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June 13, 2008 - 1:39pm

From the Daily News (Friday):

  • Intern Kristen Kotz sat down with Batavia Fire Capt. Michael Drew to talk fire safety. Check out the article on the front page for some tips.
  • Genesee County's Planning Board voted to turn the soon-to-be empty lot at the corner of Bank Street and Washington Avenue into a "green area" — United Memorial Medical Center's Growney Building currently located there will be demolished. Reporter Paul Mrozek writes: "UMMC wants to plant grass and shrubs, put in paths and picnic benches and add off-street parking." No date has yet been set for the demolition, and the city of Batavia still has to grant final approval for the plan.
  • Reporter Virginia Kropf wrote a great piece on a group of retired friends who gather twice a week for breakfast at Miss Batavia Diner. It starts: "Retirement for a group of local friends means starting the day off with coffee and camraderie, and if they should happen to solve the world's problems in the meantime, so much the better." What a great lede!

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

June 13, 2008 - 12:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in police, ducks.

Three cheers for Lt. Gene Jankowski and the city police force for averting disaster on Main Street this morning. With the help of an unflinching fellow officer, Jankowski halted four lanes of traffic on East Main Street out front of the police station so that a mother duck and her ten ducklings could safely cross.

The feathered family emerged from Austin Park when they were spotted and followed to the curb. Jankowski held off traffic while his colleague — I apologize for failing to get the officer's name — kept the ducks on course. Without pause, the lot of them dropped into the street and waddled across and into the cool waters of the Tonawanda behind the courthouse. There they were reunited with papa mallard (you can see him leading the crew in the photo to the left here).

Jankowski told me after that this happens about twice a year, and if the police don't act fast, the questing ducks would most likely cause chaos on Main Street, if not an outright accident as drivers swerve all over to avoid crushing the little beasts.

"They don't wait," he said. "They make a bee-line across the road."

They most certainly did. And on a day when the temperature has already hit 90 degrees, who could blame them? I had to keep myself from jumping into the creek and getting my feathers wet.

June 13, 2008 - 10:28am
posted by Philip Anselmo in bill kauffman.

Batavia's very own Bill Kauffman is setting radical hearts aflutter in the blogosphere this week as the publication of his new book nears. The Western Confucian muses on the sage of Batavia and proudly proclaims his own love of Kauffman's works.

If you've read Bill Kauffman, you know that he's at his best describing the quirky, eccentric political characters that make America great, as opposed the the bland figures that make her ugly. A book about America's "drunken prophet" will likely [be] pure Kauffman.

Daniel McCarthy previews the book, titled Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin, on his blog: The Tory Anarchist.

Coming from ISI Books in September: Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin. Martin, a Maryland delegate to and “the bitterest states’ rightser at the [Constitutional] Convention,” was a great Anti-Federalist whose detestation of Thomas Jefferson drove him, ironically enough, into the Federalist Party. I’ve just had a glance at the galleys of Kauffman’s book so far, which looks to be every bit as good as you’d expect.

Here's an excerpt of the work, courtesy of McCarthy:

Martin understood quite clearly that the Constitution was a counterrevolution, recentralizing that which had been decentralized upon the assertion of American independence. ‘Men love power,’ Hamilton told the convention. To Hamilton this was a simple statement of fact, not at all deplorable. The Anti-Federalists had their doubts about its accuracy—did not men love their families, their homeplaces, their liberties even more?—but in the event, they desird not to channel this powerlust toward profitable ends but rather to block those avenues down which power is pursued. If it is true that men love to wield power over other men and that a centralized state will attract such warped creatures, then rather than design a Rube Goldberg scheme by which the will to dominate is transmuted into gold for the commonweal, why not just not construct a centralized state? Remove the means of gratifying the temptation.

Visit the publisher's site for a synopsis of the work. We will probably hear more as the publication date nears — it's not due out until September — but in the meantime, for an interesting and well-written read about Kauffman, check out the article by John McClaughry published on Reason Online last January. Or see our our earlier post where Howard takes a look at Kauffman's Batavia.

June 13, 2008 - 9:16am
posted by Philip Anselmo in dance.

Congratulations to the McMahon School of Irish Dance. The troupe took home a host of medals and top honors at a competition in Buffalo last week.

Charley Boyd got us the details:

25 dancers from the McMahon School of Irish Dance vied with 1600 others at the June 7 Buffalo Feis (pronounced “fesh”), an Irish dance competition.  The McMahon dancers brought home more than 53 medals and trophies, including 9 first places.  The McMahon dancers at the Feis included Abel Zavitz, Ally Criswell, Ashlee Dow, Ashley Hale, Ashley Merkle, Christen Ferraro, Elayna Kinney, Erin Crossen, Jenny Crossen, Jenny Grant, Kerri Dulanski, Kevin Grant, Laura Littlejohn, Lauren Sondericker, Maeve Cooper, Maggie McGinnis, Moira Grant, Morgan Nashwenter, Rachel Prutsman, Samantha Stockwell, Sarah Gambino-Fontaine, Sarah McGinnis, Sasha Boyd, Shelby McGinnis, & Taylor Heineman. The next major competition will take place in Rochester on July 12.  These dancers will be performing locally at the upcoming Genesee County Fair.  The McMahon School offers classes in Batavia, Arcade, Lockport, and Buffalo.

The Batavian hopes to visit the McMahon school sometime in the next couple weeks and put together a video showcasing the talents of our local Irish stylists and letting those of us who don't know just what it means to dance Irish.

In the meantime, if you've got a video you would like to share, please let us know. Or, if you can tell us more about Irish dance, how it's done and where we can find it, don't hesitate to leave a comment.

Check out the McMahon school Web site to find out  about upcoming events, to see more photos or to register for classes. Batavia classes are held at Genesee Community College.

June 13, 2008 - 8:50am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Attorney General, CVS, Rite Aid, consumer watch.

An investigation into more than 1,000 stores across the state by officers of the state attorney general found that many have been selling expired over-the-counter products — a total of 254 were cited, according to Newsday.com. Products found expired on the shelves include: milk, eggs, medicine and baby formula.

As one might expect, the story has lit up the headlines in state and local queries online, and every media outlet seems to have its own special list of offenders in its neighborhood. Thanks to Wayne Fuller for breaking the story locally in his news roundup on the WBTA Web site. There's no doubt that the attorney general has sent out a mass of press releases all over the state this morning. I've never known that government office to be shy about garnering admiring press coverage.

Back to the story...

CVS and Rite Aid were the biggest offenders, and CVS here on West Main Street was found to be selling expired baby formula. A store in Long Island was found to be selling an allergy medication that had expired in June 2006.

From Newsday:

In response, the Rite Aid stores cited for stocking expired products "were told to make sure there is no such product on the shelf now," said Cheryl Slavinsky, director of public relations for Rite Aid.

"We are moving immediately across the nation to check all of our products," she said, as well as initiating a retraining program on related policies and procedures. "We do take the allegations ... very seriously. Our policies have always been not to have outdated products on our shelves."

CVS was equally repentent.

"Our policy is to remove items before they go beyond the expiration date," Mike DeAngelis, director of public relations at CVS, wrote in an e-mail. "We will work aggressively to ensure that our review and removal procedures are followed consistently in all of our stores. We value the trust our customers have placed in us to sell them products that are safe and effective, and the findings of New York's attorney general are unacceptable to us. ... We will cooperate fully with his office in this matter."

Check out the Buffalo News if you want the full story and a list of stores cited in Erie County. For a list of stores cited in the Rochester area, check out the Democrat & Chronicle.

All that being said, consumers should always be wary and check expiration dates on these types of products. No matter how diligent a grocer or retailer may be, there is always the occasional carton of milk that is left in the cooler maybe a few days too long. Then again, there's really no excuse for not weeding out medicine two years past its expiration.

June 12, 2008 - 3:57pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police.

Tuesday:

  • 12:09am, 35 Walnut St., burglary
  • 1:42am, 390 W. Main St., trespass
  • 2:12am, 127 North St., trespass
  • 6:54am, 15 Maple St., larceny
  • 7:19am, 9 S. Lyon St., accident
  • 7:44am, 505 E. Main St., larceny
  • 9:16am, 211 W. Main St., larceny
  • 2:11pm, Cedar St., trespass
  • 2:27pm, 115 Jackson St., larceny
  • 4:07pm, Bank St., accident
  • 6:13pm, 565 E. Main St., accident
  • 10:47pm, Holland Ave., harassment

Wednesday:

  • 10:43am, Ellicott St., accident
  • 12:58pm, 117 Liberty St., possession of a controlled substance
  • 9:18pm, Richmond Ave., larceny
  • 10:13pm, 136 W. Main St., harassment
  • 11:13pm, 10 W. Main St., harassment

Thursday:

  • 9:21am, 34 Clinton St., larceny
  • 11:01am, Jefferson Ave., larceny
  • 12:39pm, 14 Trumbull Pkwy., harassment
  • 2:25pm, Liberty St., accident
  • 2:38pm, Oak St., accident
  • 2:50pm, 390 W. Main St., forgery
  • 4:42pm, Court St., accident
  • 5:30pm, 229 Ellicott St., accident
  • 6:34pm, 19 Ross St., larceny
  • 8:08pm, 127 North St., accident
  • 8:46pm, 6 East Ave., accident

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

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 12, 2008 - 3:05pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, Ramble Music & Arts Fest, live music.

Twenty-three days and counting down until the Ramble Music & Arts Fest, and one of the festival's organizers was kind enough to get us a whole host of video clip highlights from last year's run. (If you're feeling ambitious and you've got some free time on your hands, you can find all of them on YouTube.)

We'll try and get another video up every couple days right up to July 5, when The Batavian will be on the scene in Jackson Square to shoot some footage of this year's event. Be sure to look out for that.

In the meantime, here is Sierra's "Until We Meet Again."

June 12, 2008 - 2:49pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, genesee county legislature.

From the Daily News (Thursday):

  • Let me kick things off here today by saying: Thank goodness for Tom Rivers. His quirky column on today's editorial page is more than worth the 50 cents I paid for the paper. Today, Tom muses on the thankless, not entirely sane, activity of saving our sluggish distant cousins the turtles when they try to cross a busy highway. When Tom busts up his foot trying to save a snapping turtle, he writes: "It's comparable to the professional baseball player who goes on the disabled list for sneezing too hard." Gems like this abound, and I encourage folks to check out the column for themselves. Hope the foot gets better soon, Tom!
  • The Genesee County Legislature approved some boundary changes last night for an Empire Zone that encompasses the proposed Genesee Valley Agri-business Park near the county fairgrounds. About 100 acres were added to the zone and about 40 removed. Empire Zones are geographic designations intended to attract business by providing  tax breaks and decreased utility costs if the business settles within the zone.
  • Reporter Scott DeSmit takes a look at how ever-increasing fuel costs are taking a toll on police departments that rely on a fleet of autos to get around. No surprise, they, too, are hard hit.
  • Outgoing Batavia City School Superintendent Richard Stutzman was named honorary inductee at the Middle School's Honor Society ceremony yesterday. Some words of advice from the soon-to-be retiree: "There's no room for underachieving. You have to be prepared so that, no matter what happens, you have the skills and the work ethic to carry you through."
  • Batavia's Board of Education will meet at 7:00pm Monday at the Administration Building, 39 Washington Ave. The Board will begin with an executive session and hopes to get started with the public meeting about an hour later.
  • Batavia's Present Tense bookstore at 101 Washington Ave. will host author Christine Smyczynski Saturday from 1:00 to 3:00pm for a book signing. Smyczynski is the author of Western New York, An Explorer's Guide: From Niagara Falls and Southern Ontario to the Western Edge of the Finger Lakes Region. Call (585) 815-7640 for more information. Or visit the bookstore's Web site.
  • Batavia Musical Society's presentation of Urinetown will premiere Friday night in Elba. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Check out the production's Web site to find out where to get yours. Showtimes are at 8:00pm Friday and Saturday.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

June 12, 2008 - 7:51am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, veterans, genesee county legislature.

Check out WBTA for these and other stories:

  • Genesee County legislators approved tax exemption for Cold War veterans at the meeting last night. Exemptions were previously only granted for combat veterans.
  • Those same legislators clashed over how to handle the extended absence of a clerk from the treasurer's office who is out on medical leave. The treasurer's office wants a full-time replacement. Some on the Legislature suggested a temporary part-time position be created. Dan Fischer writes that "the amendment" was later "approved by a vote of 6-3," though it is not quite clear what the amendment signified. I assume it altered the request for a full-time staffer to part-time, but the language is a little unclear. Either way, it's a tricky situation, and I could understand the differing of opinions. Do you pay two people for the same job when one of those is unable to perform it? But at the same time, how can you not hire someone to do the work that is not being done?
June 12, 2008 - 7:38am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Police Blotter for Wednesday, June 11:

  • Genesee County sheriff's deputies charged a Batavia driver with a felony count of aggravated driving while intoxicated last night. Arron L. Zimblis, 44, of 114 Vine St. (Lower), Batavia, was driving on Putnam Road in the town of Bethany when deputies allege that he failed to stop for a stop sign, left the road and drove about 100 feet into a field before coming to a stop.
  • A Tennesee man was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment following an investigation by city police into an incidedent on January 31. Police were told that 33-year-old Jason T. McLain made several harassing phone calls that day. McLain posted his $200 bail and will return to City Court later this month.
  • Another city police investigation yielded an arrest. In this case, a Batavia man was alleged to have damaged a door and spit at another person at a home on Ross Street in May. Ronnie J. Sumeriski II, 26, of 101 Jackson St., was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment.
  • Twenty-two-year-old Alicia M. Warney, of Holley, faces a charge of fourth-degree grand larceny, city police said. Warney is accused of stealing several thousand dollars worth of property from a former roommate when Warney moved out of the apartment.

Note: All of the above arrests were reported in published releases from the departments.

June 11, 2008 - 3:20pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, video, Holland Land Office Museum, civil war.

In Episode Two of our living history series at the Holland Land Office Museum, Pat Weissend tells us about a pair of Civil War medals on exhibit. Check it out:

We'll be back at the museum before long, so be sure to watch for the next episode!

June 11, 2008 - 11:45am

From the Daily News (Wednesday):

  • Ramble Music & Arts Fest is less than a month off — July 5 in Jackson Square — and festival organizers are looking for more ways to boost the arts side of the daylong event. In addition to the music, the festival includes poetry, sidewalk chalk art and a history session. Check out Ramble's MySpace or the festival's Web site for more info.
  • City Council President told reporter Joanne Beck that the Council is conducting City Manager Jason Molino's annual review. Mallow felt that the city manager is "doing a good job," though everyone on Council will be able to give his or her input. Mallow would not say whether the executive session held after the Council meeting Monday was a part of that process. Molino did not attend the session.
  • A pair of articles by reporter Tom Rivers look into the disparate industries of manure and maple. Both make for interesting reads.
  • A full-page article on A-8 previews the Paolo Busti Cultual Foundation of Genesee County's 24th Annual Scholarship Award Night, which starts at 6:00pm June 25 at Terry Hills Restaurant. A brief bio is included for each of the 12 high school seniors competing for scholarships. Check out the article for ticket information.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

June 11, 2008 - 9:52am
posted by Philip Anselmo in fire department, traffic.

Reports have come in this morning that county fire crews are containing a gas leak at a home near Genesee Community College. A representative at the Genesee County Sheriff's Office confirmed the reports.

Drivers should be aware that some stretches of the roads around the intersection of Assemblyman R. Stephen Hawley Drive and Batavia-Stafford Townline Road will be temporarily closed while crews resolve the situation.

No word yet on how long the road closures will last, but if you're heading that way this morning drive cautiously and expect detours.

June 11, 2008 - 8:38am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Police Blotter for Tuesday, June 10:

  • Larry R. Brewer, 42, of 117 1/2 Liberty St., Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant for second-degree menacing yesterday afternoon, city police said. At the time of arrest, Brewer was also charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.
  • Christopher M. Dilaura, 28, of 34 Cedar St., Batavia, was charged with violating and order of protection and sent to jail in lieu of $1,000 bail, city police said.
  • Raymond L. Leach, Jr., 51, of 29 Montclair Ave., Batavia, was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Deputies were told that Leach made a threatening phone call.

Note: All of the above arrests were taken from published releases from the departments.

June 10, 2008 - 7:20pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in animals, circus, genesee county fairgrounds.

Please enjoy our tour around the big top... and the midway, and the petting zoo and everywhere else at the circus as the crews of Carson & Barnes got ready for the big show going on right now over at the Genesee County Fairgrounds.

June 10, 2008 - 12:49pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in baseball, Daily News, notre dame high school.

From the Daily News (Tuesday):

  • Notre Dame's Fighting Irish downed Pine Valley in the Class D Regionals 7-3 yesterday to advance to the state semifinals in Binghamton Saturday. It's the first time in the team's history that they made it to the final four. The Fighting Irish will face either Section 9 champion Chapel Field or Section 8 champion Southtown Christian. Check out the great article by reporter Brian Hillabush for all the details of the historic win.
  • Reporter Joanne Beck has a pair of articles on the new chief of police and last night's City Council meeting. Both stories appeared on The Batavian yesterday. (Police Chief Randy Baker had a couple minutes to field a few quick questions from the media between Council meetings last night. We'll be sitting down to get more in depth with the new chief early next week, so check back for that.)
  • Carson & Barnes Circus pulled into town this morning and started setting up the big top, feeding the animals, and getting everything else in gear. Reporter Scott DeSmit was there for a preview of the show. Check back with The Batavian later this afternoon for a guided video tour courtesy of Papa D Clown.
  • Batavia senior Mike Spiotta was honored as the Monroe County Golf League Player of the Year.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

June 10, 2008 - 12:25pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in photos, St. Joseph's, parade, carnival.

Thank you to an anonymous friend who sent us this link to a page of photographs taken at St. Joe's Parade this past weekend. We were unable to make it to the festivities, so we're grateful that someone else took the initiative to document the occasion and get us involved in sharing the experience.

In fact, this is a perfect example of how the community can help make its own news. We're here to get the ball rolling, but this project we call The Batavian really works best with your participation.

I've tacked up a couple photos to the post here. For now, you can see the rest at the photographer's Flickr site. Hopefully, we'll get all of the photos loaded into our own account so you can access them with a simple click of the Photos button up near the top of the page.

If you have some photos of Batavia that you would like to share with your fellow residents, please don't hesitate to drop us a line. As always, I can be reached at philip (at) thebatavian (dot) com.

June 10, 2008 - 9:03am
posted by Philip Anselmo in schools, gates-chili, national guard, afghanistan.

Gates-Chili's Neil Armstrong Elementary School adopted the 2nd Platoon of the Army National Guard, a Batavia-based crew of 43 that is currently stationed in Afghanistan.

Gates-Chili Post reporter Amy Cavalier wrote about just what such an adoption entails.

Neil Armstrong students have taken up collections and sent at least 17 boxes to the troops overseas. Cards, snack packages, books, magazines, and even Thanksgiving place mats, among other items, have helped the platoon deal with war.

But it wasn't all one sided.

In return for their kindness and support, 1st Lt. Andy Kirchhof kept the students informed through e-mails, pictures and even a framed flag that reads, “This flag was flown with pride in a combat zone at Fire Base Morales-Frasier Afghanistan.”

Three platoon members visited the school in September before being deployed, and several weeks ago, Kirchhof got to come home on leave for two weeks. The Brockport native made a point to visit Neil Armstrong to thank the students for all their support and to answer any questions they had.

Check out these links for a photo slide show, the full article from the Gates-Chili Post and some excerpts from soldier's letters to the students at Neil Armstrong:

June 10, 2008 - 8:43am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police.

City of Batavia police issued three reports of arrests this morning.

  • Richard J. Zawicki, 30, of 145 Hutchins St., Batavia, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child yesterday morning. According to the report, Zawicki allegedly got into an argument with a child that "escalated into a physical confrontation."
  • Tara L. Hall, 29, of 11 S. Lyon St., Batavia was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and second-degree offering a false instrument for filing yesterday morning. Hall allegedly gave police a false statement following an investigation in accident.
  • Willie J. Thomas, 32, of 5 Raymond Ave., Batavia, was charged with forcible touching last night following a police investigation into reports that Thomas had inappropriately touched "a female acquaintance" Sunday. Thomas was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.

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