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October 9, 2013 - 12:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Tim Horton's.

Each June, one of the most stunning sights in Batavia came as you made a corner on West Main Street and were confronted with the sight of a giant Catalpa tree in full flower near Colonial Boulevard.

A blue sky and a shock of white flowers made for a beautiful scene, even amid cars, trucks and business signs.

The tree came down this morning to make way for retail development next to a planned new Tim Horton's between West Main and Lewiston Road.

I can't think of any place else in Genesee County that has a Catalpa tree in easy view of the public. There's apparently no tree museum around, either.

Previously: Photos: Tree on West Main Street, Batavia

October 4, 2013 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center honored the years of service of more than 100 employees at its annual recognition dinner on Oct. 2 at Terry Hills Restaurant in Batavia. Employees were recognized for their years of employment at five-year milestones.

Aida Nogueira and Laurentina Rosa, both Environmental Services technicians, achieved the 45-year milestone. Pamela Boshart-Lynch RN BSN, director of Education, Healthy Living and Cardiac Rehab Services was honored for 40 years of dedicated service along with Elizabeth Brian of the Emergency Department and Judy Yager, RN of the Ambulatory Surgery Unit. Celebrating 35 years were Ann Arent and Julie Kelsey from Medical Records, Mary Bibler and Marie Lawrence of the Laboratory Department, and Pamela Kader of Environmental Services.

Honored for 30 years of service included Linda Buckel RN and Nancy Johnson RN, Emergency Department; Mary Gerych RN, Intensive Care Unit; Kathleen Green RN and Lori Hebdon RN, Obstetrics; Cheryl LoVerdi, Finance manager; Ed Nogueira, Facilities Management; and Susan Reed, Radiology.

Achieving 25 years were Donna Clark, Central Supply; Alanna Dailey RN and Debra Langford, Nursery; Lori Donley, 2nd Floor Medical/Telemetry Unit; Vicki Downs and Deborah Johnson, Supply Chain Management; Donna Keough RN, Ambulatory Surgery Unit; Hope Knapp and Todd Wilkes RN, Surgery; Mary Lama RN BSN, 3rd Floor Medical/ Surgical Unit Clinical Care Coordinator; Rebecca Schrader, Intensive Care Unit; Joann Shaffer, Medical Records; Peggy Stevens, Environmental Services; Anna Sunderland, Food Services; and Donna Weibel, Risk Management.

Those celebrating 20 years of service include Bonnie Bezon RN, Nurse Manager of the Emergency Department; Sandra Boryczka, Laboratory; Chad Caccamise, Information Services; Louis Schrauger, Environmental Services; Susan Wlazlak, Human Resources; and Cindy Zarcone RN; 2nd Floor Medical/Telemetry Unit.

There were 32 employees who received recognition for five, 10 and 15 years of service. Each employee received dinner for themselves and a guest, flowers and a gift certificate. Employees with 25 years or more of service were honored individually by their manager and senior leader with a presentation highlighting their contributions.

October 3, 2013 - 6:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Press release:

The City of Batavia hosted its first-ever Real Estate Developers' Forum on Tuesday Oct. 1, showcasing redevelopment opportunities in the Batavia’s Opportunity Area (BOA). The Forum was well attended, with more than 60 guests from across Western New York interested in learning more about the City of Batavia and surrounding areas. Potential investors and developers were invited to look at infill and redevelopment sites that have proven to be lucrative development projects statewide.

“The response we received from this Forum has been very encouraging” said Jason Molino, city manager. “Not only was there excitement and interest from what the City has been working on in recent years, but there was an overwhelming reception to the positive activity within Genesee County overall. Investors throughout Western New York are realizing Batavia has a vibrant future ahead.”

Included in the Forum were stats and figures related to the continued growth projected for the area along with presentations demonstrating successful redevelopment projects in Batavia, Genesee County and Buffalo suburbs. The speakers highlighted numerous incentive programs and creative financing measures to demonstrate how underutilized properties can be transformed or restored into high-value real estate for the community. The half-day Forum concluded with a bus tour of the City of Batavia’s Downtown, BOA priority redevelopment sites and the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

“This event was intended to put Batavia on the radar for investment, we believe it worked,” said Julie Pacatte, Batavia Development Corporation. “Everyone left knowing we are getting ready for growth in the next 10 years.”

Pacatte made reference to Moody’s analytics projections that Genesee County will outpace the employment growth projected for the Finger Lakes Region in the next 10 years. Using Moody’s growth rates by industry and New York State’s 2012 employment by industry data, this translates into approximately 2,600 new jobs by 2022.

“We need to be sure the City is ready to capitalize on this anticipated growth,” she emphasized.

"The Developers' Forum related to inner-connectivity about redevelopment, re-utilization and infill projects in the City of Batavia. It was another example of the collaboration between the City, Genesee County, various economic development entities and the private sector needed to grow our economy," said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

We are excited to see the continuation of adaptive reuse and redevelopment projects in the City and we are confident that this will compel developers to explore additional opportunities for investment now and in the future."

Vincent Esposito, Empire State Development, regional director for the Finger Lakes Region and presenter at the program commented, “Today’s Developer Forum was a terrific chance to learn about the Batavia Opportunity Area. The strategic and coordinated efforts of the BOA will greatly enhance the continued redevelopment prospects of Batavia’s historical and economic assets.”

About the Batavia Opportunity Area (BOA) Program: In 2011, the City of Batavia was awarded $266,508 from the NYS Department of State to determine the best opportunities for redevelopment within a 350-acre area downtown. The objectives of the program include redevelopment of underutilized, vacant and Brownfield properties, clean-up of select contaminated sites, continue revitalization of downtown and advance neighborhood stabilization.

Over the past 12 months the steering committee has developed priority reinvestment opportunities with conceptual renderings, preliminary engineering, solid market data and outlined incentive packages for motivating owners and developers to begin new projects within the City. This information was shared with the public at a July 29th meeting.

The Developers' Forum was intended to connect with developers interested in future investment within the City. For more information see HYPERLINK ""

October 1, 2013 - 8:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Smokin' Eagle BBQ and Brew.

What scares you? Spiders? Clowns? Body parts? Drills and saws? Dark shadows reverberating with terrified screams? How about a crazy Archie Bunker?

Jason Beaumont and Jeff Koch have teamed up to create a massive haunted house filled with just about every terror you could imagine on the second and third floors of the old Eagle Hotel in Le Roy.

Staffed by 40 actors playing ghouls, ghosts and monsters, the haunted house makes its debut Friday.

"After we bought this building a year and a half ago, we found we had lots of space but no practical use for it," said Beaumont, who is co-owner of the Smokin' Eagle, the restaurant and bar on the first floor. "Me and my buddy Jeff had talked at one point years ago about opening a haunted house and one day it hit me, this would be a great place."

Koch is an experienced haunted house builder. He's been doing one staffed by 25 volunteers at his house for 10 years. He said it took more than a month to build each year and was open only one night, Halloween.

The Smokin' Eagle haunted house will be open every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 26 from 8 p.m. until midnight.

The cost of a night of fright is $12. Outside the hotel is a ticket booth. The restaurant will be open, of course, and the ticket booth will also sell popcorn and candied apples.

The hotel space was perfect because it's rundown and was already filled with worn and haggard beds, chairs and dressers, Beaumont said. From there, it was just a matter of the two friends combining their creative energies to come up with a plan.

"This will be a unique experience, especially for people who have never been upstairs in this place," Beaumont said. "We want people to get that genuine experience with a real scare behind it and kind of get a flavor of this old building."

The original hotel was built early in the 1800s.

There's little doubt based on today's tour, the haunted house will deliver several jolts of terror, and Beaumont said the experience should be considered PG-13.

"That's a rough estimate," Beaumont said. "If a kid likes this kind of thing and is 11 or 12, and if the parents are OK with it, we're OK with it."

The tour of about two dozen themed rooms is not, Beaumont said, "for the weak."

Koch said he really hopes people who come through the haunted house will find it thoroughly entertaining.

"I want people to have fun," Koch said. "A lot of people have fun when they get scared. It puts a big smile on their face. They scream for a minute and they laugh the next three. I really get a big kick out that."

September 30, 2013 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business.

Press release:

Batavia Downs announced today that the gaming floor portion of its highly anticipated expansion project will open on Friday, Oct. 4.

"We are very excited to open this first phase of our expansion,” said Michael D. Kane, president and CEO of Batavia Downs. “As a public benefit corporation, the expansion of the gaming floor and the addition of three new restaurants will allow us to generate more revenue for local municipalities.”

As a public benefit corporation, all profits from Western OTB and Batavia Downs Gaming net expenses are contributed back to the 15 counties and two cities of Western New York.

Pictures and videos from the expansion as well as updates can be found on Batavia Downs’ Web site (, on Facebook ( and on Twitter ( A grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting and other events will occur in a few weeks.

September 27, 2013 - 8:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Present Tense Books.

Present Tense books and gifts, on the corner of Washington and State, Batavia, will be closed as of Nov. 1, owner Erica Caldwell announced today in an e-mail to customers.

The store will start selling items at marked down prices on Oct. 8. Store fixtures will also be fore sale.

Here's a portion of the e-mail:

Present Tense could not have flourished for eight years without the help and support of many people:

  • YOU, our customers. It has been a privilege to provide books for you for these past eight years. We have enjoyed reading, talking, and sharing with you and treasure the many friendships we have made.
  • TERRI MARCHESE and MARCY RUBIN, my dependable, enthusiastic, book-loving sidekicks. Also, thank you to CHASITY MOORE, KELLY DUDLEY, and MARCIA GANN, who were willing to help out when needed.
  • MY FAMILY, especially my parents and sister, who spent quite a lot of time arranging, rearranging, hanging, shelving, fixing, proofreading, baking, and generally improvising to help me create the space and materials I envisioned for Present Tense. Thanks to my father-in-law for his willingness to put on a red suit and white beard every year for our Holiday Open House.
  • DARRICK COLEMAN, my husband, who was not only willing to let me try running an independent bookstore but has also been the one I call for all the worst jobs, like fixing the printers, hanging Christmas lights in high places in the freezing cold, correcting my endless bookkeeping errors, and once even donning the black robe and wig of Severus Snape. Malcolm Gladwell says that creative success is often highly contingent on the efforts of others, and that creative individuals’ stories are invariably love stories. That has certainly been the story of Present Tense.
September 27, 2013 - 7:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy.

It didn't take long for a young entrepreneur to fill the space that had been Casino's for decades.

The venerable Le Roy restaurant closed just months ago and Le Roy-native Sam Hillburger said when the space became available, he thought, "perfect."

He grew up with Casino's and liked the location.

His new eatery, Sammy HIlls, opened a week ago and serves hamburgers, hot dogs and plates.

The location is perfect for his ambitions he said, because he just wants a small restaurant where he puts out good food.

"I'm not in it to be big and expand," Hillburger said. "It's a small kitchen where you can put out some good food and call it a day."

Patties are fresh, hand-pressed every morning and the meat sauce and chicken are fresh dipped every morning.

After graduating from Le Roy High Sschool, Hillburger went to a culinary school in New Hampshire. He worked for three years at Alex's Place and for a time at the Avon Inn. Now he's ready to see what he can do on his own.

"I was ready to work for myself," Hillburger said. "I've always done it somebody else's way and I'm ready to do it the way I want to do it."

September 25, 2013 - 9:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCC.

It is possible, Jerry Greenfield told the assembled audience in GCC's Stuart Steiner Theater this afternoon, to run a business that is both socially conscious and profitable.

Ben & Jerry's did it, and it's a culture that remains in place even 12 years after Greenfield and his partner Ben Cohen sold Ben & Jerry's to Unilever for $326 million.

From early on in the company's history, Greenfield said, he and Cohen shared a vision that the company would buy raw materials locally, invest in the communities where Ben & Jerry's  operated and donate to charitable causes.

They also did things like find suppliers such as a bakery in New York that employs disadvantaged workers (the bakery makes brownies for Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream).

"The way we approached it was to think how can we find ways to bring social and environmental concerns right into the day-to-day business activities so it's not central to what we do but just a part of what we do," Greenfield said

Greenfield's appearance was part of Wolcott J. Humphrey III Symposium on Leadership and Community Life.

Several times during his talk, Greenfield referenced "community" --  like where Ben & Jerry's buys product or where Ben & Jerry's donates money or how it supports its employees. He encouraged the audience to support local businesses and businesses that share the customer's values.

"I think everything is essentially local," Greenfield said after his talk. "For Ben & Jerry's, the farmers that we buy milk and cream from are neighbors. We want to support our neighbors."

September 25, 2013 - 11:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs.

For the first time since April 2008, Genesee County's unemployment rate dipped below 6 percent, being recorded at 5.8 percent for August.

That's three-tenths lower than July and a percentage point lower than August 2012.

Wyoming County's unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent, Orleans to 8.4 percent and Livingston to 6.7 percent.

In WNY, only Ontario County at 5.7 percent has a lower unemployment rate than Genesee County.

Buffalo's rate is 7.3 and Rochester is 6.9.

The state's rate is 7.5 and the U.S. rate is 7.3.

September 24, 2013 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Press release:

Work is slated to begin Monday, Sept. 30 to add a center left-turn lane on Route 5 (East Main Street) from the city of Batavia line to Fargo Road in the towns of Batavia and Stafford, Genesee County. Temporary lane closures will be in effect during the daytime hours for approximately one week weather permitting.

The center turn lane will be created by restriping the roadway without widening the pavement. One of the two existing westbound travel lanes will be converted to a center turn lane with associated left-turn lanes striped at the side street intersections. The remaining westbound lane will serve the westbound thru traffic. Both eastbound lanes will remain the same.

The addition of a dedicated left-turn lane will provide a refuge area, reducing the risk of rear-end collisions for stopped or slow-moving vehicles waiting to turn into the Batavia Agri-Park and adjacent side streets. The restriping will also benefit left-turning traffic at other intersections along the corridor, including Fargo Road, Batavia-Stafford Townline Road, Seven Springs Road, Broadlawn Avenue and the numerous residential and commercial driveways. Signs and other lane markings will alert motorists of the change.

This work is being administered by the Town of Batavia with concurrence from the New York State Department of Transportation.

Motorists should drive with caution through the highway work zone and avoid driving distracted or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. For real-time travel information, call 511 or visit 511NY is New York State’s official traffic and travel information source.

September 23, 2013 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Blue Pearl Yoga, art.

Submitted by Patricia Hawley:

A group of local fiber artists have gathered at Blue Pearl Yoga to show their work. “Mandala Quilts” features 10 pieces based on the Mandala -- a spiritual representing the wholeness of the Universe. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. The show hangs through mid-November.

ArtCGirlz started about eight years ago when members of the Museum Quilt Guild began a niche group concentrating on Art Quilts. While every quilt tells a story, art quilts differ in that “they are meant to hang on a wall as art,” says member Martha Lorshbaugh. Her quilt, “Zendala Mandala,” incorporates intricate stitching using fushia-colored thread. According to organizer Elaine Ross, “Art quilters rarely follow a strict pattern. We love to change things around.” Many of the quilts contain embellishments like beads, sequins, buttons and embroidery.

The 11-member ArtCGirlz’s meet the second Tuesday of each month; the location varies so check out their blog at To view the show, visit the gallery at Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., third floor, in  Batavia. The gallery is open during class times; call ahead for details or check their Web site at or find them on Facebook at Blue Pearl Yoga. Admission is free.

Top photo: Mary Ellen Casey.

September 20, 2013 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

There's heavy equipment moving a lot of earth around just west of the Partridge Farm on Ellicott Street Road, Town of Batavia.

Crews are building a new roadway, which will provide secondary access to the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The secondary road is needed to accommodate anticipated growth and expansion of the park.

September 20, 2013 - 11:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Street, Casa Del Taco.

It looks like Batavia is going to get a taco stand on Ellicott Street across from the Pok-A-Dot near Liberty Street. This sign appeared in the window recently. The new owners were not around when I stopped by this morning.

UPDATE: One of the new owners is Derek Geib, co-owner of Bourbon & Burger Co.. Mike Hyland, a partner at B&B, is also partner with Casa Del Taco, along with Dick Long. They're shooting for an Oct. 1 opening.

September 20, 2013 - 9:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs.

Genesee County added 200 jobs in August, according to a jobs report released yesterday in which the NYS Department of Labor touted a record number of jobs in the state.

According to the report, there are now 7.6 million jobs in New York, up 22,700 from July to August.

At the same time, the number of employment-eligible workers grew by 24,000, increasing the state's unemployment rate from 7.5 to 7.6 percent.

The number of jobs in Genesee County went up to 23,600, which is 200 over the July figure and the August 2013 number.

The County's unemployment rate has not yet been released.

September 19, 2013 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, elba, Torrey Farms.

Torrey Farms is being honored Oct. 1 with the 2013 Grower Achievement Award by United Fresh, a growers' association.

One of county's largest farms, the Torreys are being recognized for grower operations that strive to grow and market high-quality produce while contributing to the good of the industry.

Maureen Torrey has become a strong advocate in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere for public policies that protect farmers and promote agriculture.

She has testified before the House Committee on Agriculture regarding the farm bill and immigration policy.

Last year, for example, Torrey Farms lost 92 of 100 employees working in the packing shed following an I-9 audit. 

"The employees we lost averaged about 18 years of experience," Torrey told United Fresh. "Now we have to build it up from scratch."

The award will be given at the United Fresh annual Washington Public Policy Conference.

At the conference, produce industry leaders from across the supply chain meet with congressional lawmakers and their staff, as well as officials from the Food and Drug Administration to discuss policy issues that affect the agriculture industry.

(via OrleansHub)

September 18, 2013 - 1:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Tim Horton's.

It looks like a go for a new Tim Horton's on the west side of Batavia. The Town Planning Board was given a chance to see the final plans for the coffee shop and adjacent retail building last night and it doesn't appear there will be any opposition.

The final site plan is expected to be approved at the board's next meeting Oct. 1.

The location is between West Main Street Road and Lewiston Road behind Rite Aid. There will be driveways on Lewiston Road and Colonial Boulevard.

One Colonial Boulevard resident was at Tuesday's meeting, Amy DiSalvo. Tim Horton's architect Matt Oats showed how the plans included a privacy fence along DiSalvo's property and she said she was satisfied with the plan.

The Tim Horton's will seat 48 people, including 16 in an outdoors patio area. it will also have a drive-thru.

On the West Main Street side of the road will be a retail building that can accommodate from one to three tenants. There are no signed leases yet for the space. 

The entire parcel with both buildings erected will have 45 parking spaces.

Construction on the retail building can begin as soon as the site plan is removed. 

Workers can't build the Tim Horton's building until the current brick building on Lewiston is removed, with demolition requiring environmental approvals.

Bob Bender, project manager for Benderson Development, said he hopes construction can begin in November and weather permitting, construction will take 90 days.

The franchise owner for the location has not yet been announced.

September 16, 2013 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce.

Press release:

The Chamber’s Annual Awards Committee has announced the 2013 Annual Award Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Clarion Hotel, Park Road, Batavia. This is the County’s premier event that honors businesses and individuals for their achievements in business, community service and volunteerism.

The Chamber has committed to running a new special event, The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Annual Home Show (March 28, 29, 30). With the addition of this event, the Awards Ceremony will now be taking place two months earlier than previous years. For this reason, nominations MUST BE RECEIVED BY Nov. 1 to be eligible for consideration.

Please note that a brief write-up will qualify your nominee for consideration. Nominations are now being accepted for Business of the Year, Entrepreneurial Business of the Year, Agricultural Business of the Year, Innovative Enterprise of the Year, Special Service Recognition & Geneseeans of the Year. Business nominees must be a Chamber Member (If unsure of your nominee, call the Chamber to verify).  

Nomination forms are available at the Chamber of Commerce office, 210 E. Main St., Batavia and can also be down loaded from the Chamber Website at

If you would like more information, feel free to call Kelly J. Bermingham, director of Membership & Special Events at the Chamber office, 343-7440, ext. 26.

September 15, 2013 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Kreative Design Kitchen and Bath.

There are few easy decisions when it comes to getting a new kitchen for your home and Mike Adams said understanding how taxing the process can be is why Kreative Design Kitchen & Bath is now its its 20th year of business.

"I think there are several reasons we've made it 20 years," Adams said. "First we are very patient. Kitchen planning takes time and you have to allow your customers to make decisions at their pace. Second, we have great employees that treat our business as their own. Third, we have very good product lines which we have been working with for almost the entire 20 years."

Mike and Debbie Adams opened Kreative Design in Batavia in 1993 and have been running the business together every day since.

It's a rewarding line of work, Mike Adams said. A new kitchen is a big decision for a customer, but it's also often a dream come true.

"I really think seeing customers 100-percent satisfied is very rewarding," Adams said. "A kitchen remodel is quite involved and can be very stressful on the customer, so seeing that satisfaction at the completion is very rewarding."

Last year, Mike and Debbie moved their business to a larger location in a building they now own at 5582 E. Main Road, Batavia. The larger showroom allows them to better display their products from Omega and Diamond.

The move has worked out very well for Kreative Design, Adams said.

September 14, 2013 - 7:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Yuengs and Wings.

In these parts it doesn't get much better than beer and wings, which makes T.F. Brown's right now the place to be.

T.F. Brown's, Main St. Pizza Company, Big Pauly's and Batavia's Original have teamed up to create the first ever Yuengs and Wings fest to raise money for Genesee Cancer Assistance.

The event goes until 8 p.m.

Pictured are Brenda Marchese, Rick Mancuso, Kathy Ferrare, Vic Marchese, Tom Scott, Paul Bernardini, Jamie Ingersol, Mike Bernardini and Racheal Cook.

September 14, 2013 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Dellapenna Building.

Press release:

The City of Batavia released a request for redevelopment proposals to reinvest at one of the City’s strategic Batavia Opportunity Area (BOA) sites. The one-acre parcel is located in the heart of downtown. Market research reports a demand for new office space and downtown market-rate residential.

The RFP deadline has been extended to Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Please review the attached proposal or visit the Web site for more details. Questions? You may contact our office or the City Manager’s office at 585-345-6330.

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