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Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Donations of scrap metal wanted to supplement St. Joe's Super Mammoth Sale

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements

Press release:

To supplement funds for our SUPER MAMMOTH Sale next April, we will be providing an opportunity for people to donate any scrap metal they would like to dispose of (iron, tin, steel, aluminum, copper, brass, stainless steel, etc). Ed Arnold Scrap Processors will assist us in receiving, collecting and sorting the metals and then pay us for its worth.

What a great way to support the MAMMOTH while we provide you with a needed service!

Where: St. Joseph School parking lot (at 2 Summit St. in Batavia)

When: Saturday, Oct. 13

Time: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What to bring: Metal of any kind...pipes, poles, gutters, metal shelving, bed rails, bicycle frames, pots and pans, lawn furniture, fencing, wire, tire rims, grills, awnings, file cabinets, swing sets, old appliances, radiators, metal sinks, garbage cans, air conditioners, antennas, screen doors, wrought iron railings, tin cans (labels removed), etc.

Absolutely no wood or glass attached to the metal.

We will accept car, truck and boat batteries.

We will not accept propane tanks or refrigerators unless the Freon in the fridge has been removed.

If you have any questions call Kathy Stefani at 344-2701.

Note: LIMITED pick-ups (within city limits) will be available this day only for those who cannot make the drop-off themselves. General donations for the MAMMOTH other than scrap metal will not be accepted at this time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Alexander Central School's outdoor classroom -- public invited

Alexander Elementary School invites the public to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new outdoor classroom on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m.

There will be a 15- to 20-minute period of opening remarks, followed by the ribbon-cutting itself. People can then wander the classroom trails and explore. There is no set time for this -- it will depend on the weather, the turnout and people's own preferences.

For previous coverage, see New classroom will give Alexander students a place to learn in the great outdoors.

The school is at 3314 Buffalo St. in Alexander. Contact Alexander Elementary School Principal Matt Stroud at 591-1551, ext. 1182 or e-mail [email protected] for further details.

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

ARC 'Trash & Recycling Center' open house showcases new location, bigger recycling efforts

post by Daniel Crofts in ARC, environment, Recycling

Michael Smith hopes that "future generations of our children will ask, 'What were landfills?'"

Smith is the trash/recycling coordinator at Genesee ARC. He is pictured (left) with Floor Supervisor Mark Wood.

His comment was part of an opening speech at last night's open house for the agency's new Trash & Recycling Center.

The open house was in celebration of the center's move from its former location on Clinton Street (in the City of Batavia) to a larger facility at 3785 W. Main St. Road in the Town of Batavia.

Genesee ARC, which serves children and adults with developmental disabilities, has handled the City of Batavia's waste management for nearly 30 years.

"Recycling was a natural spinoff," Smith said.

And now, with New York State's recycling and take-back program for electronic items, they are going to be even busier.

By law, businesses, municipalities and waste collection companies can no longer throw away old computers, TVs, or other covered electronic devices -- known as "e-waste" -- into the trash or into landfills. Instead, the manufacturers must take them back for recycling purposes.

ARC's new Trash & Recycling Center location will house the agency's e-waste recycling efforts, which are part of an expansion of endeavors and a growing need for services that prompted the move to West Main Street Road.

At this time, according to Wood, all of the materials that go through ARC's Trash & Recycling Center are sent to mills around the Northeast region and Canada.

"They take the products and re-manufacture the raw material into new soup cans, new milk cartons, new boxes," etc.

In addition to being good for the environment, the center also give employment opportunities to people with disabilities, which Wood sees as a major plus.

Photos: Top four photos by Howard Owens. Other photos by Dan Crofts.

Government officials present at last night's event included:

Jeremy Bennett, a representative from Congresswoman Kathy Hochul's office, with ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski.

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell, with ARC Director of Development Shelley Falitico.

For more information on ARC's Trash & Recycling Center, click here.

Disclosure: Dan Crofts works for Genesee ARC. He is employed at the Day Habilitation site in Elba.

More pictures (click on the headline for more):

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm

'Stitches in Time 2012 Quilt Show'

The Museum Quilt Guild's biennial quilt show -- named "Stitches in Time" this year -- takes place this weekend at the Alexander Fireman's Recreation Hall, at 10708 Alexander Road/Route 98 in Alexander.

Times are as follows:

  • Friday, Oct. 19 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 20 - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $5, and tickets can be purchased at the Farmers Market at the Batavia Downs parking lot (at 8315 Park Road in Batavia) from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Fridays.

The show will include a display of over 200 quilts made by guild members, a boutique, vendors, a silent auction, demonstrations and a Raffle Quilt.

For more information, contact Mary Ellen Hartwick at [email protected] or call 409-9297.

Monday, September 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Peaceful Genesee to host four-part series: 'Path to Reduce Community Violence'

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, GCC, nonviolence, peaceful genesee
Submitted by Beth Stich:
 
Peaceful Genesee is offering a four part-series entitled “Path to Reduce Community Violence.”
 
The series will be held at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road in Batavia from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, 17, 31 and Nov. 14 in the Conable Technology Building.
 
Admission is free for students. A $10 donation per session is suggested for adults. Beverages will be provided, and participants can bring their lunches.
 
On Oct. 3, “The Root Causes of Violence” will be presented by Professor Barry Gan, director of the Center for Non-Violence at St. Bonaventure University.
 
On Oct. 17, Gan will discuss “Non-Traditional Approaches to Reduce Community Violence.”
 
On Oct. 31, “De-escalating Heightened Tensions” will be presented by Duke Duchscherer, a certified trainer with the International Center of Nonviolent Communication.
 
On Nov. 14, Kit Miller, director of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Rochester, will present “Creating the Community Commitment.”
 
Following each speaker, a panel of local experts will lead discussion. Each program will conclude with an interactive workshop.
 
Pre-registration is appreciated. Please call Sue Gagne at 344-2611 or email suegcmha@2kinet. For more information, visit peacefulgenesee.weebly.com.
Monday, September 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

'Karen's Yarn Paper Scissors' opens in downtown Batavia, grand opening Tuesday

Karen Crittenden, of Pavilion, has opened a new arts and crafts store in Downtown Batavia. It is called "Karen's Yarn Paper Scissors" and is located at 39 Jackson St., a few doors down from the recently opened "Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Café."

Store hours are 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

A grand opening with door prizes will be held on Tuesday.

Crittenden said this store features yarn and paper products that are not available at other stores, in addition to having an atmosphere of personal service.

"I will talk with you to find out what you like," she said. "And if I don't have it, I'll order it."

If customers are not sure of how to use certain items, she is happy to help them out. And it doesn't matter if someone bought the items at "Karen's Yarn Paper Scissors" or at another store. Crittenden is happy to help anyone who asks.

"It's all part of service with a smile," she said.

In fact, in response to customer comments, Crittenden is offering classes at the store next month, including beginner's crocheting and beginner's scrapbooking. She also plans to offer a craft group.

People can provide their email addresses to receive a message at the beginning of each month informing them of upcoming events and offerings at "Karen's Yarn Paper Scissors."

"I won't bombard people," Crittenden said. "The only other time I would email them is if something changes (in the monthly schedule, etc)."

For more information, call the store at 219-4480 or email [email protected].

More pictures (click on headline):

Friday, September 21, 2012 at 11:09 am

Photos: Genesee County Bar Association, Ranzenhofer and Hawley

Genesee County lawyers gathered for a photo shoot on the Old Courthouse steps Thursday. This was to conclude the ceremony celebrating the Genesee County Bar Association's 100th Anniversary.

In attendance were Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (who joined the lawyers in the photo), Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chairperson Mary Pat Hancock and professionals from the justice system at the state level.

Hawley and Ranzenhofer presented the proclamation to GCBA President Durin B. Rogers (middle).

Here are some closer views of the lawyers who attended:

For more information on GCBA, visit their Web site: www.gcbany.com.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

Genesee County Bar Association celebrates past, looks to future on 100th anniversary

The steps of the Old County Courthouse will be the site of gathering for local lawyers, judges and legal professionals, along with several dignitaries, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Genesee County Bar Association (GCBA) on Thursday.

Thursday's ceremony will last from 4 to 6 p.m. at 7 Main St. in Batavia.

GCBA President Durin Rogers said it is free and open to the public, and that "everyone is encouraged to attend" (a gala event at Terry Hill's will follow, but according to Rogers, and it's already sold out).

Notables scheduled to attend include:

  • Hon. Eugene F. Pigott Jr. (keynote speaker), Court of Appeals justice
  • Hon. Paula L. Feroleto, Eighth Judicial District administrative judge;

  • David M. Schraver, president-elect of the New York State Bar Association;

  • Michael Ranzenhofer, New York State senator;

  • Stephen Hawley, New York State assemblyman; and

  • Mary Pat Hancock, Genesee County Legislature chairperson and New York State Association of Counties president.

GCBA is a voluntary association of professionals in the justice system working together to benefit Genesee County and to improve the practice of law locally.

According to a press release, the association was founded in 1912 and quickly got to work to address "a widespread feeling of discontent with the judicial system and the manner in which justice was being administered."

"We are very proud of where we have been, and even more excited about where the GCBA will go over the next several years," Rogers said.

According to Rogers, GCBA has grown tremendously over the past several years, making new initiatives possible for both members and the community.

Some of the association's offerings include continuing legal education (CLE) seminars for members, philanthropic efforts with local agencies, and the "People's Law Series," which Rogers described as "a forum for local residents to become more knowledgeable on particular areas of law."

"GCBA intends to continue its present offerings and is always looking for new ways to benefit its members and the public," he said. "My time is limited; however, having spoken with the president-elect of the association, Mary Kay Yanik, esquire, I know that she intends to focus on several civic functions that give back to the community during her presidency."

Here are some past GCBA members (photos courtesy of Lisa Scott, of the Batavia law firm Bonarigo & McCutcheon):

Barber B. Conable Jr. would go on to become a New York State senator and congressman, serve as a confidante to three U.S. presidents (Nixon, Reagan and Bush), and be appointed president of the World Bank, a position he held for five years.

Honorable Robert E. Noonan Sr. who served on the Supreme Court in the Eighth Judicial District from 1949 until the early 1960s. Afterwards, he was permanently appointed (after two temporary appointments) by Nelson Rockefeller, then-governor of New York State, to the Fourth Department of the Appellate Division.

Alice Day Gardner was the first woman to practice law in Genesee County. She graduated from the University of Buffalo Law Department in 1901, being the fourth woman in history to do so and the only woman in her class. As a female lawyer in the early part of the 20th Century, she was a pioneer. The article about her above was published in the Batavia Daily News in 1985.

For more information on Thursday's ceremony, call Rogers at 345-1205 or visit www.gcbany.com.

Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm

'Sweet Pea's' cupcake bakery opens in Batavia, grand opening set for Sept. 29

post by Daniel Crofts in bakeries, batavia, Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Café

Husband-wife team Travis Farewell and Lyndsey Oliver-Farewell, of Medina, opened "Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Café" in Batavia yesterday. It is located at 23 Jackson St. (formerly the Verizon store).

Last night was their "soft" opening. A grand opening with a display and free cupcakes will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Because they specialize in cupcakes, the Farewells like to get creative and, as Lyndsey said, experiment with "many different varieties."

"We're always developing new flavors and decorations," she said.

She and Travis both love to cook. Travis has worked in food services for a number of years, and Lyndsey grew up baking with her mother and grandmother.

"We started (making cupcakes) just for fun," Lyndsey said. "Then we started to make them for friends at work, friends and family members asked us to bake for special occasions, and it became a business."

"We love the Batavia area, and thought it would be the perfect location."

According to Travis, yesterday was "really steady" customer-wise, and "busier than expected for the first day."

Sweat Pea's Cupcakery Café will do special orders for weddings, graduations, office parties, showers, and other special occasions by request.

Cupcakes cost $2.75. They also sell:

Cookies for $1;

Brownies for $2;

Muffins (including blueberry and peach cobbler) for $1.75.

And they sell bottled beverages, tea and coffee. Coffee and tea are priced at $1 for a regular and $1.50 for a large. A flavor shot can be added for an extra 25 cents.

Lastly, they sell "frosting shots" -- which are exactly what they sound like -- frosting in shot glasses.

Bakery hours are 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday, and noon until 10 p.m. Saturday.

Regular store hours will be held on the day of the grand opening.

For more information, call 344-5627 or email [email protected].

Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 11:27 am

John Kennedy Intermediate School 'Community Night' 2012

John Kennedy Intermediate School's annual Community Night is a tradition older than the school's current name (the "Intermediate" part was added after the recent school district consolidation), and the JK parent group has spearheaded it successfully for the past eight years.

Pictured are members Jesse Boardman (vice president), Jill Halpin (treasurer) and Jen Houseknecht (president).

Community Night, which was held last evening at the 166 Vine St. school, offers a chance for the students, families and community organizations to connect. There were 20 organizations involved this year, including two new ones:

MARCHESE COMPUTER PRODUCTS Paul Marchese served popcorn while advertising his 220 Ellicott St. business.

PIONEER REPTILES Crystal Poyfair and her sons, Seth (left) and Liam, attracted huge crowds with their scaly critters.

And of course, there were familiar faces as well:

Mike Morris and Jerry Yoder proudly represented the Batavia Fire Department.

More after the jump (click the headline):

Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

Batavia yoga masters team up to teach future teachers

post by Daniel Crofts in Blue Pearl Yoga, Exhale Yoga, training, yoga

Batavia's Blue Pearl Yoga and Exhale Yoga recently teamed up for a 200-hour training of future yoga instructors. Rebecca Cohen (second from left), of Exhale, and Karen Reisdorf, of Blue Pearl, presented certificates last weekend to their three graduates: June Martino, Tess Garland and Maura Gilsinan.

The training was done in increments of four days a week for eight weeks, six hours a day, followed by a week-long "final exam."

Included were formal study (180 hours of class time and 10 hours of homework) and a "practicum" component (about 10 hours) where candidates had to observe and teach classes.

"It is quite an achievement for these ladies," Cohen said.

Yoga may look easy to outsiders, but no one can learn how to teach it without getting to know its complexities.

"You are trying to get a group of people to all move together and breathe together," Cohen said, "(and to) improvise a series of yoga poses, while asking them to push their muscles and joints to their safe limits."

Altogether, according to Cohen, there are about 900 body poses in yoga "if you include the variations."

She described yoga as "a great low-impact form of exercise that works every muscle in your body, and really improves core strength."

"It improves coordination and balance," she said, "because it is practiced barefoot and the poses are performed on one side and then the other, bringing balance to both sides of the body."

Yoga also makes use of deep breathing exercises.

"Yoga can certainly be just a physical exercise," Cohen said, "or it can be a physical exercise to connect you with your spirituality. It depends on your intentions."

Cohen always begins and ends her lessons by asking everyone to take a moment to reflect on his/her intention.

"(This) gives us a chance to remind ourselves of what we are grateful for and an opportunity to remember that in order to achieve personal growth, we need to stay focused on that goal or intention every day."

For anyone interested in future yoga instructor training, the cost is about $2,000 -- $1,800 for the training itself, plus an additional $200 for books.

For more information, call Cohen at (716) 316-9869 or email [email protected]. You may also contact Reisdorf at 343-1257 or e-mail [email protected].

Photo taken by Karen Reisdorf

Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Teachers and students welcome change with enthusiasm, dedication

post by Daniel Crofts in Batavia Middle School, consolidation, schools

Upcoming fifth- and sixth-graders and their families got to see their new school, meet their new teachers, and connect with their peer mentors at Batavia Middle School's open house on Thursday.

What is a peer mentor, you ask? Well, here are a few:

Paige Hameister, Brianna Ball and Madison Mitchell are part of a team of more than 50 eighth-graders whose task it will be to welcome, support and serve as role models for their younger classmates throughout the 2012-2013 school year.

Their mentorship is part of "BMS Connects," an orientation program that was started in 2009 to welcome sixth-graders to the Middle School. This year, the program has been expanded to welcome both fifth- and sixth-graders in the wake of the school district consolidation.

According to a press release from the Batavia City School District, the purpose of "BMS Connects" is "to help fifth- and sixth-grade students feel more comfortable as well as help them achieve success in their first year at the Middle School."

Wednesday, Sept. 5, will be "Connect Day," a day of activities for fifth- and sixth-graders. It will follow a regular school day schedule. Students will come in at 8 a.m. (reporting to their homerooms by 8:07) and leave at 2:45 p.m.

The day will include team building activities involving Cain's Taekwondo, the City of Batavia Youth Bureau, the eighth-grade mentors and all BMS staff.

Fifth-graders will have their activities in the morning, sixth-graders in the afternoon.

Prior to the activities, the sixth-graders will get to know the school, go over their class schedules, travel around to their various classrooms, find their lockers and meet their teachers.

After morning activities, the fifth-graders will spend time getting to know their homeroom teachers (fifth-grade classes will retain the traditional elementary school model of one classroom, or "homeroom," throughout the day, broken up at intervals by "special" classes like art, music and physical education) and exploring such topics as Internet safety and "Q & A" about BMS.

The first day of school for all BMS students, grades five through eight, will be on Thursday.

A change of scene for kids and teachers

A yearly occurrence, "BMS Connects" takes on a special significance because of this year's transition. It is part of a larger process involving dedicated staff and students collaborating to welcome not only more new students than usual, but also a new batch of teachers.

Lynn Matteo is one of the fifth-grade teachers moving up to BMS (in her case, from Robert Morris School). She is pictured up top interacting with her new students and their families.

Here is a sampling of the fifth-grade teachers and aides who are "moving on up" with their students:

Pictured front row, from left: Kelly Mallaber, Shirley Boyd, Lori Easton-Penepent, Beth DeFreze, Christa Palmer, Deborah Murray, Karen Cima and Laura Kaczmarek. Back row, from left: Matteo, Charlene Barrett, Debbie Caruso, Richard Peek, Nathan Moore and Andrew Reagan.

Julia Rogers, who stepped into her new role as house administrator for fifth- and sixth-grades on July 1, talked about the large amount of effort everyone has put into making sure that the kids and their teachers enjoy as smooth, comfortable and welcoming a transition as possible.

"(The work) started last year when everyone knew about the consolidation," Rogers said. "(BMS Principal) Sandra Griffin and Tim McArdle, our assistant principal, worked tirelessly with the school district administrators to get this rolling."

She credits Interventions counselor Eric Knapp with being the "huge organizer" behind this year's "Connect Day" program.

"He is very multi-talented," she said. "He's done this in the past, but this time he's coordinating two different programs for two different groups of students on the same day."

That said, she also stressed that this whole process has been a team effort building-wide and district-wide, from the top administrators to the BMS custodial staff who had the fifth-grade classrooms ready for the teachers by mid-August.

"The teachers and support staff have really embraced this."

Fifth-grade staff members shared their perspectives on the transition as well.

"So far it's gone very well," Matteo said, "because everyone here is very warm and welcoming. They have made us feel right at home."

Shirley Boyd, formerly an aide at Jackson School, said the experience has been very exciting.

"You have to be willing to welcome change," she said, "and they (BMS staff and other fifth-grade staff) are doing that."

Mentors, models, friends

As is the case every year, the eighth-grade mentors have embraced their role with enthusiasm as well.

"It really is a big honor," mentor McKenna Dziemian said. "You have a lot of respect on your shoulders, but it's a huge responsibility as well."

"BMS Connects" is designed to benefit the mentors as well as the mentored. According to the district's press release, "the 'Connect Day' program helps mentors develop leadership skills, responsibility and team work as they begin their transition process to the high school."

Dajah Williams and Jhensy Etienne, both eighth-grade mentors, said that they were prepared for their task through training that included:

  • "trust exercises" in which one person would stand on a desk and fall backward, and a partner would have to catch him/her;
  • a "scavenger hunt" to find the new students' classrooms; and
  • an exploration of the "middle dchool mindset" (positive and negative attitudes, etc).

Mentors will be assigned to individual fifth- and sixth-grade homerooms, and they will spend all of Wednesday with their charges. They, as well as staff, will help to answer students' questions and orientate them to the middle school.

According to Rogers, the mentors will be involved with their younger peers to varying degrees throughout the school year. For example, they might assist with activities in fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms, or a mentor might be "called upon if a child needs a friend or support."

"The big thing is that the fifth- and sixth-grade students will see faces they know (when the school year officially starts)."

High expectations are set for all of the mentors. As role models, they are expected to keep their grades up and model good behavior throughout the year.

Excitement for a new beginning

Rogers said that Thursday's open house, which included separate sessions for fifth-graders and sixth-graders, went very well.

"The students are really excited," she said. "I've noticed that most of their questions are focused on who their teachers will be."

Any families who were not able to attend the open house can access the House Student Handbook and Thursday's PowerPoint presentations by visiting the BMS 5/6 House Web page.

Friday, August 24, 2012 at 8:53 am

Mark your calendars -- 'Stitches in Time 2012 Quilt Show' is Oct. 19 and 20

post by Daniel Crofts in alexander, Museum Quilt Guild, quilt show

Quilt lovers will have their pick of everything from fabrics to fancy threads, from big to small, and from modern to traditional at the "Stitches in Time 2012 Quilt Show."

This is the Museum Quilt Guild's biennial quilt show, and it will take place from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m Friday, Oct. 19 and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. It will be at the Alexander Fireman's Recreation Hall, at 10708 Alexander Road/Route 98 in Alexander.

Included in the two-day event will be a vendor's mall, a boutique where people can buy quilts, a silent auction and a raffle.

Raffle tickets will be available at the following venues:

  • Farmers Market at the Batavia Downs parking lot (at 8315 Park Road in Batavia) from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Fridays
  • Brick House Corner's Fair (at 1145 Main Road in Corfu)

All quilts, including the raffle quilt (which can be viewed at the above locations), are made by guild members. Admission is $5.

Guild Publicity Chairperson Mary Ellen Hartwick said the proceeds will be donated to the Veteran's Administration, the Holland Land Office Museum and "a very active Community Service Program" (quoted from press release).

"Through the Community Service Program," Hartwick said, "many, many quilts are made and donated each year to organizations such as All Babies Cherished, the YWCA for their Domestic Violence Shelter, St. Luke's Mission of Mercy and the Batavia Agri-Business Child Development Center."

They have also donated quilts to fundraisers for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Genesee ARC, the Gillam-Grant Community Center and HomeCare & Hospice.

Guild meetings are held the third Saturday of every month at the Batavia VA auditorium, at 222 Richmond Ave. in Batavia. Meetings are from 9:30 a.m. until noon, and anyone who is interested in making quilts is encouraged to attend.

For more information on the quilt show, contact Hartwick at emmy_1953@yahoo.co[email protected] or call 409-9297. People can also learn more by visiting the Museum Quilt Guild's blog page about the event.

Photo courtesy of Mary Ellen Hartwick. Pictured front row, from left: Mary Lu Hodgins, Mary Ellen Casey, Melanie Watson, Eileen Partise, Alex Hammon and Jamie Hammon.

Back row, from left: Barb Brady, Lori Anderson, Kate Martin, Chris Kuehl, Jean Butzer, Elaine Ross, Dodie Morrison, Kathy Belluscio, Anne O'Geen, Carol McNally and Dorothy Doerrer.

Monday, August 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Passion for sports leads Oakfield man to open store in Batavia

post by Daniel Crofts in batavia, business, Fisher Sports NY, sports

Who knew Batavia had a Syracuse Orange dad hanging out behind Pizza Hut?

Kurt Fisher and his family own Fisher Sports NY, at 412 E. Main St. in Batavia. His son, Andrew, a graduate of Oakfield-Alabama High School, plays football for Syracuse University.

"I trained (Andrew) through the years," Fisher said. "Now I follow him around the country."

Fisher, a 1981 Batavia High School graduate, opened the storelast month to provide a venue for players of various sports to access needed equipment. He felt that was something lacking in our area.

"No one sells quality equipment in Batavia," he said. "There are a couple stores that carry a little, but not the major stuff. (It's been that way) probably since Chuck's Sporting Goods closed (in the 1980s)."

A passion for youth sports is part of what inspired Fisher to open this store. He has assisted with football at Oakfield-Alabama High School and is looking to make more opportunities available locally.

"I'd love to get punting and kicking opportunities for kids," he said, "so that they have the same opportunity as my son."

He encourages anyone interested in such opportunities to contact him, either by phone or by coming to the store.

Making equipment readily available is a big part of his mission to preserve and increase athletic opportunities, and that's where Fisher Sports NY comes in.

"(Business) has been getting better as we go along," he said. "But we're still trying to get our name out and let people know we're here."

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 344-2500.

Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Photos: Redfield Parkway 100th Anniversary

post by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Neighborhoods, Redfield Parkway

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley shook the hand of "Mayor" Jim Owen today at the Redfield Parkway 100th Anniversary celebration (see Wednesday's article, "Redfield Parkway celebrates 100 years Saturday," for previous coverage).

There was a pretty good turnout, including some folks of considerable importance locally.

Batavia City Manager Jason Molino attended the ceremonies with his wife, Anna, and their two daughters, Sophia (standing) and Stella.

Local historian and published author William F. Brown (whose book, "The Story of Redfield Parkway: The Beginning," was for sale at the event) also attended.

Wayne Fuller, of WBTA, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Fuller presented proclamations on behalf of Senator Michael Ranzenhofer and Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, who could not be there.

More after the jump (click on the headline):

Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Photo: 'Restless Heart' at Frost Ridge Campground

The Grammy-nominated country music band "Restless Heart" performed at "Jam at the Ridge," a concert series at Le Roy's Frost Ridge Campground, around 8:30 tonight. Doranne Kelly, the band's road manager, arranged a photo shoot before the show.

Band members are, from left, Greg Jennings, Dave Innis, John Dittrich (who is from Batavia), Paul Gregg and Larry Stewart.

See the Aug. 14 article, "Grammy-nominated country band to perform in Le Roy -- one of its members is from Batavia" for previous coverage.

Friday, August 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

'Clean up the Town' is family event to help environment

Press Release:

I am having a community clean up this Sunday for individuals and families to help our town and the environment.

It is good to teach our kids (our future) that it is important to take care of this earth that takes care of us. If you would like to join us in cleaning up, please contact me for details.

Thank you and I pray you can make time to help such a good cause. God bless.

You can reach me at [email protected] (or see the event's Facebook page). Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Redfield Parkway celebrates 100 years Saturday

post by Daniel Crofts in batavia, celebration, local history, Redfield Parkway

Redfield Parkway, one of the City of Batavia's historic neighborhoods, has changed quite a bit over the years.

Photo provided by Jim Owen

Above is a picture from 1912, when it was first founded by Charles A. Williams (former Genesee County Sheriff and mayor of Batavia) and his then-partner, David Garrett.

Jim Owen, a Redfield resident known as "the mayor" to some of his neighbors, is part of the committee organizing the "100th Anniversary Redfield Parkway Program" on Saturday.

Other members are Linda Conroy, Kathy Owen (Jim's sister, who lives with him), Tricia Clark, Lori Wendt, Julie Mancuso, Jane Johnson, Lisa MacDonough and Alicia Kaus.

There will be a ceremony that is free and open to the public from 1 until 2 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday is the rain date. It will include:

  • Music by the Batavia High School "Blue Bells"
  • Proclamations by Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, City Councilman Pierluigi Cipollone, City Councilman-at-Large Jim Russell, County Legislator Ed DeJaneiro Jr. and possibly Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (who is a former student of Owen's)

Wayne Fuller of WBTA will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Owen looks forward to celebrating Redfield's heritage with his neighbors and fellow Batavians.

"From an historical point of view it's neat to find out where we came from," he said.

At 1:45 p.m., a time capsule will be dedicated. Made by Redfield resident Rick Wendt, it will include news articles, a DVD of photos from Saturday's event -- to be made by Redfield resident Alicia Kaus -- a current phone book, literature on the street's history and much more.

Owen said the tentative plan is to bury it near the pillars, with a stone made by Derrick Monument Co. of Le Roy marking the spot.

Copies of local historian William F. Brown Jr.'s book "The Story of Redfield Parkway: The Beginning" will be available for purchase for $5 from Owen.

Redfield Parkway: A quick history

Photo from Brown's "The Story of Redfield Parkway: The Beginning"

Redfield Parkway was named in honor of the family of Heman Redfield, a local politician, lawyer, landowner and one-time Le Roy Postmaster. His home, according to Owen, was where Batavia's Valu Plaza is located today.

Redfield was born in Connecticut on Dec. 27, 1788, but he lived in Genesee County for most of his life. A member of St. James Episcopal Church, he served as a warden and vestryman. He also helped build St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Le Roy.

He was elected to the New York State Senate in 1823, serving with Attorney General Martin Van Buren (before he became the eighth president of the United States).

A War of 1812 veteran, he fought at the battle of Queenston Heights at age 24.

On July 22, 1877, Redfield died at age 89. According to literature provided by Owen, his funeral procession was the longest in the history of Batavia at that time. He is buried in the historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue.

He had 12 children, and his family owned the land where Redfield Parkway now stands until 1912.

A postcard of Redfield Parkway from the 1940s. Photo provided by Jim Owen.

Redfield Parkway was a private street until 1928, at which point it became part of the City of Batavia. It has existed in its present state since 1966, when the last house was built.

Over the years, it distinguished itself not only by its beautiful flower beds, but also by the row of American flags running down the street's median. Appropriately, the flags would eventually lead the way to the Batavia VA Medical Center (they were stolen, but Batavia Downs is supplying new ones).

The Owens

Photo provided by Jim Owen

Owen and his sister are lifelong Redfield residents. Their parents, Frank and Natalie (pictured), bought the house in 1930 and the adjacent land in 1945. They bought the land from Edna Gruber, who was Batavia's "most famous madam" and well-known for her local charitable work.

Interestingly, 2 Redfield is technically 4 Redfield (anyone who drives by and looks closely will see that although the house has a "2" on it, the house right next door is 6 Redfield).

The vacant space to the right of the house is 2 Redfield. The Owens had lived at 4 Redfield for 15 years by the time they bought this space, so they just gave the same number to the whole property.

Here is a photo of the real 2 Redfield, a garden well tended by Kathy.

Celebration of a heritage

People can learn more about these and other stories on Saturday.

"(Our neighborhood) has a tradition that's been carried on for 100 years, and I hope it continues," Owen said.

To that end, he added that the neighborhood will be making an effort to save the pillars at the parkway entrance in the near future.

"They're 100 years old, and the mortar is coming out," he said.

At this point, the pillars are owned by the city. Owen said the repairs will cost about $16,000, and they are hoping for a grant.

For more information and for any updates, visit the Redfield Parkway 100th Anniversary page on Facebook.

Heman Redfield trivia

  • Redfield's daughter, Jane, was said to have been the first woman to cross Niagara Falls in a basket;
  • Some people trace his ancestry to the Mayflower;
  • His grandfather fought under General George Washington at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Grammy-nominated country band to perform in Le Roy -- one of its members is from Batavia

post by Daniel Crofts in Frost Ridge Campground, John Dittrich, Le Roy, music

"It isn't often that someone makes it big in the music business, nor for the number of years that John Dittrich (second from left in picture) has."

So says Greg Luetticke, co-owner of Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy, which will host the Grammy-nominated country music band "Restless Heart" at a concert on Friday, Aug. 17.

Dittrich, a native of Batavia and a 1970 Batavia High School graduate, has been with "Restless Heart" for more than 20 years as a drummer and vocalist. The other band members are, from left, Paul Gregg, Larry Stewart, Greg Jennings and Dave Innis.

"It's amazing to still be able to do what I do," Dittrich said.

He embarked on a profession in music in 1975, and has enjoyed a long and successful career that owes itself, in large part, to a Batavia City School District teacher.

"My most important influence and probably the guy I would credit with helping me in this direction was Neil Hartwick," Dittrich said.

Hartwick was the Batavia Middle School band director and the director of the jazz workshop at the high school.

"He brought in Ed Shaughnessy (of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson") to do a concert," Dittrich said. "And when I found out that Mr. Hartwick had invited him specifically for me, that blew me away."

As a college student, Dittrich went to New York City once a month for two years to study under Shaughnessy.

"And he remembered me," he said.

As an original member of "Restless Heart," Dittrich was part of what he calls a "crossover" period in the history of country music.

"Our producer (Tim Dubois) had written some songs that were kind of in a gray area as far as the market was concerned," he said. "They were too pop for country, but not pop enough for pop."

Part of the band's success, Dittrich said, was due to the willingness of RCA Records to take a chance on them.

"There was a strong push in traditional country music at the time," he said. "But some groups did have more edgy music and enjoyed some success. RCA liked the direction of our music and they were willing to make the investment."

In addition to four Grammy nominations, "Restless Heart" has had six #1 hits and seven Country Music Association nominations. They have also been lucky to see 26 of their singles make the Billboard Country Charts. Their numerous crossover hits include the 1992 song "When She Cries."

A good 15-20 years have passed since Dittrich last returned to Genesee County. He said it will be "pretty nice" to be back for the concert, especially since some old friends and 10 family members will be in attendance.

"I hope somebody gives me a beef on weck!" he added.

The concert is part of the three-day "Jam at the Ridge." Gates will open at 4 p.m. Friday, with the concert itself starting at 4:30.

"Restless Heart" will go on at 8:30 p.m. for a performance of about 75-90 minutes. Singers Worthy Duncan and Johnny Bauer will open the show.

Here are the ticket prices:

Regular seating: $15 in advance, $20 at the gate.

Preferred seating: $22 in advance, $29 at the gate.

Preferred Plus seating: $42 in advance, $55 at the gate.

VIP seating: $79 in advance, $99 at the gate.

VIP seating includes front row seats, a private meet-and-greet dinner with "Restless Heart," a poster for autographing and a picture with the band.

Frost Ridge Campground is located at 8101 Conlon Road in Le Roy. For more information, call 768-4883 or go to www.frostridge.com.

Photo submitted by Greg Luetticke

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Boy Scouts to hold first chicken BBQ fundraiser Saturday

post by Daniel Crofts in Boy Scouts, chicken BBQ, fundraisers

Boy Scout Troop 6069 will hold its first chicken BBQ from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. (Cub Scout Pack 6069 has held a couple in the recent past, but this is a first for the whole troop).

The money raised will help pay for future scout outings as well as new camping equipment. Event organizer and Boy Scout dad Steve Ognibene said that depending on how successful the chicken BBQ is, they may make it an annual thing.

Dinners are take-out only and include half a chicken, salt potatoes, green beans, a dinner roll and butter. Tickets are $9 and can be purchased at the event -- which is at Clor's Meat Market, at 4169 W. Main St. Road in Batavia -- or in advance. Call Ognibene at 409-8358 or Lorelei Roll at 300-9500 for pre-sale tickets.

Free delivery is available to local senior living communities.

Photo taken by Steve Ognibene. Pictured are Jon Slezak, Ethan Gaylord, Andrew Freeman, Jon Totten and Thomas Ognibene. (There are 14 boys in the troop, but only these five were able to make it for the picture.)

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