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July 23, 2008 - 7:30pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in city council.

City Councilman Bob Bialkowski insists that he will not recuse himself  "at this time" from a vote by council to purchase a new sign for the mall, where his wife works as mall manager.

"I really can't," he said. "I have no financial interest. Our charter has said no one can recuse themselves unless they have a direct financial interest. It's in the charter. I have no interest. My wife has no financial interest."

At the council meeting on July 14, Bialkowski was asked by Council President Charlie Mallow to recuse himself from the vote as the purchase of the sign by the city would benefit the mall merchants financially and thus Bialkowski by association. Those comments were followed up by a letter sent yesterday by City Attorney George Van Nest requesting the Batavia Board of Ethics to convene regarding a conflict of interest of a certain "councilman" whose "wife is manager of the mall" regarding that very same vote.

Bialkowski spurns those claims.

He says his wife is only an "hourly employee" of the mall and stands to see no gain from the installation of a sign advertising mall shops. Further, she is not on any board and does not meet with the Mall Merchants Association, the group requesting the sign.

More than all that, he said, "we don't have a Board of Ethics, at least we didn't the last time I knew."

The Batavian called Mallow to find out more information about the Board of Ethics. We are waiting for him to return our call. We could not find a listing of the members of such a board on the city Web site. But we did find the following in the City Code:

There is hereby established a Board of Ethics consisting of six members to be appointed by the Council and who shall serve without compensation for a term of five years each, with the initial terms to be staggered so that one member shall be appointed or reappointed each year, with the exception of the fifth year when two members shall be appointed. All members shall be residents of the City of Batavia, except that no member may be an officer or employee of the City of Batavia.

The Board of Ethics shall have the powers and duties prescribed by Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and shall render advisory opinions to the officers and employees of the City of Batavia with respect to Article 18 of the General Municipal Law and the Code of Ethics contained in Article I of this chapter, under such rules and regulations as the Board may prescribe. In addition, the Board may make recommendations with respect to the drafting and adoption of the Code of Ethics or amendments thereto upon request of the Council of the City of Batavia.

We will post more information as it becomes available.

Check out our earlier post for more information and background.

July 23, 2008 - 6:40pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in city council, city attorney.

City Attorney George Van Nest has requested the city of Batavia Board of Ethics to convene to consider a potential "conflict of interest" regarding an upcoming vote by the City Council to should purchase a new sign for the mall — an original mall sign was removed by the city when constructing the City Centre.

In his letter, Van Nest states that a "councilman's wife is the manager of the mall," and although he does not refer to the "councilman" by name, the very same issue was taken up at the last meeting of the council on July 14. At that meeting, Council President Charlie Mallow asked Councilman Bob Bialkowski to recuse himself from voting on the purchase of the mall sign because Bialkowski's wife was an employee of the mall. Mallow said that since the mall merchants stood to benefit financially from the sign that would be paid for by the city, Bialkowski, too, stood to benefit since his wife is an employee.

Van Nest also states that city has, for some time, been in "discussions" with the Mall Merchants Association regarding various maintenance and expense issues, and that the mall merchants have "threatened litigation" against the city.

In addition to the issue of sign replacement, to the extent that the City and Mall are able to successfully resolve open issues, the parties will be required to negotiate and enter an agreement relative to a variety of matters. The details of any potential agreement will need to be reviewed, discussed and approved by City Council prior to execution.

Van Nest asks that the Board of Ethics convene "at the earliest opportunity" and issue an "advisory opinion" prior to the next meeting of the council on August 11.

July 23, 2008 - 4:02pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in fire, weather.

Reports have come in about some wires down on Junction Road between South Lake and Perry roads in the Pavilion district. Fire crews are on the scene. But if you've got to head that way, you may want to think detour.

July 23, 2008 - 3:51pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, agriculture, oil, energy crisis.

July 23, 2008 - 1:44pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in construction, roads, Walnut Street, roundabout.

Since more than a few folks have taken interest in the proposed roundabout for Walnut Street, we have put together some more information passed on by City Council President Charlie Mallow.

From a press release issued by the city:

The Walnut Street Project will involve the complete removal and reconstruction of the roadway, starting at the south City line and extending north to the Oak Street intersection. A modern roundabout will be installed at the Pearl/Franklin/South Main intersection. Additional infrastructure upgrades will include the replacement of curbing, the City of Batavia’s water main, sidewalks, driveway aprons, drainage structures, and street lighting. In addition, stabilization of the Tonawanda Creek stream bank, as well as a variety of landscaping improvements will be included in the project’s scope.

In preparing their construction schedule, CATCO has chosen to compress the roundabout and major street reconstruction work into the 2009 season.

Work that will be performed this year will include: utility relocation, drainage improvements, water main replacement, stream bank stabilization, railroad crossing replacement, building demolition.

City Manager Jason Molino says in the release that CATCO has split up the work over the two seasons to "minimize disruptions to the normal traffic flow ... and most importantly, lessen the project's impact on local residents."

The Batavian left a message for Molino to find out how postponing the major work until next year will "minimize disruptions" — wouldn't two years of work be more disruptive than finishing the project in a single season, for instance. We also plan to ask Molino how the project originated and was approved by City Council as there seems to have been some opposition to the roundabout, as noted in a survey conducted by the Batavia Area Jaycees in 2007. What was most shocking about the results of the survey was that many people did not even seem to know about the project.

The City plans to hold a public information meeting in February 2009 to review the construction schedule, work phasing, and proposed detours with local residents. The exact time and location of this meeting will be provided at a later date.  The City will also distribute project informational flyers to local residents on a quarterly basis.

If you have questions about the project, there are a few people you can contact:

  • Sally Kuzon, assistant city manager: (585) 345-6325
  • Larry Klotzbach, project engineer: (585) 259-0506
  • Dave Curtis, project superintendent: (716) 481-0571

UPDATE: City Council President Charlie Mallow notified The Batavian that, in fact, several public meetings were held about the construction of the roundabout, several stories about it appeard in the Daily News, and nobody contacted him or the council to voice their opposition to the project.

I have never received a negative phone call or any interaction that I can conclude as being negative towards going forward with a roundabout. In fact, its the opposite, people on Walnut want to know when they are getting their promised repairs. There was no opposition that I am aware of at all. People in the area are rightly concerned about timetables and how they are going to live and run their businesses in a construction site. All of that is being worked out and will be worked out before the work has started.

I must admit that I was a little surprised to hear that people disliked the idea of a roundabout. I am not a native of Batavia, and the first few times I drove down Oak Street to get through to Pearl Street, I was quite confused on how to maneuver the street connections there. What about you? Will you be glad to see a roundabout?

July 23, 2008 - 1:06pm

Look no further than the front page of today's Daily News for all you need to know about what it's like to be the first shopper at a new Target store — Janet Saile bought Tic Tacs — or why rabbits make good pets — they "take up less space" than a cow — or, on a more serious note, how to stay drug free — "just walk away," says 15-year-old Tessa Williams.

For more on that last item, check out the article by Joanne Beck about National Night Out, a "fun night to learn how to make your neighborhood safer" taht will be held from 5:30 to 8:30pm August 5 at St. Anthony's Parish Center, 114 Liberty St.

This year's night out will include a new focus on drugs with the Drug-Free Marshals program and a venue for residents of Highland Park and Pringle Avenue to share their concerns during a special community meeting

There will also be youth activities, interactive games, a DJ, Safe Child identification kits, caricatures and information booths about ways to get or remain drug-free.

Today's sports section of the paper is heavy with local sports coverage — congrats to the staff for filling the whole front page with it. We got up a link in our Local Headlines about the Muckdogs loss, which is covered. But there's also a preview of the upcoming Empire State Games with a focus on some Batavia representatives on the hockey and basketball teams.

LeRoy beat Batavia 12-5 in the District 3 youth baseball championship game Tuesday for 9-10 year olds. The team will advance to the Section 1 Tournament in Olean where they will face District 8 champs Fayetville Manlius at 12:30pm Saturday.

As always, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News wherever the paper is sold. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

July 23, 2008 - 12:55pm
posted by Mollie Radzinski in baseball, muckdogs.

The Muckdogs (18-15) added one to the loss column, falling 6-3 to the Oneonta Tigers (17-16).  Jameson Maj (2-2) got the start and the loss, pitching five innings with four hits, two runs, one walk and two strikeouts.  For the Tigers, Darwin De Leon (3-1) got the win in five and two-thirds innings with three hits, two runs, two walks and one strikeout.  Aaron Fuherman pitched the last three and a third innings with two hits, one run and two strikeouts to get his first save of the season.

 

Oneonta struck first in the 3rd inning when Ben Guez reached on a fielding error, Joshua Workman doubled and Bryan Pounds flew out for the RBI.  Angel Flores singled to score the other run in the inning.  In the 6th, they made it 3-0 when Mike Gosse reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on Brent Wyatt triple.

 

Batavia answered back in the bottom of the inning when Shane Peterson was hit by a pitch and Blake Murphy hit his third homerun of the season.  However, Oneonta scored three in the 7th to seal their win.  Guez walked, stole second and scored when Pounds singled.  Then Billy Nowlin and Gosse both had RBI singles.

 

The Muckdogs’ last run came in the bottom of the 7th on a Beau Riportella double and a Jose Garcia single.  Riportella ended the night 2-for-4.

 

July 23, 2008 - 12:37pm
posted by Charlie Mallow in Political Parties.

Like it or not, no one paid much attention to George Washington when it came to his stand on political parties. It is one of those things that 200 plus years of hindsight helped us to understand but, it’s too late now to change. Our two party democracy is the system we have and will have because there is no going back. The only way to change it would be some type of violent revolution or a spontaneous act that goes against human nature. Forget it, humans are tribal, it’s always been US vs. THEM. As was previously alluded to in the opening post, our system has a strong dependency on the balance of power among our two parties.  Our system will surely would fall apart if either party was to overwhelm the other and force it out of existence.  The checks and balances that our system depends on would be gone.

 
I have found that the best thing to do is live in the here and now. To do this you need to figure out what you going to do to try to make things a little better where you live. It’s too lazy to just throw up your hands and say things will never get better with our current system. Once you move past local politics to the state level, it is a mess. State types only care about getting “their” boys and girls elected. It’s all about numbers and acquiring power. It doesn’t matter what a candidate ideologically stands for at all.  
 
Local political parties DO compete in the open market for members. Anyone can say they are a Democrat or Republican but, there are very few active members. Active members are the ones who do all the heavy lifting. They are the people who raise money and stand out on street corners handing out flyers. They are the ones who go door to door in the rain with petitions so, that people have a choice come Election Day. There is no glory and no power for the worker bees of both parties. These people work because they believe they are making a difference. They are also the clean souls who believe in the pure interpretation of the ideology of their party. It is hard to get new active members and a lot of us work to find them every day. Without them in equal numbers for both parties, the house of cards our system is based on is doomed to crash and burn.  Our system will eventually lack oversight and no one will be held accountable. I have found that the system is wasteful and clunky but, it does get the job of governing done. 
 
So go join your local party, not for what it is but, what it can be. Everyone has a duty to serve their country and their local community.  If there is a problem with our Democracy it is the fact that normal people don’t understand that they need to take part and personally act if they want our democracy to work. Stop blaming “those people” for what is wrong and GO FIX IT!
July 23, 2008 - 11:05am

As Philip alluded to yesterday (http://thebatavian.com/blogs/philipanselmo/listening-america-wednesday), the Genesee County Young Democrats and the Albany Project will be co-hosting a 'Listening to America Meeting' on Wednesday, July 23rd at 7:30 PM at the Batavia City Center.  These meetings are part of the Obama campaign's and the Democratic Party's national strategy of letting grassroots supporters or potential grassroots supporters of Senator Obama and the Democratic party have input on what our foucs should be in the upcoming campaign. 

This is a free event and all are welcome to attend!

July 23, 2008 - 9:38am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, editing, voice.

 

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's been keeping you?
JOE: I have been working on my camera problem, trying to get it to work with my computer again.
CALLIOPE: And?
JOE: No luck. Just a lot of frustration.
CALLIOPE: What's you next move?
JOE: I plan to talk with the dealer about it.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a plan. What's going on in the mean time?
JOE: Further work on revising Marital Property to a first person account.
CALLIOPE: How's it going?
JOE: I think I like the results. I had planned to review each part from the point of view of the narrator as I went along.
CALLIOPE: You didn't follow through?
JOE: Not yet. I tried it but decided it was too hard to revise and evaluate at the same time.
CALLIOPE: What's your new plan?
JOE: My new plan is to concentrate on one thing at a time. First I will finish the revisions and then reread the text from the point of view of the various narrators.
CALLIOPE: Sounds good to me.
JOE: Me too. It just takes a long time. Sometimes I get frustrated with the process. But I'll keep on plugging. Back to work. Talk with you tomorrow.
(Niagara Falls)
July 23, 2008 - 9:09am
posted by Russ Stresing in politics, Democrats, republicans, Elections.

  

There are a number of arguments to be made about the positives and negatives of  America's two-party system. This essay, though, is meant to address a few reasons why its unlikely that more than two parties in this country will ever have substantial political power without wide-ranging changes in our methods of elections.

    In any election beyond the local school board or city council (in a few areas of the country),  the single candidate with the most votes takes it all in what has been called a "first to the post" system.   A candidate needs to get one vote more than the next best candidate to win it all. (This applies even in states like Louisiana where an open primary is held and the top two vote getters advance to a general election run-off, regardless of party affiliation)  That means the person who garners the most votes is the sole representative of that ward, district, or state.   With two parties, that's one vote more than 50% of the total, or 50% + 1.  However, since in our system a plurality is all that is needed, it could mean that with 3 candidates, it could conceivably end up 34%, 33%, 33%.  While almost 50% of the electorate in the first example doesn't get its choice, 66% in the second example are disappointed.  Without  awarding the political parties seats proportional to the votes cast in their favor, its unlikely that this system would support a viable third party. 

   In the sort of parliamentary system that supports having more than two parties, representation is awarded to the party according to how many voted on their line.  We don't have that same proportional allotment.  As our election system is now constructed,  a multi-party election wouldn't  necessarily lead to more a representational government but, in fact, could  be less representative of the greater will of the voting public.  Imagine a four-way race, each group having a special interest platform.  Instead of 1/2 the voters getting at least a semblance of what they voted for, a 26% voter tally could mean that a party with a very narrow focus, even what might be a fringe position, could end up 'representing' the other 74% who have little or nothing in common with them.  This is the  sort of outcome that is possible beyond a two-party race in a winner-take-all system.  Unless America moves to design a method  of electing legislative representatives proportionally, who would then form coalitions to pick our federal officials, a two-party system is the most likely scenario we will have.

 

July 23, 2008 - 8:40am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, Genesee County Fair.

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

  • Everybody's favorite steer on the lam has been brought into custoday — or so we thought. It was reported earlier today that "Woody" the 1,200-pound show steer that escaped from the Genesee County Fairgrounds early last week was picked up nearby the Batavia-Stafford Townline Road after being subdued with tranquilizers last night. In fact, the tranquilizers wore off and the steer escaped yet again. Dr. Cricket Johnson said they are "weary" of the chase and the solution now might just be to shoot to kill.
  • A Walgreen's store that will go up in LeRoy was granted $62,000 in tax incentives by the Genesee County Economic Development Center. The store will go up at the corner of Main and Lake streets and employ 18 people full- and part-time.
  • Investigators still have not determined the origin of the fire that caused more than $250,000 in damage and destroyed the kitchen and a dining area at Cristina's Restaurant. Batavia's Acting Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Day that they will have to wait until laboratory tests come back.
  • Ange Bell of LeRoy passed away Friday. He was 97 years old and well known for his portrayals of Santa Claus in LeRoy for more than 50 years. Dan Fischer has assembled a few audio clips from interviews with Bell, including one in which he talks about how he was tricked into attending Santa school but soon fell in love with it.
July 22, 2008 - 10:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

No community is an island.  The larger world finds its ways to intrude, from Middle East instability driving up gas prices, to presidential elections that will impact the economy and schools, there is more to the world than our home town.

And we all have an opinion about the world around us.

When we say "The Batavian -- Online News. Community Views."  The community views part isn't just about what you think about events in Genesee County; it's about what you, as people concerned with and involved in your local community think about all of those issues beyond parochial borders.

In such a spirit, we've expanded the range of headline links in the right column.

We've also added a "Nation & World" tab to the top navigation.  This is where you can post blog items about national, international and political issues you want to talk about.  I've started the conversation with a blog post about my dislike for political parties.

When you want to start a conversation with a new blog post, go to "Create Content" in the left column, then select "Blog Entry" and then select "Nation" or "World."  If you make that selection, when you save your post, it will appear under the Nation & World tab for all readers of The Batavian to find.

Also, if you're really into nation and world news. there's another way you can contribute to The Batavian -- and that's by adding headlines to the blocks on the right side of the page. 

It would be easy for us to set up some automated system to add headlines from major news sources around the globe, but that's so impersonal.  We're not a fan of automation when it comes to human communication.  We think that Batavians suggesting to other Batavians what might be interesting to read is far more useful than what some computer program might suggest.

If you would like to contribute "suggested reading" to the headline buckets, send me an e-mail (howard at the batavian dot com) and I'll provide instructions and the necessary permissions to make such a contribution to the site.

July 22, 2008 - 6:37pm
posted by Tom Gilliatt in headaches.

I don't know if anyone has ever heard of cluster head aches there something like migraines well I then 2 to 3 times mostly at night and they make you want to die they hurt so bad, They start on the back of the left side of my head and slowly work there way into my nose and eye and ache and waves of pain shifting back and forth or pin point in one spot on the left side of my head and last for 10 minutes to 1 1/2 hours is the longest so far I might have this go on for a month to 2 months then there gone for 5 to 10 years. Being 42 years old now I take blood pressure meds they help but not very good well I'm on the downside of the episode thats lasted 3 weeks now and hope there totally gone very soon I even had a cat scan and it showed nothing THANK GOD

July-22-2008 after afew days of minor head aches I think and pray there gone for awhile if not for good

If you get these let me know and how you deal with them

 

 

Tom

July 22, 2008 - 5:44pm
posted by Tammy Way in small world-- large family?.
I see a family tie on this site (away) well hello!~ Firt we run into your brother at the hospital and now here!!!
July 22, 2008 - 4:37pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in construction, roads, Walnut Street.

One of our readers got curious after reading a post on The Batavian from earlier today about the postponement of the Walnut Street reconstruction and addition of a roundabout. Many thanks for Russ Stresing for getting us the following images. The first is an artist's rendering of the roundabout, once it is completed. Below that is a satellite view of what the area looks like now — that image is borrowed from the Genesee County Web site.

July 22, 2008 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thruway.

In case you don't know about it (we just found it), there is a still-image web cam on  the Thruway that shows the Batavia exit and the free way. It might come in handy for morning commutes.

July 22, 2008 - 2:10pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police.

All of the following calls were reported by the City of Batavia Police Department. Listed offenses do not imply that charges were filed. Calls may result in no official action.

Monday:

  • 10:31am, 25 Brooklyn Ave., larceny
  • 11:07am, Jefferson Avenue, burglary
  • 11:42am, 106 Evans St., harassment
  • 11:44am, 638 E. Main St., criminal mischief
  • 1:56pm, 34 Hutchins St., larceny
  • 2:46pm, 22 Tracy Ave., larceny
  • 3:16pm, 390 W. Main St., accident (car + bike)
  • 3:19pm, 9 Walden Creek, harassment
  • 3:38pm, 15 W. Main St., criminal mischief
  • 5:54pm, 15 W. Main St., larceny
  • 7:03pm, 132 Ross St., endangering the welfare of a child
  • 9:17pm, 6 Maple St., criminal mischief
  • 9:42pm, 209 Bank St., harassment
  • 10:35pm, Jackson Street, criminal mischief

Note: We don't include noise complaints, domestic disputes and routine police business.

July 22, 2008 - 1:40pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Batavia Muckdogs, athletics, school board, Mercy Flight.

Batavia Middle School will get a rock climbing wall. The city School Board approved the purchase of the $55,000 wall at its meeting last night, according to the Daily News. Reporter Joanne Beck writes: "The district can afford the purchase with surplus year-end funds from 2007-08, Business Administrator Scott Rozanski said."

At the same meeting, following the purchase of the rock wall, the board then approved an increase in breakfast and lunch prices at city schools, reported Beck. Breakfast will now be $1.10 at the elementary school and $1.25 at the middle and high schools; lunch will be $1.55 and $1.85, respectively.

Work on the Walnut Street roundabout and street reconstruction will be postponed until next year. City Manager Jason Molino told the Daily News that "the decision was made by contractor CATCO." It was decided to hold off on the project "to minimize disruptions to the normal traffic flow," and meetings will be held in February to "help people understand how best to navigate and use the roundabout."

Mercy Flight and the Batavia Muckdogs will join together for a fundraiser that will grant two lucky raffle winners the chance to ride a helicopter from the airport to Dwyer Stadium and throw out the first pitch of that night's game. A $10 ticket will include admission to the Muckdogs game on August 4, as well as entry into the drawing. "Mercy Flight will get $6 out of every $10 ticket sold." Tickets can be purchased at Dwyer Stadium and at Mercy Flight's base at Genesee County Airport. Winners will be announced at the August 1 Muckdogs game.

Congratulations to Batavia's 11-year-old Little League Baseball all-stars whop took home the District 3 championship last night in the second straight defeat of Oakfield. In its past three games, Batavia has outscored its opponents 34-4. Talk about an offensive powerhouse!

As always, we encourage you to get out and pick up a copy of the Daily News at local newsstands. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

July 22, 2008 - 11:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in video.

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