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Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Alexander outdoor classroom introduces a first for New York State

post by Daniel Crofts in alexander, education, nature, schools

Yesterday was the official opening of Alexander Elementary School's outdoor classroom. Sixth-graders McKenna Moran and Nick Allen did the honors for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with some assistance from preschool teacher Ellie Jinks.

Parents, kids and community members braved the autumn morning chill to attend the ceremony celebrating the opening of the very first certified outdoor classroom in Upstate NY.

McKenna and Nick were among the students who helped with this project last year as fifth-graders. They were honored student speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, where each praised the outdoor classroom's merits from a student's perspective.

"(It's great that) instead of just staying inside all day and writing papers," McKenna said, "kids get to be outside doing hands-on things and still learn the same things they would be learning inside."

"I think it's a great addition to our school," Nick said when addressing the crowd. "We don't get to go outside very much. And like McKenna said, instead of just reading about nature in books, we get to go outside (and learn in a hands-on way). I want to thank all the donors (and everyone who helped out)."

Guest speaker Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer called Alexander's outdoor classroom "a shining example of what all of Genesee County, and really the rest of New York State, should do."

He also said that "our kids are in front of too many screens (TV screens, computers, iPods, etc.)," and that projects like this show dedication to "where education should be going -- into the future."

Alexander School Board Vice President Reed Pettys cited studies indicating that:

  • Most of today's children spend 90 percent of their time indoors;
  • Allergies and asthma have increased as kids have stayed indoors more often;
  • Kids who spend more time playing outdoors do better in school and have better motor skills (agility, etc);
  • Symptoms of conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are relieved by contact with nature.

"Our hope is that for many years and decades to come," Pettys said, "this outdoor classroom will give relief to many individuals."

More photos after the jump (click on the headline):

Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:35 am

Second time around for GCC students' 'Walk for a Cure'

post by Daniel Crofts in GCC

When Genesee Community College students in the "Alpha Iota Upsilon" chapter of Phi Theta Kappa met for their organizational meeting over a year ago, they came to realize that they had all been affected by breast cancer in some way or another.

"Be it a family member, friend, or acquaintance," said Chapter President Thomas Wieszczyk,"we all knew someone who had battled breast cancer."

That's why they started "Walk for a Cure," a walk in honor of breast cancer victims and survivors that will be heldat 10 a.m. on Saturday on GCC grounds (at 1 College Road in Batavia). This will be the second annual walk; the above photo, which features student officers and volunteers, is from last year.

Pre-registration is not required to participate in the walk, which is open to the public. Lasting about 30-45 minutes, it will begin at the nature trail west of the campus and then wind its way through the woods and across the field, ending at the student forum.

Tickets cost $3, and T-shirts can be purchased for an additional $4.

Around 11 a.m., there will be a post-walk gathering in the student forum with refreshments -- including drinks and pizza from Mark's Pizzeria -- guest speakers and information on how to conduct a self-examination.

Guest speakers will include Bobbie Noto of GCC, Sharon Occhino of "Komen for the Cure" and Susan Smith, a GCC student and breast cancer survivor.

The event will also feature:

  • A raffle including gift baskets, gift certificates and a pink ribbon quilt; and
  • A Chinese Auction that will include gift certificates to Settler's Restaurant, Burger King, Denny's, the National Museum of Play in Rochester, Total Tan, Continental School of Beauty and more.

According to Wieszczyk, "Walk for a Cure" was sparked by a desire to start a "project that would help our community, raise student involvement within the community and fit into Phi Theta Kappa's national initiative for that year."

"Our then-president, Devon Kleinbach, called for order and said that she would very much like to do a breast cancer awareness walk."

The first walk raised over $1,000, which was donated to United Memorial Medical Center "to cover the cost of breast cancer screening for people who could not otherwise afford it."

The same will be done with this year's proceeds.

So far, the students of Phi Theta Kappa have gotten a lot of support, with community organizations and individuals donating gift baskets and nearly $300 raised from a pre-walk bake sale on Tuesday.

"If things continue in this fashion," Wieszczyk said, "we will have another phenomenal year."

Photo submitted by Thomas Wieszczyk

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:45 am

GCC's 'Phi Theta Kappa' hosts second annual 'Walk for a Cure'

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, breast cancer, GCC, phi theta kappa, walk

Student members of Phi Theta Kappa at Genesee Community College -- at 1 College Road in Batavia -- will host their second annual "Walk for a Cure" to assist victims of breast cancer on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. until an unspecified time. The walk itself will last 30-45 minutes, followed by a post-walk event in the student forum beginning around 11 a.m.

The walk will start at GCC's nature trail, which is on the west side of the campus, and then wind through the nearby woods and across the field, ending at the student forum.

Guest speakers will include two people from "Komen for the Cure" and a GCC student who is a breast cancer survivor. Food, drinks, a Chinese Auction and a raffle will be included.

This event is open to the public. The cost is $3 for the walk, or $7 for the walk plus a t-shirt. Tickets and t-shirts will be for sale the morning of the event, but they can be purchased along with Chinese Auction tickets on Thursday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Pre-registration is not required.

For more information, e-mail Michelle Williams at [email protected].

Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm

GoArt! recognizes community members dedicated to local arts and culture

post by Daniel Crofts in arts, community, GoArt!

Genesee/Orleans Regional Arts Council (GoArt!) held its Community Awards Gala last night at Terry Hills Banquet Facility. Honorees Linda Blanchet (Board of Directors Special Recognition Award), Patrick Burk, Lorie Longhany, Medina Sandstone Society (represented by Craig Lacy and Robert Waters) and Chris Busch are pictured.

Bill McDonald, center, was another award winner. He performed for the event with "The Old Hippies" -- Jim Sweet, Kay McMahon and James Catino (Bill Pitcher, far right, is not a member of "The Old Hippies," but presented the award to McDonald).

The other winners (not pictured) were the Holland Land Office Museum, the Le Roy Barn Quilt Project and the Mason Family.

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley was Master of Ceremonies for this 12th annual gala honoring community members in Genesee and Orleans Counties who give of their time, talents and treasure to enrich the artistic and cultural atmosphere of their community.

Genesee County

Patrick Burk was recognized for his contributions to community theater and, in particular, for giving the Batavia Players a new and permanent home with the Harvester 56 Theater.

Norm Argulsky, who presented the award to Burk, credited him with introducing Batavia to "the idea of a theater season," which allows people to know ahead of time what shows will be performed over the course of an entire year.

The Holland Land Office Museum was recognized for "enlivening local history and culture through exhibits, engagement and exploration" (as worded in the event program). Museum Director Jeffrey Donahue and Board of Directors Member Jim Dusen accepted the award.

Jim Owen, also on the museum's board of directors, lauded HLOM for "keeping history alive in Genesee County."

"It's very important that people don't forget our history," he said, "because without history our future might be pretty dim."

Lorie Longhany was honored for her passionate commitment to sharing her love of art with "the young and the young at heart" (Longhany's words), inspiring many young people to pursue careers in the arts and many senior citizens to explore their creativity.

Bill McDonald -- aka "Wild Bill" -- a local musician, was honored "for selflessly performing and promoting music and art, now and for the future."

When presenting the award to McDonald, Pitcher called him "a genuine troubadour."

The Mason family, a family of talented artists whose work has drawn national recognition, and whose paintings can be seen in buildings throughout Genesee County (including United Memorial Medical Center, Bank of America, and the Holland Land Office Museum), were awarded for their contribution to the cultural vitality of our area.

Max and Jane Mason were to receive the award for the family, but they could not attend. Beth Carr accepted the award on their behalf.

The Le Roy Barn Quilt Project, which showcases locally embroidered quilts on barns throughout Le Roy, received an award for "blazing a colorful trail to share (Le Roy's) rural heritage through public art."

Linda Blanchet, former GoArt! president and recipient of the GoArt! Board of Directors Special Recognition Award, was recognized "for dedication, drive and direction in pursuit of shining a spotlight on the arts in Genesee and Orleans counties."

It is worth noting that Burk, in his acceptance speech, credited Blanchet in a special way for getting him back into local theater after he had been away from the stage for 10 years.

Orleans County

Chris Busch, a member of the Orleans County Renaissance Group, achieved recognition "for passion and commitment to bringing cultural experiences into the community."

The Medina Sandstone Society received an award "for embracing the natural as a 'cornerstone' of culture, founding a tradition of community pride."

Guests at the event included representatives from National Grid, Turnbull Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, O-AT-KA Milk Products, Roxy's Music Store, NYSARC and GCASA, among others.

For more information on GoArt! and its programs and services, call 343-9313, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.goart.org.

Supplemental note on the Holland Land Office Museum

In his acceptance speech, Donahue mentioned that the museum now has the "V" from the old Batavia Downs sign. People who have driven by and seen it hanging for many years can now go to the museum to "see it in person," says Donahue.

Photos

Lastly, here are samples of the artwork included in the gala's silent auction:

"Holland Land Office" by Lorie Longhany.

"Hand-painted Autumn Leaf Pottery," donated by Kelly Kiebala.

"Barn on Country Road" by Tom Zangerle.

"Iris with Fence" by Dan Cherry.

"Framed & Matted Print" by Brandi Bruggman.

"School's Out" by Diane Phalen.

"Halloween Wall Hanging" by Linda Kozubal.

Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 1:58 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 6:02 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 7:47 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 6:16 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 2:26 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 11:36 am

'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 10:09 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 8:16 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 6:00 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 10:27 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 10:48 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 2:11 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 7:53 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 [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 6:42 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 10:42 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 8:54 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.

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