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January 7, 2013 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

On his first full week on the job, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) met with approximately 40 local farmers this afternoon to talk about what they want to see as part of a new farm bill. Congress is set to debate a new five-year farm bill over the coming months. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Collins has made it a top priority to work with his colleagues to pass a new farm bill as soon as possible. The current legislation expired and Congress passed a short-term extension at the end of 2012.

“America’s farmers need their federal government to act and pass a comprehensive, long-term farm bill,” Collins said. “Congress must come together to give our agricultural community the support and long-term stability it needs.”

Held in Batavia, today’s meeting participants included dairy and crop farmers from the various counties that make-up New York’s 27th Congressional District. Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau, also participated. Today’s informal meeting gave Collins an opportunity to hear directly from local farmers in advance of his first Agriculture Committee meeting in Washington. In the near future, Collins’ office will establish a formal Agriculture Advisory Committee.

A new farm bill would establish farm commodity, conservation, trade and nutritional programs for the next five-year period.

“Hardworking farmers cannot be left in limbo while Washington partisans remain deadlocked on the major issues of the day,” Collins said. “A new farm bill is too important to agricultural interests not only in our own community, but all across this country. We all rely on the hard work of America’s farmers and now the federal government needs to do its job.”

January 7, 2013 - 12:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western OTB.

Press release:

Batavia Downs Casino has closed the books on another record year, with a casino expansion starting in less than one month and the possibility of enhanced gaming on the horizon. The facility has enjoyed at least 4-percent growth every year since opening in 2005.

The 640 video lottery terminals at the track’s gaming parlor generated $45.1 million last year in net winnings, according to the NY Lottery. This figure is up 13.38 percent from 2011’s $39.78 million. Earnings in 2011 were 5.53 percent over what was earned in 2010.

“As one of the nine New York State Racetrack Casinos, we are giving back to the State of New York via our daily contributions to the New York State Lottery, and our distributions to our member municipalities,” said Michael Kane, CEO and president for Batavia Downs Casino.

Batavia Downs in owned and operated by Western Regional Off-Track Betting, a public benefit corporation. Municipalities that own Batavia Downs Casino include: the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, and the counties of Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Wyoming.

“As a public benefit corporation, all revenues net expenses are distributed to the fifteen counties and two cities of Western New York,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of marketing for Batavia Downs Casino. “People know that when they come here for entertainment, their money is going to New York State, either via the lottery for education or to the counties that they live and work in. We’re happy to give back.”

January 7, 2013 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, byron, Oxbo.

Press release:

In efforts to assist Oxbo International Corporation improve upon its quality manufacturing and productivity, National Grid has awarded its Byron plant a Manufacturing Productivity Program Grant.

The grant will be used by Oxbo to help offset the cost of an engineering study on its manufacturing problem solving methodology; development/ validation of appropriate measurements systems; implementation of tools to analyze low-volume variation problems; and, to enhance the Oxbo Product Development Cycle to include best quality practices within their welding department. Oxbo currently utilizes approximately 10,000 different weld configurations which presents high complexity to its problem solving measures and solutions.

“National Grid is committed to assisting and providing value to the manufacturing companies we service,” said Paul Kazmierczak, manager of community and customer management for National Grid in Western New York. “This grant will help ensure Oxbo International is manufacturing its products in the most resourceful method possible.”

“We are very appreciative to National Grid for this $40,000 grant -- it will assist with the development of our next generation corn harvester, which is one of our most important products,” said Gary Stich, president, Oxbo International Corporation. “In our competitive environment, this assistance in improving our efficiency helps to ensure the long term success of the product line.”

National Grid’s Manufacturing Productivity Program provides matching grants of up to $40,000 or 60 percent of the costs incurred by eligible applicants who commit time and resources to lean manufacturing and growth activities.

Oxbo International Corporation develops, manufactures and supplies specialized agricultural equipment for niche market agribusiness worldwide. Oxbo is a direct supplier of much of its equipment, and also utilizes dealers / distributors for certain products and territories. Over the years, Oxbo's product lines have grown to wide acceptance in their markets. Integrity, innovation and superb customer service are time-tested core values of the company’s business practices, and have helped to secure its continuity in an ever-changing agricultural environment. Oxbo currently supplies equipment worldwide to more than 20 countries, making exporting an important part of the business.

December 27, 2012 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, employment, labor.

There are more jobs in Genesee County, but a higher unemployment rate locally, according to statistics released today by the Department of Labor.

In November 2012, there were 29,300 jobs in the county, compared to 29,000 a year ago.

However, the county's unemployment rate went up slightly year-over-year from 7.3 percent to 7.4 percent. That translates into 2,400 people counted as unemployed in November 2012 compared to 2,300 a year ago.

Rochester's unemployment rate went from 7.2 percent to 7.4 percent and Buffalo also saw an increase from 7.5 to 7.9 percent.

Orleans County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at 10.1 percent.

December 26, 2012 - 3:30pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, business.

Batavia Country Club now has live entertainment on Friday nights from 8 p.m. to midnight. There's a small cover charge, with drink specials and food available. The full winter lineup can be seen at <http://bataviacc.com>

Here's the upcoming schedule for the live bands at Batavia CC:

Dec. 28 -- Widowmaker

Jan. 4 -- Amanda's Rage

Jan. 11 -- Unruly Band

Jan. 18 -- Haymaker

Jan. 25 -- Monster Johnson

Feb. 1 -- Red Creek

Feb. 8 -- Amanda's Revenge

Feb. 15 -- Haymaker

Feb. 22 -- Monster Johnson

December 23, 2012 - 8:20pm
posted by Timothy Walton in batavia, business, Tim Walton, City Slickers.

City Slickers was the place to be Friday night as DJ Macy Paradise, national recording artist Ya Boy (YB the Rockstar) and Bills players Stevie Johnson, Kelvin Sheppard and Aaron Williams made an appearance and put on a show.

The event was organized by local entrepreneur and promoter Tim Walton and was sponsored by DirecTV/ IR Systems, PantSaggin.com,TheBatavian, and Next Level Fitness. 

Above: Dj Macy Paradise with Buffalo hip-hop artist GiG5.

Above: National recording artist Ya Boy performs "Stevie Johnson (Bills Anthem)."

Above: Stevie Johnson poses for a photo with Bills fan James Stading.

Photos by Micheline V. 

December 21, 2012 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID.

Press release:

This past weekend (Dec 7-8), the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), hosted the 2nd Annual Taste of the Holidays. Friday evening’s event included the official lighting of the Christmas tree, caroling, music by Rich Conroy, tastings from local restaurants, horse & wagon rides, and a scavenger hunt to lead people to the downtown businesses.

Eleven local restaurants handed out samples under a tent located on historic Jackson Street. Over 500 people attended the Friday event with great success. Saturday’s afternoon event also included the scavenger hunt, but was geared toward families & children with music by Bart & Kevin. Area businesses and local organizations had holiday activities for children under the tent including crafts, face painting, free hot cocoa by Coffee Culture, and much more.

The always popular McMahon School of Irish Dance kicked up their heels for the event as well as Jason the Juggler. The YWCA sponsored a gingerbread house contest. Approximately 300 families turned out for the Saturday event. The major sponsors for the Taste of the Holidays were Müller Quaker and Alpina Foods, Batavia’s new yogurt companies. Alpina Foods even handed out free yogurt samples during the weekend event.

The Batavia Business Improvement District also took the opportunity to find out the wish lists of area residents. Their table’s activity not only included a station to write to Santa Claus, but also a station to send a letter to the BID saying, “I wish Batavia…”

The letters included straight-forward answers such as “a bakery, lower taxes, or less congested traffic on Main Street.” But the children’s comments were far more imaginative including, “fireworks, no more snowstorms, a play place, and a popcorn place.”

The winner of this year’s Downtown Batavia Scavenger Hunt is Peyton Woeller, age 6, of Batavia. Peyton attended the Saturday children’s day activities for Taste of the Holidays and completed the scavenger hunt with his mother and twin sister. Peyton won a $100 gift BID certificate after visiting participating businesses and determining what day of Christmas each business represented.

Peyton’s reaction to winning “definitely rang with Christmas spirit,” said BID Director Don Burkel. “Peyton shared his gift certificate with his twin sister without hesitation. He knew immediately he wanted to go to Adam Miller Toy & Bike.”

The owner of Floral Fantasies, Sherry Balvo, also agreed the event was great for the community. She went above and beyond as a scavenger hunt participant by giving out gift bags with ornaments.

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) will be planning their yearly events after the New Year’s. Anyone who would like to volunteer for events or be part of the planning process are encouraged to contact the BID office at 585-344-0900 or email [email protected]. Be sure to like the Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District on Facebook so you can keep in touch with future events.

December 21, 2012 - 9:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, business.

Press release:

IR Systems INC (DIRECTV)  in Batavia, NY was notified on 12/12/2012 from DIRECTV Corp. that out of over 5000 dealerships across the nation we

are ranked in the top 20 in the nation. We also received a free all expenses paid trip to New Orleans for the Super Bowl . This award was given off the Matrices of the business, a overall

performance from customer service, technical service, sales representation, customer retention and much more.  

December 20, 2012 - 5:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

With zoning changes approved in the Town of Alabama, the Genesee County Economic Development Center will now move forward with real estate purchases in order to create the footprint for the STAMP project.

The board today authorized the agency to move forward with a $2.1 million expenditure to acquire the land necessary for the 1,340-acre technology zone.

GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde said today, after the board's approval of the transactions, that he anticipates bringing in three chip fabrication companies of the size now in Saratoga, which will mean a $15 billion to $25 billion investment by those companies in Genesee County and some 9,000 jobs.

The board authorized a loan from the LDC (a non-profit agency operated by the GCEDC) to GCEDC for $500,000. GCEDC will then receive either a gap loan from a bank to repay the LDC, or pay it off when it receives grant money from the state for the STAMP project.

The project is receiving more than $2 million from Empire State Development.

The first purchases -- many of which have already been negotiated -- could happen in a matter of weeks.

December 19, 2012 - 6:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer today announced that seven job-creation projects in the 61st Senate District will receive state funding as part of the second round of Regional Economic Development Council awards.

“These strategic projects take advantage of the many valuable resources, skills and talents of our region, in an effort to strengthen our economy and help create and retain jobs in our backyard,” Ranzenhofer said. “As a member of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, I have seen firsthand the hard work and dedication of our community leaders to do what it takes to deliver critical state funding for job-creation projects in Western New York.”

"For the second year in a row, the regional councils have been on the forefront of rebuilding New York State's economy. For too many years, top-down economic development policies have failed communities across the state and not truly invested in the unique resources and strengths of each of New York's regions. Now a new, bottom-up approach is in place that brings local communities together to chart their own economic destiny. The second round of Regional Economic Development Council awards will deliver funding for critical projects and investments in communities across our state, helping put New Yorkers back to work and rebuilding our economy,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

The following job creation projects in the 61st Senate District will receive almost $2.4 million in funding from the second round of the Regional Economic Development Council program:

Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation - STAMP Project - $500,000
Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation will undertake engineering and infrastructure work for a thousand-acre advanced manufacturing campus being developed in Western Genesee County.

Jiffy-Tite Co, Inc. - Facility Expansion and Equipment Purchase - $633,200
Jiffy-Tite will expand its manufacturing facility and purchase new equipment. Jiffy-Tite will invest $12.5 million and create 100 jobs.

CNG One Source of New York, Inc. - Genesee County Expansion Project - $300,000
CNG One Source, a business involved in converting the use of gasoline or diesel as a choice of fuel for vehicles to compressed natural gas, will purchase land and construct new facilities.

Farm Credit East, ACA - Growing the New York Dairy Industry - $500,000
Farm Credit East, ACA will enhance its current ability to address capital needs of dairy farmers who are interested in expansion but face significant financial challenges in doing so. The primary focus will be to provide assistance for new investments to comply with Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation or other environmental requirements.

Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. – Lean Manufacturing Training - $26,425
Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. of Williamsville in Erie County will train 30 workers in Windows Server 2008, lean manufacturing, the 5S organization process, Six Sigma White Belt process improvement, leadership, lithography, and lithographic relationships and variables.

Genesee County Industrial Development Agency - New York Craft Malt - $117,330
The Genesee County Economic Development Corporation will assist New York Craft Malt. New York Craft Malt will operate a commercial malting facility that will use locally grown food-grade barley. An existing 2,400-square-foot building will be renovated to serve as the malting facility.

Ceramic Technology Partners - Expand Ceramic Manufacturing Capacity - $300,000
Calix Ceramic Solutions, LLC (Calix), GNP Ceramics, LLC (GNP), and Ceramic Technology Partnership, LLC (CTP) will undertake a joint development project to expand their ceramic manufacturing processes to include the manufacturing and supply of sintered silicon carbide. Ceramic Technology Partners will invest $9.5 million and create 42 new jobs.

“It has been an honor to work together with so many of our community leaders – in business, education, economic development, local governments and others – to develop a list of first-rate initiatives that achieves our objectives of creating jobs and building a strong foundation for future growth. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy for their continued leadership and implementation of the Regional Economic Development Councils,” Ranzenhofer said.

Statewide, a total of $738 million was awarded for 725 economic development projects in every region of New York State.

December 19, 2012 - 3:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Announcements, business, sports.

Buffalo Spine and Sports Medicine has opened its fourth location in Batavia at 39 Batavia City Centre. Leonard Kaplan, D.O., a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, is a nerve, muscle and bone expert who treats injury and illness non-surgically to decrease pain and restore function.

Conditions that he treats in partnership with the Genesee County primary care physicians and specialists range from sprains to chronic pains anywhere from head to toe.

Treatment will be provided for:

  • Spine injuries
  • Occupational injuries
  • Degenerative and painful joint/muscle conditions
  • Spasticity/dystonia conditions Chronic migraine headaches

Diagnostic testing will include:

  • Electromyogram (EMG)
  • Ultrasound

Interventional Pain Alleviating Injections will also be offered:

  • Fluoroscopic-guided spinal injections
  • Ultrasound-guided join injections
  • Botox injections for pain

Dr. Kaplan and his team look forward to helping people “take back their lifestyles.”

Buffalo Spine and Sports Medicine is a nonsurgical physical medicine and rehabilitation practice. For more information, visit www.buffspine.com or call (716) 626-0093.

December 14, 2012 - 7:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Empire Tractor.

Empire Tractor hosted a Christmastime customer appreciation day at its location on East Main Street Road today, serving chips, sodas and beef on weck.

The Batavia-based farm equipment company was recently named one of the top dealers in the nation by Dixie Chopper for its exceptional sales and service of the riding mower line.

December 13, 2012 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, chris collins.

Press release:

Congressman-elect Chris Collins (NY-27) will serve on both the Agriculture and Small Business committees in the 113th Congress beginning in January. Collins was appointed to the posts by House leadership. The committee assignments are a natural fit for both Collins’ background as a small business owner and the incredibly important role agriculture plays in New York’s 27th Congressional District.

“These two committee assignments make perfect sense as I look to bring my real-world experience to Washington and represent the needs and concerns of New York’s 27th Congressional District,” Collins said. “Agriculture plays an extremely critical role in this district in terms of both the economy and the way of life for many families.

"Throughout the campaign, I visited with dozens of crop and dairy farmers who shared with me their daily struggles of trying to run efficient, profitable farms despite the regulations and burdensome bureaucracy coming out of Washington. One of my very top goals as a member of Congress will be to help farmers have a legal and reliable labor force by pushing for much needed improvements to our nation’s guest worker program.”

Collins is also eager to put his business and job creation background to use as a member of the House Small Business committee.

“Being a member of Congress may be new to me, but I’ve spent my entire adult life in the small business world,” Collins said. “After a 35-year career in the private sector, I am all too familiar with the hurdles the federal government places in the way of small business owners. Small business is the backbone of our economy and as this country continues to climb out of the devastating recession, the federal government needs to focus on making it easier for small businesses to grow and thrive, instead of harder.”

“In addition to fighting every day for what is best for the hardworking families of NY-27, I look forward to being an advocate and a voice for small business owners and farmers not only in our own community, but all across this country,” Collins said.

Collins has traveled to Washington since being elected last month to participate in new member orientation and other important forums for incoming members of Congress. Collins will take the official oath of office on Jan. 3.

December 13, 2012 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee ARC.

Genesee ARC, which has provided trash service to the City of Batavia for nearly 30 years, is facing the possible loss of the contract with a city decision to put the trash collection contract out to bid.

Though Genesee ARC is welcome to be among the bidders, as many as three private firms are expect to place bids.

"I think it comes down to the efficiency and effectiveness of the service being provided to the residents," Molino said on WBTA's Main and Center program this morning. "Our approach moving forward with refuse collection -- and it has been -- is how do we continue to divert refuse tonnage from the refuse stream to the recycling stream, and ultimately lowering costs to the residents."

Genesee ARC employs 30 people, including 20 with developmental disabilities, for trash hauling and recycling pick up. The agency is paid $810,000 a year for the service.

The last contract was signed five years ago.

“This is a competitive bid, no different than any other bid for any other service,” Molino said. “If you can provide that service and you can support it and provide the services we’re requesting, then they can continue to provide it.”

Molino also told WBTA he has received virtually no complaints about the service provided by the ARC.

Donna Saskowski, executive director of the ARC, says the trash contract with the city is vital to the agency.

“Mostly because it goes to our mission of employing people with developmental disabilities here locally in our community and it would mean that 20 individuals with developmental disabilities would be unemployed, as well as the staff – all residents of Genesee County – who would become unemployed," Saskowski said.

Molino expects as many as three private companies will submit bids for the trash contract. Saskowski said the ARC is weighing its options.

Saskowski said that even if ARC no longer provides recycling pick up in the city, ARC will certainly try to keep operating its recycling center on West Main Street Road, Town of Batavia.

"Without the city contract it (recycling) would certainly be a diminishment," Saskowski said. "We are dedicated to recycling and we would certainly look for other opportunities."

December 13, 2012 - 11:12am
posted by Timothy Walton in batavia, business, Ken Mistler, Next Level Fitness, City Slickers.

'Tis the time of giving and Ken Mistler and his wife Andrea are in the spirit. The Mistlers' recently won $200 for winning the downtown window display contest. The display, located inside the former Carr's building was sponsored by both Next Level Fitness and City Slickers Bar & Grill.

"I want to thank the downtown (improvement) district and all the judges for choosing our window." Ken Mistler said. "We know there are families out there having a hard time and we want to be able to give back to them and give them a little something extra this holiday season."

If you know someone that is deserving please e-mail [email protected] with the name of the person and a brief description of why you think they are deserving. Also be sure to include your contact info as well as their's. You can't nominate yourself.

All nominations must be submitted by Dec. 20th. Winnings will be donated in the form of a Save-A-Lot gift card.

"I'm going to review the nominations  and will decide on the most deserving family or families." Mistler said. "I may give one gift card for the full amount or I may give a few."

December 11, 2012 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, weather.

We need snow. Ask any snomobiler. Without snow, there is a lot less winter fun.

But there's also an economic impact. There's a whole industry of bars, restaurants, repair shops, fireplace retailers and other businesses that depend on cold weather and snow.

The forecast for this winter is: We just don't know.

"There's an equal chance for above or below normal for both temperature and precipitation," said Jim Mitchell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

If the start of winter had seen the formation of an El Nino or a La Nina, then forecasters could make a longer range prediction on what kind of winter we might expect. Without either of those weather phenomena, the outlook is neutral.

The longest range prediction, Mitchell said is that outside of today, we'll see warmer and drier conditions for about a week and then some colder temperatures and some precipitation up to about 18 days out.

There is a chance, Mitchell said, of a white Christmas.

Kevin Fisher, president of Genesee Sno Packers, is keeping an eye on the weather.

Last year's dry winter resulted in fewer people -- about half of normal -- registering their snowmobiles.

Most of the state fee for registrations -- $35 of it -- went to local snowmobile clubs to help maintain the state's 10,000-mile trail system.

Without that money, many clubs may be hurting, Fisher said.

"In your household, a business, in any organization, getting half of your funding cut is pretty hard to swallow," Fisher said.

If that happens again this year, the impact could be devastating.

"My biggest fear is that snowmobile clubs, not necessarily right here in Genesee County, but statewide, are going to have difficulty staying afloat," Fisher said. "The trail system as we know it will start to come apart."

Right now, registrations statewide are down 17,000 from this time a year ago.

Fisher suggested that people at least join their local clubs, pay their local dues, that will at least help finance some trail grooming.

Guy Clark, owner of Cedar Street Sales and Rentals, said he always has a plan A, B, or C for his seasonable business.

In a normal winter, Clark said Cedar Street might sell 100 to 150 snowblowers and service twice that many.

That didn't happen last winter, but the winter was so mild, his service department kept busy getting lawn mowers ready for spring, and the early spring helped with other sales.

It actually would have been a worse winter if there had only been about a foot of snow and then the ground just stayed frozen for a month or two, Clark said.

When it's cold, said Rita Towner, co-owner of WNY Fireplace Outlet, and home heating oil bills are going through the roof, people start looking at less expensive alternatives for heat, such as wood or pellets.

"We're creatures of habit," Towner said. "When it's cold, we want to be warmer, but we don't want to pay extra money."

But while sales have been slow for wood and pellet systems, Towner said, it's been a weird winter so far. A lot of people are coming in looking for gas inserts, and those sales are balancing the books.

"There are a lot of people who are getting away from wood and looking for something more efficient," Towner said.

As for a longer term outlook -- the kind possibly related to climate change -- Mitchell said he isn't looking at the weather patterns that way. Everything balances out, he said, and while WNY had an unseasonably mild winter in 2012, Alaska had colder temperatures and more snow than average, as did much of northern Europe.

A lot depends, he said, on the jet stream. If it pushes cold Canadian air into the Northeast, we're more likely to get winter storms. When the jet stream stays to the north, we get warmer weather, but somebody else is colder.

For snowmobilers now is not the time to worry about a lack of snow, Fisher said. It's what comes later this month and January that matters.

"We could have a great winter yet and technically the trails don’t open until Dec. 19, so as present of a snowmobile club, I’m glad it’s not snowing right now," Fisher said. "I would like to see cold and get the ground frozen, but as far as snow, no, because there’s still hunters out there. It’s their time. It’s their season. If there’s snow people are tempted to go out and ride."

Riding now, he said, causes problems with property owners who donate land to trails -- and they are often are also hunters -- so Fisher is glad people are off the trails.

The weather and the economy definitely have a ripple effect, Clark said.

First, many of his customers do landscaping during the summer and spring, and if they're not plowing driveways in the winter, they're not making the money that will help pay for a new lawn mower in the spring.

Second, Clark noted, there are a lot of businesses, such as bars and restaurants and gas stations, that depend on snowmobilers to provide them with winter cash flow.

"Those business owners are the customers of everybody else," Clark said. "If they're not doing well, they're not going to spend."

December 11, 2012 - 12:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

Five years of planning, public meetings, studies, environmental reviews and dozens of written reports came down to one vote Monday night in the Town of Alabama, and by unanimous decision, the town's planning board said yes to a proposed industrial technology park.

The 5-0 vote to change the zoning for 1,340 acres within the town's borders clears the way for the Genesee County Economic Development Center to aggressively market the technology zone and begin the process making STAMP the kind of "shovel ready" property that GCEDC officials say is necessary to attract big business.

Before the vote, Mark Masse, VP operations for GCEDC, said it had been hard work to get the development to the point of the pivotal vote, "but now we leave it in your hands."

"The town has been involved from the beginning in hiring consultants and getting a lot of work done looking at the project," Masse said. "We're excited to be at his point."

For the board, the decision came down to three key points: infrastructure for public water, support from the majority of town residents, and jobs.

Trustee Janet Sage noted the expense the towns of Bethany and Batavia are facing to bring public water to their residents, but under the agreement with GCEDC, the infrastructure for water will be created for 70 percent of the town residents at a reduced cost to ratepayers.

The total capital cost of the water project is $5.2 million.

An estimated $1.9 million in grants will reduce the cost of bringing public water to Alabama rate payers from $882 annually to $512 per year.

"We will be saving residents a lot of money over the long run," Sage said. "It would be a long time if ever before Alabama gets water if this doesn't pass."

Sage also noted that in a survey of residents, among those who responded, nearly 70 percent said they supported STAMP.

It was that support for the project that board members should note, said Alabama resident Sam Ferris.

"You should put your personal issues aside and vote the way the town wants," Ferris said. "We voted into into office to vote for our rights.  If you can’t put your own personal thoughts aside, you should reconsider running when it's your turn to run again."

Other speakers echoed Ferris call for a vote in line with the majority support for STAMP, and Donald Sage spoke about how important the jobs are to the future of Alabama.

"I've lived here all my life and I've never been able to make a living here," Sage said. "I worked construction in Rochester to make a living for my family."

GCEDC estimates that at full build-out -- which may take as long as 25 years -- that STAMP could employ 9,300 people.

Sage went on to talk about the importance of family staying together and said he probably won't be around by the time the real benefits STAMP kick in, but his grandchildren will benefit.

"You should not have to worry about going to Dallas, Texas, or Raleigh, North Carolina, to get to spend time with your family," Sage said.

There were no speakers at Monday's meeting who opposed STAMP.

When Supervisor Dan Mangino announced the resolution passed 5-0, most of the 20 residents in attendance applauded.

In related action, the board set a public hearing for Jan. 14 to consider a 12-month moratorium on all commercial construction in the town that is outside of the STAMP district.

The moratorium would give the town time to developed new zoning laws in anticipation of STAMP-related growth, preventing unwanted commercial construction and destruction of farmland.

December 7, 2012 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, chamber of commerce.

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Committee has announced the 2012 Annual Award Dinner will be held on Saturday, April 13 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 streamlined its nomination forms to make submissions less cumbersome and time consuming. 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, and Geneseeans of the Year. Business nominees must be a chamber member (If unsure of your nominee's status, 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 Web site at www.geneseeny.com

Nominations MUST BE RECEIVED BY JAN. 11 to be considered.

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.

December 7, 2012 - 10:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, pembroke, bergen.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board has approved the following projects:

KNW Manufacturing, 35 Spring St., Bergen. The company is moving its mold injection business from Ogden to a 2,012-square-foot building in Bergen. The building is already under a PILOT tax abatement issued in 2007. GCEDC is re-assigning the PILOT to KNW Manufacturing. The PILOT will expire in 2018 as scheduled. No other tax abatements are offered for this project. The move will create 10 new jobs in Genesee County.

Yancey's Fancy, $150,000 from revolving loan fund. Project is an interim plant expansion and equipment upgrades to support ongoing business and growth during a period that Yancey's Fancy is awaiting sewer construction in Pembroke. A larger project is expected to begin construction in early 2013 and be completed within the following 12 months. There are no tax abatements with the interim project.

Callahan Motion Control, $100,000 from revolving loan fund. CMC is buying the assets of Callahan Weber Hydraulics, an existing sales and service center in Darien. A local bank is financing the majority of the project through a coordinated program with Empire State Development. The program will save the company from 2 to 3 percent in interest over the next four years. GCEDC is providing a gap loan from its revolving loan fund to help finance the $434,000 project. CMC will also receive a mortgage tax exemption of $5,425. The company provides sales, service and repair of hydraulic components and systems for use in industry, agriculture, construction, gas drilling, lumber and mining industries.

December 7, 2012 - 8:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

Press release:

Local entrepreneur Tim Walton, has decided to pull the plug on bringing a teen nightclub to Batavia after many hurdles and a bigger opportunity.

Walton had plans to turn the former Powerhouse Gym into a 7,500-square-foot venue that would cater toward the under-21 crowd, bringing them dances, parties and other events to keep them out of trouble.

The process had been delayed several times by the city due to codes that had to be met.

"We installed a sprinkler system, then needed another entrance, so we made that, then needed this and that, and things just kept adding up," Walton said.

Despite the setbacks, Walton said that the main reason for pulling the plug was due to bigger opportunities that were presented to him.

Walton recently took over as marketing and events director at LUX Nightclub in Buffalo.

"I got an offer that I couldn't turn down," Walton said. "It's the largest nightclub in the area so it's a great opportunity to do what I love to do."

The building at 624 E. Main St, which Walton had leased for a little over a year, has been put back up for lease by building owner Ken Mistler and Walton still has hopes to see something similar in there.

"It's a great wide-open structure that would be a great business opportunity for the right person, and I'd even be willing to help promote it if something were to come about in there," Walton said. 

Although the club is no longer in the works, Walton still hasn't given up on bringing quality entertainment to the area.

"It's something that people enjoy and it's something I have the experience to bring to the city," he said.

Currently, he has scheduled for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson to make an appearance at City Slickers. The appearance will be headlined by Johnson's cousin, national recording artist YB the Rockstar (Ya Boy) and Batavia native DJ Macy Paradise. The event is set for Dec. 21. That event is sponsored by IR Systems DirecTV and The Batavian.

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