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At the museum: Hangman's noose

By Philip Anselmo
May 15, 2008, 3:24pm

This morning, Pat Weissend was kind enough to show me some of what they've got over at the Holland Land Office Museum, where he serves as the director. I took a video camera and we stepped out onto the cold stone floor of the wood-walled museum addition that houses the 14-foot gibbet — a variation on the gallows. He tells me that the hangman's noose is the most popular artifact at the museum — no surprise, I guess, when you consider the morbid curiosity of children big and small.

This video will be the first in a (hopefully) long series of discovery-style episodes over at the museum, where they have thousands of other artifacts to scope and get the story on. So be sure to tune in regularly and keep an eye out for those. We'll try and get a new one up every couple weeks or so. In the meantime, and without further ado, The Batavian presents: The Hangman's Noose.

Visit the museum's Web site for more information, and to access links to Pat's podcasts on history. Or just head over to 131 W. Main St. and check out the collection.

News roundup: Dairy tourism center

By Philip Anselmo
May 15, 2008, 1:39pm

From the Daily News (Thursday):

• Plans are in the works for a dairy tourism center in Batavia that would include a gift shop, a cafe, interactive displays and other features pertaining to the dairy industry. The center may be located near the entrance to the new ag-tech park next to the Genesee County Fairgrounds. Reporter Tom Rivers writes about "a committee" that is planning the center, but never mentions the name of the committee, whom it reports to, nor how it was created. He also lists some "organizers," but never tells us what they are organizing. How are they related to the committee?

• Horizon Wind Energy produced plans for a shrunken-down version of the Dairy Hills Wind Farm project in Perry. The project that originally called for 60 wind turbines was scaled down to "about 38" wind turbines. Reporter Matt Surtel writes that the company will work through "appropriate studies" over the next few weeks that will then be submitted to the Perry Town Board. Not sure what kind of studies, nor why they are appropriate.

• Batavia native Stacey Lynn Shepard, a staff writer for The Bakersfield Californian, was honored for her environmental reporting at the Gruner Awards Banquet in Fresno, earlier this month. Her stories about an oil refinery in Kern County, California, can be found at the newspaper's Web site. Her profile page can also be found there.

• The Bank of Castile will no longer postpone bank transactions made at its branches after a certain time. Whether you make a deposit at 9:40am or 4:15pm, your transaction will go through that day — not the "next" business day.

• In police news, a Batavia man found with nearly a pound of marijuana was charged with third-degree criminal possession of marijuana; an Avon man was charged with DWI at Ellicott Street; a Batavia man was charged with harassment and criminal mischief after a woman told police that he choked her.

• City police are investigating a hit-and-run that happened Tuesday morning at Center and Main streets. They are looking for a large white truck that backed into a green Hyundai. Call (585) 343-6350 if you have information.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on

Is There a Better Way????

By Patrick D. Burk
May 15, 2008, 11:26am

 Was wondering what everyone thought of the current situation with big oil and gas companies.  I don't need to remind  you that the price is going up every day.  No stablization of price in sight.  I LOVE the way everyone plays politics with the issue....gas tax caps, price caps...even Chrysler is willing to pay for the difference between the price of a gallon of gas and $2.99.  That plan is flawed because it is based on a credit card offer and you bet Chrysler will make just as much off of charged interest to the consumer as they do in the discount...just another catch.  Make hay when the sun shines and doesn't shine in this case......

It seems to me that the really simple way to deal with this is to allow discounts for new purchases and trades if a consumer goes to a higher gas mileage automobile.  Energy savings in the form of tax breaks and incentives and grants have long been available for the home owner....why not the automobile owner.  If you as a consumer trade in a vehicle that gets 15 miles per gallon for a vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon you should get a tax break or something.  Isn't that simple....with the reduction of demand you would find a stablization of prices.... I guess...or maybe I am just being political.  Usage and demand are the biggest problems.  I bought a 38  mile per gallon car..... My problem is much smaller than the BIG SUV owner....who has no kids, but needs a BIG vehicle for some reason.

Then there is the all familiar forgiving public..... Where is our outrage?  We have a President and Vice President that rake in more and more cash for when they are out of office each and every time the price goes up..... I bet Cindy McCain has a ton of money in oil and gas as well...why not...  THOSE companies are posting HUGE profits while we make our way to our local Big Box or Discount Grocery Store to purchase what we can with what is left of our money.   IT used to be prescription drugs that I worried about eating up my money during my I wonder if it will be the price of gas for my car or home. 

In talking with a young man the other day I found out that he pays approximately $20 a day in gas to work at a job where he is making $75 a day.   After taxes and a $5 lunch....if he is lucky...he ends up netting $36.50 a day....Yikes and with that he has to pay rent, buy food, pay off extortionate Student Loans and maybe...just maybe go to a movie once in a while.  His love life must be wonderful....when a romantic dinner is 11PM at Wendy's from the $1 Menu.

It just goes to show.  Americans will adapt to anything.  What I would like to see at least is that government take some responsible position instead of a political one....Maybe encourage smaller vehicles, maybe push for sensible alternative fuels and maybe just maybe solve the Middle East Problem.  Isn't it amazing that Venezuelans pay the least for gas because thier consumers use thier product?  We have the brightest minds to figure this out.....Why can't we learn to use our own resources??? Do we have to continue to consume the world's costly energy?  Is there a better way???




News roundup: New airport hangar

By Philip Anselmo
May 15, 2008, 8:25am

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

• A new hangar will go up at the Genesee County Airport, and it will cost some $695,000. The county legislature approved the contracts to two Rochester firms and another from Fishers. A state grant will cover $300,000. The hangar will have ten bays that the county will rent out for between $280 and $350 per month.

Genesee County's Cold War veterans may get property tax break

By Howard B. Owens
May 15, 2008, 7:35am

As a Cold War veteran myself, the County's Legislature's proposal to cut property taxes by 10 percent for those who served in the military from 1945 to 1991 is applause worthy.

If approved, the tax break would be effective March 1, 2009, for county tax bills. The property must be a private residence of the veteran or the unmarried spouse of a deceased veteran.

Those who served in the three wars during that period — Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm — are currently eligible for property tax exemptions.

Applications are processed by the county’s Veteran Service Office.

For the Cold War veterans the percentage would apply to residential property values up to $60,000. Those with homes assessed at more would get the same exemption but only to a cap level of $60,000.

I served in the USAF from 1980 to 1994, and I always felt like I did my part to protect the country from the Red Menace, so it's nice to see the Cold War veterans of Genesee get some recognition.

Garden Gala

By Philip Anselmo
May 14, 2008, 4:19pm

Green thumbs, get up and go! This Saturday is the Garden Gala at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia from 10:00am to 1:00pm. More than just a chance for greenies to get outside and schmooze, the gala will have:

"A plant sale featuring indoor and outdoor plants, a Chance-Basket auction, free soil testing, gardening advice by certified Master Gardeners, door prizes, displays, free coffee and informational materials."

Children's activities will be run by the Genesee Green Thumbs (the Junior Master Gardener 4-H Club). Door prizes begin at 1:00pm — the auction, too. And Extension Educator Gail Culver advises folks to get there early as the plants sell out quickly. For more information, call Gail Culver at (585) 343-3040 ext.132.


The Batavian plays with toys

By Philip Anselmo
May 14, 2008, 1:23pm

Full of coffee and unshaven, I took off to Adam Miller's Toy and Bicycles this morning to poke around — and I took a video camera with me. They've got everything. Magic tricks. Games. Bicycles. Model cars, planes, boats. Wind-up anything. Vintage everything. Plush whatever. Check it out.

News roundup: Another suspect in the murder of Desean Gooch sentenced in County Court

By Philip Anselmo
May 14, 2008, 1:11pm

From the Daily News (Wednesday):

• Randall J. Peterson, 22, of Rochester was sentenced to 12 years in state prison Tuesday in Genesee County Court. Peterson was one of four men involved in the shooting death of 23-year-old Desean Gooch in October, 2006. He pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery.

• Reporter Roger Muehlig writes: "Genesee County's Republican Committee is set to endorse Stephen M. Hawley for re-election to the state Assembly this year." The committee meets Thursday night. Hawley has already served one two-year term in the 139th District.

• Construction has begun on the Lowe's home improvement store off Veterans Memorial Drive in Batavia. Representatives have said they do not know when it will be finished. The nearby Target should be completed by July.

• Officials with Creamy Creation and O-AT-KA Milk Products dedicated the new Creamy Creation's 5,000-square-foot facility in Batavia Tuesday. Reporter Matt Surtel writes: "Creamy Creation is part of the Netherlands-based Campina, which is one of Europe's largest dairy cooperatives. The company was started in 1979, and moved its U.S. office from Wisconsin to Batavia in 1999." Creamy Creations produces creme liqueurs and nutritional beverages, among other products.

• Reporter Scott DeSmit writes: "Phillip E. Kroft Jr., 20, was charged with first-degree robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and petit larceny, police Detective Todd Crossett said. Kroft is accused of stealing a cell phone from a woman ... in the early summer of last year." When the woman tried to get her phone back, Kroft allegedly punched her in the stomach, wearing brass knuckles, police told DeSmit. Kroft also faces unrelated charges of rape.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on

It Is All Just Words.......

By Patrick D. Burk
May 14, 2008, 12:02pm

When all is said and done, there is not one single thing that is more important than working with and taking care of our children.  In the past this was always handled, and rightly so, by the parents....however in today's world...this has also changed.  Parents are the single most influential aspect in a young person's life...that is if there is an active and engaged parenting unit in the child's life.  Parents are also the most influential even if they are bad at parenting.  That is the crux of the matter.  Good or bad....parents influence. 

You may notice that I have used the word parent, not father or mother...although that is the most significant and familiar defintion of the term.  Parent's can take many other forms as well.  Today we have grandparent's who fill this role along with aunts, uncles, older siblings and completely unrelated people.  Today we have to look at the word parent as the person who has the single most influence on the young child and hope that that influence is positive and nurturing in nature.  The very definition of parent has changed in the 21st Century.  We are on the cusp of having a redefining element in what actually is "parenting". 

This is one reason why politicians these days try to explain the importance of the "traditional" family.  What they do not see is that this definition as well has changed.  If "family" does not reflect what they percieve as the "former norm" of two parents and 2.5 children, then it must be a bad thing.  Since the basic defintion of family has changed and many are now not the norm, it is imperative that we STOP making those children, parents and caretakes feel that they are lesser in many ways.  Always reciting the nauseating "family values" politics without acknowledging the change and its importance in lowering the importance of the non-traditional family reduces the importance of exactly what these non-traditional parents are accomplishing.

Can you  imagine a child realizing that they are in a lesser family unit because a politician, teacher or religious leader steps up and tells them that the optimum family is a Mom, Dad and 2.5 children.  The child will realize that they are being told that they are in a much lesser form of family when in fact, they may be in a wonderfully stable environment.  So what is more important?  Having the old norm of family permeate the child and his thinking or redefining the word and realizing that there are non-traditional settings that are great families.  I have actually met a child that was told that he would be better in school if he had two parents to concentrate on his educational needs.

Now that statement may be true. There is not a doubt that the two parent family (again notice the removal of terms father and mother) is in fact the optimum ideal...but that does not diminish the grandmother that has the successful opportunity to raise her loving grandchildren because that is thier family of choice or need.  It also does not  explain why in non-traditional families, there is also a great emphasis placed on character education and nurturing.  There are plenty of examples of two parent traditional families who have not been successful in providing the stable, nurturing and loving environment that is needed for raising our children.   There are phenominal examples of non-traditional families that excel.  

You may be wondering where all this has come from.  I do like to write about a ton of topics, but this comes from a direct conversation that I have had with another person in the field of education.  It is pure, plain and simple....if we tell the child that they are coming from a lesser value of family, the child - as a member of that family - will also think that they are lesser.  It is time to redefine what the word "family" means.  It is time to take a clear look at who the "parents" are with each child and it is time to stop thinking that just because a child has a mom and a dad he is from a stable nurturing environment.  It is time to think of the child instead or our antiquated definitiions of words.

Thanks for listening.




News roundup: Construction at the Medical Center

By Philip Anselmo
May 14, 2008, 7:57am

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

• The United Memorial Medical Center could face a tough road ahead in getting its construction projects financed. "Organized labor," writes Dan Fischer, is blocking the state legislature's renewal of a law that allows non-profits to borrow from Industrial Development Agencies at low finance rates. The unions insist that the law include a provision that says projects funded through IDA financing must pay "prevailing union wages," which could put costs too high to manage. (This seems like a complex story. I would like to find out more about it. Such as: How can the labor unions block the law? And why wouldn't IDA-funded projects already be required to pay prevailing union wages?) UPDATE: Found more information here at the Buffalo News.

• A deck of playing cards illustrating 52 (unsolved) homicides and missing persons cases from around the state will be issued to prisoners across the state, including those at Genesee County Jail. Inmates may call a toll free number printed on the card if they have information.

• The Genesee County Legislature will meet tonight at 7:00pm at the Old County Courthouse.

Genesee Community College students can expect another tuition increase

By Howard B. Owens
May 14, 2008, 7:50am

As astonishingly high as taxes are in New York, you would think attending a community college would be free -- as it was in California for many decades, until Prop. 13 (a cap on property taxes passed in 1978) eroded state revenue.


In fact, Genesee students will get to pay another $50 per-semester, making total semester costs $1,700.


The increase, part of a $30.8 million GCC budget for 2008-09, was adopted during the monthly meeting of the board of trustees Monday.

The budget proposes a $50,000 increase in support from Genesee County, sponsor of the college. Last year, the college was granted a $100,000 increase from county funds, raising taxpayers’ support to $1.8 million, about 6 percent of the total college budget. Officials have maintained that the county’s share is the second lowest among county-sponsored two-year colleges in the state.

The increase must yet be approved by the County Legislature.  The rubber stamps are probably already inked.

Bill Kauffman's new book capture's America's unique personalities

By Howard B. Owens
May 13, 2008, 7:50pm

Area author Bill Kauffman gets a favorable review of his new book, Look Homeward, America, in Reason Magazine.

Writer John McClaughry compares him to East Aurora's writer, thinker and quote machine, Elbert Hubbard.

In many respects—not including the creation of a 300-employee publishing house—Bill Kauffman of tiny Elba, New York, has become today’s Elbert Hubbard. But unlike Hubbard, whose essays glorified the lives and works of famous people, Kauffman’s literary journey seeks out “the America of holy fools and backyard radicals, the America whose eccentric voice is seldom heard anymore…the [voice of] third parties, of Greenbackers and Libertarians and village atheists and the ‘conservative Christian anarchist’ party whose founder and only member was Henry Adams.”

Kauffman’s earlier books mined interesting veins of localism and hostility to modernity. America First! celebrated America’s forgotten isolationist activists, from Hamlin Garland to Alice Roosevelt, plus other assorted individualists, including Edward Abbey, Gore Vidal, Sinclair Lewis, and this writer, included because he considered me, not altogether inaccurately, the last lonely true-believing Jeffersonian. His Dispatches From the Muckdog Gazette celebrated the lives of the common people of Kauffman’s Genesee County, home of the minor league Batavia Muckdogs baseball team.

Governor Paterson in Batavia: Reporter's notebook (and Farmer response)

By Philip Anselmo
May 13, 2008, 5:19pm

It wasn't yet even one o'clock Monday, and the Grange was already filled up with folks of all walks, though most the kind that walked corn rows or trough lines. Two months shy of the Genesee County Fair and the grounds had already come alive with farmers, a couple hundred of them by the look of it — young, old, bearded, garrulous.

Our state governor ended up arriving more than an hour late, which only gave more folks time to get there. Some of them came in suit and tie, a few in tee-shirt and jeans. Some came bearing champagne-stocked gift baskets. That was nice and all, but I feel that more of our elected officials should be bringing us sparkling wine and truffles. Just because.

Once the flash bulbs started popping and a slow-moving crush of bodies inched toward the podium, you knew the governor had arrived. I expected him to be larger. I don't know why. Maybe because I expect all powerful men (and women) to be of superhuman size, as if girth and stature somehow invest their motives with more purpose. But no matter. He didn't need to be extra-large. Governor David Paterson had presence.

After Senator Schumer bobbled a few names of important guests in the audience, even though they were written down on a piece of paper in front of him that he read up close through spectacles — no offense, senator — Paterson only seemed the more remarkable when he took the microphone and dropped names, numbers, dates and stories as if he were inventing them right there they came off his tongue with such immediacy and conviction. At one point, the governor even corrected one of the questioners who cited article 240 of the state code, when in fact it was article 241 — don't quote me on the numbers, but you get the idea.

And all of this preamble just to say that I wasn't the only person there who was impressed with Paterson — all policy decisions aside. This afternoon, I got a few area farmers on the phone to get their take on the governor's visit. Here's what they had to say (in their own words).

Dale Stein is a dairy farmer out in LeRoy. He's also the current president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. I asked him what he thought of the visit.

"The visit turned out very well, even more than I expected. The governor is extremely knowledgeable. And we have an opportunity now to build a relationship with the governor about agriculture. I'm very optimistic."

Steve Rigoni used to be a dairy farmer himself, but switched to cash crops. He's got about 600 acres out in Pavilion that he divides up among corn, soy bean, wheat, hay and switchgrass that he burns to dry his corn for sale in the markets. Steve is big into renewable energies. He's got a windmill up on his site to help power the place. And the switchgrass is a great alternative to propane, he says.

He was also impressed by the governor's visit.

"I'm hopeful for this governor. He seems to be in tune. He's very intelligent, seems to be able to remember everything, and seems to have a good handle on what can be done. You can't create miracles. You've got to work within the federal government's framework. ... I thought it went well. That was the first time a governor came out and talked with us in our neighborhood. Now, there are things that need to be done."

Dean Norton operates a dairy farm out of Elba. He also represents the state Farm Bureau's Board of Directors and works as an accountant. You could say he's a busy man. Not so much that he can't take my call, though, and I appreciate that.

"I was glad that Senator Schumer was able to get the governor out to meet the farming community. I thought it was great that they could make it out. He brought out his commissioners and they listened to some of the concerns that growers had in the area. I think they listened. How quickly they act on something, I don't know."

There is still much to be done, says Norton. A visit and a nice forum with the farmers is one thing. Getting legislation through to help the farmers in the field, is quite another.

"You heard folks talk about the labor issue. That's first and foremost. If we don't get those workers here, the crops will rot in the field. And we need to get some type of immigration reform done, period. We keep getting assurances from our elected officials, but nothing done."

Related posts:


News roundup: Gearing up (or down) for elections

By Philip Anselmo
May 13, 2008, 1:25pm

From the Daily News (Tuesday):

• A book signing and talk with David Bellavia scheduled for tonight at the Holland Land Office Museum was cancelled. Museum Director Patrick Weissend told the Daily News that the event was cancelled because Bellavia had since declared his candidacy for Congress, and Weissend was worried about perceptions of unfairness of holding the event at a non-profit. (I would like to hear more about that. Who would feel that the event was unfair?) Bellavia is seeking the 26th Congressional District seat vacated by the retirement at the end of this term of Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds. No mention of Bellavia's party affiliation.

• A potential challenger of Bellavia's, Democrat Jon Powers, stopped by the Batavia Elks Lodge last night to get his message out. Reporter Paul Mrozek writes: "Powers, 29, of Clarence, is a retired Army captain and a decorated Iraq War veteran. He said the major issue of the campaign is that the country lacks the leadership to tackle tough problems, such as how to improve the economy and how to bring American troops back from Iraq." No mention in the article (from Powers) of what it would take to improve the economy or bring troops back.

• City police reported several arrests for unlawful possession of marijuana — no mention of where the infractions occurred — and two instances of driving while intoxicated: on Court Street and South Spruce Street.

• Agricultural reporter Tom Rivers covered the visit by Governor Paterson to Batavia yesterday. Both of his articles appear on the front page of today's paper.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on

Trees, taxes, teaching and talk: Getting to know Sam Barone

By Philip Anselmo
May 13, 2008, 1:00pm

City Councilman Sam Barone came by Main Street Coffee this morning for a chat. He was one minute early. Punctual. I like that. Over a couple mugs of black coffee, while white collars settled into their cubicle chairs and farmers into their plow seats, Sam and I talked about city life in a small town, what gets a man to run for office and what it's like to watch your kids leave home for greener pastures.

Sam grew up in Batavia, not far from Austin Park, he tells me. He taught science for a living out in Byron and Bergen, until he retired. But that doesn't mean he's any less interested in the science of life — animate or otherwise. He'll always have a soft spot for Batavia's parks, even if they paved over the wading pool to put in a spray park. He knows the trees of those parks intimately, some of them more than a century old, he says. Worth preserving. Worth appreciating.

Sam took a seat on the City Council only about five months ago. Why did he do it? Why would anyone do it? "Basically," he says, "the taxes."

"Last year, they proposed a large increase in taxes. So I started attending meetings to get information on how the city operates and realized we had some very serious deficits."

Still, Sam wanted to hang in the back seat. So when the Democrats asked him to run on their ticket back in July, Sam said: No. Of course, we know he gave in and got elected. He and his fellow Council members battled their way through the budget — laborious, he says — and reduced the tax increase to 8 percent, compared with the 23 percent hike from the year before, says Barone.

That laborious struggle to balance the budget may soon seem like a cakewalk as the city gets ready to roll up its sleeves and take a long hard look at the question that nobody seems to want to mention out loud: consolidation.

Albany recently approved a $93,000 grant for the town and city of Batavia to look at consolidating services and "potentially merging the two municipalities into a single entity," according to the Albany Project.

Sam admits that he's a bit wary of consolidation talk himself. He doesn't want the city to lose its cultural character by merging with the town. But at the same time, he doesn't see any reason the county can't help pay for ambulance service or the town can't share its snowplows with the city.

"Some areas should be consolidated," he says. "Some shouldn't. I want Batavia to have an identity."

He finds that identity in the city's parks, its green open spaces, its ball field and its homes. We talked at length about Batavia's homes — the facades along Main Street were the first thing I fell in love with when I took a virgin drive through Batavia earlier this year.

Sam spoke of the Brisbane Mansion, once a home, then turned City Hall, that now houses the police station. He told of the Briggs home down Walnut Street. I drove down that way to find it, but there were so many fetching abodes that I couldn't say for sure which one would take the prize. I snapped a photo of this yellow one that seemed a dollhouse erected for normal size people.

There was a very nice old home right at the bend where South Main turns into Walnut that also had plenty of fancy dressings and age spots to recommend itself as another contender for most interesting old big house in that ward of the city.

Heritage homes and ancient trees aside, the first thing on Sam's mind was bringing more jobs into Batavia, likely the first thing on most folks' mind these days around here. Sam has three boys. All three left their Batavia home for somewhere they could get a job. His eldest may not have gone far — to Rochester to work for a communications manufacturer — but the other two couldn't have gone farther, without leaving the country.

One boy took off for Portland, Oregon. Sam calls him "the free spirit" — he left to play music out on the west coast. The other left for Florida after he lost his machine supply job up here. Both are doing well for themselves, but they're doing it far from home.

"Part of it is the taxes," says Sam. "Part of it is the type of work you're looking for. People are finding the work elsewhere."

That might just be the biggest challenge for a City Councilman in these parts: get the work to come thiswhere. Best of luck with that, Sam.

Schools driving Batavia's economic growth

By Howard B. Owens
May 13, 2008, 12:20pm

Batavia's public schools are helping to drive local economic growth, according to observations by Ann Flynn, director of education technology programs for the National School Board Association.

Flynn was recently in Batavia and made these observations:

In driving around the community, I noticed that new commercial development was underway and after meeting the students, teachers, district staff, and board members, it was clear how the quality of the district's schools must surely contribute to that growth. Sixty-seven educators from 10 states joined me last week to gain a deeper understanding about how Batavia developed its vision and found the funding to create student-centered classrooms. A great example was seen during the visit to a middle school social studies class that had students working in three areas of the room: one group completing work sheets by listening to pre-assigned segments of campaign speeches on iPods; another group using an interactive white board with the instructor; and the remaining students working in pairs on a WebQuest with computers located in the rear of the room.

Throughout the visit, we saw excited, engaged students focused on their assigned tasks that encouraged them to think rather than simply recite facts. Although many factors impact an area's economic well being, the visit to Batavia, reminded me how critical it is for school board members to understand the role public schools play in a community's long-term economic health. It is evident that the city of Batavia is now reaping the benefits from years of thoughtful planning by school leaders.

One of the things that excited us about launching The Batavian in Batavia is the strong sense of economic vitality.  If the schools are helping to drive that, all the better for the community's long-term economic health. 

We certainly believe in education.  Education not only helps create entrepreneurs and a talented work force, but it also leads to a better engaged citizenry.  These are the things that make a community strong.


Standing by the public's right to know in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
May 13, 2008, 9:17am

I've only read a few open record laws in my journalism career, so I can't say the state of New York has the prettiest Freedom of Information preamble, but it is a nice, inspiring bit of prose:

§84. Legislative declaration. The legislature hereby finds that a free society is maintained when government is responsive and responsible to the public, and when the public is aware of governmental actions. The more open a government is with its citizenry, the greater the understanding and participation of the public in government.

As state and local government services increase and public problems become more sophisticated and complex and therefore harder to solve, and with the resultant increase in revenues and expenditures, it is incumbent upon the state and its localities to extend public accountability wherever and whenever feasible.

The people's right to know the process of governmental decision-making and to review the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality. The legislature therefore declares that government is the public's business and that the public, individually and collectively and represented by a free press, should have access to the records of government in accordance with the provisions of this article.

That phrase on public problems becoming more sophisticated and complex reminds me of the post I did Saturday about the importance of freely sharing information, discussing issues and exploring different perspectives -- a key mission of The Batavian.

In order to give Batavia the kind of online forum it deserves to discuss and explore all issues, we certainly intend to seek out, retrieve and examine public records -- not in the "gotcha" spirit of much of traditional media, but in a spirit of openness, frankness and with a goal toward creating a better Batavia.

Comedian takes stage at GCC Thursday

By Philip Anselmo
May 13, 2008, 8:34am

Comedian Bill Dawes will take the stage at Genesee Community College Thursday night following an afternoon workshop at the college. From the press release:

The Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College will conclude its 16th successful season with an afternoon workshop and “one-night only” event featuring actor and comic Bill Dawes, with special guest Kyle Fincham. On May 15, Dawes will be holding an afternoon workshop (times to be announced) with college students at Genesee, collaborating on the art of stand-up comedy and offering a question-and-answer period. Following the workshop, the Genesee Center for the Arts and Genesee’s Fine Arts Committee will be presenting Spring Offensive with Bill Dawes! featuring Bill Dawes and special guest Kyle Fincham in an uncensored night of cutting-edge comedy. Spring Offensive with Bill Dawes! premieres Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 8:00PM at the Stuart Steiner Theatre.

Dawes began his professional acting career in the Broadway production of “Sex and Longing,” opposite Sigourney Weaver. His other credits include the stage productions of “Gross Indecency: The Trials of Oscar Wilde” and “My First Time,” as well as the independent films “Born Loser,” “Evenhand” and “The Science of Love.” On the small screen, Dawes has enjoyed success in guest roles and as recurring characters on a variety of shows, including “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Oz”, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.”

General Admission ticket prices are $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for college students, senior citizens and GCC faculty/staff. This performance is attended for mature audiences only. For more ticket information and reservations, contact the Genesee Center for the Arts Box Office at (585) 345-6814. The Genesee Center for the Arts Box Office accepts cash and checks only, credit cards are not accepted.

Scrabble for Money....and Today's Drudgery......

By Patrick D. Burk
May 13, 2008, 8:29am

Well last night was the Annual Scrabble Fundraising Tournament for Literacy Genesee/Orleans at Elba Central School.  I was the MC and Host for this event once again this year.  A great time was had by all and the top finishers were the Batavia High School Team and Second Place Honors went to the team sponsored by Genesee Orthopedics.  Rounding out the top three was Third Place finisher Sheperd, Maxwell and Hale's Team.  Several Auction Prizes were given away and the annual Basket Raffle Prizes were awarded.  More importantly thousands of dollars were raised to promote Literacy in Genesee and Orleans Counties.

I am off to open our "Summer Place" this week.....will spend some time down there each day.  I find it interesting that each year we so look forward to having the place open so we can use it...yet we hate the drudgery of opening it.  This  year we have hired a "technician" to open the place with us....takes off some of the drudgery.  Next up is planting the gardens..the perrenial raking and in fact the cleaning.  By this weekend we should be in good shape.  The nice thing is that once it is is done...our own nice permanent vacation retreat.   There is something to be said about having a peaceful place.....  it renews the soul.

Batavia High School has six - yes count them six - students selected for HOBY this year.  I am proud to be a part of this program and proud that our High School has a Sophomore Class of this magnitude.  It will be another fine program at SUNY Geneseo in June...more on this later....just had to pass along the BLUE & WHITE PRIDE.....

Here's hoping you have a wonderful day. 



News roundup: Promoting the home team

By Philip Anselmo
May 13, 2008, 8:26am

Check out WBTA for this and more stories:

• Muckdogs General Manager Dave Wellenzohn will stand atop a lift above the entrance to Dwyer Stadium starting this Friday morning and through to the premiere of his radio show — I presume on WBTA — at 8:15am Saturday morning. All in the name of promoting the team.

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FULL TIME POSITION The Town of Elba is seeking a Motor Equipment Operator (MEO), truck driver and equipment operator with a clean class B license. The applicant must have some mechanical skills for truck and various equipment repair. Applicant must be available for winter hours from November – April for plowing of roads. Pre and random drug/alcohol testing per requirements. MAIL resume to - Town of Elba, 7133 Oak Orchard Road, Elba NY 14058 NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE
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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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Petschke Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is hiring Technicians for residential and small commercial service. As a family-owned company that has been in business for over 25 years and still growing. We’re looking for Technicians who are looking for a place to make a strong and lasting career. Requirements: • Willingness to learn, grow and expand skill set • Maintain a clean and professional appearance • Strong verbal/ written communication skills • Clean driving/drug record • Join the On-Call Team Benefits: • Full time Hours with potential overtime - Paid Time Off • Life-Insurance policy • Health Insurance/401K Enrollment Petschke Plumbing & Heating is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
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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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