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Special Olympics

February 11, 2023 - 4:32pm
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City School District employees, administrators, teachers, and staff, along with first responders from Batavia, participated in a Special Olympics fundraiser on Friday -- a polar plunge -- outside of John Kennedy Intermediate School.

The participants dashed -- in freezing weather -- under the spray of a fire truck's hose and got soaked.

The event raised $8,700 for Special Olympics.

Kelly Ligozio, senior development director for Special Olympics in Western New York, said the Buffalo polar plunge was last week and typically honors the school in Western New York that raised the most money for Special Olympics.  But Ligozio said she told the director, who has been in the position for 23 years, that they had to wait for Batavia's event before naming a winner.  The director wanted to maintain tradition, but Ligozio said the agency owed it to Batavia to wait because Batavia was the only school district to continue to hold the fundraising event during the pandemic.

So, they waited.

And Batavia won.  Special Olympics will host an ice cream social at John Kennedy sometime this year and the school's colors will be part of the Polar Plunge sweatshirt next year.

"It's amazing," Ligozio said. "What's amazing about it is how they've broadened it to include all the schools in the district so all the different schools can participate."

June 10, 2021 - 1:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Special Olympics, Arc GLOW, batavia, Sheriff's Office, Batavia PD, news.


Officers with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and Batavia Police Department carried the Special Olympics torch today from the Sheriff's Office on Park Road to the Arc Genesee Orleans Center on Walnut Street in support of the Special Olympics.




February 12, 2021 - 6:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, Special Olympics, video.
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The annual Polar Plunge at Lake Ontario was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but staff at Batavia Middle School didn't want to see Special Olympics lose out on such a vital part of their annual fundraising campaign.

So they came together today, at the prompting of Eric and Krista Knapp, who organized everything, for their own polar plunge with the help of City fire and Batavia PD.

June 6, 2018 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Arc GLOW, Special Olympics, news, batavia.


Members of local law enforcement held their annual torch run from Elba to Batavia in support of the Special Olympics today, with a path that took them down Richmond Avenue to the Genesee Orleans Arc Community Center on Woodrow Road, Batavia, on their way to the Arc building on Oak Street, Batavia.


May 30, 2017 - 3:04pm

Press release:

Darien Lake will turn into a wave of color beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, as more than a thousand runners participate in the Color Me Rad 5K, a colorful, family fun run. Returning to Darien Lake for its fifth year, the race benefits Special Olympics of New York.

The nationally recognized event is loosely based on the Hindu Festival of Colors, otherwise known as Holi; colors used are a sign of winter’s end and spring’s new beginnings. During the race through Darien Lake’s campgrounds, runners dressed in all white are showered with a rainbow of colored cornstarch, transforming their clothing, faces and hair into a colorful work of art.

Partial proceeds from the event will benefit Special Olympics of New York.

“Color Me Rad is a great family fun run that really brightens up our campground,” said Chris Thorpe, Darien Lake general manager. “More importantly, it gives us an opportunity to give back to such an important organization in our community, Special Olympics of New York.”

In addition to Color Me Rad-themed swag, participants also receive free admission and coupons to the theme park and spectators receive discount tickets.

“Special Olympics New York is very excited to be teaming up with Color Me Rad and Darien Lake again,” said Erica Raepple, Director of Development for Special Olympics – Western Region. “We have partnered for the past 5 years and through the generosity of Color Me Rad and the local community coming out to volunteer, this event has been able to help sponsor nearly 30 Special Olympic Athletes.”

Registration for Color Me Rad is $55 and free for children under 7.

To register for the event or for more information about season passes or accommodations, visit www.DarienLake.com.

About Darien Lake 

Darien Lake’s wide variety of entertainment has made it “destination fun” since 1964. Located 45 minutes from Niagara Falls between Buffalo and Rochester, today the park boasts more than 50 rides, including six world-class roller coasters; dozens of family friendly rides and entertainment; the region’s largest water park complete with wave pool; and a 20,000-seat state-of-the-art performing arts center, operated by Live Nation. The park is open May 6 to Oct. 1 and welcomes overnight guests in a wide range of accommodations – from a full-service hotel and modern cabins to rental RVs and campsites. For more information or to order season passes, visit www.DarienLake.com.

June 7, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Arc GLOW, Special Olympics.

Submitted Photo -- Carl, Colleen and James representing Genesee ARC and Special Olympics are pictured with Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence and Sheriff's Deputy Chris Parker.

Press release:

Local law enforcement officers are taking their support of Special Olympics to area roadways this week. The Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run kicks off Wednesday morning (June 8) at the Genesee ARC Day Habilitation Center in Elba.

Officers from several local agencies will carry the Special Olympics torch down Route 98 to Batavia. The route includes a swing through the parking lot at the Genesee ARC Community Center on Woodrow Road, and concludes with a celebration picnic at the Genesee ARC Work Center on Walnut Street.

Deputy Chris Parker is on tap to participate in this year’s event.

“This is the 30th anniversary of the Torch Run and the 50th for Genesee ARC,” Parker said. “We are running to show our support of ARC and their decades of involvement in the Special Olympics Program."

Two individuals served by Genesee ARC will help carry the torch with the officers at the beginning and end of the run. Genesee ARC has participated in several Special Olympics sports including track & field, swimming, snowshoeing and softball.

According to event coordinator, Sheriff’s Investigator Chad Minuto, the Torch Run is a real team effort, for a great cause.

“Throughout the seven-mile run, our focus will be on what the Olympics mean to our local athletes with special needs.”

Officers representing local, state and federal facilities in Genesee County have been invited to take part in the event.

June 10, 2015 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Special Olympics, Sports, batavia, schools, education.


A group of runners, including several members of the local law enforcement community, carried the Special Olympic Torch from Elba to the Genesee ARC building on Walnut Street, Batavia, this morning. Along the way, they stopped at the Batavia School District's fourth-grade track meet on Woodward Field.

Above, Garrett Schmidt and Avelin Tomidy get ready to assist Deputy Joseph Corona in carrying the torch for a lap around the track.


Carl talks about what Special Olympics means to him and how he won three medals at a recent competition.


Dave Chua


The runners approaching Van Detta Stadium.


Completing the lap around the track.

June 21, 2013 - 3:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in Six Flags Darien Lake, Special Olympics.

Press release:

The nationally recognized tie-dye spectacle and 5K run “Color Me Rad” stops at Darien Lake on Saturday, June 22, and is expected to draw more than 7,000 people, with nearly 6,300 already pre-registered for the race. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Special Olympics of New York.

Racers will be dressed in all white and run through the scenic grounds at Darien Lake while a Color Bomb Squad, made up of volunteers spread along the 3.1-mile course, takes aim at runners’ shirts, faces, and hair with a rainbow array of colors. More than 5,000 pounds of FDA-approved, colored cornstarch will be used during the event!

In addition to the Color Bomb Squad, walkers and runners will also be able to toss their own bags of color into the air, creating an unforgettable Technicolor display across the park.

In addition to the Color Me Rad 5K, families and participants of all ages are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous race weekend activities, including a Friday evening all-you-can-eat pasta dinner with live entertainment and Saturday post-race festivities in the amusement park.

On race day:
8:30 a.m.- - Onsite registration for the race begins
9 a.m. -- The first color bombs fly and waves of runners hit the course. (*Waves of runners depart every 20 minutes.)
11 a.m. -- Race ends

The amusement park is located at 9993 Alleghany Road in Darien Center

About "Color Me Rad"

Inspired by the Holi Festival of India, "Color Me Rad" is in its second year of turning runners into color revelers. This is the first year Color Me Rad comes to Western New York, and Darien Lake marks the 27th stop on this year’s nationwide tour. Color Me Rad™ will hold races across the U.S. and Canada in more than 50 cities. For more information and to see additional race locations, visit www.colormerad.com or check out what fans have to share on Facebook at www.facebook.com/colormerad.

June 5, 2013 - 5:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, elba, Special Olympics.

Local runners today carried the Special Olympics torch into Batavia down Route 98 from Elba.

February 2, 2013 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in Special Olympics.

Press release:

"Color Me Rad" -- a nationally recognized human tie-dye spectacle and 5k run/walk -- is making Darien Lake one of its 64 tour stops this year on June 22. During the charity event, which will benefit the Special Olympics of New York, racers will dress all in white and run through the scenic grounds at Darien Lake while a "Color Bomb Squad" takes aim at runners’ shirts, faces, and hair with a rainbow array of colors.

Registration for the run/walk began on Friday at:


More than 5,000 lbs. of FDA-approved, colored cornstarch will be used during the event.  In addition to “Color Bomb Squad” volunteers spread along the 3.1-mile course, walkers and runners will also be able to toss their own bags of color into the air, creating an unforgettable display of color.

“We strive to partner with organizations and families to create special moments that their kids will share with their kids. There’s no doubt that this is going to be a colorful memory worth sharing,” said Bob Montgomery, vice president and general manager of Darien Lake.

Families and participants of all ages are encouraged to take advantage of the numerous race weekend activities, including a Friday evening all-you-can-eat pasta dinner with live entertainment for those staying the night, and Saturday post-race festivities in the amusement park. Accommodations packages are available for registered participants at www.darienlake.com.

"Special Olympics New York is delighted to be the beneficiary of, and to partner with Darien Lake and Color Me Rad 5K for this tremendously fun event in June,” said Special Olympics of New York president and CEO Neal Johnson.

"Color Me Rad 5K is an energetic event for all, where the volunteers have just as much fun as the participants. Whether you register to run or volunteer for the race, you'll be helping Darien Lake and Color Me Rad 5K support more than 56,000 Special Olympics athletes across the state."

UPDATE: Our thanks to reader Thomas Taylor who left the correct link to register for the event in the comments section. The old link was replaced with the new, correct link in this story.

February 14, 2011 - 4:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, Special Olympics, corfu.

Shirley Lawson, of South Main Street, Batavia, turned 50 on Sunday and took the Polar Plunge to raise money for the Special Olympics.

This was a must-do on her so-called "bucket list" -- diving into freezing water in the dead of winter on her 50th birthday. She took the plunge at Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte at noon.

Lawson is an avid supporter of Special Olympics and is employed by ARC of
Batavia. Shirley and her friend Tammy Fisher, of Corfu, raised money by sponsorship in order to support a great cause.

December 23, 2010 - 4:02pm

Earlier this month, recruits at the Rural Police Training Academy at Genesee Community College took the plunge into the icy waters at Hamburg Beach on Lake Erie.

The current class in the 22nd Basic Course for Police participated in the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Polar Plunge on Dec. 4. All 24 recruits attended and 17 of them actually braved the 40 degree waters of Lake Erie for the cause.

They generated more than $1,000 in donations, coming in 24th place out of 89 competing teams in this annual event.

"This was a total volunteer event and I appreciate the hard work of this class for a great cause," said Douglas Brooks, director of GC's Rural Police Training Academy Brooks.

The event generates funds and raises awareness to benefit the Special Olympics, with similar events occurring throughout the year at locations across the country.

"It is a very unique way of not only raising funds for a great cause, but also building camaraderie among the recruits," Brooks said.


June 2, 2010 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Special Olympics.


Members of the local law enforcement community carried the Special Olympic torch through Genesee County as it makes its way to Utica for the opening of the games on June 4. After passing down Oak Street, the runners made their way to Walnut and the headquarters of Genesee ARC where there was a special reception.

June 16, 2008 - 3:35pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in police, Special Olympics.

Quite a few of you over the past week or so have caught on that we here at The Batavian can help spread the word. Whether you want to talk politics, culture, volunteerism, crime or whatever, we're here to get it done. Most recently, I received an e-mail from Batavia Police Det. Todd Crossett about a law enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics. (You can see Det. Crossett here to the right — hint, he's the one guy in uniform.)

As more and more folks are figuring out the value in a community site that let's you say what you want to say, when you want to say it, I thought I would take a minute here to let you all know that you can take this into your own hands. I'm here to help get up a post if you have an event coming up or if you snapped some photographs at a torch run (see another from Det. Crossett below). But I would encourage folks to go ahead and submit your own photos and write your own posts. Directly. That way, you have complete control.

That being said, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you're registered for the site. If you're ever having trouble with that initial step, don't hesitate to give me a call: (585) 802-3032.
  • Click the "Create content" link in the left-hand column.
  • Click the "Blog entry" link that pops up.
  • Write your text.
  • Submit your photograph or video.
  • For photos, simply click the little yellowish button in the Blog entry toolbar (above where you type) — the one that looks like a miniature mountainscape. Upload your photo, but please make sure the size is no bigger than about 480 pixels in width. If you need any help, let us know.
  • For video, make sure your video is on YouTube, then simply type in: "video:" and then the URL for the video and enclose that in brackets, like these: [ ].
  • When you're done, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit save. That's it.

Now that we've finished with that, here is another photograph sent to us from Det. Crossett, along with a brief explanation of just what this torch run was all about.

Det. Crossett: "On Wednesday, June 4, City of Batavia police officers and Genesee County Sheriff's Deputies participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The run started at the ARC day treatment facility in Elba and ran to the ARC facility on Walnut Street in the City of Batavia. When we left the day treatment facility Robin Eames, a client at day treatment, assisted in carrying the torch. Once the torch reached Walnut street, Kathy King, assisted in carrying the torch. Ths year the Royal Rangers, a boys scouting group donated the water for the run. Alexander Crossett rode his bicycle and represented the Royal Rangers on the run. This run is to bring awareness to the accomplishments of the participants in the Special Olympics."

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