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Photos: Community once again comes through for the kids in annual Toy Drive

By Howard Owens
Dec 10, 2021, 3:24pm

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WBTA, Ken Barrett Chevrolet, the Salvation Army, and City Fire teamed up today for the radio station's annual toy drive.  Area residents were invited to drop by the dealership to leave new, unwrapped presents for children in the community.

Top Photo: Lorne Way, WBTA, Ken Barrett, Lt. Jamie Call, Firefighter Ferdinando Papalia, Todd Rapp, Salvation Army, and Nici Johnson, WBTA.

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Photo: Cars roll through Ken Barrett's filled with toys for local children

By Howard Owens
Dec 11, 2020, 3:21pm

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City firefighters Ryan Clair and Ryan Whitcomb collect toys from a car at Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac today as part of the annual Salvation Army toy drive sponsored by Ken Barrett and WBTA.

To comply with CDC guidelines related to COVID-19, this year's toy drive was a drive-thru affair. By early afternoon, the beds of multiple pickups had been filled and ready to take to a local hub to prepare the toys for distribution to children in Genesee County.

Need is critical for this year's annual WBTA Toy Drive at Ken Barrett dealership Friday

By Press Release
Dec 9, 2020, 12:25pm

Press release:

The Salvation Army of Batavia is proud to announce, for the 37th year in a row, WBTA’S annual toy drive with Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet. COVID-19 has hit The Salvation Army especially hard, with the need for services being at an all-time high and funding down nearly 40-50 percent. 

The annual drive for new, unwrapped toys will take place at the car dealership this Friday, Dec. 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located at 229 W. Main St. in the City of Batavia. WBTA will broadcast live.

The toy drive is a staple seasonal event for The Salvation Army of Batavia and the local community. All toys donated go to children in the Genesee County area. To date, The Salvation Army of Batavia has 180 families registered with more than 400 children needing toys this Christmas. They have seen more than a 30-percent increase in need this year due to the coronavirus pandemic in just the Batavia area. 

“While the start of the Christmas season for The Salvation Army begins in the summer with planning, for me, the Christmas spirit is ignited with our annual toy drive,” said Captain Rachel Moore. “I feel the toy drive is what really signifies the holiday spirit in Batavia.

"It is overwhelming to see the generosity of our community as toy after toy is dropped off. This year, more than ever before, we are relying on the giving spirit of our neighbors to offer hope to children in need all over Genesee County. We are grateful to WBTA and Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet for continuing a beautiful tradition that will help so many this year.” 

The Batavia Salvation Army has implemented additional precautions to make the toy drive a COVID-19 safe event. Those participating can simply drive up to the designated area at Ken Barrett Cadillac Chevrolet and open their trunk. A member of the Batavia Fire Department will collect the toys.

If you cannot participate on Dec. 11th, please visit our Angel Tree Registry with Walmart.com. Toys will be directly shipped to our offices. 

About The Salvation Army Empire State Division

The Empire State Division of The Salvation Army covers 48 counties in Upstate New York and one city in Pennsylvania (Sayre, Pa.). Our annual Red Kettle Campaign in November and December helps our 45 community centers and 166 volunteer driven service units raise funds that remain in each community to help those in need. 

For more information go to: empire.salvationarmy.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/salvationarmyempirestate

About The Salvation Army 

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of “America’s Favorite Charities” by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country’s largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit.

For more information, visit SalvationArmyUSA.org. Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

WBTA Main and Center Special: COVID-19: A Local View

By Howard Owens
Mar 30, 2020, 9:47pm
Video Sponsor

This is audio from today's special hour-long Main and Center on WBTA: "COVID-19: A Local View," hosted by Dan Fischer.

Guests included:

  • Dr. Tara Gellasch, Chief Medical Officer of UMMC
  • Dr. Danielle Notebaert, Chief of Emergency Medicine at UMMC
  • Timothy Yeager, Coordinator of Genesee County Emergency Management
  • and Mari Hamilton, Public Health Educator, Genesee Orleans Health Depts.

NOTE: This was recorded before the afternoon announcement of a local death and new additional cases.

'Main & Center' on WBTA to address topic of suicide with Byron's Thorman

By mikepett
Jan 17, 2020, 4:48pm

Suicide and how to prevent it will be the topic of discussion at 9 a.m. Tuesday (Jan. 21) when WBTA radio’s “Main & Center” talk show welcomes James Thorman, of Byron, as its guest.

Thorman has been working tirelessly over the past several months to gain support from community leaders and the public in general as he attempts to form a coalition dedicated to mental health well-being for young people and veterans at risk.

Recently, he has connected with Bereaved Parents of the USA, a nonprofit group that offers support and encouragement to fellow bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents after the death of a loved one.

Thorman’s life has been exponentially affected by suicide as two of his daughters took their lives about nine years ago.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 suicide was the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 47,000 people, and was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.

Also in that year, there were more than twice as many suicides (47,173) in the United States as there were homicides (19,510).

WBTA radio is at 1490 on the AM dial, at 100.1 on FM, or can be streamed over the internet at www.wbtai.com.

WBTA and Ken Barrett's teaming up for annual toy drive today

By Howard Owens
Dec 14, 2018, 12:57pm

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Clients of Arc of Genesee Orleans dropped off bags full of gifts today for annual WBTA toy drive at Ken Barrett's Chevrolet and Cadillac, which benefits local children through the Salvation Army.

Among the other large donations to come in this morning was seven bags of toys from the employees of Oatka Milk Products in Batavia.

WBTA co-owner Dan Fischer said that by 11 a.m. it looked like as many toys had come in so far as had been received by the end of the day last year.

The toy drive runs until 4 p.m., so plenty of time as of this posting (at 1 p.m.) for you to run down to Adam Miller and load up on toys to donate to the Salvation Army for local children who might otherwise receive little or nothing for Christmas.

Note about the videos below: The audio quality is not great. We have hardware coming by next week that will fix this for future videos.

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[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIP7nahCl5k]

[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT5-qHh0OQs&feature=youtu.be]

35th annual WBTA and Ken Barrett Chevrolet Toy Drive for Salvation Army is Friday

By Billie Owens
Dec 10, 2018, 5:40pm

Press release:

Come join The Salvation Army for the 35th annual WBTA and Ken Barrett Chevrolet Toy Drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14th.

This toy drive, held at the car dealership on West Main Street in Batavia, will enable us to help those less fortunate in our community.

Throughout the years, Ken Barrett and WBTA have partnered with us to make our Christmas efforts a success.

What a privilege it is to work side by side with these businesses to make Christmas dreams come true for the less fortunate in Genesee County. To date we have 375 youth registered in our program. Please donate the gift of hope for a child in need this season.

90 FOR 90 CHALLENGE -- The Salvation Army reaches midway point in Christmas Drive

The spirit of giving is alive and well in Genesee County. As people hurry to check items off their shopping list, decorate the tree and plan Christmas dinner menus, many may have overlooked the fact that today marks the halfway point of the Christmas shopping season.

Today also marks the midway point for The Salvation Army’s Christmas fundraiser. The proceeds raised each year fund assistance programs for impoverished local residents.

“We rely on this funding to carry us through the year in order to help those who are in need. All of the money raised stays in our area, so when you make a donation this Christmas, you are really creating change for your neighbors,” say Lt. Brad and Capt. Rachel Moore, commanding officers of the The Salvation Army locally.

“We are very grateful for the four local residents who took on the 90 for 90 challenge who have given us donations and we thank them for their kindness. We are still in need of $60,000 to reach our goal this year."

In Upstate New York, the majority of The Salvation Army’s funds are raised in November and December.

To learn how to help with The Salvation Army’s Christmas fundraising drive, please call (585) 343-6284.

To become a bell ringer, call us at 585-343-6284.

WBTA's Jerry Warner remembered for his warm voice, hearty laugh and good interviews

By Howard Owens
Nov 6, 2018, 12:45pm

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Over his 30 years on WBTA, in hosting "Main and Center," broadcaster Jerry Warner talked to hundreds of members of the Genesee County community and a few of them recalled Warner yesterday after learning of his passing Sunday night.

"It was always a joy to go over there and do the show with him because he was so easy to talk to," said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. "Even on air, it felt like you're sitting around and talking in your living room with somebody. He always had this kind and gentle and calming influence when you were talking to them. It made it easy to be on his show."

Warner was born Feb. 9, 1943, in Batavia and was a lifelong resident of Oakfield. He started his radio career in 1971 with WBTA. He left the hometown station for a short time to work at WEZO in Rochester, where he created the city's number one morning show.

When he returned to WBTA he became the station's morning personality and host of "Main and Center," a talk show that featured a local guest talking about local events and issues.

"I really enjoyed speaking with Jerry and doing his interviews," said Jason Molino, Batavia's former city manager. "You know he was always extraordinarily professional. He was very classy. He was kind of part of an old guard. (We had) many laughs many times. I think the legacy of a memory of Jerry as just being kind and sweet but also asking good questions, and I think he was genuinely interested in the topics we discussed, so it's something I'll always miss about Jerry."

Another frequent guest was Jay Gsell, county manager, who said Warner was always ready to talk about the issues of the day.

"Coming in on Thursday, the way we have been, and how warm and accommodating Jerry was, but also the fact that he really took the time to know what we were doing, to understand that and be able to conduct an effective and cogent interview was always what impressed me about him," Gsell said.

For Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster of the Sheriff's Office and also an Oakfield native, Warner was always the voice of his hometown. He remembers being out and about, perhaps at the dentist office and hearing Warner's voice and feeling like he was hearing home.

"I was very saddened to learn that he had become ill and in particular distressed when I read this weekend that he had gone down to hospice," Brewster said. "He was a great man. He had a wonderful voice. He had an infectious laugh and he didn't take himself seriously. He's going to be sadly missed."

Molino recalled a laugh he got listening to Warner's program one morning about eight years ago. It was the Monday after Summer in the City and Molino had volunteered a session in the dunk tank as part of a fundraiser. The City Council president at the time, Charlie Mallow, came along determined to dunk Molino. He spent about $20 on softballs and missed every toss.

"Sure enough, the next morning, I was listening to WBTA and I heard Jerry on the air talking about Summer in the City and trying to generate revenue and some funds for charity," Molino said. "And sure enough he goes on to say 'and the council president was trying to sink the city manager in the dunk tank and he just couldn't do it. He needed some bigger balls in order to do that.' And that's one of the fondest memories I have of Jerry."

Warner and his wife, Darlene, celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary in August. He was a former member of the Oakfield Presbyterian Church and served with the United States National Guard.

Calling hours are Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home, 11 Maple Ave., Oakfield, where services will be held Friday at 10 a.m.  Jerry will be lain to rest in Cary Cemetery, Oakfield.

For Jerry Warner's full obituary, click here.

WBTA's Jerry Warner enters hospice care

By Howard Owens
Nov 2, 2018, 6:53pm

Jerry Warner, whose velvet voice kept listeners of WBTA informed and entertained for more than 30 years, is in hospice care, the radio station reported today.

More than a year ago, Warner, a resident of Oakfield, retired from the station due to ill health.

Warner, who hosted the morning show "Main and Center," is being cared for at Crossroads House.

Those who wish to send Warner a card of support can mail it, in care of Crossroads House, to the Crossroads House mailing address: P.O. Box 403, ​Batavia, NY 14020.

This season, WBTA streaming all Le Roy football games, broadcasting all Batavia games

By Howard Owens
Sep 5, 2018, 3:26pm

Press release:

WBTA Radio has expanded its coverage of local high school football with the addition of a secondary streaming channel WBTAi2.

“This new streaming service allows us to provide live, play-by-play coverage of two games at the same time,” said WBTA President Dan Fischer.

The station plans to use the new service to cover all Le Roy Knights home and away games for the entire regular season. Scott Ripley will call the games.

The secondary stream can be accessed from the WBTA website (WBTAi.com) or the station’s mobile app for iPhone and Android devices.

The station has also announced it will broadcast all Batavia High School Blue Devils varsity football games in the Livingston County League, home and away. WBTA veteran sports announcers Bob Brown, Jay Moran and John Vazquez will call the Blue Devils games along with selected Saturday afternoon contests featuring other area schools.

The Blue Devils games will be broadcast over WBTA AM & FM and streamed on the stations’ main online channel, WBTAi.com

A complete schedule of game broadcasts is available at WBTAi.com

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