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Alexander Fire shows off rec hall rennovations, installs officers, presents awards at annual dinner

By Howard B. Owens
alexander fire dinner
Matt Pietrzykowski was named Firefighter of the Year by the Alexander Volunteer Fire Department. Presenting the award were Sean McPhee and Ryan Hinz. 
Photo by Howard Owens.

Alexander Volunteer Fire Department members were proud to show off their renovated rec hall on Saturday during its 2024 awards and installation dinner.

With freshly painted walls, ceiling and a newly poured epoxy floor, the $50,000 renovation gives the hall a fresher, newer look.

It was also a night to recognize a few of the department's key contributors in 2023, including Firefighter of the Year Matt Pietrzykowski, who responded to a fatal fire in February.  He was the firefighter who found the deceased's body and was commended for his career and professionalism in handling the situation.

Jim Burkhardt and Regan McPhee were named EMS Providers of the Year. 

Regan McPhee received the Chief's Award.

The newly installed officers are, on the Firematic side:

  • James Burkhardt, chief
  • Nathan Fix, deputy chief
  • Thomas Green, 1st assistant chief
  • Anthony Johnston, 2nd assistant chief
  • Matthew Pietrzykowski, 3rd assistant chief
  • Jenny McPhee, EMS captain
  • Todd Fleenor, EMS lieutenant
  • Nicholas Yackeren, truck lieutenant
  • Lance Scharlau, training captain
  • Bernie Fix, safety officer
  • John Meier, parade chairman
  • Heidi Richmond, parade co-chairman

Administrative officers:

  • Sean McPhee, president
  • Thomas Green, vice-president
  • Amanda Donnelly, recording secretary
  • Heidi McPhee, financial secretary
  • Barbara Pietrzykowski, treasurer
  • Robert Spiers, chaplin
  • and, trustees Matthew Fernaays, Nathan Fix, Amanda Donnelly, Nicholas Yackeren, Anthony Johnston, Darlene Merle, Matthew Pietrzkowski, and Matthew Grimes.
alexander fire dinner
Jim Burkhardt and Regan McPhee were named EMS Providers of the Year. Presenting the awards were Todd Fleenor and Jenny McPhee.
Photo by Howard Owens
alexander fire dinner
Regan McPhee received the Chief's Award from Jim Burkhardt.
Photo by Howard Owens.
alexander fire dinner
Department President Sean McPhee with remarks during the ceremony.
Photo by Howard Owens.
alexander fire dinner
Installation of officers.
Photo by Howard Owens.
alexander fire dinner
Honoring members who passed.
Photo by Howard Owens.
alexander fire dinner
Honoring members who have passed, including former member Sgt. Thomas Sanfrello, with a Stetson on the right, who died in the line of duty on March 10.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Photo: VFA's 40th anniversary celebration at Batavia First Presbyterian Church

By Howard B. Owens
volunteers for animals
Cutting the anniversary cake, from left, Shanna Shaw, Kathy Dispenza, Debbie Chilano, Wendy Castleman, Debbie Stocking, and Angela Knisley.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Volunteers for Animals celebrated its 40th anniversary on Saturday at Batavia First Presbyterian Church.

Previously: Chamber Awards: VFA earns special recognition in its 40th year caring for animals

volunteers for animals
Photo by Howard Owens.
volunteers for animals
Julie Jenkins with shirts being sold to support VFA.
Photo by Howard Owens.
volunteers for animals
Photo by Howard Owens.
volunteers for animals
Photo by Howard Owens.
volunteers for animals
Mary Della Penna and Shanna Shaw with sheet pizzas donated by Main Street Pizza to the event. Main Street donated 10 sheet pizzas.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Law and Order: Warrant suspect accused of possessing a controlled substance

By Howard B. Owens

Michael Joseph Torres, 40, of Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance 7th.  While attempting to locate a warrant suspect, Deputy Jeremy McClellan came into contact with Torres at 2:09 p.m. on May 14 on Columbia Avenue, Batavia, who was also wanted a warrant. Torres was allegedly found in possession of a controlled substance. He was arraigned and released.

Lance Donald Beals, 53, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with menacing 2nd.  Beals is accused of pointing and shooting a BB gun toward another person, placing that person in fear of injury at 7:16 a.m. on May 14 at a location on West Main Street Road, Batavia. He was arraigned and released.

Nathan Wayne Campbell, 43, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Campbell was accused of stealing merchandise from Walmart at 12:56 p.m. on May 13. He was released on an appearance ticket.

Grand Jury Report: Man accused of criminal possession of a weapon

By Howard B. Owens

Micahel J. Difalco is indicted on counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a Class D felony, and menacing in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Difalco is accused of possessing a dangerous instrument on Dec. 21 in the city of Batavia while having previously been convicted of a crime. He is also accused of threatening another person with a dangerous instrument.

Daniel J. House is indicted on counts of criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony, and harassment in the second degree, a violation. House is accused of violating an order of protection on Jan. 23 at a location in the town of Batavia and of having unwanted physical contact with another person.

James A. Williams is indicted on counts of DWI, a Class D felony, aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony, circumventing an interlock device, a Class A misdemeanor, and obstructing governmental administration in the second degree. Williams is accused of driving a 2008 Hyundai with an Ohio license plate on Route 33 in the town of Stafford while intoxicated on Sept. 24. He was allegedly driving intoxicated while knowing or should have known that his driving privileges were suspended. The Hyundai was not equipped with an interlock device. He is accused of trying to prevent a government official from performing his official duties. The felony DWI charge stems from a prior DWI conviction in March 2019 in Rochester.

Isaac C. King is indicted on a count of bail jumping in the second degree, a Class E felony. King is accused of failing to appear in Genesee County Court as ordered on a felony charge after being released on bail or on his own recognizance on Dec. 4.

Tanisha N. Gibson is indicted on a count of criminal mischief in the second degree, a Class D felony.  Gibson is accused of intentionally damaging the property of another person on Jan. 8 with a value in excess of $1,500.

Lashayia S. Bussey is indicted on counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, and conspiracy in the fifth degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Bussey is accused of stealing property with a value in excess of $1,000 on Sept. 14, 2022, in the town of Batavia. She is accused of concluding with another person to commit the crime.

Shameek T. Taylor is indicted on counts of criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony, and burglary in the second degree, a Class C felony. Taylor is accused of violating a stay-away order of protection on Feb. 24 in the town of Batavia. On that same date, Taylor is accused of entering a building with the intent to commit a crime within.

Evan J. Vanskiver is indicted on a count of bail jumping in the second degree, a Class E felony. Vanskiver is accused of failing to appear in City Court as ordered on a felony charge.

Jacob W. Patterson is indicted on a count of promoting prison contraband in the first degree, Class D felony. Patterson is accused of introducing two glass pipes into the Genesee County Jail on Feb. 6.

Adrian L. Sheppard is indicted on a count of bailing jumping in the second degree, a Class E felony. Sheppard, having been released on his own recognizance, is accused of failing to appear in City Court as ordered on felony charges.

 

 

'Call'ing all graduates during GCC's 2024 commencement gathering

By Joanne Beck
GCC 2024 grads with balloons
Signature colored gold and blue balloons fall on the Class of 2024 graduates during the 56th annual Genesee Community College commencement ceremony Saturday in Batavia. 
Photo by Nick Serrata

As he addressed a packed Richard C. Call Arena filled with anxious impending graduates and Saturday afternoon, Genesee Community College history professor Charles Scruggs drew upon where they sat and what it meant in every sense of the word.

He first gave the precise location of where they sat — 43.1059 degrees north of the equator and negative 78.1404 degrees west of the Prime Meridian.

“But today is really not about pinpointing degrees; it’s about conferring them. And that will be done right here in the Call Arena. What a fitting and proper name, a call arena with which to complete the delineation of our commencement address. The most obvious observation to make in defense of my thesis is that while each part of today’s program is integral to the whole, we are all eagerly awaiting the time at which the provost will quite literally call the name of each graduate,” Scruggs said. “My thesis finds further support … the Latin verb is vocare, which means to call, and its ‘voc’ stem makes its way into English and a number of words which are astonishingly relevant to our celebration this afternoon.”

He cited three examples: convocation, which means a calling together of a community of scholars to mark the milestone; vocation, the work we are called to do to fulfill a higher purpose; and the word advocate, meaning one who calls for public support of a cause.

“My colleagues and I, decked out in our academic regalia, are not contractually obligated to be here today, but our presence today has nothing to do with a contract and everything to do with answering a call to pay tribute to you, the Class of 2024,” he said. “May each of you in the Class of 2024 find your calling as my colleagues and I have found ours as educators. May each of you in the Class of 2024 follow the lead of Richard C. Call and be an advocate in your personal and professional lives. If Call is a fitting and proper name, so too is arena, and they complement each other perfectly.”

He referred to the frequently quoted speech given by Theodore Roosevelt about the Man in the Arena.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short, again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming,” he said. “But who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

“The Class of 2024 is positively resplendent in its diversity. In striving to complete a challenging curriculum, each of you in the Class of 2024 has dared greatly, and today, we celebrate your triumph of high achievement,” he said. “May you continue to dare greatly in the arenas of your choosing, and may you always remember that you have family, friends, and a faculty and staff that are never more than a call away.”

GCC 2024 Dr. James Sunset

Outgoing college president Dr. James Sunser officiated the 56th commencement ceremony and was keynote speaker. Sunser had previously announced that he would be retiring from his post at the end of this college year after assuming the role in the summer of 2011.

Before coming to the Batavia campus, he had been an administrator at Syracuse University for five years and Onondaga Community College for more than 22 years, and he had worked in other senior-level positions throughout his education-focused career.

“Dr. Sunser is known for his collaborative approach, bringing together stakeholders from across the academic community to drive positive change and achieve shared goals,” Board of Trustees Chairwoman Jackie Whiting said. “During his career, he has spearheaded initiatives aimed at expanding access to quality higher education, fostering a culture of academic excellence and promoting student success. Dr. Sunser has left a lasting impact on the college and broader community that is inspirational to future generations of educators and leaders.”

Sunser said that he hoped his words would perhaps serve as a bit of inspiration since, as a first-generation college student who worked his way while pursuing degrees, from an associate's to a bachelor’s degree in science on to his master’s and finally a doctorate from the University of Rochester. He didn’t stop there, also completing postdoctoral work at Harvard and Cornell universities, certainly walking his family’s talk and beliefs in the importance of obtaining a solid education.

The son of a blue-collar father who worked hard for 25 years before being let go when the company left New York, Sunser learned early on how difficult it could be to be left in the lurch with only a high school diploma and a company pin to show for it. 

His father, a dedicated employee who was then in his 40s and unemployed, had to shift his previous thinking about sending the kids to college full-time while also realizing the difficulty of finding a job without a higher education.

“My older sister and I saw the impact it had on our family, and as things tightened more and more, we had a conversation with our parents. We talked about shifting our focus from full-time college and part-time work to full-time work and part-time school so we could help out more at home. That was an extremely hard conversation for my father to listen to. And when he did not immediately say no to our suggestion, we knew how serious it really was. After that conversation, my nontraditional higher education journey began in earnest. I spent the next few years working full time at everything from being a janitor in the local church that was near my community college to overnight as a loader for UPS while I also attended college both full- and part-time until I finished my associate's degree,” he said. “Following my associate's degree, I worked in the private sector and continued to take part-time classes and work towards more degrees, actually having earned two at Syracuse University. An opportunity arose while I was working to work for Syracuse University. And at that time, I was able to work full-time and attend college full-time, allowing me to earn those degrees. And I was very grateful for that opportunity.”

He credited his wife Roseanne for helping him through the rest of his journey so far, encouraging graduates that “we all need help and support to live our best life,” and said that his father ended up getting a job that he loved and seeing all three of his children walk across the stage as college graduates. 

“And it was one of his proudest moments,” Sunser said. "Sadly, my father passed away at 64. Coincidentally, the age I am as of today is far too young in my mind, but I’m grateful he lived long enough to see his biggest personal regret of us having to alter our college plans rectified with all of us graduating. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, being able to attend some of the best colleges and universities in the world. 

"I’ve done it with a lot of help and support, but none of it was done with an eye towards becoming a college president and how that could play a role in impacting others. But fortunately for me, it has led to that very result," he said. "I don’t say this as a kind of boast or self-adulation; I say to you because I want you to see firsthand an example of how education, staying open to opportunities, and working hard can lead to success in your life and career.”

He then gave the audience a quiz based on famed cartoonist Charles Schultz’s philosophy about the type of people who really make an impact on one’s life. After asking folks to name the wealthiest people, Heisman Trophy and Pulitzer Prize winners and such, and acknowledging that he, too, came up short on naming names, Sunser then asked attendees about friends who helped them through a very difficult time, taught them something worthwhile, made them feel appreciated and special, and are people they enjoy spending time with. 

“Was that easier? I think so. The lesson: the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most,” he said. “Graduates, tell the people who have made a difference in your life today what they've meant to you, and going forward, take baby steps and commit yourself to being that special person for others. It may not seem like much, but can you imagine how much better the world would be if we all follow those simple rules? 

“It may not seem significant, but that philosophy has made a tremendous difference in my life. And I hope it can for you also. Don't get consumed or overwhelmed thinking you really can't make a difference because you can. Don't be frozen by thinking that the world is ending tomorrow. It won’t. In fact, as proof, I can tell you, it's already tomorrow in Australia,” he said. “Commit yourself to taking baby steps, and you can make everyone's tomorrow brighter and better. Just follow the simple philosophy of Mr. Schultz. Congratulations, Class of 2024. Go forward, take baby steps and make a difference in the world.”

Photos by Nick Serrata

Charles Scruggs
GCC history professor Charles Scruggs offers some words about the venue and its deeper meaning Saturday during the GCC graduation ceremony. 
Photo by Nick Serrata
GCC 2024 diplomas
GCC 2024 Sunser with graduate
Retiring GCC President James Sunser presents diplomas to 2024 graduates.
photo by Nick Serrata
GCC 2024 processional
GCC 2024 with parents
GCC 2024 student sings God Bless
GCC graduate Mya Thomas sings "God Bless America" during the 56th annual commencement ceremony Saturday at the Richard C. Call Arena in Batavia. 
Photo by Nick Serrata
GCC 2024 brass
Batavia Brass Society provides musical entertainment Saturday at GCC's 56th annual commencement ceremony in Batavia.
Photo by Nick Serrata
GCC 2024 graduation crowd

Fire hydrant flushing set for Monday and Tuesday on city's east side

By Press Release

Press Release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Monday, May 20, and Tuesday, May 21, and Wednesday, May 22 from approximately 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the general area of North of East Main Street and East of Bank Street.

Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about 5 minutes or until clear.

This annual testing is essential to maintain the communities class III Insurance Services Office (ISO) public protection classification and to assure that fire hydrants are operating efficiently for fire protection purposes.

Along with maintaining the fire rating, the test monitors the health of the city's water system, identifies weak areas in the system, and removes material that settles in the water lines.

Checking each hydrant improves fire department personnel knowledge of the hydrant locations. If you have any questions or should notice a hydrant in need of repair, please contact the fire department at 585-345-6375.

GO Health reminds public about diabetes prevention

By Press Release

Press Release:

According to the New York State Department of Health Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System 2021 report, Genesee County has 13.4% of adults and Orleans County has 11.4% adults diagnosed with prediabetes. 

People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Genesee County Health Department has reviewed feedback from a recent survey and will be hosting the Lifestyle Change Program starting Wednesday, June 12 from 5 - 6 p.m. at the Town of Oakfield Community and Government Center, 3219 Drake Street Rd., Oakfield. 

If your healthcare provider told you, you have prediabetes or are at risk of prediabetes; if you have been told you are overweight; if you have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes; if you had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds; this program may be for you.

The Lifestyle Change Program group meets for a year — weekly for the first 6 months, then once a month for the second 6 months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.

“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health Director for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health). “The Lifestyle Change program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”

Participants learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes.

Now is your time to take control of your health and lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Register for the class now to claim your seat for better health: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GeneseeNDPP2024 , e-mail sherri.bensley@geneseeny.gov, or call 585-344-2580 x5528.

For more information on GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call your respective health department at: 

  • Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555
  • Orleans County: 585-589-3278

Follow GO Health on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at GOHealthNY. 

Resources:

Shifting community schools program to fit budget needs, vote on May 21

By Joanne Beck

A community schools program at Batavia City School District initially promoted as a strategy to help with each child’s well-being, success and educational equality is being realigned with a reduced coordinator position that will be responsible “for the most critical elements of the program,” Superintendent Jason Smith says.

The program that was implemented in 2021 by district social worker Julie Wasilewski and then-Batavia High School Assistant Principal Julia Rogers was centralized at Robert Morris, where Rogers was later relocated and made full-time community schools coordinator. 

The adopted $60,294,755 million 2024-25 budget — which will go up for a vote on May 21 — includes some staff changes, including making the coordinator a part-time position. One of the job’s responsibilities has been to forge relationships with outside agencies and organizations to serve as resources for students and families and have a presence at vendor fairs that were held at Robert Morris and other public sites. 

Smith said that other staff will be there to help fill the gap.

Jason Smith

“BCSD currently employs five social workers who will continue to foster positive relationships with our families and community providers/agencies,” he said.

During a presentation to the school board in 2021, Wasilewski and Rogers talked about how Robert Morris was converted into a community center for children and parents to obtain assistance for school work and many additional other life needs, from laundry to filling the gaps of clothing, school supplies, hygiene products, toys, bedding, food and other missing items in their households. 

The Batavian asked Smith if community schools offerings would remain or how they might shift with the staffing change. Those life needs resources have been collected and provided at Robert Morris through a community closet in the Heart of Kindness Center. 

“At this point, the district intends to maintain the critical elements of the Community Schools program, which could include things like the Heart of Kindness Center,” Smith said. “All BCSD schools and programs have strong connections to our community. Schools host programs throughout the year, such as Family Fun Nights and Reading Nights, which are well attended. 

“We are exploring different ways to integrate community vendors into these robust school-based activities to provide the most value and assistance to our families and partners,” he said. “Given the budget challenges this year, it was imperative for the Board of Education and district to focus on the core elements of our academic, extracurricular, and social-emotional programs.”

During this week’s budget presentation, which drew even less than the one attendee who asked questions last year, Smith referred to his teeter-totter scenario of how trying to balance out the budget to serve the needs of both sides. 

“As you know, this was a particularly challenging budget year for many school districts, we were not the exception,” he said. “There were several extenuating circumstances, issues with state aid, foundation aid, COVID funding. So all of those are taken into account.”

He emphasized that foundation aid remained flat. It did not increase, though it also did not decrease; that aid remained at $24,191,855. The transportation contract calls for a $556,263 increase of $3.3 million, a 20 percent increase, a general support increase of $514,943, and an employee benefits increase of $313,405 for a total hike in expenses of $1,323,981.

The budget also includes a tax levy increase of $450,345, for a total levy of about $20.3 million. District voters will be asked to consider a property tax increase of 39 cents per $1,000 assessed value, or $48.75 more per year on a home assessed at $125,000. 

Other personnel changes include reducing seven grant-funded positions due to a nearly $6 million COVID-related grant drying up by this fall and five more through attrition but retaining seven other positions by moving them out of the general fund and into other ongoing grants. 

While that’s the good news for those seven, it’s “going to be challenging next year,” to figure out how to continue funding those, Smith said. A mental health grant will reestablish three social-emotional learning positions and three instructional coaching positions, he said. 

He pointed out the nonmandated items that made the list — those things that really make “a school a school” but aren’t required to be offered — such as music lessons, social workers, drama club, the technology program, art shows and exhibits, interscholastic activities, school resource officers, girls flag football, Link Crew, Advanced Placement and college credit courses, and summer programs.

There is a capital project for $100,000 at Robert Morris tucked into the budget for door security work, which is state reimbursed at a 92% rate, he said. He referred to a small city comparison review for how the district has held up in grades three through eight in math, numbers that administrators take pride in, he said. The graduation rate took a dip from 2021’s 95% to 2023, at 87%, and the average class size was 19.

There are 21 public schools serving 7,900 students in Genesee County and, according to Public School Review for 2024, Batavia High School ranks third place, with math in the 85 to 89 percentile, and reading at or greater than 50%.

John Kennedy Intermediate comes in at No. 14, with math at 35% and reading 50%, with Batavia Middle School at 17, with math at 23% and reading at 50%, followed by Jackson Primary, with math at 50 to 54% and reading at 40 to 44%, making those at the bottom 50 percent. (Pembroke Intermediate School came in first, with math scores at 68% and reading at 66%.)

The ballot includes Proposition #1 to approve a general budget of $60,294,755 and to vote for three board members with candidates Michael Bromley, Korinne Anderson, Jen Lendvay and John Reigle running. 

The vote is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 21 at Batavia High School, 260 State St., and Robert Morris School, 80 Union St., depending on the voter’s residence.

For residents living north of Route 5 (Main Street), vote at Robert Morris, 80 Union Street  (Multi-Purpose Room). Enter on Union Street at the entrance across from Notre Dame.

For residents living south of Route 5 (Main Street), vote at Batavia High School, 260 State Street (High School Library).

If you need clarification on where to vote, check the street-by-street guide on our website or call the Business Office at 585-343-2480, Ext. 1002.

Tractor-trailer vs. car accident reported at Jackson and Ellicott, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
ellicott accident may 2024

A tractor-trailer and car have collided at Jackson Street and Ellicott Street, Batavia.

Injuries are reported. 

Traffic is blocked.

City Fire responding.

UPDATE 9:37 p.m.: Two patients critical, both pinned. 

UPDATE 11 p.m.: Capt. Bob Fix said both patients appeared to be in serious condition following the accident and were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital by ground ambulance. At least one of them may have been transported by Mercy Flight crews hadn't been grounded by weather. The Sheriff's Office Crash Management Team was requested to the scene to conduct a thorough investigation. In the preliminary stages, Batavia police officers have no information on what may have occurred leading to the accident.  The truck driver was not injured. There were only two people in the passenger vehicle.  

Photos by Howard Owens.

ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024
ellicott accident may 2024

Photo: Puddles of fun in Pavilion

By Howard B. Owens
pavilion flood swim
Photo by Shari Joy.

Localized flooding in Pavilion created a swimming opportunity for two kids in their own front yard on Perry Road, said Shari Joy, who spotted the kids having fun in the large puddle on Friday afternoon.

Garage fire reported on Summit Street in city

By Joanne Beck
Summit St. fire
Photo by Howard Owens

Town of Batavia and Le Roy fire departments have been called to assist with manpower and an engine at 21 Summit St., Batavia at approximately 7:40 p.m. Friday for a garage fire.

UPDATE 7:52 p.m.: The fire is out, and an overhaul has begun. Any responding units have been informed to respond in nonemergency mode.

The City of Batavia Fire Department responded to the scene, and a second alarm was put out for Town of Batavia's fast team and Town of Le Roy Fire Department.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Capt. Jamie Call said the cause of the fire appears to be accidental. It was contained to the back of the structure and there is no structural damage.

Tenney’s End Zuckerbucks Act advances in Ways and Means

By Press Release

Press Release:

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24), co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus, announced the End Zuckerbucks Act passed the Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 23-17.

Tenney’s bill, the End Zuckerbucks Act, amends the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations from directly or indirectly providing funds for the purpose of the administration of elections.

In the 2020 election, Mark Zuckerberg used a non-profit organization called the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) to distribute $350 million to local boards of elections in left-leaning county governments in Texas, Ohio, Nevada, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania under the guise of “making voting safer amid the pandemic.” Yet less than 1% of those funds were spent on PPE or other measures to implement safety protocols at voting sites and were provided with little to no oversight on spending. 92% of the funds went to left-leaning districts, where reports say they were used to fund advertising, vehicle purchases, and other activities unrelated to the pandemic.

“Twenty-eight states have banned Zuckerbucks, prohibiting partisan bureaucrats, billionaires, and corrupt special interest groups from interfering in our election process. It’s time for the federal government to follow suit,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “As the founder and co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus, I am pleased to see this common-sense election integrity bill advance in the Ways and Means Committee and move one step closer to being signed into law. We must restore confidence in our self-governing Constitutional Republic by ensuring that Americans in every state and territory have free, fair, accurate, and transparent elections.”

“During the 2020 election cycle, we saw private donations worth hundreds of millions of dollars laundered through 501(c)(3) organizations into Democrat-run cities and counties in swing states that appeared to favor one political party over another,” said Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith. “The U.S. Tax Code should not be used to support the electioneering efforts of wealthy private donors. Rep. Tenney’s bill, the End Zuckerbucks Act, protects the integrity of our elections by prohibiting charitable tax-exempt organizations from providing direct funding to official election organizations.” 

Borrello honors mental health professional Sue Gagne as 2024 Woman of Distinction

By Press Release
image.png
From left to right: Senator Borrello, Sue Gagne, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first woman to lead the New York State Senate, and Neil Gagne, Sue’s husband.
Submitted photo.

Press Release:

Mental health professional Sue Gagne was honored this week as a New York State Senate 2024 “Woman of Distinction” at a ceremony in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, alongside fellow honorees from across the state. The award program honors women who've made remarkable contributions to their professions, and their communities and serve as inspiration for others.

“With extraordinary expertise and compassion, Sue Gagne has devoted her career to helping vulnerable individuals access the services they need to build stronger, better lives,” said Senator Borrello. “It’s difficult work, particularly in rural communities like those in my district. Resources are scarcer and the fear of being stigmatized can prevent people in need from seeking help until they’ve reached a crisis point. We are fortunate to have such a committed, effective and courageous professional on the front lines.” 

“Sue’s work in the fields of mental health and recovery has truly been a calling for her. At a time when we are seeing mental health crises reach unprecedented levels, Sue’s dedication is an inspiration,” said Senator Borrello. “It was a privilege to honor her in Albany along with extraordinary women from across the state. I am grateful to Sue and all of our honorees for their contributions.”

Starowitz Road culvert replacement project to begin Monday

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Genesee County Highway Department announces a temporary closure on Starowitz Road, effective May 20. This closure is necessary to facilitate a ten-week-long large-span culvert replacement project. Traffic will be unable to pass through the affected area during this time.

This project reflects a commitment to enhancing Genesee County's infrastructure. The long-term safety and durability of this road segment will be ensured by replacing the culvert and improving water flow.

Memorial Day events in Genesee County

By Press Release

Press Release:

On May 18 at 2 p.m. the Western New York National Cemetery, 1254 Indian Falls Rd. Corfu, will be holding its Flag Up, which is the installation of the yearly "Avenue of Flags" display. Then on May 25 at 10 a.m. they will be holding their Memorial Day Ceremony, public is invited.

Memorial Day Schedule of Ceremonies:

  • 7 a.m. - Genesee Co. Park - Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVA #193)
  • 8 a.m. - Williams Park W.W. I Memorial (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 8:30 a.m. - Batavia VAMC
  • 8:45 a.m. - NYS Veterans Home
  • 9:30 a.m. - Harvester Ave. Plot (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 10 a.m. - Upton Monument (wreath laying, rifle salute & Taps)
  • 10:30 a.m. - UMMC–Jerome Center (Memorial Day ceremonies: Invocation; Nat’l Anthem w/Batavia Concert 
  • Band; G.A.R. Order of the Day; Veterans Service Organizations Commemorations; Wreath Laying w/Gold Star Mothers; Honor Roll w/drum roll; Rifle Salute; Taps; Benediction; “God Bless America”)
  • 11:30 a.m. - Glenn S. Loomis Grave - Elmwood Cemetery (Legion #332)
  • 12 p.m. - Hansen Bros. Grave – Grandview Cemetery (MCL #951)

Participating Organizations:

  • Veness-Strollo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post # 1602 
  • Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post #332
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #193
  • Sons of Union Veterans Abraham Lincoln Camp #6

Post events after ceremonies:

  • Open House VFW Post 1602 Veness-Strollo, 25 Edwards St. Batavia.
  • Luncheon for veteran participants of the ceremonies ALG Post 332, 8960 Alexander Rd. Batavia.

2024 Memorial Day Ceremonies:

Alexander: Parade starting at 10:15 a.m. beginning at the Rec Hall traveling to the Alexander Village Cemetery (a.k.a. Railroad Avenue Cemetery) with the ceremony at 11 a.m.

Batavia: Parade starting at 9:30 a.m. beginning at the East Town Plaza traveling west along Main Street and ending at Alva Place.

Bergen :Parade starting 9 a.m. from Buffalo Street to Hickory Park with the ceremony to take place at Hickory Park at 9:30 a.m.

Byron: Parade starting at 11 a.m. from Terry Street to Byron Cemetery with ceremony to take place following the parade.

Corfu: Parade at 12 p.m. from Corfu Fire Hall on Rt. 33 to the Intermediate School on Rt. 77. Ceremony to take place following the parade.

Elba: Ceremony at Maple Lawn Cemetery at 10 a.m.

Le Roy: Parade at 10:30 a.m. from the American Legion to Trigon Park with a ceremony at Trigon Park at 11:00 a.m. immediately following the parade.

Standardized procedures, recruitment push among key strategies to fix fire, emergency response issues: Yaeger

By Mike Pettinella
Tim Yaeger

The task force charged with finding ways to stabilize fire and emergency medical service in Genesee County has identified eight priority measures from a list of about 100 recommendations provided by an independent consulting firm.

County EMS Coordinator Tim Yaeger (photo at right) on Thursday said the task force is meeting regularly in an effort to implement these strategies, with a focus on developing standards that all local fire departments or companies can follow and finding efficient ways to recruit potential volunteer firefighters.

In July 2022, the Genesee County Comprehensive Fire & Emergency Medical Service Implementation Plan (Fire & EMS Plan) was finalized. Since that time, the task force received feedback on the recommendations from Municipal Resources, Inc. of Plymouth, N.H., and has decided to start with the low-hanging fruit – items that won’t take years to put into practice.

Yaeger said that two key recommendations fall into the fire operations category.

From the task force report:

-- The Genesee County Fire Advisory Board, working collaboratively with the Genesee County Emergency Services, should form a committee to begin the development of a comprehensive County-wide Standard Operations Procedures/Guidelines (SOP/SOG) manual utilizing existing SOPs/SOG’s as a starting point. They should also consider the development of County-wide operational manuals based on the Northern Virginia Regional Fire Services manuals. This could even be pursued as a regional endeavor with the other counties in the GLOW region.

-- The Genesee County Fire Advisory Board, working collaboratively with the Genesee County Emergency Services, should adopt a standardized SOP/SOG form.

“Right now, we operate, I would call it regionally,” Yaeger said. “There’s not many calls that the single fire department handles by themselves. Most incidents are now handled by two or more fire companies. So, it makes sense to be basically operating off the same sheet of music. That approach in other parts of the country has had very good success.”

Yaeger said having the same strategies and tactics for all fire departments is “really a safety component.”

“By doing this, we want to make sure that we're all providing a better level of service while maintaining the safety of the firefighters.”

Another of the eight recommendations deals with volunteer recruitment and retention. 

From the task force report:

-- The Genesee County Emergency Services Task Force and Genesee County Fire Service Advisory Board, assisted by the Genesee County Department of Emergency Services, should establish, and recommend the use of a uniform application and screening process for all new members of the fire and EMS services throughout Genesee County. Although these personnel are volunteers, they still enjoy all of the rights of full-time public safety personnel and possess the same high ethical and moral character.

The report states that all volunteers must have a valid driver’s license and submit to background and credit checks, and drug testing.

“The operations group is looking at ways to streamline the application process and the onboarding process of volunteers into the EMS system, or fire and EMS system, and is looking at better ways to market and advertise the need for volunteers,” Yaeger said.

Rounding out the priority recommendations:

-- The Genesee County EMS Council should be reactivated to meet monthly with representatives from local fire departments, Genesee County Sheriff's Department 911 Dispatch Center, Genesee County Emergency Services, Mercy EMS, and LeRoy Ambulance. This group would meet and discuss any documented concerns or thoughts from the previous month to help enhance services in the future. The EMS Council should not be considered as a forum just for the airing of any grievances but an open forum for communication and feedback to improve the quality of EMS service to Genesee County.

-- Working collaboratively, the Genesee County Fire Advisory Board and the Genesee County Emergency Services should develop a plan to deploy several daytime quick response units; fire apparatus staffed with an officer and three firefighters, positioned strategically around the County in fire stations that wish to host them.

-- Genesee County's fire and EMS providers should consider the implementation of a reward, recognition, or incentive program for members that attain a level of more than 25 percent response. An example would be to provide gift certificates for local restaurants, concerts, or other entertainment as a reward for attaining a high level of response.

-- Working collaboratively with their partners at Genesee County, the Genesee County Emergency Services Task Force and Genesee County Fire Advisory Board should explore the feasibility of standardizing many of the tools and equipment utilized by the County's fire departments to allow for cost savings generated by group purchasing arrangements.

-- The Genesee County Legislature should consider funding regional or county positions that would reduce the overall burden on local fire and EMS organizations and enhance operational capability and efficiency. Examples of those positions are training officer, fire operations officer, health and safety officer, fire prevention officer, recruitment and retention officer and human resources officer.

Yaeger said he is encouraged by Genesee County’s move to contract last fall with Le Roy Ambulance and Mercy EMS.

“It seems to have stabilized both organizations, and we consistently continue to monitor their performance because it's fragile,” he said. “The whole EMS system is extremely fragile –both statewide and nationwide. So, we're hoping that the subsidies that the county’s providing to both agencies will be sufficient enough to sustain that reliability, performance and staffing level that we're expecting from those two agencies.”

He also pointed to the significance of having “elected officials at the table with fire service officials,” something that Genesee County EMS is facilitating.

“It’s so important that the elected official understands what's going on in the fire service and the fire service understands where the elected officials are coming from,” he said. “So far, these meetings have been very, very successful.”

Yaeger said he plans to update the Genesee County Legislature on the task force’s work, possibly as soon as next month.

Vehicle strikes Colonial West Motel

By Howard B. Owens

A vehicle has reportedly struck a building at 3910 W Main Street Road, the Colonial West Motel, in Batavia.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 10:32 a.m.: The driver was reported unconscious but a chief on scene reports the driver is conscious. He's backed his vehicle away from the building. There is no damage to the building. The chief requests a medical evaluation for the driver.

Masse touts experience, strong relationships as he begins tenure as GCEDC president/CEO

By Mike Pettinella
Mark Masse

Earlier this week, the Genesee County Economic Development Center issued a press release on the promotion of Batavia resident Mark Masse from senior vice president of operations to president and chief executive officer.

Masse, 51, (in file photo at right) is a lifelong Genesee County resident, growing up in Stafford, graduating from Le Roy Central School and spending some of his spare time at Adam Miller Toys & Bicycle on Center Street in Batavia – a business started by his grandfather and later owned by his mother, Joyce, and uncle, Gary Miller.

An avid golfer and bowler, Masse joined the Polish Falcons leagues in both sports in 1995 and has been participating ever since. The start of his 30th year in the bowling league will be delayed a bit, however, due to a scheduled hip replacement in October.

He has a daughter, Grace, and 6-month-old granddaughter, Kennedy, and a son, Jack.

Masse is a certified public account who worked for Freed, Maxick & Battaglia for 15 years before being hired by the GCEDC. 

On Thursday afternoon, Masse sat down with The Batavian to talk about his expanded role with the agency, which will be official on Aug. 1. He succeeds Steve Hyde, who guided the organization as president and CEO for the past 21 years.

Q. You’re succeeding Steve Hyde in the lead role with the agency. Is that something that you had been discussing with Steve after he announced his retirement last month?

A. I think it was just a natural progression, to be honest. When I started here, the position was created to help Steve with the number of projects that we had ongoing and STAMP (Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama) was just getting off the ground at the time. Over the years, it’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing and I learned a lot from Steve. When it came time for him to retire, I was here with the right kind of experience and knowledge to be able to hopefully step in and continue on what he had started.

Q. Your title was senior vice president of operations. Have there been any other changes now in (employees’) titles. Has anyone moved into the VP/Operations position?

A. No other changes at this point in time but that’s not to say there couldn’t be some in the future. But for now, no.

Q. Steve Hyde has left a big imprint on this corporation with everything that he has done over the years, not just with the STAMP site but throughout the county. You have big shoes to fill. What are your thoughts about trying to fill those shoes and do you have specific things that you’re looking to do?

A. Obviously, we want to continue the momentum we've had in the past … such as our corporate business parks that are almost full. We’ll be starting to look at some other future parks. But we do face some significant challenges, especially the water capacities in the county and it’s no secret. That’s a large issue that the county is diligently working on, but it could be a few years before we get those capacities. I think the electric grid is seeing significant challenges as well --with the shutdown of fossil fuels -- and alternative energy generation projects coming on. We’re running into a lot of issues with capacities on the utility lines. We want to develop a few more corporate business parks but until some of those capacity issues get addressed, it's going to be difficult. But fortunately, we have STAMP that we can continue to work on and can continue to attract tenants to and build out.

Q. Now that you brought up STAMP, you’ve had some legal issues there with trying to push wastewater to Oak Orchard Creek (in Orleans County). Where does that stand now and do you feel that you will be resolving that issue?

A. So, one of the lawsuits was resolved, the one with Orleans County on the article 78, that was ruled in our favor. The eminent domain one was heard on April 16. And we're waiting to hear back on that. I think there are opportunities to come back together and discuss things and try and work things out. Ultimately, we are also looking at other options; we have to look at other alternatives that might be available to us. I'm confident one way or another, we'll figure out a solution. One of the things that we've always done is we've been able to figure out a way to get things done. And I think that's emphatic of what Genesee County is, right? We're resilient. We're determined, and to some extent, we're all a little stubborn.

Q. How is the agency’s relationship with Orleans County? Has it been hampered or hurt because of this Oak Orchard Creek issue? Do other alternatives include working with the Town of Oakfield?

A. We are looking at a short-term solution, potentially for sanitary sewer to go the Oakfield treatment plant. I don't want to say that, you know, Orleans County relations are hurt. I mean, people, neighbors fight all the time, siblings fight all the time. And I think that after some time, after we've had a chance to kind of settle down, I think there's an opportunity to get back together and see if we can work it out.

Q. One of the criticisms you hear on social media, from the so-called experts, is that the GCEDC just hands out money. Those who cover the GCEDC know that there’s a formula involved (for determining tax abatements), but how to you fight and overcome that perception?

A. One thing that we always try to do is meet with our stakeholders as much as we can and we try and explain the process. I present to the Leadership Genesee class every year about who we are, what we do, and my three top slides that are we don't give out money. So, it's an abatement and I don't think people truly understand how that works. They feel like we're subsidizing a company. But if you look at the way tax rates are and the municipal services that corporations draw versus municipal services that residents draw, corporations are generally around 70 cents or so let's say out of $1 for services while residences are like $1.20. So, even if a corporation comes in -- number one, the fire district fees are never abated, those are always paid 100 percent. So those corporations are helping to offset those costs of services that municipalities offer that the residents use. It's not too often that those corporations draw down those services. The PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) revenue that's being generated is usually significantly more than what the vacant land or the previous land was generating for those municipalities as well. Not to mention that you're creating jobs locally that those people are going to spend their money here; you've got a company that's going to buy from local companies or bring in other revenue from outside the community.

Q. Do you have a one-year, five-year, and 10-year strategic plans? What are some of the strategies going forward?

A. That’s a process that the board (of directors) is going to undertake and we (staff) will undertake with them. Shortly, we'll examine what's out there and see what land is available, where it would make sense to potentially look at another corporate business park and what other sectors we want to try and get involved in. I think one of the areas we've seen where there's a bit of a shortfall is in workforce training and workforce development. I think there's an untapped market for us to be able to assist our local ag farmers in trying to find some skill sets and trainings for some of their employees. A lot of what their employees do are the skilled trade work on a regular basis that we've seen a significant decline in over the years, and we're trying to get kids excited about and get back into.

Q. The GCEDC has been pretty active in the Pembroke area. Are there other areas in the county that are untapped, so to speak?

A. A lot of that is going to be driven by the location and the size and the capacities and the infrastructure that's there. Unfortunately, the majority of large scale water, large scale sewer and electric is generally around where the Thruway exits are. However, there is a significant need for single-family housing market rate apartments in our communities. And we've reached out to a few of the outlying communities about what opportunities might be there, if they've got areas identified for housing because that seems to be what they are interested in -- is trying to attract people. In the most recent census, I think Genesee County's lost like 1,500 people over the last couple of years. So, we aren't growing and we need to figure out a way to do that. And one of the keys is to have housing here for people.

(The GCEDC’s corporate park sites include Apple Tree Acres in Bergen; Buffalo East Tech Park in Pembroke; Gateway I & II, Genesee Valley Agribusiness Park and Upstate Medtech Park in the Town of Batavia; and Le Roy Food & Tech Park).

Q. Are you connected with the apartment complex that is going on next to you (on College Road)?

A. Yes, that’s a market rate apartment complex that a gentleman will be renting those units out. It’s called Medtech Landing. We did sell the land, obviously, that was part of our Medtech Park. We did incentivize that with a PILOT and sales tax and mortgage tax abatement on there as well. And then part of those funds are going to be used to fund our Batavia Home Fund, which will help with some programs within the City of Batavia for housing. We just recently had our first draw on that for a gentleman who replaced the roof on his house and got a grant from the Batavia Home Fund to cover 50 percent or 60 percent of the cost of replacing his roof.

Q. Speaking of the City of Batavia, there's a something sitting there called Ellicott Station, which has not been completed and could be considered as an embarrassment to the city. What is GCEDC’s role in getting tenants in there?

A. The GCEDC board terminated all of its benefits that were awarded to that -- the PILOT, the sales tax and mortgage tax.  I think our board's position is that unless it's going to be market rate., we don’t have a desire to participate in that project. Now, where it stands, I don't know. That's up to (Buffalo developer) Sam Savarino.  People have said there's been work on going out there. I don't really know what's going on. We haven't been contacted by anybody who's been interested in trying to acquire it and using our any of our incentives that we have.

Q. What do you feel your strengths are – things that you have already brought to the company – and what are some of the things you need to work on?

A. I definitely think I have an extensive background from accounting with a wide variety of businesses and learning how to interpret financial statements and how to work with a company and how to work with people. I do think that my people skills are good. You know, I think that people know that I care and know that I work hard. And I truly believe in what I'm doing here. And everybody here believes in what we're doing here and trying to move our county forward and make it a better place. Working with Steve, he's brought me along. So, I have a lot of those key relationships with stakeholders as well. We do need to work on things like public perception. I think there’s some messaging we can get out there. Not everybody's going to believe it. But I think there's opportunities out there to try … and engage people and provide that information.

Q. Getting back to STAMP, there was a big presentation by Senator Schumer a couple years ago about Plug Power coming there. Right now, the company’s stock has bottomed out and they just received a $1.66 billion conditional loan from the Department of Energy. Is Plug Power going to make it?

A. They’ve told us they have full intentions of finishing their project at the STAMP site. They have put it on pause temporarily. Beyond that, I think any other questions would be for them directly. I don't ever like to speak for a private company and what they've got going on. They've received incentives no different than most other companies. And we do have triggers in there similar to like with Savarino that if things were to go bad, that there are opportunities for us to not only cancel those, but potentially claw them back. But there's been nothing done to date that would lead us to go down that path. 

Q. Is there a company operational now at STAMP?

A. No, Edwards Vacuum has just broken ground and they're under construction. They’re in the semiconductor supply chain. They make dry vacuum pumps, which means there's no oil lubrication in the pumps at all. So they're used in the semiconductor industry in the sub floor to help regulate gases and clean the air within clean rooms. Basically, they're the premier pump manufacturer for most semiconductor manufacturers. These particular pumps were only made overseas. So, by building in the U.S., they're significant cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by locating closer to their potential customers and their current customers and to be able to truck those pumps to them. They intend to complete construction by June or July of next year. (Edwards Vacuum is owned by Atlas Copco, a worldwide company).

Q. Did you get a raise? It’s public knowledge. What is your salary?

A. (After a hearty laugh), It will be in the contract and I would prefer not to (disclose it now) but if you ask for it later, we’ll have to provide it.

(According to the GCEDC, Masse’s compensation in 2023 was $129,369, while Hyde earned $263,161. Masse said his new salary is less than what Hyde was making).

I’m very, very fortunate not only for the salary but the opportunity and the confidence that the board and our local communities have put in me and the people I work with put in me to be able to continue this going forward. 

Spiritual Connections

By Press Release

Arbor House, 350 Bank St., Batavia. We are a community of believers and disciples of Jesus Christ. Arbor House was founded to be a place of safety, refreshment, and renewal for all. Each week we gather to hear the spoken Word, eat from the Lord’s Table, and enjoy fellowship with all who come. If you have been hurt by a church before we want to be the place where you can find healing and hope. All are welcome! Service will be in person on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and available live stream on Facebook. For more information about Arbor House visit arborhousefmc.com.

Alabama-Basom Methodist Church, 1392 Lewiston Road, Alabama. Join us for worship at 10:30 a.m. This week our sermon title is "Heavenly Power", led by Eric Phelps (CLM).  

Ascension Parish - Roman Catholic Church, 135 Swan St., Batavia. We are open for Mass in the Church on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We hope to see you there! 

Assemblies of God-New Covenant Chapel, 6690 Oak Orchard Rd., Elba.14058. We welcome all seeking a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through His finished work on The Cross with The Power of The Holy Spirit. John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you want a small, close-knit church family and a place to make a difference, please join us. Worship Service is Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Bible Study Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m. Contact us at (585)-757-6651 (585)-969-1528 or visit us on Youtube.

Batavia Assembly of God, 24 North Spruce St, Batavia. Join us for coffee in our café before our Sunday morning service that begins at 10:30 a.m. We offer "Movement Kids" (age 4 - grade 5) at 10:30 a.m. and "MVMT YTH" (grades 6-12) meet on Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Batavia First Baptist Church, 306 E. Main St., Pastor David Weidman, where "Christ the Center, Love for All" is very evident to all who enter. We invite you to our Full Gospel Sunday services at 10 a.m.; The Thrift Shoppe is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., come and browse in our beautifully renovated space. Donations are accepted during business hours. You can also enjoy a light lunch at Lydia's Kitchen while you shop. Questions? Email: firstbaptist2002@yahoo.com. Call us at (585)343-9002.

Batavia First Presbyterian Church, 300 E. Main St., Batavia, invites you to join us for in-person worship on Sundays at 9 a.m. (Arise-relaxed with band music) or 10:45 a.m. (Sanctuary -liturgical and organ) or on Livestream via Facebook Live for both times at: https://fpcbatavia.org/  or https://www.facebook.com/fpcbatavia/videos/.

Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia. Our mission & vision statement:  “To be disciples, we must listen, learn, lead, and love our way to God.” Reverend Wayne Mort leads our worship service every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. in the church sanctuary. Childcare is offered for children birth-3 years old and Sunday school is offered for children ages 4-14 years old. You can also find the service on Facebook. We invite you to learn more about Batavia First UMC by visiting our website at www.BataviaFirstumc.com.

Byron Presbyterian Church, 6293 W. Main St., Byron. Pastor: Rev. Michael Fry. Musical Director: Laurence Tallman. Service and Sunday School at 9:45 A.M. Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1-21 and Romans 8:22-27. Message: “Buckets and Buckets”. Children’s Day/Pentecost Sunday – This will be action packed. Kids performing. Choir sings. Youth will help with the service. Bibles presented. Cradle roll. Ice Cream! Our buckets will overflow!! All are welcome.

Calvary Baptist Church of Le Roy, 8703 Lake Street Road, Le Roy.  If you do not already have a church that you attend regularly, we would like to invite you to give Calvary Baptist Church a try.  It would be a pleasure to have you join us for worship and fellowship on a Sunday morning or at one of our other mid-week events. As a multi-generational congregation that enjoys our time together, our Sunday worship service typically includes singing a mix of both traditional and contemporary songs and hymns, a children’s message, and a sermon from the Word of God. Our Sunday worship service begins at 10:15 a.m.

City Church, 210 E. Main St., Batavia, invites you for our Sunday morning services at 8:30 and 10 a.m. with Kids ministry at 10 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.  Everyone is welcome to join us for worship and a message. We believe in doing life together and would love to do life with YOU!  You can also connect with us online at www.thecitychurch.com, through our Facebook page, The City Church, or our YouTube channel.  We do life together.

Corfu United Presbyterian Church 63 Alleghany Road, Corfu. Corfu United Presbyterian Church welcomes all visitors to come to worship with us on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. in person or via our Facebook livestream led by Pastor Evan Wildhack. Our mission at CUPC is to connect with Christ, connect with others, and connect others with Christ. Weekly Bible study is held on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. CUPC's food pantry is open on the third Saturday of the month from 9 - 10 a.m. Contact the church office by phone at (585) 599-6414 or via email at office@corfuchurch.org Office hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cornerstone Church of East Pembroke, part of American Baptist Churches USA, 2583 Main Road, East Pembroke. Our Sunday service is at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Glenn Bloom preaching. Bible Study is every Wednesday at 10 a.m. We are a small church and welcome new members. (585) 762-8721

Darien Disciples Church, 1951 Broadway (Route 20), worship at 9 a.m. on Sundays. Prayer requests to Jerry at: jeromedmorrison@yahoo.com.

Discovery Chapel, 315 West Main Street, Batavia. Pastor Ingrim Green's services are on Sundays at 10 a.m. "Let's Talk Real Talk the Gospel For Real Life." Visit our website letstalkrealtalk.org for more information.

East Bethany Presbyterian Church, 5735 Ellicott Street Road, East Bethany. Our Sunday morning worship service is held at 10:30 a.m. and is led by Rev. Dr. Shiela McCullough. Visitors are always welcome. You can find out more information on our Facebook page or by emailing us at ebpresbyterian@gmail.com.

Elba First Baptist Church, 31 S. Main St., Elba, is open for the main service in person at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays. For more information about our church go to www.fbcelba.net. The pastor is Michael Davis. Email: office@fbcelba.net / Phone (585) 757-2722

Emmanuel Baptist Church, 190 Oak St., Batavia. We would love to have you join us for our regular Sunday worship at 11 a.m. this weekend! We will be trekking through the book of Acts and learning about the reaction to the disciples suddenly speaking every language in the city square. There is also a bible study at 9:45 a.m. with free coffee. Also don't forget that we have free spots available in our community garden. Come learn and grow with us!

EverPresent Church, 4 Batavia City Centre, Batavia(off of Bank Street). We welcome you to come to experience the Holy Spirit in a fresh way. Jesus wants to set you free from your bondages. Wednesday Service at 6 p.m. & Sunday Service at 10:30 a.m., Toddlers dismissed at 10:15 a.m., Children's Church dismissed after 2nd Worship Song. For more info visit www.everpresentchurch.com. 

Grace Baptist Church, 238 Vine St., Batavia. Sunday Morning Worship begins at 9:30 a.m. Grace Kids for ages nursery – 5th grade meets during the 9:30 hour. The service is live-streamed at www.gracebatavia.org. or view it on our Facebook page: Grace Baptist. Kid Zone & Grace Student Ministries meet on Sunday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m. Visit our website or our Facebook page for other events happening throughout the year. 

Indian Falls Methodist Church, 7908 Alleghany Road, Corfu. We have our worship service at 10 a.m. on Sunday mornings, led by Rev. Karen L. McCaffery.  This week's message is "The Faithful". To view our services online please go to our website https://indianfallsgmc.com/ for a link for Live Streaming. We offer Sunday School for all ages after the Worship Service at 11:30 a.m. Our Youth Group meets on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of the month from 6:30 - 8 p.m.  We offer a FREE Community Dinner on Thursday, May 23 at 6 p.m.

Le Roy First Presbyterian Church, 7 Clay St., Le Roy. Sunday morning in-person worship at 10 a.m. followed by coffee fellowship. We are an open and accepting church of all people.

Morganville United Church of Christ, 8466 Morganville Rd, Stafford. Enjoy this beautiful spring day with drive into the country to our God is still speaking" church, at 10 a.m. Sunday as Reverend James Morasco shares his sermon “Happy Birthday.”  Coffee hour with fellowship will follow our service. Friend us on Facebook! or better yet, visit us this Sunday as the coffee will be brewing.

North Darien Bible Church, 9768 Simonds Road, Corfu. We are open! Sunday worship service begins at 10 a.m. Children's Church classes are available for children ages birth through sixth grade, including a classroom for children with special needs. For more information, visit our website. You can also watch LIVE on our Facebook or YouTube channel. Join us from 9 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of every month for our free community closet, full of clothing, coats, and shoes for all. (585) 547-9646.

Northgate Free Methodist Church, 8160 Bank Street Road (North Campus), Batavia. This past year has presented us with many challenges, and many opportunities to show the power, love and grace of Jesus!  This weekend in our Summit service we are going to take a look at some of the ways we have responded to those challenges and how God has been faithful to us through it all.  Please join us for this time of celebration and vision-casting and if you are a member, remember to vote for our Administrative Team and Nominating Team. Services are Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 & 11 a.m. For more information about Northgate Free Methodist Church and to watch our services online go to northgatefmc.com or facebook.com/northgatefmc. 

Oakfield-Alabama Baptist Church, 2210 Judge Road., Oakfield. Join us for Sunday School for all ages at 9:45 a.m., followed by our worship service at 11 a.m. every Sunday! Visit our website (www.oabchurch.com) for additional information about our church, our beliefs, upcoming activities, and past messages. Men’s and Ladies’ Bible studies also meet on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on the church grounds. We look forward to worshiping and fellowshipping with you! Questions? Email Pastor Matt Ervin at mervin@tyndale.edu.

Oakfield Community Bible Church, 82 North Main St. Oakfield. This Weeks 05-19-2024 “Oakfield Community Bible Church” Sunday Worship Service is at 11:15 a.m., with Praise & Worship Music by Keith Burroughs & Andrew Lacey.  The morning message by Pastor, Timothy Young; entitled: “God's Armor: Part 4”.  With Scripture:  Ephesians 6:10-20 (NKJV). Our Adult Sunday School is at 10 a.m., along with “Sunday School through Age-16”. There will be a Time of “Fellowship Together” following our Worship Service! Bible Study held on Thursday Morning’s at 10 a.m. Come out and Join Us. ALL ARE WELCOME!

Our Lady of Mercy (44 Lake St. LeRoy) & St. Brigid (18 Gibson St. Bergen) parishes; Parish Office - 44 Lake Street, Le Roy. Weekend Masses Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (livestreamed); Sunday at 7:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. (livestreamed), and 5:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Mercy. Also, Sunday at 9 a.m. at St. Brigid. Daily Masses Monday-Friday at 7:30 a.m. (livestreamed) and Saturday at 9 a.m. at Our Lady of Mercy and Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at St. Brigid. View on YouTube and Facebook. Please visit the parish website (https://www.ourladyofmercyleroy.org/).

Resurrection Parish (St. Mary and St. Joseph churches in Batavia). St. Joseph’s Church masses are on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at noon. Confessions are held at St. Joe's on Saturdays from 3 - 3:30 p.m. St. Mary's Church mass is on Sundays at 7:30 a.m. Vigil & Holy Days to be announced.

St. James Episcopal Church, 405 E. Main St., Batavia. Join us on Sundays at 9 a.m. on zoom, 10 a.m. in the church building, and on Facebook Live. Links and the bulletin can be found on our website: https://www.sjecbataviany.org/

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1 E. Main St., Le Roy, is open for in-person services at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. Communion will be offered to people in their seats and will only include bread. We welcome you to join us -- either in person or online. For more information, visit our website.

St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, 18 W. Main St., Corfu. Weekend Masses are celebrated: Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Corfu Church Site; and at 9 a.m. Sunday at the East Pembroke Church site, 8656 Church St., East Pembroke. Weekday Masses are celebrated on: Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in East Pembroke and Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Corfu followed by Adoration. Corfu Masses are also available for viewing on our YouTube channel. All information is on the church website and on Facebook. Email: stmaxkolbe09@gmail.com (585)-599-4833.

St. Padre Pio Parish, St. Cecilia, 56 Maple Ave., Oakfield Mass is celebrated on Sundays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. OR Our Lady of Fatima Church, 65 S. Main St., Elba, Mass is celebrated on Saturdays at 5:45 p.m. and Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

St Paul’s Episcopal Church, 6188 Main Road, Stafford. In-person service, including Holy Communion, is at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings. All  Are Welcome. 

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Batavia, 31 Washington Ave, Batavia. This coming Sunday (May 19) we will celebrate The Day of Pentecost. Our Bell Choir will play Celebration No. 1 as a prelude for the Pentecost Celebration. The sermon theme: “The Holy Spirit Tool Kit” is based on the scripture from Acts 2 and John 16:13-14. Adult Bible Class meets at 8:30am and will continue with their study on Revelations. Our service begins at 10 a.m. or can be viewed 'live' on Facebook. Our Youth class meets at 9:30 a.m. Sunday School children will attend the service through the children's sermon and will then go to their Sunday school rooms for their studies. Communion is part of the service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Our Quilters group meets on Tuesdays 9-11 a.m. God continues to bless us richly as we focus on Him and His plans for our congregation and community.

The Church In Alexander, 10540 Main St., Alexander. Join us for Sunday Worship at 10 a.m. weekly. For more information please visit our website at www.thechurchinalexander.com. We offer a Free Food Pantry for people in our community, please call ahead if you need items from our pantry. For more information on Programs and services please contact us at (585)591-1765 or by email at thechurchinalexander@gmail.com. Church office hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:15 - 11:15 a.m.

Trinity United Methodist Church, 75 Main St. in Attica, worships together at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays. All are welcome! Contact Frank White at uncleferter@msn.com for a ZOOM link or for prayer requests.

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"Spiritual Connections" -- The Batavian will post updates to connect people with their places of worship, religious services, fellowship opportunities, and/or spiritual advisors, etc. There is no charge for this service.

If you have information to announce, please email: news@thebatavian.com

State law opens door for Batavia Town Board to offer stipend for volunteer firefighter training

By Mike Pettinella

The Batavia Town Board on Wednesday night signed on to a recently launched New York State training stipend program for volunteer firefighters.

In a unanimous vote, the board passed a resolution that calls for payment of up to $500 in local training stipends for certain firefighter training for Town of Batavia firefighters.

“It’s long overdue and we’re very supportive of volunteer fire service,” Batavia Town Supervisor Greg Post said. “We’re pleased to pass this resolution as quickly as we were able to.”

In March, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the start of the statewide program, stating that the goal is to strengthen and stabilize New York’s volunteer fire service. She said that $10 million has been allocated to help offset costs of required fire training courses.

Genesee County officials have been sounding the alarm over the past several years about the declining number of volunteer firefighters, calling for corrective measures that include compensation.

Tim Yaeger, county Emergency Management Services coordinator, acknowledged that Hochul is responding to “conversations with fire associations, coordinators, fire districts and the New York State Fire Chiefs over the diminishing number of volunteers in the state.”

“Those conversations led to this law going into effect last August 31st, where different amounts (of compensation) will be paid (depending on the specific courses taken),” he said. 

Per the law, the state’s Division’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control will administer the stipend to volunteer firefighters for completion of the following training courses completed on or after August 31, 2023.

The state’s program allots $750 for basic exterior firefighting operations course, $1,250 for self-contained breathing apparatus/interior firefighting operations course and $1,000 for fire officer I course.

Locally, the state’s General Municipal Law 200-aa authorizes fire companies to administer a local fire training stipend program of up to $500, subject to authorization by the governing board of city, town, village, or fire district (Authority Having Jurisdiction).

Yaeger said local governing authorities have the option – nothing is mandated – to give stipends to their volunteer firefighters.

“Some may not participate because of budgetary concerns or maybe they don’t have the money in their current budget and may have to wait until next year,” he noted.

He said local action is “basically kind of a thank you.”

“It’s a nice gesture to compensate those volunteers for their time away from their family – away from their obligations – for taking further training courses on behalf of their communities.”

Post said that although the Town Board’s action applies only to its fire department members in good standing, he said that “other municipalities will also have the means and authority to pass similar resolutions.”

“Volunteer fire associations have been pushing for this for a long, long time. They have been lobbying for some time of compensation for a while,” he said. “They spend more time training than they do responding. And it’s not a lot of money. It’s around $8 or $9 per hour when you work it out.”

A representative of the Town of Batavia Fire Department said fire officials "are going through the process" and would be able to provide specifics in the coming weeks.

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