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Batavia Downs

June 18, 2022 - 8:30am

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Tommy DeCarlo, lead singer of the legendary rock band Boston, played Friday evening at Batavia Downs as part of its annual summer concert series.

DeCarlo has performed on every Boston tour since 2007 playing to sold-out audiences all over the world.

This show closes with a full set of Boston classic hits from the 1970s and 80s. Touring professionals in DeCarlo's backing band include August Zadra on lead guitar/vocals (Dennis DeYoung Band), Walter Ino (Survivor/The Babys), Mike Morales on drums (Dennis DeYoung Band), Tommy DeCarlo Jr. on guitar/vocals, and Payton Velligan on bass/vocals.

The two-set show started with Rudy Cardenas of American Idol and a full set of Journey classic hits including the hits from both the Steve Perry and Gregg Rolie eras.

Cardenas has had a long relationship with Journey music starting in 2007 when he debuted on season 6 of American Idol singing "Open Arms" on national TV.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

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June 16, 2022 - 12:41pm
posted by Press Release in music, Batavia Downs, news, entertainment.

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Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel announced today that due to circumstances beyond their control, the concert on June 24th, 2022 will no longer feature Finger 11.

On June 24th, 2022, The Sweet will perform at the Rockin’ The Downs Summer Concert Series.

The Legendary Rock band The Sweet shot to the top of the charts in the 1970s with such hits ats Ballroom Blitz, Fox on the Run, Love is like Oxygen, Little Willy, Hellraiser, Teenage Rampage and more.  The Sweet features Stevie Stewart on Bass, Keyboards and Vocals, Mitch Perry on Guitar, Richie Onori on Drums , Patrick Stone on Lead Vocals, and Dave Schultz on Keyboards and Vocals.  Their unparalleled chemistry continues to forge ahead with the same vigor, intensity & enthusiasm keeping Steve Priest’s vision and “The Sweet’s” legacy alive.

Please note that tickets purchased for the Finger 11 concert will still be honored on that date.  Those wishing for a refund may do so through their point of purchase.  Info can be found inside of your ticket confirmation email.  Tickets purchased at the Lucky Treasures gift shop may be refunded during normal gift shop hours.

Tickets are available for The Sweet right now on BataviaConcerts.com.

June 9, 2022 - 5:27pm
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, news.

Press release:

Ahead of the concerts at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, beginning with this Friday’s Bruce in the USA charity concert to benefit the Ricky Palermo foundation, has announced the following traffic pattern changes for the roads surrounding the facility.

In conjunction with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, please note the following:

With northbound traffic on Park Road already closed due to construction, all those looking to attend the concerts who approach from the south should park in the former K-Mart Parking lot.

Those approaching from the north and the Thruway can go south on Park Road as normal and park in the Batavia Downs Lot.

Due to road construction, all foot traffic from both lots should be directed up and through the main entrance.

Valet is open and is free as per usual.

On Fridays, beginning at 9:30 p.m. and lasting for about an hour, traffic southbound on Park Road will be diverted down Richmond unless that person is attempting to visit Batavia Downs.  Traffic leaving the main Batavia Downs Parking lot at that time will be sent North and then be diverted down Richmond.  Traffic can then find their way back to the thruway or into Batavia itself.  Traffic will NOT be permitted to travel south on Park Road during this brief time as patrons exit the main doors into the various parking lots.

Due to concert traffic, if you do not have a need to be near the Batavia Downs facility, it is best to avoid the area during those times.

May 31, 2022 - 6:09pm

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Press release:

Representatives from Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel and the Ricky Palermo foundation today donated over 3,300 tickets to the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency for the upcoming concerts at Batavia Downs.

The first concert, featuring Bruce in the USA, the World’s #1 Tribute to Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, will take place on Friday, June 10th.  100% of the proceeds from ticket sales, chair rental and raffles that day will go to the Ricky Palmero Foundation for Spinal Cord Research.  The fifth Rockin’ the Downs concert series, presented by Pepsi, will start the following week on Friday, June 17th.

“We are happy to extend these complimentary tickets to our local veterans, “said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO of Batavia Downs and a retired member of the US Navy.  “We thank all the men and women of the Armed Forces for all that they have done and continue to do for our great nation.”

“Our Ricky Palermo Foundation has worked with many veterans and veteran agencies throughout the years,” said Ricky Palermo, President and CEO of the Ricky Palermo Foundation.  “Just like Batavia Downs has done in years past, we too wanted to extend complimentary tickets to our concert for area Veterans to thank them for their service.”

“We are grateful to receive tickets for all 11 concerts, said William Joyce, Director of the Veterans Service Agency of Genesee County.  “Our area Veterans love going to the concerts and we are pleased to be able to extend this opportunity to them once again.”

Tickets can be purchased to all Batavia Downs Events including the Ricky Palmero Charity Concert at BataviaConcerts.com

About Batavia Downs/WROTB
Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 10 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated over $232 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of participating municipalities.

About The Ricky Palermo Foundation
When we first started our foundation, we started small, hosting a cut-a-thon and selling T-shirts that raised a total of five thousand dollars for The Miami Project. In 1996, with the help of my family and close friends, we started The Ricky Palermo Spinal Injury Golf Tournament. Our first year we set a goal to raise five thousand dollars. By the end of the day we had raised eleven thousand, exceeding our goal by over fifty percent. Fast forward to today, our tournament is one of the largest in Western New York with 200 plus golfers, raffles, fun, and even a helicopter golf ball drop. Our foundation has grown into more than just raising awareness and money. We have annual comedy shows, soccer, basketball and lacrosse clinics, and dinners with both live and silent auctions. In 25 years, we have donated $1.7 million to our community and to research at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

About the Veterans Service Agency of Genesee County
The Veterans Service Agency of Genesee County Provides services for veterans and their families.   We assist with filing claims and obtaining psychological, employment, and financial counseling.  We also offer assistance in military review of discharges and in obtaining New York State benefits.  Services are free to veterans, spouses, widows, and children of veterans.

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May 23, 2022 - 5:20pm
posted by Press Release in oakfield-alabama, news, Batavia Downs.

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Press release:

Western Region Off-Track Betting (WROTB) / Batavia Downs Gaming President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek presented representatives from the Oakfield Alabama Little League with a check for $2,000.  The funds will help maintain the baseball fields and will help keep registration fees low for families.

The Shopping for Mom Craft and Gift Showcase, held at Batavia Downs on May 1st, was organized by Ted Hanes and Mary Bucceri, Group Sales Manager at Batavia Downs.  100% of collected vendor fees and accepted donations by attendees totaled $2,000. 

“In these tough economic times, we are blessed with the ability to raise awareness and funds through our events,” said Wojtaszek. “Organizations like the Oakfield Alabama Little League support children being active and growing their social skills as they interact with each other.  We are pleased to help alleviate the financial burden on parents by partnering with this worthy organization.”

“The funds will be used to maintain the grounds and help OALL keep registration fees low, “ said Normand Fluet, Oakfield Alabama Little League Supporter.  “As the cost of things like uniforms, equipment for the kids, dirt, clay and paint (to name a few) continue to increase, contributions like this allow us to limit how much more we have to ask parents for to continue the program!”

Photo by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

May 19, 2022 - 8:15am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Batavia Downs, WROTB, notify.

After presenting bid requests for election-related equipment Wednesday, Genesee County Board of Elections Commissioner Dick Siebert put on his personal hat. 

He wanted to clear the air about the relationship between him and former state senator George Maziarz. This past week Maziarz held a news conference to announce a lawsuit he has filed against Western Regional Off-Track Betting. In particular, Maziarz alleged that Batavia Downs and WROTB officials have engaged in "shameless and blatant corruption."

One of the allegations involved OTB members fraudulently obtaining perks, including health insurance, at the expense of taxpayers. Batavia Downs President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek defended the actions of both entities and said he believes that Maziarz is "just a bitter individual" who seems to have a vendetta against Batavia Downs and OTB. 

Likewise, Siebert, who has been a longtime leading member of OTB, wanted to have his say about Maziarz's motivation. 

"I'm just clearly here, I gotta say, and I'm gonna say this publicly, George Maziarz and I have not had a good rapport over the years," Siebert said during the Ways & Means Committee meeting. "When I was chairman, the one year George Maziarz approached me and he threatened me. If I didn't fire this particular guy ... he was a Democrat and George wanted somebody else ... I would never be chairman again.

"Well, I didn't fire him. He was definitely just upset because I would not support it. I understand being in the public eye that you're subjected to this kind of criticism ... I'm proud of what I've done for Genesee County. I'm happy to represent you. So I'm just getting this off my chest."

He recalled when Batavia Downs was in its early stages, and the parking lot and property were filled with seagulls and asbestos. All of that had to be cleaned up and new plans were put in place to create the gaming facility on Park Road, he said.

"I think we've done a great job."

Maziarz alleged that Siebert was involved in texting and/or emailing communications that involved misuse of company funds used for tickets to special events. Anyone who knows Siebert is also aware that he doesn't do such technology, he said. 

"The joke in my office was 'we know Dick didn't do that because Dick doesn't text.' My wife does all the acquisitions. She laughed. She said, 'What is he saying? You can't do emails.' Number one, I never emailed anybody about any tickets. I got accused of owing Genesee County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for the health insurance that I had taken for the 28 years I've been here," he said. "It's questionable right now and we're reviewing it. We've had, over the 28 years I've been here, we've had many comptrollers audits and not one of them raised an issue until just recently about the legality of it. So I had health insurance, and I'm not denying that I've had it, everybody else can have it." 

There have been prior audits with some negative findings, and OTB has made changes accordingly, Siebert has previously said. There was a lack of oversight of the distribution of sports and concert tickets and use of company vehicles, he said, and those mistakes have been corrected.

To read more about the Maziarz lawsuit, click here  

May 12, 2022 - 10:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, WROTB, news, notify, George Maziarz.

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A former state senator with a history of illegal activity while in office has filed a lawsuit against Batavia Downs and its leadership alleging that officials have engaged in "shameless and blatant corruption."

The suit concentrates on previously investigated accusations that officials at Western OTB have misused tickets to sporting events and concerts and that Western Regional OTB has improperly provided lucrative health insurance coverage to appointed board members.

George Maziarz, who represented Niagara County in the State Senate from 1995 to 2014 and was once considered one of the most powerful men in Niagara County, expressed some frustration today that none of the allegations against Western OTB, and in particular against his former political ally, Batavia Downs President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek, have led to anything more than recommendations for changes in procedures.

"Quite frankly, I'm disappointed that the Attorney General and the United States Attorney, the FBI hasn't done anything yet," Maziarz said during a press conference outside the casino on Park Road. " I keep being told over and over again that they're working on it."

Wojtaszek said that nothing more has come of the allegations -- either because corrective action has been taken or the claims of wrongdoing are not as clear cut as Maziarz represents.

From Wojtaszek's point of view, Maziarz is engaged in a vendetta against Western OTB. He said Maziarz was fired as a lobbyist about eight years ago, was passed over for the CEO position, and Wojtaszek participated in investigations that eventually led to Maziarz's own public corruption conviction. 

"I think he's just a bitter individual," Wojtaszek said during an exclusive interview with The Batavian immediately following the press conference. "He has a vendetta against many individuals and the corporation itself. He's made complaints to every conceivable agency and regulatory body in New York State, and they've all turned down his requests to take action against OTB. They've all investigated and found that nothing was amiss here at Western Regional OTB.

"Whatever remedies or suggestions they had for us to improve our business, we follow them. We will continue to follow them and improve our organization. We hired Terry Connors to do an in-depth look at what was going on here at Batavia Downs. Terry is a well-respected individual within the legal community all across the state. We're very confident in his findings and his suggestions, and we've implemented his recommendations. We'll continue to work with him."

He said Batavia Downs has also hired a compliance company out of Buffalo, headed by a former FBI agent, to review its policies and procedures.

The Lawsuit
Attorneys for Maziarz filed the lawsuit in Niagara County on May 3.  It alleges that Wojtaszek and board members misused and manipulated programs meant to attract patrons to the Batavia Downs Casino by using for themselves tickets to sporting events and concerts. 

For example, according to records, the OTB purchased 5,800 high-end tickets to Buffalo Bills games, Sabers games, and concerts at Darien Lake, and 10 percent of those tickets, worth about $120,000, wound up in the hands of OTB officials and their friends and family members. 

The suit alleges tickets were freely handed out at board meetings and were even used to provide a board member's daughter with a birthday party.

The suit also alleges that Wojtaszek failed to correctly record and report his personal use of a vehicle provided to him by Western OTB.

Western OTB board members are also accused of receiving gold-plated health insurance coverage in violation of state law and contrary to recommendations in a Comptroller's Audit Report, and a report compiled by attorneys hired by Western OTB to review the matter.

The suit states that these actions amount to Wojtaszek and board members using Batavia Downs as a personal ATM to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense with no real public oversite of the agency's policies and procedures.  

"Over time, this almost honor system-like structure led to dishonor, cronyism, and shameless, blatant corruption," the suit states. "The corruption has been normalized, legitimized, and covered up by the Board and a bipartisan network of high-powered consultants and lobbyists hired by CEO Wojtaszek (again, with little oversight by the public) to prevent public scrutiny or reform."

The Response
In his interview today, Wojtaszek defended how Batavia Downs has handled tickets to events.

Batavia Downs acquires tickets as perks for high rollers and special guests, Wojtaszek said.  A host from Batavia Downs typically accompanies these guests to the events. The role of the host is to ensure things go smoothly, that people get their tickets, get into the venue, receive the service expected for the event, and the host takes care of any issues that arise.

"Previously, if you were host, we provided a ticket to the host and then the host was allowed to bring a guest with them," Wojtaszek said. "At that point, they may have brought somebody from a wife, a husband, a son, or a daughter with them. We have since corrected that. Subsequent to the recommendation from the compliance company, it's just a host who takes care of whatever event, hockey game, football game, concert, and I think we're doing it properly now."

He said that the accusation that board members could just casually ask for tickets to Bills or Sabers games at board meetings and receive them misrepresents what actually took place. He said anybody, including board members, could ask for tickets on behalf of patrons of Batavia Downs.  They were not, he said, asking for themselves and friends and family.  However, to help improve the procedure, all requests must now be in writing and clearly state who is receiving the tickets. 

According to the audit report Maziarz cites, Wojtaszek said, "there were thousands of tickets accounted for.  There are a few, 100 I believe, that aren't, which equates to a reasonable amount of money but don't forget, each one of those tickets went to a host to host the game."

As for tickets being used for a birthday party for the daughter of a board member, that never happened, Wojtaszek said.

As for the use of a company car, Wojtaszek said, yes, he failed to complete the proper paperwork to record his personal use of the vehicle, and at the board's instruction, he reimbursed Western OTB $3,000 to resolve the issue.  And yes, he is now receiving a transportation allowance -- Maziarz claims $7,000 -- but Western OTB was already in the process of eliminating agency-owned vehicles for staff when the issue came up.  Besides potential liability, a car allowance for executives is more in keeping with standard practices in the business sector, Wojtaszek said.

As for health insurance for board members, Western OTB has attorneys working on the issue.  The agency does not agree that board members can't receive health insurance coverage.  

While Maziarz says that the Comptroller's Office and a legal firm hired by Western OTB say the practice is illegal, the issue doesn't appear to be that cut and dry. There is an older Comptroller's opinion that says the practice is permissible.  The memo on the topic, prepared by attorneys Gabriel M. Nugent and Robert J. Thorpe for the board, cites the 1978 opinion as well as the later opinion and suggests board members no longer accept health insurance.  It doesn't, as Maziarz claims, call the practice illegal.  

Health insurance, Wojtaszek said, is justified because pretty much every other public benefit corporation in the state offers it, and Batavia Downs operates in a very competitive environment and needs to attract and retain the most qualified board members. 

"What the board does here is some extremely important work," Wojtaszek said. "It is a multi-100-million dollar company that has performed extremely well over the last three to five years and has returned record amounts of revenue to the municipalities that it serves.

"If you're in a business that is very competitive -- which Batavia Downs is -- we have other private-sector casinos that we have to compete with here," he added. "And, by the way, we compete extremely well with them. You need to attract top-level talent to have those people serve on the board. And that's what we have here today. We have many, many excellent board members who have excellent business backgrounds and who lend a great deal to make this organization work. We say the compensation should be set accordingly. This is a competitive industry. It's not like a water district or sewer district. That is a monopoly where there is no competition going on."

The Players
In 2018, Maziarz entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of filing a false instrument and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine. He also admitted to hiding $95,000 in campaign payments to a former staff member accused of sexual harassment. He was initially charged with five felony election law violations. The investigation into Maziarz's activities began with the Morland Commission, which had been formed to investigate public corruption. 

Maziarz was also the subject of an FBI investigation. During the investigation, but before he was notified not to discard records, Maziarz reportedly had his staff shred campaign records going back to 1995.

During the press conference today, when asked about document shredding, he denied such shredding ever took place.

When asked today about his misdemeanor conviction, his first response was that Wojtaszek has one, too. Which is true.  Both convictions stem from the same Attorney General investigation.  Maziarz said both he and Wojtaszek received conditional discharges, which means the record is expunged if they avoid illegal activity for a specified period of time, usually six months.

Wojtaszek has been president and CEO of Western Regional OTB since 2016. Before that, he was the general council. He's been an attorney for 26 years and was active for years in Niagara County Republican politics, including a stint as chair of the county committee. He began his legal career as city attorney for North Tonawanda.

Wojtaszek said he and Maziarz once worked closely together.

Maziarz says the FBI is investigating Western OTB and Wojtaszek.  

In 2019, Batavia Downs officials denied there was such an investigation.  Today, Wojtaszek said the only knowledge he has of an investigation is the claim by Maziarz that a board member has been interviewed by the FBI.  He said he's aware of one other inquiry by the FBI in the past three years and that dealt with a contractor and the purchase of broadcast air time. In that case, the FBI was saying it was Batavia Downs that was getting ripped off.  Wojtaszek said FBI agents have never questioned him about anything related to Western OTB.

The lawsuit wasn't Maziarz's idea, Maziarz said.  He said after a story appeared in a New York Times publication, an attorney for Advocates for Justice contacted him and asked him to be the face of a lawsuit against Batavia Downs on behalf of taxpayers.

Maziarz, a man who admitted to public corruption, said Advocates for Justice specialize in fighting public corruption.

The lead attorney on the case is Arthur Z. Schwartz, the organization's president and founder.  Also signing the filing is Nathan McMurray, the former Delaware North attorney who unsuccessfully ran three times for a congressional seat in the NY-27, most notably losing to Chris Collins, then under indictment himself (he eventually entered a guilty plea) for insider trading. McMurray went to work for the law firm in November 2021.

As Wojtaszek noted, Maziarz has pursued corruption allegations against Western OTB for several years.

The Batavian obtained a copy of a deposition transcript from a confidential source related to a lawsuit filed by Michael Nolan, the former COO of the OTB, that reveals some of the connections between some of the players involved in the legal maneuvering and publicity-seeking of the principals.

Nolan's suit claims he was retaliated against for responding to FOIL requests from the media and others.  Wojtaszek said Batavia Downs has always been transparent and has always complained with the law on requests for public documents.

Nolan was the subject being deposed in the case in January 2021 when his attorney, Stephen Cohen, jumped in and attempted to clarify something his client had said. Cohen ended up talking at length about the connections between himself, Maziarz, and reporter Phil Gambini, who has doggedly pursued corruption allegations at Batavia Downs for several years.

In the deposition, Aaron Saykin, the Western OTB attorney in the case, attempted to uncover a possible connection between Nolan and Maziarz.  Cohen provided the opening because he tried to bill Batavia Downs for a phone conversation he had on behalf of his client with Maziarz.

Cohen said he did discuss Nolan's case with Maziarz but only in the service of trying to get more information from Maziarz that might assist his client's suit. He admitted that he knew Maziarz regularly spoke with Gambini and was likely the source of information that appeared in Gambini's stories about Batavia Downs.

Saykin's questions suggested that Saykin suspected Cohen of trying to plant stories with Gambini, including a March 29, 2019 story about the supposed FBI investigation.  Cohen deflects the questions and denies any interest in press coverage.

He said his only real interest was getting more information from Maziarz.

"I sought to get whatever I could out of Senator Maziarz," Cohen said according to the transcript.

Mr. Saykin: Because you knew he was pissed at Henry?

Mr. Cohen: Yes.

Mr. Saykin: And you knew he wanted to hurt Henry?

Mr. Cohen: Yes.

Photos by Howard Owens

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During the first several minutes of the press conference this afternoon in the back parking lot of the former Kmart building, across the street from Batavia Downs, two Batavia Downs work trucks paraded up and down Park Road and through the parking lot (Park Road is undergoing reconstruction) and honked their horns, disrupting the press conference. Maziarz called the action sophomoric and evidence that Western OTB officials want to prevent the public from finding out what is going on at the facility. Batavia Downs President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek said when he found out what was going on with the trucks, he put a stop to it.

May 8, 2022 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, derby day, sports.

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Shock maybe.  Certainly dismay.  Those were the reactions of race fans at Batavia Downs when 80-1 long shot Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby today.

While not all the data on today's wagers are in, Marketing Director Ryan Hasenauer said at least one patron wwnt home happy. She turned her $15 bet on Rich Strike into more than a $1,000 windfall.

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May 6, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in problem gambling, Batavia Downs, news, notify.

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If pulling on slots, handicapping ponies, scratching tickets, or waging on Sunday's big games has become more important to you than your family or job, you're addicted to gambling.

That's an important issue, according to state officials who visited Batavia Downs Thursday to promote problem gambling awareness and a new QR code system to help problem gamblers get help fast.

"Today's event is entitled, 'What is responsible gaming?'" said Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams (speaking in top photo). "The answer to that question is dependent upon where you stand. For the player, it might mean not using gambling as a source of income, gambling only with money you can afford to lose, or setting time and money limits for gambling."

In an interview later, he contrasted betting with what you can't afford to lose with William Bennett, the former secretary of education in the Reagan Administration.

"It came out while he was doing his Book of Virtues tour around the United States, that his purpose of entertainment was to gamble and he was gambling several hundred dollars on a pull on slot machines, Williams said. "He could afford that. If you can't afford it, or the idea of gambling becomes something that affects your business or the way you conduct your life, and you think about gambling, it's preventing you from doing something at work, it's preventing you from doing something at home, then that becomes a problem."

The vast major of people who wager on slots, card games, sporting events, and lotteries are not problem gamblers, but because problem gambling can devastate people and families, and even communities, the state is trying to raise awareness about problem gambling, Williams said.  

He was joined at Batavia Downs by three other state officials.

"Problem gambling is sometimes referred to as a silent addiction," said OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham. "It doesn't have the visible signs that others do. It can cause disruptions in the lives of people who are impacted and impact physical and mental health. Individuals diagnosed with gambling disorders have higher rates over a lifetime of substance use disorders, as well as mental health disorders. And there's a negative impact on family relationships."

There has long been a hotline problem gamblers or their family members could call for help, and a website, but those resources are not always the immediate help some people seek, Williams noted.  The commission came up with the QR code to connect those seeking help more quickly with problem gambling resources.

"We currently have 31 OASAS-certified outpatient programs specializing in problem gambling," Cunningham said.  "We also have 12 state-operated inpatient programs where people in need of inpatient care for gambling disorders can be treated. Treatment is also available through a network of private practitioners connected to each other."

The QR code will be displayed wherever legal gambling is available in the state and at public events such as county fairs.  It will also be printed on scratch-off tickets.

"It's my understanding that the New York Lottery will be the first in the world to employ such a feature on scratch-off tickets," Williams said.

Batavia Downs takes the issue of problem gambling seriously said Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO.  Employees are trained to watch for the signs of problem gambling, such as excessive use of credit cards to fund bets and to listen to customers for statements that might indicate somebody is struggling with responsible play.

"We know our players by name and we interact with them in a way that says we would like you to have fun and find it entertaining here, but we have to pay attention to the major signs that happen,"  Wojtaszek. "To our staff's credit, they do that and they often bring up information to me when we try to interact with our guests and customers and try to help them in that regard. We're trained to see indicators from patrons that may have a problem. The staff takes their concerns to our managers on duty to see if we need to look further into the situation and explain the actual options we have for them."

Council Executive Director Jim Maney noted that the number of people -- media and Batavia Downs staff -- who turned out for Thursday's event was the largest they had seen at any gaming facility in the state for similar events.

"That is so important to raise the awareness of problem gambling in the state of New York," Maney said.  "And why is it so important? Because we talk about wanting to advocate and care about our fellow people, they know when we care about them. And when you say -- you didn't say these exact words -- 'I'm a mom and pop organization,' what it really says is you guys do know your customers. You know each and every one of them by name. And when they know that you care about them, guess what? They care about themselves a little bit more, especially when we talk about addictions."

Photos by Howard Owens

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Henry Wojtaszek

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Jim Maney

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Western PGRC Program Manager Angela DiRosa said, “Ensuring that all New Yorkers are aware of the potential risks related to gambling, as well as how and where to get help if gambling becomes a problem, is more important than ever. Leveraging technology like the QR Code is another way to remove barriers to problem gambling screening, intervention, and treatment, and reduces the stigma associated with seeking those services.”

April 30, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in ABBAmania, music, arts, entertainment, news, Batavia Downs.

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ABBAmania, Canada's top ABBA tribute band, played Batavia Downs on Friday night, with a Cher tribute artist opening the show.

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April 30, 2022 - 12:27am

Press release:

We are honored to be partnering with Batavia Downs gaming to host the first of its kind fundraising concert that will benefit our local UMMC Hospital (Rochester Regional Health), our new YMCA, Strong Memorial Hospital and research at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

Now in its fifth year as a concert venue, Batavia Downs has been averaging about 3000 to 5000 concertgoers per show as part of their Rockin The Downs Concert Series. Although our Concert is not part of this series and tickets must be purchased separately, we are hoping to draw the same kind of crowd with our Nationally recognized headliner Bruce In The USA and local guests including 97 Rock’s Dave “DJ” Jickster and Comedian Nick Marra. As an added bonus from our friends at Batavia Downs everyone that buys a ticket will receive a $15 free play. . “Wouldn’t it be amazing if a bunch of the concertgoers went back inside at the end of the night and won lots of money, with their free play”?

This concert will be the largest event that we have ever attempted and we are very excited to bring so many people together for yet another fun fundraising event. Sponsorship opportunities include special seating, tickets to the show, $30 of free play, signage, verbal promotion, and shout-outs during the concert. For more information about our three sponsorship tiers, visit RickyPalermoFoundation.

Tickets are selling nicely so if you want to look into joining our concert you can go to my site www.RickyPalermofoundation.org OR go to EVENTS while looking at the Batavia Downs concerts. You could also look for our QR code, which will also guide you to the information needed to buy tickets.

Special thanks to Batavia Downs CEO Henry Wojtaszek, Concert Manager Ryan Hasenauer, Kathy Paradowski and so many others who have been great to work with.

March 13, 2022 - 9:23pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, Batavia Downs, notify, Chamber Awards.

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There were no mask requirements during this year’s Genesee County Chamber Awards dinner, however, one aspect of last year’s event was brought to the podium: those 2020 award recipients who had to be recognized virtually due to COVID a year ago.

Tammy Hathaway presented the Geneseean of the Year Award to fellow Geneseean Jay Lazarony, recipient of the 2021 honor. Hathaway was one of several people touting Lazarony’s worthiness during the awards event Saturday at Batavia Downs Gaming.

After accepting a tiara from Chamber President Eric Fix, because she is “the queen,” Hathaway began a tribute to the GLOW Work Force Development Board executive director for his 25 years of working with thousands of youngsters in various roles throughout Genesee County.

“Jay is a pretty amazing human being,” Hathaway said. 

Karyn Winters, director of Genesee County's Business Education Alliance, nominated him for being an "exemplary professional and volunteer," and embodying what's great about Genesee County," she said. He founded GLOW With Your Hands in 2019 and has been a "selfless, kind, motivating and fearless leader," she said.

"While his career alone warrants recognition, what truly makes Jay an admirable Geneseean is his infectious enthusiasm to mentor local youth," Winters said in her nomination.

Colleagues, staff, and program participants continued the trail of accolades via pre-recorded videos played on several screens throughout the banquet room. Jocelyn Sikorski has known Lazarony through the county’s Youth Bureau for more than 20 years, she said, and has witnessed his focus on “looking out for the best interests of youth and our families.”

“He’s a very caring and outgoing man,” she said. “I want to honor Jay and say great job, you are so deserving.”

When Lazarony applied for the executive director position seven years ago, the board made “a unanimous decision” to hire him, board member Norb Fuest said. 

“He just exceeded our expectations, to say the least,” Fuest said. “Our training numbers have been some of the best in the state, a lot of that because of Jay.”

Entrepreneur Jessica Pratt, co-owner of several businesses in Genesee County, including Whole Life Fitness in Batavia, knows first-hand about Lazarony’s impact, she said. He has helped her become “the person I am today,” she said.

Lazarony thanked and acknowledged his family, wife Donna and children Christina, Scott, and Nick and his grandchildren, several colleagues within Genesee County, and his staff from the GLOW regions of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties. 

He noted a group of counselors that, during the pandemic’s social distancing requirements, turned "traditional services into a virtual system and continued to provide unemployment opportunities during a very, very difficult time,” he said.

“What I was most impressed with was the time and understanding they gave to each and every customer case with massive layoffs,” he said.

He also took a few minutes to urge the audience of at least 200 people to “give youth a chance.” He shared a story of a young man named Justin, a program participant who wasn’t sure of his abilities to pursue a job in nursing. Lazarony made him a promise that if he did all of the work, Lazarony would find the funding to help him succeed on a career path. Justin became a nurse practitioner and worked at a facility where Lazarony’s father spent his last days until he died on December 28.

Justin called the family to notify them, and his demeanor was proof that he had absorbed his lessons well, Lazarony said.

“He provided the information with dignity and respect,” Lazarony said. "Take a chance on them."

Other award recipients included:

Valle Jewelers for Business of the Year, presented by Guy Pellegríno, who grew up next door to the Valle family, he said. 

“What a wonderful family,” he said. “I’m so proud to introduce you, you so earned this. I looked up to Mary and Dominic; I was so in awe.” 

Owners Stephen Valle and Carrie Lawrence, along with former owner and mom Mary Valle, accepted the award. In a pre-recorded video, Mary recounted the story of the store’s humble beginnings 70 years ago. It was founded by Grandpa Dominic, who arrived in New York City with $16 in his pocket. The physical location moved from Carey Mansion to Genesee Country Mall to its current spot at 21 Jackson St., all in Batavia. 

Her son Stephen added that over the years the jewelry business has changed, but “customer service has not.” He thanked the chamber, the store’s “fantastic staff” and one person who has been integral to the business’ success, his late father Dom.

“We’re missing one man,” Stephen said, taking an emotional breath. “But we know he’s smiling down on us.”

Theresa DeMars nominated Valle Jewelers for its customer service, engagement with and support of the community, steadfast participation in downtown events, and being a “fixture in our community for three generations,” DeMars said.

“Valle Jewelers is a community staple, a true family-run business, and one of our best-kept secrets,” she said in her nomination. 

Alleghany Farm Services for Agricultural Business of the Year, presented by last year’s recipient L&M Specialty Fabrication.

Their business protocols pushed the company into its sixth state and garnered the attention of Jeanna Clark of M&T Bank and Farm Credit East. Clark’s nomination cited several reasons, including how the company has:

  • Increased their fleet of tile plows from two to four, including a prohibitively expensive mini tile plow that fits the space constraints of vineyards and orchards 
  • Expanded company size and employees by 25 percent over the last two years
  • Thanked and gave back to customers with a yearly Field Day 
  • Focused on drainage education by working with local soil and water districts

Farm Credit East also cited the company’s impressive expansion statistics and lauded it for its remaining loyalty to Genesee County with headquarters in Basom.

Company partners Drew and his son Chad Klotzbach accepted the award. The business began in the 1980s with a landscaping focus, followed by Alleghany Farm Services, which was founded by Drew and his wife Dianne in 2001. 

The process is about much more than sticking a pipe in the ground to drain water from a field, Drew said. And Alleghany Farm Services has mastered that process to become one of the leaders of drainage issues in the Northeast. 

Business Operations Manager Christina Fetzer acknowledged those who helped make the company a success.

“We wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for the support of the ag community and our loyal customers. Every project that we do is unique and we take pride in being able to customize a solution that will benefit each farm,” she said. “Our goal is to build long-lasting relationships with each customer to provide ongoing education, maintenance, and guidance. A large portion of our growth has been through word of mouth from our existing customer base. And for that, we are very thankful.”

Drew thanked the Chamber, the company’s employees, and the ag community.

Batavia Muckdogs for Entrepreneurial Business of the Year. Dan Ireland, representing Rochester Regional Health, commended owners Robbie and Nellie Nichols and General Manager Marc Witt for their efforts to bring “baseball back to Batavia in 2021.”

“They didn’t just bring baseball back,” Ireland said. “You revitalized it. We want to say thank you for what you did.”

Their first year at Dwyer Stadium couldn’t have gone any better, Witt said.

“The community embraced everything we threw at them,” he said. “We’re already off to a great start. We can’t wait for the first pitch in June. We found zero challenges and accomplished all our goals. Thank you to the community.”

There was a dance competition, an Alzheimer’s Walk, a Dogs Trick or Treat Halloween event, and other public happenings at the Bank Street facility, plus participation in off-site activities including the Memorial Day parade, he said. Batavia Muckdogs drew the community support, he said, including from City Manager Rachael Tabelski who “was true to her word,” and the very first team sponsor, Bill Hayes of Turnbull Heating & Cooling. 

In his nomination of the Batavia Muckdogs for the award, lifelong Batavian Tom Turnbull said the city and county have been enriched because of Robbie and Nellie Nichols’ hard work and community spirit.

“While the Batavia Muckdogs may not seem like a new business due to the continuation of the name (from the former New York-Penn League), the new Batavia Muckdogs … are not only an incredible local business success story but have enhanced the quality of life for the residents of Genesee County,” Turnbull wrote.

Photos by Howard Owens. Top photo: Jay Lazarony reacts to words of tribute for him as 2021 Geneseean of the Year during Saturday's 50th Genesee County Chamber Awards dinner at Batavia Downs Gaming.

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Tammy Hathaway, the 2020 Geneseean of the Year, received a tiara from Chamber President Eric Fix.

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Lazarony acknowledged his GLOW Workforce Development Board staff during his acceptance speech. 

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Carrie Lawrence, Stephen Valle, and Mary Valle say a few words of thanks and remembrance for Valle Jewelers' Business of the Year Award. 

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Drew and Chad Klotzbach of Alleghany Farm Services accept their Agricultural Business of the Year Award.

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Batavia Muckdogs General Manager Marc Witt and owner Robbie Nichols accept and say thank you for the Entrepreneurial Business of the Year Award.

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The crowd watches speakers at the podium and on screens placed throughout the gold-adorned room at Batavia Downs. 

March 7, 2022 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wedding show, Batavia Downs, news.

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It was a busy afternoon for prospective brides and grooms at Sunday's wedding show at Batavia Downs, according to Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Western OTB, with more than 200 people attending the event.

There was plenty for them to see with dozens of vendors and a fashion show featuring wedding dresses from various designers.

Submitted photos.

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February 26, 2022 - 7:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports.

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It was a packed house at Batavia Downs today for the first day of the Legends & Stars Sports Expo.

Dozens of vendors are selling sports memorabilia while sports stars, including some current members of the Buffalo Bills, are signing autographs.

At the autograph tables in these photos are Lee Evans, Willie McGahee, and Roscoe Parish.

Doors are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

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February 24, 2022 - 4:18pm
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, volunteers for animals, news.

Press release:

Western Region Off-Track Betting (WROTB) / Batavia Downs Gaming President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek presented representatives from the Genesee County Volunteers for Animals and the Genesee County Animal Shelter with checks totaling $2,471 to help support their efforts to take care of animals in the Genesee County area.

The Puppy Paws Indoor Craft and Vendor Market, held at Batavia Downs on February 6th, was organized by Mary Bucceri, Group Sales Manager at Batavia Downs.  100% of collected vendor fees and accepted donations by attendees were given to these 2 local organizations. 

Volunteers for Animals will use the money raised for pet supplies and medical expenses for the animals.  The Genesee County Animal Shelter will use the money to repair and replace various equipment at the Animal Shelter and in the Animal Control van. in addition to purchasing safety equipment for the officers when interacting with feral cats.

“We host several vendor events throughout the year, and we are happy to use these events to help raise money for local worthy organizations,” said Wojtaszek. “We will continue to do what we can to be a good partner to local charities and organizations.”

“The Volunteers for Animals would like to give a special thanks to Batavia Downs and their continued support, “ said VFA Board President Deb Stocking.  “We work hard every year to raise enough money to continue to help the animals. The Downs has been a huge part of this goal. Thank you all for your hard work and - the dogs and cats say 'thank you' as well!”

February 21, 2022 - 10:32am
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, harness racing, sports.

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Press release:

Todd Haight, the long-time general manager and director of live racing at Batavia Downs, has announced that he will retire from that position at Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation effective March 15.

"I would like to thank WROTB Chairman of the Board Richard Bianchi and all the directors for their support over the past 20 years. I would also like to thank my dedicated co-workers who proved to be a great support system for the live racing department, and the members of the Western New York Harness Horseman's Association that I’ve worked in conjunction with for many years," said Haight.

Haight started at WROTB in 1998 as an independent contractor and later became an employee when the historic racetrack re-opened in 2002.

He first co-hosted a nightly live broadcast of races on cable TV with track announcer John Bothe. Then in 2005, he joined the corporation's marketing department, and that allowed him to reinstate all the great promotions that occurred at Batavia before WROTB purchased the Downs.

"I was able to bring back the popular driver's bike race on Labor Day and the old-fashioned hot dog days and our fans responded in big numbers once we did. Another popular promotion we started and grew was the wiener dog races and it’s nice to see so many other race tracks are doing them now," said Haight. 

“I was also able to hit the streets to sell advertising and more importantly, develop great relationships throughout the community. We used those relationships to bring businesses -- many of them for the first time -- to the Downs for a night at the races. Working with Group Sales Manager Mary Bucceri, we routinely sold out the clubhouse. Those groups affected the corporation's bottom line with sales surpassing one million dollars."

Haight explained his most valuable experience during his tenure was to work side-by-side with then WROTB vice-president and general manager of live racing, Mike Kane. He said that although he already knew the racing side of the business, Kane's mentoring on the management aspect made all the difference and was a roadmap to success for him.

In 2011 when the WROTB board of directors promoted Kane to President, Haight was promoted to general manager and he remained in that position through his retirement. 

The racing product grew under Haight's watch and in 2013 betting rose 24%. Incremental year-over-year increases continued until 2019 when the track hosted the prestigious New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions and saw new records set for both total betting handle and nightly betting handle.

"I was very happy with the way the Night of Champions turned out. It was the biggest card of racing here since the 1988 Breeders Crown and it was simply a great night, from the crowd to the racing to the event itself. The entire staff here stepped up and did an incredible job," said Haight.  

"We got through the pandemic relatively unscathed in 2020 and despite not having spectators, nightly betting doubled the levels of 2011 and crushed the records set in 2019. Last year we tried some new things and you could look at the tote-board and clearly see our pools were bigger. We ended the year up to about $3,000 per race, which was another record since WROTB took over the Downs."

Haight is currently a USTA director and the chairman of District 8 and will remain in both of those positions. And regardless of which job he was doing, his hard work promoting the sport of harness racing has not gone unnoticed by his peers. 

"It was my pleasure to work with Todd for the past 10 years. As general manager of racing at Batavia Downs, Todd had an amazing mastery of the many responsibilities his job entailed. I will miss working with him as he was a true professional. I wish him all the best in the years to come," said Bruce Tubin, president of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association.

"Todd has been a pleasure to work with and he will leave big shoes to fill. His kind are a dying breed in that he cared for racing so much. I wish him the best of luck in retirement," said Kim Crawford, director of USTA District 8.

"I have worked with Todd at Batavia Downs since 2014 and can tell you there is no one in this industry who worked harder to promote harness racing than him. Appeasing an established customer base while trying to draw the next generation to the sport is not easy, but he maintained that delicate balance which in turn drove increased handle and attendance to the track year over year. He will certainly be missed," said Tim Bojarski, racing publicist and president of the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association. 

As far as retirement, Haight isn’t sure about his future and has indicated that he has several options.  

"If it’s playing a lot of golf I’m okay with it. And if it’s remaining in the horse racing industry in some capacity, I’m okay with that too. In any event, the last 20-plus years have been good to me and for that I’m extremely grateful."

Photo: File photo from 2021 by Howard Owens.

February 12, 2022 - 9:48am
posted by James Burns in news, Batavia Brew Fest, Batavia Downs.

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The Third annual Batavia Brew Fest was held at Batavia Downs on Friday night. It was sponsored by Genesee Specialty & Young Lion Brewing Company. The event was well attended and according to one attendee “They hit the sweet spot for this event, I’ll definitely come to more”.

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February 10, 2022 - 2:37pm
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, arts, entertainment, news, batavia.

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Press release:

Officials from Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel have announced that they have entered into an agreement with the Riviera Theatre, located in North Tonawanda, NY whereby both properties will help promote each other’s musical events.

Each Riviera Ticket will have a free play coupon, valid at Batavia Downs, for attendees of the Riviera’s events.  Riviera will also display signage onsite noting Batavia Downs as a major sponsor of their facility.  General Admission Tickets will also be on sale for the Michael DelGuidice Show (Celebrating the music of Billy Joel) at the Riviera Box office for the discount price of $10. 

Batavia Downs will be giving away tickets to select Riviera events to customers via drawings, all while advertising those upcoming events on their website and social media pages. 

“The live entertainment industry is coming back in a big way, “said Henry Wojtaszek, President and CEO for Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “We hope that by partnering with another facility we are able to help a fellow venue owner, and also provide more prizes in the form of Riviera tickets to our great guests here.  We want the people of Western New York to continue to support local live events which keep so many of our friends and neighbors employed.”

"Batavia Downs has been a major sponsor for the Riviera Theatre over the last three years, " said Riviera Theatre Executive Director David Fillenwarth.  "We are excited to partner with Batavia Downs to collaborate and help each other market our shows. The entertainment industry struggled as a whole the last two years and we are always looking for new ways to promote and host great concerts. Batavia Downs shares that same vision and this will open the door for bigger and better things to come in the future at both venues. I think we can all agree that there is always room for more live concerts in our lives."

Officials from Batavia Downs also announced continuing promotions for purchasing tickets at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop in the Batavia Downs lobby through Valentine’s Day with $15 in Free Play for each ticket purchased.

Those wishing to buy tickets online for upcoming Batavia Downs Events can visit https://www.bataviaconcerts.com.  Tickets for upcoming Riviera Theatre Events can be found at www.rivieratheatre.org/upcoming-events/.  Tickets for select events at the Riviera Theatre are given away via drawings on Wednesday nights at Batavia Downs.

Submitted photo.

February 7, 2022 - 1:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in volunteers for animals, Batavia Downs, batavia, news.

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Among the vendors at yesterday's Volunteers for Animals Vendor Fair, hosted by Batavia Downs, were Brock Bucceri and Hunter Wagner making their vendor show debut as entrepreneurs. 

During the pandemic, Bucceri and Wagner (along with friend Gavin Beck, not pictured) decided to start making their own fishing lures.

"We spent a lot of money on fishing lures at Dick's and Cabela's where a frog can cost up to $12," said 13-year-old Bucceri. "So we said, 'let's make some money off of it and we can get some free lures."

The trio makes the senkos they sell themselves. They design the frogs and have them custom manufactured, which they sell for $8.99.

Yeah, that's cheaper than the big retailers but Bucceri said they're still making money -- mostly with sales through Etsy -- because their frogs sell.

The first-ever vendor fair was a big success, according to Angie Knisley, who organized the event for Volunteers for Animals.  It raised more than $2,000 and the more than 300 people who attended brought in a large amount of food and other pet-care donations.

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February 2, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, volunteers for animals, Batavia Downs, batavia.

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It’s a familiar story with a surprise twist for one Batavia-based nonprofit.

Volunteers For Animals had been planning its first-ever vendor fair for early April in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and rendered all public activities dead. That’s the familiar part for so many organizations that had to press pause for their fundraising events. What happened this year is a surprise.

“We found out the Downs and (Batavia Downs employee) Mary Bucceri was going to host it for us,” volunteer Angie Knisley said during an interview with The Batavian. “I think they felt bad about what happened in 2020.”

And the Puppy Paws Craft & Vendor Market was born. It’s set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Batavia Downs & Gaming, 8315 Park Road, Batavia. Monetary donations and pet supplies and food will be accepted at the door. Admission to the event is free.

Proceeds from the event are earmarked for where most VFA fundraising goes, Knisley said: direct animal care. Rescued dogs and cats may need a veterinarian to treat wounds, fractures, or other injuries; required vaccines; dental care or other medical services, Knisley said. VFA, a nonprofit based at Genesee County Animal Shelter, pays those expenses. 

Zoey and Wasabi are two of the many animals saved with such medical services paid for by VFA. A tan brindled Boxer with white paws and chest, Zoey was rescued with a group of dogs in a hoarding situation. She was thin and found to be positive for heartworm. A vet’s exam and X-ray discovered she had a severe case of heart worm disease, and volunteers mulled the idea of a lengthy, risky, and quite expensive process to restore Zoey to better health.

The answer was yes. Zoey was housed with Diane, an animal lover who volunteered to foster, house, and care for Zoey during her treatment. The two have bonded over the past few months as Zoey has gained weight and come to enjoy her life. Perhaps no surprise is that Diane plans to adopt her new friend. 

Wasabi, a glowing green-eyed feline, was found as a stray with severe hair loss and loaded with fleas. She’s been treated, vaccinated, and, with a new outlook and “great” personality, Wasabi has been adopted and welcomed into a loving home, volunteers said.

Knisley has not only heard about and witnessed these stories, but she has also adopted rescue cats from Genesee County and other similar animal shelters over the years. Once she got to know the inner workings of VFA, it drew her to become more involved, she said.  

“So when I had the opportunity to get a closer look at all the time, care, and funding that VFA members devoted to animal welfare, I felt I would like to help however I could; maybe sort of paying it backward,” she said. “I think because I do care about animal welfare and their needs, and I have the time to help out. I felt it was something good to do, to be able to do something positive for them means a lot." 

The Corfu resident has been a hands-on member of VFA off and on for eight years, she said. Her role includes helping out with fundraisers, and she looks forward to this first vendor fair. There are more than 35 businesses registered so far, including Gourmet Dips, Epicure, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Paparazzi, Artful Shenanigans, Scentsy, Touchstone Crystal, Lula Roe, Pudgies Lawn & Garden, Dead Stick Fishing Company, and Tastefully Simple. Shoppers — may be in search of a Valentine’s gift? — will find a wide variety of products, from makeup, purses, popcorn, and Valentine’s gift boxes to sun catchers, photo packages, and Tupperware.

Anyone that makes a donation to VFA at the door will be entered into a drawing for a Stay & Play gift certificate valued at $225 at Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel. All attendees age 18 and older will receive Free Play for the gaming floor. Lunch will be available for purchase.

“The Downs is really highlighting Valentine’s Day with decorations. It’s a nice day out and a fun way if someone wants to do a little Valentine’s shopping,” she said. “And it gives them a chance to learn more about the shelter and the Volunteers For Animals programs.”

The VFA will have a table with information at the event. There may be a few spots left to participate, and interested vendors may call Mary Bucceri at 585-344-6144 or email [email protected] for more information. 

Top photo: Angie Knisley, a member of Volunteers For Animals, shows off Abby, a friendly five-year-old cat who has been overlooked for adoption at Genesee County Animal Shelter on Route 5, Batavia. She really needs a home, Knisley says, and would make for a great companion. For more information about Abby and other prospective pets, go to vol4animals.org.  Photo by Howard Owens.

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