Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm
Tonight the City of Batavia Democrats are holding another Meet the Democrat Candidates Night at Notre Dame High School. Sara Burk-Balbi, Phil Ricci and Julie Wallace will all be present as well as Chris Charvella, Candidate in District 8 for the Genesee County Legislature. It is at 7PM and in the school Cafeteria.
I would like to take this moment to encourage everyone to come this evening and talk with our candidates. They are young, bright and caring. I also encourage you all to ask them questions and give them your idea.
I should also mention that there are two conflicting meetings that Rose Mary Christian and Legislator Ed DeJaneiro will be attending. If they have complete those meetings prior to the end of the Meet and Greet they will stop in as well. Rose Mary is attending a meeting on the expansion of Rte 63-Ellicott Street and Ed has a County Legislature Meeting.
Please join us tonight for our Meet and Greet at Notre Dame.
Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm
A few short days ago I wrote a small blog entry on the wonders of America and the heroism that was displayed during the Hudson River Rescue. I am still in awe of that total sense of sacrifice and service. I also included a request that everyone give our President Barack Obama some time to accomplish things and recognize that he too needs to step up to serve and strive greater than any recent President to help solve our mounting problems. I do believe he will be a wonderful President. In his first two days of office, he has achieved and accomplished so much. I don't see vacation on his schedule anytime soon.
With all that being said, my simple request for time and patience and my belief that Americans in general do feel positive about the new President (recent poll showed 83% felt positive) has resulted in some of the very sophmoric replies that really do rankle me. For an American to use a person's name as a "slur" or negative connotation is just as demeaning and nasty as using many of the words that we have defeated in the past. Equating the President's middle name as a negative reference is perhaps the lowest of low.
I respect that all Americans have freedom of speech, but that does not mean I have to like it, tolerate it or even accept it. It basically takes an unintelligent mind to become so low that a person's name can be used as such. Our President's name is Barack Hussein Obama. Learn to live with it and if you don't like it ignore it, but don't use a man's name as derision or as a blatant racist attempt to lower him in the eyes of America. I happen to think it is a great name that reflects "all that is indeed possible in this wonderful country we call home".
My "Time to Renew" blog entry is exactly what it says. I believe it is such a time in America. Time to heal and to move forward, to enlighten those who lead into greater service and to call up to service those that want to lead. It was meant to reflect on the heroism in the Hudson River as a wonderful exmple of "people helping and indeed saving people". To my amazement it solicited 62 responses to date, many of which contained hateful insights, off-topic giberish and senseless drivel. Some of the responses attempted to lower hope and return to name calling nastiness. Other responses attempted to prove who was smarter, who knew more and who could have the last word. That certainly isn't renewal. It is rehashing the crap from that past. As an American, I feel that is not acceptable.
Now it is my turn. Like I said before, I respect your freedom of speech and the open medium of blogging. Please remember, my intent is to be positive and to express hope and solutions for the future. If your intent is not the same then take a flying leap. Start your own blog that points out who is better than who, uses names as damaging labels and resorts to one-up-man-ship. As the old adage goes, if you are not part of the solution, guess what..... you are part of the problem. Please join me on the side of Solutions and Hope.
Stay Safe, Prayers for our New Leaders and as always, Thanks for listening.
Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm
I have not been on the Batavian in some time and I must say that I do miss it. Since it's inception it has allowed many people in this area a chance to speak thier mind and to inform us of issues and ideas. With all that being said, and perhaps in an effort to keep my thoughts simple, I would like to just say that the awe inspiring rescue from Hudson hs given me time to reflect and renew. It did prove two things to me: ONE - People can and will reach out to help others in need. The very basis of people helping people was proven in the most populous city in our nation. TWO - Prepartion is the key and you need to prepare with your heart. How many of us are sure that we would jump into freezing 35 degree water to help others in peril. Not only do we need to prepare with our minds, strength and equipment, but we need to prepare with our heart. Plan & simple.
Lastly, It is time that we all stood up and told the naysayers to take a hike. I have already heard several nasty things against President Obama and the Democrat led nation that is about to be a reality. To those who wish to unleash this nastiness, please realize that "what goes around - comes around". It is a time that we give our new leaders a chance to govern and yes, to change. Don't count them out or damn them to failure before anything is tried or accomplished.... As always, as good Americans....we need to give all our leaders a chance.
Thanks for listening....and here's to a more successful year.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 12:05 pm
Please Come & Meet
Candidate for the New York State Senate
Monday, November 3rd
Election Night Eve
5PM to 6PM
500 East Main Street - Batavia
Patrick & E. Jane Burk
Bob & Gail Stevens
Ed & Cathy DeJaneiro
Toni & Ron Funke
Sara Jane & Samantha Balbi
Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 10:19 am
post by Patrick D. Burk in Drama
BATAVIA PLAYERS ONE ACT PLAY FESTIVAL THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY-Sept 19 & 20
I am real happy to announce and invite all in the community to another first for the Batavia Players. We are having our One Act Play Festival this Friday and Saturday at John Kennedy School on Vine Street. Start time is 7:30PM. Tickets are $10 for General Admission and $8 for Seniors and Students.
Three One Act Plays and a Monolouge are being performed.
MRS SORKIN Starring Peggy Marone
THE WORKER Starring Malloryann Burk, Jesse Conklin & Jake Bortle
A TRIP TO MIAMI Starring Alice and Paul Judkins
THE DUMB WAITER Starring Kevin Partridge and Robert Rudman
These are some of our area's finest actors and it is well worth the ticket price. All these plays were done "workshop" style with actors and directors working on everything from props to sets to design as well as lines etc.
PLEASE COME AND JOIN US....TICKETS AT ROXY's MUSIC or at the DOOR
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 11:17 am
At last night's Board of Education meeting, my fellow Board of Education Members were met with three areas of great news. The first being that our SPECIALIZED SUMMER PROGRAMS will increase graduation rates and students remaining in school instead of dropping out. All points lead to an upswing as the critical services are provided for a large number of children at risk. One excellent point that was made is that children who stay in school for the summer do indeed maintain more knowledge and continue to progress. Also students were being identified earlier to insure proper intervention. Since drop out rates are now divised through a "new and uninproved" formula...it is imperative that we focus on early intervention.
Our New High School Principle, Chris Daley, meets with 10 High Risk Students each and every week and so do our High School Counselors. It has been proven that the individual attention given to a student that is not achieving can actually turn that student around 360 degrees and provide for continued confidence as they progress through High School.
That brings us to our second piece of Good News. I have never been one to profess great relevance in Business First's Ratings of schools. This was largely due to a veiled process and a cumbersome explanation form. Things do change however, and now there is a greater explanation of how ratings are compiled and how schools end up with the compiled number that they do. OUT OF 97 School Districts in Western New York Batavia City Schools Ranked 38th. Now I realize that is not TOP 10, but it is our highest ranking ever in the ratings history and shows that we are going in the right direction. It also proves that we are ONE OF THE TOP CITY SCHOOL DISTRICTS in NEW YORK STATE.
Business First also produced six categories and benchmarks on how the list was created. In TWO AREAS Batavia is in the TOP 10 out of 97. We tied for 7th as one of Western New Yorks Over Achieving School Districts. This means that in spite of poor socio-economic indicators and financial considerations, our students do extremely well. In fact one of our students place in the TOP 25 or Western New York and another placed in the 25 Alternates list. Economic indicators such as the free and reduced lunch percentage of students are used to determine this benchmark.
In the are of Student Access, we ranked SECOND out of all 97 Schools in Western New York. This is exciting, because it once again shows that we are going in the right direction by making our teachers and professionals more apt to work with students on a one-to-one basis. The ability to better serve our students while increasing overall success is the NUMBER ONE GOAL of the City of Batavia School District.
The THIRD PIECE OF GOOD NEWS is that YOUR SCHOOL TAX RATES are going DOWN. There is approximately a 4.4% decrease in the tax rate or on average a $1.10 per thousand reduction. As late as last night, another $47000 was found in excess and it was returned to the taxpayers to lower the current school tax rate. This is indeed good news from the standpoint of trying to control the escalating tax issues that this area has and continues to face. More work in this area has to be done but it is a start.
Comment me with any questions and I will try to answer them. Also, I am always here to answer your concerns either via this blog or privately.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 1:33 pm
You know sometimes first impressions are right. Often that is not the case with politicians. In an effort to ingratiate large numbers of party members to thier campaign they often are nice to all and go out of thier way to show interest in you and your ideas. Basically, you get a bunch of smiling candidates that nod thier heads to comments you make and inflect that they are caring. I have seen a ton of that this year with our Senate and Congressional Races.
In the 61st Senate Race, I did see someone different. I also did a ton of homework to insure that if I supported this person, I would not be disappointed in the outcome. I am very careful whom I endorse for political office because I want to be sure that those I tell others to vote for really are deserving. I also weigh heavy the service that they will support and provide for our children. The City of Batavia residents and our Youth Bureau fought hard for our kids last year in maintaining our Youth Bureau standards. One of the reasons, was that there was constant support from our current State Senator, Mary Lou Rath. I liked Mary Lou. She is a classy lady that liked her constituents and it showed. She was a helper, she listened and she reacted. She served us well.
This Primary Season, we have three candidates in the Democrat Party asking for our support to be placed on the ballot in November. The object is to pick the one that will serve the Senate District the best as well as be a listener, a problem solver and a helper. In listening and talking and reading, I have realized which one of the three would be the best for us and the youth of our 61st Senate District. I care about the young people in Batavia and Genesee County. I want to see who will stand with them and deliver education, services and opportunities. I want to maintain the high level of service we have enjoyed with Mary Lou Rath.
Michele Iannello is that person. She has the experience, the will and the grit to make our district important in Albany. I also think she will represent our children and fight for our Western New York area. She has sound ideas about limiting the rural tax burden and knows that most of what local governments have to deal with are mandates from the state. She rightly realizes that the change we need for economic stimulus upstate really needs to come from Albany. Time after time, she tells it like it is without the sugar-coating or nodding head. Michele Iannello has proven that she will represent all of us, including the Batavia and Genesee County area. We will be an intrical part of her constiuency.
Needless to say, my first impression was right. I know Michele Iannello will talk, listen and support all of us, but first Democrats need to support her. Please vote in next Tuesday's Democratic Primary and for the sake of our young people and our future. Please pull the lever for Michele Iannello.
Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 2:15 pm
So here we are. Only in Western New York would the Democrat Party take a wonderful chance and screw it up by having two forced primaries. Now I know this is the Amercian way of democracy....but it goes to prove what has been said before, " I don't belong to an organized political party.... I am a Democrat." Here we sit and with just a few days to the Primary, the Democratic Candidates for Congress are battling on the airwaves, in the media and on the stump. One has too much money, one has raised money wrong and from the wrong people and one did legal work for chemical companies at Love Canal so therefor she must be a demon. Whew...and we thought Clinton and Barack were ununifiable? (THANK GOD THAT IS OVER AS WELL!!!!!!)
The most important thing the Democratic Party had to do was to have a strong candidate to win against the Republican, rich guy - power broker and overseas job shipper who turned more jobs over to overseas companies and sold out on Western New York. I guess the Republican guy just wants to earn his Western New York Congressional salary and live in Washington, DC. I hear the cherry blossoms are beautiful there. Let's hope the rich can't buy thier ticket to see them....let's hope the voters look long and hard at this one.
Anyway...that is what is happening on the Congressional side.
On a "happier" note (Did I say Happier????), the race to run for the 61st Senate Seat is also equally challenging for the Donkeycrats. (Are you sure I said happier???) Here we have a popular, hard-working, competent Erie County Legislator who is endorsed by the County Democratic Committees pitted against a former boxer and "you guessed it"....Her brother-in-law. If this was Texas, this would be a episodic plot for that old TV Show "Dallas". As the Republicans put up yet another upper crust muckety-muck, the Democrats roll around in the muck to see who can run and win 8 weeks later. I am keeping my idea for a TV Script because there has to be one in here somewhere. I can just see the pan of the camera on the field as the three candidates come toward the camera on sturdy horses... the dust settling as their faces are shot one-by-one into the camera frame with dour expressions..... too funny...anyway I digress.
I am a BIG supporter of Mary Lou Rath and have always known that her shoes would be hard to fill...she truly cares about our communities and serves us well. She will be a tough act to follow. Michele Iannello is a tough woman with a lot to be said about what she will do for this district. She, like Mary Lou, cares about us and our communities. The brother-in-law, on the other hand, has run for many public offices including Eire County Legislator and Executive, has won a few and has lost a few. He currently sits on the Amherst Town Board and he talks a lot about his past......maybe that is because there isn't too much on his plate for the future.....I think Amherst should keep him.
Then we have Baby Joe Mesi.....nice guy. While I was President of the New York State Junior Chamber of Commerce I bestowed upon him the honor of Outstanding New Yorker. This was given to him because of his powerful approach to being a positive influence on young people's lives. He didn't just box.... he showed us all what an organized program for young people can do? He cares about his community. I give him that much but I guess I find that the toughness that a boxer needs to survive is just not what I think we need in the "Ring of Albany"..... You need to be smart, savvy and quick. You need to look for opportunities to help Western New York and you have to bring that home. Baby Joe is a nice guy.....Michele Iannello is a hard-working public servant. I hope when the dust settles, Baby Joe will still be doing his community service and the brother-in-law is sent back to Amherst. Let the tough lady from Kenmore take on the upper crusty Republican in the General Election.
So that is that. Instead of duking it out and coming up with two solid candidates...one for each position, the Democrats come up with three, forcing a primary that is sure not to hand any one candidate the 50% for either race. In the midst of this whirl of politics, we can only hope that the regrouping, refunding and campaigning can be accomplished in 8 short weeks, but then again...I wish all elections in total only took 8 weeks. I wonder if I would miss all the signs in my yard.... Please vote in the Democrat Primary.
Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 12:29 pm
Donations Needed for the 2nd Annual Batavia Players Summer Youth Theater Yard Sale
Saturday, July 19th & Sunday, July 20th
Donations of Yard Sale Items are greatly appreciated. No CLOTHING OR SHOES.
Items May be dropped off at Batavia High School, 260 State Street Tuesday, July 15th - Thursday, July 17th. From 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Items can also be donated on Saturday, June 19th in the morning.
Please help to make this another successful Summer Youth Theater Season.
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
AUGUST 14th - 16th - Batavia High School
Tickets at GO ART or ROXY's or at the High School on Nights or afternoons of Rehearsals
Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 11:46 am
OK....so the proverbial question was just asked of me again. I had made a call to try and obtain some help with my current Batavia Players Summer Youth Theater Production of Jesus Christ, Superstar and the person on the other line informed me that "time really does fly by...was it time for this again". Then came the proverbial anticipated question. Why do I do this year after year, summer after summer and place your life on hold over the nicest months to do a musical show in Batavia? I assured her that yes, it was "that time of year again" and continued with my conversation to see if they could be of some help. I added some simple platitude like, "Someone has got to do it!" I was certain we would digress and since listening is a skill I sometimes have to hone, I decided to give her a listen.
After a few moments listening, I realized she was just one more person out of millions that expected happiness to find them....I have often thought that most people really want to be happy but rarely are they happy in the quality or quantity that they believe they deserve. Most people also believe it is up to happiness to find them.... Not lifting a single little finger to achieve this goal on thier own. Her discussion of the uninhabital weather, the cost of gas, the price of milk and the need to crack down on some expenses sent me into a quandry. She actual asked, "How can you be happy with the price of milk being what it is these days?"
So we did digress and my mind wandered and soon the person on the other end was getting my uh-huhs and oh gee's etc...... and I was thinking of some basics in my life. When I was a little kid and the price of milk went up or there was a need to conserve, we just did it. I remember my mom mixing non-fat dry milk with water and then adding a quart of regular milk to it so that is was 80% powdered milk product and 20% the real thing. She told us it was healthier and we drank it and obtained the proverbial milk mustache...in reality she was trying to save money. Mom was never really a stellar cook, but we did have some treats from time to time. We were not allowed to eat chips or snacks. We ate popcorn.....freshly popped. In her words....."It is much better for you and you get a natural product". In reality, a bag of popcorn would provide my family a week's worth of snacks for 29 cents. I particularly liked lemon/grape kool-aid with only half the sugar ( YOU guessed it if you knew that Mom said it was "better for us than soda with less sugar") The reality was it saved money). I even learned to like the milk mixture.
The point of this whole discussion is this. When we were challenged financially, and there were times when were and times when we were not, we adapted and smiled and laughed and did everything pretty much that we liked to do. We just had to be resourceful. We made things, we had 4-H Meetings, we walked to the neighbors and we took care of our farm and animals. We may have complained about the heat of the summer while putting up hay or the price of gas going over 40 cents a gallon, but we adapted. We were always just fine.
Today I wonder. Do we actually buy happiness? Are those that have money any happier than those that need or want? Do we expect happiness to take its merry stroll through the universe and find us???? When I think back to lemon/grape koolaid and fresh popped popcorn and working on the farm I realize the answer. IT really is up to us to find happiness and to take as much of it as we can hold. It is the one component of this world where there is always enough, you can't take too much and it is found everywhere. It is a simple process, being happy. I happen to find happiness when I am creating the Batavia Player's Summer Youth Theater Production and working with such great young people. I happen to find happiness when I sit with my grandchildren and read, play or rock them while watching television.
I find little things and big things to make me happy. So when you think you are going to complain too much and you are falling in a trap of the doldrums....go out on an adventure. Scrape up your last change and see a funny movie or rent a DVD, sit next to a children ladden with laughter playground or look at a baby. Grab a good book and read or take the time to stare at some birds at a feeder. The abundance of happiness is out there......even in the darkest times it can be found....and there is only one cardinal rule when you do find it..... Share It....Look for someone else who is looking for happiness and give them a hug full.
The only thing better than finding happiness for yourself is sharing happiness with another.
Monday, July 7, 2008 at 1:09 pm
post by Patrick D. Burk in
The perils of returning from vacation are both uncertain and unavoidable. I, being one that makes sure my desk is neat and all the filing is done prior to partaking in a few days off, find it real hard to face the reality of the full inbox of email and the twenty-some faxes that were available for my immediate attention as soon as 9AM Monday roled around. It kind of takes the fun out of going away...knowing your desk will be full when you return..... but there is nothing like a real nice "no phones", "no paperwork", "read a good book" holiday that rekindles the mind and refreshes the soul. That is how I spent the weekend. I read few newspapers, never looked at a computer, made only two phone calls to friends and family and napped. It was perfect.
I caught up with some old friends, cooked and grilled on the campfire, slept later than usual, went to a friend's graduation party and played with my grandchildren. It was a dream come true. Family members came and went, ate and napped, talked and laughed and friends dropped in. Saw a few fireworks, listened to some American classical music, basked in more than a few sun rays and did some gardening....oh and we can't forget the yard sale time either. All in all, it was successful.....peaceful and very, very relaxing. It was perfect.
Upon my return this morning, I immediately refocused and made sure that all that was left not handled during my two day absence was handled. Returning phone calls, answering emails and sending out reports and faxes. It seems that people want you to do more when they know you are not around to say "no".... isn't that always the way. I did prevail however and manage the piles of mail (it is incredible the amount of junk mail you get these days), the unanswered phone calls and the emails. Tackled a couple of problems, sent out a few letters and cleaned out my In-box.
I researched and wrote an article on the impact of the increasing fuel prices and the fall of the stock market will have on the small farmer and your marketplace. It seems we just can't get away from all that jazz. I listened to a young, healthy person complain that they had to walk to the post office..... they seemed capable and I had to bite my tongue..... it seemed like a nice idea to me....that is to walk the two blocks to the post office. I walk it often. I reflected on the news and recent articles that came to my attention and listened to some music while typing. I talked to a couple of clients and made plans for the week...I also made an appointment to get my car tuned up and an oil change. Two of my grandchildren stopped in and I walked the oldest to the YMCA for Kinder Kamp.
So that has been today..... from the perfect 4th of July weekend to the above normal activity of my office.... the pleasantries of visitors and grandchildren, conversations and planning and seeing accomplishments. So I am a bit more busy. So I will have to catch up for a couple of days.... at least I know that it is on the heels of a perfect weekend at the camp One certain thing about this life is that I am allowed to enjoy, take time off and relax. We are also allowed our opinions and our ideas.... we are allowed to speak freely and create without fear. That is the true reason for this past weekend. Every 4th of July we should remember and reflect on that.
Be thankful for the quiet times and family times, be grateful you are working and productive and remember to celebrate our humble beginnings as a country. You may not agree with everything that makes up the whole of America....but you do have to agree it is a great place to live.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 10:55 am
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 gas....so 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.
Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 1:03 pm
I like this time of year and I always feel that with the summer comes wonderful times of outdoor activities that all can enjoy in this area. I also like the idea of High School Graduation and seeing the culmination of all the students who are going out into the real or collegiate world. I really like the summer...I never complain it is too hot, always dress reasonably comfortable and work on our Summer Youth Theater Program. The summer for me is indeed a very creative time.
In preparation for the summer vacation and the 4th of July weekend, it also becomes a time to say "so long". Many people come and go through our lives but this year, I need to pass on some kudos to two wonderful people that have served this area for quite some time. I know that they are not actually gone, in fact they are all moving onto different roles in other communities or at home. It is just the idea that Batavia will miss them. It is the idea that they served our community so well... it is the idea that they truly loved our schools and our children.
This is the last graduating class for Superintendent Richard Stutzman. At the time of his appointment he was a radical choice that shocked some people. In his words, Dick was always a "bean counter" that cared more for the dollar and cents and the bottom line. We need those types of people in a successful education setting. They are the ones that rein in the tide of spend, spend, spend and to put reality back on the plate before projects and programs go out of wack and costs escalate. Dick was a champion "bean counter" who had spent time in the classroom at his Mt. Morris Central School.
The Board of Education at the time decided we were not seeing anyone with Mr. Stutzman's abilities in the mix of candidates for the job.....so we asked him to step up and become our Superintendent. Dick Stutzman turned into the best person ever for this district. He truly became an advocate for all students and prudently turned our City of Batavia School District into a First Class Educational Facility that is one of the TOP 15 High Schools for Technology through the Prometheum Corportation. Winning awards and providing training for schools from across the United States and doing it all with a sense of student caring and an "education for all" attitude.
All I can add is, "Mr. Stutzman - Thank You" ..... you truly are a champion in the field of education.
Bette Rung has always been involved with Batavia City Schools. She attended Robert Morris and the old East School (where the Salavation Army Citadel is now.) and she continued working in the district as the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools. She worked for three different men and was also the Clerk for the Board of Education. Bette was and still is a huge proponent of our School District. She was always efficient, kind and helpful. She was also a friend. There have been many times when my health has not permitted me to be as involved as I should be with the City Board of Education. Mrs. Rung was right there for me, bringing me information, making sure things were getting signed and issues were being addressed.
Mrs. Rung has also retired and to those who know her, they will tell you of her dedication to the children of this district. She has worked with three superintendents, hundreds of Board of Education Members, thousands of staff members and over 50000 children. She is truly an angel for this district.
Mrs. Rung, my personal and professional gratitude. Your kindness will always be cherished, your caring will always be appreciated and your concern for our City School District will always be remembered.
As these two close the door on one career and look at the future, I wish them luck, love and much health. I pray they will stay safe and free from care and I hope, and just for one brief moment that they will stop in and say hello. It is hard to forget those that have left such a huge imprint on one's life.....all we can do is remember the gentle impression and be grateful that you met, you worked together and you did well.
Mr. Stutzman and Mrs. Rung...... you did well..... Happy Retirement!
Monday, June 23, 2008 at 2:22 pm
There is one thing that we all should be very happy about this year.....for once, at least in my opinion, we have two wonderful candidates for President. I hope that neither slips too far into that quagmire of wanting to be the "Good Little Party Boy", the leader of the fringe of their respective political parties while trying to maintain a centrist message that will capture just the right amount of electoral votes from the correct color of states. Who picked red and blue anyway?
Since we seem to have done the party selection process with some positive results, could we now look at the Electoral College? I really do dislike it. It really is why we have had the last eight dismal years and it may reflect what happens in future elections as well. Why can't we just have the best man win? How is that one man can win the popular vote of this country and have it not mean anything? It just does not make sense. It certainly makes for some interesting reporting but it also steals away the each vote counts idea.
Both the Obama camp and the McCain camp already have a list of states where they will not campaign. We are lucky here in New York that even though this is considered a solid Obama state, both will appear because of the vast amount of cash each can get from New York State. The same holds true for Californina. Can you imagine being in Nebraska? Small amount of electoral votes, below the national medium of income and solid red. They won't see much of this election. No long-winded half baked political commercials, no thousands of laws signs, no debates and "outside groups" calling each candidate names.....no swift boating of Obama...... Maybe there is something to be said about Nebraska after all.
I would love to see us adopt a shorter Primary Season with actual votes and no caucuses. I would love to see the expense of the Electoral College go to pay off our ever increasing national debt and I would love to see campaigns capped for expenses and free TV and radio ads for candidates on the public airways. I would like to see a vote total that counted and a reason for all candidates to work in all states to get the votes out. I like the word change, but make it worth something, not just a political word used for expediency of your campaign while toting around lobbiest and cronies and collecting the cash.
My most recent "props" go out to Laura Bush, who correctly answered and defended Michelle Obama about her "proud for the first time in my life comment" Mrs. Bush actually thought the press and the public should back off....if politicians and those campaigning can not mispeak or say something off the cuff.... we will have a very dull "sound bite" type of campaign. Mrs. Obama did not deserve the grief and the educated public certainly did accept her explanation. It was only on the "fair and balanced" network - which in itself is such a laugh - that it kept living much longer than it deserved. Mrs. Obama said it, she explained it and that was that. Cindy McCain, the multi-million dollar "Beer Queen" of Arizona brought it up again. She better watch out because what goes around comes around. You can bet that there are many out there watching her every word and past words to catch her with something.... oh and they will.
So we end up with two qualified candidates, we have the debate over the summer, the conventions in August, the commercials in the fall and then the election. Let's just remember, it is important. It should be treated with respect. It should not become the news reporters that are making the news. Oh and the "fair and balanced" network should take a lesson on truth in advertising. Then we truly would have a wonderful election.....Don't forget to vote (especially if your state is deemed purple).
Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 12:18 pm
And so it goes....Finally, last night after 18 grueling months of campaigning and 5 1/2 months of voting and caucusing, we now have our two Presidential Candidates. Whew....there has got to be a better way to select the contenders for this office. I am all for democracy and the people in each party choosing, but does it have to cost hundreds of millions of dollars? In some states the costs for campaigning for the Primary Election were more than what was spent in the last General Election in each state. I think we need a change.....
Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are wonderful candidates and they both rose to the top like cream in a butter churn....but can't the process be streamlined and fine tuned so that there are more Super Tuesdays and more primaries closer together? Let's make every Tuesday in January and February a Super Tuesday.
Here is my idea. If your state touches the Pacific you vote on one Tuesday. If your state was in the original 13 Colonies you vote another Tuesday. If your state borders the Gulf of Mexico and does not begin with the letter T you vote on another Tuesday. If your state has any part of the Rocky Mountains in it you vote on another Tuesday. If your state is in the center of the country and you are going to vote for the Republican anyway is another Tuesday. If your state touches the Mississippi River and is not part of another group is another Tuesday. If your state touches the Great Lakes and is not part of another group you vote on yet another Tuesday and last but not least, if you live in a state that begins with T and has a capital named Austin you vote when you damn well please. We won't count it anyway because that is the price you pay for sending us George Bush II.
There you have it. In seven weeks we could get the decision done, our candidates will be picked and we can get on with the campaign for the fall. So right around Valentines Day we are finished and the national pundits can discuss it and poll it and dissect it and re-poll it until the cows come home. I like this idea. I also think that right after the grueling 7 week Primary Season is over, we force the two left standing to go on a 7 week vacation paid for by the taxpayers. It would be worth it to send them away. We would not see them, hear them or even think of them until sometime after Easter. The peace and quiet and interviewless news days would be a breath of fresh air. This only leaves about 7 months for the barage of messages, lies, inuendos and false-fact "nonpolitical party" based advertisments. We also should allow the candidates only so much per diem to campaign. I'm thinking like $75. That should cover two meals and some mileage reimbursement (If gas goes up over $5 a gallon my idea would be to increase it to $80 a day).
So that is the plan...Pure and simple. Stop the insanity. Lose the endless commercials and news stories. Make the politcal pundits look for jobs elsewhere, after all they only speculate and are never right (Remember McCain was all washed up and Hillary was a sure thing??????) Make the candidates drive from town to town and eat at McDonald's or Burger King in thier 1996 Ford Fiestas. It would save us a ton of headaches, make our lives more enjoyable and make them at least understand a budget.
And so it goes....phase one is over, phase two begins and phase three........well, I think I will nap until phase five. That way I will not be upset over all the excessive spending while there are so many people in need. I won't see the false promises and nasty commercials. I won't be thinking about puppet masters like Dick "Mr. Shotgun" Cheney, that will lead the candidates down the path of "political correctness". I will wake up on November 1st, listen to the two left standing and make a choice. Until then, maybe Cindy McCain will release her millions of dollars tax records and Hillary will send Bill back to Harlem to his office and Barack and Michele can pick a church with a sane leader. Oh and maybe by then the Fundamentalist Christians will start to understand the whole separate church and state idea and start acting like Christians. Well a man can wish, can't he??????
And so it goes........
Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 11:15 am
Well we are off....seems like only yesterday when I was taking down the remnants of forgotten Christmas lights left on trees outside and now it is the official first weekend of the 'summer season". I spent a good time this morning working and preparing and packing to go off to our summer place....a small, modest camp near Warsaw. It seemed like I was packing more than usual. Could be because I need heavy, warm things in my travel sack....not the usual shorts and sandles. Let's see....if it gets down to 40 again tonight....How many pairs of socks will I need? All this and I LIKE camping.
I do admit that camping now is not like it used to be. The kids and I would rough it with three tents...two people in each, and sleeping bags. I still would enjoy that type of camping but I am not sure that my back, bum leg and sciatica would appreciate it. So, we are more gentile now. We have our home away from home....of course complete with all the electronics, TV, furnace, hot water, microwave, CD/VCR player and lets not forget the "garden tub". I did say "NO" when it came time to pay for the Jacuzzi Tub. Seemed to be the height of decadence at the time and it would mean I would have to remove my fantastic skylight.... Now I am not so sure......hmmm?
So today I go off for the first of several family rendevous of the summer. Bag packed, extra socks, sweatshirts and long johns......not a swimsuit to be seen... and a car full of stuff that is good to eat as well as the much needed chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. I do intend on eating well and often this weekend. I will need the calories to combat the cold. The rest of the family will drift in over the next two days....a few today, a few more tomorrow....and finally....just when I have cleaned my last corner of the camper, put out all the camper stuff and planted the last annual flower they all will appear. Oh... let's not forget the cord of firewood I ordered that needs to be stacked.
I declare when all is said and done...I still love to camp in my own little corner of paradise....I just wish this year paradise was going to be a bit warmer. Oh and the next time Jacuzzi Tub is mentioned with its18 pulsating jets....Hit me on the head if I say "no thanks". It is the least you can do..... It wouldn't be camping without it.
Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.....and remember.....it is important to reflect on those that have sacrificed so that we can have what we have..... Give thanks to them all.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 12:18 pm
And so it begins and ends again. When you think of it that is what happens in our lives. Each and every day something begins, something else ends and we deal with more and more things that are in the middle. I sometimes wonder if my life was a book how I would create the chapters and exactly how many of them there are exactly.... who knows.
This week I started Directing and Producing the 2008 Summer Youth Theater Show - JESUS CHRIST, SUPERSTAR. It will be held this year at Batavia High School in August. This is a real treat for me because once upon a time, I was Jesus in Superstar and it was an amazing experience. My wife played Mary Magadeline in fact. Now it comes full circle. I am working with 70 plus young people to bring this classic to the stage. I find that all truly amazing. So that was this week's beginning.
The ending was the successful vote for the propositions and the City of Batavia School Budget. This was my friend Dick Stutzman's last budget, he retires in July. Dick and I have been through a ton of budgets and we were successful with most all. If the public knew all the work it took to put to together a $39 Million budget, you would understand. We have succeeded here because of the due dilligence of Dick Stutzman, first as our Assistant to the Business Administrator, then as the Business Administrator and finally as our Superintendent of Schools. Batavia City Schools have been so lucky to have this wonderful caring veteran working daily on the behalf of our students. One thing I can say about him is that he always participated, always was willing to learn and share and always worked hard for the children. He cared for this district. If you see him - pass along some thanks.
And now to the future. A little vacation the end of this month, the end of the long Primary Season that will bring us our nominees and more late nights and trips to the south of Warsaw to relax and have fun...doing summer stuff.....which reminds me.... The average temperature for the month of May is like 65..... Have we hit that yet....???? Who knows...that is probably in another chapter.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 11:42 am
Here is hoping that you all get out and support your school districts today. Across New York State it is School Voting Day with all district's putting up Board Members, Budgets and Projects for Voter Approval. I am looking forward to a very positive result. I am convinced that the people in Genesee County really do support the education of our children.
In Batavia, two incumbent Board of Education Members are up for Re-Election. Steve Hyde, who served one year on an unexpired term and Wayne Guenther who has served previously as well as the past three years, are both up for re-election. Both are wonderful members who deserve your support. They are thoughtful and they support kids. They are two very fine members of this wonderful City of Batavia Board of Education that proves time and time again that they support the best of educational programs for all of our children.
We also need to carry the 60% threshold on the Technology Project. This is on the ballot to enhance the District's current award winning technology program, increase security through technology and establish a wireless system that upgrades our current classroom capabilities. This project will be paid with sources of revenue other than current tax revenue and state aid. It also replaces the damaged work station at the Board of Education Office... with some help from our insurance company.
Also on the Ballot is the approval of the Student Representative on the Board of Education. This is an important part of our local Board of Education and we have had some wonderful representatives on our Board. It is my hope the Public will approve this once again.
Last but certainly not least is the budget which reduces the taxes by 2% and maintains and in some cases enhances current programming. I can tell you that it is a solid budget and well thought out. I think it once again is very progressive in nature and insures that our positive educational system is maintained. Your support is much appreciated.
Reminder that Pagent of Bands is this weekend in Batavia. What a wonderful program for our city and our students. Please also remember Ron Davies in your thoughts and prayers...what a wonderful teacher.... It saddens me to here of his passing as a result of a long fight with cancer. My heartfelt sympathy to his family and his life partner.
Monday, May 19, 2008 at 1:26 pm
Another quick reminder.....School Budget Votes and School Board Members Voting is tomorrow in the City of Batavia. Board Seats held by Wayne Guenther and Steve Hyde are up for Re-Election, there is no challengers. Steve and Wayne have both done the office of Board of Education Member proud. I hope the community comes out to support them.
We also have the budget, which cuts the current tax rate by 2% or more and allows for the expansion of curriculum and the continuance of our award winning technology programs. Batavia City School District is getting top grades for being one of the BEST SCHOOL DISTRICTS in Western New York. All of our buildings (BHS, BMS & 3 Elementaries) recieved passing grades of distinction from New York State. In short we are doing a fine job with the education process while realigning and reducing the tax burden on local residents and businesses.
Also on the ballot is the approval of the 5+ Million Technology Budget that will add to the Security of all buildings as well as update current technology to include wireless and other outlets. This will allow more students on computers at the same time and result in a better adaption of technology in the classroom. Now here is the glitch....this has to pass by New York State Law by 60%. I have no clue why Small City School Building Projects need the 60% threshold while others only need 1 vote more in favor...but the fact is, we do.
With all that being said....please come out and support the Batavia City School's Budget, its Board of Education Members and the Technology Project. It is the least we can do for our kids. We appreciate your support.
Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 10:26 am
Was wondering what everyone thought of the current situation with big oil and gas companies. I don't need to remind you that the price is going up every day. No stablization of price in sight. I LOVE the way everyone plays politics with the issue....gas tax caps, price caps...even Chrysler is willing to pay for the difference between the price of a gallon of gas and $2.99. That plan is flawed because it is based on a credit card offer and you bet Chrysler will make just as much off of charged interest to the consumer as they do in the discount...just another catch. Make hay when the sun shines and doesn't shine in this case......
It seems to me that the really simple way to deal with this is to allow discounts for new purchases and trades if a consumer goes to a higher gas mileage automobile. Energy savings in the form of tax breaks and incentives and grants have long been available for the home owner....why not the automobile owner. If you as a consumer trade in a vehicle that gets 15 miles per gallon for a vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon you should get a tax break or something. Isn't that simple....with the reduction of demand you would find a stablization of prices.... I guess...or maybe I am just being political. Usage and demand are the biggest problems. I bought a 38 mile per gallon car..... My problem is much smaller than the BIG SUV owner....who has no kids, but needs a BIG vehicle for some reason.
Then there is the all familiar forgiving public..... Where is our outrage? We have a President and Vice President that rake in more and more cash for when they are out of office each and every time the price goes up..... I bet Cindy McCain has a ton of money in oil and gas as well...why not... THOSE companies are posting HUGE profits while we make our way to our local Big Box or Discount Grocery Store to purchase what we can with what is left of our money. IT used to be prescription drugs that I worried about eating up my money during my retirement...now I wonder if it will be the price of gas for my car or home.
In talking with a young man the other day I found out that he pays approximately $20 a day in gas to work at a job where he is making $75 a day. After taxes and a $5 lunch....if he is lucky...he ends up netting $36.50 a day....Yikes and with that he has to pay rent, buy food, pay off extortionate Student Loans and maybe...just maybe go to a movie once in a while. His love life must be wonderful....when a romantic dinner is 11PM at Wendy's from the $1 Menu.
It just goes to show. Americans will adapt to anything. What I would like to see at least is that government take some responsible position instead of a political one....Maybe encourage smaller vehicles, maybe push for sensible alternative fuels and maybe just maybe solve the Middle East Problem. Isn't it amazing that Venezuelans pay the least for gas because thier consumers use thier product? We have the brightest minds to figure this out.....Why can't we learn to use our own resources??? Do we have to continue to consume the world's costly energy? Is there a better way???