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Batavia Daily News for Monday: City residents support plumbing inspector

By Philip Anselmo

Several supporters of Batavia's city plumbing inspector, Barb Toal, plan to come out for the meeting of the City Council this evening, according to the Daily News. They will attend the meeting to decry the recent "downsizing" of Toal from full-time to part-time only two months before she would have made pension. Reporter Joanne Beck found a couple of folks who were especially worked up about what they insist is unfair treatment of Toal, who has put in nearly 20 years in employment with the city

Larry Conway told Beck: "I'm going to holler like hell. ... this is the way they pay her back? It tells me that council has taken the attitude that there's no sentiment in Batavia."

Carol Grasso said: "When the city manager came here to work, he took a raise. That's unbelievable. He didn't blink an eye to take a raise but he can do this? She's a 20-year veteran. I think Barb has paid her dues."

If you wish to attend tonight's meeting, be sure to show up to the board room on the second floor of City Hall (inside the City Centre) by 7:00pm. Public comments will be taken near the beginning of the meeting.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

On the Beat: Forged prescription

By Philip Anselmo

Tabatha A. Torcello, 42, of Alexander, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument Friday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Torcello is accused of possessing a forged prescription at the Target store in Batavia. She was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.


Lacey L. Benben, 29, of Alabama, was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday, city police said. Benben was stopped for a traffic violation on Ellicott Street in Batavia when she was allegedly found to be intoxicated. She was also ticketed with speeding and uninspected motor vehicle.


Patrick C. Schultz, 38, of Lockport, was charged with driving while intoxicated Friday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Schultz was stopped for a traffic violation on Route 5 in Pembroke. He was also ticketed with speeding.


Gregory E. Durfee, 22, of Attica, was charged with driving while intoxicated Sunday, deputies said. Durfee was stopped for a traffic violation on Tinkhan Road in Darien. He was also ticketed with moving from the lane unsafely and improper left turn.


Adam J. Zack, 21, of Lancaster, was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday, deputies said. Zack collided with another vehicle on Route 20 in Darien. He was also ticketed with driving left of pavement markings in a no pass zone.


Adam B. Thomas, 19, of 191 S. Main St., Batavia, was charged with driving while intoxicated Sunday, deputies said. Thomas was allegedly driving on Route 98 in the town of Batavia when he lost control of his vehicle while texting on his cell phone. He then veered off the road, spun around and off the other side of the road. He eventually drove into a ditch and into a tree. Thomas was uninjured. He was also ticketed with speeding and failure to keep right.


Bharat Ramsamujh, 48, of Jamaica, was charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated DWI Sunday, deputies said. Ramsamujh was found by deputies in the parking lot of Flying J's in Pemborke, following reports of a sick and possibly intoxicated person at the gas pumps. Deputies allegedly discovered several alcoholic beverages in the vehicle. Ramsamujh was also ticketed with possession/consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle and dark tint/unattended motor vehicle.

Genesee County already prepared for potential state cuts in video-lottery aid

By Philip Anselmo

A proposal to cut community funding for towns and counties that host video-lottery-gaming facilities failed to pass the state Legislature earlier this year. But it is being brought up again by Gov. David Paterson and could take effect April 1, if it is passed. From the Democrat & Chronicle:

Towns and counties with video-lottery-gaming facilities would go bust under a plan by Gov. David Paterson to slash their aid by 50 percent as a way to trim the state's growing budget deficits.

If passed, the cuts could mean a drop from about $14 million to about $7 milion for counties across the state, including Genesee, Erie and Ontario.

Some local governments said they have prepared for a reduction in aid and didn't budget any of the money in the 2009 fiscal year, which for counties runs on calendar year. Aid to municipalities that have racetracks with the slot-machine-like devices started in 2006 under former Gov. George Pataki.

"We never programmed that money until it actually arrived," said Ontario County administrator Geoffrey Astles. Finger Lakes Gaming and Racing is located in Farmington, Ontario County.

The county would get its aid lowered from $844,533 to $422,267, while Farmington would see its aid sliced from $2.5 million to $1.3 million.

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell told us this morning that the county has already planned for the cuts. In fact, he said, they do not perceive the drop in aid as a budget cut. "We look at it as there will be an inclusion of about $140,000," he said. That amount is compared with about $240,000 from the previous year.

The town of Hamburg stands to see a much more significant drop in their aid. From WNED:

The $1.2-million the town currently gets from Fairgrounds Gaming is supposed to cover the costs of having the gambling operation in Hamburg. Supervisor Steven Walters has asked town department heads to look at possible cuts in case the governor's proposal to cut the state share to $600,000 takes effect.

Check out the article from the Albany Times Union for more details on the proposed cuts.

Christmas in the City (Commercial)

By Philip Anselmo

Thanks to Don Burkel of the Batavia Business Improvement District for passing along this television commercial for Christmas in the City. It's got all the details about the big event coming up a week from Friday.

News roundup: Meetings tonight

By Philip Anselmo

Genesee County's Legislature will meet tonight at 7:00pm in the Old County Courthouse. Also, the Batavia City Council will hold a conference meeting at 7:00pm at City Hall.

Out our way, winter arrives

By JIM NIGRO

          Yesterday I hauled the canoes away from the creek bank. They’ll spend the winter nestled up against the garage.

              Having looked forward to the autumn for so long, how could it have passed so quickly? There’s a month left before the winter solstice, yet Mother Nature closed the door somewhat abruptly. I don’t mind the snow, but I could do without the prolonged cold snap that comes with it.

              Once the first snows cover the countryside, I find it hard not to think about Christmas. Remembering a cluster of bittersweet I came across during the archery season, I returned to fetch some for my wife. Minus the foliage, Claudia likes to use the vine with its red and yellow berries for Christmas decoration.        

            While snipping sections of vine I could hear geese honking, but the surrounding cover was so dense not much of the sky was visible. Looking up, I had no clue where they were.  

            After exiting the woods and loading the bittersweet into the back of the pickup I could see geese all over the sky. While the honkers flew about in all directions, the northwest sky became dark gray. Minutes later it began snowing once again. The snow intensified, and despite the squall, geese were still flying. One sizeable flock was landing in a grain field. With wings cupped and locked, they dropped lower to the ground in a driving snow.

            Watching the geese negotiating the elements, I thought of Zeke Kehlenbeck and his retrievers. I know he would have appreciated seeing those honkers in the snow. At the time those geese were touching down, Zeke was probably deer hunting with his dad, Aaron, and brothers, Tyler and A.J.

 In recent years we’ve crafted a corn stalk tepee for our grandsons. Seeing it cloaked in white tells me it’s nearly time to put up the Christmas tree - all three of them!     

 

Five former Batavia players on the court in college

By Brian Hillabush

 For this area, if a high school basketball program has one or two players that move on to play the next level, it's a pretty remarkable achievement.

The Batavia boys basketball program makes one or two playing in college look like nothing, as five former Blue Devils are playing at the Division III level, with the best-of-the-best in the area.

Mike Chmielowiec is the elder statesman of the group and is starting his senior season at the University of Rochester tonight, with a game against Pitt-Bradford.

Kevin Saunders is a junior and playing at Fredonia State and Adam Brasky is a sophomore at King's College.

Mike Hoy and Bryan Anderson are freshman, Hoy playing at Geneseo and Anderson at Roberts Wesleyan. 

Chmieloweic and Saunders both start.

"I've definitely learned a lot of different things as the years went on," said Saunders, who started 13 games as a freshman. "Being a junior I've played a lot and learned a lot of different things along the way. I've grown as a player overall."

Chmielowiec has had a tremendous career and is one of two seniors starting for UofR this season. 

"I think there is a different element to (being a captain in college)," said Chmielowiec, a political science major. "Most kids on the team were captains or the man where they are from. It's a different responsibility. Now you have guys that were the best. It's almost a different kind of leadership role."

He played every game (including three starts) as a freshman, scoring 4.2 points per game, leading the team in 3-pointers with 14. 

Chmielowiec was the MVP of the Chase Tournament as a sophomore and started all 26 games. He led the team in scoring with 12.4 points per game, also leading the team in rebounding with 3.5 per game. He had 48 assists, good for fourth on the squad.

He was third on the team in scoring last season at 12.4 per game, starting 19 games and missing some time due to injury.

Chmielowiec was recently featured on the UofR Web site.

After spending the summer living in Los Angeles and putting on over 10 pounds, he is ready for a big senior season. After that, he will either go into the workforce or play basketball overseas, where a former coach has some contacts that will be interested.

Saunders started 19 games and saw action in all 24 in his freshman season at Fredonia, finishing second on the team in 3-pointers (28) and assists (48).

He led the team in assists last year with 63 and started 13 games, playing in all 26.

Saunders is a captain for the Blue Devils this season, and his team is off to a 2-1 start. Fredonia is a team on the upswing and the hot start is big, especially with the 66-63 victory over Penn State-Behrend this week. The Blue Devils were down 18 points with six minutes to go and went on a tear at the end of the game.

 "I don't know if we are a better team this year, but we are more experienced, said Saunders, a sports management major. "When I was a freshman and sophomore, we had young guys. I was seeing a lot of minutes as a freshman, so we were young. Now the core of our team is all juniors and seniors."

Adam Brasky - son of Batavia coach Buddy Brasky - played in all 19 games for King's College as a freshman, where he played 5.9 minutes per game, scoring 1.2 points per game with nine assists on the season. King's won a conference title last season.

He expect to have a big sophomore season, and has averaged 17.5 minutes per game in the first two contests of the year.

"There is a big difference for me from my freshman year," said Brasky, a history major. "The game doesn't feel as fast as last year. It has slowed down and I feel more comfortable now."

Brasky is playing a new style of basketball compared to Batavia's high-octane, man-to-man full-court pressure defense.

"We don't press much and aren't an up-tempo team," Brasky said. "We don't want them to get to the basket and offensively we set up plays and run motion. In high school the players aren't all this good. Here you run motion and use your basketball IQ to run plays, rather than run the court.

Hoy and Anderson are just getting their feet wet in the college game, but the two freshman are off to solid starts.

Anderson was a big signing for the Raiders and starts his college career off as the backup center.

Roberts is off to a 3-1 start and Anderson has played 18.3 minutes per game, scoring 8.8 points with 4.5 rebounds per game.

"I thought that as a freshman I would only get 2-3 minutes per game," said Anderson, who is a physical education major. "There were a couple problems and one of the big guys couldn't play, so it has helped me to get more playing time. It showed the coach that I can play at this level. Myself and another freshman are the big guys right now."

Hoy is mentioned as a sharpshooter in the Geneseo Web site preview, and he's already contributing after just one game.

He grabbed four rebounds and scored two points while playing 19 minutes in the opening game victory.

"I was a bit surprised," said Hoy, who has not declared a major yet. "It was more of a surprise in the scrimmages because I didn't expect to play this much. I got a lot of time and was like 'wow'".

 Hoy - like all five former Batavia players - has found the transition to college basketball easy because of the guys he plays with.

"Playing basketball is fun for me," Hoy said. "I like all the guys on the team. It has made the transition easier. I've been really happy about that part."

With seven-straight Monroe County League Division III titles, the Batavia program has been one of the best in the area. And with five players contributing on Division III teams, it shows.

Will our new guy break through the divisiveness in Albany? Let's ask him...

By Philip Anselmo

Earlier this week, Robert Harding of the Albany Project posted his suggestions on how to tackle the state's budget crisis: Cut taxes, cap spending and tax millionaires. As always, Harding makes a great case for each, whether or not you're willing to go along with him on it or not.

Meanwhile, at the capitol, leading state legislators bickered and taunted and mocked one another at a special session that cost tax payers in excess of $100,000 and saved them nothing. Nor was anything acheived from the meeting. Outside, more than a thousand protestors gathered to decry any cut in revenue for whatever special interest group they happened to represent.

In short, New York proved yet again that it is more than worthy of the epithet: the nation's most dysfunctional legislature.

So I thought, OK, we've heard over and over again, every day this week, more about the dysfunction, and how nothing is getting done, yet this nothing is costing us more than ever. Well, we've got a few new faces that will soon be heading to Albany. One of them is our own Mike Ranzenhofer, representative of the 61st District. All eyes will certainly be upon him. He ran a solid, hard-fought campaign and got elected to represent us. We will now wait for him to deliver.

But isn't that a lot of pressure? Can Ranzenhofer really change things in Albany, home to the hulking, ineffectual organism that is our state Legislature?

Well, I called to ask those very questions. Here's what he had to say.

"One of the things I've always been able to do is... I'm able to work with members on both sides of the aisle," said Ranzenhofer.

He went on to explain that many new members will be heading to the Legislature at the beginning of the year.

"I'm hoping these members will prevail on some of the more established members to stop all the bickering and finger pointing and come to the realization that changes need to be made," he said. "We're in unprecedented times. We need to encourage members of looking at new ways of doing things."

Ranzenhofer had an inciteful response to just how one goes about getting the otherwise recalcitrant members of the Legislature to "look at new ways." He described the situation as being similar to someone who is going through a "personal" problem.

"First, you have to acknowledge that the problem exists, then be able to adopt strategies to deal with it," he said. "A lot of people in Albany are in denial. They don't realize there's a problem. We first need to identify the problem."

One such problem: We just don't have the revenue to support the amount of spending that has been approved.

Ranzenhofer has talked about his plan a lot before: cut spending across the board.

"I don't think this should be dictated by the governor or by the Assembly," he said. "We need to go to the workforce, go to the department heads and ask them about where they think cuts need to be made."

What's more, he said, we need to consider that it is "not acceptable" for anyone to say: 'Hey, it's this other department that's the problem, not mine.'

So, the real question, though, is how would Ranzenhofer—or any state representative, for that matter—make the case to his constituents, to the people of the 61st, that he's doing his absolute best to get things done, even if the atmosphere in Albany doesn't change. Bringing home the pork has been the standard mode of conduct. But shouldn't we start expecting more than just a gift of Christmas lights to smooth over the utter failure of our state representatives to run things with at least a modicum of efficiency? What if establishment rule carries the day, and no matter what you do, the stalemate, the bickering, the political charades—what if all that continues, despite your efforts? How do you let your people know: 'Hey, I'm still doing my best.'

"There are several things you (such a representative, that is) can do to tell them (the constituents) what's going on," he said. "It really involves communication: through venues such as your own or newsletters or telephone calls or town hall meetings. It's important to let people know that you're trying to make the changes. It's important to communicate with the people you represent in your district."

"I think I've done a good job of that in the (Erie County) Legislature, communicating the efforts I put forth trying to make changes. There are no guarantees. But you certainly have to have the energy, the vigor and the attitude that you're not going to give up."

Video: Learning to Legislate (Part Three)

By Philip Anselmo

For over a month now, The Batavian has been following along as the 4-H Student Legislators learn the ropes of local government. We first met up at a meeting of the Genesee County Legislature. Then, we followed along when the interns got together at the Genesee County Nursing Home, where a couple dozen county government staffers came together to talk about what they do and take questions from the interns. Everyone from the sheriff to the clerk of the legislature was present.

In our first video, we asked the students their first impressions. In the next, we talked a bit about what they had learned so far. When we met up with them again yesterday, most of them had finished drafting up a resolution that they plan to present to their fellow legislators when they convene in a mock session of the Legislature in the spring. So we asked about their resolutions.

Before we get to that video, however, we're going to test your knowledge of local government. Chip Malone, the mastermind behind the student government program, devised a test of about a dozen questions—though some have several parts to them—all about local government. I took the test. I scored a 39 out of 46, which is about 86 percent. Not too bad, but not as well as I would have liked to have done. Although, I'm sure that if I were to take it again, I would ace it.

Now, we can't reprint the entire test here, because that would give away all of the answers for the students who have yet to take the test. Nevertheless, Chip has been kind enough to allow us to reprint a few of the questions.

First, allow me to brag that I knew every one of our federal and state representatives, including the incoming and outgoing state senators and congressmen. But those questions should be easy for anyone who has any eye on politics in the region. So, instead, I'll share a couple of the questions I found most difficult, and a few others that were a breeze—try to figure out which. Questions are reproduced exactly as they appear on the test.

1. Describe the special provision (rule) which provides opportunity to bring business before the (county) legislature which is not previously written on the agenda.

2. By law, a town is viewed as a:

a. Independent municipal corporation.

b. Involuntary subdivisions of the state, established to make state government more effective.

c. Any group of more than 2000 citizens who choose to start a local government and enact law.

3. What is weighted voting?

4. What are county governments' three top sources of revenue?

5. List the three committees of the county legislature.

We will post the answers Monday.

State Police: Cash reward for information leading to location of Corrie Anderson

By Philip Anselmo

A few weeks ago, The Batavian reported on the search for Corrie Anderson, who was last seen in Jamestown on October 28. Earlier today, we picked up an article from the Jamestown Post-Journal that said police would be postponing the search for Anderson due to hazardous conditions.

We then received the following press release from the state police:

The Warren County Crime Stoppers in Pennsylvania and the Greater Buffalo Metropolitan Crime Stoppers are offering a cash reward for any information leading to the location of Corrie Anderson from Busti, New York.  Ms. Anderson was last since on October 28, 2008 leaving the Lake County Dodge in the City of Jamestown.  Ms. Anderson is described as a white female, 5’11’’ tall, 170 pounds, blonde shoulder length hair and green eyes.  She was last seen wearing black corduroy pants, a black leather jacket and glasses.  Ms. Anderson lives outside of Jamestown and is known to frequent Pennsylvania.  Her disappearance is considered suspicious and the New York State Police have had an ongoing investigation since she was reported missing.  A photo of Ms. Anderson is available on our website at www.troopers.state.ny.us.

Anyone in Pennsylvania with information may contact the Warren County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-83-CRIME; outside of Pennsylvania they may call (814) 728-3600.  The Greater Buffalo Crime Stoppers may be reached at (716) 856-5600.  Callers may remain anonymous.

New York State Police Senior Investigator Greg Holt will be available today at 2:00 P.M. at SP Jamestown for a press conference regarding the reward.  Please contact Trooper Gibbons at (716) 225-8712 if you plan to attend.

Batavia Daily News for Friday: Area auto sales "strong despite downturn"

By Philip Anselmo

Some area auto dealers feel pretty strongly about the inevitability and justness of a Washington bailout of the nation's auto industry, according to the Daily News. John Pazamickas, sales manager for Orleans Ford-Mercury had this to say to Virginia Kropf:

"We believe the auto industry is the most important single manufacturing industry in the country, and for the government not to take seriously the livelihood of millions who derive income from that industry is shameful."

Shameful! That's emphatic. What do you think? Is Pazamickas in the right? He says that "for every job the auto industry creates, eight other jobs are affected." Is the auto industry so entwined with the fabric of the national economy that a bailout is "inevitable"?


In other news, the family whose apartment burned earlier this month—in the same fire that destroyed the post office in Pavilion—have found a new home. For now at least, they will be renting out a home on St. Mary's Street.


Youth sports are in the news again. This time, the Batavia Town Board got the pitch: a proposal to rent "15 acres of land at Batavia Turf Farms to give area youths and adult sports leagues a place to play." Folks who are interested are already entertaining visios of sports tournaments and a boost to tourism "by attracting teams and spectators from outside the local area."


The Batavia Town Board approved the $5.9 million budget for next year. That means the property tax rate in the town will remain at zero.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

On the Beat: Learn about Identity Theft

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia's City Police Department will host an informative session called: 'Deter, Detect, Defend: Learn more about identity theft' on December 11 at 7:00pm in the Batavia City Centre Board Room.

From the press release:

Identity theft occurs when your personal information is taken and used without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. It is a serious crime that can cost you time and money, destroy your credit, and ruin your good name.

The Batavia Police Department wants to help you learn how to protect yourself from identity theft at a free meeting that’s open to the public. Please join us to learn more about how to reduce your risk of identity theft, and what to do if you suspect that your identity has been stolen. 

Contact Det. Richard Schauf at (585) 345-6312 for more information.


David Gibbons, 29, of Medina, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Wednesday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Gibbons was allegedly found in possession of the drug following a traffic stop in Elba.

Kauffman talks up the virtues of home and immobility down south in Atlanta

By Philip Anselmo

Author Bill Kauffman was recently invited to Emory University in Atlanta by a fledgling student group known as the Young Americans for Liberty. The group had organized an event on the theme of "the importance of traditional American values in the 21st century."

Kauffman, it turned out, fit that bill quite well.

From an article in the Emory Wheel:

“I always felt an intense homesickness no matter where I was,” Kauffman said. “I knew that where I was from mattered.”

Kauffman said that those who are immobile and choose to remain in a specific region are overlooked in modern society.

“Love’s truest, greatest expression as I’ve come to believe is immobility,” he said.

Kauffman gives vent to the rootlessness of American politicians, such as President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, and he speaks of the divide between "televised America" and the rest of us. But all is not lost, he says.

Despite the problems that have arisen due to the lack of connection between Americans and their hometowns, Kauffman said he believes the situation can be fixed.

“Our country is lost, adrift, but there are sign posts pointing us home,” he said. “We have to rediscover the places in which we live. It is our task to find the sacred in the everyday.”

There's an especially poignant bell struck here... for me, at least. With little seeming compunction, Kauffman digs trenches—between the nomadic and the sedentary, "the televised" and "the rest of us" (which latter are also equated with the sedentary), and the various subdivisions of the rooted and the rootless—and he takes sides. At least since Cain and Abel, and especially during the Exodus, the nomadic and the sedentary have been set at odds with one another. Be it divine or secular, judgment pronounced on the nomad is often fueled by the prejudice and derision of the sedentary—witness the gypsies of Europe. A person or people are exiled as a means of protecting the homeland, as a preservation of the sanctity of the species, as it were. Yet the nomad is no such simple fiend. The Wandering Jew is both cast out and yet forever among us: at home in his homelessness. Nomadism, itself, is both a curse and the mark of blessedness in the Old Testament.

It's fascinating to hear Kauffman take up this ancient dialectic, which for sure is a prominent theme in his writings, if I'm allowed to comment on the little that I have so far read. Yet, it's also unsettling that the author is so decisive on adopting the directives of one to the exclusion of the other. I'm all for the shades of grey, myself. I see the extremes and opposites more as determiners of one another than exclusive entities. If I were to adopt Kauffman's language, I would have to call myself "rooted-rootless"—home is a plural: I have the one made by my family, several made by friends, even a few I notched out myself on the headboard of my own lonesome living in distant geographies...

But back to what's poignant here... despite Kauffman's own trench-digging, he is an incurable champion of the particular. Listen to what he says: "It is our task to find the sacred in the everyday." While I shy away from the language of the sacrosanct, I follow the same sort of maxim. It's why I call myself "a voracious pursuer of the idiosyncratic," which amounts to the same thing: a belief that the individual things, if they can be found—like so much else in this world of ours, they, too, have become rare and endangered—will speak the most to us about ourselves and the general things we only purport to understand.

So... really, all this to ask: Where do you fall? Are you an inveterate caster of deep and permanent roots? Are you a nomad? Do you feel like me: a "rooted-rootless" believer in the pluralism of home? Do you distrust one side or the other? What of the everyday? Is it sacred or does it just get in the way?

News roundup: Unemployed

By Philip Anselmo

The unemployment rate for Genesee County is up more than a percentage point from this time last year, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. The October jobless rate for the county was figured at 5.2 percent this year, as compared with 4.1 percent, last year. Those figures are released by the State Department of Labor, one of whose economists said that the last time the figures for the region were this high, the country was coming out of the recession of the early 1990s.

M&T Bank is on tap to receive $600 million from the federal government, in exchange for "preferred stock" that will go to the Treasury Department, as part of the nationwide "rescue plan."

(Update): The Buffalo News today includes a comprehensive article on M&T's option to join the "bailout." Especially interesting are these few lines:

M&T had been hesitant to sign on because executives feel the bank is perfectly healthy, hasn’t cut back on lending in its communities, and doesn’t need the extra capital. The bank currently has $6.4 billion in capital, giving it a “Tier 1” capital ratio of 7.34 percent, which exceeds the highest regulatory minimums.

That’s why the bank requested only the minimum of $600 million, as opposed to the maximum of about $1.73 billion that it could have sought, based on its asset size.

Come again? The bank is doing perfectly fine, doesn't need the money, but figured: 'Hey, what the heck, if they're giving it out, we might as well take some.'

Video: 4-H Produced in New York

By Philip Anselmo

Earlier this month, eleven 4-Hers from around the county showed off their nutritional and culinary know-how at the Produced in New York State Food Contest that was held at Martin's Super Food Store in Batavia. In front of a panel of judges, each participant prepared a recipe using at least one cup of fruits, vegetables or meat that had been produced here in the Empire State.

Jennifer Lichtenthal showed us how to make her cabbage casserole, a recipe passed down from her grandmother. She also informed us that New York, if you can believe it, is the number one cabbage growing state in the country. Enjoy! 

For the complete recipe, or for any of the other ten recipes featured at the Produced in New York State Food Contest, please contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension at (585) 343-3040.

Pontillo's: Open for Delivery

By Philip Anselmo

There's still no word yet on when Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia will reopen its dining room, and no one has yet come forward with information regarding the lawsuit between the brothers. But some good news has graced the sign in the parking lot out front of the Main Street restaurant:

Also, a truck has been spotted out back of the restaurant on several occasions over the past week. Renovations?

Bug Fix: Housing listing form

By Howard B. Owens

I thought it was kind of odd that since creating the "Housing" section on the web site, no listings had been posted yet, but I just figured I needed to get out and talk to some real estate agents.

A little while ago while I stopped into a local real estate office and the agents there were very happy to see me -- they had been having trouble getting their listings published.

It turns out, there was a misconfiguration I couldn't see with my superuser login.  It's fixed now.

So for any agents or landlords who have tried to post listings in the past, please try again. Click here to add a listing.

Batavia Daily News for Thursday: No home yet for the Pavilion post office

By Philip Anselmo

Pavilion residents do not yet have a replacement for their post office which was destroyed by fire several weeks ago, according to the Daily News. But those who used to pick up their mail from the post office at least have an alternative to driving to Le Roy to get it. Residents can now head to the Pavilion Fire Hall once a day in the middle of the day to pick up mail.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service told the Daily that there has not yet been a decision on whether to replace the post office in Pavilion. About 200 people pick up their mail direct from the post office.


In other news, Genesee County legislators continue to make the changes needed to the county budget to keep the tax rate from increasing. An original budget proposal called for a tax rate of $10.23 per $1,000 of assessed value. Legislators hope to reduce that to the current rate of $9.82 per $1,000.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

Batavia Downs: No. 8 in What Made Genesee County Famous

By Philip Anselmo

There's really no way to say it better than Pat Weissend:

"Traffic backed up at the New York State Thruway as thousands of people from the east and the west merged to spend their entertainment dollars on a chance to make more money at one of Genesee County’s best known attractions: Batavia Downs!"

So it is that Batavia Downs lands at No. 8 in the Holland Land Office Museum's countdown of the 25 Things That Made Genesee County Famous.

The harness racing track is the oldest night-time pari-mutuel track in North America. Batavia Downs opened on Friday, September 20, 1940 at 8:20 p.m. to an estimated crowd of 2,500 people. A total of $629 was bet on the first race and over $10,000 was bet on the first card.  

The opening was the dream of William “Lefty” Goldberg and others who, as shareholders in the Monroe - Genesee Breeders Association, chose Batavia because of its location between Rochester and Buffalo. The Monroe - Genesee Breeders Association is the predecessor of the Monroe - Genesee Racing Association. The first season’s attendance was 25,935 people with a total bet of $310,790. The following year, attendance and betting doubled, but racing was canceled in 1942 and 1943 due to travel restrictions and gas rationings.

For more on Batavia Downs and how it made us famous, be sure to visit the Holland Land Office Museum Web site. While your there, you can peruse the other 17 "things" that have so far made the list. You can also hit up the museum's blog to leave your two cents about what should make it in the top seven.

Image of Batavia Downs program from 1964 taken from the Holland Land Office Museum Web site.

Top Items on Batavia's List

The City of Batavia is accepting applications for a Full-time Water Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee (Salary $23.65/hr.) This is a trainee position involving responsibility for learning the duties and routines in the operation and maintenance of a water treatment plant.  The work is performed under the immediate supervision of a qualified operator. Does on-the-job training to become qualified as an operator of a water treatment plant. Does related work as required. Applicant must be a graduate of a senior high school or possess a New York State high school equivalency diploma. Please submit a completed Civil Service Application to Human Resources, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020 or tdean@batavianewyork.com. Background check, psychological assessment, physical and drug testing are required. Candidate must become a resident of Genesee County or any adjacent town to the County of Genesee within 6 months of the date of conclusion of the probationary period for the City of Batavia. EEO. Applications can be found at https://www.co.genesee.ny.us
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