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Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 7:11 am

Joe Mesi lands $70K job with State Senate

post by Howard B. Owens in Joe Mesi, politics, state senate

You all remember Joe Mesi: The former boxer who lost his bid for the 61st State Senate seat now held by Mike Ranzenhofer.

It turns out, he came out of the election OK, according to the Buffalo News.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is handing Mesi a new job for him that pays $70,000 a year and will provide Mesi with a staff of up to 10 people.

“It will serve as a liaison for the majority leader with the local community, working with local community groups,” Shafran said. “It’s another mechanism of community outreach to make sure we’re meeting the needs of the broader community.”

The spokesman for Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith of Queens said the office will serve a different function than a previous operation maintained by Senate Republicans when they held the majority. While the GOP version centered around communications, Shafran said Democrats plan to make it a more representative presence of the majority conference in the community.

Well good for Joe that he made some friends in Albany, but how necessary is it for the Senate Majority office to have a community outreach office in Buffalo? Aren't there already elected representatives there to handle constituent issues?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 6:51 am

Police Beat: Pot bust in Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, Oakfield

A sheriff's deputy says he saw a bong fly from the window of a vehicle on Route 63 in Oakfield on Monday evening.

In the vehicle, which was stopped for allegedly having improperly tinted windows, were a group of young people and reportedly three more partially burned marijuana cigarettes.

Two Alabama teenagers were charged with unlawful possession of marijuana: Joseph D. Bauer, 18, of Oakfield, and a 17-year-old from Oakfield.

A third person was identified as the young man who threw the item from the window, which deputies say was a marijuana pipe.  The third person was not charged with a crime, nor were two other passengers in the car.

The 17-year-old reportedly told deputies the marijuana cigarettes belonged to him.

The two teenagers charged were issued appearance tickets for Town of Oakfield Court.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Batavia council schedules public hearing on Masse Gateway Project

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Masse Gateway Project

More jobs and a bigger tax base were the selling points in Batavia's council chamber last night as City Manager Jason Molino pitched a proposed redevelopment plan for the Masse Gateway Project.

To get the project going, the city, and property owner Mancuso Business Development Group, could use an immediate cash infusion of $2.5 million from a state program known as RestoreNY.

The application deadline for the program is fast approaching and by a unanimous vote, the council approved a resolution to hold a public hearing on the proposal on April 22 at 5 p.m.

“The Masse Gateway Project does meet the criteria of the program and the city is going to be in a fairly strong position to score well on the application," consultant Stuart I. Brown told the council.

To score well, Molino and Brown told the council, it is necessary to provide a 26 percent local match, or about $650,000 above the requested grant amount. A mere 10 percent, or even 17 or 18 percent, might not cut it because Batavia doesn't qualify, under RestoreNY guidelines, as a distressed urban area.

The entire project is expected to cost $3.15 million, with the matching funds coming from in-kind services ($50,000 in staff time for inspections and simliar services), $400,000 in prior work and in-kind matches from Mancuso, and $200,000 from the city's revolving loan fund for small-business start-ups.

The BDC loan funds were an area of some concern because Mancuso is not expected to pay any of that money back to the fund, but Molino explained that under terms of original grant that created the fund, using the money for a job-growth project such as Masse is acceptable.

He also explained that currently the BDC has $400,000 cash available and $200,000 in outstanding loans, so the BDC board felt confident that there would be enough money left in the loan program to fund future small business start-ups.

This is the second time Batavia has applied for RestoreNY funds. The first application was rejected, Molino speculated, because the city asked for only a 10 percent match and the plan submitted was not comprehensive enough.

Stu Brown added that the 10 percent match included in the plan was largely for planning work aready done and not new development work, which may have been a problem.

“In my experience and after looking over the RestoreNY guidelines, it is my strong recommendation that the city over match the requirements," Brown said.

Architect Ed Smart also explained a bit about the anticipated development, saying that the key to making the entire Central Corridor Project (PDF) viable was improving the edges. The edge work, he said, would make the entire 27-acre area more attractive to developers, investors and businesses looking for new locations.

“Each of the proposed uses would be more job-growth intensive than the previous uses, Smart said, later adding:  “When the business incubator first started, there were businesses looking for 20,000 or 30,000 square feet of space, but today’s businesses want much smaller spaces.”

Some council members asked about the immediate potential for residential uses in the project (which is part of the larger Central Corridor Project), and Smart said residential really wasn't part of the plan right now out of concern there simply wouldn't be demand during this phase of development.

"Building 16 is really versatile and could serve as business lofts or residential lofts," Smart said. "But there is a lot (as in other development) that would have to happen around the building to make it an attractive place for residents to want to live there."

Previously: City may seek $2.5 million state grant to help with Masse Gateway Project

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Batavia council approves resolution to seek funding for additional police officer position

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, police

After some discussion of whether the City of Batavia should apply to hire one or two new police officers through a Federal grant program, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday night to seek funding for one position.

The new position, if the grant is approved, would create an entry-level police officer to participate in a community-oriented policing program, and it would replace a position eliminated in the 2008-2009 budget.

The funding comes from U.S. Governments COPS Hiring Recovery Program and covers the first three years of salary and benefits for a new hire.

According to City Manager Jason Molino, the grant cannot be used to replace a retiring officer or to hire a new detective. It can only be used to back fill a position previously eliminated.

Community-oriented policing is a program developed in New York City in 1990s, and used with some success in San Diego. It involves officers being more involved in the community, developing relationships with people in local neighborhoods to solve problems and prevent crimes.

Councilman Bob Bialkowski suggested the city apply for two such positions, and made a motion to amend the resolution, but most of the rest of the council disagreed and voted it down.

In arguing against the motion, Councilman Tim Buckley said, "Let's apply for this one and be happy we get it," stating a concern that applying for two when the city may only qualify for one could cause the entire application to be denied.

The subsequent motion supporting the original resolution for one position was approved unanimously.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Subscribe to E-mail Updates from The Batavian

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian

We're introducing e-mail updates to The Batavian.  These updates will allow you to get information e-mailed to you about new posts and our new Deals of the Day feature.

A good portion of The Batavian's audience visits the site at least daily, but for those who do not, we thought allowing people to subscribe to e-mail updates would help them keep abreast of news and information from the site.

  • News Updates: This will mostly be a daily e-mail, which I'll try to get out around 5 p.m. each week day, but in the event of an important breaking story, I may send out an e-mail when that story breaks.
  • Deals of the Day: You will receive an e-mail from this update list whenever we post a Deal of the Day.  This is a great way to quickly get notified when the deal is posted.

This lists are available to all registered users of The Batavian. You can access the lists any time from the "Mailing Lists register" link under "My Accounts" when you're logged in. If you're logged in now, you can get to the mailing lists page by clicking here.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Batavia will be included in Time-Warner's planned tier-pricing rollout

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, broadband, Time Warner Cable

For any Batavians who thought maybe Time-Warner Cable wouldn't test its new tiered broadband pricing plan in Genesee County, we have some bad news. We just received this message from Lara Pritchard, public affairs manager for Time Warner Cable, WNY Division:

Our trial for monitoring internet usage will rollout across our entire Rochester footprint. Batavia customers will also be enrolled to work with us and provide feedback on their usage /plans.

For those who haven't heard, TW is planning to switch Rochester-area customers from a flat-price service for broadband (cable modem, in this case) Internet service to one which offers different pricing plans, based on anticipated usage. Heavier users would be faced with potential monthly overage charges, or plan on spending up to $150 per month for unlimited usage.

WHAM 13 explains the tiered plan here:

The "trial" is expected to begin in August.

For it's part, this is what TW says about the need for the pricing scheme:

Time Warner Cable said that steady increase in use, along with massive bandwidth consumption by a small percentage of customers, is the reason it's testing the new pricing policy. The company said it needs to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

Commenting on the criticism of the plan, company spokesman Alex Dudley said, "Customer feedback is a critical part of the trial."

But not so fast. As others have noted, there isn't really a cost justification for TW's plan.

Ars Technica:

Britt's rationale for the change—infrastructure is expensive—is tough to understand. Cable's physical plant has been in the ground for years; even hybrid fiber-coax systems have been widely deployed for some time. Internet access simply runs across the existing network, and one of cable's big advantages over DSL is that speeds can be upgraded cheaply by swapping in new DOCSIS headend gear, with DOCSIS 3.0 the current standard. Compared to what Verizon is doing with fiber and AT&T with its quasi-fiber U-Verse, cable Internet is a bargain (well, for the operators).

But perhaps consumers are insatiable bandwidth hounds who are simply overloading TWC's system—or perhaps not. The BusinessWeek article notes that only 14 percent of users in TWC's trial city of Beaumont, Texas even exceeded their caps at all. My own recent conversations with other major ISPs suggest that the average broadband user only pulls down 2-6GB of data per month as it is.

A site called Stop the Cap dug through some of TW's communications for shareholders and found that TW is telling its investors its costs are actually decreasing. (via Fighting 29th)

High-speed data costs decreased for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2008 primarily due to a decrease in per-subscriber connectivity costs, partially offset by subscriber growth.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Batavia teenager charged with rape

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A Batavia teen has been charged with rape in the first degree, according to a report by Batavia Police.

Oliver Thomas, 17, is accused of forcibly raping a 15-year-old girl at his home on Feb. 16.

Thomas, who was taken into custody at 9:15 a.m. today,  was jailed without bail.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Tops shoplifter at large, search ongoing

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Sheriff's deputies are searching the area around Tops on West Main after a suspected shoplifter allegedly fled the area. The suspect was last scene scaling a fence near the store. 

The suspect is believed to be a thin, tall black male, possibly wearing a checkered jacket or vest. Police declined to provide any further description at this time.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Old Bethany Town Hall scheduled for new roof so it can put 'to good use'

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany

Top of the agenda for the Town of Bethany's Board meeting tonight is the status of the Old Town Hall, which will be the site of a slide-show history of Bethany next Sunday, and is scheduled to get a new room.

The roof is being paid for by a grant secured by former State Senator Mary Lou Rath.

"We have to do take care of it this spring or early summer, because the thing is about 25 years old," said Town Council member William Gick.

The building, built in 1832, was originally a church and later a lodge, a grange, a town hall, then put to some other uses, according to Gick, and then a town hall again until 2007, when town staff moved into the new town hall.

After the new roof is in place, a portion of the building will serve as headquarters for the town historian. There are already some artifacts stored there, Gick said.

"And we'll try to make a serious effot to find a buyer for the building, or lease it, or otherwise put it to good use," Gick said. "It shouldn't just sit there. It should be put to get use."

Gick also encourages local residents to come out to the Old Town Hall Sunday at 2 p.m. for a visual tour of the town's history.

The Council meets tonight in the new Town Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 9:51 am

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

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

Today, we start a new feature: The Deal of The Day. With the Deal of the Day we'll offer valuable gift certificates to local businesses at greatly discounted prices.

Today's Deal: A $25 gift certificate from Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles, 8 Center St., Batavia.  The Batavian Price: $12.50.

Rules: E-mail me at howard (at) thebatavian dot com. First e-mail in can purchase the gift certificate for $12.50. We will arrange a time for the winner to drop by my office on Main Street some time today.  If the first e-mail in can't make an appointment today, the second e-mail will be eligible.

Business Owners: If you would like your business featured on The Batavian in Deal of the Day, contact me at 585-260-6970.

Monday, April 13, 2009 at 6:59 am

Police Beat: Batavia woman accused of breaking another woman's nose

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

Tanya L. Captain, 21, of Batavia, is accused of repeatedly hitting another woman in the face and breaking her nose.  Captain reportedly showed up at the other woman's home Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. and assaulted the other woman. Captain is charged with assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor. She was issued an appearance ticket.

Carla L. Southwell-Wood, 52, of Batavia, was charged Sunday night with DWI and endangering the welfare of a child. Southell-Wood was stopped by deputies on Rose Road after the Sheriff's office received a report that Southwell-Wood was allegedly driving while intoxicated in a white mini-van. After a traffic stop was initiated, deputies also report they found a child under 17 in the vehicle.

Three people were charged Thursday with under-age alcohol violations following an undercover operation involving Sheriff's Office personnel, with the assistance of Genesee Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse. Arrested were Andrew J. Cutcliffe, 20, Pavilion, charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under 21 with intent to consume; Carly H. Kelch, 23, of Linwood, charged with one count of sale of alcohol to a person under 21; and Timothy R. Andrews, 21, of Wyoming, charged with DWI, with a BAC of .08 or higher, failure to keep right and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm

City may seek $2.5 million state grant to help with Masse Gateway Project

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Masse Gateway Project, redevelopment

The Batavia City Council will consider asking the state a second time for Restore NY funding to help launch the Massee Gateway redevelopment project.

Should the city go forward with the application, Restore NY could provide up to $2.5 million of the estimated $3.15 million cost of the project, which could potentially lift the assessed property tax value of the area from $800,000 to anywhere from $3 million to $5 million.

The remaining $650,000 of funds needed for the project would come from in-kind and cash matches from the City of Batavia and Mancuso Business Development Group (the property owner).

The match comes, according to a memo released by the City Manager's Office, from $400,000 of prior work on the project by Mancuso, a $50,000 in-kind match from the city (meaning inspection time, site plan review and grant oversight) and $200,000 available from a 1982 Urban Development Action Grant.

"The City's contributions to this project will not effect the general fund expenses or require any financial burden or support from the tax levy," City Manager Jason Molino writes in his memo.

The council meets in special session Monday at 7 p.m. to consider the application.

The goal of the project is to demolition and refurbish buildings near Masse Place, between Swan Street and Harvester Avenue. About 40,000 square feet of building would be demolished and another 200,000 120,000 square feet restored.

In using $200,000 from the UDAG fund, the city will draw down the grant money, which has been used for a revolving loan and grant program to help establish small businesses in Batavia. Molino's memo says current economic conditions has made issuing small business loans and assisting economic development difficult.

A memo from consultant Stu Brown about the application states, "Recent discussions with the owner of the complex indicates that he is proceeding with the plans for the project. The approval of a major state grant would enable the project to move forward much more quickly and permit the owner and the city to achieve the goals for the redevelopment of this important site."

The city applied for Restore NY funding for the Massee project once before and the application was denied.

The Restore NY application is due by May 4. Should the council pass the appropriate resolution Monday, there would be a public hearing on the application Aprill 22 at 5 p.m.

Download: Part 1 of Council Packet (PDF) for Monday's meeting, which includes Jason Molino's memo.


Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 9:23 am

Trio arrested in Bergen after agents allegedly spot drug deal in parking lot

post by Howard B. Owens in crime

Drug Task Force officers on patrol in Bergen spotted what looked like a drug deal taking place last night in the parking lot of 8132 Buffalo Road.

After further investigation, three suspects were taken into custody, and $200 worth of cocaine and $2,319 in cash were seized.

Arrested where:

Mark S. Robbins, 27, of Batavia, charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. He is held on $15,000 bail.

Joseph P. Sirianni, 46, of Rochester, charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in third degree. He is held on $5,000 bail.

Kathryn L. Johnson, 21, of Bergen, charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree, criminal facilitation in the fourth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. She is held on $5,000 bail.

Assisting in the investigation were uniformed deputies of the Sheriff's Office, and the Genesee County District Attorney's Office.

Mug shot order, from the top: Robbins, Sirianni, Johnson.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 9:03 am

Corfu fire allegedly caused by teens smoking, improperly disposing of cigarettes

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, fire

The Sheriff's Office reports this morning that Thursday's fire in Village of Corfu, which damaged the former Pizza Pantry building at 10 Main St., possibility erupted after two teens inadequately disposed of cigarettes.

The press release says that further investigation may result in the teens being petitioned to Genesee Family Court.

The fire started at the rear of the building.

Fire units from Corfu, Pembroke, East Pembroke, City of Batavia, Oakfield, Darien, Alden, Crittenden and Akron responded to the blaze.

Two firefighters reportedly suffered minor injuries.

Friday, April 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Invitation to pastors for Easter: Post your sermons

post by Howard B. Owens in church, Easter, religion

Here's an open invitation to area pastors and preachers: Post your Easter Sermons on The Batavian.  On Easter Sunday, we'll post sermons submitted by 10 a.m. ish on the home page.

Friday, April 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Minutes from County Legislature Ways and Means Committee meeting, April 1

PRESENT: Chair Zambito, Legislators Hancock, Leadley and Grasso.  County Manager Gsell. Also Present: Planning Director Duval, Emergency Management Coordinator Yaeger, Purchasing Director Kaleta, Emergency Communications Coordinator Sharpe, Personnel Officer Marchese, Youth Bureau Representative Frank, IT Director Zimmer, Interim Public Health Director Garney, Sheriff Maha, Mental Health Director Reaves, County Treasurer German, Deputy County Treasurer Landers, Concerned Citizen Steve Ferry, Legislator DeJaneiro, Daily News Reporter Mruzak, and Legislature Clerk Pratt.

Chair Zambito called the meeting to order at 4PM in the Legislature Conference Room. The minutes of the March 18 meeting were approved upon motion of Legislator Leadley seconded by Legislator Grasso.


Friday, April 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Author Roy Kesey to Visit Genesee Community College

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, GCC

Press Release:

BATAVIA, NY -- Genesee Community College continues to demonstrate a commitment to student success and community connections with a campus visit from nationally known author Roy Kesey on Monday, April 27. With the aid of the Humanities department, assistance from The New Courier, Genesee's student run newspaper, and funds from the Academic Innovations Senate Committee, Kesey will be reading, answering questions, and signing books from 9:30 to 11:30 AM at the Batavia Campus in room T102. This event is free and open to the public.

Roy Kesey is the author of three books: a short story collection called All Over (Dzanc Books), a novella entitled Nothing in the World (Dzanc Books), and Nanjing: A Cultural and Historical Guide for Travelers (Atomic Press.) He recently won the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize in Fiction at The Missouri Review.

Kesey's work has appeared in more than seventy magazines in North America, Europe and Asia. Prior to their publication in All Over, several of his stories appeared in anthologies including The Robert Olen Butler Prize Anthology and New Sudden Fiction. The story Wait was picked by Stephen King for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories 2007 anthology.

Nothing in the World is the story of Josko Banovic, a lonely schoolboy who, with the outbreak of fighting between Serbia and his native Croatia, reveals himself to be a gifted sniper and becomes an unwitting war hero. Winner of the Bullfight Little Book Prize, Nothing in the World received unanimously great reviews, sold out its original 2006 printing in just a few months, and was recently brought back into print by Dzanc Books.

Nanjing: A Cultural and Historical Guide for Travelers has been lauded as a "well-informed and beautifully observed book," and Kesey as "the ideal guide to the mighty city on the Yangtze." The book combines vivid historical anecdotes and profiles to give the reader a clear image of contemporary Nanjing.

"We're honored to have Roy Kesey visit Genesee and share his literary works with the community," Tracy Ford, associate professor of English said. "This couldn't have been possible without the commitment and funds contributed by the Humanities department, The New Courier and the Academic Innovations Senate Committee.  We are truly grateful for all their contributions."

Roy Kesey was born and raised in northern California, and currently lives with his wife and children in Syracuse. He has traveled around the world writing and has lived in China, as well as Peru. For more information regarding Roy Kesey, please visit www.roykesey.com <http://www.roykesey.com> .

For further information, please contact Kris Dassinger 585-343-0055 x6233, Marie Iglesias-Cardinale 585-343-0055 x6275 or Tracy Ford 585-343-0055 x6277.

Friday, April 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Cybersafety Topic of Discussion at Genesee Community College

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, GCC

Press Release

BATAVIA, NY -- "Addressing Cybersafety and Cyberbullying" will be the topic of discussion at an upcoming workshop to be held at Genesee Community College on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 from 7:00PM - 8:15PM in room T102 at the Batavia Campus.  The free workshop, sponsored by the Genesee Region Teacher Center, will feature Dr. James Colt, Coordinator of School Safety and Security at Monroe BOCES #1.

Designed to familiarize participants with the scope and magnitude of internet crime, the discussion will also provide ways in which to protect children and adults from online victimization.  This workshop is appropriate for students, teachers, administrators, law enforcement, parents and any interested community members.

According to Christine Belongia, coordinator of the Teacher Education Transfer Program at Genesee, as well as Genesee Region Teacher Center (GRTC) Policy Board member, "People are only just beginning to realize the scope and magnitude of internet crime.  This workshop is designed to familiarize participants with this important topic as well introduce ways in which we can protect children and ourselves from online victimization."

The workshop will include startling data from a local 2007 survey of 40,000 K-12 school-aged students.  Results from the survey, conducted by a team of researchers lead by one of the nation's leading cybercrime experts, Dr. Sam McQuade of the Rochester Institute of Technology, indicate that "the more time children spend online and the more ways they access the Internet, the more vulnerable they become to being a victim of cybercrime and the more likely they are to slip into offending behaviors."

This workshop is an excellent learning opportunity for area residents interested in cybercrime and ways to prevent victimization. This workshop is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required.

For more information, please contact Christine Belongia at 585-343-0055 x6278.

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