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January 19, 2023 - 12:49pm

otb_leadership_2023_a.jpg“Leadership matters” and that, according to the directors of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp., is why Richard Bianchi of Monroe County is continuing on as the public benefit company’s chairman of the board.

“It’s my honor and pleasure to nominate (Bianchi) as chair because leadership matters,” said Director Dennis Bassett, who represents the City of Rochester, as he wholeheartedly endorsed the Monroe County delegate for a 13th consecutive one-year term. “He has taken us through tough times and through it all, I have learned that leadership matters.”

Bassett, speaking at this morning’s board meeting at the Park Road facility, said that Bianchi has the corporation’s “best interest at heart” while making the tough decisions and presenting a vision that has resulted in the purchase of a hotel, expanded summer concerts and providing exhibit space for public events.

“We’re experiencing our best years in OTB history and it is the direct result of the leadership of our board chair,” Bassett continued. “There has been sniping at the heels of the chair and this organization, but we have persevered.”

Director Richard Ricci (Seneca County) seconded the motion – noting that Bianchi “gives his heart and soul to this place” – before the board voted unanimously in favor of Bianchi.

That vote was followed by a unanimous vote to keep Edward Morgan (Orleans County) as the vice chair, a position the Murray resident has held for four years.

Bianchi thanked the board for its support, praising the directors’ work as well as the job done by WROTB officers, management and rank-and-file employees.

“The current board is more engaged than ever,” he said. “Let’s just keep up the great work.”

WROTB President/CEO Henry Wojtaszek echoed Bassett’s sentiments.

“Under Mr. Bianchi’s leadership, we have really good morale here with the workers, we've resolved a lot of the labor issues … and the business is at an all-time high,” he said. “And I think the outlook for the future is very bright. The physical plant is in great shape and WROTB is in the best shape it has ever been in.”

In other developments from today’s board meeting:

  • Directors voted to contract with Mind Squad Consulting LLC of Orchard Park for up to $75,000 for training and professional development for WROTB’s key officers, starting with Wojtaszek and VP/Administration William White.

“Bill and I will enroll initially and then we will see the results of that type of training. If we think it is beneficial, we will continue on and then we’ll send our other two officers (Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach and VP/Operations Scott Kiedrowski),” Wojtaszek said.

He said the leadership team has done its “due diligence” regarding Mind Squad Consulting, with the goal to “have us operating at the highest efficiencies that we can.” He said the training will consist of in-person and virtual sessions, lasting up to eight months.

  • The board authorized the purchase of a suite at Highmark Stadium for Buffalo Bills’ games for the next four seasons in the amounts not to exceed $109,000 for 2023, $113,000 for 2024, $117,000 for 2025 and $117,000 for 2026.

The resolution states that the expenditure is in line with WROTB’s “ongoing patron attraction and retention program … to provide entertainment event tickets for a certain level of our patrons as well as for special promotions.”

In a related move, directors approved spending $51,878 with Mark-It-Smart of Santa Ana, Calif., for Buffalo Bills’ clogs, coaster sets, backpacks and coolers to be used as promotional items.

  • The board extended a contract with Kim Crawford to provide consulting services in respect to the surfacing and banking of the harness horse racing track for the 2023 winter meet that is currently taking place.

WROTB will pay Crawford an additional $21,000 to the previously agreed upon contract of $65,000 for 2023.

  • Leach reported that $49,780 in surcharge from November activity will be distributed to the corporation’s member municipalities.

Photo: From left, Henry Wojtaszek, Richard Bianchi and Edward Morgan. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

January 7, 2023 - 1:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, buffalo bills, news.

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It's part of Notre Dame's mission statement for the students, faculty, and staff to help others, and Principal Wade Bianco said on Friday evening to see the school come together to raise $486 for The Chasing M's Foundation, a charity set up by Damar Hamlin.

Hamlin is a second-year defensive back with the Buffalo Bills who went into cardiac arrest during the Bills' game against the Bengals in Cincinnati on Monday night.

CPR was performed on Hamlin, and he was transported to a Cincinnati hospital, where he was initially listed in critical condition.  He is recovering well, according to news reports.

But his plight drew attention to his charity, and the folks at Notre Dame wanted to join forces, and express support for Hamlin, the Bills, and the community.

Kristen Gomez and Kate Edwards helped organize Friday's fundraiser, Bianco said.

It was "Wear Blue and Red Day."  For a $2 donation, students could ditch their school uniforms for the day and wear the colors of the Buffalo Bills.  Their donations were supplemented, Bianco said, by donations from faculty, staff, and alumni for usually more than $5 and $10 each.

There are currently 230 students enrolled at Notre Dame.

That afternoon, the whole school gathered and formed a #3 in honor of Hamlin for a school photo.

"The whole idea was to honor #3 and to honor Buffalo," Bianco said. "We wanted to say, 'we love you. We pray for you. And we're going to support you to the best of our ability.'"

Bianco said he was proud to see everybody come together and "do what's right."

"Doing what’s right is a big sell, especially nowadays, when a lot of people don’t want to do what’s right," Bianco said.

The $486 from Notre Dame is now part of more than $8 million that has been raised through Hamlin's GoFundMe page, with donations pouring in from all over the country.  The money is used for toy drives, back-to-school drives, kids camps, and more, according to a statement on the page. The 24-year-old player is from McKees Rocks, Pa.

"How fortunate we are to live in a community that cares about each other and extends our care beyond our city limits to the entire Western New York community," Bianco said.

Submitted photo.

 

December 7, 2022 - 6:28pm
posted by Press Release in buffalo bills, Batavia Downs, Sports, harness racing.

Press release:

The management of Batavia Downs announced today that post time for the final card of racing for 2022 scheduled for Saturday (Dec. 17) has been changed from 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. This was done after the week 15 game between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins was flexed to 8:15 p.m. by the National Football League.

Don Hoover, General Manager of Live Racing and Race Secretary at Batavia Downs, said: “After the NFL announced that the Bills/Dolphins game had been flexed to Saturday night, it was decided to move our post time to 3 p.m. to accommodate the fans of both live harness racing and the Buffalo Bills.”

With that change in place, several other times have changed as well.

Horsemen should be advised that the track will close for training at noon on Dec. 17 to prepare it for the night’s races.

The clubhouse will open its doors at 2:30 p.m. and will offer a prime rib and shrimp buffet that will be served from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Railbar will be open from 2:30 p.m. until the end of the last race, which will be approximately 7:00 p.m. However it will not remain open for the Bills Game.

The final day of racing will also host the “Night of Distinction” year-end awards, which will be presented by the Upstate New York Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association and Batavia Downs to honor all the human and equine stars of the 2022 meeting. 

December 1, 2022 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in buffalo bills, football, Sports.

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These two pooches know who to root for in tonight's big game.

Photo submitted by Paul Nichiporuk.

October 14, 2022 - 7:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in buffalo bills, batavia, news, Kibbe Avenue.

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The lawn at 32 Kibbe Ave., in Batavia.

Photos submitted by Steve Dispenza.

October 30, 2021 - 3:03pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Sports, Legends & Stars Batavia Sports Expo, buffalo bills.

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As he looked around and saw the large crowd on hand for the Legends & Stars Fall 2021 Batavia Sports Expo today at Batavia Downs Gaming, Robert McClaine was quick to point out the degree of cooperation that it takes to make these card/autograph shows successful.

McClaine, a resident of nearby Akron, is co-owner of Legends & Stars – teaming with friends Brian Burke and Chris Sabatello about three years ago to purchase what was an established business.

“We are trying to take this to the next level to bring in the Jim Kellys, Josh Allens, Emmitt Smiths, Michael Irvins, Jerome Bettises,” McClaine said. “I mean we've had numerous guys here in little Batavia, New York. We’re getting Emmitt Smith, the leading rusher in NFL history.

“We're getting him to Batavia, New York, and we're so fortunate to have the partnership with numerous agents in the area, numerous agents in the country to bring these players to Batavia -- which is quite it's quite an accomplishment, quite an experience.”

While Emmitt Smith did not appear at this particular show, the stars were shining brightly in the form of baseball greats Paul Molitor and Ron Guidry and football legends Kellen Winslow Sr., Lenny Moore, Rickey Jackson and Buffalo Bills Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas and Joe DeLamielluere.

Current members of the Bills attended as well, something that McClaine sees as vital to his team’s “family focused approach.”

“We want kids to come in and leave here with smiles on their faces,” he said. “They got to see Jordan Poyer or Micah Hyde or Dawson Knox. That's what it's all about. And even the dads are coming up with smiles on their face since Ron Guidry was their hero or Jim Kelly was their hero growing up there, that's what it's all about.

“It's a family type atmosphere. And we want people to leave with smiles on their faces like that was the best experience.”

McClaine said Legends & Stars works with player and former players’ agents to book them for their events.

“So, we're in the show promoting business, not in a player promoting business. We’re not on the hook necessarily for the players. But it gets people through the door,” he said. “That’s all we can ask for. We can't tell people to spend money at the dealer tables. All we can do is try to bring the lineup as promoted and get people through the door.”

For the Downs’ event, he said more than 70 card and memorabilia vendors signed up to rent space. The athletes are compensated by what they charge for autographs and photos, and also receive a stipend from Legends & Stars.

“We have numerous dealers that come to every one of our shows,” he said. “It's just a great partnership, not necessarily with the dealers, but also with the casino. There's nothing like the staff at Batavia Downs (which, for this event, is directed by Mary Bucceri with assistance from Ryan Hasenauer). I mean whatever we ask, they do, and it just works.”

The next Legends & Stars sports expo at Batavia Downs is scheduled for Feb. 26-27, 2022.

“We don't have any guests lined up quite yet, but if you use social media – we’re on Twitter and Facebook – and have our own website, www.legendsandstars.net. Keep checking back and we'll give updates as soon as we know,” McClaine said.

Photo at top: Robert McClaine at registration desk with his son, Logan; daughter, Olivia; and mother, Carol. 

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Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills QB and NFL Hall of Famer

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The Calarco-Smith family of Elba in line for a Jim Kelly autograph -- Justin, Liz and kids, from left, Nico, Noah and Lucia

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Lucia's hat after a visit with Jim Kelly

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Plenty of action on the vendor floor

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Baseball Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, left, with Milwaukee Brewers' fan Batavian Vin Pontillo

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Josh Currier of Batavia selling his Buf on Weck merchandise

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Elba's Norm Itjen assisting NFL Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow Sr. sign numerous items

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Autographed baseballs ready for purchase

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And there were plenty of helmets to go around as well

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Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox, currently out with a broken hand, but still able to sign a bunch of jerseys

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Andre Rison, wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers' team that won Super Bowl XXXI.

Photos by Mike Pettinella. 

 

October 29, 2021 - 12:30pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

SATURDAY

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

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

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

Guidry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrity Bartending to Benefit Connor O’Neil

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

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

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

September 8, 2021 - 2:36pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, buffalo bills, UMMC, robotics.

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The Buffalo Bills, based on two playoff victories last season and a franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, are on the short list of teams favored to make it to Super Bowl LVI. Expectations are high as the franchise has clawed its way back to being one of the National Football League’s elite teams.

One of their longtime fans, Robert “Bob” Neeley of Warsaw – motivated to a large degree by his passion for the team – is fighting his way back from two total knee replacement surgeries that utilized Robotic Surgical Assistant technology at United Memorial Medical Center.

Neeley, a 30-year employee of the Wyoming County village’s Department of Public Works, already has exceeded the expectations of his surgeon and physical therapists as he has received clearance to attend the Bills’ season opener this Sunday.

The Bills kick off their schedule with a 1 p.m. contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.

“That’s been my big goal – to go to the Bills’ game this coming Sunday,” Neeley, a season ticket-holder since 2001, said during a Zoom call this afternoon with his surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Loffredo, chief of Orthopaedics at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia.

“I’m glad that I got both knees done and that I can actually do it. It’s going to be exciting with all the fans and that I’m going to be there. It’s going to be great because my cousins have been looking forward to me going, too.”

Neeley, a 1982 Warsaw Central graduate, has been a Bills’ fan since the mid-1980’s – “I cheered for them at Ralph Wilson Stadium (as it was called then) and cried during the Super Bowls,” he said.

He said that prior to COVID-19 that he and his three cousins went to all the games since purchasing season tickets 20 years ago.  That tradition seemed to be in jeopardy this year due to the condition of Neeley’s knees.

“I had a tremendous amount of pain in both knees … and have been off work since November 2020,” Neeley said. “I got out of the dump truck and it twisted and swelled up. There was no way that I could keep working.”

He said that the pandemic and other factors resulted in surgery being cancelled three times. The plan was to have the left knee done after the first of the year (2020) but when Neeley’s wife, Susan, was stricken with cancer, it was postponed.

Susan, Neeley’s wife of almost 32 years, passed away in April 2020, leaving a heartbroken husband and daughter.

Neeley had the left knee replaced by Dr. Matthew Landfried in early March and had the right knee replaced on Aug. 2 – just five weeks ago – by Dr. Loffredo.

Since then, Neeley has been working extra hard to reach his goals of attending the game and returning to work.

“I feel that my wife is pushing me to do it; to keep going,” he said, fighting back the tears.

“I’ve been doing everything they say and the therapist has been making me work, and I’m doing what I am supposed to at home on my exercises,” he said. “(I) go to therapy twice a week and everything is going really good.”

Dr. Loffredo called Neeley an “ideal patient,” adding, “You give him an objective, and he’s going to get there.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better patient to work on because he’s very motivated … That’s what it is after a knee replacement … it’s doing the exercises and then you get an excellent result.”

The doctor explained that the use of robotics leads to consistent outcomes in terms of balancing the knee.

“The added benefits of the robot is that you get some numbers, whereas before it was more of a feel or an art to what we call soft tissue balancing,” he said. “So, during surgery … (with a) traditional knee replacement, it’s the surgeon feeling how is this knee balanced, side to side. You know it bends, like a hinge, but side to side how is the soft tissue balance?”

Dr. Loffredo said the robot provides data while the surgeon is “gapping” the knee.

“As opposed to with the robot, you literally get feedback while you’re gapping it – you’re two millimeters gapped on the inner, you’re one millimeter gapped on the outer side. So, we’ll make these cuts just so. We’ll release ligaments slightly to gap balance it. It gives you numbers whereas before it was more of a feel or an art. Now, you can quantify it and it makes it more reproducible.

“There’s good evidence that shows patients have a more reproducible result and there’s less revisions and basically better patient satisfaction and hopefully a fast recovery.”

Dr. Loffredo said he’s glad that UMMC is able to offer “that cutting edge service.”

“I believe that the robot is an additional tool to use in the OR (operating room) that in my hands helps to create a reproducible joint replacement, where we’re having a straight knee and a balanced knee each and every time,” he said.

Neeley said he couldn’t be happier in how things are turning out for him, and hopes the Bills can equal or better their performance of last season.

“I don’t know if they will beat out what they did last year; they did so well,” he said. “It’s going to be real tough … but they’ve got a good defense.”

And, the offense is led by a Pro Bowl signal caller.

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Photo at top: Warsaw resident Bob Neeley giving his all in physical therapy to bounce back from two knee replacement surgeries. Photo at bottom: Neeley and Dr. Nicholas Loffredo. Photos submitted by United Memorial Medical Center.

January 22, 2021 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in buffalo bills, Sports, football, KMS Dance Academy.

This video was submitted by Jazmyn Dobson, a teacher at KMS Dance Academy in Batavia. Students and staff, under the direction of owner Erica Grazioplene, put together this video in support of the Buffalo Bills.

January 17, 2021 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, buffalo bills, Sports.

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In case you haven't heard, the Buffalo Bills (15-3) are heading to the AFC Championship game, for the first time since 1993, next Sunday. Barber Joey Williams gave Raymond Schramm Jr. a haircut that matches his team pride after yesterday's playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens 17-3.

Submitted photo.

September 20, 2019 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Oliver, batavia, T.F. Brown's, football, buffalo bills, Sports.

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The Buffalo Bills #1 draft pick, rookie defensive tackle Ed Oliver, will be at T.F. Brown's Restaurant from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday (Sept. 24).

The first 100 kids age 12 and under will receive a free Ed Oliver commemorative T-shirt.

Photo: Rick Mancuso and Dominic Grazioplene.

December 10, 2018 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, news, schools, education, buffalo bills.

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The Buffalo Bills' Lorenzo Alexander sponsored a reading contest at Pembroke Intermediate School for the month of October. Any student who completed a book during October would be entered to win one of 15 tickets to a Buffalo Bills football game.

Yesterday, 15 students attended the game, all-expenses paid by Alexander.

"It was a cold day, and despite the upset against the Jets these 15 students and teacher chaperones had the time of their life," said Melessa Cleveland, whose daughter, sixth-grader Angelina, was among the 15 winners. "A very special thanks to Lorenzo Alexander for donating food and tickets for yesterday's game."

Photos by Mr. Brown. Info and photos submitted by Melessa Cleveland. 

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August 12, 2016 - 1:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in Sports, muckdogs, baseball, batavia, news, buffalo bills, Ray Bentley.

Press release:

The Batavia Muckdogs today announced that former Buffalo Bills linebacker Ray Bentley will sign autographs at Dwyer Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 21st, when the Muckdogs battle the West Virginia Black Bears at 4:05 p.m.

Prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, Bentley will sign autographs from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Bentley will then sign again from 4:10 to 5 p.m.

Bentley is also the author of a series of children’s books about the characters Darby the Dinosaur and Bubba Gator. In addition to Bentley’s autograph signing, the first 150 kids 10 and under will also receive a free copy of the book “Darby’s Christmas Adventure.”

Bentley spent six seasons with the Bills (1986-1991), including two of the four historic consecutive Super Bowl appearances. After suffering an injury with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1992, Ray retired from professional football. Once retired, Ray became a radio show talk host in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., on WOOD 1340 AM, as well as a play by play announcer on FOX for the NFL. In 2000, he became the Head Coach and General Manager of the Buffalo Destroyers, an Arena Football League team. After resigning in 2003, he made his way back to the television screen, becoming a color analyst for ESPN college football games, the job he still holds today.

For tickets, call the Muckdogs box office at (585) 343-5454, ext. 1005.

July 25, 2016 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in buffalo bills, GCC, golf, Sports, news, Stafford Country Club, Stafford.

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This is Booker Edgerson, a star cornerback with the Buffalo Bills in the 1960s.

When I told Edgerson that I'm a little rusty on my Bills' history because I'm a lifelong San Diego Chargers fan, he smiled and said, "then you must know Lance Alworth."

Of course, I know Lance Alworth. I used to watch Alworth play, though I was very young at the time.

"I'm the only man to catch Lance Alworth."

"You ran down Lance Alworth?"

"Yup, I ran him down."

In fact, Edgerson's Wikipedia page notes that he's the only man in NFL history to catch Alworth from behind.

"I played against him my whole career," Edgerson said. "We came into the league together. Man, he was tough to cover."

Edgerson was playing in a golf tournament Monday at Stafford Country Club to benefit the scholarship fund at Genesee Community College. He was one of five former Bills players, and former Lions player, who participated in the tournament. This is the first year for the tournament, but the planning committee is already talking about next year.

The only man to catch Lance Alworth ... that's quite a line on a professional football resume.

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June 1, 2015 - 4:32am
Rex Ryan and company are headed to Batavia Monday. This time golfing will be part of the 2015 OTA spring training for the team, according to ESPN.  Ryan, who is in his first year as head coach of the Buffalo Bills, will alot the tournament as the fourth of ten team OTA's.  The tournament is set for this morning and will include Jim Kelly, former Bills Hall Of Fame quarterback, for the first time since 2013. He was unable to attend last year, due to cancer treatment.  The tournament, which is in its 29th year, features celebrities and athletes from all over. Past golfers have included former Dolphins Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, Former Buffalo Bills Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas, ESPN Broadcaster Chris "Boomer" Berman, actor Alec Baldwin, several other past and present Bills players and many others. The tournament raises money for Kelly's charity, Kelly For Kids, which serves disabled and disadvantaged youth in western New York.
March 26, 2014 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, buffalo bills.

Joe Gerace will always have a warm place in his heart for Ralph Wilson, the founding owner of the Buffalo Bills who died yesterday at age 95.

One of Gerace's most memorable moments as a Bills fan was a trip to Cleveland for a Bills vs. Browns game in 2007. There was a reception the night before the game and Wilson was there.

Gerace said he walked up to Wilson and put his arm around him and asked, "Mr. Wilson, can I get my picture taken with you?"

Wilson agreed readily, and then chatted with Gerace a bit and asked him where he was from.  Wilson then invited Robert Royal and Trent Edwards over for pictures with Gerace.

A few seasons later, Gerace was at a game in Buffalo and he saw Wilson riding on a golf cart through a tunnel.

"He hollers to me, "'Hey, Batavia!' That made me feel good. He was a nice man. They can say what the want to say want about Mr. Wilson, but he was a down-to-earth gentleman."

He added, "He did a lot of good for Buffalo and the community and it's a big loss."

August 6, 2013 - 8:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Business, downtown, football, Sports, buffalo bills, City Slickers.

Yesterday, Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone put his team through a long and physical practice. It was the first day of scrimmages. By the time it was over, players were tired and running late, but still, several did show up as planned to City Slickers for the taping of Sports Cube TV.

Above former #1 draft pick Marcell Dareus during his interview.

Also joining the party were Aaron Williams, Migel Bradham, Zebrie Sanders, Marcus Dowtin, Crezdon Butler, Jamie Blatnick, Kortnei Brown and Dominque Ellis.

Dareus with promoter Tim Walton.

DJ Macy Paradise

Sports Cube host Muki.

To purchase prints, click here.

August 3, 2013 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Sports, buffalo bills, City Slickers.

Press release:

Monday night, City Slickers will be the place to be. Several Buffalo Bills players will be in Batavia at the restaurant for a live filming for Sports Q Television, a Buffalo-based company. The event which starts at 9:30 p.m. will feature two DJs, and up to 30 Buffalo Bills players that will be arriving shortly after in a limousine, courtesy of Mancuso Limousine (sponsor). The filming will take place on the stage and will be open to the public to enjoy and watch, and will be followed up with an after party.

The names of the players can't be released because of contractual arrangments.

"There will be even more guys coming out. Some of them we can't announce until they show up, others we are just waiting on confirmation," said event coordinator Tim Walton. "We have invited the whole team, so anyone can show."

City Slickers is no stranger to hosting the Buffalo Bills. Walton has recently put on events that included Buffalo Bills players Stevie Johnson, Aaron Williams, Kelvin Sheppard, TJ Heath and Crezdon Butler. The Bills will be traveling from St. John Fisher College, where they have been staying for training camp. They have Tuesday off due to the PGA Tour.

This event is 18+ with proper ID and will run from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Everyone is encouraged to wear Buffalo Bills gear and to come out for dinner before.

The restaurant, which is not usually open on Mondays will be opening at 4 p.m. and offering a full dinner menu. 

For more info you can visit the event at Facebook.com/CitySlickersBar   (https://www.facebook.com/events/185226108319418/)

July 20, 2013 - 3:23pm
posted by Timothy Walton in accident, buffalo bills, Livingston County, Memorial, NBA, Dustin Zito.

If you have been on twitter lately, chances are you have seen the abundance of tweets using the hashtag #RondoForCMstrong (RajonRondo for Cal-Mum Strong). The tweet, started in Cal-Mum to honor one of the recent victims of the tragic car accident, that killed three young adults and injured two others is trending in the Buffalo and Rochester area. 

Emily Peterson, 17, passed away yesterday at Strong Memorial and was the third victim of the crash. Peterson along with the other accident victims were returning home after volunteering for a summer school program at BOCES in Batavia.

Her friends and family took to twitter in an attempt to get her favorite athlete, Rajon Rondo, of the Boston Celtics, to tweet for her. Many have also reached out to ESPN, NBA and other athletes to help get the tweet trending nationwide.

To the friends and family it means alot, a friend said.

"We all thought that it could never happen and never would have but its just taken off to something so unbelievable." said Seth Meyers, a friend of Emily. "Rondo was Emily's favorite player. I can't even explain how many times she talked about him and supported him."

Since the tweets began, Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo, has not only seen the tweet, but dedicated a tweet to it as well. Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, MTV and VH1 reality star Dustin Zito and many other residents and businesses throughout WNY have also joined in the trend.

February 20, 2013 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC, buffalo bills.

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Lou Piccone, flanked by the Cougar Dance and Cheer teams, was at Genesee Community College today to promote the upcoming Trek the Trail Walkin’ 'n’ Talkin’ event.

Piccone is honorary chairman of the event, which is set for 8:30 a.m., April 20 at the college.

The walk around the Batavia campus is open to all – young, old, athletes of all persuasions, runners, walkers, alumni, faculty and staff, people with friendly dogs, or babies in strollers.

Participants in the fund-raising event will visit nine Cougar Stops along the route featuring an array of fun encounters and prizes. 

After the walk, a picnic lunch is provided on the East Lawn. Prizes will be awarded for most pledges raised by an individual, as a team, and to the GCC student club with the most pledges. Most creative team costumes will also be recognized.

Today, Piccone talked about his football career -- which included 100 passes for 1,380 yards and six touchdowns from 1977 through 1982 with the Bills and Jets.

He also explained that he is supporting the event because a college education helped him prepare for life, even an NFL career, where offensive schemes can get complicated and he had to be able to adapt to playing more than one position.

Registration for the event is $15 per participant and includes a T-shirt, picnic lunch, prizes and treats. Children 8 and under accompanied by an adult are free. 

To register or for more information, click here.

“We’re delighted that Lou Piccone will join us for our Trek the Trail, Walkin’ 'n’ Talkin' Scholarship fundraiser, and I’m excited to give him a tour of our campus ahead of time,” said Russ Romano, Trek the Trail committee member and GCC Foundation Board member. “He brings a level of enthusiasm that raises awareness on how this event serves a multitude of terrific purposes.

Below, people involved in organizing the event: Lou Piccone, Joanna Barefoot, Andrew Maguire, Nate Shirk, Eric Sandler, Andrew Crofts, Marc Staley, Marlin Salmon and Russ Romano.

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