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May 15, 2015 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, business, batavia, Western OTB.


Officials at Western OTB think the odds of hitting a jackpot are better if their proposed hotel overlooks the Batavia Downs racetrack.

It is, after all, the oldest lighted harness racing track in America and the reason Batavia Downs exists in the first place.

Shoehorning it into the constrained space around the track, however, will require some bending of the rules.

There are zoning variances needed to lot size, lot frontage, front, side and rear setbacks and building height.

The scope of the variances prompted county planning staff to recommend disapproval of the project.

After Western OTB VP Mike Nolan pleaded with the board to support the project, saying it's the only viable option to ensure Batavia Downs continues to thrive and generate millions of dollars for the local economy, planning board members were unwilling to say no to the plan. They also didn't say yes.

The board took no action and the plan is now kicked back with no recommendation to Town of Batavia planners. It will be up to the town's Planning Board to decide whether to grant the variances.

Yes, Town of Batavia, not City of Batavia.

When the hotel plans were first announced, for the 80- to 100-room hotel, officials were talking about a location on the south end of the track, near Tops Plaza, but Nolan said further study on that location indicated it just wasn't viable. It's simply not big enough.

The current proposed location is on the north end of the track and would require the removal of some of the current paddock area.

It's critical, Nolan said, that the hotel be attached to the gaming facility and that it have suites with balconies overlooking the track.

A board member asked, why not in the parking lot on the west side of Park Road?

"It's important that horse racing stays strong and vibrant," Nolan said. "Over in the parking lot, it wouldn't have the same appeal as overlooking the oldest lighted harness racing track in America."

The target audience for the hotel aren't travelers passing through the area, but people willing to travel to Batavia specifically to place bets on races and drop coins in slots.

The desk for the hotel would, in fact, be in the gaming facility itself. (Some of us might call it a casino, but the state's compact with the Senecas prohibits Batavia Downs officials from calling it a casino).

The gaming environment in WNY is getting more competitive, Nolan said, and with the Senecas planning a new $400-million casino a short drive away, it's critical Batavia Downs up its wager on local gaming. Western OTB recently completed a $28-million upgrade to Batavia Downs and the hotel represents the next phase in making Batavia Downs more attractive to gambling dollars.

The land for the hotel would be sold to private investors who would own the hotel and operate it as a franchise of a national hotel company.

Nolan noted that when Western OTB took over Batavia Downs, since Western OTB is a public benefit corporation, it took $3 million in assessed value off the tax roles. The new hotel would be assessed at something in the neighborhood of $7 million, and while tax abatements used to help fund development would delay the full value of that tax levy being realized by some local governments, eventually it would generate substantial tax revenue for the county and school district.

Even if the private developers decided to eventually sell the property and Western OTB became the owner, the property would stay on the tax roll, Nolan said.


May 15, 2015 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, GCEDC, business, batavia.


The backers of a proposed bio-gas plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park are in the early stages of site planning and they hope, if all goes to plan, to be operational in a year.

The plan was presented for review Thursday night to the Genesee County Planning Board and the board unanimously recommended approval at this stage of the process.

The plant would take organic waste from food processing plants -- primarily the two yogurt plants in the ag park -- and convert it into methane to generate heat that could be resold to the plants and electricity that the plants could also purchase.

The plant would generate more electricity than the plants could use -- enough to power 800 homes a day -- so additional capacity would be transferred into the electrical grid.

The plant, said architect Robert Keiffer, of TY Lin International, Rochester, is environmentally friendly, would help make the yogurt plants more sustainable and more efficient to operate, and help attract business to the ag park.

The owners of the plant would be CH4 Biogas, which already operates a plant in Covington.

CH4 has a purchase agreement with Genesee County Economic Development Center for five acres in the ag park. The project would be eligible for economic incentives from GCEDC.

The proposed facility would be 8,500 square feet, housing processing equipment, an office, bathroom, dock area and de-packaging area.

The waste accepted by the facility would be organic and non-hazardous. The waste would go through a methane-capture process, pumped into a grinder and put into a receiving tank.

The waste is then pasteurized in three 15-foot-high tanks. This optimizes methane release. Next, the waste is moved to digester tanks that are completely enclosed. Methane is collected and stored in another tank. It is then converted into electricity by a CHP engine. The engine is not located on site, but at the thermal end-user's location and enclosed to reduce noise.

The organic waste, if not sent to a digester plant, could be used on farm fields or simply taken to a dump. In either case, the methane eventually released by the waste would drift into the atmosphere. Methane is considered a greenhouse gas. This process captures 100 percent of the methane from the waste and converts it to electricity.

May 15, 2015 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, zoning, land use, business.


Any city residents who are concerned about rooming houses opening in their neighborhoods need not worry much longer.

The city is working on a change to the zoning law that would prohibit new rooming houses, boarding houses, lodging houses, tourist homes and tourist camps inside of R-2 districts.

The change would also prohibit future development of such facilities in C-1, C-2 and C-3 districts. 

There are currently 10 rooming houses in the city with a total of 80 available rooms.

"At this point, we think we're saturated with an adequate amount of rooming houses and boarding houses in the city and this provides the ability to limit expansion," said City Manager Jason Molino. "The existing ones will continue to stay in place. They will continue to be regulated and reviewed and permitted every year, as they should be, but this will limit the expansion."

Molino presented the proposed change to the zoning ordinance to the Genesee County Planning Board, just one step in the process of making the change in the zoning law. The board unanimously recommended approval of the proposal.

The current codes governing rooming and boarding houses and multiple-family dwellings in the city are inconsistent with the city's master plan and strategic plan, Molino told the board.

Numerous studies, he said, have shown that rooming houses, in particular, and multi-family dwellings, intermingled in otherwise single-family neighborhoods, bring down property values and encourage the deterioration of whole blocks.

Such uses are also inconsistent with economic development in commercial districts.

This is an issue the city has been looking at for some time, Molino said, but officials became more aware of the need to tighten up the code after local property owner and investor Terry Platt purchased a large home on East Main Street and announced plans to convert it into a rooming house. The city's planning board denied Platt his application for the use, responding to concerns raised by neighbors and other residents; however, Platt challenged the ruling court and eventually prevailed and was able to convert the property into a rooming house.

"That certainly opened everybody's eyes to the potential of where these rooming houses could be located," Molino said. "It has a lot of impact that people perceive as being negative if rooming houses open in certain areas, so that certainly opened our eyes to the inconsistencies in the code."

The proposed zoning change could be perceived as inconsistent with a couple of emerging trends in American society.

First, is the seeming interest of Millennials to avoid home ownership and find suitable places to rent in cities. The second is a trend among some homeowners to use services such as Airbnb to rent rooms to travelers.

On the first point, Molino said he doesn't think Millennials are looking for the kind of rentals this zoning change would curtail.

"They're looking for a little more secure housing, generally, furnished housing, not shared common bathrooms, in areas that are close to amenities and part of a development," Molino said. "There's a disparity in the housing qualities when you start talking about Millennials and the population of empty-nesters who are looking to downsize. They're generally not looking to downsize into rooming houses."

While services such as Airbnb are growing in popularity -- there are even two houses available for guest lodging in Genesee County -- it hasn't been an issue in the city yet, Molino said. The proposed zoning change isn't really meant to address such services, but if it ever became an issue here, Batavia, like any city, would need to study the issue and find the most balanced solution available.

"You've got to look at what comes with it," Molino said. "Are there negative effects? Are there positive effects? Is it similar to a bed and breakfast or not? What comes with that activity? I think what most communities will start dealing with is, what are the positive and negative effects that come with the activity and do they balance each other house, and if not, what revisions of code or enforcement mechanisms do they want to put in place to balance it out."

The proposed zoning change will need to be go through a public hearing and be approved by City Council before becoming law.

May 14, 2015 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in State Street Animal Hospital, business, batavia.


Keith Carlson and John Kemp, who already hold ownership stakes in Attica Veterinary Associates, have purchased the State Street Animal Hospital from Fran and Norm Woodworth, who were ready to slow down their workload.

Carlson (pictured (Kemp wasn't available)), said not much will change at State Street. It's a good facility with quality equipment and an excellent staff, so there simply isn't much the new owners need to change. All of the current employees are staying on and the new owners plan to hire a new technician and possibly a new vet. 

The new owners work full time in Attica and will manage State Street.

Kemp has been an owner in Attica since 1988 and Carlson joined the staff there 15 years ago, becoming one of the four owners 13 years ago.

"Owning a small animal hospital is something John and I always wanted to do and the right opportunity came along," Carlson said.

May 14, 2015 - 10:39am
posted by laurie napoleone in Batavia Area Jaycees, business, batavia.


(Jennifer Ray, left, and Cathryn Colby)

U.S. Jaycees President Jennifer Ray visited Genesee County this past week and attended meetings with local officials. The organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Ray is a civil engineer from “a little bit of everywhere,” but currently calls Baltimore her home. She says she moved to Maryland for a job after graduating from college and she only knew one person in the area. That person encouraged her to join the Jaycees and after two years of coaxing, she decided to become a member. That was in 2001. It was through the Jaycees that she met her husband, became connected to the community, and the reason she now lives in Baltimore.

The Jaycees provide an opportunity to be part of a global network and do projects that make an impact and to then raise awareness through social media, she said.

Dating back to 1915, the Jaycees was started by Colonel H.N. Micgran, a prominent citizen from St. Louis who approached Henry Geissenbier, who was the leader of the Herculaneum Dance Club, and asked they become involved in civic issues. Geissenbier and his young men friends formed the young men’s progressive association (YMPCA), which then became the Junior Citizens, called the JC’s … thus, the name “Jaycees.” The whole concept started in St. Louis but grew from there.

The Jaycees were originally an all men’s club that had a woman’s auxiliary and in 1984, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing females as members. This decision prompted other organizations to allow women in as members. With Ray serving as the national president, and Cathy Colby as the New York State President for the Jaycees, it's obvious females not only joined the ranks, but have taken on leadership roles.

The Jaycees have more than 200,000 members and are always looking for civic-minded people from the ages of 18-41 to join the various chapters. Each one seeks solutions to local problems to create a "sustainable global impact." In meeting with local representatives, Ray addressed problems regarding local socioeconomic issues, citing the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunches. By meeting with different chapters, the Jaycees can share community and global resources to hopefully find solutions to an issue such as this.

On a global level, the Jaycees have assisted with numerous projects and in June, they have a National Summit in Washington, D.C., which brings together the Jaycees and various organizations to discuss national and global issues. Then they write resolutions and meet with legislators on Capitol Hill before returning to their local chapters to look at opportunities and ways to resolve issues. Ray mentioned the “Nothingbutnets” Project, which supports President Obama’s Malaria Initiative, and provides insecticide laced bed nets that prevent malaria in African countries. This is one of the many global projects the Jaycees work on. For more information on these projects, go to

New York State Jaycees President Colby can be contacted at 716-474-3343 for anyone interested in learning more about the Jaycees and how to get involved in the local chapter. Her mantra is “choose your tomorrow” – encouraging the youth in the community to get out and make a difference in their communities.

President Ray said “young people are the movers and shakers. ... it is important to become active in the community by not only identifying problems, but acting on them… and that is what we do."

May 13, 2015 - 2:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, Valu Plaza.


Yasses Construction did some work this morning repaving a portion of the Valu Plaza parking lot -- the section right in front of El Burrito Loco and Deep Blue Pool and Spa.



May 12, 2015 - 6:21pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, Olivers Candies, business.

Oliver's Candies is more than a Batavia landmark, it is a destination for many on the holidays. It is a cherished tradition. The business has grown quite a bit since 1932 and the sign that had served the store for about 65 years was retired today. Don’t panic! The old sign will be placed into storage and preserved.

The new sign is chocolate brown and matches the motif of the Swiss chalet that was formed around the wood-framed house that was the original store. The sign will be wired and turned on Wednesday. 

Jeremy Liles, VP of Oliver’s, stands next to the new sign.

May 12, 2015 - 8:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, development, Vernon Avenue.


Residents of Vernon Avenue are organizing opposition to a proposed new Arby's Restaurant on West Main Street, at the end of Vernon.

In a petition presented to City Council Monday night, residents say the proposed development -- which would replace three existing residential buildings -- would create more noise, result in 24-hour lighting, destroy trees, increase traffic congestion at the intersection and on Vernon, and decrease property values.

Residents David Steele and John McCauley spoke up during public comments at Monday's meeting and Steele presented the Council with a petition signed by almost every resident of Vernon Avenue (City Manager Jason Molino lives there but didn't sign it, Steele said, citing a conflict of interest).

"Many residents, especially those at the southern end of Vernon Avenue, have said if this development goes through as presented to the Planning and Development Committee, they will list their homes for sale," Steele said. If many residents do that, there will be a housing glut on that street with supply and demand decreasing property values."

McCauley (top photo) said he purchased his home about a year ago, moving here with his wife from Buffalo, expecting to live on a quiet street. If the Arby's is built, he said, then he'd likely move.

"We were sad to hear that (an Arby's was going in)," McCauley said. "If they were going to do something like that, it would probably force us to put our house up for sale."

The proposed development will be on Thursday's agenda for the County Planning Board and at a future meeting of the city's Planning and Development Committee. Steele said residents plan to be at both of those meetings.

The planning committee operates independently and the Council has no real input on what development gets approved or denied.


May 11, 2015 - 1:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) approved projects at the May 7 board meetings.  

The GCEDC approved an application from the Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad for the purchase of a specialized forklift and two track vehicles for servicing truck and rail service at the transload warehouse facility in the City of Batavia.

Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad company also received approval for a sales tax exemption of $9,512. The anticipated capital investment will be approximately estimated $118,000. Further, for every $1 of public benefit, the company will invest $12.50 into the local economy.

The GCEDC Board also passed an amended insurance policy to allow for the approval of lower insurance limits specifically for small-scale sales-tax exemption projects on a case by case basis. The new policy will allow smaller projects to take advantage of GCEDC’s incentives without having to incur the increased costs of changing insurance coverage to receive the benefits.

The GGLDC, the real estate arm of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), approved a purchase and sale agreement with Fancher Properties LLC for 2.6 acres of land in the Buffalo East Technology Park. 

Fancher Properties plans to build a 15,000-square-foot facility at the Technology Park to house an office, manufacturing and warehouse facility. The company, which manufactures and installs specialty signs and closets for housing developments and hotels, plans to invest $500,000 in the project and will work with the GCEDC to seek IDA benefits.

“While it’s great to see new businesses coming into the community, it’s also very important that our agency can assist existing companies with their expansion and growth needs,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO. 

Hyde also stated that “the change approved by the GCEDC Board in the insurance requirement policy will allow us more opportunities to help small businesses take advantage of IDA benifts for their projects."

May 10, 2015 - 9:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alli's Cones and Dogs, Oakfield, business.


While out in Oakfield today, I found Karl Dilcher running a Mother's Day chicken BBQ. This was the first day that Dilcher, owner of Alli's Cones & Dogs, offered chicken BBQ, something he says he plans to do every day, plus offer the service as catering for special events, including charities, graduations, weddings, etc. Pictured with Diltcher is Shorty Thomas, now working for Dilcher, who worked for years for Clor's.

May 8, 2015 - 1:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, darien lake, business, Darien.


The first Darien Lake Theme Park customers got to climb aboard the newest thrill ride in Western New York today -- Rolling Thunder.

The rail-car loop propels riders back-and-forth and then around the loop forward and backward.  

The park opened to season ticket holders today and to all park-goers tomorrow for the season, which runs through Sept. 27.


Chamber of Commerce President Tom Turnbull cut the ribbon for the new ride.








General Manager Chris Thorpe shows off the next new ride for Darien Lake, Brain Drain. The ride will be completed in time for guests to take the plunge for the first time on Saturday. The water slide drops riders from platform 70-feet high at an 80-degree angle, propelling them through the looping slide at 38 feet per second.

Full press release from Darien Lake after the jump:

May 7, 2015 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, BEST Center.

Press release:

The City of Batavia was awarded a $200,000 grant to foster the development of new and expanding small businesses that will improve the community. Per Federal grantor requirements, the City has coordinated capacity-building training in order to make grants available to entrepreneur participants and those willing to promote employment opportunities for persons of low-moderate income families.

“Knowing we have market opportunities, this grant enables the City to coordinate instructional training to help people develop their business ideas and learn what it takes to be successful from veteran business owners,” said City Manager Jason Molino. “The classroom interactions will supplement the existing services already provided by the Chamber, Small Business Development Center and SCORE.”

To meet national program objectives, the City of Batavia partnered with the BEST Center at Genesee Community College and the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) to offer a three-part “Owning Your Own Business” series designed to inspire creativity, fine-tune skills, and find where passion and work intersect. At the end, new and expanding businesses in the City having fewer than five employees may be eligible to access grants up to $15,000.

The initial program started April 22nd as a series of one-hour sessions where participants assessed their personal readiness to own and operate a new business and explored business opportunities. The final Part I session is next week, "The Sniff Test: assessing your business idea!" In the class setting, participants will pinpoint a target audience, evaluate the idea, navigate the competitive landscape and determine next steps.

The final Part I series is Wednesday, May 13, from noon -1 p.m. in the second floor community room at Batavia City Hall. Pre-register for $5 online at or pay $10 at the door. Light refreshments available.

Get Underway -- Small Business Ownership Part II begins Wednesday, May 27th . This weekly evening session goes beyond the basics to help participants fully develop a business concept and transition into becoming a business manager.

These five weekly Wednesday evening sessions are mandatory if participants want to access grant resources available through the City of Batavia Microenterprise Grant Program. The sessions run from 6 to 9 p.m. in Room T121 of the Conable Technology Building on GCC’s Batavia campus.

They include:

  • May 27
  • June 3
  • June 10
  • June 17
  • June 24

-- Trials, tribulations & skills of a successful business leader Marketing strategies to increase sales;

-- Using financial information to guide my business Learning to “manage” a business;

-- Business plan presentation and networking costs $125 and students will receive a certificate upon successful completion.

The five-week course registration is also available online at

The City has offered small business loans and grants for over a decade resulting in more than $5,000,000 public-private investments. The $200,000 grant and the Small Business Ownership series is funded by the New York State Office of Community Renewal Community Development Block Grant.

May 6, 2015 - 6:33pm

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a project from Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad at its May 7 board meeting.

Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad is planning to purchase additional equipment to include one specialized forklift and two track vehicles for servicing truck and rail service at the transload warehouse facility in the City of Batavia. The projected capital investment is approximately $118,000. The company has applied to the GCEDC for a sales tax exemption of $9,512.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

May 6, 2015 - 1:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, business.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today commented on last night’s passage of legislation to increase the minimum wage. Hawley said the legislation is misguided and does not improve the already suffocating business climate that New York has perpetuated in past years. The 2015-16 State Budget provides no tax or regulatory relief for small businesses or the middle class.  

“As the owner of small businesses for over four decades, I know the struggles of operating in New York’s tax and fine environment,” Hawley said. “I voted against a minimum wage increase because when businesses are legally obligated to pay their employees more, they are therefore able to hire less employees and therefore create less jobs. A more viable option to help taxpayers would be a widespread middle class tax cut, something the Assembly Majority again failed to include in this year’s budget. My district is heavily agriculturally based and a minimum wage hike would jeopardize the ability of farming operations to hire additional employees, especially on an hourly basis. I will continue to support my district’s business interests and alternatives exist that would address the root problem of high taxes and regulations that is hindering our middle class and business community.   

“Furthermore, this bill raises the minimum wage to a much higher rate in New York, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau counties than the rest of New York State. This is another piece of evidence highlighting the growing disparity between Upstate and Downstate and why we should allow the public to decide if they would support a division of New York into two separate states by passing my legislation, Assembly Bill 4167. New Yorkers deserve this choice now more than ever considering Downstate interests dominate our legislature while the social and economic concerns of millions of Upstate New Yorkers are ignored.”

Hawley is the owner of an insurance agency based in Batavia and the former owner/operator of Hawley Farms. He is a current member of the Farm Bureau’s Circle of Friends and has voted with pro-business groups such as the Business Council and Unshackle Upstate the vast majority of his time in the legislature.

May 5, 2015 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Fair, fair, business, agriculture.

The Genesee County Fair has gotten better each of the last two years and attendance figures bear that out, Norm Pimm told the County Legislature's Human Services Committee.

Last year, attendance was up 30 percent and fair organizers are taking aim at even more growth in 2015.

"Attendance is up double figures two years in a row," Pimm said. "That doesn't happen if you're not putting on a good product."

This year, there will be new local bands, bigger tractor pulls and a significantly expanded Midway.

The board is planning on nearly doubling the budget for rides, going up to $40,000 this year.

The midway isn't a big money maker for the fair, but a good midway is essential to overall fair attendance. Not everyone is interested in livestock and stock cars.

"When we looking for vendors, we said we had $25,000 to spend and we couldn't even get vendors to call us back," Pimm said. "The ones that did sort of laughed and said 'that's 20 years ago money.' So we realized we had to invest more money into the midway so we had something where people want to come and bring their kids."

The fair runs July 21 through 25.

The county will contribute $11,000 to the 4-H program.

Pimm said the fair's success can also be judged by the number of local businesses supporting the fair, either through donations, sponsorships or taking a booth as a vendor. In all three categories, the fair did better last year than previous years and will at least match that level of participation this year, based on indications so far, Pimm said.

"This is the most active board we've had in years, and it's making a difference," Pimm said.

Pimm is confident that people who haven't been to the fair in recent years, if they come this year, they will have a good time.

"It's just $5 a car load to attend," Pimm said. "Come on, spend your $5 and you won't be disappointed. If you are, come and find a member of the board of directors and we'll give you your $5 back."

May 4, 2015 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Advanced Imaging, business, Genesee Urgent Care, batavia.


There was one bidder at a Sheriff's property seizure auction this morning, Melissa Marsocci, owner of Genesee Urgent Care (formerly Insource Urgent Care).

Three parcels were available in the auction, the result of a judgment against Advanced Imaging won by General Electric. Marsocci bid on two properties.

GE was owned nearly $1 million by Advanced Imaging, according to court records.

Marsocci paid $1 for each of the two properties she won at auction. The Sheriff's office gets a 5-percent fee of the auction, resulting in 10 cents for the county, with $1.80 going to GE.

Marsocci paid cash, but has 24 hours to change her mind.

She will be responsible for $54,000 in taxes owed to the City of Batavia in back taxes if she keeps the two parcels.

The big issue, and what probably kept other bidders away, Marsocci said, is a question of whether other creditors of Advanced Imaging can try to collect judgments against the new property owner.

Over the next day, Marsocci is going to try and determine the answer to that question, which will figure into her decision on whether to keep the property.

If she keeps it, she knows her current business location, 35 City Centre, will be protected from potential eviction if somebody else bought the property.

She will also be able to expand her business into the Advanced Imaging office. She intends to open office space for more medical specialists.

Advanced Imaging owner Mark Zdrojewski attended the auction (top photo, far side of the conference table), but did not register to bid. He refused to comment following the auction and left quickly.


Deputy Ed Vlack accepts the $2 payment from Melissa Marsocci for two parcels of property in City Centre that were auctioned at the Sheriff's Office this morning.

Previously: Public documents reveal deep financial hole for local medical business

May 3, 2015 - 10:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, business, Adams Welding.


Steve Foster, of Adams Welding, has a new side business -- turning metal left over from commercial jobs, and maybe mixing in some horseshoes they buy, to create lawn art and other household decorative items.

Foster and Tim Adams were in front of their shop on Main Road, Stafford, this afternoon selling the items, though they've also started attending various festivals in the area. They've done two so far.

It was a friend in the Chamber of Commerce who suggested the sideline, Foster said. 

"He said, you have all this extra metal, why don't you start making something out of it," Foster said. "It would go to the scrap yard otherwise."




May 2, 2015 - 2:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, batavia public market.

Michelle Farina couldn't have been happier with the first day of the Batavia Public Market, a new venture she decided to undertake this summer at the home location of her bakery and catering service on West Saile Drive.

With a license from the Town of Batavia for 160 vendors, she was happy to have 80 on the first day. There was a steady stream of shoppers throughout the morning and into the afternoon. And the weather was perfect.

"I'm just so happy to see all these people here," Farina said. "Everyone has just given us great feedback about how happy they are to be here. To see these people happy makes me happy. It's a great turnout. It's good to see a gathering of people in the community to come out, sit down at picnic tables and get a bite of food from these food trucks and to listen to our local band. It's just great."

The market will run every Saturday through Oct. 31, and as fresh, locally grown produce comes into season, Farina said there will be vendors offering the bounty of our local ag community.

Plus she anticipates more vendors signing on throughout the summer.

There will be live music every week supplied by local musicians, plus she hopes to add more activities for children.

Today, the Rochester Mustang Club brought their cherry rides to display.

"I wanted to have a place where the community meets," Farina said. "A gathering place for good people, kind of bring us back to the good old days."

A brand-new locally owned business making its debut at the market was Wakefield Coffee Roasters, owned by Scott and Cassie Wakefield. Scott fell in love with coffee roasting while in the Coast Guard stationed in Hawaii when a friend roasted a few ounces of coffee for him. He took it up as a hobby and when Farina learned about his very successful hobby, she suggested he set up a booth at the market. Coffee is best when it's freshly roasted, he said. "It's better than the stale stuff you get at the supermarket."

For customers who come to the market, he'll provide a batch of coffee beans roasted the night before that should last them the week. He hopes to develop a steady base of customers that will continue to get coffee from him throughout the winter. He does deliver coffee beans. As for a retail location someday? That's a thought, but just a thought at this point, he said. For more information, visit the Wakefield Coffee Roasters Web site.

April 30, 2015 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID.

The Batavia Improvement District held its annual luncheon this afternoon at the City Church Generations Center on Center Street.

Top photo: Steve Krna, vice president of Genesee Patrons, an insurance company, accepts a Spirit of Downtown Award.

David Boyce, CEO of Tompkins Insurance, receiving a Spirit of Downtown Award for Tompkins.

John Roche, Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, was honored as a volunteer.

Mary Valle, Valle Jewelers, was also honored as a Volunteer of the Year.

The keynote speaker was Michael Schmand, executive director of Buffalo Place.

April 30, 2015 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Le Roy, Empire Access.

The City of Batavia is wired. Wired for high-speed broadband, that is. 

Empire Access can now deliver download speeds of 100 megabits to more than 95 percent of the properties in the city. There are only about 40 or 50 households that would be hard to reach, but once a couple of access hurdles are cleared, Empire will be able to service those customers as well.

"We're very pleased with the response we've received," said Jim Baase, president of Empire. "Even without video, we've sold a lot of internet-only packages. We're ahead of plan of where we thought we would be and video will only help with more penetration."

While broadband and telephone service is licensed through the state and requires no local approvals to provide service, federal law requires cable TV providers to sign franchise agreements with local municipalities.

Empire has been in negotiations with the City of Batavia for a franchise agreement for at least six months. Councilman John Deleo has raised the issue at two consecutive City Council meetings and City Manger Jason Molino hasn't wanted to comment further in public than "we're in negotiations."

Empire already has franchise agreements with 35 other municipalities in New York.

"Typically, it takes a couple of months to get through negotiations," Baase said. "It's taking a little longer with the City of Batavia. There are still a few outstanding issues that the city is requiring us to agree to. We haven't resolved those issues yet. We're hopeful in the next few weeks those issues will get resolved."

For residential customers wanting affordable, high-speed broadband now, the installation process typically takes about two weeks.

The photos with this story are of an Empire crew doing a line drop on a residential street in Batavia and at a Downtown location.

Once a customer signs up for the service, an outside crew drops a line to the location and tests it. An inside crew comes later, at an appointed time with the customer, to finish the install inside the residence.

The installation make take a little longer with apartment complexes serviced by underground utilities.

Empire is also working on expanding service beyond the City of Batavia. The company is working with Town of Batavia officials now to start stretching beyond the city's borders and engineers are drawing up plans for providing service in Le Roy.

The company hopes to start building the network in Le Roy by the fourth quarter of this year.

As for reaching more rural parts of the county, Baase said the company is looking for municipal partners in that process and is in fact talking with Town of Batavia officials along those lines.

With such partners, it might make it possible to tap into the $500 million in seed money Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed for expansion broadband in rural New York.

They're also looking for more partners like the Town of Big Flats, in Chemung County, where officials didn't want to wait around for grant money, so the town helped Empire secure a low-interest loan to build out the network.

"There are limited resources and we can't build everywhere at once," Baase said. "We're in the Town of Big Flats because they reached out to us. We're looking for more partnerships like that."

Photos: The work crew handling the outside installation work yesterday was Rick Burke, Kasey Wetmore, Don Todd, Joe Kirchner and Roy Faulkner. Pictured are Burke, in the cherry picker, and Wetmore, seen in the fourth photo splicing together a line from the outside of a house to the inside wire.




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