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Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac

Salvation Army collects truckloads of gifts for disadvantaged kids at annual toy drive

By Howard B. Owens
wbta toy drive
Capt. Brad Moore, Salvation Army, Ron Kleinbach, City Fire, Todd Rapp, Salvation Army, Ken Barrett, Nici Johnson, WBTA, Marc Tillery, WBTA, and Ryan Darch, City Fire.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Genesee County residents were once again generous in their giving for the annual WBTA/Ken Barrett Chevrolet Toy Drive on Friday.  The Salvation Army will distribute the gifts to area children.

wbta toy drive
Photo by Howard Owens.

Salvation Army's annual toy drive happening Friday

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Salvation Army in Batavia would like to announce that our annual toy drive will be this Friday, Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

We are once again partnering with WBTA Radio and Ken Barret Chevrolet Cadilac to collect toys for kids in need right here in Genesee County. 

We will be live on the air all day from Ken Barrett at 229 West Main Street. Bring a new unwrapped toy and stop in for a cup of coffee and a donut. 

It will be a merrier Christmas for local kids after toy donations collected at Ken Barrett

By Howard B. Owens


City Fire, WBTA, Ken Barrett Chevrolet and Cadillac, along with the Salvation Army, teamed up again for their annual toy drive to benefit families in Genesee County who may not have the financial means to meet all of their kids' Christmas dreams.

Photo: Ryan Whitcombe, Nathan Kinne, Nici Johnson, Ken Barrett, and Todd Rapp. Photo by Howard Owens

Photos: Community once again comes through for the kids in annual Toy Drive

By Howard B. Owens


WBTA, Ken Barrett Chevrolet, the Salvation Army, and City Fire teamed up today for the radio station's annual toy drive.  Area residents were invited to drop by the dealership to leave new, unwrapped presents for children in the community.

Top Photo: Lorne Way, WBTA, Ken Barrett, Lt. Jamie Call, Firefighter Ferdinando Papalia, Todd Rapp, Salvation Army, and Nici Johnson, WBTA.


Ken Barrett donates $2,500 to sheriff's K-9 fund

By Mike Pettinella


Story and photo by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

Ken Barrett, owner of Ken Barrett Chevrolet/Cadillac in Batavia, surprised the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office with a $2,500 donation to the K-9 Fund this morning.

Barrett says he heard though a long-time employee, salesman Bob Mullen, that Mullen’s grandson, Deputy Andrew Mullen, advised that his K-9 partner Frankie just returned home from a weeklong stay in the hospital after an illness. The unexpected stay will deplete the K-9 fund, with only a few thousand dollars remaining.

“We thought it was important to help for a lot of reasons, one supporting our community which is one of our primary responsibilities as a business in Genesee County, and it was something our staff feels good about -- doing good is doing well,” says Barrett.

Barrett says his business has always tried to support law enforcement oand has made prior donations. He says the dealership plans to continue to support the K-9 fund in the future.

“Instead of doing advertising and other things, we diverted those funds. This is something that has a lasting impact and is more of an investment.”

K-9 Frankie is a 4 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois. He is named after Deputy Frank Bordonaro who passed away in 2014. Sheriff Sheron says he is at home currently with Deputy Mullen and recovering and will be back on the road soon.

“Ken came forward unsolicited and reached out yesterday and said he would like to help out,” says Sheriff Sheron.

Sheron says the the K-9 Fund offsets the cost of running the program and has assisted in purchasing one of the dogs, assists with training, and expenses incurred with the daily maintenance of the dogs.

Also, this past month, K-9 Rayzor suffered a leg/ligament injury that required surgery and is currently in physical therapy. Rayzor is a 2 1/2-year-old German Shepherd and is paired with Deputy James Stack and has been assisting Genesee County since March of 2020.

“Unfortunately, we have had some injuries to our K-9’s and we are going to have a sizeable vet bill. We have County funds and donated funds; we have pretty much burned through those. This could not have come at a better time.”

Sheriff Sheron says that the City of Batavia, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and State Police will assist the Sheriff’s Office in the meantime until both K-9s return to service.

Photo: Sheriff William Sheron Jr. accepts a $2,500 donation from Ken Barrett with Undersheriff Brad Mazur, to bolster the K-9 Fund. To donate, call 585-345-3000.

Ken Barrett Collision Center in Batavia donates refurbished vehicle to Oakfield mom

By Press Release

Submitted photo and press release:

Recently, a deserving Oakfield, recipient experienced a life-changing event --  the presentation of a vehicle to provide them independence and the ability to work and take care of their family.

This was thanks to the Ken Barrett Collision Center and car donor GEICO, along with the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides program.

The presentation was held at Ken Barrett Collision Center in Batavia.

The deserving recipient was selected by Community Action of Orleans & Genesee County. The recipient received a 2015 Chevy Trax.

A hard-working single parent to a 7-year-old, she works 36 hours a week to support her child and herself, while receiving no government support, including child support or housing.

For the recipient, the gift of a vehicle was not an easy task. She didn’t have a driver's license and had to accomplish many tasks, including taking her five-hour course, getting in practice time with friends’ vehicles, and ultimately signing up for and passing a road test.

The recipient has goals of continuing her education and becoming a surgical technician in a hospital or surgical center.

With a vehicle, her life and the life of her son are sure to change for the better. The possibility of continuing education and getting a job outside of Oakfield is a huge step for her.

About National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides

This is a unique program in which businesses representing all facets of the collision repair industry team up to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need of reliable transportation.

Since the inception of the program in 2007, members of the National Auto Body Council have donated more than 2,600 vehicles valued at more than $36 million. Additional partners in the NABC Recycled Rides® presentation included 1-800 Charity Cars.

Photo: Cars roll through Ken Barrett's filled with toys for local children

By Howard B. Owens


City firefighters Ryan Clair and Ryan Whitcomb collect toys from a car at Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac today as part of the annual Salvation Army toy drive sponsored by Ken Barrett and WBTA.

To comply with CDC guidelines related to COVID-19, this year's toy drive was a drive-thru affair. By early afternoon, the beds of multiple pickups had been filled and ready to take to a local hub to prepare the toys for distribution to children in Genesee County.

Need is critical for this year's annual WBTA Toy Drive at Ken Barrett dealership Friday

By Press Release

Press release:

The Salvation Army of Batavia is proud to announce, for the 37th year in a row, WBTA’S annual toy drive with Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet. COVID-19 has hit The Salvation Army especially hard, with the need for services being at an all-time high and funding down nearly 40-50 percent. 

The annual drive for new, unwrapped toys will take place at the car dealership this Friday, Dec. 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located at 229 W. Main St. in the City of Batavia. WBTA will broadcast live.

The toy drive is a staple seasonal event for The Salvation Army of Batavia and the local community. All toys donated go to children in the Genesee County area. To date, The Salvation Army of Batavia has 180 families registered with more than 400 children needing toys this Christmas. They have seen more than a 30-percent increase in need this year due to the coronavirus pandemic in just the Batavia area. 

“While the start of the Christmas season for The Salvation Army begins in the summer with planning, for me, the Christmas spirit is ignited with our annual toy drive,” said Captain Rachel Moore. “I feel the toy drive is what really signifies the holiday spirit in Batavia.

"It is overwhelming to see the generosity of our community as toy after toy is dropped off. This year, more than ever before, we are relying on the giving spirit of our neighbors to offer hope to children in need all over Genesee County. We are grateful to WBTA and Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet for continuing a beautiful tradition that will help so many this year.” 

The Batavia Salvation Army has implemented additional precautions to make the toy drive a COVID-19 safe event. Those participating can simply drive up to the designated area at Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet and open their trunk. A member of the Batavia Fire Department will collect the toys.

If you cannot participate on Dec. 11th, please visit our Angel Tree Registry with Toys will be directly shipped to our offices. 

About The Salvation Army Empire State Division

The Empire State Division of The Salvation Army covers 48 counties in Upstate New York and one city in Pennsylvania (Sayre, Pa.). Our annual Red Kettle Campaign in November and December helps our 45 community centers and 166 volunteer driven service units raise funds that remain in each community to help those in need. 

For more information go to:


About The Salvation Army 

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit.

For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac celebrates 25 years of sales and service

By Howard B. Owens


In 1994, Ken Barrett and partner Virgil Austin purchased a Chevrolet dealership with seven decades of service to the residents of Genesee County and yesterday, Barrett, along with representatives of General Motors, celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac.

On hand to present Barrett with the dealership's 25-year awards were Natalie Taylor, Chevrolet zone manager, Dan Oldham, district after-sales manager, and Weston Lee, district sales manager.

Today, Ken Barrett's employs 41 people.

The roots of the dealership go back to Mancuso Motors in the 1920s when the Mancuso family operated the dealership where T.F. Brown's and Mancuso Lanes are now. In the 1960s, the dealership was relocated to West Main Street, the current location of Ken Barrett's, and became Batavia Motors.  

Dave Heinrich Sr. purchased the dealership from the Mancuso family in 1990. Four years later he sold it to Barrett and Austin. Austin passed in 2013 at age 93. Barrett said Austin continued to work up until a few months before he died.

In 2003, Barrett's built a new showroom and over the years expanded its collision center from 4,400 square feet to more than 16,500 square feet, with the most recent upgraded completed in 2011.

Ken Barrett said it's great to hit the 25-year milestone.

"You know, don't use a rearview mirror, so everything is looking forward," Barrett said. "I have absolutely no regrets. There's a lot of unanticipated challenges between the regulations and the pace of change, which we all deal with. I've been very fortunate. I should say, we've been very fortunate that we've been able to have an exceptional staff.

"And by and large, they cared deeply for the customers. They worked well together. There's a real sense of teamwork. And if, heaven forbid, a ball gets dropped, usually somebody else is right there to pick it up."

This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Salvation Army/WBTA/Ken Barrett Toy Drive, which is Dec. 13. Barrett said the dealership has contributed more than $500,000 to local organizations and charities over the years.

"We are firm believers in supporting the community that supports us," Barrett said.

WBTA and Ken Barrett's teaming up for annual toy drive today

By Howard B. Owens


Clients of Arc of Genesee Orleans dropped off bags full of gifts today for annual WBTA toy drive at Ken Barrett's Chevrolet and Cadillac, which benefits local children through the Salvation Army.

Among the other large donations to come in this morning was seven bags of toys from the employees of Oatka Milk Products in Batavia.

WBTA co-owner Dan Fischer said that by 11 a.m. it looked like as many toys had come in so far as had been received by the end of the day last year.

The toy drive runs until 4 p.m., so plenty of time as of this posting (at 1 p.m.) for you to run down to Adam Miller and load up on toys to donate to the Salvation Army for local children who might otherwise receive little or nothing for Christmas.

Note about the videos below: The audio quality is not great. We have hardware coming by next week that will fix this for future videos.


35th annual WBTA and Ken Barrett Chevrolet Toy Drive for Salvation Army is Friday

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Come join The Salvation Army for the 35th annual WBTA and Ken Barrett Chevrolet Toy Drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14th.

This toy drive, held at the car dealership on West Main Street in Batavia, will enable us to help those less fortunate in our community.

Throughout the years, Ken Barrett and WBTA have partnered with us to make our Christmas efforts a success.

What a privilege it is to work side by side with these businesses to make Christmas dreams come true for the less fortunate in Genesee County. To date we have 375 youth registered in our program. Please donate the gift of hope for a child in need this season.

90 FOR 90 CHALLENGE -- The Salvation Army reaches midway point in Christmas Drive

The spirit of giving is alive and well in Genesee County. As people hurry to check items off their shopping list, decorate the tree and plan Christmas dinner menus, many may have overlooked the fact that today marks the halfway point of the Christmas shopping season.

Today also marks the midway point for The Salvation Army’s Christmas fundraiser. The proceeds raised each year fund assistance programs for impoverished local residents.

“We rely on this funding to carry us through the year in order to help those who are in need. All of the money raised stays in our area, so when you make a donation this Christmas, you are really creating change for your neighbors,” say Lt. Brad and Capt. Rachel Moore, commanding officers of the The Salvation Army locally.

“We are very grateful for the four local residents who took on the 90 for 90 challenge who have given us donations and we thank them for their kindness. We are still in need of $60,000 to reach our goal this year."

In Upstate New York, the majority of The Salvation Army’s funds are raised in November and December.

To learn how to help with The Salvation Army’s Christmas fundraising drive, please call (585) 343-6284.

To become a bell ringer, call us at 585-343-6284.

Photos: Christmas toy drive today at Ken Barrett's

By Howard B. Owens


Folks from Arc of Genesee Orleans were among the first to show up this morning with gifts for the annual Salvation Army toy drive at Ken Barrett's Chevrolet and supported by WBTA.

To donate new, unwrapped toys, head over to Ken Barrett's on West Main Street, Batavia, by 4 p.m.

This is the 23rd year WBTA has sponsored and supported the toy drive.


Photos: Salvation Army Toy Drive

By Howard B. Owens


The Salvation Army Toy Drive is underway today at Ken Barrett Chevrolet on West Main Street, Batavia.

The event is hosted by Ken Barrett and WBTA and sponsored by several local businesses.

Top photo: Lt. Rachel Moore, Colton Moore, Joan Stevens and firefighters Jerry Yoder and Adam Palumbo.


Pete Zeliff dropped off a barrel of toys.


Ken Barrett and Dan Fischer.

Salvation Army toy drive reaps two trucks of donations

By Howard B. Owens

Donors drove up to Ken Barrett Chevrolet and Cadillac today by the dozens to deliver presents for Genesee County youngsters who might not otherwise get a visit from Santa and filled up two pickup trucks with new toys.

It was one of the biggest hauls for the toy drives in recent years.

Besides a big donation from Genesee ARC, the folks at Lawley Genesee (above) turned up in a Mancuso limo on the way to a Christmas party and dropped off several toys.

Pictured above are Lt. Marty Hinz and Chuck Harmon, of the City of Batavia Fire Department, Beth George, Nancy Hale, Patricia Kurtz, Tom Ditzel, Marissa Weaver, Susie Boyce, Wendy MacKay, Kim Morello.

Dan Fischer of WBTA with Kurtz.

Firefighter Green and Mary Blevins, manager of the Batavia branch of Key Bank.

Blevins with WBTA's Sloan Martin.

Rochester woman wins new Cadillac at casino Saturday

By Billie Owens

UPDATE: The woman's last name has now been provided.

This is a news release from Batavia Downs Casino.

Marilyn Brightman from Rochester doesn’t drive -- but she may learn now that she’s the owner of a 2011 Cadillac CTS.

She and her husband were among the thousands of Player’s Club members who crowded into Batavia Downs Casino Saturday night for the chance to win the shiny new Caddy or $25,000 in cash.

“I was thrilled when I learned I won,” Brightman said.

She and her husband are still deciding on whether to take the car or the cash.

The big drawing at 10 p.m. topped off the Genesee County casino’s second-busiest day for coin-in since opening in May 2005.

Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac of Batavia partnered with Batavia Downs Casino on the grand prize.

Batavia Downs Casino is licensed by the New York State Lottery to conduct casino operations, including slots. Batavia Downs Casino is owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation.

Ken Barrett Chevrolet spared GM's ax

By Howard B. Owens

On a day when as many as 1,100 Chevrolet and Cadillac dealers were told by General Motors that it would no longer need their services once their contracts expire, Batavia's Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac was notified the dealership will remain open.

“We are part of GM’s continuing plans,” Ken Barrett told WBTA this afternoon. "Ultimately the people who will determine our fate are our customers.”

The dealership cuts, which amount to about 20 percent of its network, come amid financial turmoil for the auto giant. Unlike the Chrysler cuts announced yesterday, GM is not releasing a list of dealerships that will not get contracts renewed.

Yesterday, we learned Castiglione Chrysler also survived the round of cuts announced by that car maker.

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