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July 14, 2019 - 2:48pm

From Anne Marie Starowitz, on the passing of Ronald J. DiSalvo:

I had the pleasure of knowing this wonderful family -- the DiSalvos. I taught three of Ron's grandchildren. His death is a loss for Batavia of a wonderful store owner and an exceptional family man. Thank you for your memories Ron DiSalvo.


An excerpt from "Back In the Day, Snapshots of Local History The Way I See It":

In 1949, Charles and Dominic Cultrara started the DiSalvo Shoe Store on a second floor over 111 Main St.

Dominic was then the podiatrist and his brother Charles managed the shoe store. Ronald DiSalvo, who assisted Charles in the shop, bought out his employer’s interest and managed the shop for his partner, Dr. Cultrara.

In 1973, Mr. DiSalvo bought out Dr. Cultrara’s interest and became the sole proprietor. In 1976, DiSalvo’s shoe store relocated to the Genesee Country Mall. After many years of serving Genesee County, Batavia lost another family owned store when DiSalvo Shoe Store closed.


The picture below was given to me by Ron DiSalvo when I visited at his home in 2015.

For the full obituary of Ronald J. DiSalvo, click here.

July 12, 2019 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mama Chavez Taqueria, Le Roy, video, restaurants, business.
Video Sponsor

Mama Chavez Taqueria opens today in Le Roy. Owner Maria Chavez and her sons held a ribbon-cutting and an open house for invited guests yesterday. This is an authentic -- very authentic -- Mexican restaurant.  

Chavez has been cooking Mexican food, using recipes handed down through her family, for her children and family friends for 30 years. It's always been her dream to open a restaurant.  

The restaurant is located at 7 Mill St. and is open Tuesday through Saturday.

July 11, 2019 - 4:44pm

Press release from the GC Health Department:

The Genesee County Health Department has recently been awarded a grant to provide the hepatitis A vaccine to food-service workers at NO COST to them or the employer.

In Western New York and across the United States, foodborne outbreaks of hepatitis A have occurred as a result of infected food-service workers.

Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans counties, understands the severity of hepatitis A and the effect it can have on a business and community.

“Hepatitis A is a serious issue because most food-service workers will spread the infection before even knowing they have the disease," Bedard said. "A food-service worker can spread the virus to customers or other staff by contaminating surfaces, utensils and/or food, which can make unvaccinated individuals very sick.

"By offering the vaccine to food-service workers, we can prevent unnecessary illness from spreading in the community.”

Hepatitis A is a contagious (spreadable) liver infection that is caused by the hepatitis A Virus (HAV). It is typically spread through the feces (poop) of infected individuals.

Someone can become infected by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated by feces as well as having close personal contact with a person who is infected, or use of injection and non-injection drugs.

The symptoms of HAV may include sudden onset of fever, loss of appetite, nausea / vomiting, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). HAV usually does not have signs or symptoms until the second week of infection and is the most infectious during this time.

The good news is that hepatitis A can be prevented through vaccination!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccine has a 94- to 100-percent efficacy rate.

The hepatitis A vaccine is a two-dose series that is administered six months apart. As the vaccine is not required to attend school or daycare, many people have not received it.

Currently three local restaurants have taken advantage of this opportunity for themselves and their employees who chose to receive the vaccine. The restaurants who have participated thus far have all expressed gratitude knowing their employees can protect themselves and their customers from the hepatitis A virus.

Any food-service worker employed in Genesee County can receive the vaccine.

By receiving the vaccine, you are also protecting yourself from getting the virus if you come in contact with dishes and/or utensils that may have been contaminated by a customer or coworker.

Restaurants that participate in this opportunity will receive a certificate honoring their commitment to protecting the health and safety of their workers and customers.

Limited vaccine is available through the funding, so the supply will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, please call the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555. The department is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information on the hepatitis A virus, click (PDF) here.

July 11, 2019 - 3:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in tops market, business, Le Roy.

Press release:

LE ROY -- It’s a new day for shoppers in the Le Roy community as Tops Friendly Markets unveils over $1.6 million dollars in renovations in its hometown grocery store.

This impressive investment includes everything from new flooring, energy efficient equipment, and shopping carts, to a whole new interior décor, givingthe store a refreshed and warm appearance.

Grand Reopening at the store, located at 128 W. Main St., Le Roy, at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16.

Shoppers will find an expansion of Tops’ deli/carry out café areas with a remodeled seating area and bakery as well as finding a wide selection of natural and organic and gluten-free offerings conveniently integrated throughout the main aisles.

Throughout the store, shoppers will also see expanded refrigerated produce allowing for more variety and convenience, an increase of antibiotic-free meat and seafood selections, and a much larger selection of beers, including local favorites, in our Brew Market.

“I am so proud of the changes we have made to this store which will only enhance our customers shopping experience,” said Tom Brigham, store manager of the Le Roy Tops Friendly Markets. “You’ll find the store is designed to bring you more selection, more convenience, more organics, and more grab-and-go meals prepared fresh every day, all at a great value.”

Additionally Tops is proud to partner with more than 200 local growers. Some of these partners are family farms that have been growing for generations and many have been part of the Tops family for decades.

Fenton’s Produce, located in Batavia, brings our shoppers everything from corn, and potatoes, to summer squash and peppers.

Tops has also been proud to support product grown by New York State farmers who adhere to the New York State Grown and Certified program’s requirements, which includes verification of safe food handling practices and participation in environmental sustainability programs.

An added bonus for Le Roy shoppers is the gas station conveniently located on the property. As customers shop at Tops, they’ll earn points toward fuel savings! Ready to fill up? Just scan your Tops BonusPlus® card at the pump and watch your gas price drop! You’ll save 10 center per gallon for every 100 GasPoints you redeem at a Tops Gas Station. With so many ways to earn, it’s easy to save 30, 40, 50 cents, even a dollar a gallon!

Le Roy Tops shoppers will also save time by using Tops Grocery Delivery services. With fast, online ordering, get your favorite items and the best deals in town that you love -- delivered from our store to your door.

Customers can visit TopsMarkets.com/Instacartand enter their zip code to get started. Exclusive to Tops our customers can use the promo code "TakeOff15" when they visit TopsMarkets.com/Instacart and receive $15 off their first order of $35 or more.

July 10, 2019 - 6:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Fresenius Kidney Care, batavia, business.


Nearly two months after a grand opening, Fresenius Kidney Care, on Veterans Memorial Drive next to The Home Depot, is still waiting on final certification from the state to become fully operational. 

Until then, the clinic cannot accept additional patients, said spokeswoman Madelaine Ronquillo.

Until the CMS certification is received, the clinic is open three days a week for approved patients. Ronquillo indicated this is the normal process for opening a new clinic.

The clinic's manager and staff are at the facility during normal business hours Monday through Friday, she said.

As for a real estate listing, found by an alert reader of The Batavian, Ronquillo said Fresenius has a 12-year lease on the site and the sale is a matter of the original developer selling the investment property.

The property is being offered for $2.74 million. The 3.8-acre parcel includes two other recent developments, including an urgent care business and a vacant storefront. The listed property owner is Morgan, 4181 Veterans Drive LLC, out of Pittsford.

Photo: File photo.

July 8, 2019 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, batavia, Provident Batavia.


Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider accepting an application for incentives from Provident Batavia LLC at the board’s July 11th meeting.

The company wants to construct a 13,000-square-foot addition to an existing 25,000-square-foot office, warehouse and distribution facility leased by SCP Pools. Provident Batavia is proposing to invest approximately $1.194 million and is seeking $156,000 in mortgage, property and sales tax exemptions. The project will retain 15 jobs.

Since the company is seeking incentives of more than $100,000, the GCEDC would schedule a public hearing if the application is accepted.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at its offices on 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia at 4 p.m.on Thursday, July 11th. The meeting is open to the public.

June 30, 2019 - 2:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mr. Wine & Liquor, batavia, business.


Mr. Wine & Liquor, long located in the Top's Plaza, has moved to a bigger location just a few doors down, and on Friday, the Rathod family celebrated the grand reopening with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting. The ribbon was cut by the Rashod family mother/grandmother, Mukta Gulab Rathod.

June 24, 2019 - 4:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Bourbon & Burger Co..

Bourbon & Burger Co. would like to let everyone know that the restaurant will be closed for remodeling July 1-4.

The business will reopen and resume normal business hours on Friday, July 5.

They would like to thank all their loyal customers who have been supportive of them and helped them thrive.

June 20, 2019 - 7:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, farm labor bill, agriculture, business.

From Senator Michael Ranzenhofer:

The New York State Senate passed the “Farm Workers Bill.” State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) voted against it.

Senator Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“Today’s passage of the Farm Workers Bill is devastating to our local farms. It does not take into consideration the economic and practical realities of farming. I have heard from and met with both farmers and farm workers who have shared the crippling impact this legislation would have on them.

“This is just another example of Downstate legislators who do not understand the Upstate economy. This will impose hundreds of millions of dollars in mandates onto farms who are already struggling. Simply put, it is going to eliminate jobs and put farms out of business.

“Furthermore, I am disappointed that such a critical bill would be introduced at the last minute and not ever be considered by the Senate Agriculture Committee or reviewed by the public.”

From Senator Rob Ortt, ranking minority member of the Senate Agriculture Committee:

“Tonight’s passage of the Farmworker Labor Act is disappointing and further displays the disconnect between state Democrats and Western New Yorkers. For months, I toured farms across western New York and spoke about this legislation with hundreds of workers, employees and community residents.

Employers and employees alike pleaded that this bill would destroy small family farms. With New York State farm closure rates already triple the national average, this legislation will grow the closure rate and devastate the number one economic driver in New York.

My chief concern when Democrats took over the entirety of state government was that Upstate would be ignored. Incredibly, it has gone further than that and Upstate is now being attacked by radical New York City regressives. Their willing accomplices include Democrats from the rest of the state, the Business Council, and the State Farm Bureau, who – sadly – should have all known better.

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

"My administration has proudly fought for working men and women across the board, from raising the minimum wage to strengthening worker protections in nail salons and the home healthcare industry. We believe all workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect -- period.

"Over the weekend, I issued a reformed farm workers bill of rights, which guarantees farm workers will finally be granted basic rights to protect them from abusive and exploitive working conditions.

"With the passage of this legislation, we will help ensure every farm worker receives the overtime pay and fair working conditions they deserve. The constitutional principles of equality, fairness and due process should apply to all of us. I am proud that, with the help of my daughters' years-long advocacy on this critical issue, we got it done."

From Grow NY Farms:

For months, New York’s agriculture community worked with a purpose to meet a fundamental goal of developing farm labor legislation that would protect the combined interests of farms and farm workers. We negotiated in good faith with many majority lawmakers who were interested in hearing from those who would be directly impacted by the legislation.

Political realities meant we had to come to find a middle ground that was mutually beneficial.

We thought we had achieved that goal with a bill that while posing significant challenges for a struggling Industry, it was a vast improvement than where we started. Unfortunately, there were some flaws thrown into the legislation in the final days of this legislative session that made the bill unacceptable. Despite the passage of this flawed legislation (S.6578/A.8419), we have not given up on finding a way to fix those flaws.

These flaws include:

1.       A requirement that wages paid on the seventh consecutive day of work – are based on an overtime rate -- if a farmworker waives their right to a day of rest.

2.       The definition of family fails to recognize the role of close relatives such as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins – and would make their participation in farm activities subject to the new statute.

3.       The creation of a wage board lacks New York’s key agency expert on agricultural issues – the State Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

4.       Elections involving the ability to form a union lack the integrity of a secret ballot.

At this time, we believe it is in the interest of all parties to continue working together to address these flaws and move forward with legislation that farmers, farm workers and the labor community can mutually embrace and reflect the spirit of the dialogue and discussion that has taken place in recent months.

It is also important to note the significant role played by all the farmers, farm workers and lawmakers who worked to build consensus on this issue.

Grow NY Farms represents a coalition of more than 50 New York farms, organizations, and local businesses. To learn more, visit www.GrowNYFarms.com.

June 19, 2019 - 2:24pm

From left, Bill Hayes, Jon Bigsby, Rich Monroe and in back, Nathan Blowers, Turnbull Operations manager, all gather as Jon accepts Hayes’ offer to enter into Turnbull’s apprentice program.

Submitted photo and press release:

In the school world, June is a time for graduations, celebrations and awards ceremonies. This holds true for Jon Bigsby as June holds special meaning for him; he was offered full-time employment with Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning.

Jon is a recent graduate of the Building Trades Program at the Batavia Career and Technical (CTE) Education Center. He is set to graduate from Alexander High School on June 27.

His decision to seek employment after high school graduation was easy.

“I like working with my hands and I feel that this is a good choice for me to enter the workforce. I’m honored to be working with Turnbull,” Jon said.

Bill Hayes is the owner of Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning. In the past, Hayes has hired almost 10 students from the Batavia CTE Center’s Building Trades Program.

“I know that these students have the foundational skills necessary to enter into our training program," Haynes said. "I need skilled workers. The instructors in the Building Trades Program teach the students the importance of quality workmanship and that’s important to me."

Last summer, Jon worked for Turnbull and his work ethic was noticed.

“He listens, is disciplined, he works hard,” Hayes said.

After graduation, Jon will be enrolled in the Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning 12-month certified apprentice program.

“He’ll learn how to thread pipe to actually doing installations and service calls. He’ll be working in the shop and in the field,” Hayes said.

Rich Monroe is one of the Building Trades Instructors at the Batavia CTE Center. He echoed Hayes thoughts about Jon.

“Jon meets the standards that Turnbull expects," Monroe said. "He is a hands-on learner and he will be embraced here at Turnbull. Jon fits the mold and I know the people here at Turnbull will give him every opportunity to be the best mechanic."

About Turnbull Heating and Air Conditioning

It is a Batavia-based HVAC contractor that offers residential and commercial heating, air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration service, installations, and scheduled maintenance programs.

About the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

It is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (The Partnership). The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

June 18, 2019 - 12:14pm

Press release:

Norfolk, Va. – For the second time this year, the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad (DL) has been chosen for a prestigious freight rail industry award. On June 11, Norfolk Southern Corporation presented the DL, a Genesee Valley Transportation (GVT Rail) subsidiary, with its Short Line of the Year award.

The corporate headquarters of GVT Rail is on Mill Street in the City of Batavia.

In bestowing this honor upon the DL, Norfolk Southern identified the carrier’s operational and business development teams, respectively and collectively, for conscientious customer service and commitment to growth.

“Our partnership with the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad has resulted in significant growth across multiplecommodities and service improvements for both manifest and unit trains,” said Mike Moen, Norfolk Southern Senior Short Line development manager. “Their cooperation and efforts have contributed to amore efficient interchange and an improved service offering for our mutual customers.”

The recognition from Norfolk Southern follows the DL receiving the American Shortline & Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) Business Development Award for 2019. Presented at the organization’s annual conference, the ASLRRA award spoke to the DL’s boots-on-the-ground, "one carload at a time" growth strategy.

This strategy has created traffic volume growth of 510 percent in the 25 years since GVT Rail first came to the Lackawanna Valley.

This quarter-century of growth could not have come to pass without the partnership between the DL and the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority (PNRRA), rail trackage owner and regional authority with which the DL is the contracted operator.

"The public-private model forged in Northeastern Pennsylvania has become a model increasingly used across the United States to save rail trackage that has been abandoned and was being liquidated by privatesector railroads,” said Larry Malski, PNRRA president. “The progress continues in Northeastern Pennsylvania, as evidenced by a 29 percent increase in carloads during the first four months of 2019 on this trackage."

Through these partnerships, and through public-good relationships with entities such as the Scranton Chamber of Commerce and Pocono Mountain Economic Development Corporation, freight rail is at the throttle of the post-anthracite economic rebirth of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The GVT Rail and Delaware-Lackawanna teams wish to thank Norfolk Southern Corporation for this recognition.


Genesee Valley Transportation Co. Inc. (GVT Rail) is a privately owned shortline and regional rail corporation based out of Batavia. Founded in 1985, GVT Rail has grown from a five-mile spur in greater Buffalo to a 318-mile network of five subsidiary railroads in two states.

Over three-and-a-half decades, we’ve set an imprint as an industry-recognized leader in business development and “friendly, customized service.” Be it restoring service to an existing industry or establishing truck-train transloading services, the GVT Rail team is always on the lookout for new opportunities to contribute to the economic renaissance of the communities and regions that we serve.

June 17, 2019 - 6:22pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, business, The Hillcrest Estate, Pavilion, news.

“I find when I bring people here, I’ll get a parent who will be like, ‘what’s that?’ and we’ll go into a 20-minute conversation about the history of the house,” said Kate Wilcox-Rodwell, who owns a newly renovated mansion in Pavilion called The Hillcrest Estate.

Twenty minutes may just scratch the surface of the history of mansion, which sits on 120 acres at 1940 Craig Road.

It was built in the late 1800s in the Country Place Era, a time according to The Cultural Landscape Foundation, in which large, opulent residences were built by affluent families in pastoral settings, often serving as getaways from city life during the warmer months of the year.

The Hillcrest Estate has welcomed notable guests like President Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and Ethel Barrymore.

And for nearly four decades it has stayed in the Wilcox family, which has hosted many public and private events for friends and family.

Kate Wilcox-Rodwell (inset photo below) grew up in the home and last year she and her husband, Matthew Rodwell, moved to the property to devote themselves to extensively restoring it.

The 32-room mansion is spacious at 9,500 square feet. It features 11 bedrooms, a grand ballroom, stone fireplaces and its original wooden floors. Historic antiques are showcased with natural lighting, bookshelves, flower arrangements and vintage furniture.

The estate’s grounds are groomed and landscaped, but they still feel walk-able and casual. The secluded property has a reflecting pool, covered veranda, tiered terraces and various locations suitable for photography like the woods.  

“There’s a lot of unique character here that you can’t get in a brand-new facility,” said Wilcox-Rodwell. “You can’t get authentic character everywhere, but you can here.”

The ballroom and lawns are available for weddings, bridal parties, corporate meetings, small and large social gatherings and community events. The ballroom can accommodate 120 guests, and the outdoor reception tent can host approximately 300 guests.

“One of the things I love about this place is the flexibility and different areas to choose from [for your event]. You’re not subject to one spot for one thing,” Wilcox-Rodwell said.

In May, the estate received a grant from The Landmark Society of Western New York Preservation Grant Fund Committee. This grant funds for preliminary planning and design studies for restoration projects throughout the region. Wilcox-Rodwell put the $2,000 award toward the development of a permit set to turn a portion of the estate into an event venue.

Upgrades to the estate include new landscaping, roofing, masonry work and an ADA-accessible ramp. To use the space to its fullest potential, the owners are renovating the restrooms, foyer and bridal lounge. Future plans include remodeled bedrooms for guests and year-round housing for the owners.

The Hillcrest Estate recently joined the Chamber of Commerce in Genesee and Livingston counties to enhance its business culture and grow closer to the community.

“I have to commend both of the chambers because they have been great — resources and spreading the word about what we are trying to do — I can’t thank them enough for that,” Wilcox-Rodwell said.

“They can really connect you with other individuals who share similar values because they’ve got businesses in their respective counties that want to grow and thrive and connect with other business owners.”   

The owners plan to also support charitable causes with their event space going forward. In September, The Hillcrest Estate will host the Town of York Historical Society to celebrate the town’s bicentennial.

Wilcox-Rodwell describes a rewarding part of owning the mansion as “being able to share this property with other people. There are people who live five minutes from here that don’t know that there’s this amazing house in their backyard that has all this history that 100 years ago was a big part of their town. I’m excited to share it.”

To contact The Hillcrest Estate, phone (585) 356-7164 or visit online here.

Photos courtesy of Kate Wilcox-Rodwell.

June 17, 2019 - 12:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, darien lake, business.

Press release:

Six Flags Darien Lake is currently seeking qualified individuals to fill more than 500 positions in various departments for the 2019 season.

Six Flags Darien Lake, “The Thrill Capital of New York State,” is one of the region’s largest employers and offers competitive pay, free park admission, and tickets for family and friends.

“Six Flags Darien Lake is committed to providing a fun, fast-paced work environment for job seekers across Western New York. We offer weekly pay, exclusive team member events, and flexible scheduling,” said Park President Chris Thorpe.

“Applicants who come out for our Job-A-Thon could potentially be hired on the spot. Additionally, anyone who interviews will receive a complimentary ticket to the park.”

The Job-A-Thon begins Monday, June 17 and ends Saturday, June 22. The Human Resources building will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on those dates.

Candidates should apply online at sixflagsjobs.com to schedule their interview. Applicants must be 14 years of age.

Available positions include:

  • Admissions & Guest Relations
  • Food Services
  • Ride Operators
  • Human Resources
  • Park Services
  • Games
  • Retail
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Accommodations/Lodging
  • Lifeguards
  • Maintenance
  • Warehouse
  • Cash Control

For more information on jobs at Six Flags Darien Lake, visit sixflagsjobs.com. The park opened for full-time operation on June 14th.

Six Flags 2019 Memberships and Season Passes are now available. Members can enjoy priority park entry, preferred parking and tremendous discounts of up to 50 percent on nearly all food and merchandise purchases all season long.

Gold Plus, Platinum, Diamond and Diamond Elite levels are available featuring all the perks of a Season Pass plus other benefits including admission to all Six Flags-branded theme and waterparks, skip the line passes, unlimited soft drinks and much more!

For more information, visit the Membership Sales Center or go online tosixflags.com/darienlake and sign up.

June 14, 2019 - 4:41pm
posted by Lauren Leone in batavia, business, Golden Coin, news, Blue Coral Swimwear.

Above, Jolene Morales, who does tailoring and alterations at Golden Coin Laundry & Dry Cleaning, in addition to sewing custom bathing suits.

Threads of the Batavia community are sewn into the eye-catching swimsuits flaunted on numerous fashion show stages.

The careful hand of Jolene Morales stitches custom swimwear items for models to wear at events as large as the Buffalo Fashion Show, Fashion Week of Rochester and Miami Swim Week.

For about two years, Morales has been a tailor for Golden Coin Laundry & Dry Cleaning in Batavia and a Batavia-based company called Blue Coral Swimwear. Her love of sewing, however, began when she was 10 years old.

“I’ve been doing this so long that this is what I’ve always done," Morales said. "This is my passion. When I’m not here, then I’m sewing at home.” 

Prior to running the tailoring and alterations department at Golden Coin, Morales sewed for PetSmart in Brockport, the P.W. Minor shoe manufacturer in Batavia and a wallet retailer in Nashville, Tenn. Morales has learned how to sew professionally through her work experiences, trial and error and collaborations with designers.

Morales joined Blue Coral Swimwear during her first year at Golden Coin because Callista Gifford-DeHart, the daughter of Golden Coin owner Margaret Gifford, is the founder and designer for Blue Coral. Gifford-DeHart started the company in 2014 in Delray Beach, Fla., and launched her first line the following year. 

Once clients, models and pageant contestants order their personalized swimsuits online, Gifford-DeHart sketches a look and sends the designs to Batavia. Morales then properly sizes the material, delicately cuts the fabric and sews the pieces together. After the labor-intensive two-week process, Gifford ships the finished products to customers nationwide.

“Between doing the bathing suits for [Blue Coral], I also do the regular tailoring," Morales said. "Right now, it’s wedding and prom season, so at one time I had six wedding gowns and five prom dresses."

“When I’m working on the bathing suits, it has to be one-on-one with just them because of the type of material it is. It’s not like working with normal material. It is very slippery, and it’s very high quality.”

The precision and detail of Morales’s tailoring do not go unnoticed. The outfits have received positive feedback from women of all body shapes who express their confidence and body positivity in the swimwear. Customers report “how much they love them, and how comfortable they are,” Gifford said.

Blue Coral launched in 2015 and expects demand for its swimwear to increase, which may lead to an expansion of the sewing department at Golden Coin. Since tailoring is becoming a lost art in Genesee County, Morales thinks it’s worthwhile to educate her children and other students about sewing and alterations.

A key to Morales’s success is that Blue Coral and its customers prefer hand-stitched products to mass-produced, factory manufactured swimwear.

The need for local expertise is the reason Morales is currently tailoring outfits for the 2020 season with the latest materials and threads. She is excited for her new pieces to debut at the Washington, D.C., Swim Week Fashion Show in late July.

To find out more about Blue Coral Swimwear and to shop, click here.

Below, an example of a custom-made swimsuit fashioned by master seamstress Julie Morales by Blue Coral Swimwear.

June 13, 2019 - 1:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, Grow-NY, agriculture, business, news.

Submitted photo and press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) met with supporters at a rally in Albany Wednesday organized by the New York Farm Bureau and Grow-NY regarding the dangers of allowing farm workers to unionize.

Hawley, the former owner and operator of Hawley Farms in Batavia, is a longtime member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and has been outspoken on the damaging effects labor regulations would have on the family farming industry.

“I was proud to stand with dedicated farmers, activists and producers yesterday in Albany as we push back against labor regulations being advanced by New York City politicians,” Hawley said.

“Our family farms are already struggling under suffocating minimum-wage mandates and low commodity prices, and to regulate an industry, which thrives off the necessity to operate unique hours at different times would be devastating.”

Net farm income is down 50 percent from just a few years ago and farmers have little to no control over the prices they receive for what they produce, unlike most manufacturers who can set their own prices.

According to a 2019 report from Farm Credit East, mandatory overtime would increase labor costs on farms by almost $300 million and decrease net farm income by almost 25 percent.

“We know what works best for our family farms and that is the ability to regulate their own labor to produce the best results. I will continue to stand in the way of harmful farm mandates as session nears its end next week,” Hawley concluded.

Photo: ​Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) meets with Maureen Torrey and Shelley Stein, on left, from Grow-NY at Wednesday’s New York Farm Bureau Rally in Albany.

June 13, 2019 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, dairy farmers, agriculture, milk producers.

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 13 — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announces that signup begins June 17 for the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, the cornerstone program of the dairy safety net that helps dairy producers manage the volatility of milk and feed prices, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

The 2018 Farm Bill allowed USDA to construct the new DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). This new program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“In February I committed to opening signup of the new Dairy Margin Coverage program by June 17, I am proud to say that our FSA staff worked hard to meet that challenge as one of the Department’s top Farm Bill implementation priorities since President Trump signed it last December.” said Secretary Perdue. “With an environment of low milk prices, high economic stress, and a new safety net program with higher coverage levels and lower premiums, it is the right time for dairy producers to seriously consider enrolling when signup opens. For many smaller dairies, the choice is probably a no-brainer as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.”

The program provides coverage retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019, with applicable payments following soon after enrollment. At the time of signup, dairy producers can choose between the $4 to $9.50 coverage levels.

The Farm Bill also allows producers who participated in MPP-Dairy from 2014-2017 to receive a repayment or credit for part of the premiums paid into the program. FSA has been providing premium reimbursements to producers since last month and those that elect the 75 percent credit option will now have that credit applied toward 2019 DMC premiums.

The Department has built in a 50 percent blend of premium and supreme alfalfa hay prices with the alfalfa hay price used under the prior dairy program to provide a total feed cost that more closely aligns with hay rations used by many producers. At a milk margin minus feed cost of $9.50 or less, payments are possible. With the 50 percent hay blend, FSA’s revised April 2019 income over feed cost margin is $8.82 per hundredweight (cwt). The revised margins for January, February and March are, respectively, $7.71, $7.91 and $8.66 – triggering DMC payments for each month.

DMC payments will be reduced by 6.2 percent in 2019 because of a sequester order required by Congress and issued in accordance with the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

DMC offers catastrophic coverage at no cost to the producer, other than an annual $100 administrative fee. Producers can opt for greater coverage levels for a premium in addition to the administrative fee. Operations owned by limited resource, beginning, socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers may be eligible for a waiver on administrative fees. Producers have the choice to lock in coverage levels until 2023 and receive a 25-percent discount on their DMC premiums.

To assist producers in making coverage elections, USDA partnered with the University of Wisconsin to develop a DMC decision support tool, which can be used to evaluate various scenarios using different coverage levels through DMC.

More Information

All dairy operations in the United States are eligible for the DMC program. An operation can be run either by a single producer or multiple producers who commercially produce and market cows’ milk.

Eligible dairy operations must have a production history determined by FSA. For most operations, production history is based on the highest milk production in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Newer dairy operations have other options for determining production history. Producers may contact their local FSA office to get their verified production history.

Dairy producers also are reminded that 2018 Farm Bill provisions allow for dairy operation to participate in both FSA’s DMC program and the Risk Management Agency’s Livestock Gross Margin (LGM-Dairy) program. There are also no restrictions from participating in DMC in conjunction with any other RMA insurance products.

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. FSA is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.

For more information, visit farmers.gov DMC webpage or contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

June 12, 2019 - 12:22pm

Press release:

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced its investment in the continued growth of Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. located in Batavia, Genesee County.

As part of the industrial plating company’s modernization project, it has installed a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment and recycling system at its Apollo Drive location.

The updated system will reduce water usage by as much at 80 percent. The facility upgrade will allow the company to add another shift, resulting in the creation of up to 10 new jobs; 100 jobs will be retained, 30 of which had been at risk.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Tompkins Metal Finishing’s decision to continue its expansion in Genesee County reflects the success of our strategic support for growing and revitalizing the Upstate economy, especially by adding jobs and opportunity.”

To help ensure Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. continued success, ESD is providing the company with up to $150,000 through the Excelsior Jobs Program in exchange for job creation commitments. Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. is investing $900,000 in the facility upgrade which they expect to be completed by the end of this year.

Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. President Allen Tompkins said, “Without this tax credit it would have been much more difficult to invest the $900,000 in our state-of-the-art wastewater treatment and water recycling system. This new system and the investment from ESD will allow us to continue our growth in Genesee County and will allow us to recycle our water for years to come.”

Established in 1955, Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. is operating in a new state-of-the-art 65,000-square-foot facility. In addition to offering its customers high-quality products, Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. owns a fleet of trucks, allowing them to deliver those products efficiently to customers throughout Western New York. They service clients in the aerospace, communications, transportation, electronics, optical, medical, machine, defense and protype fields.

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said, “It is always great to see new jobs being created. The investments that the State is making in our community to grow new manufacturing jobs is crucial. I am appreciative of the commitment that Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. is making to Genesee County.”

State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, "Tompkins Metal Finishing has been a hallmark business in our community for many years and I am pleased to witness their further expansion that includes renewed efforts toward improving environmental stewardship.

"The Finger Lakes Region is on the rise, and I commend any company or organization, which creates jobs and contributes to our overall success as Tompkins Metal Finishing has done for many years. I look forward to touring their new state-of-the-art wastewater system and wish them the best of success moving forward.”

City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said, “It’s exciting to see a long-established company like Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc. continue to grow and invest in Batavia. Not only are they creating new jobs they’re also protecting our fragile environment in the process. I commend Tompkins Metal Finishing for their forward thinking and continued commitment to the community!”

Steven G. Hyde, GCEDC President & CEO, said, “The investment being made by Tompkins Metal Finishing demonstrates their commitment to building high-quality industrial plating products, and high-quality careers in Genesee County. This investment reinforces that Governor Cuomo’s strategy and plan to grow manufacturing jobs and capital investments to the Finger Lakes region is working. We want to thank Tompkins Metal Finishing for their continued investment in our community.”

For more information about Tompkins Metal Finishing Inc., click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.1 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing.

Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

June 7, 2019 - 5:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, batavia, Le Roy, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for a 6,000-square-foot warehouse project at 52 Cedar St. in the City of Batavia at its June 6 board meeting.  

Cedar Street Sales & Rentals (Mucher & Clark LLC) will receive approximately $37,000 sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions to support the $165,000 project.

The project will generate revenues of about 28,000 into the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2) fund over 10 years. The project supports 10 existing jobs and 1.5 new positions.

The GCEDC board also approved the acceptance of an application from W&M Humphrey Associates LP for a $3.1 million expansion for facilities on Munson Street in the village of Le Roy, which are leased to the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP).

W&M Humphrey Associates is seeking incentives of approximately $465,000 in property, sales and mortgage tax exemptions.

The 11,000-square-foot project includes the addition of flexible conference rooms, training areas, offices and support spaces, and is estimated to add 2.5 full-time equivalent positions to the 525 supported by GVEP.

“The BP2 program is an important collaboration between various entities, including the City of Batavia, Batavia City Schools, and Genesee County to enhance economic development opportunities in Batavia,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia.

June 4, 2019 - 12:26pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for a project in the City of Batavia and accepting an application for incentives for a project in Le Roy at the board’s Thursday, June 6th, meeting.

Cedar Street Sales & Rentals (Mucher & Clark LLC) is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions to support a $165,000 project that would include the construction of a 6,000-square-foot warehouse at 52 Cedar St. Mucher & Clark LLC is seeking incentives totaling approximately $37,000.

The project supports 10 jobs and is located adjacent to a highly distressed census tract in the City of Batavia and is estimated to generate revenues of approximately $28,000 into the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (B2P) fund over 10 years.

W&M Humphrey Associates LP is submitting an application for incentives for sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions to support a $3.1 million project in Le Roy that would expand the Munson Street facilities leased to the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP). The expansion supports 525 full-time jobs.

W&M Humphrey Associates is seeking a $285,517 property tax exemption, a $149,610 sales tax exemption, and a $30,000 mortgage tax exemption. Since incentives total over $100,000, the GCEDC will schedule a public hearing if the board accepts the application.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at its offices on 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 6th. The meeting is open to the public.

May 31, 2019 - 12:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in zoladz construction, Darien, business.

One of the area's largest construction firms, owned by Darien Center resident John Zoladz, lost a $435,692 contract for a project in Hamburg this week, after being the low bidder, and is blaming what the company describes as a pro-union front group for the change of direction.

Meanwhile, an organization calling itself The New York Foundation for Fair Contracting sent out a press release celebrating the decision by unnamed Erie County leaders, who squashed the Zoladz contract under the state's "Lowest Responsible Bidder" law.

The law allows government agencies to reject low bids from contractors not deemed qualified. Generally, that means the company placing the lowest bid has the capability to fully and reliably perform the contract requirements.

NYFFC's press release suggests Zoladz is not qualified because of two work-related deaths in the past couple of years and was accused of falsely claiming it was a small business owned by a service-disabled veteran.

The NYFFC press release says that Zoladz paid a $3 million fine, which is not entirely accurate. The company was required to pay a portion of that fine and there as no finding of liability.

While NYFFC portrays itself as a "watchdog" group, Zoladz, which is a non-union shop, alleges that the trustees of the nonprofit have strong ties to International Union of Operating Engineers Local 17.

"The entities share the same address and likely share services," Zoladz said in its press release. "The trustees also appear to include at least one apparent operator of a company that directly competes with Zoladz.

"Finally, the 'Foundation' appears to be funded, at least in part, by union-employer contributions from collective-bargaining agreements. It is clear that, even without the 'Foundation’s' previous history with Zoladz as explained below, it is a motivated competitor of open-shop Zoladz."

It is true that Zoladz was fined by the OSHA over work-related deaths of employees. In August of 2016, Aaron L. Wellman died when a piece of construction equipment rolled off a trailer on Route 20 in Darien Center. The fine in that case was $8,000. On April 5, 2018, an employee was caught in a conveyor belt and suffocated. Zoladz was fined $43,000.

"To the NYFFC’s understanding, this is the first instance of Erie County using its lawful responsible bidder authority," the NYFFC said in its statement. "This enforcement ensures responsible contractors who abide by the law and deliver a high-quality product have a fair shot at public works contracts."

In the Hamburg project, Zoladz bid on just a portion of the $3 million job. The company blames competitors for lobbying against the company receiving the contract.

From the press release:

"Zoladz Construction disagrees strongly with the county’s sudden reversal, coming as it does in the wake of governmental pressure from competitors," said Jennifer K. Harvey, attorney for Zoladz.

"While we certainly agree with DPW that the settlement at issue in this matter does not result in a negative finding, we vigorously dispute the legal and factual reasons DPW cited as a basis for finding Zoladz’ bid incomplete and subject to rejection.

"We are requesting a hearing to exhaust our administrative remedies, and we remain confident and hopeful that Zoladz will be able to start work soon on this long-promised project that’s so critical to the safety and peace of mind of county taxpayers driving in Hamburg."

The press release states the NYFFC issued a letter May objecting to the award of the contract and said the group has mounted a similar "attack" in Niagara County but that the County Legislature there investigated and found the complaints without merit before awarding the company a $1.8 million contract for work on the county landfill.

Zoladz, based in Alden, employes 175 people and was founded by cousins John Zoladz and Tom Dougherty in 1985, when they had only a tractor and a backhoe. Now they have offices in Charlotte, N.C., Avon, and Lackawanna.

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