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Cummings, Nappo sweep Saturday features at Batavia

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Bet Eightthirtyone courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

Driver Kevin Cummings and trainer Angelo Nappo teamed up to take the top two feature races at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Sept. 23) over a speed-bearing track on a beautiful fall evening.

First in the $15,000 Open I Handicap pace, Cummings got away fifth with Stranger Things while Gunslinger Hill (Drew Monti) shot to the quarter in :28.3. However Stranger Things wasted little time getting into the mix, coming first over halfway through the second turn and engaging Gunslinger Hill by the half. After trading strides up the backstretch, Cummings rocked Stranger Things to the front and crossed over at three-quarters in 1:25.3. From there, Stranger Things closed it out on his own, holding off another late bid from Gunslinger Hill and winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:54. 

After taking a new lifetime mark of 1:52.2 last week, Stranger Things ($3.60) made it two straight wins despite moving up in class for owners Kathy Schoeffel, Virginia Schoeffel, and James Reuther. 

Then in the $12,500 upper-level conditioned pace, Cummings took a similar path to victory with Bet Eightthirtyone. After getting away fifth as Remember The Beach (Dave McNeight III) commanded the fractions, Cummings tipped Bet Eightthirtyone second-over behind Nox Vegas Bluechip (Jim Morrill Jr.) at the half and followed his cover to three-quarters where he went three-wide around the fading Nox Vegas Bluechip. He was then kept in the three path by Mighty Santana N (Joe Chindano Jr.), who slipped out of the pocket under him. At the top of the stretch, Remember The Beach, Mighty Santana N and Bet Eightthirtyone were even and all were under heavy drives by their pilots. In deep stretch the race was down to Mighty Santana N and Bet Eightthirtyone with Bet Eightthirtyone getting the nod by one-half length in 1:54.2, tying his seasonal mark. 

Bet Eightthirtyone ($7.60) got his sixth win of the year for his owner Super Mile. 

Cummings went on to win a total of four races during the night including a natural hat trick in races nine, 10, and 11. Trainer Jim Rothfuss had a hat trick of his own to lead all conditioners on Saturday. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 27) at 6:00 p.m. and there will be a $365 carryover in the Jackpot Hi-5 pentafecta wager in race 13.

Free full past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

Photo of Stranger Things courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

Jeremy and Sandy Liles to co-chair GCC Encore celebration

By Press Release

Press Release:

Photo of Jeremy and Sandra Liles, the 2023 Encore co-chairs, courtesy of GCC.

The Genesee Community College Foundation will be celebrating its 31st season of Encore on Friday, December 15, with an elegant event of holiday music and fine dining. This annual gala fundraiser directly benefits the student scholarship program at Genesee Community College.

This year's co-chairs, Jeremy and Sandra Liles, are looking forward to presenting this year's Encore and celebrating the start of the holiday season. "We selected the theme "White Christmas" inspired by the 1954 classic film, which captures the essence of the holiday season and will feature a special holiday concert program choreographed by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra".

Jeremy Liles is a native of Genesee County, the owner of Oliver's Candies and Sweet Life Group, its parent organization, and has managed Oliver's Candies for over 20 years. Jeremy is actively involved in his local community and currently serves on the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and has served on the Batavia Town Planning Board. Sandra is a New Hampshire native who moved to Genesee County in 2005. 

Sandra opened Sweet Life Country Store in Elba and has managed the operation for the past 5 years. She enjoys working with many different local product vendors and artisans to make their wares available to the public at this store, as well as partnering with other local businesses to benefit the community. Jeremy and Sandra reside in Batavia with Tahlia, the youngest of their three children.

"Both Sandra and I recognize the importance of education and supporting the Foundation Scholarship program at Genesee Community College. We are honored to be co-chairs of Encore 2023."

Proceeds from Encore support scholarships for students attending Genesee Community College. Sponsorship opportunities are critically important to the event. To become a 2023 Encore sponsor, purchase tickets, or for event information, please visit or contact the Foundation Office directly at (585) 345-6809 or [email protected].

Facility intended to help convert school bus fleets into all-electric by 2035

By Press Release

Press Release:

New York Bus Sales welcomed over 150 people to officially open its doors on a newly constructed $6 million mixed-use 20,000 sq. ft. facility in the town of Batavia. The facility is intended to support school districts and bus operators across Genesee County and the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions to convert their fleets from diesel fuel to all-electric as required by legislation in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) by 2035.

Based in Chittenango, New York Bus Sales is the largest Blue Bird school bus dealer in the state. The Batavia facility will service customers, including school districts to help transition their bus fleets from diesel fuel engines to all-electric bus fleets. New York Bus Sales has full-service maintenance facilities in Syracuse and Albany.

“Our new location in Genesee County allows us to serve the Western New York and Finger Lakes school districts as we work together with New York State to deliver clean energy solutions to local students and families,” said John Johnston, Operations Manager of New York Bus Sales.

New York Bus Sales worked with the Genesee County Economic Development Center to find a strategic location that fit their facility requirements on Saile Drive in Batavia and approved financial assistance at a Board of Directors meeting in December 2021.

“This project builds on the green business economy being built at STAMP, the Pembroke Industrial Corridor, the many community solar projects across the county, and other renewable and clean energy projects in the economic development pipeline,” said Steve Hyde, President and CEO of the GCEDC.

National Grid assisted in the installation of charging stations and technology as part of the company’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Make-Ready Program. This program provides funding for up to 100% of the electric infrastructure costs for approved projects.

“Our Make-Ready Program provides a range of technical assistance and funding for electric vehicle charging projects across our upstate New York service territory,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “Working with New York Bus Sales is a great example of a company making a commitment toward innovation and sustainability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions while supporting New York State’s climate emission mandates.”

The new facility will create 24 new jobs in Genesee County. New York Bus Sales are seeking candidates for service and automotive tech roles and will have the opportunity to hire from the skilled and educated workforce pool from Genesee County and surrounding regions, including students participating in the Genesee Valley BOCES Deisel Tech Cohort program.

“Whether you are a recent Diesel Tech BOCES graduate or an experienced technician from another industry, we have good-paying positions available and can provide career pathways through certification programs and other training,” Johnson added.  “We look forward to working with employment and workforce training organizations across the region to fill these career-sustaining jobs.”

Lougazi surpasses $500,000 with Batavia feature win

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Lougazi courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

After scoring his second straight win at Batavia Downs in the $15,000 Open I Handicap trot on Friday night (Sept. 22), Lougazi attained a career milestone by surpassing one-half million dollars in lifetime earnings.

Lougazi (Ray Fisher Jr.) got away sixth while Makadushin N Cheez (Kevin Cummings) took the outside route to the lead as he passed the quarter in :28.4. Then just before the half, I Got The Looks (Dan Yetman) led an outer-flow charge while Lougazi got in gear and followed. I Got The Looks pushed Makadusin N Cheez to three-quarters and that’s where Lougazi tipped three wide into the last turn. By the time they hit the top of the stretch, the three horses trotted evenly across the track, but then Lougazi kicked away in deep stretch and won by a length in 1:57.2.

It was the 57th lifetime win for Lougazi ($6.10) and it pushed his career bank to $501,366 for owner Mary Warriner. The Ryan Swift trained Lougazi has not missed the board in nine Batavia Downs starts this year, posting three wins, four seconds and two thirds to this point.

In the $13,000 Open II Handicap trot, Ricky Be Sharp (Mike Baumeister) was let go by the betting public at 28-1 and pulled a major upset after making a three-wide move at three-quarters, trotted by the race leader Worthy Of Honor (Drew Monti) and then held off the late closing Da Boogie Man (Kyle Cummings) and E Street (Jim Morrill Jr.) to win by a head in 1:57.3, tying his lifetime mark.

Ricky Be Sharp ($59.50) got his 40th career win for owner Jennifer Signor. Ron Baumeister trains the winner.

Jim Morrill Jr. led all drivers with three wins on Friday.  

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 22) at 6 p.m.

Free full past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

Photo of Ricky Be Sharp courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

Sponsored Post: Reliant Real Estate - Wake up in a home you love

By Lisa Ace
Reliant Real Estate

3184 Pearl Street Road, Batavia. What a house! This 6 bedroom 3 bath home is situated on 3 pretty acres located in Town of Batavia in Pembroke School System! So much great space but yet all the potential of cozy homestead! Layout is great from the minute you step in-all rooms are large starting with the welcoming huge enclosed porch with windows galore! From there you step into oversized living room with great woodwork and pretty stone fireplace leading to bright kitchen and dining area! There is also first floor half bath with laundry and two bedrooms-and this is all only on the first floor alone! Upstairs features 4 more bedrooms and two full baths-master bedroom suite is HUGE! There is plenty of great woodwork, many rooms with nice hardwood floors some with carpeting..this home is move in ready and waiting for someone’s updated ideas!! The 3 acres outside doesn’t disappoint either-home sits up off of road secluded by pretty trees and opens up out back to wooded backdrop with room to roam and places to play and garden! Home has newer metal roof and recently connected to public water! This home has a lot to offer- easy to see, take a ride and enjoy the scenery! Delayed negotiation Monday Sept. 25th at 12:00
2419 Main Road, Corfu. Super solid and well cared for home that has so much more to offer than you can see from a driveby!! Home is really well laid out and square footage doesn't begin to show all the extra usable space there is, like the finished attic space that could easily be third bedroom or rec room, or the awesome partially finished high and dry basement that gives you tons of bonus space for additional living space or workshop area!! The kitchen, dining, living room is all connected and open for entertaining purposes and there is a lovely enclosed front porch that serves as a great morning room or TV watching on game days!! Two bedrooms and full bath on main floor make this the perfect home for someone that needs all one floor living! The location of home is perfect for easy access to shopping schools and thruway but the yard is where its at-it is fantastic!! Must walk to appreciate , it has a little something for everyone, deep-almost 2.5 acres-partially wooded with a path that allows you to sit and overlook creek-its great! Delayed negotiations so you can see for yourself Tuesday September 26 @12:00
5484 Horseshoe Lake Road, Batavia. Solid and well maintained country ranch! Located on pretty rural road but close to everything you need-shopping, restaurants, and quick access to all major routes for quick commutes! Also located in Batavia School System and minutes from College. This 4 bedroom 2 bath brick ranch will sure to please and surprise you with its spacious layout and great homeyness! The kitchen is updated with great cupboard space, first floor laundry at your fingertips and large but cozy family room with wood burner overlooking private pretty backyard. There is also an enclosed 3 season back porch for peaceful evenings as well as sunny and welcoming front porch with trex decking to welcome your guests! There is a deep attached garage as well as 8x10 back shed for all your extra storage needs. This home is ready for immediate occupancy and is easy to slip in and see! Delayed negotiations so you can get your opportunity until Monday September 25th at 7:00 p.m.
Call Reliant Real Estate to see these homes today! Call 585-344-HOME (4663).

Monroe handed Batavia it's biggest loss in more than a decade, 40-0

By Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Monroe handed Batavia a second straight loss on Friday night at Van Detta Stadium, and at 40-0, it's the largest deficit suffered by the Blue Devils in more than a decade.

No stats are available for the game.

Batavia will play charter school Vertus next Friday at home at 7 p.m.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Bringing a restorative strength to BHS, new principal wants it to be a place to serve kids' needs

By Joanne Beck
BHS principal
Jennifer Wesp, new Batavia HS principal.
Photo by Joanne Beck.

Restoration seems to be a common thread in Jennifer Wesp’s life, from her work in education to upcycling estate furniture and even giving rescued dogs a new lease on life as the Batavia City Schools administrator has sewn all of those passions together in her personal and professional endeavors.

She’s been easing her way in as the new high school principal, touring the community, meeting people, observing and absorbing her new environment and learning the values of Batavia, she said. While at the same time, she wants to understand the school climate, survey staff, and especially get to know the kids, she said.

“To meet the kids, that was my favorite part. So I'm trying to be very present. I hope that I give that sense of I'm approachable, that I'm warm, that I'm open. I'm trying to be everywhere and responsive,” Wesp said during an interview with The Batavian. “So I feel that kids have been very graceful and kind to me, but it's important to know who they are. So I'm doing things like looking through old yearbooks, trying to make the connections between that beautiful face I see in the hallway and their name, right, because they're not always ready to tell me their name. And I just want them to feel important and connected. So that's a lot of my messaging and the things that I've been doing, you know, one-on-one with them as well as large spaces like class meetings and things like that.”

That may not seem so officially restorative in nature, but Wesp is about getting to know people, “where their baseline is, what they’re really strong at,” which in turn allows her to work with them on “shaping a culture of a building.” After all, what does restorative mean? To be curative, therapeutic, antidotal, healthful and recuperative. 

“Because I know it’s a lot, but I think that the most important piece of my job is relationship building, actively listening to the values to be aligned, to make sure that the choices and decisions I’m making as the leader are the decisions that reflect what the community is expecting from the high school, and what the families and the students need from the high school,” she said.

Wesp has a strength in social-emotional learning, she said, which has been a key buzzphrase since COVID. 

So what does it mean for her to put a focus on social and emotional elements for kids in school?
“So I think everybody has most mental health needs that we need to attend to every person, right? And I don't know that sometimes our society actually helps us to prioritize that. And then I think after COVID, there were so many different feelings and experiences, and then life just kind of went back to normal, and the new normal doesn't feel the same. So in schools, I think what happened is kids just had a disruption. And there was also probably a lot of fear that was kind of just in their bodies, right? Even if they talked about it or didn't talk about it, because it was a very different experience.” She said. “So I think for schools, we talk about 21st Century skills all the time, which is really like what a kid needs when they leave us. And post-COVID, And not even just COVID, I am honestly just going to say the state of where we are, kids can't learn if their needs aren't being met. So what it looks like in schools now is helping our people who've been trained extensively in academics and trained extensively in those other pieces to also have the tools to meet the kids where they're at. So if they're coming in, and a lot of things are on their plate, they can't just sit down and perform academically.”

The education system has had to make room for some adjustments, she said, such as Mental Health Mondays once a month to take a pause and allow kids the opportunity to engage in some mental health support, social-emotional circles, and breaks from “that academic pressure and be able to build a culture that is connective in their space.”

“So I think it is a buzzword, but I think it's the smaller pieces that we intentionally build in that make the difference with our mental health,” she said.

Five or seven years ago, mental health issues seemed more obvious and visible, she said. Now it’s not always so visible.

“But if you check in with those kids and you have those systems where kids can still have a voice no matter who they are, if they’re the talker, that’s great, they’ll always give you their voice,” she said. “If they’re a quiet kid, what’s our mechanism in school to give them that ability to know that we care, we hear them?”

What do you think is the greatest need of this student population?
“I would say emotional regulation … if they're having a moment where they're frustrated, they're struggling to get to that baseline again. So they kind of use the wrong words; they choose the wrong actions,” she said. “And it's really because their emotions are all over the place. And they haven't learned those skills and those strategies to manage them appropriately.” 

How do you help them with that?
“Nowadays, we have all of that stuff that comes in their brains from social-emotional, I mean, from social media, you know, the different things that go on in society now. So I think schools have more of a charge recently to kind of dig into that, how do we teach the kids to manage those situations, because they happen more often,” she said. “And they're coming to school less prepared. And, you know, I don't want to say it's because families don't do their job. I think families try to do an excellent job and meet kids where they can. But I also think a lot of our families are working double, right, they are single families, and maybe they have all of these other pieces on their plates. So in order to meet those needs for their own children, they're battling a bunch of stuff. So I think we have to work in partnership with them.

“And I think we're taking more time to come to the table with kids to make them teachable moments as opposed to, you're just in trouble.”

Aside from all of her academic prowess, Wesp enjoys a good dose of estate sale shopping and working on resin paintings and upcycling furniture at her home in Gates. She also cares for her three rescues: Ringo, a Greater Swiss Mountain dog, a new Pyrenees Newfoundland mix, and Roxxi and Calliope, a pit bull.

She visits her daughter Jade in Chicago a couple of times a year and otherwise sees her here in Western New York and hosts her dad Walter for occasional visits in Batavia, where he lived for some time while living with his grandmother and attending John Kennedy Elementary. Wesp’s son Jacob passed away. 

“My son had mental health needs. So as a parent, I wanted to, you know, learn and grow,” she said. “And I wanted to understand, not only from the parent perspective, because I pursued things in that regard to learn my role as a parent, but I also wanted to understand the role of the professionals that he was going to bump into in his school systems, and things like that.”

Wesp pursued teaching, with 15 years working with special education and at-risk youth, and is now in her sixth year as an administrator. 

Batavia High School has revised its in-school suspension to offer an alternative to suspension option, and “we’re working to make that a bigger program,” she said.

“So you know, if they were in a fight, we didn't just want them to know they couldn't fight, we wanted them to understand what happens in the real world, like when you're at the mall, and you're mad, and you punch somebody in the face, right? So we have learning around that. Also, those student reflection pieces. So we're in the admin team, in the process of trying to figure out ways to make that a much more robust, restorative program,” she said. “So you're still in an in-school suspension. So you're not really not suspended. What you are that's different is you have teachable, learning pieces that are expected in terms of you living through your consequences. So it's not just you're in trouble. It's that, hey, this wasn't a great choice that you made. But really, this is impacting you. And here's the reasons and the learning we want you to have, so you don't do this again.”

As a first-generation college student who experienced “a lot of bumps in the road” on her own life journey, Wesp has a deep appreciation for education and a love of learning “that was instilled in me from school,” she said. 

“I was able to navigate and figure out as a young person that there were systems in place that could help to get me to college and to get me through college. So I think, in general, education has always been in my life for positives and negatives,” she said. “And it's the one-stop shop; everybody has to go to school, and everybody's got to be here for hours and hours and hours on end. So why not make it a place where kids get what they need.”

She hopes to see families during the next open house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the high school.

Suspect with alleged 'ghost gun' arrested after fleeing from officers, putting schools on 'lockout'

By Howard B. Owens
Ezequiel Serrano

A 22-year-old Rochester man is accused of possessing an illegal "ghost gun" following an incident at West Main Street and Ellicott Avenue that precipitated a chase and foot pursuit by Batavia PD.

Taken into custody was Ezequiel Serrano.

Serrano is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree (ghost gun), criminal Possession of a weapon in the second degree, criminal use of a firearm in the second degree, menacing in the second degree, unlawfully fleeing a police officer, along with multiple vehicle and traffic violations.

The incident at 12:14 p.m. on Thursday caused BOCES and Batavia High School to go into a "lockout" safety precaution.

It began with a report that a person outside Dunkin' Donuts had displayed a handgun in a way that was threatening to another person.  Upon arriving, officers learned the suspect and the victim were known to each other and that the suspect was still in the area.

When officers attempted to stop the suspect vehicle, the driver allegedly ignored officers' commands and fled. 

There was a vehicle pursuit on Batavia side streets until the driver abandoned the vehicle on a dead-end street and fled on foot.

With the assistance of K-9 Batu, the suspect was taken into custody several blocks away without further incident by members of the Batavia PD Detective Bureau. 

Assisting Batavia PD were Genesee County emergency dispatchers, the Sheriff's Office, and State Police.

The handgun was recovered. 

Serrano was arraigned in City Court, and held on $50,000 cash bail, $100,000 bond or $500,000 partially secured bond pending his next court appearance.

"The quick and efficient work of all officers involved ensured the safety of our community and led to the successful apprehension of a fleeing felon," said Chief Shawn Heubusch.

Free child safety seat check Saturday

By Press Release
File photo from 2021 by Howard Owens

Press Release:

On Saturday, Sept. 23 the City of Batavia Fire Department hosting a free child safety seat check at the fire department at 18 Evans St. Batavia.

Nationally certified technicians will be on hand to answer questions, check recalls, and assist with making sure your seat is correctly installed. 

Contact City Fire Headquarters for more information at 585-345-6375.

Grand Jury Report: Man accused of causing serious injury to trooper during arrest

By Howard B. Owens

Christopher S. Usselman is indicted on counts of assault on a police officer, a Class C violent felony, obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and resisting arrest, a Class A misdemeanor. Usselman is accused of causing serious injury to an NYSP trooper during an attempted arrest on April 17 in the Town of Batavia while the trooper was performing his official duties.

Jason W. Whitehead, Jr., is indicted on counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Whitehead is accused of possession of 500 milligrams or more of cocaine on Dec. 1 in the Town of Batavia with the intent to sell it. He is also accused of unlawfully possessing amphetamine. He is also accused of possessing a metal knuckle knife.

Cordero L. Royes is indicted on counts of burglary in the second degree, a Class C violent felony, criminal contempt in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, DWI, a misdemeanor, aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony, and promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony.  Royes is accused of entering a residence on Maple Street, Batavia, on Feb. 8 with the intent to commit a crime in the dwelling. He is accused of violating an order of protection on that date. He is accused of driving drunk on Dec. 31 on Pringle Avenue in the City of Batavia. He is accused of possessing a lighter in the Genesee County Jail on Jan. 3.

Leonard A. Johnson, III, is indicted on counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 5th, a Class D felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance 3rd, a Class B felony, and tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony. Johnson is accused of possession of 500 milligrams or more of cocaine on Jan. 13 in the Town of Batavia with the intent to sell it. While in custody, he is accused of trying to conceal narcotics in the seat of a patrol vehicle.

Gary A. Graber Appointed to GCC Board of Trustees

By Press Release

Press Release:

Photo of Gary Graber courtesy of GCC. 

Genesee Community College is proud to announce the appointment of Gary A. Graber to a 7-year term on the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees effective August 16 through June 30, 2030. This appointment fills the vacancy left by Trustee Emeritus Laurie Miller.

Mr. Graber enlisted in the Naval Reserve (Seabees) shortly after graduating from Alexander Central School. During his seven years as a naval reservist, he began a forty-five-year career in the transportation industry as a driver and ended up as a terminal manager for a northeast freight carrier.

Mr. Graber was elected town justice for the Town of Darien, New York, taking office in January 1980. He is a past member of the Town and Village Court Education Curriculum Committee and has taught criminal and administrative courses for the New York State Judicial Institute and the New York State Office of Court Administration.

Justice Graber continues to be very active in the development and training of topics relating to commercial driver's licenses and commercial motor vehicles, including the development of sentencing charts which assist the New York courts in properly disposing cases that involve commercial motor vehicle equipment violations. As an alumnus and faculty member of the National Judicial College since 2008 he continually instructs judicial personnel both in their home states and virtually on all matters related to the commercial driver's license.

He is an honorary member and liaison of the New York State Magistrates Court Clerks Association. He is also a past president of the Genesee County Magistrates Association and has been a member of the New York State Magistrates Association for over 43 years, serving as a past president, vice president, and director in that association as well as continuing to serve on several committees. He retired from elected office in July 2023 after more than forty-two years of service. He now serves as a Judicial Ambassador, Alumnus, and Faculty Member for the National Judicial College, Reno Nevada; providing education to judicial stakeholders throughout the country.

Gary has received many awards, including the Leadership Award from the Genesee County Magistrates Association, the 2005 NYS Magistrate of the Year Award, the 2006 Criminal Justice Award from Genesee County Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and the 2013 Kevin E. Quinlan Award for Excellence in Traffic Safety in Washington DC.

Mr. Graber is also a proud graduate of Leadership Genesee Class of 2005 where he has since received the 2006 Outstanding Alumnus and Barry Miller Lifetime Achievement Awards.

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

GC 4-H seeking new members, adult volunteers and clubs

By Press Release

Press Release:

Are you interested in learning more about 4-H or volunteering for 4-H? Join the Genesee County 4-H Program for our Open House on Thursday, September 28 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Building, Genesee County Fairgrounds, 5056 East Main Street Road, Batavia.

Join us to learn more about 4-H and some of our different 4-H Clubs. Meet a pen of goats that our 4-H Goat Club will have on display! Meet Club Leaders from over 12 of our different 4-H Clubs, including our Fur & Feather Club, Goat Club, Family Consumer Science Club, Cloverbud Club, Sheep Club, and Swine Club!

Interested in volunteering or starting a 4-H Club? We will have information about how to get started.

The Genesee County 4-H Program is a youth development program for youth ages 5-18. New youth members, adult volunteers, and clubs are always welcome to join.

RSVP’s are not necessary. For more information, contact the Genesee County 4-H Office at 585-343-3040 ext. 101 or [email protected]. Or, visit our website

Halloween candlelight ghost walk October 21

By Press Release
File Photo by Howard Owens

Press Release:

The Batavia Cemetery Association is excited to announce that the annual Halloween Candlelight Ghost Walk will be held on Saturday, October 21. Join us for some spooky fun on a ghost walk through the Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue to meet the famous and infamous movers and shakers who not only shaped and influenced the City of Batavia, but the United States and the world.

The guided tour on candlelit paths will bring guests to hear men and women, who, for various reasons, held great power and exerted great influence in their day, were victims of tragic events, or both. Confederate Major Philemon Tracy, one of the few Confederate officers buried in the north; surveyor and land developer of western New York Joseph Ellicott, a man of great power and great flaws; and William Morgan, who disappeared and was allegedly murdered before he could reveal the secrets of the Masons, will tell their stories.

Listen to Utopian socialist Albert Brisbane; Mary Elizabeth Wood, the first librarian at the Richmond Memorial Library and founder of the first library school in China; and Dr. Martha Morgan, a compassionate doctor who spent most of her professional life working at the State Lunatic Hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  

Meet Civil War General John H. Martindale, and maltster and brewer Eli Fish. Shipping and railroad magnate Dean Richmond and his wife Mary will greet guests in their beautiful mausoleum on the last stop of the tour.

Tours begin at 7 p.m. and run every fifteen minutes until 8:45 p.m. Admission is $15. Reservations are required. Proceeds benefit the upkeep and restoration of the cemetery. For more information, or to make reservations, go to

HLOM's murder mystery dinner is back, October 14

By Press Release

Press Release:

On Saturday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Batavia Country Club, the Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce the return of the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater with WNY Improv. This time they will be putting on "A Murderous Affair: The Truish Murder Mystery of Johnston L. Lynch".

Once a sanctuary of opulence and decorum, the Batavia Country Club becomes the eerie backdrop to the murder of Johnston L. Lynch, a lawyer whose gruesome end shattered the peace of this tight-knit community. 

"A Murderous Affair" isn't just another murder mystery—it's an immersive experience, an investigation into the shadows of Batavia's history, and a labyrinth of mysteries waiting to be solved. Put on your detective hat and be a part of this unforgettable event at the Batavia Country Club. Discover what truly happened in the enigmatic world of Johnston L. Lynch and make your own conclusion in this enthralling real-life whodunit.

Tickets are $75 per person. Museum members receive early sign-up. Choose from 4 different entrée options- Prime Rib, Chicken French, Crab Stuffed Fish, Pasta Primavera. Meal includes salad, roll, potato, vegetable, and beverage. A cash bar will be available.

Seats are limited. Please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected] to reserve a spot. Please have your food preference ready with the reservation.

GCC students design spiritualism exhibit at the Morgan-Manning House

By Press Release
Photo of the Fox Sisters courtesy of Genesee Community College.

Press Release:

Genesee Community College students guided by Derek Maxfield, Associate Professor of History at GCC, will design a series of stations that guests are invited to tour during the exhibit from 6 - 8 p.m. each evening. To cap off the event, Maxfield will deliver a lecture on Victorians and Spiritualism on Wednesday, October 25 at 7 p.m. 

The exhibit and lecture are FREE and open to the public - though donations to the Morgan-Manning House are encouraged.

The Spiritualism movement in America began a decade before the American Civil War and seemed to seize the imagination of many into the twentieth century. The basic premise that it was possible for the living to communicate with the dead was popularized by two sisters from Hydesville, New York - the Fox Sisters. 

Spiritualism has a deep and complex origin story that reaches back to the 18th century with the work of Emanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish scientist-theologian. Once begun, the Spiritualism movement manifested itself in many forms - including seances, spirit writing, Mesmerism, and spirit camps. 

The diverse elements will be explored in a special exhibit at the Morgan-Manning House in Brockport October 23-25.

Photos: Veterans on their way to D.C. for annual Patriot Trip

By Howard B. Owens
patriot trip 2023

Assemblyman Steve Hawley's annual fall trip for veterans to Washington, D.C., the Patriot Trip, rolled out of the Batavia Downs parking lot early this morning.

Photos courtesy Steve Hawley.

patriot trip 2023
patriot trip 2023

Louie The Lilac scores fifth straight in Batavia feature

By Tim Bojarski
Photo of Louie The Lilac courtesy of Wendy J. Lowery.

Press Release:

Louie The Lilac has been smelling like a rose at the current Batavia Downs meet and her success continued on Wednesday night (Sept. 20) after she extended her winning streak to five in the $15,000 Open I Handicap pace for fillies and mares.

Kevin Cummings pushed away the gate with Louie The Lilac and opened up a two-length advantage at the :28.3 quarter and it only got worse for the competition from there. Louie The Lilac opened up 3-½ lengths at the half and extended her lead to four as she passed three-quarters in 1:26, with the field following loosely behind her. As the race rounded the far turn, Casie’s Believer (Joe Chindano Jr.) made her way to second from mid-pack but had two lengths yet to make up. However that wasn’t going to happen on this night as Louie The Lilac cruised home first under a line drive from Cummings in 1:55.1.

It was the seventh win this year for Louie The Lilac ($2.60) and owner Mike Torcello. Sam Smith trains the winner. 

Dave McNeight III had a grand slam on Wednesday, winning with Dancing Lisa (1:55.2, $8.70), Chipper Daisy (1:57.3, $4.20), Bngs Express (1:58.2, $29.60) and Ashlee’s Delight (1:55.4, $17.40). 

The Jackpot Super Hi-5 pentafecta was hit in the 13th race. The combination of 9-5-2-1-7 returned $6,404.90 for a 20-cent wager. 

Live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 22) at 6 p.m. 

Free full past performance programs for every live card of racing at Batavia can always be downloaded at the Downs’ website ( under the “Live Racing” tab and all the racing action can be viewed as it happens for free at the Batavia Downs Live Facebook page.

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