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Deals of the Day: T.F. Brown's and Batavia Downs Grandstand Bar & Grille

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 3, 2009, 11:16am

Today: Two great opportunities for great meals at a discount!

Batavia Downs Grandstand Bar & Grille: Dine and play at one of Batavia's most popular entertainment venues.

T.F. Brown's: Take in a game, catch up on scores or just enjoy an exquisitely prepared meal.

Each gift certificate is valued at $25 and available today 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 before 5:00 p.m. (today or tomorrow) 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.

Batavia Downs Grandstand Bar & Grille


T.F. Brown's


Driver reportedly fell asleet on Fargo Road, hit tree, minor injury

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 3, 2009, 9:52am

Philip H. Rebmann, of Corfu, reportedly fell asleep while driving on Fargo Road in Darien around 3 p.m. yesterday, according to a Sheriff's Office accident report. His 2001 Olds two-door sedan traveled off the road, hit a rock, continued over a private driveway and slammed into a tree.

Rebmann, 65, complained of chest soreness, but was not transported to the hospital.

The vehicle was registered to a Darien Center woman. 

Initial reports said the driver claimed his car had been run off the road.  A passerby had taken him to a nearby residence.

Business paper suggests Elba and Oakfield-Alabama districts should merge

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 3, 2009, 6:38am

Business First takes a look at tax-relief recommendations encouraging mergers between smaller school districts, and comes up with a list of 13 potential consolidations in WNY, among them Elba and Oakfield-Alabama.


Enrollment is 35 percent lighter in Elba (537 students) than in any other Genesee County district. The closest option for consolidation is 10 minutes down the road in Oakfield-Alabama (990). The resulting district (1,527) would still have fewer students than nearby Batavia.

Political advertising on The Batavian

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 10:47pm

Political candidates: I've put together a special rate card for the political season now upon us. There is a definite advantage to acting quickly (essentially, buy an ad before July 1 and get a month or more of free advertising -- the sooner you act, the more you save).

Write to me, howard (at) thebatavian dot com and I'll reply with the rate sheet.

City Dems pick slate for November election

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 9:32pm

The city Democrats have lined up behind three candidates for Batavia City Council in the November election.

All three are running for at-large positions.

Getting the endorsements are Sarah Burk-Balbi, Phil Ricci and Julie Wallace.

For the County Legislature, the Democrats are backing Chris Charvella (District 8), Rosemary Christian (District 7) and Edward DeJaneiro, Jr (District 9).

GOP picks three candidates for City Council election

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 8:33pm

Ward 2 City Council represenative Marianne Clattenburg is getting the GOP nod for a Batavia at-large council position in the November election.

The GOP met tonight and endorsed Clattenburg, as well as incumbents Frank Ferrando and Tim Buckley.

If Clattenburg won the at-large seat, under council rules, a Republican would be selected to assume the remainder of her Ward 2 term.

Tune in to WBTA in the morning for more coverage of the endorsements.

Documents show city complied with information requests on Dillon waiver

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 7:48pm

City Manager Jason Molino submitted two letters detailing the hiring process that led to the appointment of Tom Dillon as interim fire chief last year, as well as how Dillon would be replaced, but the NYS Civil Service Commission still denied the city's request for a 211 waiver because of insufficient detail, according to documents obtained by The Batavian today.

"The Municipal Service Division recommends that the State Civil Service Commission disapprove this request for lack of details on the results of the interviewing process," writes state staff in its recommendation to the commission.

The recommendation contradicts the detail on recruitment efforts and interviewing contained in two letters, with attachments, provided by Molino to the commission. One letter was submitted Oct. 8, 2008 and another on Jan. 16, 2009, four days before the commission notified Molino the city had not responded to its request for more information.

"We sent them everything they asked for," Molino said in an interview this afternoon.

Dillon resigned as fire chief last month after the state ruled that he could not continue to receive his pension from his 29 years with the Rochester Fire Department and draw a full-time salary in Batavia.  The city sought what is known as a 211 waiver, which is designed to help local governments fill vacant positions, especially on an interim basis, with retirees.

Molino attributed the denial of the waiver more (as we covered in a previous post) to a change in the state's willingness to grant 211 waivers.

"The whole point of the 211 process, it was created for interim positions for temporary periods of time and what's happened over the years is people have taken interim positions and turned them into permanent ones," Molino said.

The commission was told, Molino noted, that Dillon's appointment was intended to be temporary because at the beginning of the process, there was still some thought that the charter review process might led to a unified chief executive for police and fire (it turns out that isn't permissible under state law).

The city wanted to keep Dillon on until either a unified position was created or a civil service test for the position could be administered in January 2010.

"The other part of it was we weren't going to fill it permanently until this charter review was completed, and if there was a change in direction, we would change with it, otherwise, we would move forward with the test in January," Molino said.

The documents also reveal that prior the appointment of Dillon, all four Batavia Fire captains were considered for the position, but none were eligible for promotion.

The Batavian made its initial FOIL request the documents related to the city's waiver request a month ago. The FOIL request was fulfilled today.  Here are the documents (large PDF file).

Doll and Benaquist involved in 'troubled transaction' court document reveals

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 6:18pm

The girlfriend of Joseph Benaquist told authorities the night Benaquist was killed in the driveway of his Pembroke home that Benaquist and murder suspect Scott Doll had a "troubled transaction" involving two vehicles, according to court documents filed with the County Clerk's office late this afternoon.

The revelation is contained in an opinion issued by Judge Robert C. Noonan, answering several motions filed by Doll's attorneys.

Noonan denied a motion to supress evidence obtained with a search warrant issued on Feb. 20.

Benaquist's battered body was found between two blood splattered cars in the early morning hours of Feb. 17, Noonan says in his opinion. The cars were a Pontiac G6 with a flat tire and a Nissan Altima with an automobile jack at its side.

The Pontiac was tagged with license plates from a Chevrolet Malibu purchased by Doll and Benaquist, but registered to and used by Benaquist.

Benaquist, Noonan writes, was scheduled to meet with Doll hours prior to the discovery of his body, according to Benaquist's girlfriend.  Phone records reveal Doll had called Benaquist earlier that afternoon.

A hearing on further motions is scheduled for June 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Read the full decision (PDF)

Looking for Host families for Batavia Muckdogs!

By Russ Salway
Jun 2, 2009, 3:49pm

I have volunteered to help find host families for the Batavia Muckdogs this coming season. Were looking for people who live within the city that would be interested in having a player or two stay with them this season.  The players would basically be renting a room from you with kitchen and bathroom privledges.  If your interested please contact me by email at [email protected]  The players will be arriving the weekend of June 13th and 14th.  I personally have been a host family for five years now and its been a very rewarding experience.  Let's not forget we almost lost this team a year ago and we ended up keeping them and winning the NY-Penn league championship! The season starts Friday June 19th with fireworks after the game! Let's fill the stands this season and make it a record breaking year!!! Let's Go Muckdogs!   

Driver claims to have been run off road on Fargo Road

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 3:09pm

A driver who's car slammed into a tree on Fargo Road says he was run off the road by another vehicle.

The call just came in.

Another driver picked up the driver involved in the accident and took him or her to a nearby residence. The driver reportedly suffered a minor injury, but an ambulance is not required.

Consolidation bill pushed by Cuomo passes Assembly, Hawley votes yes.

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 1:59pm

Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced today that he supported legislation pushed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo  that could make local government consolidation easier.

"New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act" is supposed to save taxpayer's money by streamlining the consolidation process.

The bill passed the assembly yesterday without opposition.

Hawley's full press release after the jump:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C - Batavia) today voted in favor of Assembly Bill 8501, the "New N.Y. Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act."  This legislation would help save taxpayer dollars by allowing local government to become more effective and efficient, while at the same time standardizing state law regarding the process of government consolidation.

"I firmly believe that less government is better government and I have long supported initiatives to consolidate government services, such as during this year's budget negotiation.  By consolidating services among the three levels of government, we can more effectively and efficiently serve our collective constituency," said Hawley.

The Assemblyman continued, "at first glance there were some fears about this legislation that I shared with local government agencies.  I wanted to make sure that this bill was not just another Albany-imposed mandate.  I have taken the time to carefully review the bill and to vet the language with my colleagues in local government as well as to read a number of letters and e-mails my office has received since this bill was introduced.  We need to take steps to cut government excess in order to truly protect the taxpayers and businesses of our state and I believe after considering this legislation that this bill will help meet that goal."

The bill puts into place a standardized method for government consolidation, shared services or dissolution of government entities, should that be proposed on a local level.  While the Assemblyman originally had some concerns about the bill, upon reviewing the bill language and vetting it through local and state officials, he came to the conclusion that the bill merely clarifies and standardizes the process by which local government entities may consolidate, share services or dissolve, should the voters of the district petition.

The largest among the Assemblyman's original concerns was that the bill outlines that 10 percent of the electorate must sign a petition calling for a referendum on the issue of consolidation, sharing services or dissolution. However, this 10 percent is greater than the current 5 percent standard in Town Law and greater than the percentage needed in most cases for a petition to consolidate adjoining villages under current Village Law.  Additionally, the bill provides a safeguard for small villages and government entities with populations of less than 500 residents.  In these cases, the bill calls for 20 percent of the population to sign the petition.

Additionally, the Assemblyman shared the concern of some local officials that this measure would put too much power into the hands of county-level officials.  However, current state law already gives counties this power. Another concern was that should a referendum be called for, taxpayers would be asked to foot the bill for holding a special election.  Yet, the bill directly states that should a referendum be called, it may be held at any time, including on general elections.

Finally, the Assemblyman was concerned that should a referendum be called for and passed, it would give local government entities short notice to lay out plans to consolidate, share services or dissolve.  The bill language details the standardized process, which would amount to a minimum of 390 days and, thereafter, it would take up to an additional two years for the plan to be fully implemented.

"At the end of the day, this bill puts the power of change into the hands of the people, which, in my opinion, is where it belongs.  This bill does not call for governments to consolidate or dissolve at a local level.  It merely gives a standardized process for localities should they consider this option," said Hawley.

To further ensure that certain government entities, such as fire districts, are protected, Hawley is drafting new legislation that would amend A.8501. The Assemblyman stated, "I want to make sure that our fire departments are fully protected and that the bill which was passed does not have any unintended negative consequences for our firefighters, especially in terms of volunteer firefighter recruitment.  I will continue working together with the fire districts and volunteer fire departments in the 139th Assembly District and my colleagues in the State Legislature toward this end."

Pavilion super's 15 years of service contributed to earning power

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 1:42pm

WBTA has an update on Pavilion School Superintendent Ed Orman's $183,000 salary:

Orman's salary can be attributed to his longevity, 15 years on the job, and for many years he was both superintendent and business manager, said Pavilion School Board President Beck Lewis

Orman retires next month.

The new superintendent, Ken Ellison, will earn $125,000, which is comparable to administrators in other small districts.

Deals of the Day: Valle Jewelers, Essence of Candles, Main St. Pizza

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 9:49am

We have three gift certificates today: For the first time, Valle Jewelers, Essence of Candles and Main St. Pizza Company.

From Valle Jewelers, 21 Jackson St., we have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50. Valle Jewelers has been part of the Batavia community for three generations and sells a variety of items that are hard to find else where in Genesee County.

Main St. Pizza Company: Here's something different from one of your favorite restaurants in Batavia: Four (4) $5 gift certificates to use together or separately, a $20 value for $10.

Essence of Candles: One of Batavia's most unique stores -- you owe yourself a visit. The candles are might right in the shop. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

A $1 PayPal service fee applies to all purchases.

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 before 5:00 p.m. (today or tomorrow) 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.

Valle Jewelers


Main St. Pizza Company


Essence of Candles

Farm Bureau visits Albany to oppose bill that would increase costs

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 7:57am

Farm Bureau President Dean Norton tells the Watertown Daily Times that a bill that would raise farm worker wages isn't necessary and will do more harm than good, for farmers and workers.

"If passed, this bill would put our industry into a major tailspin and wreck the already struggling upstate and Long Island economy," said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau and a Batavia dairy farmer.

Mr. Norton spoke at a press conference in Albany on Monday afternoon.

"The tragic irony of the situation is that the sponsors are primarily from New York City or urban areas, and most of them have never been on a farm," Mr. Norton said. "If the bill's sponsors spent some time understanding the issue, talking to farmers and farm workers, they would know that the bill doesn't actually benefit the worker."

The bill is scheduled for an Assembly floor vote this week and could increase farm costs by $200 million per year.

Sen. Catharine M. Young is critical of the legislative leadership for letting the bill get this far, because if it goes to a floor vote, there may be hard-to-resist pressure on many members to support it.

Sen. Catharine M. Young, R-Olean, said, "The only way to stop it is for it never to come to the floor for a vote."

She is the ranking minority member on the Agriculture Committee. She called the Times and criticized Sen. Aubertine for not quashing the bill in committee by talking to Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith. Mr. Aubertine, however, is not on the committee that will send the bill to the floor.

She said union special interests are driving the bill.

"If it is allowed to come to the floor, people are going to have to be held accountable," she said. "There's a chance it will pass and it will be devastating for the upstate economy."

The Farm Bureau argues that the bill, besides being burdensome, is unnecessary:

Among other provisions, the omnibus bill would also allow farm workers to unionize, mandate one day off per week for farm workers, call on farms to provide unemployment insurance, workers compensation and disability insurance for injuries off the job.

According to the Farm Bureau, farm workers already have stronger protections in the state than under federal law. Medium- and large-sized farms already provide unemployment insurance. All farms follow a state sanitary code for migrant and seasonal housing that is stricter than the federal code.

Farms provide free housing, transportation and utilities for their workers. New York is one of two states with a housing program for farm workers. Farm employees also have work agreements for the type of work, wages, work hours, pay period, benefits and vacation and other arrangements.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley opposes the bill and posted a column alerting the public to the pending legislation last week.

Pictured above are Hawley and members of the Farm Bureau. The picture was submitted this morning by Hawley's office.

UPDATE: Additional coverage from the D&C, which quotes a proponent of the bill:

"We deserve to have a day of rest, to be paid overtime and to join a union if we choose — just like anyone else," farm worker Salvador Solis said in a news release from the Justice for Farmworkers group, which is pushing the bill.

Police Beat: Two arrested at Coldplay concert

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 2, 2009, 7:33am

There were two arrests at the Coldplay concert last night at Darien Lake, according to a report released by the Sheriff's Office.

Matthew J. Norstrand, 24, of Le Roy, was arrested for allegedly possessing marijuana and smoking a pipe containing marijuana. Norstrand was ejected from the concert and told not to return. Later, Norstrand was reportedly spotted back inside the concert venue. He was arrested again and charged with trespass.

Daniel Norstrand, 53, of Le Roy, was charged with criminal trespass after allegedly jumping a fence and entering the backstage area.

Also from the Sheriff's Office:

Christopher Stewart, 40, of Avon, is charged with criminal contempt. He allegedly called and spoke with a person he has been ordered not to contact.

Top Items on Batavia's List

Licensed Dental Hygienist Position Available Robert S. Marchese, DDS Batavia, New York 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, 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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