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December 18, 2008 - 2:45pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in Christmas, Christmas lights.


This great example of Christmas lights is right on Route 5 as you leave Batavia heading towards Pembroke. There is a great variety of color. Well worth a look.

December 18, 2008 - 2:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, weather, snow, storm.

So, we keep hearing warnings: Lots of snow heading our way.

First, we encourage you to be safe, but if you do happen to stick your head outside and snap a picture, post it to The Batavian.  Or video. Or tell your storm-related story on the site. Let your Genessee County neighbors know how the storm is affecting your part of the community.

December 18, 2008 - 2:02pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, genesee county, farms, agriculture.

Last month, voters in California passed a referendum that would effectively ban the use of sow stalls and hen cages on all farms in the state. Not long after the success of the measure in that state, its supporters were already vowing to roll it out nationwide.

From the Rural Blog:

The passing of Proposition 2 in California, which creates new livestock-welfare guidelines, has farmers in other states worried that their states will soon be targeted for similar measures. Livestock industry groups nationwide contributed millions of dollars in an unsuccessful bid to defeat the measure, which bans the use of sow stalls and hen cages now in general use.

Opponents say the measure appeals to voters' sympathy, but doesn't reflect the realities of farm life. Exprts say "confining pregnant sows in stalls prevents fighting, ensures the hogs get adequate feed and saves labor," writes Philip Brasher for the Des Moines Register. "Similarly, caging hens is said to protect birds from each other while also protecting eggs from contamination." Also, caging results in higher egg production, because fewer eggs are broken, resulting in lower prices.

We talked with some local folks in the ag industry to get their take on the measure. Dale Stein is a dairy farmer from Le Roy and former president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. Farmers in California may have until 2015 to adapt to the requirements, he said, but they will have a hard time keeping costs down without being allowed to cage their egg-laying hens.

"How can you do it and make a living at it," he said. "You need to turn a profit. If people want quality at a low price, you have to do it with volume... in order to keep the price cheap for the consumer."

That spells doom for the California chicken farms.

"From my understanding, most of the chicken business in California will be out of business in the end," he added. "The swine industry may be able to adapt, but chickens won't be raised in California on any scale. All their eggs and poultry products will be imported from other states and countries."

Stein was not overly worried about any effect on the dairy industry, there or elsewhere, and he doesn't believe that prices and supply in New York will be thrown out of whack because of what's going on in California. He is more concerned with the repercussions of the approval.

"Our whole concern on the referendum in California is that it was step one, and that's what the animal rights groups have said," he said. "This is the first step. The other concern is that sound science does not win out in a debate like this."

We also spoke with Mitch Head, a spokesman for United Egg Producers, a national farmers cooperative. United fielded the call on behalf of Krehr's Farm Fresh Eggs, which is based out of Clarence. Krehr's is one of the largest egg producers in the state.

Head is not too worried about the referendum gaining ground here in New York.

"First of all, New York does not have the initiative process that California has," he said. "Plus, you've got six years before it even takes effect in California. Regulations need to be written before we even know what will be implemented in California. Both proponents and opponents couldn't even agree on what it would require producers to do. Some believe it means it would ban cages. Some also believe it bans cage free and only allows free range. No one knows. It will take years to work out. In the meantime, no other state will move forward to adopt it until that gets worked out."

For now, that's about as far as the conversation will go for New Yorkers. Nevertheless, this is something farmers especially need to be thinking about.

"It's certainly something agriculture should be aware of," said Head. "The Humane Society has been successfully adopting state legislation dealing with pigs and veal calves, and now egg-laying hens. They're flexing their political muscle. Agriculture needs to be vigilant on these issues, to make sure that modern science-based ag systems like cages for egg-laying hens continue to be a viable option for producing healthy and safe food for Americans."

December 18, 2008 - 10:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian.

We've added a "Business" section to The Batavian.

We will continue to cover business news as we can, but we want local business owners and managers to know that they are welcome to post their own business on The Batavian.

What is allowed: Anything that qualifies as news -- information that will be interesting to readers.

What is NOT allowed: Pure advertising/marketing messages, such as "20 percent off sale" or "we have the best store in town."

Examples of "press releases" you might want to post:

  • New business opening
  • Relocation
  • A new manager or key employee
  • Retirement
  • Grand Re-Opening event
  • Anniversary (good chance to write about the history of the business)
  • Advice to readers related to the business specialty.
  • New product or service (but this needs to be informational, not promotional)

Please be careful not to republish verbatim material for other publications, which would constitute a copyright violation.

The Batavian reserves the right to remove any content editors determine doesn't meet our guidelines. We may also promote your post to our home page, but make no promise to put any particular post on the home page.

We are eager to get news from any business in Genesee County.

To learn how to post your own news, check out our tutorials on our Help Page.

If you are interesting in advertising, contact Howard Owens, (howard (at) the batavian (one word) dot com, or 585-260-6970).

December 18, 2008 - 9:15am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Jeremy Alwardt, 19, of 6 Maple St., Batavia, was charged with four felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, city police said. Alwardt is accused of having sexual contact with two individuals who were under the age of 11 years old. These crimes are believed to have occurred between July 2006 and August 2007. Alwardt is currently being held at the Genesee County Jail without bail.

Luke Windnagle, 22, of 8874 Hartshorne Road, Batavia, was charged with second-degree harassment Wednesday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Windnagle is accused of punching his brother in the head during a fight.

December 18, 2008 - 8:19am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, weather, snow.

A winter storm watch has been issued for our region starting tonight and extending through the day Friday. More than six inches of snow are expected to fall during the day Friday. The National Weather Service expects the storm to arrive tonight, although the snow should not become significant until mid-morning tomorrow. We could see some heavy snowfall through the late morning into the afternoon, "especially for areas south of a line from Buffalo to Batavia." That should taper off by the early evening.

December 18, 2008 - 8:09am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, wbta, police, schools.

The brother of the 6-year-old boy who brought a loaded handgun onto a school bus yesterday morning is today out on bail, WBTA's Dan Fischer reports. David Truesdale, 19, was released on bail and will later return to court to answer his charges of fourth-degree possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. Both counts are misdemeanors. Juan Claudio, 40, remains in jail. Claudio faces the same charges, although the possession charge had been upgraded to a felony due to a prior conviction.

December 18, 2008 - 7:57am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, baseball, muckdogs, business, sports, Red wings.

Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle reports this morning that the Red Wings operations crew, Rochester Community Baseball, lost more than $250,000 on the Muckdogs in 2008 "in an effort to save professional baseball in Batavia." Because of that loss, not even a $150,000 profit pulled in by the Red Wings was enough to keep the company from losing nearly $95,000 for the year.

Naomi Silver, chief operating officer of RCB, spoke with Bob Matthews:

"Considering the poor economy, we're pretty happy with our overall financial statement. But Batavia was a tough nut. We won't stay in Batavia indefinitely if the operation continues to lose money."

Red Wings group outings and advertising set all-time record highs, according to Matthews. Not so rosy in Batavia.

"We expected to lose some money in Batavia due to startup costs at Dwyer Stadium, but attendance was disappointing," Silver said. "We're going to run the Muckdogs again next year, and this time we'll have a full offseason to sell tickets and advertising.

Attendance for the 2008 Muckdogs was 45,398, including the playoffs. That was up slightly over 2007. The Muckdogs won the NY-P league championship for the first time since 1963.

"Although the Batavia operation was unprofitable in 2008, we recognize that it was a transition year — and a losing year," RCB president Gary Larder said. "We are optimistic about an improved financial outcome in 2009."

Silver stressed that the company wants to keep the team in Batavia, "ideally" for 20 years, but she was careful to note that "we're taking our committment one year at a time."

Please check out the complete article by Bob Matthews.

December 17, 2008 - 7:01pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, video, schools.

Earlier this afternoon, Batavia Police Officer John Zola and City Schools Superintendent Margaret Puzio held a press conference at the police station downtown. Zola described the incident this morning on the city school bus, in which a 6-year-old boy brought a loaded handgun onto the bus. He also informed the news media present that the police had made two arrests related to the incident. Please read our earlier post for more details.

December 17, 2008 - 2:30pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, schools, education.

An older brother and the father of the 6-year-old boy who brought a loaded hand gun onto a city school bus this morning are in police custody and will likely be sent to jail, city police said at a news conference this afternoon. The boy, a Batavia elementary school student, has been suspended pending an investigation into the incident.

Juan Claudio, 40, of 108 Jackson St., Batavia, was charged with a felony count of fourth-degree possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. David Truesdale, 19, of 28 S. Main St., Batavia, was charged with fourth-degree possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanor counts. Truesdale does not have a prior conviction, therefore his charge of possession is a misdemeanor, explained John Zola, public information officer with the city police. Claudio does have a prior conviction and a criminal history, therefore he was charged with a felony count of possession.

Claudio and Truesdale are accused of being "responsible for the weapon being at the home" of the boy, said Zola, although neither of the men live with the child. The 6-year-old, who is not being named, lives with his mother and his 7-year-old brother in the city of Batavia.

Police are still investigating the owner of the handgun, which is legally registered, though not by either Claudio or Truesdale.

The 6-year-old child brought the gun onto the school bus this morning. When the bus pulled up to the high school to drop off some of the older students on board, the child's 7-year-old brother notified the bus driver.

"The bus driver confronted the 6-year-old and he stated that he did have a gun," said Det. Schauf, in a previously released statement. "The boy pulled the gun out of his pocket and gave it to the bus driver."

No one was threatened by the child with the gun, which was never brandished, said Margaret Puzio, city school superintendent.

"We are very grateful to the bus driver, who was a hero in this situation," said Puzio. "The only thing other students would have seen is the student handing over the gun to the bus driver. But they didn't see it. It was in a sack."

The school's reaction was swift.

"We began by calling every parent of a child who was on the bus when the incident happened," she added. "Phone calls were completed before 8:30 in the morning to tell (the parents) exactly what you learned today, minutes after the arrest."

The Batavian will post video footage from the news conference this evening.

Mugshots: Juan Claudio (top right), David Truesdale (lower left)

December 17, 2008 - 1:36pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, crime, police, schools.

Batavia city police were called to the high school this morning shortly before school started for a report of a six-year-old boy who allegedly possessed a gun. The weapon had since been recovered by a bus driver.

Det. Richard Schauf explained in a released statement:

"The bus driver had been approached by another boy on the bus who said that the 6-year-old had a gun. The bus driver confronted the 6-year-old and he stated that he did have a gun. The boy pulled the gun out of his pocket and gave it to the bus driver."

No rounds had yet been loaded into the chamber of the gun, but there were rounds in the clip. The Department of Social Services was contacted. The name of the child has not been released.

This investigation is ongoing. We will have further information if and when it becomes available.

Updated at 12:46pm... City police will hold a news conference this afternoon at 2:00pm at the station on Main Street in Batavia. A person of interest is currently being sought, and an arrest may be forthcoming.

Updated at 1:34pm... The Daily News has since posted their article online—although it really shouldn't be called "breaking" news, since it was reported here first. Joanne Beck spoke with Margaret Puzio, city school superintendent, who told the reporter that the 6-year-old will not be allowed back into school until the "consequences" are "determined."

December 17, 2008 - 1:30pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Christmas, Christmas lights.

Today's home on Allen St. in Batavia caught my eye because of the unique contrast in colors. I think the purple trees to the left stand out and make this one of the more interesting houses in the city. They aren't always purple, as they change colors. I was just lucky enough to capture them when they were purple.

I'm also glad to see the jaycees submitted their winners. I may have to get out and check some of those out tonight.

December 17, 2008 - 1:01pm
posted by Melissa George in batavia, jaycees, holiday, Winners, Light.


The Batavia Area Jaycees were out driving around on December 16th looking at all the homes that had decorated for the Holiday Season. These awards are ment to be given out as a friendly community project.  If you are offended by winning, please leave the Jaycees a message at 585-343-5775 and we will remove your name/house for future consideration.

Homes were judged on five different categories and the winners are:
Most Traditional – 107 Ross Street – beuatiful garland and ribbon, old time decorations.
Simple & Elegant - 45 Bogue Street – Classic white lights, wreaths and bows.
Most Colorful - 6 Allen Street – You name it, this house had that color.
Most Commercial - 15 Roosevelt Avenue. This house one because of the over 6 different moving white figures.
Overall - 3927 West Main Street – This year the lights were blinking to music when we went.
We did have a runner up for the Most Commercial, the home located at 29 Roosevelt Avenue and two Honorable Mentions – the homes at 3 South Main Street and 21 Union Street.
The Batavia Area Jaycees also thought the home at 8303 Lewiston Road took the phrase “Going Green” to a new meaning!
Take a night to drive around with family looking at all the wonderfully decorated homes for the holiday season. 
On a safety note, the Jaycees noticed many houses didn’t have visible numbers that you can see from the street either on the house or the mailbox. Help protect your family in case of an emergency and put up house numbers! 
December 17, 2008 - 12:09pm

If you're looking for something to do to keep from going stir crazy this winter, you may want to visit our Announcements section. We've always got fresh info posted on upcoming events and happenings around the county. Just today we got up event listings for Richmond Memorial Library and the Cornell Cooperative Extension. Lots going at both. Be sure to check them out!

For those of you hosting happenings, there are instructions on the Announcements page on how to post your news to that section. For more detailed video instructions on posting your own blog, please visit our Help page.

December 17, 2008 - 9:54am
posted by Philip Anselmo in budget, Albany, finance.

As we should expect, there's plenty of next day reaction to Gov. David Paterson's budget proposal in the news this morning. We've included here a roundup of some local reaction, as well as a few choice cuts from around the state.

My personal favorite among our local representatives—other than WXXI's capital correspondent Karen DeWitt who is simply fantastic: literate, articulate and trenchant—has to be Buffalo News reporter Tom Precious, who works out of the paper's Albany bureau. Precious put together another great piece today, now that the smoke screen has dissipated somewhat... well, not really dissipated at all.

“We’re going to have to take some extreme measures,” Paterson told lawmakers of the challenge of closing the state’s largest deficit ever.

The reaction was swift — and negative.

Hospitals and nursing homes would close, health care officials say, and those that don’t would cut back on patient care. As a result of Albany’s decreasing school aid, schools would reduce classroom and after-school programs, and property taxes would rise, education officials warned.

Middle-class taxpayers would be hit hard, critics said, not just from the cuts, but from the stunning array of increases in taxes and fees.

New Yorkers would pay more for registering a car, catching a salmon or trout, going to the movies, getting a haircut, buying gasoline, drinking beer and buying nondiet soft drinks.

Republicans say the Democratic governor’s tax and fee plan is actually $2 billion higher than being revealed. In all, there are 151 proposals that would create or increase taxes.

Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle reinforces the theme of atoning for the sins of our ancestors. Under the subheading: Paying for the Past, Joseph Spector writes: "Paterson warns that the state's fiscal problems are the result of years of overspending." Guilt is implied as a fact of life, it seems, and we're living out the unfortunate tragedy of an Ibsen character, collectively.

The Albany Times Union put together a great piece breaking down the "major elements" of the proposed budget. In an easy-to-navigate bullet-point format, this article is a must read for folks who want to know what's really at stake in the budget. For example, this is the only place we've read about the proposed $7 million reduction in arts grants.

Other articles you may want to check out:

That should get you started.

December 17, 2008 - 8:25am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Tabatha A. Torcello, 42, of Alexander, now faces more than a dozen additional charges following her arrest a couple weeks back for alleged possession of a forged prescription, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Torcello has since been charged with four counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, five counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, five counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and two counts fifth-degree health care fraud.

Torcello's home was searched by deputies following her previous arrest. Inside, they found a partial prescription pad that was allegedly stolen from a dentist's office in Rochester. An investigation revealed that Torcello had allegedly used the pad to forge prescriptions and obtain drugs from the pharmacies at the Batavia Wal-Mart, Warsaw Wal-Mart and Attica Rite Aid stores between November 15 and December 3. Deputies were assisted in the investigation by the Wyoming County Probation Department and the Buffalo Field Office of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Torcello was sent to Genesee County Jail without bail. A violation of the terms of her probation is also pending, as Torcello was under probation supervision for charges stemming from 2006 and 2007, when Torcello was accused of similar crimes.

Rita Cintron, 18, of New Jersey, was charged with trespass for an incident that occurred on December 7, deputies said. Cintron had previously been banned from the College Village dormitory apartments at Genesee Community College, yet she was allegedly located on the property by security personnel.

December 17, 2008 - 7:52am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, weather, winter.

Between three and five inches of heavy wet snow has so far fallen on Genesee County and environs, WBTA's Wayne Fuller tells us. It's ugly out there. Driving is slippery, so be careful. We're also still due for a continued onslaiught of snow and sleet and freezing rain until about noon today. Precipitation should end in a freezing drizzle and some icing is possible. Be wary all day on the roads. Fortunately, we look to be in the clear for tomorrow.

December 16, 2008 - 4:38pm

Book two in the four volume series, Famous Genesee, is fresh off the press and available for purchase at everybody's favorite local bookseller, Present Tense, as well as at the Genesee County History Department. It costs $15, and that price includes tax.

Inside the book, you will find some of the suspected cast of characters, such as Barber Conable and Terry Anderson. Yet, you are also likely to find stories you have never heard before. For example, there's the tale of Richard Ross, a 13-year-old Boy Scout who was awarded "the nation's first meritorious action medal" for saving the life of another boy. That was in 1946.

Volume two is officially known as: Famous Genesee: Book II: The Historians Collection of Newspaper Articles Featuring Heroes, Politicians & Reformers. All of its articles were compiled by Sue Conklin, Genesee County's historian, along with research assistant Judy Stiles.

"Many of the reformers that came through here were not welcomed with open arms," said Conklin. A visit by Frederick Douglass—documented in this volume—was even protested by many in the county.

"People might be surprised how many presidents come here," said Conklin, who described the "incredible" story of Bobby Kennedy who was ravaged by the public as people in the crowd nearly ripped his clothes off as if he were a rock star. "It was like a sea of people" packed together in the streets and even on the buildings.

He wasn't the only one, either. Roosevelt, Taft, Lincoln, Truman—they all came by. You can even read in this book about Lincoln's visit, when his train stopped at the New York Central Railroad Depot in Batavia, where he spoke "48 words" from the rear platform of the stopped train.

Some of Conklin's personal favorites include Helen Keller's visit to the state School for the Blind and the story of John L. Childs, who grew up in Batavia, but moved out west later and life and nearly formed a new state by taking land from northern California and southern Oregon.

"Of course, this book is not intended to be encyclopedic," said Conklin.

It's more of an introduction or an overview with a few snippets here and there that folks may not have already known. Conklin stresses that not all the stories are circa Emory Upton and Dean Richmond. There's much to be read from our own times.

"We're hoping it will spark people's memories," said Conklin.

That's why some of the pages of the book—instead of being left blank between chapters, for example—are ruled for taking notes and come with suggestions to get you started. One page, following the section on politicians, asks you to list all the presidents that have held office since you were born.

I'll go: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush. That's everyone since 1978, right?

Conklin hopes that they will make enough money with the sale of this book to finance the publication of the next volume in this series: Criminal Genesee. Also in the works: Brides of Genesee: For Better or Worse and Quirky Genesee: Gross and Disgusting Tales.

December 16, 2008 - 2:53pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in budget, Albany, finance.

A law that would enforce the collection of taxes on the sale of cigarettes by Indian-owned retailers was merely the beginning. Gov. David Paterson today unveiled a $121 billion budget proposal that plans to eliminate the state's $15 billion deficit over the course of the next two years through a hefty dose of cuts and creative taxation.

From the Democrat & Chronicle:

Paterson is calling for massive cuts to state education and health-care aid, an elimination of a property-tax rebate program for homeowners and 88 new taxes and fees.

Put a little more bluntly, with a bit of spleen, by the Buffalo News:

Aid to public schools will be cut by $700 million, state university tuition will rise, the STAR property tax rebates will be scrubbed, prison facilities will close and state workers who aren't laid off will get no pay raises under a budget plan Gov. David Paterson proposed this morning.

Cuts in school aid would total about $700 million, which has some education officials already worried that the loss will need to be offset by increases in local property taxes. Although their worry sounds more like a threat that we're sure to soon see manifested in television advertisements. You know the kind. We've seen them before. For example: Imagine something along the lines of a school playground at recess: the children, the glee, the games. Then, cut to a close-up of Paterson, overlaid with a sombre voice detailing some aspect or other of the budget proposal, followed by the post-apocalyptic image of an empty swing, rocking back and forth in the middle of the now empty playground. Or something like that.

Although, at least Paterson delivered his posion pill with an olive branch. Or so the Buffalo News would have it (note the language: make up for):

To make up for the cuts, Paterson proposes exempting schools from the state's expensive, union-backed Wicks Law … which drives up public facility construction costs … and new pension reforms to reduce local costs.

Wicks Law, a requirement for local governments to hire separate contractors for different aspects (plumbing, heating, electric) of the same public construction project, has been a frequent point of contention among municipalities across the state. The law was restructured some earlier this year.

What else should we expect? From the Buffalo News:

The Paterson budget raids an assortment of accounts that are not part of the state operating budget, increases taxes and fees by $4.1 billion, eliminates sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear purchases under $110, and places new sales taxes on everything from cable TV and satellite radio services to haircuts and massages.

A so-called obesity tax that would increase the levy on sugary, non-diet sodas to 18 percent per bottle is one of many "creative" taxes set up in the budget proposal. From the New York Times:

A tax on car rentals would rise to 6 percent from 5 percent. Taxes on beer and wine would more than double. Licensing fees would increase for private investigators, barbers, bail enforcement agents, home inspectors, notary publics and cosmetologists.

Taxes on gasoline, cable TV, satellite television and radio service, cigars, flavored malt beverages would also increase. And the cost of owning and operating a car would also increase significantly, with 16 fee increases for the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Mainstream media reports mostly give the impression of bracing for a blow from dad's leather belt. In the New York Times, we can read of the "austerity budget" that lays out a "painful plan"—you almost expect to hear the phrase: 'This is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you,' as the blows rain down upon us. Paterson, we're told, better get ready for a "reckoning" with the state's workforce. The Democrat & Chronicle's much more inspid coverage shies away from such colorful language, opting for the "trim" this and "limit" that style of budget speak.

Tom Precious, with the Buffalo News, siphons a bit more powder into the gun barrel in his coverage, coloring Paterson something of a pirate who is "raiding" state accounts. Precious talks of Paterson "slapping" this group with cuts and "scrubbing" rebates for that one. Sure, there's no doubt that the governor is scrambling to squeeze revenue from any source possible. But a $15 billion deficit is no chink the armor. We're hammered and dented and our shin buckles have long since rusted away. Isn't it time to strip down and revisit the forge? Or do we keep clambering on, stabbing at the windmills?

Paterson speaks of "sacrifice," mostly on the part of "working New Yorkers." No surprise, then, that we read in the Times: "Unions were bracing for a battle."

In a joint statement, George Gresham, the president of 1199 S.E.I.U. United Healthcare Workers East, and Ken Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said “these are staggering cuts that would shatter New York’s health care infrastructure, severely threaten the ability of patients to get access to care, and cause serious harm to communities across the entire state.”

That doesn't sound good. Shattering the health care infrastructure! That's intense. That's colossal. Is it true? What about "education advocates" who are telling us that the $700 million in cuts to school aid "really" amounts to $2.5 billion. Aid was going to increase next year. So that increase should be figured into the loss... so goes the argument. Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, told Tom Precious that this is "the most dramatic cut in education in the history of New York." Is that true? I fear we will be hearing a lot more of this most and worst ever talk.

Of course, it's not all bad news.

The Paterson budget would raise $105 million by permitting the sale of wine in grocery stores. And he wants New Yorkers to gamble more: the state's Quick Draw lottery game, derided as Crack Draw by gambling opponents, would see restrictions relaxed for the kinds of places the games could be offered as well as the number of hours a day the machines could be run. And racetrack casinos could keep their doors open longer each day.

So, when you can no longer afford to buy a Coke and listen to your satellite radio while you're trout fishing—license fees are listed to go up—you can buy a box of wine or go gamble away your last few bucks at the local watering hole... you know, engage in some real civic activity... that is, If you can afford the booze.

Seriously though, this budget proposal is big news. One has to wonder, however, how far this will all go. In fact, the plethora of fee hikes, aid cuts and tax increases—not to mention the "attrition" of state workers—smacks of a clever bit of strategy. It's hard to believe that the flabbergasted media reaction was not anticipated. I'm no political schemer, but it's almost as if Paterson's crew had the idea to try every trick possible. Bombard the enemy with all that you've got, and one or two are sure to slip through the cracks, breach the walls. Cut everything that can be cut. Increase the cost of very specific products and services—say, haircuts sneakers and back massages. Vow to weed out hundreds of "needless" jobs. Oh, and the day before all this is announced, sign a law that will surely miff the state's Indian population... Do you follow? It's as if Paterson is trying to get everyone up in arms. That way, while all the bigger, louder special interest groups are making all the noise and dominating the media coverage, some of these cuts and hikes and freezes will go under the radar and actually get passed. Hmm.

Just a thought.


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

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