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June 14, 2022 - 8:15am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, city council, batavia, animals, code enforcement, notify.

Chickens in your backyard. Goats in the front. And donkeys? Who knows where they are.

Pretty much every living creature made it into City Council’s discussion about a restriction on certain animals and fowl during the group’s Monday meeting.

A proposed local law stems from a council meeting in January, and a request to research potential restrictions on animals and fowl in the city. Apparently some types of these creatures — chickens and goats in particular — have raised a bit of a ruckus in their neighborhoods.

“One of the issues that recently came up was, one of our neighbors has goats … and they're literally running around our neighborhood. They’ve been able to escape a number of times and might go across the street,” Councilman John Canale said during the meeting at City Hall. “Now, any animal is capable of charging someone at any time. But now we have horned animals running loose in the neighborhood. Animal control said ‘my hands are tied, there’s nothing I can do.’  A number of my neighbors are very concerned about their safety … we could have some neighbors that might possibly get hurt. That was my concern. Now it becomes kind of a safety issue.”

He asked about a clause in the law requiring that animals are properly housed. That means the animals must be penned appropriately, do not accumulate feces, cause odor or live in an unsightly or unsafe condition, Council President Eugene Jankowski said. If goats are running loose, then they are not being properly housed, Jankowski said.

Some council members wondered why anyone wants to keep goats in the city anyway. Canale said that, for example, he knows a young girl who is in 4-H and raises animals including goats.

There are rules for dogs, but not for goats, Jankowski said. Although it might be easy to come up with a laundry list of restrictions for these situations, Jankowski didn’t want to see that happen.

“I’m not for making a plethora of codes for every little thing,” he said. “But, unfortunately, it might be something we have to do … if they start to encroach on other people’s property.”

As for the goat that got loose, the animal control officer did some quick thinking on his feet. He cornered the animal at the front porch, got ahold of it and brought it back to its rightful home over a fence.

As for donkeys, and other cloven-hoofed animals, equine or fowl, those are restricted from being kept within the city limits. City Manager Rachael Tabelski’s research reviewed other cities, including Geneva, Canandaigua, Jamestown, Elmira, and Lockport. All of those areas have code restrictions “on animals in a variety of forms,” her memo to council said.

“With help from the code enforcement office and the city attorney, attached are the proposed restrictions to animals for City Council to consider,” the memo stated, including cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, alpacas, ducks, turkeys, geese, feral cats, donkeys, ponies, mules and any other farm or wild animal within city limits.

Exceptions would be chickens in appropriate housing, transporting animals to and from race tracks, special events with an approved event application, and animals in transit through the city.

Council agreed to pass the law on to the City Planning Board for further discussion. Council members also hope that the public will provide feedback about the issue of atypical city occupants — primarily farm animals — living right next door.

“That’s what the planning board is for,” Jankowski said. “I think most people will see this as reasonable. I think it’s great that we have these healthy discussions.”

June 14, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, genesee county, Genesee Justice, batavia, notify.

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Monday's Public Services meeting seemed a little too familiar for some Genesee County legislators.

In fact, there was a sense of “déjà vu,” Legislator Marianne Clattenburg said.

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens was reviewing a potential project for repairs at the Genesee Justice site at 14 West Main St., Batavia. The building’s porch and stone foundation was especially in need of work, he said.

“This is exactly the same conversation we had in 2016,” Clattenburg said during the meeting at the Old Courthouse. “At least two or three times we tried to get grants.”

Because of the site’s historical value, a different set of legislators -- including Clattenburg and Shelley Stein --  had agreed to pursue landmark preservation funding to pay for the repair and restoration work, Clattenburg said.

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She and current Legislative Chairwoman Stein each remarked how familiar the whole discussion, and Tim Hens’ request to award a bid, was for them. Only this time — instead of an initial estimate of just under $500,000, the cost is now at nearly $1.8 million, more than three times than what was originally quoted.

“We should be kicking ourselves for not doing it sooner, but we didn’t have the money,” Stein said.

The real kicker was that Legislator Christian Yunker was questioning the very same things that others had questioned back then, the women said. He wanted to know more details about the scope and large expense for the project.

The people in those very same chairs years ago also asked such questions, and in the end they didn’t feel it was the right time for this project, Clattenburg said.

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There has been a “tremendous amount of damage” that, along with inflation, tripled the initial price estimate, Hens said. There are pieces of stone falling from the top of the porch, and many areas of it are cracked and crumbling.

Yet, as Legislator Gary Maha observed, “it’s got to be done.”

Although it’s a costly bit of work, “it will look like it does now,” Hens said.

“We just won’t have anybody getting knocked on the head,” he said.

The group voted to move the project forward, which involves awarding a construction bid to Montante Construction in the amount of $1,468,100, and authorizing the Genesee County treasurer to amend capital project Facilities Management in the same amount.

That $1.46 million is to be paid from the Building and Equipment Reserve of the Jail that’s also housed in the same building. The total cost of this project is $1,769,510, which is funded by the county’s 1 percent sales tax and the Building and Equipment (Jail) Reserve.

A vote of six to one carried the motion on to the Ways & Means Committee for further discussion and approval. Yunker was the lone no vote.

“I’m seeing this for the first time. I’m having a hard time with it,” he said.

Photos: Costly masonry repair and restoration of the Genesee Justice building at 14 Main St., Batavia comes with a pricier estimate more than three times the original cost quoted to Genesee County legislators six years ago.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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June 14, 2022 - 7:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Madison Masters, Le Roy, softball, sports, notify.

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Before Le Roy's U-16 softball game against Batavia on Monday evening, Lily Uberty received the first-ever Madison Grace Masters Peacemaker Award.

The purpose of the award is to honor Madison Master, who passed away in 2020. The Le Roy Youth Softball board created the award to secure the legacy of Master in the Le Roy athletic community. 

The MGM Peacemaker Award is given to a deserving player, as chosen by their coaches, who exemplifies:

  • Commitment to the sport of softball and team.
  • Model of sportsmanship in treating teammates, coaches, opposing teams, umpires and parents with the utmost respect.
  • Acts as a mentor and example, embracing inclusivity and supporting teammates who may be struggling.
  • Maintains a positive attitude in all aspects of practice and competition, especially in difficult situations.
  • Displays the qualities of a leader where respect has been earned from teammates and coaches alike.

Uberty received a $100 gift certificate donated by Dick's Sporting Goods as well as a custom-crafted softball adorned with MGM and a red butterfly and #12, Maddie's number when she played softball.

Photos by Howard Owens

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June 14, 2022 - 7:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mr. Batavia, news, Batavia HS, batavia, notify.

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Winning Mr. Batavia in 2022 means a lot to Noah Burke. The charity he chose to support is so important to his family, he says, and the event itself was one last hurrah for the Batavia High School senior and the guys he knows so well.

"I've known all these guys pretty much my whole life," Burke said. "We've grown up together and have known each other since even before school started. It's kind of an opportunity for me and my friends to just get together and have one last big thing before we're all headed off to go on with our lives when we graduate."

Burke's win means the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation gets a $1,919 donation, or half the proceeds from the competition.

"I picked the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation because my little sister Liliana was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when she was 10 years old," Burke said. "She has it in about 20 or something joints now. It's really been a struggle and an obstacle for me and my family to overcome with her growing up because she's been going through a lot. It's just kind of made us grow as a family and it's just great to be able to give back to the foundation for all they've done for us."

Top photo: Mr. Batavia Noah Burke and Mr. Batavia organizer Lisa Robinson.

Photos by Howard Owens

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Second place, Matthew Smith, with Laurie Napoleone, of the Michael Napoleone Foundation.

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Third place, Nick Grover, and Jaylene Smith-Kilner of Habitat for Humanity.

June 14, 2022 - 6:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Region Independent Living Center, batavia, news.

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Among the expanded services being offered by Independent Living of the Genesee Region is a closet for people that were displaced and have recently found a place to live.

The closet contains donated household items to help a person get back on his or her feet.

"We basically accept (in donations) any appliances, dishes, silverware, I mean, anything that somebody who's establishing a new place would probably need," said Holly McAllister during a tour of Independent Living's "new" place in the Crickler Building on Main Street in Batavia.

"New" because Independent Living relocated from its downtown location to the Crickler building shortly before the start of the pandemic. However, the agency never had an opportunity to host an open house until now.

McAllister's job title is "taking control administrator." 

"We have a housing department so people who go to DSS or are homeless can come here for help to get housing," McAllister said. "We are independent living specialists so people can come in and get help with finding housing."

Working with people in a housing crisis is part of McAllister's job.

"I work with the consumer as part of keeping people in their homes and trying to get them help if they need it."

Independent Living is located at 319 West Main Street, Batavia.  Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone is (585) 815-8501.

Photos by Howard Owens

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The office also houses a lending library.

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There are also art and craft supplies available.

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At the open house, the new Michael Phillips Conference Room was dedicated.  Philips is a past CEO of Independent Living who passed away from cancer.

 

June 14, 2022 - 6:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander, renewable energy, windmills, news, notify.

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A proposed 650-foot tall, 4.5-megawatt wind turbine proposed for Dry Bridge Road in Alexander met some opposition at a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting last week.

Some residents said it wasn't needed, they didn't want it, questioned the financial benefit to the town, and suggested it would be an eyesore.

The community-based energy project -- meaning town, village, and school district receive fees and residents get a discount on electricity -- would be constructed by Borrego Energy on property owned by Dale and Brenda Spring. Representatives of Borrego, which included Dave Strong, Brandon Smith and Mark Kenworth, explained the project.

The Spring property is 147 acres and the windmill will be on the northern portion of the property, about 1,954 feet north of Dry Bridge Road and 4,136 feet south of Route 20.

The project will disturb only 8.5 acres of the property, and it came before the ZBA because the town code prohibits wind turbines taller than 500 feet.

Strong explained that each new generation of turbines gets taller and taller, and no developer builds turbines shorter than 500 feet. The new standard is 650 feet and windmills are getting taller across the country and around the world. 

There are no dwellings or structures on the Spring property. 

"This is the smallest we could go to make a project like this work economically," Strong said. "The wind turbine towers have gotten a little bit taller every decade, not too much, but they keep getting a little bit taller." 

That's because of improved technology, he said.

"The thing that's gotten really efficient is the blades. The blades are now made of, like, carbon fiber material. They're very light. You can make them longer and longer."

The improved technology means the days of large windmill farms are coming to a close, Strong suggested.

"It's important to note that we can do one wind turbine where you used to have to do five or six," Strong said. "You'd have to spread them out and they were shorter, like the ones in Orangeville. We're way beyond those wind turbines."

The turbine will be tall
One resident questioned why "little Alexander" needed such a big windmill.

"This is is 650 feet," he said. "It is double the height of the Empire State Building. It isn't going to give us that much more joy in this community than having two Empire State Buildings stacked on top of one another. I mean, let's be honest here. This is all about money. It's all about money. 

Actually, the Empire State Building is twice as tall as the proposed windmill at 1,250 feet, not including the spire.

The height of the windmill is why a ZBA variance is required. Smith said the local code was probably written before technology pushed windmills higher and when available air traffic control made anything taller an issue for Federal Aviation Administration.

"Back when the bylaw was written, there was this idea that 500 was kind of the limit that the FAA would approve," Smith said.

The FAA will review plans for this turbine, Smith said, but he suggested it is likely to be approved.

The height is also a concern of John Volpe, who suggested Borrego's renderings of the proposed windmill are misleading, showing its proximity to a telephone pole in the foreground off Route 20.

He suggested a better comparison was his own rendering of a two-story house, 20-feet tall, next to the 650-foot tall windmill.

Environmental concerns
An environmentalist, Volpe also said there is a community of endangered plants on the Spring property that isn't addressed in documents provided by Borrego.

"I hope the zoning board will understand that this little community that's for special plants, very endangered plants, everything like this is extremely important, especially when there are only 80 other communities within the whole world," he said.

Volpe claimed that Borrego's survey for endangered plants was made on Nov. 18 when most plants are dormant.

Cory Mower paid his respects to the property owner, Spring, whose family has been in Alexander for multiple generations but said he is opposed to the proposal.

"He has his own road name, you know, but this is just ridiculous in my mind as one of the closest houses if not the closest house (to the project)," Mower said. "This is 650 feet tall.  I know for a fact there's a hawk nest not 500 feet from there and there's got to be more. There are eagles, too. There are eagles all over the place, not to mention the other animals that these things kill. I understand money. I understand where this is coming from, but I just can't have it. I mean, I can't."

There are significant environmental regulations for Borrego to navigate, Smith suggested, and the company is working close with the Department of Environmental Conservation to address environmental concerns.

"We've been in close contact with them," Smith said. "As for the impact eagles, birds, =grassland birds, all those sorts of things, we've been working with them to obtain permits and understand the impacts and what we can do to mitigate. For example, bats, as we all know, aren't out in a hurricane.They're out on calm summer nights. Those times we are actually going to curtail, we're going to shut down the turbine at those low wind speeds during the summer when we know bats will be out to try to minimize as much as possible any impact in bats."

Windmills need wind
Some residents questioned whether there was enough wind in Alexander to power such a large turbine.

Yes, in summertime the wind dies down, but in spring, fall, and winter, there is ample wind, Strong said.

"Especially these modern wind turbines with very light carbon fiber blades. Believe it or not, they can make decent electricity even in really light winds," Strong said. "The other thing is, once you get up above the trees, which is one of the reasons we kind of have to go tall, that wind actually is much more consistent than it is when you're down on the ground."

The best deal possible for Alexander
Borrego is building the windmill but won't necessarily own it, Smith said. It could be sold to another company, maybe.

The cost of the project will exceed $4 million, with $3 million being spent just on the turbine.

While the local government agencies will receive fees from the project over the next 15 years, it's not going to be a windfall for the town, Strong said.  He said it's too soon in the project planning to nail down financial returns. He estimated the town will get from $250,000 to $300,000 from the project, or about $20,000 a year, plus another $8,000 in payment in lieu of taxes (that will be part of the economic development tax-incentive package that GCEDC could grant to the project).

That $28,000 is about the same amount the town, Strong indicated, had to increase its spending by this past year.

There are no state subsidies on this project. 

"Wind turbines are, they are not cheap," Strong said. "They're made to last for a long time."

With inflation and supply chain issues being what they are, it's a tough financial environment for renewable energy projects.

"(Wind companies) are actually having trouble staying profitable," Strong said. "I don't know how much money they would make (on this project). It's GE's investment and they're no dummies. I'm sure they will make enough money, but they're not making a heck of a lot of money these days. As far as a proportion of what the town will get, I will say of all wind and solar projects in the state, this is definitely the best deal per megawatt that exists."

It's good he said, because sites appropriate to a project like this are hard to find in New York. You need decent wind, a parcel big enough to be safe, and a zoning code that works for the proposed scope of the project.

"There are not many of these sites in the state, so with respect to what kind of deal the town is getting, it's the best deal going," Strong said.

Support
Among the few voices in support of the project was Don Partridge, a property owner in Alexander but a resident of Batavia, where he has three small windmills on his property. 

"My carbon footprint is zero," Partridge said.

He noted that since the 1920s, there have been telephone and utility poles up and down area roadways, but nobody ever thinks of them as unsightly.  He suggested people will adjust to the presence of a windmill in Alexander.

"I think you need to keep an open mind and how we're going to advance our environment in the future with more and more demands for electricity," Partridge said. "I am in favor of the project."

Top photo, Dave Strong and Brandon Smith.

Photos by Howard Owens

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John Volpe

June 14, 2022 - 3:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

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  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
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  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Howard Owens:   [email protected]
June 13, 2022 - 5:30pm
posted by Press Release in stem, GCC, schools, education, news.

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Press release:

On May 21, 2022, Genesee Community College celebrated its 54th annual Commencement Ceremony with a group of 15 students from area high schools and homeschools deserving special mention. They completed their GCC degree requirements concurrently with their high school diplomas or New York State Equivalents. These 15 graduates participated in the fourth annual cohort of the College's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Enrichment Program through GCC's Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) Office.

These high-achieving individuals include the following: Alexander Wright (Perry), Chase Graham (Alexander), Corden Zimmerman (Byron-Bergen), Elizabeth McCarthy (Batavia), Elli Schelemanow (Byron-Bergen), Jordyn Tobolski (Oakfield), Katarina Luker (Alexander), McKenna Johnson (Oakfield), Megan Zakes (Medina), Rebecca Clemens (Lyndonville), Samantha Nusstein (Attica), Sarah Volpe (Elba), Sophie Fulton (Batavia), Zachary Neal (Homeschool), Bethany Faben (Homeschool) and Markus Faben (Homeschool). Emily Harling (Albion) did not take part in the STEM Enrichment Program, but did earn a GCC degree alongside her high school diploma.

The STEM Enrichment program began in 2012 allowing the students to start their college studies as early as the seventh grade. In addition to their traditional schoolwork, they enrolled in college-level coursework each year taking advantage of many academic opportunities and successfully completing all of the rigorous challenges of an associate degree.

"Once again this year, we are delighted to celebrate the achievements of our STEM program students who have worked hard to earn GCC degrees along with their high school diplomas or the New York State Equivalent, in the case of our homeschooled students," Ed Levinstein, associate dean of GCC's ACE program said. "I commend their hard work and dedication to their studies, as well as the excellent contributions they make to GCC's classes and college community."

Genesee Community College's 54th annual Commencement Ceremony was held in-person at the Richard C. Call Arena and featured special guest Keynote Speaker Daniel P. Ireland, President of United Memorial Medical Center. To view the ceremony, please visit: https://www.genesee.edu/home/events/commencement/.

June 13, 2022 - 5:11pm
posted by Press Release in Fly-In Breakfast, Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news.

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Press release:

The Rotary Club of Batavia is holding its annual Father’s Day Breakfast on Sunday, June 19 at the Genesee County Airport. 

Breakfast will be served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. with the menu including eggs, pancakes, sausage, omelets, juice, coffee, tea and milk.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 4-12.  Children 3 and under are free.  Tickets are available from any Batavia Rotary Club member.

All proceeds from the breakfast will help fund the Batavia Rotary Club's charitable projects.

Photos: File photos from 2013 by Howard Owens.

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The late Joe Gerace, left, and the late Bob Knipe, stalwarts of community volunteerism.

 

June 13, 2022 - 5:04pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Park Road Reconstruction Project, CATCO.

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The general contractor of the Park Road Reconstruction Project – a $4 million venture covering 1.2 miles between Route 63 (Lewiston Road) and Route 98 (Oak Street) – has made it to the “boxing out” stage.

Concrete Applied Technologies Corp. crews today were working on the east side of Park Road in front of Batavia Downs Gaming, performing what one employee called “boxing out” the road to prepare it for milling, stone and, ultimately, repaving.

He said the plan is to finish that side of the road before moving to the other lane to allow for one-way through traffic.

Henry Wojtaszek, president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., said the project is ahead of schedule, stating that he is confident work will be done by mid-October.

“Crews already have put in most of the sewers and completed the under-the-road work,” he said. “Once the new road is done, they can move on to the sidewalks and special lighting.”

CATCO, which is based out of Alden, is the general contractor.

Photo: CATCO construction crews working in front of Batavia Downs Gaming this afternoon. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

June 13, 2022 - 4:46pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, WROTB, WNY Harness Horsemen's Association, Park Road.

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. officials are considering a proposal by the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association to conduct 15 or 16 racing dates at Batavia Downs Gaming next January and February.

“While nothing is finalized, we are receptive to the horsemen’s request to having racing here during those two months after learning that Buffalo Raceway (in Hamburg) is not planning to be open then,” WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said. “We want to work with them as long as they will reimburse us for the expense to operate then.”

Wojtaszek informed the public benefit company’s board of directors that the WNYHHA is willing to foot the bill to race in those months in order to give its members a chance to make a living.

Normally, Buffalo Raceway is open from January through mid-July and Batavia Downs runs from mid-July through mid-December, with racing scheduled two or three nights per week.

“Buffalo is not a well-maintained facility at this point,” Wojtaszek said, adding that Batavia’s track is able to handle the additional racing. He estimated that it would cost around $300,000 for the proposed racing dates in the first two months of next year.

He said a decision is expected later this month or in July.

Racing returns to Batavia Downs on July 20 and, currently, is set to run through Dec. 17.

A call to Bruce Tubin, WNYHHA president, was not returned at the time of the posting of this story.

In other developments, Wojtaszek reported the following:

  • WROTB will pay half of the $75,000 cost of new rubber rolled matting for the harness horse stalls, with the WNYHHA taking care of the other half.

The material – 28 sheets of rubber matting, 4 feet wide and 200 feet long – is being purchased from RubberForm Recycled Products LLC of Lockport, the low bidder.

  • WROTB will pay $30,000 to Benderson Development LLC of Buffalo to use the former Kmart lot for additional parking from June 1 through Aug. 31. Wojtaszek said a portion of the lot will be fenced off when construction of the new Starbucks along Route 63 begins.

Starbucks and another retail restaurant will be built on the parking lot in the coming months.

June 13, 2022 - 4:43pm
posted by Press Release in youth court, news.

Press release:

Calling all 8-11th graders, the Genesee County Youth Court is recruiting new members!  Youth Court is a voluntary alternative for young people who face disciplinary action through school or law enforcement.  Youth who are referred admit to the charge and appear before a court of their peers.  Three youth judges listen to both sides of the issue and determine an appropriate disposition.  The goal of youth court is to improve youth citizenship skills and decrease problematic behavior. 

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

Genesee County 8-11th graders who are interested can go online to download an application from the website https://www.co.genesee.ny.us/departments/youthbureau/youthcourt.php.  Applications are due by August 12th.  Interviews of potential candidates will take place in August and September with the training to begin in October. 

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

June 13, 2022 - 2:00pm
posted by Tate Fonda in Le Roy Town Board, government, Walgreens.

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Le Roy's town Code Enforcement Department has reached a tipping point with the local Walgreens’ lack of lawn maintenance.  

At Thursday’s Town Board Meeting, members discussed the issue of maintenance and how cases -- including the chain drugstore -- have been on the rise.

“Code Enforcement has been busy,” Town Supervisor James Farnholz said. “We have received many complaints about the grass at Walgreens. That did get mowed— and they were cited.” 

He went on to detail the department's intervention process.

“We gave them a verbal warning; they did nothing,” said Farnholz. “We then wrote them up as a violation. They had 48 hours to mow it themselves, and when they didn’t do it, we sent an independent contractor to mow it.”

Town Clerk Patricia Canfield noted the increasing abundance of mowing cases. 

“We’ve had to start doing it in the town," she said. "But in all the years I’ve been here, we haven’t had to pay someone to mow.”

Considering future cases, particularly at the Walgreens property, the board agreed to prioritize maintenance. 

“We’ll do it again, if it gets to the point where it’s an issue,” Farnholz said.

The board also discussed seting up Internet and a video camera as an extra security and safety measure at the pool. The board is expected to discuss this further at future meetings.

The town board's next meeting is at 7 p.m. June 23 at the Le Roy Town Hall Building, 48 Main St.

June 13, 2022 - 11:03am
posted by Press Release in gas prices, news.

Press release from Automobile Association of America:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $5.01, up 14 cents from last Monday. One year ago, the price was $3.08. The New York State average is $5.04, up 13 cents since last Monday. A year ago, the NYS average was $3.11. AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia - $4.92 (up 17 cents from last Monday)
  • Buffalo - $4.90 (up 18 cents from last Monday)
  • Elmira - $4.98 (up 20 cents from last Monday)
  • Ithaca - $4.97 (up 18 cents from last Monday)
  • Rochester - $4.98 (up 19 cents from last Monday)
  • Rome - $4.98 (up 19 cents from last Monday)
  • Syracuse - $4.97 (up 23 cents from last Monday)
  • Watertown - $4.96 (up 16 cents from last Monday)

According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased while gasoline demand increased as drivers continue to fuel up for the summer driving season, typically a time when gas demand increases. This dynamic between decreased supply and increased demand is contributing to rising prices at the pump. This coupled with increasing crude oil prices means that the price of gas will likely remain elevated for the near future.

This morning oil prices are at about $118 per barrel. Crude prices surged last week in response to global supply concerns amid expected demand increases, particularly as China emerges from lockdowns. As a result, the current storage level is approximately 12 percent lower than a year ago, contributing to rising crude prices.

Locally, prices decreased in early June as the gas tax cap went into effect in New York, but the cap wasn’t enough to offset rising pump prices. Gas prices across the country are increasing rapidly due to high oil prices and increased demand.

From Gas Buddy:

“For the first time ever, last week saw the national average reach the $5 per gallon mark, as nearly every one of the nation's 50 states saw prices jump. For now, the upward momentum may slow down, but prices are still just one potential supply jolt away from heading even higher," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "Gasoline demand, while rising seasonally, is still well below previous records, but remains impressive with prices in all states at record levels. Should the rise in price finally start to slow demand, we could see some breathing room, but for now, it seems like Americans are proving resilient to record highs."

June 13, 2022 - 10:30am


Don't miss our Father's Day sale! One week only, June 13th - 20th; all regular priced men's footwear will be 20% off! Stop in and grab all of your dad's favorite brands like Saucony, Johnston and Murphy, and Florsheim! Visit us online or like us on Facebook - and stay up to date on sales!

June 13, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in schools, education, news, history.

I found a copy of the 7th grade Social Studies Curriculum on Local History amidst a group of old papers and books. To a fourth-grade teacher, this would be a valuable find. Unfortunately, this curriculum is no longer taught in 7th grade and has not been for many years. A local history curriculum was added to 4th grade many years ago. Unfortunately, today with all of the state mandates, very little time can be given to local history.    

This curriculum encompassed Genesee County and Genesee Country, which included some of the outlying areas of Genesee County. 

The student's objectives were listed at the beginning of the book:

The student (citizen–to–be) will know that school prepares you for social living. The church plays an integral part in your community life. (Before 1961 Separation of Church and State) Tolerance of others is fundamental to democracy. Students will be able to find facts in books, see the relationships between cause and results, and will be able to draw conclusions from the printed information. The students will appreciate the work of others, consider a point of view different from their own, and will be tolerant of people or groups whose beliefs or customs are different from their own

The students were first introduced to the Native Americans residing in the area. They were taught about Ely Parker and Red Jacket, to name a few. Everything was listed in chronological order. Listed were all the names of the Seneca chiefs and a biography on each of them. An extensive list of Seneca names and places was translated into English. Ge-nish-e–a, a clear and shining place (Genesee Country), ge-ne-un-da-sais-ka mosquito town (Batavia), and Ter-ner-sun-ta swift running water (Tonawanda Creek).

After the land purchase from the Indians was discussed, Paulo Busti, Robert Morris, and Joseph Ellicott's involvement in the purchase was explained. Later the settlement of the villages and towns of the county was described. Students would learn about the industries, manufacturing, and agriculture in every town in Genesee County. The chapter on public buildings was divided between descriptions of city, county, state, and federal buildings.

Joseph Ellicott's map, drawn in 1802, showed only five streets and two roads in Batavia.   Genesee Street was East Main Street to Jefferson. Buffalo Street is now West Main. Big Tree Street was Ellicott Street beginning at Jackson Street. Court Street was still Court Street, and Jackson Street was still Jackson Street.     

Interesting facts about the streets were South Main Street was called Tonawanda Street. Pearl Street was Buffalo Road. Oak Street was called Oak Orchard or Elba Street, Bank Street was Dingle Alley, and Tracy Avenue was named after Judge Phineas Tracy. Pringle Avenue was named after Judge Benjamin Pringle, and Evans Street was named after David Evans.

The last section in the book, called Interesting Facts from Genesee Country, was very intriguing.   

  • In 1801 the first doctor came to Batavia. He was Doctor David McCracken.           
  • The first church organized was formed by Presbyterians in 1809. 
  • A brewery on West Main was built from the stones of the old Methodist Church. 
  • Joseph Ellicott had many duties. He also served as the first county judge when the courthouse was built in 1803. 

On the veranda of the Holland Land Office stand two old cast-iron cannons that were housed in the Arsenal for years. One of them was used at the Battle of Lundy Lane in the War of 1812. Unfortunately, it had been "spiked," as was the practice with captured artillery. "Spiked" meant it was tampered with and could not be used in battle.

After the Arsenal was torn down, Dr. Charles Rand purchased the two cannons, removing them to his front yard on Liberty Street. After his death, they were bought by Baker Gun and Forging Company and placed on the factory's front lawn, now the Metal Company.           

  • President Lincoln stopped in Batavia in 1861. 
  • Lot # 25, bounded by Main, Jackson, and Center Streets, was bought from the Holland Land Company for $170.00. 
  • LeRoy was incorporated in 1834. The population of LeRoy in 1818 significantly exceeded that of Batavia. 
  • The New York Central Railroad Company paid $512.000 to lay its tracks in the Batavia area.

The first gas line through Genesee County was laid in 1870. Twenty-five miles of pipe were laid. The pipe was white pine cut into lengths from 2 to 18 feet and turned to the diameter of 12 1/2 inches. The pipes were joined with bands of shrunk iron and were tarred inside and out. Twenty acres of white pine were cut for these pipes. In 1872 the gas line was turned into the mains of the Rochester Gas Company.             

Salamanca is the only city in the United States built upon an Indian Reservation.

If you would like to take the 50-question test called the Batavia Historical Quiz, stop at the Holland Land Office Museum and be our guest. You might want to stop at The Richmond Memorial Library and the Genesee County History Department to brush up on your local history.

Here are some of the questions from the Quiz.

  1. What was Genesee County's first courthouse called in its later years?
  2. What company came here to make farm machinery and later sold it to the Massey-Harris Company?
  3. For what circumstance was Charles F. Rand mostly noted?
  4. For what circumstance was Ely Samuel Parker noted?
  5. In what year was the Land Office dedicated?
  6. In whose memory?
  7. What was present-day Batavia Street, formerly called Big Tree Street?
  8. What does the name Batavia mean?
  9. Name the U.S. General of the War of 1812 who recuperated at Joseph Ellicott's home in Batavia after being wounded by the British in Buffalo?
  10. From what language is the name Batavia derived?

Here is the word bank with possible choices.

Winfield S. Scott, the First Volunteer soldier in the Civil War, Robert Morris, Ellicott Street, Johnston Harvester Company, Seneca Indian, and in his handwriting, wrote the terms of surrender between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia 1865, October 13, 1894, Better Land, Ellicott Hall, Dutch.

Click on the headline above to view the answer key.

June 13, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, arts, music, Batavia Ramble, notify, Jackson Square.

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What do you call a fun, outdoor, multi-pronged event geared for adults, families and children of all ages?

It’s the Batavia Ramble Explore Arts & Music Festival, of course. Filled with a full day of live bands, African drumming, a larger-than-life puppet show, interactive theater workshop, and Mexican, African and belly dancers, this fest incorporates the best of the sights and sounds for spectators, organizers say.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 2 at Jackson Square, tucked between Center and Jackson streets, Batavia.

Beginning the arts end of the event at 10 a.m., there will be a children’s camp of arts projects, face painting, temporary tattoos, caricatures, sidewalk chalk drawings, take-home crafts and other assorted activities, GLOW Traditions Director Karen Canning said. The camp will be found at the Explore Art tent, and runs until 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, Artsapalooza has two sessions, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Meant especially for families with young children, the palooza features the Springville Center for the Arts touring troupe centered around a theater performance by resident artists using large-sized puppets. This is an interactive theater experience that lures kids into the fun while ukuleles and drumming warm up the crowd, Canning said.

Drop-in visual arts stations encourage kids to make art while also watching the show.

“This promises to be a fun-filled and enriching experience for all ages,” she said. “GO ART! is happy to join with the Ramble to add opportunities to explore dance, visual, theater and diverse musical arts. The Artsapalooza program that we are able to sponsor this year will definitely be something different and fun for everyone to enjoy.”

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Later in the afternoon the sounds of authentic, traditional African drumming, songs and dance from Ghana will be led by Quaye Odai of Womba Africa, a cultural drum and dance group that’s part of the Ga Adangbe People in greater Accra, Ghana.

Known as a tribe with a rich history and culture distinctive from other major ethnic groups, these performers first came to the United States in 2019 to compete on America’s Got Talent. They settled into Rochester after the show and now give workshops and performances throughout New York State at schools, libraries, community centers, festivals and parties.

“Anywhere that people are ready to move and renew their body and soul,” she said.

A workshop for families runs from 4 to 5 p.m. with a performance from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. at the GO ART! stage.

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Womba Africa’s performances showcase their unique culture through costumes, instruments, rhythms, dance, and songs, Canning said. The costumes’ colorful Ghanaian fabrics are embedded with Adinkra symbols, with each symbol having a distinctive meaning.

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The instruments include drums, xylophones, flutes, and a variety of shakers and bells. They are mostly handmade from wood, bamboo, gourds and seeds or beads, with drumheads from goat, cow and antelope skins. Womba’s songs and rhythms “intertwine in a characteristic African, polyphonic manner, blending distinct voices into a tapestry of rhythm, harmony and color,” she said.

Next up is Troupe Nisaa (pronounced Nee-Say), with many styles of belly dancing, from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Performers put an emphasis on Fusion Style and include “beautiful, strong women who gather together to enjoy the art of bellydance.”

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“The Troupe believes strongly in the sisterhood bond of bellydance, and supports and promotes the empowerment of the feminine through their dancing,” she said.

Capping off the lively arts-themed day is Alma de Mexico from 7:15 to 8 p.m.

karla_alcala.jpgKarla Slack Alcalá was born and raised in Mexico City, and is in love with her country, customs and traditions, Canning said. From a very young age, Alcalá had a passion for dancing, and at the age of 8 years, her mother “noticed her eagerness and thankfully enrolled her in Mexican folklore dance classes,” she said.

“Karla has over 25 years of teaching experience serving at Casa de Cultura de Acolman, Grupo Mexicatlalli, and at other dance school programs in Mexico. She holds a diploma in Art from CEDART Luis Spota and is an interdisciplinary artist and physical and wellness educator who focuses her efforts on Mexican traditions, Canning said.

“Karla has taught, performed, and choreographed numerous dance programs within the Mexican territory and in other countries like Cuba, Belgium, Spain, Basque country and Guatemala,” she said. “She loves movement and obtained a degree in Physical Education. She believes that sports and dance are perfect tools for our abilities and the development of motor skills. In her dance classes, there was always time to play and integrate sports.”

In 2013, Alcalá left Mexico for the United States and is now making the Rochester area her second home. With a goal to preserve the soul of Mexico, she is leading Alma de Mexico program as the artistic director and is responsible for three different groups of children, youth, and adults. The program’s principal objective is​ to show her Mexican culture through music, costumes, and folkloric dance, Canning said.

“We're very excited to bring Womba Africa Drumming and Dance, Ghanaian master drummers and dancers who have recently moved to the Rochester region. Along with Alma de Mexico, and Nisaa Belly Dance, these artists lead audiences into their unique cultural traditions through a shared enjoyment of rhythm, movement, color, and sheer joy of making music,” she said. “There are many connections audiences will find as they listen and watch -- and move.”

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On the musical side, event coordinator Paul Draper has a slew of bands to fill out the day into the evening with tunes. The lineup includes:

  • The Ghost Riders
  • Groove
  • Warren Skye and Friends
  • Kissin' Whiskey
  • DriVen
  • The Trolls 2.0
  • Lonesome Road
  • Marnie Kay and the Nonblonds
  • Beethoven's Dream Group
  • Sierra
  • Jostepa Trio
  • Noah Gokey
  • The Bluesway Band
  • Zackstreet Boys
  • Steve Kruppner
  • Tom Ryan and Friends
  • PD3
  • Knaudt and Chua
  • Vette
  • Midnight Cruisers
  • Brick
  • Spare Parts
  • High Pines
  • The Remediators
  • Bad Sign

Top photo: Womba Africa; a prior Batavia Ramble Arts & Music Fest; Womba Africa drummers; Troupe Nisaa; Batavia Ramble. Arts photos submitted by Karen Canning. 2018 File Photos of Batavia Ramble. Photos by Howard Owens.

June 12, 2022 - 10:30pm
posted by Press Release in 2nd Amendment, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, news.

Press release from Sen. Charles Schumer:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today released the following statement on the announcement of a bipartisan gun-safety framework:

 “Today’s announcement of a bipartisan gun-safety framework is a good first step to ending the persistent inaction to the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our country and terrorized our children for far too long. Once the text of this agreement is finalized, I will put this bill on the floor as soon as possible so that the Senate can act quickly to advance gun-safety legislation.

“As the author of the Brady-background checks bill, I am pleased that for the first time in nearly 30 years Congress is on the path to take meaningful action to address gun violence. I applaud Senators Chris Murphy, Kyrsten Sinema, John Cornyn, and Thom Tillis for their leadership in these discussions and the bipartisan group of Senators who worked in good faith to reach this agreement.

“This important legislation will limit the ability of potential mass shooters to quickly obtain assault rifles by establishing an enhanced background check process for gun purchasers under age 21, invest in the adoption and expansion of state red flag laws, close the boyfriend loophole, establish federal penalties for gun traffickers, and fund critical support services to help address our nation’s mental health crisis. After an unrelenting wave of gun-related suicides and homicides, including mass shootings, the Senate is poised to act on commonsense reforms to protect Americans where they live, where they shop, and where they learn. We must move swiftly to advance this legislation because if a single life can be saved it is worth the effort.”

Press release from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today issued the following statement on the announcement of a bipartisan gun safety deal:

“The bipartisan gun safety announcement is an important step toward tackling the gun violence that plagues our communities, schools, hospitals and places of worship. Throughout my career, I have fought for legislation to strengthen background checks, combat gun trafficking up the Iron Pipeline, close the boyfriend loophole and fund mental health services— I’m grateful that this deal includes many of these important commonsense measures. I am proud of Senator Murphy, Senator Cornyn and the entire bipartisan group that worked together to craft this important package, and I look forward to working with them to get it through Congress and onto the President’s desk.”

June 12, 2022 - 10:16pm

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Press release:

Father Dave Glasmire and Father Ivan Trujillo, pastors of Ascension and Resurrection Parishes, concelebrated Mass today at 9:15 at St Mary’s as part of commencing our combined Faith Formation program. 

In his homily, Father Dave called for all parishioners to offer their gifts and talents in this joint venture.   

Volunteers then gathered in St. Mary’s Hall for a kick-off meeting led by Ann Pratt and Jason Smith, Faith Formation coordinators of Ascension and Resurrection, respectively.   

Please contact Jason ([email protected]) or Ann ([email protected]) if you are interested in volunteering.   

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