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June 7, 2017 - 5:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, batavia, Empire Access.

Press release:

Empire Access, which has an office in Batavia, has received a $3.2 million grant award from the New NY Broadband Program. The New York Broadband Program was developed to help fund the expansion of high-speed broadband Internet service in New York State, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers have high-speed broadband access by the end of 2018.

Empire Access is based in Prattsburgh and operates a fast-growing telecommunications company, offering high-speed Internet, digital television, phone and security services to homes and businesses – all enabled by Fiber Optic technology – to more than 25 communities in Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

“The NYS Broadband program has enabled Empire Access to build a fiber optic network and provide gigabit internet services in rural areas where it would be economically prohibitive. This program is a game changer for rural New York,” said Jim Baase, chief operating officer, Empire Access.

The New NY Broadband Program grant provides Empire Access with significant funding for the expansion of high-speed broadband services to more than 1,600 homes and businesses in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions of New York, including Burdett, Lodi, Odessa, Prattsburgh and Pulteney. These specific areas were identified by the New York State Broadband Program Office as underserved or unserved in Phase II of a multiphase grant process.

Empire will offer residents in the awarded areas super-fast Internet service with standard speeds of 100 Mbps download x 20 Mbps upload, along with an even faster 1 Gigabit per second option. High definition digital television, digital phone, security and smart home services will also be available. All services will utilize a state-of-the-art 100-percent Fiber Optic dedicated connection.

“Empire Access is excited to be part of the state’s broadband initiative to expand high-speed broadband services throughout New York,” Baase said. “We’re grateful to Governor Cuomo and the legislature for their support and we look forward to working with the state of New York to accomplish this goal.”

This deployment of broadband service is supported by a grant awarded to Empire Access by New York State through the New NY Broadband Program.

To check current coverage and future expansion for this New NY Broadband Program grant, visit http://www.empireaccess.com/where-we-are/check-location.

About the New NY Broadband Program

Recognizing the importance of broadband infrastructure and building on prior State investments in broadband deployment, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2015, with legislative support, established the $500 million New NY Broadband Program. The Program provides New York State grant funding to support projects that deliver high-speed Internet access to Unserved and Underserved areas of the State, with priority to unserved areas, libraries, and Educational Opportunity Centers.

An “unserved” area is defined as an area where the fastest available advertised Internet download speed offered by a wireline-based provider is less than 25 Mbps. An “underserved” area is defined as an area where broadband service is only available from a wireline-based provider at advertised Internet download speeds between 25 Mbps and 99 Mbps. The program is the largest and most ambitious state investment in broadband in the nation, with a goal of achieving statewide broadband access in New York by the end of 2018.

About Empire Access
After starting in 1896 with one telephone line in Prattsburgh, Empire Access has grown significantly as a family‐owned, locally based communications provider serving large areas of Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

Today’s Empire offers a wide range of products and services from basic phone service to digital phone, scalable high‐speed Fiber Optic Internet, basic to enhanced digital TV service to advanced security solutions. Responding to a variety of business and residential needs, Empire continues to expand into new areas while retaining a strong focus on local, personalized customer service.

Empire Access offers Fiber Optic service in Arkport, Batavia, Bath, Big Flats, Canisteo, Corning, Elmira, Hammondsport, Hornell, Montour Falls, Naples, North Hornell, Penn Yan, Watkins Glen, and Waverly in New York and Sayre, Athens, South Waverly and Troy in Pennsylvania. The company’s website can be found at www.empireaccess.com.

June 5, 2017 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Insurance, batavia, business.

Press release: 

Tompkins Insurance Agencies recently was appointed to The Hanover Insurance Group’s President’s Club, an elite group of independent insurance agencies from across the country. 

Tompkins Insurance Agencies was one of only 125 independent agencies recognized with this distinction across the country. The Hanover partners with a select group of 2,200 independent agents nationwide. Agencies named to the company’s President’s Club are recognized for delivering outstanding value to their customers through insurance expertise and responsive service.

“For more than a century, Tompkins Insurance Agencies has been committed to providing unrivaled customer service to those who have trusted us with their insurance needs,” said David Boyce, President & CEO, Tompkins Insurance Agencies. “We’re proud to be named to the President’s Club, which is a recognition of the value we place on providing specialized insurance strategies to help the families and businesses in the communities we serve.”

The agency was formally recognized for its inclusion in the company’s President’s Club at a national business conference in Laguna Beach, Calif.

“The team at Tompkins Insurance Agencies truly understands the needs of its customers and delivers a top-of-the-line customer experience, providing expert insurance counsel and high-quality service,” said John C. Roche, president, Hanover Agency Markets. “We’re proud to partner with Tompkins Insurance Agencies and appreciate its commitment to going above and beyond to serve its customers.”

June 2, 2017 - 11:04am
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, GCEDC, STAMP.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved the selection of LeChase Construction Services of Rochester at the agency’s June 1 board meeting. The GCEDC Board approved the selection based on the recommendation of the members of the GCEDC STAMP Committee.

The $3.18 million project includes the trenching and installation of approximately 50,000 square feet of pipe that will extend from the Town of Oakfield to the site of the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP). The work also will include connecting some households on Church Street and Maple Road in the Town of Alabama.

The project is being funded through $33 million allocated to STAMP by New York State to make the 1,250 mega-site shovel ready for advanced manufacturing operations, including 1366 Technologies.

“It’s exciting to see the first substantive infrastructure work that starts the process of making STAMP a shovel ready site,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “It really enhances our opportunities to market the site to those who are in the planning process of identifying shovel ready sites to build the next generation of advanced manufacturing facilities.”

June 2, 2017 - 10:56am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, business, GCEDC, Ellicott Station, savarino companies.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) accepted an application for assistance from the Savarino Companies for the redevelopment of Ellicott Station in Downtown Batavia at the agency’s June 1 board meeting.

The approximate 64,000-square-foot development will be a mix use of residential, office and retail spaces; a brewery; small beverage warehouse and hops processing facility; entertainment and event area; outside seating; and integration of the new Ellicott Trail pedestrian pathway.

The $17.6 million project is estimated to create up to 60 good-paying full-time jobs. For every dollar of public sector investment there is an anticipated private sector investment of approximately $25.

The project is being done through the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2) program which was created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation and the GCEDC. 

BP2 was conceived to pool resources in order to invest in distressed areas in the City of Batavia. The BP2 program will be implemented though PILOT increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” which is the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating.

Supported by the redirection of 50% of new project PILOT payments, the BP2 fund will play a critical role in generating development within the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), a 366-acre area within the City of Batavia containing five strategic redevelopment sites.  

”The collaboration among various government jurisdictions is simply smart economic development,” said Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman. “The BP2 program is an opportunity to attract development and jobs to the urban core of Genesee County and just as important, create vibrant neighborhoods in economically disadvantaged areas of the city.”

June 2, 2017 - 7:55am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, Paige's Bounce Houses, batavia, business.

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Paige’s Bounce Houses, a family owned party rental business for Western New York, recently custom built a trackless train, “The Peyton Express,” for customers to rent.

Kevin Sikorski, the owner, said the new trackless train is a “fully loaded Cadillac.”

The trackless train has one engine and four cars, with each car holding six kids or four adults, or a combination. It includes LED headlights, tail lights, LED underglow, a stereo system, public address system, a 10-inch chrome bell and an authentic train whistle.

“We started Paige’s Bounce Houses six years ago and we keep expanding every year,” Sikorski said. “As far as I know, there is only one other (trackless) train in all of Western New York.”

Sikorski said the train can run on any hard, flat surface, such as grass, dirt and blacktop.

While Paige’s Bounce Houses is named after Sikorski’s oldest daughter, Paige, the new trackless train is named after his youngest daughter, Peyton.

Sikorski said the trackless train is perfect for birthday parties, church events, corporate events, festivals, fairs and parades.

“Whatever you think you can use it for, you can rent it by the hour,” Sikorski said.

The train will also come with a staff engineer, so those who rent don’t have to worry about running the train, Sikorski said.

The trackless train will be transporting the grand marshal of the Attica Founders Day Parade on June 3, then will be giving rides at the Attica Memorial Park.

Pricing for renting the train and more information can be found by clicking here.

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June 1, 2017 - 5:18pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in batavia, news, aflac, business.
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Myra Schroeder, an independent agent representing Aflac, opened an office today at 56 Harvester Ave. in Batavia. She's on the second floor of Harvester Center (suite #1-221).
 
Schroeder said she works with companies as well as individuals to bridge the gap in insurance and alleviate some of the struggles with the resources for benefit administration.
 
Schroeder lives in Oakfield and says she excited to be able to partner with local businesses.
 
Contact her at (877) 895-8423, ext. 74.
 
About Aflac
 
Aflac is a Fortune 500 company, providing financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. When a policyholder or insured gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fairly, promptly and directly to the insured. For nearly six decades, Aflac voluntary insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stres
 
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June 1, 2017 - 5:10pm

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Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, located in Stafford, debuted its new state-of-the-art catering trailer on May 31 at the Le Roy Fine Arts Festival.

Owners Steven Foster and Timothy Adams designed the trailer in three days in Tennessee. Foster said they created it based off of the kitchenette at the restaurant.

“We got the idea of a catering trailer and we just thought of going small, but we decided if we’re going to do it, we’re going to go big,” Foster said. “So, we went big.”

Foster said the can serve anything on their restaurant menu from the catering trailer. Each event they cater can choose specifically what will be served for that event.

“This is unlike any food truck in the country,” Foster said. “It is the only one of its kind in the country.”

Adams said they hope to go in the direction of catering private parties, corporate parties, graduation parties and events. Foster said they can serve anything from prime rib sandwiches to prime rib and lobster tails.

Matthew Chiverton is an alumnus from Le Roy Junior/Senior High School, returning five years later as the head chef on board.

Foster said the truck was made to run off of electricity, propane and/or a generator.

“It is absolutely mobile,” Foster said. “We can go out into the middle of nowhere and run this thing.”

Wendy Frongetta, a chef on board, said she is excited about the truck and the opportunities it gives.

“The possibilities are endless with what we can do,” Frongetta said.

The catering trailer will be at the American Warrior Concert on June 2 and 3 at The Ridge in Le Roy, and at the Genesee County Fair from July 17 to 22.

NOTE: The Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford is not affiliated with Red Osier in Rochester.

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June 1, 2017 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Apple, business, batavia, news.

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The Apple Maps camera car has been in Batavia for at least two days. The Apple website says Genesee County is part of Apple's mapping project through June 4. Apple says the project will help the company improve the quality of its maps worldwide. It's possible that Apple is in the process of creating a feature for its maps similar to Street View available with Google Maps.

May 31, 2017 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, business, news, GCEDC.

As anticipated, Buffalo-based Savarino Companies has applied for financial assistance from the Genesee County Economic Development Center to help offset the costs of environmental cleanup and redevelopment of the long-vacant Della Penna property on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

The GCEDC board will consider the application for the $17.6 million rehabilitation project at its meeting tomorrow.

Savarino is planning to replace most of the structures on the property and replace them with a 64,000-square-foot development that will include apartments, office space and a brewery and restaurant.

Once completed, there will be 47 market-rate apartments on the border of Downtown Batavia and businesses employing at least 60 full-time workers.

The terms of the application were negotiated by the city and GCEDC during the process of attracting a developer for the brownfield project and include $897,293 in sales tax abatement on materials during construction, relief on $128,232 in mortgage taxes and $537,398 in property taxes.

Savarino has already announced an anchor tenant for the Ellicott Station project, Resurgence Brewing Company of Buffalo, which plans to use the facility to increase production of a new product, a sour beer, as well as serve on tap its full line of beers that have proven popular in Buffalo.

The project is part of the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2) initiative, which is a cooperative endeavor between the city, GCEDC, Batavia Development Corp., City Schools and Genesee County.

BP2 was created to offer a tax abatement known as a PIF (PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes incremental financing), which is the first of its kind in New York. Half of the PIF payments will be used to help fund future brownfield redevelopment in Batavia, with the other half being returned to the original taxing jurisdictions.

The Batavia Opportunity Area (the brownfield redevelopment area) covers 366 acres in the city's core and contains five strategic redevelopment sites.

May 30, 2017 - 3:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genes County Chamber of Commerce, business.

Press release:

“Search Engine Optimization” will be the subject of a small business workshop to be hosted the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on June 7.

This is the one of a series of business workshops held in conjunction with the U.S. 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.

“Learn how to increase traffic to your website with search engine optimization and more importantly how to convert that traffic into buyers,” said Tom Turnbull, Chamber president.  

The workshop will be held at the Chamber of Commerce office, 8276 Park Road, Batavia. The session will run from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and includes a question and answer period.

Businesses may attend any one or all of the upcoming small business workshops. Cost for non-Chamber members is $10 for each attendee. Chamber members may attend all sessions free of charge but must make reservations to insure space for their employees.

To reserve a seat in any workshop or for more information, contact Kelly Bermingham at 585-343-7440 or by email at kbermingham@geneseeny.com.

May 25, 2017 - 4:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, batavia downs gaming & hotel, news.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel announced today they will be hosting a job fair on Wednesday, June 7th in their Paddock Events Room.

There will be two sessions; one from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and another from 5 'til 7 p.m. Representatives from each department will be on hand to discuss current job openings within the facility.

“We’re gearing up for a busy summer season," said Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel President & CEO Henry Wojtaszek. “Batavia Downs has openings in not only Food and Beverage, but Security, Housekeeping, Marketing and positions related to our upcoming live racing season.

"We look forward to seeing area residents at either of the available times to speak with our staff about joining our team.”

Those who apply will also be entered into a drawing for a free hotel stay and gift certificate to a Batavia Downs Restaurant. Anyone with questions ahead of time can contact the Human Resources Department at Batavia Downs at 585-343-3750, ext. 6228.

About Batavia Downs/WROTB

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 19 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Regional OTB has generated over $215 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

May 25, 2017 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, unemployment, business, news.

At least 400 people entered the labor force in Genesee County from March to April, according to the latest data released by the New York State Department of Labor.

That puts the total size of the labor force at 29,400, with 1,300 people classified as unemployment, which puts the unemployment rate at 4.6 percent.

A year ago in April, the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in the county.

Over the past year, the county's labor force has declined by approximately 500 people. It's difficult to pinpoint the reason for the decline, but Baby Boomers reaching retirement age could be a factor.

The total number of employed residents 28,100. A year ago in April, it was 28,600 and in March it was 27,500.

The unemployment rate in the GLOW region is 5.0, the same as a year ago. 

In Rochester, it's 4.6 percent. In Buffalo, it's 5.0. For the state, it's 4.2. For the nation, it's 4.1 percent.

May 25, 2017 - 12:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, business, news, Dellapenna Building.

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The first work toward revitalizing the Della Penna buildings into Ellicott Station -- apartments, office space, a restaurant, and brewery -- began today with a contractor digging test pits and checking soil samples.

The tests are the first step in any contamination remediation process. The tests will provide officials with information on the scope of any remediation that is needed.

The old industrial parcel on Ellicott Street will undergo a $17 million transformation that will eventually bring in Buffalo's Resurgence Brewing Company as the anchor tenant.

For previous coverage, click here.

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May 24, 2017 - 4:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, schools, education, business, GCC, news, byron, elba, Pavilion, corfu.

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Press release:

"What is the biggest challenge you face in your business?" is a question often asked by the Agri-Business Academy students during tours of local agriculture businesses. The answer is almost always the same. "Labor."

The challenge of finding dependable, hardworking individuals for stable, well-paying careers in agriculture has been a constant battle for agriculturalists for years. As the instructor of the Agri-Business Academy, I've spoken with local agribusiness people from more than 100 local agribusinesses and the need for good employees is a common thread.

The common misconception is that these are not careers, but physically demanding jobs that do not require a college degree and involve a way of life that many would not willingly choose. Today, agribusinesses are usually seeking applicants with college degrees, technology and management experience, and business and communication skills. What is most important is that the compensation aligns with these requirements. In addition, the benefits and satisfaction that comes from working in the agriculture industry is unlike any other.

Agriculture continues to be the number one industry in Genesee County and the driving force of the local economy. When students of the Agri-Business Academy toured Torrey Farms, among the largest agribusinesses in New York state, they heard Maureen Torrey Marshall explain that Torrey Farms does not simply employ a few people in the surrounding community.

She described the multiplier effect, which means that other businesses, such as trucking companies, mechanic shops, equipment dealerships, transportation hubs, technology, fuel and fertilizer suppliers, and many others are all part of the agribusiness economy. Most people do not recognize the many different aspects of agriculture and the need for individuals with a broad array of interests and expertise. Animal and plant systems, food products and processing, agricultural mechanics, precision agriculture, agribusiness networks, international trade, environmental and conservation systems, and energy use are just a few of the trades under umbrella of agriculture.

To ensure that the agriculture community has the employees they need to thrive, and to continue to be the bedrock of our community the Agri-Business Academy is again seeking high school seniors to learn about careers in all aspects of agriculture. The Agri-Business Academy is a one-year partnership program between the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and Genesee Community College.

Through this program, the students earn 15 college credits through the ACE program at Genesee Community College. They spend half the school day in the Agri-Business Academy enrolled in the following five college courses: Western New York Agriculture, Career and Educational Planning, Principles of Business, Principles of Biology and Public Speaking.

Throughout the year students tour area agribusinesses to learn and experience these businesses, job shadow professional producers and at the end of the year each student participates in a two-week internship. This year's Agri-business Academy students are working at their internships experiencing many different aspects of agribusiness -- from robotic and organic dairies to maple syrup and crop management and much more.

The following locations throughout Western New York are currently sponsoring student internships: DeLaval Dairy Services in Corfu, WBB Farm in Alden, Beaver Meadows Audubon Center in North Java, Merle Maple Farm in Attica, Cottonwood Farms in Pavilion, Cornell Cooperative Extension in Wyoming County, Schierberdale Holsteins, Perry and WNY Crop Management in Warsaw.

If you know of a current junior or underclassman who is interested in business or agriculture, or is unsure of a career path, please encourage them to apply for the Agri-Business Academy at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. Through the Agri-Business Academy, students explore the plethora of wonderful careers available to them -- locally, internationally or often it is a dynamic blend of both.

Whether they like working inside or outside, with their hands or crunching numbers, handling heavy equipment or studying the nuances of soil (agronomy), tending to livestock or discovering how technology can help feed the world-the "Ag Academy" is a career starter.

Jack Klapper, an Agri-Business Academy graduate and Cornell University assistant men's basketball coach, said, "I would recommend this academy to anyone, whether they are pursuing a career in agriculture or not. The life skills I developed in this program are some of the best skills I have ever learned."

Applications are available at http://www.genesee.edu/home/ace/career-pathways/agri-business-academy/.

The first 20 students to submit their application will receive a free Genesee Community College flash drive wristband.

Questions? Please do not hesitate to contact me at 585-344-7783 or kirchardson3@gvboces.org. Check out the Agri-Business Academy on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Agri-Business-Academy-680673051998953/

Top photo: Agri-business Academy student Cherie Glosser of Warsaw High School with calf at Post Dairy Farms.

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Agri-Business Academy students at Torrey Farms, in Elba.

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Agri-Business Academy students at Porter Farms in Elba.

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Agri-Business Academy students at SJ Starowitz Farm, in Byron.

May 20, 2017 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in RTS, transportation, batavia, Le Roy, news, business.

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Customers of RTS will find it easier to get from Le Roy to shopping in Batavia, or from Batavia to neighboring counties, or from Batavia to Genesee Community College now that the transportation company has devised a new plan to help people get around better; it's based on an efficiency study RTS conducted.

  • There are new connections between Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays;
  • There are now 10 trips a day to and from Big Tree Glen, the new apartment development on West Main Street;
  • Trips to and from GCC have been bumped up from five to six;
  • There is one new trip to and from Le Roy, which is an afternoon route, and times have been changed for two other Le Roy trips (to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.).

The routes are also linked together more smoothly, so it's easier to change buses in a timely manner.

“Somebody coming in from Le Roy can go all the way to Tops, all the way to Walmart, all the way to Kmart," said Jamie Mott, regional manager for RTS for Genesee and Orleans. "With the current system, if you come in from Le Roy, you’re done at the City Centre and then you have to wait. Now it’s a little bit different. You can actually continue on."

The former dial-a-ride service in the city and the current countywide service have been combined to add flexibility to the program. Riders more than a quarter mile off the regular routes can make appointments for pick up and drop off at least 24-hours in advance of their planned trips.

All these changes came with the requirement from RTS management that service be expanded without increasing expense.

"We had to do redesigns based on what we were already budgeted for, so that was a big challenge -- to figure out how we could expand our services, especially when you have on-time performance that you have to maintain," Mott said.

May 19, 2017 - 1:00pm

There should be no lack of motivation for Dairy Farmers of America to start production back up at the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant in Batavia it acquired in January 2016 for $60 million.

That was a big outlay on a plant that is considered state-of-the-art, is USDA certified, close to milk supplies, in the midst of a transportation hub, and cost PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group more than $200 million to construct.

There is also more milk being produced than there are places to process it in the Northeast and that has led to some milk dumping so it doesn't get added to the market supply.

Finally, there is the whopping $655,155 tax bill DFA paid in 2017 over and above what their obligation could have been with a new PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement, which is wholly contingent on Kansas City, Kansas-based DFA putting the plant to productive use.

Genesee County Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde notified officials with City Schools, Genesee County and the Town of Batavia in January that those jurisdictions could expect suspension of the PILOT agreement Muller Quaker received to build the plant because there was no clear indication what DFA planned to do to live up the basic premise of the PILOT, which is that there would be people working at the plant.

"They will pay full taxes until it's back in productive use and people are back to work," Hyde told The Batavian. "DFA has been good with us and good to work with, but we want to see the plant back in productive use, and they want their members to be able to ship milk to that plant."

The Batavian obtained copies of the letters sent to local officials through a FOIL (Freedom of Infomation Act letter) request. The letters show that City Schools received an extra $427,397, the county received $180,476, and the Town received $47,282.

Hyde said the payment requirement was consistent with the original terms of the PILOT and would not have come as a surprise to DFA.

As for DFA's plans, spokeswoman Kim O'Brien said the plans are taking shape. It's a lot of work to bring a number of big players together to get a plant like this back into production, but she said DFA would announce its plans within weeks.

It's unclear if DFA will operate the plant itself, partner with other companies, lease it or sell it, and O'Brien said she couldn't comment beyond acknowledging that DFA would make an announcement soon.

There are reportedly other major players in the dairy industry interested in the plant and Shelly Stein, a co-owner of Stein Farms in Le Roy, a DFA member, said it's common knowledge that DFA has had the plant on the market, but she also doesn't know what DFA's plans are. She said she's just eager to see it processing milk again to help alleviate the oversupply problem for dairy farmers.

"In the dairy business, there are a lot of partnerships and relationships that go into running plants like this, and that's the model DFA uses," Stein said. "I believe that is still the thought process and as a member of the cooperative, I look forward to that plant being up and running, but at this point, all of the stars have to line up. The size of that plant means it's not going to be an overnight fix."

Sarah Noble Moag, of Noblehurst Farms in Linwood, and also a DFA member, said they are eager to see the plant reopen, but they also understand why it's taking so long to get something going.

"After having seen Muller Quaker come in with its business plan and fail, we want to see something for our local economy and our local jobs that is more stable, and if that takes a little more time to plan, then so be it," Noble Moag said. "We all know in this business how long those negotiations can take, especially for an asset that size."

According to documents obtained by The Batavian as part of a FOIL request, there was active communication between GCEDC and DFA, but in July, the communication, at least the written communication, abruptly stopped. We are told that's an accurate reflection of the state of things from that point forward, that there isn't any communication not part of the response to the FOIL request.

In February of 2016, DFA officials were diligent about making sure its logo was added to the business part sign along Route 5. In March, Chris Suozzi, VP of business development, started trying to find out from DFA officials what their plans were so he could put together a new incentive package that recognized the expense of the retooling of the plant.

Jackie Klippenstein, with DFA, asked for clarification on possible incentives on April 28, telling Suozzi, "it appears discussions at the end of the hall are intensifying."

In response, Suozzi wanted to know how much DFA was planning to invest in the plant. 

The number he got back was $250,000 for equipment and $100,000, rough estimate, for labor.

On April 29, 2016, he emailed Jackie Klippenstein to try and clarify DFA's plans.

"Based on other food processing facilities in our county, that number appears low, unless you're making yogurt," Suozzi wrote. "Can you share what products will be produced? Maybe I can understand better. Will you be using existing equipment from Muller Quaker Dairy? Do you already own equipment that you're bringing in? If so we will need to understand the capital expense."

He also asked, "is the 150 jobs to start or is a ramp-up schedule over the course of time (i.e. 2-year ramp up)?"

Suozzi apparently didn't get a response and followed up on May 3 and suggested a phone call.

Klippenstein responded May 10 and said, "We aren't quite ready -- but I expect information in the next 2-3 weeks. Stop and go, stop and go ... sorry but feeling optimistic."

Suozzi again followed up on June 1, 2016, and Klippenstein responded, "Thanks for checking in. I've been told July is the golden month when things will start to come together -- decisions made."

On July 6, 2016, Suozzi again requested a project update and the documents obtained by The Batavian, which we are told are complete, contains no response from Klippenstein or anybody else from DFA.

As part of the documents obtained by The Batavian, there is a state form DFA was required to fill out which lists employees and wages paid for 2016. The NYS-45-ATT shows DFA had seven employees at the plant with a total payroll of $408,006. The names of the employees are redacted, but the top gross pay was $72,195, with one other employee earning more than $70,000, two making more than $50,000, one making $41,883, and three earning at least $35,000. Their job duties are not listed as part of the form.

Hyde, like other officials we've talked to around the county, remains optimistic that the plant, so big, so well situated and well suited to dairy processing, will eventually be put to productive use. It's just a matter of time.

"It's not perfect what happened, but we have a couple hundred million dollar processing plant that is essentially new and largely funded on the backs of PepsiCo and Theo Muller," Hyde said. "We'll eventually have a production facility in there. It's a great asset to have in our community."

Stein, who is also a county legislator, agreed.

"It’s an asset that continues that get a lot of traction," Stein said. "I’m glad it’s in DFA’s hands. It’s the largest dairy cooperative in the nation. As a member, when a deal is worked out, whomever or whatever it’s going to be, it's going to be good for all milk producers in the area one way or another because it’s still milk."

May 19, 2017 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sallome Heating and Cooling, batavia, business, news.

sallomevacson2017.jpg

For more than 70 years, there's been a Sallome in the heating and cooling business in Batavia, and with John Sallome Jr. joining his father's business, the tradition looks to continue for decades more, at least.

"I went to school and all my friends were like, ‘it’s pretty cool that you get to work for your own family business instead of going to work for somebody else,' ” John Jr., said.

The 21-year-old Sallome, the son of John and Marianne, graduated from the heating and air technology program at Alfred State, where he was a top student and received the New York Propane Gas Association Ganey Memorial Scholarship Award and Air-Conditioning and Heating Outstanding Student Award.

After graduating from Batavia High School, John Jr. thought he might like to work in computers, but after starting down that path, he found it didn't really interest him, so he went to his dad and said, "I want to work with my hands like you."

John Sr., who joined the business in 1977 while still in high school, working for his grandfather, decided to put him to the test.

"I took him on some of the worst, dirtiest jobs we ever had and he loved it, absolutely loved," John Sr. said.

John Sr., who has no plans to retire anytime soon, said his son joining the business is "a dream come true."

"It’s great that my son has come into the business and I'm looking forward to the future with him," John Sr. said.

May 19, 2017 - 10:05am

Press release:

Since 1993, Darien Lake Amphitheater has been bringing the biggest stars to Western New York. Over its history, well over 400 concerts have played its stage and in its 25th season, the lineup is proving to be one of its best yet.  The ceremonial season kicks off next Wednesday, May 24th, with Future and special guests Migos, Torey Lanez,  ASAP Ferg and Zoey Dollaz.

Not only does the venue have a great lineup to celebrate its 25th season but LiveNation is also rolling out some upgrades and special offers to make this concert season one to remember.

Great new things to enhance the concert experience at Darien Lake Amphitheater for its 25th season include:

Updated Aesthetics: Darien Lake Amphitheater’s concession stands and plazas are getting a new, updated look in 2017!  The updates include displays for photo opportunities & selfies, plus additional seating within the main plazas. Our concession buildings will receive a façade renovation and new TV displays.

Fans will even be treated to a beautiful starlight display projected under our amphitheater tent.

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

The offer is not valid in conjunction with any other Darien Lake Theme Park offer and is non-transferrable. Free Theme Park access is only valid the same day as the concert ticket and is only valid on purchased tickets and not valid on complimentary concert tickets. Go to darienlake.com/concerts for full details.

More Concession Locations: Darien Lake Amphitheater will have a wide range of new food and beverage offerings this year. New selections include humanely raised food offerings and handcrafted show specialty cocktails, plus a savory selection of local food trucks including House of Munch, Center Street Smoke House and Buffalo’s Best. We will also feature craft beers on tap! Additionally, we will have more points of sale in our concession plazas and at our lawn points of sale to better serve our guests.

Public WiFi: New during the 2017 season, public WiFi will be available for guests within the venue grounds. WiFi accessibility at the Darien lake Amphitheater has never been available to concertgoers before now. During the 2017 season, guests will be able surf the Internet, access their mobile concert tickets and enjoy their favorite apps like theLive Nation app, all from the comfort of their seat or while exploring the venue grounds. This will become available later this summer.

Preferred Lawn: The Preferred Lawn is back for 2017! Each preferred lawn ticket includes a complimentary lawn chair rental, beverage cart access, as well as Early Entry with a hassle-free quick access into a separate, secured area. 

This summer’s spectacular 25th Season at Darien Lake Amphitheater lineup includes:

  • Future – Wednesday, May 24th
  • Chance The Rapper – Wednesday, May 31st 
  • Jason Aldean -  Saturday, June 3rd 
  • Florida Georgia Line  – Friday, June 16th
  • Train with O.A.R. – Tuesday, June 20th
  • Zac Brown Band  – Sunday, June 25th
  • Third Eye Blind  – Thursday, June 29th
  • Nickelback with Daughtry – Wednesday, July 12th
  • Vans Warped Tour – Thursday, July 13th
  • Chris Stapleton  – Sunday, July 16th
  • Chicago & The Doobie Brothers – Tuesday, July 18th
  • Foreigner with Cheap Trick  – Friday, July 21st
  • Kidz Bop Kids – Saturday, July 22nd
  • OneRepublic – Tuesday, July 25th
  • Brantley Gilbert  – Sunday, July 30th
  • Kings of Leon  – Wednesday, Aug. 2nd
  • Dierks Bentley with Cole Swindell  -- Friday, Aug. 4th
  • Goo Goo Dolls with Phillip Phillips – Saturday, Aug. 12th
  • Luke Bryan with Brett Eldredge – Friday, Aug. 25th
  • Green Day – Saturday, Aug. 26th
  • John Mayer – Sunday, Aug. 27th
  • Matchbox Twenty / Counting Crows – Monday, Sept. 11th
May 18, 2017 - 10:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Taco Bell, KBP Foods, batavia, business.

The Taco Bell in Batavia is one of 85 KFC and Taco Bell locations acquired by KBP Foods.

Here's the press release:

KBP Foods, one of the largest YUM! Brands franchisees in the country, announced last week that it has acquired 85 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants, including 18 in New York. 

This acquisition comes as part of the company’s continued expansion. Since 2011, KBP Foods has grown from 64 restaurants to 449 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants across 20 states.

“This acquisition represents another significant milestone for our business, and we are proud to strengthen our footprint in New York,” said Mike Kulp, President & CEO, KBP Foods. “We remain focused on strategic growth that creates value for our business and career advancement opportunities for our employees. This acquisition achieves both of those goals – strengthening KBP Foods’ presence in several key markets, while accelerating professional growth for employees across our organization.”

“KBP Foods continues to pursue growth opportunities that make sense for our business, and this acquisition was a perfect fit,” said Barry Dubin, Chief Development Officer, KBP Foods. “The newly acquired restaurants complement KBP Foods’ geographic footprint, adding density to many of our existing markets while creating expansion into several adjacent areas.”

KBP Foods has been named a 2017 “Champion of Business” by the Kansas City Business Journal, which evaluates companies based on three key areas – financial performance and growth, innovation and charitable giving. In 2017, KBP Foods will raise and donate $1.3 million and 30,000 volunteer hours to new and existing charity partners (KBP Foods partners with local nonprofit organizations in every market it serves).

KBP Foods has also been named one of the 10 Fastest-Growing Restaurant Chains and one of the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Businesses in North America.

May 17, 2017 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, news, business.

bataviadownsresurface2017.jpg

Work crews were at Batavia Downs this morning resurfacing the parking lot.

bataviadownsresurface2017-2.jpg

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