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September 23, 2022 - 4:25pm
posted by Press Release in rob thompson, news, history, books.

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Press release:

Behold, and Blush is a comprehensive telling of the 1779 Sullivan Expedition as it wound its way through western New York. We begin with the legend behind the creation of the Seneca Nation, the "Great Peacemaker," and Hiawatha, and the formation of the Haudenosaunee (League of Five Nations). Next, the book segues the French-led invasion of Seneca territory in 1687. Finally, it touches on the French and Indian War and the deeds committed by British General Jefferey Amherst, for whom Amherst New York is named. Behold and Blush reviews chronologically and introduces the readers to the campaigns of "Goose," Van Schaick, and Daniel Brodhead, culminating with Sullivan and Clinton. Thompson's research expands upon the expedition's little-known members, which significantly adds to the story of the Sullivan Expedition. The book introduces the reader to Joseph Brant, Mary Jemison, Daniel Shays, Timothy Murphy, Lt. Thomas Boyd, and Sgt. Michael Parker. The book concludes with the discussion of genocide as it may or may not relate to Sullivan's Expedition. "If a reader expects to find this book treating the men of Sullivan's Expedition as barbarians and a book where the Seneca are treated as victims, they may be disappointed in what they find.”

Release date October 9:

Presentation and signing:

  • Sat. Oct. 22 – Simply Positive 23 Main St. Livonia NY 10-1 p.m., (585) 204-0441
  • Sat. Oct. 29 – Holland Land Office Museum 131 W. Main St Batavia NY, 1-3 p.m. 585-343-4727.
May 9, 2022 - 4:38pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Memorial Library, books, Literature, batavia, news.

Press release:

Richmond Memorial Library will welcome back author George “Rollie” Adams to discuss his new work of historical fiction, Found in Pieces. Mr. Adams, president and CEO emeritus of the Strong National Museum of Play, will be at the library for a talk and signing on Wednesday, May 18 at 7 pm.

Found in Pieces was recognized by the Independent Press Awards as the winner of its 2022 Award for Race Relations. Set in fictional Unionville, Arkansas, Found in Pieces unfolds during the second year of turmoil over Governor Orval Faubus’s determination to stop the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. Found in Pieces, recipient of five previous national and international awards for historical and social issues fiction, explores the tension between business considerations and editorial policy in journalism during the Civil Rights Era in the South.

Copies of the book are available to check out at the library before the program & will be available for sale by the author at the event for $15 (paperback) or $20 (hardcover), cash or check.

This event is free and all are welcome. It is best suited to older teens and adults.

George Rollie Adams is a native of southern Arkansas and a former teacher with graduate degrees in history and education. His previous novel, South of Little Rock, received four independent publishers’ awards for regional and social issues. Adams has served as a writer, editor, and program director for the American Association for State and Local History and as director of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. He is president and CEO emeritus of the Strong National Museum of Play. Learn more at georgerollieadamsbooks.com

An additional press release about the Independent Press Awards honor for George Rollie Adams as well as additional background on Found In Pieces after the jump (click here read more):

November 18, 2021 - 4:50pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, books, batavia.

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Dan Crofts

With a mother as a reading instructor and a father who taught art, Dan Crofts’ life path may have seemed a creative given. 

And his growing list of written works, including the most recent piece of fiction, is a testament to that prediction. “A Short History of the R-Word” is the Batavia native’s latest published book.

“The general lesson is relating to people on a level of our common reality,” Crofts said during an interview with The Batavian. “The way we treat each other has ripple effects. I’m interested in the debate around the R-word … and interested in language and the history surrounding it.”

The book begins with a tease of whether it’s based on a true story or not. Names and details “may have been altered,” Crofts says, but it goes no further to nail down the question. 

He does admit that it’s a work of fiction, pulling a familiar character from Susan Conklin’s “Supernatural Genesee” and carrying him — Frank the Dwarf — onward to examine the past history of the word retard.

Crofts’ research led him to Latin and Eastern European roots. Never having been in those regions, Crofts struggled with how to genuinely write about them. He crafted a medium by which he could narrate the action. He chose magic binoculars as a way “to symbolize my distance to the location,” he said.

Yet local readers will find much familiarity with various aspects of the book, such as Ellicott Avenue, Lambert Park, and Robert Morris Elementary School. The story begins with Paul Schlepp and his three best friends messing about on the swing set at Robert Morris.

“Outwardly they prided themselves on being two years the seniors of those who had just graduated from this their alma mater; but an unspoken part of each of them missed the “kiddo” days, Crofts writes. “Amidst his reminiscing of childhood, Paul breaks the romance of nostalgia by noticing John.”

“Yo, is that that retard from the store?” 

And a hurried flow of thinly veiled insults follow as the boys ask aloud, "does he talk?" "How could he be working in a store if he didn’t talk?"  "Does he still live with his mom?" "He’s likely someone who touches little kids."

“It should be noted that the word used by Brandon and Paul — the notorious ‘r-word — was one all the boys were used to, and not least of all from the custom of using it on each other,” Crofts writes. “Any time one of them said or did anything really or apparently unintelligent, the word was as readily applied to him as to any disabled person, and with much less reticence about saying  it to his face.” 

Frank the Dwarf eventually makes his entrance and introduces Paul to the magic binoculars that can see the past. Paul experiences instances of when retard had an accent on the second syllable, originated in a different language, and meant “to slow down,” and not about a person’s character. 

Frank the Dwarf talks to Paul about how the “speaking races” have the power to abuse each other as much as to lift one another up. Words are a part of us, Frank says. 

“We have to take care of them,” he says. 

The book evolved from a chapter Crofts, who has a bachelor's in English, began to write for a larger project of “journalistic, reflective and academic” contributions. After that project fell through, he kept expanding the chapter until it became a total work of its own, he said.

The topic is no stranger to the 36-year-old who works as a direct support professional at Arc Glow in Batavia and has written for an Autism Spectrum publication.

Henry J. Stratton II, who has shown his own pieces at Genesee Community College, illustrated the cover, and it was published by Batavia-based Applied Business Systems. 

Copies of his book are $5 and will be available for purchase at Arc’s annual Chili and Chowder Fest. It runs from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Community Center, 38 Woodrow Rd., Batavia. All proceeds will go toward Arc programs. 

For more information, email Crofts at [email protected]

August 5, 2021 - 1:13pm
posted by Press Release in books, news, schools, education.

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Press release:

The Genesee Valley BOCES (GV BOCES) School Library System has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Libraries in the area of a National Forum in response to the need to identify recommendations for effective post-COVID school library programs. This $150,000 grant will fund four virtual national forums on the future of school libraries. Given the high level of complexity, national scope, and emergent nature of the investigation, a collective impact approach will be used to gather together diverse viewpoints from across the country. Topics will include an instructional design for remote librarianship, emerging services for teaching and learning, defining the role of the school librarian, and program considerations for new learning models. Reports generated from these forums will provide actionable recommendations for school librarians across the country. 

Christopher Harris, Ed.D., Director of the GV BOCES School Library System, wrote and submitted that grant and will serve as the project coordinator. Patrick Whipple, Ph.D., Director of GV BOCES Professional Learning Services, will lead the grant evaluation. 

“What we want to do is take a hard look at what the pandemic brought to school libraries and really figure out what worked,” Dr. Harris explained. “We are leading this national effort to bring together thousands of school librarians from across the country to plan out how we are going to move forward to meet student needs in this new future.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, school libraries across the country made changes to procedures, spaces, and instructional practices out of necessity. Across the many models of in-person, hybrid, and remote instruction adopted by districts around the country, there were even more models for school librarians and the services they provide. It is essential that we take time after the immediate pressure of the pandemic emergency to reflect, understand, and evaluate those modified practices. The need for investigation is especially critical in those communities where school library programs were already at-risk prior to the emergency.

“The grant project is called 'Libraries Today,' ” Dr. Harris noted. “We are looking at where we are today and where we want to be moving forward. This grant will give us a chance to guide the national policy discussion around school libraries.” 

The first work in the grant project will be the convening of a national advisory panel. Advisory panel members will include the School Library System directors from New York City and Erie 1 BOCES, as well as, directors from Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools, Norman (OK) Public Schools, the past president of the American Association of School Librarians, and others. 

November 5, 2019 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, news, rob thompson, swinging in the rain, books, crime.
Video Sponsor

Local Author Rob Thompson, whose 16 books include "Linden Murders: Solved," has a new book out on the 10 murder committed in Genesee County and the men who committed them and were eventually executed (seven hung in Genesee County).

The book, "Swinging in the Rain," will soon be available at the Holland Land Office Museum, at book signings Thompson attends, and on Amazon.

December 20, 2018 - 9:54am
posted by Virginia Kropf in Gregory Van Dussen, books, news, religion.

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After a lifelong career in ministry, Gregory Van Dussen has written his first book, "Transfiguration and Hope."

"I have done a lot of writing in graduate school and a lot of reviews, but never a book,” Van Dussen said. “I didn’t think I had anything to write about until it hit me like a ton of bricks.”

As a new retiree, the vision became clear, he said.

“I had to do some reflecting about this time of life, getting old and the next life,” Van Dussen said. “I put that together with the Bible transfiguration of Christ.”

One thing which makes his book distinctive, he said, is in his research he read a wide range of authors, not only Christian authors from Protestant to Catholic but Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox writers from Egypt and Armenian Apostolic.

His book is a conversation across time and space, he said. He describes it as gathering many of those voices from the panorama of Scripture and church history and finding in them the common theme of radical transformation in Christ.

Van Dussen is a retired United Methodist pastor, having started 39 years ago in Batavia. From 1972 to 1974, he served as district superintendent. His career includes serving at churches in Bergen, Albion, Batavia, East Aurora and Springville.

His book is available at the Holland Land Office Museum, on Amazon and in local retail distributors, including the Book Shoppe in Medina, where he has a book signing scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22.

Van Dussen is already working on a second book of devotions, based on the lives of early circuit riders in North America.

“I have always been interested in those people,” Van Dussen said. “I found an abundance of information available online about these people.”

He hopes to have the new book available by next fall.

October 15, 2015 - 12:09pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, reading, book discussion.
Event Date and Time: 
November 18, 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
The Evening Adult Book Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Wednesday, November 18 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman.  Copies of the book are available at the front desk.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext. 8 or visit www.batavialibrary.org.  
July 6, 2015 - 3:19pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, book discussion.
Event Date and Time: 
July 27, 2015 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
The Mystery Readers’ Mondays Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Monday, July 27 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss THE GODS OF GOTHAM by Lyndsay Faye.  Books are available at the front desk.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext. 8 or log onto www.batavialibrary.org.
June 29, 2015 - 7:28pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, art, books, Literature.

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Connie Boyd and Dave Bateman, her son-in-law, show off a new little free library they setup at 16 Montclair Ave. in Batavia last week.

Bateman built Boyd the box for a holiday gift. One of her favorite TV shows is "Doctor Who" so he customized the box to resemble a tardis, a police box the doctor travels around in. The tardis even comes with a working light on top.

Boyd wanted to have a little free library of her own after seeing a box on Washington Avenue. She loves the concept of sharing her favorite novels with neighbors. The purpose of a little free library is to have people take a book from the box and leave one in return.

"Not everyone is able to get to the library so I wanted to make books accessible to everyone and encourage reading in my community," Boyd said.

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There are about 20 adult books in the box. Boyd said her neighbors have already been adding and borrowing from the collection. She plans on adding books for children soon.

June 17, 2015 - 4:13pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, graphic novels, book discussions.
Event Date and Time: 
August 13, 2015 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia is hosting a Graphic Novel Discussion Series for adults. On Thursday, August 13 at 7:00 p.m, be ready to discuss “Habibi” by Craig Thompson.  Discussion will be led by Library Director Bob Conrad.   Copies of the book are available at the library’s front desk.  More information is available in the library, by calling the library at 343-9550 ext. 2, and at www.batavialibrary.org.
June 15, 2015 - 1:55pm
posted by Michael Plitt in corfu, pembroke, Darien, library, park, reading, books.
Event Date and Time: 
June 17, 2015 - 7:00pm
Come and read! Friends and patrons of the Corfu Free Library are invited to come to Darien Lake State Park for an evening of reading. No discussions, no rules, just reading together in public. We will meet on the island just bring your family, friends, a chair/blanket and a book. https://www.facebook.com/CorfuFreeLibrary?fref=ts      
June 3, 2015 - 4:51pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, libraries, book discussions.
Event Date and Time: 
July 8, 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
The Evening Adult Book Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Wednesday, July 8 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi.  Copies of the book are available at the front desk.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext. 8 or visit www.batavialibrary.org.
June 3, 2015 - 4:20pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, book discussion, graphic novels.
Event Date and Time: 
July 16, 2015 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia is hosting a Graphic Novel Discussion Series for adults. On Thursday, July 16 at 7:00 pm, be ready to discuss “It Was the War of the Trenches” by Jacques Tardi.  Discussion will be led by Library Director Bob Conrad.   Copies of the book will be at the library’s front desk.  More information is available in the library, by calling the library at 343-9550 ext. 2, and at www.batavialibrary.org
June 3, 2015 - 4:11pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, discussions, graphic novels.
Event Date and Time: 
July 2, 2015 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia is hosting a Graphic Novel Discussion Series for adults, beginning on Thursday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m.  Read and be ready to discuss “Black Hole” by Charles Burns.  Discussion will be led by Library Director Bob Conrad.   Copies of the book will be at the library’s front desk.  More information is available in the library, by calling the library at 343-9550 ext. 2, and at www.batavialibrary.org
April 22, 2015 - 3:33pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, libraries, talks, book reviews.
Event Date and Time: 
June 3, 2015 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia is hosting a talk on Wednesday, June 3 at 7:00 pm called “A Jewish, Christian, Muslim Call for Peace.”  Roula Alkhouri, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Batavia and a native of Damascus, Syria will discuss two books in relation to current events.  These books are The Faith Club: A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew—Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner and Fields of Blood by Karen Armstrong.  More information is available in the library, by calling the library at 343-9550

January 29, 2015 - 3:10pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, book discussion, discussions.
Event Date and Time: 
March 18, 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

The Evening Adult Book Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Wednesday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss “We Are Called to Rise” by Laura McBride.  This book is the 2015 title for the 13th annual one-book book project, A Tale for Three Counties.  Books are available to borrow or to purchase at the library’s front desk.  Author Laura McBride will speak at the library on Thursday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext.

January 22, 2015 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Business, books, corfu, Kutter's Cheese, Tony Kutter.

Imagine a country with only one kind of cheese. If you can, you're thinking of Russia in the aftermath of the fall of communism.

That was the situation Tony Kutter found on his first trip in 1995 to the former Soviet Union as part of a trade exchange program to help aspiring Russian entrepreneurs learn how to start cheesemaking businesses.

Who better to teach how to make and market more than one kind of cheese than the 81-year-old Corfu resident who is a former owner of Kutter's Cheese, a cheesemaker with a reputation for developing dozens of varieties of cheese.

That's what leaders of the exchange program thought after Kutter volunteered for the assignment and his resume landed on their desks.

It was one of Kutter's suppliers who suggested he apply for the volunteer position.

"He said, 'just send in your resume,' so I did," Kutter said. "I did and as soon as I did they responded right away. 'Oh, this is the one we're looking for.' "

Working through Agricultural Cooperative Development International, Overseas Cooperation Assistance and Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs, all three nonprofit, private organizations based in Washington, D.C., Kutter made 31 trips to Russia over a 12-year span.

Batavia's own Barber Conabel, then president of the World Bank, was among the first to suggest Kutter write a book about his experiences during those many trips.

"He said, 'you've got to write a book,' " Kutter said. "He said, 'I don't know anyone who has been there 31 times and all over Russia.' "

The book is published now and it's called "Cheese in the Time of Glasnost and Perestroika."

Kutter tells the tales, recalls the tribulations and revisits the sometimes sad family histories of the people he met while helping to build cheese plants, instructing cheesemakers on marketing, and sharing with them the recipes for any variety of cheese from munster to gouda to cheese curds.

"I got over there and said, 'geez, you make one kind of cheese and it ain't very damn good,' " Kutter said. "So I took about 20 varieties over from our cheese factory and told them, 'tell me what you want to make and I'll show you how to do it.' "

The organizations sponsoring these missions -- and there were many -- wanted to help Russia transition from a command economy to a market economy and help open up the country to U.S. goods and services. American companies helped sponsor the programs in the hopes of developing a new market.

Goals that haven't exactly been met.

His first mission was to help start a cheese factory in St. Petersburg. This mission was also Kutter's first introduction to Russian bureaucracy and the national penchant to operate on bribery.

Organizations sponsoring Kutter's trips purchased supplies for the new factory and Kutter arrived at the border with the equipment. 

A customs official wanted to know, "What the heck is this stuff?"

It's for making cheese, Kutter told him.

The official went through the boxes and proclaimed, "This isn't humanitarian aid. You falsified the papers."  

The fine was $75,000.

Kutter returned to the U.S. without the new factory in place, but when he returned a few months later, the factory was ready to start making cheese. All of the new equipment was installed and ready to go.

He wanted to know how it happened.

"Let's not get into that," he was told. "That's not for you to know."

Kutter added, "everything in Russia is predicated on a bribe. It's still that way."

Sadly, the St. Petersburg factory went bankrupt after two years, but others Kutter helped start are still operational.

In his travels, Kutter was often invited into the homes of his Russian hosts and he often quizzed the older Russians about life under the former Soviet regime.

When Stalin died, Kutter was serving in the Army in Korea and he remembers reading in "Stars and Stripes" about people weeping in the streets, so he asked one old Russian gentleman, "did you cry when Stalin died?"

The man said, no. He wasn't really all that saddened by the brutal dictator's death.

The man told Kutter, "I put spit in my eyes so it looked like I was crying."

Kutter had dinner with a woman whose husband was taken to Siberia during Khrushchev's rule.

The couple had eight children. The man's crime? He took a bag of grain so he could feed his family.

The mother wrote her husband every day, but never got a reply.  They assumed the letters were getting to him, but that he wasn't allowed to respond.

In 1975, after Brezhnev became chairman, she received a letter informing her that her husband "had been killed unnecessarily." The package contained all the letters she had ever sent him.

"I can tell dozens of stories like that," Kutter said.

In the town of Perm, Kutter helped establish a cheese factory and taught the owners how to make a great variety of cheeses, all of which most Russians had never even tried.

He told his hosts that with these great cheeses ready to sell, they needed a way to market them. Thinking of the booming tourist business Kutter's has always done in Pembroke, Kutter suggested they set up a sample table at City Hall. 

As a condition of the permit, Kutter had to speak Russian. Fortunately, he had hired for the plant in Pembroke a woman who was a Russian translator, and she had been tutoring him on his Russian.

"I can speak enough Russian," he told them, "to say, 'I'm from America and I'm working at this cheese plant right here in your city and we developed these new variety of cheese and so perhaps you can try some and tell me what you think.' "

The people came out of the woodwork, Kutter said.

"One woman said to me, 'why are you giving all this stuff away?' " Kutter said.

He told her, "We want to introduce it to you."

She replied, "In Russia, if somebody is giving something away, it usually means it isn't any good."

The Russians liked the free cheese, but that didn't mean they were buying cheese at first.

"I asked one woman, 'would you buy this cheese?' and she asked me what we were selling it for, and I told her, and she said, 'you know, I'd really like to but, no, I wouldn't buy it.' She said, 'I don't have a lot of money, so I would save my money and buy a dress because when I go out in public they can see what I wear, but they can't see what I ate.' "

Asked if he felt he had any lasting impact on Russia, or left a legacy, Kutter demurs.

"I'm just a little old cheese maker," he said.

A little later he came back to the question and recalled the time a sales rep came into the Kutter's factory and asked him if he had heard about the cheese curds recall in Russia.  

"I thought," Kutter said, "there never was any cheese curds in Russia until I went there, so I must have had some effect."

"Cheese in the Time of Glasnost and Perestroika," by Tony Kutter, is normally on sale at the Holland Land Office Museum, but they just sold out. More copies are expected soon. 

January 20, 2015 - 5:45pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, libraries, book discussion.
Event Date and Time: 
February 18, 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

The Evening Adult Book Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Wednesday, February 18 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss “The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin.  The book appeared on several “best lists” of 2014.  Books are available at the library’s front desk.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext. 8 or visit www.batavialibrary.org.

December 30, 2014 - 5:54pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, libraries, book discussions.
Event Date and Time: 
January 21, 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

The Evening Adult Book Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Wednesday, January 21 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss “Life after Life” by Kate Atkinson.  The book appeared on several “best lists” of 2013 and features a woman who lives her life again and again.  Books are available at the library’s front desk.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext. 8 or visit www.batavialibrary.org.

November 3, 2014 - 4:35pm
posted by Leslie DeLooze in books, libraries, book discussion.
Event Date and Time: 
December 17, 2014 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

The Evening Adult Book Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Wednesday, December 17 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss “Conversion” by Katherine Howe.  Books are available at the library’s front desk.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext. 8 or visit www.batavialibrary.org.

 

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