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March 3, 2009 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, poll, passenger rail.

Douglas Tuner of the Buffalo News speculates that Western New York could be ideally suited for to receive stimulus funds to build a passenger rail system between Buffalo and Albany (hat tip, Dan Jones for the link).

In one month, Obama has proposed sending $13 billion into the cause. And if Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, has her way, upstate New York should get a good share of it.

Slaughter’s goal is what aides call “a third track” dedicated to passenger rail running 300 miles from Buffalo-Niagara to Albany along the current CSX right of way.

The economic stimulus plan contains $8 billion for engineering, tracks, passenger cars and other infrastructure for intercity rail. This money should be spent in the next three to four years.

Last week, Obama proposed spending an additional $5 billion for high-speed passenger rail in his 2010 federal budget outline.

I don't know my CSX right of ways, but this seems like Batavia would be on the rail line.

That would be good news for commuters who live in Batavia and work in either Buffalo or Rochester, it seems.

It might even encourage more people to call Batavia or the surrounding rural communities home.

March 3, 2009 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, ambulance, fire fighters.

Ten union fire fighters are among Batavia's higest 15 wage earners, according to documents obtained by WBTA.

Topping the payroll list is Craig Williams, a fire captain, who earned $116,629 in 2008.

Dan Fischer reports that the figures include "base salary, overtime, holiday pay and other cash benefits," but not including health care.

Fischer posted audio quotes from Charlie Mallow. Mallow is also quoted accusing the union of scare tactics.

Fischer reports:

In a paid insert in yesterday’s Daily News the fire fighters union accuses the city council of “targeting” public safety by eliminating the ambulance service.

WBTA posted a complete list of the city’s top 15 wage earners.  City Manager Jason Molino is eighth on the list as the top non-emergency personnel wage earner at $84,449.

Tune into WBTA by 12:30 for more information.

March 2, 2009 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

BATAVIA, N.Y. Units have been dispatched to 3207 Pratt Road for a reported trailer fire. Medics are responding, as well.

View Larger Map

UPDATE: 2:12 p.m.: Minor fire. According to Asst. Chief  David Winters, the homeowner was trying to heat frozen water pipes with a propane salamander heater when flames shot from it and ignited the underside of the trailer. The fire was contained to under the trailer. There were no injuries.

March 2, 2009 - 9:28am
posted by Charlie Mallow in batavia, city council, union, ambulance.

 I fully understand the feelings of the EMTs and no one on Council was happy to have to come to a decision to end county wide ambulance service as of September 1st. There is no question that our city medics have provided and continue to provide a high quality service for all county residents. Although, recently the union has brought forth information from a questionable paid source that they describe as "fact". I want the public to understand that the use of fabricated information, fear tactics and targeting of Council is not going to shake our resolve. Council has taken every imaginable step we could find to make the city based service viable. This financial decision was made based on years of public discussions as well as input, with all the information we required being presented. 

The county has made it clear that they have a process in place to see that the entire county will have ambulance service by September 1st. There is no reason to believe the hysteria being asserted by the union that there will be no one to provide ambulance service after September 1st. Moreover, there have been at least five ambulance providers that have contacted the County or the City that are interested to providing ambulance service to this region.  Should one of these providers be selected they would be responding to ambulance calls from within the City just as they currently do now. 

As directed by Council, I have sent a letter to all county municipalities terminating all our inter-municipal ambulance agreements as of September 1st. These are the agreements that allowed the city to provide ambulance service county-wide. During the last public meeting of the GAM, Council as a whole publicly informed all the members that the city is not getting back into the business of providing ambulance service. Council has made it clear that we will not under any circumstances "go at it alone" by entering into an agreement with a private provider. The city is just one of many municipalities that is looking to the county to provide a county wide ambulance service and that decision about a provider is one for the county as a whole to make.

March 2, 2009 - 8:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, Charter Review Commission.

We received this press release from the city:

Please be advised that the Charter Review Commission for the City of Batavia will hold a meeting on Monday, March 2, 2009.  The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room on the second floor of the Batavia City Centre.  

The public can speak at the meeting by signing in prior to the start of the meeting. 

John, can you add more detail on what might be discussed tonight?

February 27, 2009 - 1:45pm

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Alabama, NY, will be holding its Spring Into Nature celebration on Saturday, April 25 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Admission and parking are Free.

 Located at the refuge headquarters on Casey Road the event offers activities for the whole family with over 20 nature related exhibits plus live birds of prey, retriever demonstrations, guided bird walks and door prize drawings. For the kids there will be crafts, face painting and nature activities. Guest speakers include: Wendi Pencille on wildlife rehabilitation (more are being finalized). In addition, spotting scopes will be set up at Cayuga Overlook with volunteers on hand to help identify birds in the area, including bald eagles. 

Planned exhibits include: Ducks Unlimited, the Lower Great Lakes Fisheries Resources Office, Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, the New York State Bluebird Society, Ron Pastor – custom flies, Erie Canalway Heritage Corridor, Niagara County Trappers (NYSTA) the Historical Club of the Tonawanda Reservation, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation, the Buffalo Audubon Society and more.

Please contact refuge staff at 585.948.5445 or visit our web site at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/iroquoisfor further information.

Iroquois NWR is located midway between Buffalo and Rochester, NY and is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Individuals with disabilities and any other person who may need special assistance to participate in this program should contact the Refuge at 585/948-5445 or at the Federal Relay No. 1-800-877-8339.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
February 27, 2009 - 1:28pm


Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge invites everyone to “Go Outside” and enjoy nature. As spring arrives office hours for Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge will be expanded to include weekends 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from Saturday, March 28 through May 9. This is in addition to our regular office hours of Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 4:00 pm, except holidays. The refuge office/visitor contact station, located at 1101 Casey Road, Alabama, NY has maps and other information about the refuge as well as exhibits of native wildlife. Be sure to stop by the Flyway Nature Store, operated by the Friends of Iroquois NWR, Inc., for unique gift ideas for yourself or the nature lover in your life.
            Weekend hours will coincide with the spring schedule of “Iroquois Observations”, a series of free nature programs which are presented in partnership with the Buffalo Audubon Society. On March 28 the season opens with a bald eagle watch and an owl prowl. Visitors are invited to join knowledgeable volunteers at Cayuga Overlook for the bald eagle watch, 1 pm – 4 pm to view one of our two nesting pairs of bald eagles. Spotting scopes are provided. That evening bring a flashlight and join the nocturnal trek to look for owls, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm. Pre-registration is required for the owl prowl. Please, contact refuge staff at 585-948-5445 to register. Programs are free and open to the public. 
            The refuge’s nature trails, overlooks and fishing areas are open sunrise to sunset, seven days a week, year-round and provide many opportunities to view wildlife or just relax and take in the natural beauty the refuge has to offer.
            For further information or a schedule of nature programs contact refuge staff at
585-948-5445 or visit our website http://www.fws.gov/northeast/iroquois and click on the link for “annual calendar” and scroll down to “Iroquois Observations”.
            Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located midway between Rochester and Buffalo, NY and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
February 26, 2009 - 10:20pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports.

The Batavia girls basketball team made some great strides this season under coach Bill Wade, who came out of retirement to take over the squad.

But an off shooting night against a tough No. 13 Aquinas team means that season came to an end Thursday night, with a sloppy 49-41 loss on No. 8 Batavia's home court in the second round of the Section 5 Class A playoffs.

"(Aquinas) is a very good team," Batavia coach Bill Wade said. "I saw that when I scouted them a week and a half ago. This is a tough team in the second round. I thought we could have won but we didn't make our baskets when we needed to."

The Blue Devils have been able to have players pick up their games when other's were off, but there were a bunch of stretches Thursday that it didn't happen - where nobody could hit a shot. 

It was probably Batavia's most poor shooting effort as a team all season long.

"We had our looks, we had our chances and we had our opportunities," Wade said. 

Neither squad came to play in the first quarter.

Marieli Ramirez scored five straight points to put the Lil' Irish up 7-3, but Brittany Wormley scored with three minutes left to make the score 7-5 Aquinas. Nobody else scored in the period.

Michelle Jordan scored a basket and had a 3-pointer early in the second quarter for Batavia, but Aquinas went on a 9-0 run to take a 19-11 lead. Kelly Legg scored three consecutive baskets in the run.

Wormley killed the Irish scoring with five straight points, but Aquinas had a 26-17 lead at halftime. 

Shun-Della Williams had a big third quarter for the Blue Devils. Her rebounding was huge in the frame and she had both she and Wormley had four points apiece to cut the deficit to 32-29 after three periods of play.

"I thought she really stepped up and got us going in the third quarter," Wade said. "We could have folded and didn't."

Carly Cellura drained a pair of 3-pointers to put Aquinas up 42-34 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Blue Devils didn't quit. Wormley had a basket with 1 1/2 minute left and trailed by just four points.

But on Aquinas' next trip down the floor was the nail in the coffin. Legg - a 6-foot-1 forward - pulled up and hit a 3-pointer.

That gives the Irish (8-12) a shot to play top-seeded Pittsford Mendon in the semifinals.

Wormley scored 15 points to lead Batavia, which ends up 15-7. Only two players -Brittany Mazurkiewicz and Jaycee Shirk - are graduating, so the Blue Devils could be strong again next season. 

Shirk had five points and Mazurkiewicz had seven in their final high school game.

"We will get together on Monday and have a meeting, talk about how we are going to work for next year," Wade said. "But Brittany and Jaycee were great leaders and whoever our captains are next year I can only hope will fill their shoes half way. They were great."

February 26, 2009 - 2:31pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, fire department, ambulance.

Could the city's claims that the ambulance service was losing money and had to be nixed have been a "deceitful attempt" to get rid of some of the city's firefighters? That's the conclusion following an independent audit of the city's finances that allegedly shows that the ambulance has been in the black every year except one for the past five years. The decision to end the city ambulance service as of September 1 was made at a City Council meeting last month. The vote was unanimous.

Greg Ireland, president of the Firefighters Local 896, met with us today outside the city fire hall to talk about that audit.

"It's plain and simple: the numbers don't lie," he said. "Revenues exceeded expenditures, period."

If you visit the new Batavia ambulance Web site you can get a closer look at those numbers. Ireland had the audit put together by Kevin Decker, president of the Albany-based independent firm, Decker Economics. In his report, summarized in a memo that Ireland gave to us today, Decker shows that in the fiscal year 2003-04, the city ambulance fund "recorded an operating surplus (revenues minus expenses) of $529,766." In 2004-05, the fund posted a surplus of $414,006. In 2005-06, the fund posted a surplus of $570,807.

That's the year that things start to change, according to the report.

"To compensate the General fund for resources expended by fire department personnel directly related to ambulance services, the City provided for a transfer from the Ambulance fund to the General fund (of) $921,609."

This shift of expenses from one fund to another—a typical city budget includes several funds, including: general, fire, sewer and water—is known as an interfund transfer, by which expenses or revenues generated within one fund are used to offset those of another.

So, in the following year, 2006-07, Decker's report explains that the ambulance fund posted a deficit of $454,799. That deficit is explained in these terms on the Web site:

"Since people were beginning to question the inter-fund transfers, the city created a better way to hide their ambulance money.  Instead of just picking a number out of the sky, City Hall decided to remove 35% (approximately $1 million) of Firefighter's wages and benefits from the General Fund and put those expenses against the Ambulance Fund.  So without the "transfer", but adding $1 million of "false" expenses, the Ambulance Fund showed a deficit of $454,799."

The interfund transfers continued in 2007-08, but the ambulance fund still posted a surplus of $286,038, according to the report.

The bottom line is that the ambulance service helps subsidize the cost of the City's fire department. In fact, in FY 2007-08, the City's Ambulance fund generated an operating surplus even with a significant portion of fire department wages and salaries included.

If we assume that the level of staffing for fire suppression personnel cannot be reduced any further, eliminating the ambulance service will require the City to come up with other sources of revenue to finance the payroll costs for City firefighters that are currently being subsidized by the Ambulance Fund. This fact has been recognized, and reported to the City, by both the City's auditors and the State Comptroller's Office.

In conclusion:

Absent a complete lack of understanding on the part of City leaders, it would appear that this move to eliminate the ambulance service is a back door and deceitful attempt to reduce the size of the City's firefighting force.

"We want a new vote taken," said Ireland. "We want to educate the public. Then we want a new vote taken."

In a video interview with Ireland taken at the union's informational picket outside City Hall last week, he said that the city rushed the decision to end ambulance service before anyone had a chance to speak out on it.

Ireland said he is open to negotiations with the city. Of course, that would all take place "behind closed doors."

"I'm more than willing to sit down and talk openly with anyone," he said.

On a side note, our appointment this afternoon was to meet with Ireland at the city fire hall on Evans Street. We had to conduct that meeting outside on the sidewalk. Not a bad situation on a nice day like today. But you may ask why. Well, Ireland apologized and explained that the city manager, Jason Molino, called this morning and told him not to meet with the press inside the fire hall. In fact, Ireland's meeting earlier with Dan Fischer of WBTA and Joanne Beck of the Daily News had to be moved to the WBTA studios, he said.

February 26, 2009 - 1:53pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, police, emergency.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — We're following reports coming through on the scanner right now of a young child, approximately 4-years-old, who was found walking around in the middle of the street in downtown Batavia. Officers on scene report that the child is asking for his mother and father, neither of whom are reported to be in the area.

Update (Friday at 9:04 a.m.): The parents of the lost child have been identified and further investigation into the incident will be shared between Child Protective Services and Batavia city police, Lt. Eugene Jankowski said in an e-mail this morning. It is not known if charges will be placed at this time. No names have yet been released. The investigation is ongoing.

February 25, 2009 - 4:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, city council.

Another Daily News article by Joanne Beck that takes up the issue of the assistant city manager's salary has got tempers flaring on the newspaper's Web site. Beck authored an article a couple weeks back in which she was accused of sexism for questioning why Sally Kuzon is being paid $24,000 more per year than past assistants.

In today's article, Beck writes:

City Councilmen Bob Bialkowski, Bill Cox and Rose Mary Christian say they want answers about how the assistant manager's salary was established. The total of about $84,000 includes a $2,820 car allowance, according to information provided to The Daily News.

There has never been a car allowance for an assistant manager before, Christian said. She questions why there's one for Assistant Manager Sally Kuzon, a Williamsville resident who was granted a residency waiver.

The article, which is interesting and well-written, has already garnered more than a dozen comments (and climbing) on the site.

We have still not received the information we requested from the city two weeks ago, when we filed a Freedom of Information Law request to view the salaries for all city employees for the current year, the project year and the past year. We were informed that it would take until March 30 to compile the information.

February 25, 2009 - 3:29pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Attica, sports, holley, wrestling.

 While Ryan Darch was disappointed that he didn't win a SuperSectional title last weekend, he still has hopes to win a New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship this weekend in Albany.

Darch lost a frustrating match to Canisteo-Greenwood's Brandon Mills in the state qualifying tournament at RIT Saturday. But his trip to states last year and his impressive season has earned him a trip to states, where he will join teammates Nick Lazarony and Troy Ireland.

Lazarony earned his trip with a win in the finals and Ireland, who wrestles in the same 160 pound class as Darch, will also make the trip with a wild card.

Holley Quinton Murphy won the title at 119 and will have a chance for a second straight state title. He will be joined by wild card Vinnie Napierski of Attica in the weight class.

Tim Banks gets a wild card at 130 pounds and joins teammate Kyle Steadman, who won the 189 championship with a surprising win over Attica's Dave Jennings. Jennings also gets a wild card berth.

Luke Pariso won the 171 pound class last weekend and will also be trying for a state title.

Here is the complete roster of wrestlers competing in the state tournament this Friday and Saturday.

February 25, 2009 - 12:53pm

Sen. Charles Schumer, in tandem with newly appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, issued nearly twenty press releases this morning on funding earmarked for upstate New York communities in the upcoming federal omnibus bill. None of that money has yet been tagged for projects in Genesee County, at least not according to the announcements out of Schumer's office. Buffalo and Niagara Falls were both listed as recipients of significant funding.

Buffalo was awarded $950,000 for its Main Street revitilization project. Niagara Falls will receivie $950,000 to ramp up its "international railway station." Tack on funding for university and medical projects, railway infrastructure and tourism, and the funding level for the greater Buffalo region tops $3 million.

From an article in the Buffalo News this morning:

The money for Buffalo and Niagara Falls will be included in an omnibus federal spending bill funding government operations through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill today, with Senate consideration set for next week.

Rochester also looks to benefit. The George Eastman House is on the bill for $381,000 "to preserve and allow access to museum library collections through new Web applications."

From the press release:

"This is terrific news for the entire Rochester community," said Schumer.  "The George Eastman House is one of the oldest and most revered photography and film museums worldwide. In these technology-driven times, it’s important for the federal government to do everything in its power to ensure that such historic, cultural gems as this one are able to adapt in ways that allow them to both preserve their heritage and expand their resources.”

“These federal dollars will go a long way to preserve the collections at the George Eastman House while making them accessible through the internet,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These snapshots are an important part of our history. I will continue to work with Senator Schumer to ensure that New York receives its fair share of federal funding.”

A significant portion has been eyed for higher education in the state. St. John Fisher College is on tap for $475,000. Albany's College of Nanoscience and Engineering is marked for $1 million. Binghamton University is in line to receive $2 million.

Batavia City Council members Charlie Mallow and Marianne Clattenburg were in Albany recently meeting with "key officials," according to Mallow, in the hopes of securing fundig for the city. We hope to soon hear what progress they made.

February 25, 2009 - 11:57am
posted by Tasia Boland in batavia, schools, special education.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — Six years of instructing, formulating, collaborating, and educating has given hope and success to one family in Batavia, who thought it could never be possible.

Trisha Finnegan, Director of Special Education and Alternative Education for Batavia City School District, strives to accomplish the department’s goal of providing all children with the necessary support and assistance to be successful learners.

“Compassion creates compassion,” said David Hamblin, of Batavia, “My son is finally building positive self-esteem, and it is our team at Batavia school district, along with the educators at BOCES, making this huge positive difference in my family's life.”

Hamblin, a single-parent, moved to the area about a year ago with his adopted son Matthew, 15, after much disappointment with school districts in New Mexico, Indiana, and Brighton.

“I was so frustrated by our former school districts that I pulled my son out of school and home-schooled him,” said Hamblin. Matthew has been diagnosed with basal ganglia syndrome, a learning disorder that is often characterized by behavioral problems and attention difficulties.

Before a student is diagnosed with a disability, teachers will discuss the student's behavior and try to accommodate the child in other ways. For example, if a child fidgets all day in their chair, the instructor might set a cushion on the seat. If that doesn't work, they will try something else. Finnegan said they have to exhaust all options first.

“You can have ten kids who have a learning disability, but not everything is going to work the same for each one,” said Finnegan. “We have to work hard to find the accommodations and everyone has to work together as a team.”

Hamblin had a few conversations with School Board President Patrick Burke and decided to re-enter Matthew into a public school. Finnegan said it is their number one goal to keep the students involved in general education classes.

“We really want to make sure we level the playing field,” said Finnegan. It's important, she said, to make a face-to-face connection because it can build the next 12 years of an education.

“Trisha gave me the hope I needed at a very crucial time,” said Hamblin, “I can’t say enough about her and our team of educators here in Batavia. Gratitude flows from this family.”

Finnegan has been the director for six years and said her motivation to work with children came from her parents.

"My parents were foster parents,” said Finnegan,  “I grew up with a lot of kids and a piece of me wanted to work with kids.”

Finnegan thought she was destined for a legal career, and after receiving her Bachelor's in Law at Union College, she decided to attend Buffalo State, where she received a Bachelors of Science and pursued her Masters in Education.

She is so excited to watch her students graduate and go on to be successful.

“I am at a point now where I really have gotten to know my kids, and I think, in the future, I will be able to see a lot more of my students graduating,” said Finnegan, who hopes also to keep in contact with the students and their families.

“Parents can participate in their child’s programming, visit their student, chat with teachers,” said Finnegan, “It is really important to be open and willing because it is a key part of planning.”

Advice for parents: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask lots and lots of questions.” she said. “It will be very beneficial for the student.” There are no dumb questions, she said.

Finnegan said the most important characteristic is to be collaborative. The program is not like it used to be where a teacher would pull a student out and work with them one of one.

“Now we must work as a team,” she said.

Hamblin can’t thank Finnegan and her team enough for the time and patience they spent with his son.

“They took the time to get to know my son and see what he was capable of achieving,” said Hamblin.

“When you see the look in (the parents') eyes that says: 'My child got here because of what you did,' those are the little moments,” said Finnegan. ”When parents just want to thank you, that is special.”

“She is a hero in my book,” said Hamblin, “I am now able to breathe a sigh of relief.”

February 24, 2009 - 5:15pm
posted by Holland Land O... in batavia, history, pictures, Postcards.

Arcadia Publishing has rereleased Barbara Ann Toal's book, Images of America: Batavia. The book was originally published in 2000 and has been sold out and unavailable for the past four years.

The book is available at the Joseph Ellicott Museum Store at the Holland Land Office Museum and contains more than 180 photographs, postcards, maps and drawings. The book makes an excellent gift and retails for $19.99.

The Holland Land Office Museum located at 131 West Main Street in Batavia is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Arcadia Publishing, based in South Carolina, are experts in publishing short run local history books. They have published local histories on thousands of cities, towns and villages across the United States.

For more information, contact the Museum at 585-343-4727



February 23, 2009 - 11:12pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, Le Roy, sports, Notre Dame.

Third-seeded Notre Dame jumped out to a 31-4 lead after the opening frame and wound up plastering visiting No. 14 Mount Morris 79-28 in the first round of the Section 5 Class DD playoffs Monday.

Nichole Hart hit four 3-pointers and scored 15 points with six steals for ND, which improves to 17-4.

Carly Pike had 14 points and five steals with Jill Marshall adding nine points.

Anna Brado scord 16 points to lead Mount Morris (1-20). 


The game was between an eighth and ninth seed in Class B, but looked more like a No. 1 vs. No. 16.

No. 8 Marcus Whitman had the edge in the first three quarters and blew out No. 9 Le Roy 61-39.

Jessica Deal led all scorers with 14 points and Hannah Barnett added nine points and eight boards for Whitman (4-17), which will face No. 1 Bishop Kearney on Thursday.

Megan Robson added 12 points.

Rachael Hayward had 12 p;oints and Allison Macomber added nine for the Oatkan Knights, which end up 2-19.

February 23, 2009 - 9:20pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports, brighton.

Brighton may have been just 8-12 going into Monday night's Section 5 Class A girls basketball playoff game with host Batavia, but one of those wins came against the Blue Devils. And several of the losses came to Monroe County League Division I and II schools.

So Bill Wade knew his team was going to have their hands full.

Even with a sloppy ending, that including many missed layups and free throws, Batavia escaped with a 44-39 win to advance past the opening round.

"I'm very happy," said Wade, whose team beat the Barons by two and lost by one in the regular season. "One of the things I said when I took over coaching the team was that I was going to enjoy every win our team gets - and I'm enjoying this win. We do have to fix some things. But if we didn't win, we weren't going to get a chance to fix them."

 Wade also notes that Brighton's record is deceiving. The team had some injury problems to key players that were factors in the losses.

The five point victory was the biggest margin of victory either team has had in the three matchups this year and the reason was because of the Batavia defense.

When the Blue Devils had a 51-50 win in January, Brighton hit nine 3-pointers in the win. The 12th seeded Barons did not hit a shot from beyond the arc against the fifth seeded Blue Devils Monday. Wade gives a lot of credit to the defense of Brittany Hein, who he calls one of the best defensive players he's ever coached.

"We tried to give them different looks," Wade said. "We normally play a 3-2, but we were almost in a 2-3 tonight. They run one in and four out and they are very wide. (Leanna) Brooks is a good post player and driver, and we had a hard time adjusting to her last time. We tried to contain her drive so we didn't have to help on other girls, then we tried to be in their vision on every shot."

Wade is also looking towards his senior leaders in these playoffs. And Brittany Mazurkiewicz didn't disappoint.

She converted 8-of-9 free throw attempts and scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the second half.

"She started taking the ball to the basket," Wade said. "We used a little pick-and-roll play and she was taking the ball to the basket and getting fouled."

 Jaycee Shirk had four points and eight rebounds with Hein pitching in four assists and Brittany Wormley scoring six points.

Brenna Bauer had 15 points to lead Brighton (8-13).

Batavia (15-6) will get another home game on Thursday because No. 13 Aquinas surprised No. 4 Sutherland 69-59 Monday.

"Since I took over, I've talked about changing the culture," Wade said. "First I wanted to get kids to want to come out and play, and second, I wanted them to believe they can win a big game. If we win or lose, the next game is going to be a step in the right direction in changing the atmosphere if we play a good game."

February 23, 2009 - 4:02pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, consolidation, seneca falls.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — Batavia could learn a thing or two from Seneca Falls. The town and village of Seneca Falls have become the centerpiece of a statewide campaign of the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who claims that merging municipalities saves taxpayers money.

As the city and town of Batavia pull up their sleeves and really get serious about consolidation—we've all seen the flow chart!—it might benefit to step back and take a look at how things are going over in Seneca County. Officials over there seem to be following the exact same process as our own. They even hired the Center for Governmental Research as a consultant to study the potential merger.

And ever since the initial research came out in November, Cuomo has been promoting the potential $978 savings in property taxes per year for Seneca Falls homeowners. But... it turns out, it's not so black and white.

From an article in today's Democrat & Chronicle:

A closer look at the potential savings in abolishing this Seneca County village of about 7,000 people and having the town take over its functions shows far more modest overall savings than suggested by Cuomo — with other taxpayers paying more as village taxes go down. Seneca Falls also has some unique circumstances that mean its potential savings would be hard to duplicate elsewhere.

"In almost every case, these changes involve a tax shift from village to town taxpayers," said Charles Zettek, vice president of the Center for Governmental Research, who studied the Seneca Falls project and came up with the figure Cuomo quotes.

According to Zettek's figures, abolishing the village, while saving village taxpayers an average of $978 a year, would increase the levy on town residents who live outside the village, who now pay almost no town taxes, by $375. The figures are based on property worth $100,000.

In addition, another big chunk of the savings would come from a $495,000 state grant designed to encourage government consolidations — in effect, a shift in costs from village to state taxpayers.

Maybe that's a question we need to put to our own leaders. In the CGR report put together for the Batavia consolidation, we can read that taxpayers stand to reap a savings of 15 percent on their property taxes. Well, to be more specific, the document reads that consolidation would "reduce the combined property tax levy of the City and Town by 15% per year." So what does that mean for town residents? Will city residents get a reduction while town residents see an increase?

What about this quote from Zettek—not too heartening:

"This whole thing is an art form, figuring out who benefits and who doesn't," said Zettek, who said that generally government-merger plans can trim expenses "in the 2.5 percent to 5 percent range."

Well, if it's an art form, why did we hire bureaucrats to do it?

Or what about this statement from the village administrators:

"In terms of savings from shared services, you're really talking about nickels and dimes," said village administrator Connie Sowards, whose job would be abolished if the plan goes through. "The big thing is the cost shift."

I would suggest reading the whole article by Jay Gallagher. It's quite informative. Don't about most folks, but I'm all for the idea of consolidation, but it seems more and more that the devil is in the details, none of which have yet been definitively worked out.

Let's hope the upcoming "plan" can really spell things out for us.

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