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February 10, 2017 - 10:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bergen, news.

Bergen's ladder truck has been dispatched on an emergency call, asked to expedite, to the Town of Riga, where a man is stuck in a lift 40-foot in the air.

The emergency response is requested because the lift is leaking hydraulic fluid and workers are afraid it's going to come down.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: Our news partner 13WHAM sent a reporter to the scene and they tell us that man trapped in the lift is on the ground, safe and uninjured. He was 60 feet in the air, he said. He said there was a hydraulic fluid leak and the lift wouldn't budge. His partner on the ground called for help. He was in the air for about 45 minutes. He said he wasn't afraid of the height, but it was cold up there. He is a tree trimmer from Monroe County.

February 10, 2017 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, basketball, batavia, Batavia HS.

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The Lady Blue Devils' record fell to 4-15 on Thursday night with a 42-53 loss to Wellsville. Batavia closes the season at home Tuesday, game time 7:15 p.m., against Odyssey.

No stats available for the game.

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February 10, 2017 - 8:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in scoreboard, sports, Oakfield, pembroke, basketball.

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Girls Basketball

  • Oakfield 40, Pembroke 30 FINAL
  • Alexander 44, Attica 35 FINAL
  • Byron-Bergen 59, Holley 25 FINAL
  • Elba 46, Lyndonville 35 FINAL
  • Wellsville 54, Batavia 43 FINAL
February 10, 2017 - 8:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
February 9, 2017 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
February 9, 2017 - 3:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, robbins nest, Presidential Acres, news.

A building permit for a duplex near Presidential Acres in Le Roy was legally issued, a judge has ruled in a multi-party lawsuit over the development in the subdivision.

The ruling is a victory of Pete McQuillen, a Le Roy businessman, who has been embroiled in legal battles with property owners in the area for years.

The latest round of legal action began in 2014 when 11 property owners in Presidential Acres filed an Article 78 proceeding against the Village of Le Roy, various officials in the village, and McQuillen and his business.

At the time, McQuillen had already completed two duplexes on 10 lots he owned on the west end of Presidential Acres, near Robbins Road. There had been no challenge to the building permits for those structures.

When a code enforcement officer issued a permit for Lot 18, that's when neighbors got together and tried to stop further development of duplexes in the neighborhood.

David Boyce, one of the plaintiffs, said in an affidavit that when he bought his lot on Filmore Drive, nothing in the record nor in the documents he researched, indicated that the neighborhood was zoned for anything other than single-family residences. He believes, he said, the presence of the duplexes lowers the value of his property. 

The plaintiffs also alleged that the duplexes run contrary to the comprehensive plan for the village.

In his affidavit, McQuillen said he relied on village board meeting minutes from when the subdivision was created to conclude that the subdivision was planned from the beginning to include 10 duplexes.

Judge Emilio Colaiacovo, who inherited the case from Judge Robert C. Noonan upon his retirement, ruled that based on the fact that the first two duplexes went unchallenged, that the code enforcement officer was acting within his authority to issue the permit, and nothing in the record indicated that the zoning board of appeals, upon reviewing the permit, acted in an "arbitrary and capricious manner" so he was compelled to rule in favor of McQuillen. 

Case law is clear, he said, that in the absence of evidence of an arbitrary or capricious decision, courts should respect the decisions of local bodies, such as the ZBA.

Before the duplex issue, McQuillen was involved in another legal battle over a planned senior community on property he owns next to Presidential Acres called Robbins Nest. He eventually lost that case, then subsequently built a storage shed on the back property line of Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau. A dispute over that structure resulted in a bit of shoving and the arrest of Barbeau. The storage shed was a subject of this lawsuit, alleged to be an illegal auxiliary structure, but Colaiacovo ruled that issue became moot once McQuillen built his single-family home on the lot once intended to be Robbins Nest.

We emailed Amy Kendell, an attorney for the plaintiffs, to ask if there was going to be an appeal of the ruling and we have not received a response.

UPDATE: We received an email response from Amy Kendell. She said there will be an appeal of the decision.

February 9, 2017 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, news, Alabama.

A 17-year-old resident of Le Roy has been accused of sexual intercourse with a person less than 11 years old and charged with rape in the first degree.

Leonard Edward Hahn, of South Street, was arrested by the Sheriff's Office and jailed on $25,000 cash bail or $25,000 bond. 

The alleged crime reportedly occurred on April 15, 2016 at a location in Alabama.

February 9, 2017 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, state of the county, news.

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In his State of the County address on Wednesday evening, County Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini said the City of Batavia has been "put on notice" about the county's desire to reduce how much sales tax revenue it shares with the city.

Reached later that evening, City Manager Jason Molino said, "I don't know where those comments are coming from because the City and the towns and villages have been very engaged in an open, constant and engaged discussion about these issues."

There is a working group of legislators, council members, along with two town supervisors and members of both county and city staff, who have been working diligently for months on a new sales tax agreement and water services agreement, Molino said. Cianfrini is a member of that oversight committee. 

Molino shared with The Batavian a 42-page PowerPoint presentation titled "20 Identities ... One Genesee County Community" that goes into comprehensive detail about the process, timeline, history of the issues involved, and milestones that need to be reached to hammer out a new agreement covering how sales tax will be allocated and water issues handled.

Molino said he thought the whole process over the past several months has been cooperative and productive but repeated several times over the course of the conversation, "I just don't know where he's coming from."

The committee had seemed to be on the same page, he said, about reaching a mutually beneficial agreement, taking into account the shared needs -- which includes a possible new jail and infrastructure repairs for roads and bridges -- facing all of the municipal entities in the county.

"We made it very clear in the beginning that bridges and roads and a new county jail is more than just a county responsibility," Molino said. "It's all of our responsibility. There is an ownership responsibility that we all agree we must find a solution together. It's been a very cooperative process with the staff and oversight committee."

Currently, the county sales tax rate is 4 percent. That revenue is shared with the city and other municipalities in the county. The city gets 16 percent of that 50 percent and the other 34 percent is split among the other entities. The 10-year agreement expires in a year.

In his speech, Cianfrini said the county is facing some difficult financial issues in the future and suggested the county needs to keep more of the sales tax revenue for itself. He noted that Genesee County's share is more generous than Orleans, Livingston or Wyoming counties. He mentioned specifically the need to fund a potential new jail, a cost of $34 million to $42 million, and the backlog in repairs to roads and bridges, at a cost of $17 million. 

"Negotiations for a new agreement began eight months ago, in July of last year, and the pace has been excruciatingly slow," Cianfrini said. "I can certainly understand the City’s desire not to have changes made to the agreement, but the needs of the county today and for the future are much different than they were when the last agreement was signed 10 years ago."

Cianfrini said changes need to be made that benefit the county.

"The county has put the city on notice that if a new agreement is not in place by February of next year, the county will consider the current sales tax sharing agreement to be terminated," Cianfrini said. "We await the results of the negotiations, but again, I want to be clear, time is of the essence and changes need to be made."

Among the milestones the oversight committee has agreed to, Molino said, is a review in May that will determine if any changes in the process need to be made. The May deadline was selected because if there is a new agreement, the state's comptroller needs six-months notice to implement changes.

The committee is also working on water supply issues for the county and the city, assessing the needs and challenges that may be faced in the future. 

The document outlining the scope of work for the committee recognizes that are different goals and needs for the various entities involved, and each faces significant constraints, such as reduced staffing, the need not to increase property taxes and growing expenses. It also lays as a ground rule for the committee's work that everybody is going to have to give up something -- the people involved must focus on the big picture. 

The oversight committee includes Cianfrini, legislators Bob Bausch and Marianne Clattenburg, council members Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Kathy Briggs, and representing the towns and villages are Darien Supervisor David Hagelberger and Bergen Supervisor Don Cunningham.

The working group, which meets regularly and reports back to the oversight committee, includes Molino, County Manager Jay Gsell, Assistant County Manager Matt Landers, Assistant City Manager Gretchen DiFante, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens and City Director of Public Works Matt Worth.

If the process yields an agreement, the timeline for approval includes presentation to elected officials in each entity in June and approval by July.

"This was an approach that everyone bought into," Molino said. "Everyone is committed to a mutually beneficial agreement that benefits the towns and villages, the city and the county. Everyone bought into this and everyone was supportive of this process."

Click here for a PDF of the oversight committee document.

February 9, 2017 - 9:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, news, state of the county.

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Full text of Legislator Ray Cianfrini's State of the County speech, delivered yesterday evening in the Old Courthouse in Batavia:

I would like to begin my program as I have in the past by recognizing individuals who are serving in new leadership positions in our county government.

We first want to welcome Bill Sheron as our new county sheriff. Bill is not a new face but a veteran who has served as undersheriff for many years and has over 38 years in the department and he brings experience, dedication, and stability to the office. We wish you and your new undersheriff, Greg Walker, nothing but success and we’ll continue to pray for the safety of all your deputies. A new face in an important position in our county government is Kevin Earl, our new county attorney. Kevin comes prepared with many years of experience in municipal law and he has hit the ground running knowing that he comes into office at a crucial time with the new sales tax and water agreements to be resolved. Welcome on board Kevin.

The last new county positions to be filled are those of county court and surrogate’s court judge and we were proud to see our former colleague and former county attorney, Chuck Zambito, elected to that office in November. It is reassuring to have someone so eminently qualified as Chuck to serve as our county court judge and know that the county is in good hands with him on the bench.

Last year in my state of the county address I  indicated that 2016 would be a year of challenges and I was right. In looking back on 2016, I  reflect on the disappointments and successes we faced. It was truly a year of highs and lows.

I originally intended to bemoan our failure to complete the sale of our nursing home by the end of the year as a major disappointment and in some respects, it was. However, as we are now all aware, at 7:56 am on Thursday, February 2, the sale was completed; the balance of the purchase price was deposited into our account and the county is no longer in the nursing home business. Let us all rejoice!

The long wait is over and all our hard work has paid off. However, with that door closed, another now opens and we must now go forward to ensure that we allocate these net proceeds in an effective and cost-efficient manner.

As you know, Genesee County suffered through a severe drought last summer that tested the resiliency of our local farmers. Many took a major financial hit in combating the drought, but with determination and hard work, and a little help from the weather, it looks like the worst is over.

Also, because of state mandates and an ever shrinking tax cap from the state, it was disappointing that we, as a county legislature, found it necessary to override the tax cap and pass a budget that included a tax rate increase for 2017. No one likes to raise taxes, especially me.

Our county manager presented us with a budget that kept us under the tax cap and included a tax rate decrease, but a majority of my colleagues felt strongly that we were continuing a policy of deficit spending and a need to raise rates to meet our future demands. We can only hope that in 2017 we return to a healthy fund balance from the use of our nursing home proceeds, that we find increased sales tax revenues and that we have decreased spending by having eliminated the nursing home as a fiscal “dark hole” and hopefully we can avoid having to raise taxes again.

It was a major disappointment last year when we saw no relief from the dreaded state mandates that eat up over 75 percent of our county tax levy.

How disappointing was it when both houses of the state Legislature approved a state takeover of indigent legal defense only to have the governor veto the legislation when it came to him for his approval? How disappointing and frustrating wait when the state approved pay raises for district attorneys in our state only to discover that we, the counties, must pay the raises? And how disappointing was it that our state-imposed tax cap originally set at 2 percent was reduced to only .68 percent this year?

Quite frankly, upstate counties, including our own, are getting sick and tired of being the governor’s “piggy bank” that he can tap into whenever he wants to fund or promote a part of his downstate New York City-centric agenda.

Governor, enough is enough! But for all these disappointments, we had great progress and successes on the county level last year.

Our unemployment rate continues to remain the lowest in the GLOW region; the City of Batavia, in collaboration with the GCEDC and the county, has begun its “pathway to prosperity” with hopes for a revitalized downtown and new economic growth; we opened our new $5 million airport terminal that enhances the airport’s ability to be a major revenue source; construction has begun on the River Street bridge much to the delight of Legislator Dejaneiro; construction started last year on our new state of the art Chamber of Commerce headquarters that had its grand opening just last month: construction also began on the new success center and the wellness and event center at Genesee Community College, both scheduled for completion this summer; and in a move to attack the devastating opioid and heroin addiction crisis affecting not only families in Genesee County but across the state, our own Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, better known as GCASA, has received an $820,000 state grant for an opioid treatment program that can handle 150 treatment slots.

And finally, in the public safety sector, a new cell tower in Le Roy has been approved and funding became available to enhance the performance our public safety radio communication system. With 2016 behind us, what do we have to look forward to in 2017?

1. Because the nursing home sale is now complete, we face a new challenge as to how to best allocate the proceeds to best meet our current and future county needs.

2. Genesee County is responsible for the repair and maintenance of over 250 miles of roads and we own and maintain 379 bridges with over a five-foot span. It is no secret that this infrastructure is failing. We desperately need to fix our country's roads and bridges and the nursing home proceeds and hopefully sales tax revenues will go a long way in accomplishing that goal. I note that our current president and our governor are both advocating for major infrastructure improvements and we can only hope that federal and state funds will find their way to Genesee County to help us rebuild our roads and bridges.

3. I’ve referred to it as the “elephant in the room,"  but I think it's time to begin discussions with Orleans County, as informal as they may be, about the feasibility of a new regional jail. The governor talks about sharing county assets and services and I think we should take him seriously on this matter and “go outside the box” about looking to share the cost of such a large undertaking with our adjoining county. I have had a brief conversation with my counterpart in Orleans County and I can say with certainty that they share our concerns regarding a new jail and they too are interested in beginning the conversation.

4. Let’s get serious about shedding some county owned real estate that continues to be a drain on our finances. Specifically, I’m referring to the former engine house property and the Holland Land Office building. The engine house property is little used and its loss would be insignificant to the county. This is low-hanging fruit. Let’s sell it! I understand that the Holland Land Office is more controversial and there has been a recent campaign of misinformation coming from their board making the public think the county wants to close the Holland Land Office Museum. Let me be clear about one thing: Neither I nor any other member of the Legislature has advocated closing the museum. But I find it difficult to accept paying over $60,000 a year to own and maintain the building when it could be better served by being owned by the Holland Land Purchase Society or some other nonprofit entity. As a historical building, I recognize that it has a place in our local culture and continues to be a major tourist attraction. However, other towns and village share their own historical buildings and museums that we don’t subsidize or support and it is increasingly more difficult to justify having the county own, insure and maintain the building. We should transfer ownership to the Holland Land Purchase Society for a nominal fee and leave it to them to make it successful. The society has to learn to stand on its own or we need to pass ownership to someone who has both the means and desire to house the museum.

5. It now appears rifle hunting for big game will become permanent in Genesee County this year. Our legislature has passed the necessary resolution seeking permanent status and the next move is for the state legislature to give final approval. Our state senator and state assemblyman will be working diligently to make this happen. Now if only we could repeal the SAFE Act!

6. STAMP is moving forward. We haven’t seen ground breaking for 1366 Technologies yet, but GCEDC has approved the engineering work necessary to have the infrastructure work begin on the water lines to Alabama and the STAMP site and bids will be solicited soon with groundbreaking expected in early spring. Let’s continue to be optimistic that STAMP will become reality.

7. It’s hard to believe that in today’s fast-moving technological world there are still areas of Genesee County that are without high-speed Internet services. In the words of Governor Cuomo, “…Internet connectivity is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity as vital a resource as running water and electricity.” The state is currently investing $500 million into a new broadband program that provides funding for high-speed Internet access to unserved and underserved areas across the state. Also, it was recently announced that more than $170 million in federal funds for rural broadband services will be coming to upstate rural communities in New York. Because it is both essential and critical to the furure of our local economy, our children’s education and the safety of our citizens, it is imperative that we in Genesee County, together with private enterprise, take all necessary steps to go after these broadband funds to ensure high-speed Internet access to every household, business and farm currently unserved or underserved so that they may be able to participate in the global community.

8. A huge issue confronting the county this year is the current sales tax agreement with the City of Batavia, which expires a year from now in February 2018. Under the current agreement, sales tax revenues are shared 50 percent to the county, 16 percent to the City and the remaining 34 percent is divided among the towns and villages proportionate to their assessed valuations. Let’s keep in mind that Genesee County is one of the most generous counties when it comes to sharing its sales tax revenue. For example, in the GLOW region, Orleans County retains 77 percent of 3 percent with a cap of $1.367 million and the other 1 percent is retained by the county; Livingston County keeps 93 percent of 3 percent and retains their 1 percent for Medicaid expenses and Wyoming County keeps 100 percent of their 4 percent local sales tax. Negotiations for a new agreement began eight months ago, in July of last year, and the pace has been excruciatingly slow. I can certainly understand the City’s desire not to have changes made to the agreement, but the needs of the county today and for the future are much different than they were when the last agreement was signed 10 years ago. While not directly tied into the sales tax agreement, our current and future water demands and our ability to pay for water and complete Phase 2 of our countywide water project are major components of our future sales tax needs. Throw in the need for a new county jail projected to cost between $34 and $42 million and infrastructure repairs to our roads and bridges projected to cost over $17 million and it becomes evident that an increased source of revenue is needed, without raising property taxes, and it is imperative that the county make the best deal possible with the new sales tax agreement. In other words, changes must be made to benefit the county. The county has submitted a plan to the city and towns that keeps their sales tax revenues capped at the current level together with a phased-in reduction or elimination of water plant rent and payments for lost water currently paid to the city. The county has put the city on notice that if a new agreement is not in place by February of next year, the county will consider the current sales tax sharing agreement to be terminated. We await the results of the negotiations, but again, I want to be clear, time is of the essence and changes need to be made!

And in closing, I feel it necessary to respond to the governor’s recent proposal (which is really nothing more than another state mandate) that requires counties to prepare a plan for shared or consolidated services among the units of local government contained within the counties, excluding school districts, resulting in a countywide referendum for approval.

This proposal is not only an affront to all the counties, like Genesee County, that have worked diligently over the years to find shared efficiencies and limit spending. But it is also a blatant attack on our sacred principle of home rule! As NYCOM recently stated regarding this misdirected and unworkable proposal “the last thing New York needs is another mandate from Albany; particularly one that would circumvent local democracy via a county-determined, all-or-nothing referendum. New York’s strength is our representative form of democracy, not government by plebiscite.” Somehow the governor has this warped view that local governments do not or will not work together to share or consolidate services. Maybe he should get out of Albany and come to Genesee County to see what we’ve done with our health department, youth bureau, highway department and police communication systems.

If it is his goal to shrink the size of government, why not start with his own bloated state bureaucracy? And don’t tell us you’ve “done all you can to reduce property taxes in the state” and then throw the counties under the bus. You saddle us with an unrealistic and ever shrinking tax cap; you handcuff us with unfunded mandates; you limit our ability to choose how to administer them; you force us to either make drastic cuts in services or raise our local property taxes; and you hinder our ability to achieve maximum economic growth and then you have the audacity to proclaim you’ve “done all you can to lower property taxes.” How many times do we have to tell you we need mandate relief and why do our pleas continue to fall on deaf ears?

Genesee County has survived, is surviving and will continue to survive while we wrestle with these burdensome unfunded state mandates, but just think, if only for a minute, what we could accomplish without them. Thank you.

February 8, 2017 - 2:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, art, batavia, news.

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One time when Shirley Taylor was pinstriping a man told her, "I've never seen anybody pinstriping like you before."

She knew the man wasn't being negative, but she still wasn't sure how to take the remark.

When the publisher of a UK-based hot rod magazine, "Pinstriping and Kustom Graphics," contacted her on Facebook and said she really liked her work, Taylor thought maybe she had found her own style that people like.

This month, Taylor is featured in that magazine, a bit of recognition only six years after she took up the art form.

"I always loved art, ever since I was a little kid," the Batavia resident said. "I’ve always loved painting and drawing, but I never knew about pinstriping until six years ago and I was first introduced to it. I never knew it existed."

Pinstriping is the art of creating designs using thin, precise lines, usually as decoration on objects. The art form is tied closely to hot rods and motorcycles, but pinstripers will also paint on sheets of metal and just about any object that might be of interest. Taylor's mailbox, for example, is pinstriped, and her collection of work includes Christmas tree ornaments.

She got started while attending an annual hot-rodding event hosted by her brother and a pinstriper there offered her a lesson. She's been hooked ever since, she said. After she learned the basics, she started to develop her own style.

When she attends the Syracuse Nationals this year, it will be her fourth year participating, painting panels along with pinstripers from all over the world. She said all of the items painted are auctioned off with the proceeds being donated to the Ronald McDonald House. Over the three days, she said, on average, they raise $75,000.

Last year was her first trip to a panel jam (a group of pinstripe artists gathering to paint) in Cleveland and she's been invited to an event in Chicago this year.

"It's a good community of people who come from all over the world for panel jams," she said.

Taylor's work can be found on her Facebook page.

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February 8, 2017 - 1:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in art, history, news.

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I've been in the county's history department a few times but never noticed this sculpture before.

It's by Giovanni-Battista Lombardi, an Italian sculptor who lived from 1823 to 1880.

The bust was originally the property of the Dean Richmond family, and the last family to live in the Richmond Mansion, Watts Richmond, sold it to C.C. Bradley Sr., who donated it the history department in 1978.

It's striking because the veil looks so natural from a slight distance, but step closer and you see it's also marble.

The technique was popularized by sculptor Rafaelle Monti (1818-1881).

Based on a Google search, Lombardi seems to have made several copies of this bust. This one is dated 1866. The Metropolitan Museum of Art lists one in its collection from 1869. Earlier versions seem to exist as well.

February 8, 2017 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in history, news.

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The Genesee County History Department has received an interesting donation. It is a surveyor's transit that once belonged to Joseph W. Holmes.

Holmes was born in 1831 in Alabama and would eventually become the village engineer for Batavia. He became a preeminent engineer in Western New York, according to Michael Eula, director of the History Department. He was also an inventor, manufacturer and served one term representing Genesee County in the NYS Assembly.

He died in 1919.

The transit probably passed to his son, Glenn D. Holmes, also born in Alabama, in 1873, and a graduate of Batavia High School and Cornell University. He eventually became city engineer for Syracuse.

A resident of Hamilton discovered the transit along with some books that belonged to Glenn D. Holmes in his residence and made the donation to Genesee County. The transit is inscribed with the name of Joseph Holmes and "Batavia, NY."

It bears a striking resemblance to a transit Holmes used in a patent filing in 1883 for modifications and improvements to a transit for the purpose of better acquiring an accurate solar time. In an article on the evolution of the transit, Holmes is cited as one of several inventors who made modifications to the device during that era.

“This instrument is a wonderful example of the place that engineers held both in Western New York and indeed in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries," Eula said. "Engineers were really at the forefront of economic modernization that was taking place around the country."

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In the collection of material donated was a sales receipt from Joseph W. Holmes.

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February 8, 2017 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, schools, education, news.

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The rollout of technology in the classroom is going faster than expected at Batavia City Schools, Director of Technology Jeffrey McKinney told the school board during its meeting on Tuesday evening at the Richmond Memorial Library.

There are now more than 2,100 Chromebooks distributed among students at the school, and with the delivery of Chromebooks to Jackson School, the rollout is six months ahead of schedule.

McKinney was joined during the presentation by teachers who are "tech mentors" for other teachers and staff members. They shared the various ways that Chromebooks and related software are being used to help drive learning and lesson plans.

High school Science teacher Bert Hall said he thinks the program is going really well and it's great to see.

“I would be remiss to say if I didn’t mention how proud I am to work for a community and a school district that cares so openly and so deeply about their students," Hall said.

Teacher John Mangefrida talked about how students are better able to organize their work on the Chromebooks.

"Where there was disorder, now there is order," he said.

Asked by a board member if parents can access their children's lesson plans and homework online, Mangefrida said they could. All it takes is for them to request access and they will be sent an email with instructions and a link.

The board member asked if that happens much, Mangefrida said it doesn't.

"The kids don't share that information," he said.

Jessica Korzelius and Cynthia Morgan shared their process for taking students through a lesson plan for a day, using Hyperdocs, which ends with a survey-like assessment that will help students gauge their own progress and give teachers feedback on how the lesson is working for the students.

“One of the best things about Hyperdocs is knowing that one of the hardest parts of our jobs is differentiating and making sure we reach all of our students and this really allows those who struggle to have extra support and those who can fly a little bit higher can do some more on their own," Korzelius said.

The district as also made tremendous progress on upgrading infrastructure and rolling out broadband, McKinney said.

"Everything is running at top speed," he said. "We have enough bandwidth right now for every teacher, student, parent, staff member to have eight devices on the network. ... We are flying as far as that goes."

February 8, 2017 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in scoreboard, sports.

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Boys Basketball

  • Cal-Mum 65, Le Roy 58 FINAL/OT
  • Perry 70, Pavilion 41 FINAL
  • Akron 39, Lyndonville 38 FINAL

Girls Basketball

  • Oakfield 61, Alexander 49 FINAL
  • Elba 33, Kendall 17 FINAL
  • Notre Dame 38, Wheatland-Chili 33 FINAL
  • Byron-Bergen 59, Pembroke 41 FINAL
  • Attica 65, Holley 20 FINAL
  • Batavia 50, C.G. Finney 15 FINAL

Hockey

  • Notre Dame 2, Geneseo 1 FINAL
  • Aquinas 8, Genesee Ice Devils 0 FINAL
February 8, 2017 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron-bergen, schools, education, news.

Press release:

The Byron-Bergen Central School District is one of 433 school districts in the United States and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 7th Annual AP® District Honor Roll.

To be included on the Honor Roll, Byron-Bergen had to demonstrate an increase in the number of students participating in the Advanced Placement (AP) program since 2014, as well as increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher. Reaching these goals shows that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for AP.

“We are exceptionally proud of our students for taking advantage of the Advanced Placement courses available at our high school,” said Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “They recognize the importance of preparing for life after graduation, and are working hard towards their goals every day. I’d also like to thank our entire educational community for their commitment to AP and student success.”

National data from 2016 show that among black/African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half are participating. The first step to getting more of these students to participate is to give them access. Courses must be made available, gatekeeping must stop, and doors must be equitably opened. Byron-Bergen CSD is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.

“Congratulations to all the teachers and administrators in this district who have worked so tirelessly to both expand access to AP and to help students succeed on the AP exams,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s head of AP and Instruction. “These teachers and administrators are delivering real opportunity in their schools and classrooms, and students are rising to the challenge.”

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with initiatives and strategies to see how they can expand access and improve student performance at the same time.

In 2016, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admission process.

Inclusion on the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2014 to 2016, looking across 37 AP exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used.

Districts must:

  • Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;
  • Increase or maintain the percentage of African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students taking exams; and increase or maintain the percentage of those students scoring 3+ on at least one AP exam;
  • Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2016 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2014 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students earn a 3 or higher;
  • Achieve these outcomes among an AP student population in which 30 percent or more are underrepresented minority students (black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native) and/or 30 percent or more are low-income students (students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch).
February 8, 2017 - 8:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
February 7, 2017 - 5:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Marlet HolmesA Level 3 sex offender facing a possible life sentence on his latest charges of alleged sexual conduct with a child won't get a chance to make bail, Interim Judge Micheal Pietruszka ruled in Genesee County Court this morning.

Marlek Holmes is facing the possibility of four different jury trials on Grand Jury indictments containing 30 counts of various sex offenses, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said in County Court today.

There are six Grand Jury indictments, with two being incorporated into other indictments to create the possibility of four different trials on each set of charges.

"I haven't even thought about that yet," Friedman said when County Court Judge Charles Zambito asked him which case he will go forward with first if the 42-year-old Holmes doesn't accept a plea offer.

Friedman also revealed he hasn't even decided yet on what offer he might hand over to the attorney for Holmes, Gerard Roux.

A plea offer will be put into writing in the next few days, Friedman said, but Roux is about to leave on out-of-town travel so Holmes won't be back in court until 1:30 p.m., March 1.

At that time, Holmes will either be able to accept the plea offer or the first case will be set for trial.

If Holmes goes to trial and he is convicted, the registered sex offender is facing a potential sentence of life in prison.

The counts against Holmes include two Class A felonies in the last indictment -- predatory sexual assault and predatory sexual assault against a child -- Holmes could be sent to prison for the rest of his life.

In all, Holmes is charged with 11 counts related to alleged sex crimes between 2010 and 2015, plus there are also charges still pending stemming from two prior incidents where Holmes allegedly failed to register his correct street address as a registered sex offender.

Also in court today, also represented by Roux, was Marquis Saddler. The 26-year-old Saddler is facing felony burglary and assault charges for his alleged role in a home invasion attack in October on residents on Central Avenue, Batavia. Saddler's case was also continued until March 1 with the expectation that Friedman will have a plea offer ready before then for the consideration of Saddler and his attorney.

February 7, 2017 - 5:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in scoreboard, sports.

bataviasbestscoreboard.png

Boys Basketball 

  • Byron-Bergen 67, Holley 40 FINAL
  • Pembroke 59, Oakfield 57 FINAL
  • Kendall 55, Wheatland-Chili 37 FINAL

Girls Basketball

  • Pavilion 50, Honeoye 36 FINAL
  • Lyndonville 51, Rochester Academy 50 FINAL

Shaking out Stats and Scores from Monday in HS Sports

February 7, 2017 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports.

We've not reported on the dismissal of Rick Rapone as head coach of the Le Roy boys varsity basketball, a story first reported by Batavia's Best, in part because we wanted to try and get a better idea of what happened.

We checked with sources and couldn't get even a hint of what might have happened and the school never replied to an email seeking comment or even confirmation.

Today, another news outlet threatened to boycott coverage of the Le Roy High School athletic program because reporters and editors there feel the school district hasn't been forthcoming with information and they expect the school to apologize for firing Rapone.

Though some might like us to join such a boycott, we are not going to engage in such theatrics. 

  • First, we don't know what happened, and we're never going to know. The school district or the school can't tell us and it's unrealistic to demand such disclosure from administrators;
  • Second, while I admire many coaches in our community, and Rick Rapone always treated me well, The Batavian doesn't cover sports to highlight coaches. We cover sports to highlight players. It's about the kids, not the coaches, and I believe that's how Rick Rapone would want it as well.  

So, we will continue to cover Le Roy athletics in the same manner and frequency we always have (which is to make it part of our rotation of coverage of trying to provide some coverage to all the schools with our limited resources).

NOTE: As a matter of transparency, I read the column in question at about 12:30. There's a timestamp on it now that it was last updated at about 1 p.m.,  I posted this just before 4 p.m., but, frankly, did not think at that time to check to see if the column had been altered. The threat to boycott coverage has been removed.

February 7, 2017 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.

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