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Howard B. Owens's blog

Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

Batavia can't overcome rash of red zone turnovers in Class B regional championship game

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

Six times during Saturday afternoon's regional championship match at Buffalo's All High Stadium the Blue Devils were on the brink of putting six on the scoreboard, and six times Batavia let the opportunity slip away.

The blown opportunities alone represent more points than Cheektowaga managed on their own in the Class B matchup.

"You can't win football games when you do that," Head Coach Brennan Briggs said after the 35-16 loss.

In five of the six times the Blue Devils reached the red zone but failed to score, Cheektowaga got the ball back on turnovers.

"It's disappointing turning the ball over so many times, but that's the game of football, Briggs said.

The other time Batavia came up short -- literally came up short -- was in the closing seconds of the half when Batavia had the ball inside the five with 1st and goal to go.

When fourth down rolled around and less than 10 seconds on the clock, the ball was two inches from the goal line. A Cheektowaga off sides put the ball on the one-inch line.

Batavia couldn't punch it in.

A score there would have made it 21-21 at the half.

Batavia's game plan called for the offensive to use the ground game, grind up precious minutes off the clock and keep Cheetowaga's quick-strike offense off the field as much as possible.

The fewer times the Warriors' Marshawn Gibson touches the ball, the better for any opponent.

Even though Gibson still carried the ball 12 times for 146 yards, plus an 81-yard reception, for four touchdowns, that part of the game plan worked.

On the first drive, Batavia learned that what film study revealed was true: Give the ball to Dominick Mogavero and let him chew up yards and the clock.

Time of possession tilted heavily in Batavia's favor, 33 minutes to 15 minutes, and Mogavero carried the ball 32 times for 160 yards.

"I feel a little bad for Anthony Gallo because he's such a good back, but our style of what we were doing, grinding it out, we saw how well that can work on that first drive, so we stuck with Dom because he's got a little bit more to him," Briggs said. "He just did a great job offensively and defensively."

Batavia made it look easy on the first drive of the game, scoring on a six-yard pass from Greg Mruczek to Gallo, but Cheektowaga struck quickly on its own first drive, as Gibson streaked 74 yards for a touchdown.

With the score 14-7, Briggs once again made a gutsy fourth-down play call. This time, a lateral to Trevor Sherwood who threw the ball cross field to a wide open Ryan Hogan for a 32-yard TD.

Then the wheels started to come off. A fumble, an interception, the failed goal line opportunity, and more fumbles and another interception in the second half just put Batavia in too deep of a hole.

Still, 2014 was an amazing season for the Batavia Devils, going 6-1 in the regular season and winning the program's first Section V title since 1991. The loss doesn't diminish a turnaround season.

"It still hasn't sunk in yet," Briggs said after the game. "We're very disappointed in the loss. We were hoping to keep moving on, but a Class B section V title is something for Batavia to be proud of and I think we can build off of this and do a lot of great things after this."

Mruczek, Gallo, Mogavero, along with Trevor Sherwood, Malachi Chenault, Noah Dobbertin and Danny Williams will all be back next year.

That's the core of any potential winning team right there, plus there are players in the pipeline, either from JV or varsity, ready to contribute.

"This (season) helped the underclassmen of Batavia football realize how important it is to be there in the off season," Briggs said. "Maybe we will get a little bit more commitment this off season from a kid who doesn't want to be there. We have a very good nucleus of kids coming back and I can't wait to get them going."

Top Photo: Gallo with the first score of the game.

Cheektowaga's Hakiem Black with a TD reception in the third quarter.

Dom Mogavero

Mruczek hands off to Mogavero.

Mogavero looks for a hole with Cheektowaga's Dylan Romanczak in pursuit.

Gunner Rapone wraps up Gibson in the backfield in the fourth quarter for one of the star back's rare loss of yardage runs.

Sherwood alone on the bench with his thoughts in the closing minute of Batavia's 35-16 loss to Cheektowaga.

Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 10:01 am

Maple Grove proves too fast for Le Roy in Class C regional championship

post by Howard B. Owens in football, high school sports, Le Roy, sports

It was one of those days for the Le Roy Oatkan Knights. One of those days when nothing goes right.

It didn't go right on the opening kick off, which Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake's Mitch Padilla returned the ball some 80 yards to set up his team's first play from scrimmage on the Knight's two-yard line.

It didn't go right every time Le Roy had the ball. Not a single drive advanced further than the Dragons' 35 yard line.

For the first time all year, the Knights, who came into the game undefeated and the state's top ranked team in Class C, failed to score. 

As a coach said after the game, "we got beat by a better team. There's no shame in that."

Head Coach Brian Moran conceded his squad just couldn't match up against Maple Grove's speed.

The speed put defensive players in the Knights' backfield to stymie runs and pressure QB Mike McMullen. The speed opened holes for the fast and elusive Ryan Miller, who carried the ball 23 times for 208 yards and four touchdowns.

"That's one of the best Class C teams I've seen in 26 years," Moran said. "They deserve a lot of credit, their coaching staff and their kids, and I wish them all the best."

There was some hope that this talented Le Roy football team could have been the fourth team coached by Moran to reach the state finals, but it's never easy to win games in the post season. The level of competition gets better every week and you don't know how you match up until you play the games.

Moran finishes a 203-win career with a loss, but that isn't what was on his mind during the post game interview.

"I'll think what a pleasure it is to work with the kids," Moran said after being asked to reflect on his time as Le Roy's head coach. "We talk about it all the time, the wins and losses and the sectional titles, but the thing I'll miss the most is the kids."

There were clearly tears welling up behind Moran's Ray Ban sunglasses as he spoke.

Le Roy gained only 95 yards total offense, with 75 through the air as McMullen went 10-26 passing.

Most of McMullen's completions came on swing passes and short routes. The Dragons' defense simply gave him no time to get the ball down field accurately and speedy receiver Ryan McQuillen was double-teamed all afternoon.

"We knew coming in, watching the films, they were going to do that," Moran said.v"We tried to prepare for it, but to be honest with you, we couldn't match up in our preparation with the speed off the corners and their outside linebackers."

Le Roy was held to 20 yards on the ground, with Tom Kelso rushing for 19 on 10 carries.

Maple Grove's attack was entirely ground based. The Dragons' had 371 yards total offense. There wasn't a single yard of offense gained through the air.

The Dragons' advance to the state championship semi-finals with an 11-0 record.

"I'd be surprised to see anybody step up to the speed that they have in the rest of the state," Moran said.

Previously: For Brian Moran, the wins are nice, but boys becoming men is the bigger reward

Top Photo: A.J. Hulton hands off to Ryan Miller and Mitch Padilla runs along side to help disguise the direction of the run play.

Tom Kelso dragged down in the open field after a pass reception.

A Le Roy player with positive yardage late in the game. The ball was marked two yards behind where he's about to go out of bounds.

Mike McMullen pressured during a pass play.

Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Blue Devils drop regional game

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, high school spprts, sports

Batavia fell to Cheektowaga in the Class B regional championship game at All High Stadium in Buffalo on Saturday 35-18.  

Five red zone turn overs and an inability to punch the ball in from less than a yard out in the closing seconds of the first half doomed the Blue Devils. 

more coverage later. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 9:57 am

Law and Order: Alabama woman accused of threatening neighbor with a rake

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, crime, Le Roy, Oakfield

Lee Ann Mullen, 54, of Alabama, is charged with menacing, 2nd, and trespassing. Mullen was arrested earlier this week by State Police for allegedly threatening a neighbor with a metal rake while the neighbor was walking her dog on her own property. Mullen was jailed on $5,000 bail.

Ronnie J. Sumeriski II, 32, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and uninspected motor vehicle. Sumeriski was stopped at 1:35 a.m. Friday on Main Street, Attica, by an Attica police officer after the officer observed an alleged expired inspection sticker.

A 16-year-old resident of Batavia is charged with menacing, 2nd, and criminal possession of a weapon. The youth was allegedly involved in a disturbance at 5:57 p.m. Monday on Central Avenue where he had a knife and was waving it around, threatening individuals. Batavia PD withheld the name of the youth from the arrest report.

A 17-year-old resident of Batavia is charged with assault, 3rd, criminal mischief, and harassment, 2nd. The youth was allegedly involved in a disturbance at 5:57 p.m. Monday on Central Avenue. He allegedly struck another person and broke a necklace around the neck of the victim. He allegedly threatened to beat up another person. Batavia PD withheld the name of the youth from the arrest report.

Todd M. Holly, 49, of Lincoln Avenue, Le Roy, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st. Holly was allegedly involved in an incident on Soccio Street, Batavia, and in the process violated an order of protection.

Marcos A. Torres, 32, of Sunrise Parkway, Oakfield, is accused of violating an order of protection at 11:45 p.m. on Nov. 9. He was jailed on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond.

Joseph P. Pratt, 20, of Church Street, Le Roy, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Pratt allegedly allowed an unlicensed youth to drive his car. Pratt was jailed on $500 bail.

Andrea M. Gray, 36, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with conspiracy, 6th, falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement and offering a false instrument for filing. Gray was arrested following a reported incident on Mill Street at 1:47 a.m. on Nov. 9. No further details released.

Robert Vincent Campbell, 32, of Adams Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Campbell is accused of pushing another person several times in an attempt to engage that person in a fight. The alleged incident was reported at 6:45 p.m. Friday on Prestige Crossing, Batavia.

Lawrence Alan Fuchs, 65, unlisted address, is charged with violating sex offender registry law. Fuchs turned himself in on a warrant.

Thomas John Serra, 39, of Savage Road, Holland, is charged with criminal contempt, 1st, and harassment, 2nd. Serra allegedly struck a person protected by court order with an oil dipstick, causing injury. Serra was jailed on $5,000 cash bail.

Jamie Elizabeth DiLaura, 21, of Lincoln Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. DiLaura is accused of shoplifting at Target.

Friday, November 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm

As the Blue Devils advance in the post season, captains help lead the way

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, high school sports, sports

Coaches preach it all the time: Do your 1/11th.

There are 11 men on the field and to execute any play correctly, each player must do his part -- plant his feet right, push in the right direction, make the right cut, run the right route, make the right read, find his man.

Winning football is a matter of dedication, detail and focus.

But on any team, there are guys who do a little more than their 1/11th. They are the captains.

"As a coach, you want to have people in the locker room whom you can use as other coaches," said Brennan Briggs, head coach of the Batavia Blue Devils. "They let you know what's going on. You want that kind of relationship. They need to be those guys who have a sense of leadership and want to make the team theirs so they can self regulate what's going on on the field, in the locker room and in practices to help keep guys on task."

For the Blue Devils, selecting captains is a multilevel process. Team members vote who among their peers should be captain. The assistant coaches give Briggs their input, and then the final decision rests with Briggs.

The captains for the Blue Devils this year  -- the three guys who helped lead Batavia to its first sectional title in 23 years and will suit up in those roles again tomorrow in a game to qualify for state playoff rounds -- are Gunner Rapone (lower left in the photo), James Cryer and Devon Koepp.

Gunner Rapone
Senior, Offensive and Defensive Line
6'4", 260 pounds

Rapone is a staple of the program, Briggs said. He's come up through the ranks and grown and matured as a player each step along the way. 

"He's passionate about the game of football and the kids like him," Briggs said. "He's done a good job of stepping up in the leadership role."

Rapone was born and raised in Batavia. He said his father got him started in youth football and was pretty persistent in seeing he stuck with it.

He's grown to love the game.

Leading this team (Cryer and Koepp said much the same thing) hasn't been difficult. Everybody gets along pretty well and there is a focus and confidence that hasn't existed before.

"There is a family mentality with all the guys," Rapone said. "In the past, we haven't really had a tight-knit group of guys to work with, developing as a team. This year, everyone hangs out with everyone and everyone knows each other. It's like a home away from home."

Rapone said he's enjoyed being a captain.

"I really like being one of those people that others can look up to and look to for guidance," Rapone said. "I like to help others. Being a captain is amazing. It's a fun experience. It's an interesting time."

As for his future, there are some decisions to make. He's interested in criminal justice and law and he's set his sights on the University at Buffalo. He would love to play for the Bulls, but realizes Division I football is a high level to reach. While he's looking at other schools, he said he's not daunted by the task of trying to make the team.

"I don't want my career playing this amazing game to end," Rapone said. "Regardless, I'm willing to put in the time and the effort in all the things I need to do to be able to play."

James Cryer
Senior, Wide Receiver, Defensive End
5' 11", 160 pounds

Cryer is not necessarily the most athletic player on the field, and among the captains, he's not even the most vocal, but what he is is invaluable to a winning team.

Cryer leads by example and contributes by coming up with the big players, whether it's the game-opening touchdown catch or the drive-stopping interception.

"James is very, very coachable," Briggs said. "He does an awesome job. He's not the most talented, but he makes up for that with hard work and a willingness to learn. He's generally on the field both offensively and defensively. He's that guy who kids look up to because he gets the job done."

For his part, Cryer said that, yes, he's not vocal. There are different kinds of leadership he said, and he realized early on that he was named a captain because he could lead by example.

"At first, I was surprised (to be named a captain)," Cryer said. "Then I realized, as I thought about it more, he saw that leadership potential in me and that came more into play when I was named captain."

He said he enjoys the role.

"It means a lot to me that the guys trust me," Cryer said.

Born in Buffalo, Cryer also leans toward UB. He's also looking at Alfred State. He wants to learn computer programming and Web development. He also wants to keep playing football and hockey.

Devon Koepp
Senior, Offensive and Defensive Line
6'3" 265 pounds.

Koepp makes no bones about it. He loves football because he loves being the big man on the gridiron.

"I like hitting," Koepp said. "I love it. I've always loved hitting kids. It's a great feeling when you lay somebody out."

Reading that in print might leave the impression that Koepp is a Dick Butkus in the making, but even as he says that it is a great feeling to "lay somebody out," his demeanor is that of a well-mannered teen. 

He'll knock you down, extend a hand and help you up, and on the next snap, lay you out again, just because that's what linemen do.

"He uses his size and strength to his advantage," Briggs said.

Koepp started playing football at a young age, but soon became too big to play in the youth programs. He had to wait until seventh grade to play modified football.

This is his fourth varsity season.

"He brings that experience," Briggs said. "He knows what it's like to be a varsity player. He's a big strong kid and he can be intimidating. We have our goofballs on the team and he knows how to get them quiet, and gets them focused."

As a four-year varsity player, being part of the Blue Devils team that brought home the first sectional title since 1991 is certainly something special, Koepp said.

"It feels amazing," Koepp said. "It really is awesome. All the work all season paid off. We finally showed something, Batavia, our hometown, we finally showed that we can play and win."

Koepp is drawing the interest of universities in the region for both football and track and field, including St. John Fisher, Hobart and Utica, among others.

"It's really awesome to see all that stuff coming in the mail," Koepp said. "It is a great experience. I'm not sure where I'll go yet, but I'll figure it out."

Batavia (9-1) takes on Cheektowaga (9-1) at 3 p.m., tomorrow, at All High Stadium in Buffalo.

Le Roy (10-0), now the #1 ranked Class C team in the state, takes on Maple Grove (10-0) at noon at the same location.

The winners of each game advance to the state semi-finals.

Both games can be heard on WBTA, on WBTAi.com and on WBTA's smartphone apps.

The Batavian will also cover both games.

Friday, November 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Collins votes for Keystone pipeline

post by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27

Statement from Rep. Chris Collins:

“Achieving energy independence is vital for our nation’s economic growth and national security,” Congressman Collins said. “For the past six years, the President’s Administration has hidden behind political motives to delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. While the Obama Administration and Senate Democrats have delayed, the American people have missed out on the thousands of jobs and lower energy costs that would be created by approval of the pipeline.

“As November’s elections results prove, Americans want economic growth and jobs now, and House Republicans are taking a major step towards those goals. It is time for the President and Senate Democrats to put aside their punitive political agenda and harness our nation’s energy potential.”

Friday, November 14, 2014 at 11:20 am

Senior housing developer sues GCEDC over project rejection

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Calamar, GCEDC, housing, senior housing

A developer seeking to build a senior housing complex in Batavia has filed a lawsuit against the Genesee County Economic Development Center over the board's decision in July to block the project from receiving tax breaks.

The suit alleges that the GCEDC board's decision was "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, an abuse of discretion and affected by an error of law."

The suit calls for a court-ordered reversal of the decision to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and the proposed tax abatement. 

It doesn't ask the court to actually grant the tax breaks. Typically, the GCEDC board votes on whether to grant tax exemptions after a public hearing. Calamar is seeking to present its project to the public and give the public a chance to weigh in on whether it should receive more than $1.4 million in tax breaks for the project.

Calamar has a contract to purchase 33.4 acres at 3989 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. The development plans call for 110 middle-income apartment units rented exclusively to people 55 and older.

The developer, with offices in New York, Canada, Massachusetts and Nebraska, says it plans to invest more than $11 million in the project.

GCEDC's position is that the lawsuit is without merit. 

Here is a statement provided by Rachael J. Tabelski, marketing and communications director for GCEDC:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is in receipt of a notice of a file of claim against our organization by Calamar Enterprises as a result of a recent vote by the GCEDC board.

We believe the allegations in the claim are without merit and will be determined by the courts as such.

As this is a legal matter, the GCEDC will have no further comment.

The suit implies that Calamar was misled about GCEDC's willingness to support the project and that the board's decision went both against GCEDC's own policy and prior approvals for similar projects.

The project was first presented to the board by Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC, in February.  Masse said during the meeting, according to a quote in Calamar's petition, that he was looking for feedback from the board. 

Calamar said that GCEDC's attorney told the board that although the project wasn't manufacturing, "This project is authorized and allowable under IDA law."

At a March 6 meeting, CEO Steve Hyde reportedly informed the board that GCEDC had participated in housing projects previously, such as the Manor House and the Jerome Center.

The petition claims that Masse continued to work closely with Calamar officials on project plans and proposed tax incentives in the following months.

At a staff meeting in June, the petition states, Masse gave every indication the project would get a green light.

"At no time during this meeting did Mr. Masse state that the Agency had concerns about the Project or was unwilling to support the Project," the document states. "To the contrary, all statements made and actions taken by Mr. Masse indicated that the Project had the support of the GCEDC, justifying the significant investment of time and resources by Calamar."

The project was put before the board July 10 for approval of a public hearing.

The board voted to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and Calamar is accusing two board members of a conflict of interest on the project.

Pete Zeliff (mistakenly named "Paul" in the petition,) and Ray Cianfrini both spoke against tax breaks for the project and voted against setting a public hearing.

The conflict arises, according to Calamar, because Zeliff is building a single-family residential project on East Main Road, Batavia, and Cianfrini, also chair of the Genesee County Legislature, sometimes provides legal counsel to Zeliff.

"The agency's mission is to further the development of industries and create jobs and that housing should stand on its own," Calamar quotes Zeliff as saying.

Calamar claims to have been unaware of Zeliff's development interests at the time of the meeting.

To further emphasize the alleged conflict, Calamar quotes from a story published in The Batavian where Zeliff denies there is a conflict.

In that story, Zeliff noted that the two projects are completely different and do not overlap intended housing markets. Calamar is building apartments for seniors. Zeliff is building houses for families.

The petition states, "Zeliff also acknowledged that competition was an issue influencing his vote," and goes on to say that Zeliff voted against the project to protect his own Oakwood Estates development. 

The characterization of what Zeliff told The Batavian is misleading. Zeliff drew the distinction between his own project and said he didn't see Calamar's project as competitive with it, but noted that another senior housing project, Clinton Crossing, has proceeded without government aid and has a waiting list of residents trying to move in. He said the Calamar project, if it received assistance, would have an unfair, subsidized advantage over Clinton Crossing.

Zeliff does not have a financial interest in Clinton Crossing.

The suit also criticizes Zeliff and Cianfrini for misstating how many jobs the project would create. 

Rather than just two jobs, Calamar claims the project would add 4.5 full-time equivalent non-employee jobs (contractors) as well as dozens of construction jobs during the project development.

The rejection, the petition states, was taken "without any findings or reasoning," which Calamar claims is required if the board is going against either past practices or policy.

Calamar is also critical of GCEDC for having a vague Uniform Tax Exemption Policy (UTEP), and notes that the state's comptroller's office had the same criticism of GCEDC earlier this year.

"The Comptroller found that this failure to have formalized evaluation criteria resulted in an inconsistent approach by the Board and a lack of objective evaluation of proposed projects," the petition states.

Calamar claims to have received tax incentives for similar projects in Niagara County, Erie County, Stueben County and Auburn.

There is a great need in Genesee County for such a project, Calamar tells the court. According to the 2010 Census, 28.5 percent of the local population is 55 or older and 23.7 percent is 40 to 55.

The Genesee County Housing Focus Group's strategic plan states, according to Calamar, "senior apartment shortages have been noted as a major concern."

Calamar's project would be marketed to people 55 and older with an annual income of $35,000 to $45,000, and residents would only be those not receiving government housing assistance.

The 117,000-square-foot facility would offer one and two bedroom apartments with rents from $805 to $1,050 per month. There would be a full-time director on site, with events, educational seminars, meals, exercise instruction, home helpers, cleaning services, health system services and transportation offered.

The 33 acres of the proposed project is currently assessed at $166,400. The anticipated increase in assessed value is not stated, but the total value of the PILOT would be $854,580, with Calamar paying 20 percent of the taxes on the increase in assessed value in the first year. Calamar would pay an increasing share of taxes up to 100 percent by year 11.

Other proposed tax abatements are $454,744 on sales tax for materials and an exemption of the $120,000 mortgage tax on the purchase of the property.

The suit claims both Masse and GCEDC attorney Russ Gaenzle were shocked by the board's vote and exhibits include copies of their e-mails.

No hearing date has been set yet for the suit.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Accident with injuries reported on Route 77 at Thruway overpass

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported on Route 77 on the Thruway overpass, Pembroke.

Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments dispatched. Mercy EMS dispatched.

UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: Darien's ambulance, second ambulance in, requested.

UPDATE 6:36 p.m.: Darien now requested to stand by in quarters.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Driver of car involved in a pair of collisions arrested

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accidents, crime

A 23-year-old Elba man was taken into custody this afternoon following a pair of traffic collisions and a bit of a police pursuit from Bank Street to Main Street in front of Tim Horton's.

Joseph J. Zambito has been charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, according to Sgt. Dan Coffey, Batavia PD.

Sometime around 2:30 p.m. police received a report of a vehicle striking a car on Bank Street just within city limits. The vehicle was spotted on Bank Street, Coffey said, and officers attempted to make a traffic stop, but the car continued, turning right onto Main Street.

The vehicle struck another car west of Jefferson Avenue, Coffey said, and then patrol vehicles were able to box in the silver sedan and stop it in front of Tim Horton's.

Following a short investigation, the driver was taken into custody.

Zambito is also being charged with several traffic violations, Coffey said.

Reader submitted photos.

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Several car accidents reported on Lewiston Road on bridge over the Thruway

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accidents

Law enforcement is on scene at the Lewiston Road overpass over the Thruway for "numerous motor-vehicle accidents."

Town of Batavia Fire Police requested to the scene for traffic control.

No injuries reported.

UPDATE 5:55 p.m.: Southbound traffic is completely blocked.

UPDATE 6:07 p.m.: Town of Batavia Fire Police now requested to the Route 98 overpass to assist law enforcement.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Reminder: Shop local and support the businesses that support The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian

We've not done a post like this in a long time, but with the holidays coming on fast, it is important to remind readers of the importance of shopping locally as often as possible.

When you support the businesses that are owned by people in our local or regional community, you are helping to support your local community. As much of 70 percent of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the local community. That has a ripple effect of benefits locally, from employment to donations to local charities to more spending power for everyone.

At The Batavian, supporting local business and family owned business isn't something we do just once in a while as part of an advertising supplement. It's what we do every day. Our home page is a daily reminder to support local businesses.

Please remember not only to shop locally first, but please also be sure to frequent the sponsors of The Batavian and let them know you appreciate their support of independent local news.

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle
Alberty's Drug Store
Alli's Cones & Dogs
Allstate
American Home Remodeling
Barrett's Batavia Marine and Sporting Supplies
Batavia Country Club
Batavia Downs
Batavia Gold Rush
Batavia Improvement District
Batavia Redemption Center, Eastown Beverages
Batavia Tailors & Cleaners
Beds 'n' Bones Pet Lodge
Belhaven Kennels
Bill Fox and Son Construction & Remodeling
Blue Pearl Yoga
Bob Harris Realty - Robert J. Gerace
Bohn's Restaurant
Bontrager's Real Estate
Bourbon & Burger Co.
Brighton Securities
Bubba's Landscaping
Calling All Dogs
CB Beach Mortuary
Cedar St. Sales and Rentals
Center Street Smokehouse
Chesley's Auto
City Slickers
Classic Optical
Council Opticians
Crazy Cheap Cars
Dan's Tire
Darien Auto Parts
D&R Depot Restaurant
Deep Blue Pool & Spa
Delre's Greenhouse & Garden Center
Derrick Monument Company
Detail Shop (Pellegrino's)
Dougherty Heating Company, Inc.
D'Tangles
Empire Tractor
Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service, Inc.
Falleti Motors
Fastec Automotive
Ficarella's Pizzeria
First Choice Travel
Floral Fantasies
Foxprowl Collectibles
Frankly Design
Genesee County Emergency Services
Genesee Dental Group
Genesee Orthopaedics
Geer Farm Services
Gilmartin
GLOW Jobs
Godfrey's Pond
Greens of LeRoy
Hair Studio 25
Hardcor Audio
Harris Wilcox
House of Kolor
Haul-4-Less
H.E. Turner & Co.
High Voltage Tattoo
Humphrey's Electric & Security
Genesee Urgent Care
J. Leonard McAndrew

Jagged Edges Salon
Jay E. Potter & Sons
Jim Saraceni - Prime Lending
John's Service Station
Karen's Yarn Paper Scissors
Ken Barrett
KleenAll
Kreative Design Kitchen & Bath
Larry's Steakhouse
L&L Transmission, Inc.
L.C. Mosman
Lamb Family Medicine
Lambert's Design Jewelers
Le Roy Counseling
Le Roy Hearth & Home
Lucky Ducky Daycare
Main St. Pizza Company
Matteo & Mullen, CPA
Max Pies
Millennium Computer
My Saloon
Nature's Best Hydro-Garden Center
Next Level Fitness
O'Lacy's Irish Pub
Oakfield Fitness
Oliver's Candies
Optique
Parmenter Tire, Auto & Truck Services
Pellegrino Auto Sales
Pembroke Family Medicine
Precision Lawn Care
Pudgie's Lawn & Garden
R&D Outlet
RW Vapors
Radley's Auto Detailing
Ray Station Coal & Stoves
Reed Eye Associates
S.C.O.P.E. of Genesee County
Santino's Pizza
Scooter's Restaurant (Le Roy)
Select Collision
Settler's Restaurant
Sloat's Tire
Smokin' Eagle Brew & BBQ
Southside Deli
Spirits
Stella Collision
Sweet Ecstasy Bakery & Bistro
T.F. Brown's
The Finishing Line
The Insurance Center
The Mane Attraction
The Manor House
The Rack Shack
Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel
Trash Away
Turnbull Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
Valle Jewelers
Viking Valhalla/Rose Garden Bowl
Vinyl Sticks
WNY Fireplace Outlet
Watch Your Kitty
West Main Wine & Spirits
Western Regional Off Track
William Kent, Inc.
Woody's Deli
YWCA
Yasses Construction
Yngodess Shop
Yume Asian Bistro

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Local caterer now offering BBQ at Willow Bend every Wednesday evening

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Willow Bend Inn

In Western New York we love our BBQ, so it's not surprising that another Genesee County resident is finding his own success with slow-cooked ribs and his own sauce.

Mike Swiatowy has been running his own catering business for years. About five years ago, he added BBQ and this year, he said, the business has really taken off. So much that his wife, Kristi, gave up her hair and nail business that she's run for 25 years.

Three weeks ago, Swiatowy came into a new location for his ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chicken -- the Willow Bend Inn.

After serving wings and beef on weck at the Polish Falcon's Club for a few years, he wanted to expand and the partnership with the Willow Bend Inn has given him the venue to do that.

"It's worked out great," Swiatowy said. "I think it's a great atmosphere for BBQ."

We tried the ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket with beans, slaw and mac and cheese. We loved the meal. The meat is as it should be -- fall-off-the-bone tender, flavorful and moist. The sauce is both sweet and savory.

Swy's BBQ also offers chicken, pulled chicken, hickory-smoked chicken wings and traditional chicken wings.

There's also a full line of catering available. For more information, visit the Web site. Swy's is also available for fundraisers.

If you can't wait until Wednesday to try the BBQ at Willow Bend, Swy's is participating in the Holiday Festival on Saturday at Batavia High School from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm

ARC holds Chili & Chowder Fest this Saturday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee ARC

Press release:

More than 140 baskets are featured at the fourth Annual Genesee ARC Chili & Chowder Fest and Basket Raffle on Saturday (Nov. 15) at the Genesee ARC Community Center. 

The event begins at 10 a.m. and winners will be drawn starting at 1:30 p.m. Community members who already have Saturday plans, can get in on the fun because for a second year in a row the Center at 38 Woodrow Road will be open from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Friday for ticket-only sales. 

Event Chair Shelley Falitico said this was wildly popular last year.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to stop by after work and take a chance on some great baskets donated by ARC Staff, families and local businesses.” 

There is no separate admission charge. Ticket chances for regular baskets are $10 for 25 chances or $25 for 75 chances. Specialty baskets, valued at $50 or more, cost $10 for 15 chances. This year’s grand prize is a spectacular cleaning package, valued at $475, featuring a vacuum cleaner and a wheeled trash tote filled with of every type of cleaning supply imaginable. 

Tickets for the grand prize are $2 each; 3 for $5 or 8 chances for $10.

During the event on Saturday, there will be a variety of chili (red, white and vegetarian), Manhattan clam chowder and chicken noodle soup for sale along with grilled cheese sandwiches. A bake sale is also featured.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 12:23 pm

If needed, cold weather shelter available for the homeless

post by Howard B. Owens in homeless, Salvation Army

The Salvation Army and United Methodist Church are ready to provide shelter to those who need it in very cold weather, said Robert Kurtz, with the American Red Cross, yesterday following a meeting of homeless-aid advocates.

The Red Cross facility would house the men and the church would take in families.

The goal is to be ready to provide shelter when needed starting Dec. 1, but the real deadline is any night when the temperature drops as low as 10 degrees.

The coalition of church leaders, community activists and social service workers actually started meeting a year ago with the goal of ensuring there were services available for homeless people in Genesee County during cold weather.

There were originally more than 100 members, but the numbers dwindled and only recently the group has seen a resurgence in participation.  

Some of the newer members yesterday raised questions about the 10-degree threshold for opening shelters: Why can't something be done sooner with cold weather coming on fast? Why can't a permanent shelter be located immediately?

Mary Rice, with Pathstone, who was chairing the meeting, explained that the 10-degree standard was adopted because that's the standard in Rochester and Buffalo.

While Kurtz said in an emergency, shelter could be provided now, the coalition is still looking to raise funds for cots and other materials. 

The issue of a permanent shelter is far more complicated.

Rice said she's spoken with volunteers in Lockport who worked for two years before successfully opening a shelter there.

There are a number of tasks to completed before opening a permanent facility, from forming a board of directors and appointing a treasurer to finding a location and getting proper approvals, plus dealing with all the logistics involved in providing warm beds and meals to those in need.

The cost of the project would easily get into six figures.

After the meeting, some of the folks attending who have experience dealing with the economically insecure in Batavia suggested there aren't many people in need of shelter locally. On any given day, there are no more than five people Batavia without shelter at night, they say. Typically, those who face economic insecurity live within a network of people in similar circumstances. They will share shelter when available ("couch surfing" as it's called) and even share food stamps and other resources to support each other.

There have been times in recent years when shelters have been opened on cold winter nights in Batavia but nobody has shown up looking for a warm bed.

The meeting ended with some acrimony. A gentleman who identified himself as living in the camp previously covered by The Batavian didn't like the coverage. He didn't like the pictures being published. He didn't like some of the comments left on Facebook that were mean spirited toward whomever was living in the camp (the identity of occupants and location of the camp were not revealed). He was concerned his employer wouldn't like the coverage and the comments, though he admitted he hadn't talked with his employer about it. A couple of members of the coalition expressed their own displeasure with the coverage and a couple of members defended it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

Today's Poll: Should there be health warning labels on sugary drinks?

post by Howard B. Owens in polls

New York Post: Lawmaker proposes warning label on sugary drinks to fight obesity

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Photo: Tree removal on Jackson Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, trees

This fall, there have been a few big trees coming down on the Southside. Crews were on Jackson Street near Morton Avenue today taking down a pair of big trees.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Photo: City leaf pick-up

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

City crews were on South Main this afternoon picking up the fall leaves of residents. The city's leaf detail continues until Nov. 21. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm

A lot of cold, but not a lot of snow, predicted for Genesee County over the next week

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

We're at the start of a seven to 10 day blast of Arctic weather, according to various forecasts.

The forecast for Genesee County so far doesn't include much snow, but it's sounding a lot like January for the next week rather than mid-November.

There's a chance of snow showers tomorrow, especially in the morning, but there've been no weather alerts for Genesee County, unlike Wyoming County, which is under a lake effect snow advisory.

High temperatures are going to be in the mid to high 30s and dip into the low 20s if not teens at night.

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