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Batavia Rotary Club

July 8, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Press Release in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news.


Press release:

Six Paul Harris Fellowships were awarded to members of the Batavia Rotary Club during its annual Awards Night in June.  The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation and was started in 1957.  Our club contributes to the Foundation on behalf of members who exhibit outstanding service to RI and our club. 

Our 2022 recipients were introduced by the Foundation President Jay Gsell:

Jamie Mott, a member since 2015.  Jamie has filled a number of roles, most recently handling the budgeting and books as club treasurer. You can see Jamie pitching mulch at Rotary Park or flipping pancakes at the Fly-In breakfast.

Marlin Salmon, who joined Rotary in Batavia in 1981, then spent some years in the LeRoy Club, before returning to the fold in Batavia. He has been serving as our club president during the Rotary year that ended June 30.  Under Marlin's leadership, we returned to many of our traditional activities, including in-person meetings, several fundraisers that were disrupted by covid, and service projects in our community.

Laurie Mastin joined Rotary in 2003, served as our president during the club's centennial year, was secretary this year and co-chaired the very successful Corvette Raffle fundraiser.  She is a multiple PH Fellow.

Chris White, a member since 2013, Chris chairs the hardest working committee in our club:  the Flags and Flowers sale.  He also chairs the ever-vigilant Membership Committee. 

Sharon Kubiniec, who joined us in 2010. One of her first Rotary roles was as a beer wench in our production of Oliver, when our club produced annual Broadway shows as community events and fundraisers.  Since that time, she has tirelessly volunteered for many committees and projects, plus serving on the Board. 

Mike Kubiniec, who is probably the only Batavian who recruited his father to join the club.  Mike came on board in 1995, then convinced his dad, Conrad, to also become a member.  Past president, club secretary and one of Santa's elves are just a few of the roles Mike has contributed.  He and his wife, Sharon, are multiple PH Fellows.

Congrats to all recipients for their lasting contributions to our club through their boundless ideas, activities and energy.

June 13, 2022 - 5:11pm
posted by Press Release in Fly-In Breakfast, Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news.


Press release:

The Rotary Club of Batavia is holding its annual Father’s Day Breakfast on Sunday, June 19 at the Genesee County Airport. 

Breakfast will be served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. with the menu including eggs, pancakes, sausage, omelets, juice, coffee, tea and milk.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 4-12.  Children 3 and under are free.  Tickets are available from any Batavia Rotary Club member.

All proceeds from the breakfast will help fund the Batavia Rotary Club's charitable projects.

Photos: File photos from 2013 by Howard Owens.


The late Joe Gerace, left, and the late Bob Knipe, stalwarts of community volunteerism.


June 4, 2022 - 2:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in rotary park, Batavia Rotary Club, news.


Members of the Batavia Rotary Club were volunteering their time in Rotary Park on Main Street, Batavia, this morning, sprucing it up for spring and summer.

May 15, 2022 - 10:51pm


The Blue Devils jumped to an early lead; Notre Dame came charging back but could never pull ahead, leading to a 10-9 victory and the 2022 Rotary Tournament trophy at Dwyer Stadium on Saturday night.

The Fighting Irish were down 8-0 after 2 1/2 frames, then scored two runs in the third, five in the fourth (after Batavia tacked on two more in each of their half of the middle innings to reach 10 runs), one in the fifth, and one in the seventh.

Vincent Graziolplene and Mekhi Fortes each picked up two hits for Batavia. Graziolplene also had two RBIs as did Dan Dombrowski.  Cole Grazioplene scored three runs and Fortes scored twice.

Jesse Reinhart tossed 3 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and seven runs (four earned) and striking out five to pick up the win. 

For Notre Dame, Jay Antinore had three hits and scored twice. Vincent DiRisio was 1-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Gavin Schrader scored two runs and had a hit.  Ryan Fitzpatrick scored twice.

Fitzpatrick was the starting pitcher for Notre Dame and took the loss, giving up four hits and seven runs (three earned). 

Photos by Pete Welker


Vince Grazioplene was selected tournament MVP.













May 14, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Press Release in baseball, sports, Batavia Rotary Club.

Press release:

The Annual Batavia Rotary Club High School Tournament will take place today at Dwyer Stadium.

Le Roy will play Notre Dame in the first game at 10 a.m., followed by Attica vs. Batavia at 1 p.m. The consolation game is scheduled for 4 p.m. with the championship game played under the lights starting at 7 p.m.

Admission is $5 for an adult all-day pass and $3 for a student or senior all-day pass.  All proceeds from the tournament will help benefit Batavia Rotary Club charities.

May 12, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, baseball, sports.


It would be nice to say, "come rain or shine" there will be baseball at Dwyer Stadium this weekend.

But Batavia Rotary Club's annual baseball tournament has never had that luxury. If there's rain on Saturday, there is no tournament.

The inaugural tournament was in 1999, and on the intervening 23 years, there have been 18 tournaments played.  Three years were lost to rain and two to COVID.

"The reason the rain-out happens is that it's so late in the season for these teams, and they have sectionals, and they have to qualify to have enough games in for sectionals, so it's been almost impossible to have a rain date for the tournament," said Tom Turnbull, tournament organizer of Rotary since 2004. "So if it doesn't get played on Saturday, chances are it won't be played at all."

The good news is, there is only a chance of scattered rain on Saturday.  Turnbull expects all four games scheduled that day to be played.

The first game is at 10 a.m. and pits Le Roy (9-4) against Notre Dame (11-0).  At 1 p.m., Attica (7-4) takes on Batavia (8-6). The consolation game is at 4 p.m. and the championship game is 7 p.m.

"The teams that are playing are all very good teams," said Notre Dame Coach Rick Rapone. "They've all got very good records. They all play baseball the right way and the way you're supposed to play. And most importantly, it's good to just be back doing it. The two years with COVID had been very, very, very tough on the boys."

All four coaches told Rotary members on Wednesday that their players were excited about the tournament. 

"It's exciting to play at the Dwyer facility to play against the teams that are there," said Attica Coach Shawn Fromwiller. "Good competition only gets you better. It only gets us ready for sectionals playing against the teams that are in a tournament. I know the guys are excited about it. They've been asking, 'what time are we playing? And who are we playing?'"

Le Roy's head coach, Leon Koukides, thinks so highly of the tournament that he wrote a letter to Rotary asking that his team be invited this year.

"I really wanted to be a part of this," Koukides said. "We've not been able to be a part of it for many years, and I just wanted to give my athletes an opportunity to be in this forum, to play at Dwyer Stadium and get recognized by some of the other community members."

James Patric played in the first two tournament games in 1999 and 2000 as a member of The Batavia Squad.  Now he's the team's head coach, and between coaching in Oakfield and in Batavia, he's been a part of the tournament every year except 2001, 02, 03, and 04.

"It's a great tournament, great competition," he said. "It's always exciting."

Top Photo: Ty Strollo, Le Roy, Jesse Reinhart, Batavia, Gavin Schrader, Notre Dame, and Dan Bialek, Batavia.

Photos by Howard Owens


All of the seniors from the four teams that attended the Rotary meeting.


April 9, 2022 - 12:36pm

Genesee County is turning to a familiar face, so to speak, to help in its quest to attract outside funding for Phase 3 of the Countywide Water Program.

At its meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Old Courthouse, the county legislature will consider a resolution to contract with Sheridan Hohman & Associates of Albany to provide strategic counsel and governmental relation assistance at the state level for the remainder of the year at a cost of $2,000 per month.

County Manager Matt Landers said the expenses, totaling $18,000, will be covered by the Water Fund.

“We believe the assistance of a lobbyist that will focus on relationships with the state (agencies and leaders) will be helpful,” Landers said. “This firm has worked with us in the past through NYSAC (New York State Association of Counties).”

Landers and County Engineer Tim Hens, at a Feb. 23 meeting with Congressman Chris Jacobs, reported that it will cost around $85 million for Phase 3, which would bring another six million gallons of water per day into the county and eliminate the need for the aging City of Batavia water plant.

The county already has spent $20 million for Phase 1 and $23 million for Phase 2. The price tag of a fourth phase, down the road, is estimated at $50 to $60 million.

At that time, Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein asked Jacobs and his staff to explore federal funding options, noting, “We’re at a point now where we can’t manage it on our own.”

In a related development, the legislature also will consider rescinding an intermunicipal agreement with the Town of Alexander regarding improvements of that community’s Water District No. 6.

Apparently, Hens and County Compliance Officer Pamela LaGrou agree that changes need to be made in the pact that calls upon the county to use part of the American Rescue Plan Act funding it has received in order to comply with ARPA regulations.

Hens said a new resolution will be drafted and presented to the Public Service Committee on April 18. The county will save $3.3 million in interest on this Phase 3 project by utilizing ARPA money.

The project focuses on increasing storage capacity, with construction starting next spring, Hens added.

Other resolutions of note on Wednesday’s legislative agenda:

  • Per an unfunded mandate from New York State Board of Elections, the purchase of a $40,000 ballot scanner to tabulate scannable absentee ballots and merge those results with early voting and election day results, as well as spending $2,500 for staff training. Deputy Republican Commissioner Melissa Gaebler said the equipment has to be operational by the June primary.
  • A request from the Rotary Club of Batavia to conduct its Fly-In Breakfast at June 19 at the Genesee County Airport on Saile Drive. The service organization would be using the facility from June 17-21 for preparation and clean-up.
  • A public hearing for 5:30 p.m. April 27 at the Old Courthouse on the county’s submission of a Community Development Block Grant application from the state Office of Community Renewal to assist La Fermiere Inc. in the development of a yogurt and dessert production facility at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park on East Main Street Road.
January 6, 2022 - 2:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, Notre Dame, Le Roy, basketball, sports.
Video Sponsor

Notre Dame came back from a first-half deficit, down 20-16, to beat Le Roy 42-33 to capture the 2022 Batavia Rotary Club Girls Basketball Classic championship.

It's the 15th time in 31 tournaments the Lady Irish have taken home the trophy.

Avelin Tomidy scored 14 points and Juda Macdonald scored 10 for Notre Dame.

For Le Roy, Lindsey Steffenilla scored 11 points.

Tomidy won the Christina Volpe MVP Award.

The rest of the all-tournament team:

  • Jaimin Macdonald, Batavia
  • Karli Houseknecht, Pembroke
  • Kenna Mckenzie, Le Roy
  • Maylee Green, Notre Dame
  • Lyndsey Steffenilla, Le Roy

Lyndsey Wiedman won the Ray Shirtz Service Above Self Award.

Past champions:

  • 2021 No Tourney
  • 2020 Batavia
  • 2019 Batavia
  • 2018 Notre Dame
  • 2016 Batavia
  • 2015 Batavia
  • 2014 Notre Dame
  • 2013 Notre Dame
  • 2012 Batavia
  • 2011 Notre Dame
  • 2010 Notre Dame
  • 2009 Batavia  
  • 2008 Batavia  
  • 2007 Pavilion 
  • 2006 Notre Dame
  • 2005 Batavia
  • 2004 Notre Dame
  • 2003 Notre Dame
  • 2002 Notre Dame
  • 2001 Batavia
  • 2000 Cal-Mum
  • 1999 Notre Dame
  • 1998 Notre Dame
  • 1997 Notre Dame
  • 1996 Notre Dame
  • 1995 Pavilion
  • 1994 Pavilion
  • 1993 Gates-Chili
  • 1992 Byron-Bergen
  • 1991 Attica
  • 1990 Attica

Past MVPs:

  • 2020 McKenie Reigle, Batavia
  • 2019 Bryn Wormley, Batavia
  • 2018 Stevie Wilcox, Notre Dame
  • 2017 Gillian Flint, Cal-Mum
  • 2016 Tiara Filbert, Batavia
  • 2015 Tiara Filbert, Batavia
  • 2014 Laurie Call, Notre Dame
  • 2013 Riley Norton, Notre Dame
  • 2012 Tiara Filbert, Batavia
  • 2011 Carly Pike, Notre Dame
  • 2010 Nicole Hort, Notre Dame
  • 2009 Jaycee Shirk, Batavia
  • 2008 Annie Palermo, Batavia
  • 2007 Hannah Norton, Pavilion
  • 2006 Heidi Norton, Notre Dame
  • 2005 Amanda Page, Batavia
  • 2004 Katie Francis, Notre Dame
  • 2003 Ashley Napoleone, Notre Dame
  • 2002 Marie Stressing, Notre Dame
  • 2001 Jen Batchellor, Batavia
  • 2000 Kelley Sullivan, Cal-Mum
  • 1999 Christina Volpe, Notre Dame
  • 1998 Christina Volpe, Notre Dame
  • 1997 Christina Volpe, Notre Dame
  • 1996 Christina Volpe, Notre Dame
  • 1995 Taya Blanton, Pavilion
  • 1994 Taya Blanton, Pavilion
  • 1993 Naima DeLain, Gates-Chili
  • 1992 Melody Hutchinson, Byron-Bergen
  • 1991 Lynn Jensen, Attica
  • 1990 Jenny Acquard, Attica
January 5, 2022 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, pembroke, Batavia Rotary Club, basketball, sports.


Notre Dame will get a chance to play for another Rotary Club crown at 7:30 p.m. tonight at GCC after beating an aggressive Pembroke Lady Dragons team on Tuesday for a 49-34 victory.

The Lady Irish were led by Emma Sisson with 13 points, Mayee Green, 12, and Lindsey Weidman, 10.

For Pembroke, Karli Houseknecht scored 16 points.

For more game photos, click here.







January 5, 2022 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, Le Roy, sports, basketball, batavia.


In the first game of the first round of the Batavia Rotary Club Girls Basketball Classic, Le Roy beat Batavia 48-44.

For Le Roy, Kenna McKenzie and Lindsey Steffenille scored 13 points each. 

For Batavia, Jaimin Macdonald scored 16 points and Jaylene Dersham scored 15 points.

Le Roy will face Notre Dame in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. tonight at GCC.

For more photos, click here.






January 4, 2022 - 4:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Batavia Rotary Club.


The 32nd Annual Batavia Rotary Girls Basketball Classic tips off today at 6 p.m. at GCC.

The first game, Batavia vs. Le Roy.

The second game begins at 7:30 and features Notre Dame vs. Pembroke.

With a storm threatening Thursday, the finals have moved to Wednesday with the championship game beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Photo: Mackenzie Harmon, Batavia; Abby Allen, Le Roy; Allie Schwerthoffer, Pembroke; and, Lindsey Wideman, Notre Dame.

November 23, 2021 - 10:03am
posted by Press Release in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news.

Press release:

Still looking for the perfect Christmas gift?  The Batavia Rotary Club is now selling its annual Chevrolet Corvette Raffle tickets. 

“We are pleased to bring back our popular Corvette Raffle,” said Marlin Salmon, this year’s Batavia Rotary Club president.  “Every dollar raised stays in our community and supports Rotary’s many charitable causes including high school scholarships, major contributions to local non-profits including our hospital, the YMCA and YWCA and many more worthy local charities.”

Tickets are $50 each or 3 for $100 with donations fully tax-deductible.  First prize is a new 2022 Chevrolet Corvette of $50,000 cash with ten additional prizes of $500 also being awarded.  Only 4,500 tickets will be sold.  The drawing will be held on February 26, 2022. 

Tickets can be purchased from any Batavia Rotarian or online at www.bataviarotaryraffle.com.

“The Corvette Raffle allows the Batavia Rotary Club to do with what we do best – support our community” Salmon said.

September 1, 2021 - 10:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news.


"Butterscotch," a cow passed around among members of the Batavia Rotary Club, has gone missing and is presumed stolen.

Typically, the cow moves to-and-from the residence or business of Rotary members as a joke but this time "Butterscotch" just disappeared from a yard in Elba.

The Sheriff's Office is asking for anybody with information on the whereabouts of "Butterscotch" to call  (585) 343-5000.

May 7, 2021 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia video.
Video Sponsor

Members of the Batavia Rotary Club along with officials from the county and city were on hand today at Dewitt Recreation Area for a ribbon cutting at a new dock/kayak boat launch on the pond.

The refurbished dock is the result of grants and donations put together by the Rotary Club in cooperation with the Batavia Youth Bureau and the County Youth Bureau. The project includes 10 kayaks that will be available for youth bureau programs.

The dock and fishing pier are also open to the general public and are ADA compliant. 

May 6, 2021 - 11:05am
posted by Press Release in DeWitt Recreation Area, news, batavia, Batavia Rotary Club.

Press release:

The Genesee County Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry and Rotary Club of Batavia invite you to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the DeWitt Recreation Area at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 7th.

It's for the new launch dock installed on the ADA floating fishing pier at the DeWitt Recreation Area and the kayaks that will be available to all recreational programs throughout the City of Batavia and the surrounding towns and villages. The dock is a stabilizing device that makes it safer to enter and exit your kayak. The launch dock is free to use.

Please feel free to stop by and share in the moment and even try out one of the 10 kayaks purchased.

This activity is a culmination of efforts of the Rotary Club of Batavia, City of Batavia Youth Bureau, Genesee County Youth Bureau, City of Batavia, Genesee County Legislature and County Parks to bring kayaks and an accessible kayak launch site to Genesee County Parks.

The donation was made possible by Rotary Club International/ Regional grant program, which provided funding to the Rotary Club of Batavia.

DeWitt Recreation Area is located at 115 Cedar St. in the City of Batavia.

April 20, 2021 - 3:29pm

Submitted photo and press release:

The Batavia Rotary Club has donated an AED defibrillator to the local center of The Salvation Army.  

The Salvation Army regularly serves community residents at its center on East Main Street. After two recent incidents when patrons at the center were stricken with health issues, the Salvation Army leadership realized the need to have a defibrillator on the premises in order to assist visitors in a timely manner, said Todd Rapp, operations manager. 

The City Fire Department provided training to Salvation Army staff members, but there were no funds to actually purchase the device. That's when the Rotary Club stepped in.

"Our club was happy to assist an organization that is providing vital services to our neighbors in the community, especially during this pandemic time when many are facing increased needs because of loss of jobs or reduction of work hours," said Tom Turnbull, Rotary Club president.

Batavia Rotary Club is a community service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the community and world. Through various fundraisers, the club is able to provide support to important community projects.  

For more information about Batavia Rotary Club, visit: http://www.bataviarotary.com

Photo, from left: Tom Turnbull, Batavia Rotary Club president Todd Rapp, operations manager, Batavia Salvation Army Ed Leising, Batavia Rotary Club member.

February 8, 2021 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, news, batavia.


Batavia residents Mike Pullinzi and Mark Schmidt will have to figure out how to share a brand new 2021 Corvette after winning this year's Batavia Rotary Club raffle, or perhaps they will split the $40,000 cash prize. 

Pullinzi and Schmidt's winning ticket was picked randomly Saturday evening at Roman's by the Rotary Club members.  

All proceeds support Rotary’s charitable causes, which this year included $20,000 in direct COVID-19 relief, in addition to the support of a dozen or more community nonprofits who take care of so many needs right here in Genesee County.

In addition to the Corvette, the following people won $500 cash: Paul George, Howard Kerr, Meghan D'urso, Nathan VanDeeBeck, Gail Kee, Jane Ziad, Deanna Mastin, Lori Lohan, Donna Salmon and Ken Hay.

Photo: Submitted photo.  Tom Turnbull, president of Batavia Rotary, at the start of the drawing.

December 9, 2020 - 3:21pm

Press release:

Looking for that perfect last-minute gift? A stocking stuffer for that sports-car buff in the family? How about a new ‘Vette? 

OK, so a chance on one. And more likely, just in time for Valentines’ Day. Either way, the odds are decent. 

Batavia Rotary Club has reintroduced its popular Corvette Raffle.

“We took a break for several years, but realized it was time to bring it back” says Rotarian and event chair Lisa Ormsbee. “The raffle raises money for all of Rotary’s good causes locally and worldwide. And we sell only up to 3,999 tickets.” 

Tom Turnbull, 2020-21 Rotary president, adds We’re thrilled to be able to bring back this project after several years’ hiatus. 2020 will surely go down in history as one to remember. We are happy to be back doing what we do best: supporting our communities. All proceeds support Rotary’s charitable causes, which this year included $20,000 in direct COVID-19 relief, in addition to support of a dozen or more community nonprofits who take care of so many needs right here in Genesee County.” 

Tickets are $50 each or three for $100. Donations are fully tax deductible.

First prize is a new 2021 Corvette or $40,000 in cash, with 10 second prizes of $500 each. The drawing will be held on Feb. 6. Tickets may be purchased from any Batavia Rotarian, or online.

“Or ask your Rotarian friend to mail you one or three tickets, and take care of it that way,” says Ormsbee. “Either way you’re doing a lot of good, and who knows, you might be driving around in style next Spring!” 

November 10, 2020 - 12:15pm

Batavia City Councilperson-at-Large Robert Bialkowski and Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski engaged in several minutes of Q & A on Monday night over the particulars of the city’s acceptance of a Batavia Rotary Club/Rotary Foundation grant. It would be used purchase kayaks and related equipment, which then would be “gifted” to Genesee County for use as a youth outdoor recreation activity.

Council, at its Business Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, was preparing to vote on the resolution to receive the $6,000 in what Tabelski termed “a pass-through” transaction since the Rotary Club wished to donate the funds directly to the City Youth Bureau.

When Paul Viele, who was running the meeting in place of City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr., asked for discussion, Bialkowski was ready with a series of questions.

Bialkowski said he was concerned by recent discussions with a couple of county legislators who said they knew nothing about owning anything, stating that “they will just store it for us.”

City Council learned about the resolution at its Oct. 26 Conference Meeting.

At that time, Jocelyn Sikorski, City and Genesee County Youth Bureau executive director, advised Council that the city would “gift” all equipment from the grant – kayaks, kayak launch, paddles and vests – to Genesee County, which will maintain and store it at the DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street.

She also said that county workers will build a trailer for hauling the equipment back and forth.

The resolution stipulates that the city would accept the grant from Rotary for the period of Oct. 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021 “to provide assistance to expand outdoor recreation and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education.”

Fast forwarding to last night, following is the back-and-forth between Bialkowski and Tabelski -- with Viele interjecting his thoughts toward the end of the mini-debate:

Q. Who will be purchasing the kayaks?

A. It will be purchased through the city and then it will be gifted to the county, so we have no liability for the kayaks or the docking.

Q. Why are we giving the county money?

A. When Mrs. Sikorski was here at the last meeting, she discussed that because it is the city Rotary, they wanted to do the grant with the city. But after myself and the county manager looked at it, it will be housed in a county park.

Q. Why are we … transferring the actual funds to the county if we’re buying the kayaks?

A. We’re not transferring the funds, we’re transferring the material after purchase – the kayaks and the docking.

Q. Because the resolution implies we are transferring the funds.

A. No, it will be purchased through the city’s procurement policy. The city will gift the equipment from this grant to Genesee County Parks who will assist with the maintenance and the storage of program equipment once purchased, and they will be responsible for the insurance for that as well.

Q. Then who will own the kayaks?

A. Genesee County. We will not own them.

Q. There seems to be some gray areas here. Who will be instructing in the use of the kayaks?

A. I know the YMCA was a partner in it and when we have youth programming, again through whatever means we do, I think it would be incumbent upon that person to have an instructor there when they bring children out there.

Viele jumped in at that point, stating that “we’re going to buy the kayaks and gift them to the county, very simple.”

Bialkowski pressed on, however, saying that “the county doesn’t know anything about us donating kayaks, and they’ll probably be plastic throwaway kayaks … the inexpensive ones, and the longer they’re in the sun, the shorter the shelf life.”

To which Tabelski replied that Paul Osborn, county parks supervisor/forester, was building a shed and a place to store them.

Q. Who will be responsible to replace them?

A. The city would not be responsible moving forward. We’re basically acting as a pass-through … (for the kayaks) to be housed at the county park, along with the docking system that we discussed at the last meeting that has the handicap accessibility.

Bialkowski said he was surprised the county doesn’t know about this, and Tabelski reemphasized that the vote on the table was to accept the grant, purchase the equipment and give it to the county.

Viele said he was sure the county knows about it.

“They have to know about it, if we’re doing this. They have to know about it, if we’re voting on it,” he said. “Maybe the legislator hasn’t read his email to see what is going on.”

Bialkowski said he didn’t think a couple of legislators would do this, but Viele said since the city is not liable, “don’t worry about it.”

After Bialkowski signified his concern about the status of an instructional program for youth, Viele remarked, “It would be a good job for you. You could teach them.”

In the end, Council voted in favor of the resolution, with Bialkowski casting the lone "no" vote.

Legislature Chair Weighs In

The Batavian contacted County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein today about this matter and although she wasn’t aware of the details, she indicated that it was likely to come up at the next Human Services meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 30.

“Basically, this is an opportunity that Rotary wanted to focus onto the city youth recreational program, and it has been working on for well over a year,” she said. “The fact that those kayaks could be donated to the DeWitt park area, it just enhances what we already have going on there and it gives opportunity for the city youth at the same time.”

Stein acknowledged the “fluid situation right now with youth services, (so) we are following our process and our procedure because we certainly want to be a good partner.”

“Everybody has a job to do and we all have steps to take to get to where we need to be,” she said.

When asked about instruction for the youth, she said the county has a kayak program that is run by the Interpretative Center staff.

October 27, 2020 - 10:11am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city council, STOP-DWI, Batavia Rotary Club, Youth Bureau.

With a boost from the Batavia Rotary Club and The Rotary Foundation, the City of Batavia Youth Bureau and Genesee County Parks, Recreation & Forestry are working together to provide an increasingly popular water sport for children.

Jocelyn Sikorski, youth bureau executive director, reported to City Council on Monday night that the pond at DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street has been identified as a safe and secure place for a kayak launch, made possible through a $6,000 grant from Rotary.

Sikorski, speaking at council’s Conference Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, said officials looked at a section of the Tonawanda Creek near Kibbe Park, but determined it was “not really a safe place.”

She said the launch to be utilized at DeWitt Recreation Area will be easy and safe for youth to get in and out of the kayaks.

City Council considered a draft resolution to accept the grant from Rotary for the period of Oct. 1 through April 30, 2021 “to provide assistance to expand outdoor recreation and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education.” After hearing details regarding the city-county connection, it forwarded the measure to its Nov. 9th Business Meeting.

The resolution also calls for the city to “gift” all equipment from the grant – kayaks, kayak launch, paddles and vests – to Genesee County, which will maintain and store it.

Sikorski also said county workers are building a trailer for hauling the equipment back and forth.

The youth bureau is planning to teach kayaking as part of its youth center and summer recreation programming, incorporating STEM learning methods into the curriculum, she said.

As far as the Liberty Center for Youth, the youth bureau’s afterschool social and educational location for students ages 9-16, Sikorski said it continues to be closed due to COVID-19 and likely won’t open until next year.

“The City of Batavia Youth Bureau and Genesee County YMCA need to ensure that the Liberty Center participants have a safe and fun experience with us,” she said. “Currently, we are working through reopening plans carefully and monitoring the potential spike in COVID-19 cases due to increased travel through the upcoming holiday seasons.”

Sikorski said as the reopening date nears, the agency will send out information regarding the registration process as well as COVID-19 protocol in accordance with Department of Health and Batavia City School District protocol.

In other developments:

  • No one from the public spoke at a public hearing to amend the Batavia Municipal Code to include public garages (auto repair stations) in I-1 (Industrial) zones with a special use permit.

Prior to opening the public hearing, council members were required to declare the city as the lead agency in the State Environmental Quality Review, which has determined there will be no significant adverse environment impact.

The zoning ordinance change is a result of a request in January by Batavia businessman Eric Biscaro, owner of Classic Home Improvements, to place an auto repair shop on his property on Ellicott Street. It is expected to be approved at the next Business Meeting.

  • City Council approved a Just Kings’ “Trunk or Treat” event for 6 to 8 p.m. this Friday, noting that all application guidelines – including a certificate of liability insurance listing the city as an additional insured – have been met.

“This is a great event for the kids,” said Council Member Rose Mary Christian, advising that city police will be participating. She said that she will be donating candy to Just Kings.

In other action, Council advanced the following resolutions:

  • Entering into an agreement with a consulting, engineering or design firm (or a combination of those types of companies) for engineering services for the $750,000 Downtown Revitalization Project at Jackson Square, a music venue located between Jackson and Center streets.

Public Works Director Matt Worth said a team including Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski, Maintenance Superintendent Ray Tourt, a representative of the Downtown Business Improvement District and himself are in the process of scoring the 11 companies that have applied and would get back to City Council either next month or in December with a contract in hand.

Previously, Worth said that the project calls for upgrades such as decorative pavement, enhanced lighting, relocation of electrical utilities, planters, benches, tables, chairs for seating and a new stage. Funds have been provided through the $10 million DRI award from the state to the City of Batavia.

In response to a question from Council Member John Canale about the upgrade decision-making process, Worth said that all stakeholders, such as nearby businesses, vendors who have used the area, BID officials, city staff and the public, will have the opportunity to provide input.

Worth indicated that the design work is to be performed next spring, with construction next fall after the Jackson Square performance season.

  • Accepting public dedication of Carolwood Drive Extension, also known as Clinton Gardens Subdivision Part 21A, following city approval of Batavia Homes and Development’s completion of the installation of stormwater system, sanitary sewer system, water main, house services and street paving to add five more building lots on the street.

Worth said the developer, which was responsible for all project costs, followed the city’s engineering requirements. This sets the stage for the city to take over maintenance of the street, including plowing and fire and police protection.

“One of the houses is close to completion, and it is my understanding that there is some interest (in the other building lots),” Worth said, adding that the extension eliminates two dead-end streets in that northeast section of the city.

  • Contracting with New Wave Energy Corporation of Buffalo for the purchase of natural gas at a rate of $3.28 per dekatherm, which, according to Worth, is 8 cents less than what the city has paid in the past three years.

New Wave Energy, which also has a contract with Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., submitted the lowest of two bids. The pact is for three years, starting on Jan. 1.

  • Accepting a $5,000 award from Genesee County STOP-DWI for the police department’s to set up high visibility road checks, saturation patrols and DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) call out during impaired driving crackdown periods.
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