Skip to main content

News roundup: Berry picking (again) with Tom Rivers

By Philip Anselmo

Agricultural reporter Tom Rivers is back in the fields — blueberry and raspberry patches in Point Breeze, this time. His article, something of a fruit-picker epic, sprawls off the front page to fill the entire back page of today's Daily News.

It's chock full of the expected Rivers-isms, such as, say... "I could barely stand the smell of myself, an unpleasant brew of sweat and sunscreen." A long piece, for sure, but as the rest of the series has been, quite readable.

Joanne Beck's coverage of the City Council's meeting last night can be found on the front page. Or... you can find it on The Batavian yesterday and this morning.

Reporter Paul Mrozek rounds out today's front page with a preview of the Genesee County Fair that opens today and runs through the weekend.

PIECES Gallery on Main Street will close "as of Monday." The gallery opened in Batavia in 2003. The article by Joanne Beck related the news that was left in a "voicemail message" by co-owner April Stringham.

Investigation into the fire Saturday at Cristina's Restaurant continues. Fire crews will raze most of the structure so that investigators can "sift through the wreckage" and better determine the cause of the fire. The banquet hall portion of the facility should remain intact. Cristina's owner Charles Brumsted was on the scene when reporter Paul Mrozek was there, but Brumsted refused to comment.

The Muckdogs won one and lost one during last night's doubleheader with Aberdeen. They improve to 15-12 for the season. They are tied for second place in their division.

Oatka Festival Parade

By Philip Anselmo

Thanks to Russ Stresing for getting us this footage of the Oatka Festival Parade.

GCC elects new board chairman

By Philip Anselmo

Gensee Community College's Board of Trustees elected Laurie Miller as its chair in a unanimous vote at its meeting last night. Charles Ruffino was elected vice-chair, and Maureen Marshall was made secretary.

Mrs. Miller has served as a trustee since 2000. She is one of the owners and operators of Willow Ridge Farm in Alexander. Mr. Ruffino has served as a trustee since 2002. He is a retired New York State Department of Education administrator. Mrs. Marshall has served as a trustee since 2003. She is an owner and operator of Torrey Farms, based in Elba.

In other City Council news...

By Philip Anselmo

We reported last night on the City Council's decision to delay the vote on whether to allow Batavia's Youth Football program to remain one more year at Dwyer Stadium. For those of you wondering what else the council got into last night, here's a brief recap:

A few concerns were raised over the cost of the Summer in the City event. Overtime costs for the public works and police department of Batavia will run to $5,355.

"It seems like a lot of money to me for a two day event," said Councilman Sam Barone.

Downtown economic developer Don Burkel explained that much had already been cut.

Comments from a Highland Park resident about the poor state of his neighborhood sparked a discussion about more policing that quickly turned into a call for organized neighborhood watch groups.

"We need to  train citizens to take charge of their own neighborhoods," said Councilman Frank Ferrando. "I'm talking about a 24-hour watch."

Councilwoman Marianne Clattenburg insisted that the police should have more of a presence in neighborhoods. They should be walking the streets, getting to know the people in the neighborhoods.

"If we have pockets of trouble in the city, there should be a strong police presence in those areas," she said. "I'm all for neighborhood watch, but I'm more for police watch."

Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian suggested that if the city was really interested in forming neighborhood watch groups, they should contact the state attorney general's office, which sponsors a neighborhood watch training program.

Mostly due to the pleas of Marianne Clattenburg, City Manager Jason Molino will look more into grant possibilities for working up a master plan for the city's tree plantings and arrangements.

Chris Boron, of GZA GeoEnvironmental of New York, recapped the cleanup opportunities for the heavily polluted Batavia Iron & Metal site on Bank Street. Remediation could range in cost from about $1 million to $20 million or more. Unfortunately, there are no grants currently available, though the city may petition the state for potential superfund.

Council concluded the meeting with a debate over the mall sign. The former mall sign was removed by the city during the construction of the city center several years ago, and the Mall Merchants Association want the city to put one back up.

Council President Charlie Mallow was vehemently opposed to erecting any sort of sign for the mall. First, he said, the city should not fund private business interests.

"In the meantime, the Mall Merchants Association is suing us," he said.

In fact, though the Merchants have said they would like to sue the city, no litigation is yet pending, said City Attorney George Van Nest.

Marianne Clattenburg called the sign — anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000 — a "colossal waste of money." Councilman Frank Ferrando was less decided on the issue

I don't know what it means when a community is business friendly. A lot of the actions we've taken over the past couple years have sent the message that we are not. A community thrives because of its business.

We've cut back on downtown activities. I'm not saying just spend money. But I think money can be spent smartly to support business. ... The more we support business, the more taxes we can get. We eliminate our parades, our celebrations, now we're worried about putting signs up.

Councilman Bill Cox said that quite simply the city took down the old sign, so it should put one back up. The issue will come up for vote at the next meeting.

News roundup: Runaway steer

By Philip Anselmo

Big breaking news on WBTA this morning! Dan Fischer is calling it a Bovine Bulletin. Yes, it's true. There's a 1,200-pound steer on the loose in Batavia, escaped from the Genesee County Fairgrounds yesterday. The "show steer" was last seen on Cedar Street around 9:00pm last night. If you see it — white with a tan face and a number 37 tattooed on its right hip — call the police.

And the decision on Youth Football is..... postponed!

By Philip Anselmo

Well, kind of.

City Council was scheduled to vote on whether to allow Batavia's Youth Football program  to remain one more season at Dwyer Stadium — a decision that some said would have cost the city no less than $10,000 and most likely more.

When the vote came up for discussion, however, Councilman Tim Buckley hastily asked that the vote be postponed to the next meeting in August.

"There are a lot of things going on with it that we all know," he said.

What things?

It turns out that City Manager Jason Molino met with city school grounds crews and youth football representatives last week to look into the possibility of hosting youth football at one of the schools. Molino said that they discussed a solution not only for this year but for the long term, as well.

Council voted 8-1 to postpone a decision on Youth Football until the August 11 meeting. Councilman Sam Barone lodged the sole dissenting vote, though he did not explain why.

Without getting into too much conjecture here, we would imagine that Council does not get the opportunity to vote on this issue, if, in the meantime, a deal is worked out with the schools.

We will contact school officials tomorrow to see where they are in their deliberations.

Batavia woman answers the calling to start a church

By Philip Anselmo

Before the year is out, Batavian Rindy Walton will quit her job as a physical therapist, get rid of almost everything she owns and move with her three young sons to a suburb of Cincinnati with no financial prospects to found an itinerant church and minister to the disenfranchised.

"We're leaving the only place we know," she says, seeming to measure the gravity of the statement. "There's not a doubt."

It was the right decision, she says. She was called to it. It had to happen. Not everyone in her life, however, was able to match her conviction. Her family rejected her. Others have said she is stupid or crazy. They ask her how she could give up everything for... for what?

"It is a leap of faith, absolutely," she says. "I've had a lot of people support this. But I've also had a lot of people criticize."

Rindy talks unflinchingly of her past. She has been through "a lot of brokenness and abuse," she says. "And a lot of other people have been through that. I can use what I've been through to help other people."

Rindy lives in Batavia where she has worked as a physical therapist for BOCES for 21 years and raised three sons, doing it mostly on her own for the past ten years. For a long time, she hid her hurt out of shame, she says. She was like so many others who felt that private pain ought to be kept private.

No longer.

"There are people who say family secrets should remain secret," she says. "But there are too many families struggling. People are suffering and it's not OK to keep things secret. People dont deserve that."

Ministry is Rindy's way of changing that. Paul Peterson, the former pastor of her church, Northgate Free Methodist, is right now in Georgia attending a "church planning registry," explains Rindy.

"He felt the call to start a new church," she says. "We want to reach people who don't attend church, people who just don't feel that they'd fit the mold."

Peterson will pastor the church that the two of them will found in Maineville, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. Walls Down Church, as it will be known, will be exactly that: they will build up and tear down the church every week in a new venue out in the community, at schools, theaters, generally anywhere with an auditorium, bringing the church to the people, explains Rindy, rather than insisting that the people come to the church.

"That way we can go to the people," she says. "We can go where the need is. Especially for the people who are not attending church, to walk into a strange building is foreign to them. It's going to be a place where you feel comfortable, familiar."

Officially, Rindy will oversee family ministries for the church, which really means that she will work to make the church best suit the needs of its parishioners and do the most for them. She also plans to use her training as a physical therapist to accomodate families and children with special needs.

"From where I was to where I am now — there was someone who was hiding a lot of stuff, a lot of abuse, a lot embarrassment, shame," she says. "Now it's open. What's really cool is that I get to spend the rest of my life helping people who are where I was to get to where I am. That's just so cool."

If you want to donate to the Walls Down Church, send a check to Mountain Lake Church, 3105 Dahlonega Highway, Cumming, GA 30040. Indicate Rindy Walton or Walls Down Church in the Memo line. All donations are tax deductible, and Walls Down will receive 100 percent of the money.

Police Blotter: July 11 through July 13

By Philip Anselmo

All of the following calls were reported by the City of Batavia Police Department. Listed offenses do not imply that charges were filed. Calls may result in no official action.


  • 12:15am, 112 East Ave., assault
  • 2:20am, 208 Swan St., aggravated harassment
  • 12:29pm, Richmond Avenue, accident
  • 12:33pm, E. Main Street, accident
  • 2:44pm, Washington Avenue, accident
  • 5:20pm, 216 Ellicott St. (Apt: Rear), harassment
  • 7:46pm, 8 Manhattan Ave., fraud
  • 10:37pm, 39 Ellicott St., fire


  • 1:42am, Ellicott Street, accident
  • 5:40am, 419 W. Main St., menacing
  • 9:10am, 1 Mill St., accident (auto + pedestrian)
  • 9:57am, 5 Thomas Ave., larceny
  • 10:26am, 1 State St. (Apt: 107), larceny
  • 2:05pm, 60 Roosevelt Ave., fraud
  • 6:17pm, 8315 Park Road, larceny
  • 8:16pm, 8351 Lewiston Road, child abuse
  • 9:28pm, 2 Goade Park, harassment
  • 11:37pm, 413 W. Main St., criminal mischief


  • 3:45am, 505 E. Main St., criminal mischief
  • 10:49am, 127 North St., trespass
  • 1:17pm, 119 1/2 State St., criminal contempt
  • 5:25pm, Watson Street, accident

Note: We don't include noise complaints, domestic disputes and routine police business.

News roundup: Fair opens tomorrow

By Philip Anselmo

Today's Daily News opens on the front page with coverage by Paul Mrozek of the Cristina's fire from over the weekend. Not much new information that was not already available in our post Saturday and WBTA's report this morning that the investigation continues.

Mrozek was also in LeRoy this weekend for the Oatka Festival. Thanks to the camera lens of Russ Stresing, The Batavian hopes to have some video of the parade up on the site tomorrow.

A brief preview of the Genesee County Fair schedule for Tuesday includes these highlights:

  • Pancake breakfast from 7:00 to 10:00am.
  • Horse shows at 10:00am and 5:00pm.
  • Fashion show from noon to 1:30pm.
  • Midway opens at 6:00pm, following the opening ceremony at 5:00pm.
  • Talent show at 6:00pm.
  • Karaoke at 8:00pm.

Congratulations are in order for 16-year-old Batavia High School student Avery Cruz who was honored with the Assembly Republican Excelsior Award June 20. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley presented the award granted to "individuals who have overcome physical or other personal challenges to acheive great accomplishments and serve others in the community." Cruz has Asperger's Syndrome, a type of Autism.

More congratulations for Elizabeth Bonarigo, Mark Houseknecht and William "Rusty" Griffin, Notre Dame's Woman and Men of the Year, respectively.

In sports news, Batavia Minor League Baseball recorded the first tie game in its history. Pamela Sivret does a good job covering the match and the mood of the game, and Nick Serrata's photograph is just as great. Not only was it the first tie, it was the first time the Minor League played a night game. The All-Star match pitted the Nationals versus the Americans, writes Sivret. And after a lengthy "big lead" held by the Nationals for most of the match, the Americans tied it up (10-10) in the 8th, and that was where it would remain as both teams struck out in the 9th.

Muckdogs Double Header 7/14

By Amanda Cragg

The Batavia Muckdogs' home game tonight, 7/14, against the Aberdeen Ironbirds is a double header since the game was rained out on Sun., 7/13.  Game start time is 5:05pm.  Booster Club 50/50 sales will begin normal time, 6pm.  If I'm not mistaken, both games will be a total of 7 innings each, unless there's OT.

City police issue DWIs

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia city police report two arrests over the weekend.

Justine D. McWethy, 21, of 4011 Pearl St., Batavia, was charged with driving while intoxicated early Saturday morning. McWethy was stopped by police after she allegedly drove through the police barricades set up at the fire at Cristina's Restaurant.

That same morning, 19-year-old Jushua D. Quaintance, of Byron, was pursued by police following a complaint of menacing. He was pulled over on W. Main Street in Batavia and charged with driving while intoxicated.

News roundup: Restaurant at Cristina's is a "total loss"

By Philip Anselmo

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

  • The cause of a fire at Cristina's Restaurant early Saturday morning is still being investigated. The kitchen and restaurant portions of the building suffered a total loss, and the banquet rooms sustained smoke and water damage. Business owner Charles Brumstead is asking anyone who has upcoming reservations at Cristina's to call (585) 343-1029.
  • Temperatures will again climb towards 90 degrees during the second half of this week, and high humidity won't make it any more tolerable. Yay.
  • Sen. Charles Schumer says that families will pay an average of $720 more to heat their homes this winter. In the meantime, he's putting together a proposal that would provide federal aid to help families cover the cost of the increase. We should check out his Web site from time to time to see where it goes.

Welcome Home

By Michael S. Cole

Thanxs so much for this Web Page. I've been hoping for a place like this to communicate with folks back home. I've just been viewing the site and it's a great start. I hope more is to follow.

I'm hoping some of my classmate from 1974 would commuincate thru this forum from time to time,or any one from back in the day would as well.

My hope is that there are some folks from this time still in town and look to this site occassionally.

Now for my request to the folks who put up and maintain this site. How about some throw back photos and events from time to time, it might scare us and humor us as well.

It's funny, when we were younger we were looking for a way out of Batavia and fast, but having been back a little while ago, I found myself longing for some of what was lost. The peacefullness of the town, the country flavor, the warmth and serenity of the town. We thought that there was nothing in Batavia(boy were we wrong) but now in our latter years Batavia is just what we need.

Not too long ago, I heard from my friend Eddie Reger and he said that he plans on retiring in Batavia when it's his time. (Not a bad idea) As far away as life has taken us, Batavia will always be home in our hearts and mind.

Be Well and God Bless.


Muckdogs Continue Winning Streak

By Mollie Radzinski

The Muckdogs (14-11) improved their winning streak to three games, winning 4-1 against the Aberdeen Ironbirds (12-13). LaCurtis Mayes’s (1-0) one inning of work was enough to get him the win on the mound. Adam Reifer (6) pitched a scoreless 9th, walking one and striking out two to get the save. On the losing end, Aaron Odom (1-3) pitched five innings with seven hits, two earned runs and eight strikeouts for the loss.

Aberdeen struck first with their only run in the 5th on a single off the bat of Tom Baxter followed by a double by Tom Edwards. But it was not enough, as the Muckdogs came back in the 5th to score three of their own. Back-to-back singles by Domnit Bolivar and Xavier Scruggs followed by a sac bunt by Charley Cutler, who reached on a throwing error, loaded the bases early. Singles by Frederick Parejo and Jose Garcia drove in runs and then Cutler scored on another Aberdeen error. The last run of the night by the Muckdogs came in the 7th as Beau Riportella, Parejo and Garcia all had singles. Garcia ended the night going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Fire on Ellicott Street

By Philip Anselmo

These photos were sent to us this morning of the fire at Cristina's Restaurant on Ellicott Street. Batavia firefighters say that the blaze broke out around 1:00am this morning when the building was vacant. There were no injuries, and the fire is reported as under control.

Photos taken by Steve Ognibene.

Batavia Wins Series Against Lowell

By Mollie Radzinski


The Muckdogs (13-11) scored five runs to Lowell’s (11-13) two to add another win, making it two in a row. Scott Gorgen (1-0) came in to pitch in the 6th and worked three scoreless innings to get the win. He only allowed one hit while walking two and striking out seven. Lowell’s Stolmy Pimentel (2-1) was on the losing end, letting in five runs through four innings. Batavia struck first in the 2nd on a Domnit Bolivar solo homerun to left field. But, the Spinners tied it up in the top of the 3rd on back-to-back singles by Rafael Gil and Will Middlebrooks. Ryan Dent flew out to get the RBI. However, the Muckdogs had a big 3rd inning, scoring four runs. Frederick Parejo doubled, Colt Sedbrook walked and Jermaine Curtis singled to score the first. Sedbrook then came home on a wild pitch. With runners on second and third, Blake Murphy doubled to plate two. Jason Buursma (1) pitched a scoreless 9th to get the save. Bolivar went 2-for-4, including his homerun. The Muckdogs are home again Saturday to begin a three-game series versus the Aberdeen Ironbirds.

Police Blotter: Thursday, June 10 and Friday, June 11

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia city police report one arrest for Thursday: Andrea M. Gray, 30, of 19 Porter Ave., Batavia, was charged with second-degree criminal trespass. Police were told that Gray entered a residence on Vine Street and refused to leave.



  • 9:14am, 110 Summit St., criminal contempt
  • 9:39am, 100 Ross St., criminal mischief
  • 12:08pm, Genesee County Mall, accident
  • 1:36pm, 390 W. Main St., accident
  • 2:50pm, 341 W. Main St., fraud
  • 5:02pm, 12 Ellicott St., harassment
  • 8:31pm, 4152 W. Main St., accident


  • 12:21pm, 166 Vine St., criminal mischief
  • 12:23pm, 215 Summit St., accident
  • 12:29pm, W. Main Street, accident (car + bike)
  • 12:53pm, W. Main Street, accident (car + pedestrian)
  • 1:53pm, 6 Ellicott Place, larceny
  • 4:02pm, 412 E. Main St., larceny
  • 5:03pm, 135 Hutchins St., larceny
  • 5:30pm, Porter Avenue, larceny
  • 6:08pm, 510 Ellicott St., larceny
  • 6:55pm, 10 W. Main St., harassment
  • 9:11pm, 5 Porter Ave., trespass
  • 9:38pm, 419 E. Main St., harassment

Note: We don't include noise complaints, domestic disputes and routine police business.

Video: Veteran's Corner (Premiere)

By Philip Anselmo

Today we premiere the first episode in a series that I would hope continues indefinitely. Without much deliberation, we chose Veteran's Corner as the official title — but if anyone thinks this isn't apt or not apt enough or has other ideas, please submit them before we get too far along in the series, and we'll consider renaming.

Every few weeks we hope to sit down with another veteran and just talk. There are no set topics of conversation. I don't have a list of questions. We want only for the veteran to talk about whatever is on his mind. He can talk about his time in the war. She can talk about what life was like when she got back from the war. He can talk about bagging groceries before he ever even got drafted. Whatever.

That's it.

For our first episode, we sat down with Don Nagle, a veteran of the U.S. Navy during World War II. Don told us a little about his time with the American Legion — he's the historian for the Bergen post. He also spoke a little bit about his training as a radioman for a division of the Navy's air crew, about flying over the Bermuda Triangle and about almost getting shipped to Japan for an airstrike in what may have very well been a suicide mission.

Muckdogs Edge Out Lowell 5-3

By Mollie Radzinski

 The Muckdogs (12-11) rallied early to edge out the Lowell Spinners (11-12) 5-3 behind the winning pitcher Jameson Maj (2-1). Maj went five innings, striking out six while giving up four hits and two runs. Lowell’s Yeiper Castillo got the loss in his one inning of work, walking three and allowing four earned runs.

 The Spinners jumped out to an early lead starting off with a double by Mitch Dening. Carlos Fernandez-Oliva then hit a two-run homerun. The Muckdogs came right back in the bottom of the inning to score four. Batavia loaded the bases when Frederick Parejo doubled, Colt Sedbrook was hit by a pitch and Jermaine Curtis walked. Shane Peterson then walked to score Parejo. With bases still loaded, Blake Murphy hit a bases-clearing double. Batavia notched another run in the 2nd when Jose Garcia doubled and advanced to third on an error. Parejo then got the RBI on a sacrifice fly. The Spinners got their last run when Jonathan Hee was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a Will Middlebrooks single, then scored when Dening grounded into a double play. 

Adam Reifer let up one hit and had one strikeout in the 9th to get his fifth save. Murphy went 1-for-4 on the night with a double and three RBI.

News roundup: Could the county ground the Batavia Boogie?

By Philip Anselmo

It wasn't until page three of today's Daily Fly Swat that I got to what seemed to me pretty big news — although Correspondent Susan J. Conrad's account of Oakfield's sesquicentennial on the front page was a lot of fun. In big, bold type, the headline at the top of the Local section reads: "County may ground Boogie."

Most folks may have already heard that this year's Batavia Boogie skydiving festival began with a fatal fall last Thursday when a diver's chute did not open. The story was covered extensively, and the Boogie continued through Sunday.

Itr turns out, that fatality may have more lasting repercussions for the annual festival.

County Manager Jay Gsell told Reporter Paul Mrozek that the county may "not allow the Batavia Boogie to continue" because "if an event increases the county's risk of liability, the county does not automatically approve the activity." Nothing concrete has been established. No one has yet said 'No' definitively. In fact, that's all the news there is: the county may not allow it. I put in a call to the county manager to see what exactly it would take for the county to deny the Boogie its permits for next year. I was told that he should call back later this afternoon.

UPDATE: I spoke with the county manager, who got back to me within the hour. He told me that there would not be anything specific that would make the county deny the Boogie its permits. Rather, the county will consider the Boogie more of a "secondary liability." In other words, the county does not want to get sued as a result of something happening at the Boogie, since it would be happening on county grounds.

Gsell also made clear that the county cannot "ground" the Boogie at all, so the Daily News headline is slightly misleading. The only activities the county can deny the festival goers are: camping, the use of the grounds for overnight stay and conduct of any business. If the FAA grants the skydivers permission to jump, there is nothing the county can say to the contrary.

In other news...

Target's new store in the shopping center off Veteran's Memorial Drive is slated to open July 27 — and everything seems to be on schedule. The center's other residents — Bed Bath & Beyond, Petco, Michael's and Famous Footwear — should open throughout the fall.

Reporter Kristen Kotz looks into the popularity of roadside fruit and vegetable stands. Neat article.

Remember: you can pick up your very own copy of the Daily Fly Swat wherever newspapers are sold — like, say, Main Street Coffee. Or, better yet, go subscribe at

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 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
Tags: Jobs offered

Authentically Local