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Daniel Crofts's blog

Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm

School program helps kids think critically about media and persuasion

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, GCASA, Media Literacy Program

“If media creates reality, what is your truth?”

That’s the question that Prevention Educator Laura Ricci of Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse (GCASA) wants to get young people thinking about.

Ricci teaches Media Literacy, an ongoing prevention program, to Genesee County students along with other GCASA staff. GCASA started implementing these presentations in the schools two years ago, and they are still going strong.

Holy Family School in Le Roy included the program in its Red Ribbon Week activities last week. Ricci came to teach two Media Literacy sessions – one to fourth- through sixth-graders, one for seventh- and eighth-graders.

Students were excited about the presentation and contributed by sharing stories about their own experiences.

“Laura did an excellent job presenting the information and getting students involved,” said Principal Kevin Robertson. “The presentation educated our students on the many types of media messages that so greatly affect them on a daily basis.”

Today’s youth are exposed to greater volumes of media input than any other generation, from television to radio, iPods, billboards, store advertisements, video games, magazines and the internet, and more.

The goal of the Media Literacy Program is to inform them about how they are being influenced by the media without realizing it, and to get them thinking independently and critically about the messages being conveyed by commercials, television shows, advertisements, etc.

Each presentation is age-appropriate, but all of them raise the same points and questions about media influence, with particular focus on how companies have used it to market alcohol and tobacco products.

The questions Ricci wants students to think about when watching a commercial or reading an advertisement are:

    •    Who created the message, and why?
    •    Who is the target audience? What suggests this?
    •    What is the text of the message (the actual words and pictures portrayed)?
    •    What tools of persuasion are used?
    •    What healthy/unhealthy messages are being communicated
    •    What part of the story is not being told?

She showed the students commercials and print advertisements that exemplified persuasive techniques such as beauty, humor, and fame/status.

Once she moved onto the cigarette ads, she talked about the target audience.

“People who smoke almost never switch brands,” Ricci said. “So when tobacco manufacturers (of any brand) advertise their products, they’re trying to get non-smokers to start smoking.”

“Media Literacy is a very important part of our activities during Red Ribbon Week,” Robertson said. “This is the first year we’ve done it, but it will continue each year from now on.”

For more information or to request a Media Literacy session at your school, call Shannon Ford at 815-1876.

Disclosure: Dan Crofts is employed by GCASA.

Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Batavia man writes novel based on William Morgan's disappearance

post by Daniel Crofts in books, local history, William Morgan

Tom Talbot loves local history.

And he loves to write.

And he loves fiction.

Over a 30-year period, he worked hard to bring these interests together in a project that would ultimately become the historical fiction novel, "The Craft: Freemasons, Secret Agents, and William Morgan."

Originally from Elba, Talbot has lived in Batavia for more than 40 years. While some people may say that Batavia is a boring place to live, he has always been fascinated by the stories it has to tell.

"We live in an area with a rich history," he said.

His book, which was published in August, is set in 1826 and follows two government agents who are assigned by President John Quincy Adams to investigate the disappearance of William Morgan.

Morgan, as area history buffs know, was a Batavia resident famous for having mysteriously vanished after threatening to write a book exposing the secrets of Freemasonry.

"[The Morgan incident] put Batavia on the map for a while," Talbot said. "In a bad way, but still..."

The book's plot goes beyond William Morgan, placing his disappearance in the context of a larger web of intrigue that involves "rogue British Masons" (as the back cover synopsis puts it) and a presidential assassination plot.

"I didn't want the book to be just about Morgan himself," Talbot said. "That's been done by a lot of people. I wanted to include him, but also have a broader scope."

Agents Matthew Prescott and Zeb Cardwell are the story's protagonists. In Talbot's fast-paced thriller, they travel all over the Eastern Seaboard searching for the truth behind Morgan's disappearance, going from Washington, D.C., to New York City, Albany, Canada, Rochester and, you guessed it, Batavia.

Locals may recognize certain locations mentioned in the Batavia segment, including the Holland Land Office Museum, the Eagle Tavern, and the Mix Mansion (which is over on Mix Place).

Research into what life was like in 18th Century New York State -- including the difficulties of travelling in the pre-railroad days, bedbug infestations at inns, and the dangerous malfunctions of primitive steamboats -- helped Talbot craft some very interesting dramatic situations for his characters.

"A lot of it you have to imagine (as an author), but you do need some basis (in period details)."

"The Craft" is Talbot's first novel and second book. His first book, "Illustrated Black History," was a curriculum guide for social studies teachers (he himself taught history at Batavia Middle School for three years). It is available as a reference text in the Richmond Memorial Library's local history section.

He started working on "The Craft" while attending graduate school at SUNY Brockport and raising a family in Batavia. The busyness of his life required him to set the book aside for long periods of time; but over the years, his wife, Vicki, kept pestering him to finish it.

He credits the completion and publication of the novel to her persistence.

Looking back on this 30-year endeavor, Talbot likes to joke about how he started writing the book on yellow legal pads before graduating to the use of a typewriter, then transferring it onto his Apple computer, eventually putting it on his IBM computer, and, finally, finishing it on his laptop.

Writing is something in which he "dabbled" quite a bit before starting on "The Craft."

"Writing was always one of my major interests," he said. "I played around with poetry and short stories in college. I also did curricular writing for the Batavia City School District and for the Buffalo schools."

Since retiring from his position as an administrator at GCC in 2000, he has worked part-time as a grant writer and data evaluator for the Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA).

"I like to kid people by saying that I've written a lot of grants, but that's not all I do -- I've also written a book."

His jobs in the Buffalo schools, GCC and GCASA have involved extensive research and data evaluation as well as writing. Between this and a history degree from Georgetown University, his credentials for a research-intensive project like "The Craft" aren't too shabby.

As for whether other Tom Talbot novels are on the horizon, he definitely hopes that "The Craft" is "not a one-shot deal."

"I have some ideas for other books, including a sequel to 'The Craft.' Possibly something in a different genre, too."

Talbot himself is an avid reader and enjoys authors as diverse as John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Daniel Silva, J.R.R. Tolkien and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He has a blog, Tom's Book Pages, where he writes book reviews.

As for "The Craft," you can purchase it locally at Present Tense or at the Holland Land Office Museum; you can also order it online.

For more information or to order a copy, visit www.thecraftthebook.com. Talbot says he encourages people to comment on the book on the site as well.

"I would appreciate any feedback," he said.

Photo courtesy of Jen Zambito

Saturday, October 30, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Attica couple strives to set up teen center in village

post by Daniel Crofts in Attica, after-school programs, teens

"What's YOUR alternative?"

That's the question Wittnes Smith, of Attica, poses to young people in grades six through 12.

Since moving to the Village of Attica in 2006, Smith and his wife, Tressa, have noticed a couple things: there's not much for young people to do in Attica, and with too much free time on their hands, youths sometimes get involved in things they shouldn't.

So they are working to establish the Club ALT Teen Center in one of the three storefronts of Attica's historic Opera House, which is located at 16 Exchange St. in the village. The aim is to provide teens with alternatives to using alcohol and drugs, and to help them develop a "different outlook on life."

He says there is wide consensus that having a teen center here would be good.

The couple has been actively working on getting the club started for about a year. It would be open during after-school hours to sixth- through 12th-graders in Attica and surrounding areas, including Genesee County.

Village of Attica representatives, while unable to contribute to the project in an official capacity, have said that there are no legal or zoning issues that would prevent a teen center from operating.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union invites everyone to 'Pay It Forward'

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, batavia, TVFCU

How would you like to get free money just for entering a contest for more free money?

That's exactly the invitation the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union, at 10 Jefferson Ave. in Batavia, is inviting you to do from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15.

Here's the deal: Each participant is to go to the bank during the specified hours on Friday to get the word out about a charity or worthy cause that is important to him/her. All participants will win $10 just for doing that.

Bank staff members will videotape all contest entries, and judges will pick the 10 best videos and post them online. After that, the public will decide on the winner.

The winner will be awarded $1,000 to be spent on the charity or cause of his/her choice.

Members and non-members of the TVFCU are invited to take part in the contest. For more information, please contact the bank at 343-5627.

Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Pembroke kids have fun learning about fire safety

When Mr. Fire comes knockin' at your door, make sure you know what to do!

That's the gist of the message Sgt. Major William Joyce, of the East Pembroke Fire Department, had for Pembroke Primary School students last week.

He and firefighters from various districts came to talk to the kids about the importance of being prepared for fire-related emergencies.

These are some of the trucks that pulled up to the school in the morning, much to the delight of the children:

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 11:06 pm

September's almost over, but National Preparedness is a yearlong thing

post by Daniel Crofts in Batavia FIre Department, disaster, preparedness

Being a relatively new observance, National Preparedness Month is not necessarily widely known. It is what Homeland Security designated the month of September in 2002, in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

This initiative, which has the support of the Red Cross and other such organizations, is geared toward helping individuals, families, schools and workplaces develop efficient emergency response plans. This way, they will be ready in the event of a disaster -- natural or manmade.

Jim Maxwell, chief of the Batavia Fire Dept., recently commented on the fact that National Preparedness Month gets too little attention at the local level.

"It upsets me that not enough people get involved locally," he said. "I'd like to try and prepare for more (involvement) next year."

Maxwell's disappointment stems from his belief that every emergency is local in nature.

"It just depends on how you define local," he said. "'Local' starts in the household. For me (as fire chief), local means the City of Batavia. For someone like Jay Gsell (the Genesee County manager), the word 'local' has an even broader meaning. It (an emergency) starts and ends locally."

Of course, reparedness is not limited to September -- it ought to be a year-round priority.

"Part of my position is to make people aware," Maxwell said. "National Preparedness measures make things easier in the long run, because people are trained to handle smaller emergencies while we (firemen, emergency response teams, law enforcement, etc.) handle the bigger emergencies."

The chief pointed to National-Preparedness-Month-related websites that list things people can do to be ready for an emergency or disaster, as well as prepare for greater involvement in promoting the awareness campaign next year.

He mentioned websites like www.ready.gov, which educates people regarding steps they can take in order to successfully weather emergencies and provides information on what materials/provisions/supplies (and how many) they will need.

If you Google terms such as "National Preparedness Month" and "survival mom" (for parents), you will find a lot of useful information, including:

  • how to coordinate an exit drill in your home
  • establishing a meeting place for your family outside the home
  • designating what Maxwell calls a "focal person" -- someone who is outside of the home, the area, or even the state -- who the family can contact if they get separated.

Another website Maxwell mentioned was www.72hourplan.com.

Anyone who is interested in contributing to National Preparedness Month next year or would simply like more information can contact Maxwell at jmaxwell@batavianewyork.com, or call 345-6400, ext. 4379.

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Peaceful Genesee to host all-day event on Restorative Justice at YWCA

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, batavia, peace, YWCA

Peaceful Genesee -- formerly the Coalition for Nonviolence (see April 29 article)  -- is sponsoring "Restoring Dignity: Skill Building for Transforming Conflict," an all-day event that is free and open to the public, on Monday, Sept. 27.

It runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the YWCA, at 301 North St. in Batavia.

The theme of the event is Restorative Justice, which focuses on the needs of victims, perpetrators and the community as a whole rather than simply on punitive measures. The program will offer people an overview of Restorative Justice, demonstrations in recent initiatives, videos, role plays, discussion of humane conflict resolution, and more.

Refreshments and coffee will be served, and participants will have an hour for lunch. Pre-registration is not required.

For more details, contact William Privett at wprivett.paxchristi@gmail.com.

 

Friday, September 24, 2010 at 10:54 am

Local dad leads team of runners for good cause

post by Daniel Crofts in autism, 5k Run

Batavia resident Dave Chua -- pictured with his son, Kian -- is set to lead the Next Level Running Team, which will compete in the Genesee ARC Friends & Family 5K on Saturday.

Chua formed this team recently with the help of a friend. He was inspired to do so by his son, who has Autism.

The objective of Next Level is to raise money for the Organization for Autism Research. Chua's support of this organization is founded upon his desire to promote "practical research that will open avenues to fuller, more complete lives for those diagnosed with Autism."

Next Level runners are eligible for a variety of gifts and prizes donated by area businesses. These include sunglasses, water bottles, a recliner, a spa treatment, and more.

"In the meantime," Chua says, "our runners will be benefitting from the experience and insight of other runners."

In addition to running in the 5K race on Saturday, Chua is going to represent the team by running in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 7. If you wish to support him in either of these events, please visit http://www.firstgiving.com/davidchua1.

Local sponsors of Next Level include the following:

T.F. Brown’s
The Legend Group
The Spa at Artemis
Blue Pearl Yoga
SolarX Eyewear
PK T shop
Oliver’s Candies
Lawley Genesee Insurance
T-Shirts Etc.
Southside Photography
Pauly’s Pizzeria
Max Pies Furniture
South Beach Restaurant
The Daily Grind Coffee Shop

Photo submitted by Dave Chua

Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

'Dine-Out Days' program for GCC Foundation lasts Sept. 19 through 25

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, batavia, GCC, restaurants, scholarships

Starting tomorrow, 32 restaurants in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties will be participating in "Dine-Out Days." A percentage of their profits this week will benefit the GCC Foundation, which provides student scholarships. This will last through Saturday, Sept. 25.

Select restaurants will offer discounts and featured menu items.

The following Genesee County restaurants are involved in Dine-Out days this year:

  • BATAVIA

Alex's Place, at 8322 Park Road

Bohn's Restaurant & Lounge, at 5256 Clinton St. Road

Miss Batavia Diner, at 566 E. Main St.

Delavan's, at 107 Evans St.

Pauly's Pizzeria, at 314 Ellicott St.

Subway, at 412 E. Main St. and 8351 Lewiston Road

Terry Hills Restaurant & Banquet Facility, at 5122 Clinton St. Road

T.F. Brown's, at 214 E. Main St.

  • OAKFIELD

Caryville Inn, at 25 Main St.

Oakfield Hotel/Scopano Lanes, at 49 S. Pearl St.

  • STAFFORD

Red Osier Landmark, at 6492 Main Road

  • LE ROY

D&R Depot, at 63 Lake St.

Scooters of Le Roy, at 140 W. Main St.

McDonald's, at 67 Main St.

The Ganson Inn, at 65 Lake St.

Le Roy Country Club and Golf Course, at 7759 E. Main Rd.

Pizza Land, at 131 W. Main St.

For more details, contact the GCC Foundation office at 345-6809 or e-mail foundation@genesee.edu. For up-to-date information on Dine-Out Days, please visit www.genesee.edu/gcc/dineoutdays.

Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

John Kennedy School welcomed new families, highlighted community

post by Daniel Crofts in batavia, education, John Kennedy School

On Friday, Megan Houseknecht sported an eye-catching face painting at John Kennedy Elementary School's Community Night.

The annual event is organized by the Parent Group at the school, located at 166 Vine St. Its purpose according to Parent Group President Jen Houseknecht, is to "welcome our kindergarten families and to reinforce what the community and our school have to offer."

Displays of school programs included:

The school Post Office, represented by Lydia (left) and Kaetyn, both pictured below.

 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Mother of Mercy Messengers present play, 'Tell All Souls About My Mercy'

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, religion, theater

"Tell All Souls About My Mercy," a religious drama for those who are suffering, having trouble forgiving others, know someone who is dying or has lost faith, will be performed at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on Thursday, Sept. 23. The church is at 10675 Alleghany Road in Darien Center.

The play, which starts at 7 p.m., will be followed by Exposition, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) and Benediction.

There is no charge, but a free will offering is recommended.

For further details, please call Amy at 356-9458 or Kim at 547-9929.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Knights of Columbus will host a Chicken BBQ at St. Mary's on Sunday

Our Lady Knights of Columbus invite you to a Chicken BBQ on Sunday at St. Mary's Church, 20 Ellicott St. in Batavia. It will start at 10:30 a.m. and continue until sold out.

Each individual dinner includes 1/2 chicken, macaroni salad, baked beans, a roll and butter. The proceeds will go toward local charities.

To purchase presale tickets, please call Mike at 343-3810.

Friday, September 10, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Local priest puts faith into action - in Peru

post by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Anglican Community Church, Churches, mission

Pictured above is a recent mission trip in which Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and Non-Denominationalists helped out the residents of a small Peruvian village suffering from severe poverty.

This missionary group included Fr. Gus Calvo -- second from left in front -- the pastor of Batavia's Anglican Community Church (see January article on his first service).

Having recently returned from this trip, Calvo was happy to share the experience with The Batavian and extend information about the program to anyone in the area who might be interested in next year's trip.

Calvo has been going on these missionary trips -- most of which last about 12 to 14 days -- on an annual basis for the past seven years. It all started when he was working in Honduras under the supervision of another missionary leader.

"My friend and ministry colleague Jeff Miller and I met in Honduras," Calvo said. "Our leader later left that area, so we got together and decided to put together a team each year for mission trips."

They then contacted SAMS -- the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders -- an organization that sponsors various projects in needful areas. All of the missions Calvo has been involved in these last seven years have been acquired through them.

Friday, September 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

2K Memory Walk for victims of Alzheimer's

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, batavia, Alzheimer's, walk

The Alzheimer's Association will be hosting a "Memory Walk" in Batavia on Saturday, Sept. 11. It will begin at the Genesee County Nursing Home, at 278 Bank St., and proceed along Chandler Avenue, North, Bank and Ross streets, and Washington Avenue.

Anyone who wants to take part can show up the morning of the walk for registration, which begins at 9 a.m. The walk itself will start at 10 a.m. and cover about two miles. Brunch, entertainment from Pete Gomez and a Chinese auction -- with gift certificates and  prizes donated by area businesses -- will follow in the nursing home dining room.

Walkers will be raising money via sponors for the benefit of Genesee County residents coping with Alzheimer's Disease. People are encouraged to raise all funds by Saturday, but funds will be accepted until October 29.

For further details or to register in advance, please call (716) 626-0600 or go to www.memorywalkwny.com. If you would like to donate items to the Chinese auction, call Sue Buckley at 344-0584, ext. 2116.

Friday, September 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Present Tense set to hold five-year anniversary celebration

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, business, Present Tense Books

Present Tense Books & Gifts, Batavia's premiere full-service bookstore, will be celebrating an important milestone on Saturday, Sept. 18. An anniversary party lasting from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. will celebrate five years of successful business.

Free and open to the public, the event will take place at the bookstore, which is at 101 Washington Ave. The festivities will include refreshments, prizes and a raffle, as well as the annual fall open house and holiday preview.

There will be discounts on all regular priced items on that day as well.

For more information, please call 815-7640 or e-mail info@presenttensebooks.com.

Monday, September 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Crossroads House presents 'Musical Memories' at City Church

post by Daniel Crofts in announcements, batavia, City Church, crossroads house

Crossroads House will be hosting another 'Musical Memories' concert on Saturday, Sept. 25 at the City Church, at 210 E. Main St. in Batavia. All proceeds will benefit Crossroads House and go toward two months care for terminally ill residents.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and include performances by Greece Jazz Band, Derek Reese & Quartet, St. Joseph's Brass Ensemble, Ghost Riders, Mini Drum & Bugle Corps, Mighty St. Joe's Alumni Drum Corps and special guest appearances.

Tickets are $5 apiece and can be purchased at Roxy's Music Store, Millenium Computers, Valle Jewelers and the Crossroads House. Last year's concert sold out, so it is recommended that you buy tickets ASAP!

Please call Frank Panepento at 409-4364 for more information.

Monday, September 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

'Taste of Fall' Wine Walk highlights downtown Batavia businesses

post by Daniel Crofts in batavia, business, tourism

If you like good wine, you'll love a new event coming to downtown Batavia in early October. The premier of the "Taste of Fall Wine Walk" will introduce you to 15 of the finest wines produced in Western New York.

And it will give you a chance to take your own sweet time visiting 15 participating businesses and see what they have to offer. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Oct. 2, anytime from 5 until 9 p.m.

Tickets are $15. The Wine Walk ends with a raffle for prizes.

It is sponsored by the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

The self-guided tour begins at the chamber office -- at 210 E. Main St. -- where each person will be given an etched wine glass and a program to guide them from location to location.

There will be plenty of hors d'oeuvres to sample along the way, too.

In preparation, businesses will be going autumnal in decor. BID Executive Director Don Burkel said that he and the BID Promotional Committee hope to get started with decorating after Sept. 11.

Burkel also said that anyone who'd like to help decorate is more than welcome.

"Just give us a call," he said, adding, "We'd like to see the businesses get creative with this. For example, each business might have a different type of scarecrow to distinguish itself."

Michael Anthony's Salon & All-Star Barbershop is way ahead of things. The proprietor has gone well beyond scarecrows, creating stunningly beautiful wreaths and floral arrangements that he made himself. He also sells the needful beauties. Many are on display in the salon and he crafts custom-made ones as well.

The impetus behind the Wine Walk, according to Dawn Ireland-Monsees, the chamber's tourism information coordinator, is to promote Batavia as "a great place to be in the Fall."

"It's also a great social opportunity and a reason for people to get together in small groups," Ireland-Monsees said. "Wine tours have always proven to be very popular."

Did you know that Western New York is second only to California in wine-grape production in the United States? And it offers wines that can stand up to long-famous European vintners, particularly its white varieties.

The regional portfolio includes perennial favorites like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, and more.

Forget about "forward" "nose," "finish" and other wine terminology used by aficionados. Most wine experts say a good wine is simply one you enjoy. Price does not necessarily dictate taste.

Tickets can be purchased on the evening of the event, in advance at the chamber or at these businesses:

  • Adam Miller's Toys & Bicycle, 8 Center St.
  • Michael Anthony's Salon, 43 Jackson St.
  • Next Level Fitness, 85 Main St.
  • The Daily Grind, 85 Main St.
  • Valle Jewelers, 21 Jackson St.

You may also reserve your tickets by calling the BID at 344-0900 or the chamber at 343-7440.

For more information, visit www.downtownbataviany.com.

Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm

St. James answers questions about its Bell Tower project

Some of our readers had questions about the Bell Tower Restoration project at St. James Episcopal Church.

After the Aug. 25 article, church officials and committee members were kind enough to answer some additional questions about the nature of the tower's condition, the cost of the project, and other issues addressed by our readers.

They submitted the following information via e-mail:

The deterioration that we’re trying to address is structural in nature. This stems from water infiltration and the use of an overly hard mortar when the Church was re-pointed in the 1950s-1960s. As you can see if you look at the Bell Tower façade, some sections of the stonework have actually fallen off and we have had to rope off the front of the building.

We believe that the first phase of the Bell Tower reconstruction project, which includes rebuilding the top 10 feet of the tower and the roof, will cost no more than $500,000.

After completion of this first phase, we will attempt to address the additional issues relating to the stonework façade of the Bell Tower and the remainder of the Church in a multi-phase process. While the additional costs relating to the façade repair may run twice the cost of the original phase, the additional phases will no doubt take many years to complete.

The reason the cost is so high is that the project is very labor intensive, involves heavy materials and the work involving the first phase must be done at a height of 70 to 80 feet above the ground.

Neither the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, nor the Episcopal Church of the United States are directly involved in the project. Nor under our form of church governance would we expect them to be directly involved.

Even though the building is a source of concern, it does not diminish our desire to reach out to the community to fulfill our missions. St. James’ outreach to the community comes in many forms:

- George Rupprecht Fund: This summer, over 150 girls from 84 families have received school clothing, footwear and school supplies. At Christmas, we will again help the same number of girls with Christmas gifts. Year round, we help pay for extra-curricular activities and work to assure that each girl has a comfortable bed in which to sleep at night. This year, our budget is $72,000.

- Thrift Shop: St. James expanded its shop hours in 2010 to serve the community. Apart from clothing, we sell household items, books, toys, small furniture and lots of bric-a-brac. Persons coming to the George Rupprecht Fund are often given bags of clothing and household items for free. Four times a year, we host clothing giveaways.

- Episcopal Community Services: Serves the underprivileged in the Diocese of WNY.

- Bishop Masereka Christian Foundation: Sponsors children in Uganda to assist with schooling and medical needs.

- Comfort Food Dinners: Two dinners were held at St. James this past winter. All proceeds went to local charities.

- St. James is the local meeting place for other churches in the Deanery.

- St. James donates to the local food pantry, collects school supplies for children and, each Christmas, selects a local charity to support.

- We host many programs in the church so that the community can enjoy the ambience and the musical acoustics of the building, such as the Genesee Symphony, Genesee Chorale, Go-Art! and Crossroads House.

We have made the hard decision to stay at this location because of its viability to the community. St. James would exist and function without the building, but the building needs a caretaker and we have chosen to take on that role.

The alternative would be to leave a large untended building on Main Street. If we did not try to take care of the building, we would not be very good stewards of the building or good members of the community.

For more information, please call the church at 343-6802 or visit its website.

Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

Batavia Business and Professional Women's Club resumes monthly meetings on Thursday, Sept. 2

The Batavia Business and Professional Women's Club meets on the first Thursday of every month from Sept. through June. This month, the group will meet at the Cornerstone Church, at 2583 Main Road (at the corner of Slusser Road) in East Pembroke.

A social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:15. The event is scheduled to last until 9 p.m. 

Dinner costs $10 and includes sliced ham, scallop potatoes, apple sauce, tossed salad, a vegetable, rolls and butter, dessert, coffee and tea.

The event program is "Touching Lives One on One, a training program for home visitations to shut-ins," by Mary Alexander.

For more information or to RSVP by Aug. 30, please call Carol Rowcliffee at 343-3457 or Doris Naegely at 343-2755.

Friday, August 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Jill Kelly, Notre Dame grad and wife of former Buffalo Bills QB, talks about faith, hope and heartache in upcoming book

It all began with Hunter James Kelly, the little boy who wasn't supposed to live to see his second birthday.

Shortly after he entered this world, Hunter was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects one in every 100,000 children.

While his battle with the condition did ultimately cost him his life, Hunter beat the odds and made it to age 8. This was partly owing to his own strength and will to live, but also to the tireless efforts of his parents, who worked very hard to make sure he had the care and support that he needed -- both medical and personal.

His father is Jim Kelly, former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. His mother is Jill Kelly, a former model, a longtime Attica resident and an alumnus of Notre Dame High School in Batavia.

The Kellys were devastated by the loss of their son, and this devastation could easily have shattered their family.

Instead, it brought them closer together.

The same devastation could also easily have snuffed out any faith they had in the possibility of any meaning, purpose or goodness in the universe.

Instead, it drew them into a close, personal relationship with a loving God.

Hunter's ordeal, the hurdles Jim and Jill faced in their marriage, their love for their children, the faith they both found...these are some of the subjects that Jill covers in her new memoir, "Without a Word: How a Boy's Unspoken Love Changed Everything." 

"Without a Word" will be Jill's third published work. The others are "Prayers for Those Who Grieve" and "Prayers of Hope for the Brokenhearted."

As you might expect, the memoir is told mainly from Jill's perspective. But it also includes contributions from Jim and the couple's two daughters, Erin Marie and Camryn Lynn. Each member of the Kelly family shares his/her experience as part of a family that has suffered together, loved together, struggled together, and believed together.

Jill will be featured on NBC's "Today Show" on Sept. 10 (the day after the book's release) and on "Fox and Friends" on Sept. 11.

In the meantime, she was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to talk with The Batavian about the faith that has sustained her throughout all of her ordeals and given her a strength, peace and joy that inspires everyone around her:

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