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September 16, 2015 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Aldi's, batavia, business.

Press release:

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 1, ALDI, the nation’s low-price grocery leader*, will offer grocery shoppers a smarter alternative as the select assortment discount grocer reopens two Buffalo-area stores, located at 587 E. Main St. in Batavia and 1900 Ridge Road in West Seneca. Known for its premium ALDI exclusive brands, ALDI offers high-quality grocery items at incredibly low prices.

To celebrate the reopening of the newly renovated Batavia and West Seneca stores, ALDI will host ribbon-cutting ceremonies at each store at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1. The public is invited to attend. Customers can also tour the store, receive free eco-bags and enter an on-site sweepstakes for a chance to win a year’s supply of ALDI produce. ALDI currently carries more than 90 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including several organic produce items.

“We are pleased to showcase the new look of ALDI with these updated stores in Batavia and West Seneca and continue to help customers stretch their dollars,” said Aaron Sumida, Tully division vice president for ALDI. “As important as price is, there’s only one way to attract and keep shoppers: You have to have quality products. When people try our ALDI exclusive brands, they are excited by the savings and impressed by the quality.”

With higher ceilings, improved natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials – such as recycled materials and energy-saving refrigeration and light bulbs – the stores will offer customers a simple and easy-to-navigate shopping experience.

In addition to the stores’ new looks, ALDI will bring shoppers a wide range of new, healthier options like organic produce, USDA Choice beef and the SimplyNature line of products, free of artificial colors, flavors or unnecessary enhancers. ALDI also recently introduced its liveGfreeTM gluten-free product line.

ALDI challenges customers to switch from national brands to its exclusive brands and save up to 50 percent** on more than 1,300 items the store carries. To ensure its exclusive brands meet or exceed the national brands on taste and quality, ALDI conducts rigorous testing on all products. ALDI stands behind this quality with a Double Guarantee: If for any reason a customer is not 100-percent satisfied with a food product, ALDI will gladly replace the product and refund the customer’s money.

ALDI exemplifies efficiency by eliminating overhead costs through smart practices, such as a cart rental system through, which shoppers insert a quarter to release a cart and receive the quarter back upon the cart’s return. Other cost-saving practices include a smaller store footprint, open carton displays and encouragement of customers to bring their own shopping bags.

ALDI also saves shoppers money by keeping stores open during prime shopping times. The remodeled locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. ALDI accepts cash, debit and EBT/Quest cards.

Over the next several years, ALDI plans to add an average of 130 new stores each year, expanding the ability to bring grocery savings to more people every day.

September 15, 2015 - 1:32pm

Press release:

On Monday, Sept. 14, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) approved its 2015 Progress Report, which includes the Council’s list of priority projects it is recommending for funding in Round V of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative.

The Progress Report, which provides an annual update for the nine-county region (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties), will now be finalized and submitted to New York State by the Sept. 21st deadline.

Following the Progress Report vote, the FLREDC also held a special public forum on its draft Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) plan, at which it proposed approximately two dozen initiatives to be highlighted within the URI plan as example projects for possible funding – should the Finger Lakes be selected as a URI winner. These initiatives focus on four main URI goals identified by the FLREDC: job growth, increasing regional wealth, attracting private investment and reducing poverty.

In a written statement FLREDC Co-chairs, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman, said: “This year, Governor Cuomo has presented Upstate communities with unprecedented opportunities to leverage public funding for projects that can help transform our regional economy. By providing these priority projects and initiatives for public review we seek to ensure they embody the strategic and diversified approach necessary to grow our region.”

Included below is a summary of the highlighted initiatives proposed for the URI plan and the full list of endorsed Priority Projects being recommended for capital grant funding from Empire State Development (ESD) this year in Round V of the REDC awards. Note that while the Priority Project list herein does not include projects seeking CFA awards from State agencies other than ESD, those projects still have the opportunity to receive funding.

URI Highlighted Initiatives

The FLREDC released the following proposed initiatives to be included in the URI plan. These initiatives are highlighted in the plan to serve as example opportunities for possible public and private investment in key strategic areas identified by the plan, but are not specific funding recommendations:

  • Agriculture & Food Production – Support of FLX Food, an initiative focused on organics and the future of the food ecosystem; an Eco-Brewing District created by North American Breweries around their facility downtown Rochester at High Falls; and a new initiative to cultivate sustainable food production, capitalizing on expertise already at Rochester Institute of Technology and Cornell University.
  • Next-Generation Manufacturing & Technology – Several projects highlighted in all three key hub locations, including: (1) Eastman Business Park (EBP) – Sweetwater’s biorefinery project; improvement of technology assets at EBP specifically addressing capacity to grow companies in energy storage, materials and nanotechnology; establishment of an AIM Photonics Manufacturing Center at EBP; (2) Downtown Innovation Zone – Rochester Regional Fund to invest in key downtown assets; redevelopment of the Inner Loop, which will include 17 acres of new developable parcels; (3) Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) – Project Eagle to bring a solar manufacturing facility as the park’s first tenant; confidential nanoscale manufacturing project considering STAMP as a site.
  • Pathways to Prosperity – Monroe Community College’s Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center (FWD Center) at EBP; support for the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) based around the creation of a coordinated system for those in need; expansion of Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection; and programs to help ex-offenders and the working poor receive job training and placement.
  • Entrepreneurship & Development – Creation of a Finger Lakes Venture Fund to provide critically necessary capital to startups; buildout an urban development ecosystem for business efforts in the urban core; SUNY Geneseo’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Development, which will provide a new central location for expanded business services.
  • Higher Education & Research – UR’s Goergen Institute for Data Science to meet the growing need for data scientists; RIT’s Center for Advanced Technology in Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing for 3D printing commercialization and product development; UR’s Neurorestoration Institute to expand the areas preeminence in this growing field.

2015 FLREDC Priority Project Recommendations for CFA Round V -- Genesee County

  • Town of Alabama    Water Project to Support STAMP     $1,500,000
  • Genesee County IDA    Le Roy Food and Technology Park    $1,000,000
  • Genesee County IDA (Gateway LDC)    Ag Park Infrastructure    $500,000

This year, the 10 Regional Councils will once again compete for awards from up to $750 million in state economic development resources through Round V of the REDC competition. Additionally, through the new Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), seven regions – Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital District, and Mid-Hudson – are eligible to compete for three $500 million awards, disbursed at a rate of $100 million per year for five years.

The three Upstate winners of the URI will receive approximately $130 million each this year ($100 million in URI funding, and an estimated $30 million from Round V of the REDC competition). Aside from those regions, three regions will earn “Top Performer” distinction in the REDC competition and will receive approximately $105 million each. Finally, the remaining four regions will receive approximately $90 million each through the REDC competition – which is more than the average amount awarded to the top place finisher in prior years. This approach ensures that no region is a “loser,” while also maintaining the competitive nature that has worked so well to bring local business, academic, and community leaders together to develop long term, impressive economic visions for their regions.

Show Your Support for the FLREDC URI Plan
The FLREDC today also launched a new website where anyone can sign up in support of the draft URI plan:
Detailed comments for the URI plan will continue to be accepted until September 18th on the website:

About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After four rounds of the REDC process, nearly $3 billion has been awarded to more than 3,100 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plans, supporting the creation or retention of more than 150,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit

About the Upstate Revitalization Initiative
In January of this year, Governor Cuomo announced the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) and the partnership between the Regional Economic Development Councils to invest $1.5 billion in Upstate New York. The URI is an opportunity for communities to address the economic challenges of their regions and work together in bringing jobs back Upstate. The URI is a separate competition and deadline from the REDC process. The URI includes up to $500 million for three regions to implement over a five-year period. The following regions may submit one revitalization plan by Oct. 5, 2015: Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital District and Mid-Hudson.

September 15, 2015 - 11:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, agriculture, business.

A decades-long practice of spreading septic waste on farm fields in Stafford, which drew criticism from a local environmentalist earlier this year, will continue for at least another year with the approval Monday of a permit by the town board.

A.D. Call applied for a renewal of the permit for spreading of septic waste -- human waste -- on two fields north and south of Route 5.

In April, Attica resident John Volpe raised the issue with the Town of Stafford Board, claiming that the Calls were bringing in waste from surrounding communities and dumping amounts in excess of the permit's permitted limits.

Gerald Call said his farm has stayed within limits set by the town – 25,000 gallons per acre per year.

Only one resident raised any objections at Monday's meetings.

She raised concerns that the state Department of Environmental Conservation doesn't have the manpower to monitor the spreading of human waste and that if the Town of Stafford permits it, it becomes the responsibility of the town to inspect the practice. Supervisor Robert Clement said he's spoke with the DEC and the agency has been clear with him that it's not the town's responsibility. 

"Like I said, I have timely, up-to-date e-mails from the DEC and I would be happy to share them with you," Clement said.

September 15, 2015 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kwik Fill, batavia, business.


The Kwik Fill at Jackson and Ellicott streets is closed for a few days -- with work starting yesterday -- for the lot to be resurfaced. The cement and asphalt is being completely removed and replaced. A worker said they expect the store to reopen by Thursday, though work will continue for a few more days after that.

September 15, 2015 - 9:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, business, crazy cheap cars, Batavia Downs.


Mary Frombgen, of Gasport, was the big winner in a drawing at Batavia Downs on Saturday, claiming a prize of $5,000 toward the purchase of a vehicle from Crazy Cheap Cars, in Oakfield. Frombgen went to the dealership yesterday, test drove several vehicles and settled on a 2012 Buick LaCrosse, which she said she just loved. Pictured with Frombgen is Crazy Cheap Cars owner Mike Ognibene.

September 13, 2015 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Aldi's, batavia, business.



The local outlet of the discount food chain Aldi's is closed for remodeling and will remain closed until Oct. 1, according to a handwritten sign outside the store's main entrance on East Main Street in Eastown Plaza.

There was no prior announcement of the closing and no details of the renovations in the store have been released.

Aldi's is based in Germany. The company has 1,400 U.S. stores and is planning on investing $3 billion in the states, and creating 10,000 more jobs. It plans to open 600 more locations in the U.S., making it 44 percent the size of Walmart. Walmart is reportedly Aldi's competitive target.

The U.S. division of Aldi's is based in Batavia, Ill.

September 11, 2015 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, education, schools, batavia, business.
Craig Yunker

By the time Genesee Community College celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017, the campus will have opened a new Student Success Center and an events center, President Jim Sunser told a gathering in the Stuart Steiner Forum yesterday evening.

These will help GCC continue to grow and serve students better, Sunser said.

"Colleges are constantly evolving and student success is at the core of the values that we have at Genesee," Sunser said.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring thanks in part to a successful fundraising campaign chaired by local farmer and businessman Craig Yunker.

The goal of the campaign was to raise $5 million. The committee did better than that. It was comprised of people from Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

"We're really proud that this community is a generous community and people stepped up with a smile," Yunker said. "I'm proud to be a member of this community, and I'm proud to report to you that as of 2 o'clock this afternoon, we raised $5,214,213."

The two buildings along with a new scholarship fund is a $42 million project. More than half of that money will come from state grants. The county will also back a bond to help close the gap in funding.

A total of 475 individuals, couples and businesses from throughout the GLOW Region contributed money to the campaign, called "Building Our Future Together."

The project is the largest undertaking by the college since its founding, Yunker said. 

"Fifty years ago, GCC was just talk," Yunker said. "I remember how the talk about how it would move the region forward. It took a lot of volunteer effort. It took a lot of effort to bring it about."

A big reason the campaign was successful, Yunker said, was the support of the effort by the Call family.

"It's hard to imagine how this campaign wouldn't have gotten off to a great start without the Call family, and I just want to acknowledge Dick Call's leadership, Dick Call's vision, but the whole Call family, it was really important the leadership that the Call family has shown," Yunker said.


GCC President Jim Sunser

September 10, 2015 - 4:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Armory, batavia, business.


If your idea of a good bargain is a Mid-century Modern fixer-upper, has the State of New York got a deal for you.

The state is making a second attempt -- the first deal fell through -- to auction off its former armory at 235 State St., Batavia.

The minimum bid is $60,000.

Perhaps you need office space, space for your contracting business, or you think it could be apartments or offices or maybe even your home -- all contingent on zoning approvals, of course.

The auction is at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30, in Buffalo.

There was an open house today and two more coming up -- from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5.









September 10, 2015 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in O-AT-KA Milk Products, batavia, business, GCEDC.


Officials with O-AT-KA Milk Products and Upstate Niagara Cooperative broke ground on a new warehouse expansion this morning at the company's plant off Ellicott Street, Batavia.

Participating in the top photo are Steve Hyde, Ray Cudney, Steve Golding, Bill Schreiber, Dan Wolf, John Gould, Dave Nutting and Mike Patterson. Second photo: Upstate's Board of Directors.

"This is an important day for the growth of the dairy industry in Western New York," said Wolf, a member of the cooperative's Board of Directors. "The 360 farms that I represent depend on this business and we're not going anywhere. This is our roots and we'll be here. We will continue to grow and develop here in Western New York, and (to) create jobs and so forth that go with that is critical to us."


Press release from Finger Lakes Economic Development:

Empire State Development today announced that O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc., a dairy cooperative based in Batavia, will be expanding their warehouse and material handling functions at their Batavia site. O-AT-KA is majority owned by Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., headquartered in Buffalo and also by Dairy Farmers of America, a cooperative with a strong presence in Central NY.

O-AT-KA helps to ensure there is a market for milk produced by more than 400 farms in the Western, Finger Lakes and Central NY regions. A new warehousing facility and equipment room will allow the cooperative to continue to grow its production and create 24 new full-time positions within three years, raising total employment to more than 350 positions.

“We consider this project to be a game changer,” said Michael Patterson, O-AT-KA’s chief financial officer. “This not only enables us to meet our immediate needs but positions O-AT-KA for growth into the future. Three factors driving this initiative are worker safety, food quality and operational efficiencies. These three legs of the stool will be the backbone supporting O-AT-KA’s continuing growth here in New York State.”

The economic support and assistance from local and state agencies were critical factors in undertaking this project. New York State, through Empire State Development, will provide a $400,000 capital grant to assist in bringing off-site warehousing back on site by building a 195,000-square-foot warehouse and a 35,000-square-foot equipment room to their existing facility.

The company will also purchase new material handling equipment and repurpose existing equipment. The new space will afford the company more efficiency, provide safety for workers, and allow for cost savings, thereby boosting their competitive edge in the market place.

The growth of on-site warehousing also enables the company to grow its production of shelf-stable, dairy-based beverages. O-AT-KA has a goal of increasing its export business by 10 percent over the next several years, which will result in approximately 25 percent of the total production being exported.

As the No. 1 manufacturing employer in Batavia, O-AT-KA strives to foster productive, long-term relationships with their employees. The cooperative, which produces dry, condensed and evaporated dairy products, was established in 1959 with five employees and has grown to 332.

“Agricultural and food processing has been identified as one of the top Finger Lakes REDC strategies,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “The O-AT-KA project aligns with the council’s goal to optimize business retention and expansion, and support the growth of food-processing companies in the region.”

“This commitment by New York State to O-AT-KA demonstrates Governor Cuomo’s support of economic development in Upstate New York and in particular to the agribusiness industry in Genesee County,” said Paul Battaglia, chairman of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “We look forward to continuing working with New York State on other economic development opportunities."

"O-AT-KA has played a major role in our local economy for decades. Now, expansion plans, along with 24 new jobs, will help to secure the cooperative's presence in Batavia for years to come. I commend O-AT-KA CEO Bill Schreiber for selecting Genesee County to invest and grow," said State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer.

“I am pleased to see the growth and expansion of an important Western New York agricultural staple such as O-AT-KA. As a small business and farm owner for over four decades, I realize the integral part O-AT-KA plays in New York’s dairy industry and Western New York’s economy. Having grown up in Batavia, I have seen the company grow from just a few employees to over 300 people – truly epitomizing the American dream of entrepreneurship. As lawmakers we must continue to protect small businesses such as these and take measures to grow New York’s economy,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

September 9, 2015 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Hess, speedway, business.


New signs are going up today on the Hess station at the corner of Oak and Main streets, Batavia.

The gas station and convenience store will now be known as Speedway.

The changeover is part of a massive rebranding effort at all Hess locations. The Hess chain of 1,250 convenience stores and gas stations was purchased by Marathon Petroleum Corp. for $2.82 billion a year ago and Speedway is the current Marathon brand for its stores.

From a trade publication:

“Speedway continues to make excellent progress transitioning its new retail locations to the Speedway brand,” he said (Gary R. Heminger, CEO and president of MPC). “As of [April 30], we have converted more than 400 stores, including 260 completed during the first quarter.

“This rapid pace of store conversions contributes to our confidence that we will achieve the synergies and marketing enhancements we expect as we integrate this business. … I'm very pleased with the progress that they're making, both in getting the stores converted, and secondly, the inside sales results bump that we're starting to see.”

Describing the process, Heminger said, “The comprehensive transition for each store not only includes the changing of signs and canopies, but it's a complete system changeover, which includes the backoffice, point-of-sale and inventory control systems, as well as integration of the Speedy Rewards Loyalty Program.”

September 7, 2015 - 11:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Tompkins Insurance, batavia.

Press release:

Tompkins Insurance Agencies has been ranked as the 82nd largest independent property/casualty agency by Insurance Journal. This is Tompkins Insurance Agencies premier appearance on Insurance Journal’s list.

Agencies included on Insurance Journal’s top 100 list are ranked by total property/casualty agency revenue for 2014 and comprises only those agencies whose business is primarily retail, not wholesale. This year’s report was published in the Aug. 3 issue.

In July 2015, Tompkins Insurance Agencies was also named as one of the nation’s largest commercial brokers by Business Insurance.

September 1, 2015 - 12:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Announcements.

Press release:

The primary care practice of Michael J. Magguilli, MD, has joined the family of physician practices managed by United Memorial Medical Center and will continue to see patients at 6966 W. Bergen Road, in Bergen.

Dr. Magguilli is now a provider employed by United Memorial Medical Center. Patients can continue with the practice and be cared for by Dr. Magguilli at the same office with little to no disruption in service. Nurse Practitioner, Amy Ireland, FNP-C will join Dr. Magguilli in practice.

Located next door to the Gillam Grant Community Center, the facility has undergone extensive renovations and has nearly doubled in size. United Memorial has invested more than $800,000 into the practice through remodeling, technology updates and improvements to the interior décor and expansion of the clinical care area. An electronic medical record system will be implemented and additional staff have been added to the practice. During construction, patients were seen in space made available in Gillam Grant.

Today (Sept. 1) the practic begins caring for patients in the newly completed space.

Dr. Magguilli has practiced locally for 37 years and is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine in Family Medicine. He is a graduate of St. John Fisher College and he received his medical education at the University of Rochester Medical Center. His Residency and Internship were completed at Highland Hospital in Rochester.

Amy Ireland FNP-C has been a Family Nurse Practitioner for 18 years and has worked with United Memorial at its Primary Care Centers, Emergency Department, Urgent Care Centers and the Tonawanda Seneca Family Care Center. She is a native of the Byron area and graduated from Genesee Community College, SUNY Brockport and the University of Buffalo.

United Memorial Medical Center manages a number of physician specialty and primary care practices in Genesee and Orleans Counties, including Batavia Family and Pediatric Care, Tountas Family Care, Cardiology and Internal Medicine, the Pain Center, Women’s Care, Genesee Orthopedics and Surgical Associates.

For the first time in approximately 10 years, the practice will open to new patients and almost all insurances will be accepted. To make an appointment, please call (585) 494-1300.

September 1, 2015 - 12:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, genesee county chamber of commerce.

Press release:

“Holiday Campaigning for Your Small Business” will be the subject of a small business workshop to be hosted the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

This is the seventh in a series of business workshops for 2015 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.

“The Holiday season is the most important period in most retailers’ marketing calendar,” said Tom Turnbull, Chamber president. “In this workshop, participants will learn ways to influence buyers and increase sales during this critical shopping season.”

Other workshops on the 2015 schedule are as follows: Oct. 14 – Profit Improvement Strategies”; and Nov. 18 – “Customer Service that Wins Sales.

All workshops will be held at the Chamber of Commerce office, 210 E. Main St., Batavia. The sessions will run from 7:30 a.m. 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 e-mail at [email protected]

August 31, 2015 - 10:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in charles men's shop, batavia, business, downtown.


Charles Men's Shop always has interesting and attractive window displays, but the clothing featured are usually the in-season fashions for the sharp-dressed man.  For the past several weeks, the store has been featuring a line of clothing it doesn't even carry -- the uniforms of heroes. One window is dedicated to hometown heroes -- police and fire -- and the other to the U.S. military. Don Brown said he and Dave Howe saw the display as a way to give back to the community by showing appreciation for the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe and free.

August 25, 2015 - 12:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, economy, business, unemployment.

Genesee County's unemployment rate was reported at below 5 percent for the third straight month, with a July number of 4.7 percent.

The July rate is the lowest its been for the midsummer month since 2007, when the rate was 4.1 percent.

The 2015 figure is lower than a year ago when the rate was 5.0.

In all, the labor department currently lists 1,500 local residents without jobs and 17,800 with jobs.

The department also reports a total of 24,000 non-farm jobs in the county, up slightly from the previous July when there were 23,800 jobs reported. There were 24,400 jobs reported in the county in June.

The lowest recorded unemployment rate for July since 1990 is 3.4 percent. The highest jobs number for July since is 24,600 in 2008.

August 21, 2015 - 3:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, Potatoes.

Press release:

Potato growers have an opportunity to view standard and new fresh market potato varieties and lines, hear how to reduce risk in this year’s late blight epidemic, and discuss Colorado potato beetle and other insect management. The meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 2, from 5:30 to 8:45 p.m., at Williams Home Farm, down the lane off Russell Road, across from the packing house at 5077 Russell Road, Marion.

Walter DeJong, Cornell potato breeder, and Don Halseth, retired Cornell potato specialist, established a variety trial and will be evaluating the maturity, yield and marketability of white, red and some specialty varieties and breeding lines. Growers will get to hear what’s been learned so far.  They’ll also have an opportunity to describe how the varieties they’re growing are performing.

Bill Fry, Cornell Plant Pathologist, will give an update on this year’s late blight epidemic, and provide recommendations on how best to protect the crop. Late blight has been confirmed on potatoes or tomatoes in many counties in Western and Central New York already, due to the never-ending rains from mid-May into July.

Finally, there will be a discussion regarding Colorado potato beetle control, lead by Carol MacNeil, CCE Cornell Vegetable Program, on what’s working, and what’s failing. A plan for rotating insecticides by Chemical Class to slow the development of resistance will be presented.

NYS DEC pesticide recertification credits and CCA credits will be available.

Cost: Receiving Veg Edge/CVP enrolled?1st person from a farm -- $5; additional people -- $10.
Not receiving Veg Edge/not CVP enrolled? $15.
Pre-register for dinner: Contact Carol MacNeil at: [email protected] or 585-313-8796 by Thursday, Aug. 27.  If you have special needs: Call a week ahead so we can accommodate you.

Interested in sponsor opportunities? Contact Angela Parr at: [email protected]

August 20, 2015 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, food processing, business, batavia, GCEDC.

Press release:

Genesee County has once again been recognized as one of the fastest growing “food processing employment leaders” by "Business Facilities," a national site selection publication.

Business Facilities provides annual rankings of metro and global areas in various categories, including food processing and job growth, among others. Genesee County ranked at number seven in a list of top 10 mid-sized metro areas for food-processing growth, making this year the fifth time in 10 years that Genesee County has earned national ranking in this category.

The agricultural, food and beverage sectors in Genesee County employ approximately 1,500 people. The region’s employment numbers continue to increase as economic development focused on agri-business remains a top priority of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors.

“The growth of the food processing sector in our region reflects the positive economic climate here which has been significantly enhanced through the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, the first agri-business site of its kind in New York State,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “We are very pleased to be once again recognized by 'Business Facilities' as a leader in food processing employment and plan to continue expanding our efforts in this critically important economic sector.” 

The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park encompasses 211 shovel ready, pre-permitted acres strategically located between Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region in Batavia, NY. 

The site provides access to a short and main line rail access to move products, and large capacity municipal sewer and water. Through the support of National Grid and National Fuel the site has an enhanced utility infrastructure.

Alpina Foods, LLC, a leading dairy producing company in Colombia and South America, opened its first specialty yogurt manufacturing plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in 2013. In 2013, PepsiCo, in a joint venture with German dairy company Theo Müller, opened a $206-million yogurt manufacturing facility, Muller Quaker Dairy.

Other key food processing and related companies in Genesee County include O-AT-KA Milk Products and Bonduelle USA, Inc.

For more information about the ranking in Business Facilities, please visit

August 20, 2015 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake performing arts center, Darien, business.

A sold-out Chris Brown show at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center kept emergency responders busy for hours last night, but other than making for a long, tiring night, it wasn't that bad, said Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble, Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

There were no serious fights and there are no reports of serious injuries, and while there were 16 arrests at the show, they were mostly for run-of-the-mill offenses, from trespassing to unlawful possession of marijuana.

"Generally, it was a very pleasant crowd," Dibble said. "They were polite, for the most part, even when caught in traffic coming in, they mostly had a good attitude. Some of these people coming in waited a long time and for the most part they were very nice. They just wanted to get to the show like everybody else."

The traffic tie-ups were not unexpected, Dibble said. The traffic jams around the park were typical of a sold-out concert on a weekday night, when everybody gets off work and heads to the show instead of coming in over the course of the day, like on a Saturday or Sunday.

Traffic started to back up shortly after 5 p.m. and traffic jams slowed down concertgoers coming in from all directions. Three or four minor traffic accidents caused some blocked lanes and tollbooth workers at times had a hard time keeping up, causing traffic to back up on the Thruway.

"So many of the roads were built when that place was a swimming hole, a hot dog stand and a couple of lifeguards," Dibble said. "Those are the same roads then as they are today."

Dibble is aware there are still people who advocate for a return of private parking around the venue, but that's not the answer Dibble said. Those lots, he said, create more problems than they alleviate.

"I'm under the opinion after my many, many years out there that congestion on Sumner makes it worse," Dibble said. "You have masses of people walking on Sumner and mixing pedestrians and traffic isn't good. This is much safer. And then you had people pulling into private lots dickering with the people taking the money and backing up traffic. There's no way I want to go back. Darien Lake has the space available to handle the parking."

There's been talk for years about how to open up more entrances and exits to the lots, but there's no easy answer, Dibble said.

Colby Road isn't the answer because of the configuration of the roadway.

"Exiting, that would be good, but the topography of that road, the hills and blind spots, make that difficult and very dangerous," Dibble said.

Dibble noted that Cherry Hill Campground continues to accept concert parking and that doesn't really help matters.

"They get them in there and then abandon them there and that's a problem for us when it's time to leave," Dibble said.

Early in the evening, local emergency responders were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of medical calls, mostly for alcohol-related illnesses. That was a combination of the alcohol and the heat, Dibble said.

The county needed backup units from Erie and Orleans counties and patients were transported to multiple hospitals so no one hospital became overwhelmed.

Live Nation had two doctors in the venue, as is now standard practice for sold-out shows.

"There are a lot of things they're able to take care of right on property instead of transporting them," Dibble said.

Dibble didn't have a count yet on how many citations were issued for underage drinking, but they were numerous.

"Each band has its own personality and its own following and this particular band attracted a the type that was younger and there was a lot of underage drinking," Dibble said.

The early-evening enforcement of ABC violations helps cut down on problems later in the night, Dibble said.

"For the number of people there, it was really a good night, actually," Dibble said.

August 14, 2015 - 9:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Dunkin' Donuts, batavia, corfu, Stafford, Pavilion.


For local Dunkin' Donut franchisee Mike Mikolajczyk, he thinks he's found the perfect location to open up a second shop, but the problem is, for the second time, land-use planners disagree.

In September of last year, the City Planning Board listened to objections raised by nearby residents and rejected a plan for a donut shop on West Main Street on a small lot between Five Star Bank and Barrett's Batavia Marine.

Mikolajczyk and his architect presented a new plan that they hope addresses traffic flow concerns to the Genesee County Planning Board, but the board voted to recommend disapproval of the site plan.

That doesn't kill the project. The City Planning Board can still approve the plan with a majority-plus-one vote.

The revised plan, said architect Kip Finley (photo), would allow for eight cars in queue before backing up into the parking lot, and the parking lot could accommodate an additional five cars before they would start backing up onto West Main. 

Mikolajczyk's existing Dunkin franchise location, on West Main and Ellicott Avenue, captures mostly westbound commuter traffic in the morning. The proposed new location, said Finley, would help the small business owner capture more business from eastbound commuters.

With the recommended disapproval, it's back to the drawing board, Mikolajczyk said, to try and come up with a project that planners will favor. It's important enough to him, he said, to keep trying.

"It's a good location for the type of business we are," Mikolajczyk said. "That's the best location. I don't want to do a location just for the sake of putting another one in, another Dunkin' in. I want to make sure I have the right location."

Other County Planning Board recommendations:

  • Approval of an area variance for a new barn in the front yard of 10528 Pavilion Center Road. The proposed barn meets setback requirements, but the Town of Pavilion's zoning code doesn't permit front yard accessory buildings. County planners said the proposed barn is not likely to have significant community-wide or local impacts and there are other properties in the area with front yard accessory buildings;
  • Approval with modifications for a special use permit for a restaurant as an accessory business to proposed hotel at 7758 E. Main Road, Le Roy. Planners want to see more parking for the business;
  • Approval for a solar array at 6332 Byron Holley Road, Byron;
  • Disapproval of a proposed subdivision for a 17-lot subdivision on Fieldcrest Drive, Corfu. Planners found the proposed subdivision plans do not comply with existing code because of a lack of detail in the plans. Planners also expressed concern about the lack of protection for federally identified wetlands on lots 9, 10, 16 and 17;
  • Tabled consideration of a variance for fence height at 8903 Route 237, Stafford. Planners were concerned about the lack of detail. The application lacked plans and pictures. Property owner James Pontillo said he turned in all of the required documents to the Town of Stafford. If he did, the documents were not forwarded to the County Planning Department. Pontillo said he would have his attorney provide the materials by the board's next meeting.
August 14, 2015 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in O-AT-KA Milk Products, business, GCEDC, batavia.


With 344 employees, O-AT-KA Milk Products is already Genesee County's largest private employer, and CFO Michael Patterson promised the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board a taxpayer-assisted expansion will result in a workforce expanded by 21 positions.

The expansion, at a cost to O-AT-KA of $20 million, will result in greater efficiency, a product and market expansion and greater employee safety, Patterson said.

"This is a real game changer for O-AT-KA," Patterson said. "It will allow us to grow while we focus on efficiency and employee safety."

Patterson described the region as "heavy with milk," and the expansion will help O-AT-KA improve its capacity to create new products and expand into additional markets.

O-AT-KA is seeking $2.26 million in sales tax and property tax exemptions.

In making a motion to set a public hearing on O-AT-KA's application, Board Member Craig Yunker said, "This is really important to our region and our dairy industry, which is the back bone of our local economy. I don't know of a more important project."

The date of the hearing, which the board approved unanimously, has not yet been determined, but will be within the next two or three weeks so the board can vote on whether to grant the tax exemptions at its next meeting.

“This is a tremendous investment being made by one of the largest private-sector employers in Genesee County,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “It also demonstrates a long-term commitment to our community by the company in building a state-of-the-art facility to enhance its manufacturing operations now and in the future.”





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