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October 26, 2020 - 10:52pm

Batavia City Council members are so hungry for news that the Ellicott Station project is moving forward that even budget amendments pertaining to a couple of grants approved two and three years ago are cause for celebration.

At tonight’s Conference Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski introduced a draft resolution amending the budget to reflect a National Grid Urban Corridor grant of $250,000 on behalf of Savarino Companies LLC of Buffalo, developer of the $22.5 million mixed-use brownfield project on the site of the former Soccio & Della Penna construction company and Santy’s Tire Sales on Ellicott Street.

Ellicott Station is one of several city ventures that have been awarded funds from the state’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. Plans for the project were first announced more than four years ago.

Tabelski said the National Grid grant that was approved in 2018 along with a Restore New York grant for $500,000 approved in 2017 are “pass through” items that the City facilitates for the developer.

She said it was an oversight that the grants previously weren’t put into a resolution form and given expenditure and revenue account designations, and “will not affect our bottom line in any way.”

“The Ellicott Station project, which everyone has heard about for many years, was awarded two grants back in 2017 and 2018 – one from Empire State Development called the Restore New York grant and that is a $500,000 grant to rehab the old electric building that’s on that site,” she said following the meeting. “That will be rehabilitated to house a micro-brewery business, and the city has had success with Restore New York grants in the past. That will come to Council at the next Conference meeting next month.”

She said tonight’s National Grid resolution recognizes the city as the applicant “but the work will be done by Savarino Companies.”

“The grant is for $250,000 to enhance the Ellicott Trail on the property area right behind the Savarino campus,” she said. “The trail will be enhanced with lighting, benches, (and) there will be parking areas there as well for people to utilize the trail starting in that area. The hope is that they will also use the restaurant and brew house that will be on that site.”

Tabelski said the grant funds won’t be turned over to Savarino Companies until the specific projects are completed.

Council member Rose Mary Christian expressed that her patience (and apparently that of her colleagues) has been wearing a bit thin, waiting for some activity on the large parcel that is plagued by unsightly buildings with broken windows.

“We’re still up in the air (on this),” Christian said. “I just want to be sure it’s going to go through.”

Tabelski said that Samuel Savarino, the company’s chief executive officer, is looking to close on the entire project in November and December and will be required to have all of his ducks in a row at the closing.

On Sept. 16, The Batavian broke the story that Savarino Companies received nearly $5.7 million in low-income housing tax credits from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

Savarino called the HCR award “a critical component which all the other commitments of the project which are in place have been waiting for.”

He said he hoped to start construction “anywhere between the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year.”

Savarino’s plan is to construct a five-story apartment building with 55 new, modern workforce housing units, as well as a brewery, restaurant/beer garden and potential further development on 3.31 acres. It is expected to create 20 jobs in the city’s downtown area.

Cost Adjustment Necessary

Council also moved to its Nov. 9 Business Meeting a resolution approving a contract increase of $26,013 for the creation of Ellicott Trail, a 9.7-mile bike and walking route that snakes through the city and down from Williams Park to Seven Springs Road.

The $1.7 million project was mostly paid by state Department of Transportation funds, with the City of Batavia and Town of Batavia sharing about 10 percent of the cost.

A complete analysis of the final expense indicate that the city owes $196,763 -- $26,013 more than the budgeted amount. The resolution authorizes the city to use some of its Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program funding to make up the difference.

Public Works Director Matt Worth said the city has a large enough CHIPs balance to absorb the additional cost without affecting future scheduled projects. He also said that maintenance of the trail should be minimal – mostly labor to periodically regroom the trail (adding stone dust when necessary).

Council member John Canale commented that Ellicott Trail is becoming “the gem of the community,” adding that its popularity has proved the “naysayers” wrong.

Other Items Move Forward

The board also advanced resolutions pertaining to the Jackson Square DRI project, Carolwood Drive Extension, natural gas commodity contract, amending the municipal code to include public garages in I-1 (Industrial) zones with a special use permit, acceptance of a STOP-DWI “crackdown” award and Rotary Club grant for kayaking activities at DeWitt Park on Cedar Street.

Watch for details on those projects on Tuesday on The Batavian.

Previous story: City Council set to receive update on Jackson Square project consultant selection process.

October 26, 2020 - 9:30pm

Speaking on behalf of the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market, Batavian Elizabeth “Betty” Carr tonight asked City Council to rethink its position on placing a new police headquarters on the Alva Place parking lot, proposed action that would force the market to – once again – find a new location.

“I’m here tonight to ask for your help. I’d like to find a path forward to keep the market at the current site, so I’m here to ask your guidance and consideration to agreeing that the police department should find a different home,” said Carr, manager of the downtown seasonal operation, during Council's Conference Meeting at City Centre Council Board Room.

Carr mentioned that the market has moved 11 times in the past 15 years and that it takes at least two years “to ramp back up to full capacity.”

Stating that she is “excited” to live in Batavia, Carr said she wants to help Batavia craft its “ideal market, which I see as a diamond in the rough.”

“I can help build strategic relationships and garner fresh funds. I’m asking each of you for open dialogue so we can work collaboratively together on this,” she said.

Carr also spoke about two New York State food stamp programs that are helping the farmers’ market gain new customers and helping residents -- especially those with low incomes -- buy fresh produce and other homemade items while stretching their food dollars.

“Each of you has in front of you survey results from Field & Fork Network, which is a New York State food stamp program,” she said to the council members. “Field & Fork is trending for doubling, even tripling, some numbers this year. These results show that 73 percent of our customers walk or bike to the market, including senior citizens who enjoy their independence by shopping at the market – using their walkers and motorized scooters.”

She said that food stamp recipients come to the market’s information booth where Carr electronically removes money from their Electronic Benefits Transfer card and gives them silver coins for fruits and vegetables only and wood coins for produce and everything else being sold.

The “everything else” items include meat, cheese, bread, honey, maple syrup, olive oil, flavored vinegar, baked goods, canned goods and jams and jellies, she said.

Carr also informed the board about the “Double Up Food Bucks” program that matches up to $20 a day so EBT customers can afford to buy produce.

“The wins are threefold,” she said. “Low income folks are eating better. Our local farmers are gaining new customers and they keep more money. The best part is our food dollars are staying in the region.”

She maintained that moving the market would hurt Batavia.

“Frankly, your farmers are weary of rebuilding from scratch,” she said. “Will you provide the guidance and help make the corner of Alva Place and Bank Street the market’s forever home?”

While no council member addressed her comments during the meeting, afterwards Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said he was surprised by Carr’s position on the proposed location of a new police station.

“We did a feasibility study on that lot months ago and at that time we notified the mall (merchants), BID (Business Improvement District) people and the farmers’ market – making sure we didn’t affect the mall’s parking spaces – and apparently everyone was on board until tonight,” he said. "We even said we would help the market find a new place."

Jankowski said city officials looked into a few privately-owned locations in the city and found that the going rate to purchase those parcels was around $500,000.

“It makes more sense to put the building on city properly centrally located, which is what most people are calling for,” he said. "We save $500,000 right off the bat, the location makes it easy for police officers to access and is not on either side of the city.”

October 26, 2020 - 7:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, elba.

A tractor-trailer accident is reported in the area of 7990 Oak Orchard Road, Elba.

A first responder says the truck is well off the road in a field.

No word on injuries.

Elba Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

October 26, 2020 - 5:38pm
posted by Press Release in batavia, news, DEA, drug take back day.

Press release:

The Batavia Police Department accepted almost 300 pounds of prescription drugs during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Take Back Day held in the Alva Place parking lot on Saturday.

Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2  p.m., officers accepted drugs from 142 vehicles. This year, the department partnered with staff from United Memorial Medical Center who were on hand to accept sharps.

The service was free and anonymous, no questions asked.

This month’s event was the DEA’s 19th nationwide event since its inception 10 years ago.  

Last fall, Americans turned in nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs at nearly 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 5,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners.

DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected nearly 6,350 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of the National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010.

October 26, 2020 - 5:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, news.

shaketreesstafford2020.jpg

This struck me as a picturesque view off of Transit Road in Stafford as I drove through the area this afternoon.

October 26, 2020 - 5:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

  • Genesee County received five new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in Alabama, Bergen, Bethany, and Le Roy.
    • The individuals are in their 20s and 60s.
    • The individuals were not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Two of the previous positive individuals have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Thirteen new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • Two of the positive individuals are hospitalized.
    • The Genesee County Health Department received notification from the State that the individual previously reported as positive at Premier Genesee has been identified as a negative COVID patient; therefore the individual has been removed from our numbers.
       
  • Orleans County received 19 new positive cases of COVID-19.
    • The new positive cases reside in Albion, Barre, Carlton, Clarendon and Murray.
    • The individuals are in their 0-19s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s and 80s.
    • Two of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Sixteen new individuals are on precautionary quarantine due to travel from restricted states.
    • One of the positive individuals is hospitalized.
    • Five of the new positive individuals are students at Albion Central School District, which include the elementary, the middle and the high schools. Four of the students had not been in school for the week prior to testing positive. The Health Department determined there is no need to do further contact tracing in the school for those students. Contact tracing regarding the fifth student has been completed. Staff members and parents of any students who were identified as being close contacts have been notified by the Health Department. The individuals are under mandatory isolation and will remain there until fully recovered. Contact tracing is in process. Individuals identified by the health department as being close contacts have been and/or will be contacted by the health department contact tracers and placed under mandatory quarantine.  Individuals identified by the health department as being a close contact will be expected to follow the New York State Department of Health quarantine guidelines.
October 26, 2020 - 3:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, news, accident.

A car-into-pole accident with injuries is reported in Bethany at Transit Road and Ellicott Street Road. The pole is down along with wires. Bethany Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics.

UPDATE 3:13 p.m.: The accident is not blocking traffic, according to a first responder on scene, who also reports a Sheriff's deputy is there.

UPDATE 3:17 p.m.: There is one patient "who is not very coherent." The vehicle is in a ditch; there is no debris in the roadway.

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: The pole is sheared in half -- "I don't even know where the bottom half is," says a first responder. A NYS Trooper is also on scene.

UPDATE 3:47 p.m.: Responders believe this accident was the result of a medical issue. Just prior to the accident, callers to the dispatch center reported a vehicle being driven erratically. It was southbound on Route 63, went off the road onto a lawn, possibly damaging a decorative pole, then back on the road and off again on the west side of the roadway. It careened over to the opposite side and landed on its wheels in a grassy area on the east.

October 26, 2020 - 1:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, USPS.

Recently we noticed a couple of newly installed U.S. Mail Service boxes on the Southside, one at 20 Maple St., and another one around the corner on the west side of Evans Street in the city. We asked about their purpose.

"These are called 'relay boxes,' " said spokesman Desai O. Abdul-Razzaaq, at the WNY USPS office in Buffalo. "They are for mail carriers with walk-out routes. There is no slot to put mail in; they aren't mailboxes for the public to use. They're accessible for postal workers only."

They are used to briefly store mail safely that has accumulated along a walking route until it can be retrieved by a postal truck driver and delivered to the post office.

October 26, 2020 - 1:30pm
posted by Press Release in news, Veterans Day.

From William R. Joyce, director, Genesee County Veterans Service Agency:

Veterans Day Ceremonies Schedule for Wednesday, Nov. 11

9 a.m. -- Genesee Co. Park (Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #193)
10 a.m. -- Batavia VA Medical Center
10:15 a.m. -- NYS Veterans' Home
11 a.m. -- Upton Monument in Downtown Batavia 
11:30 a.m. -- Jerome Center (UMMC) Monument

Organizations participating: Veterans of Foreign Wars of Genesee County; Genesee County American Legions; Disabled American Veterans – Chapter #166; Marine Corps League – Hansen Brothers Detachment; Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter #193.

October 26, 2020 - 1:10pm

Press release:

“The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...”

The American Legion Botts-Fiorito Post #576 in Le Roy will observe the annual Veterans Day program as per custom on Wednesday, Nov. 11th at 11 a.m. at the Trigon Memorial Park.

Personnel will assemble at 10:45 at the Trigon Park Soldiers Monument, with the program beginning at 11 a.m. sharp!

Highlights of the program will include readings by Post Commander David Rumsey and Auxiliary President Chris Stewart that will commemorate the significance of the day. This will be followed by a remembrance prayer offered by Chaplain Gary Bassett.

The ceremony will conclude by a placement of the wreath on the Memorial, a volley by the Post Firing Squad and playing of “Taps."

Immediately following the formal ceremony, all are invited to the American Legion hall for refreshments. It is located at 53 W. Main St. in the Village of Le Roy.

********************************************************************

A Reminder: There is a Difference!

  • Armed Forces Day -- The third Saturday of each May -- honors those serving.
  • Memorial Day -- The last Monday of each May -- remembers those who died while serving.
  • Veterans Day -- The 11th day of each November -- honors those who served.
October 26, 2020 - 12:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, Le Roy, batavia, Stafford.

Jon Hoyt Bush, 37, of Walnut Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. On Oct. 16 Batavia Police Officer Peter Post responded to a residence on Oak Street in Batavia and arrested Bush following a domestic incident. It is alleged that earlier that day at 5:38 a.m., Bush struck a person in the face multiple times causing injury while in the presence of a child. Bush as arraigned in Batavia City Court at 3:15 p.m. and put in jail on a parole warrant. He is due to return to city court on Nov. 18.

Christopher Connor Good, 19, of Cohocton Road, Corfu, is charged with first-degree burglary. On Oct. 20, Good was arrested after an investigation. It is alleged that he unlawfully entered another person's home on Liberty Street in Batavia at 1:34 p.m. on Oct. 20 and caused physical injury to that person. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. An order of protection was issued to protect the victims. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer John Gombos, assisted by Officer Nicole McGinnis.

Katie L. Wannemacher, 31, of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, second-degree harassment, and criminal obstruction of breathing. She was arrested on Oct. 17 following an investigation of an incident at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 on Trumbull Parkway in which she allegedly choked someone in front of two children. She was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released on her own recognizance. She is due back in court on Dec. 2. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Austin Hedges.

Sean Michael Keem, 40, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment -- with physical contact. Keem was arrested after Batavia Police officers Austin Hedges and Wesley Rissinger responded to a disturbance on Bank Street in Batavia at 8:27 p.m. Oct. 17. After an investigation, Keem was arrested for allegedly striking another person. He was released on an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on Jan. 20.

Darrin Mitchell Brown, 31, of West State Street, Albion, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. He was arrested after allegedly being found in possession of several hypodermic needles at on Oct. 19 during the course of a larceny investigation at 6:16 p.m. at the Speedway gas station and convenience store on West Main Street in Batavia. He was issued an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on Jan. 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Marcella F. Greene, 36, of Pleasant Valley Road, Bliss, is charged with criminal possession of a needle and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. On Oct. 19, Greene was arrested after an investigation into a larceny at 6:51 p.m. at the Speedway gas station and convenience store on West Main Street in Batavia. Greene was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Thomas James Sine, 52, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with aggravated second-degree harassment -- communication of a threat via phone or computer or mail. On Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. Sine was arrested after allegedly having unwanted contact with a person on West Bergen Road in Le Roy and making threats via cell phone. He was arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and is due to return there Dec. 14. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush.

Shante M. Griffin, 28, of Fisher Park, Batavia, is charged with owning an unlicensed dog. Griffin was arrested on Oct. 15 for having an unlicensed dog in an upper apartment on Fisher Park on Sept. 25. Griffin was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on Jan. 12. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Andre L. Roberts, 28, of Burrows Street, Rochester, was arrested Oct. 21 on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court. He allegedly failed to appear as required on Sept.15, prompting the warrant to be issued. Roberts was processed at Batavia Police Headquarters and released on an appearance ticket to be in court Oct. 22. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Wesley Rissinger, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Amanda S. Dombrowski, 37, of Versailles Road, North Evans, is charged with failure to appear. Dombrowski was arrested on Oct. 15 on a bench warrant out of Batavia City Court. It is alleged she failed to appear in court as required on Aug. 3. Following arraignment, she was released on her own recognizance and is due back in city court on Oct. 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Cronmiller.

October 26, 2020 - 12:34pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia City Council, Jeremy Karas, Sammy DiSalvo.

Incumbent Jeremy Karas and challenger Sammy DiSalvo are on the ballot on Nov. 3 for the unexpired term of Councilman-at-Large on the Batavia City Council.

Karas, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Adam Tabelski in 2019, is running on the Republican and Conservative lines while DiSalvo is running as a Democrat.

The Batavian reached out to the candidates for the answers to five questions pertaining to the City of Batavia and a sixth about a book that has had an impact upon them.

JEREMY KARAS

Biographical information:

A resident of Union Street, Karas and his wife, Andrea, have two children – Timothy, a student at Notre Dame High School, and Steven, a student at St. Joseph Regional School. Karas lived in Batavia through jeremy-karas-temppress-1_a.jpgthe seventh grade before moving to Elba, graduating from Elba Central School in 1998. He and his family have lived in Batavia for the past 15 years.

He said growing up on a family-owned farm (muckland) on the Genesee-Orleans county line instilled into him a strong work ethic, sense of values and resourcefulness.

Karas worked for Graham Corp. for seven years through 2016, before taking a job with Temp-Press in Rochester, managing its service department. For the past two years he has helped merge two separate service companies that Temp-Press acquired, while also adding to their existing customer base across New York State – providing service for all types of instrumentation and process control in industries ranging from food & dairy, wastewater, water filtration, and manufacturing.

He said that while on City Council, he has learned much about the city, participating in the budget process, Audit Committee and, currently, in the search for permanent city manager.

“My hope is to continue to serve the people of Batavia by using my experience and knowledge to help lead this city forward, while keeping Batavia a safe and affordable place to live,” he said.

What are your three favorite things about living in Batavia?

The people. Batavia residents have a very strong sense of pride in their community. With a population of 15,000, Batavia still feels like a small town in some ways with families staying here for multiple generations and maintaining close relationships with each other.

The future. Batavia’s future is definitely something to be excited about. With the plans that have been set in motion for the downtown revitalization, it is very exciting to see some of these projects taking shape. Having large employers like Graham, O-At-Ka (Milk Products), HP Hood, and, soon, Upstate Farms (a cooperative of more than 300 family-owned dairy farms) means that there will continue to be ample sources of employment for our residents.

The food is amazing! My family and I go out to eat every Saturday night and we love the variety of options we have that are all just a few short minutes away. There is definitely an abundance of great places to eat in Batavia. I will occasionally bring coworkers and clients to Batavia for lunch or dinner and they always leave with a full stomach and a smile.

What is the number one problem facing the City of Batavia and what is your plan to address it?

The financial shortfall caused by COVID-19 is without a doubt the largest problem that we currently face. I believe that we will be feeling the effects of this pandemic for much longer. Our acting city manager and department heads have done an amazing job adjusting their operating budgets thus far but it is yet to be seen how much of an impact the increased deficit that New York State has taken on will affect municipalities in the future.

Describe your vision for downtown Batavia in 10 years?

I would hope that in 2030, downtown Batavia would be a very lively place for people to just come and walk around for shopping, dinner, drinks and entertainment. I would like to see all of the first floor windows on Main Street be full of people inside stores and restaurants. I would also hope that events like Christmas in the City, Beertavia, Wine Walk and The Ramble continue, along with other new events for people of all ages to come down and enjoy.

Should the city build a new police headquarters and where?

Our officers deserve much better than the station that they currently work out of. I believe that all options need to be weighed as to where the new headquarters will be located. I have heard many different suggestions such as using the Genesee County Jail once the county has built a new facility, using the mall now that JC Penney has closed and, of course, the location on Alva Place that has been studied. Whichever site is chosen, a new facility for the police department has to be a priority.

What would you like to see done with the City Centre Mall?

Now that the roof has been completely repaired along with the concourse upgrades in the pipeline, I would hope that we could attract more business and foot traffic. I realize that the retail landscape is not what it was 30 years ago, and the Genesee Country Mall I knew as a kid unfortunately will never be the same. But there is opportunity for medical and service-based businesses to make the mall their new home. The plans that I have seen for the theater (Main Street 56 Theater) are very encouraging, and I hope that it serves as a catalyst for other developments in the mall.

What book first published in English since the Enlightenment has influenced your outlook on life the most?

I have to be perfectly honest, I would have to Google the Enlightenment because I have no clue what it is or when it was. I’m not what you would refer to as a scholar or academic-type person that would readily know the answer to this. Most of my time is spent reading emails, operating manuals, schematics, quotes, and spec sheets. I apologize if this is disappointing to anyone, but I would much rather be honest than submit a fabricated answer.

SAMMY DISALVO

Biographical information:

A fourth-generation Batavian, DiSalvo graduated from Batavia High School before attending Oswego State College, where he received a master's degree in Education and two undergraduate degrees in Math sammy.jpgand Writing. He worked three jobs on campus while a student and graduated cum laude.

After complete his higher education, he worked at Genesee Community College before being offered his current position at a Rochester area college, where he teaches and supervises students. He said he believes that education is our future and we, as a society, should invest more in education.

DiSalvo participates in numerous community events and used to co-own a pop-up board game night that traveled between the local library and a few small businesses around the city. As a runner, he applauds the creation of Ellicott Trail. He also looks forward to visiting his grandmother and hearing her stories about Batavia when she was growing up.

He also is an avid reader and is involved in mobilizing and bringing a voice to rural communities in my position on statewide boards.

DiSalvo said his family was involved with City Council decades ago, as well as the police department, Genesee Valley BOCES and were successful business owners in Batavia.

He said that he will bring “a fresh and dedicated voice to Council.”

What are your three favorite things about living in Batavia?

With the exception of the five years when I went to college for my undergrad and graduate degrees, Batavia has been my home. With that comes the relationships -- both familial and friendly -- that I've developed with high school friends (shout out to my local trivia team), friends I've made in the city through political and personal ventures, and friendships I've made with local business owners. This camaraderie is my favorite part of Batavia.

Secondly, as a runner and someone who loves outdoor activities, I love the new Ellicott Trail, the ability to kayak with my sister in the creek, and having a safe city to go on walks through.

Finally, the diversity that has started to grow in Batavia over recent years has made me feel more comfortable in Batavia and made me proud of my hometown. This includes things such as our first Pride Parade in 2019, the formation of Just Kings in 2020, and the success of nontraditional American restaurants.

What is the number one problem facing the City of Batavia and what is your plan to address it?

While meeting people as I walk the city leading up to Election Day, the No. 1 concern that almost everyone agrees upon is the issue of the mall. Most people want it gone and want to stop having their tax dollars pay for it. I fully agree with these sentiments. My grandparents owned a store in the mall for decades and grandma says that from the day the mall was built, nobody in the city liked it or wanted it. This is what happens when the government stops listening to people.

Tearing down the mall would unfortunately cost the city too much money. You can “put lipstick on a pig” but you need a plan for the next step, which neither Council nor the interim manager has talked about. First, we should get all parcels privatized. Government should not be in the business of playing landlord. A private entity should be spending money on the mall, not taxpayers. We should be working with organizations around the city and county whose job it is to help businesses (such as the Genesee County Economic Development Center) and see what can be done to attract businesses to buy mall parcels.

We need to grow humble as a Council and learn to start listening to experts. One such example of this is three or four years ago the developer who led the revitalization of Canalside in Buffalo came to Batavia and told the city what it needs to do to revitalize, and all of his suggestions were ignored, which included things from how parking is arranged on Main Street to how to utilize the parking lots more effectively. We should start listening to experts who have proven success and maybe our community would see the revitalization it should be seeing.

Describe your vision for downtown Batavia in 10 years?

With the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) projects starting to occur after three years of having the $10 million, I hope that the money will be invested wisely in projects that will sustain long-term results that will become downtown mainstays for decades to come. Some things that need to happen for downtown and the city to prosper: fill the (C.L.) Carr's building after too many years of it being vacant and a growing eyesore (also we need to fill the old bank on the corner of Jackson and Main, too, and the old Continental School of Beauty building), privatize all individual parcels of the mall like the mall used to be when it was built and a somewhat positive thing for Batavia, fill the other vacant storefronts with businesses people can walk into anytime rather than businesses like lawyer offices, doctors, or dentists, and finally create more grassy areas downtown for people to eat lunch or sit in during summer (downtown has too much concrete and blacktop).

I think of East Aurora and the thriving downtown and tourist area they have with Vidler’s 5 & 10, the restaurants, and the many locally owned businesses from an art store to a book store to clothing shops. What did they do right that Batavia's leadership has let deteriorate over the last 20 to 30 years? I hope to see more community investment, such as the mural behind GO ART! which is reminiscent of the beautiful murals that (Vincenzo) Del Plato painted back in the day on the Southside.

Should the city build a new police headquarters and where?

If the city is being mandated to build a new police headquarters rather than update the existing building, then we have no choice. If we have no choice, then we should appeal the mandate to the state and not stop until the state listens to us. We need to look at why we need a new one and move forward only if it's completely necessary. If we do move forward, we also have to make sure the current station's building will be utilized and not abandoned; we have enough empty buildings around downtown.

If we do build a new police station, there are two places I advocate for: the open lot on Swan Street next to the old Wiard (Plow) Company building (a few years ago, the city asked a group of citizens for recommendations and this was the citizens’ top recommendation), yet Council insists on filling the Alva Place parking lot currently used for the Farmers’ Market rather than using a location that is currently rubble, and the second location is to make use of the mall parcels the city owns (and perhaps acquire the parcel that JC Penney sadly vacated this week) and renovate it rather than spend the projected multimillion dollar price tag that has been talked about for that project.

What would you like to see done with the mall?

I've talked about the mall quite a lot already (it is Batavia’s No. 1 concern) but I'm happy to talk more about it. I do not understand why the city and City Council insist on doubling-down on it when most Batavians want it gone.

The first option would be to privatize all the parcels with individual business owners, returning the mall to the way it was intended to be – privately-owned and thriving with Mom and Pop shops. The City also gets out of the business of being responsible for any part of the mall other than where City Hall is.

A nice touch would be for the entire central roof to be taken off to make it an open plan and then utilize the central stage for the events and performances, similar to how Jackson Square is utilized. I remember spending hours in the mall watching these performances at holidays. A space with so much potential is being drowned by a decade-plus disagreement between parcel owners and the city and a lack of a clear plan forward to bring in businesses to revitalize the mall.

The second option is to use the parcels the city owns and acquire the JC Penney parcel to be refurbished into a police station, if we are forced to build a new station.

What book first published in English since the Enlightenment has influenced your outlook on life the most?

Brene Brown wrote a book titled, "Daring Greatly," that talks about the idea of needing to jump into the arena and advocating for what you believe in. This inspired me to get involved a few years ago when I first watched her TED Talk and then read her book. I recommend this book to anyone who needs inspiration to get be an advocate and jump into the arena of life. She's inspired me to become involved in so much from politics to personal ventures to living life in a more fulfilling way.

The books I first read that influenced me were the Harry Potter series. As a child, it was a series about magic, self-advocacy, anti-hate and the power of young people to make a difference. The series has influenced my perceptions on life and how I form relationships with other people. I still preach the quote, "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic."

October 26, 2020 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices, news.

Press release from AAA:

Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.16, down 1 cent from one week ago. One year ago, the price was $2.61. The New York State average is $2.24 – down 1 cent from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.70.

AAA Western and Central New York (AAA WCNY) reports the following averages:

  • Batavia -- $2.20 (no change since last week)
  • Buffalo -- $2.21 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Ithaca -- $2.18 (no change since last week)
  • Rochester -- $2.23 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Rome -- $2.31 (no change since last week)
  • Syracuse -- $2.17 (down 1 cent since last week)
  • Watertown -- $2.29 (down 1 cent since last week)

The Energy Information Administration (EIA), reports that gas demand is decreasing. Low demand, even as total domestic stocks increased, has helped to push pump prices down. As demand remains low, American drivers should expect pump prices to continue to decline this fall.

Domestic crude prices have increased despite market concern about increasing coronavirus infections worldwide, which could lower crude demand as countries impose new restrictions that will likely limit oil consumption. However, if demand concerns continue to weigh on the market, crude prices — and gas prices — could decrease.

From GasBuddy:

"Gas price trends continue to be typical for this time of year, easing slightly in most places as demand continues its slow seasonal drop, with potential enhancement from the recent surge in new coronavirus cases," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

"More stations are falling back under $2 per gallon, in fact the highest amount of stations since May are now under that level, and I do believe that trend will continue at least for now as improvement in the coronavirus situation remains elusive.

"There may be minor disruption in price and localized supply challenges as Tropical Storm Zeta again takes aim for the Gulf Coast, but like we've seen with Laura, Sally and Delta, these issues have been very minor compared to a normal year due to the reduction in our gasoline appetite."

October 26, 2020 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day, advertisement.

Reminders of how the Deal of the Day program works:

  • To make purchases, you must be registered. Deal of the Day uses a registration system that is not connected to the registration for commenting on The Batavian (the main user login in the upper left of the homepage).
  • Once registered, you must sign in using the "sign in" link in this box.
  • You click on the orange button, which appears 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.
  • Only one gift certificate from the same business PER HOUSEHOLD is allowed in each four-month period. We do not have a way to automatically track duplicate purchases within a household; however, if we notice such a purchase, we reserve the right to cancel the purchase and refund the purchase money. Each individual buyer must use his or her own PayPal account for purchases. It's important that participating businesses not be asked to redeem multiple gift certificates from the same person/family at the same time.
  • Gift certificates should be used within 30 days of receipt.
  • Problems, questions, concerns about the Deal of the Day? Email Billie Owens:   [email protected]
October 26, 2020 - 11:50am
posted by Press Release in halloween safety tips, news, trick-or-treat, covid-19.

From the City of Batavia Fire and Police departments:

It’s Fall and the Halloween celebration will soon be upon us. As in the past, there will be children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches – these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults alike.

Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a safe one.

Taking simple fire and personal safety precautions can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun.

Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano of the City Fire Department, Chief Shawn Heubusch of the City Police Department in conjunction with the United States Fire Administration, National Safety Council along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would like to offer the following safety tips.

Please follow and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 guidelines for Halloween celebrations, which include:

  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest;
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house;
  • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.

General Safety Tips

  • Stay in groups while trick-or-treating while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
  • Never enter a stranger's home.
  • Costumes should be well fitting, flame resistant, highly visible and free of long trailing fabric.
  • Always test makeup for potential skin allergy before applying.
  • Remember to look both ways when crossing streets.
  • Always stay on sidewalks.
  • Provide children with flashlights and glow sticks for visibility.
  • Avoid dark houses.
  • Examine all treats before eating.
  • Enjoy with caution.
  • Motorists are reminded to take the following precautions.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbso enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • Chief Napolitano highly recommends keeping Halloween decorations away from any open flames, light bulbs and heaters. It is very easy for decorations such as dried flowers, cornstalks, crepe paper to catch on fire.
  • Additionally, Napolitano recommends keeping exits clear of any decorations so as to not block your exits in the event of a fire and testing your smoke detectors to ensure that they are working or request fire department staff to inspect and test for you.
October 25, 2020 - 10:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, scanner, pembroke, indian falls.

img_2831acc.jpg

A victim in a car accident with injuries and the need for extrication was first reported at 10:13 p.m. in Pembroke. The location is 626 Main Road. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are on scene.The victim was unconscious in a creek; that person has been extricated. A second victim is possible. Mercy Flight was called and has landed.

UPDATE 10:49 p.m.: The vehicle smashed into a utility pole, a fire hydrant and a house and then plunged into a creek. National Grid has been notified about the pole and Monroe County Water Authority is being notified now regarding the broken fire hydrant.

UPDATE 10:53 p.m.: There is an ongoing effort to rescue another occupant of the vehicle. They asked for firefighters on the other side of the creek "to hold the rope."

UPDATE 11:46 p.m.: The vehicle has been removed from the water. The rescue team is conducting a secondary search of the water for any possible additional victim.

UPDATE 11:55 p.m.: GC Sheriff's deputies are on scene and a second unit is requested.

UPDATE 12:07 a.m. (information via Alecia Kaus/Video News Service): According to Sgt. Andrew Hale, Sheriff's Office, a red Mustang went off the roadway, struck a pole, a garage, and then went into the creek. The back half of the vehicle was sheared off. The driver was not coherent after being extricated and was transported to ECMC by Mercy Flight with an apparent serious injury. It is unknown if there were other occupants in the vehicle. Volunteer firefighters are searching the creek and the surrounding area.

UPDATE 11:49 a.m., Monday, Oct. 26 (By Howard): The 1998 Mustang was operated by Brent J. Graham, 32, of San Hill Road, Akron. According to the accident report prepared by Sgt. Jason Saile, Graham was westbound on Route 5 when he failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway and traveled off the north shoulder of the road. The vehicle struck a utility pole, continued westbound and struck a fire hydrant, and then traveled across Back Street, striking a guardrail, continued westbound, striking a stop sign and another National Grid pole. The Mustang overturned and came to rest in two pieces in Murder Creek.

Reader-submitted photos.

img_2830acc.jpg

img_2829acc.jpg

October 25, 2020 - 5:13pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in sports.

Favoring a sore elbow, Warsaw left-hander Kevin Gray Jr. said he "softened" his swing a bit and achieved some impressive results in league bowling action this week at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

Gray, 39, rolled games of 279, 264 and 255 on lanes 3-4 in the Thursday Owls League for a sparkling 798 series, just missing his sixth USBC-certified 800 series. 

The big effort upped his average after 18 games to 228 in the seven-team triples league.

"I injured my elbow bowling the previous week and had to stay soft and relaxed," Gray said, noting that he was hitting around the 15 board at the arrows and swung the ball out to about the 6 or 7 board to consistently hit the 1-2 pocket.

Using a Roto-Grip Wild Streak, he had 11 strikes in the first game, nine in the second game and eight in the third game, but needed a strike on the final ball of the night to reach the 800 mark. Unfortunately, the ball came up high, leaving the 4-7.

A revenue recovery specialist for Datto Tech in Rochester, Gray bowls on a team with his brother, Scott, and dad, Kevin Sr., and friend Josh Stoffer (with the latter two alternating weeks).

In the Wednesday Men's Handicap at Rose Garden, Harris Busmire registered a 290 game en route to a 668 series to lead the way.

Elsewhere around the Genesee Region USBC:

-- Five keglers broke the 700 mark in leagues at Mancuso Bowling Center this wee: Mike Pettinella with 267--744; and Nate Cordes with 256--714 in the Turnbull Heating Triples; James Townsend with 257--741 in the Toyota of Batavia Thursday 5-Man; Jeremy Vallance with 276--725 in the Mancuso Real Estate Doubles; and Gary MacDonald with 255--723 in the Wednesday Nite Misfits.

-- Brandon Gurnsey rolled 236—705 in the Sneezy's Monday Night League at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.

For a list of high scores, click on the Pin Points tab at the top of this page.

October 25, 2020 - 2:22pm
posted by Press Release in news, election 2020, Genesee County Sheriff.

Submitted photo and press release:

Undersheriff Mazur and I were invited to join the Genesee County Sheriff's Office supervisory and management staff for a photograph to show their support for my reelection. I sincerely appreciate their support and recognition of the administrative responsibilities associated with the position of Genesee County Sheriff.

Together, we make a great team in overseeing the operations of the Sheriff's Office.

Thank you.

Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Supervisory and Management Staff

Support Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. for Reelection

 

Photo from left:

Chief Deputy Criminal Investigations Joseph M. Graff

Sergeant Thomas A. Sanfratello

Sergeant Andrew B. Hale

Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher Robert H. Tripp

Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher Michael T. Sheflin

Chief Deputy Road Patrol Brian M. Frieday

Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr.

Communications Coordinator Russell L. Lang

Sergeant Jason E. Saile

Confidential Secretary Carolyn A. Della Penna

Sergeant Michael J. Lute

Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher John W. Spencer, II

Undersheriff Bradley D. Mazur

Asst. Director of Emergency Communications/Operations Frank A. Riccobono

Sr. Correction Officer Jason R. Queal

Sr. Correction Officer Caleb C. Chaya

Sr. Correction Officer Peter M. Hoy

Sr. Correction Officer Matthew R. Burgett

Jail Superintendent William A. Zipfel

Sr. Correction Officer Kevin D. Wolff

Also in support but not pictured: Sr. Correction Officer James M. Smart and Sr. Emergency Services Dispatcher Jason W. Holman.

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