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Le Roy

Pavilion teen gives back, shows her love of animals to Purple Pony

By Joanne Beck
Shelley Fallitico. Carson Tyler, Dan Kilker
Purple Pony board member and volunteer Shelley Falitico, left, Carson Tyler with her donation, and Board President Dan Kilker with Paint at the farm in Le Roy.
Photo by Joanne Beck

Pavilion teen Carson Tyler has been a longtime animal lover. With three dogs at home and a penchant for trail-riding horses with her mom, when she came into a little money, her decision about what to do with it was an easy one.

She opted to donate a check of $1,000, which she won as Gatorade’s Best Player of the Year for her volleyball prowess, to Purple Pony Therapeutic Horsemanship in Le Roy.

“I grew up super fortunate being able to travel all over to play volleyball and being able to give back to kids who are less fortunate. It was just something I wanted to do only because I grew up so blessed and had been able to do so many things,” the 18-year-old said Tuesday while presenting her donation to board members at the Purple Pony farm. “So I was doing some research about it, and it popped up. And I was like, oh, this is right. And I knew that this was the place I wanted to give to. I knew that they are able to help kids with disabilities ride horses -- not even kids, but young adults, too. And so once I learned that, I was like, yes, it just clicked, this is just the place. I just kind of knew this is where I wanted to give the money to.”

While board members gratefully accepted the donation, Carson will continue her plans to attend Ball State University and study sports administration. She hopes to “get back here at some point” and see the horse program again, she said.

Purple Pony Therapeutic Horsemanship, which turns 20 this year, works with children ages 4 through adult with disabilities and provides “physical, cognitive, emotional and social benefits” by pairing each participant with a well trained horse and volunteer to teach various aspects of horsemanship, trust, and commands while also building inner strength, confidence and growth.

Shelley Falitico has been volunteering for six years. She said she came to Purple Pony with career experience from working with kids and adults with special needs. She signed on after seeing firsthand how a half-ton animal gently connected with William, a young boy with autism who had significant communication issues: he didn’t talk.

William’s parents brought him to every session, and Fallitico worked with him and his speech pathologist, who programmed different commands into a speech box. When William was on the horse, he could work the box to give commands, such as whoa and walk on.

“And I saw how much confidence and ability, that he was in control of something he so thoroughly enjoyed. And the horse was beautifully trained. And it got to the point where I would be holding the lead rope, but it got to the point where I could back away a few steps, and William would be sitting up there in that saddle, so proud. And he would push the button, and it would say — his speech path person put in there ‘walk on’ — and the horse would hear walk on, and the horse would walk. And there’d be William sitting in the saddle holding his reins, so happy and proud of himself," she said. "And I think the biggest point, and I get mushy on this one, was when we did a show at the end of the lessons. His parents were there. His grandparents were there. And they were all sitting on the side. And William was in the center of the arena with the horse by himself, and I stood back. And he did the whole show by himself. And his parents started to cry. And it was because it was such a huge accomplishment for him to be able to, he had barriers in his life, take such a step to be so independent.

"And it was so meaningful. And you could just see in his face how much he loved what he was doing," she said. "And I saw the magic. And I said this has to just keep going and keep continuing.”

Falitico felt that she was a good match for the organization, since there were people with equine expertise, and she was bringing in a background from having worked at Arc of Genesee Orleans for people with developmental disabilities. 

“So they’ve actually brought me in to be a trainer to train the other volunteers. Some kids who had some significant behavioral or communication issues, they have me come and work with them and get them adapted around the horse,” she said. “And we see nothing but success because there is magic around those big, beautiful animals.”

She recently joined the board of directors and wants to see the nonprofit keep thriving to serve the 30 to 35 participants each year, she said. There are five therapy horses at the Purple Pony farm at 8321 Lake Street Road. It is 100 percent run on grants, donations and foundation funds, Falitico said, and is also supported by trained volunteers and not a paid staff.

It adheres to a strict protocol in terms of very well-trained horses that can handle strangers and surprises and follow the commands as expected, she said, and is certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, a leading agency of professional equine-assisted services committed to supporting members and stakeholders with rigorous standards, credentialing and education, according to PATHI's website.

When Carson won her scholarship and was in the process of choosing a benefactor, Falitico was only too happy to share about Purple Pony. A high school senior at St. Mary’s in Lancaster, Carson “just fell in love with the whole concept,” Falitico said, wanting to see the farm, horses and the kids in action receiving their lessons.

“So we were totally excited that she picked us,” Falitico said. 

It seems as though others in the community have followed suit: Vic Blood of Le Roy has donated $1,600 to the cause, and the Michael Napoleone Foundation recently informed the organization that it was chosen for a monetary award from them as well.

All donations go to the site's operations and expenses, such as saddles for the horses. Two nine-week courses are offered to participants, and there is a waiting list for the popular programs. The first session is set to begin April 23. Applications for volunteers and participants are encouraged and may be found on the website.  

The biannual Treasure Sale, Purple Pony’s largest fundraiser of the year, will be filling the horse arena with goodies from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 10 and 11. Donations are also welcome at the barn after July 1. For more details, go to the website or to Purple Pony's social media site HERE.  

Bubba, Butter, and Cookie at Purple Pony
Bubba, left, Butter and Cookie enjoy a warm sunny afternoon Tuesday at the Purple Pony farm in Le Roy.
Photo by Joanne Beck
Bubba, Butter and Shelley Fallitico
Purple Pony volunteer Shelley Falitico says hello to Bubba and Butter at the farm in Le Roy. 
Photo by Joanne Beck

Le Roy High School senior Savannah Freeman completes two eclipse murals for the Le Roy Town Hall

By Lynne Belluscio
Savanah Freeman standing on the right. She designed the murals
Savanah Freeman, right, and Ariana Dinehart, and one of the murals she designed for the Le Roy Town Hall.
Photo by Lynne Belluscio

Savanah Freeman, a Le Roy High School senior, needed to complete 15 hours of community service for graduation and contacted me as Le Roy Municipal Historian with an idea.  

Savannah had painted store windows in Batavia and thought that maybe she could paint some windows in Le Roy.  

I suggested that Savanah work on some ideas about the solar eclipse that could be put in the front windows of the Le Roy Town Hall.   

Savannah showed me some of her artwork and immediately I knew that Savannah had the talent to design some unique murals, but wondered whether there was enough time to get them completed in time.  

Savannah had never worked on anything that big, but she was excited about the prospect.  

We decided it would be best for Savannah to paint the murals on huge pieces of paper so she could work on them at home.  

In two weeks, Savannah completed two large murals. One was a brightly colored mural with the Le Roy Village Hall on one side, and the other was a black-and-white image of the solar eclipse barn on the Fort Hill Farm on Route 19.  

Savannah says these murals are the biggest pieces of art she has ever done, but she has enjoyed the challenge of working on something new. She only wished that she had had more time so she could have added more detail. 

Savannah worked on the designs and sketched them out on paper, and then she called for some help from her friend Ariana Dinehart to do some of the painting.  

Both girls said they learned a lot about Le Roy history, especially about the Village Hall which is a focal point of the large color mural.  

The girls are best friends and attended school in Rochester before moving to Le Roy in August.  They said that the move to Le Roy has been the best thing that has happened to them. 

“Everyone in Le Roy — the teachers and the other students — have been so wonderful,” Savannah said.

Savannah, who is related to the Lathan family, points out that her family has “been here forever.” 

Savannah says that her mother has had the biggest influence on her art.  

“She has done every form of art in some way or another, and she has shown me that I can make a career out of something I love to do,“ Savannah said.

On Thursday, Savannah’s two murals were put up in the Town Hall windows. Almost immediately, folks gathered outside to take a look at the unique murals. They will be on display until the end of April.

Then they might be included in the school’s art show. Savannah says, “I definitely would love them to go somewhere where they won’t collect dust.”

Will Savannah watch the eclipse? 

“I am really stoked to see the eclipse,” she said “I don’t plan on going anywhere just because of how many people are coming to see it, but I will definitely be hoping for no clouds so I can sit in my backyard and watch.” 

le roy eclipse mural

With longtime family tradition in mind, Garlocks take over Le Roy printing company

By Joanne Beck
Scott, Lynn, and Tom Garlock.
Photo by Joanne Beck.

While working as manager of Stafford Country Club a year and a half ago, Lynn Garlock first heard that the Pennysaver in Le Roy was being sold, and she and husband Scott shared their interest as prospective proprietors.

Owned by David and Danette Grayson for over 40 years, the weekly publication and printing company LP Graphics appealed to the Garlock couple and their son Tommy. However, that idea didn’t go anywhere for the next several months until the topic came back around in December of 2023, Scott said.

“So we just kind of put it on the back burner, like, we'll see. And it went a solid year, because it kind of got to where we kind of forgot about it until this past December. I found out by accident that they were going to be more than likely shutting down. So I called David and said, Hey, if you want to talk, we'll talk again, this is probably around the holidays. They wanted to retire. I mean, they're at that point, after 40 years, it was time to to call it. So they were interested in moving the business and moving it along,” he said. “So after the first of the year is when we started a little bit of back and forth. This was all taking place in the end of January, beginning of February. And by mid-February, it was accepted.”

That successful negotiation for LP Graphics put the Garlocks into the fourth generation of a family printing business that began with Scott’s grandfather in 1955. While the Pennysaver shut down, the Garlocks opened LP Graphics on March 1 and wanted to retain the name based on its longtime reputation and symbolic G of graphics to also stand for Garlock.

“It’s the same, other than the Pennysaver is gone. The product is the same, we do apparel screen printing and embroidery, promotional products, traditional printing, checks, full color printing, brochures, and sales collateral,” Scott said. “There are only a few things we won’t do, like wraps for cars.”

Tommy is the fourth generation of Garlock men to be involved in this type of business. He will handle sales and customer service, and “I bring joy to the office,” he said. 

He oversees a portion of the ground floor that is devoted to Emergency Pride, a realization of something he’s wanted to do for the last several years to supply job shirts and other related items, such as jackets, hoodies, duffle bags, coolers, coffee mugs, koozies, hats, you name it, for fire departments and emergency responder units in Genesee and surrounding counties.

“Ever since 2015, I wanted to start my own company; I’ve been doing it on the side,” he said. 

Creating their own designs of flags and logos, plus helping departments create their own designs is near and dear to his and dad Scott’s heart — they each serve as volunteer firefighters, with Tommy at Pavilion and Scott at the town of Batavia fire departments. 

The company has a staff of four, including an embroidery artist, graphic artist, screen printer/social media manager, Tommy, and Scott as president. Lynn plans to help out when she can during golf season and then move over to work full-time during winter.

The brick building at 1 Church St., Le Roy, is enormous at 16,000 square feet and four floors deep, with two floors beneath the ground floor. One floor up is used for production, and one floor below is where they burn all the screens, Tommy said. 

The name S.C. Wells is on the wall, indicating it was once used to make pharmaceuticals, and Brown Manufacturing took over at some point to make rat poison before the site became known as host to the Pennysaver for the last four decades.

The family has garnered plenty of experience as entrepreneurs, dating back to the late 1980s when Scott began working for his father at a print shop on Center Street in Batavia, and eventually moving a version of the business into his home, closing in 2004.

“I still saw my customers, but as a distributor, a broker, to maintain something. I've never stopped that. That's been going ever since in some fashion, even to this day, I mean, up until we started this. And then the fire departments and emergency services started becoming more and more what we were doing. And again, right out of the house, that was starting to become more and more what we were doing,” he said. “But again, then we were just planning, working, continuing that and trying to build that business up, when all of a sudden I get this phone call or I get the message that they're selling or they're closing. So that kind of changed things just like that.”

He and Lynn launched Grugnale’s Italian Market and Deli on Jackson Street in Batavia, and closed it in 2009 in lieu of Kravings, a cafe in Valu Plaza on the west end of the city. Three years later, on Thanksgiving eve, a beleaguered Scott was manning the shop, which was bustling, he said, but “it just wasn’t going the way I wanted.”

He had no idea earlier that day the decision he would end up making, he said.

“I went to the back room and decided to close. I told the employees ‘we’re done,’” he said. 

He has been working at Sherwin Williams since 2016, and is now back in the driver’s seat, which, as any business owner knows, brings its share of anxiety along with the excitement.

I’m used to this, but it’s tough; it brings me back to the restaurant days when there was a lot of money going out, and I’m sure hoping it’s gonna come back, because, again, we jumped into it quick,” he said, sharing about the transition from the Graysons. “So in addition to trying to like pause, get orders ready for customers and take care of them. One day, it was their business and they were billing, the very next day we were here. And it was kind of funny because I think someone came in, and they were kind of joking, ‘Well that's your customer now.’”

Lynn added that “They were absolutely amazing to work with, it was a nice transition” as Scott finished the thought with “It was almost like flipping a light switch.” 

Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 585-768-2201.

Former county attorney dies unexpectedly

By Joanne Beck
James Wujcik

Former Genesee County attorney James M. Wujcik died Wednesday evening unexpectedly, according to Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service’s online tribute archive.

Wujcik was 48 and lived in Le Roy. He had served as the county attorney from 2022 through 2023. 

A complete obituary has not yet been posted.

Photos: Flamingos make annual April 1 arrival in Lynne Belluscio's yard

By Howard B. Owens
pink flamincos

Le Roy's Lynne Belluscio said these pink flamingos arrived in her yard this morning. She sent along this note:

The flamboyance arrived early this morning in LeRoy.  They were able to navigate through the trees and landed in Lynne Belluscio’s front yard. Their annual arrival on April 1 is always a pink letter day.  Lynne noticed that they were wearing solar eclipse glasses for next Monday.  Lynne is preparing some shrimp for them and has shown them the two chimneys on her house, which are possible nesting sites, although they will probably fly to Oatka Creek.  

Le Roy flamingos are identified by their habit of standing on one leg because the Oatka Creek is so cold. Lynne also shared with The Batavian that she understands that Placido Flamingo will join Genny the cow and the other barnyard animals featured in the book "Genny Sees the Eclipse" to ensure everyone wears protective glasses during the eclipse next week.   

Which reminds us of this poem by Kay Ryan (April, after all, besides being the cruelest month, is also National Poetry Month: Flamingo Watching

Le Roy swimmers recognized by school board for Section V championship

By Howard B. Owens
le roy swim team
Erik Fix, Gary Donofrio, Carter Fix, Lucas Morrison, Gabriel Vallese, Jack Walker, and Sara Stockwell.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The Le Roy High School members of the Byron-Bergen/Le Roy Swimming and Diving Team were honored at Tuesday's Le Roy Central School District Board of Education meeting for their Section V Class C championship.

The team went 10-1 on the season. 

Coach Sara Stockwell said that accomplishment is all the more notable because the team didn't have its own pool for training this season. The Byron-Bergen pool is undergoing renovations.  The team practiced in Chili.

"Ten and one is a huge improvement over last year and the year before," Stockwell said. "They were 2-10, so it's a major improvement. We were the Genesee Regional League champions, and we won the Genesee Region League meet championship, so they won the meet and the league. 

She said, "Our kids swam phenomenally all season."

Genesee County student-athletes gain honors and recognition at Ronald McDonald House charity game

By Howard B. Owens
mcdonalds game
Ashley Johnson, Pembroke, Isabella Reeves, Alexander, and Kori Radley, Le Roy, were among the cheerleaders for the game.
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro

Genesee County was well represented in Rochester on Saturday for the 39th annual Ronald McDonald House Charity Basketball Games.

Le Roy's Merritt Holly, playing on the Red Team, was named the game's MVP, scoring 18 points and six rebounds. Braedyn Chambry was awarded the Bob Parker Sportsmanship Award for the Red Team.

Roxanne Noeth was one of the two coaches for the Red Team.  She was honored during the game for playing in the girls' RMHC 1987 game.  She is the first person to play in a girl's game and coach a boy's team. (People have played and later coached in a game, but she is the first female to coach boys and play in the girls' game). 

Victoria Fetzer, a freshman from Le Roy sang the National Anthem to open both the boys' and girls' games.

merritt holly game mvp
Merritt Holly, MVP.
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
merrit holly
Merrit Holly
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
brayden chambry
Roxanne Noeth and Braedyn Chambry.
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
braedyn chambry
Braedyn Chambry
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
roxanne noeth
Roxanne Noeth
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
tyson totten
Pembroke's Tyson Totten represented Pembroke on the Gold Team.
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
tyson totten
Tyson Totten
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
caitlin ryan
Caitlin Ryan, left, represented Oakfield-Alabama in the girls' game.
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
Le Roy's Victoria Fetzer sang the National Anthem for both the boys' and the girls' games.
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro
charity game
Byron-Bergen's Brody Baubie was at the game as a spectator, and his ticket was selected to attempt a three-point shot for a chance to win $500.  He made the shot.  He donated a portion of the prize back to the Ronald McDonald House.  
Photo by Jennifer DiQuattro

'Brush fire' reported in Le Roy

By Howard B. Owens

A brush fire was called into dispatch in Le Roy, with the caller stating the fire was about 15 feet from a residence.

What the first responders from Le Roy Fire actually found: A metal fire ring with some wood smoldering it, surrounded by snow, about 75 feet from a structure.

National Vietnam War veterans recognition day ceremony March 29 in Le Roy

By Press Release

Press Release:

Botts-Fiorito Post #576, American Legion will observe the National Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day Ceremony on Friday, March 29. The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. at the Post #576 Veteran’s Memorial Park (flagpole), 53 West Main Street, Le Roy.

As part of the ceremony, we will again remember the memory of three area servicemen who gave the ultimate sacrifice:

  • Gary Scott
  • Harry VanAlst
  • George Fry

After a brief program, all are invited to the Post for coffee and refreshments.

About the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day:

  • On March 29, Americans will come together to commemorate the service and sacrifices made by the nearly 3 million service members who served in Vietnam.
  • In 2012, President Barack Obama signed a presidential proclamation, designating March 29 as the annual observance of Vietnam War Veterans Day The signing of the proclamation marked the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last American troops from Vietnam - March 29, 1973. 
  • Only U.S. embassy personnel and support staff remained in South Vietnam until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975 More than 58,000 Americans were killed and many thousands more were wounded and injured or determined to be missing.

Le Roy resident facing a federal child pornography charge

By Howard B. Owens

A 37-year-old Le Roy resident is being accused by federal authorities of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Jordan Brodie faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison because of a prior child pornography conviction.

According to a statement by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle P. Rossi, Brodie was using a chat application along with others who traded child pornography in May 2023, and Brodie uploaded at least one image to a different social media platform.  That upload was reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The State Police conducted an investigation and determined that the alleged upload took place from Brodie's home in Le Roy. 

A warrant was issued, and investigators seized Brodie's phone and the contents of a social media site. Authorities say they discovered images of child pornography involving children less than 12 years old.

At the time, Broadie was under the supervision of the Genesee County Probation Department following a child pornography conviction in May 2021.

Brodie was arraigned today in U.S. District Court and ordered held in custody.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the New York State Police, Lyons, under the direction of Major Miklos Szoczei II, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Miraglia. 

Le Roy residents asked to vote on Tuesday on new school bus proposal

By Press Release

Press release:

Le Roy Central School District 
2024 Bus/Vehicle Purchase Public Vote
March 19, 2024

2 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the Wolcott Street School Media Center  

Le Roy Central School residents are being asked to authorize the district to borrow money for the purchase of new school buses in an amount not to exceed $390,000. This dollar amount would purchase two (2) 65-passenger buses and one (1) utility passenger vehicle. All buses listed will include a two-way radio and built-in video surveillance equipment. 

Le Roy Central School District has implemented a 10-year replacement cycle for all school buses. This replacement cycle is based on a history of mileage and usage. The District has found that maintenance costs, body repairs, rust damage and safety issues increase significantly once a bus reaches approximately 10 years of age, particularly as school buses must pass New York State D.O.T. inspections twice a year. Additionally, the strain of typical driving patterns creates faster wear on buses, as an average school bus makes approximately 100 stops and starts during a single day. 

All public schools in New York State receive a reimbursement from New York State for such school bus purchases over a 5 year period.  The Le Roy Central School District’s reimbursement ratio is currently 90%, thus the taxpayers would be responsible for the remaining 10%. The District’s plan is to borrow these funds to align the debt repayment with the reimbursement period.

 What Does This Mean for Taxpayers?

  • Cost of 2 Buses and passenger vehicle: $390,000
  • NYS Reimbursement at 90% for buses: (-$351,000)
  • Local Cost of 2 Buses and utility vehicle: $39,000

The total Le Roy taxpayer cost of buses/equipment would be $39,000 for this proposition, which, when divided over a five-year payback period, is approximately $7,800 per year from the General Fund Budget. When this amount is then divided into the assessment value total for the entire District, each taxpayer will pay approximately two cents per thousand dollars assessed value each year. In other words, if your home is assessed for $150,000, you would pay roughly $0.30 (30 cents) a year for this proposition. 

Madeira Keister of Le Roy named to dean's list at Youngstown State University

By Press Release

Press Release:

Madeira Keister of Le Roy, Psychology major, has been named to the Dean's List at Youngstown State University for Fall Semester 2023.

Dean's List recognition is awarded to full-time undergraduate students who have earned at least a 3.4 grade point average for not less than 12 semester hours of credit in the Fall semester.

Madeira Keister of Le Roy, named to Fall 2023 president's list at Youngstown State University

By Press Release

Press Release:

Madeira Keister, of Le Roy, a Psychology major, has been named to Youngstown State University's President's List for achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average in the Fall Semester of 2023.

To be eligible for the President's List, honorees must be full-time undergraduate students with a 4.0 GPA for at least 12 semester hours of classes.

GLOW YMCA swimmers qualify for state championship

By Press Release
Submitted photo of (from left to right) Top row: Daniel Hoffman, Phinehas Kelley, Annora Karcher, Annie Erion, Anna Kent, Keira Sidari, Tori Davis, Rose Reisdorf, Addison Winters, Caleb Henning
Middle row: Josh Pritchett, Damon Reich, Wyatt Fisher, Robert Hoffman, McKenzie Dosh, Macey D’Amico, Sarah Pritchett, Liliana Bellamy, Rowan Kelley
Bottom row: Nevada Newton, Sebastian Countermine, Lockerbie Newton, Connor Dervin, Anna Pritchett, Nina Kent, Reilly Davis

Press Release:

The GLOW YMCA Riptide Swim Team out of Batavia had a very successful regular season. 26 members met the age group qualification standards for the NYS YMCA State Swimming Championship. 

The meet will be held from March 15 - 17 at the Nassau Aquatic Center on Long Island. The ages of the swimmers range from 7 to 17 and attend local school districts including Batavia, Byron-Bergen, Le Roy, Oakfield-Alabama, St. Joseph’s School, and Pembroke. 

The team will compete in 58 individual events and 10 relays. The team is coached by Jen Pritchett, Andrew Fisher, and Emily Hirsch.

Le Roy presents the musical 'Chicago,' opening Thursday night

By Howard B. Owens

Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School presents "Chicago," a teen edition of the musical, this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

All show times are 7 p.m. Performances are in the school auditorium.

Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $12 for students and senior citizens.

The music is by John Kander, book by Fred Ebb.

The cast includes Aubrey Puccio as Velma Kelly, Anna Long as Roxie Hart, Ethan LaBarbera as Fred Casely, Jameson Zitz as Sergeant Fogarty, Kira Ryan as Matron "Mama" Morton, Judge Biviano as Amos Hart. 

The artistic director is Jacqueline McLean, Joe Kusmierczak is the co-director, and the choreographer is Jessica Pcioneck.

For more information on the production, click here to read the program.

Photos by Howard Owens.


Le Roy district announces merger of legendary football program with former rival, Cal-Mum

By Howard B. Owens
leroy calmum merger 2012 file photo
File photo from 2012

The rivalry was once among the most legendary in Section V - Caledonia-Mumford vs. the Oatkan Knights of Le Roy.

The rivalry waned when leagues were realigned a few years ago, and starting next season, the once fierce fighters on the field will be brothers on the gridiron. 

Both school districts have approved, pending Section V approval, a merger of the two football programs.  The merger will affect all levels of football in both communities.

The Knights are coming off a 2023 campaign in which the team won its record-setting 16th Section V title.

The Le Roy Central School District said in a statement on Tuesday evening:

Please know that this decision was made with the best interests of our students and our school district in mind and keeps the mission of our shared services committee central to our decision-making. The decision to merge football teams with the Caledonia-Mumford CSD reflects the collaborative spirit and commitment to providing exceptional opportunities for our student-athletes.

The statement acknowledged the rich football history in both communities and said the merger would strengthen football opportunities for all age groups and help both districts sustain 11 main football programs.

The district said there would be future announcements about the plan to carry out the merger, practice and game schedules and locations, and a selection of a head coach and additional coaching staff.

"The team name, mascot, and colors will also be determined by student-athletes in partnership with our athletic directors and coaching staff at a later date," the statement read. 

It concluded, "We are excited about this merger and the future of the Caledonia-Mumford and Le Roy football program."

Over the past few seasons, Cal-Mum has been merged with Byron-Bergen for football and cheerleading.  On Tuesday evening, Athletic Director Rich Hannan and Superintendent Pat McGee issued the following statement.

We are writing to update everyone on a developing situation with our football and fall cheer program here at Byron-Bergen. Last week we were made aware that Cal-Mum is exploring a new partnership for their football and fall cheer squad that does not include Byron-Bergen. While we did not initiate this change, we are already actively exploring possibilities for our student-athletes to continue competing in their chosen fall sports.

Le Roy resident working to bring joy and a bit of nostalgia to Christmas in the community

By Howard B. Owens
jim delooze cinnamon beat joy of christmas le roy
Jim DeLooze
Photo by Howard Owens

First and foremost, says Jim DeLooze, it's about joy.

Namely, the joy of Christmas, the joy of magic, the joy of wonder.

And then what he's planning in conjunction with St. Mark's Church in Le Roy will also help local businesses by, hopefully, bringing more visitors downtown during the Christmas season.

DeLooze is heading up what he's calling The Joy Project, a plan to bring diorama to St. Mark's based on the old-time holiday radio show, "The Cinnamon Bear," and well as set up displays that recall wonderland that was once Sibley's Department Store in Rochester.

"Step one, is just put people in the Christmas spirit," DeLooze said, "make them happy and really wanting to see it. Number two is that it will be a draw. I plan on drawing people from anywhere between Rochester and Buffalo here to Le Roy. Business is a numbers game. If you own a restaurant, and you've got an additional 1,000 people who come into town, in a community, that's 4,000, that's gonna help your business."

He presented the plan to Le Roy's village trustees at their regular meeting on Wednesday, not to ask for the assistance of the village but to inform the community of the project.  He is hoping for volunteers to step forward to help and for residents to make donations.  

There are two main components to the project.  First is the diorama based on "The Cinnamon Bear."

"The Cinnamon Bear" is an old-time radio show, a serial that was launched in 1937 by a Los Angeles-based marketing company to help department stores attract more of a Christmas crowd.

In an era before corporations owned nearly all of the nation's radio stations, many programs were syndicated to independently owned and operated radio stations. The Cinnamon Bear was picked up by stations in every state, with 26 episodes, each with a cliffhanger ending, airing each evening between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The program is the story of Judy and Jimmy Barton, who travel to the world of Maybeland in search of their missing Silver Star tree ornament.  They are helped along their way through various adventures by The Cinnamon Bear, an assistant to Santa Claus.

The story has proven enduring. There are still radio stations that carry the show each year, and now, of course, it can be streamed online.

"Tony is the son of the person that built it," DeLooze said. "He said he and his mother were very impressed with my knowledge of old-time radio and the fact they thought it was a lot better going to a home here where people would be able to come in and see it free of charge rather than having to pay in an amusement park to see it."

To go along with the diorama, DeLooze is moving one of his other hobbies out of his basement -- his annual Christmas build of a display meant to model the Christmas presentation of the old Sibley's Department Store in Rochester.

For decades, area residents flocked to Sibley's during the Christmas season to take in Toyland and the Magic Corridor and see that animatronic elf along with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

For years, DeLooze has been building his own train set to create a miniature version of what Silbey's offered, and in recent years, he has been posting photos and videos on social media to show his progress and the completed project.

He's always gotten positive feedback for the video, including from a friend in California who once told him, "'Jim,' he goes, 'I gotta tell you, I was in a bad mood when I clicked on this,' he says, 'but literally halfway through, I was smiling and in the Christmas spirit.'"

And that was exactly what Jim said he likes to hear.  He wants to know he's helping to spread joy.  And that is what he hopes to do this year and for many years to come with The Cinnamon Bear and the Sibley's display.

"Our church was really looking for a way to participate in Winterfest," DeLooze said. "Hopefully, this will continue year after year. It will become a Christmas tradition that parents and grandparents will look forward to bringing their children to see, and that's why I've actually wanted to do this project since the early 1980s. That is just about the time that Sibley stopped doing it. My son got to see it. My daughter never got to see it. And I just wanted to be able to bring something like this back so my kids and grandkids can enjoy this."

To pull off all this joy, DeLooze said he and the folks at his small church will need additional help from the community, such as volunteers from community groups as well as community donations. He said the project will cost from $7,000 to $9,000 and that $3,000 has already been raised.  He has a list of items for people to donate and what volunteers can do to help.  For more information, email Jim DeLooze,

Brady Fix earns a spot on the dean's list at Coastal Carolina University

By Press Release

Press Release:

More than 3,000 undergraduate students at Coastal Carolina University were named to the Dean's List for the Fall 2023 semester, including Brady Fix, from Le Roy. 

Students who make the Dean's List have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher (3.25 for freshmen) for the semester.

Genesee Valley School Boards program 'designed to answer your questions' Feb. 27

By Joanne Beck

If you've ever been interested in becoming a school board member, and think that perhaps it would be a great way to be connected to your community, Genesee Valley School Boards Association is hosting a program designed to answer your questions and provide details to help you decide if it’s something you might like to try.

An information night has been set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at Genesee Valley BOCES Service Center, 80 Munson St., Le Roy.

“We will go through the process of the election and discuss expectations and outcomes once you are elected,” GVSBA Executive Director Patrick Burk says. “If you have a basic interest, this is step one to learn what your commitment would be, as well as what to expect from this much-needed community service position.”

He invites anyone with interest to join the board for an informal discussion and presentaton that will “enlighten you on what to expect, and the important duty of seeing our public educational system.”

Registration is required. To register or for more information, contact Burk at

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