Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Site Sponsors


November 20, 2012 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, economy, jobs, employment.

The number of people working in Genesee County in October is higher than in 2011, but so is the unemployment rate, according to figures released today by the Department of Labor.

There are 30,200 people working in the county, the DOL reports, which is up from 29,700 a year ago; however, the unemployment rate year-over-year went up from 6.8 percent to 7.2 percent.

The state counts 2,300 unemployed people in the county for October 2012 and 2,200 a year ago.

There were 30,300 people employed in the county in September 2012 and the unemployment rate that month was 7.1 percent.

November 20, 2012 - 9:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Tim Horton's.

Tim Horton's is moving forward with plans for a new location in Batavia, on Lewiston Road, near West Main Street Road, and the company cleared another regulatory hurdle Monday night.

The Town of Batavia Zoning Board approved a setback variance for the restaurant building, allowing the structure to be located about 15 feet from the property line.

The current, vacant, building is 10 feet from the property line and the local zoning law requires a 30-foot setback, unless a variance is granted.

The zoning board approved the variance unanimously.

The board also completed a short-form environmental review and found that the one issue to be resolved is what traffic impact a Tim Horton's will have on the already busy intersection of Lewiston and West Main.

A couple of area residents spoke out against the proposed location saying additional traffic will make an already bad intersection all that much more dangerous.

A Department of Transportation traffic study for the proposed site has already been ordered and the town's planning board will take up that issue and any other issues at a public hearing Dec. 5.

Bob Bender, real estate project planner for Tim Horton's, said he doesn't know what the traffic study will show and didn't speculate about any findings.

There would be two ingress and egress points to the proposed location, one off of Lewiston Road and the other off West Main Street. The blueprint shows the West Main driveway in the same location as this tree.

The building will be 1,953 square feet.

A franchise owner for the location will not be announced until the project is approved, Bender said.

If the project is approved, construction would start in March or April.

November 16, 2012 - 2:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Milestones.

Five Star Bank has appointed Yvonne D. Peck as assistant vice president and branch manager at its Batavia West location. In this role, she will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and administration of the Batavia West branch.

Peck previously was employed for 26 years by First Niagara Bank, serving in a variety of roles including teller, head teller, assistant branch manager and manager.

She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Batavia, where she served as treasurer from 2004 to 2008. She currently serves on the board and has been active with the organization’s annual fundraising gala to support the Child Advocacy Center. She is also a board member for the Justice for Children GLOW Foundation.

Peck is a 2002 graduate of Leadership Genesee and completed the Leadership Edge Program in 2008. She resides in Batavia with her husband, Randy, and daughter, Taylor.

November 13, 2012 - 5:32pm

If you've wondered what Muller Quaker Dairy is all about, or want to find out about employment opportunities, today was the day to meet executives, try out some yogurt or put in a job application at GCC.

Hundreds of people turned out in the afternoon and the event continues until 8 p.m. in the forum.

"We're excited to be a part of the local community, so we wanted to open our doors and let people know a little more about us," said Scott Gilmore, director communications for PepsiCo, one of the partners in the new yogurt plant at Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

There were executives on hand to explain plant design and operations, the booming yogurt industry and the nature of the partnership between PepsiCo and the Germany-based Theo Muller Group.

The yogurt plant is expected to employ nearly 240 people in its first round of hiring, and some local residents have already landed jobs with the company.

Muller Quaker HR personnel were on hand today accepting applications, meeting with job candidates and explaining more about employment options at the new plant.

At one point today, the job applicant line was more than a couple dozen people long.

Gilmore said people in blue jeans and people in suits showed up today, demonstrating the diversity of jobs that will be available at the plant.

If you're not able to make it to GCC by 8 p.m., Gilmore said the company plans more such community events, or job applicants can e-mail their resumes to

November 10, 2012 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Kreative Design Kitchen and Bath.

So far, according to Mike Adams, everything about moving Kreative Design Kitchen and Bath to a new location at 5582 E. Main Road, Batavia, has been a success.

Mike and Debbie Adams founded their business in 1993. A big reason for the move was so they could enjoy the financial benefits own owning their own building. In doing so, they also expanded their showroom space by 800 square feet. The expansion has allowed them to expand their business to include more flooring and closet systems.

In the kitchen and bathroom departments they still offer Omega and Diamond cabinets.

With more than 100 people showing up for the grand opening weekend last Saturday and Sunday, Adams said he's pleased the new location is attracting some attention.

Photo, Debbie and Mike Adams, left, and designer Aubrey Kingston.

November 9, 2012 - 4:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) received the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) of the Year award from the Upstate chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association at the organization’s annual awards dinner on Nov. 8 at the Locust Hill Country Club in Rochester.

“For the second year in a row, NAIOP is pleased to recognize the Genesee County Economic Development Center,” said David Reddinger NAIOP president-elect and Genesee County resident. “As a Genesee County resident I can see firsthand the significant economic development that is occurring in our county and it is largely because of the efforts of the GCEDC.”

The IDA of the Year award was based on the GCEDC’s work in developing the Genesee Valley Agri Business Park in the Town of Batavia. The 2,011-acre site is home to international yogurt manufacturing companies Alpina Foods and Muller Quaker Dairy.

“This award and recognition would not be possible without the collaboration and support of our key partners, including the public sector and entities such as Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and Greater Rochester Enterprise,” said Steven Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC.

“I also want to recognize the leadership of the GCEDC board which had the vision to invest in this site to make it shovel-ready to bring companies like Alpina and Muller Quaker to our region.”

Last year the GGLDC was recognized by NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Upstate New York Chapter for the development of the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate MedTech Centre, located in Batavia, NY. Selected industrial, retail, and residential development projects were judged on their design, functionality, project challenges, aesthetic appeal, sustainability, and economic success.

November 8, 2012 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, chamber of commerce.

Steve Hyde was the keynote speaker today at the annual meeting of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Besides getting an update on the chamber's progress over the past year from President Lynn Freeman (bottom photo), and electing new board members, chamber members heard from Hyde about how economic development helps grow local economies.

He used Alpina and Quaker-Muller as an example of how direct jobs, indirect jobs and what he called "induced jobs" spur economic growth.

In phase one, the two yogurt factories are expected to hire 236 people.

The supply chain for the two plants -- packaging, shipping, warehouses, suppliers -- will need to create an estimated 300 jobs.

Combined, direct and indirect jobs will mean mean $13 million in wages and benefits for people working -- and presumably living -- locally.

"So you have this growing regional ecosystem and this growing element of wealth and wages that are spent by the employees and the supply chain employees and the construction workers," Hyde said. "What do they do? They go to restaurants, dry cleaning, retail, the grocery store, fuel -- 174 jobs and another $7 million."

Hyde challenged the local business owners to work with the chamber and other local agencies to prepare for growth, to be in a position to work either directly or indirectly with Alpina and Quaker-Muller, or to meet the needs of the new employees and their families.

"That’s all still to be realized," Hyde said, "but my question to you as small businesses in our community: are you positioned to participate in that? Do you have the resources, the marketing, the position to scale and support growth like this?"

November 6, 2012 - 8:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Main St. Pizza Company.

What a life Dick Beyer has led, from a standout in high school football and a football scholarship with Syracuse University, to a master's degree in education and a professional wrestling career that took him and his family all over the world.

One of Beyer's wrestling matches in Japan was televised worldwide and viewed by 70 million people.

"I didn't realize how many that was until somebody told me only 50 million people watch the Super Bowl," Beyer said.

One of Beyer's biggest fans was Vic Marchese, owner of Main St. Pizza Company in Downtown Batavia.

Growing up, Marchese loved professional wrestling.

"I especially liked any wrestler that wore a mask," Marchese said.

Vic became a big fan of Beyer's later career character, Doctor X. Marchese was a member of the Doctor X Fan Club and he said he still has his membership card at home.

"I just always liked Doctor X," Marchese said. "I just never knew he lived 20 miles down the road from me all my life."

Marchese and Beyer met in a local T-shirt shop several years ago and became fast friends.

If Beyer is driving past Batavia, he always stops in to see Vic, usually coming home from a football game in Syracuse.

"I just love his pizza," Beyer said.

Beyer, 82, is finally telling his life story in a new book, "Masked Decisions," and will be at Main St. Pizza from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17, for a book signing. Marchese is offering a free pizza with a book purchase.

"It runs through my whole life, honestly," Beyer said. "I don't pull any punches. I don't say a lot about individual wrestlers, who was won this or who was better. I talk about the humor of the game and about being at the right place at the right time."

Beyer attended a vocational school in Buffalo, and after his fourth year had to go to a fifth year of high school for math, history and English. He was offered a football scholarship to Syracuse and while starting for the Orangemen he was recruited onto the wrestling team.

According to Beyer, his roommate at his fraternity house where he lived was the heavyweight on the wrestling team.

One evening, Beyer was at the house playing pinochle when the wrestingly team came back.

"I asked Howie, 'How'd Bill Sky do today?' " Beyer said.

"He blew out his knee."

"I said, 'Who's going to be the heavyweight?' "

"You," said Beyer with deep laugh.

Beyer is a big man, barrel chested, pug nosed, with beefy hands. His baritone voice is as big as his physique and the breadth of his career.

By his junior year in college, he was being recruited by professional wrestling promoter Ed Don George.

The former Eagle Scout started his pro career as Dick Beyer and wrestled mainly in Upstate New York, finishing out an eight-year Army Reserve commitment and working on the staff of the Syracuse football team, including their national championship year of 1959.

His first year as a pro, 1954-55, a wrestling magazine named him Rookie of the Year.

His travels through his early career took him through Chicago, Ohio, Tennessee and Hawaii.

Then in 1962 he got a call from Los Angeles promoter Jules Strongbow

Beyer made his way to Los Angeles where Strongbow told him the next night he would be wrestling in San Diego, wearing a mask, not as Dick Beyer but as "The Destroyer."

Reluctantly, Beyer did it. He said the moth-eaten mask wasn't very comfortable.

"I wrestled," Beyer said. "I came in. I pulled the mask off. I told the manager, I said, 'Artie, tell Strongbow that was the first and last match for 'The Destroyer.' "

Another wrestler convinced Beyer there was money in wearing a mask and loaned Beyer one of his masks, so Beyer gave it a try.

It fit better and was more comfortable. The mask was made from a lady's girdle, so the next day, Beyer and his wife, Wilma, went to Woolworth's and bought ladies' girdles and she turned them into masks for "The Destroyer."

A few years later, Beyer was offered a six-year wrestling contract in Japan, which he accepted.

He was big in Japan (and he learned to speak fluent Japanese). His matches were televised internationally, including the one that was viewed by 70 million people.

Beyer still conducts an annual wrestling camp in Japan.

In the mid-1980s, Beyer retired from professional wrestling. He became an elementary school teacher in Akron and coached high school football and swimming.

Marchese said it's been one of the thrills of his life meeting and getting to know Dick Beyer. They've become good friends.

He's invited Beyer to his wedding.

"How many people can say they had their idol at their wedding?" Marchese said.

November 5, 2012 - 10:24am

Amy Worthington and Stacy Mullett celebrated the opening of their respective businesses, "Amy's Fluffy Friends" and "Phoenix Creatives," on Saturday.

Pictured are Katie Chapell-Vaught -- proprietor of "Athena's Bakery," which specializes in dog treats that are sold at "Amy's Fluffy Friends" -- Worthington (holding Clifford) and Mullett at the grand opening. It was held at the two businesses' shared space at 238 Ellicott St. in Batavia. 

"Amy's Fluffy Friends" offers grooming services for canines of all sizes, including (but not limited to) baths with massage, premium shampoos and conditioners, brushing, nail trimming, hair removal and sanitary trim, as well as skunk and flea treatment.

Worthington carries a variety of shampoos, including kinds that are designed for dogs with sensitive skin. She is open to customers bringing in their own shampoos if they prefer to do so.

In honor of the opening, she will offer free nail trimming for the first month.

"Phoenix Creatives," meanwhile, features custom printing, art, beaded jewelry, painted glass and secondhand items.

Mullett is offering 50-percent off of custom printing orders and "U-Pick" T-shirt designs for the first month.

Worthington and Mullett were friends and coworkers well before they decided to share business space.

"(Then one day) we said, 'We should go into business together,' " Worthington said. "It was almost like a joke. But then the thought stuck in our heads. It was a good idea."

"Amy's Fluffy Friends" is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (Worthington said she will stay until 5 p.m. if need be) and on Saturdays by appointment only. For more information, call 300-8765.

Hours of operation for "Phoenix Creatives" are 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon until 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 298-2045.

November 4, 2012 - 9:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, advertisement, contests, sponsored posts.

Like Hardcor Audio's page on Facebook and register with the contest for a chance to win an XM Snap. Click here. Remember, you must register for a chance to win.

November 3, 2012 - 7:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Baskin Livestock.

Baskin Livestock on Creek Road had a couple hundred guests today for an open house and pig roast.

Above, Bill Baskin, center with hat, talks with his father and some guests.

Previously: Baskin Livestock blossomed from a good idea, labor and luck

November 3, 2012 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy, Wiss Hotel.

Press release:

A group of concerned Le Royans has made an offer to purchase the Wiss Hotel  from the village. The offer was made after Rick Hauser, of In. Site: Architecture LLP in Perry, who conducted a comprehensive investigation of the building on the group’s behalf.

Mr. Hauser concluded the building could be a viable business entity consisting of five beautiful residential apartments on the second and third floors, and several commercial establishments on the first floor. The cost of the project will be about $1 million. (While tearing down the dilapidated building and replacing it with a structure of equal value is estimated to cost several times that amount.)

The goal is, over the next few months, to form Le Roy, New York LLC, to purchase the building, and to find interested community members to join the LLC and to invest their work and/or money into the project, and to obtain loans from entities such as the GCEDA and from the Village of Le Roy itself.

The offer is to purchase the building for a dollar, and have the village lend the LLC the money it would cost the village to demolish the property. This plan will transform the Wiss from a major liability into a profitable investment for community investors, and an asset all Le Royans can enjoy with pride.

November 2, 2012 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, charity, business, Grease Lightning.

Scott Levensailor, owner of the Grease Lightning and Castrol Premium Lube locations in Batavia, and his staff member Josh hold cans of donated spaghetti.

The two stores -- 4003 W. Main St., Batavia, and 50 Liberty St., Batavia -- are accepting canned good donations this holiday season in support of the "Give to Live" program. The donations will provide food to needy families through the Salvation Army.

Each canned food item donated will mean a $10 coupon for customers on their next oil change.

Southside Deli will be providing a donation of several cans latter this week to help kick off the drive.

Levensailor took over the stores Sept. 1 and he said one of his goals is to make sure local residents know he wants the businesses to be connected to the community and for customers to know they can rely on his shops for fast, friendly and honest service.

He said he wants to run the kind of business that is built on trust.

"My business philosophy is I want every parent in town to feel they can send their daughter to me and know she’s going to be treated fairly with no tricks that are going to drain her of her pocketbook."

November 1, 2012 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian, Sponsored Post, advertisement, Zebra Reach.

As you know, here at The Batavian, we're always encouraging local residents to support local businesses. We especially like programs that help connect local shoppers with their neighborhood shops.

A couple of months ago, some friends in the online news business showed us a new smartphone and tablet app that is aimed at rewarding local shoppers for patronizing local businesses.

It's called Zebra Reach.

We're all familiar with loyalty cards -- buy five lunches, get the sixth free, buy nine books get the 10th free. A lot of businesses run these sort of programs, but they usually come with flimsy paper punch cards that either get lost or crammed in your wallet with a dozen other cards.

Zebra Reach makes loyalty reward programs digital and easier to use -- one app stores all of your purchase points for multiple participating businesses.

For the past couple of weeks, Lisa Ace has been busy asking a bunch of local businesses to participate. We wanted to make sure that when you first learned about Zebra Reach, there would be plenty of local rewards to, well, reward you for shopping locally.

To download the app, with your iPhone or iPad, click here. For your Droid powered phone or tablet, click here.

To visit the Zebra Reach Web site, click here.

And, if you don't have a smartphone -- coming really, really soon are plastic cards that will work pretty much the same. The participating businesses (those with smartphones or tablets) will scan your card, but you'll have only one card to carry for all participating local businesses.

Here are the participating businesses and initial offers (and of course, we're looking for more businesses to participate):

Adam Miller, 8 Center St., Batavia
Model Club Rewards -- $5 off your next purchase. For every dollar spent earn 1 point. Earn 50 points, receive $5 your next purchase.

Alex's Place, 8322 Park Road, Batavia
1 Free sandwich.
Buy any 5 sandwiches, get 6th free.

Charles Men's Shop, Inc.,  200 E. Main St., Batavia
1 Free tie. Buy 3 shirts, get 1 free tie.

Dog Crazy Daycare, 1 Mill St., Batavia
Earn points toward a free doggy overnight stay. For $25 spent, earn 1 point toward the doggy overnight. New clients receive 2 bonus points.

Fisher Sports, 412 Main St., Batavia
10% off hockey equipment, For each visit you'll earn 5 points. Earn 25 points -- you'll receive 10% off your next purchase of any hockey equipment purchase.

Glass Roots, 12 Center St., Batavia
1/2 off glass. Buy 2 pieces of glass, get 1/2 off the 3rd.

Kravings Kafe, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia
$5 off. Receive 1 point for every $5 spent. Earn 16 points, get $5 off your purchase.

Main St Pizza, 206 E. Main St., Batavia
Free small pizza with 1 topping. Earn 15 points and redeem your free small pizza with 1 topping. Earn points with any purchase.

RW Vapors, 224 Ellicott St., Batavia
Buy 5 bottles of E-Liquid, get the 6th free.

Salsa & Curry, 15 Jackson St., Batavia
Buy 1 lunch, get the 2nd for 1/2 off.

Sweet Ecstasy Bakery, 6173 Main Road, Stafford
Free cookie, cupcake or muffin. Purchase any 10 bakery items and receive a free cookie, cupcake or muffin.

Sweet Pea's Cupcakery & Cafe, 23 Jackson St., Batavia
Free cupcake. Buy 11 cupcakes, get the 12th free.

Terry Hills, 5122 Clinton St. Road. Batavia
Free lunch. Buy 5 lunches, get the 6th free.

The Detail Shop, 3875 W. Main St. Road, Batavia
Free deluxe wash. Buy 5 deluxe washes, Get the 6th deluxe wash free.

Valle Jewelers, 21 Jackson St., Batavia
Free Chamilia bead. Buy 3 Chamilia beads, get 1 free.

Settler's Restaurant, 353 W. Main St.,Batavia
Buy 5 dinners, Get one free.

T.F. Brown's, 214 East Main St., Batavia
1 free lunch. Buy 5 lunches, get the 6th free.

West Main Mini Mart, 3845 W. Main St. Road, Batavia
Buy 7 pizzas, get one free.

Local business owners: To sign up for Zebra Reach, contact Lisa Ace ( or (585) 250-4118).  Participating is a no-cost, no obligation program to start. There's only a fee, $50 per month, once you have 50 customers participating in your offer(s).

UPDATE: Just added, Lambert's Design Jewelers, 375 W. Main Street. Batavia. "One point for every $10 spent on purchases.  Earn 20 points and receive $10 off your next purchase"

We provide support, in-store promotional materials and the marketing power of The Batavian. There is also a Web site where you can login and manage your offers and check stats on participation to see how your offers are working.

October 30, 2012 - 6:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, environment, Tonawanda Creek, 7-Eleven.

Yesterday work crews started removing the fuel pumps and fuel tanks from the Wilson Farms location at 355 W. Main St., Batavia.

While people have told us the tanks needed to be removed because they were leaking fuel into the Tonawanda Creek, information obtained from the DEC indicates that's just not the case.

While there is some localized soil contamination, which the DEC is supervising for remedial clean up, the leak is contained to the property.

The property owner is listed as Sugar Creek Stores. Both Wilson Farms and Sugar Creek were sold to 7-Eleven early last year.

Earlier this year, 7-Eleven announced it was selling two Wilson Farms stores in Batavia. Industry reports at the time indicated 7-Eleven was not interested in locations that sell gas, but 7-Eleven recently rebranded the former Wilson Farms location in Oakfield.

While a source tells us the property owner plans to discontinue gas sales at the West Main Street location in the city, we've not yet been able to confirm that with a company representative.

The property is .35 acres and stretches from the shared property line with Settler's west toward Lambert's Design Jewelers, with a length of green space in between the buildings.

Fuel tank removal is expected to take another week or two.

UPDATE: A spokeswoman for 7-Eleven said the property is on the company's "divestiture list." It will be sold.

October 26, 2012 - 3:31pm

Daphne Cross started her professional life as a waitress. Now she's a restaurant owner, and her new business has her name on it.

The sign was installed today. The restaurant opens Monday.

The location will be familiar to a lot of area residents. It's on South Swan Street at the former St. Nick's Social Club.

Jeremy Yasses bought the building in June partially hoping to revive the legendary club, but when that idea didn't go as he'd hoped, he let Cross know the building was available.

"It's a nice location," Cross said. "It's big. It's on the Southside. There are residents around. They're excited. Somebody stops in every day."

The grand opening will be in three or four weeks after Cross's liquor license is approved.

For the past several weeks, Cross and crew have been busy cleaning, painting and installing equipment.

Her chef, Mark DeCann, said the menu will feature Italian dishes, seafood and steak.

"The three basics everybody wants," DeCann said.

He promises, "It will be good."

October 24, 2012 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, medical, health, UMMC.

UMMC invited the public into the ICU unit today to see a new patient simulator that will be used to help train hospital staff.

The $60,000 machine is a gift from CHART, the hospital’s insurance carrier. It provides a realistic representation of various medical conditions so medical personnel can practice everything from inserting an IV to performing defibrillation.

For more info, click here.

Above, Dan Grower learns about the simulator from Pamela Lynch.

October 23, 2012 - 8:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Stafford.

Retired nurse Valerie Hill says she hasn't had a place to live for seven-and-half years, and she blames a local contractor for leaving her with a new house that can't pass final inspection.

The contractor, Bryan Wormley, said Hill would have gotten a certificate of occupancy in 2005 if she had let him complete the work.

The home, at 5520 Horseshoe Lake Road, Stafford, was supposed to cost $200,000. What is has wound up costing both sides is a lot of grief, heartache, worry and attorneys' fees.

Neither Wormley nor Hill ever signed a contract, a mistake they say they both now regret.

"That part is definitely my fault," Wormley said. "I was trying to help her out."

Wormley and Hill had known each other for some time before an afternoon in 2005 when they crossed paths shortly after Hill returned from Punta Gorda, Fla., where Hill has a winter residence. Hurricane Charlie had just devastated her community there and two of her friends died in the natural disaster.

Hill was relaxing beside a pond on her daughter's property in Stafford that day. She said Wormley drove up in a golf cart.

“He came over to me and put his arm around me and said, ‘Oh Valarie, I hear you’ve been through a terrible time, and that you’re going to build a house,' " Hill said. "He told me he had been building houses for 18 years. He made these wonderful promises to me. At that point of my life I had been through a lot down in Florida. He promised me it would be wonderful."

Hill already had blueprints and another contractor had said he could build the home for $239,000.

According to court documents, Wormley promised Hill he could build the home for $200,000.

At trial, Wormley reportedly admitted that while he reviewed the blueprints, he never prepared a formal cost estimate.

There is also disagreement over whether the agreed upon price of $200,000 was supposed to cover any changes or modifications to the plan.

There were apparently numerous changes -- and some dispute over whether these were actual variances to the the verbal agreement between the two parties -- and none of the changes were documented with signed work orders.

Following the bench trial, which ended in February, Judge Robert C. Noonan awarded Hill $45,000, plus interest, resulting in a money judgment against Wormley for $71,967.

Noonan's ruling found in Hill's favor on one cause of action -- breach of contract by Wormley.

Hill said she's spent $130,000 on attorney fees, Wormley puts his legal bill at about $80,000.

Citing case law, Noonan arrived at the $45,000 figure based on the estimates received by the court. The low estimate is $17,680 submitted by Ed Leising. The $45,000 estimate was submitted by Ronald Cudney.

Hill submitted an estimate "to bring the property up to Hill's expectations" of $54,090.

Wormley said he doesn't have much respect for Cudney, considers the estimate way out of line and said the house could be completed for $15,000.

According to Noonan's written decision, Hill paid $182,000 during construction of the house. Wormley claimed a total of $244,130 should be paid. Based on evidence, Noonan reduced that price to $231,850.

Hill also paid $36,500 directly to various vendors.

That meant Hill was entitled to total credits of $218,500.

"However, other than sporadic invoices, there is no document, job cost report, or other accounting document which sets forth the amounts Wormley expended," Noonan wrote. "Wormley acknowledges that there is nothing in writing which memorializes Hill's agreement to pay any of the alleged extra or additional charges."

The court found in favor of Wormley on $16,950 in charges. Given the finding in favor of Hill for $218,500 in credits, Wormley was due only $216,950, so Hill owed him nothing further, Noonan ruled.

Hill said she's heard through friends that Wormley has said he won't pay the judgment against him. Wormley flatly denies it.

He said he may be able to only pay $500 a month, but he intends to pay the judgment.

First however, Wormley said, he plans to appeal the judgment.

He thinks Hill lied on the witness stand on several points and that if he can prove it, he will win on appeal.

He also believes he has a case against Hill for defamation. He said anything she has told the news media about the case is a lie, that he believes she's under a gag order from the court, and he takes particular issue with a sign she's put on the front porch of the Horse Shoe Lake Road house that accuses Wormley of leaving the house behind with 109 code violations.

Wormley said the sign simply isn't accurate. He said there may be four or five items that need to be fixed to bring the structure up to code, but everything else on the list of trouble areas completed by Leising is either fixed or finished. They are nothing, he said, that would prevent Stafford's building inspectors from issuing a certificate of occupancy.

On the morning a pair of reporters showed up at Hill's place, Wormley (who has a temporary business location on Horseshoe Lake Road) drove by, stopped, took a cell phone picture and yelled, "I'm going to sue you for slander, Valarie."

When the reporters looked down, Hill asked if they had seen Wormley flip her off.

She claims Wormley has given her the finger before, and to her grandchildren.

Wormley characterized Hill as a habitual liar who has been going around town bad-mouthing him.

"This has gone on for several years," Wormley said. "Before this, I've never been to court once. I've never had a customer I couldn't satisfy. Valarie is a bold-faced liar."

Hill said she started feeling like a dissatisfied customer as soon as the basement was dug. She said Wormley's crews dug it too deep. That forced unwanted modifications to the house plans and caused flooding problems in the basement, she said.

"If I knew then what I know now, there should have been a stop work order right then," Hill said.

Then there were the changes in the plans, from the type of roof vents, the width of the stairwell going downstairs, the size of the Florida room and sliding glass doors to a dispute over whether the agreement even included a finished basement.

Hill also complained about crossed wiring, a garage door that doesn't open and numerous unfinished tasks around the house.

One of the things HIll said she insisted on -- and it's part of the blueprints -- is a roof vent along the length of the roof line. Instead, Wormely installed pocket vents.

"One of the things my husband told me before he died (that was 17 years ago) is that if he ever build another house, he would get a ridge vent," Hill said.

If there is one thing he knows well, Wormley said, it is roofing and he said in WNY conditions, a ridge vent is a bad idea. It doesn't circulate air well enough and is more prone to getting clogged with dust.

It would also be an easy fix, Wormley said, only a few hundred dollars to convert the roof to ridge venting now. He said he would have done it if Hill had allowed him to complete the project.

As for the width of the stairs, he said he was trying to compensate for a poorly drawn plan. The stairs are right at the front door and there wasn't enough space in the original plans for a person to walk into the living room. He said he considered it a safety issue.

As for the other items, he said they would have been finished if Hill hadn't locked him out of the house in October 2005, but he also said he had stopped sending work crews over out of concern that Hill had said she was running out of money.

This was right after Hill contracted with a local business to install a $35,000 kitchen.

Wormley was going to install a $15,000 kitchen using a local contractor who doesn't have a showroom.

Hill said she didn't want to buy a kitchen out of a barn.

Wormley said before Hill filed suit, he offered her $245,000 for the house and the property, and she turned him down. He said his attorney in Denver has documentation of the offer, and The Batavian requested the documentation. Wormley said his attorney can be slow to return calls now that the case is over. The Batavian has yet to receive the documentation.

Noonan found that Hill started denying Wormley and his crew access to the house because of her concerns over substandard work and unauthorized changes to the plans.

The too-deep basement meant, according to Hill, that she doesn't have as high of a stone face around the base of the house, that her basement windows that are supposed to be above grade, are below grade (and the back windows are too big), and that instead of having five stairs at the front of the house, she has only three.

Each summer, Hill said she's been trying to finish the house herself, dealing with the alleged code violations one at a time so she might be able to live in the house.

The house was supposed to make it easy for her to see her daughter and spend time with her grandchildren -- both teenagers now -- and those years have all been taken from her, she said.

After years of trying to get help, a local contractor finally did come to her place to help repair something and when he stepped on a back stairwell, she said, the stairwell collapsed and he was injured.

"The only person who has come to help me got hurt," Hill said tearfully. "That man fell through the steps and got hurt. I’m tired and I’m angry. I’m doing all of this work myself. I’m trying to get it pass code. I’ve lost 63 pounds since May trying to do this myself. I can’t do it all by myself."

That incident is why she put the sign in front of the house, she said, naming Wormley and accusing him of leaving the house with 109 code violations.

Both Wormley and Hill claim to be in financial straits. 

For Wormley, his big setback came when the owners of the former Victorian Manor, Sunwest, went bankrupt. Contractors, including Wormley, lost $1.5 million on the remodeling project there.

Since then, Wormley has had at least one of his own properties go into foreclosure, piled up a couple of money judgments from vendors and is being forced to sell his office property on Clinton Street Road.

Hill said she's now out of money. She sold her 3,000-square-foot home in Stafford in 2005, anticipating moving into the new house just yards from her daughter's home (her daughter actually owns the lot Hill's house is on). Every dime she got from that sale, she said, has gone into construction of the new home or fighting Wormley in court.

All of Hill's belongings were moved into the house on Horseshoe Lake Road in November 2005 after her previous residence sold, but Hill said she hasn't been able to live there since there is no certificate of occupancy.

"I've been living with my daughter, her friends, other relatives, back and forth to Florida," Hill said. Breaking down, she added, "I've slept in a barn. When I wake up in the morning, I have to look around to see where I am. For seven and half years. Friends and family. I get tired. I feel like I’m in everybody’s way now. I have no home of my own."

Wormley said this is just another of Hill's lies. He said when Hill sought reimbursement for her expenses, she provided his attorney with water and cable TV bills. The bills showed a spike in water use in the summer, and the cable was only turned on in the summer.

Hill has been living at the house, Wormley said, every summer since 2005.

"If you talk to any of the neighbors," he said, "they'll tell you they see her car in and out of the garage a thousand times a day."

October 15, 2012 - 7:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, UMMC.

Press release:

United Memorial’s Education Department will host an Open House on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 2 – 5:30 p.m. in room 202 at the hospital in order to demonstrate the new patient simulator. The simulator, a $60,000 piece of equipment was provided to United Memorial at no cost from CHART, the organization’s insurance carrier. It will be used to educate clinical staff.

The simulator is wireless, lifelike and can be used to assist with training for multiple airway skills, catheter placement, airway complications and breathing complications. It has cardiac and circulation features, vascular access, blinking eyes, secretions, urine output, bowel sounds and the instructor can make it speak. The simulator can function as a male or female patient.

Pam Lynch, director of education; Kevin Aldrich, 2nd Floor nurse manager; Mary Lama, 3rd Floor clinical care coordinator and Judy Clark, ICU nurse manager were educated as trainers for the new equipment. The simulator assists in improving patient care and safety. It allows new students to practice basic nursing skills and veteran nurses to learn the latest technologies and use of new practices and equipment.

The public is welcome to attend this open house.

October 12, 2012 - 2:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

For Holly Nelson, the proposed 1,200-acre technology business park in the Town of Alabama is both something to dread and something that seems like a good opportunity.

She's not alone in her conflicted feelings. Nearly a dozen people spoke at a public hearing Thursday night in the town's fire hall and expressed both a wish that Alabama remain a small, rural community, and that it embrace jobs and growth.

"I moved back here so I could be in the country," Nelson said during a short statement where she fought back tears. "If we had known what would happen, that this would be proposed, when we started building our home, we never would have built it. My whole family is here and loves Alabama. I don't want to lose that, but I do want my kids to be able to stay here and have a place to work. I'm so torn."

After speaking another minute or so, she said, "I'm scared," and seemingly unable to hold back the tears any longer, she walked away from the mic.

The purpose of Thursday's meeting was to give interested members of the public -- especially Alabama residents -- a chance to raise any issues with a proposed compensation package from the Genesee County Economic Development Center and the necessary changes in zoning for the site.

In all, the total estimated benefit to the town is $8.5 million, including $5.2 million for a new public water system. The town will also receive a commission on the sale of the land in park -- to be known as the Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) -- as manufacturers are signed to build facilities on the property.

The first speaker was an organized labor representative who encouraged Alabama residents to support STAMP because both in the construction and in the new factories, it could bring good-paying jobs to the region.

He was followed by Alabama resident Doug Crosen who encouraged the town board to not be swayed by outside voices.

"There's going to be huge pressure from the outside both for and against it, but the decision better be about our town," Crosen said.

Among Crosen's concerns is whether the money for public water will cover hook-ups for residents, and whether residents will have the option to say on well water.

Anita Goras said she had split feelings about the project.

"This is going to be in my back yard and that's where my cows are right now," Goras said. "I am open. I know I'm not going to live forever and I would like to see my grandchildren be able to come back here and work."

Kevin Sheehan, deputy mayor for Albion, told the board that if Alabama didn't want STAMP, Orleans County will take it. He encouraged the board to approve the project for the sake of all of Western New York.

Bruce Pritchett -- who grew up in Alabama, still lives on Maple Road, and teaches in Albion -- said he understands the desire to keep Alabama a small farming community, but young people, he said, need jobs, they need a reason to say in Genesee County.

"There are not a lot of jobs available," Pritchett said. "We send our jobs overseas. There's nothing here for people. This is a great opportunity. As a community, I hope we take advantage of this opportunity we have and make the best of it."

Tom Walsh, a Corfu resident, said he understands the resistance from some, but encouraged Alabama to move forward with the project.

"I know it scares a lot of people," Walsh said. "If it came to Corfu, I'd probably be a little scared for me at first, but I would know at least there would be some work for people."

Vance Wyder Jr., said he's a 40-year-old disabled military veteran who really only knows farming. He isn't sure he and other farming community members can really be trained for the kind of jobs STAMP will bring. He's worried about losing farming jobs, which are harder and harder to come by in Alabama, and then the new jobs not being filled by local residents. He said nobody has really assured him that local residents can and will be trained for the jobs.

"My message to the board is be cautious, be wary, make sure you are doing the right thing for our town and not for the almighty dollar, because in the end, the almighty dollar might kick us in the ass," he said.

Another speaker, a gentleman who has worked in IT for 20 years and is a resident of Alabama, said the board should be mindful of the potential for spinoff businesses from high-tech manufacturers.

He encouraged the board to ensure any businesses coming in reinvest in the local business community, such as by creating an incubator for start-up tech firms.

"We don't need some monolithic company with 1,800 jobs that never talks to the town after it's in place," he said.

Max Merten seemed the most strongly opposed to STAMP. He said he moved to Alabama 20 years ago to live in a rural community and he doesn't want it to change. He said he raised his kids to work, not push paper.

He's worried, he said, that the project is being pushed through the process too quickly.

"We don't need more jobs in a cornfield," Merten said.

Angela Kost concluded the round of speakers with the same ambiguity that set the tone for the meeting.

"I don't want to see it in my back yard, obviously," Kost said. "I don't think anybody in Alabama wants that, but it is a good opportunity."

The town board will meet within two weeks to take formal action on the proposals.




Copyright © 2008-2014 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
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

blue button