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News roundup: With cold comes ice

By Philip Anselmo

Temperatures have settled at about 4 degrees, or nearly 30 degrees below freezing, in the Batavia area this morning. As a result, area police have cautioned motorists to be wary of black ice on the roads. Even those roads treated with salt have iced up in some spots, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer.

Fortunately, there's no significant wind to push that cold all the more insistently into our faces today. Unfortunately, that won't be the case tomorrow when more wind develops and could yank the temperature down near -17 degrees. Expect more of the same on Friday.

A well-written article this morning in the Buffalo News has some tips on how to get through the "deep freeze." For example: You may want to keep your water running just a little bit so that it doesn't freeze in the pipes.

Major changes for Batavia High athletics

By Brian Hillabush

Batavia High School has been one of the smallest schools in the Monroe County League for a long time.

It has hindered the chances some programs have had to win.

But those things are about to change as realignment has given Batavia a chance to remain part of a league, yet be competitive in sports it normally struggled to compete in.

"With our school and our size, Monroe County recognized that our school and Greece Odyssey were a little different," Batavia athletic director Mike Bromley said. "You have to give them credit for that because they give us a league affiliation and will allow us to be competitive."

The Blue Devils will be playing in Monroe County League Division III, but will be essentially playing a half-league schedule.

Geography is a big consideration for Monroe County as teams were realigned. Division I and II teams are matched up as much by travel distance as school size. Division III is mostly about size.

Batavia will play each team in Division III once in both boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball and volleyball. That means the Blue Devils will get to play seven league games, which is also happening with Odyssey.

While Batavia will no longer be eligible for league championships, it will give teams chances to schedule non-league games with teams that they can compete with.

A prime example is the boys soccer team, which experimented with the schedule least year. Batavia went 7-10, going 7-1 outside of Monroe County and 0-8 in the league.

"We gave up the opportunity to win a league championship because we don't play everybody twice," Bromley said. "But to be able to go out and get schools that are closer to our size and be more competitive makes more sense than trying to win league titles."

Kids will still have  a chance to be recognized as all-county and there will be no changes for track & field or cross country. 

This sets up some potential great local rivalries, especially as Batavia drops down to Class B. Imagine home and home series' with Attica or Albion. Those could be great local rivalries for Batavia.

Once you get past not being able to compete for a league championship, there are still goals for Batavia teams. 

There will also be changes in the modified programs at Batavia, as the drop in numbers will no longer support a seventh and eighth grade team. The two grades will be combined for modified and will play a schedule based on geography.

 

Here is the new alignment for the Monroe County League:

Division I: Canandaigua, Irondequoit, Fairport, Penfield, Rush-Henrietta, Webster Schroeder, Webster Thomas.

Division II: Brockport, Churchville-Chili, Gates Chili, Greece Arcadia, Greece Athena, Greece Olympia, Hilton, Spencerport.

Division III: Batavia, Brighton, Greece Odyssey, East Irondequoit Eastridge, Honeoye Falls-Lima, Pittsford Mendon, Pittsford Sutherland, Victor.

Consolidation: Five Questions... Charlie Mallow

By Philip Anselmo

Earlier today, we contacted Charlie Mallow, Batavia's City Council president, and Greg Post, the town supervisor, to get their thoughts on some specifics about the upcoming consolidation plan. Mallow sent us his responses via e-mail this past hour. We include them below.

When we called Post, he told us that he wouldn't be available to answer the questions until later this evening. We will try to get in touch with him then and get his answers up once we have them. They were given the same questions.

Note: CGR is an abbreviation for the Center for Governmental Research, the group that put together the report in preparation for an upcoming study on consolidating the city and town of Batavia. You can download the complete report here. Our questions (verbatim) are in italics. Mallow's responses (verbatim) are in bold.


CGR's memorandum calls for a Consolidation Plan to be complete by May in order for community discussion to take place between then and November, in advance of the tentative November 3 vote. Does that sound like a tenable timeline?

The time tables are tight; there is no question about it. It will be a challenge to get the information out to the voters. It is doable and needs to be a priority.

What do you see as your role moving forward in this process? Do you plan to be a passive contributor—for example, you will sit for interviews and meetings when asked, but that's the extent of it? Or do you plan to actively promote consolidation efforts? If the latter, how do you plan to do so?

The experience I have gathered during the cities financial difficulties has made it very clear to me that individual municipalities cannot continue on the way we are. The tribalism that we have in NY is driving away business and making it impossible to compete. We need to eliminate layers of government as soon as humanly possible. I have every intention doing what I can to drive this consolidation issue. To do nothing when you know the future financial outcome resulting from doing nothing would be pure incompetence on my part.

CGR's memorandum states that a public vote is not required for a consolidation. Would you support efforts at consolidation if the residents were not allowed to make the final decision? If the residents do get to vote and they decide they do not want to go ahead with consolidation, but the state Legislature calls for it anyway, would you still support it?

The state should mandate consolidation but, it’s too incompetent and slow to react to make positive changes in our state. The special interests control Albany and most of what comes from state government is a stage show for political purposes. The state government is corrupted to such an extent that nothing good could ever come from Albany. That’s why I’m confident the state will do nothing to solve a major problem like the over abundance of small municipal taxing entities in our state.

CGR states that "current boundaries and the resulting turf protection issues have made it very difficult to develop cost effective regional solutions to deliver ambulance, police and fire services." Do you agree with that? Is consolidation the only answer to these problems? Do you feel these problems would remain if consolidation did not go through?

You’re talking about three distinct issues. Consolidation between the City/Town would be a first step. None of the issues you mentioned would be solved by a vote for consolidation in November. We have asked for a plan that would NOT increase or decrease services or change the tax structures in the city/town. Consolidation would decrease some of the costs and put our community in a position to deal with those other issues in the future.

Fire services are handled by fire districts; these districts cross municipal lines and require another round of consolidation prompted by the state to move forward. I believe county departments have trouble attracting volunteers and getting good response times during the day. The amount of districts also has cost millions in redundant equipment purchases. There are far more fire trucks in this county than are needed. Consolidation of fire districts would be a long and painful task, which is not part of this effort.

Police protection is something that would remain a city service unless there was a petition by residents in the old town who desired the service. Again we are not talking about increasing the level of service anywhere in the town with consolidation. Just sharing the things we currently all need. 

From my point of view ambulance service is something that should come from the county. This service was started by people in the city who had very little knowledge of the long term problems inherent with taking on that service. The city is currently in a position of collecting fees from municipalities it has no taxing jurisdiction over to keep the service afloat. The long term cost of continuing the service the same way would be devastating to our cities finances. This problem is a separate issue that council will be tackling in the upcoming year.


CGR presents population research that shows that the city of Batavia decreased in population by .7 percent between 2001-2006, while the town of Batavia increased 26.2 percent. Do you feel these trends will continue? How could such trends benefit or hinder consolidation efforts?

The town has shovel ready land and a lot of it. The town also has the benefit of 16,000 city residents who shop in their business district. There is no choice but, for new developments to grow outside the city, there simply is very little land to develop inside the city.

Poll: Should city employees live here?

By Philip Anselmo

Last night, the Batavia City Council voted to waive the residency requirement for 14 city employees. That was all the news that was reported about the 6-to-1 vote. Nobody has yet been able to tell us why exactly the city has such a requirement if it's willing to waive it for such a large number of employees. In the meantime, we would like to get your thoughts. Do you feel it's imperative for a person to live in the city of Batavia if they are employed here? Can someone in Oakfield do the job? Does it matter? If it doesn't matter, why does the city require residency here? If it does matter, why would the city waive that requirement? Well, what do you think?

Should city employees be required to live in the city?
( surveys)

On the Beat: Felony contempt

By Philip Anselmo

Michele Anastasi, 52, of Lockport, was charged with a felony count of first-degree criminal contempt, second-degree aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Anastasi is accused of striking someone during a fight in the town of Pembroke. Following the altercation, Anastasi allagedly made "several harassing messages to the same individual" in violation of an order of protection.

Anastasi is due to appear in the town of Pembroke court this evening to answer those charges.

Erie County folk artist honored at museum in Colonial Williamsburg

By Philip Anselmo

Every morning, I spend a good hour or so perusing the local media sites, looking for the stories most relevant to the folks of Genesee County. Links to those articles are then included in our Regional Headlines section down here to the right.

Often, there's that one story that deserves more than a cursory mention. For a while now, I've wanted to pick out that one article or news clip that deserved a bit more attention and bring it to you in the full light of our central blog well.

Today is the day we start that service. We hope you enjoy it.


An article this morning in the Buffalo News tells the story of a young man from a small town on the northern shore of Lake Erie. Reporter Chairty Vogel writes the tale with a sure hand and finesse enough to make it come alive.

He burned with artistic fire. But he lived a tough life, and died at a heartbreakingly young age.

Asa Ames was, in many ways, the James Dean of American folk art.

And he lived his entire life — just 27 years — right here in Western New York, in the Town of Evans, where today his simple slab tombstone lies toppled over in a country graveyard, crumbling and neglected.

That was in 1851. Now, Ames will be honored in an exhibit at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

Vogel truly does a tremendous job with this story, which she recognizes as much more than a tragic tale of a talented young man who died too soon. This is the story of undiscovered talent—small town talent—that Vogel so aptly describes as "hauntingly personal." Ames was working outside of the mainstream, away from the city centers in a medium—wood—that was for the most part unappreciated at the time. He is the quintessential outsider. Like Georg Büchner and Henry Darger, Ames was not understood by the insiders until long after his death. And as Vogel tells us near the end of her article, Ames remains something of enigma, even today.

News roundup: Council waives residency requirement—Updated

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia's City Council last night waived the residency requirement for 14 city employees, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. Councilman Bob Bialkowski was the sole dissenter in the 6-to-1 vote. Assistant City Manager Sally Kuzon and recently appointed Code Enforcement Officer Ronald Panek were among those relieved of the requirement.

No one has yet explained exactly what such a decision means for the city. If the residency requirement was in place: How did the city hire 14 people in violation of the requirement? We put the question to Council President Charlie Mallow this morning, and we're waiting for his response. We'll be sure to get it up when he responds, if he doesn't just beat us to the punch and post a comment before then.

Update: Mallow has responded to our inquiry from earlier this morning.

"The City has a residency requirement for all employees to live within the boundaries of the County," he said. "These employees were identified as living outside the County, some who have worked for the City for over 10 years, and it has been determined that it is in the best interest of the City to waive this requirement  for these people."

Cold, snow and wind will make for a tricky afternoon commute

By Philip Anselmo

We're looking at a severe winter weather advisory for the region from 9 o'clock this morning through 6:00pm this afternoon, issued by the National Weather Service out of Buffalo. Don't expect things to get more friendly after that. We're already hearing talk of record low temperatures possibly down to minus ten degrees by Thursday. For now, here's what to expect:

A strong cold front will cross western New York early this afternoon and bring 1 to 3 inches of snow to the area. Strong southerly winds ahead of the front will shift to west with the frontal passage and gust up to 35 mph. This will result in considerable blowing and drfiting snow. Expect very hazardous conditions for travel for a few hours during the afternoon.

Please be careful driving out there. Wind, plus snow, plus cold usually make for the worst driving conditions. I can speak from experience that Route 33 between Batavia and Bergen is often treacherous when the gusts start kicking the snow across the road.

Everything looks clear right now on the Thruway.

Emory Upton: No. 5 in What Made Genesee County Famous

By Philip Anselmo

Most folks around here ought to know the name Emory Upton compatriot of General Sherman, traveler of the world and military documenter and tactician. His patinated likeness stands tall at the monument on the city's west side where Main Street and Ellicott Street join.

Now, Upton has earned himself yet another memorial: a rank of fifth in the Holland Land Office Museum's countdown of The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous.

Museum Director Pat Weissend tells us: 

In 1875, Upton received orders from General William T. Sherman to leave West Point and go on a world tour to observe and study all the great armies of Asia and Europe. Upton and his group headed west by train to San Francisco, got on a boat and headed to Japan. After observing the Japanese army, they went to China, India, Persia, Turkey, Russia and finally ended up in Western Europe.  Upon his return stateside, he published the book The Armies of Asia and Europe.

Recently, The Batavian sat down with Weissend and County Clerk Don Reed at Main Street Coffee as they worked at transcribing a selection of Upton's letters. (Those letters will be edited and published once the transciption is complete.)

For more on Upton, visit the Holland Land Office Museum online.

Rural Democrats respond to Chris Lee's first week in office

By Philip Anselmo

We received the following statement, issued by the Genesee, Livingston, Wyoming and Orleans Democratic Committee Chairs.

The Democrats of the rural counties of New York's 26th Congressional District (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties, or the GLOW region,) congratulate Chris Lee on being sworn in to represent the district in the 111th Congress.  While he is getting established in Washington, the GLOW county Democratic Committees note that Congressman Lee's plans to open offices in just Monroe and Erie Counties suggest there is a good chance that the rural areas of the district, which comprise a great deal of the 26th, may continue to be overlooked despite there being new representation in Congress.

Mr. Lee has issued a statement announcing that he has been named to the Financial Services Committee, the committee assignment he sought.  Unfortunately, membership on that committee precludes his serving on any of the other important committees in Congress.  (Most members of Congress sit on multiple committees, but members of the Financial Services Committee do not.)  "What our communities really need is a representative on the Agriculture Committee, like the 29th District will have with Eric Massa," says Harold Bush, Chair of the Wyoming County Democratic Committee.  The Genesee County Democratic Committee Chair, Lorie Longhany, says "I am concerned that Congressman Lee is in danger of simply perpetuating a long Washington tradition of being more interested in Wall Street than Main Street.  The fact that two of his very first votes were against closing pay discrimination loopholes -- he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fairness Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act -- makes me even more on my guard about his commitment to average people."

The other matter of great concern to the GLOW-region Democratic Committees is that Congressman Lee may not be supportive enough of passing the stimulus plan that is the first item on Congress' agenda.  "He never talks about a recovery plan without worrying out loud about 'fiscal responsibility,'" says Phil Jones, Chair of the Livingston County Democratic Committee.  "But 'fiscal responsibility' has become the Republican code phrase for obstructing what we really need in this district, which is jobs.  The Republicans had plenty of chances to be fiscally responsible when they were in control of Congress and the economy wasn't in dire straits.  But economic experts agree that temporary government spending is the only thing that can help turn around our economic situation."  The Orleans County Democratic Chair, Jeanne Crane, notes that public investment in infrastructure and green energy projects could benefit the 26th district for years to come.  "Smart public investments can lead to real, tangible assets for our community, assets that will attract jobs and growth.  We hope Congressman Lee understands that and will support the kind of stimulus package we need."

On the Beat: Marijuana and fireworks

By Philip Anselmo

Joseph Auricchio, 17, of Alexander, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful dealing with fireworks Saturday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Deputies picked up Auricchio following a complaint.


Robert W. Baker, 38, of Attica, was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Baker was driving on Route 77 in Alabama when he crashed his car and ended up stuck in a deep snow embankment in a ditch. He was also ticketed with moving from the lane unsafely.


Jerry K. Scroger, 44, of 3207 Pratt Road, Lot 6, Batavia, was charged with second-degree criminal contempt Friday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Scroger is accused of violating a court order of protection by calling his estranged spouse.


Brian J. Lipinski, 25, of Corfu, was charged with trespass early this morning, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Lipinski was picked up after crashing his snowmobile into a pile of steel railroad track while driving along the CSX railroad line.

Notre Dame cheerleaders take top prize - Updated with photo and video

By Philip Anselmo

Thanks to Lindsay Warner for submitting the following info on the Genesee Region League Cheerleading Tournament. We would love to have some color to go with this recap, so if you've got photos or video of this event, please post it to the site or contact me by e-mail so we can get it posted.

This weekend the JV and varsity cheerleading squads of the Genesee Region League gathered for their annual tournament. The competition travels to a different host school every few years and this year was the first for Elba High School and Michelle Merrill, their head coach.

The competition is run much like Winter Cheerleading Sectionals in that each team performs twice on the mat- once in a cheer only round and than again using the tradition cheer/dance routine. Grand Champion is determined by the squad who carries the highest total score. Since the inception of this competition that score belonged to the Holley Hawks- that is until this weekend.

Notre Dame has competed in this tournament for years and since Coach Lindsay (Rapone) Warner began coaching, grand champion was set as the ultimate goal. Holley High School, who is class B2 with nearly twice as many squad members, doesn’t make for much of a fair fight. This year Notre Dame has 14 members, 6 of which are new additions to the varsity team from last year. Nevertheless, Notre Dame was able to top Holley’s squad of 27 by 6 points in Round One which was very exciting for the squad as a last second decision was made to throw out the original cheer and learn a completely new one less than a week before the day’s performance. Overall the Irish stole grand champion by 4 points.

“My team was aware that the odds were against us in our goal to get grand champ. Holley is a great competitor and is well known for their themed routines, which this year, was Legally Blonde,” coach Lindsay Warner. The squad worked very hard to prepare for this competition, including two full practices before each of their games this week. The girls wanted it and their efforts certainly paid off. Assistant coach, Sheri Girvin, who is an alumni of Holley High School and former recipient of Grand Champion as a Hawk joined the Irish last year and was thrilled to receive Grand Champion again, now as a Notre Dame coach.

Squad captains are Stacy Squire, Kristen Francis, and Lauren DiFante, two of which are seniors and are very hopeful that this is just the start of a very successful final season for them at Notre Dame.



Scores:

JV CHEER DI- Holley 177, Attica 173, Alexander 170; DII- Kendall 137
JV CHEER/DANCE DI- Holley 179,Attica 169, Alexander 156; DII Kendall 150
Varsity CHEER DI-Holley 184, Attica 179, Alexander 174, Oakfield 109; DII Notre Dame 190, Elba 173, Kendall 157, Lyndonville 150
Varsity CHEER/DANCE DII- Notre Dame 185, Kendall 166, Elba 164, Lyndonville 146

News roundup: City Council will vote to abolish Ethics Board

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia's City Council will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the City Centre. Their only order of business is a vote to abolish the city's Board of Ethics, which would henceforth hand over all questions of potential ethics violations to the county's board, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer.

Today and tomorrow will be mild compared to the expected temperatures later this week. An Arctic front will blow in Wednesday, dropping temperatures down to near zero that day and possibly even as low as minus five degrees on Thursday. Follow this link to download a helpful extereme cold weather guide.

Storm was not that bad

By Brian Hillabush

 We were supposed to get slammed with some big-time snow last night. I woke up this morning with the ambition to go out and photograph some carnage.

It was actually pretty nice.

As you can see, most streets and driveways are clear and the only real damage I found was a power wire down.

New feature: Forums

By Howard B. Owens

Here at The Batavian, we're in a constant mode of making improvements and upgrades to the site.

One feature requested a while back was discussion boards, or forums, a place for people to start their own topics of conversation.

Tom Gilliatt, whom many of you have known as Tom G since the site launched, has agreed to help monitor and manage the forums.

Thanks, btw, to both Tom and Gabor for recently changing their user profile to include their full real name to comply with our requirement for real names on the site. 

You can reach the discussion boards through the Forums link in the navigation bar across the top of the Web page.

Attica football is moving down to Class C

By Brian Hillabush

 With the amount of students dropping at local schools, I have a thought that within the next few years we might start seeing more schools combine their programs.

The current BEDS numbers are an indication that our area schools are getting smaller and smaller. Most of our schools are Class C or D as it is right now, and there has been a rumor flying around that Attica is dropping from a B to a C next year. 

I just confirmed that the Blue Devils will be playing in Class C next season, but just for football. It will probably be for all sports the year after next.

"I think it's good and it gives us an opportunity to see some different teams," Attica coach Jeff Cusmano said. "I don't think Class C is any easier (for sectionals). You still have your teams like Le Roy, Pembroke and Letchworth, but from a physical standpoint it may help us out."

This year's graduating class at Attica is 147 and Cusmano's son is in third grade, where there are only 100 kids in the class. So enrollment is going to keep dropping in Attica.

Playing in Class C is no cake-walk as Cusmano said, but will give the Blue Devils a better chance to compete. Attica has only won two sectional games in its history, playing in Class B. They knocked off East Rochester/Gananda for the second this year, but then were destroyed by Bath.

"When we go into a Class B playoff game, you have to be able to match up and we couldn't do that with Bath," Cusmano said. "You have teams like Geneva and Hornell that are (larger schools) and pretty tough. We will be able to better match up in sectionals."

With the amount of Class D schools we are going to have in the Genesee Region League and Livingston Conference, is it possible that teams are going to have to merge sports so that there are enough Class C schools to compete.

This past year we saw Elba and Byron-Bergen combine their football program, and it is likely that more athletic teams will be hooking up from those two schools.

Oakfield-Alabama and Pembroke were Class C this year, but both are expected to be Class D very soon.

Section 5 has the most amount of Class D schools in the state, and I'm just wondering if we are going to see more merging. As it is right now, Class D plays one less regular season game because they have to be divided into two classes, and have a playoff after sectionals to see which team moves on to states.

There is currently talk of making the Class D sectionals just a four team competition and allowing schools to play a full seven week regular season. While other classes have eight schools in the playoffs, Class D would only get four teams.

Will Oakfield-Alabama and Pembroke combine programs so that they can compete in Class C or even be a small B school? Caledonia-Mumford has been moved down to Class D and enrollment keeps dropping, so are they going to join up with another school so they can play in an eight team playoff?

This may or may not happen, but with Class D becoming so overloaded, I think we are going to see some major changes in Section 5 football in the near future.

Nasty weather on the way

By Brian Hillabush

Yet another good reason to stay in and watch the NFL playoffs - the weather is going to get pretty bad.

Things should get pretty nasty later this evening and through the night, according to weather.com

The snow is expected to start at around 3:45 p.m. and will get serious by 7 p.m. and will continue all through the night. 

Here is a copy of the Winter Weather Advisory issued by the National Weather Service this morning.

... WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 6 AM EST SUNDAY...

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 6 AM EST SUNDAY.

LIGHT SNOW WILL SPREAD NORTH ACROSS THE AREA THIS AFTERNOON AND ACCUMULATE AN INCH OR SO BY THIS EVENING. THE SNOW WILL BECOME MORE STEADY TONIGHT AND ACCUMULATE ANOTHER 3 TO 5 INCHES... BRINGING TOTAL ACCUMULATIONS TO ABOUT 4 TO 6 INCHES BY SUNDAY MORNING.

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS NORMALLY ISSUED FOR A VARIETY OF WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS SUCH AS LIGHT SNOW... BLOWING SNOW... SLEET... FREEZING RAIN AND WIND CHILLS. WHILE THE WEATHER WILL BE SIGNIFICANT... THE WORD ADVISORY IMPLIES THAT SEVERE WINTER WEATHER IS NOT ANTICIPATED.

 

Paterson's soft drink Nanny Tax potentially more of a problem than solution

By Howard B. Owens

Daily News writer Paul Mrozek has a lengthy piece out today on Gov. Paterson's plans to tell parents how to raise their children -- specifically how to control their diets.

He includes all the facts from the governor's perspective, but passes over one lone skeptical voice deep in the article.  There is little focus on the propriety of New York engaging in social engineering, nor the degree to which this plan is going to create new bureaucracies and hence new expenses, whether there is any evidence such a plan will work, nor how the plan will impact businesses and create new costs that will be passed along to all consumers.

The most far-reaching of the proposals is an 18 percent sales tax on sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda. Juices from fruit such as oranges and grapes are excluded from the proposed tax.

In the past 40 years New York residents have increased their consumption of pop from an average of five 12-ounce cans or bottles per week to 11 per week. Research has shown that consumption of non-diet soft drinks is one of the primary factors that increases the risk of obesity in children and adults.


"No question about the link. We have a core fact in front of us," Daines said.

Not so fast. There is a question. A big fat question.

To blame all low-income obesity on soda pop alone is myopic. Low-income diets tend to be heavy in empty carbohydrates of all kinds, not just sugar. Children living in food insecure homes consume less healthy food. One reason there is such an abundance of empty-carb foods can be traced to farm subsidies for corn, but even that connection is a rather simplistic view of the obesity problem among poorer children.

There is also the question of proper exercise.  In too many homes, children are allowed to watch TV or play video games rather than being required to run around outside.

These are largely parental issues, not government issues.

If the government wanted to do something to help, they would restructure aid programs to make it easier to buy healthier food.  Given a choice, most parents would pick more meats, fruits and vegetables. But right now these options are beyond their budgets. 

Driving up the costs of the high-carb foods isn't going to help them afford the good foods.

The article says, "You raise prices. You provide alternatives."  But what are those alternatives. How are they paid for and provided?  If the alternatives are paid for by the tax, how does the state ensure sufficient revenue for those alternatives once consumption of the taxed items goes down?

Will taxed drinks receive some sort of stamp like alcohol and cigarettes?  If so, aren't we just creating yet another environment for potential illegal black market activities?

And one issue about the proposed tax I've not seen discussed anywhere is the impact on business: Who will levy the tax? Will retail outlets be burdened with the the expense of tracking and tallying the tax, which could include the expense of reprogramming cash registers?  And if the tax is imposed at the wholesale level, won't it just get passed along to all consumers of soft drinks and other beverages from those particular wholesalers?

What about vending machines? Will vendors be required to have two prices on drinks in their machines -- one for taxed items, and one for non-taxed? Or will us diet drinkers just pay more? Who pays for the expense of reprogramming machines or replacing machines that aren't capable of handling tiered prices on soft drinks?

Per usual, any time the government starts interfering in private lives and private enterprise, there are as many if not more problems created than solved.

Here's an appropriate and timely video from Reason Magazine.

Consolidation: Four most common questions...

By Philip Anselmo

Yesterday, we brought you some extracts from a report by the Center for Governmental Research on the potential consolidation of the town and city of Batavia. We would still encourage everyone in those municipalities to download and read the full document (it's about seven pages or so). In the meantime, we would like to present you with the four most commonly asked questions of the researchers as they interviewed leaders in the city and town on the topic of consolidation. Here's what they heard most:

1. "How can we ensure that city and town residents and businesses are fairly represented in the new government?"

2. "How can we ensure that the current costs and obligations of the city are not unfairly transferred to current town taxpayers?"

3. "What would happen with fire and police services?"

4. "What is the process for approving the creation of New Batavia?"

Answers to all of these questions, to a certain extent, depend on the plan that has not yet been planned. That being said, the Center for Governmental Research has some answers to help appease folks in the meantime. That is particularly the case for questions one and three. Amusingly, the CGR recommends a charter review committee works out those details in time for the November vote. We say amusing, because the city has been working on its own charter for quite some time now, and all of the work would essentially be null and void if a consolidation goes through. Daily News reporter Joanne Beck explored this irony in a recent article in that paper.

As for the other questions... Question two—will the cities burdens become the towns—has been the most frequent that I have heard. Basically, CGR says that consolidation of the city and town "can be expected to yield both short term and long term savings" for everyone. To me, that makes it sound like a non-issue.

Question four—approving the creation of New Batavia—is a real hoot. Quite simply, there's nothing that says the consolidtion has to be voted on by residents. However, the state Legislature does get a say.

As for the next steps...

Number One: Develop a plan! (Seriously, that's number one.)

Number Two: Get some money, because you will need it.

Number Three: Get more input.

There you go. Is everybody ready?

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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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Part -Time Children's Library Clerk Position available at the Haxton Memorial Public Library Application is available on the library website: haxtonlibrary.org Or apply at 3 North Pearl Street , Oakfield. Any questions please call 948-9900
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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 Crossroadshouse.com to apply, click on volunteer tab to complete application or email Ashleymanuel@crossroadshouse.com
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