Submitted by Howard Owens on November 7, 2013 - 10:47am
The view of Batavia a space alien might get, as revealed by an image from Google Maps, tells pretty much the whole story of the community's economic struggles, Tim Tielman told members of the Genesee County Landmark Society last night at their annual meeting.
Right in the center of the city, Tielman said, is this big mass of gray. It's a dead zone, he said. It isn't built for the human animal. It's built for cars. That's no way to design a city.
It hasn't always been that way, of course. Tielman displayed a parcel map of Batavia at the end of the 19th Century. Downtown was filled with structures -- brick commercial buildings and hundreds of houses.
That's a city, he said, designed for human scale and one that is culturally and economically vibrant.
Tielman has worked tirelessly as a preservationist in Buffalo for decades. His list of accomplishments is impressive. Larkin Square, Canalside, the Lafayette Hotel, the Ellicott District, the H.H. Richardson Towers and the Webb Building, among other "saves" and restoration projects.
His work has been recognized in a John Paget documentary, “Buffalo: America’s Best-Designed City.”
The same kind of revitalization going on in Buffalo now could be Batavia's future, Tielman said.
If it's going to happen, it will be up to the preservationists, the people who understand human scale.
"One of the biggest issues every city faces is dead zones," Tielman said. "Batavia has dead zones up and down its streets. Dead zones are devoid of commercial activity. You chain too many dead zones together and you destroy your local community."
When you build your commercial district around the car, the district losses its appeal to pedestrians, and it's people walking and interacting that creates commercial activity and a sense of community.
"It isn't cars that make a place a commercial success," Tielman said. "It's a success (based) on how well the human animal can get about certain places. It's what appeals and what stimulates them to walk."
Batavia used to be that kind of city. From Harvester on the east to the Old Courthouse on the west, the old maps reveal, it was a walkable city.
Tielman used a Google Maps view to show Batavia today. Our picture above is from the county's GIS map. Below is a county aerial photo of the city from 1934 (a period, Tielman said, when Batavia was at its peak culturally and economically -- the 1920s through 1930s). Tielman used a turn of the century parcel map.
There's no reason, Tielman said, Batavia can't become that kind of city again.
He recommended the approach being used with Canalside now -- start small. That's how Joseph Ellicott started.
Canalside is the terminus of the Erie Canel at Lake Erie. Early development was small businesses in tents and small buildings. The larger, commercial brick structures came later. Tielman's suggestion is to start the commercial activity at an affordable pace, and it will grow.
He suggested the Genesse County Economic Development Center has it's economic development priorities backwards. The $1.7 million in tax breaks given to COR Development to lure large national chains to Batavia could have been used more productively to help start 50 small businesses downtown.
He called small businesses the "farm system" for greater economic growth. Communities that lose their ability to encourage and attract entrepreneurs stop growing.
There was a time when each small community was unique and the competitive advantage each had was that you had to be from the city to know how to get around the city and prosper in the city, then urban planners started coddling the national chains, creating a sameness in each community so the chains would be comfortable opening businesses there. That's helped destroy the small businesses that used to make cities and towns vital.
Tielman helped lead the successful fight against Bass Pro building at Canalside.
Rather than trying to attract national chains, Tielman suggested, planners and economic development agencies should be creating environments were local small business owners can thrive.
"Retail is important in a city," Tielman said. "It's not a primary economic activity, but it's important to bring people out, to have people in the streets, people who bump into each other and make it lively. Dense cities, dense streets, create economic activity."
When people visit a city, they want to see other people, smiling people, he said.
"If they see glum people on the streets, or worse, no people on the streets, but just tumbleweeds rolling down Main Street, they're not going to want to come back," Tielman said. "They're not going to want to move there. They're not going to want to move or start a business there."
And these days, Tielman noted, people don't even need to visit your city to form an impression. They can use Google Maps and Street View.
Tielman used the Google Street View image below to illustrate his point.
Tourists, prosective residents, and most importantly, site selectors for semiconductor companies, are going to look at a picture like this and conclude Batavia isn't a very attractive place to be. There's no signs of life. There's no economic vibrancy.
Handing out tax breaks to bring in a Dick's Sporting Goods doesn't fix this problem.
Tielman pulled up this Google Maps view of Batavia again and noted the one area of Old Batavia still left, the block between Jackson Street and Center Street, south of Main Street. It's the only part of Downtown that is still densely built.
"This is the kernel from which you can hit the reset button on Batavia," he said. "You can start here and work backwards toward that which you once had."
Submitted by Howard Owens on November 7, 2013 - 9:14am
Winston A. Lockhart, 18, of 3 Lewis Place, Batavia, is charged with littering. Batavia PD officers Frank Klimjack and Darryl Streeter allegedly observed Lockhart toss a lit cigarette onto the parkway on Lewis Place. The officers reportedly asked Lockhart to pick up the cigarette and dispose of it properly. After he refused, the officers arrested Lockhart for an alleged violation of the Batavia Municipal Code.
Miguel Angel Dejesus, 66, of Perry Road, Pavilion, is charged with forcible touching. Dejesus is accused of forcibly touching the genital area of a woman. He was jailed on $2,000 bail.
Alexander Colon-Colon, 19, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with sexual misconduct. Colon-Colon is accused of having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old female. Under state law, a 15-year-old is unable to consent to sexual conduct.
Philip C. DeGraff, 45, of 81 Walker Road, Perry, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. DeGraff allegedly threatened to kill another person. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.
Sharon E. Herdtner, 51, of 25 North St., upper, Batavia, is charged with disobeying a court mandate. Herdtner allegedly refused to appear for the Grand Jury after being served a subpoena at Batavia PD headquarters on Oct. 28.
Submitted by Howard Owens on November 6, 2013 - 2:19pm
Vibrant Batavia and the Batavia Ramparts Squirt Travel Hockey Team will be assisting residents in a fall clean-up on November 10th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will cover the following streets: parts of Bank Street, parts of North Street, Tracy Avenue and parts of Hart Street.
The clean-up will consist of: leaf raking, debris clean up and removal of pumpkins, corn stalks and hay bales. Trucks will be provided by volunteers to transport the pumpkins, corn stalks and hay bales to the waste Center that day. For residents interested in removal of these items that are unable to participate, please leave them by the street so we know you wish for us to take them. Volunteers should bring their own rake, gloves and, of course, dress appropriately for the weather.
Invitations were distributed to these residents to inform them of the clean-up effort. Terri Clingerman, a Bank Street resident, helped go door to door on Monday. Clingerman said “this is a great way to get people out of their houses and make it a collaborative effort to do a neighborhood clean-up, while getting the chance to meet neighbors." We will also promote this event through our Facebook page to remind residents of the event.
Bob and Char Grimm, residents of 59 Tracy Ave., will be hosting a lunch for all of the volunteers and residents from the streets included in the clean-up. Lunch will be held at noon and will be provided by Vibrant Batavia. We welcome all that wish to come out and meet with your neighbors.
Grimm said, “I am happy to host along with volunteering my time for a street-wide clean up. ... this is a great opportunity for our youth to take part in a community service effort, as it teaches them how to work together as a team."
The intent of this clean-up is to open the lines of communication between these specific neighborhoods and work toward getting these residents interested in working on future activities.
Vibrant Batavia is a community network organized to celebrate the past, build on the present and to create a more vibrant future. The volunteers work side-by-side with the City of Batavia, NeighborWorks® Rochester and the business community to strategically improve the City's neighborhoods and to promote a livable community of choice.
For more information about Vibrant Batavia or NeighborWorks contact Leanna Di Risio at email@example.com or by phone at (585) 738-7388.
Submitted by Bonnie Marrocco on November 6, 2013 - 1:36am
It was a clean sweep for the GOP in Batavia's race to fill three at-large seats on the City Council in a year when the party was facing a new challenge from local Libertarians for the first time.
Eugene Jankowski Jr., Brooks Hawley and John Deleo easily secured four-year terms on the council.
Libertarians Jim Rosenbeck and Lisa Whitehead finished eighth and ninth in the crowded field.
Hawley, the lone incumbent among the winners, got 1,179 votes, according to the still unofficial tally.
"We visited almost every street and home in Batavia,” Hawley said. “People saw how dedicated we are and they believe we will use that dedication in City Council as well.”
Hard work was part of the GOP strategy this year, said city Chair Matt Landers, who acknowledged the Libertarian presence on the ballot and the fact the new local party was out working hard helped motivate the Republicans.
“They were working very hard and they are an upstart group with a passionate base and we definitely took them seriously,” Landers said.
Rosenbeck received 358 votes and Whitehead 243 votes.
The low vote totals didn't discourage party Chairman Phil Ricci at all, who told the party members at their election headquarters at Larry's Steakhouse that Rosenbeck would become the committee chairman of the party's new city committee.
“We started with a small group of concerned, like-minded citizens, set with the task of creating an alternative to the existing political parties,” Ricci said. “That little ragtag group grew into a solid core group of committed individuals who felt strongly enough about our core principles, and even stronger about the lack of real choice, to give it a go.”
Jankowski, a former Batavia PD lieutenant, said after a hard-fought campaign, he's ready to get to work, serving his community in a new capacity.
"We work well together, people respect us and they want us to be their leaders in the community," said Jankowski, who received 1,269 votes.
Deleo, who garnered 1,309 votes, said the three winners will make a good team going forward, just as they did as campaign mates.
“We all have our own strengths and together it works for the best,” Deleo said.
Rosenbeck remained upbeat about the Libertarian effort.
“It has been a success and we wish the GOP well,” Rosenbeck said.
Rounding out the field were Diana Kisiel Kastenbaum, 586 votes, Thomas Clark, 552 votes, John Demske, 631 votes, and Rose Mary Christian, 406 votes.
Katenbaum, a Batavia native who moved away for many years and then returned to her hometown vowed to stay involved in her community.
“I sit on a couple boards, Go-Art and Landmark Society, and I will continue working for the citizens of Batavia,” Kastenbaum said. “As a citizen I can be as active as I choose to be and I hope to be.”
Submitted by Howard Owens on November 4, 2013 - 9:18pm
Two Rochester men arrested Oct. 17 for an alleged brazen act of thievery at Walmart are facing upgraded charges after the ongoing investigation uncovered another alleged theft from the store two days earlier.
Eric L. Strong, 53, Michael Dawson, 50, and Keith Brantley, 43, are now charged with grand larceny, 3rd, an upgrade from the original fourth-degree grand larceny charge.
A review of store surveillance video by a Walmart Loss Prevention Officers found the three men allegedly in the act of stealing $947 in merchandise.
Submitted by Howard Owens on November 4, 2013 - 8:48pm
Saturday afternoon, the City of Batavia Historic Preservation Commission presented bronze plaques to the owners of six locally designated landmarks in a ceremony held at Sweet Ecstasy Bakery. The ceremony is one that occurs every few years and plaques presented in previous ceremonies can be seen around Batavia. The plaques include the date the landmark was erected and the words, “City of Batavia Historic Landmark.”
Plaques presented today were for: the old city hall (former Brisbane Mansion); the Bonarigo & McCutcheon law office at 18 Ellicott St. (former St. Mary’s rectory); the former Genesee County Sheriff’s office at 14 W. Main; Dr. Anna Lamb’s office at 7 Evans St. (former gas holder building); the Sharon Johnson residence at 44 Roosevelt Ave.; and the former Doty Mansion at 123-125 Jackson St. Owners of these buildings, in accepting the plaques, have agreed to display them on the exterior of their structures in locations readily visible to the public.
The City of Batavia Historic Preservation Commission, established in the mid-1990s, works to recognize and help preserve Batavia places and buildings of historic significance. More than 40 properties have been designated as landmarks over the course of the Commission’s existence.
Photo: Joan Barton, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, presenting plaque to Ben Bonarigo.
Submitted by Howard Owens on November 4, 2013 - 11:54am
Randall M. Dennis, 67, of Keeney Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI and moving from lane unsafely. Randall was reportedly involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 5:50 p.m. Sunday on East Morganville Road, Stafford. His truck left the roadway, struck a sign and guide rail before traveling down a steep earth embankment into a shallow creek. The investigation is ongoing and there may be additional charges. Dennis was transported by Mercy EMS to Strong Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
Byron Gilbert Keller, 18, of no permanent address, is charged with trespass. Keller was reportedly in another person's vehicle on Route 20, Alexander, while it was parked in a driveway. Keller allegedly refused to leave. Additional charges are possible.
Patrick O'Neil Spikes, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Spikes was allegedly a passenger in a vehicle driven by a person he is prohibited by court order from being with. The driver was stopped for allegedly driving on a suspended registration, suspended license and no insurance.
A 16-year-old from Batavia are charged with two counts of petit larceny. The youth was allegedly caught shoplifting at Walmart and during the investigation was found to be a suspect in a shoplifting case from the previous day. The youth allegedly stole $276.57 in merchandise on one occasion and an unknown amount on the second.
Elizabeth A. Graff, 32, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Graff is accused of stealing from an unspecified location. She was arrested by State Police. No further details released.
Submitted by Howard Owens on November 2, 2013 - 7:25am
The Rochester Amerks mascot "Moose" paid a visit to St. Joe's for the school's Halloween party Friday night as a special guest of Matthew Neal, 10.
Matthew won the visit when he went with his father, Herb, to an Amerks game on "Halloween Night." Dressed as Willy from the TV show Duck Dynasty, Matthew won that night's costume contest as decided by the fans.
Originally, the prize was for Moose to go trick-or-treating Halloween night with the contest winner, but because of weather concerns prior to Halloween night, the Amerks scheduled Moose for the party at St. Joe's.
Photo by Alecia Kaus. Information provided by Herb Neal.
Submitted by Billie Owens on November 1, 2013 - 4:54pm
A resident of Hutchins Street reports finding a 3-year-old child wandering on Main Street in the city and could find no parent or guardian. So the person brought the child home and called police, who are on scene.
UPDATE 6:06 p.m.: Police are continuing to try and locate a family member of the child, but at this point they have no idea who that is. The on-call DSS case worker is being contacted "because we might need some assistance with child care," says an officer.
UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: It's been determined that the child lives on South Swan Street.
Submitted by Billie Owens on November 1, 2013 - 4:48pm
The gas tank on a passenger vehicle is reported to have fallen off in the area of Bank and North streets in Le Roy. Police responded and determined that the gas tank had been leaking "over a wide area" -- on the trip from Batavia to Le Roy. An officer is speaking with a rep from the Department of Environmental Conservation to determine what, if anything, should be done in terms of cleaning up the spill.
UPDATE 6:09 p.m.: The Le Roy assignment is back in service. The DEC determined nothing needed to be done.
Submitted by Howard Owens on November 1, 2013 - 3:57pm
The absolutely best thing Amy Worthington ever did for her business was move it to Downtown Batavia, she said.
In locating Amy's Fluffy Friends on Ellicott Street near the intersection of Liberty, she has given her business more visibility and the Business Improvement District has given her more avenues to promote her shop and get involved in the community.
"I participated in the Wine Walk, the Sidewalk Sale, the OktoberFest with the Rotary Club and I'll be part of Taste of the Holidays," Worthington said. "They've been reaching out to businesses to get more involved, and I'm all for that, to bring more feet to Batavia."
Worthington moved her dog grooming business from Corfu one year ago today because with her son starting school at Jackson, she wanted her business to be located closer to her family. Most of her clients were from Batavia and they told her, she said, that if she was in Batavia, they would make more appointments.
"And I wanted to be where I called home," she said. "This is where I grew up."
The move has been a stunning success.
A year ago, she hadn't even cracked 150 clients. Today, she has 375. That's an impressive 150-percent growth in business in just 12 months.
The success has allowed her to expand a bit. She's also started selling some retail items, such as collars and leashes.
Clients have requested more services, so now she does teeth cleaning, she said.
Worthington said she's blown away by how well the move worked out for her.
Submitted by Billie Owens on November 1, 2013 - 1:06pm
These are the latest indictments issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury:
Terrel A. Goodson, an adult male, is accused of predatory sexual assault against a child, a Class A-II felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 2, Goodson committed first-degree rape in the City of Batavia by engaging in sexual intercourse with a girl less than 11 years old. In count two, he is accused of the same crime by engaging in oral sexual conduct with a girl less than 11 years old. In count three, he is accused of first-degree sexual abuse, a Class violent felony, for allegedly subjecting a minor under the age of 11 to sexual contact.
Timmy L. Taylor is indicted on five counts of first-degree criminal contempt, Class E felonies, for allegedly violating a court order of protection in October in the City of Batavia. It is alleged that Taylor intentionally placed, or attempted to place, a protected person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by repeatedly following the person or engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts over a period of time. He allegedly violated the court order of protection in the City of Batavia on Oct. 6 and Oct. 20 with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm a protected person or otherwise subject that person to physical contact or threatened to do so. He's accused of striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting the protected party to physical contact or threatening to do so. He's is accused of intentionally placing, or attempting to place, the protected party in reasonable fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury. In counts six and seven, he is accused of third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly intending to cause physical injury to another person, causing injury to such person or to a third person on Oct. 6 and 20th, respectively. In counts eight and nine, he is accused of second-degree strangulation, a Class D violent felony, for intending to impede normal breathing or circulation of blood to another person, applying pressure on the throat or neck of the person, thereby causing stupor, loss of consciousness for any period of time, or any other physical injury or impairment, on Oct. 6 and 20th, respectively. In count 10, he's accused of first-degree coercion, a Class D felony, for compelling or inducing a person to engage in conduct which the person had a legal right to abstain from engaging in or, conversely, the person had the right to engage in legally. This allegedly was done on Oct. 20 by instilling fear of physical injury. In count 11, Taylor is accused of second-degree unlawful imprisonment, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly restraining another person on Oct. 20.
Leon C. Bloom Jr. is accused of first-degree burglary, a Class B felony, for entering or remaining unlawfully inside a dwelling on Fordham Drive in the City of Batavia late on Sept. 22 or early on Sept. 23 with the intent of committing a crime. In so doing or in fleeing the scene, it is alleged he physically injured a person who was not a participant in the alleged crime. In count two, he's accused of strangulation in the second degree, in the same incident, for allegedly intending to impede normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person, applying pressure to the person's throat or neck thereby causing stupor or loss of consciousness for any period of time or any other physical injury or impairment. In count three, Bloom is accused of third-degree assualt, a Class A misdemeanor, for intending to cause physical injury to another person or causing such injury to the person or a third person.
Matthew J. Vandorn is accused of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony, for allegedly knowingly entering and remaining unlawfully in a barn on Dillon Road in the Town of Pavilion on July 4th or 5th. In count two, he is accused of fourth-degree grand larceny, a Class E felony. He allegedly stole property valued at more than $1,000 in the Town of Stafford on July 1st or 2nd, specifically two Yamaha motorcycles, made in 1994 and 2005, respectively. In count three, he is accused of criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, a Class E felony. It is alleged that between July 1 and July 18 in the Town of Stafford he knowingly possessed stolen property with the intent to benefit himself or someone other than the owner, or to impede the recovery of the property by the owner. The property's value was more than $1,000 -- the two motorcycles noted in count two of the indictment. In count four of the indictment, Vandorn is accused of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony, for allegedly entering or remaining unlawfully in a building on Batavia-Oakfield Townline Road in the Town of Oakfield on June 29 and June 30 with the intent to commit a crime. In count five, Vandorn is accused of criminal possession of stolen property, 3rd, a Class D felony, for allegedly knowingly possessing stolen property with the intent of benefitting himself or someone other than the owner, or to impede the recovery of the property by the owner and the value of it exceeded $3,000. The property was a Honda TRX four-wheeler and a Yamaha 350 Raptor four-wheeler. In count six, he is accused of grand larceny, 3rd, a Class D felony for allegedly stealing property on June 29 and June 30 valued at more than $3,000, the aforementioned four-wheelers.
Samantha A. Lora is accused of driving while intoxicated, a Class D felony, for driving a 2013 Chevrolet on Interstate 90 in the Town of Pembroke on May 1 while impaired by alcohol. In count two, she accused of the same crime while she had a passenger age 15 or less, which is a Class E felony. In count three, Lora is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony, for operating a motor vehicle while knowing or having reason to know, that her license was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn in the state of New York, and while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Jeremy M. Denton is accused of driving while intoxicated as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 10 in the Town of Bergen he drove a 2004 GMC pickup truck on Route 19 while intoxicated. In count two of the indictment, he is also accused of having a BAC of .08 at the time.
Submitted by Howard Owens on November 1, 2013 - 6:54am
Sean A. Kota, 20, of 7118 Byron Holley Road, Byron, is charged with DWI, refusal to take breath test, and criminal possession of marijuana, 5th. Kota was arrested following a police response to a report at McDonald's of two males in a vehicle in the drive-thru causing a disturbance at 2:30 a.m., Wednesday. Kota was allegedly found in possession of more than 25 grams of marijuana. Kota was jailed on $2,500 bail.
Michael Vincent Pontillo, 20, of 37 Bogue Ave., Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd, with intent to cause physical injury to a police officer, obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, and resisting arrest. Pontillo was arrested as part of the same alleged incident involving Kota above.
Lance David Compton, 21, of East Main Street, Attica, is charged with unlawful dealing with a child, 1st. Compton is accused of providing alcohol to two people under age 21. Compton was arrested following a traffic stop at 9:09 p.m. Thursday on Lake Road, Bergen, by Deputy Joseph Corona. Cited for alleged possession/consumption of alcohol under age 21 were Christopher Stuart Nevinger, 20, of Eaton Road, Perry, and Cody Kleitz, 18, Espial Drive, Binghamtom.
Reinaldo Roman, 41, of 140 Jackson St., Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Roman is accused of violating a stay away order of protection by being at the residence of the protected party. Roman reportedly has a prior conviction on the same order for criminal contempt, 2nd.
Kasean L. Shannon, 21, of 115 State St., Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and criminal contempt, 1st. Shannon is accused of violating a stay away order of protection and possessing marijuana at the time of his arrest by Batavia PD.
Banjamin G. Evans IV, 25, no current address, Rochester, was arrested on a bench warrant out of City Court. Evans is accused of failure to appear on a criminal possession of a controlled substance charge. Evans was located by Rochester PD and taken into custody. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.
Submitted by Howard Owens on October 31, 2013 - 11:16pm
After a brief bit of rain, it turned out to be a beautiful evening for trick-or-treating in Batavia. Of course, the biggest crowds of ghouls and goblins and superheros and princesses could be found on Ellicott Avenue, but there are a couple of shots here from Trumbull Parkway, Otis Street and Osterhout.