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March 17, 2018 - 3:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in tompkins financial corporation, business.

Press release:

Tompkins Financial Corporation recently hosted a recognition luncheon to honor the significant career milestones reached by several of its employees across Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and Tompkins Financial Advisors.

For 11 employees, 2017 marked milestones of 20 years or more working at Tompkins, including two who celebrated their 40-year anniversary with the company. 

40-Year Milestones

Frank Vitagliano, a senior vice president at Tompkins Insurance Agencies, began his insurance career in 1977 when he joined his family-owned insurance business. He operated the business for 18 years before combining it with Austin, Hardie, Wise. In 2001, the business became part of Tompkins Financial and a newly-formed entity: Tompkins Insurance Agencies. Vitagliano was an original board member of Tompkins Insurance Agencies, until his retirement in 2017. Among other roles, Vitagliano served as the chief operating officer of Tompkins Insurance Agencies for several years. During his career, he has been very active on numerous civic organizations, including serving as the vice president of the Wyoming County Community Health System Board of Managers and as a councilman for the Town of Castile. Vitagliano resides in Silver Lake and winters in Ft. Myers Beach, Fla.

Cathy LaDuca is an account manager for the Core Business Unit of Tompkins Insurance Agencies and began her career working in the Alden office as a personal lines and small commercial account manager. She worked in Alden for 25 years before transferring to the Attica branch. After two years in Attica, she moved to the Tompkins Insurance Agencies headquarters in Batavia and became the commercial lines marketing specialist. LaDuca resides in Alden.   

30-Year Milestones

Anthony Gugino is executive vice president and senior wealth advisor for Tompkins Financial Advisors, where he works with clients to identify financial strategies that address their specific needs. Gugino joined AM&M Financial Services in 1987 and became a shareholder of the firm, which was acquired by Tompkins Financial Corporation in January 2006. Gugino is committed to community service and helps fund a scholarship at St. John Fisher’s College. Gugino resides in Pittsford.

Janice Donovan is a wealth management assistant for Tompkins Financial Advisors. Her responsibilities include account administration, performance report preparation, client service, and providing support to wealth advisors.

As a Registered Paraplanner (RP®) and Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS®), Donovan is certified by the College for Financial Planning. She resides in Brighton.

25-Year Milestones

Don Herman is the chief financial officer and treasurer for Tompkins Insurance Agencies and works in the Batavia office. Herman started his career in the field of public accounting, and in 1992 joined the Austin, Hardie, Wise agency in Attica as a controller. The firm was later acquired by Tompkins in 2001. He resides in Attica.

Lee Landowski-Rice is a commercial credit services associate for Tompkins Bank of Castile. Landowski-Rice’s current role at the bank includes working with customers, branch managers and staff on a daily basis. She started out as a teller in the Perry branch and has worked in collections, consumer direct and indirect lending. Landowski-Rice resides in Perry.

20-Year Milestones 

Additionally, four employees celebrated 20th anniversaries with the company in 2017: 

  • Lisa Townes, BSA/AML and security officer at Tompkins Bank of Castile;
  • Donna Hummel, commercial insurance account manager at Tompkins Insurance Agencies;
  • Joan Johnston, assistant branch manager, Tompkins Bank of Castile in Avon;
  • Anna Rumfola, senior teller, Tompkins Bank of Castile in Avon.

# # #

About Tompkins Financial Corporation

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. Tompkins Financial operates in Western New York as Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information is available at www.tompkinsfinancial.com

Tompkins Bank of Castile is a community bank with 16 offices in the five-county Western New York region. Services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, and leasing. Further information about the bank is available on its website, www.bankofcastile.com.

Tompkins Insurance Agencies operates 17 offices in Western New York. It is an independent insurance agency offering personal and business insurance and employee benefits services through more than 50 of the nation’s leading insurance carriers. Further information is available at www.tompkinsins.com.

Tompkins Financial Advisors is the wealth management firm of Tompkins Financial Corporation. With more than a century of experience in helping clients to build, protect, and preserve wealth, Tompkins Financial Advisors provides financial planning, investment management, trust services and estate administration. For more information, visit www.tompkinsfinancialadvisors.com.

March 14, 2018 - 7:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, batavia, business.

Press release: 

The New York State Senate’s one-house budget resolution– approved earlier today– establishes tax parity between the Batavia Downs and other gaming facilities across the state. The Senate Budget proposal increases the facility’s portion of net winnings to 42 percent.

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“I am pleased that the Senate Budget Resolution levels the tax playing field for Batavia Downs. Decreasing the tax rate for the oldest nighttime harness track in the nation will ensure a fairer share of revenues are returned to taxpayers through our local governments. Now, the Genesee County racino will be more competitive with other gaming facilities. I will continue working to address this issue in the final budget.” 

In January, Senator Ranzenhofer introduced legislation (S7397) in the State Senate that would lower Batavia Down’s taxes paid to New York State by increasing the facility’s portion of net winnings from 35 percent to 41 percent. The Executive Budget proposes increasing net winnings to 37 percent.

March 13, 2018 - 4:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, news, business, Le Roy.


Press release from American Dairy Association North East:

Do you have trouble adjusting to daylight saving time? If you do, then you aren’t alone. Dairy cows do, too.

“Like many of us, cows are creatures of habit,” said Natasha Stein Sutherland, dairy farmer and owner of Stein Farms in Le Roy. “That first week after the time changes takes a little adjustment for everyone on the farm – cows and farmers alike.”

To ease the transition, some farmers will make gradual adjustments to the cow’s schedules – shifting milking times in 30-minute increments over two days. Others find it’s just as easy to make the switch all at once.

“It really depends on the individual farm and their management practices,” said Stein Sutherland. “There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to dairy farming. But, keeping cows comfortable and content is something we all practice every day.”

According to Stein Sutherland, research shows that more light helps cows produce more milk and ideally, cows should have 16 to 18 hours of daylight each day. Farmers use a variety of practices – including lights on timers – to ensure cows have the light they need.

This year marks the 44th year when clocks are set forward one hour. President Nixon signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act in 1974. The extra hour of daylight will last until Nov. 4.

Photo submitted by Stein Farms.

March 9, 2018 - 12:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Western OTB, batavia, business.

Press release:

Yesterday, Sen. John Bonacic (R-Mount Hope), the head of the New York Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee introduced legislation that would pave the way for sports betting, should the Supreme Court knock down the federal prohibition. 

Western Regional Off Track Betting and Batavia Downs Gaming are perfectly positioned with existing infrastructure to deliver a sports betting platform to our customers in our 15 counties including the cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

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

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

“If we are able to offer sports betting to our customers, we would see more resources flowing directly to our bosses – the millions of New Yorkers who live in the Western Region Off Track Betting counties,” said Henry F. Wojtaszek, president/CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming WROTB. “We’d be able to deliver critical funds to help local law enforcement, first-responders, and help in the fight to keep property tax hikes at bay.

"We want to thank Sen. John Bonacic for his leadership on this important issue. Our delegation in Albany and Governor Cuomo has always stood by our side to get our fair share out of Albany, and we hope it’s no different with sports betting."

Michael Nolan Chief Operating Officer Batavia Downs Gaming/WROTB said: “Operationally with our brick and mortar locations, Batavia Downs Gaming and WROTBC is a natural affiliate to deliver sports wagering to residents of Western and Central New York as we have delivered parimutuel wagering since 1974."

March 7, 2018 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

While Batavia and Genesee County have long been recognized as one of the top micropolitan regions in the United States, the area received its highest ranking ever as it climbed all the way to number 2 among 575 micropolitans across the country.  The annual rankings are compiled by Site Selection magazine.

Batavia was the only town in New York State to be ranked in the top 40 of micropolitans. It is the 15th consecutive year Batavia and Genesee County have been recognized. The ranking of “Top Micropolitans” is based on cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment and it once again demonstrates the commitment and collaboration among the public and private sectors to bring new investment and jobs to the region and just as important assisting companies that are already here in expanding and retaining jobs,” said Steve Hyde, president, and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The GCEDC achieved 16 project “wins” in 2017 that generated approximately $240 million in investment.

Since 2003, the GCEDC has provided similar assistance and incentives for 449 projects which have generated $1.3 billion in capital investment and the creation and/or retention of approximately 4,528 jobs.

Full the full list of rankings, including some commentary about the region’s rise to second place, click here.

March 5, 2018 - 10:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in plumbers, batavia, business.

Press release:

The following is the list of City of Batavia Plumbers who have obtained their 2018 Plumbing Renewal License to do plumbing in the City of Batavia, NY.

Arthur Allen
2927 Main St.
Leicester, NY 14481

Richard Biegasiewicz
2 Burke Drive
Batavia, NY 14020

Jason Brownlie
100 Nassau St.
Rochester, NY 14605

Anthony Cellino
631 Bullis Road
Elma, NY  14059

Henry H. Cook, Inc.
3508 Rose Road
Batavia, NY 14020
345-0915 or 762-8064

Christopher Cook
3508 Rose Rd.
Batavia, NY 14020
345-0915 or 762-8064

James J. DeWald
JW Danforth
300 Colvin Woods Pkwy.
Tonawanda, NY 14150

Diegelman Plumbing LLC
4995 Ellicott St.
Batavia, New York 14020

Michael Dollendorf
140 Cooper Ave.
Tonawanda, NY 44150

James Ficarella
19 Warren St.
Batavia, NY 14020

Timothy Fortin
JW Danforth
300 Colvin Woods Pkwy.
Tonawanda, NY 14150

Joseph Grasso
2690 Wilson-Cambria Road
Wilson, NY 14172

Ricky Hale
28 Swan St.
Batavia, NY 14020

Warren Herdic
5769 Herman Hill Road
Hamburg, NY 14075

Matthew Kandefer
2215 Broadway
Buffalo, NY 14212

Richard Lovria
150 Ross St.
Batavia, NY 14020

Michael Mager
8939 Alexander Road
Batavia, NY 14020

Robert Marvin
Tradestar Mechanical
764 Flower City Park
Rochester, NY  14615

Carl McQuillen
8171 E. Main Road
LeRoy, NY 14482

Philip Martorana
64 Hickory Hill Road
Williamsville, NY  14221

Fredrick Mruczek
1 Valle Drive
Batavia, New York

Thomas Mruczek
3 Valle Drive
Batavia, New York

Dave Muskopf
3198 Union Road
Orchard Park, NY 14227

Mark Napoleon
44 Morrow Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

William Penepent
7182 Kenyon Ave.          
Basom, NY 14013

David Pero
Charles R. Pero & Sons
121 Trumbull Pkwy.
Batavia, NY  14020

John Pestillo
8486 Seven Springs Road
Batavia, NY 14020

Erich K. Postler
615 South Ave.
Rochester, NY 14620

Alfred Rosemark
27 West Ave.
Elba, NY 14058

Gabriel Sepi Jr.   
25 Ganson Ave.
Batavia, NY 14020

Walter Szczesny
24 Wood St.
Batavia, NY 14020

Mark Taylor
8734 Stahley Road
East Amherst, NY 14051

Larry W. Toal
3670 S. Main Street Road
Batavia, NY 14020

Ryan Toal
3670 S. Main Street Road
Batavia, NY 14020

Joel Tucciarone
202 Roosevelt St.
Tonawanda, NY 14150

March 5, 2018 - 9:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Whiteford Dental Lab, batavia, Harvester Center, news, business.


Up until now, according to Noah Whiteford, local dentists, when working with a lab on crowns, implants and dentures, would have to call on a large firm from outside the area.

There was a certain personal touch missing.

Whiteford and his partner think they've solved that problem with their new business, Whiteford Dental Lab, which they just opened in the Harvester Center.

"One of advantage is we're located in Batavia and we can service the local doctors," Whiteford said. "A lot of people can do pick up and delivery but what we can do is be chairside with the doctor, helping out with treatment plans and doing custom shades and things like that, which this rather underserved market doesn't ordinarily get -- a technician who will be there to help them along the way."

Another advantage, Whiteford said, is the knowledge and experience of himself and partner Dave Vining. 

"I've been doing this for 18 years," said Whiteford (seated in the photo with Vining). "My best friend's father owned a dental lab and I learned from him and then I went to courses across the country learning my trade and working in different laboratories. Dave actually went to went to ECC for this and got a two-year degree in dental technology. We've both been in the field for 15 to 18 years."

They see their market as all the dentists, not just in Genesee County but the surrounding counties as well, which means they can provide personal service they don't think is otherwise available. 

Vining said by keeping it local they will be able to build up relationships that will ultimately benefit patients.

"We're really gunning for great customer service," Vining said. "It's tough to compete with the big market shares so we're going offer something a little bit more personal."

Whiteford Dental is located on the third floor of the Harvester Center and can be reached at (585) 813-5726.

March 4, 2018 - 2:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, business.


The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards dinner on Saturday night to honor five local winners for their contributions to the community.

Previous stories about this year's winners:

Photo by Mark Gutman / Courtesy the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce

March 2, 2018 - 11:49pm


This is the fifth in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

Pouring concrete is a young man's game, said Tom Baltz, co-owner of Baltz Concrete Construction in Pavilion.

"We have a lot of knowledge and ability to keep (the business) running, but I certainly couldn't go out and do concrete anymore," said the 64-year-old Baltz. "We have a lot of tough guys. You have to be tough to do concrete work."

Baltz employs between 40 and 50 people regularly, usually more in the summer. They have to work in all kinds of conditions. This isn't school where you can count on a few snow days during the winter. A Baltz construction worker works in the hot and the cold, the wind and the rain, the snow and the bright light of an August afternoon.

"They're working outdoors in all possible conditions," Baltz said. "We only took one weather day off this winter. They're out there in the mud and the water and they still have to think clearly and get a job done, and get a job done in a manner that it's going to stand up. It really is an amazing thing what these guys are capable of doing and what they're willing to do to get the job done."

It's been 45 years since Tom's dad, Robert Baltz, started the company, which his three sons eventually took over. Since then it's continued to grow and increasingly become a bedrock business of the community.

That's why Baltz Construction was selected by the Chamber of Commerce at the business of the year.

"I was only 19 when I started," Baltz said. "I came home from college and got out in the sun and got working, I just put my head down and did it. To be honest with you, I just never looked back. I just loved the physical work of it."

Baltz Construction specializes cast-in-place concrete. In other words, Baltz workers go to a construction site and fill casts with concrete, rather than bring in pre-poured castings. 

Clients include schools and factories.

"If it's concrete, we do it," Baltz said. "We don't do a lot of residential work because that's kind of a different gear than what we're set up to do. We have bigger equipment with more overhead, so we don't do a lot of residential unless it's a large job."

Robert Batlz was working for the B.R. DeWitt Corp. driving a cement truck when it struck him that maybe that was the kind of work he could do for himself.

"He saw a lot of concrete being poured and thought it looked like an opportunity so he decided to give it a try."

He started out with small jobs on the side but by 1973, Baltz Concrete became his full-time job.

That's when Tom went to work for him.

In a couple of years, Robert Baltz bought the Howard Brown Precast Company and Tom's brothers went to work for him there and Tom ran Baltz Concrete.

When the precast company was sold to Kistner, Baltz Concrete became the business of Tom and his two brothers.  

When one of the brothers wanted out, Tom and his brother Nicholas decided to make James Logdson a partner.

"James was looking for a summer job when he came to work for Baltz Concrete," Baltz said. "He worked one summer, he graduated, but he impressed us a lot. I talked my brothers into chasing him down and making him an offer to come to work for us. That was in the 1980s. He's been with us ever since."

Baltz said the company has always valued its employees and they try to treat them right.

"We take jobs that are anywhere within an hour-and-a-half of Pavilion," Baltz said. "We don't go much further than that because we need our people to be home every night. We hire family men. It's important that we get them home every night to be with their families."

They also support some of their after-work hobbies. They might sponsor stockcar or go-kart or some other activity.

"You get involved with the people you work with in a ton of different ways," Baltz said. 

There's a lot of charity support flowing out of Baltz Concrete. They sponsor youth baseball, soccer, softball, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, the Pavilion Community Chest and the Arc of Genesee Orleans.

"Being part of the town and being in a position to do something, you feel like you have the opportunity to help and helping always makes you feel better," Bartz said.

Both Tom and Nicholas are married. Tom and his wife don't have children. Nicholas is a stepfather to the children of his wife, but he and his wife are also parents to three foster children they plan to adopt. 

"So he has many children," Baltz said. "He lives and breathes for them, that's for sure."

What makes the company successful, Baltz acknowledged, is its people.

"We're not like a factory," Baltz said. "There's not a lot of equity in equipment. Most of the equipment we use has little or no market value. When all is said and done, with this place, if we shut it down, there's more worth in the building and the driveway then there is in the equipment.

"With our company, it is the people who are the only real value."

That's why some of the best employees in the company, such as Logsdon, have become partners.

The two new junior partners are Jaret Geitner and Jeremy Trzieceski.

The best workers, Baltz said, are the ones who have a dedication to their job and take pride in what they do. Those are the people who get promoted.

"When you have pride, you do something right for its own sake," Baltz said. "You don't do it for your boss or for your company. You do it for your own pride. You can teach a guy to do a job right but you can't teach a guy to care about his job."

The guys who care are easy to spot, Baltz said. They're the ones who see the boss working with estimating software, so they go home and play with it just to see if they can figure it out. 

"You know who the ones are that wake up in the middle of the night and think, 'Wow, did I get that measurement right?'"

That's why those employees get a shot at being a partner.

"There is a self-motivation in certain people that you have to recognize because if you don't recognize those people, they will go someplace else quick enough."

March 1, 2018 - 6:46pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in The Firing Pin, bergen, news, Chamber Awards, business.


This is the fourth in a series of five stories about the honorees at this Saturday's annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony. The ceremony is being held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

The Firing Pin in Bergen is a friendly place to visit. Owner Brandon Lewis is a big reason why. Open and gregarious, he's eager to help his customers and ensure when they come to use the range they do so safely and get the most enjoyment from it as possible.

The store is brightly lit, clean and well-stocked.  

It's no wonder, the Firing Pin was selected by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce as the Innovative Enterprise of the Year.

Lewis, the owner, said he was humbled to receive the award.

“When you go into business, you never know what’s going to happen,” Lewis said. “To be recognized for the work you do is the icing on the cake. It can’t get better than that.”

Lewis started planning to open The Firing Pin in 2011. He wanted to offer a facility with a full range of products and services, that was not a typical gun shop. He felt it was something the community needed, and the public responded well to the business.

“We cater to those who are afraid of guns, and those who use guns,” Lewis said. “We cater to every skill level. We’re a destination for anyone who is looking to be better.”

The facility, located at 8240 Buffalo Road, was built in 2013 and opened in 2014.

Lewis went to Alexander High School when he thought of the idea of running his own place. The idea took time to develop, so he went to St. John Fisher College.

He took a job at Gander Mountain, and decided he wanted to open a place that gave more training, the right training, and safe training.

Lewis is an eagle scout, a certified NRA pistol and rifle instructor, a certified GLOCK Armorer and a black belt in Taekwondo.  

“Everywhere down south there are gun shops and ranges,” Lewis said. “It is popular down south and it’s something I felt we needed.”

The Firing Pin is open seven days a week, Monday from noon until 8:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. They offer group rates, memberships and firearm rentals, in addition to one-on-one training with NRA certified instructors.

More information and pricing can be found here.







March 1, 2018 - 5:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Eli Fish Brewing Company, batavia, business, news.


Eli Fish Brewing, the new downtown restaurant and brewery going into the former Newberry building, was adorned with its new sign on the front of the building today.

Inside, managers and more than a dozen new staff members were busy with training and setup.

The business should be open to the public within a couple of weeks.

February 28, 2018 - 3:11pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in Farmer's Creekside Tavern & Inn, Le Roy, news, tourism, restaurants, business.

In July 2017, we welcomed a new business to Genesee County – but its building has history dating back to the 1820s. On Main Street in Le Roy sits the beautiful Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn.

Walk in the front doors and you’ll find yourself in a cozy downstairs tavern and restaurant. Journey upstairs, and you’ll be blown away by the stunning gathering spaces and overnight accommodations. And no matter where you step, you’ll be able to see the view of the Oatka Creek bed – stunning in both the summer and winter months.

With so much beauty and finery, you’d never know that Farmer’s Creekside has a rich and tragic history. The building was constructed in the 1820s and was one of Main Street, Le Roy’s first locations. Over the years, the building served as a hat factory, a bank office, and several private residences. But in 2004, a fire nearly claimed the building for good, destroying almost all of the structure and interior.

Restoring this building and opening Creekside has truly been a labor of love for owner Bill Farmer. He acquired the building in 2007 and is welcoming visitors to enjoy the space – 10 years later.

Now that the wait is over, it’s time to make your reservation. Executive Chef Sean Wolf offers a tavern menu with sandwiches, salads and snacks, and a more upscale dinner menu featuring modern expressions of classic tavern fare. You’re bound to find something to make your mouth water. And with a well-stocked bar featuring 18 beers on tap and a selection of regional and global wines, there are plenty of drink options to complement your meal.

Once you’ve filled your belly, check out the view – or check into one of three brand new suites. Each one is decorated differently and features a modern yet timeless design that perfectly blends into the building’s brick walls, black Marcellus shale, and original wood beams.

On occasion, Farmer’s Creekside will host special events that are open to the public. They also offer space for private events and gatherings with advance reservation.

Support Genesee County’s newest offering! Farmer’s is open for lunch and dinner, Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. The Bar is open for extended hours in the evenings, and overnights can be booked year-round.

Learn more about Farmer’s Creekside and their story at: http://www.farmerscreekside.com/. Or visit www.VisitGeneseeNY.com to learn more about Genesee County's unique attractions and local offerings.

February 28, 2018 - 3:06pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Six Senses Escape Room, batavia, news, business.


Pam and Mondell Elliott completed their first escape room in Canada a little over five years ago. When their youngest child moved out, Pam Elliott decided it was time to open their own escape room to keep themselves busy and have fun doing it.

Six Senses Escape Rooms in Batavia opened its doors on Black Friday in Batavia City Centre. Both Pam and Mondell work full-time jobs but enjoy the family adventure.  

“The kids come help out when they can,” Pam said.

Six Senses Escape Rooms, located at 106 Main St. in Batavia, is open Friday from 4 until 10 p.m., and 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are required and can be made through the website located here. Special events, such as birthdays can also be held at Six Senses Escape Rooms.

The hours for Six Senses Escape Rooms do not match the Batavia City Centre hours, so guests should use the back entrance instead of going through the mall.

Each room has its own theme and storyline with a series of challenges that must be solved within 60 minutes. The rooms are designed for people of all ages and skill sets. No special knowledge is needed to solve the puzzles.

Currently, there are two rooms; an Egyptian theme called Pharaoh’s Crossing, and an outdoor woods theme called Cabin Fever.

“When you’re in the escape room, you should feel like you’re in the game,” Pam said. “You solve one puzzle and it will give you a direction, key, combination, or something to take you to the next puzzle.”

There can be crossword puzzles, simple math puzzles, physical puzzles, scrabble tiles. Every escape room is completely different.   

“It is a lot of fun,” Pam said. “It is you, a group of your friends, your family, or complete strangers. It doesn’t matter. You’re all working together to solve a puzzle or clue, and then go to the next one.”

One escape room can hold 10 people at a time, and the other holds eight.

“Four players are doable in the room,” Pam said. “You do not have to have a huge group of people. Small groups can have fun also.”

The escape rooms have turned out to be a good family night out.

“The kids don’t overthink things and they are so good at the treasure hunt parts,” Pam said. “It’s amazing how much fun the kids and parents are having together. The kids enjoy it just as much as the adults.”

Pam said that most people that come and complete the escape room can’t wait to do another. Escape rooms are a new form of entertainment that people seem to enjoy, she said.

The space that Six Senses Escape Rooms occupies now can hold five rooms, Pam said.

“We’re at the point now where we have two different options for people to come out and give the escape room a try,” Pam said. “We really want to continue to build and continue to make new escape experiences in our space.”

Elliot would like to have a children’s room for the little kids, with basic colors, ABCs, and higher-level entertainment for older children.

“The sky is the limit,” Pam said.

February 26, 2018 - 8:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, business.

Press release:

Liberty Pumps, based in Bergen, introduces a new line of battery backup pump systems called StormCell®.

These highly-advanced 12-volt backup sump pumps feature professional-grade chargers, an energy efficient DC pump for longer run times and optional NightEye® wireless technology for remote monitoring of the pump system through a tablet or smart phone.

The NightEye® app is a free download and is compatible with Apple® iOS and Android® devices. Available in 10-amp or 25-amp models.

For more information visit www.libertypumps.com

February 22, 2018 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, UMMC, NY-27, business.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced that four hospitals in his district will receive funding included in the Bipartisan Budget Act so they will be able to continue serving those most in need. The Bipartisan Budget Act provides an extension of the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and Low-Volume hospital payment adjustment for five years, providing necessary certainty to hospitals largely in rural areas.

“This funding means life or death for rural hospitals,” Collins said. “In the event of an emergency, my constituents in need to know that the lights will be on and they have somewhere to go for treatment.”

The hospitals that will receive funding are Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville, Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville, United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, and the Wyoming County Community Health System in Warsaw. In total, Collins secured more than $8 million for the four hospitals through FY2022.

“The Medicare Dependent Hospital and Medicare Low-Volume payment adjustment help ensure New York's rural and small community hospitals can continue to provide essential healthcare services to patients in need," said HANYS President Bea Grause. "We thank Rep. Collins for supporting the reinstatement and extension of these important policies.”

“We appreciate Congressman Collins' recent efforts in assuring inclusion in the federal budget agreement programs that have been essential for hospitals like WCCHS,” said Donald Eichenauer, CEO of Wyoming County Community Health System. “Over the past decades, these programs were generally included in legislation with authorization for only one or two years.

"The short-term extensions put us in a positon where almost annually we had to invest efforts in searching for ways to cut staffing or reduce expenses if the programs were not reauthorized. The five-year extension will give us greater confidence that services can be maintained, jobs retained and our efforts can be focused on continuing patient care at its high level.”

“The Low Volume adjustment is critical for Noyes Hospital to help offset the cost of providing services as well as uncompensated care,” said Amy Pollard, president and CEO of Noyes Memorial Hospital. “Emergency Services at Noyes and other hospitals must operate fully staffed 24/7.

"Last year 14,600 patients were treated at the Mary Saunders Beiermann Emergency Department at Noyes. The continuation of the Medicare payment adjustments helps assure that these vital services remain intact. I am very grateful to Congressman Collins for his support of the rural hospitals and thus, our community.”

Collins added: “I was proud to support this Bipartisan Budget Act and the important funding included for rural hospitals. I have and will continue to stand against any cuts in funding for hospitals in rural communities.”

February 21, 2018 - 2:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, GCC, creativity conference.

Press release:

Genesee Community College is excited to share the details of the fifth annual Creativity Conference: Creativity in the Entrepreneurial Zone taking place Wednesday, Feb. 28 at the Batavia Campus. Do you have a hobby or passion? Ever consider turning it into your own business? Then you won't want to miss this conference!

"So many people in the world dream of being their own boss. What they don't see is just how realistic that opportunity is!" Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., director of GCC's Business Programs. "This year, every piece of the creativity conference has been carefully aligned to inspire those creative business ideas and show participants just how far their entrepreneurial aspirations can take them."

The Creativity Conference will open for participants to check in at 8:15 a.m. in the Conable Technology Building lobby. The conference cost is $49 per person. For GCC students, faculty or staff, the conference cost is $25 per person. Registration includes a continental breakfast and delicious lunch.

Seating is limited, so register today at www.genesee.edu/best under "View our classes now!"

At 9 a.m. the conference will begin with keynote speaker, Erica Swiatek. She will address the link between creativity and entrepreneurship. Swiatek has made her living doing just that as one of the founders of Innovate Faster, a training, consulting and facilitation company based in Buffalo. Innovate Faster offers training courses on the creative process, enhancing teamwork, managing change, customer service and much more. Details on Innovate Faster are available at www.innovatefaster.com.

Swiatek's own creative thinking and ideas have come to fruition in her business, 3600 Escape, a company located in Buffalo that hosts groups in one of two specially dedicated Escape Rooms. Participants select either the "Conspiracy Theory" or the "Mineshaft" room and then are locked inside!

They have to work as a team to find and put together clues to escape the room -- and they only have 3,600 seconds to do it! Swiatek has now taken this concept on the road allowing her to perform the escape room experience for companies and corporate events on their premises through a package of creative characters, clever clues and utilizing the participant's own spaces.

The escape room experience can be done just for fun, or as a real-life learning tool. Swiatek's post-experience debrief session breaks down the steps and actions taken by individual participants during the exercise to help them understand the personality traits that they draw from while working to solve a problem.

Learning about one's strengths and tendencies is a powerful way to unite a team, helping them to understand each other better and to work together more efficiently. More information is available at www.3600escape.com.

Swiatek earned her master's degree in Creative Studies and is currently an adjunct professor at Buffalo State College. At both Innovate Faster and 3600 Escape, Swiatek blends her expertise in the fields of innovation, learning and development to design activities, courses, programs and experiences to facilitate innovation, professional development, change management and teambuilding.

Certified in Myers-Briggs, DiSC and FourSight assessments, Swiatek draws on these tools to help participants problem solve, communicate and understand each other better.

From 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Swiatek's will host a special escape room experience right here at GCC! Participants will work in small groups to look for clues, propose hypothesis and race against other teams to solve the problem first.

At the end of the session, Swiatek will breakdown the skills and tools used by each personality type to help participants better understand their individual problem solving strengths. Anyone registered for the conference can sign up for this special breakout session which costs an additional $15 per person and is limited to 30 participants, so sign up quick! 

For those not attending Swiatek's escape room experience, there will be nine unique and inspiring breakout sessions featuring entrepreneurial leaders from our region to share stories of their own startups, answer audience questions, and inspire the next generation of great new ideas.

Conference participants will be able to select three of these sessions to attend. Each session will be offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon.

Among the breakout sessions will be:

  • Rashaad Santiago, special effect/ makeup artist, Face Off-Season 6 Winner (2014)
  • Sue Fuller, owner of Della's Chocolates in Medina
  • Trace George, owner of VSP Graphic Group in Buffalo, (the official graphic company for the Buffalo Bills) and GCC Alum
  • Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoos in Medina
  • Maureen Spindler, owner of The Village Photographer in Hilton and GCC's own visual communications specialist/photographer

Additional sessions will be available and session schedules are subject to change.

At 12:45 p.m., everyone will come together for a sit-down lunch, provided by American Creative Dining, served in the centrally located William H. Stuart Forum.

After lunch, the team from Startup Genesee will conduct a powerful wrap-up session for all conference attendees with giveaways and a very exciting announcement sure to help take entrepreneurial ideas to the next level!

The Creativity in the Entrepreneurial Zone conference, presented by GCC, is made possible through partnership with the Startup Genesee Committee and the Ain Center at the University of Rochester's ongoing support for the "Year of Entrepreneurship" series.

Behind every great business is a great idea! Let GCC be a resource for your idea and your path to success! GCC offers both an associate degree and a Certificate program on Entrepreneurship. Check out the options at https://www.genesee.edu/academics/programs/business/entrepreneurship/.

February 16, 2018 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Crosby's, elba, batavia.

Submitted photos and information:
Crosby's celebrated the grand reopening of two convenience stores in Genesee County last week.
Above is a photo of the one for the Batavia location at 5267 Clinton Street Road. Pictured from left are: Jay Gsell, Genesee County manager; Brenda Thompson, Central West district leader; Gregory Post, Batavia Town supervisor; Pamela Kilgore, Batavia team leader; Patrick McKinney, representative from Congressman Chris Collins' office; Mickey Edwards, Byron-Bergen School superintendent; Stephen Hawley, New York State assemblyman; Ryan Young, Batavia deputy; Paul Quebral, president of the Reid Group; and Doug Galli, VP and general manager of Crosby’s.
Below is a photo taken at the reopening ribbon-cutting ceremony in Elba. That store is located at 64 S. Main St.

The people shown in the Elba photo above are, from left: Dan Okun, director of Sales and Merchandising; Keith Palmer, Elba superintendent; Gregory Walker, Elba undersheriff; Jay Gsell, Genesee County Manager; Brenda Thompson, Central West district leader; Patricia Seefeldt, Elba team leader; Melissa Clark, Elba team leader; Jay Grasso, representative from State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer’s office; Bob Bausch, Genesee County legislator -- District 2; Stephen Hawley, New York State assemblyman; Doug Galli, VP and general manager of Crosby’s; Patrick McKinney, representative from Congressman Chris Collins’ office; Paul Quebral, president of the Reid Group; Joseph M. Graff, Elba chief deputy; Darrin Barber, senior director of Operations.

About the Crosby's convenience stores in Genesee County

Both of these locations were existing structures acquired by Crosby’s in early 2017 that underwent remodels that included major cosmetic upgrades and a variety of customer-friendly amenities including fuel, a sub shop and multiple hot and cold beverage options.

At each location, customers can get a cup of Crosby’s signature 100-percent Arabica bean premium roast coffee for only 99 cents for a regular size. The Elba location will also feature f’real milkshakes; smoothies; and Crosby’s Arctic Express, which offers frozen carbonated beverages (Arctic Chill and Arctic Freeze) or frozen fountain sodas in more than 12,000 flavor combinations.

Each location also features an extensive take-out menu that includes fresh-baked pizza, made with Crosby’s own 100-percent whole-milk mozzarella, served whole or by-the-slice; fresh, made-to-order hot and cold subs prepared in an in-house Sub Shoppe; and fresh-baked cookies prepared on site. The Elba location will also have fried foods, including chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, pizza logs and more.

The stores will also offer a newly expanded selection of cold beverages, dairy and frozen foods, fresh fruit, competitively priced grocery items, tobacco products and other amenities including an ATM, prepaid wireless phone cards, gift cards, propane exchange and a variety of New York State Lottery games. Both locations will accept SNAP benefits.

The Batavia location recently upgraded the fuel facility and now offers Mobil fuel. The Elba location offers Mobil gas and diesel fuel. Both locations are also on the Plenti rewards program. See the store for further details.

Crosby’s, a division of the Reid Group, is headquartered in Lockport, NY. The company operates 87 Crosby’s convenience stores throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.

The Reid Group, founded in 1922, is a full-service independent motor fuel marketer providing a comprehensive range of products and services for retail motor fuel outlets and convenience stores. The Lockport-based company serves retail and commercial customers.

For more information, visit www.CrosbysStores.com.

February 15, 2018 - 2:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, news, business.

Press release:

New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced his support today for a broad-based 2018 Jobs and Opportunity Agenda. The plan focuses on regulatory and economic development reforms, as well as comprehensive tax relief, to help make New York more competitive and foster job growth.

“Families, individuals, homeowners, seniors, veterans, local leaders, small businesses and manufacturers continue to tell me that New York’s overly burdensome regulatory practices and high taxes hinder job creation. The Jobs and Opportunity Agenda will help to make the state more competitive and business-friendly. Enacting this plan will create jobs and opportunities for all of our residents and jumpstart our state and local economies,” Ranzenhofer said.

According to the State Department of Labor, in 2017, the Rochester area lost 3,500 jobs, while the Buffalo-Niagara region lost 4,600 jobs. The entire state lost a total of 500 jobs, for the period December 2016 through the end of last year.

The Jobs and Opportunity Agenda includes:

Cutting Tax Rates on Small Businesses:

  • New Tax Relief for Businesses -- $495 million: Reduce the amount small businesses and farms must pay in taxes by increasing the corporate tax threshold from $390,000 to $500,000 and lowering the rate to 2.5 percent. The proposal also expands the small business exemption to all businesses filing the personal income tax regardless of whether they have employees; increases the threshold to $500,000; and increases the exemption to 15 percent (additional 5 percent for farmers).
  • Tax Relief to Boost Manufacturing -- $90 million: This proposal would extend the zero percent Corporate Franchise Tax parity to all manufacturers in New York regardless of how they are organized. Currently, only approximately 25 percent of manufacturers – those organized as C corps – can receive the zero percent rate on business income.
  • Reduce Energy Taxes -- $280 million: Eliminate the 2-percent Gross Receipts Tax on utility bills, ($190 million) and terminate the 18A assessment tax ($90 million).
  • Create STAR for Small Businesses - $275 million: Allow real property owned by a small business (100 or less employees) to be eligible for the STAR property tax savings program.

Reducing Red Tape and Overregulation: 

  • Prevent Regulatory Steamrolling: Curtail state agency overuse of the emergency regulation process to ensure it is only used when necessary to protect public health and safety. This proposal also includes allowing the Administrative Regulations Review Commission to delay the adoption of new rules by 90 days. This will help when businesses raise concerns about possible rulemaking inconsistencies with statutory authority or legislative intent, or could potentially burden taxpayers or local governments.
  • Improve the State Rulemaking Process: Reform the regulatory, licensing, and permitting processes to make them easier to understand, more responsive to businesses’ concerns, increase transparency, improve consistency, and reduce overly burdensome or unnecessary requirements.
  • Remove Speedbumps to Development: Create a new statutory “Fast-Track” process for certain economic development projects.
  • Advocate for Small Businesses: Make the state an advocate, not an adversary, by creating a small business liaison to help startups navigate the state agency bureaucracy. The advocate would hear concerns, advocate within an agency on behalf of small businesses, and increase education of and outreach to entrepreneurs.

Revamping Economic Development Programs: Several of New York’s economic development programs and strategies are not producing the results that taxpayers expect and lack the transparency needed to help the state be more fair and competitive: 

Shut down START-UP NY: The Governor’s program has failed to produce the job-creating results that were promised. This proposal would stop the state from accepting new applications for the program at the end of 2018.

Improve Transparency with a Database of Deals: Ensure greater transparency and accountability in state contracting by creating a searchable database of all state subsidy and economic development benefits so that individuals, businesses, and public officials can monitor how taxpayer dollars are spent.

Promote Additional Oversight: Create an Independent Oversight Panel for all large public work projects and state procurements of $50 million or more.

Strengthen In-School Training Programs: Expand and make permanent the P-Tech School Programs that prepare thousands of New York students for highly-skilled jobs in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and finance.

Promote Practical Skills and Experiences: Allow academic credit for high school students who participate in internships and other practical experiences and encourage schools to promote apprenticeship participation.

Use Better Metrics: Enhance outreach, education, and reporting by the state Department of Labor on employment and training programs.

February 15, 2018 - 12:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Route 63 Diner, batavia, news, business.


Bonnie Ames saw the empty restaurant building on Ellicott Street Road near Shepard Road and knew it was the place for her.

"I saw the building was empty and when I walked in it reminded me of a place when I was very little, and I said, 'oh, my God, I've got to do it.' "

Ames, with daughter Amy Goodenow, has opened the Route 63 Diner in Batavia. 

She said it's just a traditional diner with good American food.

She's undaunted by the fact four other restaurant owners have tried to make it at the same location in the past few years.

She said the reason she's optimistic is she's met a lot of wonderful people during her first four weeks in business and they all seem to appreciate a good home-cooked meal.

"They're wonderful," she said. "I feel that with the way they feel about the food, they are coming back. It's a great location. I think our attitude, and good food, is what's going to make it."

February 15, 2018 - 9:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC, business, Le Roy.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) is relocating its urgent care services in Le Roy from 8745 Lake Street Road to 3 Tountas Ave. The move is part of Rochester Regional Health’s plan to expand primary care, diagnostic and urgent care services in the area.

After a renovation project at the 3 Tountas Ave. location, residents will have more timely access to care in a convenient, modern and comfortable setting. 

“It is important we remain focused on patient-centered care and acknowledge the needs of the community. Centrally locating these services will enhance access, operations, communication and patient engagement,” said Jennifer Dunivent, United Memorial Medical Center’s director of operations, outpatient services. 

To accommodate the project, Urgent Care services in Le Roy will temporarily close effective Friday, Feb. 16 until the project is finished this spring.

During this transitional period, patients can visit UMMC’s urgent care location at 16 Bank St. in Batavia. The urgent care in Batavia will have additional staff, expanded hours and onsite laboratory and radiology services. The location is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Diagnostic services at the 8745 Lake Street Road location in Le Roy will not be affected and will remain open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

This latest project reflects the organization’s ongoing commitment to ensuring patients have local access to the care and services they need; all while staying connected to emergency room services and a team of highly skilled specialists when patients need them.


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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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