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Batavia author introduces 'Passenger' in staged reading Nov. 9 and 11

By Joanne Beck
Eric Zwieg
Eric Zwieg of Batavia looks through the bannister at GO Art!, where his first staged reading, "Passenger: A Billion Little Pieces," will be presented at 7 p.m. Nov. 9. 
Photo by Howard Owens

A native of Rochester who has lived “everywhere” before settling down in Batavia eight years ago, Eric Zwieg could easily be described as a journeying artist.

Zwieg, who has more recently racked up academic degrees with no stopping in sight, spent his childhood in his grandmother’s cultural Chautauqua Institute surroundings, where he saw great jazz legends, later pursuing music performance in college before quitting after a year to indulge in the real thing — hitting the road for the next several years, forming his own bands, writing songs, recording albums, and scoring acting gigs for Indie movies. 

“I really wasn’t getting out of it what I wanted. My mother had been an opera singer in college, so she really wanted me to get the schooling, but it wasn’t meant for me. I’d rather hang in the bars,” Zwieg said during an interview with The Batavian. “I worked really hard. I was very industrious,” he said, adding the piece that most aspiring artists can relate to. “I was a personal trainer, did restaurant jobs, gallery jobs, I used to light shows for galleries, anything to make a buck here and there. And it all added up to put food on the table and pay rent.”

He dabbled in writing by drafting his own audition scripts for the theater “to help me stand out a little bit, you know, instead of the same old, same old stuff they hear.” 

“So I was always trying to be creative in that respect. That got me the Indie film parts," he said. "They didn’t pay anything, but you’re working, and you’re doing what you really want to do.”

Since all of that, for the last seven years, he’s been in school full-time, earning a bachelor’s degree in writing in 2016 and his master’s in writing four years later. And “that’s where my writing really started to take on some importance in my life,” he said.

He then obtained his master’s in fine arts at Goddard College this July, which is when he completed the thesis he is using as the basis for his staged reading of “Passenger: A Billion Little Pieces.” It debuts at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at GO Art!’s main gallery, 201 East Main St., Batavia.  

“It’s a fully hybrid memoir, which is important that people understand that, and it’s based on postmodern writing disciplines and elements, and postmodern literature, having started after World War II … I’m using all the literary elements, I really wanted to pull a card trick off here, not only on my mentors but on the readers,” he said. “I really want to fill it chock full of all this stuff that, it’s aesthetically beautiful to read, but they don’t know what’s going on. And so it kind of takes one to know one. So there’s so much hidden, but it’s stylistically very academic.”

This presentation was made possible with Zwieg’s fifth Ripple grant award through GO Art!

“Passenger: A Billion Little Pieces—postmodern reflections in an attempt at several literary sensibilities, attitudes, and genre” is a hybrid of prose, poetry (Haiku, prosaic, anaphoric, repetition, lyric, narrative), definitions, quotes, lists, font variations, cut-and-paste, liberal punctuation, foreign language, dramatic and film dialogue insertions, homage, pastiche, text colorization, watermarks, absurdum, images, page breaks, use of whitespace, academic annotations, object blocks, postmodern concepts (metafiction, unreliable narration, intertextuality, anti-authorism, rejection-embracement of high and low culturalism, nonlinear storyline), embedded dramaturgical direction, irony, metaphor, existential thought, epistemology, naïve realism, philosophical skepticism, parody-satire, unrealistic narratives, paradox, sarcasm, humor, multiple POVs, dreams within dreams, stories within stories, nonuse of page numbers, contractions, quotation marks, and a bit of memoir, be it faux, pragmatic or idealistic.

Those are a lot of varying elements. Given the academic basis of the reading, and you say so much is hidden, will the audience get it? 
Maybe not. They might not fully understand the big picture, he said, but will get the vignettes. 

“They’ll get the chapters, and they’ll see this guy Henry Grace’s character,” Zwieg said. “He’s an everyman. He’s kind of an island.”

As Zwieg described Grace, and his own existence over the last number of years, one might wonder if there’s also some autobiography in here as well. There is some loneliness. 

Passenger is a professional reading with paid performers featuring Richard Ferris, Stephen VanValkenburg and Zwieg. While there are no costumes or sets, and perhaps because of that, it’s the words — their nuance, their lilt, their palpable meaning, their pronunciation and embrace as delivered by the performers — that make this show, Zwieg said.  

He pays homage to his favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace, and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who founded City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. 

“I love these writers so much, you’re paying homage to them,” he said. I’m not trying to compare myself to them. I have my own twist on it too.”

Vonnegut is an American writer well known for his “Slaughterhouse-Five,” which Zwieg specifically referenced, and Foster Wallace is a postmodern novelist. His other muse, if it can be called that, was rock band Television’s album “Marquee Moon,” of which he painstakingly rifled through all eight tracks to pull references, quotes and footnotes that have significance for him. 

“There's a section when Henry falls in love with music as a teenager, right? And he goes to see that live band for the first time. So that's where this concept comes from Television. Unless you're a real music nerd, not a lot of people know about it. But this was at CBGBs in the mid-70s, which blew up with Blondie, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Television, on and on and on. It was just, that was the passion of music,” he said. “And so that's the connection to music for me. So the eight chapters, you know, See No Evil, Marquee Moon, whatever on down, are the track listings on that album. And there are quotes. There are footnotes throughout … there are seven or eight pages of footnotes that relate back to the photos, quotations, movie quotes, movie dialogue, all that stuff. 

"So I give credit to all those people. But there are a number of quotes from the lead singer and main songwriter on Television, who actually passed away just this year, Tom Verlaine. And so that's that energy I was trying to, you know, that element really means a lot to me.”

While working on each chapter, he would key in on one song and listen to it, he said, some 20 times in a four-hour period, to “define and pick a line out here that I can include in my prose texts somehow to make it that more of a convoluted postmodern type of experience.”

So there’s a lot going on, he said. An easy understatement. However, that’s the beauty of art and poetry and words, as Passenger’s own script states:  

You. You are. You are you. You have been.

You are. You will be forever. Breathe deeply. Listen. Allow life to be. Simple as a moment.

Fulfilling. The end is what you make it. Who are you? but existence without answers surrounded by suffering. 

Reaching for clarity in all things. Survival dependent upon the balance of randomness, choice, and the process of process. 

Journeys yet unfulfilled.

There will be a second show at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at Pub Coffee Hub, 56 Harvester Ave., Batavia. There is no admission fee, and it is suggested for mature audiences only of age 17 and older. 

GCC Foundation to present Encore 2023 'White Christmas' Dec. 15

By Press Release

Press Release:

On Friday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. Genesee Community College Foundation will welcome all guests to its annual Encore Celebration. This year's event theme, "White Christmas," inspired by the 1954 classic film, will capture the essence of the holiday season and features a special holiday concert program choreographed by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra.

Encore has a distinctive 30-year tradition and all proceeds from the event directly support student scholarships at Genesee Community College. The College is pleased to announce the return of our Presenting Sponsor, Tompkins Financial Corporation, to Encore 2023. 

"Tompkins' banking, insurance, and wealth teams are proud to once again partner with GCC in support of the people and community we serve here in western New York," said David Boyce, President & CEO, of Tompkins Insurance Agencies.

There are several opportunities remaining to sponsor the Encore event. These sponsorships are critically important to the scholarships GCC provides its students and are available at several levels this year:

  • Table Sponsor: $1,500
  • Conductor's Circle: $1,000
  • Golden Baton Society: $600
  • Inner Circle: $300
  • Individual Platinum Patron Ticket: $100

Help make a difference and make your reservations today at or contact the Foundation Office at (585) 345-6809.

For more information contact Justin Johnston, Vice President, Development and External Affairs at (585) 345-6809, or via email:

Nine local students to be recognized at STOP-DWI awards luncheon

By Press Release

Press Release:

On Friday, Nov. 17, the Genesee County STOP-DWI Advisory Board will sponsor their 7th annual STOP-DWI Awards Luncheon at Terry Hills Restaurant & Banquet Facility. Nine young people from districts in the county will be honored for their commitment to the community for entering the STOP-DWI Poster Contest. 

There are 1st -3rd place winners in each category, 6th - 8th grade hand drawn, 6th - 8th grade Computer Generated Art and 9th -12th grade Computer Generated Art. There is also a Grand Prize Winner.

Additionally, the luncheon will recognize three Top Cop Awards. The following young people will be recognized for their STOP-DWI poster submissions:

6th - 8th grade winners: Alyssa Bailey, Jameson Hargrave, Deborah Heineman, Taylor Louis and Peyton Gay. 

9th - 12th grade winners: Taelynn Bragg, Savannah Meyer and Aiden Vallett. 

The Grand Prize Winner whose artwork will appear on a billboard in Genesee County in November and December is Marley Santos, a 10th grader from Batavia High School.

Batavia Police Officer Joseph Weglarski, Genesee County Sheriff Deputy Zachary Hoy and Village of LeRoy Police Department Officer Jordan Wolcott are receiving the Top Cop Award for going above and beyond with DWI arrests during a twelve month time period. They are also being honored for their dedication to keeping our community safe.

Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. The program and luncheon will begin at 12 p.m. Seating is limited. If you are interested in attending the luncheon, contact Theresa Osborn at the Genesee County Youth Bureau at (585) 344-3960 no later than Nov. 9.

Batavia City Schools leaders urge citizens to support Prop #1 in Tuesday's vote

By Press Release

Press Release:

Dear Batavia Community,

We are writing on behalf of the Batavia City School District, as well as the students, staff and residents in the fifty-seven (57) small city school districts across New York State.  We are seeking the support of your school district and its residents in amending the NYS Constitution through a public vote November 7, 2023.  The small city school districts in NYS are seeking to amend the State Constitution which limits small city school district debt (critical for building and capital construction) to five percent (5%), while all rural and suburban non city school districts debt limit is set at ten percent (10%). The only means to make this change and provide small city school districts with the same opportunity as other school districts is through a public vote.  WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Allowing small city school districts to have a ten percent debt limit would permit these school districts to conduct building planning and projects at the scale and scope necessary to efficiently and effectively make critically needed building upgrades and improvements in a timely and cost-effective manner.   Should this vote in November be successful it would not have any impact on non-city school districts.  Currently small city school directs due to their five percent (5%) debt limit must address needed capital improvements for health and safety projects, HVAC improvements, roofing replacements, facility renovations and additions to address instructional and enrollment needs as well as changing State requirement, through a sequential series of smaller projects over a number of years in order to stay under the five percent debt limit cap.  The proposed amendment to the State Constitution would eliminate this.

The NYS Association of Small City School Districts have garnered the support of the New  York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA), the New  York State  Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS), New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), New York  State Association of School Business Officials (ASBO), the NYS Education Conference Board, NYS legislative support through concurrent resolutions passed through the legislature in 2022 and 2023 to amend the constitution and a 2023 bill to set small city school district debt limit at ten percent in statute should the voters in NYS approve the November proposal.

Small City School Districts view this critical issue and vote as a matter of equity and fairness for students, school districts and communities across New York State.  We strongly ask for you to support the vote for small city school districts in this November’s elections and vote.


Members of the Batavia City School District Board of Education

John Marucci, President

John Reigle, Vice-President

Korinne Anderson

Alice Ann Benedict

Barbara Bowman

Jennifer Lendvay

Chez’eray Rolle

Jason A. Smith, Batavia City School District Superintendent of Schools

Town supervisor reminds legislators to keep everyone in mind during budget hearing

By Joanne Beck
Matt Landers presenting 2024 budget
Genesee County Manager Matt Landers presents the 2024 proposed budget Wednesday during a public hearing at the Old County Courthouse. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Pembroke Town Supervisor Thomas Schneider understands that Genesee County has some rough financial waters to navigate, however, he still wants county officials to remember that he and other municipalities are out there working to maintain their vessels as well.

"Now, it's nice that the county rate is reduced again. But I just want to encourage the Legislature to remember the towns and villages," Schneider said during the county’s budget hearing Wednesday at the old County Courthouse in Batavia. "And I know you've got a lot of other expenses and departments to deal with, but, you know, that did put a significant hit on the town budgets. And I hate to keep sounding like a broken record … we're appreciative of whatever can be shared. I'm a strong supporter of the whole ship working together to stay afloat.” 

Genesee County Manager Matt Landers released his 2024 budget and related message on Friday, and this week included the entire financial summary for the nearly $183 million spending plan, an increase of $20 million from 2023. It includes a property tax levy of $32.7 million, a $1.5 million cash surplus, a $17.4 million year-end fund balance, $104 million in revenues and $138 million in appropriations. 

This isn't the first time Schneider has come to talk to legislators about his plight as a cash-strapped supervisor, and he has been accompanied in the past by other supervisors as well. No matter the outcome, he wants to keep up with the message, he said.

“You know, I think I'm slowly getting into the fifth stage of grief at this point where it's acceptance. The local level tends to be where most of the people come to voice their concerns, it seems like, and trying to get them to understand what the new normal is in Genesee County and in the town of Pembroke is sometimes a little tough. So I don't want to upset anybody if I'm directing them to the County Legislature because, you know, our budget has not increased from 2018. We're still running at 2018 levels in our budgets,” he said. “So I would love to be able to have an increase in my budget each year, but then I've got to put that on the taxpayers and in the town, and so we have to think long and hard about those increases." 

Of the general fund expenses, there is a $5.2 million increase in the water fund because of the Phase 2 water project, he said. The good news, Landers said: “That is a one-time, non-reoccurring” cost. 

“So we don’t expect to see that in the 2025 budget,” he said. “So as far as the $20 million, $5 million of it is right there. That won’t be back next year. “$4.8 million of it is an increase in salaries and related employer FICA costs.”

People that go the public defender’s office and have some type of conflict and have to instead to assigned counsel, there’s a reimbursement cost for that, “which is causing a million dollar increase in costs,” Landers said. “The state is reimbursing half of that. But for the purposes of showing what the increased expenditures are, it is important to note that a million dollars of that is because the aid can be raised. Another $1.3 million is from NYS retirement, and a million dollar increase in Medicaid local share.”

Landers credited increased sales tax, including gasoline sales tax, and a cash surplus for a decreased sales tax rate by 37 cents for the proposed $8.08 per $1,000 assessed value. According to county history, that’s the lowest tax rate in at least 26 years, though total appropriations have risen from $72.6 million in 1997 to nearly $182.8 million in this proposed budget.

That’s in the face of some steep financial bills moving forward as the county has a looming $150 million Phase 3 water project and $70 million new jail facility in progress with the tabs yet to be paid. 

As of Dec. 31 of this year, the county will have an outstanding debt of $85.8 million for the Phase 2 water ($2.92 million), jail construction ($69.1 million), GCEDC STAMP water ($2.82 million), GCC athletic fields/gym/locker rooms ($175,000) and Wellness Center ($6.96 million), airport terminal construction ($2.9 million), and the Sheriff’s administration building ($920,000). 

Landers gave examples of some department highlights and related cash infusions, including a couple of years ago, when there were some substantial and sizable increases for one-time projects that could not grow “without our support.” 

“We once again asked if we wanted to keep that funding going on to demonstrate the need and demonstrate what that money would show as a return from the main investments. Examples are that we have our Jocelyn here from Cornell Cooperative, and we have the Ag in the Classroom program, which has been a huge success, so much so that she wants to expand upon that. There was a request to expand upon that, and in the 2024 budget, we're going to see if we can make that happen in 2025,” he said. “Workforce development that GCC has, we’ve been able to put in place, that these extra funds that the Legislature has been able to invest in is paying off in our community. 

"GCC, we've asked them to continue on with just a $50,000 increase. I say that's less than 2 percent of what we contribute to GCC overall, and inflation is going up by much more than 2 percent. So I think that's still a very, very conscientious move for the Legislature to try to keep them limited to $50,000," he said. "Sometimes in the past we would say, no increase for several years in a row. And then we would have to catch up and have to do a large shock to our budget. So I think this is a very measured approach.” 

He put $30 million in the budget for mandated services for social services and new jail needs, he said.  The new jail facility required hiring six additional correctional officers and one full-time cleaner for a total of seven new positions, Landers said. Every new state-mandated post at the jail means five and half new positions, he said.

He hopes to recoup some of those expenses with boarding of inmates from the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, he said.

Genesee County used to have a more generous profit-sharing formula with its towns and villages, and with the three-phase water projects, that formula was recalculated two years ago that reduced that flattened the annual amount, a calculation that Schneider and other supervisors have critiqued in the past. This time Schneider said he just wants to be a gentle reminder that “we’re still here” and in need of funding whenever that might be possible.

Thomas Schneider, Pembroke supervisor
Pembroke Town Supervisor Thomas Schneider
Photo by Joanne Beck

“That's really all I had to say. The sales tax agreement was changed in 2018 because the county needed additional revenue. I don't think it solves anything to be too hard on anybody, but just the fact of the matter is it does put a hole in our budget, we've not increased our spending, our revenues have essentially decreased," Schneider said after the hearing. "So, you know, I just didn't want it lost on the legislature that it is still an impact. I don't want to tell anybody how to do their budget, I try to steer clear of telling other boards and groups how to do their job, but I think all budgets do have wiggle room in them.

"I don't think there's any changes at this point to it, other than just asking for more revenue sharing, because in the 2020 sales tax agreement, whenever that was passed, 2021, there was a possibility of additional revenue if the county had it available, so I just want to make sure we're not silent in the process, keeping in there,” he said.

The county invites public feedback, Landers and Legislative Chairwoman Shelley Stein said. The Legislature plans to have further budget sessions and is scheduled for a final vote on Nov. 20.

Batavia man struck and killed while crossing Main Street Road, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

A 60-year-old Batavia man was struck and killed by a vehicle while he was attempting to cross the road on foot in the area of 4077 West Main Street Road, Batavia, at 6:55 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The victim has been identified as Robert M. Schryver.

The location is roughly between Delre's Greenhouse and the former Dibble Family Center, west of Colonial Boulevard. 

According to the initial investigation, a 27-year-old Akron woman, Brittany Hill, was driving a 2020 Gray Volkswagon SUV westbound when Schryver reportedly crossed the road ahead of her vehicle.

Schryver sustained serious injuries and was transported to UMMC, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The accident investigation is continuing by the Crash Management Team and deputies.  Town of Batavia Fire, Batavia PD, State Police, and Mercy EMS assisted at the scene.

Teenagers from Rochester charged in thefts of cars left unlocked and running in driveways

By Howard B. Owens

A pair of teenagers from Rochester are accused of stealing two unlocked vehicles that were left running in the driveways of Batavia homes this morning.

The first theft was reported on Lacrosse Avenue in Batavia. It was later located on Cherry Avenue, where another vehicle that had been left unlocked and running was stolen.

A short time after the theft was reported, a Le Roy patrol officer spotted the vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. 

The driver fled, leading to a chase into Monroe County.  The Monroe County Sheriff's Office assisted with the pursuit once it was in the department's jurisdiction.

The chase ended in North Chili, where one occupant was taken into custody without incident.  

A second occupant fled on foot but was taken into custody a short time later.

A 17-year-old male and an 18-year-old female, whose names are not being released by Batavia PD, were charged with two counts each of grand larceny 4th.  They are also facing charges and traffic violations in Le Roy.

The pair was issued appearance tickets and released to their guardians in accordance with state law.

Batavia PD said in a statement that it wishes to thank the Village of LeRoy Police Department, the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center and Monroe County Sheriff's Office for their assistance. 

"We further would like to remind residents to secure their vehicles and not leave them running while unattended," the department said in a statement.

HLOM debuts new exhibit, '98 years since the sun went out'

By Press Release

Press Release:

Come to the Holland Land Office Museum and see a snapshot of Genesee County and Batavia in the 1920s through our upcoming exhibit, “98 Years Since the Sun Went Out” sponsored by Max Pies Furniture. The display will be from November to April 2024.

Experience what living in Genesee County in the 1920s’ was like and the commotion around January 24, 1925, the last time we witnessed the total solar eclipse in our area. Go back in time and see what people wore, what our community looked like, where people shopped and worked, their home lives, and how they saw and reacted to the eclipse. 

The exhibit will feature clothing, newspaper articles, household goods, business and industry memorabilia, and much more from the 1920s. 

A revamp of the exhibit will occur in January which will open on February 9, 2024, which will include even more artifacts and a greater experience of what 1920s Genesee County and Batavia looked and felt like.

Hochul announces $56 million funding for STAMP as part of larger business development program

By Press Release

Press release:

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that nearly $90 million has been awarded for six locations under the Focused Attraction of Shovel-Ready Tracts New York grant program. First announced in February 2022, the program is designed to prepare and develop sites across the state to jumpstart New York’s shovel-readiness and increase its attractiveness to large employers and high-tech manufacturing companies. The program, administered by Empire State Development, will help diversify New York State’s economy while propelling new investments for businesses, communities, and job creation.

“Through the FAST NY grant program, New York is continuing its commitment to investing in and expanding economic growth and opportunity across the state,” Governor Hochul said. “This funding will prepare shovel-ready sites that key industries like semiconductors and renewable energy are looking for and will create good jobs and grow local economies for generations to come.”

There are seven projects mentioned in the press release. Here is the section on WNY STAMP:

  • Genesee County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), Genesee County – $56 million: The Western New York Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) is a 1250-acre mega site, with access to significant power, water and completed pre-development. STAMP is the largest remaining site in New York State, which has already committed over $50 million to the site and where Plug Power’s green hydrogen project is currently under construction and Edwards Vacuum will be starting construction on their dry pump factory next spring. STAMP is integral to the recent EDA Regional Tech Hub designation for the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse corridor and the state’s strategic goal of creating a “semiconductor superhighway” across Upstate. This phase of the project focuses on building the remaining infrastructure to support advanced manufacturing projects including a wastewater treatment facility and pump station, force-main components, natural gas transmission main tap and extension within the site, road construction improvements and a water transmission main. Total project cost: $62.37 million

Click here to read the full press release.

UPDATE: Statement from GCEDC:

“The FAST NY award announced by Governor Hochul today demonstrates her steadfast commitment to next-generation site development that will bring emerging business sectors in semiconductor and advanced manufacturing to our region.

“This award creates significant momentum in our efforts to design, engineer, and secure permits for infrastructure at STAMP, including current projects that have been announced to date that are anticipated to generate $1 billion of private sector investment and the creation of over 600 family-sustaining jobs.

“The FAST NY award also follows Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s recent announcement of the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse regions being designated as a federal Tech Hub, which will only enhance continued interest at STAMP by companies in these business sectors.”


As we head into the holiday season, remember to support local businesses

By Howard B. Owens

It's that time of the year when people start thinking about the holidays -- planning parties, family gatherings, gift-giving, and maybe how we might take care of ourselves and the people we love a little better.

It makes it a good time to show a little love to our community and support the local business owners who do so much to make our community a better place to live. They create jobs, serve volunteer organizations, make donations to various groups and charities, and give a local community its vibrancy.  

When planning your holiday season, don't forget to support local businesses.  Counties with strong local business communities thrive.

Local news is also important to the health of a local community.

Here is a list of the businesses that support The Batavian's mission to bring you lots of local news. Please remember to support them not only during the holiday season but throughout the year.

Community Sponsors

Byron-Bergen's Farner scores four goals as Bees blanks Cuba-Rushford in soccer crossover

By Howard B. Owens
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover

Byron-Bergen beat Cuba-Rushford/Hinsdale 4-0 on Wednesday night at Geneseo in the Class C crossover game.

The Bees now advance to the Far West Regional to take on Wilson, the Section VI Class C champ, in the Far West Championship at 5 p.m. on Friday at West Seneca Senior High School.

All four goals for the Bees were scored by Jack Farner (#8).  Assists went to Colin Martin, Noah Clare, Braedyn Chambry and Cody Carlson. 

Photos by Jennifer DiQuattro.

byron bergen boys score Class C crossover
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover
byron bergen boys score Class C crossover

Byron-Bergen loses Class C crossover to Holley

By Howard B. Owens
Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
Byron-Bergen's Victoria Rogoyski fouled early in the first half.
Photo by Howard Owens

With each of the first two goals the Holley Hawks scored, the Byron-Bergen Bees had an answer to tie the game, but in overtime, the Hawk's third overtime goal ended the game and ended the Bees' hope of advancing further this postseason.

Byron-Byron Bergen lost the Class C crossover game at Geneseo High School and the right to play in the Western Regional Championship to Holly 3-2.

For more photos and to purchase prints, click here.

Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
Keeper Novalee Pocock with a saver in the first half.
Photo by Howard Owens
Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
MacKenzie Hagen
Photo by Howard Owens
Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
The Holly Hawks score their first goal in the first half.
Photo by Howard Owens
Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
Mia Gray after a successful steal in the first half.
Photo by Howard Owens
Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
Ava Goff
Photo by Howard Owens
Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
Megan Zwerka-Synder
Photo by Howard Owens
Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
A Byron-Bergen scoring attempt blocked in the second half.
Photo by Howard Owens
Byron Bergen v Holley Class C Crossover Socccer 2023
Riley Shallenberger
Photo by Howard Owens

Genesee County's move for dedicated ambulance service with Mercy Flight 'a big step'

By Joanne Beck
Gary Maha, Shelley Stein, Matt Landers
Genesee County Legislators Gary Maha and Shelley Stein participate on the Ways & Means Committee Wednesday as County Manager Matt Landers, far right, reviews a new ambulance contract with Mercy Flight. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Discussion of a new Mercy Flight contract for basic and advanced life support services was no big surprise, perhaps, on Wednesday, but was a big step forward nonetheless as the process continued past the Ways & Means Committee, Matt Landers said.

The county manager presented the $452,000 contract to the committee on its last leg of a journey to the full Legislature for approval. 

While neighboring communities take on ambulance services themselves — and the high costs of labor, salaries, benefits, retirement, vehicles and maintenance that goes with it — Landers was pleased that Genesee County will have contracts with two providers (one has already been approved for Le Roy Ambulance Service), and looks forward to working with Mercy Flight, he said. 

“I think that this is a very good step for this Legislature to enter this contract with the county. It's a good step to avoid us having to buy ambulances and hire EMTs and things that our other neighboring counties have had to do because they didn't have a centralized strong entity like we have here in Genesee County,” he said. “And so let's support the private sector solution that's already here. And let them do the job that they're best at doing versus us entering into another business. 

“So I think it's a good contract; it’s something that we'll monitor closely. And I'm sure, once we start, this is something that we’ll be relying on for years, it will be going on for years and years and years, and we'll be discussing increases in future contracts,” he said. “But it's nice to know we've got a fixed amount for three years for strengthening our ambulance service.”

A study was conducted prior to this contract, and it was determined that in order to improve response times, an ambulance would stationed at each the east and west end of the county. 

So one will be placed in Stafford and in East Pembroke, plus Batavia will also have a base, and the new configuration will be monitored over time to see if that helps or if further adjustments need to be made, Landers said.

He pointed to Emergency Management Services Coordinator Tim Yaeger as the one integrally involved in the study and strategy for this plan. Yaeger was not at Wednesday’s meeting, and The Batavian plans to catch up with him in the future to further discuss the county’s contract.

“We were exploring different ways to potentially require certain response times from Mercy Flight. The more we examined it, it was looking to be a challenge because there's always explanations for why a response time might not have been met for a certain case. So overall, we thought that if we just had a deployment coming from Stafford and a deployment coming from East Pembroke, have enough pushing it out further from just being around the time of Batavia, that naturally, the response time should improve,” Landers said. “And it's something that we can monitor every year, per the contract. And if the response times truly are improving, then we made the right decision. If this is not having a material impact on response times in the outer parts of the county, then we will just have to reexamine a different way to have those response times improved.”

So nothing would change for three years?
“Well, I wouldn’t say nothing. But there is a three-year contract. So it's something that we know we can monitor because we have a relationship with Mercy Flight directly now. So it's something that we're going to have a close eye on because we want to make sure that we're investing taxpayer money into this venture, we want to make sure we're getting some improved response times from it,” he said. “I suppose that if there was a mutually agreeable alternative aid contract, we could engage in that certainly, but right now, we're hoping that over the next three years, we'll see a better response time from having these deployments from outside the town of Batavia. 

"Well, I want to emphasize they're still ambulances in Batavia. So, we are not looking to improve response times to the town at the expense of people here in Batavia,” he said.

Of the total $452,000, $375,000 will go for personnel salaries and benefits, and the remaining $77,000 is for training and education, Landers said. 

“That amount is for education. So one of the things that was expressed to us was that sometimes when people are going through a lengthy training process for EMT, they're going through training, and they're not getting paid,” he said. “And that's difficult for people and with families, and to make ends meet. So this would allow them to get paid while getting trained.”

The contract begins Jan. 1, 2024, and it is competitive within this region, he said.

“So I ran into a Mercy Flight person who said, ‘Yeah, I hear that when I’m working in Genesee County, I get a bigger rate.’ So the word’s out there because if that’s the stipulation, we don’t want Mercy Flight to be paying people in another county with these monies. So what they’re paying their people here is gonna be higher based on this contract,” he said. “It holds their feet to the fire a little bit more than we’ve ever had that ability to pass because they operated here without the contract between us and them. So this puts into place some expectations.”

The new setup is to “improve response time without hurting response time,” he said. 

A legislator wanted to know what would happen if there was a request for an ambulance and there wasn’t enough staff on duty to ensure the minimum staffing level. 

Mercy EMS won’t be able to take a voluntary transport if it jeopardizes that minimum staffing expectation of the county, per this new contract, Landers said. “It may be a longer delay."

The contract will go from Jan. 1, 2024, to Dec. 31, 2026, for $452,460 per year.

Batavia native, experienced local attorney become's city's new part-time judge

By Howard B. Owens
andrea clattenburg batavia city court oath of office
Judge Andrea Clattenburg sits at the bench Wednesday n Batavia City Court for the first time after taking the oath of office as part-time City Court Justice.
Photo by Howard Owens

Andrea Clattenburg, whose legal career has taken her from a prosecutor's position in the County Attorney's Office to a defense attorney position in the Public Defender's Office, is now a part-time City Court judge.

Clattenburg took the oath of office Wednesday in Batavia City Court in a courtroom packed with family, friends, fellow attorneys, elected officials, and assorted dignitaries.

City Council appointed Clattenburg to the position in August following the resignation of Thomas Burns.  City Court judges, state-mandated positions, are elected to six-year terms. Clattenburg will be on an election ballot in November 2026, prior to the expiration of the term Burns vacated. That term expires on Dec. 31, 2026.

Full-time City Court Judge Durin Rogers administered the oath.

"City courts were once described to me as the emergency room or the emergency department," Rogers said. "Many times you don't know what you're gonna have. In City Court, you'd have a traditional vehicle and traffic matter. And for all my former colleagues and for the attorneys, and obviously the judges, you know, that you could have a very serious criminal matter brought into court during vehicle and traffic or during housing, and you have to be able to switch hats. And so you need a keen sense of triage. You need a keen sense of knowledge. And, most importantly, I think judicial temperament, and I'm very excited that we have somebody of Judge Clattenburg's caliber to join us on this team."

Clattenburg thanked her colleagues and family for their support over the years, particularly her father James Clattenburg and her husband Michael Szymczak.

"I grew up in Batavia," Clattenburg said. "I've lived here my entire life. I've worked in Genesee County, in Batavia, my entire life, and I am so thrilled to be able to serve the city of Batavia in this capacity."

During introductions by Rogers, the two newest members of the court staff were also introduced.  Kelly Randle is the new chief clerk and Amy VanSplunder is the new deputy clerk.

andrea clattenburg batavia city court oath of office
City Court Judge Durin Rogers administers the Oath of Office to Andrea Clattenburg, the city's new part-time judge. Holding the Bible is her husband, Michael Szymczak, and to her right are her parents James and Marianne Clattenburg.
Photo by Howard Owens
andrea clattenburg batavia city court oath of office
Marianne Clattenburg, a member of the Genesee County Legislature, sits in the front row of the City Court gallery with other members of the Clattenburg family.
Photo by Howard Owens.
andrea clattenburg batavia city court oath of office
Judge Durin Rogers.
Photo by Howard Owens
andrea clattenburg batavia city court oath of office
8th District Administrative Judge Kevin Carter, center.
Photo by Howard Owens
andrea clattenburg batavia city court oath of office
Rogers puts her judge's robe on Clattenburg for the first time.
Photo by Howard Owens
andrea clattenburg batavia city court oath of office
Judge Durin Rogers, Judge Kevin Carter, 8th District Administrative Judge, Judge Andrea Clattenburg, JaHarr S. Pridgen, City Courts' supervising judge, Judge Melissa Lightcap Cianfrini, County Court, and Judge Tom Williams, Family Court.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Shining some light on street light confusion in the city

By Joanne Beck


City street light comparison regular to LED
This file photo illustrates traditional street lights, left, versus what the new LED versions will look like once the city of Batavia's LED Street Light Conversion program is completed throughout the city. City management is to close on the purchase of National Grid lights Nov. 16.

There has been some ongoing discussion, debate and confusion online about lights in the city of Batavia: who is responsible for repairing them, replacing burned out bulbs, and whatever happened to that deal where the city was going to replace all of the lights with energy-efficient LEDs?

Some confusion may be justified, as both the city and National Grid have jurisdiction over parts of city street lights, though National Grid seems to have responsibility for the larger section — which it just this week was spotted out and about fulfilling by replacing several burned out bulbs in time for the annual trick-or-treat night.

Hopefully that will not be as much of an issue in the near future, after the city completes what it began in June 2022, to contract for the purchase and replacement of all National Grid street lights and convert them to LED versions. 

“We close on the purchase with National Grid on Nov. 16,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said Wednesday. “It has been a yearlong process to get to this closing date, that has included multiple administrative steps and approval by the Public Service Commission.  

“Once the sale is complete, Power and Construction Group (P&CG) will begin the light replacement process across the City,” she said. “The LED street lights that we are installing have many benefits and include a 10-year replacement warranty.” 

The city worked last year with the New York Power Authority and its engineering consultant, Wendel Engineers, for the replacement project. The nearly $1.7 million plan (Phase I) has an estimated savings of more than $161,000 annually. 

City Council approved the purchase of 948 street lights at a cost of $226,038, and future replacement of all National Grid street lights in the city. 

The Batavian also reached out to National Grid spokesman David Bertola in an attempt to initially find out about the recommended procedure for burned-out street lights and how many lights were out in the city, and he said it was “difficult to know, as some lights are owned by the city of Batavia, whereas others are owned by National Grid.”

He referred folks to complete an online form to report any street lights with nonworking lights. 

“Damaged street lights can be dangerous” he said, and he also encouraged people to call 1-800-642-4272 to directly report those. 

“Typically, once National Grid is alerted about a non-working street light, a crew will investigate within 24 hours,” he said.  “Repairs are frequently made shortly thereafter.”

Batavia indoor market returns downtown, online market is new addition

By Joanne Beck
Oct. 30 2022 mall market photo
Fall 2022 File Photo of indoor market at Batavia City Centre by Howard Owens.

If you’re a believer in locally sourced products, made-in-the-USA goods or supporting small business, the Batavia Indoor Market is here to provide that opportunity, organizers say.

“Everything’s all homemade, it’s quality; it’s not coming out of China,” said Adam Garner of Garner Farms in Le Roy. “And there’s an online market of local vendors. You can order online and pick it up on Saturday just like you would at the grocery store. It’s a one-stop shop. There’s milk and eggs, produce, veggies and fruit, meat, mushrooms and cheeses.”

The market runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 4 and 18, Dec. 16, Jan. 6 and 20, Feb. 3 and 17, and March 2, 16 and 30. It is inside Batavia City Centre, downtown Batavia.

In the market for some amaranth microgreens? Or maybe some honey nut squash, large blue doll pumpkins, Honeycrisp apples, maple syrup that’s chocolate infused, dinosaur kale or broccoli microgreens, perhaps? Or how about lion’s mane mushrooms to shake up that stir fry?

The online market lists 176 items, and orders will be open from 8 a.m. Mondays through 8 p.m. Thursdays the week of each market. Available items will change based on the season.

The items are listed on the site, where orders are placed and purchased. Current online vendors listed are Flint’s Maple, Botanical Ben, Garner Farms and Creekside Designs and Blanks.

City Centre regulars are to include Relevé Dancewear, Everybody Eats, Batavia Stagecoach Florist, Sandman Wood Designs and Magick Smoque Shoppe, with visiting vendors at each market. This week’s market includes:

  • Porter Farms - fresh vegetables, ground beef and lamb
  • Garner Farms - pasture-raised pork and chicken with fresh eggs (when available), homemade lard soap
  • Ladybugs Creations - custom gifts, including 3D prints
  • Meadow Moon Designs - jewelry and accessories
  • For the Love of Madeline Candles - handmade candles

As for his own products, Garner is proud to tell people about the heritage pork and chicken products that come from his Le Roy-based farm.

“Our pork and chicken is pasture-raised," he said. "They’re naturally raised, with no hormones or antibiotics."

To check out the online market, go HERE

For more information about the indoor market, email or call 585-813-8054. 

Top Items on Batavia's List

HUGE sale thousands of items something for everyone lots of new stuff games toys housewares clothes collectibles kitchen items ect ect ect and much more rain or shine everything covered every Saturday June 1st -October 26 9-5 3657 galloway rd batavia
Tags: garage sales

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