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Food drive by postal carriers collects bounty for local charities

By Howard B. Owens
post office food drive
Postal workers Dominic Iacuzza, Mitchell Muskopf, and Chris Holley, in front of food donations gathered by mail carriers on Saturday as part of a postal-worker-initiated food drive that encouraged postal customers to leave bags of food for carriers to pick up.
Photo by Howard Owens.

On Saturday, postal carriers in Batavia -- as part of a national campaign -- collected food donations from postal customers.  Folks on carriers' routes were asked to leave food in bags for pickup.

Brandon Snyder, who organized the drive locally, said that as of 2 p.m., 1,136 pounds of food were donated to Care-a-Van and another 1,435 points to the Salvation Army, with other local charities expected to pick up donations.

Photos below were submitted by Brandon Snyder.


post office food drive
post office food drive
post office food drive
post office food drive


Batavia's post office building is 100 years old

By Howard B. Owens


The Barber Conable Post Office Building in Batavia is 100 years old.

Construction of the post office began in 1916 with a $57,993 bid awarded to contractor George F. Rossell, of Rochester, according to the City of Batavia History book by Ruth M. McEvoy.

Because of World War I, Rossell had a hard time completing the project as he was beset by higher costs and construction supervisors who kept going off to war. He gave up in October 1917, voiding the contract.

Progress continued slowly under the supervision of E.D. Gray and it was finally ready for postal employees to relocate from a rented building on Jackson Street to their new headquarters.

The post office was built based on plans by John Taylor Knox, the former architect of the U.S. Treasury. He designed dozens of federal buildings during his career, including the post office in Buffalo and Niagara Falls

The cornerstone was laid in 1916 and bears the name of William G. McAdoo, who was Secretary of the Treasury, as "supervising architect."

A few post offices in other communities share common designs with our post office, including Live Oak, Fla., Fulton, Mo., and Menomonie, Wis.

The name of the post office was changed in 2004 by an act of Congress to the Barber Conable Post Office Building. Conable is a former congressman who represented our area and later became president of the World Bank.

Ironically, perhaps, according to McEvoy's book, the Batavia Daily News reported in 1970 that the area's congressman -- who would have been Conable at the time -- had promised the community a new post office building. "In 1990," McEvoy notes, "that promise had not been fulfilled."

When the post office first opened, it had a front porch area. It was enclosed in 1961.

The postmaster in 1919 was John F. Ryan. According to McEvoy, Ryan and his brother William opened a light shop at 79 Main St., Batavia, in 1898. In 1910, they installed an electrical device that opened and closed their shop windows automatically.

His daughter was Dr. Edith F. Ryan. She intended to open a practice in Philadelphia but war disrupted her plans. She opened an office on Jackson Street and was then appointed as a medical examiner for the school district. That helped her practice grow. She retired in 1957.

Batavia's first postmaster was James Brisbane, who handled postal duties through his general store. He eventually became a wealthy man and the current police headquarters is the former Brisbane mansion. His son Albert was a social reformer and his grandson was the famous journalist of the early 20th century, Arthur Brisbane, who is buried in the Historic Batavia Cemetery. Arthur was also Nellie Bly's editor. The Brisbane Family Papers (1819-1965) are in the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University.

The second postmaster was Ebenezer Cary followed by Trumbull Cary. The Cary Mansion, long destroyed, is commemorated by a historic marker on East Main Street.

In 1829, Simeon Cummings became postmaster. He also owned a harness shop in Batavia.

The next postmaster was William Seaver wrote what is perhaps the first history of Batavia in 1849. Another William Seaver, perhaps his son or possibly grandson, or maybe not related at all, took two pictures of Downtown Batavia that The Batavian previously published.

Following Seaver the postmaster was Levant B. Coates, who appears to have owned a drug store that was destroyed in a fire in 1833

Then came Frederick Follett, publisher of a local newspaper, Spirit of the Times, and the author of a book on the history of the press in Western New York.

The first woman postmaster was Elizabeth R. Erbland, who served from 1994 to 1998, followed by Catherine M. Maniace.

Today (top photo), current and former local postal employees gathered on the front steps of the building for a photo.

Do you know what else is 100 years old? The Upton Monument (watch the video).



Time is running out to get your packages in the mail in time for Christmas

By Alecia Kaus

Long lines formed at the Batavia Post Office today.

According to Darlene Sharping, who has been at the customer service desk for 14 years, the Batavia Post Office has been one busy place for the last three weeks.

Today the wait in line was about 20 minutes. Some people walked in and walked out, while others braved the line and waited. 

Marybeth Bowen needed to mail a large envelope for $1.90, but did not have enough stamps. She had six but needed eight. In the Christmas spirit, another woman who was waiting in line to mail a lot of packages, volunteered to mail her envelope so she would not have to wait in line for stamps.

Sal Oddo, who has worked behind the customer service desk for 35 years here in Batavia says tomorrow is the last day to mail out packages to places like Florida or California. Anything after tomorrow might not make it in time for Christmas.

If you are mailing in the Northeast the last day is Thursday.

The Batavia Post Office will be open from 9-5 during the week.

Boxes were the theme in line today.

Even though the lines were long most people seemed to be in the Christmas spirit.

Pavilion gets its Post Office back—sort of—February 2

By Philip Anselmo

Pavilion's "postal trailer" will open on February 2, according to a U.S. Postal Service release that went out this morning. Pavilion has been without a post office since the location on Lake Street was destroyed during an apartment fire in November.

This trailer (below) is located a stone's throw from the Town Hall on Woodrow Drive.

From the press release:

Effective February 2, 2009 retail and delivery services will be restored to the Pavilion community via a postal trailer located on the Town of Pavilion property at Woodrow Drive. Service hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Pavilion customers can purchase postage and other postal products, as well as pick up Post Office Box mail at the new location. The trailer will also accommodate the Pavilion rural carriers.

“The November fire at the Post Office caused great disruption to mail services in Pavilion,” stated Manager of Post Office Operations Ron Coon. “We are pleased to be able to restore convenient postal services to town residents and businesses.”

A final determination of the Lake Street Post Office site has not been made.

Pavilion Post Office waiting to get plugged in, may open in a few weeks

By Philip Anselmo

Pavilion residents may not have to wait much longer to get their stamps and pick up their mail in town again. They have been without local walk-in service, since a fire destroyed the old post office on South Lake Road in early November. Mail delivery has continued, but folks who pick up their mail at the post office have had to do so over at the Fire Hall, and only at a certain time each day. The original post office is now boarded up, and a spokeswoman with the Postal Service tells us that there are no updates on its status.

Fortunately, the trailer that has been set up behind the town hall may soon be ready to open. From Karen Mazurkiewicz, spokeswoman:

"We are in the process of establishing utility services to a postal trailer located at 1 Woodrow Street adjacent to the town of Pavilion Library. The trailer will house the rural carriers and allow customers access to retail services and Post Office box mail.

"We have not determined an opening date yet but hope that it will be in the next few weeks."

For those who have not yet been by, here's what to look for:

Postal route changes in store for Batavia, and elsewhere in region

By Philip Anselmo

Earlier today, we picked up a story from Buffalo's Channel 4 news station about some potential route changes and shifting around of delivery times in store for Batavia and some areas in the region. We contacted the local Post Office this morning to see if we could find out some of the details.

Karen Mizurkiewicz, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service, told us that yes, in fact, they would be adjusting some routes in the region.

"We normally do route adjustments because things change in mail volume," she said. "Also, because we have offered some early retirements for employees including carriers. Instead of hiring new carriers, we're redistributing routes among existing carriers. We need to try to direct our postal stamp dollar as far as it will go. We don't receive any tax dollars. So when you're selling less stamps and delivering less mail, you need to stretch your resources."

Mizurkiewicz didn't have any details on which routes would be affected. She said that right now, the postal service is "examing the data for Batavia," and that changes will be more clear nearer to the end of February.

We'll be sure to pass along those details to our readers when they become available.

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