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youth football

'Family atmosphere' at the heart of Batavia Bulldawgs' gridiron, cheerleading experience

By Mike Pettinella
batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.

Now in their 12th year, the Batavia Bulldawgs’ “family ties” are as strong as ever.

The youth football and cheerleading program has grown substantially since its start in 2011 thanks to a one-for-all and all-for-one philosophy that values each and every member of the organization, said Commissioner John Reigle on Saturday afternoon as he watched his players take on Tri-Town and Akron at the new Genesee Community College field.

“What makes the Bulldawgs truly special is the athletes, volunteer board members, coaches and families that take part in it,” said Reigle, who is one of the founding fathers of the program (along with Matt Della Penna, Paul Grazioplene, Tyrone Woods and Ken Proefrock). “I play a small part in this wonderful organization, and it’s been an honor.”

The Bulldawgs are comprised of four teams – Beginners (ages 6-7), Mini (ages 8-9), Jayvee (ages 10-11) and Varsity (ages 12-13) – with 25-35 players on each squad. They are supported by the cheerleading squads, which currently list 72 girls.

“We’ve come a long way,” Reigle said. “The first year, we had 52 players, and we didn’t start the cheerleading until the second year.”

Reigle mentioned that he coached his oldest son, Bryce, during that initial season. Bryce continued through every level and now is one of the Bulldawgs’ assistant coaches.

“Right now, we have two junior coaches who came through the program – Bronx Buchholz and Karvel Martino – and are standout players for the Batavia High varsity team,” Reigle said.

The Bulldawgs aren’t officially affiliated with the Batavia City School District (of which Reigle is a Board of Education member), but they have forged a tight relationship over the years.

“We definitely see ourselves as a feeder system for Batavia High football,” he said. “(Former) Coach (Brennan) Briggs promoted it that way, and Coach (Alex) Veltz has continued that. He sees us as one big family – the Bulldawgs and the Blue Devils. Our goal is to have the kids with us for eight years and then see them move into the school football program.”

Reigle said Veltz conducted coaching seminars for the Bulldawgs, and the Mini division team enjoyed a Blue Devil Experience Night where they took on the pad-less BHS varsity squad in a fun-filled exhibition game.

The head coaches are Scott Perry (Beginners). Gary Good (Mini), Reigle (Jayvee) and Matt Beach (Varsity). Kate Smith is the cheerleader director.

The Bulldawgs compete in the Niagara Orleans Football Association, which also includes Tri-Town, an Alexander-based organization with a rich history in its own right; Akron, Attica, Albion, Newfane, Roy-Hart, Pembroke, Le Roy and Holley.

The players and cheerleaders’ membership dues enable them to participate over nine weeks, with each member receiving uniforms and equipment.

Reigle said playoffs are scheduled for Oct. 21 at Van Detta Stadium for the Mini, Jayvee and Varsity divisions, and the championship round is set for Oct. 28, also at Van Detta Stadium, for all divisions. The cheerleading “playoffs” will take place on Nov. 4 in Lyndonville.

Later in November, each Bulldawg team is treated to a season-ending party at the Polish Falcons on Swan Street in Batavia, Reigle noted.

“Every participant receives a plaque at their banquet,” Reigle said. “It’s our way of letting them know that ‘once a Bulldawg, always a Bulldawg.’”

For the record, all four Bulldawg squads were victorious on Saturday. The Beginners beat Tri-Town, 26-7; the Minis defeated Tri-Town, 20-13; the Jayvees blanked Tri-Town, 32-0, and the Varsity downed Akron, 26-0.

batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.
batavia bulldawgs
Photo by Howard Owens.

BHS Coach Briggs to hold Youth Football Camp July 17-18, cost is $40

By Billie Owens
Batavia High School Coach Brennan Briggs will hold a Youth Football Camp for children entering grades 1 through 8 on Monday and Tuesday, July 17-18. It will take place from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Batavia High School. Cost is $40.
Highlights of camp: Offensive and defensive position work, speed challenge, flag football games to end each day, T-shirt, pizza.
Special Guests: Along with Coach Briggs and his staff, members of the three-time Section V Championship teams will speak and work with the campers.
You can register by sending in the following information and the $40 payment: 
  • Camper's name
  • Grade camper is entering
  • Emergency contact name and phone number
  • T-shirt size (register by June 30th to guarantee correct size) 
Checks should be made payable to "Blue Devils Touchdown Club" and sent to 103 Oak St., Batavia, NY 14020
Questions, contact Coach Brennan Briggs @ 585-409-5557
What: Youth Football Camp
Who: Children entering grades 1 through 8
When: Monday, July 17th & Tuesday, July 18th from 9 - 11:30 a.m.
Where: Batavia High School, 260 State St., Batavia
Cost: $40​

Weekend NOFA action: Medina at Alexander

By Rick Franclemont

Four games this weekend, two going to Medina and two to Alexander. The rain held out, but a soggy field led to muddy jerseys and slippery runs up the middle.


Scoring for the beginners were:

Alexander - Tyler Marino (Extra point by Tyler Marino)

Medina - Kaedon Hangartner (Extra point by Kaedon Hangartner)

Alexander - Clayton Bezon (Extra point by Clayton Bezon)

Alexander - Tyler Marino (No extra point)

Medina - Sawyer Kingsbury (Two-point conversion caught by Kaedon Hangartner)


Going into the game Medina was 6-0 and the Tri-town trojans were 4-2. Alexander threw everything they had at Medina and prevailed, breaking the Medina unbeaten streak.

Scoring for the mini division:

Medina - Aiden Pitts (Extra point by Aiden Pitts)

Medina - Joshua Wilson (No extra point)

Alexander - Nick Kramer (No extra point)

Alexander - Connor Scott (Extra point by Matthew Jasen)

Alexander - Connor Scott (No extra point)


It was all Medina on offense and defense today.

Scoring for JV:

Medina - Brian Fry (Extra point Brian Fry)

Medina - Brian Fry (Two-point conversion throw from Zachary Blount to Carson Dusett)

Medina - Interception by Brian Fry returned for a touchdown (Two-point conversion from Zachary Blount to Aron Seefeldt Jr.)

Medina - Brian Fry (No extra point)

Medina - Fumble recovered by Emmanual Taylor, who ran for a touchdown (Extra point by Brian Fry)


Medina Varsity squad held Alexander scoreless for the entirety.

Scoring for the varsity squad:

Medina - Damon Bloom (Two-point conversion throw from Izaiah Rhim to Johnethan Salone)

Medina - Damon Bloom (Extra point by Damon Bloom)

Medina - Ronnie Koonce III (Two-point conversion throw from Izaiah Rhim to Trenton Jones)

Medina - Trenton Jones reception from Izaiah Rhim (No extra point)

Medina - Trenton Jones fumble recovery, ran in for a touchdown (No extra point)

Medina - Trenton Jones reception from Izaiah Rhim (Extra point by Vincent Montague)

More pictures from this weekend's games can be found here: NOFA Alexander - Medina

Youth Football Kickoff Celebration

By Rick Franclemont

The Newfane Lightning and Pembroke Dragons Youth Football teams participated in the largest national youth football kickoff celebration to date.

Press release from USA Football:

Youth football's largest season kickoff to take place on more than 2,000 fields with USA Football

More than 600,000 youth football players in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., will participate in the largest national youth football kickoff celebration to date on Saturday, Sept. 10.

USA Football’s National Youth Football Kickoff is part of the NFL’s Back to Football campaign.Coinciding with the NFL’s Kickoff Weekend, youth teams on more than 2,000 fields will begin their Sept. 10 games with a special red, white and blue commemorative football provided by USA Football without cost, celebrating the season’s return.

Leagues will upload photos and messages from their Saturday games on Facebook and Twitter to be shared with the entire youth football community. All social network messages and a list of participating leagues are found at

USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and each of its 32 teams.

Approximately 3 million children age 6-14 play youth football, placing it among the country’s most popular youth sports.

“For millions of Americans, regardless of our age, the return of football at all levels unites us in an exciting way,” said USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK. “That’s what Saturday is about – celebrating the kids, families and volunteers whose dedication powers this sport and uniting us through fun social networking.”

Based in Indianapolis, USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States. Sixty-two (62) countries spanning six continents possess national federations of sport dedicated solely to football.

About USA Football

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body in the United States, inspires participation, and ensures a positive experience for all youth, high school, and other amateur players.The independent nonprofit hosts more than 80 football training events annually for coaches, players and youth football league commissioners. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams and manages U.S. national teams for international competition. Endowed by the NFL and NFL Players Association in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football distributes $1 million annually in equipment grants and offers youth league volunteer background check subsidies. Former NFL team executive Carl Peterson is USA Football’s chairman.


More pictures from the ceremony and the game can be found here

Pembroke vs. Oakfield-Elba Youth Football

By Rick Franclemont

Photos from the JV Youth Football game 8/27/11. Pembroke was the home team.

Minis: Pembroke 8, Oakfield-Elba 0

JV: Pembroke 36, Oakfield-Elba 6

All pictures from the event are available here for readers of The Batavian.

When is youth football signup?

By Tina Palone

I have been looking, every week in the drummer, to find out whenyouth football signups are, does anyone know?

Batavia Daily News for Friday: Area auto sales "strong despite downturn"

By Philip Anselmo

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

News roundup: Rec decision postponed

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia's City Council last night postponed a decision on whether to pitch in $2,750 to look into maybe sharing recreation services with the school district and town, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer. The Batavian reported earlier this week on the proposal by the school district to fund an $11,000 needs assessment.

Fischer reports that Council members Bill Cox and Kathy Briggs were willing to support the study because "it was keeping with council's to share services among municipalities." Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian was opposed to the plan, saying that we already pay enough in school taxes.

Council will take up discussion again at its conference meeting later this month and vote on the request at its business meeting in November.

Recreation study could lead to a permanent home for youth football

By Philip Anselmo

Yesterday, we reported an initiative on the part of the Batavia City School District to pursue a jointly funded "needs assessment" that would look at whether or not the school, the city and the town should consider upgrading and expanding its recreational lands and playing fields. That study would cost $11,000. The school district would pay $5,500, and the town and the city would pay $2,750 each.

School Superintendent Margaret Puzio sent a letter to City Manager Jason Molino in the beginning of September asking him to bring the matter before Council. That matter will go before Council at its meeting tonight. A similar letter was sent to the town, which agreed to pitch in the funds for the study almost immediately.

"We heard from the town right away," said Puzio. "They are on board. They're interested. Just waiting on the city."

Where did this all come from? It turns out that the genesis of the idea came in August when Molino sat down with Puzio and a pair of representatives of Batavia's youth football program to discuss short-term and long-term options to find a home for the program that had then been asked to leave Dwyer Stadium.

Says Puzio:

"The opening conversations happened around the whole youth football issue and trying to find a home for them. The district coincidentally owns some property which we were considering whether to develop as playing fields and a recreation area. But we didn't want to do that without knowing everything that was already available. We wanted to get together with city and town and fund a needs assessment and have somebody take inventory of all the recreation areas in the city and town and see if what we currently have is adequate. Do we need more, or do we already have enough?"

Puzio also mentioned in the letter that she was hoping the city could act quickly in its decision—again, this was over a month ago—as a grant opportunity that could help fund such a recreation expansion will expire in December. She could not tell me just how much money was available, but she could say that the Local Government Efficiency Grant was "money that the state has set aside to support municipalities that work together not to duplicate services." In other words, these are funds used to support municipalities that work together to establish shared services.

There would be no more related costs for the "needs assessment," said Puzio, but if the study found that there was a need to, say, construct a new atheltic field at the school district's North Street property, more funds could be forthcoming from all parties involved.

Thanks to Margaret Puzio for getting back to us so quickly and answering all of our questions.

Small Town Football

By Lynn Naylor

My children go to Elba and  I would just like to say that I think its great how the community of Elba and Byron-Bergen all came out to support the newly combined Football team . My sons both play 1 on the modified and the older on the JV which i might add won against OA Saturday morning.But then we attended the Varsity game and it was just great to see how many were their just to support them; some didnt have kids on the team it was just nice to see.

News roundup: Youth football kicks off the season

By Philip Anselmo

Daily News reporter Scott DeSmit was at Lions Park Saturday for the opening games of the new youth football season. More than 1,500 people came out to scope the nearly 300 players and cheerleaders. This will be the first year for the program at Lions Park after the group was told they would have to vacate Dwyer Stadium after a 32-year run.

DeSmit spends most of the article dwelling on the details of that move and the results of the program's break with the city. Little is said of the games. Instead, DeSmit spoke with the organizers about what had to be replaced because of the move from Dwyer and how much it all cost. He also wrote about parking and traffic problems and the problems encountered by the concessions stand because of the move. The article wraps up nicely with a return to the action of the games.

All in all, DeSmit does a fine job getting some color, previewing the season and handling the problems encountered by the program due to the move from Dwyer, if he doesn't spend a bit too much time on the latter.

Today's front page features one of Matt Surtel's on-the-road dispatches from his trip with area veterans down to Washington D.C. I'm becoming more of a fan of Surtel every day, especially when he gets the chance to write outside the confines of the typical hard news format. "So the buses wind again through the overcast, which resembles night more than day," writes Surtel, proving his penchant for the poetic. Or take this line about the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Museum at the Smithsonian: "It's a collection of the famous, the infamous, the odd and the simply beautiful." Nice.

Musical Celebration 2008 to benefit Crossroads House will be at 7:00pm Saturday at City Church, 210 E. Main St. The show will feature performances by Phyl Contestable and Alan Jones; Aislinn Call and her dad, Glenn Adams; Mark Hoerbelt, Lauren Picarro Hoerbelt and Jason Wiley; accordionist Alex Alexandrov, St. Joe's Brass Ensemble and Bart Dentino. Tickets are $14 prior to the show and $15 at the door. Pick up yours at Travelore Travel Service, 204 E. Main St., or at Main Street Coffee, 111 Main St.

I would encourage folks to get out and pick up a copy of today's paper, if only to read the travel article by Matt Surtel. Or, better yet, subscribe at

Youth Football rejects school offer, opts for Lion's Park

By Philip Anselmo

Say hello to the new home of Batavia's Youth Football program: Lion's Park.

Youth Football President Dick Lexer told The Batavian today that the program has decided not to accept the offer from Batavia City Schools to relocate to the field at John Kennedy Elementary. Instead, it will move to Lion's Park on Edward Street in Batavia — at least, for now.

 "It has been two years of looking at places to play," said Lexer. "And every time you look at a place and talk to someone, there are good points and bad points. This has been a long time and a lot of negotiations."

Lexer would not comment on the good points about Lion's Park or the bad points about John Kennedy or anything about the many other locations that he and other program leaders considered for relocation. He said he couldn't get into details because there were just too many.

"Our decision was based on a lot of different things, too numerous to mention," he said. "Basically, there are fewer bad points about Lion's Park than anywhere else."

Lion's Park will not be the permanent home to the program that was told to vacate Dwyer Stadium due to the high costs of maintaining the outfield that gets chewed up by the football games — Council President Charlie Mallow cited figures of at least $10,000 per year in repairs. Lexer sounded regretful about losing the facilities at Dwyer where they played almost regularly for 32 years, he said.

It's only temporary, (he said of the move to Lion's Park). We have to find a better permanent home. We had everything we needed at Dwyer. We had everything. We're walking away from $75,000 in structures and facilities because we can't use the field any more. So we had to find a place for at least this year to play our games. But it's only temporary.

Youth Football begins its season September 6.

Youth Football could have a home at John Kennedy

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia Youth Football has been offered the field at John Kennedy Elementary School for at least the 2008 season. In a memo to City Manager Jason Molino, Superintendent Margaret Puzio writes:

We welcome the opportunity to work with the City of Batavia in support of Batavia Youth Football. We hope that the field at John Kennedy Elementary meets the needs of the organization and the city.

Puzio then lists the associated costs and "stipulations" the school district would require "if the field at John Kennedy were chosen as the venue for Batavia Youth Football." They include:

  • Labor charges for painting the field — $35 per hour and $30 per field marking.
  • Facility costs of $105 per game.
  • Bleachers (must be provided by the city).
  • Concessions requirements: Health permit and trash containers.

The city still has yet to accept the offer.

The Batavian left a message with Puzio this afternoon. She was in a meeting at the time, and we were told that she may not be able to return the message until tomorrow morning. We also left messages for Molino and Youth Football representative Ben Bonarigo, neither of whom were available for comment.

And the decision on Youth Football is..... postponed!

By Philip Anselmo

Well, kind of.

City Council was scheduled to vote on whether to allow Batavia's Youth Football program  to remain one more season at Dwyer Stadium — a decision that some said would have cost the city no less than $10,000 and most likely more.

When the vote came up for discussion, however, Councilman Tim Buckley hastily asked that the vote be postponed to the next meeting in August.

"There are a lot of things going on with it that we all know," he said.

What things?

It turns out that City Manager Jason Molino met with city school grounds crews and youth football representatives last week to look into the possibility of hosting youth football at one of the schools. Molino said that they discussed a solution not only for this year but for the long term, as well.

Council voted 8-1 to postpone a decision on Youth Football until the August 11 meeting. Councilman Sam Barone lodged the sole dissenting vote, though he did not explain why.

Without getting into too much conjecture here, we would imagine that Council does not get the opportunity to vote on this issue, if, in the meantime, a deal is worked out with the schools.

We will contact school officials tomorrow to see where they are in their deliberations.

Youth Football decision Monday (plus: mall signage)

By Philip Anselmo

City Council will vote Monday to allow Batavia's Youth Football program to remain one more season at Dwyer Stadium before relocating somewhere else in the city — that "somewhere else" will remain to be determined.

You can read our earlier posts to learn more about this issue that has ignited a bit of a controversy among council members and city residents. Many say that it would not cost the city much money at all if the program stayed at Dwyer one more year. Others say exactly the opposite, that, in fact, it would cost the city no less than $10,000 to let youth football play another season.

Public comments will be welcome at the meeting prior to the vote.

Also on the agenda for council's business meeting Monday:

  • Recognition of a $6,000 grant for portable radios for the police department.
  • Contract agreements to hire firms for tree trimming and removal and for grant writing.
  • An agreement with the town of Batavia to pursue consolidation studies.

Click here to download the complete business meeting Agenda.

During council's conference meeting Monday, council members will continue the discussion of tree trimming and removal policies throughout the city, sparked in part by the concerns of Councilwoman Marianne Clattenburg that inconsistencies left some neighborhoods looking barren while others were flush with greenery.

Also on that agenda is a discussion on a new sign proposed for the Batavia City Centre mall drawn up (quite literally) by City Manager Jason Molino and presented to the Mall Merchants Association. (You can see the sketch for it to the left here.) This sign would be placed at bothe entrances to the mall and cost approximately $17,000.

Unfortunately, Molino says in a memo to Council, the mall merchants "did not like the design because they stated they could not advertise for events, and that they have lost revenue due to the lack of the sign."

Molino goes on: "When I inquired as to the benefits of even advertising and how much income they received due to the prior sign, there was no response."

The merchants instead requested a free-standing sign that was drawn up by Assistant City Managaer Sally Kuzon (see below). Molino commented in the memo:

"I stated that sign will be placed in-between City Hall and Hawley Insyrance and that a free standing sign downtown would not look very good aesthetically and that it would interrupt the continuity of the pedestrian sidewalks."

No matter. The merchants liked the design of the free-standing sign, which would cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

Any questions?

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm a little doubtful that the first sign would cost $17,000 — it doesn't seem like much more than plastic letters mounted on the entrance.

From National to Local....Some Things Really Bug Me!!!!!

By Patrick D. Burk

I must be getting older....or at least a bit more like Andy Rooney,  the curmudgeonly complainer of 60 Minutes.  Certain things really get to me now, and I make sure some people know that they do.  I get cranky....very, very cranky.

Case in point.  The other day an old friend of mine (who has always been a mid-centered Democrat) told me she wasn't going to vote for President this year.  This was due to the fact that her Mom disliked McCain because he was not really a war hero and her grandfather told her Obama was a Muslim.  That comment certainly bugged me.  Not only is none of it true, it is incinderary and ignorant.  McCain survived a Prisoner of War camp and he survived while his concern increased for his fellow prisoners and his injuries from a plane crash worsened.  Sounds like a true hero to me.  Obama was raised in Kansas and attended a Christian Church that his very American grandparents attended.   Last time I looked, Kansas was not a hotbed of Muslim activity but what was really negative about this comment was the insinuation that if an American citizen is Muslim he must therefore not be a good American.  Only two words for this type of comment.  It is a racist, hateful remark.  Both charges are untrue and I hope the electorate does not believe such bitter, deceitful crap.

That leads me to a local issue.  When, all of a sudden, did the City of Batavia School District become the bad guy in the Youth Football argument.  At our first Board Meeting of this school year, a resolution was planned and passed to see if we could aid in this situation.  This was done knowing that not all the participants are from the City School District and that ourfields are already crowded and hard to maintain without adding more money to the budget.  A phone call from Councilwoman Clattenburg was recieved AFTER the resolution was written and placed on the agenda.  In the spirit of cooperation, and with thanks to Mrs. Clattenburg, we moved forward to make this the first directive given to the Buildings and Grounds Committee for this coming year.

There the board sat yesterday unanamously passing a resolution which states that there will be an investigation and discussion to see if the North Street Extension Property may be developed or another plan that would include the District's property could be used to help alleviate this problem.  Regardless of what some may think, we do like to help and solve, not obstruct and confuse.  The Board of Education and its new superintendent, Margaret Puzio, acted out of a community minded incentive and a pro-youth incentive.  Lo and behold.... a speaker gets up and blasts the board for refusing to act on this issue and refusing to allow Youth Football to use Van Detta.  The statements were all unfounded.  Youth Football has NOT ASKED US to act on this at all.   NO ONE from youth football has contacted us or asked.  Councilwoman Clattenburg asked in accordance with our already planned resolution.  Even staff writer's of the Batavian write negatively about the school and situation without asking the simple question.  If the meeting speaker and the staff writer had asked, they would have found out the truth.  Now they know it.

Complaint number three is simply the result of gas prices and any political candidates "energy policy".  Please listen to what all the politicians and pundits are saying.  Remember it is an election year and in some polls the number one concern the electorate has is the price of much for insurance and education and security.  The plain truth is that people vote their pocketbook.  No matter what anyone says, that is the truth.  WIth this in mind I ask a simple questionm "Why did we Americans allow Dick Cheney to write a SECRET oil and energy policy and ply us with his fraudulent explanation?"  I have been talking about this failed Bush Energy Doctrine since it was first developed in SECRET.  It contains ways to defuse concern on Global Warming (Even the Whitehouse admits it exists now!  WOW! talk about a baptism!).  It talks about increasing profits to allow for more exploration, but very little exploration has been done.  It in itself promotes our reliance on oil, both foreign and domestic.  Of course that is more money in the pockets of the Bush/Cheney "Friends and Family Plan".

My answer to this was to purchase cars that got close to 40 miles per gallon or more.  Some in the public bought huge machines that get less than 12 miles per gallon.  Here is my idea.  Smaller, more fuel efficient cars should get a gas rebate which will be paid by the higher taxes the BIG HUGE MANLY vehicles will pay to fill up.  That way there will be incentive to purchase and drive the higher mileage vehicles.  Before anyone goes and checks the Constitution, there is no amendment stating that we have rights to be gas guzzlers.  Let the insatiable appetites of the low mileage drivers place this one right on thier backs.  It deserves to be there.

Thanks for listening.....maybe one day, I will replace Andy Rooney...... nah...Batavia is too interesting. 

A closer look at the turf — Just what's at stake if Youth Football plays one more season at Dwyer?

By Philip Anselmo

Daily News reporter Joanne Beck paid a visit to Dwyer Stadium yesterday, but she wasn't there for a ball game. She was there to get a closer look at the outfield turf, a plot of grass that has been the center of a controversy over the past week here in Batavia.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Ben Bonarigo stood up and asked the city to let youth football play one more season at Dwyer before it relocated to Kibbe Park at a cost to the city that would not exceed about $19,000. His recommendation was immediately followed by a heated, hour-long debate among Council members, none of whom seemed to agree on even a single detail. (For more details about the meeting and the recommendation by City Manager Jason Molino to relocate the program to Austin Park, check out our two earlier posts.)

At the core of the debate is a simple disagreement between Bonarigo, who is a member of youth football's board of directors, and Council President Charlie Mallow. Bonarigo says that if youth football stays another season at Dwyer, the outfield will suffer no great hurt. Mallow says just the opposite.

Beck writes that if Council approves youth football's request to stay at Dwyer for one more season, "Mallow has no doubt the city will pay another $10,000 next year for field repairs."

We asked Charlie to explain a little more his choice of $10,000 for the city's share of field repair costs. Why that much? He wrote to us in an e-mail:

The city is responsible for the first $10,000. From what I remember it cost the Red Wings $40,000 plus for this season's patch repairs. I expect the city's liabilities to be at least what they were last year. In talking to the baseball people, anything less would not be believable. We can not open ourselves up to escalating costs of field repairs any longer.

Bonarigo countered at the meeting Monday that there is no way youth football would cause so much damage that the city would need to spend that kind of money and that even after the repairs, the field is in the same shape this year as it was last year.

And really, that's what it has come down to: Charlie says this, Bonarigo says that. My question — and I would hope it would be everyone else's question, too — is: Who do we believe?

In Beck's article today, she quotes Muckdogs General Manager Dave Wellenzohn and Red Wings General Manager both saying that Bonarigo is wrong. Wellenzohn says flat out that the "overuse" of the field from youth football "will bring us back to square one," and square one would mean an investment by the city of at least $10,000.

With the quotes from Wellezohn, Mason and Red Wings CEO Naomi Silver, the overall tenor of the article seems very much in support of Charlie's view that: "Council is wasting taxpayer dollars." And it's an argument that should warrant some credence.

Why pay $10,000, $20,000 or even $10 for youth football when that money is not spent on other youth programs, Charlie asks? Why does youth football get special treatment? Or is it special treatment? WBTA seemed to ask the opposite question in their next-day coverage of the meeting Monday: Would one more year of youth football really be that bad?

Unfortunately, Beck also writes that "Bonarigo was unavailable for comment." The Batavian put in a call to Bonarigo's office this morning to take up some of these questions, but he was not in. He should be back later, so we hope to get a comment from him then.

No clear cut plans for youth football

By Philip Anselmo

There comes a time in every city government reporter's life when he heads home from a lengthy municipal meeting and says to himself (perhaps not entirely in jest): There has to be another way. In other words, representative government is not the prettiest form of rule that we've dreamed up as a thinking, social species — and the more you spectate, the less pretty it gets.

You would be hard pressed to get nine people to agree on which type of latté to order at Main Street Coffee — or even three of them to agree on the milk to mix: skim, whole, soy, part, almond, powdered, none. Fat chance then getting those same nine to come to a tidy conclusion about a complex city issue. In fact, you can almost count on that issue becoming more and more complex before it eventually was hashed out and resolved.

But that's just how it goes. Unless you want a dictatorship... and even then you've still got bureaucrats.

Take the relocation of the youth football program out of Dwyer Stadium — its home for 32 years — into a city park: a non-issue that was vaulted to priority status when Red Wings management came to the city a few weeks back and sort of said that they would not pay for the costly repairs to the turf each year that would be required as a result of football cleats gouging the grass. Toute suite, City Manager Jason Molino put together a cost comparison between relocating the program to Austin Park or Kibbe Park. He recommended moving to Austin at a cost of about $19,000, rather than Kibbe, which would cost more like $61,000. See our earlier post for the full details.

Well, quite quickly it was quite clear that the issue was not so simple.

About every member of Council seemed to have a different take. Some argued for moving to Kibbe Park. Others argued for Austin Park. Some wondered if the real issue was the cost of the move. Others wanted to know if the program could wait one year or if they had to relocate right now. Some thought the Red Wings management said they wanted youth football gone without delay. Others swore that the management was an enthusiastic supporter.

Councilman Bill Cox recommended lifting and hauling the bleachers from Dwyer to Austin for football season, taking a torch to the scoreboard posts and hauling that over, too — and doing it all for about $1,000, not $16,000, he said.

Council President Charlie Mallow was utterly and unabashedly opposed to any solution that did not involve the immediate expulsion of youth football from Dwyer Stadium and spending the least amount of money possible relocating it somewhere else. Although he urged that he was a supporter of youth football, he just couldn't see spending so much time and money on something that lasted eight weeks and was over. Quote: "What are we really talking about here? What are we prima donnas?"

One question that was never really answered, mostly because several Council members had several diametrically opposed answers to it, was whether one more season of youth football would damage the field so much that it would cost $15,000 to fix for the next Muckdogs season; or was $15,000 more accurate for a repair of many years of field damage and not just one eight-week season.

In the end though, Ben Bonarigo put it quite simply. (Bonarigo is a member of the youth football program's board of directors.) City Council, he said, gave the youth football program its word that they could stay at Dwyer Stadium for one more year, then relocate. Fine. If that was understood, the program wanted to move to Kibbe Park. It just made more sense for them. And if the Council had a problem spending so much money — no problem, youth football would do the fundraising to make sure that the move to Kibbe would be no more costly for the city than the move to Austin.

That was actually prior to Council's discussion that raged on for a good hour and got a few hackles raised, along with a few voices.

Council President Charlie Mallow said that the decision to allow youth football to stay another year was made as part of an informal conference meeting, and it was done as a straw poll. Therefore, it was not official. Council members Rose Mary Christian and Frank Ferrando didn't care much for that, and they said so. Then a couple of them yelled so. But that went nowhere.

In fact, not much of anything went anywhere.

As Mallow himself said: "Where are we going? We're going around in a circle."

Or City Attorney George Van Nest: "The discussion has ranged far and wide." (It should be noted that Van Nest's statement had a bit of an ironic twang to it, since he followed the declaration by offering his own take on what the real issue was, taking everything farther and wider.)

Mallow repeatedly urged Council to just wrap things up before the whole thing erupted in one big overblown argument.

So... Where do we stand? Where does youth football stand? Nowhere. Everywhere.

At the end of the rigamarole, a motion by Frank Ferrando was pushed through that would put a vote on the next business meeting agenda to declare that youth football can remain at Dwyer Stadium for one more year — and one more year only  — before they have to relocate. In other words, Council will vote to maintain a situation that already exists. You could see that Van Nest got a kick out of that. Me too.

On the Agenda (City Council): Moving youth football

By Philip Anselmo

Batavia's City Council will meet Monday to tend to a pair of budget amendments regarding the consolidation study, most of which is funded by a state grant. Also on the agenda is a 2.75 percent wage increase for City Manager Jason Molino following the completion of Molino's annual review which was completed earlier in the week. (Council President Charlie Mallow first announced the results of the review on The Batavian this past Monday.)

Monday's big discussion is likely to be over the relocation of the youth football program, which has for years now been situated in the outfield of Dwyer Stadium. Officials from the Rochester Red Wings told Council about a month ago that if they wish to keep youth football at the stadium, the damage done to the field will mean costly annual maintenance to get the turf back in shape for the Muckdogs season.

Molino has recommended two potential locations to host youth football: Austin Park or Kibbe Park. Both would require an initial investment from taxpayers, though moving the field to Kibbe Park would mean much more.

This (above) is what the layour would look like if it were situated at Austin Park at a cost of $19,444. In a letter to Council, Molino said Austin Park would be the better fit.

As seen in the diagram, the field can easily be placed east to west in the open space of the park. There can be a user agreement developed between the City and youth football for access and use of the concession stand and bathrooms during the season. New bleachers can be purchased, but can also be used for other events during different times throughout the year. Parking is adequate...

Molino dismissed the idea of transferring the bleachers from Dwyer Stadium every year at a cost of about $6,000. The cost for new permanent bleachers for Austin Park would be about $13,000. Several trees on the east side of the park would have to be removed, and a scoreboard will have to be installed.

[The] Rochester Red Wings ... have offered to assist by holding a silent auction night for baseball paraphernalia at the Dwyer Stadium with all proceeds going towards the purchase of the new scoreboard ($4,000). They are also willing to assist with other fund raising efforts in conjunction with youth football.

As for relocating to Kibbe Park, the cost would be about $61,000 and would include the building of a concession stand and other facilities already located at Austin Park. The layout for Kibbe Park can be viewed below.

The meeting will be at 7:00pm on the second floor of City Hall. You can download the agenda for the business meeting.

Note: Mallow said at the last meeting that Council would discuss at this coming meeting the policy regarding Council members communication with city staff. There was no mention of this topic on the agenda.

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