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July 16, 2008 - 1:10pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in entertainment, Genesee County Fair.

Visit the Genesee County Fair Web site for a full list of all entertainment for the week, plus info about the Fair Queen Pageant, tonight's Parade and other special events.

Today's highlights include:

  • A children's storyteller at the Gazebo at 2:00pm.
  • A children's artist from 4:00 to 9:00pm in the Entertainment tent.
  • The Eagle Garden-Tractor Pull in the Grandstand at 6:00pm.
  • Singer Michael Jones will perform from 7:30 to 10:00pm in the Entertainment tent.

Jason McElwain will be the Grand Marshall for the Fair Parade this evening at 6:30pm, followed by an autograph signing with Jason in the Entertainment Tent from 7:30 to 8:00pm.

If you've got a video camera and fancy yourself a cinéaste, The Batavian would be glad to take any footage you've got of the parade or any other fair festivities and put up highlight reels on our site. Send Philip an e-mail at philip (at) thebatavian (dot) com or give him a call at (585) 802-3032, if you're interested.

July 16, 2008 - 11:46am
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, Holland Land Office Museum, Elba Mucklands, muck.

Who knew muck could be a claim to fame... It's dirty. It sounds gross. It doesn't contribute anything to society. What has muck done for you and me?

But before we get to that bizarre question, let's start simple: What is muck? Holland Land Office Museum Director Pat Weissend takes up the question in his latest post in the countdown of "The 25 Things that Made Genesee County Famous."

As Pat says:

Muck? What is muck? That is a question often asked by visitors to our county. What is this land with such an unusual name? Muck is a black soil that is left behind after swamplands are drained. The soil is made up mostly of humus. The mucklands in northern Genesee County and southern Orleans are thought to be the largest continuous section of this type of soil in the world. To create muck, wetlands must be drained, and because of environmental concerns, it is unlikely that any more mucklands will be created in the United States.

Pat gets into much more detail than that on the museum's Web site, so be sure to check it out. Also, we here at The Batavian — inexcusably in my own estimation — forgot to post a reminder when Number 22 in the countdown was released a couple weeks ago: Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. So go check that out, too.

July 16, 2008 - 11:17am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police.

All of the following calls were reported by the City of Batavia Police Department. Listed offenses do not imply that charges were filed. Calls may result in no official action.


  • 1:15am, 166 Vine St., trespass
  • 7:56am, Oak Street, accident
  • 9:22am, 278 Bank St., criminal mischief
  • 10:38am, 16 Woodland Dr., larceny
  • 12:50pm, 249 East Ave., criminal mischief
  • 3:26pm, 577 E. Main St., harassment
  • 4:25pm, 29 Liberty St., aggravated harassment
  • 6:39pm, 13 Thorpe St., larceny
  • 9:21pm, 8 S. Main St., harassment
  • 9:40pm, 117 North St., accident
  • 11:32pm, 238 Liberty St., trespass


  • 1:29am, Law Street, accident
  • 4:20am, 20 Main St., larceny
  • 10:13am, 260 State St., criminal mischief
  • 12:50pm, 136 W. Main St., accident
  • 1:35pm, 10 Olyn Ave., harassment
  • 1:56pm, 217 North St., harassment
  • 4:47pm, W. Main Street, accident
  • 5:11pm, 107 Elm St., fraud
  • 6:36pm, 416 E. Main St., harassment
  • 7:33pm, Jefferson Avenue, harassment
  • 7:53pm, 114 Liberty St., larceny
  • 9:23pm, 7 Central Ave., robbery

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

July 16, 2008 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, jobs.

It turns out that for the past week, we had an error on our job submission form and somebody finally brought it to our attention.  It's fixed now.  If you tried to post a job and couldn't, you shouldn't have a problem now.

July 16, 2008 - 10:11am
posted by Philip Anselmo in animals, Genesee County Fair.

Supermen, stuffed pink monkeys and plenty of other plush carnival prizes were strung up for the games yesterday afternoon when I stopped by the Genesee County Fair to get a preview of the festivities to come.

But the day belonged to the animals — bleating, sleeping, flirting, grooming, chewing, spitting, spatting, stinking, yet so lovable, animals. Plus the kids with water bottles who darted in and out of the stalls squirting at each other and squealing (not much unlike the goats, in fact) with glee.

As soon as I passed through the admissions gate, I heard the roosters. There must have been a hundred or so. Cackling, hooting and cock-a-doodle-doing and packed together in steel cages stacked one on top of another. Despite their close quarters they kept a proud chest high as they strutted, kicked up dust and barked at the rows upon rows of bunnies and fat rabbits that were as silent and immobile as the roosters were raucous and loud.

All of the game carts were shuttered, the rides were grounded, and the taffy girl wasn't pulling much of anything yet. A few families meandered through the midway. A couple dozen folks occupied the bleachers to spectate during some sort of sheep contest. But the animals seemed to outnumber the humans.

I couldn't quite gauge the emotion in this lady to my right here. At first she seemed sad, then flirty, then resigned, a little bit lethargic, all without doing any more than what you see her doing right here. Maybe she wanted someone to switch up the music — the speaker was set in front of her, sounding something jovial and bouncy, and she seemed anything but. A little while later, when I passed by again, she had the same expression on her face, though the tongue kept slipping out and tasting the air as a fellow bearing a set of clippers shaved the backs of her ears.

It didn't take long for this city boy to get over some of the more pungent, sour stinks emanating from the pens — was it the pheasants, I can't say — and soon enough I felt like a Saint Francis waiting for pigeons to land on my hands so we could converse and know the meaning of creaturely love.

Ah, the hogs. They had to be my favorite of the fair animals. They were most certainly the only ones there who, once alerted to the presence of myself and my camera, willingly sought out the lens. Like this starlet up above here who wanted to touch snouts with me, I'm sure. Or this one below who I'm sure hid a heart of love beneath that gruff, sleepy front he put up for the camera. If you look closely, you can see he wants to smile.

Then, of course, there were the goats.

Some had ears, some didn't. Some had horns, some didn't. Some couldn't keep their mouths shut for a second, bleating at kin and human baby alike. This one here was sounding the alarm for a few minutes straight. Maybe she was impatient to get out and strut her stuff, who knows.

Others were shuffled out of the pens, lifted up by strangers and cautiously pet by the trembling hands of little kids who went wide-eyed with joy at the touch of fur to skin.

Many of the sheep seemed content just to get some down time. Dressed to impress, they reclined in sackcloth coats, elastic sweaters and even tee-shirts. It must have been hard work getting paraded out in front of the gawking, bleacher-seated spectators while strangers grabbed at your sensitive places in front of all your friends and relations. But they bore it in style, those woolen ladies of the grange. Their randy goat brethren, however, typically got a laugh out of the whole show.

I have to admit. It wasn't easy to leave. I've never been much of an animal person. But there was something in the way the cows hid behind the fence slats only after I aimed the camera at them, something in those snouty grunts of the hogs and the knowing sneers of the goats, as if all of us — the animals, the frightened-yet-elated babies and the awkward photo-journalist — all of us shared something that never had to be spoken because it was already known. A sort of complicity, though none of us were guilty. A shared involvement in the silly, imbalanced joke of life that was had at all of our expense.

So I tell you. If you can get that much out of one brief visit to the fair, in the middle of the day, when the fried dough hadn't even been fried yet — then it's worth the $5 per carload.

July 16, 2008 - 8:34am
posted by Philip Anselmo in city, city manager.

Batavia's Assistant City Manager Sally Kuzon is suing her former employer, the village of Williamsville, for breach of contract, according to the Buffalo News. Kuzon was the village administrator there from 2000 to 2007, when she left after she and the village board of trustees failed to agree to a contract. Kuzon was making $72,350.

She now says she is "entitled to $36,175 in severence pay above and beyond the $72,875 the Board of Trustees voted to give her back in September."

As village administrator, Kuzon worked under a generous contract, which included a take-home car for job-related and “limited personal” use, covered travel expenses for professional conferences and seminars, and payment of membership dues to various professional and local civic organizations.

And, key to the legal action now facing the village, it also entitled Kuzon to a lump sum equal to six-months pay if she was terminated without cause or not re-appointed.

Kuzon’s contract was renegotiated in 2003 under former Mayor Ray Hazlett to include even more favorable terms. It allowed her to be considered for merit pay in addition to her annual 3 percent raises.

It also stated that Kuzon could accumulate unused leave “without limit,” and be compensated for it up to the equivalent of a full-year’s salary if she was terminated.

Kuzon could not be reached for comment this morning. The Batavian left a voicemail message requesting that she please call us back.

[Village Trustee Jeffrey] Kingsley, a lawyer, has been particularly outspoken in questioning whether Kuzon is entitled to what she’s already received, whether she was terminated or had resigned, and whether the contract clause regarding benefit payouts applied to her decades of service with the village or just her accumulated time since her contract was redrafted in 2003. “I still believe, in my opinion, she was overpaid in excess of $30,000 back in September,” he said.

Also, Kingsley said, it is “mind boggling” that the village never sought a release from Kuzon regarding any future claims before depositing more than $72,000 into her bank account in September.

Kuzon filed a notice of claim with the village June 30. She has not returned calls seeking comment. The Damon and Morey law firm is representing Kuzon.

July 16, 2008 - 8:22am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Batavia Boogie, wbta, skydiving.

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

  • Investigations by the FAA into the skydiving death of 61-year-old Joseph Schickler at the Batavia Boogie on July 3 have revealed that the parachute Schickler wore during the jump was fully functional. That does not explain why the chute failed to open.
July 15, 2008 - 8:56pm
posted by Tom Clark in Genesee County Fair, County, young folks.

My wife and I went to the County Fair tonight. We walked through all the animal exhibits, watched some of the horse competitions, admired the work that the 3-H Clubs are doing, enjoyed the performance of a talented your magician, and ate food from two granges. The weather was perfect for a liesurely stroll through the grounds. I was impressed by the number of young people who were participating in the Fair and those that were there to support their friends. We reccomend that you take the time tomorrow to enjoy a major part of our cultural base here in western NY.

July 15, 2008 - 6:12pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Jackson Square, live music, Westside Blues Band.

For all of you out there who missed the Westside Blues Band show in Jackson Square Friday, we put together this little video homage. It was a fantastic performance by a talented group of guys. We look forward to checking them out again when they're back in Batavia.

July 15, 2008 - 2:00pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News.

Agricultural reporter Tom Rivers is back in the fields — blueberry and raspberry patches in Point Breeze, this time. His article, something of a fruit-picker epic, sprawls off the front page to fill the entire back page of today's Daily News.

It's chock full of the expected Rivers-isms, such as, say... "I could barely stand the smell of myself, an unpleasant brew of sweat and sunscreen." A long piece, for sure, but as the rest of the series has been, quite readable.

Joanne Beck's coverage of the City Council's meeting last night can be found on the front page. Or... you can find it on The Batavian yesterday and this morning.

Reporter Paul Mrozek rounds out today's front page with a preview of the Genesee County Fair that opens today and runs through the weekend.

PIECES Gallery on Main Street will close "as of Monday." The gallery opened in Batavia in 2003. The article by Joanne Beck related the news that was left in a "voicemail message" by co-owner April Stringham.

Investigation into the fire Saturday at Cristina's Restaurant continues. Fire crews will raze most of the structure so that investigators can "sift through the wreckage" and better determine the cause of the fire. The banquet hall portion of the facility should remain intact. Cristina's owner Charles Brumsted was on the scene when reporter Paul Mrozek was there, but Brumsted refused to comment.

The Muckdogs won one and lost one during last night's doubleheader with Aberdeen. They improve to 15-12 for the season. They are tied for second place in their division.

July 15, 2008 - 11:02am
posted by Philip Anselmo in parade, Oatka Festival.

Thanks to Russ Stresing for getting us this footage of the Oatka Festival Parade.

July 15, 2008 - 10:26am
posted by Philip Anselmo in GCC.

Gensee Community College's Board of Trustees elected Laurie Miller as its chair in a unanimous vote at its meeting last night. Charles Ruffino was elected vice-chair, and Maureen Marshall was made secretary.

Mrs. Miller has served as a trustee since 2000. She is one of the owners and operators of Willow Ridge Farm in Alexander. Mr. Ruffino has served as a trustee since 2002. He is a retired New York State Department of Education administrator. Mrs. Marshall has served as a trustee since 2003. She is an owner and operator of Torrey Farms, based in Elba.

July 15, 2008 - 9:08am
posted by Philip Anselmo in city council.

We reported last night on the City Council's decision to delay the vote on whether to allow Batavia's Youth Football program to remain one more year at Dwyer Stadium. For those of you wondering what else the council got into last night, here's a brief recap:

A few concerns were raised over the cost of the Summer in the City event. Overtime costs for the public works and police department of Batavia will run to $5,355.

"It seems like a lot of money to me for a two day event," said Councilman Sam Barone.

Downtown economic developer Don Burkel explained that much had already been cut.

Comments from a Highland Park resident about the poor state of his neighborhood sparked a discussion about more policing that quickly turned into a call for organized neighborhood watch groups.

"We need to  train citizens to take charge of their own neighborhoods," said Councilman Frank Ferrando. "I'm talking about a 24-hour watch."

Councilwoman Marianne Clattenburg insisted that the police should have more of a presence in neighborhoods. They should be walking the streets, getting to know the people in the neighborhoods.

"If we have pockets of trouble in the city, there should be a strong police presence in those areas," she said. "I'm all for neighborhood watch, but I'm more for police watch."

Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian suggested that if the city was really interested in forming neighborhood watch groups, they should contact the state attorney general's office, which sponsors a neighborhood watch training program.

Mostly due to the pleas of Marianne Clattenburg, City Manager Jason Molino will look more into grant possibilities for working up a master plan for the city's tree plantings and arrangements.

Chris Boron, of GZA GeoEnvironmental of New York, recapped the cleanup opportunities for the heavily polluted Batavia Iron & Metal site on Bank Street. Remediation could range in cost from about $1 million to $20 million or more. Unfortunately, there are no grants currently available, though the city may petition the state for potential superfund.

Council concluded the meeting with a debate over the mall sign. The former mall sign was removed by the city during the construction of the city center several years ago, and the Mall Merchants Association want the city to put one back up.

Council President Charlie Mallow was vehemently opposed to erecting any sort of sign for the mall. First, he said, the city should not fund private business interests.

"In the meantime, the Mall Merchants Association is suing us," he said.

In fact, though the Merchants have said they would like to sue the city, no litigation is yet pending, said City Attorney George Van Nest.

Marianne Clattenburg called the sign — anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000 — a "colossal waste of money." Councilman Frank Ferrando was less decided on the issue

I don't know what it means when a community is business friendly. A lot of the actions we've taken over the past couple years have sent the message that we are not. A community thrives because of its business.

We've cut back on downtown activities. I'm not saying just spend money. But I think money can be spent smartly to support business. ... The more we support business, the more taxes we can get. We eliminate our parades, our celebrations, now we're worried about putting signs up.

Councilman Bill Cox said that quite simply the city took down the old sign, so it should put one back up. The issue will come up for vote at the next meeting.

July 15, 2008 - 8:08am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, agriculture, Genesee County Fair.

Big breaking news on WBTA this morning! Dan Fischer is calling it a Bovine Bulletin. Yes, it's true. There's a 1,200-pound steer on the loose in Batavia, escaped from the Genesee County Fairgrounds yesterday. The "show steer" was last seen on Cedar Street around 9:00pm last night. If you see it — white with a tan face and a number 37 tattooed on its right hip — call the police.

July 14, 2008 - 8:06pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in city council, youth football.

Well, kind of.

City Council was scheduled to vote on whether to allow Batavia's Youth Football program  to remain one more season at Dwyer Stadium — a decision that some said would have cost the city no less than $10,000 and most likely more.

When the vote came up for discussion, however, Councilman Tim Buckley hastily asked that the vote be postponed to the next meeting in August.

"There are a lot of things going on with it that we all know," he said.

What things?

It turns out that City Manager Jason Molino met with city school grounds crews and youth football representatives last week to look into the possibility of hosting youth football at one of the schools. Molino said that they discussed a solution not only for this year but for the long term, as well.

Council voted 8-1 to postpone a decision on Youth Football until the August 11 meeting. Councilman Sam Barone lodged the sole dissenting vote, though he did not explain why.

Without getting into too much conjecture here, we would imagine that Council does not get the opportunity to vote on this issue, if, in the meantime, a deal is worked out with the schools.

We will contact school officials tomorrow to see where they are in their deliberations.

July 14, 2008 - 6:16pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in church, religion, abuse.

Before the year is out, Batavian Rindy Walton will quit her job as a physical therapist, get rid of almost everything she owns and move with her three young sons to a suburb of Cincinnati with no financial prospects to found an itinerant church and minister to the disenfranchised.

"We're leaving the only place we know," she says, seeming to measure the gravity of the statement. "There's not a doubt."

It was the right decision, she says. She was called to it. It had to happen. Not everyone in her life, however, was able to match her conviction. Her family rejected her. Others have said she is stupid or crazy. They ask her how she could give up everything for... for what?

"It is a leap of faith, absolutely," she says. "I've had a lot of people support this. But I've also had a lot of people criticize."

Rindy talks unflinchingly of her past. She has been through "a lot of brokenness and abuse," she says. "And a lot of other people have been through that. I can use what I've been through to help other people."

Rindy lives in Batavia where she has worked as a physical therapist for BOCES for 21 years and raised three sons, doing it mostly on her own for the past ten years. For a long time, she hid her hurt out of shame, she says. She was like so many others who felt that private pain ought to be kept private.

No longer.

"There are people who say family secrets should remain secret," she says. "But there are too many families struggling. People are suffering and it's not OK to keep things secret. People dont deserve that."

Ministry is Rindy's way of changing that. Paul Peterson, the former pastor of her church, Northgate Free Methodist, is right now in Georgia attending a "church planning registry," explains Rindy.

"He felt the call to start a new church," she says. "We want to reach people who don't attend church, people who just don't feel that they'd fit the mold."

Peterson will pastor the church that the two of them will found in Maineville, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. Walls Down Church, as it will be known, will be exactly that: they will build up and tear down the church every week in a new venue out in the community, at schools, theaters, generally anywhere with an auditorium, bringing the church to the people, explains Rindy, rather than insisting that the people come to the church.

"That way we can go to the people," she says. "We can go where the need is. Especially for the people who are not attending church, to walk into a strange building is foreign to them. It's going to be a place where you feel comfortable, familiar."

Officially, Rindy will oversee family ministries for the church, which really means that she will work to make the church best suit the needs of its parishioners and do the most for them. She also plans to use her training as a physical therapist to accomodate families and children with special needs.

"From where I was to where I am now — there was someone who was hiding a lot of stuff, a lot of abuse, a lot embarrassment, shame," she says. "Now it's open. What's really cool is that I get to spend the rest of my life helping people who are where I was to get to where I am. That's just so cool."

If you want to donate to the Walls Down Church, send a check to Mountain Lake Church, 3105 Dahlonega Highway, Cumming, GA 30040. Indicate Rindy Walton or Walls Down Church in the Memo line. All donations are tax deductible, and Walls Down will receive 100 percent of the money.

July 14, 2008 - 3:37pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police.

All of the following calls were reported by the City of Batavia Police Department. Listed offenses do not imply that charges were filed. Calls may result in no official action.


  • 12:15am, 112 East Ave., assault
  • 2:20am, 208 Swan St., aggravated harassment
  • 12:29pm, Richmond Avenue, accident
  • 12:33pm, E. Main Street, accident
  • 2:44pm, Washington Avenue, accident
  • 5:20pm, 216 Ellicott St. (Apt: Rear), harassment
  • 7:46pm, 8 Manhattan Ave., fraud
  • 10:37pm, 39 Ellicott St., fire


  • 1:42am, Ellicott Street, accident
  • 5:40am, 419 W. Main St., menacing
  • 9:10am, 1 Mill St., accident (auto + pedestrian)
  • 9:57am, 5 Thomas Ave., larceny
  • 10:26am, 1 State St. (Apt: 107), larceny
  • 2:05pm, 60 Roosevelt Ave., fraud
  • 6:17pm, 8315 Park Road, larceny
  • 8:16pm, 8351 Lewiston Road, child abuse
  • 9:28pm, 2 Goade Park, harassment
  • 11:37pm, 413 W. Main St., criminal mischief


  • 3:45am, 505 E. Main St., criminal mischief
  • 10:49am, 127 North St., trespass
  • 1:17pm, 119 1/2 State St., criminal contempt
  • 5:25pm, Watson Street, accident

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

July 14, 2008 - 2:49pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News.

Today's Daily News opens on the front page with coverage by Paul Mrozek of the Cristina's fire from over the weekend. Not much new information that was not already available in our post Saturday and WBTA's report this morning that the investigation continues.

Mrozek was also in LeRoy this weekend for the Oatka Festival. Thanks to the camera lens of Russ Stresing, The Batavian hopes to have some video of the parade up on the site tomorrow.

A brief preview of the Genesee County Fair schedule for Tuesday includes these highlights:

  • Pancake breakfast from 7:00 to 10:00am.
  • Horse shows at 10:00am and 5:00pm.
  • Fashion show from noon to 1:30pm.
  • Midway opens at 6:00pm, following the opening ceremony at 5:00pm.
  • Talent show at 6:00pm.
  • Karaoke at 8:00pm.

Congratulations are in order for 16-year-old Batavia High School student Avery Cruz who was honored with the Assembly Republican Excelsior Award June 20. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley presented the award granted to "individuals who have overcome physical or other personal challenges to acheive great accomplishments and serve others in the community." Cruz has Asperger's Syndrome, a type of Autism.

More congratulations for Elizabeth Bonarigo, Mark Houseknecht and William "Rusty" Griffin, Notre Dame's Woman and Men of the Year, respectively.

In sports news, Batavia Minor League Baseball recorded the first tie game in its history. Pamela Sivret does a good job covering the match and the mood of the game, and Nick Serrata's photograph is just as great. Not only was it the first tie, it was the first time the Minor League played a night game. The All-Star match pitted the Nationals versus the Americans, writes Sivret. And after a lengthy "big lead" held by the Nationals for most of the match, the Americans tied it up (10-10) in the 8th, and that was where it would remain as both teams struck out in the 9th.

July 14, 2008 - 2:40pm
posted by Amanda Cragg in Batavia Muckdogs, community.

The Batavia Muckdogs' home game tonight, 7/14, against the Aberdeen Ironbirds is a double header since the game was rained out on Sun., 7/13.  Game start time is 5:05pm.  Booster Club 50/50 sales will begin normal time, 6pm.  If I'm not mistaken, both games will be a total of 7 innings each, unless there's OT.

July 14, 2008 - 9:15am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police.

Batavia city police report two arrests over the weekend.

Justine D. McWethy, 21, of 4011 Pearl St., Batavia, was charged with driving while intoxicated early Saturday morning. McWethy was stopped by police after she allegedly drove through the police barricades set up at the fire at Cristina's Restaurant.

That same morning, 19-year-old Jushua D. Quaintance, of Byron, was pursued by police following a complaint of menacing. He was pulled over on W. Main Street in Batavia and charged with driving while intoxicated.


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