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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Three-car accident reported on Main Road, Corfu

post by Howard B. Owens in accident, pembroke

A three-car accident with injuries has been reported in front of Kutter's Cheese, 857 Main Road, Corfu.

Mercy EMS and Pembroke Fire and Indian Falls Fire are being dispatched.

UPDATE 4:16 p.m.: One injury reported. Extrication required.


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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Local Democrats and Republicans open campaign headquarters in Downtown Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, politics

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The Democrats are in the mall, across from Sunny's, next to the north side entrance. The Republicans are at 5 Jackson St., Batavia.

Both campaign headquarters are decorated with candidate signs.

Chris Charvella announced on behalf of the Democrats that they will have a grand opening at 6:30 p.m., Thursday.

No word from the Republicans on their plans.

UPDATE: The GOP open house is now scheduled for 11 a.m., Saturday. Steven Hawley and Mike Ranzenhofer are expected to be on hand.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 11:40 am

Police Beat: Reports released of seven arrests at College Village

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, College Village, crime

Willie Lamar Ervin, 18, of Bonica Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawfully dealing with fireworks. Deputy Brian Thompson responded to a report of M88 type fireworks being set off in the parking lot of College Village at 3:15 a.m., Sunday. Ervin was issued an appearance ticket. Also charged was Jerrod Malcolm Scott, 18, of Ridgeway Avenue, Rochester, and Armekco Davante Austin, 18, of Terrace Park, Rochester.

Anthony Willie Wagner, 19, of Bruce Street, Syracuse, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Wagner was at 4:49 a.m., Sunday, following an investigation into a report of fireworks being set off in the College Village parking lot.

Clark Tyrell Canty, 20, of Lenox Street, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Canty was arrested by Deputy Brian Thompson at 11:12 p.m., Sept. 29, following a report of the strong odor of marijuana coming from a van parked in the parking lot of College Village.

Kimberly Ann Doyle, 20, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Doyle was stopped at 1:04 a.m., Sept. 30, by Deputy Brian Thompson at College Village after dropping off a resident there. Doyle was allegedly spotted with a banned person in her vehicle. Upon investigation, with the assistance of K-9 "Jay," Doyle was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Ashley Evette Mercado, 20, of Watson St., Batavia, is charged with trespass. Mercado was arrested at 1:04 a.m., Sept. 30, by Deputy Brian Thompson for allegedly entering College Village and remaining there in violation of an alleged ban on her presence at College Village.

Sharnice Shantell Gibson, 18, of Wood Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd. Gibson is accused of being on Walmart property at 11:04 p.m., July 23, in violation of a ban against her being on Walmart property. Gibson was issued an appearance ticket to be arraigned in Town of Batavia Court on Oct. 21.

Monday, October 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm

DSS chief briefs legislators on fraud investigations

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One thing you need to know about social services and fraud is that just because a person isn't living up to your standards doesn't mean that person is getting public assistance illegally.

The lady could be on her sixth boyfriend in 10 months. She could be pregnant with her seventh son. The man down the road could be a drunk or a pack rat. Both husband and wife could sit on the front porch all day smoking Senecas, or hit the corner deli every day to buy scratchers.

None of that constitutes evidence of fraud, according to Genesee County Social Services Commissioner Eileen Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick spoke with the Human Services Committee today after a legislator raised questions about how DSS handles fraud cases.

While it's the responsibility of all DSS staff members to be on the look out for evidence of fraud, the department employs two full-time fraud investigators (the second position was created in 2006).

And those two investigators are kept busy.

Every day, DSS accepts 16 new applications for public assistance, and every one of them is a potential fraud case.

Of course, of the thousands of cases DSS handles every year, only a relatively few ever reach the stage of an actual fraud investigation.

In 2008, the two investigators formally investigated 342 cases, and there were 582 investigations in 2009.

"When you think about the number of cases we handle in our department, when you think about the thousands of cases, the number of complaints we investigate are really minuscule compared to what we are really doing," Kirkpatrick said.

A fraud investigation can either begin with a complaint, or during the initial application process, Kirpatrick said.

During the interview process, DSS workers look for inconsistencies, using a standardized set of "red flags": Has the applicant recently moved into the county; no documentation; primary tenant with no utility bills; landlord does not verify household composition; or an invalid social security number, for example.

Tips might come from law enforcement, other social services departments, friends, neighbors or even current welfare recipients.

"Clients are famous for ratting on other clients," Kirkpatrick said. "It's usually in defense of their own status. 'If you think what I'm doing is bad, how about ...'" motioning as if pointing to another person.

The screening process generally catches people coming into the county just looking for an easy way to get on public assistance, she said.

"People don't find it that easy to just come in and get on assistance in our department," Kirkpatrick said. "If they need help, we're going to help them, but they're going to have to do what they need to do to complete the program."

Which usually means looking for work, getting job-placement assistance, applying for job training and working to get off of public aid.

Contrary to what some may think or wish, evidence of drug abuse doesn't disqualify a person for public assistance, but all applicants are screened for substance abuse. If abuse is suspected, the person is referred to GCASA.

From time to time, a person makes it through the screening process when they shouldn't -- or gets on public assistance and then later starts earning money not originally reported.

For example, a person might start a new business and not report the income.

It's amazing, Kirkpatrick said, what a good Google search might find about a person's attempts to earn disqualifying income. Investigators also check Facebook and Twitter.

And even comments left on The Batavian -- and there have been examples, Kirkpatrick told legislators, of DSS recipients leaving comments on The Batavian that have led to investigations.

One gentleman on assistance set up a web page for his home business, complete with numerous pictures of his work, and was earning a good living making an undisclosed item. When his entreprenuerism was discovered, DSS shut off his assistance.

When a suspected case of fraud is found, assistance is terminated, but recipients have a right to appeal. During the appeal process, payments continue.

While all tips are welcome -- Kirkpatrick reiterated near the end of the meeting -- that just because a woman's millionaire boyfriend moves in, doesn't mean she is no longer eligible for medicaid. That's not fraud, she said. She could even continue to get food stamps if the boyfriend swore he bought and cooked his own food.

It's also not fraud to fail to comply with DSS rules. Rules violations could jeopardize benefits, but is not considered fraud.

Fraud is an intentional attempt to obtain benefits to which the recipient is not entitled, Kirkpatrick said.

Monday, October 4, 2010 at 11:22 am

Police Beat: Two men arrested for allegedly fighting on Pringle Avenue

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, alexander, crime, pembroke

Tyrone N. Thigpen, 33, of 9 South Lyon St., Batavia, and Robert L. Williams Jr., 20, of 25 Harvester Ave., Batavia, are charged with disorderly conduct. Thigpen and Williams are accused of fighting on Pringle Avenue at 3:10 a.m., Saturday.

Paul D. Barth Jr., 19, of Cohocton Road, Pembroke, is charged with petit larceny. Barth is accused of stealing merchandise while employed at Kmart. The alleged thefts occurred between July through September.

Lynn Ann Hertweck, 42, of Reed Road, Churchville, is charged with a felony count of DWI, aggravated DWI (driving with a BAC of .18 or greater) and improper left turn. Hertweck was stopped in the area of 30 Hunter St., Bergen, at 1:54 a.m., Sunday, by Deputy Howard Carlson.

Richard J. Kubus, 30, of 25 Vine St., Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Kubus is accused of attempting to steal a grocery cart full of merchandise from Tops Market in Le Roy. The total value is reportedly $401.69.

Trevor D. Cliff, 19, of Avon, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, operating a motor vehicle without an inspection certificate and speeding. Cliff was stopped by State Police at 8:28 p.m., Saturday, on Townline Road in Alabama.

Donald I. Wagner, 61, of Pavilion, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to use designated lane. Wagner was stopped by State Police at 10:55 p.m. on Court Road, Covington.

A 17-year-old from Attica is accused of petit larceny from a location in Alexander. The youth was arrested by State Police at 1:39 p.m., Thursday. No further details released.

Follow up to an accident we reported Friday: Injured, Nikkolas M. Bruner, 52, of Basom.

Follow up to "wanted" post for Deborah Compton: Compton was taken into custody Saturday at her residence and released on $1,500 bail.

Monday, October 4, 2010 at 10:00 am

Update on three unsolved death cases in Genesee County

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

From the files of unsolved murders and mysterious deaths:

Bill Fickel, 2005: Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster believes he has a suspect, but needs more evidence to make a case. Brewster is looking for a second person he believes was outside Fickel's Oakfield home when Fickel was shot to death. Brewster's potential suspect is Steven Patrick Rebert, a former Oakfield resident who is a suspect in a double homicide in Pennsylvania. Brewster is hoping the second person will come forward and provide the additional information investigators may need to make the case.

"If we're going to get a conviction, we need more than a belief that this is the person who did it," Brewster said.

Kisha Sullivan, 2002: We spoke with Brewster about the Sullivan case in July, and Brewster said the eight-year-old cold case had recently become active He said there was a person identified who could be Sullivan's killer. Not much has changed since July. There is a man in Rochester that Brewster suspects killed Sullivan. He has reportedly told associates he did it, but nobody will come forward and help investigators put together a solid case. "Everybody is afraid of him," Brewster said. The Rochester police are aware of the suspect and the investigation and doing what they can to help.

Deborah Maniace, August 2010: Maniace's body was found next to the train tracks under the Route 33 bridge in Stafford. We asked Brewster about rumors that Maniace had information about meth dealing in Batavia and that this may be tied to her death. He laughed and said, "(Rumors) are just that." The rumors were checked out, Brewster said, and came to nothing. As recently as last week, investigators questioned Maniace's boyfriend, whom Brewster described as cooperative and somebody investigators are still looking at.

Monday, October 4, 2010 at 7:00 am

Today's Deals: The Daily Grind, Matty's, Settler's, Larry's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

The Daily Grind, 85 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: For Batavia's finest coffee, smoothies, as well as fast and convenient breakfasts and lunches, stop into The Daily Grind. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's is another Batavia favorite for pizza and wings. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

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

Larry's Steakhouse, 60 Main St., Batavia, NY: The name says it all -- Larry's is a great place for steak. Larry's has a fine dining atmosphere with a great menu and outstanding service. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

South Beach, 59 Main St., Batavia, NY: Try the new lunch buffet. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50 (must be used by Nov. 30, 2010).

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Main St. Pizza Company, 206 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Pizza, wings, subs and even hamburgers and hot dogs, Main St. Pizza makes everything deliciously. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.

SOLD OUT

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Photos: Notre Dame seniors final walk

post by Howard B. Owens in football, Notre Dame, sports

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Bare Antolos submitted these photos. Following Notre Dame's game against Elba/Byron-Bergen -- the final home game of the regular season -- the team's seniors walked their field one last time. For a bigger version of the top picture, click here.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Photos: Notre Dame has good showing at cross-country tournament

post by Howard B. Owens in Cross Country, Notre Dame, sports

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Article submitted by Eric Geitner, photos by Bare Antolos.

The Notre Dame Boys Cross-Country Team had an excellent showing at the 46th Annual McQuaid Invitational at Genesee Valley Park in Rochester.

The boys' finished the program's best ever placing at McQuaid taking 2nd, five points behind Campbell-Savona in the 36-team field of the Varsity A-3 race for Small Schools.

Leading the Irish was junior Andrew Fischer who placed 6th covering the course in 16:53, followed by sophomore Arron Carlson who placed 10th in 17:06.

ND's third man is sophomore rookie Jeffrey Antolos who placed 21st with 17:27. Senior Nick Flumerfeldt placed 33rd in 17:44 and junior Luke Calla rounded out the scoring five, placing 47th in 18:06. Matt Sausner ran to a 90th-place finish with 19:09.

The girls' team also had an impressive performance placing 7th in the 39-team field of the Varsity A-3 Race for Small Schools.

Junior Meghan Zickl led the Irish with her 37th place finish of 21:04. Freshman Bailee Welker followed close behind in 46th with a 21:19 and rookie eighth-grader Anna Warner finished in 48th with a 21:20. Senior Kristen Antolos was 74th in 22:30 and eighth-grader Rose Flumerfeldt rounded out the scoring five with a 23:29 that was good for 100th place. Eighth-grader Janelle Fancher ran a 24:22 that placed her 120th.

The Irish Boy's also had a team of five for the Varsity B race, in which senior Conlan Edwards led to a 59th-place finish with a 19:56, the first time the senior has broken 20:00 in Cross-Country.

Freshman Ryan Fuller covered the course in 20:19 for 94th place and Senior Tyler Pingrey finished right behind in 103rd in 20:27.

Senior Devin Sherman finished 168th in 21:26 and rookie junior Steven Cochrane was 234 in 23:04. The Varsity B team finished in 20th place in the 60-team field.

More pictures after the jump:

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Supporting the sponsors who support The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

When we were first launching The Batavian one of the ways we tried to get the word out about the new site was to take out ads in the Genesee County PennySaver.

The first time I met somebody who said, "Oh, yeah, I read about you in the paper."

I was like, "What?"  I knew the Batavia Daily News hadn't published anything about The Batavian.

It took three or four times of people telling me that they had read about The Batavian in "the paper" that what they meant was the PennySaver.

It's a common problem that broadcasters have long complained about -- exclusive ad campaign gets credited by viewers and listeners to "the paper."

Often when I'm out taking pictures, people who know very well who I am and all about The Batavian will tell their friends, "oh, your picture is going to be in the paper."

My general response is, "No, even better, The Batavian."

Once or twice a week I get phone calls from people who think they're calling the Batavia Daily News. During the Wendt trial somebody told me they recently had an argument with a neighbor who insisted that the Daily owns The Batavian. (For those who don't know, that's not true -- Billie and I own The Batavian and we have no affiliation whatsoever with the Daily News.)

The point of all this is, I know The Batavian's advertising is very effective. I hear from readers all the time about how much they like our ad layout and that they do support our advertisers. Further, from what I've been told, Wine Walk ticket sales skyrocketed as soon as the BID's ad went up on the site. And one advertiser told me recently that he got more calls in two weeks than he did in the previous years of advertising in print.

Billie and I appreciate your support of The Batavian but it's important to remember that, when you take advantage of the services of our sponsors, you tell them you saw their ad on "The Batavian."

And here's our thanks to our sponsors -- the list of the local businesses and organizations you should join us in supporting:

3 D Wine & Spirits
Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle
Alberty Drug Store
Alex's Place
Anglican Community Church
Baker's Frontier Kitchens
Barrett's Batavia Marine and Sporting Supplies
Beds 'n' Bones Pet Lodge
Beverly's Flowers
Blue Pearl Yoga
Bontrager's Auction
Bontrager's Real Estate
Carlson's Studio
CASA
Cedar St. Sales and Rentals
Center Street Smokehouse
Charles Men's Shop
Christiano Cellular
Classic Home Improvements
Crazy Cheap Cars
The Daily Grind
D&R Depot Restaurant
Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern
Empire Tractor
The Enchanted Florist
Fastec Automotive
Foxprowl Collectibles
Genesee Dental Group
Genesee Graphics
Gilmartin
Hair Studio 25
H.E. Turner & Co.
I.R. Systems
The Insurance Center
Jason the Juggler
J. Leonard McAndrew
John's Service Station
Ken Barrett
KleenAll
Kraving's Kafe
Lamb Family Medicine
Larry's Steakhouse
Lawley Genesee
Lawrence Sealers
Lewis and Lewis
Main St. Pizza Company
Making Memories of Travel
The Mane Attraction
Margarita's 
Mark Lewis Agency
Matteo & Mullen, CPA
Matty's Pizzeria
Max Pies
Michael Tomaszewski
Mobile Dog Grooming
Movies in Motion
Mr. Wine & Liquor
Next Level Fitness
O'Lacy's Irish Pub
Oliver's Candies
Optique
Pauly's Pizza
Pellegrino Auto Sales
Pheasants on the Flats
Photos by Roth
Present Tense Books
Pudgie's Lawn and Garden Center
P.W. Minor
Red Osier
Select Collision
Settler's
Sloat Tire
South Beach
South Main Country Store
St. Joseph's School
St. Paul's School
Stafford Trading Post
Southside Deli
Tender Loving Family Care
Terry Hills
T.F. Brown's
Topline Shirt Company
Valle Jewelers
West Main Wine & Spirits
WNY Blacktop Sealers
WNY Fireplace Outlet

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Research shows school consolidation has few benefits

post by Howard B. Owens in education

Given the interest in New York in consolidation of all sorts, this post from a newspaper website in Michican reveals some interesting findings:

Consolidation of school districts as a money savings strategy is not supported by the research, which concludes: consolidation will not reduce the costs for education, and it may very well have a negative impact on student performance.

And

... “a systematic review of evidence on school systems in Michigan demonstrates that larger school districts are no more efficient or effective than smaller districts” and further (as for) "the argument for economics of scale, there is very little evidence that larger educational units will achieve economics of scale in administration or operations.”

And

The study from the Mackinac Center (Coulson, 2007) indicated that “consolidating small districts could save $31 million while breaking up large districts could save $363 million." Another study in Michigan (LeTarte, 1992) revealed that there would be an increase in administrative costs, and there would be a significant increase in teacher costs due to a correlation between teacher salaries and district size, given that Michigan is a strong union state.

And

The study from Syracuse University (Duncomb & Yinger, 2001) noted some benefits to consolidation, but the disadvantages are more significant: higher transportation costs, negative labor relations effect, lower staff motivation, lower student motivation.

And

An Arizona study (Murray & Groen, 2004) summarizes that “contrary to expectations, research overwhelmingly shows smaller decentralized school districts have superior student achievement and efficiency” ...

Finally,

The American Legislative Council (2002) indicated that “on average, fewer students per school and fewer schools per district are associated with higher SAT, ACT, and NAEP scores.

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Photos: GoArt! presents annual community arts awards

post by Howard B. Owens in awards, GoArt!

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GoArt! presented seven recipients with community arts awards at its annual gala Saturday night at the Batavia Party House in Stafford.

Besides the awards, the event featured live music, a Chinese auction, raffle prizes -- including a $5,000 diamond and sapphire ring -- and a buffet dinner.

Community arts awards went to James Catino, Cobblestone Society Museum, Evelyn Lyman (pictures above), Rosaline "Roz" Hayes (posthumously) and Brad London, with special recognition awards going to the Genesee County Master Gardeners and Bob Terry (for details on the winners, click here).

More pictures after the jump:

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Photos: Downtown Wine Walk draws capacity crowd

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, photos

winewalk12.jpg

If a sellout isn't enough measure of success for the inaugural Taste of Fall Wine Walk in downtown Batavia, the obvious fun all the guests and business owners were having Saturday evening, certainly sealed the deal.

More pictures after the jump (you won't see a frown or a scowl in the bunch!):

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

Lancers' defense contains Notre Dame's ground game in 19-7 victory

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, byron, elba, football, sports

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Elba/Byron-Bergen's strong defensive line was able to bottle up the middle of the field against Fighting Irish on Saturday, containing Notre Dame's powerful running game and limiting the home team to 190 total yards.

Notre Dame's only score came at the end of the first half, when the Lancers botched a field goal attempt and senior Mike Pratt scooped up the loose ball and raced 75 yards for the touchdown.

The Lancers moved to 3-2 with the 19-7 win. The Irish are now also 3-2.

Dylan Bordonaro continued to set the pace for the Lancers, rushing for 162 yards on 25 carries and being a force on defense.

Bordonaro scored for the Lancers on runs of 16 and 27 yards. Elba/BB's other touchdown came on a six-yard pass from Eric Kowalik to Cameron Fonda.

Nate Jonathan had seven tackles for the lancers, plus two sacks and a forced fumble. Brandon Shuknecht notched 12 tackles and made a fumble recovery.

In other Genesee County football action Friday and Saturday:

  • Batavia traveled to Bath where the Blue Devils (1-4) lost 29-12. Ryan Pyatt carried the ball 13 times for 120 yards and Aaron Gugel completed 11 of 25 for 117 yards. Justin Washington scored on a 12-yard pass and Gugel scored on a one-yard run.
  • Pembroke (4-1) beat Oakfield-Alabama (0-5), 33-6 (coverage).
  • Attica (4-1) shut out Alexander (0-5), 38-0.
  • Le Roy (3-2) dropped Warsaw 48-0. Tommy McQuillen rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns.

With Holley's win over Baker, three teams in the Genesee Region, including Pembroke and Attica, now have identical 4-1 records.

This coming Friday and Saturday's games:  Batavia will be at home at 7 p.m., Friday, for seniors night against Bishop Kearney; Cal-Mum brings a 4-1 record into Le Roy at 7 p.m., Friday, for what is traditionally an exciting game against two big rivals; also on Friday at 7 is Notre Dame at Pembroke and Holley at Alexander. On Saturday, Oakfield-Alabama is at Elba/Byron-Bergen.

More pictures from Elba/BB vs. ND after the jump:

Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 9:31 am

Today's Deals: Carlson's, Pudgie's, Delavan's, Margarita's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

Reminder: If you've purchased a particular gift certificate in the past six months, you're not eligible to purchase the same gift certificate today.

Carlson's Studio, 39 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: Professional portraits mean business. Or preserve lasting memories of those special occasions. We have a $100 gift card for $50 (+$2 PayPal Service fee).

Pudgie's Lawn and Garden Center, 3646 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: Everything for autumn, lots of bulbs, seasonal decor, too, all beautiful and reasonably priced. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Delavan's Restaurant and Tavern, 107 Evans St., Batavia, NY: To me, Delavan's is one of those restaurants where you want to eat frequently until you try everything on the menu. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 15 Jackson St., Batavia, NY: When you're looking for an authentic Mexican meal, Margarita's is the place to go. The food and atmosphere are perfect and the service is always outstanding. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Oliver's Candies, 211 W. Main St., Batavia, NY. Oliver's, a Batavia landmark, offers the finest chocolate and confections in the area. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

Stafford Trading Post, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY: Lunch or dinner, Stafford Trading Post offers a variety of fresh, homemade meals, as well as snacks and drinks. Now in a new, expanded location. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia, NY: People come from all over the region for a fine dining experience at Alex's. It's best known for its ribs, of course, but Alex's seafood is also a favorite of the restaurant's diners. We have a $25 gift certificate for $12.50.

Center Street Smoke House, 20 Center St., Batavia, NY: Authentic Southern BBQ, from ribs to brisket with all the fixin's. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.

Carlson's Studio

Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 4:03 pm

A love for home, friends and nature leads to first novel for Jim Nigro

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, books, Jim Nigro, outdoors

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Jim Nigro didn't set out to be a writer. In fact, when he was a kid, he didn't even really like stringing words together.

But with his love of nature and a life path that put him in a position to try some new things, Nigro just sort of fell into telling stories about hunting, fishing and observing what he found around him out in the wild. As for writing, it turns out, he really loves it.

cov.jpgThe Batavian's outdoor columnist, in fact, has just published his second book -- a novel called "Tapestry: A Life Walk Among Friends."

The story revolves around two friends growing up in a small town much like Batavia, starting in the 1950s and going through the 1970s.

Nigro said though it's fiction and most characters are at best composites, about 90 percent of events in the book are drawn from his experiences or those of friends.

"Anybody who grew up here in the '50s, '60s or '70s will recognize their hometown," Nigro said.

Nigro's love of nature began when he was a small child visiting his aunt and uncle's house on Old Creek Road.

"I was knee-deep in mother nature at a very early age," Nigro said.

That love of nature and the friendships that grow from enjoying the outdoors together is the backdrop for Nigro's story.

Regular readers are aware of Nigro's outdoor adventures, which has taken him to various parts of the United States, including Alaska and such exotic locales as the Bahamas and the Sea of Abaco.

Along the way, the 60-year-old Nigro said, he's made some good friends and like anyone in life, had some rough patches.

nigro_shark.jpgIn 1968, Nigro was about to embark on a military career -- all he needed to do was sign the contract -- but one afternoon, just after he had bought a sausage at the St. Joe's Lawn Fete, Nigro spotted a young woman walking by. Nigro dropped the sandwich right in the trash and walked home. He told his mother he was abandoning his military plans and going back to school.

That young lady was Claudia. They married in 1971 and have been together ever since.

After getting married, Jim got a chance to get a good-paying job in construction, so he wound up in that trade for about 20 years. Then he was offered a job -- through a connection of his father's -- at the Meadowlands, so he moved his family to New Jersey.

While Jim said he made some good friends there, it wasn't necessarily a good time.

"Ten years of staring at the New York City skyline, I grew to appreciate where I came from," Nigro said. "I was really homesick. I missed the little simple things like a ride from here to Elba or from here to Oakfield and all of those wide-open spaces."

The Nigros came home and Jim went to work at the Trojan factory and was there until it was sold to foreign investors and closed.

After that, Nigro decided to take advantage of a government program for retraining and returned to Genesee Community College to get a degree in commercial art.

After graduating, he had some scholarship offers, but not enough to pay for him to get a higher degree, so he had to go back to work and wound up in the landscape business, which he really enjoyed for about eight years.

Nigro started his writing career almost by accident. During his first year at Trojan, the Batavia Daily News was advertising for a part-time sportswriter and Jim applied. He didn't get the job because he didn't yet have a degree. The sports editor at the time figured maybe the job should go to somebody with a degree who didn't have a job.

A couple of years later, that editor was in JC Penney buying an engagement ring and Claudia mentioned that he knew her husband. They struck up a conversation and that led to Jim and the editor getting back in touch.

The editor wanted somebody to write a series of five outdoors articles.

That series became eight years of outdoors writing for the Daily. It also became fodder for Nigro's first book, "Dear Sam: Remembrances for My Grandson," a collection of true outdoor adventures and lessons Nigro wanted to share with his first grandson.

Ater the eight-year writing stint, Nigro and the Daily parted company and he came to really miss writing those columns. When The Batavian came along, Claudia contacted the online-only news site to see if there would be space for an outdoor column. Of course there would.

About this time, Jim decided that he really needed to write this novel, but he couldn't get it done while working full time. He and Claudia talked it over and decided they could get by if he quit his landscaping job to write.

"We decided to trust God," Nigro said, who with Claudia had by this time raised a son and a daughter (they now have four grandchildren).

And it's worked out fine, Jim said. And he got his book done.

Besides writing the book, Jim also drew many of the illustrations (there's also two photographs and one drawing by Claudia).

The book release party will be at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, at GoArt!, located at Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St., Batavia. The first copies of the book will be available and Jim will be there to sign personalized copies.

Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Photos: Batavia High girls volleyball

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, volleyball

batgirlsvb13a.jpg

In our pursuit of covering a wide variety of local high school sports, we took in a Batavia High girls volleyball game on Friday.

The Blue Devils (3-6) dropped the match to Brighton 25-23, 25-22, 25-23.

More photos after the jump:

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