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Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 9:37 pm

WNYers should prepare for cold, wet winter, according to NOAA forecast

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

Western New Yorkers should prepare for a wetter and colder than average winter.

That could mean some dramatic storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Erie County, especially, should see colder and wetter whether, but the harsh winter could reach into Genesee County.

If the prediction is true, Genesee County will be wetter than usual. Whether that means more snow is uncertain.

For the second year in a row, a La Nina atmospheric condition will impact weather throughout the United States, according to NOAA.

That means the Southwest will be drier than normal and northern parts of the U.S. will be wetter than usual.

The wild card in the winter weather predictions is "arctic oscillation."

The oscillation will effect whether parts of the country, including WNY, will be cooler or warmer than average, or just average.

NOAA says that arctic oscillation is hard to predict and its impact on weather can't be read more than two weeks ahead of time.

Arctic oscillation, which pushes colder air into the U.S., can have dramatic impacts on winter weather.

From the NOAA site:

  • Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation. Winter weather for these regions is often driven not by La Niña but by the arctic oscillation. If enough cold air and moisture are in place, areas north of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast could see above-average snow;
  • Great Lakes: tilt toward colder and wetter than average;

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 9:37 pm

GCC Women's Soccer Wins Regular Season Finale

post by Andrew Crofts in GCC, sports, Women's soccer

It was Sophomore Night at Genesee Community College and the Women’s Soccer team continued their hot streak to end the regular season by beating Bryant and Stratton College 5-1.

Cady Hume (Batavia, NY) scored her second goal in three games in the 15th minute to give GCC the early 1-0 lead. Bryant and Stratton answered just seven minutes later to tie the game at one, but the Lady Cougars regained the lead in the 27th minute when Katie Smith (Akron, NY) put away a nice cross from Carly Shaw (Kendall, NY).

(Marissa Pecora #9 and Katie Smith #10 both score a goal in GCC's 5-1 win)

Genesee held the 2-1 advantage at the break and added to their lead early in the second half. Summer Bliss (Bethany, NY) scored her first goal of the season in the 4th minute, and assisted on a Marissa Pecora (Rochester, NY) goal in 42nd minute. Bliss added another goal with about 45 seconds to play, and Genesee earned their fourth straight win.

The Lady Cougars improve to 9-9 on the season and will move on to the Region III playoffs. Genesee is seeded 10th and will travel to #7 Onondaga on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm

GCC Loses First Match of the Season

post by Andrew Crofts in GCC, Men's Soccer, sports

For the first time in the regular season, the Genesee Community College Men’s Soccer team came out on the losing end. Their unbeaten streak was snapped on Thursday night after they were beaten by Bryant and Stratton College (Syracuse) 4-2.

Coming off of their win over the number one team in the country at Herkimer County Community College on Tuesday night, the Cougars scored the first goal of the game. Jonny Bonner (Donegal, Ireland) scored his fourth goal of the season in the 22nd minute to put GCC out in front 1-0. The Genesee defense kept the Bryant and Stratton offense in check for the majority of the first half, until the Bobcats were able to get the equalizer with seven minutes remaining.

Bryant and Stratton gained the momentum in the second half by scoring goals in the 13th and 18th minutes, holding a 3-1 lead with 27 minutes to play. A slick pitch due to rain made it difficult for the Genesee offense to form any type of rhythm. The Cougars were able to draw within one when Josh Gray (Norwich, England) scored on a penalty kick in the 32nd minute. The PK was set up by a hand ball in the box.

Playing with a sense of urgency, the Cougars were unable to create another scoring opportunity. The Bobcats added a goal with 8 minutes to play, preserving the win and ending the Genesee unbeaten streak.

The Cougars fall to 12-1-2 on the season and will now move on to the Region III playoffs. GCC has already earned the #1 seed in the playoffs and will have a first round bye. They will host a second round game at GCC on Tuesday afternoon, the opponent and time to be determined.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Three-car accident reported on East Main at Vine Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

A three-car accident with minor injuries has been reported on East Main Street at Vine Street, Batavia.

City Fire Department and Mercy EMS on scene.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Photo: Tattered flag on Rose Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Rose Road

When I left the office late this afternoon, the clouds and shafts of light cutting through them looked pretty awesome and I started thinking about what sort of picture I could make on limited time. I remembered a barn on Pearl Street Road that I've never gotten a good shot of and thought of the clouds and light behind it. So I drove out there, and I was right. It could have been a great photo. Unfortunately, the owners had parked a high lift right in front of it. That just wouldn't do. So I kept going and circled back to the city by way of Upton Road and Rose Road. On Rose, a potential advertiser called me, so I pulled over to chat -- with this flag right in front of me. "There's a possible picture," I thought.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Photo: Independent Living candidates forum

District 1 Legislator Ed Dejaneiro spoke at the YWCA this afternoon as part of a candidates forum sponsored by Independent Living of the Genesee Region.  According to James Moody, 14 candidates for city and county offices appeared at the forum. Each candidate was given a chance to make a presentation and then answer questions from the audience. The forum was not a debate. Moody said the forum gives candidates a chance to learn about the rights of people with disabilities and the needs of the community. "We feel it's important for people with disabilities to get a chance to ask candidates questions."

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Photo: Sen. Ranzenhofer visits area farmers

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, agriculture, Mike Ranzenhofer

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer is using his time away from Albany -- the legislature is out of session -- to meet constituents and visit local businesses.

Today, Ranzenhofer did an ag tour in Genesee County, visiting Kreher’s Organic Egg Farm in Basom, Torry Farms in Elba and Offhaus Farms in Batavia.

Above, Gordy Offhaus talks with Ranzenhofer about dairy cattle.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm

City gets 'positive outlook' on improved fiscal health

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

Moody's -- the bond-rating agency -- likes Batavia.

Maybe not as much as they could -- the city's bond rating was downgraded in 2005 from A1 to A2 and remains there -- but a series of fiscal reforms caused the agency to issue a "positive outlook" for the city.

"It should be seen as good news," City Manager Jason Molino said. "They're saying, not only have you achieved the goals you set out to do, you achieved them sooner than you expected. In 2006, the city council set out to pay back all deficits by 2012. They did it by 2010."

Not that there aren't areas of concern for Moody's.

First, the fund balance isn't as high as it should be for a fiscially healthy municipality, and the unresolved contract with the Police Benevolent Association is a cause for concern.

Those two items are prime reason the city isn't getting back, just yet, it's A1 rating.

A municipal bond rating is like a credit score for personal finances.

In 2005, Moody's knocked the city for operating defcits four out of five years, negative general fund balance, high amount of delinquent property taxes, excessive police and fire overtime and the fact that the city's largest revenue source was sales tax.

Now, Moody's is praising the city for operating surpluses in all funds the past four consecutive years, eliminating certain kinds of municipal borrowing, and making progress on equipment and infrastructure projects. Plus, Moody's notes that in 2009 the city had the first positive undesignated fund balance since 2004.

"What they're saying," Molino said, "is that here in the past we faced challenges, in the not-too-distant past, but what the city council did, what we did as a community, is achieve transformative change."

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Photo: Kiwanis Pancake Day set for Oct. 29

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, batavia

Members of Batavia Kiwanis are gearing up to serve pancakes at the club's annual Pancake Day breakfast Oct. 29 at the Presbyterian Church in Batavia. Breakfast is from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children 10 and under and $3 for seniors, 62 and over.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Pardon me, but your meatballs are burning

post by Billie Owens in College Village, fire

Yet another false alarm of fire at College Village prompted two Town of Batavia fire engines to the scene. They found burnt food in one of the apartments. Well, burnt meatballs actually.

"The report should include meatballs," says a responder.

"What? Meatballs?" comes the reply.

"Yes, that would be meatballs."

"How do you burn meatballs?"

(But then again, when College Village occupants have been known to burn anything burnable, why not meatballs?)

"...I shouldn't be surprised," concludes the fireman.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Pavilion grad awarded full two-year scholarship at GCC

post by Billie Owens in Milestones, Pavilion

Laura Beth Yuhnke's dreams of becoming an elementary school teacher have come one step closer to a reality thanks to the President's Scholarship from Genesee Community College. Laura Beth, a 2011 graduate of Pavilion High School was awarded the President's Scholarship covering the full cost of tuition for two years at GCC.

Laura Beth is the daughter of Dave and Betty Yuhnke of Wyoming, NY. She is 18 years old and a freshman student at GCC, studying education. She chose GCC because she wasn't sure of what school she wanted to attend to earn a bachelor's degree.

"This was a good decision because I'm not totally sure what four-year college I want to go to," Laura Beth said. "Plus it's more economical to start at GCC and transfer to another school, which is good because my family is quite large."

Laura Beth is one of six children and is the third Yuhnke to attend GCC. Her oldest brother Mark (23) and older sister Rachael (22) also attended GCC. Rachael Yuhnke was also a President's Scholarship recipient who studied Nursing while at GCC. She graduated in 2009 and is now a registered nurse (RN) in the Pediatric ICU of Women's and Children's Hospital in Buffalo, NY.

Laura Beth hopes to one day become an elementary school teacher with a concentration in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). Her dream job would be teaching ESL to children in another country such as Brazil or any European country.

A highly decorated student, Laura Beth has been the recipient of several academic and community honors throughout her high school career. She is the recipient of the Community Foundation Award, Marsha Brooks Memorial Scholarship, Pavilion Alumni Association Award, Pavilion Faculty Association Scholarship, President's Education Award and the Warsaw Support Staff Association Scholarship. She was a member of the National Honor Society, a scholar athlete, SADD secretary, a member of the marching band and was ranked third in her graduating class. She most recently was awarded the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 193 Dana Fry Scholarship in 2011.

"GCC has always been committed to recognizing and encouraging academic excellence, attracting outstanding local students who exhibit exceptional talent and leadership potential in their home towns and high schools," Richard Ensman, executive director of the GCC foundation said. "Laura Beth is a prime example of local academic and community excellence."

The President's Scholarship provides full tuition at GCC to high school students from Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, and Orleans counties. President's Scholarships are given to students who have maintained high academic standards while in high school, and whose co-curricular efforts have formed the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of extraordinary achievement. Award-winners enjoy two years of tuition-free education at GCC, provided they meet and maintain eligibility requirements.

President's Scholarships are funded by generous contributions made to the GCC Foundation by individuals and businesses committed to excellence in education. It is the hope of the Foundation that scholarship recipients will remain committed to their quest for excellence during their college years and beyond, striving for the betterment of businesses and communities within the GLOW region.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

'Batavia Reads Gardner' at the Pok-A-Dot

post by Billie Owens in announcements

The annual reading from the works of the late author John Gardner is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 at, of course, the Pok-A-Dot cafe. It's at the corner of Ellicott and Liberty streets in the City of Batavia.

The public is invited for an evening of readings, food and camaraderie in celebration of John Gardner. You can even have your picture taken on the newly installed John Gardner Memorial Bench.

The event is sponsored by The John Gardner Society and Genesee Community College.

For more information or to be added to the society's list of readers, call Bill Kauffman at 757-2455 or email <[email protected]>.

(8 to 9:30 p.m.)
Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Contest: Main St. Pizza Company NFL Challenge Week 7

post by Howard B. Owens in advertisement, contests, Sponsored Post

Congratulations to Barb King, winner of the Main St. Pizza Company NFL Challenge contest for week 6. She was randomly selected from among the 16 people who correctly predicted that Cam Newton of Carolina would throw the most interceptions. Newton tossed three picks. King wins one calzone and French fries.

All contest winners have one week to claim their prize.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

Photo: Rainbow along Bank Street Road

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather

A rainbow spotted off Bank Street Road, Batavia. Photo submitted by Diane Deleo.

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 8:10 am

Today's Deals: Bourbon & Burger, Delavan's, Rancho Viejo, T.F. Brown's, and more!

post by Lisa Ace in Deal of the Day

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Bourbon & Burger Co., 9 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Batavia's newest burger joint offers more than two dozen different types of tasty hamburgers. Our menu also includes a variety of sandwiches, appetizers and an extensive beer list, plus a full bar. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Cookies & Milk, 28 City Center, Batavia, NY: Cookies & Milk offers a wide selection of delicious cookies, cakes and pies. Now offering a full lunch menu that includes soups, salads and sandwiches. Stop by for something sweet! We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.
Cruiser's Creamery, 140 W. Main Road, Le Roy, NY: For the best homemade ice cream, gelato and Italian ice, cruise down to Cruiser's Creamery. It's worth the drive! We offer soft serve, sundaes, razzles, milkshakes and more! Try an old-fashioned Banana Barrel! Our waffle cones and bowls made fresh daily. Drive-thru and patio seating. We have a $10 gift certificate available for $5.
Delavan's, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.
Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kravings offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have a $10 gift certificate for $5.

Rancho Viejo, 12 Ellicott St., Batavia, NY: Traditional Mexican cuisine, from tacos and burritos to pollo norteno, Rancho Viejo brings a bit of "south of the border" to Batavia's restaurant scene. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Salsa & Curry - NEW - 13 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: An authentic Mexican restaurant, offering all of your favorite dishes from enchiladas and burritos to tacos and fajitas, as well as daily Indian food specials. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Settler's, 353 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Settler's has a 25-year history of serving great, affordable breakfasts, lunches and dinners to Batavians. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

South Main Country Gifts, 3356 S. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Handcrafted items, gifts with a regional flair, candles, jams, soups, home furnishings & more -- South Main has a wide selection to please most any interest. Decorate your home or office for the fall season. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Spirits, 78 Lake St., Le Roy, NY. Le Roy's favorite sports bar, where fun and good food are always on tap. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

T.F. Brown's, 214 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: T.F. Brown's is a great place for a good meal, good friends and to catch up on what's going on in the sports world. "If it happens in sports, it happens at Brown's." We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

The Mane Attraction Salon and Spa99 Main St., Batavia, NY: offers "Affordable Luxury" in downtown Batavia. We pride ourselves in the great customer service we give to the entire family. Men, women and children are all welcome either by appointment or walk-in. We offer all hair care services including cuts, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, styling/updos, facial, leg and back waxing, Shellac Polish System, manicures and pedicures. We are the only salon in Batavia that has an airplane chair for kids' cuts! Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

Viking Valhalla Restaurant & Rose Garden Bowl21 Buffalo Road, Bergen, NY: Open for lunch Monday through Sunday, and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings. Dinner favorites are our succulent prime rib and Friday fish fries! We are always happy to help plan your special occasion -- wedding, shower, rehearsal dinner, stag party, graduation, company function, banquet, family or class reunion. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.


Note: if you've never purchased Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and processclick here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

State considering $1.8 million roundabout for Route 20 at Suicide Corners

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, roundabout, Route 20, Suicide Corners, transportation

Suicide Corners has a reputation, and as the name implies, it's not a good one.

While accidents may not be frequent where East Road crosses Route 20, when they have occurred -- at least until a few years ago -- they've been deadly.

There were fatal accidents at the intersection in June 1998, April 1999 and June 2004. One was a triple fatal and another a double fatal.

After the 2004 accidents, Bethany residents gathered 2,633 signatures asking the NYS Department of Transportation to do something about the intersection.

Their thought -- regrade Route 20.

The state's response: No physical changes to the roadway were necessary. The DOT put up bigger and brighter signs.

There hasn't been a fatal accident at the intersection since, only fender-benders, according to Tom Douglas. He said accidents have been reduced by 36 percent.

Douglas, who with his wife, Debbie, raised six kids in a 200-year-old house (formerly an inn with a second-story dance floor) on property abutting Suicide Corners.  He and his son personally witnessed the 2004 accident, which claimed the life of an infant and two other people (inset photo from the memorial on a pole across East Road from the Douglas residence).

Now, seven years after the last fatal accident, DOT officials have apparently decided it's time to take more drastic measures to make the intersection safer.

The proposal: A $1.8 million traffic circle, a roundabout like the one on Oak Street in the City of Batavia.

If the project is approved, Tom and Debbie Douglas will lose their home. The state will seize their property through eminent domain (providing fair market value and relocation expenses).

About a quarter of the traffic circle will be on their current property, with the roadway through the area moving moved southward several dozens of feet.

Tom Douglas said not only will his family lose their home, a home with some local history, he doesn't believe the project serves any useful purpose.

"Statistically," he said, "It's not needed."

Lori Maher, public information officer for the DOT in the Genesee Region, said what the DOT is looking at is the entire history of the intersection, not just the past few years.

"That (no fatalities since 2004) doesn't mean that the problem is corrected and we should walk away from it, so we are pursuing a safety improvement program," Maher said.

But she said that doesn't mean the state will necessarily build a roundabout and that the Douglases will lose their home.

The proper corrective action is still under review and state engineers may yet determine that a roundabout is not the best solution (weighing, in fact, the serious decision of proceeding with eminent domain on the Douglas property).

The project, however, has been funded for construction to begin in the summer of 2013.

There will be public meetings and ample time for the public to provide feedback on the project, Maher said, but because fact-finding is not yet completed, no dates for those hearings have been set.

Douglas, town building inspector (Debbie is town clerk) and Bethany Town Supervisor Louis Gayton also question the wisdom of spending money on a roundabout when the Bethany Town Center Road bridge over Route 20 is in such drastic need of replacement or repair. Chunks of it regularly fall off onto Route 20.

"One of these days, somebody is going to get injured," Douglas said.

The main issue, Douglas said, isn't the traffic on Route 20. It's drivers on East Road, mostly northbound drivers, blowing through the intersection.

Douglas and others have suggested rumble strips on East Road, but both the state and the county highway department have rejected the idea as impractical.

"They think people will just drive around them," Douglas said. "But if they're driving around them, they're slowing down. It would still alert them to the intersection."

Gayton wonders if the roundabout will even improve safety.

"Trucks come through there at 60 to 65 mph," Gayton said. "Now they've got to slow down to 15 mph. I don't need to tell you what will happen."

Tim Hens, the county's highway superintendent, in an email sent Monday to county legislators obtained by Douglas, also questioned the DOT's decision.

This is not set in stone yet as it has to muster a public review process and final board adoption, but if adopted, we stand to lose funding for three bridge projects in the immediate TIP period covering 2011-14. This may only be the tip of the iceberg if new transportation reauthorization is not clear by the end of the year.

I did find it odd that they decided to keep the NEW Rt 20/East Rd (Suicide Corners) roundabout in the plan versus EXISTING bridges that are deteriorating. I know there has been loss of life at this corner, but not sure the roundabout is a popular solution with many local people.

Maher said, however, that the funding sources for bridges are different than the funding sources for intersection improvements. If an improvement -- roundabout or not -- for Suicide Corners isn't approved, then the $1.8 million slated for the project will just go to another intersection in the Genesee Region in need of improvement.

Sheriff Gary Maha, who attended a May 24 meeting with the DOT where the plan was first presented said he will leave the decision about how to improve safety to the experts, but he does know the state is increasingly using roundabouts throughout the state to improve safety on major roadways. He just visited two in Saratoga Springs.

"There's been a lot of serious accidents there over the years," Maha said. "I support anything that could improve safety in the area, certainly."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Photos: Restoration work under way at First Presbyterian Church

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, first presbyterian church

Workers have been busy the past few days chiseling out the mortar between the bricks of the First Presbyterian Church on East Main Street, Batavia, in preparation for replacing the mortar.

The project is one of many being undertaken by the church as part of a $650,000 capital improvement project, according to Pastor Roula Alkhouri.

The money was raised during a fundraising drive this spring.

Projects include renovating the fellowship hall, asbestos removal from the basement, work on the foundation and repaving the parking lot, among several other projects to help preserve the building.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Driver seen 'doing something' inside van before losing control on North Byron Road

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, elba

A man driving a Ford van lost control of it while on North Byron Road, Elba, this morning, causing it to go into a ditch and overturn.

The driver, Elmer Perez-Garcia, 17, of Morristown, Tenn., suffered only minor injuries in the accident and did not require hospital treatment.

Perez-Garcia was cited for alleged failure to maintain lane and driving without a license.

A witness told Deputy Chris Parker that he saw Perez-Garcia's van cross into the eastbound lane and the driver appeared to be "doing something" inside the van prior to losing control.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Democrats Should Support Bill Cox in First Ward Race

post by Daniel Jones in Batavia City Council, Bill Cox, First War

Democrats in the First Ward should vote for Councilman Bill Cox for re-election in November. Although I am a Democrat and Bill and I have disagreed at points, I know that Bill is the sort of person the City of Batavia needs on it's Council. He's smart, fair, objective and is always willing to listen to all sides of an argument before making a decision on critical issues. He's got an open door and an open mind for cost conscious policies that will help preserve our quality of life and keep our tax burden reasonable. He's opposed plans that would turn green-spaces into busy sports parks and stood up for encouraging Batavia to be a leader and not just a competitor in improving our business district and bringing jobs back to Batavia.

I am a Democrat and I am proud of it.  Unfortunately, Bill was not endorsed by the City of Batavia Democratic Committee. That being said, I am proud to support Councilman Cox and I encourage every Democrat to do the same by voting for Bill on the Conservative or the Preserve Our Neighborhoods line.  Bill has a deep commitment to Batavia and it's neighborhoods, he's willing to work across the aisle for better solutions for a better Batavia.

To put it plainly, Councilman Cox's re-election will send a powerful message about what kind of Councilman Batavians want, Bill stands for transparency, clarity and fiscally sound policies.

When First Ward Democrats walk into the voting booth, I hope that they will not skip the City Council race because there is no Democrat on the line, I hope that they'll take the advice of this Democrat and vote for Bill Cox on the Conservative or Preserve our Neighborhoods lines and give Batavia the voice that it needs.

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