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Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Joe Scanlan plans to retire from Notre Dame at end of the school year

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, education, Le Roy, Notre Dame, schools

Dr. Joe Scanlan, a man with the steady, gentle temperament of a parish priest, is stepping away from a job he loves in a few months.

Appropriately enough, for the past 11 years, Scanlan has been principal of Notre Dame High School, the private Catholic school on Union Street in Batavia.

"It takes a lot of energy to do this job," Scanlan said. "I pretty much do everything here except business. And you wouldn't want me to be the business manager. Tommy Rapone does a nice job. In addition to being principal, you're talking admissions, recruitment, pubic relations, newsletter and all the rest of the stuff. It's time to give somebody else a chance."

Scanlan's tenure at Notre Dame caps a 47-year career in education, which includes 15 at Byron-Bergen as a history teacher, assistant principal and principal, and 11 years as principal at York Central School.

Scanlan has found it particularly rewarding to shepherd area teens through their preparatory education at his own alma mater.

"I love it here, especially the kids," Scanlan said. "It's a great group of kids here. There's great kids in every school, so it's not just Notre Dame, but the students here are special group. They're pretty gritty. They're competitive, but they're respectful."

There are 170 students in grades 9-12 at Notre Dame. When the seniors graduate this spring, it will be Scanlan's final graduation with the school, it will also be the 50th anniversary year of his own class's graduation.

It's tradition for classes to be invited back for the graduation ceremony on their 50th anniversary, so Scanlan is hoping he'll see a lot of his former classmates.

Scanlan said the school board already has a number of qualified candidates who have expressed interest in the job.

There is also a $5 million capital campaign under way at the school, so the next principal will have plenty to do from the first day on the job.

As for Scanlan's own plans he says, "right now the plan is to have no plan."

He has a son and granddaughter living in Cleveland and more time to travel will mean more time with his family.

He plans to continue living in Le Roy.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 4:30 pm

Corcoran Combining & Trucking reaps award for 'custom harvesting' that helps farmers

post by Lou DiToro in batavia, Corcoran Combining, farmers, genesee

This is the fifth in our series of profiles of the 2014 Chamber of Commerce Award winners. The awards will be presented at a dinner at the Clarion Hotel on Saturday.

Owning and operating farm equipment is costly. Just ask Genesee County farmers. In fact, it’s so costly it’s hard for farmers to justify having their own equipment. They’ll also tell you how hard it is to find qualified equipment operators. These are headaches and expenses farmers don’t need as they battle today’s economy.

But thanks to Corcoran Combining & Trucking, the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Business of the Year, local famers have another weapon that can help them survive. Corcoran provides planting and harvesting services designed specifically for local farmers. And it’s been doing successfully it for nearly a quarter of a century.

“Many farmers find it more profitable to hire out their field work to companies like us because of the high costs of owning and operating equipment,” says Stacy Corcoran, who co-owns Corcoran Combining with her husband, Bill. “That’s where we come in. The custom services we provide enable farmers to dramatically cut equipment costs. It works out well for both them and us.”

Delivers topflight services

Corcoran delivers topflight service that farmers can count on. With nearly 100 customers throughout a seven-county area, Corcoran works more than 40,000 acres annually. Using equipment that can cost several hundred thousand dollars each, Corcoran justifies the investment by using the equipment on multiple farms.

This kind of use spreads the cost over thousands of acres so they’re able to achieve cost-efficiencies individual farmers can’t.

“We’re try to help farmers any way we can with our services,” says Corcoran. “Agriculture is a significant industry in Western New York and we’re honored to be a part of it.”

Corcoran employs up to 15 people during its busy season, which starts in April and runs through December. Workdays during the season often run upwards of 14 hours or more. During the winter months, Corcoran washes, repairs and services their equipment, housing it in a heated facility the company built in 2014.

Started as a sideline

Bill Corcoran and his brother Tom started the business in 1992 as a sideline. They had two customers: their father and a neighbor. They never expected it to expand to what the business is now. At first, they worked their full-time jobs and did combining on the side.

But the customer list grew rapidly within a few years, prompting the purchase of a second combine and a grain truck. After a few years, the brothers split the business, with each pursuing separate custom-harvesting businesses.

Stacy and Bill expanded services in 1997. They added forage harvesting to their list of services, which involves harvesting hay and corn to make cow feed. The equipment they purchased for offering this service is also used in tillage and manure handling, which spreads the costs out. They also added a partner.

Growth eventually forced Bill to quit his full-time job and commit all his time to the business. Since then, the company has grown and prospered by helping farmers throughout seven Western New York counties: Genesee, Wyoming, Orleans, Livingston, Niagara, Erie and Monroe.

Future looks bright

The future looks bright for Corcoran Combining & Trucking. It recently purchased a new forage harvester and merger with an eye toward expanding their customer base even further. Plus, another family member may be joining them in the business in a few years.

“Corcoran Combining and Trucking is a family business,” says Corcoran. “Our sons help out whenever they can and my brother-in-law and father-in-law both have farms, so farming is in our blood.”

“But our youngest son is showing great interest in the business. He’s only 11 right now but he has great potential. It would be great to have him or any of our children join us in the business. But for now Bill and I are still going strong.”

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Crash with minor injuries at Richmond and Verona avenues in the city

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A two-car accident with minor injuries is reported at the intersection of Richmond and Verona avenues in Batavia. City fire and Mercy medics responding.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Sponsored Post: Let's talk about children's dental health this month!

Welcome to one of the harshest Februarys that we have ever had. But instead of talking about the weather, let's talk about Children's Dental Health Month. This month is special for me because I spend two different Fridays either treating kids at the U.B. Dental School or visiting classrooms in Batavia preaching good oral health habits.
 
Obviously, the most important habit a child can have is brushing well enough or for long enough. That's for all of us. Parents are the best "quality control" people for how well their kids are cleaning. In addition, parents of younger children should be helping them brush. A parent can clean more in 20 seconds than some children can clean in 20 minutes.
 
What a child (or adult) eats might not be as important as how it is eaten.  We talk about constantly coating our teeth with sugary things and how harmful it can be to our teeth. Soda pop, sports drinks, fruit juice (especially in baby bottles), coffee with sugar can be the most harmful. "Nursing" these drinks or sipping them for long periods of time is when it hurts the most. I tell my patients that if they have to have a drink like those to "drink it right down" and be done with it. If one has to sip something, make it water--hot or cold. Water is so good for us anyway. Lollipops or any candy that stays in our mouth for long will cause cavities as well. Eat it and be done with it. Fruits and veggies are the most healthy snack substitutes.
 
Of course, the best "quality control" person for your child or for anyone is your dentist or hygienist.  If your child has teeth then they should probably see a dentist. We urge parents of young children to bring their young kids with them at cleaning appointments if not just to get used to coming in but also for a quick usually cost free check up. Your dentist might feel the same.
 
So, kids (and adults!) eat carefully, clean well, and visit your dentist enough. Now, enjoy what's left of our winter for Spring will come, eventually! Dr. Russell Marchese Jr. -- 585-343-2711. Like us on Facebook for more information.
Friday, February 27, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Police looking for armed man who tried to rob Family Dollar in Batavia this morning

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime

Batavia Police are looking for a male, possibly Hispanic, described as about 5'2" and wearing blue jeans, who attempted to rob the Family Dollar on East Main Street this morning.

An employee told police that the man entered the store at 9:36 a.m. with a black scarf around his face, approached the cashier and asked for money while displaying a silver handgun. He then left the store without further incident and walked eastbound on the sidewalk.

The store stayed open for business. Police checked the area for the suspect, including nearby businesses. He was not located. Any person having information is asked to please call the Genesee County Emergency Dispatch Center at 345-6350.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Ninth-grader with BHS attending National Young Leaders Conference

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, education, schools

Press release:

Jay Lewis might be only 14 years old but he is full of ambition and has many aspirations. Jay, a ninth-grader who attends Batavia High School, was recently selected to attend the National Young Leaders State Conference. This conference will take place in Boston in April.

During this four-day conference, Jay will come together with students from schools located all throughout the Northeastern United States. These students will focus on a curriculum that is specially designed to develop essential leadership, communication, networking, decision-making, conflict resolution and critical thinking skills.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and I hope to learn how work with people in order to become a better leader. These are skills that you need throughout your whole life,” Jay explained.

Eric R. Knapp, an eighth-grade school counselor at Batavia Middle School, nominated Jay.

“Jay is a young person with exceptional character and values,” Knapp said. "During his years at the Middle School he was polite, respectful and was a fantastic role model for other students. He had a quiet demeanor about him yet, according to his teachers, in the classroom, he showed great enthusiasm for education and consistently showed outstanding effort. In addition to his exceptional character and leadership potential, his overall average his eighth-grade year was 96.296 percent."

As a freshman, Jay has earned 11 college credits through the Genesee Community College Math Science Preparation Program. He plans to attend college to earn a degree as an electrical or mechanical engineer and hopes to someday own his own business. Jay has many interests in and outside of school. He serves on the Genesee County Youth Court. He’s a member of the Ski Club, Batavia Middle School Modified Tennis Team, is an avid fisherman and hunter and a Greenwing Member of Ducks Unlimited.

Jay lives in Batavia with his parents, Jennifer and Jim Lewis.

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

City ready to move quickly on Batavia Downs hotel project

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

The city is ready, willing and able to help get construction started quickly on a new, five-story, 80- to 100-room hotel at Batavia Downs, said City Manager Jason Molino.

While developers and Western OTB officials have yet to agree on the precise location of the hotel, COO Mike Nolan said this morning the most likely spot is overlooking the southwest turn of the track, adjacent the grandstands, near the Tops Plaza.

That location is within the boundaries of the City of Batavia, meaning it will be the city's zoning and planning boards that will be called on for plan, design and environmental reviews.

"Being able to get this project reviewed and in front of all the proper boards is something we're committed to," Molino said. "We will make every effort, including holding special meetings, to move this along as swiftly and as smoothly as we can to meet the goals of the developers. I don't think this is a concern for us. We've worked with these size projects before and we can get it through smoothly."

Nolan said the developers, a Buffalo-based group that will purchase the property for the hotel from Western OTB, would like to break ground in 60 days and have the hotel open within nine months.

"The best part of this story is that back in 1998, when Western OTB bought Batavia Downs, it took $3 million (in assessed value) off the tax rolls," Nolan said. "Now, in 2015, $7 million plus is going back on the tax rolls for a facility that was closed and drawing nothing but cobwebs."

The increase in tax revenue won't hit local governments all at once, since the developers are likely to seek tax abatements from Genesee County Economic Development Center, but the exact structure of tax relief won't be clear until applications are made and abatements are approved.

Typically, tax abatements from GCEDC include relief on sales tax for construction material and furnishing, mortgage tax and a PILOT, which graduates the amount of property tax paid over a 10-year time frame, until the property owner is paying 100 percent of the taxes on the fully assessed value.

State law prohibits industrial development agencies from providing tax assistance to retail projects, unless they qualify as tourist destinations or are intended to attract visitors from outside the area.

Projects that are with economically distressed areas, or adjacent to such areas, are also exempt from the law.

Julie Pacatte, coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp., said one advantage Batavia Downs can realize by building the hotel on property within city limits (Batavia Downs straddles the City/Town line) is the census track is adjacent to a census track that includes Downtown Batavia, which qualifies as an economically distressed area.

"We're thrilled at the idea of having a distinctive hotel within the city," Pacatte said. "What they're planning, where you arrive in a very Vegas-style, shared lobby area, where you can check into the hotel and stay within the facility throughout your weekend, and being on the track, overlooking the last turn from a balcony, is pretty exciting."

Because the hotel won't offer other amenities, but is geared entirely toward the visitor looking for casino and harness racing entertainment, the folks at Western OTB don't believe it will compete with existing hotels, Nolan said.

"With this becoming a more competitive casino market in Upstate New York, we felt we needed to step up," Nolan said. "There's a casino coming to Seneca County, and the Seneca's already have casinos at their Niagara and Salamanca properties. In this new and up and coming casino market the way it is, we needed to offer some hospitality for our casino customers."

The other advantage the city offers a water-hungry facility like a hotel is lower water rates. Rates in the city are $3.14 per thousand gallons of water compared to $5.46 in the town.

The developers are negotiating with a couple of different hotel chains, so it's possible the new hotel will be operated under the banner of a Hilton Garden Inn or a Courtyard Marriott, or some other banner.

Batavia Downs is just wrapping up a $28 million remodeling and expansion effort and th hotel will complement that growth, Nolan said.

"We have a tremendous opportunity for convention-type of events and banquet-type of events that require lodging," Nolan said.

The hotel, Molino said, will certainly be a boost to the local economy, bringing in more visitors, creating jobs and spurring other types of economic growth. 

"This is a great opportunity and a great project," Molino said. "Everybody in my office, with the BDC and in planning are excited to work with the developers. We're going to do everything in our power to make sure it moves as quickly as it can and move as promptly as possible. That would be a win-win for everybody involved."

Friday, February 27, 2015 at 10:10 am

Water main break on east side of City Centre

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city centre, infrastructure

There is a water main break outside City Center on the east side of the mall.

Businesses on the east side are impacted.

Water department crews are on scene.

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.: Repairs are completed and service is restored.

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