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Photo: An evening stroll

By Howard B. Owens
evening stroll van detta stadium batavia
A couple out for an evening stroll on Union Street in Batavia, past Van Detta Stadium, on Friday evening.
Photo by Howard Owens.

CORRECTED: Section V state qualifiers in track and field held in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
track and field

CORRECTION: A Reader informs me I've gotten Jadyn's accomplishment all wrong.  She was competing in the Pentathlon, which is five events, with competitors scoring points in each event and the winner being the athlete with the most points. Mullen was far and away the winner of the event.

In addition to the three first-place finishes noted earlier in our post (below), she finished second in the Girls High Jump and second in Shot Put, for a total of 3,334 points. Anna Varland of Batavia came in second with 2,389 points.

We apologize to Mullen for the error.

It was a big day for Alexander's Jadyn Mullen at the state qualifiers in track and field held at Van Detta Stadium on Friday.

Mullen's wins:

  • Girls 800 Meter Run, 2:19.57
  • Girls 100 Meter Hurdles, 15.25
  • Girls Long Jump, 5.52m
  • Girls Outdoor Pentathlon, 3334

Other individual winners on the day:

  • Nathan Canale, Batavia, Boys 1600 Meter Run  4:26.73  
  • Campbell Riley, Batavia, Girls 2000 Meter Steeplechase,  7:30.33  
  • Batavia, Girls 4x100 Meter Relay, 49.77
  • Batavia, Girls 4x800 Meter Relay,   9:50.96
  • Laurel Kania, Alexander, Girls High Jump, 5-03.00 
  • Connor Domoy, Oakfield-Alabama, Boys 3000 Meter Steeplechase, 9:47.45

For complete results, click here.

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more, click here.

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New school year traditions: extra security, classes at RM, reminder to be kind

By Joanne Beck


Armor Security staff members made their debut at Friday's home football game between Batavia and Livonia high schools. Spectators were wand-checked at the gate, and security guards were on site to ensure that the only commotion was on the field at Van Detta Stadium. Perhaps there was also some excitement in the stands as the Blue Devils blew away the competition by 42-6.


The security company has a contract through the end of this year, and members of Batavia Police Department were also on hand to check for illegal parking and related un-gamely behaviors. Superintendent Jason Smith has been adamant -- via a letter to parents and recommending the extra security -- that home football games will be safe and without unwanted disruptions from spectators. 


Friday's game included a moment of recognition during a dedication to honor all police and fire department and armed forces members.


Earlier in the day Smith issued his superintendent's update to the district, sharing that he is "personally thrilled to begin my first full school year as our Superintendent of Schools, and I look forward to experiencing all the fun and joys associated with being a Batavia Blue Devil!" Certainly, players, staff and fans experienced one of those well-deserved joys with Friday night's win.

District leaders were "out and about" during the first day of school on Wednesday, he said, and they are focused on three key teaching principles: effective teaching, literacy (reading and writing) across all content areas, and providing an engaging and consistent curriculum. Smith gave some advice that is well-suited for anyone: work hard and be kind.

To read the entire update, go HERE  

Go here for prior Robert Morris story, and district security.





Top Photo: Spectators are wand-checked as they enter Van Detta Stadium Friday evening; members of police, fire and armed forces were given a dedication to honor their service to the community. Photos by Steve Ognibene. File Photo: Superintendent Jason Smith takes board members on a tour of the revamped Robert Morris building before the first day of pre-school and UPK classes on Wednesday. Photo by Joanne Beck. Children arrive for the first day at Robert Morris. Photos from Batavia City Schools.

Blue Devils home games to include extra security measures

By Joanne Beck

In anticipation of the first home game against Livonia at 7 p.m. Friday, the City of Batavia Police Department has a reminder for community members who will be attending the Batavia High School Blue Devils home football games this season at Van Detta Stadium:  the department will be strictly enforcing parking and safety rules and regulations.

“It’s going to be exciting and we anticipate large crowds, but that is not an excuse for unruly behavior, so our officers are going to be strictly enforcing parking measures and any violations related to safety and security,” Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said in a press release. “We are going to be working closely with the school district’s security firm and personnel working the games, as safety is the number one priority for fans, players and the surrounding neighborhood.”

Chief Heubusch noted that construction work near the stadium on Richmond Avenue to Oak Street and Park Road west of the stadium is ongoing throughout the fall. Those traveling in the area should use caution and plan ahead.  There may be road work that could impact parking, he said.

“We will be issuing tickets for any car that is illegally parked. For any public event where there is going to be a large crowd, we encourage those attending the game to arrive early and be respectful of people’s properties.” Heubusch said. “Parking is available in the designated lots at Van Detta Stadium and Robert Morris School. If necessary to park on adjacent streets, please adhere to the parking regulations as per the posted signage and do not block driveways. Officers will be monitoring the areas surrounding the stadium for parking violations and issuing parking tickets as necessary.”

In addition to Batavia Police officers and the district’s security firm being on site in and around the stadium, all attendees will be wand-checked to ensure no prohibited items are brought into the facility, he said.

School Superintendent Jason Smith sent a letter home to families last month informing them of the updated security measures to be used at home games. The fact that these football games are popular and well-attended has created a need for additional protection, Smith said. 

“In collaboration with the Batavia Police Department, we continue to make safety our number one priority for students, staff, and community members attending events at Van Detta Stadium,” Smith said in the release. “We’re anticipating a large crowd Friday night and throughout the season, and we want to continue to get the word out about enhanced safety protocols, guidelines, and expectations for those attending.”

In addition to coverage by city police, the city schools board approved a contract with Armor Security in May. The agreement is for services through Dec. 31 of this year and is with Armor Security and Protection Inc. of Rochester. The company is to provide state-certified security guards “to provide security and safety services for property located at 120 Richmond Ave., Batavia,” the contract states. Work includes monitoring venues for inappropriate, illegal behavior or actions, reporting of safety concerns within the venue and assisting with safe entry and exits.

The guards are to notify law enforcement or other emergency service providers as deemed necessary. Documentation is to be provided to the school district about any incidents deemed a reportable event or at the request of the district, according to the contract. Guards will be wearing an Armor Security uniform of black pants and shoes, and an Armor uniform shirt, layered with an Armor jacket during colder months.   

Batavia letter to district families encourages respectful behavior, includes new safety measures

By Joanne Beck

Batavia City Schools issued a letter this morning to parents regarding respectful etiquette and the use of security measures for football games -- including wand checks, a new security service and an age limit for attending without an adult -- at Van Detta Stadium.

The Board of Education had approved hiring Armor Security earlier this year. 

The fee is $29 an hour per guard at about five hours each, Superintendent Jason Smith said. That’s about $580 per game, or $2,900 for five games.

You can attribute at least some of the need for this to the Batavia Blue Devils’ track record, Smith said at the time of the board's vote in May. 

“That’s for special events, home football games. We’re drawing 1,000 people or more at those games,” he said to The Batavian. “With a successful team, you draw more people.”

Another change is a $2 admission fee for all varsity football games. Students and seniors 62 and older will get in for free.

The letter addressed to district families is below:

As the 2022-23 school year is upon us, we are excited to announce that our state-of-the-art facility at VanDetta Stadium will once again be hosting Varsity Football games.

We continue to make safety our number one priority for students, staff, and community members attending events at VanDetta Stadium. We’re anticipating large crowds throughout the season, and we want to make you aware of some enhanced safety protocols, guidelines, and expectations when attending:

● All attendees will be wand-checked by our security team to ensure no prohibited items are brought into the facility.
● VanDetta Stadium is located in a neighborhood, so please be courteous and do not block driveways, throw trash on the ground, or use foul language. Please be a good neighbor.
● All students ages 12 and under should be accompanied by an adult.
● We will be charging adults a $2 admission fee for all Varsity Football games. Students and seniors ages 62 and over will have free admission.

We’re also enhancing our security presence around the stadium during events. We’ve hired Armor Security to help support our administrators, athletic event workers, and the Batavia Police Department to make sure safety remains a priority at our events.

We cannot wait to welcome you back to VanDetta Stadium for another exciting season of Blue Devil events and cheer on our wonderful student-athletes. Let’s all do our part to keep our school grounds, students, faculty, staff, and community safe.

Thank you,

Jason Smith, Superintendent & Mike Bromley, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics

Go here for prior coverage about the security company. 


Flower City Union plays second pro game at Van Detta, 3-0 loss to LA Force

By Howard B. Owens


Rochester-based Flower City Union, a professional soccer team, played its second game of the season at Van Detta Stadium on Thursday, losing to LA Force 3-0.

The team is now 3-11 on the season. The team is in fourth in the National Independent Soccer Association, Group A Division.

It travels the region, playing home games at different venues, in order to build a larger local fan base.

Top Photo: Midfielder Alex Ainscough.

Photos by Philip Casper.


Defender Andriy Demydiv


Midfielder Alex Ainscough


Midfielder Alex Ainscough


Midfielder Lukas Fernandes


 Forward Andre Deas





Professional soccer team from Rochester to play game at Van Detta on May 4

By Howard B. Owens

Flower City Union, a professional soccer team in Rochester playing its inaugural season, is coming to Batavia on May at 7:30 p.m. for a game against California United Strikers.

The teams are part of the National Independent Soccer Association, a third division professional soccer league.  The team is partly fan-owned.

"This is very cool to have this game in Batavia," said Michael Bromley, athletic director for Batavia City Schools.

The game will be played at Van Detta Stadium.

The price of the game is $10. Tickets can be purchased at

ND defense stands tall vs. Bolivar Richburg in 14-0 loss

By Mike Pettinella

Notre Dame staged a herculean defensive effort that included several “red zone” stops, two fumble recoveries and an interception but had little offensive success en route to a 14-0 loss to Bolivar Richburg in varsity football action Thursday night at Van Detta Stadium.

The visiting Wolverines, 3-1, scored on consecutive long drives in the first half and, despite running 63 plays to ND’s 34, failed to score after that as the Irish defense came through time and again with big plays deep in their own territory.

Powered by the senior foursome of quarterback Brayden Ellis and running backs Landon Danaher, Jarrod Polk and Kadin Tompkins, the Allegany County squad ran the ball 56 times for 258 yards.

Polk capped a five-play, 52-yard drive with an 11-yard burst off right tackle with 6:06 left in the opening quarter and, after a Notre Dame punt, Danaher put the finishing touches on a 10-play, 55-yard march with a 21-yard sweep to the left side on the first play of the second quarter.

Senior kicker Hunter Stuck converted both point after touchdown attempts.

The Irish, 1-3, could not run the ball against the Wolverines, with 14 rushing attempts netting minus 11 yards.

Quarterback Jimmy Fanara completed eight of 20 passes for 67 yards – with the biggest gains of 18 and 19 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick and 22 yards to Evan Cummings. He was intercepted twice in the second half.

Bolivar Richburg’s offense featured a variety of formations. Mixing in misdirection plays and reverses with runs into the middle of the line, the Wolverines chewed up yardage and the clock all night long. The Irish defense, however, did not break as it made big plays to halt otherwise impressive drives.

Linebackers Vin DiRisio (who was named T.F. Brown’s Player of the Game by WBTA Radio (news partner of The Batavian), Andrew Edwards and Cummings, lineman Bryceton Berry and defensive back Hayden Groff led the charge for the Irish. Edwards went to the sidelines after suffering a leg injury late in the third quarter.

Berry recovered a fumble to thwart the visitors’ opening drive, DiRisio was credited with 21 tackles, including many behind the line of scrimmage and also to prevent long gains, while Cummings intercepted a pass on a fourth-and-9 play at the ND 39 in the third quarter and recovered a fumble on second-and-goal from the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

Early in the third quarter, the Irish tackled Danaher for a 12-yard loss on a third-and-1 from the 6-yard line adding to Bolivar Richburg’s futility inside the Notre Dame 20 – which included a pair of missed field goal attempts by Stuck.

In the final minute, with the Irish not trying to stop the clock, Ellis threw two passes into the end zone from the ND 31. The first one was dropped by Polk and the second one was incomplete.

Statistically, Danaher rushed for 112 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown and Polk carried 13 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. Tompkins gained 56 yards on 11 carries. QB Ellis ran seven times for 16 yards and was 3-for-7 passing for 12 yards.

Notre Dame’s next game is at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at Geneseo.

Photos: New Van Detta hosts Fourth Grade Track Meet for first time

By Howard B. Owens


Fourth graders today competed in Batavia's annual Fourth Grade Track Meet at Van Detta Stadium.

In 2019, the competition was held in Oakfield because the Van Detta was under construction and in 2020 the meet was canceled because of COVID-19, so this year's fourth-grade class is the first group of fourth graders to hold its meet in the new Van Detta Stadium. 

That's something they'll be bragging about in 50 years said Athletic Director Mike Bromley.







Free use by community groups of Van Detta getting extra scrutiny by school district

By Howard B. Owens

A policy proposal submitted by Michael Bromley, Batavia City Schools athletic director, received some push back from Board of Education President Patrick Burk at Tuesday's school board meeting after Bromley said community organizations would be able to use the new Van Detta Stadium for free.

It's not that Burk opposes free use of school facilities, he said, but he claimed that to allow free use of Van Detta while groups must pay a fee at certain times to use other school facilities isn't fair.

Burk noted that the school district changed its policy some time ago based on state education law to charge a fee for use of facilities at times when school custodians are not on the premises.

Custodians are at school facilities from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year and until 3 p.m. on weekdays during the summer and on holiday breaks.

"People may think I don't want community groups using Van Detta Stadium but that's not the case," Burk said. "I think there is a double standard if they're allowed to use it for free if others are being charged a fee."

Burk runs a nonprofit dance studio that uses school facilities and must pay a fee. He said the Genesee Symphony Orchester and the Rotary Club, among others, were "forced out" of the school district buildings when the district started charging fees.

Roxanne Choate, chairwoman of the GSO board, confirmed in an email today that the GSO stopped using the high school auditorium because the fee for its use was $500 per concert. The rural districts, in contrast, she said, charge $150. The orchestra does not pay for use of the bandroom for rehearsals since those take place on weeknights during the school year.

Burk reiterated this morning that he isn't seeking a way for the district to collect fees for use of Van Detta. He would rather see no fees charged to any community organization based in Batavia that would like to use school facilities during non-school hours.

"To me, it's a matter of removing the stadium usage fees, then the building usage should fee should also be removed," Burk said.

The Batavian has sought clarity on any such state law from the State Department of Education and has not yet received a response.

The plan presented by Bromley, which was based on conversations with Chris Dailey when he was superintendent and Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping contemplates three tiers of usage for the stadium.

Local groups, such as the Batavia Bulldawgs, could use it for free -- as they have been so far this year. Section V and the state athletic association would pay a fee sufficient to cover all staff costs for regional and statewide championships and other events. High schools from outside the county would also be able to request use of the facility for special events.

If community groups wanted to use the concession stand and benefit financially from concession sales, they would have to provide the staff and their own food and drink, in their own ice chests, for sale. For regional and state events, the school district would run the concessions with the proceeds going to school fundraisers.

The proposal is pending while district officials research what they can legally do regarding outside use of school facilities.

There should not be any effect, while the decision is pending, on planned events, including an anticipate Section V playoff game for Notre Dame on Oct. 26, nor a state championship tournament for eight-man football.

Video: A first look at the new Van Detta Stadium

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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The new Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium officially opens tonight with a game between Batavia and Livonia at 7 o'clock.

There will be a ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m. and the public is invited.

First game in new VanDetta Stadium will be Friday, with ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m.

By Howard B. Owens


Crews are working furiously to finish construction of the new VanDetta Stadium with a scheduled home opener for the Batavia Blue Devils football team on Friday.

There's a lot of finishing touches to complete and the goal is to have everything ready to go by 3 p.m. tomorrow when players expect to move into their new lockers in the remodeled locker room.

Game time is 7 p.m. Friday but the public is invited to a pregame ceremonial ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m.


Sept. 1 is deadline to buy engraved brick from BSCD Foundation for fall stadium campaign

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Batavia City School District Foundation Inc. is reminding the local community about their Engraved Brick Campaign at VanDetta Stadium at Woodward FieldOrders need to be received by Saturday, Sept. 1 in order to be installed this Fall. All others will be installed the following years.

The bricks will be located in front of the weight room and will be a “River Red” color. Each brick is $100 (including engraving). All engravings will be approved by the BCSD Foundation Inc.

Each brick will be 7¾ x 4 x 1¾ inch and on each brick there will be a maximum of 14 characters per line with a maximum of three lines. A character is any letter, space or punctuation mark.

Order forms are available on the BCSD Foundation Inc. website here or at the Batavia City School District’s Instructional Services’ office at 260 State St., Batavia.  

If you have any questions, please contact the BCSD Foundation Inc. at foundation@ or Julia Rogers at 343-2480, ext. 1010.

Photos: Progress on new home for the Batavia Blue Devils

By Howard B. Owens


The stands are up, the turf is in and it looks like the Batavia Blue Devils will indeed have a new stadium in time for fall football as workers tighten bolts and sew up seams in coming days before the oval track around the field is installed.

The new stadium, replacing the 70-year-old Van Detta Stadium, is part of a $27 million district-wide capital improvement project approved by voters two years ago that includes upgrades at all three school sites.






City School District track and playground renovations get underway next week

By Billie Owens
Press release:

With Batavia City School District’s yearlong reconstruction project at the Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium at Woodward Field set to begin next week, the last day the track will be open to the public is Sunday, Oct. 14.

Likewise, the current playground across the street from the stadium (adjacent to the Robert Morris Building) also will be closed after Oct. 14. The playground will be relocated to a different area of the Robert Morris grounds and reopen in the spring.

Another part of the 2020 Vision Capital Project that will begin this month is the addition of four classrooms and interior renovations at John Kennedy School.

The exterior and interior renovations at Richmond Library will begin in December. Improvements to Jackson are slated to begin in February the High School projects are scheduled to start in May.

Get your own piece of Van Detta Stadium with any monetary donation to BCSD Foundation on Oct. 13

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Capture a piece of the historical Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium at Woodward Field while supporting the Batavia City School District Foundation Inc. on Oct. 13.

From 9 a.m. to noon that Saturday, the Batavia community is invited to own a piece of the historic ground of Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium at Woodward Field by making a monetary donation to the Batavia City School District Foundation Inc. Any monetary donation to the foundation will be accepted.

All present and former staff, students, athletes, spectators, and members of the Batavia community (including Notre Dame alumni), are encouraged to participate in this event!

It will take place just prior to the groundbreaking for renovations included in the Batavia City School District’s 2020 Vision Capital Improvement Project (

Members of the BCSD Foundation Inc. will be on hand at the Union Street entrance to collect donations from those entering the stadium, located at 120 Richmond Ave. This event gives people the opportunity to not only support the foundation, but to have a part of the City of Batavia’s athletic history.

We encourage your participation and look forward to you stopping by the Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium at Woodward Field on Saturday, Oct. 13. Shovels will be available for your use.

For more information about the event, please contact Julia Rogers at For further information on the BCSD Foundation Inc. please check out

Grand send off planned for Van Detta at homecoming, final home game

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

There have been many Batavia High School homecoming games played in the Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium at Woodward Field, but plans for the homecoming football game against Attica on Friday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m., will make this one particularly memorable.

“We wanted to honor the legacy of the stadium as well as thank the community for their support of the 2020 Vision Capital Project,” said Batavia City School District (BCSD) Superintendent of Schools Christopher J. Dailey.

The District-wide capital project includes a transformation of the current stadium and grounds and features increased track and field lanes; the replacement of grass with a synthetic field; a new press box, bleachers, and score board; and expanded parking. Construction is expected to begin next month and be completed by August 2019.

First, however, with recognition and gratitude in mind, District Athletic Director Mike Bromley proposed and the District quickly approved an expansion of the traditional Homecoming festivities.

First, all fans will be admitted for free and, due to the anticipated overflow crowd that is expected, a bus shuttle will be available at approximately 10-minute intervals from the main bus loop in front of Batavia High School from 6:30-7:30 p.m., then again returning fans to BHS at the conclusion of the game. At half-time, in addition to the traditional Homecoming Court announcements, there will be a brief ceremony to acknowledge the distinguished past while looking forward to an illustrious future.

Bromley, issuing a special invitation, said,  “Anyone who has performed at Van Detta Stadium through the years -- including but not limited to students and staff who have been involved in football, soccer, track and field, lacrosse, cheerleading, and pep band -- are invited to be part of the celebration and step out on the field one more time when we call all former participants down from the bleachers for the half-time ceremony.”

“We always look forward to Batavia Homecoming, and this year we are also looking forward to honoring the outstanding history of athleticism, school and community spirit, sportsmanship, and, of course, wins, at the Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium at Woodward Field,” Superintendent Dailey said.

“We anticipate many more years of the same once the stadium is renovated, and can hardly wait to start building those memories!”

Voters reject Van Detta proposal in big turn out

By Howard B. Owens

Voters in Batavia today rejected a proposal to upgrade Van Detta Stadium and the athletic fields at John Kennedy School by a vote of 542 to 982.

With more than 1,500 voters, the turn out dwarfed what Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said is typical for a school district budget vote or board election. He said typically, turn out is about 600 people.

The proposal would have cost taxpayers about $110,000 more per year. It would have upgraded the stands at Van Detta as well as the locker rooms and showers, but most notably it would have converted the field to artificial turf.

The entire project was expected to cost $3.9 million.

School district vote on Van Detta capital improvement project today

By Howard B. Owens

Batavia residents are being asked today to vote on a $3.9 million capital improvement project that would upgrade Van Detta Statdium (including artificial turf) as well as athletic fields at John Kennedy School.

To help pay for the project, the district expects it will need to collect about $110,000 annually in additional taxes from district residents.

When & Where to Vote 
Date: Tuesday, March 29
Time: Noon to 9 p.m.
Place: Polling places are at Jackson, Batavia Middle School, and Robert Morris.
Note: Identification and proof of residency are required.
Voting Requirements: In order to vote, you must be a citizen of the United States, a registered voter, at least 18 years of age, and a legal resident of the Batavia City School District for at least 30 days prior to the vote.

Below, a video produced by the school district in support of the project.

Previously: City School District presents plan for $3.9 million upgrade to Van Detta

Vote NO

By John Roach

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 29th, is the vote on raising taxes to pay for upgrades at Van Detta Stadium. Just vote NO.

The School Board has money saved, use that money for the needed repairs. Do not borrow money and raise taxes for extras or anything else.

Remember, the School Board has property it can sell to pay for the Van Detta upgrades, but does not want to.  Until they do everything they can to not borrow money and raise taxes, just vote NO.

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