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Batavia Rotary Club

August 5, 2020 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jay Gsell, genesee county, batavia, Batavia Rotary Club, news.

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In honor of the retirement of Jay Gsell's retirement as county manager, the Batavia Rotary Club -- he's a member -- has purchased yard signs and they've been distributed around the city.

Gsell will be guest on a special hour-long segment of WBTA's Main and Center tomorrow morning (Thursday), from 9 to 10 a.m.

June 21, 2020 - 5:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news, COVID-19.

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The crowd may not have been as big for the Rotary Club's annual Father's Day Pancake Breakfast as it would have been if they had been able to conduct the breakfast in the sit-down style of the past 20 years, but club members were pleased with their well-organized effort to feed members of the community for free.

Nobody had to pay this morning for three pancakes, two sausage links, butter and syrup, milk and orange juice, though donations were gratefully accepted.

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June 12, 2020 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, COVID-19.

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Submitted photo and press release:

Responding to community needs, the Batavia Rotary Club is contributing a $20,000 donation from its Foundation to assure Genesee County residents have access to food and other essential items during this time of increased needs.

"We want to make sure the families and individuals are not suffering during this time of financial uncertainty and increased health concerns," said club President Bob Knipe.

The Rotary Club tapped its endowment that was created by various fundraisers conducted throughout the years, he explained.

The contributions will be made in two waves. The first $10,000 is being donated now, primarily focused on assuring food supplies for needy families and for emotional support for senior citizens. 

"One-hundred percent of the contributions are going to provide support directly to people, not for administration," said Rotarian Ed Leising, who has served on a special COVID Relief committee for the club.

The Salvation Army in Batavia will receive $7,000 for its emergency food distribution.

The United Way of Genesee County will receive $2,400 for its backpack program that provides food to families with school-age children.

Genesee County Office for the Aging will receive $600 toward emotional support for local senior citizens who have been isolated during this period of stay-at-home social distancing.  

A second round of $10,000 funding will be released in about a month.

"At that point in time, we anticipate having more of an understanding on the economic impact of layoffs and joblessness caused by the pandemic," said Rotarian Sharon Kubiniec. 

Rotary is an international service club whose motto is "Service Above Self."  The Batavia Club has been in existence for more than 100 years and provides regular financial support to community organizations such as Crossroads House, the YWCA Domestic Violence Safe House, college scholarships to local students, youth sports and capital improvements to United Memorial Medical Center. 

"We are working to continue supporting the organizations that we have been sustaining for many years, but club members were adamant to respond during this unprecedented time of need for our neighbors," said President Knipe. 

For more information about Batavia Rotary, visit its website at www.bataviarotary.com.

Photo, from left: Rotarian Donna Saskowski, Rotarian Ed Leising, Tony Condello from the Genesee Senior Foundation, associated with the Office for the Aging, Diana Fox of the Office for the Aging, Rotary President Bob Knipe, Rotarian Sharon Kubiniec, Tammy Hathaway, executive director of the United Way of Genesee County. All the Rotarians are members of a special COVID Relief Committee.

June 3, 2020 - 1:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, Fathers Day, news, pancake breakfast.

Press release:

For 20 years, the Batavia Rotary Club has conducted a fundraising breakfast at the Genesee County Airport. This year, the club is offering breakfast to the community for free.

Yes, free breakfast.

"Club members thought the community needs a positive event at this time," said President Bob Knipe. "We want to serve those in need with this offer, but also anyone who enjoys breakfast is welcome.

"It's a sample of our club's interpretation of the Rotary motto of 'Service Above Self.' "

Of course, there are many changes to the breakfast format in order to keep visitors and volunteers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The club leadership has been working with the Genesee County Health Department to follow strict guidelines for safety.

Here's how it will work:

  • The event will be a drive-thru at the Northgate Free Methodist Church at 8160 Bank Street Road in Batavia.
  • Patrons will be able to drive into the parking lot and be given pancakes, sausage, milk and orange juice in a takeout container. Visitors should not leave their vehicle.

The event will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. on Father's Day -- Sunday, June 21.

For many of the first 20 years, the breakfast has been a Father's Day tradition.

"We're able to offer this because of the generosity of our major sponsors who donate much of the food and supplies," said Rotarian Mark Snyder, cochairman of the event.

Donations come from Tops Friendly Markets, United Memorial Medical Center, Suburban Propane, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel, and Reinhart Enterprises.

"While we can't serve the extensive menu we usually have, we should be able to serve up to 1,500 people with pancakes and sausages," said Paul Marchese, also a cochair from the club.

"This year's breakfast will be a drive-up, takeout event. We will be limiting the takeouts to the number of persons in the car, plus up to two extra for family members who are unable to venture out to the breakfast."

The facility at Northgate allows for space to keep the volunteers socially distanced into small groups and is ideal for the drive-through plan, said Rotarian Ed Leising, who was one of the originators of the event 21 years ago.

Northgate has been the site of several food distribution days for The Salvation Army and can safely handle the traffic flow.

Since masked and gloved Rotarian volunteers will bring the prepared and boxed food right to the cars, there is very little interaction that would compromise safety.

"Our preliminary plans have been approved, and we continue to work with county health officials to make sure we are compliant with all safety regulations," Leising said.

The Batavia Rotary Club generally uses the Father's Day breakfast as one of its major fundraisers. The free breakfast was conceived to assist those in need in the community as well as give a morale boost to the region, President Knipe said.

The club will accept freewill contributions at the breakfast to continue its programs. It is awarding $20,000 in COVID relief funds to area agencies who are leading efforts to assist our neighbors who are financially struggling because of the pandemic.

The Batavia Rotary Club annually provides $18,000 in scholarships to graduates of Batavia and Notre Dame high schools, plus the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. It has also made significant donations to UMMC, the Genesee Community College Scholarship Fund, Arc of Genesee Orleans, Crossroads House, and the YWCA Domestic Violence safe house.

For more information about Batavia Rotary, visit its website.

May 13, 2020 - 5:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, Batavia Rotary Club, Day of Caring.

Photos and information courtesy of Bob Knipe:

Today, on what was to have been this year's United Way Day of Caring, Batavia Rotarians Krysia Mager and kids, Doug Forsyth and Ray Chaya did a bit of socially distanced sprucing up of Rotary Park -- complete with sidewalk chalk art!

April 22, 2020 - 1:39pm

From the Rotary Club of Le Roy:

It is the Rotary International vision statement that perhaps says it best “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”

Rotarians are a collection of people of action, and we share a strong sense of purpose. In troubled times such as these, Rotarians will rise and meet the needs of their community and the world. It is with that sense of purpose that the Rotary Club of Le Roy has begun the “Rotary Community Reinvestment Fund.”

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt across the globe, but signs of the effects can be seen in our community. In the interest of public safety, nonessential local businesses have been forced to close.

The impact of these closures may not be evident to the naked eye, but the ramifications are impacting our friends and neighbors who own these businesses. As both state and national levels begin to restart the economy, those same businesses that have supported Le Royans in the past will need our support more than ever.

The Community Reinvestment Fund will take donations made by local individuals and families, and direct them to the Le Roy businesses most in need. The Rotary Club of Le Roy, which has served the community for more than 75 years, will oversee the collection and distribution of funds.

There will be a short application for businesses to complete, and a committee of Rotarians will review the applications and submit approved applications to the Board of Directors. The form is available on our website. Fellow Rotarians and their families are not eligible to receive funds through this process.

Individuals or businesses interested in supporting our community can make contributions by mailing a check to: Rotary Club of Le Roy, Attn.: Community Reinvestment Fund, P.O. Box 141, Le Roy, NY 14482.

Any questions can be directed to Jim Ellison (717) 503-5749, or:   [email protected] 

April 16, 2020 - 2:09pm

Press release:

Batavia Rotary Club has donated $1,000 to United Way of Genesee County to help provide food for its Backpack Program that assists local families in need.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rotary International Foundation made available $20,000 to clubs in District 7090, which includes the counties of Western New York and Southern Ontario, Canada. 

Through Rotary's District Grant process, Batavia Rotary Club applied for and received a $1,000 grant specifically to provide financial assistance to United Way of Genesee County’s Backpack Program. This program supplies weekend meals to students within multiple school districts in Genesee County.

With students home continuously over these past weeks, the demand for the weekend meal program has increased substantially. Each week brings more and more new families registering in the program.

From Bob Knipe, Batavia Rotary Club President:

"We are very pleased to receive this grant to be used by United Way of Genesee County.  Providing food for our neighbors in Genesee County is vitally important at this time, especially for families with children.  The Backpack Program operated by United Way here in our county offers food to some of our most vulnerable citizens.  With the recent increased demand for food, Batavia Rotary is able to help fill some of the gap."  

Batavia Rotary Club has just completed celebrating its 100th anniversary year of providing service to our community.  Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self."

The United Way of Genesee County has been supplying services and funding to many agencies through this time of uncertainty. The funding received from Batavia Rotary Club will be wholly used to purchase food for the weekend Backpack Program.

From Tammy Hathaway, executive director of the United Way of Genesee County:

“We cannot thank Batavia Rotary Club enough for their continued dedication to our mission. This is proof that our community is doing what it does best, uniting to ensure the needs of households in Genesee County are met.”

For those wanting to join Rotary in supporting the efforts of the United Way of Genesee County in feeding our neighbors, please contact Tammy Hathaway at 585-343-8141 or [email protected].

February 24, 2020 - 4:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, charity, crossroads house, Batavia Rotary Club.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Rotary Club of Batavia recently blessed Crossroads House with a new snowblower and lawn mower to keep the grounds of their home beautiful in the summer, and safe and snow free in the winter.

Crossroads House Executive Director Jeff Allen and Rotary Club of Batavia President Bob Knipe were on hand to see the new equipment at Cedar Street Sales and Rentals.

“For so many years, we have relied on volunteers and staff with shovels in the winter and used lawn mowers in the summer that often times were held together with duct tape.” Allen said.

“With this wonderful gift from the Rotary Club of Batavia, the great folks who keep up our grounds all year long can do so more efficiently.”

Upon delivery of the equipment Guy Clark, along with sons Adam and Connor, presented Crossroads House with a certificate from Cedar Street providing all parts, labor, maintenance and tune-ups for the new equipment for three years.

“With the added bonus, we only need to pay for gas and that is great for our budget.” Allen added.

Rotary Club of Batavia has partnered with Crossroads House for many years. They provided funds in the recent past to install a vital handicap bathroom.

They also funded an upgrade to the security camera system as well as LED lighting in the parking lot providing peace of mind important to a home that operates 24 hours a day.

Pictured, from left Bob Knipe, Rotary Club of Batavia president; Connor Clark and Guy Clark, Cedar Street Sales and Rentals; Jeff Allen, executive director of Crossroads House.

December 10, 2019 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, sports, basketball.

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The Rotary Club Tournament returns to GCC on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 with Batavia, Le Roy, Notre Dame, and Pembroke competing for the crown.

Game times are at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., each night.

Photo: Kiaya Condidorio, Le Roy, MacKenzie Reigle, Batavia, Montana Weidman, Notre Dame, McKenna Johnson, Pembroke.

Submitted photo and information.

November 26, 2019 - 3:10pm

Le Roy Police Department is putting on a special charity event on Saturday, Nov. 30, to help Genesee County families in need this holiday season.

Le Roy PD will be joined by New York State Police - Troop A in Batavia, New York State Environmental Conservation Police, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Batavia Police Department, Corfu Police Department, Genesee County Probation and Rotary International.

"Stuff the Cruiser" will take place 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the Target parking lot at Towne Center at Batavia on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Bring unwrapped toys, new clothing and nonperishable foods to stuff in a police vehicle. This is a kid friendly event, fun for the whole family.

June 5, 2019 - 4:29pm

Above, three generations of the Marchese family, of Batavia, helping at last year'sfly-in breakfast. Seated is Fran Marchese, who has been a Batavia Rotarian for more than 40 years and is a past president. At right is his son, Paul Marchese, who has been a member of the Batavia Rotary Club since the 1980s. Center is Paul's son, Joe, a college student who volunteers at the breakfast annually.

Submitted photo and press release:

The popular Batavia Rotary Club Fly-in Breakfast returns to the Genesee County Airport on Father's Day, June 16. Serving is from 7 a.m. until noon.

Rotarians will prepare the all-you-can-eat extensive breakfast of eggs, pancakes, sausage, orange juice, coffee, tea and milk. A specialty is the "Rotary Scramble" combination of eggs, sausage, peppers, onions and cheese.

Tickets are $8 per adult and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Children under 5 are free.

"We have expanded the number of our serving lines so waiting has been greatly reduced," said Ed Leising, longtime chairman of the event.

Also, there is plenty of onsite handicapped parking close to the hangar that is the breakfast site.

The Fly-in Breakfast is one of the Batavia Rotary Club's main fundraisers each year to support the many community service projects conducted by the club.

"Every penny our Batavia Rotary Club raises from fundraising is donated toward local, regional and international projects," Leising said. "Money we raise in fundraisers such as the Fly-in Breakfast is never used for the operation of our Rotary Club itself."

Leising cited several programs that benefit from the club's fundraising efforts, including $18,000 in college scholarships awarded annually to students from Batavia, Notre Dame and Genesee Educational Partnership and $250,000 pledged to the Healthy Community Center to be constructed as a joint venture of the YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center.

Recent short-term projects have included remodeling of the Domestic Violence Safe House operated by the YWCA and improvements to Crossroads House security.

Batavia Rotary Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary of providing for the community under its motto of "Service Above Self."

Tickets for the Fly-in Breakfast are available in advance from any Rotary member and also at the door.

History of the 100-year-old Batavia Rotary Club's Annual Fly-in Breakfast

By Gregg McAllister

Genesee County Chamber of Commerce had a great idea in the late 1990s as they launched the Wingding Weekend as an end-of-summer festival that included an air show.

Anne Garlock, who was on the Chamber's planning committee, suggested to fellow Rotarian Ed Leising that the Club should organize a fly-in breakfast at the county airport for Sunday morning during the weekend.

Ed assembled a team of workers who obtained food donations, equipment to cook a hearty pancake and eggs breakfast in an airport hangar, and suddenly the idea took flight.

Rotarian Carol Boshart and her husband, Jeff, of Boshart Enterprises and Aircraft Services, and Jay Gsell, county manager and also a Rotarian, provided support and clearance to use the hangar for cooking and seating of guests.

That first year in 1998, the club served nearly 900 breakfasts.

Over the next few years, the tradition continued, and Rotarians developed a relationship with the local Flying Farmers club, which conducted a fundraising breakfast at the airport each Father's Day in June.

Eventually, the Flying Farmers decided they were not going to continue their event, and offered the Father's Day date to Rotary.

The first year of the change to June for the breakfast, the hungry crowd of breakfast lovers climbed by 200.

Now Rotarians average 1,350 to 1,400 breakfasts served annually, with income of $11,000 to $12,000 for community service projects.

Many area residents have made the trip for breakfast at the airport part of a Father's Day ritual as parents, children and grandchildren meet for a huge meal. Pilots fly in from airports throughout Western New York, and guests enjoy seeing the various planes.

Even with so many years of experience, the event requires six months of planning and preparation. Basically all of the food is donated from generous sponsors like Tops, United Memorial Medical Center, Kreher's egg farm and Suburban Propane.

A team of Rotarians sets up tables, chairs and massive grills in the hangar the night before.

The first shift of workers starts cracking eggs by 6 am in order to be ready for the first surge of customers at 7. Serving continues until noon. A cleanup crew comes behind, and the hangar is restored to airplanes by 4 p.m.

Working on the event is a family tradition for a number of Rotarians. One young adult who now lives in Pittsburgh comes back each year to help because that's what she did when in middle and high school.

"It's a great way to spend time with my Dad the Rotarian on Father's Day," she said.

May 14, 2019 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, news.

Rotary Club of Batavia group photo by Kevin Carlson of Carlson’s Studio.

Submitted photos and press release:

The Rotary Club of Batavia is celebrating its 100th anniversary and to mark its centennial, the club hosted a gala at Batavia Downs on Friday, May 10, to celebrate its accomplishments and energize for more projects that benefit the community.  

As an organization designed to instill values of community service and professional development, Rotary was founded in 1905 in Chicago. In 1919 the Batavia Rotary Club was chartered with 25 members who pledged to the organization's motto of "Service above Self." 

Now, 100 years later, that commitment remains strong.  The 75 men and women of Batavia Rotary seek to serve others through local community projects and international partnerships.

Rotarians are committed to service, and we're not afraid to dream big and set bold goals, said Laurie Mastin, the current president.

Locally, the Batavia Rotary has contributed more than $700,000 to charitable causes in the Genesee community in the last 20 years. Additionally, it provides $18,000 in scholarships to local college students each year.

On a worldwide scale, Rotary began a fight against polio in 1979 and has reduced that crippling disease to only two countries -- down from 125 in 1988. And we won't stop until we're done and polio is eradicated. Batavia Rotary continues to financially support that campaign and has contributed more than $150,000 over the years to eliminate polio from the Earth. 

In the words of Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, "We believe we can change the world one life at a time."

Photos below by Paul Figlow for Figlow Productions.

May 12, 2019 - 11:07am
posted by Steve Ognibene in sports, baseball, Le Roy, batavia, Batavia Rotary Club.

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Last evening, the Batavia Blue Devils advanced to the finals (following their close win to Oakfield-Alabama) between the Le Roy Oatkan Knights.  Alex Hale pitched the first five innings while Andrew Francis closed on the mound for the duo to have a complete game.

The first three innings showed no score from either team, until the bottom of the fourth as Batavia scored five runs. Sam Sallome, Trevor Zewan, Andrew Francis, Josh Weis, and Luke Grammatico each had a hit and RBI. Later on in the sixth, Luke Grammatico would score again with his second hit and RBI. Alex Hale and Jake Humes came to home plate as well.

Batavia was calm, cool, and collected throughout tonight and having continuous hits led to many runners on base, which turned into plenty of scoring opportunities. They were defensively sound. Batavia led Le Roy in hits 12-3 and one error to Le Roy’s three. Final score 8-0.

After the match, Sam Sallome was announced 2019 Rotary Tournament MVP.

Story submitted by Thomas Ognibene.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

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May 11, 2019 - 5:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, batavia, Batavia Rotary Club, video.
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Batavia beat Oakfield-Alabama 5-4 with a bottom-of-the-seventh bunt in an opening round game of the annual Batavia Rotary Club Tournament.

Earlier today, Le Roy beat Notre Dame 8-2.  

Batavia and Le Roy face each other at 7 p.m. in the championship game.

May 11, 2019 - 1:59pm
posted by Steve Ognibene in sports, news, batavia, Le Roy, Oakfield, baseball, Batavia Rotary Club.

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Today, the Le Roy Oatkan Knights took on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to kick off the 21st Annual Batavia Rotary Club High School Baseball Tournament at Dwyer Stadium.

Tim McMullen and Tommy Saunders held the mound for Le Roy, while David Russo and Spencer Misti pitched for Notre Dame.

Giavanni Caccamise, Reece Tresco, Tim McMullen, Kenny Saunders all recorded a hit and RBI, while Ryan Friend had two hits and RBIs to make it 6-1 Le Roy after two. Zachary Cocking had the lone RBI for ND in the first.

Later on in the fifth inning, Tommy Saunders and Austin Saeya came home safely and scored. It was 8-1 Le Roy after five.

Spencer Misti, David Russo, Andrew Moore, all collected hits while Alex Totton had a RBI and hit of his own in the final inning of the game.

Le Roy led ND in hits 9 to 8 and was defensively strong overall only allowing two errors. With Le Roy’s 8-2 win they will move on to the championship game at 7 o'clock tonight to face the winner of Oakfield-Alabama and Batavia.      

Story and photos by Thomas Ognibene.

To view or purchase photos click here.

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April 26, 2019 - 12:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news.

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Members of the Batavia Rotary Club partied like it was 1919 at Eli Fish last night as part of the club's ongoing commemoration of the civic organization's 100th anniversary but before they did they gathered in Rotary Park in Downtown Batavia for a group photo.

Here is a roster of current members (not all are in the photo):

Andrea L. Aldinger
Lori Aratari
Paul Battaglia
Wade Bianco
Linda Blanchet
Carol Boshart
Justin Calarco-Smith
Timothy Call
Ramon Chaya
Gary Churchill
Christopher Dailey
Richard G. Ensman
Daniel Fischer
Christine Fix
Douglas Forsyth
Vladimar Frias
William Fritts
Steven Grice
Jay Gsell
Barbara Hale
Stephen Hawley
Theodore Hawley
Jonathan Herdlein
Michael Hodgins
Thomas Houseknecht
James Isaac
Kimberly Isaac
Donald Iwanicki
Lalit Jain
John Kirkwood
Robert Knipe
Raja Kolisetti
Michael Kubiniec
Sharon Kubiniec
Edmund Leising
Thomas Lichtenthal
Glen Liucci
Krysia Mager
Rosalie Maguire
Francis Marchese
Paul Marchese
Laurie Mastin
Thomas Mazurkiewicz
Debbie McAllister
Gregg McAllister
John McGowan
James McMullen
Sue Medley
David Metzler
Martin Moore
James Mott
Gilbert Mulcahy
Kimberly Nichols
Robert Noonan
Lisa Ormsbee
Susie Ott
Barbara Pierce
Steven Pies
Mary Raymond
Joseph Rowbottom
Marlin Salmon
Donna Saskowski
Paul Saskowski
John Saville
Samantha Schafer
Susan Schuler
Jane Scott
Robert Shell
Raymond Shirtz
Pamela Sivret
James Smith
Lily Snyder
Mark Snyder
George Spinnegan
David Swartz
Peter Terry
Robert Thompson
Thomas Turnbull
Hollis Upson
Robert Walker
Christopher White
Kenneth Witt
Theresa Yasses
Charles Zambito
Andrea Zucchiatti



 

March 1, 2019 - 11:42am
posted by Virginia Kropf in Batavia Rotary Club, business, Chamber Awards, batavia.

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Editor's note: The 2018 Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet will be held Saturday, March 2, at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

As Batavia’s oldest service club prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, it will be honored by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce with the Special Service Recognition of the Year on Saturday.

Rotarian Christopher White stressed the importance of the Rotary Club of Batavia in the community when he nominated it for the Chamber award.

“Founded by local businessmen looking for camaraderie and an opportunity to give back to their community, the Club has made meaningful contributions, not just financial, but of their time, talent and expertise to make Batavia a better place to live,” White wrote.

Rotary’s contributions to the Batavia community include support of Batavia Concert Band, Genesee County Youth Bureau Community Garden, Genesee Cancer Assistance, Crossroads House, Genesee Symphony Orchestra, GO ART!, Fourth of July Picnic in the Park, Genesee/Orleans ARC and United Memorial Medical Center.

And they support local youth in ice hockey, minor league baseball, Boy Scouts, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), YMCA Camp Hough and the YMCA Summer Adventure Program. 

The Rotary Scholarship Program provides $18,000 each year to high school students from Batavia, Notre Dame and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.

Rotary also gives local high school students a chance to spend a year abroad, and has hosted foreign exchange students looking to experience life in the United States and Western New York. Two of these students, one from Australia and the other from Denmark, are in Batavia now and attended a recent meeting to tell of their experiences at Algonquin Provencial Park in Ontario, Canada.

Rotary has also provided youth leadership training to many local high school and college students through Rotary International. And they support the world by continuing to raise funds from club members to support Rotary International in its quest to eradicate polio from the face of the earth.

Batavia Rotary hosts the annual girls’ and boys’ high school basketball tournaments, the annual Father’s Day Fly-in Breakfast at Genesee County Airport, the annual Beerfest and raffle, and the Memorial Day Flags and Flowers Sale.

Not to be forgotten are the Rotary shows which were put on for so many years.

White noted that many of the current 75 Rotary members sit on boards of local organizations and nonprofit agencies, lending their support and knowledge to them. They can be found making an impact outside of the Club itself, he said. Members range in age from 28 to 88 and all believe in the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”

Batavia Rotary was founded in 1919 by Batavia businessman Carlton M. Sleight, who had only lived in the city little more than a decade, according to William F. Brown Jr. in his book "Service Above Self: The Story of a Rotary Club."

Sleight had attended a Rotary meeting in Elmira, while living and doing business in Canandaigua, and Brown believes that his visit may have inspired him to form a club in Batavia. On March 13, 1919, Sleight invited 25 business and professional men to meet at the Holland Club with Dr. John H. Ready from the Rochester club to learn how to form a Batavia unit.

The group was so enthused that, two months later, a dinner meeting was held at the Batavia Club to discuss the reports of committees working on bylaws and a constitution. Officers were installed May 26 at the Odd Fellows Temple (the former St. James Episcopal Church on Ellicott Street). More than 200 Rotarians attended from Rochester to Niagara Falls and enjoyed a five-course dinner served by the Eastern Star. 

Batavia became Rotary International’s charter No. 491.

Batavia dentist Joseph Rowbottom is a 50-year member of Batavia Rotary, along with Dave Schwartz and Don Iwanicki.  

Rowbottom first became exposed to Rotary after moving to Corfu. When he was a freshman in dental school, he had a friend whose fiancee’s mother knew a dentist in Corfu who was retiring. That turned out to be Guy Patterson and Rowbottom bought his building. (Guy Patterson's daughter was the famous swimmer Greta Paterson, who swam across Lake Erie in 1955.)

In 1966, the Vietnam War was heating up, and Rowbottom didn’t want to be drafted, so Patterson agreed to hold the building and Rowbottom enlisted. He served two years in the military and after returning home, started attending Rotary meetings with dentist Patterson. 

“I’ve been coming ever since,” Rowbottom said. “I continued to block off time on my schedule from noon to 1:15 p.m. so I could attend Rotary. I’ve always had a lot of fun at Rotary. I also liked the Buffalo Club, but they were so formal.”

Rowbottom said his friends challenged him in the beginning to propose that women be allowed to join Rotary. At the time, the Batavia Jaycees were thrown out of the organization for accepting a female member. He proposed Rotary welcome in Terry Carauna, the dean of Business at Genesee Community College.

“They didn’t accept her and I almost got thrown out of Rotary,” Rowbottom said. “Today, we would be in a world of hurt without women. This club could not function as it does without women.”

One of the newer, younger members is Pam Sivret, who joined in 2017. Her sister, Teri Yasses has been a member since 1994 and Sivret has helped her with the fly-in breakfasts and Rotary shows. 

When Yasses said Sivret should join, she did.

“I love the friendship and how we are all very like-minded,” Sivret said. 

She was the first winner of a Rotary Youth Leadership Award to become a Rotary member. She won the award in 1990 while a student at GCC.

Lori Aratari was working for Triple AAA when she joined Rotary. 

“They encouraged us to be part of our community and get involved,” Aratari said. “I explored the service clubs locally and Rotary stood out.”

She has chaired fundraisers and is in her second term on the board.

“I’ve made amazing friends through Rotary and my husband enjoys participating in Rotary events,” Aratari said.

January 4, 2019 - 11:53pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, sports, Batavia Rotary Club, basketball, batavia, Batavia HS, notify.

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ROTARY CLUB CHAMPIONS: The Batavia High School Varsity Girls Basketball Team with Rotary Club Tournament trophy, from left, Bella Houseknecht, Kennedy Kolb, Meghan Houseknecht, Ryann Stefaniak, Emma Krolczyk, Jenae Colkey, Bryn Wormley, Mackenzie Reigle, Tess Barone and Haylee Thornley.

It was only fitting that senior Meghan Houseknecht dropped in the winning basket in Batavia High’s exciting 59-57 victory over Wellsville in tonight’s championship game of 30th annual Rotary Club Tournament at Genesee Community College.

Houseknecht was a freshman in the Lady Devils’ basketball program in January of 2016 when her father, well-known Batavia businessman Michael Houseknecht, died at the much-too-young age of 38.

With her mother, sister, grandparents, relatives and friends looking on during the closing moments of a hard-fought battle, Houseknecht, a 6-foot center, gathered in a pass from tourney MVP sophomore guard Bryn Wormley and laid the ball over the rim and through the hoop with :06 on the clock.

When teammate Kennedy Kolb broke up Wellsville’s last attempt to tie the game, Batavia had escaped with its seventh win in eight outings this season.

Batavia Coach Marty Hein relished taking the Rotary Club trophy but said he was doubly proud of the way his squad handled the adversity of losing three starters, including their top scorer, senior guard Ryann Stefaniak, who departed with her fifth foul at the 5:12 mark of the final quarter.

“Looking on the bench, we had a lead, I’m thinking we need defense,” Hein said. “ 'OK, Tess (Barone) go in'; Tess plays hardnosed defense and she did a nice job for us to finish the game. And Kennedy Kolb came through.

“I would have rather had Ryann and Kenzie (Reigle) in the game but it turned out that it was a nice win where everyone contributed down the line.”

He also spoke of the way Wormley has stepped up her game this season – “she’s blossoming and it’s fun to watch,” he said – and called Houseknecht’s late heroics “just rewards.”

“Remembering three years ago, it (her father’s passing) was heartbreaking,” he said. “Meg’s an awesome girl; I love her to death and it’s kind of fitting that she makes the shot to win the game.”

The game was close throughout as the teams were never separated by more than seven points.

Wellsville, now 7-2, was up by seven with two minutes left in the third quarter before Batavia ended the period on an 11-1 run with key hoops by Wormley, Reigle and Stefaniak.

Batavia grabbed its biggest lead, 48-43, on a basket by Wormley to open the fourth-quarter scoring, but Wellsville, which kept Batavia off balance with accurate long-distance shooting, pulled ahead 51-50 with 3:45 to play on a three-point shot by senior guard Taylor Adams.

Wellsville made it 53-50 on a pair of free throws by senior guard Jana Whitehouse, but Wormley responded with a three-pointer at the 2:55 mark to tie it at 53-53.

After a free throw by Wellsville’s freshman guard Marley Adams, Batavia scored four straight on a driving layup by sophomore guard Reigle and two foul shots by Wormley to take a 57-54 edge with 1:06 to play.

A pair of free throws by Adams on separate trips down the floor pulled Wellsville within a point and a free throw by senior guard Quincy Buckley with 15 seconds left made it 57-57.

Batavia inbounded the ball, with senior forward Jenae Colkey managing to escape pressure to get the ball to Wormley, who drove down the left side of the lane before lobbing it in to Houseknecht for the decisive bucket.

“The play was to get the ball to Bryn because she was the facilitator at the point in the game – the person who could either make the right pass or get into position to score,” Hein said.

Houseknecht said she was able to get free underneath by virtue of a screen from Kolb and was able to complete the play.

“When I cut through I saw I had a mismatch as the girl was shorter, and Bryn made a good pass to me,” she said. “I knew when I got the ball that I had to shoot it (right away), and fortunately it went in.”

Ironically, the basket was Houseknecht’s only two points of the game and touched off a wild celebration from the Batavia fans.

“All week we were super-excited to play in the tournament and then after winning on Wednesday (against Caledonia-Mumford) to play in the championship game,” Houseknecht said.

Stefaniak led the Batavia scoring with 19 points – five of them in the closing seconds of the first half to pull her team within two at 29-27 at intermission.

Wormley tallied 16 while Reigle and junior forward Emma Krolczyk, who both fouled out in the game’s closing minute, added 13 and nine points, respectively.

For Wellsville, Buckley led the way with 17 – including four three-point baskets -- and junior center Regan Marsh added 13. All told, Wellsville sank eight three-pointers.

We knew that they were an outside shooting team, we were worried more about Winehouse – and Buckley was popping them,” Hein said. “We knew what we were up against … We didn’t close out soon enough – they were popping.”

Stefaniak, Adams and Buckley made the all-tournament team along with Notre Dame’s Callie McCulley (ND defeated Cal-Mum in the consolation game) while Reigle earned the Sportsmanship Award.

 Photos by Thomas Ognibene. To view or purchase photos, click here.

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December 19, 2018 - 5:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Rotary Club, batavia, news, sports.

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The Batavia Rotary Club carried on its annual pre-Christmas tradition Tuesday with a visit from Santa and players who will participate in the Club's annual basketball tournament at Genesee Community College after the New Year.

The tournament this year tip's off at 6 p.m., Jan. 2 with a game between Notre Dame and Wellsville followed by a 7:45 p.m. game between Batavia and Cal-Mum.

The consolation game will be Jan. 4 at 6 p.m. with the championship game at 7:45 p.m.

Attica will not participate in the tournament this year because the school's marching band is participating in a New Year's Day parade and members of the basketball team are traveling with the band and they may not back it back in time for the tournament. So Wellsville is playing this year but that team's players and coaches were unable to attend Tuesday's luncheon.

Meet the captains:

Santa's visit is filled mostly with gag gifts for Rotary members. This year he recognized three members who embodied "service above self" through their volunteer efforts.

Callie McCully, Notre Dame, Ryan Stefaniak, Batavia, and Baylee Miller, Cal-Mum.

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