Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Blogs

June 8, 2016 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Castilone, batavia, news, City Fire, business.

cityfiretrainingjune82016.jpg

City firefighters have two new buildings that they can use for training because they are scheduled to be demolished.

Today, a crew practiced a second-floor window escape. The scenario is that a fire has expanded and blocked the stairwell, so the only way out is through a window. A few years ago, the state required fire departments to acquire the necessary equipment to make such escapes possible after a tragedy in NYC where firefighters had to jump from the upper story windows of a burning building.

The new Ladder 15 was used in the training, but only as a safety backup. Typically, the urgency of the situation and the fact Ladder 15 would be tied up on other tasks at the fire scene would mean it wouldn't be available to hoist a backup rope to safety.  

In this scenario, firefighters knocked a hole in a bedroom wall to expose a beam they could use as an anchor for a rope.

The two former houses are on West Main Street, just west of Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. The dealership acquired the property to further expand its new car lot. Demolition is scheduled to begin June 20.

Before then, Batavia's Emergency Response Team will also use the houses for training and drills.

Castilone also just signed a contract to acquire the property at the corner of West Main and Vernon Avenue. That property was once proposed as a new location for an Arby's Restaurant, but the plan met stiff opposition from Vernon Avenue residents. Steve Castilone said he also already met with neighborhood representatives and discussed his plans with them.

"I sat down with them and I told them all, ‘whatever is going to make you people happy, I’ll do,' " he said. " 'If I do something that makes you unhappy, I’ll change it. If I put a light up and it shines in your windows, I’ll move it.’ They asked me to not put a driveway on their street and I said when I’m done I’ll close the driveway off. They were delighted. What would you rather have, a drive-thru Arby’s on the corner or stationary parked cars?”

cityfiretrainingjune82016-2.jpg

cityfiretrainingjune82016-3.jpg

cityfiretrainingjune82016-4.jpg

cityfiretrainingjune82016-5.jpg

June 8, 2016 - 3:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, batavia.

Philip R. Ayala accepted a plea deal today in Genesee County Court to a Class B non-violent felony of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. He will be sentenced at a later date this summer.

The former crack cocaine dealer and felon who once lived on Summit Street in the City of Batavia is now serving eight years in prison on other drugs charges prosecuted in Orleans County.

Acting Judge Michael F. Pietruszka can impose a sentence of anywhere from two to 12 years on the new charge, with one and a half to three years post-release supervision. Whatever sentence the judge decides will run concurrently with the defendant's existing sentence, under terms of the plea bargain. Ayala waived his right to any appeal.

Pietruszka ordered a pre-sentence report for Ayala, who is about 5'8" and slightly built.

When asked by the judge this morning, Ayala admitted to possessing (crack) cocaine with the intent to sell it last July in the city. That was while he was living on Vine Street in Batavia.

He was arrested on a sealed warrant out of Orleans County and had 62 bags of crack cocaine in his possession when they found him.

Ayala was out on bail awaiting sentencing in August. He had pled guilty to a Class C felony for fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance stemming from a raid by law enforcement in Orleans County in December 2014. He was to get no more than five years in prison IF he didn't break the law prior to his sentencing.

As it stands, if he gets the maximum of 12 years, in addition to the eight he's already serving, that's four more years.

As was the case in April when today's plea cut-off date was set, there were several friends and family members in the gallery, tots to middle age, pointing, smiling and silently mouthing words. When his case ended, they stood and again said "Love you bro' " "Keep your head up!"

June 8, 2016 - 11:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in ARC, batavia, news.

speciatorchjun82016.jpg

Local law enforcement officers -- including troopers, deputies and police officers, carried the Special Olympic torch in a run from Elba to Batavia, finishing at the ARC center on Oak Street.

June 8, 2016 - 8:00am

098a7920.bt_.jpg

Last evening, England’s rock band Bad Company opened the 2016 Darien Lake summer concert series.

The 43-year-old band has a 28-city U.S. tour planned before heading overseas to the United Kingdom this fall. They played some hits like “Ready for Love,” “Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy” and “Feel Like Makin' Love."

Singer Paul Rodgers captured the standing crowd grooving to their classic hits one after another.

Joe Walsh is a seasoned veteran of the music scene, having played in five successful bands, one of which was The Eagles. He did not disappoint on Tuesday night with his band, which opened for Bad Company. 

The 68-year-old performed some hits from previous bands including “Life in the Fast Lane," "Take it to the Limit” by The Eagles. From the band James Gang he performed “Walk Away” and "Funk #49."

Joe. also known as “The Clown Prince of Rock,” entertained the crowd with fascinating facial expressions through his 80-minute set, readying them for headliner Bad Company.

Country music star Miranda Lambert will be coming up later this month for the next concert at Darien Lake. 

For the complete summer lineup visit: https://www.darienlake.com/concerts

098a7857.b2t.jpg

098a7896.bt_.jpg

098a7884.bt_.jpg

Joe Walsh and his band:

098a7805.bt_.jpg

098a7821.bt_.jpg

098a7843.bt_.jpg

098a7818.bt_.jpg

June 8, 2016 - 7:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in charity, byron, news.

gamingjune72016.jpg

That last community fundraiser you went to with a chance auction (often called a Chinese auction) and a 50-50 raffle, it probably violated state law.

These common fundraising tactics used frequently by groups coming together for a sudden and unexpected hardship or tragedy that hits a member of our community are not allowed by state law, according to Rich Kaczynski, from the New York State Gaming Commission, who spoke Tuesday night at the South Byron Fire Hall.

The event, hosted by the South Byron Volunteer Fire Department, was prompted by the recent discovery by several local volunteer departments that their longtime fundraising events may have, at best, skirted the edge of state law.

This year, Stafford fire canceled its Corvette raffle and Town of Batavia fire canceled its annual Harley raffle. In both cases, the departments are looking to better understand the law.

Kaczynski's department regulates four types of games of chance -- bingos, raffles, bell jar tickets and casino night type of games.

The state allows certain types of nonprofit groups to use these games as fundraisers, including volunteer fire departments, service organizations, fraternal groups, veterans groups and religious organizations.

For bingos, the group need only have existed one year before applying for a license, but for all other games of chance allowed by the state, the organization must have existed for at least three years.

It's that last provision that may most frequently put community fundraisers for victims of hardship into legally questionable territory. Often these efforts are created by ad hoc groups of people who are friends of the family and are not legally established groups in existence for at least three years. 

Sometimes, these raffles are organized by established nonprofits, but if the fundraising isn't for the legally defined purpose of the group, then it also runs afoul of state regulation, according to Kaczynski. For example, a volunteer fire department can't hold a raffle to raise money for a member stricken by cancer.

To assist that cancer victim, there would need to be a three-year-old organization with the express mission of raising money for cancer victims, or similar hardships.

For the sake of extending the example, then, Genesee Cancer Assistance could host such a raffle, but only members of Genesee Cancer Assistance could conduct the raffle, and to be a member eligible to conduct the raffle, you must be a member for a least a year prior to the raffle.

The good news, perhaps, is that for small organizations, the bureaucracy of fundraising through games of chance isn't quite as cumbersome as it is for groups raising larger sums of money.

Groups that will hold raffles that generate a profit of more than $5,000 on a single raffle, or whose total profit for the year on raffles exceeds $20,000 in profit fall into Category 2 of New York gaming law and have more paperwork to deal with. Groups that reach Category 1 have more paperwork and pay a 2-percent tax on profits over $30,000 in a calendar year.

If your raffle efforts fall in Category 3 (below $5,000 in profit on a single auction, less than $20,000 profit in a year), you can self-define your group as meeting state requirements for existing for three years (or a year for bingo), not meeting the profit thresholds, falling within the proper categories for games of chance, and managing your funds within state guidelines.

Groups in categories 2 and 3 must register with the state and once they receive a state ID number, apply for a license from the town, village or city clerk where the group is organized.

In all three categories, if they want to sell raffle tickets outside of their home jurisdictions, they can sell only within jurisdictions within their same county and in the municipalities in counties contiguous with their home county. They cannot venture outside of that group of contiguous boundaries to sell tickets. For example, no selling tickets to your cousin in California. If your cousin from California wants a raffle ticket for your gun raffle in South Byron, he must fly to Buffalo, drive to South Bryon, enter your fire hall and buy a ticket with cash, and only cash.

In order for a group in any of the three categories to sell in a contiguous jurisdiction, they must request a letter of authorization the municipality's clerk. For example, if you're a volunteer with the South Byron Fire Department and you work at Graham Manufacturing, your department needs authorization from the City Clerk of Batavia in order for you to sell raffle tickets to your coworkers.

That applies to every single possible contiguous jurisdiction. If there are 20 contiguous municipalities, the organization needs 20 different letters of authorization.

If you're a business owner and a volunteer with South Byron and your business is located in the Town of Byron, you can sell raffle tickets at your business, but your employees can't sell raffle tickets unless they're related to you by blood or marriage.

A volunteer fire department can get a license to fund raise through a game of chance, but in order for the Ladie's Auxillary to help with that fundraiser, it must get its own state ID, and the same applies for the "Sons of" organizations. With all three groups properly licensed, and duly noted on the proper paperwork, they can assist each other in games-of-chance fundraisers, but otherwise, only members with at least a year of membership can participate.

If you want to hold a casino night, the gaming implements must be owned by the organization or rented from a licensed company, or, if approved, borrowed from an organization that owns the tables and wheels and cards and dice. Only members of the organization can deal cards or spin roulette wheels.  

Even if your casino night doesn't have a buy in, if it's based on chance and has prizes, it's regulated by the state.

If you're running a game that isn't authorized by the gaming commission regulation -- such as a Texas hold 'em tournament -- you're likely violating state antigambling laws.

Your blackjack tournament? It's allowed, but it must be run precisely according to state regulations.

Repeatedly during the presentation, Kaczynski had to remind audience members he was just repeating state law. He doesn't make state law or control state law. That's up to the Legislature, or up to the gaming commission's attorneys to interpret. 

There is legislation pending, supported by Assemblyman Steve Hawley, to help take away some of the difficulties being faced by local groups that have long relied on raffles as primary fund-raising tools.

June 8, 2016 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in auto dealers, Castilone, batavia, business, news.

There are local car dealers upset about a dealer from Dunkirk setting up a temporary sales lot in Batavia this weekend, not because they fear the competition, but because the Dunkirk dealer is taking advantage of a loophole in state law to unfairly compete with their established businesses.

The law isn't just about protecting existing dealers, they say, it's also meant to protect consumers from fly-by-night used car salesmen who don't stick around to service what they sell.

"They move into a small market where they can clobber people over the head and then they leave," said Steve Castilone, co-owner of Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on West Main Street, Batavia. "That’s what they do. They ram them into a car and then they leave."

Just a few years ago, tent-sale dealers would come to town with their temporary lots, blanket the community with mailers, make a few sales and leave, but the law was changed to require a fixed and physical location before the dealer could receive a license. The Dunkirk dealer, Larry Spacc, has leased office space at 4152 W. Main Street Road, in the Valu Plaza.

Castilone thinks the operation is a sham. He's complained to the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association, supplying a video taken shortly after Spacc's last sale five months ago. It shows a lot once filled with used cars, by then filled with only potholes, and shots through the windows of Spacc's strip mall office space filled with nothing but promotional posters on the wall and a lone motorcycle. There wasn't a single desk or phone line anywhere in sight.

Greg Strauss, Castilone's business partner, calls these operations, "ghost dealers." He'd like to see them shut down.

When The Batavian attempted to contact the local dealership Tuesday afternoon for comment, a man named Nick answered the phone. We identified ourselves and said we were writing a story about the dealership. There was muffled talk over the earpiece and then Nick came back on the line and said his two managers had just left to get a bite to eat and one of them would return the reporter's call when they returned. No call was returned.

Pending legislation wouldn't close up such temporary dealerships completely, but it would make it harder for them to operate. It would require temporary lots to be set up only within 20 miles of the main dealership. In Spacc's case, Dunkirk is 87 miles from Batavia.

"We do these sales," said Castilone pointing to Spacc's latest mailer, "but I’m not trying to whack you over the head. I’m not trying to sell you a bill of goods. I’m trying to sell you a car. It costs us millions of dollars to be here every year, millions in overhead, and then you have some fly-by-night come in with an $800 storefront and sells you a car and you buy because you think it’s cheaper. It’s not cheaper. It’s more money and the interest rate is going to be higher. I wouldn’t mind if they were doing this sale and they were still down at the end of the street next week."

Guy Pellegrino, Pellegrino Auto Sales of Batavia, shares the concerns of Castillone and Strauss. He's put a lot of money into his business, pays property taxes, employs a local staff and is concerned that a "fly-by-night" operation isn't there to provide support after the sale.

"Competition is a good thing and we all get along well (in town)," Pellegrino said. "We all survive together. But when somebody comes in and sets up a tent, tries to push cars, I don’t agree with that. I don’t like it and I don’t agree with it."

Pellegrino employs 12 people, all local residents, and he recently completed a $300,000 expansion of his facility. That's an investment Spacc hasn't made in our community, he said, nor is Spacc out donating to local charities, sponsoring youth sport teams or showing up at community events.

"We’re here making an investment in the community and doing the best we can for our people and they’re going to sell you an overpriced car with all the gimmicks, and you will likely have issues and where are you going to go?" Pellegrino said. "There’s nothing there.” 

The sales people at these temporary lots are rarely local residents. The temporary lots most often hire experienced used car sales reps from all over the country, people with experience in the hard sell, both Pellegrino and Castilone noted.

The flier you get in the mail may say "sale," and proclaim limited availability, but don't be fooled, the local dealers say, the temporary dealer is out to maximize profits. Putting the right deal together for the customer is the furthest thing from the sales rep's mind.

“You spend all that money and do you really want to deal with a guy who is going to be gone? Here today, gone tomorrow?" Castilone said. "But not everyone understands that when they get one of these fliers in the mail.”

If you walk onto the lot, Pellegrino said, expect the hard sell. Yeah, the local dealers, like any small business, are out to make a buck, but Pellegrino said that at the end of the day, he knows if he sells you a car, he might see you at the next community event he attends. He wants to be able to look you in the eye and be proud of the business he conducted with you.

"(The tent sale) is a circus show," Pellegrino said. "They take the slickest, sharpest sales people and they’re going to make the most money they can on you and they will never see you again and you’ll never see them again. For us, we’re here, we’re in your community, we’re at all of your community events, we sponsor you and support you. Support us and forget the circus show, because that’s all this is is a circus show. "

Castilone employs more than 35 people and Castilone and Strauss have invested more than $2.5 million in remodeling and expanding their business, with another expansion just starting that will raise the total investment to more than $3 million. They pay local taxes on all that property.

Asked about the support Castilone provides to local charity, Steve said they don't normally seek publicity for their contributions, but they support local youth sports teams, sponsor four local charity golf tournaments and recently made a $5,000 contribution to the YMCA for the Y's youth camp. That donation will probably send 20 kids to camp this summer, Strauss said.

"When we did it, my sales manager said we should call the media, get some publicity for it," Castilone said. "I told him, 'no, we know we did it, that's all we need.' We didn't do it for the publicity. We did it because we care about our community."

Yes, Spacc is a fellow auto dealer and yes, Castilone said, his quotes in the media about his practices might upset him, but he said he wasn't worried about that.

“I want him to know that he’s in my backyard and this is our area, so go to Dunkirk and sell your cars to your own community, or open up a legitimate business and stay open 365 days a year where people can call you and come back to you again, and open a shop so you can fix these people’s cars," Castilone said. "Then you know what, it’s all fair competition.” 

June 7, 2016 - 9:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, news.

staffordsunsetjune72016.jpg

Along Route 33 in Stafford this evening.

June 7, 2016 - 5:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, pets, animals, news.

20160607_164014.jpg

This pup was lost in Stafford and found by Marrianne Newmark. She called the Sheriff's Office and the dog is being taken to the Genesee County Animal Shelter on West Main Street Road. If you lost your friendly and playful dog, that's where it is.

20160607_164350.jpg

June 7, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Genesee ARC, Special Olympics.

Submitted Photo -- Carl, Colleen and James representing Genesee ARC and Special Olympics are pictured with Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Krzemien, Batavia Police Officer Marc Lawrence and Sheriff's Deputy Chris Parker.

Press release:

Local law enforcement officers are taking their support of Special Olympics to area roadways this week. The Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run kicks off Wednesday morning (June 8) at the Genesee ARC Day Habilitation Center in Elba.

Officers from several local agencies will carry the Special Olympics torch down Route 98 to Batavia. The route includes a swing through the parking lot at the Genesee ARC Community Center on Woodrow Road, and concludes with a celebration picnic at the Genesee ARC Work Center on Walnut Street.

Deputy Chris Parker is on tap to participate in this year’s event.

“This is the 30th anniversary of the Torch Run and the 50th for Genesee ARC,” Parker said. “We are running to show our support of ARC and their decades of involvement in the Special Olympics Program."

Two individuals served by Genesee ARC will help carry the torch with the officers at the beginning and end of the run. Genesee ARC has participated in several Special Olympics sports including track & field, swimming, snowshoeing and softball.

According to event coordinator, Sheriff’s Investigator Chad Minuto, the Torch Run is a real team effort, for a great cause.

“Throughout the seven-mile run, our focus will be on what the Olympics mean to our local athletes with special needs.”

Officers representing local, state and federal facilities in Genesee County have been invited to take part in the event.

June 7, 2016 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, economic development, news.

Submitted photo and press release:

On the heels of a press conference held in Albany Monday by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua), Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) called for an end to unspecified spending of tax dollars and the autonomous control of taxpayer funds that continue to support botched economic development programs.

New York was once again ranked near dead last in economic outlook this year, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“The main issue with our economic development spending is that it’s riddled with pay-to-play, unilaterally controlled by the governor, and is essentially devoid of transparency in many respects,” Hawley said. “We were promised a job report on START-UP NY on April 1, 2016 and have yet to see one, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars of our citizens’ money on advertising and tax breaks.

"On another note, the longer the Buffalo Billion project goes on, the more problems come to light and the more intricate the web of inefficiency and shady political and businesses deals becomes. Taxpayers deserve to know where their money is going and that’s why this legislation is important.”

Hawley and his colleagues today introduced legislation that would mandate full transparency in spending allocations, penalties for failing to meet reporting deadlines (such as the case with START-Up NY), and auditing of all state economic development programs, among other provisions.

June 7, 2016 - 1:52pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is offering for bid 139 acres of grassland hay in five different fields ranging in size from 36 to 81 acres. The refuge annually provides a total of 1,400 acres of grassland habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. Active management of these grasslands is necessary to provide the highest quality nesting and migration habitat.

The refuge haying program helps in this management process by reducing encroachment of broad leaf weeds and shrubs.

Hay will be allocated on a highest bid per field basis for each field. Sealed bids will be accepted until 12 p.m., Saturday, July 2. An official Bid Sheet, available from the refuge headquarters, is required to make a bid. Completed Bid Sheets can be mailed to, or dropped off at the refuge headquarters at 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013 and must contain all the information requested.

If you have any questions about the haying program or would like to see the fields, please call Madeline Prush at 585-948-5445, ext. 7036.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located midway between Rochester and Buffalo, and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

June 7, 2016 - 12:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Le Roy, batavia, pembroke.

Chase J. Francis-Whipset, 27, of Caledonia, was arrested on June 4 by the Le Roy Police Department and charged with: one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 5th degree with the intent to sell, a Class D felony; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree, a Class E felony; unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation; speed in zone, a violation; unlicensed operator, a violation; and driver's view obstructed, a violation. Francis-Whipset was stopped by the Le Roy Police after allegedly operating a motor vehicle on East Main Street speeding. After a brief investigation, it was found that Francis-Whipset had a suspended driver’s license. Further investigation revealed that Francis-Whipset allegedly possessed a quantity of cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Francis-Whipset was arraigned in the Town of Le Roy Court and put in Genesee County Jail in lieu of $3,000 cash bail or $6,000.00 bond. Francis-Whipset is to appear in court on June 8.

Blake Riley Pahuta, 18, of Alleghany Road, Pembroke, is charged with petit larceny, sixth-degree conspiracy, third-degree tampering, and unlawful possession of marijuana. A 17-year-old-female from Pembroke is charged in the same incident for petit larceny, sixth-degree conspiracy and third-degree tampering. The charges for both individuals stem from a shoplifting complainant from Kmart. Pahuta was operating the suspect vehicle from a larceny; the female was a passenger in that vehicle. Pahuta was observed northbound on Route 77 at 3:50 p.m. on June 6. As a State Police patrol attempted to stop the vehicle, a large black bag was thrown from the suspect vehicle. The vehicle was later stopped on Cohocton Road in the Town of Pembroke and at the end of the investigation, Pahuta and the female were arrested on the charges. They were taken to jail for processing, then released on appearance tickets for Town of Batavia Court and Pembroke Court at a later date(s). The cases were handled by Sheriff's Deputy Richard Schildwaster, assisted by Deputy Michael Lute.

June 7, 2016 - 12:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, immigration.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) criticizes Assembly leadership for voting to give taxpayer-funded tuition to illegal aliens.

“Once again, New York City liberals have passed the DREAM Act, which allows illegal aliens access to taxpayer-funded tuition assistance programs on par with legal citizens. At a time when middle-class families are struggling to send their children to college, Assembly leadership prioritizes giving freebies to illegal aliens instead of passing initiatives that help hard-working legal citizens.

“This is yet another in the long line of disgraceful and unconscionable acts that are completely out of line with New Yorkers’ values. Upstate infrastructure is crumbling, the heroin epidemic is ripping apart our families, businesses are leaving the state in droves, and Assembly leadership would rather approve freebies for people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place.”

June 7, 2016 - 12:14pm

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is pleased to announce the beginning of the season for the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market located at the Downtown Batavia Public Market.

The market is located at Bank and Alva streets and will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays beginning this Friday, June 10th until Oct. 28th.

The market will offer fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, coffee, crafts and more.

Please come this Friday to join the many others who support the newly merged markets and to support the Downtown with this new venture.

For questions regarding the market, please contact Market President Bob Austen at (585) 991-8339.

June 7, 2016 - 12:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, Mercy Flight, batavia.

Press release:

This year is a special year for Mercy Flight WNY as we are celebrating our 35th year of operation.

Batavia Mercy Flight & Mercy EMS will be having our annual summer open house Satruday, June 18th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Batavia Home Depot, located at 4181 Veterans Memorial Drive, Batavia.

We are planning to have Mercy Flight land at noon for tours as well has have some ambulances from the Mercy EMS fleet on display and tours, too.

During the event we will have various family activities and an ongoing 50/50 and Chinese Auction during the event. 

Their will be various police, and fire departments doing demos and speaking with the community and showing off their vehicles, too. The City of Batavia will also have its Child Safety Seat technicians out to check car seats. If possible, bring both the child and the car seat with you, so they know its properly installed and fits the child using the car seat.

If you have any questions or wish to make a donation for the Chinese auction table, please contact Base Coordinator Lynn O'Donnell at 716-864-5060 or [email protected] and she will be happy to assist you.

June 7, 2016 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, news, downtown.

panel10miljune62016.jpg

adamtab_june62016.jpgJust 10 years ago, Batavia was a city barely hanging on. Nobody could imagine, said City Manager Jason Molino, that things would have turned around enough by 2016 that Batavia could be a serious contender for a $10 million prize in a competition for downtown revitalization projects.

Genesee County Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde said Batavia is certainly a top contender in the Finger Lakes Region because of the progress made, the joint initiatives underway, the recent wins in job creation in Genesee County. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo loves competitions for economic development, Hyde said, and Finger Lakes came out on top a few years ago in a competition of the state's 10 economic development regions, winning a $500 million prize. Of that $500 million, 34 percent is earmarked for use in Genesee County, primarily at the high-tech Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama. With Dairy Farmers of America taking over the $200 million Quaker Muller food processing plant in the ag park, and 1366 Technologies heading into STAMP, Batavia his hitting all the high points the governor's office looks for in these competitions.

"(At build out), we're talking about 30,000 to 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region," Hyde said. "In the Finger Lakes Region, what other community is poised to benefit off that job growth more than Batavia? It will be difficult for any other community."

Stiff competition may come from Rochester, which is battling one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, and fighting poverty is a key goal of the governor's office, but Rochester also got $100 million from that $500 million prize for its anti-poverty efforts. The $10 million could have a bigger impact in Batavia, which could be a factor in the prize consideration.

"The $10 million is a potential drop in the bucket in terms of explosive transformation for Rochester," Hyde said. "The state likes to look at the leverage model and when it looks at $10 million in Batavia and what it could do in Rochester when they have $100 million already committed, they will look at the marginal benefit. That's just my personal view."

Every city and several villages and towns in the Finger Lakes Region are competing for the same $10 million prize, and we should know by the end of June which community wins the award, which would be spent on projects over a five-year period.

Yesterday's panel discussion at the Generation Center on Center Street, with Molino, Hyde, Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacatte and County Manager Jay Gsell, was a chance to share with the community how Batavia will respond to the application request and gather feedback on how the questions will be answered.

"You would think for a $10-million prize, they would have a 40-page stack of paperwork, but it's just a two-page application," said Councilman Adam Tabelski (inset photo), who moderated the discussion.

The application needs to address issues about downtown boundaries, mixed use, walkability, public gathering places and economic opportunity.

The city already has traction in some key initiatives, Molino said, most notably its brownfield program, known as the Batavia Opportunity Area, or BOA. An experienced brownfield developer has already committed to redeveloping the former Dellapenna building on Ellicott Street, and there is interest from developers in the city's other four target BOA areas.

"Over the past 18 months, we've seen the most interest yet in investment in Batavia," Molino said.

Just an announcement that the city won the prize, if it won, would generate even more interest, Molino said.

Pacatte said Batavia is getting developer attention because of its mixed-use potential. Downtown scores well on walkability ratings; it has parks and open space, both retail and business space and the city's initiative to bring quality housing to downtown has been tremendously successful. The BDC helped developers open up nine refurbished apartments downtown, and all were leased immediately. The apartments at the former WBTA building at Swan and East Main are also all rented, even though two of them have not yet been completed.

"We think that's a great testament to what can happen in our market," Pacatte said. 

Pacatte also revealed that in addition to a microbrewery and restaurant incubator being planned by Matt Gray and Jon Mager for the former Newberry building on Main Street, they are also planning a $1.5 million investment to convert the second and third floors of the building into apartments.

Gsell said the city's investment in infrastructure, notably the current work on Washington Avenue, is a further sign the city is moving in the right direction and creating an environment developers will find attractive. 

Other projects in Batavia's favor, Molino said, are the flood insurance rating program, which has helped reduce the cost of flood insurance for affected properties by 15 percent, and Batavia's first-in-the-state zombie property law. Batavia is showing tangible success in dealing with zombie properties, which is still unique in the state.

All of these efforts will give Batavia a good start on dealing with its own poverty rates, Hyde said, and putting people to work and reducing poverty is the main reason all of these economic develop efforts exist in the first place. 

"If we say we're a democracy and we're a free enterprise society, then we address the poverty issue," Hyde said. "The only way we get a society to function well is if we create opportunities for everybody."

panelroomjune62016.jpg

The video below is part of Batavia's application for the prize.

June 6, 2016 - 1:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, Milestones.

Samantha Walker, of Byron, was one of more than 200 Lebanon Valley College students who played a varsity sport during the 2016 spring season. Walker, a graduate of Byron-Bergen High School, was a member of Lebanon Valley's women's track and field team(s). Walker is pursuing a bachelor of science in Actuarial Science at The Valley.

The Dutchmen finished third at the Outdoor MAC Championships in May. Olivia Jendrzejewski took gold in the high and triple jump events and Jessica Olewine placed silver in the long jump. The women's 4x800 relay and 4x100 both won silver and earned First-Team All-MAC honors. In total, 21 athletes either received gold, silver, or bronze, and All-MAC honors. Jendrzejewski, who was named the MAC Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, is capped her stellar junior campaign by earning All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a fifth-place finish in the high jump. She also earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors in all three jump events to go along with a CoSIDA Academic All-District nod.

A member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III, American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), and Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), Lebanon Valley College offers 24 sports. More information about LVC athletics is available at godutchmen.com.

Lebanon Valley College is a private, coeducational college founded in 1866 and dedicated to the liberal arts. The College offers 40 undergraduate majors plus self-designed majors and a range of minors, concentrations, and pre-professional options, as well as graduate degree programs in athletic training, business administration, music education, physical therapy, science education, and speech-language pathology.

The College has 1,608 full-time undergraduate students and 108 full-time faculty. Students can choose from more than 90 clubs and organizations, and 12 study abroad programs. LVC awards generous academic scholarships to those whose high school records demonstrate a commitment to challenge and achievement. Learn more at www.lvc.edu.

Annville is 15 minutes east of Hershey and 35 minutes east of Harrisburg; Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore are within two hours.

June 6, 2016 - 1:01pm

Children ages 5 to 12 years old are invited to join the Batavia High School cheerleaders at their premiere cheer camp Friday and Saturday, July 29-30, at Vandetta Stadium. The stadium is located at 120 Richmond Ave. in Batavia.

Both days are mandatory. Cost is $40 and will include a camp T-shirt and pizza on Saturday.

Camp on Friday is from 1 to 5 p.m. On Satruday, it's from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a performance for parents at noon.

There will be a cheer merchandise booth for the participants to purchase extra apparel and bows.

Registration is due by July 8.

Questions? Call Melissa Swinehart at 202-6504 or Sherri Wahr at 356-0639.

****************

Mail registration fee, payable to Batavia Cheer Boosters, along with a piece of paper with the cheerleader's name, age, name of parent or guardian, phone number, and shirt size to:

Batavia High School

Attn: Cheer Booster

260 State St.

Batavia, NY 14020

June 6, 2016 - 12:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Milestones.

Catherine McAllister, of Batavia, who graduated from Duquesne University in May, will participate in the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery Program, an all-expenses-paid educational and cultural initiative that sends Italian-American students to Italy. Sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), the tour will visit Italy’s Piemonte region, NIAF’s 2016 Region of Honor, from June 9 to 23.

McAllister is one of 20 college students selected from across the nation to participate in this program. She was a 2012 Batavia High School graduate and has been awarded a Paolo Busti Scholarship. She is the daughter of Gregg and Debbie Accardi, of Batavia, members of the Paolo Busti Society of Genesee County.

For the fourth consecutive year, participants will give back to the Italian community.  This year, the students will work with school children under the care of the Salesians of Don Bosco at the Mother House, known as Valdocco, in the city of Torino. This NIAF travel program’s benefactor is a member of the Occhienna family, the mother of Saint Don Bosco. Ambassador Peter F. Secchia’s father is a descendent of the Occhienna family.

“The Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery Program affords these young adults an incredible opportunity to further understand the historical significance of Italy and its many contributions to the United States and to the world. The bond these students forge with each other and with Italy will increase their interest in preserving their shared heritage,” said Anita Bevacqua McBride, co-chair of the Foundation’s scholarships and grants committee.

“We are so proud that we are able to offer such a program to young Italian American students. This cornerstone program of the Foundation will strengthen their understanding of their rich culture as they experience the land of their ancestors for the very first time in their lives,” said Gabriella Mileti, NIAF director of programs.

Now in its 17th year, the 14-day NIAF program kicks off with a walking tour of Torino, the first capital of modern Italy and the residence of the Royal Savoy Family. In Torino, the group will visit La Reggia Venaria, one of the residences of the Royal Savoy Family; the Basilica of Superga, the burial place of the Savoy Family; Palazzo Reale, the royal seat of Duke Emanuele Filberto in 1563; and the National Museum of Cinema. The first evening will include a dinner with members of the NIAF Board of Directors at a local agriturismo, a working farmhouse.

The itinerary includes: tours of the Martini & Rossi factory and museum in Asti, one of the renowned centers of wine production; the Borsalino factory, known for its fedoras; and the famed chocolatier Ferrero factory in Alba, home of the white truffle, “tartufo bianco.” Visits to the historic towns Acqui Terme, Alessandria and Neive are also part of the tour. In Nieve, students will visit a 17th century winery “La Cantina del Glicine.” During the program, students will gather to watch Italy play against Ireland, Sweden and Belgium in the Euro Cup 2016. The students also will participate in an excursion on Lake Maggiore to explore Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori.

NIAF is proud to administer the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery Program which includes round-trip airfare between the United States and Italy, accommodations, meals, guided tours and on the ground transportation. For more information, visit www.niaf.org/voyageofdiscovery.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Italian-Americans. Visit www.niaf.org.

Pages

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 

Upcoming

Copyright © 2008-2016 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