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July 13, 2018 - 2:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, business.

Submitted photo and press release:

Rochester, N.Y. — Full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency Dixon Schwabl is pleased to announce the promotion of Merritt Ward to account director.

As account director, Ward will lead the IP.com, ESL Federal Credit Union and New York Apple Association accounts. She will be responsible for strategic planning and organic growth for integrated marketing clients.

Ward joined the Dixon Schwabl team in 2016 as account supervisor. Prior, she spent six years with Weber Shandwick working on various clients, including Ocean Spray, L.L. Bean and Zipcar. Outside of the office, Ward is active in her community and is a member of United Way’s Emerging Leaders Society and Women’s Leadership Council.

Ward earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University and her master’s degree in Integrated Marketing communication from Emerson College. She resides in Le Roy with her fiancé, Steve.

About Dixon Schwabl

Dixon Schwabl, a full-service marketing communications firm established in 1987, provides marketing, advertising, public relations, social and digital media, research, interactive and media placement services to more than 100 clients nationally.

The firm generated nearly $70 million in revenue in 2017. Based in Rochester, Dixon Schwabl has been ranked one of the 25 Best Small & Medium Workplaces in America by the consulting firm Great Place to Work for 13 consecutive years, including No. 1 rankings in 2008 and 2010.

In addition, Dixon Schwabl was ranked the No. 1 Marketing Firm to Work for in America by Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine in 2016. The agency was also named one of the 2010 Top 20 Small Company Workplaces in the country by Inc. magazine and Winning Workplaces, as well as one of the Top Places to Work in PR by PR News in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Most recently, the agency ranked No. 22 on Ad Age’s 2015 Best Places to Work in Advertising & Media list and was officially certified as a Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise by New York State in 2016. For more information, visit dixonschwabl.com.

July 13, 2018 - 11:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, bergen, Le Roy, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for two projects at the agency’s July 12th board meeting. The combined projects are anticipated to create 20 new jobs and approximately $7.6 million in capital investment.

J. Rental is receiving sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $723,000 to build a new 60,000-square-foot facility on 19.5 acres in the Apple Tree Acres business park in Bergen. The $6.3 million project will create 15 new jobs. For every $1 in public benefit, the company is investing $14 into the local economy.

Lancor Development Corp. is proposing to invest $1.3 million to build a 12,000-square-foot facility in the new Le Roy Food and Technology Park. The project would create five new jobs and retain seven jobs. Lancor is receiving sales and property tax exemptions of approximately $122,000. For every $1 of public benefit, the company is investing $28.5 into the local economy.

The board also accepted an application from Pearl Solar LLC for the construction of two 2MW community solar farms for a combined total of 4MW at 2901 Pearl Street Road. Both projects have the same address but would have separate parcel tax map numbers. Pearl Solar LLC would make an approximate $6 million investment and is seeking approximately $288,000 in sales and property tax exemptions.

July 13, 2018 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, city centre, batavia, business.

Press release:

At its July 12th board meeting, the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors unanimously approved providing $10,000 for a feasibility study to determine uses for the Batavia City Centre site.

The GCEDC is collaborating with the City of Batavia and the Batavia Development Corporation in conducting the study. The city and the GCEDC also are applying for funding from Empire State Development’s Strategic Planning Program for matching funds.

“We continue to strongly support economic development initiatives in the City of Batavia,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia. “The redevelopment of Batavia City Centre site is critically important to the efforts to bring more capital investment and jobs to the region’s urban center as it has such a prominent footprint in the city.”

The intent of the study is to evaluate various redevelopment scenarios for the site, including remaining as a retail center. Other components of the study may include site planning, engineering, architectural renderings, cost estimates, permitting and financial analyses. The study also is intended to build off of current plans that have been developed for the site through the DRI process.

“After a number of discussions with our partners on this effort, we came to the conclusion that a feasibility study would build upon and advance the goals of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde, who also serves on the DRI advisory group. “In essence, a study will help create a vision for what the site could be and we believe that the information and analysis resulting from the study will generate interest among the development community.”

July 11, 2018 - 7:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ignifte Buffalo, business, news, Darien.

Always Something Farm, on Sumner Road, in Darien is one of 27 finalists in the Ignite Buffalo business funding competition.

The competition, which received 500 entries from throughout Western New York, is expected to award seven companies with $50,000 to $100,000 to help that company grow and expand, along with mentoring.

The contest is supported by Facebook, M&T Bank, Intuit, Amazon, WordPress, and WooCommerce in partnership with 43North, a startup accelerator in Buffalo.

A finalist competition is taking place tonight at Erie Community College.

We don't have any information on what Always Something Farm pitched in its application as either a product or service it sees as an opportunity to grow, but owners Michael and Stephanie Parkot posted on Facebook, "This could change the face of the western NY food scene permanently!"

A story in Buffalo Spree in June indicates the Parkots raise heritage breed Mangalitsa hogs.

There were at least four or five companies from Genesee County that entered the competition. Always Something Farm is the only one from Genesee County to make it this far. There are 24 companies from Erie County still in the competition.

July 11, 2018 - 3:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, dri, downtown redevelopment, business, news, notify.


Steve Hyde, CEO of the GCEDC and co-chair of the DRI Local Planning Committee, Rachel Tabelski, new director of the Batavia Development Corp., Pat Burk, director of Batavia Players, Beth Kemp, director of the Business Improvement District, and Matt Worth, interim city manager.

Statement from Rachel Tabelski:

“Batavia is thrilled to see the announcement of the DRI projects today, and we want to thank Governor Cuomo and his administration for their support. The DRI funding will continue to transform Downtown Batavia into a vibrant center of business, dinning, shopping and entertainment.  The three guiding principals of the DRI included healthy living, arts and entertainment, and prosperity for all which will be achieved through these projects. The Batavia Development Corporation is ready to assist, not just the projects that were funded, but to work with the projects that were not selected to help them move forward,” said Rachael Tabelski, director of Economic Development for the Batavia Development Corporation.

UPDATE, statement by Assemblyman Steve Hawley: 

“I am overjoyed with the City of Batavia receiving this $10 million grant from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. These investments in Downtown Batavia will help create new development, turn public space into valuable community uses, and improve delivery of local healthcare. It will go an immensely long way to revitalize Batavia’s business district, increase downtown housing and retain and attract jobs, and employers locally,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia).

Press release the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced eight transformational projects for Batavia as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award.

The strategic investments in downtown Batavia will help to drive new, mixed-use development, improve access to local healthcare, and transform public space for community use. The investments are part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities for the Finger Lakes.

"Through smart investments and sustainable development, we are transforming Batavia's downtown and generating prosperity throughout Western New York," Governor Cuomo said. "These projects will help to not only preserve Batavia's rich history and character, but they will enhance the city as a destination and act as an engine for future growth for the entire region."

Batavia was named a DRI Round 2 winner in October. The downtown area is a mixed-use, affordable neighborhood with access to jobs, anchor businesses, and city and county services. The area has an excellent foundation upon which to continue its revitalization, including amenities such as recreational sites, healthcare facilities, food markets, a library, and various retail and restaurant venues in a walkable environment.

The eight specific projects to be funded through the DRI include:

1) Create a Thriving Residential and Commercial Hub on the site of the former Della Penna property by constructing a new mixed-use development on the vacant and abandoned industrial brownfield. The new Ellicott Station will contain mixed-income residential units, four commercial spaces, and a brewery/restaurant and will leverage more than $20 million dollars in grants and private investment, become a thriving residential/commercial anchor for downtown Batavia. ($425,000)

2) Rehabilitate the Former Genesee Bank and the Carr's Department Store Buildings for Mixed-Used Redevelopment. The first floor of the buildings, which have been vacant for more than five years, will be renovated for commercial uses, including a new cidery/café and retail and office incubator space. New mixed-income upper-floor residential units on the upper floors will provide additional housing options for downtown residents. ($1,000,000)

3) Establish Ellicott Place as New Mixed-Use Gateway to Downtown by renovating a large, underused building at a prominent location on Ellicott Street to include three first-floor commercial spaces, first-floor covered parking, and 10 upper-floor residential units. A new elevator and facade upgrades will improve access and instill community pride in a previously chronically vacant space. The redevelopment of this 48,121-square-foot building will complement the nearby Ellicott Station project and establish a new gateway to the downtown. ($1,150,000)

4) Develop an Intergenerational Healthy Living Campus in the Heart of Downtown, including a new home for the Genesee Area YMCA. The centrally located facility will include a 55,000- to 60,000-square-foot building and parking for 300 cars. Together with a complementary medical building planned for the site of the former YMCA building, the project is expected to generate 3,000 visits downtown daily. ($4,075,000)

5) Establish a New Regional Performing Arts Center at Batavia City Centre by renovating the façade and interior of the city-owned building. The new visually prominent and centrally located downtown theater will feature space for offices, concessions, retail, and a dance academy, and will augment nightlife and weekend activity. ($700,000)

6) Support Downtown Building Improvements by creating a Building Improvement Fund that will provide grants to assist downtown property owners to undertake both interior and exterior renovations. Building improvements will enhance the aesthetics and livability of the downtown core and provide opportunities for new entrepreneurs to establish their businesses. ($600,000)

7) Transform City Centre into an Indoor Market and Performance Space by upgrading the concourse and entrances to accommodate an indoor marketplace with micro-retail kiosks and public performance space to hold community events. Improvements will include flooring, lighting, entrance structures, wall color, and roof upgrades. ($1,000,000)

8) Enhance Jackson Square, a public gathering space bordered by historic buildings in the heart of downtown, with decorative pavement upgrades, a multi-level deck/stage, seating, lighting, decorative signage, a networking nook, and landscaping. The upgraded public plaza will become a lively hub and common space for community interaction, and provide connections to multiple businesses through its unique alleyway node configuration. ($750,000)

"Growing the downtown core of the City of Batavia is an important part of our Finger Lakes Forward initiative," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Batavia is at the heart of a growing and diverse regional economy in Upstate New York.

"From the arts, to agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and entrepreneurial startup companies, great things are happening in Batavia and across the region. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects announced today will foster more growth throughout Batavia's central business district, creating jobs and transforming this historic part of Genesee County."

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "The City of Batavia will see great benefit from these investments, and we are excited to see these plans come to fruition. Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative is an effective way to bring transformative growth to communities across the state while bringing out our collective competitive spirit."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Projects in Batavia supported through the DRI will help create an inviting, engaging downtown that will encourage investments and growth in new businesses, and quality of life improvements for its residents and visitors."

NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Through Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, these community-led, targeted investments will combine with HCR's $379 million investment in the Finger Lakes over the last seven years that has created affordable housing for about 12,200 residents to help ensure that as Batavia's economy grows, all New Yorkers have the opportunity to take part. In New York State, we are lucky to have a Governor who understands how to build inclusive, long-term economic success."

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said, "This first part of $10 million in state investment will help revitalize our local neighborhoods and move our Upstate economy forward. Each one of these eight transformational projects will take downtown Batavia to the next level."

Eugene Jankowski Jr., Batavia City Council president, said, "Today's announcement of Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative is exciting news for the City of Batavia and our downtown district. We are thrilled for the projects that were chosen and the City will be ready to assist them move forward. We are also dedicated to work with all the project owners that applied to the DRI, but did not receive funding to help them succeed in their plans here in Batavia. In all, the DRI investment could yield over $40 million in private investment directly into the downtown core of our city and that will bring prosperity to all."

Intermim Batavia City Manager Matthew Worth said, "The City of Batavia is very excited by the DRI announcement and for this investment into its downtown. These projects will be an infusion of activity into Batavia's downtown that will give momentum for additional projects to move forward. The City is prepared to partner with the Batavia Development Corporation and the Genesee County Economic Development Corporation to assist any and all proposed projects. The City is grateful to the Governor's office to have been included in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Congratulations to the award recipients!"

Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center and Batavia DRI Local Planning Committee co-chair, said, "Through a collaborative process, we have identified various private and public projects that have been vetted publicly. We are confident these projects will further our mission of growing our economy and revitalizing our urban core as peacemaking and downtown redevelopment is such a critical piece of today's live, work and play models required by our multi-generational community.

"These projects will be a catalyst for future private sector investments as we continue our collaborative efforts to redevelop the city of Batavia. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his vision to invest in placemaking and downtown revitalization across New York and for his confidence in Batavia and Genesee County's enabling its continued growth and redevelopment."

Finger Lakes Forward

Under the Finger Lakes Forward initiative, the State is investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion -- and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

July 10, 2018 - 5:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, news, business, Farming, ROPS, Charles Schumer.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that following his push, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has agreed to administratively provide funding for the work being done nationwide, including the Northeast Center For Occupational Safety And Health For Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing (NEC), on the national tractor rollover protection systems (ROPS) rebate program through the end of FY2019.

Schumer, who has long advocated for the ROPS program, said today’s announcement is welcomed news for thousands of Upstate farmers. Schumer lauded the CDC for funding the ROPS program and said it is a vital program, considering that farm-related deaths are up to 800 percent higher than many other major industries, with tractor overturns being their most frequent cause at a rate of 96 cases per year.

“ROPS is a critical and cost-effective rebate program that provides important information to farmers across the country on how to find and install the right rollover bar for their machinery. The CDC’s decision to provide funding administratively for this lifesaving program is a great first step, but I won’t rest until I know for certain it will still be fully operational for years to come.

"I vow to continue working with the CDC to ensure our agricultural community has every available resource to succeed,” Senator Schumer said.

The ROPS program facilitates rebates in states with state-based funding to farmers to cover approximately 70 percent of the cost for a farmer to install a ROPS roll bar retrofit kit on their tractor. According to Schumer, the original grant funding for this important program was slated to expire in September, but following a major push by Schumer, the program will be funded for at least another year.

“Keeping family farmers and farm workers who operate dangerous machinery safe must be a major priority, especially in Upstate New York, where the agricultural community is our lifeblood. That is why I laud the CDC for restoring funding for this critical farm safety program,” Schumer added. “The work done by organizations like the NEC is exactly the type of work the federal government should be investing in: it’s cost-effective, informed by real industry experts, and helps save farmers’ lives every day.

"Funding this program means that Upstate New York Farmers will have continued access to valuable critical resources including a 1-800 safety hotline number and on the ground experts in rural communities to help farmers access the ROPS Rebate Program, which helps them correctly install rollover bars on their tractors just in case the tractor flips over.

"I’m proud of the role I played in helping secure funding for the ROPS program to plow forward and will be doing everything possible to make sure this program, which puts farmers first, is protected for years to come.”

According to NEC Director, Julie Sorensen, Ph.D., the program has also been considerably cost effective with recent economic assessments pointing to a $5 million savings in NY State due to deaths and injuries averted through the program.

“Before this program, many NY farmers had neither the money nor the time to invest in these crucial lifesaving devices and unfortunately their only viable solution prior to the ROPS program was to routinely put their lives at risk hoping this wouldn’t be their day to die on the job," Sorensen said. "Senator Schumer’s advocacy sends a clear message to farmers -- you are important and valued members of the New York community.”

Schumer said the agricultural community is the lifeblood of Upstate New York, and that protecting the well-being and safety of farmers must be a major priority. In response to the hazardous environment of working on a farm, the Northeast Center For Occupational Safety And Health For Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing launched an effort to create the life-saving ROPS Rebate Program, which covers approximately 70 percent of the cost for a farmer to install a ROPS rollbar kit on their tractor.

In most cases, this means farmers only pay $500 or less for this life-saving equipment that can otherwise cost up to $1,200. NEC also provides information to farmers throughout the country on how to find and install the right rollover bar. Since its inception in 2006, the NEC reports that more than 2,150 tractors have been retrofitted with protective structures in seven states, with more than 1,500 of those retrofits occurring in New York State alone.

Farmers throughout the country benefit from the hotline and administrative support that is provided through CDC funding. Furthermore, Schumer said, participants in New York reported 221 close calls and 19 serious incidents in which death or injury was likely without the protective ROPS structures.

Schumer said now that the CDC has agreed to administratively fund the program, critical outreach and infrastructure surrounding the ROPS program can continue and grow. Schumer lauded the CDC and vowed to do everything possible to ensure that the CDC administratively funds the program now and in the future so that the inroads the ROPS program has made can continue beyond 2020.

July 9, 2018 - 1:38pm

Press release:

The  48th Annual Genesee County 4-H Market Animal Auction will be held Thursday, July 19, at the Genesee County Fair.

The auction begins at 7 p.m. in the main show ring.

New this year, 4-H members will be selling market chickens and dairy steers.

The auction will feature approximately 28 lots of market chickens, 10 goats, 19 lambs, 29 beef steers, two dairy steers and 44 hogs.

There will be a complementary buyers' dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the fairgrounds.

Auction supporters will receive buyer’s dinner meal tickets after registering for a buyer’s number.

Special thanks to William Kent and Family for providing 48 years of support of the 4-H Market Animal Auction Program.

For more information, contact the Genesee County 4-H Office at 585-343-3040, ext. 101.

July 9, 2018 - 1:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, bergen.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for two projects at the agency’s July 12th board meeting. The combined projects would create 20 new jobs and approximately $7.6 million in capital investment.

The board also will consider accepting an application from Pearl Solar LLC for the construction of two 2MW community solar farms for a combined total of 4MW at 2901 Pearl Street Road.

Both projects have the same address but would have separate parcel tax map numbers. Pearl Solar LLC would make an approximate $6 million investment and is seeking approximately $288,000 in sales and property tax exemptions.

J. Rental is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $723,000 to build a new 60,000-square-foot facility on 19.5 acres in the Apple Trees Acres business park in Bergen. The $6.3 million project would create 15 new jobs. 

Lancor Development Corp. is proposing to invest $1.3 million to build a 12,000-square-foot facility in the new Le Roy Food and Technology Park. The project would create five new jobs and retain seven jobs. Lancor is seeking sales and property tax exemptions of approximately $122,000.

July 6, 2018 - 2:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Milestones, WNYIL, batavia.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies (WNYIL) is pleased to announce that Stephanie Orlando has joined their team as chief operations officer (COO), second only to Chief Executive Officer Douglas J. Usiak.

As COO, she is responsible for the overall supervision of over 2,500 employees at seven offices, serving 12 counties, that have an annual operating budget of more than $40 million. The Batavia office (Independent Living of Genesee Region) is located at 113 Main St.

She will help manage 61 contracts, including 18 management care and managed long-term care agreements, including federal grants, as well as state and local contracts. In addition, she helps manage 13 subcontracts with community-based organizations that provide services to 23 counties.

Some selected highlights of Orlando's accomplishments and honors:

  • In 2005, the Western New York native moved to Albany to work for Families Together in New York State where she developed the statewide network YOUTH POWER! (YP!). Through peer-to-peer mentoring YP! empowers young people to be leaders and advocates. Notable among the other programs she helped develop, was the 2015 New York State Office of Mental Health Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver Youth Peer Advocate training curriculum, which she co-authored with Jutta Dotterweich of Cornell University. She transitioned out as YP! director in 2017.
  • Also, in 2005, Orlando connected to other advocates by joining the National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN). Attending their Leadership Institute resulted in her serving for years on the National Council on Disability’s (NCD) Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), holding the positions of Outreach Workgroup Leader, Chairperson, and Mentor. In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed her, (confirmed by the U.S. Senate), to serve a two-year term on the full NCD. In this period, Orlando served on the Executive Committee as the chairperson of the Governance and Planning Committee.
  • From 2001 to 2005, she was the executive assistant for the Children’s Mental Health Coalition of Western New York, organizing a variety of activities.
  • From 1999 to 2001 Orlando worked as the lead Youth Peer Advocate for Mid-Erie Counseling and Treatment Services. Also, in 1999, Stephanie was selected as an original member of the New York State Office of Mental Health Youth Advisory Council and elected Chairperson.
  • Having received her high-school-equivalency diploma, Orlando obtained her Bachelor of Arts and graduated magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo in 2005.
  • Among her honors are: the Erie County Executive Award for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (2004); Mental Health America’s mPower Award (2006); the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)'s Diana Viets Memorial Award (2008); and the Leila Salmon Advocacy Award from The New York State Mental Health Association (NYSMHA).

We of WNYIL look forward to working with Stephanie Orlando in this exciting new role.

WNYIL is Western New York's largest cross-disability, consumer-directed, non-residential organization for persons with disabilities. At WNYIL, individuals of all ages and all types of disabilities learn to exercise their freedom of choice to take control of their own lives, in order to live more productively in, and contribute to, the community.

July 2, 2018 - 4:42pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge will offer for bid 198 acres of grasslands for hay in three different fields ranging in size from 50 to 90 acres.

The Refuge annually provides a total of 1,100 acres of grassland habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. Active management of these grasslands is necessary to provide the highest quality nesting and migration habitat. The Refuge haying program helps in this management process by reducing encroachment of broad leaf weeds and shrubs.

Units will be allocated on a highest bid per field basis for each field. Sealed bids will be accepted until close-of-business (COB) on Wednesday, July 11. Bids will be opened on Thursday, July 12.

An official Bid Sheet and a Commercial Activities Special Use Permit Application, both available from the Refuge headquarters, are required to make a bid.

Completed Bid Sheets and Permit Applications can be mailed to or dropped off at the Refuge headquarters at 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013 and must contain all the information requested.

If you have any questions about the haying program or would like to see the fields, please call Paul Hess at 585-948-5445, ext. 7032.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located midway between Rochester and Buffalo, and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

July 1, 2018 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in adam miller, business, batavia.


Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle celebrated 100 years in business Saturday with games, prizes and $1 tacos. Proceeds benefitted Don R. Carroll Toys for Kids.

Previously: Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle celebrates a century in business



June 28, 2018 - 11:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) is conducting a search to hire a new director of marketing and communications.  The position was recently vacated when it was announced that the current Director, Rachel Tabelski, will become the next director of the Batavia Development Corporation.

The director of Marketing and Communications is responsible for the development, implementation and management of marketing and communications plans and activities in support of the GCEDC’s mission.

Among the responsibilities include, but are not limited to: development, implementation and management of the organization’s marketing collaterals; media and public relations; management of website, social media and customer communications; sales support; and, public policy engagement.

“The position has really evolved over the last few years under Rachel as the person we are seeking to hire will have a number of responsibilities as the role touches all aspects of the operations of our agency,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO.

“It is a dynamic and a critically important role as our region continues to attract interest among national and international site selectors, but also keeping in mind that we have many local and regional companies seeking to grow and expand here and we need to make sure our marketing and communications are aligned for both.”

Those interested in applying for the position must respond by July 12. A job listing has been posted on the GCEDC website at www.gcedc.com.

June 27, 2018 - 12:52pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in tourism, chamber of commerce, business.


At Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises, you’ll be singing and celebrating over a century of American history as you cruise down the Erie Canal. Located just outside Genesee County (just 15 minutes from Niagara Falls along historic Route 104) and headquartered in a renovated 1840 warehouse, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises offers a relaxing adventure and exciting take on history -- with daily and charter cruises, lively narration, and private charters and event space.

Experience the Canal

History is, in fact, the main theme at Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises. Experience “Life in the Past Lane" when you take a two-hour scenic cruise down the Erie Canal and enjoy the sights and sounds of the waterway that changed the nation.

From May through October, book an experience that takes you through locks 34 and 35, the only double set of locks on the Canal, and ride 50 feet up as it fills with over three million gallons of water in mere minutes. Pass under Lockport’s "Upside Down Bridge," Lockport's "Big Bridge" (the widest bridge in the United States at 299 feet wide), through the "deep rock cut" and under lift bridges (everybody down!).

Cruise guides provide narration set to popular 1800s music – setting the scene and the mood as you navigate the canal.

Learn the History

Since 1987, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises has been a family owned business and community staple. From the boats to the building and event space, every detail has been carefully considered and immaculately preserved. The original stone walls are the remains of what was once Niagara Preserving Company, and the property was also at one time Western Block Company, a business that manufactured block and tackle for pulleys used on canal boats. Many of these artifacts can still be found throughout the spacious building.

Across the parking stands a four-story stone building built in the 1840s. The building was once a flour mill that used the water from the Erie Canal as its main power source, and channeled its excess water down a spillway, which still carries water to the canal today.

The building -- preserved in its original condition -- serves as the Lockport & Erie Canal Heritage Museum with hands-on canal related exhibits, a working model of a lock, and many interesting, and educational displays and artifacts.

Make a Memory that Lasts

But, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises is more than just a history lesson and a cruise along the canal. Each of its three vessels and spacious buildings can be rented out for private events, functions, and even weddings. Book time on a boat with food, drinks, music, and the opportunity to choose-your-own-adventure - we mean, route! Each has its own great atmosphere:

  • Lockview IV, a 48-passenger boat built to resemble the African Queen;
  • Lockview V, a 125 passenger, double-decker boat built for the Great Lakes;
  • Lockview VI, a 150 passenger, double-deck Mississippi-style stern paddle wheel.

Back on dry land, choose from one of three event spaces:

  • The Veranda Banquet Room has more than 100 windows overlooking the Canal for stunning views from every angle;
  • The Meeting Room boasts a giant skylight and windows that overlook cobblestone walkways and the Canal for an atmosphere that will whisk you back in time;
  • The Canalside Grove has an enclosed shelter but puts your event outside directly on the canal. (And let’s not forget the 15-foot fully stocked bar available!)

So good are they at what they do, Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises was recently entered into the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame for earning a Certificate of Excellence every year for the past five years! With so many satisfied customers, you’re sure to be one, too.

For more information on nearby attractions, visit www.visitgeneseeny.com.

June 26, 2018 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in H.E. Turner Funeral Homes, business, news.

Press release:

H.E. Turner & Co., Bohm-Calarco-Smith, and Burdett & Sanford Funeral Homes have temporarily lost telephone service coming into and out of our four locations. However, we remain ready to assist our community as the need arises.

Therefore, if you find yourself needing to contact us, please call (585) 322-3249 or (585) 356-1668 until further notice. 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Our telephone provider is experiencing a system-wide outage. We will update this release when the situation is resolved. 

UPDATE Wednesday morning: The regular phone lines are back in working order.

June 24, 2018 - 9:00am
posted by Billie Owens in adam miller, Tacos for Toys, Toys for Kids, business, batavia, news.
To celebrate 100 years in business, Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle is hosting a food event on Saturday, June 30, with all proceeds benefitting Don R. Carroll Toys for Kids.
"Tacos for Toys" will be held at Adam Miller from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations of $1 per taco suggested.
The store is located at 8 Center St. in Downtown Batavia.
"Help us celebrate -- stop by and grab some tacos!" says owner John Roche.
June 20, 2018 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, Batavia Development Corp., batavia, business, news, notify.

The Batavia Development Corp. Board of Directors agreed this morning to hire Rachael Tabelski as the new economic development director, replacing Julie Pacatte, who left a couple of months ago to pursue a new job opportunity.

Tabelski is a Batavia resident and has been marketing and communications director for the Genesee Economic Development Center for more than seven years.

Board President Pierluigi Cipollone, who served on the search committee, praised Tabelski as clearly the most qualified among a field of five candidates, that included two from Buffalo, one from Texas, and a native New Yorker from the Finger Lakes region who currently works in Massachusetts.

"She came to the interview very well prepared," Cipollone said. 

He said she had a spreadsheet of all BDC's projects, worked side-by-side with Pacatte on preparing the city's successful bid for the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative project, and clearly understands economic development.

The job offer to Tabelski, with a salary of $67,000 annually, which is $2,000 more than the BDC paid Pacatte, was approved unanimously.

"It's a no-brainer," said Board Member Steve Pies. "She is well versed in our projects and she is passionate about it.

The fact that Tabelski has been working with Pacatte on city projects as part of her job with GCEDC makes her a perfect fit for the job.

"There will be no hiccup," Valle said. "She is knowledgeable about everything. She has a great vision and goals, and she's fantastic."

Tabelski is married to City Council Member Adam Tabelski. Cipollone said the only conflict of interest will be for Adam Tabelski will be on votes related to his wife's compensation. He will need to recuse himself on those issues when they came before the council.

In the discussion, board members questioned whether the compensation was appropriate. Cipollone said that based on his research the salary range in similar-sized cities in the region is $70,000 to $90,000, so the BDC is on the low-end of the scale, he said.  

That prompted Steve Casey to ask if, notwithstanding her ties to the community, a low salary might encourage her to move on to another job sooner rather than later. Cipollone noted the BDC has limited funds to work with and anything paid in salary would mean less available for projects.

Rachael Tabelski will start her new job July 6.

June 19, 2018 - 1:54pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s Haunted History Trail of New York State program was recognized at the 2018 Rochester PRism Awards on Thursday, June 14.

The statewide tourism trail earned two recognitions for excellence in marketing and public relations – one first-place PRism Award and one Award of Excellence.

The PRism was awarded for the Trail’s “Spooky” Social Media campaign created and executed by Chamber member Break the Ice Media. Social channels saw growth across the board – nearly 40-percent page growth on Facebook, 22 percent on Twitter, and 90.4-percent engagement growth on Instagram -- with events selling out and new visitors traveling the trail.

The program was also recognized with an award of excellence for the 2018 Haunted History Trail brochure, a beautiful 36-page travel magazine that was designed by Corfu designer Matt Steinberg of The Quackenstein Graphic Design Co., and featured stunning photography from the official trail photographer Steve Shoemaker of Amityphotos.com. Break the Ice Media led the team with copywriting and project management.

The PRism Awards are an annual award show put on by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Rochester Chapter, celebrating the best public relations work -- both elements and campaigns -- from the previous year.


About the Haunted History Trail of New York State

The Haunted History Trail of New York State is a tourism collaboration spearheaded by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with 32 county tourism offices that features haunted locations from almost every region of New York State. Haunted dining, tours, and overnights are available on the trail, with many of the locations tying back to New York’s history. For more information, visit: www.hauntedhistorytrail.com.

June 18, 2018 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, news.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today revealed the details of the newly released Senate Farm Bill. The senators said the bill could benefit key Upstate New York industries, and urged their colleagues in the Senate to pass the bill as quickly as possible.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand detailed several major areas in which the Farm Bill will be a major boost to Upstate farmers, growers, and producers, as well as other New York businesses, like Hickey Freeman. 

Schumer and Gillibrand said the newly announced bill reflects a variety of different priorities they pushed for on behalf of the New York agricultural community. Schumer said the bill will give New York's agricultural industry a shot in the arm, and vowed to preserve Upstate New York’s priorities as the bill goes through the legislative process.  

“The pending Senate Farm Bill is a major victory for Upstate New York and its large and vital agricultural community. It includes important positive provisions that should push this bill over the finish line,” Senator Schumer said. “Ensuring the passage of a Farm Bill focused on agricultural policy is vital for New York’s agricultural community and our economy as a whole.

"The bill makes further investments to help Upstate New York dairy farmers, boosts the rapidly growing organic sector, builds on New York’s burgeoning industrial hemp industry, and protects important New York jewels like Hickey Freeman from unfair foreign competition.

"While the bill does not contain everything that we fought for, it is ultimately a win for the farmers that are the heart of Upstate New York. Most importantly this bill will also help deliver immediate certainty for our farmers at a time when they need it the most."

“New York State’s farmers and producers are vital to our economy and they work day and night to feed millions of families across our country,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “After hearing from farmers and producers all across our state, I fought hard on the Senate Agriculture Committee from the very beginning to make sure this year’s Senate Farm Bill had New York’s best interests at its core.

"I will always fight to support New York’s agriculture community, and I was very proud to support this legislation in committee.”

New York Business Growth

Schumer fought to extend and fully fund the Wool Trust Fund program, which Rochester icon Hickey Freeman relies on for crucial import tax relief.  The program was created more than a decade ago to compensate the domestic suit industry for the competitive disadvantage that results from an unfair tariff inversion where the duty on the imported finished product is lower than the duty on the inputs used to make the product here at home.

Under the Wool Trust Fund program, U.S. manufacturers of wool clothing and fabric are eligible for a partial refund of duties paid on imports of wool inputs.  The Wool Trust Fund program also provides U.S. wool producers with funding for improvements in wool production methods and development of the wool market.

The conference report restores Wool Trust Fund payment levels for recent years when the program was underfunded and extends its authorization, through 2023. U.S. manufacturers and wool producers -- and their American workers -- would be hard hit by the elimination of the Wool Trust Fund program. Hickey Freeman has saved millions of dollars over the past few years through the program and this provision will ensure they receive the dollars they are owed. 


The Senators said the Senate Farm bill funds key environmental programs that are essential to farmers, like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  These programs are voluntary conservation initiatives that farmers can utilize through the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to help them continue to be good stewards of the land.    

Agriculture and Farming/Growing:

Organic Farming:

The newly introduced Senate Farm Bill established mandatory funding of $11.5 million for the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP), which helps support farmers who want to become involved in the organic market by providing reimbursements of some of their annual fees for United States Department of Agriculture USDA organic certification. It includes an increase in critical funding for organic research through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative from its current level of $20 million to $50 million by FY2022.

Finally, the Senate version of the Farm Bill increases the authorization for the National Organic Program (NOP). Both Senators have been major supporters of this program that helps USDA protect farmers from having to unfairly compete against fraudulent organic imports while also helping to maintain consumer confidence in the USDA certified organic brand. This bill increases the authorization for the NOP to $16.5 million in FY2019, $18 million in FY2020, $20 million in FY2021, $22 million in FY2022, and $24 million in FY2023.

Specialty Crops

The Senate Farm Bill contained a number of provisions beneficial to Upstate farmers, but especially to farmers of specialty crops. New York produces a wide range of specialty crops (fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, herbs and spices, maple syrup, Christmas trees, etc.) that rank highly nationwide in terms of both production and economic value.

The Senate Farm Bill, according to Schumer and Gillibrand, provides vital funding to key programs that aid specialty crop producers, such as the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. These programs help provide support to New York's specialty crop industry in the form of robust research funding. 


The Senate Farm Bill reauthorizes Schumer’s original legislation known as The  Maple Tap Act, which Schumer said is now officially called the Acer Access and Development Program. This provision will continue to help maple producers in the Hudson Valley and across Upstate New York boost their production and become more competitive with places like Canada, which produces 85 percent of the world's maple product.

The senators said, specifically, this provision provides an authorization for USDA grants to states that create programs to encourage individual and private landowners to open up their trees to maple tapping. Schumer's legislation would also provide grants to states to support market promotion, maple industry research and development, and education through leading institutions, like Cornell University.


Another important provision Schumer and Gillibrand fought to include was the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Schumer, a cosponsor of the Hemp Farming Act, said the provision could help unlock Industrial hemp’s full potential as an agricultural commodity across Upstate New York by removing hemp from a federal list of controlled substances.

The senators said the bill will do four important things for farmers nationwide including in New York State:

  • Remove industrial hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act;
  • Empower states to be the principal regulators of hemp;
  • Allow hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
  • Finally, it would make hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance.

Most importantly, the senator’s said this important provision would allow for New York’s agricultural community to grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity if they so choose, allowing New York growers more flexibility. 


The bill directs the National Agricultural Statistics Service of USDA to document barley production in New York State. This would ensure that producers have the information they need to decide on future plantings.

The information would be valuable for growers because it would provide sufficient data for crop insurance companies to expand insurance offerings and eventually offer a malting barley endorsement.

The newly introduced Senate Farm Bill also includes major victories for Upstate New York dairy farmers and producers. The newly introduced Farm Bill invests in programs to help give much-needed relief to Upstate New York dairy farmers and producers.

The Senate Version of the Farm Bill includes a variety of helpful reforms including: an investment of $100 million to help improve the Federal dairy insurance program to help make the program work better for small to medium dairy farms; a provision waiving administrative fees for beginning, veteran, and underserved farmers; a provision continuing the vital changes made in the Omnibus Budget bill that allowed for the creation of new dairy insurance tools in the future; legislation introduced by Senator Gillibrand, The Dairy Premium Refund Act, which would return $77.1 million in insurance premiums paid by farmers for insurance coverage that did not work, while also establishing a milk donation program to reimburse eligible dairy organizations costs incurred for donating their milk.


The newly introduced Senate farm bill also includes a vital provision called the Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS) Act, which both Senators are currently cosponsors of.  This bill would help give victims of domestic violence and their pets greater access to safe sheltering options, as well as provide stronger legal protections of pets. According to the Humane Society, up to one-third of domestic violence victims delay leaving a dangerous situation, because they fear for the safety of their pets, and up to one-fourth return to an abuser due to concern for their pets.

Local Food Programs

The Senate Farm Bill creates a new Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) by combining the Value Added Producer Grants Program and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. The value-added producers grant program helps dairy farmers that start producing artisanal cheese or apple growers that enter the hard cider industry.

The grants administered through the new LAMP program will continue to support strengthening our local food systems from rural farmers to urban consumers.

Water, waste disposal, and wastewater facility grants

The Senate Farm bill provides funding to support and strengthen rural water infrastructure. Funding to Rural Development programs like the Water, Waste Disposal, and Wastewater Facility Grant program will help families and businesses across Upstate New York and nationwide continue to have access to clean drinking water.   

Community facility investments

The Senate Farm Bill supports Community Facility investments to continue to help provide resources to construct hospitals, improve schools, while also improving fire and police stations across small towns in New York State. 

Rural Broadband

This year’s Senate Farm Bill includes a provision, based on Senator Gillibrand’s bipartisan Broadband Connections for Rural Opportunities Program Act (B-CROP Act), which would make grant funding available for rural broadband projects in high-need areas.

Gillibrand worked with her colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee to include this provision in the Senate Farm Bill, which would help encourage more high-speed broadband deployment to high-need areas by awarding grants in combination with the current loan funding available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service.

Federal funds would target the highest-need rural and tribal areas, allowing for grants of up to 50 percent of a project’s cost, and up to 75 percent for remote, high-need areas, to be awarded in combination with the current loan funding available through USDA. The Senate Farm Bill also increases the annual funding level of the USDA broadband program to $150 million.

REAP Zones

The Farm Bill would reauthorize the Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone designation for Sullivan County and the Town of Wawarsing in Ulster County. The REAP Zone program provides specialized technical assistance from USDA to assist in community development efforts, including rehabilitating rural housing, developing local and regional food systems, supporting rural entrepreneurs, small businesses, and infrastructure improvements to community facilities, water, and wastewater systems, and other similar projects that are critical to an area’s economic development. Senator Gillibrand worked with Senator Leahy (D-VT) and the Agriculture Committee to include this amendment in this year’s Farm Bill.

June 15, 2018 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Western OTB, michael ranzenhofer, batavia, business.

Press release:

The New York State Senate passed Senate bill S7397-A, establishing a more equitable tax rate for Batavia Downs Gaming.  Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, the sponsor of the legislation, issued the following statement:

“Today the Senate passed legislation to help level the playing field for Batavia Downs. Lowering the tax rate not only protects the future viability of Batavia Downs but returns more revenue to taxpayers across Western New York. I am hopeful that the Assembly will take action on this important legislation.”

Batavia Downs Gaming, operated by Western Region OTB (WROTB), is a standardbred racetrack and gaming facility. WROTB is a public benefit corporation – owned by 15 Western New York counties, including Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming, as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo.

Since its inception, WROTB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in operating and surcharge revenues to the residents of those participating municipalities.


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