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AJ: 'I'm still here,' one man's mental health journey

By Joanne Beck
Rachel Mieney and AJ Scheuerman
Rachel Mieney, clinical director of Genesee County Mental Health, and AJ Scheuerman, a peer guide who has been diagnosed with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder, talk about mental health issues at the county health facility in Batavia.

AJ Scheuerman was 16 when he had his first episode of a yet-to-be-diagnosed mental health illness. It was not only the first incident, but also unforgettable, leaving AJ’s family broken, confused, physically injured, and the teenager left to deal with the consequences in a locked psychiatric ward.

Although AJ’s story may seem atypical compared to the millions of seemingly able-minded people suffering from depression on a day-to-day basis, they all share the importance of this month and what it means to be in tune with one’s own mental health awareness.

Illuminating Behaviors
AJ became fixated on lightbulbs, wearing white button-down shirts, and on cutting himself. Seeing himself bleed  “was a reminder that I'm human, that ultimately, I'm just flesh and blood,” he said.

“So, I’d go for long walks during this time, and just think about different things. One night, I went for a really long walk, and I was listening to my iPod. And I thought that the songs were made for me, that these people knew about me, and they were trying to communicate to me about the secret society that I was supposed to be a part of,” he said.

The Batavia resident would go for these walks, and while listening to songs, he became convinced that the artists weren’t just singing to an audience but that they were singing a message directly to AJ.

After three months, he decided to share his discovery with his parents, but they didn’t have the same response as he did to the music or the messages that he believed he was receiving. He had gone on an extensive walk one night and didn’t return until the next morning.

“I got lost. I actually had to ask for directions from a couple of different places. I got home at, like, 4 a.m. And my mom was waiting for me … I couldn't sleep because I was just thinking about what it was that these people were trying to communicate to me through the songs and stuff. I had this idea that people break away from the Bible secretly. And that was the secret society that they wanted me to be a part of. So in the morning, I tried to tell my parents about the secret society and all this stuff. And they were just listening to me. And I'm trying to put on the songs for them and, like, show them that the songs were talking to me and just give examples that they could be enlightened the same way I felt like I was enlightened,” he said. “And then I didn't get any response from them. So I showed them the scars on my thigh from when I cut myself, which I cut myself pretty much every night. So my thigh was just like a scab. My mom started crying. My dad was like, ‘Is this because I never showed you how to shave?’ And it was just confusing that he would have that reaction."

Confusion to Delusion to Action
"So then my mom, she started crying. And she said, ‘Your dad has thin blood; your dad has thin blood.’ And then I was like, okay, so that means that if he got cut, he would bleed out. Yeah. And I was like, do they want me to hurt my dad? The secret society wants me to kill my dad? And I was like, 'No, I can't do that.' Why are you making me do this? And then that's kind of how delusions start. And then my dad was like, ‘Come on. Let's go to the bathroom. I'll show you how to shave.’ So then, we went to the bathroom, and I took the razor out of the bag of razors. My dad was standing in the doorway. And I thought, my dad wants this. My dad is a willing sacrifice. My dad wants me to attack him.”

And all of that mental build-up led AJ to slash his dad’s face with the razor. His father staggered backward, and AJ slashed him again, dropping the razor to then begin punching him in the head.

“And I recoiled because of the way that his skull felt on my fingers,” AJ said. “And he fell to the ground.”

Meanwhile, his mom had called the police, explaining that her son was just 16. She hugged AJ as his father escaped, and then the police arrived.

“I was taken to psychiatric jail for 39 days,” he said.

Eventual Diagnosis
AJ was diagnosed with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder, a chronic mental health condition in which someone experiences symptoms of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder. These symptoms may include hallucinations, delusions, lack of pleasure, decreased mood and poor attention.

If AJ seems to be one of those anomalies that we don’t run into very often, one in about every 300 people develops this disorder at some point in their lives, according to therecoveryvillage.com.

For Genesee County’s population of roughly 60,000, that’s 200 people struggling with schizoaffective disorder and many more with bipolar and depression, which affects more than 18 million adults (one in 10) in any given year across the United States, according to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists depression as the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 12 minutes for cumulative 41,000-plus death a year.

Although Scheuerman, or AJ as he much more prefers to be called, isn’t quite at the point of happiness for being alive, he is at a place of knowing that he has survived his ordeal so far. He was put on prescriptions that have negative side effects, he said, and he has to weigh the pros and cons of being alive on meds versus possibly getting worse without them.

Living to Try Another Day
He admitted that he has never fully sought out and attended counseling of his own volition; it has been something forced upon him, he said. The Batavian asked if he thought he ever would have reached out for help on his own, and he wasn’t certain if he would have. Meds have helped to keep his worst symptoms of violence from escalating, and hospitalizations — he’s had 11 of them to date — have kept him alive.

“I’m still here is kind of my message,” AJ said. “I’ve been through a divorce and just different delusions. I tried to kill myself when I was 17. Because of delusions, and yeah, I’m not living my best life right now. But I’m still here. And I’ve survived what I’ve survived.”

Do you see a place for mental health treatment now, even though you say it’s been imposed on you? Do you think it has saved your life?
“Yeah, I’d say, I guess, begrudgingly, I would say that medication has saved my life,” he said. “So my family, I couldn’t have done it without my family, especially my mom and my ex-wife. I’ve kind of been resistant to therapy. I don’t really get too much out of it.

"I went through psychoanalysis for about a year that it made me realize why I’d had the delusions that I’d had, and I thought that I could go off medication because I had realized why the delusions were the way they were,” he said. “But, ultimately, that didn’t help me either. Just because it was the fact that I was having delusions and not the impetus behind the delusions that I needed to know about.”

A common scenario most people may relate to is when prescribed a 10-day course of antibiotics for an illness. By day six or seven, you may begin to feel better and stop taking the pills because they don’t seem necessary anymore. It was a similar feeling for AJ, he said, in that he started to feel better and believed the meds were no longer required to remain healthy.

And it didn’t work.

“Yeah, I went off the meds, and I was hospitalized within a few months,” AJ said.

This is common behavior, Genesee County Mental Health Clinical Director Rachel Mieney said. A lot of times, people will be on medication and start doing well enough to think they can go off their meds.

“And some people are able to use tools that they've learned in therapy and to kind of maintain the progress they've made,” she said. “And then for other people, sometimes, you need that medication, especially if it's more of a brain chemistry type thing where the medication is really necessary to allow you to be able to function.”

As AJ talked about his struggles and recovery — imposed as it has been at times — he said he considers medication to be a “boogeyman” in his life, stealing who he is at his very core and leaving him not feeling “like you’re the person that you’re meant to be.”

Mieney strongly encourages people like AJ and anyone, really, who is struggling with any type of mental health issue to seek help, not go through it alone, and know that there is hope.

From Patient to Peer
Despite his ups and downs and uncertainties about the joys of life, AJ does have a few positives: he’s “definitely” stable and is able to function in society, he said. He also has a job as a peer guide at the Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties to “help people with mental illness.”

Through his own experience, AJ works with others to “focus on helping the person achieve goals.”

“And for the most part, I can’t even tell that people have a mental illness that I work with,” he said. “It’s just there. They’re just people, and they have hopes and aspirations. And I’m there to help them with those hopes and aspirations.”

What does it feel like to be a useful tool for people and to help them?
“It’s great that I have a use for the episodes that I’ve had. There’s no, ‘Oh, I’m not sure what this feels like for them. I’m not sure what to do.’ It’s always like, ‘Okay, I’ve been through this, and I can help them with whatever ailments they have,” he said. “And just the goals that they ate, the barriers that they put on themselves, I can kind of help them to break down those barriers by being like, I’ve come this far … I’m still here, and I can help you in any way that I can.”

Mieney wanted to reiterate that whole piece for not only AJ but others doubting the value of their bumpy lives.

“You’ve been able to use your experience to help other people. That’s huge. A lot of people feel like that, you know: I’m the only one that deals with this. And so you can show them no, 'I’ve done it too,'” she said. “'And I’ve succeeded.' And it’s not perfect. There’s going to be side effects with medications. There’s going to be episodes that happen depending on the diagnosis, but, you take it one day at a time. You work through it.”

Le Roy's Evan Williams has a singular passion for musical theater, and Broadway beckons with Jimmy Awards

By Howard B. Owens
Evan Williams Newsies 2022
Evan Williams performing in Le Roy High School's production of Newsies in 2022.
Photo by Howard Owens.

A lot of well-meaning adults around Evan Williams' life have a bit of advice in the form of a question:  "What's his backup plan?" 

"What is he going to do if it doesn’t work out?" they ask.

Musical theater is going to be what Evan Williams does, says his mother, Laura.  He might wait tables while building his career, but singing and acting, or perhaps some other career role in or around Broadway, is what he is going to do with his life.

She doesn't have any doubt about it.

“People ask all the time about his fallback plan, but I can’t see him doing anything else,” Laura said.

One of his inspirations and mentors, John Bolton, a Le Roy graduate who has made a career in musical theater, TV and movies, said he hates the term "backup plan." 

"Back-up plan means this is what you're going to settle for if things don't work out," Bolton said. "You should always have something else that interests you in life, but a backup plan always sounds second-rate. It's not going for your dreams."

Williams has his best chance yet to go after that dream.  He's one of 100 students from around the nation who has won a place in the Jimmy Awards in New York City.

He secured his spot last week by winning -- along with Hope Galloway (Brighton High School) -- the Rochester Broadway Theatre League's "Stars of Tomorrow" competition.

Judges from the league visited the musicals of dozens of high schools in the Finger Lakes region and selected 40 students to compete in "Stars of Tomorrow."  After a first round, those 40 competitors became 20, then 10, and then the final two.

Last year, Williams also made the final 10.  This year, he won.

Evan Williams as Jean Valjean in the Le Roy 2023 production of Les Miserables.
Evan Williams as Jean Valjean in the Le Roy 2023 production of Les Miserables.
Photo courtesy Laura Williams.

"Evan was prepared and focused," said Bolton, who was an early round judge and then coach throughout the competition.  "He's got an amazing voice. He took our notes and worked at it, as did the entire Top 40.  He took very slight adjustments because he's well prepared. He owned the night, as did Hope Galloway.  Everybody was wonderful. If it had taken place on another night, maybe someone else would have won, but that night, Evan claimed it. He owned it."

It was an incredible experience, Williams said.

He said the weeks leading up to the competition were anxious days.

"I had a lot of pressure to take on," Williams said. "Everyone had been telling me that I was gonna be the one, but I wasn’t gonna take anyone’s word for it other than my own."

He had grown up watching the Jimmys, hoping for even a regional consideration.  

"I never had really thought of it as a reality until it became a reality," Williams said. "I knew it was possible, but I didn’t want to allow myself to think I didn’t have to work for it. I never want to do that for anything. Nothing should be handed to anyone. I had said to Nate Yauchzee on the way to the event that I remembered watching kids get picked to compete at NYC Bound and just being astounded, so even the fact that I was lucky enough to be part of the competition, not once but three times is crazy. On top of that, I think sixth-grade Evan would be incredibly proud of the fact that he is the first person from Le Roy to represent Rochester at the Jimmy Awards. I hope that there are some little Evans in the world who watch those videos and are inspired just the way I was."

Jacqueline McLean has directed the recent high school musicals at Le Roy and recognizes that Williams is a special talent.

"Evan has a heart of gold," McLean said. "Often, he's not thinking about himself. He's thinking for the better of the group, about a better musical, a better performance from the team. He's a team leader, and I'm a big believer that you're not going to get anywhere if you're not kind.  He shows that often."

She said Williams is magnetic, that he connects with audiences in a way that's unique, that she hasn't seen other students be able to do.

"I have no doubt that he's going to go to college, and he's going to make a career out of this," McLean said. "I always joke with him, 'Don't forget the little people, don't forget where you came from because we're going to be cheering for you for years to come.'"

She's proud of Williams, but she's also proud of the entire Le Roy Music Department.  Le Roy was represented in Rochester by not just one but five students, and three of them made the final 20.

Le Roy's musical this year was Les Miserables.  The production was honored in every category of the theatre league's awards for 2023. Recognized as leading cast members from Le Roy were Ashlyn Puccio, Aubry Puccio, Cooper Terry, Jackson Cain, Maureen Klaiber, and Nathan Yauchzee.  Among large schools, it was recognized for excellence in overall musical production, excellence in vocal ensemble, excellence in dance ensemble, excellence in production crew, and excellence in student orchestra.

"When you see kids over the years," she added, "you pick out the ones who have the 'it' factor.  We've had a lot of them in Le Roy.  We joke about it a lot -- that it must be something in the water.  There is so much talent in this town."

After graduation, Williams, in pursuit of his musical theater ambitions, will attend Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

Attending college for music theater puts him on a very different career path than Bolton, who also grew up in love with theater, who started out in regional theater and then took a chance and moved to New York City and happened to make the right connections to build a career.

It helped that he, too, is a nice guy, but he recognizes he might be the best guide for Evan's career.  Bolton's partner is a theatrical agent, so was able to offer Williams advice on universities to target.

Other than that, he's just a big believer that Williams should focus on what he loves.

"All signs are saying that Evan Williams can do this," Bolton said. "He's diving into a situation in New York in a few weeks with 100 other students from all over the country, and he will form friendships that will last a lifetime. He will form connections that will last a lifetime."

Bolton has known Evan's mother, Laura, since they were very young.  Bolton's mother and Laura's mother, Lynn Belluscio, the Le Roy historian, have been good friends. Social media helped Bolton and Laura reconnect, and so he's been able to watch Evan's passion for theater blossom.

Laura said the main advice Bolton has ever given her son, because Evan is taking just a different path in his career, is to embrace his passion.

“John is always in Evan’s corner but more along the lines of, ‘follow your dreams, sing the songs that make you happy, be true to yourself,’” Laura said.

She's extremely proud of her son.

"Not only does Evan work hard, but he’s also genuine," Laura said. "He lifts people up and celebrates everybody’s success.  In this career, he’s learned quickly that if he’s going to go places, he has to help other people. It’s far more than a kill-or-be-killed arena. That’s what I’ve noticed. Clearly, that’s a parent's answer, but that is what makes me proudest, and I know that makes Justin proud as well."

Williams has heard those well-meaning words about having a fallback plan, but he agrees with his mother. He can't see himself doing anything else.

He said he's listened to interviews with stars like John Meyer, who said he didn't necessarily get the best grades in school in mathematics. He was always a music guy. Williams said he's tried to do his best in school, even in mathematics, but those academic subjects, or even sports, have never been his focus.

"Some kids grind at science or they grind at mathematics. They go home and do their science homework or their math homework.  When I'm not in school, I spend my time with voice lessons, music lessons, rehearsals, or something like that.  That's my form of success," Williams said.

"This is something I want. If I keep pushing for it, I believe it can happen.  I’m a big if you can dream it, you can do it. I'm that kind of guy."

Evan Williams Newsies 2022
Evan Williams performing in Le Roy High School's production of Newsies in 2022.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Batavia Muckdogs, with stacked roster, tuning up to defend division crown

By Howard B. Owens
muckdogs scrimmage

Skipper Joey Martinez likes grinders.

And he's not afraid to say it. He thinks the 2023 Batavia Muckdogs look like a better team than the one that won a division title in 2022.

"This team is special just because we have another crop with just great young men," Martinez said. "We've got a bunch of grinders. That's kind of the style we like. We like the grinders. They're recruited that way on purpose, you know. We try to get guys that are going to come into this community, as well, and be a part of it, that they represent the Batavia Muckdogs name well everywhere and every day. This team is gonna be special with a lot of talent as well as compared to last year. That was a special team, right, as you know, that team was special. We got about 10 returners from that team. We hope that that transition helps with the new guys and tells them what we're about here. I think this roster potentially could be better."

Martinez said the key to fielding a winning team in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is pitching, and he thinks this year's roster is stacked with arms. 

He also said the team has several players with great bat skills, including two players who hit 14 home runs each at the collegiate level this season. 

There are also returning local favorites such as Alex Hale. The Batavia High School grad was "phenomenal" for the Muckdogs in 2022, Martinez said. 

"We also have a couple of other local GCC kids who are going to be a big part of what we do," Martinez said, including Ty Woods, from Alexander.

"I think you got to look out for guys like Anthony Calabro, Henry Daniels, Adam Agresti," Martinez said. "There are so many names to throw at you. I mean, we just have a lot of talent."

Owner Robbie Nichols is excited about a lot of things in the 2023 season, from the fan experience to the players who will take the field.

"I think it's going to be exciting on Saturday," Nichols said. "We've got a great team again. You're going to see a great fireworks show.  We're going to have a lot of fun promotions going, and people who come to the games are going to have a lot of fun."

He said there is some sort of promotion for every home game in 2023, including the return of Dollar Hot Dog Night and $2 Beer Night, along with a helicopter dropping 250 pounds of candy.  

He said he's really impressed with the roster Martinez and his coaches have put together.

"Skip has done a great job," Nichols said. "You look out here; we got a pitcher that's 6'3", 315 pounds and throws in the 90s. We just got a kid on the mound that's 6' 10". They're all hand-picked from around the country. We've got players from California, Florida, Georgia, you name it. We've got two kids that hit 14 home runs, led their conference. I'm kind of excited about this year's team."

That should translate into another winning season, right?

"I will go on record and predict a repeat as the West Division champion," Nichols said. "From there, we'll have to see. That Amsterdam team, the other division, always has somebody that is tough. We're ready. I think we're a little bit loaded this year."

The Muckdogs open the home season on Saturday at Dwyer Stadium at 6:35 p.m. The Muckdogs take on the Elmira Pioneers. There will be a fireworks display following the game. Tickets can be purchased at canusamuckdogs.com or by calling 585-524-2260.

For the complete season schedule, click here.

See also:

Photos of Tuesday's Red vs. Black Muckdogs scrimmage at Dwyer Stadium. Photos by Howard Owens.  To view more photos from the scrimmage or to purchase prints, click here.

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Batavia Muckdogs Owner Robbie Nichols helping clean up the stands during the scrimmage.  
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Photos: Fans introduced to 2023 Muckdogs at Eli Fish

By Howard B. Owens
muckdogs
Muckdogs season ticket holders were invited to Eli Fish on Tuesday evening to meet the members of the team for 2023.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The entire roster of the 2023 Batavia Muckdogs was represented in an event at Eli Fish Brewing Co. on Tuesday, where season ticket holders could also pick up their tickets for the new season, which opens Friday in Elmira.

The Muckdogs play their first home game on Saturday and fireworks will follow the game.

See also: Batavia Muckdogs, with stacked roster, tuning up to defend division crown

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Fans picked up their 2023 season tickets.
Photo by Howard Owens.
muckdogs
Photo by Howard Owens.
muckdogs Joey Martinez
Skipper Joey Martinez returns for his third season as head coach of the Batavia Muckdogs.
Photo by Howard Owens.
muckdogs Robbie Nichols
Muckdogs' owner Robbie Nichols.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Tyrone Woods, from Alexander and currently attending GCC is a member of the 2023 Batavia Muckdogs.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Muckdogs Superfan Russ Salway.
Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens.
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Photo by Howard Owens
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Photo by Howard Owens

Fifth and sixth graders from St. Paul's participate in 'laying of flags' for Memorial Day

By Press Release

Press Release:

St. Paul Lutheran School’s fifth- and sixth-grade classes and parents traveled to the Bath National Cemetery in Bath to participate in the laying of flags on all 20,000 grave sites for the commemoration of Memorial Day. 

They joined the local fifth grade class that has been participating for the last 43 years. Their teacher, Mrs. Dunn, has a personal connection to the cemetery, as her grandfather, Vernon Rowe who was in the Navy, and her grandmother Pearl Jean Rowe, are buried there. 

The students identified the Civil War, Spanish War, Korean War,  World War I and II sites among others including Medal of Honor recipients. All felt overwhelmed and honored to participate in this special day.

GC Youth Bureau to host Family Game Night Friday

By Press Release
2022 family game night
2022 File photo of Genesee County Youth Bureau's Family Game Night, which rotates around to various locations in the county. This year it will be at the David McCarthy ice arena in Batavia.

Press Release:

Genesee County Youth Bureau will be hosting its 20th annual Family Game Night from 5 to 7 p.m. this Friday at the David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena, 22 Evans St., Batavia.

The night will consist of interactive booths with activities, games and prizes for families and youth serving organizations. This event is free and includes pizza and assorted beverages. 

Each family will take home one brand new board game after they visit each booth so they can start their own family game night!  Just for attending you will be entered into a raffle to win one of several prizes from businesses all around Genesee County. 

Following the event, please stick around for free roller skating with your family! (Please bring skates as rentals are limited) Adults must be accompanied by a child to receive the board game.

Please call the Youth Bureau for more information or to register at 585-344-3960.

The Genesee County Youth Bureau would also like to thank Applebee’s, Lamb Farm, Alabama Hotel, Terry Hills, BJ’s, Subway and YWCA for donating, and David McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena for hosting the event.

Fire hydrant flushing on city's northeast side starts Tuesday

By Press Release

Press Release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing/testing fire hydrants on Tuesday (5/30), Wednesday (5/31), and Thursday (6/1) from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the general area of North of Main Street and East of Bank Street. Homes and businesses nearby will be affected.

These tests may result in temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about 5 minutes or until clear.

This annual testing is essential to maintain the communities class III Insurance Services Office (ISO) public protection classification and to assure that fire hydrants are operating efficiently for fire protection purposes. 

Along with maintaining the fire rating, the test monitors the health of the city's water system, identifies weak areas in the system, and removes material that settles in the water lines. Checking each hydrant improves fire department personnel's knowledge of the hydrant locations.

If you have any questions or should notice a hydrant in need of repair, please contact the fire department at 585-345-6375.

Roundup: The Batavian covered 10 Memorial Day events in Genesee County

By Howard B. Owens
memorial day

Here is a round-up of all of The Batavian's Memorial Day coverage.

Links:

Here is a link to all of the photos taken by Howard Owens, where you may purchase prints, including a number of unpublished photos.  If you are a member of Early Access Pass, send Howard an email at howard@thebatavian.com and request a high-resolution copy of any photo for free. Please specify as best you can exactly which photo you wish to receive in full resolution.  If you're not yet a member of Early Access Pass, join now and then make your request.

Photos: Memorial Day Ceremony in Elba

By Howard B. Owens
Elba Memorial Day.

Residents, scouts, and veterans gathered in the Village Park in Elba to honor local fallen heroes today, Memorial Day.

Photos by Laura Lufts.

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Photos: Memorial Day in Bergen

By Howard B. Owens
Bergen Memorial Day

Residents and veterans of Bergen held a parade and ceremony today honoring local fallen heroes.

Photos by Nicholas Serrata.

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Photos: Memorial Day in Le Roy

By Howard B. Owens
Le Roy Memorial Day.

Residents and veterans in Le Roy honored fallen heroes today with a parade down Main Street and a ceremony in Trigon Park at the Soldiers Memorial.

Photos by Nicholas Serrata.

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Photos: Memorial Day service at the War Memorial at St. Jerome's

By Howard B. Owens
Memorial Day War Memorial

The County's war dead, along with local veterans who served during past conflicts and died during the past year, were honored in a ceremony today at the War Memorial at St. Jerome's, located at Bank and Washington in Batavia. For each service member who passed away in the previous year, a flag was placed at the base of the War Memorial.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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Photos: Batavia Memorial Day Parade

By Steve Ognibene
Citty of Batavia Fire Dept, Batavia Memorial Day Parade

Batavia's annual Memorial Day Parade followed its traditional route down Main Street from Eastown Plaza to Bank Street this morning.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

A soldier bowing to a falling soldier in a parade float, Batavia Memorial Day Parade
Jackson School Cub Pack 69, Batavia Memorial Day Parade
St. Paul Lutheran School, Batavia Memorial Day Parade
Batavia resident waving to parade travelers

 

Little butterfly dressed up for the holiday, Batavia Memorial Day Parade
Batavia Peace Garden, Batavia Memorial Day Parade
Some members of Batavia softball girls winning the Class B1 title, Batavia Memorial Day Parade
Thank you for your service, a current woman serving our country watches the parade, Batavia Memorial Day Parade
Parade supporter , Batavia Memorial Day Parade
Batavia Muckdogs baseball team, Batavia Memorial Day Parade
S.C.O.P.E. , Batavia Memorial Day Parade
Bumble bee from Stingers softball organization, Batavia Memorial Day Parade

Bizarre ending to championship baseball game at Dwyer Stadium goes viral, makes ESPN

By Howard B. Owens

Perhaps the most bizarre ending to a game in organized baseball history occurred on Saturday at Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, and the video made ESPN and has gone viral online.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Hornell was up 5-4 and with Brady Prebalick at the plate and two runners on base, Hornell gets a called third strike, but the ball is in the dirt. The catcher appears to miss the tag attempt on the hitter as he starts to run to first but thinks he got the out. The umpire signals safe.  The catcher sticks the ball in his back pocket, and the Hornell team starts celebrating an apparent championship win. 

The Pal-Mac runners on first and second race around the bases. The only Hornell player, at first, who realizes the game isn't over is the second baseman, who rushes toward the plate, yelling and looking for the ball.  

Both runners score. Pal-Mac wins 6-5 to take the Class B1 crown.

Hornell's coach Joe Flint told the Wellsville Sun, "I blame myself a little; maybe I could have gone out and argued it was a dead ball and kept the runner on third and said, ‘Hey, it’s tied now, put the runner on third and make them beat us.’ But we can’t blame the umpires; everyone is running on the field, and I’m not sure they knew how to handle it either. I’m not sure what else happened because I haven’t watched the video. Maybe I should have called for a conference and protested. I blame myself on that piece of it, maybe I could have done a better job.”

UPDATE: H/T Steve Ognibene for finding this explainer video. 

Photos: Honoring World War I Memorial at Williams Park

By Steve Ognibene
World War One memrial tribute at williams park

Various veteran organizations in Genesee County honoring the 35 Batavians at the W.W.I. memorial in Williams Park this morning.  More continued coverage throughout the day honoring fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

t.a.p.s. honor guard
buglar during the memorial day tribute
young boy dressed in war regalia with honorguard

Top Items on Batavia's List

The City of Batavia is accepting applications for a Full-time Water Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee (Salary $23.65/hr.) This is a trainee position involving responsibility for learning the duties and routines in the operation and maintenance of a water treatment plant.  The work is performed under the immediate supervision of a qualified operator. Does on-the-job training to become qualified as an operator of a water treatment plant. Does related work as required. Applicant must be a graduate of a senior high school or possess a New York State high school equivalency diploma. Please submit a completed Civil Service Application to Human Resources, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020 or tdean@batavianewyork.com. Background check, psychological assessment, physical and drug testing are required. Candidate must become a resident of Genesee County or any adjacent town to the County of Genesee within 6 months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City of Batavia. EEO. Applications can be found at https://www.co.genesee.ny.us
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