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February 3, 2009 - 12:19pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in politics, education, books, libraries.

Last year, in response to the several successive lead scares resulting from contaminated Chinese products, Congress pushed through the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a 63-page document that, among other things, would lay the ground rules for ensuring that the parents of America never have to fear lead poisoning from children's toys.

Writing for Forbes, Richard Epstein notes that the passage of the bill gained bipartisan support, because what politician would ever want to be on record as voting against "safety" and "lead posioning." In fact, it passed the Senate 89 to three and the House by 424 to one—Ron Paul was the sole vote of dissent in the latter. Epstein writes:

Instead of targeting the known sources of lead contamination, this ill-conceived statute extended coverage to the max by solemnly requiring third-party testing and certification, using only the best in scientific techniques, for all children's products. Just to be on the safe side, these were defined generously to include all products that are "primarily" intended for children 12 years or age and under. Congress gave the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) six months to prepare the needed regulations.

Unfortunately, this exercise in statutory aggrandizement shows that it is far easier for Congress to set public goals than for agencies to implement them. "Primarily" is a necessary weasel word. Remove it, and all products need testing because some infant might just suck on a wet paint brush. But determining which products are primarily directed to children requires a detailed examination of market structure that no small business is able to undertake.

So, when it came to implementing the rules, people suddenly realized that organizations such as Goodwill would have to either prove that all of its second-hand children's products—toys and clothing—were free of lead, or get rid of them. We realized that libraries would have to pay to test all their books or dump their children's collections. Obviously, second-hand clothing stores and community libraries could never afford such advanced testing. So then, they would have to destroy everything!

Yeah, right.

Did anyone honestly believe that libraries would have been forced to destroy all their copies of Curious George because of a failure to comply with overzealous safety regulations pushed through by politicians too scared to say no? No one could have seriously expected this to come to pass. And of course, it didn't. So we found many of the same scaredy-cat politicians who passed this act now lining up at the microphones to decry its enforcement. Of course, they were joined by a host of newcomers who saw a chance to snatch up some healthy PR and prove themselves true representatives of the people.

Enter, Rep. Chris Lee. From his office, released yesterday:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a one-year stay of enforcement for testing and certification requirements under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act after a weeks-long effort on the part of Congressman Lee to protect local libraries. On January 9, Congressman Lee brought the issue up on behalf of local libraries in a phone conversation with the Commission’s acting chairman, Nancy A. Nord. When the Commission did not clarify whether local libraries would receive a reprieve, Congressman Lee joined with the American Library Association early last week to help persuade the Commission to protect library collections.

“I am pleased to see that the Commission has recognized the need to re-evaluate regulations that would potentially force libraries to destroy their children’s book collections,” Congressman Lee said. “Though this is good news, our libraries may still be susceptible to these burdensome regulations in one year’s time. Now the Congress and the Commission must go back to the drawing board and work together to protect children’s book collections in Western New York and around the country.”

“Libraries now have a little room to breathe, but this announcement is not an end to this problem,” Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association. “Since we know children’s books are safe, libraries are still asking to be exempt from regulation under this law. We appreciate Congressman Lee’s continued efforts on behalf of our libraries.”

Lee deserves some credit, here, for sure. We should be glad. He did the right thing. He spoke out against the enforcement of this silly act. But he's leaning a little too hard on the savior button here, and isn't that what got us in this mess to begin with. Let's instead take this chance to step back and keep ourselves—read: keep our politicians—from getting too fired up on their sense of self-worth and wind up overreacting again. This isn't about you, Chris Lee, or any of your colleagues. If we're to be completely honest, this isn't about the libraries either. As Walter Olson writes for Forbes, the act was passed "in a frenzy of self-congratulation following last year's overblown panic over Chinese toys with lead paint." Let's not bury it in the same spirit. Let's take our time this time. Olson continues:

The failure here runs deeper. This was not some enactment slipped through in the dead of night: It was one of the most highly publicized pieces of legislation to pass Congress last year.

And yet now it appears precious few lawmakers took the time to check what was in the bill, while precious few in the press (which ran countless let's-pass-a-law articles) cared to raise even the most basic questions about what the law was going to require.

Yes, something's being exposed as systematically defective here. But it's not the contents of our kids' toy chests. It's the way we make public policy.

I couldn't agree more. So shouldn't this be a chance to learn a lesson? When we get "back to the drawing board," as Lee urges, let's make sure everyone is watching the paper instead of ignorantly trumpeting their triumph at the nearest microphone as they had done in round one. Let's not fool ourselves into conflating the two situations here. We need to rectify a big fat policy blunder. Curious George and friends will be fine. We've got some new faces in their now, like you, Chris Lee, so please: do the right thing.

February 3, 2009 - 9:29am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Spring, weather, winter, polls, Groundhog Day.

Punxsutawney Phil climbed out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob yesterday to find his shadow and thus predict for us another six weeks of winter. From the Washington Post:

According to legend, if a hibernating animal wakes up and casts a shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last six more weeks. If there is no shadow, spring will supposedly come early.

Early American farmers relied on groundhogs, though there is no scientific evidence that the animal has any weather-predicting skills.

What do you think?

February 3, 2009 - 8:10am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Ryan Park, 25, of unknown domicile, was charged yesterday with disorderly conduct and petit larceny, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Park was located in a Sugar Creek store in Bergen, which he was allegedly refusing to leave. Deputies had received reports that Park was intoxicated, and when they attempted to remove him from the store, Park allegedly used "obscene language."

An alcohol sales compliance check in the city over the weekend yielded charges for one sales clerk. From the city police department:

The Police in conjunction with Drug Free Communities conducted an Alcohol Compliance check. The compliance check is designed to ensure alcohol retail establishments are properly determining alcohol is not being served to underage individuals. The results of Saturday’s check were positive; several establishments diligently checked the underage “agents” ID confirming he was not of age to buy alcohol. Only one store did not check ID and sold alcohol to our underage agent. The Clerk who sold the alcohol was ticketed for the charge of providing alcohol to a minor. The clerk is a youthful offender and will have a court appearance in the City of Batavia Court. As part of the program the clerk will be offered the chance to partake in server training, a program sponsored by GCASA (Genesee County Alcohol and Substance Abuse). Successful completion will result in the dismissal of charges.

Mark A. Antinore, 30, of 5100 Clinton Street Road, Batavia, was charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI Monday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Antinore was stopped on Route 33 in Stafford following reports of an erratic driver in the area. Antinore was also ticketed with speeding.

February 3, 2009 - 7:28am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, budget, Le Roy, school board, schools, finance.

After slimming the budget by a half million dollars last night, the Batavia City School Board has already cut the proposed property tax increase from 23 to 16 percent, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. City Schools Superintendent Margaret Puzio told Fischer that she hopes an offer of early retirement option to three labor unions could help stave off any outright layoffs of teachers or staff. Puzio also hopes and expects to further reduce the tax increase. Visit the WBTA Web site to hear her comments on that.

Batavia city schools are closed today for Superintendent's Conference Day. Also, LeRoy BOCES school is closed today due to a water main break.

February 3, 2009 - 2:38am
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, charity, Notre Dame, cancer.

When Michael Napoleone was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma/Leukemia, he wasn't going to give in without a fight.

The child fought the disease, and was as strong and positive as any eight year old kid would be in the situation.

But, he couldn't fight anymore and wound up passing away from the cancer on December 30.

Michael played youth baseball and football before becoming ill. He was also a big Notre Dame fan and was able to visit the University of Notre Dame three months before his passing.

While Michael was fighting the disease, the Batavia community rallied and helped the family out. The Napoleone's were struggling to to pay for food, gas and medical bills.

They appreciated what the community was doing for them.

After Michael's death, parents Michael and Laurie founded the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation, with the hopes of raising money to help fight childhood cancer.

At Monday night's game between Pavilion and Notre Dame, there was t-shirts and hats as well as raffle tickets for sale to raise money. The game was called "The Michael Napoleone Foundation Cancer Awareness Girls Basketball Game" and both Pavilion and Notre Dame's team was wearing shirts to support the cause.

Dave Pero is Michael's uncle and got together with Pavilion coach Verne Brooks to work out the details of setting up the fundraising game.

The Pavilion girls wore t-shirts that said "Gopher a cure", which plays off the Golden Gophers mascot. Notre Dame's shirts said "Irish for a cure".

The Foundation started small but with the support of the community has grown to be pretty big and is helping a lot of people out. Money has been raised by countless donations and fundraisers. 

At last count, 63 families have been helped out by the foundation in just over a year.

The Foundation also purchased the scoreboard at Lyons Park in Michael's memory, after youth football was banished from Dwyer Stadium.

The big one is donating $5,000 to the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong Memorial. That money went towards purchasing a machine that analyzes cells. A test like that used to take the hospital a week, and now it can be finished within a day.

The Foundation has also made large donations to United Memorial Medical Center and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

If you are interested in donating to the charity you can e-mail the Foundation at [email protected].


February 2, 2009 - 7:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, South Beach, Sunnys Restaurant.

Tina Rose, co-owner of Sunnys Restaurant in the Genesee Country Mall, left a comment on The Batavian about an hour ago offering to honor unused gift certificates from South Beach, which was shuttered Sunday.

Long time Batavia Restaurant Owners comes to aid:

Local family owned Sunnys Restaurant in the Batavia City Centre is stepping in to honor Gift Certificates.
Anyone who has purchased or received a Southbeach Gift Cert.- Sunnys owners Michael and Tina Rose will honor at their Restaurant. In these tough economic times no one wants or can afford to lose money. Simply give us a call at 343-4578 or stop in.

*some restrictions may apply*

That's a generous offer, but also smart business.

UPDATE: Cori Majors from Center Street Smokehouse says gift certificates may also be redeemed there, and there may be job openings.

Colleen Odessa, sales manager for Alex's Place, also said certicates can be redeemed there as well.

February 2, 2009 - 5:58pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, consolidation, town, city.

City and town of Batavia officials announced today that a Web site will be launched by the end of the week devoted to the consolidation plan right now being put together for the municipalities. We've included most of the text from that press release below. We also received a "Consolidation Plan Process Flow Chart" that details the process for approving the potential consolidation.

Noting that the "topic of consolidation has generated tremendous interest in Batavia in recent weeks," Town Supervisor Greg Post and City Council President Charlie Mallow today issued a joint statement endorsing the work of the joint consolidation planning committee. They also announced that by the end of the week the City and Town websites will have links to a special "Batavia Consolidation Plan" website so that area residents can stay informed about the planning process.

Mallow and Post pointed out that the actual work of developing the plan is the responsibility of the seven-member City/Town Consolidation Study Committee that is working with the Center for Governmental Research (CGR), a nonprofit consulting group based in Rochester. "We were both please with its decision — one recently endorsed by our respective boards — to move from a 'study' to a 'plan,'" they said.

Post added, "I'm a believer in smaller government and I'm action-oriented. This community does not need a study that sits on a shelf. It needs a plan so that Town voters have the choice of saying yes or no."

Mallow said, "I'm a firm believer in consolidating the City and Town, because there are so many benefits for our community going forward. Consolidation will positively impact every generation that comes after us."

They pointed out that the Committee will develop a report of model options for the combined community by June 1. The Committee will then hold community forums for the public to provide input in June and July. Based on the input, the Committee will develop a draft plan to present to the City Council and Town Board in early August. Assuming City Council and Town Board approve, a consolidation plan will be presented to City and Town voters at the November 3 election.

Please click here to download the full press release.

February 2, 2009 - 5:26pm
posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors.

The largest game fish are oceanic giants, often pushing the scales past the thousand pound mark. With little to fear, they swim about their cobalt-blue world in an endless search for food. The blue marlin, the swordfish, the giant blue fin tuna and the big sharks - the Mako and the Great White – are at the top of the food chain. For the most part, the only predator they need fear are sea-going fishermen, those willing to travel offshore in the hope of sampling their awesome power. The International Game Fishing Association’s record books are filled with outstanding catches of giant bill fish, huge tuna and mammoth sharks. Oftentimes, even more incredible is the story behind the catch. One such record belongs to Walter Maxwell and his story is quite unique when compared to the rest. Because it has withstood the test of time, in order to take a look at his accomplishment, we need to go back some 45 years.

 Walter Maxwell was a blue collar type, a fisherman without sponsors. Neither did he possess a sleek and speedy sea-going vessel in which to enjoy his pastime. He was, you might say, a weekend warrior, able to fish only when his schedule allowed. And needless to say, such a fisherman does not wet a line in pursuit of world records.

It was Sunday, June 14th, 1964, when Maxwell managed to raise a few eyebrows among saltwater anglers when he landed a world record tiger shark. What made the feat remarkable was, unlike other salt water big game fishing records, Maxwell made his historic catch from a pier. Strange as it may seem, he nearly did it twice in a 24 hour period. The day prior to his record catch, he latched onto an even bigger tiger shark, only to lose it at the edge of the pier.     

On Saturday, June 13th, the beach at Cherry Grove South Carolina was bustling with vacationers, probably none of which paid any mind to three anglers out on the pier. (Photo: Cherry Grove Pier)

At about 2 pm line began slowly peeling out of Maxwell’s large saltwater reel. He slipped on his shoulder harness and braced himself before rearing back on the rod, setting the hooks. The battle was underway.

The initial run was strong and steady as the fish took out several hundred yards of line, indicative of a very big fish. Maxwell knew then the fish on the end of his line was not your garden variety man-eater. During the next hour the shark made several more line-sizzling runs. A stone mason by trade, the muscular Maxwell was able to bring the big tiger shark alongside the pier. He was about to discover one hour is insufficient time to tire a shark of such proportions.

Their gaff consisted of a fiberglass vaulting pole with a stainless steel hook attached on the end. When one of Maxwell’s companions leaned over the railing and sunk the gaff hook into the tiger’s mouth, he was immediately slammed into the railing. Feeling the fish’s ferocity, he knew at once he wouldn’t be able to hold the monster that was thrashing violently in the waves ten feet below.

In the next instant Maxwell’s hooks came free and his buddy was left holding the gaff. The big fish then dropped into a trough between ocean swells and the gaff was yanked from his hands. The big shark swam seaward, the gaff protruding above the waves. How big was the shark? One of Maxwell’s companions said it looked like a heifer wallowing in the ocean swells. They estimated the fish to be eighteen feet in length and weigh in excess of two thousand pounds.

The following day Maxwell and his friends were at it again, this time with different results.  

NOTE: This is the first in a three part series on sharks. Wednesday we’ll wrap up Maxwell’s big catch before shifting gears somewhat, looking at sharks from an altogether different angle on Friday.  


February 2, 2009 - 5:19pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, fire, emergency, Erie County.

A Gasport man was taken to the hospital this afternoon after suffering burns to his head, face, neck and hands when a fire broke out in a barn in the town of Batavia, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Twenty-nine-year-old James Putnam Jr. is recovering in the burn unit of the Erie County Medical Center at this hour.

Fire crews from the East Pemrboke volunteer squad were the first on scene at 9161 Wilkinson Road, where reports had come in shortly after 12:30 p.m. of a fire in the storage barn. Firefighters found flames coming out of the structure when they arrived shortly thereafter. Putnam was immediately taken to the hospital by city of Batavia ambulance.

Batavia, Darien, Alexander, Corfu, Oakfield and Elba also sent crews to the scene, and the fire was extinguished before it spread to an unattached house. The barn and everything inside of it were destroyed in the blaze. The barn is owned by Gabriele J. Miller, of 9161 Wilkinson Road.

"The preliminary investigation into the cause and origin of the fire indicates that the fire is accidental and was a result of the work that was being performed inside the workshop at the time of the fire," deputies said. Genesee County's Office of Emergency Management assisted in the investigation

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February 2, 2009 - 4:49pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurant, South Beach.

Earlier today, The Batavian was informed that South Beach restaurant in Batavia had abruptly closed over the weekend, and the former employees—about 30 or so—were coming by to pick up their final checks. We spoke with some of the staff as they came and went. You can see our earlier post for those details.

Gail Giuliani phoned us a little while ago to say that her brother-in-law, Alex Giuliani, the restaurant's owner, "had to close" the business the way he did, without notifying the employees, for fear of theft. Gail told us that Alex has already moved back to his home in Florida and was likely not able to comment on the matter at this time.

"The reason they were not told was because Alex was advised not to tell them," she said. "Because when you tell people like that, they will steal from you."

One employee who went in to pick up her check today even said that had she known that the place was closing, she would not have "rung up" the meals. Jason Giuliani, Alex's grandson, was handing out the paychecks at the restaurant this morning when he overheard that comment, she said. Jason had worked as a manager at South Beach.

"Alex wrote a very very nice note to his employees and it says: 'To all my employees, today is a very sad for me.' And he went on and told them how he had to do it. And he left this letter on the bar when Jason went in today to give the employees their paychecks."

Alex and Barbara, his wife and co-owner of South Beach, were at the restaurant Sunday cleaning up, according to Gail, who was helping out. They were not there to "empty the place out," she said. "All the furniture is there. Everything is still in the building."

"One of the barmaids went by when we were cleaning that place," she continued. "We were there from eight o'clock in the morning to six o'clock at night. We scrubbed every cooler, every stove. I went back, cleaned all the bathrooms, cleaned all the rugs. We didn't want to leave it any other way. We had to take bags of food out of the place. This waitress happened to go by and saw all this stuff.... So she started text messaging everybody around, and before you know it... Jason's phone was ringing off the wall."

Gail says that she understands the workers might feel a little resentment, but that Alex had no choice in the matter. She said: "If Alex wasn't forced to do this, he would have never done this."

"It just irritates me," she continued. "The employee's are angry, but let's face it—bartenders and waitresses—is that a career? I'm sure they can find another job.... If you put yourself in that position: what would you do? Would you tell your employees that next week is going to be your last night? He was advised not tell his help. They just made it like my brother-in-law just up and left and he's a real rat. But people who know him, know that he's not like that. He's a charming man and a gentleman." 

February 2, 2009 - 11:43am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, South Beach.

About a dozen waitresses, cooks and other staff of Batavia's South Beach gathered in the parking lot outside the restaurant this morning after they had each picked up the "last" check. South Beach was closed. They found out yesterday.

One of the restaurant's former managers says that she saw the owners, Alex and Barbara Giuliani, emptying the place out and packing up trucks Sunday. She started texting her colleagues that afternoon. Soon after, everyone got the call: Come by Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. to pick up your check.

The only message to customers was written on a piece of paper, taped to the door: "We're sorry folks but due to economic conditions Southbeach will have to close its doors effective today until further notice. From all of us here at the beach, we thank you for your patronage."

Several waitresses on scene told us that they had worked Saturday evening, and the owners were still selling gift certificates. When they left that night, they all thought they were coming back to work Monday.

Some say the owners took off for Florida. Neither of the owners were on scene. Instead, inside, Alex Giuliani's grandson, Jason, passed out the checks. Jason Giuliani had worked at South Beach as a manager.

Arlana Pathammavong authored a post about the closing of the restaurant on The Batavian late last night. We will see what other information when we can gather.

February 2, 2009 - 9:55am
posted by Patrick Weissend in Announcements.

The Genesee County Baseball Club will hold its annual Batavia Muckdogs Hot Stove dinner and auction on Friday, February 20, 2009, from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Batavia Party House at 5762 East Main Street Road in Stafford .

The dinner, a highlight of the winter for the local baseball faithful, arrives during an off-season of great optimism for Batavia fans: The Muckdogs were the 2008 New York –Penn League champs, the first time Batavia has won the league title since 1963; and the coming season will be the second in which the team is operated under a cooperative agreement with the highly respected Rochester Community Baseball, owner of the Rochester Red Wings.

The Hot Stove Dinner is a time for good food, friendship, baseball talk, and silent and live auctions of mostly baseball-related memorabilia.  Items to be auctioned this year include autographed baseballs, bats, and photographs; work by noted local artists John Hodgins and Don Carmichael and woodworker Clyde Starkweather; and gift certificates from a variety of local restaurants.

Tickets cost $25 ($15 for children 12 and under) and may be purchased in Batavia at Dwyer Stadium, the Holland Land Office Museum, Gerace’s Hair Care, the Williams Law Firm, and the office of Dr. Ross Fanara, and in Oakfield from the office of Dr. Alan Barcomb.

February 2, 2009 - 7:52am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, budget, school board, schools, education, finance.

Batavia's City School Board will meet tonight at 7 o'clock to discuss the proposed budget for next year, WBTA's Dan Fischer reports. In its current version, the budget calls for a 23 percent property tax increase.

Students will not have classes at Notre Dame High School today. A funeral mass will be held this morning at 10 o'clock at St. Anthony's Church for Nadine Netter, the school's cook who died unexpectedly last week.

February 2, 2009 - 7:44am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Akilah N. Foster, 18, and Michelle D. Clarke, 20, both of 5157 Clinton Street Road, along with Michael K. Mottshaw, 23, of Brockport were both charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child early Saturday morning, deputies said. The three individuals are accused of hosting a party at the Clinton Street residence where they allegedly served alcohol to minors.

Hugh L. Irby Jr., 59, of Corfu, was charged with driving while intoxicated Sunday evening, Genesee County sheriff's deputies. Irby was stopped following reports that a potentially intoxicated driver drove off the road and into a snow embankment in the village of Corfu. Irby was also ticketed with moving from the lane unsafely.

Yeong Lee, 64, of 5422 Horseshoe Lake Road, Batavia, was charged with second-degree harassment Saturday, deputies said. Lee is accused of pushing someone to the ground and pinning the person to the ground.

John W. Speidel, 73, of 10006 Francis Road, Batavia, was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday evening, deputies said. Speidel was stopped following reports of a vehicle off the road on Fargo Road in Stafford. Speidel was also ticketed with failure to keep right and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

Duane M. Bush, 59, of Bethany, was charged with second-degree harassment Friday, deputies said. Bush is accused of shoving and slapping someone during an argument. He was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $500 bail.

Charges are pending following a one-car crash in Alabama Sunday morning, deputies said. Joseph P. Stratton, 21, of Akron, was driving along Bloomingdale Road when his car veered off the road, over the shoulder, into a snow embankment, then into a utility pole.

February 1, 2009 - 4:13pm
posted by Lori Ann Santini in conversation, internet, Friends, Reunions, Facebook.

     A toast to friendship and find something old in something new.

     Earlier this week I went out on a limb. I had heard about My Space and Facebook but I didn't know much else. I decided that while the the snow was blowing and the kids were down for a nap I would wander through one of these sites. I chose Facebook just because it was the first one alphabetically.

      I found that registering was easy however I realized that I had already revealed more info then I would ordinarily prefer. No woman wants everyone to know her age and birthdate. I had put it out in cyber world that I was OLD.  This however was easily corrected.  I had dodged a bullet.

     Next came the question of how  and where do I go. How do I communicate with others? Can I really find anyone that I know? Amazingly enough it's easy. I put that I graduated from York Central and SUNY Fredonia.  To my amazement I found friends that I had long given up hope of ever hearing from again. With a few key strokes and an invitation, they were back in my life.

     Catching up after over 2 decades was easier then I thought.  We shared similar stories. There were moves, divorces, kids, and more kids, illnesses and loses. Some stories were suprising while others seemed to fit  just fine.

     The memories started to flood back of moments shared. How in my senior year a tight group of us did everything together. Instead of  individual crazy pictures for the yearbook, we chose to take ours together. We were in silly outfits because of spirit week. We hung upside down on the jungle gym. I remember almost passing out from having to hang there for minutes at a time. It is immortalized in the yearbook.

     As we share the stories of our lives, it is almost as if we have never been apart. Some people went on to do exactly what they had said they would. Others had wandered down different paths. Economics and hardship had also played a roll.

     I listened to one friend that said he left his chosen career on the day that an accident had almost killed him. He was one of the lucky ones that survived a roof collapse in a print shop. It killed three of his co-workers. He never went back.

     People asked how I had switched from Political Science to becoming a Paramedic. I told them my story. How on a dark night  just before Halloween, I was in a car accident. That moment was life altering for me. If it were not for the First Aid training a friend of mine had just finished I wouldn't  be here. He saved my life. When I asked him one day how I could ever repay him, he said "Lori Ann - Just take a First Aid class. Some day someone will need it."   I hope that I could make him proud.

     I have lost classmates too. In fact, we lost one the day I joined facebook. We as a "family" found out together. We were there to comfort each other, to send condolences to those Chris had loved.

     These past friends of mine were near and far. Some  were as close as the next town over. We wondered how our paths had never crossed. Then I found  that one of my dearest  friends from college was in Bahgdad. I didn't realize that he had returned to the military. September 11 had had a powerful impact on him. He felt compelled to re-inlist in to the Army. Now here we were, talking by IM (instant messaging) as if we sat across the table from each other. We laughed at things we had done in college. We remembered things that we probably shouldn't have done too. It was decided that some things should just stay in the closet. As they say, "No harm - no Foul."

     Facebook had done something that I could not. It had opened doors that long ago had been closed. So as I said in the first sentence. Something old came out of something new. Old friends are now in my life again. We are writing, talking, having fun and laughing.

     See - trying something new isn't so bad.  Hey, If you are bored try looking up an old friend. You might be pleasantly surprised.  I was.


February 1, 2009 - 2:25pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, sports, wrestling.

Nick Lazarony did something that hasn't been done for Batavia in a very long time. 

The 112-pound grappler won an individual title at the Monroe County League Championships, getting the first county title for the school in 23 years.

Lazarony was knocked out of the tournament early as a freshman and sophomore, then was injured last year. Finally, as a senior he made Batavia history.

Joe Amico and Kelly Boyle won Monroe County League titles back in 1986.

Lazarony pinned Chris Kauffman of Greece Olympia in 1:18 in the opening round Friday, then dropped Churchville's Jason Dey in the second round in 1:42.

He beat Pittsford's Brady Bason with a 5-1 decision in the semifinals.

He won the title with a win over Rush-Henrietta's John Northrup 8-2 in the finals.

"Breaking a 23-year old steak is pretty good," coach Rick Stewart said. "He's put in a lot of hard work and deserves this."

Lazarony wasn't the only Batavia wrestler to have a good Monroe County League tourney.

That is evident as Batavia had its best-ever finish in the tournament - where they are going up against the biggest schools in Section 5 - taking fifth. The teams ahead of them were all state ranked teams.

Spencerport won the tournament, followed by Penfield, Fairport and Hilton. A winner, three second place finishers and a third was good enough for fifth.

"Those four teams ahead of us are ranked high in the state in Division I," Stewart said. "We did well, putting four in the finals is an accomplishment."

It is the first time the Blue Devils have ever placed four wrestlers in the finals.

Ryan Darch's undefeated season at 160 pounds came to an end in the finals. He had two pins and a major decision, pushing his season record to 33-0 before matching up with Hilton's John Velieri in the finals. The match was tied at 1 before Darch made an aggressive move in the second period. He wound up losing a 7-1 decision, but placed second. 

Troy Ireland also had two pins and a decision in getting to the finals at 171 pounds, where he was matched up with Spencerport's Nick Baxter. Baxter won a hard fought 10-6 decision.

Josh Mase was on fire at 103 pounds. He had three straight pins in getting to the finals. But, he was pinned in the finals in just :59 seconds by Penfield's Brandon Ling.

Anthony D'Aurizio had a major decision and a decision to make the semifinals, but lost to Brockport's Christian Boley - the eventual champion - 7-1.

But he made up for the loss in the consolation round, beating Greece Olympia's Zack Shotwell 2-0 for a third place finish.

The Blue Devils have one match and a tournament left before sectionals.

"It lets the kids know they can wrestle with the best in the Section 5 and the state," Stewart said. "This is one of the toughest tournaments in the state. The kids are excited for sectionals and states. They have big goals."

(Thanks to Tony D'Aurizio for the photos)

February 1, 2009 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in localism, Alexis de Tocqueville.

"The strength of free peoples resides in the local community. Local institutions are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they put it within the people's reach; they teach people to appreciate its peaceful enjoyment and accustom them to make use of it. Without local institutions a nation may give itself a free government, but it has not got the spirit of liberty."

-- Alexis de Tocqueville

February 1, 2009 - 5:52am
posted by Timothy Paine in business, history.

        I'm starting a new weekly article. Recently Howard posted an article talking about shopping locally. I spoke with him and Philip at their inaugural party about supporting local businesses but many new-comers or younger people might not know that they're here. I've been in this area my whole life and constantly still learn about businesses that have been in Genesse County for many years. We have so many places that have been here forever but do we know them all? This is where I invite all readers to comment here or e-mail me about local businesses so I can do a "spot-light" on them. I will post on Sunday each week and hopefully learn about who they are, what the do and where they can be found. Please contact me, my e-mail address is [email protected]. I want to start with businesses that have been here for 80 years or more (I want to start with the ones who survived the Great Depression). I will move on to those who have been here from 50-80 years next and so on and.....  I would really like to hear from those that are still in the family, but any business that has been here 80 years or more is wonderful. I will be starting this week with Geer Farm Services in Alexander. Keep a watch for the article and please let me know about any Genesee County businesses that have been here a long time. Let's find as many as we can and support them all. Thanks, Tim Paine

January 31, 2009 - 10:53pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Attica, basketball, sports, elba, Oakfield, alexander, pembroke.


As many people feared, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association cuts that we wrote about earlier in the month were approved.

According to the NYSPHSAA Web site, there are going to be a lot of changes.

The biggest of which is the reduction in the number of regular season games that teams are allowed to play each season. Sports that currently play 24 games, will now only play 20. Sports that play 20 games will be cut to 18 and sports that play 18 games are now only going to play 16. 

The will be cuts in wrestling and football will be reduced from 10 to nine games. That means a team that makes sectionals and loses in the first round will not get a chance to go into Pool Play. 

The only way a football team can play 13 games is to play in the state finals.

The amount of scrimmages teams for all sports are allowed to play have also been reduced.

Centralized sites will be considered for state tournament games if it will save the state money. 

Here is the announcement on the NYSPHSAA Web site:



1. Support the use of telephone conference calls and video conferencing for NYSPHSAA meetings to reduce the travel reimbursements costs for the NYSPHSAA and Sections. APPROVED

2. Support the use of officials from the host Section at all NYSPHSAA regional contests, except when the Sections involved mutually agree to use neutral officials. Effective with the 2009-2010 season and continuing to 2010–2011 school year. APPROVED

3. Support a moratorium on the expansion of existing NYSPHSAA tournaments as it pertains to participation. APPROVED

4. Centralized sites should be considered as part of the bid process for state tournament site selection when it can be proven that cost savings outweighs other criteria. APPROVED

5. Support the reduction of the maximum number of contests permitted during the regular season. Sports with 24 contests will be reduced to 20, sports with 20 contests will be reduced to 18 and sports with 18 contests will be reduced to 16. Wrestling will be reduced to 20 points. Football will be reduced from 10 to 9. The 9th game is permitted, with section approval, for teams who do not qualify for sectional play. For the teams involved in the sectional tournament the maximum number of contests shall be 10. For the sections involved in the state championship three additional games are permitted for a total of 13 games for the season: 1 game for regionals, 1 game for semifinals, and 1 game for championships. Effective for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. APPROVED

6. Support the reduction of the number of classes and divisions in team and individual NYSPHSAA Championship competition. REFERRED TO CHAMPIONSHIP ADVISORY COMMITTEE

7. Support the reduction of participants in NYSPHSAA Championships in individual and combination (team/individual) sports. REFERRED TO CHAMPIONSHIP ADVISORY COMMITTEE

8. Support the reduction of tournaments (multi-school competition) for team and individual sports.NO ACTION

9. Support the establishment of a maximum number of scrimmages permitted by a team to: Varsity, JV and freshmen – 2 scrimmages and Modified – 1 scrimmage. NO ACTION

10. The Executive Committee will meet three times per year with one meeting at the site of the Central Committee meeting. APPROVED

11. Support the establishment of a team travel restriction for all member schools limiting out of state team travel to competition with bordering states only. NO ACTION

12. Support the establishment of a moratorium eliminating mandated attendance beginning with the 2009-2010 school year at the following NYSPHSAA workshops: Safety, Life of an Athlete, Sportsmanship and Chemical Health workshops. APPROVED

13. Support eliminating participation in the NFHS Student Leadership Conference. DENIED


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