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September 28, 2018 - 1:46pm


Matt Grover from Troop 6006 of the First United Presbyterian Church presented his Eagle Project to Greg Post of the Town of Batavia this past Wednesday evening at Kiwanis Park in Batavia in front of friends, family and contributors to the project.

The project started last winter with a constructed sheet metal form from scrap to pour six concrete bench legs along with wood and other materials to make three benches. They were installed on Labor Day weekend by friends, family and with the help of his scout troop.

Various area businesses in Western New York include Marlin Salmon, DDS, from Salmon Orthodontists in Batavia was a huge contributor to this project. Other contributors were Brad Veley Masonry from Varysburg, Joe's Pro Shop and Trophy’s Batavia, Unidex machine shop from Warsaw, Paul from T R Goldsmith & Son Inc. in Tonawanda, and Don Anderson from the troop. 

"The project was an amazing learning experience and had endless challenges, problem solving involved but at points proved very difficult and I often had no clue how I was going to solve a specific issue, but with the help of my personal engineer and father it turned out better than I could ever imagine," Matt said, adding that "the skills I have learned in this will help me in endeavors in college, the military and the workforce."



Matt presents Batavia orthodonist Marlin Salmon with a plaque.



Town of Batavia Supervisor Greg Post congratulates Matt.


September 28, 2018 - 1:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Batavia FIre Department, hydrant flushing.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Monday, Oct. 1, from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the areas south of Main Street and east of Jackson Street.

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

September 28, 2018 - 1:22pm

Press release:

Batavia Downs has announced the lineup for the upcoming Legends and Stars collectors' expo to be held on Oct. 27th and 28th.

Former Dallas football player, three time Super Bowl champion, NFL Hall of Famer, and all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith will appear on Sunday. Also appearing Sunday will be former Buffalo football players including: Bruce Smith, Andre Reed, Marv Levy, Darryl Talley, Billy Shaw, Kurt Shultz, Antowain Smith, Mark Maddox and John Davis.

“We are extremely pleased to be welcoming back the Legends and Stars Collectors Expo,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president at Batavia Downs. “Bringing athletes of the past and present to Batavia Downs so that people can meet their sports heroes is something we and our customers look forward to each year.”

Current Buffalo football player Kelvin Benjamin will appear on Saturday as will former Buffalo hockey stars Matthew Barnaby and Pat Lafontaine.

“Legends and Stars are pleased to be returning to Batavia Downs for our Fall Sports Expo,” said Legends and Stars staff member Chris Sabatello. “With a robust lineup of autograph guests and sold-out Paddock Room filled with high quality sports memorabilia dealers, we expect this show to be a first-class experience for fans and collectors alike.”

Rounding out the show’s football stars include Ken Anderson, former Cincinnati Bengal, Mark Duper and Mark Clayton, former Miami Dolphin standouts and former Patriots teammates Irving Fryar and Steve Grogan -- all on Saturday.

Baseball fans may seek out Yankees great Ron Guidry, White Sox standout Jack McDowell and former Pirate Andy Van Slyke, all appearing on Saturday.

Appearing both days is actor Dwier Brown, who cinema fans may recognize as John Kinsella from the movie "Field of Dreams."

The show takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Cost is $8 for admission (Kids 12 and under are free) and all attendees 18 years of age or older receive $7 in Free Play. Each paid admission includes one free autograph to a designated guest.

Specific information on which athletes are appearing on what days, the times they will be appearing and cost of signatures can be found at legendsandstars.net

About Batavia Downs/WROTB

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 29 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a Standardbred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated more than $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

September 28, 2018 - 1:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in Stafford, Announcements, history.
The Stafford Historical Society will present a matinee program with Cynthia Howk, architectural research coordinator for Landmark Society of Western New York at its next meeting on Sunday, Oct. 14.
It begins at 2 p.m. in the Stafford Town Hall, 8903 Route 237, Stafford.
Howk's program will be "Discover Stafford -- 200 Years of Historic Architecture." The presentation will include slides of houses, barns, well-houses, smokehouses, carriage steps, hitching posts and other historic resources found in Stafford.
The public is invited -- bring family members and friends.
September 28, 2018 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in job fair, batavia, news, business, employment.

A Job Fair that is free and open to the public is being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Genesee County Career Center.

It is located at 587 E. Main St. in Batavia.

Come and interview with these companies:

  • Adecco
  • Alpina
  • Chapin International
  • HP Hood
  • Kelly Services
  • Lapp Insulator
  • Lifetime Assistance
  • Oatka Milk
  • Remedy Intelligent Staffing

Additional companies may be added.

Bring your resume and dress professionally.

This is an Equal Opportunity Employers/Program.

September 28, 2018 - 12:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Le Roy, Alabama, pembroke, Darien.

Christine M. Jones, 31, of Hutchins Place, Batavia, is charged with illegally disposing of items (unspecified) at 9:45 a.m. on Sept. 26 on State Street. She was arrested and given an appearance ticket for illegal dumping. She is due in City Court on Oct. 4. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kyle Krtanik, assisted by Officer Frank Klimjack.

Jeremy J. Alwardt, 29, of Church Street, Le Roy, is charged with second-degree criminal trespass and second-degree harassment. He was arrested at 7:50 p.m. on Sept. 26 after a disturbance during which he allegedly forced entrance into an individual's porch and struck the person. He  was arraigned and jailed in lieu of unspecified bail and was due in Batavia City Court on Thursday. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller, assisted by Officer Chad Richards.

Adam A. Alwardt, 30, of Willow Street, Batavia, is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. He was arrested at 7:06 p.m. on Sept. 24 on Willow Street in Batavia after a domestic incident wherein he allegedly damaged property belonging to another person. He was arraigned and jailed on $1,500 cash or bond and was due to return to City Court on Tuesday. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Jamie Givens.

A male who lives on Chick Road in Darien, no other information provided, was arrested at 8:20 p.m. on Sept. 26 on Chick Road following a domestic incident. The household member is charged with third-degree menacing and second-degree harassment. He is scheduled to appear in Darien Town Court on Oct. 23 to answer the charges. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Forsyth, assisted by Deputy Erik Andre.

Megan Elizabeth King, 24, of Fisher Road, Alabama, is charged with driving with a BAC of .08 percent or more and DWI -- first offense. She was arrrested at 9:39 p.m. on Sept. 26 on Main Road in Pembroke following an investigation into a motor-vehicle accident that occured on Route 5 in the Town of Pembroke on July 26. It is alleged that King was operating the vehicle with a BAC greater than .08 percent. She was issued an appearance ticket for Pembroke Town Court and is due there on Oct. 4. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Travis DeMuth, assisted by Deputy Chad Minuto.

Kevin J. Fickel, 37, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 23 at Tops market after he allegedly exited the store without paying for several items. He is due in City Court on Oct. 2. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller, assisted by Officer Jamie Givens.

September 28, 2018 - 11:32am

Press release:

Tonight at Van Detta Stadium, Batavia will play Attica in the last football game before construction starts next week on the new stadium. 

List of scheduled events:

  • 7 p.m. -- Football senior players will be recognized.
  • At halftime, Homecoming winners will be announced.
  • The Batavia High School Varsity cheerleaders will perform.
  • The pep band will play to lead alumni on the field.
  • Announcer Paul Spiotta will read a speech from the school district.
September 28, 2018 - 11:22am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, bergen.

A total of 14 firearms were taken from the Firing Pin shooting range in Bergen shortly before 11 o'clock last night, according to an incident report issued this morning by Deputy Ryan DeLong of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

The building at 8240 Buffalo Road was forcibly entered. All the stolen weapons -- including firearms, rifles and shotguns -- have been entered into the state and national databases, and local, state and federal law enforcement agenices have been notified.

The offenses commited at the Firing Pin include: third-degree burglary -- illegal entry with intent to commit a crime; grand larceny in the fourth degree; and grand larceny in the third degree -- property value exceeding $3,000.

There are no similar crimes reported in Genesee County.

Sheriff's Investigator James Diehl is designated to lead the case and anyone with information is asked to call him at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3571.

September 28, 2018 - 10:00am

Genesee Valley Farm & Crematory is dedicated to serving the needs of pet owners and their beloved pets.

As a family-owned and operated Genesee county business for more than 50 years, we pride ourselves in quality care and attention to detail that our clients have come to know and expect.

As pet owners ourselves, we understand that your pet was a vital part of your family and we try to help you deal with this loss. We would like to offer you peace of mind through a dignified farewell to a dear friend.

We are committed to exceptional service and pride ourselves in providing a friendly, personal touch for your pets final needs. Call us today 585-343-5878.

September 27, 2018 - 2:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in pembroke, Darien, road maintenance, Colby Road paving, news.
Advisory from the GC Highway Department:


Please be advised that the Genesee County Highway Department will be paving Colby Road from Sumner Road to Route 5 33, in Darien and Pembroke, beginning Monday, Oct. 1st through Thursday, Oct. 4th.

The road will be closed for thru traffic. Local traffic, including school buses and emergency vehicles, will still have access to the roadway during paving.

There will be a notification when the road reopens.

The correction was provided today, Sept. 28, by the Highway Department.

September 27, 2018 - 1:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

When the going got tough, Machin Marley got going and won the $9,000 Open Handicap pace for fillies and mares at Batavia Downs on Wednesday evening (Sept. 26). 

Machin Marley (Drew Monti) hit the pylons last while Little Joke (Billy Davis Jr.) fired off the wings to take the early lead. But Little Joke would soon submit to a takeover coup by Sportsmuffler (John Cummings Jr.) who came hard midway up the backstretch. The field stayed in single file past the half in a tepid :30 second quarter before Kaitlyn Rae (Ray Fisher Jr.) pulled first over at the five-eighths. 

The top two tangled to the three-quarters in 1:26.1 with neither getting an advantage. Then in the turn, Badlands Delight (Kevin Cummings) tipped three-deep and Machin Marley went four-wide from last and had almost five lengths to make up. With the whole field racing literally side-by-side in the lane, Machin Marley flew down the center of the track and collared them all at the wire to win in 1:55.2. 

It was the sixth win in 30 starts this year for Machin Marley ($15.20) who now has earned $39,381 for owners Thatsideofthefence and John Mungillo, who also does the training. 

In the $8,000 Open II pace for fillies and mares, Aritzia Hanover (Billy Davis Jr.) got away mid-pack before pulling first-over to out-muscle Rockin Kasbah (Kevin Cummings) through the second lap and win by a length in 1:57.1. Aritzia Hanover ($4.40) is owned by Vogel & Wags Nags Stable and Pine Hill Racing. Maria Rice trains the winner. 

Drew Monti and Billy Davis Jr. both had driving triples on Wednesday. Monti is the current dash driving leader for the meet with 64 wins. Davis is third with 48 wins behind Kevin Cummings who sits in second with 60. 

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Sept. 28) with post time set for 6 p.m.

September 27, 2018 - 1:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in PETA, animal abuse, animal neglect, news, Announcements, Le Roy, pets.

Press release from PETA:

At around 8:30 on Saturday morning, a passerby discovered a cat inside a plastic bin—which was taped shut with duct tape and had no holes or other means of ventilation—abandoned on the side of the road at the intersection of Munson and Gilbert streets in Le Roy.

Officers believe that the male long-haired cat had been left there for approximately 20 minutes, and surveillance footage shows a white pickup truck at the scene.

The cat, now named Munson, is currently at the Genesee County Animal Shelter, but police have yet to determine who's responsible for abandoning him and leaving him to suffocate.

That's why PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction on cruelty-to-animals charges of the person or persons responsible for this crime.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to abuse in any way"—is also asking residents in the area to help spread the word and put up free downloadable posters (available here) in businesses and schools, on bulletin boards, and anywhere else that they're allowed to display them.

Someone may recognize this cat, and it might be the only way to apprehend those responsible for this cruel act.

If someone hadn't found him in time, this frightened cat would almost certainly have died inside that plastic box," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien.

"PETA is calling on anyone who recognizes this cat to come forward immediately so that whoever shut him in this container and left him to suffocate can be held accountable and stopped from hurting anyone else."

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Le Roy Police Department at 585-345-6350.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

Photos courtesy of the Le Roy Police Department.

September 27, 2018 - 12:16pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia Downs Gaming, Western Regional OTB.


All who spoke at this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony for a $4 million expansion project at Batavia Downs Gaming agreed on one central point: It’s the residents of the municipalities supported by the facility who benefit the most.

“Funds (generated) from gaming go to local communities to keep the tax rate lower,” said state Sen. Michael D. Ranzenhofer (R-Amherst), whose comments were echoed by state Sen. Robert Ortt (R-North Tonawanda), state Assemblyman Stephen Hawley (R-Batavia) and Downs President/CEO Henry F. Wojtaszek.

Also on hand for the event were former Buffalo Bills great Thurman Thomas, who serves as an ambassador for Batavia Downs Gaming; directors of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., and Batavia Downs employees.

Ranzenhofer said he remembers 15 to 20 years ago – “what this facility was like then and what it is today is a dream come true."

"We want to make sure that this is viable and exciting for people to visit. (Expansion) plus the simple things like paving the parking lot and adding the hotel, makes it a jewel among other racinos in New York.”

“This is a long time coming,” Wojtaszek said. “We hope to complete it by the end of December.”

Wojtaszek said that the new amenities – a new cigar bar, additions to Fortune's restaurant including a new banquet area and bar, and expanded kitchen space to serve 34 Rush customers – will “increase revenue and more contributions to our communities.”

He added that he looks forward to future expansion and being able to offer sports betting.

Ortt, who noted that he had a poster of the "Thurmanator" as a Buffalo Bills’ fan when he was a youth, said the topic of gaming is a frequent one in Albany.

“We’re always talking about it … ways to make it viable and competitive,” he said. “We can see that OTB is doing the things to make it viable and competitive and to stay ahead of the curve. And the money that goes to the communities directly offsets property tax increases.”

Hawley, who also said he was a “longtime admirer of Thurman Thomas, but was not a kid while he was playing,” spoke of Batavia Downs’ rich history.

“This is the oldest flat track in America, opening in 1940 under the Provenzano family, and it is great to see it is expanding and becoming part of a new century,” he said. “It is a vital part of our economy.”

Thomas didn’t speak during the brief presentation, but said he felt “honored” to have the opportunity to promote the operation.

“I’ve always given back to the community,” he said. “It used to be in Buffalo but now that I’ve been here six or seven years, I feel like I’m part of this community. The fact that tax money goes back to the counties – that’s the most important thing.”

Batavia Downs Gaming and WROTBA is a public benefits corporation owned and operated by 15 WNY counties and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

Photos below -- renderings of new entrance, Gatsby bar and cigar bar (lower left). Photos by Mike Pettinella.



September 27, 2018 - 9:06am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, Bethany.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported at 9647 Creek  Road, between Putnam and Old Creek roads, Bethany. A first responder on scene says the 34-year-old male driver is out of the vehicle, which landed off the roadway in a cornfield.

He is standing up because he says "it hurts too much to lay down." He is complaining of right shoulder pain. Bethany Fire Department and fire police are responding; Mercy medics just arrived.

September 26, 2018 - 6:30pm

Join the Eli Fish Brewing Company team as we celebrate OktoberFest -- our first! -- DER ERSTE! This Friday, Sept. 28 from 5:30-10 p.m. at Jackson Square.
Tickets are $8 in advance / $10 day of, and can be purchased at the brewery and at Eventbrite.com.

Enjoy the classic German beer hall sounds of The Frankfurters, playing from 6 to 10 p.m. They are THE BAND to celebrate OktoberFest with!

Be among the first to taste the inaugural batch of ELI FISH OKTOBERFEST BEER. Brewer Jon is giving the classic Marzen Lager that Eli Fish touch.

Chef Sam and team are preparing a special OktoberFest menu. Savor tasty German cuisine served by Eli Fish and the FreshLab Eateries. And you'll want to do some practicing -- we're having a beer-hosting competition, among other fun activities.

September 26, 2018 - 3:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in Steve Hawley, I Love NY, news.

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

As the Sept. 30 deadline for the removal of New York state’s illegal "I Love New York" signs approaches, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has called on Gov. Cuomo to obey federal requirements and follow through with eliminating the dangerous distraction before it is too late.

A failure to do so could result in New York’s loss of $14 million in federal highway funding at a steep cost to the state’s already overburdened taxpayers.

Federal highway officials have been pushing for the removal of the "I Love New York" signs for over a year, citing the location and amount of text on the signs as a distracting hazard to drivers.

Despite objections from Washington, more than 500 of these oversized signs were installed in 2017 at an $8.1 million cost to New York’s taxpayers. Now the campaign, meant to drive tourism across the Empire State, could result in an even greater cost to New York’s residents.

Hawley has been actively pushing for the signs’ timely removal in the interest of not only New York’s finances, but the safety of the state’s drivers.

“It is no secret that our governor is at odds with the federal government, and it is shameful for him to endanger our state’s drivers and allow this invaluable funding to hang in the balance due to this personal feud,” Hawley said.

“I call on Governor Cuomo to do what’s right for the people of New York and remove these ill-advised and distracting road signs before our taxpayers are left to quite literally pay the consequences.”

September 26, 2018 - 2:33pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, p.w. minor.

Brian Benedict, vice president of sales for P.W. Minor, would neither confirm or deny unsubstantiated reports (and social media postings) that the shoe factory at 3 Treadeasy Ave. in Batavia, is about to close its doors.

"We will have a full statement at the end of business tomorrow," Benedict said. "I am not in a position to comment with any finality. Things are still pretty fluid."

Earlier this week, P.W. Minor officials filed a "warn notice" with the state that layoffs and/or plant closing were possible. 

In the warn notice, the state was informed that potential layoffs could mean a loss of 42 jobs or all 82 jobs at the plant due to "economic reasons."

P.W. Minor was saved from closing in 2014 when Pete Zeliff and Andrew Young acquired the plant. In February of this year, the investment firm of Tidewater + Associates bought it from Zeliff.

September 26, 2018 - 1:00pm


The Batavia Development Corporation has decided to “float” a loan to a longtime Batavia businessman who believes he has tapped into the next big thing in healthy relaxation methods.

At its meeting this morning at the City Centre, BDC board members voted unanimously to extend a $30,000 loan to Gary VanValkenburg and his partner, Brandon Buckle, (left to right in photo above), toward the opening of Rest & Revive Float Center at 596 E. Main St.

The site of the new business, which VanValkenburg said he expects to open around Dec. 1, was most recently known as The Bed Room.

In fact, VanValkenburg has been in the bedding business – waterbeds and conventional mattresses – for close to 45 years, following an 11-year stint selling television sets.

He told the BDC board that the bedding business is difficult these days – “everybody is selling mattresses,” he said – and that he realized it was time to find his “niche.”

After being introduced to the “float tank” concept by a visiting professional violinist about three years ago, VanValkenburg said he did some research and is confident in the product’s strength.

“I found a niche. It is on the up curve,” he said. “Over the last three years, (sales) are up by 25 percent. More and more float centers are popping up all over the place.”

VanValkenburg said his center will feature three float tanks – a 4-foot by 8-foot tank, another in a float room and a float pod. He said they are filled with about 10 to 12 inches of water and 800 pounds of Epsom salt.

“You can’t sink,” he said. “It’s more dense than the Dead Sea.”

He explained that users take a shower (a shower is next to each tank) before entering the tank for (usually) 90 minutes and afterward. The tank can be used with the lid open or closed, in a dark room or lit room and with or without music.

“I have arthritis and I tried it, and there was no pain (afterward),” he said. “And it lasted for four, five, six days. It is therapeutic and because there is no gravity, it’s like you’re up on a cloud. It totally relaxes you.”

VanValkenburg said the therapy can help alleviate arthritis, scoliosis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches and other conditions, and could even benefit those with autism.

Buckle said the tanks are sanitary.

“The amount of salt in the tanks makes it a hostile environment for pathogens,” he said. “As far as bacteria, you don’t have to worry about that.”

He said that the tanks are cleaned for 30 minutes after each use, and are on a regular schedule for deep cleaning and maintenance. Each unit has its own ozone generator, he added.

Buckle said there will be a retail component to the business as well in the form of float beds and other health-related products.

The business partners also have secured a $225,000 loan from Tompkins Bank of Castile and a $100,000 loan from Genesee County Economic Development Center to cover the total cost of the project, VanValkenburg said. The BDC loan is for five years with a 4-percent interest rate.

VanValkenburg said the center will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. He said the fee to use a tank is $65 but discounts will be available for Rest & Revive members.

In other developments, the BDC board:

-- Reluctantly accepted the resignation of Treasurer Mary Valle, who will be stepping down immediately due to a “conflict of interest.”

Valle said that she, as owner of Valle Jewelers on Jackson Street, and her children, who own the building at the west corner of Ellicott Street and Liberty Streets, plan to apply for some of the available Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds to expand their business ventures.

-- Voted to change the corporation’s designation from 501(c)(4) to 501(c)(3) to make it easier to accept charitable contributions, especially land donations.

-- Authorized President Pier Cipollone and Director Rachael Tabelski as authorized signers to expedite proceedings relating to the Ellicott Station project.

Tabelski said the BDC is communicating with Savarino Companies of Buffalo on a regular basis, but would not say when ground would be broken on the development.

“Every day we gain momentum as each piece is finalized,” she said.

-- Voted to reformat and expand the Building Improvement Handbook for the DRI Building Improvement Fund at a cost of no more than $3,300. Tabelski said the cost is reimbursable through the DRI.

-- Expects the City of Batavia’s commitment of $15,000 to fund Phase II environmental work at the Creek Park site (behind Falleti Ice Arena) to be transferred soon.

The goal, Cipollone said, is to consolidate three existing parcels – one owned by the City, one owned by Genesee County, and one owned by the Town of Batavia – into one property that can be offered to potential developers.


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