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March 3, 2017 - 8:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in Chamber Awards, batavia, business, news, Foxprowl.

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You know you’ve wandered into a unique store when you see the nearly life-size Freddy Krueger standing, how else but menacingly, just inside the side entrance of the store at 97 Main St. in Batavia. On top of a nearby display case is another clue, the rubbery head of a one-of-a-kind beast with a gaping maw and toothy jowls. 

This is Foxprowl Collectables, of course, a place for sci-fi and pop culture collectors and the young at heart in the heart of the city, and Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Entrepreneurial Business of the Year. Owners Bill and Joy Hume will join other honorees Saturday night at the annual awards ceremony at the Quality Inn & Suites on Park Road.

Deborah Green, a friend of theirs who lives in East Pembroke, nominated the business. She says the Humes are community-oriented and their business brings in people from throughout Western New York to Batavia.

The Humes' enterprise is chock full of action figures, comic books -- 40,000 of them (wrapped in plastic, priced, alphabetized and in chronological order), toy collectibles and more, a place for tots and Boomers alike to look for many of their favorite characters and remember back in the day...

As a young man, Bill, a Batavia native, played in bands, did construction work and delivered furniture and appliances. Although he had collected toys all his life, he had no particular interest in business before starting Foxprowl as an ebay enterprise back in 1999. He had a lightbulb moment about the potential for making a living around his hobby and started buying toys in "lots" or quantities, then selling off excess while building his reserves. 

"Most people know more about their hobbies than they know about their jobs," Bill said. "So if your hobby is your job, you have more of a passion, more of a drive, and you're going to work 12-, 13-hour days because you enjoy it."

The first storefront opened in 2010 on Ellicott Street and then they relocated and opened Sept. 1 last year in the building at Jackson and Main streets.

"It's a new ballgame," Bill said of the new space. "It's a different demographic. (On Ellicott) it was more of a destination. Here there's more foot traffic, quadruple what it was. I'm looking forward to our first summer here, that's for sure."

Bill and Joy both say they are honored to be part of Batavia's business community and thankful for the recognition by the chamber for their hard work.

Joy said "drive, desire, diligence, setting goals, growth, planning the work and working the plan" are the keys to their success to date. And she gives a lot of credit to their employees and supporters.

"We have a great team that has grown with us and works right along with us and we are blessed with an abundance of family and friends who support us in so many ways," Joy said.

These include Tim Schiefer, Wayne Stahler, Marc Tillery and Bill Doetterl.

Stahler for the past two and a half years has run the online side of the business, handling Internet orders, shipping, tracking sales, complying with merchant rules for Amazon, eBay and their own e-commerce site on Big Commerce. His duties include working with a variety of distributors worldwide to get proper authorization to ship certain licensed goods. They only starting selling on Amazon last year and already Stahler said it is quickly reaching par with in-store sales.

Keeping the store itself organized and neat for finicky collectors and grandmothers seeking a special birthday gift for little Tommy is no small feat either.

"I try to keep it pretty shoppable," Bill said.

Glass cases house mint-condition items; on the walls and on countertops Star Wars is kept with Star Wars, likewise for G.I. Joe, KISS, Transformers, etc. There is a big bin for action figures.

"Kids love digging through there, rummaging, digging for the buried treasure buried at the bottom," Bill said.

He has some backstock, too.

In a small closet about 25 Millenium Falcon spaceships from Star Wars are stacked, variously equipped with their dozens of parts. Of those, he said he could maybe put together two whole spaceships with all the parts, in which case one would sell for $150-$160. The rarest bit is the Jedi Training Ball, which hangs down like a boxing bag. That alone sells for more than $20.

"Every mom vacuumed that up and so it's the part that's most often missing," Bill said.

Care to look through an old Atari magazine from the '70s? Ever seen uncut sheets of Three Stooges trading cards? Remember the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine? They are all there! Some people drive four hours just to get the special Japanese-made Godzilla figurines sold there, each exquisitely detailed and not cheap either.

But buying inventory and deciding well in advance of, say, a movie's release, how much of its corresponding merchandise to stock, can be tricky. Consumers are fickle and their memories are short. Despite all his acumen, Bill said it's still "a crapshoot."

A proven adjunct to the business is Foxprowl-Con, which brings together stars, a variety of clubs, artists, fandom and vendors on the weekend before Thanskgiving. It debuted at a local hotel in 2015 after 11 months of painstaking planning.

The first year there were 18 celebrities, dozens of vendors, dealers, crafters, artists, book sellers, and clubs like the Ghostbusters Club with its 20-foot inflatible marshmallow, plus interactive games, contests, experts panels -- like makeup artists and costumers, plenty of family fun all day long.

Putting the convention together was challenging but people loved it. Bill learned on the fly about third-party ticket sales, per diem payments, security, travel planning, promotions, advertising, and on and on. And he said he learned that it was important to treat every customer as royally as each star.

"Everybody is important," he said.

Joy said she thinks Foxprowl is one of Genesee County's coolest places; Foxprowl-Con is a labor of love. Both are places where families and fans can "geek out" and enjoy their favorite characters and artists and have a good time.

The Humes plan to keep having fun doing what they love.

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March 3, 2017 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.

Brandon L. Doward, 32, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, 3rd, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd. Doward was arrested on a warrant following an investigation by the Local Drug Task Force. He is accused of selling crack cocaine.

Paul W. Zeches, 28, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Police came into contact with Zeches (circumstances not released) at 8:40 p.m. on Feb. 23 at 160 Bank St., Batavia, and Zeches was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.

Dustin W. Bogue, 35, of Tracy Avenue, was arrested on a warrant. The nature of the warrant was not released. 

Richard D. Nagel, 34, of Savage Road, Holland, is charged with controlled substance outside original container and criminal mischief, 3rd. Nagel was arrested following an investigation into an alleged domestic incident at 8:57 a.m., Feb. 26. Nagel allegedly broke a mobile phone belonging to a former girlfriend.

Justin T. Stephenson, 32, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Stephenson allegedly yelled obscene and abusive language while in a populated, residential area, at 5:34 a.m., Feb. 25, on Hutchins Street. He was jailed on $250 bail. He was also arrested on a warrant from 2014.

Nathen E. Brege, 24, of South Main Street, Batavia,  is charged with obstructing governmental administration, 2nd, resisting arrest and endangering the welfare of a child. The charges stem from an alleged domestic incident reported at 6:48 p.m., Feb. 26, on South Main Street, Batavia. When police responded, he allegedly attempted to flee and began to fight the officers. He was also arrested on a warrant stemming from an aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, charge. He was jailed on $1,500 bond. 

Jacob L. Hernandez, 22, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Hernandez allegedly violated a complete stay away order. He was also charged with harassment, 2nd, following a report of an alleged fight involving several people on Liberty Street at Sumner Street at midnight Feb. 26.

Kelly Ann McDonald, 50, of Kingsbury Avenue, Batavia, is charged with felony DWI. McDonald was stopped at 4:43 p.m. Wednesday on West Main Street by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Tyler Michael Frumusa, 20, of West Ham Circle, North Chili, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and driver's view obstructed. Frumusa was stopped for an alleged traffic violation at 1 p.m., Feb. 22, on Lake Street, Town of Le Roy, by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

March 3, 2017 - 10:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, arts, entertainment, news.

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Students at Batavia High School are in the midst of rehearsals for the musical "Hairspray," which they will perform next weekend.

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m., March 10 and 11, and 2 p.m. March 12.

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March 3, 2017 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, pets, batavia, crime, news.

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A Batavia woman is upset after her 5-year-old beagle Shar-Pei mix was attacked by another dog on State Street last week not only because her dog was injured, but because there was also a recent report of the same dog biting a person earlier in the month.

The dog reportedly bit a person inside of its home on State Street on Feb. 7, according to the owner of the dog that was attacked, who lives on State Street, and a member of law enforcement familiar with the incident. 

Angelina Pellegrino posted about the attack on her dog on social media on Tuesday. 

"Ridiculous that while walking my dog innocently with her harness and leash yesterday I had to witness the horror of my dog getting attacked unprovoked by an unleashed dog," Pellegrino wrote.

Her dog suffered four puncture wounds that had to be treated and the dog has been placed on antibiotics.

"I just kept screaming at the top of my lungs in the middle of the sidewalk," Pellegrino told The Batavian this morning. "I kept trying to get between the dogs to pick my dog up to no avail."

Pellegrino is also upset that the owner of the dog denied that his dog attacked her dog.

"(The) owner insists to the police that his dog did nothing," she said.

According to sources, the dog's owner was cited for letting a dog run off leash. We don't have information on the owner this morning because Assistant Chief Todd Crossett said he would not release the arrest report until a later date with other arrest reports.

"The sad thing is is the cops told me that there is nothing they can do about a dog that attacked their owners or continues to attack their owners," Pellegrino said. "It does not matter. Only what matters is the fact that now the dog attacked my dog and it has to continually attack other people or things for anything to be done."

March 3, 2017 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Valley Transportation, GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted to accept an application for assistance from Genesee Valley Transportation at the board’s meeting on March 2. GVT is looking to add approximately 12,000 square feet to its cross-dock facility in the City of Batavia because of increased customer demand.

In 2010, the GCEDC provided assistance to GVT for the construction of a 25,000-square-foot dock facility where rail cars are loaded and unloaded and then product is transferred to tractor-trailers.  The warehouse features a 280-square-foot indoor rail siding, 27-foot-high ceilings and 22,000 square feet of floor space. GVT is investing $1.011 million to expand the facility and will retain 10 jobs in the process.

“One of the attractions of doing business in Genesee County and Batavia is easy access to transportation routes and GVT provides just that to customers that rely on rail to ship their products,” said Paull Battaglia, chairman, GCEDC.

For every one dollar of investment through the expansion project, it is estimated that there will be a four dollar return. Since the incentives total more than $100,000 a public hearing must be conducted.

March 2, 2017 - 10:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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More than 700 voters in the City School District turned out today to vote on a proposed $26.7 million capital improvement project and an overwhelming majority of voters checked the "Yes" box on their ballots.

In all, according to the unofficial results released by the school district, 710 people (or 72.6 percent) voted yes and 260 voted no.

The plan uses existing capital reserves plus state aid to undertake improvements at the district's four schools plus rebuild Van Detta Stadium into a more modern facility capable of hosting regional sporting events. School officials said the Vision 2020 plan will not result in a tax increase to support it.

For more on the district's plans, click here.

March 2, 2017 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia.

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Crews this morning got busy dealing with some of last night's storm damage.

Above, city workers on Jackson Street cleaning up a downed pine tree.

Below, daylight photos of the gas station canopy on West Main Street that blew over last night. Workers there say they won't be able to begin cleanup work until insurance adjusters have finished their work, which may not be today.

Bottom photos, crews on Genesee Street (just west of the NYS Blind School) dealing with snapped utility poles and downed power lines after a large limb on a tree snapped off last night, also damaging a parked car.

Thousands of National Grid customers lost power for at least part of the night last night and currently, National Grid is still dealing with 21 power outages in the county affecting hundreds of customers. There are seven small outages in the city.

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March 2, 2017 - 9:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, news, batavia, City Schools.

Press release:

Batavia district votes today, March 2, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on proposed capital project

Batavia City School District residents may vote today between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on the proposed 2020 Vision Capital Project.

The $26,768,813 project has no additional tax impact and is designed to address critical program, infrastructure, renovations, site work, and facility needs in each of the District-owned buildings and Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium at Woodward Field.

For residents who live north of Route 5 (Main Street) voting is at the Robert Morris Building at 80 Union St., and for residents living south of Route 5 (Main Street) voting is at Batavia High School at 260 State St.

For more information, including clarification with a street-by-street guide on where to vote, please check the District’s website at www.bataviacsd.org and click on the link for the 2020 Capital Project.

March 1, 2017 - 10:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, batavia, news.

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Sharon Herdtner submitted this photo of a double rainbow that she took from Richmond Avenue that seems to stretch from the Blind School over North Avenue to Northside Deli.

March 1, 2017 - 10:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, batavia, news.

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This is a power line arcing on Washington Avenue at Ellicott Avenue this evening.  

There are a total of 14 power outages in the City of Batavia, affecting 4,371 National Grid customers. 

The largest outage by geography starts in the city just west of Clinton Street at Main Street and spreads in a triangle shape from there to Nilesville Road in Stafford, as far north as the Thruway and south to East Bethany.

There are 2,093 customers effected by that outage (that number is included in the 14 outages mentioned above). The power went out for this outage at 7:49 p.m. and there is not yet an estimate when power will be restored.

There are also outages in Darien, Indian Falls, Le Roy, Pavilion and South Byron.

Below, a picture of a broken pole on Ellicott Avenue.

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UPDATE: A reader submitted photo of a downed tree on Richley Road, Darien.

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UPDATE: Ashley Smith submitted this photo of arcing near the Arrow Mart in Batavia.

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March 1, 2017 - 8:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in weather, news, batavia.

A reader submitted this photo of the Sunoco gas station on Main Street in Batavia. The wind toppled the gas tank island's roof, breaking the metal pillar which holds it up at the base. The station was closed at the time and no injuries were reported.

High winds are wreaking havoc countywide and numerous power lines and tree limbs are reportedly down, keeping first responders and maintenance crews busy.

March 1, 2017 - 5:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, batavia, New, Announcements.

Press release:

Join us at Shimmy Mob and be a part of dance history for a great cause on Saturday, May 13th! This will be the first year Batavia is participating in this "flash mob" type bellydancing event.

Shimmy Mob is actively seeking dancers and instructors of all backgrounds to participate.

This event is a community event run on a global level and has several purposes in promoting local and worldwide awareness of domestic violence and its victims and in raising money for them. The designated local charity for the proceeds is the YWCA.

Details and registrations at www.shimmymob.com.

The Shimmy Mob registration includes links to online videos of the choreography breakdown, and the official 2017 “Shimmy Mob” T-shirt to wear on the day of the event.

Registration deadline is March 31.

For additional information on the Batavia Shimmy Mob, please contact Connie Boyd (343-3220) or Jessica Whiting (281-9408).

March 1, 2017 - 4:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in girl scouts, batavia, news.

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies and the Scouts also introduced a new flavor this year, S'mores.

To commemorate, a group of local Scouts stopped by the office of City Manager Jason Molino today to have him do a taste comparison on which cookie he liked better, S'mores and Thin Mints.

Above, Molino holds up the Thin Mints picture signaling his pick. With him are Abbie Mattern, WNY Girl Scouts CEO Judy Cranston, Aubrianna Martinez and Sara Nickerson.

Scouts throughout the county are selling cookies now.

March 1, 2017 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GAMS, batavia, city centre, business.

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Opening a bakery is something Batavia resident Vangre Canty has always wanted to do, so after a few decades working in the corporate world, she said she decided to do it.

Canty has opened GAMS in the City Centre, right by the entrance to City Hall.

"It's just a passion of mine," she said. "A passion to bake and cook. It puts smiles on people's faces."

All of the baked goods -- cookies, cream puffs, brownies, cheesecakes and more -- are prepared fresh every morning.

She also prepares a lunch special daily of sandwiches, soups or salads, with Friday's special usually being something meatless.

GAMS opens at 8 and closes around 3, unless a customer calls in with a special request.

March 1, 2017 - 4:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, Announcements, animals, pets, volunteers for animals.

From Volunteers for Animals:

We all know that it is important to have ID tags on our pets but how many of us don't have them? Be honest. VFA is committed to helping families get lost and missing pets back home.

Since 2006, we have offered low-cost microchipping and continue to encourage it. But we all know that ID tags on our pets will help get them even faster, many times by passing the Shelter altogether.

To help encourage getting our pets properly tagged, VFA recently purchased an engraving machine. Now you can stop by the Genesee County Animal Shelter during regular adoption hours to have a personalized ID tag engraved while you wait. All we are asking is for is a donation for the tag and to go home and get the tag on your pet.

We are also encouraging you to put collars and ID tags on your cats, including indoor cats. No one plans for our cats and dogs to escape the house or yard, so please plan ahead!

March 1, 2017 - 4:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Milestones, batavia.

Trevor J. Day has accepted an accounting position with The Bonadio Group in Amherst. Trevor is a 2016 graduate of Geneseo State College and a son of Sharon and Jeffrey Day, of Batavia.

March 1, 2017 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, fashion show, batavia, news.

Press release:

Community members of all ages should save the date for Genesee Community College’s 36th Annual Fashion Show scheduled for Saturday, April 29.

This year’s show entitled “Elysium” was introduced by fashion student Ciera Schwartz, of Akron, Elysium can be defined as “an often imaginary place or state of utter perfection and happiness.” Schwartz explained how the word is derived from the Greek mythological interpretation of heaven, and is often referred to as paradise or a land where all beauty lies. Hence, this year’s Fashion Show theme focuses primarily on student’s interpretations of different Greek gods and goddesses.

“Elysium” gives students the opportunity to not only express their creativity and originality, but to tell a story. By tying together elements from Greek mythology and drawing inspiration from the lives and personalities of Greek gods and goddesses, GCC students intend to show how today’s fashion is much more than just a materialistic concept. The show will illustrate how GCC fashion students appreciate both art and history, and how aspects from different cultures are presented universally in the fashion world today.

To quote Homer from "Odyssey" in “Elysian Fields,” Elysium can be described as a paradise: “to the Elysian plain… where life is easiest for men. No snow is there, nor heavy storm, nor ever rain, but ever does Ocean send up blasts of the shrill-blowing West Wind that they may give cooling to men.”

Due to the overwhelming popularity of GCC’s annual Fashion Show, the event features two complete shows scheduled on April 29 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the William W. Stuart Forum of GCC’s Batavia Campus. Tickets for the show are available for $5 in advance or $7 at the door and can be purchased by calling 585-345-6830. Advance tickets are strongly recommended.

Sponsors for the production are currently being solicited and accepted. Business donations of $10 or personal donations of $5 are available. To extend appreciation, the business or personal name will be included in the souvenir program and on the Fashion Show website. If writing a check, please make it payable to GCCA. To schedule a time for pick up or to make special arrangements for your donation, please contact Cheryl Young, 585-345-6830.

To stay current on details and information about this year’s show and to gain an inside look at the lives of the fashion students at GCC, follow @trendygcc_ on Instagram and @trendygcc on Twitter for updates!

March 1, 2017 - 3:00pm

YMCA Preschool Registration for Fall 2017 is now OPEN! The YMCA offers structured preschool programming for children ages 2- 5. Playgroup, designed for children turning 2 before Dec. 1, 2017, teaches children social, emotional and play skills while being introduced to a classroom environment. Nursery School, also designed for children turning 3 before Dec. 1. 2017, focuses on inquiry based learning, social and emotional development, along with introduction to swimming. Pre-K Plus is designed for children old enough to attend kindergarten, but may need an additional year of Pre-K due to a late birthday or simply needing an extra year of prekindergarten learning. Swim lessons included for Nursery School, UPK and Pre-K plus.

Registration for Playgroup, Nursery School and Pre-K Plus is done through the Batavia YMCA. Need more information? Contact Maria Thompson, preschool director, at 585-344-1664.

UPK follows the Batavia City School District curriculum and follows NYS Common Core Standard for Prekindergarten. UPK registration is done through Batavia City School District and will begin in early April. Contact the District beginning after April 1st to receive a registration packet.

March 1, 2017 - 2:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Tompkins Insurance, batavia.

(Submitted photo)

Press release:

Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc. has added a second full-time staff member to its newly opened office in Brockport. 

Kyle Kurkowski, assistant vice president/account executive previously based in the company’s Batavia office, has joined the new office located at 4675 Lake Road.

Kurkowski has been with Tompkins Insurance Agencies since 2010, and has extensive experience supporting the company’s offices across Western New York. Licensed in New York for both personal and commercial lines of insurance, he is responsible for focusing on those particular insurance needs, as well as for new business development.

Active in the community, Kurkowski is on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity in Genesee County, and is a Lions Club member. He is a graduate of SUNY Brockport, with a bachelor’s degree in business management.  

The Tompkins Insurance Agencies Brockport office provides service to more than 500 customers in the area. The new office was established in a convenient, central location in order to support its customers in the area and the entire community.  

In addition to the Brockport location, Tompkins Insurance Agencies has offices throughout Western New York, including Alden, Arcade, Attica, Batavia, Caledonia, Chili, Dansville, Geneseo, Greece, Leroy, Nunda, Perry, and Pittsford. More information about Tompkins Insurance Agencies is available at www.tompkinsins.com.

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