Local Matters

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January 21, 2020 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in local knowledge, how-to, K9, frankie, Chris Erion, video.
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This is, we hope, the first in a series of videos we're calling "Local Knowledge."  We're looking for other people in the community to feature who have something to teach, a how-to video, of a specific task or skill.  If you think you have something to teach, email [email protected]

In this video, Deputy Chris Erion gives an overview of how to work with a police dog, starring K-9 "Frankie."

We would like to do more videos like this but they take time, which means we need help, and hiring help takes money. You can help us help you by becoming a patron. Click the "supporter" button below.

January 19, 2020 - 10:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in south byron volunteer fire company, south byron, byron, video, news.


Jeff Starowitz was named Member of the Year by the South Byron Volunteer Fire Department during an awards and installation dinner Friday night at the South Byron Recreation Hall.


Jennie Starowitz was honored for her 65 years of service to the South Byron department. Pictured in the front row are: Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Theresa Hammer, Bob Fite, Jennie Starowitz and Jeff Starowitz.


Lt. Vito Muoio was named Firefighter of the Year. Chief Brian Hickey, Muoio, and President Dean Bates.


Allie Gurgel completed the most training hours -- while also being a new mother -- in 2019.


Capt. Any Konieczny made it to the scene of the most calls in 2019.


Administrative officers for 2020: Dean Bates, president; Reggie Macdonald, vice president; Theresa Hammer, secretary; Alfred Klycek, treasurer; Bob Fite, membership chair; Al Secash, is Bell Jar chair; Rev. Harold Coller, chaplain.

Firematic officers for 2020: Brian Hickey, chief; Jim McKenzie, deputy chief; Jacob Yasses, asst. chief; Andy Konieczny, captain; Vito Muoio, 1st lieutenant; Jeff Starowitz, 2nd lieutenant; Chase Cone, engineer; Matt Dougherty, fire police captain; Aaron Belluscio, fire police sergeant; and Allie Gurgel, fire police corporal.

Video: Members of the South Byron Volunteer Fire Department reflect on being a volunteer firefighter.

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Last night somebody said to me, "I always say, 'If you want to know what's going on, read the paper. If you want to know what's going on now, read The Batavian." Help us keep bringing you the local news coverage you love most.  Become a patron. Click the support button below.

January 19, 2020 - 4:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, video.
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It's an annual tradition in the Coots family of Pavilion -- the family collects discarded Christmas trees, with friends and neighbors dropping them off or Jesse Coots and his kids hopping in a pickup truck and heading through local neighborhoods rounding them up.

Then one night in the dead of winter, they invite a bunch of friends over for some chili and beverages and set the trees afire. 

January 18, 2020 - 11:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Rath, 61st senate district, video.
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At the Harvester Center in Batavia yesterday, Ed Rath, a 12-year member of the Erie County Legislature, announced his candidacy for the 61st State Senate, running for the seat that Michael Ranzenhofer will vacate at the end of the year.

Rath attacked the one-party rule of Albany that he said has led to sky-high deficit spending, the passage of one-sided legislation such as the Green Light Law, the farm labor bill, and bail reform.

He said he will work to repeal bail reform and ensure the concerns of upstate residents are presented in Albany.

Rath is attempting to follow the political path of his mother, Mary Lou Rath, who was also once a member of the Erie County Legislature before being elected to the 61st State Senate in 1993, holding the office until her retirement in 2008.

Yesterday, after the press conference, Ed Rath complimented The Batavian on the quality of the questions we asked as did a member of his campaign staff.  We hear that often from elected officials.  We work hard to bring you the most informed political coverage in the county but to keep doing that, we need your support.  Please become a patron today. Please click the supporter button below and subscribe or contribute.

January 17, 2020 - 8:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Shooting for a Cure, video.
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Last night, the Lady Dragons and the Pembroke community raised $32,468.20 for research at Roswell Cancer Institute. The total the community has raised now exceeds $152,000.

In the basketball game, Pembroke beat Oakfield-Alabama 50-47 to move to 11-1 on the season.

January 16, 2020 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, oakfield-alabama, basketball, video.
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With a three-point jumper late in the second quarter, Elba's Colton Dillion pegged his 1,000th career point during the Lancers' away game against the Oakfield-Alabama Hornets. 

The game was stopped briefly for Colton to be awarded with a commemorative 1,000-point ball.

The Lancers, now 9-2, won 59-52. O-A drops to 6-4 on the season.

Colton scored 20 points in the game. Greyson Huntington scored 11. Zach Marsceill scored nine, Collin O'Halloran, eight, Andrew Hale, seven.

For the Hornets, Kam Cusmano scored 10, and Travis Wiedeich, Joey Burdick, and Gage Armbruster had nine each.

UPDATE: A photo of Colton Dillon taking the three-point shot that put Dillion right on 1,000 career points. Submitted by Kristen Smith.  For more photos from the game, click here.


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January 14, 2020 - 12:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, news, notify, accident, video.
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The driver of a 2019 Chrysler 300 who died after the driver's side of the car slammed into a tree at 10616 Main Road, Alexander, at 4:21 p.m. has been identified as Cleveland D. Johnson, 22, of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.

Johnson fled from police following a traffic stop by Warsaw PD in the Village of Warsaw. The officer lost sight of the vehicle before it reached Varysburg.  At Varysburg, witnesses informed the officer that the car had headed north on Route 98.

An Attica PD officer spotted the car on Route 98 but cut off the pursuit because of the vehicle's high rate of speed. The white sedan proceeded north into the Village of Alexander where the driver lost control of the car and it slid sideways into the tree.

Two occupants in the car suffered serious physical injuries. They are Clyde A. Frazier, 24, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Desarae N. Steriotis, 33, of Philadelphia. Fraizer was transported by Mercy Flight to Strong and Steriotis was transported to ECMC by Mercy Flight.

The accident remains under investigation and investigators have yet to determine why Johnson fled from police.

Assisting at the scene were the Alexander Volunteer Fire Department, Attica Fire Department, Bethany Fire Department, Mercy EMS, Wyoming County Sheriff's Office, Attica PD, and State Police.  

We work hard to bring you the news. You can support that effort by clicking the support button below.

January 9, 2020 - 11:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, basketball, Notre Dame, video.
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The #1 ranked Class D team in the state, the Elba Lady Lancers, didn't get to play at home until their eighth game this season, making it a big one against archrival Notre Dame, and they walked off the court with a 56-44 win to remain undefeated.

Taylor Augello scored 14 points for Elba. Maddie Muehlig scored 11. Leah Bezon and Brynn Walczak had 10 each.

For Notre Dame, Amelia McCulley led all scorers with 26 points. Morgan Rhodes scored six. Lindsey Weidman scored seven and had 10 rebounds.

January 8, 2020 - 10:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, elba, Notre Dame, video.
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It took two overtimes but in the end, Notre Dame prevailed over Elba in a fiercely contested match on Tuesday night.

The Fighting Irish came out on top 58-53.

Gabe Macdonald led the Fighting Irish with 18 points. Mark Sanders scored 12. Cody Henry and  Keith Szczepanski had 10 each, and Colin McCulley
scored eight.

For the Lancers, Colton Dillion led Elba with 23 points. Zach Marsceill hit four three-pointers and had 15 total points. Jaden Hughes scored seven.

Help The Batavian grow. Please become a supporter.

January 8, 2020 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kim Smith, 61st senate district, batavia, news, video.
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Kim Smith is a candidate for the 61st State Senate District. Yesterday she stopped in Batavia at the Richmond Memorial Library as part of what she calls a "listening tour," a chance for her to hear from residents of the district about what is important to them. This video is a quick introduction to the candidate.

Mobile app users, click here to view the video

We do the work of gathering local news so you don't have to. Help us do it better. Click the supporter button below.

January 4, 2020 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Horseshoe Lake, video, news, notify.
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At about 1:30 p.m. today a Stafford resident thought he saw a dog fall through the ice at Horseshoe Lake and after the dog didn't reemerge from the water, he called emergency dispatch.

Stafford fire along with the water rescue team from City of Batavia fire responded but the prospects appeared grim. The dog was nowhere to be seen, there was no motion in the area where the dog reportedly went in, and 15 minutes may have already passed.

Still, the water rescue team went about its task of inflating its boats and slipping into cold water gear.

Then a call came over the radio, "tell them not to go into the water yet."

A second later, a deputy received a phone call, "It's not a dog?" he said to the person who called him.

It turns out, another resident has been aware of what was going on all along but wasn't aware emergency crews had been dispatched. Mike Mullen, a retired City firefighter, had seen the animal out on the frozen lake and spied it through his binoculars. His wife grabbed her camera and a long lens and took pictures. It was an otter eating a fish.

Every once in a while, the otter would dive back in the water with its giant catch of the day and then come back up on the ice to surface to feast some more.

"Without binoculars, it would look like a dog struggling," Mullen said.

When his wife had to leave the house a short time later, she spotted the police and fire response and Mullen came out with the camera, with its LCD screen on the back to show the pictures, and let everybody know, "it's just an otter."

(Initial Post) (Mobile App users, click here to view the video)

January 4, 2020 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, video, Notre Dame, batavia.
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The Batavia Blue Devils fought through a couple of lead changes against local rival Notre Dame on Friday night in the championship game of the 31st Annual Rotary Tournament but prevailed in the end, 53-46.

Mackenzie Reigle scored 22 points on the night and was named the tournament's MVP.

Reigle's scoring included a pair of three-pointers while Bryn Wormley added 13 points, hitting four three-pointers in the second and third quarters. Emma Krolczyk scored nine points.

For Notre Dame, Morgan Rhodes scored 20 points, hitting a pair of threes along the way. Amelia McCulley, who fouled out with about 1:30 left in the game, scored 15. Lindsay Weidman scored six points.

In the consolation game, Pembroke beat Le Roy 59-49. It's the most points the 7-1 team has scored on the season. It is also the most points the Lady Dragons have allowed. Serene Calderon scored 17 points as did Nicole Von Kramer. Von Kramer hit five three-point shots. Mackenna Johnson scored 11 points. Jillian Curtis scored 12 points for Le Roy. Bryn Luckey added 11 and Kailyn Tresco scored nine.

Help us bring you more local news.  Click the SUPPORT button below.

January 3, 2020 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, video, batavia, Le Roy.
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Le Roy and Batavia battled it out Thursday night at Genesee Community College in a Rotary Tournament first-round game but the Lady Blue Devils managed to pull away in the fourth quarter for a 46-39 win.

Kenzie Reigle scored 19 points for Batavia. Emma Krolczyk scored 13 and Bryn Wormly, who hit two three-pointers early in the first quarter to give Batavia a lead it soon lost, scored eight.

For Le Roy, Kailyn Tresco scored 11 points, Jullian Curtis, nine, and Bryn Luckey, six. Tresco hit three-point shots in the first and fourth quarters.

The Rotary championship game is at 7:45 at GCC tonight, pitting Notre Dame vs. Batavia.

Bonus Video: Batavia's fifth- and sixth-grade girls basketball players playing a half-time scrimmage.

December 31, 2019 - 8:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, Attica, batavia, video.
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Attica gave Batavia a game in the large-school championship of the Pete Arras Lions Tournament at Genesee Community College.

A strategy of ball control -- often running the shot clock down to just seconds -- and a defense that kept the Batavia Blue Devils' high-powered offense from running away with the game meant the visitors had a chance up until their final possession.  

In the end, Batavia defended its crown, securing a 53-51 victory.

Camden White, who scored 21 points, many of them off his eight offensive rebounds (he had 11 total rebounds) was named the tournament MVP.

Zach Gilebarto, who missed the first game of the tournament due to an injury, scored 14 points, hitting four three-pointers. Stone Siverling scored 12 points.

For Attica, Frankie Bisceglie scored 15 points and Tyler Myer hit four three-pointers for 12 points. Ayden Goll scored eight points.

Producing a video of a basketball game is a lot of work. We would like to do more. Help us do more become a supporter today. Click the button below.

December 30, 2019 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, thebatavian, news.

In the fall of 2018, I made the decision to take video seriously as an online-publishing medium and began working at learning how to make better videos and upgrading the equipment we needed to do it.

This year was our first full year of producing video at a serious pace. We published nearly 500 videos in 2019. Here are five favorites.

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When David Bellavia asked me to travel to Washington, D.C., in June to attend a ceremony at the White House where he would receive the Medal of Honor, I was stunned by the invitation. This was the greatest honor of my journalism career.

I was the only working media from Genesee County on the guest list and was the only photojournalist present when Bellavia received a private tour of the Lincoln Memorial and the only photojournalist in the East Room after the ceremony. These are days I'll never forget. I think the video came out pretty well, too.

One morning in August, a friend told me about this event involving hot rods in Le Roy and since I was going to be in Le Roy anyway that I day, I decided to stop by. I had no idea what I was in for. For years, the Hardcore Happening has been one of the hidden jewels of Genesee County. It was fun to be there and it was fun to make this video.

"For the Loved and Loving: The Story of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument" was my first true effort at making a documentary. It was truly a labor of love and took months. To me, it's The Batavian's gift to the community, a document of a key part of local history.

I always enjoy meeting the members of the Batavia Muckdogs. They're often great guys but Milton Smith was something special. He's "Tony Gwynn nice" and was a joy to interview. I hope he has a long and successful career.

We published dozens of music videos in 2019. The performance at the Smokin' Eagle of Deep Blue playing "Born in Chicago" is one of the ones where everything worked -- clean audio and good visuals.

Thank you for your support of The Batavian in 2019 but there's one thing more you can do for us to help us bring you more news and more video. Become a supporter by clicking the button below.

December 30, 2019 - 6:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, thebatavian, news.
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Click the links below to view the following other Top 10 videos of 2019:

This was a our first full year of producing video on a regular basis. In total, our videos received 185,293 views.

December 30, 2019 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment, video.
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December 30, 2019 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in advertisement, batavia's best businesses, video, Batavia Downs.

Today we're pleased to release Episode 4 of our series of Batavia's Best Businesses, featuring Batavia Downs.

In this episode, Nici Johnson and Macy Paradise decide it's time for a staycation at Batavia Downs.

Batavia's Best Businesses is a joint promotional production for Genesee County businesses by The Batavian and WBTA. To find out how to promote your business in this web video series, contact Lorne or Jim at WBTA.

December 28, 2019 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, video, sports, batavia, Le Roy, Lions Tournament.
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Caeden and Camden White scored a combined 43 points for Batavia against Le Roy in the first-round large-school game in the annual Pete Arras Lions Tournament at Genesee Community College.

Caeden White hit five three-point shots on his way to 21 points on the night. Camden White dominated in the paint scoring 22 points.

Stone Siverling scored 14 points, Luke Rogers scored nine, hitting three three-point shots in the fourth quarter, and Max Rapone hit two three-pointers for six points.

Andrew Loftus scored 11 points for the Oatkan Knights and Ethan Beswick scored 10 points.

Batavia will play Attica for the large-school championship on Monday at GCC at 8:45 p.m.

Elba plays Notre Dame in the small-school championship at 7 p.m. on Monday at GCC.

Still photos by Philip Casper.





December 24, 2019 - 3:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, video, music, arts, entertainment.
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Thank you to Batavia First Presbyterian Church for the use of its sanctuary to record these sessions with James Robert Kibby.

Merry Christmas.

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