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April 14, 2015 - 1:50pm
posted by Jess Wheeler in batavia, schools, education, City Schools, common core.

The Batavia City School district is not expected to meet the 95-percent mandated participation rate for the Common Core standardized tests that started today and continue into next week. A letter released from the office of Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey said the district could lose local control of the schools and the funding for teaching positions as a result.

“No one wants to see funding stripped from our schools,” said Brian Odachowski, a father of two daughters. “No one wants to lose teachers. But there is an obvious growing number of parents who are not buying into these standardized tests and Common Core as a whole.”

On Monday Night, Loy Gross, math tutor and co-founder of United to Counter the Core, met with a group of nine parents and three students to talk about testing refusal. The parents agreed that their kids are stressed out about the tests and none are participating.

Gross's 15-year-old daughter was taking college-level math classes and getting a 4.0 when she took the Common Core Regents math test last year. She only just passed. Gross pulled both of her kids out of school to homeschool them in September. “These tests are no good. They are designed for the kids to fail,” she said.

Eighth-grader Gabrielle Crespo said she doesn’t understand the material and doesn’t think she will do well on the exam.

“2x + dog = kitty poop. That’s what math is like in my head,” she said.

Crespo’s mother, Julie Bolas-Carasone, is frustrated that she can’t help her daughter do her homework.

“There is no material given to the parents to help,” she said. “The staff just tells us to ‘Google it.’ Google is great, but what about those of us who don’t have Internet access at home?”

Parents are not only frustrated because they can’t help their children, they are concerned that their children may not have reached the targeted cognitive level of the test. Common Core testing is also used to evaluate teachers across New York State and some people believe the educators are teaching in fear for their jobs.

“The kids can sense the fear from the teachers and it’s stressing them out,” Bolas-Carasone said. “Teachers are not teaching because they’re passionate.”

The Common Core tests are graded as a cut-score on the level of one through four. Three and four are considered passing grades. The school receives the results for each student, but according to parents, they do not receive the tests back. Parents voiced concerns of not knowing how to help their children succeed when they don't know where they struggled on the tests.

According to the New York State Education Department Web site, 2014 saw an improvement from the previous year. Statewide, math scores rose in levels three and four from 31.2 percent to 35.8 percent. English Language Arts went from 66.9 percent to 69.6 percent. The scoring represents proficiency level.

Parents at the United to Counter the Core meeting last night said they do not believe the test results accurately reflect their child’s proficiency.

“The only way to win this game, is not to play,” Gross said.

April 14, 2015 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be making repairs to a water main on Clifton Avenue near Ellicott Street on Wednesday, April 15th. This work may result in water service being interrupted in the areas of Clifton Avenue, James Street, William Street, and Ellicott Street near Clifton Avenue and Otis Street. Residents should be aware that temporary discoloration of water or low water pressure may result for a period of time while repairs are made.

April 14, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A woman in a wheelchair is stuck in a wheelchair elevator at the rear of the property 316 E. Main St. City fire is responding.

UPDATE 1:08 p.m.: Problem resolved. City assignment back in service.

April 13, 2015 - 7:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Partridge Farm.

By early this evening, the wind was whipping enough to really turn the blades on the windmills on Partridge Farms on Ellicott Street Road, Batavia.

There is a weather advisory in place until 9 p.m. There's a 90-percent chance of rain storms after 9 p.m.

The good news is, clear skies tomorrow, or so they say.

April 13, 2015 - 3:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Area Jaycees, Veterans Memorial Drive.

Members of the Batavia Area Jaycees and the Junior Jaycees joined forces Saturday to do a little community clean-up work along Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia.

Photos submitted by Cathy Colby.

April 13, 2015 - 2:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, schools, education, City Schools, common core.

Open letter from Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City Schools:

We are writing today to share your district’s perspective on the New York State Assessments in grades 3-8 that will be taking place April 14-16 and April 22-24, 2015.

Pursuant to New York State Education Department (NYSED) Regulations and subsequent guidance, all students in public and charter schools in Grades 3-8 are required to take all State assessments administered for their grade level, in accordance with both Federal and State laws. NYSED has made clear that, with very limited exceptions (such as with regard to certain students with disabilities), “there is no provision in the statute or regulation that allow parents to opt their children out of State Assessments.” Further, all public schools in New York State are mandated by NYSED to require all students in attendance in school or in attendance on the assessment days or make-up days, to take the assessment scheduled for that day.

Batavia joins many other districts in calling for an end to using these assessments in the administrator and teacher evaluation process. We believe that great teaching is not always reflected in the results of any single assessment. We also believe that state assessments are just one indicator that can help us analyze student growth and school performance. As far as the opt out/refusal movement that has taken place this spring, we would like to share how having your child refuse the test could impact BCSD through these four points:

1. We do not use the assessment results to punish or terminate teachers. Rather, we work collaboratively with the BOE, administrators and teacher union to ensure that we keep perspective over this one piece of data for student achievement. It is not used in BCSD to hurt our administrators, teachers or students.

2. The assessment data allows us to analyze and reflect on Batavia’s curriculum and instruction practices while also comparing our students to other students across the state with similar population demographics. In general, we do very well compared to other small city school districts with populations like BCSD.

3. We are a Focus District. We were identified in the summer of 2012 for a subgroup of students at Robert Morris in 2009-10 that struggled with the NYS assessments. We were told it would be a three year process of working with NYSED to improve incrementally each year. Since Robert Morris was closing due to the consolidation, we were required to have the school with the largest population of that subgroup take its place. Thus, the Middle School became our Focus School. We have had to submit education improvement plans for both the District and Middle School each year that must then be approved by NYSED. Thus far, we have shown incremental growth each year. If we do not make our participation rate of 95% on the exams, we potentially could lose more local control for our district. We have regularly made this participation target. This year we are in jeopardy of not reaching our participation rate due to the number of refusals being submitted by parents. Two or more years of not making the participation goal could lead to us being deemed a Priority District which would have even more ramifications than being a Focus District.

4. If our participation rate dips below 95% we can also potentially lose a portion or the entire Title I federal grant, which impacts 26 teaching positions and professional development opportunities for our staff. It would be the equivalent of losing funding for 12 full-time teaching positions.

We hope this information is helpful and thank you for providing us with outstanding children to work, learn and grow with every day. Take Care of BCSD!

Christopher J. Dailey, Superintendent of Schools

Molly Corey, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction

April 13, 2015 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Stafford, bergen.

Jacqueline Raj Garrett, 36, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and uninspected motor vehicle. Garrett was stopped at 5:37 p.m. Sunday on Main Road, Stafford, by Deputy Michael Lute. Garrett was jailed on $100 cash bail. A passenger, Aaron D. Swimline, 29, of Tinkham Road, Darien, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Jeanette Higgins, 39, of 23 Holland Ave., Batavia, is charged with two felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing, 1st, and one count of petit larceny. Higgins is accused of submitting forms to DSS that didn't disclose cash child support payments. Higgins allegedly received $208 in food stamp payments in February and March for which she wasn't entitled. Higgins was arrested by a Sheriff's deputy following an investigation by DSS.

Adrionna S. Ellison, 18, of Rochester, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Ellison was reportedly ordered to leave College Village property and not return. A security officer later allegedly found her hiding under a bed in one of the apartments. She was arrested by State Police and issued an appearance ticket.

Lydia Grossi-Young, 45, of Hopkins Road, Batavia, is charged with assault, 3rd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Grossi-Young was alleged involved in a domestic incident at 2 p.m. Sunday in Batavia.

Daniel Paul Molina, 35, of West Broad Street, Rochester, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 1st, unlicensed operator and driving a vehicle without proper stop lights. Molina was stopped at 6:47 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Molina allegedly has more than 10 prior driver license suspensions. Molina was jailed on $5,000 bail.

A 16-year-old resident of County Route 53, Arkport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The youth was a passenger in a vehicle stopped at 6:06 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona, and allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Jaime Lynn Killinger, 38, of West Taft Road, Le Roy, was arrested on warrants stemming from a DWI charge and a charge of driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Killinger was arrested by the Irondequoit Police Department and turned over to the Sheriff's Office and jailed on $500 bail.

Eric Robert Root, 18, of West Avenue, Spencerport, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and speeding. Root was stopped at 6:54 p.m. Friday on Parkview Drive, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Kyle Timothy Johnson, 25, of Park Avenue, Waterport, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Johnson was arrested at 1:52 a.m. Friday on West Main Street, Le Roy, by Deputy Joseph Corona, after allegedly being found in possession of a hypodermic instrument he was not legally allowed to possess.

Jason L. Cramer Sr., 30, of Water Street, Attica, is charged with burglary, 3rd, petit larceny and criminal mischief, 4th. The arrest stems from an alleged incident reported Nov. 6 at a residence on Liberty Street, Batavia. Cramer was jailed without bail.

Andrew L. Kosiorek, 43, of Wood Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Kosiorek allegedly failed to comply with terms of Drug Treatment Court and was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Mark W. Grabowski, 57, of Chestnut Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from an unreasonable noise charge.

April 13, 2015 - 9:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Stan's Harley-Davidson.

Stan's Harley-Davidson held an open house Saturday to celebrate the opening of its new, expanded showroom. As part of the ceremonies, Lt. Colonel Ulises Miranda III from Early College International High School, Army JROTC Battalion, presented Daryl Horzempa and Debbie Parks of Stan's an award for their commitment to veterans.

Presentation of Colors

Jon DelVecchio, of Street Skills, was on hand to discuss motorcycle rider safety.

April 12, 2015 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents.

A two-car accident with injuries is reported at West Main Street Road and Wortendyke Road. East Pembroke Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

April 11, 2015 - 6:50pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, GCC, art, chris collins.

The 2015 Congressional Art Competition winner and honorable mentions were announced today at Genesee Community College in the Roz Steiner gallery.

The competition was open to high school students to enter their visual art. Oil paintings, photographs, works in pencil, paints, pastels and mixed media where hung in the gallery. All created by our very own, very talented, local high school artists. 

The Roz Steiner Gallery at GCC was filled with happy visitors admiring classical and modem works. The gallery had the look and excitement of an opening at MoMA in Manhattan.  The exhibit runs in the gallery April 23 through May 18. If you are at all interested in art you should try and see this impressive exhibit. 

Rep. Chris Collins was on hand to announce winners and congratulate all the students involved. But before the award announcement, Collins also took time to personally and privately tour the exhibit and admire the truly impressive works.

UPDATE: Here are the winners:

Winner -  Mallory Showalter, Clarence High School
1st runner up – Kazuki Kanehira, Clarence High School
Honorable mention – Danielle Saeva, Clarence High School
Honorable mention – Cheyenne Ernst, Batavia High School

During his opening comments Representative Collins renewed his support of the Arts in schools.

The winner’s work will be exhibited with the winners from all of the rest of the congressional districts at the U.S. Capitol for a year. For more information on the Congressional Art Competition please visit: http://www.house.gov/content/educate/art_competition/

To see more picture go to: http://jimburns.org/p694578929#h41e007ef

April 11, 2015 - 7:58am
posted by James Burns in batavia, GCEDC, MedTech Park, Innovation Zone.

Officials unveiled the Innovation Zone at MedTech Park in Batavia yesterday. The Innovation Zone is designed to attract high-tech entrepreneurs and start-ups. To help start-ups it will provide working space and free Wi-Fi as well as programing and business services for a $200 a month fee.

A total of $50,000 for the Innovation Zone was provide by the National Grid’s CleanTech Incubation Program. The project was run by the GGLDC (Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp.), which is the real-estate arm of the GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center).

April 10, 2015 - 12:27pm
posted by Jess Wheeler in batavia, schools, education, City Schools.

The return of three teaching positions and the lack of a tax increase highlight a 2015-16 budget proposal for Batavia City schools following this week's budget meeting. 

The reinstated teaching positions include a science teacher and a social studies teacher, both at the middle school level. The third position is for a districtwide music teacher.

There are students on a waiting list to take music classes.

The preliminary budget released in January projected a .55-percent increase in the tax levy, but with new state aid numbers that increase was zeroed out.

“The governor has always given budget projections,” Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said. “This year, he did not. So we used the budget numbers from the current year. When the state budget was finalized, we saw an increase of about $427,000. We used that to reduce the tax levy to 0 percent.”

The $427,000 will be coming in New York State Aid.

The proposed budget includes an increase in mileage for transportation at John Kennedy Intermediate School.

“I think the Board has sensed the needs of the taxpayer and has done even better than the governor projected,” Rozanski said.

The board meets again April 14 to finalize the budget proposal.

The public vote is May 19. The election will include the budget, transportation and three open seats on the school board.

April 9, 2015 - 9:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, brownfield areas, brownfield opportunity area.

The governor's office announced the designation of 12 brownfield opportunity areas today, including one in Batavia. Here's a portion of the press release. We've included the top overview portion of the press release and the section about Batavia.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the designation of 12 brownfield opportunity areas in economically challenged communities across New York State. The Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program helps local communities establish revitalization strategies that return dormant and blighted areas into productive areas to spur economic development. This designation is based upon plans of varying focus that reflect local conditions, and projects receiving this designation are given priority status for grants and additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax credit incentives.

“By designating these sites as brownfield opportunity areas, we are helping to reimagine their potential as vibrant parts of the surrounding communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This distinction allows us to put their rehabilitation on the fast-track with additional state resources, and that means new development, jobs and opportunities in the future. This is another way that our administration is joining with local partners to revitalize blighted areas across the state, and I look forward to seeing their transformation continue in the days to come.”

Prior to their designation, these communities received planning grants financed through New York’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program to complete a nomination that set forth revitalization strategies and promoted sound redevelopment and enhanced environmental quality within the affected areas. The Department of State accepted the nominations for these BOAs and has determined they meet the necessary requirements and criteria for designation. Developers, property owners and others with projects and properties located within a designated BOA will be eligible to access additional Brownfield Cleanup Program tax incentives and receive priority and preference for State grants to develop projects aimed at transforming dormant and blighted areas in their communities and putting them back into productive use.

Brownfields Reform and State Superfund
Separate from the sites receiving BOA designation today, the 2015-16 State Budget extends the Brownfields Cleanup Program for 10 years, and includes important reforms to protect taxpayers and promote brownfield redevelopment, particularly Upstate. The Budget also includes a new $100 million appropriation and extends the State Superfund cleanup program for ten years. The Superfund has been instrumental in identifying, investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites throughout the State.

Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said: “These designations will serve as tremendous environmental and economic development engines for communities in need of public and private investment. The added incentives will afford these communities great opportunities for new housing development, businesses and job creation, and overall beautification.” The Secretary of State is charged with the designation of BOAs after a community planning process.

Val Washington, president, New Partners for Community Revitalization, said: "From Buffalo to the Bronx, from Wyandanch on Long Island to Lewis County in the North Country, New York's BOA Program is showing its worth. Uniquely, it brings community and municipal leaders together to develop plans to revitalize neighborhoods impacted by multiple brownfields. We applaud and support Governor Cuomo's important announcement today, and appreciate his leadership in increasing state government support for developers who will work in these designated areas."

...

Batavia Opportunity Area, Genesee County -- This consists of a 366-acre area characterized by an estimated 75 potential brownfield sites located within the Batavia Central Corridor. The primary community revitalization objectives include: cleaning up and redeveloping underutilized, vacant and brownfield properties with appropriate uses; stabilizing existing neighborhoods; and continuing the revitalization of the Downtown Business District. A $266,508 BOA Program grant financed planning activities.

City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino said: “We would like to thank the Department of State for providing the funding and guidance to complete Batavia’s Batavia Opportunity Area plan. The Batavia BOA has been an overwhelming success and we have already seen significant developer interest in our brownfield sites. To date we have already received more than $2 million in grant funding for TEP, NY Main Street and CDBG applications that advance recommendations in the Plan.”

April 9, 2015 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

WATCH: Stephen Pike, the 18-year-old accused of digging up his father's grave, explains why he did it.Read more HERE: http://spr.ly/61894Zt5

Posted by 13 WHAM ABC on Thursday, April 9, 2015

From The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM.

Steve Pike, the 18-year-old Perry resident charged with aggravated cemetery desecration, explained today why he dug up his father's urn at St. Joseph Cemetery.

I get it," Pike said. "They might have saw disrespect, but he's my father. I think the urn is right under only about that deep under. I never even thought I would be as close to my dad as I was. I got his jacket. I got his Coca-Cola stuff. I got all this stuff, but you know you want closure." 

Pike's father died in 2006. 

"I can't find anybody. Nobody really gets it. So I went over to the cemetery and I just grabbed a shovel. Little, not a big shovel. Just lifted up the dirt, put up the grass, and I found it and I kind of just broke down emotionally right there, and I'm like, 'Wow, Dad,'" he said. "I never thought I would be that close to my dad. I can't hug him. If his body was under there and not his ashes, I'm not going to dig up his body."

Pike turned himself in today. He was issued an appearance ticket and released.

UPDATE: Here's a link to 13WHAM's full story where Pike explains further that he didn't learn who his biological father was until after his father died.

April 9, 2015 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia.

The Batavia High School student government hosts its third annual Mr. Batavia Contest at 7 p.m., April 17.

Eleven seniors have signed up and picked the charities they will represent. Proceeds from the event go to the winner's charity. Last year, Mr. Batavia raised $2,200 for Habitat for Humanity.

The contestants and their charities:

  • Bryce Rogers, Ricky Palermo Foundation
  • Andrew Maniace, Batavia VA
  • Samir Jain (not pictured), Michael Napoleon Foundation
  • Dylan Beckman, Habitat for Humanity
  • Brandon Smart, Volunteers for Animals
  • Josh Franks, Anna’s Wish
  • Adam Taylor, Care-A-Van Ministries
  • Eric DiLaura, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
  • Nick Bauer, Crossroads House
  • Jordan Fluker, Genesee Cancer Assistance
  • Ben Demare, Boy Scouts of America National Youth Leadership Training

Hostesses for this year's event are (names not in order): Emily DiBacco, Carly Scott, Katie Kesler and Maggie Folger.

April 9, 2015 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, St. Joseph Cemetary.

An 18-year-old Perry resident has been charged with aggravated cemetery desecration for allegedly digging up and taking home the urn containing his father's ashes.

Stephen E. Pike turned himself in after learning the police planned to charge him, according to a release from Batavia PD.

Sometime on Monday, Pike allegedly took the urn and carried it to his residence.

The urn was retrieved by detectives and re-interned at the cemetery.

April 9, 2015 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, radio, wbta, business, elba.

WBTA has expanded its programming from one local entertaining talk show to two.

Hiram Kasten is now co-hosting "Batavia After Breakfast" with is wife Diana at 9 a.m., Wednesday mornings and his former partner, Lucine Kauffman, now has her own show, "Genesee Life," at 8:30 a.m., Saturdays.

Hiram and Diana, pictured above, will feature their witty repartee as they share their experiences in Batavia, what's happening in Batavia, and Hiram -- with decades experience as a comedian, actor and performer in New York, Hollywood and Las Vegas, as well as around the globe -- hosts guests from his entertainment world.

Lucine, bottom photo, will celebrate and explore Genesee County rich cultural life, featuring local residents who might be artists, musicians, authors, historians, hobbyists, farmers, athletes, local business owners and local characters. The show will also promote local shows and showings.

WBTA is at 1490 AM, 100.1 FM and streaming at wbtai.com as well as through apps available for your mobile devices.

April 8, 2015 - 4:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, flood insurance program.

After a decade of disastrous hurricanes and floods along the eastern and southern coasts of the United States, FEMA is flooded in debt, and that's going to lead to higher insurance costs for Batavia residents.

Assistant City Manager Gretchen DiFante said that as many as 300 local property owners are being hit with flood insurance premium increases of up to 18 percent, plus a new fee designed to circumvent a Congress-imposed cap on rate increases.

The good news is, the city can help, DiFante said.

Properties in the city's designated floodplains that were developed prior to 1982 may be eligible for a reevaluation of their flood status by going through a process that will yield flood elevation certificates.

In some cases, the properties may be taken out of the 100-year floodplain, significantly reducing insurance costs for those property owners.

The city is also working with FEMA on getting a community rating, which could reduce local premium rates across the board.

The number of points -- more points, lower rates -- that will be awarded to the city won't be know until mid-June, a month after a scheduled FEMA audit of the city's flood preparation efforts.

FEMA is $24 billion in debt after paying out on insurance policies in flood-ravaged areas of the U.S.

Many of the policies were subsidized by FEMA, which just meant reserve funds for payouts were even lower than if not subsidized, and the subsidies have just encouraged development in flood-prone areas.

In response, Congress authorized rate increases, and then pulled back after fielding constituent complaints, capping the rate increase to 18 percent.

FEMA subsequently came up with the $25 annual surcharge, but that surcharge is $250 for multi-dwelling properties and properties that are not owner-occupied.

The most immediate form of insurance relief for local property owners is getting an elevation certificate.

The engineering study costs money, but there are grants available through the city for low- and moderate-income propery owners.

While subsidized policies -- which property owners without the certificates are usually receive -- cost less in theory, the certificate can still mean lower rates.

If the certification process doesn't lower rates, insurance companies are legally bound to offer the lower rate -- subsidized or tied to the certificate, whichever is lower.

"The only risk is the cost of having it done because it may not move you at all, but it's not going to go up," DiFante said.

If you have questions about your flood insurance, call Gretchen DiFante at (585) 345-6330.

Our news partner WBTA contributed to this report.

April 8, 2015 - 9:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, City Schools.

From The Batavian's news partner, WBTA:

Batavia School Superintendent Chris Dailey has not been selected as the next superindent of the East Rochester Union Free School District. WBTA News has learned that East Rochester will announce its new superintendent later today and it is not Dailey.

Dailey confirmed earlier this month that he was one of three finalists for the East Rochester job.

Dailey has been superintendent of the Batavia City School District for the past two years. Prior to becoming superintendent Dailey was principal of Batavia High School.

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