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August 22, 2019 - 1:44pm

Submitted photo: Mary Tuttle celebrates her 95th birthday at a luncheon at Fortune's restaurant at Batavia Downs.

When Frances Ford was preparing to celebrate her 100th birthday several years ago, her wish was to have lunch at Fortune’s at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel.

Her celebration started a tradition which the Office for the Aging continues today.

Each summer for the past four or five years, one or more members of the Senior Center’s Quilters have celebrated a milestone birthday at Fortune’s.

Because Ford was going to be 100, Barbara Matarazzo, receptionist at the Senior Center, arranged for her to be transported to lunch in a Mustang convertible. This was repeated for her 101st.

“Unfortunately, Frances never saw 102,” Matarazzo said. “After that, we began celebrating the birthdays of seniors who were 90-plus. That included Mary Tuttle and Madeline Harding. We planned to celebrate Madeline’s 91st birthday in July, but she passed away just a few weeks before her birthday.”

The latest lunch celebrated the 95th birthday of Mary Tuttle. Harding’s family also attended the luncheon and her name was included on the birthday cake, with a sign made by Mary Bucceri, group sales manager at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel. 

“I know in spirit, Madeline was part of the celebration,” Bucceri said. 

Batavia Downs' Fortune's has always been the Quilters and the birthday celebrities first choice in where they wanted to go and celebrate, Matarazzo said. 

“I can honestly say that working with Batavia Downs has been a privilege, especially with Mary Bucceri, who is always my contact person,” Matarazzo said. “Between Mary and the Batavia Downs staff, they make the birthday celebrations a memory for all of us.”

“I think the most important part of my job is knowing I’ve made someone’s day extra special,” Bucceri said. “When I hosted Frances Ford’s 100th birthday in 2016, I learned so much about her lifestyle that day, it was totally amazing.”

August 22, 2019 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, baseball, muckdogs, batavia.

Photo: Batavia's all-stars, from left, J.D. Orr, Milton Smith II, Nic Ready, Josh Simpson, Troy Johnston, Brock Love and Julio Frias. Batavia's team won Wednesday, 7-3.

Submitted photos and press release:

Thanks to a rain delay, seven members of the Batavia Muckdogs may be a little tired tonight as the Muckdogs host State College (Pa.) in a six-game series that could decide the playoffs.

The players were in the New York-Penn League All-Star game Wednesday night and tonight Batavia plays at Dwyer Stadium at 7:05.

Batavia (35-29) and West Virginia (34-28) are tied at the top of the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division with tonight's opponent, West Virginia, in third place, two games back at 33-31.

The games Thursday, Friday and Saturday are at 7:05 p.m. On Sunday at 5:05 p.m. starts the series with Williamsport. The two teams play at 7:05 p.m. on Monday and 11:05 a.m. on Tuesday.

There are ticket and food and drink specials along with other promotions each game.

Wednesday night at the NYPL All-Star Game in Staten Island, Batavia's J.D. Orr and Milton Smith II put the game away early with their hitting, defense and speed.

Orr started the game with a sharp single, then went to second when a pitch just got past a catcher. He scored on a basest for a 1-0 lead for the Blue team.

Milton Smith II doubled in the second then with two outs had a head-first slide to score on a single. He also made a catch by the wall in left field to preserve the shutout.

Julio Frias threw a scoreless inning, Josh Simpson was perfect with a strikeout in his outing, earning a hold, as did Brock Love as the Blue team won, 7-3.

Nic Ready and Troy Johnston also played in the game and Ready hit two home runs in the first round of the home run derby pre-game tying him for first place. The rain stopped the derby and delayed the start of the Hall of Fame ceremony.

During the Hall of Fame Ceremony, the late Gene Baker, a former Batavia manager went in the hall. New York-Penn League President Ben Hayes talked about Baker and a video tribute was played in his honor.

Former Oneonta and New York Yankee Bernie Williams also went in the hall with Staten Island's Jane Rogers and the late Josiah Viera.

Tickets are available at muckdogs.com or stop by the Dwyer Stadium Ticket office between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week. The number is 585-483-3647.

Above photo: Batavia all-star Troy Johnston is joined by his father, David, and fiancee, Haleigh, at the game in Staten Island Wednesday.

Above photo: J.D. Orr and Troy Johnston share a laugh in the dugout as Milton Smith II looks at the rain clouds coming in before the all-star game Wednesday in Staten Island.

August 22, 2019 - 12:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in road closures, infrastructure, batavia, New, Union Street.

From the City Of Batavia Department of Public Works:


On today, Aug. 22nd through Friday, Sept. 13th, Union Street in the City of Batavia will be closed to all through traffic.

The closures will be between West Main Street and Richmond Avenue and Richmond Avenue and Oak Street. The closure is for construction activities associated with water main replacement, sidewalk installation and paving.

All motorists who regularly use Union Street are asked to seek alternative routes while the closure is in place.

Emergency response and residents of Union Street and Union Square will be permitted within the closure for ingress and egress to properties. Caution is advised.

Contact the Bureau of Maintenance and ask to speak to the Superintendent at 585-345-6400, opt. 1, if you have any questions.

August 22, 2019 - 12:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, harness racing, Batavia Downs.

By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 23) at 6 p.m., the track will feature a $35,000 guaranteed pool on the early Pick-5 wager that runs from race one to race five.

It is part of the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and as such, free program pages are available for those races on the USTA website or by clicking here for a direct download.

The actual carry-over is $14,913 and the $35,000 guaranteed pool is the largest in the history of Batavia Downs

And to make it even more interesting, the fifth race of the Pick-5 is a $118,800 leg of the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies that has Quincy Blue Chip and Winndevie facing off against each other once again.

August 22, 2019 - 12:15pm

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum will be hosting its Seventh Annual Senior Bus Trip on Wednesday, Sept. 18th. This year's trip will be traveling to the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora.

The trip will include a two-hour tour of the campus, going through many of the buildings not always open to the general public.

After the tour we will be eating lunch at the beautiful Roycroft Inn, with a choice of entrees: lemon rosemary chicken, garden penne, or salmon.

There will also be time afterward for exploring of Downtown East Aurora, where everyone can enjoy the wonderful shopping opportunities including the famous Vidler’s 5 & 10. It bills itself as the "largest 5 & 10 cent variety store in the world" -- over 75,000 items spread through four buildings on two floors.

The bus will be leaving at 9 a.m. from the museum and returning at 5 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person ($55 for HLOM museum members). Must be 60 years of age or older to purchase tickets for this event.

For more information please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected].

The event is made possible by the Muriel H. Marshall Fund.

August 22, 2019 - 12:06pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) is pushing the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R. 4194), bipartisan legislation which designates “9-8-8” as the universal telephone number for the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.

This system currently operates through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Veterans' Crisis Line. Congressman Collins is an original cosponsor of the legislation in the House.

“When experiencing an emergency, everyone knows to dial 9-1-1, but now those dealing with a mental health crisis will have an easy to remember number that will provide them with the help they need,” Congressman Collins said.

“This legislation is crucial in saving the lives of Americans all over the United States and end the stigma surrounding mental health.”

This legislation authorizes states to collect a fee limited to supporting local crisis centers that are affiliated within the national network area that funds the suicide hotline services similar to that of existing emergency services.

Also this legislation will set a deadline of one year for the FCC to complete the nationwide upgrade to ensure all lines have access to 9-8-8.

August 22, 2019 - 11:51am
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, East Pembroke Fire District.


East Pembroke Fire District Workshop Meeting

Please take notice that a Workshop Meeting will be conducted by the East Pembroke Fire District from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28th.

It will be held at the East Pembroke Fire District Hall, located at 8655 Barrett Drive, Batavia.

Purpose of the Workshop Meeting is to discuss the 2020 Fire District Budget.

August 22, 2019 - 11:33am

Photo and information from reader Wyatt Gaus:

This Friday (Aug. 23), Wyatt Gaus (who's wearing the sash in the photo with all the badges on it), will hold a can and bottle drive at 11 a.m. to benefit the community.

The event is part of Wyatt's Eagle Scout project and he plans to use money raised to refurbish fire hydrants in the Town of Batavia.

They will start behind Denny's restaurant on Bogue Avenue in the City of Batavia; citizens are welcome to drop off cans or bottles at that location. Someone will be there to accept drop-offs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow.

He and fellow Boy Scouts will canvass Bogue Avenue, Redfield Parkway, then walk over to North Lyon Street. Depending on how much time they have and how many cans and bottles they collect, they may go on Prospect Avenue, too.

August 22, 2019 - 6:23am

Over the years, Town of Batavia leaders have overseen significant economic development in their municipality and, with that, have had to add professional staff to handle all of the negotiations, inspections, engineering studies and paperwork that comes with it.

On Wednesday night, the Town Board -- realizing that its employees are in need of more space to perform their jobs in a most efficient manner -- voted to contract with a Batavia design firm to provide a floor plan and elevations for a building that would connect Town Hall to the adjacent Town Highway garage at 3833 W. Main Street Road.

“We’ve been looking at this since 2012; even back then we knew we were short of space,” said Town Supervisor Gregory Post following the meeting. “We have three times the staff that we had when the building was constructed (2001-2002) … and now we’re left with a situation where seven employees are working in a room not much bigger than my living room.”

Post said he is expecting to receive renderings from Design & Drafting by Gina LLC, of Seven Springs Road as part of the contract, which calls for the town to pay the firm $60 per hour up to a maximum of $2,500.

He explained that the current building was supposed to have a full basement – which didn’t happen – and “lost 50 percent of its anticipated floor space during construction.”

“This is turning out to be a different concept than originally thought of (a freestanding addition), but we realized that our efficiencies could be enhanced by connecting Town Hall with the highway garage,” he said. “We will save in energy costs and create new office space within the connecting building.”

In other action, the board:

-- Set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at Town Hall to consider the establishment and construction of a proposed Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park Sewer Improvement Area on East Main Street Road and the vicinity.

Post said that if the sewer improvement area comes to pass, rates would be established fairly by usage, with businesses in the Agri-Business Park (such as HP Hood and Upstate Milk) along with residents within its boundaries sharing in the costs.

The resolution states that the engineering firm of Clark Patterson Lee has already prepared a preliminary map, plan and report for the project, which calls for the installation of larger sanitary sewer pumps, electrical upgrades, installation of a new generator and other improvements.

The Town plans to pay the $400,000 project cost by the issuance of serial bonds -- offset by any federal, state, county and/or local funds received.

-- Voted to pay an additional $37,626 to Keeler Construction for unanticipated work during the construction of a new pedestrian bridge over the Tonawanda Creek as part of the Ellicott Trail Project.

According to the resolution, it was discovered that driving steel piles for the bridge abutment would have required temporary relocation of the overhead electric lines at an estimated cost of approximately $90,000, according to National Grid.

Keeler, to avoid this charge, revised the design to allow the use of drilled king piles to support the bridge at the reduced cost.

Post said work continues on Ellicott Trail, which is expected to open by the end of October.

-- Reappointed Rhonda Saulsbury as the Town Assessor for another six-year term, beginning Oct. 1 and ending Sept. 30, 2025.

August 21, 2019 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, batavia.

A two-vehicle accident is reported at Oak Street and Richmond Avenue in the city. No injuries. It is blocking traffic. City PD and fire responding.

August 21, 2019 - 4:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in infrastructure, news, batavia, road closures.

From City of Batavia Department of Public Works:

On Thursday, Aug. 22, the water will be turned off on Walnut Street from number 101 to the city line and all of Law Street starting at 8 a.m. for a water line repair.

The work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

August 21, 2019 - 4:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, Le Roy, notify.

From the Le Roy Police Department:

The Le Roy Police Department is requesting the public’s assistance in determining who was involved in a hit-and-run property damage auto accident, which occurred on Lake Street in the Village of Le Roy sometime between 10:30 last night and 9 o'clock this morning.   

From the evidence left at the scene, the suspect vehicle appears to be a 2015-2018 year Mitsubishi Lancer, probably in an off-white or eggshell color, and it possibly has passenger side damage with the passenger mirror torn off. There may also be black paint transfer on the passenger side of the suspect vehicle.

It was reported that the victim’s vehicle was parked unoccupied on the west side of the roadway, facing south, in front of 99 Lake St. when the suspect vehicle, apparently driving southbound, swerved too far the right, striking the victim’s vehicle and then left the scene. 

If you have any information as to the suspect vehicle, please contact Detective John Condidorio at the Le Roy Police Department 768-2527, ext. 2219.

August 21, 2019 - 2:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in animal abuse, animal rescue, batavia, news, scanner.

An animal control officer for Batavia Police Departmart is called to the parking lot by the UMMC Emergency Room for a dog showing signs of heat stress.

An EMS technician removed the dog from the vehicle after finding it locked inside. The rescuer is out with the canine awaiting the officer's arrival.

According to the National Weather Service, it's mostly sunny and 79 degrees in Batavia.

August 21, 2019 - 1:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in TeeSean Ayala, crime, news, batavia, notify.

File photo. Story by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

TeeSean Ayala, 20, of Batavia, was sentenced this morning in Genesee County Court to five years in prison and five years post-release supervision.​ Ayala will also pay $9,987.98 in restitution to his victims.

Orders of Protection were issued for the families affected and Ayala is not allowed to possess any guns.​

In May, Ayala pled guilty to one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, a plea which satisfies seven other residential burglary charges, one dating back to 2015.​

The weapons charge is a class C violent felony; Ayala faced three to 15 years in prison.​

Ayala's attorney, Richard Shaw, told the court that Ayala has been bounced around between his mom and dad and has had a tough upbringing. He has an older brother in prison and has a drug issue now after taking a year off after graduating from high school.

He once had a basketball scholarship to the University of Buffalo.​

"He wants to be a positive role model, he made poor decisions based on his older brother. He has no prior convictions," says Shaw.​

Before sentencing, Ayala thanked Judge Charles Zambito for the chance to see his baby being born and then apologized to the families that were affected in the burglaries.​

"I'm sorry and I apologize to the families I have hurt, I take responsibilty for my actions," Ayala said.​ "I know this looks bad, but I'm not a bad kid and I apologize for going through all this.

"Being in jail the last nine months, it has been hard for me, I just want to be with my son. Whatever you give me, you are not going to be dissappointed, I want to be a good member of the community."​

On Nov. 15, Ayala turned into a driveway on Washington Avenue, which coincidentally was the County Manager's residence, and according to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol was thrown from the vehicle.

Ayala was in possession of a stolen handgun that had a defaced serial number in the vehicle during the traffic stop. His 14-year-old brother was in the vehicle at the time.​

He was later charged in a series of burglaries that occurred in the towns of Batavia and Stafford last fall.

After reading the victim's statements they expressed concern, Zambito told Ayala that "they expressed concern for their sense of security, but the worst part is, it was you and they trusted you."​

"You had plenty of opportunities," Zambito reminded the young man. "You were placed on probation, people and schools have tried to help you, you had a great opportunity going to UB and playing basketball and getting an education, that didn't happen and I don't know why."

In an Aug. 1st court appearance, the judge allowed Ayala to go home to be around for the birth of his child in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors.

Ayala has been an inmate at the Genesee County Jail since his arrest last November.

After sentencing, Ayala kissed his fiancée and their newly born baby goodbye. After hugging his mom, he was taken into custody by court deputies.

Judge Zambito wished him luck as he exited the courtroom.​

August 21, 2019 - 12:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in pratt road bridge, pembroke, news.

Here's a photo sent in by reader Chris Drew of the new Pratt Road Bridge over Tonawanda Creek in Pembroke.

August 21, 2019 - 11:48am


With much to be done before next week’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house, Tuesday was not the time for a photo shoot of the soon-to-be-ready Liberty Center for Youth at the corner of Liberty Street and Central Avenue.

But it was an appropriate time for the major players in the project – Jocelyn Sikorski, Jeff Townsend and Rachel Hale – to give this reporter an inside look at what kids can expect when school begins on Sept. 4.

“We’re about 40 to 50 percent done (with the extensive renovations),” said Sikorski, executive director of the City of Batavia Youth Bureau, admitting to being somewhat weary from taking part in the move from the old youth bureau building on MacArthur Drive.

Sikorski also shared her excitement as the partnership between the City of Batavia and the Genesee Area Family YMCA (which evolved under the working title of Teen City) is ready to bear fruit at the former St. Anthony’s School, property which is owned by City Church.

“We’re really pleased with the way things are going,” she said. “This is going to be great for the kids.”

She was joined on the tour by Townsend, district executive director of the GLOW YMCA Inc., and Rachel Hale, the YMCA’s community development director.

The Liberty Center for Youth has a lot to offer for students from the ages of 9-16. Hours will be 2:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year and 1 to 6 p.m. during the summer.

The first floor will feature a tech center, video gaming room, four square room, table game room, boys and girls bathrooms, and cafeteria -- with stairs to the second floor located on both sides of the cafeteria.

A lift (elevator) also has been added per the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is located in an area that used to be the school’s kitchen.

Other ADA-required modifications include the placement of 28 security cameras inside and outside, and new doors and a ramp on the Central Avenue side of the building.

-- The tech center (25-foot by 20-foot) will offer 10 computer stations – five of them donated by Marchese Computer Products – along with tables for work space in what used to be the St. Anthony’s School library.

A smart board will be attached to one of the walls and computer tablets will be available for use by students. The room also will support activities such as job/life skills seminars and is designed for youth to interact on a 1:1 basis with staff or to work quietly in small groups.

-- The cafeteria (70x60) has been completely gutted and renovated, and is equipped with round tables and chairs. It will function as a room for arts & crafts, board games and team building and where kids can have their snacks.

“You can call this the ‘Blue Room’,” Sikorski said, noting the couple shades of blue paint on the wall.

This is where all the children will reconvene at the end of each day, around 5:30 p.m., to make sure everyone is accounted for during cleanup time, Sikorski said.

-- The video gaming room (12x20) and four square room (20x20) are located behind the south wall of the cafeteria and provide further entertainment.

A flat screen TV and gaming systems will be available on a rotating basis for a predetermined amount of time, with the equipment under lock and key.

The four square room is ready to go, with the rules prominently displayed on one of the walls.

-- The carpeted table game room (20x27) is across the hall from the cafeteria. It will offer pool, ping-pong, air hockey, foosball and more.

The second floor holds the check-in station and a large gymnasium (basketball court) that can be used for volleyball, floor hockey and other group activities.

Hale, who during an internship donated hundreds of hours writing grants and setting up the curriculum, said the youth center received an abundance of sports equipment and games through the Ralph Wilson Legacy Fund and the Rochester Community Health Foundation.

Students will enter through the main doors on the Liberty Street side of the building and immediately be “checked-in” at the window of a small office, which also can be used for one-on-one discussion, parental meetings and as a space for those with additional social needs.

After check-in, kids go directly into the gymnasium and from there can go downstairs if they wish.

The Liberty Center for Youth project has been the beneficiary of numerous grants, led by a $100,000 pledge from the Genesee United Way. The City and YMCA have entered into a lease agreement with owner City Church.

Hale said the success of the joint venture is a proud achievement for the community.

“It’s encouraging to watch these two entities come together … to create that space for individuals,” she said. “I’m very excited to see what will become of this new youth center.”

In preparation for its opening, the Liberty Center for Youth staff has participated in team-building exercises and will undergo CPR and first-aid training, sensitivity training and child abuse indicator training, Sikorski said.

Both Sikorski and Townsend will address the public at the ribbon-cutting ceremony from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, and will be there later that day (5 to 6:30 p.m.) to greet parents and grandparents at an open house.

Photo at top -- Ready to greet students at the check-in window of the Liberty Center for Youth (former St. Anthony's School) are these friendly faces -- Rachel Hale, left; Jeff Townsend and Jocelyn Sikorski. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

August 21, 2019 - 10:40am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, Electronics Collection.

Press release:

Don’t miss out! Spots for the GLOW’s 2019 Household Hazardous/Pharmaceutical Waste Collection Event are going fast. Residents who want to dispose of materials at the Saturday, Sept. 14 collection in Batavia must have an appointment in order to attend.

GLOW accepts a wide range of household chemicals, oil-base paint, propane tanks and canisters, vehicle batteries and other materials. For the ninth year, thanks to the assistance of the Genesee County Sheriff’s office, pharmaceuticals (unwanted, outdated, unusable and over-the-counter medicines) will be accepted. These materials are accepted FREE OF CHARGE.

There is a $5 charge for tires.

Funding is provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), GLOW’s County contributions and Covanta Energy.

Instead of accepting electronics at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection, as GLOW did for many years, for the second year in a row GLOW will hold a separate Electronics Collection one week later on Sept. 21, also in  Batavia, also by appointment. It will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Due to the cost of electronics disposal there will be a limit of four CRT (tube type) TVs and/or monitors. As long as it is from a household there is no limit on other electronic equipment. Contact the GLOW office for a complete list of acceptable items.

This is a great opportunity for residents to dispose of household chemicals and medicines they no longer want or need.

Past collections have resulted in the safe and legal disposal of thousands of tires, thousands of gallons of solvents, cleaning products and paint, not to mention vehicle batteries, propane tanks and computers.

Whenever possible materials collected are recycled.

The collections are open to residents in Genesee, Livingston and Wyoming counties. To make an appointment residents are asked to call the GLOW office at 585/815-7906 or 800/836-1154. Or email [email protected]

August 21, 2019 - 10:20am
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, equestrian, horseback riding, dressage, 4H, NYS Fair.

Photo and rider information submitted by reader Nancy Ewert.

SYRACUSE -- Katherine Ewert, 13, of Batavia, and her horse Seamus won Grand Champion for the Dressage Young Rider Division for both Training and First Level on Sunday at the New York State Fair.

This was a United States Dressage Federation Schooling Show.

Katherine has been competing in dressage for three years through Genesee County 4-H, two of them at the state level. Last year, she was Reserve Grand Champion in dressage at the NYS Fair.

The middle-schooler has been riding horses since age 10.

About Dressage

The word "dressage" is French, commonly translated to mean "training." It is a highly skilled form of horseback riding performed in exhibition and competition, as well as an "art" sometimes pursued solely for the sake of mastery. In dressage, horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.

At its best, the horse responds smoothly to a skilled rider's minimal aids. The rider is relaxed and appears effort-free while the horse willingly performs the requested movement.

Rules for it were first published in 1550 by Frederico Grisone, a thousand year after the first treatise "On Horsemanship" by Xenophone.

In modern dressage competition, successful training at the various levels is demonstrated through the performance of "tests" -- a prescribed series of movements ridden within a standard arena. Judges evaluate each movement on the basis of an objective standard appropriate to the level of the test and assign each movement a score from zero to 10.

To learn more about dressage, click here.


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