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GCASA and Sheriff's Office message: Don't host underage drinking parties

By Howard B. Owens

Found this video on GCASA's blog.

In another item, there's also this:

GCASA held the annual DWI Victim Impact Panel Recognition Dinner on Friday, June 19, 2009 at Bohn's restaurant in Batavia, NY. At that dinner, Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Howard J. Carlson was honored for his exeptional service having made 22 DWI arrests in 2008 with a 98% conviction rate.

New York State Trooper, Eric J. Daigler was also honored. He had 19 DWI arrests.

Jackson Square Ghostriders

By daniel cherry

Jackson Square concert series kicked off with the Ghostriders.There were quite a few people out last night.I thought i'd add the seagull picture too.They've taken over downtown.I did a short video but the sound is bad cause i was by the speaker.And used auto mic setting.When i should have set the mic manually.

Red Cross looking for volunteers to help in case of emergency

By Howard B. Owens

The Genesee County Chapter of the American Red Cross is recruiting volunteers to help staff emergency shelters at area high schools.

Loren Penman provided the video and the following information:

The Genesee County Chapter of the American Red Cross is one of only 128 chapters in the nation (and 6 in New York State) to have been awarded a competitive grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.  The funds support grassroots efforts for disaster response and projects to build local capacity in our communities.  According to a Wal-Mart Foundation press release, the goal of the disaster readiness effort funded by this donation is to ensure that smaller, rural communities can respond to the needs of its residents in the first few days of a disaster.

The grants will help the Red Cross chapters acquire and maintain material and human resources necessary to manage relief operations and will also be used to improve community relationships.  Being prepared with trained people and adequate supplies on hand prior to a disaster event can help save lives, time and money, the press release goes on to say.

A total of $5 million was awarded to Red Cross chapters in 44 states and 3 U.S. territories.  Grant proposals were evaluated at the national level; local Wal-Mart stores were not involved in the process.

The Genesee County Chapter's project involves the purchase of critical disaster supplies and equipment, particularly for use in emergency shelters.  Another part of the project will recruit and train high school students in Batavia, Byron-Bergen and Oakfield-Alabama to serve as shelter volunteers in their respective school buildings.  Included in the grant are monies to support AmeriCorps positions (one in each district) to work with faculty advisors in order to develop full-fledged, student emergency response teams.

A video has been created to help prospective student volunteers understand how they can become involved.  For more information, contact Loren Penman at [email protected]

Hawley looks back at legislative session with some pride

By Howard B. Owens

Assemblyman Steve Hawley says he's pleased with what he was able to get done during the recently completed legislative session, despite all the chaos in Albany recent.

Fifteen pieces of legislation sponsored by Hawley were approved by the Assembly, including five aimed at helping local communities.

"Despite all the chaos, changes in leadership and gridlock, I was able to get some common-sense and important pieces of legislation passed that will greatly help the communities in Western New York, as well as the rest of the state," said Hawley in a statement.

Among Hawley's locally targeted legislation is a bill to help town court proceedings in the towns of Elba, Oakfield and Batavia as well as the City of Batavia.  The measure will pave the way for these communities to build a shared court facility, which, according to Hawley, will help save taxpayer money.

Full press release after the jump:

As the regularly scheduled legislative session drew to a close, Assemblyman  Steve Hawley (R, I, C - Batavia) was pleased to have been able to have over a dozen pieces of his legislation passed, despite a banner year for Albany's notorious dysfunction.

"Despite all the chaos, changes in leadership and gridlock, I was able to get some common-sense and important pieces of legislation passed that will greatly help the communities in Western New York, as well as the rest of the state," said Hawley.

Of the 15 pieces of legislation that Hawley sponsored, which passed the Assembly, five bills specifically helped local communities in Western New York.  These bills include measures to help town court proceedings in the towns of Elba, Oakfield and Batavia, and the city of Batavia.  These four municipalities are leading the way in the state for finding an innovative solution, to their individual need for new and upgraded court facilities,
will help local governments save taxpayer dollars by sharing services and building a joint court facility.

Perhaps Hawley's largest statewide initiatives that passed were measures to help firefighters.  Assembly Bill 2733-A establishes the volunteer firefighter and volunteer emergency services recruitment and retention fund. Assembly Bill 6051-A allows firefighters to operate a fire truck without possessing a commercial driver's license, saving fire districts endless amounts of time, which can be better spent training, as well as thousands of dollars annually.  This measure was passed by both houses and signed into law.

Hawley's passed legislation also includes a number of initiatives to help those with disabilities.  Assembly Bill 7848 requires access aisles of handicapped parking spaces to be marked with a sign and stripes; and Assembly Bill 7849 requires that handicapped parking spaces be at least 8 feet wide.

The Assemblyman also played an instrumental role in leading the fight against some of the more dangerous bills that came to the floor, such as the "Farm Death Bill."  Hawley stated, "The fight against this harmful bill, brought together farmers, farm workers, and agribusinesses, and bipartisan legislators from across the state.  This opposition was an  example of Albany at its finest.  Unfortunately, its passage in the Assembly highlighted the standard dysfunction in the State Capitol, but I am hopeful that our collective voices will help prevent this bill from coming to fruition in the Senate."

Hawley also lead the charge for other important measures, such as property tax relief.  During and after budget negotiations the Assemblyman stood on the Assembly floor to demand relief for overburdened homeowners and businesses, specifically calling on both houses and the Governor to reinstate the STAR Rebate Check and restore cuts made to the traditional STAR programs.  Hawley also called on the Governor to make smart usage of the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars which have not yet been appropriated.  He commented, "We need to begin looking at ways to make it easier for residents and businesses to survive.  Maintaining jobs, and attracting new ones, are necessary to keep our economy moving."

VA leaves veterans lingering as unprocessed claims tops one million

By Howard B. Owens

The backlog of unprocessed disability claims at the Veterans Administration now exceeds one million and the pile grows daily.  Veterans are waiting months to have benefits administered.

Congressman Chris Lee is taking up the cause of veterans waiting for claims to be processed.

“The VA’s backlog of unfinished disability claims is clearly unacceptable and unsustainable. With the VA drowning in red tape, our veterans are forced to go to extreme lengths in order to make ends meet while waiting on benefits they have earned,” Lee said in a statement released this week. “Whether it’s hiring and training more processors or updating technological capabilities, the VA needs to have a detailed plan in place to tackle this problem and expedite its implementation.”

Full press release following the jump:

WASHINGTON – Congressman Chris Lee (NY-26) is urging the Department of Veterans Affairs to step up its efforts to address an “unacceptable and unsustainable” backlog of unfinished disability claims that compromises the VA’s ability to improve services and often leaves veterans waiting in limbo for months before receiving benefits they have earned.

In a letter to General Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Congressman Lee pointed out that with roughly 900,000 pending claims, including 7,168 in Western New York alone, the VA’s caseload is on pace to reach the 1 million mark this year. While the average wait time for a claim to be processed is approximately 120 days, a number of veterans have reported to Congressman Lee’s office that their cases have gone unresolved for more than a year. In these tough economic times, veterans have no choice but to take extreme steps to make ends meet, including paying bills with credit cards.

“The VA’s backlog of unfinished disability claims is clearly unacceptable and unsustainable. With the VA drowning in red tape, our veterans are forced to go to extreme lengths in order to make ends meet while waiting on benefits they have earned,” Congressman Lee said. “Whether it’s hiring and training more processors or updating technological capabilities, the VA needs to have a detailed plan in place to tackle this problem and expedite its implementation.”

This issue was front and center during a meeting Congressman Lee convened last month in Batavia with an advisory board  comprised of area veterans committed to improving the lives of fellow vets and their families. That discussion keyed on the fact that this growing claims backlog can have a ripple effect through the entire system.

Congressman Lee added: “The severity of this situation demands more than just an acknowledgment of the problem. I will continue to be a vocal advocate for forceful action that puts the VA on a path to ensuring that each of our veterans – and their families – have access to the services they deserve and the benefits they have earned.”

Visit to learn more about Congressman Lee’s efforts to honor and support our nation’s military veterans and their families.
The text of the letter is below.

June 23, 2009
The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Department of Veterans Affairs, Central Office
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Secretary Shinseki:
I write to you today to express my deep concern with regards to the growing number of outstanding claims to be processed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This large backlog is the result of more than 722,000 current claims along with more than 172,000 appeals, totaling 900,000 claims to be processed, including 13,000 pending in New York State. In a recent appearance before the House Subcommittee on Disability Assistance, VA Deputy Undersecretary Michael Walcoff testified that the Department receives approximately 80,000 new claims each month. With the current backlog and this large influx of new claims, the nearly 900,000 claims could reach the one million mark by the end of summer. 
This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed before the problem is just too large to solve. Our veterans deserve not only the best health care, but health care that is accessible and responsive. The average wait for a claim is more than 120 days, and veterans in my district have informed me they have waited more than a year for their claims to be processed.  In these tough economic times, veterans waiting on their claims to be processed are forced to take extreme steps, including paying bills with credit cards.
While efforts to revamp the Department’s electronic claims system are to be commended, our veterans cannot wait any longer. Our servicemembers returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the nearly eight million veterans already enrolled in the VA health care system, deserve immediate care and timely claims processing. We have made a promise to care for our veterans, and we must meet this obligation.
I appreciate the burdens your agency must bear in this matter, and look forward to hearing from you on your plan to reduce this backlog and ensure accessible health care for our veterans.
Member of Congress

Ground broken for new med-tech cernter near GCC

By Howard B. Owens

Genesee Community College is nearing the day when it will include a school of nursing.

After eight years of planning, securing funding  and pre-development work, ground was broken yesterday on the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med-Tech Center.

The new facility is being build across the road from GCC. It will house the new school of nursing as well as UMMC's Occupational and Physical Therapy program and new offices for the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The initial complex will be 43,000 sq. ft.

Start-up med-tech companies will also be able to apply for space in a 7,000 sq. ft portion of the building intended to help new businesses get off the ground.  The hope is that up-and-coming companies will launch in the med-tech center and then move into new buildings on the adjoining land as their businesses grow, keeping the companies and the jobs in Genesee County.

The center is named for former Batavia resident, Dr. Bruce A. Holm, a former Batavia resident and a SUNY Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Pharmacology and Toxicology.  He is also the Executive Director of the NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences and Senior Vice-Provost at the State University of New York at Buffalo.  Dr. Holm previously held the positions of Senior Associate Dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Senior Associate Vice President for Health Affairs at UB.

From a news release prior to the ground breaking:

“Dr. Holm has been a pioneer and leader in Life Sciences innovation and commercialization here in Western New York and we felt it was fitting to honor him for his vision, dedication and hard work,” said Steve Hyde, President and CEO of the GCEDC.  “Life Sciences is a thriving industry in the region and now Genesee County is well positioned to participate in its growth and our economy will benefit from good paying jobs in a facility that has ties to GCC, the hospital and regional university centers.”

(WBTA contributed to this report)

Seven arrests reported at Darien Lake concert

By Howard B. Owens

Seven people who attended the Def Leppard/Poison concert last night at Darien Lake Theme Park were reportedly arrested.

  • Murad Ramaden, 35, 66 Huetter St., Buffalo, was charged with disorderly conduct after reportedly wrestling with a security officer who was trying to evict him for reportedly urinating on a seat.
  • Terence C. Wilson, 32, 186 Ashbrook Circle, Webster, was charged with harassment for allegedly shoving a security officer while trying to find a lost friend.
  • Jeanine A. Kless, 36, 295 Tampa Drive, West Seneca, was charged with Harassment after allegedly poking a person in the eye with her finger.
  • Jeffrey S. Ellis, 41, 89 Marymont St., Buffalo, was charged with trespass for allegedly climbing on the stage after the concert was over.
  • Joshua L. Martinez, 28, 70 Black Creek Road, Rochester, was charged with harassment for allegedly punching another person in the face and knocking him to the ground.
  • Sharon J. Williams, 33, 70 Black Creek Road, Rochester, was charged with harassment for allegedly punching a security guard in the chest and attempting to kick him in the groin.
  • Scott D. Quigley, 37, 1356 Drexmore Ave., Charlotte, N.C., was charged with trespass for allegedly gaining access to the back stage area without a proper pass or permission. He was jailed on $200 bail and scheduled to appear in court next on July 15.

Three Buffalo men accused of burglaries in Darien area

By Howard B. Owens

Three men from Buffalo were arrested yesterday in connection with two daytime residential burglaries in Darien in which $3,000 in cash, plus jewelery and other valuables were stolen.

One of the suspects, Justin M. Falter, 19, is reportedly a former Genesee County resident who knew the families victimized by the burglaries.

All three men were picked up yesterday based on a tip from a concerned citizen who spotted a suspicious vehicle outside a Darien residence. The vehicle matched the description of a vehicle seen by a witness at one of the previous burglaries.

Sheriff's investigators believe the suspects were preparing for another burglary at the time of their arrest.

The other two suspects are (name redacted upon request), 19, and (name redacted), 22. All three men reportedly resided at 138 Marion St., Buffalo.

The first burglary reportedly occurred June 11 on Harlow Road. The victim reported $3,000 in cash stolen. On June 18, another burglary was reported on Seven Day Road. In this case, jewelry, liquor, electronics and clothing were reportedly stolen.

When Deputy Brian Thompson came upon the suspicious vehicle yesterday, all three suspects were reportedly in the vehicle. Upon further investigation, some of the reportedly stolen items were in the vehicle.

Yesterday evening a search warrant was executed at the Buffalo residence of the suspects and more allegedly stolen items were recovered.

(name redacted upon request) and Falter were charged with two counts of burglary in the second degree. (name redacted faces one count.

(name redacted) and Falter are held in Genesee County Jail on $15,000 bail. xxxx's bail is $20,000.

The investigation is ongoing.

Participating in the investigation, arrests and search were the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, the New York State Police and the Buffalo Police Department.

(Pictured, Top: Falter, (name redacted upon request), (name redacted).

VA center celebrates 75 years of service

By Howard B. Owens

The VA Medical Center opened in Batavia on April 30, 1934. Today, with a parade and a formal program at the facility, the center will celebrate 75 years of service to area veterans.

The parade begins at the gate property, 222 Richmond Ave., at 1:30 p.m. with the formal program will follow, emceed by Assemblyman Steve Hawley and  with a keynote address by William F. Feeley, director of the VA for WNY.

The celebration will include a fly-over, military displays on the lawn, band concerts and historical displays in the Building 4 recreation hall and patio area.  Free parking will be available at Batavia Downs on Park Road with shuttles beginning at noon.  Redfield Parkway and Richmond Avenue will be closed during the parade. 

Today's Deal: Herbly Wonderful

By Howard B. Owens

Today, we are offering TWO gift certificates from Herbly Wonderful, the place in town to shop for herbs, teas, mixes and spices.  Also, Herbly Wonderful's Herb and Flower Festival is coming up July 11 & 12 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Herbly Wonderful is located at 3701 Pearl Street Road.

These are $25 gift certificates for $12.50 (each, plus a $1 PayPal service fee).

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.  People who have won a certificate in the past 30 days are not eligible to win a certificate from the same business as before.  By state law, gift certificates cannot be used for alcohol purchase.

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

Stranded Runners Prove Costly in Loss

By Mollie Radzinski

Batavia (4-2) got them on, but couldn’t get enough in as they lost 3-2 to Jamestown (2-5).  They stranded 13 runners on base, reaching on eight hits and ten walks.

Things got dramatic in the bottom of the 9th when the Muckdogs got a two out rally.  Matt Carpenter and Xavier Scruggs had back-to-back walks and came in to score on a triple off the bat of Ryde Rodriguez.  Niko Vasquez then reached on another walk, but Jack Cawley followed him going down looking to end the game.

Batavia also had threatened in the 6th.  Rodriguez led of the inning with a base hit.  Bases became loaded later after both Cawley and Beau Riportella drew walks.  However, with two outs, Rodriguez ended the inning at home when he attempted to slide in on a ball in the dirt.

The Jammers got on the board first in the top of the second after Ricky Orton walked, Sequoya Storecipher singled and Jose Ceballos got them both in on a two RBI base hit.  They added one more in the 6th when Kyle Jenson singled and came home on an error.

Michael Blazek (1-1) suffered the loss as the starter, going four innings with two runs, four hits, three walks and three strikeouts.

Beau Riportella was effective at the plate tonight, going 1-for-2 with a double and two full-count walks.

Paying it Forward

By Laura Scarborough

Last week while leaving the Aldi's store, an older woman was standing outside by the shoppong carts looking at a man in the parking lot who was walking towards her pointing at me, while I was returning my shopping cart.  The lady said she needed a shopping cart but did not have a quarter.    OK, we've all been there.... I usually end up juggling items in my arms, hoping when I'm ready to cash out, someone will let me cut in front of them as I have let others do in the past when I have a full cart full and someone just has Milk, eggs and bread.

I looked at the woman and thought she probably would not be able to juggle too many items, just a guess ... so I told her "here, you can have my cart."  She seemed panicked and said "but, I don't have a quarter".  I told her, "don't worry, you can pay it forward".  She just stared at me blankly.  I asked her if she knew what that meant?  "No", was her reply.  I told her, "to pay it forward means to just turn around and do a act of kindness to someone else, usually a stranger and not expect to be repaid in any way".  Her husband reached me as I was walking away and had a dollar bill in his hand trying to give it to me, I simply said "no, we're good" hoping his wife would explain.

Yesterday, while driving home on Main St, in front of Tops Markets, I wittnessed a woman waiting at the stoplight  leaving Tops, whose trunk had just popped open but she was unaware... the young man in the car behind her got out of his car  walked up and was knocking on her window, pointing to the back of her car, again an act of kindness to a stranger.

Which leads me to saying "thank you" when someone holds open a door for you, or holding the door open for the person coming in behind you rather then letting it slam in their face.   I've been seeing that happen a lot when coming in/out of a certain store at the City Center lately.  My husband held the door open for 2 women who did not say thank you, then they let the door slam in a very elderly woman's face.  I was shocked, but what do you say?   It's not a law that you should do this.  But, when it doesn't happen you sure do take notice and puts you in a different mood.  This little act of kindness is actually paying it forward if you stop and think about it.  You hold the door open for me, I say thank you.. I feel good, I remember to hold the door open for someone the next time and so on.    If we all "keep paying it forward", how great would that be? 

Farm worker accused of stealing cattle and selling for more than $250,000

By Howard B. Owens

A farm worker in Darien has been accused of stealing and selling 150 head of cattle from Herdsman at Reyncrest Farms and selling them for more than $250,000.

Charles G. Baldwin, 37, 4 John St., Akron, is charged with grand larceny and now held at Genesee County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Baldwin allegedly stole the cattle between July 2007 and May 2009 from the farm located at 9666 Route 77, Darien. The farm is owned by the Reynolds family, who reportedly employed Baldwin.

The alleged crime was investigated by William T. Ferrando, an investigator with the Sheriff's Office.

Fire alarm activation on Cedar Street

By Howard B. Owens

A fire alarm is sounding at 28 Cedar St., Batavia. A caller reports no smoke or flames are visible.

UPDATE: The alarm is apparently in an unoccupied apartment. No signs of smoke.

View Larger Map

Rough ride on Ellicott to soon get smoothed over

By Howard B. Owens

On the way home for lunch, I noticed two DOT employees standing by the train tracks at Ellicott Street and Jackson Street, so I stopped and asked if they were planning on improving the intersection.

Anybody who has driven over or walked past the train tracks knows the road is in bad shape there.

Troy Sampson, a civil engineer with the DOT, said the state will rip out the asphalt along the rail line and replace it with concrete panels, just like the railroad crossing on Route 98 now.

The work was supposed to start next week, but there has been a delay. The state hopes now to start work in August. The project will take 6 weeks to complete.

"It's 100 percent going to happen," Sampson said. "It's just a matter of how it's going to happen. There's lots of logistics here."

UPDATE: Well, not so fast.  The project that looked so certain this morning is now on hold. I just received this e-mail from Troy Sampson:

We spoke, in brief, earlier today at the rr crossing on Ellicott St.  The  proposed work will be done by the Railroad's contractor, not DOT forces.  Myself and a RR representitve were onsite to investigate some issues that have come up that need to be resolved in order for that project to progress.   Because of those changes, the project is currently on hold until all the  necessary parties can meet to evalute the new scope of work.  The orginal  plan that was all set to go is now on hold.  We intend to do a project, but  are not "100%" as noted.

Lightning over Batavia, and more to come

By Howard B. Owens

I shot the video this morning and just happened to catch a single lightning bolt and a little thunder.

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for this afternoon at 12:10 p.m. and then canceled the warning at 12:35 p.m.  A thunderstorm watch remains in place. The watch extends until 7 p.m. (meaning, the bad weather, we hope, will pass in time for Muckdogs baseball at Dwyer and the Ghost Riders at Jackson St. Square.)

WBTA and The Batavian form cooperative partnership to bring Genesee County local news

By Howard B. Owens

Several readers have noticed that The Batavian and WBTA often cooperate on news stories.

Dan Fischer, owner of WBTA, and I have found we work very well together, and cooperating is advantageous because neither of us employ massive news gathering staffs.

To help us gather more news, and do a better job of informing our readers and listeners, we plan to continue this level cooperation.

A week or so ago, Dan and I agreed we should make the news partner arrangement a little more formal and public, so today you'll notice a new button on the upper right part of the site that makes explicit our content sharing agreement.

Together, we will continue to bring you the most comprehensive and independent Genesee County news coverage available.

On a personal note, I must say, I'm really proud of this arrangement. Dan really knows his business. He's got to be one of the best independent radio station owner/operators in the country. Genesee County is fortunate to have a strong, locally owned radio station in an era where such independence in media is rare.

Victorian Manor sold to 10 investors, changes name

By Howard B. Owens

Victorian Manor in Batavia, which has been facing financial difficulty (just last fall, there were $1.54 million in liens against the property), has a new owner and a new name.

It's now The Manor House, owned and operated by Manor House, LLC.  The financially troubled Sunwest Management transferred the facility to a group of 10 individual investors.

Full press release after the jump:

It’s official—Victorian Manor is now The Manor House.  On Friday, June 
26, 2009, ownership was transferred from Sunwest Management to Manor House, 

The new owners are the 10 individual investors who were originally brought in 
by Sunwest when it purchased the facility in 2006.  When Sunwest began to 
struggle financially in 2008, the investors undertook an effort to take 
control of the facility and have now been able to conclude the transfer of 
control and ownership.

“We loved this facility when we first invested in 2006 and love it even 
more today as we have been able to really get to know the staff and 
residents,” said Gordon Davis, the Managing Partner for the new ownership.  
“This is more than a physical facility.  It is home for our residents, but 
also, a community itself and an integral part of Batavia and all of Genesee 

The Manor House is an independent living facility for seniors with 40 
apartments and a full dining room in the original 15 year old building on 
East Main Street.  The new owners will now complete the construction of two 
new wings which will bring the total number of studio, one and two bedroom 
apartments to 90.

Despite its financial and management troubles, Sunwest, as the fourth largest 
operator of senior living facilities in the nation, understood how to design 
a senior living facility that was more than just an apartment.  The new wings 
were designed to complement the existing building with additional common 
community spaces, an exercise room; a games and recreation room, a hair salon 
and a large “ice cream parlor.”  “I think the ice cream parlor will be 
where everyone meets during the day” said Davis.  “Living at The Manor 
House is about being with friends and people you enjoy.  Staff is there to 
support our residents with high quality meals, organized activities and 
service that meets the different needs that our residents have.”

“We have finalized our agreements with the contractors and they will be 
back to work to finish the new wings beginning next week” said Davis.  
“We expect to have our first apartments ready for occupancy within about 
four weeks.”

Local contractors who had stopped work last summer and filed liens on the 
property are pleased to be back to finish their work.  “We are proud of the 
work that we do and it was hard to see this so close to completion yet no way 
to finish” said Brian Wormley of Wormley Construction, a contractor doing a 
walk through today. “This is a great facility and it will be nice to see 
people moving in soon.”

The Manor House was originally built by St. Jerome Hospital in conjunction 
with the Sisters of Mercy in 1994.  It has been a prominent feature on East 
Main ever since, and during the summer months, always with residents enjoying 
the daily movement of Batavia from its expansive porch.

Zigrossi Motors still open, but waiting for new buyer to take over

By Howard B. Owens

If you've driven past Zigrossi Motors on Route 5 in Batavia last night or this morning and took note of a seemingly empty parking lot, don't jump to the conclusion that Zigrossi is out of business.

While you will be seeing less inventory on the lot over the next few months, that isn't why the lot was emptied last night -- that had more to do with hail than the fact that the business is being sold.

Harry Zigrossi has been in the car business for 30 years, he said, and he's ready to retire.

A buyer has been found, but because of the General Motors bankruptcy, the deal cannot close until early 2010, unless GM emerges from bankruptcy sooner.

"Because we were fortunate enough to be on good asset side of the General Motors list and not the bad asset side, we can be sold," Zigrossi said. "If we were on the bad asset list, there would be no new dealer and we would be shutting down."

Meanwhile, Zigrossi is still open for business. The new cars on the lot are all for sale and the service department remains open.  Zigrossi said all operations will continue until the new dealer assumes control.

Not Much Stimulus for Infrastructure Projects

By Timothy Hens

After attending a recent national conference and speaking with several local engineering consultants and heavy highway construction contractors, I am of the opinion that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (a.k.a Stimulus) is something short of stimulating--at least for transportation officials.

The $787 billion Stimulus Plan was sold to taxpayers as an infrastructure program that would rival the New Deal's Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System.  In reality, less than 4 percent, or $29 billion of the total plan is being directed at highway and bridge spending.  While this is still a tremendous amount of money, it does little to repair the gaps in the nation's infrastructure.  If you factor in other modes of transportation such as airports and railroads, the total stimulus investment is $48.1 billion, or approximately 6% of the total plan.  Much of the remaining amount is planned for social service initiatives, state tax and Medicaid relief and energy efficiency. 

While I applaud the drive towards green energy, I am a bit concerned that after this money is spent we will have little to show for it.  Under the WPA and Interstate Highway System our nation created lasting infrastructure.  We had assets that were worth the debt we created.  Under ARRA, we will have injected little into our growing infrastructure problem and thrown the rest at a one-time attempt at saving state governments from making difficult choices regarding overgrown and outdated programs.

Aside from the obvious lack of highway and bridge funding under stimulus, the program itself created constraints that made funding large infrastructure projects impossible.  ARRA required funds to be obligated within 120 days.  This limitation essentially ruled out most bridge projects, as the design requirements under federal regulations dictate a 9 to 18 month process to evaluate bridges, the adjacent environment and any right-of-way acquisition.  Unless a jurisdiction locally funded and designed a bridge following federal guidelines and had it sitting on a shelf waiting for aid, it was not going to receive ARRA funds for bridge replacements. 

A bulk of the stimulus money will be going towards "painting the roads black", that is simple pavement maintenance projects that overlay existing roads with new asphalt.  This is a maintenance treatment in most cases and will last anywhere from 7 to 15 years.  This type of work will not be creating any new jobs.  Quarries will not be adding staff or equipment.  They may work some additional overtime, but new hires and equipment are not required. 

Contractors are not hiring either.  This goes against logic, but in reality, the much touted stimulus plan in many states only provides a one-time reprieve from state or local funding of the same projects.  In many places, government has instituted the "lift, clean and replace" rule.  This means that projects that were going to be funded with state aid and local funding are now being funded with federal stimulus and the money that was obligated is being held in reserve or being used somewhere else in the budget.  To make matters worse, due to delays in approvals on ARRA projects, many of these projects will now be completed in 2010 as opposed to the current year.  So not only are contractors only working the same work load as a normal year, many of the projects are now scheduled to be awarded too late in the current construction year to be implemented before winter arrives. 

Long term, I am afraid that ARRA will have given taxpayers a false sense of security when it comes to overall transportation funding.  The need for infrastructure improvements is constantly growing and current estimates place the financial need at $2.2 trillion over 5 years to bring the nation's infrastructure up to speed, with $937 billion needed just for highways and bridges.  Taxpayers will not stomach another large spending program targeted at transportation because they are under the impression that this was fixed by stimulus.  The existing Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Funds at both the Federal and State level are nearing bankruptcy and will require additional funding from the General Fund to stay afloat.  These funds derive their income primarily from motor fuels taxes.  As cars acheive higher mileage ratings and people drive less, the collection of gas taxes drops.  This has been the case for some time and it is estimated that the gas tax would need to be increased $0.40 per gallon to makeup the shortfall.  This would obviously not be a popular plan.  Other plans include a vehicle miles traveled tax that conjurs up images of big brother rather quickly.

The bottom line is that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has done little to stimulate the investment in our transportation networks and without a permanent solution to the current funding shortfall our infrastructure will get worse and worse, hurting our already weak economy.

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The Batavia Housing Authority is seeking a positive, hardworking leader to lead a team of maintenance professionals and collaborate with administrative staff. This is an important technical and administrative position that is responsible for maintenance and security of buildings, and for the development of our properties. The Supervisor independently plans for and initiates maintenance and repair work, as well as purchasing and reporting. This job requires some on-call responsibility during night and weekend hours. Full-time, with great benefits Pay Range: $33.85/hr - $41.20/hr Anticipated start date: October/November 2023 Application deadline: October 16, 2023 See full job description at:
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Robert S. Marchese, DDS Batavia, New York Registered Dental Hygienist Position Available We are looking for a licensed dental hygienist to add to our team! Private practice with a wonderful team, a kind doctor and awesome patients! Full or part time position, 20 - 35 hours per week, no nights or weekends, paid holidays and time off, any experience considered, new graduates welcome to apply, competitive wages $35 - $42/hourly, willing to hire different hygienist for different days. Call us today - (585)343-8675 Or email your information to [email protected]
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Crossroads House is looking for a compassionate RN or LPN to provide dignified End-of-Life (EOL) Comfort Care to individuals who have received a three month or less prognosis. The Per-diem staff nurse must be able to work a minimum of one (24) hour shift per week. A shift consists of (5) hours in-house, (7:15 am to 12:15 pm), with the remaining (19) hours as on-call hours, working in-house as needed. Each per-diem staff nurse is required to work one (24) hour shift, one weekend day per month. This shift is split between being in-house and on-call, with the hours varying as needed. Must have a minimum of (1) year work experience, EOL experience preferred, training provided. If interested, please apply on-line at
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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying, located in Batavia NY, and is looking for a compassionate caregiver to provide personal care and emotional support to our dying residents, consistent with Comfort Care Philosophy. Must have prior caregiving experience. Licenses or certifications are not required. Must be able to work weekends, overnight shift is required. (11pm-8AM) Day and evening shifts are also available on weekdays and weekends. Must be able to work as a team member and independently. If interested, or have any questions, apply online at or email [email protected]
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Crossroads House is a comfort care home for the dying. We are a non-for-profit organization that provides its services free of charge. We run on a supportive community and selfless volunteers. With out both of those we would not be able to serve our community. If you have a caregiver's heart and 2 to 4 hours a week, we would love for you to become a part of our Crossroads House family! No experience required, we will train you and provide mentors and experienced volunteers to guide you. Please go to to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email [email protected]
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