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May 29, 2008 - 8:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in gas prices.

Gas prices are over $4 per gallon now.  That's got to hurt Batavians who commute to either Buffalo or Rochester for work.

And it's quite possible, likely even, that prices will climb even higher.

What's the impact of gas prices on you?  If you commute, does that have you rethinking either where you live or where you work?  What does it mean for your other household spending?

May 29, 2008 - 8:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, graham corp.

Batavia-based Graham Corp. (AMEX: GHM) has made Business Week's list of fastest growing small companies.

From the article:

This year's Hot Growth ranking also features a whole lot of heavy metal. Dotting the list are small manufacturers with low-cost structures and the ability to make specialized products that can't easily be copied by foreign rivals. Among the success stories: Graham (GHM), a Batavia (N.Y.) maker of heat-transfer equipment, and Haynes International (HAYN), a Kokomo (Ind.) supplier of specialty alloys used by jetmakers and gas drillers.

This morning, the stock opens at $63.50 per share.  It's 52-week high is $71.58 and 52-week low is $13.45

Graham's 2007 revenue was $65 million, with an EBIDTA margin of 11 pecent. Graham employs 265 people.

The company, which claims no long-term debt and $36 million in available cash, is announcing this week that for fiscal 2008 revenue is $86.4 million.

According to it's corporate history page, Graham was founded in 1936 and moved to Batavia in 1942.  The company went public in 1968.

Jerald D. Bidlack, 71, is chairman of the board, and James R. Lines, 46, is president and CEO.

Business Week's description of the company:

Graham Corporation engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of vacuum and heat transfer equipment used in the chemical, petrochemical, petroleum refining, and power generating industries worldwide. Its products include steam jet ejector vacuum systems; surface condensers for steam turbines; vacuum pumps and compressors; various types of heat exchangers, including helical coil heat exchangers marketed under the Heliflow name; and plate and frame exchangers. These products are available in various metal and non-metallic corrosion resistant materials. Graham Corporation’s products are used in a range of industrial process applications, including petroleum refineries, chemical plants, pharmaceutical plants, plastics plants, fertilizer plants, liquefied natural gas production facilities, soap manufacturing plants, air conditioning systems, food processing plants, and other process industries, as well as power generation facilities, such as fossil fuel, nuclear, cogeneration, and geothermal power plants.

May 28, 2008 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in legislature, veterans, Memorial Day, steve hawley.

From reader Georgia Voss:

My husband and I were honored to have a visit Sunday with a Korean Veteran who was to be honored with 6 others on Memorial Day by Steve Hawley.  I saw no mention of this in the Daily News and am curious if you folks have knowledge of the event and other participants.

So we contacted Assemblyman Hawley's office, which provided the following information on honors handed out Monday:

  • Thomas E. Hayes Specialist Four, AUS, of the US Army, received the New York Medal of Merit. Hayes served in Vietnam and his military service covered 1969 to 1971.  He is a Silver Star winner.
  • John E. Corrado was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross.  Corrado served in Vietnam and was in the Army from 1968 to 1970.
  • Ettore Ianni also received the Conspicuous Service Cross. Ianni served in Korea and was in the Army from 1951 to 1970.
  • Keith A. Weinert also received the Conspicuous Service Cross.  Weinert is a Vietnam veteran and served in the Army from 1967 to 1970.

The Conspicuous Service Cross was created by the New York Legislature in the 1920s. It is the highest award New York can bestow in its veterans. Recipients must have distinguished themselves by performing particularly brave and heroic acts which earned them individual citations while serving in the armed forces.

May 28, 2008 - 8:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in city council, city attorney.

Dan Fischer summarizes WBTA's news this morning, including coverage of last night's City Council meeting.

He includes audio clips from the dust-up revolving around whether City Attorney George VanNest should attend council conference meetings.

In our post last night, we mentioned that City Manager Jason Molino took issue with some members of the council repeatedly raising concerns about the expense.  Here's some audio from Molino's quote.

WBTA's coverage also includes the city passing a resolution to borrow $1.5 million as a bridge loan to cover city expenses while waiting for taxes to be collected, more on the proposed agri park, and the $15,000 grant for improvements at Dwyer Stadium.

May 28, 2008 - 7:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Buffalo, paul weiss.

In a series of remembrances of former Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin, who passed away recently, former City Council president Paul J. Weiss is quoted:

In the early 1990s I served as President of the Batavia City Council. Batavia does not have a mayor so Council President was the highest elected officer of the city. When an ice storm hit Rochester and other parts of Genesee County, Jimmy Griffin was on the phone offering Batavia help. Batavia was fortunate that the storm did not hit our city but I will never forget his offer of help.

May 28, 2008 - 7:32am

There were inspiring moments during Batavia's Memorial Day parade, and there were moments of significant community pride, but what may have been the single wow! moment was when Lt. Eugene Jankowski drove by on his restored Harley-Davidson police bike.

Yesterday, I visited the acting police chief and 30-year department veteran at his home and shot a short video interview with him about the bike. He was kind enough to supply some pictures to help tell the story of the bike.

Here's the video:

In case you missed it, here's our video from the Memorial Day parade.

May 27, 2008 - 8:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in city council, city attorney.

Tonight's Batavia City Council meeting ended on a testy note with a majority of the council agreeing to keep the status quo with City Attorney George Van Nest's conference meeting attendance and to drop the issue until next budget season.

Council members Bill Cox, Bob Bialkowski and Sam Barone dissented.

Cox and Bialkowski had brought the matter before the council -- and from the chatter during the meeting, apparently for the umpteenth time.

"We have in this particular case," Cox said in leading off the discussion, "some discretionary ability to cut costs in this one small area."

Barone later said that the city spends $209,000 on legal fees, but Van Nest and Council President Charlie Mallow later noted that not all of those fees go to Van Nest's firm.  There is also expense, for example, for labor attorneys.

Van Nest's fees for attending the meetings amounts to about $1,600 per meeting per year, according to Mallow. 

Mallow said it was his decision to have Van Nest at the meetings, and that he and City Manager Jason Molino discuss every item on every agenda and decide whether Van Nest's attendance is warranted.  He characterized having VanNest at the meeting as responsible leadership, and suggested that the council trust his judgment on whether to have the attorney present.

Later he said: "As long as I’m council president, I’m not going to conduct a meeting without an attorney."

Councilman Frank Ferrando said the council should drop the subject for now.  The appropriate time to address the issue is during budget discussions, which won't start until September, he said.

"I get tired of talking about these things five or six times over again," Ferrando said. "I’m not interested in talking about budget revisions at this time. We’ve got lots of other fish to fry."

Cox countered that no issue should ever be closed for discussion, that in order for council members to be responsive to constituents, they should be able to raise any issue even if it has been addressed before.

"I don’t feel it’s proper for council people to be criticized for bringing up issues at a meeting," Cox said.

Molino appeared agitated, if not angry, near the close of the discussion, calling the "belaboring" of the topic a distraction for the city.

"I'm very sorry that this has created a very negative work environment, which none of you witness," Molino said. "Can we move on? I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I’m really sick and tired of this." (UPDATE: WBTA's audio.)

Once the issue was closed, the meeting adjourned and the council chambers emptied quickly.

So here's the lingering question: Why does the city pay a fee for its city attorney to attend its routine meetings?  Shouldn't that just be covered under a flat-fee contract?  Shouldn't the only extra cost incurred be only for work above and beyond routine?

May 27, 2008 - 7:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in economic development, business, agriculture, GCEDC.

Steve Hyde  of Genesee County Economic Development Center presented an update on Agri Park development and tonight's council conference meeting.

The proposed ag park could be worth $1.4 billion to the local economy and create 1,100 jobs.

It will cover 200 to 300 acres near Oatka Milk in the Town of Batavia.

It will be the only ag industry focused part in the Northeast.

A Canadian company seems ready and serious to be the first tenant of the park, bringing 100 jobs and taking advantage of current monetary exchange rates.

"We’re not coming here today to ask for help, but to look for a partnership that says this benefits the people in the community," Hyde said.

Grants of $6 million are currently available to fund Phase I.

 

May 27, 2008 - 7:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Muckdogs, Rochester Red Wings, dwyer stadium.

The Rochester Red Wings will get another $15,000 for improvements to Dwyer Stadium this year after the City Council approved 5-3 a resolution authorization the expenditure.

Councilman Bill Cox led the opposition, saying that taxpayers should not subsidize private enterprise.  He objected specifically to the funds being used for grounds keeping.

"We're being asked to do this with no specific knowledge of any bricks or mortar or steel that needs to be repaired," Cox said.

The money is coming from the city's capital budget and, according to City Attorney George Van Nest, is consistent with previous grant requirements for the city to maintain the stadium.

Previously, the city entered into an agreement with the Red Wings with payments of $10,000 and $15,000 this year, $20,000 next year and $25,000 the following year.  Council President Charlie Mallow indicated the resolution was consistent with that agreement.

City Manager Jason Molino made the point that grounds upkeep is appropriate use of Capital Account funding, because "without a field, you don't have a stadium."

The Red Wings are currently operating the Batavia Muckdogs.

UPDATE: Buffalo News correspondent Bill Brown filed this report on the council proceedings. 

May 27, 2008 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in police, law enforcement, police blotter.

It was a quiet weekend in the City of Batavia.  From about 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. this morning, 185 items were recorded in the city's police blotter. None of the items -- which includes everything from calls regarding fights to escort detail -- were particular serious, according to police officials.

Below is a list of some of the items copied from the blotter, covering early Friday morning through this afternoon.

We hope that including a blotter posting will become a regular feature of The Batavian.

Friday, Main 23
10:11 a.m., 17 School St., larceny
12:32 p.m.,  W. Main St., accident
12:56 p.m., Genesee Country Mall, larceny
2:20 p.m., 390 W. Main St., accident
2:26 p.m., 587 E. Main St., larceny
6:36 p.m., North St, accident
8:54, Farwell, Dr., animal complaint
8:59 p.m., Walnut St., criminal mischief
11:23 p.m., 427 Jackson St., criminal mischief
11:23 p.m., 1 Ellsworth Ave., animal complaint

Saturday, May 24
1:43 a.m., 317 Ellicott, fight
2:28 a.m., 116 State St., fight
7:08 p.m., Otis St., criminal tampering

Sunday, May 25
1:27 a.m., 127 North St., fight
1:08 p.m., Otis St., accident
7:56 p.m., 16 Chesnut, animal complaint
9:30 p.m., Jefferson Ave., criminal tampering

Monday, May 26
12:28 a.m., Ellicott St., public lewdness
8:51 a.m., Macarther Dr., animal complaint
12:30 p.m., 9 Tracy Ave., accident
3:53 p.m., 390 W. Main St., larceny
8:47 p.m., Pringle Ave., fight
9:07 p.m., Thorpe St., fight

Tuesday, May 27
6:52 a.m., 120 Jackson St., larceny
10:56 a.m., 401 E. Main St., accident
11:18 a.m., 26 W. Main St., accident
1:24 p.m., Pringle Ave., animal complaint
1:42 p.m., 639 E. Main St., animal complaint
2:23 p.m., Ellsworth Ave., burglary

May 27, 2008 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in city council.

The Batavia City Council holds its conference meeting at 7 p.m.  The public can comment at the meeting.  Items on the agenda:

  • Steve Hyde and Chad Zambito of Genesee County Economic Development Center will present an update on Agri Park development.
  • In order to complete the sale of property at 44 Main St. to Wendy's, the city must grant an easement for utilities from City Center to the restaurant.
  • Council members Cox and Bialkowski have asked to discuss the presence of the City Attorney at council conference meetings.

The City also sent over the business meeting agenda (electronically), but the attachment didn't open.  We may update this post later with that information if available.

 

 

May 27, 2008 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Daily News, reis family, police blotter.

In the Tuesday, May 27 Daily News, coverage centers on weekend activity, including the Reis family funeral of Saturday, Monday's Memorial Day activities and Saturday's Pageant of the Bands.

The Reis Family story was written by Matt Surtel and features comments from many speakers at the memorial service. Childhood friend of Sherry Reis, 51, was a search with esoteric reading tastes, such as the Bhagavad Gita. "She always had an inner faith and she was humble when she shared herself," Wellborne is quoted as saying. "She was strong. She had strength. She stood tall, laughed hard and nobody can replace her."

Ginny Reis, 21, was remembered by kate Dermody as a great sister, wonderful daughter and best friend.  Jim Darocha and Trisha Williasm described Emily Reis, 19, as a tiny blonde girl who was a gifted athlete with a passion for stargazing. "Whenever the night was clear, you could count on her eyes to be fixed on the sky."  Tim Reis was described as mischievous by friends.

From page A3: On the agenda for tonight's City Council meeting in Batavia is a proposal to charge contractors a $2,500 fee for plans review.

In the Police Blotter:

  • Denis N. Pirincci, 20, of Garden Drive, was charged with seventh-degree criminal possion of a controlled substance after deputies found in his car what is believed to be cocaine during a routine traffic stop.
  • Justin D. Chaddock, 30, of Roosevelt Ave. was charged with DWI after he was apprehended driving an apparently unregisterd ATV on Wilkinson Road.
  • William G. Horner, 56, of Bank Street Road, is being cahrged iwth felony criminal contempt for allegedly violating a restraining order.  He arrested a week ago for allegedly chasing a person with a knife, which resulted in the restraining order. Allegedly, he harrassed the same person Monday.
  • Thomas W. Fisher, Jr., 55, of Ellicott Street, was held on a felony DWI charge Saturday night.

 The Daily News is available on local news stands and you can also subscribe online.

May 26, 2008 - 9:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander, dwi.

Steve Ognibene, chief of the Alexander Fire Department, sends along this notice:

The Alexander Fire Department and the Alexander High School are re-enacting a DWI Accident as part of the Prom night experence. A Promm project will start at the Alexander High School Auditorium at 910 Am on Thursday May 29, 2008 followed by the accident at the Alexander Fire Departmemnt Recreation Hall at 920. Any help in coverage will help to get the message out to young people not to drink and drive.

May 26, 2008 - 5:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, video, Memorial Day.

May 26, 2008 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Daily News, wbta, muckdogs, business, pepsi, summit.

We're a little behind in our Daily News reading (with Philip on vacation).  From the Saturday/Sunday edition, however, there were some items of note.

  • Becky Wolford won a contest to sing the National Anthem prior to a Muckdogs game.  She's also survived a brain tumor.  The story by Joanne Beck details her diagnosis and  efforts to fight the disease, which included much prayer and multiple surgeries. It's a fine news feature, but fails to acknowledge WBTA's role in sponsoring the contest.
  • The Economic Development Center has approved a $36,000 mortgage and tax abatement to help Summit Lubricants move into the former Pepsi plant at 4-D Treadeasy Ave. Summit manufactures heavy lubricants and has been in Batavia since 1991 and its expansion will lead to 17 new jobs.
  • In Lifestyles, ag reporter Tom Rivers profiles Bob Welker, a herdsman at Stein Farms, where he helps deliver calves and tend to sick cows. "It takes a special person to be herdsman because not everyone can work with sick animals every day," co-owner Dale Stein told Rivers. "You have to e willing to do everything for the animals. Maybe one in a hundred cold do it -- maybe one in a thousand.

We recommend you pick up your copy of the Daily News at a local newsstand, or subscribe on the Daily News web site.

 

May 26, 2008 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Prior to today's Memorial Day parade on Main Street in Batavia, I handed out a few of our newly minted bumper stickers (thanks PennySaver, they look great).

It was gratifying to talk with so many people who already knew about The Batavian and mentioned how much they enjoy it and believe a site like this is needed in Batavia.

People who have heard about us mainly mentioned either our ad in the PennySaver or on WBTA.  A few people seemed to have heard about us via word of mouth.

Many people who did not know about the site eagerly took the stickers and commented that it is great to hear about such a site.

Only three people declined to take a sticker.

That's all a good sign that we're on the right track.

If you would like a bumper sticker for The Batavian, stop by Main Street Coffee.  Rob has been kind enough to let us leave a few on the counter.

Speaking of Rob's shop -- I'll be hanging out there more than usual this week.  Philip Anselmo is on vacation.

A video from today's parade will be posted shortly.

May 26, 2008 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bill kauffman, thruway, route 5.

Driving to and from Batavia today I thought of what a habit it has become for me to avoid the Thruway if at all possible.

And I thought of Bill Kauffman again and his essay "Back to Batavia."

The curmudgeons carped and the mossbacks muttered, and the thruway was built. Its first casualty was Route 5, Batavia's Main Street, for years a bustling thoroughfare. Travelers ate at diners along Route 5, and slept in hotels, and shopped at stores—until progress came, and the farms were paved, and Route 5 died. Across Upstate, countless locally owned and owner-operated businesses were bankrupted. Drivers stuck to the thruway and ate at the Howard Johnson's monopoly.

In nearly two years of Western New York residence, I've found myself avoiding the Thruway more often than not.

I dislike the Thruway because:

  • The smaller freeways and two-lane roads are often much more interesting, if not prettier drives and they do take you past more locally owned businesses, which generally make for more interesting stops than chains or anything you find at "service exits."  Similar thoughts and advice can be found on RocWiki.
  • The toll isn't expensive, but why pay a toll if you don't have to? Besides, regular Thruway usage can add up.
  • The alternative routes almost never take more time to drive.
  • State Troopers.  I have nothing against law enforcement. In fact, I quite admire the men and women who wear the badge. I am, after all, an ex-cop myself.  But the State Troopers on the Thruway seem to have one job: write speeding tickets.  The Thruway is nothing but a very long speed trap.  Now, I don't speed much myself (never intentionally), but on a freeway as wide, clear, straight and devoid of traffic as I-90, Troopers running radar seem to server but one purpose: Raising money for Albany.  It's an alternative form of taxation, and it doesn't provide much representation. It's too Big Brotherish for me, so I'd rather not participate in the whole Thruway experience.

So you're much more likely to find me tooling down Route 5 than 90.

Has there ever been a "Boycott the Thruway" effort? The the Thruway seems easily avoidable, even for long trips.  So why use it?

What do you think of the Thruway?  Is it a modern transportation convenience, a necessary evil, or something that can and should be avoided as much as possible?

Previously:   Contemplating Bill Kauffman's Batavia

May 26, 2008 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Le Roy.

A one-vehicle crash in LeRoy early this morning claimed the life of Gerhard McBride, 56, of Rochester, the Genesee County Sheriff's office reported.

McBride was reportedly driving on Oatka Trail Road when his car left the road, struck a sign and several trees before coming to rest down an embankment.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by the coroner.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

May 26, 2008 - 7:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Memorial Day.

There's not much listed on the web about Memorial Day activities.

GeneseeCalendar.com lists the following event from 10:30 to 8 p.m.

Darien Lake honors the men and women that defend our country on Memorial Day Weekend! All active and veteran military personnel receive free admission and discounts for their family members. Activities include local dance groups, a tribute to Music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and other live patriotic musical performances throughout the park all weekend long. Show you’re proud to support American troops, wear Red, White or Blue!

Previously, we mentioned United Memorial holding an observance at 9 a.m.

 

May 24, 2008 - 10:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Memorial Day, united memorial.

From a United Memorial press release:

United Memorial is proud to serve as Genesee County ’s War Memorial. Memorial Day observance services have been planned for Monday, May 26th at 9 am at the monument in front of the Hospital’s main entrance at 127 North Street , Batavia . The public is invited to attend this annual event.

Representatives of the Veterans’ Association and Gold Star family members will lay a wreath at the monument. Members of the Batavia Concert Band will also perform.

Refreshments will be available in the Hospital Board Room following the service.

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