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August 17, 2016 - 5:01pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in business, Announcements, darien center, inns, hotels, news.

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When he was a 16-year-old dishwasher at a local restaurant, the chef he worked under got too busy to handle all the orders and enlisted his help. That moment was to become a defining turning point in Dave Hamer's career in the food industry.

After he graduated high school, he continued on at the restaurant. About a year after that, he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in New Haven, Conn. – what he likes to affectionately refer to as akin to “becoming a chef at Yale.”

Not only did the institute expand to a location in New York – High Park – after stints in the states of Alaska, Florida, Tennessee and a few others, Hamer and his wife, Carolyn, returned to their home state of New York. More specifically, they returned to Wyoming County to plant their roots in a new business located at 1961 Church Road, Darien Center.

River Spring Lodge, a premier boutique hotel, nestled on 20 tranquil acres overlooking a private pond, provides luxurious guest rooms that include a three-course breakfast. The inn offers five beautifully appointed king (bed) rooms and two queen rooms that are smart, modern, comfortable and luxurious.

“As a New York native and a former resident of Wyoming County, opening a lodge here is like coming home again,” Hamer said. “My wife, Carolyn, and I are excited to be in Western New York (WNY). We love the quiet, secluded location that is only 30 miles from Buffalo and an hour from Rochester.” 

The couple owns the country estate. They are two of the most highly regarded professionals in the boutique lodging industry and have served discriminating clients from all over the world at Orvis-endorsed hospitality businesses, a company which is touted to be the “purveyor of the Distinctive Country Lifestyle,” as stated on its website

The Hamers have worked at some really nice places, such as the Monhegan Island Inn, in Monhegan, Maine. The Inn, 10 miles off the coast of Maine, sits atop a bluff looking west over Monhegan Harbor toward the Atlantic Ocean; Kennicott Glacier Lodge, Kennicott, Alaska. Built in 1987, the Kennicott Glacier Lodge is a replica of one of the historic mining buildings from the copper mining boom town days. The Timbers at Chama, in Chama, N.M., is a 400-acre ranch originally built as an executive retreat and it's constructed from century-old bridge timbers. Elk hunting is the main attraction. And Pheasant Crest Lodge, Kimball, S.D., is part of a family-owned farm and ranch, the hunting lodge is set upon one of the ranch’s highest hills.

In addition to his employment at hunting lodges, Dave has also worked at a few "high-end” country clubs in Florida and Tennessee and performs ministry work through speaking engagements and travel.

“We started looking for a place in New York about three years ago,” he said. “We lived in Attica years ago and wanted to return here. We returned last winter as the caretaker of the place while getting it ready.”

Dave said he has been “in food” all his life, describing himself as a “career culinary person.” Tutored in classical European cuisine, the chef creates food that is beautiful, generous and exceptional.

There are two dining options at River Spring Lodge. Each Friday and Saturday the Chef's Table serves a remarkable five-course dining experience, with or without chef chosen wine pairings. The Bistro at River Spring Lodge will serve a four-course, country gourmet dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The Bistro serves hearty cuisine that includes walleye, beef, chicken, venison and pheasant. The menu also includes gluten free, vegan, dairy free and vegetarian options. 

The Chef’s Table not only offers a truly memorable five-course dinner, but also panoramic wooded and water views, a beautiful chandelier, a flickering fire, and lovely table linens. The sophisticated china and crystal stemware add ambiance to an authentic fine-dining experience. Chef chosen wine pairings are offered nightly. Bottles of wine can also be chosen from the River Spring Lodge cellar.

The Bistro at River Spring Lodge offers gourmet country dining at private tables in a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. Tables are limited and reservations are required.

This upscale inn is a full-service hotel and corporate retreat hidden on 20 quiet, wooded acres. It is located just 30 minutes from BUF Buffalo/Niagara International Airport and less than one hour from ROC Greater Rochester International Airport. The bedrooms are beautifully appointed, each with a private bathroom with heated ceramic floors, double vessel sinks, bathtubs and large European shower rooms. This boutique hotel -- not far from Niagara Falls, and close to Letchworth State Park -- is in an ideal location to explore the natural wonders of the county and all of WNY.

A fully equipped conference room is available for meetings and conferences. A variety of beverage package options are available for private events. A lobby with a baby grand piano and comfortable leather furniture provides the perfect place to host a wine tasting or cocktail reception or to mingle with other guests, read a book or to just relax while enjoying a glass of wine before dinner.

While the Hamers' goal at the lodge is for it to become a premiere destination for couples and corporate gatherings, the couple is also involved in ministerial work.

“From time to time we’d like to host meetings and leadership training and spend time in fellowship with pastors and their spouses. But our primary business is creating a destination for couple to escape to, and companies to see us as a corporate retreat.”

Not only is the setting central to larger cities, it’s far enough away to be an “escape” from the daily grind, but close enough to be affordable.

“We will be expanding in March by building state-of-the-art conference and corporate rooms that will be fully equipped to be able to accommodate daytime business meetings and the like for those who can do without extended travel. Our lodge complements the other retreats in the area and we look forward to working together with others.

“The friendliness of the people in the county, not just the business folks, has been wonderful. When working on establishing the business, the county folks were nothing but helpful, friendly, warm... I kind of forgotten how friendly the people in Western New York are.”

And in keeping with the hometown feel, the company’s motto is: We’re everything exceptional.

At a recent ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the facility, Wyoming County Chamber President Scott Gardner said, “We are thrilled to welcome River Spring Lodge and Dave and Carolyn Hamer to Wyoming County. They’ve made a tremendous investment in the property and offer a premier location for guests and corporate retreats. River Spring Lodge is a beautiful facility offering unique amenities and high quality accommodations.”

To reserve your place at The Chef’s Table or a table at The Bistro at River Spring Lodge go online at www.riverspringlodge.com or call (585) 708-4212. Local guests are always welcome for dinner when seats are available. Be sure to take advantage of the Grand Opening room discounts before they expire.

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August 17, 2016 - 2:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Main St. Pizza Company, batavia, business, news, downtown.

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Ever since he opened Main St. Pizza Company on East Main Street 11 and a half years ago, Vic Marchese has wanted to serve pasta dishes featuring his mom's sauce and meatball recipes, but the small kitchen in the busy and crowded pizza shop just didn't give him room to grow his business that way.

Two months ago, at the end of a three-year planning and building process, Marchese was finally able to expand his restaurant, building a bigger kitchen and adding a new, large (75 seats) and attractive dining area.

And since then, the customers have been pouring in.

"I always knew we would do well because people always liked my mother’s sauce," Marchese said. "She just passed away four years ago. I wish she was here. She would really enjoy this. She would be out here, talking to everybody, and she would be involved here in the kitchen, I know she would."

The expansion helped Marchese fulfill a few dreams -- serving his mom's recipes, bringing Italian dining back to Batavia, double the number of diners his restaurant can serve at one time and providing a more upscale dining experience.

He designed the new dining room himself, with help from his wife and an interior designer who suggested the tabletops and upholstery on the long booth that sits under the custom-made Main Street sign on an interior wall, framed by two racks of wine. The wood and brick ambiance gives the restaurant a classic, urban feel.

"I wanted to build something that was over the top," Marchese said. "I wanted it to be the best restaurant Batavia could have, as good as anything in any big city."

Customers have told him, he said, that they feel like they're in a restaurant in Boston or Montreal when they're in his new dining room, or with the big meals, friendly atmosphere and good food, they feel like they're home. Both compliments apply.

"The best compliment anyone has ever said, people just thanked me for building this for them," Marchese said. "That says a lot right there. Food aside, pizza aside, spaghetti aside, people say the building is for them."

The homespun atmosphere is accentuated by a wall of photographs of local scenes, alongside shots of the family dog, Winston, and a couple of the restaurant's dishes. The local photographs are the work of Batavia residents Mark Gutman and Howard Owens.

Marchese is particularly proud of the 16-foot front window that opens easily when the weather is good, giving diners not just a view of downtown life on the sidewalk, but an open-air cafe feel, much like any big city bistro.  

Main St. now takes reservations, and that's not a bad idea on most nights, and tables by the window are the most requested by those callers making reservations.

While mom's sauce and meatballs anchor the new dining room's menu, much of the culinary creativity comes from Main St.'s new executive chef, Jason Ball, a native of Batavia who got his culinary degree from Erie County Community College and has been a sous chef and executive chef at several restaurants and hotels in the region. He was most recently sous chef at Orazio's in Clarence, where he was part of a team that won four Taste of Buffalo awards. He spent about 10 years at Orazio's with a break in the middle to be executive chef at Byrncliff in Varysburg.

Ball started hearing talk more than a year ago that Marchese wanted to meet with him and discuss an executive chef position and Ball's first reaction, he said, was "executive chef in a pizza shop? No way," but then once he sat down Marchese and understood his vision, he said he was sold on the idea.

"This is something special right here," Ball said. "I've long wanted to come back to my hometown and do something special and this is it. This is great. We said it would be great and we're doing it."

In preparing for the job, Ball took a family vacation in New York City and visited the bistros of Little Italy. He said he absorbed ideas and atmosphere, and during their planning, Marchese took Ball to Tony B's in Rochester and Marchese had a steak there and told Ball he'd like to include a steak on the menu for the new dining room.

Ball found a cut of Angus filet mignon that costs $20 per cut, which means it's $38 on the Main St. menu, but Ball described it as an amazing cut of meat, and since customers keep ordering at that price, it must be pretty good. Ball said the goal was to offer the best cut of steak in Batavia.

Marchese and Ball want everything to be first-rate, he said, so they only get the best ingredients, including cheese from Yancey's Fancy (for dessert, homemade ice cream from Oliver's Candies, to continue that local theme). 

Ball has the freedom to offer unique and creative specials every night, including some really special specials on weekends, such as this past weekend when the menu included an ahi tuna steak with vegetables and a jasmine rice.

The appetizers include the Winstonator (named after the Marchese family pet), which is comprised of two 10-ounce meatballs in mom's sauce with cheese, and Ball introduced his own take on Arancini, a Sicilian rice ball with asparagus, ricotta, various cheeses and a roasted tomato sauce and chive oil. 

It's quickly become one of the most popular items on the menu, Ball said.

"We want customers to have a great experience," Ball said. "I believe sitting down and enjoying a meal is an experience. Anybody at home can cook spaghetti and meatballs, but here we want it to be an experience. We want to it to be a top-notch-level service, an amazing atmosphere and great food like this town has never seen before. We’ve set our standards very high."

Marchese said he hopes people feel like they've had a real Italian dining experience after a meal at Main St., and not just because they had a pasta dish or a meatball.

"When you go to an Italian family’s house, you always eat well and you never leave hungry," Marchese said. "That’s what I want to emulate here. Our portions are always huge. I don’t want anybody to go away hungry. So far, it’s been good. People are leaving with doggie bags and I like that."

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Jason Ball

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August 17, 2016 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Gateway I, batavia.

Plans for a new 62-room hotel in the Gateway I Corporate Park off Route 98, north of the Thruway, continue to move through the approval process without a hitch.

Last night, the Town of Batavia Planning Board approved an environmental review assessment and the previous evening the Zoning Board of Appeals approved variances for the height of the building and signage. 

The proposed Fairfield Inn will be the second hotel built in the Gateway development within the past five years. In 2011, local hotel owners objected to the planned Holiday Inn Express in the park, but it was approved and built.

The Fairfield Inn will be owned by the Patel family from Erie, Pa., a family that already owns hotels in Batavia.

An attorney for Oakfield Hospitality, LLC, said the owners have marketing studies that show there is still a growing need for hotel rooms in the Batavia market.

The hotel needed a height variance because it will be four stories tall instead of three stories. There is also a plan for a free-standing sign of 147 square feet.

The project must still undergo a site plan review before final approval. The developers are also waiting for the DOT to approve a traffic study.

If there are no delays in the approval process, construction could begin within two months.

August 15, 2016 - 1:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, Announcements, Tompkins Bank of Castile.

Press release:

Proving that a minute can matter, Tompkins Bank of Castile is kicking off the "Community Minute Challenge," a contest that invites participants to vote on the bank’s Facebook page and rewards local not-for-profits with a total of $10,000 in much-needed funds.

The first round will begin Aug. 17 through 31, and the public is invited to watch one-minute videos produced by participating nonprofits in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Monroe and Orleans counties, and then vote for their favorite. Each video explains how the non-profit will use the awarded funds. The contest will run in four different quarters and will award $2,500 to each quarterly winner.

Competing in this round are: Going to the Dogs Rescue in Wyoming County, Community Action of Genesee and Orleans County, United Way of Genesee County’s Backpack Program, Mary Cariola Children’s Center of Rochester, GO ART!, and Sweet Adelines Chorus of Rochester.

To show support, participants should “like” Tompkins Bank of Castile’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TompkinsBankofCastile), click on the Community Minute Challenge app and then select their favorite nonprofit. Each individual can vote once per day during the contest period.

August 13, 2016 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Arc of Genesee Orleans, business.

The Arc of Genesee Orleans is seeking the public's input in a survey on its services.

The agency is the result of a merger between Genesee ARC and Arc of Orleans County.

Executive Director Donna Saskowski said the agency is looking for information that will help it better serve the community. 

"Arc of Genesee Orleans is planning for the future and we are requesting your valuable input," Saskowski said. "As we determine our strategic priorities for the next three to five years, we want to know your thoughts to help us make the best decisions about our future and how we can best support the individuals we serve and our communities in the years to come."

Here is a link to the survey, which will be available until Aug. 19:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ArcGeneseeOrleans

August 13, 2016 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in foxprowl collectables, batavia, business.

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For the sixth-anniversary celebration of Foxprowl Collectables, wrestling legend Greg "The Hammer" Valentine made a guest appearance at the store yesterday afternoon.

Pictured with Valentine are Joy and Bill Hume.

Bill Hume said Valentine was really appreciative of his career and "really down to earth."

When Foxprowl opened on Ellicott Street six years ago, it was just one storefront, but has expanded into a back part of its building, and even that space is getting tight, so Bill Hume said he's planning to move the business next month to the former Genesee Bank building at the corner Main Street and Jackson, giving Foxprowl greater visibility and putting it in walking distance of other retail stores Downtown.

Submitted photo.

August 12, 2016 - 1:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Oakfield.

Submitted photo and press release:

Bank of Akron is pleased to announce the promotion of Kimberly Staniszewski to assistant vice president.

Kim serves as Loan Compliance Manager where she is responsible for reviewing loan compliance regulations at both the federal and state level.

She is a certified community bank compliance officer. Kim has beenwith the bank for 21 years. Kim is a member of the Oakfield-Alabama School Board of Education, a member of the Oakfield-Alabama Lions Club, and a volunteer with the Oakfield Betterment Committee. She is a graduate of Genesee Community College and resides with her family in Oakfield.

Established in 1900, Bank of Akron provides a full range of financial services including residential mortgages, construction loans and home equity lines of credit as well as commercial loans and mortgages. Bank of Akron has five branches located in Akron, Clarence, Clarence Center, and Lancaster and plays an active role in supporting each community it serves.

August 11, 2016 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Bowling, Mike Pettinella, thebatavian, news, business.

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For nearly a decade, local journalist and bowling expert Mike Pettinella has produced a bi-weekly bowling column for the local print newspaper, but on Sept. 1, Pettinella’s column moves into the 21st Century, going all digital.

Pettinella has agreed to move the column, Pin Points, to the region’s most popular source for online news, The Batavian.

With the reach of The Batavian, the Wyoming County Free Press and promotional help from WBTA AM/FM and the online-only news sites in Orleans and Livingston counties, Pettinella’s Pin Points will reach a bigger audience than ever.

“We’re honored that Mike has chosen The Batavian for his column’s new home,” said Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian. “Mike has a large and loyal following of bowling enthusiasts, so combine that with the popularity of The Batavian and it’s a move that is great for bowlers in the area and the sponsors who have long supported Pin Points.”

Pettinella is a Genesee Region USBC Hall of Fame bowler and writer who has written professionally about the sport of bowling continuously since 1977, when he began employment as Sports Editor of The Batavia Daily News.

Bowling has been a major part of Pettinella’s career since 1992, when he took the managerial position at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia. After an 11-year stint there, he was hired by the Empire State USBC Association as its manager in 2010, and continues to serve as association manager of the New York State USBC, a position he has held since 2011.

Earlier this month, Pettinella accepted the position as association manager of the Genesee Region USBC, which services league and tournament bowlers in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. He also covers local government in Genesee County and other local news for The Batavian.

His bowling columns have appeared in the Daily News and the Genesee Valley PennySaver, and he has also had articles published in several bowling publications, including Spares & Strikes and the CNY Striker. For the past nine years, his Pin Points column on The Bowling Page was a regular feature of The Batavia Daily News.

Pettinella has been involved in bowling since the late 1960s, and rolled a certified 300 game as a high school junior in 1971.

A former collegiate standout bowler, he has a high series of 816, has four Batavia Bowling Association/GRUSBC Senior Masters titles, and anchored the Turnbull Heating team to the NYS Open Championships title in 2010. Last season, he rolled two 300 games at Rose Garden Bowl in Bergen.

Mike and his wife, Wendy, have four grown daughters and five grandchildren.

August 9, 2016 - 12:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Genesee County Airport, business.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced $184,871 in federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the Genesee County Airport, located in Batavia. The grant will assist the Genesee County Airport in funding the full reconstruction and rehabilitation of 3,400 feet of existing runway.

“Utilizing grant funding to support our local governments is a smart investment and a responsible use of federal tax dollars,” said Congressman Collins. “Investing in infrastructure projects like the Genesee County Airport’s runway rehabilitation will significantly improve the quality, efficiency and safety of its daily operations. These efforts will allow the Genesee County Airport to continue to grow and positively impact our local economy for years to come.”

“This important federal funding will help ensure the future of the Genesee County Airport,” said Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature.The grant will fund the full depth reconstruction of 3,400 feet of the existing runway 10/28 pavement that has reached the end of its useful life. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Collins to improve local transportation infrastructure and support job growth throughout Genesee County.”

The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any local government pursuing a federal grant.

August 8, 2016 - 6:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford Trading Post, Shell's Post, Stafford, business, news.

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Mitchell Bryan started working for Shell Mouery when he was 14. Now, at 24, he owns what used to be known as the Stafford Trading Post, but has renamed it Shell's Post in honor of his former boss, who passed away in March.

He said he thought the name change an appropriate way to honor Mouery's memory.

The business passed to Mouery's son, John Macan, who now lives in Texas, and Bryan and Macan worked out an arrangement for Bryan to take over the location.

"It took me one night to think about it," Bryan said. "The next day, I just went for it."

Bryan hasn't changed much about the business, which is a community drink and snack store and deli and pizza parlor.

"It's a rewarding business," Bryan said. "The customers are great, loyal customers, and you're doing something different every day, I'm not stuck in a cubicle. It’s fun. I just enjoy it."

August 5, 2016 - 5:22pm

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The tourism division of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce wants to help local poke hunting to go well, so to assist trainers, the Chamber has established a special group on Facebook: Pokémon Go in Genesee County, NY.

Anybody can join and post their local pokemon hunting tips and suggestions, including any pokestops or gyms they think people should know about.

August 5, 2016 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Empire Access, batavia, business.

Press release:

Empire Access has received a $3.4 million grant award from the New NY Broadband Program.  The New NY Broadband Program was developed to help fund the expansion of high-speed broadband Internet service in New York State, with an ultimate goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers have high-speed broadband access by the end of 2018.

Empire Access is a locally owned and operated 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 over 25 communities in Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania.

The New NY Broadband Program grant provides Empire Access with significant funding for the expansion of high-speed broadband services to more than 1900 homes and businesses in the Southern Tier region of New York, including Burdett, Lodi and Odessa. These specific areas were identified by the New York State Broadband Program Office as underserved or unserved in Phase I of a multi-phase 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% 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,” said Jim Baase, Chief Operating Officer, Empire Access. “We’re looking forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the state of New York to accomplish this goal.”

August 5, 2016 - 8:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GLOW Corporate Cup, batavia, business, news, sports.

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Collin Mulcahy, 22, of Batavia, and representing Batavia Downs, finished well ahead of the rest of the 1,000-participant field in the 2016 GLOW Corporate Cup 5K at Centennial Park on Thursday.

Mulcahy's time in the 90-degree weather was 15:31.

The top woman runner (next photo) was Kim Mills, from Freed Maxic, with a time of 19:30.

The top team was Batavia City Schools.

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August 4, 2016 - 9:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pokemon Go, darien lake theme park, Darien, business.

We heard Darien Lake Theme Park is a real hot spot for Pokemon Go players, we suggested it as a story to our news partner, 13WHAM, and here's their report.

August 4, 2016 - 12:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Tompkins Financial.

Submitted photo of Brian A. Howard, and press release:

Tompkins Financial announces that Brian A. Howard has been named president of Tompkins Financial Advisors, the wealth management division of the company, with offices in Ithaca, Pittsford and White Plains, New York, and Wyomissing and Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. In addition, he will serve as a member of the leadership team of Tompkins Financial. Howard joined the company on July 25.

Howard brings more than 30 years of leadership experience with nationally recognized financial service firms to his position at Tompkins Financial Advisors. Most recently, he served as a senior vice president, market manager for Key Bank covering the Central New York region, where he oversaw the bank’s full service wealth management division for high net worth clients. At U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, he held leadership positions including managing director, market executive for the Boston, MA, market and senior vice president, market leader for the Central New York market. There he was responsible for revenue growth, strategic initiatives and building collaborative and top performing teams.

“We are committed to the long-term success of our wealth management division and are pleased Brian will be working with our experienced wealth management team to expand and grow our client base in all of our markets,” said Stephen S. Romaine, president and CEO of Tompkins Financial.

A Syracuse resident, Howard will be based out of the Tompkins Financial Advisors’ Ithaca office.

 “Tompkins Financial has 180 years of solid reputation in the markets it serves, which speaks volumes to the level of commitment and performance the staff provides to its clients and communities,” Howard said. “I’m excited to be a part of Tompkins Financial Advisors and will focus on leading the division to achieve the strategic goals of Tompkins Financial, while continuing to build upon the remarkable Tompkins legacy.”

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

August 3, 2016 - 1:40pm
posted by Zachary Lee in dan crofts, autism, business, Aspberger's Syndrome, news, batavia.

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Autism has become less taboo in today's rather accepting culture; native Batavia resident and author Dan Crofts is leading the charge in developing an online learning tool for parents and teachers.

Crofts has Aspberger Syndrome himself, which is a mild autism spectrum disorder, and gives a firsthand view from the mind of the unknown. Crofts's website FormingHorizons.com mixed with his rather personal writing style gives you a true through-the-eyes view of how someone with a form of autism thinks.

"I want this to become a tool any parent, teacher, and eventually employer, can use to further understand this disorder," Crofts said.

He hopes this website grows and educates people on how autism or Asperger Syndrome can cause the person to think extraordinarily differently; something people without the disorder cannot easily understand.

Crofts wants to develop a community full of parents and teachers who deal with autistic kids on daily basis and help them better understand their thinking ways; doing so will help their elders teach them a more effective way to learn academically and help them function better in a broader social setting.

Crofts believes his philosophy for the website is what sets him apart from other autism websites.

"You have to see the person behind the diagnosis if you want to help the person with the diagnosis," Crofts said, "You have to start with the sensory issues."

Crofts considers himself "blessed" to be apart of the high-functioning autism group; it gives him a real way to communicate to people without this diagnosis. 

"I feel like I have a lot to offer on my experiences, especially to parents," Crofts said. 

FormingHorizons has been in development as a for-profit. Crofts hopes to bring in that profit through advertisements and affiliate links on his website. But for now he is concentrating on its content and structure.

Lucille DiSanto has helped Crofts in significant ways and has become a mentor to him; DiSanto met with Crofts to talk about the development of the website.

"I feel like my next step in life is to create an autism website ... to help people further understand," Crofts said. 

Croft officially bought his domain name http://forminghorizons.com in August of 2015. 

"I want to work on my substance first," he said.

Crofts has always excelled in academics and graduated from Brockport University with a master's degree in English Literature; Crofts started free-lance writing for The Batavian in November 2009 and stopped doing it so much in August of 2011. 

"I want to create a handbook like writing that people with this disability can use to excel in college, much like I have," Crofts said. "People with this diagnosis don't quite understand common sense." 

Common sense is defined in Webster's Dictonary as "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts." Crofts explained those common sense actions really aren't quite as simple as the definition; autistic people think differently. 

(Photo by Zach Lee of Dan Crofts from FormingHorizons.com.)

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(Dan Croft's latest article.)

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(FormingHorizons Forums

August 2, 2016 - 3:15pm

Making the deck.

Directly supervised, precision cutting of boards.

All of the campers of the 2016 Camp Hard Hat, along with instructors.

 

Submitted photos and press release:

Fourteen rising eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders are building a bridge this week at Genesee County Park & Forest.

They are using math, process thinking skills, battery power tools, directly supervised use of cutting tools, and using all necessary safety equipment and the power of teamwork to do this.

Camp Hard Hat is live and in action Aug. 1-5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Interpretive Nature Center at Genesee County Park & Forest in East Bethany.

In a partnership with Business Education Alliance of Genesee County, Business Education Alliance of Livingston County, Business Education Council of Wyoming County, and GVEP Building Trades, instructors Rich Monroe and Jared Radesi teach campers principles of design, construction and safety.

Campers will complete the bridge late Thursday morning. The newly finished bridge will be placed on the Wetland Trail in Genesee County Park & Forest on Thursday afternoon. Campers come from Erie, Wyoming, and Genesee counties.

August 2, 2016 - 2:35pm
posted by Zachary Lee in Jade Pottery, business, pavillion, news, arts and crafts.

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(Photos by Zach Lee.)

Whether you're looking for something to spice up your party or just a fresh new idea for a day out -- a new Pavilion business called Jade Pottery is a great choice.

It offers classes for all ages -- including clay, painting and henna; plus, it hosts parties of all sizes and kinds, including group readings, girls' night, couples' night, birthday parties, private parties, and more.

Their motto: "Creativity is contagious -- pass it on."

Located at 10115 Creek Road, it's a fun and creative place to have birthday parties. The "WHOLE SHA-BANG PARTY" package costs $160 and includes everything you need for eight kids balloons, cake, plates, forks and drinks (to host additional children, it's $14 per child).

"It's like a buffet of pottery here," said Sara Manurung, owner of Jade Pottery, who held her grand opening Saturday.

Manurung is hosting a summer camp this week that includes four sessions throughout four days, starting at 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sessions are $80 each. The camp features a giant paintbrush wall plaque, splatter and a real palette. 

August typically brings sticky hot temperatures and Jade Pottery is happy to make guests as comfortable as possible. 

"Popsicles and water balloons are in order," she said.

Jade Pottery's schedule is packed through Oct. 29, but they are always looking to add new faces to their lineup. If you are a crafter and would like to sell your unique items in the shop, give them a call at (585) 813-1838. 

"We are always looking for fresh new creative people to come in," Manurung said. 

Manurung hosts a "ya-ya night" -- where ladies play popular family games like "Bingo," "Family Feud," and "Let's Make a Deal."

"We have classes that aren't pottery," Manurung said.

Jade Pottery's event schedule can be found here, where you'll find exciting events, and even live music.  

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July 30, 2016 - 1:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in employment, economy, business, news.

Genesee County's unemployment rate remains at pre-recession levels, hitting 3.8 percent for the second month in a row, but there are still fewer people working locally than there were the last time it hit 3.8, in August 2007.

Then, according to NYS labor department statistics, there were 32,600 people with jobs in the county. In June 2016, the most current employment numbers, there were 29,700 people with jobs, a drop of more than 3,000 employed residents.

The labor force participation number has dropped over the same span from 33,900 to 30,800. The number in June 2015 was 31,200.

The labor force participation number reflects the total number of people either working or actively looking for employment. It does not include people who have stopped looking for work, nor does it include people who have voluntarily decided to retire (which as Baby Boomer age does account for at least some of decrease in workforce participation) or people who dropped out of the labor force because of disability.

From 2007 to 2015, Genesee County's population rose from 58,159 to 58,937.

The lowest number of employed local residents over the past 10 years was in January 2015, when 27,300 residents had jobs. The unemployment rate then was 6.8 percent.

Since 1990, the number of employed locally has hovered the range 27,000 and 31,000, and the labor force participation number has remained within a similar range.

These numbers reflect the job market for residents, as for the jobs currently filled within Genesee County, the June 2015 number is 24,000, which is exactly where it was a year ago for non-farm jobs.

July 30, 2016 - 12:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Coffee Corner, business, Stafford, news.

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It's been months and months of planning and work, but Jeff Price and Dawn Van Nostrand are ready to open their new coffee shop Monday morning at the corner of Seven Springs Road and Clinton Street Road.

Appropriately, it's called Corner Coffee.

Patrons will be able to enjoy coffee, smoothies and baked goods either to go or during a break in the sitting room, where they can connect to free Wi-Fi.

"We look forward to serving the public and enjoying the coffee," Price said.

As much as possible, what's served is from local sources, Price said. The baked goods come from Sweet Pea's and Harrington's. Sweet Peas is also making pints of homemade ice cream that will be available at Coffee Corner.

The location is next to Batavia Sign, a business owned by Price's brother-in-law.

Price and Van Nostrand said they liked the location because it's a good neighborhood, with good neighbors, close to Genesee Community College and on the route of many commuters heading to work in the Byron and Bergen area or to Rochester and Buffalo.

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