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December 21, 2022 - 10:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, corfu, batavia, Christmas, Christmas lights, news.

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Our friend Paul Saskowski asked us to take a look at his impressive Christmas light display in Darien, at Harlow and Sumner roads.  Some of his lights came from the light display the DiSalvos used to put up on Fargo Road, so The Batavian made the road trip last night, stopping along the way to take pictures of the lights of other homes.

A country drive on a snow-covered December evening is good entertainment.  Christmas lights aren't just for city folks.  There's a particularly nice stretch along Alexander Road in Batavia where nearly every home on both sides of the road are lit up, and it's almost magical to drive through. A photo couldn't do the stretch justice.

The first four photos are of the light display of the Saskowski homestead.

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Pearl Street Road.

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Sumner Road

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Sumner Road

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Fargo Road, Darien

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Route 5, Corfu

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Route 5, Batavia

December 21, 2022 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Christmas, Alex Feig, music, arts, entertainment, news.

Area musician and songwriter, and former WBTA news producer, Alex Feig has released a new Christmas song, "The Truth About Christmas," and a video shot in Medina to go with it.

December 21, 2022 - 12:51am
posted by Press Release in byron-bergen, Christmas, news, schools.

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Press release:

On Dec. 13, eight Byron-Bergen staff “elves” loaded shopping carts with one goal: Help ease the holiday stress for members of the Byron-Bergen community. These holiday helpers filled over 40 shopping carts with $8,500 worth of merchandise to assist more than 100 kids from 42 local families in need.

For many years, District teachers, staff, and administrators have worked together with local partners to make the season brighter in the Byron-Bergen area. This year’s Holiday Community Service Project collected over $8,500 in donations from faculty, staff, and individual community members.

“As we continue the important tradition of the Holiday Giving Project at Byron-Bergen, I would like to acknowledge that it is a community effort involving faculty, staff, administration, and community groups,” said Byron-Bergen Faculty Association President Ken Gropp. “I hope we are brightening the holidays for many families in our district.”

The holiday items were each wrapped and labeled by Byron-Bergen staff volunteers. It took four days of hard work, but on Saturday, December 17th, staff members delivered black contractor bags filled with brightly wrapped presents to individual cars in the High School bus loop. In addition to the gift items, the High School Student Council collected funds and non-perishable foods so that each family will also receive a holiday meal.

“I am thankful to work in a district that prioritizes supporting students and families,” said Superintendent Pat McGee. “Thank you to everyone who participated in the Holiday Giving Project, and a very happy holidays to our entire community.”

Submitted photos.

Top photo: Byron-Bergen staff shopping for Byron-Bergen community members 

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Byron-Bergen Athletic Director Rich Hannan wraps gifts for the Holiday Giving Project Photo credit: Gretchen Spittler 

December 16, 2022 - 1:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Paul, batavia, Christmas, news, religion.

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St. Paul Lutheran School on Washington Avenue in Batavia will be hostsing a Christmas show at 6:30 p.m. Friday titled "Christmas Hang-Ups," and featuring the school's students.

 The program is directed by Jennifer Dunn, and lead roles will be played by the 5th and 6th-grade class, with other classes, Pre-K through 4th-grade, playing supporting roles.

Following the program, there will be a bake sale put on by FOLKS (Friends of Lutheran Kids) full of homemade donations to support the school.

Submitted information and photos.

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December 16, 2022 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, City Church, Christmas, religion.

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City Church hosted its annual Christmas Concert on Thursday night, featuring Carlton Wilcox, Rufus McGee Jr., and Pastor Trellis Pore.

Singer Kimera Lattimore, originally scheduled for the bill, was unable to perform due to illness.

Top photo: Carlton Wilcox. Photos by Howard Owens.

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Patti and Marty Macdonald, who are about to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

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Rufus McGee Jr.

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December 15, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Church, batavia, music, arts, entertainment, Christmas, news, religion.

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The set list for tonight's (Dec. 15) Christmas Concert at City Church promises to be as diverse as it is joyful, with more than just gospel and hymns but also hip-hop, R&B, and smooth jazz celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Ryan Macdonald also promises concertgoers will enjoy engaging and energetic performers and great musicians.

"We've done (the Christmas Concert) every year now, with the exception of COVID, for about five years," Macdonald said. "It's really been a wonderful night of really coming together and celebrating."

The artists, Macdonald said, are also personal friends.

"They are not just great artists but great people," Macdonald said.

Carlton Wilcox, Rufus McGee Jr, and Trellis Pore have all performed at previous Christmas concerts.  This is the Batavia debut for Kimera Lattimore (top photo).

Macdonald said he's tried to get her on the bill for years, but there was always a scheduling conflict.  He said he met her in Buffalo years ago, where she is the music director and worship leader of Renovation Church.  She is a national recording artist, singer, songwriter, musician, poet, rapper, vocal teacher, theologian and Elder of the gospel."

"She is really a great spirit, a great believer," Macdonald said. "She believes people matter. She believes humanity matters."

Her bio states that she believes, "We were all created, by the creator, to create."

The concert, Macdonald said, is intended to uplift the whole community, and all are invited.

"Our goal the whole Christmas season is the celebration of the birth of Christ, but beyond that, we're celebrating each other," Macdonald said. "The term that has really stuck with me is that we're not independent; we're interdependent. We need each other.  We don't only need each other as believers, but we need the whole community." 

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at City Church, 210 East Main St., Batavia. The concert is also live-streamed.

Submitted photos.

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Submitted information:

Pastor Trellis Pore, multi-instrumentalist and Vocalist. A Western NY native. He started singing and playing instruments at the age of 5 with his family gospel group, The Cooper family Gospel singers. Singing traditional quartet Gospel music. Also was apart of the band Perifial Vision,  and The Glorious Sons of Rochester.  Currently, he leads The Trellis Cooper Band. Singing gospel music with a twist. Trellis has his own Signature series guitar with the company Mucho Guitars of Rockwall, Texas. Trellis is currently the Pastor of Shiloh Church Albion. 

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Submitted information:

Rufus McGee Jr., son of Bishop & Lady Rufus and Linda McGee is Rochester’s best-kept secret, however, now the secret is out! His parents began molding him at age 2 years old to become a musician. Although he began as the church drummer at 6 years old, at 11, he progressed to becoming one of the most extraordinary organists/keyboardists that anyone has ever heard.

His ability is God-given, but can also be attributed to years of absorbing gospel music passed down through the classic COGIC style of music, and the music of the church that he attended growing up in his hometown, Rochester, New York. His drive and confidence developed from the challenge to rise above mediocrity. 

He is an exemplary musician, producer and the founder of RMJ Productions. He enjoys listening to George Duke, Chick Corea, Kevin Bond, Jason White, Mike Bereal and Eddie Brown. 

He has recorded with: Aaron Lindsey, Kathy Bowman, Ricky Dillard, Jason Wright, Serena Young, Shirley Murdock, Eddie Balltrip, Danell Daymon and Royalty, Malcolm Williams, Amar’rae Hill True Foundation and Jerome Francis and Divine Nature.

Rufus gives every ounce of his being to excelling and finishing well! Rufus has a great passion and love for gospel music and enjoys devoting his life to giving God his all. His greatest inspiration is God. He often says, “Without God, I would be nothing.”

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Submitted information:

Carlton Wilcox has been creating a standard of excellence in music that embodies, style, quality, and substance. This singer, songwriter, and accomplished bassist has been entertaining Western NY for over two decades. Resounding melodies accompanied by rich voice make this crooner one of our area’s sought talents. With gospel, smooth jazz and R&B roots, Carlton wants to spread the message of hope through music. Carlton Wilcox is also a Monroe County Deputy Sheriff, event promoter and music instructor for the City of Rochester’s ROC Music Program. Carlton Wilcox wants to make a difference in the world, one day at a time, by giving back the love and support that he has been given.

December 11, 2022 - 5:30pm
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in Christmas, news, batavia.

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Our Main Street in Batavia was decorated with festive lights, and shoppers lined the street. Walking down the street on a Friday night, you could visit with your friends and neighbors as you listened to Christmas music from CL Carr's outdoor speakers. Everything you needed for Christmas shopping you could buy on Main Street.  CL Carr's Department Store, JJ Newberry, WT Grant, Scott and Bean, and Alexander were some of my favorite stores.

After a day of shopping, you would go home where your house might smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree, or in our case, our living room had an aluminum tree. It was lit by a motorized magic color wheel that played Silent Night. The gifts were all nestled under the tree, waiting for Christmas morning. The homemade felt stockings mom had made hung from the fireplace mantle.  

We always had our manger set up, and we remember having our picture taken kneeling next to the figures. Then, we all gathered in the living room on Christmas morning to take turns opening our one special gift. 

img_4441.jpgOf course, we knew there would be that famous monopoly game later in the day.

Our next event was attending Christmas Mass and listening to the Christmas hymns from the organ loft. As we entered the pew, I remember my father separating me from my brother Tony for obvious reasons.  

After Mass, we would go home and wait for Grandma to arrive from Le Roy with our  25-pound turkey and her homemade pies. It was such a simple time.  At night we went for a ride in the family station wagon to look at the Christmas lights and always stopped at, as we called it, the Blind School to see the miniature Christmas Village. During Christmas vacation, we went sledding down state street hill, hoping to miss the one tree at the foot of the hill.

We would go skating at Macarthur Park on the tennis courts. We had snow from Thanksgiving until St. Patrick's Day, and we never saw grass until then.

Over the years, our Christmases have changed.  We all were blessed with children, and our parent's living room was filled with grandchildren. The grandchildren are grown up, some have moved away, and there are definite changes in our Christmases. We have lost the matriarch and patriarch of our family. Christmases will never be the same, but we will always have those cherished memories of sitting in our parent's living room with our aluminum tree, the manger, and mom and dad smiling at their six children and grandchildren.

As a footnote
Besides the memories of the 60s, the reality of living in the 60s can be seen in many ways. In 1960 you could buy a new house for $12,675. The average income was $5,199 rent was $98.   You could buy a gallon of gas for $.25. Back then, we never knew there would be the technology of texting a message; in the 60s, you mailed a letter, and a postage stamp cost four cents. And if you were lucky enough to have a Ford Mustang, it would've cost you $2,368. And you can't forget that $.25 burger!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year 2022-2023

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December 9, 2022 - 11:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Santa Claus, batavia, State Street, Christmas, news.

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Santa and Mrs. Claus dropped in at 150 State St., Batavia, on Friday evening to hear from all the good boys and girls hoping for the best presents ever under their Christmas trees this year.

Angelina Pellegrino will host Santa again on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.

She said there are 60 Christmas trees on her property this year.

Photo by Howard Owens.  With Santa, Prince and YeeYee Viera.

December 9, 2022 - 8:45pm
posted by Press Release in City Church, Tom Mazurkiewicz, Christmas, batavia, news.

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Press Release:

Dr. Tom Mazurkiewicz is sponsoring the Annual Toy Drive at his office, 184 Washington Ave. 

Patients are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to receive a complimentary adjustment during their next scheduled visit. This offer applies to new patients, as well. We are accepting donations through December 16, 2022. Limit of one complimentary visit per patient.

All donations will benefit the local families of the Genesee County region who may otherwise not be able to receive a gift this Holiday due to economic hardship.

Your generosity will provide a happier holiday for the families of these deserving children.

Toys will be distributed by pastors Marty and Ryan from City Church at the St Anthony’s campus on Dec. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Photo: Tom Mazurkiewicz and Ryan Macdonald. Photo by Howard Owens.

December 6, 2022 - 11:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, Stafford, Christmas, news.

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It's a lot of work, Tim Adams admits, to decorate the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford. But it's worth it when he sees a kid's face light up to see all of the sparkling colors that are spread around the property.

"We had a customer last night that called the display 'magical,' which is pretty cool," Adams said during Saturday's free Community Christmas event.

He spends five or six weeks putting up the lights each year.  He gets some help, but does most of the work himself. Christmas is his favorite time of year, he said.

"It's nice to see all the kids who enjoy and appreciate the lights, because there's really not a lot of places to go and see something like this," Adams said.

Adams and partner Steve Foster started the annual tradition seven years ago, about the same time the annual light display on Fargo Road was ending its long run as the county's premier Christmas light destination.  Adams and Foster decided the best way to show off their holiday light display was to host a free Community Christmas, which they did this past weekend.

They offered a food trailer, carriage rides, a visit with Santa, and, of course, a chance to walk through and around the light displays provided for free to the community. The holiday tour at the Route 5 restaurant came with some help from the volunteers of Stafford Fire Department.

"We wanted to do something nice for Stafford and our local communities," Adams said.

The tradition actually began about a month before the official season of Santa Claus, Foster said.

"I think what made it right for us, and it happens every year, is on Thanksgiving, we weren't having Thanksgiving dinner until later, and we were out doing Christmas lights, and a van full of kids came through and said, 'Merry Christmas. We love your Christmas lights.' That's why we do it," Foster said.

Red Osier is also once again collecting holiday-time donations. This year the donations are going to Toys for Tots, Western New York Heroes, Little Tots, and the community pantry at St. James Episcopal Church.

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Photos by Howard Owens.

December 4, 2022 - 5:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Christmas in the City, parade, batavia, downtown, BID, news, Christmas.

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Downtown merchants, through the Business Improvement District, hosted their annual Christmas in the City Parade on Saturday evening.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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December 4, 2022 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alexander, Christmas, news.

Alexander held a Christmas parade on Saturday afternoon.

Photos by Philip Casper.

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December 4, 2022 - 5:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in EverPresent Church, city centre, batavia, news, Christmas.

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As part of Christmas in the City on Saturday, EverPresent Church in City Centre hosted a live nativity.

Submitted photos.

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December 4, 2022 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Northgate Free Methodist Church, Christmas, batavia, news.

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Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia held a Vintage Christmas celebration on Friday evening.

The church will host another Vintage Christmas event from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday. 

It includes a nativity walk through the woods with live animals, food, tree lighting, s’mores roasting over an open fire, Santa and outdoor Christmas movies.

Photos by Allison Lang.

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November 30, 2022 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Angelina Pellegrino, State Street, batavia, Santa Claus, Christmas, news.

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The lights are up, the air is crisp, and it's time for Santa to make his rounds to hear from all the good little boys and girls about what they want for Christmas.

One of Santa's stops again this year is at 150 State St., Batavia, the home of Angelina Pellegrino.

Santa will be at Pellegrino's house from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 and 10.

"Santa and Mrs. Claus will be outside our home in front of the light display, ready to meet and take photos with the children," Pellegrino said. "We will use the parents' phones to take the photos so they may also participate and be in the photo as well! Also, we will have doughnuts and hot cocoa available for purchase."

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens

November 16, 2022 - 4:45pm

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Press release:

The Morganville United Church of Christ, 8466 Morganville Road, Stafford, is hosting a Christmas Hymn Sing on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m.

The public is invited. 

We will have an organ accompanist to lead us through some of the old, familiar hymns we love to sing.  A light soup and dessert supper will be held after in a former one-room schoolhouse.  It’s a great opportunity to invite a friend to join you. 

Submitted photo: Gracia Leavy, Cheryl Hale, Marianne Garigen and organist Carin Wade.

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