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November 26, 2008 - 12:36pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Notre Dame.

The boys basketball season will be getting started this weekend and opening day could be a historic one for one of Notre Dame's Section 5 rivals.

Prattsburgh will be playing Whitesville and coach Jim Burke could join Notre Dame coach Mike Rapone in the 500 win club if the Vikings pick up a victory.

The game is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. and you won't even have to leave the house to keep up with potential history. The game will be broadcast on WABH 1380 AM and locally it can be heard on the net at www.localsportsedge.com.

November 25, 2008 - 3:18pm

Every few weeks we stop by the Holland Land Office Museum and chat with Pat Weissend, the museum's director, about some artifact or other interesting something going on at the museum. This time, there was really only one thing to talk about: the Wonderland of Trees. From now until January 3, folks can head down to the museum—check out the Web site for hours—to tour the Wonderland and help raise funds for the museum.

Now, before we get to the video, we would like to ask your help. We've been finding a few problems with the videos uploaded to blip.tv—which is otherwise flawless, with great quality and a large viewing screen. Unfortunately, the videos seem to skip on some computers. Here, we've loaded our video with Pat into both YouTube (top) and blip.tv (bottom). Which looks and runs better for you?


November 25, 2008 - 1:53pm
posted by Timothy Paine in batavia, mall, Tim Paine.

           Hopefully last night settles the issue of me being removed from the MOC. A thinly veiled attempt to remove me was made at last nights Council meeting. Frank Ferrando tried to come up with several different scenarios that could be used to kick someone off a committee. My favorite was being likened to a "community window decorator that hates windows". In the end after all of Frank, Bob and Bill's arguments for removal, intelligent reason prevailed. Thanks to Charlie, Cathy and Marianne it will remain that you can't throw someone off because they don't agree with you. Bob Bialkowski and Bill Cox tried to orchestrate a scheme that would have me removed. Bob asked Frank to implement this sorry attempt to try and hide him as the ring leader. Anyone present at the last Council meeting was a witness to Bob setting this in motion. Through out our campaign against each other a year ago and even until now I've never bad-mouthed Bob. At some point enough is enough. If no one has told you yet, you won Bob! I guess my biggest suprise is Bill. I worked along side Bill a lot last year and even helped him with his campaign. At the time I took him for an intelligent guy. I also thought Frank was above being used in such a way. We do live and learn.

         A couple of weeks ago Joanne Beck ran an article in The Daily News about this whole Mall thing. A week ago I met with Philip and discussed the same issue. We spoke for over an hour and he asked me to go ahead and submit my own article. I figured I'd wait till after last weeks MOC meeting and see how things went last night. I thought I would give you the e-mail I submitted to Joanne and let you all decide your own views. She asked me four questions, these were my answers:

         1.Q; Why did you start recording the meetings? I started recording meetings when I felt the minutes seemed inaccurate. I found things were being glossed over or omitted. When I would bring up these problems during the approval of the minutes it became apparent that these things were omitted for a reason. Dr. Chess would propose to remove the things before and after the missing statements instead of inserting what was really said. All I was asking for was the truth. When a City Council member would say something that isn't allowed due to ongoing negotiations I felt it should be included. Fortunately, they voted to close the meetings. Council members attending meetings should be less frequent now permitting a much less likely chance a verbal mistake can jeopardize Jason's ongoing negotiations.

         2.)Q; Did it involve a disability, and are you willing to elaborate at all?   As far as my disability, that's now a non-issue. They all voted against me recording meetings. Madeline is the only one who is allowed to record now. All I wanted was to have access to the recording. Dr. Chess asked Jason if they kept recordings of Council meetings and he said they did. The board agreed to keep recordings for 60 days and that I could review them at Madeline's office if I needed to. All I wanted was the
ability to check the minutes if I felt something was wrong, and they granted me that. Had they not let me have access to any type of recording, I would have pursued the disability case against them. Since I have access, all is fine. However, if I'm ever denied access or the recording is "lost" then I will have to get my lawyer involved as well as contact the media.

         3.)Q; Why do you think the Board wants you off the MOC?  The reason they want me off the board is unknown to me. My job is to be on the side of the taxpayer. That's a conflict of what they want. I don't know what past city-appointed members did, and I don't really care. I know what my position is:  it's to keep as much of the people of Batavia's money where they want or  don't want it to go. The people have made it clear to me, (very, very clear to me) that they don't want one more dime spent on the Mall. I've told them that's not going to happen. Whether it's an expensive roof, selling it for a dollar, or ten years worth of tax concessions, it's going to cost us something. The board has told me they want all three. I've told everybody that what ever the cost is, I feel the best thing is to make sure we sever all ties between the City and the Mall. Let's make sure this deal is the last deal. Everybody has agreed with me on that point. The public WILL NOT STAND  for the MOC getting all three requests. My job is to give the MOC as little as possible. Again, my job is to give the Mall as little as possible. I'm standing my ground. I guess we know why they want me gone.

         4.)Q; Do you feel you've been "antagonistic" in any way?  Am I being antagonistic? I'm sure they feel that way. I know they didn't like it when I wrote my opinion in the paper several months back. In the next meeting I was told I was now viewed as a "Hostile" and would be treated as such. I'm fine with that. They have their objective and I have mine. After that article in the paper, we as a board all agreed to keep everything at the meetings and not in the paper. I have kept my word on that. I think they feel I'm being antagonistic because I want the truth all the time, not just when it suits some of them. Whenever Dr. Chess has been less than honest, I point it out. When Bill Cox was caught in a contradiction it upset both of them. Bob Bialkowski must still think we're running against each other. To this day, he likes to try and mess with me when he can. I don't dislike anyone on the board. We're all there for a reason, but not for the same outcome. When opposing views are present there is no way it's all going to be lovey-dovey. I understand that, and that's why I sit there as the lone person on the side of the City taxpayers. I'm fine with that. Whether it's a meeting that's 6 against one, or ten against one, it's no problem for me. Apparently they feel the need to have a "yes man" there too. It's too bad for them that I'm not one. I wonder how Dr. Chess would do in my shoes? I think the answer is obvious, he doesn't like being on a team against one opponent. Wow, how would he handle being in my position?

November 24, 2008 - 9:55am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, genesee county, budget, Albany, state.

A proposal to cut community funding for towns and counties that host video-lottery-gaming facilities failed to pass the state Legislature earlier this year. But it is being brought up again by Gov. David Paterson and could take effect April 1, if it is passed. From the Democrat & Chronicle:

Towns and counties with video-lottery-gaming facilities would go bust under a plan by Gov. David Paterson to slash their aid by 50 percent as a way to trim the state's growing budget deficits.

If passed, the cuts could mean a drop from about $14 million to about $7 milion for counties across the state, including Genesee, Erie and Ontario.

Some local governments said they have prepared for a reduction in aid and didn't budget any of the money in the 2009 fiscal year, which for counties runs on calendar year. Aid to municipalities that have racetracks with the slot-machine-like devices started in 2006 under former Gov. George Pataki.

"We never programmed that money until it actually arrived," said Ontario County administrator Geoffrey Astles. Finger Lakes Gaming and Racing is located in Farmington, Ontario County.

The county would get its aid lowered from $844,533 to $422,267, while Farmington would see its aid sliced from $2.5 million to $1.3 million.

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell told us this morning that the county has already planned for the cuts. In fact, he said, they do not perceive the drop in aid as a budget cut. "We look at it as there will be an inclusion of about $140,000," he said. That amount is compared with about $240,000 from the previous year.

The town of Hamburg stands to see a much more significant drop in their aid. From WNED:

The $1.2-million the town currently gets from Fairgrounds Gaming is supposed to cover the costs of having the gambling operation in Hamburg. Supervisor Steven Walters has asked town department heads to look at possible cuts in case the governor's proposal to cut the state share to $600,000 takes effect.

Check out the article from the Albany Times Union for more details on the proposed cuts.

November 24, 2008 - 8:51am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, downtown, Holidays, Christmas in the City, Christmas.

Thanks to Don Burkel of the Batavia Business Improvement District for passing along this television commercial for Christmas in the City. It's got all the details about the big event coming up a week from Friday.

November 23, 2008 - 8:14am
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports.

 Mike Chmielowiec was one of two players to make the All-Tournament Team at the Chuck Resler Tournament, but his University of Rochester basketball team didn't walk away with the title Saturday night.

The Batavia grad set a career-high in the opening game and followed that up with a 16 point performance in the finals. But Ithaca walked away with the 81-72 victory to claim the title.

November 22, 2008 - 4:31pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports.

Senior captain Mike Chmielowiec had a hunch he was in for a big season when he spoke to The Batavian Friday afternoon.

Well, he's off to a hot start.

Chmielowiec hit 10-of-18 attempts in scoring a career-high 25 points in University of Rochester's season-opening 78-62 win over Pitt-Bradford last night in the opening round of the Chuck Resler Tournament.

He also connected on 3-of-5 3-point attempts in the game.

Rochester will play Ithaca in the championship tonight.

November 21, 2008 - 9:31pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports.

 For this area, if a high school basketball program has one or two players that move on to play the next level, it's a pretty remarkable achievement.

The Batavia boys basketball program makes one or two playing in college look like nothing, as five former Blue Devils are playing at the Division III level, with the best-of-the-best in the area.

Mike Chmielowiec is the elder statesman of the group and is starting his senior season at the University of Rochester tonight, with a game against Pitt-Bradford.

Kevin Saunders is a junior and playing at Fredonia State and Adam Brasky is a sophomore at King's College.

Mike Hoy and Bryan Anderson are freshman, Hoy playing at Geneseo and Anderson at Roberts Wesleyan. 

Chmieloweic and Saunders both start.

"I've definitely learned a lot of different things as the years went on," said Saunders, who started 13 games as a freshman. "Being a junior I've played a lot and learned a lot of different things along the way. I've grown as a player overall."

Chmielowiec has had a tremendous career and is one of two seniors starting for UofR this season. 

"I think there is a different element to (being a captain in college)," said Chmielowiec, a political science major. "Most kids on the team were captains or the man where they are from. It's a different responsibility. Now you have guys that were the best. It's almost a different kind of leadership role."

He played every game (including three starts) as a freshman, scoring 4.2 points per game, leading the team in 3-pointers with 14. 

Chmielowiec was the MVP of the Chase Tournament as a sophomore and started all 26 games. He led the team in scoring with 12.4 points per game, also leading the team in rebounding with 3.5 per game. He had 48 assists, good for fourth on the squad.

He was third on the team in scoring last season at 12.4 per game, starting 19 games and missing some time due to injury.

Chmielowiec was recently featured on the UofR Web site.

After spending the summer living in Los Angeles and putting on over 10 pounds, he is ready for a big senior season. After that, he will either go into the workforce or play basketball overseas, where a former coach has some contacts that will be interested.

Saunders started 19 games and saw action in all 24 in his freshman season at Fredonia, finishing second on the team in 3-pointers (28) and assists (48).

He led the team in assists last year with 63 and started 13 games, playing in all 26.

Saunders is a captain for the Blue Devils this season, and his team is off to a 2-1 start. Fredonia is a team on the upswing and the hot start is big, especially with the 66-63 victory over Penn State-Behrend this week. The Blue Devils were down 18 points with six minutes to go and went on a tear at the end of the game.

 "I don't know if we are a better team this year, but we are more experienced, said Saunders, a sports management major. "When I was a freshman and sophomore, we had young guys. I was seeing a lot of minutes as a freshman, so we were young. Now the core of our team is all juniors and seniors."

Adam Brasky - son of Batavia coach Buddy Brasky - played in all 19 games for King's College as a freshman, where he played 5.9 minutes per game, scoring 1.2 points per game with nine assists on the season. King's won a conference title last season.

He expect to have a big sophomore season, and has averaged 17.5 minutes per game in the first two contests of the year.

"There is a big difference for me from my freshman year," said Brasky, a history major. "The game doesn't feel as fast as last year. It has slowed down and I feel more comfortable now."

Brasky is playing a new style of basketball compared to Batavia's high-octane, man-to-man full-court pressure defense.

"We don't press much and aren't an up-tempo team," Brasky said. "We don't want them to get to the basket and offensively we set up plays and run motion. In high school the players aren't all this good. Here you run motion and use your basketball IQ to run plays, rather than run the court.

Hoy and Anderson are just getting their feet wet in the college game, but the two freshman are off to solid starts.

Anderson was a big signing for the Raiders and starts his college career off as the backup center.

Roberts is off to a 3-1 start and Anderson has played 18.3 minutes per game, scoring 8.8 points with 4.5 rebounds per game.

"I thought that as a freshman I would only get 2-3 minutes per game," said Anderson, who is a physical education major. "There were a couple problems and one of the big guys couldn't play, so it has helped me to get more playing time. It showed the coach that I can play at this level. Myself and another freshman are the big guys right now."

Hoy is mentioned as a sharpshooter in the Geneseo Web site preview, and he's already contributing after just one game.

He grabbed four rebounds and scored two points while playing 19 minutes in the opening game victory.

"I was a bit surprised," said Hoy, who has not declared a major yet. "It was more of a surprise in the scrimmages because I didn't expect to play this much. I got a lot of time and was like 'wow'".

 Hoy - like all five former Batavia players - has found the transition to college basketball easy because of the guys he plays with.

"Playing basketball is fun for me," Hoy said. "I like all the guys on the team. It has made the transition easier. I've been really happy about that part."

With seven-straight Monroe County League Division III titles, the Batavia program has been one of the best in the area. And with five players contributing on Division III teams, it shows.

November 21, 2008 - 2:26pm

For over a month now, The Batavian has been following along as the 4-H Student Legislators learn the ropes of local government. We first met up at a meeting of the Genesee County Legislature. Then, we followed along when the interns got together at the Genesee County Nursing Home, where a couple dozen county government staffers came together to talk about what they do and take questions from the interns. Everyone from the sheriff to the clerk of the legislature was present.

In our first video, we asked the students their first impressions. In the next, we talked a bit about what they had learned so far. When we met up with them again yesterday, most of them had finished drafting up a resolution that they plan to present to their fellow legislators when they convene in a mock session of the Legislature in the spring. So we asked about their resolutions.

Before we get to that video, however, we're going to test your knowledge of local government. Chip Malone, the mastermind behind the student government program, devised a test of about a dozen questions—though some have several parts to them—all about local government. I took the test. I scored a 39 out of 46, which is about 86 percent. Not too bad, but not as well as I would have liked to have done. Although, I'm sure that if I were to take it again, I would ace it.

Now, we can't reprint the entire test here, because that would give away all of the answers for the students who have yet to take the test. Nevertheless, Chip has been kind enough to allow us to reprint a few of the questions.

First, allow me to brag that I knew every one of our federal and state representatives, including the incoming and outgoing state senators and congressmen. But those questions should be easy for anyone who has any eye on politics in the region. So, instead, I'll share a couple of the questions I found most difficult, and a few others that were a breeze—try to figure out which. Questions are reproduced exactly as they appear on the test.

1. Describe the special provision (rule) which provides opportunity to bring business before the (county) legislature which is not previously written on the agenda.

2. By law, a town is viewed as a:

a. Independent municipal corporation.

b. Involuntary subdivisions of the state, established to make state government more effective.

c. Any group of more than 2000 citizens who choose to start a local government and enact law.

3. What is weighted voting?

4. What are county governments' three top sources of revenue?

5. List the three committees of the county legislature.

We will post the answers Monday.

November 21, 2008 - 12:27pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, business, sports, town board, youth football.

Some area auto dealers feel pretty strongly about the inevitability and justness of a Washington bailout of the nation's auto industry, according to the Daily News. John Pazamickas, sales manager for Orleans Ford-Mercury had this to say to Virginia Kropf:

"We believe the auto industry is the most important single manufacturing industry in the country, and for the government not to take seriously the livelihood of millions who derive income from that industry is shameful."

Shameful! That's emphatic. What do you think? Is Pazamickas in the right? He says that "for every job the auto industry creates, eight other jobs are affected." Is the auto industry so entwined with the fabric of the national economy that a bailout is "inevitable"?

In other news, the family whose apartment burned earlier this month—in the same fire that destroyed the post office in Pavilion—have found a new home. For now at least, they will be renting out a home on St. Mary's Street.

Youth sports are in the news again. This time, the Batavia Town Board got the pitch: a proposal to rent "15 acres of land at Batavia Turf Farms to give area youths and adult sports leagues a place to play." Folks who are interested are already entertaining visios of sports tournaments and a boost to tourism "by attracting teams and spectators from outside the local area."

The Batavia Town Board approved the $5.9 million budget for next year. That means the property tax rate in the town will remain at zero.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 21, 2008 - 12:03pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Announcements, schools, robert morris.

The parent group at Robert Morris Elementary has completed three of six workshops that are being presented to parents. These workshops are designed to reach out to parents in our community. Workshop topics already covered included a Math Night, Internet Safety Workshop, and Study Skills and the Home Environment.  Future topics include Practical Financial Hints to Help Save on January 27, 2009, Anxiety in Children on February 24, 2009, and Communicating with Your Child on March 31, 2009. All workshops are from 6:30p.m.until 8:00p.m. These presentations are open to all parents and the materials are sent to each principal. F.O.R.M. provides refreshments for each workshop and the parents put forth a great deal of effort to ensure that these workshops are a success. Reaching out to parents and providing opportunities for involvement is the goal of this year's workshops.

Information provided by Allison Chua

November 20, 2008 - 9:40pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Notre Dame.

 Last season was a down year for the Notre Dame girls basketball team.

The program was going through a transition year and went 15-7, getting knocked out of the sectional playoffs in the quarterfinals - to rival Elba.

That loss hurt. And the four returning starters from that team are going to remember one of the earliest sectional losses the Fighting Irish have had in a long time when the season starts.

There is no reason to believe Notre Dame can't be one of the top teams in the Genesee Region League and make a serious run at a sectional title this season. The returning starters, a key addition and some solid depth gives ND a ton of hope.

Tri-captains Trisha Pike, Nichole Hart and Brittany Morelli all started last season and can get the job done.

Hart was the second scoring option for ND last season and Pike is a natural point guard with the ability to score as well. The two work very well together in the backcourt.

Morelli and Liz Geandreau showed their potential last season and will have to make up for the graduation of Charlie Scott-McGrail, who scored 13 points with 10 rebounds per game a year ago.

Coach Dave Pero got a nice surprise this season when Jill Marshall transfered from Elba to Notre Dame. The switch from one rival to another could make a huge impact on this season.

Marshall scored 10 points and had seven rebounds per game for the Lancers last season and was named to the Genesee Region League all-star squad. 

The Fighting Irish also have plenty of solid reserves coming off the bench and shouldn't have a problem spelling starters when they need a rest.

Pero expects the GR to be strong again this year, but the highlight games are always between Elba and Notre Dame. Those games are on Dec. 16 and Feb. 10, with a third probably in the sectional playoffs.


November 20, 2008 - 5:14pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, Pontillo's.

There's still no word yet on when Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia will reopen its dining room, and no one has yet come forward with information regarding the lawsuit between the brothers. But some good news has graced the sign in the parking lot out front of the Main Street restaurant:

Also, a truck has been spotted out back of the restaurant on several occasions over the past week. Renovations?

November 20, 2008 - 2:58pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, business, downtown, Holidays, Christmas in the City, Christmas.

Please click here to download the complete schedule of events for this season's Christmas in the City celebration in downtown Batavia. Choristers, bands and other musicians will be touring downtown shops throughout the evening. Find out who will be where and when. Don't forget: the Batavia Concert Band and In Jest will be taking the stage in the Batavia City Centre.

November 19, 2008 - 7:56pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, video, candy, Holidays, Oliver's Candies.

This video should speak for itself. We visited the candy kitchen at Oliver's earlier this week as they were preparing their final batch of ribbon candy. Many thanks to Robert Pacer, Oliver's general manager, for narrating the process for us. Enjoy!

November 19, 2008 - 8:37am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, history, music, Le Roy, live music.

Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle featured a reader-submitted story yesterday about the Le Roy-based Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps, which is readying its members for the upcoming season. The crew met for their first practice a little over a week ago. Here's what Bob Wielgosz had to say about that first session:

There were over 80 current, former and new members in attendance, including 44 brass, 20 percussion and several from the guard and staff. The corps, one of the oldest alumni corps in existence, is in its 19th year of performing this coming year, including events like indoor and outdoor concerts, parades and field shows.

It turns out the group got its start here in Batavia more than three-quarters of a century ago.

St. Joseph's Drum Corps was originally founded in 1931 by the Rev. T. Bernard Kelly, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Batavia. In 1951, corps graduates formed St. Joseph's Drum Corps Association Inc. to perpetuate Father Kelly's work. The corps operated as a parade corps till the late 1950s when it became a field competition corps. During the 1960s, Mighty St. Joe's rose to National and International prominence, consistently ranking among the top ten junior corps in the country. In top level competition, St. Joe's placed as high as fourth in National and second in World Open competition. Unfortunately, 1971 was the final year of competition for the pride of Batavia.

Anyone can join the crew. You only have to be at least 21 years old. Check out their Web site for more information, show times and how to join.

November 18, 2008 - 10:28pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, sports, alexander, track & field.

 Jenna Porter had a pretty impressive freshman season at Nazareth College. Now she returns for a sophomore year where she will be one of the top runners on the squad.

Porter set the Nazareth school record in the 55-meter sprint (7.72) and 60-meter sprint (8.42) last season, and was a member of the school-record setting 800-meter and 1600-meter relay teams.

She carried that success on in the spring as she broke the school record in the 100 (:12.93), 200 (:26.28) and 400 (:59.73). She also ran on the 400 and 1600 relay teams that set records. She was actually named team MVP for the outdoor season, and was awarded Empire 8 all-star honors.

Porter was a star for the Alexander track team as well, helping to win two state titles in the 400 relay. She also made states in the 200 and led the Trojans to five consecutive Genesee Region League championships.

Naz kicks off the season on Dec. 6 at the Cornell relays.

November 18, 2008 - 4:29pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports.

Bryan Anderson and Mike Hoy handled most of the scoring duties for the Batavia boys basketball team last season. Both are gone to graduation, meaning the returning players will have big voids to fill if the Blue Devils are going to win an eighth-straight Monroe County League Division III title and compete for a sectional crown.

 The good news is, coach Buddy Brasky's squad is filled with talented guards with a ton of experience. And those players were motivated during the offseason by last year's 53-52 loss to Pittsford Sutherland in the sectional finals.

It was unique last season when the four Hoy brothers played varsity - and started a game together - but the squad is down to three Hoy boys.

Andrew is the a sophomore and the youngest, and has the most responsibility of the three. He is expected to be the team's top scoring option.  He was the third option last year as a freshman, and did a good job. He's the go-to guy now.

Marcus returns to run the point. He stepped into that role last season and was one of the best defensive players Batavia had on its roster. 

Marcus is expected to be the floor general, playing solid defense and distributing the basketball. His scoring role will also increase this season.

Robert is listed at 5-foot-11 and will be a starting forward, cleaning up rebounds and attempting to battle some of the giants playing for the large school teams the Blue Devils get during the season.

Batavia does have size issues. 

Joe Schlossel is the other returning forward and is listed at just 6-foot-2.

Dakota Irvin (6-foot-3), Mike Lee (6-2), Josh Budlong (6-1) and Kris Bartz (6-2) are the other big men for Batavia.

Adam Pettinella returns as a shooting guard  and will be expected to help out with the scoring. He didn't start last season, but saw quality minutes in some critical situations during the season.

Donovan Rolle will see action as a guard and forward.

Batavia finished 20-4 last season and should be considered one of the favorites in Division III. The Blue Devils are playing a brutal regular season schedule, including tipping things off at the Olean Tournament, with two defending state champions in the tournament.


November 18, 2008 - 3:52pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, genesee county, parks.

Genesee County's ACORNS held a volunteer day today, welcoming folks to come out and help the group with some of their outdoor activities. For those who don't yet know of the ACORNS (that is: the Association for the Conservation of Recreation and Natural Spaces), they describe themselves in this way:

"ACORNS is a volunteer group formed to support Genesee County Parks ... by assisting with environmental programs and park maintenance, offering recreational opportunities and promoting the parks. ACORNS' membership dollars support the parks' programs and help with improvements in the parks and at the Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Nature Center."

Today, some volunteers got together to help with a couple of the group's projects: GPS mapping of the county's parks and their "made-from-nature" display at the Holland Land Office Museum's Wonderland of Trees.

ACORNS member Judy Spring told us a little about the GPS mapping. Essentially, surveyors walk the park trails with a receiver stuck out of a backpack and send up signals to satellites at certain waypoints. Those positions are then synced up with a computer program that marks all of the points on a general map of the area.

The group has already helped get this done at the Genesee County Park and Forest. Now they're making the rounds of the rest of the recreational parks.

Once the data has been synced up with the satellites, the waypoints are marked on traditional maps that can be given out to tourists or any area parkgoers. This helps, because locations are exact, not merely estimated, so trail walkers can know exactly where they are at each waypoint.

Waypoints can also be transposed onto topographical maps and used by programs such as Google Earth.

After a chilly, snowy morning of walking the trails, the volunteers then met up at the Holland Land Office Museum, where they set up their display. This year's theme is Frosty's Holiday, so the group put together a big snowman, made of painted leaves, corncob, stones and tree bark. Their display is impressive: a community of critters made of pine cones, twigs, bark, nut shells... whatever you might find in nature.

Julia Garver, president of ACORNS, told us that the group used the book on the Brandywine Critters for some inspiration, although most of what they made was dreamt up from their own active imaginations—such as the pine cone jamboree and the tree bark top hat up above.

If you're looking to find out more about ACORNS, or if you're interested in joining the group, give them a call at (585) 344-1122.

November 17, 2008 - 10:05pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports.

 Mark Hamilton did a great job of getting the Batavia girls basketball program back to respectability.

When he stepped down, the school looked for a coach that can take the program to another level. Bill Wade appears to be that man.

Wade coached Byron-Bergen to the state finals in 1984, won a state title in 1999 with Notre Dame and then retired, spending four years as an assistant coach at SUNY Brockport. Wade's career record is 215-52.

He looks to help the squad improve on last year's 16-5 record and be competitive in the Class A sectionals.

The veteran coach has a pair of returning senior stars that are expected to lead a young team this season.

Jaycee Shirk showed marked improvement as last season went on and the 6-foot-1 forward/center is expected to be a force in the paint. Shirk teamed with Alyssa Tretter for that role and now will be handling those duties on her own.

Shirk averaged 12 points with eight rebounds and two blocks per game last season.

The other returning starter is senior guard Brittany Mazurkiewicz, who poured in 10 points with five assists and three steals per game.

Every other player on the roster is a junior.

Stacy Hein is expected to run the point with Brittany Wormley, Alicia Emminger and Michelle Jordan also expected to be key players for the Blue Devils.

Batavia earned a fourth-seed in the Class A playoffs last year, but were knocked out by No. 5 School of the Arts in the quarterfinals, 62-44. Shirk had nine points in that game and Mazurkiewicz had eight.


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