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Batavia has significant assets to spur an economic renaissance

By Howard B. Owens

Is Batavia well positioned for an economic renaissance? Reading a post on the rural-themed blog the Daily Yonder this morning, I'm thinking the question might very well be yes.

Big rural towns may have even better luck than large cities when it comes to attracting and keeping manufacturing jobs. (It seems the formula for success includes being a home to higher education situated at the crossroads of major highways.) Big towns usually boast health care facilities located inside the city limits, or at least nearby. Having an industrial park within an economic enterprise zone doesn’t hurt either.

Here's are what I see of Batavia's assets:

  • The Harvester/Masse complex, which is ripe for redevelopment.
  • Proximity to key transportation routes, though the Thruway's never ending cycle of toll increases is a problem
  • Train routes already in place
  • The city is well positioned in relation to major water ways, access to the East Coast and the northern Mid-West.
  • Plenty of water.
  • Plenty of electricity, and the ability to generate more
  • Good health care facilities in place
  • Good schools (though no major university)
  • Good, stable workforce
  • Plenty of recreational opportunities for families; interesting, historic locale with easy access to vacation and entertainment spots

The article goes on:

Where big towns fall short is population; they need to draw labor from rather broad areas of the surrounding countryside, perhaps as many as four or five counties large.

Batavia is certainly surrounded by rural counties with additional workers, but the close proximity of Buffalo and Rochester may also be an asset.  The idea of people commuting from those cities to work in Batavia might drive up transportation costs, but Batavia is close enough that it might not be a stretch to imagine people relocating to Genesee County. They would still be close to their friends and families in Rochester or Buffalo, but living in a great community. 

On the other hand, I imagine many people now living in Genesee County and commuting now to Rochester and Buffalo might welcome new job opportunities right in the middle of Batavia.

The biggest negatives facing Batavia, however, remain high taxes and a state government overzealous about regulation and red tape.

Still, with the proper planning and the right effort correctly applied, there's no reason that Batavia can't realize some significant economic growth over the next 10 years.

Shopping locally keeps dollars local and creates jobs

By Howard B. Owens

A new study shows that consumers who shift even just 10 percent of their spending from chain stores to locally owned stores help grow the local economy and creates jobs.

Local Works: Examining the Impact of Local Business on the West Michigan Economy, which was conducted by Civic Economics, found that, if the 600,000 residents of Grand Rapids and surrounding Kent County were to redirect just 10 percent of their total spending from chains to local businesses, it would create nearly $140 million in new economic activity for the region and 1,600 new jobs.


In addition to analyzing the economic impact of independent businesses overall, the study also took a close look at four sectors: pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants, and banks. In each category, the study found that a much larger share of the dollars spent at locally owned businesses stayed in the region, supporting other businesses and jobs.

One of the philosophical underpinnings of what we want to do with The Batavian is to support the community.  We do that by covering more local news, by providing a virtual town square for discussions of local issues, and by doing all we can to support local businesses.  We offer, for example, the ability for local businesses to post their own press releases on the site for free. We also concentrate our ad sales efforts on local businesses.

It's important to remember that the buying decisions you make effect your friends and neighbors.

Now is the Time to Renew

By Patrick D. Burk

I have not been on the Batavian in some time and I must say that I do miss it.  Since it's inception it has allowed many people in this area a chance to speak thier mind and to inform us of issues and ideas.  With all that being said, and perhaps in an effort to keep my thoughts simple, I would like to just say that the awe inspiring rescue from Hudson hs given me time to reflect and renew.  It did prove two things to me:  ONE - People can and will reach out to help others in need.  The very basis of people helping people was proven in the most populous city in our nation.  TWO - Prepartion is the key and you need to prepare with your heart.   How many of us are sure that we would jump into freezing 35 degree water to help others in peril.  Not only do we need to prepare with our minds, strength and equipment, but we need to prepare with our heart.  Plan & simple.

Lastly, It is time that we all stood up and told the naysayers to take a hike.  I have already heard several nasty  things against President Obama and the Democrat led nation that is about to be a  reality.  To those who wish to unleash this nastiness, please realize that "what goes around - comes around".  It is a time that we give our new leaders a chance to govern and yes, to change.  Don't count them out or damn them to failure before anything is tried or accomplished....  As always, as good Americans....we need to give all our leaders a chance.

Thanks for listening....and here's to a more successful year.



I found a dog - is it yours?


I found a dog out in the cold Friday afternoon, January 16 running around in the Lehigh Ave - Creek Road area.  He is safe & sound at my house.  If you have lost a dog & can identify the features - gender, color, size, markings - and satisfy that he is yours I will return it to you.

Please spread the word to friends & family that may have lost a dog.

Call Joe Marchese 716-474-4794


New/Old Food in Town

By Ian Cromwell

This entry is mostly looking for opinions. I was very surprised to see noone has wrote anything about the fast food joint up and running. I personally have yet to eat the wonderful kentucky fried chicken and i'll give you one, maybe two reason why. Traffic and parking. That place is crazy. A line of cars streching all the way back east towards the light with their turn  signals on. Seems as if there is no place to park in the small lot they have. People were literally parking in mcdonalds and walking over. Also i heard long john silvers isn't even up and running yet. I can't imagine what it will be like when it is.

Im just wondering if anyone has been in yet and what you think of the setup.


By Russ Stresing

Its often risky to propose a blanket assumption, but it seems fair to say that the actions of the pilot in this week's airplane accident in New York City saved the lives of the 155 people in his care. There's no doubt that the selfless, reflexive response by the boat pilots and emergency personnel in the immediate accident area were instrumental in saving lives, but without the steady, competent actions of this experienced airman, much of what followed would have been a recovery effort instead of a rescue.


The commercial airline industry is one of the most regulated industries in America. The pilots are held to very high standards and repeated testing. Its not like taking a 5-hour pre-licensing course and then never undergoing any further examination. Commercial airline pilots don't get a pass for passing one test. This instance demonstrates that sort of strict regulation saves lives.


In addition, that sort of strict regulation seems to also select exceptional individuals. Reports indicate that the pilot not only managed to land the airplane safely in a dire circumstance, he felt that his responsibility for the people in his care demanded that he walk the length of the passenger cabin twice to ensure that everyone got out while the plane was sinking in the frigid waters of the Hudson River. This wasn't a stroll down the sunny boardwalk; passengers reported that water was already rising as they were making their way to safety, yet this man waded through the rising flood of icy water to try to ensure the safety of his charges What makes it even more an amazing demonstration of assumed care and responsibility is because he saw it as his duty. Nothing extraordinary. These passengers placed their safety and well-being in his hands and Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger is made more heroic because he did his due diligence in the manner that any fireman, volunteer or otherwise, any law enforcement officer, emergency medical tech, soldier, sailor, airman, or marine would respond. Honor comes from doing your duty.


Its only because his actions and the professional response of rest of the flight crew saved all of the people on-board the aircraft that I feel comfortable contrasting how this result of the strict supervision of the airline industry contrasts with the calamitous after-effects Americans have suffered because of the abandonment of attention in so many other industries. Food safety. Drug safety. Financial regulation. Import inspection. As attentions have lapsed, as supervision has been abandoned, as accommodations have been made to further corporate interests and profits, people have been sickened, killed and pauperized. Imagine if we applied the same standards to air traffic safety that have been extended to other industries. Not only wouldn't this story have had such a fortunate and inspiring ending, we'd instead be deluged daily by stories of airplane after airplane spiraling into the craters that would surround most major airports. If we had ignored airline industry regulation to the extent that we've swallowed the fairy tales that the corporate mercenaries who bankrupted America have our best interests foremost in their kindly hearts, no one would venture to travel further off the ground than a Greyhound bus seat.


The slickest salesmen in America aren't the infomercial hucksters that populate cable television's off-peak hours. They aren't the guys who try to sell you a driveway sealing job that consists of pouring used motor-oil on your blacktop driveway. They're the ones who insist that national and international corporations have your best interests at heart and can only serve to improve your economic situation if they're allowed to operate under rules that would shame a 17th Century pirate. Then, just before they dive-bomb us into life-sucking disaster, they'll abandon the airplane beneath golden parachutes. They're the ones who insist that if you leave them alone to deal with things as they see fit, they'll respond just as nobly as the people in whose hands we daily place our lives.


They won't come even close to that standard of decency and duty.


Posting under real names on The Batavian

By Howard B. Owens

On The Batavian, we have a policy -- which most members of the site seem to support -- of requiring people to post using their real names.

From the first week of the site, we had a user with a first name of Laz who posted quite regularly.  I had initial doubts as to whether this was a real name, but the way people responded to him initially, I kind of got the impression that this was somebody that other people knew, so I let the name go.

A couple of weeks ago, I got complaints suggesting that Laz wasn't his real name.  I wrote him an e-mail and asked for confirmation.  I didn't get a response.

Earlier tonight, I banned his account. 

He sent me an e-mail after the banning suggesting another name was his real name, and then later suggested that name was one of three aliases he uses.

Here's the thing: We can't check physically the ID of everybody who posts to the site.  To some extent, this is an honor system. 

But if I have any reason to suspect that a user is not posting under his or her real name, I'm going to suspend that account, or at least challenge the user on the name.

We can't guarantee everybody on The Batavian is posting under his or her real name, but we will make every best, honest effort to ensure real names are used.

Empire State Games are canceled

By Brian Hillabush

 The Empire State Games have officially been canceled.

The Democrat & Chronicle just reported that because of all the financial cutbacks we wrote about last week, the games have been called off.


Joseph Spector writes:

Organizers of this summer’s Empire State Games in the Hudson Valley announced today that they will not host the games because of a cut in state aid.

The state announced last week that because of budget constraints they will be unable to spend the $2.7 million to run the annual games, which date back to 1978 and include 30,000 youth and adult amateur athletes.

The games have become a huge event each summer for athletes from all over New York State and were scheduled to be in Hudson Valley from July 22-26. But it looks like the event, which averages 6,000 athletes and 24,000 spectators per year, is finished.

The D&C story says there was no immediate comment from the state Parks Department as to whether the games would be moved to a different location. But with the amount of preparation involved, it is highly unlikely.

With Hudson Valley putting an end to the this year's games, and with no promise of state funding in future years, this looks like the end of the Empire State Games.

“The Hudson River Valley LOC arrived at this regrettable decision based on an overwhelming feeling that the participation fee violates the spirit of the Games and that objections to this approach are so strong among our host site partners, sponsors and volunteers that maintaining the support necessary to successfully host the games has become untenable,” Steven V. Lant, chairman of the games and CEO of CH Energy Group, wrote to Parks Commissioner Carol Ash

Video: William Morgan (Part Three) - Origins of the Republican Party

By Philip Anselmo

Here it is: the final installment in our three-part video series on William Morgan. Please be sure to check out part one and part two, both posted earlier today.

For more information on the story of William Morgan, visit the Holland Land Office Museum Web site, where you can find an enhanced podcast on the topic. You can also head down to the museum at 131 W. Main St. to check out the Morgan exhibit and to pick up a copy of Morgan's book, Secrets of the Masons Revealed.

Former Muckdogs GM Wellenzohn headed to Georgia for new baseball job

By Brian Hillabush

Dave Wellenzohn has a championship ring and had a great experience while meeting "great people in Batavia".

But he was let go as general manager of the Batavia Muckdogs after this season by the Rochester Red Wings, who are owned by the Rochester Red Wings Management, LLC.

Things happen fast in minor league baseball, and Wellenzohn found his new job quickly after searching since the end of the season.

Just yesterday, Wellenzohn was hired by the Savannah Sand gnats as  Director of Tickets and Sales.

"I was the one left holding the short end of the stick (after the season)," Wellenzohn said. "I'm thrilled to be leaving Batavia. I'm happy to be going to Georgia because I've lived there before. I'm looking forward to setting up residence and hopefully being there for a while."

Wellenzohn being happy about leaving Batavia has nothing to do with the people or his experience during the season. In his interview he used the words "bitter sweet" very often. 

Batavia won its first New York-Pennsylvania League title in 45 years on September 14 and he was let go on the 15th. 

"I would not trade my experience in Batavia for anything, but I wouldn't do it again either," Wellenzohn said. "It was bitter sweet and I was the only one that lost. But it was nice. We won a championship and I met a lot of nice people."

Wellenzohn literally was ready to move back to his home town of Buffalo. He had the moving truck booked, found an apartment and had an appointment to have his satellite TV set up.

After having no luck finding a job, he was just going to head home.

But he was hired by the Sand gnats yesterday and is now looking for a place to live there, while canceling his plans to move to Buffalo.

"One of my former employees at Jamestown is there and is the public relations director for NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray, and she's helping me to find some housing. I need to find a place that allows dogs because I still have my trusty companion, my german shepard."

The Sand gnats are a full-season Class A team that is an affiliate of the New York Mets that plays in the South Atlantic League. The team has one of the oldest stadiums in the country, but there is talk of a new one being built in the near future.

He will be wearing his first championship ring when he starts his job on February 2.

"Baseball continues to move on and the calendar moves on," Wellenzohn said. "I'll be with a new team and a new affiliate, but I'll have my first championship ring on my finger. We won 50 games and that is neat. It's something I'll never forget."

Video: William Morgan (Part Two) - Theories: Masons vs. Anti-Masons

By Philip Anselmo

This is the second video in our three-part series on William Morgan. Please, check out part one, The Vanishing of William Morgan, if you have not already done so. Part three should be on its way soon.

For more information on the story of William Morgan, visit the Holland Land Office Museum Web site, where you can find an enhanced podcast on the topic. You can also head down to the museum at 131 W. Main St. to check out the Morgan exhibit and to pick up a copy of Morgan's book, Secrets of the Masons Revealed.

Video: William Morgan (Part One) - The Vanishing of William Morgan

By Philip Anselmo

It has been a while since we've been down at the Holland Land Office Museum to take a look at the artifacts and get a lesson from everybody's favorite local historian, Pat Weissend, the museum's director. Well, to make up for that, we've put together a three part video series on "probably the most important story in the whole Genesee country"...

William Morgan.

Weissend had a lot to say on the subject. Nearly ten minutes worth of a lot to say, in fact. But since it's all so darned interesting, and we just couldn't bring ourselves to edit any of it out, we've instead divided up his tale into three separate videos: The Vanishing of William Morgan, Theories: Masons vs. Anti-Masons, and Origins of the Republican Party. We'll get up part one now and then post the other two later this afternoon. Be sure to watch for them. Enjoy!

For more information on the story of William Morgan, visit the Holland Land Office Museum Web site, where you can find an enhanced podcast on the topic. You can also head down to the museum at 131 W. Main St. to check out the Morgan exhibit and to pick up a copy of Morgan's book, Secrets of the Masons Revealed.

Emergency landing in the Hudson: Everyone aboard Flight 1549 is OK

By Philip Anselmo

This is just one of those stories that everyone is talking about... A news search on Google for the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River yesterday afternoon yields no less than 7,211 articles—and counting—on the story that have gone up in the past 18 hours. Most of you have likely heard the details by now: an emergency crash-landing of a passenger jet in the Hudson River after both engines burned out; a heroic pilot; a freezing river rescue; 155 people aboard and nobody seriously injured; and so on.

Already, not even a full day later, this story has become ... Someone has already posted a montage of images from the crash landing on YouTube set to synthesized 1980s disco rock. New media reactions on the instantaneous dissemination of cell phone photos via services such as Twitter are as frequent as traditional media coverage. Everyone has something to say about almost every aspect of the event. One religious publication urges: "Yesterday's amazing airplane rescue... provides spiritual ponderings," according to the Village Voice, in its cheeky roundup of some coverage on the fringe.

Here are some other headlines from stories out there right now:

How the Hudson River plane crash brought us together

Landing hailed as 'Miracle on the Hudson,' probe begins

How Birds Can Down a Jet Airplane

Passenger: 'It seemed like it lasted an eternity'

Breaking news from the office window

On the Beat: DWI charges in Alabama and Le Roy

By Philip Anselmo

Lucas M. Roggen, 28, of Akron, was charged with driving while intoxicated Thursday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Roggen was stopped for an alleged traffic violation at the intersection of Klossen and Meanville roads in Alabama. Rogged failed to stop at the intersection and slid into a snow bank. He was also ticketed with failure to reduce speed, unsafe passing, moving from the lane unsafely and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Anthony J. Reisdorf, 61, of Alexander, was charged with driving while intoxicated Thursday, deputies said. Reisdorf was driving on East Bethany-Le Roy Road in the town of Le Roy when his vehicle crashed, overturned and landed in a creek. He was uninjured. He was also ticketed with failure to reduce speed and moving from the lane unsafely.

Deep freeze will linger in Genesee County through Saturday morning

By Philip Anselmo

A wind chill advisory for the region has been extended through today up until about 11 o'clock Saturday morning. Temperatures with the wind chill could drop as low as 20 degrees below zero this morning and overnight, according to the National Weather Service out of Buffalo. Right now it feels like about 14 degrees below zero, and it may not get any worse than that as long as the winds hold steady.

And of course: more snow. From the National Weather Service:

Bitterly cold wind chill values with significant lake effect snows east of the lakes through Friday night.

A frigid arctic airmass will remain in place across all of western and north central New York through at least Saturday morning. Temperatures during this period will average some 15 degrees below normal.

In addition to the bitterly cold wind chills, winds will be aligned well enough for organized lake effect snow east of both lakes Erie and Ontario. Some areas could see storm totals close to 2 feet.

Anyone else catch that: "a frigid arctic airmass." Doesn't sound friendly.

A look at the radar shows that most of this snow will be south and east of us, maybe reaching Attica and Warsaw, and well north on the Lake Ontario shoreline. For now and for the rest of the morning, at least.

Snow and Ice become Water and Muckdogs Can't Swim

By dave wellenzohn

A question to our city leaders ............ All those huge piles of snow recently deposited in the parking lot of Dwyer Stadium......  When it melts and it will, where will the water go? Let's guess together, shall we.  Water will seek the lowest level which at this time is the Visiting Clubhouse , the area around the deck and then right field. This water will be both above ground and below. Right Field is always the wettest spot due to the low spot that is and has been there for years. Also, if I'm not mistaken, the parking lot is part and parcel  a part of the stadium, which means it is covered by the existing lease with Rochester. I'll also guess that Rochester wasn't asked about using the stadium as a snow and ice dumping ground. 

I'm about to become a "former citizen" of Batavia in 2 weeks. It was a great and eventful , some might say CHAMPIONSHIP year. It's Jan. 14th, city of Batavia. GCC baseball starts in about 2 months.  Look at the mountains that continue to be built and ask :  "Did we think this thru?"  

 GOODBYE BATAVIA, IT'S BEEN AN ADVENTURE !           Dave Wellenzohn GM    NYPL 2008 Champions Batavia Muckdogs

Buffalo News says cancel ESG

By Brian Hillabush

 Last week I wrote about the cutbacks and possible $300 charge for the Empire State Games.

Keith McShea followed up with a great story in the Buffalo News today, basically saying the games are dead and should just be canceled.


Hopefully some sort of funding can be restored. State funding for the Games went from $2.7 million to zero. The Games can certainly be streamlined — a scholastic-only competition isn’t the worst thing. But making athletes pay? No way. How about cutting funding in half? Since when does Albany work this quickly and decisively?

The state’s announcement included the caveat that for the 2010 Games, scheduled to be held in Buffalo, that there is “hope of reinstating the suspended competitions, as well as revisiting the new fee structure.”

But we know how that goes. Once something is cut from a budget, good luck getting it back.


The story is a good read and makes some great points. As one of many Empire State Games fans, I am sad to hear about all these cut-backs. But I hate to say it, this is the beginning of the end.


Inauguration party Tuesday at TF Brown's sponsored by The Batavian

By Howard B. Owens

Join The Batavian and your friends and neighbors Tuesday for the inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States.

Whether you're a Republican, Democrat or independent, you're surely mindful of historic event we'll witness Tuesday as Obama takes the oath of office and delivers his First Inaugural Address.

The Batavian will supply some appetizers/finger foods.  Guests will be responsible for the purchase of any lunches or beverages.

The Inauguration Party starts at 11:30 and will run until shortly after Obama completes his speech.  Obama takes the oath at noon.

We look forward to seeing you Tuesday at TF Brown's, 214 East Main Street.

News roundup: Batavia's Graham Corp. lays off 14 employees

By Philip Anselmo

Dan Fischer reports on WBTA this morning that Batavia manufacturer Graham Corp. let go 14 full-time employees yesterday. Most of those who received the pink slips were in the engineering department, Fischer says. A brief statement that was issued to the radio station did not give any reason for the layoffs, which were figured at about 5 percent of the total workforce.

We left a message at Graham Corp. to find out more. We will be sure to post any more information as it becomes available.

Top Items on Batavia's List

TAKE NOTICE THAT The Town of Elba is requesting Bids for the 2024 Cemetery Mowing season, with extra clean-up and trimming of trees/bushes. This will include three (3) cemeteries, Pine Hill Cemetery on Chapel Street, Maple Lawn Cemetery on Maple Avenue and Springvale Cemetery on Edgerton Road. Bids are for a 1-year contract and the successful bidder must provide their own $500,000.00 Liability Insurance certificate. A complete list of specifications/properties can be obtained by contacting the Town Clerk’s Office at (585)757-2762, ext. 10. Sealed bids should be clearly marked “Elba Cemetery Mowing Bids” and submitted no later than 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 7, 2024 at the Town Clerk’s Office, 7133 Oak Orchard Road, Elba, NY 14058. Bids will be opened at 1:00 p.m. at the Town of Elba Town Hall on Monday, March 11, 2024. The Town Board reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids that do not comply with their specifications. By Order of the Town Board, Trisha Werth Town Clerk
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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
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