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April 14, 2021 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, schools, education.

Teachers at Batavia High School, looking to pursue relevant topics in fresh ways have proposed three new courses that were approved by the city school's Board of Education on Monday night.

The courses, two in Social Studies and one in English will only go forward if students show sufficient interest in taking the elective classes.

The courses are:

  • Sports and Race Relations through Digital Media, which will explore pivotal moments in American History in an effort to understand how they contribute to modern laws, policies, systems and culture. 
  • Law and Justice in America I and II will provide students an overview of the various areas of Civil and Criminal Law in our American legal system, along with time to discuss contemporary issues pertaining to justice in America. 
  • 1960s Literature, Lyrics and Culture will examine influences between our current times and the '60s. 

Superintendent Anibal Soler told the board it's important to recognize that these are teacher-driven initiatives and Molly Corey, director of curriculum and instruction, said, "Teachers are passionate because they were eager to see some changes in the courses they teach."

She added, "What we’re looking to do is provide more choice and some relative and timely topics.”

Existing teachers will lead the classes. There is no need to hire additional staff. They don't replace core classes.

Trustee Shawna Murphy, herself a teacher at Genesee Community College, said, "That’s what teachers are constantly doing, coming up with new ways at teaching concepts and making it relevant and easier to understand and, you know, ‘why does this matter to you as a student.’ I think that’s the fun part of being a teacher."

April 14, 2021 - 8:45am
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 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.
  • 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.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
April 13, 2021 - 9:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.
Video Sponsor

For National Poetry Month, Griffen Della Penna, the voice of the Muckdogs, reads "365" by Jack Buck.

April 13, 2021 - 4:59pm

Michael Tomaszewski, the former local funeral home owner accused of misusing his client's deposit money and improperly disposing of human remains, entered a guilty plea this afternoon to felony charges that could send him to prison for up to seven years.

The plea offer included no promise of a sentence of lesser than the statutory time in prison of two and a third to seven years for his guilty plea to grand larceny, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and untimely burial.

The sentences for each count will run concurrently under the terms of the plea.  

Prior to Tomaszewki's last court appearance, he disclosed, through his attorney Thomas Burns, to the Sheriff's Office that the remains of another body could be found in his former funeral home. A human body was recovered.

As a result of that investigation, he is expected to be charged with another misdemeanor charge of untimely burial. Under terms of the plea deal, he is expected to plead guilty to that charge and any sentence on that charge would run concurrently to the charges disposed of in today's hearing.

Sentencing for the 40-year-old Batavia resident is scheduled for July 13 at 1:30 p.m.

Tomaszewski was arrested last summer and accused of taking money from clients who had made prearrangement deposits. He misappropriated as much as $15,000 from some clients.

Clients may have suffered a cumulative loss of more than $525,000. 

At his sentencing on July 13, Tomaszewski, under terms of the deal, must agree to make restitution in the amount specified by the prosecution.  

Assistant District Attorney Kaitlynn Schmit told Judge Charles Zambito today that she couldn't provide the exact amount of restitution because Tomaszewski has already paid some people back and there needs to be further research into exactly how much he owes his victims.

Burns said he and Schmit had reached an agreement to delay sentencing by four weeks over the standard time between a plea and sentencing to allow more time to arrive at the final restitution figure.

In a bankruptcy filing last year, which is still pending, Tomaszewski listed $1,094,346 in assets against $3,242,390 in liabilities. 

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.: The Sheriff's Office has released the arrest report on the additional charge against Tomaszewski, duty to bury. According to the Sheriff's Office, after being notified by Burns of the body, a body of a deceased person who had died Sept. 10, 2019, was recovered at the former funeral home. The body was removed and buried. Tomaszewski was issued an appearance ticket on the charge.

April 13, 2021 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dianna Spiotta, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Batavia native Deanna Spiotta moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 2013 to try and make it as a recording artist but found, she said, that she was unprepared for the music business and felt alone in trying to navigate it.

But that experience didn't diminish her drive nor dampen the dream of making music her career.

She returned to Western New York in 2015 and started renewing and building connections locally and as a result, this week released her first EP, "The In Between," a collection of six songs she wrote and arranged.

It was produced by Dave Drago in Macedon. Spiotta sings and plays guitar and piano on the tracks. She is joined by Drago on bass, electric guitar, and backing vocals, Alex Northup on keyboards, and Javi Torres on drums.

"It is my hope to share this music with our community and that it will resonate with people and help them feel through difficult emotions," Spiotta said.

This is Spiotta's debut release. She said it was tough making connections in Nashville without any professional recordings under her belt. She hopes the EP is a step toward realizing her dream of writing and performing music for a living.

Her influences include, she said, The Beatles, Shawn Colvin, Miranda Lambert, and Leslie Odom Jr.

She provided a Spotify link to music that inspired and influenced her.

"I'm also inspired by Motown, which makes sense as The Beatles and Shawn Colvin were heavily influenced by Motown artists and Black artists who founded rock 'n' roll and country music," she said.

"Miranda Lambert was very influential to me at the beginning of my career about 10 years ago, and now I find myself growing from her style to create my own. Leslie Odom Jr.'s album, Mr, serves as a big inspiration to me.

"Our sounds don't sound anything alike, but I love that he fuses many different styles, genres and sounds to make something unique. I find it fascinating to fuse all of the musical experiences in my life into my own unique sound."

Her EP is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and her own website, DeannaSpiotta.com.

Photos by Taylor Rambo Photography. All rights reserved. Used with permission of Deanna Spiotta.

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April 12, 2021 - 11:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, sports, basketball, notify.

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Tom Redband, head coach of Elba's Lady Lancers, which is coming off its fifth straight championship season, announced today that he and his assistant, Marci Redband, also his wife, are stepping down from their coaching positions.

The announcement:

Marci and I would like to announce that we are stepping down from the position of Head Coach/Assistant Coach of the Elba girls basketball program. While this is a very difficult decision due to our love and passion for Elba basketball, we have put a lot of thought into it, and Marci and I know that personally and as a family it is time and the right decision.

Marci and I are so appreciative of the opportunity we were given to lead these wonderful young women. We will cherish these times forever and want to thank all of the supporters from the bottom of our hearts for the positivity and trust. In due time, I look forward to personally thank each one of you. The people we have met and grown relationships with never would have occurred without this opportunity to coach this awesome team, it’s been wonderful.

Marci and I are looking forward to being positive and supportive of the new coach and all the young Lady Lancers we have worked with and will miss dearly. We will be cheering each one of you on and will always be here for you. We will be continuing our basketball training camps, so we won’t be too far away.

When I was given the opportunity to teach business at Elba as my first full-time teaching job and to coach the Lady Lancers, I knew Elba was special, but I didn’t know Elba was next-level special. Well, I know now, and it’s one of a kind. It’s so special and the kids mean so much to us, that of all places, I chose a smelly locker room to propose to Marci. We hope we served the kids and community with class, it was certainly our pleasure. In closing, Marci and I are Lancers for life, and that makes us proud.

For Elba, the past two seasons ended in wins but also disappointments. With a team led by Byrnn Walczak, Taylor Augello, Maddie Muehlig, and Leah Bezon, the Lancers had legitimate chances in each of the past two seasons to win state championships. The team was deprived of that opportunity by a global pandemic. Those four players all graduate this year.

Elba has a long history of basketball success. Tom Redband replaced Tom Nowak, who over 26 seasons amassed 587 wins, 10 sectional titles, and in 2012 a State Championship.

A new head coach has not yet been named.

Photo: File photo of Tom Redband in 2013.

April 12, 2021 - 5:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, video, fire services, Byron Fire Department.
Video Sponsor

Laura Platt was just settling into defrosting a freezer on July 7 when the alarm came in: somebody had a serious cut.

The Byron Volunteer Fire Department EMT grabbed her gear, making sure she had a tourniquet and plenty of gauze and was on scene about a minute later.

Somebody who provided first-aid to a man who suffered a large cut in his arm from a chainsaw had done a good job of slowing the bleeding by using a bungee cord as a makeshift tourniquet.

William Hallinan, trauma program manager of UR Medical Center, said some first responders think that would be enough but Platt, through training and experience, knew better. She applied a medical tourniquet. That stopped the bleeding and at a minimum saved the victim from losing his arm and probably saved his life.

For her efforts, Pratt was honored Saturday at the Byron Fire Hall by her department and UR Medical Center.

To become a volunteer in your community, visit ReadyGenesee.com.

April 12, 2021 - 2:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, video, byron hoot.
Video Sponsor

Byron Hoot is not a Batavia resident but over the years he's become a significant part of our local literary climate, attending local literary events and the annual John Gardner Society reading of the famous author's work at the Pok-A-Dot each October.

He's reading one of his own poems, "The Discomfort of Healing."

April is National Poetry Month.

April 12, 2021 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in volleyball, sports, Le Roy.

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Le Roy's volleyball team celebrated Senior Night on Friday both with a congratulatory celebration for the class of 2021 but also with a three-set victory over Haverling, 25-24, 25-10, 25-22.

The Knights are 7-0 on the season with three regular-season matches to go.

Seniors feted were:

  • Delcina Cassidy
  • Jillian Curtis
  • Delaney Ingles
  • Jamie Staba
  • Abbie Woodworth

Photos by Tim McArdle.

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April 12, 2021 - 8:17am
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 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.
  • 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.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
April 11, 2021 - 5:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, bergen.

A one-vehicle accident is reported in the area of 6369 W. Sweden Road, Bergen.

The initial call reported a person was trapped and Mercy Flight was put on ground standby.

A chief on scene reports the occupant is out of the vehicle and walking around and Mercy Flight can stand down.

Bergen fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

All units can respond nonemergency.

April 10, 2021 - 10:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, accident, news.

A rollover ATV accident is reported in the area of 2835 Lockport Road, Oakfield.

Two people involved. One possible serious injury.

Oakfield fire and Mercy EMS dispatched. Dispatchers checking on the availability of Mercy Flight.

UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: Mercy Flight requested to the scene. Mercy Flight out of Buffalo on a ground standby. 

UPDATE 10:25 p.m.:  Elba Fire Police requested for traffic control, to shut down Lockport Road. 

UPDATE 10:31 p.m.: Mercy Flight has landed. 

UPDATE 10:44 p.m.: Mercy Flight in the air, en route to ECMC. 

UPDATE 12:10 a.m.: Oakfield is back in service. Elba can reopen Lockport Road.

April 9, 2021 - 2:05pm
Video Sponsor

For National Poetry Month, we asked several local school superintendents to read a poem for us. The first submission comes from Matthew Calderon, superintendent of Pembroke Central schools. He's reading "Sick" by Shel Silverstein.

April 9, 2021 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, football, sports.

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The Alexander Trojans moved to 3-1 with a 35-6 win at Attica over Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen.

The Trojans ran for 325 yards on 46 carries, preferring a ground attack on a windy night. Nick Kramer gained 132 yards on 15 carries. Brayden Woods ran for 69 yards on 11 carries. Devin Dean ran for 52 yards. Jay Morrison gained 39 yards on the ground and added 40 yards receiving.

Defensively, Maverick Bump had an interception and returned it 72 yards to inside the Cal-Mum 10-yard line. Gavin Smith-Crandall had a fumble recovery. Devin Dean led the Trojans with six tackles. Clayton Bezon and Nick Kramer each had five tackles.  

The Trojans play Notre Dame at Van Detta Stadium next Thursday night.

Top photo: TE Mark Poles-Harrison (81) battling for the ball in the air with Brayden Woods (5).

Photos by Philip Casper. Game info provided by Coach Tim Sawyer.

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Nick Kramer (3) handing off to Brayden Woods (5) before he crossed into the end zone. 

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Quarterback Kyle Wade (4) surveys the field with Running Back Jake Cappotelli (25) at his side.

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Kyle Wade (4) looking for a pass downfield while on the move.

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Nick Kramer (3) on the move before running out of bounds just before the goal line, the Trojans would go on to score on their next play.

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Fullback Devin Dean (24) getting the hand off.

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Nick Kramer (3) taking down Jake Cappotelli (25) stopping the run.

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Nick Kramer (3) attempting to hurdle the pile.

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Colin Crane (6) on the run, Christian Haller (21) setting the block.

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Senior, Colin Crane (6) crossing the plane after an impressive drive to score the final points for Alexander, leading to a Trojans win over the Raiders, 35-6.

April 9, 2021 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in oakfield-alabama, elba, sports, football.

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Oakfield-Alabama/Elba lost to Bolivar-Richmond on Thursday evening, 14-8.

No stats provided.

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more photos, click here.

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April 9, 2021 - 11:18am
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 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.
  • 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.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
April 8, 2021 - 10:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in poetry, Batavia Players, video.
Video Sponsor

"Dirty Face" by Shel Silverstein read by Avelynn William for National Poetry Month.

April 8, 2021 - 5:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Aldi, batavia, news, notify.

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A mechanical failure of a refrigeration unit apparently caused a carbon dioxide leak at the Aidi Food Market in Batavia this afternoon.

The leak led to the evacuation of every business in the structure, from the Job Bureau on the east to the Five Star Bank on the west.

Chief Stefano Napolitano did not have an estimated time for when the buildings can be reoccupied. Firefighters are using fans for ventilation, or "positive pressure" to push air through the buildings, as the chief put it, to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. The goal is to get it down to 400 parts per million, which is a satisfactory ambiant level, the chief said.

April 8, 2021 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

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The driver of a silver sedan that rear-ended a semi-truck on Ellicott Street at the intersection with Swan Street, Batavia, was evaluated by a Mercy medic and declined further treatment.

The roadway was reopened moments ago.

April 8, 2021 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in allergies, Rochester Regional Health, news.

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Allergy season is upon us and for those who annually get sniffles and sneezes it's time to be prepared, said Dr. Peter Capucilli, an allergist with Rochester Regional Health, during a call with reporters on Wednesday.

"The first thing is just making sure that your prescriptions are up to date, that you have refills on the medications that you know will help you," Capucilli said. "I usually like to tell my patients that starting right after Valentine's Day, that's a really good marker of when to say, OK, now is the time to get prepared and start having those medications available just because we know allergy season can hit really hard and quickly when the trees start to drop all their pollen."

There are predictions that this could be a severe allergy season given the weather patterns of the winter and early spring and the general trend of global warming and Capucilli said those predictions have a strong possibility of coming true.

"We very well could see a higher pollen count this season," he said.

While people with severe allergies need to wear masks while doing things like mowing the lawn, Capucilli said don't expect those face coverings you've been wearing to slow the spread of COVID-19 to do much to protect you from pollen, which doesn't know anything about social distancing and is therefore always around all of us.

"I anticipate that overall the allergens will make their way into affecting us," he said. "I do feel like we'll still have a significant allergy season. We are already starting to see the beginnings of that now as we're getting into early April."

It's important, Capucilli said, for people to distinguish between the symptoms of COVID-19 and allergies. 

"Symptoms that are usually specific to allergy are things like itchy nose, sneezing, and certainly you can have those symptoms with COVID," Capucilli said. "I would say if you're having any of those things, and especially if you haven't been an allergic individual previously, it's probably better to be thorough and get tested to speak to your doctor if you have concerns that you're having new symptoms.

"The other symptoms that would probably tip you off in terms of being a bit more worried about COVID versus allergies are actually feeling sick. So generally, for patients who have allergies, the symptoms can be quite invasive but you don't feel like you necessarily are sick with a cold or that you're under the weather. Fevers would also be very atypical of allergy. You should not be getting fevers with allergies."

If you have any doubts, suggests Capucilli, you should get tested for COVID-19.

For those with allergies, it's fine to seek out the help of a specialist even if over-the-counter medications help your symptoms. You don't need serious symptoms to consult with a doctor. In some cases, Capucilli said, the best treatment might come in the form of a shot.

"The goal of that therapy is to actually make you less allergic," Capucilli said. "So some patients may be well controlled on over-the-counter therapies like antihistamines or the nasal sprays, which we prefer using often. The benefit of the allergy shots is that over time we desensitize you. We essentially reprogram the immune system to become tolerant of these allergens with a lasting effect."

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