Skip to main content

Notre Dame Lady Irish to host annual toy drive through Friday

By Press Release
img_7328.jpeg
Submitted photo of Lady Irish Basketball program.

Press Release: 

The Lady Irish Basketball Program is hosting its 2nd Annual Toy Drive for Golisano's Children's Hospital. Toys will be collected until December 8th in the Notre Dame Main Office. The varsity team will be delivering the toys to the children again this year. As always, they thank you for your support in giving back to children who need it the most during the holiday season.

Elba wins Hall of Fame Tournament in Wayland-Cohocton

By Howard B. Owens
elba basketball

Elba won the Rich Martello Hall of Fame Tournament in Wayland-Cohocton on Saturday, beating Wayland 41-35.

Mike Long was named the tournament MVP.

He scored 12 points in the final.

Nicholas Scott and Ryan Marsceill scored nine each, and Ashton Bezon scored seven.

Martello was a member of the Wayland-Cohocton faculty for 34 years. He was boys varsity basketball coach from 1971 to 1975 and athletic director from 1976 to 1997. He coached track and field for 32 years. He's been inducted into the Section V Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Wayland-Cohocton Hall of Fame, and the Mount Morris Hall of Fame.

Photos by Doug McFarland.

elba basketball
elba basketball
elba basketball
elba basketball
elba basketball
elba basketball

HLOM December events include GSO flautist group, Trivia Night

By Press Release

Press Release:

Join us at the Holland Land Office Museum on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. for a holiday music concert featuring a flautist group from the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. Come by the museum to enjoy some wonderful music. Admission is $5 or $4 for museum members. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or hollandlandoffice@gmail.com if you would like to attend.

“This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by GO ART!”

Join the Holland Land Office Museum at GO ART! located at 201 E. Main St. in Batavia for the next edition of our Trivia Night @ the Museum on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. This month's topic is the Battle of the Bulge. Admission is $5 or $3 for museum members. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or hollandlandoffice@gmail.com if you would like to attend.

Steve Hawley's Christmas toy drive will run to Dec. 18

By Press Release
20231130_120939_resized2.jpg
Submitted photo of Steve Hawley at toy drive announcement.

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) today announced his December toy drive to help those in need enjoy a magical Christmas. The drive will last from now through December 18. 

Unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern, 121 N. Main St., Suite 311 in Albion, or at the Genesee County YWCA at 301 North St. in Batavia.

Toys for all ages will be accepted but there is a great need for toys for pre-teens and teenagers.

“As we approach the most wonderful time of the year, it's important to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. Many families in our community are struggling to make ends meet, and the thought of providing Christmas gifts for their children seems like an impossible task. But you can help. I'm hosting a Christmas Toy Drive, running from now until December 18, to bring joy and laughter to the homes of those in need. Your generous donations will ensure every child in our community has a Merry Christmas. This year, all toys collected will be distributed to families in need through the Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern. Together, we can make this Christmas truly special for the children of our community. Thank you for your generosity and support,” said Hawley.

More donations roll into Bethany Town Hall Saturday, residents with dry wells are asked to get on distribution list

By Joanne Beck
Wegmans water donation
Submitted Photo

Water donations kept coming to the Town of Bethany on Saturday, as 18 pallets of bottled drinking water were delivered by Food Link from Wegmans Food Markets and four pallets of drinking water came from Tops Friendly Markets to the town hall. 

Town Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. has said that the bottled water will get distributed to residents with dry wells who have signed up at the town hall. Bethany residents in need who have not yet called the town hall for help are asked to call 585-343-1399, Ext. 202 to leave your name, phone number and address to be put on the list.

Tops delivering water to Bethany
Submitted Photo

 

Byron-Bergen advances in Warsaw season-opening tournament with 63-47 win over Pavilion

By Howard B. Owens
byron bergen basketball pavilion

Byron-Bergen beat Pavilion 63-47 in the 31st Annual Warsaw Kiwanis Tip-Off Tournament on Friday night.

For the Bees, Brody Baubie scored 19 points and had 12 rebounds.  Colin Martin, 12 points and five steals. Bradyn Chambry scored nine points and snagged nine rebounds.

The Golden Gophers will play Warsaw in the consolation game today (Saturday) at 5:30 p.m.  Byron-Bergen will face off against Fillmore in the finals at 7 p.m. at Warsaw High School.

byron bergen basketball pavilion
byron bergen basketball pavilion
byron bergen basketball pavilion
byron bergen basketball pavilion
byron bergen basketball pavilion
byron bergen basketball pavilion
byron bergen basketball pavilion

Karl Marth Cup challenge match on tap for today

By Mike Pettinella

The annual Karl Marth Cup challenge match takes place this afternoon at Medina Lanes with the BBA South team hoping to avenge a narrow defeat last year and close the gap in the all-time series against the BBA North squad.

Dedicated to Karl Marth, a Batavia Bowling Association Hall of Famer who died in 2003, the event also keeps alive the memory of the former BBA, which listed bowling centers in Genesee and Orleans counties.

Competition takes place in Doubles, Singles, Baker Doubles and Baker Team. In Baker-style bowling, bowlers alternate frames.

In 2022, the North edged the South, 62-61, and now leads the series, 16-12.

Today’s match is scheduled for 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

Members of the North team are Hayden Allis (captain), Alex Allis, Scott Allis, Roger Allis, Scott Gibson, Garrett Gibson, Jim Foss, Brian Cline, Jason Mahnke, Jake Rosenbeck, Dean Cadieux Jr. and Ray Neuman.

Members of the South team are Ed Doody (captain), Fred Gravanda, Matt Balduf, Dave Montemarano Jr., Scott Shields, James Townsend, Geoff Harloff, Steve O’Dell, Mike Johnson, Paul Bacon, Rick Underhill and Scott Culp.

Nativity display, warm soup and cookies, the story of St. Nicholas to offer a taste of tradition

By Joanne Beck
Roula Alkhouri and Liz Salih
The Rev. Roula Alkhouri, left, and Liz Saleh get ready for Bethlehem Walk with St. Nicholas & Community Dinner at Batavia First Presbyterian Church as they set up a nativity display Friday at the church. Saleh is holding up a mobile from India. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Liz Saleh held up the tiniest of nativity scenes that she has acquired over the years as one of nearly 100 in her vast collection.

The piece — a polished brown exterior with a white interior resembling ivory — has been carved out of a tagua nut from the South American Amazon rain forest. It represents one of several countries in a display that will be opened to the public next week. Her collection began with a merged nativity set from the childhoods of her and her late husband, David, dating back more than 70 years. 

Ever since then, she just kept amassing more of the iconic Christmas scenes, typically featuring a manger, Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and animals.

“I just loved them, and people started giving them to me. Once they know you like something, they keep giving them to you,” Saleh said while setting up her pieces Friday at Batavia First Presbyterian Church. “And I just started collecting them.”

Bethlehem Walk with St. Nicholas & Community Dinner will feature nativity scenes from Saleh and fellow Batavia resident Laura Dommer. The event will also include a meal of bread, homemade minestrone, Italian wedding soups and Advent-themed sugar cookies, and a visit from the traditional St. Nicholas. It is free of charge and is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Batavia First Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Main St., Batavia.

Most likely, you’ve either grown up with a nativity scene in your home or you have seen one somewhere, and they are steeped in deep history from St. Francis of Assisi, who more than 800 years ago wanted to remind the world that the season was about more than just giving or receiving gifts; it was about celebrating the birth of Jesus. Though, certainly, many nativity scenes have included the three wisemen bringing gifts to Jesus, all of them have not depicted that aspect. 

The set that Saleh has, for example, from Assisi, is very simple, with a modest manger, and the key characters of Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and a few animals arranged in front of it. A colorful metal display from Mexico, on the other hand, more brilliantly shows the wise men holding up their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Each country seems to tell a slightly different story in how the nativity is portrayed through materials, colors, simplicity or complexity, and the presence of animals as an important piece to the story. 

Saleh’s collection also includes a trifold-certified painting of Byzantine art using tempera paint — with egg yolks mixed in for a rich golden cast — from a museum in Boston, and materials of pottery, wood, hand-spun lambswool, a milked, anise star, sticks, grapevine wreath, pieces of cloth and other items from Mother Nature. 

There are sets from countries including Indonesia, Ecuador, Peru, Africa, Jerusalem, Germany, Portugal, Venice, Vietnam, Armenia, Italy, Bangladesh, India and the United States. 

As Saleh unpacked items, she talked about how dear friends made something for her or gave a set to her, and each unpacked box sparked more memories. She unwrapped a second one from Mexico, with small, intricate details painted onto the figurines. 

“I fell in love with this,” she said. “I think it’s beautiful, it’s hand-painted.”

Dommer has 108 nativity sets, mostly given to her as gifts, she said. She usually keeps about three favorites out while the remaining are tucked away in storage — a Peanuts Charlie Brown set, Fisher Price, and part of a Fontanini Village collection. 

A nativity goes beyond an aesthetic decoration, Dommer said.

“To me, it means I really understand what Christmas is about, it’s about the birth of our savior,” she said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what people say (about the collection). Some are very, very unique. I think they might say how did you find this or where did you get this. I do have one over two feet tall.”

Her grandmother used to work at Bethany Ridge apartments, and they were cleaning out the attic and discovered the two-foot nativity with the intent to throw it away. Grandma said no, she knew of a better home for it, Dommer said.

During the evening, St. Nicholas will be reading the story of his namesake — the actual story of St. Nicholas, a bishop in Turkey who heard about impoverished parents who were going to sell their daughters into servitude. St. Nicholas threw a bag of gold coins down the chimney to help them out and alleviate the need to sell their daughters. 

That has served as the foundation for Feast Day of St. Nicholas and a tradition of giving chocolate coins to children, which will also be part of the event, the Rev. Roula Alkhouri said.

“That’s the whole spirit of this, people can come and share in this and the story of how love evolved in different ways, and how people have imagined it in different ways,” she said. 

Parishioners will also be bringing in their nativities, and a nativity tree is decorated with dozens of Saleh’s nativity ornaments. 

Liz with tagua nut
Liz Saleh shows one of her smallest nativities carved out of a tagua nut from the Amazon rain forest.
Photo by Joanne Beck
Nativity from Mexico
Nativity from Peru
Liz with byzantine art
Liz Saleh holds up a piece of Byzantine art that used tempera paint with egg yolks, from a Boston museum. 
Photo by Joanne Beck
Nativity from Mexico
Nativity tree and Liz Sale
Tiny nativity

A passion for Catholic education, dedication to children highlighted in award for Zickls

By Howard B. Owens
zickl heath and humanitarian award
Robert Zickl, Robert Balbick, and Mary Ellen Zickl.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The dedication of Robert and Mary Ellen Zickl to the children of Genesee County is a big reason the Batavia couple was honored on Friday at Terry Hills by The Jerome Foundation with the 38th Health and Humanitarian Award.

Besides taking children in need into their home for long and short stays, the Zickls have been advocates and supporters of Catholic education. Mary Ellen is also the founder of All Babies Cherished.

The couple has volunteered their time at both St. Joseph School and Notre Dame High School.  Bob currently serves on the ND Board of Directors and St. Joseph School Board. He volunteers on the sidelines coaching ND football, as well as organizing and supervising athletes in the weight room, promoting good fitness and healthy choices. 

Mary Ellen is also involved in the Rosary Society at Ascension Parish, chairing several committees.

Bob is an assistant district attorney for Genesee County. Mary Ellen is a retired Special Education Teacher. They have five children.

The Health and Humanitarian Award recognizes “ordinary people who reach far beyond themselves to the lives of those in need, bringing hope, care, and friendship, and helping build a stronger, healthier community.”

The Zickls were nominated by Karen Green, principal of St. Joseph’s School. 

In her nomination, Green noted that Bob and Mary Ellen have often given children a "loving, compassionate and safe home that provided lasting memories and effects on all those who are familiar with them. In two instances in particular, they opened their home to children who were not their own, but who were treated as members of their family, with much love and support during particularly challenging times. I know they will forever consider the Zickl home to be their own.”

Bob spoke on behalf of the couple in accepting the award and noted that the award's committee chair, retired City Court Judge Robert Balbick, came to Zickl's office in the County Courthouse personally to deliver the news, which caught Zickl by surprise.

"As soon as he left, I got on my phone to look up 'humanitarian,' Bob said. "Okay, a bit of a rough fit, but okay. Prosecutors don't usually get described in those terms. For a long time, I was afraid to look at the list of previous honorees. I did today. It was on the program. That is a very impressive list and to be included with people like that is, that's a great honor."

zickl heath and humanitarian award
Robert Zickl and Mary Ellen Zickl.
Photo by Howard Owens

Younger hockey players get their own tournament for a change with inaugural Merry Mitemas event

By Howard B. Owens
Merry Mitemas Tournament 2023

The Merry Mitemas Tournament is underway at the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena in Batavia.

The inaugural tournament features 18 teams.  Four are from Batavia, with teams from as far away as Webster and Geneva, said Sharon Valyear-Gray, one of the tournament's organizers, along with her husband, Bob Gray, their daughter, Allyson Valyear, who is chair, and  Tim Sprague, Mite program team coordinator. 

"We wanted to give the little guys an experience that our older ones always get when they go to tournaments," Valyear-Gray said. "Several of the teams went to the Pittsburgh tournament on Veterans weekend. Most of them go to one or two (tournaments) in Rochester. We have three teams that are going to Lake Placid in March, which is really a neat experience for the kids. But the little ones just kind of get left behind."

Each team is guaranteed at least three games over the weekend.

The weekend will include a skate with Santa at noon on Sunday, followed by the championship game.

Photos by Howard Owens

Merry Mitemas Tournament 2023
Merry Mitemas Tournament 2023
Merry Mitemas Tournament 2023
Merry Mitemas Tournament 2023

Photos: Santa escorted to Memorial Park in Oakfield

By Howard B. Owens
oakfield santa and memorial park

Santa Claus arrived in Oakfield for a short visit on Friday night, carried into town by the Oakfield Volunteer Fire Department with mutual aid from Elba and Alabama.

The children who gathered for his arrival then gathered at Memorial Park for Christmas carols and a tour of the holiday-light-decorated park.

The Christmas spirit carries on in Oakfield today (Saturday).  For information on Saturday's activities, click here.

Photos by Howard Owens

oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park
oakfield santa and memorial park

New York and Seneca nation agree on short-term extension on gambling agreement

By Press Release

Press release:

Governor Kathy Hochul and Seneca Nation of Indians President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr. today met in Buffalo and signed an extension of the current gaming compact between New York State and the Seneca Nation of Indians, which expires December 9, 2023. The extension runs through March 31, 2024 and will automatically renew unless one of the parties decides not to renew it or a new gaming compact is agreed upon. The terms of the compact are unchanged from before, and both sides will be meeting again in the coming weeks to continue negotiations on a long-term compact. 

"Today, I returned to Buffalo to meet with President Armstrong and memorialize an extension of the current gaming compact to ensure the State and Seneca Nation can continue working towards a long-term resolution," Governor Hochul said. "With the signing of this agreement, there is important momentum for negotiations around the compact. I remain committed to working with President Armstrong and the Seneca Nation in finalizing an agreement that is fair to all parties, and I look forward to more conversations in the coming weeks and months as we continue to meet."

Seneca Nation of Indians President Rickey L. Armstrong, Sr. said, “Over the last several weeks, our discussions with New York State, including face-to-face meetings with Governor Hochul, have centered, in part, on the potential extension of our current Compact, especially as the December 9 expiration gets ever closer. As a result of those discussions between our governments, the Seneca Nation and New York State have agreed to a short-term extension of our current Compact. As important, we have agreed to continue negotiations on a new Compact. This short-term extension will provide additional time for our governments to complete Compact negotiations and to seek all necessary approvals in accordance with Seneca Nation, New York State, and federal law. Under the extension, our three gaming properties will continue to operate without interruption, alleviating any concerns about potential impacts on our thousands of casino employees, which was a priority for the Nation. In our discussions, Governor Hochul has expressed a desire to reset the relationship between our governments. No issue is of greater importance to the economies of Western New York and the Seneca Nation than a fair Compact. Tens of thousands of individuals, families and businesses across Western New York depend on an agreement that secures the significant jobs, business opportunities, and economic benefits the Seneca Nation delivers to the Western New York economy. The short-term extension of our Compact is an important step, but even more important work remains to be done. The Seneca Nation remains committed to negotiating honestly and directly with New York State on a Compact that provides a fair and equitable economic and competitive environment for our gaming operations and the many people who depend on them.” 

Town of Pembroke will be filling water containers for residents Monday

By Press Release


Press Release:

Due to the moderate drought conditions present throughout Genesee County, starting Monday Dec. 4, the Town of Pembroke will fill approved water containers for town residents by appointment between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Town Highway Garage, located at 1145 Main Road. 

If you’re a Town of Pembroke resident and in need of water, please call the Town Clerk at 585-599-4892, Ext. 102 or 103 and please leave your name and phone number to schedule an appointment.

Photos: Annual remembrance Christmas tree lighting in Oakfield

By Howard B. Owens
oakfield christmas tree lighting

Oakfield residents gathered in the Triangle Park in Oakfield on Thursday evening for the annual lighting of the remembrance Christmas trees.

This year, there are 94 decorated trees in the park.

For more on this weekend's events in Oakfield, click here.

Photos by Howard Owens.

oakfield christmas tree lighting
oakfield christmas tree lighting
oakfield christmas tree lighting
oakfield christmas tree lighting
oakfield christmas tree lighting
oakfield christmas tree lighting

Annual toy drive underway at local chiropractors' office

By Howard B. Owens
mazurkiewicz toy drive 2023
Dr. Nick Ryan, Dr.  Tom Mazurkiewicz, Theresa Wlazlak, and Pastor Ryan Macdonald.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Chiropractors Tom Mazurkiewicz and Nick Ryan are sponsoring their annual toy drive in support of City Church's efforts to spread Christmas cheer to local children. 

Donors who bring a new, unwrapped toy will receive a complimentary adjustment during their next scheduled visit. The offer is open to new patients. The office at 184 Washington Ave., Batavia, is accepting donations through Dec. 15. 

All donations benefit families in Genesee County who may not otherwise be able to receive a gift this holiday due to economic hardship. 

The toys will be distributed by City Church at St. Anthony's on Liberty Street on Dec. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Santa visits Bethany Friday morning, in the form of a water donation, as officials wait for word on district funding

By Joanne Beck
Water donation in Bethany
A donation of four pallets of drinking water by Eric Santos, second from left, of Casella Waste Systems, arrives at Bethany Town Hall Friday morning for residents who have been struggling without water.
Submitted Photo

As town officials and residents work through a water shortage brought on by drought, all of them have said it has been the worst they have ever seen since living in Bethany, many of them for decades. Fill dates are being scheduled week by week from a tanker that was provided by the state Office of Emergency Management.

Santa came early again for a visit Friday morning, in the form of a donation of four pallets of bottled water all ready to be distributed to residents, Supervisor Carl Hyde Jr. said. Operations Manager Eric Santos of Casella Waste Systems had heard about Bethany's plight and showed up with his crew and the much-welcomed donation of water at town hall, Hyde said.

"The town of Bethany will start distributing these cases to the residents on the list whose wells have gone dry on Tuesday morning during normal office hours during the week and on Tuesday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. during tote fill time and Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m.," Hyde said. 

Bethany residents in need who have not yet called the town hall for help are asked to call 585-343-1399, Ext. 202 to leave your name, phone number and address to be put on the list for the town supervisor.

At least 100 residents -- though some people have claimed it's far more than that through social media postings -- have been without water due to their wells being dry, and they have had to transport water from other areas up to the tanker being delivered this past week. 

Hyde said that more dates will be scheduled soon, as the plan is to continue to fill residents’ totes until the tanker is empty, get that refilled by the county, and then repeat for as long as the town has the tanker.

Donation of water in Bethany
Submitted Photo

Elba beats Lyndonville in season opener

By Howard B. Owens
elba girls basketball

Genesee Region Girls Basketball opened the 2023-24 season on Thursday with a matchup between Elba and Lydonville.

The Lancers beat the Tigers 55-36.

Sydney Reilly scored 17 points. Lydia Ross added 15 and Mariah Ognibene 10.

Photos by Debra Reilly.

elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball
elba girls basketball

Top Items on Batavia's List

The City of Batavia is accepting applications for a Full-time Water Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee (Salary $23.65/hr.) This is a trainee position involving responsibility for learning the duties and routines in the operation and maintenance of a water treatment plant.  The work is performed under the immediate supervision of a qualified operator. Does on-the-job training to become qualified as an operator of a water treatment plant. Does related work as required. Applicant must be a graduate of a senior high school or possess a New York State high school equivalency diploma. Please submit a completed Civil Service Application to Human Resources, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020 or tdean@batavianewyork.com. Background check, psychological assessment, physical and drug testing are required. Candidate must become a resident of Genesee County or any adjacent town to the County of Genesee within 6 months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City of Batavia. EEO. Applications can be found at https://www.co.genesee.ny.us
Tags: Jobs offered

Authentically Local