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Christmas 2020

In lieu of Christmas party, Attica Lions Club raised money for gift certificates and baskets, kept toy drive alive

By Press Release

Press release:

The Attica Lions Club has been busy despite the troubling interruptions we have faced with COVID–19. At last month's board meeting, the Board of Directors decided to make the tough decision that it was in the best interest of the club to cancel the Attica Lions’ Club annual Christmas Party.

In lieu of the annual Christmas party, we brainstormed a unique option to our members. Instead of putting the $50 that we normally use to buy our own dinners to our annual Christmas Party, we would offer an option to our members to donate this $50 (or a denomination of any value they wanted) and put it into a Christmas fund. With this fund we would buy as many $50 gift certificates as we could to a local restaurant in Attica and distribute them to local families in need during this difficult year.

The Christmas fund got to just over $2,000 and allowed the Attica Lions Club to buy 40 gift certificates from The Prospector in Attica.

Another tradition at the Attica Lions Club Christmas Party was to bring a toy to the party that would be donated to the Attica School’s toy drive. Without a 2020 Christmas party, we almost decided not to do it, but we decided to make Harding’s Attica Furniture a drop-off spot for anyone wishing to donate a toy.

An overwhelming amount of gifts and toys were dropped off throughout December to Harding’s. Matthew Struzik, a teacher from Attica Central School, helped create gift baskets for 32 families in which the gift certificates mentioned above were also added to help out these families even more. Some larger families got two gift certificates.

The Attica Lions Club would like to thank its members and the Attica Central School for the help in setting this all up. This really is what the season and our club is all about.

We are always looking to add new members. If you are interested in joining the Attica Lions Club, please contact Pete Mark at (585) 547-2372 or by emailing him at:

You can volunteer as much or as little as you have time for. In addition to doing great events like the one mentioned above, the Attica Lions Club also does events like trash pick-up on local highways, puts up flags around the Village of Attica on select holidays, hosts the Attica GermanFest, sells food at the Attica Concerts in the Park on Wednesday, and so much more!

American Legion Auxiliary in Attica donates 'Sweats for Our Vets' and 55" TV to VA Medical Center

By Press Release

Submitted photos and press release:

The American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #734 of Attica, has been busy with this year’s holiday project “Sweats for Our Vets."  

With the generous donations of the organizations of the Harder O’Donnell Post #734; American Legion Auxiliary, A.V.M.A., American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and the assistance of local Attica business owner, Robert Cusmano of Mugs and More, the project quickly came together.  

A donation of 76 zip-up hooded sweatshirts were given to every patient of the Batavia V.A. Medical Center in their gift bags on Christmas morning. 

Also donated by the Auxiliary, was a 55” television for the Veterans Recreation Room. This donation was made in memory of Auxiliary Past President Leilani Spring, who passed away earlier this year.

We would like to thank Volunteer Services Personnel Cindy Baker and Nicholas LaMarca of the Batavia V.A.M.C. for their assistance with our holiday project “Sweats for Our Vets."

A few members of each organization met on Dec. 8th at the V.A.M.C. to deliver the sweatshirts and television.

The vets were delighted and surprised!

American Legion Auxiliary Unit #734

Harder O’Donnell Post

83 Market St., Attica

Top photo from left: Auxiliary members -- Tammy Soemann, Barbara Eddy, Kathy Roberts, Kate Kellner; Commander Robert Wood; Adjutant Keith Almeter; and S.A.L. members Ralph Eddy and Mike Almeter.

USDA clears Santa's reindeer for entry into the United States

By Press Release

Tongue-in-cheek press release:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a movement permit to S. Nicholas Claus, of the North Pole, a broker with Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited. The permit will allow reindeer to enter and exit the United States between the hours of 7 p.m. December 24, 2020 and 7 a.m. December 25, 2020, through or over any U.S. border port.

“This is a holiday season like no other. But as I told my grandkids, Santa has immunity to COVID, so he and his reindeer will circle the globe as planned,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach.

“We are all looking forward to Mr. Claus’ special brand of Christmas cheer, this year more than ever. To help ensure a smooth trip, USDA worked with Worldwide Gifts Unlimited to issue this permit in advance and waived all applicable fees.”

Veterinary officials ensured the reindeer met all entry requirements before issuing the permit. It was noted on the health certificate that one reindeer, Rudolph, has a minor physical anomaly. The veterinarian indicated that Rudolph’s red nose, while bright, was normal for him and not a concern.

The reindeer will arrive pulling a wooden sleigh with jingling bells attached, filled with brightly wrapped gifts. Port personnel, who will wear appropriate personal protective equipment and follow all COVID-19 safety rules, will clean and disinfect the runners and underside of the sleigh at the time of entry. They will also conduct a short visual inspection of the reindeer. Claus will disinfect his boots and thoroughly wash his hands. These measures are intended to prevent the entry of any livestock diseases the team may encounter during deliveries to farms around the world prior to entering the United States.

Claus also provided an advance list of what port personnel should expect upon their arrival. This includes a variety of food items, all of which come from approved locations and none of which pose a threat to U.S. animal or plant health.

“It’s important that Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited take all the right steps and precautions to protect against the potential introduction of pests and diseases,” Claus explained. “I appreciate USDA’s assistance every year as we gear up for our big night.”

Whether you see the smiles, joy, and wonder on children’s faces this Christmas morning in person or on video chat, enjoy the moment. Happy holidays from USDA!

DSS Director of Services moved by 'amazing generosity' of local businesses & employees at a 'very difficult' time

By Press Release

Photos and information from Ben Dennis, director of Services, GC Department of Social Services:

There's an amazing generosity in the people and businesses that exist in this community. Each year, I am contacted by local businesses who want to be able to help their fellow citizens by sponsoring a family for the Holidays.

These businesses are really amazing -- how they come through with gifts for the kids and the parents who ordinarily could not afford to have a nice Christmas.

This year, the employees at O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc., and Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU) and Tompkins Bank of Castile (408 E. Main St.), each separately reached out to me and sponsored a separate family.

The employees themselves did all the shopping and wrapping of the gifts for each member of the family they sponsored.

Last week, the DSS caseworkers delivered the gifts to the families and they are overjoyed and incredibly grateful for the donations.

Times are very difficult right now for many families trying to make ends meet.

We have hard-working people that have had to quit their job in order to stay home and help their children with their remote school work, or we had folks who were laid off due to business closures or downsizing.

"I have to say that the way that this community comes together in a time of need is really heartwarming to me personally," Dennis said. "This community is really amazing."

First annual Bob’s Christmas Car Day

By Steve Ognibene


A trio of ladies who have never met before got together yesterday to help spread some holiday cheer at a time when our local “Holiday Man” has been missing in our hearts. 

Bob “The Holiday Man” Zeagler spread much joy, smiles and laughter to many people in about a decade of his festive decorated Jeep Wrangler and clothing attire. He passed away in 2016.

Bob dressed up for every holiday occasion, which he had a different outfit for nearly every month of the year. The group organizers pictured from left above are Courtney Dawson, Jenn Noon and Danielle Nigro. They wanted to brighten the holidays since the past year has been difficult for so many. They want to make it an annual event.

A Facebook group started some discussion to dress up their vehicles “Bob style” to make it fun and entertaining for all.  About a dozen vehicles of parents, kids and families took part in driving around to many streets around Batavia showing off their vehicles in a drive-by mini parade.

Many local businesses helped support the event and after it concluded they were going to meet back at Ficarella’s Pizzeria to pass out prizes for various categories and the kids who participated.

When Bob’s wife, Bridget, was contacted about the event, she was overwhelmed with joy to see it take off. She spoke about how Bob used to travel to Walmart, the Broadway market sharing his joy with many people, and how he loved to make the children smile. She also said how happy he would be to see everyone dress up their vehicles like he did -- Bob style.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view more photos from the event, click here.








Manor House staff asks you to drop off holiday cards to cheer up seniors coping without family visitors this year

By Press Release

Press release:

The staff at The Manor House would like for you to send their seniors holiday cards, who especially need them because of COVID-19 restrictions and not being able to see their families for the holidays.

We want to show them how much the community cares and is thinking of them!

We are also looking for cards for three very special ladies who turn 100, 101 and 102 in January! 

There are boxes for cards and pictures at the front doors of The Manor House at 427 E. Main St. in the city or mail to the attention of Kristin Cronk at that address.

Happy holidays and stay healthy!

Update: GSO flute trio's live concert tonight to be livestreamed on YouTube -- no audience at HLOM

By Press Release

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum wants to let everyone know of the change to the concert scheduled for tonight at 7 o'clock. The concert will be performed by a flute trio from the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, however, due to the increased coronavirus precautions, we will not be having a live audience in attendance at the museum during the concert.

As was the case last week, we will still be livestreaming the concert on our YouTube channel, Holland Land Office Museum. We would like to thank Paul Figlow for helping us out with making this available for everyone. You can follow this link below to join us virtually tonight.

We would also like to thank the Genesee Symphony Orchestra for working with us to put on two wonderful holiday concerts to bring at least a little Christmas cheer this year.

Christmas giving still goes on despite cancellation of 'Shop with a Cop' due to COVID-19

By Press Release

Press release:

On Friday, Dec. 18th, members of the City of Batavia Police Department will be holding a Christmas event in place of the annual “Shop with a Cop” that is held at Walmart each year, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Batavia Police Benevolent Association, the City of Batavia Civil Service Employees Association members, and the City’s “Jeans for Friday” program donated the funding for this year’s event and the Batavia City School District assisted with choosing the families to participate.

One family from each city school was selected and will receive Christmas presents for children to open Christmas morning. The selected families provided Batavia PD with a “wish list” of items, which included toys, diapers, baby formula, boots, jackets, winter hats and gloves. The gifts have been wrapped and will be delivered via police cruiser with a special guest this week.

The City of Batavia Police Department would like to thank the unions and employees within the City of Batavia for their generous donations and the Batavia City School District for their assistance to make this a great event.

We would also like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season! The City of Batavia Police Department is looking forward to the return of Shop with a Cop in 2021!

Photos: Drive thru Country Christmas at WNY Gas & Steam Engine grounds

By Howard B. Owens


The Western New York Gas & Steam Association held a drive thru County Christmas Light Display, along with a drive-thru food court last night at their property in Alexander.

Saturday night was packed with vehicles -- socially distanced of course -- wending their way through the displays.

This will be also held this coming Friday and Saturday, too, Dec. 18 and 19, from 5 to 9 p.m. both nights. Admission is $10 a vehicle.

Expect to take a half-mile ride through their grounds and enjoy thousands of Christmas lights and unique/ amazing displays.

And purchase some carnival-type food that you may have missed this summer. How does Italian sausage, Philly cheesesteaks, French fries, funnel cakes, deep-fried cookies, and cotton candy sound? Only naming a few there will be much more -- all served drive thru!

It's a COVID-19 friendly fundraiser for WNY Gas & Steam Engine Association -- maybe the start of a new holiday tradition.

Enter at 3000 Walker Road, Alexander, just off Route 20.

For more details visit











Chiropractor and City Church team up to help 25 local families with your donations

By Press Release

Photo, Ryan Macdonald, left, a pastor at City Church, and Batavia chiropractor Tom Mazurkiewicz.

Submitted photo and information.

Batavia chiropractor Tom Mazurkiewicz continues with the tradition of Don Carroll's Toy Drive for the 28th year, accepting unwrapped Christmas toys at his office for distribution to local children ages 2 to 15.

If you'd like to donate something, his office -- Mazurkiewicz Family Chiropratic -- is located 184 Washington Ave. Donations can be made during regular business hours through Dec. 18.

"Dr. Tom" is offering a complementary office visit to those who donate.

He is partnering with City Church once again. They have selected 25 families based on need and will distribute the toys individually to the families' homes.

Mazurkiewicz and City Church thank everyone once again for their support of local families in need this year.

Nurse goes above and beyond to bring Christmas cheer to seniors

By Virginia Kropf

Fong Liu has worked at Genesee Senior Living/Premier Genesee Nursing and Rehabilitation (formerly Genesee County Nursing Home) for 20 years, and she has seen many Christmas holidays come and go.

She has also seen the residents who have no gifts and get few or no visitors.

This year she decided to do something about it.

The facility management always makes sure there are Christmas trees for residents of the senior living side and nursing and rehabilitation, as well as the lobby. But, thanks to Liu, the Genesee Senior Living residents are going to have a real Christmas party on Christmas Day, complete with music, holiday treats and gifts for everyone.

“What good is a Christmas tree if the residents can’t celebrate?” Liu asked. “Some of our people have no relatives at all, so I decided to organize a Christmas party for everybody.”

She visited local stores, where she bought slippers, nightgowns and other items residents could use.

She planned to contact local service clubs, such as Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis to see if they would help. After a call to the Office for the Aging, Liu learned they could only help people living at home, but they suggested a call to Senior Wishes of Western New York, who said they could help the residents with no relatives.

Administrator Dorothy “Dottie” Murphy said it is absolutely wonderful what Liu is doing. The residents will be served a traditional Christmas dinner, followed by Liu’s party, several showings of a Christmas movie and popcorn. 

“Fong goes above and beyond to make the facility beautiful for all the residents,” Murphy said. “She put up all the decorations and has made sure every resident has a package to open up. We are grateful for everything she has done.”

Liu has also put on tea parties for the residents and done exercises with them. 

Anyone still wishing to contribute gifts or money toward the Christmas party can contact Murphy at (585) 344-9584, ext. 2255.


Top photo: Nurse Fong Liu decorates the Christmas tree at Genesee Senior Living on Bank Street. Liu has taken it upon herself to have a Christmas party for residents, with music, holiday treats and gifts.

Below: Nurse Fong Liu, left, and Activities Director Alyssa McKenzie pose in front of the Christmas tree at Genesee Senior Living.

Bottom: Staff of Genesee Senior Living pose in front of a door they decorated for residents of the facility. From left are Resident Accounts representative Stephanie Mordell, nurse Fong Liu, Activities Director Alyssa McKenzie, Administrator Dorothy “Dotty” Murphy and aide Brandy Smith.

Pictures contributed by Dorothy Murphy/administrator Genesee Senior Living.

Oakfield Betterment Committee holds debut Christmas Decorating Contest, register by Dec. 7

By Billie Owens

The Oakfield Betterment Committee is holding its inaugural Christmas Decorating Contest for Oakfield and Alabama residents.

Register by Dec. 7 via the committee's Facebook page or this online signup form.

Judging of this debut event begins Dec. 14 and winners will be announced on Dec. 19.

The overall winner gets a hundred bucks in cold hard cash.

Three runners-up will each get one $50 gift card -- your choice of Santino's Pizza, Alabama Hotel, Caryville Inn or Alabama Holley Farms Fresh Meats and Grocery Store.

Ready. Set. Go Google some inspiration and haul out the holly!

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