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Howard B. Owens's blog

July 19, 2015 - 7:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, bergen, byron, power outage.

More than a thousand National Grid customers in Genesee County are without power.

There is a power outage the Byron-Bergen ara that extends south to Le Roy, and almost north and east to the Village of Bergen. More than 1,000 customers are without power. A reader reports a tree is down.

A smaller outage is affecting 44 customers in Alexander, near the county line, east of Route 98. There is an ETA of 7:45 p.m. for power restoration.

July 19, 2015 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime.

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Pat Mruczek looked forward to the day all good fathers dream about, when their boys enter the adult world and learn about adult life, start families, gain a new perspective on what it means to be a father, and eventually, care for them in their old age, as they cared for their sons as babies.

Pat Mruczek will never see those days with his son, Nicholas Mruczek.

Nicholas, 20, and a 2012 graduate of Alexander High School, was shot and killed Wednesday at his apartment in North Coventry Township, Pa. He died the next day.

"Sometimes it doesn't seem real," Pat said. "It seems like a bad dream. I just want it to end. I kept thinking he's going to call me at night and tell me, 'Dad, it's all right. I'm here.' ... I know he's not."

Spread out on the kitchen table were pictures of Nick, a smiling boy, a boy dressed as a shepherd for a school play at St. Joe's, his senior pictures in his green Trojans football jersey, holding up a big cheeseburger at the former Jackson Street Grill. Pat, a big man with close-cropped hair befitting a former Army Ranger and corrections officer at Attica, wept some as he pulled pictures from a photo album. "I'm sorry," he said repeatedly as he struggled to hold back the tears.

Then he would remember something about Nick, tell the story, smile and laugh even as moisture glistened around his eyes.

"Sometimes he'd come home and fall asleep on the couch and then I'd put the bear up to his face, like the bear was giving him a kiss and then I'd take pictures on the phone," Pat said as he laughed through the memory. "Sometimes, really early in the morning, and he was sleeping, I would go in there and I used to wake him up. 'Nick, Nick, you gotta get up. You gotta get up.' 'What? What?' 'I'm going to make pancakes,' I told him."

All good fathers love their sons. Nick and Pat called each other, "my best friend."

They fished together, built model trains together, played sports together, worked on cars and tractors together and shared their hopes and fears the way best friends do.  Until Nick went away to school, to study mechanics at Universal Technical Institute in Exton, Pa., Pat and Nick were practically inseparable, and even after he went away, Nick called home every night.

"He would just tell how his day went," Pat said. "He would tell me his problems and we talked about how to solve them. I always told him, 'no matter what we'll work it out together.' We always have. Always have. Right from the beginning. I told him, 'Daddy is always here to protect you. I'll be here, don't worry about it.'"

Nicholas M. Mruczek was born Nov. 26, 1994, in Batavia, the son of Dawn Hinze (now Warner) and Pat Mruczek. He has an older brother, Justin, who at 24 married just a week ago. Nick lived much of his life on Old Creek Road with Pat and Jeanette, whom he called mother, and sister Marissa, now 11.

He took to athletics early and started competing in youth football -- with Pat as one of his coaches -- at age 7.

"We could always tell where Nicholas was on the field because he was the only one who had calves," Pat said. "The other little kids, they had little thin legs, but Nicholas always had these tree-trunk legs so you could always pick Nicholas out no matter where he was."

He loved football, and might have pursued the sport in college, except for a knee injury. He excelled in track and field as a discus thrower and shot putter.

Action was always part of his life, from riding ATVs in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter, to playing Call of Duty with friends on his PlayStation III. Pat describes a boy who just loved life.

"He had a great sense of humor and he had this shitty little grin," Pat said. "His dimples looked like two baby's butt cheeks when he laughed. He gave this little shitty grin. Even when he did something wrong, and he knew he did something wrong, he was hiding something, he would give me that grin and you'd try not to yell at the kid. He would smile with those dimples and it was hard to get mad at him."

Nick also loved to eat, making him a good match for Pat, who loves to cook. In the Mruczek country-style kitchen, a half dozen cast iron skillets hang on the wall above the gas stove. An abundant spice rack hangs on a wall next to the sink.

Nearly every morning, Pat made pancakes for Nick and Marissa. Big pancakes that draped off the plate and were brimming with chocolate chips.

He loved those pancakes, Pat said, and he learned all the words, in Italian, to all the songs on a CD of Italian music Pat played while he cooked breakfast.

"He liked Dominic the Donkey," Pat said. "He loved that one, and Little Pepino the Italian Mouse. He liked Dean Martin."

When Nick was seven and the family was newly settled into the Old Creek Road house, Nick found a hive of bees and was being attacked. Pat ran out and scooped him up in his big arms and wrapped his body around his little boy. CORRECTION: Nick was not living with is father at the time of this incident, as the sentence implies. He was on a visitation.

"I took him around the house and kept getting stung," Pat said. "I kept getting stung he kept yelling, 'Daddy, Daddy,' and I had him with me and I told him, 'It's all right. Don't worry about it.' I said, 'I'll always be here for you. I won't let anything happen to you.' " 

As he grew older, Pat would take Nick out to the barn to work on the family tractor or their cars and small engines. He quickly developed a love for taking engines apart and fixing them.

"The first time he changed oil, he got his hands dirty and he thought that was great," Pat said. "He came in and his hands were all oily and he was a mechanic then."

Nick took mechanics classes and BOCES and did well. When he realized he wouldn't be able to play football in college, he was casting about for what to do with his life. Pat asked him to reflect on what he really enjoyed in school and Nick's mind raced back to those BOCES classes. He decided to enroll at UTI where he could study gas and diesel motors with the hope of returning home to work in a local garage, or perhaps at the Chevrolet dealership (he was a Chevy fan), or he could move to Texas, where he has an uncle, and be a diesel mechanic on oil rigs. He also dreamed of working in NASCAR.

"I always told him his told world was in front of him," Pat said. "He could repair gas engines. He could repair diesel. He could go anywhere he wanted. He wouldn't have any trouble finding a job. He just needed to get good grades. That was most important."

Nick struggled at first at UTI. He hadn't been a great student in public school.

"His study habits were lacking and I told him if you listened to mom and dad while you were in school you would have better study habits," Pat said. "He starts laughing. So we explained to him how to study. We told him, make up a rhyme sometimes. Put something you're doing into a rhyme and you will remember it a little bit better. That's how he would do it. He would make up a little rhyme to remember some of his classes. Then his grades shot up."

In eight months, Nick would have graduated from UTI. 

Besides finding a job after he graduated, he also planned to work on his blue Pontiac Trans Am. Pat went this Nick to pick out the car, which unless you love muscle cars, doesn't look like much at this point, but Nick called it his "dream car." Pat said, "It needs a lot of work." "I can do it, Dad. I can do it," Nick said.

Pat got new rear tires for it and Nick drove it to Pennsylvania. The next time he came home, the tires were already bald. Nick just laughed about, Pat said.

In Chester County, Nick took a couple of different jobs while at school.  He worked at McDonald's, but didn't like the early morning hours. Then he got a job at Longhorns Steakhouse and loved the employee discounts. On days he didn't work, he ate Spam and noodles. On days he worked, he feasted. He would tell his dad, "I'm livin' it. I'm livin' it."

"He called me up a few days after (he started), he told me, 'Dad, this best job I've ever had.' I said 'Why's that.' He said, 'because the food's great.' "

Pat tried to provide his boy with all the tools he would need to succeed in life, including politeness and respect for women.

"I always told the boys in football, always open the door for a lady," Pat said. "Always. Always treat a lady like a lady. You don't ever put your hands on a lady. I always told him, if you ever defended a lady, I'd never be mad at you, Nick. Ever. He did. He always opened a door for a lady."

One of the hobbies Nick and Pat enjoyed the most together was building model trains. In the house on Old Creek Road is a small room dedicated to the display of the trains with a small work bench where Pat and Nick could tinker. The would take trips together, such as to Buffalo, where they could watch the trains and take pictures of locomotives they would later try to duplicate with their models. Sometimes they would go to the sandwash in Batavia and sit near the train tracks collecting pictures of the passing trains and talking. They went to the train shows together and when Nick was still young, Pat bought him old engines, boxcars and cabooses. They would fix them up together and they came up with a name for their own train line. The P&N, which had its own color scheme. Pat still has some of those trains.

The train collection may be the first thing to go, Pat said, as he struggles to come up with the money to pay for Nick's funeral.

"I want to make sure he's buried right," Pat said.

The life of Nicholas Mruczek was cut short, according to authorities in Chester County, by a man who was angry that Nick was dating his ex-girlfriend. On Wednesday evening, the suspect called Nick out of his apartment and after a brief verbal exchange, he allegedly shot Nick at close range with a recently purchased and modified sawed-off shotgun. According to authorities, Zachary Ludwig, 22, of King Street, Spring City, Pa., has confessed to the murder. He is in jail pending further legal proceedings.

Nick was home just a few days before his death for his brother Justin's wedding. Before he left, father and son embraced.

"He always called me his best friend," Pat said. "He always came home and told me, 'You're more than just my dad; you're my best friend.' Jason (Nick's roommate) told me what happened at the end, before he passed, he told Jason, 'Tell my dad, I love him.' It's comforting to know he was thinking of me at the very end."

Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel, 4120 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. Calling hours are Tuesday from 3 to 9 p.m., with services Wednesday starting at 9:30 a.m. 

Because of the tremendous financial stress Nick's death has placed on the Mruczek family, Pat's friend Brian Odachowski has set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations. He's looking to raise at least $5,000 and nearly $3,000 has already been donated.

Putting into printed words what Pat Mruczek said during our interview captures only a portion of the important meaning. Here is an MP3 file containing excerpts from the interview.

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July 19, 2015 - 6:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy.

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Le Roy PD has spent most of the night searching for a missing female in the area of North and Church streets. The only thing we know at this point is that she became separated from her friends.

Le Roy Fire Department has just been requested to the scene to assist in the search.

UPDATE 7:13 a.m. (By Billie) : Pavilion, Alexander and Stafford fire departments are asked to provide a fill-in for Le Roy's fire hall.

UPDATE 7:21 a.m.: The search continues.

UPDATE 7:35 a.m.: A crew from Caledonia Fire Department is also at Le Roy's fire hall.

UPDATE 7:39 a.m.: Howard is in Le Roy and spoke with Police Chief Chris Hayward who said the woman they are looking for is 22 years old and not from this area. She was last seen drinking with friends at the Smokin' Eagle on Main Street and she left at about 12:45 p.m. Her phoned pinged from behind businesses along Main Street on the Village's Southside. The chief said they are concentrating the search in the vicinity of East Main Street to Clay Street along the banks of Oatka Creek, noting that's the area where the people she was visiting live. "We're just doing our due diligence ... she's not from the area. She'd been drinking. It was 75 degrees. Maybe she decided to take a nap someplace."

UPDATE 7:52 a.m.: Mercy Flight was called to assist in the search but in now being released from the assignment.

UPDATE 7:58 p.m.: The female has been found and she is safe. The mutual aid responders are going back in service.

UPDATE 8:03 p.m.: Howard says she was located at a residence on East Main Street. Authorities said she thought it was the place where her friends live, but it wasn't.

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July 18, 2015 - 7:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, Oatka Festival, parade.

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To purchase prints, click here.

July 18, 2015 - 4:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, batavia.

A car has reportedly hit a pedestrian in the area of 42 Clinton Ave., Batavia.

The car has left the area.

City fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 5:04 p.m.: City fire back in service.

July 18, 2015 - 7:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the unattended death of a 20-year-old Depew man found in a field at 1756 Chick Road, Darien.

Garry P. Pitz was found in the field shortly after midnight and first responders administered CPR, but were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead by County Coroner Karen Lang.

The Sheriff's Office was assisted at the scene by troopers, Mercy EMS and the Town of Darien Volunteer Fire Department.

July 17, 2015 - 8:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

The way District Attorney Lawrence Friedman sees it, Kasean Shannon is a dangerous sexual predator who is unable to comprehend the damage he does to his victims and therefore should spend the maximum amount of time available in his plea deal in prison.

That is 15 years.

Judge Robert C. Noonan agreed.

"The defendant says he made a mistake," Friedman said. "That's how he characterized his sexual assault on five females. He said he never intended to hurt them. I think that shows his total lack of understanding of what he's been doing over the years."

Before handing down the 15-year sentence on his guilty plea to attempted first-degree rape, Noonan told Shannon, "You're a predator and a serial sex offender. You don't seem to have any regard for the female person on this earth when you want what you want."

Shannon was also sentenced on his guilty pleas to sexual abuse, incest and criminal contempt. 

None of Shannon's victim's appeared in court, as they could have, to plead for a stringent sentence, but the mother of his child did speak to the court, urging Noonan to not issue an order of protection in her name or the name of their child.

"I am very much in love with him and wish to get married to him as soon as I can," the woman said. "I know what he did is awful, but I want our daughter to know him. She needs to know what he did, but she also needs to know him and make up her own mind about him and not what everybody says about him."

Rarick urged Noonan to sentence Shannon to only five years, giving him time to learn from his mistakes and turn his life around.

Shannon told Noonan that he knows what he did is wrong.

"I'm willing to learn from what I've done," Shannon said. "I will enter any program I need to enter in. I want to be there for my daughter."

Once released, Shannon will be on parole for 15 years.

July 17, 2015 - 7:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Attica.

A 30-year-old Attica resident will spend at least the next year of his life in state prison for a burglary in Batavia last November, though he would rather spend the time with his young son.

Jason L. Cramer Sr., told Genesee County Court Judge Robert C. Noonan that he knows he has a drug problem, but that's no excuse of his criminal activity.

"I know what I did is wrong," Cramer said. "I intend to use whatever time you give me as a time to better myself and become a better man."

His attorney, Fred Rarick, said Cramer started using heroin when he was 16.

"He continued to use heroin even though he knew it might lead to his death, even though he knew that it might lead, as it could today, to time in prison," Rarick said. "In spite of that, he's been unable to combat his addiction."

Rarick said he thought his client would benefit from rehabilitation programs available through the Department of Corrections. 

Noonan sentenced Cramer to an indeterminate one to three years, which is a slightly less than the maximum sentence available to the judge.

July 17, 2015 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jackson Square, batavia, downtown, BID.

Tonight's Jackson Square concert, featuring Penny Whiskey, is being moved to City Centre because there may be rain.

The show is at 7 p.m.

July 17, 2015 - 2:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

A Batavia resident was jailed without bail following a motor-vehicle accident in a parking lot near Tim Horton's on Main Street at 9:51 .m., July 10. 

Richard M. Schiersing is charged with DWI, combined influence of drugs and alcohol.

Police initially responded to the area after receiving a report of an erratic driver.

Schiersing was reportedly driving a 2005 Scion XA and hit a curb and allegedly committed numerous traffic offenses before striking a vehicle in the parking lot between the U.S. Post Office and Tim Horton's, located at 20 Main St., Downtown. 

Officer Kevin DeFelice conducted a standardized field sobriety test, which Schiersing allegedly failed. A drug recognition expert was called in to assist in the investigation, lead to the charge of combined influence of drugs and alcohol.

July 17, 2015 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, alexander.
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Zachary Ludwig

The man accused of shooting Alexander resident Nicholas Mruczek with a shotgun in a fit of jealous rage has been charged with murder, according to the Chester County District Attorney.

Zachary Ludwig, 22, of King Street, Spring City, Pa., is accused of going to the residence of an ex-girlfriend in North Coventry Township, Pa., with a shotgun and firing it at Mruczek at close range.

Ludwig was reportedly upset that Mruczek was with the woman.

"Love and anger can be a dangerous mixture," said DA Tom Hogan in a statement.

The rest of the press release:

On July 15, 2015 at 2:18 a.m., North Coventry Police responded to a call for a shooting at Apartment #218, 858 E. Schuylkill Road, Pottstown, North Coventry Township, Pa. The victim, Nicholas Mruczek, had been shot in the chest and was bleeding heavily.

The victim’s roommates stated that somebody had come over to the apartment and confronted the victim outside. The victim then came back into the apartment with a gunshot wound to the chest. The roommates called the police and attempted to stop the bleeding.

The victim told his roommates that he was dying and to tell the victim’s father that he loved him. The victim stated that “Zach” had shot him. When the police arrived, the victim told them that his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend “Zach” had shot him. The victim was taken to a hospital for surgery. Prior to surgery, the victim informed medical personnel that “Zach L.” shot him. The victim was pronounced dead from the gunshot wound on July 16, 2015.

While the victim was still in surgery, the police located the victim’s girlfriend, whose identity is known to police but is being withheld for security (the “Girlfriend”). The Girlfriend identified “Zach” as the defendant, Zachary Ludwig. She stated that the defendant was her ex-boyfriend, that he was angry about the relationship between her and the victim, and that the defendant owned guns. The defendant previously had stated to the Girlfriend that he would get a “dirty gun” and shoot the victim.

Subsequent investigation by the police revealed the following. The defendant purchased an unregistered .410-bore shotgun approximately two weeks before the shooting. The defendant sawed down the barrel of the shotgun. On the evening of July 14, 2015, the defendant drove by the victim’s residence and observed that the Girlfriend’s car was at the victim’s residence.

After switching vehicles, the defendant later returned to the area of the victim’s apartment in the early morning hours of July 15. The defendant brought the sawed-off shotgun with him. The defendant parked his vehicle in an empty lot away from the apartment complex and walked across a field to the back entrance to the victim’s apartment building. The defendant got the victim to meet with him at the back of the apartment building. The defendant confronted the victim and shot him in the chest with the sawed-off shotgun.

The defendant then returned across the field to his vehicle and fled from the area. He took the sawed-off shotgun to French Creek and threw the shotgun into the water. The defendant then returned to his residence. Police subsequently recovered the shotgun from the stream.

The defendant was arrested by the police while the victim was still alive, and charged with attempted homicide and related charges. Subsequent to the victim’s death, the defendant additionally has been charged with murder. The defendant did not post bail and was remanded to Chester County Prison.

North Coventry Police Chief Robert A. Schurr stated, “This was an excellent cooperative investigation by the North Coventry Police Department and the Chester County Detectives. We extend our condolences to the victim’s family and pledge to keep working on this case until justice is served.”

District Attorney Hogan added, “This was a senseless and premeditated killing. One young man is dead, one young man faces murder charges, and two families are shattered. The only good thing to report is that the North Coventry Police Department and Chester County detectives did an outstanding job to investigate this case rapidly, thoroughly, and professionally.”

This case was investigated by the North Coventry Police Department and the Chester County detectives, with assistance from the West Pottsgrove Police Department, Pottstown Police Department, Spring City Police Department, and East Pikeland Police Department.

UPDATE: According to the Police Criminal Complaint, filed by Chester County Det. Thomas Goggin, Mruczek was living with a man who initially attempted to provide first aid on Mruczek after he was shot in the chest. He was bleeding heavily. Mruczek told the roommate that he thought he was dying and to tell his father he loves him. Mruczek identified Ludwig as the shooter to the roommate and to police once they arrived on scene. He later identified the same person as the shooter to a nurse at the hospital. Ludwig was interviewed after receiving his Miranda warnings that same day. He allegedly admitted to shooting Mruczek. He reportedly said he purchased the shotgun a week or two prior from a fellow employee at his job. He said he used a hacksaw to cut off the barrel in his parents' garage. He said he drove to Mruczek's apartment complex at 5:30 and saw his ex-girlfriend's car there. He went to his parents' house and switched trucks, he said, and drove back to the apartment complex with the .410 shotgun. He parked in an empty lot near an ice cream store. He concealed the shotgun, he said, in a long-sleeve black shirt. Ludwig said he approached the complex from a field in the rear of the building and called for Mruczek to come outside. Mruczek came outside and the two spoke briefly before Ludwig allegedly shot him. Ludwig said he fled the scene and drove to French Creek and tossed the gun into the water and then returned home. Police recovered the shotgun from the creek.

July 16, 2015 - 6:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in form-based codes, batavia.

The City of Batavia is just beginning what will be a nearly two-year process to review and rewrite its comprehensive plan, and one topic of discussion that will certainly come up is whether -- or to what degree -- should the city adopt what's known as "form-based codes."

Form-based codes move community planning and development away from complex regulatory zoning codes and into a planning document that sets the parameters of what a community wants to be. A community is still divided into zones -- commercial, residential, industrial, for example -- but the form-based code sets the vision for the kind of structures that should be encouraged and what the outcome of new construction or remodeling should be.

An increasing number of communities throughout the United States are going to a form-based code process and Felipe A. Oltramari, director of planning for Genesee County, and Derik Kane, a senior planner with the county, presented a seminar Wednesday night for a handful of community planners on form-based codes.

City Manager Jason Molino attended, as did Matt Gray, a member of the city's Planning Board.

"This is one direction we could go in," Molino said. "It may not be, but that's a discussion you need to have to see if there is a consensus in the community."

The comprehensive plan process is built around the idea of gathering input and feedback from members of the community who care enough and engage enough to ensure their voices are heard. Consultants will be hired -- the city has a $100,000 budget for the comprehensive plan process -- and many meetings will be held, where views and visions will be aired.

The city's current comprehensive plan was drafted in 1997. The city is currently collecting bids from consultants to help with drafting a new plan. Soon, the planning board will review those bids and make a recommendation to the City Council. Meetings, hearings and reviews will begin once the contract is awarded.

Molino expects the city will hear concerns about how difficult the current planning process is. It's already a common complaint, that it's too hard to develop either commercial or residential real estate, that the regulatory process is cumbersome, arbitrary and too much is left open to interpretation.

Form-based codes are designed to fix those issues, which are so common to traditional zoning regulations.

Gray, owner of Alex's Restaurant as well as three restaurants in Raleigh, N.C., has some experience dealing with Byzantine planning methods. He's also been on the other side now for a few months, trying to make decisions about development applications.

"Form-based codes will help developers and the inspection department administer new building," Gray said. "From that angle, I think it will facilitate a much quicker and better-understood design. Period."

One outcome that has been consistent for communities that have implemented form-based codes is developers are more attracted to those communities. It's economically beneficial for them to build where the planning process is clear, concise and simplified. 

A form-based code could help increase interest in the city's Brownfield Opportunity Area sites, all of which are already drawing some degree of developer interest, Molino said.

"Everything we've done and tried to begin (regarding) redevelopment of the BOA sites is about making it easier for the developer to come in and start redevelopment," Molino said. "This may dovetail right into that. This may be our perfect transition into what else we can do."

Form-based codes are a favorite planning tool of new urbanism's acolytes.

New urbanism promotes more mixed-use communities with a density of structures that is less car-oriented and tailored more toward pedestrians and bicyclists.

A form-based code does not necessarily have to lead to a community vision that follows the goals of new urbanism, but it can help in that process.

A key concept of form-based codes is something called the "transect," a word borrowed from the world of natural environment planning. A transect is a gradient between the lowest land -- sea level, up to the mountains, and all of the changes in environment and microenvironments in between. 

In a form-based code environment that takes on a large geographical area, a transect is planned between the very rural to the very urban.

The idea is to find the right form base for each point on the continuum of the transect. Those zoning areas are written into the code, based on what the community wants. The process that uncovers these wants, dreams and desires and concerns is known as the charrette.

Gray thinks a form-based code could help the City of Batavia.

He's seen firsthand what sprawl does to a community, which is why he and his family returned to his hometown after living in Raleigh for a while.

"We couldn't take the commute anymore," Gray said. "It took 40 minutes to get to work and it really wasn't that far."

If a form-based code implemented along new urbanism's lines helps spur greater commercial and residential development Downtown, that could help alleviate the traffic congestion building up on the west side of the town, Gray said.

Whether Batavia adopts a form-based code, either for the whole city, or just a portion, such as Downtown, will really be up to the community members who participate in the comprehensive plan process, Molino said.

As it proceeds, there may be no demand for form-based code, or people may decide that the current code is good enough even as complicated as it is, or perhaps some new idea pops out.

"A form-based code isn't the only option," Molino said.

July 16, 2015 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Fire Training Center, fire services.

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This Saturday, a new group of volunteer firefighters graduates from a tri-county fire training program conducted at the Genesee County Fire Training Center.  

This morning, they completed their second morning of live fire training under the teaching of Chuck Dodson.

Here's the graduating class:

  • Leah Thompson, Alabama
  • Zachariah Conlin, Attica
  • Gunner Schedel, Brockport
  • Jay Pallister, Elba
  • A.J. Wright, Holley
  • Chris DeFelice, Le Roy
  • Mason Hinsken, Perry
  • Zach Petry, Shelby
  • Caleb Bailey, Silver Springs
  • Nathan Wesche, Silver Springs
  • Chris Penkszyk, South Byron
  • David Moore, Town of Batavia

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July 16, 2015 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, Stafford.

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Press release:

Stafford Country Club hosted Genesee ARC’s 39th annual Lullo Memorial Tournament Monday, the longest-running charity event at the local private club. The tournament features golf, tennis and bocce and raises funds for disability services ARC provides to more than 450 children and adults and their families throughout Genesee County. 

The event chair is Ed Carney; Peggy Lamb and Deb Fischer are the tennis and bocce chairs. 

Coming out on top in the golf was Rod Hamilton who shot a 72, followed by Steve Harrison, 73. Low gross honors for women went to Tina Lambert with an 86.

In the low net category, Paul Barton came in with a 62, and Travis West was a close second with a 63. Maria Woodward had a low net score of 71 for women. Joan DeCarlo is also being recognized with low net honors.  

In the blind bogey competition, Mark Yost matched the blind bogey number drawn of 74.

There were several contests on the course. In the longest drive on 7, John Houseknecht was the winner and winning closest to the line on 15 was Sheila Laird. Rod Hamilton won a Coor’s Lite golf bag, courtesy of C.H. Wright, in closest to the pin on 8 (9’11”). Hamilton also won a Schwinn bicycle, donated by Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, in the same contest on 14 (4’ 11”). The top winners in the closest to the pin on 12 were Greg Strauss, Chip Braaten, Joe Lestorti and Craig Rinefierd.  

The hole-in-one contest on 8 was sponsored by Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Unfortunately, no one shot an ace to drive away with a 2015 Jeep Renegade.

In bocce, the first place team was Donna Hummel, Bryan Falitico, Joe Teresi and JoAnne McInerney. 

Top score in tennis went to Steve Rumery. First-place team honors went to Steve Rumery and Phil McNulty and second-place team went to Steve Clemm and Len Jasinski.

Gold sponsors of the event were: Turnbull Heating & Air-Conditioning, The Bank of Castile/Tompkins Insurance Agencies, The Bonadio Group, Graham Corporation, and Tom & Lynn and John Houseknecht. Silver sponsors were: The Batavia Daily News, Oakfield Family Medical Care, Alpina Foods, Erie Niagara Insurance Association, Ralph & Agnes Houseknecht, Ed Arnold Scrap Processors, Inc., Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Tops Friendly Markets, Bessey Tools, Parkview Health Services, Genesee Valley PennySaver, United Memorial Medical Center and The Insurance Center.

Also supporting the event were 19 golf sponsors, four tennis sponsors, six bocce sponsors and nine Friend of ARC Tournament Sponsors. Door Prizes, silent and Chinese auction items were donated by dozens of area businesses. The 2015 cart sponsor was Manning Napier.

A total of 110 golfers, 14 tennis players and 36 bocce players participated in the annual event that raises money to benefit programs and service for people with disabilities served by Genesee ARC. The winner of the $1,000 cash drawing was Susan Spiotta, of Batavia, with ticket number 19210. Florence Lullo picked the winning ticket.

The tournament is named in memory of Florence’s late husband Danny Lullo. Mr. Lullo was a local businessman who came up with the idea to hold a tournament to benefit Genesee ARC programs and services for people with disabilities in our community.

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July 15, 2015 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, veterans, batavia, va center.

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Assemblyman Michael DenDekker was in Batavia today as part of a tour of Steve Hawley's district, with stops at the state's Veterans' Hospital and the VA Center as well as Lamb Farms. DenDekker, a Democrat, is chairman of the Assembly's Veterans' Affairs Committee. Hawley is the ranking minority member of the committee. The tour was aimed at helping DenDekker increase his knowledge of veterans issues across the state as well as introduce him to rural Western New York.  

One of the stops was the A Ward in the VA hospital that is being remodeled into private and semi-private rooms. Conducting the tour were contractor Martin Brothers, left, and Royce Calhoun, assistant director of the Batavia VA Center.

July 15, 2015 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bicycle safety, batavia.

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Six-year-old Jaedyn listens to instructions from Officer Kevin DeFelice during a bike safety course this morning at Williams Park.

The course is the second of five conducted by the city at Batavia's five municipal parks as part of the summer rec programs.

The children participating learn the rules of the road, proper hand signals and the importance of wearing bike safety helmets.

At the end of the course, they receive a certificate that makes them eligible for a free helmet, courtesy of the Batavia Lions Club, which they can pick up at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle.

The course today was conducted by DeFelice, Det. Rich Schauf and Toni Funke, program coordinator for the Youth Bureau.

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July 15, 2015 - 8:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.

July 14, 2015 - 6:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

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Say it loud: Batavia Proud.​

Order your shirt today and wear it to Summer in the City on Aug. 15 for a chance to win prizes.

Shirts are $9.95 each, plus tax and shipping and handling. 

Or join The Batavian Club by July 20 and get a free T-shirt plus more than $300 in gift certificates to local businesses. Obviously, a great way to support your community.

Use the PayPal buttons below, or click here for an order form (pdf).

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July 14, 2015 - 11:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

fullsizerender_0.jpgPress release:

City Manager Jason Molino today announced his appointment of Matthew Worth as the director of Public Works for the City of Batavia. Matt has worked for the City for more than 28 years, his most recent post as the superintendent of Water and Wastewater.

As a lifelong Pembroke and Indian Falls Road resident, Matt has held several roles throughout his tenure with the City of Batavia. He started with the City in 1987 as an engineering technician where he was then promoted to deputy superintendent of Water and Wastewater in 1999. Matt took over the superintendent of Water and Wastewater role in 2002.

During his time with the City, Matt has been an intricate part of the public works team, participating in almost every aspect of the public works operations from street reconstruction, water and sewer plant upgrades, to capital infrastructure planning.

Pier Cipollone, 4th Ward councilmember who participated in the interview process, said, “I think it’s great to have someone from within the department move up and take on the responsibilities of running the department. Matt brings a wealth of knowledge to the job and I know I speak for Council in saying we applaud his appointment to the position of director of DPW and we look forward to our continued relationship.”

City Manager Jason Molino added, “Over the years Matt has proven himself as a steadfast leader. He has served this community for over 28 years and comes into his new role with a depth of knowledge. Having worked side by side with Matt over the past decade, his passion to serve the community and residents has never been stronger. I’m looking forward to what the future brings.”

Matt lives with his wife Joan, and they have two grown children: Adam (25) and Kathryn (22).

Matt holds a Grade-D Distribution System Operator License issued by the NY State Department of Health.

Matt’s first day as the director of Public Works is July 14. His annual salary is $88,705.

City Manager Jason Molino encourages all Batavia residents to celebrate this appointment and welcome Matt to his new position. 

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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