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University at Albany announces 2 local graduates

By Press Release

Press Release:

More than 4,650 students in the Class of 2024 were celebrated during UAlbany's 180th commencement festivities. Among the graduates were an estimated 2,934 undergraduates and 1,719 graduate students, including recipients who completed their degrees during summer 2023, fall 2023 as well as winter 2024.

The graduates join the ranks of more than 200,000 UAlbany alumni worldwide.

"For 180 years - since 1844 - UAlbany has been turning talented, driven students into globally engaged citizens. This year's class is no exception," UAlbany President Havidan Rodriguez told the graduates. "Yes, we know, you are graduating into an imperfect world. But all of the things that make this class uniquely special - your resilience, your values, your empathy, your thirst for understanding - will serve you well as you work toward greatness."

An estimated 2,934 undergraduates from the Class of 2024 received degrees (including summer 2023, fall 2023 and winter 2024). The May 2024 graduates includes 34 percent who are first-generation college graduates and 27 who are veterans.

The undergraduate degree recipients range in age from 19 to 68, with an average age of 23. Women make up 55 percent of the class. The graduates hail from 21 states and 27 countries. They received degrees in 55 different majors.

Another 1,719 students from the Class of 2024 received master's degrees, doctoral degrees and graduate certificates, with 1,047 receiving their degrees in May.

These graduate students come from 18 states and 37 nations. The average age of the graduate degree recipients is 28, with the oldest graduate student set to receive a doctoral degree at age 71, and the youngest receiving a master's degree at age 20. Among them are nine veterans.

The following students have graduated from the University at Albany:

  • Jeremy Arnold of Batavia, Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Alexandra Zanghi of East Pembroke Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude in Communication

Pembroke announces community build for new school playground

By Press Release
pembroke playground 3

Press Release:

Pembroke Central Schools is thrilled to announce the launch of an exciting community-driven project to upgrade the Primary School playground. 

Following the successful passing of Proposition 1 in the 2023 Capital Project vote, the community will come together once again to build a new, modern playground that will serve as a cornerstone for the school and the neighborhood. The updated playground will occupy the same large footprint and incorporate the local and farm theme with touches of Pembroke Dragon flare. 

Great care is being taken to restore and incorporate the original wooden mural that showcased local landmarks. It is a priority the playground reflects the unique character and pride of our community. 

This project was designed and will be led by Play By Design, a renowned playground design firm. For more information on Play By Design, visit their website at

History and Background
The current Primary School playground, designed in 1993 and installed in 1995 as a community build project led by Leathers Playgrounds and Associates, has been a beloved fixture for nearly three decades. 

Over the years, it has provided countless hours of enjoyment and physical activity for our students. However, given its age and the increasing maintenance challenges, it is time for a significant upgrade to ensure safety and inclusivity for all children.

What is a Community Build?
A community build involves local residents in the organization and creation of a community project. This interactive process not only results in a unique and high-quality playground, but also fosters a sense of pride and ownership among participants. The collective effort transforms the environment into a lasting symbol of community spirit.

Benefits of a Community Build Playground 

  1. Cost Savings: By leveraging volunteer labor and donated materials, the overall cost of the playground can be reduced, allowing more funds to be allocated to high-quality equipment and innovative play elements for the kids.
  2. Community Pride: Bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds to work on a common goal enhances community bonds and fosters a sense of accomplishment. 
  3. Enhanced Design: Each playground is tailored to reflect the local community's cultural, historical, and aesthetic values, resulting in a unique and meaningful space for children. 
  4. Safety and Inclusivity: The new playground will comply with ASTM International and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards, as well as ADA accessibility guidelines, ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for all children.

Call for Volunteers
We are calling on parents, families, and community members to join us in this monumental effort. The playground build is scheduled to take place from August 20-31, following the tear-down of the existing structure between June 26 and July 26. We need volunteers with various skills and a passion for community service to fill a variety of roles, including:

  • General Laborers: At least 25 general laborers are needed, with some requiring power tool experience. 
  • Leadership Roles: We are seeking coordinators for playground removal, volunteer management, tools, materials, and food.
  • Crew Leaders/Supervisors: Six dedicated individuals to oversee construction crews and ensure the quality of the build.

"I hear over and over that the experience of building the first playground was magical. While we can't replicate that exact moment, we aim to provide our community with another opportunity to come together to create a modern, updated playground and some amazing memories along the way," said Superintendent Calderón.

Get Involved 
Interested volunteers are encouraged to complete the volunteer survey by June 3. Please join us in building a playground that will provide joy and safety for our children and stand as a testament to the strength and unity of the Pembroke community.

For more information, please click and complete the volunteer survey.

Submitted photos.

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pembroke playground 4
pembroke playground 1


East Pembroke Fire catches up with three years of awards at installation dinner

By Howard B. Owens
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
James Gayton was named Firefighter of the Year for East Pembroke at the department's awards and installation dinner on Saturday night.
Photo by Howard Owens.

It's been four years since the East Pembroke Fire Department came together for an awards and officer installation dinner, so there were a few awards to hand out on Saturday night.

Chief Don Newton recognized years of service and training hours for 2021, 2022, and 2023, as well as handing out, along with Tim Yaeger, the Service Awards and Firefighter of the Year for each year.

The Service Award for 2021 went to the Genesee County Health Department for support and assistance during the pandemic.

Jennifer Groff was named Firefighter of the Year for 2021.

For 2022, the Service Award went to the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management for all of its assistance around Christmas when Winter Storm Elliott hit.

Dave Martin, who couldn't attend the dinner, was named Firefighter of the Year for 2022.

Willie Welch received a special award for his 40 years of dedicated service to the fire department and the county. Paul Fenton also has 40 years of service but wasn't available on Saturday night.

The Service Award for 2023 went to Adam Pearce. 

The Firefighter of the Year for 2023 is James Gayton, who was recognized for his dedication to the department, whether it is fixing things that are broken, cleaning what needs to be cleaned, or barbecuing at fundraisers.

Newton said, "He puts his time in and gives us the best of everything he can."

The 2024 firematic officers:

  • Don Newton, Jr., chief
  • Charles Chatley, deputy chief
  • Andrew Martin, assistant chief
  • Travis Dobrowsky, EMS chief
  • James Gayton, firematic captain
  • Jennifer Groff, EMS captain
  • Ken Marble, exterior fire captain
  • Kyle Rupp, firematic lieutenant
  • Stephen Smelski, EMS lieutenant
  • Richard Groff, fire police captain

Administrative Officers:

  • Donald Newton, Sr., president
  • Ken Marble, vice president
  • Julie Waldron, secretary and parade marshall
  • Riley Martin, sergeant of arms
  • Adam Pearce, assistant parade marshall
  • Pastor Bloom, chaplin

Board of Directors: Andrew Martin, Donald Newton, Sr., Charles Chatley, Ken Marble, Stephen Smelski, Julie Waldron, Dale Lewter, Patrick Gallaway.

District Representatives:

  • James Gayton, chairman
  • Patrick Reeves, sergeant of arms
  • Kristi Humphrey, treasurer,
  • Kevin Gill, assistant chairman
  • MaryAnn Chatley, secretary
  • Richard Groff, commissioner
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
Tim Yaeger, Genesee County's emergency management coordinator, was the evening's master of ceremonies.
Photos by Howard Owens.
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
Don Newton, Tim Yaeger, Charles Chatley, and Gary Patnode (Office of Emergency Management), with the 2022 Service Award
Photo by Howard Owens.
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
Bill Welch receiving the 2023 Service Award from Tim Yaeger.
Photo by Howard Owens.
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
Adam Pearce received the Service Award for 2023, with Don Newton.
Photo by Howard Owens.
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
Tim Yaeger presented to Chief Don Newton and the department an award for most training hours in the county in 2023.
Photo by Howard Owens.
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
Don Newton, Charles Chatley, and Andrew Martin, with plaques they received in recognition of their position as chief, deputy chief, and assistant chief.
Photo by Howard Owens.
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
Tim Yaeger administered the oath of office.
Photo by Howard Owens.
east pembroke fire dinner 2024
James Gayton rang a bell and Charles Chatley lit candles to honor first responders who have passed in the last year, including a candle for Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello, whose funeral service was earlier in the day on Saturday.
Photo by Howard Owens.

University at Albany announces fall 2023 dean's list

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Dean's List at the University at Albany recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of full-time undergraduate students.

To qualify for the Dean's List, students must earn a grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 or higher in their first semester of study and a GPA of 3.50 or higher in subsequent semesters.

The following students have been named to the Fall 2023 Dean's List:

  • Tania Cortes Gutierrez of Pavilion
  • Carlos Melgarejo of Oakfield 
  • Danica Porter of Basom 
  • Lauren Reimer of Batavia
  • Ashley Schiefer of Batavia
  • Alexandra Zanghi of East Pembroke 

Members of two local granges honored at National Convention

By Press Release
Submitted photo of Corfu Grange members (from left to right): Don Koepf, Corrine Koepf, Karen Bridge, Jan Bencic, Becky Perry, and Aurilla Putney.

Press Release:

The Grange is a fraternal organization based on agricultural principles with a long history of grassroots activism which has opportunities for the whole family. There are four levels of Grange: Subordinate (local), Pomona (county), State, and National. Within those levels, there are 7 degrees. The highest degree a Granger can receive is the 7th degree, which is presented at the National Convention. This year the National Convention was held in Niagara Falls. 

Nine members of the Genesee County Pomona Grange earned the 7th degree. Six members from Corfu; Don Koepf, Corrine Koepf, Karen Bridge, Jan Bencic, Becky Perry, and Aurilla Putney. Three members from East Pembroke; Julie, Alexandria (Jomni), and Colton Tarbell. Jomni, East Pembroke Junior Grange Leader, also received the Agricultural Awareness Award. 

For more information about the Genesee County local Granges, contact Joan Phelps, Pomona President, at 585-762-8503.

Photo of Jomni, East Pembroke Junior Grange Leader (center) receiving the Agricultural Awareness Award (photo courtesy of Lindsay Schroeder).

Troop 64 member promoted to Eagle Scout

By Staff Writer
new eagle scout
Jerremy Sharick being awarded Eagle Scout at his Court of Honor with his parents Dana and Piper Sharick.
Submitted photo.

Jerremy E. Sharick of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 64 in East Pembroke was recently awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.

Jerremy earned 32 merit badges earning him two Palms, also. 

Jerremy's Eagle Project was building a new counter and storage table for the Corfu Presbyterian Church Food Pantry, where he has volunteered for nearly five years. The new counter replaces a folding banquet table that the pantry was using that had no storage. He also donated the leftover funds to the food pantry. 

Jerremy's Eagle project consisted of 87.5 volunteer hours. 

new eagle scout
Jerremy with Paula Trapani from The Corfu Food Pantry
Submitted Photo
new eagle scout
Jerremy E. Sharick received a citation from Assemblyman Steve Hawley on achieving Eagle Scout.  Jerremy was also recognized by Rep. Claudia Tenney.
Submitted photo.

Fire chief orders Area 51 races shut down after multiple injuries reported

By Howard B. Owens

The chief of East Pembroke Fire has ordered Area 51 to shut down its motocross races.

When a first responder informed the chief, a person at the races said, "There's no way that's going to happen," the chief responded, "Tell him if he doesn't shut it down, I'm going to have him arrested."

There have been multiple calls to the dirt track today for injuries and the latest call is requiring a Mercy Flight dispatch.  There are reportedly more than a couple of people currently in need of treatment for injuries.

Mercy EMS is tied up on multiple calls so Alexander's ambulance has been dispatched to the scene.  Darien is being asked to staff its ambulance because of the current ambulance shortage.

Area 51 is located at 3323 Harloff Road, Batavia.

UPDATE 4:46 p.m.: Mercy Flight has landed.


Photo: Stella is missing in East Pembroke

By Howard B. Owens
missing dog

Stella is only six months old and she's missing in East Pembroke.

She took off on her own at about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday while at Crosby's in East Pembroke.

Stella is a Mastiff, weighs 70 pounds, and is described as "skittish."

She is wearing a pink collar. 

If you find her, call Jeff at 585-500-1436.

UPDATE June 27, 10:15 p.m.: Stella is found safe.  The owners were putting up a trail cam where she was last seen, and she walked up to them at that location.

Bucket truck overturns on Thruway

By Howard B. Owens

A bucket truck has reportedly flipped over on the Thruway in the area of mile marker 390.4 in the westbound lane.

Unknown injuries.

East Pembroke Fire dispatched.

UPDATE 3:33 p.m.: The truck is leaking fluids.

East Pembroke Fire District announces meeting schedule for 2023

By Legal Notices

East Pembroke Fire District Meeting Schedule for 2023

  • January 10, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • February 14, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • March 14, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • April 11, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • May 9, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • June 13, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • July 11, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • August 8, 6 p.m budget workshop
  • August 8, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • September 12, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • October 17, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • October 17, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • November 14, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • December 5, 7 p.m. district meeting
  • December 12, 6 to 9 p.m. district commissioner vote
  • December 26, 7 p.m. district end-of-year meeting

East Pembroke holding election for fire commissioner

By Press Release

Press release:

There will be an election for commissioner for the East Pembroke Fire District. This commissioner position is for a five (5) year term beginning Jan. 1, ending Dec. 31, 2027.

The election will be held at the East Pembroke Fire District Hall, 8655 Barrett Drive, Batavia, between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Please email or call (585) 813-6576 if interested in running for this position.  

You will need to pick up a petition and have at least 25 signatures from persons living in the East Pembroke Fire District.   All interested candidates must live in the East Pembroke Fire District.   All petitions must be returned to Mary Ann Chatley by Dec. 5.

PUBLIC NOTICE: East Pembroke Fire District to hold budget workshop

By Legal Notices


Notice there will be a Bugdet Workshop held at the East Pembroke District Hall, at 7 pm, Tuesday August 2,2022. Workshop will be held at District Building located at 8655 Barrett Drive, Batavia NY 14020. 

Publisher's Note: Legal Notices/Public Notices are published by The Batavian for free as a public service pending revision of state law that will allow digital news publications to publish legal notices that meet the legal requirements of such notices. Clerks: Email your notices to

Multiple departments responded to wheat field fire on Brown Road, East Pembroke

By Howard B. Owens

A wheat field fire was reported at 2:12 p.m. at 2281 Brown Road, East Pembroke, in a back field.

East Pembroke Fire responded. 

The chief requested Elba's utility transport vehicle and Alexander's UTV, because they have pumps on them, to the scene.  Alexander Fire, Indian Falls, Alabama, and Darien Fire also dispatched. Alden Fire, which was on scene at the Darien accident, volunteered to bring their UTV to the fire and was dispatched.  Crittenden Fire was also dispatched.

Town of Batavia Fire was placed on standby in quarters.  A Mercy EMS basic life support unit was requested to the scene.

The fire was reported out at about 3:10 p.m.

House fire reported on West Main Street Road, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

A structure fire is reported at 3687 West Main Street Road, Batavia, following a possible furnace explosion.

The building is reportedly unoccupied. 

Town of Batavia Fire and East Pembroke Fire responding.

UPDATE 5:03 p.m.: A second alarm requested.

UPDATE 5:08 p.m.: Route  5 is being closed to traffic in both directions, at Kelsey Road, and at Wortendyke.

UPDATE 5:20 p.m.: Corfu to fill in at East Pembroke. 

UPDATE 5:25 p.m.: Mercy EMS requested to the scene to stand by.  National Grid requested to the scene.  The fire is knocked down. Firefighters are starting overhaul.

UPDATE 5:36 p.m.: Code enforcement and Red Cross are responding.

UPDATE 8:20 p.m. (Photos and info via Alecia Kaus/Video News Service): Whether a furnace exploded in connection with the fire is under investigation, said Don Newton, the East Pembroke fire chief. The fire appears to have started on the second floor and the furnace is in the attic, Newton said. While Newton was in route to the fire, a firefighter first on scene called Newton on his mobile phone and informed him there was heavy smoke but no visible flames. Before Newton arrived, the firefighter called back and said flames had broken through the rear of the structure. Newton called for a second alarm.  There was apparently no one home when the fire started. Once firefighters confirmed the house was vacant they searched for pets and most of the pets appear to have escaped the fire, Newton said. There is heavy smoke damage throughout the structure and the structure is not habitable. 

Accident with minor injuries but entrapment reported on Slusser Road

By Howard B. Owens

A one-vehicle accident is reported in the area of 7989 Slusser Road, East Pembroke.

The car is in a field. The driver reportedly sustained only minor injuries but extrication is required.

East Pembroke Fire on scene and Alabama Fire called to assist.

UPDATE 2:59 p.m.: Crews have managed to get the patient out through the door.  Alabama can stand down and the East Pembroke engine can continue non-emergency.

Public Notice: East Pembroke Fire District Election

By Legal Notices

Legal Notice: 

Please take notice that the annual election for the East Pembroke Fire District will take place on December 14, 2021 between the hours of 6pm and 9 pm, at the District hall, located at 8655 Barrett Drive, Batavia NY.
For the purpose of electing two(2) Fire District Commissioners.
     - one for a five(5) year term commencing on January 1, 2022
     - one for a one(1) year term commencing on January 1, 2022
Petitions may be obtained by contacting District Secretary Mary Ann Chatley, by phone (585)-813-6576, or email
Qualified candidates shall file their petitions signed by (25) registered voters of the East Pembroke Fire District.
Petitions must be filed with the District Secretary no later than November 30, 2021.

Three GC students named Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars at RIT -- in top 1 percent

By Billie Owens

More than 100 Rochester Institute of Technology students were named as Outstanding Undergraduate Scholars for the 2020-2021 year.

Since 1976, RIT has honored the top 1 percent of undergraduate students who are able to maintain a high standard of academic excellence while also giving back to their community through civic or volunteer work, conducting research, or being engaged in co-op or work in their field of study.

Award recipients, including the following, were honored during a virtual celebration earlier this year:

  • Triton Adamski, of Corfu
  • Lucas Kohorst, of East Pembroke
  • Celia Mercovich, of Bergen

Rochester Institute of Technology is home to leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls about 18,600 students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, making it among the largest private universities in the U.S.

The university is internationally recognized and ranked for academic leadership in business, computing, engineering, imaging science, liberal arts, sustainability, and fine and applied arts. RIT also offers unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation. Global partnerships include campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai and Kosovo.

Urban family thanks firefighters, friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and community for their help after garage fire

By Press Release

From Brittany Urban:

Our family wants to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to our friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and community. A couple of weeks (Dec. 15) ago we lost so many of our personal belongings that were stored in our garage to a fire.

We never would have imagined in a million years this would happen to us and were completely shocked, heartbroken and devastated.

After the incident, so many people reached out to us to provide comfort, support, kind words, prayers, donations, their time, and to check in on us.

We found so much comfort in knowing we weren't going through this experience alone and we cannot express in words how much we appreciate each and every one of you.

We also would like to specifically thank the following: Pembroke & Indian Falls fire departments, Alabama, Town & City of Batavia fire departments, Corfu, Darien & East Pembroke fire departments, along with Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Young, who was the law enforcement officer on scene.

The hard work of all these firefighters prevented us from losing our house in the fire as well. We are so thankful that didn't happen and that our family was not hurt.

Also, a special thanks to Officer Young who stayed by our side the entire time and helped us stay as calm as possible and went above and beyond for us.

Thank you to each and every one of you who risk your lives every day to help others and do everything you can to keep them safe.

In such a dark, uncertain, negative world these days it's nice to know that there are still good, kind people out there who are willing to come together and support one another in times of tragedy.

We wish each and every one of you a very happy and healthy new year.

Warmest regards,

-- The Urban Family

Patron causes scene at Crosby's in East Pembroke over mask-wearing

By Howard B. Owens

A deputy has been dispatched to East Pembroke to try and locate a male subject who became upset at an employee over the issue of wearing a mask inside the store.

The man walked away but has repeatedly called her on the phone, according to dispatch, cussing at her and threatening her.

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