Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Site Sponsors


June 5, 2015 - 12:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in art, BID, Centennial Arts Fest, batavia.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is sponsoring the Centennial Arts Fest, exhibiting artists work from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16, in Jackson Square. This event is in conjunction with the City of Batavia’s Centennial celebration.

Centennial Arts will be an outdoor gallery displaying artists of any age, media and location around Western New York. This is a free event for artists to display three or four pieces of their best work. The public is invited to browse and buy art during the show.

There is still room for artists to display and/or sell their work!  The B.I.D. Promotion Committee will be offering a $100 prize for the “People’s Choice” award for the best all-around artist.

If you are interested in exhibiting in Centennial Arts or have questions please contact Don Burkel at or call (585) 344-0900 for an application.

June 5, 2015 - 12:44pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, downtown, construction.


National Fuel is doing repairs on gas lines on East Main Street, Batavia. The sidewalk is closed in front of the former Carr's department store. The construction is expected to be completed in a few hours.

June 5, 2015 - 8:41am
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, BID, business.


(Laurie Oltramari)

Laurie Oltramari, new Batavia Business Improvement District director, has a passion for urban design and architecture.

Oltramari is currently the assistant BID director and has worked with the organization for three and a half years. She will replace Don Burkel, director of the BID, who is retiring, and take over as the new director at the end of July. 

She was offered the director position after submitting her application and being reviewed by the BID hiring committee. The committee was formed to give more than 50 applicants a fair shot at the job. The committee included members of the BID board and community members.

As the new director, one task she would like to accomplish is to reach out to the public for their input and let Burkel's contacts know her door is always open. According to Oltramari, you need community involvement for a city to be successful. 

"I want to continue on the legacy that Don has left and what's been done and what has worked," Oltramari said. "Just like when you do a business you need to reevaluate every year so that's what I plan to do."

Another component she thinks is important for Batavia is the BID's ability to manage and balance event planning, help business development, and foster "placemaking," which is a quiet movement that is inspiring people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Placemaking is a multifaceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces that capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well being.

"You have to create a place where people want to be and you can't just flap down some papers and put on your facade and your good to go," OItramari said. "It comes down to details and that is where her urban design background comes into play."

Oltramari was born in Hornell and grew up in Belmont. Her father owned an excavating and construction company, which is the reason she has always loved architecture and design. She received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Geneseo in 1999 and master's degree in Architecture and Urban Design in 2003. 

Oltramari has lived in Batavia for nine years with her husband, Felipe Oltramari, director of the Genesee County Planning Department, and their two daughters. Batavia is very different from the small town that she grew up in.

"I like Batavia because it's very family friendly and safe," Oltramari said. "It has all the amenities of a big city without being a big city. There is a real level of comfort here and it's big enough that you don't run into everybody you know but when you do it's really special."

For the future of small business in Batavia, she thinks businesses have to bring out the community in people like they used to. Face-to-face interactions and personal customer service gives small businesses an advantage against Internet businesses.

"I think the biggest competition is the Internet and it's back to TV again," Oltramari said. "People are doing the binge watching of Netflix so they will stay in and have food at home instead of going to a restaurant like people usually do for entertainment."

Upcoming BID events include the Jackson Square Concert Series, Downtown Batavia Public Market and the Centennial Arts Fest.

June 4, 2015 - 3:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in jackson square concerts, music, batavia, downtown.

Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is sponsoring the 16th Annual Jackson Square Concert Series, each one is from 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, June 12th – Aug. 28th, in Downtown Batavia. Free to the public. Food and refreshments available. Rain Days at Batavia City Centre. Bring your own seating. More Info: Don Burkel at B.I.D. at 585-344-0900. Visit:

The Jackson Square Concerts “ Friday Nights In The Square” will be featuring:

  • Genesee Symphony (Friday, June 12th)
  • Emerald Isle (June 26th)
  • Fat City (July 3rd)
  • Mitty & The Followers (July 10th)
  • Penny Whiskey (July 17th)
  • OHMS Band (July 24th)
  • Ghost Riders (July 31st)
  • Ghost Riders Drum & Bugle (July 31st)
  • It’s My Party (Aug. 7th)
  • Bluesway Band (Aug. 14th)
  • John Cole Blues Band (Aug. 21st)
  • C’est Bon Dance Band (Aug. 28th)
June 4, 2015 - 2:27pm
posted by Lisa Ace in crossroads house, garage sale, batavia, ny.
Event Date and Time: 
July 25, 2015 -
9:00am to 12:00pm

July 23­-25, 2015 – Annual Crossroads House Garage Sale. Thursday & Friday 9am – 4pm & Saturday 9am – Noon – Behind Ficarella’s on School Street. Drop off s are being accepted at CH or to have items picked up contact Jackie at 585­-734­-0125 or Tami at 585­-205­-1906. Volunteers will be at CH on Tuesdays from 9am – 1pm and Thursdays from 4pm – 7pm from May 19 to July 9. To make a drop off, please call CH first at 585-343­-3892 to ensure a volunteer can help you as resident needs will continue to be the priority.

June 4, 2015 - 2:26pm
posted by Lisa Ace in crossroads house, garage sale, batavia, ny.
Event Date and Time: 
July 24, 2015 -
9:00am to 4:00pm

July 23­-25, 2015 – Annual Crossroads House Garage Sale. Thursday & Friday 9am – 4pm & Saturday 9am – Noon – Behind Ficarella’s on School Street. Drop off s are being accepted at CH or to have items picked up contact Jackie at 585­-734­-0125 or Tami at 585­-205­-1906. Volunteers will be at CH on Tuesdays from 9am – 1pm and Thursdays from 4pm – 7pm from May 19 to July 9. To make a drop off, please call CH first at 585-343­-3892 to ensure a volunteer can help you as resident needs will continue to be the priority.

June 4, 2015 - 2:25pm
posted by Lisa Ace in crossroads house, garage sale, batavia, ny.
Event Date and Time: 
July 23, 2015 -
9:00am to 4:00pm

July 23­-25, 2015 – Annual Crossroads House Garage Sale Thursday & Friday 9am – 4pm & Saturday 9am – Noon – Behind Ficarella’s on School Street. Drop off s are being accepted at CH or to have items picked up contact Jackie at 585­-734­-0125 or Tami at 585­-205­-1906. Volunteers will be at CH on Tuesdays from 9am – 1pm and Thursdays from 4pm – 7pm from May 19 to July 9. To make a drop off, please call CH first at 585-343­-3892 to ensure a volunteer can help you as resident needs will continue to be the priority 

June 4, 2015 - 2:15pm
Event Date and Time: 
July 11, 2015 -
9:15am to 5:00pm

July 11, 2015 – 5th Annual Jerry “Rat” Cone Memorial Run Starting and finishing at Stan’s Harley Davidson, 4425 W. Saile Dr., Batavia,. Registration begins at 9:15am with the ride line up at 11am. Driver’s $20/Riders $5 (Donation includes pancake breakfast, tailgate grilling after ride & one raffle ticket) All proceeds go to Crossroads House. 

June 4, 2015 - 12:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in aviation, batavia.


A Cessna airplane have landing gear difficulties needs to make an emergency landing at the Genesee County Airport, according to the FAA facility in Rochester. Town of Batavia Fire Department is dispatched to the airport in case they are needed when the plane lands. Only the pilot is aboard and the plane is carrying five hours worth of fuel.

UPDATE 12:39 p.m.: Mercy medics are also responding.

UPDATE 12:41 p.m.: "You will observe a low-flying plane approaching the runway," says a dispatcher. "They are trying to get the landing gear down manually." The airport is located at 4701 E. Saile Drive.

UPDATE 1:09 p.m.: The plane safely landed with all three landing wheels touching ground. Mercy medics are back in service, along with Town of Batavia. (There are three sets of landing wheels on the Cessna, in front, on left, and the right of the fuselage.)


Top photo is of the pilot and plane heading to the hangar. Photo above, seconds after a safe landing.


The Cessna passing over the airport for a visual inspection of his gear by ground crews.


The pilot with ground crew members looking over his plane shortly after being pulled into the hangar.

The pilot declined an interview request, but he could be heard telling a member of the ground crew when his cockpit door was first opened, "that scared the shit out of me."


The pilot, safe in the hangar. He was flying from Batavia to Rochester when he experienced a problem with his gear and returned to Batavia for a possible emergency landing. The gear functioned properly on landing.


June 4, 2015 - 12:29pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in crime, batavia, murder, Attica.



Charlene Mess pled not guilty today in Wyoming County Court to the seven count indictment handed down by the Grand Jury. Mess is accused of murdering her husband Douglas Mess, April 19, at their farm in Attica. Douglas Mess was found dead April 20, following a missing persons report filed earlier that day. The 52-year-old farmer and Baskin Livestock employee was found stabbed, shot in the back of the head and buried under a pile of manure on the farm the couple owned and worked.

Charlene Mess is charged with murder in the second degree, a Class A felony; criminal use of a firearm in the first degree, a Class B felony; assault in the first degree, a Class B felony; assault in the second degree, a Class D felony; tampering with physical evidence, a Class E felony; offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a Class E felony; and making a punishable false written statement, a Class A misdemeanor.

“There are seven counts in the indictment, with the most serious charge of murder in the second degree,” said Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen. “The allegations contained that the murder was performed by Mrs. Mess with a small caliber, .22, weapon. The evidence revealed... The allegations are that Mr. Mess was shot in the back of the head. Mrs. Mess pled not guilty, which is typical at this state of the proceeding.”

Wyoming County Court Judge Michael Mohan set bail at $1 million cash or $2 million bond. It was stated that Charlene Mess sold all her livestock at a significant profit and therefore has the resources for the bail set.

“It is our understanding that those resources are tied up,” said Public Defense Council Greg Kilburn. “Mrs. Mess is a lifelong resident of Wyoming County, a graduate of Letchworth High School, is 48 years old, and has no criminal record. We submit bail to be set at $100,000.”

“Because of the possibility of the risk of flight,” Mohan said. “I will set bail at $1 million cash and $2 million bond.”

“With this type of case, the person, when they are facing life in prison, they are considered a very high flight risk,” O’Geen said. “Bail is about flight risk. I wanted to make sure that Mrs. Mess is where she needs to be until trial, which is hopefully in jail. However, she does have the opportunity to post bail and that would secure her attendance at future proceedings.”

It is alleged in the indictment that prior to shooting the victim in the back of the head with a .22 rifle, Charlene Mess struck Douglas Mess in the head and body with a pitch fork. It is then alleged that she tampered with physical evidence by attempted to hide the body by burying Douglas Mess in a pile of manure in the back of the family farm.

At this time, the DA’s Office does not know what happened prior to the murder.

“There is no indication that there was a domestic incident prior to this incident (the murder),” O’Geen said. “We do not know what happened prior to the events that took place.

“I want to state for the record that these are just allegations,” O’Geen said. “Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty of what they are accused of. We will find everything out in court.”

Both the DA’s Office and defense counsel will be in court at 9 a.m. on June 11 to argue a motion regarding the taking of a DNA sample from the defendant. Other motions made may be ruled on when the case resumes at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 6.

See related: Murder of Douglas Mess a big loss for Baskin Livestock 

See related: Attica woman charged with murder in missing man's death 

See related: Missing man found dead in Attica  

June 4, 2015 - 12:20pm
Event Date and Time: 
June 9, 2015 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Wine tasting and glass art demonstration to be hosted at Glassroots, located at 12 Center Street in downtown Batavia, from 7pm to 9pm on Tuesday, June 9th. This event is free to members of the Batavia Artist Society. Non members will be asked for a $5 entry fee. Teresa Major will be handling the Batavia Artist Society fees.

June 4, 2015 - 12:00pm

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce an addition to their 2015 concert series. They will perform free of charge at Jackson Square, Downtown Batavia, at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 12.

"This is a departure from our typical four-concert schedule," says Board Member Patty Hawley, "but not unheard of. The GSO has performed benefit concerts in the past."

While this is technically a free event goodwill donations will be gratefully accepted.

"Like any local nonprofit, the GSO depends on the support of local arts agencies and our loyal audience," Hawley says. "This is a way for us to reach out to people who may be unfamiliar with the GSO while raising some much-needed funds for programming." 

Greg Docenko, GSO's concertmaster, will conduct the orchestra through a series of popular tunes. The musical selections include: "Star Spangled Banner," "Gabreielli," "Blue Danube," "My Fair Lady," "Can Can," and Brass Group featuring Kevin MacLaud, Typewriter, Pirates of the Caribbean, "The Frog Prince," "Star Wars" Theme.

The GSO is also looking for board members to begin serving in August 2015. Terms are three years in length. For more information about this concert of how you can become a GSO board member contact Paul Saskowski at

June 4, 2015 - 11:00am
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, train, Silver Solarium.


(The Silver Solarium going through Batavia Wednesday morning. Photo taken by David P. Smith.)

Roy Wullich, Batavia native, traveled through the city from the West Coast on his deluxe rail passenger car, the "Silver Solarium."

The railcar passed through the area around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. It was attached to an Amtrak train, the Lakeshore Limited, and departed from Buffalo at 9:50 a.m. The charter originally started its journey in Los Angeles and has gone to Oakland and Chicago.

The Silver Solarium takes passengers aboard on train tours usually around the West Coast.

"It's rare that we get this far East," Wullich said. "Typically we go between Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Denver."

Wullich has his own private charter service company, Rail Journeys West. Several couples or families will book a tour and ride to different Western cities for vacation trips or special events.The deluxe railcar has several accommodations for passengers including a bar, lounge and sleeping space.

"It's like taking a cruise but your on a train," Wullich said. "So you have your own private chef and a steward."

The dome observation railcar was built in 1948 and a part of the Amtrak California Zephyr Train. After Amtrak retired the Silver Solarium in the 1980s, the railcar was sold to a private owner who then sold it to Wullich in 2002. He restored it to reflect its original 1940s appearance.

Wullich grew up in Batavia and has loved trains since he was a child.

"I have always had a love for trains," Wullich said. "It started out with a Lionel train set around the Christmas tree like all kids have and I went from there."

In high school he was a part of the Genesee Society of Model Engineers. He became interested in rail tours after graduating from St. Bonaventure University and working with a historical society that did rail tours in Buffalo. 

Traveling to Western New York on train tours is a not a common occurrence for him anymore. The Silver Solarium made a second trip through Batavia to head back to Albany late Wednesday evening.

June 4, 2015 - 7:56am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A strong odor of natural gas at Batavia City Centre is reported and the city fire department is on scene investigating.

UPDATE 8:18 a.m.: National Fuel has been notified. No ETA given.

June 3, 2015 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Adam Miller Toy and Bicycles, batavia.


Bruce Reisdorf stopped at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle today for some repairs while in Batavia as part of his "Tour de Empire." Reisdorf is riding from New York City to Niagara Falls to help raise money for diabetes research and education. 

In Niagara, Reisdorf will take part on the Tour de Cure, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.

One reason he came through Batavia is his brother-in-law is Mike Easton, manager of the M&T Bank branch here.

You can find out more about Reisdorf and his ridet on his blog.

Also pictured, Adam Miller's owner, John Roche.

June 3, 2015 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, schools, education, batavia.


Fifth-grade students at Batavia Middle School completed a 10-week course of study today into various worldwide leaders in human rights. The course culminated with each student dressing as their chosen leader and making a presentation for parents who attended the event in the school's library. The students were required to read a book, research a Web site and a database on their chosen leader. They also drew posters of the leaders.

Above, Betty Cherry as Maya Angelou.


Allyson Clemm as Julia Ward Howe.


Roger Jones as Booker T. Washington.




June 3, 2015 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in trains, batavia.


Hanging out this morning on Lehigh Avenue and later on South Jackson waiting for an Amtrak train (for another story) that we never saw (a long story), I took pictures of these two CSX trains.


June 3, 2015 - 4:55pm
posted by Lisa Ace in concert, Faith Community Chapel, batavia, ny.
Event Date and Time: 
June 14, 2015 -
9:00am to 6:00pm

June 14, 2015 – 2nd Annual Concert of Rejoicing at Faith Community Chapel, 
4131 Rose Road, Batavia, NY. 6pm to 8pm, an evening of music performed by choirs, duets, soloists and audience participation included to encourage all. There will be coffee/punch and goodies to follow. A free will offering will be taken with all proceeds going to Crossroads House. 


June 3, 2015 - 4:54pm
posted by Lisa Ace in Estate Sale, crossroads house, batavia, ny.
Event Date and Time: 
June 13, 2015 -
9:00am to 4:00pm

June 13, 2015 – Estate Sale to benefit Crossroads House – 9am – 4pm, located at 7 Willow Street, Batavia, NY. Many household items, furniture, and all proceeds go directly to Crossroads House. 

June 3, 2015 - 8:58am
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, community, education, City Schools, schools.


Diane Reed with a group of faculty and members from the community.

The Family Engagement Survey results from 2014 were presented at the Batavia High School Library during their "Data Café" Tuesday night.

Diane Reed, Ph.D., the Batavia City School District’s outside educational expert and associate professor in Educational Leadership at St. John Fisher College, shared the data from the community survey taken by families and other Batavia residents last fall. Reed is certified by the New York State Education Department to work with Focus Districts to help determine school effectiveness and discuss strategic plans with faculty and community members to improve it.

The community survey is one of three that make up the Data Triangle Survey. It was based on six tenets to measure effectiveness which include District Leadership and Capacity, School Leader Practices and Decisions, Curriculum Development and Support, Teacher Practices and Decisions, Student Social and Emotional Developmental Health, and Family and Community Engagement. The survey was composed of 50 statements and participants answered using a Likert scale. The total number of people who took the survey was 374. According to Reed; the low response rate is typical.

The overall data total results for the district showed that 75 percent or more of participants answered each of the 22 statements with either strongly agree or agree. These results are considered an asset.

For each of the other 28 statements, 50 to 74 percent of participants answered strongly agree or agree. These results are considered an emerging strength.

The overall data total results for the district also revealed no fewer than 50 percent of participants answered strongly agree or agree to any of the statements. These results show no possible risks for the district.

When breaking the statement results up by schools, the Batavia High School showed minimal possible risks.

“The Batavia City School District should be very proud because many responses are in the green asset area,” Reed said. “It is not too often with schools I work with to show strengths in a lot of the areas.”

Faculty members and parents divided into two groups to discuss the district’s strengths and weaknesses based on the survey results. Both groups came to the conclusion the district could improve on providing the community with more training on Common Core learning and positive engagement with students outside the classroom.

Jean Berry, mother of two boys who attend Batavia Middle School and Batavia High School, really enjoyed how teachers sent home postcards when her children were doing well in school. One suggestion she had was to use lexiles -- reading level measurements -- more effectively.

“When we have the Scholastic Book Fair, the books should be labeled with lexiles so I can buy the appropriate books for my sons’ reading level,” Berry said.

Moving forward, the district will consider hosting additional Common Core informational nights to help the community understand the standards especially at the secondary level. They also will encourage teachers to make positive calls home to help motivate students. 




Copyright © 2008-2014 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