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August 21, 2011 - 8:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, rainbow.

Batavia was visited by a pretty spectacular rainbow this evening. Here's two pictures. If you took pictures of the rainbow, mail them to howard (at) the batavian (one word) dot com. We'll add them to this post.

Reader submissions:

No name attached with this submission.

Submitted anonymously.

August 21, 2011 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Gardening.

Apparently, Nate Fix got his hands on some magic zucchini beans seeds this spring.

It's not like he has Beanstalks reaching up to the clouds above, but Sicilian zucchini typically grows to about 10 inches in length. What Nate is harvesting this summer are zucchinis that exceed 3 1/2 feet in length.

Nate and his wife Kayte plant a garden every year, but they've never had zucchini grow taller than daughter Hannah, who is 3 1/2.

Nate said they used organic fertilizer and did nothing out of the ordinary. He said perhaps a reader knows why this year's zucchini grew so massive.

Photos courtesy Nate Fix.

August 21, 2011 - 12:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, photos, Summer in the City.

Summer in the City 2011 had it all -- sun, classic cars, a big crowd, a competitive 5K, food, dunk tanks, face painting and other fun along with some great entertainment.

Slide show of more than 70 photos below (be sure to click the button on the lower right to view in full frame).

To purchase photos from this event, click here.

August 20, 2011 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Summer in the City.

Summer in the City is under way. It's a beautful day. Come on down.

Thanks to Ken Mistler for roof access to the WBTA building at Main and Center, and to Louie Kingsbury for taking me up there.

August 20, 2011 - 2:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A three-car accident is reported on the westbound Thruway at mile market 386.6. Uknown injuries. Town of Batavia Fire Department and Mercy EMS are responding.

UPDATE 2:33 p.m.: A Mercy medic on scene reports there are no injuries.

August 19, 2011 - 7:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, economic development, business.

Batavia has a new cheerleader. Her name is Julie Pacatte and she believes Batavia has a bright future and she's ready to help.

"We have to believe in ourselves," Pacatte said. "Statistics show Batavia is not a bedroom community. It's not dependent on Buffalo or Rochester. It has an opportunity to be self sufficient and take care of its own."

Pacatte has eight years experience working in community development in Upstate New York and understands the cynicism of many who think Western New York, if not the entire northeast, is doomed.

Pacatte, who started her new job Thursday as economic development coordinator for Batavia Development Corporation, believes Batavia has a lot going for it. It's centrally located, is supported by a strong agricultural sector, has a vibrant local business community and is a beautiful place to live and work.

Part of her job, she said, will be to help local business owners, if they need it, become re-energized about growing their businesses.

"There is hope for the future," Pacatte said. "There are resources available. There are resources for people to be creative in this city, to work hard and try new things. There's support for that in this city and that's what I would define as the small business owner."

The new position is funded through a partnership between the BDC and the City of Batavia. The $90,000 annual budget for the position -- Pacatte's salary is $60,000 a year -- is being funded through a fund withdrawal from the BDC's revolving loan program and a $10,000 contribution from the city. 

Part of Pacatte's job is to make the position self-sustaining within two years by bringing in grants and aid for development projects in the city.

It's not a task that Pacatte finds particularly daunting.

"I'm all for a challenge," she said.

While Pacatte and her husband have made a commitment to stay in Clarence while their daughter, just entering ninth grade, finishes high school, Pacatte said she's fully committed to helping Batavia grow.

"Batavia is at the crossroads of Western New York," Pacatte added. "I really, really believe there is an opportunity here, and there is an opportunity to inspire the independent thinkers, those who want to see progress."

August 19, 2011 - 6:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, Richmond Memorial Library, photos, education.

Lindsay Kuhn, of Smoke Ridge Organics and Butterflies, visited the Richmond Memorial Library on Friday afternoon for the children's summer reading program. Kuhn brought with her a box of butterflies -- 55 of them stored in wax envelopes ready for release into the wild by the children. After about a 20-minute talk on the different kinds of butterflies, why they're important to the environment and their life cycles, each child was given a butterfly to release.

August 19, 2011 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Summer in the City, UMMC.

Press release:

United Memorial Hospital will host a free Health Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 at Cary Hall, 211 E. Main St., Batavia. The fair has been planned to coincide with the City of Batavia’s “Summer in the City” event.

Rochester radio’s WBEE 92.5 FM will host a live remote with personality Steve Hausmann from the Bee’s Morning Coffee Club from 2 to 4 p.m. They will host live on-air interviews, play games, and give away prizes.

The Health Fair will feature free screenings provided by United Memorial’s Healthy Living Department for total cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat analysis, and blood glucose. (Please fast for two hours prior to the blood glucose test for accurate results.) Dr. William Guthinger will provide free prostate health checks for men.

United Memorial’s Infection Prevention Department will provide information, appropriate hand-hygiene education, and demonstrate the detection of organic material using ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) on surfaces.

Complimentary hot dogs and beverages will be also be available.

Under the tent, several community partners will offer information, free giveaways and games. Participants include the YMCA, YWCA, Genesee County Department of Health, HCR Home Care, Cancer Services Partnership of Genesee and Orleans Counties, UMMC’s Summit Physical and Occupational Therapy, Community Action Center of Genesee and Orleans, UMMC’s Maternity Department and lactation consultant, Catholic Charities, Independent Living of Genesee Region, the Veterans War Memorial Committee, UMMC Foundation, Fidelis, Brighton Securities, Planned Parenthood, the NYS Department of Public Service, Genesee County ARC, Procair/UMMC Sleep Lab, and Dr. Jeffery A. Goldstein.

August 19, 2011 - 12:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Genesee Cash Mob.

At least five people showed up to Present Tense Books on Thursday as a result of the Genesee Cash Mob effort organized by Chris Charvella.

There may have been more customers come in because of the novel effort to promote local businesses, said owner Erica Caldwell, but only five people said specifically that they came in because of the "cash mob."

"I know some of them hadn't been in the store before and I think it's fantastic if it gets people to visit a store they hadn't been in before," Caldwell said.

It's hard to say, said Caldwell, if the business day was bigger than normal.

"There is no normal," she said. "Business fluctuates so much day to day, there is no baseline to compare it to."

But that's almost beside the point, Caldwell indicated.

The key of the Genesee Cash Mob idea is to promote the idea of shopping locally at independently owned businesses, which Caldwell fully supports.

"It was definitely worth it," Caldwell said.

And she figures being the first cash mob effort, the participation will only grow. She didn't have high expectations for a big return, being the business selected for the first week.

"It was wonderful being the first business selected," Caldwell said. "I'm very proud of that because it means we must be doing something right."

August 19, 2011 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Summer in the City.

The following streets in Downtown Batavia will be closed from 8 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. on Saturday: 

Bank at Washington
Main at Upton Monument
Main at Liberty / Summit
Jackson at Ellicott
Center at School
Court at Ellicott
Jefferson at intersection of Tonawanda Valley FCU and Wendy’s parking lots
Wendy’s - Main Street entrance

For the Don Carroll 5K,  barricades set up at:

Post Office / Police Station parking lot at Jefferson (3 p.m.)
Jefferson and Washington Avenue (at noon)
West side of Jefferson along Austin Park - cones at 8 a.m.

Main Stage: Will be located in front of Wendy’s / County Building #1 on Main Street facing east. Entertainment: begins at 2 and ends at 10 p.m.
Featured: Terry Buchwald “Elvis”, Ghost Riders and Shama Lama

Vendors: Crafters and nonprofits will be located on Main Street. Food and commercial vendors will be on the northside of Main Street from in front of Larry’s Steakhouse west to corner of Main and Jefferson. KidsZone will be in front of City Hall in the parking lot. Commercial and nonprofits will be on south side of Main Street from Jackson Street west to Court Street.

Super Cruise: Vehicles will be on both sides of Main Street from Jackson Street east to Liberty / Summit. Overflow of vehicles will be parked on Jackson, School  Center and Bank Streets.

August 18, 2011 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, pembroke, Genesee Justice, foreign exchange students.

Valeriya Melnichuk, a foreign exchange student who worked as an intern for Genesee Justice over the summer, will return to her home in Kyrgyzstan with a few big impressions of Batavia.

First, the people are friendly.

Also, in her time at Genesee Justice, she saw first-hand the benefits of educating drunken drivers about the dangers of DWI.

Genesee Justice also opened her eyes to ways her own country's justice system could better assist victims of crime.

And one observation that might not surprise some readers: American sure go easy on their criminals.

The 19-year-old Melnichuk is a student at American University in Central Asia. She is majoring in international and comparative politics with a minor in law.

She speaks Russian, Kyrgyz, French and English, and her English is nearly flawless.

Her first visit to Genesee County was in 2008 when she was an exchange student at Pembroke High School.

When she graduates she hopes to work in her home country on public policy, particularly as it relates to law.

The internship at Genesee Justice, she thought, would give her a perspective on how policy devised at one level of government impacts local government.

For example, the provision of Leandra's Law that requires convicted drunken drivers to install ignition interlock devices could have used a little more policy study before being implemented, Melnichuk said.

The law, while well intended, will eventually bankrupt the interlock device companies, she said, because it's too easy for drivers to claim they can't afford the devices, and if a judge agrees, the device is provided and installed at the expense of the company.

"There's too many people who get them for free," Melnichuk said. "They tell the judge they can't afford it, but they drive a nice car and they can afford to get drunk. I see the good idea in it, but they're too easy to get for free."

Two ideas that Melnichuk would like to take back to Kyrgyzstan are rooted in the restorative justice mission of Genesee Justice.

First, Melnichuk she thinks that it's a good idea to require people convicted of DWI to be educated on the dangers of DWI, to have their progress monitored and to require them to do some community service.

"It's not just letting people pay a fine or go to jail," she said. "They have to think about what they've done."

Second, she believes it's a good idea to provide a victim assistance program. Genesee Justice helps victims understand the criminal justice system, walks victims through court proceedings and ensures they get restitution.

She recalled one case this summer where a poor family in Batavia that relies strictly on bicycles for transportation, had a son's bike stolen.

Genesee Justice, while looking for a donated bike, found the stolen bike and returned it to the boy.

"That's a small thing, but it helps a lot," she said.

It's also a part of small-town life that Melnichuk, who comes from a city of one million people, came to appreciate.

In Genesee County, almost everybody knows somebody else that you know, and people are friendlier.

"It's not like my home city or New York City, where everybody is in a hurry," Melnichuk said. "Here people will smile and say hello even if they don't know you. In the city, you rush through and it's good if you still have your purse after you run through a crowd."

Still, Melnichuk is surprised at the seemingly light sentences convicted criminals get in New York.

She said maybe it's just the way she was raised -- strict parents who gave her the freedom to pursue her dreams, but required discipline, or a school system that required uniforms and wouldn't allow students to talk during class or sass teachers -- but she thinks the sentences given to convicts are pretty minimal.

"Your prisons are pretty nice," Melnichuk said. "Compared to back home, they're a lot nicer. And here, some person will commit some horrible crime and they'll get just seven years. Me, I would have given them 25 years."

With her internship nearly done, the observations made and the lesson's learned, Melnichuk is ready to return home a week from Sunday, but she said she has really enjoyed her time in Batavia.

August 18, 2011 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Main St. Pizza Company.

A hand-painted sign on the back of Main St. Pizza Company on East Main Street, Batavia, has the local zoning board's blessing, according to shop owner Vic Marchese.

He said that the zoning board approved a variance for the sign on Tuesday, even though the county planning board had recommended disapproval.

The sign was painted by local muralist Vinny DelPlato earlier this summer. It was only after Delplato completed the work did Marchese learn the painting, considered a sign, not art work, needed city approval.

August 18, 2011 - 6:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Batavia Development Corp..

Press release:

Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) today announced its appointment of Julie Pacatte as the Economic Development Coordinator for the BDC. Ms. Pacatte was selected following a statewide recruitment process.

Ms. Pacatte has been involved with various aspects of economic development for the greater part of 20 years. From 1993-2003, she worked in real estate development in both Florida and Maryland. From 2003-2005, Julie served as the director of external affairs for the Schoharie County, NY, Chamber of Commerce in the Capital District region. From 2006-2010, Julie served as an economic development associate and Empire Zone coordinator for the Schoharie County Industrial Development Agency prior to relocating to Clarence, NY, with her family last year.

BDC President Ray Chaya said, “We are delighted to have Julie join our team. She brings a great deal of experience and background to Batavia and we look forward to working closely with her and other groups in the community to further push the city’s economic development efforts.”

The Batavia Development Corporation is a local development corporation established in 1994 to assist with economic development, redevelopment and job creation efforts within the City of Batavia. Since 2003, the City and BDC have accessed several statewide economic development programs in order to make small business loans and grants locally. As a result, more than $1.3 million has been awarded to 80 small businesses in the city that has leveraged nearly $2.5 million of private investment. Approximately 280 jobs have been created or retained in the last seven years.

“Julie brings a breath of fresh air to our economic development plans for the city. Her experience with communities of similar size to Batavia will be great asset moving forward,” commented BDC Vice President Dan Fischer.

Ms. Pacatte will be focused on administering the city revolving loan funds, assisting with small business development and growth, industrial/mixed use development, downtown growth/revitalization and administering economic development grant programs.

Currently the BDC offers two separate small business loan programs: a loan up to $30,000 to create or retain jobs and a grant/loan program providing up to $10,000 grant/$10,000 loan targeting business owners that are low to moderate income or have at least 51 percent of their employees in the low to moderate income level.

The new economic development coordinator position was funded through a formal partnership between the BDC and the City of Batavia. The partnership between the BDC and the city calls for $90,000 annual budget for a two-year trial period offering a $60,000 salary. The city has contributed $10,000 while the balance of funds are committed from the separate revolving loan program. Ms. Pacatte’s office is located in City Hall on the second floor.

Please contact Julie Pacatte at 345-6380 or visit the Batavia Development Corporation website at for more information.

August 18, 2011 - 11:53am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Summer in the City.

The 7th annual "Summer in the City" festival will be held in downtown Batavia from noon to 10 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 20.

There will be more than 30 food and craft vendors, a great lineup of entertainment by Genesee County’s own Ghost Riders, Terry Buchwald “Elvis”, Shama Lama (Nik Entertainment), a KidsZone, and a Super Car Cruise & Motorcycle Alley with over 350 cars and motorcycles.

Plus, Donny Carroll’s 5K Race & Walk is back. It starts at 5 p.m. on Jefferson Avenue. Former Olympian John Tuttle will be participating in the race to raise money for Donny’s Toys for Kids. For more details about the race visit: DonCarrollRace.Com.

The main stage will be on Main Street in front of County Building #1. Food vendors and kids activities will be on Main Street as well (from Jackson to Court and Jefferson). All crafts and nonprofit booths will be on Main, Court and Jefferson (near the main stage area). The Super Car Cruise will occupy Main Street from Jackson to Liberty Street, along with sections of Bank, Center, School and Jackson streets.

For more information and applications for “Summer In the City” festival call 585-344-0900 or visit the B.I.D. website at or Facebook: Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District. This event is brought to you by the Batavia Business Improvement District.

August 18, 2011 - 11:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A State Street resident who is under supervision of NYS Parole was stopped on Richmond Avenue by a parole officer and allegedly found in possession of cocaine.

Local Drug Enforcement Task Force members assisted in the arrest of John Henry Butler, 29, of 160 State St., Batavia.

Butler was allegedly found in possession of a quantity crack cocaine and a search of his residence allegedly turned up drug paraphernalia.

The parolee was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd.

Following his arrest, Butler was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed with no bail.

August 18, 2011 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A 26-year-old Batavia resident is accused of selling cocaine to an agent of the Genesee County Local Drug Task Force on two occasions in the past six months.

Taken into custody is Patricia M. Anderson, of 193 S. Main St., Batavia.

Anderson is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd.

Following arraignment in Batavia City Court, Anderson was jailed with no bail.

August 18, 2011 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Present Tense Books, Genesee Cash Mob.

It is "Genesee Cash Mob" day at Present Tense Books, on the corner of State and Washington.

The event, organized by Chris Charvella, is designed to encourage local residents to shop at local businesses. Each week -- this is the first week -- people nominate a local business to support for the day by spending at least $10 at the store. Present Tense won the first-round voting.

August 17, 2011 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, bergen.

Douglas James Clark, 40, of 4224 Batavia-Elba Townline Road, Oakfield, is charged with assault, 3rd. Clark is accused of throwing a rock at a person at 4 p.m., June 24, in Batavia. The victim was injured.

Charles Joseph Finnin, 41, of State Street Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Finnin is accused of pushing another person during an argument.

Ronald Jason Scroger, 31, Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Scroger is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Katelyn Christen Kubala, 22, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Kubala is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Jason Lance Washington, 21, of Eller Street, Buffalo. Washington was turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office by the Erie County Holding Center upon his release from custody on a bench warrant out of Bergen Town Court. The original charge is grand larceny, 4th. Washington was jailed in lieu of $1,500 cash or $2,000 bond.

August 17, 2011 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, food.

Rancho Viejo, Batavia's new Mexican restaurant, opened at 11 o'clock today.

Owner Leon Ramirez, right, said he decided to open a restaurant in Batavia because it seemed like a good market and there was no Mexican restaurant in Batavia.

Ramirez completely remodeled the former Ponderosa location on Ellicott Street.

This is Ramirez's fifth location. He also owns Mexican restaurants in Mt. Morris (his home), Cornell, Waterloo and Fairport.

"I invite everybody down to give us a try," Ramirez said. "I promise them very real Mexican food."

Pictured with Ramirez is Jonathan Martinez.

August 16, 2011 - 8:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, bowling, mancuso bowling center.

John Sisson, above, tries out the revitalized bowling lanes at Mancuso Bowling Center, behind T.F. Brown's, in Batavia.

All 24 lanes were screened (kind of like sanding) and recoated over the summer, according to manager Mike Sputore.

At one time, the Mancusos recoated the lanes only every few years, now they try to do it every year or two.

"We've noticed better scores with the more frequently we do it," Sputore said.

In an effort to spiff up the lanes even more, the walls have been repainted, the bowler's approach area resurfaced and many worn parts of the pin machinery replaced.

To help give bowlers a chance to try out the revitalized lanes, Mancuso's is offering $1 per-game specials from 4 to 9 p.m., Aug. 20 through Aug. 26.

Through August, Mancuso Bowling Center is open 3 to 9 p.m. and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.




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