Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

January 14, 2009 - 12:47pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, post office, mail delivery.

Earlier today, we picked up a story from Buffalo's Channel 4 news station about some potential route changes and shifting around of delivery times in store for Batavia and some areas in the region. We contacted the local Post Office this morning to see if we could find out some of the details.

Karen Mizurkiewicz, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service, told us that yes, in fact, they would be adjusting some routes in the region.

"We normally do route adjustments because things change in mail volume," she said. "Also, because we have offered some early retirements for employees including carriers. Instead of hiring new carriers, we're redistributing routes among existing carriers. We need to try to direct our postal stamp dollar as far as it will go. We don't receive any tax dollars. So when you're selling less stamps and delivering less mail, you need to stretch your resources."

Mizurkiewicz didn't have any details on which routes would be affected. She said that right now, the postal service is "examing the data for Batavia," and that changes will be more clear nearer to the end of February.

We'll be sure to pass along those details to our readers when they become available.

January 14, 2009 - 11:25am
posted by Philip Anselmo in police, accident, emergency.

Update at 12:17pm: Clinton Street Road has been reopened.

A head-on collission on Clinton Street Road, Route 33, just south of Terry Hills Golf Course near the city line has halted traffic through that stretch of road. Emergency crews are on scene at this time, and motorists are being redirected.

I came in via Route 33 this morning and can attest to the iciness of the road. Whole stretches of 33 in the town of Batavia and further out in Bergen were coated in ice. Please be careful if you do have to drive that way later today, and be sure to avoid it in the meantime.

View Larger Map

January 14, 2009 - 9:13am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

A home contractor based in Le Roy will face further accusations of defrauding his customers, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Martin A. Miller, 48, of Le Roy, was charged with a felony count of third-degree grand larceny and a felony count of first-degree sceme to defraud. Miller is accused of accepting $3,100 as a down payment toward a $6,200 barn roof that he agreed to replace in May. He allegedly cashed the check without ever even starting the work on the roof.

Miller was first arrested about a month ago by sheriff's deputies and was charged with a felony count of third-degree grand larceny and a felony count of first-degree scheme to defraud. Those charges stemmed from the accusation that he had taken $3,800 to repair a roof in Alexander and failed to do so. At that time, he was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

Robert C. George III, 24, of 2 Roosevelt Ave., Batavia, was charged with driving while intoxicated Tuesday night, deputies said. George was picked up following an investigation of a vehicle off the road in the town of Le Roy. He was also ticketed with failure to reduce speed and use special hazards.

January 14, 2009 - 8:04am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, mail, WIVB.

Well folks, it turns out not even the postal service is immune to an economy that's feeling the hurt. A story on Buffalo's WIVB Channel 4 informs us that postal delivery route changes are in store for several districts in the area, including Batavia.

From a companion story on the Channel 4 Web site:

When the nation's businesses experience a downturn, it directly affects the volume of mail. Economic decline leads to a decline in mail volume. The current year is particularly challenging since mail volume has declined significantly

In order to remain economically viable, the Postal Service must make changes to its operations, staffing, and facilities to match current mail volume and to maintain the service performance the American public has come to expect.

We will contact the local branch later this morning to see if there are more details on when and where in particular these changes will take effect.

January 14, 2009 - 7:38am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, weather, winter, ice.

Temperatures have settled at about 4 degrees, or nearly 30 degrees below freezing, in the Batavia area this morning. As a result, area police have cautioned motorists to be wary of black ice on the roads. Even those roads treated with salt have iced up in some spots, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer.

Fortunately, there's no significant wind to push that cold all the more insistently into our faces today. Unfortunately, that won't be the case tomorrow when more wind develops and could yank the temperature down near -17 degrees. Expect more of the same on Friday.

A well-written article this morning in the Buffalo News has some tips on how to get through the "deep freeze." For example: You may want to keep your water running just a little bit so that it doesn't freeze in the pipes.

January 13, 2009 - 9:00pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, baseball, football, sports, soccer, softball.

Batavia High School has been one of the smallest schools in the Monroe County League for a long time.

It has hindered the chances some programs have had to win.

But those things are about to change as realignment has given Batavia a chance to remain part of a league, yet be competitive in sports it normally struggled to compete in.

"With our school and our size, Monroe County recognized that our school and Greece Odyssey were a little different," Batavia athletic director Mike Bromley said. "You have to give them credit for that because they give us a league affiliation and will allow us to be competitive."

The Blue Devils will be playing in Monroe County League Division III, but will be essentially playing a half-league schedule.

Geography is a big consideration for Monroe County as teams were realigned. Division I and II teams are matched up as much by travel distance as school size. Division III is mostly about size.

Batavia will play each team in Division III once in both boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball and volleyball. That means the Blue Devils will get to play seven league games, which is also happening with Odyssey.

While Batavia will no longer be eligible for league championships, it will give teams chances to schedule non-league games with teams that they can compete with.

A prime example is the boys soccer team, which experimented with the schedule least year. Batavia went 7-10, going 7-1 outside of Monroe County and 0-8 in the league.

"We gave up the opportunity to win a league championship because we don't play everybody twice," Bromley said. "But to be able to go out and get schools that are closer to our size and be more competitive makes more sense than trying to win league titles."

Kids will still have  a chance to be recognized as all-county and there will be no changes for track & field or cross country. 

This sets up some potential great local rivalries, especially as Batavia drops down to Class B. Imagine home and home series' with Attica or Albion. Those could be great local rivalries for Batavia.

Once you get past not being able to compete for a league championship, there are still goals for Batavia teams. 

There will also be changes in the modified programs at Batavia, as the drop in numbers will no longer support a seventh and eighth grade team. The two grades will be combined for modified and will play a schedule based on geography.


Here is the new alignment for the Monroe County League:

Division I: Canandaigua, Irondequoit, Fairport, Penfield, Rush-Henrietta, Webster Schroeder, Webster Thomas.

Division II: Brockport, Churchville-Chili, Gates Chili, Greece Arcadia, Greece Athena, Greece Olympia, Hilton, Spencerport.

Division III: Batavia, Brighton, Greece Odyssey, East Irondequoit Eastridge, Honeoye Falls-Lima, Pittsford Mendon, Pittsford Sutherland, Victor.

January 13, 2009 - 3:50pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, consolidation.

Earlier today, we contacted Charlie Mallow, Batavia's City Council president, and Greg Post, the town supervisor, to get their thoughts on some specifics about the upcoming consolidation plan. Mallow sent us his responses via e-mail this past hour. We include them below.

When we called Post, he told us that he wouldn't be available to answer the questions until later this evening. We will try to get in touch with him then and get his answers up once we have them. They were given the same questions.

Note: CGR is an abbreviation for the Center for Governmental Research, the group that put together the report in preparation for an upcoming study on consolidating the city and town of Batavia. You can download the complete report here. Our questions (verbatim) are in italics. Mallow's responses (verbatim) are in bold.

CGR's memorandum calls for a Consolidation Plan to be complete by May in order for community discussion to take place between then and November, in advance of the tentative November 3 vote. Does that sound like a tenable timeline?

The time tables are tight; there is no question about it. It will be a challenge to get the information out to the voters. It is doable and needs to be a priority.

What do you see as your role moving forward in this process? Do you plan to be a passive contributor—for example, you will sit for interviews and meetings when asked, but that's the extent of it? Or do you plan to actively promote consolidation efforts? If the latter, how do you plan to do so?

The experience I have gathered during the cities financial difficulties has made it very clear to me that individual municipalities cannot continue on the way we are. The tribalism that we have in NY is driving away business and making it impossible to compete. We need to eliminate layers of government as soon as humanly possible. I have every intention doing what I can to drive this consolidation issue. To do nothing when you know the future financial outcome resulting from doing nothing would be pure incompetence on my part.

CGR's memorandum states that a public vote is not required for a consolidation. Would you support efforts at consolidation if the residents were not allowed to make the final decision? If the residents do get to vote and they decide they do not want to go ahead with consolidation, but the state Legislature calls for it anyway, would you still support it?

The state should mandate consolidation but, it’s too incompetent and slow to react to make positive changes in our state. The special interests control Albany and most of what comes from state government is a stage show for political purposes. The state government is corrupted to such an extent that nothing good could ever come from Albany. That’s why I’m confident the state will do nothing to solve a major problem like the over abundance of small municipal taxing entities in our state.

CGR states that "current boundaries and the resulting turf protection issues have made it very difficult to develop cost effective regional solutions to deliver ambulance, police and fire services." Do you agree with that? Is consolidation the only answer to these problems? Do you feel these problems would remain if consolidation did not go through?

You’re talking about three distinct issues. Consolidation between the City/Town would be a first step. None of the issues you mentioned would be solved by a vote for consolidation in November. We have asked for a plan that would NOT increase or decrease services or change the tax structures in the city/town. Consolidation would decrease some of the costs and put our community in a position to deal with those other issues in the future.

Fire services are handled by fire districts; these districts cross municipal lines and require another round of consolidation prompted by the state to move forward. I believe county departments have trouble attracting volunteers and getting good response times during the day. The amount of districts also has cost millions in redundant equipment purchases. There are far more fire trucks in this county than are needed. Consolidation of fire districts would be a long and painful task, which is not part of this effort.

Police protection is something that would remain a city service unless there was a petition by residents in the old town who desired the service. Again we are not talking about increasing the level of service anywhere in the town with consolidation. Just sharing the things we currently all need. 

From my point of view ambulance service is something that should come from the county. This service was started by people in the city who had very little knowledge of the long term problems inherent with taking on that service. The city is currently in a position of collecting fees from municipalities it has no taxing jurisdiction over to keep the service afloat. The long term cost of continuing the service the same way would be devastating to our cities finances. This problem is a separate issue that council will be tackling in the upcoming year.

CGR presents population research that shows that the city of Batavia decreased in population by .7 percent between 2001-2006, while the town of Batavia increased 26.2 percent. Do you feel these trends will continue? How could such trends benefit or hinder consolidation efforts?

The town has shovel ready land and a lot of it. The town also has the benefit of 16,000 city residents who shop in their business district. There is no choice but, for new developments to grow outside the city, there simply is very little land to develop inside the city.

January 13, 2009 - 10:39am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, poll.

Last night, the Batavia City Council voted to waive the residency requirement for 14 city employees. That was all the news that was reported about the 6-to-1 vote. Nobody has yet been able to tell us why exactly the city has such a requirement if it's willing to waive it for such a large number of employees. In the meantime, we would like to get your thoughts. Do you feel it's imperative for a person to live in the city of Batavia if they are employed here? Can someone in Oakfield do the job? Does it matter? If it doesn't matter, why does the city require residency here? If it does matter, why would the city waive that requirement? Well, what do you think?

January 13, 2009 - 10:09am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Michele Anastasi, 52, of Lockport, was charged with a felony count of first-degree criminal contempt, second-degree aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Anastasi is accused of striking someone during a fight in the town of Pembroke. Following the altercation, Anastasi allagedly made "several harassing messages to the same individual" in violation of an order of protection.

Anastasi is due to appear in the town of Pembroke court this evening to answer those charges.

January 13, 2009 - 9:55am
posted by Philip Anselmo in sculpture, Erie County.

Every morning, I spend a good hour or so perusing the local media sites, looking for the stories most relevant to the folks of Genesee County. Links to those articles are then included in our Regional Headlines section down here to the right.

Often, there's that one story that deserves more than a cursory mention. For a while now, I've wanted to pick out that one article or news clip that deserved a bit more attention and bring it to you in the full light of our central blog well.

Today is the day we start that service. We hope you enjoy it.

An article this morning in the Buffalo News tells the story of a young man from a small town on the northern shore of Lake Erie. Reporter Chairty Vogel writes the tale with a sure hand and finesse enough to make it come alive.

He burned with artistic fire. But he lived a tough life, and died at a heartbreakingly young age.

Asa Ames was, in many ways, the James Dean of American folk art.

And he lived his entire life — just 27 years — right here in Western New York, in the Town of Evans, where today his simple slab tombstone lies toppled over in a country graveyard, crumbling and neglected.

That was in 1851. Now, Ames will be honored in an exhibit at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

Vogel truly does a tremendous job with this story, which she recognizes as much more than a tragic tale of a talented young man who died too soon. This is the story of undiscovered talent—small town talent—that Vogel so aptly describes as "hauntingly personal." Ames was working outside of the mainstream, away from the city centers in a medium—wood—that was for the most part unappreciated at the time. He is the quintessential outsider. Like Georg Büchner and Henry Darger, Ames was not understood by the insiders until long after his death. And as Vogel tells us near the end of her article, Ames remains something of enigma, even today.

January 13, 2009 - 8:20am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, wbta, city council.

Batavia's City Council last night waived the residency requirement for 14 city employees, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. Councilman Bob Bialkowski was the sole dissenter in the 6-to-1 vote. Assistant City Manager Sally Kuzon and recently appointed Code Enforcement Officer Ronald Panek were among those relieved of the requirement.

No one has yet explained exactly what such a decision means for the city. If the residency requirement was in place: How did the city hire 14 people in violation of the requirement? We put the question to Council President Charlie Mallow this morning, and we're waiting for his response. We'll be sure to get it up when he responds, if he doesn't just beat us to the punch and post a comment before then.

Update: Mallow has responded to our inquiry from earlier this morning.

"The City has a residency requirement for all employees to live within the boundaries of the County," he said. "These employees were identified as living outside the County, some who have worked for the City for over 10 years, and it has been determined that it is in the best interest of the City to waive this requirement  for these people."

January 13, 2009 - 8:03am
posted by Philip Anselmo in weather, snow, winter, commute, storm.

We're looking at a severe winter weather advisory for the region from 9 o'clock this morning through 6:00pm this afternoon, issued by the National Weather Service out of Buffalo. Don't expect things to get more friendly after that. We're already hearing talk of record low temperatures possibly down to minus ten degrees by Thursday. For now, here's what to expect:

A strong cold front will cross western New York early this afternoon and bring 1 to 3 inches of snow to the area. Strong southerly winds ahead of the front will shift to west with the frontal passage and gust up to 35 mph. This will result in considerable blowing and drfiting snow. Expect very hazardous conditions for travel for a few hours during the afternoon.

Please be careful driving out there. Wind, plus snow, plus cold usually make for the worst driving conditions. I can speak from experience that Route 33 between Batavia and Bergen is often treacherous when the gusts start kicking the snow across the road.

Everything looks clear right now on the Thruway.

January 12, 2009 - 3:31pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, Holland Land Office Museum, Emory Upton.

Most folks around here ought to know the name Emory Upton compatriot of General Sherman, traveler of the world and military documenter and tactician. His patinated likeness stands tall at the monument on the city's west side where Main Street and Ellicott Street join.

Now, Upton has earned himself yet another memorial: a rank of fifth in the Holland Land Office Museum's countdown of The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous.

Museum Director Pat Weissend tells us: 

In 1875, Upton received orders from General William T. Sherman to leave West Point and go on a world tour to observe and study all the great armies of Asia and Europe. Upton and his group headed west by train to San Francisco, got on a boat and headed to Japan. After observing the Japanese army, they went to China, India, Persia, Turkey, Russia and finally ended up in Western Europe.  Upon his return stateside, he published the book The Armies of Asia and Europe.

Recently, The Batavian sat down with Weissend and County Clerk Don Reed at Main Street Coffee as they worked at transcribing a selection of Upton's letters. (Those letters will be edited and published once the transciption is complete.)

For more on Upton, visit the Holland Land Office Museum online.

January 12, 2009 - 1:47pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in congress, politics, Democrats, republicans, Chris Lee.

We received the following statement, issued by the Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming and Orleans Democratic Committee Chairs.

The Democrats of the rural counties of New York's 26th Congressional District (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties, or the GLOW region,) congratulate Chris Lee on being sworn in to represent the district in the 111th Congress.  While he is getting established in Washington, the GLOW county Democratic Committees note that Congressman Lee's plans to open offices in just Monroe and Erie Counties suggest there is a good chance that the rural areas of the district, which comprise a great deal of the 26th, may continue to be overlooked despite there being new representation in Congress.

Mr. Lee has issued a statement announcing that he has been named to the Financial Services Committee, the committee assignment he sought.  Unfortunately, membership on that committee precludes his serving on any of the other important committees in Congress.  (Most members of Congress sit on multiple committees, but members of the Financial Services Committee do not.)  "What our communities really need is a representative on the Agriculture Committee, like the 29th District will have with Eric Massa," says Harold Bush, Chair of the Wyoming County Democratic Committee.  The Genesee County Democratic Committee Chair, Lorie Longhany, says "I am concerned that Congressman Lee is in danger of simply perpetuating a long Washington tradition of being more interested in Wall Street than Main Street.  The fact that two of his very first votes were against closing pay discrimination loopholes -- he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fairness Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act -- makes me even more on my guard about his commitment to average people."

The other matter of great concern to the GLOW-region Democratic Committees is that Congressman Lee may not be supportive enough of passing the stimulus plan that is the first item on Congress' agenda.  "He never talks about a recovery plan without worrying out loud about 'fiscal responsibility,'" says Phil Jones, Chair of the Livingston County Democratic Committee.  "But 'fiscal responsibility' has become the Republican code phrase for obstructing what we really need in this district, which is jobs.  The Republicans had plenty of chances to be fiscally responsible when they were in control of Congress and the economy wasn't in dire straits.  But economic experts agree that temporary government spending is the only thing that can help turn around our economic situation."  The Orleans County Democratic Chair, Jeanne Crane, notes that public investment in infrastructure and green energy projects could benefit the 26th district for years to come.  "Smart public investments can lead to real, tangible assets for our community, assets that will attract jobs and growth.  We hope Congressman Lee understands that and will support the kind of stimulus package we need."

January 12, 2009 - 9:46am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Joseph Auricchio, 17, of Alexander, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful dealing with fireworks Saturday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Deputies picked up Auricchio following a complaint.

Robert W. Baker, 38, of Attica, was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Baker was driving on Route 77 in Alabama when he crashed his car and ended up stuck in a deep snow embankment in a ditch. He was also ticketed with moving from the lane unsafely.

Jerry K. Scroger, 44, of 3207 Pratt Road, Lot 6, Batavia, was charged with second-degree criminal contempt Friday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Scroger is accused of violating a court order of protection by calling his estranged spouse.

Brian J. Lipinski, 25, of Corfu, was charged with trespass early this morning, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Lipinski was picked up after crashing his snowmobile into a pile of steel railroad track while driving along the CSX railroad line.

January 12, 2009 - 9:15am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, sports, schools, elba, Notre Dame, cheerleading.

Thanks to Lindsay Warner for submitting the following info on the Genesee Region League Cheerleading Tournament. We would love to have some color to go with this recap, so if you've got photos or video of this event, please post it to the site or contact me by e-mail so we can get it posted.

This weekend the JV and varsity cheerleading squads of the Genesee Region League gathered for their annual tournament. The competition travels to a different host school every few years and this year was the first for Elba High School and Michelle Merrill, their head coach.

The competition is run much like Winter Cheerleading Sectionals in that each team performs twice on the mat- once in a cheer only round and than again using the tradition cheer/dance routine. Grand Champion is determined by the squad who carries the highest total score. Since the inception of this competition that score belonged to the Holley Hawks- that is until this weekend.

Notre Dame has competed in this tournament for years and since Coach Lindsay (Rapone) Warner began coaching, grand champion was set as the ultimate goal. Holley High School, who is class B2 with nearly twice as many squad members, doesn’t make for much of a fair fight. This year Notre Dame has 14 members, 6 of which are new additions to the varsity team from last year. Nevertheless, Notre Dame was able to top Holley’s squad of 27 by 6 points in Round One which was very exciting for the squad as a last second decision was made to throw out the original cheer and learn a completely new one less than a week before the day’s performance. Overall the Irish stole grand champion by 4 points.

“My team was aware that the odds were against us in our goal to get grand champ. Holley is a great competitor and is well known for their themed routines, which this year, was Legally Blonde,” coach Lindsay Warner. The squad worked very hard to prepare for this competition, including two full practices before each of their games this week. The girls wanted it and their efforts certainly paid off. Assistant coach, Sheri Girvin, who is an alumni of Holley High School and former recipient of Grand Champion as a Hawk joined the Irish last year and was thrilled to receive Grand Champion again, now as a Notre Dame coach.

Squad captains are Stacy Squire, Kristen Francis, and Lauren DiFante, two of which are seniors and are very hopeful that this is just the start of a very successful final season for them at Notre Dame.


JV CHEER DI- Holley 177, Attica 173, Alexander 170; DII- Kendall 137
JV CHEER/DANCE DI- Holley 179,Attica 169, Alexander 156; DII Kendall 150
Varsity CHEER DI-Holley 184, Attica 179, Alexander 174, Oakfield 109; DII Notre Dame 190, Elba 173, Kendall 157, Lyndonville 150
Varsity CHEER/DANCE DII- Notre Dame 185, Kendall 166, Elba 164, Lyndonville 146

January 12, 2009 - 8:04am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council.

Batavia's City Council will meet tonight at 7:00pm at the City Centre. Their only order of business is a vote to abolish the city's Board of Ethics, which would henceforth hand over all questions of potential ethics violations to the county's board, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer.

Today and tomorrow will be mild compared to the expected temperatures later this week. An arctic front will blow in Wednesday, dropping temperatures down to near zero that day and possibly even as low as minus five degrees on Thursday. Follow this link to download a helpful extereme cold weather guide.

January 11, 2009 - 1:47pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, weather, storm.

 We were supposed to get slammed with some big-time snow last night. I woke up this morning with the ambition to go out and photograph some carnage.

It was actually pretty nice.

As you can see, most streets and driveways are clear and the only real damage I found was a power wire down.


Top Items on Batavia's List

Nice, Spacious, Upper 2 Bedroom Available

Up for rent is a very spacious upper 2 bedroom apartment. Separate utilities of gas, electric, water and sewer. Washer and dryer hookups in unit. 114 Bank St. Available August 20th Any questions or to set up a viewing, please feel free to contact me me anytime.

Furnished room & bath for rent

Furnished 1 bedroom in private home, just outside of the City. $525/month includes all utilities, washer & dryer available, kitchen privileges. Ideal for one person. Reference & security deposit required. No smoking, no pets. Available now. Call 344-3141

Yard Sale

Yard Sale • 1 Chestnut Street, Batavia 1987 Chevy S10 Blazer 4 x4 2.8l with 61/2 ' Western Unimount Snow Plow, new blade car top carrier brand new bike carrier new children's toys books adult and children much more Sale is Friday August 10th 9am-1pm Saturday August 11th 9am-1pm

Large 2 bedroom apartment available now

Large 2 bedroom apartment available now, all one level living. Rent is $825 includes all utilities except electric. That means heat, water, hot water, trash. lawn and snow plowing are included. Appliances are provided, just updated apartment, good references are a must. There is a no dog policy and no smoking in the apartment. Security Deposit is required (one month's rent). For a showing of the apartment at 8510 Seven Springs Road, Batavia NY 14020, please call 585-343-3755.





Copyright © 2008-2018 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button