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July 14, 2016 - 12:20pm

Pictured at the ribbon-cutting ceremony are, back from left: Mark Niederpruem, Warehouse manager; Dan Wolf, chairman of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.; Dave Nutting, VIP Structures; Front from left: Paul Battaglia, chairman of Genesee County Economic Development Center; Bill Schreiber, CEO; Michael Patterson, CFO; Larry Webster, CEO Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.; and John Gould, chairman of O-AT-KA.

Submitted photos and press release:

O-AT-KA Milk Products is pleased to announce that it held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly expanded warehousing storage and material handling facility in Batavia on July 11.

In attendance were O-AT-KA’s and Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s Board of Directors; key vendors and contractors for the project; banking representatives; local business leaders and invited guests.

“Project Rubicon affords O-AT-KA the opportunity to address three key focus points of our business; namely, employee safety, product quality and operational efficiencies," said Michael Patterson, O-AT-KA’s chief financial officer. "The viability of the project was supported via our strong relationships with the community, the municipalities and our key vendors and stakeholders."

O-AT-KA’s commitment to innovation is demonstrated within the expansion which added over 235,000 square feet to its Batavia plant. A second phase of the project has been initiated to capture efficiencies and optimize material handling equipment and processes. The new facility and equipment phase of the project allows the company to meet increasing customer demand, improve global competitiveness and allow for future growth of production capabilities. The project will significantly improve upon O-AT-KA’s already high standards of safety and quality.

“The implementation of Rubicon will advance our ability to serve customers, significantly improve our competitive position and is testimony to the vision and commitment of our farmer owners,” said Chief Executive Officer Bill Schreiber.

Founded in 1959, O-AT-KA is a manufacturer and co-packer of dairy-based products and ready-to-drink shelf stable beverages and is one of Genesee County’s largest employers. It is located at the corner of Cedar and Ellicott streets.

July 13, 2016 - 11:52am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, health, business.

Press release:

The city of Batavia is proud to announce national recognition as one of the Healthiest Companies in America by Interactive Health, a national leader known for its personalized wellness solutions. The City is one of 154 "companies" across the country being recognized for helping employees make significant and sometimes life-saving changes to improve their health. This is the first year Batavia has won the award.

With the help of strategic and flexible wellness initiatives, the Healthiest Companies in America recipients have accomplished tremendous success, achieving participation rates in excess of 70 percent and a low-risk health score for their total population, based on rigorous and clinically sound health evaluations.

The City of Batavia reached full participation with all its collective bargaining units in 2014 and currently realizes a 97 percent participation rate among all eligible employees and spouses.

“Our Wellness Initiative has been part of the City’s strategic plan since 2013,” said City Manager Jason Molino. “We’ve seen outstanding results in a very short amount of time, and this translates to healthier City employees and dependent spouses and fewer dollars spent on healthcare costs.”

Participating City employees and their spouses are measured against an Interactive Health Index (IHI) designed to help members understand where they stand for future risk of coronary heart disease and diabetes. The index is composed of five modifiable risk factors: smoking, glucose, blood pressure, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol – all potential causes of serious health problems.

“Our wellness program is all about cost avoidance,” said Dawn Fairbanks, Human Resources specialist. "The unhealthiest of medical plan members cost an annual average of $21,766 per person, while the healthiest plan members cost only $310 per person.

"Our goal is to help each member identify their base line and introduce them to resources to help them improve on those numbers – essentially moving them from unhealthy towards healthy.”

The numbers speak for themselves. Last year, 86 City employees and spouses were asked to improve scores related to the IHI, and one year later, 51 of those have improved scores, while 25 have remained the same and only 10 have regressed.

Interactive Health’s workplace wellness programs transform companies and their employees by helping people understand how they can improve their health. Beginning with a thorough health evaluation to identify risk, individuals learn more about their health status through: rapid outreach by health coaches, connection to personal physicians and other resources, and a personalized course of action.

In addition, members who engage with the Interactive Health member website during their program have a 12-percent higher rate of achievement of personal health goals than those who do not take advantage of the online tools.

July 12, 2016 - 2:09pm

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse (GCASA) has teamed with Meaningful Trainings to offer the first, single-source professional education and skills development course of study for Recovery Coaches and Certified Recovery Peer Advocates (CRPA) in New York State.

Registrations for fall are now being accepted.

GCASA is a leader in community resource building for addiction education, prevention, treatment and recovery services throughout Western New York. The GCASA Recovery Learning Campus offers more than 95 NY Certification Board (NYCB), NY Certification Association (NYCA) and OASAS-approved education hours for the following credentialing requirements:

Certified Addiction Recovery Coach (CARC) – initial & renewal

Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA) – initial & renewal

CASAC -- renewal

CPP/CPS -- initial & renewal

“As the landscape shifts nationally, GCASA is committed to being a leader and Advocate throughout Western New York and the Eastern United States, for the elevation and utilization of recovery, recovery coaching and Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC), says John Bennett, executive director.

“This initiative addresses the need for an easily-accessible, consistent, self-paced, durable resource for organizations and individuals dedicated to the preservation of proven peer principles and practices, who seek to support pathways of recovery and wellness for those they serve.

“We have also finalized dates for the launch of our Recovery Leadership Collaborative, a unique opportunity for organizational leaders to develop much-needed infrastructure (supervisory, HR, etc.) and capacity (skills/tactics) to support peer Recovery Coaches/CRPAs, employees and volunteers. We’ve invited a variety of recovery thought leaders from around the country to come to Batavia share their experiences and practical advice in terms of ROSC development.

"At the same time, we’ll host Meaningful Trainings’ Effective Supervision for Recovery Coaches/CRPAs workshop, a three-day experiential learning opportunity. Our state leaders, rightly so, dedicate much time and energy to facilitating economic growth, yet as the number one health challenge facing each and every community across New York State, substance use and addiction work in direct opposition to these economic development efforts.

"Communities will only realize the opportunities of economic development if they are healthy. Therefore, it is GCASA’s goal to offer resources to any community seeking to nurture a recovery mindset and/or to create a fully functional Recovery Oriented System of Care.”

Beginning Aug. 4-5, and continuing throughout the year, the GCASA Recovery Learning Campus will offer the nationally recognized Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) suite of workshops – Recovery Coach Academy, Spirituality, Ethical Considerations –  along with Meaningful Trainings Recovery Professional Series – MAT/MSR, Self-Care, Recovery Capital, Effective Communications & A(a)dvocacy – for Recovery Coaches & CRPAs.

Information on course listings, dates, times and fees can be found here.

Information on The Recovery Leadership Collaborative: Practical Perspectives - A National Discussion Supporting Recovery Coach/Peer Supervision can be found here.

July 12, 2016 - 8:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider projects for Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, and CH4 Biogas (Genesee Biogas) at its July 14 board meeting.

Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, is submitting an application in order to expand its operations, building a second location on State Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The project will include construction of a 30,000-square-foot warehouse and service center. The company will make a capital investment of approximately $4.35 million resulting in 30 full-time employees.

Ch4 Biogas (Genesee Biogas) plans to design, build and operate a biogas plant to support the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, which will convert organic waste produced by agricultural and food processors into renewable energy. The project will include installation of top-of-the-line equipment and technology to help the Finger Lakes Region reach its sustainability goals. The company’s capital investment will total approximately $19.25 million and create six jobs.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 3:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

July 6, 2016 - 9:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, business.

The City of Batavia lost out to the City of Geneva in the regional competition for $10 million in grant money to assist with downtown redevelopment.

Here's what the governor's office said about Geneva:

Over the last decade, Geneva has emerged as a major employment center, boasting over 200 firms and nearly 1,500 jobs in the central business district alone. Geneva’s historic walkable downtown is poised to become a vibrant retail, dining, cultural and entertainment destination for the burgeoning workforce and for students at the three local colleges. Under the DRI, the City will focus on the rehabilitation of key buildings; diversification of housing and retail options; access to healthy food; and building entrepreneurship in the downtown area.

July 6, 2016 - 2:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, batavia, Le Roy.

Press release from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce:

Two prominent automobile clubs will be visiting the Batavia-area beginning Sunday, July 10th.

The 1965-66 Full-Size Chevrolet Club will use Batavia as a base of operations for five days. The Early Ford V-8 Club of America will embark on a five-day driving tour that will begin and end in Batavia. In total, more than 200 people will be coming to the area.

The 2016 International Meet for the 1965-66 Full-Size Chevrolet Club will take place at the Quality Inn in Batavia on from Sunday, July 10 to Friday, July 15. The group is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Impala.

While here, the group will tour Oliver’s Candies in the City of Batavia (afternoon of July 11) and Kutter's Cheese Factory in Corfu (morning of July 15) and the JELL-O Museum in Le Roy (morning of July 11). The club will also have a show day at Ken Barrett Chevrolet on West Main Street, Batavia, on the morning of July 13.

The Chevrolet club will also be cruising to Letchworth State Park in Wyoming County, touring the Chevy plant in Tonawanda, visiting the Carousel Museum, getting an exclusive tour of the Pierce Arrow Museum, and visiting the Erie Basin & Waterfront Naval Park.

The club was founded in 1983 and has more than 100 members. Members have been successfully working with manufacturers to make hard-to-find parts available again and assist in restoration of the vehicles.

From July 10 to July 15, the Western New York Regional Group #3 of the Early Ford V-8 Club of America will celebrate its 50th anniversary on a five-day National Driving Tour around the Finger Lakes.

On Sunday, July 10, the group will be hosting an opening party at the Quality Inn in Batavia. The following morning they will depart for a tour of Olean, Corning, Binghamton and Liverpool. The group will return to Batavia on Friday, July 15, for a farewell dinner.

The Western Regional Group of the Early Ford V-8 Club of America is centered in Rochester. It features all Ford products produced from 1932-1953 and are the second-oldest active regional group in the world. They have 85 active members.

July 2, 2016 - 1:28pm
posted by Zachary Lee in news, Batavia Muckdogs, dwyer stadium, business, agriculture.

The Batavia Muckdogs at Dwyer Stadium is one of five Minor League Baseball teams statewide offering New York food and beverages this season, Gov. Cuomo's office announced this week. This is the second year that the Muckdogs have partnered with the Taste NY branding and sales initiative began by Cuomo in 2013.

Taste NY is overseen by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and was launched to create opportunities for our food producers to showcase their goods at large public events like the Great New York State Fair and other places crowds gather, like Minor League Baseball games.

The expanding program has also opened stores at Thruway rest stops along the state’s highways and in transportation hubs, enabling travelers to buy New York State’s homegrown and homemade products. Approximately 1,100 local companies have participated in these opportunities, thereby expanding New York's food and beverage markets, according to a press release from the governor's office.

For the 2016 season, four craft beer companies in the Empire State have products for sale at Dwyer:

  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • Ellicottville Brewery
  • Genesee Brewing Company
  • Rohrbach Brewing Company

Plus, there are hot dogs and sausages from Zweigle's, breads and rolls from Di Paolo Baking Company, both of Rochester, and Akron-based Perry's Ice Cream.

"The Muckdogs are proud to be a part of the Taste NY program," said Muckdogs' General Manager Travis Sick. "We believe strongly in supporting as many local vendors as possible and look forward to featuring all of their great and, more importantly, delicious products at Dwyer Stadium this season."

The other participating teams and stadiums are:

  • Tri-City ValleyCats at Joe Bruno Stadium
  • Auburn Doubledays at Falcon Park
  • Staten Island Yankees at Richmond County Bank Ballpark
  • Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field

Together, these stadiums see approximately 820,000 seasonal visitors and those fans will be treated to the same great ballpark staples, such has hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice-cold beer -- now sourced from some of New York State’s best agricultural producers. Taste NY has helped vendors triple their gross annual sales from 2014 to 2015, and with this increased promotion, they are on track to doubling those sales in 2016, according to the governor's office.

“New York grown and made food and beverages are second to none and building upon the great success of the Taste NY program, we are partnering with local baseball stadiums to expose even more New Yorkers to these great Empire State products,” said Governor Cuomo in a press release.

“When New Yorkers buy New York products from New York businesses, the home team wins every time.” 

For more information about Taste NY, click here.

June 28, 2016 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, business, STAMP, news.

A Boston-based company that has picked Genesee County for the location of its silicon wafer plant announced a major strategic move today that officials say will provide a tremendous positive impact on cash flow.

Wacker Chemie, a supplier of highly purified silicon, is making a $15 million equity investment in 1366 Technologies through the supply of the silicon that will be used by 1366 to manufacture its advanced silicon wafers.

The silicon wafers will be manufactured in a plant at the Science, Technology & Advanced Maufacturing Park (STAMP) in the Town of Alabama through a process that officials with 1366 say will greatly reduce the cost of solar power.

The partnership will also include a technical collaboration between the two companies. Wacker Chemie will provide expertise in silicon as well as facility design, engineering and construction.

“We see the potential for the Direct Wafer technology to provide an excellent contribution to accelerate global solar adoption," said Ewald Schindlbeck, president, Wacker Polysilicon. "1366 has developed a commercially valid answer to a longtime manufacturing challenge. We’re eager to add our high-quality products and bring our expertise to the effort.” 

Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366, said the partnership is a good sign for the future adoption of his company's groundbreaking solar wafer solution.

“Commercial traction is gained when technical success and financial support are established within the industry," van Mierlo said. "This partnership with the world’s most technically advanced silicon provider clearly demonstrates market acceptance for the Direct Wafer technology. Wacker’s silicon is the best in the industry and has been a crucial competitive edge for Wacker’s customers. It will do the same for 1366."

The manufacturing solution developed by 1366 offers a significant advantage over traditional ingot-based production technologies, according to company officials. The process makes wafers in a single step, pulling them directly from molten silicon instead of today’s multistep, energy- and capital-intensive approach, resulting in significant wafer production cost savings.

June 28, 2016 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, Carter's, news.


Yes, dreams can come true, and so far, they have for Brenden Mullen, who eight years after going to work in his father's restaurant, formerly Larry's Steakhouse, is now the owner of Carter's in the same location.

But the dream doesn't stop there. Carter is the name of his 9-year-old son, and if dreams really do come true, it will be Carter someday welcoming you at the front door or serving you a drink.

"If I can, I'll get Carter's successful and then 10, 15 years down the road, I'm on my way down South and I'll leave this place for him to take over if he wants," Mullen said.

It's been seven months since Larry's closed so Mullen could revamp the restaurant and put his own mark on it. There was a lot of planning and work into getting the doors open again, he said, which happened today.

The theme of the new restaurant is nautical with a nod toward the Northeast seafaring tradition.

Naturally, the menu is filled with seafood appetizers and entrees.

"I spent the past seven months coming up with different menu ideas," Mullen said. "When I started narrowing it down, the result was predominately seafood, and then when I got to thinking about it, it seemed like a good idea, our niche, so to speak."

Mullen enjoys the restaurant business, he said, because he loves food and he loves people.

"When I was 21 years old, looking for something to do, I thought, there's no better way to make a living than working in a restaurant," Mullen said. "I love food and I love going out to dinner, and you can't be in this business if you're not a people person. To be able to hang out and mingle with my friends and customers, it really doesn't get much better, in my opinion."

June 28, 2016 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, downtown, batavia, news, business.

Officials are being coy with details, but the city and the Business Improvement District are apparently close to a negotiated agreement that will end a bit of a dispute over some operational issues. 

The turning point apparently came at a meeting Friday involving City Manager Jason Molino, City Attorney George Van Nest and an attorney for the BID who, up to this point, hadn't been involved in the situation.

Laurence Rubin, of Kavinoky & Cook, LLP, in Buffalo, was at Monday's City Council meeting, where Molino informed council members that progress had been made and an agreement should be forthcoming.

A public hearing on a proposed change to local law that would have affected the BID's district plan as well as required the BID board to abide by the State's Open Meeting Law and Freedom of Information Law was held, but there were no speakers.

Both Molino and Rubin sidestepped questions about the sunshine law requirements.

"We have an agreement in principle on the substantive issues," Rubin said. "I don’t want to get into the details and give you a long law school lecture, which I’m sure you don’t want to get into now, but in terms of the principles of transparency and timelines, I think there’s agreement."

Molino said, "I think both the City and the BID board are interested in the issues of transparency and that the public having access to board decisions and board meetings as well as how decisions are being made."

Rubin said he is an expert in the area of special districts and business improvement districts and General Municipal Law (GML).  

Asked if he was aware of any districts that were required to abide specifically by the sunshine laws, he said he didn't know of any, but that such districts and boards are generally open and transparent.

"I think government and the public and taxpayers do want to see transparency and I think there is a common theme about that," Rubin said. "Again, I don’t want to get into a law school lecture. The Freedom of Information Law or the Open Meetings Law, per se, is not really the issue. The issue is should there be transparency and there is absolute agreement on both sides that there should be."

At no point, has there been any specific allegation that the BID or the BID board has been anything less than transparent, but Molino raised the idea few weeks ago that to ensure transparency, the city should require the BID to abide by the sunshine laws.

In a memo to BID members last week -- property and business owners within the downtown district -- Executive Director Laurie Oltramari said the BID board objected to the sunshine law requirement not because the BID isn't transparent, but as a matter of legal precedent and principle. 

"The BID board is opposed to the City of Batavia adopting a local law imposing such as it conflicts with state law and our meetings are already open to the BID membership," Oltramari said. "For the City to implement such is creating new law for the City of Batavia, setting new precedent within NY State and discriminating against a not-for-profit corporation."

The dust-up between the city and the BID began a few weeks ago when Molino required the BID board to cut its budget to better comply with General Municipal Law, which Molino said the BID's budget had skirted for the past few years.

The BID's assessment, which is the basis for the BID's budget, is set by the city and while Molino said he has raised the issue with the BID in previous years, this year he said the city would correct the assessment to comply with GML.

Rubin repeatedly said that in his role as legal counsel for the BID on this issue, he didn't want to look back and concentrate on past history.

"We had a very positive discussion with the city administrator and the city attorney," Rubin said. "We talked about substantive issues. We set aside the history and whatever conversations may have been and we just talked about the statute and the proposed revisions to the local law. It was very constructive. I can’t really speak to what happened in the past, but going forward seems to be very constructive and very productive."

June 25, 2016 - 6:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Page Auctions, Days Inn, batavia, business.


People traveled from as far away as California to be in Batavia today for a button auction at the Days Inn on Noonan Drive.

It's that way twice a year, said Margeret McBride, when Page Auctions hosts the event in Batavia. 

"People come from all over," she said.

It is as much about the buttons, which can sell, typically, from $10 to more than $1,000, McBride said, as it is about being social and seeing friends you've made through button collection conventions and auctions.

Page Auctions is based in Batavia, and McBride's husband, Phil, is the auctioneer and their daughter, Whitney McBride Carlson, helps run the business. Page Auctions was founded locally in 1895.

People who collect buttons love buttons, even if the collections can sometimes grow larger than they ever imagined.

"A lot people have said to me they collect buttons because they’re small," McBride said. "I’ve heard that over and over again. People who are collectors, who like to collect things and actually possess them, only have so much room and a lot of people say, ‘I started collecting buttons because I thought they were small,' and then they find out that roomfuls happen. They collect roomfuls of buttons. They put them on cards and hang them on the wall. They display them and sometimes they wear them in jewelry or sew them on, but for the most part, they’re coveted for their artwork."

Besides the aethetics of buttons, they also have a strong historical interest, especially for those who collect military buttons.

The most expensive button McBride remembers is a Civil War uniform button that sold for more than $17,000.





June 23, 2016 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, batavia, news, downtown, business.

Members of the Batavia Improvement District were informed yesterday in a memo from Executive Director Laurie Oltramari, that the BID Board of Directors has voted to oppose a plan to change the rules for how the BID operates.

City Manager Jason Molino has proposed to City Council that the city adopt a district plan for the BID, which in the past has been drafted by the BID board and then approved by the council, and require that BID comply with the state's Freedom of Information Law and Open Meetings Law.

Oltramari said the BID has already turned in a budget for 2016 that is compliant with the state's General Municipal Law.  

The whole issue of the BID's budget is what precipitated the city's recent actions, but Oltramari told BID members that it was the responsibility of the city manager to ensure property owners in the Downtown tax district were charged the appropriate tax rate, not the BID's.

"The City wants to implement compliance of the debt limits within the General Municipal Law, something that has been known to the City Manager for several years," Oltramari said in her memo to members. "In addition, the City levied the 2016 assessment knowing that there was a compliance issue, collected the BID assessment, and is retained the funds without any authority to withhold funds that are due and owing to the BID."

BID members are people who either own property in the Downtown district or operate businesses in the district.

Oltramari invited BID members to visit her office at 200 E. Main St., Batavia, on Monday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to discuss these issues, or to make an appointment with her for a conversation.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the city's proposed changes at 7 p.m., Monday.

The proposal would also require the BID to comply with the state's open government law, but Oltramari said director's meetings are already transparent and open for its members.

"The BID board is opposed to the City of Batavia adopting a local law imposing such as it conflicts with state law and our meetings are already open to the BID membership," Oltramari said. "For the City to implement such is creating new law for the City of Batavia, setting new precedent within NY State and discriminating against a not-for-profit corporation."

June 23, 2016 - 12:52am
posted by Raymond Coniglio in Le Roy, business, news.


Jessica Held, left, and Tracy Martorana are the owners of Holistic Hub, whcih offers a variety of wellness programs at 58 Main St. in Le Roy.

One chance meeting — and many shared interests — revealed a new path for two area women.

It led to the Holistic Hub, which is now open at 58 Main St. in Le Roy. 

On Wednesday, Tracy Martorana and Jessica “Jessie” Held hosted a Meet and Greet at the business, which offers a variety of services including meditation, yoga, holistic wellness and creativity workshops, and more.

Martorana is a nutrition and wellness consultant. Held is a yoga instructor with an interest in the arts.

They met this past winter during a wellness fair in Bergen. They discovered not only shared interests, but that both happen to live in Le Roy.

Held followed up with an email, suggesting they explore starting a local wellness center.

“So we got together and talked it through and realized we both really do like the same things,” Martorana said. “And we had the same vision of what we’d like to offer the community.”

“We both have different niches,” Held added. “I’m more artistic and creative, where she’s more into health and nutrition and meditation, which really goes nicely together.”

Martorana is the co-owner of Holistic Wellness, which is based in the home she shares with her husband Andrew. She is also an herbalist, meditation instructor and leads workshops on a variety of wellness topics.

Held and her husband, Mark, moved to Le Roy from Scottsville in 2014. (They’re expecting their first child in October.) A trained yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner, she also offers artistic and inspirational workshops.

Their business partnership became official in January. They settled on a location more quickly than they expected.

Held had been teaching yoga at 58 on Main, which was the home of Baristas coffee shop as well as Jim DeLooze’s photography studio and gallery.

After Baristas closed in May, DeLooze asked Martorana and Held if they’d be interested in the location. Now, Holistic Hub shares the space with 58 on Main Photography.

Holistic Hub is described as “a place to better ourselves and our community.” That mission is reflected in the circular “hub” logo designed by Held, in which stylized arrows aim both toward and away from the center.

“We explain the arrows going in, as working on ourselves,” Held explained. “But this is also a place to better the community, which is the arrows going out.”

For more information about Holistic Hub, visit; email [email protected]; or find Holistic Hub Le Roy NY on Facebook.


June 22, 2016 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in jobs, employment, business.

The unemployment rate for Genesee County fell to 3.8 percent in May, the lowest level for any monthly period since August, 2008.

The rate is a full percentage point lower than last May. 

The number of residents with jobs is 29,300, up from 29,100 from a year ago, while the number of participants in the labor force dropped from 30,600 a year ago to 30,400 this May.

As for the number of non-farm jobs in the county, we've gone from 23,700 to 23,800 from May last year to May this year.

The GLOW region unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent, from 5.3 percent a year ago. It hasn't been lower in the region since August 2007, when it was 4.2 percent.

June 22, 2016 - 2:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, lawley.

Press release:

Lawley, a Top 100 independent insurance broker in the United States according to Business Insurance, has earned the On Your Side® Food Certification designation from Nationwide Insurance. This first-of-its-kind training program is designed to familiarize agents with the unique risks and insurance needs of businesses involved in food processing and manufacturing.

The broker has an office in Batavia.

As a company that insures businesses engaged in all stages of the food chain from the farmer to the processor, Nationwide has recognized this is a niche that requires specialized expertise. During training, agents hear from subject matter experts on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and fleet vehicle safety and also get the latest information on workers compensation, product recall and other issues faced by these business segments.

“We’re excited that Lawley completed this certification program,” said Bill Fritts, Lawley’s Batavia branch Partner. “We’ve made a commitment to help protect food processing and manufacturing businesses with the highest levels of professionalism and service. This certification shows that our agency is committed to staying in front of changing needs, helping protect them now and into the future.”

The designation is intended to help food processing and manufacturing businesses recognize agents who have made a commitment to understanding the complex risks faced by their industries. Only agents who successfully complete the program are awarded the designation.

“Nationwide created the food certification program to provide additional education and resources to insurance agents who have made a commitment to protecting businesses in the food chain,” said Dirk Pollitt, VP of agribusiness sales for Nationwide. “We’re proud of the agents who complete the program and are excited about the level of service that businesses can expect from partnering with Food Certified agents.”

About Lawley

Lawley is a privately-owned, independent regional insurance firm specializing in property, casualty and personal insurance, employee benefits and risk management consulting and ranked among the 100 Largest Insurance Brokers in the U.S., according to Business Insurance magazine.

For more than 60 years, Lawley’s team of more than 350 associates have developed customized property, casualty, surety and benefits insurance programs for businesses and municipalities of all sizes along with personalized protection for individuals and their families. Lawley is consistently recognized as one of the Best Places to Work by Buffalo Business First

Headquartered in Buffalo, Lawley has branch offices across New York in Amherst, Batavia, Elmsford, Fredonia, Melville and Rochester along with Darien, Conn., and Florham Park, NJ. To find out more, visit

June 21, 2016 - 5:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Hampton Inn, batavia.

Hampton Inn Batavia has received a 2016 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award. Now in its sixth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveler reviews on the online TripAdvisor site over the past year.

To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

"We are proud to be recognized by TripAdvisor with a Certificate of Excellence Award," said General Manager, general manager of Hampton Inn Batavia. "This honor is a testament to our dedication to exceptional customer service.

"We appreciate our guests giving us excellent ratings on this site and helping us to achieve this recognition."

Located at 4360 Commerce Drive in Batavia, Hampton Inn Batavia offers amenities including On the House breakfast each morning and Hampton's On the Run(tm) Breakfast Bags, available Monday through Friday. Additionally, it provides free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour business center with complimentary
printing and a fitness center.

Each guestroom includes the brand's signature Clean and fresh Hampton bed. Designed as an extension of the guestroom, properties feature a Perfect Mix Lobby, with a variety of seating and lighting options for both leisure and business travelers.

Hampton by Hilton properties participate in Hilton HHonors, the only hotel loyalty program that allows members to earn Points & Miles on the same stay and No Blackout Dates on reward stays. HHonors members always get our lowest price with our Best Price Guarantee, along with Honors Points, digital check-in and no booking fees only when they book directly through Hilton.

To make reservations, visit and to read more about Hampton by Hilton, visit

June 21, 2016 - 12:57pm


Dancer and choreographer Shoulin Young has traveled the world, working and performing with the likes of Brittany Spears, Chris Brown, Jason Darulo and Justin Beiber. Monday, he was in Batavia, conducting classes with students at Kristen's Performing Arts Center on East Main Street.

"I love what she (Kristen) has going on here, especially for a small town like Batavia," said Young, who is originally from Rochester, but now lives in Tampa, Fla. "Any chance I get to come here and work with these kids, I love to do it. The kids always have great energy. I love every second of it."

Owner Kristen Drilling opened the studio 10 months ago and offers a wide range of classes in performing arts, including all styles of dance, theater, music and pageant training. Each summer, she tries to bring in an accomplished and well-known instructor to conduct classes for a day.

Students from the studio have won competitions in Niagara Falls and Rochester, which has drawn attention from choreographers such as Young, she said.

"They see a lot of talent through our girls," Drilling said. "They see we're from a small town, so when we have really talented girls go out and win first place over all these big cities, we get a lot of choreographers in our studio to see what our girls have."

Young said he sees the talent, but more importantly, he sees an enthusiasm for hip-hop that a lot of people might not expect from a small town.

"When you think of Batavia or smaller towns in Upstate New York, you don’t really think hip-hop, but the hip-hop talent specifically here is very, very impressive," Young said. "There are lots of kids who are very hungry for it and dance in general is something that younger kids really want and the style of hip-hop is just a music that they all love.  I’m very impressed with the dancers I see here."






June 20, 2016 - 3:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, NY Farm Bureau, business.

Press release:

New York Farm Bureau seeks to intervene in the farm labor lawsuit filed against the State of New York and Governor Cuomo. The grassroots farm organization will file a motion today in State Supreme Court of Albany County to gain intervenor status in a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation. The NYCLUF seeks to create a constitutional right for farmworkers to collectively bargain. The ultimate goal of NYFB with today’s motion is for the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

NYFB is taking this major step to defend farmers, who feel they have been abandoned by the Governor and the New York Attorney General. Both leaders have made public statements supporting the lawsuit and refusing to defend state law, despite its importance to agriculture in New York State.

NYFB believes it has the right to intervene because the interest of its members will not be represented by the defendants – the Governor and Attorney General - and the ability of the organization’s members to continue to produce food for New York residents would be harmed in the event the plaintiffs prevail in this action.

The motion reads, “Farm Bureau is uniquely situated to represent the varied perspectives of its member farms and to zealously defend the constitutionality of the challenged farm labor exemption.”

Farm Bureau believes that the exemption of farmworkers from collective bargaining rights is constitutional, and that the exclusion of farmworkers from the State Labor Relations Act law is based on decades of rational public policy and legal precedent that will be outlined in NYFB’s motions to intervene and to dismiss.

New York Farm Bureau believes that the legal precedent is clear. This is not a question for the courts, and the NYCLUF is attempting to make an end-run around the legislature, which has not approved collective bargaining for farmworkers despite numerous opportunities.

“New York Farm Bureau has a century-long record of defending the state’s family farms, and today’s action is one of the most important in our long history. If we can’t count on our state leaders to do the right thing in this case, we are prepared to stand up for our members in court to protect their rights,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president.

June 17, 2016 - 3:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in Empire Access, business, batavia, news, Le Roy.

Officials with Empire Access said today they expect to begin offering cable TV service in Batavia this fall.

They've applied for a franchise license and have been working closely with City Manager Jason Molino and other staff on an agreement.

"Jason's been great to deal with. We're looking forward to giving Time Warner more competition," said Empire COO Jim Baase.

Empire Video, a subdivision, has been offering high-speed Internet service (data and voice) in the city for the past year.

Following a public hearing, once the city council approves its franchise agreement, it goes to the state’s Public Service Commission for final approval.

Empire plans to offer new customers an introductory monthly rate of $65, which would rise to $121 after six months. There would be no rate increase for the term of the contract.

But existing Empire customers would be offered "bundled pricing" and be given the opportunity to get the introductory rate as well.

"We try to do the right thing by customers," Baase said.

Once cable TV service is added to the mix, Empire expects to double its local customer base, to at least 15 percent market penetration.

Customers can expect a high-quality, 100-digital signal with a higher resolution than the competition, which has a mix of analog and digital.

Plus, they will be able to provide their customers with local stations from both Rochester AND Buffalo, not one or the other as is the case currently -- depending on your provider.

Also, it will all be in high definition at no extra cost.

"It's a TV everywhere product," said Bob VanDelinder, Empire Access director of marketing. "You can watch it on your iPad, smartphone, and not just at home, but while traveling, too."

The digital video recording service records up to five different stations at a time, and while using different TV sets.

There will be no set-up or installation costs. No bulky cable to install. It's all wireless, with a modem. And they will help you program your remote control device before they leave.

"It's a pretty easy transition for customers," Baase said.

"We offer a very competitive product," VanDelinder said. "We're excited to be here."

Because Batavia is already wired for broadband, TV service will be a cinch for Empire to roll out.

"It'll happen immediately, as soon as we sign a franchise agreement with the city," Baase said.

Empire says its eager to help the city in its "Bet on Batavia" campaign to vy for $10 million in downtown revitalization funds, for example, by bringing Wi-Fi downtown.

They are rolling out broadband to business customers in the Village of Le Roy and hope to add residential soon.

June 16, 2016 - 3:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business, news.

Press release:

BATAVIA, NY -- Every year, millions of consumers fall victim to cybercrime. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, in 2014, consumers lost more than $800 million from scams initiated through the Web. In recognition of Internet Safety Month in June, Tompkins Bank of Castile is highlighting seven tips to help consumers protect themselves from online fraud.

“The Internet has become one of the most popular tools used to commit fraud by criminals who are becoming more and more sophisticated,” said John McKenna, president and CEO.  “As a result, it’s extremely important for consumers to secure their wireless networks and filter the amount of personal information they choose to divulge online.”

Tompkins Bank of Castile recommends the following seven tips to keep you safe online:

About Tompkins Bank of Castile

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. In addition, insurance is offered through an affiliate company, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Wealth management, trust and investment services are provided through Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information about the bank is available on its website,


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