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Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 12:34 am

Notre Dame's first win knocks Elba/BB off unbeaten path

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, elba, football, high school sports, Notre Dame, sports

One team enters the game 2-0, the other is 0-2. Who do you think is going to win?

It's fair to say, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish upset the Elba/Byron-Bergen Lancers on Saturday with a 15-8 win at home.

The Irish struggled in the first two weeks of the season against Oakfield-Alabama and Alexander. It was looking like it might be a long season for Head Coach Rick Mancuso and his squad.

Meanwhile, the Lancers crushed Pembroke and Holley.

But as Elba's Mike Cintorino said after beating Holley last week, when it comes to matches between the Lancers and Notre Dame in any sport, you can throw the win-loss records out the window. These teams grapple no matter what the expectations.

Mancuso downplayed the rivalry after the win, however. A win is a win, and Notre Dame very much needed a win.

"This is more about us coming together as a team and playing the game and getting our first victory," Mancuso said. "That's really what it was about."

Mancuso credited a defense that held Elba/BB to 148 yards total offense, but what made the difference was an offense that showed it could move the ball effectively.

Take away a couple of turnovers and some mental error penalties and the final score might have been more lopsided than a victory just eked out.

The big difference, Mancuso said, was the offensive line.

"We've got a lot of young guys along the line," Mancuso said. "They may be juniors, but they don't have a lot of varsity experience. I really think they're starting to understand it. They're starting to click. They're working really, really hard. We saw it in practice this week. It started coming together. We're happy with where we're at, but we've got a lot of work to do."

Joe Zickl replaced and injured Connor Logsdon at QB and was six for 10 passing for 67 yards and a TD. Josh Johnson caught that TD pass (top photo) to give the Irish the lead in the third quarter.

Peter Daversa rushed for 84 yards and a TD on 15 carries.

Johnson had three receptions for 32 yards. Jack Sutherland carried the ball nine times for 33 yards.

For the Lancers, Garrett Chapell was 11 for 23 passing for 75 yards. Steele Truax rushed for 70 yards and a TD on 16 attempts. Mike Shanley had three catches for 23 yards and John Hochmuth gained 20 yards on three receptions.

Jack Sutherland had 10.5 tackles for Notre Dame. Johnson had six and Casey Midwick had five. 

Hunter Taylor and Truax each had five tackles for the Lancers. Taylor also had a sack.

Someday, your sons are going to be all grown up and you're going to wish you had some quality photos of them on the gridiron. To purchase prints, click here. Proceeds help improve The Batavian's photography.

Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 11:12 am

Lancers off to a fast start with second win against Holley, 32-6

Elba/Byron-Bergen grabbed a share of the Genesee Region lead Saturday with a convincing 32-6 victory over Holley Central.

In week two, only the Lancers and Attica remain undefeated.

The victory Saturday, Head Coach Mike Cintorino said, shows his team can bounce back from adversity.

"We had a couple of guys go down last week and a couple of guys go down this week and we had guys ready to step in and do those jobs," Cintorino said. "It shows that they've been putting in the work both during the off season and during practices. They know their responsibilities and their jobs and they're ready to go."

The offense Saturday was led by Steele Truax, who rushed for 108 yards and two TDs on 20 carries.

"That's what Elba does is ground and pound," Truax said. "That's what we do. That's what we like to do."

QB Garrett Chapell was 4-8 for 56 yards and two touchdowns.  

John Hochmuth caught both of those two TD passes and gained 44 yards on the day.

Pitching in on the ground game was Richard Flores with seven carries for 46 yards and a TD.

On defense, Truax had 18 tackles. Hunter Taylor had 13 tackles and Mike Shanley had an interception.

The Lancers held Holly to 108 total yards of offense.

Holley's lone score came on a five-yard run by Zachary Day with about two minutes left in the 4th quarter.

Cintorino said he was really pleased with the play of his young linemen, who are still all underclassmen.

"They've come a long way from where we were last year," Cintorino said. "You know, we had almost this same exact starting line last year. We have them again this year and we have them for another year, so the more they continue to learn, the better  job they're going to do and the more they're going to spring their teammates like they did today."

Chapell said he's looking forward to seeing how this team performs over the course of the season.

"We'll have a good year," Chapell said. "We've got a good receiving corps, good line, good backs, so the rest of the season will be interesting."

Next up for Elba/BB, archrival Notre Dame.

The tables are turned a bit in week three compared to recent history. While the Lancers are undefeated, the Fighting Irish come into the came at 0-2.

"When you get into that game, you throw the records out," Cintorino said. "We've been on the other side of it and we kind of know where they're at right now in terms of being 0-2."

Both teams will be highly motivated when they hit the gridiron on Notre Dame's home turf, Cintorino said.

"It's one of those things where you throw the records out because at the end of the day it doesn't matter," Cintorino said. "They're always focused to face each other, no matter the sport. No matter if it's football, boys basketball, girls basketball, softball, soccer, it's a nice little rivalry between the two schools, so records really don't mean anything going into that game."

Top Photo: John Hochmuth sprints toward the end zone for a touchdown.

Steele Truax scores in the first quarter.

Richard Flores breaks free on his way to the end zone.

Garrett Chapell hands off to Steele Truax.

Garrett Chapell sweeps wide on a keeper for some positive yards.

To purchase prints and ensure you have copies of these pictures for years to come, click here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Gift from Liberty Pumps puts new technology in the hands of every Byron-Bergen student

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business, byron, byron-bergen, liberty pumps

There's a selfish reason Charle Cook got behind the idea of his company donating money to help the Byron-Bergen School District buy 1,100 tablet computers for all of the district's children: He wants potential future employees to have the technical skills to work for the Liberty Pumps of tomorrow.

But the donation is also a good deed that will benefit his and his son's alma mater and perhaps encourage other rural companies to be as generous with their local school districts.

"We felt it's important as kids progress through school that they become knowledgable and comfortable with technology," said Charlie Cook, CEO of Liberty. "It's going to be part of their future employment. To have that as a kind of leg up to students who might not have access is an advantage.

"Somewhat from a selfish standpoint," he added, "we're going to need a certain segment of those graduates, and we're interested in keeping as many kids as we can in the community."

Superintendent Casey Kosiorek said the gift was timely. The district had recently cut a staff position from its library and New York's formula for aid to district continues to disportionately favor affluent suburban districts over rural districts.

"This allows us to do something that most of the school districts in the more affluent areas of the state are able to do," Kosiorek said. "We're very thankful for that."

That was part of what motivated Liberty to seek out a way to assist the district, said Jeff Cook, who initiated the talks with the district that led to the donation.

"The reason Liberty Pumps thought the Learn Pads were a good idea was that we hear a lot about how wealthier, suburban districts seem to have advantages over poorer, more rural districts in terms of course offerings and opportunities for their students," Jeff Cook said. "We were looking for a way to help give our students an edge while minimizing the overhead burden of the district and therefore the taxpayer."

Charlie Cook didn't want to reveal the total monetary amount of the donation, but it's roughly 30 percent of the cost of the 1,100 tablets, which cost a few hundred dollars each. That donation made Byron-Bergen eligible for a technology grant from the state education department that covered the remaining 70 percent of the cost.

There will be no new local spending as a result of the program.

The tablets are known as LearnPads. They are Droid-based tablets with modifications to suit the needs of an educational institution.  

First, there are limits on how students can use them. There's access to YouTube, for example, but they can only watch teacher-approved videos. They can only visit approved Web pages. They can only download and install teacher-approved apps.

Teachers control the entire LearnPad environment according to the education needs of the class.

From a desktop computer program, teachers can customize how the LearnPads can be used, develop each day's lesson plan, then provide a QR code that can be posted to a wall. As students enter the class that day or that hour, the student scans the QR code to receive the lesson plan. As class progresses, teachers can monitor student activity to ensure they're staying on task.

However, Kosiorek stressed, LearnPads don't replace lectures and class discussions.

"This is a great tool for students and for teachers, but it doesn't replace quality education," Kosiorek said. "It's a tool, it's a supplement, an addition to a teacher's toolbox."

There are educational books available on the LearnPad and Kosiorek said the district hopes to someday replace all of its text books with tablets. That would save the district money as well as end the days of one-ton backpacks and multiple trips to lockers for students.

And yes, there are games available to students. Math games and vocabulary games, for example.

"Many students have access to video games and those games are very engaging," Kosiorek said. "There are goals that are set and you work toward those goals, so whatever we can do to provide relevance and engagement for students (we will do)."

Every student, starting this week, gets a LearnPad, from kindergarten through 12th grade. The younger students don't get a keyboard and will just use the touch screen, but starting in about third grade, keyboards will be introduced.

At younger grades, the LearnPads stay in school -- at least until the summer, when they can go with the summer reading program already installed -- while older children can bring the LearnPads home for homework once permissions slips and guideline acknowledgments are signed.

"We're very excited to be doing it," Charlie Cook said. "I've got four grandkids in the system right now and when I come to an event, which I do as often as I can, it's amazing to me to watch these kids work with the technology, even what they have currently. I think even in preschool years, they were up operating the touch screen, so this is a natural progression for them."

Jeff Cook said he hopes other business owners will look at this initiative and contact their own school administrators and ask "How can we help?".

Education, after all, is everybody's business.

"My hope is that what Liberty Pumps is doing will gain traction in the business community and others will join in on supporting our schools," Jeff Cook said. "If you are a business that is passionate about something you would be willing to help fund or support, I would suggest talking to the school administration about your idea and see if it is feasible. 

"In the case of Byron-Bergen, they did all the leg work and presented us with their vision based on our ideas. This could be anything from supporting sport programs and class offerings, to equipment for the district. Anything that could enhance a student's learning opportunity."

Photo: Casey Kosiorek, left, and Charlie Cook.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Assembly passes yogurt bill

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, Mike Ranzenhofer

Statement from Senator Micheal Ranzenhofer:

The New York State Assembly has passed legislation, S.6695, to designating yogurt as the official snack for the State of New York.
 
State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:
 
“I commend the New York State Assembly for passing my legislation to name yogurt the official snack of New York State although fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School deserve all of the credit. From initially suggesting the idea to traveling to the State Capitol this morning, these students deserve high marks for their efforts to get this legislation passed by both houses of the State Legislature. I am hopeful that the bill will be signed into law when it is delivered to the Governor’s desk.”
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 10:44 am

Byron-Bergen students to perform skits in Albany in support of yogurt bill

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) and State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (R,C,I-Amherst) will welcome the students of Byron Bergen Elementary School’s fourth-grade class to Albany to perform original skits to highlight the legislation suggested by them to make yogurt the official state snack. These students are learning important lessons about government and civic participation such as how laws are made and how citizens can make an impact on the process.

“This group of legislators in training from Byron Bergen Elementary School has, through their advocacy, helped the yogurt bill to pass the State Senate. The lessons that these students are learning through this process are invaluable and will stick with them as they grow,” Hawley said. “I’m hopeful that we will be able to pass this in the Assembly and finish the work that these youngsters started. This process has been one of the most enjoyable moments during my time in the Assembly, and I’m thankful for the contribution these students have made.”

The students chose yogurt as the official state snack because of its importance to the state’s economy. New York produces 692 million pounds of yogurt every year, making New York the leading producer of yogurt in the country. The yogurt industry is part of New York’s dairy industry, which is the fourth-largest in the nation. The dairy industry in New York generates $2.4 billion in sales, providing economic benefits and employment for all Upstate New York farmers.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Byron-Bergen students get visit from local veterans

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, education, schools, veterans

Press release:

On May 27, Byron-Bergen first-graders learned about the history and meaning of the United States' flag from people who proudly fought for it – prominent members of the Genesee County American Legion and Auxiliary. The students welcomed Genesee County American Legion Commander Dave Henry, Chaplain Don Nagle, Post & County Adjutant Jim Neider, and Auxiliary President Jane Fox, and listened intently to their presentation.

Neider, who was recently named to the New York State Veterans' Hall of Fame in honor of gallantry in the Armed Forces and service to the community, made history come alive with stories of Betsy Ross and the first flag. He explained that Flag Day – June 14 – celebrates the birthday of our national symbol. He described the meaning of the flag’s stars and stripes, and the significance of the red, white, and blue. He also encouraged the young patriots to remind their parents and other adults of the many ways to honor the flag.

“As vets, we enjoy helping children connect with history, and get an understanding for the importance of our flag and our country,” says Neider, who also taught elementary school for 30 years at Alexander Central School. “The kids at Byron-Bergen are especially knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They make doing this a lot of fun.”

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Photos: Students drive tractors to school at Byron-Bergen for ag appreciation day

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, byron-bergen, schools

It was Agricultural Appreciation Day at Byron-Bergen High School. Senior students drove their tractors to school.

Photos submitted by Gayla Starowitz.

Connor Nesbitt

Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 10:09 am

Photo: Byron-Bergen baseball team in Cooperstown

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, byron-bergen, sports

Roxanne sent in this picture of the Byron-Bergen baseball team with the Wheatland-Chili team in Cooperstown today. She said, "A beautiful Mothers Day in Cooperstown! Sunshine and baseball!"

Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 8:44 am

The Daily Show mocks Senate's yogurt debate

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, Mike Ranzenhofer
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 10:36 pm

State Senate passes Byron-Bergen students' yogurt bill

post by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

The New York State Senate has passed legislation, sponsored by State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer, to name yogurt as the official snack for the State of New York. The bill, S.6695, passed by a 52 to 8 vote.   

“Yogurt is not only a delicious, healthy treat; it is also an economic driver for many communities in New York, with yogurt manufacturers located all across the State – from Western New York to Long Island. That is why yogurt is such a suitable choice to be New York’s State snack,” Ranzenhofer said. “I am pleased that the State Senate has approved this bill, and I encourage the State Assembly to pass it.” 

A Byron-Bergen fourth-grade class, while studying the history and government of New York State, wrote to Senator Ranzenhofer to suggest the idea for the bill.

“The idea for this legislation started in a Genesee County classroom, not at the State Capitol. A lot of credit goes to Craig Schroth and his fourth-grade class at Byron-Bergen Central School District for all of their hard work, research and study that went into proposing this bill,” Ranzenhofer said. “Today’s vote to designate yogurt as the State snack is an example of democracy in action.”

New York is the number one processor of yogurt in the United States. Increasing demand for milk, the primary component in yogurt, has helped to support and grow the State’s dairy industry. New York is now fifth in the nation in milk production, producing over 13 billion pounds in 2012, in part fueled by the demand from yogurt processors.

Assemblyman William Magee has introduced the bill in the New York State Assembly. Assemblyman Stephen Hawley is a co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill has been sent to the State Assembly.  

New York State has many other official state symbols, including a beverage, milk; a muffin, apple muffin; a fruit, apple; a tree, sugar maple; a flower, rose; a shell, bay scallop; a fish, brook trout; a bird, bluebird; an animal, beaver; a gem, wine-red garnet; and an insect, ladybug.

UPDATE: The New York TimesAnimated Debate in New York State Capital? It’s About Yogurt

One senator, Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, suggested the designation might be inconsiderate to people who are lactose intolerant. Another, Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, wondered if yogurt could count as a snack if it were consumed at breakfast time.

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