Local Matters

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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 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 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.

May 28, 2019 - 12:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in foxprowl collectables, batman, batavia, business.


Batman doesn't smile. He doesn't smile when posing with Bill and Joy Hume. He doesn't smile when he has a new book out. He doesn't smile while making a public appearance on a Saturday at Foxprowl Collectables.

In this case, Batman is cosplay specialist, public speaker, and author William Lorenz Jr., of Buffalo, and his new book is "The Ballad of Buffalo's Best Batman."


May 24, 2019 - 10:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weatern otb, Batavia Downs, business.

An audit by the state comptroller is more than welcome, officials with Western OTB, operator of Batavia Downs, said this week.

The board of directors unanimously passed a resolution pledging transparency in its business dealings and Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Western OTB, sent a letter to Thomas DiNapoli inviting an audit.

"Over the past several weeks, some media reports have focused on our finances and promotional operations," Wojtaszek wrote. "In order to continue to meet our high standards of transparency and compliance, I would like to inform you we welcome an additional audit of the corporation's finances by your staff and of course will follow any recommendations we can to improve moving forward."

The moves come as a result of reports, based on information from anonymous sources, that Western OTB is the target of an FBI investigation into allegations that "politically wired" companies have received preferential treatment in contracts with the corporation. 

It's a charge officials with Western OTB deny.

A source on the board characterized the news reports as based on "rumors."

In his letter, Wojtaszek noted that Western OTB has generated more than $231 million in revenues for the 15 counties in its region and that prior comptroller audits have not revealed any financial impropriators or irregularities.

"(That) is something we are very proud of," Wojtaszek wrote.

May 20, 2019 - 2:13pm

Press release:

The Genesee Country Farmers' Market @ The Downtown Batavia Public Market opens for the season on Friday, June 7th, at the market's location on the corner of Bank Street and Alva Place in the Downtown Batavia Business District.

Market hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays with the season running from Friday, June 7th, through Friday, Oct. 25th.

"This year marks the fourth year of collaboration with BID (Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District)", says Market Manager Mike Bakos, "The Market will remain a three-day per week 'Grow-Your-Own' market, featuring the freshest locally-grown produce along with unique specialty items from local artisans.

"Vendors are excited about the upcoming market season with many of last year's vendors returning along with some new additions. The market will once again participate in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), DUFB (Double-Up Food Bucks), NYS FreshConnect, WIC and Senior Farmer's Market Check Programs. Stop by and talk directly to the people that grow your food."

The market is committed to its Mission of "providing a family-friendly environment where the residents of the Greater-Batavia area and Genesee County can shop for fresh, locally-grown, produce and specialty artisanal items" -- and its Vision of "making the Genesee Country Farmers' Market @ The Downtown Batavia Public Market a WNY Destination."

Parties interested in joining the market to become a Seasonal Vendor or Day Vendor may contact Sharon Brent at (716)-560-0853 or by email at [email protected] or Mike Bakos at (716) 866-4958 or by email at [email protected].

Qualifying charities, service-groups, or 501c3 organizations that would like to participate in the market may obtain a FREE market stall by contacting the market at (716) 866-4958 or by email at [email protected].

May 20, 2019 - 2:06pm
posted by Billie Owens in agriculture, steve hawley, news, farmworkers, business.

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley's office:

Following increasing pressure from Downstate lawmakers to overturn an 80-year law and allow farm workers to unionize, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is again calling for statewide public hearings to be conducted by the Assembly before any vote is proposed to make such a sweeping change to one of New York’s largest industries. 

The former owner/operator of Hawley Farms in Batavia was one of the first legislators to sign onto the Assembly Minority’s letter requesting public hearings on unionization.

“Growing up as a generational farmer in Western New York and eventually owning and operating our family farm, I am confident that unionization would harm our industry and force more family-owned operations to close,” Hawley said.

“Farming is unique in its demands, its work schedule, its earnings structure and its labor needs, and to impose blanket requirements to make it congruent with other industries simply may not work in the agricultural model.”

Hawley, a longtime member of the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, has been in conversations with Chairwoman Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton) to hold public hearings for several weeks.

“I suspect that the New York City lawmakers pushing this legislation have very little experience on a farm and we need statewide hearings to ensure that current farmers, their employees and members of the agriculture community are heard before any decisions are made,” Hawley said.

May 19, 2019 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sunny's Restaurant, news, batavia, business.


Sunny's in Batavia is closing its doors for the last time tonight.

Late this afternoon, Skinny Rose wasn't at the restaurant and Tiny Rose declined to comment about the closing.

May 19, 2019 - 9:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Fresenius Kidney Care, batavia, business.


Local officials, including Rep. Chris Collins, were on hand Friday for an open house and ribbon cutting at Batavia's newest medical clinic, Fresenius Kidney Care, on Veterans Memorial Drive, just north of Home Depot.

The new facility will be staffed by 20 healthcare professionals and able to treat 102 patients per week.

It opens tomorrow.

Director of Operations Kenneth Crine said Fresenius came to Batavia because the current dialysis clinic is typically booked to capacity.

"I felt excitement for being able to provide needed dialysis services in a community that has a need for that," Crine said. "I think Batavia has been in that situation for a little while, where the current facility is kind of full and people have been displaced because of that, and being able to provide a center where people can have access to convenient healthcare is really important to me. So, you know, I feel good about that."


Kenneth Crine and Chris Collins


May 19, 2019 - 8:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in WNY Tech Academy, byron-bergen, news, schools, education, business.


National Grid was recognized Friday by the WNY Tech Academy at Byron-Bergen High School as the Business of the Year for the company's support of the program, particularly for the $25,000 National Grid had already donated to the student's greenhouse project. On Friday, executive Ken Kuwaja and Paul Gister delivered another $50,000.

The student-conceived project involves building a greenhouse and starting a business to grow greens and farm tilapia in a hydroponic environment.


Kelly Yates, pictured with Principal Thomas Schulte, was named Mentor of the Year.


Students named Professional of the Year: Samantha Lucki, Petyon Penders, and Evan Harter.

May 16, 2019 - 2:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, agriculture, chris collins, business, dairy.

Press release:

On Wednesday, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) introduced legislation that would provide a short-term, one-time fix, to help the nonseasonal agriculture workforce.

"The Helping Labor Personnel (HELP) Farms Act" provides a solution for farmers across the nation, especially in the dairy industry, while Congress and the Department of Labor continue to modernize the H-2A program and allow visas be granted on an annual basis instead of seasonally.

“Under current law, the H-2A visa program does not help our struggling dairy farms, who live in constant fear of losing their workforce,” Congressman Collins said. “This legislation provides a temporary solution while Congress and the Department of Labor work together to find a bipartisan solution.”

This legislation requires the Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Labor, to collect applications for temporary work authorization for nonseasonal agriculture workers. This nonseasonal agriculture workforce must be sponsored by a United States employer who he/she has worked with for at least two years.

Upon approval of the application, the alien worker will be granted work authorization for two years along with his/her spouse and children. Additionally, protections are included for the sponsoring employer to ensure there are no consequences for employing an alien workforce due to an outdated and flawed H-2A visa program.

“There is not a single person representing dairy that does not understand we have a true crisis with the current system we have in place,” Collins added.

An alien worker who currently works in a nonseasonal agriculture occupation may be permitted to apply to this temporary work authorization program so long as they have not been convicted on felony charges of rape, kidnapping violent assault, sexual assault, or suspected of terrorism.

Alien workers who are currently being detained may also be given the opportunity to apply for this program.

A copy of the bill can be found here.

May 16, 2019 - 8:40am


Brewers and beer lovers from throughout Western New York will converge on Eli Fish Brewing Co. in Batavia this Sunday for the conclusion of Farm-to-Pint Week, a regional event organized by the Buffalo-Niagara Brewers Association.

The event is called a "tap takeover." Brewers from the association who used ingredients grown on Western New York farms will take over the taps with their own beers (Eli Fish will have four of its own beers on tap) from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event is open to the public.

The association bills the week as a chance to celebrate the regional brewers and growers who work together to produce some incredible handcrafted beers.

Earlier this week there were events at Resurgence Brewing in Buffalo, Food Truck Tuesday in Buffalo, and tomorrow 42 North Brewing Co. in East Aurora hosts "Full Circle Fest 2019."

The tap takeover event was previously hosted by a brewery in Hamburg, so Eli's brewmasters Adam Burnett and Jon Mager (top photo) said it's a real honor that the association decided to host the event in Batavia this year.

"We think it’s pretty cool that when we offered to host it they didn’t flinch," Burnett said. "I think that speaks to the inclusiveness, that we’re part of the real scene of the Buffalo-Niagara Brewers Association only in our second year. I know a lot more brewers are well established so it’s a sign of respect to be included."

May 8, 2019 - 4:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, business, news, Fresenius Kidney Care.

Press release:

Fresenius Kidney Care, the dialysis division of Fresenius Medical Care North America and the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, invites the community to attend an Open House celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at its new Batavia clinic.

It is located in a newly constructed 8,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building at 4185 Veterans Memorial Drive in the Town of Batavia.

The clinic, which can treat a maximum of 102 patients a week, enables Fresenius Kidney Care’s local team of expert medical professionals to better serve the Genesee County area’s growing dialysis community. In New York, nearly 30,000 patients require dialysis treatment.

At the Open House, local experienced medical professionals available to discuss patient services and the latest dialysis treatment options, including:

  • In-center dialysis – provides the reassurance of staff-assisted treatment and labs all in one place;
  • At-home dialysis -- offers greater independence, convenience and health benefits to patients who would otherwise spend up to 12 hours a week in a center receiving the life-sustaining care;
  • How the center’s care team meets patients’ physical and emotional needs by individualizing their care;
  • How Fresenius Kidney Care Batavia strives to empower people to thrive on and live the healthiest, fullest way possible – with kidney disease treatments that fit in with life, not the other way around;
  • How FreseniusRx renal-trained pharmacists can help dialysis patients manage their medications.

Tour the clinic and meet the treatment team and see the treatment rooms. Learn about other services offered at the center, such as hemodialysis travel services, and ongoing educational programs.

Light refreshments available.

About Fresenius Kidney Care

Fresenius Kidney Care, a division of Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), provides dialysis treatment and support services to more than 190,000 people with kidney disease every year whether in their own homes or at more than 2,400 facilities nationwide. Fresenius Kidney Care’s dedicated teams help address the physical and emotional aspects of kidney disease through personalized care, education and lifestyle support services. For more information about Fresenius Kidney Care, visit www.FreseniusKidneyCare.com.

About Kidney Disease and Dialysis

One in seven adults will develop chronic kidney disease, with many not detecting the condition until they have lost more than 90 percent of their kidney function. More than 660,000 Americans live with end stage renal disease, or kidney failure, which requires either a transplant or dialysis to remove waste from the blood, maintain safe levels of potassium and sodium and control blood pressure. Currently, 468,000 people in the United States depend on dialysis as a life sustaining treatment. The leading causes of kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes.

May 3, 2019 - 12:55pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCEDC, New, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted Thursday to approve reassigning the terms of previously approved PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreements for Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

The company recently announced the purchase of the former Alpina Foods manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Under the PILOT agreements, local taxing jurisdictions will receive $378,010 in revenues over the life of the PILOT. Upstate Niagara Cooperative plans to invest $22 million in the facility to meet the company’s operational needs.

“Genesee County has benefited greatly from the repeated investments by food and beverage companies into dairy production facilities,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park provides excellent opportunities for the Upstate Niagara Cooperative and businesses in the dairy and food industries to succeed.”

The GCEDC Board also approved a loan from the Growing the Agricultural Industry Now! (GAIN) fund for New York Craft Malt. The $82,000 GAIN loan is part of a $206,968 investment for the purchase of new equipment and building improvements at the company’s facility at 8164 Bank Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The project will create two new jobs.

“NY Craft Malt’s project builds on our successful GAIN Loan Fund program, which supports the growth of agricultural products and businesses in Genesee County,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “Low-interest GAIN loans have enabled producers to invest over $1 million into dairy, maple and malting operations.”

The NY Craft Malt is the fifth project in Genesee County to receive a GAIN loan. Previous recipients include Cottonwood Farms in Pavilion, Sandvoss Farms in East Bethany, and Junior’s Maple in Batavia.



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