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July 14, 2021 - 11:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in golf, news, Pavilion, chamber of commerce.

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On the first hole of Davis Countryside Meadows, Danielle Rotondo, Chris Deday, Eric Holliday, and Casey Brown get ready to tee-off today in the 2021, post-pandemic return of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament and Bocce Ball Tournament.

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July 14, 2021 - 4:54pm

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And they’re off!

Well, not quite yet as opening night of harness horse racing at Batavia Downs is a week away, but the thought of having fans back at the Park Road facility is music to the ears of Live Racing Director/General Manager Todd Haight.

“Now that we’re past our COVID issues, I hope, we’re excited to get our fans back,” Haight said today in an interview with The Batavian.

The 59-date schedule at the venerable half-mile oval that opened 81 years ago kicks off on July 21 with a NY Sire Stakes card featuring 2-year-old filly trotters. Post time for the first race is 6 o’clock.

Haight (photo above) said horse racing isn’t the same without the cheers of the crowd as the competitors come down the home stretch.

“Last year, we went the entire season without any racing fans, except some in the clubhouse eating. However, our apron was bare for the whole year and I cannot tell you what a different feeling that it is -- not having fans here,” he offered.

“How quiet this apron was and how quiet the enclosed grandstand was. So, that’s the big thing: We can’t wait to see our fans, especially in July and August when we get tremendous crowds.”

Haight, who has worked at Batavia Downs since 1974 (he said retirement isn’t too far away), said he is excited about several promotions, including videos of live racing on the track’s YouTube channel, as well as a couple of new “jackpot” wagers.

LIVE RACES TO BE SHOWN ON YOUTUBE

“We’re going to show every race live on our Batavia Downs YouTube page. I think people are really going to enjoy that,” he said. “We always get asked how can we watch the races, so now you can come here and watch them or go to an OTB (Off-Track Betting parlor) and watch and also on Batavia Bets (the Downs’ interactive online wagering platform).”

He also revealed that the Downs’ website will feature the daily racing programs for the entire season.

“This is more for the people that aren’t able to come to the track. Those who come to the track are still going to buy a program, and there’s a $5 free play (to the casino) in it, so you spend $2 and you get $5 back.”

Downs’ officials are placing a priority on building their simulcasting network, Haight said, adding that more access to the races through simulcasts at other racetracks, OTB locations and other online wagering platforms is key to reaching his goal of topping last season’s record handle.

“We know that when we’re able to put up a couple of program pages (on the website) when we have a guaranteed pool, we see a bigger handle,” he said. “I think by putting the entire card on every night, we’re going to see a difference in our wagering pools – be it our win pools or trifecta pools.”

GAMING COMMISSION ADDS JACKPOT BETS

Over the winter, the New York State Gaming Commission approved two new wagers -- Jackpot Pick Six and the Jackpot Super High Five.

“These are new to New York and us, although they are not new to other parts of the country,” Haight said. “We’ve seen tremendous pools at tracks – up to $200,000 -- that have been allowed to take these bets.”

He explained how they work:

Jackpot Pick Six – The bettor has to pick the winners of races six through 11, and the bet is only 20 cents.

“To win the jackpot portion you have to have the only ticket. If there’s more than one ticket, the jackpot portion of the pool carries over to the next day. So, as the favorites win over 40 percent of the time at harness tracks, it’s not easy to have the only ticket,” Haight explained.

“If more than one winner, those bettors will win something, but the jackpot segment of the pool carries over. We could see pools here that we’ve never seen since WROTB (Western Regional Off-Track Betting) purchased the track in 1998 and reopened in 2002.”

Jackpot Super High Five – Calling it “the superfecta on steroids,” Haight said the bettor has to pick the first five horses in the last race of the night (which will have nine horses instead of the usual eight).

“Again, that makes it a little bit tougher to win, and the jackpot carries over with this bet as well,” he said.

PROMO TIE-INS WITH THE CASINO

Haight said the track is big on promotional links with Batavia Downs Gaming.

“I don’t see any other tracks doing that,” he said. “We have a match play promotion where if you wager $25 on the horses, you go up to the gaming window and they give you $25 in free play. You have to earn five points to get that offer.”

He also mentioned an early bird daily double where those who wager $10 on the early double receive $10 back in free play. And, again, all of the racing programs come with a $5 free play to the gaming floor, and programs are free on opening night.

“We integrate as much as possible,” he said. “Even in the clubhouse, you purchase an entrée and we give you $10 back in free play.”

The Downs once again plans to operate in conjunction with the Breeders Cup, which is set for 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6.

“The Breeders Cup is in California so it’s a little bit later start for us on the East Coast,” Haight said. “What we do is run two live races here in between each race of the Breeders Cup, which usually are run every 45 minutes. All told, I think there are nine Cup races and there will be about 11 races here.”

HORSE NUMBERS DOWN, PURSES UP

The Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association, led by Administrative Director Bruce Tubin, continues its longstanding connection to Batavia Downs. WNYHHA drivers and trainers will be wrapping up their season at Buffalo Raceway this Saturday.

“We have a great relationship with the horsemen,” said Haight, noting that purses, race dates and other matters are subject to negotiation with the union.

He said that purses are going up by 10 percent this year to start the season and he anticipates another 10-percent increase in September or October due to record numbers being generated at the casino.

“We’ve had three $20 million weeks in a row. The better the casino does, the better for the horsemen. Creates more purse money,” he said.

With only 153 horses expected to be stabled at the track, Haight said he’s figuring on 10 or 11 races (all are set at a mile) per card – a couple less than what he would like to see.

As far as leading horses and drivers, he said that Black is Back, the No. 1 horse over the past two years, is expected to return. Top drivers include Drew Monti, Dave McKnight III, Ray Fisher and Billy Davis, while successful trainers include Jerry Sarama and Jack Rice.

HAIGHT: TRACK IS IN TIP-TOP SHAPE

The racing director said 1,100 tons of new stone dust has been applied to the track and the turns have been banked again, resulting in excellent conditions this season.

“We also put the passing lane back in this year,” Haight said. “Some people like it and some people hate it. It does change the style of racing a little bit.”

The passing lane is the inside lane of the track, which provides a route to keep horses from getting boxed in as much, he said. “I’ve got mixed feelings on it but the horsemen seem to want it."

Haight said his crew is doing a “great job to get us ready.”

“It’s a total team effort. A lot has to be done to get a track ready to race; we’re painting the tote board, trimming bushes, and have been working on the track and paddock since April.

Batavia Downs is one of seven harness tracks in the state. The others are Buffalo, Tioga, Vernon, Saratoga, Yonkers and Monticello.

SCHEDULE INCLUDES SOME MATINEES

The complete Batavia Downs racing schedule for 2021 is as follows:

Night, 6 p.m. – July 21, 24, 31; Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28.

Twilight, 5 p.m. – July 26, 28; Aug. 4, 11, 18, 25; Sept. 3, 4, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, 25, 29; Oct. 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16, 20, 22, 23, 27, 29, 30; Nov. 3, 5, 10, 12, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27; Dec. 1, 4, 8, 11.

Matinee, 1:15 p.m. – July 25; Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Sept. 6 (Labor Day).

Breeders Cup, 3:15 p.m. – Nov. 6.

The Downs will host NY Sire Stakes races on three consecutive Wednesdays – July 21 (2-year-old filly trotters), July 28 (3-year-old colt pacers and 3-year-old colt trotters) and Aug. 4 (2-year-old colt trotters).

July 14, 2021 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Stafford.

Clyde Davonta Hoskins Jr., 29, of Genesee Street, Buffalo, is charged with: criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree -- a loaded firearm; criminal possession of a stolen property in the fourth degree -- a firearm; and tampering with physical evidence. On Tuesday, July 13, Hoskins was arrested after an investigation into a loaded pistol being located in a chicken coop at midnight on Aug. 8, 2020 on Route 237 in the Town of Stafford. He was arraigned in Stafford Town Court at 1:20 p.m. yesterday and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He is due to return to Stafford Town Court on Aug. 12. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Investigator Kevin P. Forsyth.

Brian Michael Raphael, 33, of East Main Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. At 3:45 p.m. on July 12, Raphael was arrested after being located by Genesee County Sheriff's deputies after fleeing Walmart. He allegedly stole merchandise from the store. He was processed at the jail and released on an appearance ticket. He is due in Town of Batavia Court on July 20. The case was handled by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush, assisted by Deputy Nicholas Chamoun.

July 14, 2021 - 1:44pm

A natural gas line was struck and is leaking during a construction project at Pavilion Elementary School, located at 7071 York Road, Pavilion. RG&E is the caller to dispatch and is responding to the scene. The smell of leaking natural gas is apparent, according to a dispatcher.

UPDATE 1:47 p.m.: "If you want to give them a call back and let them know it's leaking and they're still digging," says a caller to dispatch about the construction crew on site. ... "We shut the road down. We'll just wait for RG&E." Dispatcher's response: "All set with tones."

July 14, 2021 - 12:33pm
posted by Press Release in COVID-19, news, ILGR, fundraiser, DeWitt Recreation Area, walk, Run & Roll.

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is excited to announce our very first in-person event since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic! Join us in celebrating the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act with our 2nd Annual Walk, Run & Roll!

The event takes place Monday, July 26, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Pavilion 2 of DeWitt Recreation Area, 115 Cedar St. in Batavia, rain or shine.

To register, go to runsignup.com/ilgrwalkrunroll.

For $25, participants can walk, run or roll the distance of their choosing. All participants receive an event T-shirt.

Food trucks will be present, plus a basket raffle, a 50/50 raffle and a caricature artist.

Please bring your own chair! COVID-19 guidelines will be followed.

For more information, call Donna Becker at (585) 815-8501, ext. 411.

Thanks to our sponsors: BW’s Restaurant and Banquet Facility, United Refining Company, RESTORE Sexual Assault Services, R.A. Haitz Co. Inc., Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, GEICO, Fidelis, National Grid and Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

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You have the power to Stop The Spread! Together, we can protect our communities and stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Get vaccinated!

In the last year, we saved NYS taxpayers over $118 million by helping individuals leave or avoid institutionalization through practicing the principles of education, empowerment and equality for persons with disabilities.

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Connect with us on social media!

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/wnyil

Instagram: http://instagram.com/wnyil/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wnyil

July 14, 2021 - 12:19pm

Press release:

Northgate Free Methodist Church will once again be hosting our annual VBS (Vacation Bible School) Base Camp between Aug.16th–20th with some exciting changes this year!

As we are growing rapidly our younger campers (ages 3–7) will enjoy a half day program at our North Campus (8160 Bank Street Road) from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. while our older campers (ages 8-12) will participate from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at our South Campus (350 Bank St.)

This year’s theme is Space with OUT OF THIS WORLD activities, games, devotionals and special guests like Art of Mandy and the Seneca Zoo Mobile.

The older campers will also have the opportunity to engage in skill building and instructional exercises for their preferred sport to stay sharp over summer!

For costs and applications please visit northgatefmc.com and click on “Register” or call us at (585) 343-4011. Scholarships and family discounts are offered and always available as we want all students and families to be able to attend.

If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Daniel at [email protected] or just give us a call! See you this summer!

July 14, 2021 - 11:48am

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

Batavia Downs is proud to host the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) County Fair Series on Thursday (July 15) starting at 12:30 p.m. The program that is facilitated by the Agriculture & New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund features stops at tracks in 21 different counties throughout the state and culminates with finals for the top point-getters at Historic Track in Goshen on Sunday (Sept. 5).

"County Fair racing is where our young horses and many young horsemen and women get their start and can learn in a fun environment," said Kelly Young, executive director of the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund.

"We are so excited to add Genesee County racing at Batavia Downs to the schedule this year and provide another outstanding venue for New York-bred horses to compete on the County Fair circuit."

"County Fair is about more than ribbons and awards. Its about the experience and the people you share those experiences with. County fair is embracing the life skills and memories created while being part of the fair. Most importantly its about being a role model, giving back, and making the best better," added Amanda Gallo, president of the Genesee Agricultural Society. 

“It’s been a pleasure working with the Genesee County Fair Society and the New York Sire Stakes to make this happen,” said Todd Haight, director and general manager of live racing at Batavia Downs. “These races are not only beneficial for our local racing community, but also horseman and women throughout New York State.”

There will be 13 races on Thursday -- eight trots and five paces -- and all are non-betting events. Admission and parking are free at the track and race gates will open at noon with the track apron available for fans. Also, free full past performance programs are available for download a www.bataviadownsgaming.com. Everyone is encouraged to come out to the Downs and root on all the aspiring 2- and 3-year-olds. 

The Claude Huckabone III stable, who has 10 horses entered, leads the way for number of starters on the card. Local trainers competing include Doug Ackley, Ryan Swift, John Mungillo, Judy Blaun, Jim Graham, Tammy Cummings, Gerry Sarama, Robert Wittcop, Kirk Desmond and one of the perennial NYSS leading conditioners, Steve Pratt.

Many of the horses racing on this card have already started in other levels of the state sponsored series this year including the NYSS, Excel A and Excel B levels, so the racing promises to be very competitive. 

Three of the four County Fair 2-year-old champions from 2020 will be in action on Thursday as 3-year-olds and include trotting filly Flexible Credit (Credit Winner-Back On Track), trotting colt Ready For Workout (Whataworkout-Oven Ready) and pacing gelding Brave Element (Bolt The Duer-Necessary Element). 

The 72 entrants will compete for total purses of $30,250 and points, as they each try to make their way to the finals this fall.

July 13, 2021 - 7:22pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in PAARI, glass, drug abuse, news, video, notify.
Video Sponsor

Representatives of the City of Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Health Department, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and Greater Rochester Health Foundation and the home office of the nationwide Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative offered their congratulations and support to the City of Batavia Fire Department on becoming the first fire agency in New York State to participate in the program.

Allie Hunter, executive director of PAARI, was the keynote speaker, traveling from her Boston area office to the Batavia FD headquarters to address about 45 people in attendance at the kickoff event (which was planned for last spring but canceled due to COVID-19).

Other speakers were Batavia PD Assistant Chief Chris Camp, Public Health Director Paul Pettit, GCASA Executive Director John Bennett, GCASA Peer Recovery Coach Melissa Vinyard and GRHF Senior Program Officer Monica Brown.

Vinyard gave a moving testimony of her road back from addiction to become someone who now supports others seeking help.

Greg Ireland, Batavia FD captain, provided the welcome while Christen Ferraro, coordinator of the GOW Opioid Task Force, a driver of the program, delivered closing remarks.

Known locally as Public Safety Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative, due to the fire department’s involvement, the program provides support and resources to help law enforcement agencies nationwide create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery.

The video created by Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, captures the full scope of PAARI – its origins, mission, outreach and impact it has had upon the lives of those struggling with substance use disorders and in need of recovery.

July 13, 2021 - 6:30pm


We would like to share our vision for the old Valu/Country Max building just purchased. We would like to showcase vintage Ag machines, tools, toys, signs, memorabilia, etc. We also want to construct classrooms for 4-H, FFA, cooperative extension and the general Ag public to use.

We're super excited about this opportunity. Please contact Tim Call (Office: 585-343-1822 or Cell: 716-560-1822​[email protected] with any questions or suggestions!

July 13, 2021 - 3:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, Pavilion, notify, Oakfield.

Wade Jared Murphy, 48, of Francher Road, Clarendon, is charged with: second-degree strangulation; first-degree unlawful imprisonment; and third-degree assault. At 5:35 p.m. on July 12, Genesee County Sheriff's Deputies responded to Sunset Parkway in the Town of Oakfield for a reported physical altercation. After an investigation, Murphy was arrested. The parolee allegedly held a female against her will and strangled her. He was arraigned in Oakfield Town Court and put in GC Jail without bail. Murphy is due in GC Court at a later date, unspecified. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Andre, assisted by Deputy Nicholas Chamoun.

Mathew W. Ianiro, 26, of Le Roy, is charged with: driving while intoxicated; felony aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; reckless driving; speeding over 55 mph; operation in violation of conditional license; consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle; and consumption of cannabis in a motor vehicle. A traffic complaint led to Ianiro's arrest on July 9 in the Town of Warsaw. It is alleged he had been forcing other vehicles off the roadway. Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of an erratically driven vehicle that had just entered Route 19 in the Town of Covington. Deputies intercepted the vehicle on Saltvale Road at Burke Hill Road in Warsaw. Following a traffic stop, Ianiro  was found to be the operator and sole occupant. He was also allegedly found to have open bottles of liquor and concentrated cannabis inside his vehicle and it is alleged he exhibited signs of alcohol impairment. The driver was also found to have a NYS Conditional Driver's License from 2020 that was suspended for driving while ability impaired by alcohol. It is alleged he performed poorly on field sobriety tests and he was taken into custody when his vehicle was towed from the scene. He was transported to the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office for a chemical breath analysis. He was arraigned in Warsaw Town Court and his driver's license was suspended. Ianiro was released on his own recognizance in compliance with NYS Bail Reform. The defendant is due back in Warsaw court July 26.

Parker E. Payton, 22, of Pavilion, was arrested July 8 after a traffic stop on Wallace Road in the Town of Covington for having a revoked driver's license. Deputies familiar with Payton stopped him after observing him driving. He has two active revocations and two active suspensions, one of them a revocation due to a conviction for driving while ability impaired by drugs. Payton was arrested roadside and issued an appearance ticket for the charges of: aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree; aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree; and unlicensed operation. Payton is due in Town of Covington Court July 26.

July 13, 2021 - 2:51pm
posted by Press Release in WNYIL, Disability Pride Week, ADA 30th anniversary.

Western New York Independent Living Inc. (WNYIL), and several other disability services providers, are inviting all our friends to join us for our annual Disability Pride Celebration, a weeklong virtual series of activities from July 26th to 30th.

It celebrates the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. It was signed into law by then President George Herbert Walker Bush and discrimination against people with disabilities became illegal.

Highlights of the week will include: the history of the disability rights movement; features on disability rights today; youth with disabilities-focused content; as well as entertainment throughout the week.

Activities will be featured on the Disability Pride Facebook page, as well as WNYIL’s YouTube page.

Sponsors of the event include: The Independent Consumer Advocate Network (ICAN), National Grid, Independent Health, and People Inc.

Other community partners assisting in the week’s events include: the Erie County Office for People with Disabilities, Deaf Access Services, People Inc., theCantalician Center for Learning, and WNY Adaptive Water Sports.

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

July 13, 2021 - 2:23pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Rochester Regional Health is expanding its partnership with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), the nation’s largest medical school.  Rochester Regional Health will become the medical school’s largest clinical campus.

This partnership will enable Rochester Regional to dramatically increase clinical rotations and feature locations in addition to United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia where its program began.

Now, as part of this 10-year agreement between Rochester Regional Health and LECOM, approximately 100 third- and fourth-year students will be on clinical rotation across the health system each month.

“This partnership will offer remarkable opportunities for LECOM students to gain exceptional, hands-on training in a variety of settings with a nationally recognized leader in integrated health care,” said John Ferretti, D.O., LECOM president and CEO.

“Further, with such a large number of our students entering Rochester Regional Health’s clinical rotation program at facilities across western New York, LECOM will be furthering its goal of improving healthcare for residents and communities in underserved areas.”

“LECOM is a great partner and we are honored to expand our partnership,” said Eric Bieber, M.D., president and CEO of Rochester Regional Health. “As an integrated health care delivery system, these students will gain invaluable experience from Rochester Regional Health’s clinical teams, as they move through different areas of medicine.

"This collaboration will strengthen our network of care and help Rochester Regional solidify its position as a leader in healthcare locally, regionally, and nationally.”

Medical school graduates often continue their post-graduate training and establish residency in the geographic area they trained. Rochester Regional Health currently offers 23 residency and fellowship programs for medical students post-graduation.

The health system is continuing to expand on those programs with multiple new residencies and fellowships under development.  

“There is a shortage of primary care physicians throughout the country and LECOM produces more primary care physicians than any other medical school in the country,” said Richard Alweis, M.D., associate chief medical officer of Education for Rochester Regional Health. “By expanding this partnership, we are investing in our community and its healthcare needs.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Rochester Regional Health to offer critical clinical education for our medical students,” said Richard Terry, D.O., associate dean of Academic Affairs, LECOM at Elmira.

“This collaborative agreement offers a unique opportunity for students from the Rochester area, the Southern Tier and Western New York to pursue their collegiate premedical training with local colleges and universities affiliated with LECOM, and then complete their clinical training with the Rochester Regional Health system.

"This agreement will also secure a steady, locally trained supply of future physicians for the greater Rochester region, as well as all of Upstate New York.”

For more on Rochester Regional Health’s residency programs visit Residency.RochesterRegional.org.

Top photo: The woman lying down is Tammy LeSane; on the right is Robert Russo, DPM, Podiatry specialist; and resident in the middle is Kristopher Zainer, DPM.

July 13, 2021 - 1:57pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley will be joining Sen. George Borello (SD-57) and attorney James Ostrowski via Zoom in discussing different ideas for granting the Greater Western New York region more autonomy in its political affairs.

This virtual town hall meeting is entitled "Imagine an Independent Greater Western New York" and it starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 15.

Hawley will defend the merits of making the region its own state; Borello will discuss the benefits of making the area an autonomous zone within the state; and Ostrowski will detail the benefits of following a path of nullification of disagreeable laws by local sheriffs and elected officials. 

Those who wish to attend must register using this link.

WHO: Assemblyman Steve Hawley

           Sen. George Borello 

           James Ostrowski

WHAT: Virtual Town Hall discussing proposals to secure greater independence for Greater Western New York

WHEN: Thursday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Zoom

HOW: Preregistration required to get Zoom link, attendees may register using this link.

July 13, 2021 - 1:36pm
posted by Press Release in genesee county youth court, news, GC Youth Bureau.

Press release:

Calling all eighth to 11th graders, the Genesee County Youth Court is recruiting new members!

Youth Court is a voluntary alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement.

Youth who are referred admit to the charge and appear before a court of their peers. Three youth judges listen to both sides of the issue and determine an appropriate disposition. The goal of youth court is to improve youth citizenship skills and decrease problematic behavior.  

Youth Court members learn about the judicial process and law enforcement; develop group decision-making, leadership and public speaking skills; participate in all roles of the courtroom: judge, prosecution, defense and bailiff. 

Genesee County eighth to 11th graders who are interested can go online to download an application from the website www.co.genesee.ny.us, where you will find a link on the Youth Bureau page.

Applications are due by Aug. 2nd.

Interviews of potential candidates will take place in August and September with the training to begin in October. 

For more information on the Genesee County Youth Court, please contact Chelsea Elliott at the Genesee County Youth Bureau, 344-3960.

July 13, 2021 - 8:23am

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A frequent contributor to the Batavia City Council scene is suggesting that a package deal combining the current Batavia Police Department headquarters and Genesee County Jail parcels may be the ticket to attracting a potential developer in light of the city’s intention to build a new police station at Alva Place and Bank Street.

City resident John Roach, during the public comments portion of the board’s Conference Meeting on Monday night at the City Centre, asked if anyone was talking to Genesee County leaders about their plan for the jail at the corner of West Main Street and Porter Avenue.

The county is exploring its options as it faces a state mandate to build a new jail, with a site near County Building 2 on West Main Street Road as the proposed location.

“You might get a better deal as a combined parcel,” Roach said. “Find out what they’re going to do and it could have an impact on what to do with the Brisbane building.”

The Brisbane building that he referred to is the former Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St. that sits next door to the county jail. That building -- which may be eligible for classification as a historic landmark -- has housed city police for many years but has deteriorated considerably.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, responding to Roach’s inquiry, said she thought it was a “great idea to speak with the county and understand their plans.”

“The front of the jail is certainly an amazing historic building that I hope would be preserved by the county through their transition, but I believe it hosts Genesee Justice and I don’t want to speak for the county and I’m not sure what they’re actually planning,” she said.

Tabelski also said she wasn’t sure if the timelines for a new county jail and new city police station would line up, but it was something worth looking into.

She pointed out the drawbacks with the Brisbane Mansion, notably that there is no American with Disabilities Act accessibility and there are problems with the layout that hinder the ability of the force to conduct day-to-day business.

“We went over the presentation two meetings ago and we looked at the timeline. The city has been wanting to address this for over 20 years,” she said. “We’ve come forward with a proposal and a feasibility study to use the parking lot at Alva and Bank Street.”

The city manager underscored the importance of finding a “reuse” for the building, adding that the city has no intention of moving staff into that structure.

“So, we’d like to pursue a path where we put it out for RFP to a developer to take that on and bring that on to the tax rolls,” she advised. “To do that in the best manner possible, you want to make your property attractive to the marketplace and by understanding all of the historical elements inside the building, and having technical assistance reports done of the structure itself and the historical elements …”

For those reasons, she forwarded a resolution – which was later passed by Council – to allow the Batavia Development Corp. to apply for a 2021 Consolidated Funding grant under the New York Main Street technical assistance program.

“I think it is City Council’s wish and I know it is the certainly the wish of many in our community to preserve that building as a historical element in our downtown,” she said. “… if (the grant is) awarded, we would go ahead and do that study. We had a plan to reuse the building at the time we move the police department.”

Tabelski said that the grant-funded study would uncover whether the building would qualify as a historic landmark.

If so, that could open the door for a NY Main Street grant, which the city has been successful in obtaining for the Eli Fish Brewing Co. building on Main Street and Theater 56 at the City Centre.

On another topic, Roach asked about the status of a road project to rehabilitate Harvester and Richmond avenues, which is scheduled for the summer of 2022.

Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt said it is currently in the design phase.

In May 2020, City Council appointed the engineering firm of T.Y. Lin International Group of Rochester to provide preliminary and advanced designs with the expectation that they would be completed by the summer of this year.

T.Y. Lin International Group was involved in the city’s Walnut Street Reconstruction Project, the Ellicott Street streetscape project and all of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District streetscape initiatives.

Batavian Robert Radley, PE, is the company’s senior vice president and U.S. East Region director.

Plans call for renovation of Richmond Avenue from State Street to Oak Street and for the entire length of Harvester Avenue (from East Main Street to Ellicott Street). City officials previously reported that 95 percent of the $2 million project will be covered by CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) and Marchiselli Funding* streams.

Tabelski also reported that Jill Wiedrick, the new assistant city manager, will be starting on July 21, and the city is advertising for a permanent Department of Public Works director.

*Given the significant backlog of preservation, rehabilitation and replacement of transportation infrastructure needs that exist at the local level, NYSDOT has initiated a process with metropolitan planning areas and municipalities to revise and align local transportation planning and project selection processes with engineering and economic-based preservation strategies. As part of this initiative, NYSDOT will provide priority consideration for State matching funds, under the Marchiselli program, to federal-aid projects that embrace the Department’s asset management based preservation strategy. Municipally sponsored federal-aid projects considered to be beyond preservation treatments may be considered for Marchiselli funding on a case by case basis. Municipal requests for projects that are considered beyond preservation will be reviewed by NYSDOT’s Comprehensive Program Team (CPT).

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Photo at top: Batavia Police Department station (former Brisbane Mansion); Photo at bottom: Front of Genesee County Jail, which currently houses Genesee Justice.

July 12, 2021 - 9:09pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Centennial Park, disc golf.

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Despite receiving prior assurances from several Batavia City Council members that Centennial Park was off the table as a possible location for a disc golf course in the city, representatives of the “Save the Park” committee weren’t taking any chances.

About 16 of them made their way to tonight’s City Council Conference Meeting at the City Hall Council Board Room, with five of those people urging the board to maintain the aesthetics of the 14-acre natural setting by finding another place to put a nine-hole disc golf layout proposed by Batavia resident Phillip Boyd.

On May 24, Boyd attended a City Council meeting, hoping to persuade local lawmakers to let him and other enthusiasts of the sport set up a course at a city park. At that time, he stated that his group preferred Centennial Park, which is surrounded by Ellicott Avenue, Park Avenue, Richmond Avenue and State Street.

In recent days, residents in that area inundated Council members with emails and phone calls – and had “Letters to the Editor,” signs and other forms of communication ready to publicize their views.

Fast forward to tonight, even before they had a chance to protest, Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. informed them that Centennial Park is “off the list … and not even a consideration.”

Council Member Rose Mary Christian quickly remarked, “I’ll second it.”

Jankowski explained that the process of attempting to accommodate Boyd had just begun and required the “vetting process” involving police, fire and the Department of Public Works to see if it was a good fit for the city.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski added that she had spoken to Boyd, who said he understood residents’ concerns about having it at Centennial Park and agreed not to pursue that location.

“We may not have a park big enough” for a disc golf course, Jankowski said, but added that they will work with Genesee County officials to see if it could be situated somewhere else.

Council Member John Canale acknowledged that his phone and email “were on fire,” and appreciated the feedback, and also commended Boyd for “realizing it wasn’t a popular choice.”

“I hope we can find a spot for him,” Canale said.

Still, the Centennial Park supporters had come there prepared to speak and five weren’t leaving until they had their say.

Communicating that Centennial Park was established about 150 years ago in conjunction with the New York State School for the Blind, Ellicott Avenue resident Carl DeLuca emphasized that putting a disc golf course would occupy about two-thirds of the park.

“Those who have the freedom to choose an activity would be restricted to use of just one-third of the park’s area,” he said. “The proposed installation of disc golf would be a permanent impediment to the freedom of use for the general community.”

DeLuca, a retired teacher, mentioned several “negative impacts” of disc golf, including safety issues from the hurling of hardened plastic discs, excessive car parking, noise and large crowds.

“Also of importance are city budget constraints,” he contended. “This could mean that taxpayers would be unfairly burdened by paying for potential damages caused by a few.”

He cited articles that spoke of the unintended consequences of disc golf courses in inappropriate settings, with the demographics of those who participate in the sport mostly unconcerned of its environmental impacts.

Linda Daviau, who lives on Park Avenue, thanked Council for responding to her emails – “I really didn’t expect to hear from so many of you,” she said – but added that she wasn’t convinced that the board would have taken Centennial Park out of play “without hearing from so many citizens.”

She then shared a bit of history of the park, mentioning the NYSSB and the influence of Dean Richmond, and pointed out that for “over 40 years … we still enjoy seeing people enjoy the park.”

“The face of the park is great the way it is,” she concluded.

Judy Sikora, another Park Avenue resident, also thanked Council members and Tabelski for responding to the residents.

Stating that she had a petition with 150 signatures, Sikora spoke of Centennial Park’s grass and trees and “lovely flowing terrain” and called it a “lifesaver for many of us during COVID.”

“It really is a treasure,” she said. “Many cities would be envious.”

Sikora urged Council to not change the nature of what makes the park unique, and to continue the freedom of its use by all citizens.

She suggested finding a nonresidential area with adequate parking for the disc golf course.

“We’re not here to oppose disc golf but to support a park that we love,” she said.

Judy DeLuca, Carl’s wife, spoke of the health benefits of the park’s green space.

She referred to a National Institute of Health report that indicated that the use of urban green space was important to community health during times of stress, and asked Council members to take green space into account when they consider policy issues.

Finally, Karen Vasser of Lincoln Avenue said that her family has been part of that neighborhood for 67 years and that she has participated in the seasonal activities, including Picnic in the Park.

“We love this park,” she said, “and it deserves to be as pristine as it is today.”

Photo: Word that a disc golf course could be placed at Centennial Park prompted about 16 residents of that area in the northeast section of the city to find their way to tonight's City Council meeting. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

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