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December 29, 2008 - 11:27am
posted by JIM NIGRO in flood.

Here are some photos that were taken on Creek Road about 7:30a.m. Sunday morning before the Tonawanda had crested.













































December 29, 2008 - 11:26am
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, dogs, Genesee County Animal Shelter.

Still looking for that holiday pup? Check out this video from the Genesee County Animal Shelter to see which pooches are looking for a home.

December 29, 2008 - 11:03am
posted by Steve Ognibene in batavia, city, snow, parks, flood, wind.

It started actually Saturday as temperatures were rising in the upper 30's climbing to low 50's overnight.  We had received about 2+ feet of snow just in the last week and now it was melting very rapidly.  Today's high was in the upper 50's and the tonawanda creek was above flood stage of 9 feet and peaked around 11.4 feet according to the weather channel this morning.  It's now at a little over 12 feet and hopefully cresting soon.  Also during this time we had very high winds which were approx 35-45mph most of the day.  This morning there were gusts passing through around 50+ mph for about an hour.  As the day went on the city crews were on scene along with tree and power companies to help battle the flooding and tree damage due to high winds.  On every street I saw tree limbs, debris and even uprooting in some areas that had left much damage through the city.

Here are some pictures to share of areas around the city:

A tree fell hitting a house on east avenue and pulled utility wires.

Tree was uprooted on Lincoln Ave. damaging houses and a red SUV due to the 50+ mph winds.

Many side streets had flooding on the south side.  Ganson Ave, Elmwood and pictured here is Jackson Avenue.

Kibbie park or should I say Kibbie lake?  The winds were very high in the afternoon during this time.

The tonawanda creek filled up rapidly due to the fast melting of snow.  Here is a picture showing the River Street bridge with a vehicle coming across.

Look familiar?  Corner of Walnut and Law streets had major flooding.  A trucker was able to pass through heading south on Rt 98.

Let's hope the worst is over and we can recover a bit before heading into the New Year.

December 29, 2008 - 9:53am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Three teenagers were picked up following a break-in at the Rolling Hills Paranormal Research Center in Bethany Saturday night, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Robert A. Ferguson, 19, of Oakfield, was charged with third degree criminal trespass, fourth-degree criminal mischief and unlawful possession of marijuana. Catrina M. Colvin, 16, of Pavilion, and Tiffany M. Walter, 17, of Stafford, were charged with third-degree criminal trespass. Colvin was also charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief.

All three youths allegedly climbed through an open window at Rolling Hills into a solarium that did not allow access to the rest of the building. Colvin and Ferguson then allegedly broke several windows and entered the main building. They allegedly fled the scene after the alarm sounded and were both picked up later at Genesee County Park. Walter was located some time after at a residence in Pavilion.

Megan J. Leach, 23, of Le Roy, was charged with a felony count of fourth-degree grand larceny Sunday, city police said. Leach is accused of stealing a purse from a patron at Billy Goat's Bar.

Joshua K. Williams, 17, of 516 E. Main St., Apt: Lower, Batavia, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief Saturday, city police said. Williams is accused of using a knife to cut up the coat of a female acquaintance during a domestic dispute at a residence on West Main Street in Batavia. Williams was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $2,000 bail.

Michael J. Packard, 54, of 240B N. Spruce St., Batavia, was charged with felony driving while intoxicated, second-degree criminal impersonation and unlicensed operator Friday, city police said. Packard was stopped by police after a citizen reported that Packard had staggered to his vehicle and drove.

John McGowan, 32, of 5 Highland Park, Batavia, was charged with third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree coercion, third-degree assault, fourth-degree aggravated harassment and fourth-degree stalking Friday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. McGowan was arrested following an investigation into allegations of domestic abuse committed by McGowan against his ex-girlfriend between October 12 and December 17.

Donald S. Sutherland, 40, of Bergen, was charged with driving while intoxicated Tuesday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Sutherland was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on Route 19 in Bergen. He was also ticketed with failure to keep right.

Zachary Seewaldt, 19, of Varsburg, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Wednesday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Seewaldt was stopped for an alleged traffic violation in Batavia. He was also ticketed with speeding.

State police out of Clarence report two arrests for driving while intoxicated and one for driving while ability impaired on drugs following the Buffalo Bills home game Sunday. A total of 36 traffic tickets were also issued during the DWI saturation patrol.

December 29, 2008 - 8:54am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, weather, flood, Tonawanda Creek.

The National Weather Service has cancelled the flood warning for Batavia:

The flood warning is cancelled for the Tonawanda Creek at Batavia. At 8am Monday the stage was 8.6 feet and falling. Flood stage is 9.0 feet. Forecast: The river fell below flood stage later this morning and will continue to fall to around 5.7 feet by Tuesday morning. Impact: At 10.0 feet, moderate flood. Minor to moderate flooding along the entire reach from Batavia to Tonawanda. Most focused in Alabama swamps, rapids, and northern Clarence and Amherst, and also in city of Batavia west of Main Street.

December 29, 2008 - 8:08am
posted by Philip Anselmo in weather, strom, gensee county.

Tonawanda Creek crested Sunday morning, spilling its banks onto local roads, some of which are still closed off today, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. Route 77 between Route 33 in Corfu and Route 20 in Darien is still closed due to a flooded viaduct under the railroad tracks there. Walnut Street in Batavia is also reported closed. Nevertheless, Fischer reports, people are still driving through the nearly two feet of water and around the barricades that were themselves taken down by the flood waters. Peaviner and Cookson roads are also closed.

Flooding was only one of the weather extremes causing for tough travel and some serious property damage across the county and elsewhere in Western New York yesterday. High winds, whipping up over 70 mph, felled trees and snapped poles toppling power lines. Winds in Batavia reached a peak of 62 mph, as was recorded at the School of the Blind.

Paul Mrozek wrote an article about the flooding and winds for the Daily News.

December 28, 2008 - 8:13pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, storm, flood, rain.

 I went around town for a while seeing what damage has been done. Some streets were closed down, trees obviously knocked over and very high flood waters ... some people don't even have back yards right now. There also a lot of homes in parts of town without power.

December 28, 2008 - 6:03pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, perry, sports, byron, Notre Dame, Albion.


Back in 1982, the Batavia Lions Club and Pete Arras decided putting together a basketball tournament would be a good idea to give some good basketball teams a chance to play on the court at Genesee Community College and make it possible for Batavia and Notre Dame to play each other.

Little could anybody have known, here we are in 2008 and the tournament is stronger than ever. It is also probably regarded as one of, if not, the best boys basketball holiday tournament in Section 5. There are typically around 2,000 people that attend the tournament at GCC every year.

That original tournament featured Batavia, Notre Dame, a very good Byron-Bergen squad and Albion. (The photo above is the original photo of the coaches).

With the Fighting Irish and Bees hooking up late in the previous season, so that was a great way to start the tourney. The two squads played in February with B-B winning 51-48. 

The opening round rematch was a stunner, with Byron-Bergen knocking off Notre Dame 54-43. Albion knocked off Batavia 62-45 

The Bees went on to claim the first Batavia Lions Club championship with 35-30 win over Albion, with Bill Ferris claiming the MVP trophy.

Ferris was also the MVP in the second year as the Bees routed ND 47-30 and then Batavia 80-43.

Notre Dame was the favorite when they matched up with B-B in the finals in the tournament's third year, but it was again the Bees claiming the title with a 52-48 victory. Notre Dame's Jim Pursel was actually the MVP of that tournament, mostly because of his 29 point effort in the opening round win over Albion.

History was made in 1985 when Batavia and Notre Dame finally had a chance to play each other in the finals. With ND playing in the Genesee Region League and Batavia in the Monroe County League, these teams never get a shot to go against each other.

Tournament MVP Ron Nenni dropped in 20 points and the Fighting Irish toppled Batavia 65-52.

The tournament has seen many changes in participants over the years, with teams like Oakfield-Alabama, Attica, John Marshall, Nichols, Bishop Timon, Perry, Williamsville North, Akron, Pembroke, Le Roy, Caledonia-Mumford, Iroquois and Alexander all having experienced playing in the classic tournament.

Despite not winning until 1989, Batavia leads the tournament with wins with 13. The Blue Devils have won the last four titles, and seven of eight. Timon knocked Batavia off in overtime in the opening round of the 2003 tournament and then toppled Notre Dame 48-44 in the finals.

Byron-Bergen - which hasn't played in the tournament since 1994 is tied with Notre Dame for  second in tournament titles with five. 

Perry has won two championships and Timon has the other.

There have been some special performances over the years. The most recent was by Batavia's Michael Chmielowiec - a senior at the University of Rochester - who set the single game scoring record with 40 points against Bishop Timon in 2004. He also owns the tournament scoring mark with 64 points.

There have been four other 30-plus point performances: Tom McCulley of Notre Dame dropped in 38 in 1991, Batavia's Phil Santiago scored 35 points in 2002, PJ Leavy of Batavia had 33 in 1995 and Notre Dame's Tim Wascott had 32 in 2002.

Leavy had 57 points in that 95 tournament, Albion's Ernie McDonald had 49 total points in 1983 and Batavia's Rick Lundy had 48 in 1997.

This year's tournament features the same four teams that have been in the last three tournaments. Batavia opens up against Albion at 7 p.m. Monday night, with Notre Dame and Perry following at 8:45 p.m.

The consolation game is at 7 p.m. Tuesday with the finals at 8:45 p.m.

Admission is only $2, includes a program with rosters and money raised helps the Lions Club to provide scholarships to local students.

If you are interested in checking out basically the entire history of the tournament, check out this link on Flickr for over 80 photos and stories from tournaments in the past.

Here is a link to the entire history of the tournament, with the scores for every opening round, consolation and championship game as well as MVP of that year's tournament.

Also, feel free to share past memories if you've played or watched memorable tournaments.

Also, here is the video from this year's team at the Lions Club dinner introducing the teams.

(most clips in the post and flickr gallery are used with permission from The Daily News)

December 28, 2008 - 4:36pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in weather, water, flood.

 I know a lot of people are spending today dealing with flooded basements. After you get the water pumped out, please feel free to share photos and stories of the events from today.

December 28, 2008 - 11:11am
posted by Michael S. Cole in batavia, thebatavian.

Good Morning Batavia,

I sit here at my trusty computer this morning mulling over the "new look" Batavian website with nothing but "awe".

To be able to view the events and happenings in my home town is just amazing.  I especially enjoy the video of the basketball games and comments. I can almost see myself, Jon Walton,Bill ,Randy, Gary,Sonny,Charlie, and the rest of the gang on the floor. It's too bad we didn't have the technology back then, it would be nice to see ourselves (then again maybe not!) The gym almost looks the same.

The view around town just astonished me. My congratulations goes out the staff of the Batavian for a job well done. Keep it comin'. I hope the folks in Batavia appreciate what you have done, and if not I sure do.

I look forward to more.

P.S. If there are any folks from the 1974 graduation class still in town, speak up!. Sign my guest book. Love to hear from ya.


December 28, 2008 - 6:46am
posted by JIM NIGRO in weather, water, flood.

FYI.....Tonawanda Creek south of Batavia BEGAN spilling its banks last evening (Sat. Dec. 27) and continues to rise. It  doesn't appear to be anywhere near cresting and this event looks to be potentially nasty. Pumps are running in the basement of our Creek Road home as I write this. Looks like our dogs will be spending the day indoors.

Probably a good a idea to avoid the low-lying areas immediately to the south, particularly  Dorman, Peaviner, Cookson and Old Creek Roads.    

December 28, 2008 - 2:45am
posted by Matt Scott in batavia.

I live on the west main street by McDonald's and I have to walk when the snow starts to fly. I am a little upset that the sidewalks have not been cleared down where I live.  The city cleared the sidewalks from the Sport of Kings to the east into downtown, but not to the west.  I have to and I have seen other people walking on the road, because of the sidewalk being waist deep with snow from the past couple storms.  Last year, they were cleared very quickly after a heavy snowfall.   What is the deal????  Also,  I have noticed that the side street sidewalks haven't been cleared either.   I would think that they should be cleared also even though the kids are not in school for the two weeks. 

Something to think about!!!!!

Ok Then,  I live in the Batavia Madows apartment complex.  So I don't have to clear the sidewalk that is in front.  The City did come down this far last year and cleared the sidewalks all during the winter months.

So, I think the city should do it again!!!!!!!!!

December 27, 2008 - 10:01am
posted by Philip Anselmo in weather, flood, Ellicott Creek.

We received the following flood warning, issued by the National Weather Service out of Buffalo:

Flood warning for the Ellicott Creek below Williamsville. From this afternoon to Sunday morning. At 8:00am Saturday the stage was 6.3 feet and rising. Minor flooding is forecast. Flood stage is 8 feet. Forecast: the river is expected to rise above flood stage late this afternoon and crest near 9.1 feet this evening. Impact at 10 feet: Moderate flood. Extensive flooding in Ellicott Creek Park and minor flooding in surrounding neighborhoods in Tonawanda.

For more information on the progression of potential flooding in your area, keep up with the updates at the Weather Channel online.

December 27, 2008 - 4:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Some of you have already noticed the site color has changed. 

Those of you familiar with the first three months or so of The Batavian's existence will recognize this site design. It's what we started with.  It was a default theme for the content management system we use and never intended to be a long-term site design.  For various reasons, however, we haven't yet been able to invest in a formal redesign of the site.  As a stop-gap, I went out and found that black-based theme and liked it at first.

But we all grew tired of it pretty quickly.  We always got a few complaints about it being hard to read, especially the links in the right and left columns.  But because the site had grown so much, we couldn't just switch back without some effort.  We're making that switch now.  There's still some kinks to work out, but we're not going back to black.

Eventually, we'll come up with some snazzy redesign and stick with that for a while.

There's also been a couple of other site upgrades that you may have noticed over the past couple of weeks.

First, if you go to the People page now, you'll notice that for any member of the site who isn't your "Friend" yet, you will see a link that says "Add as a Friend."  This will help you better identify people whom you know and should be on your friends list, or people you would like to know.

When people are on your friends list, it makes it easier, through the "Friend Feed" on the left side of the page or your own profile page, to follow their contributions to the site.

Second big upgrade is a new photo sharing tool.  Now you can have, essentially, your own photo blog on the site.  You can upload as many photos as you like. 

To add a photo, click "Create Content" and then "Share Photos." The process for adding a photo should be pretty self-explanatory, but let us know if you have problems.

Unlike adding a photo to a blog post, which requires you to manually resize the photos, you can now upload photos just as they come out of your camera (if you like) and our software will automatically resize the photos for you.  You can also use this feature to upload photos that you plan to use in a blog post. There is now a button on the blog entry form to allow you to easily navigate to your own photos, find the photo you want to use and add it to your post.

As always, we will continue to work on expanding and improving The Batavian.

UPDATE: I forget to mention: If the new template seems faster: It is.  The code is a little cleaner than the old template, plus we made some other performance enhancements to the software and the server. 

December 26, 2008 - 3:32pm
posted by Katie Elia in richmond library, homeschool.

Join us every Thursday morning at the Richmond Memorial Library as we read and discuss, The Birchbark House by Louise Erdich

Notebooks will be provided to registered participants to maintain a weekly journal of *chapter summaries*

Since we are fitting a lot into 30 minutes we are hopeful that everyone is here and ready to begin promptly at 10:00 am. Recommended age for participation is 8 to 14.

*The chapter summaries are an optional homework assignment and format can be determined by parents based on the writing skill level of each child.


Registration will begin January 2, 2009

Start Date: 1/15/09

Contact the Children's Room for more information

Richmond Memorial Library

19 Ross Street

Batavia, NY 14020




December 25, 2008 - 1:58pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in football, Le Roy, sports, Oakfield.

 Congratulations to Le Roy wide receiver Mike Humphrey for making the Democrat & Chronicle All-Greater Rochester football first team.

Humphrey is very deserving of the honor and had one of the best seasons any receiver has had in area football in many, many years.

The senior caught 63 passes for 892 yards and made it in the end zone a whopping 15 times, while guiding the Oatkan Knights to the Section 5 Class C championship.

Humphrey should excel at the University at Bufalo, Brockport or Cortland.

But the D&C again failed to give any love to our local teams, especially the Genesee Region League.

Oakfield-Alabama offensive/defensive lineman Chris Williams has been an all-state selection and has been the most dominant lineman in the GR since Pembroke's Chris Lauzze, who started at center this year for the MAC champion UB Bulls.

Here is the list of the Genesee Region League honorable mentions:

Genesee Region: Craig Campbell (Oakfield-Alabama), Chris Williams (Oakfield-Alabama), Graham Jensen (Pembroke), Craig Houseknecht (Batavia Notre Dame), Derek Hicks (Oakfield-Alabama), Ken Babcock (Pembroke), Kevin Francis (Batavia Notre Dame), Andrew Wright (Pembroke), Andy Ruddock (Attica), Tim Smith (Oakfield-Alabama), Brad Riner (Oakfield-Alabama), David Kleckler (Pembroke), Noah Seward (Oakfield-Alabama), Matt Klotzbach (Pembroke), Ray Paul (Barker), Tyler Kowalczyk (Oakfield-Alabama), Kevin Gallinger (Attica), Rick Lair (Batavia Notre Dame), Josh Hanel (Pembroke), John Koening (Oakfield-Alabama), Shawn Dupuis (Attica), A.J. Kehlenbeck (Oakfield-Alabama), Mike Dibble (Pembroke), Matt Thompson (Batavia Notre Dame).

I can't see how Williams, Smith, Wright and Ruddock (and maybe others) didn't get consideration for at-least second team.

Williams not making first team, heck, not making second team - is about the biggest joke and yet another example of the D&C blowing off the small schools and only caring about the big city schools.

Oh yeah, there was one local second team selection; Le Roy's Jordan Casper. Casper was an excellent offensive lineman and well deserving of an honorable mention selection. But where is Travis Fenstermaker?

Fenstermaker had an amazing career at Le Roy and is one of the top quarterbacks to ever play for the school. As great as Humphrey is - and trust me, he has some of the best hands I've ever seen - he is nowhere where 892 yards and 15 touchdowns without Fenstermaker getting him the ball.

I have a message that I really want the D&C and Section 5 officials to hear. I've said it before, and I'm going to keep saying it.

There should be two All-Greater Rochester teams, so the large school and small school kids can be honored. And the Eddie Meath game has turned into a joke, with coaches only playing the large school kids and giving the kids from the GR and smaller Livingston Conference schools little to no playing time. It is also time for two Eddie Meath games.

Come on. Oakfield-Alabama and Pembroke had great teams with an epic battle in the semifinals, O-A lost to Le Roy in the finals and Notre Dame advanced to the finals as well. Not a single GR player even earned second team honors. 


UPDATE: This has become a very heated debate on Talksback.

December 24, 2008 - 2:13pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in lights, Christmas.


In our final installment of the Christmas lights series, I'm posting a home that doesn't have bulbs all over the place like most houses in the series did. But this one on Edgewood Dr. was one of my favorites. The red and green lighting was subtle but really made the house stand out.

I hope you enjoyed the photos I've been posting the last few weeks, I sure know I've had a lot of fun going around looking for well decorated homes to share on The Batavian.

December 24, 2008 - 2:06pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, consolidation, town board.

We received the following letter from Batavia City Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian:

(SMSI) shared municipal services

(CGR) center for govermental research

(AIM) Aid Incentives Municipalitys

Our obligation is to our city and our taxes payers. AIM revenues would be approximately $650,000 In the first year and that would reduce the combined property tax levy of the city and town by 15% per year.  Only if the city and town are consolidated. That’s a win-win situation.

The cities growth is down -7% and the towns growth is up + 26.2% giving these figures that the burden is on mostly city taxpayers for Ambulance, police and fire services. The city and town both have recognized boundaries to be shifted for growth. We are faced with fiscal challenges all the time and now is the time to step up and make the necessary changes to be a viable one municipality.

We have been successful with water, city dispatch consolidation and economic efforts. Now is the time to move forward for shared services and consolidation of the ambulance, fire and police departments.  I can foresee other shared services in the future to engage fiscal responsibilities like town and city highway departments  and the animal control officer.

My goal is to create joint shared services with economic growth for a fiscal responsibility for all. Giving the State of the economy we must protect our communities with shared services to create a fordable standard of living.

                            Rose Mary Christian

December 24, 2008 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

If you haven't guessed by now, our small staff is pretty much in holiday mode.  Expect posting to be light through the weekend.

Of course, we'll continue to monitor the site and if you hear of any news -- do a blog post yourself, or leave a comment, and we'll pick up on it.

It looks like the crew at WBTA is also taking a well deserved break for Christmas.  There are some fresh stories on the Daily's site, if you're looking for some news, and I suspect they will continue to post on their regular editorial schedule.

Merry Christmas. 


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