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June 20, 2019 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in John Kennedy School, schools, education, news.

Press release:

     Amanda Cook

This week, John Kennedy Intermediate School was named a 2018-2019 Recognition School by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for high marks in achievement and in progress.

The school will receive a Certificate of Recognition from Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

“It’s gratifying – but not surprising – that John Kennedy earned this distinction,” says Batavia City School Dictrict Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey.

“Backed by a dedicated Board of Education, our administrators, teachers, and staff work tirelessly with students and their families to help children reach their potential.”

As NYSED aims for a more holistic approach to school and student achievement under New York’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan, 2018-19 Recognition Schools exemplify success in this mission with high academic achievement, student growth and graduation rate, and demonstrated progress during the 2017-18 school year.

The criteria used to determine the Recognition School status includes: student growth; met or exceeded either the school or state measures of interim progress for English language arts and mathematics; reduced rate of chronic absenteeism; and college-, career-, and civic-readiness; and met the federally required 95-percent participation rate in the English language arts and mathematics assessments.

Batavia’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Molly Corey, noting that John Kennedy is one of only 562 in the state and one of only 328 at the elementary level to be regarded as a Recognition School, said “I commend the teachers at John Kennedy and their principal, Dr. Amanda Cook, for this accomplishment. Their hard work and dedication to all students is evident.”

Expanding on that, Cook added, “Our entire team is committed to engaging students and their families in activities that build excitement for learning in ways that help children want to come to school to be a part of making memories together. We focus on creating a school learning community.”

June 20, 2019 - 6:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, baseball, sports.


Sean Reynolds, whom we profiled last year as one of the most intriguing players in the New York-Penn League, and whose photo graces the Muckdog's printed season schedule, and who became a fan favorite last season, is rejoining the Batavia Muckdogs.

The Marlin's organization decided today to swap first basemen between Batavia and the Clinton Lumberjacks, sending Evan Edwards to Clinton, Iowa, and returning Reynolds to the New York Penn-League, where he led the league last year in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, walks, and strikeouts.

In fact, Reynolds set a new league record for strikeouts at 133. He hit 17 home runs and had 52 RBIs while walking 42 times.

In 68 games with Clinton, Reynolds was hitting.173 with nine home runs, 32 RBIs, 33 walks, and 145 strikeouts.

He rejoins Batavia just a week into the NYPL's short season.

Reynolds was a fourth-round pick for the Marlins in 2016 and Edwards was a fourth-round pick for the Marlins this year.

June 20, 2019 - 5:49pm

A new proposal was brought before the Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday for an I Love New York selfie sign on the lawn outside the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center at 8276 Park Road, Batavia.

It's one of the most recognizable logos of New York State. The iconic “I Love New York” letters and bright red heart are frequently seen on tourist souvenirs and apparel.

But its $47,000 price tag raised eyebrows at the meeting.

It would be paid for with bed tax reserves -- not by local taxpayers, according to Chamber President Tom Turnbull, who presented the preliminary design of the selfie sign to the Ways & Means Committee.

He sought the initial reactions of committee members as he spoke about the proposed I Love New York sign, which would showcase the logo with a semi-transparent background and backlighting.

The goal of the selfie sign is to attract visitors to Genesee County and draw tourists to the Visitor Center once they stop for a photo opportunity next to the sign. Similar selfie signs are currently featured at popular destinations like the Finger Lakes and the Adirondacks.

“We think this will be a big hit for people … People are into taking pictures at places like that. We hope it will attract people to come inside our visitor center,” Turnbull said.

The chamber worked with Batavia-based companies like smartDESIGN Architecture and John’s Studio in the engineering and design processes.

The price includes design, construction and installation costs.

The bed tax revenue that would pay for it comes from a 5-percent administrative fee that is added to the price of a hotel room in Genesee County and collected annually by the county Treasurer’s Office.

Each year, bed tax revenue is capped at $420,000, and surplus funds are placed in a reserve.

The expected surplus total for 2019 is approximately $100,000, and $47,000 for the proposed sign would come from this surplus.

“The money is there," Turnbull said. "It’s dedicated for tourism, and we think this is a good use of some of that money. We can spruce up our property a little bit more and attract even more tourism to Genesee County.”

Legislators Andrew Young and Shelly Stein opined that $47,000 is a high price for this potential investment. Stein questioned the life expectancy of both the selfie-sign trend and the durability of the design in winter weather.

Turnbull said he is confident that the sign and its popularity will last well into the future.

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said that the sign would most likely see a good amount of traffic in that area due to hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and Batavia Downs casino.

“I think we’ve got the funds," Clattenburg said to Turnbull. "And if your board is saying that this is something that is advantageous and you’ll see results from it, then I would support it."

The Chamber of Commerce received tentative permission from NYS Empire State Development to use its trademark logo. Approval of the project can occur once a finalized design has been agreed upon by the chamber and the legislature.

Now the chamber has a better sense of the legislators' thoughts on the project before it drafts a resolution asking for a portion of bed tax money to pay for it.

June 20, 2019 - 5:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Le Roy, scanner, crime.

Le Roy police are responding to 14 Summit St. for a criminal mischief complaint. A man called dispatch to report a group of juveniles "outside his house breaking glass bottles on the tennis courts."

June 20, 2019 - 4:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in notre dame high school, batavia, news, education.

Press release:

Notre Dame High School is pleased to announce that they have several new hires that will be joining the Fightin’ Irish family over the summer. These individuals have been added in the following departments:

Art Department: Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith has a passion for motivating students to explore their creative talent, while guiding them with lessons that allow them to express their thoughts and ideas in a safe, instructive environment. She has a bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Buffalo State College and comes to Notre Dame after teaching in several local school districts, including Oakfield, Elba, Akron and Alden. She has served as a long-term substitute for Art this year and we are so excited to have her here permanently -- Welcome Kristin!

English Department: Sarah Wessel

Sarah Wessel brings vast experience in many aspects of education and communication to the English Department of Notre Dame High School. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and English Language Arts from the University of Phoenix and has worked as an adjunct professor for Onondaga Community College and Monroe Community College. We are so excited for her addition to our English Department -- Welcome Sarah!

Advancement: Kathy Antinore

Kathy Antinore brings a unique passion to her work at Notre Dame, as her sons are graduates of the school. She will be stepping into the role of event coordinator and comes to Notre Dame with extensive experience in marketing, customer service, and management. She previously served as the Advancement Coordinator at Notre Dame and we are excited to have her back – Welcome Kathy!

Advancement: Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards has a true passion for the students and alumni of Notre Dame. She counts her son and daughter as graduates of the school, holds a master’s degree in Reading/Language Arts and has worked extensively with Notre Dame as a substitute teacher and DECA advisor. She will be stepping into the role of part-time director of advancement and we are so excited to have her in this unique role – Welcome Kate!

June 20, 2019 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, muckdogs, video, sports, news, baseball.
Video Sponsor

The Batavia Muckdogs finished a rain-delayed game against the Auburn Doubledays and then the two teams played a seven-inning game.

Batavia won the first game with timely hitting from Igor Baez, a two-out homer in the ninth, Dalvy Rosario and a game-winning single by Albert Guaimaro.

They lost the nightcap 5-0, moving the Batavia record to 3-3 on the season and giving Auburn its first win of the season.

After the game, we spoke with Milton Smith Jr., who grew up in Laurel, Miss., a small city of 18,000. He said being in Batavia feels like home. A 22nd-round draft choice in 2018 out of Merdian Community College, Smith hit .362 in his first professional season and is off to a .467 start with Batavia.

June 20, 2019 - 2:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in BHS Drama Club, musicals, Fire & Ice, Aladdin, Frozen, The Lion King.

The Batavia High School Drama Club presents "Ice & Fire" in the multipurpose room at Jackson Primary School at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 22.

This showcase concert will feature music from the animated Disney musicals "Aladdin," "Frozen," and "The Lion King."

Free-will donations will be collected at the door.

Jackson School is located at 411 S. Jackson St. in the City of Batavia.

June 20, 2019 - 2:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia, Stafford.

Angel Ivan Carrasquillo, 43, of Lake Avenue, Rochester is charged with: third-degree burglary; third-degree criminal mischief; attempted grand larceny in the fourth degree; and petit larceny. Following an investigation into a burglary that occurred on Clinton Street Road in the Town of Stafford at 2:27 a.m. on May 2, Carrasquillo was arrested and arraigned in Batavia Town Court. He is currently being held in Genesee County Jail on a separate matter. The case was investigated by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Forsyth, assisted by Deputy Andrew Mullen. Also assisting were Sgt. John Baiocco, investigators Chris Parker and Chad Minuto, and members of the NYS Police.

Jay W. Schafer, 26, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a firearm. He was arrested at 2:15 a.m. on June 19 after an incident at his residence. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed in lieu of $1,500 cash bail or $3,000 bond. He is due back in city court at a later date. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Jason Davis.

Brandon L. Lucas, 35, of Manhatten Square, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree and unlawful possession of marijuana. Lucas was arrested at 6:58 p.m. June 18 on Main Street following a traffic stop. He was found to be driving while his driver's license was suspended. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or bond. He was due to return to city court on June 19. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer James DeFreze.

June 20, 2019 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, Batavia 24U Baseball Team, batavia.

From Dan McComb:

The Batavia 24U Baseball Team beat North Buffalo in a rematch Tuesday 11-1 to remain unbeaten at 4-0.

Batavia trailed 1-0 going into the bottom of the third, but erupted for 10 runs.

With the bases loaded and one out, Casey Radka laid down a bunt which was mishandled by the pitcher who threw wildly, scoring three runs.

With the bases loaded and four runs in already, AJ Marcello drilled a two-run single to make it 6-0.

Josh Baptiste followed with a single to make it 7-0, and Josh Bradley and Tristan Aldinger also delivered RBI hits.

Every batter for Batavia scored a run in that decisive third inning.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Zeke Lynn drew a walk and Luke McComb singled. Baptiste followed with an RBI single to place the 11thrun.

The game was stopped after four and a half innings due to the 10-run rule.

Zeke Lynn started on the mound and went three innings, allowing one run.

Radka relieved in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and escaped without allowing a run.

Jerry Reinhardt took over in the fifth inning and had a 1-2-3 inning.

Batavia’s next game is at home against Lockport at 6 p.m. this Sunday, June 23, at Genesee Community College.

Lockport had the best regular season record last year.

June 20, 2019 - 1:46pm

Press release:

Join the Genesee County Parks along with the Oakfield-Alabama Lions Club and try out fishing at DeWitt Recreation Area from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 29th.

Kids up to age 16 can join the fun and get the chance to win a prize with the Kendra Haacke Memorial Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Oakfield-Alabama Lions Club. Prize includes fishing gear donated by Cabela’s of Cheektowaga.

No fishing license required, this is part of the NYSDEC’s Free Fishing Weekend. Perfect for beginners!

Program meets at Pavilion 3. Friendly guides will be on hand to assist you.

Fishing gear provided or bring your own. Bait provided through a generous donation by Walmart of Batavia.

Call 585-344-1122 register or walk-ins also welcome.

For more information visit the parks' website here, or contact Shannon Lyaski at [email protected] or (585) 344-1122.

June 20, 2019 - 1:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, news, Stafford.

A two-car accident is reported at 5449 Clinton Street Road, Stafford. It is blocking traffic. One vehicle's OnStar alert system reports no injuries in that vehicle.

Law enforcement is on scene. Stafford Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics.

The location is between Horseshoe Lake Road and Prole Road Extension.

UPDATE 1:35 p.m.: Fire police are asked to shut down eastbound traffic at Route 33 (Clinton Street Road) and Batavia-Stafford Town Line Road.

June 20, 2019 - 1:06pm

bennett.jpgRebuffed by the City of Batavia, the leader of Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse is “moving in a different direction” to find a location for an activities gathering place for recovering addicts.

GCASA Executive Director John Bennett said today that he is looking at sites in the Town of Batavia, specifically mentioning the former Bohn’s Restaurant on Clinton Street Road, to house what he calls a “recovery recreation center.”

“It would be a place where those dealing with drug and alcohol addiction would receive support through social, recreational, fitness and sober living activities by connecting with peers, friends and family who both accept them and understand their situation,” Bennett said. “It all fits in with our pledge to try and save lives.”

GCASA’s attempt to place the recovery center in the former North Pole Restaurant (prior to that, the St. Nicholas Social Club) at 241-243 South Swan St. was met with strong opposition last month, both from City Council members and people living in that neighborhood.

Subsequently, City officials sent a letter to Bennett stating that since the area is zoned R-2 Residential, it would not be a good fit for the recovery center.

Bennett said GCASA has decided against any further action involving the City, other than asking City Manager Martin Moore if he could find another use for the building or help the agency find a buyer.

“We had to buy the building – there is no 'out clause' – so we’re hoping that it could be used for something else, maybe for teens,” said Bennett, noting that the Swan Street property does have variances for philanthropic and restaurant uses.

Contacted by phone today, Moore said that he will be talking to members of his staff, primarily those involved with economic development, about the use and/or sale of the building, but had “nothing definitive” to report at this time.

With South Swan Street out of the picture, Bennett has turned to the Town of Batavia. He said he met with the Town Board on Wednesday, and came away encouraged -- looking forward to getting something done sooner rather than later.

“The Town Board was amazing; very insightful and kind, and displayed an understanding of addiction,” Bennett said.

He said that he has looked at a couple commercial sites and the industrial park (in the Town). The former Bohn’s Restaurant is zoned Commercial, a plus for this type of project.

A sign on the wall has the selling price at $250,000, but GCASA has not put in an offer yet, Bennett said, adding that the agency’s goal is to purchase a building.

Bennett provided this reporter with a flier listing examples of events and activities at the proposed recovery center.

They include community cleanup and community garden projects; fitness activities (yoga, hikes, runs, biking, basketball, martial arts); art classes; peer support; cooking and nutrition classes; mutual aid and self-help meetings; games and live music, and special events during holidays.

“We have set up a CRPA (Certified Recovery Peer Advocate) program through the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and currently have 18 of them trained (to assist recovering addicts),” he said. “We also have relationships with hospitals in both counties and with the jails through the PAARI program (Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative).”

Statistics offered by Bennett show that Genesee County has one of the highest opioid overdose rates in the state and is high on the list of deaths due to drug/alcohol abuse with 34 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.

OASAS extended a grant to GCASA for the recovery center, and is working with the local agency to push back the deadline, which originally was set at July 1, Bennett said.

While disappointed in the City’s stance regarding the South Swan Street location, Bennett said he's more upset by comments made by some residents about those afflicted with serious alcohol and drug problems.

“The unfortunate thing is how they painted a picture of people in recovery … things like they will lower our property values and we won’t be able to let our children out,” he said. “These are people like you and I. Some of my closest friends are in long-term recovery and they’re great people.

“Since then, I have received a lot of phone calls from people in recovery on the Southside – and they want their neighbors, who aren’t aware of their situations, to know they are good people.”

Photo: John Bennett, GCASA executive director

June 20, 2019 - 12:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, scanner, batavia, animal rescue, snapping turtle.

A friend of turtles removed a large snapping turtle from the roadway on River Street. An officer confirmed this for dispatch and the animal control officer was informed.

Don't know the location on River that the turtle was found.

June 20, 2019 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment.
Video Sponsor

The Batavian Sessions: "A" Blues Band, Foolish Child

June 20, 2019 - 7:42am
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, elba, news.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported in Elba at 6447 Oak Orchard Road. Unknown injuries. The vehicle came to rest on its side.

Elba Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding. A deputy just arrived on scene.

UPDATE 7:43 a.m.: There are two occupants, neither is injured.

UPDATE 7:54 a.m.: The vehicle is large and there are some fluids leaking. Fire police are shutting Oak Orchard Road down at North Byron/Lockport Road and at Watson Road.

UPDATE 9:12 a.m.: The road is reopened. All units back in service.

June 19, 2019 - 3:38pm

A Statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) on passage of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act:

“As the former owner and operator of our family farm for decades, I know these new mandates will devastate New York’s family farms and disrupt the industry beyond repair – an industry that generates $4.8 billion in annual revenue. 

“Agriculture is a unique industry where production and success are contingent upon steady and reliable labor, and implementing more handcuffs on our farm owners and restricting the availability of that labor while increasing its costs will be devastating. 

“Furthermore, mandating time-and-a-half overtime pay for any hours over 60 in a week is just not practical. Our farmers are constantly fighting flooding, drought and unpredictable weather patterns that often require unpredictable work hours, which is ultimately necessary to achieve success in the business. 

“What’s more troubling is the establishment of a new board, headed by big-labor special interests, to further examine farm labor. The board wrongly excludes the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets and will undoubtedly heap mandate upon mandate and cost upon cost upon our family farms. We need to leave this industry alone and allow the farmers themselves, many of whom have been perfecting their craft for generations, to run their businesses as they see fit without government intrusion. 

“New York City lawmakers have been behind this legislation from the beginning. Shocking, considering there are virtually no family farms in New York City. It’s an authoritarian overreach to dictate one of Upstate’s cornerstone industries from the towers and skyscrapers of the big city – another reason we need to consider my ‘Two New Yorks’ legislation. 

“I voted no on these big government farm mandates and will always stand with the tried and true producers of Western New York before Downstate lawmakers.”

June 19, 2019 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Stingers, softball, batavia, video.
Video Sponsor

In a 12U girls fastpitch softball game played at Kibbe Park on Tuesday, a team comprised of players from Batavia, Le Roy, and Elba, beat a team comprised of players from Alexander, Lyndonville, Perry 10-9.

Katie Landers had three hits, three RBIs, and scored two runs for the Batavia team.

Loretta Sorochty allowed two runs and four hits over three innings. She had seven Ks.

Karissa Kendall gave up one run and one hit over two innings.

Emily Pietrzykowski, of Alexander, had two hits.

June 19, 2019 - 2:24pm

From left, Bill Hayes, Jon Bigsby, Rich Monroe and in back, Nathan Blowers, Turnbull Operations manager, all gather as Jon accepts Hayes’ offer to enter into Turnbull’s apprentice program.

Submitted photo and press release:

In the school world, June is a time for graduations, celebrations and awards ceremonies. This holds true for Jon Bigsby as June holds special meaning for him; he was offered full-time employment with Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning.

Jon is a recent graduate of the Building Trades Program at the Batavia Career and Technical (CTE) Education Center. He is set to graduate from Alexander High School on June 27.

His decision to seek employment after high school graduation was easy.

“I like working with my hands and I feel that this is a good choice for me to enter the workforce. I’m honored to be working with Turnbull,” Jon said.

Bill Hayes is the owner of Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning. In the past, Hayes has hired almost 10 students from the Batavia CTE Center’s Building Trades Program.

“I know that these students have the foundational skills necessary to enter into our training program," Haynes said. "I need skilled workers. The instructors in the Building Trades Program teach the students the importance of quality workmanship and that’s important to me."

Last summer, Jon worked for Turnbull and his work ethic was noticed.

“He listens, is disciplined, he works hard,” Hayes said.

After graduation, Jon will be enrolled in the Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning 12-month certified apprentice program.

“He’ll learn how to thread pipe to actually doing installations and service calls. He’ll be working in the shop and in the field,” Hayes said.

Rich Monroe is one of the Building Trades Instructors at the Batavia CTE Center. He echoed Hayes thoughts about Jon.

“Jon meets the standards that Turnbull expects," Monroe said. "He is a hands-on learner and he will be embraced here at Turnbull. Jon fits the mold and I know the people here at Turnbull will give him every opportunity to be the best mechanic."

About Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning

It is a Batavia-based HVAC contractor that offers residential and commercial heating, air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration service, installations, and scheduled maintenance programs.

About the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

It is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (The Partnership). The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.




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