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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.

September 26, 2018 - 12:10pm

Press release:

The Genesee Society of Model Engineers announces that their semi-annual Great Batavia Train Show will be held at the Richard C. Call Arena in Batavia on Sunday, Nov. 11.

The new venue on the campus of Genesee Community College offers unmatched convenience and for attendees and vendors.

  • Admission:  $6 adults / $3 under 18 / free for children under 13
  • Hours:  9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Features:  Vendor tables, door prizes, free parking

For more than 40 years the Great Batavia Train Show has been one of the premier hobby events in Western New York. Our move to the Richard C. Call arena has allowed us to grow the event in a state-of-the-art facility. All forms of model railroad and train-related merchandise will be available.

Items offered include all scales of model trains, clothing, historic railroad items, books, videos and toys. Modeling demonstrations, and door prizes featuring great railroad items, will be part of the fun. Free parking.

About the Genesee Society of Model Engineers

This group has promoted the hobby of model railroading in the Western New York area for nearly 50 years. It is a not-for-profit organization is headquartered at 50 Main St. in Oakfield. In its facility above the M&T Bank, the membership maintains four operating model train displays. An open house is offered free to the public each December, and visitors are welcome on Tuesday evenings.

Contact Information:

  • Train Show Chairman:  Mike Pyszczek
  • Phone:  768-4579 (residence)
  • Email:  [email protected]
  • Website:  www.gsme.org
  • Mailing address:  GSME, P.O. Box 75, Oakfield, NY 14125
September 26, 2018 - 12:01pm
Submitted photo and press release:
Officers for 2018-19 of the Botts-Fiorito American Legion Auxiliary Unit #576 have been selected.
They are pictured from left in the photo above: Ellen Harris -- Treasurer; Donna Mills -- Sgt. at Arms; Linda Horgan -- Historian; Deb Feneran -- Chaplain;
Marlene McCumiskey -- President; Roberta Graney -- 1st Vice President; Pat Moore -- Secretary; and Regina Diskin -- Membership Chairperson.
September 26, 2018 - 11:51am

Press release from the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management:

Ten area firefighers from six fire departments successfully completed the Rope Rescue Basic course held at the Genesee County Fire Training Center on Sept. 17.

This 24-hour course prepares students for a wide variety of possible rescue scenarios.

Specialized rescue, search, technical rescue management, risk and priorities, use of ropes, knots and rope systems in a low angle environment as well as establishment of landing zones for helicopter operations were addressed. The program involved demonstrations as well as practice sessions.  

Congratulations to the following personnel:

City of Batavia FD

  • Stefano Napolitano

Town of Batavia FD

  • Joshua K. Boyle
  • Clayton A. Gorski

Bethany FD

  • Richard J. Klunder III

Corfu FD

  • Glenn J. Eck
  • Daniel Smith
  • Jacob D. Stiles

Elba FD

  • Michael Pfendler

Stafford FD

  • Dean A. Brooks
  • Randal J. Henning

Visit your local fire department to find out more about volunteer opportunities.

September 26, 2018 - 11:41am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Stafford.

Anthony A. Leone, 50, of Jackson Avenue, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony, and criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. On Monday evening, Sept. 24, Genesee County Sheriff's deputies Kyle Krzemien and Howard Wilson responded to the area of BJ's Wholesale Club on Lewiston Road in Batavia following a report of a suspicious male in the area of the store. Following an investigation, Leone was allegedly found to possess a quantity of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He was arraigned in Batavia Town Court and jailed without bail. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending. The deputies were assisted by members of the GC Local Drug Task Force.

Falicia Noel Tuczai, 27, of East Bethany -- Le Roy Road, Stafford, is charged with second-degree harassment -- physical contact. She was arrested at 9:24 a.m. on Sept. 24 on Ellicott Street Road in Bethany. It is alleged that following a verbal argument, Tuczai bit a male victim, causing physical injury. She was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Bethany Town Court on Oct. 23. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy McClellan, assisted by Deputy Christopher Erion.

September 26, 2018 - 10:59am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council.

Keeping tabs on trash collection dates has become bit of a messy situation in the City of Batavia.

In an effort to make sure residents are in compliance with the City Code that governs refuse pick-up, Interim City Manager Matt Worth has been doing some research into other communities’ policies and has offered some recommendations moving forward.

Worth addressed the issue at Monday night’s City Council meeting, supported by a memo to City Council dated Sept. 19.

According to Worth, the City Code provides flexibility for residents in regard to designated pick-up days, the number of bags and the time period for placement at the curb. The City Code allows for trash to be placed at the curb after 3 p.m. the day before scheduled collection and for containers to be removed with 24 hours after collection.

He said that on streets where refuse pick-up occurs several days of the week, it has become difficult for city staff to enforce the time restrictions. Furthermore, he said that enforcement officers have discovered that, in many cases, new tenants have moved into apartments and didn’t know their trash pick-up day or that the landlord has changed refuse collection vendors.

Worth reported that four primary refuse collection vendors operate in the City, picking up trash primarily on Monday through Friday. Currently, all City residents and businesses contract directly with independent vendors.

City Council Member Robert Bialkowski said his goal was to develop a four-day pick-up schedule (Tuesday through Friday) with regulations governing the type of vehicle that can be used.

“Right now, you can put garbage out every day and say a friend is picking it up the next day – and it would be completely legal,” Bialkowski said.

Worth reported that he looked at trash collection policies of neighboring communities, specifically the towns of Greece and Henrietta and the Village of Brockport. All three have licensing requirements (including fees, proof of insurance and vehicle compliance standards) on refuse collection vendors and have restricted pick-up days.

He added that he plans to continue the dialog with the vendors to find a viable solution before looking at the imposition of licensing.

“Imposing regulations upon a vendor with existing collection routes without hearing their concerns and recommendations would be problematic,” he said, noting that free-market practices minus government interference “helps to keep the rates and service levels competitive and should be a consideration …”

Following the discussion, City Council directed Worth to move forward with his communication with the vendors and provide updates.

September 26, 2018 - 10:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, news, notify.

For the first time since 2007, the August unemployment rate for Genesee County is below 4 percent, hitting 3.5 percent this August.

The rate hasn't been that low or lower since 2000 when it was 3.4 percent in August.

Genesee County's unemployment rate hasn't been as low as 3.5 percent in any month since May 2001.

The rate in August 2017 was 4.2 percent.

The total labor force for Genesee County in August was 30,400 with 1,100 people out of work and actively looking for work.

In August 2001, there were 31,900 people in Genesee County in the labor force with 1,200 looking for work.

New York State's unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, down from 4.9 percent a year ago. The national unemployment rate is 3.9 percent, down from 4.5 percent a year ago.

Nationally, the economy has added jobs for 95 straight months.

September 26, 2018 - 10:14am
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.



September 26, 2018 - 9:40am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, crime, scanner.

An assault is reported at Tim Hortons at 20 Main St. in the city. Police are on scene. Mercy medics are called to respond in non-emergency mode.

September 25, 2018 - 11:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, news, batavia.

An electrical fire in the wall is reported at 4020 S. Main Street Road. Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding; a first responder on scene reports smoke is showing in the residence; the sole occupant is out of the building. The location is between Fairway Drive and the city limit. The Fast Team out of the city is called for mutual aid to the town for the possible house fire. South Main Street Road is to be shut down at Fairway Drive.

UPDATE 11:07 p.m.: South Main is shut down at Fairway. The city's third platoon is called to headquarters to stand by because firefighters are deployed on South Main Street Road for the possible house fire.

UPDATE 11:12 p.m.: National Grid has been notified, as per command's request.

UPDATE 11:22 p.m.: The fire is out. The city's Fast Team has been released. Town of Batavia fire remains on scene to do overhaul and investigate the blaze.

September 25, 2018 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy fire district, Le Roy, news, Le Roy Ambulance.

Press release:

Recent articles in the local media announced a proposal to create an ambulance district to provide emergency medical service to residents in the Town and Village of Le Roy.

One point in an article is misleading. The statement that funding to support this ambulance service would be arrived at by an increase in the “fire tax” is not correct.

The Le Roy Fire District is not in any way involved in the raising of funds or a tax increase in support of this effort. The Fire District is the only agency that can raise “fire tax.” The article states otherwise.

The Fire District is not opposed to, or in favor of, the formation of this entity. The Fire District relies heavily on professional and well trained EMS service and transport services and works daily in harmony with the Le Roy Ambulance Service ambulance and EMS personnel.

Publisher's Note: It was NOT The Batavian that incorrectly reported an increase in the "fire tax." Our coverage explicitly stated there is a proposal to create a separate ambulance district in Le Roy.

September 25, 2018 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
  Constantine Murrell

A 35-year-old parolee from Rochester was charged robbery in the second degree after allegedly carjacking a sedan this morning and leading police on a chase through city streets that reached 65 mph.

The suspect, identified as Constantine D. Murrell, reportedly threatened a 76-year-old woman at the Kwik Fill at Jackson and Ellicott streets and took her car from her. 

The woman was not hurt but did call emergency dispatch immediately.

Officers Frank Klimjack and Kyle Krtanik spotted a vehicle matching the description of the stolen car on Liberty Street and used their patrol cars' emergency lights to signal for it to stop. The driver is accused of not stopping and instead fleeing at a high rate of speed.

The chase came to an end when the stolen vehicle struck another car at Redfield Parkway and Richmond Avenue, which cause it to careen into a tree and the recently installed sign at the entrance of VA Medical Center.

The car then caught on fire.

Batavia Fire Department responded to extinguish the fire and Murrell was taken into custody without further incident. 

He is also charged with unlawful fleeing a police officer, 3rd, and several traffic violations.

Police report that besides the damage to the car, the sign at the VA Center was significantly damaged.

No injuries were reported.

Murrell was ordered held without bail.

Assisting Batavia PD were State Police, the Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's Office, City fire, and Public Works.

(Initial Report)

September 25, 2018 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Youth Bureau, news, michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has secured $20,000 for the Genesee County Youth Bureau and $10,000 for the City of Batavia Youth Bureau.

“Our youth have unlimited potential to succeed, and this state investment will turn that potential into reality,” Ranzenhofer said. “As your State Senator, my commitment to the future of our children is unwavering. I’m proud to deliver on that commitment.”

The state funding will help support a safe afterschool environment and structured educational programs that provide youth with homework help, tutoring, skill building, and recreational activities.

“Our programs are making a difference by motivating young people to develop a sense of responsibility and contribute to their communities. This funding will be a major boost for our initiatives. I applaud Senator Ranzenhofer for being such a strong supporter of our youth in Genesee County,” said Executive Director for Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Bureaus Jocelyn Sikorski. 

The funding is part of the 2018-19 State Budget. The funding is administered by the New York State Education Department.

September 25, 2018 - 3:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, sports, Oakfield, Alabama, OACS Alumni Hall of Fame.

The Oakfield-Alabama Central School Alumni Hall of Fame has three new inductees this year: Mark Boyce ('76), David Reed ('97), and Brett Willmott ('91). They will be feted at an awards dinner later this year.

Here are their then-and-now pictures, provided by OACS, and biographies, written by former English teacher and football Coach Bill Bostwick.

Mark Boyce -- Class of '76

Life at the forefront of development in the digital business world highlights Mark Boyce’s selection to the Hall.

While earning a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, Mark found time to participate in the all-male a cappella group the Colgate 13, singing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XIII and performing at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

Earning his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Mark began his career by helping to start the Personal Computing Division at IBM.

This was followed by formulating strategy that helped Anixter International become a global leader in Network and Security Solutions, Electrical and Electronic Solutions, and Utility Power Solutions.

Following his time at Anixter, Mark founded his own Internet company, shepherding yesmail.com’s successful IPO and acquisition.

He currently serves as president and CEO of Scribe Inc., a leading healthcare solution provider.

In this position, Mark helps Scribe assist more than 50,000 healthcare professionals navigate the difficult world of health care records.

In addition to his business duties, Mark serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Dean College in Franklin, Mass., and works behind the scenes to aid multiple charities.

Mark’s life and career exemplify the OACS motto, "Learn Today for Tomorrow."



David Reed -- Class of '97

A life of serving others has provided David Reed’s path to the Hall of Fame.

A master's degree graduate of SUNY College at Fredonia, Dave began his teaching career at Lincoln Charter School in Lincolnton, N.C., in 2005.

In 2012 he moved on to Kings Mountain Intermediate School.

Despite his youth, Dave garnered the local Teacher of the Year Award in 2014, following that up with earning that distinction in 2016 for the entire county.

This opened the door to attendance at the highly selective Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.

Dave also initiated the nationally recognized All-Pro Dads program in Kings Mountain, taking the  enrollment from 30 participants in its first year to more than 200.

Dave also gives to his community by participating in the Carolina Panthers’ Black and Blue Crew entertainment squad and the Charlotte Hornets’ Swarm Squad.

Dave embodies the motto, "I touch the future, I teach."




Brett Willmott -- Class of '91

Speed, strength and endurance are the linchpins of Brett Willmott’s run to the Hall.

Brett graduated from SUNY College at Plattsburgh where he participated in cross-country and track, captaining the latter squad in his senior campaign.

He began his college coaching career at his alma mater in 1996, serving as assistant cross-country and track coach and mentoring the1998 NCAA Division III hurdles champion.

During his three-year tenure, Plattsburgh athletes set a total of 48 school records while garnering multiple conference championships.

Brett became head cross-country/track and field/strength and conditioning coach at SUNY College at New Paltz in 1999.

During his four-year stint at New Paltz Brett coached multiple SUNYAC champions, 14 SUNYAC All-Academic selections and eight Academic All-Americas.

His success continued after returning to Plattsburgh in the same position in 2003. At this time he added strength and conditioning duties with the U.S. Olympic Skeleton team based in Lake Placid.

The year 2007 saw a move to Division I University of Vermont with continued individual and team success.

Brett has recently undertaken the enhancement of cross-country and track at SUNY College at Oneonta.

These achievements have been augmented by multiple instances of community outreach in the form of strength and conditioning clinics for young people.

Brett’s life reflects the values of service and education fostered during his years at OACS.

September 25, 2018 - 2:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, corfu, GC Department of Social Services.

Press release from the GC Department of Social Services:

Edwin Stancliff, 39, of Corfu, was sentenced to a five-month intermittent jail term in Batavia Town Court on Monday, Sept. 24, after pleading guilty to one count of petit larceny.

Stancliff was originally charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree and offering a false instrument in the first degree in June 2017 after an investigation by the Genesee County Department of Social Services revealed he had failed to report his receipt of NYS Disability.

He subsequently received $1,933.21 in assistance benefits to which he was not entitled.

Stancliff accepted the plea deal to the reduced charge of petit larceny and was sentenced to the five-month intermittent jail term, was disqualified from receiving cash assistance and Food Stamp (SNAP) benefits and has made full restitution to the Genesee County Department of Social Services.

Anyone wishing to report suspected cases of Welfare Fraud in Genesee County can contact the Genesee County Department of Social Services Investigation Unit at (585) 344-2580, ext. 6417 or 6416.

September 25, 2018 - 1:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Steve Hawley, business, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he has received an 88 percent rating from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and a 91 percent from The Business Council of New York State Inc. based on a number of key votes during this year’s legislative session.

Hawley’s rating puts him in an elite tier of pro-small business Assembly Members compared to many lawmakers from New York City who received failing grades. Votes on various topics pertaining to business were evaluated including taxes, regulations, compensation and labor issues.

“As a small-business owner and operator for much of my life, I know firsthand how important it is to cultivate an environment where entrepreneurs are cherished and jobs are created without costly tax incentives,” Hawley said.

“New York has far too long been known as anti-business, and that reputation has forced too many of our small businesses and larger companies to leave the state, costing us revenue, jobs and stalling economic growth. I am honored to be considered one of the state’s top pro-business legislators once again and look forward to making New York truly open for business."

September 25, 2018 - 1:23pm

From our news partner, WBTA:

Nathaniel D. Wilson Jr. of Batavia appeared in Genesee County Court this morning for sentencing on a second-degree murder conviction.

Wilson, 31, was caught on police surveillance footage stabbing Terry Toote to death on Central Avenue in the city on May 17th.

Wilson previously accepted a plea deal in August on an Alford basis (meaning he didn't admit guilt but concedes a jury would likely find him guilty), thereby avoiding a potentially harsher sentence than he could have received if his case went to trial. 

The sentencing proceedings started with several denied requests to have reports and recommendations from Wilson’s past stricken from the record by defense attorney Frederick Rarick.

There were a number of Toote’s family members in the courtroom where District Attorney Lawrence Friedman invited several relatives to make presentence statements.

Toote’s cousins Michelle and Oliver Little said Terry “was all about family” and that he leaves behind an 18-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

Toote’s cousin Dwayne addressed Nathaniel directly saying “Nate come waltzing in here like you don’t care. You got to wake up.” Adding that “You took away from our family and you took away from your family. You’re not going to be there for your kids.”

The victim’s sister Tinisha was less reserved in her presentencing statement, loudly proclaiming to Wilson “Nate Wilson I hate you. You took my m***** f****** little brother.” Toote said “I want to jump over there and whup your ass.” Adding “Come in here smiling, s*** pisses me off.”

Wilson said before being sentenced that he never meant to kill that man and that he was sorry for what he had done.

Judge Charles Zambito detailed the incident caught on the police pole-cam and said Wilson made the choice to stab Terry Toote in the heart after he had already fallen to the ground during the altercation.

Zambito deemed Wilson a danger to the community and sentenced him to a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life.

September 25, 2018 - 1:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in UMMC, batavia, news, scanner.

The Batavia City Fire Department's third platoon is called to stand by in headquarters. City firefighters are working an unspecified chemical spill at UMMC.


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