Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Site Sponsors

business

June 2, 2015 - 4:51pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge will offer for bid 139 acres of grassland hay in five different fields ranging in size from 58 to 81 acres. The refuge annually provides a total of 1,400 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.

Hay will be allocated on a highest bid per field basis for each field. Sealed bids will be accepted until 12 p.m., July 2. An official Bid Sheet, available from the refuge headquarters, is required to make a bid. Completed Bid Sheets 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 Madeline Prush at 585-948-5445, ext. 7036.

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

June 2, 2015 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in graham corporation, business, batavia.

Lower oil prices could hurt Batavia-based Graham Corp. in the coming fiscal year, company officials say, so they're looking to trim the company workforce by 10 percent through a retirement incentive program.

The workforce reduction announcement was coupled with news that the publicly traded company posted $4.2 million in profits, up 80 percent from a year ago.

For the fiscal year, company revenue was up 45 percent to $14.7 million.

For more on this story, visit the Buffalo News.

June 2, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider three projects at its June 4, 2015 board meeting.

ADK Hospitality plans to build an 82-room hotel connected to Batavia Down’s Gaming facility which will serve as an important amenity to the gaming, restaurant, banquet and racing activities at Batavia Downs. The capital investment is approximately $5.49 million.

Manning, Squires Hennig Co., Inc., plans to expand its corporate office and maintenance facilities in the Town of Batavia to include a 5,000-square-foot shop and additions to its main office space. The capital investment is approximately $1.3 million. The project is expected to result in 88 retained jobs and the creation of five new jobs. 

O-AT-KA Milk Products plans to add 205,000 square feet of warehousing space to its manufacturing facility on the corner of Ellicott Street and Cedar Street in Batavia. The project will retain 334 jobs and create 21 new jobs. The capital investment is approximately $10.25 million.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public.  Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

May 28, 2015 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Baskin Livestock, business, Bethany.
douglas.jpeg
File photo of Douglas Mess by Howard Owens.

There's nothing Bill Baskin wants more right now than justice served in the murder of his friend and key employee Douglas Mess.

The body of the 52-year-old Attica man was found buried under a manure pile on his farm at 1229 Exchange Street Road on April 20.

Baskin, owner of Baskin Livestock on Creek Road in Bethany, seems to know a lot about the case, but he's not sharing any of it for publication for fear divulging more than Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Geen is willing to disclose himself and jeopardize the prosecution of Charlene Mess, Douglas's wife, who has been held without bail since her arrest April 20.

A grand jury is hearing the evidence against her today and we should know within days whether she will face a trial as the alleged murderer. It may take a trial to publicly unravel the mystery of how Douglas Mess died and why. Some news reports say his death was a culmination of an argument that got out of hand. Some people who know Charlene Mess say she was domineering within her family. Friends of Douglas Mess, including Baskin, use words like "Teddy Bear," and say he was a man who just loved to farm and work on machinery and rarely had a cross word with anybody.

Farming and fixing things were pretty much how Mess spent all of his time, said friends and family. When he wasn't in a shop shoulder deep in steel and grease, he loved to be alone on a field driving a tractor, and about his only hobby was collecting models of the tractors he owned or repaired.

Mess was born in Rochester and spent the first 10 years of his life in the Town of Victor before his father bought a dairy farm in Castile. That's where Mess fell in love with farming, working with animals, driving tractors, but most importantly, learning how to fix farm machinery.

Like a lot of farmers, the Mess family liked to save a buck by repairing their own equipment and keeping it operational longer than perhaps normal wear and tear would dictate. 

By the time he was a teenager, by all accounts, Mess was a natural at the kind of tinkering that kept heavy equipment in tip-top shape.

After his father sold the farm, Mess took jobs at other farms before landing at a dealership in Alexander. He worked there 18 years, establishing himself as the go-to-guy on all kinds of repairs.

The job afforded him the chance to get manufacturer training, particularly on skid loaders, and further hone his own skills.

He may have had a photographic memory, according to Susan Blackburn, Baskin's wife and business partner. She said Mess could look at a part and tell you on what page it could be found on in a particular parts catalog.

"I've spent a lot of time at a lot of universities," Blackburn said. "He had a high school education and he was the most intelligent men I've ever known. The guy was very, very intelligent and just as humble as anybody you've ever known."

Baskin first met Mess while he worked at the Alexander dealership. At the time, Baskin Livestock was still a young company with just a couple of employees, but already, Baskin knew he needed somebody full-time to work on his farm equipment.

When Mess let Baskin know he was ready for a change of scenery, Baskin hired him on the spot.

At the time, the repair shop was Mess and one other guy who worked on the delivery trucks used in the feed side of the business.

"At one point in time he thought we did not have enough work to keep him busy," Baskin said.

By the time of his death, Mess supervised a shop of six people repairing farm equipment, trucks and all the machinery used in the feed operation. He was Baskin's go-to-guy on nearly all aspects of the business.

"About every decision I had to make, in some way shape or form, I had some input from him," Baskin said. "Not every decision, but a huge percentage of the decisions I had to make, I relied on him for some percentage of the input to make that decision. He had a good feel for the big picture and the details."

There was little Mess couldn't do with machinery, from design of equipment used throughout the operation, to the creation of parts and tools, to taking something that was out of service and getting it to run again.

"He was a MacGyver type," Baskin said. "If there was something he couldn't fix, we had a problem, a real problem."

Mess had four sons, all of whom in one form or another have followed in his footsteps. Three of them work for Bill Baskin. Douglas G., the oldest son at 29, said he admired his father's love for what he did and how well he did it.

"He loved taking something that was broken, not even running, taking it apart and putting it back together like it was new, even better than new," Douglas said. "He was proud of that. 'I fixed it. It's usable again.' "

The oldest son said he'll never forget his father's mischievous smile. He loved a good practical joke and he enjoyed watching trainees trying to figure out how to fix something Mess could easily piece together himself. 

"He'd let you work on it a little while and then come over and show you," Douglas said. "'Hey, this way's a little quicker and a little easier,' and he was always right."

A frequent target of Mess's joking around was Jackie Murphy.

Murphy and Mess worked together daily over the past four years, starting with Murphy's transfer from the front office to an office in the repair shop, at about the time Mess's supervisory duties had him sitting at a tan metal desk a little more and spending a little less time loosening or tightening bolts or welding this part to that.

Mess teased Murphy about her boyfriend's loyalty to International Harvester (Mess was a John Deere man) and one of his favorite jokes to play on her was to make up names for new truck drivers, letting her use the made-up name for weeks until she figured it out herself, such as the Marty she called Theodore until she finally met him in person.

That joke would be worth at least two days of laughter.

"He was a funny, amazing guy," Murphy said.

And helpful. Clearly, nobody knew more about what parts were in the shop than Mess. At inventory time, he helped Murphy with the task. He would teach her anything she needed to know to do her job better.

He was always big-hearted with everybody around, she said.

That's how Douglas remembers him, too, and how he was recalled at his funeral service, Douglas said, which was attended by more than 350 people.

"You know the saying, give somebody the shirt off your back, he was the guy who did that," Douglas said. "He met other people's needs before he met his own."

How do you replace somebody like that, Baskin wondered.

Right now, the duties of Mess have been divided among four different workers. 

"Will we have at some point in time somebody with that ability?" Baskin said. "Sure, maybe. Everybody's replaceable, including me, but he ain't walking in the door tomorrow. (Mess) brought a big skill set with him and he learned and grew a lot. He learned as the business grew. His knowledge grew and his ability grew. That's hard to just drop somebody in that spot."

Baskin said Mess was like a member of the family, and he was bigger than Baskin, but younger.

"He was the big little brother I never had," Baskin said.

The loss of Mess is being felt throughout the company by all of the employees, Baskin said. 

"We've got guys who are really, really good and really, really competent," Baskin said, "and the comment's been made by more than one of them, 'I'm comfortable with what I'm doing and I like what I'm doing, but there are a lot of times where I got to the point where I had to ask him, 'what do you think about this or what do you think about that?' and who are you asking now?' "

As fast as the business has grown, it hasn't always been gold-dappled mornings over green, rolling hills around Baskin Livestock. There have been some tough times, but nothing compares to the murder of Douglas Mess.

"We've had two fires, got a guy, 52 or 53, who worked for us, who died in his sleep, and another guy we were quite close to who committed suicide, and this was the worst," Baskin said. "There are 85 and 95 guys who die all the time, they had a good long life and it's not unexpected and unnatural, but this was a complete shock, nonsense."

Which is why Bill Baskin doesn't particularly want to discuss the details of the legal case against Charlene Mess. There's stuff he may know because he's close to the situation, but he will leave that to the professionals in law enforcement to handle.

Douglas Mess can't be replaced, at least not easily, but justice can be served.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: There will be a benefit for Doug Mess's boys starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, at the Alexander Firemen's Recreation Hall, located at 10708 Alexander Road in Alexander. Enjoy a delicious spaghetti dinner for $10, eat in or carry out. Tickets are presale and also available at the door. There will be 50/50 raffles, basket raffles, and a baked goods table. Enter for a chance to win a trip to JAMAICA! (7 night, all-inclusive for two, including airfare) For more information or to buy tickets, call Jackie Murphy at (716) 481-6662.

May 27, 2015 - 2:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, business.

Genesee County's unemployment rate dropped in April to 5.1 percent, according to Labor Department statistics released today.

That's down from 5.5 percent a year ago.

The last time April unemployment was lower was in 2007, when the local rate was 4.4 percent, though the rate has been lower in the past 12 months, when it was 4.8 in October.

The Department of Labor says that there are 28,400 residents of Genesee County with jobs, up 100 from the prior year. There are 1,500 people counted as unemployed, down 100 from a year ago.

The jobs data comes out a week after Scott Gage, director of the local job bureau said that his department currently lists 400 job openings and the number of employment seekers coming into his office is dwindling.

The unemployment rate in Wyoming County dropped from 6.6 percent to 5.8 percent, in Orleans from 7. 7 to 6.4, and in Livingston, from 5.6 to 5.2.

New York's rate is 5.5 and the national rate is 5.5.

May 26, 2015 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Announcements, dairy.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s NWNY Team is planning a pasture walk at the farm of John and Sue Mikel Friday, June 26 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 6321 East Bethany-Le Roy Road, Stafford. John and Sue own and operate Mikelholm Holsteins, a small grazing dairy they started on a 30-acre field they purchased seven years ago. They built a house and barn with a parlor. They graze their 35 cows plus youngstock on the remaining land and supplement with purchased feed. They also knew grazing would provide health benefits to the cows and reduce demands on labor. An added benefit was the reduced bedding costs while the cows are out on pasture.

Discussion will include how John and Sue got started, and fence and laneway layout. Come and hear how their nutritionist balances the summer ration, and how to control parasites on pasture, plus more. There will be ample time for open discussion during the walk.

Lunch will be provided and is sponsored by Select Sires and milk will be donated by Upstate Farms.

Registration is required by June 19 to get an accurate count for lunch. The cost of the pasture walk is $10 per person or $20 per farm/family.
 
To register contact Cathy Wallace at 585.343.3040, ext. 138 or cfw6@cornell.edu.
For questions contact Nancy Glazier at 585.315.7746 or nig3@cornell.edu.
 
A check made out to CCE may be mailed to CCE, Attn: Cathy Wallace, 420 E. Main St., Batavia, NY  14020.

May 22, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

As part of the 2015 agency performance goals, the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced the first of a series of outreach meetings to engage local taxing jurisdictions throughout the County about the various activities and programs and incentives offered by the GCEDC. 

On Tuesday, May 26, GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde will make a presentation at a joint meeting of the Town and Village of Bergen at the Bergen Town Hall on 10 Hunter St. in Bergen at 6:30 p.m. 

Among the topics for discussion will include development and business recruitment and expansion activities at the Apple Tree Acres. Among the businesses that currently operate out of Apple Tree Acres include Liberty Pumps, Leonard Bus Co. and Ad Tech. Hyde also will provide information about how payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) impact the tax base among other topics.

“As part of the 2015 goals the GCEDC Board of Directors identified at the beginning of this year, we will enhance our outreach efforts to taxing jurisdictions and stakeholders throughout Genesee County about our economic development activities,” Hyde said. “We are always striving to increase outreach to the stakeholders we serve and identity new ways in which we can expand the quality of our economic development programs and incentives.”

May 21, 2015 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in career center, jobs bureau, jobs, economy, business.

Scott Gage, director of the Genesee County Job Development Center, has a simple message for anybody looking for a job or a better job: come on down.

There are currently 400 job openings listed with the career center and not nearly enough applicants to fill them, Gage said.

"If anybody is interested in work, definitely come down and see us at the career center, because there are a lot of openings," Gage said.

Yes, many of the jobs are entry-level production jobs, but they're good paying jobs, Gage said. There's also a number of professional-level jobs available.

The recession-era fear people had about taking a stab at a new job at a chance for career advancement or higher pay has disappeared, Gage said. More people are looking to move up, which helps create openings for other workers and it's also the sign of a strong local job market.

"There are not a lot of job seekers coming through our doors," Gage said.

May 20, 2015 - 3:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, visitors booth, chamber of commerce, tourism, business.

visitorboothmay202015.jpg

Press release:

Here is a fun and interesting way that you can assist your community -- by volunteering a few hours at the Genesee County Visitor Information Center. If you love our surrounding communities, enjoy helping people, and feel that you could be great ambassador for Genesee County, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is looking you.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will reopen the seasonal Visitor Information Center on Friday, June 5th. The center is located at 131 W. Main St. in Batavia and operates in the summer months to assist summer visitors.

The Chamber is currently looking for a few helpful residents to greet visitors and provide directions and area information to travelers at our visitor “booth,” which is located in the parking lot of the Holland Land Office Museum.  Our volunteers greet visitors, hand out maps, dining guides, provide directions, recommendations and more. 

Available shifts are:

  • Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Sundays: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as every other Sunday 3 to 5 p.m.

If you are interested in a two- or three-hour shift, weekly or biweekly, please call Kelly Rapone (585) 343-7440, ext. 23, at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Howard Owens.

May 19, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, Falcone Electric.

falconeelctricmay192015.jpg

Press release:

Genesee County Economic Development Center officials announced today that the new owners of Falcone Electric, an electrical supply provider in Batavia, have completed repayment of a $100,000 revolving business loan issued by the GCEDC in 2010.

On January 1, 2010, Dan and Amy Vanderhoof purchased the assets of Falcone Electric from Michael Falcone with the assistance of GCEDC’s Revolving Loan Fund Program. The loan was issued to assist in the new owners’ purchase of the company and ensure that Falcone’s would continue to operate and provide jobs for the existing employees under the new ownership. Through the process, Michael Falcone was able to transition to retirement knowing that his three wishes for the business would be carried out – that Falcone Electric would remain a family owned and operated small business; it would maintain close ties to the local community; and it would support the employees and customer base that have been loyal to Falcone’s for many years.

The Revolving Business Loan also helped fund operating capital and the purchase of a computer warehouse management system. GCEDC provides this type of loan to fund investments that support enterprise sustainability, growth and job retention or creation.

“The GCEDC educated and guided us throughout the process in finding the loan program that was the perfect fit for our needs,” said Dan Vanderhoof, co-owner of Falcone Electric. “It is comforting to know that there are financing opportunities for small businesses through local resources provided by entities such as the GCEDC.”

“Purchasing a business, especially a business with such a strong tradition, can be a daunting task especially in finding the capital to make such a transaction feasible, said Dan Vanderhoof, co-owner of Falcone Electric. “Were it not for the Revolving Loan Fund program, we may not have been able to fulfill our dream in buying Falcone Electric from Mike.”

Upon the company’s purchase in 2010, the Vanderhoofs kept the company under the “Falcone” name and have made upgrades to modernize the store.

“We wanted to recognize Dan and Amy to simply remind small businesses that they have low-cost options when it comes to financing their business,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “What better testament to the revolving fund program than through business owners who were able to directly benefit from it.”

GCEDC offers revolving businesses loans at a minimum of $25,000 and maximum of $200,000. The utilization of the loan funds must be consistent with GCEDC’s mission to support enterprise sustainability and job retention and/or enterprise growth and job creation. For more information about GCEDC’s loan programs and incentive offerings, please visit www.gcedc.com.

Photo by Howard Owens.

May 19, 2015 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, No Finer Diner.

nofinerdiner2015-3.jpg

A fun, friendly atmosphere where people can enjoy a good, homestyle meal -- that's the goal for Lori Trader and Cindy Eggelston, proprietors of Le Roy's newest eatery, the No Finer Diner, right on Main Street, Downtown.

Longtime residents will remember the location as the former Tyler's Restaurant.

Eggleston said is their very basic goal is "We want happy customers."

In the tradition of great American diners, No Finer offers a big breakfast spread and the usual fare for lunch and dinner of burgers and hot dogs, sandwiches, melts and salads, along with entre staples such as ham steak, liver and onions and a seafood basket. There's also a veggie lasagna for those who go meatless and a lasagna in the opposite direction that substitutes veggies for pasta and is filled with turkey for those looking for lean protein with fewer carbs. There's also a kids' menu.

Opening a restaurant of her own had long been a dream, said Trader, who worked for years as a waitress at various local establishments.

"I would walk my dogs by this restaurant almost every day and just imagine what it could be, see the people in there, and I was excited about it," Trader said.

Eggleston had a background in catering and was thinking about finding a commercial kitchen so she could expand her business.

"On April 6, Lori said, 'I really want to open the old Tyler's and I said, 'Ok, let's do it,' Eggleston said. "By the end of that week, we were at the attorneys signing all of our corporate paperwork."

It all came together that quickly, and soon the buzz started spreading around Le Roy that the diner would reopen, run by a couple of local women.

"One of my customers came to my house two days ago and said he's never seen a community so supportive and so excited about somebody opening a diner," Trader said.

nofinerdiner2015-2.jpg

nofinerdiner2015.jpg

May 15, 2015 - 9:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Business Education Alliance, BEA, business, batavia, byron-bergen.

beaawardsmay152015-4.jpg

The Genesee County Business/Education Alliance held its annual meeting this morning at Terry Hills. The event featured presentations by students who have been through BEA programs, awards and election of officers.

Jay Wolcott, a teacher with Byron-Bergen High School, received an APPLE Award, as did Ed Shaver (second picture), a teacher with Elba High School.

Other awards: Business Partner of the Year, Dan Harvey, formerly of Graham Manufacturing; and partner in education awards to Graham Manufacturing and Amada Tool America.

Wolcott and Shaver are pictured with Eve Hens, director of BEA.

beaawardsmay152015-5.jpg

beaawardsmay152015.jpg

Nick Corsivo

beaawardsmay152015-2.jpg

 Students from Alexander Central School who attended BEA Camps last summer. Lauren Young, Nick Allen, Andrew Young.

beaawardsmay152015-3.jpg

Heather Dries and Chrstine Stevens, students at Byron-Bergen, in Wolcott's manufacturing systems classes.

May 15, 2015 - 12:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

gcplanningboardmay142015-4.jpg

A plan to relocate Arby's further west on Main Street is meeting some stiff opposition, both from residents of Vernon Avenue and planners.

County Planning staff recommended to the County Planning Board that members reject a series of zoning variance requests, and after hearing from several Vernon Avenue residents and receiving a petition signed by 95 percent of the residents in opposition to the fast-food restaurant proposal, the board members followed staff recommendation.

The board's vote doesn't kill the project, but it means the City of Batavia Planning Board needs a majority plus one vote to approve the plan.

Kyle Hessler was among the Vernon Avenue residents who spoke and he acknowledged that he lives next to property that is zoned for commercial development -- though it's currently residential -- and he isn't opposed to commercial development in the city, or even on the property. He just thinks the proposal as presented is bad for Vernon Avenue residents.

It would unduly impact traffic on the street and the ability for traffic to easily pull onto Main Street. He doesn't think the barrier for sight, vision and sound between the restaurant and the neighborhood is adequate. And he thinks the parking will prove inadequate. 

Some residents complained that they felt like the developers were trying to sneak the project through, but Robert Kiesler, an architect from Rochester representing the developer, said there is nothing secret about the process. It is going through the public approval process completely in the open, as required by law.

Out of that process, the developer gets a chance to learn what modifications to the plan need to be made to ensure it doesn't negatively impact residents, or if the development is even viable.

The process is designed to give residents a chance to have their say, as Thursday's meeting demonstrated, he said.

The developer is proposing a 2,100-square-foot restaurant that would replace three residential units. It would have a drive-thru with a driveway on Vernon Avenue. 

Among the variances requested is reducing the buffer between the commercial property and residential property from 10 feet to two feet, constructing a building one foot higher than allowed, constructing a smaller driveway than normally permitted and reducing the number of required parking spaces from 84 to 24.

May 15, 2015 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia, Western OTB.

gcplanningboardmay142015.jpg

Officials at Western OTB think the odds of hitting a jackpot are better if their proposed hotel overlooks the Batavia Downs racetrack.

It is, after all, the oldest lighted harness racing track in America and the reason Batavia Downs exists in the first place.

Shoehorning it into the constrained space around the track, however, will require some bending of the rules.

There are zoning variances needed to lot size, lot frontage, front, side and rear setbacks and building height.

The scope of the variances prompted county planning staff to recommend disapproval of the project.

After Western OTB VP Mike Nolan pleaded with the board to support the project, saying it's the only viable option to ensure Batavia Downs continues to thrive and generate millions of dollars for the local economy, planning board members were unwilling to say no to the plan. They also didn't say yes.

The board took no action and the plan is now kicked back with no recommendation to Town of Batavia planners. It will be up to the town's Planning Board to decide whether to grant the variances.

Yes, Town of Batavia, not City of Batavia.

When the hotel plans were first announced, for the 80- to 100-room hotel, officials were talking about a location on the south end of the track, near Tops Plaza, but Nolan said further study on that location indicated it just wasn't viable. It's simply not big enough.

The current proposed location is on the north end of the track and would require the removal of some of the current paddock area.

It's critical, Nolan said, that the hotel be attached to the gaming facility and that it have suites with balconies overlooking the track.

A board member asked, why not in the parking lot on the west side of Park Road?

"It's important that horse racing stays strong and vibrant," Nolan said. "Over in the parking lot, it wouldn't have the same appeal as overlooking the oldest lighted harness racing track in America."

The target audience for the hotel aren't travelers passing through the area, but people willing to travel to Batavia specifically to place bets on races and drop coins in slots.

The desk for the hotel would, in fact, be in the gaming facility itself. (Some of us might call it a casino, but the state's compact with the Senecas prohibits Batavia Downs officials from calling it a casino).

The gaming environment in WNY is getting more competitive, Nolan said, and with the Senecas planning a new $400-million casino a short drive away, it's critical Batavia Downs up its wager on local gaming. Western OTB recently completed a $28-million upgrade to Batavia Downs and the hotel represents the next phase in making Batavia Downs more attractive to gambling dollars.

The land for the hotel would be sold to private investors who would own the hotel and operate it as a franchise of a national hotel company.

Nolan noted that when Western OTB took over Batavia Downs, since Western OTB is a public benefit corporation, it took $3 million in assessed value off the tax roles. The new hotel would be assessed at something in the neighborhood of $7 million, and while tax abatements used to help fund development would delay the full value of that tax levy being realized by some local governments, eventually it would generate substantial tax revenue for the county and school district.

Even if the private developers decided to eventually sell the property and Western OTB became the owner, the property would stay on the tax roll, Nolan said.

gcplanningboardmay142015-2.jpg

May 15, 2015 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, GCEDC, business, batavia.

gcplanningboardmay142015-3.jpg

The backers of a proposed bio-gas plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park are in the early stages of site planning and they hope, if all goes to plan, to be operational in a year.

The plan was presented for review Thursday night to the Genesee County Planning Board and the board unanimously recommended approval at this stage of the process.

The plant would take organic waste from food processing plants -- primarily the two yogurt plants in the ag park -- and convert it into methane to generate heat that could be resold to the plants and electricity that the plants could also purchase.

The plant would generate more electricity than the plants could use -- enough to power 800 homes a day -- so additional capacity would be transferred into the electrical grid.

The plant, said architect Robert Keiffer, of TY Lin International, Rochester, is environmentally friendly, would help make the yogurt plants more sustainable and more efficient to operate, and help attract business to the ag park.

The owners of the plant would be CH4 Biogas, which already operates a plant in Covington.

CH4 has a purchase agreement with Genesee County Economic Development Center for five acres in the ag park. The project would be eligible for economic incentives from GCEDC.

The proposed facility would be 8,500 square feet, housing processing equipment, an office, bathroom, dock area and de-packaging area.

The waste accepted by the facility would be organic and non-hazardous. The waste would go through a methane-capture process, pumped into a grinder and put into a receiving tank.

The waste is then pasteurized in three 15-foot-high tanks. This optimizes methane release. Next, the waste is moved to digester tanks that are completely enclosed. Methane is collected and stored in another tank. It is then converted into electricity by a CHP engine. The engine is not located on site, but at the thermal end-user's location and enclosed to reduce noise.

The organic waste, if not sent to a digester plant, could be used on farm fields or simply taken to a dump. In either case, the methane eventually released by the waste would drift into the atmosphere. Methane is considered a greenhouse gas. This process captures 100 percent of the methane from the waste and converts it to electricity.

May 15, 2015 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, zoning, land use, business.

gcplanningboardmay142015-5.jpg

Any city residents who are concerned about rooming houses opening in their neighborhoods need not worry much longer.

The city is working on a change to the zoning law that would prohibit new rooming houses, boarding houses, lodging houses, tourist homes and tourist camps inside of R-2 districts.

The change would also prohibit future development of such facilities in C-1, C-2 and C-3 districts. 

There are currently 10 rooming houses in the city with a total of 80 available rooms.

"At this point, we think we're saturated with an adequate amount of rooming houses and boarding houses in the city and this provides the ability to limit expansion," said City Manager Jason Molino. "The existing ones will continue to stay in place. They will continue to be regulated and reviewed and permitted every year, as they should be, but this will limit the expansion."

Molino presented the proposed change to the zoning ordinance to the Genesee County Planning Board, just one step in the process of making the change in the zoning law. The board unanimously recommended approval of the proposal.

The current codes governing rooming and boarding houses and multiple-family dwellings in the city are inconsistent with the city's master plan and strategic plan, Molino told the board.

Numerous studies, he said, have shown that rooming houses, in particular, and multi-family dwellings, intermingled in otherwise single-family neighborhoods, bring down property values and encourage the deterioration of whole blocks.

Such uses are also inconsistent with economic development in commercial districts.

This is an issue the city has been looking at for some time, Molino said, but officials became more aware of the need to tighten up the code after local property owner and investor Terry Platt purchased a large home on East Main Street and announced plans to convert it into a rooming house. The city's planning board denied Platt his application for the use, responding to concerns raised by neighbors and other residents; however, Platt challenged the ruling court and eventually prevailed and was able to convert the property into a rooming house.

"That certainly opened everybody's eyes to the potential of where these rooming houses could be located," Molino said. "It has a lot of impact that people perceive as being negative if rooming houses open in certain areas, so that certainly opened our eyes to the inconsistencies in the code."

The proposed zoning change could be perceived as inconsistent with a couple of emerging trends in American society.

First, is the seeming interest of Millennials to avoid home ownership and find suitable places to rent in cities. The second is a trend among some homeowners to use services such as Airbnb to rent rooms to travelers.

On the first point, Molino said he doesn't think Millennials are looking for the kind of rentals this zoning change would curtail.

"They're looking for a little more secure housing, generally, furnished housing, not shared common bathrooms, in areas that are close to amenities and part of a development," Molino said. "There's a disparity in the housing qualities when you start talking about Millennials and the population of empty-nesters who are looking to downsize. They're generally not looking to downsize into rooming houses."

While services such as Airbnb are growing in popularity -- there are even two houses available for guest lodging in Genesee County -- it hasn't been an issue in the city yet, Molino said. The proposed zoning change isn't really meant to address such services, but if it ever became an issue here, Batavia, like any city, would need to study the issue and find the most balanced solution available.

"You've got to look at what comes with it," Molino said. "Are there negative effects? Are there positive effects? Is it similar to a bed and breakfast or not? What comes with that activity? I think what most communities will start dealing with is, what are the positive and negative effects that come with the activity and do they balance each other house, and if not, what revisions of code or enforcement mechanisms do they want to put in place to balance it out."

The proposed zoning change will need to be go through a public hearing and be approved by City Council before becoming law.

May 14, 2015 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in State Street Animal Hospital, business, batavia.

keithstatestreetmay142015.jpg

Keith Carlson and John Kemp, who already hold ownership stakes in Attica Veterinary Associates, have purchased the State Street Animal Hospital from Fran and Norm Woodworth, who were ready to slow down their workload.

Carlson (pictured (Kemp wasn't available)), said not much will change at State Street. It's a good facility with quality equipment and an excellent staff, so there simply isn't much the new owners need to change. All of the current employees are staying on and the new owners plan to hire a new technician and possibly a new vet. 

The new owners work full time in Attica and will manage State Street.

Kemp has been an owner in Attica since 1988 and Carlson joined the staff there 15 years ago, becoming one of the four owners 13 years ago.

"Owning a small animal hospital is something John and I always wanted to do and the right opportunity came along," Carlson said.

May 14, 2015 - 10:39am
posted by laurie napoleone in Batavia Area Jaycees, business, batavia.

jayceesmay82015.jpg

(Jennifer Ray, left, and Cathryn Colby)

U.S. Jaycees President Jennifer Ray visited Genesee County this past week and attended meetings with local officials. The organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Ray is a civil engineer from “a little bit of everywhere,” but currently calls Baltimore her home. She says she moved to Maryland for a job after graduating from college and she only knew one person in the area. That person encouraged her to join the Jaycees and after two years of coaxing, she decided to become a member. That was in 2001. It was through the Jaycees that she met her husband, became connected to the community, and the reason she now lives in Baltimore.

The Jaycees provide an opportunity to be part of a global network and do projects that make an impact and to then raise awareness through social media, she said.

Dating back to 1915, the Jaycees was started by Colonel H.N. Micgran, a prominent citizen from St. Louis who approached Henry Geissenbier, who was the leader of the Herculaneum Dance Club, and asked they become involved in civic issues. Geissenbier and his young men friends formed the young men’s progressive association (YMPCA), which then became the Junior Citizens, called the JC’s … thus, the name “Jaycees.” The whole concept started in St. Louis but grew from there.

The Jaycees were originally an all men’s club that had a woman’s auxiliary and in 1984, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing females as members. This decision prompted other organizations to allow women in as members. With Ray serving as the national president, and Cathy Colby as the New York State President for the Jaycees, it's obvious females not only joined the ranks, but have taken on leadership roles.

The Jaycees have more than 200,000 members and are always looking for civic-minded people from the ages of 18-41 to join the various chapters. Each one seeks solutions to local problems to create a "sustainable global impact." In meeting with local representatives, Ray addressed problems regarding local socioeconomic issues, citing the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunches. By meeting with different chapters, the Jaycees can share community and global resources to hopefully find solutions to an issue such as this.

On a global level, the Jaycees have assisted with numerous projects and in June, they have a National Summit in Washington, D.C., which brings together the Jaycees and various organizations to discuss national and global issues. Then they write resolutions and meet with legislators on Capitol Hill before returning to their local chapters to look at opportunities and ways to resolve issues. Ray mentioned the “Nothingbutnets” Project, which supports President Obama’s Malaria Initiative, and provides insecticide laced bed nets that prevent malaria in African countries. This is one of the many global projects the Jaycees work on. For more information on these projects, go to www.jci.cc

New York State Jaycees President Colby can be contacted at 716-474-3343 for anyone interested in learning more about the Jaycees and how to get involved in the local chapter. Her mantra is “choose your tomorrow” – encouraging the youth in the community to get out and make a difference in their communities.

President Ray said “young people are the movers and shakers. ... it is important to become active in the community by not only identifying problems, but acting on them… and that is what we do."

May 13, 2015 - 2:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, Valu Plaza.

valupavingmay132015.jpg

Yasses Construction did some work this morning repaving a portion of the Valu Plaza parking lot -- the section right in front of El Burrito Loco and Deep Blue Pool and Spa.

valupavingmay132015-2.jpg

valupavingmay132015-3.jpg

May 12, 2015 - 6:21pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, Olivers Candies, business.

Oliver's Candies is more than a Batavia landmark, it is a destination for many on the holidays. It is a cherished tradition. The business has grown quite a bit since 1932 and the sign that had served the store for about 65 years was retired today. Don’t panic! The old sign will be placed into storage and preserved.

The new sign is chocolate brown and matches the motif of the Swiss chalet that was formed around the wood-framed house that was the original store. The sign will be wired and turned on Wednesday. 

Jeremy Liles, VP of Oliver’s, stands next to the new sign.

Pages

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 
 
 

Upcoming

Copyright © 2008-2014 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button