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Batavia Downs Gaming

September 22, 2022 - 1:59pm

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. directors this morning approved the creation of a director of Information Technology position at the Park Road entertainment venue.

The board, at its monthly meeting, passed a pair of resolutions concerning IT – the first to establish the department and a director and the second to appoint Jeff Magee of Rochester to the director post.

Magee, who has served as an IT consultant for the corporation, will receive an annual salary of $99,000.

“Jeff’s actually been affiliated with this company for about 30 years,” said WROTB President and CEO Henry Wojtaszek. “So, he is someone who we utilized on an outside basis to consult with and he’s a specialist in the area.”

Wojtaszek said the board decided to replace an IT employee who left the company with Magee, making him a full-time department head.

“It’s almost a neutral budget item because what we're paying Jeff equals what we were already paying him previously as a consultant together with the salary of the gentleman who we're not replacing,” he explained.

Magee may have to fulfill his duties in a makeshift work area for a little while due to the fact that a pipe burst on Sept. 12 and caused serious flooding to the upstairs administration area and also to the gaming floor downstairs.

The board grant permission for Wojtaszek and his staff to make necessary repairs to the damaged floors and furnishings under an “emergency declaration” – without passing a formal resolution at this time.

“We’ll address this and then we’ll bring all the things together (to the board) and they’ll approve everything,” Wojtaszek said, adding that all work will be done “in accordance with our bidding procedures.”

In another personnel matter, the board voted to discontinue providing cell phones to employees, opting instead to authorize a monthly stipend to those employees needing to use a cell phone for business purposes.

September 22, 2022 - 1:00pm

The Park Road Reconstruction Project has entered the homestretch and Batavia Downs Gaming officials couldn’t be more pleased.

That’s the word from Henry Wojtaszek, president and chief executive officer of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., and the public benefit company’s board at their meeting this morning.

“It's probably 80 percent complete,” Wojtaszek said. “We expect substantial completion by October 17th and hopefully we will have two-way traffic on the street (again) in just two to three weeks.”

Edward Morgan, chair of the Batavia Downs Operations Committee, reported that Nov. 30 is the “targeted” completion date.

He said that trees purchased by WROTB are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow – and will take a week to install – and light poles (also purchased by WROTB) will be delivered next week and installed during the week of Oct. 3.

Morgan also said that the facility will feature two valet parking sites – the current one at the south end and a new one at the main entrance “to accommodate those (customers) staying at the Hotel (at Batavia Downs).

Wojtaszek said installation of the trees and streetlights will be handled by CATCO, the project’s primary contractor, and subcontractors.

“We're excited about the possibility of the completion by the second week in October and we look forward to a completed, beautiful project,” he said.

When asked by The Batavian about parking at the lot of the former Kmart building across the street, he said WROTB’s lease with Benderson Development, owner of the property, has expired and that anyone parking there is doing so “at their own risk.”

However, he did say that there is adequate parking for the events at Batavia Downs, and that he could foresee another lease agreement with Benderson should the need arise for concerts next summer.

On another front, the board extended its suite license with Pegula Sports & Entertainment for the 2022-23 Buffalo Bills football season at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, and a similar agreement with Rochester Arena LLC for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 Rochester Americans hockey seasons at the Blue Cross Arena.

Both contracts were paused in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the passage of a pair of resolutions to extend them. The cost with Pegula Sports is $103,200 and the cost with Rochester Arena is $37,150 for this season and $38,250 for 2023-24.

Wojtaszek said ticket distribution for the suites are handled through the WROTB marketing department “in a very professional, promotional way.”

“It'll be a combination of tickets being given away in a drawing on the (gaming) floor, which improves the attendance on our floor and improves foot traffic throughout the building, and then through the host department,” he said. “They’ll find good players and make sure that they offer them to come in and enjoy the experience at a Bills’ game (or Amerks’ game).”

In a related move, the board approved an annual expenditure of up to $610,000 for various promotional items from Mark-It-Smart, Inc., based in Santa Ana, Calif. Items are purchased on a per-event basis as part of a “continuity program,” Wojtaszek said, and include luggage, cookware, purses, barbecue items, camping equipment, glassware and small appliances.

In other action, the board approved the following resolutions:

  • Contracts with three Batavia-based companies for a telescopic boom lift, marketing mailers and electrical parts and supplies.

Directors authorized payment of $147,000 to Skyworks, the lowest bidder, for a telescopic boom lift, ending the recent practice of leasing the equipment.

“Now’s the time to take that extra step and purchase it and make it cost-effective for the company,” Wojtaszek said. “It's a safety issue. We have a lot of decent sized projects here, including window washing and construction. It was put into the capital plan, and it was in the budget for this year. The board thought it was prudent to go ahead and purchase it, and I agree.”

The board accepted a bid of $115,000 from Applied Business Systems to send out marketing mailers to patrons and potential patrons over the next year, with an option for WROTB to extend the pact for an additional year.

An agreement to spend up to $25,000 with Falcone Electric for electrical parts and supplies was approved through the end of the year.

  • A five-year extension of a contract with IK Systems, Inc., of Victor, at a cost not to exceed $68,444 to provide maintenance and testing services for the facility’s surveillance system.

Wojtaszek said he has been “impressed” with IK’s performance.

“I actually supervise the surveillance department here on site and I interact with them (IK Systems) very often. They are very timely and they're very efficient, So, that’s a five-year contract, sort of at a reduced price because we did it for an extended period of time.”

  • Electric and natural gas contracts with Marathon Power LLC and NOCO Gas & Electric, respectively, through Oct. 31, 2024. Both companies submitted low bids, with Marathon agreeing to supply electric at .0645 per kilowatt hour and NOCO agreeing to supply natural gas at 0.675 per centum cubic feet.
August 25, 2022 - 12:22pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia Downs Gaming.


Batavia Downs Gaming's new warehouse and cold storage building at the south end of the Park Road facility is complete. The 5,000-square-foot, $1 million structure provides a central location for the corporation's varied food, beverage and hospitality inventory.  From left are Ashley Bolsei, warehouse manager; Scott Kiedrowski, vice president of operations; and Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director.


Bolsei and Hasenauer stand outside the loading dock of the building, which was constructed by Ed Hulme General Contracting of Warsaw.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

August 25, 2022 - 12:02pm

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. leaders are taking steps to address the company health insurance policy that has been a media hot button item in recent months.

The corporation’s board of directors this morning approved a resolution to spend up to $25,000 to extend a contract with the Connors LLP law firm of Buffalo, with the goal of reaching a “global solution" to the health insurance matter.

“I’ve been instructed (by the board) to come back in September with a plan to globally address the healthcare issue for the whole company,” WROTB President/Chief Executive Officer Henry Wojtaszek said following the meeting at the Park Road facility. “We’re working on a nice, fair global solution to whatever healthcare (is permissible) and that includes the board and entire corporation.”

Wojtaszek said lawyers are negotiating with the New York State Attorney General’s office.

“He’s (Terry Connors) prepared a memo that he’s provided to the attorney general and he’s provided advice to our board,” he said. “Talks with the attorney general are continuing.”

Published reports about the “gold plated” health insurance plan given to board members have prompted protests from Western New York politicians and government officials – present and past. Until June of last year, all board members (and three retired ones) were receiving health insurance plans that cost the public benefit company an average of more than $10,000 per year.

The board, at its June 2021 meeting, voted unanimously to eliminate company-sponsored health insurance benefits for directors appointed on or after July 1, 2021. So, as of today, the majority of the board members are still receiving fully-paid health insurance.

In other developments, the board:

  • Approved the purchase of $50,000 worth of $20 gift cards from Tops Friendly Markets to be used toward a promotion for the Hotel at Batavia Downs for eligible hotel stays through the end of the year.
  • Announced that $61,498 in surcharges generated in July will be distributed to member municipalities. Also, it was reported that Batavia Bets’ revenue is down 16 percent this month as compared to last August, and 17 percent for the year as compared to this time in 2021.
  • Learned that management is looking to reduce the number of summer concerts from 11 to nine next year in an effort to attract top name bands and, hopefully, eliminate tribute bands. “The purpose is to possibly spend a little bit more money to get bigger bands, for lack of a better term, in order to attract bigger crowds,” Wojtaszek said. When asked if security was an issue this year, he said the combination of Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies, Batavia Police Department officers and the Downs’ security staff handled things well.
  • Reported that the Park Road Reconstruction Project is moving along, noting that crews were laying the binder on the east side of the road and that sidewalks are being put in on both sides. “We expect the road to be open after Labor Day and we expect substantial completion -- 97-98 percent of the project -- done by September 20th,” Wojtaszek said. (See photo below).


July 30, 2022 - 8:10am


Batavia Downs saw record-breaking crowds tonight pack in to hear national recording artists .38 Special as part of its summer concert series.  Nearly 7,000 fans jammed into the sold-out venue last evening.

38 Special is an American rock band that was formed by Donnie Van Zant and Don Barnes in 1974 in Jacksonville, Florida.   

Lead Vocalist Don Barnes, led the southern rock 40-year-old band with famous hits like, “ Hold on Loosely," "Back where you belong," “Teacher, Teacher,” "You Keep Runnin’ Away,” “Somebody Like You” and “Caught up in You” and many, many more.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene










July 28, 2022 - 1:09pm


Ricky Palermo couldn’t have been more appreciative this morning as he accepted a $20,000 check from Henry Wojtaszek, president and chief executive officer of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., to support the Ricky Palermo Foundation for spinal injury research.

The funds represent ticket sales, food vendor and chair rental fees from the "Bruce in the USA" concert that took place on June 10 at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.

Palermo credited Ryan Hasenauer and the marketing department staff at WROTB for making the concert happen and the community for getting behind it.

“We've never done anything this big before,” he said in front of a small gathering in the casino lobby. “I can’t say enough how much we appreciate it. Every time we had a question either Henry or Ryan or one of the girls would get back to me. It made life a lot easier.”

He said that the foundation has raised more than $1.7 million over the past 26 years.

“It’s kind of amazing when you think about that,” he said. “We couldn't do it without the help of everybody -- everybody in our community.”

Palermo noted that people who attended the concert have reached out to him, looking for answers in regard to getting help for a spinal injury.

Contributions to the Ricky Palermo Foundation are distributed to four entities, Palermo said. Those are United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, the bicycle program for spinal injured people at the Genesee Area Family YMCA and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

“A small chunk goes to Strong Memorial because they took care of me when I first got hurt, so I want to make sure to remember them,” he said.

Wojtaszek said the Downs plans to host another event next year to support the Ricky Palermo Foundation.

The foundation’s 26th annual golf tournament is scheduled for Aug. 6 at Terry Hills Golf Course on Clinton Street Road. Palermo said it will be a “golf only” event with a take-home chicken and pork barbecue dinner.

Photo: Ricky Palermo accepts $20,000 check from Henry Wojtaszek this morning at Batavia Downs Gaming. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

July 28, 2022 - 12:35pm

Batavia Downs Gaming is on its way to another year of record earnings, the chief financial officer for Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. said this morning.

“Surcharge and earnings distributions are up 175 percent this year compared to the same point in 2021 and we’re about $500,000 away from 2021’s earnings distribution of $4.9 million – which was the best ever for the corporation,” said CFO Jacquelyne Leach, following today’s board of directors meeting at the Park Road facility.

Year-to-date earnings and surcharge for 2022 are at $4,713,508, broken down as follows: $4,340,130 in earnings and $373,378 in surcharge, Leach reported. Compared to last year at this time, the total earnings and surcharge distributions were $1,716,870.

“At this pace, this will be the highest earnings year in the corporation’s history,” Leach said.

She said that the public benefit company will be distributing $2,606,704 in second quarter earnings and June surcharge to its 17 member municipalities next week.

Genesee County will receive $53,903 from the second quarter earnings pool and $951 from the surcharge pool, bringing its year-to-date earnings and surcharge distribution to $99,251. For all of 2021, Genesee County received $36,190 in surcharge and earnings distributions.

Resolutions passed by the board during its meeting include:

  • Finalization of an agreement with the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association to add 15 racing dates in January and February 2023 to the current schedule. WNYHHA has agreed to pay all expenses associated with conducting the additional dates – expected to be around $300,000, according to WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek. The dates will be announced after approval of the contract by the New York State Gaming Commission.
  • Authorizing WROTB to pay $140,000 for the Town of Batavia, through general contractor CATCO, to install a new 12-inch sewer line during the Park Road Reconstruction Project. Previously, the Batavia Town Board voted in favor of the agreement, which calls for WROTB and Genesee Park Place Associates to share the cost of about 700 linear feet of sewer pipe.
  • A contract with Audio Images Sound & Lighting of Batavia for $150,000 to set up the stage, concert lighting and associated equipment for the Rockin’ The Downs Concert Series this summer. Wojtaszek acknowledged that the contract should have been presented to the board sooner, since the concert series is halfway done, but said the amount was negotiated prior to the start of the series.
  • Expenditures totaling up to $130,000 for food and beverages at three Western New York venues during events sponsored by WROTB for customers. The amounts are $75,000 at Key Bank Center in Buffalo (Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, concerts); $30,000 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, and $25,000 at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park (Buffalo Bills, concerts).
  • Agreements with the WNYHHA to evenly split the cost of the purchase of a new 621 G Z Bar Case Loader from Monroe Tractor and a new T450 Track Loader from Clark Equipment Co., which will be used to maintain the harness track. The first piece of equipment costs $186,412.59 and the second one costs $54,786.63.
  • A change order of the contract with Suburban Electric, Inc., in the amount of $22,709.36 for electric work associated with the lighting of the parking lot adjacent to the new warehouse and cold storage facility on the ground’s south end. Wojtaszek said the total cost of the project is around $1 million and it is near completion.
  • Acceptance of a purchase offer of no less than $450,000 from Laur Properties, LLC, for the OTB branch that has been for sale on Military Road in Niagara Falls.
July 21, 2022 - 10:07am
posted by Steve Ognibene in Batavia Downs Gaming, sports, news, harness racing.


The 76th year of racing at Batavia Downs kicked off last evening with a great turnout.  A total of 14 races of which 12 betting and 2 non betting was enjoyed by a great crowd. 

Jim Mulcahy, horseman representative who grooms trainers and drivers has been at the track for 50 plus years helping organize each night of racing.  There were 3 divisions and the majority were 2-year-old trotting phillies, New York sire stake races.

Wayne Teaven is the new track announcer who also announces in Buffalo too.

Photos by Steve Ognibene










June 11, 2022 - 7:38pm


Ricky Palermo, front center, talks about his Foundation during a "Rock With Ricky" fundraiser concert Friday at Batavia Downs Gaming in Batavia. Bruce in the USA, a tribute band to the boss and his E Street band, was the first concert of the season and the first time the Ricky Palermo Foundation partnered with Batavia Downs to further its cause of raising awareness and money for spinal cord research. Palermo's Foundation has raised and donated $1.7 million for the community and research at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.  Photo by Nick Serrata.



Comedian Nick Marra opens up before the main act, Bruce in the USA, Friday at Batavia Downs Gaming. Marra has also performed in Batavia previously, and all to support the Palermo Foundation's cause. Photo by Nick Serrata.


A commemorative T-shirt for the Ricky Palermo Foundation's "Rock with Ricky" concert Friday at Batavia Downs Gaming in Batavia. Photo by Nick Serrata.

April 15, 2022 - 10:21am
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, Bowling, Genesee Region USBC, Batavia Downs Gaming.

Three longtime Genesee Region USBC members will be inducted into the bowling association’s Hall of Fame at its annual banquet at 6 p.m. May 14 at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.

In the Meritorious Service category, Tom Fluker of Batavia and William VanAlst of Stafford, will be enshrined while in the Outstanding Achievement Veteran category, Tim Fonte of Dansville will be honored.


Fluker made his mark as a GRUSBC director and officer for 12 years – including six years as president – and also as a United States Bowling Congress Level I bowling instructor. He was instrumental in creating numerous adult and youth tournaments in the association and oversaw the growth of the Genesee Region Youth Travel League.

He served as president of the Turnbull Heating Junior League at Mancuso Bowling Center for 14 years and previously was an officer of adult leagues at Mancuso’s. Fluker also had a lead role in creating the GRUSBC’s website and creating the association’s awards program, which is one of the strongest in New York State.

On the lanes, Fluker, 51, has recorded 11 300 games and has high league averages of 225 and 221. He also placed first in the GRUSBC Bracket Challenge tournament in 2019 and inthe association scratch singles event in 2017.


VanAlst, 71, has been an association member for 48 straight years – all with the Tuesday Night League at Le Roy Legion Lanes, where he has served as secretary-treasurer since 1977.

He also was director and coach of the Legion Lanes junior bowling program and Le Roy Junior Travel League from 1987-2001, coaching more than 160 young bowlers over that time.

Prior to the formation of the GRUSBC, VanAlst was secretary-treasurer for 10 years of the Genesee Valley Young American Bowling Alliance that included programs from nine bowling centers – Le Roy, Oakfield, Caledonia, Livingston, Mount Morris, Perry, Letchworth, Bennington and Dansville.


Fonte is one of Mount Morris Lanes’ most consistent bowlers over his 47 years as a member of the Perry Bowling Association and GRUSBC – averaging over 190 for many years before the era of high scores and over 200 for nine of the past 10 seasons.

He rolled a 300 game in 1997, 299 in 1998 and recorded another milestone – an 806 series – on Dec. 1, 2021 at the age of 73. Fonte has excelled in tournament competition as well, cashing in the Lilac City Tournament in Rochester and the Wild Irish Rose Tournament in Canandaigua, as well as in local association events.

Off the lanes, he worked at the pro shop at Mount Morris Lanes for 18 years, serving as manager from 1994-2003. He also coached youth bowlers there for 15 years.

Alexis Patterson of Dansville, a bowler in the Mount Morris Youth League and GR Youth Travel League, will receive a $750 scholarship given annually to graduating seniors.

The guest speaker for the evening will be Ramon “Ray” DiSanto Sr., a member of three Halls of Fame in New York State – GRUSBC (1976), Rochester NY USBC (1978) and NYS USBC (1995). DiSanto recently retired after many years as owner-operator of Bowlers World pro shop in Henrietta.

The event also will serve to honor tournament champions and individual season leaders.

The cost of the dinner is $30, with the following exceptions:

  • NO CHARGE -- GRUSBC directors, Hall of Fame inductee(s) and one guest, adult tournament champions (limit one tournament only), youth tournament champions and one guest (limit one tournament only), guest speaker if applicable, scholarship recipient(s) and one guest.
  • HALF PRICE -- Past GRUSBC Hall of Famers, league secretary or representative (limit one per league).

The deadline for reservations is May 5. No reservations will be taken after that date and no one will be allowed to "walk in" on May 14. Seating is limited, so ask fast.

Open to all GRUSBC members and guests, the banquet also will include a brief memorial service and election of officers and directors.

RSVP by May 5 by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling 585-343-3736.

March 16, 2022 - 2:52pm

rada_bbq_2.jpgBorrowing a line from Lebron James, authentic barbecue chef Nick Rada has decided to “take his talents” to his hometown of Corfu, where he is set to open his own Burnin’ Barrel BBQ restaurant at noon Friday.

After spending six months as an employee of Batavia Downs Gaming, running the business of the same name, Rada (photo at left) will be focused – on a full-time basis – on building his dine-in, take-out and catering enterprise out of a cozy location at 10 Main St. in the village.

“The shop will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Friday at the beginning, and some weekends, depending upon my off-site catering schedule,” said Rada, a well-traveled chef who has carved out a niche with his Texas-style beef and Kansas City-style pork barbecue recipes.

A 1999 Pembroke Central School graduate, Rada said he will be “a one-man show” for the most part, with his wife, Fanchonya, and parents helping out during the busy times.

He said the Corfu restaurant has room for 12 people to sit and, once the weather cooperates, outdoor seating will be available.

The menu will change on a daily basis, he advised.

“Our menu for opening weekend is going to be pulled pork, our smoked St. Louis-style ribs, beef brisket and barbecue chicken,” he said, adding that sides will include potato salad, coleslaw, carrot pineapple salad, collard greens, beans and “cowboy caviar.”

Changes in Store at Batavia Downs Gaming

As far as the future of the restaurant off the gaming floor at Batavia Downs, Scott Kiedrowski, vice president of operations, today said management will reopen the space soon – shifting away from barbecue exclusively.

“With Nick looking to concentrate on his own business, we will be remodeling the kitchen and will be providing deli sandwiches, wood-fired pizza and, on occasion, pulled pork and brisket,” he said. “Our customers have been asking for subs and personal pizzas.”

Reaction to New Businesses Across the Street

When asked about Benderson Development Co.’s move to place a couple of restaurants and a coffee shop (speculation is that it is a Starbucks) across Park Road on the former Kmart parking lot, Kiedrowski said he sees it as a “positive” thing for that section of the city and town.

“We knew this was coming and we look at it not as competition but an enhancement,” he said. “The venues will bring more customers this way and hopefully some of them will come here.”

He said Batavia Downs Gaming customers will continue to be able to park at the lot.

Previously: Master chef Nick Rada back home serving authentic barbecue at Batavia Downs and (soon) Village of Corfu

February 2, 2022 - 6:11pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, WROTB, County Legislature, Batavia Downs Gaming.

siebert_1.jpgThe Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee this afternoon passed a resolution opposing a bill in the New York State Senate that would reconfigure the makeup of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting governing board, thus eliminating a standalone vote by the Genesee County director.

“It’s an outrage,” said Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg, who represents the City of Batavia. “I’m really concerned about this power grab.”

Clattenburg said Genesee County has a significant stake in WROTB, the public benefit company that operates Batavia Downs Gaming and harness track in Batavia and Off-Track Betting locations throughout Western New York.

She mentioned that Genesee County provides law enforcement and public safety services to the Park Road facility.

Richard Siebert, (photo at right), the county WROTB director for the past 28 years, brought the matter to the legislature’s attention two weeks ago and he was present at today’s meeting at the Old County Courthouse in support of the resolution that would retain the longstanding board structure – one vote for each director representing 15 counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo.

Kennedy’s bill calls for the following:

  • Three members to represent the counties of Monroe, Wyoming, and Orleans;
  • One member to represent the counties of Chautauqua, Cayuga, Genesee, Livingston, Schuyler, and Seneca;
  • Four members to represent Erie County;
  • One member to represent Niagara County;
  • One member to represent the counties of Oswego, Cattaraugus, and Orleans;
  • One member to represent the City of Buffalo;
  • One member to represent the City of Rochester;
  • One member appointed by the governor;
  • One member appointed by the temporary president of the senate;
  • One member appointed by the speaker of the assembly.

Kennedy said that his intent is to “provide more equal representation of the people of the area who benefit from proceeds from said corporation.”

Siebert, in disputing that contention, said “this is just a blatant takeover of (by) very powerful people.”

“In my estimation, we have a very good thing going here. You know what we’re doing here in the casino ... the race track, with our concerts,” he said.

With a year-by-year revenue distribution list in hand, Siebert said WROTB has distributed more than $12 million to Genesee County since 1975.

“When we joined OTB in 1974, we had to give them $13,700 seed money. To date, our investment for Genesee County – the cash we have paid – is $12,683,000 and change,” he said. “If anybody in Albany is saying that we’re not doing a good job, for a $14,000 investment and getting $12 million back speaks (for itself).”

Siebert said the key issue is that Genesee County “has the most to lose” by not having its own vote on legislative, purchasing, personnel, and other topics.

He said with the casino and horse racing track in the Town of Batavia, local municipal leaders are available to handle situations that come up from time to time.

“If there's a problem with Redfield Parkway, or noise or horse manure, which we’ve had in the past, people can come to you and can come to me and say, ‘What’s going on over there and why are we doing this or that?’” he said. “Not having one director to represent our count and everything we’ve got going on here, is just, I think, a travesty.”

Siebert said WROTB directors in other rural counties also are going to their legislators and council members in expectation of similar resolutions, and that the corporation is looking to hire a lobbying firm to exert political pressure on senators and assembly members in Albany.

“And a third thing is to basically go back to the position that we’re a public benefit corporation set up under Home Rule, and if they want to take us apart, they have to do it the same way we started – take us apart by Home Rule and let you people (legislature) decide,” he said.

The resolution points out that WROTB has generated more than $250 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of the participating municipalities, with Siebert adding that the board sends $3 million per month to New York State for what is supposed to go to support education.

Passed unanimously by the committee, the resolution will be addressed by the full legislature at next Wednesday’s meeting.

Previously: Genesee's WROTB director slams state senator's attempt to restructure board of directors, place a cap on perks

January 20, 2022 - 11:51am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, WROTB, Batavia Downs Gaming.

morgan.jpgbianchi.jpgDirectors of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. this morning overwhelmingly approved Board Chair Richard Bianchi and Vice Chair Ed Morgan retaining their leadership positions for another year, firing back at proposed legislation that would change significantly the composition of the board.

Bianchi (Monroe County) and Morgan (Orleans County) (in photos, left to right) were unanimously re-elected to lead the board at its monthly meeting at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.

In nominating Bianchi, director Dennis Bassett (City of Rochester) cited WROTB’s “record earnings and record attendance,” adding that Bianchi “has guided us through some storms … and brought the board together like never before.”

Morgan, a retired highway superintendent, also was credited by Genesee County director Richard Siebert for his expertise in helping WROTB navigate the Park Road Reconstruction project with the Town of Batavia and for being available when needed.

The board, understandably, is opposing a bill proposed by State Sen. Timothy Kennedy of Buffalo that would revise the structure of the board based on population – action that would end the longstanding setup of a director for each of the 15 counties and cities of Buffalo and Rochester that own the public benefit company.

Kennedy also has drafted two other bills that would cap the allowance of promotional items for certain members of the corporation at $15 and prohibit WROTB corporation vehicles from being used as take-home vehicles. This proposed legislation comes on the heels of a State Comptroller’s report that faulted WROTB management and board in these areas.

WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said the board has worked hard through the committee process to elevate Batavia Downs Gaming, the harness track and its OTB branches to record earnings.

“You heard today that the board certainly doesn't support a measure to dismantle the board that has done such a great job to bring Batavia Downs to where it is right now, where it is returning record amounts of money to the municipalities,” Wojtaszek said.

“So, they oppose it and they intend to go back to their respective communities and legislatures and councils and have them pass resolutions in opposition to this type of legislation. And as I said yesterday (to The Batavian), they directed me to explore options relative to fighting such a piece of legislation going into effect, including litigation.”

Wojtaszek said Bianchi and Morgan are “outstanding” leaders and “they’re always accessible.”

“They are often on site and they provide their expertise in the various areas that they bring to the table and you can see the results,” he said. “And in the numbers (because) people vote with their feet and their dollars … people love what they see when they come here. We provide a great entertainment, we provide great customer service, we have great food and drinks. And we intend to continue doing that.”

As far as Kennedy’s other bills, Wojtaszek said WROTB addressed the perks situation three years ago and is “supportive of those type of actions that provide transparency that cuts down on government waste. All those issues we support.”

He said the corporation has set a limit relative to gifts, but noted a difference in game tickets (Sabres, Bills) that are given to directors for hosting groups.

“It’s not a gift to the person who is a host for Batavia Downs; they’re actually working. So, the use of that ticket is for work, it's not a gift in the first place,” he said. “Our policies and procedures put in place by our marketing director are very good at this point.

“We've been dealing with people all across the state and the Inspector General, and anybody else who's asked – the Comptroller – who we invited into give us advice as to how to run this place better. We've followed that advice and things are running very well right now.”

Previously: Genesee's WROTB director slams state senator's attempt to restructure board of directors, place a cap on perks

December 2, 2021 - 5:11pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia Downs Gaming, WROTB.

dan_wood_batavia_downs_gaming_1.jpgDan Wood is a classic example of someone who has moved up the ladder to reach a position that, 14 years ago, he never would have imagined that he would be filling.

Wood, an Attica native who has lived in Batavia for the past 23 years, today was promoted to director of security at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road. He will replace Joe Vacanti, who is moving into a part-time assistant director role.

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. directors announced the appointment at their board meeting. Wood (photo at right) will assume the director post on Jan. 1.

“In my 14 years here, I never thought that I'd be in the position that I am now,” Wood said. “And I started out as just a part-time guy out on the track. Here I am all these years later and in a month, I will be the director of security.”

Wood said that he has the training and experience to handle the responsibilities, which include supervision of 47 employees – 13 full time, 17 part time and 17 substitutes. Another 12 people are hired as seasonal security officers assigned to the harness horse racing track.

The number of security guards currently is down about 20 from normal, he said.

“I have worked at the federal jail in Batavia (detention facility) for 10 years as well, so between both jobs, I have much experience. Plus, I have my Criminal Justice degree. So, I think it’s a good fit and I’m really excited.”

WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said he’s confident that there will be a smooth transition.

“Dan has been part of the senior leadership there for a while and the board felt comfortable naming him to the top spot, and we look forward to him taking over,” Wojtaszek said.

Beyond keeping the peace and managing loss prevention, Wood said his certified security personnel are trained to contribute to the facility’s positive atmosphere.

“One of the biggest things that we want our people to do is greet people when they come in with a smile, and greet people and thank them when they leave,” he said.

Wood, 44, has two daughters, Clara, 16, and Nora, 14.

December 2, 2021 - 1:03pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia Downs Gaming, WROTB.

The Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. board of directors, acknowledging the continued record earnings at Batavia Downs Gaming, today approved raises of 3 ½ percent for its non-union employees, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Non-union employees, about 120 of them, include senior management, supervisors and department heads, said WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek following the board’s monthly meeting at the Park Road facility.

Last month, management and the union agreed to raises and bonuses for union workers.

Director Dennis Bassett, representing the City of Rochester, commended the senior leadership team for a successful 2021 thus far.

“Coming out of the pandemic, it was a long hard fight,” he said. “There are people that care about us and people who want to make headlines that don’t care about us. So, we thank you.”

Genesee County Director Richard Siebert, speaking after the meeting, said he is in full support of the salary increase.

“If you look back over the last 18 months or so, with the pandemic and everything, we were in trouble and worrying about staying in business, to be honest about it,” Siebert said. “We had to let a lot of people go – we asked for help. But the fact that where we are now, setting records, when just a few months ago we were down on our backs, it’s just a credit to the leadership.”

Siebert reiterated a previous public statement that this is the best management team he has seen in his 27 years on the board.

“Obviously, we’re doing good in the community, we’re good neighbors and we’re making money for our county (and other participating counties) and we’re providing jobs for the local people.”

According to figures provided by Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyn Leach, Batavia Downs Gaming earned $668,000 in October – a record month. That is up significantly from the $192,000 in October 2019, which at that time was considered a highwater mark.

Leach also said that the corporation will distribute $68,120 in surcharge for October, the first leg of the fiscal year’s fourth quarter. Third quarter earnings of $2.5 million also were a record, something that was reported on The Batavian in late October.

Thus far in 2021, about $4.5 million in earnings and surcharge has been distributed WROTB’s 17 municipalities.

In her operating plan for 2022, Leach projects revenues of $4.8 million in earnings and another 886,000 in surcharge.

On other fronts:

  • Wojtaszek said that some preparatory work on the Park Road Reconstruction Project is taking place, noting that crews are at the corner of Lewiston Road today.

“They’ve got some equipment lined up, and as soon as they get the pipe in, they will work on putting that in and then we will begin the process of beautifying the road,” he said.

Supply chain issues have resulted in the project being pushed back until spring, Batavia Town Assistant Engineer Tom Lichtenthal said last month.

When construction does start in earnest, Wojtaszek said his team is hoping to work with other businesses along the road to help mitigate any traffic issues.

“There were some good suggestions made by the board yesterday. Some of them are to go to some of the various businesses and see if we can work with them on the parking that they have, instead of having everybody come down in the middle of Park Road,” he offered.

  • Pepsi-Cola has signed on as the 2022 Rockin’ the Downs Concert Series “name sponsor,” a $40,000 investment that, according to Wojtaszek, is “raising the level of the performers.”

The Batavian ran a video and story on the concert lineup on Wednesday.

Additionally, Rochester Regional Health, locally represented by United Memorial Medical Center, will become a sponsor.

“We want to partner with them on various health care initiatives,” Wojtaszek said, mentioning the corporation’s participation in a wellness points program.

Marketing Director Ryan Hasenauer said the RRH logo will be placed on all hand sanitizers at Batavia Downs Gaming.

November 21, 2021 - 10:01pm


Nickie Fazio has no problem remembering when she joined the board of Genesee Cancer Assistance; it was in March 2017.

The year was to become an important one for Fazio, who had already lost her mother to ovarian cancer.

“I found out I had breast cancer the following month," she said Saturday evening during GCA’s 25th anniversary celebration. “This is something we had a need for in this area."

As a volunteer, former patient, board member and now current board president, Fazio encompasses nearly every facet of the organization that's integral to its success. Organization members celebrated those aspects throughout the evening at Batavia Downs Gaming with running slideshows; words of remembrance, recognition and hope; and relishing the nonprofit’s success to date. 

GCA’s humble beginnings were in 1995, founded as Genesee Cancer Care by Dorothy Schlaggel and Russ Romano. Both Schlaggel and Romano were unavailable to be at the event and shared some thoughts through letters sent to the board. Romano, a Batavia-based realtor, recalled a day in February 1995 when his friend Dorothy stopped in to see him. A cancer survivor herself, Schlaggel talked about her vision to establish a grassroots cancer organization after American Cancer Society closed its local doors here. 

At one point, Romano asked her “Why are you telling me this?” She explained that he knows a lot of people, and is organized, so she thought he’d be the perfect partner for this endeavor. He agreed, and they never looked back. 

Festival of Hope was the kick-off fundraiser, and it not only raised money but also awareness about the agency and what it was doing. Over the years that idea has been transformed into what the GCA has become today, he said.

Schlaggel wrote that two key events — Festival of Hope and GCA’s golf tournament — made that transformation possible. A gradual flow of contributions from other charitable organizations and "tremendous community support" allowed the effort to flourish, she said.

“I would like to say to all who give their time, effort and support to this worthy organization, thank you and God bless,” she said. 

Both Batavia residents had a shared desire to create an organization so that cancer patients living in Genesee County would have access to financial aid and a variety of support services. That first year brought in eight patients and gave them $945 for their out-of-pocket expenses. 11 years later there were 140 patients per year and financial assistance of more than $52,000. Now GCA serves nearly as many — 100 to 120 people — per month, and provides $600 a person and free admission to the Simply Beautiful program. 

More than two and a half decades have brought with them golf tournaments, spaghetti dinners, basket raffles, picnics, grants and other special projects. All totaled, those efforts have meant more than $1 million raised and dispersed to 2,000 patients. Financial assistance is provided to cancer patients to offset medical costs, trips to related medical facilities, prescriptions and Simply Beautiful, a program to assist cancer patients with the negative effects of cancer treatment on one’s hair and skin. 

Enter Joseph “Joe” Gerace, a city hair stylist who not only founded Simply Beautiful, but also became the face and heart of the program. He instructed cancer patients how to apply makeup and use and care for wigs as they dealt with cancer treatment’s physical effects. He also, apparently nudged people into getting involved before they knew what was happening.

“He’s special to a lot of people,” Master of Ceremonies Paul Figlow said. “Joe has a funny way of asking people … Joe doesn’t say would you mind being on the board of GCA? No. He said, Paul you’re on the board. He’s in our thoughts always.”

Gerace’s daughter, Karen Rowland, embraced her dad’s giving spirit as she shared how he would feel.

“He would be so proud of all of you, he would be so ecstatic,” she said to the crowd of 215 people. “Growing up I was raised knowing and hearing about Genesee Cancer Assistance. His involvement was in so many things, but especially Genesee Cancer Assistance and the Simply Beautiful program, which he created.”

Just for the occasion, she listed his attributes as they fit into the spelling of his name: J is for juggler, and “a heart so involved in so many organizations;” O is for having an open-door policy and being ready to talk and plan out the next new event; S for selfless, which was so evident by his presence at so many events; E for encourager; P for passionate; and H for helping others. And G as in Gerace, she said, "For get ‘er done." Her father "touched the lives of everyone he came in contact with," she said.

Event participants agreed. From Figlow and Fazio to volunteer Diane Martino, they all had Gerace to thank for bringing them on board with GCA.

“He’s one of the most wonderful, caring men I’ve ever met,” Fazio said. “He was so passionate about everything he did, and about the Simply Beautiful program. I know Joe would be so incredibly proud.”

She began to volunteer in 2015 before joining the board in 2017 and becoming president two years ago. Fazio was recruited to help Gerace, and readily admits that “wig care is not the same as hair care,” which makes the lessons so valuable to patients. When Gerace died in 2016, Fazio became even more involved with the program, she said.

"He motivated me to come and volunteer and help out," she said. 

Martino and her husband were friends with Gerace, and learned about the work he did at GCA.

“I just came and did stuff,” she said.  “It’s to help give back to the community.”

There’s a joke about her being a “poster child” for the agency, she said. It’s a literal term, since she has been seen so many times taping up event posters throughout town. Martino even brings along her own tape. She wants no specific recognition of herself, but of the group as a whole, she said.

Proclamations from Genesee County, New York State Assembly and Senate offices, and the City of Batavia took care of that. Each one recognized the efforts of GCA and its importance to the community. Genesee County Legislator Shelley Stein, who has battled cancer, added her own words to the proclamation's text.

“Those of us in this room will always remember the day of our diagnosis,” she said. “I’ve come to learn that hope lives in Genesee Cancer Assistance, and hope works through the people in this room. And our community is blessed.” 













Attendees at the 25th Genesee Cancer Assistance celebration Saturday enjoy dinner, take photos and listen to speakers Saturday at Batavia Down Gaming, including Genesee County Legislator Shelley Stein, in top photo presenting a proclamation to GCA Board President Nickie Fazio, GCA Executive Director Sue Underwood, Sue Underwood with volunteer Diane Martino, Karen Rowland, longtime GCA board member Dr. Roger Mudd and Master of Ceremonies Paul Figlow. Photos by Howard Owens

November 14, 2021 - 3:00pm

After a year’s delay of celebrating the 25-year existence of Genesee Cancer Assistance — which means founders, board members, patients and volunteers — the nonprofit will finally have its day.

The organization’s dinner celebration is at 5 p.m. Saturday at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road, Batavia. 

“When we realized it was 25 years, we thought this was a great way to celebrate,” Executive Director Sue Underwood said Saturday to The Batavian. “It’s not a fundraiser, just a dinner celebration … where we could give back to the community for all their help and support. We will recognize the board, volunteers and patients that are there, and local businesses and community supporters will be recognized.”

Not an unfamiliar scenario during this past year, GCA had to postpone plans for an annual event in 2020 due to Covid-19’s impact on large and public gatherings. So it is actually 26 years old now, after being founded in 1995 by Dorothy Schlaggel and Russ Romano.

The duo had a shared objective to create an organization to assist cancer patients in Genesee County with access to financial aid and other related supportive services. The hundreds helped each year have turned into thousands of people able to obtain financial assistance for costs associated with their diagnosis and treatment, GCA’s website states. 

This assistance includes expenses related to prescriptions, medical co-pays, transportation to and from medical facilities, home health care and related equipment and child care. The organization also provides biblical counseling, support groups, informative materials and the Simply Beautiful program, created to help cancer patients with personalized advice for how to deal with the side effects of treatment on their hair and skin.

Appetizers and beverages are to begin at 5 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner at 6 p.m., and the program from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Paul Figlow will serve as master of ceremonies, and Karen Rowland is to speak in memory of her father and huge GCA supporter, Joseph Gerace. Music, assorted memorabilia and, perhaps, some live racing or casino action may fill part of the evening, Underwood said. 

There will be giveaways of gift cards, centerpieces and themed baskets throughout the event, she said. 

“November is a time to be thankful, and it’s really to show people that we’re thankful for the community support,” she said.
Tickets are $35, including $25 of Free Play, and are available through Sunday, Nov. 14, as a total count must be turned in by Monday. To order, go to geneseecancerassistance.org

October 30, 2021 - 4:28pm


This year’s New York at Boston “Wild Card” game to advance in the American League baseball playoffs triggered a host of memories for Ron Guidry, the winning pitcher in the Yankees’ thrilling 5-4 victory over the Red Sox in the Oct. 2, 1978 tie-breaker game to determine the champion of the AL’s East Division.

“When it got down this year to the last couple of days in New York and Boston, and then now you got a playoff game, well, yeah, I started getting phone calls left and right about the playoffs,” said Guidry, who was in town today to sign autographs at the Legends & Stars Fall 2021 Sports Expo at Batavia Downs Gaming.

“So, yeah, it brought back some memories. The only problem is we didn't win this time.”

That moved the conversation to 1978, a season in which the Yankees rallied from a 14 ½ game deficit to the Bosox to end in a tie with 99-63 records. A one-game playoff was in order and, by virtue of a coin flip, it was to be played in Fenway Park in Boston.

Guidry, the AL’s best pitcher that season, started on the mound for the Yankees.

When it was mentioned that he started on short rest, he said, “Yeah. Maybe a day.”

The 5-9, 175-pound left-handed strikeout artist pitched into the seventh inning, leaving with a 4-2 lead.

The big blow in the contest -- as any baseball fan knows -- was a three-run homer by light-hitting Yankee shortstop Bucky Dent in the seventh inning that erased Boston’s 2-0 lead and gave Dent a nickname that lives in infamy.

“That was the only time that I really was upset with (manager) Bob Lemon because I really didn't want to come out of the game,” he said. “I really thought that I could; that I still had enough.”

He recalled that George Scott got a base hit between first and second base, prompting Lemon to call for reliever Goose Gossage.

“It was a ground ball – it wasn't like he hit a ball on the wall or a screamer. You know, he just snuck it in. And I still felt like I had some stuff. I still felt like I could have at least completed that seventh inning to where Goose only had to look at pitching to innings. Now, taking me out that early, he almost has to go three innings. And it was pretty hot that day. But, it worked out.”

When asked if it was more nerve-wracking for him after he came out of the game, Guidry said he never got nervous.

“People always ask me that and this is what I tell them,” he said. “You either do the job or you don't. There's no in-between, I do a good job or don't, we win or we lose, that’s it.”

Guidry said his “goal” was to put his team in a position to win that game.

“So, when I come out of that, when I came out of that game, we were winning 4-2. And then then very next inning, you know, Reggie (Jackson) hit a home run to make it 5-2. Now, we got a little cushion but no cushion is safe in Boston, in Fenway Park.”

He said that while Dent’s homer is remembered as the big hit, Guidry said the game-saving play was made by Yankee right fielder Lou Piniella in the ninth inning with the score 5-4.

Boston’s Jerry Remy hit a line drive that Piniella could not see due to the late afternoon sun. As the ball hit the turf and almost bounced by him, Piniella stabbed at it and it landed in his glove. That prevented the baserunner, Rick Burleson, from advancing from first to third base. A deep fly out by Jim Rice, the next batter, could only move Burleson to third – instead of being a sacrifice fly.

With two outs and two on, Gossage got Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski on a foul pop to third baseman Graig Nettles for the game’s final out.

“If Piniella doesn't cut that ball off Burleson goes third, and he might have even scored,” Guidry reasoned. “But you know, he cuts it off. And I think he just saw it at the last second.”

He credited the Yankees’ outfielders for knowing where to position themselves for certain hitters.

“Those guys were so intelligent. Because we didn't have an outfield that had blistering speed or anything like that. You know? They were just good ballplayers. (Mickey) Rivers was the only one who had speed,” he said. “But the most amazing thing was you didn't have to worry about them being out of position. They knew where to play guys.”

The 1978 Yankees went on to beat the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series for their 22nd championship. Guidry posted three more victories in the playoffs and World Series, finishing with a 28-3 mark.

For his regular season success (25-3, 1.74 earned run average), Guidry was named the league’s Cy Young Award winner and finished second to Rice in the Most Valuable Player voting.

Guidry retired following the 1988 season with a 170-91 won-loss record, 3.29 ERA and 1,778 strikeouts.

The Lafayette, La. native (and resident) shared his thoughts on a few other topics:

On this year’s Yankees vs. Red Sox playoff game:

“I didn’t like going back to Boston for that because, looking at the whole thing, the first time (1978), we did it, but it gets much harder to do it again. So now, each team has won one. If it ever happens again, that’s going to be a great story."

On infield shifting in today’s game:

“No, we didn’t have that. I mean you shifted certain guys, because you know, a lot of guys just hit the ball in certain areas,” he said. “If I'm going to pitch and know that I'm going to be throwing a guy a certain way, then I might tell my infielders or outfielders to shift this way or that way.

“Now, with all the analytical stuff, sometimes it helps them and sometimes it hurts. You watch teams that know how to hit the ball behind runners and stuff like that? Even though they’re left or right handed, when they start shifting, you can drive a battleship between first and second, or second and third because there’s only one guy playing somewhere around there. You just hope it don't hurt at the worst possible moment.”

On his nicknames – Gator and Louisiana Lightning:

“My teammates gave me the nickname, Gator,” he said. “When I got called up in 1975, the Yankees were playing at Shea Stadium as the old (Yankee) stadium was being refurbished. And when I got there, you know, I got off the plane and I went to Shea Stadium, got dressed and they were already playing because we had a doubleheader against Boston.

“I walked in and met the manager and he told me to go to the bullpen. And when I walked in the bullpen, of course, I met Sparky Lyle and Dick Tidrow and a couple of other guys, and they started talking to you about where you’re from. And they asked me what we had a lot of in Louisiana and I told them, we got mosquitoes and snakes and alligators.

“And, I don't remember who it was; it was either Sparky or Dick Tidrow and they said, ‘We’re just going to call you Gator because we can't pronounce that last name. So, you know, that's the nickname that was given to you by your teammates. So, that's the one that you treasure the most.”

Regarding Louisiana Lightning, he said that was given to him by longtime Yankees broadcaster Phil Rizzuto during Guidry’s 18-strikeout performance against the California Angels on June 17, 1978.

“It’s a catchy thing, but it’s tough to sign when you’ve got to sign a lot of it,” he said.


Photo at top: New York Yankees pitching great Ron Guidry talks with Dino Labbate of Rochester as he autographs baseball memorabilia at today's Legends & Stars 2021 Fall Sports Expo at Batavia Downs Gaming. Photo at bottom: Guidry and Hall of Fame infielder/designated hitter Paul Molitor, who faced Guidry while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1978-1992. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

October 29, 2021 - 1:47pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, WROTB, Batavia Downs Gaming.

While falling short of the $3 million predicted by Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.’s chief financial officer, the 2021 third quarter nevertheless turned out to be a record three-month period at Batavia Downs Gaming.

WROTB’s 17 participating municipalities will be receiving $2,518,587 in earnings from July, August and September and another $62,729 in surcharge in September, according to figures released Thursday by CFO Jacquelyne Leach.

"We fell short because we were able to come to an agreement with the Batavia Downs Gaming Union to provide a much deserved bonus and wage adjustment to our gaming union employees," Leach said.

Furthermore, illustrating the facility’s recent surge in activity, earnings and surcharge distributions of $4.4 million for the first nine months of 2021 are $1.2 million more when compared to the first nine months of 2019 -- a 39.48 percent increase, Leach reported.

Genesee County will be receiving $53,393 in earnings from the third quarter and $1,090 in surcharge from September. For the year, the combined amount going to Genesee is $93,344 – up from $71,287 for the same period in 2019.

The years 2021 and 2019 were used since 2020’s earnings were adversely affected by COVID-19.

The third-quarter numbers for the other GLOW counties are as follows:

Livingston -- $57,738 in earnings and $1,129 in surcharge (September);

Orleans -- $37,144 and $634;

Wyoming -- $36,771 and $671.

Surcharge and earnings distributions for the other GLOW counties for 2021 are as follows:

Livingston -- $100,232 (up from $77,427 in 2019);

Orleans -- $63,187 (up from 51,822 in 2019);

Wyoming -- $63,382 (up from $49,969 in 2019).

October 29, 2021 - 12:30pm


Seven NFL Hall of Famers -- including Buffalo Bills’ greats Andre Reed, Jim Kelly (photo above), Thurman Thomas and Joe DeLamielluere – and former Major League Baseball standouts Ron Guidry and Paul Molitor are headlining this weekend’s Legends & Stars Batavia Sports Expo at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.

The event runs from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. today and from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We have a tremendous lineup of sports legends with us this year,” said Ryan Hasenauer, Batavia Downs Gaming marketing director. “This gives people an opportunity to come out and purchase all kinds of great memorabilia and cards – anything sports related.”

Other NFL Hall of Famers scheduled to appear are linebacker Rickey Jackson, halfback Lenny Moore and tight end Kellen Winslow Sr.

Guidry, a left-hander pitcher, is a two-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees (1977-78) and won the Cy Young Award in 1978. Molitor, an infielder and designated hitter, is a member of the 3,000 hit club and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.

Hasenauer said collectors will be glad to know that many vendors have signed up to participate.

Admission is $10 person each day and must be paid in cash. Each paid admission guest receives the following:

  • $10 Casino free play voucher (only for guests ages 18 & up);
  • One raffle ticket for “Dealer Bucks” Giveaways awarded throughout the day.

Children 12 & Under are admitted at no charge, but will not receive a raffle ticket or a casino free play voucher.

The lineup for “legends and stars” and their autograph session times are as follows. Prices for autographs vary depending upon the item to be signed. Photo opportunities also will be available.


-- Joe Cribbs, running back, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins; 3x All-Pro. 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

-- Joe DeLamielluere, offensive guard,  Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns; HOF '03, 6x Pro Bowl, 8x All-Pro. 6 to 7 p.m.

-- Jordan Poyer, safety, Buffalo Bills. 6 to 7 p.m.

-- Andre Reed, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins; HOF '14, 4x AFC Champ, 7x Pro Bowl. 7 to 8 p.m.

-- Thurman Thomas, running back, Buffalo Bills; HOF '07, 1991 NFL MVP, 5x Pro Bowl, 4x AFC Champ. 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.


-- Carlos "Boogie" Basham Jr., defensive end, Buffalo Bills; 2021 2nd Round Draft Pick. 3 to 4 p.m.

-- Marty Cordova, left fielder, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles; 1995 AL ROY. 11 a.m. to noon.

-- Doug Drabek, pitcher, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles; 1990 NL Cy Young, 1994 All-Star. 11 a.m. to noon.


-- Ron Guidry (photo above), pitcher, New York Yankees; 2x World Series Champ, 1978 AL Cy Young, 5x Gold Glove, 4x All-Star, Yankees Co-Captain 1986-88. 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

-- Micah Hyde, safety, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packer; 2017 Pro Bowl. 1 to 2 p.m.

-- Rickey Jackson, linebacker, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers; HOF '10, Super Bowl XXIX Champion, 6x Pro Bowl. 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

-- Stevie Johnson, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers; 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

-- Jim Kelly, quarterback, Buffalo Bills; HOF '02, 5x Pro Bowl, 4x AFC Champ. Noon to 1 p.m.

-- Dawson Knox, tight end, Buffalo Bills; 2 to 3 p.m.

-- Paul Molitor, infielder/DH, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins; HOF '04, 3,000 Hit Club, 1993 World Series Champ, 1993 WS MVP, 7x All-Star, 4x Silver Slugger. Noon to 1 p.m.

-- Lenny Moore, halfback/wide receiver, Baltimore Colts; HOF '75, 2x NFL Champion, 1956 NFL ROY, 1964 NFL MVP, 7x Pro Bowl. 11 a.m. to noon.

-- Eric Moulds, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans; 3x Pro Bowl. 1 to 2 p.m.

-- Andre Rison, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders; Super Bowl XXXI Champion, 1990 All Pro, 5x Pro Bowl. 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

-- Greg Rousseau, defensive end, Buffalo Bills; 2021 1st Round Draft Pick. 2 to 3 p.m.

-- Devin Singletary, running back, Buffalo Bills. 2 to 3 p.m.

-- Sean Waltman, WWE Hall of Famer/DX Member. Noon to 3 p.m.

-- Kellen Winslow Sr., tight end, San Diego Chargers; HOF '02, 3x All-Pro, 5x Pro Bowl. 1 to 2 p.m.

Celebrity Bartending to Benefit Connor O’Neil

A celebrity bartending event is set for 8:30 tonight at the Labatt Blue Zone at 34 Rush. A portion of food and drink purchases made from 8:30-10:30 p.m. will benefit Connor O’Neil, a 9-year-old boy from Lockport who has been stricken with a rare form of malignant brain cancer.

Appearing will be 97 Rock’s DJ Jickster, Channel 2’s Patrick Hammer, Channel 4’s Dave Greber, Buffalo Hockey Legend Danny Gare and Thurman Thomas.

There will be live auctions for autographed sports memorabilia as well with all proceeds benefitting #ConnorStrong. For more information on #ConnorStrong, visit https://connorstrong.org/.

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