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February 11, 2016 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, batavia, L & L Transmission, news.

landltransdigestfeb2016.jpg

If you play basketball or baseball, you hope to get a write-up in Sports Illustrated, a musician, Rolling Stone, a chef, Cook's Illustrated.

If you're a mechanic, a three-page spread in Transmission Digest puts you at the top of your game.

The folks at L&L Transmission were elated yesterday when the latest edition arrived and there they were on page four.

"It's pretty exciting for us to be featured in a nationwide magazine," said Danyell Selapack.

The article begins where Leon Selapack began, at 14, working in an automotive shop in Williamsville.

In 1978, he returned home to Batavia and opened a single-bay shop on the Southside. In 1998, he moved the business to its present location on Route 98.

The article also covers his inventions, including a two-piece plastic gear for Ford three-speed transmissions. It was a replacement part for a Ford-built part that often broke. The repair involved removing the entire transmission and tearing it down. With the new invention, the transmission could remain on the car and the new part easily slipped in.

Ford eventually fixed the problem.

"If I had invented it five years earlier, I would still be in Tahiti," Leon said.

To read the full story, click here.

Pictured, Danyell, Leon and Cameron Selapack.

February 11, 2016 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, Darien, business.

Press release:

Today, Darien Lake, Western New York’s largest theme park, announced a $1.5 million capital investment that will be used to build a new extreme water ride – the RipCurl Racer. Upon the approval of an incentive package from the Genesee County Economic Development Center and building permit completion, the park will begin construction on the new water ride, with plans to be fully operational for the water park’s 2016 opening on May 21.

The RipCurl Racer Experience:

42 feet above the pool, six mat-riding competitors launch themselves headfirst into side-by-side tunnels and rocket through the twisting tunnels before accelerating into separate racing lanes.

Riders drop and slide down the home stretch, enjoying speed, compression and zero-gravity moments as they blast into a high-velocity finish.

“Bringing in RipCurl Racer, the third new thrill ride to join the park’s lineup over the past year, is really exciting for us,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager at Darien Lake. “The continued growth and expansion at Darien Lake is a testament to our dedication to providing guests with the best entertainment value in the region.”

“As one of the premier tourism destinations in Western New York, Darien Lake once again is investing in Genesee County,” said Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President Tom Turnbull. “It’s been proven in the past that adding new ride attractions increases the number of visitors to the park and we’re expecting the new RipCurl Racer will do the same. And that’s good not only for Darien Lake but for Genesee County as a whole.”

Paying for itself in just two visits, Darien Lake’s 2016 season pass is a greater value than ever before!

The park is open May 7 to Sept. 25 and welcomes overnight guests in a wide range of accommodations – from a full-service hotel and modern cabins to rental RVs and campsites. For more information or to order season passes, visit www.DarienLake.com.

February 10, 2016 - 1:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, liberty pumps, business.

(Above is the XLE50.)

Press release:

The new X-Series by Liberty Pumps are heavy cast iron sewage and effluent pumps designed specifically for use in hazardous locations.

The XFL- and XLE-Series meet the standards required in hazardous locations. Available in ½ and ¾ hp, these pumps have been certified to Class 1, Division 1, Groups C & D and Class 1, Zone 1, Groups IIA and IIB.

Both series’ feature a dual-sized discharge, 2-vane semi-open cast iron impeller (bronze optional), epoxy powder coat finish, dual silicon carbide shaft seals with seal fail sensor and stainlefile:///Users/BillieOwens/Desktop/XLE50_70.jpgss steel fasteners.

In addition, Liberty has added the ISS- and ISD-Series intrinsically safe control panels for use with X-Series pumps.

For more information contact Liberty Pumps at 1-800-543-2550 or visit the Web site at www.libertypumps.com.

(Below is the XFL50.)

February 10, 2016 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Park Road, Batavia Downs, batavia, business, news.

redfieldccjan102016.jpg

Members of the Batavia City Council are ready to raise a ruckus about a proposal for the Town of Batavia to sell a portion of Park Road to Batavia Downs, leading to a closure of the road to thru traffic.

About a dozen Redfield Parkway residents attended Tuesday's council meeting to express their concern about the potential for increased traffic on their residential street if Park Road is closed.

"Redfield will become the new Park Road," is the battle cry.

But that won't necessarily be the case, said Mike Nolan, COO of Western OTB. A traffic study commissioned by Batavia Downs indicates there will be minimal impact on city streets, Nolan said.

"We've been working on this for a year," Nolan said. "We've met with all the stakeholders, the business owners on Park Road, the Sheriff's Office, the fire department and we're trying to mitigate the impact in every way. This wasn't just something thought up a month ago."

City Manager Jason Molino worried that the traffic study doesn't really address the impacts on parallel streets, such as Redfield, Bogue, Union, all the way down to Oak Street.

A couple of weeks ago, Park Road was closed on an emergency basis because of construction work related to the new hotel at Batavia Downs and traffic backed up on Redfield. 

Nelson Baker (top photo) and other speakers expressed concern that the congestion represents Redfield's future if Park is closed.

Maybe, maybe not, Molino said.

"Obviously, people are concerned with that closure that is going to be the type of traffic congestion that could take place," Molino said. "That has some merit to it. On the flip side, it was an emergency and that is going to cause traffic to congest because nobody has time to plan on getting around it. If the closure is well known ahead of time, then people have time to plan. With one incident, it's hard to judge, but it certainly raises awareness and puts focus on it."

That congestion was a one-time event and the traffic study indicates people will find alternatives, more sensible routes, if Park is permanently closed, Nolan said.

The main issue for Batavia Downs, Nolan said, is one of pedestrian safety.

When the racetrack was first built in 1940, the kind of high-volume entertainment center Batavia Downs has become wasn't envisioned, so building it right on Park Road wasn't an issue.

Last year, more than a million people visited Batavia Downs, creating two million pedestrian crossings on Park Road, and Batavia Downs is just going to continue to grow, Nolan said. 

"This is all about trying to solve a big problem, and that's public safety," Nolan said. "That is what the town and Batavia Downs are addressing."

The City Council will take up the issue at its next conference meeting to discuss drafting a letter to the Town Board opposing the plan and maybe directing a council member to personally carrying the city's concerns to the town.

The decision is entirely within the hands of the Town of Batavia. All the city can do is share concern and monitor the issue.

"We as a city are going to be affected and we don't have a say in this, so I would encourage everybody in the city to speak out to the town as well," said Councilman John Canale. "I'm not sure how much of an effect that is going to have on the decision, but it's frustrating because it's going to have a negative effect on city streets."

February 8, 2016 - 4:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCEDC.

The annual meeting and luncheon of the Genesee County Economic Development Center is planned from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 4, at Batavia Downs in the Paddock Room. Cost is $20.

Keynote speaker is Brian Eller, COO of 1366 Technologies. Honored guests planning to attend are Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and GC Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini.

This is an excellent opportunity to network with economic and elected leaders from around the region and get an exclusive preview of what the economic landscape holds this year.

The year 2015 of a landmark year for Genesee County and the meeting will feature highlights from it.

Please register in advance by contacting Rachel Tabelski, GCEDC Marketing & Communications director, at: [email protected] or by phoning her at 343-4866, ext. 12.

Batavia Downs is located at 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

February 5, 2016 - 3:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wbta, batavia, business.

dandebwbta75.jpg

Submitted story:

WBTA Radio, Genesee County's only locally owned commercial radio station, marks its 75th year of broadcasting this Saturday.

The station went on the air at 7 a.m.,  Thursday, Feb 6, 1941. It has been licensed as WBTA since its inception.

The first voice on the air was that of the “genial” Jerry Flynn who opened the program, “Rise and Shine,” according to an article published in the Daily News. Flynn became better known later as a sports announcer. The station's studios and offices were located on the second floor of 90 Main St. in Batavia where they remained until 1957.

WBTA studios moved several times over the years. Its next location was 22 Seaver Place, now the JCPenney store's loading dock. For several years the station occupied the second floor and later the first floor of 413 Main St. at the corner of Harvester Avenue. The station moved to 113 Main St. in 2004 when it was purchased by its present owner, HPL Communications, Inc., owned by Daniel and Debrah Fischer.

As the studios and offices moved, the station's transmission and tower site has remained on Creek Road in the Town of Batavia. In the early years, an engineer was required to be at the transmission site whenever the station was on the air. Technical improvements in the late 1950s allowed the station to be remote controlled from the studio.

The station was originally owned by three Batavia residents: Joseph Ryan, of Union Street; Edward P. Atwitter, of East Main Street and Edmund R. Gamble, of Vernon Avenue. Gamble also served as the general manager.

After the outbreak of World War II, several members of the station's staff left for military service including Gamble.

The next local owner of WBTA was William F. Brown. Brown was best known for his regular editorials on local issues. He won 16 Best Editorial awards from the New York State Broadcasters Association.

Brown expanded the station's news coverage, which was apparent in the 1971 coverage of the Attica Prison Revolt.

In February 2004, the Fischers' formed HPL Communications, purchased WBTA and moved to Genesee County.

New digital studios were built and WBTA moved to its present location at the corner of Main and Center streets, which became the name of the station's morning talk show, “Main & Center.”

From 1977 to 2000, WBTA operated an FM station that was licensed to Attica, NY. The station was sold and became WLOF, which beams Catholic programming into the Buffalo area.

Under HPL, the station launched another FM station in 2014. It is licensed under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) translator rules and allows WBTA to broadcast in stereo at 100.1 Mhz. The station also streams 100 percent of its programming on the Internet at WBTAi.com and via mobile devices with custom apps for Android and iPhone systems.

“We are proud of WBTA's legacy of service to Batavia and Genesee County,” Fischer said. "As a licensee of a broadcast station, we pledge to the FCC to 'serve the public interest, convenience and necessity as a public trustee.' ”

WBTA is known in the industry as a “heritage” station, Fischer added, “our listeners have grown up with us.” Over the years we have reported individual milestones: births, anniversaries and obituaries. In times of war, the station has reported on service of local men and women in uniform.

The station has broadcast hundreds of local sporting events and have followed area high school teams to regional and state championships. WBTA has been the broadcast voice of Batavia's professional baseball team, the Muckdogs.

Through affiliations with national news organizations such as ABC Radio, WBTA has provided coverage of the most notable events of the 20th and 21st centuries including the Pearl Harbor attack, the assassinations of the 1960s, wars in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East, the manned moon landing and the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Radio broadcasting has certainly undergone significant changes over the past 75 years and will continue to change and evolve over the next 75 years,” Fischer said, “but I believe its basic commitment to serving the public interest will never change.”

Photo by Howard Owens. Pictured, Dan and Debbie Fischer.

February 5, 2016 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union, crime, batavia, business.

Press release:

Attention Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union Members: We have been made aware this morning, Friday, Feb. 5, that an automated call is being made to members and non-members saying that TVFCU needs their card information. This is a scam and you should hang up the phone immediately.

Please do not enter any information during these phone calls! TVFCU will never call and ask for your card number or any other private information. 

If you have given your card information during the phone call and you are a TVFCU member please call us at (585) 343-5627.  

If you are a non-TVFCU member please contact your own financial institution. 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Officials at the Le Roy Federal Credit Union contacted us to report many of their members are reporting the same scam. "We've been getting many calls and walk-ins from members stating that they have been receiving these calls as well. We also advise to NEVER give out card/account numbers over the phone. If they have questions, they may call us at (585) 768-7207," says Kimberly Antinore, Member Services, Le Roy Federal Credit Union.

February 4, 2016 - 1:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, pathway to prosperity, business, bdc, GCEDC.

A plan hatched by the City, the Batavia Development Corp. and the Genesee County Economic Development Center to redirect some money generated by economic development into brownfield area cleanup received the support Wednesday of the county's Ways and Means Committee.

The committee approval means the proposal will be voted on by the full County Legislature at its next meeting.

The plan, unique in the state, called Batavia Pathway to Prosperity, will create a fund from PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) payments that can be used for environmental clean up on properties within the city's brownfield opportunity area, a 366-acre designation covering the city's core.

A PILOT provides a business undertaking local economic development (creating jobs, increasing the tax base, adding to local economic growth) with a break in taxes for the increase in assessed value on the property being developed. Typically, if a business puts a new building on vacant land or adds onto an existing building, the assessed value of the property will increase, which means higher property taxes paid to the city (town or village), school district and county. A PILOT reduces those taxes in exchange for payments to the taxing jurisdictions. The payments could be in the range of 70 percent of what the increase in taxes would have been without the PILOT. The property owner still pays 100 percent of the taxes on the original assessed value. PILOTs typically run for 10 years on a graduated scale, with property taxes due increasing every two years over the life of the PILOT.

The new program would redirect half of the PILOT payments from projects in the city to an investment fund (a PIF) that would be available to property owners in the future who wish to redevelopment brownfield properties and need assistance with the environmental cleanup.

"This creates a fund that gives the BDC and the EDC working together and providing collective oversight the opportunity to look at broad range investment opportunities," said Steve Hyde, CEO of the GCEDC. "(The projects) still have to be for the public good, but (the property owner) can turn around and maybe do some creative financing type of things to really move some property and get them redeveloped and start to heal the poverty and blight down in our core."

Marianne Clattenberg, now a legislator but a former City Council president, said the city has needed something like this for a long time, but had other problems to solve first before something forward-looking could be brought to the table.

"We knew going in we could never do this by ourselves, that we needed partners and we needed to have everybody on board and engaged to bring the city back to where it needs to be," Clattenberg said. 

County Manager Jay Gsell said a program like this could spark a renaissance in the city.

"The need is unique and this is the kind of structural financing that gives the adroitness necessary to having this kind of money available," Gsell said.

The committee also approved a city plan to provide tax relief on so-called zombie properties. The program would provide a PILOT-like tax abatement on the increase in assessed value of a home that is currently vacant and has been vacant for some time that a person buys, renovates and then lives in. While the abatement isn't available to an investor who buys a zombie house, fixes it up and then rents it out, the abatement could be available to the next owner if that same investor fixes it up and then sells it to an owner-occupant. 

There are 50 to 60 such zombie properties in the city, not all of which can be saved, but some retain some value and could be renovated. The property must be single family, or converted to a single-family residence.

Hyde said the two programs together are the sort of thing that can spur economic development in the city's core and attract the Millennials who will be taking jobs at STAMP (Alabama's Science and Technology Manufacturing Park) to the city.

February 4, 2016 - 11:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chamber of commerce, business, batavia.

Renovation work on the future home of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau could begin in early spring, said Chamber President Tom Turnbull.

The chamber completed the purchase of the property at 8276 Park Road, Batavia, on Friday.

A request for construction bids on the project should go out in the next couple of weeks.

The chamber anticipates spending $900,000 on the project, which involves totally renovating and reconfiguring the building into office and meeting space suitable to the needs of the chamber and tourism bureau.

The location was selected in a large part because of its proximity to the Batavia exit for the Thruway and the concentration of hotels in the area.

The chamber purchased the building for $275,000.

The cost will be reduced a bit because of significant donation to the project by U.S. Gypsum.

Ray Dunlevy, a Gypsum executive in Oakfield and a member of the Chamber's board, came forward and said Gypsum would donate all of the drywall for renovation.

Nearly every current wall will come down inside the building, and new walls will go up, so it's a significant contribution to the project.

Turnbull really doesn't know the exact value of the donation. He said maybe $4,000 to $6,000.

"Everyone I talk to, and I'm not a contractor, says, 'that's worth thousands of dollars,' " Turnbull said.

The project's architect, Ed Smart, has been in touch with the general manager for Gypsum in Oakfield, Jim Perry, and Turnbull said Perry's message to Smart was, "Just tell us what you need."

The drywall is manufactured in Aliquippa, Pa.

Turnbull said nobody asked Gypsum for a donation. Dunlevy spoke up at a meeting and made the offer.

"It shows what a good community partner they are, just stepping up," Turnbull said. "They volunteered it and it's wonderful. It's going to help the project quite a bit."

File photo.

February 3, 2016 - 4:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, organic dairy farms.

Press release:

The New York Organic Dairy Program (NYODP) has partnered with the New York Farm Viability Institute to make grant funding available for organic dairy producers to participate in the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary (DFBS) program and select a project for immediate attention through a modified Dairy Profit Team approach.

Farms currently participating in the Dairy Farm Business Summary and those that have not completed a DFBS before are both eligible for funding. Priority for grants will be given to certified organic dairies, however, farms in transition to become organic are encouraged to apply.

Farmers may first apply for funds to:

  • work with a qualified farm business consultant to upload the operating and financial information for the individual farm into the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary;
  • or, if the farmer has completed a 2016 Summary, to work with the consultant to review the data to select a short-term project that will benefit the farm. Varying levels of funding are available for this initial step.

Funding is also available for farmers to work with a consultant on a project that will help the business better meet its goals. Applicants for a project grant must first complete a 2016 DFBS.

Farmers requesting project funds will be required to work with NYODP to document their desired goal and projects must be achievable within 18 months of the formation of the consultant "team." Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, developing a business plan, enhancing transitioning practices, and constructing facilities. NYODP will provide up to $1,500 for the consultant and team to complete its project work.

The Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary is a confidential program that collects operating and financial information from an individual farm to produce a report that the farm operator can use to identify areas where the farm is doing well and areas that need improvement. The Summary also helps analyze if the farm is meeting the financial and long-term goals of the farm business. If enough similar farms participate, the Cornell Organic Dairy Farm Business Summary will create benchmarks against which the owners of farms of similar size can measure their performance.

NYODP Manager Fay Benson will assist farmers in identifying a qualified farm business consultant for each of the two levels of funding. Consultants who have already agreed to work with this modified Organic Dairy Profit Team approach are:

  • Klaas Martens, Penn Yan; a well-known pioneer in organic field crop production, co-founder of New York Organic Certified, and an advisor on general organic dairy management;
  • Tom Kilcer, Advanced Ag Systems, of Kinderhook, with a specialty in crop rotations specifically fit to an individual farm to provide the best possible forage for dairy animals and livestock;
  • Sarah Flack, Sarah Flack Consulting, Enosburg Falls, Vt., working with grazers to improve the performance of farm pastures and livestock production;
  • and consultants in the existing Dairy Farm Business Summary network.

Guidelines and application form for the NYODP consultant and project grants are posted online at http://blogs.cornell.edu/organicdairyinitiative/. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis until funding is spent. For more information, contact Fay Benson at 607-391-2669 or [email protected].

This grants opportunity is funded by the New York Farm Viability Institute through its Dairy Profit Team program.

The New York Organic Dairy Program, a program of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Cornell Cooperative Extension, provides information to all sectors of the organic dairy industry, including farmers, processors, certifiers, retailers and consumers. The number of certified organic dairy farms in New York has steadily grown to meet the yearly increase in demand for organic milk.

February 3, 2016 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pathway to prosperity, batavia, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

Officials from the City of Batavia and the Batavia Development Corporation will make a presentation to the Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) at the agency’s Feb. 4 board meeting. The GCEDC Board of Directors is considering entering into an inter-municipal agreement to assist with the funding of new development projects in the City of Batavia.

The presentation will include an overview of the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (B2P) program and its role in leveraging economic development activity through a PILOT increment financing (PIF) initiative; strategies for redeveloping the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) sites; attracting new employers and jobs; increasing property values; and, exploring key market opportunities in the City of Batavia.

In addition to the presentation, the board will consider the acceptance of an application to set a public hearing for Darien Lake Theme Park Resort’s 2016 Tourism Destination Project. Darien Lake’s new project includes a six-flume waterslide and a new roller coaster train.

The total request for incentives for the Darien Lake project is $189,200 in sales tax exemptions for the construction and equipping of the new rides and enhancements. The total capital investment for both park projects is approximately $2.8 million.

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.

February 2, 2016 - 3:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, genesee county chamber of commerce.

Press release:

“Designing an Effective Website” will be the subject of a small business workshop to be hosted the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 10.

This is the second in a series of business workshops for 2016 held in conjunction with the United States Small Business Administration and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. The workshops are open to all Chamber and non-Chamber businesses and their employees and will offer expert advice from experienced business professionals designed to help small businesses succeed and grow.

“This is an opportunity to evaluate your current website against what does and does not work,” said Tom Turnbull, Chamber president. “In this workshop, participants will learn what an effective website should look like and how it should be able to work for their business.”

Other workshops on the 2016 schedule are as follows:  March 9 – “Social Media Marketing for Existing Businesses”; April 13 – “Reputation Marketing” and June 8 – “Leading vs. Managing Change." Additional workshops will be announced throughout the year.

The workshops will be held at the Chamber of Commerce office, 210 E. Main St., Batavia. The sessions will run from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Businesses may attend any one or all of the workshops. Cost for non-Chamber members is $10 for each attendee. Chamber members may attend all sessions free of charge but must make reservations to insure space for their employees.

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

February 2, 2016 - 2:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, agriculture, business.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that the state has made available $11 million in grants through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program to assist farmers with projects to protect soil and water.

“Much of New York’s economy is driven by agriculture, especially in Western New York,” Hawley said. “We must protect our resources and keep this essential industry growing. To do so, New York State has made $11 million available to farmers via a grant program through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program.”

These grants will be awarded to county Soil and Water districts to implement best practices such as structural soil conservation practices and agricultural waste storage. The program is funded directly through the state Environmental Protection Fund.

February 2, 2016 - 2:30pm

Press release:

Members of the City of Batavia Fire Department IAFF Local 896 pair up with the Muscular Dystrophy Association every June to participate in the annual Fill the Boot fundraising campaign to benefit children and adults with muscle disease throughout the Greater Rochester and Buffalo areas. Members volunteer their time to fan out on city streets with boots in hand to raise money from local traffic.

To help the MDA throughout the year, members have created several “traveling boot” displays. With approval from local businesses, these displays have been placed in various business locations throughout the city. The “traveling boot” will stay in one location for a short period of time, before moving to a new location.  Customers and patrons can place loose change and dollars in the boot and help raise money for the MDA. The first boots have been placed in Dunkin’ Donuts and Southside Deli.

Batavia’s Fill the Boot drive is organized by firefighters Chris Morasco and Mark Sacheli.

“The communities’ generosity as well as great participation from our members has continued to make this program a success. The 'traveling boots' are a way that we can give back to the MDA more than just one day a year. It is a great cause, and we look forward to a successful fundraising campaign for the 2016 year.”

February 1, 2016 - 6:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Coffee Culture, batavia, business.

Batavia simply didn't work out for Coffee Culture, said Perry Ouzounis, VP of operations for the chain's corporate parent.

"There's no doubt about it, it's never an easy decision to close a store, but the market there wasn't very strong for us," Ouzounis said.

The Batavia closing was one of three Coffee Culture locations in WNY that closed last week, Ouzounis said, but other locations, including in Buffalo and Erie, Pa., as well as locations in Canada and Florida, continue to do well.

The closure of the Batavia store last week was big news, garnering a substantial number of page views to The Batavian's initial report of the signs being removed from the building. The coffee shop did seem popular, at least to some extent, in Batavia.

"Of course, I'm not prepared to share our P&L," Ouzounis said. "It just wasn't a viable location for us."

When the shop first opened, the company was actively seeking a franchisee to take over operations, but in two years, no potential owner stepped forward.

Ouzounis said it's tough letting their employees go, but they are receiving all pay due and other separation benefits.

"We are doing the right thing within state law," Ouzounis said.

Ouzounis said Coffee Culture is not finished growing and will look for new opportunties for new stores, but that, "unfortunately," Batavia wasn't meeting the company's goals for "long-term success."

February 1, 2016 - 6:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Larry's Steakhouse, batavia, business, downtown.

Larry's Steakhouse has closed, but the Mullen family is far from done with serving up great meals at 60 Main St., Batavia.

Owner Steve Mullen is stepping aside and his son Brendon Mullen is planning a new restaurant at the same location, which will be called Carter's.

"I don't want to say a lot about it right now, but it's going to be something this town will be excited about," Brendon said. "It's going to be a culinary experience like nothing ever seen here."

While there is a chance the new restaurant could open within weeks, two or three months might be a more realistic time frame, Brendon said. It will take time to secure a new liquor license. 

Steve said he thanks all the patrons for their support of Larry's.

Any gift certificates for Larry's that have not yet been redeemed will be honored by Carter's once it opens.

January 30, 2016 - 3:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCC, elba, business.

Photo provided by Maxine (Palmer) Koberg taken early on the job in 1969 as a Civil Service clerical worker for Genesee Community College.

In October, 1969, Maxine Koberg (nee Palmer), was excited to start her new job as a clerical worker at the fledgling Genesee Community College.

The Batavia native had graduated from high school five years earlier and worked steadily since turning 18. When she found an opportunity to take a Civil Service test, she didn't hesitate and was subsequently delighted to learn she'd passed the clerical exam and was eligible for employment. After landing a job at the college, she said she liked it and was capable of performing the duties and she planned to stick with it.

And stick with it, she did, for more than 46 years.

"You don't think about it," Koberg said. "The years go by. You know you'll retire someday, but you don't really think about it. And now here I am."

It dawned on her recently that the familiar route commuting to and from the college and her home in Elba would no longer be part of her daily itinerary after Friday, which was her last day.

The original route was different in the beginning of her employment at GCC.

The campus at One College Road off Stephen R. Hawley Drive in the Town of Batavia did not yet exist.

The college was chartered in 1966 and its first digs were in 56,000 square feet of space in the "Valu Tech Center" on West Main Street in Batavia, which was home to the Valu department store. The first class of 378 full-time and 243 part-time students began their studies the following fall semester. 

"In the beginning, I was working with students," Koberg said. "You tried to be helpful and they were fun and polite and you got to stay with them a couple of years. There were plenty 'please' and 'thank-yous'."

Koberg recalled the library was in front and there were a couple of offices in the back. Her department consisted of two clerks, including herself, a secretary and a Librarian David Brewster. Things were not computerized then. Keeping track of orders, payments, inventory, book loans, etc., was done manually.

In 1972, The Big Move to the new campus came. Boxing up the books and hauling them to the new location and organizing them -- "It was quite a big job," Koberg said. Staff supervised college students in the work/study program who did the bulk of the heavy lifting.

"When we first went to the new building, I was at the circulation desk. That's where you signed out books, reserved materials for students, and supervised the work/study students. And you greet everybody."

There was a growing population of international students, who could sometimes be difficult to understand because of the language barrier, Koberg said, but throughout the years, the 'please' and 'thank-yous' were abundantly offered. Although, as always, she noted some students have better manners than others. A noticeable difference campus-wide, of course, is the proliferation of electronic gadgets that students appear glued to.

At some point, she was asked if she wanted to leave the front desk and the students, and work on library's clerical staff ordering books and doing related tasks. She decided to take the challenge, which eventually included learning daunting new computer skills and paying bills.

"There was never a time when I didn't like working with books. I knew my programs and how to get books ordered and get them on the shelf. As courses changed, books changed -- like for our Allied Health Program -- but it's all office work."

Which means paying attention to details.

"Be careful about what you're doing, get the right books ordered, received and processed. Get the bills paid, in the right amount. Live within your budget. We have a good system and we work together."

After more than four decades on the job, her coworkers were like a second family and the workplace, a sort of home away from home. She says her colleagues held down the fort while she took two maternity leaves, helped her through some rough patches on the road of life, and she has appreciated their supportiveness, assistance and the camaraderie along the way.

The staff meshed at the Alfred C. O'Connell Library, named after the college's first president.

"We did work well together."

As for her newly retired status, it'll take some getting used to. No big plans afoot. No vacation in the works.

"I'm just going to take it day by day and see how it goes," Koberg said.

January 28, 2016 - 3:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, education.

Press release:

In today’s economy, advanced manufacturers require skilled workers. The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, in conjunction with the Workforce Development Institute and eight area companies, have created a precision machining program to prepare qualified individuals for entry-level positions and a career path in CNC Precision Machining.

This Adult Education Program consists of 425 hours of classroom instruction at either the Mount Morris or Batavia Career and Technical Education Centers and 160 hours of on-site training and experience with our partnering companies. In addition, participants who successfully complete the program may be offered a two-week internship at a partnering company at the conclusion of the program. The deadline to apply is Feb. 24.

The eight partnering companies are D.P. Tool, Liberty Pumps, Amada Tool, SR Tool, Brach Machine, Inc., FTT Manufacturing, B&B Precision Manufacturing, Inc., and Chassix.

Classroom instruction will consist of lecture and hands-on instruction covering the general use of the basic components of a mill and lathe. Common fixtures, cutting tools, and tool holders will be covered. Students will study blueprint reading and use precision measuring devices. Introduction to Computer Control Programming and operation of machine tooling through HAAS Programming System control panels will provide the necessary skills for entry-level machine operator positions. 

Individuals who are 18 years of age by April 1, 2016 and have earned a high school diploma, GED or who can demonstrate successful experience in a manufacturing environment are eligible to apply. Funding is available for eligible candidates.

The curriculum covered in this class includes the following:

Introduction to Machining                       
Shop Safety
Technical Shop Math
Precision Measurement
Blueprint Reading
Layout Work
Fasteners
Fixtures
Cutting Fluids
Drills and Drilling Machines

Grinding
Sawing and Cutoff Machines
Cutting Tapers and Screw Threads on the Lathe
Lathe Operations
Milling Machine Operations
Precision Grinding
Computer Numerical Control (CNC)
Quality Control
Metallurgy
Heat Treatment of Metals
Occupations in Machining Technology

For more information about this program, contact Chuck DiPasquale, director of Programs, at (585) 344-7552. Applications may be downloaded at http://www.gvboces.org/adulted.cfm?subpage=1216002 and are due by Feb. 24.  

###

The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State. 

January 28, 2016 - 3:08pm

 

Submitted photo and press release:

Pittsford, New York – After tallying all the figures, Campground Owners of New York (CONY) announces today that Skyline Camping Resort & RV Sales in Darien Center, New York, operated by the Tybor family, raised $5,394 in donations for Camp Good Days and Special Times, as part of CONY’s fourth annual statewide fundraising event for charity held throughout 2015.

According to Suzanne Bixby, CONY’s Marketing and Communications Director, the association raised a total of $91,000 in 2015, bringing CONY’s four-year fundraising total for Camp Good Days to approximately $248,000.

“We are, simply put, grateful to CONY parks like Skyline Camping Resort, as well as their campers and supporters, for helping us raise our largest annual total yet for Camp Good Days and Special Times,” Bixby said. “And I think we’re all a little proud that we’re bringing smiles and camping fun to children and their families braving cancer.”

Throughout the 2015 camping season, Skyline Camping Resort & RV Sales held a 50/50 raffle, a horseshoe tournament, and other raffles and sales.

With fundraising by CONY campgrounds from across New York State, a combined total of $91,000 in checks were presented to by CONY leaders to Camp Good Days and Special Times Founder Gary Mervis at a special ceremony on November 14, 2015, during CONY’s annual exposition held at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York.

Camp Good Days and Special Times is a New York State-based organization providing camping experiences free of charge to children with cancer. Since its inception, Camp Good Days has served more than 45,000 campers from 22 states and 29 foreign countries at its camp, located on the shores of Keuka Lake. More information: www.campgooddays.org.

For more information about Skyline Camping Resort & RV Sales, visit www.skylinervresort.com.

Participating CONY campgrounds all across New York State raised funds in a variety of ways, including selling paper balloons and T-shirts, displaying change collection boxes, and hosting special events including walks, dinners, raffles, auctions, and concerts, to name a few.

CONY member campgrounds are fundraising once again in 2016 for Camp Good Days.

Campground Owners of New York (CONY), headquartered in Pittsford and founded in 1963, is an association dedicated to the promotion, growth, improvement and development of privately owned campgrounds in New York State. More information about the association and its campgrounds – including a free camping directory - is available at www.nycampgrounds.com and www.campcony.com.

January 28, 2016 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, batavia, cornell extension.

Press release:

“Annie’s Project” has been successful nationally and in New York with empowering farm women to become stronger business partners through clearer understanding of how to manage risk. “Managing for Today and Tomorrow” (MTT) will provide audiences the opportunity to become involved in the journey of transitioning their farm legacy to a new generation.

MTT will be offered in four Thursday sessions from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Genesee and Ontario County Cornell Cooperative Extension offices beginning Feb. 18th by Cornell Cooperative Extension’s North West New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Team.

MTT will be guided by the same core values as Annie’s Project: Guided Intelligence builds on women’s natural tendency to share, teach and learn with other women; Connection creates opportunities of connection to other farm women and local practitioners; Discovery helps women make sense of topics through hands-on activities and discussion; Safe Harbor provides a comfortable and secure environment where all questions are welcome.

Participants in MTT will focus on transition planning for their farm businesses. Whether you are in the prime of your farming career, just getting started or thinking about later phases of life, transition planning is likely to be important to you. Because family and business are often closely tied together in agriculture, transition planning must address issues of business sustainability and family relationships. MTT addresses succession, business, estate and retirement planning in the context of a farm business.  For some, transition planning may involve successors who are not part of the family.

Topics covered will include goal setting, clarifying values personal vision, resolving conflict, financial documents and vocabulary, asset transfer methods, and retirement options among many others.

Farm women must register to participate in Managing for Today and Tomorrow.  The cost is $100 per person and includes 15 hours of instruction, an extensive collection of instructional materials and a light lunch at each session.

To register for either location, contact Zach Amey at [email protected] or 585-786-2251, ext. 123. For questions about what the classes will cover reach out to Joan Petzen, [email protected]585-786-2251, ext. 122 or Marie Anselm, [email protected] or 585-394-3977, ext. 402. Register today and save the dates, Feb. 18 and 25, and March 3 and 10. Reserve March 17 for a snow date.

This program is sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension, and supported in part by the Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) award number 2012-49200-20031, CoBANK, Farm Credit East, New York FarmNet, NYS Agricultural Mediation Center, NYS Workforce Development Institute, and New York Agri-Women, Inc.

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