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March 3, 2009 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, poll, passenger rail.

Douglas Tuner of the Buffalo News speculates that Western New York could be ideally suited for to receive stimulus funds to build a passenger rail system between Buffalo and Albany (hat tip, Dan Jones for the link).

In one month, Obama has proposed sending $13 billion into the cause. And if Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, has her way, upstate New York should get a good share of it.

Slaughter’s goal is what aides call “a third track” dedicated to passenger rail running 300 miles from Buffalo-Niagara to Albany along the current CSX right of way.

The economic stimulus plan contains $8 billion for engineering, tracks, passenger cars and other infrastructure for intercity rail. This money should be spent in the next three to four years.

Last week, Obama proposed spending an additional $5 billion for high-speed passenger rail in his 2010 federal budget outline.

I don't know my CSX right of ways, but this seems like Batavia would be on the rail line.

That would be good news for commuters who live in Batavia and work in either Buffalo or Rochester, it seems.

It might even encourage more people to call Batavia or the surrounding rural communities home.

February 28, 2009 - 8:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, environment, Wal-Mart, poll.

This morning, the Daily reports on "earth-friendly" plans for the new Wal-Mart in LeRoy.

Le Roy's store also will include what is known as "daylight harvesting," he said.

A sensor on the floor determines how much sunlight is entering the store. If it's a significant amount, the sensor automatically turns the lights down "so we don't use that energy," Serghini said.

Of course, not all environmentalist buy into a Green Wal-Mart.

This cannot be dismissed as greenwashing. It's actually far more dangerous than that. Wal-Mart's initiatives have just enough meat to have distracted much of the environmental movement, along with most journalists and many ordinary people, from the fundamental fact that, as a system of distributing goods to people, big-box retailing is as intrinsically unsustainable as clear-cut logging is as a method of harvesting trees.

Here's the key issue. Wal-Mart's carbon estimate omits a massive source of CO2 that is inherent to its operations and amounts to more than all of its other greenhouse-gas emissions combined: the CO2 produced by customers driving to its stores.

The post asserts that big box stores encourage us to drive further -- an average two miles longer each trip -- to do our shopping.

January 21, 2009 - 9:58am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Barack Obama, president, poll.

Well, folks, we start the day with a new president this morning. Hopefully, you're invigorated by that, no matter what your political affiliation. There's no knowing where we'll go from here, but it feels like we've got a chance to climb back up and out of this ditch. President Barack Obama yesterday delivered his inaugural address from the steps of the Capitol. Much was said of how far we've come and how far we have yet to go.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed—why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

Whatever else this president may turn out to be, I'm glad to find him a skilled speaker, who knows not only how to turn a phrase but also how to instill it with meaning.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends—hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility—a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

So today we opt for the obvious poll. We would like to hear your thoughts on the presidential inaugural address. Please, feel free to leave comments once you've voted. This is worth a discussion. We have left in the "Didn't listen to it" option. However, we will also include this link to the complete text of the inaugural address in the hopes that maybe you will read it and then vote.

Once you've finished voting, if you're looking for a laugh nd yet further proof that we live in an age of farce, please check out the article in the Financial Times about China's attempt at real-time censorship of the address. It is mentioned in that article that China's central Internet news hub, in its translation of the inaugural address, did not include the phrase: ”To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Coincidentally, their fists aren't the only the only parts of their body that need to be unclenched.

January 20, 2009 - 10:57am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, muckdogs, sports, poll, contest, mascot.

We just got up a post about a contest to name the new Batavia Muckdogs mascot and thought to give the readers of The Batavian a chance to share some of their suggestions. We've offered a few obvious choices—or maybe not obvious, who knows—but most folks will likely want to give their own. If that's the case, simply click the 'Other' option and type in your choice. We'll retrieve the suggestions from the poll site and post them in the comments field throughout the day.

If you would like to make your vote official, please download the official Name the Mascot form and drop it off at Dwyer Stadium.

January 19, 2009 - 11:09am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Barack Obama, politics, president, poll, inauguration.

Tomorrow afternoon, Barack Obama will be sworn in as our 44th president of the United States. The Batavian will be hosting an inauguration fête at T.F. Brown's starting at 11:30am. Come down for the free finger food. Stay for the inaugural address.

Anyhow, that's what we'll be doing. How about you?

January 15, 2009 - 11:24am
posted by Philip Anselmo in history, Holland Land Office Museum, poll.

Yesterday, we got up the announcement of No. 4 in the Holland Land Office Museum's countdown of The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous. It was none other than the eponymous Holland Land Company.

So... that brings us to the top three, and the way we've got it worked out, there are still five likely contenders for those three slots. Surely, William Morgan and Jell-O will be among those three. But the third is something of a toss up. A couple of our readers suggested the state School for the Blind. Others have suggested Bill Kauffman. Quite a few more were sure that Barber Conable would make the top five. What do you think? What else has a chance at fame?

January 13, 2009 - 10:39am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, city council, poll.

Last night, the Batavia City Council voted to waive the residency requirement for 14 city employees. That was all the news that was reported about the 6-to-1 vote. Nobody has yet been able to tell us why exactly the city has such a requirement if it's willing to waive it for such a large number of employees. In the meantime, we would like to get your thoughts. Do you feel it's imperative for a person to live in the city of Batavia if they are employed here? Can someone in Oakfield do the job? Does it matter? If it doesn't matter, why does the city require residency here? If it does matter, why would the city waive that requirement? Well, what do you think?

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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