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November 21, 2008 - 12:27pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, business, sports, town board, youth football.

Some area auto dealers feel pretty strongly about the inevitability and justness of a Washington bailout of the nation's auto industry, according to the Daily News. John Pazamickas, sales manager for Orleans Ford-Mercury had this to say to Virginia Kropf:

"We believe the auto industry is the most important single manufacturing industry in the country, and for the government not to take seriously the livelihood of millions who derive income from that industry is shameful."

Shameful! That's emphatic. What do you think? Is Pazamickas in the right? He says that "for every job the auto industry creates, eight other jobs are affected." Is the auto industry so entwined with the fabric of the national economy that a bailout is "inevitable"?

In other news, the family whose apartment burned earlier this month—in the same fire that destroyed the post office in Pavilion—have found a new home. For now at least, they will be renting out a home on St. Mary's Street.

Youth sports are in the news again. This time, the Batavia Town Board got the pitch: a proposal to rent "15 acres of land at Batavia Turf Farms to give area youths and adult sports leagues a place to play." Folks who are interested are already entertaining visios of sports tournaments and a boost to tourism "by attracting teams and spectators from outside the local area."

The Batavia Town Board approved the $5.9 million budget for next year. That means the property tax rate in the town will remain at zero.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

November 20, 2008 - 5:14pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, Pontillo's.

There's still no word yet on when Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia will reopen its dining room, and no one has yet come forward with information regarding the lawsuit between the brothers. But some good news has graced the sign in the parking lot out front of the Main Street restaurant:

Also, a truck has been spotted out back of the restaurant on several occasions over the past week. Renovations?

November 20, 2008 - 2:58pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, business, downtown, Holidays, Christmas in the City, Christmas.

Please click here to download the complete schedule of events for this season's Christmas in the City celebration in downtown Batavia. Choristers, bands and other musicians will be touring downtown shops throughout the evening. Find out who will be where and when. Don't forget: the Batavia Concert Band and In Jest will be taking the stage in the Batavia City Centre.

November 15, 2008 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

A Canadian restaurant chain is planning to expand into Western New York, and Batavia is part of the firm's plans, according to the Buffalo News.

Mississauga-based Coffee Culture Cafe & Eatery Is beginning its expansion in Buffalo. The article offers no specifics on the company's plans for Batavia, such as location or timing.

Coffee Culture President Peter Karamountzos said his company has been eyeing a U. S. launch for about 18 months and picked New York over Michigan and Illinois for a cross-border expansion.

“We’d like to open 10 to 12 location in and around Buffalo,” Karamountzos said. “We like to be in village settings or downtowns, where there’s strong neighborhood foot traffic. We also like being on corners where we can have a physical presence.”


The European-style eateries offer a range of fresh-baked goods, panini sandwiches, breakfast and lunch/dinner crepes and coffees. Coffee Culture eschews drive-up windows in favor of more personal walk-in and sit-down service.

“Our theme is ‘Come for a taste, Stay for a visit,’” Karamountzos said. “We know people are in a hurry, but that doesn’t mean they have to settle for a sterile fast-food experience.”

November 13, 2008 - 10:44am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, business, downtown, St Nick's, social club.

We here at The Batavian heard from multiple sources over the past few days that the St Nicholas Social Club of Batavia had been closed down. We spoke this morning with Tim Walsh, a member who was on site at the Swan Street social club. Walsh is the current club manager.

When asked if the club was closed, Walsh replied: "No, not at all."

"It's mostly been rumors from disgruntled employees who were let go," said Walsh of all the talk that the club was shut down. The family that had been in charge of the place for the past ten to twenty years or so had been let go, he said. It's likely that they were responsible for spreading the rumors. Walsh figured it was a board decision to let them go. "It was time for a change."

St Nick's, as it's more commonly known, has been around since at least the 1950s, said Walsh. It's a membership-only Italian social club, in his description.

"We have 1,100 members," said Walsh. "We're trying to get most of them to come in and patronize the place. It's tough times right now."

"Friday nights we knock 'em dead here," he added. "We're open for lunch Monday through Friday, and for dinner on Wednesday or Friday. Lunch and dinner is not restricted to members. Friday nights are our busiest night each week."

Only members and their friends, however, can drink alcohol at the club because of state regulations. St Nick's also has a karaoke night once a month and hosts "a lot of benefits," he said.

"This is the best club in town," said Walsh. "Just about everyone in town knows we're here."

November 13, 2008 - 10:28am

Libertarian blogger/columnist Megan McArdle has deep roots in Western New York.

I love western New York, which may be the most beautiful place on earth.  I love the old cities, the Victorian shells that whisper of much happier days, and the broad, rolling hills, and the broad flat accents of the people who live on them.  I love waterfalls softly falling downtown and the Buffalo City Hall.  I love the place as you can only love somewhere that your family has been living for 200 years.  I would save it if I could.

But I can't save it.  Pouring government money in has been tried . . . and tried, and tried, and tried.  It props up the local construction business, or some company, for a few more years, and then slowly drains away.  Western New York has been the lucky recipient of largesse from a generous federal government, a flush state government, and not a few self-made men with happy memories of a childhood there.  And still, it dies.

Megan's post is arguing against using taxpayer money to stave off the failure of the Big-3 automakers in Detroit.

It's sounds like, though, she is against any number of government programs to help businesses start and grow, and there's a libertarian case to be made that government props get people overly dependant on handouts, killing entrepreneurial spirit

But what I really thought about as I read her piece was how the businesses that once employed so many people in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, as well as Batavia and LeRoy, didn't get their starts because Congress allocated a wad of cash to finance factories and office complexes.

These businesses got up and running because of the energy and vision of entrepreneurs -- often men, and some women, with little means, just an idea and the determination to see it become something worthwhile. They didn't look around Western New York and see obstacles or excuses. They saw opportunity.

WNY is a great place to raise a family and run a business. What's going to save it isn't government programs, but a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Batavia is doubly blessed because it already has a model for building new businesses with a track record of success -- the Harvester Center -- Joe Mancuso's sacred structure of entrepreneurship. To this day, as we reported yesterday, the Mancuso Business Development Group is already leading the way in helping new businesses get started.

I've toured the Harvest Center -- there is plenty of space available for any enterprising individual who wants to start a new business.

Also, Alice Kryzan may have lost the Congressional race, but her push for developing green industries in Western New York shouldn't be forgotten. In fact, we should encourage Alice to carry on with the effort.  She doesn't need to be an elected official to be an effective leader in bringing together business owners and bankers to help create new jobs. In fact, it would probably be preferable to promote the effort without, or very little, government assistance.

When I look at things like the Harvester Center, or parts for wind turbines being hauled down Main Street, or local farmers experimenting with alternative energy sources, or an increase in shipping on the Erie Canal -- when I see and read these things, it gives me hope for the future of Western New York.

There's no reason not to expect WNY's best days are ahead.

Notes: Though I occasionally read Megan's blog, hat tip to Buffalo Pundit for pointing out the post; Also, Megan uses a photo of the Kodak Building from Flickr credited to SailorBill.  Ironically, SailorBill is my boss. The picture at the top of this post is one I took myself two years ago.

November 12, 2008 - 1:00pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, business, downtown, finance, Le Roy, Pontillo's.

Last week, The Batavian reported that Pontillo's Pizzeria owed in excess of $112,000 in state taxes. That report came on the heels of an article in the Daily News in which Sam Pontillo claimed that he closed the restaurant in order to make renovations and officially purchase the property. A second article appeared in the Daily a couple days after our post that further confounded an already ambiguous story. Since then, more information has become available that may help us to ask some better questions in the hopes of getting some better answers.

On October 31, a civil suit was filed in Genesee County in which all three Pontillo brothers were named. That suit was brought by Buffalo attorneys Amigone, Sanchez, Mattrey & Marshall LLP on behalf of the plaintiff: John Pontillo. Listed as defendants in that case are: Sam, Paul and Salvatore Pontillo. No other details of the case were available at the Office of the Genesee County Clerk, and we have so far been unable to contact any of the brothers. We had left messages for Sam Pontillo last week that were never returned.

A week later, on November 7, a mechanic's lien was filed with the county by Roy H. Turnbull Inc. againt the estate of Elizabeth Pontillo and Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc. in the amount of $1,181.29. No specifics were listed in the record.

Those are the most recent facts. A search earlier today revealed no new filings with the county. Let us now take a moment to review the news as it was reported in the Daily. We feel that there are some contradictions and ambiguities that may help to shed some light on the situation.

From the first article, which appeared on November 4:

(Sam) Pontillo was advised that it would be better to just close the shop down and then re-open under new ownership. He regrets that he had to cancel a pre-election night party ... But he had no choice, Pontillo said. He was told that renovations were to happen now.

Firstly, who "advised" Sam Pontillo to close and "told" him that renovations had to "happen now"? In the same article, Beck writes that: "Sam has been on site running the Batavia and Le Roy operations the last several years." So if he's running the place, who is telling him to close it? Secondly, what are these renovations that they cannot be postponed even a single day so that the restaurant could cater a local party?

What's most confusing, however, is that in this first article, Sam Pontillo claims responsibility for both operations, in Le Roy and in Batavia. He would have to be running the place in order to make the decision to close it down, right? But in the article that appeared in the Daily on November 7—after The Batavian broke the news that the Batavia restaurant owed some $112,000 in unpaid taxes to the state—Sam Pontillo is quoted as saying: "I was locked out of the whole operation. John and Paul worked there (in Batavia). John was operations manager." Doesn't that contradict the claim in the previous article that Sam has been running the place for "years"?

Joanne Beck writes:

It was only after (Sam Pontillo) started the paperwork to buy the city property that Sam Pontillo became fully aware of the tax situation, he said. He doesn't dispute that tax warrants have been filed by the state Finance Department and Genesee County Clerk's office against the family business, which includes Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria, Inc. and Sam's Tomato Pies, Inc.

But he doesn't claim them as his, either. The business is still owned by his mother and was not run by Sam, he said.

What!? Does Sam Pontillo run the business or not? What does it mean to be "fully aware"? Could he have been "partially" aware? What would that have signified? How can Sam not claim the tax warrants filed against Sam's Tomato Pies?

It is also reported in the most recent Daily News article that: "Genesee County records did not show any outstanding tax warrants on the Le Roy Pontillo's." That's true. As Sam Pontillo himself says of the Le Roy location: "I don't owe one cent for this place."

But Pontillo's Le Roy Pizzeria Inc. has been named in a civil suit filed by the Workers' Compensation Board of the State of New York that was filed on October 20. The Board also filed a money judgement in the amount of $1,250 against the Le Roy operation. As for any outstanding tax warrants, there are none. Pontillo's Le Roy Pizzeria Inc. was, however, served with a tax warrant by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in the amount of $700.63 in November, 2007. That was paid.

All in all, there are more questions than answers at this point, and I have yet to see a single car parked at the Batavia Pontillo's, which is supposed to be undergoing renovations right now. I guess we ought to take Sam Pontillo at his word when he says: "The remodeling won't be an obvious change that patrons will notice."

November 12, 2008 - 8:40am
posted by Philip Anselmo in business, finance, economy, jobs, Holidays.

A pair of articles in the Buffalo News this morning has bleak and bleaker pronouncements to make on the upstate economy as we head into the holiday season. While economists have yet to declare the big 'R' word at the national level, researchers at one local university have no trouble making such a statement about our own home turf. From one article: "University at Buffalo researchers are declaring a recession in New York."

Not only have we taken off with a head start, but it looks like we'll be huffing and puffing out on the track field of troubled economies even after the nation has made its laps and gone:

“Given that the current decline has been precipitated by the implosion of the real estate bubble that created a serious financial crisis for major Wall Street investment banks and insurance companies, New York state’s economy is again likely to be hit harder than the national economy,” said Isaac Ehrlich, a UB economist. Wall Street accounts for about 20 percent of the state’s tax revenues.

In another article, picked up from the Associated Press, holiday job seekers are found to be too many for too few open slots.

The odds of landing a part-time job at department store operator Bealls Outlet Stores this holiday season are slimmer than getting into Harvard University: It’s one out of every 45.

It's much the same across the nation. In California, one 7-Eleven received more than 100 applicants in a week for a position that pays $8.50 per hour.

The national trends are being borne out locally as department store, convenience chain and call center managers who only a year ago had to scramble to fill holiday jobs are seeing a surge in the number of seasoned applicants — many of them laid off in other sectors and desperate for a way to pay the bills.

That was the case with Tracey Gibbs, a Buffalo resident who landed seasonal work at keepsake store Things Remembered in the Boulevard Mall. She said last month that she accepted a seasonal job because full-time positions were scarce.

What have you seen here locally? A few weeks back, the Daily News published a handful of stories on the economy that all sounded the note of cautious optimism. Since then, it seems things have only gotten worse. We've heard about troubles with several downtown businesses, and whether that's linked to the general economic downturn or not, it doesn't bode well. Are you a local retailer? Have you seen more applicants than usual looking for a part-time holiday gig? Have you cut back your positions?

November 10, 2008 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, nation and world.

Did you know it's cheaper, cleaner and more efficient to ship goods on the Erie Canal rather than by truck?

There were 42 commercial shipments on the canal this year, compared to 15 last year.

The canal still remains the most fuel-efficient way to ship goods between the East Coast and the upper Midwest. One gallon of diesel pulls one ton of cargo 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by train and 514 miles by canal barge, Ms. Mantello said. A single barge can carry 3,000 tons, enough to replace 100 trucks.

As the price of diesel climbed over $4 a gallon this summer — the national average is now about $3.31 a gallon — more shippers rediscovered the Erie Canal.

November 7, 2008 - 8:45am
posted by Philip Anselmo in wbta, business, Oakfield, economy, Fisher-Price, East Aurora.

Fire hydrants in the village of Oakfield will be flushed starting Monday and ending on Friday of next week, according to WBTA's Wayne Fuller.

Seventy workers at the Fisher-Price facility in East Aurora may soon be out of a job. The company, run by Mattel, plans to cut 1,000 jobs across the nation due to "the economic slowdown." About 900 people are employed at the facility in East Aurora.

November 6, 2008 - 11:07am
posted by Philip Anselmo in Announcements, business, GCC, environment, Tops, green energy.

From Genesee Community College:

The latest program organized by Genesee Community College's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) to benefit the general community is a one-day plastic bag collection effort at the Batavia Campus on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM in the cafeteria. All members of the College and local community are encouraged to participate, and those participants who bring in "bags of bags" (35 bags or more) will receive a free Tops Market reusable shopping tote.

"Every year millions of plastic bags are dumped in landfills and thousands more litter our streets, steams and waterways. Plastic bags destroy our marine life and our environment," Jennifer Bryant, student president of Phi Theta Kappa said. "Our goal with this plastic bag collection and recycling initiative is to promote a healthy alternative."

Tops Markets is not only donating 100 reusable shopping totes to the recycling effort, but they are also accepting the multitude of bags from PTK's one-day collection and will ensure that they are properly processed and recycled into other items.

Another green opportunity sponsored by PTK includes signing up for the "End Junk Mail" project wherein PTK members will fill-out and mail in the special postcard in the ‘opt out' of junk mail database. Participants in this initiative help eliminate the volumes of unwanted junk mail most Americans receive daily. In addition, PTK will be selling the special Chico reusable totes which are made from 100% natural products. Proceeds from the $5 Chico totes support the Hites Foundation scholarship fund for PTK members who are transferring to 4-year colleges.

Established in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society serves to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership, and service programming.

For more information about PTK, contact Dr. Alicea-Maldonado, faculty advisor for Phi Theta Kappa at 585-343-0055 x6391 or email: [email protected].

November 6, 2008 - 8:45am
posted by Philip Anselmo in business, finance, graham corp.

Batavia-based manufacturer Graham Corp. has seen its sales slow in the second quarter after so many months of strong growth.

From the Buffalo News:

The troubles in the financial market and the plunge in energy prices are taking a toll on Graham Corp.’s sales and orders, but company executives said Tuesday they don’t think the slowdown will last long.

Investors, however, had a more bearish view, focusing on the company’s slowing sales growth and flat profits during the second quarter and causing Graham’s stock to plunge by 27 percent, or $5.70, to $15.25.

Graham Corp. is no more immune to the current credit crisis than anyone else, it would seem.

Because of the upheaval in the energy and credit markets, which have made it difficult for independent refinery operators to borrow the money needed for expansion or upgrade projects, Graham’s new order bookings fell by 15 percent in the summer quarter. Lines said he also expects orders to be “light” during the final three months of the year.

Still, (Graham's President R.) Lines said Graham’s customers continue to work on new projects and noted that the company still has ample opportunities to bid on future work.

Don't expect any economic slowdown to slow down the company's own verve. Lines is already talking aquisitions.

With nearly $43 million in cash on its books and virtually no debt, Lines said he sees the ongoing economic upheaval as creating an opportunity for Graham to use its solid financial position to make acquisitions, although asking prices remain high.

Graham is interested in deals that would be less than $100 million in size and broaden the company’s line of custom- engineered products for the energy industry, ranging from refinery projects to the renewable energy field. The company also is interested in deals that would expand the company’s geographic footprint, he said.

November 5, 2008 - 4:22pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, restaurants, business, finance, Pontillo's.

Monday morning, Pontillo's restaurant in Batavia closed up shop temporarily for renovations. "It's all good," owner Sam Pontillo told Daily News reporter Joanne Beck. In that article, which appeared in the Tuesday edition of the Daily, Beck wrote that Pontillo "expects to re-open ... within a couple of weeks."

One has to wonder if that's really the case. Owing to an anonymous tip, The Batavian has learned that "Pontillo's Pizzeria" in Batavia owes more than $112,000 in unpaid taxes to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. In an attempt to collect those funds, the state department has issued six tax warrants to "Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc." totalling $58,379. Another roughly $53,000 in unpaid taxes were the subject of warrants issued to other "trade" names of Pontillo's.

Finance Department Spokesperson Susan Burns:

"Generally, the tax department tries to work with the taxpayer and work on some sort of negotiated settlement in order to satisfy those warrants. Generally we like to see everything come to a positive outcome, and that's generally what happens in these situations. Sometimes, is there a time when a business is seized? Yes, that happens also."

No seizure of property has yet been made by the state, however, Burns said. Pontillo's is not faced with any deadline when the taxes must be paid. Burns stressed that the department does its best to negotiate a settlement before it comes to legal seizures.

In a records search at the Office of the Genesee County Clerk, The Batavian turned up six tax warrants issued to Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc. Two of those were for withholding tax, three for sales tax and one for corporate tax, explained Burns. They were issued between March 28 and October 17, of this year. All are still outstanding.

In addition to these, we discovered another tax warrant issued to "Sam's Tomato Pies Inc." and "Pontillo's Pizza" in the amount of $36,117.80. Another warrant in the amount of $17,585.03 was issued to "Pontillo's Pizzeria." Burns explained that "Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc." has been trading under the name "Sam's Tomato Pies Inc." for about a year or so now. Pontillo's Pizzeria is the sort of general rubric that comprises the Batavia Pizzeria Inc. and Sam's Tomato Pies. That entity is responsible for all of the owed taxes listed under all three "trade" names, which amounts to more than $112,000.

A warrant was also issued to Pontillo's Batavia Pizzeria Inc. by the New York State Department of Labor in the amount of $1,640.92. The Workers' Compensation Board of the State of New York has also filed a judgment in the amount of $1,250, in addition to a civil suit filed with the state's Supreme Court.

Whether this is related to the recent closure of Pontillo's, we cannot say. The Batavian tried to contact Sam Pontillo earlier today. We left a message at the Pontillo's restaurant in Le Roy at 3:30pm. We also tried a telephone number listed for John Pontillo in the Batavia phone book, but that was disconnected.

November 4, 2008 - 1:32pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, business, Pontillo's.

Pontillo's closed Monday morning and will remain that way for a couple of weeks or more, according to the Daily News. The restaurant will undergo renovations in that time.

In other news, the city school district—along with others all over the state—have been warned "to brace themselves about future state aid," according to Pat Burk, Batavia's Board of Education president. More info should become available in a couple weeks.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 13, 2008 - 12:49pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, business, economy.

It's all about the economy today in the Daily News. Hardworking reporter Joanne Beck logged no less than three front page stories today, all with a local look at how the current economic crisis is hitting home for folks in Batavia.

In one article, Beck chats with some downtown business owners about how they're faring "despite the recent stock market collapse." Chris Ariyaratnam, owner of the Main Street beauty salon Mane Attraction, told Beck that shoppers aren't "going to cut back."

"They're starting their Christmas shopping now," [said Ariyaratnam]. "I think they'll spend the same, but I think it will take longer. I think it's going to be OK."

Beck found much of the same mood among other downtown retailers and restaurateurs. Maybe they're not stocking as much, but their expectations of a good season are high.

In another article, "consumers" are given their turn to be optimistic despite the ongoing financial crises. Sherrity DiSanto told Beck:

"Short-term, I'm worried. But long-term, I think it will be picking itself back up. With gas prices going down and some sales, people's desire to shop will come back."

The optimism keeps on rolling in Beck's third article on the economy, in which she gets the advice of Dave Chua, a financial adviser with the Legend Group, "a retirement planning and investment company." Chua urges people to "remain still with where you are" and know that "it won't last forever." In particular, people looking for some extra cash shouldn't just dip into their retirement account. They should "explore other options."

Meanwhile, a wire story picked up from the Associated Press reads: "Debt clock out of digits." Apparently, it couldn't fit the "1" to indicate the nearly $10.2 trillion in national debt. Good news, though. We'll get a new clock in 2009 that "will be able to track debt up to a quadrillion dollars, which is a "1" followed by 15 zeros."

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 13, 2008 - 9:34am
posted by Philip Anselmo in business, graham corp, Forbes.

Recognitions keep on coming for Batavia's Graham Corp. The vacuum and heat transfer manufacturer has climbed 100 spots on the Forbes list of the 200 Best Small Companies and cracked the top ten, landing at No. 10 and boasting a 41 percent return on equity for the past 12 months. Forbes had this to say of the company:

Graham Corp., in Batavia, N.Y., makes pumps, condensers, vacuum and heat transfer equipment for heavy industry, especially oil refineries. Revenue increased 31% last year and the backlog 40%. The domestic, Canadian and Middle East markets are booming. The 72-year-old company has branched into Suzhou, China.

Graham got a nod from Business Week earlier this year, making the list of the fastest growing small companies.

We've got a call into Graham to get some comment from the company on the recognition. We'll be sure to pass that along as it comes to us.

October 5, 2008 - 7:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, graham corp.

Batavia-based Graham Corp. hasn't been immune to the recent tumble in stock prices.

The company, which traded at a 52-week high of $109.82 in mid-August, closed Friday at $40.18, only 18 cents above it's 52-week low of $40, achieved in early January.

The stock lost 32 percent of its value in the past week, falling $18.68 per share.

On August 31, the Democrat and Chronicle ran a story noting that Graham was the region's best performing stock for the previous 12 months.

You can read company press releases and see it remains a strong financial performer.

In July, GHM announced a dividend increase and a 2-for-1 stock split to take effect tomorrow.

October 2, 2008 - 1:36pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, business, downtown.

Most of the stories on the front page of today's Daily News were already featured on The Batavian this morning. We featured a full post on the court settlement between former priest Simon Howson and the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York. We also included in our early morning roundup two stories picked up from WBTA about the awarding of a $3 million grant to United Memorial Medical Center and the demolition of a downtown block in Le Roy.

We did not yet report that a state committee has begun the search for a private operator to take over the ownership of the state School for the Blind in Batavia. Scott DeSmit reports that "two private entities ... may be qualified to operate the school: Perkins School for the Blind in Masachusetts and The Center for Discovery in Monticello." Other operators may also be interested, and state legislature approval will be required before any move toward privatatization can go forward.

In other news, two new businesses are on their way to the town of Batavia: one to the new shopping center and another on West Main Street Road. Peebles, the national clothing retailer, will host its grand opening on November 13 at its location in the Batavia Shopping Center on Veterans Memorial Drive. Other businesses expected to move into the plaza include: "Cato, a women's and girls' cothing store; GameStop, a video game retailer, and a Shoe Show shoe store." Also planning on an opening by the end of the year is a KFC/Long John Silver's, which is set to open its doors at its West Main Street Road location by Christmas.

As for non-retail construction, an apartment complex set to go in "next door to East Town Plaza" got its approval from the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Joanne Beck writes:

The state-funded project is to be 43,000 square feet of a parking lot, two entrances (one for emergency vehicles) and 40 one-bedroom apartments. The units will predominantly be for clients of DePaul, a Rochester-based not-for-profit group that specializes in assisted living programs to help people who have mental illness, are in recovery from chemical addiction and/or live with a developmental disability.

Art enthusiasts and crafters in Genesee and Orleans counties will be happy to learn that galleries and studios throughout both counties will be open to the public this weekend. Genesee gets its turn Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Orleans will have a go at the same times Sunday. Pick up your free map and brochure listing of all participating studios at GO ART! at 201 E. Main St., Batavia.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

September 30, 2008 - 1:55pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in restaurants, business, downtown.

Larry's Steakhouse is set to open this Thursday for lunch and dinner. Larry's is located at 60 Main Street, attached to the Genesee Country Mall, with front-door access on Main Street.

We stopped by the restaurant today to wish them well and find out more about what they've got to offer. You can download the complete menu here. We also asked owner Steve Mullen if he could describe the place in a single sentence. He told us: "It's a great new dining experience with a very affordable menu." They've got everything from Guinness artichoke dip to marinated Mahi Mahi.

It's not hard to guess that steak is the specialty. Steve recommends the everyday steak special: a 14 ounce NY Strip, with a cup of chili or soup de jour, a salad and a side for $17.99.

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