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Early Access Pass

Important change to Deal of the Day, new benefit for Early Access Pass members

By Howard B. Owens

In May, we launched a program that enables our readers to help support local journalism.

It's called Early Access Pass and enables members to read selected stories before non-members.  Currently, selected stories require a membership to read during the first four hours of publication.

In order to enhance the value of an Early Access Pass membership, starting Jan. 1, members will get the first crack at buying Deals of the Day coupons.

During the first four hours of a Deal of the Day post, only Early Access Pass members will be able to purchase Deal of the Day coupons.

To ensure you don't miss out on valuable discounts, sign up for Early Access Pass today by visiting

Use the Discount Code DOD10OR15 for either 10 percent off on the first year of an annual membership or 15 percent off each month for six months of a monthly membership.

The past week with The Batavian: Comprehensive coverage of Genesee County

By Howard B. Owens

It's been a couple of weeks since I've drawn your attention to this, but The Batavian continues to publish more local news than any other source, and we more frequently beat the competition than we get beat on local stories.

By local, we mean Genesee County, which is all we cover.

We cover more events. We publish more local photos. Our calendar has more local events -- more events publicized in one place than you can even find on social media (send your calendar items to be included to  This week, for the first time, we published a listing of local music at local venues, which makes us the only local publication to offer such a calendar.  We publish more press releases, which also helps you stay better informed about what's going on in the local community (send press releases to I didn't include much sports in the list below, including the Muckdogs, because we don't have a sports staff, but we have beat the competition on sports stories, and we seem to have more coverage of the Muckdogs these days.  

All of this adds up to The Batavian being a complete and comprehensive local news outlet like none other around here.

A report by Northwestern University says that local newspapers are dying at a rate of two per week. The future of local news is digital, which is why you should support online local news.

We work hard to bring you the news, sometimes too hard (I put in more than 100 hours this past week), which is why we started Early Access Pass.  Local news isn't going to survive without reader support. It simply isn't sustainable without readers helping pay for it.

Please join Early Access Pass today.

Here's a list of stories from the past week that The Batavian beat the competition on, and often the coverage is still only available on The Batavian.

Many of these stories were available only to members of Early Access Pass during the first four hours of publication. Click here to join Early Access Pass

Muckdogs fans show artistic flair during drawing contest Monday

By Joanne Beck
renee henning with guitar and drawing
Renee Henning won The Batavian's guitar giveaway contest at Monday's Batavia Muckdogs game at Dwyer Stadium.  Contestants were asked to draw an Eagle in order to enter, and the winner was selected by random out of a Batavian tote bag.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The Batavian was out in full force Monday during the Batavia Muckdogs game, both in our coverage with a freelance photographer and with staff at a booth set up near the entrance at Dwyer Stadium.

Our presence in public has not usually been a luxury we could afford: staff’s time has been precious and usually spent on the day-to-day tasks at hand, whether it be dealing with advertising needs, covering and reporting the news or the arduous billing and financial duties of a publisher.

But we’ve had a change of heart, attitude, focus and business model, and want to:

1. Make the time when possible to get out into the community to meet folks and let you know that we are your local news here to make a difference in Genesee County;

2. Introduce the Early Access Pass program that is twofold in that it allows you to access all of the news that we provide the very minute that we publish it without having to wait the four-hour hold time for non-Early Access members, and makes you, as a supporter helps us hire more reporters to go out and cover even more local news stories; and

3. Encourage creativity and positivity in the community by sponsoring a guitar giveaway with an art contest. During the Muckdogs game, all we asked was for people — kids and adults alike — to draw their best version of an eagle!

The Batavian’s logo incorporates the eagle from one of Batavia’s most iconic symbols on The Upton Monument at the merging of routes 5 and 63. So we thought it only fitting to use an eagle — also long used as a patriotic symbol of the United States and freedom — for our contest.

As many people walked by, asking about the red electric guitar poised on a table at our booth, they couldn’t believe that all they had to do was draw an eagle to enter. Some asked how much it was to enter, and several people shied away, claiming, “I can’t draw.”

Others, however, took the task quite seriously. They went at it with gusto, first deliberating how their eagle would look, and what colors they’d choose. No two eagles looked the same out of the 40 or so submissions.

Some perched looking forward, others looking sideways, with outstretched wings, or wings at their sides, while flying, or remaining idle. Some artists added embellishments of cool blue water beneath and puffy white clouds alongside their wings. Some had stunning details, while others rested in sufficient modesty.

So why a guitar giveaway? That was the idea of Publisher Howard Owens. If you know him at all, you also know his passion for music, and especially for playing guitar.  

“I  get a thrill out of seeing kids get excited about the possibility of winning a guitar,” Owens says,  “and then to see the happiness of the young person who actually won makes the price of the guitar seem all worth it.”

“I love music.  I always have.  When I was a child, I begged my mother for a guitar, but my parents, when I was a child, struggled financially like a lot of young parents,” he said. “Guitars back then were either expensive or just no good.  I didn't get my first guitar until I was 14.

“I now understand that music can be a great path for people. It isn't just about becoming a rock star.  There are lots of ways music can enrich a person's life, even as a career, without being the star on stage,” he said. “So with that background, I want to use the opportunity I have as publisher of The Batavian to encourage people, especially kids, to turn to music.  More music will help make our world better.”

Don’t just take Owens’ word for about how important music can be to one’s life. Paul Draper, who is a busy local musician and lead organizer of the popular annual Ramble music event in Batavia, comes from a very musical family, “where almost everybody played and if they didn't play, they sang.”

“It was part of my family's culture.,” he said, recalling his first instrument was not an expensive piece. “I remember the first instrument I picked up was an old hand-me-down Yamaha keyboard that my mom bought from one of her friends for $50. Up to that point in my life, I had no real musical ability, but I absolutely loved music. I would sit in my room for hours, just tinkering with the keys and finding little melodies.  Eventually, I was able to make some chords and put them together.”

His older sister, Amanda Draper, an accomplished singer and guitar player, noticed that he was starting to pick up on some things and allowed her brother to play backup for her in the family’s basement "studio,” he said.

“It was all downhill from there. From that point, I've played in numerous bands, hosted big events, traveled all over, met some amazing people, and it all started from a $50 hand-me-down keyboard,” Paul Draper said. “So for me, seeing the people behind The Batavian supporting the arts (as they have) and now donating equipment to help young starry-eyed dreamers begin their journey is just amazing. Because I know how far something like this can take a person.” 

The Muckdogs game was the second guitar giveaway, completely financed by Owens, with the first one being an acoustic guitar at a Just Kings-sponsored Juneteenth event a few weeks ago in Batavia. Win or lose, The Batavian sincerely hopes that each aspiring musician keeps on finding a way to make music in the community.

foster roth drawing
Foster Roth works on his version of an eagle for The Batavian's guitar giveaway contest at Dwyer Stadium on Monday evening.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Renee Henning's Drawing.
Renee Henning's drawing.
Drawing by Tyler Chapman
Drawing by Tyler Chapman.
Drawing by Shane Henning.
Drawing by Shane Henning.
Drawing by Foster Roth
Drawing by Foster Roth
clair bohn drawing
Claire Bohn, dressed in her Fourth of July gear, drawing an eagle.
Drawing by Claire Bohn
Drawing by Claire Bohn.
Drawing by Alex Frank.
Drawing by Alex Frank.
Drawing by Laura Dutton.
Drawing by Laura Dutton.
Drawing by Christopher Pursel
Drawing by Christopher P. Pursel
Drawing by James Pontillo
Drawing by James Pontillo.
Drawing by Richard Leigh
Drawing by Richard Leigh
Drawing by Vanessa Leach
Drawing by Vanessa Leach
drawing by Riley Rosenberg
Riley Rosenberg
Carter Perry
Drawing by Carter Perry.

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