When faced with the decision whether to sleep in on the Thanksgiving holiday or get up early and spend some time at the McCarthy ice arena Thursday morning, Patrick Suozzi didn’t have to think twice, he says.
The Batavia High School senior threw on some warm clothes and headed to the Evans Street rink, along with several high school students, for a first-time gathering of the Batavia Key Club.
“It’s awesome,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s a good way to give back to the community and help the kids. I’ve been helping kids color and will help them skate.”
A yearly tradition since 2007, Batavia’s Kiwanis Club has hosted a Community Skate at the ice rink every Thanksgiving. It draws many kids and families to kick off the day with some skating, mingling and hot cocoa, with this year being no exception, said Pete Guppenberger, one of the longtime Kiwanis hosts of the event.
Suozzi knows Guppenberger, he said and has become more familiar with the club and how it does activities in the community. That has made him want to become more involved, especially now that teacher Allison Chua has taken on the role of adviser for the Key Club.
“The reason I started it was because, years ago, we had talked about it, and we were gonna have a Kiwanis Key Club, and then it kind of fizzled out. And I do a whole bunch of other things for the school, and I do the newsletter … and I'm the freshman class adviser, and I'm involved in a bunch of other activities and clubs, but Mr. Smith, when he joined the Kiwanis Club, came to ask me about running a Key Club, and I thought, yeah, I think we need that at the school because in this time of COVID, and all these things that had happened, I think we all realized how important it was to help in the community and help each other,” Chua said. “And this club is all about reaching out to the community and helping, so I'm all about that.”
Key Club International is the high school branch of the Kiwanis International family, classified as a Service Leadership Program and, more specifically, as a Kiwanis Youth Program. Many Key Clubs are sponsored by a local Kiwanis club. Chua will help to organize the students, and then they will lead their own school club, which is to provide opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership, according to Kiwanis Key Club International.
There were 67 students that showed up to the initial meeting at BHS — Chua jokes that they were drawn to the pizza being served — and that has settled down to about 45 that will remain in the club.
On Thursday, 17 students came to the ice rink for this first service-based activity. Students sat and colored pictures with kids near the concession stand while others helped anyone who needed assistance with skating around the rink.
Drew Stevens has grown up in a “hockey family,” she said, and likes to skate. The 10th-grader came with a few of her friends.
“It’s a good way to be helpful with kids and families while doing something I like to do,” she said.
Lila Callan, a junior, agreed.
“It’s a good way to get involved with the community, and on Thanksgiving,” she said.
A third friend also thought that it was “a good way to get volunteer hours,” while doing things such as arts and crafts, she said.
There will be plenty of opportunities for them to rack up hours while getting out into Batavia, Chua said, since local nonprofits have expressed a need for more volunteers and the ideas keep building — doing garden work, cleaning cars of snow in winter, shoveling, to name a few.
They want to help in the community. And they're glad that there's something they can do. And, of course, it does help them because service organizations are always good for the building of their resume, and for being part of a community of helpers and learning, and I think colleges are looking for that now,” she said. “They're looking more for a well-rounded student. It's not just about how high your grades are. It's more about who you are as a person, what you do for people, and how you work collaboratively with others. And I'd be glad to give recommendations to these kids that are working hard, and that'll be a pleasure for me to be part of that.”
Members of the Batavia, Warsaw, and Pembroke-Corfu-Darien (PCD) Kiwanis clubs recently celebrated their accomplishments — and more importantly the lives they have impacted — with two centennial and one golden jubilee gatherings, respectively, for the international organizations.
“I am always excited to introduce new people to Kiwanis,” said Gene Scherline, Lt. Gov. Designate Genesee Division, during their dinner at Terry Hills restaurant in Batavia. “I’ve been in Kiwanis for 43 years. It is a very exciting time to have people just starting on their journey. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.”
Founded on Jan. 21, 1915, in Detroit, Mich., by a group of businessmen networking in a social club. It soon morphed into a community service organization. Kiwanis in Rochester was the fourth club organized and the first in NewYork State. Its first meeting was in the home of George Dixon, the first president of Kiwanis International.
In 1916 Kiwanis became an international organization with the charter of the Kiwanis club in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. At that time, it limited its membership to the United States and Canada until 1962 when worldwide expansion was approved. There are now Kiwanis in seven different countries around the world. In 1986 women were accepted into the organization as members.
“Batavia Kiwanis is a longstanding organization that has been around for more than 100 years,” said Crystal Benjamin-Bafford, Lt. Gov. Genesee Division. “The work that the officers do to keep the club's vision and always keep moving forward, to do all the activities they do, to file reports. We appreciate the folks who stand up and volunteer and want to do this, it’s not paid but often is like a second job.”
Officers inducted at Thursday’s event into the Batavia Kiwanis include Dave Rumsey, president; Reita Fletcher, president elect; Jim Dillon, vice president; Vicky Muckle, secretary; and Jon Tretter, treasurer.
“Batavia’s club started first and sponsored Warsaw’s club, then 50 years later started the PCD club. So they’re basically our offspring -- father, son, and grandson,” said Peter Guppenberger, a 21-year member of Kiwanis.
Benjamin-Bafford said that monthly reports “are super important for people like me.”
“So later on, if I have comments, we can look back and see how much we raised, and without you we cannot really understand how we serve the community and how we help. What you are to us is represented on this pin; it’s ‘you are the right stuff’.”
Batavia Kiwanis President Dave Rumsey presented three special awards.
“It is [my] hope that the continuity and perseverance that has allowed this club and the Warsaw club to maintain 100 years and the Pembroke-Corfu-Darien club 50 years to look towards the next 100 years," Rumsey said.
The Presidential Appreciation Award was presented to Jon Tretter for his tireless assistance with the finances of the club. Vicky Muckle was also presented with the Presidential Appreciation Award for her dedication and assistance as secretary.
“Her communication skills kept me in the loop, and she puts on a great chicken barbecue,” Rumsey said. “If I had speed-dial capability, I would have this individual’s number right on top,” he said. “As a new president, when problems arise, I would make a call to discuss the matter and, with the information provided, make an informed decision. This individual is also assisting with the coordination of many signature events for this club.”
The 2023 Kiwanis of the Year Award, which has been presented to members since 1967, was awarded to Guppenberger.
“Peter does everything with enthusiasm and confidence, and I swear he knows everybody in the community,” Rumsey said.
Legion of Honor and Merit awards are presented to those who have notable longevity within the Kiwanis clubs. As Guppenberger noted, the awards are significant because they chose not to give their time to their community but because they chose to invest their time in their community.
“There’s a difference between giving and investing,” Guppenberger said.
The Legion of Merit recognizes those members who have at least five years and up to 20 years of consecutive membership. This year’s recipients for members with five years up to 20 years are: Rumsey, five years; Jocelyn Sikorski, 10 years; Sue Maha, 10 years; and Mark Lewis, 15 years. Both Lewis and Sikorski are past presidents.
The Legion of Honor recognizes those members who have at least 25 years of consecutive membership. This year’s recipients are: Frank Ciaccia, 25 years; Gary Maha, 35 years; Patricia Forsyth, 35 years; George Arnold, 35 years; and Eric Adams, 45 years. Maha, Arnold and Adams are all past presidents, and Forsyth is a past secretary.
Warsaw Kiwanis, also celebrating 100 years, inducted new officers, including Lindsey Rissinger, president; Kevin Carlson, vice president; Gwen Carlson, secretary; and Richard Humphrey, treasurer.
Members inducted into the PCD Kiwanis, which is celebrating 50 years, include John Drogi, president; Penny Arnold, vice president; Debbie Krenzer-Lewter, secretary; and past Lt. Gov. Pat Weissend, treasurer.
The lifeblood of any organization is getting new members, they said. PCD had the opportunity to induct two new members in its organization: Casey Stocking and Megan Tocha.
“The hierarchy of Kiwanis exists because of its members,” said Lucien Giancursio, NY District Governor Designate. “Two new members mean two new people who have joined us. So you look around the room right now, and this is your family, this is who you turn to. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions. Because it’s the membership that makes things happen. It’s the members of Kiwanis who do the work. Leadership starts at the club and moves its way outward.”
The name Kiwanis stems from Nun Keewanis, an expression of a Native American tribe in the Detroit area where the organization was founded. It is loosely translated to “we serve.”
According to the International Kiwanis Club Website, Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.
“You’ll find clubs all around,” Guppenberger said. “You drive into town, and you see the ‘K’, and that means there’s a group of people that want to help that community. And everybody does things a little differently. It just depends on who the members are. The members drive the club. You’ve got a board of directors – a president, vice president and whatnot – and other members who all come together to come up with ideas on how to help the community - how to help the kids - with fundraisers like dinners and other events.”
Part of Kiwanis is service, yet members are also getting together, having fun and building relationships, Warsaw Kiwanis Vice President Kevin Carlson said.
During its infancy, Kiwanis was a group of businessmen networking and servicing the community through volunteer work. However, over the past century, the organization has grown to be a real community-based organization.
“While there may be one or two members who actually work in the Pembroke area,” said John Drogi, PCD president. “The rest of us are community members. We are just people who want to make an impact in the community.”
Drogi joined the Batavia club in 1999 and, in 2009, joined the PCD club.
Currently, in Batavia, one of the projects is funding the Books for Babies program facilitated through the Richmond Memorial Library in conjunction with the hospital (United Memorial Medical Center). So when babies are born, they’re enrolled in a program through the library to encourage early reading.
Kiwanis Park, built in 1976, was a joint effort between Batavia Kiwanis and the town of Batavia.
The Warsaw Kiwanis help raise money for the children's playground at Warsaw Village Park on Liberty Street in the village. The club helped get the project started and recruited other community members to help bring the playground into fruition.
Events like the recent car show put on by PCD raised funds for projects such as Dolly Parton’s Books for Kids. Participants receive one book a month until they are five years old. The project was inspired by a member who worked for the health department in early childhood intervention, where she noticed many of the kids didn’t have books during home visits.
“We’ve been doing this for about six months and have around 70 kids signed up already,” Droji said.
“That’s part of joining the club,” Carlson said. “You bring your ideas. Some get accepted, some don’t get accepted, but don’t get let down. It can be brought up again, and maybe it can get done. A big part is enthusiasm. We have an enthusiastic group right here, and you can get a lot done.”
That’s the idea behind it. One may have an idea but think, “How am I going to get it done?” If one is a member of an organization like Kiwanis, it’s not just one person trying to get something accomplished. There is a group of people ready to help get a project done. According to Guppenberger, if it's an idea that resonates with the members, they will do everything to get it done.
To encourage future members, Kiwanis also has a presence in area schools, grades four through 12, via Service Leadership Programs (SLP). They include: the ‘K’ Kids, fourth through sixth grades; Builders Club, middle school; and the Key Club for high school students. There is also a club at the college level for those who are physically challenged.
“The kids run the programs. They decide what they are going to do,” Guppenberger said. “It’s building leadership; building service. They have their own officers, their own fundraisers, all under the umbrella of Kiwanis International.”
Initiated by Ashton Caney, the Batavia Kiwanis received its charter on Feb. 23, 1923, with 56 members of businessmen. Note ‘businessmen,’ said Guppenberger.
“It has certainly changed since then, for the better, I may add,” he said. “We are honored and fortunate to have the second ever female inducted in the Kiwanis Club here tonight — Patricia Forsyth, who became a member in 1987.”
Since then, there have been approximately 12 female presidents in their clubs. The clubs at the time were mainly men’s clubs. It was “the old boys” club stereotype, says Forsyth. Yet women were just as much in business as men were.
The main focus is still service in the community; it is the backbone and strength of the Kiwanis community, members said. You are joining an organization that is dedicated and serving the local needs of the community and having fun doing it.
City Council President Eugene Jankowski and Vice-Chair Genesee County Legislator Marianne Clattenburg read proclamations exalting the efforts of the Batavia club.
“I just want to say, as a lifelong resident of Batavia, I am the benefit of one of your investments. As a youth, I played in sports, and you guys supported our community way back when and has kept me out of trouble,” Jankowski said. “It kept me on the ball field instead of other activities. Thank you for that.”
The Kiwanis Club of Batavia is included in those community service projects in sponsorship of sports, construction and development of the many community parks, the Fresh Air Program, and three Richard Rung Memorial Scholarships a year. The scholarships are offered to graduating seniors at Batavia High, Notre Dame High School, and Genesee Valley BOCES.
The Fresh Air program was created to bring sponsored children from the cities to the country for a week, explained Clattenburg. In addition to sponsoring the development of Kiwanis Park in the town of Batavia, the club helped to convert the park so that it offers specialized equipment for children with developmental disabilities.
The Kiwanis Club offered holiday totes at Christmastime to families in need throughout the city, school district, and St. Joe's from 2015 to 2019. Totes included a holiday meal, books, mittens, and hats for each child, as well as supporting the Autism Trail at Letchworth (State Park) through fundraising efforts.
“I always thought 50 years was a long time,” said Ed Arnold, one of the founding members of the PCD club. “Doesn’t seem that long. When I think back on how great it is to have this many people ... Hank is the one who really pushed it for all of us to make it happen, and Hank did nothing but give a million percent to make sure that everybody would come [to meetings].
“The meals that he would give us… and it was every Tuesday night. Hank is gone. Greenwoods restaurant is gone - and the changes we have had. But you people should be so proud of what is here from 50 years ago of what it was.”
Guppenberger read a list of the Batavia club’s services, supports, and projects with the speed of an auctioneer, periodically taking a breath and asking the audience if he had forgotten anything from the scroll-like list of services, supportive efforts and projects. Most significantly, the club raised more than a quarter-million dollars for the Justice for Children Advocacy Center to be renovated.
“One of our sponsored clubs was the Golden K,” he said. “We used to do the Golden Olympics for I can’t remember how many years. All the county nursing homes, patients who wanted to participate, would come to Batavia, and we had the Golden Olympics and gave out ribbons, and the patients would put their ribbons on their beds. They were so proud of them.
“We had a beanbag toss, bowling, wheelchair races and all kinds of crazy stuff like that. Unfortunately, it became difficult to continue the games because there wasn’t enough staff to bring the residents in. It was a cool thing to do, and as a kid, I loved helping my dad out with the Golden Olympics.”
Lucien Giancursio, NY District Governor Designate, congratulated the three clubs for their respective milestones.
“We are here because people were here before us,” he said. “So let's be the people here for someone behind us.”
As commander of the Le Roy Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post, grandpa to two grandchildren, an avid golfer, and Kiwanis Club president and race chairman, Dave Rumsey’s retirement hasn’t exactly been idle.
But leaving his post as commissioner of the Wyoming County Social Services for 17.5 years, followed by commissioner at Genesee County for another five years, has given him plenty of opportunity to “catch up doing things I didn’t have time to do,” he says.
Add to the list his role as race director for Batavia Kiwanis Club's annual Independence Day 5K. He looks forward to increasing participation to at least last year's numbers for the event on July 4.
"We hope to get at least 117, as of today we're up to 35. They keep going up by about 10," he said to The Batavian Thursday.
The Stafford native and Le Roy High School grad went to serve in the U.S. Navy for 20 years before returning to this area, where he has remained to build his career.
Carla Mindler filled the vacancy, and faces the same challenges that Rumsey did for those two decades: a shortage of affordable housing, healthcare issues, “they just keep continuing on,” he said.
“Nothing really major, the same stuff, a different day,” he said to The Batavian. “The staff is wonderful, they provide a valuable service to the county.”
Once he was in as president of Batavia Kiwanis Club, serving as race director last year wasn’t that much of a stretch, he said. “It’s a two-fer.”
The club struggled during COVID’s pandemic protocols, offering a virtual 5K in place of its regular in-person race throughout the city on the Fourth of July. That didn’t go so well, he said. But members rallied, and last year they secured 117 participants for the annual race.
“And we’re off and running,” he said, no pun intended.
People are trickling in to register for this year’s event, with about 35 signed up so far. However, Rumsey and former race director Dave Chua know that’s always par for the race course, they said: runners often wait til the last moments to decide, check out the weather, feel that runner’s energy, and go for it.
Are you ready? A gun start is at 9 a.m. July 4 on Richmond Avenue, at the top of Centennial Park in front of the state School for the Blind. Prizes will go to the top first and second male and female runners, while proceeds are going to worthy causes.
As usual, the proceeds will be divvied into thirds, and this year’s recipients are the Books For Babies program, Batavia City School District’s Foundation, and Kiwanis Club’s various children’s organizations.
The city school Foundation's donation "directly impacts our Batavia Community Schools' Heart of Kindness Center," Community Schools Coordinator Julia Rogers said.
"The Center (formerly Community Closet) is supported through donations to the BCSD Foundation, Inc. The portion of proceeds we receive from the Kiwanis 5K will go towards food items and paper products which we order for our food pantry through FoodLink NY in Rochester," Rogers said.
For the price of $25, you can get some early exercise, a race T-shirt, fresh air, camaraderie, help benefit at least three charities, and then enjoy the rest of the holiday. The 5K is for runners and walkers alike.
As for Rumsey, he used to be a runner, but his knees have given way to walking at this stage in life, he said.
After the race, he will enjoy some time with family at a lake get-together. As a veteran, he is well aware that the Fourth of July is about “Independence Day.”
“It’s a day that the way we live and how we live is because of what our forefathers did,” he said. “We’re an independent country.”
At Thursday's recognition luncheon held at Batavia Country Club, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia announced recipients of the 2023 Criminal Justice Awards.
The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.
The 2023 Award Recipients are:
Investigator Erik B. Andre, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Erik B. Andre began his career with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office in November of 2017, when he was hired as a Deputy Sheriff. He brought with him prior law enforcement experience as he had previously worked as a Police Officer for the Village of Attica Police Department. Investigator Andre's work ethic and law enforcement knowledge were quickly evident and led to his selection as a Field Training Officer. Investigator Andre continued to perform his duties as a Deputy Sheriff to the highest standard, and in January 2022, he was promoted to the rank of Investigator.
Investigator Andre presents a calm demeanor and is a consistent example of professionalism. Investigator Andre is a member of the Crisis Negotiator Team, where his ability to remain composed in high-stress situations is a valued resource. Investigator Andre goes beyond the call of duty and shows a true commitment to the community. Among his investigative duties, Investigator Andre has proactively developed and pursued several investigations involving retail theft crimes, which have led to arrests and successful prosecutions. He takes pride in his work, he is an advocate for crime victims, and strives for an equitable outcome in his investigations. In addition to his investigative responsibilities, Investigator Andre acts as a departmental Firearms Instructor and an Electronic Control Device Instructor. He has been the recipient of a Sheriff’s Office Meritorious Service Award and a Commendation. Investigator Andre was nominated for this award by Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. and Chief Deputy Joseph Graff.
Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher John W. Spencer Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher John W. Spencer has been a member of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office since 2007. For the past six years, John has supervised the afternoon shift of the Emergency Services Dispatch Center, a shift that receives a high-call volume and regularly deals with crisis situations. Senior Dispatcher Spencer's experience and knowledge are recognized during these high-stress calls for service. He makes sure the appropriate equipment and personnel are notified and dispatched, which is a valuable asset to first responders.
John has been the recipient of a Sheriff's Office Meritorious Service Award recognizing his excellent leadership and guidance for dispatchers, especially newer dispatchers. John has also received five Sheriff's Office Commendations which has proven his professionalism, compassion, and dedication to the citizens of Genesee County and Emergency Services. Senior Emergency Services Dispatcher John W. Spencer was nominated for this award by Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. and Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur.
Officer Jason Ivison, City of Batavia Police Department Police Officer Jason Ivison (top photo) has been employed by the City of Batavia for over 12 years. He has excelled as an officer on road patrol where he served as one of the department’s primary Field Training Officers and was then promoted to Detective in 2019. Since that time, Detective Ivison has developed into a key member of the Detective Bureau. Detective Ivison has worked many high-profile investigations which have led to numerous arrests. Detective Ivison is known for completing thorough casework, which ultimately contributes to successful prosecutions in court. Through his work, Detective Ivison has shown he is committed to seeking justice on behalf of the victims in his cases. In addition to working his caseload, Detective Ivison also manages the City of Batavia's Sex Offender Registry. Detective Ivison should be commended for his superior performance on behalf of the City of Batavia Police Department and the community in which he serves. Officer Davis was nominated for this award by City of Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch.
Trooper Bradley Maderer, New York State Police On December 23, 2022, during the harshest conditions of Winter Storm Elliott, Trooper Bradley Maderer, along with Probationary Trooper Sean Ogden, responded to Judge Rd (SR 63) in the Town of Alabama for at least 25 occupied, disabled vehicles, both in and off the roadway. Time was a factor as plows were unable to clear the roadway, and some vehicles' gas levels were getting low. Trooper Maderer located a resident who allowed their heated garage to be used as a temporary shelter. Unable to effectively navigate the scene with his patrol vehicle, Trooper Maderer and Probationary Trooper Ogden patrolled on foot, checking the occupants of each vehicle. While experiencing below-freezing temperatures, extreme wind and snowfall, the Troopers guided the disabled vehicle occupants to the makeshift warming shelter or checked on them periodically if they wished to remain in their vehicles. Trooper Maderer remained on scene throughout the night at the shelter to ensure the safety of all citizens. Trooper Maderer’s relentless effort undoubtedly saved lives, and he should be commended for his actions. He played an integral part in the NYSPolice response and was a big reason why there were no fatalities in Genesee County during Winter Storm Elliott.Trooper Maderer was nominated for this award by New York State Police Zone Sergeant Benjamin Fasano.
Deputy County Attorney Paula Campbell Deputy County Attorney Paula Campbell’s dedication, professionalism, and knowledge of the law makes her a true asset to Genesee County. She is always willing to educate others about the law, including employees, school officials, workers at the Child Advocacy Center, etc. Ms. Campbell visited all the school districts in Genesee County to explain to staff the education requirements for abuse and neglect cases. She also educated school staff on PINS/JD requirements, Raise the Age and other laws. Recently, Ms. Campbell was made a supervisor within her department. She is professional, empathetic and is always available after hours for situations that arise. Paula Campbell was nominated for this award by Genesee County Department of Social Services Child Protection Supervisor Sandy Wojtaszczyk.
Charles L. Mancuso Mock Trial Award The “Charles L. Mancuso Award” was presented to the members of the LeRoy High School Mock Trial Team as winners of the 2023 GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties) District Competition in the New York State Bar Association High School Mock Trial Tournament. The award reads “Dedicated to the Memory of an Outstanding Attorney-Citizen”, Mr. Mancuso, a Batavia lawyer, served as coordinator of the local competition until his untimely death 16 years ago.
The LeRoy High School team members honored at the luncheon include Jacqueline Arneth, Elaina Blake, Addison Burnside, Matthew Covert, Michael Covert, Katelynn Everett, Simeon Fisher, Andrew Greene, Meredith Ianni, Allie Ingles, Lyla Jones, Zachary Kirby, Maureen Klaiber, Ethan LaBabara, Daniel Mark, Molly Osterman, Anina Pabros, Emily Rigdon, Jack Tonzi, Carolyn Wujcik, Gabriella Zitz, Teacher-Coach Taylor Netchke. The coordinator of the local Mock Trial Program, Kristie DeFreze, presented the award.
Note: Our apologies to Paula Campbell, and the Le Roy Mock Trial team. Because of a photographer's error, we don't have pictures of Campbell or the team.
Saturday is the big day, Batavia Kiwanis Club members say: the Egg Hunt is on at 9 a.m. sharp in Centennial Park, Batavia. No pre-registration necessary. Anyone that found a golden egg April 1 through 6 prior to this event can redeem it for a prize on Saturday.
Families in the Batavia area are invited to attend the annual Kiwanis Club of Batavia Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 8 at 9 AM sharp. The event will take place at Centennial Park with three age categories: birth-3, 4-7 and 8-10. Along with the thousands of eggs hiding in the park, there will be nine golden eggs. The nine lucky children who discover the golden eggs will be able to exchange them for a chocolate bunny from Oliver’s Candies.
There will also be one golden egg hidden each day in Centennial Park beginning on Saturday, April 1 through Thursday, April 6. The golden eggs will be hidden at different times each day to allow for families with different schedules to search and have an equal chance of finding them. The golden eggs are restricted to kids age 12 and under, although older siblings and family members can help search! The winning golden eggs must be turned in at the Easter Egg Hunt on April 8th to receive an Oliver's Candies chocolate bunny.
The club is asking those who find golden eggs prior to the Easter Egg Hunt, please send pictures to the Kiwanis Club of Batavia Facebook page at facebook.com/kiwanisclubofbatavia.
Kiwanis Club of Batavia is proud to offer fun, healthy family activities that serve children in our community. For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page or their website at www.bataviakiwanis.org. The club meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday at 12:10 at Batavia’s Original Pizza and welcomes new members.
Kids in Batavia and surrounding areas have benefitted from the Kiwanis Club of Batavia for 100 years.
The Kiwanis Club of Batavia has a long history of community service through various club-sponsored programs and support of youth and community-serving organizations.
On Feb. 22, 1923, with 56 original members led by former Batavia Mayor Ashton W. Caney, the club received its charter from Kiwanis International.
With members in 80 countries and geographic locations, Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time.
In its early history, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia founded a Fresh Air Health Camp, which brought hundreds of children from inner cities into rural WNY for a week of camping. Kiwanis was also a long-time sponsor of an annual Soap Box Derby, which was revived last year by the Batavia Improvement District. An early signature project was raising money to build a community pool formerly at MacArthur Park. To mark its 75th Anniversary, the club financed new playground equipment at Austin Park that remains to this day.
A more recent signature community project was the raising of over $200,000 for the Justice for Children Advocacy Center, allowing them to renovate an existing structure to provide state-of-the-art services to the children under their care. Its current signature project is funding the Books for Babies Program facilitated by the Richmond Memorial Library.
The club conducts three popular holiday events annually; Thanksgiving Morning Skate at the David. M. McCarthy Ice Arena, Easter Egg Hunt at Centennial Park, and an Independence Day 5K run/walk in Batavia.
The club proudly holds an annual Law Enforcement Recognition event in conjunction with the Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, Genesee Justice and the Genesee County Magistrates Office.
The club also presents three Richard Rung Memorial Scholarships each year; one each to a graduating Senior at Batavia High, Notre Dame and Genesee Valley BOCES.
“Our main objective is to improve the lives of children, one community at a time,” said David Rumsey, club president. “As Kiwanians, we are proud of our accomplishments. I encourage and welcome everyone to join in the proud traditions of Kiwanis.”
Kids in the community need Kiwanis. The Kiwanis Club of Batavia is proud to serve them and hopes to do so for another 100 years. For more information, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/kiwanisclubofbatavia or their website at www.bataviakiwanis.org. The club meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday at 12:10 at Batavia’s Original Pizza and welcomes new members.
Kiwanis Club of Batavia will be hosting its annual Free Thanksgiving Morning Community Skate on Thursday, Nov. 24 from 9 to11 a.m. at the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena on Evans Street in Batavia. Admission and skate rentals are free (while supplies last). There will also be free hot chocolate.
Kiwanis Club of Batavia is thankful for the local community’s support of their fundraisers. It’s through their fundraisers that events such as this can be provided for the children of Batavia and surrounding communities. Please come out and enjoy this free event!
Kiwanis Club of Batavia will be hosting a Chicken BBQ on Saturday, July 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Town of Batavia Fire Department on Lewiston Road. Tickets are $14 and can be purchased from any Kiwanian. This is a Drive-thru only event.
Proceeds from the event will support Books for Babies at the Richmond Memorial Library. Books for Babies provides every child born at United Memorial Medical Center (or anywhere in Genesee County, by request at the library) with a tote bag containing a new, age-appropriate board book; a nursing bib with the Read to Me graphic, so that any caregiver might see the bib and begin reading books to babies earlier; and a handout giving simple early literacy guidelines and milestones and pointers for new parents to other early literacy resources, and free registration instructions for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
So there’s some good news and some bad news about Fourth of July festivities this year. While there don’t seem to be too many local events taking place on the actual day, including the long-standing Picnic in the Park, (the bad news), there are plenty of activities during the long weekend leading up to the patriotic holiday.
That should be good news for anyone interested in baseball, fireworks, live music, cultural and artisan entertainment, a road race and the camaraderie that naturally accompanies family and friends gatherings.
Friday, July 1
First up is the Old Hippies from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in Jackson Square (between Jackson and Center streets, Batavia. You should know the drill by now: bring a lawn chair, relax and enjoy. Across town will be a Muckdogs game at 7:05 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium. In addition to swing-batter-swing, there will be fireworks following the game.
Or how about “Get(ting) the Led Out” at Batavia Downs Gaming, where a Led Zeppelin tribute band takes the stage at 5 p.m. trackside. Click here for tickets
Josh Groban will be taking the stage at 7 p.m. at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, 9993 Alleghany Road (Route 77). For tickets, go here
Restaurants are also planning to provide some live music for patrons, including the Red Osier on Route 5 in Stafford, and Center Street Smokehouse on Center Street in Batavia.
Saturday, July 2
From 6:30 to 10 p.m., the Sinner Band will be at Jam at the Ridge, 8101 Conlon Road, Le Roy. Click here for tickets
Saturday will also bring the family fun all day and night long with the Batavia Ramble Explore Arts & Music Fest downtown in Jackson Square. Live bands, cultural dances, hands-on artist crafts, and more will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more details, see prior coverage here
Big Time Rush Forever Tour is set for 8 p.m. at Darien Lake Amphitheater at Six Flags Darien Lake Theme Park. For tickets, go here
Sunday, July 3
Sunday will feature another Muckdogs home game at 7:05 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium, complemented by a nightcap of fireworks. For more information or tickets, go to Muckdogs.
Backstreet Boys: DNA World Tour is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Darien Lake Amphitheater. Click here for tickets
Monday, July 4
Holiday? What holiday? Lace-up your sneakers for a little early morning exercise before firing up the grill and enjoying picnic treats. You’ve got a week to prepare for the annual Kiwanis Club Independence Day 5K, set for 9 a.m. July 4 at Centennial Park.
The annual fundraiser is back on the road this year, after a temporary pandemic virtual option, says club member Dave Chua. For those runners not willing or able to take on the morning 3-mile jaunt, there will be a virtual option again this year, Chua said.
Runners will be helping Kiwanis Club raise money for the Autism Nature Trail and Batavia City School District Foundation.
As for no Picnic in the Park, Chua didn’t think that would impact the number of participants in the 5K, especially since the event has always wrapped up before the picnic festivities began anyway. It will mean, however, the rental and expense of port-a-potties. Participants have previously been able to use the ones already put in place for the picnic, he said.
This year’s race is going with a new timing company, Spirit Timing, which seems to be well-organized, he said. As part of that change will be fewer paper registrations versus online. There will also be a phone app to register that way ahead of time or while standing in line that morning as a day-of registrant.
Those that do register ahead of time are pretty much guaranteed a T-shirt with the official race logo, and all runners will get a bib with the timing chip on race day. Fees are $25 for each of the July 4 and virtual races.
Packet pick-up (and pre-registration) will be at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 3 at Batavia’s Original, 500 East Main St., Batavia. For more information, go to Batavia Kiwanis 5K
With all of the construction and a one-way Park Road along Batavia Downs Gaming, there won’t be any fireworks at the site this year, marketing director Ryan Hasenauer said. He recommends checking out the Friday concert as part of the Rockin' the Downs series, above.
Godfrey’s Pond is hosting a fun, members-only parade on July 4, complete with decorated bikes and golf carts. A step out of the county will find Genesee Country Village & Museum with a good old-fashioned Independence Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Mumford. For more information, go here.
Kiwanis Club of Batavia will be hosting its annual Independence Day 5K on Monday, July 4 at 9 AM at Centennial Park. The club is so excited to bring this event back in person after hosting a virtual event last year.
Proceeds from the race will be distributed to the Autism Nature Trail at Letchworth State Park, Batavia City School Foundation for the Community Schools Program, and lastly the Kiwanis activity fund which supports community events such as our Easter Egg Hunt, Thanksgiving Morning Skate and others.
The Kiwanis Club of Batavia Criminal Justice Award is presented to a member or members of the community, law enforcement, or a criminal justice agency serving the citizens of Genesee County whose exceptional career achievements and conscientiousness to citizenship have demonstrated a spirit of selfless public service or demonstrated an act of exceptional valor or heroism.
The 2022 Award Recipients are:
Rosanne DeMare, Community Victim/Services Counselor, Genesee Justice
Rosanne started her career with Genesee Justice in 2006 and has worked with countless victims by supporting and guiding them through their role in the justice process. She is compassionate when speaking to, or on behalf of victims and is determined to ensure that victim’s rights are met with the utmost respect and dignity at all stages of the criminal justice process. The victims Rosanne has assisted wholeheartedly share their appreciation for all she did to help them get through some very trying times.
Rosanne always has the interests of the victims first and foremost and is ready, willing, and able to assist in whatever way necessary. She will calculate large and complex restitution claims or simply be there to comfort a victim in distress. She will supervise and entertain children while their parent or guardian is testifying in court and she will provide assistance to allow victims to travel to court to remain safe from a threat. She will make phone calls, emails, whatever is necessary, to keep a victim apprised of the progress of their case or relieve their anxiety.
Rosanne has a superior work ethic and is often the last one to leave on any given day. Her dedication and professionalism to the mission of the Genesee Justice Victim Advocacy program is a true asset to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and Genesee County. Community Victim/Services Counselor Rosanne DeMare was nominated for this award by Genesee Justice Program Coordinator Diana Prinzi.
Thomas Graham, Justice, Town of Oakfield
Justice Thomas Graham began his law enforcement career on February 17, 1976, with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and retired after 29 ½ years of service. During his tenure, he held the positions of Deputy Sheriff – Jail, Deputy Sheriff – Road Patrol, Dispatcher, and Sergeant. Additionally, he was a Field Training Officer, was the lead for the Buckle Up New York Program and earned a Meritorious Service Award for his exceptional performance over an extended period of time. He played an instrumental role in the operations of the Emergency Services Dispatch Center and was a K-9 handler for several years.
Honorable Graham is currently the Secretary and Treasurer of the Genesee County Magistrates’ and Court Clerks’ Association and is a board member on the Criminal Justice Advisory Council and Genesee County Traffic Safety Board. He is also an instructor for the Rural Police Training Academy at Genesee Community College.
Judge Graham has spent the past 48 years as a volunteer fireman and was the Assistant Chief of the Oakfield Volunteer Fire Department.
It is evident that Judge Thomas Graham is dedicated to the profession of law enforcement and has contributed extensively to the several organizations and boards he has served and currently serves. Genesee County is very fortunate to have such an experienced, dedicated professional serving its citizens. Justice Graham was nominated for this award by the Town of Oakfield Court Clerk Sandy Almeter.
Kevin Forsyth, Investigator, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office
Investigator Forsyth‘s career in law enforcement began in June of 2007, as a Probation Officer with the Genesee County Probation Department, and on July 11, 2015, he was hired as a Deputy Sheriff with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigator Forsyth proved himself a valuable member of the road patrol division and was selected as a Field Training Officer. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Award in 2017, reflecting his consistent high standard of work. Investigator Forsyth’s excellent performance led to his promotion on November 30, 2019, to Investigator with the Criminal Investigation Division. He demonstrates a consistent work ethic, is knowledgeable of the law, and is a valued, reliable member of the Investigation Division. Investigator Forsyth presently serves the community spending countless hours investigating crimes, which through his effort and commitment, often lead to an arrest and the perpetrator brought to justice. Along with his investigative responsibilities, Investigator Forsyth is also an instructor of Defensive Tactics, Taser, Aerosol Subject Restraint, Stinger Spike System and is trained as a Crisis Intervention Officer. Investigator Forsyth is also a veteran of the United States Army.
Investigator Kevin Forsyth was nominated for this award by the Chief of Criminal Investigations Joseph Graff.
Eric Hill, Youth Detective, City of Batavia Police Department
Youth Detective Hill was hired by the City of Batavia Police Department in 2005, and has served many roles within the department during his 17 years of service to the community. He has served as a road patrol officer, Field Training Officer, one of the Department's Public Information Officers (PIO), has been a member of the Department's Emergency Response Team, and is active in community events such as Shop with a Cop.
Youth Detective Hill was promoted to the position of Youth Detective in 2015, and has since worked alongside multiple partner agencies to ensure that the City's youth are served with professionalism and empathy, always emphasizing a restorative justice model. Youth Detective Hill has worked with countless parents, teachers, and officers to assist them in dealing with difficult situations, all while ensuring that the best interest of the youth is met. Eric has also worn the unofficial "hat" of being the Department's IT support. He has worked alongside County IT, City officials, IT vendors and department members to ensure that the technology used to assist officers and citizens is kept operational. Eric's technical background and skills have proven to be an indispensable resource to the staff.
Throughout his career, Youth Detective Hill handles all of his duties with professionalism and pride for the uniform he wears and the department he represents. Youth Detective Hill was nominated for this award by City of Batavia Police Detective Sergeant Matt Lutey.
The Kiwanis Club of Batavia is pleased to once again to honor several members of our local law enforcement community. The Club has a long history of recognizing outstanding contributions by members of the police and criminal justice system in keeping our community safe.
This year the Kiwanis Club of Batavia will recognize members of the Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, Genesee Justice, and the Oakfield Town Court during a noontime luncheon held Wednesday, June 1 at Go Art.
After a two-year hiatus, the annual Batavia Kiwanis Easter Egg Hunt returned this morning to Centennial Park in Batavia. Despite damp and cold conditions a couple of hundred children turned out to hunt for hundreds of eggs, including golden eggs that contained a slip that awarded the finder a giant chocolate bunny from Oliver's Candies.
The Kiwanis Club of Batavia is very excited to bring back our annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 16th. After a two-year hiatus, we are happy to bring the community together again. With COVID restrictions lifted, the Easter Egg Hunt can now be safely run. There are three age categories for the event: birth-3, 4-7 and 8-10. The event will begin at 9 AM sharp at Centennial Park in Batavia.
In addition, we will continue last year’s new tradition, the Golden Prize Egg. Starting on Saturday, April 9th, there will be a Golden Prize Egg hidden daily at Centennial Park. The egg will be hidden at different times each day to allow for families with different schedules to search and have an equal chance of finding the egg. The Golden Prize Eggs are restricted to kids age 12 and under, although older siblings and family members can help search! The winning Golden Prize Eggs must be turned in at the Easter Egg Hunt on April 16th to receive an Oliver's Chocolate Bunny prize. With both events going on, there are now 16 Golden Prize Eggs up for grabs!
We are asking those who find Golden Eggs prior to the Easter Egg Hunt, please send pictures to the Kiwanis Club of Batavia Facebook page.
The Kiwanis Club is very happy to provide these fun and healthy activities for families to participate in.
Kiwanis Club of Batavia is hosting its annual Thanksgiving Day Skate on Thursday, November 25th, 2021 from 9 am to 11 am at Falleti Ice Arena, 22 Evans Street, Batavia. The event includes FREE admission, skate rentals, and hot chocolate (while supplies last).
Kiwanis Club of Batavia is excited to offer a Chicken BBQ at Dewitt Recreational Park on Saturday, September 25. The fundraiser will support the Richmond Memorial Library Project, "Books for Babies," promoting earlier reading to newborns and infants.
Dinners are available by pre-sale only and tickets need to be purchased by Sept. 19. Dinners will be available for pick up from 11 AM to 1 PM.
"Books for Babies" provides every child born in Genesee County with a tote bag containing: a new board book, a nursing bib with "Read to Me" graphic, and information about early literacy guidelines and milestones, and free registration to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.