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December 4, 2008 - 3:14pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, business, downtown, County Legislature.

Genesee County residents will see no increase in their property tax rate for next year, according to the Daily News. County legislators made the cuts necessary to keep the rate at $9.82 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

In other news, Country Max has taken over the former Pet Mart store in the city of Batavia. Unfortunately, the article is not entirely clear on what this means. It seems as if "Country Max has a 10-year lease at its new location," yet it's also stated in the article that "Pet Mart is still listed as being owned by Andrew Mistler, father of local entrepreneur Ken Mistler." Further, the article states that Ken Mistler manages the Pet Mart store, but he "wants to become less involved with that business." Wouldn't the fact that a different company now owns the business mean that Mistler wouldn't be involved at all?

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

December 3, 2008 - 12:00pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, fire, Bethany.

A livestock feed facility that caught fire in Bethany yesterday morning and burned for more than seven hours has sustained more than $1 million in damage, according to the Daily News. An initial investigation into the blaze that destroyed the structure has been attributed to a dust explosion inside the exhaust system.


In other news, Kevin J. Weber, 37, of Batavia, was sentenced to 1 1/2 to three years in state prison Tuesday. Weber pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson for setting a storage shed on fire in September. He had previously been in jail for more than four years for an arson fire in Byron in 2002.


Batavia Downs should wrap up the season with an overall handle of about $6.2 million, a $500,000 increase over the wagers from last year. Also, revenue from the video gaming machines may exceed $30 million, which amounts to about 10 percent more than last year.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

December 2, 2008 - 1:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, fire, Bethany.

A grain barn on Creek Road in the town of Bethany caught fire this morning and all but burned to the ground, according to the Daily News. One farm worker on scene was taken to United Memorial Medical Center for treatment of minor smoke inhalation. No one else was injured in the blaze that, at one point, threatened to explode a row of propane tanks.

Reporter Scott DeSmit tells the story of the fire in a vivid narrative. Here's just a snippet:

Flames quickly tore through the thin metal roof and sides of the barn. Electrical service in the front popped like fireworks, sending bursts of green and white sparks into the air and causing concern that the live lines would soon catch fire and fall.

More than a dozen fire crews were still on scene at 10 o'clock this morning, two hours after the fire erupted. WBTA's Dan Fischer informs us that Creek Road was closed off between Putnam and Brookville roads.


Batavia Downs will close the track for the season after this Saturday. Unlike last year, Tom Rivers reports that the horses will be allowed to stay at the raceway instead of having to head to Buffalo, as they did last year.


Batavia city school students will be allowed to attend a biotechnology at Genesee Community College for free and earn a college credit thanks to a grant from Bank of America.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

December 1, 2008 - 11:47am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, business.

Daily News reporter Roger Muehlig spoke with some shoppers in Batavia Saturday, chatting with those who did not come out for Black Friday.

That's about it for today.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 28, 2008 - 1:46pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Daily News, Pontillo's.

 The big news of the day Friday is on A-3 as Sam Pontillo tells Daily News reporter Joanne Beck that the Main Street Batavia Pontillo's pizzeria is unlikely to reopen soon.

The Daily News originally reported that the restaurant was shut down for renovations before The Batavian reported that the reason was $112,000 in back taxes. Pontillo talked with Beck a couple of days later and revealed a messy situation with the family, causing the restaurant to close because of the tax situation.

Originally Pontillo said that the pizzeria would reopen in a couple of weeks, but now says it is not going to happen because he feels that when he obtains the business from the family estate that there will be a lot of work that will actually have to be done before he can open the doors.

"I'm wondering, 'should I tear the building down and build a new one?'," Pontillo told Beck on Wednesday. "I need to decide that before I put some big money into the (current) building. I want to take the proper course of action. I'm still up in the air, I'm trying to get the estate settled, I'm working the numbers. No one wants to put money into a property they don't own."

Pontillo also says he has had preliminary talks with an architect to redesign the restaurant and has no intentions on keeping Pontillo's closed. He did tell Beck that if a "a big-monied drug store came along and made a generous offer to buy, he would consider it."

The Le Roy branch of Pontillo's is still open and the Batavia site has a sign saying Pontillo's is open for delivery.

The Batavian called the number on the sign (343-3303) at about 1:15 p.m. Friday and spoke with a woman named Maddy, who says that orders can be placed and will be delivered from the Le Roy restaurant to Batavia on Thursday through Sunday nights after 4 p.m. She says the full menu is available.

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Daily News reporter Tom Rivers handled the yearly Black Friday story and spoke with some shoppers that got up early to bargain hunt at Wal-Mart and Target.

Even with the current state of the economy, the stores were packed this morning. Rivers writes "The line (at Target) stretched for at least 500 people, extending to Bed Bath & Beyond.

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An inmate at the Genesee County Jail has been charged for a seven-year-old burglary in Le Roy, thanks to a DNA link writes reporter Scott DeSmit.

Genesee County sheriff investigator Timothy Weis tells DeSmit that 24-year-old Nick A. Hawkins was charged Tuesday with third-degree burglary for a Dec. 28, 2001 robbery at Frost Ridge Campground in Le Roy.

DNA submitted by Hawkins because he was a convicted felon matched blood taken from the crime scene, according to Weis.

Hawkins is the second person charged in the crime as Christopher D. Nolan was arrensted and charged in July 2002. He received five years probation and had to pay restitution. 

As always, we encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 25, 2008 - 5:32pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in Daily News, sports, soccer.

 There is that photo again.

The front page of Tuesday's Daily News sports has basically the same photo as the Genesee Region League girls soccer all-stars, just a team photo. I have never been a fan.

But again, Daily News sportswriter Alana Stage writes a stat-packed roundup of the GR boys soccer all-stars. She leads with the Wheatland-Chili squad that went 19-3 and are Class DD champions. 

The Batavian also led with the Wildcats in our roundup of all-stars, which ran on Oct. 29.

The winter high school season is just getting going, so this is the only local information in today's paper.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 25, 2008 - 12:50pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, city council, plumbing inspector.

Batavia City Council's latest public spectacle has its fair share of drama and opinion. On the stage for this act is the story of the plumbing inspector, Barb Toal, whose friends claim was wronged by the city by being demoted. In the past few weeks, the Daily News has featured three articles on this topic, plus a lengthy and impassioned letter to the editor.

But before we get into the details of last night's Council meeting, let's step back and look at the issue from a distance. Back in March, Joanne Beck wrote an article for the Daily detailing the city's decision to demote Barb Toal from full- to part-time in her position as the city's plumbing inspector. At the time, the Council was looking to cut as much as they could from the budget to lower the tax rate and start chipping away at the city's deficit.

At that time, Council was working out the plans for the police dispatch consolidation, trimming down a couple of city posts—including Toal's—and reducing funding in some other areas, as well. Beck wrote: "Those moves are to get the tax rate increase down from an initial 10 percent to about 8.5 percent for a difference of $12 a year less on a home assessed at $85,000."

Toal, then, was informed in March that she would be reduced to part-time—City Manager Jason Molino issued a statement to Council that said Toal was informed even earlier, in January. So why all the uproar now? Why was the Council boardroom "filled" with people protesting Toal's demotion last night, as Dan Fischer reported, and not in March? One of our readers put it succinctly in a comment left on our post yesterday: "Isn't this a dead issue." The decision was made nearly nine months ago.

Toal herself made some noise about the decision back then. She told the Council that the decision could affect public health. From that article in March:

"It's about the future of public health and welfare of the citizens of Batavia. I think it will have an adverse affect in the long run," Toal said. "It saddens my heart how safe and secure our world we live in is, and that the city has forgotten our public health ... that they think the position is only valid part of the time. There's much more to the plumbing inspector job than counting the number of permits issued each year."

Since then, we've heard nothing, until a few weeks ago, when Beck wrote another article in advance of the actual demotion. That was followed by a letter to the editor asking people to support Barb Toal. Then came Monday's article by Beck in advance of last night's meeting, and the article today wrapping up that meeting. That's a lot of coverage all at once. So why weren't more efforts made in the meantime if folks feel so strongly about this—and they certainly seem so: seven people spoke up about Toal's position at the meeting last night, according to Beck. I've never seen even three people speak up at a meeting on a single topic, if even two.

In Beck's article from today, she writes:

(Toal) passed a Civil Service test for the job description more than 19 years ago and has continuously kept her certification up to date, she said. She didn't need to take another test to prove she's qualified, she said. Candidates for the code enforcement job had to pass a Civil Service test. Toal did not make it to final rounds or interviews.

But if Toal has already passed a Civil Service test, as she says, why does she say that she doesn't need to take a test to prove her qualifications? Wouldn't her qualifications already have been proven? Furthermore, Toal has already gone through the certification for code enforcement, and she expressed interest in taking the full-time code enforcement position. Instead, that position was given to someone else, who has not yet gone through the certification. Why?

Don't expect any answers from the City Council. They have been "muzzled"—Fischer's word—by George Van Nest, the city attorney, who claims that if anyone from Council talks about the issue, it could open the city up to a lawsuit for violating the privacy of personnel.

Some people have raised the (very good) point that the bottom line here is: Do we need a full-time plumbing inspector? If no, then Toal has to deal with the demotion. It's in the best interest of the city.  But that point was made—or at least argued—in January, when the staff was first informed of cuts, according to Molino, and again in March, when the decision was finalized by Council! Now, this seems to have become a different issue: Barb Toal should have been given the position of full-time code enforcement officer. That seems to be what she's saying—judging from today's article, anyhow. Instead, that position went to someone else. Why? That seems to be the question underlying this whole brouhaha. If Toal had the qualifications, the credentials and the experience, why wasn't she kept on in that position? Couldn't the city just as easily have hired a part-time plumbing inspector who hadn't already put in so many years of service and given Toal the full-time slot?

Well, quite simply, Molino told Council that Toal was never on the Civil Service list for the position of code enforcer. So that's that then. Right? Right...?

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 24, 2008 - 12:27pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, city council, plumbing inspector.

Several supporters of Batavia's city plumbing inspector, Barb Toal, plan to come out for the meeting of the City Council this evening, according to the Daily News. They will attend the meeting to decry the recent "downsizing" of Toal from full-time to part-time only two months before she would have made pension. Reporter Joanne Beck found a couple of folks who were especially worked up about what they insist is unfair treatment of Toal, who has put in nearly 20 years in employment with the city

Larry Conway told Beck: "I'm going to holler like hell. ... this is the way they pay her back? It tells me that council has taken the attitude that there's no sentiment in Batavia."

Carol Grasso said: "When the city manager came here to work, he took a raise. That's unbelievable. He didn't blink an eye to take a raise but he can do this? She's a 20-year veteran. I think Barb has paid her dues."

If you wish to attend tonight's meeting, be sure to show up to the board room on the second floor of City Hall (inside the City Centre) by 7:00pm. Public comments will be taken near the beginning of the meeting.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 21, 2008 - 8:17pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in Daily News, sports, soccer.

 In Friday's Daily News, the photo and roundup of Genesee Region League girls all-stars are the main focus of the front page of sports.

A nice roundup of the players, featuring the Division I champion Holley Hawks, pretty much fills the page.

The Batavian led with Division II champion Wheatland-Chili in our roundup of all-stars, posted on Oct. 22.

The writeup is packed with information, but features the boring team photo that just about every all-star team roundup has had for, oh, ever. I think most would prefer headshots or action photos from the season.

That's the only local sports because the winter sports teams are still getting ready for the season, but there is a cool AP story on the Syracuse football team on B-4. AP sportswriter John Kekis writes about how little has changed since it was announced coach Greg Robinson was fired and will be replaced at the end of the season.

Any Syracuse football fan will admit that the program was in dire need of a change as Robinson was never able to turn the team into a winner. The Orange are currently 2-8.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 21, 2008 - 12:27pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, business, sports, town board, youth football.

Some area auto dealers feel pretty strongly about the inevitability and justness of a Washington bailout of the nation's auto industry, according to the Daily News. John Pazamickas, sales manager for Orleans Ford-Mercury had this to say to Virginia Kropf:

"We believe the auto industry is the most important single manufacturing industry in the country, and for the government not to take seriously the livelihood of millions who derive income from that industry is shameful."

Shameful! That's emphatic. What do you think? Is Pazamickas in the right? He says that "for every job the auto industry creates, eight other jobs are affected." Is the auto industry so entwined with the fabric of the national economy that a bailout is "inevitable"?


In other news, the family whose apartment burned earlier this month—in the same fire that destroyed the post office in Pavilion—have found a new home. For now at least, they will be renting out a home on St. Mary's Street.


Youth sports are in the news again. This time, the Batavia Town Board got the pitch: a proposal to rent "15 acres of land at Batavia Turf Farms to give area youths and adult sports leagues a place to play." Folks who are interested are already entertaining visios of sports tournaments and a boost to tourism "by attracting teams and spectators from outside the local area."


The Batavia Town Board approved the $5.9 million budget for next year. That means the property tax rate in the town will remain at zero.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 20, 2008 - 2:11pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, genesee county, budget, finance, Pavilion.

Pavilion residents do not yet have a replacement for their post office which was destroyed by fire several weeks ago, according to the Daily News. But those who used to pick up their mail from the post office at least have an alternative to driving to Le Roy to get it. Residents can now head to the Pavilion Fire Hall once a day in the middle of the day to pick up mail.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service told the Daily that there has not yet been a decision on whether to replace the post office in Pavilion. About 200 people pick up their mail direct from the post office.


In other news, Genesee County legislators continue to make the changes needed to the county budget to keep the tax rate from increasing. An original budget proposal called for a tax rate of $10.23 per $1,000 of assessed value. Legislators hope to reduce that to the current rate of $9.82 per $1,000.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 19, 2008 - 12:35pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, books, fire, bill kauffman, online.

Congratulations to the Daily News, which announced in the paper today that the publication will go online sometime "within the next few weeks." Keep an eye on the print version to find out when the site will be ready for viewing. Folks can log on at www.thedailynewsonline.com once the site is up and running.


In other news, reporter Joanne Beck wrote an article on the fire last night at an Oak Street home. That news was featured early this morning on WBTA and picked up a little while later by The Batavian.


Fire hydrants will be flushed starting at 9:30am, Tuesday, in the area of Pearl Street, Meadowcrest Drive, River Street and Ellicott Street.


Author Bill Kauffman was honored with the Andrew Eiseman Writers Award in nonfiction for his book Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals. The award is given out by the University of Rochester. For more on the award, visit the University of Rochester Web site.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 18, 2008 - 12:45pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, agriculture, jobs, farm.

A front-page story by Tom Rivers in today's Daily News examines the toll taken on the health of migrant workers by "grueling farm work." We wouldn't do the article much of a service by trying to sum it up here. It's lengthy and detailed. So if you're interested in the topic, you may want to pick up a paper today.


Several articles are featured on the front page and elsewhere in today's paper on the proposed state budget cuts. They tackle, in particular, the issue of cuts to school aid and agriculture. A chart on page five lists the school districts in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties and the amount of proposed cuts along with percentages. In what looks to be a wire story on the back page, the state Farm Bureau criticizes Gov. David Paterson for his proposed cuts, which "disproportionately" target agricultural programs. The article is informative, but it's hard not to wonder that every member of every group that may see their programs cut in the state budget wouldn't make the same claims of a governor who is being unfair and "disporportionately" targeting them. As we mentioned in a post earlier today, the Albany Times Union noted that busloads of protestors—at least 1,000 of them today—have been disembarking at the capitol to make noise about "unfair" cuts.


Main Street Coffee owner, Rob Credi, plans to close up shop likely by the end of the year and sell the business to property owner Ken Mistler. Credi will then manage the Daily Grind, the coffee shop and juice bar that Mistler will be opening inside a health club going up at the corner of Main and Jackson streets. Credi hopes the place will be open by the end of January.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 17, 2008 - 12:32pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, Warsaw.

The former Warsaw Cinema officially re-opened Saturday as The Stage, Warsaw's new center for the performing arts, according to the Daily News. There was sadly no mention in the otherwise great article about upcoming performances or even if there was a performance during the open house Saturday. We're told that the group Western New York Performance Center Inc. bought the place earlier this year

with the aim of creating a space for music, stage productions, educational programming, and independent film.

That sounds great. I'm all for more culture, in whatever form we can get it, and this place sounds like it will be a great addition to the area. Has anyone yet been down? It's a little outside Genesee County, but I may have to go check it out, get some video footage.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 14, 2008 - 12:56pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, agriculture, farm.

About 16 people gathered in the town of Batavia last night for a meeting to discuss possibly formulating a farmland protection plan for the town, according to the Daily News.

The town has about 19,000 acres of agricultural land, which accounts for roughly 60 percent of total land in the town.

Roger Muehlig writes:

The goal is to create a land use policy on how to keep agricultural land in production and protect it from commercial and residential development.


In other news, the city of Batavia has hired a new code enforcement officer. Apparently, Ronald Panek has been working since last week. Panek, 41, is from Wyoming.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 13, 2008 - 3:03pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Daily News, sports, swimming.

The Daily News reports Batavia freshman Catherine McAllister has qualified for the finals in two events at the Section 5 Girls Swimming Championships at Webster Aquatic Center.

She qualified third in Class B in the 100 backstroke in the prelims Wednesday with a time of 1:02.66, just shy of the state qualifying time of 1:02.00.  That time broke Kathy Hancock's 23-year old school record time of 1:03.91.

McAllister also qualified third in the 200 IM, with a time of 2:17.95. McAllister, Taylor Henry, Sarah DiBacco and Alayna Miodozeniec qualfied sixth in the 400 freestyle and 200 medley relays.

Henry qualified 11th in  he 100 backstroke and DiBacco will be in the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle.

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Daily News Sportswriter Alana Stage wrote a nice feature on the Casper boys on the Le Roy football team. Stage talked with the three boys (Jordan, Jon and Josh) and their mother, Crystal, in the piece.

Jordan and Josh are twins and both lineman for the Oatkan Knights and Jon is a fullback.

Stage writes about Crystal's initial feelings about not wanting her kids to play football, the injuries suffered by Josh and Jordan.

For more information on Le Roy's Far West Regional game on Saturday and video interviews with Jordan, Travis Fenstermaker and coach Brian Moran, check back to The Batavian this evening.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 13, 2008 - 1:25pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, city council, city, plumbing inspector.

Today's opinion page in the Daily News features a letter to the editor on the topic of the city of Batavia plumbing inspector, who recently had her full-time position cut by the city to part-time and her hours dropped one half-hour below the threshold to qualify for health insurance.

This story was first reported in a great article by Joanne Beck a few weeks back.

In the letter today, authored by Beth Allen and Carol Grasso, the argument is made that Toal was treated unfairly by the city. In fact, the authors put it much more emphatically, when they write: "Someone very near and dear to the heart of this community is being treated with gross injustice." Here's some more:

Her salary was cut in half just two months before she would acheive 20 years of dedication and service to this community. Who made the decision to cut $25,000 at the expense of our public health in the first place? Barb spent her entire life in this county and we can't think of anyone else we know who cares more deeply for it. Then to top things off, she is cut to work only 19 1/2 hours a week instead of the 20 hours a week she would need to have her health insurance and other benefits covered.

Our county has a financial deficit to deal with, but what about the people who live here and make it what it is? Is this how our officials plan on rewarding all of its workers from now on?! Are we teaching our children that dedicating a lifetime of service and professional ability is to be rewarded in this fashion? Who the heck will want to stay in a community like that!!

It's obvious that Allen and Grasso feel very strongly about this. One needn't even consider the doubled-up exclamation points and the flourish of rhetorical questions to understand that. Yet there is much more to be gleaned from this letter than a simple and emphatic request for reinstatement. This letter and the circumstances that led to its being drafted make for a great time to have the conversation of how cities—especially small cities—ought to be run.

How much should municipalities be run like corporations? Because really, if we're to be honest with ourselves, this move of cutting Toal to half time just before she would qualify for pension and edging her hours just right so that the city doesn't have to pay for health insurance—that's a corporate tactic. It saves money. But at the same time, you better believe it carries the message: the individual is not important here. All that is done is done in the name of the greater good. This brings us to the seeming paradox that we, the people of Batavia—or whatever other community, however that community is defined—are the greater good. Yet, at the very same time, we, the people of Batavia, are the Barbara Toals of the community. So which do we favor? Which do we identify with? Because situations such as this, as that which is presented in this letter, make it clear that we have to choose a side.

Beth Allen and Carol Grasso make it quite clear which side they have chosen. At the end of their letter, they list the names, e-mails (where available), addresses and telephone numbers for the city leaders. So, will you send a letter?


In other new, if you're wondering what the municipal bosses and boards are doing in Albion, Shelby, Warsaw and Le Roy, today's Daily News is your kind of newspaper.

Out in Albion, that Village Board has decided to pursue a legal battle to "oust" Ron Vendetti, the village's current code enforcement officer. Vendetti has been accused of "rudeness with residents" and "incompetence on the job."

More such Albion news, along with what went on at the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors meeting, can be found inside the paper. Also, the town of Le Roy will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2009 budget tonight at 7:00pm at the town hall.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 12, 2008 - 11:41am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, Salvation Army, Alzheimer's.

Two new paid employees and a volunteer have joined the staff at the Salvation Army in Batavia for the holiday season, according to the Daily News. Joan Stevens, Suzanne Wheeler and Mike Morasco bring diverse experience to the crew. Check out the article by Virginia Kropf for more on the new hires.

In other news, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America will host free memory screenings from 9:00am to 1:00pm on Tuesday at Kmart, 8363 Lewiston Road, in Batavia.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 11, 2008 - 1:29pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, finance, Victorian Manor, KDA Construction.

You can now count the Daily News among those of us trying to get information from officials at Victorian Manor, where construction ground to a halt earlier this year amid rumors that the Main Street senior living complex would soon close down altogether. Any attempt to find out what was going on has been met with stalwart silence on the part of Marcia Noonan, the complex manager, and it turns out we weren't the only ones getting stonewalled.

Reporter Joanne Beck called up the complex on Monday and got nowhere. Nevertheless, she put together an interesting piece that mostly rehashes what was reported on The Batavian nearly a month ago by our diligent and undaunted readers. She did, however, have some other information that we have not yet seen that helps paint a bit more of a detailed picture.

A resident, who asked not to be identified, has also said the site's emergency system has not been working since this summer. The system involves pull cords in each resident's bed and bath rooms. It was touted as part of the security for an apartment that costs some $2,000 a month plus utilities.

The Batavian also received an anonymous tip on this same topic, but since we were unable to verify the individual's identity, we were unable to publish what was alleged.

Most of Beck's article, as mentioned, is made up of information that Kelly Hansen has been posting on The Batavian over the past three weeks. So, rather than report what we already reported, we will direct you to that earlier post.

Beck raises one point that is particularly confusing and possibly incorrect. She reports that KDA Construction Inc., a subsidiary of Sunwest Management, "filed a mechanic's lien for nearly $164,000 against Victorian Manor for lack of payment." Why would KDA, which is owned by Sunwest, file a lien against Victorian Manor, which is also owned by Sunwest? Wouldn't that amount to the company filing a lien against itself?

Our own research at the Genesee County Clerk's Office found that KDA Construction and Victorian Manor were both named as debtors in the mechanic's lien filed on September 17 by On It Inc., a Rochester-based company that claims $163,480.62 in unpaid labor and material costs. We telephoned On It earler today to see if we could get some more details. Unfortunately, the phone rang indefinitely. No answer. No voice mail. In the notice of the lien filed by On it, the labor and material costs were related to the installation of "HVAC equipment, duct work and piping."

Further, KDA Construction is named as a debtor in a dozen other liens filed over the past three months, totalling more than $1.54 million. The first, for $194,032, was filed on August 29; the most recent, for $22,382, was filed on October 29. In most of those, Batavia Senior Living LLC, the legal name for Victorian Manor, is also named as a debtor. Callea Electric Inc. is named as the creditor in the lien for $339,783.45—the most costly—filed on September 15.

Beck also spoke with a former employee of Victorian Manor who said that while she was employed there, "she was shorted money in her paycheck a number of times and had a couple of company checks bounce for insufficient funds." Ouch! Beck continues:

An investigation by the state Labor Department involved at least two employees who had complained about getting paychecks that did not include all the hours they had worked and about bouncing checks. Noonan had told Labor Standards Investigator Mary Confer that "she was aware checks had bounced" because management firm Sunwest Management had changed banks. However, the time period for bounced checks was from December 2006 to at least until April 2007, records state.

The Batavian called and left another message for Marcia Noonan earlier today. We have not yet received a call back. If we do, you can be sure we will let you know.

November 11, 2008 - 12:16pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, city council.

Batavia's City Council approved the acceptance of a $90,000 grant to be used for the purchase of a new ambulance by the city's emergency crew, according to the Daily News. At that same meeting, the council approved another grant for $23,980 that will be used for "record management." City Attorney George Van Nest told the group that a lawsuit against the city has been dismissed. A construction worker was suing the city after being injured while on duty. "There was no trial," said Van Nest.

In other news, a brief blurb in the local section claims that Oakfield-Alabama School Principal Scott Read is "not at work due to personal issues." No one knows if or when Read will return, according to Susan Conrad, who spoke with Superintendent Chris Todd.

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