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June 25, 2022 - 11:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tonawanda Creek, batavia, sunset, news.

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This evening's sunset as viewed from South Main Street Road over the Tonawanda Creek, Batavia.

Photo by Howard Owens.

June 25, 2022 - 9:05pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, Batavia HS, notify, graduation.

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As Batavia High School’s Class of 2022 sat quietly Saturday on VanDetta field dressed in blue and white robes, many family members and friends hurriedly tried to find a seat in the packed stadium before the ceremony began.

It was perfect weather with no rain in sight, though the scorching temperature of 85 and climbing made for some hot metal seats. Marya Cole had found a spot to watch her niece Jaylene Dersham receive her diploma, but soon had to duck under cover for some relief.

“It was so hot up there,” Cole said, finding some shade in the stadium lobby. “I’m very proud of her. She lost her dad when she was young. But she went all the way through, and I’m really proud of her.”

Jaylene, 17, who was a notable Blue Devils Girls Basketball player, was one of 169 graduates to cross the makeshift stage and realize a dream along with her fellow seniors. She had decorated her cap in honor of her father, Jayson Dersham, with the word “Dad” across the top. Cole wasn’t certain what her niece will be doing from here but knows that the new graduate wants to go to college, possibly for nursing or something more secretarial.

That wasn't her proud aunt's concern at the moment.

"She did it; she made it," a smiling Cole said.

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Robert Lin, Valedictorian

Although they were saying goodbye to the last days and years of high school, the graduates were reminded of what they accomplished. Class Valedictorian Robert Lin spoke about the hardships of isolation, separation, and the mental and physical turmoil his classmates encountered with a pandemic. "It had a “devastating effect on us,” he said.

Despite the challenges, everyone rallied to come back and finish.

“Throughout these four years at high school, we’ve developed skills, connections, and characteristics to move forward in society,” Lin said. “These events will develop us to be harder, better, faster, and stronger. As today ends, we will all tread our own paths. As we move on, life will have many surprises or events in store for us.”

His nuggets of advice included the phrase “you only live once,” which he encouraged for those willing to take the consequences of trying something new. There’s nothing wrong with taking a shorter path or the long way, he said. Just never give up. Never let yourself down.

“We have to enjoy life to its fullest, and the changes it throws at us will keep us eager, and when they start coming, they don’t stop coming,” he said.

The 100+ average student received the E.G. Richmond Award for having the highest average in all courses of study. He also completed and excelled in 13 college or AP level courses, doing his homework assignments in between helping customers at his family’s restaurant after school.  A role model to his fellow students, he was described as always wanting to be better.

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Elizabeth McCarthy, Salutatorian

Less than one point under Lin's average was the 99.9 of Salutatorian Elizabeth McCarthy. Not only was McCarthy a high school graduate, but, due to her diligence in taking 11 AP and/or dual enrollment courses while in school, she also just graduated from Genesee Community College with an associate degree.

The past four years have been “a wild ride,” she said, also pointing to the challenges of COVID.

“I am so proud of how our class was able to overcome this huge challenge. We would not have been able to overcome such adversity without the help and support of our family and friends, as well as the exceptional staff at BHS,” she said. “I would like to remind everyone to be kind. I’m sure we can all think of someone who has brightened our lives in some way. Someone who was there for us with a helping hand -- or maybe simply a smile -- when we needed it most. I encourage all of us to be the light in someone’s day, in case that person needs it.”

At one point during the speeches, Samantha Koons had stepped into the lobby, where a nice small breeze was flowing through to the parking lot. She and her boyfriend Ed McDonald were there for his 18-year-old son Cory, she said.

“We’re a little emotional that his baby is growing up,” she said. “We’re very proud of him, very proud.”

About a dozen chaperones and security staff kept an eye on the premises during commencement. Some spectators asked about water as the blazing sun kept its heavy gaze on participants and the audience. Security guard and BHS 1997 grad Nick Burk attends every graduation, he said, and the events “traditionally are very well attended.”  He also coaches three sports and has become invested in the students' success, he said.

“It’s really exciting and awesome to see students whom I’ve known since they were 14 or 15 … some are going into the military, some are starting their careers,” he said. “It’s great to see that development and growth.”

Photos by Steve Ognibene.  To view more photos and to purchase photos, click here.

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Top photo: Batavia High School Principal Paul Kesler addresses the Class of 2022 during commencement Saturday at VanDetta Stadium in Batavia. Speakers included Superintendent Jason Smith, who gave an analogy about filling one's jar first with golf balls -- the big priorities in life -- before worrying about the smaller things, represented by pebbles and sand. He later gave each student an inscribed symbolic blue golf ball to remind them "about prioritizing your goals as you move into this next exciting phase of your lives." Molly George and Laura Tenebruso -- longtime teachers at the city school district -- present a poem made up by several of the seniors' quotes. Photos by Stephen Ognibene.

 

June 25, 2022 - 3:07pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, vehicle fire, Alexander Fire Department.

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Alexander Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a fully involved vehicle fire at about 2:45 p.m. today.

The fire possibly started in the exhaust system. The Alexander chief said the driver told him there was smoke coming up from the bottom of the vehicle, so he pulled over just west of Gillate Road. When the driver got out of the Jeep, it burst into flames.

There were no injuries. 

Photo by Howard Owens.

June 25, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chapins manufacturing, batavia, nature, outdoors, news, notify.

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Mark Volpe loved nature, and as that became apparent to CEO Jim Campbell, Campbell gave him a job only suitable to a conservationist -- manager of the private nature preserve behind the Chapin Manufacturing factory on Ellicott Street in Batavia.

Volpe worked for Chapin for 35 years with much of that time dedicated to the care and maintenance of the 70-acre preserve. He died in November 2018.

In addressing visitors at the conservation area Friday, Campbell stressed the importance of staying on the marked trails while explaining the slice of nature Volpe tended.

"This 70 acres encompasses meadows, hardwood forests, lowlands, wetlands, and actually open water," Campbell said. "It's quite a diverse ecosystem."

Volpe's dedication to the preserve was marked today with a ribbon-cutting by his widow Louise Volpe on a bridge that now ties together the east side and the west side of the property. 

Volpe's children and grandchildren were also present to walk with Louise across the bridge for the first time.

"He just enjoyed coming out here," Louise said. "I would come out here with him. He loved nature, the earth, and everything about it. He was just that kind of person who is an outdoorsman. He loved it. That's why he jumped at the opportunity to take over out here when Jimmy asked him, so I think that was kind of special what Jim did."

The bridge was actually Mark Volpe's idea.  The property is divided by a wide, shallow stream, so to access the conservation area, one would have to come in either from the east or west side and not be able to cross over.

"Mark did plan this before his passing," Campbell said. "He was working with his good friend Jeff McGivern. Jeff and his crew actually built this bridge. This bridge is actually a repurposed dragline. For those who don't know what a dragline is, it's really like a big crane. This was the boom of a dragline that Jeff repurposed. It's 110 feet long. Maybe it doesn't look that great, but it actually can hold probably about seven or eight tons. So it's very safe."

Mark's brother is John Volpe, who is also active locally in environmental causes.

Volpe's daughter Melissa Miller closed the private ceremony with a thank you message for Campbell and everybody at Chapin.

"We would like to thank everyone at Chapin's who created this memorial in honor of my dad," she said. "As you all know, he devoted his life to his family and his job here at Chapin's. He also had many hobbies and activities that he loved. One of his favorites was spending time outdoors with nature. He was extremely passionate about it and found profound meaning in all things relating to nature. We are extremely grateful and honored that you are remembering him in such a beautiful and special way in a way that embodies who he truly was, and in a place that he loved so much. This tribute means so much to all of us. And I know my dad would be honored and so happy to be remembered this way."

Employees of Chapin's are welcome to visit the conservation area at any time. The rest of the public is allowed to hike the property with the company's prior permission.  There is no hunting or fishing permitted on the property.  Visitors are required to stay on trails, both to protect the environment and for their own safety.

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June 25, 2022 - 12:47am
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) released the following statement after voting to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – a comprehensive gun safety package developed by a bipartisan team of U.S. Senators. With Jacobs’ support, the legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

“Today is a historic day. For the first time in nearly three decades, the United States Senate and House of Representatives have reached a meaningful and bipartisan compromise to address the rising tide of gun violence plaguing our nation. Recently, we witnessed the racist massacre of 10 individuals in Buffalo and the senseless deaths of 19 children in Uvalde. Sadly, these events are not isolated. Gun violence has touched every state in our nation and too many families have been destroyed by it. The American people have rightfully demanded action and today Congress delivered. 

“For too long, Congress has suffered from gridlock on this issue while both sides of the aisle faced intense backlash for even suggesting they were open to a compromise. We can honor our Constitution while also protecting our children and communities. We can protect the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding American while also ensuring dangerous individuals do not access firearms. This legislation upholds these principles. 

“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act represents meaningful reforms that I believe will decrease gun violence and save lives. That is why the legislation is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police and other law enforcement organizations. Some of the significant measures are
enhanced background checks for those under 21, funding for states who want to implement extreme risk protection order laws, closing the ‘boyfriend loophole’ which will help keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous domestic abusers, and greater preventions against ‘straw purchases’ which is a major source of illegal firearms on our streets. Aside from gun safety, this package also provides significant funding for more mental health resources and school safety – major Republican priorities to keep our children safe. 

“This legislation may not be perfect, and both sides may not have gotten everything they wanted, but it represents a major step forward in working across the aisle to accomplish meaningful and impactful change on the significant issues our country faces. It will save lives. I am proud to have supported this legislation and to be an advocate for action to decrease gun violence. I will continue to work to improve the quality of life and safety of every American in any way that I can. 

This week, Rep. Jacobs also voted in favor of H.R. 7666 the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act. This bipartisan legislation authorizes numerous grant programs to address several areas of mental health, including substance abuse and services for children, to help communities confront the root causes of all violence.

June 24, 2022 - 6:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, crime.

A police officer is requested to Batavia PD headquarters to meet with a man who says there was a man in front of City Hall "illegally panhandling" so he gathered the panhandler's belongings and brought them to the police station.

June 24, 2022 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lee Zeldin, batavia, news, notify.
Video Sponsor

Gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin made a whistle-stop -- not from a train but from a van -- in Batavia on Friday as part of his "Save Our State" tour in which he attacked Gov. Kathy Hochul and aimed to make the case that he was has a plan for making New York a better place to live.

Quotes:

  • "We really have to restore balance to Albany. It's not just about political balance. It's also a geographic balance. I want all New Yorkers to feel like they have a voice and representation again in our state capitol. And it doesn't matter which of the 62 counties you come from, what region of this state you come from, everybody should feel like they have a voice that is being heard."
  • "We should enact the greatest the largest tax cut in the history of the state. We have to bring spending under control."
  • "Suddenly, this governor is out there advocating against the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers, this same governor who when she was a member of Congress, was an A-rated NRA endorsed member of Congress and proud of it. She made a name for herself by opposing driver's licenses for people who weren't legally in the country. And then all of a sudden, she becomes a statewide elected official and she's trying to win a Democratic Party primary and she's evolved on this. She's evolved on that. But people out here in this region know her best and they know that the Kathy Hochul, who she's trying to be today isn't the Kathy Hochul she's always been in the past. She's in over her head. She's not up for this job. She is pandering to tax and spend liberal pro-criminal Democrats who are rolling her and she cares more about getting reelected than she does about saving the state."
  • "I support school choice. We have to understand that not every school is the same. We have some great schools in the state of New York, we have some poor-performing schools. Competition is good. And we shouldn't have kids stuck in poor-performing schools."
  • "I'm pro-life I'm pro-Second Amendment, and I strongly oppose the far-left progressive agenda taking over Albany. Now, if you want to really get to the heart of where New Yorkers are across this state, even people who consider themselves to be pro-choice are against New York's law for late-term partial-birth abortion. They are against non-doctors performing abortions. They are for parental consent. They're for informed consent. They want to promote adoption more."
  •  "The decision today issued in the Dobbs case was a victory for life for the family. It was a victory for the Constitution. It was a victory for federalism, it was the correct decision."

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June 24, 2022 - 4:59pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, CRASE Training, batavia police department, notify.

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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

That’s a popular quote with a ring of cliche, but a truth nonetheless that was center to Batavia Police Department’s active shooter training Thursday evening.

And for nearly three hours, Officer Arick Fleming and Detective Steve Cronmiller not only reviewed the history of events — devastating as they were — but discussed how lessons can be gleaned from each scenario. Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, or CRASE, training was conducted by the police department as a way to better equip ordinary citizens with the knowledge to survive a possible future attack.

While some scenarios illustrated the surprise element of an attack and how it can paralyze people with fear, many others contained gems of insight into how survival really comes down to each individual.

Three key words to keep in mind are denial, deliberation and decisive, as each one will become an action taken by people caught in a surprise assault or tragic event, Fleming said. He asked the group of about 25 attendees how long they might have before emergency responders arrive on scene. Answer: Three minutes. While that isn’t a whole lot of time, it’s three minutes that can mean life or death for the person that hesitates to act in the face of a horrific situation, he said.

Denial: Not acknowledging that something might be happening and ignoring possible warning signs. He gave the scenario of hearing a bang and dismissing it as a car backfiring. Or, as shown in some actual video footage, not reacting when seeing flames on the other side of a building or when an angry, armed man disrupts a government meeting. Most people remained where they were as if gripped with fright or ignorance that something tragic was about to happen.

Deliberation: Assessing a situation for what is actually happening and what are some possible actions to take.

Decisive: Choosing to act in some way, whether it is to flee the situation, find a hiding place or actively combat the danger (a gunman or fire, for example).

“The ones who can make better, quicker decisions are the ones to survive,” Fleming said.

All too often, people look for the lead when in a crowd, he said, instead of acting upon their own instincts. Another video, in which actors lay on the ground acting ill, demonstrated how group-minded individuals can be, as one by one, passersby ignored the person on the ground. In one experiment, 34 people walked by in the first 20 minutes without any acknowledgment of the situation.

The brain’s response to stress …
There is a response to stress, Fleming said, that involves the “lizard brain,” in which a person will either fight, flee or freeze. Their brains may lock up and focus only on one solution — one way out of a burning building, for example.

Yet another video of an actual fire at a nightclub showed a crowd of people seemingly oblivious to a fire that had erupted and was visible. They remained in that group-minded mentality that, since no one else was moving, convinced them it must be the right thing to do. And when it became a mad rush out of the building, people flocked to one main hallway. They became wedged against each other unable to get out. More than 30 people died in that hallway, while several others perished at other points within the building due to not acting immediately, Cronmiller said.

Another interesting but tragic lesson was that nobody even thought to use an alternative exit within the club, he said. Caught up in panic and a gradual thawing of shock, folks just made a mad dash by following everyone else.

“If just one person had thought of breaking the plate glass windows, they could’ve gotten out,” he said, adding that if a building has a kitchen, there is always an exit door there.

A taped interview with a surviving teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut proved that there are options to take in order to survive. She hid 15 children in a small bathroom and hushed them throughout the time period a gunman ransacked the school and took 26 lives. Even when police finally came to the door, she wouldn’t let them in. Fleming agreed with that choice.

“I wouldn’t open the door for police if I didn’t believe it; if I wasn’t 100 percent sure, I wouldn’t open the door,” he said.

Law enforcement would be able to obtain keys or otherwise find a way into that bathroom, he said. For those who do choose to hide in a room, use whatever is available to barricade the door, he said, from a doorstop to desks and chairs.

A physical response ...
When it comes to fighting off an attacker, the same advice applies: use whatever is handy. Attendees suggested a water bottle, fire extinguishers, chairs and the U.S. flag in council chambers. Being the victim of an attack should make you mad, he said.

“Use that anger. The more things we can throw at his face, that’s going to mess him up,” Fleming said. “You’re buying us time. What you do matters; we need to make it through those first three minutes.”

Philosopher George Santayana seemed to have it right: don’t forget history and don’t repeat the unfortunate mistakes of others. Fleming and Cronmiller wanted everyone to learn from the past and survive a catastrophic event.

The recent attack by a gunman in Erie County prompted Lynda Kelso to attend and obtain those lessons, she said.

“The attack in Buffalo really hit close to home. I saw an opportunity to educate myself a little more. I have one kid in every school, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. I can be available to help,” she said. “If I can learn even one thing to help … I’ll be better equipped should something happen here in Batavia. I would be the one to react; if I can help, I can help.”

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Top photo: Batavia Police Officer Arick Fleming talks about active shooters during a civilian training Thursday at City Hall. Above, Officer Fleming and Detective Steve Cronmiller conduct the training as part of the department's Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events education. Photos by Howard Owens.

June 24, 2022 - 3:00pm


Call us today if you're looking to SELL or BUY a home; 585-344-home (4663).

June 24, 2022 - 11:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, muckdogs, sports, baseball.

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The Batavia Muckdogs dropped a home game Thursday to the Newark Pilots 7-5

Starting pitcher Tyler Prospero (3-1), from Batavia, took his first loss of the season.  He only surrendered one earned run but the Pilots scored three unearned runs on errors.  Prospero gave up six hits in 2 2/3 of an inning.  

Medina's Brian Fry continued to swing a hot stick, going 2-4 and scoring a run.  His season average is up to .419.

Mike DeStefano was 3-4 and Bryan Belo, hitting .342, was 2-4.

The Muckdogs are now 10-4 on the season, in second place in the West Division, two games behind UItica.

Top photo: Catcher Alex Maag snags an outside pitch.

Photos by Philip Casper

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Dewey throwing out the first pitch, in honor of his birthday 

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Brian Fry completing a double play.

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Tyler Prospero

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Levis Aguila Jr

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Josh Leadem

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Henry Hank Robert, 9 years old, playing the national anthem

June 24, 2022 - 8:08am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Rochester Regional Health, UMMC Foundation, notify.

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For anyone in the vicinity of Centennial Park Thursday, you may have spotted a bunch of lemonade stands, correlating yellow decor and people enjoying the warm weather with a cool cup of lemonade. 

What you may not have noticed so readily was the fundraising taking place with each cup of beverage sold. The event, hosted by Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial Medical Center, was to raise money for baby swaddles. A goal was set to purchase 500 of the infant wraps to give to local moms. 

So why baby swaddles? What are they and why are they important enough to warrant a specific fundraiser? Over at the Healthy Living stand, registered nurse and maternal health educator Jay Balduf put it succinctly with a  two-digit number: 93.

“Ninety-three babies die annually in New York State alone, either by being rolled on by another person or loose bedding,” she said. “So that's why we promote the Safe Sleep initiative on the unit. Sacks play a role in teaching new parents, and any parent, really, about the importance of safe sleep. And it just helps us also to give back a little to the community, because most of these kids were probably delivered at UMMC.”

Baby swaddles and sacks are promoted for infants as a safe way to be in a crib and for sleep time. Other embellishments — pillows, blankets, clothing — can become a hazard if the baby gets entangled or covered with such material, said Linda Stoiber, an RN and lactation consultant.

“The hospital is a Baby-Friendly Hospital and a safe sleep designated hospital where babies are placed on their back. They are swaddled with these new swaddlers,” Stoiber said. “There should never be another blanket or a pillow, or anything around the crib, nothing else that would affect the baby then cover their face and cause them to suffocate.”

Megan Boring learned early on — with two Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies of her own — the importance of making them feel safe, helping them to grow and be warm. A coordinator of Healthy Living’s MOMS (Medicaid Obstetrics Maternal Services)  program, she supports the belief that babies don’t belong on their bellies, she said, but more safely on their backs. Swaddling them keeps their arms tucked nicely inside, and it mimics a cocoon “as if they're sleeping still inside … the mom's womb,” she said.

“So the Safe Sleep initiative is really to help keep them on their back while they're sleeping,” she said. “I think there are moms that don't understand the importance of the swaddles. They can be expensive to some moms too. They are upwards of $25 to $30 and not all moms have. So I think that this fundraiser is important because it's going to help moms get at least one to have so that they can also be educated on safe sleep for their babies. (See related story, Lemonade stands bring out supporters, creativity and lots of yellow.)

For more information about Healthy Living programs, call (585) 344-5331 or go here.

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Top photo: Healthy Living's Baby Cafe staff Linda Stoiber, left, and MOMS program coordinator Megan Boring, hand out lemonade with information for anyone interested in baby swaddling, breastfeeding and other maternal-related issues Thursday during the Lemonade Stand fundraiser at Centennial Park. Above, Jay Balduf, Megan Boring and Linda Stoiber greet a visitor at the Healthy Living stand. Photos by Howard Owens.

 

 

June 24, 2022 - 8:00am

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Jason and Ashley Mlyniec and their two sons were some of the many people — adults and kids alike — sporting sunny yellow attire Thursday at Centennial Park.

The Batavia family had set up a table with a pitcher of lemonade and glass jars of lemon suckers and lemon puffballs. They definitely fit the theme of the inaugural lemonade stand fundraiser hosted by Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial Medical Center.

“We’re on the hospital foundation board,” Mrs. Mlyniec said. “This is for a good cause. We’ll do it again next year.”

Under the umbrella of RRH, each lemonade stand was created by individual families and groups that wanted to help raise money for the Swaddle Program. While one participant blew bubbles at her table, another stood behind a Charlie Brown-themed “the doctor is in” sign, and all of them had a special twist to their decor, including plenty of lemons.

The first-time event chairman was 10-year-old Patrick Casey, chosen for his prior involvement with fundraisers.

“I had some spare money, and I gave it to a fundraiser for the hospital, because it’s for a good cause,” he said. “If you’ve got some spare money lying around, give it to a good cause.”

Last year his mom, Lauren was talking with others about how to get young kids involved in the lemonade stand idea, and she in turn told Patrick about it.

“He thought it would be pretty fun to do for the summer,” she said.

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The Caseys — including the chairman's father Peter and sisters, Madelyn and Emily, who wanted to help out — weren’t certain how many glasses of lemonade they handed out. Though Patrick did have to make a run or two for some more cups. Overall, the experience has been “cool,” he said.

“Knowing that you made all this happen, and all these people coming here to raise money,” he said.

As for the money raised, it will go for the purchase of baby swaddles, Senior Development Officer Lori Aratari said.

“Working with the maternity department, we realized that we didn't have the funds to be able to purchase the baby swaddles. So I kind of put my thinking cap on and said what can we do that would interest the community and engage families to want to support purchasing the baby swaddles for every baby that's born?” she said. “We obviously want to make sure our babies are safe when we let them leave the hospital. We're hoping that this will become an annual event. And as you can see, folks are outdoing themselves with the variety of displays that they have to sell their lemonade, so it really was open to them to be creative.”

The goal was to raise $4,000 to buy 500 baby swaddles, and $3,600 had already been raised before the 5 p.m. start time through the hospital’s Just Giving online platform, Aratari said.(For more about the Baby Swaddle initiative, see related story, Tuck 'em in, keep 'em safe.) 

Photos by Howard Owens

Top photo: Patrick Casey, 10, this year's chairman of the first-time Lemonade Stands fundraiser for Rochester Regional Health and United Memorial Medical Center Foundation.

Second photo: The Casey family -- Patrick, Madelyn, Peter, Emily and Lauren -- enjoys working its stand Thursday at Centennial Park, Batavia. 

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Emerson Warner with lactation nurse Jay Balduf

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Marigrace Cummings pours a cool cup of lemonade for Rick and Jane Scott

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Maiy, Knox and Fae work at their lemonade stand

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Mercedes Houseknecht plays in bubbles.

June 24, 2022 - 3:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia.

An SUV going an estimated 70 to 80 mph on South Jackson Street at 2:01 a.m. struck a utility pole and continued westbound before hitting the front porch of a home and stopping.

At least two people, including, according to Sgt. Marc Lawrence, the driver, fled the scene on foot.

Lawrence said the driver is known to police and charges are pending.

The SUV struck the porch at 307 South Jackson, the residence of Rudo Mushonga, a registered nurse with the Community Health Center of Buffalo.

"I was in my house fast asleep and then I heard a bang, I mean a real big bang," Mushonga said. "So I got up and said, 'what's going on.'  I looked because my bedroom is right here (pointing to a second-floor window). I looked and I could see this trunk, this trunk right here (the bottom half of the telephone pole just a few yards from her house) and I thought, 'what another accident?' Because it has happened before. This little tree, the car kind of missed it and it went over there (into neighbor's yard).  But this time I didn't see this, because you can't see it from where I am.  So I got out, opened my front door ... "

"So I was worried," she added.  "Being a registered nurse, I'm worried about the people in the car. Do they need help? And the police officer said, 'no, they ran away.'"

As many as six people were in the vehicle. All were minors with the possible exception of the driver.  One person sustained minor injuries and was transported to UMMC by Mercy EMS for treatment and evaluation.  Some of the occupants remained on scene after the accident and were picked up by their parents.

Lawrence said that National Grid workers estimated the vehicle was doing from 70 to 80 mph based on the damage to the pole, which was sheared off at the base.

The vehicle was westbound on Chestnut when it continued onto South Jackson before striking the pole just a few yards from Jackson Street.

Mushonga said she bought her home about two years ago ("I've been here for two Christmases," she said). and loves her house and the neighborhood but there have been three similar accidents now right in front of her house.

Press release:

On Friday, June 24, 2022 at or about 2:02 a.m., Batavia Police Officers were dispatched to a car into a house in the area of South Jackson Street. Responding Officers, City of Batavia Fire Fighters, and neighbors quickly arrived on scene to assist with the investigation.

Initial reports from witnesses indicated four passengers including the driver fled on foot. Officers identified 4 other passengers who remained on scene (1 with minor injuries). Genesee County Sheriff's Office K9 - Rayzor and handler Deputy Stack were on duty and quickly responded to assist with a track of the individuals who fled on foot.

Through interviews, debris left at the scene and video surveillance, it is believed that the vehicle, a 2017 Toyota 4-Runner was operating at a high rate of speed eastbound on Chestnut Street. The vehicle failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection of Chestnut St./Jackson St./S. Jackson St. subsequently failing to navigate the turn at the intersection.

The Toyota 4-Runner crossed into the westbound traffic lane on South Jackson Street striking the north curb, then a National Grid pole (shearing the pole in two spots), continuing over 100', finally coming to rest in the front porch of 305 S. Jackson Street.

The one minor injury was transported to UMMC by Mercy EMS. Additional passengers were transported to UMMC by private vehicles for evaluations.

After investigation, a total of eight occupants of the vehicle have been identified and the accident is still under investigation. Most occupants of the vehicle were minors including the alleged driver. Alcohol and marijuana are believed to be a contributing factors in the accident. Charges are pending.

The Batavia Police Department would like to thank the City of Batavia Fire Department, City of Batavia Department of Public Works, GCSO K9 Rayzor and handler Deputy Stack, and Mercy EMS for their assistance. We also greatly appreciate the citizens of Batavia who, without hesitation, became essential witnesses in this accident. Anyone with any further information is urged to contact Officer Girvin at the City of Batavia Police Department, 585-345-6350.

Reader-submitted video.  Photos by Howard Owens.

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June 23, 2022 - 10:00pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in accident, news, pembroke, notify.

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The Genesee County Sheriff’s Department is investigating why a car went off the road in Pembroke and struck a parked van in the parking lot of 857 Main Road at about 5:46 p.m. on Thursday.

According to Pembroke Fire Chief Jamie Waff, the vehicle was traveling east on Main Road when it left the roadway and struck an employee’s van that was parked at the Kutter’s Cheese Factory Store.

The elderly male driver was extricated and was in and out of consciousness when he was transported by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center. Waff says he suffered life-threatening injuries. The elderly female passenger suffered serious non-life-threatening injuries and was also transported to ECMC by a second Mercy Flight helicopter.

The driver may have suffered a medical issue before the crash.

Pembroke and Indian Falls Fire along with Mercy EMS responded to the scene along with the Sheriff’s Department.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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June 23, 2022 - 9:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lee Zeldin, news, batavia.

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In what is being billed as a "Save Our State" rally, gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin is scheduled to make an appearance in Batavia at noon outside the Old Courthouse.

Previously: Lee Zeldin, running for governor visits Batavia, gets business perspective on state's needs

Photo: File photo from Oct. 15, when Zeldin visited Chapin Manufacturing with Assemblyman Steve Hawley. Photo by Howard Owens.

June 23, 2022 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in solar farm, Cypress Creek Renewables LLC, batavia, news.

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Three poles at each entrance of a pair of proposed solar projects off of Ellicott Street Road in the Town of Batavia will be less of an eyesore than four, members of the town planning board decided on Tuesday.

At one time, the developer, Cypress Creek Renewables, proposed four poles.

At Tuesday's meeting, project attorney Mark T. Sweeney, after a lengthy discussion of the topic, asked the planning board to commit to three poles if that is truly their desire.

"What we would ask then is that the board clarify the condition of approval to require us to have a maximum of three poles per project," Sweeney said. "Then we can agree, we can accept that and redo a redesign for that. What we really need tonight is to be able to walk away knowing what it is we have to do. So that would be my ask of you as a board is to clarify and modify that condition of approval so that we can do that."

The number of poles is not a straightforward design decision, Sweeney explained during Tuesday's discussion.  The equipment that is mounted on the poles can be placed on the ground but at much greater expense.  The design must be approved by National Grid. The ground-mounted equipment is big and bulky and must be fenced in. And ground-mounted equipment is a special order and supply issues are delaying delivery.

Introduced in June 2019, the proposal from Cypress Creek Renewables LLC calls for the construction of two solar farms on property owned by Don Partridge at 5117 Ellicott Street Road.

  • A 5-megawatt array on 18.2 acres of a 65-acre parcel of otherwise agricultural land, known as Trousdale Solar I;
  • A 4-megawatt system on 19.6 acres of a 71-acre parcel of otherwise agricultural land, known as Trousdale Solar II.

The four-pole plan Cypress Creek came up with for each project -- and that received a nod of approval from National Grid -- helped the company balance competing factors and the company sought to maintain that balance, Sweeney said. 

"There's a balance, you know, in what SEQR requires," Sweeney said. "The site plan evaluation requires a balance of the impacts versus the cost. One of the things we were looking at is just that element of it. I understand if there's a particular impact that is to be avoided, or identified that we weren't aware of, that's one thing, but just simply ground-mounting something at a significant cost would be -- for no significant benefit to the environment, from a visual standpoint -- would be in our position, something we've tried to avoid. "

When the equipment is ground-mounted, it must be placed on a two-foot-high base, Sweeney said. The equipment enclosure is six feet tall.  And because it is electrical equipment, it must be surrounded by a fence. 

"You do have some residual visual impact resulting from that installation," Sweeney said.

Board members asked why there couldn't be three poles at each location since other solar projects have been able to meet that requirement. 

Sweeney said he couldn't answer that question.

"I understand completely where you're coming from, and having consistency with other projects," Sweeney said. "I don't know why those projects have three. I don't know what their equipment lineup is. I assume that it's substantially similar, but it might be different. The project size might be different panel types, inverter types -- there's a whole level of engineering that goes into what may cause the number to be different. It could be that it could have been an earlier project that got a higher incentive from NYSERDA by being in a different block. So they had more money available to spend on that type of thing. There may not have been any landscaping associated with that project. They could take the money from the landscaping budget and put it into that. There are all kinds of different things of which we're not aware."

To help mitigate the visual disturbance of four poles, the poles were designed to be back from the roadway and screened from view by landscaping.

In the end, board members decided they would rather see only three poles on each site.

"I think even four poles with all the lines and all the stuff hanging out from them, it's just going to be an eyesore, not only for people who live there, but just driving by," said board member Jonathan Long. "It just doesn't fit in with the character of the neighborhood. In my opinion, saying that it's a cost to the project is, in my opinion --  this is going to be there 20-plus years, part of the scenery there; it's not going to go away. So the upfront costs are minor compared to long-term impacts."

Once Sweeney said he would like board action affirming they would accept three poles instead of four, a motion was made and passed.

Photo: Bridget Cuddihy, project developer for Cypress Creek, and Mark Sweeney, project attorney. Photo by Howard Owens.

Previously: 

June 23, 2022 - 4:37pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp..

Patrons of Batavia Downs Gaming wagered close to $90 million during the month of May, according to the chief financial officer for Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.

“Credits played in May came to $88.8 million with 7.2 percent of that – or $6.4 million – slotted into the “VGM (video game machine) net win” category,” Jacquelyne Leach said today. “Conceptually, about 8 percent of the total amount wagered makes up the net win.”

Leach reported that year to date “net win” stands at $31.6 million – a staggering number – but the public benefit company keeps a bit more than half of that amount.

Forty-nine percent of the net win goes to the New York State Gaming Commission, Leach explained, with 90 percent of that earmarked for education and 10 percent staying with the commission, which oversees gaming operations.

That leaves 51 percent, which stays with WROTB, Leach said, and is divided as follows:

  • 37 percent -- Batavia Downs vendor fee, which includes a 10 percent distribution for harness horse racing purse payments, the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association and breeders’ payments and 27 percent for operating expenses, such as payroll, utilities, etc.
  • 10 percent -- Marketing allowance to promote Batavia Downs Gaming and horse racing.
  • 4 percent -- Capital awards fund for capital improvements, debt service, etc.

“After all of the obligations are met and all operating expenses are paid, then the rest is distributed to our member municipalities,” Leach said, adding that the corporation’s surcharge distribution for May was $88,459 and that $315,000 has been generated for the municipalities since Jan. 1.

WROTB’s geographical area is comprised of 18 counties, 15 of which participate as members of the corporation, and the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

In 2021, WROTB distributed $123,409 to Genesee County, $85,235 to Orleans County and $84,619 to Wyoming County. All told, distributions to all member municipalities for last year came to $5,793,184.

June 23, 2022 - 4:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Le Roy.

A single-vehicle accident is reported in the area of 78 Clay St., Le Roy.

The vehicle struck and sheared off a utility pole.

Le Roy Fire and Le Roy Ambulance dispatched.

UPDATE 4:34 p.m.: Route 5 is being closed at Clay Street.

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