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August 11, 2022 - 7:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pets, animals, crime, batavia, news, notify.

A Batavia woman accused of allowing her dog, Oddey, access to narcotics, leading to emergency veterinarian treatment for overdoses three times, was a no-show in City Court on Thursday afternoon.

Cassandra Elmore may be in the hospital, acording to a friend who called court about four hours before Elmore's case was to be called, but City Court Judge Thomas Burns had no proof that the claim was true, so he issued a warrant for her arrest.

Elmore's court time was at 1:30 p.m., and there were several other cases then as well. Burns finally called her case at 2:40 p.m., and she was not in court. Her friend was informed that the court would require proof of Elmore's admission to a hospital -- a call an email or a fax from the hospital.  The court received no proof of the claim prior to her case being called.

According to police reports, Elmore showed up at veterinarian offices on May 21, May 25, and June 21 with Oddey unconscious.  

Investigators believe Oddey consumed cocaine on two of those occasions and either cocaine or another narcotic on the third.

Elmore, 30, a resident of River Street, Batavia, faces three counts of injuring an animal under New York Ag and Markets Law Section 353.

Previously:

August 11, 2022 - 5:04pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, business, batavia.

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Press Release

Everyone is invited to the grand reopening and fourth anniversary of Eden Café & Bakeshop at 2 p.m. August 16 at 242 Ellicott St., Batavia. Activities include:

  • A ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m.
  • Tastings from 2 to 8 p.m.
  • Cookie decorating with Pam from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Facepainting and more with Marcia from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“It felt (at times) like we would never find a place of our own; we’re so excited to share our new space with the public,” said owner Judy Hysek. “We’ve sold thousands of carrot dogs so far. If you haven’t tried one yet, stop over this week and grab a free sample.”

We first opened in 2018 in the incubator kitchen inside Eli Fish Brewing Co. and we finally found the perfect spot to adopt as our own. We’re located on the corner of Ellicott Street and Liberty Street, right across from the Pok-A-Dot and Southside Deli. Our space has a fresh yet relaxing vibe, seating for over 20, ample street parking and a private parking lot in the rear.

We’re still making the same great menu items from our original location and added some fun new items like Italian Cream Sodas, and ready to eat meals and snacks for anyone in a rush. We are planning on also getting a beer and wine permit.

Currently, you can dine in, carry out, or order online for pickup or delivery! Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11am-8pm.

About Eden Café & Bakeshop:
Eden Café & Bakeshop is a woman-owned business and has been serving Batavia, Genesee County and beyond for over four years. The plant-based restaurant was born out of the 2017 Foodie Challenge and raised in the freshLab incubator. Eden specializes in innovative plant-based dining including carrot dogs, crunchwraps, cauliflower wings.

For additional information visit CarrotDogCafe.com

Submitted photo of Eden Cafe & Bakeshop.

August 11, 2022 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
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Matthew Zakrzewski

A Batavia man accused of starting fires on three different occasions in January entered guilty pleas in County Court Wednesday to counts of arson in each, the second and third degrees. 

Matthew Zakrzewski, 42, is likely to be sentenced to 10 years in state prison on Sept. 14 as part of a plea agreement he accepted.

Zakrzewski was facing several other felonies -- which have not yet been presented to a grand jury for possible indictment -- and without the plea deal could have been sent to prison for up to 25 years.

In court today, Zakrzewski admitted to starting a fire at Washington Towers on Jan. 16, and on the same date, setting a 2009 Jeep Patriot on fire.

As part of the plea, Zakrzewski agreed to pay more than $10,000 in restitution to the arson victims.

His attorney, Fred Rarick, raised a concern about the restitution agreement because Washington Towers made a claim for replacement property in new condition, which the law doesn't require.

Rarick said he was looking for legal, fair, and equitable restitution.

District Attorney Kevin Finnell said the plea offer included stipulation to restitution as claimed, and if Zakrzewski didn't want to accept those terms, Finnell was ready to present the case to a grand jury.

At that point, Zakrzewski piped up and said, "Mr. Rarick, it's fine."

Previously:

August 11, 2022 - 1:47am
posted by Press Release in ReAwaken America Tour, batavia, news.

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Press release:

Standing in front of a Faithful America mobile billboard calling on Christian nationalist speakers at an event headlined by disgraced General Michael Flynn to “stop twisting our faith to attack democracy,” a group of local faith leaders and national clergy will speak at a press event and answer questions at 11:30 a.m. ET on Friday, August 12. 

The faith leaders will gather at First Baptist Church (306 E. Main Street, Batavia, New York) as a part of their ongoing effort to warn their communities and congregations of the dangers posed by the anti-democracy Christian nationalism, potential political violence, and disinformation on display at the upcoming stop of the ReAwaken America Tour (RAT) hosted by Flynn, Eric Trump, Clay Clark, and other notable far-right figures who helped to inspire the January 6, 2021 insurrection. The tour, which features stops across the country, arrives Friday at Cornerstone Church in Batavia for a two-day event. Flynn is expected to speak Friday morning following a worship time led by Sean Feucht, who has used members of the Proud Boys for his personal security.

Religious leaders speaking at Centennial Park in opposition to RAT will include both local and national leaders: 

  • The Rev. Dr. Roula Alkhouri, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • The Rev. Dr. Shiela Campbell McCullough, chaplain, Batavia resident and representative of the New York State Council of Churches
  • The Rev. Dr. William Wilkinson, teaching elder and pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Medina
  • Sareer Fazili, president of Pittsford Youth Services, past president of the Islamic Center of Rochester, and member of the Barakah Muslim Charity Board of Trustees
  • The Rev. Nathan Empsall, executive director, Faithful America
  • Pastor Doug Pagitt, executive director and co-chair, Vote Common Good
  • The Rev. Jennifer Butler, founder in residence, Faith in Public Life

The tour stop in Batavia comes after organizers of the anti-democracy tour had to scramble to find a new venue following the cancelation of its originally planned stop in Rochester.

"Many might be unaware of the type of negative stereotypes and radicalization that are being brewed by the ReAwaken America Tour. In a time already full of division, this has the potential for a significant negative impact on our community’s ability to talk with one another,” said the Rev. Laurel Nelson, speaking on behalf of the Racial Justice Working Group of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley. “In fact, those who have spoken out against the tour have already been subject to vitriol and threats. Although few of the tour’s speakers expose themselves to prosecution by explicitly calling for violence, they allow their audience to connect the dots by downplaying past political violence committed in God's name, associating themselves with extremist groups, demonizing their political opponents, and urging supporters to win the battle for God against their fellow Americans. This kind of division builds hate, hurts communities and makes our democracy vulnerable to more violence.”

“We reject General Flynn and his allies’ hijacking of the Gospel for political purposes. This tour is a dangerous and immoral political event in Jesus’ name that promotes misinformation, lies, and even out-right violence, and has no place in the church of God,” added the Rev. Nathan Empsall, executive director of Faithful America, which sponsored the mobile billboard and has been working closely with clergy in Rochester and Batavia to oppose the tour.  

Nationally, more than 21,000 Christians have signed petitions from Faithful America, rejecting the ReAwaken America Tour and asking churches not to associate with the event. Another 25,000 Christians -- including the presiding bishops of the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- also signed a previous statement from the Christians Against Christian Nationalism initiative denouncing the ideology that now underlies the tour.

August 11, 2022 - 12:48am

Press release:

In light of the disruptions that may occur from the “ReAwaken America” Tour in Batavia, Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) will be providing programs and services remotely this Friday, August 12th.

ILGR will not allow the event to interfere with its continued advocacy and service for all members of our community. Out of an abundance of caution, though, staff will conduct business as usual on Friday by telephone, E-mail, and video and web conferencing.

Last week, the governing board of the Independent Living of the Genesee Region released an anti-hate and racism statement in reaction to recent violent events in Western New York and across the country.

Director Rae Frank said “The Governing Council of ILGR felt that it was time to stand up and make it known that the people with disabilities will stand by our friends and neighbors who find themselves marginalized in our society, regardless of their religion, color, sexual identity, and other characteristics.  They have, and always will have, a friend and a partner at ILGR.” 

As a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. Family of Agencies, Independent Living of the Genesee Region offers an expanding array of programs and services to help individuals with disabilities take and keep control of their own lives.

August 11, 2022 - 12:44am
posted by Press Release in hlom, Henry Glowacki, batavia, history, news.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce its next edition of our Java with Joe E morning coffee presentation on Thursday, August 25 at 9 am. This month’s presenter is Ryan Duffy who will be presenting on Henry Glowacki. Glowacki was a Polish immigrant to Batavia in the 1830s. He became a prominent Batavia citizen and went on to become a lawyer, a clerk for the Holland Land Office, was a recruiter for the Civil War, Village Trustee, and school board member amongst many other things. The event is free to the public and coffee and donuts will be available. If you wish to attend, please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected]

August 11, 2022 - 12:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.

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Photo by Lisa Ace.

August 10, 2022 - 3:45pm
posted by Press Release in Richmond Avenue, Oak Street, batavia, infrastructure, news.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department will be shutting down water mains in the area of Oak Street and Richmond Ave, on August 11, 2022, due to the Richmond Ave Water Line Project.  The streets with possible water interruptions will be from, North of Richmond Ave on Oak Street, Richmond Ave from Oak Street to State Street, Verona Ave from Richmond Ave to Hillcrest Street, all of Buxton Ave, Genesee Street, and New York Place.  Additionally, new water main valves will be installed on Prospect Ave and State St.  During valve installations; water will be shut down on Prospect Ave from Richmond Ave to Oak Street and on the West side of Oak Street from Prospect Ave to Ellicott Ave and Main Street intersection, along with an area on State Street from the Richmond Ave intersection to just South of Park Ave.

The length of time the water will be off is unknown.

As always, when the water is restored, it may be discolored.  Please refrain from doing any laundry until the water runs clear.

We apologize for any inconvenience and the public’s patience is greatly appreciated.

August 10, 2022 - 8:05am

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While it may seem like innocent fun to throw something odd or interesting online for all to see, it’s not so funny to people in charge of the public’s welfare.

A reader recently emailed The Batavian asking if the city water supply was safe, as he had read on social media about a claim that it was contaminated with some type of larvae.

Not true, City Manager Rachael Tabelski says.

“The City of Batavia Water Treatment Plant is operating normally, and our ongoing analysis indicates that there are no deficiencies in the water supply,” she said to The Batavian Tuesday.

More to the point, Tabelski said that the city takes its water supply “very seriously,” and any presence of something that could affect residents’ health would be publicized as soon as possible with a message to boil one's consumable water.

Furthermore, anyone who posts false information about a municipal operation can face repercussions, Tabelski said. Along the lines of yelling fire in a crowded theater and causing mass hysteria, a rumor about a public necessity such as water can create undue concern or panic.

Tabelski referred Batavia city water users to the annual Water Quality Report, which is available on the city’s website. Here are a few water facts, according to Tabelski and the water report:

The City of Batavia has been processing its own water at the Water Filtration Plant, 480 Lehigh Ave. plant since 1917. Much of the original structure is still standing, although modifications have been made through the years, she said. Between 1968 and 1971 renovations were completed to raise the planned capacity from three million gallons per day (M.G.D.) to six M.G.D. Six new filters were added along with another precipitator unit.

A total of three million gallons of finished drinking water, which is one day’s average consumption, can be held in the city’s two elevated storage tanks, she said. One tank is located on East Main Street Road behind the New York State Department of Transportation building and the other is beside the V.A. Hospital. These towers maintain a steady water pressure of between 60 to 80 pounds throughout the City and Town.

Where Does Your Water Come From?
Batavia uses two sources of water. Two wells located at Cedar Street provide for most of our water needs. This water is from the Tonawanda Valley Water Shed, one of the largest underground bodies of water in the state.

"Our well water is exceptionally clear with an average turbidity of less than 0.05 N.T.U. Our tests have detected no bacteria or chemical contamination in our untreated (raw) well water," Tabelski said. "However, these wells produce a hard water containing dissolved minerals and requires softening to bring it to the condition most residents find acceptable. Two supplementary wells have been developed in the well field; these await pump systems to begin operation."

Tonawanda Creek is the other source of water. While the creek has provided the treatment plant with an adequate quantity and quality of water for over 80 years, it is a surface water source and is therefore susceptible to rapid changes in quality. Levels of turbidity from runoff may quickly increase, making the creek water less cost-effective to process. Creek water is used to supplement our wells and as a backup water supply, she said.

The City processed a total of 1.1 billion gallons of water in 1999. We serve a city population of 16,310 and supply water to about 5,800 city customers. We sold a total of one billion gallons of water in 1999. A total of 873 million gallons of water in the city and 137 million gallons were sold to the town. A total of 114 million gallons of water (or 10 percent) were not metered. This was from water hydrants, water used for city maintenance, used in parks, or water lost in leaks and breaks, she said.

How Do We Treat Your Water?
The Water Report states that Batavia's well water "is very clear and requires little treatment other than softening." Raw or untreated water from an intake pipe in the Tonawanda Creek enters the water plant through mechanical screens. These screens prevent creek debris from getting into the plant. Activated carbon can be added here if there is a taste or odor problem. From the screens, creek water is mixed with well water in the Flash Mixers where water treatment chemicals are added.

Chemicals used in the water plant are ferric sulfate, calcium oxide, chlorine, polyphosphate, fluoride, and occasionally activated carbon. Ferric sulfate is added as a coagulant. This chemical neutralizes the charges on particles suspended in the water and thus allows them to clump together and drop out. Calcium oxide, also called lime, is added to raw water to soften it. Batavia is one of the few water plants in the state that lime softens its water the report states.

Adding lime causes calcium, magnesium and other compounds to begin to precipitate or prop out of the water. Soft water cleans better and uses less soap to wash effectively. This type of water softening will not add sodium to the water as can some other types of water treatment. Tabelski and Water and Wastewater staff believe -- and verify with the report -- that this extra process is one reason Batavia can produce exceptionally clear water.

Click here to read the city's Water Quality Report.

Top Photo: 2022 File Photo of a sunset looking over Tonawanda Creek, one of two sources of water for the City of Batavia. Photo by Howard Owens.

August 9, 2022 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sunset, news, Bethany, Stafford, batavia, Oakfield.

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Monday's sunset in Oakfield, overlooking Lamb Farms. Photo by Kristin Smith.

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Sunset in Stafford.  Photo by Josiah Smith.

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Sunset in Bethany. Photo by Rick Forrester.

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Photo on Horseshoe Lake Road.  Photo by Melissa LeSage.

August 7, 2022 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, accident.

A two-car motor vehicle accident is reported in the area of 355 West Main Street, Batavia.

Blocking.  Possible injuries.

The location is in front of Settlers.

City Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 1:09 p.m.: A first responder on location.  Nothing showing.  A caller reports a red Fusion involved possibly at 350 West Main.  The location is West Main and Woodrow, according to a first responder.

August 7, 2022 - 8:16am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, city council, notify.

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Fall may be coming, but not before a plethora of events take place later this month.

Event applications are on City Council’s conference meeting agenda next week. It’s set for 7 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers, City Hall.

Take your pick: an Italian Fest, a bike rally, a rummage sale, an awareness event, a chicken barbecue, and backpack giveaway, or a block party (for neighbors in the block).

EverPresent Church has planned a rummage sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 20 in the parking lot outside of its Batavia City Centre property. Look for the pop-up tents. A private neighborhood block party has also been set for noon to 3 p.m. on Aug. 20 on Fordham Drive.

Also on Aug. 20, across the street from the Centre, the vibe is to get European — specifically Italian — with a festival from 1 to 9 p.m. Music, food, games and crafts will be offered on Jackson, Center and School streets. Hosted by Batavia Business Improvement District, the event, it has been said, will bring a little bit of Italy to Downtown Batavia.

After all of those pizza slices and cannolis, you might want to check out the bike rally fundraiser for Batavia Notre Dame’s United youth hockey team. Bikers will take off for the 10K course at Batavia High School parking lot at 5 p.m. Aug. 21.

This is a first-time event to raise money and offset costs of travel and uniforms, Varsity Hockey Coach Marc Staley said. He would also like to donate some of the proceeds to the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association, he said.

“Last year we did a meat raffle, and it was successful. But, we're trying to think this year about things that we could do to involve more of the youth hockey players, and involve the community and have sort of a healthy thing,” Staley said to The Batavian Friday. “And so it's not a race or anything like that. We’re gonna ride together. I think we have over 50 people, and we’re hoping to get to 100.”

There will be a limited number of T-shirts, and anyone who registers by Tuesday is guaranteed one, he said. Organizers will take registrations right up to event day. The cost is $25 for kids and $40 for adults. The course is in the northeastern quadrant of the city, he said, similar to where local 5K races are.

“Then we're going to have a few fun things at the end of the rally, a little cookout, and we're going to raffle off a few things,” Staley said. “But really what it is, it's a bike ride. It's a bike ride for hockey players and for people in the community who support the program and want to do something healthy, and have fun and ride with the kids.”

This rally will also hopefully give United a little exposure, he said, while raising money for team uniforms and travel expenses, such a bus upgrade when the team goes to Albany for a couple of games with Albany Academy and Bethlehem.

During summer work-outs, Staley noticed a large number of kids in seventh and eighth grade joining in with the jayvee and Varsity players. He would like to organize a modified team with those younger players, which would happen in March after the other games have finished.

The bike rally is just another physical event to get people outside, he said, and early Sunday evening seemed like a good time when there might be less traffic and it still allows people to partake of other Sunday activities beforehand.

Click here for an application. Note that the deadline states Sunday; however, Staley said that it's by Tuesday for a guaranteed T-shirt.

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Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse will be hosting an Overdose Awareness Day from 4 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 24 at Austin Park, Batavia. There are to be speakers, resource tables, and the band Groove, with danceable rock, in the pavilion. Although this event is geared toward substance abuse and overdose awareness, everyone is welcome to attend, GCASA staffer Sue Gagne said.

The event's debut was in 2019, and then it didn't return for two years due to the pandemic, Gagne said. Organizers are excited to bring it back as an educational tool and for some fun with the local band that includes Neil and Joe Gagne and Peter Gomez.

Also visiting Austin Park from 1 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 27, Just Kings will be hosting a backpack giveaway and chicken barbecue fundraiser.

Other event applications for the fall include Ascension Parish with an Oktoberfest fundraiser on October 1, and All Babies Cherished with a vendor fair on October 22.

File photos of a Just Kings chicken barbecue and GCASA's Overdose Awareness Day.

August 7, 2022 - 8:10am

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2018 File Photo: Eli Fish Brewing Company shows a definite sign during its initial phase of development, and now owners are planning a two-level back patio adjacent to Jackson Square. Photo by Howard Owens.

Recession? What recession?

Despite global doomsday predictions to go along with inflationary prices, there appear to be signs of definite life in downtown Batavia. Three Main Street businesses have each applied for a $20,000 grant for planned site expansions.

City Council is expected to discuss the applications during its conference meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers, City Hall.

Matt Gray, as AGRV Properties, Inc., is looking backward for his project — a patio adjacent to Jackson Square. With an investment of $140,000, the additional grant would support the cost of building an outdoor patio for Eli Fish Brewing Company at 109 Main St. Aid from grant funding will allow the applicant to replace the rear, exterior stairs and doors and assist in the cost of adding a large two-level patio attached to the rear of the building, according to the application to Batavia Development Corporation.

BDC’s board approved the request, according to a memo from Director Tammy Hathaway, and has forwarded it to council for final approval. The money is from BDC’s Revolving Loan Fund, which has a total of $120,097, Hathaway said. Specifically, the City of Batavia Revolving Loan Fund Grant Policy seeks to have private building owners make lasting building, public and/or façade improvements within the City.

Down the street are two more projects to be reviewed by council. Applicant Peter Casey, as 73 on rotary, LLC, has asked for $20,000 grants each, for 73 Main St., and an adjacent site at 79-81 Main St.

That block of the building apparently has some growing pains as well, with upgrades for YNGodess — by increasing usable space in the shop, and updating a breakroom and bathroom facility. An investment of $80,000 would be augmented with the grant money for the upgrades. The BDC Board approved the request and it now rests with the council for final approval.

Casey’s other project is to renovate the former Alberty’s Drug Store property at 79-81 and move the law office of DelPlato Casey into that space. Capital investment for this project is pegged at $820,000. Work includes handicap access to the firm's office and provides more room for the growing legal practice, according to the application.

Growth is expected immediately, with the addition of one staff member and the potential for two more hired soon afterward.

Council is also expected to discuss funding for the purchase of a new fire engine. A final funding pack includes a 20-year loan for $665,000 at 2.5 percent, and a $100,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant, with an upfront contribution of $36,681 from the city’s fire reserves.

This fire engine is to replace Engine 12, which, at 20 years old, is showing signs of “extreme corrosion,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said in a memo to council. The new vehicle would include a custom cab with seating for six fire personnel, a 1,500 per minute fire pump with foam capacity, a 750-gallon water tank, latest safety features, and full LED emergency and scene lights for maximum safety for personnel, and she recommends the purchase.

August 7, 2022 - 8:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, animals, city council, batavia, notify.

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A suggestion from City Planning and Development Committee members may have seemed like a good idea for better controlling farm animals, but it’s on a proposed chopping block for City Council’s Monday meeting.

The planning committee was tasked last month to review city code for the keeping of farm animals within city property and make some recommendations for how to deal with specific issues on a city-wide scale.

Neighbor complaints about goats running loose on Burke Drive were, in large part, what drove council to take another look at the animal ordinance. The group wanted the planning committee also to review it since committee members -- including Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall -- were more versed with city code details.

The committee recommended a limit of six chickens on any one property, and implementing a system — to create a paper trail and more tracking — to document what types of animal species, how many, and where they are located, for city residents.

It seemed like a good idea, and one that would let city officials know who had what at their properties, committee members had agreed.

However, after reviewing the recommendations with city staff and the attorney, “we respectfully disagree with the addition of section E,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said in a memo to council.

“The intent of the new law was to restrict animal and fowl in the city and provide code enforcement clear and concise guidelines for citing violations,” Tabelski said. “The city does not have the staff or resources to create an animal registry, to tag, and track pre-existing animals. Therefore, and with respect to the PDC’s deliberation, I recommend that the City Council strike section E from the proposed code revision.”

If approved by council, the code revisions will revert back to City Council for consideration and to set a public heading to receive public feedback before considering a local law adoption.

That public hearing is to be set for 7 p.m. Sept. 12. Council's conference session is at 7 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers, City Hall.

File photo of Jill Turner of Batavia with some of her goats at a summer event. Neighbors have complained about the goats getting loose, and the smell of goats and chickens, prompting a City Council review of a farm animal ordinance in the city code. Photo by Joanne Beck.

August 6, 2022 - 1:33pm
posted by Press Release in Frank E. Owen, Batavia HS, batavia, City Schools, news.

Press release:

On Thursday, August 25, 2022, the Batavia City School District will host the official dedication ceremony for the Frank E. Owen Auditorium at Batavia High School. 

The ceremony will begin at 7:00 pm in the auditorium and will include an official ribbon cutting, and performances by Batavia High School music students, alumni, staff, and community members.  

The evening will feature remarks from Superintendent Jason Smith, Batavia High School Principal Paul Kesler, and Batavia High School Music Department Chair Jane Haggett. The ceremony will also include an appearance by Frank E. Owen’s son, Jim Owen.

On May 5, 2022, the Batavia City School District Board of Education officially approved the renaming of the Batavia High School auditorium to the “Frank E. Owen Auditorium.” 

Frank E. Owen started his career with the Batavia City School District in 1927, where he directed the orchestra and was appointed the head of the music department. Owen was responsible for many musical “firsts” across the district: the first BCSD band was formed in 1930, and he founded the Batavia High School Choristers in 1935. He directed the first school musical in 1937 and formed the first jazz/swing choir in the 1960s. Owen retired in 1964, completing a career that spanned 37 years of dedication to the students of Batavia. He passed away on July 9, 1978, in Batavia, and shortly after, a scholarship was set up in his name and is awarded each year to a student pursuing a career in music education.

For anyone who is interested in joining the performance in celebration of Frank E. Owen, more information can be found here.

Admission to the event is free. The Frank E. Auditorium is located at Batavia High School, 260 State Street, Batavia, New York.  

August 5, 2022 - 5:39pm
posted by Press Release in Brighton Securities, batavia, business.

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Press release:

Brighton Securities, a Rochester, NY headquartered Financial Services firm, today announced the formation of The Hicks Wealth Management team at Brighton Securities. The Hicks Wealth Management team is an internal Brighton Securities team lead by Steve Hicks, our Batavia Branch Manager and Senior Vice President; Michael Restivo, Financial Advisor, and Amy Sherman, Client Service Associate.

With over 15 years of experience servicing the GLOW region, Steve Hicks founded The Hicks Wealth Management team at Brighton Securities, which is based at our Brighton Securities Batavia Branch location and serves clients in the GLOW region and specifically Batavia, Albion, Buffalo and Rochester.

“I am incredibly proud of the work we have done throughout my 15-year tenure at Brighton Securities to help our clients not simply meet their financial goals and objectives, but hopefully live more fulfilled lives. The relationships I have shared and developed with all my clients have made this as rewarding a career as I could have ever imagined. And to continue with that dedication, I have partnered with Mike Restivo and have founded Hicks Wealth Management.”  “At Hicks Wealth Management at Brighton Securities, our mission is to be a trusted partner that our clients can rely on for the years ahead,” said Steve Hicks. Hicks Wealth Management at Brighton Securities is committed to providing solutions and guidance that positively impact the financial well-being of our clients and their families. “We know that each client is different, and each situation is different.” Said Steve Hicks. “Someone in Batavia or Albion may have different questions and concerns than someone in Rochester. We understand that, and we want to help guide our clients through those challenges, whatever they might be.”

“The investment in continuing to grow our team in Batavia demonstrates our continued commitment to serve our clients and our communities better.  Mike’s addition to the team reflects Brighton Securities focused efforts in growing our firm organically, attracting top talent and competitively elevating our team as a best-in-class financial firm.” Said Melissa Hawryschuk, CEO.  Hicks Wealth Management has a strong foundation of excellent client care to build on that will enable Brighton Securities’ ability to meet the financial needs of our clients continually.  “I look forward to this group’s strategic growth strategy and look forward to broadening our firm’s community outreach and enriching our depth of dedicated service to our clients.”

August 5, 2022 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GLOW Corporate Cup, 5K, batavia, sports.

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Kim Mills, a frequent winner of local 5Ks in recent years, once again had the best women's time in the GLOW Corporate cup, crossing the finish line at 19:31.

Perry MacKinnon, an intern with Farm Credit East, and from Canada, bested the men's field by two minutes with a time of 15:23.  Zakariah Jantzi, Bontrager Real Estate & Auction, came in second at 17:24.

Bontrager won the team competition with Zakariah, John Bruggman (17:41 and third overall), and Abby Jantz (19:56, second among women).

In the 50-59 age group, Brian Fraser, 52, came in first at 18:50, and Nathan Balduf, 52, second at 22:14.

For full race results, click here.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.:  Coordinator Steve Tufts reports that there were 760 registered participants and 599 completed the 5K race.

"Yellowjacket Racing – our race management company – tell me that they’ve been seeing 20-25% no-shows since the pandemic," Tufts said. "They added that our 6% increase over last year was good because most races in the northeast this year are down from last year."

There were 50 teams.  There was no cost to have a team but each registration was $25.  Some employers covered all or some of this expense for their team.

The winner of the team T-shirt contest was U.S. Gypsum Co.  They actually repeated from last year.  The Merrill Lynch office will donate $500 to their charity of choice in the near future.

There were 8 Gold sponsors at $1,000, 13 Silver sponsors at $500, and 10 Bronze sponsors at $250.

There were 38 corporate tents of various sizes mapped around a stage and numerous more 10x10s were thrown up on the perimeter.

There was a first-time winner this year of the GLOW Corporate Cup:  Bontrager Real Estate & Auction.  This team competition combines the fastest 3 local employee times of a team and compares that to other teams.  The perennial favorite team from Batavia City Schools was second and Intergrow Greenhouse was third.

Early estimates on the net money raised for the GLOW YMCA is around $25,000, Tufts said.

"There was a route change this year in case Richmond Avenue was impassible due to road construction," Tufts said. "We probably could have run the original course, but a lot of work went into designing a different way to safely get runners and walkers around this city at the tail end of rush hour on a hot August night.  Starting at the south side of Centennial Park allowed us to close off traffic to the section of Park Avenue nearest State Street.  It was fun running down State, turning left onto Washington Avenue, and left again onto Bank Street.  Two huge water stations were necessary this year along with a misting tent at the finish line."

We will update this post with more information from the organizers when it is available.

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Perry MacKinnon

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Zakariah Jantzi

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Team WBTA

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Grillin' in the Upstate Toyota tent.

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Liberty Pumps tent.

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The Blueways Band provided the soundtrack for the race afterparty.

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UPDATE: 

Here are a couple of additional shots of one of the water stations by Jim Burns.

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August 5, 2022 - 8:10am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, city centre, mall, notify.

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It might be difficult to be a fan of Batavia City Centre, which has struggled with an image problem, about a third of it being unoccupied and with vacant properties and foreclosures that are costing city taxpayers $45,000 a year in mall user fees.

The city pays those user fees to the City Centre Fund, not counting City Hall, which is assessed at $1.45 million and costs $23,000 a year in user fees.

The foreclosed properties and their assessed values are:

  • Parcel 2 - $16,970
  • Parcel 11, formerly Valle’s Jewelers - $124,000
  • Parcels 35 and 39, formerly Advanced Imaging - $139,300 and $6,970
  • Parcels 17-20, formerly Gentleman Jim’s, Palace of Sweets, The Hiding Place - $55,300

Batavia Players has a lease deal with the city to rent out parcels 2, 35 and 39 for a total of $45,768, City Manager Rachael Tabelski said.

That total assessed value of $342,540 has a zero property tax while in foreclosure.

Parcel 2, formerly Sunny’s restaurant, has been served a petition and notice of foreclosure, Tabelski said. The total assessed value will then be $440,543.

Mall merchants Bob Chiarmonte and Craig Jackson recently said they believed the city wasn’t working to fill those vacant spots and wished that more would be done to get new businesses in there. The Batavian reached out to Tabelski and Batavia Development Corporation Director Tammy Hathaway to find out what they were doing to market the vacancies.

rachael_in_chambers.jpgSpeaking on behalf of both of them, Tabelski said the vacant properties are shown to prospective buyers by Public Works Department staff and Hathaway. She did not mention any form of action being taken to market the sites.

“The city supports putting these parcels into productive use, and they may become more attractive to businesses as improvements are made in City Centre, including the roof, silos, and lighting,” Tabelski said.

Chiarmonte and Jackson hope that’s true. An entire roof replacement has been completed over the concourse, and the silos (entryways) are in the design phase to improve the look and practicality of the vertical tunnels at each entrance.

“I think upgrading the interior would make a difference; it’s more important than the exterior,” Chiarmonte said.

Case in point: the entryway next to the former Sunny’s. Just look up, and it becomes obvious how much wear and tear the structures have taken with rain and melting snow. Jackson pointed out that, when installed, the silo roof was tucked in lower within the structure, which doesn’t seem to allow an easy escape for water. Stains are easily visible and run down the length of the silo from the roof.

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Other improvements, more cosmetic in nature, are to include painting the walls and floors. Ceiling tiles — which were black and haphazardly missing throughout the concourse — have begun to be taken down for a modern, industrial appearance.  

There are 34 business-related sites, according to a listed address within the concourse. A total assessed value, excluding foreclosed and other city properties, and a nonprofit organization, is more than $2.2 million. That’s more than $2 million worth of property taxes going into city revenues.

It seems a given that the mall-turned-City Centre’s reputation needs a major overhaul after all of these years of legal turmoil and struggle to retain newer businesses. But then some retailers have made a go of it over the long haul — Jackson and business partner Loretta DelPriore have thrived with Batavia Stagecoach Florist for more than two decades, Chiarmonte’s Classic Optical has been there 38 years, and Erika Siverling’s LeBeau Salon for more than 10 years, plus medical and dental providers with long-term track records.

City officials have shared plans to expand the scope and improve the appearance of the Centre, and tearing it down has been ruled out. That leaves a hint of promise that the bemoaned downtown landmark might just get a revival, and all involved hope that cynics might just become fans.   

Top photo: Some of the properties in foreclosure at Batavia City Centre, photo from City of Batavia; City Manager Rachael Tabelsk, photo by Howard Owens; and a silo at the Centre, photo by Joanne Beck.

August 4, 2022 - 5:39pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, Richmond Avenue, construction, notify.

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Signs of summer are everywhere: lots of flowers, hot temperatures, outdoor enthusiasts, and plenty of construction.

Work along Richmond Avenue, from Oak to State streets, is progressing, said Brett Frank, director of Public Works. Due to construction work, the area had an emergency 12-inch water main repair that began last month between Oak and Buxton. The water portion of the project “has been wrapped up,” Frank said.

“Zoladz Construction is now working on necessary sidewalk replacement, and will be working on the milling and paving of Richmond as well,” he said Thursday. “Right now there are no traffic concerns or reminders that need to take place.”

Earlier this week, that wasn’t the case, as flagmen were on site to control a one-way lane on the street. Piles of dirt have been toppled onto residents’ front lawns, which seems the price for improved infrastructure.

Work continues despite the heat and humidity, which DPW staff have countered with “lots of water and Gatorade!” Frank said.

City Council approved the project bid of $2,658,297.17 from Zoladz Construction of Alden in May. Scope of work includes a portion of Harvester Avenue from state Routes 5 and 33 to state Route 63. It will be paid for with 80 percent federal funds and 20 percent non-federal.

Another ongoing city construction is also happening at the south side’s Ellicott Station on Ellicott Street, in the heart of downtown with the new Healthy Living campus between Wiard and Bank streets, along Park Road, and a new Rochester Regional Health medical facility on Route 98 in the Town of Batavia.

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Photos: Work along Richmond Avenue in Batavia this week has meant slowed one-lane traffic, hot days in the sun for workers a repaired water main and the beginning of improved sidewalks and the road. Photos by Howard Owens.

August 4, 2022 - 5:06pm

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Press release:

The Richmond Memorial Library will host a Garden Dedication and Friend of the Year Reception on Saturday, August 13, beginning at 10:00 am near the garden by the Ross Street entrance. Nancy Mortellaro and Anne Iannello will be honored in separate ceremonies for their contributions to the library.

Beginning at 10 am, the Richmond Memorial Library Board of Trustees will dedicate the Lisianthus flower garden to longtime volunteer and library supporter Nancy Mortellaro.

"Nancy's dedication to the library has taken numerous forms over the decades, but most recently and most visibly she's been purchasing, planting and caring for the beautiful Lisianthus flower garden near the Ross Street entrance of our driveway, or coordinating the efforts of volunteers who plant for her,” shared Gregg McAllister, President of the library’s Board of Trustees. “The library board is grateful for her generosity and efforts, and wanted to find a way to thank her."

Immediately following the garden dedication, the Friends of the Richmond Memorial Library will host a reception in the Gallery Room to honor 2022 Friend of the Year Anne Iannello. Each year, the Friends honor a volunteer who has gone above and beyond in their service to the library. Anne is a volunteer with Library Visits, a “ask Marshall” program that brings library services and materials to homebound individuals in Genesee County. She delivers materials to several patrons in addition to making quarterly phone calls to patrons as a form of connection and to check on what they need from the program.

Library Visits coordinator Lucine Kauffman suggested Anne for the award, sharing that “Anne is the kind of volunteer every program hopes for. She has brought so much to our Library Visits patrons and I’m so happy the Friends have chosen to honor her with this award.”

All are welcome to attend these ceremonies. To attend one or both of these events, RSVP by calling the library at 343-9550 x2 or stop by the circulation desk to sign up. For more information about the library or other events, visit batavialibrary.org.

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