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April 25, 2016 - 7:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, pembroke, news.

Smoke is reported coming from the basement at 8752 Lovers Lane Road, Pembroke.

Pembroke fire, Indian Falls fire and City of Batavia's Fast Team are dispatch.

Corfu is asked to stand by in their fire hall.

UPDATE 7:57 a.m.: The resident tells a chief that she smells something burning. No sign of smoke or fire. The residence has been evacuated.

UPDATE 8:13 a.m.: Burned out sump pump in the basement. The pump will be removed and the smoke cleared.

April 24, 2016 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, elba, news, hunting.

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Anthony Zambito, 12, of Elba, got his first turkey on his first hunt this morning in Elba with his uncle Kelly Creegan.

April 23, 2016 - 1:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire services, batavia, news, Town of Batavia Fire.

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Town of Batavia Fire Department is among several in the county holding open houses today, as part of a Recruit NY drive for volunteer fire departments.

Batavia's open house continues until 4 today.

Volunteer departments play a vital role in the health and safety of our community. To find out more about volunteering for your local department, visit ReadyGenesee.com.

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April 23, 2016 - 1:36pm

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As part of an Earth Day observance, volunteers came out to the DeWitt Recreation Area in Batavia to help with spring cleanup.

The walk around the park was about more than just trash pickup. It included a guided nature walk led by Amy Jessmer, from Albion, with a degree in environmental science from SUNY Brockport, where she is currently working on her master's degree. Jessmer spoke about native and non-native species and the environmental balance of the lake and surrounding habitat.

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The water level of DeWitt is exceptionally low. George Squires, retired from the county's soil and water department, said he doesn't believe he's seen it this low since the 1980s.

April 23, 2016 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in historia, batavia, news.

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The Government Appointed Historians of Western New York are holding their annual meeting at Rochester Club [email protected]'s restaurant in Batavia today.

Above, Robert Lowell Goller, Aurora town historian and East Aurora village historian, talks about maintaining independence as a municipal historian.  Other speakers covered topics on digital changes in the local history field, controversies, scandals surrounding the papers of Warren G. Harding and discovering early Masonic treasures in Upstate. Micheal Eula, Genesee County Historian, gave the first talk of the day on a brief overview of local history in action.

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April 23, 2016 - 9:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barry Miller, bergen, fire services, news.

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Bergen dedicated its new ambulance Friday evening in honor of Barry Miller, the former EMS chief who was killed in an accident Sept. 23 while responding to a medical call.

Miller was remembered as a man who had a passion for the EMS service and always looked forward in life to new challenges.

"As time passes, his title as director, EMS lieutenant and EMS chief may fade from our memories, but the ones that will always remain are leader, mentor and dear friend," said Deputy Chief Scott Crosier.

Town Supervisor Don Cunningham, a good friend of Miller's, said the ceremony marked a time of transition and he hoped that every time the ambulance rolls on a call in the future that it will be filled with the same passion for service that Miller brought to the job.

"I'd like to think this ceremony opens a new chapter," Cunningham said. "Those of us who knew Barry that moss didn't grow on his walk. He was always moving forward, never lingering in the past, always looking to the next opportunity, up for the next adventure, ready and willing for the next fun thing."

P.J. Cummings sang his song, the "Firefighters Song." Perhaps, he said, it may be the last time he performs the song live.

Pastors Micheal Merry and Matthew French delivered the blessing of the vehicle and prayed over it and Miller's parents, Tracy and Loretta, dedicated it.

Top photo: Bergen Chief Kevin Finucane.

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Don Cummingham

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P.J. Cummings

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Matthew French and Michael Merry

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Loretta and Tracy Miller.

April 22, 2016 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, batavia, downtown, business.

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The Business Improvement District held its annual meeting and awards at the City Church's Generation Center on Center Street, Batavia, this afternoon.

Above, Beth Kemp and Brian Kemp, owners of T-Shirts Etc., accept one of the two Business awards handed out.

BID Director Laurie Oltramari borrowed from the movie "Moneyball" to talk about focusing on our strengths as a business community and not trying to compete with the big companies on their terms.

Felipe Oltramari, Genesee County's director of planning, delivered a keynote speech, pointing out the Batavia's highest value properties are all downtown. One mixed-use property Downtown is worth more than Walmart in tax revenue. He recommended finding ways to add density to Downtown.

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Java Farm Supply, represented by John Bookmiller, also won a BID Business Award.

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Kristen Merriam, who works for Charles Men's Shop, was honored as Volunteer of the Year.

April 22, 2016 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, news, Tencar, Choice Cap, healthcare.

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Besides a potentially great idea, Georgann Carrubba has one of the key things investors look for in a startup CEO -- passion for an idea that she thinks will make a big change in people's lives.

Though the product she hopes to bring to market is decidedly less sexy than some tech gadget, she thinks her sincerity is what swung a panel of judges in her direction two days ago when they awarded her the $25,000 top prize in the 2016 Rochester Venture Challenge.

The lifelong Batavia resident said she could hardly believe she won, standing on stage in front of 300 people with young men who came to pitch ideas for drones, mobile phones and gaming. 

She had been through this kind of competition before, at Buffalo's 43 North, where tech inventions carried the day.

"I was in complete shock," Carrubba said. "I'm looking at each side of me and it's all technology again. And they're good people and they believe in their products as much as I do, so I was completely caught off my game. When they asked me to speak, I cried. I had to compose myself to say a couple of sentences because I truly did not think we would win. It was a tough competition."

Not only is Carrubba's product less sexy than a tech gadget, it addresses an issue that doesn't even get a lot of attention among the pantheon of people's medical issues that are the subject of telethons, ribbon wearing and 5K races.

We're talking about colostomy and ileostomy patients, people who have bags attached to a hole in their abdomen to collect their bodies' waste.

There are some 800,000 ostomy patients in the United States (perhaps as many as 5 million worldwide), and another 50,000 to 65,000 are given the procedure each year. The surgeries are the results of cancer, disease or accidents and the range of ages includes the very young and the very old.

Up until now, these patients have been saddled with a bulky bag that is prone to leaks and odor and reduced mobility and activity, including sexual activity.

Carrubba became a visiting nurse in 2004 and dealt with many patients who struggled with their ostomy equipment and dealt with the embarrassment of their situation often by avoiding socializing and outside activities. 

She thought in this day and age, why hasn't something better come along?

There had been no significant advance in ostomy care in 60 years.

One evening in 2011, she was sipping coffee at her sister's house and glanced down at a bowl and an idea popped into her head.

"I went home, went to bed, said my prayers and the next day made it in my garage," Carrubba said.

What Carrubba invented -- and secured a patent on -- is a cup-like device that attaches to the diaphragm in the patient's abdominal opening and collects waste. It is secure, airtight and waterproof.

She has a patent pending on a sensor that will be included in the cup so patients will be alerted on an iPhone or iPad when the bag inside the cup needs to be changed.

To go along with the device, called a Choice Cap, patients will be able to purchase biodegradable bags, and perhaps eventually, bags that can be flushed down any toilet, and decorative covers that can match anything from a wedding dress to swimsuit to boxers or a slinky nightgown.

After six design changes in the prototype, Carrubba is ready for the Choice Cap to go through trials with actual patients. Even though the product doesn't require FDA approval, she wants that kind of rigor in the trials so she and her team can collect the feedback and make any design changes  needed before going into production.

She hopes to have the Choice Cap on the market by early 2017.

A journey that began with a spark of inspiration hasn't necessarily been easy or straightforward. Carrubba has never run a business and didn't really know the first thing about starting a business.

She got together with her cousin, Eugene Tenney, an attorney in Buffalo, to help form a company, originally to be called Carten, but it turned out that name wasn't available, so it became Tencar, a company she plans to keep based in Batavia.

She then went to the Innovation Center at the Med-Tech Center, where the Genesee County Economic Development Center staff helped her form an advisory board, provided information and introductions for the startup communities and services in Buffalo and Rochester.

The competitions taught her a lot about the business world, she said, but admits that while she'll remain CEO, she really isn't qualified to be COO or CTO or CFO or any of the other C-suite positions. 

She was particularly grateful to High-Tech Rochester for the training and mentoring program that preceded the competition, and she said the encouragement she received from Theresa Mezzullo and Rami Katz of the investment firm Excell Partners was particularly helpful.

It was Katz who advised Carrubba to just be herself during the pitch, so she showed up in her nurses scrubs and spoke from her heart.

What drivers Carrubba, she said, isn't the allure of entrepreneurial success, or even the potential $2.4 billion domestic market for her product, but the hope of making people's lives better.

"I was never one of those, 'I'm going to invent something and be a millionaire,' " Carrubba said. "No, no, no. I was a nurse. I've always been a nurse. Truth be known, probably a lot of my employers don't like me because I've always been on the side of the patient, whatever is best for the patient. I've always been a patient advocate."

April 22, 2016 - 9:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in flood insurance program, batavia, news.

Press release:

The City received notification yesterday from FEMA and the Insurance Services Office (ISO) that it will be accepted into the Community Rating System at a Level 7, becoming the fourth top-ranked community statewide. Beginning Oct. 1, residents and business owners in the City's Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) will receive 15-percent discounts on their flood insurance premiums while those outside the SFHA will receive an additional 5-percent discount on top of already reduced rates.

The total annual savings for residents today stands at $53,048, but Assistant City Manager and CRS Coordinator Gretchen DiFante is quick to point out that cost savings is hardly the sole benefit to being a member of the rating system.

"The purpose of the CRS is to improve flood mitigation efforts in a community," DiFante said. "The results of those efforts are better-informed citizens, enhanced public safety, a reduction to potential damage to property and public infrastructure, avoidance of economic disruption and protection of the environment. In addition, implementing some CRS activities, such as floodplain management planning, can help a community qualify for certain federal assistant programs."

City Manager Jason Molino, who three years ago proposed to City Council that the City set a target for CRS membership, reiterated that the system is an additional part of a comprehensive strategy to improve neighborhoods and the value of City homes.

"These efforts, coupled with our vacant homes strategies, code enforcement measures and focus on collaborative neighborhood efforts help bring together a comprehensive community development approach," Molino said.

While City staff consider the achievement of a Level 7 to be a cause for celebration, they also acknowledge the enormous amount of work on behalf of dozens of people and organizations necessary to maintain that rating and the level of collaboration inherent in ongoing success.

"As a non-coastal community with very little open space, we really had to look to some less-traditional activities to achieve our rating," says DiFante (See Attached Table A-1 for scoring breakdown). "The situation for Batavia was a little like being a runt and having to be creative and make intelligent decisions to catch up with the rest of the group; however we were very fortunate to be able to draw upon an enormous number of local, regional and state-wide resources for help."

DiFante and teammates Captain Bob Fix, Ron Panek and Meg Chilano cite the following individuals/organizations as being instrumental to the City's success:

  • David Zorn and his team from the Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council;
  • Joe Teresi and Sally Hoyt from Tompkins Insurance Agencies;
  • Tom Turnbull from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce;
  • Tim Yeager from Genesee County Emergency Management;
  • Lisa Gautieri from Bank of Castile;
  • Robert Conrad, executive director of the Richmond Memorial Library;
  • A local realtor group that met monthly and included Russ and Gillian Romano and Danielle Torcello from Nothnagle, Lois and Robert Gerace from Realty USA, WNY and Lynn Bezon from Reliant Real Estate;
  • Tom Lichtenthal and the rest of the Town of Batavia Engineering Department;
  • The Village of Mamaroneck, which shared its entire CRS application;
  • John Gauthier, engineer from the Town of Greece;
  • Jacob Tysz from Adkins Global;
  • Janet Thigpen, Chemung County certified floodplain manager;
  • Bill Nechamen, Mary Binder and Karis Manning from the NYS DEC;
  • Michael Messerly and staff from the Batavia Daily News who were unrelenting and creative in their efforts at public service creation and communication;
  • Mike Pettinella from the Buffalo News and Alecia Kaus from Video News Service, who were eager to communicate key messages to readers and viewers to help gain points;
  • Howard Owens from the Batavian who allowed the team to publish photos that painted powerful pictures of the results of flooding;
  • Dan Fischer and WBTA who helped with emergency communication tactics and will be an important ongoing voice of emergency communication;
  • Felipe Oltramari, Derek Kane and Erin Pence from the Genesee County Planning Department, whose members the CRS team relied heavily on for quality mapping and advice.

DiFante believes it's important that the public understands the number of people and organizations needed to achieve such a success.

"We've all encountered times when organizations fail to work together towards a common goal, and we were amazed at the collaboration at all levels of government and in our community to make the CRS a success," DiFante said. "Not only were our partners in the city, town, county, region and state willing to help — they were all eager to learn, get involved, problem solve and do what needed to be done — even though we were truly learning together and had a few missteps along the way. This process could be a model for how many different organizations can achieve a common goal through focus, collaboration and hard work."

Molino acknowledges that the work has just begun and ongoing activities will be vital to maintaining the City's current level and to researching the readiness and ability to move beyond a Level 7 (something not yet achieved by any New York State community).

"We are all pleased with the benefit to the community thus far and with the cost reduction for our residents, and we're ready to keep improving," Molino said.

April 22, 2016 - 9:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee valley wind ensemble, music, arts, entertainment, news.

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The Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble performs a spring concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, at Elba Central School, 57 S. Main St., Elba. 

The performance will feature the Rockwell Brass Quintet and include pieces by Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, Hamlish and Kleban, Frank Tichelli and Gustav Holst.

The wind ensemble is conducted by Phil Briatico.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students, and families are $25.

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April 22, 2016 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Kiwanis Club, batavia, news.

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The Kiwanis Club of Batavia hosts its annual spaghetti dinner from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, at the YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia.

The event benefits local children's projects. 

The cost is $7 per person and includes spaghetti and meatballs, salad, Italian bread, lemonade, coffee or tea and dessert. 

Pictured, Matt Landers, Shanon Ford, Frank Ciaccia, Jeanne Walter and Peter Guppenberger.

April 22, 2016 - 9:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Press release:

The City is pleased to announce the following recipients for the 2015 City Recognition Awards:

Business of the Year WBTA FM & AM is recognized for the positive contribution and support they have provided within our community. WBTA demonstrated continuous community involvement with the Centennial Celebration throughout 2015. The station broadcasts a well-organized scheduled to interact with community business owners, volunteers, schools and government. WBTA also had involvement in the Emergency Management Planning and Support for the community. They continue to strive to provide excellence through their daily broadcasting which keeps the community involved and informed of the latest and greatest news.

This year, there are two Homeowner’s selected for the 2015 Recognition Award:

Homeowner of the Year Don and Pam Hirons are recognized for their demonstration in maintaining and improving their home on 137 Summit St. and taking pride in their neighborhood. They have accomplished the creation of a neighborhood coalition to keep a close connection with the homeowners and participate in the revitalization of Summit Street. Don and Pam strive to keep their neighborhood safe and thriving within the community. These two are true hometown heroes who serve as role models for other citizens determined to revitalize a neighborhood.

Homeowner of the Year Tonya Passamonte and Adam Steadman are recognized for their demonstration in maintaining their home on 12 Washington Ave. and taking pride in their neighborhood. Tonya and Adam created extraordinary displays for Halloween and Christmas which were admired by many. They fabricated festive displays using memorable characters from childhood stories. As holiday music plays in the distance, the community comes alive, drawing the attention to approximately 500 children during the Halloween season. As the children walk away with a piece of candy they are also walking away with a memory and tradition. Tonya and Adam’s community spirit does not go unnoticed.

Community Volunteer of the Year Larry Barnes is recognized for his extraordinary efforts that he brings forth to our community. As the City Historian, he donates his time to share the connection between the past and the future for the City of Batavia. Larry works hard to catalog important historical documents at City Hall for future generations. He was an integral volunteer to the successful events during the 2015 Centennial Celebration. Larry has written a book on the City’s history, has produced many articles on the City’s Web site and continues to offer his knowledge in tours and group discussions. Larry’s true dedication and positive impact are instrumental to our community.

Employee of the Year Chad Richards consistently goes above and beyond the expectations of his position as a Police Officer. The department has received acknowledgements from the community of his courteous, compassionate and patient behavior as an officer. Chad is actively involved in the Emergency Response Team and has gone above and beyond his normal scope of duties as an ERT operator. Chad has been crucial in investigation and successful prosecution of many cases. He demonstrates his true commitment to the community by participating in community events, such as, “Shop with a Cop,” which was held at the Batavia Walmart during Christmas. Chad embodies the qualities that the City strives to maintain for all of their employees.

Please join us in congratulating the recipients of the 2015 City Recognition Awards.

These awards will be presented during the City Council Conference Meeting on Monday, April 25, at 7 p.m., in the Council Board Room at City Hall.

April 22, 2016 - 9:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Michael Tenebruso, charity, batavia, news.

This past weekend, more than 400 people turned out for a fundraiser to benefit Michael Tenebruso, who is up against Stage IV lung cancer.  This video was made by Cosmic Video to document the event.

Those who wish to make a donation can send a check in Michael Tenebruso's name to Big Pauly's Pizza, 314 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY 14020.

April 21, 2016 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after introducing H.R. 5021, the Better Accounting for Medicaid Costs Act. The legislation will focus on reducing costs associated with Medicaid information requirements.

“States and the federal government currently spend over $500 billion a year on Medicaid,”Congressman Collins said. “If we are serious about tackling our nation’s budgetary challenges, we must confront this massive and out-of-control expense.

“Through common-sense measures, we can easily save taxpayer dollars, while improving transparency and accountability within the Administration. This legislation will protect states and the federal governments from unknowingly footing the bill for overly expensive Medicaid policy clarifications. Requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide notice and comment rulemaking on sub-regulatory guidance that will cost states over $50 million or the federal government over $100 million in one year is simply smart policy.”

Lately, CMS has issued expensive Medicaid policy clarifications and interpretations through informal guidance such as letters to State Medicaid Directors, Informational Bulletins, and Frequently Asked Questions. Sub-regulatory guidance makes sense for certain updates and changes, given the Federal-State nature of the Medicaid program. However, some of these “clarifications” can actually present states and the federal government with high and unexpected costs.

This legislation requires CMS to go through notice and comment rulemaking if the Secretary of HHS determines that Medicaid sub-regulatory guidance will cost states more than $50 million or the federal government more than $100 million in one year, increasing transparency and accountability within the entitlement program.

April 21, 2016 - 6:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, elba, news.

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Press release:

Imagine a classroom where students can design and manufacture an iPhone case, whistles or even a part for an RC car for pennies on the dollar.

It's happening at Elba Central School with the help of a 3-D printer, which the school acquired as part of Genesee Valley BOCES Make and Take Workshop back in February.

A 3-D printer works much like a more familiar 2-D text and picture printer.

"3D printers take a digital file and turn it into a three-dimensional object layer by layer," said Elba's Technology coordinator, Mary Beth Stacy. "Engineering classes can print their designs and see if they will actually work instead of just assuming that it will. The printer we have can actually print many of it's own parts."

"The students design the objects using CAD software and then print it," Stacy said. "Sometimes the design works and sometimes it fails. Great life lessons about learning from their mistakes and not giving up are being reinforced, along with critical thinking and problem solving skills."

Instead of ink, users can choose their own material. Most educators use a low-cost plastic filament.

"The students are really excited to see it," Kevin Rombaut, technology teacher at Elba Central School said. "It allows them to see rapid prototyping and modeling. It gives them actual objects that they can see and hold other than just a computer rendering or imagination.

"It allows them to create parts and/or objects and to re-invent. I had one student break a part on their RC vehicle. They took it, drew a new one, changed the design to offer more support, and printed a new part out."

Elba Central School is doing what it can in keeping current with technology to help their students succeed in the future.

As Stacy pointed out, "Our students' futures will have technology embedded in their daily lives."

April 21, 2016 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

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Photo by Jim Burns.

Shortly after 4 p.m., this semi-truck on Elm Street, near Main Street, took out phone and cable lines.

April 21, 2016 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia.

stolenplownypdapril2016.jpgState Police are requesting the public's assistance in locating a snowplow stolen from a local business.

Investigators believe whoever stole the plow might try to sell it locally.

The plow was stolen from a business in the Town of Batavia in early April and looks just like the one pictured on the right. It is a Western MVP 3 and is fairly new.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or was approached to purchase a similar plow is asked to contact the State Police at (585) 344-6210.

April 21, 2016 - 9:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.

Intoxication played a significant role in the drowning death of a 49-year-old Batavia man who's body was found in the Tonawanda Creek near Kibbe Park in August, according to information released by Batavia PD this morning.

In a statement, the police say that a Medical Examiner's investigation has concluded Troy Hickman drowned and was intoxicated at the time of his death.

No further information about the incident was released.

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