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March 21, 2016 - 6:26am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Alabama.

A car struck a pole and minor injuries are reported at 7238 Alleghany Road. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

March 17, 2016 - 11:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Alabama, Oakfield, news.

A wood-frame, fully involved house fire, with smoke and flames shooting through the second story, is reported at 6324 Knowlesville Road, Alabama, near Roberts Road. The structure has been evacuated. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 11:15 p.m..: Oakfield Fire Department is also called to respond, mutual aid. Fire Police are called to shut down Knowlesville Road at Roberts Road. The emergency West Battalion Fire Chanel has been secured for Alabama and Oakfield.

UPDATE 11:26 p.m.: Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are asked to stand by in Alabama's hall.

UPDATE March 18: from our news partner, WBTA: The house was extensively damaged and declared uninhabitable. Two adults and three dogs all made it out safely – one dog, did not. The family is staying with relatives. Firefighters from Alabama, Oakfield and Shelby battled the blaze.

March 8, 2016 - 12:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Alabama, news.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported in front of Jan's Smoke Shop, 383 Bloomingdale Road, Alabama. The occupants are conscious and alert. It is blocking traffic. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 12:46 p.m.: One patient is being transported to Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

March 5, 2016 - 4:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A one-vehicle rollover accident is reported in the area of 2421 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

A person reportedly suffered a neck injury.

The victim is in the car of a passerby and is roadside awaiting the arrival of first responders.

The vehicle is on its side in a ditch.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

March 4, 2016 - 9:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, Alabama, STAMP, GCEDC, business, news.

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gcedcannual2016-2.jpgWhen the 1366 Technologies plant opens in Alabama in 2017, it will be profitable on the first day of operation, Brian Eller, VP of manufacturing, revealed today during the annual meeting of the Genesee County Economic Development Center at Batavia Downs.

The solar wafer manufacturer has recently completed contracts with solar panel manufacturers that will fulfill orders for 60 percent of plant's production capacity, Eller said.

"This is part of the steady, deliberate process," Eller said. "We keep knocking them off to reduce the risk to the business, because if you sell everything before you start, then you execute, you don't have to go to market and figure out your market."

Eller was the keynote speaker for the annual meeting, which was attended by more than 350 people.

During his 20-minute presentation, Eller described the methodical approach 1366 Technologies has taken to build its business and the foundation for success. It's a classic start-up model: Begin with a prototype product and get it to market and see how it does, concentrate on a single product, then target a niche of customers, then scale your production once you're ready to reach a market with the potential to achieve substantial returns on investment.

The company was founded in 2008 in Bedford, Mass., where it set up a small, prototype plant to test its proprietary process for manufacturing silicon wafer chips for solar panels. That plant has produced and the company has sold thousands of wafers.

With the process established, 1366 began looking for a site appropriate for its business, settling on Alabama and GCEDC's STAMP project because of the promising local workforce, proximity to universities and the availability of clean, hydro energy.

"One of STAMP's strengths is the talent pool in the region," Eller said. “You know, the thing about changing the world is you need skilled people around you."

The company is planning a $700 million investment in its new facility, to be constructed on about 8 percent of the 12,500-acre WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park. STAMP is the brainchild of Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC. The center is assisting in the project with tax abatements worth a potential $97 million over 10 years. The state and federal government have also pledged millions for infrastructure at the project site, which GCEDC and regional economic development agencies are working to fill with other high-tech manufacturers.

When the plant is at full capacity -- producing enough wafers each year to provide three gigawatts of electricity -- it will employ 1,000 people. In the near term, 1366 will hire 150 people, though Eller said there isn't a timeline on the hiring process yet. The company is still in the process of hiring consultants, planners, architects and engineers.

Eller did promise the development process will be public and transparent and that all who compete for contracts on the project will do so on a level playing field.

Eller is full of confidence that 1366 will revolutionize solar technology.

"Our process slashes the cost of making the wafer in half and in doing so drastically reduces the cost of solar energy," Eller said. "Those reductions, well, they accelerate adoption. We believe solar will be ubiquitous. It will displace coal as the cheapest fuel source on the planet."

The current process, which the industry has used for nearly four decades, requires multiple steps, using several machines and takes days. The 1366 process involves one machine that will produce a new wafer every 20 seconds.

The technology was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Instead of cutting and grinding solar ingots into flat wafers, which takes energy and produces waste, the 1366 process melts the silicon and floats it into thin layers that harden into silicon wafers.

Eller compared it to the Pilkington float glass process developed in the 1950s and still the process used today for manufacturing flat glass.

"Manufacturing process innovations like ours have true staying power," Eller said. "They simply don’t come along every day."

The solar industry is booming the world over.

Last year, 59 gigawatts of new solar capacity was brought online. That's the result of 240 million solar panels being produced. Eller said that's a big number, so to help understand it, he said, that's more electrical capacity than needed for a year by the entire State of New York.

"We make the most expensive part of the solar panel for half the cost," Eller said. "That was a hard problem to solve, but we've done it. Now we're free to pursue an $8 billion and growing solar market without distraction."

Eller acknowledged that there has been some bad news in the solar industry in recent years, with companies going under or changing directions, but Eller said the slow and deliberate process 1366 has pursued to build the company puts it in a position to succeed.

"The industry consists of exceptional businesses, both established and new, that are efficient, innovative and motivated," Eller said. "To be young in solar is not without its challenges and we are aware of other companies in solar that struggled to compete globally, focused on the wrong technologies or just simply scaled too quickly," Eller said. "We are focused on bringing a highly innovative product to market with deliberate and steady progress."

CLARIFICATIONS:

The folks at 1366 asked us to clarify, by "Day 1," they mean when the first plant is at full production, not the day the plant doors open. There will be a three- or four-month ramp up period to bring the plant up to production levels, which includes hiring and training workers.

Also, in reference to the amount of power from last year's productions of solar panels, we misunderstood.  It's not enough electricity to power of all of New York. It's enough for all New York households.

For prior coverage of 1366 Technologies, click here.

gcedcannual2016-3.jpg

Above, silicon nuggets. Silicon is produced from super heating silica, commonly found in sand, but also found in clay and rock (it's the most common mineral on the planet). When 1366 started to develop its process, silicon was still not a common wafer ingredient, but now 90 percent of all solar wafers manufactured today use silicon.

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Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer (above) and Assemblyman Steve Hawley (below) both spoke briefly and praised and thanked each other for their united effort to help provide the legislative support to bring 1366 to STAMP.

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Steve Hyde.

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Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature.

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GCEDC presented an Economic Development Award to the Batavia Development Corp., represented by Ray Chaya, the City of Batavia, Eugene Jankowski, and the Town of Batavia, Patti Michalak. Steve Hyde, back row, and GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia to the right.

March 3, 2016 - 1:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, news.

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Alabama and Shelby is hosting its annual Spring Into Nature celebration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.

Activities will be at the Refuge Visitor Center on Casey Road with a bald eagle watch located at Cayuga Overlook on Route 77. Join us as we welcome spring back to the swamp with a variety of nature-related exhibits, plus free crafts and games for the kids.

Our theme for Spring Into Nature is Migration, in honor of the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial 1916-2016. This treaty forms the cornerstone of our efforts to conserve birds that migrate across international borders.

During Spring into Nature we will offer activities and programs that create awareness, promote actions, increase support, and expand engagement in the conservations of migratory birds and animals. Family favorites such as constructing bat and butterfly houses and seeing live birds of prey are among some of the returning favorites. Food will be available for purchase.

Please contact Refuge staff at (585) 948-5445, ext. 7036, visit our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/iroquois/ or visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IroquoisNationalWildlifeRefuge for further information.

Iroquois NWR is located midway between Buffalo and Rochester and is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Individuals with disabilities and any other person who may need special assistance to participate in this program should contact the Refuge at 585/948-5445 or at the Federal Relay No. 1-800-877-8339. 

February 28, 2016 - 1:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, news, Alabama.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported at Route 77 and Ledge Road. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics responding.

UPDATE 1:46 p.m.: A third ambulance is called to the scene, in non-emergency mode.

UPDATE 2:12 p.m.: The Alabama assignment is back in service.

February 26, 2016 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, batavia, news, Alabama, STAMP, GCEDC.

Press release:

Brian Eller, COO of 1366 Technologies, the Massachusetts-based solar company and first tenant of the Town of Alabama's STAMP (Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park), will be the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) on Friday, March 4, at Batavia Downs.

Registration and networking begins at 11:30 a.m. and the event will conclude at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Other speakers include: 

·         New York State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer;

·         New York State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley;

·         Genesee County Legislature Chairman Raymond Cianfini;

·         Tom Kucharski, president and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise; 

·         Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman; and,

·         Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC

“We are excited to welcome Brian Eller of 1366 Technologies to speak at our annual meeting as the company invests its capital and resources right here in Genesee County, which is expected to create approximately 1,000 new jobs,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO.

“We look forward to celebrating the future economic impact of 1366 Technologies in our region, as well as recognizing our many public and private sector partners who have made played a critical role in helping us grow our local economy within the past year.”  

The GCEDC will unveil its 2015 report and announce the recipient of the annual Economic Development Partner of the Year Award.

Tickets cannot be purchased at the door, and seating is limited. For more information or to register please contact Rachael Tabelski at 585-343-4866or at [email protected].

January 26, 2016 - 6:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

Ashly Marie Majchrzak, 26, of Pittsford Street, Rochester, is charged with possession or transport for sale of untaxed cigarettes, unlawful possession of marijuana and no seatbelt. Majchrzak was stopped at 11:28 a.m. Monday on Route 77, Alabama, by Deputy Joseph Corona for allegedly not wearing a seatbelt. She was allegedly found in possesion of 1,400 untaxed cigarettes and a quantity of marijuana.

January 20, 2016 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center and 1366 Technologies have developed an online intake form for local companies interested in pursuing potential supply chain/operational opportunities. The 1366 Technologies solar wafer manufacturing facility will be constructed in the town of Alabama and is scheduled to open in 2017.

“There is a tremendous amount of talent and skill in the Genesee County area. We’re excited to begin the process of identifying those companies across the region that will contribute to the success of our project and our operations in Alabama,” said Brian Eller, COO, 1366 Technologies.

The form can be accessed atwww.1366tech.com or www.wnystamp.com.

“The exciting thing about economic development is not only the direct jobs created by companies like 1366 Technologies, but the indirect jobs that are created through supply chain opportunities,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.

informANALYTICS, an economic development software tool, calculated that approximately 1,600 indirect jobs will be created. The overall economic impact of the direct, indirect and induced jobs is expected to be in the range of $1.5 billion.

One of the ways in which 1366 Technologies will conduct outreach to the supply chain network is through the marketing and business networking assistance of Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE) and Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE), both of which played a key role in attracting the company.

“Because of the highly skilled and talented workforce in the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions, 1366 Technologies is not going to have any problems finding the right partners to make their operations in New York State a tremendous success,” said Mark S. Peterson, president and CEO of GRE.

“The launch of the 1366 Technologies intake form provides great opportunities for Western New York companies and their employees to capitalize on this exciting high tech industry,” said BNE President and CEO Thomas A. Kucharski. “It also reinforces the longer term value of our economic development efforts by reminding us that 1366 Technologies’ economic impact extends well beyond their initial investment and job creation. That benefit will continue to grow with the success of this great company in our region.”

January 19, 2016 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama, batavia, Stafford, Le Roy.
mug_crosson_ingrid_2016_0.jpg
Ingrid Crosson

Ingrid E. Crosson, 43, of South Wales, is charged with burglary, 2nd. Crosson is accused of entering a residence in Stafford and stealing a laptop, German air pistol, small pocketknife, three jars of coins, and a pillow case valued at more than $600. Crosson was identified through a note she left at the scene. Following arraignment in Town of Batavia Court, Crosson was released on her own recognizance.

Michele Anne Stamp, 51, of North Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or more, speed not reasonable and prudent, and moving from lane unsafely. Stamp was involved in a motor-vehicle accident at 7:03 p.m. Sunday on Lewiston Road, Alabama. She was transported to the Genesee County Jail where she submitted to a chemical test. She allegedly tested for a BAC of .21. She was arrested by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Nicholas S. Gillett, 25, of Italy Valley Road, Middlesex, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th. Gillett was arrested as the result of an investigation in the Town of Bergen. He was allegedly found in possession of a rifle in violation of probation as a result of a felony conviction.

Andrew K. Wright, 25, of Main Street, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Wright allegedly pushed a woman and struck her several times with a broom during an argument. He was jailed on $500 bail.

Timothy C. Pabone, 42, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd, menacing, 2nd and DWI. Pabone was reportedly involved in an argument at 12:38 p.m. Saturday at 220 W. Main St., Batavia, over where a vehicle was parked. Pabone allegedly brandished a knife and threatened another person. He then allegedly tried to flee the scene in a vehicle, driving through a back yard and over the parkway. He was also charged with unlicensed operator, aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, failure to stop at stop sign, failure to keep right, unregistered motor vehicle, driving without insurance, switched plates, and improper registration sticker. Pabone was jailed without bail.

Nicholas Allen Clark, 26, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with possession of hypodermic instrument. Clark was arrested following a complaint at 2:04 p.m. Saturday of a person injecting himself while driving a vehicle on Liberty Street.

Shawna M. Pursel, 38, of Oak Street, Batavia, is charged with criminally using drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Pursel was allegedly found in possession of a glass pipe commonly used for smoking crack cocaine.

Joseph W. Gottstine, 26, of Beaver Meadow Road, of Java Center, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic violation.

Raymond L. Morgan, 44, of State Route 31, Lyons, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Morgan was arrested on a warrant. He is currently incarcerated in Wayne County on an unrelated charge.

Victor D. Guy, 29, of West Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic violation.

Cheryl M. Lyons, 50, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. She was released under supervision of Genesee Justice.

Cheryl A. Kowalik, 55, of Alexander Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant stemming from a charge of issuing a bad check.

Samuel Anthony Nigro, 64, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd. Nigro was allegedly found in possession of a billy club during a home visit by a probation officer. Nigro has a prior felony conviction. He was jailed without bail pending review by Superior Court. Upon review, he was released under supervision of the Probation Department.

Melissa M. Lesage, 36, of Lake Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a traffic citation. She was released on $500 bail.

Terry E. Smith, 38, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with side window tint, no plate lamp, unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd. Smith was stopped at 2:04 a.m. Jan. 10 on McKinley Avenue by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

Samantha L. Tate, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Tate was arrested on a warrant stemming from an alleged shoplifting incident at 415 E. Main St., Batavia.

Joey A. Evans, 25, of Maple Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for allegedly violating released under supervision conditions. Evans allegedly failed to appear for required meetings. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Loretta L. Baer, 44, of School Street, Batavia, is charged with resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. Baer was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Frank J. Yanik, 39, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, and failure to stop at stop sign. Yanik was stopped at 1:21 a.m. Saturday on Liberty Street by Officer Peter Flanagan.

January 18, 2016 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy, Alabama.

Gayno Star Standsblack, 44, of Wehrle Drive, Williamsville, is charged with felony DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 1st, moving from lane unsafely, no seatbelt, and driving without an interlock device. Standsblack was arrested following a report of a suspicious vehicle off the road on Meadville Road, Alabama, at 2:07 a.m. Saturday by Deputy Jason Saile. Standsblack was jailed without bail.

Joseph Paul Capuano, 63, of Clarissa Street, Rochester, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or higher and speeding. Capuano was stopped at 5:38 p.m. Saturday on South Lake Road, Le Roy, by Deputy Andrew Hale.

January 16, 2016 - 2:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A car has reportedly hit a tree stump in the area of 7238 Meadville Road, Alabama.

There is one occupant, reportedly unconscious.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 2:53 a.m.: Alabama fire is back in service. A male subject is being investigated for possible DWI.

January 13, 2016 - 10:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Basom, Alabama, batavia, Pavilion.

Terrance D. Bauer, 54, of Church Street, Basom, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. The Local Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at Bauer's residence and allegedly found cocaine and marijuana and various smoking devices and scales. Bauer was issued an appearance ticket.

Elizabeth Michelle Grattan, 26, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Grattan is accused of shoplifting from Kohl's Department Store, allegedly stealing merchandise valued at $99. Grattan was jailed on $1,000 bail.

A 16-year-old from Pavilion is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. The youth was allegedly involved in an altercation at Pavilion Central School, punching another person in the face, resulting in minor injuries and a broken phone.

January 8, 2016 - 10:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A one-car accident, car into a tree with a possible fire under the car, is reported in the area of 215 Bloomingdale Road, Alabama.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 10:57 p.m.: It's not believed there are any injuries.

UPDATE 10:59 p.m.: A first responder reports flames showing.

UPDATE 11:13 p.m.: A chief on scene reports the car is now fully involved.

UPDATE 11:18 p.m.: Bloomingdale is closed at Tesnow and at Wright roads.

UPDATE, Saturday morning: The Sheriff's Office has released a statement about the accident, which is under investigation. Craig M. Meyer, 30, of Cherry Street, Batavia, was reportedly driving a 1999 Ford SUV when the vehicle left the roadway, drove through a field and then collided with several trees in the yard of 218 Bloomingdale Road. Meyer was removed from the vehicle by several witnesses as the vehicle began burning. He was transported to ECMC by Mercy EMS.

January 7, 2016 - 3:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, Alabama, pre-K, prekindergarten.

Press release:

Children who reside in the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District and who will be 4 years old by Dec. 1 are eligible to be registered for the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program for the 2016-2017 school year.

Registration packets have been mailed. If you do not receive a packet by Jan. 22, please call the elementary office at 585-948-5211, ext. 3211, or e-mail [email protected] to request one.

January 6, 2016 - 1:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, Alabama, business.

1366hearingjan52016.jpg

After the questions, concerns, challenges and outright objections to 1366 Technologies coming to the Town of Alabama to build silicon wafers to capture the energy of the sun, resident Dave Dunn said, "I think we've all forgot one thing here tonight: Thank you for coming here."

That statement drew a round of applause from most of the 75 or so people who attended the public hearing Tuesday night on proposed tax incentives to help Bedford, Mass.-based 1366 Technologies build its $700 million facility on 105 acres of the planned high-tech park known as STAMP (Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park).

There were only a handful of speakers during the hearing, and only a couple more who raised objections during a follow-up question and answer period, including one man who stormed out during an impassioned speech by Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, on the need for economic development to help keep our children in Western New York.

The state is planning on spending more than $5 million on land acquisition and infrastructure to make STAMP possible, and 1366 could receive another $56 million in incentives from New York along with tax abatements of more than $35 million through GCEDC.

It is those local incentives that the GCEDC Board will be asked to approve in an upcoming vote and last night's public hearing was required in advance of it.

Mark Masse, VP of business development for GCEDC, opened the hearing with an overview of the financing and financial impact of the proposed 1366 project.

The venture is expected to lead to 1,000 jobs at the plant within a few years, with another 1,593 jobs generated by companies that will provide services and support to the new company, and some 2,600 jobs created by local economic growth.

That's more than 6,500 local jobs within 10 years, Masse said.

Entry-level jobs will start at $16 an hour, with production jobs going up to $24 an hour based on duties and experience.

The 1366 payroll is expected to reach nearly $40 million. The indirect payroll could exceed $60 million and induced jobs would add another $30.3 million in payroll, for an anticipated increase in local payroll of $130 million. (CORRECTION: In my notes, I left off some zeros. The payroll numbers have been updated to correct that mistake.)

To help finance the project, GCEDC is proposing a PILOT -- payment in lieu of taxes. That's a break on the property tax. There would be property tax due on the current assessed value of the 105-acre parcel, but there would be no new taxes on the increase in assessed value over the first two years of the project. The taxes would then gradually increase over the next eight years. 

There are also proposed tax abatements on the sales tax on construction materials as well as relief from the mortgage tax.

Masse then turned the floor over to Brian Eller, chief operations officer for 1366, who shared some of his company's plans and an overview of what 1366 will manufacture.

Eller explained that 1366, working with scientists at MIT, have developed a whole new manufacturing process for silicon wafers -- the main component of solar panels, that the company believes will be cheaper to manufacture and produce less waste than the process used by every other company in the world.

Silicon is the second most plentiful mineral on Earth and is usually extracted from sand. For solar wafers, manufacturers receive ingots of silicon that are typically cut and ground into square objects. 

That's an extremely wasteful production process, according to a video Eller played for the audience. Much of the silicon is wasted, as well as the blades and diamond-tipped twine used to cut the wafers.

The process developed at MIT involves melting the silicon and rolling out flat wafers, much like modern glass manufacturing.

The process is a third faster and a third cheaper than current techniques, and no silicon goes to waste, and it uses less energy.

The goal of 1366 is to use its technology to produce wafers that eventually make solar power as cheap to consume as coal energy.

What 1366 isn't doing is making entire solar panels. They are only making the wafers, and they aren't making solar panels.

Elon Musk's Solar City plant, going up in Buffalo, will make rooftop panels, but 1366 isn't producing wafers for rooftop panels, so there isn't currently an opportunity for the two companies to work together directly. The wafers produced by 1366 are intended for industrial solar energy farms, which currently makes up 70 percent of the worldwide solar energy market.

One speaker during the public hearing expressed concern that 1366 would get all of these tax breaks, build this big building, and then pull out like Pepsi did with the Quaker Muller Dairy plant.

There are, however, some significant differences between the Quaker Muller operation and 1366's plans. Pepsi and Muller entered a market that we now know was saturated in an industry that is so competitive that profit margins are always squeezed. There was no chance for Muller's imitation Greek yogurt to achieve a dominant market position.

In his best-selling business book, "Zero to One," venture capitalist Peter Thiel says new businesses should be built around innovations that are a 10-times improvement over anything currently in the market. Thiel also advises startups to aim for only a segment of a market and achieve dominance in that segment before growing. Pepsi and Muller appear to have violated both of those guidelines by entering a market that already had dominant manufacturers, such as Chobani, Dannon and Fage, and aiming for a share of the entire market, not just a segment where it might have a chance to dominate. 

Eller thinks that 1366's lower cost, less wasteful process is that 10-times improvement Thiel recommends (though he hadn't yet read Thiel's book when asked about it) and that 1366 is going after a segment of the market where it can achieve dominance.

Only a portion, less than $100 million, of $700 million required to build the 1366 Technologies plant to full capacity is coming from public investment. There is also a $150 million loan guarantee backed by the Department of Energy. When the project was announced at Genesee Community College in October, company CEO Frank van Mierlo indicated he was investing his own money in the project. The company has reportedly raised $70 million in venture capital from investors such as Hanwha Chemical, a major user of silicon wafers, as well as from Ventizz Capital Fund, North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners. The company has not discussed any other efforts to raise additional capital or the timing of capital needs. They would not need the entire $700 million in the bank to start construction.

Construction is expected to start in May or June.

The first jobs should be filled in the fall or early winter of this year, with hiring continuing through the middle part of 2017 and then more jobs added as production capacity is increased.

Eller will move to here from Bedford to join the ranks of the locally employed, along with as many as five current 1366 managers and executives, though the company will remain headquartered in Bedford. That's also where the company will continue research and development operations.

There was a bit of discussion between Eller, Masse and meeting attendees about workforce development and who will get hired at the new plant. 

Lorna Klotzbach had several objections to the proposal, among them were questions about whether there were really sufficient potential employees in the region. She also shared with some other speakers a concern that STAMP was converting farmland and wildlife refuge into industrial land.

Al Files, who would later get up in a huff and storm out during Hyde's speech, said he thought it made a lot more sense to build where there's already big buildings and infrastructure.

"In my opinion, I think it's stupid," Files said. "We're wasting all of this property when it could be built in Rochester, Buffalo or Batavia."

Eller said 1366 was attracted to STAMP, out of 300 locations considered, for two primary reasons. First is cheap and clean hydroelectric power, and then there is the regional workforce. Eller said the company hired a consultant who studied a number of variables for several possible plant locations and STAMP scored the highest for workforce potential.

Creating local jobs and reversing two generations of economic decline is what STAMP is all about, Hyde said.

"At the end of the day, what drove us to work so hard to attract a company like 1366 to our community and our region is creating jobs for our kids so they can either stay here or come back home," Hyde said. "All the rest of these questions are good and relevant, but if we take a little look at the big picture, we’ve all been losing tax base and these guys are going to start that trend of turning that around. 

"We can’t guarantee that companies are going to be successful, but even with the situation in Batavia, where Muller Quaker was, we built that ag park, two companies came in and spent over $200 million there. The market didn’t work. They entered the market late. They ended up having to shut down and that’s a disappointment, but the beauty is, one of the best dairy companies in the nation is coming in because that ag park is there and they're filling it back up and probably hiring more people than Muller ever would have. The investment model that we’ve used over the last decade is working. It’s creating good jobs for our people and our community. It’s creating tax base.

"I just wanted to paint a little bit of the bigger picture," Hyde added a few sentences later. "We’re absolutely fortunate to have a company like 1366 be willing to come here and start to build that high-tech, entrepreneurial ecosystem. It will mean a lot of jobs for our kids. … I’ll tell you right now if we get a thousand jobs from this company over the next decade, and that turns around to be about four thousand jobs all over this area, you’re going to see an economic boom around here that we haven’t seen in 50 years."

At which point, Files interjected, "This is an agricultural area. This is not a manufacturing area."

Hyde said projects like 1366 will take the pressure off of ag to support the entire local economy, and that the land the plant will use is less than 3 percent of the available acreage in Genesee County, and it's the least productive land in the county.

"We looked at all of that," Hyde said.

But Files was no longer in the room to hear it.

1366hearingjan52016-2.jpg

I couldn't find online the video Eller showed, but in looking for it, I found this interesting video.

January 4, 2016 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Alabama.

A one-car accident is reported in the area of 2224 Lewiston Road, Alabama.

A person reportedly suffered a back injury.

Alabama Fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: Alabama is back in service.

December 29, 2015 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, Alabama, business, GCEDC.

Here's a portion of a press release from Empire State Development about a series of grants recently approved.

Empire State Development today announced that its Board of Directors recently approved $101.1 million in economic development resources for 23 projects that are spurring growth and opportunity in every region of the state. The funding supports projects that are creating 634 new jobs and retaining 1,531 existing New York State jobs – many of which have already been created or retained. The approved assistance is leveraging more than $822 million in private investment and other public funding to support local businesses and projects that are strengthening local economies today, while building a strong foundation for future economic growth and job creation.

“The funding approved by the Board is supporting regionally significant projects that are fostering growth and creating new opportunities statewide,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Whether it’s by aiding business expansion and retention, supporting local revitalization projects, or bolstering regional tourism, the funding approved today will boost economic activity from New York City to the Finger Lakes.”

...

Finger Lakes Region 
Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing (Finger Lakes Region - Genesee County) – $5,000,000
The Genesee County Industrial Development Agency, doing business as Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), will use a grant of up to $5,000,000 for the cost of land acquisition,  engineering, and soft costs related to infrastructure development for 1366 Technologies, Inc., the first tenant of the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama, NY. 1366 Technologies is a solar energy company with an innovative approach to manufacturing the silicon wafers that are the building block of solar cells. The company chose the STAMP site out of 300 possible locations due to the site’s positive momentum and commitment to growing manufacturing interests. This project will be completed in August 2016 and aligns with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s plan in that it supports advanced technology and manufacturing and is identified as key to the region in the Industrial Development and Infrastructure category. 

December 24, 2015 - 1:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in Oakfield, Alabama.

(Submitted photos and info from Karen Reamer.)

The dynamic members of Girl Scout Troop 42182, from Oakfield and Alabama, sponsored a Toy Drive for the second year in a row on Saturday, Dec. 19th. The girls are Cadettes and are earning their Silver Award.  

The girls collected donations for gently used and new toys and clothing from the residents of Oakfield and made them available to anyone in need. They also invited Santa Claus and had crafts and cookies for the kids while their parents shopped.

A special thanks to the Oakfield Dollar General for donating new toys.

 

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