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August 5, 2020 - 1:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, farmers, covid-19, USDA.

Press release:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced it will authorize Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to extend deadlines for premium and administrative fee payments, defer the resulting interest accrual and allow other flexibilities to help farmers, ranchers, and insurance providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“USDA recognizes farmers and ranchers have been severely affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic this year and to help ease the burden on these folks, we are continuing to extend flexibility for producers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “The flexibilities announced today support health and safety while also ensuring the Federal crop insurance program continues to serve as a vital risk management tool.”


Specifically, USDA is authorizing AIPs to provide policyholders additional time to pay premium and administrative fees and to waive accrual of interest to the earlier of 60 days after their scheduled payment due date or the termination date on policies with premium billing dates between August 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020. In addition, USDA is authorizing AIPs to provide up to an additional 60 days for policyholders to make payment and waive additional interest for Written Payment Agreements due between Aug. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020.

RMA is authorizing additional flexibilities due to coronavirus while continuing to support producers, working through AIPs to deliver services, including processing policies, claims and agreements. RMA staff are working with AIPs and other customers by phone, mail and electronically to continue supporting crop insurance coverage for producers. Farmers with crop insurance questions or needs should continue to contact their insurance agents about conducting business remotely (by telephone or email). More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private insurance agents. A list of insurance agents is available online using the RMA Agent Locator. Learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at rma.usda.gov.

July 28, 2020 - 3:01pm
posted by Sarah Whitehead in bergen, business, batavia, Ralph and Rosie's.

Bergen staple, Ralph and Rosie’s Deli, is opening a new Batavia location. Ralph and Rosie’s has operated in Bergen on North Lake Avenue for 42 years with Mike and Kelly Marsocci continuing the family's legacy of operating the business since 2012.

The couple began plans for the Batavia location at the end of 2019 with hopes of opening the location by early spring, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic their plans were put on hold. Now, they are hoping to open within the next few weeks. 

“Expanding during this time has its stressors, but it’s a blessing to be expanding and not have to worry about closing our doors,” Kelly Marsocci said. 

Like many other restaurants and small businesses, Ralph and Rosie’s has been adjusting to the pandemic by offering curbside pickup and assisting the community by ordering products that have been difficult to find and selling them to members of the community at cost. 

They have had a tremendous amount of support during this time and excitement for their new location.

“It’s always been a dream to open a second location and we appreciate all the support and love from the community,” Kelly Marsocci said.

The Batavia location will offer the same favorites as their Bergen location, "Home of the Original Sweet Sauce," including their homemade meatballs, mozzarella wedges, dough, and their signature sweet sauce, which are made fresh daily. They offer subs, too.

Ralph and Rosie’s new Batavia location address is 3845 W. Main Street Road and will be open daily from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Phone is (585) 494-2049.

Photo by Sarah Whitehead.

July 27, 2020 - 1:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, agriculture, H-2A workers, farmworkers.

Press release:

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced new features on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers.gov website designed to help facilitate the employment of H-2A workers.

“My mission from the beginning of my time as Secretary was to make USDA the most effective, most efficient, most customer-focused department in the entire federal government – these changes to Farmers.gov are doing just that," Secretary Perdue said. "USDA’s goal is to help farmers navigate the complex H-2A program that is administered by Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department so hiring a farm worker is an easier process. ... We will continue working to streamline these and other processes to better serve our customers across the country.”


The primary new H-2A features on Farmers.gov include: 

  • A real-time dashboard that enables farmers to track the status of their eligible employer application and visa applications for temporary nonimmigrant workers;
  • Streamlining the login information so if a farmer has an existing login.gov account they can save multiple applications tracking numbers for quick look-up at any time;
  • Enables easy access to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG);
  • Allows farmers to track time-sensitive actions taken in the course of Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s (OFLC) adjudication of temporary labor certification applications;
  • Allowing for farmers to access all application forms online.
All information can be found at www.farmers.gov/manage/h2a.

In 2018, Secretary Perdue unveiled farmers.gov, a dynamic, mobile-friendly public website combined with an authenticated portal where customers can apply for programs, process transactions and manage accounts. With feedback from customers and field employees who serve those customers, Farmers.gov delivers farmer-focused features through an agile, iterative process to deliver the greatest immediate value to America’s agricultural producers – helping farmers and ranchers do right, and feed everyone.

July 24, 2020 - 3:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy Business Council, business, Golf Tournament.

Le Roy Business Council will host a Golf Tournament Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Le Roy Country Club.

Cost is $70 and includes 18 holes of golf, a riding cart, lunch and dinner. Or you can pay $25 for dinner only.

Deadline to register is Sept. 8.

All participants must be at least 21 years old.

This event is set up for social distancing. The country club is located at 7759 E. Main Road, Le Roy.

There will be contests for: the longest drive contest; closest to the pin; and closest to the line.

Please make all checks payable to Le Roy Business Council.

Contacts are Martha Bailey, 261-0714, or Bob Bennett, 356-2719.

Click here to print out or to scan the registration form.

Please mail completed registration form to:

Martha Bailey

113 Gilbert St.

Le Roy NY 14482

Or scan the form, complete it and email to Martha Bailey:   [email protected]

July 24, 2020 - 2:14pm

Press release:

ITHACA -- Tompkins Financial Corporation (NYSE American: TMP), parent company of Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and Tompkins Financial Advisors, today reported record year-to-date and second quarter earnings.

The company also has announced that its Board of Directors approved payment of a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.52 per share, payable on Aug. 14, to common shareholders of record on Aug. 3, 2020, and has authorized a new stock repurchase program.

Tompkins Financial Corporation reported diluted earnings per share of $1.44 for the second quarter of 2020, up 13.4 percent compared to $1.27 reported in the second quarter of 2019. Net income for the second quarter of 2020 was $21.4 million, compared to $19.4 million reported for the same period in 2019. 

For the year-to-date period ended June 30, 2020, diluted earnings per share were $1.97, down 25.1 percent from the same period in 2019. Year-to-date net income was $29.4 million, down from $40.4 million, for the same period in 2019. Results for the 2020 year-to-date period were negatively impacted by economic stress resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which contributed to the $16.3 million provision for credit losses recognized during the first quarter of 2020.

"We are pleased to report strong financial results for the quarter despite a very challenging business climate," said Stephen S. Romaine, president & CEO. "Although the longer term impact of the pandemic and related economic conditions are still unknown, there have been several recent positive trends noted with certain national economic indicators, such as reduced levels of unemployment, improving retail sales and improving consumer confidence.

"At Tompkins, we have seen several positive trends as well, with very strong mortgage application volumes in the second quarter, higher levels of debit card spending, and favorable credit quality measures when compared to last quarter. We are encouraged by some of these recent favorable trends, though the recent rise in COVID-19 cases nationally makes it clear that much uncertainty remains. We will remain vigilant in monitoring risk trends as we navigate these challenging times.”  

For full details, you can access the online versions through the links below.

About Tompkins Financial Corporation

Tompkins Financial Corporation is a financial services company serving the Central, Western, and Hudson Valley regions of New York and the Southeastern region of Pennsylvania. Tompkins Financial operates in Western New York as Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, and Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information is available at www.tompkinsfinancial.com

Tompkins Bank of Castile is a community bank with 16 offices in the five-county Western New York region. Services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, and leasing. Further information about the bank is available on its website, www.bankofcastile.com.

Tompkins Insurance Agencies Inc., offers personalized service, local decision-making and a broad range of services for consumers and businesses. It is an independent insurance agency offering personal and business insurance and employee benefits services through more than 50 different companies. The firm operates six offices in Central New York, 16 offices in Western New York and seven offices in Southeast Pennsylvania. Further information is available at www.tompkinsins.com

Tompkins Financial Advisors is the wealth management firm of Tompkins Financial Corporation. With more than a century of experience in helping clients to build, protect, and preserve wealth, Tompkins Financial Advisors provides financial planning, investment management, trust services and estate administration. For more information, visit www.tompkinsfinancialadvisors.com.

July 24, 2020 - 1:57pm

Press release:

Small businesses seeking loans to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic will soon have the information they need to make better borrowing decisions, thanks to the NYS Small Business Truth in Lending Act.

“The NYS Small Business Truth in Lending Act will bring common-sense transparency standards to small business financing at a time when it’s needed most,” said Linda MacFarlane, the nonprofit association’s Chair, who serves as the executive director of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region Inc.

One of her clients, a certified Minority Business Enterprise, needed cash to add to his inventory, and borrowed money from an online source. He then saw the daily repayment withdrawals from his bank account were much higher than he agreed to — and the debt service nearly closed down his store. Her client was told he must not have read the fine print in the agreement, and learned that overall interest was in the triple digits. The Community Loan Fund stepped in, paid off the loan and gave him a line of credit for new inventory and a small loan for store remodeling. 

“CDFIs are committed to offering loans in a fair, affordable and transparent manner,” MacFarlane said. “Unfortunately, some lenders have made it hard for small businesses to compare the true cost of their offers.CDFI Coalition members around the state are pleased to see that this measure will require lenders to disclose annual percentage rate (APR) and repayment terms.”

“Fair and honest lenders have nothing to fear with regard to transparency and the adoption of standard terms to describe the cost of loans,” said CDFI Coalition Board Member Kim Jacobs, president/CEO of Community Capital New York based in Elmsford. “This is a great opportunity for Governor Cuomo to help protect the small businesses in our state who are already overwhelmed dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 by swiftly signing this measure into law. We applaud NYS Senator Kevin Thomas and Assemblyman  Ken Zebrowski for their leadership on this important issue.”

“The passage of the New York State Small Business Truth in Lending Act (A10118 / S5470) represents a victory for New York’s small business owners,” said Dafina Williams, senior vice president of Public Policy at Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and Executive Committee member of the Responsible Business Lending Coalition (RBLC).

“Bringing much-needed transparency to commercial lending, this bill equips entrepreneurs with the tools needed to easily compare financing options – allowing them to make the best financial decisions for their businesses. The RBLC thanks Assemblyman Zebrowski and Senator Thomas for their leadership and urges Governor Cuomo to promptly sign New York’s first-ever small business lending transparency bill into law.” 

The NYS Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Coalition represents the institutions that make innovative financing possible, foster financially vibrant and healthy communities, and strengthen all regions of New York State.

July 23, 2020 - 2:18pm
posted by Sarah Whitehead in business, Thermory USA, batavia.

Thermory USA has recently expanded and relocated their headquarters in Batavia to a space on Harvester Avenue. 

The company sells thermally modified wood decking, cladding, and porch flooring. The wood used is enhanced using heat and steam to increase strength, durability, and rot resistance.

It was drawn to Batavia as the location for its headquarters because Principle, Kevin Demars, is a Batavia native. 

“I wanted to work right in my backyard,” Demars said about choosing the City of Batavia for the headquarters. 

Thermory USA has been based here since 2014, formerly in the old Carr's Department Store Warehouse in Jackson Square, but recently moved to a larger space on Harvester Avenue as they have experienced immense growth, nearly doubling in size each year. 

The company started in 2012 with one employee and now has a team of 19, with the company having roughly 85 percent of the North American market share in the field. 

The company is now focusing on how to communicate effectively with customers during this time when travel and contact are restricted.

“Figuring out how to reinvent ourselves, be a better company and employer right now in spite of the hurdles at hand is our priority,” Demars said.

Demars contributes the company’s success, in large part, to the people, saying, “There are a lot of great, intelligent people here.”

Thermory USA is located at 56 Harvester Ave., Suite 1-201, in Batavia. Phone is (585) 252-5807.

July 23, 2020 - 1:57pm


Each region of Italy is known for their particular style of pasta sauce. Just as in Italy, Western New York has its own style of sauce and its popularity has led a local maker, Albanese’s Finest, to start producing sauce locally for everyone to enjoy.

The Albanese family is renowned for its sauce.

Sauce maker Darrin Albanese (in photos) learned how to cook mostly from his mother and father, David and Theresa, and also learned some cooking from aunts and uncles at his family's restaurant, Albanese’s in Albion.

So eight months ago Albanese parlayed his legacy into crafting a classic Marinara Sauce, Meat Sauce and Pizza Sauce. They are made the same as he made them in his own kitchen, with the finest ingredients (hence the name Albanese’s Finest). He uses fresh herbs, not dried, and no added sugar or salt.

The simple straightforward approach wins customers with its result -- fresh, homemade taste.

Albanese plans to add at least three more varieties before the end of 2021. 

He has his sauces made at Permac Enterprises, owned by Pauly Guglielmo. It's a specialty small-batch food production facility that operated for 15 years in a pizzeria. In May, Guglielmo closed the deal then moved operations to a new 5,000-square-foot facility on Appletree Avenue in Bergen.

Permac is one of only six USDA cannery manufacturing plants in New York State that specializes in taking recipes from individuals, restaurants or food production brands, and adjusting it for large production. Guglielmo has increased the staff by 30 percent this year and expects to grow more in near future.

Albanese has plans to grow, too, and hopes to sell his sauces nationally someday. For now, most of his sales are in Western New York and can be found in 60+ locations.  

The first store to take on his sauce was ANG Shur Save in Churchville and it is now also available around Genesee County at:

  • Harrington's Produce and Market Cafe, Batavia
  • Southside Deli, Batavia
  • Save-A-Lot, Batavia and Le Roy
  • Tops Friendly Markets, as a specialty item in a display case, Batavia and Le Roy
  • The Divine Tree, Le Roy
  • Sweet Life Country Store, Elba

Albanese says without the help and support of his daughter, Kaleigh, and the encouragement of his close friends and some family, his sauce still might only be served at his house. 

You can follow Albanese's Finest Sauce on Facebook

Photos by Jim Burns.




July 22, 2020 - 2:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, STAMP, Alabama, GCEDC, microelectronics.

Press release:

Following Senator Charles E. Schumer’s unveiling of his bipartisan American Foundries Act and major push to bolster U.S. leadership in the microelectronics sector, Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes their provision to reestablish U.S. leadership and revitalize innovation in the global microelectronics sector.

The senators explained that the bipartisan legislation increase federal investment into semiconductor manufacturing by providing new federal incentives to conduct advanced research and development of semiconductor technology, secure the supply chain, and ensure national and economic security by reducing reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

The amendment passed in the Senate 96-4 yesterday, and the legislation included in the final NDAA, which is expected to be put to a final vote in the Senate in coming days, will provide unprecedented support for the U.S. semiconductor industry.

“The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored, and Upstate New York, which has a robust semiconductor sector, is the perfect place to grow this industry by leaps and bounds,” Senator Schumer said.

“America must continue to invest in our domestic semiconductor industry in order to keep good-paying, high-tech American manufacturing jobs here in Upstate New York. We need to ensure our domestic microelectronics industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs.

"This is essential to our national security and to U.S. leadership in this critical industry. I’m pleased to deliver this win in this year’s final NDAA for Upstate New York and the entire country."

“Our nation is in an economic crisis. Investing in microelectronics manufacturing and the semiconductor industry will create high paying manufacturing jobs for hard working Americans at a time when our country needs it most,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“This amendment will help expand our advanced manufacturing workforce in Upstate New York and invest in cutting edge research and development. I’m proud that this legislation is included in NDAA so that we can continue to strengthen our microelectronic domestic supply chain, prioritize American-owned businesses over foreign production, and keep our country safe.”  

The senators noted that even though the United States revolutionized the microelectronic industry and invented nearly all of the key technology used to this day, competitors in Asia, especially China, have made huge investments into their microelectronics industries in recent years to challenge and undercut U.S. leadership.

In fact, Schumer and Gillibrand pointed out, the United States has gone from producing 24 percent of the world’s semiconductors in 2000, to just 12 percent more recently. In contrast, China has gone from producing zero chips to 16 percent of the world’s supply in the same time frame.

The senators warned that by 2030, Asia is projected to control 83 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing supply while domestic production could be less than 10 percent, threatening U.S. reliance on foreign-made microelectronics, which could pose huge risks to U.S. national and economic security.

Schumer has long-championed increased efforts to expand the domestic microelectronics industry, supporting companies like GlobalFoundries, which houses their most advanced "Fab 8" manufacturing facility in Malta, New York, IBM, and others.

With New York home to multiple major companies and research institutions in the semiconductor industry, the state is positioned to securely supply the U.S. government with critical technologies and maintain U.S. leadership in this technology. This is a tremendous opportunity for New York’s semiconductor companies to expand operations, create more jobs in Upstate New York, and help the U.S. reduce its reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

Specifically, supporters of the amendment include: GlobalFoundries; IBM; ON Semiconductor; Cree Inc.; the Genesee County Economic Development Center; Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation; Mohawk Valley EDGE; Cornell University; Binghamton University; and SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

“Senator Schumer has been a longtime champion of New York's 1,250-acre STAMP megasite in Genesee County and this legislation provides a tremendous opportunity to create thousands of high-quality semiconductor jobs for the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions," said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC). "In short, STAMP* is a transformative economic development game-changer that will generate billions of dollars of economic activity across Upstate New York.

"We appreciate Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s push to pass this milestone legislation that advances our site, region, and New York's readiness as we compete globally for projects of this scale.” 

*STAMP: Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in Alabama.

Details on the NDAA Amendment are below:

  • Directs the Secretary of Commerce to create a grant program for constructing, expanding, or modernizing commercial semiconductor fabrication, assembly, testing, packaging, and advanced R&D facilities in the United States.
  • Directs the Secretary of Defense to create a partnership program with the private sector to encourage the development of advanced, measurably secure microelectronics for use by the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, critical infrastructure, and other national-security applications.
  • Requires the Secretary of Commerce to commence a review within 120 days assessing the state of the U.S. semiconductor industrial base.
  • Establishes a Multilateral Microelectronics Security Fund, with which the United States, its allies and partners will work to reach agreements promoting consistency in their policies related to microelectronics, greater transparency including supply chains, and greater alignment in export control and foreign direct investment policies.
  • Directs the president to establish a subcommittee on semiconductor technology and innovation within the National Science and Technology Council, directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a national semiconductor technology center to conduct research, fund semiconductor startups and a Manufacturing USA Institute, create a National Advance Packaging Manufacturing Program, and encourage the Secretary of Labor to work with the private sector on workforce training and apprenticeships in semiconductor manufacturing.
July 22, 2020 - 1:30pm

Batavia-based Graham Corporation (NYSE: GHM) announced Tuesday that due to the ongoing public health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support the health and well-being of its stockholders, directors, officers and employees, the format of the Annual Meeting of Stockholders (the "Annual Meeting") of the Company has been changed.

As previously announced, the Annual Meeting will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11, Eastern Time, however the Company has made the decision that this year's Annual Meeting will now be held solely by remote communication, in a virtual-only format.

The Annual Meeting will not be held at a physical location, and stockholders will not be able to physically attend the Annual Meeting. This does not represent a change in the Company’s stockholder engagement philosophy, and the Company expects to resume in-person stockholder meetings next year. 

In order to attend the virtual Annual Meeting, stockholders of record as of the close of business on June 19, 2020 must sign-in via the internet at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/GHM2020.

To vote at the virtual Annual Meeting, stockholders will need their 16-digit control number included within their proxy card, notice of internet availability of proxy materials or voter instruction form.

Graham Corp. is a global business that designs, manufactures and sells critical equipment for the oil refining, petrochemical and defense industries.

July 17, 2020 - 3:16pm

Submitted photo and press release:

In an effort to brighten the day for local frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tompkins Bank of Castile, Tompkins Insurance Agencies and Tompkins Financial Advisors donated 3,400 Oliver’s Candy Bars to the Rochester Regional Health Staff.

The sweet treat will be handed out to all employees as a way to say "Thank You!"

Pictured from left are: Steve Beardsley, senior vice president, Commercial Banking regional manager, presents Jim Creighton and Gina Burden-Rambert of Rochester Regional Health with 3,400 candy bars to distribute to their staff.

July 17, 2020 - 1:14pm

Press release:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement announces a July 29 public teleconference of the Minority Farmers Advisory Committee (MFAC).

Participants will discuss USDA outreach, technical assistance, and capacity building for and with minority farmers; the implementation of the Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmer and Rancher Grant Program (2501 Program); and methods of maximizing the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs; and to plan mechanisms for best providing advice to the Secretary on the issues outlined above.

The meeting also introduces 15 newly appointed members of the committee.

The public conference call will be held on Wednesday, July 29 at 12:15-1:15 p.m. EDT. 

To listen to the discussion, use the call-in number: 888-251-2949 or 215-861-0694 and the participant code: 2513486#.

The Minority Farmers Advisory Committee is made up of 15 members, including representatives for: socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, nonprofit organizations, civil rights organizations or professions, and institutions of higher education.

Congress authorized the Committee in 2008, and since its inception, it has served to advise the Secretary and USDA on the implementation of the section 2501 Program of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990; methods of maximizing the participation of socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers in USDA programs; and civil rights activities within USDA.

The Committee is managed by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE). Learn more about this advisory committee at the OPPE website.

About the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement

USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement develops and maintains partnerships focused on solutions to challenges facing rural and underserved communities in the United States, and connects those communities to the education, tools, and resources available to them through U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and initiatives.

July 15, 2020 - 8:00am

Genesee Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Batavia is now offering same-day and walk-in appointments to provide faster and more accessible care for those with orthopedic injuries.

Genesee Orthopaedics began offering same-day and walk-in appointments along with extended hours prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the practice has become increasingly helpful for patients dealing with the difficulty of getting an appointment or referral because of the pandemic.

“The reason we started this was based largely on convenience,” said Dr. Nicholas Valente, an orthopaedic surgeon at Genesee Orthopaedics. “No one wants to sit and wait at the Emergency Room or Urgent Care.”

Use of same day appointments allows for people to have their injury addressed as soon as possible, whether their injury happened that day or is an ongoing issue. This speedy treatment is important with certain injuries like fractures that require immediate attention and recommendations for physical therapy are given quickly for nonsurgical injuries.

“A benefit of same day appointments is being able to see the person who will take care of you in the long term,” Dr. Valente said. “There’s more investment and more responsibility to know what’s wrong and make the patient feel comfortable.”

Genesee Orthopaedics has also taken extra precautions to ensure safety regarding COVID-19 in addition to hospital-wide regulations, including removing seating from the lobby and allowing patients to wait in their cars until their appointments.

Genesee Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine treats a variety of orthopaedic issues such as joint replacements, tendon injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and many other injuries. They are located at 33 Chandler Ave. in the City of Batavia. Phone is (585) 343-9676.

Open weekdays Monday and Tuesday 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

July 14, 2020 - 2:32pm

Press release:

"Socially distanced but strategically focused," that is how administrators at Genesee Community College are describing the Fall 2020 semester, which introduces new micro-credentials and some important curriculum changes all aimed at helping students secure or create long-term careers to sustain success in these uncertain and uncharted times ahead.

Professional Sales Micro-Credential

Careers in professional sales are evolving with new tools and strategies to reach ever-more sophisticated consumers and many new marketplaces. Professional sales careers offer the benefit of high earning potential, job security, scheduling flexibility, unlimited industry options and the joy of applying both the entrepreneurial spirit with basic business skills.

In just three business courses or nine credit hours, the Professional Sales Micro-credential at GCC provides up and coming, as well as seasoned sales professionals across industry lines with a skill set that launches or actively advances sales careers.

This program can be completed in one semester and is offered via GCC's HyFlex learning modality which provides students the ultimate convenience of learning anywhere, anytime, on any device -- including a classroom.

To discuss the Professional Sales Micro-credential opportunity, contact Lina LaMattina, Ph.D., GCC assistant professor and director of Business and Commerce, at:   [email protected], or call (585) 343-0055, ext. 6319.

Computer Repair Certificate

Since March, millions of people worldwide have relied on their computers and the internet to work from home, maintain an income, place online orders for groceries and other essentials, complete academic coursework and even engage in religious worship and socializing.

The reliance on technology has increased the demand for people who can maintain computers, laptops and other electronic devices that are now our lifeline. With that in mind, GCC refreshed the Computer Repair Certificate program, which introduces computer hardware and various software and operating system components.

Students will learn hardware installation, configuration, repair, systematic troubleshooting, internal operation, peripheral devices, operating system installation and system tools. Students will also gain invaluable experience during lab work that includes computer assembly and real-time repair projects.

Individualized Studies Associate in Applied Science

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the average individual experiences a half dozen careers in a lifetime. Everyday new businesses are being created and people are inventing entirely new careers born of innovation, creativity and the desire to satisfy and address new needs, opportunities and trends.

GCC's Individualized Studies Associate in Applied Science degree has been meticulously redesigned to encourage students of all ages to select courses and program parameters that align with individual goals and interests while meeting core learning requirements. It is a degree that supports unique dreams, aspirations and budding business plans.

"The faculty at Genesee Community College are focused on their students in a way that most people don't realize," said Kathleen M. Schiefen, Ph.D., GCC provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. "They are not just teaching students day-to-day and meticulously following their progress through a course. They are also staying abreast of industry trends, technology changes and job forecasts.

"This information becomes the foundation for curriculum and programmatic changes. Every program is carefully reviewed and scrutinized every five years with the help of several hundred industry professionals who make up GCC's broad network of academic advisory councils. GCC students receive an education based on the latest data, research and a close evaluation of best practices and future forecasts."

This scrutiny can lead to grants that may bring in new equipment or a new adjunct faculty member, or small adjustments such as eliminating a three-credit language requirement. Collectively, it means GCC students waste no time in securing the education, experience and often the connections that lead to success.

Anyone one who is currently working, but looking to add a skill set or change a career path; out of work and wanting to try something new; or just graduating from high school or a GED program and looking for the next steps toward a college degree, now is the time to apply.

The Fall 2020 semester starts Monday, Aug. 31. Most courses are available online offering maximum flexibility and the comfort and safety of learning from home.

Contact a GCC student success coach by calling (585) 345-6805 or email [email protected], or start your free application online.

July 14, 2020 - 2:05pm

Press release:

The New York State Department of Labor today announced that so far this year, nearly 2,600 businesses have joined the state’s Shared Work program, which allows companies to avoid layoffs by connecting workers with partial unemployment benefits.

In total, these companies have leveraged the program to retain or rehire nearly 45,500 New Yorkers — the majority of them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the DOL announced more than $31 billion in unemployment benefits have been paid to more than 3.1 million New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic — amounting to over 14 years’ worth of benefits paid in just over four months.

“This public health crisis has upended our lives and economy, but New Yorkers are finding ways to support each other and build back stronger than ever," said Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. "Our Shared Work program helps businesses weather tough times like this, while preventing New Yorkers from losing their jobs.

"This program is a crucial resource that is helping thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of New Yorkers navigate these difficult times — and as the economy continues to reopen, we hope more businesses take advantage of this program.”

The Shared Work program is designed to help businesses manage the impact of economic downturns, while sparing workers from losing their income and other benefits like health insurance.

Employers who are considering layoffs or furloughs can instead keep employees at work with reduced hours while allowing workers to receive partial unemployment benefits for 26 weeks to make up for lost work.

Companies that are reopening but facing reduced demand can also leverage the program to rehire their entire workforce with reduced hours.

So far this year, 2,580 employers have joined New York State’s Shared Work program, compared to just 195 last year — an increase of 1,223 percent. In total, 45,455 employees have received Shared Work benefits in 2020, up from just 2,000 between January and June 2019.

In addition to keeping New Yorkers employed and helping businesses control costs during downturns, Shared Work allows businesses to retain skilled employees — avoiding the expense of eventually recruiting, hiring, and training new workers when the economy recovers.

Employers and workers can learn more about the Shared Work program here.

The DOL also released a new fact sheet on the Extended Benefits Program in New York which became effective July 5.

Thanks to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) programs, New Yorkers receiving traditional Unemployment Insurance are now eligible for up to 59 weeks of benefits — up from 26 weeks before the pandemic.

Under federal law, those receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are now eligible for up to 46 weeks of benefits.

To be eligible for EB, claimants must first exhaust all 26 weeks of traditional unemployment insurance benefits and all 13 weeks of PEUC benefits (a total of 39 weeks of benefits) and continue to be unemployed.

Alternatively, if a claimant’s benefit year for regular unemployment insurance expired after July 1, 2019 and they received the 13 weeks of PEUC benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, they may be eligible for 20 weeks of Extended Benefits.

For updates about the PEUC and EB programs, New Yorkers should continue to check the Department of Labor website.

July 14, 2020 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in moonjava, Public Coffee Hub, news, batavia, business.


When Rob Credi got back in the coffee business -- he had previously co-owned and ran Main Street Coffee for years -- he didn't expect to be back in the come-in-and-sit-down coffee business anytime soon.

He was satisfied with his truck for Pub Coffee Hub, setting up at locations around Batavia and Western New York selling lattes, espressos, and sandwiches. 

Then Renee Smart, owner for nine years of Moonjava Cafe let him know she was ready for a change in her life and was looking to sell her business in the Harvester Center.

Credi looked at the assets, the location, the lease agreement, and decided it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

"I said, 'I would be foolish to say no to it,' " Credi said.

He will rechristen Moonjava as Pub Coffee Hub, change the color scheme inside but otherwise keep the same atmosphere -- including local art -- and hopes to open by Aug. 1.

He's surprised, he said, at how smoothly things have gone.

"At this moment, I’m apprehensive," Credit said. "It’s been too easy so far. It’s been super uncomplicated. I’m cautiously optimistic because it’s a great opportunity. Something will go wrong at some point, but I’m kind of crossing my fingers thinking maybe it will be this easy.”

Easy includes keeping on Smart's assistant Anthony Siedlecki. Siedlecki will run the Harvester Avenue location full time allowing Credi to operate the food truck full time. 

Credi said he always felt bad when he took the truck to Buffalo because loyal customers in his home base of Batavia couldn't get their Pub Coffee fix.

"That was an added benefit to know that if the truck isn’t in Batavia, people can come in and still get the same things," Credi said.

While Pub Coffee Hub's shop will serve a menu to match what's on the truck, one thing being retained from the Moonjava menu by popular demand is the soups, Credi said.

Smart said he's decided to re-enter her previous career as a cytotechnologist -- a laboratory professionals who study cells and cellular anomalies -- and was thinking about the change even before the pandemic hit.

After shutting the cafe as part of the state's coronavirus response, now seemed like a good time to make the transition. She also said the changes necessary to comply with social distancing measures dampened her excitement for the business. 

"I felt that it was time to let Moonjava go and hopefully find somebody with their own dream and ideas to open a place that would provide for the community in a new way," Smart said. "Enter Rob. It all flowed together for both of us.

"I really would like to say," she added, "that it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to be able to serve that community for nine years and although it was a difficult decision to close the business, it was very reassuring to be selling it to another creative and community-conscientious person. I am excited for Rob and can’t wait to experience his take on the local coffee hub!"

July 13, 2020 - 4:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, USDA, rural America.

Press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking steps to increase private investment in rural communities across the country by making it easier for lenders to access four flagship loan programs.

USDA is seeking public comment on a series of regulatory reforms known collectively as the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative. Under the initiative, USDA will eliminate duplicative processes and launch a single platform for four key loan programs:

USDA also will standardize requirements for credit reviews, loan processing, loan servicing and loss claims. These measures will make the application process simpler and faster for lenders. Among the reforms, USDA intends to:

  • Launch a common loan note guarantee application and consistent forms for lenders to use across the four programs;
  • Issue loan note guarantees to lenders within 48 hours after they provide documentation to prove the requirements of the conditional commitment have been met;
  • Provide guarantee percentage and fee requirements to lenders through a single annual notice at the beginning of each fiscal year;
  • Allow lenders to obtain approval for a loan guarantee prior to the beginning of construction projects. A one-time fee and other requirements may apply; and
  • Provide automatic approval to lenders in good standing who are supervised or created by state or federal regulatory agencies to participate in all four programs. This expands the base of eligible lenders for the four guaranteed loan programs. Nonregulated lenders may seek approval to participate through a single certification process that will be valid for five years.

USDA plans to conduct a series of listening sessions this summer on the proposed changes. For more information on how to register, visit: www.rd.usda.gov/onerdguarantee.

The changes will take effect on Oct. 1. Additional information is available today (July 13) in the Federal Register (PDF, 896 KB).

Interested parties may join the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative subscription list

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump.

These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

July 10, 2020 - 1:28pm

Press release:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today (July 10) announced approximately $4 million in available funding to develop partnerships to leverage USDA and local, state, and private sector resources to address challenges for limited resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers, and communities.

The program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

The Centers of Community Prosperity initiative was launched by Secretary Sonny Perdue in 2019 to increase the capacity of rural and underserved communities through extensive collaboration, tailored technical assistance, and a community’s designation as a Community of Faith and Opportunity.

“This initiative is designed to assist persistent poverty communities with limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers to strategically address community challenges,” said Mike Beatty, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “We hope to assist in fostering hope and opportunity, wealth creation, and asset building for communities across the country.”

Community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and tribal entities may compete for Community Prosperity funding on projects that provide outreach, education and training in agriculture, conservation, agribusiness, and forestry, with a focus on economic and workforce development, innovation and technology, and quality of life through food and agriculture.

The deadline for applications is Aug. 24. See the request for applications for full details.

USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement develops and maintains partnerships focused on solutions to challenges facing rural and underserved communities in the United States, connecting those communities to the education, tools and resources available to them through USDA programs and initiatives. Learn more at www.usda.gov/partnerships.

July 10, 2020 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in business, BID, Tasty Tuesdays, downtown city restaurants.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID) is rolling out a Tasty Tuesdays campaign for the Summer 2020 to support our Downtown restaurants.

Our Downtown participating restaurants are offering up exclusive Tuesday night specials that you won’t want to miss.  

The BID will promote Tasty Tuesdays each week, offering diners that choose to participate an option to upload an image to Instagram or Facebook using #tastytuesdays and tag the restaurant to be entered to win a gift certificate to one of our independent restaurants Downtown.

Tasty Tuesday Specials may be different each week and vary depending on location and hours. Make sure to check out our Facebook page for these sizzling specials and post your participation for the free giveaways!

"If we get enough momentum, we may continue this into the fall," said Beth Kemp, BID executive director.

For more information on BID and Downtown events, please visit this website.

July 9, 2020 - 2:01pm

Press release:

Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an initial list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made other adjustments to the program based on comments received from agricultural producers and organizations and review of market data.

Producers will be able to submit applications that include these commodities on Monday, July 13. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting through Aug. 28 applications for CFAP, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because of the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects additional eligible commodities to be announced in the coming weeks. 

“When we announced this program earlier this year, we asked for public input and received a good response," Secretary Perdue said. "After reviewing the comments received and analyzing our USDA Market News data, we are adding new commodities, as well as making updates to the program for existing eligible commodities.

"This is an example of government working for the people – we asked for input and we updated the program based on the comments we received.”

USDA collected comments and supporting data for consideration of additional commodities through June 22.

Changes to CFAP include:

  • Adding the following commodities: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce – including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf – marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.
  • Expanding for seven currently eligible commodities – apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro – CARES Act funding for sales losses because USDA found these commodities had a 5 percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, these commodities were only eligible for marketing adjustments.
  • Determining that peaches and rhubarb no longer qualify for payment under the CARES Act sales loss category.
  • Correcting payment rates for apples, artichokes, asparagus, blueberries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, garlic, kiwifruit, mushrooms, papaya, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, tangerines and taro.

Additional details can be found in the Federal Register in the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and Final Rule Correction and at www.farmers.gov/cfap.

Producers have several options for applying to the CFAP program:
  • Using an online portal, accessible at farmers.gov/cfap, allows producers with secure USDA login credentials—known as eAuthentication—to certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center. New commodities will be available in the system on July 13.
  • Completing the application form using our CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at farmers.gov/cfap. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center. An updated version with the new commodities will be available on the website on July 13.
  • Downloading the AD-3114 application form from farmers.gov/cfap and manually completing the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Visit farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status to check the status of your local office.

USDA Service Centers can also work with producers to complete and securely transmit digitally signed applications through two commercially available tools: Box and OneSpan. Producers who are interested in digitally signing their applications should notify their local service centers when calling to discuss the CFAP application process. You can learn more about these solutions at farmers.gov/mydocs.

Getting Help from FSA

New customers seeking one-on-one support with the CFAP application process can call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer general assistance. This is a recommended first step before a producer engages the team at the FSA county office at their local USDA Service Center.

All other eligibility forms, such as those related to adjusted gross income and payment information, can be downloaded from farmers.gov/cfap. For existing FSA customers, these documents are likely already on file. 

All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment.

Service Centers that are open for appointments will prescreen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel, and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in office, by phone and using online tools.

More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

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