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Opinion Page Policies

By Howard B. Owens
Jun 21, 2022, 12:59pm


  • Readers may submit either Letters to the Editor or Op-Eds;
  • Submission to the Opinion Page is open primarily to Genesee County residents;
  • All opinions are welcome but any statement of fact must be backed by evidence;
  • No personal insults, no name-calling, keep it civil;
  • Only digital submissions are accepted.
  • Submissions are not edited.

Letter to the Editor: College Students and Gambling

By Staff Writer
Sep 11, 2023, 12:05pm

Young people are off to college this month. We talk with kids about substance use and other risky behaviors, but what about gambling? It is important when talking with college bound students to help them understand the risks. Most young people can gamble without it causing any issues but for other young adults, gambling can cause serious harm. When you talk with your young adult about the facts of gambling and risk-taking, they can be better prepared to make decisions.

There are reasons why college students may be at a higher risk of developing a gambling problem. According to these include:  Age: College years are associated with a wide range of at-risk behaviors, Availability: This is the first generation to be exposed to wide-scale legal gambling. Technological advances make placing bets easier than ever. With the legalization of mobile sports betting in New York State the availability of gambling is everywhere, Acceptability: Gambling is part of our culture, gambling is legal in NYS, commonly endorsed by schools, and integrated into mainstream culture, Advertising/Media:
More than ever we are seeing advertisements everywhere we go. Promoted as sport, glamorized, and with winning bias it can be easy to think that gambling is risk-free when it is not, Access to cash: College students may get an allowance from their parents or guardians, and have access to student loans or credit cards. The average college student receives about twenty-five credit card
solicitations per semester (National Public Radio). 

Problem Gambling is “the hidden addiction.” It can be easy to hide from others and often not noticed that there is a problem until well into the behavior If you are concerned about your loved one’s gambling, there are warning signs to look out for. These include Preoccupation with gambling, asking for larger amounts of money or gambling more frequently, personality changes,
such as irritability, restlessness, withdrawal, alienation from family and friends, Inability to cut back or stop gambling, lying to friends and family about how much you gamble, Borrowing money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling, Suicidal thoughts.

Whether you are trying to learn more about gambling harm or looking for resources and services for you or a loved one, the Western Problem Gambling Resource Centers can help! 716-833-4274 or visit

Letter to the Editor: September is Recovery Month

By Staff Writer
Sep 9, 2023, 3:50pm

Letter to the Editor:

Recovery Month is celebrated by many in the addiction and recovery communities. These celebrations serve to recognize those who are recovering from addiction disorders and their loved ones who are fighting the recovery battle alongside them. Every day, millions of individuals are recovering from mental health and addiction disorders. Among those is gambling addiction.

Recovery looks different for everyone, and no one person’s recovery journey is the same. Recovery is a big deal and people in recovery continue to work diligently to find peace and maintain their recovery. 

We celebrate recovery month because we know the devastating effects gambling harm can have on those struggling, and their loved ones. As a diagnosable mental health disorder, we know that the brain chemistry changes for individuals who are experiencing gambling disorder. We know the effort and strength it takes to work towards recovery from gambling, and we want to celebrate those who start and continue their recovery journey. 

The consequences from one’s gambling behaviors can include withdrawal from family and events, loss of a job, lying to family members to hide the extent of gambling, and stealing. By coming together as a community, we can reduce shame and stigma to create a place where people work on their path to recovery.

If you or a loved one are impacted by gambling harms, the Western NY Problem Gambling Resource Center can help connect you to local support and resources including; recovery meetings, scheduling an appointment with a counselor, outpatient programs, and even peer support. We want you to know that you are not alone, and we are here to help. All calls are confidential. 1-716-833-4274 or [email protected]

By Jeffrey Wierzbicki

New York Council on Problem Gambling

Letter to the Editor: Concern over accidents on Route 5

By Staff Writer
Aug 16, 2023, 8:45pm

Letter to the Editor:

Is it just me, or doesn't it seem that there are more-than-the-average serious automobile accidents on that stretch of Route 5 between Batavia and Clarence?  You know, through East Pembroke, Pembroke, Newstead, etc.

Any explanations?  Any remedies?  Any solutions for the loss of lives or serious injuries?

N.Y. state road,no?  Not a state priority?  If not, whose?

Like a lot of these governors, county executives and city mayors are lately fond of pontificating, "My first job is ensuring the safety of my state, county, city (substitute as you please) citizens"  

Empty B.S., sincere pledges?  You decide.

By Donald Weyer

Letter to the Editor: Clarifying status of Love Bugs in Le Roy

By Staff Writer
Aug 10, 2023, 3:44pm

Letter to the editor from Jake M. Whiting:

Love Bugs Learning Center is open at the First Baptist Church, 5 E. Main St., LeRoy!

While we all want to move forward, it is important for Love Bugs to maintain the trust of its constituents. This letter includes certain clarifications to encourage continued support of Love Bugs.

In late March 2023, Church leadership sent an email to Love Bugs’ parents to announce meetings the following week, without any notice to administrators. This caused concern and confusion among parents who, until then, only interacted with administrators/teachers.

Love Bugs did not manage its own money. All tuition and fundraiser proceeds were paid to the Church and all expenses paid by the Church. The Church knew the economics of Love Bugs.

There were complaints that Love Bugs did not pay rent/utilities. While true, no one ever asked or expected Love Bugs to pay any rent/utilities.

The Church did offer to rent its space to Love Bugs for $400/month. Love Bugs intended to accept that offer, but decided against it when supplies were removed from the space, while school was still in session, without notice to administrators/teachers.

It is our hope that Love Bugs will continue to develop the LeRoy youth for years to come. To enroll, please email [email protected]. To make a donation, please make the check payable to Love Bugs Learning Center, PO Box 114, LeRoy, NY 14482. Please note, Love Bugs is not yet a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, but we are working to gain that status. Thank you.

Op-Ed: Bill awaitin Hochul signature would bring needed transparency to ownership of Limited Liability Companies

By Staff Writer
Aug 10, 2023, 3:20pm

Submitted by the New York Press Association:

Citizens have a right to know who they’re dealing with, whether it be in government or private enterprise. 

But that's not the case when it comes to Limited Liability Companies or LLCs. 

LLCs, for example, can own property, apply for grants, operate as landlords and donate to political campaigns. Holding the government accountable for its action demands a well-informed public. 

We need to know who, not what is benefiting in order to do our jobs as citizens.  Discovering who’s behind the curtain isn’t easy. 

Cruise through your local property tax rolls or the state’s campaign finance disclosure database. You’ll see plenty of LLCs, but you won’t see plenty of names.  

Anonymous shell companies have been a popular vehicle for money laundering, tax evasion, organized crime, terrorism and other forms of corruption for decades. Yet, as the bill notes, establishing an LLC requires less personal information than getting a library card. 

That's why it's important for Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign the   Limited Liability Companies Transparency Act, passed by both the Assembly and Senate, which would require these special kinds of business organizations to publicly identify the owners to the state and to the public registry run by the Department of State.  

At the federal level, the Corporate Transparency Act, which takes effect next year, seeks similar disclosures from businesses, including LLCs, but stops short of making the information publicly available. 

A wide variety of businesses, from pizza shops to mall developers and property buyers, use the LLCs as an organizing business structure. The approach, sanctioned by state law, provides the owners with some limits on liabilities the company could face. 

As a practical matter, LLCs also offer the people who actually own the company the ability to remain anonymous. Under current reporting requirements, LLCs need only supply a company name, county of operation and a basic address where legal documents should be sent. Sometimes, the address is a post office box; sometimes, it’s an attorney’s office; sometimes, it’s a registered agent. For anyone interested in knowing more, the information provided is often frustratingly non-descript and consequently useless. 

But we all have a well-established interest in this information, and the legislature should be commended for recognizing this by including solid public disclosure requirements. 

The lack of transparency with campaign donations is just one of the reasons the LLC Transparency Act has the support of good government groups such as Common Cause and the League of Women Voters. While a 2019 law change required LLCs making political donations to disclose their owners, many are ignoring the requirement, the groups say. 

The Business Council of New York State opposes the law, saying it will violate the privacy of law-abiding businesses – including thousands of small businesses organized as LLCs - and put their security at risk. There are some provisions in the legislation for public disclosure to be waived when “a significant privacy interest exists.” The law’s efficacy will be determined in part by how waiver requests are handled. 

Given the benefits state law confers on LLCs, it’s not too much to ask that they at least let us know who they are. This is a good step toward much-needed transparency. 

Letter to the Editor: Selling cannabis at the farmers market

By Staff Writer
Jul 15, 2023, 3:14pm

Letter to the Editor:

So Rachael Tabelski, Batavia city manager, wants to support a business in Batavia,  Empire Hemp?  Great, no problem there!

So Empire Hemp wants to sell its product at the Farmers Market, I assume including the one in Batavia?

Wait just a sec, here!

Rachael wants to combine the two, and I assume that Empire Hemp is all for selling its product, hemp, CBD, etc., at the market.

Despite some philosophical and legal issues about this combination, I'm mainly concerned that the Farmers Market, and I guess, Rachael, aren't worried about providing a better variety of actual farmers market traditional products, such as more fresh cucumbers, ears of corn, tomatoes, radishes, onions, cauliflower, etc., and the logic displayed by Rachael, Empire Hemp, and all the other players involved with cannabis.

And here, all I wanted to do was spend my $50 worth of veterans farmers market coupons on food produce!  (Thank you, N.Y. State!)
But seriously,  I guess it's more important to "get high" than it is to "get healthy." Or is this whole issue just an illustration of "intersectionality," the new buzzword?

By Donald Weyer.

Letter to Editor: Those hand-painted Muckdogs signs

By Staff Writer
Jul 15, 2023, 3:07pm

Letter to the Editor:

What's with the amateur, childish, home-made Muckdogs signs popping up on Batavia city property, advertising upcoming fireworks at the Muckdogs games (there's one at State and Denio streets, another at Richmond Avenue and Oak Street, maybe more around town).

Unsightly, driver-distractions, unprofessional, illegal ("post no signs")?

An issue for the Batavia Beautification Committee?

Nothing against fireworks, Muckdogs, or baseball!  What if each one of us posted, on public property, anything and everything that we felt like posting?  Or is that not an issue anymore in 2023?

By Donald Weyer

Letter to the Editor: Questions about fireworks money

By Staff Writer
Jun 21, 2023, 11:01pm

Letter to the Editor by Donald Weyer:

I note that the Batavia City Council approved a $4,000 grant to the Muckdogs for fireworks on July 3 at Dwyer Stadium.  Apparently, that money was from the canceled Picnic in the Park on July 4.  This is from an article Joanne Beck posted on The Batavian. 

Three questions and comments:

1.  I applaud the Muckdogs for pledging some of this money windfall for needy residents' tickets to the game and, thus, their enjoyment of the fireworks.

However, I have resided on Denio Street, contiguous to the stadium, since 1992, and every year since anyone who wanted to view the fireworks could do so freely and with a great view outside the stadium in MacArthur Park. That's just the nature of fireworks!  So I question the $4000 grant as something that was not necessary for needy residents' enjoyment. (Yeah, they might be interested in the baseball game too, but then again, they may have no interest in the game, just the fireworks show). Anyway, and additionally, if the Muckdogs intend to use the grant for a bigger display of fireworks, well, you know, a fireworks display is a fireworks display, bright lights and booms, and the incremental size of that display doesn't mean a whole lot.  I'm trying to say that the grant was not necessary and could be better used for other purposes: attacking potholes in the streets, damaged portions of sidewalks, improving the Little League facilities at self-same MacArthur Park, making the streets safer for Bicyclists, stepping up police enforcement of TRAFFIC LAWS, providing some type of Sun-Shading for the Farmer's Market on the Mall parking-lot, many other projects, too numerous to mention in our great city of Batavia NY, etc. 

2.  If the $4,000 was meant for the canceled Picnic in the Park, that event attracted a diverse range of any and all, Batavia residents. Muckdogs games have a much smaller and less diverse range of residents that are attracted to said games.  And we all know how important "diverse" is in 2023!  Was this budget transfer made simplistically because both events involved the Fourth of July?  Is that any way to manage our money?

3.  Heck, the $4,000 could have been used to reduce Batavia City property taxes proportionally.  You know, "every little bit helps!"
While we're on the topic of the July 12 Council meeting, just one more question (again, from an article by Joanne Beck) about the "open containers" in Jackson Square: how much extra will the bars have to pay to secure the $1 million liability insurance, if they don't actually already have it?  (I know I can pay $80 per year for an excess $1 million personal liability policy).

Maybe we can get Assemblyman Hawley in on this with his expertise!  Then we would have two of the three  "big hitters" involved in this issue.

All we need is a federal presence to decide and manage our existence!

Letter to the Editor: Lighten up Geno

By Staff Writer
Jun 21, 2023, 10:52pm

Letter to the Editor by Donald Weyer.

Honorable Geno Jankowski, respected President of the Batavia City Council, please lighten up, my good man. We Batavia residents are not criminals, thugs, ruffians, juvenile delinquents, "grunts" in the military, young children in need of discipline and guidance, and etc., and etc.  We are responsible, tax-paying citizen-civilians of Batavia, whom we beg you to represent!  And we get it, we know your Batavia Police Department background (thank you for your service!) and possible military background(?) too.  (My own grandfather was a police officer in Buffalo, a stern, wooden, no-nonsense man, not "grandfatherly" in any way).  But your governing style, also stern, absolute, antagonistic, defensive, "take-no-prisoners," and even autocratic, is turning us civilians off.  

As well as that of Mr.Bialkowski and Ms.Tabelski, who always seem to be enabling your verbal admonishments and directives and pronouncements, in addition to your actions indicating oppositional attitudes toward us residents.  All we ask is that you treat us as mature adults, and we promise to reciprocate in kind in our relationships with you.  You are no longer on the police force or in the inspection line of a military formation or police unit, so please act accordingly.

Concurrently, us citizens are no longer in short pants and T-shirts awaiting instruction and direction and reproachment from the neighborhood (but retired) policeman!

Hey, Geno, you're a "sharpshooter."  Use your ability in that practice: understand, assess, and act.  To "read" every last one of your Batavia constituents' needs and wants, then satisfy every last one of them with your expertise in focus, attention, and cool!  Forget about all the condescension, distrust, arrogance and "father knows best" attitude, displayed periodically in your service, yes service, to we citizens.  Continue to do your good job of city governance, which, again, periodically, you certainly do.

You made a statement recently to the effect that certain individuals always want to make an issue in the city,  a"racial" issue.  (In reference to the question of "block parties").  Remember, one of your recent campaign slogans was "vote for the three 'skis.'"  (You know, sir, JankowSKI, BialkowSKI, and TabelSKI.  The Tabelski, who resigned, in deference to his spouse, Rachel, so that she could ascend to the throne, er, position, of Batavia City Manager.  You see, some of us residents are paying attention).  Your slogan was not overtly "racial," but it was certainly ethnic, tribal, which some people conflate with "racial."  I'm just saying, be careful, be consistent, and above all, please don't "speak out of both sides of your mouth"!

Anyway, a second current "bone" that I wish to "pick" with you, Geno: your voiced stance on the proposal to allow "open" alcoholic beverages in Jackson Square for the Summer music entertainments held there.  I know, and you know, my man, that people will do the "open" regardless of what the law says.  So go ahead, allow it.  Make it equal with the legalized gambling and marijuana which you have already endorsed and allowed within city limits.  Why discriminate against alcohol, since it is probably the oldest, more-acceptable, potential stain on the human strain, and more ingrained in our society, than the other two!  It maybe even causes less damage to the human condition, I don't know.  Plus, the city can maybe wrangle some extra revenue, taxes, and licensing fees from it!  Again, don't allow some things and forbid other things based on your superior judgment or knowledge of what is moral or immoral; what is right or wrong; what is in accord or in discord with your personal beliefs!  After all, haven't all those things gotten us to where we are today?  "Heaven on earth," or "hell in a hand-basket"?  You, revered residents of Batavia, decide!

In closing, Mr.Jankowski, remember Florence Gioia, sir?  Remember Rose Mary Christian, sir?  You are becoming the cynosure, the lightning rod, of early 21st. Century Batavia.  I haven't figured out yet whether that is a good, bad, or indifferent happening!  Progress forward, or in reverse?  Ultimately, the voters will decide.  Or will they?  We wouldn't want to miss out on your positive characteristics, but we can well do without your negative ones!

OPINION: Innovation and collaboration key to successful workforce development model

By Staff Writer
Jun 21, 2023, 10:41pm
glow with your hands
GLOW With Your Hands Manufacturing Event from September 2022: (Left to Right): Rich Monroe (Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program), Hon. Roberta Reardon (Commissioner, NYS Department of Labor), Chris Suozzi (Co-Chair, GLOW With Your Hands), and Jay Lazarony (Co-Chair, GLOW With Your Hands).
Submitted photo.

By Chris Suozzi GCEDC Vice President of Business and Workforce Development 

According to the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), comprised of workforce development boards across New York State, there is an urgent need to prepare the next generation of workforce candidates as approximately 25% of the labor force in the state is 55 years or older.

And locally focused solutions are already in place to solve this nationwide issue.

Public and private sector entities across Genesee County and the GLOW region have made it a priority to collaborate in preparing and implementing youth workforce development programs.  This collaboration has been extremely effective in engaging our youth by helping them learn about local career opportunities and by providing employers the opportunity to engage area youth.

What is unique in our approach is being able to expose students at a very young age to skilled trades, manufacturing, mechatronics and other growing employment sectors where we are with them each step of their workforce journey. Due to our location between New York’s second and third largest metros, we can specialize within specific industries and skills that fit within our own business ecosystem to promote good-paying jobs located in students’ backyards.

The collaboration among entities such as the four-county GLOW Workforce Development Board, Genesee Valley’s 22-school BOCES, National Grid, manufacturers like Liberty Pumps, HP Hood and future employers such as Plug Power and Edwards Semiconductor has been the foundation for the success of workforce development. 

We also have seen a return on youth workforce investment through collaboration with Cornell University’s Food Processing Bootcamp, Genesee Community College and Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association, among many other business, education and youth organizations.

One of our most successful programs, GLOW With Your Hands – Manufacturing, is an innovative day-long hands-on career experience that guides youth to careers in manufacturing and the skilled trades. This past March, we launched GLOW With Your Hands – Healthcare, another day-long career exploration event in another sector experiencing a strong need for workers.

There are significant benefits for both employers and students through these day-long career exploration events. Employers in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors get the opportunity to interact with the next generation of workforce candidates first-hand, learning about their potential career interests, while over 1,600 students learned about the career opportunities available in their community this school year.

Our region will continue to see investment in advanced manufacturing, infrastructure, and construction, especially with the development of the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP in the town of Alabama). The demand for a plentiful pool of skilled and productive workers is only going to increase as companies in these emerging sectors bring their operations here and workers at existing companies in the region begin to retire.

However, when you surround yourself with people that care about the future of their community, you can build something special, and that is what we are experiencing in Genesee County and the GLOW region through these collaborative workforce development initiatives. 

cornell food processing
Cornell Food Processing Boot Camp: Bootcamp participants tour Yancey’s Fancy dairy processing facility in Buffalo East Tech Park in the Town of Pembroke.
Submitted photo.
boot camp
Finger Lakes Pre-Apprenticeship Boot Camp: A participant receives instruction from Tambe Electrician and GV BOCES instructor Rich Monroe using state-of-the-art, portable mechatronics equipment.
Submitted photo.






Letter to the Editor: Muckdogs are all about money

By Staff Writer
Jun 9, 2023, 10:10am

Letter from Donald Weyer:

Some illuminations for William Bardenwerper, in reference to his contrasting the old, professional baseball Batavia Muckdogs and the present amateur baseball Batavia mock "Muckdogs," as reported in "The Batavian," on June 7.

1. It's all about money. It's just whether the N.Y. Penn League and the owners of the pro team rake in the money; or the current private owner of the team, Mr. Nichols, rakes in the money! I applaud Nichols; he appears to me to be a consummate marketer, which is the primary part of current-day late-stage, capitalism. (We don't make "things." We manufacture "experiences," "ideas," "consciousnesses," "influencers," and "sports and entertainment"). It doesn't matter what you're selling, as long as you can convince enough people, Batavia fans, to buy it! He's good at it, and only if he had been associated with the professional Muckdogs. They couldn't tell a marketing or advertising campaign from an aluminum baseball bat; both were anathema to them!

2. Nichols is attracting children to the games at Dwyer Stadium in 2022 and 2023. Children have no money, but their parents do. I suspect the parents are more interested in entertainment for their offspring than in the game of baseball, and particularly in Amateur baseball, considering all the negative press professional athletes receive in any sport. (Parents these days seem to be over-protective of their children). Anyway, a genuine baseball aficionado doesn't care about negative press. They just want to see expert baseball. I, personally, would prefer to watch high-school baseball instead of Division II and Division III collegiate baseball, but would certainly pick any level of Professional baseball over either of the two former entities! (But then, I'm not a parent of young children). The child fans, and by extension, their parents, probably don't know the difference, and that's what Nichols plays off of. Heck, the current parents would send their children to the Stadium if it featured a circus of clowns and donkeys, or a Halloween-themed costume party, all of it with Nichols as impresario! He's that good!

3. Bardenwerper is plain wrong about the current college players being "more involved in the community." The pros were involved in the community. They, in fact, were "fan friendly" also. To an extent, I saw it with my own two eyes. (Instructional baseball camps for local children; appearances at local community events; residing in local community residences; signing autographs both before and after games; what else did one want them to do!). Remember, the pros were being paid a salary, they had to concentrate on their "play," and the owners of the pros' teams had to concentrate on a return on their investment in the "play" of the players. "Community" wasn't ignored. It came second to their jobs as pros! I'm sure that Judge, Machado, Ohtani, et al. don't spend much time glad-handing in their respective "community." Do they? The current collegiate players supposedly don't get paid. Their time is a lark. They're students, first, on "Summer Break," and one direction of their attention can easily be the "community." I suspect that both Martinez, the manager of the current Muckdogs, and Nichols tell the players that "community" comes First. And baseball, Second? At least I'm sure Nichols does(remember "marketing," which we started out with here in #1!)

4. Major League Baseball realigned Minor League Baseball from 160 cities to 120 cities in 2020. Seems like a smart move! You know, the old economics law of "supply and demand." Too much supply, constant demand, profit goes down, doesn't it? Limit supply, constant demand, increase price, and voila, more profit! And isn't MLB a business governed by profit? See #1 above; substitute "profit" for my point about "money."

5. The city of Batavia paid for and built a new Dwyer Stadium in 1995-96. Excuse me, city property taxpayers paid for the stadium. As far as I know, there are no "baseball people" over at City Hall or on City Council. (I think that Brad Rogers was already gone as general manager of the Muckdogs when the new stadium opened. And he was the last general manager of the pro team who had any sense of what minor league baseball could and should be!).

So why didn't the city get the Major League affiliate to pay for some of the stadium construction or stadium operation? (As far as I know, the affiliate only paid for the team's salaries). If the MLB affiliate had a moneyed interest in the stadium, it would have provided some professional management and direction for the games and its fans at that stadium. There's nothing like a financial interest to motivate individuals with expertise to protect that interest! The city of Batavia protected its financial interest in the stadium but couldn't give a hoot about the business going on at that stadium. It didn't have the expertise, anyway, to manage and promote a professional baseball organization. So maybe, that's why everything "went to hell in a handbasket" with attendance at the real, professional Muckdogs games. You tell me!

6. Related to #5 above, I would like to see the current Muckdogs operation publish and announce the attendance at all home games and particularly the "paid" attendance.

Letter to the Editor: Unnecessary stop signs waste fuel

By Staff Writer
Jun 5, 2023, 12:01am

Letter from Tom Nesbitt:

In this time when we are trying to reduce the amount of fuel used or wasted, there may be some simple steps that could improve things. 

I have wondered if the stop signs are really necessary on East/West Saile Drive, where it intersects State Street (South)? There doesn't appear to be a lot of traffic coming off from State Street, and I feel the traffic could make its way onto Saile Drive without much trouble. 

All the traffic on Saile has to stop, usually for no apparent reason. How much fuel has been and continues to be wasted by all the trucks heading to and from the construction sites in the area, along with all other traffic? 

A similar situation is the intersection at Clinton Street and East Avenue. 

I'm sure there may be others that could be considered for improvement. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Letter to the Editor: ND baseball knows how to promote players' accomplishments with local media

By Staff Writer
May 31, 2023, 10:48am

Letter submitted by Donald Weyer:

Man, oh man, Rick Rapone, the baseball coach at Batavia's Notre Dame H.S., knows how to "talk up" his team's players and performance, and by extension, that school's standing in the eyes of local sports fans!  He could give a teaching seminar to the area's public school coaches in the art of public relations, contact with the media, the construction of sports narrative, call it what you want.  What it all accomplishes is the elevation of Notre Dame and the motivation of the players on the team.

Read a report that he provides to local media on an individual contest: all the reports have a context, a scenario; a development of that scenario, of suspense; a climax of the scenario, a resolution or conclusion, a win or loss.  Compare his reports of competition to the often three-sentence reports given by his compatriots in local high school reports: score of the contest, and two sentences describing, usually lackadaisical, a couple of names of the contributing players.                

What the public school coaches don't understand is that if you don't "talk up" your team and school, no one else will talk up your team and school.  Some of them even sound like they're ashamed of their team's win or not embarrassed by their team's loss.

Rapone is an asset to our area's media, high school sports, Notre Dame H.S., and especially, in my case, a reader of his media narratives! 

I look forward to his future ones and some improvements in local public high school coaches' media relations after reading or listening to some of his!

Letter to the Editor: 'Big press' to blame for rise of 'fake news'

By Howard B. Owens
May 24, 2023, 4:04pm

From Donald Weyer:

I'm confused!  So let me see if I can work my way out of this perplexing welter.

It seems to me that almost a day doesn't go by without hearing about "news" and supposedly its opposite, "fake news," being batted back and forth over the net, only to fall to the ground, no foul, no point, scored.  My ears' sense of sound gets tired following the word-

To better understand this phenomenon, I need to flesh out on the page some of my observations of the match on this court of public dissension:

1.  Rochester, N.Y. has a newspaper, the "Democrat and Chronicle," which doesn't have an editorial page.  Why?  Unheard of in a relatively big city's newspaper.

2.  Buffalo, N.Y. has a newspaper, the "Buffalo News," which does have an editorial page, but only prints its "letters to the editor," at most, 2 days out of 7 days in its publishing week.  Why?  Unheard of in a relatively big city's newspaper.  (All 7 days of "letters" are published in its "online" edition, which a reader must pay for).  One can read the paper edition for free at the public library.

3.  Batavia, N.Y. has an 'online" only, news site, "The Batavian," which is principally local- and regional-directed.  No national or international news, very little business news, a small amount of state news.  (It is currently charging a fee for readers to get "first-access" to certain articles, and after a limited amount of time, the articles are then free to read).  There's a lot to be said for staying small, focused, and doing what you know best!  This news site does all these well, without becoming a newsletter.  Better yet, not a Bezos or a Berkshire Hathaway, huge corporations that ventured into media.  At times though, its local coverage becomes almost quaint:Girl Scout Cookie sales, pine-derby competitions, quilting bees, etc.!

4.  Also in Batavia, N.Y. is the "Batavia Daily News," print and "online".  (The "print" is free to read at the public library, and the "online" has a subscriber fee).  This newspaper checks most of the boxes for a traditional one: international, national, local, sports, weather, obituaries, etc., although the "online" edition tilts mainly local, maybe in competition with "The Batavian," which is a good thing.  Anyway, it, too, has an editorial page and "letters to the editor," and is probably stronger in "opinion" than "The Batavian".  But then "The Batavian" can always improve, can't it?

5.  The "Wall Street Journal," unfortunately associated in many peoples' minds as a solely business and stock-market publication, which it no longer is, represents the best of the current collection of print newspapers, in my estimation.  (Check out its "Life," "Art," and "Books" sections, and particularly, its Saturday edition).  The "New York Times" and "U.S.A.Today" pale in comparison to the "WSJ".  (It too has an "online" edition, which a reader must pay for.  The print edition is free to read, again, at the public library).

After all this context, and hopefully my readers' attention, my point is I think that a lot of the "fake news" issue results from the weakening, hollowing-out, fragmentation, single-issue politics and slant , of which the traditional newspaper didn't have to cope with. 

You know, all the long-established, respected press institutions had one aim and one aim only:publish "all the news that's fit to print." (Credit to "N.Y.Times").  And from my point of view, hopefully, print all the competing opinions, both professional and pedestrian!  The newspaper business, as currently constituted, is at fault, itself, for the rise of accusations of "fake news".  Not the left wing, the right wing, the central wing, progressives, or conservatives, with their concomitant agendas and loves and hates!  And I lay the cause of all your hand-wringing, vociferations, assaults, and attacks, relating to "fake news" squarely at your own feet.  If you, big press, had all reported all the "real" news, there would have been no opportunity for "fake" news to creep up and proliferate in the cracks of the sidewalk beneath your own guilty feet.  But no, today's big press, you were solely focussed on the "bottom line" of your balance sheets, and getting as many "eyeballs" reading your publications, come "hell or high water".  Period!

Letter to the Editor: The county manager has 'stepped into it' this time

By Howard B. Owens
May 20, 2023, 5:05pm

Submitted by Donald Weyer

Hey, Matt Landers, Genesee County Manager, I respected you, but I'm starting to wonder!

You're whining about "the homeless" in your realm, in reference to the illegal immigrants being potentially bussed into, and housed in our area; and your subsequent declaration of a "state of emergency", (shades of Alexander Haig, "I'm in charge here", and I think, Watergate), as our introduction to not the "Summer of Love" (1968), but rather to the Summer of 2023.  Where are these "homeless", please tell me, do.  I want to see them.  I certainly hope that you're not referring to homeowners who are barely making their payments to retain their homes, the nearly-borderline "homeless".  (Actually, I think they are called home or housing "poor").  Are you?  Because you have resources at your disposal, windfalls from sales-tax revenues, mortgage taxes, all the gambling revenues pouring out of Batavia Downs, to directly assist the nearly-drowning property-tax payers, don't you?

In fact, aren't all your most recent "crying wolf" press releases just political grand-standing?  Please, Mr. Landers, instead of ballyhooing the new jail out there by County Building 2, which is just more agitprop about crime and criminals, ditto with your immigration stand, pay attention to the genuine needs and priorities of us Genesee County tax-payers who finance your programs!  You know, us middle-class people,go-to-work-everyday, no questions asked, no problems made, individuals and families, who find ourselves strangely neglected, in this age of "victims", the "under-served", the "put-upon" ,the "under-belly", of American society!  And anyway, isn't crime, jails, prisons, and criminals, principally an N.Y.State function; immigration primarily a U.S. government function?  Leave these issues, and pontifications about them, to the big boys and girls in Albany and Washington, and talk to my neighbors and me right here in Batavia, N.Y., the seat of Genesee County, and the base of your management and governance,in association with the Genesee County Legislature.

You're not elected, sir, but if you were, right at this time in your dedicated, and I'm sure, sincere service and tenure, I would vote against you.

I don't know whether I'm "pro" or "anti" immigration.  But maybe a little "pro," only within legal means.  But, man, oh man, Matt, my good man, I think you've "stepped into it" this time.  Stay closer to home, do what you do and know best, talk up the "good bones" that we have out at the Genesee County Park; the incredibly outstanding employees and programs you have over at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, the Senior Center, on Bank Street; the Sheriff's Department sheriff and deputies and prison officers who keep us safe and secure; your guys who do the snow-plowing and land-scaping; the offices that ably serve our veterans and provide social services; the ones who exactingly and perspicaciously keep and record our vital and transactional business records in the County Clerk office.  These are all tangible programs and people that you can point to, not the lofty and abstract policy ruminations and philosophizing that you are currently faltering on!  Jettison the politicking over the state and national affairs to the state and national players, no matter if they are buffoons and jokes and rummies!

Letter to the Editor: City should make sure oil change waste is properly disposed

May 18, 2023, 6:24pm

From Donald Weyer:

Quick and speedy automobile oil-change business proposed for that little patch of land at the eastern entrance to the Valu Plaza in the city of Batavia. 

I'm certain Doug Randall, the city's majordomo of buildings inspection; the city Planning Board; and ultimately, the honorable City Council, and respected City Manager, will all join hands and solemnly swear to ensure that the proposed business will dispose of the used and waste and pollution-inducing oil pulled out of the cars, in an environmentally friendly manner, and also in accordance with human health and ecosystem safety regulations.

Because we; me, you, and Hennessy, in Lil Wayne's words, don't want to foot another cleanup bill for the desecration of the land, that we are currently paying for in two stages, not one stage, at the former junkyard on Bank Street; at the former Trojan site on Clinton Street; and in the future, I suspect, on the site just west of the Ellicott Station on Ellicott Street.  All formerly privately-owned properties, and in Batavia.  There probably is more destroyed land in Batavia that we're not aware of yet.

Anyway, why weren't the owners, or their estates, or their insurance companies, made to cough up the millions needed to clean up their messes?  Instead of N.Y.State, which translates to you and me!  I'm sure that you and I could use the extra cash in our pockets, instead of paying it out to right these private businesses' wrongs!

OP-ED: GLOW Region Students Thrive at Inaugural Healthcare Career Exploration Event

May 2, 2023, 10:44am

By Karyn Winters and Angela Grouse
GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare Co-Chairs 

Volunteers from across the GLOW Region recently conducted another successful hands-on career exploration workforce development program for local students, demonstrating that we have the foundation for providing the next generation of the healthcare workforce. 

Our first GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare event welcomed 575 students from 29 school districts across Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties, along with 225 representatives from more than 50 agencies and employers guiding students about careers and pathways in the healthcare sector. 

We are familiar with the current state of healthcare, especially in rural areas such as the GLOW region. There is a need for prepared workforce candidates in the healthcare industry. We wanted to take the model we built for GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing and mirror it for the healthcare sector. We have seen the impact other hands-on career exploration events have had on employers; this was the perfect industry to engage with on such an initiative.

Vendors and sponsors engaged students with hands-on activities and friendly conversations throughout the day-long event. GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare offered hands-on displays, and even an EMT station where students could simulate life-saving activities such as CPR. 

Students used the opportunity to explore careers in healthcare that they may have an interest in and others they may not have been familiar with. Our vendors are subject matter experts with on-the-job experience, and they were well-equipped to answer any questions students had throughout the day. 

An event of this scale – the largest ever healthcare career exploration event in our region – would not have been possible without the support of so many public and private sector entities. A big thank you to our friends at ESL Federal Credit Union, who made a significant investment that was so important in building momentum for a successful event. There is a reason we see continued support for these types of career exploration events – employers know they can recruit from a well-educated and prepared pool of potential workers seeking career opportunities right in their own backyard. 

In addition to the support of vendors, 75 people from across the community volunteered their time to assist us throughout the day-long event, serving as tour guides, distributing lunch, and more. This event would not have been possible without their help. 

Most of all, thanks to the students who once again expressed such strong enthusiasm for exploring career opportunities through another successful GLOW With Your Hands event! We are excited that the fourth annual GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing event is less than 6 months away!

Opinion: During stress awareness month, be alert for gambling lures

Apr 22, 2023, 3:55pm

Submittec by Jeffrey Wierzbicki, Western/Finger Lakes PGRC

Inflation is high, prices are higher, and many people are struggling just to put food on the table. When our finances are tight, stress can increase. Stress is defined as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. When we are stressed, we might start looking for an escape. You might even think that gambling or the lottery and hitting it “BIG” is the answer. In fact, it may cause more strains in your relationships at home and at work and start to affect your mental health causing more stress, anxiety, and depression.

There are many opportunities to gamble, the grocery store, casinos, online sports betting, convenient stores, and gas stations all offer gambling. Most can gamble and play the lottery for fun or entertainment. Unfortunately, sometimes gambling can take a toll on our mental health and further strain us financially.

Understanding what problem gambling is and why you may be gambling is a good place to start. The New York Council on Problem Gambling has many resources to help you. Reaching out for help is hard, but there are many resources out there. These resources include:  The Path of Problem Gambling, this is an infographic that can show you how gambling can affect an individual, as well as your family members, co-workers, and community. We also have The Cost of Problem Gambling , this will show you how much money gambling is costing you every year.  Another way to start small is by taking an e-screener. The e-screener is confidential and anonymous and can help someone decide if they are ready to reach out for help. These free resources can be found at

After learning more about what problem gambling is and how it may be affecting you, you may want to reach out for more support. The Westerns Problem Gambling Resource Center is here to help. We can connect you to support groups, clinicians or provide you with more educational materials. We are happy to talk with you and explore your options. Call 1-833-437-3864, to talk with someone who can help. All calls are confidential.

Letter to the Editor: Rather than raises, how about plows for city sidewalks

Mar 15, 2023, 4:14pm

Submitted by Fred Gundell

I have lived in Batavia for basically a short time. Only nine years. But I do know enough to see this is a poorer community with an aging population. Some empty businesses. A small but efficient police department and other public services. I heard yesterday that 35% or higher of our population is considered elderly. We appear to have an overabundance of low-income housing and very little or no middle-income housing. This does not attract younger people or add to the tax base. But not the purpose of this letter.

This city has only a very few sidewalk plows for our extended winter months. Seems like Downtown and Schools are the only requirement. If you live on East Main Street or Ellicott Street (and other places) and are elderly or, for that matter, any age and need to get up the sidewalk, it is impossible. Local homeowners (and local businesses)seem to shovel their personal walks to their porches but leave the public walk untouched. (Not all, but many) This forces elderly and handicapped folks to walk on the roads to get to the store or church or the doctor, or where ever they have to go. This is not acceptable. I was raised in Rochester. Much bigger than Batavia, and our sidewalks were always plowed by the city. If this city can not hold homeowners and businesses to shovel their walks, they should provide plowed and passable sidewalks.

The financial costs for more plows and folks to run them are, of course, the continual claim by the City Manager, City Council and DPW. But I did not see any of this fiscal restraint recently when City Council voted for many pay raises for city officials that were well beyond the 2-3 percent that most of us get. They also went beyond the State's two percent tax cap, which we will pay for. I urge residents to let their council members know of their distaste for this waste of public money. And urge them to purchase whatever plows we need for our sidewalks, so anyone in a wheelchair can get to their doctor's office. I submit for the amount of taxpayer money that just went to pay increases, we could have purchased five more plows and people to run them. Which, to me, is far more important to our community and the well-being of our citizens. 

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