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September 25, 2017 - 4:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, news.

Today, The Batavian is releasing its new mobile app for the iOS platform (iPhones and iPads). You can download it through this link from your iOS device.

This is a completely homegrown app. I decided two years ago I could no longer ignore mobile publishing.

My initial impulse was to try and raise money for development, but as that started looking really difficult, I weighed that difficulty (and spending a lot of time with an uncertain outcome) against just writing all the code myself. The actual code writing started 18 months ago. First I built all the backend (server stuff) to support the app (building the Deal of the Day program was a "getting my feet wet again in programming" exercise), then eight months ago I started building the actual app.

It was every bit as hard as I anticipated, which is why I had avoided the idea for years, especially going through two eye surgeries and now a dislocated knee.  

The future of news is mobile. It makes a lot of sense. People with smartphones and tablets always have the world with them, including their local community, and they like to check in frequently to find out what's going on. On the other hand, local news on mobile is still a specialty product, a niche. I think the website is going to be our dominant news and business promotion platform for several years yet, but I also don't want to lose out to mobile when it becomes a bigger part of how people access local news.

The people interested in mobile news, studies show, want fast, smooth access to check the latest headlines. The Batavian's new mobile app is designed to meet that need for those people looking for a fast and convenient mobile news experience. We've streamlined news delivery and what we ask in return is that those who use the app regularly pay just $2 a month for a subscription.

We also use the app to help promote local businesses. Our local business directory is featured on the app. The directory is now only a framework for the long-term goal of creating a model for business-promotion-as-a-service for mobile and social networking, to bring local readers and local businesses together in a friendly, safe and mutually beneficial environment.

For those on Android: I don't expect to have the Android version of the app completed anytime soon. I'm guessing three months or a little longer. Most of the code that makes the iOS app is the same for Android as it is for iOS, but there are some significant differences to work through. I have some other business tasks to attend to while continuing to cover local news, so my available time for coding is limited.

Download the iOS app.

August 1, 2017 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

You might have noticed I've not had a byline on the site the past three days.

Friday evening while hitting golf balls, while in my back swing, I felt a pop in my left knee and fell to the ground in pain. Billie took me to the emergency room. It looks like a slight tear to the meniscus and fluid on the knee. Since then, it's been really tough to walk. I'm stuck at home and can't get up stairs.

Billie just moved my computer downstairs so I can start doing some work again.

Hopefully, I'll be back to normal in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, it's going to be hard for me to get out and cover things. We've got a cast of freelancers to help with coverage, but my work will be confined to what I can do without leaving the house.

We like to keep people informed of things going on that affect the normal flow of coverage, so that's the story in this case.

June 17, 2017 - 4:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

This evening, Billie and I catch a plane for Los Angeles. We'll visit Bakersfield, Ventura and San Diego over the next eight days, seeing family and friends.

We return the morning of June 26.

While we're gone, we'll do our best to keep up with the site.

Covering news for us will be our intern Maria Pericozzi, reporter Mike Pettinella, and photographers Jim Burns and Steve Ognibene.

We also, as always, appreciate your help. We're always grateful for readers who send us pictures or news tips. If something is going on that you think other readers might like to know about, email me (preferred) at [email protected] or text (585) 260-6970 (don't count on me seeing Facebook messages).

Note to Deal of the Day buyers: We're not going to post any deals today or tomorrow, but I will try to get a daily post up through the week. However, deals won't be shipped out in the mail until June 27, a week from Tuesday.

January 5, 2017 - 1:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, thebatavian.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
January 1, 2017 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.


December 20, 2016 - 5:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shop Local, thebatavian, advertisement.

Visit before Dec. 27 and post recommendations for your favorite local businesses for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate for Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle.

Each recommendation posted increases your chances of winning.

The winner of the Valle Jeweler's gift certificate was Penny Hogan, of Le Roy, for her recommendation for R&D Outlet Center.

UPDATE 10:25 p.m.: I just discovered a code error introduced into the code this morning that was preventing recommendations posted today from being saved. It was redirecting people to the home page instead of completing the process. It is fixed now.

December 19, 2016 - 7:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shop Local, thebatavian.

We've received dozens of recommendations on Shop Local for local businesses in the past five days and there is only one day left in our drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to Valle Jewelers.

Every recommendation posted on before Tuesday earns a chance to win the gift certificate. To post a recommendation, go to and click on the links for your favorite local businesses and find the area on the page for recommendations. (You need to be registered and signed in to post a recommendation, but if you've already signed up for Deal of the Day, you have an account already.)

Here are the 10 local businesses with the most recommendations so far:

  1. Valle Jewelers
  2. Red Osier Landmark Restaurant
  3. Bourbon & Burger Co.
  4. Genesee Dental
  5. Southside Deli
  6. Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle
  7. West Main Wine & Spirits
  8. R & D Factory Outlet
  9. Fab Fajita & Pita
  10. T.F. Brown's

If your local business isn't listed on, call Dawn Puleo at (585) 250-4118 for assistance.

December 13, 2016 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, thebatavian.

Note: If you were among the first to sign up for Deal of the Day back in August, you might now be eligible to purchase again some of your first gift certificate purchases. Check your account page to see what you are eligible to buy.

Reminders of how the new Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. This is its own registration system, separate from the main registration for The Batavian.
  • Once registered you must be logged in.
  • You click on the orange button, if the item is not sold out, and it takes you to a PayPal button. This allows you to pay either with your PayPal account or with a credit card/debit card. The login for PayPal is completely separate from our accounts.
  • The first person to successfully complete the PayPal transaction wins the gift certificate.
  • You are eligible to buy the same item only once in a four-month period. We use the registration system to track this for you so you don't have to.
December 13, 2016 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shop Local, thebatavian.

Yesterday, we launched our new local business promotion site,

One of the first features we added to the site (there are more to come) is a way for you to post recommendations for your favorite local businesses. Recommendations are a great way for you to help spread the word about your favorite local businesses and encourage your friends, family members and neighbors to give these businesses a try.

If you post a recommendation on in the next week, you will be entered into a drawing for a free $100 gift certificate to Valle Jewelers. In fact, it gets better: the more recommendations you post, the greater your chance of winning because you get one ticket in the drawing for every recommendation you post.

This contest will end the morning of Dec. 21. That gives you a week to post as many recommendations as you can and get as many chances as you can to win a $100 gift certificate to Valle Jewelers.

No purchase necessary. Employees of The Batavian are excluded from the drawing.

To post a recommendation, you need to register on the site. Here's the easy part: if you've already registered for Deal of the Day, just use your same email and password to sign in.

December 12, 2016 - 8:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shop Local, business, news, thebatavian.

When we launched our Deal of the Day program, I shared that this was the first step toward my intention to write code, to create a series of programs that I hope will better serve local residents and local businesses.

Today, we announce the next big step along this path -- launching a new site to help promote local businesses,

I built this, no vendor, no open source software, because none of the options really did what I think a site like this should do for local businesses and local residents. What is today is not what it will be a year or even two years from now. This is just the foundation, a framework. I will add more and more services and functions as time permits.

And stay tuned, in the next day or two we will announce the first in a series of contests tied into this new site.

Meanwhile, visit and email me with any feedback, suggestions or errors you find: [email protected].

Also, if you own a local business and it's not listed, call our office at (585) 250-4118 and ask for Dawn Puleo. She can assist you.

November 26, 2016 - 10:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shop Local, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, news.

Today is Shop Local Saturday. Ironically, it's a national event pushed by a multinational corporation. Be that as it may, our readers know one of the underlying philosophies of The Batavian is that people should strive to shop at local businesses as much as possible.

In this day and age, it would be impossible in just about any community in America to shop in only local shops, but all over America, as in Genesee County, our communities are filled with vital local businesses.

Local businesses are essential to a community's health and prosperity. Social science research shows that communities with strong local business communities reap all kinds of benefits, from higher graduation rates to lower poverty rates and even a lower infant mortality rate.  

Local business owners help tie a community together. They volunteer more, give more and share more. They're part of our civic organizations and donate most to our local charities. Without successful local businesses, we would all be worse off.

There's been a lot of attention paid in this past election cycle to the idea that more of what we buy should be manufactured in the United States. That drive to bring manufacturing back to the United States means nothing if we're not supporting our local businesses. It's not that our local shops stock only American-made products, though that's more likely, it's that they are right in our community helping our community. If you truly want to see a great America, do something more than rally around manufacturing, support your local business owners, the people who live in your community and give to your community.

Here's a list of The Batavian's sponsors, which is a good place to start when shopping local for Christmas and into the New Year. We also encourage your support of the sponsors of the Pin Points bowling column, which runs every other Thursday exclusively on The Batavian.

We thank them for their support of The Batavian and thank you for your support of The Batavian and our community.

November 7, 2016 - 8:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Now I can reveal a little more about what's been going on the past few days and why Billie and I haven't been around.  I had to be a little cagey in my previous post about our absence a few days ago in the chance that my dad might look at the site.

I just returned from a trip to Bakersfield, Calif., for my dad's surprise 80th birthday party.  He may have had some inkling there was a party, but he had no idea I was coming.

That trip was planned for some time, but what was unexpected was that Billie had to have a medical procedure done the day before I left.  It's nothing serious but needed to be done and she will be fine, but it will be a little while yet before she returns to work.

The main point is, news coverage should largely return to its normal flow.  

As always, thank you for your support.

November 2, 2016 - 7:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Over the next few days, Billie and I have some personal matters that will disrupt our normal routines. We'll be in and out of town. Nothing serious, just things that will pull us away from 100 percent focus on The Batavian.

We've planned for this and have arranged with Mike Pettinella, Jim Burns, Steve Ognibene, Rob Henry, Rick Franclemont and our news partners at WBTA and 13WHAM to help with coverage.

September 30, 2016 - 11:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Billie had to go out of town today unexpectedly. I'm still in Chicago and the LION Publishers' conference is in full swing.

For most of the day, we won't have anyone monitoring the scanner. I think we'll have some news flow today, but a slight unexpected disruption.

September 27, 2016 - 9:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

I didn't get a chance to post this before I left, but I'm in Chicago through Saturday.

I'll miss the Wine Walk, but we've got coverage lined up of various things while I'm gone. 

I'm attending a two-day conference for programmers working for news organizations and then I'll be at the annual conference for Local Independent Online News Publishers. I'll be speaking at that conference on Saturday.

September 17, 2016 - 3:53pm


It was on a Saturday in September 10 years ago that I first drove into Batavia.

I returned to that event today to sort of mark the anniversary.

It was through a calendar item in the Gardener's Journal 10 years ago that I saw something about a Master Gardeners' Gala at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in a placed called Batavia.

"Batavia can't be too far of a drive," I thought, while sitting in my hotel room in Fairport.  

I made the drive, and it was a bit more of a drive than I expected, but eventually, I found Batavia, and I found it charming.

I came out here looking for information on growing roses in Western New York (we were getting ready to move from Bakersfield, Calif.) and left charmed by this little city.

Little did I know then, that within two years, I would be starting an online news site for Genesee County and eventually moving here myself. But Billie and I are quite happy with that turn of events.

Thank you all for supporting our experiment in online-only news and embracing and accepting us as you have.

And yes, I've found it possible to quite successfully grow roses in Western New York.



August 11, 2016 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Bowling, Mike Pettinella, thebatavian, news, business.


For nearly a decade, local journalist and bowling expert Mike Pettinella has produced a bi-weekly bowling column for the local print newspaper, but on Sept. 1, Pettinella’s column moves into the 21st Century, going all digital.

Pettinella has agreed to move the column, Pin Points, to the region’s most popular source for online news, The Batavian.

With the reach of The Batavian, the Wyoming County Free Press and promotional help from WBTA AM/FM and the online-only news sites in Orleans and Livingston counties, Pettinella’s Pin Points will reach a bigger audience than ever.

“We’re honored that Mike has chosen The Batavian for his column’s new home,” said Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian. “Mike has a large and loyal following of bowling enthusiasts, so combine that with the popularity of The Batavian and it’s a move that is great for bowlers in the area and the sponsors who have long supported Pin Points.”

Pettinella is a Genesee Region USBC Hall of Fame bowler and writer who has written professionally about the sport of bowling continuously since 1977, when he began employment as Sports Editor of The Batavia Daily News.

Bowling has been a major part of Pettinella’s career since 1992, when he took the managerial position at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia. After an 11-year stint there, he was hired by the Empire State USBC Association as its manager in 2010, and continues to serve as association manager of the New York State USBC, a position he has held since 2011.

Earlier this month, Pettinella accepted the position as association manager of the Genesee Region USBC, which services league and tournament bowlers in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. He also covers local government in Genesee County and other local news for The Batavian.

His bowling columns have appeared in the Daily News and the Genesee Valley PennySaver, and he has also had articles published in several bowling publications, including Spares & Strikes and the CNY Striker. For the past nine years, his Pin Points column on The Bowling Page was a regular feature of The Batavia Daily News.

Pettinella has been involved in bowling since the late 1960s, and rolled a certified 300 game as a high school junior in 1971.

A former collegiate standout bowler, he has a high series of 816, has four Batavia Bowling Association/GRUSBC Senior Masters titles, and anchored the Turnbull Heating team to the NYS Open Championships title in 2010. Last season, he rolled two 300 games at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

Mike and his wife, Wendy, have four grown daughters and five grandchildren.

August 5, 2016 - 9:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement.

Yesterday, we introduced a whole new system for handling the Deal of the Day. We've automated much of the work of managing deal of the day to make it both easier on us and easier on you.

For us, it will mean a lot less work.

For you, you will no longer be asked to remember if you're eligible to buy a deal. In the past, we had a requirement that you couldn't buy the same deal within a six-month window (that's now four months), but it was kind of up to you to remember your last purchase date. With this new system, the database will remember that information for you. 

To make this work, however, you will need to register and log into your account to make a purchase. From that point on, everything with PayPal works just like it did before.

This new system will allow us to post deal of the day more frequently and at more random times, giving more people a chance to enjoy the benefits of these bargains.

For more on this project and why we did it, click here.

This is a new application. if you have problems, email details to [email protected]

Also, on the four-month rule, everybody starts fresh today. Prior purchases won't be tracked.

TWO NOTES: Two issues that came up yesterday.

The registration system for Deal of the Day is not connected to the registration system for The Batavian (for posting comments, for example). You need to register specifically with Deal of the Day to be able to buy deals (good idea, as many people did, to register in advance, so you're logged in and ready to go when a deal pops up that you want to buy before anybody else does).

When you are registering, it's just for our system. You will still need to log into your PayPal account to complete the purchase.

August 4, 2016 - 3:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, news.

Late last year, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to build The Batavian into the kind of local media company I always intended it to become, I needed transform it from just a news media company into a media technology company.

In the first few years of this century, I worked at a newspaper in California, the Ventura County Star, where I was a web application developer. In other words, I wrote code all day. The applications I built made millions of dollars for our parent company, E.W. Scripps, and won industry awards. The work set me on a path to executive jobs, which brought me to New York and eventually to Batavia, where Billie and I decided we wanted to stay when the last executive job went away.

Until last November, I hadn't written code in more than a decade. I always thought I should build an application to manage our deal of the day program better, but resisted doing it because of the amount of work involved.

For years, we've tried to do things we thought would help grow the business with vendors and/or open source software, but I was always a little dissatisfied with how things worked. That led me to the decision to go ahead and start writing code again.

I have big plans, big ambitions, but I started simply: Deal of the Day.

Today, we launch our new Deal of the Day web application. I'm pretty excited. It feels like a milestone to me because I believe the future of the media industry depends on companies being masters of their own technologies and data.

It's been slow going to get to this point. I've only been able to work in small increments, sometimes only 15 minutes in a day, or not at all on some days, because of all the other responsibilities that go with running The Batavian and the Wyoming County Free Press (and losing six weeks of work time because of eye surgery didn't help). Now I'll start taking those small increments of available time and work on these more ambitious projects.

Billie and I appreciate your loyal and enthusiastic support of The Batavian as we continue to work on this little experiment to rewrite the future of local news.

Below (or through this link) is our first new Deal of the Day post.


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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

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