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May 8, 2009 - 6:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Suzanne's School of Dance.


No, Bruce Springsteen isn't coming to town. Yes, you're not missing a secret show by the Gwen Stefani on Center Street.

This ticket-seeking camp out began at 6 a.m. and it's filled with parents hoping for the best available seats for a Suzanne's School of Dance recital at Batavia High School this Friday and Saturday.

"Yes, we're crazy," said Cathy Chmielowiec, who arrived at 11 a.m. "This is what we'll do for our kids.

Candice Wells was the first in line. "It's important to my daughter," she said.

At the back of the line, a woman noted that no person is allowed to by more than 12 tickets. "We can't buy tickets for each other."

She declined to give her name.

"I don't want to face the wrath of Suzanne," she said. "I'm anonymous."

Another parent said the tickets used to be sold at the school each year, but administrators objected to the long, day-long lines, so now people queue up on Center Street the day of the sale.

The door for tickets opened a little early (scheduled for 6 p.m.), at about 5:40 p.m.

May 8, 2009 - 3:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, genesee county, elba.

A nurse with the Genesee County health department has reportedly lost her job and is accused of forging two clinical notes about a patient she did not examine.

Sherri Allen, 47, of Elba is charged with two counts of filing a false instrument.

Allen allegedly submitted clinical notes containing false information about a client she did not examine. The notes were dated March 16 and March 30 for clients who skipped their appointments on those dates.

May 8, 2009 - 11:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Deal of the Day, Larry's Steakhouse.

Today's Deal of the Day: A $50 gift certificate from Larry's Steakhouse in Batavia. The Batavian's Good Deal Price: $25 -- HALF off!

Larry's, located at 60 Main St. in Batavia, is one of the newer and finer dining establishments in Batavia. The menu offers many great items, but of course the speciality is steak.  Larry's also features a full bar.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.  People who have won this certificate in the past 30 days are not eligible for this offer.  Gift certificates cannot be used, by state law, to purchase alcohol.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.


May 7, 2009 - 11:10pm
posted by Robin Walters in batavia, Care-A-Van.

Street Scene in the Bronx.jpg

 I bet these folks wish that is all they had to worry about or decide on was whether they liked Coke or Pepsi better.  This picture was taken on the streets of the Bronx during Care-A-Van’s recent visit to New York City.  The people above were waiting to have a hot cooked meal at the Love Gospel Assembly.

Tonight on the streets of Batavia was no different. On our outing tonight we saw a lot of hurting souls that had many difficulties going on in their lives. They climbed on board and the only thing they were looking for just as these people in the picture was hope.  Bridget had cooked up a delicious pot of goulash for everyone to share. Paul had the coffee brewing and Elder Ron was busy taking care of the tables outside.

The team got to visit with people and share of the hope that there is for their lives. A lovely lady invited us into her home at the end of the evening and we saw the most awesome collection of coca cola items.  As the bus was about to leave, another gentleman who has been struggling knocked on the door of the bus. He came in sat down and shared with from his heart with such emotion of his struggles.  He knows of the freedom that comes with having the Lord in his heart, but he as the rest of us is human and was struggling.

You know Jesus doesn’t ask us what do you want- Coke or Pepsi? No, he asks what do you want- life or death? Yes we have a choice. We can choose life- which comes with freedom or we can choose death- which is the continuation of making wrong choices, living in sin and being caught up in the confusion of the world.  I don’t know about you, but I choose life. Oh and just so you know as a sidebar- give me a diet Pepsi any day!

Have a blessed day! We look forward to seeing you all as we travel around the city bringing hope to the lost and hurting.

PS.. Hey Howard that might be a good poll for you.. coke or pepsi?

May 7, 2009 - 7:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, health, Jay Gsell.

Genesee County is putting together an employee health plan for the 21st Century, according to County Manager Jay Gsell.

In 1996, the county switched employees to a self-funded insurance plan, but then didn't update it for more than a decade.

Gsell said today that the old plan no longer really served employees well and hadn't kept up in changes in medicine.

"Over time, we've made little changes here and there and most of them are subtle, but now we're here in the 21st Century," Gsell said. "That old plan is not very responsive to the health care needs of people here in 2009 ... and it's not very cost effective."

The new plan has been in the works for two years, with employee unions, management and a consultant participating in putting together the new plan, which even though it was implemented in January is still a work in progress.

The new plan puts a greater emphasis on wellness, well being and prevention.

The plan now covers health care screenings for men and women and preventative diagnostic tests.

"Those kinds of things are in the plan to keep people from getting really sick or avoiding visiting a doctor's office until they have to go to the emergency room," Gsell said.

Still under consideration is coverage for gym memberships.

The committee is also reviewing prescription benefits, such as allowing employees to bulk order medicines through mail order and allowing over-the-counter remedies where patents have expired and a script is no longer necessary.

The main goal of the changes is to be cost neutral, Gsell said, but over the next five or more years, the county could save from $100,000 to $200,000.

"So what we're looking at is whether this plan over the next five years will help us better provide for our employees, but also save us money."

So far, not all employees have opted into the program, but Gsell expects more workers to see the benefits of the plan.

May 7, 2009 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A pedestrian has been struck by a car at North and Ross streets in Batavia. Firefighters and an ambulance have been dispatched.

Very minor injuries are reported.

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May 7, 2009 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in taxes, Mike Ranzenhofer, STAR Rebate.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer is still fighting for tax relief under the STAR rebate program, which Ranzenhofer has made central to his legislative agenda since Gov. Paterson announced his intention to cut the program from the state budget.

Ranzenhofer and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos announced a bill today to restore the STAR rebate checks for the 2009-2010 school year.

SB 5248 would cut 1 percent from Agency Contracts for $519 million in savings and draw on $1 billion in unitemized spending in the state budget.

The full press release follows the jump:


May 7, 2009 - 4:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Swine Flu.

Randy Garney, interim director of the county Health Department, says that results are not back yet on the one suspected "swine flu" case and no new H1N1 cases have been reported in Genesee County.

UPDATE: Not more than 10 minutes after I posted this, Randy Garney received notice from the state that the remaining suspect case is negative.  He sent this statement

NYSDOH has just reported to Genesee County Health Department that our remaining suspect H1N1 ( Swine Flu) case is reported as negative.

May 7, 2009 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

gunday.jpgSteve Hawley hosted a number of constituents in Albany last week for "Gun Day," a day in which 2nd Amendment supporters traveled to Albany to oppose new restrictions on gun ownership. Hawley's office sent along the picture to the right. Click on the picture for a larger version.

May 7, 2009 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, economy, jobs, Job Development Bureau.

Job stimulus is coming to Genesee County in the form of two programs that are designed to either help laid off workers get back work or youths find jobs and learn new careers.

A total of $1.6 million of stimulus money is going to the Job Development Bureau, according to Director Scott Gage.

In one program, out-of-work people can apply either for a job that will involve on-the-job training, and the government will pay 50 percent of their wages, or youths can take part-time jobs in July and August with the agency picking up 100 percent of the tab.

"Our goal is to get the money into the community as quickly as possible," Gage said. "The majority of the money will be spent this year, because obviously, the goal of the stimulus plan is to turn the economy around quickly."

These are not new programs, but the amount of funding for them is substantially more than originally budgeted.

Yesterday, the County's Ways and Means Committee approved an increase in the budget for the youth summer job program so the bureau can hire two additional temporary supervisors.

Youths from 16- to 24-years-old can apply for work through the program and any agency, public or private business, can apply to hire workers from the program.

"There's no commitment for the business to hire the youth after the summer program, but we hope  that if a business likes the youth the employer will pick them up for a permanent job," Gage said. "Obviously, a lot of employers don't have the ability to that immediately."

Youths or employers interested in the program should contact Jay Lazarony at 344-2042, ext. 212.

For the jobs training program, employers must be able to provide documented on-the-job training with specific learning tasks, or out-of-work individuals can apply for job retraining through BOCES or GCC.

Each program is being funded with an additional $600,000 from the stimulus package, with the balance of the stimulus money going to help disadvantaged or underemployed workers.

May 7, 2009 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, South Beach. Alex's Place.

When South Beach closed without warning, many people in the community were concerned about gift certificates that had purchased but not redeemed.

In comments on The Batavian, representatives of Alex's Place and Sunny's step forward and offered to redeem the gift certificates.

Matt Gray, owner of Alex's Place says his restaurant on Park Road redeemed more than 350 gift certificates.

Maggie Fasano, manager at Sunny's said 139 gift certificates were redeemed there.

Gray said the offer brought in some new customers and people who hadn't visited Alex's in some time and were grateful, noting that they would be back soon.

"It was very well received from every one who had gift certificates and had a chance to redeem them, not only from us but from the other restaurants as well," Gray said. "It was well received as a gesture of good will."

The exchange was also a big hit at Sunny's.

"People were definitely positive," Fasano said. "People were grateful it wasn't a total lose for them and we picked up lots of new customers, and we're very glad to have them."

Ken Mistler recently revealed that he's purchasing the South Beach location and will seek a new tenant looking to open a new restaurant in that location.

May 7, 2009 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, alex's place, Deal of the Day.

Today's Deal of the Day: A $25 gift certificate from Alex's Place in Batavia. The Batavian's Good Deal Price: $12.50 -- HALF off!

Before I even decided to start a business in Batavia, people were telling me about Alex's Place.  It wasn't until last week that my wife and I finally went there for lunch. Wow.  Alex's definately lives up to its reputation.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.  It cannot be used, by state law, to purchase alcohol.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.


May 7, 2009 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Daily News, Tom Rivers.

Tom Rivers, Sharon Larson and Ben Beagle all garnered awards from the New York Newspaper Publishers' Association.

Congratulations to all three. Details here.

May 7, 2009 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, jail.

geneseejustice.jpgIf buildings had feelings, you could almost feel sorry for the Genesee Justice/Jail building at 14 West Main.

It's been more than a century since the building, which once served as home for the County Sheriff, got a new roof.  In fact, the roof you see crumbling atop the structure now is the original one from 1903.

The County Legislature's Ways & Means Committee approved a $264,000 bid for a synthetic slate roof to be installed by Grove Roofing Services of Buffalo.

Yesterday's vote was proceeded by some controversy. At the April 15 meeting, legislators questioned the authority of the city's Historic Preservation Board to disallow an asphalt roof, and after we reported that story on The Batavian, some readers raised concerns about the overall cost of the project.

After the bid was approved, I spoke with Terry Ross, supervisor of buildings and grounds for the county who explained that the size and complexity of the roof contribute greatly to the cost.

While prevailing wage rules do add to the expense, ensuring the building is well protected and maintains its historic look is not cheap.

Two significant factors in the expense, besides just the size, unusual shapes and slopes of the roof, are the need to replace all of the copper valleys as well as asbestos removal.

"It's a multi-faceted roof with many angels and it will be very labor intensive to replace," Ross said.

The roof is in such bad shape, it's been patched so many times, Ross said, that it is beyond further repair.

"There's no leaking yet, but there will be if it's not replaced," Ross said. "The slate is no longer in any condition that it can be repaired."

Even though legislators initially objected to the city blocking replacement with an asphalt root, which would be $67,000 cheaper, committee members agreed yesterday that putting on a synthetic slate roof made better business sense. It will last at least 50 years compared to 25 years for asphalt shingles.

"This is the best choice and a wise business recommendation," committee chairman Charles Zambito said. "Shingles don't cost as much but the synthetic slate doubles the life of the roof, so there's no point in fighting the city."

Zambito earlier noted that there was no case law or other precedent suggesting the county to beat the city in any legal argument over the city's authority on the choice of roofing material.

The committee approved the bid on a unanimous voice vote.

May 7, 2009 - 9:21am
posted by Peter O'Brien in school, vouchers.

Why is it that in the land of freedom and opportunity we are forced to pay school taxes?

This is not a rant on the taxes themselves but more on the lack of choice in where students can recieve an education.  I understand that an educated society is a benefit to society itself.  But when all we hear about is how government schools need more money and are failing our kids to the tune of over $10,000 a student per year, how can we keep funneling them money?

Institution a tax voucher program is the only way to break the control of teachers unions and the government in general.

People often complain about their children not being taught their values such as Intelligent design and abstinence only.  With a voucher program that give parents back say 70% of the money that would have been spent on the child at a government school, educational freedom can be more readily exercised.  The reason I say 70% is to cover overhead costs at the school that were necesarily spent to the individual students benefit.

Today that freedom is only open to those who have the economic means to pay both thier school taxes and tuition at a private school.  Parents will literally get to choose what kind of education their children receive.

It will also break the hold of teachers unions by forcing public school to improve in order to keep the cash flow coming.

Home schooling should also be an option to voucher users.  Home schooling has proven to provide quality educations at cheaper costs.  Some worry about social interactions but that can handled by either joining with other home schooling parents in the area or ensuring your children have many after school activities.

This is a win-win solution to he debates about the problems are public schools, lets hope those in charge see this as well.

May 7, 2009 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy, pemroke.

jeffbald.jpgWhen Jeffrey D. Bald, 27, of Wolcott Street in LeRoy, allegedly fled from police following a reported domestic disturbance, he did more than just send law enforcement officers on a chase, he also reportedly disrupted 9-1-1 service for the village.

Bald reportedly lost control of his vehicle on Myrtle Street and struck a utility pole. That accident caused disruption to the emergency call service, which has now been restored.

UPDATE: We just received this correction from Chris Hayward, chief of police: 

911 service still an issue.  Frontier working on it and they hope to have it resolved by this afternoon.  911 calls being forwarded to 768-2527, if that is busy calls then route to the County.  If they call 911 and still experience a problem call 768-2527 directly. 

Events began around 9:15 p.m. at Bald's residence, where police were called because of a possible domestic dispute.  En route to the residence, police say they spotted Bald driving from the scene on Wolcott.

Bald reportedly drove into the intersection of Route 5, turning westbound on Route 5, nearly striking another vehicle head-on.

Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but Bald reportedly headed the wrong way down Bacon Street. Upon reaching Route 19, Bald reportedly drove his car southbound to Myrtle Street, which is where he apparently lost control.

Bald then reportedly attempted to flee the scene on foot and he was taken into custody about a half mile from the site of the accident.

Police report speeds in the vehicle chase never exceeded 50 m.p.h.

Bald is charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, resisting arrest and leaving the scene of a property damage accident, along with other violations. He is being held in Genesee County Jail on $5,000 bail.

Amanda Wittmann, 21, of Bennington, is charged with rape. Wittmann is accused of sexual relations with a 16-year-old in Washington, where authorities issued a warrant for her arrest. She was arrested in Pembroke.

Micahel Innes, 55, of Rochester, is likely going to pay more for his untaxed cigarettes than he anticipated. Yesterday, Innes was stopped in Oakfield for an alleged traffic violation. A Sheriff's deputy noticed more than 400 cigarettes in his car, which is a violation of New York State tax code. Innes will appear in Oakfield Town Court to answer the charges June 8.

Lamarr Randell, 23, of Buffalo, was stopped for allegedly speeding in Pembroke. Deputies report they found marijuana in his possession.  He was cited for both alleged violations.

Timothy Mcjury, 21, of Alexander, is charged with petty larceny for allegedly shoplifting at Home Depot in Batavia.

Joseph Henrick, 59, of Stafford, is accused of violating an order of protection. He is charged with criminal contempt.

May 6, 2009 - 4:53pm
posted by Darrick Coleman in Corner Vacuum Shop, local shopping.

I *was* in the market for a new vacuum cleaner after borrowing my friend's Dyson dc17 animal. After doing plenty of research online I decided that that was the vacuum for me-I have a large, shedding black lab.

I started my search online to get an idea of what the vacuums cost. Then I searched for vacuum shops in Batavia. I was shocked that there was a locally owned, independant vacuum shop right in Batavia!

I gave the Corner Vacuum Shop a visit this morning and came out a happy man. I got a factory reconditioned (which saved me about 25%) Dyson dc17-which I was assured is as good as new. The owner of the shop gave me great information about other vacuums and said his shop would take care of the vacuum if I had any problems with it, even beyond the Dyson warranty. He even threw in an extra $20 filter for free!

If you're in the market for a Dyson specifically, or a vacuum in general, stop at the Corner Vacuum Shop before going to Walmart, Target, Sears, etc. You won't be disappointed in the good ole fashioned service/price (the chains don't carry factory reconditioned models).

FYI - I am in no way affiliated with this store-I just wanted to pay them a well deserved compliment!

May 6, 2009 - 4:00pm
posted by Cameron Coles in BOCES, digital media arts festival.

Hey guys. My name is Cameron Coles, and I just thought I'd post a blog about what happened to me today. I am in a Studio Arts class at Pembroke Jr/Sr High School (I am a sophmore) and I was told that the stop motion animation video -which I put a large amount of effort into making- was almost disqualified from the Digital Media Arts Festival because they said it was "disturbing". The reason they gave for this was that the screen goes red during parts of it and they interpreted it as blood. I think that the judges at the Digital Media Arts Festival are a little over-sevsitive about things when they look at videos for the Festival. My reason for thinking that is they actually did disquaulify another video for "questionable material" which turned out to be bareley questionable at all. I think this needs to be looked into.

May 6, 2009 - 3:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

Batavia City Police Detective Kevin Czora suffered a fractured finger during the capture of a fleeing suspect early Tuesday evening.

According to police, 20-year-old Maverick R. McMurray, who lives at 30 Pearl St. in Batavia, was observed possibly attempting to steal property from a vehicle parked at the Kwikfill on Jackson Street at about 6:30.

McMurray purportedly gave police a false name and then fled on foot. Czora gave chase and caught the guy, breaking his finger in the process.

McMurray was remanded to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bond and charged with assault in the second degree, obstruction of govermental administration in the second degree and using a false identity. He is set to appear in court May 7.


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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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