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September 12, 2019 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Upton Monument, batavia, video, history.
Video Sponsor

Back in May, I decided to make a documentary about the Upton Monument to coincide with its centennial. The initial deadline for finishing it was the rededication ceremony in August. Obviously, I missed that deadline, so then I tried for the end of August. Still, wasn't done.

Finally, it's done.

Thank you to Ryan Duffy, Michael Eula, Larry Barnes, Jim Neider, and Bill Kauffman for their help and interviews, and Dan Fischer for his narration, and to Billie Owens for reading the poem by Bessie Chandler.

I imagine more than 100 hours of work went into making this. I hope you like it. I thought it important to create something documenting and celebrating the history of our community's most significant landmark.  

Chances are, everybody who watches this will learn something new about either the history of the monument, the life of Emory Upton, and the context of the times in which it was built.

September 12, 2019 - 12:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in St. Joe's, kindergarten, news, batavia.

Photo and information from reader Nora O'Neill.

We all smiled this morning at St. Joe's. Note the "earring" in the photo.

Each autumn Mrs. Case's kindergarten class "raises" monarchs from small caterpillars to chrysalises to butterflies.

One caterpillar escaped the habitat and overnight chose the plush llama's ear to nestle into chrysalis!

Student Ben was delighted to be the one to discover it this morning.

September 11, 2019 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VanDetta stadium, batavia, news.


Crews are working furiously to finish construction of the new VanDetta Stadium with a scheduled home opener for the Batavia Blue Devils football team on Friday.

There's a lot of finishing touches to complete and the goal is to have everything ready to go by 3 p.m. tomorrow when players expect to move into their new lockers in the remodeled locker room.

Game time is 7 p.m. Friday but the public is invited to a pregame ceremonial ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m.


September 11, 2019 - 2:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in city hydrant flushing, news, batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing fire hydrants on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 16-18, from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the areas south of Main Street and west of Jackson Street.

Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area.

As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored. If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about five minutes or until clear.

September 11, 2019 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in city hydrant flushing, news, batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Fire Department will be flushing / testing fire hydrants on Thursday, Sept. 12th and Friday, Sept. 13th from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the general area North of Main Street and West of Bank Street.

Homes and businesses nearby will be affected. These tests may result in a temporary discoloration of water in that area. As in the past, please do not attempt to wash any clothing if your water appears discolored.

If you do experience a discoloration of your water, run cold water for about five minutes or until clear.

September 11, 2019 - 1:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, urology, health, prostate cancer, Us TOO Rochester.

Information provided by Patrick Fisher, event organizer for Us TOO Rochester:

The Center for Urology in Batavia, a practice of seven urologists in the city, is one of this year's major sponsors of the fifth annual Prostate Cancer Walk and Health Fair on Sunday, Sept. 15 inside The Mall at Greece Ridge.

Us TOO Rochester hosts the event, which is its primary fundraiser and proceeds benefit local patient programs. It is the regional affiliate chapter of Us TOO International, a nonprofit 501c3 organization providing patient support, education and advocacy for those affected by prostate cancer in Rochester and the Finger Lakes Region.

Registration for Sunday's Walk and Health Fair is $30 at the door and includes an event T-shirt while supplies last. All are welcome.

Online registration is only $20 and the last day to register online is Sept. 12. Click here to register online.

On-site registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the final lap begins at 10 a.m.

Children age 13 and under are admitted free.

This is a family fun event that includes: prize drawings worth hundreds of dollars; DJ Blaze as Master of Ceremony; a collection of classic cars displayed by Street Machines of Rochester; entertainment by mascots for Rochester Red Wings (Spikes) and Amerks (Moose); face painting by Freckles; a performance by Oasis Senior Tappers; free Dunkin’ Donuts (The Luis Ribeiro Group); free Gloria Jean’s Coffee (Rumit Patel, Mgr.); and cookies by Kiss Me Cookie in Webster.

See the '10-foot-tall Enlarged Prostate'

Among the sights will be the region's largest “enlarged prostate” -- a 10-foot-tall educational tool that informs you about how prostate cancer develops and spreads when left untreated.

In addition to educational exhibits, UR Medicine Labs and Urology will conduct free PSA screening on site for qualified men who have no medical insurance.

Ample parking is available at the mall near door #8. For full details about the walk and fundraiser, visit here.

The Mall at Greece Ridge is located at 271 Greece Ridge Center Drive in Greece.

The annual Prostate Cancer Walk and Health Fair is held in September because it is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The disease is the most common non-skin cancer in American men, and the leading cause of cancer death in men second only to lung cancer.

The National Cancer Institute reports that 29,430 men in the United States will die from prostate cancer annually. More than 16,000 men in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region are diagnosed with the disease that left untreated may affect other organs or lead to bone cancer and death.

According to the NYS Department of Health, every year another 42 men from Batavia and Genesee County will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

African-American men are at even greater risk and from an earlier age than their caucasian counterpart. However, not only men suffer. This cancer has the potential to affect spouses, significant others and relationships in meaningful ways, too.

No Early Warning Signs

While medical research has advanced how prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated, there are no early warning signs. The same BRCA2 gene that contributes to breast cancer in women, may also contribute to prostate cancer in men. Men who have a sister or mother known to have BRCA2 may benefit by being screened for prostate cancer.

Yet, the best outcomes begin with an early diagnosis. This makes it very important that men routinely talk with their provider about being screened for prostate cancer especially as they age.

Batavia's Dr. Anees Fazili, one of the urologists with the local Center for Urology, says he was honored to have helped bring a new exciting procedure to Western New York for the treatment of prostate cancer called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). It reduces some of the usual risks of treatment associated with this disease.

"At Rochester Regional Health we also just purchased the 'FocalOne' HIFU device, which is truly revolutionary and allows for same day focal therapy of prostate cancer, and we are one of only a handful of centers in the entire country offering this amazing treatment option," Fazili wrote in an email to The Batavian.

He operates out of both United Memorial Medical Center and Medina Memorial Hospital, and is working on starting an Us TOO chapter for Genesee County.

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, but the process for men to learn what they need to know in order to make informed decisions is a daunting task that typically requires many sleepless nights and weeks spent conducting research or getting second and third medical opinions.

Us TOO is a good resource for help and information.

Their monthly meetings provide a safe environment where men and their care givers may share about their experience or learn from others regarding current options.

September 11, 2019 - 12:30pm

Open House Alert, Sunday 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.: 1 North Lyon St., Batavia!

This home features all of your needs from a relaxing summer day on the deck in your pool or sitting by not one but two fire pits at night. It also showcases an enclosed front porch for you to watch the sunrise and sip your morning coffee.

With four bedrooms and 2½ baths, a fully updated kitchen with quartz countertop along with your very own movie theater, this house delivers a welcoming aura to everyone that walks in.

Don'™t miss out on the opportunity to view this home and discover that it could be the right home for you! Call today to view it or click here for more information.

September 11, 2019 - 12:16pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Nick Russo is incredibly excited to be running for City Council in Ward 3 and represent the great City of Batavia that he calls home.

Russo, a graduate of Albion High School, went to Genesee Community College and spent a great deal of time in Batavia and fell in love with the city and knew it was where he wanted to settle down. 

Russo has spent his entire career working in the entertainment industry, including being a DJ and working with theater companies all over Western New York. For the last couple of years he has served on the Youth Board and loved helping to create new opportunities to better serve the children who will be the future of our community.

Sammy DiSalvo (inset photo left) is running in Ward 5, has been involved with local politics for the past three years and currently serves as the president of the Genesee County Young Democrats and as a voting member on the Genesee County Democratic Executive Committee. 

After graduating from Batavia High School, he obtained a master’s degree in Education from SUNY Oswego and currently works at GCC helping local area low-income, first-generation college students discover their life’s passion and then apply for college.

DiSalvo also co-owns a pop-up business in Batavia called Decks, Dice, and Meeples where he brings family-friendly game nights to various coffee shops, libraries, and bars. He is intertwined with Batavia’s citizens and the larger city, and wants to see it be the best.

Both candidates look forward meeting voters from all over the City of Batavia on the campaign trail in the coming months. 

September 11, 2019 - 11:48am
posted by Billie Owens in road work, batavia, news.

On Monday, Sept. 16, temporary road closures will occur between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. These road closures are for the roadway resurfacing of the following streets. (The duration of each closure will be approximately four hours before traffic can ride on the treatment):

  • Florence Avenue -- between Cedar Street and Howard Street. Carolwood Drive – between Garden Drive and end of road.
  • Belvedere Lane – Naramore Drive to Naramore Drive. Woodcrest Drive – Between house #2 and #15.

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, a temporary road closure shall occur on:

  • Union Street – between Richmond Avenue and Oak Street. This impacts residents that live on Union Square limiting access.

Also on Tuesday, any work not completed on listed streets from Monday will be completed. Working hours will be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Resident’s will be notified by the company doing the work -- Suit Kote -- of the actual work schedule via fliers delivered door to door on the impacted streets a day in advance.

Residents of impacted areas are asked not to park on these streets while the work is ongoing and to park on adjacent side streets if possible.

This work is weather dependent and if delayed due to wet conditions the work will resume the next business day.

Contact the Bureau of Maintenance and ask to speak to the Superintendent at 585-345-6400, opt. 1, if you have any questions.

September 10, 2019 - 7:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.

A 29-year-old resident of Holley and an alleged accomplice are accused of stealing $75 worth of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups from the Top's Market in Batavia this morning.

Kay E. Dilker is charged with petit larceny. Also arrested was 37-year-old Joseph Turner (charges not specified in the press release and no address provided).

Batavia PD was dispatched at 11:05 a.m. for a report of a shoplifting in progress at Tops.

When patrols arrived, Dilker and Turner reportedly tried to evade police by jumping over a fence and into the yard of a residence on Redfield Parkway.

Once apprehended, the duo was allegedly found in possession of a large bag of peanut butter cups.

Dilker was jailed on $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond. Turner was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

The case was investigated by officers Adam Tucker and Jason Davis.

September 10, 2019 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in traffic, news, scanner, batavia.

The dispatch center has received numerous phone calls complaining of "significant traffic back up in the area of West Main and Woodrow Road due to all the road closures." City police are responding for traffic control.

September 10, 2019 - 3:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in accidents, scanner, batavia, news.

A car vs. fire hyrdrant accident is reported in the city at 430 E. Main St.

UPDATE 4:43 p.m.: A first responder says it is believed the driver of a pickup truck that sheared off a fire hydrant and struck a rock wall in front of GCASA had a medical issue. The driver did not appear to be seriously injured. Mercy medics were evaluating him at the scene. City Fire Chief Stefano Napolitano said the accident was initially called in by an off-duty city firefighter who witnessed it. The firefighter said the truck struck a parked vehicle; that there was full air-bag deployment; and the truck came to rest on a wall. When firefighters and medics arrived, the truck driver was sitting on the porch. "It could have been a lot worse," Napolitano said. "This is a busy sidewalk -- a lot of pedestrians. We could have had multiple victims struck or pinned on the wall." GCASA Executive Director John Bennett said it was very fortuitous that there were no clients of GCASA out front smoking at the time of this incident or it could have resulted in injuries or even death. Normally, Bennett said, there might be as many as five to 15 people smoking cigarettes, standing on the sidewalk at or near the accident location. GCASA recently applied to the state for a waiver to create a designated smoking area, which in the past have been prohibited at substance treatment facilities, and while the waiver is pending, clients are using the designated smoking area at the back of the property. 

September 10, 2019 - 3:31pm

Press release:

Genesee County Job Development Bureau is hosting a Job Fair from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the One Stop Career Center, 587 E. Main St., Eastown Plaza, Suite 100, Batavia.

No RSVP or fee is required – just show up on Sept. 18th, dressed professionally, bring plenty of resumes, and put your best foot forward!

Whether you are hoping to find a fresh start, a better job, or a new career direction, job seekers will find a wealth of exciting opportunities at the Job Fair.

“We are excited to partner with the GLOW Workforce Development Board and NYS Department of Labor to bring employers and job seekers together,” said Teresa Van Son, director of the Genesee County Job Development Bureau.

Local employers will be here, from a variety of industry sectors, eager to hire for immediate openings in a wide range of fields. The job fair is open to the entire community.

“This opportunity connects workers with great employers looking to hire," Van Son said. "In line with our mission to help people discover their potential and support them in reaching their career goals and prosperity; while assisting businesses by providing driven and trained candidates to fill their needs, this job fair is a great way to connect face-to-face with employers."

For more information, please contact the Genesee County Career Center, at 585-344-2042 or [email protected]

September 10, 2019 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news, notify.
    Wesley Thigpen

A 38-year-old Batavia man who is facing a sexual abuse charge along with two criminal-contempt-related burglary charges has a pending plea offer that would cap his prison term at four years, but Judge Charles Zambito would not bring his bail down as much he requested while he considers the plea offer.

Wesley, who was most recently a resident of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with: sexual abuse in the first degree, stemming from an incident reported in May; two counts of burglary, 2nd; a count of criminal contempt, 2nd; and a count of criminal contempt 1st; as well as criminal mischief, 4th.

Under terms of the plea offer outlined by First Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini, Thigpen would agree to a guilty plea on the sexual abuse charge and a criminal contempt charge. He would also admit to being a second-time felony offender.

Besides a shorter prison term, all of the other charges against him, including pending charges in Batavia and Oakfield, would be dropped.

He was in court today to waive a grand jury presentation on the burglary charges because if he was indicted, the mandatory prison terms would probit the district attorney's office from offering a four-year term cap. Also, the judge would be prohibited from a sentence, upon conviction, of anything less than five to 15 years in prison.

Cianfrini said her office was willing to give Thigpen more time to consider the plea offer but in order to get that time, he needed today to waive a grand jury presentation, which he did.

Under the terms of the deal, Thigpen would be able to make the guilty plea on an Alford basis, which means he pleads guilty without admitting to the facts of the underlying charges. 

When Thigpen came into court, he was being held in jail on $15,000 bail, or $30,000 bond.

His attorney, Mark Lewis, said despite his client's criminal history, he's never failed to show up for a court appearance and turned himself in on these pending charges so bail should be reduced to $2,500, the amount it was on his initial arrest on the sexual abuse charge.

Cianfrini objected to reducing the bail because of the significant prison time associated with the burglary charges, as well as the allegation of new crimes while out on bail previously, and the allegations of criminal contempt indicated, she said, that Thigpen has a problem following court orders.

"He is a considerable flight risk," Cianfrini said.

It's unusual for criminal defendants to speak on their own behalf at bail review hearings, but Thigpen asked to speak and Zambito permitted him to address the court.

"I feel the bail amount is excessive," Thigpen said.

Thigpen said he has maintained his innocence since his arrest and is considering the plea deal only because it was laid out for him in considerable detail what the consequences are if he were convicted by a jury of the all the charges against him. 

"I have no reason to run," Thigpen said. "I've shown up in court over and over again. I've shown I'll show up. I'm not a flight risk."

Zambito expressed concern that when Thigpen was out on bail on the sex abuse charges he allegedly committed other crimes, but that he did deserve some consideration for his court appearance record. He set bail at $10,000 or $20,000 bond.

September 10, 2019 - 1:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, Pearl Street, water main repair.

Water was restored on Pearl Street in the City of Batavia at approximately 1 p.m.

A water main break on Pearl Street at approximately 5 a.m. resulted in water service interruption in an area between 40 Pearl St. and the City Line.

Crews made repairs and replaced the pipe.

Bill Davis, superintendent of Water/Wastewater

September 10, 2019 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, parks, batavia, news.


Yesterday I set out to take a look at the new bridge over the railroad tracks off of East Main Street Road on the eastern end of the Ellicott Street Trail, which is expected to open late in the fall.

It was a pretty scenic spot so I ended up walking the length of the trail from the bridge to West Main Street Road, where a crossing is being installed. Then I went over to DeWitt Recreation Area to see where a bridge is being installed at the back of the park.  












September 10, 2019 - 10:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news.


Article and photos by Larry Barnes, historian, City of Batavia

Our community was founded in 1801 by Joseph Ellicott, chief surveyor and resident land agent for the Holland Land Company. The collection of buildings that grew into the City of Batavia stood on land owned by the Holland Land Company. In fact, beginning in 1797, these Dutch investors were the owners of most of Western New York after purchasing well over three million acres from Robert Morris. (Note that the purchase involved granting $100,000 to the Seneca Indians and the establishment of several Indian reservations.)

The homeland of the Dutch investors was the country that today we call “the Netherlands,” but back then was known as the “Republic of Batavia.” (Here's a Wikipedia link about it.) Our community’s name was chosen as a way of recognizing and honoring the investors’ homeland. Since then, at least eight other American communities have come into existence with the name, “Batavia.” They are located in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, Montana, and California. However, none of these other places had anything to do with the Holland Land Company.

As City Historian for our Batavia, I have been visiting the other Batavias to learn their history, to visit with their residents, to discover the origin of their names, and to take photographs. My first such trip was to Batavia, Ill., in the spring of 2011. Two weeks ago, I visited Batavia, Mont., the final community on my “bucket list.”

The Batavias range from an incorporated community with 27,000 people in Illinois to unincorporated communities with only a “handful” of people. Batavia, Mont., located in Flathead County, is among the latter. In the 2010 Federal Census, the population was reported to be only 385 individuals.

In every other instance, I have been able to learn about the Batavias in question by visiting local libraries and/or museums and historical societies. To my surprise, such sources were of no use with this final Batavia. When I visited the county library in Kalispell, the county seat and a short five miles away from Batavia, Mont., the librarian in charge of the local history collection claimed not to have heard of the community.

And, when I visited the local history museum, also in Kalispell, the staff was aware of Batavia but had no pictures or other material connected to it. Consequently, I have had to rely on what I could discover primarily through Google and census data from 2010.

According to the federal census, Batavia, Mont., covers an area of 1.79 square miles. Highway 2, the principal highway spanning northern Montana runs through the center of the community. A paved cycling and walking trail built on an abandoned railroad right of way parallels the highway. Also parallel to Highway 2 is Ashley Creek.

Both housing and commercial operations are distributed across the area in a manner that leads to an absence of any concentration.

Strangely, there is also no signage indicating when one has entered Batavia. Together, these two things create a situation where there is an absence of a clearly defined community; and that may account for why the librarian with whom I spoke claimed not to know about its existence. I was able to tell where the community’s boundaries are located only by referring to a census map.

In Batavia, Mont., there is a handful of commercial enterprises that include a single gas station combined with a convenience store. The most prominent business sells tractors and other agricultural and/or construction implements. Most of these businesses are located on Highway 2. An exception is an enterprise named “Batavia Self Storage & Truck Rental” located on a side road named “Batavia Lane.”

Most of the houses are located on the several side roads that intersect with Highway 2. By our standards, the housing is expensive with the average value well in excess of $200,000. And, in contrast with our Batavia, the great majority is owner-occupied. One home that was under construction, and I found rather fascinating, resembled a castle.

There is also one school in Batavia, Mont. It serves K-8. An “old-timer” told me that it once bore the Batavia name, but it is now named “Smith Valley School.” It stands at the intersection of Highway 2 and Batavia Lane.

The most interesting feature of the community is the Batavia Waterfowl Production Area, which exists under the auspices of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior. Ashley Creek flows through it. Created in 1975, it consists of 340 acres of upland and 170 acres of wetlands and marsh. There are several artificial impoundments with nesting islands and man-made dikes. It is said to be an especially good habitat for Canada Geese.

Finally, there are a few things of particular note that I learned about the residents of Batavia, Mont. They are 96-percent white. Somewhat over half are male and the median age is around 35. Among those age 25 or older, about 12 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

As with residents of our area, they appear to be comparatively conservative in their political views. Residents of Flathead County have consistently voted Republican in presidential elections. In 2016, nearly two-thirds of county residents voted for Trump; and there is no reason to think the Batavians would have been any different.

Almost 70 percent of the county residents in 2010 reported no religious affiliation and I suspect, again, that the Batavians would not have differed significantly from the county residents over all.

In closing, I wish I could, with certainty, explain how Batavia, Mont.,came to have its name. Of the nine Batavias in the United States, only this one on Montana and the one in California are a total mystery. My best guess is that, as was the case with several other Batavias, someone from our part of the world was an early settler.









September 10, 2019 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure, news.

Press release:

A water main break on Pearl Street at approximately 5 a.m. has resulted in water service interruption in an area between 40 Pearl St. and the City Line.

Crews are preparing to make repairs and replace the pipe. Water service will be restored as soon as is possible.

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