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July 25, 2008 - 8:43am
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, youtube, Ramble Music & Arts Fest.

We spotted a series of videos on YouTube courtesy of Kay MacMahon who armed herself with a camera and pretty much got in people's faces at the Ramble Music & Arts Fest last month. There are four videos in her "candid" series. They're a lot of fun at times. You can catch them all at the site. For now, here's a taste. This is the first video in the series.

July 25, 2008 - 8:26am
posted by Joseph Langen in priorities, life purpose, goals.

 

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. I'm off to a good start.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: I have been thinking that it's time to consider where my life is headed and whether I'm satisfied with my direction.
CALLIOPE: How far did you get?
JOE: Not very far other than having the idea. I thought about it this morning and remembered the guided journal, What Really Matters to Me by Robyn Conley-Weaver.
CALLIOPE: Did you complete the assignments?
JOE: No. I just started the journal. I think that was when I switched to a regular journal and eventually to our conversations.
CALLIOPE: So now what?
JOE: I will review the journal. I think it might give me a framework for re-evaluating where I stand right now and where I'm headed.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good idea. Why now?
JOE: Several reasons. I am planning a move fairly soon and I have been weeding out the detritus of my life- deciding what to keep and what to discard. That has brought to mind reconsidering my life direction. I also feel a little unfocused and sometimes overwhelmed by my daily activities. Time to get organized.
CALLIOPE: I'm all for it.
JOE: I plan to start this morning. I'll keep you posted. Talk with you tomorrow.
(Original Erie Canal Lock- Lockport, NY)
July 25, 2008 - 8:25am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, Genesee County Fair, GCASA.

It's true. Woody the show steer that escaped from the Genesee County Fairgrounds early last week has been apprehended and settled into a stall back home. We swear. Dr. Cricket Johnson says so in her very own words on WBTA. She and her crack team of cow catchers picked him up last night. They say he has lost some weight and will need some fattening up before being sold for... slaughter.

It may not be easy, but all alcoholism and substance abuse facilities in the state will have to go smoke free. Executive Director of GCASA David Markham told Dan Fischer that between 80 and 90 percent of people in treatment are smokers.

July 24, 2008 - 4:36pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in weather.

A severe thunderstorm packing quite a punch and spewing quarter size hail is moving through the area right now, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Moving at a clip of about 22 mph, the storm was roaring through Albion at around 4:15pm and is expected to hit Batavia by 4:40pm. It should be through pretty quickly.

July 24, 2008 - 3:26pm
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.

Tuesday:

  • 8:23am, 3 Buxton Ave., larceny
  • 11:54am, 587 E. Main St., larceny
  • 12:12pm, 44 N. Lyon St., larceny
  • 12:46pm, 14 Richmond Ave., larceny
  • 1:00pm, Genesee Country Mall, larceny
  • 1:48pm, 16 Bank St., accident
  • 2:41pm, 390 W. Main St., accident
  • 3:10pm, 20 N. Spruce St. (Apt: B10), harassment
  • 3:32pm, 2 Charles St., accident
  • 4:18pm, Clinton Park, accident
  • 4:27pm, 1 Mill St., accident
  • 5:08pm, 180 Washington Ave., larceny
  • 5:14pm, 306 W. Main St., harassment
  • 9:34pm, Jefferson Avenue, larceny

Wednesday:

  • 2:39am, Jackson Street, assault
  • 8:41am, 222 N. Spruce St., larceny
  • 12:40pm, 260 State St., larceny
  • 2:11pm, 220 W. Main St., trespass
  • 3:13pm, Alva Place, larceny
  • 4:02pm, Columbia Avenue, larceny
  • 7:01pm, 334 W. Main St. (Apt: Lower), criminal contempt

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

July 24, 2008 - 2:52pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in GCC, video.

Students of the Performing Arts Experience at Genesee take the stage this weekend in their production of The Nightmare Before Christmas, adapted and directed by Maryanne Arena.

Arena heads up the three-week long workshop put on by the Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College, a sort of theatre camp for kids ages 7 to 15 from all over western New York. This year's production features a cast of nearly 40 — including a couple of the camp counselors.

Showtimes are: Friday at 7:00pm and Saturday at 2:00pm. Admission to the musical is free, though pre-registration is recommended as seats fill up quickly. Call (585) 343-0055 ext.6814 or send an e-mail to boxoffice (at) genesee (dot) edu to reserve yours.

The players gathered for a dress rehearsal Wednesday. The Batavian stopped by to see how it went and chat up a few of the cast members.

July 24, 2008 - 2:01pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, city council.

Batavia's Board of Ethics may have been so quiet over the past few years that you wouldn't even know they exist — Councilman Bob Bialkowski certainly didn't — but according to the Daily News, such an advisory group is still around, though hardly in full form.

This morning, city officials have listed Lewis Henning, the Rev. Raymond Kraus (whose term expired in December 2005), Jine Monachino, Durin Rogers and Holly Sharpe (who had resigned) as current board members. No terms or procedures were available.

Without Kraus and Sharpe, the board that was originally composed of six members is currently down to three — member Todd Phelps was rendered inactive at the start of 2006, since he no longer lived in the area.

The Batavian phoned Lewis Henning to find out more information about the board's procedures. Henning said that he had never sat with the board in its official advisory capacity. When he and the other members were appointed a few years back, they "met and sorted out liability" and discussed their responsibilities.

"As a board we search out the charter and relevant issues and make a decision from there, then send our decision on to the city attorney," he said.

"We have never made an opinion so far."

During the early stages in 2005 or so when the board was coming together and city officials were working out just what they were supposed to do and say and what power they had, it was decided that the board makes "a recommendation" — known as its advisory opinion — but that the decision "didn't really have any bite to it," said Henning.

He did not know when the board will meet, though he imagines it would be "probably pretty soon." Nor does he know how the city will address the issue of the three missing board members.

City Manager Jason Molino has not yet returned our calls for comment. We are hoping to find out more information about the procedure for the Board of Ethics, when it will meet and how a decision will be rendered and considered by the City Council.

Previous related posts:

July 24, 2008 - 12:22pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in books, children, Present Tense, poetry.

Present Tense bookshop on Washington Avenue will be hosting two very special events this summer.

Poet Sally Bittner Bonn will be coming down from Rochester to lead the World of Poetry half-day workshop "designed to help children explore the poetry in everyday life, from the cracks in the sidewalk to the sound of a whirring engine."

World of Poetry will run from 1:00 to 4:00pm on August 13 at the shop, 101 Washington Ave. Children 8 to 12 years old may attend. A registration fee of $25 is due by August 2 to reserve a spot in the workship. Children will read published works for inspiration and engage in writing exercises to "fine-tune their own writing."

Bonn is a poet and a performer in Rochester.

She teaches creative writing workshops throughout Western New York and has published a book of her own poetry, Walking Woman. Sally participated in the 2001 Poetry Slam competition in Seattle and is the curator for the 25 & Under poetry series at Writers & Books in Rochester, which spotlights young poets under the age of 25.

Just a few days after the workshop, Present Tense will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables at an all-ages event August 16 at 1:00pm.

The celebration will include refreshments featured in the book, such as raspberry cordial. Selections from the book will be read and participants will be invited to share their favorite part of the book or a remembrance of their first time reading it. Costumes are encouraged; those who come with red wigs or puffy sleeves will be eligible for prizes. The event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP to Present Tense by August 9 if you plan to attend.

Call (585) 815-7640 to register for the workshop or find out more information about either event. You can also visit Present Tense online at PresentTenseBooks.com.

July 24, 2008 - 8:30am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Avon, wbta, West Nile.

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

  • Livingston County health officials confirmed that a hawk found in Avon has tested positive for West Nile virus, the first such case in a bird in that county this year. The virus has present in western New York for eight years, according to the county's public health director.
July 24, 2008 - 8:08am
posted by Joseph Langen in priorities, planning, life purpose.

 

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Okay. I am coming to some resolution of my video camera mystery.
CALLIOPE: How so?
JOE: I visited the dealer yesterday and learned that the camera is working fine. The problem seems to be with my computer.
CALLIOPE: Does that surprise you?
JOE: Not really. I have been having some other problems lately and think it might well be difficulty with an outmoded operating system.
CALLIOPE: And the solution?
JOE: Replace it with a more up to date one. It is rather a bother however since I will have to reload all my programs.
CALLIOPE: Is that such a big deal?
JOE: Not really. It just takes time, and time is something I have been thinking about lately.
CALLIOPE: In what regard?
JOE: I am beginning to realize I won't live forever. I can keep sailing on or decide how I want to spend whatever time I have left.
CALLIOPE: Do you need to make a decision?
JOE: Probably not. But I feel I am drifting lately and would like to be more focused. I will give this issue some thought in the next few days. Talk with you tomorrow.
(Ernestina- New Bedford, MA)
July 24, 2008 - 7:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs.

HarnessLink contains a post from Batavia Downs marketing manager Todd Haight about Weiner Dog races on the  track, but no mention of date or time for the event.

We do learn that last year's winner, Rudy, will be back to defend his crown.

July 23, 2008 - 9:50pm
posted by Mollie Radzinski in baseball, muckdogs.

Batavia (19-15) battled back and forth with Oneonta (17-17) to finally come through to prevail 5-3.  Miguel Tapia (4-2) went five innings on the mound with two hits, two runs, one walk and two strikeouts to get the win.  Adam Reifer got his tenth save in his usual fashion, pitching a hitless 9th with one strikeout.

 

The Muckdogs jumped on the board first in the 2nd inning when Blake Murphy doubled and was then driven in on a Domnit Bolivar sacrifice fly.  The Tigers answered back with two runs of their own in the 3rd after Christopher White walked and Ben Guez hit a homerun.  But Batavia tied it up in the bottom of the inning.  Beau Riportella singled, Jose Garcia reached on a fielder’s choice and Colt Sedbrook was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Shane Peterson then flew out to centerfield for a RBI.

 

Batavia came through to break the tie and get the win in the 5th when the same three players loaded the bases again after Riportella doubled, Garcia was hit by a pitch and Sedbrook singled.  Peterson then cracked a double to clear the bases.

 

Riportella went 2-for-3 at the plate while Murphy went 2-for-4, each with a double.  Peterson had four RBI.  The rubber-match between the two teams is set for an early 11:05 start on Thursday.

 

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!

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