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October 13, 2016 - 8:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.


A blue sky and fall colors starting to pop in the BJ's parking lot in Batavia.

October 13, 2016 - 8:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, news, business.


The new Hotel at Batavia Downs opened for business today.

The ribbon cutting for the new facility won't be until early November.

October 13, 2016 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

A Batavia man whose attorney said he just responded to a friend's request for help when he sold her drugs is going to prison for three years for criminal sale of a controlled substance. 

James Soccio, 34, was arrested in June after twice selling drugs to a person acting as an agent for the Local Drug Task Force. He pocketed $120 on the deals.

Attorney Fred Rarick, when arguing for a light sentence for his client before Interim Judge Michael Pietruszka said the transaction apparently came about after an addict, a friend of Soccio's who was recruited for undercover work by the task force, came to Soccio and begged him for help.

A former addict himself, Soccio, Rarick said, was trying to do a friend a favor. It was wrong and poor judgment on his part, Rarick said, but Soccio has been known to help friends in other ways when they ask for it. 

Pierruszka said he received several letters of support from members of the community, including Pastor Marty Macdonald, who portrayed Soccio as a stable member of the community. He has a longtime girlfriend and has worked steadily in Genesee County for several years.

As part of the pre-sentence process, Soccio was evaluated for possible substance abuse treatment himself, but counselors determined Soccio is not himself an addict.  

Since Soccio isn't an addict and wasn't charged with possession of a controlled substance, Pietruszka indicated he viewed him as a drug dealer, hence the three-year prison term.

Rarick sought a probationary sentence.

Pietruszka noted that Soccio, sentenced on a felony conviction more than a decade ago, violated probation terms following his release from prison then, which was another factor, he indicated, in his decision.

Tearfully, turning toward the gallery, Soccio apologized to his friends, family members and Pastor Macdonald, for his mistake and for letting them down.

October 13, 2016 - 9:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, schools, education.


Yesterday was "Make a Difference Day" for Batavia High School seniors, who volunteered around the community in various projects. 

Places where seniors volunteered included the Batavia Agri-Business Child Development Center, Batavia Peace Garden, Crossroads House, the Genesee County Nursing Home, Genesee County Park & Forest, the Youth Bureau, GO ART!, Habitat for Humanity and the YWCA.

Info and photos from Tom Redband.



October 13, 2016 - 6:32am
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.
October 12, 2016 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

On the day his trial was to start this week, a 56-year-old Batavia man accused of menacing a police officer instead entered a guilty plea to one of the two counts against him.

Bill Thomas, of State Street, was arrested in March after an early morning standoff with the Emergency Response Team.

He pled guilty today to criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, a Class D felony, satisfying both counts returned against him by a grand jury. 

There is no condition on sentencing. The maximum possible penalty is two and a third to seven years in prison.

Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Nov. 15.

He is being held in the Genesee County Jail.

October 12, 2016 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, news.

mug_joelshort.jpgA Canisteo man who was arrested at the Kingdom Bound festival in Darien after an investigation into a complaint that he engaged in oral sex with a teenage boy entered a guilty plea in Genesee County Court today to a single count of criminal sex act in the third degree.

The maximum possible penalty for the Class E felony is four years in prison, but Joel Bert Shorts, 55, reached a plea deal with the District Attorney's Office that will likely mean 10 years probation. He will also become a registered sex offender in the State of New York.

Shorts reportedly attended Kingdom Bound at Darien Lake Theme Park as part of a religious group as a chaperone.

No details about the victim have been released, but in court today, while discussing a stay away order of protection, Shorts' attorney warned him that even if the victim makes contact with him, he is not to respond to any message.

Shorts, dressed in a white polo shirt and gray slacks, was reminded a few times to speak up while the judge asked him a series of questions about his plea, and while the judge asked the questions designed to ensure he was mentally alert and aware enough to enter a plea, Shorts started to choke up briefly.

Sentencing, and a SORA hearing (to determine his sex offender status), was set for 9:30 a.m., Jan. 10.

October 12, 2016 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, landmark society, pembroke, indian falls, preservation.


Amanda Owczarczak, Owner

Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant

1227 Gilmore Road, Corfu

Tender Loving Care

Article by Tony Kutter

The Log Cabin Restaurant is located on land overlooking the Tonawanda Creek Indian Falls. It was part of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation until 1857.

In 1826, a grist mill was built on this location and was run by William Parker, father of Ely S. Parker, aide to General Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. It was the only grist mill in the Holland purchase run by Native Americans.

In 1879 the Gilmore Mill was built on this location. During the 1930s an addition was built on the crumbling mill and it served as a refreshment stand.

In 1940 Clayton Betzold and Ken Hodgins bought the mill and tore it down. They built a log cabin restaurant on the mill’s original foundation. At one point it was named the Falcon Crest.

Originally they wanted to have a dance hall, restaurant and entertainment center in conjunction with near by Boulder Amusement park.

To build a log cabin they had to timber pine logs from area forests. It requires sturdy timbers in lengths long enough to support a roof which had to be straight and not tapered in diameter. It was uniquely constructed with mortar between logs. It has been said that there were Indians who built log cabins on the Reservation who instructed locals on construction techniques.

What is most fascinating about this log structure is its construction similar to cabins built in the 18th and 19th century, not from factory hewn boards. Logs were usually notched and stacked on top of one another, but they did not rest against one another. The next process was called chinking the logs. Materials used earlier between logs varied from clay, straw paper, and cloth and even dried animal dunk. This effectively sealed the interior from exposure to the elements. In the past century, log cabin construction methods utilized mortar mix similar to what was used to lay bricks or cement block.

Today most log cabins are built with log siding. One owner added an addition on the west side using log siding. However we are fortunate that the original owners in 1940 built it using the construction methods of 100 years prior.

The current owner, Amanda Owczarczak, purchased the restaurant in 2009. An outdoor deck was added to the front of the building in 2013.

For decades, the Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant has attracted diners from all over western New York because of the unique environment along the Tonawanda Creek; the beautiful, scenic view of the waterfalls; and the rich history of the property.

Tony Kutter

October 12, 2016 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, news, preservation.

Press release:

The Landmark Society of Genesee County will hold its annual Preservation Awards Dinner on Oct. 15 at The First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy at 7 Clay St. Catered by the church (which is also an honoree), the dinner will begin at 6 p.m. and the awards presentation will follow (at approximately 7 p.m.).  The cost is $18 per person. Reservations can be made by emailing [email protected]

Six buildings in Genesee County will be recognized this year:


Gregg & Debbie McAllister

21 Ross St.


Tender Loving Care

Classical Revival


Garth & Amy Swanson

6209 Main Road





David & Robyn Tufts

4857 Ellicott St. Road, Batavia


438 E. Main St.


Adaptive Re-use

Mid-Century Modern


Chris & Michelle Krtanik


4835 Linden Road

East Bethany



Eclectic Style

First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy

Pastor David Pepper

Historian Ann Ver Hague

7 Clay St.

Tender Loving Care


Colonial Revival

Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant

Amanda Owczarczak, Owner


1227 Gilmore Road



Tender Loving Care

Log Cabin


“This year’s honorees beautifully represent the architectural variety we enjoy across the county,” said Lucine Kauffman, Landmark Society president and chair of the awards committee. 

The buildings being recognized on Saturday include one church, two commercial properties, and three private homes.

“We are fortunate that Genesee County has such a rich, long history and that some of the physical markers of the people who have made our local history so rich still remain standing today.” 

All of the owners of the buildings being recognized have one thing in common. In addition to all of their hard work, creative vision and patience, they have passion.  They have restored, replaced, reused, and revived their properties. And in every case it was a labor of love.

By investing in their historic properties, these award winners have invested in their neighborhoods and communities.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County is a nonprofit, volunteer operated organization. Since 1965, The Landmark Society has encouraged local communities and individuals to work together to preserve our architectural heritage.

October 12, 2016 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, Bethany, preservation.


Chris and Michelle Krtanik

4835 Linden Road, East Bethany


Article by Molly Grimes

Chris and Shelly Krtanik purchased their home in 1994.  This federal style house was built in 1833 and used as a tavern for many years. Other uses included a stagecoach stop, a barber house and a boarding house for travelers.  The parcel of land where the house stands was purchased from the Holland Land Company in 1811 and 1833. Mr. and Mrs. Faunce acquired the property and erected this house. This house is typical of the federal style. The Italianate features of the bay window and oversized scroll brackets are believed to have been added sometime in the 1870s or 1880s.  Interestingly, the home was used by the New York State troopers as headquarters during the unsolved Linden murders in 1922 and 1924. 

The house was in rough condition when Chris and Shelly bought it in 1994.  They have spent countless hours stripping paint on both the inside and outside of the house.  The entire outside of the house had the paint stripped down to the original wood on the clapboard and repainted the colors of Gingko Tree, peach and spice.  This task was undertaken by not only Shelly and Chris but other family members using a heat gun and scrapers over countless hours.  Chris was able to take sections of the original moldings and have reproductions made in places where sections were missing.  The original windows and storms remain on the first floor of the house, while the second floor has replacement windows.  There was an addition on the back of the house at one time; it has since been removed and replaced by a deck.  The side porch also has a huge roof overhang that Chris is still working on restoring and putting the tongue and groove ceiling back in place.    A hole has been cut in the porch floor to accommodate an existing shrub.  The landscaping has been going on as projects have been completed, the garden beds have been beautifully defined with rock walls hand placed by Chris.  Originally there was a barn when the Krtaniks purchased the home in 1994, but due to the dilapidated condition of the structure it has been taken down and removed. 

Their work on their house is ongoing.  Projects include working on the side porch as well as working on restoring the inside.  The staircase has been stripped and sanded, along with the hard wood floors, trim and moldings inside the house.  Stripping the molding in the living room took Shelly two summers to complete using tiny tools to get within the grooves.  The house continues to be a labor of love.

October 12, 2016 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, Le Roy, preservation.

The First Presbyterian Church of LeRoy

7 Clay Street, LeRoy

Tender Loving Care

Article by Jill Babinski-Weidrick

Situated at the most prominent corner in the Village of LeRoy sits The First Presbyterian Church of LeRoy. Although architecturally important, this church’s primary significance is in its association with the founding and founders of the Town and Village of LeRoy.

The Congregational Society was formed in 1812, the same year as the Town of LeRoy. This society became the Presbyterian Church a few years later, in 1815. Initially, the members met in homes and later in barns and schools.

The purchase of the original church property from Ezra Benson, Jr., Herman LeRoy’s land agent, is listed as costing $200. The land was 66’ wide on Main Street by 264’ on Clay Street.

The Church was constructed between 1825 and 1826. The original church building was a two-story wood-framed rectangular building in the Wren-Gibbs style with tall windows on the long sides and a primary entrance on Main Street.

Of course, this church had a bell. The bell was originally protected by an open sided rood structure on the tower in the ‘crown of thorns’ style. The bell, situated at the highest and most central point in LeRoy, was sounded as an emergency alarm from its hanging until the 1940s. The bell continues to be rung for Sunday Services and every daylight hour on Christmas Day.

Not long after construction, an abolitionist rally was held at the church in 1830. This rally featured a speech by an elderly former slave. A pro-slavery demonstration took place outside and passions ran high, leading to a number of broken windows.

Seven years after this rally, in 1837, Frederick Douglass spoke at the Presbyterian Church, impressing many with his oratory.

This same year, Marietta Ingham and Emily Ingham Staunton, members of the church, founded the first university for women in the United States. Ingham University was active with the church, supplying the pulpit was asked and assisting at services. Due to its affiliation with the church, the school received financial help from the Presbytery and local churches. In good weather, students were known to attend Sunday Services.

In 1839, the sanctuary was extended by a 20 foot bay on the south end. A straight vertical joint in the stone foundation and a change in roof trusses on the south end is the only evidence of this addition left today. Note, that this is the extent of the existing sanctuary today.

Between 1850 and 1851, a new one-story session room/lecture rooms was added and the church pews were remodeled. The LeRoy Gazzette and church records document the modernization of the pews from enclosures with gates, to open-ended pews with scrolled arms. These are still in use today. Also at this time, central heating was installed, along with new wallpaper.

According to church records, the bell was enclosed and topped by a spire in 1866. This bell tower and spire are as seen today. The LeRoy Gazzette noted that during this time only the stones foundation and church timbers were left; everything else was new, including triple-hung windows with round heads on the exterior in place of the original windows. At this time, a new pipe organ was also installed.

The earliest photograph of the church dates from 1867. This photograph dates from the memorial service for Phineas Stanton, Chancellor of Ingham University.

In 1912, the first electric pipe organ was installed and later, in 1929, would be re-built. The pipes were placed behind a new neo-colonial grill designed by Charles Ivan Cromwell, a local LeRoy architect, who was just beginning his career.

In 1945, a bequest by Allen S. Olmstead in memory of his mother, Elizabeth Allen Olmstead, was received. An addition of a wing to the east was begun, but not finished until 1951 due to shortage of material during World War II. Also designed by Charles Ivan Cromwell, a large meeting hall/dining room and kitchen, with full basement, was added on the east side of the community building. When finished, the entire single-story community building attached to the sanctuary became known as Olmstead Hall.

In the early 1950s, a member of the congregation organized the first nursery school in LeRoy. This nursery school was located in Olmstead Hall. More than 50 years later, this nursery school continues to be operated in the same location.

In 1976, the wood shingles on the steeple were removed and replaced with aluminum shingles for maintenance purposes. Sometime during the 70s, all of the windows, including those in the sanctuary, acquired slim white combination aluminum storm/screened windows.

Today, the church continues to hold services and other events. 

October 12, 2016 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, batavia, preservation.


Gregg & Debbie McAllister

21 Ross Street, Batavia

Tender Loving Care

This elegant Classical Revival home was built in 1904 by Batavia jeweler CC Bradley on property he purchased from Dean Richmond.  Mr. Bradley commissioned architect M.P. Hyde. Located just north of the Richmond Memorial Library, the house remains largely unchanged over the decades.  In 1956, CC Bradley, Jr. moved in to the family home.

In 1992 Gregg & Debbie McAllister purchased the property. In keeping with the traditional colors of the Classical Revival style of the early 1900s, they chose a three color paint scheme: yellow body, cream trim, and forest green accent.  The McAllisters believe that the house has always been yellow. The dark green is to replicate copper, which would have been used in original Classical Revival architecture.  The copper would weather to a green patina.  The house is a study in contrasts of light and dark; light and heavyDistinguishing exterior features include the dormers with palladium windows. The McAllister installed custom made replicas when the original windows rotted.

Extensive architectural embellishments include Greek revival corner returns on the dormers and decorative brackets under the eaves.

Ionic round columns support the porch roof.  Fluted square pilasters with Ionic caps adorn the corners of the house. Three round Ionic columns flank each side of the porch entryway. The frieze boards are lined with dentils.

A porch swing invites visitors to enjoy the shade. Turned balusters frame the porch. Natural wood bead-board covers the porch ceiling.

A two-story round bay window graces the north side of the house. Note the custom made curved rain gutter and the curved clapboards.

On the south side, a square bay window contains leaded beveled glass.  On the western, rear side of the house, the McAllisters added small deck off of the back door. A screened-in sun porch was attached in 1955. The Bradleys built an attached garage on the north side of the house and deeded the original detached carriage house to their neighbor. The garage is adorned with leaded glass, diamond-paned windows which were relocated from the living room.

The paneled front door is surrounded by sidelights and a transom made of leaded, beveled glass.  A heavy entablature perches above the Ionic pilasters flanking the sides.

The entry way is wood paneled.  One of many original light fixtures makes this cozy entryway even more inviting.  From the interior of the home, one can fully appreciate the ornate leaded glass surrounding the front door.

The sweeping staircase in the foyer leads to a landing with a bank of leaded glass windows. The glass in these windows are tinted a pale lavender.

Among the many intricate flourishes of the staircase are a curved railing at the landing return another decorative curve around the corner and another curve at the bottom of the railing.  A wave pattern adorns the stringer.  Delicate, turned spindles grace the balustrade. Fluted round newel and Ionic newel cap.

Given the sum of its parts, the grand staircase makes quite an impression.  Tucked underneath the staircase is a charming little powder room. This is the original sink. When it was evident that it would eventually need to be replaced, Debbie had the good fortune to find the exact same model at a salvaged home parts store. The sink still has the original faucets. The powder room has its original door knob and original light fixture.

The library is located through pocket doors in the foyer. The fireplace mantle design repeats the Ionic round pilasters found throughout the interior and exterior of the house.  One of the few light fixtures not original to the house, Gregg brought this lamp home from India and had it electrified.

A stunning four-tier wedding cake chandelier lights the foyer.  It originally hung in the living room in front of the fireplace. The Bradleys had it moved to the foyer in the 1940s. Four matching sconces light the living room. The McAllisters had the sconces refinished and rewired.

Dividing the living room from the foyer, this magnificent doorway incorporates the classical revival features found on the exterior of the house:  a heavy entablature with decorative brackets and dentils supported by round fluted columns and square pilasters topped with Ionic capitals.  The original wood floors remain throughout the house, beautiful oak with a mahogany border, even in upstairs rooms.  The heat registers are decorated with fleurs-de-lis in the corners.

A second, Adamesque style fireplace warms the living room.

Again, the leaded glass windows gleam when the light pours in through them. This is one of the windows in the two story square bay window. Debbie still marvels that every morning the house is full of rainbows on the walls created by sunlight streaming through the leaded glass windows. Similar leaded glass adorns the square bay window of the master bedroom of the second floor.

French doors divide the living and dining rooms.  In keeping with the attention to details in this elegant house, the French doors have glass doorknobs.

A third fireplace, identical to the one in the living room, warms the dining room. The McAllisters had this chimney completely rebuilt due to water damage. Built-in wood cabinets with glass doors surround both sides of the fireplace.  Again, decorative dentils mirror the classical features of the home.

The paneled wood in the dining room is painted a fresh white which draws attention to the decorative plates and china.

The original brass wall sconces light the dining room. And the original wallpaper still hangs. Although the electrical wiring has been updated, the original push button switches remain.

The McAllisters purchased the sideboard from the Bradley family as well as eight chairs and the matching dining room table with seven leaves.  The leaves have their own built in storage space in the butler’s pantry. The dining room pieces were custom made for the Bradleys by a New York City firm about 10 years after the home was built.

An original copper sink in the butler’s pantry is still functional. The cupboards in the butler’s pantry still have the original brass hardware.

In the 1940s, the Bradleys commissioned LeRoy architect Charles Ivan Crowell to design a sun porch; and open up the kitchen and pantry rooms into a large, open kitchen space. The McAllisters remodeled the kitchen in 1993. They modified the layout and installed oak floors, but kept the gas stove from the 1950s, bead-board wainscoting and cupboards.

Debbie stripped the paint off of this door to the basement and a bead-board hallway off of the kitchen. That had to have been a labor of love.

True to the experience of owning of an old home, updating the heating, plumbing and electrical functions in their house has been “ongoing” Debbie joked.  The McAllisters have managed to preserve the elegant features of this stately house while creating a warm, comfortable home for their three children, as well as the many foreign exchange students they’ve hosted over the decades.

October 12, 2016 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, Stafford, restoration, preservation.


Garth & Amy Swanson

6209 Main Road, Stafford


Article by Brian Dougherty

The Swanson home at 6209 Main Road Stafford, was built in 1846 by Stephen Crocker, a local businessman for Isaac Newton Stage.  Stage was the proprietor of the Stafford Hotel. 

The house is a classic example of an early Victorian Italianate design with a low pitched hip roof, large eaves and prominent corbels that reflect the Italianate influences. 

The property’s original name was “Boxwood”; a shrub that was prominent throughout the property during the 19th century. Garth and Amy Swanson purchased the house in December 2014 which sits on approximately 5 acres of land.

While none of the original plantings remain they have carefully sought to include a variety of boxwoods in their planting scheme as they begin to restore the lawn and gardens.

The previous owner started the renovation process by stabilizing the chimneys, replacing the Bilco door and having a metal roof installed. 

 Prior to the Swanson’s purchasing the house it had been unoccupied for 4 years (unless you count the resident woodchucks and raccoons).  The house lacked a heating system, running water, a working bathroom and the electrical wiring was from the 1920’s.  Most of the plaster walls were cracked, falling down or completely gone.

A conscious decision was made to invest in the “bones of the house”.  The interior of the structure was gutted to the studs.

They reinforced the structural timbers in the basement and raised the floor by approximately four inches.   The interior is more reflective of a 19th century farmhouse, emphasizing function over form and was in serious need of modernization but they wanted to retain the 19th century character of the house. 

All the existing wiring and plumbing was removed.  The house was completely rewired and plumbed with a modern heating system and fully insulated.

Structurally, they have tried to change the exterior appearance of the house as little as possible and where possible have attempted to restore original design elements. 

Sometime in the early 20th century the ceilings in the house had been lowered to 8 feet. In almost all rooms they were able to raise them back to their 11 foot original height.

They created a modern kitchen in a 19th century farmhouse style. 

The second floor is the only space to experience serious reconfiguration. 

They created two baths (there was previously no plumbing on the 2nd floor) and a master bedroom. 

This space was previously bedroom space for farm hands and hotel staff. 

They have retained the two seater indoor outhouse (not used), however; and added laundry facilities. 

They worked hard to re-use as much of the original material as possible restoring almost all the hardwood and pine floors in the house with the help of skilled craftsmen.  The original woodwork throughout the house was kept. 

The house retains two fireplaces—unfortunately, neither fireplace is currently functioning but the long-term goal is the restore them useful function.

They are presently working with a master craftsman to build new storm windows for the seven second floor arched windows.  These are a unique architectural characteristic that we don’t want to lose.

Many projects still remain.  They are working to replace several of the corbels and other exterior architectural details.  They have plans to replace numerous sections of molding and trim damaged over the years as well as continuing to stabilize and secure the exterior by pointing up the rubble foundation.

PhD Painting did a wonderful job overseeing the exterior painting of the house.  They chose colors similar to the earth-tone palette used in early Victorian homes.  

The renovation has restored “Boxwood” with all the modern conveniences and energy efficiency of a 21st century house within an graceful, original Victorian Era shell. 

October 12, 2016 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, batavia, restoriation.


David & Robin Tufts

438 East Main Street, Batavia

Adaptive Re-use

Article by Lucine Kauffman

There are few examples of Mid-century Modern architecture in Batavia, especially among commercial buildings, and one that has been neglected for a long time has found a savior. 

In 2014, D.A. Tufts Construction purchased 438 East Main Street, which is at the corner of Main and Harvester and is perhaps most often thought of as the former WBTA building. The 1961 building had been vacant for four years, and had deteriorated over all those winters and summers of emptiness.

Dave Tufts said he's admired the building since he was a little kid and is a big fan of Mid-century Modern, so he wanted to be sure to preserve the era's clean lines and Jetson-style modernism of the structure.

"It's one of my favorite periods, so we're excited about it, to be honest with you," Tufts said.  Robyn Tufts pored over magazines devoted to Mid-century Modern architecture for ideas.

The Tufts plan to convert the 2,900-square-foot first floor to office space, suitable for business or medical use. The second floor was converted to two large apartments (1,300 square feet each) with open floor plans (appropriate for the era) and high-end amenities. 

The Tufts updated the electric, plumbing, and HVAC systems throughout the building.  They installed all new windows and doors. The building is fully insulated and 2015 energy code compliant.

David explained that the building needed remedial structural work starting with a new roof and steel support beam.  He is proud to report that they used all local contractors for the work.

In a statement about their project, David said, "The repurposing of the building goes along with the current trend of people returning to urban areas to enjoy downtown living."

The exterior has been upgraded with new entry ways added to the front and back; the Tufts wanted to provide a private entrance for each apartment plus a separate entrance for the professional office space.

Balconies were built for the apartments.  A “marquis” was added as a privacy wall and it also serves to add a third dimension to the flat, boxy façade.

Insulated metal panels were applied over the original stamped cement block common to the Mid-century Era.   The diamond-shaped flat shingles echo the pattern in the cement block.  

The Tufts constructed four garages and placed two one-bedroom apartments above the garages. Each garage also has its own private entrance.

David said Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for the city, has helped them throughout the planning process.

Pacatte said she helped the Tufts by developing a marking list for potential office space tenants and also helped them with an application for a grant from National Grid for main street revitalization projects which they successfully secrured.

"We're thrilled about the project," Pacatte said, because it hits on so many of the city's economic development goals -- from providing mix-use buildings; bringing more viable commercial space and residential space to the central city corridor; and providing higher-end housing (apartments with garages) that doesn't currently exist in the market.

"We love that they're honoring the architectural style of the property," Pacatte said.

When we think about preservation, we usually think of grand buildings from the 1800s, but now buildings from the first half of the last century are over 50 years old and represent a distinct architectural style. With this adaptive re-use project, the Tufts have raised awareness of the importance of saving Mid-century buildings.

This report contains material from an article written by HOWARD OWENS for THE BATAVIAN September 2015

October 12, 2016 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in south byron, news, micheal ranzenhofer.


Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced $100,000 in state funding to offset a part of the total cost of a new fire truck for the South Byron Volunteer Fire Company.

“The South Byron Volunteer Fire Company plays a vital role in our community, and I am committed to securing the necessary resources so that our volunteer firefighters are able to get the job done,” Ranzenhofer said. “Today’s announced state investment will help to preserve the life-saving services our firefighters provide to residents.”

The new fire truck will replace a 20-year-old 1996 Front Line Engine. The average lifespan of a fire engine is 20 years.

“As a small fire company, we have a small budget with limited resources. Without this state funding, we would have been unable to cover the total cost of a new fire truck. We are so grateful that Senator Ranzenhofer is helping us to reach our goal,” said South Byron Volunteer Fire Company President Dean L. Bates. 

October 12, 2016 - 9:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, news.

Village of Oakfield Mayor Jason Armbrewster wanted to open the discussion about the future of village government at last night's village board meeting, but with two board members who didn't attend the meeting and one vacant seat on the board, he didn't have the necessary quorum to open the meeting.

Only one community member even showed up for the meeting.

Absent trustees were Dave Boyle and John Igor.

Armbrewster said that Igor contacted him in advance of the meeting and said he had a family matter that would prevent him from making the meeting, but Armbrewster said he didn't hear from Boyle at all.  

The mayor even went to Boyle's house shortly after the meeting's scheduled start time of 5 p.m. to see if he was home.

After he got back, he received a text from a third party who said Boyle was on vacation.

The lack of a quorum, which also delays the ability of the village to pay all of its bills, will spur Armbrewster to appoint somebody to fill the vacant board seat, which he had planned to leave open until the next election.

Armbrewster would liked to have rescheduled the meeting to Thursday night, but it wouldn't be possible to meet print newspaper deadlines for a public notice (a problem that wouldn't be an issue if the State Legislature would bring state law into the 21st century regarding public notices and allow online publication).

The trustees will try to meet again at 5 p.m., Monday.

Armbrewster was clearly frustrated because he thinks the trustees should start the discussion on possible dissolution of village government, not because he's dead set on pursuing that course, but because he thinks facts should be gathered and discussions held to see if dissolution is really in the best interest of village residents.

"There is talk in other communities about doing this and if I get asked that question, then I don't have an answer, because we don't have the data," Armbrewster said.

UPDATE: The meeting time for Monday's meeting has been changed to 7:30 p.m. Armbrewster said the time change is intended to encourage greater attendance and participation. "I encourage every resident to show up to give their input because I work for them," he said.

October 12, 2016 - 9:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

A National Grid worker has called dispatch to report he's been locked in the basement of a home on Liberty Street by a resident apparently upset that he went down there to shut off the power.

Batavia PD responding.

October 12, 2016 - 9:03am
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.
October 11, 2016 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, news.

The trustees of the Village of Oakfield will discuss the future of village government at this evening's meeting at the Village Hall.

Among the options, dissolving the village.

Mayor Jason Armbrewster said any talk of dissolution is in the very earliest stages, but it thought it important to get the discussion going.

"Dissolution could have benefits for the residents of the village," Brewster said. "Or it might not, but we have to get the whole process going to find out."

It will be up to the village board this evening -- the meeting is at 5 p.m. -- to decide whether to table the idea or decide to look into hiring a consultant and find out how much that would cost.

Armbrewster approached the town board about the idea, which meant the first hint that anybody was thinking about dissolution appeared in the town board minutes.

That cause a bit of a stir in the village and Armbrewster thinks there's been a bit of an overreaction to the idea since there is no actual proposal for dissolution at this point, just talk, just the start of the idea of starting the process.

"It's not like, boom, we're going to dissolve," Armbrewster said.

October 11, 2016 - 6:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

The eight Democratic county chairs of New York's 27th Congressional District unite to denounce Donald Trump's demonstrated sexist and vulgar attitudes toward women and Rep. Chris Collins' continued support of Trump's candidacy in the face of blatant proof that Trump's attitudes are demeaning and derogatory toward 51 percent of this country and this district.

While Republican leaders and elected officials throughout the nation are abandoning Trump in droves, Chris Collins has asserted, "There is no change in my support of Mr. Trump as our nominee."

To be clear, Mr. Trump bragged about repeatedly committing sexual assault without consequence because he was a "star." That Collins did not join his colleagues who have concluded that Trump is unfit and unqualified to be president casts grave doubt on Collins' judgment and ability to represent all of the voters, especially the women, of the 27th District.

We hope that the many people offended by Mr. Collins' lack of spine in standing up to his party's nominee will join us in supporting Diana Kastenbaum for Congress.

Jeremy Zellner
Erie County Democratic Chair

Nick Forster
Niagara County Democratic Chair

Jeanne Crane
Orleans County Democratic Chair

Michael Plitt
Genesee County Democratic Chair

Cynthia Appleton
Wyoming County Democratic Chair

Judith Hunter
Livingston County Democratic Chair

Jamie Romeo
Monroe County Democratic Chair

John Hurley
Ontario County Democratic Chair




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