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Lions Club

Hornets pick up opening round win in Lions Tournament

By Howard B. Owens


In a first-round game of the small schools' division of the annual Lions Tournament at GCC, Oakfield-Alabama beat Elba 60-44.

For the Hornets:


  • Gaige Armbrewster, 20 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals
  • Kam Cusmano, 15 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals
  • Kaden Cusmano, 12 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks

For Elba, CJ Gottler scored 25 points.

O-A is now 5-0 on the year.

Photos by Kristin Smith.  For more, click here.








Batavia Girls Fastpitch Softball plays in debut Lions Club Memorial Day tournament Saturday

By Billie Owens

The Lions Club presents Batavia Girls Fastpitch Softball with a check for $1,000 to cover the Memorial Day tournament costs.


Submitted photo and press release:

The Batavia Girls Fastpitch Softball (BGFS) organization is holding its debut Lions Club Memorial Day Softball Tournament this Saturday, May 26th, over the Memorial Day Weekend.

The Batavia Lions Club has generously agreed to partner with BGFS in sponsoring what is hoped to be the first of a long-running annual fastpitch softball tournament.

The inaugural tournament will be comprised of four 12-and-under teams from Batavia, Perry and Lyndonville.

The day’s events are listed below:

  • Batavia Stingers Black vs. Lyndonville – John Kennedy School – 9 a.m.
  • Batavia Stingers Yellow vs. Perry – Lions Park – 9 a.m.
  • Skills competition – individual hitting contest and team throwing accuracy contest – Lions Park – 11:15 a.m.
  • Consolation game (losing teams from morning games) – Lions Park -- 12:15 p.m.
  • Championship game (winning teams from morning games) – Lions Park – 2:30 p.m.

There will be a concession stand open throughout the day serving hot and cold drinks, hot dogs, pizza and snacks.

Come on out and watch these young ladies compete while enjoying a snack or lunch at the ball field. 

Lions rename and dedicate annual basketball tournament for Peter Arras

By Howard B. Owens


Thirty-five years ago Peter Arras convinced his fellow Lions Club members in Batavia to start a Christmas basketball tournament and then he ran it for more than three decades. At the tournament's annual kick-off dinner last night, Arras was honored and the tournament was officially renamed The Peter Arras GCC Basketball Tournament.

The Arras family was on hand for the dinner, including his widow Nancy Arras, above, who received a memorial clock from the club, presented by Dave Van Scoy. Van Scoy is a former superintendent of Batavia City Schools and Pete Arras was principal at Jackson School until his retirement. Arras passed away in October at age 77.

Lions member Ross Fanara was friends with Arras since Fanara was 10 and Arras was 12. They met on a baseball field and Fanara quickly learned, seeing Arras long frame sling an overhead fastball his way, that young Peter was a natural and gifted athlete.

He loved all sports, Fanara said, and excelled not only at baseball and basketball but football, golf, bowling and racketball.

As an athlete and educator, he was dedicated to the youth of the community, Fanara said.

"Mentally, morally, spiritually and socially he was always a class act," Fanara said. "He was truly a role model to our youth and continued to be even after his retirement. It is only fitting and richly deserved that the Batavia Lions Club Christmas Basketball Tournament will now be known as The Batavia Lions Club Peter Arias Memorial Basketball Tournament."


Players from the four teams participating in the tournament this year -- Notre Dame, Batavia, Albion, and Elba -- attended last night's dinner. Pictured are Christian Cleveland, Notre Dame, Naz Pratt, Batavia, Demetrius Gardner, Albion, and Ben Pflaumer, Elba. Holding the trophy is Tony Scalia, the new tournament chairman.

The first game is at 7 p.m., Dec. 27 (a week from tomorrow night), with Notre Dame and Elba. Elba will look to avenge the team's only loss of the season, which came in overtime, on Notre Dame's home court 74-72. The nightcap opening night, at 8:30 p.m., is Batavia vs. Albion. Albion is a smaller school, but it will put a lot of big, experienced players on the court. It, too, should be a good game.

The finals are the following Friday, Dec. 29, with the consolation game at 7:30 p.m. and the championship at 8:30.

Scalia said the tournament format will change next year, going to eight teams in two brackets. The Class A and Class B schools will be in one bracket and the Class C and Class D schools will be in the other bracket. This should make the tournament more competitive, Scalia said. Batavia will be vying for the championship against schools closer to its own class.

During the dinner, Batavia Head Coach Buddy Brasky mentioned that Pete Arras gave Brasky his first teaching job in the City School District at Jackson School, which allowed Brasky to become Batavia High School basketball coach.

Batavia Lions Club seeks big losers for its 2017 Weight Loss Challenge

By Billie Owens

Wanna be a big loser? The Batavia Lions Club wants YOU to take its 2017 Weight Loss Challenge, either by yourself or as a two-person team. Weigh-in day is Saturday, April 15 (all day) at Next Level Fitness Center, located at 85 Main St. in Downtown Batavia.

This is the second annual 75-day challenge (through July 1) for adults only (minimum age 18) with cash prizes awarded for the most weight lost: First Prize -- $1,000; Second Prize -- $500; and Third Prize -- $250.

Also, the largest fund-raising individual or two-person team gets an additional prize (a $1,000 value) -- An overnight stay and dinner package with spending money for two people at Salvatore's Grand Hotel and Russell's Steaks Chops & More in Buffalo.

Your hard work will help the community, according to organizers. Here's how:

  • Each registrant must secure weight-loss sponsorship fees from friends, family or the workplace -- totaling a minimum of $2.50 per pound of weight loss;
  • This sponsor list must be completed and submitted with your registration form;
  • All dollars raised through your weight-loss efforts will go to the Batavia Lions Club to be used throughout the community on programs supported  by the Batavia Lions Club.

The registration fee is $40 per person (checks payable to Batavia Lions Club) and must be paid at weigh-in. To register and/or to get further details, call 455-7514, email, or visit online here.

In addition to a T-shirt, participants get weekly support for their weight-loss efforts and can avail themselves to meal plans, fitness programs, planned group events, health and wellness programs, sponsor specials and more.

Photos: Lions Club fishing tournament at Dewitt

By Howard B. Owens

Joshua von Kramer is all business as he casts his line into the pond at DeWitt Recreation Area today during a youth fishing tournament sponsored by the Batavia Oakfield Lions Club. Fishing with him are Nicole and Eric von Kramer.

Reice Woodward reels in a catch.

Reice Woodward

Ed Staniszewski with the boys and girls derby grand prizes.Other prizes on the table.

Joey Staniszewski

Blake Bradt gets her catch measured by Joe Bradt.

The tournament was dedicated to the memory of Kendra Haacke, who died this Spring at age 31. Above, members of the Haacke family, Melissa, Chris, Ken, Emma, Mary Ann and Lily.

Oakfield-Alabama fourth-graders planted trees, thanks to Lions Club

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Arbor Day was celebrated on April 27 this year and 69 fourth-graders at Oakfield-Alabama Elementary School rolled up their sleeves and planted a tree. The students became members of the Fourth Grade Foresters.

The project’s goal is to help revitalize a remarkable idea: observation of Arbor Day in America’s Schools. Each Student receives a tree to take home and plant.

“This project was made possible by the Oakfield-Alabama Lions Club which covered the cost of each individually packaged evergreen tree, so that there would be no cost to the students, the teachers, the school or the taxpayers," said Debra Ersch, co-founder of the Fourth Grade Foresters Project. “It’s a wonderful way to show support for the community, education and the environment."

Fourth Grade Foresters USA was created to provide a simple and inexpensive way for any individual, business or organization to send the fourth-grade students at an elementary school home with a tree of their own to plant and care for. Each Student receives an individually packaged 12”-18” evergreen tree seedling packaged by workers with disabilities.

Lions Clubs from around the world have been committed to protecting the environment for several decades and they understand that every small effort makes a big difference. That is why the Oakfield-Alabama Lions Club is doing its part to reach Lions International’s goal of planting a million trees.

Lions Club of Batavia raffles bikes, treats vets and seniors to night at the ballpark

By Rick D. Franclemont

The Lions Club of Batavia gave out more than 100 tickets to kids attending the Muckdogs game Monday night for a bike raffle and giveaway. Two bikes were given away, one to a girl and one to a boy.

Lions Club President John Murray throws out the first pitch at Monday night's second game of the Muckdogs double-header.

Lions Club President John Murray with drawing winners, 11-year-old Joe Biaselli, of Lyndonville, and 8-year-old Olivia Costley, of Batavia.

Press release from the Lions:

On Monday, Aug. 22, members of the Batavia Lions Club gathered at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia for its 36th annual Lions Night at the Ballpark as the hometown Muckdogs played the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

The evening featured several highlights including a free raffle for two brand-new bikes to two lucky local kids holding the winning tickets and an opportunity for several seniors and veterans to attend the game and be treated to hotdogs and refreshments -- all free of charge and paid for by the Batavia Lions Club.

The Lions Club invited several senior citizens from local area nursing homes, which included the federal and New York state veterans facilities located in Batavia. Each attendee was treated to a hot dog or hamburger, fries and a soda. They also had the special treat of watching a double-header on a beautiful summer evening.

Lion Gerry Maley was again responsible for all arrangements with the ball club and, along with Lions Dave Cutitta and Dom Lovria, for the bike raffle. Lion Dr. Ross Fanara and his wife, Shirley, made all arrangements with the five nursing homes/veterans’ facilities to bring more than 50 seniors to the ballpark.

The Batavia Lions Club would like to thank all of the Muckdog staff, especially General Manager Travis Sick and Ticket Manager Mike Ewing along with the activities directors from the Batavia VA Medical Center, New York State VA Nursing Home, Genesee County Nursing Home, Batavia Nursing Home, and the Le Roy Village Green Nursing Home for helping make this a very enjoyable evening for all. 

See you next year at the ballpark!

Batavia Lions Club thanks one and all

By Billie Owens

Here's a letter of thanks to the community from the Batavia Lions Club.

The Batavia Lions Club, with the help of many community members, was very busy during the past Christmas holidays with several annual projects directed at serving the residents of Batavia and the Genesee County area.

During the Thanksgiving holidays, several Lions helped decorate downtown for Christmas. On Main Street alone, 43 light poles were decorated with individual lighted snowflakes along with lighted garland that was wrapped around each pole. Additionally, the Lions placed 24-inch red bows at the base of each snowflake. Lighted garland wrap was also placed on about 30 poles up and down two of our side streets.

The Lions Club’s investment in these decorations is in the neighborhood of $15,000 of which 100 percent of the money was raised from our community, local businesses and through funding we received through the office Assemblyman Steve Hawley. It takes approximately 60 man-hours to install and to disassemble all of these decorations. This year, with nice weather, the Lions were rather fortunate (usually these 60 hours are spent outdoors in the freezing Western New York weather).

Again this year, several Batavia Lions helped serve the annual Christmas dinner provided by T.F. Brown's restaurant. Working with Ben and Rick Mancuso and their crew, we served turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and all the fixings to many local families. In addition, the Lions provided toys for each and every child who attended. We would like to thank Ben and Rick for their wonderful generosity at a time of year when the need is most apparent.

This year’s Lions Club Boys Basketball Tournament was a resounding success. This tournament has become one of the premier high school tournaments in New York State.  This year, Batavia High School defeated Notre Dame High School for the title in an extremely hard fought game. The games were played at the newly renovated Genesee Community College gymnasium. The attendance was excellent in spite of the snowy conditions we experienced on the first night. We thank the college and its staff for their cooperation in providing this beautiful venue to showcase our local high school talent.

Finally, working with area schools and churches, the Lions Club provided certificates for food baskets from Tops Markets and new blankets for local families in need. Nineteen $50 gift cards for food and 17 new blankets were distributed through local schools. In addition, 18 $20 food cards and 18 blankets were given to needy families in our area through Father Ivan Trujillo.

We would like to express our appreciation to all who assisted in these worthy community projects. Our work would not be possible without the cooperation and help of so many.  Batavia is a city that truly cares and the members of the Batavia Lions Club feel very fortunate to be able to serve such a community.

St. Nick's closing its doors

By Brian Hillabush

Saint Nicholas Social Club president Michael Rimmer wrote a letter to the editor in The Daily News in early December saying that he planned on the club remaining open for another 65 years.

But, after many decades of being a meeting place for friends and a place for social groups to gather, St. Nick's will be closing its doors for good on Monday.

Rimmer expressed concern but said the club was trying its best to stay open in a June 5 story on The Batavian. He talked about how the poor economy has hurt many local businesses.

The rumors that have been passed around for many months are finally becoming true, adding yet another sad chapter that is the current state of Batavia.

St. Nick's will stay open for Monday night's Lions Club meeting and then will be shutting down. The Lions have been meeting at the club for many years and are searching for a new meeting place.

Batavia Lions Club gives away bikes at Muckdog game

By Brian Hillabush

The Batavia Lions Club gave away a pair of bicycles at Monday night's game between the Batavia Muckdogs and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

Everybody was a winner at the game sponsored by the Lions Club as Batavia downed the Scrappers 2-0, with three pitchers combining for the shutout. But a pair of youngsters walked away with an extra prize.

Gunner Rapone of Batavia was the winner in the boy's bike raffle and Jessica Perry of Strykersville took home the girl's bike.

Lions Club president Steve Watson is also in the photo, presenting the prizes to the winners.

Attica native remembers local basketball tourney from 1975

By Philip Anselmo

Many thanks to Sean Feeney for sending along this remembrance:

I remember playing in what I think was the original Batavia Lions Club tournament in December 1975 while playing for Attica. We played Batavia in the opener losing by a point or two to Batavia led by now coach Buddy Brasky and Jimmy Orosco. Kevin Kellogg and Doug Miller were our leading scorers. We played Notre Dame in the consolation game. ... I do not remember who Batavia played in the final. I believe Buddy Brasky was the tournament MVP.  Myself and I think Jimmy Orosco were on the all tourney team with someone from ND and the other team in the tourney. Batavia warmed up to the Ohio players "Love Rollercoaster".

The Batavian is great. I love catching up on high school sports back in WNY!

Sean Feeney
Alpharetta, GA

I wanted to post this to the site to see if it sparked any other memories in our readers. Was this the original Lions Club tournament in 1975? Or did it start later on, in 1982, as we had believed? Do you remember? Did you play?

Batavia Lions Club Family Fishing Fiesta

By Tom Clark


Second Annual Family Fishing Fiesta

June 28th, Time: 9 AM -1 PM at Dewitt Recreational Area, Cedar Street Batavia..

Music by Bart and Kevin – Performance time TBA,

Build a kite with Pieces Art Gallery.

No Fishing License required.

FREE Event. Lions Club will be selling hotdogs and hamburgers.

 Sponsored by Batavia Lions Club with assistance from the Oakfield Lions Club.

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