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November 17, 2017 - 5:08pm

(Pictured, from left, are: Justin D. Calarco-Smith, Doug Doktor, Dan Waterman and Randy W. McIntire.)

Submitted photo and press release:

Today, Nov. 17, local funeral directors Justin D. Calarco-Smith and Randy W. McIntire were honored to present a check in the amount of $1,000 to Dan Waterman and Doug Doktor of the Joint Veterans Honor Guard of Genesee County.

Along with Joshua Smith, James Smith, and Steven Johnson, the funeral directors operate H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Homes in Batavia and Bergen, Bohm-Calarco-Smith Funeral Home in Batavia, and the Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home in Oakfield.

This donation was made in the names of the 38 area veterans who the funeral home group was privileged to arrange funeral services for in the past year.

The Joint Veterans Honor Guard is a dedicated group of volunteers comprised of veterans from across our county. They provide funeral honors to our fallen. The honors include a color guard, the playing of TAPS, and a firing squad. This year, they have rendered honors to more than 66 fallen veterans throughout Genesee County.

One of only a handful of such organizations statewide, Genesee County is extremely fortunate to have selfless volunteers who are at the ready in a moment’s notice. They stand, without complaint -- in the heat, cold, wind, snow, and rain -- to pay final tribute to their comrades.

“We are humbled by the members of our community who selflessly served this great nation. Additionally, we consider it a privilege to care for our veterans and their families when called upon,” said Funeral Director McIntire, whose son is a Marine Corps veteran.

“This donation will allow us to continue to honor and serve Genesee County’s veterans in the manner they deserve for a long time to come,” said Waterman, of the Honor Guard.

The funeral homes plan to honor the veterans they care for annually by making similar donations to a local veterans' organization each year.

November 17, 2017 - 4:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, batavia, downtown revitalization.

Press release:

The Batavia Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Local Planning Committee has set dates for release of the "Request for Information" project forms that applicants must complete to be considered for funding.

On Monday Nov. 20th Request for Information (RFI) project forms will be available on the City of Batavia's website here, and in hard copy at the City Manager's office located at One Batavia City Centre, Batavia.

The RFI is a short form directing participants to provide basic information about potential projects including project scope, description, budget, and financing. The Local Planning Committee encourages all project ideas that could promote the revitalization of downtown.

"The DRI Local Planning Committee wants to see projects in all stages of the development lifecycle. Some projects will be funded through the DRI program, and others could be completed by deploying other resources, grant programs or held for long-term planning initiatives. We are grateful to New York State for this opportunity to engage all citizens in helping to shape the future of Batavia," say Co-chairs Eugene Jankowski and Steve Hyde.

The Batavia DRI Local Planning Committee will consider local public improvement projects, private development projects, revolving grant and loan projects, as well as branding and marketing projects. The project location must be within the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) and will be evaluated by the Local Planning Committee.

Here is a link to the BID boundary here.

Batavia DRI RFI Dates and Deadlines

1. Monday Nov. 20th -- RFI project forms available www.batavianewyork.com;

2. Tuesday Nov. 28th -- Informational meeting regarding the RFI project forms -- 2 p.m., in Batavia City Hall, City Council Chambers, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia;

3. Monday Dec. 18th -- RFI project forms due by 4:30 p.m. Please submit via email to [email protected] or deliver hard copy to the City Manager's office located at One Batavia City Centre, Batavia.

No application will be accepted after the 4:30 p.m., Dec. 18, deadline.

Questions regarding the RFI submission can be directed to the DRI consultant, Labella Associates, Ed Flynn ,[email protected] or (585) 295-6285.

November 16, 2017 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, genesee county, business, news.

Sports is a booming business for tourism in Genesee County, according to Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director for the Chamber of Commerce.

Between soccer at Batavia Sports Park, the Darien Lake baseball and softball tournaments, golf getaways, and various other competitive sports events that attract people from throughout the region and the Northeast, Genesee County hotels are often selling out during the spring and summer, Rapone told members of the County Legislator's Ways and Means Committee yesterday.

"Every weekend, I would say, from May right through July, we are booked up, our hotels, for sports," Rapone said.

That helps contribute to one of the major funding sources for the Chamber of Commerce, the county's bed tax.

Last year, the bed tax fell a little short of projections but Tom Turnbull, chamber president, said it looks like the revenue will exceed the $420,000 target, despite a rainy June.

Revenue was up 3 percent in the first quarter, 3 percent in the fourth quarter, but down 1 percent in the third quarter.

"The big factor there is probably Darien Lake," Turnbull said. "They are a big contributor to the bed tax and it was a rainy summer. Their numbers were, I know, down a little bit, but still 1 percent is not too bad."

The fourth quarter should make up for it, Turnbull said, with a projected increase of 17 percent.

Rapone said the golf packages the chamber sells fell off significantly in June, from leading to the booking of 93 room nights a year ago to just 29 this June.

"You can see, they all kind of shifted out to later in the summer and then we did another push for fall packages," Rapone said.

The chamber's budget for 2017 expected $66,000 from New York in matching funds for the "I Love NY" tourism promotion program, but the chamber received only $64,400 this year. That is the number the chamber will budget for 2018 and hope for an increase in that amount.

The chamber also generates its own revenue through a visitors guide, dining guide, coupon book and the golf packages. The budget anticipated $106,000 in revenue from these sources and the actual revenue for 2017 will be at least $108,000. The chamber will budget $110,000 for 2018.

Rapone said the county may see an increase in Chinese tourists, with a shift away over the next four years from bus tours to more individual travelers.

This year, the chamber hosted a group of 16 Chinese travel guides who were touring the state.

She also talked about how the Chinese pay for things. There is only one national credit card and that isn't always accepted by businesses in the United States.

"A Chinese traveller would never pull out his Chinese credit card to pay for something if he thought there might be the slightest chance it would be denied," Rapone said.

So what they carry is a card called Union Pay. What a lot of merchants don't understand, she said, is if they can accept Discover, they can accept Union Pay.

She said she visited a deli over the summer and the owner complained that the Chinese who came in never bought anything. She told him about Union Pay. The next week, he had all the signage up in the store to show he accepted Union Pay.

"It's the simple things that make us more welcoming," she said. "Like, they don't like ice in their drinking water. They want their water and tea at room temperature."

November 16, 2017 - 12:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, Stafford, news, business.

redosierxmas2017.jpg

If you drive past the Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford and think its holiday lights have a bit more twinkle this year, your eyes are not deceiving you.

Owners Tim Adams and Steve Foster are adding lights this year. Last year, they had a million lights on display and decided this year to boost the number to more than 1.5 million, but when they learned the DiSalvo family was taking the year off from its annual Christmas light display, the decided to add even more lights.

Soon, they'll have installed more than two million lights.

And Adams and Foster are doing all of the installation themselves.

"It makes you feel good," Foster said. "People drive by and say how good it looks and they think we've had help. We've done it all ourselves."

"Every light passes through our hands," Adams said.

With the DiSalvos' Fargo Road display on hiatus, Adams and Foster have decided to host two community days, Dec. 4 and Dec. 11. They are inviting children and their parents to walk the grounds and take in the lights. Santa will also be on hand to greet the children. Light viewing and the visit with Santa are free.

Red Osier will also open its smaller catering trailer, the lunch trailer, to serve sandwiches, cookies and hot cocoa.

Also, the restaurant will be open on Thanksgiving, serving traditional Thanksgiving dinners, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting local charities.

November 14, 2017 - 3:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, Announcements, batavia, Christmas.

Press release:

In a world in which a quick “Merry Christmas” text is commonplace, Batavia native Christine McMenamin of Joy Love Paper Company in Buffalo has a better option. Her handmade foiled cards make it easy to impress those on your once-forgotten Christmas card list.

McMenamin (nee King, mother's side is Marcello) just released the Joy Love Holiday Collection in her Etsy shop to the delight of her fans.

“I wanted to create a collection of cards that catch your eye and brings a smile to your face,” she says. “The shiny foil, beautiful bows and foil lined envelopes combine for a magical Christmas package you can send for the cost of a postage stamp.”

All of the cards are blank inside.

McMenamin, who graduated from Batavia High School in 2000), explains why: “In this day and age, how rare is it to receive a handwritten note? The thoughtfulness in a simple handwritten message is worth more in my opinion than any standard phrase I could print inside...

"I treasure cards handwritten from my family members who are no longer with us. Holding a card with a message they wrote brings back great memories. Reading a text just cannot compare.”

The collection features a selection of cards with carefully tied ribbon bows along with a foiled greeting, as well as fun graphic cards such as a "Merry Catmas" card for that cat lover in your life. Each card is designed and made by McMenamin.

Check out the Joy Love Holiday Collection at www.joylovepaperco.etsy.com and connect on social media @joylovepaper. She offers her VIP Club sneak peeks and a 30-percent-off discount. Sign up at www.joylovepaper.com.

November 13, 2017 - 12:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, business, batavia, news.

feig_alex_0.jpgWBTA is promoting multimedia producer and afternoon news anchor Alex Feig to operations manager for the radio station, co-owner Dan Fischer announced today.

Feig assumes his new duties Nov. 27, which include becoming the morning news producer and anchor for all news breaks through 12:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. He will also produce and anchor the Saturday morning newscasts.

The change means Fischer can "retire" from anchoring early morning news.

As Feig settles into his new role, additional duties will include weekly preparation of the "talking points" memo for other station announcers to inform them of information to be shared with listeners during their broadcasts. He will also oversee production standards for commercial and promotional items.

"Deb (Fischer, co-owner) and I have great confidence in Alex," Fischer said. "Please join us in congratulating him on this promotion."

Fischer will anchor afternoon newscasts starting Nov. 27 and continue to supervisor a relaunch of WBTA's website into a more mobile-friendly format.

November 13, 2017 - 8:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, darien lake, business.

Press release:

Darien Lake Theme Park will open a new coaster, Tantrum, in May. This latest capital investment is a nearly $5 million addition to the park.

Tantrum riders will embark on a 98-foot vertical lift at a 90-degree angle – straight up the coaster’s first hill. In a matter of seconds, upon reaching its apex, the train plummets into a 97-degree drop and pretzel inversion. Reaching speeds of 52 mph, the coaster snakes through the structure over a bunny hop, keeps riders wondering which way is up or down during an Immelman turn, and finishes with a tilted loop.

Tantrum will be the park’s seventh coaster. Its signature beyond-vertical drop offers a thrilling, unique experience that has not previously been offered to park guests. It’s the first of its kind in New York State and Ontario, Canada.

“This ride confirms our status as New York State’s Coaster Capital and our commitment to providing guests with cutting-edge experiences,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager.

With the announcement of this coaster, Darien Lake has reduced the price of 2018 season passes for the holidays. Currently, season passes are on sale for $59.99, the lowest price of the season.

On top of unlimited visits in 2018, pass holders receive free parking, free and discounted tickets for friends, exclusive pre-sale concert ticket access, lodging deals, and in-park discounts. Additionally, extra free tickets for friends, a 2018 souvenir mug with $1.49 refills and a limited edition Tantrum souvenir will be available to pass holders who purchase and visit before Memorial Day.

For more information about the park or to purchase a season pass, visit DarienLake.com.

November 11, 2017 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, GCC, One World Projects, Adopt-A-Business.

Inside of One World Projects Inc., a unique boutique in Batavia's Harvester Center.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Genesee Community College Business Department and Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization (CEO) Club are excited to announce a new initiative taking the student hands-on learning experience to the next level with the introduction of the "Adopt-A-Business" program.

The first business to be adopted by the college has been selected -- congratulations, One World Projects Inc.!

Founded by computer programmer turned environmental activist, Phil Smith, in 1992, the originating purpose of One World Projects (OWP) was to conserve paper use and preserve rainforests. However, as he worked to preserve the rainforests, Smith realized the most significant impact his project was having on the lives of the artisans he was working with.

Thus, OWP began initiating income-generating projects to benefit the artisans and their communities. Inspired to contribute to the peace-building efforts in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Smith began to seek out income-generating projects focused in areas of conflict.

As a result, OWP now works with artists in Afghanistan, Colombia, Ayacucho, Peru and Burmese refugee camps and other war-torn areas. It is Smith's belief that new economic opportunities and chances for personal development and growth will foster an environment of hope and peace.

Today, OWP is a unique boutique, located at 56 Harvester Ave. in Batavia, carrying an array of goods from apparel to crafting supplies, from garden and home décor to gifts for pets and more. Their focus continues to be establishing and maintaining viable economic support for artisans who create these goods with fair wages and the chance to improve their lives and in turn, their communities.

For GCC's business students and CEO club members, the adoption of OWP means an opportunity to take an inside look at a real, operating business and working with the owners and management to tackle challenges facing businesses today. Students are examining OWP's store and helping to design window displays to promote holiday shopping, as well as evaluating and recommending updates to exterior signage, and helping boost OWP's social media presence.

OWP's importation of goods frequently involves some assembly and packaging work. In an effort to expose business students to the tasks often associated with running one's own business, students will take part in the assembly of 9,500 necklaces imported from Latin America during a workshop in December. 

"The Adopt-A-Business program is a very real way for our students to draw from concepts introduced in the classroom to solve real business challenges," said Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., director of GCC's Business Programs.

"The program grants students a unique opportunity to see what it is like to own and operate a business. They will be expected to evaluate multiple aspects of operations and to develop recommendations for solutions and examine and project the impact of those recommendations."

OWP is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and also open by special appointment by calling (585) 343-4490 or emailing [email protected]. They will also be visiting the GCC Batavia Campus for holiday shopping opportunities.

November 10, 2017 - 4:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Mercy Flight, M&T Bank, business.

Photo courtesy of Sam Kuminecz.

Press release:

It is with great enthusiasm that Mercy Flight Inc., which provides service in Genesee County, announces a major EMS helicopter acquisition: three new 2017 Bell 429 helicopters.

This significant fleet upgrade will help sustain Mercy Flight’s commitment to bringing expert and unparalleled medical care with rapid response for many years to come.

In late October, Mercy Flight signed a Purchase Agreement and placed a deposit with Bell Helicopter for the new helicopters. This opportunity was made possible through a combined $23 million long-term lending effort from the USDA Rural Development Department and M&T Bank. These joint 20-year loans from the USDA and M&T Bank create an affordable option that will allow Mercy Flight to replace its four aging 1980s model BK-117 helicopters.

The helicopters are slated to be completed and delivered ready for EMS operations in the late Spring of 2018.

“These Bell 429s will represent a significant step in our goal to remain Western New York’s independent, nonprofit provider of emergency air medical services for many years to come,” said Mercy Flight’s Founding President and CEO Douglas Baker.

“Our current BK-117 helicopters have been pillars of our operation for a number of years, but this creative financing opportunity provided to us by the USDA’s Rural Development team and M&T Bank will allow us to retire these aging aircraft and replace them with more reliable, modern equipment.”

“USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities program is designed to assist nonprofit organizations just like Mercy Flight – with equipment like this,” said USDA Rural Development Loan Technician Sandra Snyder. “This funding builds on the USDA’s continued investment and commitment in rural communities throughout New York.

"While the added features, expanded service range, increased speed and state of the art capabilities of these new and dependable airframes are impressive, we at Rural Development in NY also believe the pilots, emergency technicians, dispatchers and ground teams are equally impressive.”

In 2010, Mercy Flight similarly collaborated with the USDA and M&T Bank for joint loans for the organization’s first Bell 429 helicopter. This aircraft has since proven its merit, as has Bell Helicopter’s customer service. Mercy Flight is looking forward to performing its lifesaving, nonprofit mission while flying exclusively Bell 429 helicopters.

“Mercy Flight’s decision to upgrade their existing fleet to all Bell 429’s reflects both the tremendous capabilities of the aircraft and the unrivaled support Bell Helicopter is known for,” said Ron Orndoff, Bell Helicopter Regional Sales Manager. “Their fleet of four aircraft will bring the total to 21 Bell 429’s operating in the Northeast U.S., representing every mission segment.”

Mercy Flight serves the Western New York Community and beyond with its fleet of five helicopters, twenty ambulances, six paramedic fly cars, and exclusive use of a dedicated Learjet to transport patients in need nationwide. Since 1981, Mercy Flight has safely completed more than 27,000 patient missions, including scene emergencies and inter-hospital transfers.

ABOUT MERCY FLIGHT

Mercy Flight Inc., d/b/a Mercy Flight of Western New York and Mercy EMS, is an independent nonprofit provider of medical transport services. It began in 1981 as the first medically-dedicated air ambulance service in New York State. Today, the charitable organization operates four helicopter bases staffed by pilots, flight paramedics and flight nurses in Buffalo (headquarters), Olean, Springville and Batavia.

Long distance air transports are conducted using a Learjet 31 and the same critical care medical teams that staff the helicopters. Flight physicians also join the team as needed based on the condition of the patient.

Mercy Flight’s ground ambulance division, Mercy EMS, provides service for Genesee County, Niagara County, and the Town of Concord and Village of Springville.

Together, the organization’s employees, now over 200 strong, support the mission of providing unparalleled, critical emergency care, in the air and on the ground, “WHEN MINUTES MATTER."

November 9, 2017 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Announcements, job training, employment, GCC.

Press release:

Genesee Community College is accepting applications for Finger Lakes Hired Employment Program. This initiative includes career guidance and job search support, as well as potential funding for tuition and more for eligible applicants.

Applications for this program are due by Nov. 21.

The Finger Lakes Hired Employment Program (FLH), which established the grant, is part of a four-year, federally funded initiative operated in partnership with RochesterWorks! to place long-term unemployed individuals into local high-demand jobs. The FLH program stipulates that applicants must:

  • Have been out of work for six months (27 weeks) or more, or must be currently under-employed;
  • Be pursuing an academic program in Advanced Manufacturing, Health Care, or Information Technology;
  • Be on track to graduate the program by May 2018.

There are strict deadlines for training grant applicants. Individuals seeking assistance with non-credit courses must submit application and necessary documentation between now and Jan. 5.

Through The BEST Center, GCC currently offers several certificate programs in the industries the FLH grant targets. In the healthcare arena, the Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate Program, Patient Access & Registration Professional Certificate Program and the Phlebotomy Certificate Program are currently available. In addition, on the job training opportunities are also available for newly hired employees in the areas of IT and Advanced Manufacturing.

There are also training grants opportunities for college credit-bearing courses for returning GCC students to complete their degree by May of 2018. There are more than 15 potentially eligible academic degree programs available through GCC.

For assistance with the training grant application process contact: Andrew Gerber, liaison and case manager at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6002, or by email: [email protected](link sends e-mail), or Emily Cooper, education and employment specialist at 585-397-5807, or by email: [email protected](link sends e-mail).

For online details go The Finger Lakes Hired website: http://www.fingerlakeshired.com/(link is external)

November 9, 2017 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in dri, downtown, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Local Planning Committee (LPC) will hold a meeting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at City Hall in the Council Board Room, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia.

The City was awarded a $10 million DRI award from the State of New York to advance downtown revitalization and this is the first LPC meeting to introduce the DRI program, LPC members and next steps.

The program is administered by the New York State Department of State in coordination with the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

The meeting is open to public and persons attending will have an opportunity to speak at the end of the meeting.

November 9, 2017 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Feeds, batavia, business.

geneseefeeds25ann2017.jpg

Genesee Feeds celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a party at Batavia Downs last night sponsored by Purina.

Photo: Joshua Fullmer, Josh Jr., Sunny Rathod, Thomas Winters, Henry Winters, Lee Winters, and Larry Love (representing Purina).

Previously: The Winters now in fourth generation in the feed business

November 9, 2017 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in T-Shirts Etc., batavia, business.

tshirtsetc20ann2017.jpg

Twenty years ago, Brian and Beth Kemp went into the T-shirt printing business with a shop in the Harvester Center. Over 20 years, the business has grown, moving to bigger locations along the way, from Harvester and Main, to the former Newberry's Building on Main Street, to a large building on Center Street.

The Kemps celebrated the 20th Anniversary of T-Shirt's Etc. last night with an open house. Visitors were treated to hors d'oeuvres, a chance to print the back of their own T-shirt, see beanies embroidered and receive another commemorative T-shirt and glass.

November 8, 2017 - 3:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced that the agency was presented with the Edward J. Pawenski Business/Industry Partnership Award at the New York Community College Trustees (NYCCT) annual awards ceremony on Oct. 21. The GCEDC was nominated for the award by the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees.

The Edward J. Pawenski Business/Industry Partnership Award is the highest recognition that can be bestowed upon a business or individual and recognizes a partnership and commitment with a community college. Pawenski was one of the founding Trustees at Niagara County Community College.

“The growth and success of Genesee Community College is due in large part to our long-standing collaboration and partnership with the GCEDC,” said GCC President James M. Sunser, Ed.D. “We are training our students to meet the demands of the ever-changing workplace especially in the areas of advanced manufacturing in the agricultural and renewable energy sectors.”

The GCEDC and Genesee Community College have collaborated on programming and curriculum related to agribusiness and advanced manufacturing among others. The goal of the collaboration is to prepare the next generation of workers to fill jobs for businesses operating in the Genesee County Agri-Business Park and the anticipation of businesses opening in the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).

“On behalf of our Board and staff, the GCEDC is honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “Our partnership with Genesee Community College is critically important to our efforts to economic development efforts in Genesee County.”

The NYCCT is a voluntary nonprofit association of community college trustees established to strengthen the effectiveness of New York’s community college trustees as an active force in the development and implementation of public policy impacting community colleges. The NYCCT represents the appointed board members who govern the 30 community colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

November 7, 2017 - 3:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Empire Access, business.

Press release:

Empire Access, a leading telecommunications service provider based in the Finger Lakes region of New York, announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire the Axcess Ontario fiber ring. The Axcess Ontario fiber ring is a state-of-the-art 200-plus-mile open-access fiber-optic network in Ontario County in Upstate New York. The fiber ring offers telecommunications carriers access to a countywide fiber optic network with the ultimate goal of improving telecommunications services in Ontario County.

“By combining our networks, we can offer fiber services to substantially more homes and businesses in Ontario County,” said Jim Baase, COO of Empire Access. “We’re eager to continue the expansion of the Axcess Ontario fiber ring and increase fiber optic service availability within the County.”

"Empire Access is a natural fit. They’re a fast-growing local company with a proven track record of successfully using open-access networks to provide high-quality services to residential and business customers,” said Sean Barry, CEO of Axcess Ontario.

Since 2005, Axcess Ontario has built and maintained a robust open-access fiber-optic network infrastructure within Ontario County. Axcess Ontario was established by Ontario County local law as a local development corporation with headquarters in Canandaigua, New York. The open-access network provides advanced connectivity for telecommunications carriers and business-to-business companies. The Axcess Ontario fiber ring has been recognized as a national broadband model and is the epitome of 21st-century public infrastructure.

"As a family-owned and operated company, we share in Axcess Ontario’s original goal of serving the public through the deployment of cutting-edge communications technologies,” said Jim Baase, COO of Empire Access.”

Empire Access currently offers residential and business fiber optic services in the Village of Naples, NY, along with a wide array of fiber optic business services in the Cities of Canandaigua and Geneva by way of the Axcess Ontario network. The company will expand service availability to surrounding communities in the upcoming months and offer fiber optic high-speed Internet, phone and security solutions to residential and business customers within Ontario County.

November 7, 2017 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business.

kelley_matt.jpgPress release:

Tompkins Financial Advisors has expanded its capabilities for specialized portfolio management and investment strategies in Western New York with the hiring of Matt Kelley as the company’s Portfolio Manager.

Kelley will be a key member of the Tompkins Financial Advisors Investment Committee and is the first Portfolio Manager to join the company. He will be responsible for developing and implementing investment strategies for individuals and institutional investors. Kelley will also serve as an investment specialist supporting the Tompkins Financial Advisors business development team.

“Our clients will benefit from Matt’s experience as a research analyst, and his ability to develop customized investment strategies,” said Jim Sperry, Tompkins Financial Advisors Managing Director for Western New York. “Like every member of our team, Matt will be focused on understanding our clients’ complete financial picture so we can provide the wealth management strategies that make a meaningful difference in their lives.”

Kelley has more than nine years of client management and portfolio management experience. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and FINRA Series 7 and 66 registrations. Kelley most recently served as Assistant Vice President of Graystone Consulting, a unit of Morgan Stanley. Within that role, he directed research and managed a globally diversified portfolio of more than $1 billion for high net worth families and institutions.

Kelley earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Rochester, and his Master’s degree in Finance from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester, where he graduated with Beta Gamma Sigma honors. Beta Gamma Sigma is the international honor society serving business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a business program accredited by AACSB International.

Kelley and his family live in Victor, N.Y.

November 6, 2017 - 5:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, news, notify, STAMP, business.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy contacted The Batavian today to explain that the reason 1366 Technologies hasn't received its loan guarantee yet is that the company has yet to meet all the criteria of the original 2011 loan guarantee agreement.

On one hand, that appears to be true. The DOE says 1366 needs to secure $100 million in private investment. That hasn't happened yet. The second qualification, that 1366 has yet to select a site for its factory, is a matter of how the DOE interprets 1366's agreement with New York to build at the STAMP site in Alabama.

Asked about the seeming incongruity of 1366 announcing a site selection in 2015 and the DOE now claiming no site has been selected, the spokesperson said, "In a meeting with DOE officials last month, 1366 Technologies stated that it was considering three possible locations for their facility, of which one location is in New York."

Laureen Sanderson, speaking for 1366 Technologies, said 1366 is committed to building in Genesee County but the company also let the DOE know that if the loan guarantee wasn't approved, the company would have to initiate its contingency plans, which likely means building a plant in another country.

"Of course, we discussed contingency plans with DOE," Sanderson said. "That's par for the course when talking with a partner, but our focus remains on New York."

She added, "What’s important to recognize is that our commitment to New York remains. That's the site we selected in 2015. State and local officials have been wonderful. We’re doing everything we can to make that site a reality."

What both sides can agree on is that negotiations on the loan guarantee agreement are ongoing and active. Sanderson characterized the discussions as positive and productive.

"We have a shared goal with the Department of Energy to create U.S. manufacturing jobs," Sanderson said. "That's what we both want to do and that’s what we hope we can achieve together with the Department of Energy."

The spokeswoman confirmed there was a loan guarantee finalized in 2011 but said it was contingent on 1366 securing $100 million in equity financing and finalizing a location for its manufacturing plant.

Sanderson confirmed 1366 has so far raised only $89 million but emphasized again the company is committed to New York and creating U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The negotiations with the DOE are necessary, in part, because the solar industry has continued to evolve since 2011.

"A lot has changed in the solar industry but what hasn’t changed is the strength of the technology," Sanderson said.

The lag time between announcing the company's plans to build at the STAMP site and now, Sanderson said, has enabled the company to improve the energy efficiency of its solar wafers, working with partner Hanwha.

"The technology has only gotten better," Sanderson said. "Our technology not only improves the manufacturing process and reduces costs but every wafer we produce is a better product."

The proprietary technique development by 1366 at MIT's labs in the Boston area uses molten silicon to make a wafer, rather than the cutting and grinding process the solar industry has used for 40 years. This reduces waste and energy used to make wafers.

Right now, 1366 only has a demonstration production facility in Medford, but the company, working with Hanwha, has continued to improve efficiency by .08 percent annually, making 1366's wafers the most efficient in the industry, Sanderson said.

When the company can go into full production, it can continue to make efficiency gains as well as work with solar panel companies to find other uses for this new technology. The company will be able to make thinner wafers that are strong and more flexible. Current wafers are too brittle for thin, flexible uses.

"Because we are able to work at the melt level, we are able to introduce new features the industry has long wanted but can't achieve," Sanderson said. "There is only more innovation and discoveries to be had through the manufacturing process."

When 1366 announced its intention to build in Alabama, CEO Frank van Mierlo cited lower cost, clean hydropower from Niagara Falls as an attraction to the location. Sanderson added another reason 1366 wants to stay in the United States, if at all possible -- a superior silicon supply chain.

"Our technology is the first major change in the solar industry in more than 40 years," Sanderson said. "We solved a manufacturing challenge that the industry has wanted to solve for 40 years. There is a lot of technological strength in the U.S. supply chain and with that strength, the U.S. has a real chance to establish manufacturing leadership."

November 5, 2017 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, tourism, business.

kelleyraponeawardnov2017.jpg

Press release:

The New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA) recognized individuals and organizations for their high level of excellence and accomplishments in New York State’s tourism industry at the 2017 Tourism Excellence Awards Dinner, held Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Glen Club of the Watkins Glen International.

Kelly Rapone, tourism director for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, was presented with the 2017 Excellence in Leadership award, which honors a tourism professional for leadership through outstanding initiative, impact of their work, and inspiring others around them.

In remarks read at the presentation by Nicole Mahoney, president of Break the Ice Media, noted that Kelly Rapone is a leader in the New York State tourism industry, exemplifying outstanding initiative.

“She is dedicated to bringing tourism into her county, as well as her region and the state.”

Rapone’s influence goes beyond her county borders. The impact of her enthusiastic work is felt statewide. With the launch of the Haunted History Trail in 2013, she created a product for a niche market that helps many historic sites and lesser-known attractions get recognized, and provides a direct economic impact of more than $1.5 million. This is just one of many initiatives in which she takes a leadership role.

Mahoney went on to remark that Rapone is an inspiration to many in the tourism industry.

“From mentoring young professionals to helping interns grow in their careers, to providing guidance and genuine interest to small business owners throughout her county and beyond, she has earned respect and admiration from her peers near and far, and is truly worthy of this honor.”

Rapone has long been a supportive leader with NYSTIA, serving on the board of directors and actively chairing the scholarship committee, which this year raised more than $11,500 dollars to benefit college students.

The winning individuals or organizations of NYSTIA’s 2017 Tourism Excellence Awards were nominated by their peers and reviewed by NYSTIA’s awards committee. The recipients were selected based on demonstrated commitment, leadership, and accomplishment in travel and tourism.

Jill Delaney, NYSTIA president and CEO said, “As the fourth largest employer in the State of New York, the tourism industry continues to grow and evolve, leading to ever more impressive accomplishments. We are honored to have a night set aside to recognize the successes of our industry innovators with the goal of inspiring creativity and passion throughout New York State’s tourism industry.”

Submitted photo: Jill Delaney, NYSTIA president/CEO, Kelly Rapone, Valerie Knoblach, NYSTIA Board chair.

November 4, 2017 - 5:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Genesee County Farms.

Press release:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director John Mietz in Genesee County today announced that producers who file accurate and timely reports for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage, can prevent the potential loss of FSA program benefits. Please pay close attention to the acreage reporting dates below and note the reporting date for perennial forage, pastures, and forage seedings is Nov. 15, 2017.

“In order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements, all producers are encouraged to visit the Genesee County FSA office to file an accurate crop certification report by the applicable deadline,” said Mietz.

The following acreage reporting dates are applicable for Genesee County:

Nov. 15, 2017: fall perennial pasture, hay, cover crops and fall grains (wheat, etc.) December 1, 2017: maple sap
Jan. 2, 2018: honey

The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting dates:

  • If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

  • If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendars days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.

  • If a perennial forage crop is reported with the intended use of “cover only,” “green manure,” “left standing” or “seed,” then the acreage must be reported by July 15, 2018.

According to Mietz, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

For questions regarding crop certification and crop loss reports, please contact the Genesee County FSA office at (585) 343-9167. 

November 4, 2017 - 5:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, genesee county farmers.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director John Mietz in Genesee County reminds producers to review available 2018 USDA crop risk protection options, including federal crop insurance and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage, before the fall crop deadline of Nov. 20, 2017.

Federal crop insurance covers crop losses from natural adversities, such as drought, hail and excessive moisture. NAP covers losses from natural disasters on crops for which no permanent federal crop insurance program is available, including forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, maple sap, bioenergy and industrial crops.

The following fruit tree, nut tree and perennial crops in New York have a NAP application deadline of Nov. 20, 2017: Apples, Apricots, Asparagus, Blueberries, Caneberries, Cherries, Chestnuts, Cranberries, Currants, Ginger, Grapes, Gooseberries, Elderberries, Horseradish, Juneberries, Kiwi, Mulberries, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Plums, Plumcots, Prunes, Quince, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Walnuts, and Willow.

Dec. 1, 2017 is the NAP application deadline for Honey and Maple Sap.

“NAP policies allow producers to protect their investment by purchasing coverage for noninsurable crops,” Mietz said. “Natural disasters are an unavoidable part of farming and ranching and FSA programs like NAP help producers recover when they experience a loss.”

USDA has partnered with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois to create an online tool at 32TUwww.fsa.usda.gov/napU32T that allows producers to determine whether their crops are eligible for federal crop insurance or NAP and to explore the best level of protection for their operation. NAP basic coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production, with higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price available, including coverage for organics and crops marketed directly to consumers.

Federal crop insurance coverage is sold and delivered solely through private insurance agents. Agent lists are available at all USDA service centers or at USDA’s online Agent Locator at 32Thttp://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#32T. Producers can use the USDA Cost

Contact: John Mietz [email protected] or phone (585) 343-9167. 

Estimator at 32Thttps://ewebapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/costestimator/Default.aspx32T to predict insurance premium costs.

For more information on NAP, service fees, premiums and sales deadlines, contact the Genesee County FSA office at (585) 343-9167 or visit 32Twww.fsa.usda.gov/nap32T

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