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March 15, 2023 - 4:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, Bethany, elba, Oakfield.

Douglas M. Ashworth, 48, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with menacing. Ashworth is accused of pointing a rifle at two youths on Oct. 9 on Vine Street in Batavia and placing the individuals in reasonable fear of injury or death. He was arrested on Feb. 28 and issued an appearance ticket.

John J. Saddler, 35, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with burglary 2nd, aggravated criminal contempt, grand larceny 4th, and petit larceny. Saddler is accused of entering the home of a person projected by a court order and stealing property, including an NYS benefits card and then using the card at a local business. He was arraigned in City Court and jailed until his next court appearance.

Sarah A. Malone, 40, of Graham Street, Batavia, is charged with theft of services and criminal impersonation 2nd. Malone is accused of dining at a restaurant in the City of Batavia on Feb. 21 and leaving without paying for her meal. Once located, Malone allegedly provided officers with a fake name and date of birth. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Ariel N. Pontillo, 32, of Washington Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWAI drugs and failure to keep right. Pontillo was stopped by Officer Joseph Weglarski at Main and Court streets in the City of Batavia on Feb. 25.

Michael E. Wilson, 29, of East Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with DWI and insufficient tail lamps. Wilson was stopped at 2:32 a.m. on Feb. 26 on East Main Street in Batavia by Officer Joseph Wglarski. Wilson was issued an appearance ticket.

Rebecca R. Fugate, 22, of Woodrow Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Fugate is accused of striking another resident of a residential care home in Batavia on Feb. 24. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Heather L. Armstrong, 46, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Armstrong was arrested on Feb. 28 following a report of a disturbance at a business in Batavia. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Brittany L. Hollaert, 26, of St Paul Street, Rochester, is charged with failure to appear. Hollaert is accused of failing to appear in court as ordered on charges of grand larceny 3rd, petit larceny, and criminal trespass charges. She was released on her own recognizance and admitted into a drug treatment facility. Her case will be transferred to SAFE Court.

Grant J. Fremstad, 22, of Ekern Street, Westby, Wis., is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, improper lane usage, and open container. Fremstad was stopped at 2:23 a.m. on March 5 on East Main Street by Officer Joseph Weglarski. Fremstad was released on an appearance ticket.

Demerio J Watts, 38, of Eggert Road, Buffalo, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right, and failure to signal. Watts was stopped at 1:18 a.m. on Ellicott Street in Batavia by Officer John Gombos. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Phillip D. Byford, 32, of Brockport Spencerport Road, Sweden, was arrested on City Court bench warrants. The first warrant for an alleged petit larceny on Jan. 24, 2020. He was issued an appearance ticket and allegedly failed to appear in court. The second warrant was for an alleged petit larceny also reported on Jan. 24, 2020. He is accused of failure to appear on an appearance ticket. The third warrant is for a charge of criminal trespass 2nd at a location on East Main Street, Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and allegedly failed to appear.  He was arraigned in City Court and ordered to appear at a later date.

Myia N. Sobus, 19, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, and Timothy J Alis, 18, of Park Road, Batavia, are charged with petit larceny. Sobus and Alis are accused of filling a shopping cart at an undisclosed store (UPDATE: Through court records, The Batavian confirmed the location was Tops) in Batavia with $897 in merchandise and leaving the store without paying for the items. They were released on appearance tickets.

Shawn M. Sloan, 38) of Porter Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and criminal trespass 2nd. Sloan is accused of entering an apartment on Bank Street, Batavia, on March 3, and stealing a kitchen utensil. Sloan was released on an appearance ticket.

Shannon B. Harder, 38, of Bowen Road, Attica, is charged with DWI, unsafe turn, speed in zone, and failure to keep right. Harder was stopped on Center Street, Batavia, on March 8, by Officer Sam Freeman. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Brian Eric Dagar, 37, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny. Dager is accused of shoplifting at Walmart in Batavia on Feb. 26. Dagar was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and released.

Evan Francis Maynard, 22, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Maynard is accused of shoplifting from Target in Batavia on March 2. He was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released.

Jeanna Marie Hattaway, 36, of Park Road, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th and aggravated unlicensed operation 3rd. Hattaway was allegedly found in possession of multiple controlled substances during a traffic stop conducted by Sgt. Kyle Krzemien at 3:38 a.m. on March 3 on Lewiston Road, Batavia. She was released on an appearance ticket.

LeeAnna Krull, 53, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with promoting prison contraband 1st and promoting prison contraband 2nd. Krull was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance while inside the Genesee County Jail on March 1 at 4:07 p.m. She was arraigned in Centralized Arraignment Court and ordered held.

Beglervoic Denis Ikonic, 20, of East Ridge Road, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny. Ikonic is accused of shoplifting from DIck's Sporting Goods on March 5 at 4:30 p.m.  He was released.

Marie Tiffany Walter, 31, of Putnam Road, Bethany, is charged with petit larceny. Walter is accused of shoplifting from Walmart. She was released on an appearance ticket.

Zachary Austin Laird, 26, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, aggravated unlicensed operation, and criminal mischief. Laird is accused of damaging property at a location on Bethany Center Road at 8:15 p.m. on March 1. He allegedly left the scene and drove back while intoxicated. He was arrested by Deputy Nicholas Chmoun and Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush and was held in the Genesee County Jail pending arraignment.

Jeffrey M. Schneider, 44, of Alexander, is charged with DWI. Schneider was stopped by State Police at 7:50 p.m. on March 11 in the Town of Alexander. He was released to a third party.  No further information released.

March 5, 2023 - 3:00pm

35 West Avenue, Elba. Solid 4 bedroom, 2 bath village ranch on great village lot! This home has great bones and way more space then what meets the eye from the road!! All rooms good size, lots of natural light, and really nice and spacious floor plan! Cozy front living room with pretty bricked fireplace and then a large and bright family/dining room with slider to back deck and yard. With some decor updates this home will make you happy for years to come! Call Reliant Real Estate today - 585-344-4663.

March 5, 2023 - 12:08pm
posted by Press Release in elba, Sports, basketball.


Submitted story.

In a game that saw 15 lead changes, Elba needed one more they couldn't get, falling 58-55 to Andover-Whitesville in the Class D2 sectional finals Saturday night.

Andover-Whitesville's Vanessa Hall tallied a game-high 28 points, including six points in the last 39 seconds to seal the win for the Panthers.

Hall struggled in the first half shooting 4-for-15 from the floor for 10 points but turned it around in the second half on 8-of-16 field goals for 18 points. The senior made several tough inside shots, and a few nice interior passes to set up Panther teammates as well. Hall was named the Class D2 tournament MVP.

Sixth-seeded Elba (13-11) played tough throughout, grabbing an 11-10 lead after one quarter. Maddie Hall nailed a 3-pointer to get the scoring started for the Lancers, while freshman Lydia Ross and sophomore Sydney Reilly both scored four points in the opening stanza.

Reilly, who leads Elba with over 16 points per game, picked up her third foul just one minute into the second quarter. Elba would not relinquish the lead in her absence. Mariah Ognibene and Ross netted two-point baskets before Kennedy Augello got hot. The junior guard sandwiched an inside basket between two 3-pointers to give Elba the 23-21 edge at the half.

Elba's Hailie Scouten led the charge to start the third quarter. The junior forward swished a 3-pointer from the right wing to start the quarter and then 30 seconds later knocked a trey in off the board to give Elba its biggest lead of the game at 29-21. Scouten added one more basket later in the quarter and finished with nine points, 13 rebounds, three assists and five blocks.

Ross, who finished with a team-high 13 points and spear-headed the Lancers all night, added four points in the third quarter. Reilly, who came back in with 30 seconds left in the frame, and Hall added three and two points, respectively, in the quarter.

Andover-Whitesville's Hall paced her team with 10 points in the third quarter, and Graci Lewis-Ellison added five. Both teams scored 17 points resulting in a 40-38 Elba advantage after three.

The Panthers started the fourth quarter with six straight points to take a 44-40 lead. Then both Ross and Ognibene scored on putbacks for Elba to tie the game once again at 44-44 halfway through the final quarter. A free throw by Scouten gave the Lancers their final lead of the game with three minutes left.

Hall gave Andover-Whitesville the lead right back on the very next possession slicing into the lane for a tough inside bucket.

Ognibene would tie the game once more with her own free throw with 2:30 left, but Panthers senior Gabby Terhune netted a layup on a nice assist from Hall seconds later to put Andover-Whitesville up for good. Two Panther free throws and two more baskets from Hall put Elba down 54-49 with just 30 seconds remaining.

Reilly made an off-balance basket and was fouled on the Lancers' next possession. The following free throw made it 54-52 in favor of the Panthers. Foul shots from Hall, Terhune and Lewis-Ellison increased the lead to 58-52 with 11 seconds left in the game.

Augello swished one more three-pointer, her third of the night, as the buzzer sounded. She finished with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

Ognibene ended with five points and a game-high 16 rebounds for Elba, while Reilly ended with 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Ross, who was named to the all-tournament team, also had four rebounds, four assists and three steals to go with her 13 points for the Lancers.

Elba's Hall tallied five points, while junior Ava Chatt rounded out the Lancers scoring with two points.

Andover-Whitesville's Lewis-Ellison ended with eight points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Bledsoe finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

Reilly, Lewis-Ellison and Bledsoe were also named to the all-tournament team.

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here.








March 3, 2023 - 12:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, elba, batavia, news.
Evan Vanskiver Adam Montes

Two Monroe County men are again out of custody, released within the same 24-hour period that their alleged crime spree started, apparently because a local judge had no authority to set bail.

Evan Jacob Vanskiver and Adam John Montes were arrested early Monday morning and, in accordance with New York's current bail law, released on appearance tickets. A short time later, they were allegedly spotted in a stolen car, leading to a Batavia PD pursuit through multiple jurisdictions. 

That led to more charges, but at arraignment on Feb. 27, the date of all of these events, they were released on their own recognizance. 

It's impossible to say that they would still be in custody without bail reform, but local officials say the ease with which they regained their freedom is a product of bail reform.

For charges under a certain level, police officers can't bring a suspect before a judge for arraignment. The officers must write an appearance ticket.  And a judge, at arraignment, must set release conditions that are the least restrictive option available. That's the law.

District Attorney Kevin Finnell said if there had been an arraignment in pre-bail reform days, his office would have requested cash bail or bond be set.  It would have been up to a judge, who may also have heard a counter-argument from a defense attorney, to weigh the flight-risk factors in order to decide if bail was necessary to ensure the defendants would reappear in court as ordered at a later date.

"Prior to bail reform, the decision of whether to set bail would have, of course, rested with the judge, so I cannot advise you with any degree of certainty if these defendants would have been held on bail," Finnell said. "I can tell you that prior to bail reform, knowing the circumstances of this case, my office would have requested that bail be set, and we would have been optimistic that our request would have been granted."

Even though holding the defendants in jail after their initial arrest on Feb. 27 isn't a given, Batavia PD Chief Shawn Heubusch does see the case as a failure of bail reform, primarily because no judge was given a chance to make a decision. An appearance ticket was mandatory. 

The incidents involving Vanskiver and Montes began at 4:14 a.m. on Monday when dispatchers received a complaint of a theft from a vehicle on Church Street in Elba.

When Deputy Jeremiah Gechell arrived on scene, two men were spotted. They fled the area.  Deputy James Stack and K-9 Rayzor responded and commenced a search. A short time later, Vanskiver and Montes were located. They were allegedly in possession of a cache of stolen items. 

Both men were also accused of damaging a vehicle on Church Street while trying to gain access to it.

Deputy Travis DeMuth assisted in the investigation.

Vanskiver is 31 with a listed residence of Viking Way, Sweden, and Montes is reported by the Sheriff's Office not to have a residence. Batavia PD place Vanskiver's residence in Brockport and Montes in Hamlin.

In the Elba incident, the two men were both charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony, 14 counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and criminal mischief in the fourth degree, a Class A misdemeanor.

In pre-bail reform days, not everybody charged with felonies was held.  In this case, however, the extenuating circumstances that a judge could have considered under the prior bail guidelines is that one of the defendants doesn't have a permanent residence and neither is from the local area. 

In an attempt to get a defense attorney's perspective on bail reform and its impact on this case, The Batavian emailed Public Defender Jerry Ader two days ago, and he did not respond.

According to Batavia PD, the two men were released from custody at the Genesee County Jail at 2:15 p.m. on Monday.

They were spotted in the allegedly stolen vehicle at 2:41 p.m. that same day on Ellicott Street near Liberty Street.

A patrol officer chased the vehicle down Route 5 to Wortendyke Road, where Vanskiver managed to avoid spike strips. 

The vehicle then started traveling in a southerly direction through the towns of Batavia, Alexander, Pembroke, and Darien. 

Further attempts to use spike strips to impede the vehicle were unsuccessful. 

According to a Batavia PD statement, the vehicle entered the Village of Attica on Route 238, then turned into an apartment complex on Sokol Drive, where it struck a garbage Dumpster.

Vanskiver allegedly fled on foot. He was taken into custody following a brief foot pursuit. The passenger was apprehended in the vehicle.

They were arrested by Batavia PD and charged with:

Evan J. Vanskiver

  • Criminal Mischief 3rd (Felony)
  • Grand Larceny 3rd (Felony)
  • Conspiracy
  • Unlawful Fleeing of a Police Officer
  • Aggravated Unlicensed Operation 2nd
  • Multiple Vehicle and Traffic Law violations

Adam J. Montes

  • Grand Larceny 3rd (Felony)
  • Conspiracy

Following this second arrest, Vanskiver and Montes were held pending arraignment in the new Centralized Arraignment Court. They were arraigned later that same day, according to jail records, and ordered released on their own recognizance.

The incident prompted Assemblyman Steve Hawley to call on New York to revisit its current bail law.

“The revolving door of crime that has been established by bail reform continues to hinder and harm law-abiding citizens while giving career criminals a free pass,” Hawley said. “It’s high time for the Majority in the Assembly to help bring an end to this era of crime New York is continually besieged by. To continue to ignore it makes them part of the problem.”

March 1, 2023 - 2:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sports, basketball, elba.


Elba overcame foul trouble and walked away with a Section Class D2 semifinal win over Scio-Friendship on Tuesday, 47-34.

The Lancers, the #6 seed in the tournament, with a 13-10 record, will vie for a sectional trophy on Friday at 6 p.m. against #1 seed Andover/Whitesville.

Sydney Reilly had a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Kennedy Augello scored 11 points. Ava Chatt had 11 rebounds and Mariah Ognibene had eight.

The team recorded 18 fouls.

Photos by Kristin Smith.





February 26, 2023 - 2:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, Sports, elba.


Elba beat Finney on Saturday 47-31 to advance to the semifinals of the Section V Class D2 tournament.

Sydney Reilly scored 13 points, Lydia Ross 11, Mariah Ognibene, eight, and Kennedy Augello, seven.

"The team is playing well and defense is starting to look better," said Head Coach Charlie Pangrazio. "We're looking forward to the next challenge on Tuesday night."

The Lancers play Scio/Friendship at Mount Morris on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Photos by Kristin Smith.




February 25, 2023 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sports, basketball, elba.


The Elba Lancers advanced in sectional play on Friday with a 66-47 win over Scio-Friendship.

Jake Eagle scored 16 points for the Lancers while Ashton Bezon and Nicholas Scott scored 15 each.

Also in Boys Basketball on Friday:

Photos by Debra Reilly.





February 24, 2023 - 1:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, Sports, elba.


In their opening round Section V playoff game, Elba had no trouble with Hinsdale on Thursday, winning 79-24.

Sydney Reilly scored 24 points, along with seven rebounds and seven steals. Lydia Ross scored 13 and had six steals. Halie Scouten scored eight points.

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here







February 16, 2023 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, Sports, elba.


Elba beat Lyndonville 61-45 on Wednesday night in Boys Basketball.

Angel Penna scored 26 points. 

Other Boys Basketball scores:

  • Pavilion beat Perry, 56-53
  • Kendall beat Alexander, 62-54
  • Notre Dame beat Wheatland, 73-49
  • Pembroke beat Oakfield-Alabama, 71-56. For Pembroke, Cayden Pfalzer 28 points, Tyson Totten 17, and Chase Guzdek 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Photos by Debra Reilly.








February 15, 2023 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, Sports, elba.


Traveling to Lyndonville on Tuesday, the Elba Lancers came away with a win, 68-55, in Girls Basketball.

Sydney Reilly scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Halie Scouten scored 15 points and 15 rebounds. Lydia Ross scored 10 points. Kennedy Augello scored six and had six assists.

The Lancers evened the team's season record at 10 and 10.

Girls Basketball on Tuesday:

  • Notre Dame beat Wheatland-Chili, 66-20. Amelia McCulley scored 26 points, had 10 rebounds and five assists and five steals. Emma Sisson scored 15. Avelin Tomidy scored 14.
  • Alexander beat Kendall, 57-17.  Alyssa Kramer scored 19 points and Melanie Pohl scored 11.
  • Pavilion beat Perry, 52-35. Karlee Zinkievich scored 27 points. Lauren Kinglsey scored 16 and had eight rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals.

Boys Basketball:

  • Byron-Bergen beat Kendall, 63-44. David Brumsted scored 18 points and had eight rebounds. Colin Martin scored 10 points.

Photos by Kristin Smith






February 3, 2023 - 3:00pm

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February 1, 2023 - 2:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Notre Dame, Sports, basketball.


Amelia McCulley led all scorers with 26 points to help Notre Dame to a 53-38 win over Elba on Tuesday.

She also had eight rebounds. Avelin Tomidy scored 16 points and had five rebounds. Emma Sisson had 11 rebounds.

For Elba, Sydney Reilly scored 16 points. Kennedy Augello scored eight points and had eight rebounds.

Elba had six straight wins coming into the game. The Lancers fall to 8-8 on the season. The Irish are now 14-1.

Girls Basketball on Tuesday:

  • Alexander beat Holley, 60-35. Alyssa Kramer scored 26 points. Laurel Kania scored 11 and Melanie Pohl scored nine.
  • Oakfield-Alabama beat Kendall, 50-29.  Brooke Reding scored 15 points. Caitlin Ryan scored nine and Alea Groff scored nine.
  • Byron-Bergen beat Lyndonville, 58-39. Ava Wagoner and Zoey Shepherd scored 14 points.  MacKenzie Senf scored 10 points, and Olvia Senf scored nine.
  • Brockport beat Batavia, 45-29
  • Perry beat Le Roy, 67-52. Kenna MacKenzie scored 14 points. Abby Allen scored 10.  Corina Dunn scored nine and had 10 rebounds.
  • Pembroke beat Attica, 48-44. Karli Houseknech scored 15 points. Elle Peterson scored 11.

In Boys Basketball:

  • Alexander beat Holley 70-40. 

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here



January 28, 2023 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Sports, basketball.


The Elba Lancers won their sixth straight in Girls Basketball on Friday, beating Attica 47-31.

Sydney Reilly scored 11 points, had five assists and four steals.  Halie Scouten and Lydia Ross scored eight each.  Scouten had five steals and 10 rebounds. Kennedy Augello scored six points. 

Photos by Kristin Smith.


January 18, 2023 - 1:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sports, basketball, elba, pembroke.


Behind another big game for Sydney Reilly, who scored 28 points, Elba picked up its second straight win in Girls Basketball, beating Pembroke 63-41.

Reilly had six rebounds and four assists.

Haile Scouten scored 13 points and six rebounds along with five blocked shots.

Lydia Ross scored nine and had six steals.

Kennedy Augello scored eight points, had five rebounds, and four assists.

Isabel Breeden scored 20 points for Pembroke. Ellie Peterson scored six points.

 “The girls are really starting to buy into our defensive end of the floor, which helps our offense," said Elba's coach, Charlie Pangrazio. "Early in the season, we got a little lackadaisical on that.  These last two games tonight and versus Kendall, we really brought that together, our defense has really taken off."

Elba is now 4-7, and after its fourth-straight loss, Pembroke is 4-9.

Also, in Girls Basketball on Tuesday:

  • Notre Dame beat Kendall, 59-15. Amelia McCulley scored 33 points, 11 rebounds and six steals. Avelin Tomidy scored 10 points, and Emma Sisson scored seven and had 11 steals. The Irish are now 10-1 on the season.
  • Alexander improved to 10-4 with a 36-26 win over Byron-Bergen. For the Trojans, Alyssa Kramer scored 17 points.
  • Oakfield-Alabama beat Batavia, 44-27. O-A is 11-1.  Batavia is 0-12.

In Boys Basketball:

  • Batavia beat Livonia, 64-48. Carter McFollins scored 20 points, Sawyer Siverling, 16, and Mikey McKenzie, 10. Siverling hit four three-point buckets. The Blue Devils are 9-2.
  • Le Roy beat Pavilion, 66-36.  Merritt Holly, Jr. scored 20 points.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene








January 11, 2023 - 2:28pm
posted by Legal Notices in elba, legal notices.

Press release:

The Town Board, typically meet the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7 p.m., with the exception of Feb. 4

Meeting dates:

  • March 10
  • April 14
  • May 12
  • June 9
  • July 14
  • August 11
  • September 8
  • October 13
  • November 10
  • December 8
  • December 28 (Year End Meeting)

Zoning Board
FIrst Monday of each month at 7 p.m.
Holiday Accommodations – Jan. 9, July 10th & Sept. 11th

Planning Board
Third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. 

January 10, 2023 - 3:02pm

OPEN HOUSE THIS SATURDAY 11am-12:30pm - 6380 Oak Orchard Road, Elba.
 A solid country home! If you are looking for a little land in the country -the kind that is move in ready but you can still make your own with an affordable price tag?? Then here you go! This home sits on over an acre of land, surrounded by fields and pasture views with a new 16x24 back deck to enjoy great nites! This home has 4 bedrooms (including a first floor bedroom, if needed!) There is first floor laundry, sunny and bright kitchen and large open living and dining room floor plan -perfect for large gatherings!! New roof and gutters in 2019 as well as new furnace and central air too!! All new windows on first floor, bathroom redone as well as kitchen. This home is ready for the next person to make it their own! Easy to check out, come see for your self! Call Reliant Real Estate today! Call 344-HOME(4663)

January 6, 2023 - 10:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sports, basketball, elba, oakfield-alabama.


Caitlin Ryan, with 25 points and eight rebounds, helped lead Oakfield-Alabama to a 56-53 win over Elba on Elba's home court in Girls Basketball on Thursday night.

MacKena Reding added 10 points and seven assists and Alea Groff scored nine, for O-A, while Brooke Reding and Emma Ray added five a piece. 

For the Landers, Sydney Reilly scored 21 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Halie Scouten scored 15 points and snagged 14 rebounds. She also blocked five shots.  Lydia Ross scored nine points.

The Hornets are now 8-1 and Elba drops to 2-6.

Photos by Kristin Smith.





January 2, 2023 - 8:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Elba Central School, Winter Storm Elliott, elba.

Editor’s Note: At the risk of seeming redundant, The Batavian believes that Winter Storm Elliott easily became the biggest story of 2022, and there are many people, groups, businesses, and municipalities that are deserving of the spotlight for their contributions to assist the hundreds stranded in Genesee County during the Christmas weekend. This is another of those stories.

There have been stories of rescue involving fire halls, a community center, hotels, a church, and now, one of the schools that stepped up to help people during Winter Storm Elliott.

As the storm invaded portions of Genesee County on Dec. 23, Elba Volunteer Fire Department member Mandy Esten contacted Elba Central School Superintendent Gretchen Rosales about using the school as a warming shelter.

“As the superintendent of Elba Central, I've firmly stood behind my belief that the school is the center of our small community and that it belongs to all of the people of Elba,” Rosales said to The Batavian Saturday. “If it can be used as a source of shelter and comfort during a treacherous storm, all the better. The systems that a school already has in place are a natural fit for dealing with a crisis; we already provide food, shelter, warmth, and comfort to our students.

“This was an easy decision,” she said. "I reached out to my leadership team, as well as the Board of Education, to inform them that the school would be used as a warming shelter for those who were stranded or in need of a warm place to stay due to loss of power.”

From that moment on, Rosales witnessed a barrage of generosity and leadership from school staff about the clothing closet, a collection of personal hygiene items, and blankets and wheelchairs in the school nurse’s station; from the Elba Betterment Committee which made food for the stranded travelers; and a tech-savvy student who streamed cartoons for children on a screen in the cafeteria.

“The Elba community is incredible, and I'm so thankful for the great relationship we have with the Elba Fire Department. Mandy is a rockstar and coordinated things inside the school,” Rosales said. “My phone was ringing non-stop with offers for help and supplies. Initially, the onset of the storm provided us with a challenge as we were unable to mobilize a big response.  But via phone messages, texts, and picture messages, I was able to help Mandy get the coffee going and to tell her where they could find additional coats and warm clothing.”

Kim Walczak, who is the district’s acting cafeteria manager, arrived the next morning and made breakfast while yet another student shared that the yoga mats in Mrs. Morgan's classroom would make great sleeping mats, Rosales said. 

“Teachers and other staff members, as well as parents, were texting and emailing constantly, asking how to help from afar,” she said. “It was really a collective effort, which is what our school and community is all about.”

City of Batavia Police staff brought more cots and blankets for the community by that Saturday, Christmas eve.  They also dropped off food “from so many businesses that wanted to help out,” she said.   

Rosales estimated that at least 50 travelers were hosted at the school. And as she, and many others, learned, it evolved into more than a place for education.

“A school is not just about the building where the learning happens; they offer comfort and care,” she said. “Even though the storm was a scary experience for so many, I'm glad that Elba Central was able to be a shelter for those who needed it.”

Although this storm has been cited as being worse than the dreaded blizzard of ’77, at least one online poster sees a positive difference.

“Wow, they never did that when I went to school in the 60s and 70s! Glad they are now!” he wrote on the district’s social media page.

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