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August 12, 2008 - 1:48pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, city council, mall.

Today's Opinion page in the Daily News has what you might call a running theme going. Everyone's favorite subject these days: the mall. Count them: two letters to the editor on the topic, plus the unequivocally titled editorial: End the mall brawl: Council should focus on solution, not insults.

Says the Daily News (quite accurately):

Mr. (Bob) Bialkowski should not vote on mall issues. The City Charter says Council members should not vote on issues where they might benefit "directly or indirectly." If nothing else, there is an appearance of conflict of interest.

Does that take Council off the hook for city obligations to the mall? No way. Every member of Council ought to be trying his or her utmost to resolve this issue without going to court. Neglecting a mall that is connected to the City Centre is foolish. Visitors see the City Centre/mall as one entity .... neglect in one area reflects on the entirety. The concourse ought to look as good as City Hall. All Council members should agree on that, instead of trading insults.

Well said. And all of those imperative ought to's ought not to be overlooked.

As for the two letters...

Much of what is included in the letter by Mitchell Chess can be found in his post to The Batavian yesterday. Not included in that post are Mitchell's comments about City Manager Jason Molino. He writes:

We have ... been continuously misled by the city. We have meetings and nothing ever happens. As a result of our frustrations with Mr. Molino, we requested the city to appoint an independent negotiator.

I would only ask that Mitchell provide us with some specific instances of how the mall was misled by the city, and what is the subject of negotiations.

In the other letter, Daniel Jones has at Bob Bialkowski, something we've heard quite a bit of already, and whether or not more of it is needed, just or desired, we will leave up to you. A suggestion for Daniel: try to steer clear of the discordancy. Calling Bialkowski out for his hyperbole, Daniel throws around more than his fair share, describing Bialkowski in such terms as: "completely ignoring any sense of ethics," "completely tarnished the image of the Genesee County Airport," "dangerous to city residents," "putting the city in serious financial and legal jeopardy," "his tirades," "complete disregard for ethics" (again), "truly embarassing for the city of Batavia."

August 12, 2008 - 12:05pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, Daily News, police.

Robert Kirkup pled guilty to manslaughter in Genesee County Court Monday, according to the Daily News. The 68-year-old California man was brought to New York on an arrest in June when he was charged with the murder of his wife, Janet, in the town of Darien during a camping trip 16 years ago.

Scott DeSmit reports that Kirkup faces between five and 15 years in state prison. He will be sentenced in September. DeSmit was in the courtroom when Kirkup was brought before Judge Robert C. Noonan, and he does a great job of bringing out the details of that public confession.

DeSmit writes that Kirkup "was barely able to stand" in the courtroom when he admitted his guilt.

His wife, he said, had been drinking beer all day and at one point in the evening "came inside the motor home and started yelling and punching me."

"I was unfaithful to Janet back in the '80s and whenever she drank alcohol, she would start fighting with me and bring that up," Kirkup wrote. "Janet came after me, punching me in the face. She broke my glasses."

"I then grabbed Janet by the throat with my right hand. We both struggled a bit and she ended up on the floor ... I held on to Janet by the throat until she stopped struggling with me."

Kirkup told the judge that he then covered up the body and slept on the couch.

"I grabbed Janet under the arms and dragged her out of the motor home ... I dragged her about 100 yards into the woods. I dug a hole about two to three feet deep ... I put Janet in the hole face up then covered her body with dirt and left."

He admitted that he was afraid he would go to jail if he told the truth about what happened and that "no one would believe that I killed her in self defense."

You can pick up a copy of the Daily News at any local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 11, 2008 - 12:44pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in politics, Daily News, agriculture, Wyoming County Fair.

Tom Rivers was in Pike Saturday for the start of the Wyoming County Fair in today's Daily News. For complete fair info, including show times, schedule changes and admission prices, visit the Fair Web site.

Rivers also features an interview with state Senate hopeful Joe Mesi, who said: "Job creation and job stability are the main reasons I'm in this campaign. This is more than statistics to me. It's happening to me."

Pick up a copy of the paper to check out these and other stories. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 8, 2008 - 12:10pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, sheriff, consolidation.

Batavia and Genesee County should wrap up the paperwork side of the dispatch consolidation of the county sheriff's office and the city police department, according to the Daily News. Meanwhile, most of the work is done, and the dispatchers at police headquarters on Main Street are set to move to the sheriff's headquarters on Park Road September 1.

Reporter Paul Mrozek writes: "The draft of the contract calls for a 20-year agreement (between the city and the county), with both sides having the power to opt out with notice to the other party."

The City Council should vote to approve the contract at its meeting on August 18, expecting the county to follow suit.

You can pick up your own copy of the Daily News wherever the paper is sold. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 8, 2008 - 9:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Daily News, thebatavian.

The Batavian's Philip Anselmo garnered two awards in 2007-08 New York State Associated Press Association writing contest.

He won a first place award for Business/Finance coverage and shared a third-place award in the Continuing Coverage category.

Prior to joining The Batavian, Philip was a staff writer with The Daily Messenger in Canandaigua, where he wrote his award-winning pieces.

The Daily News also made a fine showing in the contest.

  • Spot News -- 3rd Place:  Family of four killed in head-on crash. Paul Mrozek, Scott DeSmit
  • Sports -- 3rd Place:  A lot of guts, a little glory. Tom Rivers
  • Columns -- 2nd Place:  Town supervisors, village mayors, define the working poor. Tom Rivers
  • Arts/Entertainment -- 1st Place:  It’s hip to be a ’Chuck.’ Ben Beagle
  • Arts/Entertainment Criticism -- 3rd Place: Holmes’ plays a lively game at Geva. Ben Beagle

The New York Daily News has published a complete list of awards.

Congratulations to all of the winners.

August 7, 2008 - 12:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, city council, city attorney, mall.

In a letter to the editor in today's Daily News, City Councilman Bob Bialkowski urges Council President Charlie Mallow to resign. He writes:

Mr. Mallow has been demonstrating some unusual behavior lately. At our last meeting he would not allow any new business to be brought to the floor. He blocked several of us by asking for a motion to adjourn, moving to adjourn and then adjourning the meeting. He executed the entire sequence by himself, which violates all rules of conducting a meeting. Mr. Mallow should resign as council president because he has failed miserably as a leader. A good leader does not use the press to criticize and ridicule memers of his assembly.

The Batavian has requested a response from Mallow. We've included it in full below.

The skirmish between Mallow and Bialkowski has been going on for weeks now, reaching a fevered pitch at the last meeting of the City Council when Mallow asked for Bialkowski to recuse him from voting on the purchase of a sign by the city for the mall. Within days of the meeting, the city attorney, George Van Nest, drafted a letter requesting the city's Board of Ethics to convene and consider whether a "councilman" exhibited a conflict of interest in voting on the purchase of a mall sign as his "wife" is manager of the mall. Van Nest never returned calls made by The Batavian.

Mallow, in his turn, authored a pair of letters to the editor that appeared in the August 2 and August 5 issues of the Daily News. In the first, Mallow writes:

Mr. Bialkowski and Bill Cox are new on Council, very new. They believe they can coerce the rest of the Council into bending to the wishes of the (Mall Merchants Association). They have also shown me deep seated hatred for our city manager and city attorney. I'm not prepared to allow him to take political retribution out on our city staff. Enough is Enough!

Obviously, both Mallow and Bialkowski—despite the latter's own claims that he "detests conducting the business of the citizens by writing letters to the editor"—are fond of hyperbole. While the mall merchants have threatened the city with litigation, there is no "pending case" with the group, as Mallow asserts in his first letter. Van Nest said so at the last meeting of the council. And while Bialkowski may not be in a direct conflict of interest regarding the vote for the city to purchase the sign for the mall, his wife is the manager of the mall, and he would exhibit a sense of good behavior, if nothing else, if he just gave in and recused himself.

instead, both Mallow and Bialkowski—both grandstanding, both citing his moral superiority—turn city business into vehement personal attacks. I have to feel bad for Bill Cox who got dragged into the mess just because he wanted the city to look at a potential health hazard. While I can understand the exasperation of both Mallow and Bialkowski, I just can't understand why they opt to play out this farce in these terms: this one accusing that one of despotism, that one accusing this one of hatred. Hatred!? What is this? And I don't even want to hear any of these "Well, he started it" arguments, which amount to nothing more than further propagating the feud by couching it in terms of cause and effect, action and reaction, and villifying one term to the favor of the other.

Here's Bialkowski:

Lately some of us councilmen have received e-mails from Mr. Mallow in which he is very sarcastic, calls us names and as of late has used foul and abusive language.

Here's Mallow:

As of late Mr. Cox. has ... developed a strong interest in bird droppings on the roof of the mall. So much so, that he wrote a long rambling letter to the paper about this issue and how he believes he is being treated unfairly.

Why should Cox's letter be demeaned this way? Isn't that, in fact, treating him unfairly? Why can't he voice his opinion—no matter how much others feel it may not be relevant—without being cut down by his peers?

The following is Mallow's response, in full, to Bialkowski's letter:

I don’t  give much weight to the things Bob Biakowski says. He wants to run roughshod over our city manger and attorney and expects me to stand aside while he intimidates them. Bob has an agenda that doesn’t include working for the taxpayers of this city. I am deeply embarrassed that Bob Biakowski was the first sitting city council person to have an ethics body called to discuss his actions. Bob is going about his short term on council in an unhealthily way that limits his effectiveness.  His actions have turned most of council against him and he is acting out in an unprofessional way. I have 1 ½ years left on council and I’m going to spend that time watching Bob and his friends very closely. Bob and Bill Cox are both trying to bring a little taste of Albany politics to Batavia. We are a small city and have a non partisan government lead by a city manager. I’m sorry that things are not going Bob’s way and he feels he needs to have a temper tantrum to bring light to his problems.

For more background on these issues, check out some of our earlier posts:

August 6, 2008 - 12:39pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, Daily News, agriculture, Le Roy, Warsaw.

Noblehurst Farms of Pavilion just bought Le Roy Lake for $500,000, according to the Daily News. Water from the lake will be used to irrigate crops on the 2,200-acre farm. Reporter Scott DeSmit tells us:

Lake Le Roy had been the source for village water until 2004, when Le Roy hooked up with Monroe County Water Authority to provide water to residents. The property, a 70-acre lake, 40 acres of land and a caretaker's house, had been listed for $3.8 million in 2004.

Village trustees even tried to sell the property on eBay! But no one was interested. From $3.8 million, the price dropped several times, until it was set at just under $1 million. But still, no takers. Not until Noblehurst picked it up for a fraction of the initial cost. Village trustees said they plan to use the money to "reduce debt."

In today's sports section, there's an interesting story by Christ Metcalf about a wrestler from Warsaw who is in high demand from college coaches. The profile of the wrestler, Ian Paddock, spans the whole front page and another half page inside.

In other news:

  • Robert Morales, 52, of 113 Bank St., was sentenced to 1 1/2 to 4 years in state prison after pleading guilty to a second-degree assault charge and admitting that he stabbed a man in the arm during an argument earlier this year.
  • Batavia's 25th anniversary of National Night Out drew about 100 people to St. Anthony's Parish Center last night. Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) sponsored the event. GCASA Prevention Educator Kevin Keenan told reporter Scott DeSmit: "Parents need to find out who their child's friends are, where they're going, what they're doing."
  • Tom Rivers packs produce in the latest installment of his farm labor series.

You can pick up your own copy of the Daily News wherever the paper is sold. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 5, 2008 - 12:53pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, agriculture, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

If you're looking to learn more about washing zucchini or cutting lettuce, today's Daily News will not disappoint. In the latest installment of his farm labor series, Tom Rivers takes us through the vegetable fields of an organic farm in Elba — the "area's biggest," we're told.

We learn that zucchini should be picked when it's between six to eight inches and lettuce should be cut from the ground very deep on the stalk to keep the leaves from unfurling. Fans of the series — such as myself — will be pleased to find the usual dose of Rivers' wit and self-deprecating sincerity. Like when he writes:

I admit an odd thrill using the knife, as if I had graduated from the minor leagues of picking berries a few weeks ago to working with the knife-wielding pros.

Or, when he watches Katie "the Cornell grad" haul a heavy tote of veggies and gets a little showed up in his moment of machismo:

I figure I'll grab the next one and I grab a tote. It must weigh 75 pounds, and I adjust my grip about five times, take a few deep breaths and stumble over a sink... I tell Katie to enter an arm wrestling tournament.

Tom Rivers' tales of the farm aren't the only agriculturally-minded articles in today's paper.

Cornell Cooperative Extension wants 70 low-income residents of Genesee County to enroll in its eight-week nutrition education course. Extension Direction Bev Mancuso told Paul Mrozek that

it's important that people with limited incomes or those on food stamps shop wisely and not just buy "the cheapest food possible without even considering whether it's good for you."

Call (585) 343-3040, ext. 134 for more information or to register for the course.

Meanwhile, LeRoy will be holding a public information meeting at 7:30pm tonight at Town Hall, 48 Main St., to discuss protecting and preserving farmland in the town.

In other news:

  • Union Street will be closed Wednesday from Richmond Avenue to Union Square from 7:30am to 3:00pm for sewer repairs.

You can pick up your own copy of the Daily News wherever the paper is sold. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

August 4, 2008 - 12:03pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Attica, Daily News, elba, Onion Festival, rodeo, Murray.

There was no lack of entertainment in Genesee County this past weekend. And it seems that Daily News reporter Roger Muehlig got a little taste of it all. Muehlig was in Attica Sunday for the 51st annual Attica Rodeo that drew more than 7,000 spectators over the weekend. Says Waterport resident Carl Miller of the rodeo: "We like it."

Muehlig was also at the Elba Onion Festival Saturday for the crowning of the Onion Queen. Seventeen-year-old Nicole Heffle received the honor. "It's always (been) like my dream to be Onion Queen," she said.

As if those two grand events weren't enough for one tireless reporter, Muehlig got over to the Toys for Kids chicken barbecue fundraiser Saturday outside T-Shirts Inc.'s new location at 438 East Main St. All proceeds from the barbecue will benefit Don Carroll's Toys for Kids campaign for Christmas.

I hope Muehlig is home taking a day off today.

The one place Muehlig wasn't to be found this weekend was at the town of Murray's bicentennial celebration. No matter, Tom Rivers was on hand to cover the festivities that culminated in a bocce tournament Sunday.

For more on these and other stories, pick up a copy of the Daily News. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

July 28, 2008 - 1:24pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, charity, VA, veteran, youth baseball.

Daily News reporter Matt Surtel was on the scene at the VA Medical Center when 85-year old Clifford E. Williams received "nine long-overdue medals in a ceremony attended by family and friends." Williams was due the medals when he got out of World War II 64 years ago, but for whatever reason, they were never delivered.

Williams fought in France in 1944, when he was 22-years-old. He rescued a fellow soldier who was wounded in an ambush, literally dragging the man to safety. Later, writes Surtel, "Williams was himself badly wounded ... caught in a shellburst." He was discharged, honorably.

Among the honors bestowed on Williams Saturday were the Purple Heart and the American Campaign Medal decorated with three bronze stars.

Twelve-year-old Mike Vogel won the first-ever Spirit of Michael Award at the Michael Napoleone memorial Foundation's youth baseball tournament Saturday. Michael Napoleone was 8 years old when he died in 2006 from an aggressive leukemia. "His family set up the foundation to support families undergoing similar cancer crises, and supporting research into pediatric blood cancers," writes Surtel.

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 25, 2008 - 1:08pm

Another city cleanup is schedlued for Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm at 172 Oak St., according to the Daily News. God's Helping Hands and Project Hope will team up to help out at a single residence "because its occupants are disabled and are in need of help."

Front page news about the capture — finally — of Woody the Wayward Steer was featured on The Batavian this morning.

You can also find these stories in today's paper:

  • An Attica girl graduates high school with a record of perfect attendance from kindergarten straight through to the end. Congratulations to Johanna Novak on that odd yet commendable feat.
  • LeRoy Ambulance needs to generate another $75,000 in revenue to pay for an ambulance.
  • Batavia Motor Speedway will host the U.S. Open Speedway Motorcycle National Championships tonight. Doors open at 7:00pm at the track on Harloff Road at the Polarwave Snow Park. Call (585) 723-9746 for more information, or visit Jason Bonsignore Racing or Speedway Bikes online.

You can pick up your own copy of the Daily News wherever the paper is sold. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

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 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 21, 2008 - 11:58am

There's little in the way of hard, breaking news in today's Daily News. The front page includes a profile of County Legislator Annie Lawrence, the next installment of Tom Rivers' farm labor series — Tom shows a heifer at the fair — and an article about scrap metal dealers picking at the carcasses of beat-up demolition derby cars.

By no way do we fault the paper for this dearth of big news. If you've already read the police blotter for the weekend, you'll see that it was mostly accidents, and the only way the sheriff's deputies were able to record numerous arrests was to go out and set up road blocks.

It seems a slow, newsless weekend was upon us. Maybe the heat — that putrid bog of stifling ozone and gnats — played a part. For sure it kept me locked in the bedroom with the air on full blast. How about you? Or maybe you disagree with me altogether, and you experienced a weekend overflowing with newsworthy happenings. If so, write about them. Or send them along and we'll write about them.

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

July 18, 2008 - 1:29pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in animal shelter, Daily News, agriculture, sports, youth baseball.

Genesee County's 4-H'ers logged record sales of more than $100,000 at the 38th annual meat auction at the Fair yesterday, according to the Daily News. Unfortunately, the ever-increasing costs of feed, straw and fuel mean that the higher sales prices were barely enough to break even in many instances. Check out the article by Tom Rivers for more details.

Animal shelters in Genesee and Wyoming counties are "inundated" with cats this summer. PAWS Animal Shelter in Albion is already "at capacity" with 190 cats — and more getting dumped in the donation slot regularly.

News of the potential relocation of Youth Football to John Kennedy that is noted on today's front page appeared on The Batavian yesterday.

Batavia sluggers will travel to Oakfield tonight for the District 3 youth baseball championship. Batavia's pitchers threw two no-hitters in the past two matches (versus LeRoy and Oakfield). If they win tonight, they clinch the championship and travel to Elmira for the sectionals. If Oakfield wins, the two square off Monday for a tie-break match. Tonight's game is at 6:00pm.

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

July 17, 2008 - 12:48pm

LeRoy police have identified the body discovered in Oatka Creek Wednesday afternoon as that of 41-year-old Glenn Kanaley, according to the Daily News. No cause of death has been determined, and the body has been taken to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office where an autopsy will be performed.

LeRoy Police Chief Christopher Hayward dispelled rumors on television that the death was a suicide. "Nothing indicated he was suicidal," writes reporter Scott DeSmit.

In other news, the New York State School for the Blind opened its "Sensory Park" playground Wednesday. The park is designed to"stimulate senses (and) help students with motor skills" and includes an herb garden, slides and a swingset, pedal cars, go-carts and a "spongy carpet, which gets thicker under any areas where students are apt to fall."

The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park was approved for a $225,000 grant from the Batavia Town Board at its meeting last night.

Consolidation is under way as city police officers begin training on the new computer system they will share with the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Once the consolidation is complete — should be in September — there will no longer be a dispatcher in police headquarters. Instead, "the city will have a clerk on duty during day-time hours."

Investigation into the fire that scorched Cristina's Restaurant Saturday continues, though "the probe has shifted ... to interviewing people," writes Paul Mrozek. Cristina's owner Charles Brumsted has declined to comment to the Daily News and has not returned messages left by The Batavian.

Pick up your copy of the Daily News at local newsstands — such as Main Street Coffee. Or, better yet, subscribe online at BataviaNews.com.

July 17, 2008 - 12:23pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, thunderstorm.

A severe thunderstorm pounded Batavia and other parts of the county this morning, according to the Daily News. Lightning strikes hit hard and may have caused at least three house fires in Alabama, Stafford and Byron.

Several fire departments responded to reports of a fire at 2634 Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road in Alabama around 8:30am. East Pembroke Fire Chief Bob Yungfleisch told The Batavian that the fire was contained to the laundry room and part of a back room that was in the process of being remodeled. While lightning was the cause of the fire, no bolts actually struck the home, he said. Instead, lightning struck outside of the house causing a power surge that shorted an electrical line running to an inside wall. Two children were home at the time, though no one was hurt.

"The fire was contained within about 20 minutes," said Yungfleisch. "There was damage from the fire, but nothing was destroyed, nothing that can't be fixed."

Yungfleisch estimated repairs at about $5,000, though they could be less, he said.

The Batavian has calls in to the other departments to find out more information about the fires in Stafford and Byron, neither of which were believed to have been serious, according to emergency personnel. We will relay any more information as it becomes available.

The Daily News also reports that LeRoy's Village Hall was without power for a spell this morning. The Batavian heard reports, too, that the campus of Genesee Community College was also without power for a time this morning.

July 16, 2008 - 4:28pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, city council.

Reporter Joanne Beck got a little spitfire and sass out of City Council President Charlie Mallow in an article that turned from good intentions to bad vibrations.

Beck's story opens with the headline: "Mallow's mission: Get city financially solvent in the next 18 months and then call it a day." Mallow tells her that he is "going to take care of the budget ... and then hand off the city in better financial shape for someone else to take care of" — and the article seems to be very much about that: Mallow's plans to save the city from itself.

The story takes a sharp turn, however, when suddenly Councilman Bob Bialkowski shows up and quickly assumes the role of the anti-Mallow.

Mallow's four-year term is up in 2009. Despite his belief that "I'm going to do what's right every single time," he's been accused by at least one councilman of not doing right. After Mallow abruptly shut down Councilman Bob Bialkowski at Monday's conference session, Bialkowski shared his thoughts about the leader-at-large.

Bialkowski told Beck that Mallow is "making up his own rules" and that he "had something other to discuss" but was prohibited to do so by Mallow, who is quoted later in the article as saying: "Sometimes you have to shut your mouth."

Mallow contends that Bialkowski should recuse himself from voting about the mall sign since Bialkowski's wife is the mall manager and stands to gain financially if the city purchases a sign for the Mall Merchants Association. There is no indication that Bialkowski was given a chance to respond.

Instead, Beck quotes more Mallow, who is anything but subtle about his opinion of Bialkowski: "I believe [Bialkowski] wants to put the city in a weakened position to benefit the mall merchants."

After quoting Mallow as saying that Bialkowski should "shut his mouth," Beck moves on:

[Mallow] would like to see that kind of silence more often from Bialkowski and Bill Cox. Both councilmen brought up — or attempted to discuss — issues that had nothing to do with city business, Mallow said.

Bialkowski and Cox brought up two issues: excessive bird droppings on the City Centre roof and legal fees for the city attorney. Cox said that he tried to get both items included on the agenda but was refused.

City Manager Jason Molino said the bird droppings were an issue for the mall. As for the legal fees, Mallow said: "A majority of council" already said it didn't want to discuss such costs.

Cox is never quoted in the article. Nor does Beck indicate that she made any attempt to give Cox a chance to respond.

Also in today's Daily News:

  • Mother's Chicken-n-Fish plans to add a dining patio and spruce up the landscaping around its Ellicott Street restaurant.
  • The May 19 house fire in Byron that was responsible for the death of Cheryl Reis, her son, Timothy, and her two daughters, Emily and Virginia, has been ruled "undetermined." Byron Fire Chief John Durand told the Daily News: "If we haven't determined a cause by now, I doubt it will become anything other than undetermined."
  • Officials in the towns of Batavia, Elba and Oakfield have agreed to look further into the possibility of sharing court facilities. Step one: get state approval.
  • A pair of fun features can be found on the front page and in the local section today. Matt Surtel writes about the 4-H Fashion Show that was held yesterday at the Genesee County Fair. And Virginia Kropf is back for another Around the Towns, this one about the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum. Kropf vows to write more articles on museum's in the area, so we can look forward to more.

As always, we encourage folks to pick up their own copy of the Daily News at area newsstands. Or, better yet, subscribe online at BataviaNews.com.

July 15, 2008 - 2:00pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News.

Agricultural reporter Tom Rivers is back in the fields — blueberry and raspberry patches in Point Breeze, this time. His article, something of a fruit-picker epic, sprawls off the front page to fill the entire back page of today's Daily News.

It's chock full of the expected Rivers-isms, such as, say... "I could barely stand the smell of myself, an unpleasant brew of sweat and sunscreen." A long piece, for sure, but as the rest of the series has been, quite readable.

Joanne Beck's coverage of the City Council's meeting last night can be found on the front page. Or... you can find it on The Batavian yesterday and this morning.

Reporter Paul Mrozek rounds out today's front page with a preview of the Genesee County Fair that opens today and runs through the weekend.

PIECES Gallery on Main Street will close "as of Monday." The gallery opened in Batavia in 2003. The article by Joanne Beck related the news that was left in a "voicemail message" by co-owner April Stringham.

Investigation into the fire Saturday at Cristina's Restaurant continues. Fire crews will raze most of the structure so that investigators can "sift through the wreckage" and better determine the cause of the fire. The banquet hall portion of the facility should remain intact. Cristina's owner Charles Brumsted was on the scene when reporter Paul Mrozek was there, but Brumsted refused to comment.

The Muckdogs won one and lost one during last night's doubleheader with Aberdeen. They improve to 15-12 for the season. They are tied for second place in their division.

July 14, 2008 - 2:49pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News.

Today's Daily News opens on the front page with coverage by Paul Mrozek of the Cristina's fire from over the weekend. Not much new information that was not already available in our post Saturday and WBTA's report this morning that the investigation continues.

Mrozek was also in LeRoy this weekend for the Oatka Festival. Thanks to the camera lens of Russ Stresing, The Batavian hopes to have some video of the parade up on the site tomorrow.

A brief preview of the Genesee County Fair schedule for Tuesday includes these highlights:

  • Pancake breakfast from 7:00 to 10:00am.
  • Horse shows at 10:00am and 5:00pm.
  • Fashion show from noon to 1:30pm.
  • Midway opens at 6:00pm, following the opening ceremony at 5:00pm.
  • Talent show at 6:00pm.
  • Karaoke at 8:00pm.

Congratulations are in order for 16-year-old Batavia High School student Avery Cruz who was honored with the Assembly Republican Excelsior Award June 20. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley presented the award granted to "individuals who have overcome physical or other personal challenges to acheive great accomplishments and serve others in the community." Cruz has Asperger's Syndrome, a type of Autism.

More congratulations for Elizabeth Bonarigo, Mark Houseknecht and William "Rusty" Griffin, Notre Dame's Woman and Men of the Year, respectively.

In sports news, Batavia Minor League Baseball recorded the first tie game in its history. Pamela Sivret does a good job covering the match and the mood of the game, and Nick Serrata's photograph is just as great. Not only was it the first tie, it was the first time the Minor League played a night game. The All-Star match pitted the Nationals versus the Americans, writes Sivret. And after a lengthy "big lead" held by the Nationals for most of the match, the Americans tied it up (10-10) in the 8th, and that was where it would remain as both teams struck out in the 9th.

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