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February 27, 2009 - 7:55am
posted by Philip Anselmo in business, Le Roy, economy, Democrat & Chronicle, Wal-Mart.

People often debate the benefit of big box stores moving into "hometown" neighborhoods. Books have been published on the subject of Wal-Mart, in particular, running locally-owned shops out of business and replacing what may have been well-paying jobs with minimum wage, "exploitation" labor.

Whether or not you believe Wal-Mart is a malignant or beneficial force in a community, it is too much of a presence not to alter the overall figure. With a 111,000-square-foot Wal-Mart store expected to be up and running by June, LeRoy will soon learn what it's like to have the retail megalith in town.

From an article in the Democrat & Chronicle this morning:

A spokesman for Wal-Mart said the Genesee County store, which could open in spring 2010, would create 200 new jobs, plus another 100 jobs during construction.

The store will be a smaller version of a Wal-Mart Supercenter, with the same variety of products but smaller quantities.

The standalone building will feature a full retail section, groceries, an optical center, a pharmacy and a garden center, said the spokesman, Philip Serghini.

McCulley said he believes most residents support the project. "There was some dissent against it, but it was a small minority," he said.

"People are looking for options of shopping locally. People don't want to travel too far to do their shopping."

January 5, 2009 - 7:51am

A story in the Democrat & Chronicle yesterday features Batavia Notre Dame graduate Tim Sullivan, now one of the country's best basketball shooting coaches. Sullivan, who graduated in 1978, then "walked onto the team at Canisius College in Buffalo," now puts on some 400 shooting clinics across the country each year.

This article, by John Boccacino, is a fun read, and there are more than a few great tips for any amateur basketball enthusiast looking to beef up his or her shot. It's clear that Sullivan knows his stuff.

After every shot attempt Sullivan preached that, as part of their follow through, the participants kiss the shoulder of their shooting side to guarantee a complete, accurate shot.

His wise words were met with confusion. "When he started talking about that, my friend Matt Noto and I looked at each other and said, 'OK, that won't work,'" said Steven Ciotti, 13, a seventh-grader at Greece Athena Middle School who plays for Greece Basketball Association's seventh-grade house team. "But then he started shooting and he just wasn't missing. I think he made almost 95 percent of his 200 shots and we were all amazed."

December 19, 2008 - 11:08am
posted by Philip Anselmo in thruway, pembroke, roads, driving, Democrat & Chronicle, speeding.

A special section in this Sunday's Democrat & Chronicle will run down the details on speeding tickets: what to do when you get pulled over and what to do once you've got the ticket. Folks in Genesee County may want to pay close attention. Pembroke, it turns out, ranks third in number of tickets issued for the Thruway.

Pembroke, Genesee County, is the No. 3 spot on Interstate 90 for speeding tickets, according to a Democrat and Chronicle analysis of state Department of Motor Vehicle records. Last year, State Police issued almost 5,000 tickets resulting in convictions along the stretch of the Thruway in Genesee County; 1,738 were issued in Pembroke. Pembroke Town Court allows most speeders to plead to a lesser violation by mail.

Somehow, I don't think speeding will be a problem there today. Here are the current conditions at the Pembroke interchange:

December 11, 2008 - 12:26pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, business, graham corp, Democrat & Chronicle.

Sean Dobbin, with Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle, spent some time out at Graham Corp. recently. He put together a fine piece on the Batavia manufacturer.

Following a recent drop in the company's stock price, Graham Corp. executives set up a guided tour of the facilities Wednesday for six potential investors.

From that article:

(Chief Executive Officer Jim) Lines told the group, which was a mix of financial advisory executives and private investors, that the company didn't adequately prepare for the economic downturn, citing improper staffing as the reason for some of Graham's struggles. But the company is in the midst of overhauling its in-house processes in hopes of emerging from the recession stronger.

Dobbin picked up on a sense of optimism among the investors.

Investors seemed impressed with Graham's presentation, which included lunch and a question-answer session with the executives. Some saw Graham's stock as a potential bargain. "It was probably too high at $54, but then it got all the way down to $6.85, and now it sounds like it's too cheap," said Gary Lindsley, a private investor from Clyde, Ohio.

The article also includes a couple of good photographs.

November 4, 2008 - 8:34am
posted by Philip Anselmo in politics, election, Democrat & Chronicle.

Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle has put together a nice package for Election Day. They're running a live blog throughout the day, allowing reporters—and readers—to file photographs, video and narrative sippets from the field. Here's some of what I found by digging around the site this morning:

Obama has edge among Buffalo Bills players... Yep, that's right. A reporter in the Bills locker room polled the players on their pick for president. This article is quite funny. After a lengthy quote from Bills quarterback Trent Edwards—in which he declaims the need for, you got it, "serious change"—the reporter, whose name is not amended to the article, writes:

Edwards appears to be in the majority, according to my totally unscientific, random poll of 15 Bills players. Obama received about 60 percent of the vote to 27 percent for Republican John McCain with 13 percent undecided. Our poll's margin for error? Huge.

"I don't know if we're exactly representative of the general public," Edwards said, smiling. "I wouldn't draw many conclusions from what you discover from us."

The president of the Bills offense is right to caution us against making any projections from these findings. After all, this is an NFL locker room populated mostly by millionaires. You won't find any Joe Sixpacks or Joe the Plumbers on the 53-man Bills roster.

Really, a fun article worth checking out.

One of the live bloggers picked up a story from the Associated Press about a tiny town in New Hampshire that has long maintained a tradition of being the first in the nation to tally its ballots. Sen. Barack Obama won the day there.

With 115 residents between them, Dixville Notch and Hart's Location get every eligible voter to the polls beginning at midnight on Election Day. Between them, the towns have been enjoying their first-vote status since 1948.

Being first means something to residents of the Granite State, home of the nation's earliest presidential primary and the central focus - however briefly - of the vote-watching nation's attention every four years.

Town Clerk Rick Erwin said Dixville Notch is proud of its tradition, but added, "The most important thing is that we exemplify a 100 percent vote."

They've even got the token quote in this one about this "historic" election.

Another live blogger got up this interesting bit of info:

Susan B. Anthony, portrayed by Rochesterian Barbara Blaisdell, will lead a group of women at 11:30 a.m. today from the Susan B. Anthony House, 17 Madison St., to the site on West Main Street where Anthony and a group of women voted in the 1872 presidential election, according to the Susan B. Anthony House.

Two weeks after the 1872 election, Anthony was arrested for voting. 

Visitors from Nigeria and  Sudan, who are guests of the  state department  and are in the United States to observe the national election process, are expected to attend the event.

We're hoping to get up some great coverage ourselves here at The Batavian today. I know I will be out among the polls, talking with voters, getting the numbers. But that doesn't mean you have to wait for me. Please, feel free and be encouraged to get up your own Election Day story. If you've got a camera, take a picture. If you've got a video camera, make a video. We'll get your story right up to the homepage for everyone to share.

September 16, 2008 - 9:34am
posted by Philip Anselmo in politics, election, Rochester, Democrat & Chronicle, newspapers.

Letters to the editor have long been a means of expression for the average guy or gal who doesn't have have a bullhorn loud enough to get everybody's attention otherwise. Of course, much of that has changed owing to the ostensibly even playing field of Internet publishing. Still, though, many folks opt for the more conventional route of the op-ed page of their local rag, and aside from a few snips here and there, the letter writer's voice comes through relatively unscathed, literally for better or for worse.

Leave it to the political machines then to undermine the sanctity of even this bastion of individual expression by issuing cookie-cutter templates that authors are encouraged to pretty much just sign and send in to the newspaper as his or her own letter to the editor.

Leave it  to the political machines to squelch any vestige of individuality still left us, for we can't have too much of that running rampant in an election year. Folks may actually wake up to the reality that just about none of these candidates—whose own individuality has often been subsumed by the machine—really represent them and theirs.

Here's what I read in an editorial from the Democrat & Chronicle this morning:

Some candidates and their agents on the Web are urging their supporters to use their "guides" in writing letters to the editor. The guides are really form letters in another form. The practice is dishonest and unfair. The dishonesty is obvious — the "guided" letters in no way disclose that the content is largely the product of someone other than the writer. It's unfair, too, because legitimate letter writers who produce original material may lose their space on the page to a bogus submission.

As with so much else on the Web, common sense is the best guide. If an anti-John McCain or Barack Obama site tells you something is a "fact," confirm it with one or two other sources. Don't forward material to your buddy list without fact-checking. If you write anything on the Web, be sure the work is your own and that fact and opinion are clearly delineated.

The campaigns should put a stop to phony letters. But the best way to end this practice is for those asked to engage in these fake-outs to say no. Better Web practice begins with millions of daily users doing the right thing.

There are a few things at work here worth some conversation.

1. How does anonymously produced generic information effect the relativity of truth and individuality? Does it further obscurity or transparency?

2. What are we to make of the ever-broadening underhandedness of the political machines that seem to outpace at every turn any sense of what it means to do the right thing? (This would be the main question posed by the editorial.)

3. What has become of individual expression if the line between the individual and the machine has become so blurred that the former acts as no more than the ratifier of the latter's mass-produced misinformation?

Finally, what may be the most important question to ask here is: How do we navigate in such a sea of misinformation? The editorial suggests that the responsibility lies with each individual—make sure your own work is your own work. But isn't this getting ahead of ourselves when the real issue is that the individual has been so comprimised by such political tactics that he or she sometimes can't even be located?

August 12, 2008 - 8:35am
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police, Democrat & Chronicle.

Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle dug up some more details about the incarceration over the weekend of a Batavia groom who was barred from contact with the woman he married.

Batavia police reported yesterday that Timothy T. Cole, 45, of 16 Walnut St., Batavia, was charged with a felony count of first-degree criminal contempt Friday night following his wedding.

Cole was sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail, and it turned out that this was not the first time he had been picked up for violating a court order of protection.

From the Democrat & Chronicle:

According to Batavia City Court documents, Cole was charged with second-degree criminal contempt on July 1, meaning that he violated a previous court order. The July 1 order of protection required Cole to stay away from the woman he ended up marrying Friday.

The order, which also mandated that he stay away from the woman's home, school, business and place of employment, was effective until July 1, 2011. Cole was required to "refrain from communication or any other contact" with the woman.

It turned out that police were alerted to the contact because of an alleged altercation at Cole's residence. When police arrived on the scene they allegedly found Cole in a fight with a guest "over a chair." The subsequent charge of criminal contempt was levied when Cole's record was checked and police discovered that his new wife had an order of protection.

Cathy Mazzotta, executive director of Alternatives for Battered Women in Rochester, was not familiar with Cole's case but said women who have orders of protection against men sometimes end up having contact with them for various reasons.

"Victims have the same hopes and aspirations we all have," Mazzotta said. "They are hopeful their abusers will change ... and believe their promises. They are looking toward the future in a positive way."

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