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January 25, 2013 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business, GCEDC, solar energy.

Arista Power and the Genesee County Economic Development Center will be having FREE educational workshops on solar energy and how the Solarize Genesee program works.

Solar energy, the installation process, financing, and a variety of other topics regarding solar energy will be covered.

The workshops are open to all of the community. Solarize Genesee is a new community solar program that is offering solar buyers a discount by bulk purchasing as a community. The more solar systems that are purchased, the more the cost will go down for everyone!

The education workshop schedule follows:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
  • Thursday, Feb. 7, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
  • Monday, Feb. 11, from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. at Batavia Town Hall
  • Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at GCEDC, Room 214
January 25, 2013 - 3:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business.

Press release:

The BEST Center at Genesee Community College is excited to offer a new online course for Macintosh computer users: Introduction to Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac.

Participants in the course will learn how to use the world's most popular word processor on the Mac, creating documents and formatting text. They'll master tips and techniques for editing and formatting documents, adding images, sharing documents, and much more.

This course is part of The BEST Center's growing catalog of more than 300 instructor-facilitated online courses, offered through a partnership with ed2go. These high quality, noncredit courses feature well-crafted lessons from an expert instructor, as well as interaction with fellow students. The instructor facilitates every course, pacing learners, answering questions, giving feedback, and facilitating discussions.

The courses are entirely Web-based with comprehensive lessons, quizzes, and assignments and new sessions of each course run every month. They last six weeks, with two new lessons being released weekly (for a total of 12).

Participants in these online courses gain valuable knowledge at their convenience with the flexibility to study at their own pace, but with adequate structure and support to complete the course. The classroom is accessible 24/7 from any Internet connection.

For more information, call The BEST Center (Business Employee Skills Training) at GCC at 585-345-6868 or visit

January 25, 2013 - 11:28am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

UMMC and Rochester General Hospital have released a joint press release regarding talks over a closer affiliation:

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) and Rochester General Health System (RGHS) announced today that they are finalizing details of an expanded affiliation. This more defined affiliation will broaden and strengthen health care service provided to patients in Genesee County, help UMMC address the changes and challenges of healthcare reform, and will maintain all local control of UMMC operations in Batavia.

The two healthcare institutions are no strangers to each other, having partnered in the areas of Pathology, Urology, General Surgery and GI since 2008. Like United Memorial Medical Center, Rochester General has served residents of Genesee County and its surrounding areas for more than a century.

“As a regional health care delivery system, a core element of our mission is to collaborate with smaller area healthcare providers to help them better serve their local communities,” said Mark C. Clement, president and CEO of Rochester General Health System. “We currently participate in a number of collaborative relationships with hospitals, including Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, an owned affiliate of the system.

“Changes in state and federal reimbursements along with regulations associated with national healthcare reform have shown that a partnership with a larger, regional healthcare center will be imperative to the success of continuing to provide quality care right at home,” said Mark C. Schoell, president and CEO of United Memorial Medical Center. “Rochester General is a high-quality organization with a depth of resources, well established physician organization and similar cultural ideals.”

In making its decision to affiliate with RGHS, the UMMC board cited the system’s national recognition and longstanding focus on high-quality patient care and safety, its expertise in clinical integration, its comprehensive medical specialties that will enhance existing services available in the Batavia community, and its successful track record of collaboration with smaller acute care hospitals like Newark-Wayne. The UMMC board is committed to keeping appropriate health care local and providing the best care possible.

RGHS is the only area health system to be nationally rated by SDI – a premier health care analytics firm – as a TOP 100 Integrated Health Network (2007-2012). Integrated care networks are consistently recognized for delivering higher levels of quality, service, patient safety and efficiency. These are important factors, made even more so, as the government and insurers shift reimbursement to value-based health care.

January 25, 2013 - 9:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

The Democrat & Chronicle has a little more on a story we reported yesterday about United Memorial Medical Center moving toward a closer relationship with Rochester General Hospital.

While we the information we were given seemed to indicate no formal agreement between the two hospitals, the D&C reports an affiliation agreement is being negotiated.

Clement called the discussions a “work in progress” and while there is no formal agreement, he said talks are likely to result in one.

At the same time, he said RGHS is working with officials at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia to expand their four-year collaboration into an affiliation agreement.

In an affiliation, the hospitals still govern themselves. This is not a merger. It would provide more specialized services to patients.

“From the patient perspective, they should be very happy with it,” said Mark Schoell, president and chief executive officer of United Memorial. “Whether they recognize it or not explicitly, implicitly they’ve seen the results of some of the collaboration. I think when they see some of the programs that we’ll be able to put together, they will find this a good thing. We’ll have access to a lot of expertise in a smaller community you don’t normally see.”

While the D&C doesn't discuss ACOs under the Affordable Care Act, the article does say the act is accelerating the move toward affiliations, quoting Schoell, “we would have continued down this path without health care reform.”

The article concludes:

Schoell said it should lead to better results. “In the past, the patients we had to transfer out of the area will be able to stay in our hospital. It provides the support we need for the rest of our medical staff.”

January 23, 2013 - 9:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Great Kutz.

Nathan Puls is 3 years old, and local haircutting salon Great Kutz is celebrating its third year in business. As a matter of coincidence, Nathan helped Great Kutz achieve another milestone this week by becoming the 1,000th customer to receive a free haircut. At Great Kutz, every seventh haircut is free. Nathan is pictured with his father, John. Maren Slane cut Nathan's hair.

Photo and information submitted by Great Kutz.

January 22, 2013 - 3:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs, employment.

December job numbers are out and Genesee County once again saw an increase in the number of jobs in the county year-over-year, but also an uptick in the unemployment rate.

There were 29,000 jobs in Genesee County for December, according to Labor Department figures released today, which is 400 more than December 2011, but 300 fewer than were counted in November 2012.

The unemployment rate year-over-year went from 8 percent to 8.2 percent, and jumped from November 2012 when it was 7.4 percent.

Orleans County continues to lead the GLOW region in unemployment, with a 10.9 percent jobless figure, compared to 8.0 for Livingston and 9.5 for Wyoming counties.

The U.S. unemployment rate for December was 7.6 percent, up from 7.4 percent in November 2012, but lower than the 8.3 percent of December 2011.

New York's unemployment rate grew two-tenths of a percent, year-over-year, from 8 percent to 8.2 percent and it's up from November 2011 when it was 7.9 percent.

January 22, 2013 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Health Care, UMMC.

UMMC has long partnered with Rochester General Hospital on patient care, and the two hospitals are exploring ways to work together more closely, according to hospital spokeswoman Colleen Flynn.

But, she said, contrary to a rumor reportedly circulating among staff, there are no merger discussions taking place.

There aren't even immediate plans to form a formal partnership, known as a ACO (accountable care organization) under the Affordable Healthcare Act.

RGH has long helped UMMC recruit doctors and provide patients with specialized care, and the two hospitals are looking into ways to share those services even more, but that's as far as the talks are going, Flynn said.

An ACO, according to Wikipedia, is a coordinated group of heath care providers who commit to standards of quality care in order to reduce the total cost of health care and reimbursements.

UMMC is always looking for ways to improve patient care and provide more specialized care, Flynn said.

"We're an independent community hospital and we're going to be an independent community hospital," Flynn said. "We look for larger organizations to partner with because we're small."

January 21, 2013 - 6:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

The Edward Jones office on Jackson Street in Batavia is now run by Michael Marsh, financial advisor. In order of the rededication of the office, the Chamber of Commerce joined in Saturday for a ribbon cutting.

Submitted photo.


January 15, 2013 - 3:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in events, business.
Event Date and Time: 
January 16, 2013 -
9:30am to 9:40am

Michael Marsh, local financial advisor for the financial services firm Edward Jones, invites the community to attend  a ribbon cutting at the branch office located at 7 Jackson Street in Batavia on January 16th at 9:30am as part of celebrating the New Year. In addition to the ribbon cutting, a "meet and greet" open house will be taking place on January 21st from 10am to 3pm and January 22nd 3pm to 7pm.

January 15, 2013 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in events, business.
Event Date and Time: 
January 21, 2013 -
10:00am to 3:00pm

Michael Marsh, a local financial advisor for the financial services firm Edward Jones, invites the community to attend an open house from 10am to 3pm on January 21st and 3pm to 7pm on January 22nd at 7 Jackson Street, Batavia.

"We are happy to be part of the Genesee Valley community and would like to express our appreciation for the confidence and support we receive year-round," Mike Marsh said.

January 15, 2013 - 12:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

The staff of Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas are now accepting entries to name the Hall of Famer’s new restaurant on site at Batavia Downs Casino.

The facility’s $28 Million dollar expansion begins within a month and includes construction of a new Thurman Thomas sports bar. Customers may tweet a suggestion for the Sports Bar’s name on Twitter by tweeting from their account and including the name of the Sports Bar with the tag @BataviaDowns. The contest will end at Noon on Friday, Jan. 18.

Staff from Batavia Downs Casino and Thurman Thomas will review the entries and declare a winner before the end of January.

The person that submits the winning name will win dinner for two inside the new sports bar with Thurman Thomas and Batavia Downs Staff when the new facility opens sometime in the fall. The winner shall also receive a Batavia Downs Casino Prize Pack valued at more than $250.

If more than one person suggests the winning name, then one person shall be randomly chosen from those who suggested that name. Winner will be notified via twitter that they have won. Full rules can be found on Batavia Downs Casino’s Web site at

“Thurman’s new sports bar will offer great food, a stage for live entertainment on weekends, and many large flat screen TVs where our patrons can enjoy all their favorite sporting events,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “It will also feature various pieces of football and Thurman Thomas memorabilia.”

January 12, 2013 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Eagle Hotel, Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew.

The Eagle Hotel in Le Roy may have 200 years of history behind it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a next chapter in life.

The landmark building has fallen into the hands of four young men who have a vision for it that should make it a go-too place for people looking for a good time and good food for many years to come.

John Marcello, Marc Marcello and Jason Beaumont have partnered to transform the Eagle into the Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew. They've hired Le Roy resident Shane Burger as their general manager.

"I think the concept, this building, the entertainment, the BBQ, it all kind of goes together," John Marcello said.

Jason Beaumont grew up in Le Roy and first tried to buy the building 10 years ago. It didn't work out, but when the previous owners decided to sell in 2012, Beaumont took another stab at it.

"I grew up there, and this building has so much character that you don’t get in a lot of places," Beaumont said.

Since Beaumont had no experience in the food business -- his background is in the mortgage industry and has been investing in residential properties and doing property management for the past few years -- he started asking his friends John and Marc about how to run the restaurant side of his new building.

The Marcello brothers own 58 Main Street in Brockport, which is a BBQ and brew sports bar and have owned the business for 13 years.

One day, John told him, you know, we're thinking of expanding.

It didn't take long for the old friends to strike a deal on a new concept for the Eagle. The brothers would bring their experience with BBQ and beer and Beaumont would be in charge of the building.

Then they needed to recruit a general manager.

Through mutual friends, John found Shane, who has been a food and hospitality manager for the Holiday Inn and Batavia Downs.

According to John, Burger was a little skeptical at first, and John understood.

"It’s his reputation on the line," John said. "He doesn't want to walk into a place that is just a bar and grill that’s been here for 200 years wasn't going to change. He wants something different and he brings a lot to the table.”

Once Burger understood the concept, he was sold.

" It was one of those things where I thought, ‘why didn’t think of that?' " Burger said. "It fit. It’s a different niche here in Le Roy and I think it’s being well received so far."

Since the Eagle once had a reputation for being a little on the rough side, the owners have hired big security guys for Friday and Saturday nights, installed security cameras and made it clear certain behavior won't be tolerated.

"It's about setting expectations and putting the right atmosphere right out there right out of the gate," Marc said. "The one guy who causes trouble might spend 50 or 80 bucks in a night, but he costs so much more money in the long run."

They intend for the Smokin' Eagle to be a family-friendly atmosphere. To help enhance that, they're going to open up the foyer so people coming in just for dinner can walk straight into the dining room instead of passing through the bar.

The bar itself is the same grand old hardwood counter it's always been (probably from the days when it was a pharmacy), but instead of just eight beers on tap, there are now 20.

Burger has also started booking in more live music as well as comedy acts.

"Le Roy has been starving for something like this," Burger said.

Burger has a lot of plans for the building, from removing the drop ceiling in the bar to restoring the ballroom upstairs.

"I think everybody can look forward to more changes at a slow and steady pace where everybody can feel comfortable," John said.

And then there's the issue of the third floor. It probably can't be returned any time soon to apartments or hotel rooms, but the ambiance is right for a haunted house come October.

A friend of Beaumont's has run a haunted house for years and they've always wanted to do one together, so now Beaumont has the space.

There may already even be a ghost in residence to give guests a little extra fright.

The ghost is known as "Charlie" and according to Beaumont the previous owner and previous employees have told stories about him.

Is Charlie for real? John laughed and said, "I’ve had some experiences when we first got here. I’m not going to go way into it, but some really creepy stuff, yeah."

As for the food, the menu features smoked pork, either pulled or ribs, and there's pulled-pork potato boats and egg rolls for a little different approach to BBQ. The two-page menu has a variety of other items and side dishes.

John and Marc Marcello started in the food business in high school, working as bus boys at the Village Diner in Brockport. When they moved to Irvine, Calif., they opened a restaurant with their father.

Then about 13 years ago, they wanted to return to WNY and heard their former employer was ready to sell, so they bought the restaurant and changed the name to 58 Main Street. 

Five or six years ago, a very popular BBQ joint in Brockport was shut down and the brothers hired a few key employees. They taught them the BBQ business and BBQ became a staple of 58 Main.

John, Marc and Jason have, over the years, traveled to various BBQ competitions, entering their own dishes. At the competitions, they found other chefs were quite willing to share their own experience and techniques, so they've been able to improve and refine their own smoking skills.

"It’s a learning experience every day," Marc said. "Every day we learn something new or we tweek something and do it a little differently."

Based on what Billie and I have sampled so far, the brothers and their cook staff -- Chris Miller and Brian Canale -- have learned their lessons well.

Photo: From left, Shane Burger, Marc Marcello, John Marcello, Jason Beaumont.

January 10, 2013 - 9:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Wiss Hotel.

All the experts agree, as Bob Fussell pointed out Wednesday night, the Wiss is structurally sound, but that doesn't mean it's not on shaky ground.

Wednesday, the Village of Le Roy trustees took two key steps that all but guarantee the irreplaceable building's destruction. The board failed to vote on a motion to make a counteroffer for a group of local residents to buy the property and then passed a motion to seek requests for proposal to have the old hotel demolished.

"You're being given an opportunity to have this $250,000 -- maybe half a million -- headache taken off your shoulders and you're asking us to pay $10,000 to boot," Fussell said. "We're probably willing to pay you that $10,000 just because we care about the community.

"We're willing to do something for you that's a huge value and every expert who's looked at it said it's remediable, even Clark Patterson has said you can remediate that."

The reference to Clark Patterson goes back to a three-page letter trustees discussed to kick off the meeting. Trustee Robert Taylor, according to Mayor Greg Rogers, was concerned about the condition of the Wiss and asked engineers from Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals in Rochester to inspect the building.

Their three-page report, as discussed by trustees, said the building is currently a danger to the public. Youths have trespassed on the property and there are several potential safety issues that need to be addressed immediately.

But as Trustee Jennifer Keys pointed out, the engineers didn't say the building needed to be demolished, and on a merely visual inspection, they found no structural defects.

A more thorough inspection might be required to find any serious problems.

Trustees Taylor, Jim Bonaquisti and Mike Tucci all seized on the report to call for the building's immediate destruction.

"Obviously, this report kind of opened my eyes to a lot of different things," Bonaquisti said.

He noted that his family once owned the building so he knows the roof has been leaking for 30 years and that there have been no tenants on the third floor, because of the leaks, for those three decades.

He said the report noted that youths have apparently been playing beer pong in the vacant building.

"A great concern of mine is that somebody is going to get hurt," Bonaquisti said. "Now there's talk of somebody signing a release from liability and going in and putting a tarp on the roof. Even though we might not be legally liable, it sure would not make me feel very good if somebody went in there and got hurt."

Taylor said one of the things he learned from the report that makes him more comfortable with tearing the Wiss down is that the neighboring building and the Wiss don't share a common wall, so destruction of the Wiss won't harm the other building.

"And the very last paragraph of the report says that some major structural problems may have eluded detection because of limited access to some areas of the building," Taylor said.

Tucci said the report, in his mind, cements the idea that the Wiss needs to be demolished.

"It needs to come down and it needs to come down now," he said. "The report talks about the danger it poses to life and proprty and the surrounding area. If we continue to let it sit there and collect snow that melts and freezes and does it all over again, it's putting the assets of the village at risk."

Fussell, an attorney with experience in liability law, was taken aback by the sudden concern over liability for the village by Bonaquisti, Taylor and Tucci.

If there was such a concern for the danger of the building, Fussell asked, how come the insurance company for the village hasn't been demanding a cover on the roof or a scaffolding around the building or otherwise pushed the village to ensure the safety of the building?

"We've put in a lot of money and a lot of effort to do something for this community and all of the sudden these bogeymen concerns about liability," Fussell said. "You know I know a lot about liability.

"I'm a trial lawyer. I've been doing it for 40 years. I know a great deal about it. I know that this baloney that you've got about liability is nothing more than that. I'll be very blunt in telling you that."

Former Mayor Jim DeLooze -- who owns a building on Main Street that he said he's invested $250,000 in -- said he's very concerned about the fire danger presented by the Wiss. The first fire wall on Main Street isn't until 60 Main St. The fire department said six years ago, it won't fight an interior fire in the Wiss, but will only fight it from the outside, according to DeLooze.

"The number one responsibility of you five people is the safety of the people of this community," DeLooze said at the start of his statement, and concluding, "I have a very big concern that if that thing ever did catch fire, my building is possibily going to be in danger also. So I'm asking you as a former mayor, please do the right thing and have the thing taken down as quickly as possible."

DeLooze also questioned the historical value of the Wiss, and fellow Main Street property owner Jack Hempfling questioned its esthetic value.

"Most of the younger generation I talk to would feel like Walgreens and the Bank of Castile are the best looking things on Main Street," Hempfling said. "They're certainly not historical, but they (replaced the) eyesores that were taken down. Regardless of what anybody is talking about doing with the Wiss, it's still going to be one of the remaining eyesores in Le Roy.

"They say they're caring for the community. Some of us would think caring for the community isn't keeping it looking like it was in the 1930s. Some of us would say caring for the community is bringing it down and widening the intersection."

Lisa Compton said that since talk of saving the Wiss made the news, it's drawn interest from members of the Genesee County Landmark Society and the NYS Landmark Society, that even a trustee in Bethany has expressed an interest in investing in the project.

While the Wiss itself isn't historical, the structure could play an important role -- and losing it could diminish the chances -- of declaring the village a historic district.

"It's a significant part of the district," Compton said.

Mayor Rogers said he was only looking at the Wiss as a business proposition, which is why he put considerable time into drafting a counterproposal for the LLC to purchase the building.

"While their vision for the Wiss Hotel is nowhere shape or form what mine is, but from what I'll call a business standpoint, we always hear from people who tell you what they can't do, but very seldom do you hear from people who tell you what they can do," Rogers said. "We have people here who are the latter, who are willing to take a chance, who have invested their own money already and, quite frankly, if successful, would save the village $200,000.

"I don't believe they are looking to renovate the building to have the building be the eyesore it is now," Rogers added. "If somebody were to look into the future and think that's their vision, just to have the doors open over there, I would like to think in no way shape or form that's the ideal they have coming."

Rogers' counteroffer included a specific timetable for the LLC to meet, such as being legally formed, securing financing, taking possession of the building, shoring up safety issues and beginning renovations, as well as paying the village $10,000 once a certificate of occupancy was issued.

One of Tucci's objections to the project was that he didn't think the LLC could successfully rent the apartments. Fussell said there would be more market research done before the final floor plan was completed and if the market couldn't sustain five more expensive apartments, then seven could be put into the space at a lower monthly rent. Rogers pointed out that what the LLC did with the building once it owned it wasn't really a matter of village business.

When he called for a motion to approve the counteroffer, Jennifer Keys made the motion, but there was no second, so it died for lack of support.

Talk of possible ground contaminates that could drive up the demolition costs, perhaps to $500,000, almost had Bonaquisti convinced to back the sale to the LLC, but others pointed out that there is no evidence of ground contaminates under the Wiss.

With the counteroffer killed, Tucci made a motion to have the building demolished. This was amended to see requests for proposal to find out exactly how much it would cost the village to tear down the Wiss.

This motion passed 3-2, backed by Tucci, Taylor and Bonaquisti.

Photo: Bob Fussell.

January 8, 2013 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced today that Genesee County has been approved as a Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ), the first FTZ in the Finger Lakes Region since a similar zone was created in Monroe County in 1987. An FTZ is a site within the United States designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce where foreign and domestic merchandise is considered to be in international commerce.

“This is a historic day for economic development in Genesee County and a critical component of our broader efforts to sustain job creation and investment in our region,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of GCEDC. “The approval of this application for FTZ status will help spur economic growth and foreign investment by incentivizing businesses with customs duty savings and other tax advantages, as well as increased flexibility in the handling of domestic and imported merchandise.”

The application designates two Genesee County industrial parks – Apple Tree Acres and the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park – as magnet sites, which allows businesses looking to develop at these sites a fast-tracked application process. Other magnet sites can be added later.

Because an FTZ is considered to be “outside” the customs territory of the United States, foreign or domestic merchandise may enter without a formal customs entry, or the payment of customs duties or government excise taxes. When a final product is exported from an FTZ, no U.S. Customs duty or excise tax is levied. If the final product is imported from the FTZ into the United States, customs duty and excise taxes are due only at the time of formal entry into the United States. The duty paid is the lower of that applicable to the product itself or its component parts.

Genesee County’s application, submitted by the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC), establishes an FTZ under the program’s Alternative Site Framework (ASF). This framework provides Genesee County’s FTZ greater flexibility as a broad geographic area, as opposed to traditional FTZs, which were building/site-specific.

There are a total of only 14 FTZs currently approved in New York State, four of which are located in or near New York City.

January 8, 2013 - 8:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Darien, darien lake theme park.

Attorneys for the estate of James T. Hackemer and Darien Lake Theme Park have reached a settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Hackemer's family, according to the Buffalo News.

The decorated and disabled Iraq War veteran died at the theme park in July 2011 when he was ejected from the Ride of Steel while on an outing with his family.

The Buffalo News reports that as part of the settlement, Darien Lake does not admit liability but will provide Hackemer's daughters, both under age 10, an annuity with a total value that exceeds $1 million.

“Darien Lake and its management are relieved to settle this case,” said Hugh M. Russ III, a lawyer for the amusement park. “And while they admit no liability, they did feel obligated to help care for Mr. Hackemer’s two children.”

The exact amount of the settlement is confidential under terms of the agreement.

January 7, 2013 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, entertainment, Tim Walton.

Press release:

Local entrepreneur Tim Walton has gotten the break he has been waiting for. Walton recently signed a deal with rapper Ya Boy to take over management details for the artist. Ya Boy, aka YB The Rockstar, is the cousin of Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson and is based out of the Hollywood/ Las Angeles area.

"It's a huge opportunity. YB called me and asked me to run his marketing and promotions and before I knew it he asked me to take over his full management detail."

Walton's duties will be to book shows, television appearances, marketing and distribution plans as well as negotiate endorsement and performance deals for the rapper. YB has been a known artist since 2005 and has recently began to expand himself to work with bigger artists including Wiz Khalifa, Akon, DJ Drama, The Game, Tyga, Far East Movement and many more.
"I'm excited to be able to make things happen on a much larger scale. There's a lot of potential and a lot of opportunity for me to do some big things here."
Although the current opperations mostly take place in California, Walton has been giving the opportunity to stay in New York for now and can explore other options in the future.
January 7, 2013 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

On his first full week on the job, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) met with approximately 40 local farmers this afternoon to talk about what they want to see as part of a new farm bill. Congress is set to debate a new five-year farm bill over the coming months. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Collins has made it a top priority to work with his colleagues to pass a new farm bill as soon as possible. The current legislation expired and Congress passed a short-term extension at the end of 2012.

“America’s farmers need their federal government to act and pass a comprehensive, long-term farm bill,” Collins said. “Congress must come together to give our agricultural community the support and long-term stability it needs.”

Held in Batavia, today’s meeting participants included dairy and crop farmers from the various counties that make-up New York’s 27th Congressional District. Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau, also participated. Today’s informal meeting gave Collins an opportunity to hear directly from local farmers in advance of his first Agriculture Committee meeting in Washington. In the near future, Collins’ office will establish a formal Agriculture Advisory Committee.

A new farm bill would establish farm commodity, conservation, trade and nutritional programs for the next five-year period.

“Hardworking farmers cannot be left in limbo while Washington partisans remain deadlocked on the major issues of the day,” Collins said. “A new farm bill is too important to agricultural interests not only in our own community, but all across this country. We all rely on the hard work of America’s farmers and now the federal government needs to do its job.”

January 7, 2013 - 12:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western OTB.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino has closed the books on another record year, with a casino expansion starting in less than one month and the possibility of enhanced gaming on the horizon. The facility has enjoyed at least 4-percent growth every year since opening in 2005.

The 640 video lottery terminals at the track’s gaming parlor generated $45.1 million last year in net winnings, according to the NY Lottery. This figure is up 13.38 percent from 2011’s $39.78 million. Earnings in 2011 were 5.53 percent over what was earned in 2010.

“As one of the nine New York State Racetrack Casinos, we are giving back to the State of New York via our daily contributions to the New York State Lottery, and our distributions to our member municipalities,” said Michael Kane, CEO and president for Batavia Downs Casino.

Batavia Downs in owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation. Municipalities that own Batavia Downs Casino include: the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, and the counties of Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming.

“As a public benefit corporation, all revenues net expenses are distributed to the fifteen counties and two cities of Western New York,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “People know that when they come here for entertainment, their money is going to New York State, either via the lottery for education or to the counties that they live and work in. We’re happy to give back.”

January 7, 2013 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, byron, Oxbo.

Press release:

In efforts to assist Oxbo International Corporation improve upon its quality manufacturing and productivity, National Grid has awarded its Byron plant a Manufacturing Productivity Program Grant.

The grant will be used by Oxbo to help offset the cost of an engineering study on its manufacturing problem solving methodology; development/ validation of appropriate measurements systems; implementation of tools to analyze low-volume variation problems; and, to enhance the Oxbo Product Development Cycle to include best quality practices within their welding department. Oxbo currently utilizes approximately 10,000 different weld configurations which presents high complexity to its problem solving measures and solutions.

“National Grid is committed to assisting and providing value to the manufacturing companies we service,” said Paul Kazmierczak, manager of community and customer management for National Grid in Western New York. “This grant will help ensure Oxbo International is manufacturing its products in the most resourceful method possible.”

“We are very appreciative to National Grid for this $40,000 grant -- it will assist with the development of our next generation corn harvester, which is one of our most important products,” said Gary Stich, president, Oxbo International Corporation. “In our competitive environment, this assistance in improving our efficiency helps to ensure the long term success of the product line.”

National Grid’s Manufacturing Productivity Program provides matching grants of up to $40,000 or 60 percent of the costs incurred by eligible applicants who commit time and resources to lean manufacturing and growth activities.

Oxbo International Corporation develops, manufactures and supplies specialized agricultural equipment for niche market agribusiness worldwide. Oxbo is a direct supplier of much of its equipment, and also utilizes dealers / distributors for certain products and territories. Over the years, Oxbo's product lines have grown to wide acceptance in their markets. Integrity, innovation and superb customer service are time-tested core values of the company’s business practices, and have helped to secure its continuity in an ever-changing agricultural environment. Oxbo currently supplies equipment worldwide to more than 20 countries, making exporting an important part of the business.

December 27, 2012 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, employment, labor.

There are more jobs in Genesee County, but a higher unemployment rate locally, according to statistics released today by the Department of Labor.

In November 2012, there were 29,300 jobs in the county, compared to 29,000 a year ago.

However, the county's unemployment rate went up slightly year-over-year from 7.3 percent to 7.4 percent. That translates into 2,400 people counted as unemployed in November 2012 compared to 2,300 a year ago.

Rochester's unemployment rate went from 7.2 percent to 7.4 percent and Buffalo also saw an increase from 7.5 to 7.9 percent.

Orleans County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at 10.1 percent.


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