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May 7, 2015 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre, mall merchants association.

A mediator could help resolve the long-simmering dispute between the City of Batavia and the Mall Merchant's Association, City Manager Jason Molino said this morning during an on-air interview on WBTA's Main and Center.

The bickering and lawsuits and counter-lawsuits are leading nowhere, Molino suggested. They won't lead to a resolution that satisfies all parties. A mediator would have a better chance and an equitable solution.

“When litigation is filed, it is on a narrow scope of issues and if it ever goes to trial and has a determination, the determination is going to be on that narrow scope of issues, and generally, on anything, there is more to it than just those narrow scope of issues and in this case, there is a lot more to it," Molino said.

The city and the Mall Merchants Association have been locked in a dispute for several years over who is responsible for the maintenance of the roof over the mall concourse.

The merchants claim the city owns the concourse and should repair or replace the roof.

The city maintains the merchants failed to properly maintain the roof.

Molino said he would like to see the case go to a mediator.

“Can there be a mediator? Yes, absolutely," Molino said. "Is that something we’re looking to do? Yes, it is.”

So far, no mediator has been appointed.

The city owns the Mall Concourse. The stores and offices in the mall are individually owned.

May 7, 2015 - 6:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, agriculture.


Sometime around 5 p.m., a truck carrying crates of tomatoes dumped a few boxes in the curve where Walnut becomes South Main in Batavia. A witness told police, the driver stopped, gathered his empty crates and left the tomatoes in the roadway. Police responded to a report of a "dangerous condition" and requested city DPW to the scene for clean up. The tomatoes were hauled to the city's compost heap. The driver, who left the scene, could not be identified.



May 7, 2015 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia.


The Batavia High School Class of 2016 is sponsoring a Food Truck Rodeo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the high school. Participating vendors include Papa Gig's Gourmet Italian, The Brunch Box, Bento Box Asian Cuisine and Smoothies Plus. There will be live music and entertainment for children. Proceeds benefit the Class of 2016.

In the photo: Simran Rathod, Noah Dobbertin, Alexis Vasciannie and Ross Chua.

May 7, 2015 - 1:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in St. Joe's, st. joseph school, schools, education.


With their robot "Big Mistake," the robotics team at St. Joseph Catholic School took home a championship trophy at the VEX IQ Robotics Highrise Funfest, held Saturday at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. St. Joe's recently integrated a robotics program into its curriculum for eigth-grade students. Teams from throughout WNY participated in the competition. "Big Mistake" also won the Design Award for being able to move multiple cubes at once. Photo: Maya Rademacker, Matthew Stevens and Paige Johnston.

Photo and info submitted by Lauren Humphrey.

May 7, 2015 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, BEST Center.

Press release:

The City of Batavia was awarded a $200,000 grant to foster the development of new and expanding small businesses that will improve the community. Per Federal grantor requirements, the City has coordinated capacity-building training in order to make grants available to entrepreneur participants and those willing to promote employment opportunities for persons of low-moderate income families.

“Knowing we have market opportunities, this grant enables the City to coordinate instructional training to help people develop their business ideas and learn what it takes to be successful from veteran business owners,” said City Manager Jason Molino. “The classroom interactions will supplement the existing services already provided by the Chamber, Small Business Development Center and SCORE.”

To meet national program objectives, the City of Batavia partnered with the BEST Center at Genesee Community College and the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) to offer a three-part “Owning Your Own Business” series designed to inspire creativity, fine-tune skills, and find where passion and work intersect. At the end, new and expanding businesses in the City having fewer than five employees may be eligible to access grants up to $15,000.

The initial program started April 22nd as a series of one-hour sessions where participants assessed their personal readiness to own and operate a new business and explored business opportunities. The final Part I session is next week, "The Sniff Test: assessing your business idea!" In the class setting, participants will pinpoint a target audience, evaluate the idea, navigate the competitive landscape and determine next steps.

The final Part I series is Wednesday, May 13, from noon -1 p.m. in the second floor community room at Batavia City Hall. Pre-register for $5 online at or pay $10 at the door. Light refreshments available.

Get Underway -- Small Business Ownership Part II begins Wednesday, May 27th . This weekly evening session goes beyond the basics to help participants fully develop a business concept and transition into becoming a business manager.

These five weekly Wednesday evening sessions are mandatory if participants want to access grant resources available through the City of Batavia Microenterprise Grant Program. The sessions run from 6 to 9 p.m. in Room T121 of the Conable Technology Building on GCC’s Batavia campus.

They include:

  • May 27
  • June 3
  • June 10
  • June 17
  • June 24

-- Trials, tribulations & skills of a successful business leader Marketing strategies to increase sales;

-- Using financial information to guide my business Learning to “manage” a business;

-- Business plan presentation and networking costs $125 and students will receive a certificate upon successful completion.

The five-week course registration is also available online at

The City has offered small business loans and grants for over a decade resulting in more than $5,000,000 public-private investments. The $200,000 grant and the Small Business Ownership series is funded by the New York State Office of Community Renewal Community Development Block Grant.

May 7, 2015 - 12:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, fire.


A discarded cigarette is the likely cause of a fire that left burned out three residents of 5253 Bridge Road, Elba, out of their home last night, according to Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator.

Two dogs, a chinchilla and five kittens born to a barn cat and living in the basement, are believed to have perished in the fire.

No people were hurt in the fire.

The 140-year-old farm house was divided into two apartments.

At least two of the residents were smokers and were known to stand out behind the house, on the back porch, smoke, and deposit their butts in a plastic canister by the back door.

That's where the fire started.

The structure is still standing and the first floor remains accessible.  

This morning Alex Beardsley and a friend were pulling out the personal belongings of Beardsley and his brother. Beardsley said excluding clothing and books and anything else easily damaged by water, about 90 percent of their personal property was saved when firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the second floor.

Beardsley and his brother had a significant investment in the game Warhammer 40,000. That collection was largely undamaged.

One of the dogs that died in the fire belonged to Beardsley and his brother. The other lived with the upstairs resident.

The likely brand of cigarette that ignited the fire is Senecas. About half-a-decade ago there was some controversy around cigarettes manufactured by tribes and their lack of fire-safe features, but in 2009, the Seneca Nation announced all of their cigarettes would be fire safe.

A fire-safe cigarette will burn out more quickly when left unattended.

An employee of Zuber Farm, where the house is located, said the structure is a total loss and will be torn down.





May 6, 2015 - 11:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, elba.


Here's photos from this evening's fire at 5253 Bridge Road, Elba. At this point, we have no new information beyond what was in our initial post.










To purchase prints, click here.

NOTE: In the past, when I had a group of photos to upload at night for a slide show, I would typically get the upload started and go to bed and post the slide show in the morning. It would take an hour, maybe two hours, depending on the size of the slide show, to upload the photos. Now we have broadband through Empire Access. It took only 10 minutes to upload this slide show.

May 6, 2015 - 7:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, Girls on the Run, schools, education.


Students at Batavia Middle School beat out 87 schools in a shoe drive as part of the Girls on the Run program.

The girls collected 1,220 donated pairs of shoes.

As a result of the big win, Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run, will visit Batavia Middle School at a future date.

"We wanted to put a thank you out there to the community for all of their support," said teacher Sarah Gahagan. "We had over 90 Batavia families donate to this cause. Just goes to show how when a community pitches in great things can happen."

Photos and info submitted by Sarah Gahagan.


May 6, 2015 - 6:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Town of Batavia Republicans, batavia.

Press release:

Stephen M. Hawley, chairman of the Town of Batavia Republican Committee, announced the endorsed candidates for the upcoming 2015 Election:

Legislator, District No. 4, Towns of Batavia and Stafford --  Andrew Young

Batavia Town Justice --  Michael Cleveland

Batavia Town Council --  Chad Zambito and Sharon White

The Committee currently has three vacancies. Anyone wishing to serve their community in this capacity should send a letter to the Chairman, Steve Hawley at P.O. Box 1733, Batavia, NY  14021. This is a good opportunity to learn more about your Town and be part of the election process.

Letters of interest to serve as Election Inspectors at the upcoming election will also be accepted by Chairman Hawley.

The Annual Town of Batavia Republican Picnic at the Kiwanis/Town Park will be held on Friday June 12th at 5 p.m. till dark. All residents are invited to join us, meet the candidates and start the summer season off with hot dogs, salads, beans and desserts at the park. Tickets at $10 per person are available from all Town Committee people or by calling Kathy at 762-8239.

The Committee is also seeking nominations for our annual “Community Service Award,” which is presented at the Picnic. You can obtain a nomination form from Teressa Morasco, town clerk. Nominations are accepted from Town residents who would like to recognize someone who exemplifies service to the Town and people of our community.

May 6, 2015 - 6:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Habitat for Humanity.

Press release:

National Women Build Week is a weeklong event created by Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program that challenges women to devote at least one day to help build affordable housing in their local communities. Across the nation, more than 15,000 women are expected to volunteer at Habitat construction sites this week to spotlight the homeownership challenges faced by women.

Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 and each year provides the support of Lowe’s Heroes and conducts how-to clinics at stores to teach volunteers construction skills.

This is Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County’s 5th year participating. This year’s event will be our biggest yet! More than 50 women have signed up to volunteer for the day. The event will take place at 27 Oak St. on May 9th, as we build for prospective homeowner Sheila Rolle and her daughter Jada.

"We are so excited for this event! Our community has really stepped up to the plate in their effort to impact poverty housing in our neighborhoods. We cannot thank them enough," said CEO of Habitat for Humanity Jessica Maguire-Tomidy.

“National Women Build Week has made a difference in the lives of thousands of families since its inception,” said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe’s director of community relations. “We’re grateful to all the women in Genesee County who got involved this week and were part of something bigger with Lowe’s and Habitat.”

Lowe’s donated nearly $2 million to this year’s National Women Build Week, including a $5,000 store gift card to Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County. National Women Build Week is one of the major initiatives supported through Lowe’s national partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Since 2003, Lowe’s has committed more than $63 million to Habitat and helped more than 4,000 families improve their living conditions.

Habitat’s Women Build program recruits, educates and inspires women to build and advocate for simple, decent and affordable homes in their communities. Since the program was created in 1998, more than 2,300 homes have been built in partnership with low-income families using Women Build crews.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program and to learn about Women Build events in communities across the U.S. year-round, visit or the Women Build tab on

May 6, 2015 - 6:33pm

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a project from Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad at its May 7 board meeting.

Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad is planning to purchase additional equipment to include one specialized forklift and two track vehicles for servicing truck and rail service at the transload warehouse facility in the City of Batavia. The projected capital investment is approximately $118,000. The company has applied to the GCEDC for a sales tax exemption of $9,512.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

May 6, 2015 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, batavia.


Press release:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the nation’s largest single employer of nurses, joins the American Nurses Association in honoring America’s nurses dedicated to saving lives and maintaining the health of millions of individuals during National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

This year’s Nurses Week theme is “Ethical Practice, Quality Care” and VA health care facilities throughout the country will pay tribute to their 90,000 nurses who VA Western New York Healthcare System Nurse Executive Patricia Lind calls “the Nursing Heroes who care for America’s Heroes.”

Annually, National Nurses Week begins on May 6, marked as Nurse Recognition Day, and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession. During this week, nurses at VA Western New York Healthcare System will be honored with award ceremonies.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs Award for Excellence in Nursing is given to a VA nurse or nursing assistant once in their nursing career and recognizes exemplary nursing care given to Veterans and their families. VA Western New York Healthcare System is pleased to announce the 2015 Nursing Excellence recipients.

Cindy Norton-Ortiz, registered nurse, works as a nurse manager in the Maple Lodge Community Living Center in Batavia. Cindy resides in East Bethany.

Peggy Stanley, registered nurse, cares for veterans who reside in the Willow Lodge Community Living Center in Buffalo. Peggy is a resident of Akron.

Lucy Stevens, licensed practical nurse, care for veterans who reside in the Oak Lodge Community Living Center in Buffalo. Lucy resides in Elba.

Carla Dobbs, nursing assistant, works in the Adult Day Health Care program. Carla is a resident of Buffalo.

National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which registered nurses, the largest health care profession, work to improve health care. From bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities, to primary care where health promotion is encouraged, to the halls of research institutions, state legislatures, and Congress, the depth and breadth of the nursing profession is meeting the expanding health care needs of American society and its veterans.

May 6, 2015 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, sports.

Press release:

Representatives from Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) announced that total wagering at WROTB on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby topped out at $1,930,585.30 with payouts of 2,067,622.80. Wagering handle was the second highest in WROTB’s history, and its payout to winning bettors was $800,000 more than last year and higher than it took in wagers, a first. 

“It’s the first time we’ve ever seen more payouts than money taken in," said WROTB Handicapper and Live Racing GM Todd Haight.

The complimentary Derby programs given out at WROTB Branches, EZ Bets and at Batavia Downs on Saturday touted Haight’s Hot Picks on the cover, which correctly selected the top four Derby finishers in exact order. The bettors of Western New York certainly benefitted as WROTB paid out $600,000 in winning Trifecta bets and over $630,000 in winning Superfecta wagers, both records.

Wagers placed at Batavia Downs Gaming totaled $62,248.50, an increase of nearly 5 percent over last year. Wagering using, WROTB’s online Web site, on the Derby was $53,821, a 26.6-percent increase over last year. Nationally the handle on the Kentucky Derby was up 4 percent and was its highest ever at $197 Million.

“It’s so exciting to see that interest in the Kentucky Derby is alive and well in Western New York," said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing of Batavia Downs and WROTB. “We’re all pulling for a Triple Crown contender in American Pharoah. All our Branches will be open at 10 a.m. on May 16th, the morning of the Preakness, and we’ll be having another party with live tellers at Batavia Downs. Our Trifecta special includes food, Free Play and a complimentary Preakness wager like we had for the Derby.”

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia. WROTB owns and operates 28 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standardbred racetrack and gaming facility.

May 6, 2015 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Richmond Memorial Library, batavia.

A total of 285 votes turned out for Tuesday's Richmond Memorial Library budget vote, passing the spending plan by a wide margin.

In all, 246 yes votes were recorded.

The budget increases spending by $25,870.

The lone candidate for a trustee's position, Michael Rivers, was elected with 266 votes.

Residents in the Batavia City School District are eligible to vote. There are 10,532 registered voters in the district.

May 6, 2015 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, batavia, Richmond Memorial Library.


Alec R. Sass, a sophomore at Clarence High School, performed a 45-minute bagpipe show at the Richmond Memorial Library last night. In all, 50 people attended the performance, which included the songs "Scots Wha Hae and "Amazing Grace."

Photos submitted by Craig Gillard.



May 6, 2015 - 1:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, business.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today commented on last night’s passage of legislation to increase the minimum wage. Hawley said the legislation is misguided and does not improve the already suffocating business climate that New York has perpetuated in past years. The 2015-16 State Budget provides no tax or regulatory relief for small businesses or the middle class.  

“As the owner of small businesses for over four decades, I know the struggles of operating in New York’s tax and fine environment,” Hawley said. “I voted against a minimum wage increase because when businesses are legally obligated to pay their employees more, they are therefore able to hire less employees and therefore create less jobs. A more viable option to help taxpayers would be a widespread middle class tax cut, something the Assembly Majority again failed to include in this year’s budget. My district is heavily agriculturally based and a minimum wage hike would jeopardize the ability of farming operations to hire additional employees, especially on an hourly basis. I will continue to support my district’s business interests and alternatives exist that would address the root problem of high taxes and regulations that is hindering our middle class and business community.   

“Furthermore, this bill raises the minimum wage to a much higher rate in New York, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau counties than the rest of New York State. This is another piece of evidence highlighting the growing disparity between Upstate and Downstate and why we should allow the public to decide if they would support a division of New York into two separate states by passing my legislation, Assembly Bill 4167. New Yorkers deserve this choice now more than ever considering Downstate interests dominate our legislature while the social and economic concerns of millions of Upstate New Yorkers are ignored.”

Hawley is the owner of an insurance agency based in Batavia and the former owner/operator of Hawley Farms. He is a current member of the Farm Bureau’s Circle of Friends and has voted with pro-business groups such as the Business Council and Unshackle Upstate the vast majority of his time in the legislature.

May 6, 2015 - 1:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Press release:

On Sunday May 3rd, the New York Conference of Mayor’s (NYCOM) recognized the City of Batavia with a Local Government Achievement Award for its Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Renewal and Rate Plan that was developed and adopted by City Council this past March. Batavia was one of four cities and three villages within New York State to receive awards from NYCOM that demonstrate a significant and innovative project that has improved the quality of life within a community or demonstrates shared services and increasing government efficiency.

Cities and villages across New York are confronted by assets that are deteriorating due to environmental conditions and normal wear and tear. Without proper maintenance and ongoing capital reinvestment, increased failure rates and declining levels of service (e.g., wastewater backups, water service interruptions) will inevitably result. Many communities, particularly in Western and Central New York, have also seen a considerable reduction in water consumption during recent years. Unfortunately, this trend results in diminished revenues and puts pressure on water and wastewater rates.

The City of Batavia developed an Infrastructure Renewal and Rate Plan that identifies the City’s water and wastewater capital needs and associated revenue requirements going forward. Moreover, the Plan responsibly addresses the capital reinvestment requirements of both systems in a manageable and affordable manner.

“Having NYCOM recognize Batavia for our proactive capital planning is an honor and a privilege. We have worked hard to ensure we provide quality services to our residents through cost effective means,” said Brooks Hawley, City Council president. “Having our peers from across the State recognize us for our effort is reassuring that what we are doing in Batavia is right.”

The City Council adopted the proposed Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Renewal and Rate Plan with this year’s budget. The Plan calls for $22 million of capital improvements to the City’s water and wastewater plants and systems while projecting an additional per-user cost of $1 a month.

May 5, 2015 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, Batavia Rotary Club.


The 17th Annual Rotary Baseball Tournament is this Saturday at Dwyer Stadium.

Notre Dame meets Attica at 11 a.m., Batavia and Oakfield-Alabama square off at 1:30 p.m. The consolation game is at 4 p.m. and the championship game is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

Coaches and select members of the participating teams attended a luncheon today at the YMCA hosted by the Rotary Club of Batavia.

Pictured are: Jimmy Zittle, Attica, Colden George, Attica, Michael Falitico, Notre Dame, Cal Tygart, Notre Dame, Nick Bauer, Batavia, Ryan Mullen, Batavia, Mitchell Hale, Oakfield, Allen Chatt, Oakfield, Dan Dinsmore, Oakfield.

May 5, 2015 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dairy princess, agriculture.


Emily Mikel, of Pavilion, was crowned 2015 Genesee County Dairy Queen in a ceremony at Genesee Community College on Monday evening.

Tristan Zuber presented Mikel with her crown and sash.

Pictured below in a photo taken by Laura Luft, are Mikel and her court, from left, Rebecca Slattery, Mary Sweeny, Carolyn Sybertz, Georgia Luft and Amelia Brewer.






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