tops, and

WHEREAS, residents who have planned and practiced a home fire escape plan are more prepared and will therefore be more likely to survive a fire, and

WHEREAS, in reported house fires, working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in half, and

WHEREAS, first responders are dedicated to reducing the occurrence of home fires and home fire injuries through prevention and protection. Now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Genesee County Legislature does hereby proclaim October 8th through the 14th, 2023 as Fire Prevention Week and we urge all residents to participate by checking their smoke alarms and kitchens for fire hazards and use safe cooking practices during Fire Prevention Week.

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