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Howard B. Owens's blog

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 5:58 am

Deal of the Day: Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles Gift Certificate

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Deal of the Day

Today's Deal of the Day: A $25 gift certificate from Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle in Batavia. The Batavian's Good Deal Price: $12.50 -- HALF off!

The last time I was in Adam Miller, there was a nice croquet set for sale. With grass getting greener, croquet seems like a great idea for some family and friends fun this time of year.

The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value. Previous winners of this gift certificate are not eligible for this offer.

Rules: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

SOLD

Be sure to check out our online exclusive from Roxy's Music Store.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Upton Monument on a spring afternoon

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

vetsmemorial_batavia.jpg

During my walk around downtown this afternoon, I snapped this picture of the Upton monument, which has stood at Ellicott and Main since 1919.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Please support The Batavian, support our sponsors, support local businesses

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

Periodically, we make a post like this -- please support the sponsors of The Batavian. Without our sponsors, we cannot continue.

You'll also note, that our sponsors are locally owned businesses. When you shop or eat at a locally owned business rather than a Target/Wal-Mart or an Applebees, 47 cents on every dollar vs. 17 cents stays in the community. Local business owners also do more to support the community and are more responsive to community needs. And don't fall for the myth that the big chains are less expensive. It is rarely true.

Here is a list of our current sponsors:

If you're interested in becoming a sponsor of The Batavian, call me at 260-6970. Our goal is to help local businesses prosper.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm

County body meet minutes for April

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements

We've received draft minutes from the County Legislature and the Ways and Means Committee.  Below are links to PDFs of these documents.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm

City's denial of asphalt shingles for jail building could cost county $67,000

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, genesee county, ways and means

geneseejustice.jpgThe Genesee Justice/Jail building at 14 West Main Street needs a new roof, and it seems the County Legislature Ways & Means Committee is in a little tiff with the city over what kind of roofing material is permissible.

The county applied to the city's Historic Preservation Board to replace the current roof with asphalt shingles, but the request was denied, according to minutes from the April 15 Ways & Means Committee meeting minutes.

The lowest of five bids for the re-roofing project, at $197,000, proposed asphalt shingles. The next lowest bid, using synthetic slate is $67,000 higher.

Committee members question whether the city has the authority to declare a county building part of a preservation zone.

The minutes note that the preservation board approved the synthetic slate roof "reluctantly," without any detail on what that means.

A motion to approve the $264,000 bid from Grove Roofing Services was tabled after some discussion and the matter was referred to the county attorney for further review.

During the discussion, County Legislator Jay Grasso noted that both City Hall and the new county courthouse have asphalt roofs.

At about 1 p.m. today, we e-mailed City Manager Jason Molino for clarification of the city's position and have yet to receive a reply.

UPDATE: After this post, I e-mailed County Manager Jay Gsell to double check whether anything had changed since the April 15 Ways and Means meeting.  In response, he made these points:

  • City Hall was not directly part of process county pursued to get approval for roof replacement options other than new slate.
  • The Historic Preservation Board was called on because of requirements in city Code, but the new buildings (as mentioned above) do not fall under the board's jurisdiction, so it's not an accurate comparison.
  • Bids were solicited as required by state law and the roof of this building is complex both interms of removal and new systems/replacement and materials with a 50-year life expectancy (asphalt shingle is 25 years).

"Bottom line is that roof is over 100 years old," Gsell wrote. "It's in bad shape. This building is on Register of Historic Buildings and we intend to keep using for county functions for a long time, including our  back up emergency 911 center should 165 Park Road for some bizarre reason not be functional."

The Ways and Means Committee meets tomorrow at 4 p.m. and will revisit this issue.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 11:04 am

Deal of the Day: Blue Pearl Yoga

post by Howard B. Owens in Blue Pearl Yoga, Deal of the Day

Today's Deal of the Day: A $56 gift certificate from Blue Pearl Yoga in Batavia. The Batavian's Good Deal Price: $28 -- HALF off!

Blue Pearl is located in the Masonic Temple on Main Street. With a wide-open fourth-floor location for yoga classes, it provides a great setting for these classes.  The gift certificate provides 7 classes over a seven week session.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value. 

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.

SOLD

And take advantage of our  online exclusive offer from Roxy's Music.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 10:27 am

One of suspected 'swine flu' cases in Genesee County is not H1N1

post by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, Swine Flu

We just received this statement from Interim Public Health Director Randy Garney:

It has been reported to the Genesee County Health Department that 1 of the 2 "suspected H1N1 (Swine Flu) cases is NEGATIVE for H1N.  One suspect case is still pending.

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 10:54 pm

County Clerk and District Attorney begin campaigns for re-election

post by Howard B. Owens in Don Read, Lawrence Friedman

County Clerk Don Read and District Attorney Lawrence Friedman announced their campaigns for re-election Friday at Larry's Steakhouse.

Because of a prior commitment in Monroe County, I was unable to attend. 

Read sends along the following statement:

I would like to briefly say that I have been proud to serve the residents of our County for four terms as the County Clerk.  We have a fantastic staff who really knows what service to our residents constituents means and believes in what they are doing.  I still love the work, the challenges, and especially the people who we serve.  There are still several things that I had hoped to accomplish as County Clerk which are not complete.  I look forward to the opportunity to continue working to improve accessibility to the records, to preserving the older records for the historical heritage of our county, and to providing the best possible experience for our residents in handling their motor vehicle transactions, real estate recordings, passport applications, pistol permit records, etc. 

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 10:41 pm

County Clerk warns about deed scam

post by Howard B. Owens in Don Read, scams

County Clerk Don Read warns that companies are sending out mailers attempting to entice home owners into buying copies of their deeds at highly inflated prices.

While the price for a certified copy of a deed in Genesee County can run from $5 to $10, some companies are charging as much as $50 for the same document.

Here's Read's press release:

Genesee County Clerk Don Read advises property owners to beware of a spreading deed copy scam.  Property owners may receive a mail or e-mail solicitation offering to do the research and secure a certified copy of the deed to their real estate for a fee of $50 to $60.  One of the companies offering to do this is “New York Retrieval, Inc.” You can obtain that same certified copy from the County Clerk’s Office for $5 to $10 depending upon the length of the deed.  If you desire just a plain (uncertified copy) the fee will be between $2 and $5.  If you receive a solicitation such as this either notify the County Clerk or just discard it.  If you would like a copy of your deed, you can write, call or stop by the County Clerk’s Office.  It only takes a few minutes to obtain the copy. 

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Batavia's Charter Review Commission sends proposed changes to city attorney

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Charter Review Commission

The next revision of the Batavia city charter is heading to the attorney for review after the Charter Review Commission polished up its proposed changes tonight.

The last issue to get any discussion dealt with the definition of "affiliation" in the case a city council member resigned office mid-term -- if a council member was elected by a political party different from his or her affiliation at the time of resignation, which party should get to appoint the replacement.

By a 3-4 vote, the commission rejected a proposed change that would have defined according to which party gave the candidate the most votes.

Commission members who objected to the change said the current definition is clear, has worked for years, and less likely to subvert the will of the voters.

"We are trying to infer what voters want instead of keeping it black and white," said Matt Landers. "We're getting into a subjective area."

The issue was raised last month by Councilman Bill Cox, who was elected as a Republican on a Democratic line. He asked who would get to appoint his replacement if he resigned for any reason. Under the current charter, it seems, the Republicans would get to pick the new member.

After the city attorney finishes his review, the commission will meet to discuss any of his language changes and then set a public hearing for the revised charter in July. The vote will be in November.

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Station stop on any new rail line not likely to include Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, passenger rail

If a high speed rail system is built between Albany and Buffalo as part of President Obama's transportation stimulus package, don't expect a stop in Batavia, according to Tim Hens, county highway superintended.

"They won't stop for us now, so I can't image they will stop for us at double the speed," Hens said.

Hens said its his understanding that the high-speed line will only stop at major cities.

There hasn't been a rail stop in Batavia -- which was part of history when Lincoln's train stopped here -- in his lifetime, which means for at least 35 or 40 years, Hens said.

There currently is an Amtrak route that heads east from Buffalo and the trip to Albany can take seven hours or longer, Hens noted, with stops to yield right-of-way to cargo trains and whether being two factors that can increase the length of the trip.

"You can drive a car there in half the time," Hens said.

Hens advocates a new dedicated line for a high-speed rail, but that would entail a great deal more expense, including new passenger stations and switches. The only place to build a rail without acquiring new right-of-way is along the path of the Thruway, but the Thruway Authority, he noted, has it's own agenda, which includes collecting tolls from drivers who might opt for rail over car travel if it were available.

While a rail stop in Batavia could be beneficial to the city, Hens said, it's just too close to both Buffalo and Rochester to efficiently run a train between spots so close together.

"You would get up to speed about half way from Buffalo and need to slow down to stop in Batavia," he said.

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Student at Pembroke wonders if video should be disqualified from festival

post by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, schools

Derek Hagen submitted this video with the following message.

Okay I go to Pembroke Jr/Sr high school and me and my friends made a video entry to submit to the Digital Media Arts Festival and its run by BOCES and they had disqualified our video, only 16 days before the competition. I was just wondering if you could post the video and see if users agree or disagree that it should have been disqualified.

I immediately e-mailed Derek to find out why the video was disqualified. He has not responded.

This morning I spoke with Gary Mix, superintendent of the Pembroke Central School District. He wasn't aware of this particular video or why it was disqualified.

If you watch the video, you might pick up on three possible reasons: portrayal of a drunk student, the murder/suicide theme or the overall quality of the production.

Sharon Kaiser, coordinator, learning technologies at BOCES said she was aware of the video but didn't know it had been disqualified or why, she said. She said she wasn't handling that part of the festival.

Mix noted that Supreme Court cases have upheld a school's right to limit student expression in school sponsored activities. Reasons for limiting speech can include vulgarity, sexual innuendo and of course the school maintains an anti-alcohol and anti-drug stance.

"Over the years there has been a perception that students have unlimited free speech," Mix said, "but there are some constraints."

He added, "What I hope would not get lost in the discussion is that through the Media Arts Festival there is a tremendous opportunity to integrate across curriculum. We can include literature, social studies, arts and music and give students a chance to showcase their creativity. It's a tremendous opportunity for students."

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Deal of the Day: Batavia Downs Grandstand Bar & Grille

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, Deal of the Day

Today's Deal of the Day: A $25 gift certificate from Batavia Downs Grandstand Bar & Grille in Batavia. The Batavian's Good Deal Price: $12.50 -- HALF off!

Enjoy a great meal in one of Genesee County's favorite entertainment venues.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value. By law, gift certificates cannot be used for purchase of alcohol.

How to win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. to pick up the gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

SOLD

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.Don't forget about our online exclusive from Roxy's Music: A guitar and amp, a $450 value, available through The Batavian only for $295. Click Here.

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

Firefighters rescue ducklings caught in sewer

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

firefighters_ducks.jpg

Reader Holly Carney was on scene Sunday for a duck rescue. Carney tells us that a mother duck waited for help by a sewer where her ducklings had fallen. Firefighters, whom Carney calls "the true heroes of this town," arrived with nets to scoop out the babies. She says, " It was truly amazing.  They were so dedicated to the rescue of these animals.  Imagine how dedicated to our safety the are."

UPDATE: Holly just passed along this picture of the ducklings and momma.

ducklings.jpg

Monday, May 4, 2009 at 6:50 am

Police Beat: Charges of petty larceny, drinking, driving and disorderly conduct keep law enforcement busy over weekend

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Stafford

Andrew Hall-Jones, 56, of Stafford, is charged with petty larceny after allegedly stealing clothes from outside an apartment in Stafford. He is being held in Genesee County Jail on $500 bail.

Rachel A. Baehr, 22, of Elba is in jail on a bench warrant after she allegedly failed to appear in a previous child endangerment case. She is held on $500 bail. Baehr was also taken into custody Friday at 3:30 p.m. on a petty larceny charge. She is accused of attempting to steal three 12-ounce bottles of Corona beer from Kmart by concealing them in her purse.

Timothy J. Smith, 19, of Basom, is charged with unlawfully dealing with a child after allegedly hosting an under-age drinking party. The party was reportedly held Saturday night on Lewiston Road in Basom. Deputies say Smith allowed people under 21 to drink while attending the party. He was taken into custody early Sunday morning and issued an appearance ticket.

Anne Weremblewski, 54, of Batavia, is accused of using a kitchen knife to scratch a neighbor's car. She is charged with a felony count of criminal mischief. She was released on her own recognizance and ordered not to engage in offensive conduct.

Jason Cramer, 25, of Batavia, allegedly made an "unreasonable noise" inside his residence during a domestic dispute. This caused neighbors to call 911. He is charged with disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana. The incident occurred early Saturday morning.

Vincent T. Winterkorn, 50, of Rochester, was stopped for reportedly speeding along Route 33 in through Stafford on Friday at about 7 p.m. Upon further investigation, it was determined that he appeared intoxicated. He is charged with DWI with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving without a license and speeding.

Andrew J. Rock, 22, of Batavia, is charged with petty larceny. Rock is accused of attempting to shoplift two bottles of perfume from Target. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Robert Piechocki, 45, of Alexander is accused of slapping his wife during a domestic dispute. He is charged with menacing and harassment. He is held on $1,500 bail.

Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Video Tour of Godfrey's Pond

post by Howard B. Owens in Godfrey's Pond

I took a tour of Godfrey's Pond on Thursday. I shot this video while I was there. I also applied for membership.

Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 11:24 am

Buffalo Bills star, WNY congressman Jack Kemp passes at 73

post by Howard B. Owens in Jack Kemp

1967Kemp.jpgJack Kemp, who had an impact on Western New York as both one of its greatest football players and as a congressman died Saturday. He was 73.

Congressman Chris Lee (R-26) issued this statement today:

"I was saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Kemp, and I know the thoughts and prayers of all Western New Yorkers are with his loved ones at this difficult hour.

"Jack's standing as one of the great Buffalo Bills of all time is often mentioned after his work as a reformer and great statesman. That is a testament to his prolific accomplishments and the incredible legacy of service to our nation he leaves behind."

The thing I remember most about Jack Kemp is he's the star the San Diego Chargers let get away for a $100 waiver claim.

Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 10:10 am

Deal of the Day: Herbly Wonderful

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Deal of the Day, herbly wonderful

Today's Deal of the Day: A $25 gift certificate from Herbly Wonderful in Batavia. The Batavian's Good Deal Price: $12.50 -- HALF off!

Spring is finally here! The sure sign, Herbly Wonderful is open for the season Herbly Wonderful offers a variety of flowers, herbs and teas.  Herbly Wonderful is located at 3701 Pearl St.

Rules: The gift certificate must be used by within 30 days of purchase. It is not valid with other offers and has no cash value. 

How to Win: Purchase using the PayPal "Buy Now" button below. After the first person to hit the "buy now" button completes the purchase, PayPal will let you know that the item has been sold. Ideally, the winner will arrange to stop by my office on Main Street before 5:00 p.m. ON MONDAY to pick up gift certificate. Mail is an option, but it would be better to hand you the gift certificate. 

If you want to be notified via e-mail of future Deals of the Day, sign up for the Deals of the Day e-mail list by clicking here.

Merchants: If you would like your business featured in Deal of the Day, call Howard Owens at 260-6970.


SOLD

Don't forget about our online exclusive from Roxy's Music: A guitar and amp, a $450 value, available through The Batavian only for $295. Click Here.

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