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April 16, 2009 - 8:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Present Tense, Deal of the Day.

Today's Deal of the Day: A $25 gift certificate from Present Tense Books and Gifts in Batavia. The Batavian's Good Deal Price: $12.50 -- HALF off!

Present Tense is a popular local bookseller as well as a great place to find unique gifts. It's located at 101 Washington Avenue

The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value.

Rules: E-mail me at howard (at) thebatavian dot com. First e-mail wins, but the winner must arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. today to pay for the gift certificate. If the first e-mailer can't or doesn't make it in, the certificate goes to the second e-mailer.

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

April 16, 2009 - 6:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

DaQuan Reynolds, 18, of Rochester, a student of Genesee Community College, is accused of harassing another student. An order of protection has been issued barring him from contact with the student. He allegedly physically contacted the student. He is charged with harassment in the second degree.

April 15, 2009 - 7:25pm
posted by Tasia Boland in batavia, diabetes.

Today’s economic hardships are leaving thousands of Americans in fear of losing their job, house, and lifestyle. For some losing their job could cost their life.

Eric Boland, age 24 of Batavia, was temporarily laid off from a HVAC company in Buffalo last month. Boland’s first thought of course was financies, but not those of rent, food, etc. it is for a disease that demands hundreds of dollars of month, Type 1 diabetes.   

“It costs about $785 a month just for my supplies that I need every day,” said Boland. “Plus my doctor visits once a month, and an insulin pump on average, is $6,000.” Boland said he was ecstatic when he found out he would be receiving his full medical coverage, which makes living with diabetes slightly easier.


April 15, 2009 - 4:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, GCC.

Press Release:

Genesee's 'Early Warning' Project Helps Students Overcome Academic Problem, Trustees Hear

BATAVIA, NY -- Genesee Community College's innovative 'Early Warning' Project is helping to quickly identify and help students in danger of failing, two senior administrators told the Board of Trustees Monday evening.

Dr. Eunice M. Bellinger, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dr. Virginia M. Taylor, Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services, described for trustees how faculty members use the program to track - and report - students who do not attend class or who miss key assignments.  Dr. Taylor's staff then contacts the students who are identified through the program, and attempt to arrange tutoring or other support services for the students.  "The emphasis is on helping students to avoid grades of 'F' and remain in college," Dr. Taylor said.

The program began during the 2006-2007 year, involving nineteen faculty members.  Since then the program has grown, and involves 41 full-time and 68 part-time faculty members.  Although the program is still too new to evaluate results, College staff members believe that the program will make the difference between college success and failure for some students.

Dr. Bellinger told trustees that identifying attendance or academic problems early in the semester give faculty and staff members the chance to intervene.  Dr. Taylor said that students who find themselves in academic trouble do not always want to drop out of college.  "But they need to know 'what do I do now?'" she said.  "We can offer support and options."

April 15, 2009 - 11:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Present Tense.

Author Lorna Bartlett was the guest of Present Tense for a book signing on Saturday, and she left an apparent fan of the charming shop on Washington Avenue.

She writes in her blog:

What a terrific store! Housed in a gorgeous old Victorian home, the shop (inside and out) is painted in wonderful colors. There are several rooms filled with books, a selection of coffee and teas, children's toys (and books!), candles, hand-sewn purses (I was really tempted by those), pretty teacups, a gallery of original photographs, magnetic poetry kits, and lots of other marvelous things. I admit, I did succumb to temptation and bought a package of Who Dunn-Its sticky notes.

If you missed the signing, Bartlett left some signed books at the store. 

Check her post for more details about her afternoon at Present Tense and some pictures she took of the store.

April 15, 2009 - 11:25am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements.

Batavia Players will produce "The Lion in Winter" this spring.

The critically acclaimed play by James Goldman centers around Christmas in the castle of Henry II of England.

The cast includes: Kevin Partridge as Henry II; Lynda Hodgins as Queen Eleanor of Aquitane; Jesse Conklin as Richard the Lionhearted; Anthony Giambrone as Prince Geoffrey; James Earl as Prince John; Rachel Oshlag as Princess Alais; and Jared Morgan as the young King Philip of France.

The director is E. Jane Burk. This will be the second time she has directed Batavia Players, Inc.

"The Lion in Winter" has long been a staple of Broadway. Though historical in nature, Goldman took artistic license in writing the script, which evokes tension as well as humor. It also was adapted into a movie in the late 1960's starring Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn. She won the best actress Oscar for her protrayal of Eleanor of Aquitane.

Shows are Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Batavia Middle School, located at 96 Ross St. in Batavia. Tickets go on sale April 27 and cost $10. Seniors and students pay $8.

April 14, 2009 - 7:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, navy, stephen earle.

Stephen Earle says his 24 years in the Navy have been fun and rewarding, but he often misses his home town of Batavia and thinks he might settle in Western New York when he retires in a couple of years. He and his wife purchased a home in Orleans County while he served as a recruiter in Batavia for a little more than two years.

Earle, whose mother still lives in Batavia, is currently serving in sonar aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Afghanistan theater. He called The Batavian today for an exclusive interview, at the request of U.S. Navy public relations personnel, to talk about his career.

We recorded the interview and you can listen here.

Earle said his two-decades-plus in the Navy have been great, but not without hardship. It's tough being away from his wife and two children, he said. Fortunately, long deployments are not common.

He's seen the world, too, and spent many years stationed in San Diego and Long Beach.

"I used to say that I missed the snow," Earle said. "And then moving back there for two-and-half years, I would say 'do I really miss the snow?'  I do miss the small town atmosphere. I've been at bases around large cities and San Diego was a great place and everything, but it never rained enough and the size of the town, I just sort of missed the small town atmosphere."

April 14, 2009 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, Deal of the Day.

Today's Deal of the Day: A $25 gift certificate for the Grandstands Bar & Grille at the Batavia Downs Casino. The Batavian Deal of the Day Price: $12.50.  That's HALF off.

The Grandstands features an affordable menu, so this is a pretty valuable offer.

The gift certificate must be used by June 30, 2009. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value and is non-transferable.

Rules: E-mail me at howard (at) thebatavian dot com. First e-mail wins, but the winner must arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:30 p.m. today to pay for the gift certificate. If the first e-mailer can't or doesn't make it in, the certificate goes to the second e-mailer.

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

April 13, 2009 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Masse Gateway Project.

More jobs and a bigger tax base were the selling points in Batavia's council chamber last night as City Manager Jason Molino pitched a proposed redevelopment plan for the Masse Gateway Project.

To get the project going, the city, and property owner Mancuso Business Development Group, could use an immediate cash infusion of $2.5 million from a state program known as RestoreNY.

The application deadline for the program is fast approaching and by a unanimous vote, the council approved a resolution to hold a public hearing on the proposal on April 22 at 5 p.m.

“The Masse Gateway Project does meet the criteria of the program and the city is going to be in a fairly strong position to score well on the application," consultant Stuart I. Brown told the council.

To score well, Molino and Brown told the council, it is necessary to provide a 26 percent local match, or about $650,000 above the requested grant amount. A mere 10 percent, or even 17 or 18 percent, might not cut it because Batavia doesn't qualify, under RestoreNY guidelines, as a distressed urban area.

The entire project is expected to cost $3.15 million, with the matching funds coming from in-kind services ($50,000 in staff time for inspections and simliar services), $400,000 in prior work and in-kind matches from Mancuso, and $200,000 from the city's revolving loan fund for small-business start-ups.

The BDC loan funds were an area of some concern because Mancuso is not expected to pay any of that money back to the fund, but Molino explained that under terms of original grant that created the fund, using the money for a job-growth project such as Masse is acceptable.

He also explained that currently the BDC has $400,000 cash available and $200,000 in outstanding loans, so the BDC board felt confident that there would be enough money left in the loan program to fund future small business start-ups.

This is the second time Batavia has applied for RestoreNY funds. The first application was rejected, Molino speculated, because the city asked for only a 10 percent match and the plan submitted was not comprehensive enough.

Stu Brown added that the 10 percent match included in the plan was largely for planning work aready done and not new development work, which may have been a problem.

“In my experience and after looking over the RestoreNY guidelines, it is my strong recommendation that the city over match the requirements," Brown said.

Architect Ed Smart also explained a bit about the anticipated development, saying that the key to making the entire Central Corridor Project (PDF) viable was improving the edges. The edge work, he said, would make the entire 27-acre area more attractive to developers, investors and businesses looking for new locations.

“Each of the proposed uses would be more job-growth intensive than the previous uses, Smart said, later adding:  “When the business incubator first started, there were businesses looking for 20,000 or 30,000 square feet of space, but today’s businesses want much smaller spaces.”

Some council members asked about the immediate potential for residential uses in the project (which is part of the larger Central Corridor Project), and Smart said residential really wasn't part of the plan right now out of concern there simply wouldn't be demand during this phase of development.

"Building 16 is really versatile and could serve as business lofts or residential lofts," Smart said. "But there is a lot (as in other development) that would have to happen around the building to make it an attractive place for residents to want to live there."

Previously: City may seek $2.5 million state grant to help with Masse Gateway Project

April 13, 2009 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, police.

After some discussion of whether the City of Batavia should apply to hire one or two new police officers through a Federal grant program, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday night to seek funding for one position.

The new position, if the grant is approved, would create an entry-level police officer to participate in a community-oriented policing program, and it would replace a position eliminated in the 2008-2009 budget.

The funding comes from U.S. Governments COPS Hiring Recovery Program and covers the first three years of salary and benefits for a new hire.

According to City Manager Jason Molino, the grant cannot be used to replace a retiring officer or to hire a new detective. It can only be used to back fill a position previously eliminated.

Community-oriented policing is a program developed in New York City in 1990s, and used with some success in San Diego. It involves officers being more involved in the community, developing relationships with people in local neighborhoods to solve problems and prevent crimes.

Councilman Bob Bialkowski suggested the city apply for two such positions, and made a motion to amend the resolution, but most of the rest of the council disagreed and voted it down.

In arguing against the motion, Councilman Tim Buckley said, "Let's apply for this one and be happy we get it," stating a concern that applying for two when the city may only qualify for one could cause the entire application to be denied.

The subsequent motion supporting the original resolution for one position was approved unanimously.

April 13, 2009 - 7:38pm
posted by Tasia Boland in batavia, schools.

Michael DiBacco is a 14-year- old who speaks with an honest heart. He knows it takes a lot of responsibility to manage his homework, sports, band, and still make time to play Star Wars Lego video games. 

His parents Mike and Mary Beth welcomed me with warm smiles and grateful hearts.

Mary Beth said they were very excited when they heard their son was selected as an excellent student. She said it is nice to be recognized when you are working very hard.

Michael is a student at Batavia Middle School who strives for good grades and feels angry if he isn’t successful. He loves Social Studies and is excited to learn about the Revolutionary War in class.  After school he is busy playing his saxophone in band, cross-country, track, and loves swimming and hanging out with the boys for the Norte Dame swim team.

Although he is nervous about the workload for his AP classes in eighth grade, he is excited for high school and being able to be involved in even more.

Michael has a difficult choice in choosing either Notre Dame or Batavia High, and is disappointed in the fact that Batavia High does not have a formal swim team. His father, who just bought a tripod to film his son’s swim meets, wishes there was an actual swim team at Batavia High.

Down the road from now we might see Michael as a forensic scientist or an architect.


April 13, 2009 - 4:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, broadband, Time Warner Cable.

For any Batavians who thought maybe Time-Warner Cable wouldn't test its new tiered broadband pricing plan in Genesee County, we have some bad news. We just received this message from Lara Pritchard, public affairs manager for Time Warner Cable, WNY Division:

Our trial for monitoring internet usage will rollout across our entire Rochester footprint. Batavia customers will also be enrolled to work with us and provide feedback on their usage /plans.

For those who haven't heard, TW is planning to switch Rochester-area customers from a flat-price service for broadband (cable modem, in this case) Internet service to one which offers different pricing plans, based on anticipated usage. Heavier users would be faced with potential monthly overage charges, or plan on spending up to $150 per month for unlimited usage.

WHAM 13 explains the tiered plan here:

The "trial" is expected to begin in August.

For it's part, this is what TW says about the need for the pricing scheme:

Time Warner Cable said that steady increase in use, along with massive bandwidth consumption by a small percentage of customers, is the reason it's testing the new pricing policy. The company said it needs to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

Commenting on the criticism of the plan, company spokesman Alex Dudley said, "Customer feedback is a critical part of the trial."

But not so fast. As others have noted, there isn't really a cost justification for TW's plan.

Ars Technica:

Britt's rationale for the change—infrastructure is expensive—is tough to understand. Cable's physical plant has been in the ground for years; even hybrid fiber-coax systems have been widely deployed for some time. Internet access simply runs across the existing network, and one of cable's big advantages over DSL is that speeds can be upgraded cheaply by swapping in new DOCSIS headend gear, with DOCSIS 3.0 the current standard. Compared to what Verizon is doing with fiber and AT&T with its quasi-fiber U-Verse, cable Internet is a bargain (well, for the operators).

But perhaps consumers are insatiable bandwidth hounds who are simply overloading TWC's system—or perhaps not. The BusinessWeek article notes that only 14 percent of users in TWC's trial city of Beaumont, Texas even exceeded their caps at all. My own recent conversations with other major ISPs suggest that the average broadband user only pulls down 2-6GB of data per month as it is.

A site called Stop the Cap dug through some of TW's communications for shareholders and found that TW is telling its investors its costs are actually decreasing. (via Fighting 29th)

High-speed data costs decreased for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2008 primarily due to a decrease in per-subscriber connectivity costs, partially offset by subscriber growth.

April 13, 2009 - 3:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A Batavia teen has been charged with rape in the first degree, according to a report by Batavia Police.

Oliver Thomas, 17, is accused of forcibly raping a 15-year-old girl at his home on Feb. 16.

Thomas, who was taken into custody at 9:15 a.m. today,  was jailed without bail.

April 13, 2009 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Sheriff's deputies are searching the area around Tops on West Main after a suspected shoplifter allegedly fled the area. The suspect was last scene scaling a fence near the store. 

The suspect is believed to be a thin, tall black male, possibly wearing a checkered jacket or vest. Police declined to provide any further description at this time.

April 13, 2009 - 6:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Pavilion.

Tanya L. Captain, 21, of Batavia, is accused of repeatedly hitting another woman in the face and breaking her nose.  Captain reportedly showed up at the other woman's home Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. and assaulted the other woman. Captain is charged with assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Carla L. Southwell-Wood, 52, of Batavia, was charged Sunday night with DWI and endangering the welfare of a child. Southell-Wood was stopped by deputies on Rose Road after the Sheriff's office received a report that Southwell-Wood was allegedly driving while intoxicated in a white mini-van. After a traffic stop was initiated, deputies also report they found a child under 17 in the vehicle.

Three people were charged Thursday with under-age alcohol violations following an undercover operation involving Sheriff's Office personnel, with the assistance of Genesee Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse. Arrested were Andrew J. Cutcliffe, 20, Pavilion, charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under 21 with intent to consume; Carly H. Kelch, 23, of Linwood, charged with one count of sale of alcohol to a person under 21; and Timothy R. Andrews, 21, of Wyoming, charged with DWI, with a BAC of .08 or higher, failure to keep right and unlawful possession of marijuana.

April 11, 2009 - 9:54pm
posted by Robin Walters in batavia, community awareness.

God was so good today to Care-A-Van as we visited at Central Avenue. Even with the cool crisp spring air, the sun was shining bright. It was so nice to set up outside without having to battle that white cold stuff! It was wonderful to look around and see many flowers and buds on the trees starting to come out.

The street was busy with lots of activity. One young boy came to the bus. His mom had recently had surgery. As I walked back home with him, we were talking about this special week-end and how Jesus died on the cross and then how he rose from the dead on Easter Day.

Just as we learned how he rose, we also see the needs rising here in our City. Today was one of our busiest days at Central Avenue. The Lord fed 104 people today! We were so busy that we ran out of milk. The Lord also  provided clothing for many families today. A young girl came to the bus to see if she could find an outfit for her father to wear to church. Another young girl was trying to find something for her grandmother to wear.

The word continues to get out that Care-A-Van is here to help. We thank all of you for sharing the word. Many people had stopped at the Salvation Army this morning and the folks there shared about the ministry.  We talked with many people that did not have a church family or a support system. As we look into their eyes, hearts and souls we see and feel the pain. We have all gone through our own struggles and still do. But there is hope for all of us. In God’s word it says “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you not harm you”.

In Luke 24:

46He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.

We thank all of you for helping us share with the city of the wonderful news and miracles that our Lord has done and continues to do so. It is an honor for all of us to serve our Lord.   As Paul prayed this morning before we headed out, Lord help us keep it simple.  Special personal invitations were given to all to join Care-A-Van for Easter Dinner. Paul and Bridget will be doing all the cooking. It is going to be held at the Assembly of God Church on North Spruce Street from 2:00-4:00 PM. We invite all of you to stop by, grab a bite to eat and share in awesome fellowship. I hear that the Chocolate fountain is going to be the best treat of all. Oops, let me take that back, the best treat of all is that Jesus died so we may all have life!

May you have a blessed Easter

Robin Walters, Public Relations Director

Care-A-Van Ministries

April 11, 2009 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Masse Gateway Project, redevelopment.

The Batavia City Council will consider asking the state a second time for Restore NY funding to help launch the Massee Gateway redevelopment project.

Should the city go forward with the application, Restore NY could provide up to $2.5 million of the estimated $3.15 million cost of the project, which could potentially lift the assessed property tax value of the area from $800,000 to anywhere from $3 million to $5 million.

The remaining $650,000 of funds needed for the project would come from in-kind and cash matches from the City of Batavia and Mancuso Business Development Group (the property owner).

The match comes, according to a memo released by the City Manager's Office, from $400,000 of prior work on the project by Mancuso, a $50,000 in-kind match from the city (meaning inspection time, site plan review and grant oversight) and $200,000 available from a 1982 Urban Development Action Grant.

"The City's contributions to this project will not effect the general fund expenses or require any financial burden or support from the tax levy," City Manager Jason Molino writes in his memo.

The council meets in special session Monday at 7 p.m. to consider the application.

The goal of the project is to demolition and refurbish buildings near Masse Place, between Swan Street and Harvester Avenue. About 40,000 square feet of building would be demolished and another 200,000 120,000 square feet restored.

In using $200,000 from the UDAG fund, the city will draw down the grant money, which has been used for a revolving loan and grant program to help establish small businesses in Batavia. Molino's memo says current economic conditions has made issuing small business loans and assisting economic development difficult.

A memo from consultant Stu Brown about the application states, "Recent discussions with the owner of the complex indicates that he is proceeding with the plans for the project. The approval of a major state grant would enable the project to move forward much more quickly and permit the owner and the city to achieve the goals for the redevelopment of this important site."

The city applied for Restore NY funding for the Massee project once before and the application was denied.

The Restore NY application is due by May 4. Should the council pass the appropriate resolution Monday, there would be a public hearing on the application Aprill 22 at 5 p.m.

Download: Part 1 of Council Packet (PDF) for Monday's meeting, which includes Jason Molino's memo.


April 10, 2009 - 4:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements.

The awards ceremony for the eighth annual Library Poetry Contest will take place at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16 at Genesee Community College.

It will be in the library of the Batavia campus.

Fifty GCC students submitted 94 poems. They were invited to submit up to three poems on any topic. As a special category, Genesee math instructors have offered extra credit to their students who entered a math poem. Thirteen poems with a mathematical theme were submitted.

April 10, 2009 - 3:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Richmond Memorial Library.
Event Date and Time: 
May 28, 2009 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

All are welcome to watch a movie at the library and join in a discussion about it afterward.

Called "Reel Discussions," the program will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 28. It will take place in the Gallery Room at Richmond Memorial Library, located at 19 Ross St., in Batavia.

Due to licensing constraints, the new films shown during Reel Discussions cannot be disclosed to any source outside of the library building itself, according to the director of the library.

April 10, 2009 - 3:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, Richmond Memorial Library.
Event Date and Time: 
April 23, 2009 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

All are welcome to watch a movie at the library and join in a discussion about it afterward.

Called "Reel Discussions," the program will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 23. It will take place in the Gallery Room at Richmond Memorial Library, located at 19 Ross St., in Batavia.

Due to licensing constraints, the new films shown during Reel Discussions cannot be disclosed to any source outside of the library building itself, according to the director of the library.

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