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July 11, 2013 - 4:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, music, entertainment, Le Roy.

Before the gray hair, before the jobs, the mortgages, the children, they were the boys in the band.

At age 15 and 16, from about 1967 to 1969, Geno Ceccato, Greg Deck, Andrew Martorana, Jerry Keating, Bob Baker and Tim Martin (top photo, in that order) were known in Western New York as The Middle Class and later, after a change in sound and Tim leaving the band, Faith.

The boys stayed in touch and the families always heard the stories of those glory days, but the former bandmates had nothing from that pre-digital time that showed "this is what we did."

No long ago, Martorana decided maybe a reunion was in order so there could be a little more documentation that they once were a band.

"We realized we didn’t have any kind of legacy to leave our families," Martorana said. "They would hear these stories, but there were no recordings, no videos, just a couple of snapshots here and there."

All week The Middle Class/Faith have been rehearsing in space at the Harvester Center and tomorrow they will go in the studio to record a CD.

Martorana's wife has been making a video, interviewing band members and taking snapshots to include on a DVD of this week's "reunion tour."

None of this is for any commercial/public release. It's just a family thing, a living memento that these six men were once, in fact, a band.

While Jerry, Tim and Greg all carried on with musical pursuits after the band split in 1969, Martorana, who lives in Le Roy, put away his drums, stowed his sticks and pursued a career as an electrician. Before starting to practice for the reunion, he hadn't played drums in 43 years.

After he had been practicing a while, he posted a couple of videos on YouTube of him playing and sent the link to a couple of drummer friends.

"They said, 'oh, man, you've gotta keep playing after this,' " Martorana said. "I talked with my wife and she said I should keep playing. So I'm shopping for a band."

It was Greg, he said, who made the point that the music never dies.

"You may have to relearn it, but it's always in your soul."

July 11, 2013 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID.

Merchants are lining the streets in Downtown Batavia today for the first of three Thursday sidewalk sales sponsored by the Business Improvement District.

The other sidewalk sales are also on the second Thursday of the month -- in August (Aug. 8) and September (Sept. 12). Time is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Above, Chris Merrian, Don Brown and Bryce Rogers with Charles Men's Shop, and below, John Roche, Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles.

July 11, 2013 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming will be closing at 10 p.m. on Monday, July 15 and reopen no later than 3 p.m. on the following day, Tuesday, July 16 to accommodate construction work.

Management is confident that the facility will reopen prior to 3 p.m. that day. Those wishing to find information on the reopening of the facility should check Batavia Downs’ Web site (bataviadownsgaming.com) as well as their social media pages on Facebook (facebook.com/bataviadowns) and Twitter (twitter.com/bataviadowns) for up to date information that day after 11 a.m.

The newly expanded gaming floor is scheduled to open on Aug. 30.

July 11, 2013 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, GCC, elba, Pavilion.

Press release:

On Monday evening, the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees reelected Maureen T. Marshall as board chair for the 2013-2014 year. The Board also reelected Diane D. Torcello as vice-chair and Laura J. Bohm as secretary.

Marshall, of Elba, is owner and operator of Torrey Farms, also based in Elba. Torcello, of Pavilion, is a Bank of Castile branch manager. Bohm, of Batavia, is a retired housing administrator.

Trustees met at the Batavia Campus for their annual meeting.

The 10-member volunteer Board of Trustees is the governing body of Genesee Community College.

July 11, 2013 - 8:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Darien, Le Roy.

Steven Douglas Crandall, 50, of Driving Park, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny and trespass. Crandall allegedly stole an air conditioning unit at Walmart with a $479.08 value. Crandall is allegedly banned from all Walmart stores because of a prior shoplifting allegation. Crandall also had an warrant for his arrest out of Town of Batavia Court for a prior shoplifting charge at Kmart. Crandall was jailed on $500 bail.

Daryl R. Hamler, 19, of Wescott Road, Le Roy, is charged with criminal possession of marijuana, 4th, and speeding. Also charged with criminal possession of marijuana was Rebecca E. Cook, 19, of Caldwell Road, Groveland. Hamler and Cook were allegedly found in possession of more than two ounces of marijuana during a traffic stop by Deputy James Diehl at 12:02 a.m. on Route 19, Le Roy.

Andrew Alexander Halloran, 48, of Northwest 7 Street Road, Miami, Fla., is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, DWI, refusal to take breath test, speeding and failure to keep right. Halloran's vehicle was stopped at 11:43 p.m. Tuesday on Route 20, Darien, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Cheryl L. Behm, 53, of Alden, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, moving from lane unsafely, failure to use designated lane and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Behm was stopped at 1:24 a.m. Wednesday on Main Road at Back Street in Pembroke by State Police.

Earl S. Lockhart, 20, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Lockhart is accused of stealing from Kmart.

July 9, 2013 - 12:12pm

Terry Hills Restaurant Invites You to Dinner, Dance and a Swinging Sunset! Thursday, July 11th. Dinner seatings 5-5:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. Serendipity Swing will be playing from 6 to 8 p.m. We will be offering a special menu that includes: Chicken Cordon Bleu, Seafood Stuffed Haddock, Prime Rib, Vegetarian Pasta Capri and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. Reservations required -- Last call.

Serendipity Swing: “A Little Big Band,” is an Eight-Musician Ensemble with a female and male vocalist from Buffalo that performs music associated with the Golden Age of Glamorous Ballrooms, Classy Supper Clubs, the Most Elegant of Private Parties, and the Great American Songbook.

The music library, with more than 300 titles, contains selections which explore and mirror the beauty of the music elements; melody, harmony and rhythm. It is music that is artful, graceful, whimsical and listenable. The melodies are memorable. The harmonies are soothing and rich in texture. The tempos, rhythms, are danceable and toe-tapping.

Reservations Required – (585) 343-0642[email protected]
Terry Hills Restaurant, 5122 Clinton St. Road, Batavia
Visit us online at: www.terryhills.com
July 9, 2013 - 11:48am
posted by Bonnie Marrocco in batavia, Funeral Homes.

From the time he was in high school Michael S. Tomaszewski dreamed of being a funeral director.

“I liked dealing with different people, different families and different emotions,” says Michael. “Although I did not come from a background of funeral homes, I always knew that was what I wanted to do.”

Five years ago, Tomaszewski and his wife, Valerie, turned dream to reality when he purchased property on West Main Street, designing a a home-like facility with soft tones, vaulted ceilings, comfortable furniture and a kindling fireplace.

That's not all that gives Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel a degree of distinction: The Dibble Family Center opened adjacent to the funeral home in 2009. It is the first and only Family Center in Genesee County, Tomaszewski said.

It’s a multipurpose facility with a cozy atmosphere, right down to the pictures of Michael and Valerie’s families on the walls. It is a dedicated place to spend time with family and friends.

The staff relieves families of the burden of planning a gathering after funeral services, as well as offering a private setting to relax between visitation hours, where refreshments are always available.

“Our goal is to ensure that your family and friends are extended the same hospitality we all share in our own homes,” Valerie said.

“The Family Center grew from being a complement to the funeral home, to a separate facility open to the community," Michael said. "Guests enjoy special events in a homey, family-type of environment."

Included when you rent the space is food cooked on the premises by Michael’s family, a bar with bartender, as well as set up and clean up. An outdoor reception area is available during the summer months.

Also unique to the concept of the traditional funeral home is the Children’s Room, which is a comfortable, safe space just for children.

Being parents of two children themselves, Michael and Valerie understand that it's important to include them in the funeral process. The Children’s Room offers handpainted murals painted by Valerie, along with toys, games and a TV (with age-appropriate videos).

Signature services provided are: airline reservations and hotel accommodations, airport transportation, local restaurant reservations, florist, monument service, dry cleaning service and consultation with an attorney or financial planner.

Michael said he is passionate about the business and committed to providing the best experience for all his guests. That can include putting together picture slide shows to view at services, or maybe bringing in personal belongings -- even motorcycles -- for services, and hanging the grieving family’s portrait above the fireplace. Military magnets can be placed on the hearse to honor the deceased military service, and they can create a “widow’s chair," which is a tall chair that allows the widow to sit down and still be able to look eye-to-eye with guests.

“We take great pride in what we do. Our promise is to give every funeral the respect it deserves and make the service truly memorable down to the smallest detail, that is The Tomaszewski Difference,” Michael said.

July 9, 2013 - 11:41am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A three-car accident is blocking traffic in front of the jail on Main Street. No injuries are reported. Batavia PD is responding.

July 9, 2013 - 9:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Batavia's police officers have a new four-year contract after the City Council approved the pact last night that gives officers a 2.75-percent annual pay increase.

The new contract reduces sick days for new hires and new officers won't receive city-paid healthcare upon retirement.

The council also approved a pay raise of 1.5 percent for City Manager Jason Molino. Molino will make $87,299 per year.

Four council members balked at the idea of using $10,000 of video lottery terminal (VLT) money to help pay for a new Dumpster enclosure on School Street, near Center Street.

The project would have cost $35,000.

Council members Rose Mary Christian, Kathy Briggs, Jim Russell and Brooks Hawley favored requiring the four businesses that would use the Dumpsters to pay the $10,000.

The first $25,000 in costs would be covered by various state grants.

The council will reconsider the proposal at a future meeting.

Finally, Zoladz Construction out of Alden will receive a $2.5-million contract for reconstruction of Cedar Street.

(Information from The Batavian's official news partner, WBTA).

July 8, 2013 - 9:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A car versus bicyclist accident with minor injuries is reported in the Clor's Meat Market parking lot at Lewiston and West Main Street roads. Law enforcement is on scene along with Mercy medics and the Town of Batavia Fire Department is responding.

July 8, 2013 - 8:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A 40-year-old truck driver from Batavia died today in an unusual accident in Rochester, according to State Police.

The victim has been identified as Shawn Wetmore.

According to WHAM-13, Wetmore was driving a box truck southbound on I-590 when a tanker truck on a westbound overpass of the I-490 rolled off the bridge and tumbled on the Wetmore's cab.

Wetmore was pronounced dead at the scene.

The tanker driver, Daniel Baker, 25, of Wyoming, was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

The cause of the accident, which was reported at 1 p.m., has not yet been determined.

Baker was hauling liquid food waste and some 8,000 gallons spilled at the scene.

According to a coworker, Wetmore leaves behind a wife and infant daughter.

The interchange was closed for several hours and portions are expected to remain closed until at least 10 p.m.

July 8, 2013 - 6:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, art, Esther von Kramer.

The colorful and vibrant artwork of Esther von Kramer is on display this month at the Richmond Memorial Library.

The artist was born in Buffalo in 1893, but spent much of her adult life in Batavia and was an original member of the Batavia Society of Artists.

She died in 1981 at the age of 88 in East Aurora.

Her grandson, Eric von Kramer, helped organize the show, pulling together pieces of her work from family and friends.

Esther von Kramer's work in the show is comprised primarily of still lifes and a few landscapes, with work on canvas as well as household items such as serving trays, chairs and milk buckets.

Von Kramer had to move east to work during the war, but returned when it was over and opened a studio and shop in her home. She was an art instructor for adult education programs in Corfu and Le Roy. She also taught painting at the YMCA.

"Those years were some of the happiest of her life, filled with all the dear people who came as students and customers, and remained as lifelong friends,"  according to a family biography.  "She loved everyone!"

There will be a reception at the library tomorrow (Tuesday) from 7 to 9 p.m.

July 8, 2013 - 3:20pm

Press release:

Dan Kennedy, author of "The Wired City: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age," will be signing copies of the book at Present Tense on Saturday, July 13, at 11 a.m.

The book is a vivid, on-the-ground account of the changing face of contemporary journalism. In it, Kennedy tells the story of The New Haven Independent, a nonprofit community Web site at the leading edge of reinventing local journalism. He also examines a number of other online news projects, including a lengthy section about The Batavian, a local, online-only news source for Batavia and Genesee County.

"The Wired City" includes the perspectives of journalists, activists and civic leaders who are actively re-envisioning how journalism can be meaningful in a hyperconnected age of abundant news sources.

Kennedy provides deeper context by analyzing the decline of the newspaper industry in recent years and, at a time of pessimism over the future of journalism, this book offers hope. What Kennedy documents is not the death of journalism, but rather the uncertain and sometimes painful early stages of rebirth.

Dan Kennedy is assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University and has been a working journalist for nearly 40 years. He currently contributes to the Huffington Post and the Nieman Journalism Lab. You can follow his Media Nation blog at http://dankennedy.net <http://dankennedy.net/>.

The book signing is free and open to the public. Present Tense, a locally owned, independent bookstore, is located at 101 Washington Ave., Batavia. For more information call 815-7640 <http://www.presenttensebooks.com>.

July 8, 2013 - 2:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, animal cruelty, animal abuse.

A dog is reportedly locked inside a 2012 Chevy Malibu with the windows rolled up in the parking lot of Tops Market in Batavia. A Sheriff's deputy is responding.

July 8, 2013 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, thebatavian, present tense books and gifts.

A few summers ago, Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern, visited Batavia while researching a book on the future of journalism, focusing on digital efforts to provide communities with news.

In May, his book, "The Wired City," was released by the University of Massachusetts Press.

While the majority of pages in The Wired City are devoted to the New Haven Independent, a nonprofit community Web site in Connecticut, there is a section in the book about for-profit sites, including The Batavian.

For the book, Kennedy interviewed me, of course, and Tom Turnbull  and Mark Graczyk at the Batavia Daily News, Dan Fischer at WBTA, City Manager Jason Molino, Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Freeman, and Patrick Weissand, then HLOM director, among others.

In the book, you can find out a little more about the background of The Batavian, a little insider information and what some people -- Turnbull, say -- were saying about The Batavian when we were barely a year old.

Kennedy remains fascinated by an off-hand remark I made while we were driving past the Stafford Country Club during his visit -- that if I were ever a member, he'd know I was doing well with The Batavian. He mentions it his book and in a column today updating readers on the progress of The Batavian on Nieman Journalism Lab (spoiler alert: I'm not a member, not even a social member, even though I recently found out membership is a heck of a lot less expensive than I thought back during Kennedy's visit to Batavia.)

This Saturday, Kennedy will be at Present Tense Books on Washington Avenue to talk about the book and sign copies.

Fischer will interview Kennedy and me for Friday morning's Main and Center on WBTA, so tune in. I anticipate a lively discussion about local journalism, past, present and future.

July 8, 2013 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, sports.

Barry Sheldon, who was drafted by New York Mets in the seventh round after his senior year at Batavia High School in 1967, was inducted into the Section V Hall of Fame on Sunday during a ceremony at Frontier Field in Rochester.

Sheldon was a standout shortstop and pitcher for Batavia during all four seasons at the school.

Rather than sign with the Mets, Sheldon went to Genesee Community College for a year. That year, he was a fifth-round pick by the Minnesota Twins in the January draft and by the Detroit Tigers in the fifth round of the June draft.

Sheldon transferred to New Mexico Highlands University where he was 15-0 with a 2.30 ERA over two seasons.

In 1972, he signed with the Baltimore Orioles and played one season of minor league baseball, going 2-1 with a 3.68 in 16 appearances with the rookie league team in Bluefield, W. Va.

July 8, 2013 - 8:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Le Roy, corfu, bergen.

Charles Wayne O'Shea, 35, of East Main Street, Le Roy, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. O'Shea was arrested twice for alleged drunken driving within a four-hour period. The second arrest came after a traffic stop at 8:36 p.m. Saturday on Route 19, Le Roy, by Deputy Chad Minuto. Minuto said he observed O'Shea driving and knew from being involved with a prior arrest of O'Shea that O'Shea allegedly did not have a valid driver's license, so he initiated a traffic stop. Upon further investigation, Minuto concluded O'Shea was allegedly driving while intoxicated. Four hours earlier, according to Minuto's report, Minuto assisted Deputy James Diehl while Diehl arrested O'Shea for allegedly driving drunk.

Selime Bela, 49, of Crimson Drive, Albion, is charged with petit larceny. Bela is accused of shoplifting $67.49 in merchandise from Kmart.

Brandon Marshall Weig, 25, of Buffalo Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd (physical contact). The alleged incident was reported at 1:02 a.m., Friday. No further details released. Weig was also arrested on a bench warrant for alleged criminal contempt, 2nd, and disobeying a mandate.

Michael T. Dibble, 21, of Corfu, is charged with DWI. Dibble was arrested by State Police at Erie County Medical Center for allegedly driving drunk in the Town of Pembroke at 4:19 p.m., Wednesday. No further details released.

Jeremy M. Sheehan, 30, of Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sheehan was arrested by State Police following an alleged incident reported at 1:49 a.m. Thursday in the Town of Le Roy. No further details were released.

July 7, 2013 - 2:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A fire alarm sounded at the Clarion Hotel about 20 minutes ago and the Town of Batavia Fire Department responded. There was no conflagration, but firefighters checked the floors of the facility to determine why the alarm went off.

The strong odor of cigarette smoke was coming from one room, but no alarms tripped on that floor. Higher up in the hotel, they found the problem spot -- "Hairspray in the Executive Suite" was the likely culprit said the captain.

This communication was received by a dispatcher and reinterated: Cause for the alarm was "executive hairspray."

July 6, 2013 - 11:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, agriculture, byron.

I took a break from the Ramble this afternoon to go out to Ted and Patricia Hawley's barley field in Byron to get some pictures of the harvest.

The Hawleys are opening a malt house -- the first in New York in about 100 years -- and this barley will be used to create malt that can be used by microbreweries throughout the state.

All the rain we've had in the past week have made the harvest a challenge. The grain has to reach a search moisture level -- not too moist -- to be harvested. But in waiting for it to dry out there's a chance the grain could pre-germinate on the stock, which would affect the malting process.

This grain will need to be dried a bit before being stored in a bin because it's a just a bit too moist.

Above is barley grain that has been separated by the combine from the straw. The cut straw is left on the field and will be collected later. It can be used for a feed supplement, for mulch or -- according to Hawley -- dropped in ponds to purify the water. Hawley said it is very effective at cleaning pond water and the Hawleys may eventually try selling some of it for such a use.

Kevin Scroger gave me my first ride in the cab of a combine. Scroger has been operating combines since he was 14 years old. Back then, cabs weren't air conditioned. There weren't even cabs and Scroger said the combines were smaller and harvested fewer acres per hour. Not only are today's cabs air conditioned, they can be driven over a pre-defined route by a GPS system.

July 6, 2013 - 11:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, music, entertainment, Ramble Music & Arts Fest.

The 2013 Ramble Music and Arts Fest was again a success with hundreds of music fans enjoying performances by three dozen bands.

Several bands put in great performances and one of the most impressive was from a band called Verse (top photo and third photo).

Bill Kauffman (second photo) opened the event with these remarks:

What is Batavia? It’s Centennial Park in the autumn, all red and orange and melancholy. It’s Dwyer Stadium as the sun sets behind the left-field wall. It’s gamblers watching the longshot they bet on at Batavia Downs come in dead last, as it always—almost—does. It’s three on three basketball at Williams Park, or the Little Leaguer in right field at MacArthur Park praying “please don’t hit it to me.” It’s the St. Joe’s lawn fete. It’s Adam Miller’s. It’s beef on weck at the Pok-a-Dot. It’s 20-year-olds talking and laughing through the night in a corner booth at Sport of Kings. It’s reading about old classmates in the police blotter. Then in the obituaries. It’s drinking and dancing in Jackson Square. It’s Billy Walker walking down Main Street. It’s Wayne Fuller’s voice. It’s Bill McDonald with his guitar.

And it is the Ramble. Now in its eighth year, this annual gathering of musicians and people who love music has become a part of the score of Batavia. We have such a rich and varied musical history in this city, this county. We have the oldest community orchestra in the country. We were the Motown of the accordion. We’ve had thriving garage rock and folk music scenes. We’ve had, and have, alternative and heavy metal and country and rap musicians and bands, as well as gospel singers and crooners of the standards. We have church choirs and we have kids banging away at thrash and metal music in their basements. Discordant and harmonious…peaceful and angry…traditional and twisted…It’s the soundtrack of Batavia.

And so I give you…the 2013 Ramble.

To purchase prints of any of these photos, click here.

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Copyright © 2008-2017 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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