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January 16, 2020 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for their fourth annual Rockin’ the Downs concert series, which takes place outside on the racetrack, with eight Friday dates, starting in June and running into August.

Kicking off the series on Friday, June 19th is Vince Neil, the Legendary Voice of Mötley Crüe.  An accomplished businessman and heartfelt philanthropist, his unmistakable voice leads some of the greatest rock songs of a generation including “Wild Side”, “Shout at the Devil,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Kickstart

My Heart,” “Same Ol’ Situation,” and many others.

Next up, on Friday, June 26th, is former Journey frontman, Steve Augeri. Steve returns after playing one of the most enjoyable concerts from last year’s series.  The lead vocalist for the rock group from 1998-2006, Steve headlined an eight-year tenure that included three albums and will perform hits such as Don’t Stop Believin’, Separate Ways, Wheel in the Sky, Faithfully, and Anyway you Want it.

After a 1 week hiatus for the Fourth of July Holiday, the concert series returns on Friday, July 10th with Southern Rock legends Molly Hatchet.  Originating in Jacksonville in 1978, the band has gone on to release 14 studio albums.   They’ll be performing hits such as Flirtin’ with Disaster, Dreams I’ll Never See and Whiskey Man among others.

Rocking the stage on Friday, July 17th is Heavy Metal Rockers Skid Row. After forming in New Jersey in 1986, the band has performed all over the world with hard guitars and a unique songwriting style.  They’ll be performing their hits; In a Darkened Room, We Are the Damned, Youth Gone Wild and 18 and Life and many more.

Jonny Lang performs on Friday, July 24th.  Hailing from Fargo, North Dakota, the blues, gospel, and rock singer has had five albums chart in the Billboard 200.  The Grammy Award-winning artist will perform hits such as Still Rainin’, Bring Me Back Home, Breakin’ Me and Lie to Me.

Friday, July 31st will see Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles, perform at the Downs.  As a renowned former lead guitarist of The Eagles, one of the most popular and influential rock groups of our time, Don has helped write and perform many iconic classics.  His 2008 memoir was a New York Times bestseller.  Don will perform solo and Eagles’ hits during his set including Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride), Hotel California, Life in the Fast Lane, the Long Run, and Tequila Sunrise.

America’s top Pink Floyd Show, The Machine hits the stage on Friday, August 7th.   Over 30 years they have extended the legacy of Pink Floyd while creating another legacy all their own. Over the years, The Machine has touched the hearts and souls of many with their stellar musicianship, dramatic lighting, and video performances.  Two other tribute rock acts celebrating the Music of The Who and Queen will also grace the stage that evening for what will be a memorable musical journey back in time.

Closing out the series on Friday, August 14th is American Alternative Rock Band, Puddle of Mudd.  The post-grunge band from Kansas City, Missouri has sold over 7 million albums.  One of the most well-attended concerts of 2018’s summer concert series, Puddle of Mudd concert-goers will be sure to hear hits such as She Hates Me, Blurry and Control. 

Tickets for all eight concerts will be available at www.BataviaConcerts.com beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 17th.   Individual pre-sale tickets to each concert will remain at $10 for General Admission while VIP tickets will again be $25.  Concert goers will be able to purchase tickets in the Premium Section directly in front of the stage.  Premium tickets are $50 and will be very limited for each concert.  General Admission tickets are $15 if purchased on the day of the concert. Tickets can also be purchased at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel at the “Lucky Treasures” Gift Shop located in the lobby.  At noon on Thursday, January 16th, Special VIP packages for the Don Felder Concert only will be available on BataviaConcerts.com

Concert goers will once again have the option of purchasing a “Season Pass”, which includes admission to all eight concerts at a discounted rate.  The season pass for 2020 is $60.00 for General Admission and $150.00 for VIP.

New this year will be a chair rental option for lawn seats.  While patrons are allowed to bring their own chairs, there will be 500 chairs available for rental for $5 each.  A portion of proceeds for chair rental will benefit Western New York Make a Wish.  Staff from Make a Wish will also be selling drink koozies.

“It’s incredible to think we are in our 4th year of the concert series,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/President of Batavia Downs Gaming. “We’re excited to continue to bring musical icons to Batavia Downs and provide great entertainment at an affordable price.  We’re looking forward to partnering again with Western New York Make A Wish to help raise funds to help them transform lives.  We hope to see the community come together again this summer.”

Hotel room/ticket packages will be available for each concert.  The purchase of a hotel room on the night of a concert using the code includes two VIP tickets to the show while supplies last.  Each concert ticket is also redeemable once at Player’s Club in the three days following the concert for $10 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines. Concerts are held Rain or Shine.  Additional information may be found at www.BataviaDownsGaming.com.

Photo: Henry Wojtaszek at today's press conference. Photo by Howard Owens

January 16, 2020 - 9:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news.

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Genesee County could get as much as six inches of snow from a storm that is passing through the northeast this weekend, according to a forecast by Accuweather.

The storm is expected to hit Western New York after 7 a.m., Saturday.

January 16, 2020 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, news, notify.

Richard Siebert, chairman of the Genesee County Republican Party, has straightforward opinions about how he will go about deciding who to back for the GOP nod in the NY-27 special election on April 29.

Finding somebody who can self-fund is not a top priority.

He won't want to back a candidate who might turn around and primary the GOP-endorsed candidate in June.

He was all-in for Steve Hawley until Hawley this afternoon withdrew his name from consideration.

"Steve Hawley is my man," Siebert said last night. "Unless Steve tells me he's no longer interested, I'm backing Steve."

Well, Steve is no longer interested, and that leaves six or seven other potential candidates, including three -- Sen. Rob Ortt, Sen. Chris Jacobs, and Darien resident Beth Parlato -- who have been campaigning the past several months as if they expect a primary rather than a special election. 

It's expected that Gov. Andrew Cuomo will call for a special election next month and set the date for April 28, the same day there will be a New York primary for the Democratic presidential primary.

The special election is necessary because Chris Collins, who will be sentenced tomorrow on his insider trading conviction, resigned in September.

In special elections, the chairs of the counties for the political parties select a candidate to represent the party.  

Siebert said he expects the process will go much as it did in 2018, after Collins was arrested by the FBI, and initially said he didn't plan to run for re-election. 

When it looked like there would be a special election previously, the eight-county chairs met at least twice, interviewed candidates and deliberated their choices. Before a decision was reached, Collins changed his mind about not running and vowed that he would clear his name.

The process gives county chairs weight votes, which in the past has meant that Erie County and Niagara County chairs essentially picked the candidate and everybody else fell in line. 

Erie County has favored candidates who can self-fund their campaigns.  Siebert said he's not in favor of taking that same approach again.

"I have to be candid," Siebert said. "I speak the way I feel. Several of the last candidates we've had -- Jane Corwin, Chris Lee, and Chris Collins -- have self-funded. Our track record with that is not very good so I'm not looking for a self-funded candidate. They're out there but obviously, we know some are wealthy and some are not. That's not my criteria. I'm not looking at 'who can afford it.' I'm not looking for somebody who can afford to win. I'm looking for somebody who is qualified to win."

Considering that Ortt, Jacobs, and Parlato have all been raising funds, gathering endorsements, and sending out press releases, it might appear that any of them might still run in a June primary even if they don't get the GOP endorsement for the April special election.

Siebert said he expects an expression of party loyalty before the special election endorsement is issued.

"The first thing I always ask any candidate, and I'm not secret about this, is 'will you support the candidate that we nominate?' Siebert said. "I need to hear them say, number one, they're not going to primary the nominee regardless. In my count, I have a strong and deep feeling about this, that if you're not part of our system (I'm not going to back you).  I don't like primaries.  That is my personal feeling and I would have a hard time supporting anybody who would primary the nominee."

We've attempted to get a comment from Ortt, Jacobs, and Parlato and have yet to receive a response. (Ortt did respond just before publication but his response was ambiguous. We're holding it for a possible follow up story.)

"Everybody hs the opportunity to run, whoever doesn't get it, can run in the primary," Siebert said. "That's your choice and it's there. That's the way it is. I respect that. But as chairman, I don't like primaries. I like to be unified. Now, that's their right. That's their constitutional right but that's the way I feel so that is how we've done things in Genesee County."

With the special election being held on the same day as the Democratic presidential primary, some political observers speculate that if there is high Democratic turnout, it might favor the Democratic candidate in the NY-27 -- most likely, Nate McMurray, who narrowly lost in 2018 to Chris Collins.. Siebert isn't buying it.  He doesn't think the chairs need to find a moderate Republican who will distance him or herself from President Donald Trump.

"This is a Trump county right here," Siebert said. "He got 72 percent of the vote in the last election. Anyone who is going to run for an office in my county who is not a Trump supporter, well, they're not going to do well. It is what it is. He did get 72 percent of the vote. This is a very conservative county. We support the Second Amendment. I can tell you, if you're not a Trump supporter in my county, you're not going to do well."

Siebert, who is also the Republican elections commissioner, and Lorie Longhany, Democratic commissioner, met with the Ways and Means Committee yesterday to get authorization to lease 10 new ballot readers at a cost of $19,000 a year. The new readers are easier to use and faster but the election equipment upgrade needs to be expedited because of the probable special election on the same day as a presidential primary. 

The funds for the machines in the first year will come from grant money already received by the county.  The multi-year lease will also put the county on a replacement schedule for ballot readers that will help the Elections Commission keep technology current and machines reliable.

As for who might represent the GOP in April, Siebert offered no predictions on who the chairs might support but he did say he's not happy the chairs have to make the selection.

"I don't like this whole process, to be honest with you, because we're in a situation now where eight Republican chairmen have to get together and tell our voting public who we want them to vote for, who's going to be on the ballot on April 28," Siebert said. "You get the feeling it is eight men in a room  -- there are women involved, too -- with you always being criticized for smoking cigars or whatever but it is the eight of us telling the public who's going to be the candidate. I don't like that at all. But the law is the law. We have no choice because of the election law that we have to do it this way."

January 16, 2020 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley said, “After much consideration with my friends and family, I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for the open 27th Congressional seat in Congress at this time.

“Serving the residents of the 139th District in the State Assembly has been one of the highest honors of my life and our state faces a host of pressing challenges that cannot be ignored.

"Thus, my friends and neighbors deserve a full-time Assemblyman and someone who is laser-focused on meeting those challenges and moving our state forward.

“While it would be an extreme honor to serve as a member of the House of Representatives and serve with honesty and integrity as exemplified by our family’s close friend, former Congressman Barber B. Conable Jr., I am confident that whoever is chosen to run will exhibit these attributes.

“It is crucial for the fate of our state and our country that this Congressional seat remains in Republican hands and I am confident that whoever should be elected this April will do a tremendous job representing us in Washington."

January 16, 2020 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in trade, economics, agriculture, news.

Press release from the NYS Farm Bureau:

“The Senate’s passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement clears the final hurdle that stood in the way of progress for New York’s farmers.

"Nearly half of our state’s agricultural exports go to our North American neighbors, providing vital market opportunities that will remain open thanks to USMCA.

"The certainty that this agreement provides to farmers, plus the potential for expected growth for our dairy farms, are reasons to commend lawmakers for getting the job done in a strong bipartisan fashion.

"Combine this news with yesterday’s announcement of the phase one trade deal with China, and there is renewed hope that United States’ trade policy is headed in the right direction.”

January 16, 2020 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ski team, sports, Batavia HS.

From coach Matt Holman

Wednesday night was perfect conditions for ski racing, the around freezing temperatures and hard-packed snow created a slippery but not icy, fast track for a two-run Giant Slalom race on Swain's Wheels Run. 

Zach Wagner was Batavia's top skier with a two-run combined time of 1.55.46 which would account for an 8th place boys finish. Aubrey Towner continues her strong senior season by finishing in 6th place with a combined time of 2.05.05. 8th Grader Lily Wagner finished 19th 2.25.71. The girls finished in 5th place.

Modified Skiers Ben Stone, Abby Bestine, and Brody Swinehart finished 18th, 19th, and 23rd

Batavia will race next on Wednesday, January 22nd

 
 
January 16, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Scholastic Bowl, news, schools, education, pembroke.

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In Wednesday's Scholastic Bowl matches, Pembroke and Alden came out on top.

In the first match, Alden scored 240 points to 230 for Le Roy and 140 for Pavilion.

In the second match, Pembroke scored 260 points to 160 for Alexander and 110 for Akron.

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January 16, 2020 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, oakfield-alabama, basketball, video.
Video Sponsor

With a three-point jumper late in the second quarter, Elba's Colton Dillion pegged his 1,000th career point during the Lancers' away game against the Oakfield-Alabama Hornets. 

The game was stopped briefly for Colton to be awarded with a commemorative 1,000-point ball.

The Lancers, now 9-2, won 59-52. O-A drops to 6-4 on the season.

Colton scored 20 points in the game. Greyson Huntington scored 11. Zach Marsceill scored nine, Collin O'Halloran, eight, Andrew Hale, seven.

For the Hornets, Kam Cusmano scored 10, and Travis Wiedeich, Joey Burdick, and Gage Armbruster had nine each.

UPDATE: A photo of Colton Dillon taking the three-point shot that put Dillion right on 1,000 career points. Submitted by Kristen Smith.  For more photos from the game, click here.

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January 16, 2020 - 12:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

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January 15, 2020 - 6:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in spectrum, Empire Access, business.

Officials at Empire Access are warning their customers that Spectrum sales reps may be using deceptive tactics to try and convince them to switch broadband and cable services.

Today, Marketing Director Bob R. VanDelinder released a video taken by a customer's front-porch video recorder that shows a man who looks like a Spectrum rep and represents himself as a Spectrum rep telling the customer that Spectrum is acquiring Empire Access.

"We thought this may be of interest since Empire Access did NOT sell to Spectrum, and has no plans of selling," VanDelinder said. "Our company is locally owned and operated, and deeply rooted in the communities we serve."

The rep tells the customer, "We just bought Empire, you know, so sooner or later you're going to be with us."

"So you're going to raise up your rates?" the customer asks in response. 

"No, we're just going to get everybody switched over, so whenever you're ready. The official switch-over is March, so sooner later you'll be on board with us or you'll be on satellite. Right now we're offering you a deal to get on board with us."

VanDelinder said his company has received two complaints, both involving the same rep at a location in the Southern Tier.

The Batavian attempted to reach a spokesperson for Spectrum this afternoon and we received no response.

UPDATE 9:43 p.m.: We apparently contacted the wrong Spectrum. We just received the following statement from a Spectrum spokesperson: "The content of the video is not accurate and we’re investigating these apparent comments by the sales representative."

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January 15, 2020 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, news, schools, education, batavia.

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Tech is increasingly part of the learning environment in City School classrooms and at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting, two teachers -- Alexander Veltz, Social Studies (photo), and Andrew Kiebala, Math -- shared how they're using Chromebooks and Google classroom tools to aid in their instruction.

Their presentions came as part of the information technology review by Director of Technology Jeff McKinney.

Veltz shared how he can use Google tools to share assignments, worksheets, handouts, and ensure that not only are they available in the classroom, but students (and their guardians) have access to the material at home. The availability of the material is helping him meet the new demands for greater reading comprehension in state exams.

With the tools, students can answer questions and get immediate feedback on their responses. 

Another tool allows students to sort through documents, which is especially helpful for a project that requires them to write an essay based on pre-assigned material that they must study, find a common theme, and then organize in order to write the essay.

"There is a shift in New York State where it's less about retention and more about argumentation based on perspective and point of view," Veltz said. "Retention is a skill New York is moving away from."

Trustee Shawn Murphy, who teaches at Genesee Community College, asked if the use of the tools was taking away from classroom engagement. Veltz said not at all.

McKinney added, "We are not switching over to where kids just sit in front of a computer. That's not the intent at all."

Kiebala shared tools that students can use to study geometric properties. 

He also shared a program that allows students to work on quizzes that he guides from his own computer and see where they need help. He said the program allows students to ask questions and make observations that he can then share with the class. The process allows students who might normally be shy about raising their hands to contribute more readily to classroom learning.

"This is my favorite thing to do," Kiebala said. "It allows them to be independent and also allows me to have control, so it's the best of both worlds for a teacher."

Kiebala shared a study published by NPR that indicated most people in the work world don't spend a lot of time doing trigonometry or geometry but they do spend a lot of time working in Excel, so his statistics class is heavy into spreadsheets.

"I tell the class, 'this is what you're going to spend your time doing because this is what you're going to use,' " Kiebala said. "You don't have to do anything by hand anymore because you either have a calculator or a spreadsheet but you still need to know what the numbers mean."

January 15, 2020 - 2:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, business, Pavilion, Hands of Time Massage.

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After the west wall of the Opera House in Attica was heavily damaged in a windstorm last week, Pavilion resident Jolene Coots found her business, Hands of Time Massage, displaced.

It didn't take long for the community to find out and the outpouring of support has been overwhelming, said her husband, Jesse Coots.

"Because of the damage, the county has deemed the building unsafe so she was instantly out of business," Jesse said. "Feeling crushed, we went to Attica yesterday (Monday) to remove what we could then we went for lunch at local diner and people were amazing to Jolene. They gave her hugs and words of encouragement and offered any help we needed.

"We took a walk down Main Street looking for a place to rent. Nothing was advertised for rent and feeling desperate we just walked into a couple of local businesses and asked if they knew if anything. Everyone, and I mean everyone, offered space to Jolene. They offered to share a room and offered to make room for her!

"We were really shocked. We thought she would be out of business for a few months but the community has literally rallied behind her."

Talking about it makes Jolene tear up.

"It's amazing," Jolene said during a phone interview. She started to sob and confessed she thought she had told the story often enough already that she wouldn't cry during the interview.

"Everybody knew," Jolene said. "It's a small town. Word spreads quickly. The expressions of concern when we went out, messages on Facebook, Jesse's friends had spots available, even in neighboring towns, they'd say they have spots available and though know it's not close for a majority of my clients, but they have space. It's been great."

That's the advantage of small-town life, both Jesse and Jolene noted, and why they wanted to share their story.

Jolene has been a massage therapist for 20 years and had her own business in Attica for more than 19 years. The Coots are known, of course, for the Hardcore Happening, which they host at their home in Pavilion every August.

While Jolene is hopeful the Opera House can be repaired -- she believes her landlord expects to repair it -- she now has space for her practice. 

On Monday, while she and Jesse stepped into the Tompkins Insurance office and asked if the staff new of open space downtown. Manager Mike Hardy came out and right away offered a space upstairs. Jolene said it was the most move-in ready space they had seen and Hardy allowed her to move her business into the room immediately.  

"The words of encouragement have meant the most," Jesse said. "I don’t think she ever realized how loved she is or how powerful and supportive a small town can be.

"We’ve had offers from people all over once word got out -- friends who own building in Batavia, Le Roy, Pavilion and Attica have reached out. Other massage therapists have offered space. It really made us feel good to live in such a caring community and feel loved by so many."

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January 15, 2020 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, news, education, schools.

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David Chua, Stephen Pribek and Ashley Elmore -- Certificate of Appreciation

Sarah Gahagan has nominated David Chua, Stephen Pribek and Ashley Elmore for a board award. Each of these individuals invested a large chunk of time mentoring and modeling the word "commitment" to the B Squad boys. They did what not everyone does....they SHOWED UP. Each week, two days a week for 20 weeks these volunteers modeled follow through and were able to showcase what "doing what you love" looks like.

Each of these volunteers had something special to offer, a love of running and showed just how important it is to continue doing what you love, even into adulthood when you are busy and "life" takes over. Chua was a soft spoken guiding force of optimism and motivation, whereas Pribek could always add a science lesson into our running and truly teach us something new every single practice. His humor was a favorite with the boys. And Elmore is a ray of light. She is positive, fun, and encouraged the boys to always be their best under any circumstance. She is a true leader who shines from the inside out.

This program is only able to be successful because of the volunteers. We need to ensure safety while running and the more adults we have, the safer we are and the more boys we can accept within this program.

Volunteering is something not many do these days and it is valuable and appreciated and for this they all deserve to be recognized.

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Carlos Colon -- Certificate of Appreciation

The English as a New Language faculty nominate Carlos Colon for a Board of Education award because of his dedication to our district and students. Anyone who knows Carlos would use words like friendly, easy going, helpful, and caring to describe him. Colon's official job title is maintenance staff, however he frequently uses his time to help others outside this requirement.

Most notably, Colon has helped countless times this year alone in translating needs, concerns, and important information between teachers or administration, and parents who speak only Spanish. He does this because he knows the parents and teachers struggle to understand each other using only a translation app, and he doesn't want something important to be misconstrued due to a technical error.

He has also been called upon when our Spanish-speaking students needed a familiar face and language to calm them down. He has talked kids down from metaphorical ledges more than once, and helped the students come to a more peaceful place so that teachers could have a conversation with students. One student even shadows him as he works, as an incentive for good behavior.

Other students also look up to Carlos, as a friend, mentor, and a person they can trust. Colon embodies the phrase “above and beyond,” all in the hopes of helping our students be successful and understood. For these reasons, we believe Colon is well deserving of recognition for his work by the Board of Education.

Nominated by the ENL Department Staff.

Jenna Mrzywka (pronounced Majifka), Trina Cox, Addison Marino, Chelsea Cummings, Courtney Turcer and Shawn Chrysler.

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Jim Jacobs -- Certificate of Appreciation

Jacobs recently came back out of retirement to fill in as Interim Director of Facilities. He stepped back in and it was as if he had never left. His knowledge and experience was instrumental in our schools opening smoothly and safely this year as the Capital Project created many changes to the District. Working closely with him, I saw first hand his continued dedication to make our schools the best they can be for our students and staff. It was a pleasure working with him again. Thank you, Jim!

Anonymous nomination.

Information and photos submitted by the school district.

January 15, 2020 - 12:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, elba, oakfield-alabama.

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Oakfield-Alabama, coming into the game with a 5-4, upset the #1 Class D team in the state Tuesday night, beating the Elba Lady Lancers (7-1), 48-45.

Both Brianna Smith and Kelsey Schlagenhauf notched double-doubles, with Smith scoring 22 points and nabbing 10 rebounds. Schlagenhauf scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. MaKena Reding scored six points and Brooke Reding scored six. Karly Smith had 10 rebounds.

Lauryn Engle scored 12 points, Lea Bezon 10, and Brynn Walczak, nine. Bezon and Walczak each had eight rebounds. Bezon had five assists. Engle hit four three-pointers.

Photos by Kristen Smith. For more photos from the game, click here.

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January 15, 2020 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, NY-27, news, ethics reform.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, a Democrat running in the Special Election in NY-27 to fill the vacancy left by the Chris Collins, and Ammar Campa-Najjar, Democrat running in CA-50 for Duncan Hunter’s former seat, have teamed up to call for ethics reform to prevent corrupt Congress members from retaining their Congressional pensions following their guilty pleas.

McMurray and Campa-Najjar ran against Collins and Hunter, respectively, in 2018 while they were under indictment and proclaiming their innocence. Both former Congress members have since resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to their crimes. Collins will be sentenced for insider trading violations on Jan. 17th.

The candidates are pledging to sponsor legislation to require Congressional pensions to be forfeited if a member is found guilty of a felony. Additionally, they will sponsor legislation to require the repayment of personal loans to campaigns within two years of the election.

McMurray first called for pension forfeiture in an October letter to the judge overseeing Collins’ case after Collins pled guilty.

It was reported earlier this month that Collins, a multimillionaire, also paid himself back more than $140,000 for a personal loan he gave to his losing 1998 campaign.

“People across our country are fed up with politicians illegally using their positions for personal gain – here in Western New York and in California, we have been deeply betrayed by our Congress members who prioritized their personal wealth ahead of their constituents,” McMurray said.

“That’s why Ammar and I are committed to addressing corruption when elected. Specifically, we want to ensure no felon former Congressmember can profit off their crimes by retaining their pensions and prevent campaign accounts from turning into personal piggybanks. Americans deserve better.”

“Nate and I are standing together today to fight back against the corruption that has harmed our districts, and demanding that Washington hold members of Congress to the most basic standards of ethical behavior,” Campa-Najjar said.

“Regardless of your party, if you break the public’s trust, you should not be able to keep your pension. Corruption harms all of us and undermines faith in our government. We must do better.”

January 15, 2020 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

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  • Once re gistered 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.
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January 14, 2020 - 9:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, alexander, notify.
clevelandjohnson5d288b5d555cb.image_.jpg
2018 mugshot of Cleveland Johnson

The driver of a rented Chrysler 300 that slammed sideways into a tree in the Village of Alexander yesterday was apparently a member of a nationwide criminal enterprise known as the "Felony Lane Gang."

The gang members, often recognizable by their gold teeth, are known to smash into parked vehicles and then use stolen debit cards to obtain cash from bank accounts. When going to a bank, they use the lane furthest from the bank building, which makes it harder for security cameras to pick up identifying information. That lane is known as the "Felony Lane," hence the gang's name. 

Cleveland D. Johnson, 22, of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The vehicle he was driving was stopped for a traffic violation in the Village of Warsaw but Johnson hit the gas after the police officer exited the patrol car and headed west on Route 20. At Varysburg, he turned north and an Attica PD patrol spotted the vehicle on Route 98 and attempted to pursue but soon broke off the pursuit because of the high rate of speed of the white Chrysler. Johnson lost control of the sedan as he entered the village and the car wrapped around a large tree in front of a residence on Main Road.

Johnson, according to Chief Deputy Brian Frieday, did have gold teeth.

One of Johnson's passengers, Clyde A. Frazier, 24, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., was seriously injured in the crash and remains in guarded condition (meaning he is in the intensive care unit) at Strong Memorial Hospital. A social media profile for a Clyde Frazier in Ft. Lauderdale shows multiple pictures of a young man with gold teeth.

The other passenger in the vehicle, Desarae N. Steriotis, 33, of Philadelphia, was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC. Frieday said as of today, her injuries are no longer considered life threatening.

Frieday said investigators are still developing information about the suspects and didn't have anything to add about their activities in the area.

Johnson was arrested in Greenburgh, N.Y., in January 2018, along with three other individuals, who were all accused of being part of the "Felony Lane Gang." One of the other suspects, Tyrone Parker, bared his gold teeth for his mugshot.

The four people were suspected of taking part in a crime spree throughout New England and Upstate New York. At the time of their arrest, they were reportedly found in possession stolen checks, dozens of stolen credit and debit cards, and 25 stolen licenses from several different states.

In July, Johnson was arrested in Watervliet, along with two other suspects, charged with criminal possession of a stolen substance, a felony, and criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor.

The Felony Lane Gang is reportedly based in the Ft. Lauderdale area but operates nationally. There have been crimes and arrests reported in nearly every one of the lower 48 states.

Our news partner, 13WHAM reports that Frazier has a criminal record in Florida.

January 14, 2020 - 6:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Rob Ortt, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Today, New York State Senator Rob Ortt, Army combat veteran, and candidate for New York’s 27th Congressional District released a new radio ad highlighting his record as a battle-tested patriot who, like President Trump, has successfully fought back against false liberal attacks.

The advertisement, released in both Buffalo and Rochester, focuses on Ortt’s successful fight against partisan attacks from corrupt former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. As he did to President Trump, Schneiderman falsely accused Ortt of politically motivated charges. Those charges were quickly laughed out of court by a Democrat judge. Meanwhile, Schneiderman resigned in disgrace after his history of abusive behavior toward women was exposed. 

“President Trump has faced false attacks from the radical left since he first announced his campaign for President," Ortt said. "Since taking office, the President has had to fight back against countless liberal regressive witch hunts. I know what that’s like because those same crooked politicians attacked me for my conservative values.

"I stood up to politically motivated attacks from the disgraced Eric Schneiderman and I won -- just as President Trump has done. Now, I want to go to Washington to fight by his side against this impeachment sham and help him advance the conservative agenda he was elected to enact.”

Beginning on Jan. 13th the radio campaign highlighting Ortt’s record as a battle-tested patriot will air on talk radio across the 27th Congressional District.

The radio advertisement can be heard here.

January 14, 2020 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, chris collins, NY-27.

collinspresseraug82018b.jpg

The man who proclaimed his innocence for months, even while running for re-election to Congress, only to eventually plead guilty to insider trading charges, should spend up to five years in prison, according to his prosecutors.

The Washington Post reports that Manhatten U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman is asking a judge to send Chris Collins, now residing in Florida, to federal prison for an extended sentence "to promote respect for the law" and "to provide just punishment."

Collins will be sentenced on Friday.

The former NY-27 representative got into trouble after regulators realized his son Cameron Collins dumped more than $700,000 in stock in an Australian company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, just before news went public of a failed clinical trial.

Cameron's now-former future father-in-law also engaged in a sell-off of the stock at the same time.

An investigation by the FBI revealed that Chris Collins, the first congressman to endorse Donald Trump for president, called Cameron from the White House lawn minutes after receiving news of the failed trial from the company CEO. Chris Collins was one of the company's largest shareholders and served on the board of directors.

Collins later lied to the FBI about his involvement in the insider trading scheme.

After campaigning with a promise that he would be fully exonerated, and refusing public appearances and interview requests throughout much of the 27th District, the multimillionaire pled guilty in Federal Court in September.

Both Cameron and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron's one-time fiancée, have also entered guilty pleas.

In a prior court filing, attorneys for Chris Collins pleaded for leniency from the judge, stating Collins “has paid a heavy price for his crimes. He is, and will forever be, tortured with the knowledge that his actions have caused his son, to whom he always aspired to be a role model, to live with the stain of a felony conviction, and perhaps serve time in prison."

Berman doesn't think Collins has had paid a sufficient price for his crimes.

“As a member of Congress at the time that he committed the offenses in this case … Collins was better situated than almost anyone else to understand the societal importance of following the law,” the prosecutor said his filing. "Collins came to embody the cynical idea that those in power who make the laws are not required to follow them.”

Photo: File photo of Chris Collins and his wife, Mary Sue, at an August 2018 press conference in Buffalo where Collins proclaimed his innocence following his arrest in New York City and then refused to take questions from reporters.

January 14, 2020 - 12:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, news, notify, accident, video.
Video Sponsor

The driver of a 2019 Chrysler 300 who died after the driver's side of the car slammed into a tree at 10616 Main Road, Alexander, at 4:21 p.m. has been identified as Cleveland D. Johnson, 22, of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.

Johnson fled from police following a traffic stop by Warsaw PD in the Village of Warsaw. The officer lost sight of the vehicle before it reached Varysburg.  At Varysburg, witnesses informed the officer that the car had headed north on Route 98.

An Attica PD officer spotted the car on Route 98 but cut off the pursuit because of the vehicle's high rate of speed. The white sedan proceeded north into the Village of Alexander where the driver lost control of the car and it slid sideways into the tree.

Two occupants in the car suffered serious physical injuries. They are Clyde A. Frazier, 24, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Desarae N. Steriotis, 33, of Philadelphia. Fraizer was transported by Mercy Flight to Strong and Steriotis was transported to ECMC by Mercy Flight.

The accident remains under investigation and investigators have yet to determine why Johnson fled from police.

Assisting at the scene were the Alexander Volunteer Fire Department, Attica Fire Department, Bethany Fire Department, Mercy EMS, Wyoming County Sheriff's Office, Attica PD, and State Police.  

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