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January 5, 2009 - 8:13am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, consolidation, Syracuse.

A potential consolidation for Batavia has caught the attention of more than just the local crowds. An editorial from the crew at the Syracuse Post Standard that went up a few days ago asks the question: One Batavia for all?

If Batavia's voters approve municipal consolidation next fall, it should make waves at least throughout the state. As Attorney General Andrew Cuomo recently noted, New York's 10,521 local government entities are excessive. Towns, villages, school districts and special assessment districts consume too many tax dollars and pit folks against each other who should join forces.

Is Batavia ready to make waves? What good or bad could come from the consolidation?

January 5, 2009 - 7:51am

A story in the Democrat & Chronicle yesterday features Batavia Notre Dame graduate Tim Sullivan, now one of the country's best basketball shooting coaches. Sullivan, who graduated in 1978, then "walked onto the team at Canisius College in Buffalo," now puts on some 400 shooting clinics across the country each year.

This article, by John Boccacino, is a fun read, and there are more than a few great tips for any amateur basketball enthusiast looking to beef up his or her shot. It's clear that Sullivan knows his stuff.

After every shot attempt Sullivan preached that, as part of their follow through, the participants kiss the shoulder of their shooting side to guarantee a complete, accurate shot.

His wise words were met with confusion. "When he started talking about that, my friend Matt Noto and I looked at each other and said, 'OK, that won't work,'" said Steven Ciotti, 13, a seventh-grader at Greece Athena Middle School who plays for Greece Basketball Association's seventh-grade house team. "But then he started shooting and he just wasn't missing. I think he made almost 95 percent of his 200 shots and we were all amazed."

January 5, 2009 - 7:27am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Announcements, charity, byron.

We received the following notice from the Friends of Jennifer:

    Jennifer Bobzin was in a serious accident with a tractor trailer on Monday, October 20, 2008 around 1 p.m.  She was put into a coma by the doctors to perform a Bifrontal Craniectomy (part of her skull cap was removed to make room for swelling of the brain), the surgery was finished around 730 p.m. Monday night. The injuries sustained in the accident were mainly to her face and head. She has several facial fractures and trauma to her head/brain, with bleeding.
    Jennifer was transferred to St. Mary’s Brain Injury Unit on November 13th for rehabilitation.  She is doing well and has even progressed to being able to come home for occasional day visits.
    Jennifer is a single mom, and recently purchased her first home for herself, her mother and her boys.  Due to the accident and the extent of her injuries, the financial situation is poor.
    In an effort to help with the many medical and everyday expenses, her friends have planned a benefit dinner and concert for
January 24, 2008.  The benefit will feature four live bands, dinner, a Chinese auction, door prizes, raffles and a live auction as well.  We are planning on about 400 people.  We are currently seeking donations from area businesses for items to use in the auctions and raffles.  We are also looking for donations of food items or monetary donations to offset the cost of the dinner.
    For more information you can check out the websites that have been set up for Jennifer.  www.caringbridge.org/visit/jenniferbobzin is the website that has been tracking her progress with daily updates and a guestbook that can be signed, and www.myspace.com/jamminforjen has been set up to promote the benefit.   Businesses will be promoted on the my space website as well as area radio stations and newspapers.
If you need to contact someone, please feel free to call Jennifer’s sister Shari at 585-813-7675.  Donations can be mailed to Shari Loewke at 6664 Townline Road Byron, NY 14422.

Thank you,
Friends of Jennifer

January 4, 2009 - 9:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy.

Many people love those big box, big chain stores. Often, they have a better selection of items then smaller, locally owned stores, not to mention the potential of better prices.

But is going to Wal-Mart, Target or Home Depot first, instead of one of the many local merchants that might carry the same wares the best choice for your community or yourself?

USAToday carried an interesting piece this past week on the virtues of shopping local.

There are good reasons for buying local. It reduces the need for shipping, which reduces pollution, and it supports the local community. "A study we did found that for every $100 spent in a chain store, $14 went back into the local economy. For a locally owned business, it was $45," says Stacy Mitchell, author of "Big-Box Swindle" and researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. "Locally owned businesses buy a lot of services from other local businesses. So by buying from one local business, you're not only supporting that business, you're supporting other local businesses."

The author offers examples of how she shops local. Of course, not all of those options are available in Batavia.  At times, unfortunately, the big box stores seem unavoidable.  But what are you doing to make a better effort to support your local economy?

(via Rochester Turning)

January 4, 2009 - 6:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Jordan M. Hadfield of Batavia was struck by a car -- allegedly on purpose -- in Watertown yesterday.

The Watertown Daily Times reports that Eric W. Walker, 27, of Watertown, is being charged with two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and one count of falsely reporting an incident as well as leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

Allegedly, Walker struck Hadfield and then drove home, where he called police and said somebody had smashed the windshield of his car while it was parked outside.

No word on the condition of Hadfield, or even if he was taken to the hospital.


January 3, 2009 - 12:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

Congratulations to Justin Forrester and Malissa Moore, proud parents of the fist baby born in Batavia in 2009.

Newspapers do the "first baby" every year story, but reporter Joanne Beck does a good job with the story of little Jayden Mariah. Click on over a read it.

January 3, 2009 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in consolidation.

Roger Muehlig has a fascinating story this morning on a 40-year-old master planning document that would have aligned the land use planning for both the city and county.

When you drive around Batavia and contemplate the disorganized approach both entities took to commercial and retail development, you have to wonder: Why was the plan ignored?

The report, "A Comprehensive Master Plan for the Batavia Area," was done by Herbert H. Smith Associates of Rochester as consultant to a Batavia Area Planning Board. It is not dated, but was apparently done in the late 1960s.

Purpose of the area planning board, established in 1966, was "to provide foresight and guidance on matters of concern to both the city and town," according to the document that's on file at the Genesee County Planning Department,

The plan was commissioned in late 1967, the report said, and there are several references to a 20-year planning period up to 1990. The plan, it said, projects the area board's thinking approximately 20 years into the future, "and is therefore an effort to envision the Batavia of 1990."

Review of the 88-page plan is especially timely considering the current proposal to considate the town and city, but isn't there also an element of a little too late?  Batavia has undergone a lot of development and revedevelopment in 40 years. It might be a little hard to organize things now.

What would be more helpful, especially if consolidation goes through, is a completely new master plan -- one that builds on Batavia's historic strengths, finds solutions for catastrophic mistakes (like, the Mall), and focuses on creating a dynamic business environment to create jobs and grow revenue.

January 2, 2009 - 1:13pm

Thomas (age 7) and Alyssa (age 5) were at the Holland Land Office Museum today to build a snowman in the snowman contest sponsored by thebatavian.com.

They named their creation “Snowball the Snowman.”

The contest runs until Saturday, January 3rd at 3:00 p.m. Prize sponsors include Matty’s Pizzeria and Movies in Motion.

To enter the contest, come down to the Museum with your best snowman making materials and supplies and find a place to build it!

Call the museum at 343-4727 if you have any questions.

January 2, 2009 - 9:30am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

City police teamed up with the Genesee County sheriff's deputies in a burglary investigation that led to the arrest of two city residents. Corey A. Johnson, 21, and Brian J. Miller, 27, both of 667 Ellicott St., Apt: 4b, Batavia, were arrested on New Year's Eve, deputies said. They were both sent to Genesee County Jail without bail.

Johnson was charged with a felony count of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Miller was charged with two felony counts of second-degree burglary, one felony count of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor.

City police had been interviewing Johnson and Miller at their apartment as part of an investigation. During that interview, an officer noticed a shotgun and some other items in the apartment that resembled those that had recently been reported stolen to the sheriff's office. A pair of separate residential burglaries had been reported in the Bethany area on Christmas Day, December 25, and the day after.

"In both burglaries, the residences were forcibly entered, the houses were ransacked, and several items were stolen, including electronic equipment, jewelry, and other personal items," deputies said.

This investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected.


Gregory A. Jones, 30, of 8794 Alexander Road, Batavia, was charged with two counts of first-degree rape Thursday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Jones was accused of forcing a 27-year-old female to engage in sexual intercourse on two separate occasions Thursday. Jones was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $5,000. He will reappear in court on January 26.


Justin T. Blackwood, 22, of Amherst, was charged with driving while intoxicated Thursday, deputies said. Blackwod was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on County Line Road in Darien. He was also ticketed with driving left of the pavement markings in a no passing zone.


David M. Heschke, 42, of Oakfield, was charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle Thursday, deputies said. Heschke was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on West Main Street Road in the town of Batavia. He was also ticketed with consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, moving from the lane unsafely and driving left of pavement markings in a no passing zone.


William D. Hirsch, 21, of Pavilion, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief Thursday, deputies said. Hirsch is accused of using his crutch to break the driver's side window of his ex-girlfriend's truck.


Coty Brawdy, 19, of Angola, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Thursday, deputies said. Brawdy was stopped for alleged traffic violations in the city of Batavia. Brawdy was also ticketed with operating a motor vehicle with obstructed vision and an equipment violation.


Michael Coffta, 16, of Medina, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Wednesday, deputies said. Coffta was found to be in possession of marijuana following a traffic stop in Darien.


Brent D. Scoins, 33, of 108 Woodstock Gardens, Batavia, was charged with driving while intoxicated today, city police said. Scoins was allegedly found asleep behind the wheel of a running vehicle on Summit Street in Batavia. He was also ticketed with failure to keep right.


Joseph M. Sanders, 25, of South Carolina, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. Sanders is accused of possessing a forged New York State prescription that he allegedly altered. He was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $25,000.

January 1, 2009 - 7:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire.

Quick thinking and the amazing athleticism of a 72-year-old resident of a Bank Street townhouse  may have saved the lives of him and his wife as he single-handily battled a fire, according to a Democrat & Chronicle story.

Something awoke the couple at about 3:40 a.,m. this morning, and the man -- who is not identified -- jumped from his second floor window, grabbed a shovel, smashed a window and extinguished the fire before firefighters arrived using water and a five-gallon bucket.

The couple was treated and released for smoke inhalation at United Memorial Medical Center. The man also sustain some cuts on his feet from broken glass.

The apartment, at 337 Bank Street, suffered enough damage to make it unlivable. It did not have a working smoke detector, according to Chief Tom Dillon.

January 1, 2009 - 2:40pm
posted by Arlana Pathammavong in snow, Sidewalks.

I have found in the past few weeks during our snowfall chaos, many things frustrating.  During our snowstorm we had not too long ago, we cannot really deny that the plows at that time did the best that they could do, and they did just that.  And at a time like that you might not expect that our sidewalks in the city get taken care of the day of the storm, or even the day after, as there was just too much snow to handle all at one time.  But just last night (New Year's Eve) I was out at 11:00 PM and there were people walking down Oak Street and Mix Place and Main Street in sections, because the sidewalks were not cleared.  There wasn't even anything close to as much snow as we had 2 weeks back.  I understand that sometimes those little Kubota type tractors aren't able to get out there right away, but you'd think by midnight they'd have sidewalks cleared.  Yes, the priorities to clear are the streets, but it is also not safe for people to be walking in the roads especially when the streets are slippery and icy.  Imagine if a car were switching lanes and lost control.  I myself spun my tires a few times and swerved to the side while trying to get through a green light.  I just think that for the pedestrians who travel throughout the city, they should be able to walk down the sidewalks where they are safer.  Simple.

December 31, 2008 - 10:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

From all of us at The Batavian, Happy New Year to you and your family.

The first eight months of The Batavian has been fun, interesting and challenging.  The site has grown quickly and we appreciate your support and participation in the site.

We're looking forward to the promise of 2009 and hope that your New Year will lead to many happy returns.

December 31, 2008 - 3:48pm
posted by Philip Anselmo.

Please check out our selections for The Batavian's Top Ten Stories of 2008 in the post directly below. Once you've done that, you're ready to vote. Here's how it's done: Click next to the titles of the three stories you most enjoyed or that you thought were the most well-written, most impactful or whatever. Once you have selected three, click the 'Vote' button at the bottom. We will compile the results after the New Year, and list them in their proper order.

We encourage you to check out all of the top ten selections before making your vote.

Enjoy!

December 31, 2008 - 3:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo.

Yesterday, we revealed The Batavian's top ten individual posts for 2008—you can still check them out and vote for your favorite! Today, we list our Top Ten Stories: those big news items and grand themes that kept the coverage rolling and the readers reading. Many of our bigger stories, in fact, were made so by your contributions.

As before, feel free to argue the selection or recommend your own. just make sure you vote when we release the survey in a little while.

Here are your Top Ten Stories of 2008. We tried to select those ongoing stories that had the most impact on the community and were covered in depth by our voracious news staff and through reader contributions. Most of these stories played out over several days, some over several weeks, even months! Remember, these are not in any order:


House fire on Lewiston Road claims life of teenage boy...

About eight months ago, a fire at a home on Lewiston Road claimed the life of 17-year-old Erik Mooney. Howard Owens was on scene that day and recorded some video coverage of the aftermath, spoke with some neighbors and kept up consistent coverage for several days following the incident.


Youth football...

This story started with a visit from the management of the Rochester Red Wings, who told the Batavia City Council that it was no longer financially feasible to allow the city's youth football program to occupy the outfield of Dwyer Stadium during the off-season. From there, the emotion, confusion, resentment and silliness only compounded until youth football took all its toys and went home, as it were, to Lion's Park.


Muckdogs win NY-Penn League Championship...

Nobody saw this one coming, which only made the story all the more dramatic and wonderful. Really, the coverage of the championship was only the summit of an entire season's worth of top notch sport's reporting from several people, especially Muckdog's intern Molly Radzinski, who brought us regular game updates, video and behind-the-scenes info on our champs.


Six-year-old brings loaded gun onto school bus...

This story was relatively recent, so probably still fresh for most folks. News that a 6-year-old boy took a loaded handgun onto a city of Batavia school bus was enough to dominate our coverage for a few days running. Both parents of the child were arrested related to the investigation, as well as the child's older brother.


Elections...

We're quite proud of our elections coverage. We were relentless about it, and it showed. From the race up to the primary, through the big day in November, The Batavian was steeped in reporting, commentary and criticism of the process, the players and the people on the sidelines. Our coverage of the Democratic primary for the 26th Congressional District was unparalleled. And one of our posts about a fake Jon Powers Web site launched by the Jack Davis campaign was one of our most talked about—if not the most commented on—since The Batavian launched in May.


The mall...

Well, folks. This may be it. It's safe to say that aside from the much broader topic of politics and election coverage, the mall at the Batavia City Centre stirred up more opinion, ire and animosity than any other topic on The Batavian this year. Some of us were baffled time and again by how many people came out of the woodwork to comment on it. Posts by Daniel Jones, Amy Davis, Tim Paine, Mitchell Chess, Charlie Mallow and many more addressed the issue, often pulling 20, 30 or 40 plus comments at a time. Heck, Bill Kauffman even weighed in at one point. Love it or hate it—and most people will lean towards the latter—the mall was most certainly the most talked-about issue of the past eight months.


Pontillo's in Batavia closes—owes more than $112,000 in back taxes...

This story came about thanks to an anonymous tip we received following a story by the Daily News that claimed Pontillo's Restaurant in Batavia was closing down—for a couple weeks only, they said—for renovations. We still don't know if the Daily knew the facts and failed to report them or just did a poor job of researching before running their original story. But Pontillo's is still closed, two months later. The restaurant is on the rolls as owing more than $112,000 in back taxes and one of the Pontillo brothers has since taken the rest to court.


My T Acres barn fire...

No local story reported on The Batavian drew more people in the span of just a few days than the barn fire at My T Acres last month that sent a massive plume of black smoke curling over the city of Batavia. Howard was on scene with video before most other news sources even knew what was happening.


First major winter storm...

About two weeks ago, we were pulverized by our first siginificant snow storm of the season. The Batavian provided so much coverage, so consistently throughout the day, that it soon spilled off the page. Brian Hillabush was out driving around town taking great photographs and chatting with folks as they braved through the onslaught of wind and snow. Before even a week was out, we were hit again, winds up near 50 mph tore through the region, and The Batavian was back with more coverage. Many of our readers, too, came through with their own contributions. So many people had turned to The Batavian both to find out what was going on and to share what was going on with each other.


High school football...

The Batavian was fortunate enough to land Brian Hillabush as our sports editor prior to the start of high school football season. Boy was that a good move. Hillabush was a man obsessed. It seemed as if he was at every game, spoke with every athlete, every coach, even many of the fans. He covered the biggest games of the year, and brought them to life with rich details and background that no other news source seemed to possess.


There you go. We'll get up the survey in a few minutes so you can vote for your favorite.

I'm sure I missed some huge story or other. So again, feel free to remind me. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought Woody the Wayward Steer was the most exciting story of the summer. Really, though, that story belonged to WBTA. Dan Fischer was all over it, reporting regular "bovine sightings" daily. Good times...

December 31, 2008 - 3:30pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in City Fire, pembroke, emergency, east pembroke.

We received the following news from East Pembroke Fire Chief Robert Yungfleisch. It was dissemeniated by Timothy Yaeger, coordinator of the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management.

It is with deep sadness to inform you of the death of Firefighter Norman Koch. Firefighter Norm Koch was the Past Chief of the Corfu Fire District and a current Commissioner of the East Pembroke Fire District and Fire Police Captain. Norm passed away Dec. 30, 2008 while assisting at the scene of a MVA on Pearl St. in the East Pembroke Fire District.  Firefighter Norm Koch suffered an apparent heart attack and was transported to UMMC where he was pronounced dead.

Firefighter Koch had over 58 years in the fire service with Alexander, Corfu and East Pembroke Fire Departments.  He will be deeply missed.

Please extend your sympathy to Norm's family, friends and brother and sister firefighters.

Norman Koch leaves behind his wife, Joan Koch and three sons, Alan Koch, Randy Koch, David Koch and daughter, Debbie Stocking

Norman joined the Alexander Fire Department in 1950 and the Corfu Fire Department in 1955.  He was Chief of the Corfu Fire District from 1982 through 1986.  In 1987, he joined the East Pembroke Fire Department were he held the positions of Commissioner and Fire Police Captain.

Calling hours will be held on January 3rd and 4th from 4 pm to 8pm at the    
    Pembroke Community Center
    Corfu Fire Department
    116 East Main St
    Corfu, NY 14036

Funeral service will be at 11:00 am on January 5th 2009 at the
    Pembroke Community Center
    Corfu Fire Department
    116 East Main St
    Corfu, NY 14036

Departments sending apparatus to the funeral are asked to notify the Emergency Management Office.  Please limited apparatus to one per department. 

December 31, 2008 - 1:44pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, fire, emergency.

City of Batavia fire crews responded to a call at 21 Liberty Street, Ficarella's Pizzeria, this morning at 11:15am, according to Captain Craig Williams. Callers reported a smell of smoke inside the building. When firefighters arrived on the scene they saw smoke inside and smelled wood burning.

A fire was quickly located in the attic and extinguished by the personnel on scene. Crews were on scene for about an hour. No injuries were reported.

A malfunctioning neon sign caused the fire. Damage is estimated at $2,500.

December 31, 2008 - 1:10pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Holland Land Office Museum, snow, winter, snowman.

This here is a picture of Dame Edna, the only snow... er, person... to be built out at the Holland Land Office Museum today.

Unfortunately, while the snow fell, and it looked like it might be a good day to build snow... people... the roads were nasty and the winds a bit cutting. That being said, the snowman contest has been extended through Saturday.

So pack up the kids, mittens, carrots and coal and head down to the Holland Land Office Museum to build up your snowman for a chance to win a cool prize. Here's Pat Weissend:

December 31, 2008 - 9:25am
posted by Holland Land O... in Holland Land Office Museum, Wonderland of Trees, contest, snowman.

With all this snow, its snowman weather!

Come down to the Holland Land Office Museum until noon today and participate in a snowman building contest!

We have great prizes!

And  FREE coffee and hot chocolate! See Danielle is pouring it right now.

Call us at 343-4727 if you have any question.

 

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