Friday morning news roundup

Submitted by philip.anselmo on Fri, 05/09/2008 - 08:22

Check out WBTA for this and other stories:

• More than a few state grants have been awarded to Genesee County recently, including: $93,000 for the town and city to take a look at consolidating services, $250,000 to help with the law enforcement dispatch consolidation already underway and another $150,000 that will go to the city for sidewalk improvements.

From the Notebook

Submitted by philip.anselmo on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 17:42

Can't seem to dredge up anything of great import in the way of news this afternoon. Whenever that happens, I head out into the community, into the shops on Main Street and elsewhere, into the parks...

Batavia police tell me they don't have anything to report — I've called them twice today so far. We should probably consider that good news. Strange though, since a city councilman told me that the city was already 300 calls above where they were this time last year.

Still not much luck connecting with the busy city manager. I did get a couple City Council members on the phone today, but didn't make it much further than that. I'll be meeting with Sam Barone next week. Looking forward to it. Sam mentions fishing, bowling and reading under special interests on the city's Web site. I'm a fan of all three myself, though I'm only good at the last one.

Also, I found this fine shot of the bend in the Tonawanda River in my camera. Have those bulbs popped yet?

Then I met with Hal Kreter over at the county's Veterans Service Agency. He's a great guy — a longtime U.S. Marine himself — who works for an organization that fills the gap between the American veteran and the no doubt intimidating bureaucracy of the federal government.

That's about all for now. But here's a note before I go: The Batavian's MySpace is humming along. We've picked up 30 friends so far — honestly, I don't know if that's very many, but I'm excited about it. For those of you interested in that, please stop by and check it out. We'd be happy to be your friend. For those who aren't interested or just don't know much about the site, it's a social networking hub where anyone can register and create a personal profile for themselves, meet other folks, keep up remotely with friends. Music is big on MySpace, so we're hoping to link up with a few bands, maybe even put together a music video from time to time to bring back here to our site. Look for that in the future.

Thursday afternoon news roundup

Submitted by philip.anselmo on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 12:54

From the Daily News (Thursday):

• The city sent out 800 notices of code violation. This topic was covered by The Batavian in a post by City Council President Charlie Mallow from this morning. Reporter Joanne Beck notes: "Those letters were for properties needing assorted repairs and house numbers and for other infractions such as leaving garbage containers in the front instead of the back yard."

• Batavia's Ways & Means Committee recommended approval of an "unexpectedly expensive hangar project" at the county airport. With supply prices "skyrocketing," the committee felt it was best to move forward now rather than wait for costs to get even more out of control.

• Reporter Scott DeSmit writes: "One of three men accused of barging into an Ellsworth Avenue house and attacking a man inside will likely face trial after rejecting a plea deal in Genesee County Court Wednesday. Daniel N. Dawson, 32, is charged with three counts of first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree assault for the April 8, 2007 attack."

• Upstate population growth is lagging, according to the New York State Association of Counties. Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties all declined in population from 2000-2007. "Genesee lost 2,248 residents, a 3.7-percent drop."

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on BataviaNews.com.

Opening Night Jitters..... How Lucky Can You Get

Submitted by burk_patrick on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 11:05

Opening Night!!!!  Yikes!!!!! I always get the jitters....not that being nervous isn't what I do best.  I am compulsive about making sure that everything is just right.  Last two nights the PRESS has been there, I have been gluing and painting and tweaking and taping, to insure that the picture I saw in my mind lands on the stage at Genesee Community College.  What a week!!!!   I am so proud of this show...it really does shine!!!

That is where the problem of doing plays or musicals lies.  It depends on how you look at things.  Theater is one of the few art forms that can not be replicated.  I mean, sure we make tapes of certain nights and look at them again...but the alive feeling is what it takes to make the show.....well.... the show.  That only happens once, when the audience member is impacted the first time...it never happens again.  Once played....always lost.  That is the nature of the beast as it stands.  It also is the beauty of LIVE theater.  Each and every performance is its own separate piece of art, subtly being changed each time to be slightly different then before.......

When I start to design theater productions I look at it all as one big painting.  What does each and everything look like in a certain way on stage.  What type of actor will fill this role or what color the drinking glass should be.  I am that centered and compulsive... trust me.   I see the whole thing as a snapshot in the minds of those that will be sitting in the seats in the theater.  If I was a good painter, I probably would paint my scenes...instead I imagine them.... I can only draw stick figures.....  I tend to land on color a lot....Color sets the mood and allows the show to exist in a certain frame of mind.  It either soothes or inflames....or it adds a sense of nostalgia.

So...tonight opening night....All the last minute preparations.....all the work that has yet to be done and all the tickets left to be sold.....  Opening night of "Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" at Genesee Community College - 7:30PM.  As I have said many, many times....this is a dream come true for me.... I am lucky that way.  I have many dreams about shows and performing......playing a certain character or sharing a favorite play or musical.   In Batavia, this community, I get the support to make those dreams come to life.... How indeed fortunate I am.   Please come see our show.

 

Batavians choose not to live like they do in big cities.

Submitted by cmallow on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 09:25

There have been a few postings about the state of our neighborhoods and people’s opinions of the rate of decline. From someone new to the area or familiar with big city living, some missing paint and a little litter are not anything to be concerned about. People in big cities have had to live with falling property values, absentee landlords and drug activity for years. The obvious question is, why wouldn’t the people of Batavia point to the precursors of decline and pull together to keep the quality of life we have always enjoyed?

Make no mistake the natural instinct of someone in elected office is to gloss over the obvious decline in the quality life. If you’re in public office and you want to stay there, why would any rational person draw attention to the problems? It’s not an election year.. Besides if you draw attention to the problem and you are in office, you will then be expected to do something about the problem. That is how the system has worked for years. Inaction or denial by elected representatives has been the reason for decline in all our major cities.
Batavia is a little different and so are its people. Batavians care about our quality of life and elected people who understand that there is a problem and are willing to do something about it. In this city, improving our neighborhoods is not a political issue. We are past the notion that there is a developing problem, we are on our way to looking for solutions.
Last night’s Neighborhood Improvement meeting was another small step forward. Those meetings have become gatherings for landlords, volunteer groups, public officials and regular citizens to work together and find solutions to our small problems before they get bigger. Our acting police chief reported on a new program to help landlords protect their property and help police spot drug activity. City inspections reported over 800 letters being sent out for violations in the last month, more than double what we did all of last year. They also reported that almost 80% of the violations were taken care of quickly and how most property owners accept the letters as a reminder. There was a report on the success of the “helping hands” volunteer group with their work on Thorpe and Watson Streets over the weekend.  Ideas were passed on for ways to educate the public, so that they can be more aware.
With a little work and by people taking responsibility for the problems we have, Batavia will never be like Buffalo, Rochester or Chicago. Batavians choose not to live like they do in big cities.

 

An evening with the Batavia Players

Submitted by philip.anselmo on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 09:11

Last night, I was fortunate enough to be invited behind the scenes for the Batavia Players' dress rehearsal of Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, which premieres tonight (see showtime info below).

As the cast members flitted this way and that, in and out of their dressing rooms, up and off the stage, I had just enough time to sit with Patrick Burk, the show's director, and a couple members of the cast. We chatted right up on the set — which Patrick later informed me is made up of no less than 400 props donated by several of the players themselves.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meHRPEmKFZ4]

Who: The Batavia Players: Valeria Antonetty, Shawnie Euren, Lynda Hodgins, Rachel Oshlag, Nikole Marone, Peggy Marone, Joan Meyer, Patti Michalak and Jake Bortle. Patrick Burk directs.

What: Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean by Ed Graczyk.

Where: Stuart Steiner Theater, Genesee Community College, Batavia.

When: May 8, 9 and 10 at 7:30pm.

Tickets: Available at Roxy's Music Store, 228 W. Main St., and Go Art!, 201 E. Main St. $10 for adults, $8 for senior.

Break a leg!

What's in store for the library

Submitted by philip.anselmo on Thu, 05/08/2008 - 00:45

Richmond Memorial Library Director Diana Wyrwa was kind enough to tell us just what plans are in store for the library now that the new budget has been passed...

"The Richmond Memorial Library Board of Trustees and staff wish to express our thanks to the voters of the Batavia City School District for approving our budget vote and electing a new trustee, Tracy Stokes, to the library board.

"The increase in funding for 2008-2009 will allow the library to add a second full time custodian. This way we will have a custodian on duty at night and on the weekends, making our library building a safer destination for our patrons. Two other initiatives that will take place in 2008 and 2009 are: a new Web page for the library and a space study of our building. The new Web page will give each "department" of the library its own page (ex. children's, teens, media, adult readers). Pages will be updated more often and be  more interactive, for example, allowing patrons to register for classes online. The space study will be done by a professional firm and will help the library to better utilize the space we have in a more efficient and attractive manner. We will also be looking at our parking situation in this space study, trying to add more handicapped spaces and short-term parking spots. I'd like to eventually see us add a drive-up book drop on the driver's side.

"The newly adopted budget will also provide continued funding for books, media, and online resources. We will continue to update computers available for public use and maintain our wireless network. Wi-Fi is available on the main floor of the library. Programs for all ages will continue.

"We will also be adding a fax for public use. Many people come into the library and ask if we have a fax available. Shortly we will. There will be a cost to fax, but the cost has not been decided upon yet."

Thank you for the info, Diana. Best of luck.

Voter Registration Continues!

Submitted by daniel.jones on Wed, 05/07/2008 - 21:36

The Young Democrats will continue its Voter Registration drive tommorow at Genesee Community College (in the forum).  If your 18, a citizen and aren't registered to vote (or have moved since you last registered) come on out now so you can register in time to vote in the general election.  Although the Democrats are sponsering the event, we will not discriminate our registration on the basis of desire to register as an Independent or a Republican....we just want to see as many people registered (and voting!) as possible!

 

I will be there all day tommorow, so if your aren't registered to vote, come on out!  And even if you are, come say hi, we always love the company.

Meeting tonight

Submitted by philip.anselmo on Wed, 05/07/2008 - 17:10

Batavia's Neighborhood Improvement Committee will be meeting tonight at 6:30pm in the community room at City Hall. Their meetings are open to the public and anyone can speak at meetings. I couldn't get much information out of the city manager's office about what exactly the committee will cover tonight, but the city Web site says this about the group: "The Neighborhood Improvement Committee makes recommendations and develops strategies to enhance the quality of life within the city’s neighborhoods."

This seemed like an apt notification following a conversation I had yesterday with Councilman Bob Bialkowski who cited neighborhood decline as one of the primary problems facing the city today. On a drive through parts of the city's southside — an area Bob pinpointed — I did not see much in dire decline, at least, not from the outside. But a comment from Daniel Cherry that afternoon seemed to indicate that maybe the problems were more internal. Quality of life is certainly an issue worth tackling. And the more people that get involved in that conversation, the more just and more worthwhile the discussion.

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