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August 20, 2012 - 7:42pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, business, sports, Fisher Sports NY.

Who knew Batavia had a Syracuse Orange dad hanging out behind Pizza Hut?

Kurt Fisher and his family own Fisher Sports NY, at 412 E. Main St. in Batavia. His son, Andrew, a graduate of Oakfield-Alabama High School, plays football for Syracuse University.

"I trained (Andrew) through the years," Fisher said. "Now I follow him around the country."

Fisher, a 1981 Batavia High School graduate, opened the storelast month to provide a venue for players of various sports to access needed equipment. He felt that was something lacking in our area.

"No one sells quality equipment in Batavia," he said. "There are a couple stores that carry a little, but not the major stuff. (It's been that way) probably since Chuck's Sporting Goods closed (in the 1980s)."

A passion for youth sports is part of what inspired Fisher to open this store. He has assisted with football at Oakfield-Alabama High School and is looking to make more opportunities available locally.

"I'd love to get punting and kicking opportunities for kids," he said, "so that they have the same opportunity as my son."

He encourages anyone interested in such opportunities to contact him, either by phone or by coming to the store.

Making equipment readily available is a big part of his mission to preserve and increase athletic opportunities, and that's where Fisher Sports NY comes in.

"(Business) has been getting better as we go along," he said. "But we're still trying to get our name out and let people know we're here."

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 344-2500.

August 20, 2012 - 2:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Press release:

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a federal grant worth $199,821 for a secondary access road at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

The funding is allocated through the USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant program, and is being awarded after Senator Gillibrand toured the nearly finished Alpina Yogurt facility and called for more federal investments in infrastructure at the ag-park in Batavia.

“This is an important investment that can help attract more businesses to the Genesee Valley ag-park, and support more jobs right here,”Senator Gillibrand said.

“I know the potential the ag-park has to help local businesses grow and be a major economic driver for the region. Investing in transportation infrastructure is one of the fastest, most effective ways to create new jobs now, and lay the foundation for more jobs to come.”

In September 2011, Senator Gillibrand helped secure an additional $58,000 from USDA Rural Development for initial infrastructure upgrades at the agri-business park, including expanding existing roads and utilities.

Senator Gillibrand also brought a USDA official to Batavia in April 2012 to tour the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and hear firsthand from local leaders about the need for federal investments to grow this critical industry for the region.

In addition to the USDA, Senator Gillibrand has been active in pushing for federal funds through the U.S. Economic Development Administration to complete infrastructure improvements at the ag-park.

The federal grant funding will be used to design, engineer and construct a secondary access road at the ag-park, a key component of a range of planned infrastructure improvements, including the construction on an aquifer that is required by food processors.

Muller Quaker Dairy, an international yogurt producer, and Alpina Foods would greatly benefit from the completion of the aquifer and would contribute to an increased investment in Genesee County.

Upon the completion of the infrastructural improvements to the Ag-Park, Muller Quaker Dairy would be able to complete a $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility that they expect could generate approximately 186 jobs in the near-term, with the ability to create up to 600 jobs in the long-term. Alpina also expects to be able to create approximately 50 new jobs as a result of finishing the construction.

August 16, 2012 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Darien, darien lake theme park.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is helping the owners of Darien Lake Theme Park refinance $57.5 million in loans by authorizing a mortgage tax exemption of $719,062.

According to a GCEDC release, the bank refinancing the loans is -- for an unexplained reason -- requiring a new mortgage on the property, which is triggering a mortgage tax.

The theme park is owned by Georgia-based Herschend Family Entertainment, which has invested approximately $15 million in upgrades to the facility.

There are 400 full-time equivalent jobs at Darien Lake with an annual payroll of $11 million and the park generates $2.5 million in revenue for local governments and school districts through property and sales taxes.

August 16, 2012 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

With the construction of Batavia Downs Casino’s new LED sign, pieces of the old neon sign are now available to interested parties. Batavia Downs Casino has already given two letters to representatives of the Holland Land Office Museum of Batavia, but other letters still remain.

Interested persons should contact Tom Balk, director of Building and Grounds for information on obtaining remaining pieces. It should be noted that the letters are over 7 feet tall and in various states of disrepair having been on the roof for so long. Mr. Balk can be reached at (585) 343-3750, ext. 312.

August 14, 2012 - 1:47pm

Workers today are installing the first two silos at the new Alpina Products plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Batavia.

The first silo is 40 feet tall and will hold up to 20,000 gallons of raw milk. The second silo is half the height and will hold 12,000 gallons of whey.

More silos can be added as the capacity of the Greek yogurt plant increases.

More pictures after the jump (click on the headline to continue):

August 13, 2012 - 11:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Sponsored Post, advertisement, graham corp..

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August 11, 2012 - 10:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Le Roy.

In 2011, 7-Eleven, Inc., acquired the Buffalo-based Wilson Farms chain and according to an industry report, the company that pioneered the convenience store concept decided to sell three of newly purchased locations in Genesee County.

According to, 7-Eleven will sell two locations in Batavia and one Le Roy.

The Batavia locations would appear to be the stores at corner of Ellicott and Cedar streets and at 189 Pearl St.

A month or so ago, 7-Eleven converted the Wilson Farm at 505 E. Main St., Batavia, to its own branded store.

It appears 7-Eleven is unloading the locations that sell gas.

"In any acquisition of an entire chain, there will inevitably be some stores that don't fit with a buyer's long-term strategic plans," said Robbie Radant, 7-Eleven vice president of mergers and acquisitions. "Such is the case with these 30 properties. While not right for our current operations, we believe they will provide great opportunities for the right buyers, as they did for Wilson Farms over the years."

August 9, 2012 - 3:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, animals, business, education.

Children participating in the city's Summer Youth Program stopped by Pioneer Reptiles in Batavia today, where owner Crystal Poyfair showed the youngsters a variety of lizards, turtles and snakes and other creepy-crawly things. With certain animals, the children were able to feed, hold or touch them. They also got to meet some of the future food of the reptiles, such as giant cockroaches.

Pioneer Reptiles is herpetological breeding facility that breeds and works with pet reptiles and investment-quality reptiles and some critically endangered species.

Poyfair has been working with reptiles for 20 years. She recently moved her business to Batavia from Virginia so her family could be closer to her husband's family.

She said she's deeply involved in the reptile industry and served as executive producer on the documentary Herpers 3. She's been working with Bob Irwin (father of late, great Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin) and Colin Riddell to help end the slaughter of endangered sea turtles and dugong species in Australia.

Tours of the reptile facility are available by appointment, Poyfair said. She really wants to help educate children on the importance of reptiles in nature.

"One of the biggest messages I'm trying to get across is the fact that you really need conservation," Poyfair said. "Don't listen to the old myths. Not all snakes are dangerous. They're not all bad. They serve a purpose in nature, but they're disappearing at an alarming rate."

August 9, 2012 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Masonic Temple.

Don't let the scaffolding around the historic Masonic Temple building at Main and Center streets fool you -- the shops and offices inside the structure remain open for business.

Owner Dave Howe has hired Catenary Construction out of Rochester to give the brick and mortar structure a $150,000 facelift. The masonry is being repointed and restored.

"I could have done some temporary fixes along the way, and could be doing that forever, but the right thing to do to save the building is restore the whole building," Howe said.

Catenary's most recent Batavia projects were the restoration of the St. James Episcopal Church tower and the restoration of the First Baptist Church.

Construction of the Masonic Temple Building was probably completed in 1909. Howe said he has tattered blueprints that are dated 1908.

While Howe is shouldering the majority of the expense, he has conditional approval on a state Main Street Grant for $35,000 and the Business Improvement District is providing a $7,000 facade-improvement grant.

"I couldn't have done it without the help of Don Burkel at the BID and Julie Pacatte at the BDC," Howe said.

Howe recently won a Landmark Society Award for the restoration work on his house in Alexander and the long-time business owner has nursed along the aging Masonic Temple building for a couple of decades, making various repairs and upgrades to keep the building suitable for his business, Charles Men's Shop, and his tenants.

"Besides the fact that I love older buildings and the history of older buildings, also my business is here and it's important to keep up the appearnace of the building for my business and my tenants," Howe said.

Tenants include Enchanted Florist, Travelore, The Batavian, Blue Pearl Yoga, attorney Tom Burns, A Place for Change and the BID.

All businesses and offices remain open during the project, which will take a couple of months, and pedestrian access to East Main Street remains open under the scaffolding.

August 8, 2012 - 1:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Gensee Valley Transportation, rail.

Batavia's rail system sits on beds that are more than 150 years old, but remain relevent and essential in 2012 to local business.

To help ensure the more than one dozen Batavia businesses that regularly use  the line -- now operated by Genesee Valley Transportation -- can continue to depend on the rail system to bring in materials for manufacturing, the state and feds have ponied up nearly $500,000 in grants to make critical repairs.

This week crews are replacing the ties under the steel rails on portions of the entire three miles of the track.

"There's a lot to be said for the work going on out here because if you take the weak spots and strengthen them, that strengthens the whole line," said Director of Operations Doug Eisele. "What’s that have to do with the customer? A whole lot because (if) you derail somewhere, the customer is not getting his product until you get it cleaned up."

Throughout New York, according to, short line rail is experiencing a resurgance in business, but refurbishing antique tracks is an expensive process primarily because the heavy equipment for the jobs is too costly for small lines to even think about buying for infrequent work.

That means contractors -- driving up costs -- are necessary, and that means without the grants, lines so essential to local business would continue to decline to the point of being impossible to use.

Typically, the tracks have been deteriorating for years because owners who were responsible for the lines before they were acquired by short lines (and this was the case in Batavia, according to Eisele) neglected routine maintenance.

According to the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association, the number of short line companies in the U.S. has increased from 200 in 1980 to more than 500 today as national carriers have decided to sell of regional routes.

Eisele said rail makes a lot of sense for manufacturing businesses because it's so much more cost effective than trucking.

"Trucking is available to get there quick, but on top of that is the extra expense, whereas rail can undercut those rates and still provide reasonable service," Eisele said. "That’s really what the customers are looking for."

According to the article, rail can ship "three to four trucks worth of goods 300 miles on a gallon of diesel."

The Short Line association reported in 2009 that "Short line railroads take the equivalent of nearly 33 million truck loads off the highways, saving the country over $1.4 billion annually in highway repair costs and improving highway safety and congestion."

GVT operates six lines with 300 miles of track in Orleans and Erie counties as well as Utica and the North counties along with one line in Pennsylvania.

The company is based in Batavia and employs locally -- including rail operations and company administration -- 22 people.

Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, said GVT is definitely an economic development asset for Batavia.

In discussion with companies looking at Batavia as a location for manufacturing, the availability of rail is a common topic of discussion.

"Having a short line rail system that is well established and well respected and does a really good job like Genesee Valley Transportation is another major asset that helps our strategic development efforts," Hyde said.

While none of the current tenants of the new Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park has yet requested rail, Muller/Pepsi and Alpina have expressed an interest in rail, Hyde said, and future tenants might have a strong need for rail.

The GVT line runs right up to the property line of the ag park and the state has earmarked $1 million in grants to extend the line if the need arises.

The local short line connects into CSX tracks and typically, rail cars are picked up and dropped off at operations connecting the two lines.

For businesses such as Chapin, Graham, Genesee Lumber and Eddy Arnold Recycling, the GVT line is pretty much a direct part of their businesses, but for many other local companies, GVT's recently constructed transfer center at Evans and Mill streets offers a cost-effective way to send and receive large shipments via rail.

The 22,000-square-foot warehouse can help any business throughout Western New York not directly connected with a rail line eliminate hundreds of miles of highway shipping for the more cost-effective alternative of rail.

The ease of access for local rail is also the best bet for turning old factory space in the heart of Batavia into thriving business ventures again, according to both Eisele and Hyde.

"We have buildings here that have been vacant for years," Eisele said. "If a new customer can come in and get a business in shape, if we have the track there that hasn't been used in years, we would come in and find ways to get that track back into shape so the could get their business going. The whole idea is to bring business back into the county and that's what we do."

Hyde said GCEDC is available to help revitalize that aging industrial infrastructure.

"Having an active rail line near some of those older industrial sites to help those things redevelop over time is good and we would certainly be happy to be part of the team," Hyde said.

August 7, 2012 - 10:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Gensee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Press release:

For the third year in a row Genesee County has been recognized in the top five of the rankings in the Metro Food Processing Industry Growth category by "Business Facilities" a national site selection publication.

The agriculture industry in Genesee County employs more than 1,500 workers, a number that will dramatically increase with the opening of Alpina Foods, LLC, and PepsiCo/Muller yogurt manufacturing facilities.

“The construction of two major new food processing facilities by Alpina and the joint venture between PepsiCo and Theo Müller demonstrates a significant return on our investment in our Agri-Business Park which we believe is driving our high national ranking,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC). “We are honored to be once again recognized by 'Business Facilities' as it keeps us on the radar screen for site selectors throughout the United States and the world.”

The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park encompasses 202 shovel-ready, pre-permitted acres strategically located between Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region. On site there is access to low-cost process water via a local aquifer that produces more than six million gallons per day and a pretreatment facility as well as rail access.

Through the support of National Grid and National Fuel, the site has an enhanced utility infrastructure. The agri-park was originally a public-private partnership between GCEDC and Farm Credit East.

“The Agri-Business Park in Genesee County is perfectly tailored to fill a niche in our region created by our productive agricultural sector,” said Mary Pat Hancock, chair, Genesee County Legislature. “It makes perfect sense to have those who process food to have their facilities as near as possible to where the food is produced.

"It makes for a better, safer, and tastier product and is also more efficient.  Our resources lend themselves to food processing and our location is ideal for quick market access. We look forward to continued success and expansion.”

Alpina Foods LLC, one of the most recognized dairy companies in the world and a leading dairy producing company in Colombia and South America, has decided to open its first specialty yogurt manufacturing plant in the United States at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

PepsiCo, in a joint venture with German dairy company Theo Müller, also broke ground earlier this year on a $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility at the park. Other food processing facilities in Genesee County include O-AT-KA Milk, Yancey’s Fancy and Allan’s Canning. 

“The significant dairy supply, abundance of fresh water, and talented workforce are just some of the assets that attract food manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Theo Müller and Alpina foods to Western New York,” said Mark S. Peterson, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise. “It’s no wonder that more than 100 food manufacturers have operations here.”

“Genesee County’s strategic location and agricultural assets make it a prime location destination for the food processing industry,” said Thomas A. Kucharski, president and CEO of Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.

“The vision Genesee County officials have shown in developing shovel-ready sites like the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park has distinguished them among peer communities and allowed us to succeed in attracting global investment and job creation like Alpina, Mueller and more."

August 5, 2012 - 11:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Announcements.

Press release:

Anna M. Lamb, DO, FACOFP of Batavia, New York has been elected as the new president of New York State Osteopathic Medical Society (NYSOMS) as of March 2nd 2012.

Dr. Lamb is a graduate of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (1996) and has her master’s degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo (1992) with a focus on natural sciences.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Saint Bonaventure (NY) University (1989). She owns and operates a family practice, Lamb Family Medicine, in Batavia where she also serves as President of Medical Staff at United Memorial Medical Center.  Dr. Lamb was awarded a Fellow designation by the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) in 2009.  Dr. Lamb also belongs to the New York State ACOFP, the American Academy of Osteopathy, the American Osteopathic Association and the Cranial Academy.

Dr. Lamb is actively involved in her community. She is a member of the Batavia Rotary Club, Zonta Club and concert band.  She is a member of the Genesee County CASA for Children Board as well. 

August 5, 2012 - 8:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Press release:

Ben Thompson, founder and company president of Grease Lightning has announced that Sam Patel has been named the new CEO of Grease Lightning and it’s chain of auto shops.

Mr. Patel, a resident of Moline, IL and investor in Grease Lightning has been involved in various business ventures from constructing, operating, and managing motels, gas stations, liquor stores, fast food chains and property management. He brings tremendous retail business experience, specializing in successfully growing small size to mid size companies and will utilize great operational expertise in franchising to this venture.

Ben Thompson will remain on board as an advisor but will focus on the company’s chemical venture, namely Hog Polish and associated products as well as the company’s media branch. Ben’s wife and co-founder, Jackie Thompson will also step back to an advisory role.

Grease Lightning, a Batavia, NY company was launched in late 2009 and has locations in New York, Maine & Illinois. Parties interested in becoming owner/operator of a Grease Lightning shop anywhere in the U.S. should reach out to VP of Operations John McEwing at (401) 241-9375.

Grease Lightning is operated locally at 4003 W. Main Rd., 50 Liberty St. and on the web at

August 5, 2012 - 7:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, business, downtown, pembroke.

Press release:

City Slickers Bar & Grill is giving back. This time, it's all powered by Facebook. Starting today, anyone that likes their facebook page, , will have add another $.25 that will be donated to Austin Heineman. Austin, a recent 2012 Pembroke graduate, was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. The donations are being given to help pay for medical bills and treatments that his insurance would not cover. The donation count will continue to grow until $500.00 is raised for Austin's Army!

August 2, 2012 - 7:00pm

PepsiCo and Theo Muller officials along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the efforts of local leaders to convince the two international companies to locate their new yogurt plant in Batavia.

The executives, elected officials along with a host of local dignitaries gathered at the new Muller Quaker Dairy plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park today for a dedication ceremony for the new plant.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi, said once it was time to make a decision about the location for the plant, Batavia was an easy choice.

"I must say the Genesee County people and the governor’s office were just amazing in the way they worked with us," Nooyi said. "There was no competition. We love being here. The Genesee County people have to be given a lot of credit, the way they brought the forces of the county together to get everything expedited in such a short time. I think it is a real textbook example of how to attract investment into any community."

Stefan Muller, the CEO of the newly formed Muller Quaker Dairy company, said the day that executives traveled to the Genesee Agri-Business Park, the amount of support Genesee County lined up for the visit was impressive. There were representatives from local government and utility companies making promises on delivery of what Pepsi and Muller would need to build the project.

"I have seen 60 sites that were just locations on a map and I have seen six sites personally, but what we saw here was just outstanding," Muller said. "We were promised to get all of the permissions within weeks and we couldn’t believe it."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also praised Genesee County officials and said the effort to bring the Muller Quaker plant to Batavia is an example of how New York is open for business.

“We want business in New York," Cuomo said. "Business is the engine that drives the train, providing the jobs, providing the opportunity, providing the career ladder, providing the revenues to local governments. It’s all about making the private sector run and making the private sector run well and government partnering with that private sector. “

Yogurt, Cuomo said, is quickly becoming a big part of New York's economy -- production is up 60 percent in the past few years and there are now 49 yogurt plants in the state. He said the state is committed to ensuring the yogurt industry succeeds.

"We believe in the yogurt story and we’ve invested in the yogurt story," Cuomo said. "It is a big, big business in the State of New York."

He announced an Aug. 15 summit of leaders in the yogurt industry and dairy leaders to help facilitate, he said, the two groups working together to grow the yogurt industry.

"We want this business to do well," Cuomo said. "We want this business to thrive and we want this business to thrive in the State of New York."

Pepsi is committed to growing in the nutritional food categories, and dairy in particular, Nooyi said.

"Dairy products are a $500 billion industry that is expected to grow rapidly in the high single digits," Nooyi said. "We believe that here in the United States the growth potential for dairy is virtually unlimited."

The yogurt market, she said, is "largely untapped." The per-capita consumption of yogurt in the U.S. is half what it is in many other countries."

Muller said the new product is sweeter than what Theo Muller makes in Germany to meet U.S. consumer expectations and Nooyi praised the new yogurt.

"The Muller Quaker Dairy line is going to bring a whole new taste experience to America that’s not like anything that’s available in the country today," Nooyi said. "Try it and you’ll see that it’s more rich than any other yogurt you've tasted.

"It’s creamier. It’s more delicious. It doesn’t have any chalky aftertaste. It's really something you’ll enjoy eating day in and day out, maybe even three or four times a day."

Muller said the online feedback on the new product has been fun to read.

"I read on the Internet, on a blog, one consumer was writing, she tried the product two weeks ago and she is writing it is insanely delicious," Muller said. "This was really, I think, the right comment."

Both chief executives praised their new business partner as the perfect fit for how each company would like to grow.

"I have to say it was good and smart that we took the time because we found the right partner with PepsiCo and the yogurt market is booming," Muller said. "It’s still a very small market compared to other countries and we have products which are very unique and are really outstanding for the American market."

Nooyi said Pepsi has the distribution system to get the new product onto store shelves throughout the United States.

She also said the two companies share a core value in being committed to their local communities.

"One of the reasons this is a great partnership is both companies are committed to growing our businesses and both are committed to growing our local communities," Nooyi said. "When this plant is complete next year, it will be one of the largest yogurt plants in the United States. It’s going to source largely from New York State dairy farmers and other quality suppliers around this great region. The best part is it will create 186 local jobs next year."

July 27, 2012 - 8:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, synthetic drugs, bath salts.

Reminder, the "Let's Beat Bath Salts" rally is tomorrow (Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at L&L Transmissions, 8781 Alexander Road, Batavia.

Sponsors for the event are:

Hawley Insurance
Molasses Hill Bulk Foods
The Olive Branch
Southside Deli
Neptune's Gardens
Angotti's Beverage
East Town Beverage
Gold Rush
T-Shirts, ETC.
Bourbon & Burger Co.
Valle Jewelers 
Pink Gorilla Tees
Foxprowl Collectibles
Henry Moscicki, NP-C
Rochester Metal Booking
Weis Truck and Trailer Repair
Frankly Design
The Batavian
Falleti Motors
Clor's Meat Market
Low Xpectations Car and Truck Club
B-Town Yellow Taxi
Affordable Cab
Batavia Restaurant Supply
July 26, 2012 - 2:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, tourism, darien lake, Darien.

Press release:

In its latest step to ensure the safety and enjoyment of guests going to the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Lake has announced it will require concertgoers to park in free on-site lots. As of Aug. 17, pedestrian access to the Performing Arts Center will be restricted to passenger drop-off at a designated area near the main gate.

“We offer more than enough parking to accommodate park visitors, overnight guests, and a sell-out crowd at the Performing Arts Center,” explained Darien Lake General Manager Bob Montgomery. “In our work with Live Nation, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, and New York State Police, we’ve determined that allowing pedestrian access to concerts increases risk to those walking along the roadway, increases traffic jams before and after concerts, and increases the incidence of excessive pre- and post-show alcohol consumption.”

The new parking rules mark the second significant step Darien Lake’s management organization, Herschend Family Entertainment, has implemented this year to improve the concertgoing experience. At the beginning of the 2012 season, Darien Lake stepped up patrols to decrease the incidence of underage drinking at its events. As a result, arrests for underage drinking have more than doubled over last year.

To help enforce its new parking policy, Darien Lake will erect a fence along Sumner Road (County Road 21). Construction of the fence began on July 24th, and will take approximately three weeks. All concert attendees will be required to enter by vehicle at the main Darien Lake entrance. There will continue to be no charge for on-site parking for concertgoers.

“Darien Lake was built to handle an influx and outflow of traffic,” Montgomery said. “With less traffic coming onto side roads from offsite parking, we believe this new policy may ultimately result in smoother traffic flow.”

The Darien Lake Performing Arts Center schedule includes eight concerts between now and the end of this year’s concert season (Sept. 15). The new policy will be in effect beginning August 17, throughout the 2012 and future concert seasons.

July 25, 2012 - 7:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

The way Russ Walker sees it, the day is coming when the government bans the internet sale of electronic cigarettes, just as the state has done with tobacco cigarettes.

When that happens, Walker said, storefront locations offering the modern alternative to tobacco-based products will be in a good position to grow.

A couple of weeks ago, Walker opened R.W. Vapors at 224 Ellicott St., Batavia.

E-cigs are cigarette-shaped devices that are designed to deliver the sense of smoking. They contain a liquid that is heated and vaporizes. The liquid can be flavored and may contain nicotine in varying amounts, from none to a heavier concentration, depending on the preference of the consumer.

"I can't make health claims about e-cigarettes," Walker said. "It is an alternative to tobacco. You're not getting all of the carcenogens. There's no combustion."

Typically, e-cig smokers are people who want to get away from smoking tobacco, or use the product as a bridge toward quitting cigarettes.

While Walker sells novelties as well in his store, he said he won't knowingly sell his product as a novelty to somebody just looking to experiment with e-cigs.

"This isn't for anybody who isn't already on some form of nicotine," Walker said. "I don't recommend starting a nicotine habit if you don't already have one."

Walker also won't sell to minors, even though a state law regulating the sales of e-cigs based on age won't go into effect until January.

As for the liquid, Walker said he mixes all of the liquid himself.

"It's not imported from China," he said. "It's all made locally."

Walker said he sells a variety of flavors and can make custom-order mixes.

As for the novelties -- what he carries in his shop are decidedly old-school pranks and jokes. He said he knew his shop would need to offer a variety of products besides e-cigs so he picked a product line he said he's always enjoyed.

The store also carries some jewelry -- charms and bracelets.

July 24, 2012 - 9:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

Robert Brown, an Albion resident, stands with his hot dog cart outside Batavia City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

It's been about a decade since the city has approved permits for street vendors, but recently decided to start issuing them again.

Brown and his partners jumped on the opportunity and were the first vendors approved for a permit.

They've been running hot dog carts in Orleans County for a number of years.

"We found out the city was going to allow street vendors," Brown said. "It's been a while since it's been allowed, but we thought this would be a great city (for a hot dog cart)."

The hot dog stand opened on Friday and Brown said he and his partners will operate the cart from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday offering hot dogs, hamburgers and sausage.

July 24, 2012 - 5:49pm

In an apparent attempt to intimidate news reporters from covering the activities of her stores, the woman who has identified herself online as the owner of at least four outlets of The 420 Emporium contacted law enforcement on Monday and accused The Batavian's publisher of harassing her.

A police officer with the Greece PD contacted Howard Owens at 9:18 p.m., Monday, and ordered him to not have further contact with Amber Snover.

Snover was the subject of a story on The Batavian on Monday identifying her as the self-proclaimed owner of 420 shops in Brockport, Fulton, Henrietta and Syracuse.  It's unclear if she also owns the Batavia store at 400 Ellicott St.

When contacted via phone on Monday, Snover denied ownership of all five locations and Owens followed up with a text message question and an exchanged ensured in which she accused Owens of harassing her even though it was his first contact with her.

Owens, who had identified himself clearly on the initial call, informed Snover further via text that he was a reporter with legitimate questions.

When Owens told the Greece PD officer the same thing, the officer told Owens he had no right to contact Snover, that she was "alarmed and annoyed" by the contact and that if he contacted her again "we will issue a warrant for your arrest."

The Public Information Officer for the Greece PD, Capt. Steve Chatterton, said today the contact by the officer was a typical courtesy call placed by a police officer at the behest of an individual who wanted to request no further contact.

Chatterton said no police report was taken and no charges are pending. He said if Owens felt obliged as a journalist to seek an interview in the future with Snover, an arrest warrant would not be automatic. He said the circumstances of the case would be reviewed with the Monroe County District Attorney's Office before deciding how to proceed.




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

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