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batavia

September 18, 2020 - 5:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, east bethany.

Shante M. Griffin, 28, of Fisher Park, Batavia, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. At 12:14 a.m. on Sept. 10, Griffin was arrested for allegedly leaving her two children, both under age 5, alone in an upstairs apartment without any adult supervision. She is due in Batavia City Court at 1 p.m. on Dec. 8 to answer the charges. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer John Gombos, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Kimberly R. Garland, 51, of Culver Avenue, Warsaw, is charged with: grand larceny; first-degree criminal contempt; and second-degree harassment. At 12:15 p.m. on Sept. 17, Batavia police responded to the Super 8 motel on Oak Street for a 9-1-1 hang-up call. Further investigation led the patrol to arrest Garland for allegedly striking a female who has an order of protection against her. It is also alleged that Garland stole the female's phone. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Alec Roberts.

Jason Christopher Mann, 44, of Pringle Avenue, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Mann was arrested at 9:25 p.m. Sept. 7 after an investigation of multiple disturbances on Hutchins Place in Batavia. He allegedly engaged in "threatening and tumultuous behavior" in the presence of Batavia police and "flicked a cigarette at another person." Mann was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Hall on Nov. 10. The case was investigated by Sgt. Dan Coffey, assisted by Officer Samuel Freeman.

Katherine J. Briggs, 41, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Briggs was arrested at 12:41 a.m. Sept. 13 after an incident at an apartment complex on South Main Street in Batavia. She allegedly threatened a resident with physical harm. She was released on her own recognizance and is due in Batavia City Court on Nov. 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Alec Roberts, assisted by Officer Joshua Girvin.

Matthew M. Maniace, 38, of Fargo Road, East Bethany, is charged with second-degree harassment. On Sept. 11, Batavia Police Office Peter Post responded to UMMC where he was issued an appearance ticket to Maniace following an investigation of an incident at 4:14 a.m. on Sept. 9. City police responded to UMMC for a panic alarm and they allegedly found UMMC staff in a physical altercation with Maniace. Police allegedly determined Maniace punched two UMMC staff members. He is due in Batavia City Court on Dec. 1 to answer the charge. Post was assisted by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins.

Matthew M. Maniace, 38, of Fargo Road, East Bethany, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested after an incident at 10:13 a.m. Sept. 10 at UMMC. He was issued an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court and is due there Nov. 10. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Peter Post, assisted by Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Luis Javier Santiago-Arroyo, 32, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested at 5:18 p.m. on Sept. 10 for allegedly violating an order of protection by standing in front of the residence of the protected party at 12:46 p.m. Sept. 2. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court via Skype and put in jail on $2,000 cash bail, $4,000 bond, or $8,000 partially secured bond with 10-percent down. Santiago-Arroyo is due to return to city court Sept. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police officers Stephen Cronmiller and Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Adam Tucker.

Trevor Scott Rarick, 25, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with: operating a motor vehicle while having a BAC of .08 percent or more -- first offense; driving while intoxicated -- first offense; and refusal to take a breath test. Rarick was arrested after a complaint that he was passed out behind the wheel of his car while in the McDonald's restaurant drive-thru on East Main Street in Batavia at 2:36 a.m. on Sept. 13. Rarick was processed at Batavia Police Headquarters, and released on appearance tickets returnable to Batavia City Court on Dec. 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Jordan McGinnis, Officer Alex Roberts and Sgt. Eric Bolles.

Joseph G. Sumeriski, 28, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with bail jumping. He was arrested at 12:50 a.m. Sept. 13 on a Batavia City Court bench warrant following a traffic stop on West Main Street in Batavia. He was released on an appearance ticket and is due to return to city court at a later date (unspecified). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jordan McGinnis, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

September 18, 2020 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Planned Parenthood, news, batavia.

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Dave Twichell carries a sign that reads "Babies Lives Matter" in front of the Planned Parenthood location on West Main Street in Batavia.

Twichell said he has been making frequent protest trips to the location by himself for years.

"I'm out here as much as I can be," Twichell said. "Somebody's got to stick up for those who can't speak for themselves." 

September 17, 2020 - 4:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, news, elba, batavia, corfu.

More than 200 Canisius College students recently concluded their summer internship programs, as part of their academic studies.

As defined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, an internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting.

The students who participated in and recently completed internship programs are:

Thomas Kubiniec, of Batavia, from the Canisius College Class of 2020. Kubiniec earned a degree in Biology and completed an internship with PEPID.

Hannah Schaber, of Corfu, from the Canisius College Class of 2020. Schaber earned a degree in Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation and completed an internship with SPCA Serving Erie County.

Luca Zambito, of Elba, from the Canisius College Class of 2020. Zambito earned a degree in Finance/Economics and completed an internship with Landmark Wealth Management.

At Canisius College, the Griff Center for Student Success supports professional internship programs that focus on quality, engagement and professionalism. The Griff Center works as a liaison with local and national employers to provide students with professional learning experiences outside of the classroom, so that students may apply what they're learning in the classrom and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths.

The Griff Center also makes available Handshake, a free portal which students can use to connect to thousands of organizations looking to hire Canisius graduates for positions in Western New York and nationwide. Additionally, the Griff Center plays host to Griff Fair, an annual career and internship event held each spring for students.

One of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York.

September 17, 2020 - 4:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, bergen, batavia, Le Roy.

Jennifer D. Abrams, 29, of Locust Street, Rochester, and Tarus O. Fluitt, 47, of Rochester (address not provided), are both charged with: third-degree burglary, a felony; second-degree criminal mischief, a felony; third-degree attempted burglary, a felony; third-degree criminal mischief, a felony; and two counts each of fifth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor. In addition, Fluitt only is also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a misdemeanor. At 2:12 a.m. on Sept. 16, two suspected allegedly attempted to gain entry to the Kwik Fill gas station at 7010 W. Main Street Road, Le Roy, by throwing large rocks through the glass front door. The suspects then fled the scene after not being able to make entry. At 2:27 p.m., the same two suspects allegedly made entry to the Crosby's gas station at 5267 Clinton Street Road, Batavia, by throwing a large paver stone through the front glass door. The suspects entered the store and were allegedly in the process of stealing about $3,500 worth of cigarettes, when a Genesee County Sheriff's Office patrol arrived to check on the business, and they confronted the two suspects inside the store. The suspects fled out an alternate entrance, and went into a wooded area behind the store. They were apprehended a short time later. It is alleged they caused more than $1,500 in damage while inside the store. They were arraigned in Genesee County Court and jailed in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. Fluitt remains in custody and is awaiting arraignment. The Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate this incident as well as similar incidents that have occurred in recents weeks. The case was investigated by Deputy Nicholas Chamoun, Deputy David Moore, Deputy Ryan Young, Deputy Jordan Alejandro, Investigator Christopher Parker, and Chief Deputy Joseph Graff. They were assisted by members of the NYS Polive Department, Batavia Police Department, Le Roy Police Department, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and other members of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Kyle Allen Hawley, 30, of Chili Riga Road, Churchville, is charged with: second-degree burglary; criminal mischief -- intentionally damaging property; and criminal tampering in the third degree. On Sept. 15, members of the Genesee County Probation Department took Hawley into custody on an active, outstanding bench warrant out of Genesee County Court. It stems from an incident reported at 9 p.m. April 20 on South Lake Avenue in Bergen. Hawley was arraigned in county court at 3:05 p.m. and put in jail without bail. Hawley also had an arrest warrant out of Bergen Town Court and he was arrested on that warrant and released on his own recognizance. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen.

September 15, 2020 - 4:03pm
posted by Press Release in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, batavia, history, news.

Press release:

Have you ever wondered how Genesee County came to be? What was the Holland Land Purchase? What is a Gibbet? How did Batavia get its name? If any of these questions peak your curiosity among many others, then volunteering at the Holland Land Office might be perfect for you.

The museum is reaching out to anyone with an interest in local history who would like to volunteer. Any amount of time that can be given is welcome, even an hour a week can make a great difference.

Volunteers can work in many different areas, and interests and strengths will be used to the most optimum affect. Areas of need include: cleaning, gift shop, docent/tour guide, documenting of artifacts, exhibits and displays, landscaping, etc.

Volunteer hours would be during the normal hours of operation of the museum are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

If you have an interest in volunteering with the Holland Land Office Museum, please contact Director Ryan Duffy at (585) 343-4727 or email: [email protected]

Information can also be found at the museum’s website.

September 15, 2020 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A motor vehicle accident is reported on Batavia Elba Townline Road at Pekin Road.

No serious injuries are reported but a third ambulance is requested to the scene. All remaining Mercy EMS ambulances are tied up so an ambulance from Byron is requested to the scene.

Town of Batavia fire responded to the call.

September 14, 2020 - 5:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Robin Scott Brooks, 58, of Hutchins Place, Batavia is charged with first degree criminal nuisance. Brooks was arrested by the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force and the Batavia Police Department. It is alleged that at noon on June 30 on Hutchins Place that Brooks allowed people to sell narcotics out of his residence. In addition, Brooks allegedly received a benefit (money) from the people selling narcotics from his residence. He was issued a hand-written appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer James DeFreze.

Janel B. Patterson, 41, of Valle Drive, Batavia, is charged with issuing a bad check -- with knowledge of insufficient funds. Batavia Police Officer Nicole McGinnis arrested Patterson on Sept. 8 on the charge, which stemmed from a fraud complaint on June 12, 2019, at Batavia Restaurant Supply Inc., 301 W. Main St., Batavia. After an investigation by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider allegedly found she issued a bad check, Patterson turned herself in on an arrest warrant and was arraigned in Batavia City Court. She is due back in court Oct. 27 to answer the charge.

Joseph W. Freeman, 36, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts each of criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree and falsifying business records -- making a false entry. Freeman was arrested at 2 p.m. Sept. 10 after an investigation. It is alleged that he possessed property stolen from various stores on Veterans Memorial Drive in the Town of Batavia. Freeman was released with appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court Oct. 13. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush.

Eric J. McGill, 37, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. McGill was arrested after an incident at 7:53 p.m. Sept. 2 on Hutchins Street, Batavia, wherein he allegedly possessed an illegal billy (club) -- an expandable baton. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court Sept. 3 and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He was due back in city court Sept. 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Adam Tucker, assisted by Officer Wesley Rissinger.

Brandon T. Tackett, of Batavia, was arrested at 7:17 p.m. Sept. 3 on Miles Road in Bentleyville, Ohio, and charged with possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Tackett and four Ohio residents were located in a parking lot after a report of a suspicious vehicle that had pulled into a driveway. Tackett is accused of possessing crystal methamphetamine. Bentleyville police report also finding in the red 2002 Chevy Malibu sedan a small blue case containing drug paraphernalia -- including a butane torch and a smoking pipe with tube, scales, cash, and prepaid gift cards. Tackett was transported to Bedford Jail.

Mario Alberto Reyes, 48, of Groth Road, Holley, is charged with: two counts of driving while intoxicated; operating a motor vehicle without a license; and moving from lane unsafely. At 12:45 a.m. on Sept. 13 on Clinton Street Road in Stafford, Reyes was arrested after a traffic stop. He was released with appearance tickets and is due in Stafford Town Court on Oct. 6. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jordan Alejandro, assisted by Deputy Austin Heberlein.

Ralph Andrew Burdick Sr., 63, of Kysorville-Byersville Road, Nunda, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. He was arrested at 5:09 p.m. Sept. 11 on Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia for allegedly possessing a bottle of pills inside his vehicle without having a prescription for them. Burdick was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court and is due there Oct. 22. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Gauthier, assisted by Sgt. Andrew Hale.

Quentin I. Bloom, 22, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. Bloom was arrested Sept. 9 following an investigation into an incident that occurred at 3:34 a.m. on Aug. 23. He allegedly contacted a protected party who had an order of protection from him. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

Hezekiah N. Burch, 18, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with second degree criminal contempt for allegedly disobeying a court order. On Sept. 7, Batavia Police Officer Peter Post arrested Burch after an investigation of an allegation that Burch had contact with a person on Hutchins Place, Batavia, who had an order of protection against him. Burch was issued an appearance ticket for Nov. 11 in Batavia City Court. Post was assisted by Sgt. Dan Coffey.

Christopher Allen Sewar, 33, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of disobeying a judge's court mandate. He was arrested at 9:18 a.m. on Sept. 7 after an investigation of a violation of a court order by allegedly initiating contact with a protected party on Maple Street in Batavia on Aug. 25 and with violating the order on Aug. 23 on South Spruce Street, Batavia. He was released on appearance tickets and is due in Batavia City Court Dec. 8. The cases were handled by Batavia Police Officer Miah Stevens.

Lisa M. Babcock, 33, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. At about 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 9, Babcock was issued an appearance ticket for Batavia City Court, where she is due on Dec. 8. She was arrested after she allegedly failed to appear in court Aug. 18 after being served with a subpoena. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer John Gombos, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

September 14, 2020 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools, education, schools, video.
Video Sponsor

With new social distancing protocols in place, the Batavia City School District opened all four of its campuses today for the 2020-21 academic year.

September 13, 2020 - 6:01pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in schools, education, batavia, news.

Response from Alice Ann Benedict, trustee in the Batavia City Schools District.

Do you support the district's policy and reopening plan?  Why or why not?
I am in total support of the district with the hybrid plan. It is well thought out and the superintendent and staff have worked very hard this summer to comply with the governor’s requirements and also do what’s best for all students, faculty and staff. They have been very prudent in their consideration of all involved including parents and staff. We realized, through surveys and registrations, that a majority of students wanted in-person teaching. Certainly, there was a percentage that wants virtual classes, so the district accommodated them all with a definite aim to improve academics and keep everyone safe and healthy.

What feedback have you received from the parents in your district?
The feedback that I’ve gotten is mainly positive. Parents felt more assured with the open question and answer sessions that were available, plus with all the information available on the district’s website, most questions are answered.

September 13, 2020 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, birds, animals, batavia, news.

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Jason Smith shared this photo of a male cardinal feeding a female cardinal in the backyard of his Batavia home.

September 13, 2020 - 8:00am
posted by David Reilly in news, batavia, history, education, nostalgia, covid-19, St. Mary's School.

After attending school (elementary, high school and college) for 18 years and teaching school (fifth and sixth grades) for another 33, I have been a part of opening day 51 times. And that doesn't include the overlapping times when my own two children headed back to their educational journeys.

But nothing in all that time is going to compare what the beginning of this school year will be like due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Taking temperatures, wearing masks, social distancing, plexiglass separating panels, lots of sanitizing, and a whole lot more that teachers and students are going to face including some days at school and other days virtually, all because of COVID-19.

I have never regretted being retired, but I am even more happy about it this year and convey my best wishes to all those who will try their best to make the 2020-2021 academic year a productive one.

Back in the 1950s at St. Mary's School in Batavia, we certainly had a less worrisome time when our summer vacation ended. Some preparations had to be made, but nothing approaching what parents and kids have to do now, even before the virus.

Bow Ties and Buster Browns

There was no fretting about what to wear to impress our classmates. We had uniforms, so each kid looked as plain and mundane as every other one. For the girls, it was a light blue blouse with a dark blue skirt, and the boys wore a light blue long or short sleeve shirt with dark blue pants. The pièce de résistance for the boys was a blue clip-on bow tie. If I had a nickel for every one of those I lost I could have bought a lot of Junior Mints.

I'm pretty sure that the school had a deal with Charles Mens' Shop (which is still in business) to stock the uniforms and each year my mom would buy me two shirts and two pairs of pants. Between roughhousing on the way to and from school and outdoors at lunchtime, by June those pants would have been patched more times than a pothole at Ellicott and Main.

When it came to shoes, things were pretty simple. We'd head to Thomas and Dwyer's Downtown and Mr. Dwyer or Skinny Weiss would find a new pair of Buster Brown's in our size. We hated those goofy-looking round-toed things, but Mom was paying so that's what you got. The girls would arrive on day one with new saddle shoes or Mary Janes. I don't think sneakers were allowed.

Lunch Box and Lunchroom

In the '50s we didn't have backpacks, but choosing your lunchbox was a big deal. This was before everything was plastic and they were made from metal and most contained a Thermos.

Howdy Doody ones were a favorite of the younger kids, while the older boys wanted Davy Crockett or The Lone Ranger. By the way, those metal boxes could come in handy if you had to defend yourself from a bully.

During the first couple years of St. Mary's existence we were housed in the basement of adjoining Notre Dame High because the elementary school was still under construction. Once we got in the new building our lunch habits changed because we had a school lunchroom.

Mrs. Isabelle Suranni, who was a chef at various restaurants in the area, prepared the food right on the premises. Unlike most other lunchroom food I encountered over the years St. Mary's was tasty, especially the spaghetti. My mom worked in the kitchen for a couple of years and whenever spaghetti was served she'd bring some home for dinner.

So, that was about it -- uniform, shoes, lunchbox. Maybe a couple pencils and a box of eight crayola crayons. There was no list sent home of all the things the parents needed to buy.

As far as teacher preparations that were made for school's opening, it was certainly a big deal for me when I was teaching. We'd head back to our classrooms a week or two early to get the classroom ready. Desks were arranged, bulletin boards decorated, name tags made, lessons prepared, and so on.

'Convent'-ional Classroom

For seven of my eight elementary school years, my teacher was a nun -- a Sister of the Holy Cross (inset photo below right from the 1950s). I don't know how many of them had formal teacher training but I'd guess not many.

I could be cynical and surmise that the nuns spent their summer sanding and honing their rulers and yardsticks to use on us little delinquents.

But, since most Catholic schools had 40-50 students in a class, more likely they were catching their breath and recuperating from the previous semester.

Maybe they had nun spas where they would go to get refreshed. Probably not.

I don't recall much about bulletin boards or decorations, but with 50 desks there probably wasn't room for any. There were always a bunch of strategically placed statues though. Some saint was always looking over your shoulder when you were about to launch that spitball.

A Long Year Ahead

I can't imagine having more than 30 kids in a class, but it must have given the nuns some preopening day anxiety. Actually, I could identify with that feeling somewhat because my very first teaching job after graduating from college in 1969 was in a Catholic school, Sts. Peter and Paul in Rochester.

I was also similar to the nuns in that I really didn't have much preparation for teaching. I had, quite honestly, taken the job in order to secure a deferment from the military draft. I had only taken a couple education classes at St. John Fisher and never did any student teaching. Essentially, I was winging it.

My very first day I started out by handing out index cards to my sixth-graders and asking them to write down their name, address, phone number, and parents' names. I had a boy in the class who was from Lebanon named Toufik. 

As I circulated around he raised his hand. “Yes, Toufik,” I said. “How can I help you?”

“Mister,” he replied. “How do you make a T?”

“Oh boy,” I thought. “What have I gotten myself into?

First Days

Only two of my St. Mary's opening days stand out in my memory of boyhood, both of which I mentioned in a previous story.

In first grade, school started on a Wednesday, but because I had strep throat, I didn't arrive until the following Monday. I was a shy kid so I was probably terrified to come in on my own.

A boy named Lenny, the briefest of classmates, had the absolute greatest opening day entrance in my 51 years when he showed up with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and promptly got expelled. There was an ad at the time which said, “I'd walk a mile for a Camel.” Lenny only got to walk about 50 feet before the black-habited arm of a nun whisked him off the premises forever.

On my first opening day after retiring, I took my boat and went fishing. On the first opening day of my longtime girlfriend's retirement, we took a day trip to the pretty little Finger Lakes Town of Skaneatles.

What will we do on the first day of school this year? I'm not sure except that it won't involve little kids. Or nuns.

Photos and images courtesy of Dave Reilly.

September 12, 2020 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, video, batavia.
Video Sponsor

A group of area residents gathered in front of City Hall carrying signs today protesting the lack of visitation with seniors in nursing homes.

September 12, 2020 - 7:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A rider is down in the roadway after the report of an accident involving a motorcycle in the area of 240 State St., Batavia.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

Dispatchers are asked to check on the availability of Mercy Flight.

UPDATE: Mercy Flight was not required. No further word on injuries.

September 12, 2020 - 4:00pm

Genesee Community College Associate Professor of History Derek D. Maxfield (above photo) had a reception this afteroon at Roman's restaurant in Downtown Batavia and signed copies of his first book, "HELLMIRA: The Union's Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp -- Elmira, NY."

He became an expert on the excruciating conditions at the infamous POW camp while researching material for his book.

He will be featured on C-SPAN tonight at 6 o'clock sharing what his research uncovered about this notorious time period in Elmira's history.

It is the largest city and the county seat of Chemung County. "The Queen City" was incorporated in 1864. By the late 19th century, it was a major transportation hub, connecting commercial centers in Rochester and Buffalo with Albany and New York City.

Called by some the "Andersonville of the North," the prisoner of war camp in Elmira is remembered as the most notorious of all Union-run POW camps. It existed for only a year -- from the summer of 1864 to July 1865. But in that time, and for long after, it became darkly emblematic of man's inhumanity to man. Confederate prisoners called it "Hellmira."

In the end, Maxfield suggests that it is time to move on from the blame game and see prisoner of war camps -- North and South -- as a great humanitarian failure.

"HELLMIRA: The Union's Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp -- Elmira, NY" is available through AmazonSavas Beatie -- and was released in July as an audio book as well.

Most of the information in this post provided by GCC.

September 12, 2020 - 2:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in abate, news, fire service, batavia.

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Kelly Boyle delivers a few remarks this afternoon at Town of Batavia Fire's Station 1 to thank the volunteers for their service to the community as part of an ABATE motorcycle ride around the county to recognize firefighters.

Boyle said, "We thank you because you're there for us. You save us no matter who we are, white, black, or brown, you are there to help us when we need it most."

ABATE a national nonprofit organization of motorcycle enthusiasts which has a chapter in Genesee County -- also visited Mercy EMS, City fire, Stafford, and Le Roy today in their "Ride for the Red."

(ABATE is dedicated to preserving motorcyclist rights, promoting safe operating practices and raising motorists' awareness of motorcycles.)

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September 12, 2020 - 11:55am
posted by Press Release in City Fire, hydrant flushing, batavia, news.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants in the areas north of Main Street and west of Bank Street on:

  • Thursday, Sept. 17 from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and
  • Friday, Sept. 18 from approximately 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about five minutes or until clear.

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

September 12, 2020 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Just Kings Social Club, batavia, news.

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The Just Kings Social Club distributed 80 backpacks containing school supplies to children at Austin Park on Friday evening.

The club raised funds to support the project through sales of chicken dinners and other fundraising events. 

A member of the club said there are still some funds available for school supplies if there were any parents who could not bring their children by for a backpack. The Kings can be contacted through their Facebook page.

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September 11, 2020 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia, video.
Video Sponsor

The gaming floor at Batavia Downs reopened this week, along with Fortune's and the Backstretch Grill, and the Grandstands will be opening soon, after a six-month closure mandated by the State of New York in the battle against COVID-19.

Race fans, however, are still prohibited at this point from attending live harness racing.

-----------------

Update: Sept. 11, 3 p.m.

Even at a fourth of maximum capacity, Batavia Downs Gaming will be able to keep its employees on the job but, unfortunately, monetary distributions to the municipalities it serves will suffer.

That’s the perspective of Henry Wojtaszek, president and chief executive officer of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. that oversee operations at the casino, harness race track and OTB parlors in 15 counties plus the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

A public benefit corporation, WROTB returns a portion of its profits to counties and the two metropolitan communities.

“You know, we've done the math, we've done some projections, and we certainly can pay our bills probably at 25 percent,” Wojtaszek said on Wednesday, the day the gaming facility was allowed to reopen – but only at a quarter of the maximum occupancy. “If we remain pretty steady, we can pay our bills. We can keep our employment levels pretty close to where we were before.”

Wojtaszek said “difficulty” comes into play when considering profit and return to municipalities – “which is obviously one of the big reasons why we exist.”

“We exist to make sure we create jobs and create an environment for people to have an entertainment venue, but also to return money to the municipality. So that's going to be a little tough. But I think for now, even at 25 percent, we can cover our costs.”

He said the business has to dig itself out of a “deep hole” caused by ongoing utility and building maintenance costs and unemployment insurance and by having to pay employees still on the job.

Despite the setbacks, Wojtaszek said he it is “very rewarding to see people come back so quickly.”

“We were having people call us all the time during the last six months," he said. "They were stopping at the front door. A lot of emails following our Facebook page. So, when we knew we had a pretty good following of people who want to come back here, we'd like to think we do deliver great customer service."

Batavia Downs has had to cancel its summer concert series due to the pandemic, but six of the eight bands have been rescheduled for next year, Wojtaszek said.

“And we’ve added two,” he said. “We have Queensrÿche signed up for sure. And then the eighth band will remain silent until I confirm it. But it's a great band. They'll be probably the best band we've ever had here.”

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