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Batavia Downs presents $23K to Breast Cancer Coalition, raised from event at track

By Howard B. Owens
batavia downs breast cancer
Photo by Howard Owens.

Press release:

Western Regional Off Track Betting (WROTB) President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek presented representatives from the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR) with a check for $23,000 to help those who been affected by breast or gynecologic cancer.

On Aug. 18, a dinner and night at the races fundraiser with raffles to benefit the BCCR was held inside the Batavia Downs Clubhouse.   Businesses and donors located in Western NY sponsored several races that night.  Some monies came from the local harness racing community as some owners, trainers and drivers donated all or a portion of their earnings from the night to the BCCR.  Through the dinner, donations, raffles and auctions for items, the event raised $23,000

“We are honored to once again host this event that raises awareness and funds for the BCCR,” Wojtaszek said. “Their efforts fund research and do so much more.  The BCCR holds educational and support events to help raise awareness. They work hard to make sure that members of the community can come together to learn and receive support.   The BCCR advocates for legislation at the local, state, and national levels to help further along funding in the search for a cure.  This year the event held onsite was a success due to the continued hard work of their staff and ours.”

"On behalf of the Breast Cancer Coalition, we are deeply grateful for the astonishing effort Batavia Downs shows year after year. Of course, we appreciate all gifts to our organization, but it is particularly gratifying to have their support because they have never wavered,” said Holly Anderson, President and Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Coalition. “They connect with us well beyond October’s “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and refer friends and family to our programs throughout the year. Moreover, they understand how difficult it is for a community-based organization to raise the critical funds necessary to offer our outstanding programs and services to grateful survivors across Central and Western New York. We can continue to serve our community because of Batavia Downs’ steadfast and ongoing partnership.”

batavia downs breast cancer
Photo by Howard Owens

Photo: Workers stop by Ellicott Station project

By Howard B. Owens
ellicott station work
Photo by Howard Owens

Three trucks were spotted at about 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning at the Ellicott Station construction project, which has stalled after developer Savarino Companies announced it was going out of business six weeks ago.

A supervisor said a work crew was on the roof completing a project. He said the work was being done because it needed to be completed and not in response to building code citations issued by the city, which The Batavian first reported about this morning.

At 11 a.m., the workers were seen departing the construction site.

There's also recently been some weed removal on the property.

Three college students accused of beating classmate over alleged Facebook messages

By Howard B. Owens
Diantha Danish Diarha Quandt

After one resident of College Village in Batavia accused another resident Sept. 24 of sending a message via Facebook to her aunt, she and two other young women allegedly jumped the female victim.

The victim reported sustaining a head injury and bruised ribs.

The three suspects were all charged with assault in the second degree.

Indya Denira Ford

According to a deposition provided Deputy Jonathan Dimmig, who investigated the case with Deputy Nicholas Chamoun, the victim was in her dorm room at 8:05 p.m. on Sept. 24 when her roommate told her somebody was at the front door to see her.

According to police documents, the three women at the door were Diantha Danish Diarha Quandt, 19, whom the victim said she only knows as "DiDi," and Indya Denira Ford, 22, and Evedshardeny Sealliah Domacasse, 18.

All three were charged following an investigation and all three reportedly reside at College Village.

Ford claims the victim started the fight and that she and Domacasse tried to break it up.

Evedshardeny Sealliah Domacasse

The victim told Dimmig that she stepped outside, at the request of Quandt, to talk.  She said her statement, "DiDi kept asking me if I sent something to her aunt through Facebook. I told her no and that I didn't understand her."

At that point, the victim's roommate came out of the dorm room and the victim said she told her roommate that everything was fine and she could go back in side.

"The girls kept asking me if I sent DiDi's aunt messages, which denied," the victim stated. 

A third person reportedly told DiDi that the victim had contacted her aunt and Quandt got that person on a speaker phone and that person stated the victim did contact Quandt's aunt.

Quandt then, according to the statement, set her phone and other items on the window sill near where they were standing.

"I put my hands in my head," she said. "While I had my head in my hands, I was able to see DiDi raise her arm as though she was going to hit me.  I then felt something hit the back of my head repeatedly. When I felt the first hit, I dropped to my knees and shielded my head and neck. I felt multiple people kicking me and pulling my hair. I stayed quiet and didn't fight back.  I began to feel dizzy and then (the roommate) came back out and began to push the girls off me."

She continued, "All three girls began laughing and kicking my phone and other property."

That night, she went to ER at UMMC to get evaluated for a continuous headache, dizziness, and nausea. 

She was told she sustained a closed head injury and bruised ribs. 

After she returned home, she tried to sleep in a temporary dorm room but when she laid down, she realized she couldn't lay her head on her left side due to pain in her left ear and neck. 

"The following day, my body felt sore all over. I still had a headache, and I was still suffering from nausea and dizziness," she wrote.

According to police documents, Ford told Dimmig that she and her friends were playing Uno when "DiDi" looked at her phone and started crying and ran out the door. She and Domacasse followed her, according to the statement. She said they tried to calm her down. 

"She just kept saying, 'I wanna have a conversation with her,'" according to the document.

Ford reportedly told Dimmig that Quandt and the victim were talking and that for "30 seconds I was froze," and then, the victim, she said, jumped at Quandt. 

"In a blink of an eye, they were fighting."

She claimed that she and Domacasse tried to break up the fight.

Quandt, Domacasse, and Ford were arrested the following day. All three were arraigned and ordered held on bail.

Annular eclipse viewing at Richmond Memorial Library

By Press Release

Press Release:

Join Richmond Memorial Library staff from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14 to watch the partial Annular Eclipse! We will have our Sun Spotter telescope available for viewing, and science stations to learn about citizen science and how you can help record data for NASA. 

The event will include lawn games and Genny the Cow from the Chamber of Commerce will be on hand for pictures. Each registered participant will receive a free pair of eclipse glasses, too!

An Annular Eclipse occurs when the Moon obscures all but an outer ring of the Sun. For this reason, glasses must always be worn for viewing, even in areas that are in the direct path. 

GeneSEEtheEclipse commemorative ISO-certified-safe eclipse glasses will be given to each participant. When you look up, do NOT remove eye protection at any point. The moon will partially cover the sun. Looking directly at the sun can cause serious damage to your eyesight or blindness.

This event is free to attend, but please register at Richmond Memorial Library is located at 19 Ross Street in the City of Batavia.

Arc GLOW DSP wins state DSP award Joy Bookmiller’s passion is helping others.

By Press Release
Submitted photo of Joy Bookmiller (right) and Joe (left).

Press Release:

For the past 31 years, the Corfu resident has been working as a direct service professional (DSP) at Arc GLOW’s Day Habilitation Center in Elba. 

She helps each individual in her room with their daily person-centered goals. Bookmiller explores every chance to take individuals she supports out for community-based activities, and on nice weather days she maximizes every opportunity to help individuals to enjoy the extensive outdoor space at Elba Day Hab.

“When spending time at the site in Elba, Joy immediately stood out as one of the DSPs who truly took their role to support individuals seriously,” said Kelly Anstey, senior director of Day and Employment Services at Arc GLOW. 

“A coworker pointed out to me how Joy made every person feel as included in as many activities as possible how she always went the extra mile. I could see this,” Anstey continued. “She presented at once as very serious, but also compassionate and very passionate about serving people.”

It is little wonder then that Bookmiller has been selected as one of the four recipients of The Arc New York’s 2023 Thomas A. Maul Direct Support Professional Excellence Award. This is an annual award that recognizes a DSP who consistently demonstrates excellence, creativity, and commitment to providing support to people who have intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

Bookmiller works at Elba Day Habilitation, a program site certified to serve up to 100 individuals. Many of the individuals have relatively high support needs, including personal care, eating, navigating Elba and community sites, and extensive physical support needs.

“While some staff might have had difficultly in such a challenging daily environment, Joy was a dynamo of positive energy and care. She took everyone into her aura of love and activities, providing each individual a variety of different opportunities and experiences,” Anthony Lewandowski, retired Day Habilitation director shared in a letter of recommendation.

Sherri Raab, Day Habilitation director at Elba, said in her nomination Bookmiller has a strong connection to the individuals she works with. Raab gave the example is Bookmiller’s ability to use manual sign or specific signing for an individual who has become very comfortable with communicating with her. This individual has been learning more signing via working with Bookmiller and his speech pathologist and has expanded on his signing vocabulary.

“As she role models for other staff, her compassion and thoroughness shines through,” Raab said. “She
demonstrates that she loves what she does and that she wants that for her coworkers as well. Joy doesn’t just show by example, she also takes the extra time with new staff to really explain the importance of reading any necessary materials thoroughly, taking individuals’ personal goals into consideration and all around demonstrates an adherence to the core compentencies.” 

Bookmiller will be receiving the award Oct. 27 at the Crowne Plaza Desmond Hotel in Latham.

Submitted photo of Joy Bookmiller (right) and Joe (left).

GC Health hosts radon training November 15

By Press Release

Press Release:

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have identified Genesee County as having a high average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (pico curies per liter). 

Radon can build up to dangerous levels in your home, which can occur in new homes or older homes. 

“Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, cracks in basement walls, holes, joints, dirt floors, sump pump holes, suspended floors, and in the well-water supply,” stated Darren Brodie, Environmental Health Director for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). 

“Any house that has contact with the ground has the potential for radon to enter the home. That is why training contractors and code enforcement officers about the risk of radon is important.” 

On Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 1 - 4 p.m., the Genesee County Health Department will be hosting George Schambach, the Vice President of the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologies, Inc., and President/Owner of Professional Home Inspection Service to implement a training for all contractors and code enforcement officers. 

This training will be held at the Genesee County Emergency Management Office on 7690 State Street Road, Batavia.

Topics will include: 

  • Radon Measurement
  • Radon Mitigation
  • Radon Abatement
  • Health Risks of Radon to Construction Personnel

This training is free of charge. Any Contractor or Code Enforcement Officer interested in attending can contact Allysa Pascoe at 585-344-2580 x5508 to register. For more information on radon or other GO Health programs and services, visit

Arc GLOW seeking donations for fall basket raffle

By Press Release

Press Release:

Arc GLOW will be holding its annual Arc GLOW Fall Basket Raffle on Nov. 10 and 11.

Currently, Arc GLOW is seeking theme basket and gift card donations, with a starting value of $25. They can be dropped off at Arc GLOW Community Center, located at 38 Woodrow Road in Batavia, Arc GLOW’s Genesee County administrative office at 64 Walnut St. in Batavia, or at Arc GLOW’s headquarters at 18 Main St. in Mt. Morris.

Funds raised from the basket raffle help support Arc GLOW’s programs and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families across the agency’s four-county service area.

The basket raffle will be held at the Arc GLOW Community Center on November 10 from 4 - 6 p.m. and November 11 from 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. with drawings immediately following.

For questions, please contact Tracey Jones at or (585) 343-1123 ext. 1735.

Batavia city fire department testing fire hydrants October 5

By Press Release

Press Release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flow-testing fire hydrants on Thursday, Oct. 5 from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This will affect the entire city. Homes and businesses nearby will be affected.  These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area.  As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored.  If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about 5 minutes or until clear.

This annual testing is essential to maintain the community class III Insurance Services Office (ISO) public protection classification and to assure that fire hydrants are operating efficiently for fire protection purposes. Along with maintaining the fire rating, the test monitors the health of the city's water system, identifies weak areas in the system, and removes material that settles in the water lines. Checking each hydrant improves fire department personnel's knowledge of the hydrant locations.

If you have any questions or should notice a hydrant in need of repair, please contact the fire department at 585-345-6375.

GCEDC board to consider $15 million apartment complex in Pembroke

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) board of directors will consider an initial resolution for Country Side Apartments LLC’s proposed four 24-unit market rate apartment buildings at its board meeting on Thursday, October 5. The project’s capital investment is estimated at $15 million and would be located in the town of Pembroke.

The project is requesting assistance from the GCEDC with a sales tax exemption estimated at $739,200, a property tax abatement estimated at $2,020,688 based on the incremental increase in assessed value via a fixed 60% 20-year PILOT (Housing PILOT for 20+ market-rate units), and a mortgage tax exemption estimated at $130,000.

Each building will have eight 1-bedroom and 16 2-bedroom units, totaling 96 units throughout the complex. The project aligns with the Genesee County Economic Development Center's recognized need for housing availability.

The fiscal impacts on local benefits total $10,032,176 ($8,705,683 in temporary and ongoing payroll and $1,326,493 to the public in tax revenues). For every $1 of public benefit, the company is investing $5 into the local economy.

If the project application is accepted, a public hearing will be scheduled on the proposed project agreement in the town of Pembroke.

The October 5, GCEDC board meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at the MedTech Center’s Innovation Zone, 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia. Meeting materials and links to a live stream/on-demand recording of the meeting is available at

Previously: Shadow of Ellicott Station throws shade on apartment plan for Pembroke, developer promises no low-income housing

Graham announces 'last of first article' units for Navy vessels

By Press Release

Press release:

Graham Corporation (NYSE: GHM) ("GHM" or the "Company"), a global leader in the design and manufacture of mission critical fluid, power, heat transfer and vacuum technologies for the defense, space, energy, and process industries, today announced that it shipped the last of the first article units related to the Columbia Class submarine and Ford Class carrier programs. While the Company expects to continue to have first article programs in its backlog as it wins new programs and applications, the amount as a percentage of total backlog should be reduced moving forward.

Daniel J. Thoren, President and CEO commented, "Completing the first article U.S. Navy projects and delivering the final units this month on schedule was a great testament to the team we built at our Batavia facility. Without their dedication and commitment to our customers, we would not have been able to achieve this milestone. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their hard work. We built this team by committing to training welders in house, partnering with academic resources, and improving our operating processes in support of our strategic U.S. Navy programs. These investments in our people and operations have paid off given our recently announced strategic investment from a major defense customer to expand our capacity for future projects and we believe demonstrates our customers confidence in GHM as being a critical supplier to the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program."

During fiscal 2022, the Company chose to make significant investments to ensure it could deliver these and previous units on schedule and were the main source of the losses incurred that year.

Ellicott Station cited for code violations as it languishes

By Joanne Beck
ellicott station savarino business closed
2023 File Photo of Ellicott Station in Batavia, sitting idle with code violations, overgrown weeds and other infractions, as the city's code enforcement department waits for Savarino Companies to rectify them or pay fines and possibly go to court. 
Phot by Howard Owens

City residents may recall a number of years ago when code enforcement officials tamped down on all things unsightly, from overgrown grass and garbage cans left by the curbside to missing address numbers on homes and other property maintenance issues gone awry.

No one is exempt from this policy, and Sam Savarino of Savarino Companies has apparently made the unkempt list for his parcels at 40 Ellicott St. that have apparently been abandoned by the now-defunct Buffalo-based company.

The developer of the stalled Ellicott Station apartment complex received a list of code violations in September, City Manager Rachael Tabelski says.

Code Enforcement Officer Douglas Randall sent a letter to Savarino informing him about the violations.

“After visiting the Ellicott Station project site, the Bureau of Inspections has determined that defects in the building envelop may result in weather deterioration of the wood frame structure and freezing damage to plumbing and/or mechanical systems that may contain water used to test newly installed piping.  We encourage you to take all precautions to winterize the residential building,” Randall said. “Please be aware there are building materials scattered throughout the grounds that present an attractive temptation for passersby and habitation opportunities for rodents and other animals. Access openings into the existing masonry building are unsecured and will likely attract unwanted intrusion through the fencing and onto these properties.”

A list of violations was attached that included cleaning up weeds, plants, grass, rank vegetation in excess of 8 inches, and other debris on the premises, and the need to perform some building site work to make sure the property is secure during the lapse in construction. 

Examples of needed work include “the exterior walls into the interior, the exterior finish system is incomplete, and the roof system in unsecured and loose along the top of the walls in various areas. The wood structure of this building must be protected from weather deterioration,” one violation stated. 

"Exterior walls shall be free from holes, breaks, and loose or rotting materials; and maintained weatherproof and properly surface-coated where required to prevent deterioration," another citation states. 

Yet another stated that “Vacant premises, structures and portions thereof, or vacant land shall be maintained by the owner in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition as provided herein so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.” Corrective action was recommended, given that the interior of this masonry building under reconstruction is open to the public and adverse weather, that the exterior doors and windows of this structure must be secured to prevent unauthorized entry and protect the building from further deterioration.”

Deadlines for taking corrective action began Sept 26 and continue into October, with fines starting at $250 for the city to take care of the necessary maintenance.

To her knowledge, those items have not been taken care of yet, Tabelski said.

“The clean-up has not been satisfied,” she said to The Batavian on Tuesday.

When asked if Savarino has been getting hit with fines, she said: "not yet."

"(It) has not gotten to court yet," she said.

Ellicott Station is a low-income housing development on the city’s Southside. Due to financial entanglements, company owner Sam Savarino announced earlier this summer that he was closing his company, which meant the ceasing of construction at Ellicott Station soon after. 

More recently, tenants who were selected for housing in the 55-unit complex received emails notifying them to consider alternate housing since there was no guarantee they would be getting a new home at Ellicott Station.

Tabelski has also been remaining in contact with other agencies, including the state Office of Homes and Community Renewal, which had contracted with Savarino for low-income housing tax credits upon completion of the apartment complex.

She has not heard back from HCR recently, she said, and has “no new information at this point.” The Batavian plans to provide periodic updates on the status of the four-story project as it sits idle on the sidelines of a busy Route 63. 

City's new police station takes next step forward, old one gets second opportunity

By Joanne Beck
New Batavia police station rendering
New Batavia Police Station rendering.

After some delay from waiting to hear about their major funding source for the city's new police station, city officials finally received word this week, City Manager Rachael Tabelski says.

The new police facility already approved for the corner of Alva Place and Bank Street parking lot will begin the process of going out for bid, with a final destination of completion for summer 2025, Tabelski said Tuesday.

"My good news for today is we are authorized to go to bid by USDA. And we'll be doing the bid process very soon; it’s about a six- or seven-week process, with the hopes of awarding the bids in January or February  … and then starting construction of the new police station as soon as winter breaks next year,” Tabelski said to The Batavian. 

In April, City Council voted to seek funding from the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Program as a potential funding source for the new police facility. The city had already been awarded a $2.5 million congressional grant, which is to be applied toward the cost of the facility to “address capacity concerns, building limitations, improve handicapped access and ensure quality police protection services now and into the future.”

As for payment of the remaining $13 million, the USDA resolution allowed the city to pursue funding of loan and/or grant funding extended to the city by the federal agency. Council also approved financing the cost of project construction of the police station with bond anticipation notes for the project with a maximum estimated cost of $15.5 million.

There will be a related presentation to City Council during its Nov. 13 meeting from Wyoming County consultant Rick Hauser. He had previously performed a reuse analysis of the current police station, the Brisbane Mansion, with suggestions and recommendations for what it may be best suited for. 

Tabelski said the city is considering either apartments or a boutique hotel, and given the Main Street site’s age, it probably would qualify for historic tax credits.

“So that’s good. Savvy developers know how to use those types of tax credits, and we’re hoping we do get some interest in the Brisbane,” she said. “I’ll be laying out the city’s potential process to RFP that building for a developer to come in and turn it into either apartments or a boutique hotel. And with that, keeping the historical elements of the mansion is one of the main goals of the reuse analysis.”

Hearing from the USDA about grant funds and long-term financing was the signal the city was waiting for to go out to bid on the police station, she said, which it did on Tuesday.

Works by internationally acclaimed artist Cindy Sherman on display at GO ART!

By Howard B. Owens
cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead
Gerald Mead, who has more than 1,700 works of art by Western New York Artists, with a piece by photographer Cindy Sherman.  Sherman is portraying Mrs. Claus in a version of a piece commissioned by New Yorker Magazine for a cover. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

Google "most important living artists," and Cindy Sherman is on that list.

In fact, in 2013, she was touted as one of the six great living artists.  

Some of her works have sold for millions, setting records for photographic prints. 

That notoriety helps make Sherman interesting to Gerald Mead, who has acquired 23 of her pictures, but that's only, at best, half the reason he collects her work. Mead's interest in Sherman is both parochial and personal. Sherman and Mead both attended Buffalo State University (though about a decade apart), and Mead's passion and specialty is collecting the works of Western New York artists.

He has more than 1,700 pieces in his collection.

"She's really kind of an icon in Buffalo," Mead said. "Her name is known far and wide as one of the most significant photographers, and she has that connection to Western New York. I was really familiar with her whole body of work, and because I was a curator at the Burchfield Penny, we had her works in our collection. It just became a special interest of mine when I first started collecting."

Over the next six weeks, art lovers from the area won't need to travel to London, Paris, Venice, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, or even Buffalo, to see examples of Sherman's work. They can just take a little trip to GO ART! at 201 East Main St., Batavia, to see a portion of Mead's collection on display.

The show's run starts today (Wednesday) and concludes on Nov. 25, with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 19.

The show is a real coup for GO ART! said Mary Jo Whitman, education/SCR director for the arts council. She wrote her master's thesis on Sherman.

"I'm very excited to get to know a lot of people in this area who don't always get to travel out to the bigger museums to see this kind of work will get to see it," Whitman said. "It's exciting to be able to bring these works to people, essentially."

Whitman said Sherman's work is important to her because it speaks to her in a personal way, because in her work, Sherman presents herself as a chameleon, taking on different roles as the main subject of most of her photos.

Sherman started her rise in prominence with what is still probably her most famous body of work, Untitled Film Stills. 

The series was created mostly between 1977 and 1980, mostly in New York City, with the city as a backdrop, or in her apartment. The black and white prints mimic the kind of studio publicity shots that were once produced for film noir or French avante-garde movies. Sherman conceived of the shots -- only a few directly inspired by actual movies -- created the costumes, did her own makeup, and created the pose that seemed to capture the movie's star at a pivotal plot point. 

"I felt this immediate connection with her," Whitman said. "I think it's really this idea of, you know, the constructed identity that you can be so many different people. You're in social situations, you're in professional situations, and that kind of really dictates who you are at that moment and really how many different people you can be. I know, for myself, I feel that way. I grew up in a very small town as a country girl, and I went on to be an artist, I can be a crazy hippie at times, and I can be in galleries like this as the pretentious curator. So I play a lot of different roles. I think that I just kind of felt a kinship with her after seeing her work.

After Untitled Film Stills, Sherman moved on to other series that, again, feature her in various roles and characters, such as Fairy Tales, Disasters, Centerfolds, History Portraits, Clowns, and most recently, Instagram Portraits

Mead, whose collection started with "Letraset Art Sheet #1," a collage Sherman made from British clip art in 1966, which he won as a door prize at an afterparty in 1995 for the 20th Anniversary of Hallwalls Contemporary Art Gallery (which Sherman co-founded while at Buffalo State), said his goal has been to collect something of Sherman's from each of her eras and from each decade of her career.

"I've been able to do that over the course of 35 years," Mead said.

Sherman's work appeals to him, Mead said, for that same chameleon character that inspired Whitman to study her work.

"She's used herself as the subject, but she's converted and transformed herself into personalities, personas, characters," Mead said. "She doesn't consider them portraits of people generally because she's the subject of all of them. I think it can be fascinating to see how a person can use their own appearance and alter it to have such a wide spectrum of, again, personalities, personas characters."

Also, Mead said, each photo tells a story that also allows the viewer to help fill in the narrative.

"What's interesting about her work, too, is that it's meant to sort of evoke a response or a reaction because the person in it -- they're all actors or actresses, right? Is just being caught mid-performance. So when you're looking at it, you have to get out it, 'what happened before? What's going to happen right after?' She's telling the story. The interesting thing is, a lot of times, I think people sometimes look to see what the title is to figure out what exactly is going on, but they're all untitled. She intentionally has no title on them because she wants you to bring your own understanding and your own kind of reaction to it."

It's that nuance of story and character that is one reason people should come to see Sherman's work while its on display at GO ART!, Whitman said.

"It's just really cool," Whitman said. "She's got a great idea that's really unique. I mean, she plays all the roles. She is the artist. She's the model. She's the makeup artist. She's creating the work all based on herself. There's all these different guises that she has. It's really fascinating when you kind of break it down to what it took to make each individual work. You're gonna come in, and you're gonna see what looks like a portrait to you, but when you kind of break it down, like okay, this is her in every single portrait, and you will be able to tell it's the same person. So, it's just impressive."

cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead
Mary Jo Whitman and Gerald Mead hanging one of Cindy Sherman's photos in a gallery at GO ART!
Photo by Howard Owens.
cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead
On the back of the Mrs. Claus photo by Cindy Sherman is the New York Times cover version of the picture, which is a bit more anodyne than the photo Sherman released as a print for the general public to purchase.  "She's not all bloated and blushed," Mead said of the cover version. "That was the more tame version they used for the magazine. This (the print Mead has in his collection) is the one she preferred. This is described as an unlimited edition. You could actually purchase it from -- we're talking back in 1990 -- you could purchase it from her gallery. When it was produced, it was only $100. Eventually, it stopped. You know, they didn't continue to produce it, but she wanted it available because everybody had seen it on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. She wanted it to be accessible and for people to be able to afford and have something of hers." The back of the framed print also contains cards from the various galleries where it has been displayed.  
Photo by Howard Owens
Mary Jo Whitman hangs a photo by Cindy Sherman at GO ART!
Photo by Howard Owens
cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead
Photo by Howard Owens.
cindy sherman at GO Art! gerald mead

Batavia Players stage timeless study in human conflict, 12 Angry Jurors

By Howard B. Owens
Teressa Hirsch, playing Juror #7, doesn't hide her anger after Juror #8 refuses to join the other 11 jurors for a quick unanimous guilty verdict in the Batavia Players presentation of 12 Angry Jurors.
Photo by Howard Owens.

A simple plot -- 12 ordinary people deliberating the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of murder -- became a riveting drama on Sept. 20, 1954, when it first aired on CBS's Studio One.

In the 1950s, women couldn't serve on juries, so the title was to the point: 12 Angry Men.

A lot has changed over the past seven decades. Women have been able, for example, to serve on juries for decades, so now the play is called 12 Angry Jurors (12 Angry Men was also an award-winning movie in 1957 starring Henry Fonda). 

And a lot hasn't changed.  Not all is equal just yet. Society is still beset by prejudices, and people still have biases and personal histories that color their views of events.

So juries can still sometimes find it hard to agree on a verdict.

That's why the play originally written by Reginald Rose is still performed all over the country, is taught in schools, and is the subject of scholarship.

"It's still relevant," said Director Kristy Walter. "It's like one of those timeless plays that speaks to justice, it speaks to humanity, it speaks to people's prejudices and biases. And that's, I think, what makes it so compelling because when you watch the play, you see yourself in those characters. So I think that's what makes it worth seeing."

The first Batavia Players performance is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The play begins with an off-stage charge from a judge in a murder trial: The jury must reach a unanimous verdict.

Once in the jury room, Juror #7 (the jurors are only identified by their numbers until the close of the play), played by Teressa Hirsch, says, “Yeah, lets vote. Who knows, maybe we can all just go home.”

She has someplace else to be, she reveals.

And the vote? It's 11-1. Not unanimous.

The lone holdout, Juror #8, played by Steven Coburn, confesses, “It's not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first.”

The jury decides it's up to them to convince him why they are right -- that the young man on trial stabbed his abusive father and killed him.  A guilty verdict would send the kid, from an impoverished background, to the electric chair.

The disagreements erupt for the jurors to confront their own morals and values, their own histories and beliefs.

You can probably guess the resolution -- if you've never caught the movie on late-night TV -- or better, no matter how well you know the story, you can join Batavia Players at 56 Main Theater this weekend to see how it plays out. The play holds up over decades of changing cultural norms and multiple viewings.

Photo by Howard Owens.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Steven Coburn, as Juror #8, cast the lone "not guilty" vote at the start of Batavia Players production of 12 Angry Jurors.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Notre Dame beats OA in Girls Volleyball

By Howard B. Owens
notre dame volleyball oct 2023

Notre Dame took a five-set match from Oakfield-Alabama in Girls Volleyball on Monday.

The games were scored:

  • 25-18
  • 19-25
  • 25-17
  • 25-27
  • 15-9

Stats for the Irish: Kaitlin Kratz had nine kills, Loretta Sorochty, 26 assists, one kill, one block, three aces and five digs, CJ Campagna, six kills, four blocks, two aces and two digs.

For the Hornets, Jessica Sosnowski. three aces, 10 digs and 17 assists, Cara Williams, two aces, five kills, 19 digs and one assist, Sayde Bush, four aces, fiver kills and 15 digs.

Submitted info. Photos by Pete Welker.

notre dame volleyball oct 2023
notre dame volleyball oct 2023
notre dame volleyball oct 2023
notre dame volleyball oct 2023
notre dame volleyball oct 2023
notre dame volleyball oct 2023

Ramping up level of care, funding necessary to meet growing senior needs, OFA says

By Joanne Beck
older Americans month photo
2023 File Photo of a presentation for Older Americans Month with Genesee County Legislator Brooks Hawley, Office for the Aging Director Diana Fox and OFA Advisory Board member Gina Stella. 
Photo by Steven Fallitico

If Office For the Aging staff thought the word caregiver was a buzzword before now, it has grown in even more prominence now that the National Family Care standards have gone into effect. 

That means “all caregivers need assessment in addition to the care receivers,” OFA Director Diana Fox said Monday, one day after the standards took hold. 

She gave a review of how that’s going and what it looks like during the Human Services meeting.

“So we took on the position as part-time and full-time in order to be able to pick up that additional. We’re not sure how many additional people we’re having. But we do say caregiving is a huge part of what we do. In terms of the demographics that we serve, a lot of folks in our community are right in the middle of their caring for children, caring for older adults, and finding resources and getting support is just a big part of what we do for them.

“We also do a lot of services directly for people who have the need for care, whether it's someone who has dementia or Alzheimer's and those types of things. We have a grant that helps services for those groups and education and direct services for respite,” she said.

County Legislator Gordon Dibble asked for a definition of caregiver. Fox said it’s someone who does something for another person, whether it’s giving your mother her daily medications, or also helping her dress for the day and cooking her meals, driving a loved one to doctor appointments, cleaning the house, or performing day-to-day care for someone with extensive emotional and physical needs.

These new standards now mean performing an assessment on each caregiver, no matter what he or she does for the other person, as a check-in to see how that person is doing, Fox said. Because caregivers can often get so busy and caught up in providing for the needs of someone else, they may neglect taking care of themselves, and it takes a toll on their own well-being, she said.

As if on cue, the OFA is hosting a Shaping the Future of Aging Services public hearing this week to obtain input and better understand “what matters most to you” in terms of agency services and what the community needs to support aging residents effectively.

That hearing begins at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the office, 2 Bank St., Batavia. That will be followed by a program, You are the Help Until Help Arrives, that will provide participants with skills for what to do during moments of crisis to help save someone’s life.

As the agency approaches its 50th year, the clock is ticking louder for everyone, and Fox has been reminding folks that Baby Boomers will be hitting 65 by the year 2030. That means potential health issues and service needs for seniors will be at an all-time high, she said 

Older folks aren’t going anywhere, though, as they are taxpayers, volunteers, consumers, home-buyers, and — as county Legislator Gary Maha added — voters. They will have needs, requests, and voices and be a large chunk of the community to be factored in for most everything.

“We want to keep older adults in our community because they are taxpayers, they are volunteers, they have a lot of value in our community. So we don't want to lose them to another community because we don't have enough for them,” Fox said.

In her annual report, Fox listed OFA’s priority needs, which included:

Sustainable funding to maintain capacity to serve the influx of aging baby boomers. Without such funding, her staff will not be able to keep up with demand for information and assistance, caregiver support, community-based services, or long-term planning, Fox said. She has requested an increase of $50,000 for 2024, which would take her annual budget from $1,421,578 to $1,472,458. 

Overall support to provide information and assistance to help constituents manage the complicated health insurance system and rising health care costs resulting from increased premiums, prescription costs, and the onset of chronic health conditions as they age. Office for the Aging’s wellness and recreation programs, efforts to address social isolation challenges, and services that include a review of health insurance options and eligibility for financial and in-home services programs all contribute to overall health and financial wellness, keeping out-of-pocket costs contained.

Full spectrum continuum of care — meaning independent, supportive, assisted and/or assisted and skilled — and middle-income senior-specific housing options. 

Explore the impact of the opioid epidemic on older adults. 

“We have begun to identify the growing needs related to opioid use. Much of the impact is related to the need for grandparents to raise their grandchildren and the impact on the often unreported financial exploitation and even thievery of older adults by their children/grandchildren to support their addiction,” she said. “We attend the Opioid Task Force and are working with GCASA, DSS, and other providers to identify local need and determine potential strategies to help support older adults in the process. We also participate in the Enhanced Multi-disciplinary Team (E-DMT) that addresses elder abuse and financial exploitation.”

New York State is seeing a bump in older adults that will continue to increase over the next decade, she said, with a 30 percent increase from the current senior population, according to a recent report from the Fiscal Policy Institute.

And perhaps not surprisingly, one of the most significant trends happening amongst older adults is the desire to remain at home and therefore receive services in the home, which is why locally and statewide, there has been a shortage of home health aides, Fox and state OFA officials have said. 

How has that shifted the offerings for folks?

“Doing things like modifications of homes where we can, if we can keep somebody in their home is a huge cost saving, as opposed to putting them into a higher level of care. But we also do a lot of things like housekeeping, incontinence supplies, and laundry service, which really talks about the needs for someone being able to remain independent,” Fox said. “So through some of that unmet needs funding that came through the state, we ended up with a large portion of that, just because my predecessor did a really great job of keeping track of all the people we had. And I don't think … that's ultimately going to go away simply because those people are waiting for home health care. And while they're waiting, sometimes they're going to a higher level of care. Sometimes they are, in fact, maybe they're moving away, and there just aren't enough home health aides to be able to go around. And that was before the pandemic, and I don't think that's going to change; that trend is still continuing to happen.”

Reservations for the public hearing and life-saving program are encouraged and can be made by calling 343-1611. Walk-ins are also welcome for both events.

Main number down for Genesee County Jail

By Joanne Beck

The main phone number to the Genesee County Jail (585-343-0838) is experiencing issues, with an estimated resolution for some time on Wednesday, October 4.

Please dial 585-343-0839 in the interim.


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