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May 28, 2016 - 8:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, batavia.

A lost dog has been found on Pike Road by an area resident.

The dog was pulling 50 feet of cable.

A deputy is responding.

May 28, 2016 - 8:29pm

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The Swanson family was honored today by the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation at the foundation's annual Memorial Day Weekend tournament at MacArthur Park in Batavia.

In 2007, Anders Swanson -- in the blue shirt above with mother Amy, father Garth and brothers Beckett and Cooper -- was diagnosed with cancer deep in his brain when he was 18 months old.

"(The doctors were) brutally honest," Amy said. "This kind of cancer is rare, it’s aggressive and it doesn’t have a good outcome. Kids with this kind of cancer don’t survive."

He immediately underwent surgery, and then a long ordeal of treatment that included four rounds of chemo, 31 days of radiation, two high-dosage chemo treatments, two stem-cell transplants, and countless blood transfusions, spinal taps and CAT scans. He underwent a second major brain surgery in which 90 percent of the cancer was removed. Now considered cancer free, Amy said he still undergoes numerous regular tests and the fight isn't over, yet Anders remains positive and a team player.

"He has to work much harder, but he greets everything with a can-do attitude," Amy said.

The tournament, she said, was a great way to honor Micheal's memory, because his love of baseball is evident by every smile on the field.

"We know how important baseball is," Amy said. "It’s about accountability, character, courage, confidence, commitment, determination, ethics, honor, humility and humor, integrity, loyalty, leadership, obedience, self-discipline, sportsmanship and teamwork. These truly are the key components of baseball. Baseball is unique in that it can often mirror life itself. The great length of a baseball season, and the fact that failure is an innate part of the game, offers players, coaches and parents the opportunities to teach many more of life’s truths and skills."

The foundation regularly provides financial support to families with children battling cancer, and Laurie Napoleone presented the Swanson's with a $1,000 check, but the Swanson's asked that the money be donated to other charities.

Since Micheal's death, the foundation has provided more than $230,000 to 300 families in the region, donated more than $56,000 to pediatric cancer research, and assisted youth sports with $38,000 in donations, and provided another $50,000 to the Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester.

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The Spirit of Michael Napoleone Award went to Ryan Carroll and Jacob Smith.

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May 28, 2016 - 7:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, kickball, batavia, Genesee kickball league.

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Members of the Genesee Kickball League came together today to help raise funds to defray medical costs for Zachary Kaus.

Kaus was diagnosed with acute aplastic leukemia in September. Both of his sisters were perfect matches for a bone marrow donation, and on Dec. 22, he received a bone marrow transplant from his oldest sister.

"It took perfectly, everything is good and I’m leukemia free now," said Kaus, pictured above.

Kaus was a member of the kickball league, but he's still amazed that so many people turned out to Batavia Sports Park today.

"It’s crazy," he said. "I didn’t think there would be this many people, this big a turnout. But they love playing for a cause, obviously. It means a lot for sure. I want to thank everybody for coming out. It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s awesome to watch."

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May 28, 2016 - 8:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, kati's place.

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Most people, perhaps, in Kati Mancuso's position wouldn't choose the circumstances of her life as a time to open a new business, especially one as emotionally and physically demanding as a restaurant.

But this week, that's what Mancuso did, opening Kati's Place at 40 Oak St., Batavia.

Even though Mancuso now lives in Rochester, she came back to Batavia because this is where her friends and customers are. She started in the restaurant business at 16 at Scooter's in Batavia, moved on to Scooter's in Le Roy, and eventually opened Kati's Place in Le Roy.

She had to close that restaurant after a drunken driver slammed into her car and she suffered a broken back.

She wanted to get back in the business, but took time off for the birth of her son.

"I could have opened a restaurant in Rochester and started over, but I’m so close to so many people and so many customers and they’ve been like my family over all these years so I wanted a place they could come to, so that’s why I came out to Batavia to do it," she said.

After her son was born, she found a pencil-size lump on her arm. It turned out to be a rare form of melanoma. She had a 9.7-millimeter tumor removed. She's had all the lymph nodes on her right side removed. She went through six weeks of chemo, five days a week, and then five weeks of chemo for three days a week. She's had five major surgeries and two minor surgeries.

The original prognosis was a 16-percent chance of surviving past a year.

She's not giving up.

"I felt like I was either going to lay there and die or do something that I love," Mancuso said. "This keeps me busy and keeps me moving and I think I just have to keep a positive attitude and know that I’ll be all right. I know the diagnoses isn’t good, but it’s OK."

Mancuso said every day is hard, but she has her seven employees to help her out and her customers to keep her spirits up.

"These people have been like my family and it gives them someplace to go and enjoy good food that is homemade, that’s not fast food," Mancuso said.

Kati's Place is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and to 3 p.m. on Sunday. It's a diner with about a dozen tables and take-outs are available. The phone number is (585) 250-4483.

May 28, 2016 - 8:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

We had a database error this morning and had to restore the site from a backup.

The good news is, we had a very recent backup available, 3 a.m. The bad news is, we still lost a couple of posts.

One was from Steve Ognibene about Batavia's boys and girls track teams winning Section V titles. Steve isn't available until tonight to repost it. Our apologies.

The other post was an accident on the Thruway and we can't recreate that post.

I don't think any user comments were lost.

May 27, 2016 - 11:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, Batavia HS, batavia.

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In a competitive sport, there can be only one winner, and in Brockport today, only one team would get to make history.

That team turned out to be Aquinas, which became only the third school (that we know of) in modern Section V history to win the boys' team-sport Triple Crown -- championships in football, basketball and baseball -- in a single school year.

It's the second time Aquinas has achieved the feat, first doing it in 2011-12.

Batavia has never done it, and with a 2-1 loss will have to wait for another opportunity somewhere down the road.

The records are incomplete, but John Moriello of the New York Sportswriters Association researched the question today, and as near as he can tell, the Triple Crown has only been achieved three times in Section V, though it's possible some smaller schools archived it.

"I suspect it's happened a few times over the years in the section, but there's not a database that would allow for pinning down specifics," Moriello said. "It's more likely in the smaller classifications with schools like Notre Dame, Clyde-Savannah, Hornell and Cal-Mum."

While Batavia notched Section V titles in football and basketball this year, Aquinas could go on to win the trifecta at the state level this year.

There were no Section V football championships before 1977.

Pittsford Mendon was the first Section V school to secure the Triple Crown with titles in 1982-83.

This year, 31 teams in the state had a chance at the Triple Crown when baseball season started, according to Moriello, and only Aquinas got that third critical win.

Batavia won its first baseball title in 1953, but hasn't taken a Section V crown since 1998 (it also had titles in 1980, 81 and 94).

The football program had great teams prior to 1977, but didn't get a Section V title until 1991 and then waited until the Brennan Briggs era to win again, getting titles in 2014 and this year.

Batavia became a powerhouse in basketball under Buddy Brasky, winning its first Section V title in 1998, and then in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2016.

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To purchase prints, click here (the slideshow includes BHS softball).

May 27, 2016 - 11:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in softball, sports, Batavia HS.

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Batavia High School's softball team lost 14-4 today to Geneseo in a Class A2 title game played at Brockport HS.

These pictures are from the final inning and a half.

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May 27, 2016 - 10:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia, news.

A pedestrian is conscious and alert after reportedly being struck by a car in the area of 317 E. Main St., Batavia.

The car has left the scene.

It's a maroon, newer sedan driving by a female, heading east on Main Street.

City fire and Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 10:27 p.m.: The vehicle has apparently been located.

UPDATE 10:28 p.m.: The vehicle stopped was not involved. A city patrol is checking the area.

May 27, 2016 - 2:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in spray park, batavia, news, weather.

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It's looking like Memorial Day Weekend is going to be a great weekend to make use of the spray park in Austin Park, as Darien Rhodes did this afternoon with Faith Rhodes.

Temperatures will reach as high as 92 degrees over the weekend with ample humidity.

May 27, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, batavia, business.

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Mark Williams, with the Tompkins Bank of Castile, holds one of the baskets available in a charity raffle at the Batavia branch on East Main Street.

Funds from the raffle of the two baskets of wine and other gifts will benefit Relay for Life in Wyoming County.  

Raffle tickets are available through the drive-up or when you walk into the branch.

May 27, 2016 - 12:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in softball, sports, Notre Dame.

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With a 7-6 win over Lyndonville in the Section V Class D2 championship softball game yesterday, the Fighting Irish became Notre Dame's 80th girls team across all sports to win a sectional title.

Notre Dame took a 6-1 lead into the sixth, but Lyndonville put together a rally to tie the game. The Irish won on a walk to Jessica Bukowski with the bases loaded, bringing Callie McCulley in to score.

Photo submitted by Kathy Antinore.

May 27, 2016 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in roundabout, accident, batavia.

Debris from an accident in the Oak Street Roundabout is causing some havoc, with popped tires and slowed traffic.

Earlier, Batavia PD had responded to a fender-bender in the roundabout and after this current incident was reported, he confirmed there was very little debris from that accident and it was cleaned up, so this debris is apparently from a later, unreported accident.

A Sheriff's patrol came through and reported a good deal of debris in the roundabout and "people are popping their tires."

There's a disabled semi-truck and two passenger vehicles have pulled into a nearby parking lot, coincidentally, perhaps, a tire shop.

May 27, 2016 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in ptsd clinic, veterans, Batavia VA, news.

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Frank Grillo submitted these photos and story about the dog run being installed at the PTSD clinic at the Batavia VA.

I know how important the small things are.

I know when your scraping and clawing and fighting to regain your life that every advantage can mean the difference between life and death. 

When I came home I never slept. I watched out the windows, I patrolled my home. I gained over 100 pounds and began to fail at school and life. What brought me back? My dog.

Reba watched out the windows. Reba listened for sounds so I didn't have to. Her hearing was better; she constantly stared out the window and when I said "Reba, Whats That?" she would barrel from window to window on high alert. 

When I arrived at the PTSD clinic I was immediately greeted like a criminal. Breathalyzers and urinalysis as well as a search of my belongings. The windows would only open four inches because someone from Texas jumped out of his window and because it was early spring the heaters were still on bringing my room to a not so comfy 90+ degrees.

The program was being run by a woman who did not know how to balance what was best for the vet against the regulations.

This was a colossal mess but I did three tours in Iraq and I could handle all the above.

I lasted less than one day.

Why?

I didn't have my dog.

Fast forward three years. I've given up on almost all of my volunteering. Too many fake programs cashing in on veterans. 

I did keep on, however, keep up with the VA Veterans Advisors Council for two reasons:

  • because my friend Patrick brought me in;
  • and because I believe in the Director Brian Stiller, who is himself a Navy veteran. 

For almost a year we brought the fight to allow service dogs into the PTSD program and thanks to a language loophole and Brian's willingness to do the right thing, to act on principal FOR the veteran in spite of the ridiculous bureaucracy, and we prevailed. 

A veteran who found it too tough to stay in the program without his service dog eventually returned to Batavia to complete the program, and to his credit he pioneered the possibility of service dogs at the residential treatment program. 

Next we asked, "What can we do to make this permanent?" and Director Stiller responded, "We need a place to let the run off vest."

Immediately I reached out to my brothers at the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 19-6 in Batavia.

We raised the funding and created the fenced-in pen you see in this picture. Yesterday, we returned to build a shelter where the combat veteran can sit in case he or she cannot stand. A place the veteran can relax out of the elements while his or her most loyal companion can run and play and unwind.

These dogs are easing the burden and saving the lives of veterans every day just as my Reba did for me. It is my privlidge and our chapter's honor to make that kind of advantage a possibility for our fellow combat veterans.

God bless America.

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May 27, 2016 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, methamphetamine.

An Oakfield woman, whose husband was a leader in the Hells Angels motorcycle club, and who was convicted for her part in a meth distribution operation, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to three years probation and 12 months of home detention.

Donna Boon McAuley, 50, was among seven defendants in the case, which was also tied into a racketeering investigation stemming from a baseball attack on a patron of a bar in Rochester. 

The investigation revealed Boon, in conjunction with her husband, James Henry McAuley Jr., helped distribute methamphetamine obtained from a Hells Angel member in California from 2002 through July 9, 2010. Boon admitted to obtaining and distributing at least 30 grams of meth. Some of it was sold to a dealer in Genesee County who sold it to Genesee County residents.

James McAuley was convicted for his part in the ring and is scheduled to be sentenced July 12.

This case is part of a larger investigation that resulted in the indictment and arrest of members and associates of the Rochester and Monterey, Ca., Hell's Angels for drug trafficking and racketeering-related offenses in February 2012. Seven defendants were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. In addition to Boon and McAuley, Richard W. Mar, Jeffrey A. Tyler, Richard E. Riedman, Gordon Montgomery and Paul Griffin, have been convicted for their roles in the methamphetamine conspiracy.

Taking part in the investigation and prosecution of the case were the FBI, Sheriff's Office, DEA, State Police, Batavia PD and Le Roy PD.

May 26, 2016 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in softball, oakfield-alabama, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

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In the Class C2 softball final played at GCC, Oakfield-Alabama lost 9-1 yesterday to Caledonia-Mumford.

The No.1 seed Red Raiders were led by tournament MVP Emily MacDonald, who pitched a four-hitter and K'd 10 Hornets.

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May 26, 2016 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, softball, sports.

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Le Roy beat Wellsville yesterday, 3-1, to become the Section V Class B2 champion in softball.

Ally Uberty gave up just three hits and fanned 16 and was named tournament MVP.

Erin Cappotelli and Taylor Sherman each had two hits and an RBI for the Oatkan Knights.

Le Roy hadn't won a softball title since 1988.

Photos submitted by Tim McArdle.

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May 25, 2016 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in frostridge, Le Roy, news, business.

After the alleged name calling, a key issue in the latest legal filing from the attorney representing the Cleere and Collins families against Frost Ridge is the alleged violation of the state's open meeting law by Le Roy's Zoning Board of Appeals.

The plaintiffs allege:

  • Neighbors within 250 feet of the Frost Ridge property were not mailed notice of the Dec. 17 public hearing held by the ZBA on the interpretation of the zoning law and prior, non-conforming use at Frost Ridge;
  • That the ZBA did not deliberate its decision in public;
  • That no noticed public meetings were held between Dec. 17 and Feb. 17; 
  • That a decision was reached without the public present sometime between Dec. 17 and Feb. 17.

These complaints are mirrored by the filing for the Feb. 17 meeting where the ZBA announced its decision; the meeting wasn't even four minutes long.

James Wujcik represents the ZBA in these proceedings and he filed a memorandum of law in opposition to the plaintiffs' complaint.

He also submitted an affidavit by Debbi Jackett, chairwoman at the time of the ZBA, which has since been disbanded by the Town of Le Roy.

She states the hearing of Dec. 17, at the order of Judge Mark Grisanti, was held after a legal notice was published. She does not address the complaint, nor does Wujcik in his memorandum, whether notice was sent to neighbors by postal mail.  

A source familiar with the case told The Batavian today that notice was mailed.

Jackett argues that proper notice was clearly given because all of the interested parties were at the hearing.

"It is common sense that one's attendance at the public hearing acknowledges notice of that very hearing," Jackett wrote. "Any insinuation that plaintiffs could not be in attendance is another attempt to delay the ZBA from acting pursuant to the order of Judge Grisanti."

Jackett also accused the Town of Le Roy of trying to obstruct the ZBA from holding the hearing. She said the code enforcement officer was informed in October that the ZBA would no longer be able to conduct meetings at the Town Hall.

As for the hearing itself, Jackett said the ZBA board took a short break and then resumed its meeting in the regular board meeting room "regarding the merits of the case."

This was apparently considered a continuation of the prior noticed meeting, though it's not clear if any members of the public were invited into that meeting.

Mindy Zoghlin, attorney for the plaintiffs, clearly did not know about this meeting continuance based on the statements in her filing.

The Batavian's reporter at the meeting that night was Ray Coniglio and he said today that he wasn't informed that the meeting would be continuing in another room. He left the Town Hall and wrote a story published the next day that said the meeting concluded without any discussion by the ZBA and that no vote was taken that night. Nobody from the ZBA ever contacted The Batavian following this news report to inform us that this information was incorrect and ask for a correction.

Jackett further argues that the Town's ongoing obstruction of the ZBA, such as not filling vacant positions, contributed to any confusion about compliance with the open meeting law.

"Even if a skeptic held merit with any claim against the ZBA for violations of the Open Meetings Law, the behavior can be traced directly to the Town's illegal, obstructionist behavior with the ZBA," Jackett wrote. 

In his memo, Wujcik argues that it is certainly within the ZBA's right to continue its meeting upon closing the public hearing, but he doesn't address the fact that the meeting was moved to another room without notification of the public in attendance.

"The ZBA correctly deliberated during its Dec. 17 meeting," Wujcik states, adding, "It should be duly noted the ZBA rendered its decision at an open public meeting on Feb. 17."

He also accused the Town of deliberating trying to disrupt ZBA proceedings and called on the court to find the Town of Le Roy in contempt of court, pursuit to the order of Grisanti.

It's unclear what will happen if Acting Superior Court Judge Emilio Colaiacovo rules in favor of the plaintiffs on the open meetings law issue. The ZBA that has been at the center of this issue for the past several years not longer exists. It was a ZBA comprised of representatives from the town and the village, and now the town and the village each have their own ZBA.

One last note about the open meeting law: The law also requires public bodies to notify all local media of its public meetings, and with the exception of the City, County and GCEDC, this practice is largely ignored by every other local public agency and government.

May 25, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kyle Johnson, selden road, Le Roy, crime, news.

Statements attributed to Kyle Johnson after he was taken into custody the morning of Dec. 1, after he allegedly shot and killed a neighbor and set his own home ablaze, will be admissible in court, Acting Judge Michael F. Pietruszka ruled today.

The defense challenged whether the prosecution could use the statements at a possible trial and Pietruszka issued his ruling immediately after a hearing that featured testimony by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Hale completed a report Dec. 1 in which he says Johnson made a handful of statements when he was taken into custody, in the patrol car ride to the Sheriff's Office on Park Road and as they arrived in the interview room at the office.

Hale testified that he was on routine patrol duty when he was called to a house fire at 7324 Selden Road, Le Roy. He was in uniform in a marked patrol car.  He was aware of a shooting reported minutes before at a residence a short distance from the fire location.

He said he was also informed by dispatch that the residence was owned by Kyle Johnson, that Johnson had a mental health history and was known to own firearms.

He arrived on scene just as shots rang out, apparently directed at a Le Roy fire chief and at a Le Roy police officer.

As he ran down the road to check the status of Officer Ryan Young, now a Sheriff's deputy, and as he did, he encountered local residents standing outside their home. They asked what was going on and Hale told them to get inside, lock their doors and windows and stay there until told it was safe to come outside.

As he moved toward Young's position, Hale encountered Johnson, he said.

"Mr. Johnson stated to me that he wanted to be shot," Hale said. "After he realized I was not going to shoot him, he turned around and walked back toward his house."

Over the next couple of hours, Johnson would periodically approach Hale and ask him to shoot him.

When emergency response teams arrived, this back-and-forth continued for a couple of more hours until Johnson finally surrendered.

Hale was summoned to search and cuff the suspect. When he was putting Johnson in his patrol vehicle, Johnson reportedly complained that the cuffs were too tight.

When Hale sat in the driver's seat, Johnson reportedly said, he "didn't appreciate being treated like an animal."

Hale said, "I told him I appreciate being shot at and having my friends shot at."

Johnson, Hale said, apologized.

On the ride back to the Sheriff's Office, Johnson reportedly said, "I didn't mean to hurt anybody."

Hale said he responded, "You did. It's traumatic for us as officers. You shouldn't have done that."

At the station, Hale offered Johnson a glass of water and asked if he needed anything.

Johnson's response, according to District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, was that he felt bad for burning his house down and that he shouldn't have done that and he wanted to apologize.

In cross-examination, Public Defender Jerry Ader established that Hale did not read Johnson his Miranda warnings (you have the right not to speak, right to an attorney, etc.), that Hale did this though he knew Johnson had a mental health history, and that Hale asked a couple of questions of Johnson.

Those facts were the basis for Ader's motion to bar the statements from any possible trial.

Friedman countered that Johnson was not in custody at that point for the purpose of interrogation, and any questions asked by Hale were not an interrogation, such as asking if Johnson wanted water, that the statements were made voluntarily and should be admissible.

Johnson is charged with murder and burglary in the death of Norman D. "Don" Ball. He is accused of attempted murder for allegedly shooting at Young and Le Roy Fire Chief Tim Hogle.

Ader has received a report based on a psychological exam of Johnson and is apparently planning a defense around the results of that report, and while the report has been given to Friedman, a copy was not given to the court. Ader said he wasn't aware of any requirement that he provide the court with a copy. Pietruszka was clearly miffed that he didn't have a copy of the report, especially since there will need to be a hearing on the topic after the DA's Office completes its own exam and gets its own report.

That hearing will be at 1:30 p.m., July 21.

May 25, 2016 - 2:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Vibrant Batavia, batavia, business, news.

A proposal by City Councilman Adam Tabelski to spend $92,000 in funds set aside for community development on community development failed to win much support from the rest of the City Council at its Monday conference meeting.

Tabelski proposed taking the money originally intended for Vibrant Batavia, which the council scuttled two weeks ago, on a recent joint city, county, school district and Genesee County Economic Development Center initiative called Pathway to Prosperity. 

BP2, as it's known, will take a portion of fees paid in PILOT programs (payment in lieu of taxes) by property owners with economic development projects and use it to help mitigate environment issues at brownfield properties in the city. The chicken-and-egg problem is BP2 has no money until the first new PILOT is approved, and the city's brownfield area properties need to clean up as projects come on line. 

Tabelski thought $92,000 might best be used to jump start some brownfield redevelopment.

Council members had other thoughts about what to do with the money, from building a spray park on the Southside, to payment toward the new police station, to just letting it sit in the general fund.

"We need to start thinking of the kids on the south side of the city," said Councilwoman Rosemary Christian. "We need something for the child. We're always thinking of things other than the children in our community. They're our future leaders who will up her someday making these decisions."

Tabelski countered that today's children will need tomorrow's jobs.

Some council members said they thought Tabelski's timing is off, that it was only a meeting ago that Vibrant Batavia was killed off and perhaps there should be more time taken before deciding what to do with the money.

"As for timing, the reason to bring this up now is that as time goes by, the default action is that nothing happens," Tabelski said. "I'm trying to address this in a timely manner."

Molino said a spray park on the Southside would likely cost more than $92,000, with planning, engineering, possible land acquisition and the purchase of equipment. Briggs and Christian promised to push for a spray park in the 2017 budget.

May 25, 2016 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deer, animals, batavia, news.

The City Council agreed by consent Monday night to move forward with a recommendation to create a task force to study what to do to with the local deer population.

There are no specific recommendations now, but council members agreed it's an issue the city needs to take a closer look at.

"I took a walk out there last fall and there is a swath of damage as wide as a street through the woods and meandering through people's property taking care of all their landscaping," said Council President Eugene Jankowski. "There's a path of dead vegetation all the way out to the edge of the city."

City Manager Jason Molino is expected to present a plan for creating a task force and providing it with directions on the scope and timing of its work.

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