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Law and Order: Driver reportedly involved in accident in Pavilion charged with DWI

By Howard B. Owens

Amirose E. Hume, 35, of West Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and moved from lane unsafely. Hume was charged by Deputy Ryan Mullen following a one-vehicle accident at 1:12 a.m. on April 18 on Roanoke Road, Pavilion. Hume was transported to the jail for processing and released.

Krista Marie Penkszyk, 38, of Batavia Bethany Townline Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and harassment 2nd. Penkszyk allegedly stole an item during a disturbance at a residence on Bethany Townline Road, Batavia, reported at 7:32 p.m. on April 16. She was held for arraignment and arraigned and released on April 17.

Michael Patrick Pullinzi, 64, no street address provided, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. He allegedly violated an order of protection out of Family Court at 6:30 a.m. on April 20. He was arraigned and released.

Daniel John Wright, 61, of Bay Village Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding, and driving without an inspection certificate. Wright was stopped by Deputy Jacob Kipler at 1:38 a.m. on April 21 on Lake Street Road, Le Roy. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

Daniel R. Larocche, 45, of Buffalo, is charged with felony driving while under the influence of drugs. Laroche was stopped by State Police in the village of Oakfield at 7:38 p.m. on April 22. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Joseph J. Nelson, 38, of Medina, is charged with petit larceny. The incident was reported at 12:40 p.m. on April 11 in the town of Batavia. The State Police did not release further information.

Stephen D. McCarthy, 46, of Walworth, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny. McCarthy is accused of possessing a stolen credit card in the town of Alabama at 12:15 p.m. on March 11. He was arrested on April 19 by State Police. The State Police released no further information.

NYS Teacher of the Year and Batavia resident wants your vote for America's Favorite Teacher

By Joanne Beck
Zach Arenz with students
Batavia resident and Flower City music teacher Zach Arenz, with some of his ukulele band musicians, is competing for America's Favorite Teacher and a $25,000 prize.
Submitted Photo

In the days, weeks and months after the COVID pandemic protocols settled down and kids were able to return to school after all of that isolation, an odd phenomenon occurred, and many struggled with the desire to return.

For Batavia resident and Flower City School teacher Zach Arenz, he was able to spark student interest through the magic of music.

“I just think at the core of teaching, it's so important for kids to feel connected. And in a world where I think we're increasingly disconnected from one another, it's important to grow those relationships at the school, with their teachers, and get the kids excited to be at school each day,” Arenz says. You know, we're four years post the beginning of the pandemic … but attendance is still a big issue in schools; getting kids to want to come to school is a struggle for a lot of them. And I had one kid recently tell me that the reason he came to school that day was because he had band with me. And, I mean, in the days that I feel most stressed, and I just feel like am I doing it the right way? You hear something like that and you're like, wow, the teachers make such a huge difference in our kids’ lives.”

His work with students as a music teacher and efforts to establish a school-based Community Closet for donations at Flower City School in Rochester has earned Arenz a 2024 New York State Teacher of the Year Award and a Top Two spot so far in his group for a Readers Digest online contest that will award the final winner a $25,000 prize.

Not to boil down school absenteeism all to COVID, but a large reason was the aftermath of pandemic shutdowns and the resulting psychological and social effects, as noted by school experts, that online learning, removal of face-to-face friendships and classroom learning caused to kids. 

Add to that a school with demographics of pervasive poverty for students of color, and there are attendance obstacles, said Arenz, who has been a music teacher at Flower City since 2013. In the same way that he first became attached to an instrument — the clarinet in fourth grade and bassoon in college and now in the Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble — Arenz has been helping his students connect with music through general music and instrumental music, modern band, a garage band type model, and a ukulele band for students in grades kindergarten through six.

“Just a lot like my kids, there was a teacher who was brave enough and gave me a clarinet. And from that moment forward, my life has circled around music. I just I always find that it's the comforting spot for me to be, it's where I feel most connected,” Arenz said.  

There are certainly other needs, which Arenz has not let go unfilled. He first began to notice a student coming to school in the same white T-shirt, getting dingier day after day after day, he said. He then saw sweatshirts on clearance at a Big Box and thought, ‘I can buy one’ for this student.' Then he bought five. And then he put out a call for donations on his social media site. 

The Community Closet grew out of those simple and caring steps to fulfill students’ basic needs five years ago. The response was “more than I could have imagined,” he said.

“Because, if I could at least give them a clean shirt to feel comfortable in for the day, that's fine, I can do that. And then that has spawned into this community closet that I started at school, where I bring in donations from the community, and people will bring their trash bags and their spring cleaning. So there's all this stuff that we don't need anymore, and I have a whole closet and a portable closet rack that houses the clothes that the kids need," he said. "And the moment a kid sees me in the hallway, it may be, ‘I don't have any clean clothes at home anymore.’ But sometimes it's something just like, ‘Oh, I spilled my apple juice all over my pants. Can I have a new pair of pants?’ It's so easy now for me to just say yes, we have those things. And if it's something little like that, I can also run a load of laundry at school because there's a washer and dryer across the hallway from me. So it's doing stuff like that. It just makes the kids feel proud.”

An array of clothing filled the closet for students and their families. Then, several items were donated, including toiletries for personal hygiene. It became about more than just providing for someone in need, Arenz said; it was about providing for anyone in need at the moment. Most anyone could use a squirt of hand lotion at some point, right?

He said there hasn’t been an issue with kids being too proud to accept the goods because of the way the closet is set up. There can be, but he has instead seen “the gratefulness” that develops.

“It’s not something I hide; it’s not something I do in secret. The community closet is immediately when you walk into my door, it is to your right. So there are things that are out, and kids will get first,” he said. “And you know, I think by increasing visibility, you also increase accessibility. I will get interrupted in the middle of class (by a student asking for something). It’s not a big deal; I try to make it as shameless as possible. I also teach the difference between taking something because it’s there and it’s free or taking something because you need it.”

A transplant from Long Island, Arenz, 36, settled into Batavia as a comfy midway point between Buffalo and Rochester after Fredonia State College pulled him closer to Western New York. He first taught music for a middle school class in Sweden (the country) for a year before landing the Rochester job.

A believer in supporting local business, Arenz is no stranger to the Downtown Batavia and Genesee County trivia circuit and considers Eli Fish one of his home bases to hang out. He will proudly wear a Charles Men’s Shop tux to his New York State Teacher of the Year Award dinner at the White House on May 2.

The Board of Regents named Arenz for the 2024 honor based on his being “an exceptionally skilled and passionate educator.” He will also serve as an ambassador for the state teachers and become a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year program.

“Zachary Arenz is the embodiment of a dedicated and inspirational teacher. His ability to engage with students and inspire and ignite a passion for lifelong learning through music is exceptional,” Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said. “His determination to help all students achieve success by providing them with a safe and supportive environment is a model for all schools across the state.”

For Arenz, “It was the dream job I never knew I wanted,” he said. 

“I went in growing up in the suburbs, unsure what it was going to be like,” he said. “But my first school, I fell in love with my colleagues, I fell in love with my students. I’m very lucky to have the job that I have. It’s not a position that I take for granted ever.”

When he more recently came across an advertisement for the America’s Favorite Teacher contest and, more notably, the $25,000 prize, he thought, “I could effect some change with that money.” 

“I would love to be able to pour money into building up a sustainable classroom or not even just a classroom closet, but a true community space where it's not just in my classroom, it's not something that's mine, I think one for my school," he said. "I think what I would dream of is having a space that is more central, something that is more accessible, not just by the kids, but also a community space, a sort of, if I was dreaming, maybe it's a space that includes a food pantry, maybe it's a space that includes a shopping experience sort of thing, where we do have a variety of donations that are available to anybody. So when I do my spring cleaning, I would love to return my stuff to the school.”

Voting for this round ends at 7 p.m. Thursday before the next level goes on to compete. Arenz is hoping to continue with the support of everyone’s vote. To do that, and for more information, including about the Teach For America fund and boosting your votes even more, go to America's Favorite Teacher.

HomeCare & Hospice seeks volunteers for United Way Day of Caring

By Press Release
batavia-brick-garden.jpg
Submitted photo of the Pathway of Life Garden located at Grandview Cemetery in Batavia.

Press Release:

HomeCare & Hospice will be participating in the Genesee County United Way Annual Day of Caring on May 23. 

United Way volunteers will be matched to local agencies and non-profit organizations to assist in hands-on projects in their communities. 

HomeCare & Hospice of Batavia will be seeking volunteers to assist in cleaning the Pathway of Life Garden at Grandview Cemetery which is a memorial brick garden surrounded by beautiful foliage, flowers, benches, and a place of relaxation and quiet reflection. The bricks are a lasting public tribute to your loved ones.

Volunteers are needed on May 23 beginning at 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. to complete pruning trees, pulling up the walkway to remove roots, weeding, grass removal, and power washing of benches and walkways.

Individuals or teams can sign up to volunteer by contacting Caitlyn Farnung at caitlin.farnung@unitedwayrocflx.org or by calling 585-242-6517. Volunteer registration is open until May 10.

If you or someone you know could benefit from hospice, please contact HomeCare & Hospice at 585-343-7596 or visit homecare-hospice.org.

Muckdogs announce 2024 promotional schedule

By Press Release
Batavia Muckdogs June 19 2023
File photo by Howard Owens

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs have officially released their 2024 promotional night schedule.  This season the Muckdogs will have four fireworks shows -- June 1, 15, July 3 & 20, $1 Hotdog & $2 Beer Night return, four brand new theme nights, & a blast from the past!

This season, fireworks shows will be sponsored by Graham Corporation & Batavia Downs (Sat. June 1), Oak Orchard Health, HP Hood, & Rochester Regional Health (Sat. June 15), Tompkins Bank & Turnbull Heating & Air (Wed. July 3), and O-AT-KA Milk Products (Sat. July 20). The Helicopter Candy Drop will make a return on Saturday, July 27, vs Jamestown. Dwyer Stadium will also feature some new things, as Dave’s Ice Cream will host a giveaway night, Bark in the Park (bring your dogs to the game!), Kids Free Night (July 5), and Bills Mafia Night.  The Muckdogs will also have something old but new in 2024 as well.  On Friday, June 28, Batavia Clippers Night will be at Dwyer Stadium for fans of baseball in Batavia from decades past.  The Muckdogs will have lots of other fun and giveaways this summer.  The Muckdogs will also have a free T-shirt giveaway on Sunday, June 30 & the Helicopter Candy drop courtesy of Pete Zeliff returns on Saturday, July 27. The full schedule is available at www.canusamuckdogs.com.

The Muckdog's opening weekend is set for Saturday, June 1, at 6:30 vs. the Elmira Pioneers with post-game fireworks and then back Sunday, June 2nd 4:05 vs. the Niagara Falls Americans with meet the team night. 

Season tickets are on sale starting at just $99.  585-524-2260 or visit www.canusamuckdogs.com for special promotions, season tickets, or group information.  See you at Dwyer Stadium this summer.

                                                            

 

PUBLIC NOTICE: Hearing set for race track on Harloff Road, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

PUBLIC NOTICE:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a Public Hearing will be held by the Town of Batavia Planning Board regarding an application for a Special Use Permit by East Coast Speedway (Jason Bonsignore) to open and operate a racing track on property that was the former polar wave at 3500 Harloff Road, Batavia, NY - Tax Map 151.  This is in a Commercial/Recreation District.

Said hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at the Batavia Town Hall at 7:15 p.m. at which time all interested persons will be heard. Written comments will be accepted prior to that date.  You may email the Chairman at  kjasinski@townofbatavia.com or text 219-9190.

by order of the Town of Batavia Planning Board
Kathleen Jasinski, Chairman

 

Police station project manager explains need for space around construction site

By Howard B. Owens

 

changes_to_our_parking_policy_2.jpeg
A graphic released on April 11 by the City of Batavia showed what city officials believed at the time would be the available parking at Bank and Alva during the construction of the new police station.  Late last week, officials revealed that the entire parking lot north of Alva Place will be fenced off during construction.

The local press was not permitted in a meeting on Monday between business owners concerned about impacts on their shops during the construction of a new police station in Batavia, but afterward, the project manager spoke exclusively with The Batavian about what he tried to communicate during the discussion.

Ken Pearl explained the scope of construction, the need for the use of parking space next to the primary construction site, and the coordination and liability issues involved.

With five contractors involved -- there is no lead contractor -- there is a lot of complex work that needs to be coordinated with timelines that need to stay in sync.

The sudden dust-up over parking has contractors nervous about staying on schedule, Pearl indicated.

For this $15 million project, there is a general contract, a site contractor, an electrical contractor, a plumbing contractor, and a heating contractor. They’re all under separate contracts.


See also: Downtown business owners battle for their patients, city considers options


“Now that this has become an issue, I have to speak on behalf of this group because they're aggrieved now, too,” Pearl said. “They’re under contract that go under state and federal government rules. And they're like, ‘Wait a minute, nobody can agree to just be moving this fence around because there's insurance issues, liability, and all kinds of stuff. Plus, we need space to work.’”

In the meeting with business owners, Pearl said he tried to convey the message that “this is our world.” He tried to show them what the contractors are supposed to be doing and why.

“We’ve got to put that fence up all around the parking lot on the city's boundary, and then we will transfer all the liability to the contractors," Pearl said. “They're responsible for everything that happens here. They can't have people in here. They're not trained, they're not wearing safety gear. The first thing the contractor is going to do is come in with expensive equipment, like a Thruway project or something or a road project. They're gonna be grinding up all this asphalt because it's all getting refurbished and pulled up. And we got to access the sewers and infrastructure elements underneath.”

Pearl explained that the need for contractor space next to the job site involves much more than asking workers to walk an extra 40 feet, as some business owners seem to believe.

Once the asphalt is ripped out, a sewer line must be removed. It is buried 15 feet underground on the west end lot.

Then, all the footings for the walls need to be dug out. Digging out the footing space and foundation will create debris that must be moved into the west end of the lot where it can be sorted -- refill, recyclable, and waste. 

The stormwater draining system gets rebuilt.

A mesh of conduits and tubing needs to be installed with contractors needing easy access to supplies.

All-terrain vehicles with forklifts will need to move around the perimeter of the building in space that was seemingly designated as parking before city officials learned those renderings were wrong.

Scaffolding will be erected around the building and will intrude into that same "parking space."

While some workers can show up with their tools in their sedan, Pearl explained that the concrete guys can’t do that. They drive pickups with all their tools in compartments around the bed of a truck.  Concrete workers need to work fast. They have a limited time to complete tasks once the concrete is poured. 

“What they're doing is constantly going back and forth to their trucks,” Pearl said. “You'll actually see them moving their trucks because they're working fast. When heavy concrete comes in, there's a time limit on it for their working procedures. They're not going to allow us to tell them to park across the street. That's insane. From their perspective, they don't even want to park over here (he pointed to the site plan). They want to park here. And then two hours later, they're gonna be here, and three hours later, still here. They'll work not an eight-to-five. They'll stay if the poor require them to stay till 10 o'clock at night.”

Quality control testing needs to take place on the job site, which means equipment needs to be set up and stored close to the new construction.

“They can’t do that across the street because they gotta be where the thing is happening,” he said.

Each contractor needs a trailer for office space, so there are five trailers total, plus one each for state and federal inspectors.

Utilities need to be run to those trailers and the job site.

Moving all of that infrastructure to the other side of Alva would mean double installation of infrastructure.

“That's multiple of everything,” Pearl said. “So technically, my message was, we can do anything you want. But we're going to crucify the budgets."

Workers' safety is also at risk if they have to cross a public roadway from the job site to a staging area.

“If we're having people walking across the public street, we’re putting workers at risk,” Pearl said. “Guys get busy, tired, dirt in their eyes, they're sweaty, they might not be paying attention after the 100th time walking across the street.”

Pearl said the map showing swaths of parking around the construction site went out before it was shown to him. During the Monday meeting, he said Tabelski apologized for the miscommunication.

After Monday's council meeting, Council President Eugene Jankowski expressed frustration that some people seemingly can't except that city management made an honest mistake.

He said that rather than castigating city employees, those affected should understand that a mistake was made and that the city is trying to rectify it.

“There were timelines that had to be met,” Jankowski said. “Rachel had an older drawing. It wasn't an updated drawing, and she thought she would be ahead of the game by getting it out to them.  When  Ken (Pearl) found out about it, he realized that she had sent out the wrong drawing. She apologized to everyone in the meeting earlier today (Monday), explaining that that was her mistake and that it wasn't intentional. However, I've seen affected business owners on Facebook saying the city lied and that the city purposely blindsided us. That's not true. It was an honest mistake. And we're doing our best to correct that.”

Jankowski suggested that small business owners might be more understanding of the fact that everybody is trying to do their best for the community.

“The part that really perplexes me is and it causes me severe disappointment, that we're trying to do something good for the community and our police department and our public safety, which is very valuable in this community. I really take public safety very seriously. And yet, we're meeting all this resistance over a few parking spaces we're trying to accommodate. But that doesn't seem to be good enough.”

Pearl noted that the public part of the police station construction story has always been that this was a three-phase project, with a new police station, new secure parking for the police, and rebuilt public parking.

People seem to have missed the “rebuilt public parking,” he suggested, because that means eliminating all of the existing parking lot.

“When you build a police station, you're talking about doing a 100-year building if you can pull it off,” Pearl said. “If I'm building a warehouse for my business, I might only care that it lasts 20 years. I’m going to invest low in it. A church might want the building to last 200 years. A car dealership, I'm gonna remodel it in five; I don't need certain standards the same all the time on a project. We spent a lot of time working out all this stuff. I think when this is all done for the public. They will get something that boosts that neighborhood. Because somebody's spending money on it, in my experience, that tends to give people comfort if they want to think about investing in something, new or remodeling something, because now somebody did it, values are going up a little bit. If nobody does it, nobody does it, you know”

Placement of construction fence for new police station draws complaints

By Howard B. Owens
police station contruction
Photo by Howard Owens

On Monday morning, workers moved a construction fence off the sidewalk behind a group of office buildings on Washington Avenue, Batavia, that was erected late last week in preparation for the start of construction of the new Batavia police station.

Dr. Tom Mazurkiewicz said he and other businesses in the complex were upset with the placement of the fence and even just moving it off the sidewalk isn't good enough.

He claimed that city officials presented plans to the businesses showing the fence being placed in the parking lot, where space is striped for a second row of cars, keeping the first row open for business parking.

After the fence was erected, he said city officials told him OSHA requirements dictated the location of the fence and "the plan changed."

He doesn't believe there is an OSHA requirement for that particular placement of the fence.

"They're just lying about everything," Mazurkiewicz said. "It's a mess."

Brett J. Frank, the city's director of public works, declined this morning to comment on the situation, citing a meeting planned for Monday evening as the reason.

City officials will meet with representatives of the businesses, which are mostly medical offices, at 5:30 p.m. at the current Batavia police headquarters. Mazurkiewicz said the issue has also been added to the City Council agenda for Monday. That meeting starts at 7 p.m.

On Friday, City Manager Rachel Tabelski put out a statement addressing the parking issues:

“The City of Batavia Police Department will move from their 167-year-old converted mansion, known as the Historic Brisbane Mansion.  There have been no less than five studies conducted since 1991 to determine the future of the police station in Batavia, as well as a citizen task force commissioned to investigate possible site locations.  The location of the new facility was identified by the task force.

“Working with the construction team, the City will continue to provide the community and surrounding businesses, and their patrons with free parking with some restrictions in place.  The safety of the construction workers and those using the Alva lot is the highest priority.  At this time, the West Side of the Alva Parking Lot is available for medical/customer parking; the streets of Washington, State, Bank and Alva have free on-street parking as well.

“Patrons of Washington and State Street businesses without mobility issues are encouraged to park in the City Centre lot, leaving adjacent street parking for individuals who need access.  The City recognizes that parking will be inconvenient, but the goal is to minimize the impact on businesses and residents.  The City looks forward to project completion and appreciates everyone’s assistance and cooperation during the 18-month construction period.

The lack of parking is costing him business, Mazurkiewicz said.  He had seven clients cancel appointments on Thursday and Friday and two on Monday morning. 

He had one 90-year-old client try to walk from the open spaces behind Millenium Computer to his office, which is at least 150 yards across three grass outcroppings that disrupt the sidewalk.

He said city officials told him they would create three on-street handicap spaces, but Mazurkiewicz believes that many elderly patients either can't or won't parallel park if that's required to use those spaces.

"We need at least eight handicapped parking spaces," Mazurkiewicz said.

He said one customer told him, "I can walk 20 feet, but I can't walk 150 yards," and he added, "What about a mom with a baby in a car seat? That's 50 pounds. Is she going to carry it 150 yards?"

When asked what he expected in terms of parking availability once construction is finished, he said he didn't know. "They haven't told us," he said.

The city is building a $15 million, 21,000-square-foot facility at Alva Place and Bank Street. It is partially funded by a $2.5 million USDA grant and low-interest loan from the USDA.

Joanne Beck contributed to this story.

police station construction
One of three grass patches that disrupt the sidewalk along the Washington Office office complex.
Photo by Howard Owens.
police station contruction
A construction worker taps down asphalt in the parking lot of the construction site after digging a hole to inspect something under the asphalt.
Photo by Howard Owens.

HLOM mini-exhibit 'St. Joseph's Drum Corps: 53 years later'

By Press Release

Press Release:

Come by the Holland Land Office Museum and check out our new mini-exhibit, "St. Joesph's Drum Core: 53 Years Later!"

From April to the end of September, view photographs, uniforms, and other artifacts relating to the nationally ranked local drum corps from the twentieth century!

Beginning in 1931 under the direction of Rev. T. Bernard Kelly, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Batavia, the St. Joseph's Drum Corps was created and went on to be nationally ranked. Winning 8 New York State American Legion titles and other national titles! The drum crops were active until 1971. However, they have a reunion corps called the "Mighty St. Joe's" in Le Roy.

The exhibit includes uniforms, photographs, instruments, and much more of members of alumni of the Drum Corps.

The mini-exhibit is available during regular museum hours, Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. with regular admission. Come and check it out on your next visit to the Holland Land Office Museum.

Column: Memories of Making Bread

By Anne Marie Starowitz
bread oven hlom
Photo courtesy the Holland Land Office Museum.

Today, making bread is easy. You buy a loaf of frozen bread, defrost it, and bake it. In 1996, there was a machine called the Bread Machine. You would put all the ingredients into the machine and turn it on. It would mix the ingredients, time the bread to rise, and then bake the bread. Now, you can go to a supermarket and buy fresh bread.

In the ‘60s, my grandmother, Jennie Bellow, would bring her homemade bread to Batavia every Sunday. We all enjoyed her bread and took it for granted. On one of my Sunday sleepovers in Le Roy, I watched my grandma get out all sorts of things to make her white bread. Flour, yeast, and Crisco were some of her ingredients. She also took out a flat piece of wood, a towel, and five bread pans. I asked why she was getting everything out the night before, and she said I would find out the following day. 

Jennie Bellow
Jennie Bellow

Early the next morning, I watched her make her bread. I had no idea it would take all day. First, we would measure the flour, put the yeast in warm milk, and add one scant wooden spoonful of Crisco. We would mix the ingredients by hand, which is called kneading. The towel was to cover the dough, hoping it would rise. Finally, the bread was ready for the pans. The result was beautiful but so time-consuming. My grandmother was born in 1900, and making bread was a way of life for women in the 1900s as it was in the 1800s.

One of the first things Joseph Ellicott did as a local agent of the Holland Land Company was to have mills, both grist and saw, built in Batavia to encourage settlement. Before the erection of the gristmill in Batavia in 1804, the people sometimes did not have bread or anything to make it from. Flour was brought on packhorses before the roads were of such a character as to allow better transportation. The Tonawanda Creek dam was used to power a sawmill and, a little later, a gristmill.

Both corn and wheat grain had to be ground for bread and other foods. The grindstones at the gristmill reduced corn to meal and wheat grain to flour. “Rye and Indian,” made from cornmeal and rye flour, was the only bread the early settlers could make. Grinding the grain into flour for the pioneers meant a journey to the gristmill by ox sled in both summer and winter.

I wonder if the giant stone doughnuts that stood on East Main Street near the corner of Ross Street could have been gristmill stones. Many years ago, they were at the entrance of a burned house. I can remember them always being there; after the fire, they disappeared.

In the Holland Land Office Museum, there is a colonial kitchen. You can imagine our early settlers cooking in the kitchen using a fireplace. Upon request, you can view a reflector oven. This was one way the early settlers made bread. A reflector oven is a box usually made of tin designed to enclose an article of food on all but one side to cause it to bake by capturing radiant heat from an open fire and reflecting the heat toward the food. The next time you buy freshly baked bread at your local supermarket, think of the time it took to make bread from “scratch!”

I treasure the memories of cooking and baking with my grandmother. I know how to make her bread from scratch, but it is not the same not having my grandmother next to me in her cobbler apron showing me how to knead the bread.

Former Batavia resident Terry Anderson, journalist taken hostage by terrorists in 1985 dies at age 76

By Howard B. Owens
terry anderson and jim owen
Terry Anderson, right, autographs a book for the late James Owen at an event at Batavia Downs commemorating the opening of the International Peace Garden in Batavia in February 2011.
File photo by Howard Owens.

Terry Anderson, a journalist and a Batavia High School graduate who gained international attention after being taken hostage by an Iranian-backed terrorist group, has died in Greenwood Lake, in the Hudson Valley.

He was 76 years old.

Anderson was the Beirut bureau chief in 1985 for the Associated Press when he was kidnapped by armed men who dragged him from his car after he dropped off a tennis partner following a match. The pistol-wielding men yanked him from his car and pushed him into a Mercedes-Benz.

The terrorists were reportedly members of Hezbollah, an Islamic Jihad Organization in Lebanon. He was reportedly blindfolded and beaten and kept in chains and moved to 20 different hideaways in Beirut, South Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley.

His release came 2,454 days later following intense lobbying by his sister, Peggy Say.

Anderson and Say were born in Lorain, Ohio, where their father, Glen, was a village police officer. While still children, their parents moved to Batavia, where their father worked as a truck driver and their mother, Lily, was a waitress.

After Anderson was kidnapped, Say didn't feel the case was getting enough attention from the U.S. government and the United States. She launched a national campaign to raise the awareness of people to the plight of her brother and other hostages held by Hezbollah.

Say, who had returned to Batavia after relocating for a time, enlisted fellow journalists, humanitarian groups, world figures, and U.S. citizens in the cause, which led to the nation being festooned with yellow ribbons. 

She also received assistance from many fellow Batavia residents, such as Anne Zickl, who died in 2014.

Say died in 2015 at age 74.

Terry Anderson's daughter Sulome told the New York Times that Anderson died following complications from a recent heart surgery.

Anderson's last public appearance in Batavia was in February 2011 to dedicate the International Peace Garden.

State budget includes tax credit that addresses crisis in local news

By Press Release

Press release:

Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature unveiled the final state budget Saturday, including a payroll tax credit for local news outlets, modeled on the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, in the sweeping package. With the passage of this bill, New York is now the first state in the nation to incentivize hiring and retaining local journalists. This game changer for the local news industry comes just months after the launch of the Empire State Local News Coalition, an unprecedented, grassroots campaign powered by more than 200 community newspapers across the state.

Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, the Senate bill sponsor, said: “I’m elated that our first-in-the-nation Local Journalism Sustainability Act is passing in the state budget. A thriving local news industry is vital to the health of our democracy and it’s our responsibility to help ensure New Yorkers have access to independent and community-focused journalism. Thank you to Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Governor Hochul, our Assembly Sponsor Woerner and the over 200 local publications of the Empire State Local News Coalition who helped pass our bill. Our efforts will help ensure that our democracy will not die in darkness.”

"Without local news coverage in our community, there would be a lot that our local governments do that voters would never know about nor have any way to realistically question; there would be no accountability," said Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian.  "We created Early Access Pass to give the community an opportunity to support local journalism and help us hire more reporters. This tax credit will help those dollars, along with our vital sponsor support, go further, and should open the door for us to hire more reporters, which is the legislation's primary purpose. We're hopeful this legislation will help ensure Genesee County continues to get the local news coverage it needs and deserves.

"I also want to thank our local representatives, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and Sen. George Borrello, for their support of this critical piece of legislation," Owens added. "They both recognize the importance of local news coverage to our community and understand the crisis state the local news industry is in."

The program--$30 million per year for three years--allows each eligible newspaper and broadcast business to receive a 50% refundable tax credit against the first $50,000 of an employee's salary, up to a total of $300,000 per business. $4 million will be allocated to incentivize print and broadcast businesses to hire new journalists. The remaining $26 million will be split evenly between businesses with fewer than 100 employees and those with more than 100 employees, ensuring that hyperlocal, independent news organizations can access these funds. 

After stalling for years, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act catapulted into a top legislative priority this session following the early-2024 founding of the Empire State Local News Coalition and the coalition’s mobilization of support from hundreds of New York hometown papers as well as a broad range stakeholders from around the country, including the Rebuild Local News Coalition, Microsoft, and El Diario. Organized labor, including NYS AFL-CIO, CWA District 1, and national and local news guilds, also played a critical role in mobilizing support for this historic bill. 

"The Empire State Local News Coalition is thrilled by the state budget’s inclusion of a payroll tax credit for local news outlets modeled on the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. New York is now the first state in the nation to incentivize hiring and retaining local journalists–a critical investment given that hundreds of New York’s newspapers have closed since 2004, leaving too many New York communities without access to vital local information. The objectivity of this credit shows that there is a fair way for public policy to support local news without jeopardizing journalistic integrity. This program is a model for other states across the U.S. to follow as communities across the country raise their voices to save local news,” said Zachary Richner, founder of the Empire State Local News Coalition.

“We’re incredibly proud of the 200 newspapers in our coalition, which built an unprecedented grassroots movement in support of saving New York’s local news industry in a few short months. We’re especially grateful to Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, whose tireless advocacy for this tax credit was instrumental in moving it through the legislative process. The coalition thanks Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, Assembly Sponsor Carrie Woerner, and the entire legislature for supporting this industry-saving policy, and we look forward to continuing our advocacy for local news in the years to come," Richner continued. “Other states and stakeholders interested in replicating this playbook and hearing about lessons learned should reach out to us at info@savenylocalnews.com.”

Since launching in February, the coalition has quickly mobilized stakeholders across the state to rally behind the bill. In addition to rallying with grassroots advocates in Westchester and Albany, members led petition drives, letter-writing campaigns, editorials, and advertisements, sounding the alarm on the decline of local journalism.   

New York’s leadership on this issue could change the course of local journalism in the U.S. The budget’s inclusion of this tax credit comes at a watershed moment for the journalism industry: New York State has experienced hundreds of newspaper closures in the past few decades. 

Youth Conference brings networking, support and information to kids, most from Genesee County

By Joanne Beck
Suicide Prevention workshop
Katelyn Zufall, second from right, of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, leads a suicide prevention workshop during the Rainbow Resilience youth conference Friday at Genesee Community College in Batavia. Makenzie Rich, a Batavia High School junior seated to Zufall's left, said the day was "amazing" and informational.
Photo by Joanne Beck

Makenzie Rich was one of more than 70 middle and high school students to attend Friday’s Rainbow Resilience Youth Conference in an effort to not only gain more information and understanding about mental health and potential suicide issues as part of the LBGTQ community but also to help others struggling with similar issues, she says.

"There's a lot of youth struggling, especially in the LGBTQ-plus community. Everyone needs help, eventually. And it's important to know that you can ask for help. And there are people that are willing to help you as long as you're willing to reach out,” Makenzie, 17, said during a break from a suicide prevention workshop at Genesee Community College. “Today's amazing, it turned out really nice. We had a big group of participants. The workshops, I think, are very informational. It's a lot of help and just things that you wouldn't really realize in daily life.”

Katelyn Zufall was conducting the suicide prevention workshop, and was pointing out “some of the little things that you wouldn’t see to realize when someone is struggling and how you can help them by realizing those little signs,” Makenzie said. She offered some suggestions for what one can do if concerned about another person’s mental status.

“Just checking on your friends, checking on your family. Little signs, like they're giving away things that are important to them. They're just, all of a sudden, extra happy after seeming kind of gloomy for a while. Just check in,” she said. “And anyone that you are comfortable talking to, just check in with anyone.”

Bottom line: open communication is “super important,” she said. 

Zufall reviewed a list of Dos and Don’ts, such as Do validate the person’s feelings, ask if you can help, be patient and let them know you care. Don’t interrupt or speak over the person, tell how they should feel, jump in with solutions, be scared of their feelings or critical and blaming.

Open about her own identity as a lesbian, Makenzie, a junior at Batavia High School, has had her own family struggles, she said. 

“Not everyone in my family is super supportive,” she said. “But with GLOW Out!, I have a great support system. And I have a lot of friends that I am very thankful for. And people that I can reach out to. But family was a big struggle for me for a while.”

GLOW Out!, established in the spring of 2019 with the sole intention of creating the first Pride Festival in the four-county GLOW region, provides education and awareness of and around the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and other) community, creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment for LGBTQ individuals.

Sara Vacin is executive director, and one of her programs is a safe-space youth center at First Presbyterian Church in Batavia. It is there that local students and families have met and forged supportive networks, branching out to other initiatives, including a state-wide conference in Albany attended by several local students, including Makenzie.

Her efforts seem to be helping.

“I have a stronger connection with my family,” she said. “There are still times where I struggle a little bit, but I know who I can reach out to when those times are hard.”

The day was a filled with workshops, a panel and full representation from Genesee County Mental Health, Vacin said. There was a clinical supervisor, two nurses, a therapist and two care managers there throughout the day.

“What was really cool was that they were not just here in the beginning or the end, but were here all day providing information,” she said. “And it speaks volumes about Genesee County, and that they wanted to participate.” 

A total of 72 students attended, with the largest contingent from the Byron-Bergen school district, she said. 

Rainbow Resilience conference
Presenters and participants get creative at a coloring station during the Rainbow Resilience youth conference Friday at Genesee Community College in Batavia. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Photo: My Cut Barbershop named Downtown Business of the Year

By Howard B. Owens
my cut barbershop BID award business of the year
The team at My Cut Barbershop -- Terry Smith, Connor Hyde Hamilton, Victor Thomas, Ray Williams, Zach Watts, owner, and Josh Johnson.
Photo by Howard Owens.

At Thursday's annual meeting of the Business Improvement District at Center Street Smokehouse in Batavia, My Cut Barbershop was honored as business of the year and Sara Tenney was named the BID's volunteer of the year.

My Cut is located on the first floor of the Masonic Temple building, 200 E. Main St., Batavia.

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Sara Tenney, volunteer of the year, with BID director Shannon Maute.
Photo by Howard Owens
my cut footwear
The My Cut crew and BID director Shannon Maute show off their footwear for the evening's event.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Vehicle reportedly hits building on Ellicott Street Road, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
truck into building accident

Minor injuries are reported after a vehicle struck a building at 4814 Ellicott Street Road, Batavia.

The location is Brach Machine.

The vehicle is reportedly elevated on a bollard.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE:  A 28-year-old man may have suffered a medical issue while driving on Ellicott Street Road when he lost control of his pickup truck, according to Deputy Jeremy McClellan. He sustained an apparent shoulder injury and was transported to UMMC for evaluation and treatment. McClellan said a code enforcement officer responded to the scene and determined the building remains structurally sound.

truck into building accident
truck into building accident
truck into building accident
truck into building accident
truck into building accident

Navigating the Tonawanda: historic floods in Batavia

By Ryan Duffy
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Photo of Creek Road during the 1942 flood.

Anyone who has lived in our area for any length of time, especially along the Tonawanda Creek, knows that the waters can be unpredictable at times. We only have to look back just a few weeks for another example. There have been many instances when its flow has overreached the banks of the creek and invaded the surrounding properties. The most extensive of these floods in Batavia occurred 80 years ago during a spring thaw.

Batavia has seen many high flood waters in its history. In 1887, there was a flood called at the time “the greatest flood Batavia has seen in years,” and in 1902 the waters damaged the Walnut Street bridge, in what was called a “record breaker,” and even the flood of 1959 caused considerable hardship. 

However, in March 1942 it would see its greatest flood in its history. That March there was still a good deal of snow on the ground of the city. In typical Western New York fashion, a large snowstorm came through on March 15, added to the white coverage. Yet, on the following day, the temperatures rose quickly and the snow changed to rain. 

The precipitation caused much of the snow drifts to begin to melt, especially in the hills near Attica and along the tributaries of the Tonawanda. The creek soon flooded as water poured in Alexander and filled the low areas that bordered the creek. One particular area that was hit hard was the streets south of Ellicott Street in Batavia. 

Water-filled streets like Jackson, Swan, Hutchins, and Otis. As the water flowed under the Walnut Street bridge, then still open to vehicular traffic, it spread to West Main Street and to the northern side streets. 

Many of the residents of those streets were forced to evacuate their homes as the waters continued to rise, and many sought out friends or relatives living in higher points in the city. 

The Red Cross stepped in to assist and helped 225 families find safe and dry lodgings. Those without another place to go were given shelter at the YMCA and school buildings that were unaffected. The only effective means of travel along many of the streets of Batavia, looking more like the canals of Venice, Italy, were boats and canoes and other forms of watercraft. 

Most homes had cellars full of water, and in some worse cases, the waters reached the first floors. The people living in the flooded areas could not return home for several days, but when they did return they were met with severe damage to their homes and properties. 

In the end, the Tonawanda Creek crested at 14 ½ feet, the highest in history. In total, nearly $500,000 in damage was caused.

The 1942 flood, among others, caused the city to strongly look towards how to better manage the waters of the Tonawanda to prevent a similar deluge. Flood control improvements were authorized in 1948 within the Flood Control Act passed by Congress. 

The improvements were completed by late 1955. Some of the improvements included: widening the creek to upwards of 100 feet, adding a retaining wall, clearing the channel, extra bank protection in suspectable areas, and improvement of existing drainage systems.

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Photo of Kibbe Park during the 1942 flood.
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Photo of Law Street during the 1942 flood. 
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Photo of Ellicott Street during the 1942 flood.
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Photo of Ellicott Street and Swan Street during the 1942 flood.
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Photo of Sacred Heart Church during the 1942 flood.
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Photo of the interior of Sacred Heart Church during the 1942 flood.
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Photo of Main Street and Oak Street during the 1942 flood.
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Photo of the Tonawanda Creek Dam during the 1942 flood.
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Photo of Walnut Street during the 1942 flood.

CCOR's new Batavia base a 'close-to-home' connection for personal care

By Joanne Beck
CCOR open house in Batavia
CCOR Chief Operating Officer Molly Dillon, left, Board Chairman and agency founder Al Gauvin, and CEO Cheryl Dinolfo, and staff Brooke Findlay, Angela Gioia and Amber Tower celebrate the agency's second licensed location and a presence in Genesee County with an open house Thursday in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens

Staff and leadership of CCOR — Companion Care of Rochester — celebrated the return of an office to Batavia Thursday with a meet-and-greet open house at the agency’s satellite office that serves Genesee and Orleans counties.

This is CCOR's second licensed office, and it has landed at 32 Ellicott St. downtown. While recruiting efforts may have been hampered during those pandemic months, Communications Manager Brooke Findlay said the agency now has built up a local base of 860 aides.

“I feel like during COVID, as with a lot of other agencies, we certainly felt the struggle. But I would say in the last several months our recruiting efforts have really been ramped up. And we've been able to find some really great candidates and onboard more people than we had in the past couple of years,” she said. “We want people to know that we are a family-owned and operated company. We've been serving Western New York for 27 years.

“And we just want to be able to be the people in the homes that are taking care of our clients when their loved ones can't be there,” she said. “We just are excited to kind of be making this appearance in Genesee County and serving the residents of Batavia.”

The agency was founded by Al Gauvin of Rochester, who remains involved as board chairman. 

The Ellicott Street office opened in late August 2023 to serve both home care service clients and people looking for work as personal health care aides and managers. Findlay said tuition-free training and certification are provided so that employees can become personal care assistants.

Services include grocery shopping, meal preparation, household chores and companionship, as well as assisting folks with hands-on care, such as bathing, getting in and out of bed, and personal care needs. Aides don’t dispense medications, she said. 

Care is provided in the home, apartment buildings or independent living communities for clients, she said. CCOR’s goal is a simple and continuous one, Chief Operating Officer Molly Dillon said.

“Our goal is to reach underserved areas where we have a lot of great team members,” Dillon said. “And we already have a lot of great clients out in Genesee County, and we're looking to have more of a presence out here. We're very excited to be back in Batavia. We've had an office in Batavia in the past, and it's really been a big, close-to-home kind of location for us. So we're just really excited to be here right now.”

She further explained the Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program, which is “where people can take care of a friend or a family member and the consumer is kind of leading the care, hiring, and oversight.” Through that program, the agency has more than 350 aides comprised of family members and friends of clients.

“And we provide payroll processing, some training and support programs,” she said. 

A staff of five people and 12 local aides work out of the Batavia office, and “we’re always bringing on more,” she said. 

Clients typically get started by phone or through the website by completing a needs assessment, which is right on the home page. This allows staff to learn what clients are looking for. You are most likely to begin with Amber Tower, who wears two hats: billing specialist and office coordinator. 

There are a variety of ways to pay for the service, including Medicaid, long-term care, insurance, and private pay, Dillon said. 

“And we also do work with a lot of long-term insurance companies as well,” she said, as Findlay added, “We’ll work with the insurance company or the Medicaid contract to make sure that they get the services.”

Prospective employees may also search for open positions and submit applications on the website. Findlay said client safety is part of the process.

“We do background checks; we also do the training in-house. So we're spending 40 hours with the aides. When they come to us for employment, we’re doing that training with them,” she said. “So we are able to kind of interact with the people for a solid week before they're being sent into a client's home.”

For more information, call 585-219-4427 or email info@CCORhome.com.

Batavia business owner ready to step aboard and teach life skills in youth sailing program

By Virginia Kropf
Becky Almeter
Becky Almeter at the helm.
Submitted Photo

When Becky Almeter isn’t at the helm of her Batavia family business as new owner of Hodgins Engraving, she’s at the helm of the family’s sailboat.

An East Bethany resident and daughter of Bob and Mary Lu Hodgins of Alexander, Almeter has also stepped up to lead the youth sailing class this summer, sponsored by the Oak Orchard Yacht Club, where her father is beginning his third year as commodore.

Sailing has been in Almeter’s blood since she was a child, when her parents took the family on trips all over the world.

“I grew up on the docks of Oak Orchard Yacht Club,” Almeter said. “When my parents first got our family sailboat and brought it to Oak Orchard, we were there all the time living aboard during the summer. It was our home base, and from there our family sailed all over Lake Ontario and beyond, including a trip to the Bahamas during which my two brothers and I were homeschooled on the boat.” 

Sailing is not only fun, relaxing and a great way to spend a sunny day, but there are other important reasons Oak Orchard Yacht Club at Point Breeze has sponsored a long-standing youth sailing program, Almeter said.

Children ages 9 to 18 are taught the basics of sailing and water safety, have fun and create lasting memories in a day camp setting, she said. 

A member of the very first youth sailing class in 1992, Almeter. took the youth sailing program for several years as a student, and then earned her U.S. Sailing Certificate to teach, returning as instructor for several years.

After leaving the area for college, she completed her U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s 6-pack commercial license and worked on the water in various capacities. She has sailed on Lake Ontario, in Florida and the Caribbean, cruising and racing, she said.

Almeter and her husband anticipate spending much of their summer on the creek with their five children. Oldest son Joe has been in the sailing program for the past three summers, and this year he will be joined by his sister Abby.

“I am excited about directing the program, because it was such an integral part of my childhood, and I hope my children can have a part of that same experience,” Almeter said. “My memories of my childhood at Oak Orchard Yacht Club were fun, carefree summers spent swimming, sailing, going to Brown’s Berry Patch for slushies, candy and ice cream, running around playing games on the club lawn and on the playground. I didn’t know it then, but while I was having all that fun, I was creating deep bonds with my friends, learning confidence and self-sufficiency, learning how to read weather, how to feel comfortable on open water, general ‘rules of the road’ for navigating creek traffic and countless other smaller things that kids absorb through engaged activity. 

“In this busy day and age, when it’s a much more difficult time to be a kid, I feel like this program is able to give kids back a little more time and space — to turn off the screens, and step away from devices — to simply be kids a little bit longer,” she said. “Having fun, learning skills hands-on, being active and engaging in teamwork, all the things that enrich their minds and bodies in a back-to-basics way.”

The youth sailing program is a win-win for both parents and kids, she said. It builds many life skills, including teamwork, weather and wind awareness, knot tying, boat handling and more. Also, it is a healthy activity that gets kids outside, while having tons of fun and making new friends. The program is an opportunity to provide an activity kids can enjoy for a lifetime, she said.

Oak Orchard Yacht Club is at 1103 Archbald Road, Waterport. Dates are July 8 to 12 and 15 to 19 for Session 1 and July 22 to 26 and July 29 to Aug. 2 for Session 2. Camp is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Campers bring their own lunch.

Instructors are U.S. Sailing certified with a low student-to-instructor ratio, and decide where to sail and take a lunch break each day, based on the weather and curriculum. They follow the latest safety guidelines, including a mandatory swim test for all campers.  Parents can often watch their young sailors from the pier at Point Breeze.

Cost is $460 for one session of 10 days or $685 for two sessions. Discounts available include a sibling discount, OOYC member discount and early registration discount by May 1. Families should contact the Yacht Club to discuss pricing.

Registration can be done online at ooyc.org and clicking on Youth Sailing from the top banner. Once registration is completed, an invoice and any necessary paperwork will be sent by OOYC. A current medical form, waiver and safety agreement must be completed for each camper.

“I am truly honored to be leading the sailing program this year, and am looking forward to a safe, fun program for all our sailors,” Almeter said.

More information can also be obtained by contacting her at 585-813-7259 or email beckya@hodginsengraving.com

Lions Club speaker discusses needs of BCSD students

By Press Release
julia-rogers.jpg
Photo of Batavia Lions speaker Julia Rogers,
coordinator of Community Schools, and Batavia
Lions President Ronald Metz. Submitted photo.

Press Release:

At the Lions Club most recent meeting, guest speaker Julia Rogers, coordinator of Community School Programs, spoke about her work and a grant that the Batavia City School District received. 

The grant is designed to help students overcome barriers that affect or interrupt their education. Focus on these issues is also available to the families. Necessities such as clothes, food, toiletries, and hygiene materials can be provided to the students, and the program can also help with beds and mattresses for children as well. 

She added that the grant can be used to get mental health for students. The program is looking for volunteers and volunteer groups that can help students through mentoring and other activities. 

Rogers thanked the Lions Club for the sight screening program for preschoolers. In return, she’s boosting the Lions Club among the faculty when she can, and was almost drafted into membership before she left. Rogers said her group looks forward to community contacts for problem-solving.

The Batavia Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. Everyone is welcome to visit the American Legion at 8960 Alexander Road, Batavia.

BND United hockey player honored by the Wayne D. Foster Foundation

By Press Release

Press Release:

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Submitted photo of Ivan Milovidov.

Countless awards, plaques, trophies, jerseys, and team photos lined the stage during this year’s annual hockey banquet at the Batavia High School auditorium on April 14. 

The 2023-2024 BND United hockey season brought much to celebrate and while the many accolades are not surprising for a team led by accomplished coaches and comprised of highly talented players, the true force behind their achievement is not found within every team.  

This year’s team was special, and their unity resulted in an extraordinary season. The appreciation of the sport along with the love between coaches and teammates filled the auditorium and was expressed in the numerous tear-filled and humorous stories shared on the stage. 

The overwhelming feeling of comradery and family appears to be the true force behind their Championship season, and, together, they have created memories and a devotion that will forever connect them. This season’s story is one of hard work, talent, support, encouragement, respect, and selflessness. 

BND United junior, Ivan Milovidov, described as a top-ranked hockey player and a fantastic young man, played a significant role in the team’s unification, strength, and overall success. 

If you had the opportunity to watch Ivan on the ice, you witnessed something special. Ivan is an extremely gifted hockey player with character and leadership qualities that are equally impressive. 

Among the many honors presented during the banquet was the WDF (Wisdom, Determination, Fortitude) Award, granted annually to a deserving BND United hockey player in remembrance of Wayne D. Foster.  

The Wayne D. Foster Foundation Inc. carefully selects a young player who best displays Wayne’s goodwill, courage, and integrity. The honoree is considered based on their work ethic, wisdom, determination, courage, how they interact and care for others, and their unselfish play.  

Through observations and in speaking with coaches, parents, and players, it was clear that Ivan was the perfect choice, making it a great privilege for the foundation, represented by Wayne’s grandson, Chase Pangrazio, to present Ivan with this year’s WDF scholarship and trophy.

The Wayne D. Foster Foundation is proud to recognize Ivan and the BND United hockey program. We wish to extend our congratulations to Ivan and the 2023-2024 BND United coaching staff and team for an outstanding season.

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