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May 22, 2018 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Empire Access, business, news, infrastructure.

Press release:

Empire Access, a leading telecommunications service provider based in the Finger Lakes region of New York, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Axcess Ontario.

Through this acquisition, Empire Access adds over 200 miles of fiber optic network to its existing multi-county network infrastructure. Empire plans to accelerate its expansion of fiber optic service in Ontario County with this newly acquired network.

“We’re excited to announce that we have finalized the acquisition of the Axcess Ontario network,” said Jim Baase, COO of Empire Access. “This allows us to offer our industry-leading Fiber Optic Gigabit Internet, phone and security to homes and businesses throughout Ontario County.”

The Axcess Ontario fiber ring is a 200-plus-mile open-access fiber-optic network in Ontario County in Upstate New York. Since 2005, Axcess Ontario has built and maintained a robust open-access fiber-optic network infrastructure within Ontario County.

The open-access network provides advanced connectivity for telecommunications. The Axcess Ontario fiber ring has been recognized as a national broadband model and is the epitome of 21st-century public infrastructure.

"Empire Access is a family-owned and operated company, and our goal is to continue Axcess Ontario’s original mission of providing cutting-edge communications services to the local communities,” Baase said.

Empire Access currently offers residential and business fiber optic services in Ontario County's Village of Naples, along with a wide array of fiber optic business services in the cities of Canandaigua and Geneva, the Village of Victor, and Honeoye.

The company will expand residential and business service 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.

May 21, 2018 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy EMS, Mercy Flight, batavia, business, news.


The dedication and ribbon cutting for the new Mercy EMS headquarters on Call Road, off of Route 98, in Batavia, was more than just a celebration of the new facility. It was an expression of gratitude for the Mercy Flight/EMS staff and chance to honor Mercy's cofounder, Doug Baker.

A plaque honoring Baker, pictured above, will be placed on the new building.

For his part, Baker thanked the Genesee County community for entrusting its emergency medical transport services to Mercy EMS and Mercy Flight.

"I'm here to you say thank you for the confidence and courtesy of the acceptance we've had in this community," Baker said. "From the governmental agencies, from the fire and the police, from the hospital, and from the whole community at large. And last but not least certainly the employees. We're very very lucky. Don't think we take it for granted. It's pretty special."

Mercy Flight became Baker's vision in 1981 and he, along with Sister Sheila Marie Walsh, Dr. Matthew Burke, and Dr. James Ehinger, came together to create Mercy Flight that year. It became the first helicopter emergency transport service in New York. The first helicopter based in Batavia was in 2006. In 2006, Mercy EMS became the designated ambulance service for the county.

Since then, the ambulance crew has operated from cramped quarters in the former St. Jerome's Hospital on Bank Street. The new facility not only gives them more space, it will offer better space for training and for eating and resting between calls, especially on long 12- and 24-hour shifts.

Bob Bausch, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature, was among those who congratulated Mercy Flight on its new facility.

"It's a true symbol of your commitment to the residents of Genesee County but more importantly thank you for what you offer day in day out," Bausch said. "You provided an exceptional level of service and this new facility will only enhance those services."

The dedication prayer was offered by Pastor Dan Dart, who noted Mercy EMS came to his aid once and he got to ride in "the whirlybird." He thanked the staff for their dedication to the health and safety of our community.

"Personally, then, on the receiving end, I say, 'Oh wow, I say thank you to all these folks for this building,' " Dart said. "It's going to help facilitate these folks to do the work that they do much more efficiently. It's a great, practical building -- all throughout, just amazing."



Doug Baker


Pastor Dan Dart.

May 21, 2018 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, news, freshLAB, Eli Fish Brewing Company.


Victor Figueroa's empanadas recipe was a big hit with the judges in the Foodie Challenge, propelling him toward winning one of two slots inside the FreshLAB restaurant incubator inside the recently opened Eli Fish Brewing Company.

Yesterday, The Wild Rican, Figueroa's Puerto Rican-flavored food stand, officially opened.

Pictured are Michael Scribner, Michelle Figueroa, Victor Figueroa, and Cristal Nunez.

May 21, 2018 - 8:00am
posted by Virginia Kropf in business, news, Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, batavia.


John Roche, who owns Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle with his wife, Cathy, stands behind the counter in his store at 8 Center St., Batavia, which is celebrating 100 years in business.

Carrying on a 100-year tradition of serving the public and providing quality customer service is not an easy task, but one which John Roche looks forward to every day.

Roche and his wife Cathy, of Corfu, are owners of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, which is celebrating 100 years in business this year.

“I have the pleasure of going to work and playing all day,” said Roche, who bought the business in 2002.

The store was started by Walter Davis in 1918 as a wheel goods store. In 1929, he built the building at 8 Center St., selling baby buggies, doll carriages, tricycles, bikes and pedal cars.

When Adam Miller purchased the business in 1946, he changed the name to Adam Miller Wheel Goods. In the mid 1950s, Miller erected a neon sign out front, which is still in use today. He continued to increase his line of merchandise, adding on to the building in the 1960s to accommodate a full-service repair shop and expanding to toys and hobbies.

Miller retired in 1970, turning the business over to his children, son Gary, and daughter and son-in-law Joyce and Buzz Masse. Gary and Buzz were both schoolteachers, and after school they were mechanics in the bike shop.

Adam Miller died in 2000 at the age of 90.

As for Roche, he has years of experience in the bicycle business. He started fixing bikes for his friends at age 13 in his parent’s garage. After graduation, he went to work for 13 years at a bicycle shop in Lancaster, before going into the wholesale bicycle business for a company in Cheektowaga.

When his company decided to move to New Jersey, Roche didn’t want to go with them. He got a job at Potter Lumber, but in the back of his mind, his retirement plan was to buy a bicycle shop.

While doing business with the Adam Miller store, Roche became friends with Miller’s children. When the Masses were ready to retire, after running the business for 25 years, they called Roche.

 “Joyce and Gary wanted someone who would keep their family’s tradition as a bike shop,” Roche said. “They called me and I took the opportunity.”

The bicycle business has gone crazy, with all different styles, Roche said. He has one model which is a three-wheel version, capable of being used as a hunting vehicle.

“It’s big enough you could put a deer on the back to drag it out of the woods,” Roche said. 

The store continues to be considered “the neatest store in town,” Roche said.

The bicycle repair shop is a big part of the business, with Michael Mugler as shop manager. He has been with Roche since day one, having worked with him for 20 years in the bicycle warehouse.

The Roche’s have three sons, all of whom have their own careers, but also an interest in bikes. They all worked in the store growing up. One has a bicycle collection on display in the store, and their middle son Shawn likes to tinker with bikes, and builds his own. They help out during special occasions, such as Christmas in the City.

Roche’s plans for the future include moving into online sales, while continuing to offer the favorite toys and games from past decades. 

Customers have been bringing in old toys and games, which Roche is displaying in the store windows. He invites anyone with any old toy to bring it in. 

The store will celebrate the 100th anniversary with two parties, a customer appreciation day on June 30 and another special event at Christmas time.

May 20, 2018 - 2:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, business, O'Lacy's, chamber of commerce.

There will be a Business After Hours networking opportunity at O'Lacy's Irish Pub from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, sponsored by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

O'Lacy's is located at 5 School St. in Downtown Batavia.

Light snacks will be served. Cash bar.

May 19, 2018 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in WNY Tech Academy, byron-bergen, schools, education, news, business.


The Western New York Tech Academy, at Byron-Bergen High School, hosted its first mentor's breakfast Friday morning and handed out three significant awards for the first time.

Isaac Ladley, a junior in the program, received the first-ever Professional of the Year award. Pictured with Ladley are faculty members Miranda Wharram-Santillo, Thomas Schulte (principal), Mariah LaSpina, Kathryn Beaumont, and Sean Madden.

The breakfast was followed by a business fair and mock employment interviews.


Liberty Pumps was selected as Business Partner of the Year. Pictured are Jeff Cook, David Williams, Robyn Brookhart, Dennis Burke, and Thomas Schulte.


The Mentor of the Year is Gina Lathan. Pictured with Lathan, a student she mentored, Rebecca Haniscewski, and Thomas Schulte.





May 19, 2018 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, Stafford, news, business, Le Roy.


Nancy Glazier and Garry Wilson led a group of farmers on a pasture walk Thursday on property Wilson rents off of Transit Road in Stafford to raise beef cattle.

Wilson said by fall he will have more than 70 head on the 200 acres he grazes.

Glazier, a small farm specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension, said the purpose the pasture walk was to review Wilson's practices and perhaps advise him on changes he's considering to make better use of the land and give the grass a chance to grow and rest.

"It's a good way to learn is when you walk and talk," Glazier said.

Wilson's farm is based on Warsaw Road in Le Roy, where he once raised horses. He switched to cattle about six years ago.

He sells the beef he raises from his farm. He said while it's not certified organic, it's all raised "natural" and the meat is butchered at three local shops.

"I have 600 pounds of fresh ground beef in my freezer right now that is 98 percent (lean) for $3.50 a pound. I sell it from the freezer like that. Great stuff."

During the walk, he told his fellow farmers that raising beef is "just a hobby." Later he explained, "It's a hobby because, yeah, I enjoy it. That's why I call it a hobby."

He said was raised around cows and farming is in his blood.

"I enjoy being outside every day in the sun," Wilson said. "Even in the middle of the winter in a blizzard. I enjoy going out and feeding the cattle."









May 18, 2018 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCEDC, business, news.

From the Genesee County Economic Development Center:

Ignite Buffalo invites small businesses throughout Western New York to apply for the chance to grow your business.

We know how challenging it can be to build and grow a small business. How do you secure funding? How do you make the most effective decisions? How do you find the best suppliers, employees, and partners?

To help you navigate these and other challenge our partners have launched Ignite Buffalo.

It's a chance to tell your business story to possibly secure over a year's worth of business mentoring, training, and up to $100,000 to develop and grow your small business in Western New York.

This grant opportunity is presented by 43North in partnership with national and local partners, including: facebook, M&T Bank, Intuit Quickbooks, AWS, WordPress.com, WOO COMMERCE.

A total of 27 grants will be awarded, ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.

All applications must be submitted by June 13 at 12 p.m. EDT.

Click here to learn more and apply.

May 14, 2018 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Western OTB, business.

Press release:

Today, the United States Supreme Court decided to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law that limited gambling.

This Supreme Court decision paves the way to bring sports betting to New York State and to the customers of Central and Western New York. Western Regional Off-Track Betting and Batavia Downs Gaming are perfectly positioned with existing infrastructure to deliver a sports-betting platform to our customers in our 15 counties including the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

As the only municipally owned gaming facility in the state, Batavia Downs Gaming is not only a strong economic driver for Central and Western New York, but it provides critical funding for community development which creates jobs, keeps families safe and helps to offset tax increases for residents.

Since its inception, Batavia Downs Gaming has generated more than $226 million to 17 municipalities and bringing sports betting to our locations will significantly increase these important contributions.

 “Legislation to allow sports betting in New York State will help grow jobs in our brick and mortar locations through Western and Central New York, and will increase the significant community development contributions we provide to our municipalities,” said Henry F. Wojtaszek, president/CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB. “We are looking forward to working with New York State officials to enable legislation that will allow this dynamic opportunity to become a reality.”

“We have been preparing for this sports betting decision and we are confident we can get the product up and running quickly, smoothly and professionally,” said Michael Nolan, chief operation officer of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB.

May 12, 2018 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Auto Wash, batavia, business.


The Auto Wash Car Wash on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia is holding a three-day grand opening celebration. Today, staff served hot dogs and hamburgers and offered half-price car washes. Tomorrow, Mother's Day, Auto Wash is offering mothers half-price on basic car washes from 10 to 2 p.m.

Top photo, manager Zach Letta and regional manager Greg Farkas.


May 11, 2018 - 5:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Settler's Restaurant, batavia, business, news, Billy Goats.


Stylianos “Steve” Spryopoulos, co-owner of Settler's Restaurant, was found unresponsive on the floor of his neighboring business, Billy Goats, at 7 a.m. today and was later pronounced dead at the age of 66.

Spryopoulos and his wife, Rula, owned and operated Settler's with his son John. He opened Settler's in 1984 and expanded it to seat 150 people in 1995. He opened Billy Goats, a bar and grill, in late 2000.

The Settler's location was originally a Red Barn franchise, opening in 1966 and operated by Mike Bohn until he sold the location to Spryopoulos and a partner.

The restaurant was closed today. It will reopen at 5 a.m., Saturday.

Photo: File photo from Steve's 60th birthday party at Billy Goats.

May 10, 2018 - 2:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, genesee county chamber of commerce.

Press release:

“How to Create a Positive Work Environment” will be the subject of a small business workshop to be hosted by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, May 16.

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 professionals designed to help small businesses succeed and grow.

“It is possible to have positive – and perhaps even fun – work environment in any business and this workshop is designed to show you how,” said Tom Turnbull, Chamber president.

Greg Lindberg of the Small Business Administration will conduct the workshop.

The workshop will be held at the Chamber of Commerce office, 8276 Park Road, Batavia.The session will run from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. and includes a question-and-answer period. Cost for non-Chamber members is $10 for each attendee.

Chamber members and Batavia Business Improvement District members may attend all small business workshops free of charge but should make reservations to insure space.

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

May 10, 2018 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, Auto Wash, business.

Tomorrow through Sunday, May 13, is the Grand Opening of the long-awaited Auto Wash Car Wash on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia.

You are invited to stop by and say hi and try out the completely refurbished car wash.

Throughout the three-day Grand Opening, all car wash package options will be half price. So the normal price range of $17 to $9 will be $8.50 to $4.50.

On Saturday, there will be free lunches served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- hamburgers, hot dogs and soda pop.

Plus, this Sunday only, which is Mother's Day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. all moms will be able to get a FREE basic car wash!

Look for a prize wheel and plenty of prize giveaways!

The address is 4017 W. Main Street Road. Phone is 219-4431.

Grand Opening hours of operation are Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To learn more about Auto Wash and what it offers, click here.

For The Batavian's original post on the company, click here.

File photo: Greg Farkas, Ryan Schmeer, Bobby Marchenese, and Zach Letta. Letta will manage the Batavia location.

May 10, 2018 - 12:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, news, business, TV.

Submitted photo and press release:

WXXI’s Television Program Director Irene Fink, who lives in Bergen, was recognized as the “Charles Impaglia Programmer of the Year” by TRAC Media Services and the Public Television Programmers’ Association (PTPA) at the PTPA Annual Meeting in New Orleans on May 6.

The Programmer of the Year Award is given to someone who “has developed a program format that has had significant impact on his/her community,” and “demonstrates an ability to creatively use changes in the media environment to his/her station’s advantage.”

Fink has served as WXXI’s Television program director since 2009. She is responsible for programming strategy and scheduling on WXXI's television stations and on City 12 (cable 1303) in the City of Rochester. 

The PTPA praised Fink’s impact at WXXI and the effect she has had on the community. They listed several reasons why she was the top programmer:

  • She weighs all content decisions with the audience and community in mind.
  • She is a good communicator and collaborator, ensuring that WXXI’s content reaches the widest audiences across multiple platforms.
  • She goes above and beyond in the programming and promoting of WXXI’s Move to Include initiative, helping to ensure people with disabilities are represented in WXXI’s content throughout the year. Move to Include is a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. 

Fink joined WXXI in 1998 as a casual in the Engineering Department, and in 2002 moved into the TV Division as traffic coordinator. In 2006 she was promoted to assistant director of TV Programming/Traffic and in 2009 to TV program director. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from SUNY Brockport. Fink resides in Bergen with her daughter Kaitlyn.

This is the second award Fink has received from PTPA and TRAC Media Services. The first was the Golden Grid Award in 2011, which she received in recognition of her ability to help strengthen her community by scheduling high-quality programs.

The “Charles Impaglia Programmer of the Year” award is given by PTPA and TRAC Media Services, an audience analysis organization that works with public television stations.

About WXXI

WXXI is the essential, lifelong educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues.

WXXI also has a long-term affiliation with Little Theatre, which helps enhance the cultural life of the community and strengthens two of Rochester's most vital arts institutions. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.

May 8, 2018 - 4:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC, batavia, business, news.


Dan Ireland, CEO of United Memorial Medical Center, had a steady stream of accomplishments to share with local health care leaders gathered Friday morning at Terry Hills for his annual State of UMMC presentation.

Ireland discussed the awards won by UMMC and staff members, the financial health of the organization, its successes in saving lives and preventing the spread of infections, and future plans for growth.

The hospital, now part of the Rochester Regional Health network, employes 880 full-time, part-time, and per-diem staff members.

In 2017, there were 22,000 emergency room visits, and nearly 100,000 medical visits total.

There were 576 births at the hospital.

"We’re touching our community in many different ways," Ireland said. "We’re making a difference to many patients."

He shared the story of Paul Boylan, a well-known figure in the local legal community as well as the UMMC community. Boylan was diagnosed with prostate cancer and chose the Lipson Cancer Institute for treatment.

After 28 rounds of radiation, Moylan, 78, is now cancer free.

"Paul credits Dr. Meri Atanas and all of the team at Lipson for the care he received right here at home, high-quality care, care that takes you through some of the biggest battles of your life," Ireland said. "Paul is very happy to be back practicing law, enjoying life and doing what he needs to do."

Ireland also shared the story of a staff member whose job includes educating portions of the population on health care. He found to talk with some people about health care, he needed to speak Spanish, so he learned Spanish.

"He did that on his own," Ireland said. "He made sure he had the right tools to give the right care to patients," Ireland said.

Then there is Andrea Sherwood, winner of the Josie King Hero Award. Josie King died in a hospital in Baltimore as the result of a medical staff mistake. Her mother, Sorrel King, created the Jose King Foundation, dedicated to helping hospitals eliminate mistakes that cost lives.

After Sorrel King spoke with UMMC staff at an event last year, she learned of actions Sherwood took to catch a mistake. She may have saved a patient's life.

It was Sherwood's job to administer contrast media to a patient for an MRI. As is the procedure, she reviewed the patient's lab results. Some patients, based on lab results, shouldn't receive contrast media. While an initial review of the results seemed to indicate it was fine to proceed with the procedure, Sherwood's instincts told her something wasn't right so she took extra steps to double check the lab results. It turned out, the wrong lab results had been provided for the patient. That patient could have been seriously injured or killed by the contrast media.

Other awards for the hospital have gone to the Wound Care Center, ICU, and the emergency room for stroke treatment.

UMMC has also received an award from Univera for taking steps to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

"About 10 years ago when they put this tool in place it seemed like it would be impossible to beat, to get that number down to where the benchmark should be," Ireland said. "Last year, Univera said, 'you not only got that number down, you beat the benchmark and now have the lowest (score) in Western New York.'”

In November, the Joint Commission on Accreditation initiated a surprise four-day inspection of UMMC, looking, Ireland said, around every corner and "under every rock." They do everything the can, he said, to find issues, what they call "findings."

"They also told us that they never come in without some findings," Ireland said. "They have to find something. So they did. They found 18 items they wanted us to work on, to make some corrections. As an administrator, of course, I asked the surveyor, '18, good, bad?' 'Well, we did the math and most organizations your size have about 40. You had 18 and we worked really hard to find those 18.'"

UMMC is also undertaken other steps to improve patient safety, including a meeting every morning among senior staff to review the previous day's safety alerts.

The process, because of the extra attention to identifying potential safety problems, has meant in 2017, the number of safety issues identified has gone up.

That creates more opportunities to correct problems, Ireland said. The goal is to get it down to zero.

Anybody can alert the hospital to a safety event, including every member of staff and patients who have access to the patient portal online.

As of Friday, it had been 71 days since a serious event was reported, and it had been 200 days before that without a serious event (the longest streak yet under the new reporting system).

A serious event is defined as one that increases the length of a patient's stay or changes the course of care.

In the area of fighting infections, the hospital also tracks infections as a result of using an IV in a patient's neck -- a very rare procedure because of the health risks associated with it. It's only used when absolutely necessary.

There have been no infections as a result of the procedure since 2013.

C-Diff infections have also been greatly reduced. While the trend across the nation is for C-Diff infections to increase at hospitals, it has declined dramatically at UMMC, Ireland said.

As for UMMC's future, there are plans a new $18 million ICU/Radiology wing, a new urgent care clinic in Le Roy, an improved urgent care in Batavia, and the partnership with the YMCA for a healthy living campus in Batavia.

May 8, 2018 - 3:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in M&T Bank, elba, business.

Statement from a spokeswoman for M&T Bank:

We are closing the Elba branch at 7133 Oak Orchard Road effective on Aug. 7, 2018, as we continue to optimize our branch network in order to best meet the evolving needs of our customers. All employees have been offered positions at other nearby M&T branches.

Customers who utilized the Elba branch can bank at the nearby Oakfield branch (which is 5 minutes away) or at any other M&T branch or ATM, via our Telephone Banking Center (1-800-724-2440), online at www.mtb.com and our via our Apple and Android mobile apps. We will have a digital ambassador at the branch for 90 days to assist customers to enroll and learn how to use our digital products and services, so they can bank with us at their convenience.

Technology continues to change how people bank. Although branches are still critically important to customers, the entire industry is faced with declining traffic due to the increase in banking conveniently online and in the mobile channels. Customers expect to be able to access financial services when, where and how is most convenient for them. We look to continue to grow and enhance our relationships with customers by further investing in these banking solutions.

We have consistently made investments in ways to enhance the customer experience across all of our platforms. This year, we are investing in several enhancements designed to meet the changing needs of our customers, so they can bank with us when, where and how they want to. These include:

·         Improved Mobile Banking capabilities, with Insta-Balance and Alerts that allow you to customize and more closely monitor your accounts

·         Easy account openings using a mobile device

·         Zelle P-to-P payments – receive and send money to millions of Zelle users through the M&T app

May 7, 2018 - 11:29am
posted by Virginia Kropf in Circle B Winery, elba, agriculture, business, news.


Growing grapes and making wines is probably the last thing Bob and Ingrid Bowen expected to be doing after retirement.

Even Bob can’t believe the turn of events.

He and his wife both worked at Xerox, but after their four boys went to college, Ingrid announced she wanted a horse.

That started the search for a farm in the country.

“John Mortellaro of Batavia was a family friend and he said he knew about a place near Elba,” Bob said. “The farm had been abandoned, the house was a mess and the place was overgrown, but my wife loved it.”

“It was pretty dilapidated,” Ingrid said.

The Bowens retired in 2011 and bought the farm, renovated the house, cleared the land and built a barn.

Then Bob started thinking about what to do with the land, and he has always liked wine and had made wine as a hobby. He realized Genesee County doesn’t have the kind of weather needed for grapes, but he went to Cornell, where they have a grape research facility and took a course on becoming a vintner.

“In 2012, we planted the vineyards with three grapes from Cornell with code names,” Bob said. “They were developed to grow in cold country. Our weather here is colder, because we don’t have hills and lakes to keep the temperature moderate.”

The first year, temperatures were down to zero, with a wind chill of minus 30, Bob said.

“We lost 120 vines and there was nothing we could do,” he said.

The Bowens already knew they didn’t want to rely solely on grapes, and had planted acres of apple, cherry, peach and apricot trees, along with blueberries and raspberries.

They hired Augie Katrencik, of Macedon, as winemaker. He has 10 years of experience in the business and has been a longtime friend of the Bowens.

On Sunday, the Bowen’s officially opened their winery at 6870 Norton Road with an open house.                   

The Bowens specialize in fruit wines, with apricot, peach, peach and honey, pear, pumpkin and spice, and Traminette* available now.

In June, they will have available blueberry, Dechaunac, Diamond, spiced apple and even tomato wine.

“If you’ve never tried tomato wine, you’re in for a surprise,” Bob said. “It doesn’t look like V8.”

Kim Shay, of Victor, said she loved it.

“It’s very good,” she said.

The idea came from Katrencik, who said his grandparents used to make tomato wine.

Later in the year, the winery will have red raspberry and blueberry.

The Bowens are thrilled to be the first winery in Genesee County and are purchasing everything they can for the business locally. This includes contracting with Hodgins Printing to make their labels.

Bob said they will be at the Downtown Batavia Public Market this summer and at the Genesee County Fair. He is in discussions with local retail liquor stores to carry their wines.

Circle B Winery will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. They can be contacted on Facebook, online [email protected] or by calling (585) 773-4473.

Top photo: Ingrid and Bob Bowen stand in their vineyard at 6870 Norton Road, Elba, where they estabished Genesee County's second winery. They held their premier open house on Sunday.

(*To find out more about Traminette the cold-hardy, fungal resistant, hybrid white grape developed by Cornell University, click here.)

CORRECTION: This story originally said the Bowen's winery is the first winery in Genesee County. Autumn Moon Winery in Bergen opened a couple of years ago.



Visitors from throughout the area attended an open house on Sunday at Circle B Winery, the second in Genesee County. From left, Ken Winburn, of Phelps, Kim Shay, of Victor, Linda Wester, of Farmington and Joe Attinello, of Farmington, sample the wines.

Photos by Virginia Kropf.

May 6, 2018 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ribbon cutting, business, Le Roy, news.


Mandy Humphry cut a bright red ribbon yesterday afternoon in front of the former Bank of Le Roy building on Main Street in Le Roy to celebrate her new business, The Art of Mandy.

The business, on the second floor, offers adult classes for anybody of any age 2 and older.

"I decided to open the studio because there’s nothing like this in Le Roy and this is where I live," Humphrey said.

Humphrey has a degree in art studio and painting and she earned her master's from RIT in art instruction. She worked in public schools but decided she preferred to working independently.  

The Art of Mandy offers classes for kids and adults in drawing, painting, watercolor, photography, calligraphy and more, Humphrey said. She also hosts private events and birthday parties (bring your own beverages) and she will also go to offices and homes for parties.





May 6, 2018 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Cedar Street Sales & Rentals, YWCA, batavia, business.


For Cinco de Mayo yesterday, Cedar Street Sales and Rentals, served up $1 tacos to store visitors. The proceeds, along with any donations, are going to the local YWCA to help the 109-year-old service organization out of its financial difficulties.

May 3, 2018 - 10:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ARC Genesee Orleans, wbta, business.


Peggy Schreck was awarded Volunteer of the Year at the annual dinner of the Arc of Genesee Orleans. The award was presented by Shelly Kurdish, director of Rainbow Preschool, where Schreck volunteers.

Debrah Fischer, co-owner of WBTA, assumed the office of president of the board of directors for Arc (next photo, and bottom photo, with board of directors).

More than 400 people attended the dinner and awards program at Genesee Community College's new field house.

Photos and info courtesy our news partner, WBTA.



UPDATE: Added additional photos submitted by Arc Genesee Orleans and added the press release below.

Also, besides Debrah Fischer, president, this year's officers are: Jane Scott, VP, John Huber, treasurer, and Marlene Hill, secretary.

Press release:

“Each year the Arc of Genesee Orleans honors an individual for their commitment to outstanding volunteerism for making a difference in the lives of others. Volunteers are the cornerstone of our agency and are vital to raising awareness of the great work the Arc provides in the communities in which we live and work. This year the Arc of Genesee Orleans has selected Peggy Schreck as the Volunteer of the Year.

Peggy Schreck began volunteering at Rainbow Preschool in Albion in 2012, and before that Peggy participated on various Arc committees. Peggy actually began her career in the very same building that Rainbow Preschool is now, when it was the Arnold Gregory Memorial Hospital and she was a lab technician.

Peggy and her husband moved to this area so her husband could complete college at GCC and Brockport where he then went on to become an elementary teacher. Peggy also enjoyed the educational setting and was a teacher aide for several years at Medina schools. Peggy later moved in to a position at Medina Savings and Loan where she retired 2010. She wanted to still be a part of the classroom and that is when Peggy began volunteering at Rainbow Preschool.

It is very obvious to the staff, students and families that Peggy thoroughly enjoys her time in the Rainbow Preschool classrooms and the time spent with the children. Peggy states she most enjoys watching the children’s growth and success during the school year, such as hearing a child’s speech develop or their gross motor skills expand. She also enjoys all the children’s smiles and hugs when she gets to the classroom. Peggy notes she enjoys the structure of the classrooms and this is a good fit for her with her prior classroom experience. Peggy says she has also developed many friendships with the staff and families from her volunteer role and she enjoys these new relationships within the community.

Peggy feels she is utilized in the classroom and enjoys the hands on activities and responsibilities she is provided. The teachers and aides all comment what an incredible addition Peggy is to the classroom and she brings such compassion and care to her work. She does special projects with the children and brings fresh ideas to the classroom. Peggy treats all the children as she would her own grandchildren, and she enjoys this because she does not get to see her own grandchildren because they live far away in Georgia where her son is located for his profession. The children call her Miss Peggy or Grandmom and this warms Peggy’s heart with happiness and brings her joy.

I am so pleased to present this year’s award for Volunteer of the Year to Peggy Schreck and to give her on the behalf of everyone at Rainbow Preschool and the Arc of Genesee Orleans our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for her years of dedicated volunteerism at Rainbow Preschool."


Seated: Brandi Kinnicutt, day habilitation specialist; Carolyn Dawson, chief administrative officer; Dylan DeSmit, direct support professional; Jim Henning, trash collection/recycling driver. Standing: Jennifer Conklin, Special Education teacher; Kim Austin, Culinary Arts manager; Kaelie Grazioplene, supported work assistant manager; Carl Jones, trash/recycling/transfer station manager.


Mary Anne Graney Scholarship Recipients with Scholarship Committee Chair Molly George: Riley Seielstad -- Albion Central; Abigail Klos -- Oakfield – Alabama; Hannah Duhow -- Medina Central; Kathleen Dessert -- Le Roy Central.


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