Quantcast
Skip to main content
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Batavia , Christmas in the city 08

post by daniel cherry in batavia, happy holidays

Link URL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwdsarqzgfw

Link Source

utube
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 11:47 am

Two families escape morning fire in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire

A double-occupancy residence at the corner of Elm and Fisher Park was gutted in a fire that was reported at 7:40 a.m.

Both families evacuated themselves without incident according to Batavia Fire Chief Thomas Dillon, who said the fire was a hard one to fight because of the age of the building.

No injuries, either to the families or firefighters, were reported.

We'll have a video interview with the chief posted within an hour. (as you can see, video now up) The Daily News has three photos posted, but no additional information.

UPDATE: Here's a Google Street view of the location.


View Larger Map

UPDATE II:  Photo of the aftermath:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 1:00 am

HS highlights for Tuesday

post by Brian Hillabush in basketball, batavia, elba, hockey, Notre Dame, sports, wrestling

Jared Quinn recorded his first career double-double to lead Alexander to a 58-49 road win over Holley in a boys basketball game Tuesday night.

Quinn had 13 points and 10 boards to lead the Trojans, who improve to 2-2.

Kyle Woodruff connected on all 11 free throw attempts and scored 15 points, with Troy Shelnut adding 11.

Guy Hills had 16 points and Brian Mitchell added 10 for the Hawks (0-3).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 The Elba boys basketball team had a rough start to its league schedule, getting thrashed by visiting Kendall 62-36.

Colt Tooley hit five 3-pointers in scoring a game-high 21 points and Josh Laureano helped out with 16 points.

Sonny Guiliano led the Lancers (1-2) with 14 points.

Kendall is 2-1.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notre Dame had an impressive first showing of the season, whipping visiting Lyndonville 92-36.

Kevin Francis scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the opening frame as the Fighting Irish jumped out to a 24-2 lead. He also had six steals in the game.

Greg Barr had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Tommy Rapone added a dozen points. Vinny Zambito pitched in 11 points.

Andrew Hydock led the Tigers with 13 points.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Noah Seward dropped in 15 points while pulling down 12 boards as Oakfield-Alabama easily downed Byron-Bergen 65-38.

Brad Riner pitched in five points and seven dimes while both A.J. Kehlenbeck and Sam McCracken had 10 points apiece.

Tyler Sass and Trevor Laurie had 11 points each while Bryan White added 11 boards for the Bees (1-1)

O-A is 3-0.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joe Drummond scored 25 points and Jamell Johnson added 22 as C.G. Finney blasted host Wheatland-Chili 90-39.

Alex Stryker had 13 points and Andy Lund pitched in 12 for the Wildcats.

Finney is 6-0. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Batavia hockey team evened up at 2-2 with a 5-3 win over Geneva/Waterloo.

Will Mulcahy and Erik Pokornowski had a pair of goals each for the Blue Devils, with Corey Kocent pitching in a goal with an assist.

Pat Finnell handed out three assists with Tim Finnell helping out with a pair.

Rich Paganello made 14 saves in net.

Geneva/Waterloo falls to 2-3.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Holley got pins from Dillon Murphy (135 pounds), Quinton Murphy (125), Derek Fostano (189) and Kyle Steadman (215) in beating Kendall 42-33 in a GR wrestling match Tuesday.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alexander downed Barker 47-29 on the mat Tuesday.

Dylan Shea pinned Garrett Fuerch in 3:41 at 152 pounds and Dustin Say dropped  James Lapp in 3:57 at 171.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Notre Dame girls basketball team opened up with a 51-32 victory over host Lyndonville Tuesday.

Trisha Pike led the Fighting Irish with 15 points, five rebounds and six steals.

Jill Marshall had nine points with Nichole Hart and Liz Geandreau pitching in eight apiece.

Molly Burgess had 11 points for the Tigers (1-2).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Despite Jenna Merica's 15 points and Allison Macomber's 11 points and nine boards, Le Roy couldn't get past Dansville, losing to the visiting squad 53-36.

Margaret Infantino had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six dimes for the Mustangs (6-1).

Le Roy falls to 0-3.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Google visits Batavia

post by Darrick Coleman in batavia, Google

Google has recently updated their Maps with Street View for Batavia. Here are a few places of interest:

City Hall

Present Tense Bookstore

Holland Land Office

Genesee Community College

 It's fun to see if you can find your car or someone you know walking the streets. What do you think, is this an invasion of privacy?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Batavia's Christmas in the City judged a success... by most accounts...

post by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Christmas in the City, Daily News

Festivities at this year's Christmas in the City were fervid enough to warm the people of Batavia inside and out, despite the frigid winds and snow that whipped down Main Street from time to time throughout the evening.

"It was the best one we've had so far," said Lynn Garlock, owner of Grugnale's deli and restaurant on Jackson Street. "At one point we were so busy, I thought we were going to have to start a waiting list. All the tables were filled up."

Sandwiches, subs and salads were churned out en masse. Clarinets, flutes and a capella vocals were on hand to serenade the diners. All the while, you could hear the steady clop clop as a horse and buggy trotted past the storefront, carting its mittened passengers on downtown.

Garlock was particularly taken with the talents of the Bluebells, a group of about six or seven young female vocalists from Batavia's middle and high schools. In fact, she was so fond of their singing that she has asked them back.

"We liked them so much, we're going to have them come sing during lunch," she said.

Don Burkel told us that this year was a raging success. Burkel is the director of the downtown Business Improvement District, the event's sponsor. No less than 43 vendors came out to set up a table and wares in the Batavia City Centre. Not bad, considering most years the event doesn't draw many more than 30 or so, said Burkel. Add to that all of the downtown shops who stayed put, hosted musicians and held sales.

"We had a record number of vendors," said Burkel. "It was good to see a nice turnout. ... We need to support these business people. That's the key in this economy."

Garlock's praise is typical of the business owners who participated in the event this year, whether they hosted carolers or set up in the mall. Passers-by were treated to a warm cup of chili out front of Adam Miller's Toy and Bicycle.

"We had a great night," said John Roche, the store's owner. "We had a lot of traffic, a lot of people in. And, the chili was really good."

People especially enjoyed the entertainment from the carolers and other musicians who rotated in and out of the store all evening, he said. He didn't spot a single empty seat in the horse and buggy all night.


Of course, you might not know the event was such a success—that is, if you saw the article that ran in the Daily News Saturday. Two photos ran with the article. One depicts a short stretch of Main Street out front of the mall entrance. The sidewalk is empty. The street is lined with parked cars. The caption reads: "Cold temperatures drove people off the streets during the annual Christmas in the City Friday downtown."

That can't be entirely true. A frequent contributor to The Batavian, Daniel Cherry, was not only out in the cold, but documenting the night's festivities—he posted several of his photos to the site. Cherry even snapped a few photos of the horse and buggy, which we're told ran until well after the event officially ended because so many people came out to take a ride.

As for the other photo that ran with the article, a shot inside the mall, the people in the picture are so distorted because of the poor quality of the image, that it is more likely to excite pity than joy.

One Attica resident is even quoted as saying that this Christmas in the City was "terrible." Terrible!? Despite the hundreds of people who were crowded into the mall concourse throughout the evening, she goes on to say that: "There's hardly anyone here." She also laments that there isn't enough "free" stuff.

Not everyone agreed, however. One Batavia resident judged the mall "full" of people. Another felt that "people were more excited this year."

I say we practice a little bit of that gratitude we boned up on over the Thanksgiving holiday. We may be a little too quick to stuff that altruism back down the dirty stocking of the rest of the year. Christmas in the City sure saw a lot of folks come out. There was free chili, free bread, free horse and buggy rides, free entertainment all over downtown. Santa danced around a stage in the mall with his chipper, glittered elves. So yeah, I say it was a success. How about you?

Photos taken by Brian Hillabush.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 3:09 pm

The Credit Crisis at Home (Part One): Getting an auto loan...? It depends...

post by Philip Anselmo in auto dealers, batavia, credit crisis, genesee county

Over the next few days, we will take a closer look at the credit market here in Genesee County. Much has been made in the mainstream national media about the "credit freeze" now faced from businesses across the board. Banks aren't lending to other banks, which, in turn, aren't lending to the clients, be they consumers or producers. Everyone, we're told, is feeling the pinch, and lending is rare, if and when it's happening at all. We hope to find out how true that is here in our own region by chatting with those in the know, the sources and go-betweens of those supposedly hard-to-get loans: the auto dealers, the bankers, real estate agents and restaurateurs.

In today's contribution, we will hear from a pair of auto dealers on the availability—and unavailability—of loans in the county...

Harry Zigrossi owns the Zigrossi auto dealership on East Main Street in Batavia. We spoke with him by phone last week.

"It was a very weak November," he said. "There has been a dramatic slowdown in the percentage of approvals... Banks are very tight. Less people are seeking out vehicles."

Zigrossi attributes the slowdown to two factors: Doubt that a consumer would even be approved for a loan, and, if they are approved, worry that the interest rate will be high, if not excessive.

Yes, there are alternatives to financing through the dealership, Zigrossi admits. There are credit unions, local banks. "We have lending institutions," he said. "There are places to apply, but the likelihood of approvals at desirable rates has diminished."

As an example of the tightening credit lines, Zigrossi cites GMAC Financial Services, the financing arm of the GMC dealers. Zigrossi deals in Pontiac, Buick and GMC autos, and acquires much of the funding for his customers through GMAC.

"Their minimum score for approval is 700," he said. "That's pretty selective in my opinion. A couple months ago, approval was based on credit worthiness. There was no set number in the past. ... GMAC's position is: 'We lost several hundred million (dollars) last year. We have very limited funds.'"

You could call it the trickle down economics of the credit crisis. GMAC has a tough time getting its loans—"their ability to borrow is limited," as Zigrossi puts it—so anyone seeking loans from GMAC will have a tough time, as well. It's simple math: you've got so many people seeking loans via so many lines of credit. If the lines of credit are diminished, as Zigrossi indicates, but the same number of people are seeking loans... there's just not enough to go around.

Ken Barrett cites such logic as a reason why some folks may not even bother applying for a loan. Barrett owns Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac on West Main Street in Batavia.

"We haven't, at this point, had much difficulty, if any, arranging financing for our customers," said Barrett by phone last week. "What I can't really qualify is if there are a cadre of customers that are self-excluding themselves. In other words, based on what they hear in the news media, they're not even going through the process. But I don't have any empirical evidence to say if that's the case. It's more of a gut feel."

In a recent article that ran in the Daily News on the possibility of an auto industry bailout, Barrett was quoted: "I don't think business conditions in Genesee County reflect what we're hearing in the national media. Of all the business people I've talked to, not one has said their business is really bad."

Barrett said that the people of Western New York are the reason business is doing well, as he sees it. We've got smart, responsible consumers.

"In Genesee County, people pay their bills," he said. "Maybe because of the way we're brought up, we dont live excessively beyond our means as other parts of the country may be experiencing. As a community, we pay our bills."

But consumers are only one half of the equation in Barret's estimate. He's also quick to talk up his business practices as one good reason why his dealership is not "having much difficulty" in the midst of this recession.

"We've never aggresively targeted sub-prime activities," said Barrett. "Some dealers really developed that business. Now they're seeing a precipitous slide in their business."

However optimistic a note Barrett might ring for the local auto dealers, the situation doesn't look so rosy elsewhere in the country. From a New York Times article, by Clifford Krauss:

In October alone, 20,000 employees of auto dealerships lost their jobs nationwide, more than half of those who were newly unemployed in the retail trade, according to the Labor Department... And now the credit market—the lifeblood of any car dealership—is frozen.

More than merely a question of credit, however, Krauss hones in on the cultural value of the "small town" dealership, and the further consequences hinted at by the loss of jobs and the tightening of credit. Barrett is right to tout best business practices as a key to remaining financially solvent. But it's not all business...

The auto dealers are not just businesses, of course. Most of them are deeply rooted in their communities, and each is a slice of Americana—their big flags flying, their radio advertisements compelling attention and their Little League sponsorships and other charity helping to improve the lives of local people.

What about you? Have you tried to purchase a car recently and been declined? Approved? Has the ostensible credit freeze iced your chances at getting a loan? How would you feel about the loss of a longtime local dealership: Just another business that couldn't make it? Or much more than that?

After all, no one ever sings: "Drove a Hyundai to the levy..."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 1:56 pm

VA names interim director

post by Philip Anselmo in announcements, batavia, VA Medical Center, veterans

From the VA Western New York:

David J. West, FACHE has been named Interim Medical Center Director at VA Western New York Healthcare System effective December 7.  VA Western New York Healthcare System includes medical centers in Buffalo, Batavia and seven community based out patient clinics located in Niagara Falls, Lockport, Dunkirk, Jamestown, Lackawanna, Olean, and Warsaw.  Mr. West has been the Medical Center Director at the Bath VA Medical Center since April 29, 2007.

Prior to being appointed Director for the Bath VA, Mr. West served as Associate Director at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center, and began his career with VA in1987 at the Washington DC VA Medical Center.

At VA WNYHS, he will oversee over 1,690 employees serving over 40,000 veterans during the period until a new director is appointed.  He succeeds James P. Cody who has served as interim director since August and Michael S. Finegan who recently was promoted to network director, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  “It’s an opportunity for me to work with a dedicated staff in Western NY serving our nation’s heroes,” West said.

Mr. West served in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1978. He holds a Master of Science degree in Health Services Administration from the College of St. Frances in Joliet, Illinois and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Batavia Daily News for Tuesday: Deputies investigate potential contractor scam

post by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Albion, city council, crime, Daily News, police, scams, sheriff

Joanne Beck covered last night's meeting of the Batavia City Council in a pair of articles in today's Daily News. Both stories—a parking ban on Oak Street and a discussion on changing the city's system for payment of trash collection—were featured on WBTA this morning. The Batavian referenced both articles in our morning news roundup.


Genesee County sheriff's deputies are looking into a string of complaints about a contractor not providing services that were paid for in advance. Lakeside Home Beautification, operated by Martin A. Miller, is based in Stafford. One homeowner, Jennifer Taberski, told Scott DeSmit that she paid Miller $3,800 to fix their roof in June. Nothing has yet been done, and her money was never returned, she claims. "He basically kidnapped my money," she said. Another homeowner was recently refunded their $1,750 after Miller allegedly failed to repair a roof.

DeSmit reports:

Miller, 48, served two one-year jail terms from a criminal case in Wyoming County.

He pleaded guilty in 2002 to four counts of petit larceny for scheming people out of more than $12,000.

Sheriff's deputies are encouraging anyone with information about Miller, or anyone looking to make a complaint, to contact them at (585) 343-5000.


In other news, Virginia Kropf put together a folksy piece on five Albion families who got together Monday for a reunion of their golden retrivers, all of which—unbeknownst to the owners—came from the same Valentine's Day litter. Interesting.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 12:08 am

Lions Club dinner gets players tournament ready

post by Brian Hillabush in basketball, batavia, Albion, Notre Dame, perry, sports

 

The annual Lions Club dinner for senior players and coaches that are participating in the Lions Club Basketball Tournament was Monday night.

It is always one of the my favorite nights of the year, and is in fact the ninth one I've attended. It is always fun to sit down with area players and enjoy a a nice meal and talk hoops. 

You also can't put a price on the look on the kid's faces when the Lions members sing the Lions song.

Batavia won the championship last year with a 63-34 win over Notre Dame in the finals, giving the Blue Devils four straight, and seven of the last eight championships.

Two players from the all-tournament team return to play in this year's tournament as Batavia's Andrew Hoy and Notre Dame's Kevin Francis will be leading their respective squads.

The 27th annual tournament will be held Dec. 29-30 at Genesee Community College. Batavia will play Albion on the 29th at 7 p.m. with Notre Dame and Perry playing at 8:45 p.m.

The consolation game is on the 30th at 7 p.m., followed by the championships at 8:45 p.m.

The jayvee tournament will be held at Notre Dame with Batavia and Albion playing at 1 p.m. on the 29th and Notre Dame playing Perry right after. The consolation game is on the 30th at 1 p.m. with the finals to follow at 2:45 p.m.

The Batavian will have the biggest preview in the history of the tournament the week of the games.

Here are some video highlights and interviews from Monday's dinner.

Monday, December 8, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Can a revitalized Harvester Center spark a Batavia renaissance?

post by Philip Anselmo in batavia, downtown, Harvester Center

Last week, we asked readers to consider what one project Batavia should pursue if the funding were in the bag, no strings attached. Batavia's City Council President Charlie Mallow called for the resurrection of the city's old plans for reconstruction of the Masse-Harvester industrial complex downtown. We were curious to hear more of these plans, so we sought further information. Here's what we've found out so far.

Let's start with the graphic, shall we...

This swank boulevard would be the view from the ground in the midst of the "Industrial Powerhouse Square," otherwise known as the "Swan Masse Village" in Batavia's Central Corridor between Harvester and Swann streets downtown.

From the original project proposal:

Overall, the goal in this project area was to rejuvenate the Swan Masse Village, as it once was a renowned downtown industrial hub and “business incubator.” The plan introduces separate structures of mixed-use light industrial, commercial and housing with an urban appeal and vibrancy that consists of lighting, pavement enhancements, pedestrian pathways, open space and streetscape amenities. Central to the development was keeping the powerhouse intact for two important reasons: 1) to keep costs down by retaining the boiler system for the nearby structures that rely upon it, and 2) to strengthen the image as an industrial center as well as maintain the historical integrity and sense of place.

This "downtown hub" of mixed-use structures, tree-lined avenues and "streetscape amenities" would rise from the ashes—or in this case the demolished rubble—of some 40 acres of vacant land and crumbling infrastructure. It would look something like this:

We've been informed that the Genesee County Economic Development Corp. is looking into potential state grants totalling some $2.7 million that would be used for the city's Central Corridor. Other grant opportunities are being researched by the city, as well. Whether or not anything like this plan for the Swan Masse Village would be part of those plans remains to be seen.

What do you think? Would this be a wise way to remake the city's Central Corridor? Would it provide the spark to send Batavia into its renaissance? Do we need more? Less?

Click here to download the plans.

Premium Drupal Themes