The Batavian celebrated 10 years of delivering news and support to local businesses at Eli Fish Brewing Company in Batavia yesterday.
Sharon White, above, representing Assemblyman Steve Hawley, delivered an Assembly Citation recognizing The Batavian for 10 years of service to the community.
Michael Kracker, representing Rep. Chis Collins, delivered a copy of Congressional Record for May 1 commemorating The Batavian's 10 years in business and recognizing the efforts of Publisher Howard Owens and Editor Billie Owens for their commitment in preserving the First Amendment.
Jay Grasso, representing State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, delivered a Legislative Resolution, which was read into the State Senate record yesterday, marking The Batavian's 10th anniversary.
A letter from Sen. Charles E. Schumer congratulating the publisher and editor of The Batavian on the 10th anniversary of their local news business was also received before the event.
It reads, in part: "I applaud you both for the leap of faith you took back in 2009 when you moved to Batavia and garnered the support of local businesses in order to keep this news outlet alive. Thanks to your efforts, The Batavian remains a go-to source for local news and is supported by more than 150 local businesses."
Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, and publisher of the Batavia Daily News when The Batavian first started, served as emcee Tuesday afternoon. He noted how there was an intense rivalry between himself and Howard Owens in the beginning, but now they often work together as friends with the shared mission of promoting local business in Genesee County.
Also in attendance, Dan and Debbie Fischer, owners of WBTA radio. WBTA is an official news partner with The Batavian and has been a partner and friend to The Batavian from the beginning.
Howard Owens spoke briefly and recognized the contributions of several people, including the Fischers and Turnbull, who have helped him and his wife over these past 10 years, including staff member Lisa Ace, who has been with the company for almost seven years and is critical to helping The Batavian serve local businesses.
The Batavian officially launched May 1, 2008, without an office in Batavia. The site was then owned by GateHouse Media. The editor was Philip Anselmo* and he camped out at Main Street Coffee every workday covering local news from his unofficial office. The location of Main Street Coffee is now Eli Fish Brewing Company.
On March 1, 2009, Howard and Billie became owners of The Batavian, sold their house in Pittsford and moved to a duplex on Maple Street in June of that year.
At the time, there were only about a half dozen online-only news sites in the nation. Today, there are more than 200 and The Batavian is among the most successful of the online-only ventures.
The Batavian and Howard Owens have received awards from the New York Press Association, the Inland Press Association, and the National Press Photographers Association. This news site also received the 2009 Innovative Enterprise of the Year Award from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, and the 2013 Spirit of Downtown award from the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District.
(*Former Batavian Editor Phillip Anselmo, always an excellent writer and top-notch journalist, went on to earn a master's degree in Comparative Literature at UC Irvine; he is now a Critical Theory graduate student in UC Irvine's School of Humanities. The Rochester native teaches a class in Comparative Literature at the Irvine, Calif., campus.)
Top photo by Jim Burns. Bottom two photos by Steve Ognibene.
Tom Turnbull with Howard Owens
Billie Owens, Bill Kauffman, Howard Owens