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Byron-Bergen’s Martin, Chambry commit to collegiate sports at Alfred

By Press Release
chambry-and-martin-with-their-families-at-signing_3.jpg
Photo of (left to right): Martin and Chambry with their families as they commit to play collegiate sports for Alfred State
Submitted photo by Mary Hughes.

Press Release:

On Friday, May 17, Byron-Bergen senior athletes Braedyn Chambry and Colin Martin both signed letters of intent to become collegiate athletes at Alfred State College. Chambry will join the Pioneer basketball program and Martin will join the soccer program. Although they will be on different athletic teams, these long-time teammates are excited to head off to college together.

“Our years as teammates definitely made us close friends,” said Chambry. “We both decided on Alfred State at different times, without knowing if the other was going, too. Two of our other closest friends are also going to Alfred State, and it all happened by coincidence. I'm very excited that I'll be going to college with three of my best friends.”

Chambry took part in Varsity Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, Golf, Track & Field, and was a member of the trap club. On the basketball court, he averaged 22.9 points per game and 15 rebounds per game, was a three-time Genesee Region All-star, Section V All-tournament team his junior year, and Section V tournament MVP his senior year. At Alfred State, he plans to study criminal justice.

“I would like to thank my family and friends as well as all of my teammates throughout the years,” said Chambry. “I would also like to thank Coach Noeth for being my coach as well as my role model. I want to thank Coach Pulliam for coaching me throughout the last two summers and helping me get in contact with Alfred State. I also would like to thank Coach Pimm for coaching me throughout elementary school and providing me with a lot of opportunities to improve my game in and out of school season my entire career.”

Martin’s Boys Varsity Soccer accomplishments include a Sectional Championship, Far West Regional Championship, State Championship finalist, All Greater-Rochester, first-team All-State, three-time Genesee Region All-Star, and Byron-Bergen record-holder for the most career assists and assists in a single season. He was also a member of the basketball, baseball, track, and golf teams and is a member of the trap club. Martin plans to study business at Alfred State.

“I would like to thank my parents and grandparents for always being there at all my games and supporting me,” said Martin. “I would also like to thank Coach Rogoyski, Coach Ellis, and Coach DiLaura for helping me become the athlete I am today and always pushing me to be the best from modified to varsity.”

“I am proud and excited for both of these fine young men,” said Byron-Bergen Athletic Director Rich Hannan. “They are great athletes and even better people. Their work ethic is impressive, and they always put forth maximum effort in all that they do. Regardless of the sport they were in, they were great teammates and made kids around them better. I cannot wait to see how their journey unfolds at the next level. I want to wish them the best of luck.”

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Photo of (left to right): Martin and Chambry with Varsity Basketball Coach Roxanne Noeth
Submitted photo by Mary Hughes.
chambry-and-martin-with-coach-rogoyski_3.jpg
Photo of (left to right): Martin and Chambry with Varsity Soccer Coach Ken Rogoyski
Submitted photo by Mary Hughes.
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Photo of (left to right): Martin, Chambry, and teammate Brodie Baubie as part of the youth soccer program. Baubie is also attending Alfred State in the fall.
Photo provided.
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Photo of (left to right): Brendan Pimm, Martin, Brodie Baubie, and Chambry play youth basketball. All four
students will attend Alfred State in the fall.
Photo provided.

Local students named to Clarkson University dean's list

By Press Release

Press Release:

Students have been named to the Dean's List for the Spring 2024 semester at Clarkson University. Dean's List students must achieve a minimum 3.25 grade-point average and also carry at least 14 credit hours.

  • Lindsay Heimlich of Bergen
  • Colby Leggo of Bergen 
  • Cooper Mattice of Batavia 

Law and Order: Le Roy police arrest 22-year-old on strangulation, assault charges

By Howard B. Owens
Austin Malek
Austin Malek

Austin Malek, 22, of North Street, Le Roy, is charged with strangulation 2nd, assault 3rd, unlawful imprisonment, and obstructing governmental administration 2nd. Malek is accused of assaulting a female victim at about 2 a.m. on May 2 at a location on North Street in the village of Le Roy. Le Roy patrol officers responded. According to police, the victim displayed visible injuries, and the police describe the incident as "violent." Malek was transported to the Genesee County Jail for processing. He was arraigned and ordered held on $20,000 bail, $40,000 bond, or $80,000 partially secured bond.

brandon marsh
Brandon March

Brandon J. March, 39, of Batavia, is charged with strangulation 2nd, criminal contempt 1st, assault 3rd, unlawful imprisonment 2nd,  menacing 2nd, criminal contempt 2nd and criminal mischief 4th. March is accused of violating a stay-away order of protection during an altercation On May 8 on South Lyon Street by strangling the victim, not allowing the victim to leave the residence, and striking the victim multiple times, causing an injury. March is also accused on the previous day of damaging a car wind belonging to the same victim. He was arraigned and jailed on $5,000 bail, $10,000 bond, or $25,000 partially secured bond. March was arrested on similar charges in January.

shawn sloan
Shawn Sloan

Shawn M. Sloan, 39, of Batavia, is charged with burglary 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon 3rd, menacing 2nd, criminal mischief 4th, and harassment 2nd. Sloan is accused of breaking into a residence on Porter Avenue on April 24 while in possession of a pellet gun. He was arraigned and jailed.

Benito A. Gay, 36, of Batavia, is charged with robbery 2nd and menacing 2nd. Gay is accused of using force to steal money from another person on April 21 on Hutchins Street while giving the appearance of pointing a firearm. He was arraigned and jailed.

Benito Gay
Benito Gay

Nathaniel R. Davis, 29, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon 3rd, menacing 2nd, criminal obstruction of breathing, and harassment 2nd. Davis is accused of holding a knife to the throat of another person during an incident on Porter Avenue on April 17. He also is accused of grabbing the person around the neck. He was arraigned in City Court and ordered held.

Adam T. Shipwash, 44, of Batavia, is charged with attempted robbery 2nd, criminal possession of a weapon 3rd, menacing 2nd, and criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Shipwash is accused of entering the Mobil gas station on East Main Street Batavia on April 15, brandishing a knife and demanding money from the clerk. Shipwash left the store after the clerk refused to give him any money. He was arraigned and released.

Nathaniel Davis
Nathaniel Davis

Sharon R. Boyer, 55, of Batavia, is charged with DWI. Boyer was arrested on April 20 after she reportedly nearly struck two police officers on foot patrol in a crosswalk at Hutchins Street and Sumner Street. Boyer allegedly failed to yield to the pedestrians, and the officers told her to stop her vehicle. After speaking with her, they placed her under arrest on a charge of DWI. She was issued an appearance ticket and turned over to State Police on a warrant.

Fawn Dockstader, 37, of Batavia, is charged with arranging the welfare of a child. Dockstader is accused of digging her nails into a child's arm, grabbing the child by the hair and punching the child in the fact on April 16. Dockstader was arraigned in City Court and released.

Nicholas L. Stone, 25, of East Pembroke, is charged with DWI, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, criminal mischief and multiple traffic violations. On April 5, Batavia PD responded to a report of a fight involving several people at Copperhead Creek on West Main Street. As patrols arrived, a vehicle was observed leaving the area at a high rate of speed. The vehicle headed southbound on South Lyon Street and failed to negotiate a turn on South Main Street, driving off the road and through a yard, causing damage to the lawn. Stone was issued an appearance ticket. 

Jason E. Carpenter, 45, of Batavia, is charged with criminal mischief 3rd. Carpenter is accused of damaging a toilet inside a residence on West Main Street, Batavia. After being issued an appearance ticket, he allegedly set the ticket aflame and threw an object through a window, leading to another appearance ticket.

Adam Shipwash
Adam Shipwash

Johnathan M. Falk, 25, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Falk is accused of stealing merchandise from Tops on April 7. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Jeanna M. Hattaway, 37, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant on April 15. The warrant stems from a traffic stop in April 2023.  She is accused of possessing a controlled substance during the traffic stop. She allegedly failed to appear in court on the charge. She was arraigned and released. 

Lance D. Beals, 53, of Batavia, was arrested on two warrants on April 13. The first warrant stems from an incident on July 12 when Beals allegedly stole and damaged a cell phone from a residence on East Main Street. The second warrant stems from an incident on July 30 when Beals was accused of damaging property at the same residence. He was issued appearance tickets in both cases. He allegedly failed to appear in court as ordered. He was arraigned and released. 

Shane R. Reisman, 54, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Reisman is accused of stealing property from Tops. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Tiffany M. Macey, 32, of Batavia, was arrested on April 8 on a warrant. Macey was ordered to appear in court following a traffic stop on July 3.  She allegedly failed to appear in court as ordered. She was arraigned and released.

Ann M. Capuano, 39, of Batavia, is charged with menacing 2nd, criminal mischief 4th, and endangering the welfare of a child. Capuano is accused of damaging a neighbor's door and threatening the neighbor with a hammer while in the presence of a child on April 11. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Michael R. Ostrander, 59, of Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal contempt 2nd. Ostrander is accused of violating an order of protection on April 12 at the Genesee County Courthouse. When officers responded to his residence to arrest him, he was allegedly found with the protected party violating the court order, leading to the second criminal contempt charge. He was arraigned and ordered held.

Eric R Sawyer, 36, of Batavia, is charged with DWI. Sawyer was charged following a traffic stop by Batavia PD on Bogue Avenue. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

Tanisha N. Gibson, 39, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Gibson is accused of violating an order of protection on April 8 by engaging in a verbal argument. She was arraigned and released. 

John H. Bush, Jr., 40, of Batavia, was arrested on April 7 on three warrants. He is also charged with resisting arrest and escape 3rd. A Batavia patrol officer located Bush at the Mobil gas station on East Main Street. The officer began to take Bush into custody on the warrants. Bush then pulled away from the officer and attempted to run. Police were able to stop him and successfully take him into custody. He was arraigned and released.

Trevor N. Christman, 33, of Batavia, is was arrested on April 24 on a warrant. Christman was initially arrested on March 14 for allegedly exposing himself in public. He allegedly failed to appear in court as ordered. He was arraigned and released.

Ricky L. Miller, 42, and Ryan M. Arner (no age provided), both of Batavia, are charged with petit larceny. Miller and Arner are accused of stealing merchandise from Tops on April 23. They were issued appearance tickets. Miller was turned over to the Sheriff's Office on an open warrant.

Mark A. Remington, 50, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Remington is accused of stealing merchandise from Qucklee's on Oak Street, Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Robert B. Elliott, 50, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd and obstructing government administration 2nd. On April 19, police responded to a report of a disturbance inside a residence on Hutchins Street. Elliott is accused of pushing another person and then resisting officers' attempts to detain him. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Shamond R. Adams, 27, of Batavia, was cited on April 21 for a barking dog violation. Adams is accused of allowing his dog to bark continuously. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Shawn T. Rushok, 25, of Batavia, is charged with failure to register within 10 days as a sex offender. Rushok is accused of failing to register a Snapchat account as required as a registered sex offender. He was also charged with offering a false instrument for filing 1st for allegedly submitting false payment records to probation as proof of employment. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Miyear M. White, 22, of Buffalo, was arrested on April 26 on two warrants. In one warrant he is charged with criminal possession of stolen property 4th. In the other, he is charged with petit larceny. He is accused of stealing a credit card on Feb. 12 and using the card in a local store. He was arraigned and released.

Nicholas J. Wright, 31, of Pavilion, is charged with DWI. He was stopped on April 28 for allegedly speeding on Ellicott Street. Following the traffic stop, he was arrested and issued an appearance ticket.

Julie L. Williams, 29, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Williams allegedly sent numerous text messages to another person for "no legitimate purpose." She was issued an appearance ticket.

Paul W. Zeches, 35, of Caledonia, is charged with failure to report a change of address as a sex offender. Zeches is reportedly a Level 2 sex offender and he allegedly failed to report a change of address. He was arraigned and released.

Thomas Predmore
Thomas Predmore

Thomas L. Predmore, 71, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny 4th and petit larceny. Predmore is accused of stealing a wallet from another customer at a business on East Main Street on May 7. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Justin M. Wotherspoon, 37, of Batavia, is charged with assault 3rd. Wortherspoon is accused of pushing another person and dragging her to the ground during a fight on Clifton Avenue, Batavia, on May 7. He was arraigned in City Court and released.

Jessica L. Maye, 30, of Riga, was arrested on May 5 on a warrant. Maye is accused of failure to appear on a misdemeanor traffic ticket thwas issued in February. She was arraigned and released.

Johnathan M. Falk, 25, of Batavia, was arrested on May 5 on a warrant. Falk was initially charged with petit larceny on April 23. He was accused of stealing merchandise from tops. He allegedly failed to appear in court as ordered. He was arraigned and released. 

Perrion T. Swan, 33, of Rochester, was arrested on April 27 on a warrant. He allegedly failed to appear on a traffic ticket that was issued in August. He was arraigned and released.

Nathan W. Campbell, 43, of Batavia, was arrested on May 2 on a warrant. He was initially charged with trespass on March 28. He allegedly failed to appear in court as ordered. He was arraigned in City Court and released.

Ryan Christopher Cook, 46, of Federal Drive, Batavia, is charged with failure to report a change of address within 10 days as a registered sex offender and failure to verify address every 90 calendar days as a Level 3 registered sex offender. Cook was arrested April 23, arraigned and released.

David Andrew Zwolinski, 70, of Broadway Road, Darien, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Deputies were dispatched to Zwolinski's home at 10:50 p.m. on April 23 to investigate a reported motor vehicle accident. As a result of the investigation, Deputy Jacob Kipler arrested Zwolinski. He was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Brian Meyers, 53, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with harassment 2nd. Meyers is accused of pushing another person to the ground at 6:45 p.m. on April 22 at a location on Bethany Center Road, Bethany. Meyer was held pending arraignment.

Jackie M. Shade, 34, of Le Roy, was arrested on May 6 on a warrant. Shade was issued a misdemeanor traffic ticket in March. She allegedly failed to appear in court as ordered. She was arraigned and released.

Alexander James Young, 29, of East Main Street, Corfu, is charged with failure to stop at a stop sign; Young, along with David Michael Hawk, 39, of McKinley Avenue, Batavia, and Brandi Rose Hough, 29, of Bank Street, Elba, are each charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Young, Hawk, and Hough were charged following a traffic stop by Deputy Jacob Kipler on East Main Street, Batavia, at 1:52 a.m. on April 25. All three were processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Fernando Campos, 28, of Flamingo Road, Sunrise, Fla., is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding, and drinking alcohol in a motor vehicle. Campos was stopped at 12:50 a.m. on April 29 on South Lake Road, Bergen, by Sgt. Mathew Clor. Compos was released on an appearance ticket.

Matthew Joel Sanchez-Sanquiche, 27, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and criminal contempt, 2nd. Sanchez-Sanquiche is accused of possessing a handgun without a valid permit, also in violation of an order of protection, at 3:09 p.m. on April 23 at a location on West Main Street, Batavia. Sanchez-Sanquiche was arraigned and released.

Jason A. Armstrong, no age or residence released, is charged with an undisclosed crime. Armstrong is accused of damaging the windshield of a vehicle and punching a person in the face during a fight on Route 5 in the town of Pembroke on April 20. Armstrong was arraigned and held without bail.

Megan June Courtney, 28, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with grand larceny 3rd, grand larceny 4th, and criminal possession of a forged instrument 2nd.  On April 4, Courtney is accused of possessing a forged check and of stealing a credit card. She allegedly withdrew $7,284.5 from a victim's bank account without permission. Courtney was arrested on May 1 and held pending arraignment. Courtney was also arrested on May 7 and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Courtney is accused of leaving a three-year-old child at home with no adult supervision at 6 p.m. on May 7. The child was found running outside near the residence by himself. Courtney was held pending arraignment.

Kenneth Dwright Robinson, 50, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed driver, and unsafe turn. At 2:17 a.m. on May 5, deputies were dispatched to Batavia Downs on Park Road, Batavia,  for a motor vehicle accident. Robinson was charged following an investigation by Deputy Zachary Hoy. Robinson was released on an appearance ticket.

Joseph Jonathan Kuzma, 44, of Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and aggravated unlicensed operation.  Kuzma was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance by Deputy Jonathan Dimming during a traffic stop at 8:01 p.m. on April 29 on Cockram Road, Byron. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Thomas Shameek Taylor, 37, of Munger Street, Bergen, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Taylor is accused of violating an order of protection at 11:55 a.m. on May 6 by communicating with the protected party. He was held pending arraignment.

Yannott Kishickatigqua Lone, 33, of Council House Road, Tonawanda Indian Reservation, is charged with burglary 2nd and criminal mischief 4th. Lone is accused of entering a building on Bloomingdale Road without permission at 4:55 p.m. on April 22 and, in the process, damaged a door. Lone was arrested on May 5, transported to the Genesee County Jail, and held pending arraignment.

Ronald Paul Dixon, Jr., 45, of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged with assault 2nd. At 11:41 p.m. on May 4, Deputy Jacob Kipler observed a vehicle parked on the shoulder of West Main Street Road, Batavia, and upon investigation, determined there was evidence of assault that had just taken place inside the vehicle. Dixon was arrested, transported to the Genesee County Jail for processing and held pending arraignment. Kipler was assisted in the investigation by Sgt. Mathew Clor.

Hector Martinez, Jr., 20, of Long Wood Drive, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property 3rd. Martinez was allegedly found in possession of a stolen four-wheeler at 4:45 p.m. on May 2 at 8400 Buffalo Road, Bergen, by Investigator Chad Minuto and Investigator Howard Carlson. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

Kathleen Melissa Pritchard, 45, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with harassment 2nd. Pritchard allegedly had physical contact with another person during a fight reported at 6:17 p.m. on May 10. Pritchard was held pending arraignment.

Todd Jeffrey Hodgins, 37, of East Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and speeding. Hodgins was stopped at 9:45 p.m. on May 10 on Broadway Road, Bethany, by Deputy Joshua Brabon. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Award-winning author Grace Lin visits B-B Elementary School

By Press Release
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Grace Lin with a Byron-Bergen student.
Photo courtesy of Gretchen Spittler.

Press Release:

On Wednesday, May 1, Newbery and Caldecott Award-winning author Grace Lin visited Byron-Bergen Elementary School. Lin presented to students in kindergarten through grade 5. She shared her creative process with the students and read them excerpts from some of her books.

Lin shared her book "A Big Mooncake for Little Star" with kindergarten and grade 1 students. They discussed the Moon Festival and traditional foods and activities associated with it. Lin then drew a rabbit for them and discussed the significance in Asian cultures of the rabbit and the moon.

Students in grades 2 and 3 learned about the process of how Lin's stories start as an idea and become a published book. Students acted out publishing a book as editors, art directors, designers, printers, and binders. They then read "The Ugly Vegetables", Lin's first published book.

Students in grades 4 and 5 learned about Lin's chapter book, “The Year of the Dog” and learned how to draw a dog. This book shares family stories and characters from the author’s real life but is not a memoir. They also learned about the Chinese zodiac calendar and Lunar New Year celebrations.

At the close of each presentation, Lin taught the students how to say goodbye in Chinese, zàijiàn.

“I hope that by seeing me it enriches their love of books,” said Lin. “I feel like meeting an author creates a newfound love of books.” 

“Having Grace Lin visit our school was a great opportunity for our students to hear from an amazing author and illustrator,” said Byron-Bergen Library Media Specialist Marielle Follaco. “Our students were engaged in her stories and enjoyed learning about Chinese culture. I have no doubt her visit has helped get our students excited about reading.”

Lin writes and illustrates fiction for children of all ages including picture books up through young adult novels. Many of Lin's books include details from her life and family, frequently incorporating traditions from and references to Chinese culture. Lin’s visit was sponsored by the School Library System at Genesee Valley BOCES.

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Grace Lin with Byron-Bergen students.
Photo courtesy of Gretchen Spittler.
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Grace Lin teaches students about the publishing process.
Photo courtesy Gretchen Spittler.

Byron-Bergen made list for ‘Best High Schools’

By Press Release

Press Release:

Byron-Bergen Senior High School was named on the 2024 list of America’s Best High Schools as determined by U.S. News & World Report. To qualify for this title, Byron-Bergen Senior High School ranked in the top 40% of schools nationally. This is the sixth year in a row that Byron-Bergen Senior High School has earned this distinction.

"I am incredibly proud of our students and staff,” said Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School Principal Paul Hazard. “This recognition is further validation that Byron-Bergen is a special district.”

According to the publication’s website, the list identifies top-performing high schools based on scoring comprised of six factors:

  • College readiness (30% of the ranking): The College Readiness Index, or CRI, is measured by the proportion of a school's 12th graders who took and earned a qualifying score on Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams in the 2021-2022 academic year. 
  • College curriculum breadth (10%): This is the percentage of 12th graders from the class of 2021-2022 who took a wide variety of AP and IB courses across the multiple disciplines and the percentage of 12th graders who earned a qualifying score on them.
  • State assessment proficiency (20%): This measures how well students scored on state assessments that measure proficiency in reading, science and mathematics. States often look closely at student performance on these tests to determine whether learning in core subjects is achieved and to review how well schools are educating students.
  • State assessment performance (20%): This is the difference between how students performed on state assessments and what U.S. News predicted based on a school's student body. 
  • Underserved student performance (10%): This is how well the student population receiving subsidized school lunch and Black and Hispanic populations perform on state assessments relative to statewide performance among students not in those subgroups. This state assessment underserved student performance indicator is based on 2018-2019 state assessment data. 
  • Graduation rate (10%): For the 2023-2024 rankings, the graduation rate corresponds to the 2022 high school class graduation cohort who would have entered ninth grade in the 2018-2019 school year. High school graduation rates were collected directly from each state along with the math, reading and science assessment data.
  • For more information on Byron-Bergen’s ranking on the U.S. News & World Report list, visit https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/new-york/districts/byron-bergen-central-school-district/byron-bergen-junior-senior-high-school-13565  

North Bergen food pantry is now relocated and open for business

By Press Release
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Submitted photo of Volunteer Chuck Walters handing Joseph Riggi a block of cheese.

Press Release:

This February the North Bergen Food Pantry completed the move to their new location; Bergen’s United Methodist Church at 27 South Lake Street in the town of Bergen. Pastor Hoyt Brown and Trustee Hal Milward and their congregation welcomed the pantry into their church building.

With the imminent closure of North Bergen Presbyterian Church after 200 years of service to the rural community of North Bergen; the food pantry had to be relocated. 

The process of searching for a new location took some time. However, with the objective of serving the rural population in the tri-county areas of Genesee, Orleans, and Western Monroe County; Bergen’s United Methodist Church seems the ideal location. 

Pastor Dave Fish along with three other members of the North Bergen Presbyterian Church first opened the pantry in 2019 as an outreach mission. Pastor Dave recognized early on that the needs of the rural communities sometimes often go unnoticed.

According to Fish, “There is such need in this area, more than you would suspect. People are really hurting. The elderly and those on fixed incomes seem to fare the worst.” 

Fish whose nature is to reach out to those in need continues, “I thought the easiest way to find people in need was to feed them!” 

To date, the pantry has served over 1100 individuals from nearly 400 households. 

The Bergen Methodist Church not only embraced the pantry, but church members also volunteered their talents completing a ramp, building and donating moving shelving units, and making space in order to accommodate the pantry with the perfect configuration to serve their needs.

Currently, several church members have joined the pantry’s board, and many others are even volunteering during pantry hours. With their welcoming attitude and help, the transition to the new location went much smoother than anticipated!

The Bergen Methodist Church is already very vital to the town of Bergen, the members actively serve the small community in many ways. Besides the 10 a.m. Sunday service, there is a Nursery School within its walls, and a weekly Wednesday night dinner. The ‘free-will dinner’ is open to anyone in the community regardless of their ability to contribute toward the meal expenses.

The pantry partners with Foodlink of Rochester and is open to anyone twice a month on the second Thursday from 5 - 8 p.m., and the last Saturday from 9 a.m. - noon. In addition to free food, there is fellowship; the pantry staff prides itself as a friendly, welcoming place for everyone.

Current volunteer, Chuck Walters says, “We started going to the pantry for food three years ago after COVID. People were so friendly and helpful. It really helped by providing us with full meals at a time when grocery stores were short on many items. Now my wife and I volunteer regularly, we enjoy meeting and helping people in the community. We have made lots of new friends and enjoy being able to give others the ability to make full meals each day, too.”

This year during Bergen’s Park Festival on Saturday, June 8, the pantry will have a booth set up and staffed by volunteers available to answer questions and hand out a schedule of their days/hours of operation. If you would like to help stop food insecurity, please bring a non-perishable food item to donate.

The next opportunity to visit the pantry will be on May 9 from 5 - 8 pm. If you need food or wish to volunteer or donate to the pantry, please call Pastor Dave Fish at 585-290-5487.

Byron-Bergen career day is focused on the future

By Press Release
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Students interact with representatives from the Gillam Grant Community Center during the Opportunity Fair.
Photo by Jada Atwood.

Press Release:

Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School College and Career Counselor Rob Kaercher is helping students get inspired for their futures. On March 28, students in grades 6 through 12 took part in Career Day which included 75 guests from local companies, organizations, colleges, unions, and military branches. 

The goal of the event was to introduce students to career opportunities across a broad spectrum of skills.

“The focus for a long time was on just getting students enrolled in college and that’s no longer the case,” said Kaercher. “We want the students to explore options and think about what they want their future to look like. From there, we can help them get the tools they need, whether it be a degree or certificate or apprenticeship.”

Students rotated through a variety of presentations including a young alumni panel where recent graduates discussed their diverse paths after graduation. Other presentations highlighted college degree programs, careers in the military, trade unions, agriculture, civil service, and not-for-profits.

One panel presentation with a local twist focused on jobs and career paths in Genesee County. It was moderated by Chris Suozzi, VP of Business and Workforce Development from the Genesee County Economic Development Center, and included Deputy Director of Human Resources in Genesee County Tracy Augello, Director of Human Resources for the City of Batavia Rebecca McGee, New York State Department of Labor Workforce Program Specialist Robert Coe, and President of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Brian Cousins. 

They discussed local jobs, who is hiring, what is important in landing a job, and how different careers have different training requirements.

"The Byron-Bergen approach to Career Day is a refreshing change from the traditional choices of college or trade school,” said Jr./Sr. High School Principal Paul Hazard. “Mr. Kaercher and our team are helping students identify their goals and skill sets, and then find the right path to achieve their aspirations. That is also why Coach Fitch was an ideal keynote speaker.”

The students attended a keynote address by Fairport Basketball Coach Scott Fitch. He talked about his experience coaching Team USA and his involvement in Section V. He also shared personal stories from his players that illuminated the damage social media can do to career paths for students who are not careful with the content they post and curate. He emphasized staying positive on social media.

“Through the lens of social media, I challenged the kids to be better,” said Fitch. “To be better people, students, and friends. Many of the kids were nervous at the thought of us looking at their social media. The kids really resonated with the message and were a great audience. Byron-Bergen is a special place because people care. I was very excited to be a part of Career Day. Few schools offer a day like this to their students.”

“Coach Fitch’s presentation was really impactful,” said Kaercher. “Our students may not think they have much of a digital imprint, but everything they post or comment on can affect their future.”

The day rounded out at the Opportunity Fair. Veering again off the well-worn path of a traditional career fair, the Opportunity Fair featured career paths as well as summer jobs, volunteer opportunities, representatives from colleges, the military, unions, local non-profits, government agencies, and entrepreneurs. The Opportunity Fair was a chance for students to seek out and learn more about their areas of interest in a casual setting.

“It’s so important to be exposed to companies and speakers and network with people who could inspire you on a career path that you love,” said Kaercher.

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Keynote speaker Scott Fitch presents to high school students.
Photo by Jada Atwood.
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Students learn about emergency rescue services.
Photo by Jada Atwood.
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Students attend a presentation about careers in the military.
Photo by Jada Atwood.

Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church highlights $90K organ restoration project with series of free concerts

By Virginia Kropf
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Alden Snell, standing, organist of the Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church, watches David Carmer as he tries out the newly restored organ at the church. Carmer is the organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Medina. The two became friends when Carmer was organist of the church where Snell’s father was pastor.
Submitted photo.

The Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church has just completed a huge organ renovation project, and to thank the community for its support, the church is holding a series of free musical concerts.

“The renovation of the church pipe organ was a huge undertaking for our church,” said Gregg McAllister of Batavia, a longstanding member of the church who volunteered his time to promote the renovation and fundraising. “Church members wanted to offer something special to the community to celebrate, so they planned this concert series.”

Two concerts have already been held in the series, with two more to go, including one on April 27 and an organ concert in May featuring Eastman School of Music musicians.

The church invested $90,000 in the restoration project.

According to McAllister, a member of the Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church since 1960, the organ is a historic treasure.

McAllister shared some of the organ’s history, dating back to its installation in the church in 1907, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church’s founding. The organ was built by Viner and Son in Buffalo in 1901 and installed in a theater there. For some reason, it became available for purchase in 1907 and was acquired by the Bergen church.

McAllister described the instrument as a full pipe organ that had to be pumped by hand to create air. Youth in the church, called “tweens,” did the pumping from under the sanctuary.

The organ previously underwent renovations in the 1960s and 1980s, when church members, including longtime member Fred Ely, volunteered to physically redo the leathers and felts that held the keys together.

Ely was an active member of the Renovation Committee, and his family’s involvement with the church and its organ goes back to its arrival at the church. He first became a member when he married Eunice “Eunie” on June 8, 1957, at the church where she is a lifelong member. He explained that a church member arranged to buy and install the organ in the church in 1907, and a relative of Eunie’s transported it to Bergen. Her father also hand-pumped the bellows to make the organ play.

Alden Snell, a professor at the Eastman School of Music, began playing the Bergen church’s organ during his junior year at Robers Wesleyan College in 1999. After moving to Delaware with his wife, Christin, Alden returned to Bergen in 2018 and resumed his duties as the Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church organist.

“This organ is small by some standards, yet it has a lot of character,” Snell said. “Before the renovations, you sat down and wondered, ‘What is it going to do now.’”

 It became evident the congregation had a big decision to make – let the organ die a slow death or bring it back to life.

Snell said talk of renovation and fundraising began just before the pandemic. The congregation then met in July 2021 and agreed to embark on a $90,000 fundraising campaign.

“This was a big project and needed congregational support,” he said. 

A Renovation Committee was formed under the leadership of Pastor Brandt Hammack and was led by Rob Willhoft, Snell, Tom Jones, and Ely.

Parsons Pipe Organ Builders in Canandaigua was contacted, and renovations began in June 2023 and were completed in November. 

Some of the problems that had to be addressed were pieces that opened the pipes had weathered and needed cleaning. All the pipes had to be removed and cleaned, as did two keyboards, which were warped, and a pedal board. The renovation involved organ pipe voicing, woodworkers and designers who crafted a custom wind system.

The final step was providing clean air and creating a “clean room” for the blower. 

McAllister said the renovation process was very intricate. Every key had to be adjusted, and the sound had to be balanced with the building's acoustics. 

Snell said an organ is fit for its space, and the sound of this organ fills the sanctuary but doesn’t overpower it.

“By the end of the fund drive, the church only had to pay the initial 10 percent down payment and the rest all came in donations from the congregation and community,” he said. “We are really happy with the results.”

As for the concert series, the first concert was on Feb. 4 and featured church organist Alden Snell and David Carmer, organist of Trinity Lutheran Church in Medina.

The second this past Sunday featured Jaclyn Breeze of North Chili, composer and flutist, as well as Snell.

The next concert will feature guitarist George Collichio at 6 p.m. on April 27 in a Door of Hope Coffeehouse event at the church. 

The final concert at 6 p.m. May 5 will be an organ recital featuring Eastman School of Music students.

While there is no admission for any of the concerts, a free-will offering is accepted at each.

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Submitted photo.

Accomplished musician set to perform at Bergen concert series Sunday

By Press Release

Press Release:

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Photo of Jaclyn Breeze
courtesy of jaclynbreeze.com.

Jaclyn Breeze of North Chili, a composer and flutist, will perform at 6 pm this Sunday, April 14, in the Bergen Community Concert Series at the Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 38 South Lake Avenue (Route 19).

Ms. Breeze is an accomplished performer and composer who has produced commissioned works performed in North America, Europe, and Asia. The North Chili resident and graduate of Roberts Wesleyan and Syracuse universities, says her pieces and concerts are designed to foster community between artists and audiences.

Her concert has been titled Imitations. The listener will be transported by the flute solos to hear imitations of things such as butterflies, trains, rivers, and more. 

The concert is part of a series offered by the church to celebrate the renovation of the historic Viner pipe organ that was installed in the sanctuary in 1907. 

“We want to share a variety of music with our community, so have planned a spring series of concerts in celebration,” said Alden Snell, church organist.

Sunday evening’s free performance will conclude with a hymn sing accompanied by Dr. Snell, an Eastman School of Music professor, on the organ. 

Ms. Breeze is also passionate about teaching, having worked as a theory TA at Syracuse while earning her Certificate of University Teaching and teaching private lessons. She is currently the host of Jazz 90.1’s Kidz Zone, which provides lessons and activities for families to do together to learn more about jazz artists. She also serves as the pianist at Holley Presbyterian Church. Her coming projects include commissions for soprano/piano duos, Pierrot ensemble, and solo piano.

Refreshments will be served following the hour-long performance. A free-will offering will be accepted. 

Other concerts in the series are: 

  • George Collichio, guitar, special Door of Hope Coffeehouse event at the church, Saturday, April 27, 6 p.m. Mr. Collichio is a national recording artist, performer, educator, and private guitar instructor from Rochester. He has nine national CD releases and plays over 100 shows per year. He is a college professor (guitar and music theory) and founder of "Collichio School of Music" which has two locations and hundreds of students. 
  • Organ recital featuring students from the Eastman School of Music, Sunday, May 5, at 6 p.m.

All concerts are at the Church, 38 South Lake Ave., Bergen. A free-will offering will be accepted.

Photos: Bergen Eclipse Disc Golf Tournament

By Howard B. Owens
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The Bergen Business and Civic Organization hosted an Eclipse Disc Golf Tournament at Hartland Park on Sunday.

There were 28 entrants in the morning tournament and 18 in the afternoon tournament, with players from both Genesee and Monroe counties participating.

Scott Prior posted the lowest toss total in each round, 49 and 51, respectively. 

Photos by Jennifer DiQuattro

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Event assistant directors Katie Rumble and Anna Marie Barclay with tournament winner Scott Prior.
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Bergen company celebrates another 'moment of validation' with groundbreaking

By Joanne Beck
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Craft Cannery CEO Paul Guglielmo talks to community members gathered for a groundbreaking Wednesday at the Bergen facility.
Photo by Howard Owens

Just about a year ago, Tom Riggio, partner with Paul Guglielmo of the booming Craft Cannery business venture in Bergen, spoke about the site's future expansion on Appletree Avenue and plans to hire more employees along with the physical growth.

Food and manufacturing officials brought the shovels out Wednesday for the ceremonial groundbreaking and celebration of the $1.5 million, 6,300 square-foot warehouse that will allow for a second kitchen and bottling line facility and, in turn, take on more clients, churn out more products and create more jobs.

Despite the continuous growth, there’s one element that has remained throughout the manufacturing process that may take a little more time but has most definitely been worth it for a winning product in the end, Guglielmo says.

“We make it exactly how you would make it at home. We put oil in, we let the oil get hot, and we put onion, garlic bell pepper in there and we sauté, then we add our tomatoes after that, our spices after that, and then we bottle it,” he said to The Batavian. “So, really, there's no difference between what I actually do at home versus what we're actually doing in the plant. And I think that's the secret when you get into big industrial packing. There are some secrets to how they're able to move so fast. That takes away some of that homemade aspect. So it really has to do with just making it exactly the way you make it home, just at a bigger scale.”

He spoke to a small gathering as part of the celebratory event, sharing how it all began with two special memories.

“The life-changing moment that really occurred first was when my wife told me it wasn't a stupid idea to start bottling sauce back in like 2013. The second life-changing moment was when a category merchant from Wegmans named Dan Mezzoprete showed up … and he's the guy who actually said we're gonna give this a shot, kid. So thank you,” he said to the small crowd gathered at the property. “So I think that today is really nice and validating. Grow New York was a validation for us. Today's another validation for us that we did what you set out to do when you start a business: find a problem that needs to be fixed. And I really feel as though we have found a problem that needs to be fixed.”

The company specializes in producing pasta sauces, barbecue sauces, salad dressings, oils, marinades and such on a large scale for local and regional food brands, retailers and restaurants that may not have the money, facilities, time and labor to do it themselves. As Guglielmo said, "Problem fixed."

“This world of contract manufacturing has a lot of big players who do a phenomenal job, but it doesn't have a lot of small players. There are some commissaries and commercial kitchens, and then there are big industrial co-packers, and people are doing really good jobs in those areas. But there's this thing that Cornell University described to me years ago, as almost like a death valley of contract manufacturing, and my partner Tom and I feel we really identified a niche, a problem,” he said. “And that is, our three main types of customers needed us: one was the startup entrepreneur with $1, and a dream, they want to bring their product to market, like Jerri Lynn from Blue Ridge BBQ. There's the restaurant food service, somebody who says, look, it doesn't make sense for us to come in and make dozens and dozens of gallons of barbecue sauce every day. What if you batch it for us? That will help our business efficiencies grow. And then of course, there's the regional players, like Wegmans, who we’re so proud to see here today as well, who say, Look, you know, we've got some skews that require a little more culinary expertise that we'd really like to see brought to market.”

Working at a small co-pack facility such as Craft Cannery allows staff to “really take your time on those kinds of recipes” before bringing them to market, he said, giving a thoughtful and modest nod to the company team that does “all the actual work.”

Riggio credited his partner’s dedication as the reason everyone was there to celebrate. They acquired the business nearly four years ago, and at the time, it was doing “minimal business,” Riggio said. 

“We do more in two weeks now than the business used to do in a year. The employees were three at that point. We’ve now got 15 full-time employees. When this expansion is complete, we’ll be adding another six to eight employees. We’ve actually had to turn business away over the last four years; some major players have come to us, and we just couldn’t support the business,” he said. “There are a bunch of products that are in those storage containers outside to make room for you to stand where you're standing. This is a great opportunity for us to continue to grow our business and support additional small clients, midsize clients and larger clients. We are looking forward to adding in the 6,300 square feet, looking forward to adding a second kitchen, second production line, second bottling line, and a second shift to support all of those, and we are really happy that you guys are out here.”

In the middle of COVID, about April 2020, an unflinching Guglielmo approached Wegmans Italian Foods Category Manager Steve Chichelli with his idea to open his own facility and forge a collaboration with the grocery giant. Chichelli had already known of Guglielmo as a radio personality with his stories about his grandfather’s homemade pasta sauce, and all of that had been "a great interaction.”

“So I'm thinking a guy, a local guy, ready to give jobs to a local community. And that's what Wegmans is about, too; we share a lot of the same values that he does, building up local businesses and creating jobs. So it was at that point we were like, hmm, how do we get him more? He's got his branded product, so I'm like, let's talk about private labels. Where could he fit in being a small co-packer, but let's partner him with our chef team,” Chichelli said. “So we started our endeavor with our first private label product with him, which is our Wegmans brand spicy tomato oil, one of my favorite items we have ever developed at Wegmans in the Italian categories. And that item has just grown to be great. When that launched, I mean, it was cross merchandised everywhere in the store, all departments got behind it: bakery department, prepared foods, we displayed it, and it's turned into a great item for us.”

He also said that they are developing a lemon butter and a marsala sauce to be launched this fall. 

“I give Paulie all the credit here. I'm just the guy who forms a strategy. He's the guy who works hand in hand with our chef team,” Chichelli said. “The tenacity, the passion that comes out in him—the chef team absolutely adores him.”

Major portions of the company’s growth have also been possible with infusions of funding — including $500,000 from winning second place at 2022 Grow-NY, a global food and agriculture innovation competition. 

“What began as a dream, nurtured by innovation and fueled by determination and unlikely a little bit of Paulie’s abundant energy, led to Craft Cannery’s Grow-NY winner's badge in 2022, and ultimately, a pivotal moment when their team now stands ready to embark on a new chapter of growth and success,” Program Manager Sarah Meyer said. “Beyond bricks and mortar, today we celebrate the profound impact Craft Cannery has had on its community, the Grow-NY Region and New York State as a whole. Since receiving their $500,000 prize, Craft Cannery has created and cultivated opportunities for growth and advancement as a contract manufacturer. They have established a space for innovation and created numerous job opportunities, fueling economic growth and fostering talent within their local community.”

Business neighbor Charlie Cook, founder of Liberty Pumps, further confirmed what a stellar job Gugliemo did on his Grow-NY pitch, which is viewable on the company website. Cook can see a lot of parallels between Liberty Pumps and Craft Cannery, he said.

“That we started from pretty basic beginnings and identified a niche that we could succeed at and excel at it,” Cook said. “And to have him right here in Bergen, being a Bergen business, especially a manufacturer in Genesee County, is fantastic. And it’s just been fun to watch him grow, and really, we wish him the best going forward.”

The company also received approval from Genesee County Economic Development Center for payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), sales, and mortgage tax exemptions valued at $72,496 to support the expansion. The proposed incentives for the additional 4,000 sq. ft. are estimated to return $3.06 million in projected wages and municipal revenues. The project would generate a $62 economic impact for every $1 of requested incentives.

“With their flexible and hands-on approach, we’ve seen Craft Cannery become a go-to provider for contract manufacturing,” said Chris Suozzi, Vice President of Business and Workforce Development at GCEDC. “The GCEDC was thrilled to support the expansion of Craft Cannery in our Appletree Acres business park. This project is yet another example of the continued growth of the food and beverage sector in Genesee County.”

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Participants in ceremonial groundbreaking pose for photos outside the Craft Cannery shop in Bergen.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens.
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Tom Riggio, Craft Cannery co-owner.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Charlie Cook, chairman, Liberty Pumps
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens.

GCEDC board approves Craft Cannery expansion

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) board of directors approved a final resolution for LNK Holdings Inc./Craft Cannery’s expansion of its contract manufacturing facility in the town of Bergen at its board meeting on Thursday, March 28.

The proposed $1.465 million project enables Craft Cannery to expand operations at Apple Tree Acres by adding 4,000 sq. ft. to its existing 5,000 sq. ft. facility. The USDA-certified contract manufacturer provides dozens of customers with the capacity to ramp production of sauces, dressings, marinades, and other foods, produce small-batch foods, and pilot unique recipes for commercialization.

“The agribusiness industry continues to propel our region’s economy, having a successful and growing food and beverage cluster from Bergen to Pembroke represents the type of investments that have made Genesee County a destination for the private sector,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.

The expansion will create 4 new full-time jobs and retain 6 full-time positions. Craft Cannery previously won a $500,000 grant at the 2022 Grow-NY Global Food and Agribusiness Competition that supports the expansion.

The company has requested payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), sales, and mortgage tax exemptions valued at $72,496 to support the expansion. The proposed incentives for the additional 4,000 sq. ft. are estimated to return $3.06 million in projected wages and municipal revenues. The project would generate a $62 economic impact for every $1 of requested incentives.

The GCEDC board also approved a final resolution from LeatherLeaf Solar LLC for a 5 MW community solar farm in the town of Byron. The $9 million project is projected to generate $4,000/megawatts (AC) annually + a 2% annual escalator of revenues to Genesee County and Byron-Bergen Central School District, along with a host agreement with the Town of Byron. 

Byron-Bergen drama club breathes new life into a tale as old as time

By Press Release
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Photo of Malachi Smith as “Beast” and Gianna Clark as “Belle” 
by Gretchen Spittler.

Press Release:

On Thursday, March 7 the curtain rose on the sold-out run of Byron-Bergen Drama Club’s presentation of “Beauty & the Beast”. More than just a replica of Broadway, the Drama Club created a uniquely local presentation with original costumes and set pieces, including a wood-chopping machine designed and built by the High School Technology Club. 

They also included several references to local businesses and humorous cast interactions such as a student actress facing off against her real-life father during the battle for the enchanted castle.

From the imaginative shadow puppet narrations to the enchanted cheese grater, the Drama Club had the audience completely under their spell.

The young cast was anchored by seniors HannahRae Amador, Aurora Hiscutt, Malachi Smith, pit band percussionist Quintin Rich, and numerous experienced performers from last year’s presentation of “Hairspray”. Amador supported the village and castle ensembles both as an enthusiastic pub manager with a Viking helmet and wicked pirouette as well as a feisty coatrack, not afraid to defend the castle with loud whistles and impeccable comedic timing.

Hiscutt joined Gianna Graff, Katherine Rogoyski, and Genevieve Smith as the hysterical quartet of “silly girls” swooning after the vain and villainous Gaston. Hiscutt is a team player, bringing beautiful harmonies, giggles, and shrieks to the quartet as well as stepping out into the spotlight for solo work.

Rich, the only student-musician in a pit band full of seasoned professionals, kept the beat rolling from curtain to curtain including an epic three-minute drum solo of his own composition which acted as the lone score for the castle battle scene.

M. Smith took on the title antagonist turned hero, cursed into a monstrous appearance and racing the clock to return himself and his enchanted household to human form. He balanced Beast’s fierce roar and explosive temper with soaring tortured ballads, highlighting his skilled vocals. M. Smith impressed both with his physical acting as he single-handedly battled a pack of acrobatic wolves and with the tenderness that transcended his claws and prosthetic headpiece during his interactions with Belle.

Sophomore Gianna Clark is masterfully expressive, creating a Belle who was more than just an avid reader, but whose affection for her father and enchanted friends was as real as her ever-growing contempt for her supercilious suiter, Gaston. Clark’s vocal performances showed not only her range and precision as a singer, but her talent for living the character through song.

Gaston, played by Sophomore Roman Smith, at first seemed nothing more than an arrogant buffoon with silly one-liners about his thighs, but R. Smith unleashed flashes of Gaston’s cruelty, which peaked as he and his sidekick Lefou whipped up a frenzied mob of townspeople to storm the Beast’s castle. Lefou, played by 7th grader Teagan Williams, demonstrated his talent for physical comedy in a performance full of pratfalls, spills, and some truly astonishing choreography which he nailed while also belting out lead vocals in the pub scene.

The enchanted castle is staffed by a cast of magical objects with personalities as huge as their dance numbers. They were led by key performers Rylee Burch (9th grade), Abby Cook (11th grade), Bradley Pocock (10th grade), Michael Rogoyski (8th grade), and Jade Wolff (11th grade).

Burch took the role of Madame de la Grande Bouche, an opera performer turned wardrobe whose commanding soprano melodies were as graceful as the unexpected ease with which she handled the complex choreography, as a large piece of furniture. Abby Cook doubled as Babette, the feather duster, and a primary dancer in several villager scenes. 

Also, as a Dance Captain, Cook’s fancy footwork brought energy to the dance numbers and helped maintain the storyline of ongoing flirtation with the debonaire candelabra, Lumiere played by Pocock. 

Pocock was effervescent, delivering over-the-top puns and punchlines in a rococo suit and powdered wig. His scene-stealing levity was in sharp contrast to the curmudgeonly clock, Cogsworth, played by Rogoyski. 

Rogoyski nailed the strait-laced, “tightly wound” timepiece with a pompous but good-natured air and bursts of hilarity and sincerity that brought the character to life. 

Wolff rounded out the troupe, literally, in a huge, willow-patterned hoop skirt, taking on the role of Mrs. Potts, the teapot. Wolff delivered charm, personality, and the iconic title solo. Her smooth, dynamic vocals set the scene for Belle and Beast to fall in love.

The supporting cast of villagers and enchanted objects brought depth to the musical as each performer embodied unique characters such as the baker, pin cushion, farmer, potted plant, tailor, or chandelier. The ensemble pulled in the crowd, filling the stage with energy during the epic musical numbers such as Belle’s opening stroll through town, “Human Again”, and the showstopping “Be Our Guest”. 

The stage crew, led by Estelle Dumuhosky and Maryn Meier, also played a pivotal role in moving the story seamlessly from village to castle and through to the storybook ending.

The Jr./Sr, High School students were joined by several elementary school students who danced their way through “Be Our Guest” as forks, spoons, and dinner mints. Third-graders Austyn Krol and Naylee Robinson share the role of Chip, the teacup. Both young ladies deliver energetic and adorable performances. Also joining the cast are 6th Grade Teacher Ken Rogoyski as the lovable, zany Maurice and Aaron Burch as the menacing asylum manager, Monsieur D’arque.

Byron-Bergen’s production of “Beauty & the Beast” was directed by Alyson Mercedes Tardy, musical direction by Joe Paris, pit band direction by Kevin Bleiler, and choreography by Solange Rodrigues. Congratulations to the cast, crew, staff, and volunteers.

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Photo of Rylee Burch leads a dance of enchanted objects
by Gretchen Spittler.
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Photo of Teagan Williams as “Lefou” and Roman Smith as “Gaston”
by Gretchen Spittler.
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Photo of Byron-Bergen Drama Club presenting Beauty and the Beast
by Gretchen Spittler.
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Photo of cast performing “Be Our Guest”
by Gretchen Spittler.
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Photo of Malachi Smith’s first stage appearance as “Beast” with castle cast
by Gretchen Spittler.
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Photo of (from left to right) Jade Wolff as “Mrs. Potts”, Michael Rogoyski as “Cogsworth” and Bradley Pocock as “Lumiere”
by Gretchen Spittler.

Local students on SUNY Oswego honor rolls

By Press Release

Press Release:

SUNY Oswego recently recognized several Genesee County residents as high academic achievers on its President’s List and Deans’ List for the fall 2023 semester.

President's List students are those attaining semester grade-point averages of 3.8 or higher while carrying required academic credits. Students on the President’s List include:

  • Cassidy C. Ball, Bergen, undeclared

Deans' List students are those attaining semester grade-point averages between 3.3 and 3.79 while carrying required academic credits. Students on the Dean's List include:

  • Cooper J. Fix, Batavia, wellness management
  • Ty C. Kornow, Basom, psychology
  • Mackenzie E. Lavrey, Batavia, cinema and screen studies

Law and Order: Batavia man accused of assaulting police officer during traffic stop

By Howard B. Owens
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Aaron Fix

Aaron J. Fix, 50, of Batavia, is charged with assault 2nd, resisting arrest, criminal mischief 4th, and obstructing governmental administration 2nd. Fix is accused of interfering with the arrest of another person during a traffic stop on East Main Street, Batavia. When a deputy and Batavia patrol officer attempted to take Fix into custody, Fix allegedly resisted arrest and in the process, the officer was injured and a piece of the officer's equipment was damaged. Fix was arraigned and released.

Robert P. Tomaszewski, 56, of Batavia, is charged with DWI. A Batavia patrol officer stopped Tomaszewski on March 4 on River Street. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

Alicia M. Lyons, 44, of Batavia, is charged with trespass. Lyons is accused of being at Kwik Fill on Mach 1 after being banned from the property. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Jeanna M. Hattaway, 44, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. She is also charged with obstructing government administration 2nd, resisting arrest, and criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Hattaway was located on March 4 walking on Tracy Avenue, When Batavia police officers attempted to take her into custody on the warrant. Hattaway allegedly ran from police but was caught a short distance away. Hattaway was also allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine at the time of her arrest. Hattaway was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $3,000 bail, $6,000 bond, or $12,000 partially secured bond.

Charles A. Reichert, 41, of Batavia, is charged with riding a bicycle on a sidewalk. Reichert was issued a ticket on Feb. 25 following a personal injury accident. Reichert is accused of riding on the sidewalk before riding into the path of a vehicle. 

Naquan J. Shepherd, 24, of Batavia, was arrested on a warrant issued by City Court. Shepherd was initially charged with harassment 2nd in January 2024. He was issued an appearance ticket. He is accused of failure to appear. Shepherd was arraigned and released.

Shane M. Ramos, 32, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Ramos is accused of shoving another person during a fight on Summit Street, Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Monique E. Hampson, 31, of Batavia, was arrested on March 4 on a warrant. Hampson was initially charged on Dec. 29 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle 2nd following a traffic stop on West Main Street. She is accused of failure to appear in court as ordered. Hampson was arraigned and released.

Jennifer N. Wilson, 36, of Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass 2nd, obstructing governmental administration 2nd, and resisting arrest. Wilson is accused of being inside a residence on Otis Street and then resisting arrest. She was arraigned and released.

Jonathan M. Falk, 25, of Batavia, was arrested on Feb. 26 on a warrant. He and another person allegedly stole merchandise from Seven-Eleven. Falk was initially charged with petit larceny and conspiracy 6th. He is accused of failure to appear in court as ordered. He was arraigned and released. 

Bryce D. Klehn, 18, of Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Klehn is accused of throwing a lit firework on March 2 onto the porch of a residence on Montclair Avenue. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Erica M. Esten, 36, of Oakfield, is charged with harassment 2nd. Esten is accused of hitting another person in the face in a parking lot on East Main Street, Batavia, on March 2. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Starzha Monae Hilliard, 25, of Webster Manor Avenue, Rochester, is charged with falsifying business records 1st. Hilliard is accused of providing false personal information to deputies and corrections officers after being arrested on unrelated offenses and then signing official fingerprint documents under the false identity. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Tabatha Ann Torcello, 58, of Broadway Road, Alexander, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and moving from lane unsafely. Torcello was charged after an investigation into an incident reported at 7:17 a.m. on Nov. 30.  At that time, deputies responded to a report of a car in a ditch off Route 98 in Alexander. She was arrested recently and issued an appearance ticket.

George Samuel Luce, 54, of Gildden Road, Holly, is charged with strangulation 2nd and assault 3rd. Luce is accused of chocking and punching a woman during an incident at a hotel on Park Road, Batavia, at 10:42 a.m. on March 6.

Joseph Thomas Jablonski, 59, of Clifton Avenue, Batavia, is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation 1st, unregistered motor vehicle, and vehicle with improper license plates. Jablonski was stopped at 3:29 a.m. on March 7 on Clinton Street by Sgt. Mathew Clor. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Arnold Bryan Colopy, 66, of Knowlesville Road, Alabama, is charged with torturing or injuring animals/failure to provide substance. Colopy is accused of keeping two dogs in "deplorable" conditions. Following a report at 4:11 p.m. on March 7, Deputy Alexander Hardsall allegedly found two dogs without any food or water. Colopy was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Michael Andrew Hahn, 44, of Lewiston Road, Alabama, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th, aggravated unlicensed operator, unregistered motor vehicle, and uninspected motor vehicle. Hahn was stopped by Deputy Carlos Ortiz Speed at 3:43 a.m. on March 4 on Buffalo Road, Bergen. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Jacqueline Raj Garrett, 44, of Park Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Garret is accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart at 2:50 p.m. on March 8. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Hawley visits Byron-Bergen Elementary as part of Read Across America day

By Press Release
hawley read across america day
Submitted photo of Hawley's visit to Byron-Bergen Elementary.

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) visited Byron-Bergen, Kendall, and Barclay Elementary Schools for Read Across America Day. 

Hawley read to students in Ms. Conaghan and Mrs. Stephanek’s classrooms at Byron-Bergen Elementary School and Kendall Elementary School and spoke to two second-grade classes at Barclay Elementary School while participating in their yearly ‘crazy sock day.’ 

Hawley was happy to be able to visit with the students and inspire their love for reading on Read Across America Day.

“It was great to celebrate Read Across America Day with the students at Byron-Bergen, Barclay, and Kendall Elementary Schools,” said Hawley. “Reading is a great tool that helps us expand our minds and connect with others. I want to thank all of the schools, teachers, and staff members who are helping these students each day and making events like this possible.”

University brass quintet to perform at Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church, March 10

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Roberts Wesleyan University Brass Quintet will perform a free concert at the Bergen Evangelical Presbyterian Church at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 10.

The Roberts Wesleyan Brass Quintet performs various styles ranging from early Baroque to modern music. It regularly performs at special events on and off campus, including commencement, accompanying the Chorale, and performing in departmental recitals. 

The quintet is directed by and performs with Dr. Paul Shewan, professor of instrumental studies, who teaches conducting and trumpet. Dr. Shewan is a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra trumpet section and has been a guest conductor numerous times. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The concert is part of a series the church offers to celebrate the renovation of the historic Viner pipe organ installed in the sanctuary in 1907. “We want to share a variety of music with our community, so we have planned a spring series of concerts in celebration,” said Alden Snell, church organist. 

The evening’s performance will include a performance of a hymn on the organ. 

Other concerts in the series are:

  • Jaclyn Breeze, flute, April 14, 6 pm. Ms. Breeze, from North Chili, is an American composer and flutist crafting pieces and programs that foster community between artists and audiences. Her works have been commissioned and performed by groups in North America, Europe, and Asia. 
  • George Collichio, guitar, special Door of Hope Coffeehouse event at the church, April 27, 6 p.m. Mr. Collichio is a national recording artist, performer, educator, and private guitar instructor from Rochester. He has nine national CD releases and plays over 100 shows per year. He is a college professor (guitar and music theory) and founder of "Collichio School of Music" with two locations and hundreds of students.
  • An organ recital featuring students from the Eastman School of Music will be held on Sunday, May 5, at 6 p.m. 

All concerts are at the Church, 38 South Lake St., Bergen. A free-will offering will be accepted.

Law and Order: Rochester man accused of fleeing police while in possession of large quantity of narcotics

By Howard B. Owens
chad burgess
Chad Burgess

Chad W. Burgess, 37, of St. Paul Street, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 2nd, two counts of criminal possession of a narcotic with intent to sell, three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, tampering with physical evidence, criminal use of drug paraphernalia 2nd, and unlawful fleeing a police officer. Burgess is accused of fleeing a traffic stop at 1:51 a.m. on Feb. 25 on Lewiston Road, Batavia. Both deputies and troopers pursued him before being captured on Park Road, Batavia. He was allegedly found in possession of a large quantity of narcotics. Burgess was held pending arraignment. The investigation was led by Deputy Ryan Mullen, assisted by Deputy Jeremiah Gechell.

oraid_blackshear
Oraid Blackshear

Oraid J. Blackshear, 19, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon 2nd, tampering with physical evidence, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration 2nd. Blackshear is accused of fleeing police on foot and resisting arrest on Feb. 16 after officers attempted to take him in custody on a warrant. He was allegedly found in possession of a loaded firearm. Blackshear was arraigned and jailed on $1,000 cash bail.

Nikkia M. Farias, 26, of Batavia, is charged with obstructing governmental administration 2nd and resisting arrest. Farias is accused of trying to prevent police officers from arresting another person on Feb. 16 by pulling them away from officers as they attempted to take the suspect into custody. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Alan D. Tidd, 34, of Batavia, is charged with four counts of failure to register or verify as a sex offender, second offense. Tidd is accused of failing to register four internet identifiers related to social media accounts and a phone number. He was arraigned in City Court on Feb. 16 and jailed.

Wendy L. Henry, 39, of Batavia, Brian M. Raphael, 35, of Batavia, and Jessica D. Delcour, 41, of Batavia.  Henry, Raphael, and Delcour are accused of illegally entering an apartment on Feb. 12 on Fisher Park. All three were issued an appearance ticket.

Lisa R. Richmond, 35, of Batavia, was charged on Feb. 14 with petit larceny. Richmond is accused of stealing money allegedly intended for a Batavia City School fundraiser. She was arraigned and released on her own recognizance.

Douglas G. Goodwin, 32, of Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass 3rd. Goodwin is accused of unlawfully entering a building on Harvester Avenue on Dec. 27. He was issued an appearance ticket.

John A. Cabrera, Sr., 56, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Cabrera is accused of violating a stay-away order on Feb. 11 on Washington Avenue, Batavia. He was arraigned in City Court and released.

John H. Bush, Jr., 40, of Batavia, and Jennifer K. Freeman, 40,  of Batavia, were both arrested on Feb. 15 on warrants issued by City Court. The warrants stem from a traffic stop on June 30. Bush was charged with driving on a suspended registration, aggravated unlicensed operation, resisting arrest, and criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Freeman was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th. Both are accused of failure to appear in court. They were arraigned and released.

Juan L. Figoura, 21, of Batavia, was arrested on a pair of warrants on Feb. 20. The first warrant charges Figoura with criminal contempt 1st, for allegedly violating an order of protection July 14. The other is related to an incident reported on Aug 17. Figoura is charged in that case with criminal contempt 1st, grand larceny 4th, criminal mischief 4th, petit larceny and harassment 2nd. Figoura was arraigned in City Court and remanded to the Genesee County Jail.

Ihsaan Y. Parker, 22, of Rochester, was arrested on Feb. 22 on a warrant. Parker was initially charged on Aug 2, with operating a motor vehicle with registration suspended, aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd, and operating without a valid inspection.  Parker is accused of failure to appear in court as ordered on the initial charges. He was arraigned in City Court and released.

Elijah G. Schultz, 29, of Mill Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, uninspected motor vehicle, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, and unlicensed operator. Schultz was stopped in the Village of Le Roy at 1:36 a.m. on Feb. 12 by Deputy Ryan Mullen. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Gregory George Goodberlet, 66, of Lyman Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation 1st, aggravated unlicensed operation 2nd, unlicensed driver, and moving from lane unsafely. Goodberlet was arrested at 4:39 p.m. on Feb. 19 at a location on Lyman Road following a welfare check. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

Madeline Anne Morrison, 25, of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving on a suspended registration, and drinking alcohol or using cannabis in a motor vehicle on a highway. Morrison was stopped at 2:44 a.m. on Feb. 24 on Clinton Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Jacob Kipler. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Michael Louis Harris, 55, of Marlbank Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI, failure to keep right, and moving from lane unsafely.  Harris was stopped at 1:19 a.m. on Feb. 25 on Clinton Street Road, Bergen, by Sgt. Mathew Clor. He was held pending arraignment. 

Cody Alan Bush, Sr., 38, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment 2nd. Bush is accused of threatening the life of another person during a telephone call at 8:31 a.m. on Jan. 22. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Ross Conrad Poodry, 35, of Bloomingdale Road, Akron, is charged with felony DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation 1st, reckless driving, speed not reasonable and prudent, and failure to stop at stop sign. Poodry was reportedly involved in a property damage accident at 10:11 p.m. on Feb. 28 on Akron Road, Pembroke He was held pending arraignment. 

Victoria Helen Richards, 48, of Park Road, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Richards is accused of providing a child with drugs while at the Quality Inn and Suites at 2 p.m. on Feb. 27. Richards was issued an appearance ticket.

Dustin Larry Stump, 53, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely, and driving a vehicle without an inspection certificate. Stump was stopped at 4:10 p.m. on March 1 on Byron Holley Road, Byron, by Deputy Zachary Hoy. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Rosemary Renee Waters, 37, of East Main Street Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and criminal trespass 3rd. Waters was arrested following a traffic stop and roadside investigation by Deputy Jonathan Dimmig and Deputy Zachary Hoy on Feb. 25 at 4:05 p.m. on Beaver Meadow Road, Byron. Waters is accused of trespassing on CSX Railroad property and possessing a controlled substance. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Christy Lynne Thurston, 49, of Fetzner Road, Rochester, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, resisting arrest, open container, failure to keep right, speeding not reasonable and prudent,  and moving from lane unsafely. Thurston was arrested following the report of a motor vehicle accident at 2:59 p.m. on March 3 on Lockport Road, Oakfield, investigated by Deputy Mason Schultz and Deputy Morgan Ewert. Thurston was released on an appearance ticket.

Kristen Lynn Fix, 49, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration 2nd, moving from lane unsafely, and unlicensed driver.  Fix was stopped at 10:12 p.m. on March 2, on East Main Street, Batavia, by Deputy Zachary Hoy. She was held pending arraignment.

Matthew J. Callaghan, 33, of Blue Spruce Drive, Rochester, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, and side windows not transparent. Callaghan was stopped at 12:24 a.m. on March 2 on Clay Street, Le Roy, by Deputy Carlos Ortiz Speed. He was released on an appearance ticket.

GC Health Department seeks help to find dog and owner

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Health Department is seeking information about the location of a dog and its owner(s) following a dog bite incident on Friday, Feb. 2, at 8:30 a.m. 

The incident occurred in a yard on Swamp Road near Jericho Road in Bergen. This dog has also been observed in that general area multiple times.

The dog was described as a black, lab/lab mix with a collar. The victim described the dog as well-groomed.

The health department is trying to avoid unnecessary medical treatment for the victim, so it is important to locate the dog to determine whether or not it is current on its rabies vaccination. If the vaccination status of the dog cannot be identified, post-exposure rabies shots will be recommended to the victim.

If you have information about the location of the dog and its owner(s), please contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580 ext. 5555.

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