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June 23, 2022 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Concert Band, batavia, Centennial Park, news, notify.

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The Batavia Concert Band opened its 96th season on a perfect evening in Centennial Park on Wednesday with a tribute to long-time member Bob Knipe and a thank you to its 2022 sponsors, including (but not limited to) GO ART!, Brighton Securities, WBTA, and the Batavia Rotary Club.

Upcoming concerts are at 7 p.m. on July 27, July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27, and Aug. 6.

The July 3 concert will feature soloist Dave Hollenbeck, as part of the Pam Frisby Memorial Concert Series.  

The July 27 concert will be conducted by Batavia native and resident Joshua Pacino, current music teacher at Notre Dame.

Returning for his ninth season as conductor is John Bailey, Instrumental Music teacher at Pembroke Central School District and the organization is under the leadership of General Manager Jason Smith.

The concerts in the park are free.

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June 23, 2022 - 11:52am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp..

The law firm representing Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. is preparing to file a motion to dismiss a suit filed by a former state senator alleging that the public benefit company illegally offered health insurance to its directors and improperly distributed sporting event tickets.

That’s the word from WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek this morning following the monthly board of directors meeting at the Park Road facility.

“That’s correct,” Wojtaszek responded when asked by The Batavian if filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by George Maziarz was going to be the first order of business by attorneys for Hodgson Russ LLP of Buffalo. “We don't believe it's brought properly, either substantively or procedurally. So, we'll make a motion to dismiss right off the bat.”

In mid-May, Maziarz, a state senator from Niagara County for 10 years through 2014, met with local media across the street from Batavia Downs Gaming to provide details of his suit – action that focuses on previously investigated accusations of misuse of sporting event and concert tickets and the legality of “gold-plated” health insurance given to appointed board members.

An audit by the New York State Comptroller’s office criticized WROTB over the handling of the tickets and also use of a company vehicle stemming from 2018-19, but Wojtaszek said those issues have been addressed and corrected.

Wojtaszek contends that Maziarz is waging a personal vendetta against him and WROTB in retaliation of Maziarz’s conviction of public corruption while in office.

The corporation’s board of directors this morning approved a contract to pay Hodgson Russ up to $25,000 to fight the suit.

Hodgson Russ also is representing WROTB in a $14.5 million wrongful termination lawsuit filed last August by Michael Nolan, the former chief operating officer at WROTB who was let go of his position in December 2020.

“We are just waiting for the judge to rule on the motions that are before him right now,” Wojtaszek said today. “We expect that (to happen) in three to six months.”

In other developments, Wojtaszek reported:

  • The timetable of the Park Road Reconstruction Project “is coming along very well – we still anticipate them completing the project sometime in late September, early October.”

He said the traffic pattern may be changing soon, adding that Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing, will be sure to let the public know in advance.

“We met with the contractor, CATCO, yesterday and with the Town of Batavia, and there may be some effort to open up to two-way traffic at some points of Park Road to alleviate some of the traffic jams and also to help facilitate moving the project along and completing it in a more timely manner,” he said.

Wojtaszek said officials are looking at opening the road for two-way traffic starting at the intersection of Richmond Avenue (near Alex’s Place) and north toward Veterans Memorial Drive in the next couple weeks.

“The town needs to check with all the people involved, including the emergency services and the DOT (Department of Transportation) to make sure that can be accomplished. But again, we like to move to that next phase where maybe we reopened two-way traffic and where a different part of the road is closed off entirely.”

  • The “odds are good” that the track’s harness horse racing season will be extended into January and February of 2023 as negotiations with the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association are ongoing.

“We have a good relationship with the horsemen in Western New York,” he said. “They presented us with a very reasonable plan to have the racing occur here at Batavia Downs. So, the board is inclined to have the racing in January and February and we just have to work out the details of the contract.”

The 2022 racing season is set to begin on July 20 and originally was scheduled to run through Dec. 17 (with racing two or three nights per week). Previously, Wojtaszek indicated that the WNYHHA would reimburse Batavia Downs for the cost of operating in the first two months of next year.

  • WROTB is looking to streamline its Off-Track Betting branch locations, likely moving from the current 10 throughout the region to maybe seven or eight. Along those lines, the corporation is entertaining a purchase offer for Military Road branch in Niagara Falls and will be putting the West Ridge Road, Rochester, branch on the market soon.

“We have a lot of EZ Bets now and we have our machinery at different bars and restaurants that help alleviate the need for full-scale branches,” Wojtaszek said.

  • The corporation is considering hiring an insurance consultant in the wake of rising premiums.

The board approved a resolution to pay $1,089,824 to Garland Insurance & Financial Services for property and casualty liability insurance for one year, through June 1, 2023. Wojtaszek said the premium increase by about 7 percent from the previous year.

“The insurance industry has gone up, overall. We know that it’s a very tough environment, but the increase was substantial,” he said. “So, yes, we’d like to have someone else look at it try to help us with the insurance.”

Previously: Former state senator with his own corruption history files lawsuit against Batavia Downs alleging corruption

Previously: WROTB's Genesee County director sees 'no basis' for Nolan's lawsuit vs. corporation, president, board chair

June 23, 2022 - 8:20am

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Rendering by JMZ Architects and Planners for the new Student Success Center, shows the Conable Technology Building, to the far right, which is slated for a new roof.

It looks like Genesee Community College will be getting a new turf field, cooling tower, arts center connector and a roof for Conable Technology Building, with half of it to be paid for by Genesee County.

The county Legislature approved the request for 50 percent funding — $1.3 million — of the college’s capital projects during its Wednesday meeting.

The projects are to cost $950,000 for the turf field; $1.06 million for a new roof; $410,000 for cooling tower; and $180,000 for the  Arts Center connector replacement for a total of $2.6 million. The Legislature had committed to paying for half in November 2021, and the bill has been delivered. The county’s Ways & Means Committee had previously reviewed and recommended that the county pony up for the expense.

During talks last fall, college President James Sunser had called the projects “long-standing critical needs,” and urged the Legislature to enter into a 50-50 agreement to pay for them. The projects are part of GCC’s Facilities Master Plan, which was approved by the college’s Board of Trustees before being submitted to Genesee County and New York State’s Dormitory Authority. If the county committed to paying for half, the state would do likewise, Sunser had said.

The turf field will be a replacement for the nearly 13-year-old soccer and lacrosse field adjacent to Richard C. Call Arena; a new cooling tower would replace one that is “well past its useful life,”while an updated connective corridor will be situated between original buildings, from the cafeteria to the fine arts building and theater. A new roof for the Conable Technology Building would shore up one that was part of the original 2000 structure, which has developed leaks, Sunser had said. A new parking lot for Conable, at a cost of $800,000, would have made the county's total $1.7 million, and is not on the list approved by the Legislature.

At that meeting in November, Legislator Gary Maha had expressed concern about doling out $70 million for a new county jail, and that this additional spending was “kind of hard to swallow in one year.” Nonetheless, the full Legislature agreed to the move on Wednesday.

The county plans to transfer $1.3 million into the general budget, with 1 percent of sales tax offsetting the increased spending.

“Genesee County will be responsible for $1.3 million for said projects,” the resolution states.

 

June 23, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, County Legislature, batavia, notify.

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In a time when gasoline has hugged the $5 a gallon price, and everything from food and clothing to furniture seems to be climbing in cost, sometimes it makes sense to flip the script.

That’s what Genesee County Legislator John Deleo did for the traditional prayer before Wednesday’s meeting.

Instead of posturing for divine guidance, he simply asked for some comfort.

“We ask you to look over us,” he said in the Old Courthouse chambers. “Inflation, the state of the nation … are taking a toll on us. People are finding it harder to buy food, or gas to go to work.”

In a June 10 article, “Inflation Sped Up Again in May, Dashing Hopes for Relief,” The New York Times pointed to high inflation and the Federal Reserve’s attempts to control it as contributing to “a sour economic mood.”

“Consumer confidence, which has been sinking since last year as households shoulder the burden of higher prices, plunged to a new low in a report out Friday,” the article stated. “President Biden’s approval ratings have also suffered, and Wall Street economists and small-business owners increasingly worry that a recession is possible in the next year.”

No wonder Deleo put away the platitudes and took to straight talk. The pressure is mounting, he said, and he asked the “heavenly Father” to keep people in His care.

“And give them the strength to get us through this,” the legislator said.

He also tacked on a plea that, instead of turning water into wine, that there are other, more valuable commodities to focus on.

“Let’s go with gas and diesel,” he said.

2022 File Photo of Genesee County Legislator John Deleo during a county meeting. Photo by Joanne Beck.

June 23, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sunset, news, pembroke.

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Photo submitted by Joanne Meiser.

June 22, 2022 - 10:48pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, County Legislature, mental health services, notify.

An approved request for $55,000 to pay for after-hours mental health services for the remaining six months of this year will extend Spectrum Health and Human Services to Dec. 31.

Genesee County Legislature approved the request Wednesday as one of 11 items previously reviewed by the Ways & Means Committee earlier this month.

The county’s day treatment program was closed, and funding for that will be redirected to the after-hours, on-call mental health needs of the county, Director of Community Mental Health Services Lynda Battaglia had previously said.

The goal is to potentially use county mental health staff for the after-hours needs, however, that’s not feasible given a current staffing shortage, staff had said. At the time, Legislator Gary Maha questioned the $55,000 price tag and short-term time period.

“For six months?” he said. “That’s a lot of money.”

The services were used mostly during the pandemic, staff said.

Genesee County Legislature agreed to provide a total not to exceed $55,0000; it will be transferred out of personal services, arts and crafts, activity fees, and food and paper monies that were not expended due to the closure of the Day Treatment program earlier this year.

Spectrum Health and Human Services is based in Orchard Park. The agency’s original contract was due June 30, which has now been extended to the end of this year for crisis services.

Other approvals included:

  • To set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. July 27 for an amended local law regarding the county’s weighted voting plans. There is also to be a public hearing at this time for a proposed operating budget for Genesee Community College's academic year 2022-23 in the amount of $37.2 million, with a sponsor share of $2,736,374. Genesee County is responsible for the sponsor share, and this reflects a $50,000 increase from the past year's share.
  • To set a temporary part-time position for the Board of Elections to assist with early voting, per election law mandates. The position has been established at a rate of $20 per hour effective June 27, and has been created due to the impending retirement of a current Democratic board clerk/machine technician. The departing employee is to be available to help train the new, part-time person. This move has a budgeted salary of $55,000, deemed “sufficient for 2022.”
  • A bid of $1,468,100 by Montante Construction for stonework at Genesee Justice, 14 West Main St., Batavia.
June 22, 2022 - 10:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pembroke Central Schools, schools, education, news, pembroke.

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A lot can change in 52 years -- monumental world events like wars, recessions, and pandemics pass by, and new inventions like mobile devices and electric cars transform lives.

But some things stay constant.  

Love, for example.

That's the case for Greg Kinal, who grew up in Elma and then accepted a job teaching social studies at Pembroke High School.

"Prior to taking the job in 1970, I had never been to Genesee County," Kinal told The Batavian on Wednesday. "I didn't know Batavia was here.  "But once I arrived in Pembroke, I fell in love with the community. I fell in love with the kids. I fell in love with the school.  It’s hard for me to come up with the idea that I’m going to be leaving.  I just love this area."

In 52 years of teaching at Pembroke, Kinal said he's taught all manner of young people -- high achievers and those who get by -- but he's found, and it's the reason he loves the kids, that they are all eager to learn.

"Sometimes you get the impression, 'oh, social studies --  groan,' but when we learn about the Vietnam War, kids bring in their grandfathers' medals, or when we talk about World War I, they talk about their family history. There is always interest in the topics we go over."

Now it's time to slow down, said the 74-year-old Kinal, who has two biological children and two stepchildren, and four grandchildren. In retirement, he still plans to be a substitute teacher, but he wants life to move at a slower pace.

"I find that I come to school on Monday and the next day, suddenly, it's Friday," Kinal said.  "I want to take it easier and not have my whole life be in a rush."

Photo illustration courtesy Pembroke Central School District.

June 22, 2022 - 9:48pm
posted by Press Release in Announcements.

Press release:

Dawn Hunter of Batavia, NY, (14020) earned Part-Time Honors at SUNY Canton during the spring 2022 semester. Hunter is a SUNY Canton Legal Studies major.

The college created Part-Time Honors to recognize students who earned at least a 3.25 GPA in 6 to 11 credit hours of course work. It stands alongside the college's Dean's List and President's List as one of the top awards given for academic success.

SUNY Canton offers extensive support for its part-time student populations, including prior learning assessments in addition to veteran and military services. It is currently recruiting non-traditional students and individuals who may have some college but no degree. The college offers online degrees and in-person completion programs which are designed to help meet the need of balancing work, family and other obligations.

June 22, 2022 - 9:47pm
posted by Press Release in Announcements.

Press release:

SUNY Canton recognizes approximately 600 students for earning a spot on the President's List during the spring 2022 semester.

"President's List is the highest recognition awarded for academic success during a single semester," said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. "I hope that you take great pride in this impressive achievement. I appreciate your hard work and I wish you the best in your future endeavors."

President's List recognizes full-time students who achieve a 3.75 or greater GPA. A complete list of all honor students runs on www.canton.edu.

The SUNY Canton President's List Includes:

  • Zechariah Gowanlock, a SUNY Canton Emergency Management major from East Bethany.
  • Tonya D. Dioguardi, a SUNY Canton Health Care Management major from Le Roy.
June 22, 2022 - 9:44pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after text was advanced for the bipartisan Senate gun safety legislation. 

"The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act represents meaningful reforms that I believe will decrease gun violence and save lives. This bill is thoughtful, balanced, and comprehensive. I will do all I can to advocate for this bill’s passage in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support."

June 22, 2022 - 8:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barber Conable Post Office Building, batavia, news.

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At first blush, it looks like another bureaucratic SNAFU. The newly installed railing on the newly installed cement steps outside the Barber Conable Post Office Building in Downtown Batavia encloses more than half the structure.

The design has drawn derisive comments on social media, such as "Great example of wasting tax dollars."

There is an explanation, said Mark Lawrence, strategic communications specialist for the USPS in WNY.

"The Batavia Post Office had a water infiltration issue that could only be accessed by removing a large portion of the front steps and the handicap-accessible ramp," Lawrence told The Batavian in an email. "The repairs were completed and the front steps were returned to their original state.  The handrails are in the original location, as they previously were, in order to reduce slips, trips, and falls."

Previously: Batavia's post office building is 100 years old

Top photo by Howard Owens

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File photo from 2019. Photo by Howard Owens.

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An undated postcard of the Batavia Post Office sometime after the cement steps were installed.

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The post office shortly after its construction in 1919.

 

June 22, 2022 - 2:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, batavia, news, notify.
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Fantasia Speed Dontaya Kyles

Fantasia Octavia Speed, 21, of Weaver Street, Rochester, is charged with grand larceny 3rd, grand larceny 4th, and conspiracy 5th. Speed is accused of stealing something from Walmart at 3:28 p.m., June 20.  Speed was released on her own recognizance.  The grand larceny 4th charge stemmed from a an arrest warrant held by the State Police. NOTE: Attempts to obtain more information on the alleged offense, specifically what was stolen, from the Sheriff's Office were unsuccessful.

Dontaya Nell Kyles, 30, of Affinity Lane, Greece, is charged with grand larceny 3rd. Kyles is accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart valued at more than $3,000. Kyles was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released on her own recognizance.

Lauren Kay Pellegrino, 40, of West Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with assault 3rd and menacing 3rd. Pellegrino is accused of assaulting another person at 8:45 p.m., June 20. She was arrested by Officer John Ceneviva and arraigned in Le Roy Town Court. She was released on her own recognizance and an order of protection was issued for her alleged victim.

Peter Jerome Vangalio, 49, of Genesee Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Vangalio is accused of going to the home of a person of a protected party in an order of protection at 11:55 p.m., June 19, on Genesee Street in Le Roy.  He was arrested by Officer Zachary Klafehn and released on an appearance ticket.

June 22, 2022 - 1:51pm
posted by Press Release in Floyd Rayburn, NY-24, news.

Press release:

Congressional hopeful, Finger Lakes contractor and Canandaigua resident Floyd Rayburn, learned the fate of his campaign today, after court proceedings in which his petition signatures were challenged by Claudia Tenney’s campaign. He will not be on the Republican Primary ballot for New York’s 24th Congressional District. However, candidates with signatures from well outside the district will remain.

Rayburn promised supporters to fight for small business owners; to combat inflation, including soaring gas prices, ensure equal pay for all through skills-based wages and revamp the failing education system.

“I’m disappointed that I will not appear on the primary ballot,” said Rayburn. “We ran into some issues with some of our petitions, knocking us down below the required number of signatures. At the time same, I’m frustrated with the disservice being done to the residents of this district. I had only 17 days to collect and vet more than 1,000 signatures. My opponents, however, had 38 days to do the same. Unlike Ms. Tenney, I sought out the approval of district residents and received their signatures in support of my campaign to represent them. Her petition signatures are from an entirely different district: the one she had initially announced her run for.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support and their hard work on my behalf. It is my sincere desire to serve this district, and my country, in Washington. Rest assured, I will mount another campaign in the future and deliver on my campaign promises. Our struggling residents need help. They need someone from the district who understands their issues and someone who has put in time building the community and raising a family in it as I have. Claudia Tenney, a known ‘carpetbagger’ and divisive politician, is neither.”

Rayburn is a lifelong resident of the Finger Lakes region, a contractor and a small business owner who has completed projects and created hundreds of jobs throughout the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions. For the last 40 years, he has owned and operated one of the most successful masonry businesses in Upstate New York, helping to build the district with his own hands. Born and raised in Bloomfield, Rayburn grew up working on his family’s dairy farm and also understands the difficulties of the state’s countless farmers.

While Rayburn got support from within the district – with only 17 days in which to collect signatures –Tenney collected signatures for the redrawn 23rd Congressional District she originally announced she would run for in Central New York and the Southern Tier.

When the maps were redrawn again, Tenney abandoned her bid and decided to run for the 24th District seat which includes most of Oswego County, parts of the Finger Lakes, and goes into Western New York’s Niagara County. She is now running for a different seat, in an entirely different region of the state, yet she was allowed to submit signatures that are not only from counties outside the district she is bidding to represent but nowhere close to it. Tenney does not live in the district, as Rayburn has his entire life, she garnered little to no support from actual residents of the district, nor has she spent any time representing it throughout her political career.

Similarly, Mario Fratto, another challenger for the 24th District’s Republican nomination, received many of his signatures from outside the district as he originally set his sights on another. In fairness, he does have signatures from within the district as he is a resident of Geneva, which was originally considered part of the district he first planned to run for – an entirely different situation than Tenney’s move to find the path of least resistance.

Regardless of the situation, both candidates had unfair advantages by having 38 days – compared to Rayburn’s 17 – to collect nearly the same amount of signatures and by being allowed to submit signatures from residents outside the district which they had already collected. This is a disservice to those who reside in New York’s new 24th Congressional District, as one of their own is now denied the opportunity to represent them.

June 22, 2022 - 1:45pm
posted by Press Release in Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern, religion, charity, news.

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Press release:

Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern announced today the appointment of Robert (Bob) Harker of Clarendon as the agency’s new Executive Director. Bob brings with him the skills the Board of Directors believes will promote agency growth, and expand services, allowing it to be of even greater service to people in need in the Genesee / Orleans County areas.

“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to help guide and grow Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern in its role as the “agency of last resort”. We strive to provide services to individuals and families that for one reason or another are not being served by more conventional community assets. ”

Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern was formed in the 1950s, serving immigrants that settled in the area. In 1968 the Ministry was incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and began serving the poor and working poor that are facing hardship or crisis. Donations are tax-deductible.

Donations, volunteers, and ideas are always welcome. Bob can be reached at (585) 589-9210.

https://ministryofconcern.org/
121 North Main St. Suite 311
Albion, NY 14411

June 22, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Press Release in Sheriff's Office, news.

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Press release:

Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Mason S. Schultz graduated from the 140th Basic Course for Police Officers at the Erie County Law Enforcement Training Academy on June 3, 2022. 

Deputy Schultz is a 2018 graduate of Akron Central School.  Following high school, Deputy Schultz attended Erie County Community College where he earned an Associate’s Degree in General Studies in 2020.  Deputy Schultz is a second-generation law enforcement officer and was previously employed by the New York State Park Police and the University of Arkansas Police Department.

Deputy Schultz’s strong desire to become a police officer is evident in that he enrolled himself in the Erie County Law Enforcement Academy in 2021, while actively seeking employment during his attendance. 

Sheriff Sheron stated, “Deputy Schultz is currently participating in our 14-week field training program and is a great addition to our road patrol.”

June 22, 2022 - 1:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered you must sign in using the "sign-in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Sign-in issues? First, make sure you are registered for Day using the link at the top of this post; Second, if you know you're registered, use the "sign-in" link in this post; do not use the "login" box on the left side of the page.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Howard Owens:   [email protected]
June 21, 2022 - 10:14pm

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Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

Byron resident Terry Speed learned that about his impromptu turnaround at a home on Oak Street, Batavia. He and his wife Dawn purchased the one-family building in 2016, complete with a small turnaround in the front yard. The soil settled and it became a small pond, he said.

Speed then dug a channel through the sunken area so that water could escape. He has applied for a variance to add 12 feet of loose stone to his existing 23-foot-wide driveway. That would make a 48 percent lot frontage at the Oak Street property. According to city code, “the width of driveways and parking spaces may not exceed 25 percent of lot frontage,” prompting the need for a variance.

“We needed to come and speak with you people.  I was told to apply for a variance,” Speed said during Tuesday’s City Planning & Development Committee meeting. “I would like to have a proper turnaround. I jumped the gun, it’s my fault.”

He has a business variance for his wife’s beauty salon to operate in the back of the home, he said. Customers usually arrive one at a time, but there are occasions when there are three vehicles (including his wife’s) in the driveway at one time. Given the amount of traffic on Oak Street, which is state Route 98, it’s difficult for customers to back out of the drive, he said. He added that he also thought it was illegal to back out onto a state roadway.

“People in and out of there are having a hard time,” Speed said. “Something’s going to happen. She’s hearing horns blow.”

In his application, Speed said that this issue is “due to bumper-to-bumper traffic on Oak Street weekdays,” and is therefore not a self-created problem.

As for the legal aspects of backing out onto Route 98, according to New York State’s vehicle and traffic law, there are limitations on backing up a vehicle. Section 1211 states that “the driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic. The driver of a vehicle shall not back the same upon any shoulder or roadway of any controlled-access highway.”

Still, allowing for the turnaround proposed by Speed “seems like an excessive amount, and sets a precedent for neighbors,” committee member Ed Flynn said.

He and fellow members discussed the options and issues with such a set-up, and eventually recommended a compromise: a 10-foot by 18-foot turnaround that is at least 18 feet from the road and 10 feet from the sidewalk.

Speed will continue the process with the Zoning Board of Appeals later this week.

For anyone who lives on Oak Street or other similar streets that coincide with busy state highways, how do you get out of your driveways? The Batavian would like to know your solutions for a follow-up article. Email them to: [email protected]

Illustration: Satellite view of Oak Street property requiring a variance for a larger turnaround area. Heavy traffic on Oak Street (Route 98), Batavia, prompted the variance request to create more space for visitors to turn around versus backing out onto the street. Illustration provided by City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee.

June 21, 2022 - 9:24pm

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Residents of Le Roy and beyond are invited to “Jam at the Ridge” as the summer concert series continues on June 24.

The Jam at the Ridge Campground, located on Conlon Road, features a natural amphitheater set against a former ski hill. Following the Jam at the Ridge series’ Memorial Day opening, Owner David Luetticke-Archbell expressed his gratitude for the efforts of his team.

“Our business is a family business, so everybody helps everybody,” said Luetticke-Archbell in an interview with The Batavian. “If you can’t bring your two-year-old and their grandparents to our concerts, then we’ve done something wrong.”

The series, centered on country and rock music, features upcoming performances from a range of local and traveling artists. Performers of the group Them Dirty Roses, a Southern American rock band, will play a set of original songs on July 15. Their music exceeds a combined 21 million streams on Spotify’s music streaming platform for their 2017 eponymous EP.

In an interview with The Batavian, guitarist Andrew Davis introduced his bandmates. 

“We’re a four-piece; along with my guitar, James Ford is the lead singer, Ben Crain is the bass player, and Frank Ford is the drummer,” said Davis. “We are all from a small town in Alabama called Gadsden.”

Them Dirty Roses will open for The Steel Woods, an American Country Rock band. Davis expressed his admiration for the Nashville-based performers pending the Le Roy performance. 

“We love the Steelwoods, we’re all good friends,” said Davis. “We’ve played together multiple times in the past— it’s always a good time when we get together.” 

Further, Davis commented on his expectations for Them Dirty Roses’ performance at the July show.

“It’s always a high-energy rock & roll show— if you’re not on your feet at the beginning, you will be by the end of it,” Davis said. “It’s all about a good time for everybody, so we think that it’s definitely going to be a party.”

Following Them Dirty Roses’ performance with The Steel Woods, vocalists and instrumentalists of the band The Georgia Thunderbolts will perform at The Ridge on July 16. Featured in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Country Music Picks, The Georgia Thunderbolts exceed a combined one million streams for their releases on Spotify. Lead singer TJ Lyle introduced his six-member band, featuring drummer Bristol Perry, lead guitarist Riley Couzzourt, rhythm guitarist Logan Tolbert, and bass guitarist Zach Everett.

“Logan and I grew up together, and the bass player Zach was actually Logan’s neighbor,” said Lyle. “Riley and Bristol knew each other from high school.”

As for Le Roy’s performance, Lyle reflected on his experiences throughout the region. 

“We’re starting to pick up a following on the East Coast; we’ve been very well received,” said Lyle. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to come back up there. It’s where we have some of our best crowds.”

Tickets for the Jam at the Ridge concerts are available for purchase on the campground website at: https://www.jatrny.com/home. Tickets may also be purchased over the phone by calling the camp store at (585) 768-4883 or visiting The Ridge in person at 8101 Conlon Rd.

The series will resume on June 24 with a performance by Jason Michael Carroll, a country musician from Houston, Texas. 

Photo: The Georgia Thunderbolts live, courtesy of Rory Linton, 2022. Pictured left to right: drummer Bristol Perry, lead guitarist Riley Couzourtt, lead singer TJ Lyle, rhythm guitarist Logan Tolbert, and bass guitarist Zach Everett. 

June 21, 2022 - 5:56pm
posted by Press Release in GCC, news, education.

Press release:

The U.S. Department of Education announced that Genesee Community College's TRiO Upward Bound Program will receive a 5-year, $1.5 million federal Upward Bound grant for both Genesee and Wyoming Counties ($3 million total) to help more low-income students who would be the first members of their families to earn degrees, to prepare for and enroll in college.

Upward Bound is an intensive intervention program that prepares students for higher education through various enrichment courses. At least two-thirds of the students in each local Upward Bound program are from low-income economic backgrounds and families in which neither parent has a bachelor's degree. GCC's Upward Bound program services seven schools in Genesee and Wyoming Counties.

Many Upward Bound alumni have gone on to great success, among them Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, Correspondent for ABC News John Quinones and Hall of Fame NBA player Patrick Ewing.

"We are so pleased to be able to provide these vital services to the students of Genesee and Wyoming Counties. Without Upward Bound, many underprivileged students might lack some of the opportunities or skills needed to obtain a college degree," said Lisa Krause, director of Upward Bound Programs at GCC.

Campus-based Upward Bound programs provide students instruction in literature, composition, mathematics, science, and foreign language during the school year and the summer. Upward Bound also provides intensive mentoring and support for students as they prepare for college entrance exams and tackle admission applications, financial aid and scholarship forms.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86% of Upward Bound participants enroll in postsecondary institutions immediately following high school graduation. In fiscal year 2021, more than 70,000 students enrolled in 966 Upward Bound TRiO projects in the United States.

In 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act established Upward Bound as a pilot program in response to the War on Poverty. It was the first of seven federal "TRiO" programs to later be authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success, bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college peers have had and helps remove obstacles preventing students from thriving academically.

"As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRiO programs like Upward Bound take on new importance because they continue to help students who are low-income and first-generation to earn college degrees," said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities nationwide.

As of 2021, over 3,000 TRiO projects serve approximately 855,000 participants yearly. TRiO projects are in every state and territory in the nation.

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

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