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February 24, 2017 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in JCPenney Co., batavia, news, business.

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National retailer JCPenney reported today a continued decline in sales and as a result the intention to close from 130 to 140 stores nationwide.

The list of stores that will be closed has not been released, so we don't know yet if the Batavia location will be on the chopping block.

The Batavia store has survived a previous round of JCPenney's cost-cutting.

According to Reuters, JCPenney continues to struggle in an era of dying shopping malls and increased competition from online retailers.

The store in Batavia is the lone anchor tenant of the long-struggling City Centre Mall in Downtown.

City Manager Jason Molino told WBTA, “We just spoke with JCPenney as early as last week. They did not relay that message to us and they did not tell us that was going to be the case, so as far as we know that is new news or it's nothing that I can confirm.”

February 24, 2017 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, chamber of commerce, batavia, business.

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The Business After Hours gathering for the Chamber of Commerce yesterday was also a celebration of the arrival of a news director for Business Improvement District.

Beth Kemp moved into the BID office more than a month ago and she and her husband, Brian, co-owners of T-Shirts Etc. and both artists, went right to work redecorating the space, so for many of the people attending the event were seeing the bright and attractive revamped space for the first time.

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February 23, 2017 - 2:57pm

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Sometime in 2017, there may be beer on tap in the former JJ Newberry building on Main Street, Downtown Batavia.

Matt Gray (top photo, pointing toward the back of the room to his partner in the Batavia Brewing Co. venture, Jon Mager) made the announcement during a Start Up Genesee event at the location yesterday, and said that the Fresh Labs concept for the Newberry building is ready to go forward.

The blueprints are in place, permits pulled and a contractor selected and Gray believes all of the work -- a brewery, a restaurant and two additional full kitchens for start-up restaurants along with seven apartments on the second and third floors -- will be completed by the end of the year.

The Fresh Labs concept was taken on by Gray and Mager in cooperation with the Batavia Development Corp. to help achieve several local goals, he said -- bring more people downtown, provide a way for aspiring restaurateurs to start their businesses and help the city retain some of the $28 million being spent by local residents on food and entertainment in Rochester and Buffalo. 

Gray said Fresh Lab will give people looking to break into the restaurant business a supportive environment throughout the process of developing a concept, getting it launched and helping it grow.

"We want to take the person who has the drive and the skill and work them through the point where they're ready to launch," Gray said. "We will give them direction and resources but then we don't walk way."

Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for BDC, said the BDC is working on a competition, sort of a taste challenge, as part of selecting the first two businesses that will be given space in Fresh Lab.

The building, which was a mortuary before it was Newberry's (it was Newberry's for 70 years), is three stories high with a large basement. Each level is 10,000 square feet. There will be seven studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors. Those floors were once office space for doctors, lawyers and at one time, Batavia Area Jaycees, according to the sign on one door.

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Start Up Genesee is organized by Genesee County Economic Development Center and this was the initiative's third event. Bob Capurso was at the first, where he spoke with Chris Suozzi about the business idea he had: producing Boy Scout grave marker medallions. Suozzi, a VP with GCEDC, helped connect Capurso with advisors who were able to assist him in getting his business launched. He's gone from a concept six months ago, to a design to a prototype and now he's had the first 50 medallions produced and ready for sale. 

“My main goal on this is not to make a ton of money on this, but to get the commemoration out there to the people who earned it through their dedication to scouting,” he said.

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Another local start-up at the event was Eichenfeld LLC, makers of the game MöbileSchlägen. The company will hold a Kickstarter fundraising campaign this Saturday at City Slickers starting at 7 p.m.

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February 23, 2017 - 1:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wound care, UMMC, Rochester Regional Health, batavia, news, business.

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After a ceremony honoring the wound care team at UMMC, a patient who had sat quietly at the back of the room spoke up and said, “I want to thank everyone here because if it wasn’t for you, I would have lost my leg. I’m just grateful.”

That was the message of the award, according to Stacey Bancker, a representative of Healogics, the nation’s largest wound care management company, which presented the award.

Of nearly 400 patients treated by the team, 94 percent had their wounds healed, Bancker said. There was a 92 percent patient satisfaction rate and the median number of days to heal was 21.

"We can talk about the numbers, but this really is a patient care ward," Bancker said.

That was a point stressed by Dan Ireland, the hospital's CEO when he spoke to congratulate the team members.

"This isn’t about the metrics," Ireland said. "It isn’t about the numbers. It’s about the real people and the patients. Our mission statement at Rochester Regional Health, United Memorial, starts with preserving health and enhancing the life of patients. There isn’t a better example of where we can do that than in the heal rate we see here and in the care the patients receive."

Bancker said there were 800 wound centers in the nation eligible for the award and only 334 were recognized for outstanding patient care results.

Dr. Mohamed M Ibrahim, a general surgeon before joining the wound care team nearly two and a half years ago, said he was really proud to be part of the team. As a surgeon he had been on the other end of the wound care process, he said, and then he didn't realize how much more there was to know about wound care. 

“I have to say, I’ve learned a lot from our nurses," he said. "Our nurses are very knowledgeable, so I would like to thank everybody on our great team.”

Program Director Lisa Albanese also emphasized the team aspect of the effort and how the numbers are merely a reflection of the team's focus on taking care of patients.

"Even though the numbers are driven by KPIs (key performance indicators), the bottom line is every day we make a difference in the lives or our patients," said. "You guys are dedicated to making that difference and every day we have stories that we share with our administration."

Ireland said he hears those stories.

"I get countless emails, phone calls and letters from patients telling me real stories, stories about how they've been to five or 10 other centers or doctors and they've not been healed," Ireland said. "Then they come here and they are healed."

The patients also always note the compassion of the team, Ireland said. 

"They talk about the personal care they get, that the team cares about them as a person, not just as a person with a wound on their skin," Ireland said.

Photo: Dr. Mohamed M Ibrahim, Michelle Rector, Emily Casacelik Alicia Prusinowski, Holly Siverling, Alissa Gorman, John Wickett, Joseph Canzoneri, and Lisa Albanese.

February 21, 2017 - 5:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, news, business, Announcements.

Press release:

Tickets are still available for the 15th Annual Celebrate Agriculture Dinner which will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, at the Alexander Fire Hall.

This annual event is a celebration of Genesee County’s number one industry – Agriculture. The highlight of the night is a delicious meal using locally produced foods prepared by Penna’s Catering. The dinner is open to the public.

Tickets can be purchased at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, 8276 Park Road, Batavia. Tickets are $30 each or a table of 10 can be purchased for $275. Sponsorships are also available which help support agriculture educational events in Genesee County. Only 400 tickets will be sold. Tickets will not be available at the door.

The Celebrate Ag Dinner is coordinated by the following partners: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District and Genesee County Farm Bureau.

For ticket information contact the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce at 585-343-7440, ext. 1027, or [email protected].

February 21, 2017 - 8:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in MöbileSchlägen, Eichenfeld, LLC, Oakfield, business, news.

Press release:

Eichenfeld LLC, a company based in Oakfield, will be launching a MöbileSchlägen Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign on Feb. 27th at midnight. To celebrate, Eichenfeld owners Marc Johnson, James Betters and Dan Manges invite the public to a MöbileSchlägen Launch Party on Saturday, Feb 25, 7 p.m., at Ken’s Charcoal Pits & Bar-B-Q (formerly, City Slickers Bar & Grill) located at 59 Main St., Batavia.

The traditional nail-pounding game of skill, strategy and fun, can only be played by acquiring large stumps of wood that must remain stationary in your yard or gaming venue. MöbileSchlägen has reinvented this favorite German game, made it mobile and now you can be the first to purchase the world’s only portable nail hammering game. 

Of MöbileSchlägen’s much anticipated product launch, coinventor Marc Johnson said, “We’ve spent a great deal of time proving our concept, engineering our product, and securing a full utility patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We have a deep bench of MöbileSchlägen ambassadors that have patiently waited for this moment.

"We anticipate a very active Kickstarter project. Our team is poised to meet the demand of our customers and we are excited with the amount of support the crowdfunding community has promised to the MöbileSchlägen project. This is the beginning of a fun run.”

The event on Saturday evwening will feature food and drink, music, swag giveaways and a chance to try MöbileSchlägen. The fun starts at 7 o'clock. If you cannot attend the launch party, please check out MöbileSchlägen’s website at www.mobileschlagen.com, once the campaign is active, just follow the provided link. This site goes live at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 27.

Photos: File photos from an event announcing MöbileSchlägen at the Carryville Inn in June. Top photo: Marc Johnson.

Previously:

February 20, 2017 - 10:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business.

Press release:

Proving that a minute can matter, Tompkins Bank of Castile is launching its third round of the quarterly Community Minute Challenge. Each quarterly winner is awarded $2,500; by the end of the contest, a total of $10,000 will have been provided in much-needed funds to local not-for-profit organizations.

“The response to the Community Minute Challenge has been tremendous, and we’re thrilled to be able to help shine a light on the important services that are provided by not-for-profit organizations in our area,” said John McKenna, bank president and CEO.

The third round will begin Feb. 27 and run through March 13. The winning organization is determined by public voting on the Bank of Castile Facebook page, where visitors can watch the one-minute videos produced by participating nonprofits and then vote for their favorite. Each video explains how the nonprofit would use the awarded funds. The six organizations competing in this round are:

  • Al Sigl Community of Agencies (Monroe County)
  • Batavia Rotary (Genesee County)
  • Focus on the Children (Livingston County)
  • Genesee Amateur Hockey Association (Genesee County) 
  • Villa of Hope (Monroe County) 
  • Wyoming County Community Action (Wyoming County)  

To show support for the initiative and cast a vote, participants should “like” the Tompkins Bank of Castile Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TompkinsBankofCastile and click on the Community Minute Challenge app. They can then select their favorite nonprofit after watching the one-minute videos. Individuals can vote once per day during the contest period.

Launched in August 2016, the Community Minute Challenge has awarded $5,000 to date. The first-round winner was Going to the Dogs Rescue in Wyoming County, an organization dedicated to helping homeless pets find loving forever homes. The second-round winner was ARC of Genesee Orleans, a resource of choice for people with disabilities and their families in both Genesee and Orleans counties. Photos of the previous winners are available upon request. A fourth round of the Community Minute Challenge will launch later in 2017.

February 13, 2017 - 3:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Announcements, START-UP Genesee.

Press release:

The next START-UP Genesee Think and Drink event will take place at the freshLAB restaurant incubator located in Newberry Place on Main Street in the City of Batavia. The FREE event is from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Newberry Place is an historic renovation and conversion of Batavia’s former JJ Newberry store into the freshLAB restaurant incubator as well as seven new upper-floor apartments.  It is designed to use locally grown products capitalizing on Genesee County’s agricultural strength.

The hosts for the event include Matt Gray and Jon Mager, who are co-owners of Batavia Brewing Company and the first tenant of freshLAB; and, Julie Pacatte, executive director of the Batavia Development Corporation, which provided various incentives to the redevelopment project.

The event also will feature brief remarks by Gregory Lindberg of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Reid Smalley who is executive director of Workforce Development at Genesee Community College.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate setting for area entrepreneurs to gather and share ideas than freshLAB,” said Chris Suozzi, vice president of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “This type of innovation is connecting our rural communities with Downtown Batavia.”

START-UP Genesee is intended to assist all types of businesses from early stage planning to site selection, access to capital and product development or diversification.

February 10, 2017 - 1:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in solar farms, batavia, news, business.

Two solar farm projects in the Town of Batavia were recommended for approval by the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night.

One project is at 3833 W. Main Street Road. It is an 11.6-acre project on a 83.5-acre parcel.  

The other is at 8169 Bank Street Road, Batavia. It is 11 acres on 93.3 acres.

Both projects are being developed by Forefront Power, formerly SunEdison, with Forefront agreeing to leases of 25 years with the property owners.

The projects are expected to produce enough electricity each to power the equivalent of 300 residential homes.

Timothy P. Ahrens, in charge of project development for Forefront, said the projects will help create additional renewable energy sources for the region.

The projects will be eligible for state and federal incentives to help offset the costs.

Planning Board members asked questions about what happens to the farm if it's ever decommissioned and Ahrens said part of the agreement with the landowners is to remove all of the infrastructure and return the land to its prior use.

Both lots are less-than-prime farmland.

Pending final approval by the Town of Batavia, Ahrens said Forefront hopes to begin construction by the fall.

February 7, 2017 - 9:34am

Press release:

In celebration of Darien Lake Amphitheater’s 25th concert season, Live Nation, the amphitheater operator is partnering with Darien Lake Theme Park to offer an amazing deal to concert ticket buyers for this season. Each ticket purchased for a concert at the amphitheater will include complementary same-day admission into Darien Lake Theme Park. The offer will be valid for all tickets purchased for any concert at the amphitheater that occurs during the theme park’s operating schedule.

The 25th season lineup at Darien Lake Amphitheater is already shaping up to be one for fans of all types of music, including appearances by Luke Bryan, Green Day, Chicago & The Doobie Brothers, Train and many more to be announced in the coming months.

“This historic offer is a great way to honor the long history of the amphitheater, as well as its unique proximity to the theme park. This promotion is a great savings to the concert fan and thrill seeker alike – it truly is the deal of the summer,” said Jim Koplik, Live Nation president of Upstate New York and Connecticut.

In previous years, concertgoers wanting to enjoy a day at the Theme Park would have needed to purchase a combo ticket in advance or at the gate for a cost that has ranged from $9.99 to $19.99 plus fees.

“In celebration of our 25th season of concerts at Darien Lake, we’ve partnered with Live Nation to add some extraordinary value to the experience. Where else can you ride coasters all day and rock out all night with the greatest stars in the music industry?” said Chris Thorpe, general manager of Darien Lake Theme Park.

February 3, 2017 - 1:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, batavia, news, business, Announcements.

Press release:

Each new year brings with it the opportunity to recognize more outstanding community members for YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards. Worthy candidates not only exemplify YWCA’s mission and vision but also represent a wide cross section of people working toward the good of others.

These awards are about honoring women while also serving to acknowledge all of those deserving people, organizations and businesses that help to eliminate racism, empower women and/or encourage economic independence, healthy relationships and a community free from violence.

Your nominations are wanted. Nominations are due March 1 and may be emailed to: [email protected] or sent to YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North St., Batavia, NY, 14020. Please include your name and contact information, the award category, name of nominee, some background and reasons for your nomination.

“It’s hard to believe that we are here again seeking nominations for our six awards, but we are confident that this community is ripe with commendable candidates,” Executive Director Jeanne Walton said. “Please take a few moments of your time to think about those people, agencies and companies that cross your path. Have they made a difference? Is the community better for their good deeds? Then let us know!”

Traditionally a weekend event, this year’s Gala has been changed to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road. The Women of Distinction Committee hopes that a weeknight will better suit people’s busy lives while still serving as a great time to showcase our local talent, dedication and philanthropic efforts, Walton said.

The selection committee is looking for nominations of men, women, companies and organizations that have gone above and beyond in the following categories:

Racial Justice: Supporting diversity through one's initiatives, philosophies and/or programs. This may include service in a leadership role, with commitment to racial justice and a high standard of courage, integrity and commitment to YWCA's mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

Economic Empowerment: Helping women to face the challenge of economic inequality or hardship. This is done with programs or initiatives that create opportunities for women to lift themselves from their current circumstances and gain more options to improve their lives.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Making a continuous effort to recruit, develop and promote a diverse work force and foster an inclusive  environment where women leaders thrive.

Military/Veteran: A veteran or related agency that has worked on behalf of veterans and continues to serve through civic, personal and/or professional improvements.

Advocacy/Civic Engagement: Working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. Promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.

Peace: Striving to make the world a better place by emphasizing the importance of kindness, compassion and peace.

For more information, go to ywcagenesee.org or call (585) 343-5808.

February 2, 2017 - 2:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, tourism, business, news.

A weak Canadian dollar kept many tourists from the north out of New York and Genesee County, as a result, saw a decline of 3 percent in bed tax revenue, Tom Turnbull, president of the Chamber of Commerce, told county legislators yesterday.

Turnbull and tourism director Kelly Rapone provided a review of chamber and tourism activity at the Ways and Means Committee meeting.

"People were not traveling as much," Turnbull said. "But talking with our friends in Buffalo-Niagara, we did better than them. They were down 10 percent."

The weak exchange rate for Canadians didn't keep too many golfers away, though, Turnbull said. Because the prices at local golf courses are so competitive, the chamber was still able to sell a number of golf packages.

Turnbull thinks the county's bed tax revenue will return to a level of $420,000 or higher in 2017 in a large part because this will be the first full year of operation for the new hotel at Batavia Downs and this year a new hotel should open on the north side of the Thruway in Batavia, the Fairfield by Marriott.

Group sales have continued to do well, if not better, Turnbull said. Genesee County continues to be a popular location for soccer, lacrosse and baseball tournaments. 

"That brings people into the hotels and they spend money and that’s what we’re looking for," Turnbull said.

Rapone shared copies of the new tourism promotional material the chamber has available. She also debuted the totally redesigned tourism website visitgeneseeny.com. The modernized website will make it easier for tourists to find information about visiting Genesee County, she said, and it will also make it easier on both golfers and staff to handle bookings for golf packages.

During the meeting, Legislator Ray Cianfrini also floated the idea of creating an entertainment tax. He noted that when he's gone to venues in other counties he's noticed the ticket price includes an entertainment tax, so he's been researching it. The tax, if implemented, would likely apply only to venues over a certain size, say with seating of 2,500 or more, and colleges would be exempt.  

The only current venue where such a tax might apply is Darian Lake Performing Arts Center.

"It might be another source of revenue," Cianfrini said.

January 31, 2017 - 1:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in genesee county chamber of commerce, business.

Press release:

“Marketing and Sales in the New Millennium” will be the subject of a small business workshop to be hosted the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 8.

This is the one of a series of business workshops held in conjunction with the United States Small Business Administration and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. The workshops are open to all Chamber and non-Chamber businesses and their employees and will offer expert advice from experienced business professionals designed to help small businesses succeed and grow.

“This workshop will explore why marketing in the new millennium presents new challenges and opportunities for small business,” said Tom Turnbull, Chamber president. “Learn what has changed and what has stayed the same and how to identify the proper strategies for your business today.”

All of these questions and more will be answered during this presentation with an additional question and answer session.

The workshops will be held at the new Chamber of Commerce office, 8276 Park Road, Batavia. The sessions will run from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Businesses may attend any one or all of the workshops. Cost for non-Chamber members is $10 for each attendee. Chamber members may attend all sessions free of charge but must make reservations to insure space for their employees.

To reserve a seat in any workshop or for more information, contact Kelly Bermingham at 585-343-7440 or by email at [email protected].                 

January 31, 2017 - 11:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tencar, GCEDC, business, batavia.

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The GLOW region isn't exactly a hotbed of venture capital activity, so any founder might find it hard to get that first round of funding that is so critical to the success of a startup.

For a woman founder, statistically speaking at least, the odds of getting that early-stage seed backing is even higher. About 3 percent of all venture-backed companies are headed by female founders.

That makes Batavia's Georgann Carrubba pretty unique. She now has access to $200,000 in seed funding through Launch NY and Excell Partners.

Carrubba was awarded the first $100,000 last year in a startup competition hosted by Launch NY in Rochester. Yesterday, at a press conference at the Innovation Zone in the Med-Tech Center, Carrubba was able to announce that Launch NY and Excell have each agreed to put in another $50,000 apiece.

“We strongly believe our product will be life changing for colostomy and ileostomy patients,” Carrubba said. “These types of investments demonstrate we have a viable medical device that is close to being ready for pilot production. We are extremely grateful to Excell Partners and Launch New York for this investment in our company.”

Launch NY is a state-backed incubator for tech startups in WNY and Excell is venture capital fund created by the state.

The goal of both organizations is to identify promising startups that will be based in New York and have the potential to grow into big businesses that employ lots of people.

"We all know, economic development is a team sport and Georgann has a team behind her," said Theresa B. Mazzullo, CEO of Excell Partners. "We want to be the wind at her back and we want to see her succeed so that this same team is standing up together in the future ringing the bell at NASDAQ."

That kind of growth is certainly Carrubba's goal, who intends to keep her business based in Batavia and manufacture the device she's designed for colostomy and ileostomy patients that she believes will help them enjoy the kind of active lifestyle that can be difficult with current colostomy bags.

She calls her product Choice Cap. Yesterday (pictures below), she showed off the latest design iteration, which is slimmer and more functional that earlier versions.

With the $200,000 in funding, she can begin production and marketing, but to really grow the company, she will need to find second- and third-round investors.  

The latest round of funding comes from a state grant dedicated to funding women-owned startups and Mazzullo said Tencar is the perfect business to receive the fund's support.

"Tencar and Georgann exemplify -- are the poster child for -- why this fund was created," Mazzullo said. "It’s an opportunity to invest in very promising technologies in the region that are women-owned in an area that is going to have job creation. It hits all the high-water marks for what you want in economic development in our region -- promising technology, women-owned, job creation."

Carrubba, a nurse by profession, first came up with the idea for Choice Cap in 2011 and got serious about developing a business in 2014. It's been a long process, she said, but worth the effort. She believes she will make lives better for patients and employ more people locally.  

She's been through tons of meetings, presentations and planning to get to this early-stage funding level, but that's not unusual said Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO of Launch NY. In fact, it's normal.

"A reporter asked me, ‘well, it’s been a long time,’ and, (she replied) 'well, no not really,' " she said. "This is what it is like and a lot of people don’t realize it. Entrepreneurship has become such a cool thing for people to do, but the hard work, and the 24/7, and the angst and the ‘Can I make it through the next step?’ that is something people don’t appreciate fully.”

Carrubba said she knows she's not done with the hard work, but yesterday's announcement was a milestone in the process so far.

"I'm ecstatic," she said. "There are so many strong, qualified, educated people behind me. I could not be happier. It could not have played out any better."

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Theresa B. Mazzullo, CEO of Excell Partners

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Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO of Launch NY

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January 31, 2017 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, business.

tomwoodruff.jpgNotre Dame High School (www.ndhsbatavia.com) announced today that Tom Woodruff (Batavia, NY) and Emily Patrick (Alexander, NY) have joined the administrative team.

Tom Woodruff is Director of Academic Advisement, College Placement, and Career Connections and comes to Notre Dame High School with over forty years of experience in education.  Most recently, Tom served as principal of Caledonia-Mumford High School where he worked with the Board of Education, administrative team, faculty, and staff to expose their students to a comprehensive education program that was the catalyst for each child feeling challenged, supported, and ultimately stronger positioned to realize their dreams.

Emily Patrick is Advisement Director and Grant Writer. Emily comes highly recommended to Notre Dame and is looking forward to working with the board, administrative team, alumni, and current families. Her energy, professionalism, and willingness to serve the multiple constituents of Notre Dame will help to develop innovative and exciting ways to celebrate Notre Dame’s past while continuing the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the future.

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About Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame High School has served the community as a Catholic, coeducational high school for over fifty years. With a focus on academic excellence, strength of character and developing leaders who serve Notre Dame has been recognized as the #1 co-ed high school in the Genesee, Wyoming, and Orleans area for the ninth consecutive year by Buffalo Business First. 

Notre Dame proudly develops its academic programs to meet the needs of current students, offering over 55 courses, including 31 college and AP level courses.  In addition, Notre Dame offers 18 interscholastic athletic teams and 15 academic clubs, ensuring their graduates emerge as well-rounded and fully developed young adults, ready to manage the next step of college or work. 

January 27, 2017 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Tompkins Bank of Castile.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors approved payment of a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.45 per share, payable on February 15, 2017, to common shareholders of record on February 7, 2017.

Tompkins Financial Corporation is a financial services company serving the Central, Western, and Hudson Valley regions of New York and the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Headquartered in Ithaca, NY, Tompkins Financial is parent to Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Tompkins VIST Bank, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc., and offers wealth management services through Tompkins Financial Advisors. For more information on Tompkins Financial, visit www.tompkinsfinancial.com.

January 27, 2017 - 4:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Tompkins Bank of Castile.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation (NYSEMKT:TMP) reported record diluted earnings per share of $0.99 for the fourth quarter of 2016, a 7.6% increase from the $0.92 reported in the fourth quarter of 2015. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $15.1 million, up 9.1% compared to the $13.9 million reported for the same period in 2015.

President and CEO, Stephen S. Romaine said "We are very pleased to end 2016 with the best fourth quarter in our Company’s long history. Fourth quarter performance reflects the ongoing success of our business development efforts that have produced solid growth in net loan and deposit balances, which are up 12.9% and 5.2%, respectively over 2015. Growth in these key balance sheet categories gives us very good momentum as we head into 2017.”

Full year results reflect the best earnings per share in Company history. For the year ended December 31, 2016, diluted earnings per share were $3.91, an increase of 1.0%, over the $3.87 per share reported in 2015. The record results for 2016 are especially noteworthy given that results for 2015 included a non-recurring curtailment gain of $3.6 million after tax ($0.24 per share) related to changes to the Company’s pension plan, which was recognized in the second quarter of 2015. Refer to the table of “NON-GAAP MEASURES” included in this press release for additional details. Full year and quarterly results for 2016 reflect the impact of the early adoption of Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-09, Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting, which is more fully described in Footnote 10 of this press release.

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS FOR FOURTH QUARTER:

  • Net interest income of $46.4 million for the current quarter was up 6.8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2015
  • Total loans of $4.3 billion at year end 2016 were up 12.9% over year end 2015
  • Noninterest bearing deposit balances of $1.2 billion at year end 2016 are up 8.6% over year end 2015
  • Nonperforming assets of $22.6 million at year end 2016, though up $3.3 million from the most recent prior quarter, reflect a decrease of 7.8% from year end 2015.
  • During the quarter, the Company announced that it will redeem approximately $20.5 million of 7% Fixed Rate Trust Preferred securities, effective January 31, 2017. For purposes of calculating regulatory capital, these securities were not included as part of Tier 1 capital at year end 2016.

NET INTEREST INCOME

Net interest income of $46.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased by $2.9 million, or 6.8% compared to the same period in 2015. For the full year, net interest income was $180.6 million, up $12.3 million, or 7.3% from the same period in 2015.

Growth in net interest income was largely driven by $447.7 million of growth in average total loans since the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 12.1%. The loan growth was supported, in part, by a $212.7 million increase in average total deposits over the same period. The net interest margin was 3.30% in the fourth quarter, down from 3.31% for the most recent prior quarter, and 3.35% for the same quarter last year.

NONINTEREST INCOME

Noninterest income was $16.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, and was down $1.6 million or 8.9% compared to the same period in 2015. For the full year, noninterest income of $68.8 million is down from $71.9 million reported for 2015. Prior year-to-date results included net gains on the sale of other real estate owned of $946,000, which were higher by $860,000, when compared to the current year-to-date period. Fee based revenue for 2016 (including insurance, wealth management, and banking related fees), was relatively flat compared to the prior year.

NONINTEREST EXPENSE

Noninterest expense was $39.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, approximately flat, when compared to that same quarter in 2015. For the full year, noninterest expenses were $158.6 million in 2016, up $8.7 million, or 5.8% over 2015. The current full year results included $313,000 of expense related to the early termination of an FDIC loss share agreement, which was recognized in the third quarter of 2016; and $546,000 of deconversion expenses related to a core system conversion planned for 2017. The deconversion expenses include $306,000 of expenses that were recognized in the fourth quarter of 2016. Prior year noninterest expenses benefited from a $6.0 million (pretax) non-recurring curtailment gain (recognized in the second quarter of 2015) related to a change in the Company’s defined benefit pension plan.

ASSET QUALITY

Asset quality trends remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2016. Nonperforming assets were down $1.9 million or 7.8% compared to the fourth quarter in 2015; though they were up $3.3 million or 17.0% from the most recent prior quarter. Nonperforming assets represented 0.36% of total assets at December 31, 2016, compared to 0.32% at September 30, 2016, and 0.43% at December 31, 2015. Nonperforming asset levels continue to be well below the most recent Federal Reserve Board Peer Group Average1 of 0.77%.

The provision for loan and lease losses was $1.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, up from $1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Full year provision expense was $4.3 million in 2016, up from $2.9 million in 2015. The year-over-year increase in provision expense is primarily due to loan growth, as well as higher net recoveries in the prior period. Net charge-offs for 2016 were $571,000 compared to net recoveries of $62,000 reported in 2015.

The Company’s allowance for originated loan and lease losses totaled $35.6 million at December 31, 2016, and represented 0.92% of total originated loans and leases at December 31, 2016, compared to 0.95% at December 31, 2015. The total allowance represented 165.0% of total nonperforming loans and leases at December 31, 2016, up from 146.7% at December 31, 2015.

CAPITAL POSITION

Capital ratios remain well above the regulatory well-capitalized minimums. The ratio Tier 1 capital to average assets of 8.41% at December 31, 2016, compared to 8.82% reported for December 31, 2015. Total capital to risk-weighted assets at December 31, 2016 was 12.22%, compared to 13.03% reported at December 31, 2015. Contributing to the decline in capital levels in the fourth quarter of 2016 was the exclusion from Tier I capital of $20.5 million in 7% Fixed Rate Trust preferred securities, which the Company plans to redeem in January 2017.

ABOUT TOMPKINS FINANCIAL CORPORATION

Tompkins Financial Corporation is a financial services company serving the Central, Western, and Hudson Valley regions of New York and the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Headquartered in Ithaca, NY, Tompkins Financial is parent to Tompkins Trust Company, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Mahopac Bank, Tompkins VIST Bank, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc., and offers wealth management services through Tompkins Financial Advisors. For more information on Tompkins Financial, visit www.tompkinsfinancial.com.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform of 1995:

This press release may include forward-looking statements with respect to revenue sources, growth, market risk, and corporate objectives. The Company assumes no duty, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update forward-looking statements, and cautions that these statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks, and uncertainties, all of which could change over time. Actual results could differ materially from forward-looking statements.

For more details, click here.

 

January 26, 2017 - 2:45pm

Malware, ransomware, hackers, scams, viruses.marchese_1.jpg

The sound of the words themselves is scary. Just think of the horror that arrives when these “diseases” actually infect a person’s computer.

Safeguarding one’s computer from uninvited software and/or criminal activity should not be taken lightly, according to two longtime Batavia businessmen who specialize in computer sales, repair and data protection.

Paul Marchese (top photo) of Marchese Computer Products on Ellicott Street and Marc Johnson (bottom photo) of Millennium Computers on Washington Avenue gave almost identical responses when it comes to protecting computer files.

“Backup, backup, backup,” Marchese said, “and always back to more than one place, such as separate external hard drives or recovery systems. And never, and I repeat never, use DVD or flash drives as primary backups. Both of these devices fail on a regular basis.”

Johnson agreed.

johnson.jpg

“It’s important to save multiple iterations of the files – local backup and offsite (Cloud) backups,” said Johnson, who, like Marchese, offers managed offsite backup along with anti-virus, anti-malware and critical update services.

Backups of a computer’s (or network of computers’) programs, data files and hard drives are essential should a computer crash or be infected by viruses or a devious hacker.

For those not familiar with the terminology:

-- Malware is software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems.

-- Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

-- Viruses are types of malicious codes or programs written to alter the way a computer operates and are designed to spread from one computer to another. They can be spread through email and text message attachments, Internet downloads, social media scam links, mobile devices and smart phones – and can be disguised as attachments to such things as funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files.

A necessary first step, Marchese said, is to install top-rated virus and spyware software on your computer.

“Symantec, BitDefender and McAfee are the top three,” he said. “In our industry – more than most – you get what you pay for. Free anti-virus does not do much more than what is built in, and that is not good.”

Both Johnson, whose business is in its 20th year, and Marchese, who opened in 1981, said they have been busy restoring individuals’ and business computers from viruses, phony messages and from hackers purporting to be from Microsoft, Facebook or other legitimate companies claiming they have information that the computer is infected.

“They’re all fake. No one from these companies ever will call you because your machine is infected,” Marchese said. “These unscrupulous people just want access to your machine so they can encrypt and force you to pay to get the key.”

Computer pop-ups can create havoc as well.

“Oftentimes a message will pop up on your screen, stating that the computer is infected and that a call needs to be made to Microsoft to fix it,” Johnson said. “This illicits an emotional response and the user will call the number and let the person remote into their computer.”

This usually opens a Pandora’s Box for trouble, resulting in anywhere from the computer being encrypted and locked (ransomware) to personal passwords and account information being stolen.

Marchese said the best response to an unsolicited call is to tell them “my computer guy is coming in an hour to install my new printer, so I’ll have him take a look at it. Never go to your machine – tell them it is off if they keep pressing you.”

Johnson also mentioned a virus known as “locky,” which can come as an attachment to an email stating that a shipment is delayed or one with a similar message.

“Once you open the email, the virus basically encrypts all your documents,” he said, “and you can’t decrypt them unless you pay them to get the key. You’re held ransom.”

Some other measures people can take to protect themselves are as follows:

-- Updating operating systems and software on a regular basis;
-- Enabling Microsoft product updates;
-- Installing anti-malware, anti-spyware, firewall and anti-exploit technology;
-- Destroying all personal info on hardware you plan to sell (erasing the hard drive);
-- Avoiding Wi-Fi that is not password protected;
-- Placing passwords on all devices, including desktops, laptops, phones, smart watches, tablets, cameras, etc., and using the fingerprint lock for the iPhone and passkey or swipe for Android.

January 25, 2017 - 3:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, agriculture, business, news, Announcements.

Tickets are still available for the 15th Annual Celebrate Agriculture Dinner! The dinner will take place Saturday, March 18 at the Alexander Fire Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m.  This event is a celebration of Genesee County’s number one industry – Agriculture. The highlight is a delicious meal using locally produced foods prepared by Penna’s Catering.

The dinner is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce (8276 Park Road, Batavia) for $30 each. A table of 10 can be purchased for $275. Sponsorships are available for $350 and help to support agriculture educational events in Genesee County. Tickets will not  be sold at the door.

The Celebrate Ag Dinner is coordinated by the following partners: Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Genesee County Farm Bureau and Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District. Many local farms and businesses sponsor or donate products to this event.

For ticket information contact the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce at 585-343-7440, ext. 1027 or [email protected]

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