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Howard B. Owens's blog

July 6, 2008 - 8:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, top posts.
July 6, 2008 - 8:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, muckdogs, kozies.

Nice little tidbit buried at the bottom of the Buffalo News story on Jeff Weaver signing with the Bisons.

The Muckdog's game drew a record crowd: 3,021.

We were there handing out water bottle kozies -- we gave out 1,000 of them prior to the game. They were a big hit with people who arrived before we did coming from the stands to ask for their own once they saw they were available.

We also handed out about 750 at the Ramble yesterday. Again, big hit.

It was fun to meet so many people who already visit The Batavian regularly, and we made several new friends, I think.

But back to the Muckdogs, please be sure to check out Eric Manning's post on the Muckdog's hot prospects. I stumbled about Eric's blog Future Redbirds the other day and asked if he would be willing to fill us in on who the top players are on the Muckdogs.  If you're a St. Louis Cardinals fan (and there seemed to be several of them at the game on Friday), Future Redbirds seems like a must-read web site.

And while we're talking about Muckdogs coverage, the Muckdog's intern Molly Radzinski, a broadcasting major from Albion, has been doing a great job of providing us game recaps. Here's one.

I couldn't stay for the whole game Friday because I promised my wife I wouldn't be gone long, but I need to get back to Dwyer Stadium soon -- it's a great ballpark. There isn't a bad seat in the house, near as I can tell, and the fans are really into the game.

I need to go to a game soon, and so should you.

July 5, 2008 - 11:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, jobs.

The Batavian continues to grow.  We continue to add new features to the site.

Now, we're offering FREE job postings for employers (and for job candidates, a new online source to look for a local job).

Employers in the region -- Genesee County, Buffalo, Rochester and all point in between, are invited to post their job openings for free on The Batavian.

To post a job, simply click on the "jobs" tab above, and then look for the link that says "click here."  Or, click here.

The person posting a job on behalf of an employer will need to be a registered user.

The "Employment" form to post a job will also appear under the "Create Content" tab on the left menu.

At a time of high gas prices and a slowing economy, we hope these free job postings will help local business and local workers.

We ask everbody to respect the opportunity to post free job openings by offering only legitimate employment opportunities -- not "work for free" opportunities, or multi-level marketing opportunities or other shady "business opportunities," but legtimate, paying jobs.

July 3, 2008 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in events.

Philip and I  will be at the Muckdogs game Friday evening handing out water bottle kozies (assuming the shipment arrives today as expected). Game time is 7 p.m. at Dwyer Stadium and fireworks are scheduled to follow the game.

Weather.com
is predicting continued showers  through today, partly cloudy for Friday and Saturday and isloated thunder showers on Sunday.

We're all hoping for better weather than that.

Here are other events scheduled for Freedom Weekend in Genesee County

Today:
Batavia Boogie -- Skydiving

Until 5 p.m. today, and continuing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday at the Gensee County Airport.

Art Exhibt, “The Key” by Karen Reisdorf
Until 5 p.m. and continuing at P.I.E.C.E.S. Gallery, 109 Main St., Batavia. “Karen transforms a series of spontaneous mono-prints into representations of Greek Mythology. The exhibit examines our human search for understanding through process.”

Batavia Muckdogs
Tonight at 7 p.m., against the Lowell Spinners (Red Sox farm club). Dwyer Stadium.

Friday:
Independence Day Celebration
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- Genesee Country Village & Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford
19th-century-style event with parades, pageants, music, performances and an immigration and naturalization ceremony. There is also an 1837-style picnic available for an additional charge.. Free with museum admission. Picnic $15, $7.50 ages 4-16. Reservations recommended. Picnic basket, $13 per person while supplies last.

Go Arts' Fourth of July Picnic in the Park
Centennial Park, North and State streets
Live entertainment, arts and crafts, food and children's activities; presented by Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council. Noon to 5 p.m. July 4., Batavia. Free admission.

Saturday
Downtown Batavia Public Market
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Center & School Street Parking Lot (across from O'Lacy's Irish Pub)
The market offers fresh produce & fruit, baked goods, coffees, flowers, handmade crafts, bbq chicken & pork, hots and hamburgers and a variety of food and other items.

The Ramble Music and Arts Fest 2008
Noon to 6 p.m., Jackson Square in Downtown Batavia.

Sunday:
BBQ, Raffle and Car Cruise
11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Rt. 63 in East Bethany.

If you know of any other events, in the area, please leave a comment.
 

 

 

June 26, 2008 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in muckdogs, thebatavian, dwyer statdium.

The Batavian Sign at Dwyer StadiumI love baseball, so with a certain amount of pride, I walked into Dwyer Stadium today and snapped this photo of The Batavian sign out in right field.

We're proud to be a 2008 sponsor of Batavia's legendary minor league baseball team.

This summer, we're also a sponsor of the BID's summer concert series.

We're looking at a couple of other sponsorship opportunities over the next couple of months.  If your group or organization is putting on an event and need local business sponsors, let us know, because we'll certainly consider it (we can't sponsor everything of course, but we have some money left in the budget for a couple of more sponsorships this summer).

June 26, 2008 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Community Leader #1: "I'm eager to see the Daily News today to find out what they say about the youth football program."

Community Leader #2: "Why? I've already found out all I need to know on The Batavian."

I'm hiding the identities of the two people in the conversation because it was just casually mentioned to me, but it's been on my mind all afternoon.

That's exactly what we want people to get about The Batavian.  We're timely and complete and trustworthy.

Philip has done a great job of covering the controversy surrounding where youth football should be played, and we've gotten useful and informative comments from people on the posts to help supplement the coverage. 

We're not a big believer in people relying on just one source of information for news -- that's why we always encourage people to subscribe to the Daily News and listen to WBTA -- but we also want to be as complete as possible (which is why we also tell you about the Daily News and WBTA coverage).

The other aspect of the conversation is the value of word-of-mouth promotion.  That's something you can't buy, so it's great to hear about people spreading the word about the work we're doing.

We're very happy with the results of our advertising in the Genesee Valley PennySaver and on WBTA, and I just did a post about our community sponsorship efforts.  Without that advertising, it would be hard to get the word-of-mouth marketing going.

Still, if you think The Batavian is good for Batavia, good for Genesee County, please tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers.  There is strength in numbers, and the more people who visit the site the better for our business, but just as important, the better for the community conversation and the better for keeping all of us better informed.

Post our web site address in your school bulletin or group newsletter.  And let people know they can send us news, too, or post it themselves.

If you're new to The Batavian, follow this link for previous posts about who what we do and why.

June 14, 2008 - 7:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in legislature, taxes, steve hawley, property tax.

Here's a gloomy story to start of your Saturday with: Don't expect property tax relief soon.

The impression left by the D&C story is that the state legislature is dissecting the issue into particle detail rather than just dealing with the basic issue: Property taxes are too high.

All sides have expressed a desire to do something about property taxes, but the way to get there, like the path to so many goals in Albany, is clouded.

A property tax cap, proposed by a state commission put together by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, has won the support of Gov. David Paterson. But state lawmakers, including those who represent Monroe County, are not convinced Paterson's proposal is the answer.

Back in the 1970s, when Californians got fed up with the state Legislature's wishy-washy, spineless approach to property tax relief, they passed Jarvis-Gann, better known as Proposition 13. 

While the transition to new ways of funding and operating schools and government hasn't always been easy for California, property taxes are a lot lower and everything still operates just fine.  Maybe there needs to be a voter revolt in New York, cause it's sure sounding like the Legislature wants to sit on its hands.

Here's Steve Hawley's reply:

"I'm not sure we should be focusing exclusively on the school tax," said Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, R-Batavia, who was a member of the Genesee Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) before he was elected to the Legislature.

Hawley suggested exploring different property tax rates based on income and family situation, not strictly home value, and noted that government spending is the root of the problem.

"A reasonable solution is to stop trying to be all things to all people," he said.

Certainly, reducing waste in government and the size of government is a good place to start, but the idea that the government would A) develop an even more complex tax scheme (different rates based on family size and income?); and, B) start meddling in the structure of New York families doesn't sound very Republican-like.

Maybe Hawley can contact us or leave a comment and try to explain better what he's talking about, because this sound bite sounds more scary than helpful.

June 12, 2008 - 3:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, video, blondie's.

In this video we found on YouTube, this Batavia toddler seems pretty happy with the ice cream at Blondie's.

June 8, 2008 - 7:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Holland Land Office Museum, holm, exhibit.

The Holland Land Office Museum announced on its blog yesterday that on June 13, it will begin an "online exhibit" series of 25 things that made Genesee County famous.

For this online exhibit, a panel of 15 people spent six months sifting through 100s of things know world wide. It was the panel's job to come up with a list of 25 things that made Genesee County famous. Every week, until November 28, 2008 the Holland Land Office Museum will release another item.

Cool idea, and it's interesting that this physical museum has chosen the digital world to highlight such a potentially fascinating list of events, people and items.

Anybody want to guess what some of these 25 things might be?  Leave a comment.  (I'm guessing #1 is anti-masonry and the Morgan Affair. Joseph Mancuso and the business incubator have to be pretty high up there, too.)

June 7, 2008 - 7:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thom beers.

Quote from Thom Beers about growing up in Batavia:

"Somebody taught me a long time ago, be true to who you are," Beers said by phone this week from Long Beach, Calif., where he and a crew filmed a bridge painter for NBC's "America's Toughest Jobs," another Beers production. "I grew up in a blue-collar world."

In his hometown of Batavia, N.Y., just east of Buffalo, his heroes were his uncles, Nick, a pizza maker, and Rocky, a mechanic, "salt-of-the-earth guys. Guys who told the truth, went to work every day and took care of their families. It's not that I saw an opening for a grand experiment. This is what I know."

UPDATE: Here's another story about Beers -- Life is never borig.

June 4, 2008 - 9:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in auction, wbta.

WBTA, 1490 AM, is gearing up for another of its periodic auctions.  Dan Fischer has loaded the station's web site page with several more items.

Items include:

  • Four-pack for Martin's Fantasy Island
  • One-price pass for the Attica Rodeo
  • Gift certificates for Oliver's Candy
  • Bus trip for two to Seneca Niagara Casino
  • Birthday blow out at The Gravel Pit
  • Gift certificates for O'Lacy's
  • Gift certificates for Center Street Smokehouse

Rules here, segment schedule here.

June 2, 2008 - 4:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

When people look at individual posts, we're able to count how many times that happens. That doesn't tell us precisely how many people read that post, because most people probably read a post on the home page and never click-through to the post on its own page.

Individual story counts are probably driven by people leaving or reading comments, or getting the permalink (story URL) to send to a friend.

With that caveat, here's our Top 10 posts for May (the first month of existence for The Batavian).

  1. Batavians choose not to live like they do in big cities, by Charlie Mallow
  2. Let's keep our culture: A chat with Marianne Clattenburg, by Philip Anselmo
  3. News roundup: "Secret" meetings at City Hall?, by Philip Anselmo
  4. Today's Question: How are gas prices effecting Batavia's commuters, by Howard Owens
  5. Feelin' it: Behind the scenes at WGCC 90.7 FM, by Philip Anselmo
  6. Register to Vote, by Daniel Jones
  7. You know you're from Batavia when…, by Ryan Sholin
  8. Lewiston Road fire claims life of 17-year-old Erik Mooney, by Howard Owens
  9. A Commentary on the Upcoming Presidential Election, by Conor Flynn
  10. It Is All Just Words, by Patrick Burke

Our most viewed video so far is of the Lewiston Road fire.

May 31, 2008 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in erik mooney, lewiston fire, lewiston road.

UPDATE: In a story posted at 5:27 p.m., the Buffalo News reports that officials are pointing to a smoldering cigarette as the likely cause of the fire.

Genesee County Emergency Management Services coordinator Timothy J. Yaeger said the victim's mother, Judy Clark, 41, had been smoking in an nclosed porch about half an hour before the fire broke out ... 

---

WBTA reports that a discarded cigarette may have been the cause of the fire Friday morning that took the life of 17-year-old Erik Mooney.

The investigation continues and no conclusion has been reached.

The News 8 video report (warning: pre-roll advertising) says that Erik suffered from asthma and that may have contributed to his in ability escape the smoke-filled house.

The Buffalo News story includes quotes from officials and students at Erik's high school.

Erik was known among his classmates for his sense of humor and love of video games.

Fellow sophomore Roosevelt Little, 16, who shared several classes with Erik, described him as “laid back,” someone who loved to crack jokes and brighten others’ lives. Roosevelt said Erik was capable of getting all of the students he shared a table with in the cafeteria to laugh.

Erik was well-liked among his peers and became more outgoing as he got to know others, Roosevelt said.

“Some students were crying when they found out [about Erik’s death],” Roosevelt said. “Some were trying to hold in emotions. A lot left school early today.”

“Sometimes it feels like these things happen all at once,” he added, referring to another recent tragedy in the community.

The D&C story hasn't been updated, but a video has been added (again, pre-roll advertising).

Our Previous posts: Post #1, Post #2 (with our own video).

 

May 31, 2008 - 9:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in community, chamber of commerce.

Interesting story this morning from the Buffalo News on struggles faced by chambers of commerce in the region  in recruiting and retaining members.

Part of the problem is the increasingly global and distributed economy, and part if it is the "bowling alone" syndrome.

Local quotes:

At the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, the nearly 900 members pay dues that start at $190 per year. Chamber President Lynn Freeman said about 80 percent of members are 50 years old and up, and 20 percent are under 50. But beyond the age discrepancy, he said there is more pressure than before to produce results and show younger members “that this is not an old man’s club.”

In Genesee County, the chamber and the Junior Chamber, an unconnected group of 21-to 39-year-olds, are mutually beneficial, said Melissa George, the 2006 president of Batavia Area Junior Chamber. George, who is executive assistant for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, said the JC promotes chamber of commerce membership.

We say: Join the Chamber.  Join Rotary or the Lions or get involved with a literacy program or the animal shelter.  There are all kinds of civic and community groups that need your support.  Involvement and engagement is what fosters strong communities, drives the local economy, reduces crime and increases property values ... in other words, there are any number of "selfish" reasons to get involved beyond just plain feeling good about helping out and doing the right thing.

May 30, 2008 - 5:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire, erik mooney, lewiston fire.

There are no new developments this afternoon in the Lewiston Road fire that claimed the life of 17-year-old Erik Mooney (previous post).

Attempts to contact fire officials this afternoon were unsuccesful.

We also tried contacting somebody with the area Red Cross to see what arrangements were being made to assist the family, but were unsuccessful.

Below are yearbook photos of Michael, 15, and Erik (right).

Michael and Erik Mooney

UPDATE: Video story from WHAM.

UPDATE II:  Here's News 8 coverage.  Watch the video to about 3/4 of the way in and notice how the reporter and producer insinuate that there is something suspicious about Erik not getting out of the house. Classic Mainstream Media technique to remain "objective" while pumping up the story with some controversy.  It's not just a TV thing.  Print does it, too. (Also, warning -- obnoxious pre-roll advertising on the video).

WKBW in Buffalo also posted a video report.

WIVB out of Buffalo has two video reports posted.  Good, detailed, balanced and sensative stories.

May 30, 2008 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sheriff, fire, lewiston.

In today's Daily News:

  • The lead story is about the tragic death of Erik Mooney, 17, in an early morning fire on Lewiston Road.  Exceptional lede from Scott DeSmit: "Despite smoke detectors, a barking dog and the screams of his mouth, a 17-year-old boy was unable to make it out of his burning house on Lewiston Road early this morning."  The Batavian posted about the fire at 7 a.m. this morning.  The Daily News story ads no new information.
  • In budgeting utility prices for the new Sheriff's Office, the Building and Grounds department did not factor in continuous use of the communications center.  .... What??? .... That nugget is buried in the sixth graph of a story by Paul Mrozek about utility costs being $71,000 over budget.  That's a pretty significant, "oops."
  • Joanne Beck writes about this year's Dancing Under the Stars fundraiser for United Way, which is June 7 at Genesee Community College's Stuart Steiner Theater, 1 College Road.
  • Nice picture page today on page A-10.

Subscribe to the Daily News at BataviaNews.com, or pick up a copy at a local newsstand, such as Main Street Coffee.

May 30, 2008 - 9:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens.

Press Release from the City of Batavia:

Please be advised that the Charter Review Commission for the City of Batavia will hold a meeting on Monday, June 2, 2008.  The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Work Room on the second floor of the Batavia City Centre.  

The public can speak at the meeting by signing in with the Chairman prior to the start of the meeting. 

May 30, 2008 - 8:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, accident, David Bellavia.

WBTA reports this morning:

  • Officials believe an accident on Dodgeson Road went undiscovered for several hours. At about 5:30 this morning, a wrecked car was discovered with the driver inside, conscious but trapped.  Power tools were needed to open the car.
  • David Bellavia won't challenge a GOP-endorsed candidate for congress. UPDATE: Here's the Buffalo News coverage.

Listen to WBTA AM 1490 for news updates throughout the day.

May 30, 2008 - 7:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire.

News 10 reports this morning that a 2 a.m. fire at 7881 Lewiston Road took the life of a 17-year-old boy.

Firefighters found him at the top of a staircase. He was taken to United Memorial Medical Center where he was prounounced dead at 3:30 a.m.

His brother managed to escape the fire by jumping from a bathroom window, but injured his arm in the fall.

The mother of the two boys escaped without injury.

The chief said the fire started on a porch and spread to the house. There were heavy flames when they arrived on scene.

The WHEC web story includes video.

We imagine WBTA will update its news page soon and will likely have the names of the victims this morning along with the latest additional information.

UPDATE: The names of the victims have not been released yet, WBTA reports.

UPDATE II: WBTA reports:

The Genesee County Sheriff's office has identified the boy as Erik Mooney of 7881 Lewiston Rd.

Erik, his mother, 41-year-old Judy Clark and 15-year-old brother Michael were all at home when the fire started. Judy suffered smoke inhalation. Michael cut his arm jumping from a bathroom window. Both were treated at UMMC in Batavia.

UPDATE III:  The D&C reports:

Another resident, Scott Clark, 47, was not home when the fire broke out, deputies said. He was at work.

The brothers are both students at Oakfield-Alabama Central School District. District Superintendent Christopher Todd this morning said the mood in the 1,000-student distinct was somber and that many of the students were “having a tough day.”

“It’s awful, but we’ll band together,” he said. Grief counselors are available at Oakfield-Alabama Middle/High School today to assist students, faculty and staff, Todd said.

...

Judy Clark told firefighters that a sounding smoke detector and barking family dog alerted her of the blaze.

Genesee County Fire Coordinator and Manager Tim Yaeger said authorities are trying to confirm a report that Judy Clark attempted to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose this morning. He said authorities did not know whether that occurred before or after she called 911.

UPDATE IV: WHAM coverage can be seen here

May 30, 2008 - 7:08am

The D&C profiles Batavia's Brothers-All-Natural, which makes healthy crispy snacks.

Buried deep in the story is some pretty big news:

Brothers-All-Natural recently signed a multi-year license agreement with the Walt Disney Company to co-brand its product with Disney characters, to go into stores in July at Toys "R" Us, Kids "R" Us, Babies "R" Us and Wal-Mart.

"This is a huge stamp of approval when you get a name like Disney to associate themselves with your brand," said Matthew Betters, 36, co-CEO of Brothers-All-Natural.

Near the end of the story, we also learn the 15-employee company has offices in Ecuador and North Carolina, in addition to Batavia, but manufactures its products in China.

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