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January 10, 2022 - 2:55pm
posted by Press Release in genesee county, batavia, Youth Board, awards.

Press Release:

The Genesee County & City of Batavia Youth Boards are looking for nominations for their annual Youth Recognition Banquet.  There are three awards presented at the Youth Recognition Banquet:

  • Youth Recognition Award—This award recognizes young people who have performed exceptional service to the community and/or have assumed extraordinary roles in their families.  Typically, the best candidates for this award are high school students, but we also know there are 12, 13, 14 year olds who exemplify distinctive qualities of service.  Several youth will be recognized; however the Youth Boards reserve the right to limit the number of recipients.
  • Adult Volunteer—This award recognizes an adult who provides service as a volunteer to youth in Genesee County.
  • Adult Youth Worker—This award recognizes a youth service professional whose work surpasses normal expectations.

Recipients will be honored at the Youth Recognition Banquet on March 31, 2022.  Nominations are due by Friday, February 11th.  For more information or to receive nomination forms, please call the Genesee County Youth Bureau at 344-3960 or [email protected].  The forms are also on the Youth Bureau page of the Genesee County website, www.co.genesee.ny.us

December 17, 2021 - 3:07pm
posted by Press Release in GCC, awards, news, theater, Dan Konopski.

Press Release:

 On November 20, 2021 at the Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis, GCC Admissions Recruitment Specialist Dan Konopski accepted the Stan Musial Award on behalf of Buffalo Bills fans for their charitable donations to Blessings in a Backpack, a Louisville-based charity that helps feed elementary school students across the country.

While watching the Baltimore-Buffalo AFC playoff game last January from his home in Tonawanda, Konopski, a life-long Bills fan, looked on as Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson exited the game with a head injury late in the third quarter. While Jackson's exit helped Buffalo advance to the AFC Championship, it didn't sit well Konopski. After some research, he discovered that Jackson was affiliated with Blessings in a Backpack and decided to make a donation. He posted the receipt on social media, encouraging others to do the same. Bills fans took notice and a few days later, 18,450 individual donations were made in Jackson's honor and more than $550,000 was raised.

"An individual doing whatever they can to make a difference will always mean something. An army of united and inspired people doing whatever they can do to make a difference means everything. It's a good cause, it was a good game and he's a great player. It just made sense to me at the time. I never imagined it getting to this level but I guess that's just the Bills Mafia way," said Konopski.

Named for Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial, the Musial Awards honor the year's greatest moments of sportsmanship. The show is presented by Maryville University and produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization. In addition to keeping Stan Musial's legacy alive, the mission of the Musial Awards is to encourage kindness, selflessness, integrity and civility in sports and society - and to inspire people across the nation to be good sports. The event has occurred in St. Louis since 2005. Other 2021 Musial award recipients included Wayne and Janet Gretzky, Bryce Harper and LSU Gymnastics.

The Musial Awards will air on CBS on Christmas Day at 5 p.m. EST

For more information about Blessings in a Backpack, please visit https://www.blessingsinabackpack.org

Photo courtesy of GCC

December 7, 2021 - 12:15pm
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, sports, horse racing, awards.

Press Release by Tim Bojarski, president, Upstate New York USHWA

The Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association has named Jami Chatt their 2021 Unsung Hero award recipient at Batavia Downs. 

Jami Chatt has been around horses since she could walk and was introduced to the sport of harness racing by her grandfather Fred Haslip, who has been a driving and training legend in western New York since the 1960’s. And although she has groomed, jogged and trained horses all her life and currently owns the pacer Mateo, she also works daily in her full time career as a special education teacher in the Sweet Home (NY) school district. 

Despite all her personal commitments Chatt still finds time to go above and beyond for anything that puts harness racing in a positive light and has been doing so for years, especially when it comes to charitable concerns. 

In 2013 when driver Anthony Coletta went down in a wreck at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chatt spearheaded the “Stay Strong Anthony Coletta” fund which included wrist-band sales, a silent auction, purse donations from drivers, trainers and owners, along with cash given by attending fans and Batavia Downs staff and raised $12,835, which all went to Coletta and his family to help him recover from his injuries.  

The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester started to hold one of their annual fundraisers at Batavia Downs in 2010 and over time, it grew into a major event. Several years ago Chatt got involved and really took control of the fund-raising on the horsemen’s side. Now she relentlessly solicits trainers, drivers and owners both at the track and then later, at other tracks, to donate a percentage of their purse from the night of the event to the BCCR. Since Chatt has gotten involved the final donation number has grown exponentially and this year the final total was a record $19,653.  

Chatt also works hard to introduce new fans to the sport. Each year she brings families and friends who are not associated with racing to the track and even holds a “field trip” for her fellow teachers, and then spends her night schooling them on the finer points of handicapping. 

In appreciation for her selfless work, UNY-USHWA will present Jami Chatt with her Unsung Hero Award in the Purple Haze Winner’s Circle at Batavia Downs on Saturday (Dec. 11) during UNY-USHWA’s Night of Distinction. Saturday is the final night of the meet and post time is at 5 p.m.

January 25, 2020 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sheriff's Office, news, awards.

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Photos by Howard Owens. Information via Sheriff's Office press release.

Officer of the Year Award – Investigator Christopher A. Parker
Investigator Christopher A. Parker has distinguished himself in the performance of service to the citizens of Genesee County during 2019. Investigator Parker’s professional skill and devotion to duty are evident in his work practices. He is a 22-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office and continues to maintain an exemplary drive with regard to every aspect of police work. His commitment to public safety is apparent as he is credited with recent investigations leading to the removal of two illegal handguns from our community. The quality of Investigator Parker’s work was displayed this past year during a successful prosecution of a fatal hit-and-run motor vehicle accident in which he was the lead investigator. He dedicated countless hours to ensure justice which resulted in a vehicular manslaughter conviction. Investigator Parker undertakes investigations into complex financial crimes against the elderly, works as a fire investigator, and is an invaluable intelligence resource. Investigator Parker has fostered relationships with law enforcement personnel from countless agencies and works to gather and share intelligence concerning criminal activity.

Investigator Christopher A. Parker has reflected great credit upon himself and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and most deserves to be named Officer of the Year.

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Distinguished Service Award – Emergency Services Dispatcher Steven L. Robinson
Emergency Services Dispatcher Steven L. Robinson has distinguished himself as a member of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office. Thirty years ago, Dispatcher Robinson began his lengthy career in emergency communications; and during this time, he has been the recipient of numerous awards for his professionalism and dedication. Dispatcher Robinson has spent many years as a trainer of new dispatchers and provided critical insight during the consolidation and creation of the Genesee County Emergency Services Dispatch Center. Additionally, Dispatcher Robinson played an integral role in establishing quarterly workshops in which law enforcement officers and dispatchers meet face to face to discuss topics of mutual concerns. He often volunteered for extra assignments including maintaining records validation within the New York State Integrated Justice Portal.

Emergency Services Dispatcher Steven L. Robinson reflects great credit upon himself and the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

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Longevity Awards

  • Correction Officer Andrew D. Hurley, 10 years
  • Chief Deputy Joseph M. Graff, 15 years
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Stephen R. Smelski, 15 years
  • Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur, 20 years
  • Deputy Sheriff John P. Weis, 20 years
  • Deputy Sheriff Nathan W. Balduf, 25 years
  • Investigator R. Pete Welker, 25 years

Meritorious Awards

  • Sr. Correction Officer Jason R. Queal, 1st

Commendations

  • Principal Financial Clerk Deborah A. Shea, 1st
  • Deputy Sheriff Richard S. Schildwaster, 1st
  • Correction Officer Michael F. Lindsley, 1st
  • Investigator Joseph D. Loftus, 2nd
  • Correction Officer Andrew D. Hurley, 2nd
  • Correction Officer Daniel J. Renz, 2nd
  • Deputy Sheriff Ryan W. Young, 3rd
  • Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher Jason W. Holman, 3rd & 4th
  • Youth Officer Howard J. Carlson, 4th
  • Emergency Services Dispatcher Lynn B. Riccobono, 6th
  • Sergeant Andrew B. Halem, 6th
April 26, 2017 - 4:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, awards, schools, education, news.

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Sofia Branche and Sheldon Silverling were named outstanding students for the month at last night's City schools board meeting. They were honored for their leadership examples they set at John Kennedy School.

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Teresa Morrill, named Outstanding Employee.

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Jane Haggett and the students and staff involved with Winter Guard were honored for their efforts with a proclamation. Students pictured, Mina Sanchez and Mary Murphy.

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Lisa Robinson, right, and the volunteers who helped organization Mr. Batavia, were recognized with a proclamation by the board. Students pictured, Lindsie Cook and Madison Moore.

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Aimee Nelson, named Outstanding Employee.

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Caryn Wood and Daniel Grillo along with the cast and crew of "Hairspray" were recognized with a proclamation recognizing their efforts to stage the musical. 

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Eileen Ognibene, named Outstanding Employee.

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Rob Vanderwerf, named Outstanding Employee.

February 23, 2015 - 9:46pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in awards, cancer, Genesee Cancer Assistance.

This is the second in our series of profiles of the 2014 Chamber of Commerce Award winners. The awards will be presented at a dinner at the Clarion Hotel on Saturday.

One of Genesee County's most active volunteer organizations is in for a pretty big year. Genesee Cancer Assistance is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and it's being honored with a Special Service Recognition Award from the Chamber of Commerce.

Consisting of two office staff and around 50 volunteers, Genesee Cancer Assistance was founded in 1995 after the American Cancer Society withdrew its services from Genesee County. The organization provides emotional, financial and practical support to Genesee County cancer patients and their families. According to office manager Patricia Arnold, they have helped about 1,700 families and given more than half a million dollars to cancer patients in the last 20 years.

Some of their most well-known annual fund-raising events include the Festival of Hope, 5K Walk, golf tournament and spaghetti dinner.

Their nomination came from Paul Figlow, a member of the Genesee Cancer Assistance board of directors and chairman of the Festival of Hope.

"The reason I nominated (Genesee Cancer Assistance) is that I really think we need to get the word out about what we do," Figlow said.

Three things that make Genesee Cancer Assistance special

If you talk to the people involved, they will tell you that there are at least three major factors that distinguish Genesee Cancer Assistance.

First, all of the money they raise stays in Genesee County and goes directly to those who need it.

Second, everyone involved with the charity has been personally touched by cancer in some way.  Figlow, for example, lost his mother to cancer in 2010.

"Probably about 99 percent of the people involved can give you a story," Figlow said. "Our organization really hits home to a lot of people."

Finally, the people of Genesee Cancer Assistance give their time and effort neither out of necessity nor personal gain, but because they have a passion for it.

“We're blessed with a very strong board presence,” said Steve Grice, board member and golf tournament co-chair, “people who are willing to put the effort in. But we're also blessed with a group of volunteers who don't go out and wave a flag, but are right there when we have an event.  They show up and ask, ‘What can we do? Where do you want me?’ Anything you ask them to do, they'll do.”

Volunteers will also help with technology, advertising, or other areas according to their interest and expertise.

“It’s like God brought them down here,” said Board Member Joe Gerace, who is chairman of the spaghetti dinner fundraiser. “They really are good people. And they don’t complain (about the work). This is really a big family.”

As for Arnold and Sue Underwood, the only two paid staff, Grice said that they go “above and beyond” for their positions.

How Genesee Cancer Assistance works

Each patient is given $400 upon application. This is to help with hospital visits, copays, mileage, hospital parking fees, etc.

"It may seem like a small gesture to some," Grice said. "The money sometimes might seem minimal; but it's really not minimal to someone who's lying in a hospital bed on chemo and just wants somebody to hold their hand, or just sit there and watch TV with them. The family might not have the funds, because of insurance and all that."

Patient advocacy is also a big part of the mission. Staff at Genesee Cancer Assistance will answer, to the best of their ability, questions about any issues or concerns patients bring to them.

"Say a patient calls and says their utilities were shut off," Arnold said. "We will step in and tell them how to go about contacting the utility companies and what has to be done for their heat, for example, not to be shut off."

She said that oftentimes, if a patient can present proof from a doctor stating that the loss of electricity or other utilities would cause him or her harm, then the company cannot shut them off. But there are specific procedures people must go through in cases like these, and Genesee Cancer Assistance can guide them through such procedures.

Other services include referrals to other agencies when necessary (for example, when people have used up the services Genesee Cancer Assistance is able to provide), sharing educational materials with the community, and free Biblical counseling through Grace Baptist Church in Batavia.

"Simply Beautiful"

One of Genesee Cancer Assistance's best-kept secrets is the "Simply Beautiful" program, which is Gerace's brainchild. He runs it with the help of dedicated volunteers Carol Grasso, Joyce Meisner, Karen Roland and Amy Nichols, as well as others.

It is sort of a cross between cosmetic aid and a support group. The first thing Gerace does for everyone once they arrive is try to make them comfortable.

"When they come in, they're very nervous," Gerace said. “And I try to help them out. I give them coffee, or donuts, or fruit. It depends. (Once they feel relaxed), if they don't have a wig, I put a wig on them to show them what they look like."

Patients -- both men and women -- get free makeup and wigs (or hats, if they are not interested in wigs) up to $200 in value, over and above the $400 they receive upon application. Makeup includes artificial eyebrows and eyelashes for those who have lost these as a result of chemotherapy.

"Simply Beautiful" meets on a monthly basis as a general rule, although sometimes this is impossible due to treatment schedules or illness. In those cases, Gerace will do his best to accommodate people's needs.

"They'll either call me up, or call Patty from the office, who says: 'Joe, we got a woman who needs a hairpiece and can't wait. Would you let her come to the office and see if it's what she wants?' I've done that many times."

Gerace started "Simply Beautiful" after being involved with a similar program in association with the American Cancer Society, "Look Good, Feel Better."

When American Cancer Society services diminished in Genesee County, he and his fellow volunteers "had to start from fresh." He was asked to come up with the name for a new program, and was told to "keep it simple."

"And I said, 'Yes, that's a good name -- "Simply Beautiful.” ’ ”

A community effort

Another ingredient in the success of Genesee Cancer Assistance is their ability to form productive partnerships with people in the community.

"There are many people that we have helped who take it on themselves to do their own fundraisers,” Figlow said. “And they basically do it all themselves. These are quite the events -- I'm sure they spend months working on them. (In each case) they tell us about the event, they take care of everything, and then we receive a check every year."

Some of their partners include Paul Berardini of Big Pauly's Pizza, T.F. Brown's, Kiwanis of Corfu-Pembroke, Toni Funke and her "Zumba in the Sand" program, and Michelle Shade, who puts on a "Christmas Angel Festival and Basket Raffle" at Calvary Baptist Church in Batavia every November.

"All the service clubs in Genesee County help us some way somehow," Gerace said, "whether it's the Lions Club, Zonta, Sertoma Club (and others). And Patty Arnold is very good about making sure everyone who helps us gets a thank-you."

For more information on Genesee Cancer Assistance and what they do, call 345-0417.

Photo: Dr. Kevin Mudd, president of Genesee Cancer Assistance Board of Directors.

May 29, 2014 - 9:43am
posted by Patricia Hawley in awards, photography, batavia photography club, local arts.

 

Susan Meier, owner of Photography by Susan Meier, received four awards at the annual awards ceremony of the Batavia Photography Club. The event, held at Bohn’s Restaurant on May 6, annually recognizes the efforts of their members.

An active member of the Batavia Photography Club for 17 years, Meier received awards for: Best Color Digital; Best Color Print; Image of the Year; Most Advanced Photographer of the Year. 

Meier says “My involvement with the Batavia Photography Club has helped me grow as an artist and encouraged me to expand my craft.” Her print, “Feathered,” was accepted at Todmorden Papermill Gallery in Toronto Canada and is on view now through June 7. Additionally she has submitted several prints to 6x6x2014 -- Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s International Small Art Show to be held in June. 

For more information about photography by Susan Meier visit here or call 585.861.0415.

Her boutique-style photo studio -- PbSM -- offers studio and on location photography. The address is 8758 Read Road, Corfu, NY 14036.
April 14, 2012 - 11:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, awards, business, chamber of commerce.

For the 40th straight year, business and community leaders gathered to honor a group of hard working and visionary people who help enrich life in Genesee County.

The chamber of commerce awards ceremony was held at the Clarion Hotel again this year and more than 300 people attended.

Stories about the 2011 winners:

If you're unable to view the slide show, click here

To purchase prints of these photos, click here.

September 27, 2011 - 9:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in awards, UMMC.

Press release:

The Jerome Foundation and United Memorial Medical Center Foundation are seeking nominations for the 27th annual Health and Humanitarian Award of Genesee County.  

The award recognizes outstanding men and women whose volunteer efforts have improved the physical, emotional or spiritual well-being of the greater Genesee County area. 

“We are fortunate to have many caring and committed volunteers devoted to the sick or to those in need, and helping build a stronger, healthier community for all of us," said Justin Calarco-Smith, president of The Jerome Foundation.

He noted the accomplishments of Ronald Burroughs, the 2010 Health and Humanitarian recipient, whose volunteer efforts and leadership with Genesee County Habitat for Humanity have enabled local families to live in clean, decent and stable housing.

Nomination forms are available from UMMC Foundation Office at 127 North St., by calling 585-344-5300, or online at www.ummc.org. Organizations or individuals may nominate candidates.

Consideration will be given to actual accomplishments achieved through volunteer service and subsequent improvements to quality of life.  Nominations should be submitted on or before Sept. 30.

The 2011 award winner will be honored at a luncheon on Friday, Dec. 2 at Terry Hills Restaurant.

December 18, 2010 - 8:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in awards, Sheriff's Office.

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Deputy Edward Vlack is Officer of the Year in the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Jane Ferrando received the Distinguished Service Award.

Both were honored Friday during the Sheriff's Office annual holiday lunch at the headquarters office on Park Road.

Awards were also presented Deputy Patrick Reeves, Deputy Brian Thompson and Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello for Meritorious Service.

Commendations were presented to Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster, Deputy Lonnie Nati, Correction Officer Lisa Aratari, Correction Officer Walter Kolmetz and Correction Officer Bob Mattice.

Top photo: Vlack receives his award from Undersheriff William Sharon, left, and Sheriff Gary Maha.

More pictures and full press release after the jump:

December 5, 2010 - 3:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, awards, Habitat for Humanity, Jerome Foundation.

PC050005.JPGRon Burroughs, one of Genesee County's most tireless volunteers, especially when it comes to his work with Habitat for Humanity, was honored Friday for his efforts.

Burroughs was given the 2010 Health and Humanitarian Award by the Jerome Foundation.

"I can't put it into words," Burroughs chuckled during his acceptance speech. "It's just...I have a hard time comprehending it, really. It seems like there's so many other people out there who deserve it, but they named me...it just floored me."

Ron is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Batavia, and is directing the construction of a new addition there as well.

(WBTA contributed to this report)

October 3, 2010 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in awards, GoArt!.

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GoArt! presented seven recipients with community arts awards at its annual gala Saturday night at the Batavia Party House in Stafford.

Besides the awards, the event featured live music, a Chinese auction, raffle prizes -- including a $5,000 diamond and sapphire ring -- and a buffet dinner.

Community arts awards went to James Catino, Cobblestone Society Museum, Evelyn Lyman (pictures above), Rosaline "Roz" Hayes (posthumously) and Brad London, with special recognition awards going to the Genesee County Master Gardeners and Bob Terry (for details on the winners, click here).

More pictures after the jump:

September 29, 2010 - 8:42am
posted by Pamela LaGrou in awards, GCASA, community awareness.
Event Date and Time: 
October 22, 2010 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Friday, October 22 is GCASA's 11th Annual Awards Dinner at the Holiday Inn.  Social hour begins at 6:00 pm with live music, dinner at 7:00 and guest speaker and awards at 8:00 pm.  Millie Tomidy, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Genesee County is the featured guest speaker.  The 2010 Award recipients are:           

March 8, 2010 - 1:08pm
posted by Genesee ARC News in awards, Announcements, Arc GLOW.

DONNA SASKOWSKI.JPGGenesee ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski was named Social Worker of the Year by the Western Division of the New York State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

She was selected for her service to people with developmental disabilities, her leadership skills and commitment to community development. Her award nomination was submitted by Barbara Demerest, of Amherst, a former aide to New York State Senator Mary Lou Rath.

“Community leaders and families served by ARC continually note the major positive impact that Donna’s leadership has on the lives of the individuals and families her agency serves, and on the larger community," Demerest said.

During the awards presentation, Demerest said, “Donna particularly has forged partnerships and collaborations, not only strengthening services but integrating persons with disabilities into their communities and maximizing their opportunities for full participation.

"Among the many initiatives she has led are a recreational partnership with the YMCA and a major fundraising effort for the Genesee ARC Community Center (formerly St. Mary’s School).”

Saskowski, a lifelong resident of the town of Darien, received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Social Work from the University of Buffalo School of Social Work and has been on staff at Genesee ARC since 1989 and Executive Director since 2004.

In addition to her affiliation with NASW, Saskowski is a member of the Batavia Rotary Club and the Genesee County United Way Board of Directors. She is president of the Finger Lakes Collaborative, and belongs to NYSARC’s Executive Directors’ Association and Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York. In 2006, she was a member of the Community Health Foundation Leadership Fellows and she is a member of Leadership Genesee’s Class of 2005.

May 7, 2008 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in awards, jaycees.

It looks like the local Jaycees swept up quite a few awards on Saturday, according to Scott's JCI Blog.

Scott Kinglsey of Saratoga Springs doesn't give any details on the awards banquet, but he runs down a complete list of honorees.

For Batavia, this included:

  • Jaycee Debate Batavia Area Jaycees (Pam Warren, Amy Robinson, Catherine Colby)
  • Master's Speak Up, Mel Robinson - President Batavia Area Jaycees
  • Stan Malkinsk Memorial Speak Up, Amy Robinson - Batavia Area Jaycees
  • Outstanding Local President, Mel Robinson - Batavia Area Jaycees
  • Outstanding Local Publication, The IMPACT - Batavia Area Jaycees
  • Outstanding Local Project, 55th Annual Home, Garden, and Trade Show - Batavia Area Jaycees
  • Blue Chip Parade of Chapters: Batavia Area Jaycees (tie)
    JCI Saratoga Springs (tie)
  • Outstanding Local Organization, Batavia Area Jaycees - led by President Mel Robinson

Congratulations to all the winners.  It sounds like Batavia is fortunate to have a strong Jaycee chapter.

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