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June 20, 2018 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, Batavia Development Corp., batavia, business, news, notify.

The Batavia Development Corp. Board of Directors agreed this morning to hire Rachael Tabelski as the new economic development director, replacing Julie Pacatte, who left a couple of months ago to pursue a new job opportunity.

Tabelski is a Batavia resident and has been marketing and communications director for the Genesee Economic Development Center for more than seven years.

Board President Pierluigi Cipollone, who served on the search committee, praised Tabelski as clearly the most qualified among a field of five candidates, that included two from Buffalo, one from Texas, and a native New Yorker from the Finger Lakes region who currently works in Massachusetts.

"She came to the interview very well prepared," Cipollone said. 

He said she had a spreadsheet of all BDC's projects, worked side-by-side with Pacatte on preparing the city's successful bid for the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative project, and clearly understands economic development.

The job offer to Tabelski, with a salary of $67,000 annually, which is $2,000 more than the BDC paid Pacatte, was approved unanimously.

"It's a no-brainer," said Board Member Steve Pies. "She is well versed in our projects and she is passionate about it.

The fact that Tabelski has been working with Pacatte on city projects as part of her job with GCEDC makes her a perfect fit for the job.

"There will be no hiccup," Valle said. "She is knowledgeable about everything. She has a great vision and goals, and she's fantastic."

Tabelski is married to City Council Member Adam Tabelski. Cipollone said the only conflict of interest will be for Adam Tabelski will be on votes related to his wife's compensation. He will need to recuse himself on those issues when they came before the council.

In the discussion, board members questioned whether the compensation was appropriate. Cipollone said that based on his research the salary range in similar-sized cities in the region is $70,000 to $90,000, so the BDC is on the low-end of the scale, he said.  

That prompted Steve Casey to ask if, notwithstanding her ties to the community, a low salary might encourage her to move on to another job sooner rather than later. Cipollone noted the BDC has limited funds to work with and anything paid in salary would mean less available for projects.

Rachael Tabelski will start her new job July 6.

June 19, 2018 - 1:54pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s Haunted History Trail of New York State program was recognized at the 2018 Rochester PRism Awards on Thursday, June 14.

The statewide tourism trail earned two recognitions for excellence in marketing and public relations – one first-place PRism Award and one Award of Excellence.

The PRism was awarded for the Trail’s “Spooky” Social Media campaign created and executed by Chamber member Break the Ice Media. Social channels saw growth across the board – nearly 40-percent page growth on Facebook, 22 percent on Twitter, and 90.4-percent engagement growth on Instagram -- with events selling out and new visitors traveling the trail.

The program was also recognized with an award of excellence for the 2018 Haunted History Trail brochure, a beautiful 36-page travel magazine that was designed by Corfu designer Matt Steinberg of The Quackenstein Graphic Design Co., and featured stunning photography from the official trail photographer Steve Shoemaker of Amityphotos.com. Break the Ice Media led the team with copywriting and project management.

The PRism Awards are an annual award show put on by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Rochester Chapter, celebrating the best public relations work -- both elements and campaigns -- from the previous year.

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About the Haunted History Trail of New York State

The Haunted History Trail of New York State is a tourism collaboration spearheaded by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with 32 county tourism offices that features haunted locations from almost every region of New York State. Haunted dining, tours, and overnights are available on the trail, with many of the locations tying back to New York’s history. For more information, visit: www.hauntedhistorytrail.com.

June 18, 2018 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, news.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today revealed the details of the newly released Senate Farm Bill. The senators said the bill could benefit key Upstate New York industries, and urged their colleagues in the Senate to pass the bill as quickly as possible.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand detailed several major areas in which the Farm Bill will be a major boost to Upstate farmers, growers, and producers, as well as other New York businesses, like Hickey Freeman. 

Schumer and Gillibrand said the newly announced bill reflects a variety of different priorities they pushed for on behalf of the New York agricultural community. Schumer said the bill will give New York's agricultural industry a shot in the arm, and vowed to preserve Upstate New York’s priorities as the bill goes through the legislative process.  

“The pending Senate Farm Bill is a major victory for Upstate New York and its large and vital agricultural community. It includes important positive provisions that should push this bill over the finish line,” Senator Schumer said. “Ensuring the passage of a Farm Bill focused on agricultural policy is vital for New York’s agricultural community and our economy as a whole.

"The bill makes further investments to help Upstate New York dairy farmers, boosts the rapidly growing organic sector, builds on New York’s burgeoning industrial hemp industry, and protects important New York jewels like Hickey Freeman from unfair foreign competition.

"While the bill does not contain everything that we fought for, it is ultimately a win for the farmers that are the heart of Upstate New York. Most importantly this bill will also help deliver immediate certainty for our farmers at a time when they need it the most."

“New York State’s farmers and producers are vital to our economy and they work day and night to feed millions of families across our country,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “After hearing from farmers and producers all across our state, I fought hard on the Senate Agriculture Committee from the very beginning to make sure this year’s Senate Farm Bill had New York’s best interests at its core.

"I will always fight to support New York’s agriculture community, and I was very proud to support this legislation in committee.”

New York Business Growth

Schumer fought to extend and fully fund the Wool Trust Fund program, which Rochester icon Hickey Freeman relies on for crucial import tax relief.  The program was created more than a decade ago to compensate the domestic suit industry for the competitive disadvantage that results from an unfair tariff inversion where the duty on the imported finished product is lower than the duty on the inputs used to make the product here at home.

Under the Wool Trust Fund program, U.S. manufacturers of wool clothing and fabric are eligible for a partial refund of duties paid on imports of wool inputs.  The Wool Trust Fund program also provides U.S. wool producers with funding for improvements in wool production methods and development of the wool market.

The conference report restores Wool Trust Fund payment levels for recent years when the program was underfunded and extends its authorization, through 2023. U.S. manufacturers and wool producers -- and their American workers -- would be hard hit by the elimination of the Wool Trust Fund program. Hickey Freeman has saved millions of dollars over the past few years through the program and this provision will ensure they receive the dollars they are owed. 

Conservation:

The Senators said the Senate Farm bill funds key environmental programs that are essential to farmers, like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  These programs are voluntary conservation initiatives that farmers can utilize through the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to help them continue to be good stewards of the land.    

Agriculture and Farming/Growing:

Organic Farming:

The newly introduced Senate Farm Bill established mandatory funding of $11.5 million for the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP), which helps support farmers who want to become involved in the organic market by providing reimbursements of some of their annual fees for United States Department of Agriculture USDA organic certification. It includes an increase in critical funding for organic research through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative from its current level of $20 million to $50 million by FY2022.

Finally, the Senate version of the Farm Bill increases the authorization for the National Organic Program (NOP). Both Senators have been major supporters of this program that helps USDA protect farmers from having to unfairly compete against fraudulent organic imports while also helping to maintain consumer confidence in the USDA certified organic brand. This bill increases the authorization for the NOP to $16.5 million in FY2019, $18 million in FY2020, $20 million in FY2021, $22 million in FY2022, and $24 million in FY2023.

Specialty Crops

The Senate Farm Bill contained a number of provisions beneficial to Upstate farmers, but especially to farmers of specialty crops. New York produces a wide range of specialty crops (fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, herbs and spices, maple syrup, Christmas trees, etc.) that rank highly nationwide in terms of both production and economic value.

The Senate Farm Bill, according to Schumer and Gillibrand, provides vital funding to key programs that aid specialty crop producers, such as the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. These programs help provide support to New York's specialty crop industry in the form of robust research funding. 

Maple:

The Senate Farm Bill reauthorizes Schumer’s original legislation known as The  Maple Tap Act, which Schumer said is now officially called the Acer Access and Development Program. This provision will continue to help maple producers in the Hudson Valley and across Upstate New York boost their production and become more competitive with places like Canada, which produces 85 percent of the world's maple product.

The senators said, specifically, this provision provides an authorization for USDA grants to states that create programs to encourage individual and private landowners to open up their trees to maple tapping. Schumer's legislation would also provide grants to states to support market promotion, maple industry research and development, and education through leading institutions, like Cornell University.

Hemp:

Another important provision Schumer and Gillibrand fought to include was the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Schumer, a cosponsor of the Hemp Farming Act, said the provision could help unlock Industrial hemp’s full potential as an agricultural commodity across Upstate New York by removing hemp from a federal list of controlled substances.

The senators said the bill will do four important things for farmers nationwide including in New York State:

  • Remove industrial hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act;
  • Empower states to be the principal regulators of hemp;
  • Allow hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
  • Finally, it would make hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance.

Most importantly, the senator’s said this important provision would allow for New York’s agricultural community to grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity if they so choose, allowing New York growers more flexibility. 

Barley:

The bill directs the National Agricultural Statistics Service of USDA to document barley production in New York State. This would ensure that producers have the information they need to decide on future plantings.

The information would be valuable for growers because it would provide sufficient data for crop insurance companies to expand insurance offerings and eventually offer a malting barley endorsement.

Dairy:
The newly introduced Senate Farm Bill also includes major victories for Upstate New York dairy farmers and producers. The newly introduced Farm Bill invests in programs to help give much-needed relief to Upstate New York dairy farmers and producers.

The Senate Version of the Farm Bill includes a variety of helpful reforms including: an investment of $100 million to help improve the Federal dairy insurance program to help make the program work better for small to medium dairy farms; a provision waiving administrative fees for beginning, veteran, and underserved farmers; a provision continuing the vital changes made in the Omnibus Budget bill that allowed for the creation of new dairy insurance tools in the future; legislation introduced by Senator Gillibrand, The Dairy Premium Refund Act, which would return $77.1 million in insurance premiums paid by farmers for insurance coverage that did not work, while also establishing a milk donation program to reimburse eligible dairy organizations costs incurred for donating their milk.

PAWS

The newly introduced Senate farm bill also includes a vital provision called the Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS) Act, which both Senators are currently cosponsors of.  This bill would help give victims of domestic violence and their pets greater access to safe sheltering options, as well as provide stronger legal protections of pets. According to the Humane Society, up to one-third of domestic violence victims delay leaving a dangerous situation, because they fear for the safety of their pets, and up to one-fourth return to an abuser due to concern for their pets.

Local Food Programs

The Senate Farm Bill creates a new Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) by combining the Value Added Producer Grants Program and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. The value-added producers grant program helps dairy farmers that start producing artisanal cheese or apple growers that enter the hard cider industry.

The grants administered through the new LAMP program will continue to support strengthening our local food systems from rural farmers to urban consumers.

Water, waste disposal, and wastewater facility grants

The Senate Farm bill provides funding to support and strengthen rural water infrastructure. Funding to Rural Development programs like the Water, Waste Disposal, and Wastewater Facility Grant program will help families and businesses across Upstate New York and nationwide continue to have access to clean drinking water.   

Community facility investments

The Senate Farm Bill supports Community Facility investments to continue to help provide resources to construct hospitals, improve schools, while also improving fire and police stations across small towns in New York State. 

Rural Broadband

This year’s Senate Farm Bill includes a provision, based on Senator Gillibrand’s bipartisan Broadband Connections for Rural Opportunities Program Act (B-CROP Act), which would make grant funding available for rural broadband projects in high-need areas.

Gillibrand worked with her colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee to include this provision in the Senate Farm Bill, which would help encourage more high-speed broadband deployment to high-need areas by awarding grants in combination with the current loan funding available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service.

Federal funds would target the highest-need rural and tribal areas, allowing for grants of up to 50 percent of a project’s cost, and up to 75 percent for remote, high-need areas, to be awarded in combination with the current loan funding available through USDA. The Senate Farm Bill also increases the annual funding level of the USDA broadband program to $150 million.

REAP Zones

The Farm Bill would reauthorize the Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone designation for Sullivan County and the Town of Wawarsing in Ulster County. The REAP Zone program provides specialized technical assistance from USDA to assist in community development efforts, including rehabilitating rural housing, developing local and regional food systems, supporting rural entrepreneurs, small businesses, and infrastructure improvements to community facilities, water, and wastewater systems, and other similar projects that are critical to an area’s economic development. Senator Gillibrand worked with Senator Leahy (D-VT) and the Agriculture Committee to include this amendment in this year’s Farm Bill.

June 15, 2018 - 9:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, Western OTB, michael ranzenhofer, batavia, business.

Press release:

The New York State Senate passed Senate bill S7397-A, establishing a more equitable tax rate for Batavia Downs Gaming.  Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, the sponsor of the legislation, issued the following statement:

“Today the Senate passed legislation to help level the playing field for Batavia Downs. Lowering the tax rate not only protects the future viability of Batavia Downs but returns more revenue to taxpayers across Western New York. I am hopeful that the Assembly will take action on this important legislation.”

Batavia Downs Gaming, operated by Western Region OTB (WROTB), is a standardbred racetrack and gaming facility. WROTB is a public benefit corporation – owned by 15 Western New York counties, including Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming, as well as the cities of Rochester and Buffalo.

Since its inception, WROTB has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in operating and surcharge revenues to the residents of those participating municipalities.

June 14, 2018 - 7:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, batavia, healthcare, UMMC, Milestones.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® -- Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award.

The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

UMMC earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period.

These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“We are dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said UMMC Stroke Director, Dr. Sara Connolly. 

“The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the United States suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

June 13, 2018 - 8:15am

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The Batavia Business and Professional Women’s Club (BBPW), 2018 Scholarship Committee, has awarded scholarships to seven Genesee County high school, two Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) and one Genesee Community College students.

The clubs Vice President/Committee Chairperson Peggy Johnson presented the awards for the evening.

The 2018 Scholarship Award winners pictured above are, from left: Jessica Hicks, (Oakfield), Alexis Breton (Alexander), Gordon Montgomery (Batavia), Kelsey Kasmarek (Batavia), Eric Sharlau (Alexander), Ethan Hutchins (Notre Dame) and Sabrina Walton from (Genesee Community College). Not in the photo were Abigail Klos (Oakfield), Grace Krizen (Pembroke) and Madison LaGrou (Oakfield).

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

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

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

All of the award winners were invited to the Batavia Business and Professional Women’s June Banquet, which was held Thursday, June 7, at Dibble Family Center in Batavia.

Additionally, BBPW club members voted at their May Meeting on the Service Awards to be distributed and this year. Four $300 checks were awarded.  To be considered for the service award a letter written on appropriate letterhead was sent to the BBPW requesting consideration.

To find out more about BBPW scholarships and service awards visit their webpage here.

The following service organizations received monetary awards at the banquet: Crossroads House, Project Stork, The Warrior House, Genesee Cancer Assistance & Bethany Volunteer Fire Department.

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The BBPW club also voted at their April meeting for Women of the Year. This year's recipient was Pearl Hyatt. She is an honorary member who joined the club back in 1980.

Hyatt is currently the chair of the club's Sunshine Committee. She loves serving on the committee and the club couldn’t have a better person for the position. In this role, she goes and visits any shut-in members and keeps them informed on what the club is doing. She is so sweet, happy and a very caring women. It is a great pleasure to have her service.

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Please support BBPW next fundraising event, the Basket & Live Auction & Dinner being held at the Ascension Parish Hall on Sumner Street in Batavia on Oct. 13.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6. Basket drawings and live auction to follow.  It is an "Evening in the Magical Kingdom" event. Tickets are on sale now for $25.

To purchase tickets or donate to the auction, please contact Michelle at 297-0779 or send an email to [email protected]. All proceeds from this event benefit Genesee County scholarships and the service organizations.

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June 11, 2018 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in M&S Tactical Solutions, batavia, news, business.

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The chaos, confusion and emotions of a mass causality situation had a serious impact on students who went through the simulation at M&S Tactical last night, said owner Jeff McIntire.

Participants in the simulation first sat through a class, "Active Assailant Awareness for the Concealed Carrier," before confronting a realistic scenario dealing with several shooting victims.

The goal was to give those with concealed carry licenses practical tips and the psychological experience on what to do both to deal with the threat of an active shooter and how to assist victims.

The class focused on the Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) loop. They also received instruction what to do once law enforcement arrives on scene.

After dinner, a New York State Certified Tactical Paramedic taught field expedient first aid using supplies in which they would have readily available to them, as not every average citizen carries with them a tourniquet, an occlusive dressing, or hemostatic gauze.

"One by one, class participants entered the company's Active Home Invasion System and were confronted with the aftermath of a mass casualty shooting," McIntire said. "Chaos ensued and they were tasked with finding and triaging patients to either attempt to save or give some sort of potential life-saving intervention to using the skills they were just taught."

In the training room, participants found about a dozen role players covered in blood. Some of the role players were injured while others were just covered in blood. M&S Tactical staff assigned each role player a specific character to portray. Some acted as severely wounded people with injuries to the femoral artery, sucking chest wounds, gunshot wounds to the head, and other injuries. Children ran around hysterically screaming for their mother, and requesting each student to help them.

"This class was able to reach into the souls of each participant," McIntire said. "The environment created was all too near reality."

Photos and information submitted by Jeff McIntire.

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June 8, 2018 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, batavia, START-UP Genesee.

If you are thinking about starting a busimess or have a great idea, or maybe you'd just like to see what entrepreneurship is all about, then take a tour of Downtown Batavia businesses on Thursday, June 21, and hear local stories about starting and operating a small business.

You're invited to a START-UP Genesee "Think & Drink" Entrepreneurial Series Event. Meet at Eli Fish Brewing Company. Walking tour is free. Food and drink will be provided.

Time is 4 to 6 p.m.

RSVP by contacting Rahcel Tabelski at 343-4866 or at  [email protected]

This event is hosted by the START-UP Genesee Business Assistance Team.

Great opportunity to network and take your ideas and business to the next level!

June 8, 2018 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, Le Roy.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted to accept applications for incentives for two projects at the agency’s June 7th board meeting and direct the staff to set public hearings. The combined projects would create 20 new jobs and approximately $7.6 million in capital investment.

J. Rental is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $723,000 to build a new 60,000-square-foot facility on 19.5 acres in the Apple Trees Acres business park in Bergen. The $6.3 million project would create 15 new jobs. The company will be investing $14 for every one dollar of public benefit.

Lancor Development Corp. is proposing to invest $1.3 million to build a 12,000-square-foot facility in the new Le Roy Food and Technology Park. The project would create five new jobs and retain seven jobs. Lancor is seeking sales and property tax exemptions of approximately $122,000. For every $1 of public benefit, the company is investing $28.5 into the local economy.

“We are very excited to see the first development at our latest shovel-ready site in Le Roy,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia. “We have worked collaboratively with our local government partners to get the park off the ground. With the first tenant committing to the site we are fulfilling the GCEDC’s mission to rejuvenate manufacturing, grow the local tax base, create jobs and grow the overall regional economy.”

In 2013 the GCEDC board moved forward with a plan to create the 75-acre shovel-ready park in the Town of Le Roy. This project was identified to reverse the generational decline in manufacturing in Le Roy including the loss of nearly 500 jobs (-17.6 percent) in the last five years. Upon successful build-out of the park up to 1,000 jobs could be housed there in the long term, with anticipated manufacturing facility space at full build-out of approximately 600,000 square feet.

June 7, 2018 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Fontrick Door, batavia.

Press release:

National Grid has approved an economic development grant for Fontrick Door Inc., a Batavia-based custom window and hardwood door manufacturer that is undertaking a major expansion.

National Grid will provide up to $158,000 toward upgrades of Fontrick Door’s electric infrastructure.

The grant was made through National Grid’s Electrical Capital Investment Incentive program, which provides financial incentives to qualifying commercial and industrial customers who are expanding operations and need to upgrade electric infrastructures.

“We’ve been working closely with Fontrick Door on this project, which includes a major re- organization of manufacturing space, and will lead to increased production and efficiencies,” said National Grid Regional Manager Ken Kujawa.

The Electrical Capital Investment Incentive program is among a suite of economic development programs offered by National Grid.

More information about the programs can be found at www.shovelready.com.

June 6, 2018 - 3:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, chamber of commerce, CUSTOMER SERVICE, news.

Press release:

“Customer Service that Wins Sales” will be the subject of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Workshop on Wednesday, June 13.

“Customer Service is the driving force in all of our businesses that can mean the difference between winning a sale and losing one”, said Tom Turnbull, president of the Chamber. “Customers today are pickier than ever and have more reach via social media, so it is imperative we keep them happy. Attend this workshop to learn more about how to win more and repeat sales.”

Among the subjects to be covered include tips to better serve your customer, how to win new customers with customer service, how to increase loyalty and repeat purchases and he importance of online customer service. Greg Lindberg of the Small Business Administration will conduct the workshop.

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

The workshop will be held at the Chamber of Commerce office, 8276 Park Road, Batavia. The session will run from 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. and includes a question-and-answer period.

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

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

June 5, 2018 - 3:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, education, CTE, precision machining, welding.

Mike Pribanich from NYMAT Machine Tool Corporation, works with William Hammond, a Precision Machining student from Caledonia-Mumford High School, on the Haas TM-1P control machine in the Precision Machining shop at the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center.

Submitted photo and press release:

Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center Precision Machining and Welding students celebrated the end of the school year with a visit with representatives from area manufacturing businesses.

The goal of the event was to introduce students to potential employers and for students to learn of the many career opportunities available in the manufacturing industry.

Lars Christensen, from Autodesk, a multinational software corporation that makes software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries, attended the event and spoke with students.

“I came to the United States in 1999 from Denmark and worked as a mold maker at a manufacturing facility in Rochester, New York," Christensen said. "I moved into the software industry and today I work for Autodesk, one of the biggest CAD-CAM companies in the world.

There are many prospects in this industry that students can pursue. I hope to encourage these students to do that.”

Erik Schwenzer works for NYMAT Machine Tool Corporation, a Haas Factory Outlet. He also attended and met with students.

“We are looking for summer employees as well as summer interns," Schwenzer said. "We like to be involved with the schools as much as possible because there is a real shortage of workers and many jobs are available in the manufacturing industry.

"Manufacturing is a great business that offers a host of opportunities. You make a very successful living and we need to show this to students.”

At the event, Christensen announced that he is funding a scholarship for Precision Machining and Welding students called the Master Manufacturing Scholarship. This scholarship will be presented tonight at the Batavia CTE Awards Night (June 5).

“This $500 scholarship will be presented to a student who is pursuing a career in the manufacturing industry or who is furthering his or her education.  It can be used by the student for educational purposes or to purchase tools or whatever the student might need to be prepared for work,” Christensen said.

About CTE

The Batavia Career and Technical Education Center is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The 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.

June 5, 2018 - 2:36pm

Assemblyman Steve Hawley invites you to join him at a free electronics recycling event from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 23, at the parking lot of the East End Business Center, 5130 E. Main St., Batavia.

Enter off of Ag Park Drive; it's next to National Grid.

This E-waste event is in conjunction with Spectrum and Sunnking.

***There is a limit of four television tubes per vehicle.

Bring your old broken cell phones, computers, monitors, printers, audio and video equipment, small devices, other electronic equipment.

For more information, contact Hawley's office at (585) 589-5780 or email  [email protected]

June 5, 2018 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, cheesemakers, agriculture, dairy, trade, news.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today joined their Senate colleagues in urging United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to continue to ensure Mexico honors its existing trade commitments.

They want Lighthizer to fight back against the EU’s recent proposal to exclusively use common cheese names, like “parmesan,” “feta,” and “asiago” in Mexico.

According to the senators, through a recent trade agreement with Mexico, the EU is seeking to prevent cheese producers from exporting their products using common cheese names or geographical indications.

Schumer and Gillibrand argued that this would be a huge hit to Upstate dairy farmers as they look to continue to export cheese and compete for new markets.

“No matter how you slice it, Upstate New York’s cheese producers could lose a big chunk of their business if the EU successfully convinces Mexico to place geographic restrictions on cheese labeling,” Senator Schumer said.

"From Western New York to the Hudson Valley, cheese production is an important industry in Upstate New York, which is why I'm urging Ambassador Lighthizer to hold nothing back and use every tool in his disposal to protect U.S. cheese producers and ensure that Mexico continues to honor their existing trade commitments."

“This harmful proposed trade agreement between the EU and Mexico could hurt our farmers and rural communities by taking away export opportunities for New York cheese producers,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“We need to do everything possible to protect and promote New York’s dairy industry, which is already struggling in the face of historically low milk prices and other challenges, and I’m urging U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer to fight against any proposal that would hurt local cheese producers.”

Schumer and Gillibrand pointed out that Mexico is the largest export destination for American cheese, accounting for virtually one-third of the $1.3 billion in dairy products the United States exported to Mexico last year and that implementing geographic indications on cheeses could devastate New York’s cheese industry.

The senators explained that this is not the first time the EU has tried to claim cheese names based on geographic locations, in the same way, that the EU has argued that champagne can only be sold as "champagne" if produced in the Champagne region of France.

Among the labels sought by EU are muenster, feta, parmesan, fontina, gorgonzola and others. Schumer warned that if the EU succeeds in claiming those names, New York producers will no longer be able to export cheeses with their current names. They would have to export the cheese under a different name, meaning that producers could lose market share they have spent years fighting for.

A copy of the joint Senate letter to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appears below:

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

We write today expressing our concerns about Mexico’s recent trade negotiations with the European Union (EU) and the devastating impact these actions could have on American cheese exports to Mexico. On April 21, 2018, the EU and Mexico reached an agreement in principle to modernize their current trade agreement.

A summary of the agreement provided by the European Commission notes that Mexico agreed to protect 340 European geographical indications. While the final text of the agreement—and the full list of restricted names—has not been released, media reports indicate that Mexico has agreed to restrict food imports with names—most notably of cheeses—considered generic in the United States.

As you work to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we urge you to engage with your Mexican and Canadian counterparts to ensure that future trade policies do not limit export opportunities for American dairy farmers and processors. In light of Mexico’s proposed agreement with the EU, we are deeply concerned that American cheesemakers will be harmed by a reversal of their current access to the Mexican market, and will be denied the opportunity to sell products to Mexican consumers using common cheese product names that have been marketed for decades.

In addition, this threat to American dairy exports underscores and reaffirms the need for a renegotiated NAFTA that ensures strong market access for dairy exports to Mexico and Canada and addresses Canada’s trade-distorting Class 7 dairy pricing scheme.

Geographical indications link a product to a particular region, implying that the product possesses a certain quality or reputation associated with that locale. The EU has aggressively pursued restrictions for cheeses, such as feta (Greece), muenster (France), and parmesan (Italy), in their domestic and international trade policies. While these names are covered as geographic indications within the EU, they are generic in the United States and in numerous other countries around the world.

Mexico is the largest export destination for American cheese, accounting for roughly one-third of the $1.3 billion in dairy products the United States exported to Mexico last year. If Mexico grants European cheese producers exclusive rights to use common cheese names, as reports indicate it has agreed to do, American producers will lose market share they have spent years developing.

This policy change will have a detrimental impact on American cheese and dairy producers, who are already adversely impacted by Canada’s trade-distorting policies.

The 2015 Trade Promotion Authority statute—which is currently in force—included a principal negotiating objective on geographical indications:

“The principal negotiating objective of the United States with respect to agriculture is to obtain competitive opportunities for United States exports of agricultural commodities in foreign markets substantially equivalent to the competitive opportunities afforded foreign exports in United States markets and to achieve fairer and more open conditions of trade in bulk, specialty crop, and value-added commodities by [. . .] eliminating and preventing the undermining of market access for United States products through improper use of a country’s system for protecting or recognizing geographical indications, including failing to ensure transparency and procedural fairness and protecting generic terms.”

In order to meet this objective, the United States should engage with Mexico on geographic indication restrictions to ensure Mexico honors its existing trade commitments with the United States. American cheese exporters should be allowed to continue using common food names that Mexican consumers are familiar with.

Anything less would grant European producers access to the market share that American producers have developed over decades and unjustly award them the future growth opportunities of those products. We appreciate your attention to this matter and stand ready to work with you to protect American cheese exports.

May 31, 2018 - 11:59am

Press release:

The Genesee Country Farmers' Market located at the Downtown Batavia Public Market opens for the season on Friday, June 8th, at the market's location on the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place.

Market hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with the season running from Friday, June 8th, through Friday, Oct. 26th.

"This year marks the third year of collaboration with BID (Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District)," says Market Manager Mike Bakos. "The Market will remain a three-day per week "Grow-Your-Own" market featuring the freshest locally grown produce along with unique specialty items from local farms and artisans.

"Vendors are excited about the upcoming market season with many of last year's vendors returning along with some new additions. The market will once again participate in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), NYS FreshConnect, WIC and Senior Farmer's Market Check Programs. Stop by and talk directly to the people that grow your food."

Parties interested in joining the market to become a Seasonal Vendor or Day Vendor may contact Sharon Brent at (716)-560-0853 or by email at [email protected] or Mike Bakos at (716) 866-4958 or by email at [email protected].

Qualifying charities, service-groups, or 501c3 organizations that would like to participate in the market may obtain a "FREE" market stall by contacting the market at (716) 866-4958 or by email at [email protected].

May 30, 2018 - 10:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, Batavia Development Corp., downtown, business, news.

The Batavia City Council is willing to put something on paper expressing support of the Batavia Development Corporation but it can't make a commitment to funding the economic development agency for five years.

The BDC, through its president, former City Councilman Pier Cipollone, was seeking a five-year funding commitment from the council. Cipollone said without long-term support by the council, recruiting a new executive director will prove to be difficult.

“We need to provide some form of stability in the organization to hire a qualified candidate,” Cipollone said.

The executive director’s position has been vacant since the resignation a month ago of Julie Pacatte.

In making his case for the five-year commitment Cipollone cited the agency’s track record of attracting state and federal grants to spur development and the management of its own revolving loan fund to help local entrepreneurs. 

“For every $1 invested in the BDC,” Cipollone said, “the city has over $30 returned in public and private investment.”

Council President Eugene Jankowski explained that individual councilpersons were prohibited from making financial commitments beyond their individual terms of office. He then suggested that council adopt a non-binding “letter of support” for the BDC and place the item on the agenda for the next council business meeting June 11.

Among the accomplishments for the BDC during Pacatte’s tenure was the creation of several new residential units downtown, which have remained at full occupancy since going on the market, the conversion of the former Carr’s Warehouse into a mixed-use office space and apartment complex, and the opening of FreshLAB/Eli Fish Brewing Company.

The largest project still pending, however, is the Ellicott Station development, in which Savarino Companies plan to convert the former Della Penna and Santy’s properties into apartments, offices, and a brewery restaurant for Resurgence Brewing out of Buffalo. The groundbreaking for that project has repeatedly been delayed.

Cipollone addressed some of the frustrations and concerns over project delays and said it’s a very complex project. Because of the environmental problems at the site, there are multiple funding mechanisms from the state to help alleviate those above-market costs. Savarino is also using a complex private-equity-funding vehicle, which adds to the complexity of closing the funding.

The best the city can do, Cipollone suggested, is wait for Savarino to close funding. There isn’t, at least right now, a better option.

“It’s the only hope I’m aware of,” Cipollone said. “We had put it out to bid, and Savarino was the one viable company. They’ve done similar work in Buffalo where they’ve taken on a dirty site and have done an excellent job with them, so they’re used to dealing with this type of grief.”

In other council business, a draft resolution to fund the restoration of the Redfield Parkway entrance pillars failed to be moved to the next business meeting. Council instead asked interim City Manager Matt Worth to research other options to fund the project that has been estimated to cost between $57,000 and $67,000.

The Batavian's news partner WBTA assisted with this story.

May 30, 2018 - 1:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, STAMP, Alabama, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Western New York Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) today announced the launch of its Facebook (facebook.com/wnystamp) and Twitter (twitter.com/wnystamp) accounts. The social media initiative is being supported by a grant through National Grid.

WNY STAMP is the development of New York State’s second shovel-ready mega site (1,250 acres) designed for nanotech-oriented manufacturing (semiconductor, flat panel display, solar/PV), advanced manufacturing, and large scale bio-manufacturing projects. The site is located in the New York Power Authority’s low cost hydropower zone and is serviced by redundant, highly reliable power.

Located just five miles north of the New York State Thruway (I-90) exit 48A, the site is easily accessible to the region’s 2.3 million residents.

WNY STAMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages will be used to promote the latest updates regarding the site, photos and video content of community leaders discussing the site and surrounding area, what resources the site has to offer to prospective businesses, and more.

“We’re excited to launch our social media and share the story of what will be a major job creator for residents of Western New York,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “The sky is the limit for what WNY STAMP can offer to our region and these communication channels will allow us to further connect with prospective businesses and members of our community.

“National Grid has invested over $1 million in the WNY STAMP site to support the attraction of high-technology businesses to our area,” said Ken Kujawa, regional executive for National Grid. “The buzz surrounding the WNY STAMP continues to grow, and telling the story through social media channels furthers the awareness of the incredible potential this site gives to our area.”

The Genesee County Economic Development Center manages WNY STAMP.  For more information on WNY STAMP, head to WNYSTAMP.com

About the Genesee County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC): The GCEDC is the primary economic development agency in Genesee County, NY.

The GCEDC’s mission is to assist local economic development efforts by serving in a conduit financing capacity enabling the issuance of taxable and non-taxable debt to benefit the growth, expansion, ongoing operations and continued viability of for profit business enterprise in Genesee County thereby helping to maintain a sustainable long-term economy.

The Batavia/Genesee County region has been recognized for 15 consecutive years by Site Selection magazine as a top 10 micropolitan in the United States and is rated number three by Business Facilities Magazine as a top metro area for food processing and manufacturing growth.

May 25, 2018 - 1:08pm

Press release from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce:

Ignite Buffalo is providing local small businesses a new opportunity for growth through a grant program that will award up to $100,000 to Western New York businesses.

Ignite Buffalo is a business grant and mentorship program that promotes sustainable growth, job creation, and ongoing education to local small business owners. Ignite Buffalo is presented by 43 North in partnership with national and local partners including Facebook, M&T Bank, Quickbooks, AWS, WordPress.com and Woo Commerce.

Finalists selected will be in the running to receive one of 27 grants awarded ranging from $25,000-$100,000 and free access to a curated mentorship program. Within this program, business owners will gain access to industry experts offering ongoing educational programming, access to resources and curated workshops.

All applicants need to do is tell their business story. Applications can be made online at www.ignitebuffalo.org and must be submitted by June 13 at noon EDT.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and 43 North will be hosting an informational meeting regarding the Ignite Buffalo grants on Thursday, May 31, from 4-6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at the Batavia City Centre, 105 Main St., Batavia. Food and refreshments will be served.

The meeting is free and open to the public. You can register for the meeting on the Chamber’s website at www.geneseeny.com.

May 23, 2018 - 5:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, business, BID.
Press release:

The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) Board elected new officers for the 2018-2019 term.

New executive board is made up of Board President Jennifer Gray, Board Vice President Leanna DiRisio, Board Treasurer Kristine Duran, and Board Secretary Lisa Casey.

The BID Board welcomed five new board members this year that were announced at the BID’s Annual Meeting in April. The new members to include: Wesley Bedford, Joann Baiocco, Marc Johnson, Rick Mancuso and Tina Rose.

The newly elected officers represent the first female President and Vice President to serve on the BID Board since its origination in 1998. 

For more information on B.I.D. and Downtown events please visit here.

May 23, 2018 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park, news, business.

Press release:

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE:SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company, today announced it has entered into a purchase agreement with affiliates of Premier Parks LLC to acquire the lease rights to operate five parks owned by EPR Properties (NYSE:EPR). The parks have previously been operated by Premier Parks LLC of Oklahoma City.

These latest acquisitions will expand the company’s portfolio of North American parks to 25.​

“Today’s announcement represents another milestone in our strategic North American growth initiative to seek out park acquisitions that expand our addressable market,” said Six Flags Chairman, CEO, and President, Jim Reid-Anderson.

“These are all fantastic properties that complement our existing portfolio and provide tremendous added value and cross-visitation opportunities for our extensive Membership and Season Pass base.”

The parks joining the Six Flags family are:

  • Wet 'n’ Wild Splashtown, Houston’s largest waterpark, with more than 48 lush acres and a wide selection of thrilling waterslides and attractions, along with two children’s areas;
  • Wet 'n’ Wild Phoenix, the largest waterpark in Arizona (located in the Adobe Dam Recreation Area), featuring 35 acres of high-speed slides and two pools, and also offering a Wet 'n’ Wild Jr. section with kid-friendly versions of some of the park’s most thrilling attractions;
  • Darien Lake near Buffalo, NY, a beautiful resort property located on approximately 1,000 acres that includes a theme park, waterpark, campground, hotel, and a 21,000-seat amphitheater;
  • Frontier City, an iconic part of the Oklahoma City landscape, is steeped in tradition. The park features a western theme and offers an extensive lineup of exciting rides, attractions, and shows geared to every member of the family; and
  • White Water Bay, near Oklahoma's Frontier City, a tropical oasis with more than 25 acres of waterslides, interactive water play areas, and pools.

Six Flags is the largest regional theme park operator in the world and upon closing of the transactions, will be the largest waterpark operator in North America.

With the addition of these five properties that entertained approximately two million guests in 2017, there will be an additional 20 million guests within a 100-mile radius of a Six Flags park, significantly expanding the company’s national footprint.

“We are thrilled to welcome these outstanding properties and employees into our family of parks and look forward to sharing the thrill of Six Flags with guests of all ages in these key markets,” added Reid-Anderson.

Closing of the transactions contemplated by the agreement is expected to occur in June and is subject to customary closing conditions.

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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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