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July 18, 2008 - 1:29pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in animal shelter, Daily News, agriculture, sports, youth baseball.

Genesee County's 4-H'ers logged record sales of more than $100,000 at the 38th annual meat auction at the Fair yesterday, according to the Daily News. Unfortunately, the ever-increasing costs of feed, straw and fuel mean that the higher sales prices were barely enough to break even in many instances. Check out the article by Tom Rivers for more details.

Animal shelters in Genesee and Wyoming counties are "inundated" with cats this summer. PAWS Animal Shelter in Albion is already "at capacity" with 190 cats — and more getting dumped in the donation slot regularly.

News of the potential relocation of Youth Football to John Kennedy that is noted on today's front page appeared on The Batavian yesterday.

Batavia sluggers will travel to Oakfield tonight for the District 3 youth baseball championship. Batavia's pitchers threw two no-hitters in the past two matches (versus LeRoy and Oakfield). If they win tonight, they clinch the championship and travel to Elmira for the sectionals. If Oakfield wins, the two square off Monday for a tie-break match. Tonight's game is at 6:00pm.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at local newsstands. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

July 9, 2008 - 2:40pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, Daily News, sports.

A story in the local section of today's Daily News about the logo design contest for the New York-Penn League was missing one very important element. In a story all about designs, it would have been nice to see them.

So I went online and found them.

First things first, make sure you visit the Web site and vote for your favorite. There are six altogether from five finalists — Matthew Steinberg of Corfu got two submissions into the finals. Unfortunately, you can't tell which two are his. (This one to the left here is the current logo.)

Here are some more details about the contest from the Minor League Baseball Web site:

At the beginning of April, the New York-Penn League announced their current logo would be retired at the completion of the 2008 season. In an effort to find a new mark, the league announced a contest to help design the new logo. The league received over 80 designs from talented artists as far away as Paris, France, as well as designers from throughout the New York-Penn League community. After narrowing the competition to the top five designs, the contest will now be turned over to you, the fans, to select the league’s new logo.

And here are the final six. I kind of like Option Nos. 4 and 5.

Now, go vote!

July 8, 2008 - 2:02pm

So what's the bigger local story: That Federer-Nadal make a good tennis match, that CC Sabathia was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, or that Tyler Pratt threw a no hitter to lead Batavia over LeRoy in the 11-12 Division of the District 3 youth baseball tournament?

Federer-Nadal dominate the sports page of today's Daily News (it's a wire story that was all over the Internet hours before the DN presses ran), and Sabathia gets a good 8 inches of copy with picture (and I bet if you follow baseball, you already knew all about the trade last night), while Pratt's heroic efforts gets two paragraphs.

If Tyler or his family reads this, or any of you know him ... The Batavian would be happy to post anything you have on the game (or you can post it yourself) ... pictures, video, a first-person account. Let us know ...

Batavia's next game is Friday at 6 p.m. against Oakfield, which beat Wayland 10-7.  If you're going, take a video camera and post a few shots to YouTube. We'll repost it here.

Before we move off the sports page, we learn that tabloids love A-Rod (hold the presses for that one), and the Muckdogs lost in Vermont to the Lake Monsters 3-2 when Blake Stouffer hit a walk-off home run.

On the front page of today's Daily News, Joanne Beck covers Walk The Villages. The 45-minute walk begins downtown Saturday at 6 p.m. It's a chance to get some exercise, meet some neighbors and learn a little bit about local history, culture and architecture.  Oh, and there might be a couple of ghosts encountered along the way.

The other front-page story of note, Scott DeSmit follows up on the parachuting death of Joseph Schickler.  Officials are looking at the rigging of his chute.  An autopsy revealed that Schickler had some heart problems, but it cannot be determined if that was a contributing factor to the accident.

And in the final item to include in our round up today, on A-5 eleven area girls who are competing for Fair Queen are profiled.

The are Katie Fales, Batavia High; Anastashia Spikes, Batavia; Elysia Summers, Corfu; Desiree King, Elba; Lauren Mullen, Byron-Bergen; Taylor Patterson, Pembroke; Damainique Bruce, Batavia; April Meier, Pembroke; and, Alyssa Hilderbrandt of Pavillion Central School.

As always, you can pick up a copy of today's Daily News at a local news stand (such as Main Street Coffee), or, better yet, subscribe on the DN web site at BataviaNews.com.

 

June 26, 2008 - 12:22pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, sports, dwyer stadium, youth football.

Daily News reporter Joanne Beck paid a visit to Dwyer Stadium yesterday, but she wasn't there for a ball game. She was there to get a closer look at the outfield turf, a plot of grass that has been the center of a controversy over the past week here in Batavia.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Ben Bonarigo stood up and asked the city to let youth football play one more season at Dwyer before it relocated to Kibbe Park at a cost to the city that would not exceed about $19,000. His recommendation was immediately followed by a heated, hour-long debate among Council members, none of whom seemed to agree on even a single detail. (For more details about the meeting and the recommendation by City Manager Jason Molino to relocate the program to Austin Park, check out our two earlier posts.)

At the core of the debate is a simple disagreement between Bonarigo, who is a member of youth football's board of directors, and Council President Charlie Mallow. Bonarigo says that if youth football stays another season at Dwyer, the outfield will suffer no great hurt. Mallow says just the opposite.

Beck writes that if Council approves youth football's request to stay at Dwyer for one more season, "Mallow has no doubt the city will pay another $10,000 next year for field repairs."

We asked Charlie to explain a little more his choice of $10,000 for the city's share of field repair costs. Why that much? He wrote to us in an e-mail:

The city is responsible for the first $10,000. From what I remember it cost the Red Wings $40,000 plus for this season's patch repairs. I expect the city's liabilities to be at least what they were last year. In talking to the baseball people, anything less would not be believable. We can not open ourselves up to escalating costs of field repairs any longer.

Bonarigo countered at the meeting Monday that there is no way youth football would cause so much damage that the city would need to spend that kind of money and that even after the repairs, the field is in the same shape this year as it was last year.

And really, that's what it has come down to: Charlie says this, Bonarigo says that. My question — and I would hope it would be everyone else's question, too — is: Who do we believe?

In Beck's article today, she quotes Muckdogs General Manager Dave Wellenzohn and Red Wings General Manager both saying that Bonarigo is wrong. Wellenzohn says flat out that the "overuse" of the field from youth football "will bring us back to square one," and square one would mean an investment by the city of at least $10,000.

With the quotes from Wellezohn, Mason and Red Wings CEO Naomi Silver, the overall tenor of the article seems very much in support of Charlie's view that: "Council is wasting taxpayer dollars." And it's an argument that should warrant some credence.

Why pay $10,000, $20,000 or even $10 for youth football when that money is not spent on other youth programs, Charlie asks? Why does youth football get special treatment? Or is it special treatment? WBTA seemed to ask the opposite question in their next-day coverage of the meeting Monday: Would one more year of youth football really be that bad?

Unfortunately, Beck also writes that "Bonarigo was unavailable for comment." The Batavian put in a call to Bonarigo's office this morning to take up some of these questions, but he was not in. He should be back later, so we hope to get a comment from him then.

June 26, 2008 - 7:30am

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

  • The county Legislature approved the $31 million budget for Genesee Community College last night. Also approved at the meeting was the purchase of 17 bulletproof vests for the Sheriff's Office at a cost of $24,038.
  • The Muckdogs lost 3-1 to the Jamestown Jammers to drop back below .500 for the year. They'll be in Mahoning Valley tonight. Batavia went 2-1 in their last series against the Scrappers earlier this week.
June 23, 2008 - 10:49pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in city council, sports, youth football.

There comes a time in every city government reporter's life when he heads home from a lengthy municipal meeting and says to himself (perhaps not entirely in jest): There has to be another way. In other words, representative government is not the prettiest form of rule that we've dreamed up as a thinking, social species — and the more you spectate, the less pretty it gets.

You would be hard pressed to get nine people to agree on which type of latté to order at Main Street Coffee — or even three of them to agree on the milk to mix: skim, whole, soy, part, almond, powdered, none. Fat chance then getting those same nine to come to a tidy conclusion about a complex city issue. In fact, you can almost count on that issue becoming more and more complex before it eventually was hashed out and resolved.

But that's just how it goes. Unless you want a dictatorship... and even then you've still got bureaucrats.

Take the relocation of the youth football program out of Dwyer Stadium — its home for 32 years — into a city park: a non-issue that was vaulted to priority status when Red Wings management came to the city a few weeks back and sort of said that they would not pay for the costly repairs to the turf each year that would be required as a result of football cleats gouging the grass. Toute suite, City Manager Jason Molino put together a cost comparison between relocating the program to Austin Park or Kibbe Park. He recommended moving to Austin at a cost of about $19,000, rather than Kibbe, which would cost more like $61,000. See our earlier post for the full details.

Well, quite quickly it was quite clear that the issue was not so simple.

About every member of Council seemed to have a different take. Some argued for moving to Kibbe Park. Others argued for Austin Park. Some wondered if the real issue was the cost of the move. Others wanted to know if the program could wait one year or if they had to relocate right now. Some thought the Red Wings management said they wanted youth football gone without delay. Others swore that the management was an enthusiastic supporter.

Councilman Bill Cox recommended lifting and hauling the bleachers from Dwyer to Austin for football season, taking a torch to the scoreboard posts and hauling that over, too — and doing it all for about $1,000, not $16,000, he said.

Council President Charlie Mallow was utterly and unabashedly opposed to any solution that did not involve the immediate expulsion of youth football from Dwyer Stadium and spending the least amount of money possible relocating it somewhere else. Although he urged that he was a supporter of youth football, he just couldn't see spending so much time and money on something that lasted eight weeks and was over. Quote: "What are we really talking about here? What are we prima donnas?"

One question that was never really answered, mostly because several Council members had several diametrically opposed answers to it, was whether one more season of youth football would damage the field so much that it would cost $15,000 to fix for the next Muckdogs season; or was $15,000 more accurate for a repair of many years of field damage and not just one eight-week season.

In the end though, Ben Bonarigo put it quite simply. (Bonarigo is a member of the youth football program's board of directors.) City Council, he said, gave the youth football program its word that they could stay at Dwyer Stadium for one more year, then relocate. Fine. If that was understood, the program wanted to move to Kibbe Park. It just made more sense for them. And if the Council had a problem spending so much money — no problem, youth football would do the fundraising to make sure that the move to Kibbe would be no more costly for the city than the move to Austin.

That was actually prior to Council's discussion that raged on for a good hour and got a few hackles raised, along with a few voices.

Council President Charlie Mallow said that the decision to allow youth football to stay another year was made as part of an informal conference meeting, and it was done as a straw poll. Therefore, it was not official. Council members Rose Mary Christian and Frank Ferrando didn't care much for that, and they said so. Then a couple of them yelled so. But that went nowhere.

In fact, not much of anything went anywhere.

As Mallow himself said: "Where are we going? We're going around in a circle."

Or City Attorney George Van Nest: "The discussion has ranged far and wide." (It should be noted that Van Nest's statement had a bit of an ironic twang to it, since he followed the declaration by offering his own take on what the real issue was, taking everything farther and wider.)

Mallow repeatedly urged Council to just wrap things up before the whole thing erupted in one big overblown argument.

So... Where do we stand? Where does youth football stand? Nowhere. Everywhere.

At the end of the rigamarole, a motion by Frank Ferrando was pushed through that would put a vote on the next business meeting agenda to declare that youth football can remain at Dwyer Stadium for one more year — and one more year only  — before they have to relocate. In other words, Council will vote to maintain a situation that already exists. You could see that Van Nest got a kick out of that. Me too.

June 23, 2008 - 12:25pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Batavia Muckdogs, Daily News, sports.

From the Daily News (Monday):

  • The Muckdogs fell apart in the ninth to go down 8-6 against the visiting Mahoning Valley Scrappers last night. After getting sweeped by the Doubledays earlier in the week, the Muckdogs took off for Rochester's Frontier Field Friday where they scored their first win, then won again against the Scrappers Saturday. With the loss yesterday, the home team drops to 2-4 for the season. They'll host the Jamestown Jammers at 7:05pm tonight. Be sure to tune in to WBTA 1490 AM for the broadcast.
  • There's really little else in the way of Batavia news in the paper today. Roger Muehlig put together a trio of articles on the Oakfield-Alabama and Elba graduations from this weekend. Today's Local section has an article about a pastor in Albion helping to raise money for a Pakistani school, a response from Medina's Board of Education to a state audit that found problems with the district's funding procedure and an info-piece about a fundraiser in Bergen. The Zwerka Family Fun Day Fundraiser will be July 13 from 1:00 to 6:00pm at the Gillam-Grant Community Center at 6966 West Bergen Rd.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

June 19, 2008 - 12:39pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in city council, consolidation, sports, youth football.

Batavia's City Council will meet Monday to tend to a pair of budget amendments regarding the consolidation study, most of which is funded by a state grant. Also on the agenda is a 2.75 percent wage increase for City Manager Jason Molino following the completion of Molino's annual review which was completed earlier in the week. (Council President Charlie Mallow first announced the results of the review on The Batavian this past Monday.)

Monday's big discussion is likely to be over the relocation of the youth football program, which has for years now been situated in the outfield of Dwyer Stadium. Officials from the Rochester Red Wings told Council about a month ago that if they wish to keep youth football at the stadium, the damage done to the field will mean costly annual maintenance to get the turf back in shape for the Muckdogs season.

Molino has recommended two potential locations to host youth football: Austin Park or Kibbe Park. Both would require an initial investment from taxpayers, though moving the field to Kibbe Park would mean much more.

This (above) is what the layour would look like if it were situated at Austin Park at a cost of $19,444. In a letter to Council, Molino said Austin Park would be the better fit.

As seen in the diagram, the field can easily be placed east to west in the open space of the park. There can be a user agreement developed between the City and youth football for access and use of the concession stand and bathrooms during the season. New bleachers can be purchased, but can also be used for other events during different times throughout the year. Parking is adequate...

Molino dismissed the idea of transferring the bleachers from Dwyer Stadium every year at a cost of about $6,000. The cost for new permanent bleachers for Austin Park would be about $13,000. Several trees on the east side of the park would have to be removed, and a scoreboard will have to be installed.

[The] Rochester Red Wings ... have offered to assist by holding a silent auction night for baseball paraphernalia at the Dwyer Stadium with all proceeds going towards the purchase of the new scoreboard ($4,000). They are also willing to assist with other fund raising efforts in conjunction with youth football.

As for relocating to Kibbe Park, the cost would be about $61,000 and would include the building of a concession stand and other facilities already located at Austin Park. The layout for Kibbe Park can be viewed below.

The meeting will be at 7:00pm on the second floor of City Hall. You can download the agenda for the business meeting.

Note: Mallow said at the last meeting that Council would discuss at this coming meeting the policy regarding Council members communication with city staff. There was no mention of this topic on the agenda.

June 19, 2008 - 8:49am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Batavia Muckdogs, wbta, sports.

You could have said the night started ominous. Sure, the fans were there, diehard and decked in team merch, blankets tucked under their arms. They entered Dwyer Stadium under an arc of balloons — and Muckdog management even saw fit to roll out the red carpet, or at least a pair of shaggy red-colored rugs.

Then came the rain.

Everyone was talking about it. You couldn't not. Not with those low-hanging clouds that looked as thick as continents rolling slowly past. When one of them finally broke at about 6:30pm, everyone who wasn't under cover got a good soaking. Concession boys scrambled to get the condiment carts under the eaves. Managers called out for more hands on deck to roll tarp over the field. Ladies held seat cushions over their heads.

But it passed. Soon it was pretty much over. Fans got down to the business of watching baseball, and the Batavia Muckdogs and the Auburn Doubledays got down to the business of playing it.

Well, they lost. Batavia went down 1-6 against Auburn. Oh well. Now they'll take it to Auburn for the third and final game of the series tomorrow night down two games to none.

Don't forget to tune it to WBTA for the play-by-play.

May 20, 2008 - 6:08pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, police, sports, airport.

From the Daily News (Tuesday):

• Rich Baird stepped up at Monday's game versus Eastridge and threw a no-hitter to take his record to 4-0 for the season. The Blue Devils won that match 11-1 — the one run for Eastridge came when two errors and a walk loaded the bases and "a fielder's choice knocked in the run," writes reporter Brian Hillabush.

• Batavia senior Mike Spiotta won the Section 5 golf championship for 2008 with an even-par 72 at Stafford Country Club Monday. Hillabush writes: "Spiotta will lead a group of nine Section 5 golfers at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Tournament June 1 and 2 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University."

• Muckdogs General Manager David Wellenzohn is pleased with the team's opening day sales Saturday. Reporter Joanne Beck tallied "130 tickets and four season tickets, 13 coupon books and three ticket packs." Wellenzohn sat atop a scissor lift out front of the stadium from Friday to Saturday morning — a stunt likely intended to bring people down.

• The Daily News followed-up on news that city police Lt. Eugene Jankowski is out of the running for the police chief position — a story that broke at The Batavian yesterday. There was nothing new to the story to report. City Manager Jason Molino was unavailable for comment.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

May 19, 2008 - 8:46am
posted by Philip Anselmo in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

Earlier this year, the Playing Rules Committee for Major League Baseball instituted some changes that would be tried out in the Minor Leagues to help speed up the game. (It should be mentioned that these changes were enacted before the Colorado Rockies took six hours and 22 innings to beat the San Diego Padres 2-1 in April.)

The changes would limit the time the pitcher has to throw the ball and the number of conferences on the mound with other players or coaches. From the MLB site:

Any combination of three or more manager/coach visits to the mound in a game without removing the pitcher will result in the automatic removal of the pitcher from the game on a fourth visit, regardless of whether prior visits were to the same or different pitcher(s). Additionally, no more than one infielder at a time is permitted to visit the mound, including during any visit by a manager or coach.

In Sunday's Niagara Gazette, contributor Doug Smith had a suggestion of his own to help keep the game going.

...it’s one of life’s little contradictions that for most dedicated baseball fans, the quicker the game, the better.

To further this end, the New York-Pennsylvania League has instituted some speed-up rules for the 2008 season that begins in Batavia on June 18. The advisory reads like the tax code, but basically, umpires will crack down on those long caucuses on the mound in which most of the players discuss where they’re going after the game, or reference “that babe in section 102.”

With strong young arms and short pitch counts, the NY-P already ranks among the minor-league leaders in game pace, so this seems an unusual place to start, and Base Paths can’t see this providing much improvement.

Want to really speed up the games?

Limit the number of pickoff throws. Three per runner ought to do it, and Kenny Rogers is pretty close to retirement anyway.

The Batavia Muckdogs will get a taste of the changes when their season starts in Auburn on June 17. Tune in to WBTA (1490 AM) to get your Muckdogs baseball fix.

May 16, 2008 - 2:27pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in veterans, sports.

From the Daily News (Friday):

• A big hit from Joe Stachowski put the Batavia Blue Devils over Hornell last night. The high school baseball team rolled to a 7-7 record with the win. Meanwhile, the girls softball team was triumphant over Eastridge, winning 3-2 and setting their record at 7-8. Also, Blue Devils tennis took home a win over Alexander, 4-1, wrapping up their season with an 8-5 record, "one of the most succesful seasons the squad has had in years," writes reporter Brian Hillabush.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

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