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February 9, 2018 - 4:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, GCC, business, creativity.

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the breakout sessions will be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 9, 2018 - 4:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCASA.

Press release:

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) is very pleased to announce that it has been named one of the "Best Companies to Work for in New York State" for 2018.

“As a nonprofit organization it is often difficult to be competitive with compensation and benefits offered by the for profit sector," said John Bennett, GCASA executive director. "Here at GCASA, we are always looking to enhance employees’ day to day job satisfaction in meaningful ways.

"Being honored as a best company is the result of servant leaders, a dedicated professional staff and a wonderful board of directors.” 

GCASA will be honored at a public awards dinner to be held at the Albany Marriott on Wednesday, April 18. During the event, GCASA will learn its rank among the 27 companies in the category for small employers with 15-99 U.S. employees.

GCASA has been serving Genesee and Orleans Counties for more than 40 years. Services include prevention education and outpatient and residential treatment for individuals with substance use disorders; and an employee assistance program.

For more information, please contact Human Resource Director, Kim Corcoran at 585-815-1801.

February 9, 2018 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, news, batavia, business.

Press release:

Timing is everything, and now is the time to leave as executive director of YWCA of Genesee County after six and a half years, Jeanne Walton says.

“I have been fortunate to work with a lot of people and take the organization to a new level,” Walton said. “And we’re at a point where a lot of things need to be addressed and we need a person with a different skill set to work on them.”

When Walton took the position in July 2011, her goals were to work with staff to increase exposure and awareness of YWCA, its offerings and mission to empower women and families and eliminate racism.

That tall order was achieved with the addition of the Care+Crisis Helpline in 2015; a total renovation of the My Sister’s Closet thrift shop; expanding the agency’s awards event into a nationally aligned Women of Distinction function; and increased devotion to serving the needs of domestic violence victims and child care families.

“Being here has taught me a lot about the need for these services in the community. I was not aware, especially, for the need of crisis services,” Walton said. “We’ve worked hard to change things in the domestic violence department to provide services we hope will urge clients to make significant transformations in their lives.

"For the past four years we’ve really brought some significant change to the lives of people, especially those who have gone into our Safe House; some have completely turned their lives around. And the Care+Crisis Helpline has filled a huge void.”

Although some ventures have come and gone, such as the Artisans at North Street and a teen youth program, they have all been important “to the process and to our learning development,” Walton said.

She is proud of the agency’s more recent and ongoing programs and events, which have also included the Stiletto & Sneaker 5K, a Healthy Relationships course taught in local schools, peace and justice vigils, support groups and the You Engaging Success transition program for domestic violence victims.

They all prove that the agency’s vision can be interpreted in a variety of ways, she said.

“I’m appreciative of the continuous support the community has offered to me, but more importantly, to YWCA as a whole in supporting new ventures we’ve undertaken,” Walton said.  

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Board Member Roula Alkhouri said that Walton’s experience in management and business helped YWCA raise awareness about the needs of those affected by domestic violence and other related struggles.

“Her personal passion for helping others has enabled the YWCA to grow its programs and increase its outreach and funding,” Alkhouri said. “We are indebted to Jeanne’s steadfastness, commitment and vision for all the new programs that YWCA offered in our community.”

Millie Tomidy-Pepper has begun her new role as executive director and looks forward to working on agency initiatives to eliminate racism and empower women.

As a former executive director of the Mental Health Association in Genesee County, Tomidy-Pepper brings several years of experience and a background in nonprofit management, including the oversight of fiscal stability and growth, employee and facility management, advocating for clients at a national, state and local level and strategic planning to reach fiscal stability, quality service and enhanced community awareness.

She has a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and has received many awards for significant accomplishments in leadership, staff management and community involvement.

"At this time in our nation’s history, when women's rights and civil rights are being challenged every day, I cannot think of a place I would rather be working than the YWCA, an organization whose mission is to eliminate racism and empower women,” Tomidy-Pepper said. “This job is a dream come true for me."

YWCA of Genesee County’s three primary programs are Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services, Children & Family Services and the 24-hour Care+Crisis Helpline.

The agency is the sole provider of domestic violence services in Genesee County and offers before and after school child care at seven sites in Genesee and Livingston counties. For more information, call (585) 343-5808.

February 8, 2018 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in tourism, business, news, chamber of commerce.

Sports continues to become a bigger part of Genesee County's tourism economy, Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director for the Chamber of Commerce, told members of the Ways and Means Committee during an annual update on Wednesday.

For years, since the Batavia Sports Park opened, Batavia has been home of the Empire Cup soccer showcase and this year the two-weekend event will be supplemented by a third weekend of soccer for another tournament.

That additional tournament will mean an addition 4,000 room nights for local hotels and about $500,000 of local economic impact.

June is also booked solid with sports. In this case, baseball.

Genesee County has long been a top destination for Canadian golfers, though last season the number of golfers crossing the border dropped off because of an unfavorable exchange rate. The exchange rate still isn't good, Rapone said, but golfers started booking packages in January, which may be a sign that the Canadians have mentally adjusted to the new prices and are ready to make the trip anyway.

Music has also grown into a source of tourism dollars, Rapone said. The venues have grown from beyond just Darien Lake to include The Ridge, in Le Roy, entering its eighth season, and Batavia Downs.

The first concert series at the Downs last year was a success, so officials there are apparently planning on booking more shows this year.

It's not so much that the concerts sell out, Rapone said -- the concerts help increase casino traffic and lead to more room nights booked at the new hotel.

The hotel hit its first anniversary in October, Rapone said, and in the fourth quarter, as a result of the hotel being open, there was a bump in local tourism revenue in 2017.

Rapone said she believes Batavia Downs is looking to book more expo-type of events, which brings more people to town, more people into the casino, and leads to more nights booked at the hotel.

February 7, 2018 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, 2018 tax laws.

Press release:

“The New Tax Laws -- How It Affects You and Your Business” will be the subject of a small business workshop to be hosted by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

This is one of a series of business workshops held in conjunction with the United States Small Business Administration and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

The workshops are open to all Chamber and non-Chamber businesses and their employees and will offer expert advice from experienced business professionals designed to help small businesses succeed and grow.

“2018 ushers in the most sweeping changes in our tax laws in recent history,” said Tom Turnbull, Chamber president. “What will that mean for you and your business?  Samantha Shafer and Jonathan Herdlein of The Bonadio Group will answer those questions and give an overview of these still evolving tax law changes.”

The workshops are held at the Chamber of Commerce office, 8276 Park Road, Batavia. The sessions will run from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and includes a question-and-answer period. Businesses may attend any one or all of the workshops.

Cost for non-Chamber members is $10 for each attendee. Chamber members and Batavia Business Improvement District members may attend all sessions free of charge but should make reservations to insure space.

To reserve a seat in any workshop or for more information, contact Kelly Bermingham at 585-343-7440 or by email at [email protected].

February 7, 2018 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, bergen, elba, batavia, Crosby's, news, business.

Press release:

Crosby’s is celebrating the grand reopening of two convenience stores in Batavia and Elba this week.

Grand reopening festivities will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at the store in Elba, located at 64 S. Main St., and will be attended by: Keith Palmer, Elba Central School District superintendent; Assemblyman Stephen Hawley; Jay Grasso, a field representative from Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer’s office; and Patrick McKinney, a representative from Congressman Chris Collins’ office.

At 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 9, the Batavia location at 5267 Clinton Street Road will celebrate its grand reopening with Mickey Edwards, Byron-Bergen Central School District superintendent; Assemblyman Hawley; and Congressman Chris Collins.

In addition to the festivities at each location, Crosby’s will donate $500 each to the Byron-Bergen Central School District and the Elba Central School District.

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

“Updating these two stores allows us to better serve our customers with an expanded offering,” said Doug Galli, vice president and general manager of Reid Stores. “Crosby’s thrives in communities like these because we become an active participant within the community – beyond simply offering products and service.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit www.CrosbysStores.com.

February 7, 2018 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, news, business.

img_1612.jpg

Yesterday afternoon, consultants and an investigator from the Department of Environmental Conservation were at the former Santy Tire property, an anticipated part of the Ellicott Station project, digging test pits to further define the severity and scope of environmental contamination on the property.

There is a pending application for the property for a brownfield tax credit -- one has already been granted for the Della Penna property -- for the parcel. The DEC asked for more evidence of environmental contamination.

February 6, 2018 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today denounced actions by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to bring a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s decision to either rescind or revise the Waters of The United States (WOTUS) rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama.

In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized their WOTUS rule giving the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expanded jurisdiction over bodies of water including farm ponds, storm drains, and wetlands. The Obama rule, if implemented, would have increased permitting costs, lead to unnecessary litigation, and pile on red tape for anything from a construction site to a farm.  Adoption of the flawed WOTUS rule will have disastrous effects on agriculture, small business, and municipalities across the country. 

Realizing how devastating the Obama edict would be to local farmers and communities, President Trump signed an executive order in February 2017 to roll back the WOTUS rule. The Trump executive order instructed the EPA and USACE to begin the process of withdrawing the Obama rule with the EPA filing paperwork to suspend the rule for two years while they work to replace it.

“Yet again we are seeing Attorney General Eric Schneiderman catering to the liberal left and disregarding anything that is good for Western New York,” Collins said. “He continues to meddle with federal policy by supporting an Obama rule that would create confusion, increase costs, and place huge burdens on our nation’s farms, state governments, manufacturers, and just about any type of business resulting in detrimental economic impacts.”

Collins has been a vocal advocate for withdrawing and rewriting the Obama WOTUS rule since he was elected to Congress, something that has received strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. Implementing Obama's rule would contradict two Supreme Court decisions, as well as many state and tribal water laws. 

Collins added: “It is ironic that as we are heading into an election year, we are seeing more and more frivolous lawsuits from the Cuomo Administration and his left-wing allies. It is sad that instead of figuring out how to cut New York’s bloated budget and protect New York property owners and businesses, Cuomo and Schneiderman continue their never-ending effort to score political points at the cost of our State’s economy and the taxpayers who pay the bills.”

February 2, 2018 - 5:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Country Max, batavia, news, business, notify.

countrymaxclosing2018.jpg

Country Max, the pet and garden supply store at 610 E. Main St., is closing with the last day of business planned for Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.

None of the regional chain's other 15 stores are closing.

Owner Don Payne said employees of the Batavia store are being offered jobs in either Geneseo or Brockport.

"We had entered that location more than seven years ago with a great deal of optimism but it has just not worked out," Payne said.
"We just have not been able to bring the stores business along far enough to make it even cover the costs."

The decision to close the store, he said, wasn't easy.

"We certainly leave the area with a heavy heart and wish to thank all of the people that have shopped at our store over the years," Payne said.

February 2, 2018 - 4:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in Farming, business, steve hawley, agriculture.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has announced $5.5 million is now available to farmers and agricultural producers as part of two new grant programs. The awards are aimed toward farmland conservation, assisting farmers in identifying available land and ensuring that arable land is permanently protected from development and non-farm uses.

“Farming is one of the cornerstones of our community and extremely important to our local economy, traditions and way of life,” Hawley said.

“Too often, farmers lose the ability to work the land due to environmental concerns or development, and these new grants will help protect our producers and ensure that family farms remain family businesses. I remain committed to giving our farmers a voice in Albany, and I look forward to advocating their concerns as we progress through this year’s session.”

More information can be found on the state’s Agriculture and Markets site and interested applicants can access grant information here. Applications will be processed until all funding for the program has been exhausted.

Hawley is the former owner/operator of Hawley Farms in Batavia and sits on the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee.

February 2, 2018 - 4:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, business, Farming.

Press release:

Looking to improve soybean and small grains production in 2018! Cornell Cooperative Extension’s NWNY Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team will be offering their annual congresses for soybean and small grain producers throughout the region. 

Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Quality Inn & Suites, 8250 Park Road, Batavia

Guest Speakers:

Dustin Lewis PhD, District Manager, BASF Crop Protection

Dicamba Tolerant Beans: Learning from the Past, Looking Forward to the Future.” * This session will cover the label requirements to fulfill the certification needed to use dicamba tolerant products on DT soybeans.

Adam Gaspar PhD, Field Agronomist, DuPont Pioneer

"The Intersection of Soybean Physiology and Management with Tight Margins and Greater Environmental Variability."

Other topics to be discussed by Cornell University researchers, Cornell Cooperative Extension and local industry:

·         Marestail and Waterhemp Herbicide Resistance

·         Disease Management Issues in Wheat and Soybeans

·         2017 Soybean Yield Contest Winners: How’d they do it!

·         Small Grains Management Updates: Wheat & Malting Barley

·         Industrial Hemp for Small Grain Production

Registration fee: $50 per person includes AM Refreshments & Hot Buffet Lunch DEC Recertification points and Certified Crop Advisor credits will be available PLEASE PRE-REGISTER to guarantee a lunch: Call Cathy Wallace @ 585.343.3040, ext. 138, or [email protected].

February 2, 2018 - 3:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, Farming, bergen, USDA NRCS, business.

Press release:

On Feb. 8th, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will be hosting a producer meeting from 9 a.m. to noon at Gillam Grant Community Center in Bergen. It is located at 6966 W. Bergen Road.

This informational meeting will feature producer workshops and question/answer sessions. It is free and open to the public. Donuts and coffee will be provided.

Anyone interested in agricultural planning, construction project management, manure application technology and/or funding opportunities is encouraged to attend. RSVP by Feb. 6 to Heath Eisele at  [email protected] or by phoning (585) 201-5633.

If you fall into any of these categories, you will want to attend this meeting:

1.      You are interested in applying for state and/or federal financial assistance programs in 2019 and beyond;

2.      Your farm is looking to construct a large manure storage and you’re wondering how to manage the project;

3.      You would like to improve the overall nutrient management on your farm with the use of manure injection/drag hose;

4.      You’re curious about the financial assistance that is available, especially for the Genesee River Watershed and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Focus Area;

5.      You’re interested in learning about the lending opportunities from the USDA-Farm Service Agency;

6.      You have never heard of the Soil & Water’s AEM program.

Workshop/Presenters will be:

Planning -- Heath Eisele, USDA NRCS

Contruction Management -- Gina Lathan, Lathan Equipment Co. LLC

Manure Application Technology -- Dan Athoe, Cuff Farm Services

FSA Loans / Other Programs -- Christen Trewer, USDA Farm Service Agency

AEM Grant Funding Opportunities -- Jered Elliott / Molly Cassatt, Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District

February 2, 2018 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCEDC, news, batavia, business.

From the GCEDC:

The annual meeting and luncheon of the Genesee County Economic Development Center will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 9, at Batavia Downs in the Paddock Room.

Co-keynote speakers are Thomas Kucharski, president and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara, and Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise.

According to the GCEDC, 2017 was a landmark year for Genesee County, and you are invited to learn more about how the center is connecting the "Buffalo-Rochester Metro Corridor" and advancing economic development regionally.

At the annual meeting, the GCEDC and its partners will be celebrated and highlights from 2017 will be reviewed; also, the economic landscape in New York State for 2018 will be discussed.

This is an excellent opportunity to network with economic and elected leaders from around the region. The GCEDC will unveil the "2018 Economic Development Partner of the Year Award."

Feel free to arrive an hour early, at 11 a.m., for an informal networking opportunity.

Batavia Downs is located at 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

To register for the event, click here.

For more information, contact Rachel Tabelski, Marketing & Communications director for the GCEDC, at [email protected] or phone 585-343-4866, ext. 12.

February 1, 2018 - 5:43pm
Press release:

Premier Genesee Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation is pleased to announce that Kristina Ferrando, RN, has been promoted to the role of Director of Nursing for the facility.

Ferrando received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from SUNY Brockport and has been a registered professional nurse since 2003. She was previously employed by the Genesee County Department of Mental Health before coming to Premier Genesee in 2015. She brings a wealth of experience to her role.\

Assisting Ferrando in the role of Assistant Director of Nursing will be Jacquelyn Siverling, RN. She recently joined Premier Genesee as a Nursing Unit Manager. Siverling received her nursing education at Genesee Community College and also worked for the Genesee County Department of Mental Health before coming to Premier Genesee.

January 29, 2018 - 11:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, business.

Press release:

As reported by many financial institutions, Tompkins Financial Corporation’s earnings for the quarter and year- to-date periods ended December 31, 2017, were impacted by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which reduced the Federal statutory tax rate from 35% in 2017, to 21% in 2018. The change in the tax law created a one-time, fourth quarter, non-cash write-down of net deferred tax assets in the amount of $14.9 million due to the required remeasurement of the net deferred tax assets using the new lower tax rate.

President and CEO Stephen Romaine commented, “I am extremely proud of our Company’s results in 2017. Though our reported earnings are down for the year, had it not been for the non-cash write-down related to the tax law change, our earnings would have been at a record level. Coupled with the general positive trends we have seen in business growth, the lower marginal tax rate will have a meaningful positive impact on future earnings.”

A summary of the impact of the tax law changes on 2017 full year earnings per share is as follows:

§ Diluted earnings per share for year ended December 31, 2017, (including the one-time charge related to tax reform) were $3.43, down 12.3% over full year 2016

§ Adjusted diluted earnings per share for year ended December 31, 2017 (excluding the one-time charge related to tax reform) were $4.42, up 13.0% over full year 2016 (refer to table of “Non GAAP Measures” included in this press release)

GAAP net income for the year ended December 31, 2017, was $52.5 million, down from $59.3 million reported in 2016. Diluted earnings per share were $3.43 for the year ended December 31, 2017, down from the $3.91 per share reported in 2016. Excluding the impact of the one-time charge related to changes in the tax law,

For more information contact:

Stephen S. Romaine, President & CEO Francis M. Fetsko, Executive VP, CFO & COO Tompkins Financial Corporation (888)503-5753

diluted earnings per share for 2017 would have been $4.42, reflecting an increase of 13.0% over diluted earnings per share for 2016. Refer to the table of “Non-GAAP Measures” included in this press release for additional details.

GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 was $2.5 million, down from the $15.1 million reported for the same period in 2016. Diluted earnings per share of $0.16 for the fourth quarter of 2017 were down 83.8% from the $0.99 reported in the fourth quarter of 2016. Removing the impact of the one-time charge related to tax reform from fourth quarter earnings would have resulted in diluted earnings per share of $1.15 for the fourth quarter of 2017, representing a 16.2% increase over the same period in 2016. Refer to the table of “Non- GAAP Measures” included in this press release for additional details.

Mr. Romaine further commented, “Tompkins has a history of being a high performing Company with a long- term focus. In keeping with this approach, we plan to leverage the benefits of reduced taxes from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 in a way that is consistent with our strategy of creating long-term value for our clients, shareholders, communities and employees. This includes planned investments to modernize our facilities, improve customer-facing technology and expand staff in support of these initiatives. We have always given generously to the communities we serve and expect to continue to increase that level going forward. We have a long history of paying profit sharing to our employees and we have raised the profit sharing payout that will be paid in 2018 to 9.0% of employee annual pay. We also plan to raise the minimum wage paid by our Company to $14.00 - $15.00 per hour based on geography and we are committed to increasing compensation for all employees earning less than $18.00 per hour. We are investing just in excess of $1.0 million to increase our wages to these levels.”

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS FOR YEAR AND FOURTH QUARTER:

  • §  Net interest income for the full year of $201.3 million, is up 11.4% over 2016; while net interest income for the fourth quarter of $52.0 million is up 12.1% over the same quarter last year.

  • §  Total loans of $4.7 billion at year end 2017 were up 9.7% over year end 2016

  • §  Noninterest bearing deposit balances of $1.4 billion at year end 2017 are up 16.3% over year end 2016

  • §  Nonperforming assets remain at historically low levels and compare favorably to our industry peers, with nonperforming assets representing 0.38% of total assets at year end 2017, compared to 0.36% at year end 2016.

NET INTEREST INCOME

For the full year ended December 31, 2017, net interest income was $201.3 million, up $20.7 million, or 11.4% from the same period in 2016. Net interest income of $52.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by $5.6 million, or 12.1% compared to the same period in 2016.

Growth in net interest income was largely driven by an 11.2% increase in average total loans during 2017, up $444.0 million over average loans in 2016. The loan growth was supported, in part, by a $249.4 million increase in average total deposits over the same period. The net interest margin was 3.42% in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 3.40% for the most recent prior quarter, and 3.30% for the same quarter last year.

NONINTEREST INCOME

For the full year, noninterest income of $69.2 million is up slightly from $68.8 million reported for 2016. Noninterest income was $17.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, and was up $996,000 compared to the same period in 2016. Fee income business related to cards services and investment and management services contributed to the improvement. Insurance revenue and services charges on deposit accounts were down, partially offsetting those improvements. Results for 2017 included realized losses on available-for-sale securities in the amount of $407,000, compared to realized gains of $926,000 in 2016.

NONINTEREST EXPENSE

For the full year, noninterest expenses were $171.1 million in 2017, up 7.9% over 2016. Noninterest expense was $46.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, up 17.5% when compared to that same quarter in 2016. During 2017, the Company invested $2.7 million in a historic preservation tax credit which yielded Federal and NYS tax credits. The project was placed in service in the fourth quarter, and accordingly, the fourth quarter results include the required write-off of this investment as operating expense and recognition of the related $3.3 million of tax credits generated from the investment as a reduction of income tax expense. 2017 expenses also included $731,000 of deconversion expenses related to system conversions (including a core system conversion completed in the second quarter of 2017); compared to deconversion expenses of $546,000 recognized in 2016.

INCOME TAX EXPENSE

During 2017, the Company’s effective tax rate was 44.8%, compared to 31.3% in 2016. The increase is mainly due to the $14.9 million one-time write-down of net deferred tax assets discussed above. Tax expense for 2017 benefited from the $3.3 million historic tax credit described above, which was recognized in the fourth quarter of 2017. As previously mentioned, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 will reduce the federal statutory tax rate from 35% in 2017, to 21% in 2018.

ASSET QUALITY

Asset quality trends remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2017. Nonperforming assets represented 0.38% of total assets at December 31, 2017, up slightly from 0.36% at December 31, 2016. Nonperforming asset levels continue to be below the most recent Federal Reserve Board Peer Group Average1 of 0.64%.

Full year provision for loan and lease losses was $4.2 million in 2017, down from $4.3 million in 2016. Net loan and lease charge-offs for 2017 were $145,000 compared to net charge-offs of $570,000 reported in 2016. The provision for loan and lease losses was $2.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, up from $1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The Company’s allowance for originated loan and lease losses totaled $39.7 million at December 31, 2017, and represented 0.91% of total originated loans and leases at December 31, 2017, compared to 0.92% at December 31, 2016. The total allowance represented 172.84% of total nonperforming loans and leases at December 31, 2017, up from 164.98% at December 31, 2016.

CAPITAL POSITION

Capital ratios remain well above the regulatory well capitalized minimums. The ratio of tangible common equity to tangible assets was 7.24% at December 31, 2017, a decline from the 7.58% reported for the most recent prior quarter, and 7.25% at December 31, 2016. Contributing to the decline in capital levels in the fourth quarter of 2017 was the impact of Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. The change in the tax law created a one-time non-cash write-down of net deferred tax assets in the amount of $14.9 million due to the remeasurement of the assets using the new lower tax rate. 

January 26, 2018 - 11:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in onion growers, Farming, crop insurance, agriculture, business, RMA.

Press release:

The USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds onion growers that the final date to apply for crop insurance coverage for the 2018 crop year is Feb. 1. Current policy holders who wish to make changes to their existing policies have until Feb. 1 to do so.

Federal crop insurance is critical to the farm safety net. It helps porducers and owners manage revenue risks and strengthens the rural economy.

Coverage for onions is available in select counties.

The 2018 price election, per hundredweight, for red onions is $24.90; white onions is $18.50; yellow onions is $11.80. Additional information can be found on the Actuarial Information Browser page on the RMA website.

Growers are encourage to visit their crop insurance agent soon to learn specific details for the 2018 crop year, including insurance for onions, which may be eligible for coverage under a written agreement.

Crop insurance decisions must be made on or before the sales closing date.

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of agents is available at all USDA service centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator.

Producers can use the RMS Cost Estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online.

For more information about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net visit www.rma.usda.gov

January 24, 2018 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, Della Penna Building, batavia, news, business.

savarinobrickelevation_ellicottstation.jpg

Financing for developer Savarino Companies on the Ellicott Station project should close by mid-to-late March, according to Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacatte.

Pacatte reported progress on the project to the Batavia Development Corporation board of directors this morning. 

The complicated financing deal to pay for the $18 million development, which includes a restaurant/brewery, apartments, and office space, includes some of Savarino's own money (about $3.5 million), grants, tax credits, and private investment (about $10 million) through a program called a New Market Tax Credit.

Empire State Development has promised $1.9 million for the project and has agreed to release the funding in stages to help pay for the project as it proceeds. ESD will get back 1 percent of the grant money as a "commitment fee."

That grant is administered by the BDC.

There is also a $500,000 grant from the state administered by the City as part of the Restore NY program.

The project will also receive tax abatement through Genesee County Economic Development Center.

There is also one brownfield tax credit already granted through the state because of the environmental cleanup needed at the former Della Penna property.

There is an application pending for the former Santy Tires property.  

Pacatte said the DEC requested more information on the possible environmental contamination on the property, indicating not enough evidence has been presented yet that the property has enough contamination to warrant the tax credit.

None of the environmental tests on the property done so far were taken inside the old repair bays.

"It was a repair shop for 50 years, so there really is no worry that it's dirty," Pacatte said. "The DEC just asked for more documentation."

Last month, Savarino acquired Ellicott Station LLC, the corporation set up by the BDC to take title to the two parcels on Ellicott Street, and when the financing closes, will pay the remaining $55,000 of the $60,000 purchase price to the BDC.

January 23, 2018 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, steve hawley, news, business.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced $5.5 million is now available to farmers and agricultural producers as part of two new grant programs. The awards are aimed toward farmland conservation, assisting farmers in identifying available land and ensuring that arable land is permanently protected from development and nonfarm uses.

“Farming is one of the cornerstones of our community and extremely important to our local economy, traditions and way of life,” Hawley said. “Too often, farmers lose the ability to work the land due to environmental concerns or development, and these new grants will help protect our producers and ensure that family farms remain family businesses. I remain committed to giving our farmers a voice in Albany, and I look forward to advocating their concerns as we progress through this year’s session.”

More information can be found on the state’s Agriculture and Markets site and interested applicants can access grant information here. Applications will be processed until all funding for the program has been exhausted.

Hawley is the former owner/operator of Hawley Farms in Batavia and sits on the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee.

January 23, 2018 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, darien lake, Darien, business.

Press release:

Darien Lake Theme Park’s 2018 season will feature two unique, thrilling performers, Magical Entertainer Aaron Radatz and Hypnotist Tammy Barton, as part of the amusement park’s free in-park entertainment lineup.

Dubbed “the magical entertainer to see” by Time Magazine, Radatz started performing at the young age of 6 and quickly turned his grandmother's gift of a magic set into a full-time hobby. Today, Radatz is the newest star to hit the magic entertainment scene. He has studied with many of the masters of magic including Harry Blackstone (Jr.) and recently completed his first 6-month run headlining a casino on the Las Vegas strip. He is also a featured magician on the CW Network’s global sensation TV series “Masters of Illusion.”

Radatz is also the only magician who has been commissioned by the U.S. Pentagon for a command performance for the U.S. military. His dedication to the troops has earned him awards, including such high honors as the Commander’s Coin of Excellence and the Scroll of Appreciation of Honor and Admiration.

Barton has been performing as a professional stage hypnotist since 1993. She began her career working with her parents, both of whom are certified hypno-therapists. She quickly realized that hypnosis performed correctly could be both entertaining and educational at the same time, and could allow her to obtain any goal she set for herself.

In every show, Barton selects willing volunteers from the audience and then puts them into a state of hypnosis. She then guides them though a journey of the mind in which the volunteers act on suggestions she provides. Only the imagination of her volunteers will limit their journey.

Radatz and Barton both performed during the 2012 season and the park is thrilled to welcome them back this year.

“These daily in-park shows are high-quality family-friendly entertainment for all of our guests,” said Chris Thorpe, Darien Lake general manager. “Both Tammy Barton and Aaron Radatz are thrilling, unique performers and we are excited to welcome them back to the Darien Lake for what promises to be a wonderful summer.”

Also returning in 2018 is Ignite the Night, Darien Lake’s nightly laser extravaganza. Music, water, fire, video and pyrotechnics all come together for this laser light spectacular in the air, on the stage and all around, which runs beginning in late May through Labor Day Weekend.

For more information about the park or to purchase a season pass, visit DarienLake.com.

January 21, 2018 - 2:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, Announcements, agriculture.

Press release:

Tickets are still available for the 16th Annual Celebrate Agriculture Dinner! The dinner will take place Saturday, March 17 at the Alexander Fire Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m. This event is a celebration of Genesee County’s number-one industry – Agriculture.

The highlight is a delicious meal prepared by Penna’s Catering using locally produced foods.

The dinner is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce (8276 Park Road, Batavia) for $30 each. A table of 10 can be purchased for $275.  Sponsorships are available for $350 which help to support agriculture educational events in Genesee County. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

The Celebrate Ag Dinner is coordinated by the following partners: Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, Genesee County Farm Bureau and Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District. Many local farms and businesses sponsor or donate products to this event.

For ticket information contact the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce at 585-343-7440 or email [email protected].

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

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