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June 8, 2016 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Castilone, batavia, news, City Fire, business.

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City firefighters have two new buildings that they can use for training because they are scheduled to be demolished.

Today, a crew practiced a second-floor window escape. The scenario is that a fire has expanded and blocked the stairwell, so the only way out is through a window. A few years ago, the state required fire departments to acquire the necessary equipment to make such escapes possible after a tragedy in NYC where firefighters had to jump from the upper story windows of a burning building.

The new Ladder 15 was used in the training, but only as a safety backup. Typically, the urgency of the situation and the fact Ladder 15 would be tied up on other tasks at the fire scene would mean it wouldn't be available to hoist a backup rope to safety.  

In this scenario, firefighters knocked a hole in a bedroom wall to expose a beam they could use as an anchor for a rope.

The two former houses are on West Main Street, just west of Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. The dealership acquired the property to further expand its new car lot. Demolition is scheduled to begin June 20.

Before then, Batavia's Emergency Response Team will also use the houses for training and drills.

Castilone also just signed a contract to acquire the property at the corner of West Main and Vernon Avenue. That property was once proposed as a new location for an Arby's Restaurant, but the plan met stiff opposition from Vernon Avenue residents. Steve Castilone said he also already met with neighborhood representatives and discussed his plans with them.

"I sat down with them and I told them all, ‘whatever is going to make you people happy, I’ll do,' " he said. " 'If I do something that makes you unhappy, I’ll change it. If I put a light up and it shines in your windows, I’ll move it.’ They asked me to not put a driveway on their street and I said when I’m done I’ll close the driveway off. They were delighted. What would you rather have, a drive-thru Arby’s on the corner or stationary parked cars?”

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June 8, 2016 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in auto dealers, Castilone, batavia, business, news.

There are local car dealers upset about a dealer from Dunkirk setting up a temporary sales lot in Batavia this weekend, not because they fear the competition, but because the Dunkirk dealer is taking advantage of a loophole in state law to unfairly compete with their established businesses.

The law isn't just about protecting existing dealers, they say, it's also meant to protect consumers from fly-by-night used car salesmen who don't stick around to service what they sell.

"They move into a small market where they can clobber people over the head and then they leave," said Steve Castilone, co-owner of Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on West Main Street, Batavia. "That’s what they do. They ram them into a car and then they leave."

Just a few years ago, tent-sale dealers would come to town with their temporary lots, blanket the community with mailers, make a few sales and leave, but the law was changed to require a fixed and physical location before the dealer could receive a license. The Dunkirk dealer, Larry Spacc, has leased office space at 4152 W. Main Street Road, in the Valu Plaza.

Castilone thinks the operation is a sham. He's complained to the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association, supplying a video taken shortly after Spacc's last sale five months ago. It shows a lot once filled with used cars, by then filled with only potholes, and shots through the windows of Spacc's strip mall office space filled with nothing but promotional posters on the wall and a lone motorcycle. There wasn't a single desk or phone line anywhere in sight.

Greg Strauss, Castilone's business partner, calls these operations, "ghost dealers." He'd like to see them shut down.

When The Batavian attempted to contact the local dealership Tuesday afternoon for comment, a man named Nick answered the phone. We identified ourselves and said we were writing a story about the dealership. There was muffled talk over the earpiece and then Nick came back on the line and said his two managers had just left to get a bite to eat and one of them would return the reporter's call when they returned. No call was returned.

Pending legislation wouldn't close up such temporary dealerships completely, but it would make it harder for them to operate. It would require temporary lots to be set up only within 20 miles of the main dealership. In Spacc's case, Dunkirk is 87 miles from Batavia.

"We do these sales," said Castilone pointing to Spacc's latest mailer, "but I’m not trying to whack you over the head. I’m not trying to sell you a bill of goods. I’m trying to sell you a car. It costs us millions of dollars to be here every year, millions in overhead, and then you have some fly-by-night come in with an $800 storefront and sells you a car and you buy because you think it’s cheaper. It’s not cheaper. It’s more money and the interest rate is going to be higher. I wouldn’t mind if they were doing this sale and they were still down at the end of the street next week."

Guy Pellegrino, Pellegrino Auto Sales of Batavia, shares the concerns of Castillone and Strauss. He's put a lot of money into his business, pays property taxes, employs a local staff and is concerned that a "fly-by-night" operation isn't there to provide support after the sale.

"Competition is a good thing and we all get along well (in town)," Pellegrino said. "We all survive together. But when somebody comes in and sets up a tent, tries to push cars, I don’t agree with that. I don’t like it and I don’t agree with it."

Pellegrino employs 12 people, all local residents, and he recently completed a $300,000 expansion of his facility. That's an investment Spacc hasn't made in our community, he said, nor is Spacc out donating to local charities, sponsoring youth sport teams or showing up at community events.

"We’re here making an investment in the community and doing the best we can for our people and they’re going to sell you an overpriced car with all the gimmicks, and you will likely have issues and where are you going to go?" Pellegrino said. "There’s nothing there.” 

The sales people at these temporary lots are rarely local residents. The temporary lots most often hire experienced used car sales reps from all over the country, people with experience in the hard sell, both Pellegrino and Castilone noted.

The flier you get in the mail may say "sale," and proclaim limited availability, but don't be fooled, the local dealers say, the temporary dealer is out to maximize profits. Putting the right deal together for the customer is the furthest thing from the sales rep's mind.

“You spend all that money and do you really want to deal with a guy who is going to be gone? Here today, gone tomorrow?" Castilone said. "But not everyone understands that when they get one of these fliers in the mail.”

If you walk onto the lot, Pellegrino said, expect the hard sell. Yeah, the local dealers, like any small business, are out to make a buck, but Pellegrino said that at the end of the day, he knows if he sells you a car, he might see you at the next community event he attends. He wants to be able to look you in the eye and be proud of the business he conducted with you.

"(The tent sale) is a circus show," Pellegrino said. "They take the slickest, sharpest sales people and they’re going to make the most money they can on you and they will never see you again and you’ll never see them again. For us, we’re here, we’re in your community, we’re at all of your community events, we sponsor you and support you. Support us and forget the circus show, because that’s all this is is a circus show. "

Castilone employs more than 35 people and Castilone and Strauss have invested more than $2.5 million in remodeling and expanding their business, with another expansion just starting that will raise the total investment to more than $3 million. They pay local taxes on all that property.

Asked about the support Castilone provides to local charity, Steve said they don't normally seek publicity for their contributions, but they support local youth sports teams, sponsor four local charity golf tournaments and recently made a $5,000 contribution to the YMCA for the Y's youth camp. That donation will probably send 20 kids to camp this summer, Strauss said.

"When we did it, my sales manager said we should call the media, get some publicity for it," Castilone said. "I told him, 'no, we know we did it, that's all we need.' We didn't do it for the publicity. We did it because we care about our community."

Yes, Spacc is a fellow auto dealer and yes, Castilone said, his quotes in the media about his practices might upset him, but he said he wasn't worried about that.

“I want him to know that he’s in my backyard and this is our area, so go to Dunkirk and sell your cars to your own community, or open up a legitimate business and stay open 365 days a year where people can call you and come back to you again, and open a shop so you can fix these people’s cars," Castilone said. "Then you know what, it’s all fair competition.” 

June 7, 2016 - 1:52pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is offering for bid 139 acres of grassland hay in five different fields ranging in size from 36 to 81 acres. The refuge annually provides a total of 1,400 acres of grassland habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife. Active management of these grasslands is necessary to provide the highest quality nesting and migration habitat.

The refuge haying program helps in this management process by reducing encroachment of broad leaf weeds and shrubs.

Hay will be allocated on a highest bid per field basis for each field. Sealed bids will be accepted until 12 p.m., Saturday, July 2. An official Bid Sheet, available from the refuge headquarters, is required to make a bid. Completed Bid Sheets can be mailed to, or dropped off at the refuge headquarters at 1101 Casey Road, Basom, NY 14013 and must contain all the information requested.

If you have any questions about the haying program or would like to see the fields, please call Madeline Prush at 585-948-5445, ext. 7036.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located midway between Rochester and Buffalo, and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

June 7, 2016 - 12:14pm

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is pleased to announce the beginning of the season for the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market located at the Downtown Batavia Public Market.

The market is located at Bank and Alva streets and will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays beginning this Friday, June 10th until Oct. 28th.

The market will offer fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, coffee, crafts and more.

Please come this Friday to join the many others who support the newly merged markets and to support the Downtown with this new venture.

For questions regarding the market, please contact Market President Bob Austen at (585) 991-8339.

June 7, 2016 - 10:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, news, downtown.

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adamtab_june62016.jpgJust 10 years ago, Batavia was a city barely hanging on. Nobody could imagine, said City Manager Jason Molino, that things would have turned around enough by 2016 that Batavia could be a serious contender for a $10 million prize in a competition for downtown revitalization projects.

Genesee County Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde said Batavia is certainly a top contender in the Finger Lakes Region because of the progress made, the joint initiatives underway, the recent wins in job creation in Genesee County. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo loves competitions for economic development, Hyde said, and Finger Lakes came out on top a few years ago in a competition of the state's 10 economic development regions, winning a $500 million prize. Of that $500 million, 34 percent is earmarked for use in Genesee County, primarily at the high-tech Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama. With Dairy Farmers of America taking over the $200 million Quaker Muller food processing plant in the ag park, and 1366 Technologies heading into STAMP, Batavia his hitting all the high points the governor's office looks for in these competitions.

"(At build out), we're talking about 30,000 to 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region," Hyde said. "In the Finger Lakes Region, what other community is poised to benefit off that job growth more than Batavia? It will be difficult for any other community."

Stiff competition may come from Rochester, which is battling one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, and fighting poverty is a key goal of the governor's office, but Rochester also got $100 million from that $500 million prize for its anti-poverty efforts. The $10 million could have a bigger impact in Batavia, which could be a factor in the prize consideration.

"The $10 million is a potential drop in the bucket in terms of explosive transformation for Rochester," Hyde said. "The state likes to look at the leverage model and when it looks at $10 million in Batavia and what it could do in Rochester when they have $100 million already committed, they will look at the marginal benefit. That's just my personal view."

Every city and several villages and towns in the Finger Lakes Region are competing for the same $10 million prize, and we should know by the end of June which community wins the award, which would be spent on projects over a five-year period.

Yesterday's panel discussion at the Generation Center on Center Street, with Molino, Hyde, Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacatte and County Manager Jay Gsell, was a chance to share with the community how Batavia will respond to the application request and gather feedback on how the questions will be answered.

"You would think for a $10-million prize, they would have a 40-page stack of paperwork, but it's just a two-page application," said Councilman Adam Tabelski (inset photo), who moderated the discussion.

The application needs to address issues about downtown boundaries, mixed use, walkability, public gathering places and economic opportunity.

The city already has traction in some key initiatives, Molino said, most notably its brownfield program, known as the Batavia Opportunity Area, or BOA. An experienced brownfield developer has already committed to redeveloping the former Dellapenna building on Ellicott Street, and there is interest from developers in the city's other four target BOA areas.

"Over the past 18 months, we've seen the most interest yet in investment in Batavia," Molino said.

Just an announcement that the city won the prize, if it won, would generate even more interest, Molino said.

Pacatte said Batavia is getting developer attention because of its mixed-use potential. Downtown scores well on walkability ratings; it has parks and open space, both retail and business space and the city's initiative to bring quality housing to downtown has been tremendously successful. The BDC helped developers open up nine refurbished apartments downtown, and all were leased immediately. The apartments at the former WBTA building at Swan and East Main are also all rented, even though two of them have not yet been completed.

"We think that's a great testament to what can happen in our market," Pacatte said. 

Pacatte also revealed that in addition to a microbrewery and restaurant incubator being planned by Matt Gray and Jon Mager for the former Newberry building on Main Street, they are also planning a $1.5 million investment to convert the second and third floors of the building into apartments.

Gsell said the city's investment in infrastructure, notably the current work on Washington Avenue, is a further sign the city is moving in the right direction and creating an environment developers will find attractive. 

Other projects in Batavia's favor, Molino said, are the flood insurance rating program, which has helped reduce the cost of flood insurance for affected properties by 15 percent, and Batavia's first-in-the-state zombie property law. Batavia is showing tangible success in dealing with zombie properties, which is still unique in the state.

All of these efforts will give Batavia a good start on dealing with its own poverty rates, Hyde said, and putting people to work and reducing poverty is the main reason all of these economic develop efforts exist in the first place. 

"If we say we're a democracy and we're a free enterprise society, then we address the poverty issue," Hyde said. "The only way we get a society to function well is if we create opportunities for everybody."

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The video below is part of Batavia's application for the prize.

June 4, 2016 - 8:00am

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The Batavia Business and Professional Women’s Club (BBPW) 2016 Scholarship Committee awarded scholarships Thursday to five Genesee County high school, two Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) and one Genesee Community College students. They were presented at the club's June Banquet at Batavia Country Club.

The 2016 Scholarship Award winners pictured from left above are: Jennifer Yuhnke (GVEP), Heidi Young (GCC), Emily Sherman (Notre Dame HS), Alyssa Wilson (GVEP), Noelle Bartz (Batavia HS), Luca Zambito (Notre Dame HS), Jordan D’Alba (Oakfield HS). Also pictured are Vicki Wolak (president of BBPW) and Brenda Chapell (chairwoman of BBPW Scholarship Committee. Recipient Emma Patterson (Pembroke HS) is not pictured.

The high school students each received a $750 check to support their educational and career goals. These scholarships are open to Genesee County high schools seniors (male or female). Each student maintained a grade-point average of 85 percent or higher, completed a one-page BPW application with a letter of recommendation from a school staff member, and submitted a personal essay discussing their achievements and future goals, as well as an essay from a parent. The finalists were interviewed by the BBPW Scholarship Committee in May and were notified by one of the scholarship committee members.

The Genesee Community College (GCC) adult student received a $500 scholarship award. The selection process for the GCC award is completed by the Genesee Community College Foundation.

The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) students each received a $250 scholarship award. These students were selected through the GVEP, Student Services Committee.

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Additionally, BBPW club members voted at their May Meeting on the Service Awards to be distributed and this year. Four $300 checks were awarded. Pictured from left are: President Wolak, Luann Henry (chairwoman of BBPW Service Award Committee), Patricia Arnold (Genesee Cancer Assistance), Anne Barone (Crossroads House), Ed Spence (Operation Injured Soldiers), Jim Duval (Bethany Volunteer Fire Department). To be considered for the service award, a letter written on appropriate letterhead had to be sent to the BBPW requesting consideration.

To find out more about BBPW scholarships and service awards visit this web page:  http://bataviabpw.wordpress.com/scholarship

The next fundraising event is Oct. 15 -- the Basket & Live Auction and Dinner being held at the Ascension Parish Hall on Sumner Street in Batavia. Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6. Basket drawings and live auction to follow. The theme is Mexican Fiesta. Tickets are on sale now for $20 or two for $35. All proceeds from this event benefit Genesee County scholarships and the service organizations.

To purchase tickets or donate to the auction, please contact Michelle at 585-297-0779 or send an e-mail to [email protected].

June 3, 2016 - 2:50pm

A TV monitor that scrolls a continuous loop of ads for local businesses and things of interest in the county will soon be found in the Batavia DMV Office.

On Wednesday, the Ways and Means Committee approved County Clerk Michael Cianfrini's request for permission to install an AdMonitor on a wall inside the DMV, at no cost to the county, other than the electricity used to run it.

"I'm really interested in advertising the motor vehicle office, to (encourage people to) renew locally," Cianfrini said. "We found that a lot of people have no idea that if you go online and do your transactions, that the county gets nothing. They assume it's the same whether you do it in an office or out of office. So it's a good way to get the word out."

The system is prerecorded, with the information provided to AdMonitor, which supplies the equipment, services it and replaces it if need be.

The monitor will feature advertising for local businesses and the county will have five ad spots to call attention to whatever they'd like to call attention to -- from reporting welfare fraud and notifying the public of upcoming immunization clinics, to Youth Bureau activities or happenings at the fairgrounds or the county Park & Forest.

"They also intersperse trivia and other little things to keep people entertained while they wait," Cianfrini said.

Wait? What wait?

"The times I've been in your office, I didn't have to wait," said Committee Chairman Bob Bausch. "I think you move us through pretty doggone quick!"

Whatever is displayed can be switched up and changed from time to time, of course. 

"I've seen this in several restaurants. It does grab your attention. Because I like to play trivia, it's kind of cool," Committee Member Ray Cianfrini. "But you may have a captive audience, like the Department of Social Services, where you have a waiting-room situation, and it soothes the crowd."

Committee Member Rochelle Stein asked if there is any opportunity to make money with it.

No, the county clerk said, but by calling attention to specific activities or promotions, there's the potential to increase foot traffic and participation .

More AdMonitors are possible down the road, the clerk and committee members said, possibly at the DSS and the Office of the Aging on Bank Street.

June 3, 2016 - 12:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Announcements, batavia.

Press release:

Here's an update on the 438 E. Main St. development project.

Dave and Robyn Tufts are pleased to announce that the four newly created hi-line apartments at that address were successfully converted from vacant, decaying buildings to vibrant mixed-use space and are all under lease.

Eight young, out-of-town medical professionals, are the new tenants. Surely this is what it takes to keep a city growing and moving forward and we are proud to have brought them to Batavia.

The commercial space is available for someone seeking a highly visible, modern and accessible ground floor location for their office or medical practice.

For more information, e-mail Royn Tufts at:   [email protected]

June 2, 2016 - 4:41pm

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A roomful of business and community leaders heard today from Vincent Esposito, director of Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes regional office, as he talked about the economic development opportunity and effort both regionally and in Batavia.

The gathering comes prior to meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall were officials will discuss Batavia's application for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which is a regional competiton with a $10 million prize. CORRECTION: It's at 5:30 p.m., Monday, at the Generation Center.

Batavia has a good shot at the prize because of all the work already put into improving Downtown, most notably the Batavia Opportunity Area, which has 10 brownfield revitalization projects already in the pipeline.

The Finger Lakes Region has already been a big winner in a statewide competition fro regional economic development areas, receiving a grant of $500 million from the state for projects in the region.

There are three main areas of focus for those funds, Esposito said:

  • Eastman Park in Rochester;
  • Downtown Rochester; and,
  • The STAMP project in Genesee County.

About 50 percent of the $500 million are going to projects in Monroe County, Esposito said, and the rest is spread out in the other county's in the region; however, about two-thirds of that 50 percent is going to Genesee County, he said.

The primary goals of the Finger Lakes regional office is job creation, regional wealth creation, increase private investment and reduce poverty.

In the past five years, economic development activity has created 20,000 new jobs, he said.

The projects expected over the next five years, he said, will result in $6.4 billion in private investments and a conservative estimate of 8,200 new jobs.

"We want to keep that commitment low and then over deliver," he said.

The main economic engines in growth for the region he said are optics/photonics, agriculture and food processing and high-tech wafer and chip manufacturing.

The third area is where GCEDC's STAMP project comes in and why it's attracting a big chunk of the funds from the Finger Lakes Region.

"If ever there was a time to be optimistic about your future, this is it," Esposito said.

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June 2, 2016 - 2:23pm

Press release:

Over the next four weekends (until July 3) Genesee County will host more than 10,000 baseball and softball players, coaches, families and fans at the “Sixth Annual Darien Lake Tournament Series.”

The tournament, which began on May 27, is produced by Pitch ‘n' Hit Events and Darien Lake Amusement Park, will take place at numerous ballfields throughout Genesee County.

The tournament will feature 300 teams from numerous states and Western New York. The ages of the players range from 10 years old to 18 years old, and include both baseball and fast-pitch softball.

The influx of visitors is expected to create more than a $1,005,000 economic impact during the span of both tournaments through staying in hotels and visiting local restaurants and shops. The tournament will generate over 2,160 room nights at our area hotels.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce will assist visitors in finding local destinations by providing the new dining guide, maps, visitors guide and area coupons.

June 2, 2016 - 1:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in Tencar, business, news.

Press release:

TenCar, a woman-owned medical devices and equipment company founded by Genesee County resident Georgann Carrubba, RN, has launched a crowdfunding campaign as the company looks to start the evaluation and initial manufacturing phase of its Choice Cap product.

Funds generated will be used to build initial evaluation units for further customer feedback prior to pilot production in 2017.

TenCar’s Choice Cap is prosthetic appliance for active-lifestyle colostomy and ileostomy patients. It provides patients with a simple but secure attachment method, which includes a lightweight, airtight, molded waterproof cap to be worn with or without the traditional soft inner pouch. This added protective barrier offers greater resilience to motion and activity, giving the wearer protection against leakage and escaped odors that are common in everyday activities.

TenCar is the first start-up company to come out of the Genesee County Economic Development Center’s Innovation Zone which was launched in 2015. The company is interested inkeeping manufacturing in Batavia.

“We feel a strong obligation to the local community as a result of the great support we have received in getting our company off the ground,” Carrubba said. “We are confident that a crowdfunding initiative will receive similar support as we look to advance the company to next level of growth, which in turn will create new jobs.”

Crowdfunding is commonly used to generate funds and often involves a number of people making donations to a venture or business initiative. Crowdfunding presents the opportunity for individuals to support a company in its early stages of startup to bring their products and/or services into the marketplace. In this instance, those who support TenCar’s crowdfunding will be recognized and acknowledged by the company as well as receive gifts for their support, but will not receive shares in the company.

“While we are a small community we love when one of our own has a great success story to tell and in this instance it’s about someone who has developed an innovative medical product that could lead to the creation of new jobs,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC.

Carrubba is a Batavia native and graduate of the Genesee Community College School of Nursing. She has been working with various groups and organizations, including the GCEDC, High Tech Rochester, Launch NY, and the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS), as well as many other partners at the Innovation Zone at MedTech Center for the past year.

Below are links to the Indiegogo crowdfunding website and a video from TenCardescribing its revolutionary new medical device the Choice Cap System:

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9k6MRnvWpww

Learn more about TenCar’s crowdfunding campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/choice-cap-system-a-better-ostomy-device

June 1, 2016 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Movies in Motion, batavia, business, news.

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 Movies in Motion, owned by Jeff and Lynda Edenholm, has survived a crosstown move, a couple of recessions, the arrival of red boxes and red envelopes, and even the age of streaming entertainment, for 20 years and that has a lot to do with the kind of customer service you can only get from a mom-and-pop shop, Lynda said.

"We know all of our customers by name," Lynda said. "We don't even have cards."

Movies in Motion opened on Clinton Street Road and Seven Springs Road on May 31, 1996. They moved a little over eight years ago when R&D Outlet acquired the building for its own retail location. The Edenholms picked a small storefront at 511 E. Main St., Batavia.

Some people still like the physical CD, others don't have Internet access and there's no contracts or long-term commitments, and that has kept a core of customers loyal to the store, Lynda said.

The 24/7 dropbox helps, too.

Like any true entreprenuer in a competitive environment, the Edenholms have never been afraid to try new things. They've sold skateboard and video games, pizza and ice cream, and a year ago they started selling handcrafted wooden furniture and handpainted wooden signs. Both new sidelines have been a boost to the business, they said.

"There's no place else in town where you can get handpainted, custom signs," Lynda said.

Jeff builds all the furniture and the Edenholms are pleased with the progress that business venture is making.

Last March, Jeff and Lynda also celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.  

"It's been hard," Lynda said. "When we get home, there's nothing to talk about because we've enjoyed each other all day, so we watch movies."

Jeff and Lynda have two adult children and a grandchild.

While the furniture and signs have been a great addition to the business, DVD rentals are still Movies in Motion's bread and butter.

Lynda said they enjoy providing family entertainment and serving the residents of Genesee County.

"We don't think of it as work, as a job," Lynda said. "We get to do what we love to do."

Movies in Motion is open from noon to 9 p.m. Sundays thru Thursdays, and noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The Edenholms now take holidays off to spend more time with their grandchild. For more information, call (585) 343-0971.

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May 31, 2016 - 3:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in St. Anthony’s School, City Church, batavia, business, news.

City Church is expanding, but it's not moving. The popular Downtown evangelical church recently closed escrow on its purchase of the St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church on Liberty Street on the city's Southside, which was owned by the Diocese of Buffalo.

The purchase also includes St. Anthony’s School, with a full gymnasium, a full kitchen and adjoining dining area, the rectory and a house.

But it's keeping the old movie Mancuso Theater that is now City Church, as well as its meeting facility off Center Street called The Generation Center. 

"We're 100-percent owners -- signed, sealed and delivered. We're very thankful for the property," said City Church Pastor Marty Macdonald this afternoon. "We're excited about the future. We felt this was a God-honoring opportunity."

"We're very interested in the gymnasium, and in helping preserve the heritage of the building," Macdonald said.

There are repairs to be done and plans for things to come, but the pastor said those are not yet finalized. But the name will remain the same, he said.

Meanwhile, City Church is planning a blockbuster block party this summer.

"We love being Downtown, on Main Street in Batavia," he said. "That is our home and will always be our home. We want to continue to help and brighten the city."

St. Anthony's Church closed more than three years ago. The school closed in 2006.

May 31, 2016 - 2:13pm

Press release:

Come out and support the animals of the Genesee County Animal Shelter by donating scrap metal.

Volunteers for Animals are collecting scrap metal to raise money for the animals from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 4th and Sunday, June 5th in the parking lot at the shelter, located at 3841 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

Metal of any kind will be accepted: railings, doors, garbage cans, file cabinets, bicycle frames, gutters, pipes, poles, fencing, window frames, lawn furniture, tools, shelving, washing machines, dryers, stoves, wheel barrows, wagons, etc.

We CANNOT take propane tanks, air-conditioning units, or refrigerators.

Scrap service provided by Ed Arnold EAS Scrap Processors of Corfu.

UPDATE 12:58 p.m., June 1: Due to the overwhelming response from donors wishing to have their scrap metal items picked up, the Volunteers for Animals are going to be extra busy doing just that between now and the weekend. So people are encouraged to find a way to bring their own scrap metal donations to the site, if arrangements have not already been made.

May 28, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, elba, soil health.

Press release:

Orleans and Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation districts have been awarded grant funds to support the formation of the farmer-led Western New York Soil Health Alliance (WNY SHA). The goal of this funding is to help create a sustainable alliance to continue on in the future for farmers, led by farmers.

The WNY SHA is planning a Soil Health and Cover Crop workshop to take place on June 30 at the Elba Fireman’s Recreation Hall (7143 Oak Orchard Road, Elba) at 9 a.m.

This free event will allow farmers to get acquainted with the Alliance and to learn the basics of soil health and how cover cropping works to enhance your soil and profits. A keynote speaker will explain what makes a healthy soil. Also, a panel of local farmers will share success stories on planting cover crops, how to get started using them, and the results they see on their farms.

Darcy Telenko will present information on the new Cornell Climate Smart Farming website and describe the tools that will be available there to help with your farm management.

Coffee, donuts, cider and yogurt will be available. Please register by contacting Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District at 585-589-5959, ext. 5, or e-mail [email protected]com

More information on the WNY SHA is available at www.wnysoilhealth.com Look under the Events tab for a downloadable PDF Flyer to see more detailed information on the workshop.

May 28, 2016 - 8:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, kati's place.

katisplacemay282016.jpg

Most people, perhaps, in Kati Mancuso's position wouldn't choose the circumstances of her life as a time to open a new business, especially one as emotionally and physically demanding as a restaurant.

But this week, that's what Mancuso did, opening Kati's Place at 40 Oak St., Batavia.

Even though Mancuso now lives in Rochester, she came back to Batavia because this is where her friends and customers are. She started in the restaurant business at 16 at Scooter's in Batavia, moved on to Scooter's in Le Roy, and eventually opened Kati's Place in Le Roy.

She had to close that restaurant after a drunken driver slammed into her car and she suffered a broken back.

She wanted to get back in the business, but took time off for the birth of her son.

"I could have opened a restaurant in Rochester and started over, but I’m so close to so many people and so many customers and they’ve been like my family over all these years so I wanted a place they could come to, so that’s why I came out to Batavia to do it," she said.

After her son was born, she found a pencil-size lump on her arm. It turned out to be a rare form of melanoma. She had a 9.7-millimeter tumor removed. She's had all the lymph nodes on her right side removed. She went through six weeks of chemo, five days a week, and then five weeks of chemo for three days a week. She's had five major surgeries and two minor surgeries.

The original prognosis was a 16-percent chance of surviving past a year.

She's not giving up.

"I felt like I was either going to lay there and die or do something that I love," Mancuso said. "This keeps me busy and keeps me moving and I think I just have to keep a positive attitude and know that I’ll be all right. I know the diagnoses isn’t good, but it’s OK."

Mancuso said every day is hard, but she has her seven employees to help her out and her customers to keep her spirits up.

"These people have been like my family and it gives them someplace to go and enjoy good food that is homemade, that’s not fast food," Mancuso said.

Kati's Place is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and to 3 p.m. on Sunday. It's a diner with about a dozen tables and take-outs are available. The phone number is (585) 250-4483.

May 27, 2016 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tompkins Bank of Castile, batavia, business.

castileraffle2016.jpg

Mark Williams, with the Tompkins Bank of Castile, holds one of the baskets available in a charity raffle at the Batavia branch on East Main Street.

Funds from the raffle of the two baskets of wine and other gifts will benefit Relay for Life in Wyoming County.  

Raffle tickets are available through the drive-up or when you walk into the branch.

May 26, 2016 - 12:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, news, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation has announced changes in the leadership of the organization, including the retirement of current President & Chief Executive Officer Michael D. Kane. Kane has been with WROTB for 20 years, the past six in his current position. He will be replaced as president & general counsel by Henry F. Wojtaszek, who current serves as General Counsel for WROTB.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work for an amazing organization that had a vision for Western Region OTB, and had the strength and fortitude to see that vision through,” Kane said. “We’ve seen unprecedented growth in recent years, and I am very pleased with the direction of Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation.”

In replacing Kane, Wojtaszek aims to continue the growth of the organization, while continuing to be an economic catalyst for the region. He will be responsible for the overall supervision and administration of the Corporation, and for the review and implementation of all matters of a legal nature affecting the Corporation.

“It truly is an honor to replace Mike Kane, someone who has done so much for this organization and for this community,” Wojtaszek said. “I’m very excited at the opportunity to work with all of the excellent employees at WROTB to make this organization even stronger.”

In addition, Michael P. Nolan, who currently serves as executive vice president/COO, will become chief operation officer. Nolan’s responsibilities will include determining and implementing the direction and coordination of WROTBC and Batavia Downs Gaming, as well as supervision of the departments of Security, Food & Beverage, Video Gaming and Buildings & Grounds.

“With our recently completed multi-million dollar renovation and a brand new hotel soon to be open, great things are happening at WROTB,” said Nolan, who previously served as the supervisor for the Town of Elma. “Our team is going to continue strive to capitalize on the success we have achieved, and to be the premier gaming facility in the region.”

Scott P. Kiedrowski, who currently serves as the chief of staff for New York State Senator Robert G. Ortt, will be leaving that position to become vice-president of Operations for WROTB. Kiedrowski, who has served on the WROTB Board of Directors for seven years, will be responsible for the direction and supervision of Batavia Downs Gaming Marketing activities, the Purchasing Department and Communications Department.

“Scott has been an integral member of our team and our office,” Ortt said. “We served as fellow elected officials in North Tonawanda where he worked tirelessly on behalf of the City and its taxpayers. That partnership continued with our service to the 62nd Senate District. His leadership and hard work took what could have been a challenging transition for a new Senator – for staff and constituents – and managed it superbly. His day to day presence will be missed, but I know we will continue to possess an excellent relationship – on a professional and personal level – for years to come. I wish Scott and his family well in their next endeavor. He will be an incredible asset for Western New York OTB.”

Owned and operated by 15 Western New York counties and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, Western Regional OTB is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 27 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western OTB has generated over $225 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of those participating municipalities.

May 25, 2016 - 4:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in frostridge, Le Roy, news, business.

After the alleged name calling, a key issue in the latest legal filing from the attorney representing the Cleere and Collins families against Frost Ridge is the alleged violation of the state's open meeting law by Le Roy's Zoning Board of Appeals.

The plaintiffs allege:

  • Neighbors within 250 feet of the Frost Ridge property were not mailed notice of the Dec. 17 public hearing held by the ZBA on the interpretation of the zoning law and prior, non-conforming use at Frost Ridge;
  • That the ZBA did not deliberate its decision in public;
  • That no noticed public meetings were held between Dec. 17 and Feb. 17; 
  • That a decision was reached without the public present sometime between Dec. 17 and Feb. 17.

These complaints are mirrored by the filing for the Feb. 17 meeting where the ZBA announced its decision; the meeting wasn't even four minutes long.

James Wujcik represents the ZBA in these proceedings and he filed a memorandum of law in opposition to the plaintiffs' complaint.

He also submitted an affidavit by Debbi Jackett, chairwoman at the time of the ZBA, which has since been disbanded by the Town of Le Roy.

She states the hearing of Dec. 17, at the order of Judge Mark Grisanti, was held after a legal notice was published. She does not address the complaint, nor does Wujcik in his memorandum, whether notice was sent to neighbors by postal mail.  

A source familiar with the case told The Batavian today that notice was mailed.

Jackett argues that proper notice was clearly given because all of the interested parties were at the hearing.

"It is common sense that one's attendance at the public hearing acknowledges notice of that very hearing," Jackett wrote. "Any insinuation that plaintiffs could not be in attendance is another attempt to delay the ZBA from acting pursuant to the order of Judge Grisanti."

Jackett also accused the Town of Le Roy of trying to obstruct the ZBA from holding the hearing. She said the code enforcement officer was informed in October that the ZBA would no longer be able to conduct meetings at the Town Hall.

As for the hearing itself, Jackett said the ZBA board took a short break and then resumed its meeting in the regular board meeting room "regarding the merits of the case."

This was apparently considered a continuation of the prior noticed meeting, though it's not clear if any members of the public were invited into that meeting.

Mindy Zoghlin, attorney for the plaintiffs, clearly did not know about this meeting continuance based on the statements in her filing.

The Batavian's reporter at the meeting that night was Ray Coniglio and he said today that he wasn't informed that the meeting would be continuing in another room. He left the Town Hall and wrote a story published the next day that said the meeting concluded without any discussion by the ZBA and that no vote was taken that night. Nobody from the ZBA ever contacted The Batavian following this news report to inform us that this information was incorrect and ask for a correction.

Jackett further argues that the Town's ongoing obstruction of the ZBA, such as not filling vacant positions, contributed to any confusion about compliance with the open meeting law.

"Even if a skeptic held merit with any claim against the ZBA for violations of the Open Meetings Law, the behavior can be traced directly to the Town's illegal, obstructionist behavior with the ZBA," Jackett wrote. 

In his memo, Wujcik argues that it is certainly within the ZBA's right to continue its meeting upon closing the public hearing, but he doesn't address the fact that the meeting was moved to another room without notification of the public in attendance.

"The ZBA correctly deliberated during its Dec. 17 meeting," Wujcik states, adding, "It should be duly noted the ZBA rendered its decision at an open public meeting on Feb. 17."

He also accused the Town of deliberating trying to disrupt ZBA proceedings and called on the court to find the Town of Le Roy in contempt of court, pursuit to the order of Grisanti.

It's unclear what will happen if Acting Superior Court Judge Emilio Colaiacovo rules in favor of the plaintiffs on the open meetings law issue. The ZBA that has been at the center of this issue for the past several years not longer exists. It was a ZBA comprised of representatives from the town and the village, and now the town and the village each have their own ZBA.

One last note about the open meeting law: The law also requires public bodies to notify all local media of its public meetings, and with the exception of the City, County and GCEDC, this practice is largely ignored by every other local public agency and government.

May 25, 2016 - 4:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Milestones, Steve Hyde, GCEDC.

Press release:

Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), has been named chairman of the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC). It is the state's largest economic development organization.

Hyde was elected to a two-year term during NYSEDC’s annual meeting in Cooperstown today (May 25). Hyde and the GCEDC have been members of the NYSEDC since 2004. 

The New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) is the state’s principal organization representing economic development professionals, businesses and colleges and universities for more than 40 years. NYSEDC promotes the economic development of the state and its communities and encourages sound practices in the conduct of local, regional and statewide development programs, as well as develops education programs that enhance the professional development skills of NYSEDC members.

“Steve Hyde has outstanding private and public sector experience and leadership and his record of success in Genesee County will serve NYSEDC well during his term as Chair,” said Brian McMahon, executive director of NYSEDC.      

As president and CEO of GCEDC, Hyde has played a critical role in generating more than $1 billion in new investment in Genesee County through the years, resulting in thousands of new jobs and unprecedented economic development growth.

One of the most notable economic development accomplishments to date is the 1,250-acre Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the town of Alabama, which is expected to generate thousands of jobs in the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in October 2015 the first tenant at STAMP – 1366 Technologies, which plans to build a state-of-the art solar wafer manufacturing facility creating approximately 1,000 new jobs over the next few years. 

“I have been very fortunate to work with some great public and private sector organizations in Genesee County which has resulted in me having the opportunity to serve as Chairman of NYSEDC,” Hyde said. “This opportunity will allow me to collaborate closely with various economic development leaders across New York State to create a more favorable climate for business growth and the retention and creation of jobs and private sector investment.”

Hyde holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. in finance, sales and marketing from Rochester Institute of Technology. He resides in the City of Batavia with his wife, Joann.

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

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