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January 21, 2022 - 11:56pm

136932461_104300151620785_8012738598735997461_n.pngWith the approval of City Council, a Batavia-based charitable organization that has done so much for youth sports in Genesee County over the past 14 years will be honored by having its name attached to the city-owned ice arena on Evans Street.

Assistant City Manager Jill Wiedrick, in a memo dated Jan. 24 to City Council, stated that Pellegrino Auto Sales and the David M. McCarthy Memorial Foundation have submitted the most competitive bid -- $3,100 annually for 10 years – to purchase the naming rights for the Batavia Ice Arena.

In October 2021, city management put out a Request for Proposal, seeking “a forward-thinking community leader” (business or organization) to present a proposal indicating at least a five-year commitment. According to the RFP, proceeds from the naming rights will be used to make improvements to the arena.

A draft of a resolution to formally accept the Pellegrino/McCarthy Foundation offer is on the agenda of Monday night’s City Council Conference Meeting at 7 o’clock at the City Hall Council Board Room.

The resolution stipulates that the facility will be renamed The David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena during the 10-year term of a formal naming rights agreement and any renewals thereafter.

In her memo, Wiedrick wrote that the agreement grants the prospective sponsors the following rights:

  • Erect signage on the ice arena’s façade;
  • Place one sign (painted) on an interior wall for Pellegrino Auto Sales;
  • Hold two events for up to two hours each at the arena annually;
  • Inclusion in all promotional material and other media (press releases, etc.) in cooperation with the city and Firland Management, the company that oversees operations for the city.

It goes on to note that the sponsors will pay for the installation and removal of the façade sign and major maintenance of the sign, and that Pellegrino Auto Sales, located at 4060 Pearl St. Rd., will pay for the painting and removal of the interior wall signage and the sign’s maintenance.

The rink formerly was known as the Falleti Ice Arena for many years.

The David M. McCarthy Memorial Foundation was formed in 2007 in honor of David McCarthy, who died in a motor vehicle accident in November 2006 at the age of 29.  He was a 1995 graduate of Batavia High School, where he excelled in baseball and hockey.

Since then, the foundation has donated more than $70,000 to numerous youth athletics’ organizations and individuals – including Batavia/Notre Dame hockey, Batavia Minor League Baseball, Le Roy Youth Softball and, last summer, to Batavia wrestler Casper Stewart, who competed in the USA Wrestling Nationals in Fargo, N.D.

It also sponsors the annual David McCarthy Memorial Christmas Hockey Tournament at the Batavia Ice Arena.

Fundraisers throughout the year, primarily a golf tournament at Batavia Country Club and bowling tournament at Mancuso Bowling Center, sustain the foundation, which is led by David McCarthy’s brother, Brian, president; father, Michael, treasurer; and Matthew Meyer, vice president.

January 21, 2022 - 12:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, alexander, batavia, news, notify, bergen.
Wesley Thigpen
(2019 photo)

Wesley N. Thigpen is indicted on four counts of predatory sexual assault against a child. Thigpen is accused of engaging in oral sexual conduct with a person less than 13 years old while he was at least 18 years old or older between the dates of June 1, 2014, and August 31, 2014.  He is accused of engaging in two or more acts of sexual conduct with a child less than 13 years old over a period of time not less than three months.  He is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with a person less than 13 years old. Previously: Batavia man pleads guilty to sex abuse charge while calling statements against him a lie

Joshua D. Quaintance is indicated on counts of burglary in the second degree and sexual abuse in the third degree.  Quaintance is accused of entering a dwelling in the Town of Alexander on July 11 with the intent to commit a crime in that dwelling.  He is accused of subjecting a person to sexual contact without that person's consent.

Cody A. Bush is indicted on counts of burglary in the second degree, criminal contempt in the second degree, resisting arrest, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 7th degree. Bush is accused of entering a dwelling on Walnut Street, City of Batavia, on Oct. 11 with the intent to commit a crime in that dwelling. He is accused of violating an order of protection that day. He is accused of intentionally trying to prevent police officers from placing him in custody. He is accused of illegally possessing Clonazepam and Alprazolam.

Brandon C. Dodd is indicted on three counts of criminal contempt in the first degree, two counts of burglary in the second degree, criminal trespass in the third degree, criminal contempt in the second degree, and three counts of petit larceny. Dodd is accused of violating three orders of protection covering three different individuals on June 29 while in the City of Batavia. He is accused of entering a dwelling on Highland Park on that date with the intention of committing a crime in that dwelling. He is accused of being at that property without the permission of the property owner. He is accused of violating an order of protection on June 14. He is accused of shoplifting from Mr. Wine and Liquore on June 23. He is accused of stealing an air conditioner from a residence on Jackson Street on June 28. He is accused of entering a dwelling on Highland Park on June 23 with the intent of committing a crime in that dwelling. He is accused of stealing a bicycle from a residence on Highland Park.

Christopher J. Wiegman is indicted on counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Wiegman is accused of knowingly and illegally possessing cocaine, fentanyl, amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine on April 21 in the City of Batavia.

Kerwin R. Vega is indicted on counts of felony aggravated DWI, felony DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, circumvention of an interlock device, and endangering the welfare of a child. Vega is accused of driving a 2008 Toyota while drunk on Route 33 in the Town of Bergen on April 4 while a child less than 15 years old was in the vehicle. Due to a prior DWI conviction, Vega is required to use an interlock device on any vehicle he operates.

January 21, 2022 - 9:08am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia Town Planning Board, solar.

Members of the Batavia Town Planning Board are giving high marks to the committee that has been working on revising the town’s solar law over the past few months.

Planners discussed the committee’s progress at their meeting Tuesday night, agreeing that the latest draft presented to the public – while in need of a few tweaks – represents a major step toward rules and regulations that remove most of the guesswork for those desiring to install solar farms and for their neighbors.

“It’s a roadmap for developers .. the rules are pretty straightforward,” said board member Steve Tanner, one of four planning board members on the committee (the others being Don Partridge, Paul McCullough and Brittany Witkop).

Tanner said that guidelines concerning landscaping, screening, setbacks, fencing and size of the project will make it easier for solar companies to develop their proposals.

McCullough concurred, stating that a law that is documented and codified will leave “very little interpretation as to what can and cannot happen.”

Witkop and Partridge said they appreciated input from the public – with Witkop noting that the group is looking to modify some of the setback requirements as a result of comments from citizens at an informational session last month.

Town Building Inspector Dan Lang termed changing some of the setbacks “a realistic vision” and said the process is nearing the point of conducting a State Environmental Quality Review, public hearing and county review.

Town Engineer Steve Mountain said that he reviewed the proposed solar law as well.

“It included all of the circumstances and ambiguities we’ve seen over the past five years,” he said.

Committee Chair Chad Zambito, a town council member, has indicated a final draft will be ready in a couple weeks.

In other Town of Batavia news, Supervisor Gregory Post reported that 11 building permits for residential homes were issued in 2021, with an assessed value of $4.1 million, and that 26 commercial/industrial permits were issued, “which generated several tens of millions of dollars in assessed value.”

Post said that projects on Route 98, Park Road and King’s Plaza (water main) as well as meter renewal are ramping up, leading to a “positive forecast for the community’s economic portfolio …”

Also, the Town Board voted to continue its support of the Batavia Soccer Park on Bank Street Road at the $10,000 annual level for two more years.

Previously: Town solar committee asked to 'revisit' setback distances

January 21, 2022 - 8:19am
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports, notify, Batavia Notre Dame United, Section V hockey.

bnd_united_logo.jpgA clutch save by senior goaltender Courtney Schum triggered the game-winning goal by junior center Cooper Hamilton with 1:32 left to play Thursday night to give Batavia Notre Dame United a 5-4 victory over Greece Storm in Section V hockey at the Batavia Ice Arena.

The win lifts BND to 8-4-3 going into a home contest at 3 p.m. Saturday against Canandaigua Academy, while Greece drops to 6-7.

The deciding sequence began with a faceoff to the left of Storm goaltender Kaden Fioreca with 1:55 on the clock. BND won the draw but Greece’s Aidan Candalari gained control and started down the left side of the ice.

It quickly became a 2-on-1 situation with Candalari passing the puck to Brent Shallenberger, who flew in all alone from the right side. Schum was equal to the task, however, sliding to her left to stop Shallenberger’s shot.

United’s Bryce Feldman gathered the rebound after knocking Shallenberger off the puck and tipped it out to teammate Jameson Motyka, who advanced it to Hamilton.

Hamilton, back in action recently after suffering a collarbone injury in BND’s first game of the season, gained a head of steam, veered to the right toward the Greece goal and beat Fioreca to his glove side.

Greece immediately pulled Fioreca for an extra attacker but was unable to score against United, which actually misfired on three shots at the empty net.

BND opened the scoring on Noah Hudson’s first goal of the season (assisted by Motyka) three minutes into the game but the Storm responded with three goals in a span of three minutes and 10 seconds – the first by Candalari and the next two by Spencer Griffin.

The score stayed at 3-1 until just 25 seconds remained in the period when BND senior forward Gavin Schrader stole the puck, made a nifty move past a Greece defender and fed Brady Johnson who scored a shorthanded goal, his 12th of the season.

BND scored the only goal of the second period, this one coming with 16 seconds left when, again, Schrader controlled a loose puck and fed it to Johnson, who beat Fioreca. Zack Eschberger also picked up an assist.

The visitors regained the lead early in the third period when Griffin won a faceoff and got it to Candalari for his second goal of the game.

United tied it up at 4-4 with 5:30 remaining when Schrader rushed past the Storm defense and flipped a backhand shot past Fioreca for a power play goal. Schrader now has 25 goals and 25 assists.

Fioreca stopped 44 of 49 shots, many of them at close range, while Schum turned away 22 of 26 shots, including a couple in a two-minute span just before thwarting Shallenberger.

January 20, 2022 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, news, notify.


Tim McArdle, a popular principal at Le Roy Jr./Sr. high, well-known for his active participation and promotion of the Oatkan Knights on social media, has resigned his post in order to return to his home district, Caledonia-Mumford.

He will become the middle/high school assistant principal.

He said it was a difficult decision.

"This opportunity allows me to work in my home district and be all in with my family which is something that is very important to me," McArdle said.

He added, "Being the Le Roy Jr.-Sr. High School Principal since July of 2013 has been an opportunity of a lifetime. I would like to thank our incredible district-wide staff, students, families, alumni, and our community for partnering with me over the years to create something really special here in Oatkan Knight Country."

Superintendent Merritt Holly informed district parents this evening and shared the timeline for replacing McArdle:

  • In the process of securing an interim principal with the potential start date of February 14, 2022. 
  • Job posting from February 1 to February 28, 2022. 
  • Committee and final interviews in mid-March 2022.
  • Anticipated Board appointment on March 22, 2022.
  • Anticipated start date April 25, 2022

"I want to wish Mr. McArdle all the best in his new position at Caledonia-Mumford!" Holly said in the email. "Over the past 8.5 years, Mr. McArdle’s leadership has positively impacted our students and teachers both inside and outside of the classroom.  We can't thank him enough for all the extra hours and time he has spent supporting each of our Knights!"

In an email to The Batavian, Holly said McArdle was an asset to the district.

"Mr. McArdle has been a tireless advocate for all his students," Holly said. "He has transformed our elective offerings, cultivated the creation of new clubs and activities, and promoted our students' work/accomplishments for others outside of Le Roy CSD to enjoy and see.  I wish him all the best as his new opportunity allows him to work in his home district and be all in with his family!"  

McArdle's last day at the school has yet to be determined.

Before becoming principal in Le Roy, McArdle was an assistant principal at Batavia Middle School, from 2010 to 2013.  He has a B.S. from St. Bonaventure University in health and physical education, a CAS in education leadership from SUNY Brockport, and a master's in education from St. Bonaventure.

McArdle has become an accomplished photographer during his time in Le Roy and often feeds the school's social media accounts with sports photos and events at the school, as well as providing photos to local media, such as The Batavian.

Photo courtesy Tim McArdle.

January 20, 2022 - 4:30pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia city school district, jazz concert, notify.


There was definitely something unifying about the group of musicians rehearsing at Batavia High School (BHS) Wednesday evening.

It could have been their visible roles with instruments in hand, or the fact that many are BHS alumni. It could have also been the clearly recognizable red, white and blue Buffalo Bills face masks and shirts many of them wore. The garb was part of the concert preparation.

“I’m a big Buffalo Bills fan,” school Superintendent and trombone player Jason Smith said in the hallway next to a boisterous rehearsal. “We will be wearing Bills attire, and we’re doing (the Bills make me want to) Shout song before the Bills play that night. It will be fun to have that Bills vibe.”

The signature song for the hometown Buffalo team is one of several upbeat, jazzy tunes featured for the BHS Alumni Jazz Ensemble this weekend. Billed as a fundraiser for the school’s upcoming Scholastic Winter Guard competitions in Pennsylvania, the concert is set for 2 p.m., Sunday in the high school gymnasium, 260 State St., Batavia.

Smith, a 1990 BHS grad, has been playing trombone since the fourth grade. He initially wanted to play percussion, but since that was already taken, then-music teacher John Ranalli suggested that Smith try the trombone. He hasn’t put it down since.

A 30-year member of Batavia Concert Band and its current general manager, Smith has enjoyed playing in local bands and the alumni ensemble, he said. He has several reasons for why he has been so bonded to music throughout his life, and for why people may want to join the fun this weekend. 

“It’s a social outing, it works a different part of your brain, and there are opportunities to reconnect, and in my case, with high school friends,” he said. “Come out and support our winter guard … You can hear some great musicians, some great soloists, and Paul Spiotta, who has a very beautiful voice. There’s an opportunity to hear a wide range of music. Of course, we all love St. Joe’s Drum and Bugle Corps, and you have the wonderful staff and alumni band here too.” 

His favorite piece from the concert line-up is "Sing, Sing, Sing,"  because of its — what else? — good trombone part, he said. This song flares out with fast-moving, snappy brass and recedes in time for a brief drum solo, and back again to the toe-tapping instrumental melody. It’s hard not to imagine a couple on the dance floor performing some lively swing moves.

Music has been a large part of Batavia resident Ross Chua’s life. The 23-year-old plays several instruments and will be featured on trumpet and vocals during this upcoming concert. He teaches beginning guitar, trumpet and song-writing, and helps with engineering, maintaining equipment and playing trumpet at Old Bear Studio on Harvester Avenue. That makes for “kind of a holistic experience,” he said.

His former music teacher, Jane Haggett, who will conduct the concert, asked that he join this musical effort. Chua couldn’t refuse. 

“I like to be involved in the Batavia music scene. Jane puts in a lot of effort to develop and maintain that culture,” he said. “And she was my band teacher.”

The 2016 BHS grad performs with a few ensembles and plays upright bass for the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. He is a graduate of Syracuse University with a master’s degree in audio arts, which is more of the technical side of the field versus playing for a live concert, he said. The concert menu has a sampling of new and older pieces with the punch of brass.

“It’s a good mix of stuff; it’s really tied into the stuff I played in high school,” Chua said. “It feels very Batavia brand. It’s pretty upbeat and peppy.”

Alongside the city school district superintendent will be high school principal Paul Kesler on trumpet, and music teachers Sean Williams, Collin Murtaugh and Stuart McLean.

Alumni also include Brandon Luce, Jackie McLean, Matt Holota, Harold McJury, Frank Panepento, Joshua Pacino, Quentin Branciforte, Mark Hoerbelt, Mary Murphy, Jason Mapes and Bob Pastecki.

Joshua Pacino, 39, is a music teacher at Notre Dame High School and, out of the various instruments he plays, he favors the trombone for its endurance in his life. “That’s the one I’ve played since fifth grade,” he said.

He especially likes the ensemble’s rendition of "Land of Make Believe" by Chuck Mangione. The samba features “great flugelhorn parts,” he said. He opted to join the alumni group as a faithful Blue Devil.

“When I’m free and I can help out, I do,” he said. 

The BHS Scholastic Winter Guard is hosting this event to raise funds for its plans to compete in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Winter Guard Regionals and the WGI National Championships, respectively. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the door. Money raised from this event will defray the cost of winter guard trips in March and April. This will be the Scholastic Winter Guard’s first appearance at the WGI National Championships. 




Top photo: Jason Smith rehearses with the Alumni Jazz Ensemble Wednesday evening at Batavia High School. Jane Haggett leads the group through jazz numbers during the rehearsal; BHS Principal Paul Kesler belts out some notes on trumpet; BHS Alumni Ross Chua, left, in back. Photos by Howard Owens. 

January 20, 2022 - 2:49pm

Municipalities in Genesee County racked up $40,505 in expenses to conduct the Nov. 2 general election, according to information provided by the county’s Real Property Tax Services department.

Per diem fees for training, inspectors and coordinators elections are covered by Genesee County with the expectation that it will be reimbursed after the exact amounts are determined.

According to a resolution passed on Wednesday by the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee (and subject to approval by the full legislature next week), the towns and City of Batavia are responsible for the following charges:

  • City of Batavia, $11,070;
  • Alabama, $1,615;
  • Alexander, $1,790;
  • Batavia, $3,770;
  • Bergen, $1,860;
  • Bethany, $1,220;
  • Byron, $1,650;
  • Darien, $1,685;
  • Elba, $1,685;
  • Le Roy, $4,335;
  • Oakfield, $1,830;
  • Pavilion, $1,720;
  • Pembroke, $4,230;
  • Stafford, $2,045.

Additionally, $5,781 in fees for the 2021 early voting period (Oct. 23-31) will be charged back to the City of Batavia and towns as follows:

  • City of Batavia, $1,331;
  • Alabama, $173;
  • Alexander, $231;
  • Batavia, $636;
  • Bergen, $348;
  • Bethany, $173;
  • Byron, $231;
  • Darien, $347;
  • Elba, $231;
  • Le Roy, $809;
  • Oakfield, $289;
  • Pavilion, $231;
  • Pembroke, $462;
  • Stafford, $289

Ways & Means approved resolutions authorizing the Board of Elections to contract with NTS Data Services of Niagara Falls to provide poll book, team registration and full document imaging for 2022 at a cost of $34,809 and for cybersecurity for 2022 at a startup cost of $11,509 followed by a payment of $8,809 for software and support services.

January 20, 2022 - 1:32pm

rapone_1.jpgThe COVID-19 pandemic created varying degrees of hardship to business and industry over the past couple years, but not many sectors were hurt more than tourism.

As a result of restrictions on travel, especially the closing of the Canadian border, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce personnel have embarked on a “deep look” into the agency’s operation and reportedly are enthused over the discovery of new technology to aid in tourism’s recovery.

“The last couple of years have caused us to really take a very deep look at what we do, how we do it, and where do we go from here. Who would have ever thought (that) this strong industry of tourism would have been taken down and dismantled the way that it was,” said Tourism Marketing Director Kelly Rapone (photo at right) at Wednesday’s Genesee County Legislature Ways & Means Committee meeting via Zoom.

Rapone reported that the Chamber of Commerce seeks to expand its role into “destination management, where we’re really looking to guide the direction of the future growth of our tourism industry here.”

Data analytics that integrate information into a unique platform, she said, will help them achieve their goals.

“One of the tools that we're now able to access is called Air DNA -- and this is very timely given the change of our local legislation with our short-term rentals (a local law that will result in the county receiving bed tax funds from home and other short-term rentals),” she said. “Now with this tool, we will be able to look at all of the short-term rental data in the county going back -- providing historical data for 2019, 2020, and 2021, and it refreshes monthly.”

Rapone said the agency will be able to track the number of properties, occupancy, location and revenue, and will be able to integrate that with current short-term rental reports.

“The other really exciting data tool that we're using is now this mobile location data collection,” she said. “So, what we're able to do now using this dashboard is drop pins throughout the county and destinations for geographies. And we're now able to go in and capture mobile data -- people that are visiting those locations -- and we're able to extract where they're coming from and what their demographics are.”

She said her department will be able to retrieve this data from the past three years “so that we can really hone in on the visitor -- exactly where they're going or where they're coming from and what they're doing.”

The Chamber of Commerce also is planning to redesign its website this year, she said, something that hasn’t been done since 2016.

Other information shared by Rapone and Chamber President Erik Fix at yesterday’s meeting:

  • Hotel occupancy in Genesee County for 2021 was down 24 percent compared to 2019 (considered a “normal” year), while the average daily rates were up by 10 percent. Overall revenue was down approximately 16 percent.

Rapone said the increase to the average daily rate … “largely has been driven by that Canadian border being closed to U.S. travelers crossing as well as others who would have crossed to spend tonight. So, we did see some pickup in room nights, as well as demand in terms of being able to increase room revenues. The average daily rate is really what's bringing our revenue up this year.”

  • Year-end gross bed tax earnings are projected to be between $365,000 and $375,000, and the overall visitor impact is projected to be around $150 million, which is down from a more normal figure of $180 million.
  • Due to a decrease in matching funds and the agency’s overall budget, the Chamber of Commerce’s participation in with tourism partners decreased. Those who did join in promotional strategies included Six Flags Darien Lake and the Genesee County Fair.
  • Visitor Center traffic decreased by 42 percent compared to 2019. “We have had visitors all year long, just certainly not the volume that we're used to seeing,” Rapone said.


The Ways & Means Committee passed two resolutions connected to the Chamber of Commerce – designating it as the county’s official tourism agency for 2022 and authorizing payment of up to $420,000 exclusively from the county’s hotel and motel tax receipts to the Chamber for publicity and tourism services this year.

January 20, 2022 - 12:22pm

The president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. this morning said he expects work on the Park Road Reconstruction Project to start in March.

“Everything seems to be in place,” Henry Wojtaszek said following the monthly board of directors meeting. “The preliminary work that the town (of Batavia) had to do up here at the corner of Lewiston and Park was completed, and … we anticipate a March start on the construction and probably go through to the end of summer, sometime in August or September.”

Wojtaszek said WROTB is prepared to pay around $450,000 for additional enhancements along Park Road – such as trees and street lights and increasing the size of the sidewalks – and also is working with town officials on issues related to the sewer system.

“We’re considering sewer enhancements instead of a pump station, which would be very costly to maintain,” he said.

The $4.077 million project consists of a complete renovation of Park Road – new pavement, curbs, sidewalks, water lines and street lights -- between Route 63 (Lewiston Road) and Route 98 (Oak Street).

Town Assistant Engineer Tom Lichtenthal previously reported that completion is set for December of this year.

In other developments from today’s WROTB meeting:

  • While sports betting on cell phones is now legal in New York State, Wojtaszek said he doesn’t expect that service to come to gaming facilities until early next year.

“We will have the ability to have kiosks here on site for sports betting next January and we anticipate taking advantage of that and providing that service for our customers,” he said. “But right now, we’re having our customers come in and they're betting the games on the phone or watching them in our 34 Rush.”

He said New York has already overtaken all other states to become the leading sports betting state in the nation. “And it took all of two weeks,” he said, noting that it became legal on Jan. 8.

  • A June 10 concert by Bruce in the USA, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, will benefit the Ricky Palermo Foundation. A lifelong Genesee County resident, Palermo has been instrumental in raising millions of dollars for spinal injury research.

“One hundred percent of the ticket proceeds will go to Ricky’s foundation,” said Marketing Director Ryan Hasenauer. “Tickets are on sale now.”

For more information, go to www.bataviaconcerts.com.

  • WROTB distributed $65,215 in surcharges to member municipalities in November, Chief Financial Officer Jacquelyne Leach reported.

On the branch side, revenue increased by $12 million in 2021 compared to 2020, but was down $1.1 million from 2019. The handle of Batavia Bets, the online platform, went up by $1.2 million in 2021 compared to the previous year.

  • Directors approved a resolution to purchase 840 gaming chairs and stools from Gary Platt Mfg. of Reno, Nev., for $346,000.
January 20, 2022 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

Joey Robert Tatro, 27, of Exchange Street, Attica, is charged with criminal contempt and bail jumping 3rd. Tatro was arrested on warrants out of City Court by Deputy Andrew Mullen and Sgt. Andrew Hale. He was jailed on $1,000 bail, $2,000 bond, or $3,000 partially secured bond.

Jonathan Lee Holland, 38, of Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right, aggravated unlicensed operation 2nd. Holland was stopped at 1:55 p.m., Jan. 19, on Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush.

January 20, 2022 - 11:51am

morgan.jpgbianchi.jpgDirectors of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. this morning overwhelmingly approved Board Chair Richard Bianchi and Vice Chair Ed Morgan retaining their leadership positions for another year, firing back at proposed legislation that would change significantly the composition of the board.

Bianchi (Monroe County) and Morgan (Orleans County) (in photos, left to right) were unanimously re-elected to lead the board at its monthly meeting at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road.

In nominating Bianchi, director Dennis Bassett (City of Rochester) cited WROTB’s “record earnings and record attendance,” adding that Bianchi “has guided us through some storms … and brought the board together like never before.”

Morgan, a retired highway superintendent, also was credited by Genesee County director Richard Siebert for his expertise in helping WROTB navigate the Park Road Reconstruction project with the Town of Batavia and for being available when needed.

The board, understandably, is opposing a bill proposed by State Sen. Timothy Kennedy of Buffalo that would revise the structure of the board based on population – action that would end the longstanding setup of a director for each of the 15 counties and cities of Buffalo and Rochester that own the public benefit company.

Kennedy also has drafted two other bills that would cap the allowance of promotional items for certain members of the corporation at $15 and prohibit WROTB corporation vehicles from being used as take-home vehicles. This proposed legislation comes on the heels of a State Comptroller’s report that faulted WROTB management and board in these areas.

WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said the board has worked hard through the committee process to elevate Batavia Downs Gaming, the harness track and its OTB branches to record earnings.

“You heard today that the board certainly doesn't support a measure to dismantle the board that has done such a great job to bring Batavia Downs to where it is right now, where it is returning record amounts of money to the municipalities,” Wojtaszek said.

“So, they oppose it and they intend to go back to their respective communities and legislatures and councils and have them pass resolutions in opposition to this type of legislation. And as I said yesterday (to The Batavian), they directed me to explore options relative to fighting such a piece of legislation going into effect, including litigation.”

Wojtaszek said Bianchi and Morgan are “outstanding” leaders and “they’re always accessible.”

“They are often on site and they provide their expertise in the various areas that they bring to the table and you can see the results,” he said. “And in the numbers (because) people vote with their feet and their dollars … people love what they see when they come here. We provide a great entertainment, we provide great customer service, we have great food and drinks. And we intend to continue doing that.”

As far as Kennedy’s other bills, Wojtaszek said WROTB addressed the perks situation three years ago and is “supportive of those type of actions that provide transparency that cuts down on government waste. All those issues we support.”

He said the corporation has set a limit relative to gifts, but noted a difference in game tickets (Sabres, Bills) that are given to directors for hosting groups.

“It’s not a gift to the person who is a host for Batavia Downs; they’re actually working. So, the use of that ticket is for work, it's not a gift in the first place,” he said. “Our policies and procedures put in place by our marketing director are very good at this point.

“We've been dealing with people all across the state and the Inspector General, and anybody else who's asked – the Comptroller – who we invited into give us advice as to how to run this place better. We've followed that advice and things are running very well right now.”

Previously: Genesee's WROTB director slams state senator's attempt to restructure board of directors, place a cap on perks

January 20, 2022 - 11:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.


Press release: 

The Batavia Police Department has partnered with Crime Stoppers Buffalo which is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of Devon Wright. Wright is wanted for violating his release terms on a recent plea pertaining to the charges of PL 110.00 & 265.03-3 - Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd, PL 120.00-1 - Assault 3rd, PL 110.00 & 120.10-1 - Attempted Assault 1st, and PL 130.50-4 - Criminal Sexual Act 4th. Wright is also wanted for PL 145.14 - Criminal Tampering 3rd, and PL 240.26 - Harassment 2nd (2 counts) stemming from an incident that occurred on 11/27/2021 at a residence on Central Avenue.

Citizens are urged to come forward with information on where to locate Wright. If you have information leading to the arrest or indictment of Wright please contact Crime Stoppers WNY at 716-867-6161 or submit a tip by downloading the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App "Buffalo Tips" from the apple or android store.

For previous coverage of Devon Wright, click here.

January 19, 2022 - 9:58pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, notify, batavia, Richmond Memorial Library.


After a lack of heat closed Richmond Memorial Library for the first part of this week, it looks like the Ross Street facility will have a warm re-opening on Thursday, Director Robert Conrad says.

“I was just in the office to pick up some things and the furnace seems to be repaired. Everything was toasty warm 70-degrees,” he said to The Batavian Wednesday evening. Although I’m told that they're waiting on some parts for a permanent fix, I’d consider it patched.”

Conrad oversees direct library operations, whereas the actual building and grounds at 19 Ross St., Batavia, are owned and maintained by the city school district. The library has been closed this week due to an aging heating/ventilation/air conditioning system not working properly. A repair that began on Tuesday required additional parts to make the furnace fully functional, Conrad said from what he’d been told by a senior custodian. 

The Batavian emailed questions to City Schools Director of Facilities Jason DeGraff and left a message for comment at the office of the Building and Grounds superintendent Wednesday. This article will be updated with any reply from the school district.

To Conrad’s understanding, city facilities staff was working with contractors and suppliers earlier Wednesday to obtain the necessary parts to fix the problem, he said. 

“I would have to defer any further questions to them, simply because the building/heating are beyond the scope of my training and duties,” he said Wednesday. “I doubt whether there will be an unexpected cost for the school district, as I understand that they budget to replace building infrastructure at the end of its useful life, which our heat system — as I understand — already was.”

Chilly temperatures aside, Conrad has other things on his mind besides a lack of heat. An upcoming Local Authors Fair will be happening in April, he said, with authors from Genesee, Erie and Monroe counties. Other exciting news is the debut of new library cards and a logo, plus a reading therapy dog. Details of both events are to be released in March and April, he said.  A library budget vote and trustee election in May, followed by the Summer Reading Program in June, round out the next five months of activities, he said. 

The library is expected to resume its normal hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 

Top photo: Robert Conrad, director of Richmond Memorial Library, is seen in a file photo taken by Howard Owens at the Ross Street library.

January 19, 2022 - 6:04pm

tcfhjfwk.jpgThe longtime Genesee County representative to the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. believes bills being introduced by State Sen. Timothy Kennedy of Buffalo, if passed into law, are a “power grab” that would destroy the governance structure of the public benefit company that operates Batavia Downs Gaming and harness track.

Speaking to the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee this afternoon, Richard Siebert, a WROTB director for 28 years, said the proposal by Kennedy (photo at right) would “basically demolish everything we’ve had at OTB.”

“It would eliminate the status that we’ve had since 1974 when our county joined and everybody else (other participating counties) joined,” he said. “The legislation would basically eliminate the directors as we know them … (and) would put perhaps Genesee as a director in with Livingston County, Chautauqua County, Catt (Cattaraugus) County, Orleans County, Seneca County; basically, eliminate all of us, and put just one director, perhaps appointed by the governor.”

Siebert said he wanted the legislature to be aware of Kennedy’s Senate bills, which were introduced last week in response to State Comptroller’s audits – released in September 2021 -- that faulted WROTB management for lack of oversight of perks distributed and for failure to receive prompt reimbursement for personal use of an official vehicle.

The audit by the Comptroller’s office took place over the course of a little more than two years, between September 2017 and December 2019.

According to Kennedy’s website, the three bills would result in the following:

  • Revise the structure of the board based on population. As OTB profits are distributed by population, this bill would require that the membership of the board of directors be based on population.
  • Cap the allowance of promotional items for certain members of the corporation. This legislation would make the gift rules governing OTB associates consistent with the Public Officers Law, Legislative Law, and Executive Law, where state employees may not receive a gift of any kind valued at an amount greater than $15.
  • Prohibit OTB corporation vehicles from being used as take-home vehicles.

Regarding the current makeup of the WROTB, each of the 15 counties plus the City of Buffalo and City of Rochester that receive benefits from gaming and racing revenues are represented by a director.

“It basically is a power grab for the bigger counties,” Siebert said. “We’ve always had one county, one vote. Genesee, Orleans – we’ve always had the same vote as the City of Rochester.”

Contacted minutes ago, WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said the board has directed him to “explore all of our options.”

“All I will say at this time is that we’re exploring all of our options, including litigation, relative to the proposed bills,” Wojtaszek said. “It’s pretty simple.”

The WROTB directors meet for their monthly public session at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Park Road facility’s corporate board room.

Siebert said he wants the Genesee County Legislature and other county legislatures to draft resolutions to “exercise our Home Rule” opposing Kennedy’s plan.

“We have to realize that under Home Rule, we started this but with the Senate, the governor and the Assembly all in one little room, anything can happen,” he said. “This is very serious and can have serious consequences to our county.”

Ways & Means Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg agreed with Siebert’s assessment of the situation, reiterating that “it’s definitely a power grab.”

“We all know what it’s about. It’s about the money that’s been shared … pretty liberally with a lot of municipalities and we need to fight this as hard as we possibly can.”

Kennedy, in announcing the proposed legislation, said the Comptroller’s report “outlined mismanagement and dysfunction at the Western Regional OTB, and demonstrated a clear need for reforms at the corporation, which has been plagued with problems for years.”

“Through this legislation, we’re holding members accountable, revising outdated policy, and creating fairer representation on the OTB board moving forward. Taxpayers deserve better, and we intend to ensure they receive that.”

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli apparently is in the Democratic senator's corner, judging by his comments.

“The Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. gave generous perks to board members, employees and others, ignoring state rules,” DiNapoli said. “My auditors found a troubling disregard for appropriate safeguards to hold people accountable and protect public resources. Senator Kennedy is proposing legislation that addresses this mismanagement and our major audit findings. I look forward to working with Senator Kennedy on these critical reforms and holding government accountable.”  

January 19, 2022 - 2:18pm

The Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council will be receiving $70,000 in federal funding to help develop and implement its 2022 comprehensive economic strategy.

According to a press release issued today by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, funding is being allocated through the Economic Development Administration and will promote public-private partnerships to diversify and strengthen regional economies in New York.

The G/FLRPC supports nine regional counties, including Genesee.

The latest round of funding is a 50/50 matching grant, with the other $70,000 derived through contributions to the G/FLRPC from its participating counties and other revenue, said Jay Gsell, who served as agency’s interim executive director through October 2021.

His replacement, Paul Gavin, could not be reached for comment.

Schumer, in the press release, said the EDA investment “will help jumpstart Upstate New York’s economic development, promote business growth, and strengthen our regional economies.”

Gillibrand echoed his remarks, stating, “As our economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this federal investment is an important step to help attract capital and create jobs throughout New York.”

Identical monetary amounts are going to regional planning councils and boards in Central New York, Lake Champlain-Lake George, Southern Tier East, Southern Tier West and Mohawk Valley.

January 19, 2022 - 1:25pm


United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes kicked off its 2022 campaign this afternoon with a presentation on YouTube that featured reports from its six-counties, including a message from Tammy Hathaway, director of United Way of Genesee County.

The organization expanded during the summer to encompass Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming, Wayne and Ontario counties, and now solicits donations on behalf of 190 human service providers.

Speaking from the YWCA in Batavia, Hathaway, who also serves as the United Way’s senior resource development manager, credited Genesee County residents for stepping up to the plate in a big way over the years.

“I’m always amazed by the dedication of our donors and volunteers here in Genesee County,” she said.

She introduced Amber Lingenfelter, United Way community resource & volunteer engagement manager, who spoke about the Volunteer United program.

“Volunteer United is an online matching platform that allows you to filter through various volunteer opportunities based on your interest, passion, skills and availability,” she said. “You can also sort by in-person opportunities or virtual opportunities near you.”

For more information, go to www.unitedwayrocflx.org/get-involved/volunteer.

This year’s campaign, “Make Way For Good,” is being chaired by Frank Hamlin III, president and chief executive officer of Canandaigua National Bank & Trust.

Hamlin announced that his company will match all new and increased donations this year up to $500,000 as he and his volunteer team seek to raise $32 million again in 2022.

The 2021 campaign, led by William Goodrich, chief executive officer of LeChase Construction Services, raised and leveraged $32.1 million, broken down as follows:

  • Annual Campaign (includes six-county region) – $20.6 million
  • Community grants, ROC the Day, Community Initiatives – $9 million
  • Other giving – $2.5 million

Today’s presentation featured a livestreamed welcome from Jaime Saunders, the organization’s president and chief executive officer.

Photo: Screenshot of pre-recorded video featuring Amber Lingenfelter, speaking from the YWCA of Genesee County. Former Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell is in the background.

January 18, 2022 - 9:41pm

k9.jpgThe power of private/public partnership is about to make a difference for the K-9 units of local law enforcement agencies.

Batavia’s Home Depot and CountryMax stores have come together to provide the materials and labor to construct a K-9 obstacle course at the Genesee County Fire Training Center on State Street Road.

“These businesses came to us and said they want to provide these services to Genesee County at no cost to the county,” said County Manager Matt Landers, speaking about a resolution approved today by the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee to accept the donations. “The course will be used by the Sheriff’s Office, City of Batavia Police and State Police K-9 officers.”

According to the resolution, Home Depot will donate building materials through a grant from The Home Depot Foundation – estimated value of $3,232 – and CountryMax Stores will provide the labor required to construct the course. The layout will be utilized by K-9 units for training purposes to simulate obstacles they are likely to encounter in the field during deployments.

Landers said the course, which will be owned by Genesee County, will be built to last “through multiple seasons.”

In other action related to the Sheriff’s Office, the committee approved the creation of a Public Safety Systems Manager position while eliminating the Communications Coordinator job that was held by the recently-retired Russ Lang for 33 years.

“The responsibilities of the open position really warrant a change in title,” Landers advised. “This was reviewed by the Sheriff’s Office and Human Resources, and they were in agreement that the new position better reflects the responsibilities of the position in the Sheriff’s Office.”

Per the resolution, the cost associated with this new position is covered by the previous Communications Coordinator salary accounted for in the 2022 budget.

Both PSC approvals are subject to ratification by the full legislature later this month.

File photo: Genesee County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit -- Deputy Andrew Mullen and Frankie, left, and Deputy Jim Stack and Rayzor. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

January 18, 2022 - 5:25pm

The Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee this afternoon approved two measures connected to the to design and right-of-way aspects of the mostly federally-funded South Lyon Street Bridge replacement project in the City of Batavia.

The first resolution amends the capital project by $23,000 ($4,500 in local funding) to pay for a supplemental agreement with Fisher Associates of Rochester for additional ROW consultant services, and the second resolution is for the county to purchase two parcels needed to complete the project.

If approved by the GCL’s Ways & Means Committee and, ultimately, the full legislature, the county will pay $4,000 to Aaron Howland and $1,900 to BGW Properties LLC for the land.

The amended project total is $659,933, and is to be funded with 80% federal aid and a 20% match from local 1% sales tax revenue.

In other action, the PSC recommended approval of the following resolutions:

  • Intermunicipal agreements with the Town of Alexander Water District No. 6 and Town of Bergen for improvements that will advance Phase 3 and Phase 2, respectively, of the Countywide Water Project.

The county will reimburse the Town of Alexander an estimated $231,863 per year for 38 years for the town’s installation of a water main and construction of a water storage tank that benefits the countywide system.

Genesee will reimburse the Town of Bergen for $38,000 in cost increases related to a previous agreement for the upgrades of certain water mains constructed by the town in Water Improvement Benefit Area No. 1. The increase brings the total eligible for reimbursement by the county to $85,000.

  • Acceptance of a $50,000 grant secured by Assemblyman Stephen Hawley from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York to assist in the restoration of stonework at the Genesee Justice (County Jail) building at 14 West Main St.

County Engineer Tim Hens said the extensive project could cost as much as $1 million. Necessary work includes repairs to the damaged front porch, repointing/resetting of stones on the historic front part and repairs to the built-in gutters, fascia and soffit.

“The last time we tried to bid the project it was nearly $500,000, but I'm guessing it might be closer to a million,” Hens said. “We are having a construction estimate being generated by third-party consultant before trying to bid.  We are also trying to secure additional grants.”

  • Amendment of the Genesee County Airport apron reconstruction project upon receiving word that the Federal Aviation Administration would be increasing its funding and no longer would require state or local aid.

As a result, $75,866 will be returned to the county, with the FAA picking up the entire $1.5 million cost of the project due to an increase in COVID funds dispersed to localities.

The committee also voted in favor of the following capital projects for 2022, to be paid for through the 1 percent sales tax fund: Holland Land Office Museum Restoration Study, $45,000; Courts Facility Boiler, $39,000; Highway Fuel Farm Upgrade, $35,264; Countywide HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) Controls Upgrade, $225,000.

  • Adoption of the Genesee 2050 project that includes updates of the county’s Comprehensive and Recreation plans, a venture that has been partially funded by a $40,000 grant from New York State Empire Development.

The remainder of the $100,000 expense will be covered by a $45,000 cash match from a previously established capital project and a $15,000 in-kind contribution.

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari said both plans have to be approved in order for the grant to kick in. He said that plans call for continued use of focus groups and input from the general public in the process.

In a related move, the committee authorized the county’s continued support of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council at the $10,967 annual level.

  • Reappointments of Tim Hens, Timothy Yaeger and Donna Hackett to the Genesee County Traffic Safety Board for three-year terms; Danielle Cummins and Diane Fowler to the Water Resource Agency for two-year terms; Donn Branton to the Agricultural Farmland Protection Board for a three-year term; Richard Richmond II to the Genesee County Planning Board for a two-year term; Michael Ciociola to the Fish & Wildlife Management Board for a two-year term, and Edward DeJaneiro Jr. as an alternate member to the GLOW Region Solid Waste Management Committee.
  • Applications from ACORNS, the Genesee County Park and Forest volunteer organization, for a music in the park event on Aug. 6 and a 5K/10K trail run and walk fundraiser on Oct. 2.

All PSC approvals are subject to passage by the Ways & Means Committee and, ultimately, by the entire Genesee County Legislature.

January 17, 2022 - 6:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify, bergen, pembroke, Le Roy.

Rebecca Lynn Martin, 27, of Brick Schoolhouse Road, Hamlin, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, reckless in the endangerment, leaving the scene of an injury accident, and reckless driving. Martin is accused of being a driver involved in a motor vehicle accident at 7:02 p.m., Jan. 14, on Lake Street Road, Le Roy, and leaving the scene of the accident.  Martin allegedly failed to stop for a stop sign causing her vehicle to strike another vehicle.  Martin's vehicle was located in the Le Roy Park and Ride and while deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, her vehicle allegedly struck a Village of Le Roy patrol car.  Martin was processed at the Genesee County Jail and released on appearance tickets.

Rebecca L. Harrington, 28, of Attica, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, driving left of pavement markings, speeding, and failure to stop at stop sign.  Harrington was stopped at 10:07 p.m., Jan. 6, by a Batavia police officer. She was issued tickets and released.

James R. Cooper, 39, of Batavia, is charged with unreasonable noise, a  violation of the Batavia Municipal Code. Cooper is accused of playing rock music at a loud volume for an extended period of time at a location on Buell Street on Jan. 11. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Jolene Y. Stevens, 33, of Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Stevens is accused of using a piece of wood to hit another person in the back during an incident reported at 8 a.m., Jan. 22, on East Main Street, Batavia. Stevens was arraigned in City Court and released.

Lyndsay T. Young, 38, of Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt 2nd. Young is accused of violating an order of protection at 3:57 p.m., Dec. 30. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Sean D. Roczen, 38, of Rochester, is charged with aggravated harassment 2nd. Roczen turned himself on an arrest warrant in relation to an incident reported at 9:26 p.m., Jan. 7, on Kingsbury Avenue. He was arraigned in City Court and released on his own recognizance.

Jeffrey P. Schneider, 51, of Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and moving from lane unsafely. Schneider was arrested following a three-vehicle property-damage accident at 7:09 p.m., Dec. 27, on East Main Street, Batavia. Schneider was processed Batavia PD headquarters and released on tickets.

Montell L. Cunningham, 28, of Lockport, is charged with criminal contempt. Cunningham is accused of violating an order of protection at 11:55 p.m., Jan. 9, in the parking lot on Alva Place. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Daniel Thomas Henning, 41, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with falsifying business records 1st. Henning is accused of falsifying business records at Pawn King, on Veterans Memorial Drive, at 12:11, Dec. 22. The case was investigated by Investigator Erik Andre and Deputy James Stack. Henning was issued an appearance ticket.

Nicholas Scott Warriner, 24, DWI, refusal to take a breath test, speed not reasonable and prudent, and following too close. Warriner is accused of driving too fast for conditions and too close to a marketed Sheriff's patrol vehicle at 12:15 a.m., Jan. 16, on Clinton Street Road, Bergen. When the deputy slowed his vehicle while a lead vehicle was turning, Warriner's vehicle allegedly hit the rear of the patrol vehicle. Warriner allegedly failed a field sobriety test.  He was issued an appearance ticket. The investigating officer was Deputy Jacob Gauthier.

Brianna Nicole Greene, 34, of Parkridge Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with grand larceny 4th.  Greene is accused of stealing more than $1,000 in clothing from Dick's Sporting Goods at 1:51 p.m., Jan. 8.  Greene was issued an appearance ticket.

Qumane James Santiago, 23, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment 2nd. Santiago is accused of striking another inmate at the Genesee County Jail at 7:21 a.m., Jan. 7. 

Rachel A. Keene, 26, of Pembroke, is charged with DWI. Keene was stopped by a trooper out of SP Clarence on south Newstead Road, Newstead, on Jan. 8. She was allegedly driving with a BAC of .10. She was released on an appearance ticket.

January 17, 2022 - 5:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
Matthew Zakrzewski

A 42-year-old Batavia man is in custody following an investigation into a fire at Washington Towers on Sunday.

Matthew T. Zakrzewski is charged with attempted arson 2nd, burglary 2nd, criminal trespass 3rd, petit larceny.

Zakrzewski is accused of setting a chair on fire in the communal area of the retirement residence at Jefferson and Washington in the city. 

The police identified Zakrzewski as a suspect during the beginning of the investigation when police received a report of a bicycle being stolen on Bank Street.  

Zakrzewski was located and identified as the suspect in the bicycle theft. During his arrest, police found he also matched the description of the arson suspect.

He is also a suspect in reports of broken windows on vehicles in the area. 

A current parolee, Zakrzewski was arraigned in City Court and ordered held on $50,000 bail, $75,000 bond, or $150,000 partially secured bond.

Assisting Batavia PD in the investigation was City Fire, Emergency Dispatchers, NYS Parole, and citizens. 

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who may have information in reference to the cases should contact Detective Sergeant Matt Lutey, Batavia Police Department at 585-345-6350 or the confidential tip line at 585-345-6370.

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