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April 7, 2016 - 12:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs Gaming, news.

Press release:

Today, as part of the release of the New York Gaming Association’s 2015 Annual Report, Batavia Downs announced new data detailing the significant economic benefits generated by Batavia Downs to state and local government. Located in Western New York, Batavia Downs is a significant source of funding for New York public schools, revenue for local governments, and quality jobs for members of the local community.

“Here in Genesee County we are very pleased to be part of one of the fastest growing economic regions in the State,” said Batavia Downs COO, Michael Nolan. "We will continue to strive and grow our business as a leader in entertainment and tourism in Western New York.

"With growth comes new business and job opportunities in the Genesee County Region. With an 84-room hotel currently under construction this only solidifies our commitment to the community."

NYGA facilities have been a strong source of economic activity on the state and local levels, providing critical funding for our public schools, tax revenue for local governments, capital investment that generates construction jobs, and support for businesses, including the local tourism and hospitality industry.

Top findings for Batavia Downs include:

  • Employs 253 people from the local community; supports 836 jobs in the local community
  • Has an economic impact of $83.4 million
  • Generated $21.5 million for education in New York State
  • Generated $3.4 million to participating municipalities

Top statewide findings include:

  • $3 billion in combined economic activity in 2015
  • $888 million generated in funding for New York State education aid in 2015, and a total of $6.4 billion from 2004 to 2015.
  • $77 million in tax revenue for state and local governments in 2015, and $304 million since 2007.
  • $40 million in capital investments to NYGA’s facilities in 2015, and $1.5 billion since building the original facilities.
  • $218 million in support of New York’s racing industry both Standardbred and Thoroughbred
  • $27 million for breeding and agricultural related businesses such as family farms, feed producers and veterinarians.

The full NYGA report can be found here, including a breakdown of top line findings from each of NYGA’s nine member facilities: http://newyorkgaming.org/press-media/

Western OTB is a public benefit corporation owned and operated by 17 Western New York municipalities: Cattaraugus County, Cayuga County, Chautauqua County, Erie County, Genesee County, Livingston County, Monroe County, Niagara County, Orleans County, Oswego County, Schuyler County, Seneca County, Steuben County, Wayne County, Wyoming County as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo.

Headquartered in Batavia, NY, WROTB owns and operates 27 OTB branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility.

April 7, 2016 - 11:36am
posted by Billie Owens in city of batavia, yard waste station, news.

Press release from the city Bureau of Maintenance:

The city Yard Waste Station will open for the season on Tuesday, April 12. It will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

City residents are requested to bring all yard waste material (grass, leaves and limbs) to the Law Street Yard Waste Station as there is no spirng curbside pickup of these materials.

No building materials or other debris will be accepted.

Please use Law Street to enter and exit the city Yard Waste Station.

April 7, 2016 - 11:19am
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, Office of the Aging.

Press release:

The Genesee County Office for the Aging in partnership with the Batavia United Methodist Church will be hosting, “Quality Living: A Plan for the Road Ahead.”

This program is a six-week educational series focusing on helping caregivers, older adults and professionals, but is appropriate for any adult.

Jill Yasses, caregiver counselor at Office for the Aging noted that, “We have seen an increase in the number of caregivers seeking assistance for their loved ones.  In response to this need, we have put together this series to provide critical information.” 

When asked about the April 12th keynote speaker from the Laugh Academy, Yasses said, “We understand how stressful aging and caregiving can be and would like to help people find constructive ways to manage their stress. So, we are very excited to kick off the series with a ‘Laughter Therapist.’  We hope community members will take advantage of this great opportunity and join us Tuesday evenings in April and May for good food, great information, book signings, door prizes and laughter.”

The programs will take place at the Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., a light supper will be served at 6 p.m., and the program will start promptly at 6:15 p.m. and end at approximately 8 p.m. The programs are as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 12th: Stress Less, Laugh More

Keynote Speaker: Nancy Weil, The Laugh Academy

Topics: Stress reduction and  importance of laughter;  RSVP – Benefits of Volunteering

  • Tuesday, April 26th: Legal Planning

    Topics: Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of WNY – Community & Nursing Home Medicaid, Pooled Trusts, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy

  • Tuesday, May 3rd:  Organizing, Downsizing and Housing

Keynote speaker: Jennifer Ford Berry, Life’s Organization Expert & Best-selling Author

Topics: Organization, downsizing and housing options in Genesee County

  • Tuesday, May 10th: Protecting the Ones We Love

Topics: Safety at home presented by Alzheimer's Association WNY Chapter and Lifespan

  • Tuesday, May 17th: Driver Safety

Topics: AARP – Driver safety and transportation options in Genesee County

  • Tuesday, May 24th: Funeral Pre-Planning

Topics: Funeral Pre-planning presented by NYS Funeral Directors Association

These are free programs but seating is limited. Please call the Genesee County Office for the Aging/NY Connects at 585-343-1611 to reserve your seat and/or for more information. Please call at least five days prior to the date of the program you wish to attend.

For individuals with disabilities or language interpretation needs, requests for reasonable accommodations should be made with at least five days’ notice.

These programs are being sponsored by Sponsored by: Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service, Inc.; J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home, LLC; H.E. Turner & Co., Inc.; Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel; and RSVP of Genesee County Volunteer Placement Program.

This program is also funded through grants from the NYS Office for the Aging, NY Connects, the Older Americans Act, and the generous support of the Genesee County Legislature.

Special thanks to: Batavia First United Methodist Church and Older Adult Ministry, Genesee Senior Foundation, Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of WNY, the Alzheimer’s Association -- WNY Chapter, Lifespan of Rochester, AARP, NYS Funeral Directors Association and Muriel H. Marshall Fund Grantees.

April 6, 2016 - 1:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, GCC, literary club.

Press release:

The GCC Literary Club will host an afternoon reading by Lytton Smith, Ph.D., and Jess Fenn, Ph.D., from 12:20 to 1:15 p.m. on Monday, April 18, in the Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Art Gallery at the main campus in Batavia. All are welcome and the event is free.

Smith is the author of two books of poetry from Nightboat Books, "While You Were Approaching the Spectacle But Before You Were Transformed by It" (2013) and "The All-Purpose Magical Tent" (2009). He is also the translator of several contemporary Icelandic novels by Jón Gnarr, Bragi Ólafsson and Kristín Ómarsdóttir. He is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at SUNY Geneseo.

Fenn, a lecturer of English at the State University of New York at Geneseo, specialized in the literature of late medieval England while obtaining M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. She has published scholarly work on Geoffrey Chaucer in Studies in Philology (2013) and her short fiction has appeared in such places as Versal, PANK Magazine, and Flash: The International Short-Story Magazine. Fenn was awarded the Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction in 2013 for her work, "Where We Went and What We Did There."

As friends of Toriseva, JoNelle wanted to bring them to campus to give students and the community the opportunity to hear these wonderful writers and translators.

"Hearing writers read their work and talk about their process inspires and broadens the perspective of students, as well as fellow faculty and colleagues," Toriseva said. "We hope students, staff, faculty and the general public will join us." 

This event is presented by The Literary Club and sponsored by GCC's Student Activities. The Literary Club has been active on campus for many years, hosting a monthly Open Mic in the Student Union, National Novel Writing Month activities in November, a Poetry Contest, and the Little Library in College Village, among other events and opportunities.

April 6, 2016 - 12:56pm

Press release:

The Batavia Cemetery Association will hold a Victorian Home Tour from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 15th. The interior home tour will feature some of Batavia's finest examples of Victorian architecture.

The tour starts at the Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased online at bataviacemetery.com, in person (after April 16th) at Pollyanna & Dot at the Hidden Door, 202 E. Main St., Batavia, or by calling (585) 343-0248. Any remaining tickets may be purchased at the cemetery the day of the tour, however advance purchase is recommended as a limited number will be sold.

No children under the age of 12, please.

All proceeds benefit the upkeep and restoration of the Historic Batavia Cemetery, which was founded in 1823 and was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2002.

April 6, 2016 - 12:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in cornell extension, 4-H, batavia, news.

Press release:

The Cornell University Department of Animal Science is pleased to announce Animal Crackers 2016 "Animal Crackers: Kids are Udderly Moomentous!" on Saturday, May 7, at Cornell University. Registration deadline is April 29.

The upcoming program will incorporate both goat and dairy cattle topics for youth ages 9-12 or those with a beginners/intermediate knowledge of the species. All youth, 4-H and non-4-H, are invited to participate. Adult chaperones are also invited to attend to make Udderly Moomentous a family event!

Interesting, educational, hands-on activities are planned to make Animal Crackers a memorable teaching event. Participants will have the opportunity to learn goat or dairy care, biology, or management while having fun in two different learning tracts (goat or dairy cattle). There will also be sessions on making ice cream, animal demonstrations, and much, much more!

Cost of the program will be $15 per youth (adult chaperones are free!) and everyone is asked to bring their own lunch. Genesee County residents can register by contacting the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee Co. 585-343-3040, ext. 101 or e-mail [email protected] no later than April 29. All groups must have at least one chaperone per species tract.

More information can be found on the Animal Crackers Web site: http://4h.ansci.cornell.edu/events-2/animal-crackers/topics/

April 6, 2016 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia, Le Roy.

Leslie R. Parris III, 33, of Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt in the second degree, criminal contempt in the first degree with physical contact, and an arrest warrant and probation warrant were executed. At 10:12 a.m. on April 1, Parris was arrested on multiple charges following a probation check at 9 Lewis Place in the City of Batavia. He was located hiding in an upstairs bedroom closet contrary to a complete stay away order of protection barring him from the residence. For this he was charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He also had a bench warrant issued by Batavia City Court for failing to appear in court after being charged with first-degree criminal contempt, second-degree criminal contempt, and second-degree harassment stemming from a reported physical domestic incident at the same residence on Aug. 2. Parris was also arrested on a Batavia City Court arrest warrant charging criminal contempt, 1st, stemming from a reported physical domestic incident at the same residence on Oct. 21. Finally, Parris was arrested on a probation warrant for allegedly violating the terms of his probation. He is in Genesee County Jail without bail and is to be in City Court at 11 a.m. on Thursday. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Emily D. Schramm, 29, of Holland Avenue, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. She was arrested April 4 at 8 a.m. after several neighbors complained to Batavia PD. She was allegedly yelling obscenities for an extended period of time, which disturbed the neighborhood. She was issued an appearance ticket to appear in Batavia City Court on April 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Jason Ivison.

William B. McCarrick, 86, of Gateway Drive, Batavia, was arrested for harassment in the second degree following a domestic distrubance on Gateway Drive at 11:30 p.m. on April 1. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to be in Batavia City Court on April 4. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Felicia DeGroot.

Jammie L. Brown, 24, of East Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with second-degree harassment. He was arrested on April 5 after allegedly making threats of bodily harm to a female who was watching his child while at the GC Courts Facility at 9:40 a.m. on March 31. He was to appear in City Court on April 5. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Davis, assisted by Officer Matthew Lutey.

Nathaniel D. Wilson Jr., 28, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd. He was arrested on a warrant issued out of Batavia City Court for criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, on Oct. 11. He was jailed without bail and was to be in City Court this morning. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Arick Perkins, assisted by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Cory N. Smeltzer, 24, of Oak Orchard Estates, Albion, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon -- metal knuckles. He was allegedly found to be in possession of metal knuckles at 12:32 a.m. on March 26 when police investigated a distrubance on Liberty Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket and is to appear in City Court on April 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk, assisted by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Christopher M. Smith, 21, of School Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. He was arrested at 12:36 a.m. on March 31 as the result of an investigation into an incident which occurred on Masse Place a short time earlier. He was issued an appearance ticket and is to be in City Court on April 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Eric Foels, assisted by Officer Peter Flanagan.

Daniel S. Gangi, 34, of Alexander Road, Batavia, was arrested on March 31 after turning himself in at Batavia PD Headquarters on a bench warrant stemming from an incident on July 24. He posted $100 bail, was released, and is to return to City Court Thursday. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice.

Passiona C. Culver, 38, of Willow Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant issued out of Batavia City Court following her alleged failure to appear to answer traffic tickets that she had been issued on March 1 following a traffic stop. She was released after posting bail and is to appear in City Copurt on April 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Kenneth Michael Gray, 24, of Lake Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property. He was arrested on April 5 following a traffic stop in the City of Batavia. He had a warrant for his arrest out of the Town of Batavia Court. He was put in jail on $1,000 bail and is to be in Town of Batavia Court on May 10. The case was handled by Sheriff's Deputy Rachel Diehl.

April 6, 2016 - 11:47am
posted by Billie Owens in news, crossroads house, cabaret for crossroads.

Press release:

St. Joe’s Reunion Brass Ensemble of Batavia will be hosting “A Cabaret for Crossroads” at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, at City Church, 210 E. Main St., Batavia.

One group being featured is “The DSP Trio” -- Derek Reiss, Skip Taylor, Pete Marks (the Big Band and Swing Era). The other featured singer is Michael Noce singing the best of the crooners -- Sinatra, Bennett, Martin, Armstrong & others. If you like the musicians along with the singers from the Big Band Era, you will love this music.

The admission is FREE. Donations gratefully accepted to benefit Crossroads House, a comfort home for the terminally ill serving the residents of Genesee & Wyoming counties.

There may possibly be some surprise performers stopping by to share their talent also. Come on out for a great afternoon of music. 

April 6, 2016 - 11:38am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news.

Press release:

There will be an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 7th at 109 Walnut St. in anticipation of the upcoming property auction at the same location at 10  9 a.m. on Saturday, April 16th. Come out and view this renovated city-owned property!

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact:

Heidi Parker

Office of the City Clerk

One Batavia City Centre

Batavia, New York 14020

Phone:   (585) 345-6305, option 5, option 1

Fax:     (585) 343-9221

E-mail:   [email protected]

April 6, 2016 - 11:34am
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, batavia, Batavia High School.

Press release:

Anita Strollo, the coordinator for Batavia High School’s College and Career Center, is “casting a wide net” to find more local businesses that may be interested in being part of the school’s first Hiring Fair on Thursday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at BHS, 260 State St.

“We have about a dozen so far and we’re thrilled with those businesses, but of course we’d like more,” says Strollo.

She anticipates at least 100 students will take advantage of the opportunity to meet with potential employers, providing those business representatives with the chance to meet face-to-face with a large pool of possible employees under one roof. To facilitate the process, there will be computers/laptops and Wi-Fi access for online applications, as well as quiet zones for on-the-spot interviews.

For more information, contact Anita Strollo at [email protected], or 343-2480, ext. 2012.

April 6, 2016 - 7:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Police are out with a tractor trailer that has broken down on Walnut Street in the right turn lane onto Law Street.

The rear ties are locked up.

No ETA when the obstruction will be clear.

April 6, 2016 - 4:52am
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia High School, BID, Z-Club, Uganda water walk, news.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is proud to once again sponsor the Third Annual Uganda Water Walk this Friday, April 8th from 3 to 5 p.m. from the Batavia High School to Downtown Batavia.

Individuals, separately or as part of a group, have found or are finding sponsors for walking ($5/mile or a one-time donation).

This fundraiser helps bring safe, clean, accessible water to communities in Uganda. Walkers are encouraged to carry water jugs as a great symbolic act. Proceeds go to the Ugandan Water Project, is sponsored by the Batavia High School Z-Club.

April 6, 2016 - 4:39am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Alabama, news.

A two-car accident with unknown injuries is reported at the intersection of Route 77 and Ledge Road. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding. There was air-bag deployment.

April 5, 2016 - 6:10pm

The Genesee County Business/Education Alliance continues to grow and gain momentum.

In an agency review before the Human Service Committee on Monday, BEA Coordinator and local businesswoman Beth Kemp highlighted the many avenues the partnership uses to prepare students for the world of work.

It was a dizzying gamut of outreach -- from the popular Summer Career Exploration Camps and a hiring event next week at Batavia High School for 10th- through 12th-graders, to school presentations at Le Roy and Byron-Bergen high schools and a bus tour Oct. 7 of local manufacturers, with more in the works.
 
Upcoming at the YWCA will be the free "Tech Girls" program to enhance critical thinking skills and hands-on learning for at-risk girls ages 9 to 15 with limited access to technology.
 
"It's important that businesses see the value, too, in helping students achieve success," Kemp said.
 
The "education of educators on local business opportunities" is one of the area's that the BEA is focusing on, Kemp said, helping them help students hone a career path.
 
For the next academic year, they will be working with the Genesee County Economic Development Center on piloting a course in Oakfield-Alabama schools about choosing a career. It will include information about the skill sets that will be needed to succeed in jobs at the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) planned in Alabama.
 
She cited the WNY Tech Academy in Bergen as having STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focused education for high-skill, financially stable careers in growth industries.
 
For the career camps, the alliance is seeking sponsorships to cover the costs for deserving students. Most camps cost $95 and include a week of instruction, a T-shirt, lunches and snacks. A total of 230 sixth- through 11th-graders will take part in camps this summer. (Camp enrollment maximums vary.)
 
The camps include:
  • MST -- Math, Science and Technology
  • All About Dogs
  • Culinary I
  • Culinary II
  • Animal Science/Vet 
  • Medical ($75)
  • Hard Hat
  • WNY Aviation Adventure (This camp costs more. It's $350 and includes week-long room and board.)
"I think it's amazing what this group can accomplish (for the money)," said Committee Member Andrew Young about the BEA.
 
Following Kemp's overview, the Committee was asked to recommend approval of a resolution for $3,452 in funding for the BEA through a contract for 2016 between the county and the Chamber of Commerce. The members did so unanimously.
 
The BEA operates out of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce office on Main Street and is supported by schools, businesses and county government. It is part of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.
April 5, 2016 - 4:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in history, Emory Upton, news.

(File photo of the Upton house on Upton Road from Landmark Society of Genesee County.) 

There ought to be a historical marker on the site of the boyhood home of swashbuckling Civil War-era Major General Emory Upton.

That's what Genesee County Historian Michael Eula thinks, and it's why he asked members of the Human Service Committee on Monday for permission to apply for grant funds to pay for a marker at 9244 Upton Road in the Town of Batavia. Members unanimously agreed to grant permission.

Eula plans to apply for the Historic Roadside Marker Grant Program offered by The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, which since 2006 has funded more than 282 markers in 46 New York counties. If awarded, the grant will provide $1,000 for a standard historical marker, mounting pole and shipping costs.

The Upton Road house which features stunning, leaded windows of stained glass and beleved crystal, was built in 1823 by Emory's parents, Daniel and Electa Upton. His sister, Sarah Upton Edwards, updated the house in 1890 to the shingle style it is now. (In 2011, the Landmark Society of Genesee County presented current owners Joan Bird and William Steininger with awards for Interior Renovation and Stained Glass Window Restoration.)

Emory was Daniel and Electa's 10th child, their sixth son. After growing up on the farm, he studied at Oberlin College under famed evangelist Charles Finney and was then admitted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1856. (He had his face slashed there in a sword fight in cadet barracks, said to have begun over offensive remarks made about his relationship with African-American girls at Oberlin College.)

His patinated likeness in full regalia looms large at the monument on the city's westside where Main Street and Ellicott Street join. But there's actually little heft to his biographical record, according to Eula, who told the committee that outside of a thin and rather superficial biography written by Stephen E. Ambrose, "Upton and the Army," little has been written about the man himself.

His brilliant and impactful career as an influential Army reformer, war tactician, military strategist and policy maker is well documented in compendiums, magazine articles, and through his own authorship.

This includes a book called "The Life and Letters of Emory Upton," which includes the meticulously deciphered and transcribed letters that Emory wrote during his worldwide travels to Persia, Turkey, India, China and Russia where he feasted opulently with royalty, how else, and met with great leaders at the behest in 1875 of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Both the book of letters and the Ambrose book are out of stock currently at the Holland Land Office Museum, but they were reordered a week or so ago and should be back on the shelves soon.

If the Pomeroy Foundation approves the grant, there would be a ceremony featuring veterans groups at the dedication ceremony, Eula said.

With all the documentation about Upton available in Genesee County, and given the lack of a meaty tome about his life, will a book be forthcoming? That's the question Committee Chair Rochelle Stein asked Eula.

"I don't want to promise something I can't deliver," Eula replied, not altogether convincingly. He did acknowledge talking about the prospect with other local historians, and it's clear he deems the subject worthy of the effort.

See more about Emory Upton here.

April 5, 2016 - 1:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, bergen, news.

Submitted photo. Front row: Teacher Peter Spence, Maya Benda, teacher Tiffany Lucksh, Melanie MacCowan, Mackenzie Fox, Kitana Maher, Clare Fraser, Kerri Bates. Middle row: Morgan Fuller, Will Kennett, Dominick Andres, Zach Swapceinski, Olivia Audsley, Dana VanValkenburg, Isabell Bliss. Back row: Russell Flaherty, parent Michelle Geiger.

Press release:

After a year of planning, 14 students from Byron-Bergen Sr. High School traveled to Costa Rica to explore the country’s incredibly diverse habitats of rainforests, volcanoes, waterfalls and pristine ocean coastline.

Accompanied by Byron-Bergen teachers Peter Spence, who teaches Earth Science, Biology, and Chemistry, and Tiffany Luksch, who teaches Math, the young explorers arrived at the capital of San José on March 18 for an exciting seven-day expedition.

The group spent two days in Sarapiquí, a small village in the Caribbean lowlands located in the heart of the rainforest, surrounded by surreal sounds of howler monkeys, tree frogs, birds, and insects. They visited the largest active crater in the world at the Poás volcano, and experienced the cloud forest environment. A cloud forest receives little rain during the year; plants receive their moisture from the clouds that constantly shroud the volcano.

The stay in Sarapiquí also included white-water rafting (where students found tiny poison dart frogs with bright orange bodies and deep blue hind legs), and zip lining in the rainforest.

The trip continued to La Fortuna, where they visited the Mount Arenal Volcano, studied the ecological succession of plants and orchids on the once-barren lava slope, and kayaked on the man-made Lake Arenal. Students hiked to the La Fortuna waterfall and explored the Baldi hot springs.

Moving on to Guanacaste, the group saw the second-largest dry forest in the world and visited Rincòn de la Vieja Volcano. They learned how Costa Rica uses the steam generated by the thermal vents to create electricity. A riverboat ride at Palo Verde National Park offered views of crocodiles, iguanas, red macaws, and white-faced capuchin monkeys. Snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean ended the extraordinary trip.

For many of the students, this amazing educational experience was the first time they had flown or been outside the United States. It was a great opportunity to not only learn about geology, ecosystems, and biology, but also gain practical fluency in Spanish.

“All of our kids have taken Spanish and a couple of them used Spanish a lot,” Spence said. “I did rely on them to communicate when I could not.”

Upon their return, student Clare Fraser summed up the feelings of her traveling companions.

“This has been an amazing experience that I will always remember. The trip was better than I had ever expected, and it has encouraged me to travel more in the future.”

April 5, 2016 - 1:28pm

Tickets are on sale now for the fourth annual Casablanca Casino Night Fundraiser on Friday, April 29, to benefit abused and neglected children served by Genesee County CASA for Children.

The fun starts are 6:30 p.m. at the Terry Hills Banquet Facility, located at 5122 Clinton Street Road, Batavia.

Tickets are $75 per person or $125 per couple and can be purchased at the door or at the CASA for Children office. It is located in the Genesee County Courts Facility Bldg., 1 W. Main St., Batavia. Hours there are Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Price includes $500 in casino chips, foodm beer, wine and $10 free play at Batavia Downs Casino. Cash in your "winnings" for tickets in the Chinese auction and a chance to win valuable prizes.

The event is sponsored by Main St. Pizza Company, Batavia Downs Gaming, Terry Hills and CASA for Children.

April 5, 2016 - 1:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Basom, news.

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) announces plans to conduct three prescribed burns on the Refuge during the 2016 season. The goal this year is to burn approximately 82 acres within three grassland fields.

The result will be enhanced grassland nesting cover for a variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. Grassland fields will be burned in the spring or early summer (April – June). Each burn should take approximately two to six hours to complete and will pose no threat to visitors or neighbors.

Prescribed burns are conducted safely and successfully on National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands across the country. With prescribed burns, fire becomes a management tool removing accumulated fuel loads thus reducing the risk of wildfire. Additionally, fire improves Refuge habitats for wildlife by removing invading plants that compete for light and nutrients and exposing the soil to sunlight so that seeds may germinate and grow. At the same time, it releases nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil to nourish the new plants.

Specific dates cannot be announced in advance, however, law enforcement and other emergency agencies will be notified on the day of the burn. Before a burn can take place, specific weather and site conditions, including wind direction and speed, humidity, air temperature, and fuel moisture must be present. If any one of these conditions is outside the “prescription,” the burn will not take place. Refuge staff have been specially trained to plan, ignite and monitor the fire to insure public safety.

For further information contact Refuge Manager, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013 or call 585-948-5445, ext.7030.

Iroquois NWR is located midway between Buffalo and Rochester and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

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