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December 15, 2008 - 11:45am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, farms, agriculture.

New York's new Farm Bureau President, Dean Norton, of Batavia, will be heading to San Antonio next month for the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, according to the Daily News. Once there, Norton, along with some 5,000 other farm bureau members from across the nation, will attend more than a dozen conferences on issues related to the industry, including

sessions on the turbulent global economy and how it relates to U.S. agriculture, the urgent need for livestock producers to become activists, the continuing debate over biofuels, crop and livestock outlooks for 2009, and much more.

(This information was available in a news release issued by the AFB that can be accessed via the group's Web site.)

Immigration reform will likely take top priority for Norton as he settles in. Tom Rivers writes:

Norton expects immigration reform -- setting a policy that would significantly boost legal farmworkers in agriculture -- to be at the top of the Farm Bureau priority list at the state and national levels.

"It's a safe bet to say that immigration will be a big one (on the agendas)," Norton said by phone Sunday from Washington.

Rivers also cites a survey put together by a pair of Cornell University researchers, in which some 1,200 state farms were questioned on the importance of immigration reform.

From that survey:

Many farm managers are concerned about labor supply. They feel that immigration reform is an urgent public issue and very important to their business. While the survey did not inquire about managers’ responses to the current immigration environment, ongoing informal feedback from farm managers and the organizations that represent them reveal a number of emerging trends and responses. As a result of increasing controversy over immigration reform as well as increased immigration enforcement activities, farm managers are beginning to make decisions they would not have made several years ago.

Farm managers told the researchers that they want to be more involved in the policy making process. "Agricultural employers are aware that their voice is often overshadowed by the large number of non-farm voters concerned about immigration reform," said researchers.

Some are concerned that many farms are "holding off expansion plans until they are more certain that they can acquire the workforce necessary for larger agricultural operations." In other words, uncertainty regarding the stability and constancy of the labor pool is causing farms to stunt their own growth. Farms are also doing all they can to reduce the visibility of immigrant laborers in the community in an attempt to avoid detention and deportation.

One potential solution offered by those surveyed involves searching for alternative labor pools. Some farm managers are even "reluctantly considering recruiting local workers, but they expect that the work ethic and work performance will be below that of the current Hispanic workers."

You can download the complete survey here. Also, be sure to check out the piece in today's Daily News by Tom Rivers.

December 15, 2008 - 8:56am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, sheriff.

Eric C. Garrett, 29, of 112 Tracy Ave., Batavia, was charged with a feloy count of second-degree burglary, a felony count of second-degree robbery, a felony count of second-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, Saturday, city police said. Garrett is accused of breaking into the home of a female acquaintance on Richmond Avenue. Once inside, Garrett allegedly pushed the woman to the ground and threw a coffee table on top of her. When she tried to call the police, he allegedly took her cell phone from her and broke it. Garrett was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $3,500 bail.

Christopher L. Smith, 25, of Warsaw, was charged with driving while intoxicated and unlawful possession of marijuana Sunday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Smith was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on Route 63 in Alabama. He was also ticketed with moving from the lane unsafely.

Daryl L. Morse, 43, of Churchville, was charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and unlawful possession of marijuana Saturday, deputies said. Morse was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on Route 33 in the town of Bergen. He was also ticketed with inadequate lights, expired inspection and unlicensed operator.

Joshua Barber, 18, of Le Roy, was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property Saturday for an incident that occurred on December 3, deputies said. Barber was allegedly found in possession of a stolen stop sign from the corner of Harris and Asbury roads in the town of Le Roy. He had allegedly put the stop sign in the trunk of his car. The sign has since been returned to the town of Le Roy Highway Department.

December 15, 2008 - 8:24am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, business, school board, Tops Markets.

Batavia's City Board of Education will meet tonight at 7:00pm at the administration building on Washington Avenue, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. You can download the meeting agenda via the city schools' Web site. Board members are expected to go into an executive session regarding an employment matter.

In other news, Fischer reports that Tops Markets will add as many as ten new stores throughout the region, including several that are planned for Buffalo and Rochester. The supermarket chain will also invest some $150 million in renovations to its existing stores.

December 14, 2008 - 2:24pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Stafford, Christmas, Christmas lights.


Today's Christmas light post is one I found on the ride out to Jim DiSalvo's property on Fargo road. 

This well decorated home is the first one you see when you turn off of Route 5 and onto Fargo. While it may not have the half million bulbs the showcase down the road does, this home has plenty of lights and characters. There is also speakers with Christmas music playing.

(I'm also taking suggestions if anybody has homes they would like to see featured on The Batavian)

December 13, 2008 - 1:46pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Stafford, Christmas, Christmas lights.


"This is part of our Christmas tradition every year."

Those are the words Debbie Renteria yelled to Jim DiSalvo from her car window, as she drove her children around DiSalvo's Stafford property early Friday evening. You could see the smile, and sense of satisfaction on DiSalvo's face.

It is probably something he hears a hundred times a week during the Christmas season, and has for the last 14 years.

DiSalvo started decorating his enormous front yard with lights almost a decade and a half ago and it keeps growing every year.

"It's a lot of fun," said DiSalvo, who is the president of Applied Business Systems and manager of Team America Racing, where his son Jason is a star Superbike rider. "There is nothing I enjoy more than walking outside on a night like this and seeing the cars and the people."

DiSalvo's property is tucked away at 9180 Fargo Road in Stafford, just as you leave Batavia on Route 5, but once you make a sharp turn, you can't miss the decorations.

Almost every tree on the property has lights, there are over a half million bulbs in use and there are over 350 different lighted characters in the yard. Practically every tree has its own power outlet in the ground near it, there are over two miles of underground cable in use, there are an additional 500 extension cords in use and it takes four 200 AMP generators powering the show.

There is also two very large speakers and a 250 watt amp playing Christmas music that can be heard from the street.

DiSalvo has a full light crew that starts putting up the decorations the first week of December and finishes in mid-to-late November. The lights stay up until January 5.

The amount of people that visit Jim, and wife Connie's home is a number that DiSalvo couldn't even estimate. He says that on weekends the traffic is bumper-to-bumper.

"I like to sit in the front yard and watch (the people visit). It's non-stop," DiSalvo said.

The DiSalvo home must have more Christmas spirit than any other location in the area. Last week, the DiSalvos hosted over 300 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts from the area for hot chocolate, cookies and a tour of the property.

 People often stop and leave gifts on DiSalvo's front porch, and he witnessed one of the most unique acts of the holiday season he has ever seen this past week.

DiSalvo noticed somebody dressed as Santa Claus sitting near a tree in the front yard, so he went to investigate.

"I asked him if he was really Santa," DiSalvo joked.

It turns out that the unidentified man has done this for a couple of years now. He sits in DiSalvo's winter wonderland dressed as Father Christmas with a bag of toys, waiting for his eight year old grandson. The child comes to check out the lights and gets to meet Santa, and receive gifts.

That was an experience that sums up why DiSalvo puts together the biggest display of area Christmas lights.

"It's all for the kids, really," DiSalvo said.

Here is a Flickr page with 23 photos of DiSalvo's Christmas lights, but it is advised that you take the short ride to Fargo Road to get the full effect.

December 12, 2008 - 11:08pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, basketball, sports.

 The biggest challenge facing the Batavia boys basketball team this season is taking on teams with size.

Victor has plenty of size, especially 6-foot-10 center Rob Page.

But the Blue Devils used an up-tempo pressure defense, with some zone mixed in, and a fast paced offense to overcome a second-straight slow start to beat the visiting squad 67-54.

Victor jumped out to a quick lead though, as Lee Lomenzo hit two quick baskets and Page dumped one in, giving their team a 7-2 advantage in the opening four minutes of the game.

Each of the three Hoy brothers had a basket in the next four minutes as Victor led 15-11 after the first period of play. It was the second consecutive game that Batavia has trailed after the first quarter.

Joe Schlossel and Robert Hoy had two straight baskets, with Hoy hitting an and-one, and Batavia took a 16-15 lead early in the second quarter, and never fell behind.

Schlossel hit two more baskets in the second quarter, Adam Pettinella nailed a 3-pointer and Andrew Hoy scored nine of his 15 points with eight rebounds and three assists as the Blue Devils took a 32-23 lead into the half.

Victor went on a 6-2 run near the end of the third quarter and cut the lead to 44-43, but Marcus Hoy drained a 3 at the buzzer to give Batavia a 47-43 lead after three quarters of play.

After a Pettinella 3-pointer gave the Blue Devils a five point lead, Victor was never able to get any closer than that the rest of the way.

While Andrew Hoy led the Blue Devils in scoring for the fourth-straight game, his supporting cast came up huge in this game.

Robert Hoy scored a season-high 15 points and Schlossel added 14 points, playing much bigger than his 6-foot-2 frame. Schlossel and the rest of the forwards held the 6-foot-10 Page to just four points.

Marcus Hoy had eight points with 12 dimes Dakota Irvin had five points with seven boards. Pettinella pitched in eight points.

David Vistocco led Victor (3-1) with 17 points, with Lomenzo getting 14 and Tyler Brooks finishing with 13.

Batavia beat two defending state champions and opened up with a win in the Olean Tournament, then beat Pittsford Mendon on the road before this game. That makes the Blue Devils 2-0 in the Monroe County League and 4-0 overall.

Batavia is at Pittsford Sutherland on Wednesday.


December 12, 2008 - 9:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in consolidation, government, Andrew Cuomo.

The idea of consolidation of local governments is on its face appealing. It holds out the promise of cost savings, if not lower taxes, as well as reduced regulations on businesses.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo thinks there are too many government agencies in New York.

“Simply put, our system of local government is broken. It has been outpaced by globalization, regionalization, and an ever changing marketplace,” he said. “The density of local government in New York is astounding. There are 10,521 overlapping government units, providing duplicative services creating needless, wasteful bureaucracies.”

The questionable assumption in Cuomo's statement is that globalization and regionalization (never heard that word before) is a good thing.

One could make the case that the smaller the government agency, the closer it is to the people it effects, and the more responsive it is to small group or individual needs.

Here are some other assertions worth further examination:

The law is filled with anachronisms. More disturbing is that the law contains provisions that are relics of the past that conjure up images of “poll taxes.” In some cases, an individual may vote to dissolve or consolidate governments, such as special districts, only if they own taxable real property in the area.

Comparing current laws in New York to racist policies of a Jim Crow era is a pretty loaded. What civil rights are being impinged by the current system?

Again, the idea of consolidation has its appeal. With 10K+ government bodies in New York, you can be assured that many are receiving totally inaccurate oversight.

As a young reporter in California, I loved covering special districts because they received such little attention from journalists. That lack of oversight encouraged a devil-may-care attitude among the officials charged with running the districts. Their expense reports were often a playground of excess if not outright maleficence. There's no doubt that there are redundant and uncessary districts in WNY.

However, I would be leery of any consolidation scheme that diminishes a small town's ability to engage in self rule. Residents shouldn't lose the ability to rub elbows with the elected officials who decided how to spend their tax money.

(Link via Buffalo Pundit)

December 12, 2008 - 2:28pm

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce it’s first ever snowman building contest. The event, sponsored by thebatavian.com, will take place on the east lawn of the Museum on Wednesday, December 31st from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

If there isn’t any snow outside, we’ll build them inside!

Prizes will be awarded. And, we are planning to have a celebrity judge. We can't announce the name yet, because this person isn't confirmed.

Check out www.wonderlandoftrees.com or call the Museum at 343-4727 for more information.

December 12, 2008 - 2:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A child riding in a vehicle northbound on Alexander Road suffered a minor injury when a southbound Jeep Grand Cherokee reportedly served into oncoming traffic.

The Jeep clipped the other vehicle and then careened into a telephone poll -- severing the poll about half-way up its length -- near 8804 Alexander Road.

The child was transported to a hospital for evaluation, according to Deputy Richardson, primarily, he said, as a precaution.

The Jeep was driven by Kayla Tyoe, and the vehicle had two additional passengers.  The other vehicle was driven by Tracy Cooper.

Richardson said the investigation is ongoing to determine what caused Tyoe's vehicle to reportedly cross into the oncoming lane.

UPDATE: The Daily just posted a story with a few additional details.

December 12, 2008 - 1:57pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Christmas, Christmas lights.


The second house in our series of Christmas lights is located on North Spruce St. in Batavia. 

There isn't nearly as much volume as our first example from Thursday, but does a nice job of spreading out the displays over a large front yard, with great trim around the house itself.

December 12, 2008 - 1:44pm

Here in Orleans County, we have quite a dilemma on our hands. Last year, the Orleans County Legislature notified the public that we needed a new jail. The jail we have now is crowded and needs to expand. But due to our jail being landlocked (right now, the jail sits in downtown Albion next our courthouse, meaning there is no room for expansion) and the jail having serious wear and tear, we are in the market for a new jail.

The county has formed a Jail Advisory Committee to address issues surrounding the construction of a new jail. However, the Orleans County Legislature decided a few months ago to pursue a study (which, according to news reports, the Genesee County Legislature agreed to) that would look into a regional jail shared between the two counties.

For some in Orleans County, this looks to be a great deal. The cost to build a jail in Orleans County has been projected to be between $20 million to $30 million, although the Legislature has not always been united on the cost. So sharing that burden with Genesee County might not be such a bad thing on the surface.

But I worry about this for a few reasons:

(1) Our jail was officially opened in the early 1970's. The Genesee County Jail, according to its website, was built in 1985. That tells me the two counties are at different points. Again, I'm not sure how necessary it is for Genesee County to build a new jail or join in with Orleans County on plans for a regional jail. That is why I'm writing this to get feedback from the citizens (and hopefully members of county government) in Genesee County.

(2) Would Genesee County be in the financial position to pick up its end of the deal? The reason I ask is because Orleans County would be in a tough bind with the jail project, whether it is a shared sacrifice or not. Such a project would raise taxes (without question) and it would prove to be a long-term burden to pay off. One can assume that if it would cost Orleans County to build a larger facility (projected at one time to be a 120-bed facility), then a regional jail will cost at least slightly more.

(3) Is it worth conducting this study to see if a regional jail would be viable? At last check, the study itself would cost $40,000. That's a big gamble to take if the study comes back and says that such a venture would not be viable.

As a resident of Orleans County, I feel its safe to say that myself and several other citizens are worried about the jail project. If this regional jail doesn't come to fruition, we will need to build a facility sooner rather than later. That burden will fall on us and it will be a tremendous burden to take on.

However, I'm turning to the people of Genesee County and I hope some of the leaders in Genesee County (I'm looking at you Jay Grasso) are reading this. Are you in the market for a new jail or a regional jail? Are you in the financial position to make such an investment? And is this something Genesee County would want?

December 12, 2008 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hunting, outdoors.

Reynolds Game Farm is closing down after 81 years of operation, the Binghamton Press reports.

The farm is a victim of state budget cuts, according to the article. No word on the immediate fate of pheasants still on the farm.

The farm has been in various administrations' crosshairs for decades. In fact, if memory serves, the state sought to turn the Reynolds farm over to Cornell University to be used as a wildlife rehab facility in the early 1990s. The news leaked to the Conservation Council and some quick maneuvering and brokering -- ostensibly involving a license fee increase -- saved the farm at that point.

The state consolidated the pheasant program in 1999 when it closed and sold the White Farm in Batavia and moved all the equipment, etc. to Reynolds.

The fate of the pheasant program is still unknown. Commissioner Grannis had expressed in the fact that pheasants could be purchased for the program at far less expense than it took for the Reynolds farm to raise them. Maybe this means the program will continue.

December 12, 2008 - 1:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Roger Muehlig reports that the Genesee County Economic Development Center is selling its Mill Street headquarters and will lease back its office space from new owners.

The move paves the way for the property to move back onto the tax roles.

The  price: $675,000. The buyer: Harris Mill Street Properties.

A mortgage tax and sliding scale property tax exemptions package approved by GCEDC directors for the sale totals about $187,745. The largest part of that is an estimated $180,995 in property taxes on a sliding scale over a 10-year period.

The agency is considering relocation within the next three years to one of its other project locations.

Muehlig says that more than 35 new companies have been launched from the business incubator the GCEDC runs from the location.

The agency is working on at least three major development project in Genesee County.

December 12, 2008 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather.

The National Weather Service has issued a weather advisory for Genesee County with chances of freezing mist and a wind child factor of 5 degrees.


December 12, 2008 - 8:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron.

Anthony Dimarzo, 18, of Byron was arrested yesterday in his home at 6404 Millpond Road, for allegedly possessing marijuana.

The arrest by Sheriff's deputies came after a probation office reported his suspicion that Dimarzo had marijuana in his house.

Dimarzo is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 5.

December 12, 2008 - 8:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba.

WBTA reports on a two-truck accident at the intersection of Routes 98 and 262, with some diesel fuel being spilled.

The accident occurred just before 6:30.

School bus service was not disrupted, but traffic is being rerouted and motorist are being asked to avoid the area.

Tune into WBTA this morning for updates.

December 11, 2008 - 11:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Daily News.

We heard from a few sources that one of the hang ups the Daily News ran into was getting its print classifieds online.  This, we hear, delayed the launch of the web site, and when the Daily launched on Tuesday, classifieds were not part of the launch.

That's not surprising -- many newspapers have struggled with getting legacy ad systems to transfer files cleanly to online systems.

It looks like the Daily has worked out the kinks -- the ads are now online.

December 11, 2008 - 9:01pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Christmas lights.

 The Batavian will be posting at least one photo of a house in Genesee County decorated with Christmas lights each day until Christmas.

Our first post is a fantastic example of a well decorated home. The house, located on at the corner of Eugene Street and Fordham Drive in Batavia, had lights on all sides of the house and must have taken hours to set up. It is well worth the short drive to check this one out.


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