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Video: Classical guitarist Tom Torrisi performing at the Richmond Memorial Library

By Howard B. Owens

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Guitarist Tom Torrisi performed at the Richmond Memorial Library on Wednesday evening, entertaining the audience with pieces by Leo Brouwer, José Luis Merlin, and Francisco Tárrega, as well as his own compositions.

Originally from Clifton Park and now residing in Buffalo, Torrisi developed his love of classical guitar while in college and eventually studied at the Eastman School of Music.  

The video is of Torrisi performing "Ballad of a Woman In Love" by Brouwer.

Video: Meet and Greet with Sen. George Borrello

By Howard B. Owens
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State Sen. George Borello is a small business owner from Chautauqua County. He has represented the 57th State Senate district for three years.  In 2023, the 57th District will include Genesee County.  On Wednesday, Charles Men's Shop hosted a meet and greet for Borello and he spoke for a few minutes with The Batavian.

Video: Family ready to move into Habitat home on Clifton Avenue

By Howard B. Owens
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For Fallon Walenski, her new house on Clifton Avenue in Batavia isn't just home; it's a dream come true -- a place she can eventually pay off and leave to her children, a place where her children can play in a yard and have rooms of their own.

Walenski helped volunteers with Habitat for Humanity build the house from the ground up, and on Monday she cut the ribbon to celebrate her venture into home ownership.

Video: Meet Don Hoover, director of live racing and race secretary at Batavia Downs

By Howard B. Owens
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Don Hoover, who grew up in North Tonawanda, took an interest in harness racing while attending Schenectady Union College near Saratoga Springs.

Before long, he was a horse owner and saw some success after college, so he quit his job at a bank so that he could train and drive his own horses.  After a few years, he moved into management at harness tracks, then spent some time with his own horses again before being offered the job as live racing director and racing secretary in February at Batavia Downs.

Hoover said he's very pleased he received the job offer, and happy that he accepted it. Batavia Downs is a special place, he said.

"Since I left Saratoga, and before I came to Batavia, I had the opportunity to race at every single racetrack in New York State," Hoover said. "Quite honestly, Batavia has the best overall facility of any of the tracks in New York State. They've redone the clubhouse. The clubhouse is great. Some of the tracks don't even open their clubhouses any more. Actually, the majority of them don't, or their clubhouses are open on a very limited basis.

"The track surface here was always a place that I liked to come race. It's always in great shape. Just the overall ambiance of Batavia Downs from when you walk into the lobby downstairs, whether you're coming to play slots, or coming to get something to eat, or coming in to watch the races. I know it's cliche, 'the friendly track,' but it's actually true. You feel it right when you walk in."

Video: Meet Wayne Teaven, new track announcer at Batavia Downs

By Howard B. Owens
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Wayne Teaven grew up around harness racing.  His parents had a horse in the 1980s and they often went to Buffalo Raceway. Teaven was quite impressed as a lad by the race announcer there, Pete Szymanski.

"He used to have this way about him," Teaven told The Batavian. "He used to be very comical in his calls. He would add flavor, and he would add a little personality to it. I always thought that was great. I'm like, 'Man, this guy is really good. And I wouldn't mind being that someday.'"

It's that flair and flavor that the Lyndonville native says he tries to bring to his race calls, either at Batavia Raceway, where he has worked since 2016, or now at Batavia Downs as he takes over this season as the full-time race announcer.

Video: BOCES students cook up a meal fit for astronauts

By Howard B. Owens
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Three BOCES culinary arts students -- Liliana Espinoza, Tristan DiLaura, and Alexa Wolcott -- have had their heads in the clouds the past few months, dreaming up a meal that NASA astronauts might find comforting while they wait in quarantine before their next flight into space.

Their idea: Something with a Tex-Mex flair to suit the cuisine of Houston, where astronauts spend a lot of time.

The challenge: The meal must be low in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium.

Here's what they cooked up: A shrimp fajita with red lentil tortillas and a creamy avocado sauce; a side of cilantro lime cauliflower rice, and a Mexican chocolate brownie.

If they met the challenge, they could be among the final 10 teams to fly to Houston to prepare their meal for another panel of judges and the chance for a top-three finish, which comes with college scholarships.

Watch the video to see how they put their meal together and what they have to say about it.

Video: Historian Michael Eula speaks on slave women and poor white women in Genesee County in 19th Century

By Howard B. Owens
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Most history books neglect to mention the marginalized poor of the 19th Century and, perhaps, none were more marginalized than slave women and poor white women.

Genesee County in its early history was little different than the rest of the country in this respect.

"Until well into the 1950s, a typical historical treatment of our country usually excluded about half of the population, which is, of course, female," Eula said during a talk on Thursday morning at the Holland Land Office Museum. "The is an invisibility of women in many historical works."

Eula is uncovering some of that history in a book he's writing, The National is Local: Genesee County, New York, 1802 to Present.

"One example of this effort is the portrayal of the most invisible of women, at least for me, and that would include African-American slave women and poor white women," Eula said. "Both share common traits -- they have little power politically, economically. They lacked basic economic resources in both cases."

At the start of his talk, Eula noted that people often forget the history of slavery in New York prior to the Civil War.

"Contrary to popular belief, the dichotomy between a free North and a slave South is one that is not as pronounced as is usually depicted in a standard history textbook," Eula said. "The end of slavery in the northern states is far more complex than is typically assumed."

The emancipation of slaves in New York began early in the 19th Century but would take decades to complete.  There were slaves still in New York until shortly before the start of the Civil War.

In his talk, Eula shares what census records tell us about who owned slaves in Genesee County into the 1850s.

He also covers the plight of poor white women, who were often forced into the county's poor house/asylum. 

Oakfield-Alabama gets 13th win over Byron Bergen 69-51

By Howard B. Owens
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Oakfield-Alabama continued to run the table in the 2021-22 hoops season -- they're now a perfect 13-0 -- with a 69-51 win over Byron-Bergen at home on Thursday night.

Kam Cusmano scored 19 points for the Hornets, while Kyle Porter scored 18, and Gaige Armbrewster scored 13.

For the Bees, David Brumsted scored 13 and Colin Martin scored 12.

Also in boys basketball on Thursday,

  • Elba beat Holley 50-29
  • Notre Dame beat Attica 64-60
  • Pembroke beat Lyndonville 69-33
  • Pavilion fell to Mount Morris 53-44

There were no local girls'd basketball games on Thursday.

Video: Chamber of Commerce celebrates Golden Anniversary

By Howard B. Owens
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The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 50th year of serving and promoting local business and on Thursday, the chamber hosted a golden ribbon cutting at hits offices on Park Road in Batavia.

LIVE: Genesee County COVID-19 Briefing for Jan. 13, 2022

By Howard B. Owens
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Genesee County COVID-19 Briefing for Jan. 13, 2022

Video: Man rescued from attic window of house on fire in Corfu

By Howard B. Owens
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When Brian Schollard, a deputy coordinator with Genesee County Emergency Services and a former Corfu fire chief, arrives this afternoon at 13 East Main St., Corfu, he found heavy smoke coming from an attic window and a man hanging from the window trying to escape from the smoke.

Since no fire crews were on scene yet, he checked with a business across the street and the business did in fact have a tall ladder available.

Schollard and a Corfu patrol officer worked together to get the ladder in place and Schollard climbed to the attic window and helped the man, who has not been identified, down.

The victim had cuts on his feet and possible minor smoke inhalation, Schollard said.  He was taken to an area hospital for treatment and evaluation.

The cause of the fire is under investigation for Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger said it appeared to have started on the first floor.

(Initial Report)

LIVE: Gov. Kathy Hochul State of the State Speech Jan. 5, 2022

By Howard B. Owens
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Gov. Kathy Hochul State of the State Speech Jan. 5, 2022

Le Roy stiffles Attica in 58-34 win to capture Lions crown

By Howard B. Owens
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For the first 12 minutes of their championship match at GCC on Thursday night, Le Roy and Attica looked pretty evenly matched, then in the waning minutes of the first half, the Oatkan Knights offense caught fire.

By the end, the score wasn't close.

Le Roy won the large school division crown of the 39th Annual Pete Arras Lions Tournament 58-34.

The Knights held the Blue Devils to only 14 points in the second half, only four points in the final quarter.

For Le Roy, Mitchel Hockey scored 28 points, Merritt Holly scored nine, John Penepento, 9, and Finn Shelby, 9.

For Attica, Cole Harding scored 11 points.

The all-tournament team for the large school division:

  • Jamel Johnson, Roy-Hart
  • Carter McFollins, Batavia
  • Cole Harding, Attica
  • Simon Lamparelli, Attica
  • Merritt Holly, Le Roy
  • Mitchel Hockey, Le Roy (MVP)

Video: Ribbon cutting for VivIFY Hydration Lounge and Medispa in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
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Today, VivIFY Hydration Lounge & Medispa hosted its grand opening and ribbon cutting at 413 East Main Street, Batavia.

The spa offers intervenous hydration along with the administration of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients appropriate to the client's needs.  The IV process enables the body to absorb 100 percent of the nutrients, a result not possible through pill-based supplements.

Infusion options include increased immunity, athletic recovery, a cure for a hangover, a metabolism boost, migraine relief, and hunger suppression. 

Appointments can be made by calling (585) 494-7411.

Video: Wreaths Across America at the WNY National Cemetery

By Howard B. Owens
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Former Batavia resident David Bellavia, a Medal of Honor recipient, was the featured speaker today in a ceremony honoring veterans who have passed away and are buried at the WNY National Cemetery.

The event, Wreaths Across America, took place today at military cemeteries across America.  Friends, family members, and volunteers laid wreaths at the grave sites of the men and women who served this nation.

Video: Exit interview with District Attorney Lawrence Friedman

By Howard B. Owens
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After 40 years as a prosecutor, including the past 24 as district attorney for Genesee County, Lawrence Friedman ended a distinguished career and enters into retirement.

This morning, n his last day in the office, The Batavian asked him a few questions about his career.

Video: The Christmas Lights of Batavia 2021

By Howard B. Owens
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Video: Zach Watts proprietor of My Cut talks about his new barbershop

By Howard B. Owens
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Earlier this year, Zach Watts opened his own barbershop, My Cut, at 202 E Main St, Batavia, and this past week, The Batavian interviewed him at his shop.

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