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January 3, 2019 - 12:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lions Tournament, basketball, cal-mum, Batavia HS, batavia, sports, news.

 

There will be no rematch of last year's final between Cal-Mum and Notre Dame for the Rotary Championship after both teams fell in first-round games on Wednesday at Genesee Community College.

Notre Dame fell to Wellsville in the first game and Batavia notched a convincing 55-28 win over Cal-Mum, who lost to Notre Dame last year, but won the championship in 2017.

Bryn Wormley scored 15 points and Ryann Stefaniak scored 14 to lead the Blue Devils. Kenz Reigle added 10 and Emma Krolczyk and Jenae Colkey added six each.

For Cal-Mum, Elyse Van Auken scored 12 points.

Batavia Coach Marty Hein said he's been working with his team on their defense, which needs to improve for the team to advance and will be key if the team is to win Friday against Wellsville.

"They (Wellsville) have some outside shooters," Hein said. "They have people from the outside and they can also drive and penetrate. Our defense has to be, somebody has to play shutdown on the ball and we've got to steer it one direction and the other. People have to be willing to jump off and shut down driving lanes down as well as knowing who's the shooter and get out there them to close out them."

Game time Friday is 7:30 p.m. in the Anthony Zambito Gym at GCC.

Photos by Thomas Ognibene. To view or purchase photos, click here.

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January 2, 2019 - 1:28pm
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in schools, education, news, batavia, history.

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       Anne Marie Starowitz

A couple of months ago a friend contacted me and asked if I would like a book from the Union School. I immediately said, “yes.” When I taught at Robert Morris School there was a painting of a very impressive red brick school called Union School. I always thought there was another school on Union Street besides Robert Morris. When I began researching schools for my book, I learned the impressive school did exist in Batavia but on Ross Street.

Here is a brief timeline of the schools in Batavia. As Western New York was settled in the 1700s, the first thing on a settler’s mind was to build a home for the family and gardens or crops to feed them, but no community was complete until a church was built and soon followed by a schoolhouse.

By 1798, there were 1,352 schools in the Holland Land Purchase (the area sold and administrated from the Holland Land Office in Batavia). Within 40 years (by 1838) that number increased almost tenfold, to 10,583. 

The first brick school was constructed in Batavia in 1811. It had the public school downstairs and a meeting place for the Masonic Lodge upstairs. In 1829, the school district was divided between west of Dingle Alley and east of Dingle Alley. That would be the intersection of East Main and Center Street.

In 1839, the districts were consolidated and Batavia’s First Free Union School District 1 was built. In 1861, District 2 was combined with District 1. As a result, overcrowding occurred and the need for a new school was inevitable. The school district purchased land on Ross Street and in 1873 the red brick high school was built. It opened in 1874.

It was demolished in 1926 and was replaced with a new high school, currently the Batavia Middle School. The book I mentioned in this article was from the first high school that had the impressive red brick façade and towers. The book is stamped Union School 1905. The title of the book is, "The History of Little Goody Two Shoes," published in 1900. The book is dedicated "To All Young Gentlemen and Ladies who are good or intend to be good."

In 1911 the district was combined with one superintendent in charge of all schools. In the City School District, there was a high school, five elementary schools, the school for the blind and one Catholic school with students to 12th grade. By 1920, 400 students attended the high school; it was overflowing.

In 1921, 30 students had to go to vacant classrooms at East school. In 1920 the high school was built. There were five elementary schools and only one had been built in the 1900s. Washington was built in 1885 and had four rooms. In 1903 H. W. Homelius built a new school that had two floors and eight classrooms. It opened in 1904. Also built at the same time was Pringle School and William Street School. Washington School was built in 1885. East School and West School were built in 1892.

 In 1925 Jackson School would be built to replace William School and Pringle School. In 1929 Brooklyn School, Robert Morris, and Jackson school opened. In 1939 Jackson School was enlarged and opened as a junior high school. By 1948 all city schools were crowded. Students were bussed to less crowded schools. Parents protested, they wanted their kids in their neighborhood schools.

Temporary schools were created at East School and Washington School. In 1950, city council offered to the City School District a site on Vine Street for a new school. Pringle school closed and was razed in 1954. Lincoln School closed in 1960. Children living south of Ellicott Street went to Jackson School, which was no longer a junior high school. A new school was to be built on Vine Street, called John Kennedy School, named after the superintendent John Kennedy who served from 1890 to 1930.

As public schools were being built, so were parochial schools. St. Joseph School opened in 1882, Sacred Heart School in 1904, St. Anthony’s School in 1930, St. Mary’s School in 1951, and Notre Dame High School opened in 1952. St. Joseph School is currently the only Catholic Elementary School in Batavia along with Notre Dame High School.

In 1961 the current Batavia High School was built on State Street. The high school on Ross Street was changed to a middle school. A new school for B.O.C.E.S. was also built on State Street and opened in 1976. In 1972 the new Genesee Community College was built.

In 2014 Robert Morris School closed. Jackson School became the district primary school and John Kennedy School became the intermediate school.

Even though the earliest history of the various schoolhouses throughout the region had similar stories with varied locations and different building designs, they all were built for the same reason -- to educate the children in what is today our city schools.

I attended East School, John Kennedy School, St. Joseph and Notre Dame High and I taught at Jackson School, Robert Morris School and John Kennedy School. I am currently on the faculty at St. Joseph School.

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December 31, 2018 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, batavia, Daemen College.

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Press release:

Redshirt junior forward Jeff Redband (Batavia, N.Y.) was hotter than a $2 pistol as he racked up a career-high 23 points to lead Daemen College to a 74-55 victory over the College of Saint Rose in non-conference men's basketball action today. Redband canned his first five three-pointers, helping Daemen build an insurmountable 24-point advantage en route to their seventh consecutive victory. The Wildcats improved to 9-1 this season, while the visiting Golden Knights dropped to 4-8.

It was Daemen's 10th straight win at the friendly confines of Lumsden Gymnasium, a streak that dates back to last season. The Wildcats are 26-3 over their last 29 games, a stretch that began with a 68-60 road win at St. Rose last New Year's Eve. 

Redband shot 8-for-10 from the field and a blistering 6-for-7 from three-point range in the win. The six three-pointers match his career-best for a single game, and the point production marked his second 20-point game of the season, and the fourth of his career. He added three steals and two blocks at the defensive end as well.

December 31, 2018 - 2:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia, Oakfield.

Adam B. Thomas, 29, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and public appearance under the influence of a narcotic drug. At 10:19 a.m. on Dec. 28, the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center received the complaint of an intoxicated male operating an electric scooter inside a department store, causing a disturbance. Sheriff's deputies arrived and initiated an investigation into the complaint. The scooter operator was identified as Thomas and he was allegedly determined to be under the influence of a narcotic drug. Following a subsequent search, it is alleged that Thomas possessed a powdered substance that tested positive for the synthetic opioid fentanyl. He was taken to jail, processed and issued appearance tickets returnable to Town of Batavia Court on Jan. 17. The investigation was conducted by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong, assisted by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Matthew Hawkeye Pape, 27, of Lockport Road, Oakfield, is charged with first degree criminal contempt. At 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 29 following the investigation of a domestic incident on Lockport Road, Pape was arrested on the charge. He allegedly struck another individual in the head with a door, causing physical injury, thereby violating an order of protection issued by Town of Oakfield Court. Pape was arraigned and jailed in lieu of $5,000 cash bail. He is due in Oakfield court Jan. 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen, assisted by Sgt. Jason Saile.

Zachary Erin Brazzell, 20, of Alabama Street, Medina, is charge with: DWI -- first offense with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI -- first offense; no/inadequate headlamp; and unlawful possession of marijuana. Brazzell was arrested at 20 River St. in Batavia at 4:12 a.m. on Dec. 30 following a traffic stop. Brazzell was issued appearance tickets returnable to the City of Batavia Court on Feb. 6. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Mullen.

December 31, 2018 - 2:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A two-car accident with possible minor injuries is blocking traffic at Woodrow Road and West Main Street in the city. City fire and Alexander ambulance are responding (no Mercy rig is currently available).

December 31, 2018 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, news, batavia.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel is announcing that due to the severe wind weather warning currently forecast for this evening, they will be moving up the time for their New Year’s Eve fireworks show to 9 p.m. from the previously scheduled midnight start.

“In order to ensure the safety of our valued guests and at the advice of our fireworks vendor we have decided to move up the showtime,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs Gaming.

Those wishing to see the fireworks may do so by exiting the building by the Homestretch Grill, or by viewing them inside via the enclosed Grandstands on the second floor.

December 30, 2018 - 10:00am


Thank you for shopping with us! Have a blessed New Year! Love from Christine & Ben, Alisa, Val, Amanda, Jill, Margie, Stacy, Gretchen, Leslie, Pam and Bob! ~ The Yngodess Shop!

December 29, 2018 - 5:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, sports, basketball, Batavia HS, Attica.

It's a whole new ballgame for the Batavia Blue Devils now that the team's full squad is showing up ready to play on game night, and Friday Attica got a taste of what a healthy Batavia can put on the court.

After jumping out to a 10-1 lead to start the championship of the larger schools' bracket of Lions Club Tournament in the Anthony Zambito Gym at Genesee Community College, Batavia pretty much controlled the game the rest of the way for a 70-50 win.

Mason McFollins is back in the lineup and the difference is noticeable.

"He's offensively talented and so that helps us out because we were struggling to score while he was out," Coach Buddy Brasky said. "Now, by him scoring it opens up other things for us and it makes it easier for some of the other guys to score. He's a big piece of it because he's our number one option offense."

McFollins, the tournament MVP, scored 19 points against Attica. He hit three shots from beyond the arc.

Joe Martinucci continued his strong play in the painting, scoring 12 points.

Twin brothers Caeden White and Camden White also missed the start of the season but are back on the court causing problems for opposing defenses; Caeden always a danger to hit from the outside and Camden adding strength under the boards.

Caeden White scored eight points and was named to the All-Tournament team and Camden White scored six points.

They're very committed to basketball," Brasky said. "They come to everything we offer in the off-season. They are great kids, very coachable. And Caeden can really shoot it. Camden is a force inside. You wouldn't know they were twins just by looking at them. But it's kind of nice inside outside punch for us."

Camden White and Martinucci give the Blue Devils and nice inside rotation, Brasky said.

For the most part, Batavia was able to shut down Attica's big man, Dawson Nelson, except in the third quarter, when he scored 15 of his 19 points.

"We were trying to front them and trying beat them to across the lane not let them cut in front of us," Brasky said. "They like that high-low look where they flash the one forward up high and then he tries to dump it in low. We were trying to apply some more pressure to the passer to make the pass harder. I thought we did a decent job early, but in that third quarter we couldn't stop Dawson. He kind of took the game over in the third quarter."

McFollins, the Whites, Andrew Francis and Martinucci aren't all Batavia has going for them this season, Brasky said.

"Jake Humes is shooting the ball well for us," Brasky said. "Luke Grammatico is doing a lot of nice things for us. He hit a big three in the corner there when they're making a little bit of a run. So you know, they do some things on the court that don't maybe necessarily show up on the scoreboard but did their part.

"We've got like eight-man rotation going right now and they're part of their rotation and it's important that they can get (Andrew) Francis and Caeden and McFollins some rest."

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To purchase prints, click here.

December 29, 2018 - 12:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, football.

Submitted photo and story by Dave Reilly.

Seeing this year's Batavia High School football team go all the way to the New York State Championship game and Notre Dame, my favorite college team since childhood, go to the NCAA semifinal brought back memories of playing football as a kid.

Short memories. Really short memories. You see, my official football career lasted for one week.

When I was a little kid, even at age 6 or 7, I became a huge Notre Dame University fan. I'm not really sure why.

Perhaps it was being Catholic. Maybe it was because my dad liked Notre Dame, although he couldn't really watch any sporting event without getting mad. He had a sixth sense for identifying which team was going to lose and then spending the whole game complaining that “they were getting gypped.”

I actually used to go to my aunts' house to watch sports to get peace and quiet.

When I was very young I was already cutting out articles from the newspaper about Notre Dame and my heroes Ralph Guglielmi, Johnny Lattner and Paul Hornung. When I was 10 in 1957, I watched every second of the Fighting Irish 7-0 victory over Oklahoma (on our black and white TV), which broke the Sooners' 47 game winning streak.

Around this same time I began to play football in the yard or at the park with my little friends. I'm sure the ball was bigger than some of us could hold onto, but we would run and tackle “like the big guys.” Of course, when I got my prized red helmet for Christmas (as described in a previous story) then it was really “game on."

What I'm leading up to here is that as I played and watched football more and more, I started to fantasize about playing for Notre Dame someday. I would drift off to sleep or get through a dull day at school by imaging myself running out of the tunnel onto that oh-so-bright green field at South Bend, Ind.

I would be dressed in my green and gold uniform and I would run and pass for touchdowns that would have the frenzied crowd shouting my name. The week after that 1957 Irish victory over Oklahoma my parents surprised me by taking me to South Bend to see Notre Dame play Iowa.

That whole experience -- the pep rally the night before, the school band playing the fight song, being in the stadium, the sights and sounds of the game -- all solidified my Notre Dame fandom. Even though the Irish lost the game, I was as hooked as a hungry bass chomping on a lure.

As I got older, I grew taller and a bit bigger than some of my friends. When we would play and they would try to tackle me, I would drag some of them along before they could get me to the ground so they started calling me “Tank.” That only boosted my daydream that I could be a real football player.

So, at age 13 as ninth grade approached, I was headed for Notre Dame High School, which in my mind would be the perfect lead in to Notre Dame University. I passed my physical and as the summer ended I arrived at the school with my heart pounding to get my uniform and walk over to the field on Union Street to embark on my football career.

But as happens in life, fantasy and hopefulness were in for a huge dose of reality.

The head coach was a man who had been our physical education teacher at St. Mary's Elementary School. At some point in the first practice coach blew his whistle and told everyone to gather around in a circle. It was time for a fun little activity called “Bull in the Ring.”

The upperclassmen clapped and cheered and seemingly couldn't wait to get at it. I had no idea what was going on, but I found out soon enough. Two players were called out to the center of the ring and essentially would run into each other until the coach decided that one of them had enough.

My opponent outweighed me significantly and went on in his upper-class years to become a team captain and an All-Catholic wrestler. In a minute I went from “Tank” to “Stank” and spent a long time soaking in the tub that night.

Day two brought two more obstacles: going up against way bigger guys and sunburn. Apparently Coach's view of freshman and jayvees was that they were there to be used as punching bags for the varsity.

With a minimal amount of instruction we were lined up on defense for the varsity to run plays against. At a whopping 135 pounds I was placed at defensive end against a senior who was at least 190. Play after play he would just knock me backward into the dirt like a bulldozer would a sapling.

At the same time, the sun was beating down on my red head and fair skin. I don't remember if sunblock was invented then, but even so I didn't have any. So at the end of that practice I made my way home -- head spinning, mouth and eyes full of dirt, skin like a lobster.

In fact, I was burned so badly, that my mom wouldn't let me go to practice on the third day. I can't say I complained because I could barely get out of bed anyway.

Fortunately, it was the weekend and there was no practice on Saturday or Sunday. That gave me a couple days to heal and rest.

On Monday, I made a gigantic mistake. I had my mom write an excuse note for missing Friday's practice. This was comparable to a soldier's mom writing a note to General Patton.

“Dear General, please excuse my son from the war because he had the sniffles.” What was I thinking? As Coach read the note, he looked up at me with an expression of disgust.

“Really kid (he didn't know my name)? Sunburn? I'll see you out on the field.”

So, my mom had no idea, but her note resulted in me running a bunch of laps around the field in the blazing sun while the rest of the team ignored me like lima beans at Thanksgiving dinner.

The last day of my football career really wasn't a surprise. My fantasies of playing quarterback for Notre Dame University had been ground out of my imagination and beaten into the dust of the practice field. At this point, I was just hoping to survive one more practice.

I made it, but not by much.

The final straw was an innocent enough looking punt coverage drill. We lined up in two lines, the punter kicked the ball downfield and we were supposed to take off and go after the receiver. At the end of my line stood Assistant Coach Tree Trunk Arms. His biceps seemed as big around as a normal person's legs.

As I heard the snap count and sound of the ball off the punter's foot I took off.

Suddenly, it felt as though someone had swung a baseball bat and connected with my helmet. But it wasn't a baseball bat, it was the giant fist of Mr. Trunk Arms. Apparently, he was trying to simulate the contact that you would feel from an opposing team member. Yeah, like having a bowling ball dropped on your head would simulate an acorn falling from an oak tree.

Several seconds must have gone by before I realized that my face was in the dirt. My head was reeling and as I lifted it up my vision was blurry. In the cartoons this is often depicted by a bunch of birds flying around the person's head as they stagger away, and stagger is exactly what I did though I can't recall hearing any bird noises.

To this day I hate to admit it, but I think I was crying. The rest of the practice was pretty much a foggy haze in my brain, but I'm pretty sure neither ol' Trunk Limbs nor any other coach asked if I was OK.

That night, when the mist had cleared somewhat from my noggin, I made a decision. I had been working up to it for a couple days. Not only would I never run out of that tunnel in South Bend, I wouldn't be going across Richmond Avenue to the Notre Dame High School field either. I was done.

I don't remember exactly how I quit, but it was certainly no loss to the team.

A couple of the older players made some half-hearted attempts at shaming, words like sissy and coward might have been said, but I was more relieved than sad. Later on, I did letter in cross-country, track and basketball, so I was able to enjoy high school sports after all.

Of course, my childhood daydreams were just that. No player from Batavia, and there have been many good ones at NDHS and Batavia High School, ever played for Notre Dame University. Not to mention the grades needed to get into that venerable college that I didn't come close to achieving.

In fact, St. John Fisher where I did go just had intramural football back then and I didn't even play. A couple teams asked me, but in one swing Assistant Coach Tree Trunk Arms left an indelible ache that killed any notion of football ever holding any glory for me.

December 28, 2018 - 6:30pm


Are you looking for something to do on New Year's Eve? Come spend the night with Eli Fish!

We will be offering a special New Year's Eve Dinner for Two menu from 4 to 8 p.m. with desserts provided by Eden Cafe.

Genesee Ted will be performing starting at 9:30, and we will bring in the New Year with a ceremonial keg drop and the tapping of a new brew -- BRUT-ally Honest IPA. Click here for more details.

December 28, 2018 - 4:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news.

Photo taken about five minutes ago by Howard Owens.

December 28, 2018 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lions Tournament, news, sports, basketball, batavia, Batavia HS.

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Batavia ran away with its opening round game against Roy-Hart in the larger schools bracket of the Lions Club Tournament at Genesee Community College on Thursday night, winning 73-27. 

Mason McFollins, recently returned to the lineup, scored 15 points. Tyivon Ayala scored 13 points, all in the fourth quarter, and Caeden White, also recently cleared to play, scored 12 points. Camden White scored eight.

The Batavia Blue Devils tip off against the Attica Blue Devils in the larger school bracket at 8:30 tonight.

Photos by Steve Ognibene. To view or purchase photos, click here.

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December 28, 2018 - 10:25am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, scanner, news.

"This is one for the books," a dispatcher told an officer before sending him to Target for a complaint about "an individual consuming beer while driving around in a motorized shopping cart in the store."

December 28, 2018 - 10:02am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, dog bite, environmental health.

Press release:

On Monday, Dec. 24, at approximately 11 p.m. a pedestrian was bitten by a free-roaming dog in the City of Batavia.

The incident occurred along the west sidewalk of Summit Street that is located between Washington Avenue and East Main Street.

The dog is described as possibly being an American Pit Bull Terrier or a breed resembling that, or a mix that has short black fur. The dog is of a medium build and is about knee high in height.

The dog approached from an unknown direction and after the bite occurred it ran off in an unknown direction.

“The purpose in locating the owner of the dog is to make sure the dog is up-to-date on its anti-rabies vaccine,” said Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties. “If the owner cannot be located, the individual will have to go through unnecessary treatment.”

Anyone with information on the dog and/or dog owner is asked to contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555.

December 27, 2018 - 2:47pm

ROCHESTER -- Nazareth College students named to the Fall 2018 dean's list are as follows:

  • Kimberly Davis, of Pavilion
  • Danielle Foeller, of Bergen 
  • Bailey Groth, of East Pembroke 
  • Chelsea Jensen, of Batavia
  • Jessica Meyers, of East Bethany 
  • Lauren Reding, of Oakfield 

Nazareth College's academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts.

The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester challenges and supports 2,000 undergrads and 800 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life's work.

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