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December 11, 2008 - 10:16pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, Notre Dame, hockey.

Wow.

The Notre Dame boys basketball team has only played two games so far this season, but they are looking like a major force in the Genesee Region League.

The Fighting Irish opened the season on Tuesday with a 92-36 romp over Lyndonville, and then followed it up with an 80-42 blasting of host Kendall Thursday night.

Senior Kevin Francis went off for 28 points and Matt Thompson added 19 points. 

Josh Laureano led the Eagles (1-2) with 21 points and eight assists.

The Fighting Irish improve to 2-0.

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Oakfield-Alabama is still perfect, improving to 4-0 with a 70-39 thrashing of Holley.

Noah Seward dropped in 13 points, pulled down eight rebounds and had five blocks and Brad Riner added four points and five dimes. Tyler Tamblin had 13 points and Chris Bucceri added 12.

Brian Mitchell had 12 points and Jeff Lutes added 11 for the Hawks.

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Pembroke rebounded from its crushing 52-48 loss to Attica earlier in the week with a 56-52 win over Alexander.

Ken Babcock scored 16 points and Steve Mosier added 15.

Troy Shelnut scored 18 points and Kyle Woodruff added 13 for the Trojans.

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Attica had a 20-6 advantage in the fourth quarter and came from behind to beat host Byron-Bergen 54-47.

Tate Westermeier, who sealed Tuesday's thrilling 52-48 win over Pembroke with a pair of free throws, poured in a game-high 19 points to pace the Blue Devils (3-2).

Brad Clark had 16 points and Bryan Thompson added eight.

Tyler Sass scored 20 points with Dan Madziarz adding eight rebounds and six points for the Bees (1-2).

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Sonny Guiliano scored a game-high 18 points and Phil Ostroski added nine as Elba evened up at 2-2 with a 46-38 win over Wheatland-Chili.

Garhett Varin had 12 points and Andy Lund added six points and 12 boards for the Wildcats (1-4).

 

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The Brighton/East Rochester/Honeoye Falls-Lima hockey team eased past Notre Dame's hockey team 5-1 as Trevor Hills scored twice and handed out an assist.

Jason Boike had three helpers and Kyle Van Thof added a goal with two assists.

Dylan Versage scored the only goal for the Fighting Irish, who fall to 2-2.

Brighton/ER/HF-L improves to 2-3.

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Jake Kuhn had a pin at 152 and Jon Casper had one at 215, but the Le Roy wrestling team lost to Albion 42-30.

Joe Blair (160 pounds), Mike Blank (189), Ryan Wells (96) and Colton Beecher (119) had pins for the Purple Eagles.

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The Notre Dame boys and girls swim team both suffered a loss to Harley-Allendale-Columbia.

The H-A-C boys won 100-70 as Henry Weaver won the 200 IM (2:18.05) and 100 backstroke (1:02.73).

The H-A-C girls won 90-77 as Megan Dens won the 500 freestyle (6:23.71) and the 200 freestyle (2:21.41).

December 11, 2008 - 9:01pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Christmas lights.

 The Batavian will be posting at least one photo of a house in Genesee County decorated with Christmas lights each day until Christmas.

Our first post is a fantastic example of a well decorated home. The house, located on at the corner of Eugene Street and Fordham Drive in Batavia, had lights on all sides of the house and must have taken hours to set up. It is well worth the short drive to check this one out.

December 11, 2008 - 7:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, mural.

I spotted this mural on Swan Street in Batavia a few days ago and was taken by the idea that it was probably painted prior to 9/11, and it's still there -- on what is otherwise a pretty run-down old building.  The mural, which consists of two panels of the New York City skyline, is signed "John Howard."

December 11, 2008 - 2:19pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, agriculture, Albany, farm bureau.

From the New York Farm Bureau:

New York Farm Bureau members today elected Dean Norton, a dairy farmer and agricultural consultant from Batavia, N.Y. as the organization's new president.  Eric Ooms, a dairy farmer from Kinderhook, N.Y. was elected as vice president.

The election was held at Farm Bureau's State Annual Meeting in Albany.  Membership delegates representing farmers from around the state cast ballots. New York Farm Bureau is the statewide lobbying/trade organization that represents approximately 30,000 farm families.

Norton takes over for John Lincoln who retired today after 14 years as president and 29 years in various leadership positions in Farm Bureau.

Norton is a Senior Agriculture Consultant with Freed Maxick & Battaglia CPA's.  His family owns a dairy farm in Elba, N.Y. and runs a custom trucking operation for forage and commodity harvesting.  Norton has served on Farm Bureau's state board of directors since 2004 and was the Genesee County Farm Bureau president from 2000-2004.

"I am proud to have the opportunity to represent this organization during such a critical time for the farm families of New York," Norton said.

Ooms owns and operates a 425-cow dairy farm with his father and brothers in Kinderhook in Columbia County. 

He has served New York Farm Bureau for 10 years as Columbia County Farm Bureau President, and six years on the State Board as Young Farmer and Rancher Chair and District 10 Director.

"It truly is an honor to be selected by the membership to help lead this great organization," said Ooms.

Photo courtesy of the Farm Bureau. Pictured: Outgoing President John Lincoln (left) congratulates newly elected President Dean Norton.

December 11, 2008 - 1:52pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, genesee county, GCEDC, Alabama, poll.

There's no doubt that Genesee County can revitalize its workforce and reclaim its former reputation as a center of industry and innovation. There's also no doubt that it will take a willingness to change on the part of our communities. Alabama, in particular, could see drastic changes over the next couple decades...

Chad Zambito, vice president of marketing with the Genesee County Economic Development Center, brought us up to speed earlier today on a few of the more promising projects currently in the works for the county.

Most folks are probably familiar with the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, which has received a lot of press coverage in the Daily News. A Canadian food processor is planning to break ground at that site in the spring. That could mean the creation of about 100 jobs. There are also hopes for the site to include a sort of agricultural showcase center similar to the New York Wine & Culinary Center recently launched in Canandaigua that would highlight the region's dairy production.

Another major project in the pipeline is the Upstate Med & Tech Park and Commercialization Center. Situated on 34 acres across the street from Genesee Community College, the park will host a Life Sciences Center that would allow college students to get on-hand training in those fields. About half of the land is already shovel ready, so expect to see some buildings going up there soon.

That brings us to the most ambitious project currently in the works at the GCEDC: Alabama's STAMP site. STAMP stands for Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park. It's situated on no less than 1,300 acres between Route 77 and the Tonawanda Indian Reservation. Zambito estimates up to 10,000 jobs could be created at the site at full build out. He cautiously follows that up with the note that it would likely take some 25 years to acheive that.

All the purple buildings in the center of this map would house the manufacturing centers. Zambito said the site would likely be used for the production of photovoltaic cells that would harvest electricty from sunlight. In fact, this project, situated in a region that is already coveted for its potential wind energy, could become the foundation of a green energy industrial complex. This project is still some years from any actual construction. The GCEDC is right now getting the designs finalized and hopes to start bringing potential investors and manufacturers out to the site for visits later next year.

Click here to download a copy of the STAMP project map.

December 11, 2008 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, business, Western New York.

Buffalo Pundit links to a story about the economic hard times in Detroit and draws a comparison with Western New York.

From the Time.com story:

When a state lives with a story line of decline for so long, it doesn’t just affect the mood. It becomes part of the culture. Whereas America’s history has been one of expanding horizons, yours has become funnel-shaped. Much like the postbellum South, Rust Belt culture looks backward at an idealized past–a nostalgia not for plantations but for three-bedroom houses paid up on blue collar salaries. (See pictures of the remains of Detroit.)

“It used to be you could get a job at one of those factories, even without an education, and make a decent living to support your family,” says letter carrier Dina Schueller, 33, of Saranac. Now her husband has been laid off from his construction job, and her brother moved to Maryland for work. Like many left-behind Michiganders, she’ll be seeing fewer family members this season.

We've had discussions about the future of Western New York before, and I know some people are skeptical that the local economy can ever grow again, but when you look at efforts to bring new manufacturing businesses to Batavia and Alabama, for example, then it's hard not to be hopeful that renewed growth is a real possibility.

WNY has a lot going for it, such as natural resources, open spaces, an available work force, affordable housing.  There's no reason there can't be a renaissance of sorts.

Philip visited the Genesee County Economic Development Council today and is working on a post now about some of the things GCEDC is doing to help expand business opportunities in the county.

December 11, 2008 - 12:26pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, business, graham corp, Democrat & Chronicle.

Sean Dobbin, with Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle, spent some time out at Graham Corp. recently. He put together a fine piece on the Batavia manufacturer.

Following a recent drop in the company's stock price, Graham Corp. executives set up a guided tour of the facilities Wednesday for six potential investors.

From that article:

(Chief Executive Officer Jim) Lines told the group, which was a mix of financial advisory executives and private investors, that the company didn't adequately prepare for the economic downturn, citing improper staffing as the reason for some of Graham's struggles. But the company is in the midst of overhauling its in-house processes in hopes of emerging from the recession stronger.

Dobbin picked up on a sense of optimism among the investors.

Investors seemed impressed with Graham's presentation, which included lunch and a question-answer session with the executives. Some saw Graham's stock as a potential bargain. "It was probably too high at $54, but then it got all the way down to $6.85, and now it sounds like it's too cheap," said Gary Lindsley, a private investor from Clyde, Ohio.

The article also includes a couple of good photographs.

December 11, 2008 - 11:51am

From the Richmond Memorial Library:

Sponsor:  Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia

Event:  Adult Book Discussion

Place:  Richmond Memorial Library

Date & Time:  Wednesday, January 14 7:45 a.m.*

Other Information:  The Adult Book Discussion Group will meet at Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross Street, Batavia on Wednesday, January 14 at 7:45 a.m. to discuss THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Books are available at the front desk. Refreshments served.  For more information, call the library at 343-9550, ext. 8 or log onto www.batavialibrary.org.

*a.m. is correct—we meet early!

December 11, 2008 - 7:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, police.

Here's one of the more interesting free classifieds placed on The Batavian yet:

I am will to trade charges from the Batavia Police for the return of the brown box that was stolen from my truck on Friday night.

Here's to hoping Richard Clark of Alexandar is able to make the swap.

December 11, 2008 - 1:24am
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, elba, alexander.

 Andrew Hoy showed the maturity that a scoring leader needs to have, and Dakota Irvin continued his hot play as the Batavia boys basketball team came back from one of the biggest deficits the team has had in years to beat host Pittsford Mendon 51-50 Wednesday night.

"This is a group that had never really been behind like that, ever," Batavia coach Buddy Brasky said. "We were down 18 points and (assistant coach) Gene Cairo said that he's been with us for five years and he can't remember a game when we were down double figures before the half. To fall behind 18 points and believe we can win; that's why we are champions. We have the heart of champions."

Mendon had actually opened up a 28-10 lead in the first half before Hoy overcame a rough first half shooting the ball and hit a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds left in the half to get Batavia to within 15.

Batavia only scored 13 points in the first half and went just 5-of-26 from the field. The Blue Devils only hit 3-of-18 3-point attempts.

 

"We knew we had to live or die by the jump shot and we were dying by it today," Brasky said. "We had wide open shots and couldn't knock them down. Our defense kept us in the game."

Hoy hit two 3-pointers early in the third quarter and Batavia wound up cutting the deficit to two points with four minutes left.

But Mendon opened it back up to a 10-point edge seconds later.

Brasky had went away from the full court press, but went back to it, and it paid off as Batavia had three straight turnovers that led to six points.

 

Irvin scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and is a big reason why the Blue Devils won the game.

 

"He's been a pleasant surprise," Brasky said. "He had a good offseason. He was playing well in the fall, but I didn't know if he'd be a starter. He earned it in the scrimmages. For him to come up so big early in the season has been a pleasent surprise."

Batavia only trailed by two points with under a minute to go when Joe Schlossel had a huge rebound and put-back basket, giving his team a 49-48 lead. After Mendon scored, Irvin hit a pair of foul shots to give Batavia back the lead.
Robert Hoy had a steal to ice the victory.

 

Andrew Hoy finished with 11 points and Marcus Hoy had eight points, seven assists and three steals. Irvin also had six boards and three steals.
 
Batavia is 3-0 and will host Victor on Friday.
 
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Brett Sutryk hit three trifectas and scored 21 points as Bath downed visiting Le Roy 53-46 in a boys game.
Mike Humphrey scored a game-high 22 points for the Oatkan Knights.
 
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Anni Lehtola - a foreign exchange student from Finland - dropped in 20 points and had six steals to lead Alexander to a 59-40 win over Holley in a GR girls game Wednesday.
 
Anna Dominick chipped in a nice all-around game with 12 points, six assists and seven steals.
 
Holley was led by Corinne Van Scholick, who had 22 points and 20 rebounds.
The Trojans are 2-1.
 
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Elba's scoring attack was very balanced as the Lancers beat host Kendall 43-36.
McKenzie Bezon had nine points with Sarah Schwartzmeyer putting in eight and Julie Marshall adding seven.
 
Meghan Fahy scored nine points and had eight boards and Annie Lynch added 10 points for the Eagles (2-2).
 
Elba is 2-1.
December 10, 2008 - 11:15pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, sports, wrestling.

 After Keiffer Phillips pinned Batavia's Brandon Shea in 1:11 at 152 pounds at 152 pounds, Greece Arcadia had a 24-3 lead and looked to have the Monroe County League match in hand.

But Troy Ireland turned the momentum with a decision win, then there were three forfeits, and the lightweights came through as the Blue Devils downed the visiting team 29-24 Wednesday.

Ireland's match only got three points for Batavia, but after 24-straight points for the Titans, it was three points that changed the way the Blue Devil grapplers looked at the situation.

The biggest moment of Ireland's 3-2 win came late in the second period, when he slammed opponent Alex O'Brien to the mat with some serious force. Ireland was not rewarded with any points, but that single move might have been the reason Arcadia never scored another point.

Ryan Darch, Anthony D'Aurizio and Dylan Goodsell each received a forfeit, and the score was tied at 24 when Josh Mase was ready to take on Nick Baker at 103 pounds.

Mase, who took fourth at SuperSectionals last season as a sophomore, made very quick work of Baker, pinning him in just 58 seconds.

Vin Klimjack received a forfeit at 112 and Nick Lazarony wrapped up the match with a 7-5 victory over Matt Ellis at 119 pounds, which was the final match of the night.

The Blue Devils downed Victor 35-28 in the opener and after Wednesday's home opening win over Arcadia, are 2-0 in the league and 7-0 overall.

 

Here are some more photos from the Batavia/Arcadia match.

 

 

Sorry for the delay with the video. My new laptop has imovie08 on it and I couldn't figure out how to use it. But the problems are solved and there won't be a delay like this again.

December 10, 2008 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

A double-occupancy residence at the corner of Elm and Fisher Park was gutted in a fire that was reported at 7:40 a.m.

Both families evacuated themselves without incident according to Batavia Fire Chief Thomas Dillon, who said the fire was a hard one to fight because of the age of the building.

No injuries, either to the families or firefighters, were reported.

We'll have a video interview with the chief posted within an hour. (as you can see, video now up) The Daily News has three photos posted, but no additional information.

UPDATE: Here's a Google Street view of the location.


View Larger Map

UPDATE II:  Photo of the aftermath:

December 10, 2008 - 12:00am
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, elba, Notre Dame, hockey, wrestling.

Jared Quinn recorded his first career double-double to lead Alexander to a 58-49 road win over Holley in a boys basketball game Tuesday night.

Quinn had 13 points and 10 boards to lead the Trojans, who improve to 2-2.

Kyle Woodruff connected on all 11 free throw attempts and scored 15 points, with Troy Shelnut adding 11.

Guy Hills had 16 points and Brian Mitchell added 10 for the Hawks (0-3).

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 The Elba boys basketball team had a rough start to its league schedule, getting thrashed by visiting Kendall 62-36.

Colt Tooley hit five 3-pointers in scoring a game-high 21 points and Josh Laureano helped out with 16 points.

Sonny Guiliano led the Lancers (1-2) with 14 points.

Kendall is 2-1.

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Notre Dame had an impressive first showing of the season, whipping visiting Lyndonville 92-36.

Kevin Francis scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the opening frame as the Fighting Irish jumped out to a 24-2 lead. He also had six steals in the game.

Greg Barr had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Tommy Rapone added a dozen points. Vinny Zambito pitched in 11 points.

Andrew Hydock led the Tigers with 13 points.

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Noah Seward dropped in 15 points while pulling down 12 boards as Oakfield-Alabama easily downed Byron-Bergen 65-38.

Brad Riner pitched in five points and seven dimes while both A.J. Kehlenbeck and Sam McCracken had 10 points apiece.

Tyler Sass and Trevor Laurie had 11 points each while Bryan White added 11 boards for the Bees (1-1)

O-A is 3-0.

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Joe Drummond scored 25 points and Jamell Johnson added 22 as C.G. Finney blasted host Wheatland-Chili 90-39.

Alex Stryker had 13 points and Andy Lund pitched in 12 for the Wildcats.

Finney is 6-0. 

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The Batavia hockey team evened up at 2-2 with a 5-3 win over Geneva/Waterloo.

Will Mulcahy and Erik Pokornowski had a pair of goals each for the Blue Devils, with Corey Kocent pitching in a goal with an assist.

Pat Finnell handed out three assists with Tim Finnell helping out with a pair.

Rich Paganello made 14 saves in net.

Geneva/Waterloo falls to 2-3.

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Holley got pins from Dillon Murphy (135 pounds), Quinton Murphy (125), Derek Fostano (189) and Kyle Steadman (215) in beating Kendall 42-33 in a GR wrestling match Tuesday.

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Alexander downed Barker 47-29 on the mat Tuesday.

Dylan Shea pinned Garrett Fuerch in 3:41 at 152 pounds and Dustin Say dropped  James Lapp in 3:57 at 171.

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The Notre Dame girls basketball team opened up with a 51-32 victory over host Lyndonville Tuesday.

Trisha Pike led the Fighting Irish with 15 points, five rebounds and six steals.

Jill Marshall had nine points with Nichole Hart and Liz Geandreau pitching in eight apiece.

Molly Burgess had 11 points for the Tigers (1-2).

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Despite Jenna Merica's 15 points and Allison Macomber's 11 points and nine boards, Le Roy couldn't get past Dansville, losing to the visiting squad 53-36.

Margaret Infantino had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six dimes for the Mustangs (6-1).

Le Roy falls to 0-3.

December 9, 2008 - 5:08pm
posted by Darrick Coleman in batavia, Google.

Google has recently updated their Maps with Street View for Batavia. Here are a few places of interest:

City Hall

Present Tense Bookstore

Holland Land Office

Genesee Community College

 It's fun to see if you can find your car or someone you know walking the streets. What do you think, is this an invasion of privacy?

December 9, 2008 - 3:52pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, Christmas in the City.

Festivities at this year's Christmas in the City were fervid enough to warm the people of Batavia inside and out, despite the frigid winds and snow that whipped down Main Street from time to time throughout the evening.

"It was the best one we've had so far," said Lynn Garlock, owner of Grugnale's deli and restaurant on Jackson Street. "At one point we were so busy, I thought we were going to have to start a waiting list. All the tables were filled up."

Sandwiches, subs and salads were churned out en masse. Clarinets, flutes and a capella vocals were on hand to serenade the diners. All the while, you could hear the steady clop clop as a horse and buggy trotted past the storefront, carting its mittened passengers on downtown.

Garlock was particularly taken with the talents of the Bluebells, a group of about six or seven young female vocalists from Batavia's middle and high schools. In fact, she was so fond of their singing that she has asked them back.

"We liked them so much, we're going to have them come sing during lunch," she said.

Don Burkel told us that this year was a raging success. Burkel is the director of the downtown Business Improvement District, the event's sponsor. No less than 43 vendors came out to set up a table and wares in the Batavia City Centre. Not bad, considering most years the event doesn't draw many more than 30 or so, said Burkel. Add to that all of the downtown shops who stayed put, hosted musicians and held sales.

"We had a record number of vendors," said Burkel. "It was good to see a nice turnout. ... We need to support these business people. That's the key in this economy."

Garlock's praise is typical of the business owners who participated in the event this year, whether they hosted carolers or set up in the mall. Passers-by were treated to a warm cup of chili out front of Adam Miller's Toy and Bicycle.

"We had a great night," said John Roche, the store's owner. "We had a lot of traffic, a lot of people in. And, the chili was really good."

People especially enjoyed the entertainment from the carolers and other musicians who rotated in and out of the store all evening, he said. He didn't spot a single empty seat in the horse and buggy all night.


Of course, you might not know the event was such a success—that is, if you saw the article that ran in the Daily News Saturday. Two photos ran with the article. One depicts a short stretch of Main Street out front of the mall entrance. The sidewalk is empty. The street is lined with parked cars. The caption reads: "Cold temperatures drove people off the streets during the annual Christmas in the City Friday downtown."

That can't be entirely true. A frequent contributor to The Batavian, Daniel Cherry, was not only out in the cold, but documenting the night's festivities—he posted several of his photos to the site. Cherry even snapped a few photos of the horse and buggy, which we're told ran until well after the event officially ended because so many people came out to take a ride.

As for the other photo that ran with the article, a shot inside the mall, the people in the picture are so distorted because of the poor quality of the image, that it is more likely to excite pity than joy.

One Attica resident is even quoted as saying that this Christmas in the City was "terrible." Terrible!? Despite the hundreds of people who were crowded into the mall concourse throughout the evening, she goes on to say that: "There's hardly anyone here." She also laments that there isn't enough "free" stuff.

Not everyone agreed, however. One Batavia resident judged the mall "full" of people. Another felt that "people were more excited this year."

I say we practice a little bit of that gratitude we boned up on over the Thanksgiving holiday. We may be a little too quick to stuff that altruism back down the dirty stocking of the rest of the year. Christmas in the City sure saw a lot of folks come out. There was free chili, free bread, free horse and buggy rides, free entertainment all over downtown. Santa danced around a stage in the mall with his chipper, glittered elves. So yeah, I say it was a success. How about you?

Photos taken by Brian Hillabush.

December 9, 2008 - 2:09pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, auto dealers, genesee county, credit crisis.

Over the next few days, we will take a closer look at the credit market here in Genesee County. Much has been made in the mainstream national media about the "credit freeze" now faced from businesses across the board. Banks aren't lending to other banks, which, in turn, aren't lending to the clients, be they consumers or producers. Everyone, we're told, is feeling the pinch, and lending is rare, if and when it's happening at all. We hope to find out how true that is here in our own region by chatting with those in the know, the sources and go-betweens of those supposedly hard-to-get loans: the auto dealers, the bankers, real estate agents and restaurateurs.

In today's contribution, we will hear from a pair of auto dealers on the availability—and unavailability—of loans in the county...

Harry Zigrossi owns the Zigrossi auto dealership on East Main Street in Batavia. We spoke with him by phone last week.

"It was a very weak November," he said. "There has been a dramatic slowdown in the percentage of approvals... Banks are very tight. Less people are seeking out vehicles."

Zigrossi attributes the slowdown to two factors: Doubt that a consumer would even be approved for a loan, and, if they are approved, worry that the interest rate will be high, if not excessive.

Yes, there are alternatives to financing through the dealership, Zigrossi admits. There are credit unions, local banks. "We have lending institutions," he said. "There are places to apply, but the likelihood of approvals at desirable rates has diminished."

As an example of the tightening credit lines, Zigrossi cites GMAC Financial Services, the financing arm of the GMC dealers. Zigrossi deals in Pontiac, Buick and GMC autos, and acquires much of the funding for his customers through GMAC.

"Their minimum score for approval is 700," he said. "That's pretty selective in my opinion. A couple months ago, approval was based on credit worthiness. There was no set number in the past. ... GMAC's position is: 'We lost several hundred million (dollars) last year. We have very limited funds.'"

You could call it the trickle down economics of the credit crisis. GMAC has a tough time getting its loans—"their ability to borrow is limited," as Zigrossi puts it—so anyone seeking loans from GMAC will have a tough time, as well. It's simple math: you've got so many people seeking loans via so many lines of credit. If the lines of credit are diminished, as Zigrossi indicates, but the same number of people are seeking loans... there's just not enough to go around.

Ken Barrett cites such logic as a reason why some folks may not even bother applying for a loan. Barrett owns Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac on West Main Street in Batavia.

"We haven't, at this point, had much difficulty, if any, arranging financing for our customers," said Barrett by phone last week. "What I can't really qualify is if there are a cadre of customers that are self-excluding themselves. In other words, based on what they hear in the news media, they're not even going through the process. But I don't have any empirical evidence to say if that's the case. It's more of a gut feel."

In a recent article that ran in the Daily News on the possibility of an auto industry bailout, Barrett was quoted: "I don't think business conditions in Genesee County reflect what we're hearing in the national media. Of all the business people I've talked to, not one has said their business is really bad."

Barrett said that the people of Western New York are the reason business is doing well, as he sees it. We've got smart, responsible consumers.

"In Genesee County, people pay their bills," he said. "Maybe because of the way we're brought up, we dont live excessively beyond our means as other parts of the country may be experiencing. As a community, we pay our bills."

But consumers are only one half of the equation in Barret's estimate. He's also quick to talk up his business practices as one good reason why his dealership is not "having much difficulty" in the midst of this recession.

"We've never aggresively targeted sub-prime activities," said Barrett. "Some dealers really developed that business. Now they're seeing a precipitous slide in their business."

However optimistic a note Barrett might ring for the local auto dealers, the situation doesn't look so rosy elsewhere in the country. From a New York Times article, by Clifford Krauss:

In October alone, 20,000 employees of auto dealerships lost their jobs nationwide, more than half of those who were newly unemployed in the retail trade, according to the Labor Department... And now the credit market—the lifeblood of any car dealership—is frozen.

More than merely a question of credit, however, Krauss hones in on the cultural value of the "small town" dealership, and the further consequences hinted at by the loss of jobs and the tightening of credit. Barrett is right to tout best business practices as a key to remaining financially solvent. But it's not all business...

The auto dealers are not just businesses, of course. Most of them are deeply rooted in their communities, and each is a slice of Americana—their big flags flying, their radio advertisements compelling attention and their Little League sponsorships and other charity helping to improve the lives of local people.

What about you? Have you tried to purchase a car recently and been declined? Approved? Has the ostensible credit freeze iced your chances at getting a loan? How would you feel about the loss of a longtime local dealership: Just another business that couldn't make it? Or much more than that?

After all, no one ever sings: "Drove a Hyundai to the levy..."

December 9, 2008 - 12:56pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Announcements, veterans, VA Medical Center.

From the VA Western New York:

David J. West, FACHE has been named Interim Medical Center Director at VA Western New York Healthcare System effective December 7.  VA Western New York Healthcare System includes medical centers in Buffalo, Batavia and seven community based out patient clinics located in Niagara Falls, Lockport, Dunkirk, Jamestown, Lackawanna, Olean, and Warsaw.  Mr. West has been the Medical Center Director at the Bath VA Medical Center since April 29, 2007.

Prior to being appointed Director for the Bath VA, Mr. West served as Associate Director at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center, and began his career with VA in1987 at the Washington DC VA Medical Center.

At VA WNYHS, he will oversee over 1,690 employees serving over 40,000 veterans during the period until a new director is appointed.  He succeeds James P. Cody who has served as interim director since August and Michael S. Finegan who recently was promoted to network director, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  “It’s an opportunity for me to work with a dedicated staff in Western NY serving our nation’s heroes,” West said.

Mr. West served in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1978. He holds a Master of Science degree in Health Services Administration from the College of St. Frances in Joliet, Illinois and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

December 9, 2008 - 12:28pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, crime, Daily News, city council, police, sheriff, Albion, scams.

Joanne Beck covered last night's meeting of the Batavia City Council in a pair of articles in today's Daily News. Both stories—a parking ban on Oak Street and a discussion on changing the city's system for payment of trash collection—were featured on WBTA this morning. The Batavian referenced both articles in our morning news roundup.


Genesee County sheriff's deputies are looking into a string of complaints about a contractor not providing services that were paid for in advance. Lakeside Home Beautification, operated by Martin A. Miller, is based in Stafford. One homeowner, Jennifer Taberski, told Scott DeSmit that she paid Miller $3,800 to fix their roof in June. Nothing has yet been done, and her money was never returned, she claims. "He basically kidnapped my money," she said. Another homeowner was recently refunded their $1,750 after Miller allegedly failed to repair a roof.

DeSmit reports:

Miller, 48, served two one-year jail terms from a criminal case in Wyoming County.

He pleaded guilty in 2002 to four counts of petit larceny for scheming people out of more than $12,000.

Sheriff's deputies are encouraging anyone with information about Miller, or anyone looking to make a complaint, to contact them at (585) 343-5000.


In other news, Virginia Kropf put together a folksy piece on five Albion families who got together Monday for a reunion of their golden retrivers, all of which—unbeknownst to the owners—came from the same Valentine's Day litter. Interesting.

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

December 8, 2008 - 11:08pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, perry, sports, Notre Dame, Albion.

 

The annual Lions Club dinner for senior players and coaches that are participating in the Lions Club Basketball Tournament was Monday night.

It is always one of the my favorite nights of the year, and is in fact the ninth one I've attended. It is always fun to sit down with area players and enjoy a a nice meal and talk hoops. 

You also can't put a price on the look on the kid's faces when the Lions members sing the Lions song.

Batavia won the championship last year with a 63-34 win over Notre Dame in the finals, giving the Blue Devils four straight, and seven of the last eight championships.

Two players from the all-tournament team return to play in this year's tournament as Batavia's Andrew Hoy and Notre Dame's Kevin Francis will be leading their respective squads.

The 27th annual tournament will be held Dec. 29-30 at Genesee Community College. Batavia will play Albion on the 29th at 7 p.m. with Notre Dame and Perry playing at 8:45 p.m.

The consolation game is on the 30th at 7 p.m., followed by the championships at 8:45 p.m.

The jayvee tournament will be held at Notre Dame with Batavia and Albion playing at 1 p.m. on the 29th and Notre Dame playing Perry right after. The consolation game is on the 30th at 1 p.m. with the finals to follow at 2:45 p.m.

The Batavian will have the biggest preview in the history of the tournament the week of the games.

Here are some video highlights and interviews from Monday's dinner.

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