Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Site Sponsors

Howard B. Owens's blog

May 5, 2011 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin.

Press Release:

WILLIAMSVILLE – The campaign for Jane Corwin, successful businesswoman and candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, released a new 30-second ad today highlighting Jack Davis’ consistent and unwavering support of liberal Democrats.
“Democrat Jack Davis proudly said he ‘couldn’t be happier’ to have played a role in making Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House, and during her time as Speaker the government borrowed trillions of dollars more from China and our economy lost millions of jobs," said Matthew Harakal, Communications Director for Jane Corwin for Congress. "Jack Davis can try and avoid talking about his past helping liberal Democrats get in power and push through economic policies that have decimated our economy, but Western New York voters deserve to know the truth about the real Jack Davis.”

May 5, 2011 - 9:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26.

Press release:

In response to media reports in today’s Roll Call and elsewhere that Washington insiders including Crossroads - Karl Rove’s super-PAC - and Democratic groups including EMILY’s list and the AFL-CIO, are going to influence the NY-26 special election, Jack Davis issued this statement:
“The voters of Western New York are not going to be intimidated or bullied by Karl Rove, big labor and other special interests that are willing to spend millions to try to own this seat for the insiders. This seat belongs to the people of Western New York, and I have faith that they will vote for someone who’s independent of the influence of lobbyists and both the Democrat and Republican parties. This seat is the people’s seat.”

May 4, 2011 - 11:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education.

Fewer than a dozen people showed up to Jackson Street School on Tuesday night to hear, and have a chance to be heard, on the proposed 2011-12 Batavia City Schools' budget.

It's a budget that would, if passed, increase the tax levy by 5.75 percent, or about $1.14 per $1,000 assessed valuation.

The $39.6 million spending plan eliminates several staff positions as the district struggles to meet the demands of shrinking state aid and growing personnel costs.

Voters will be asked to approve the budget May 17.

If voters turn out against the budget,  it doesn't necessarily mean local property owners will avoid a property tax increase.

The district has two choices if the budget isn't ratified: propose a new budget for voters or pass a contingency budget.

In the case of a contingency budget, the state mandates certain budget expenses be removed -- equipment, some instructional and extra-curricular programs and public use of school buildings.

Even if those items are cut from the budget, Superintendent Margaret Puzio explained, it would only decrease the tax levy by about $100,000.

Even a contingency budget would lead to a property tax increase.

About 75 percent of the district's budget is taken up by personnel costs.

Employee benefits account for $8.8 million of the district's expenses. The state mandated employee retirement system contribution has gone up more than 16 percent, an increase of 39.6 percent over 2010-11. The district's contribution to the teacher retirement system has gone up 11.11 percent, a 28.9 percent increase over the previous budget year.

“Those are significant expenses and completely beyond the control of anybody in the district,” said Board Member Gary Stich (inset photo).

Most of the revenue for the district comes in the form of state aid, which is being cut for the fourth straight year.

In 2008-09, the district received $20.1 million in state aid. The estimated aid for 2011-12 will be $17.9 million.

In that time, state aid has decreased from 49.92 percent of the district's revenue to 46.83 percent.

The district is getting a little help from the federal government, Puzio said. It's a one-time grant of more than $500,000. The district is using that money to help offset reduced state aid.

"The good thing is it (the grant) helped us plug a little bit of the hole from that loss in state aid," Puzio said. "The bad news is, next year it will be gone. We don’t know what we’ll get in state aid next year, but we need to realize that we are already a half-million dollars down.”

The budget reduces non-instructional staff time and eliminates six non-instructional positions.  

Six full-time instructional positions are eliminated, including three teacher aids.

The only audience member to speak was David DiSalvo, and he questioned the seemingly high salaries of some staff and district administrators.

Board Member Patrick Burk defended administrator salaries saying that current administrators are earning less than they might make elsewhere and that the district must offer competitive salaries in order to hire and retain the best personnel.

May 4, 2011 - 6:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in county legislature, Elections.

There are now three Republican incumbent legislators who won't seek re-election in November.

Le Roy's representative, Jay Grasso, informed GOP County Chairman Dick Siebert today that he won't run and Siebert also confirmed that Legislator Bob Radley is not running.

County Republicans will meet at Bohn's Restaurant on Thursday evening to discuss potential candidates to endorse in each of the three races.

Seibert said Town of Le Roy Republicans already have a candidate they expect to endorse and will announce that candidate tomorrow night.

The local GOP will also need to select a candidate for coroner. Siebert said Coroner Jack Taylor will not seek re-election.

Upson announced in early April that he won't run again. Radley was not been available for comment today, but Grasso said he's been accepted into a doctoral program at the University of Rochester and fears he won't have time to pursue that program while serving as a legislator.

"I like to provide a certain level of constituent service," Grasso said. "I don't feel I can provide that level of service while in a doctoral program."

Grasso is studying education management. 

The other five Republican incumbents in the Legislature have all notified Siebert they intend to seek re-election.

Siebert said no potential candidate for District 9, the seat held by Democrat Ed DeJaneiro, has contacted either him or City GOP Chairman Joe Gerace seeking a GOP endorsement.

Republican Jane Corwin, running in the NY-26 special election, is expected to make an appearance at the GOP dinner tomorrow night.

May 4, 2011 - 3:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

The low, heavy clouds looked pretty ominous earlier today, but produced no rain.

The good news is, we should be getting some sun Thursday, Friday and Saturday with daytime temperatures in the 60s.

The photo was taken on Bank Street Road, just outside of the city limits.

May 4, 2011 - 3:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident.

Funeral arrangements have been set for Gerald M. Olin Jr., 76, of Perry, who died Tuesday in a trucking accident on Route 19 in Bergen.

Olin's truck left the roadway and overturned just east of Bovee Road shortly before 9 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, as well as several children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Olin was a longtime member of the First Congregational Church in Perry Center. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish.

Calling hours are from 2 to 4 pm. and 7 to 9 p.m., Friday, at the Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, 98 N. Main St. in Perry. Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m., Saturday, at the funeral home. Interment will take place in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Perry Center.

May 4, 2011 - 3:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, UMMC.


Funeral arrangements have been made for Margaret E. Wagner, 86, of Batavia, who died Monday.

Wagner's illness made news after the family of Joe and Lois Gerace publicly raised concerns about her care at United Memorial Medical Center, where Wagner, they believe, contracted Clostridium difficile, more commonly called "C. diff."

State Department of Health officials said in a release today that Wagner is among of three deaths of UMMC patients who are believed to have contracted C. diff at the hospital. The cases remain under of investigation to determine what role C. diff might have played.

The total number of C. diff cases under investigation at UMMC is 19, according to Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesman for the Department of Health.

Previously, only one C. diff-related death had been reported there, in March. There were 18 C. diff cases going back to February.

Currently, according to spokeswoman Colleen Flynn, one patient is being screened to see if he or she has contracted C. diff.

That's a substantial drop in probable C. diff cases a few weekends ago when six patients were being treated for the bacteria.

"The policies we've always had in place were effective and the steps we've taken since the higher than usual numbers were reported have worked very well," Flynn said.

After the outbreak of C. diff was detected, hospital officials step up sterilization measures and took aggressive actions were taken to battle against the bacteria.

Wagner was born April 5, 1925 in Buffalo and worked 26 years for MetLife Insurance in Batavia.

She was a member of the Batavia First United Methodist Church, where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and also kept the records for the Sunday school classes. She also worked and volunteered at the Salvation Army and for the Beckwith Insurance Company in Pembroke.

Calling hours are from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, at the H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Home, 403 E. Main St., Batavia. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia. Burial will be in Alexander Cemetery, Alexander.

May 4, 2011 - 2:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

Did you see the guy in the pink gorilla suit on East Main Street, Batavia? It's apparently a publicity stunt. First thing I said to the guy was, "What, lose a bet?" He said he was only allowed to answer, "Coming soon." He said he was hired to walk up and down Main Street in the suit.

May 4, 2011 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, elba, power outage.

More than 500 National Grid customers along the Route 98 corridor from Batavia to Elba are without power.

The power outage spreads like triangle from the City of Batavia, where the tip starts, up to the Village of Elba, where the base of the triangle stretches east and west.

Power is expected to be restored by 2:15 p.m.

The outage caused one person to become briefly trapped in an elevator at the Hampton Inn. (Back-up generators corrected the problem.)

Radio traffic indicted the problem is a power line that stretches under the Thruway.

May 4, 2011 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

Press Release:

ERIE COUNTY – Kathy Hochul, candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional District, today reiterated her opposition to the Shuster amendment after the Federal Aviation Administration yesterday announced their opposition to the Republican-backed amendment that would unravel two years of work to reform the airline industry.   

In a statement yesterday, the FAA said they had “concerns” that the Shuster amendment protects “a set of procedural hoops that could have the effect of slowing down rulemaking projects under way and in the future.”

“Every Member of the United States House of Representatives, who voted for the Shuster amendment, is responsible for potentially endangering the lives of airline passengers from across the country,” said Hochul.

“If I were in Congress today, I would be fighting, alongside Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressmembers Slaughter and Higgins, for the people of the 26th District and the families of Flight 3407; working tirelessly to ensure major changes to how the airline industry operates are enacted.    

“No one from outside this area understands the collective pain we experienced as a community following the crash of Flight 3407, which is why it is disturbing to hear my Republican opponent will not rescind her offer for Speaker John Boehner, the leader of the party that overwhelmingly supported the Shuster amendment, to travel to Western New York and raise thousands of dollars for her campaign.

“The safety of our families and loved ones must be our top priority and we must do anything we can in order to ensure such a tragedy does not happen again.”

The Shuster amendment halts major measures to combat pilot fatigue, increase commercial pilot licensing requirements, improve training practices, establish an electronic pilot records database, and set up new transparencies for regional carriers.  

May 4, 2011 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke.

A new Pepsi Challenge grant contest is under way and the Pembroke PTA is pushing for a new playground.

The $50,000 grant would be used to build a "Challenge Park," which will serve as a teaching station for leadership and team-building exercises, as well as a place for students to play during recess. It would also be a recreation area where parents can bring their children after school and on weekends.

You can vote by clicking here, or texting 106129 to the phone number 73774.

May 4, 2011 - 9:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library.

Voters approved a new budget for the Richmond Memorial Library on Tuesday that increases the tax rate for Batavia property owners from $1.48 to $1.51 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The budget passed by a vote of 223 yes votes to 120 no votes.

The total budget is $1,320,649 with a tax levy of $1,166,749.

The budget included a 2-percent salary increase for the libraries 14 full-time and six part-time staff members.

Currently, the library serves more than 22,000 cardholders and more than 188,600 visitors per year.

Dana Charters was re-elected to the Library Board of Trustees with 299 votes.

May 4, 2011 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council, NY Politics.

City Republicans have candidates they're backing in three wards and are looking for candidates for the other three wards.

Last night, the local GOP picked newcomer Kristopher Doeringer in Ward 1 and incumbents Patti Pacino in Ward 2 and Bob Bialkowski in Ward 4.

Chairman Joe Gerace said candidates interested in wards 3, 5 and 6 should contact him by May 20.

Currently Ward 1 is represented by Bill Cox; Ward 3, by Sam Barone; Ward 5, by Kathy Briggs; Ward 6, by Rose Mary Christian.

May 4, 2011 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Dashawn A. Butler, 31, of 112 State St., Apt .1, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, and menacing, 2nd. Butler was arrested on a warrant issued out of Batavia City Court for an alleged incident involving a knife on Sept. 1.

James E. Murray Jr., 22, of 119 S. Swan St., Apt. B, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Murray is accused of communicating with a person in violation of an order of protection. He was jailed on $300 bail.

May 3, 2011 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul.

There was a time when Republican Jane Corwin and her GOP handlers focused their attack-ad firepower on Democrat Kathy Hochul in the special election race to fill the NY-26 seat vacated by Shirtless Chris Lee.

Then, last week, a Siena Poll showed Corwin's potential vote percentage trailing the GOP registration advantage in the district, with Democrat Kathy Hochul holding to near even with the registration numbers.

Meanwhile, Jack Davis, on the Tea Party line, isn't far behind either frontrunner and poll numbers suggest Davis, who ran two previous times for the seat as a Democrat, is drawing votes from Republican Corwin more than Democrat Hochul.

The Buffalo News reports that the poll has prompted GOP strategists to put Davis in their cross hairs.

Now the GOP is ratcheting up last week’s verbal criticism of Davis into mailers delivered throughout the district linking him to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and “liberal Democrats.”

“Meet the Real Jack Davis: A Liberal Democrat That Must Be Stopped,” screams the headline on one mailed piece. Another claims he supported Pelosi and President Obama while accepting contributions from disgraced Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-Harlem.

“With a record like this, how can we trust Jack Davis?” asks the mailer, featuring photos of Pelosi, Obama and Rangel. 

Davis responded with a statement sent to the media today.

This proves that both parties are corrupt and will do anything to protect the status quo.

Both parties supported trade deals like NAFTA that ship our jobs overseas. President Obama and Speaker Boehner are now collaborating to ram the next NAFTA through Congress, and both Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul will vote for it.

Both parties supported bailouts for Wall Street and the big banks. Both parties supported tax breaks for multinationals that make billions in profits and pay zero taxes.

Both parties sold out our country and now to make us pay for it all, Republican Jane Corwin wants to replace Medicare with vouchers that stick it to our seniors. Democrat Kathy Hochul, of course, wants to raise taxes again.

Republican Jane Corwin will listen to Speaker Boehner. Democrat Kathy Hochul will listen to Nancy Pelosi. If you vote for me, there will be only one voice I listen to -- and that will be the people of Western New York.

Your voice will finally be heard. No more trade deals that ship our jobs overseas. No more bailouts for Wall Street. No more tax breaks for multinationals.

We need a different perspective and a different approach. As a businessman, I fought to create and keep jobs here, and as your Congressman I will fight for your job -- not Wall Street.

I cannot be bought. Jane Corwin and Kathy Hochul cannot be trusted.

That is the difference in this race -- two parties that sold us out to Wall Street, or an independent who will fight for you.  

The Buffalo News article concludes:

Meanwhile, there is still no indication that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — which champions election of Democrats to the House — has any plans to financially support Hochul despite the Siena poll showing her trailing Corwin by only five percentage points in the primarily Republican district.

But Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan said he remains “hopeful” the Washington support will materialize.

“I think Kathy is coming on strong and victory is within reach,” he said. “Everything the campaign is doing is aimed at gaining support and winning the election.”

May 3, 2011 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in taxes, steve hawley.

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) submitted a motion for an open, transparent vote to ease the overwhelming tax burden on New York’s small business owners, but was denied by the downstate driven Assembly Majority. The bill, of which Hawley is the sponsor, seeks to eliminate the vendor re-registration fee to collect sales tax while providing a refund to those who have paid the fee. The legislation is stuck in the Ways & Means Committee, denying New Yorkers the opportunity to see which legislators truly support our state’s small business owners.

“Business owners should not have to pay for the privilege of collecting sales tax on behalf of the state,” said Hawley. “The vendor re-registration fee is yet another disincentive to own and operate a business in New York. We had the opportunity today to show this state’s job creators that we are ready to re-open New York for business, and by denying a vote on this measure, we have failed to do so.”

The Tax Foundation’s “2011 State Business Tax Climate Index” ranked New York the worst in the nation. The 2008-09 Enacted Budget authorized the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to require all 585,000 vendors that collect state sales tax to re-register and pay a $50 registration fee. While it is set to expire next year, many business owners fear that it will be extended and permanently added to New York’s revenue stream.

May 3, 2011 - 5:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley.

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia) is calling attention to a recent audit of state government that revealed hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending. The review of operational expenditures serves as further proof that Albany must focus its efforts on reducing the size and cost, while increasing the efficiency, of state government.

“It’s time that our legislative leaders finally get serious about reducing government waste and start putting taxpayers’ money to proper use,” said Hawley. “Taxes continue to rise year after year in an effort to support unnecessary spending by bloated bureaucracies. Western New Yorkers are tired of sending their hard-earned money to Albany just to see it spent on offices, supplies and projects that we don’t even need. I urge Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders to treat the findings of this most recent audit as a sign that we can no longer wait to peel back the endless layers of government that have wasted New Yorkers’ tax dollars.”

The waste identified by the auditors included:

* A third of the state’s office space in New York City and Albany being vacant, even as the state continues adding new leases.
* Over 4,800 state-owned computer servers, whose storage space is on average half-empty, despite increasing purchases by Albany.
* More than 850 toll-free numbers belonging to state agencies, nearly half of which have not been used in months.
* Overlapping, wasteful purchases of items like pens, paper clips and printer cartridges, with some agencies paying drastically more than others for the same supplies.

May 3, 2011 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, mock trials.

The Mock Trial season is over for Batavia High School.

The nine-time local champs lost its two regional tournament matches in Mayville on April 28.

The team tied with Brighton in the first round, but the judge gave the discretionary point to Brighton.

In the second round, Batavia lost to Erie County's Sacred Heart by one point.

Sacred Heart went on to beat Brighton in the final round to grab the regional crown and a spot in the state finals later this month.




Copyright © 2008-2014 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button