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September 23, 2022 - 4:01pm
posted by Press Release in GLOW OUT, batavia, austin park, news.

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Press release:

Join GLOW OUT! in uplifting LGBTQ+ youth as they head back to school at their first-ever Back-to-School BBQ this Saturday, September 24 from 12:30-3:30 pm at DeWitt Park in Batavia. This all-age event is free, open to the public, and will be hosted by the fabulous Vanessa Leroux who is returning from the 2022 Pride Festival to entertain and wow participants again!

The afternoon will also feature Act Out!, GLOW OUT’s youth league led by Lilly Fiscus of Caledonia-Mumford HS, Abigail Merkley of Holley HS, Ruth Metzgar of GCC (formerly of Attica HS), Ayden Carlson of Batavia HS, and Judith Newton of Batavia HS. Learn about upcoming youth-related events and their efforts to combat bullying with the launch of their campaign “Fail the F-Slur!”. Targeting the need for family support, the group will also promote the start of their PFLAG/parent group which will begin in October.  

GLOW OUT! would like to pay a special thank you to Lynda Battaglia, Director of Mental Health and Community Services of Genesee County, whose generous time and stellar performance as a “Celebrity Bartender” helped to raise the funds for this event to be free for the community. This organization and the LGBTQ+ youth uplifted by this work are grateful to live in a community with such inclusive and dedicated leaders. More information about the event can be found on their website http://www.glowout.org/. If you are bringing a larger group or if you have questions, please email Sara Vacin at [email protected]. Families, friends, and clubs are welcome!

Photo: Submitted photo.  Ayden Carlsen, Judith Newton, Sara Vacin, Abby Merkley, and Lilly Fiscus

August 28, 2022 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Just Kings Social Club, batavia, austin park, news.

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Members of the Just Kings Social Club gave back to their community on Saturday, handing out dozens of school backpacks, and other school supplies along with free hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken at Austin Park.

There were also free haircuts from the Royals Barbershop for kids getting ready to go back to school.

Just Kings member Victor Thomas explained that the leadership of Just Kings are men who grew up in Batavia and have been part of the community their whole lives, so one of the organization's goals is to give back to their community. 

Just Kings grew out of the March for Justice in Batavia in June 2020.

The people showing up for the supplies and food made up a diverse cross-section of Batavia's community, and Thomas said he and the rest of Just Kings like to see that.

"That was a visual of what Batavia represented and what we represent," Thomas said. "That day, at that march, we saw 400-plus people and only a handful of us. We're just all mixed in with each other, you know? So we're a product of our environment. Yes, we are here for the black community and the black community knows that. We stand up for them whenever we can. We speak out against anything that's happened against our people. But as far as the community goes, this is what our community looks like. So we have to embrace what our community looks like. So I'm glad that they're embracing us and coming back and making this crowd look so diverse today."

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August 19, 2022 - 3:08pm
posted by Press Release in GCASA, Overdose Awareness Day, batavia, austin park, news.

Press release:

Christopher Budzinack has a straightforward reason for agreeing to speak at next Wednesday’s Overdose Awareness Day: To show those affected by substance use disorder that there is hope and there is help.

“As a person in long-term recovery, I know first-hand how important these services are and I want to help promote them as much as possible,” said Budzinack, a residential counselor at the Atwater Community Residence operated by Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

“It is my hope that someone will leave this event feeling encouraged and inspired to make a change for the better and for the ones who have lost someone to addiction, my hope for them is that they will know they are not alone and there is help for them as well.”

Budzinack, who also serves as a case manager for GCASA’s supportive living program, is one of several people signed up to speak at the annual event, which is set for 4-7 p.m. Aug. 24 at Austin Park in Batavia.

Designed to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and remember the lives that have been lost due to an overdose, the event is being hosted by the GOW Opioid Task Force.

Task Force Coordinator Christen Foley said attendees are invited to take part in the family-friendly activities – which include face painting and live music -- and enjoy free pizza, refreshments, and ice cream. A Narcan training also is on the agenda and local agencies will have informational tables.

Participants also will be offered the opportunity to leave a note on the task force’s memory board for a deceased loved one.

Other speakers include Paul Pettit, public health director for Genesee and Orleans counties; John Bennett, GCASA chief executive officer; the Rev. Vern Saile, pastor of Northgate Free Methodist Church, and Jarett LoCicero, case manager at GCASA.

August 14, 2022 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Democratic Socialists of America, batavia, austin park, news.

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As the ReAwaken America Tour's stop at Cornerstone Church in Batavia wore on during its second day on Saturday, members of the Democratic Socialists of America gathered in Austin Park for a "teach-in" about fascism. 

There were about 40 people at the gathering.

The Batavian was present for a talk by Rev. Jennifer Butler, author of the book "Who Stole My Bible?"

Butler said what drew her to Jesus Christ was his radical message for his times, resisting the Roman government and the Pharisees. 

"Who stole my Bible? Christian nationalists stole it," Butler said. "What do we need to do to reclaim Scripture as a handbook for resisting tyranny? Scripture, when you read it the right way, is actually a radical book."

Starting with Constantine, Butler said, people with a lust for power and the power of the state have been distorting the message of Christ to their own ends.

"Ever since then, there's been this tendency, as there is throughout history with all religions, and in all contexts to co-opt religion in order to control people," she said. "It started with Constantine. We saw it during the Crusades. We saw it under Hitler."

She said today there is a global movement with impetus from Putin's Russia to use religion to promote authoritarianism.  

"These global oligarchs and global authoritarians are weaponizing religion and relating to each other globally to enrich themselves and to strengthen their own power," Butler said. "They're kind of like global crime syndicates that are also abusing and using religion to control people."

The strategy employed by authoritarians is to divide and conquer, Butler said. They manipulate people's emotions.

"I think first and foremost, in the people who are getting drawn in, it's fear. Fear gets weaponized. That's why actually, Scripture -- sorry to quote Scripture so much, because I know Christianity really pisses people off -- but the Bible says over and over again, perfect love casts out fear."

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September 25, 2021 - 1:35pm

austin_park_resized_1.jpgLabeling them ARPA-1 through ARPA-7, City of Batavia Manager Rachel Tabelski has put together a list of priority spending items – including an “inclusive destination playground" at Austin Park – to be funded in whole or in part by the $1.4 million the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

In a memo dated Sept. 20 to City Council, Tabelski wrote that she is recommending these expenditures as part of her Batavia Investment 2021 report, which is on the agenda for discussion at Monday night’s Conference Meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 o’clock at City Hall Council Board Room.

Should City Council forward any proposed resolutions on Monday, voting would take place at the board’s next Business Meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 12.

The federal government, acknowledging the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on municipal economies, allocated $19.53 billion from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to support non-entitlement units of localities with populations under 50,000, Tabelski wrote.

With that, the city received $1,474,764.79 from the ARPA (getting half this year and half next year).

The money can be used for public health costs, lost public sector revenue, essential worker pay and investment in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, but comes with restrictions.

Those restrictions, as outlined in Tabelski’s report, include the inability to use the money to lower the tax rate, to offset retirement/pension funds, to pay off current debt, for sidewalks and roads (unless documented proof of being related to COVID-19) and to support current operations in the majority of cases.

Tabelski’s report indicates the recommended projects were derived through multiple means:

  • Conversations with department heads and staff, and citizen input;
  • Review of capital plans, current needs and current reserve accounts;
  • Analyzing the ARPA regulations to create projects that will be most beneficial to the city and/or to advance future ventures, with consideration of social and economic factors;
  • Allocating ARPA money to projects that could receive alternate funding, such as matching funds from other sources to increase the total investment;
  • Ability of city staff to complete, monitor and report on the projects.

Brief descriptions of the seven projects recommended by Tabelski are as follows:

ARPA-1: Engineering Services for Water System Planning

A resolution to contract with GHD Group of Buffalo to “map, inventory and plan to address lead service lines in the city related to the new Lead and Copper Rule” and “to prepare for the closure of the city water treatment plant in connection to Genesee County’s Phase 3 Water Project that would bring Monroe County Water Authority water to the city.

Cost: $248,000, using all ARPA funds.

ARPA-2: Cohocton Water Transmission Line

Replacement of 3,700 linear feet of a 12-inch water transmission line that supplies water to the southwest quadrant of the city – with the connection being made to the existing 12-inch main near the intersection of Industrial Boulevard and Treadeasy Avenue, and continuing to the existing 12-inch main near Walnut Street. The main has incurred 11 breaks in the past 30 years.

Cost: $800,000, equally split between ARPA and reserve funds.

ARPA-3: Inclusive Destination Playground at Austin Park

Located in the city’s Opportunity Zone, Tabelski writes that now is the opportunity to upgrade Austin Park (see photo above), believing that the expenditure will benefit local families, attract visitors from outside the city, assist in public safety in the park and surrounding areas through appropriate environmental design.

Recreation websites describe inclusive playgrounds as activity areas that remove barriers to exclusion, both physical and social, providing a “sensory rich” experience for all. They are designed to be a safe place where children of all abilities can play together, and are developmentally appropriate for children with and without disabilities.

Cost: $800,000, using $400,000 in ARPA funds and seeking grants to double the investment.

ARPA-4: Modify Facility Capital Plan Project

“Critical” improvements are necessary at the city’s Bureau of Maintenance and Fire Department, Tabelski writes, recommending the purchase of a new generator to run fire headquarters on Evans Street and spending to make access into the facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Cost: $540,000, using $100,000 in ARPA funds, with the remainder committed to the project in the Facility Reserve Fund.

ARPA-5: Wastewater Treatment Plant Headworks Analysis

Tabelski is seeking another contract with GHD Group (via a resolution) for engineering services to solve problems being caused by an aging aeration and blower system. The last headworks study took place in 1983, and since them the WWTP’s aeration system had deteriorated due to leaks in the main header. “While this problem has been remediated, it highlighted the need to complete a more thorough analysis …,” she wrote.

Cost: $250,000, using all ARPA funds.

ARPA-6: Replace Aging Sewer Camera

Scheduled to be replaced next year, the city’s sewer main line camera – purchased in 2012 -- is at the end of its useful life and has malfunctioned on several occasions, resulting in repair costs. Tabelski recommends buying an Envirosight Rover X camera from Joe Johnson Equipment of Rochester, which can be bought at a discount through a cooperative purchase program.

Cost: $100,000, equally split between ARPA funds and wastewater reserve funds.

ARPA-7: Replace Aging Water Meter Readers

As in the case of the sewer camera, the city’s meter reading equipment is about 10 years old and need of replacement. The recommendation is a resolution to purchase new handheld and data recorders from Ti-Sales, Inc., of Sudbury, Mass., along with utilizing a cloud-based data storage system.

Cost: $26,765, using $26,764.70 of ARPA funds and $1,718.79 from water reserves.

July 9, 2020 - 7:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, video, austin park, spray park, batavia.
Video Sponsor

Beating the heat at the Austin Park Spray Park.

August 27, 2018 - 1:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, austin park, batavia.

From the city's Bureau of Maintenance:

To all residents -- please be aware that the Spray Pad at Austin Park will be closing for the end of the summer season on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The Spray Pad is scheduled open again next Memorial Day.

Thank you for a wonderful year.

August 31, 2017 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in austin park, batavia, news.

Press release:

To all residents: Please be aware that the spray pad at Austin Park will be closing for the end of the summer season on Sept. 5.

Thank you for a wonderful year.

The spray pad is scheduled open again next Memorial Day.

August 26, 2017 - 9:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in religion, news, music, entertainment, austin park, batavia.

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Austin Park was filled with praise and worship this weekend for the Here and Now Festival, featuring several Christian music acts and pastors along with dozens of vendors and activities for families.

More than 3,000 people turned out for last night's music and the festival continues today through 10 p.m.

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August 18, 2017 - 2:06pm

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Community Action of Orleans & Genesee hosted its fourth annual Children's Carnival in Austin Park today, with local agencies providing crafts, games and activities for local families.

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June 12, 2017 - 8:37pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, city council, austin park.

More police presence at Austin Park and less parking on Thorpe Street.

Those are the hopes of two Batavia residents who let their feelings be known at Monday night's City Council meeting at City Centre Council Chambers.

Sandy Merkle, of 6 Thorpe St., a narrow small street on the city's Southside, said all she wants is a sign put up prohibiting parking near the corner of the street to enable her to safely enter and exit her driveway.

"I've talked to the neighbors about it, but they're renters ... and they say, 'we pay our rent,' " Merkle said.

Council members readily responded to her request, with Kathleen Briggs stating that "something has to be done" and Rose Mary Christian adding that "there should be signs for no parking near the corner and also for no parking on one side of the street, and tickets should be given to violators."

Council President Eugene Jankowski noted that Police Chief Shawn Heubusch is "responsible" for handling this matter and has the "authority" to correct the situation without City Council action.

As far as Austin Park is concerned, Sonya Alwardt, of 335 Bank St. said she was extremely disappointed in the response she received from City Police when she called on them to break up a fight there around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Alwardt said she saw a group of 10 to 20 people fighting when she took her 6-year-old child there to play. She said she called the police but was dismayed that it took a long time for them to respond and that the crowd wasn't disbursed promptly.

"I told officers that I didn't feel safe, but was told that they had a lot of pending calls to take care of," Alwardt said. "How is protecting children not a priority?"

At the end of her comments, Alwardt said she would not go to Austin Park anymore.

"It's a shame that you can't bring your children there," Christian said, before asking Heubusch to increase patrols there.

Jankowski said the matter "could have been resolved by Alwardt speaking to the (police) supervisor" on duty that night, and not having to come before City Council.

Councilman Robert Bialkowski agreed with Jankowski and added that Council "needs to set an example."

"If it happens again, there should be arrests," he said. "This is not tolerable."

Following the meeting, Heubusch could be seen speaking with Alwardt.

In other action, Council:

-- Approved a resolution to extend the current sales tax allocation agreement with Genesee County -- a pact that is set to expire next February -- through Dec. 31, 2018 in order to buy more time as negotiations between the city and county continue.

"The only reason we're extending it is that part of the process will require 16 or 17 small municipalities to renegotiate their water contracts (with the county)," Jankowski said. "That could be a major holdup. Just to be safe, we're extending it so we don't run out of time."

Calling it a "complicated process," Jankowski said the city is at the "fact-finding stage" and can't go further until the municipalities reach their agreements. He said the Genesee County is on board with the extension and likely will be passing a similar resolution.

Currently, the terms of the sales tax agreement provide the city with 16 percent of the sales tax generated in Genesee County, with the towns and villages splitting 34 percent (based on assessed valuation) and the county receiving 50 percent.

The contract is tied in to the city/county water treatment agreements as well, which leads to the complications cited by Jankowski.

-- Approved a resolution to transfer $35,000 from reserve funds to replace the message board at Dwyer Stadium, hopefully prior to the start of the New York-Penn League season later this month.

Originally, that money was earmarked to replace seats at the Denio Street ballpark, but Council deemed that the scoreboard was a more immediate need.

-- Commended Doug Cecere for his exemplary performance as a city firefighter for 24 years. Cecere recently retired.

September 7, 2016 - 3:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, austin park, news.

Press release from the city Department of Public Works:

Due to the unusually warm weather this week, the Spray Park at Austin Park will stay open thru this week. Sunday Sept. 11 will be the last day to use the Spray Park at Austin Park for the season.

September 2, 2015 - 11:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, austin park.

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Unnamed, unknown for months, and whose death is shrouded in mystery, an infant who may never have drawn a breath in this mortal world, was memorialized Wednesday night in a candlelight vigil in Austin Park.

There were words of compassion for Christina M. Colantonio, the 28-year-old Liberty Street woman charged with murder in the second degree even as the District Attorney's Office hedges on its claim of sufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal complaint, and greater compassion expressed for the female infant who may have been stillborn, or may have been killed by her own mother, but either way, whose birth was reportedly kept secret, her body hidden in her mother's apartment for about three months.

"Tonight, we're not just out here to remember a life that really didn't have that chance (to make a decision for Christ)," said Pastor Jason Norton. "We're not going to see her pretty face run and skip in this world, and we're not going to hear her pretty voice, and we're not going to experience her here.

"But people, I tell you, she has been received into the heavenlies. I tell you, if you want to know her, then just accept Jesus and believe in him and one day you also will be there and you'll be able to embrace her."

After Norton spoke -- the last of several speakers -- the 40 or 50 people gathered carried their lit candles over to Norton's church in City Center for a reception.

Norton said their candles represented a light in this world to battle the darkness.

"I believe with all of my heart that what we're doing tonight is just not to remember her precious life, and that's why we're here primarily, but we're also here to make a bold statement to our city. We're here to make a bold statement to this region, to this community, that darkness and evil shall not prevail and have its way in this area. Amen. (Amen.) We are making a bold declaration tonight."

Earlier, Pastor Tim Young called on those assembled to pray for Colantonio and her family.

"We're here today to encourage each other," Young said. "We're here to help the family, to give them comfort in this time of need, to help them in whatever we can, to love them, as Christ loves us.

"I encouage each and every one of you in whatever way you can to reach out to this family, to Christina, also, because this lady, woman, needs lots of prayer," Young added. "She needs lots of prayer. The family needs lots of prayer. We need to help and support them in any way we can."

Tammy Arneth, of All Babies Cherished, expressed concern that an expectant mother in the community might not know of the free resources her agency provides.

The agency can help new mothers with emotional support as well as material needs, all for free, but new parents are expected to take some classes through the program.

"It breaks my heart that maybe Christina didn't know to come to see us," Arneth said, adding later, "We had more than 900 visits last year alone and obviously that wasn't enough, because if somebody in this community doesn't know to come to us for services, then we're not doing the job."

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The donated stuffed toys will be given to Batavia PD so officers can hand them out to children who might need the tender care they represent in times of crisis.

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Attendees had a chance to sign cards for the baby's family.

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Pastor Tim Young

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Pastor Jason Norton

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Tammy Arneth speaking.

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Stephanie Armstrong with a closing song.

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September 2, 2015 - 11:05am
posted by Bea McManis in austin park, Batavia Neighborhood Watch, game night.
Event Date and Time: 
September 3, 2015 - 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Only two weeks left.  Join us at Austin Park's soft ball field for a fun night.  If you wish to help supervise the games, please meet at the red Care-A-Van truck at 5pm.  Those coming for the games (adults and children), please check in with Frank Schaivi or Sarah Christopher.  
August 21, 2015 - 3:34pm

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Today, in Austin Park, the 2nd Annual Children's Carnival, sponsored by Community Action of Genesee and Orleans Counties.

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August 12, 2015 - 6:42pm
posted by Bea McManis in austin park, Batavia Neighborhood Watch.
Event Date and Time: 
August 13, 2015 - 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Meet us at the softball field at Austin Park for a rousing game of kickball.  Bring yourself, your kids, your grandma, or a team to challenge others.  Check in with Frank Schiavi or Sarah Christopher when you arrive.  If you would like to be an adult game supervisor, meet us at the red Care A Van truck at 5pm. Thursday night.  Go to the Care a Van picnic then meander over to the ball field to run off the calories.  
August 10, 2015 - 11:01am
posted by Bea McManis in bike racks, austin park, Batavia Neighborhood Watch.
Event Date and Time: 
August 11, 2015 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm
The Batavia Neighborhood Project Board will meet Tuesday, 7:30pm  Aug. 11 at the Richmond Library.  The public is invited to learn about the proposed installation of bike racks in Batavia; the Austin Park Thursday Game Night; the possibility of forming a tree pruning public awareness group.  On the agenda is a short discussion regarding a logo contest.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/Batavianeighborhoodwatch/
July 29, 2015 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in spray park, austin park, batavia.

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Colin Hart, all of 1-and-a-half years old, experienced the Spray Park in Austin Park on this hot day for the first time. He was a little unsure of the whole splashing water thing. He was with mom Jill.

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July 17, 2015 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, batavia, austin park, Care-A-Van Ministries.

Press release:

Care-A-Van Ministries hosts free weekly Community Cookouts at Austin Park every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. during the Summer through Sept. 10 -- rain or shine.

The weather is great, the cookout vehicle is ready, and the grills fired up!

Each meal consists of a choice of hot dog or hamburger, potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, pickles, chips, watermelon and a drink. In 2012, during the first summer of cookouts at Austin Park, 4,388 meals were served, in 2013 there were 4,936 meals served, and in 2014 the ministry served 6,426 meals.

The ministry projects to serve 7,000 meals this season as schools will be closed (no free/reduced lunches for children), individuals are still facing economic hardship, and most importantly, many just love to come out and enjoy a warm summer evening of Christian fellowship, music, and a great meal.

Each week, cookouts are highlighted with an inspirational gospel message by a different pastor from a local community church and uplifting music provided by the Care-A-Van Band.

Many organizations have come out on these Thursday nights to share information about their services, their churches, or just to fellowship with those attending the cookouts. These include: the Salvation Army; Fidelis Care; Total Freedom; Cornell Cooperative Extension; Genesee Country Church; Truth Ministries; R2R Ministries; First Baptist Church of Elba; Living Waters Apostolic Ministries; GCASA; Discovery Chapel; Eagle Fountain Fellowship; YMCA; PC Publications; Smoke Free Genesee; Mothers Supporting Children & Families; and the Genesee County Mental Health Association.

Care-A-Van encourages any organization or church that is interested in setting up a table or activity to contact Paul Ohlson at 343-0328 as we welcome those interested in serving their community through the fellowship and love of Jesus Christ. Donations for the ministry can be mailed to:  P.O. Box 1611, Batavia NY 14021.

June 9, 2015 - 12:02pm
Event Date and Time: 
June 14, 2015 - 10:00am to 11:30am

St. Paul Lutheran Church invites you join us for WORSHIP in Austin Park in Batavia, NY on Sunday June 14, 2015 at 10am. Message by Pastor Allen Werk. Patriotic music by E.R. Singers. Music provided by St. Paul Praise Band. Bring your own lawn chair. Celebrate FLAG DAY with us. Wear your red, white and blue.

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