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Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 6:54 am

Storm warning cancelled, advisory in effect

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A storm that had been expected to dump as much as a foot of snow on the region has apparently weakened.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has downgraded the previous storm warning and issued an advisory in effect until 6 p.m.

The storm is now expected to bring about two to four inches of snow mixed with sleet.

Slick driving conditions are expected.

Winds will remain strong at 15 to 25 mph.

For a list of school closings from WBTA, click here.

UMMC has cancelled all cardiac rehab classes.

UPDATE: From UMMC: "United Memorial's Cardiac Rehab Center will open at 10 a.m. today. All services at United Memorial and our affiliated sites, including Urgent Care in Le Roy are open today."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Hotel owners try to make economic case against tax breaks for Holiday Inn Express

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Holiday Inn Express

If Steve Hyde said it once, he said it at least a half-dozen times Tuesday during a public hearing on providing tax incentives for a proposed Holiday Inn Express in Batavia: The Genesee County Economic Development Center wants the input of other hotel owners on the potential economic impact of the proposed project.

"We are most interested in your views on what’s going on in the marketplace so we can share that with the board and they can give it thoughtful consideration," said Hyde, CEO of the GCEDC, near the end of a sometimes slightly contentious public hearing.

About a dozen local hotel operators attended the 4 p.m. meeting.

Typicall at such hearings, members of the public speak, officials listen with little or no response and the meeting ends. But Hyde repeatedly engaged speakers, either with questions or by challenging them to deliver more facts.

"If you have additional facts from validated sources that can justify your position, you should present that to us," Hyde said. "We hear you loud and clear but we need you  to provide us with verified facts."

The meeting opened with Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC, presenting an overview of the proposed project and the proposed tax incentives the GCEDC can help deliver.

The developer is Michael Patel and an investment group, Chase Hotel Group, which operates in four states and eight markets. Previously, Patel owned and developed Comfort Inn in Batavia and he currently owns Hampton Inn in Batavia.

The proposed hotel would have 80 rooms and cost $3.5 million to develop.

When completed, the hotel will employ 19 full-time equivalent staff members.

Under the tax abatement proposal, Patel and Chase Hotel Group would receive $112,000 in sales tax exemption, a mortgage tax exemption of $37,500 and a property tax abatement over 10 years of $400,136.

These are taxes, according to Masse, that won't be generated if the project isn't built. 

There will be no tax reduction -- meaning no abatement of existing taxes -- for existing tax liabilities on the property.

If the project is built, it should generate more than $800,000 in sales tax over 10 years and $38,700 over 10 years in fire district fees.

The total economic benefit to the community over 10 years is estimated at more than $8.5 million.

Local hotel owners took issue with these numbers saying the figures don't account for lost business, not to mention the potential closure, of existing hotels.

"You say after the Hampton Inn opened there was an occupancy increase," said Chan Patel, owner of the Clarion Inn on Park Road (formerly the Holiday Inn). "I can prove to you that over the next two years, my occupancy went down by 10 percent."

The operators who spoke said they've all seen occupancy rates drop as new hotels have come into the market and they don't see how a market with a 48-percent occupancy rate in market with 1,000 rooms will benefit by adding 80 more rooms.

Jayesh Patel, owner of Travel Lodge, Batavia, argued, as did other hotel owners, that more rooms will mean that all of the hotels will wind up charging lower rates. The Holiday Inn Express, he said, with the benefit of tax breaks, would then have an advantage over established hotel owners who are paying all of their taxes.

"If the developer has faith in the market then they should spend money out of their own pockets rather than out of taxpayer pockets," Jayesh Patel said.

Rashi Dev, owner of the Comfort Inn, said if Michael Patel believes there is such a need for more hotel rooms in Batavia, why is he charging rates at his other property, the Hampton Inn, that are as low or lower than similarly priced hotels in the area.

"The Hampton Inn should have rates $5 or $10 (per night) higher than us," Dev said. "If he's so confident in the market, why does he need to decrease his rate?"

There were no GCEDC board members present at the meeting. GCEDC staff will present the feedback from the public hearing to the board prior to the board voting on the proposal at its March 3 meeting.

Hyde said any factual information hotel owners can provide at least two weeks prior to the March 3 meeting will also be presented to the board and that hotel owners will be given a chance to speak at the March 3 meeting.

Today, Town of Batavia also announced a public hearing on the project with the town's planning board at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 15.

Top photo: Steve Hyde; inset, Chan Patel; bottom, Mark Masse opening the meeting.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm

First public information meeting on Cedar Street project is Thursday

post by Billie Owens in batavia, cedar street project

This information is from city Director of Public Works Sally Kuzon.

The City of Batavia has begun the preliminary design for a project to reconstruct the entire length of Cedar Street. This is a locally administered federal-aid project that is scheduled for construction in 2013.

Design development is now under way. During this phase, comment and input from affected residents and businesses are valuable and required elements necessary for achieving a successful project.

The first public informational meeting is this Thursday, Feb. 3, in the Council Board Room (2nd floor) at Batavia City Hall. People are invited to voice concerns and ask questions. City staff and representatives from the consulting engineering firm, Erdman Anthony, will be there.

The meeting will be divided into two parts, with a session for business owners and representatives from 3 to 5 p.m. and another for residents and residential property representatives from 5 to 7 p.m. But if you are unable to attend during these designated times, please feel free to join the meeting anytime between 3 and 7 p.m.

Erdman Anthony, which was retained by the city this past October, has completed survey and mapping for the project and is beginning engineering studies.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm

'Toons producer Fred Armstrong focus of this month's GO ART! salon

post by Billie Owens in announcements, Fred Armstrong, GO ART!

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) continues its popular Salon Series with “The ‘Toons Producer: Fredrick Armstrong” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

The program takes place at GO ART!, Seymour Place, 201 E. Main St. in Batavia and includes supper and beverages.

A "Going to the Movies" themed menu will be served: popcorn, assorted grilled pizzas (white veggie, red with three cheeses, red with mushrooms and pepperoni), antipasti, garlic bread, and old-fashioned ice cream bars.

A contribution of $25 for non-members and $22 for GO ART! members is requested. A discounted rate is available for those wishing to also attend the April 5th Salon, "The Comic Illustrator: Lauren Barnett."

Reservations are required and can be made by phone at (585) 343-9313, e-mail at [email protected], or by stopping in to GO ART! in Downtown Batavia (open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays). The GO ART! Salon Series is sponsored by the Bank of Castile.

Havens for those who craved intellectual conversation and stimulation for centuries, salons became fashionable when French kings showed their art treasures in the reception room of the Palace of Louvre.

This month's salon the president and founder of Animatus Studio & The Animation Workshop in Rochester. Armstrong will present several short cartoons produced at award-winning Animatus Studio along with some clips of his “live action” acting roles.

Interspersed among the videos, Armstrong will entertain attendees with the background on each of the animations and his journey into the field of animation and film.

Bio: For more than 35 years, Armstrong has worked on feature films, documentaries, industrials, commercials and music videos. He began his professional film career in 1975 creating animated segments for a local retail store, the House of Guitars.

In 1980, he moved to New York City where he apprenticed and worked as an Oxberry animation cameraman under Francis Lee of Film Planning Associates. In 1989, Armstrong founded Animatus Studio, Rochester’s only full-service animation studio that specializes in 2D and Flash animation. He also founded The Animation Workshop in 1992, which continues to teach the joys of animation to students of all ages.

Continuing to work in live action as well as animation, Armstrong produced and co-directed “The End of the Line - Rochester's Subway.” This award-winning documentary tells the story of the smallest city in America to build and abandon a subway. It has aired on PBS and The History Channel and was recently re-released on DVD with 45 new minutes of material and extras.

Animatus Studio has been a sponsor of the 360 | 365 George Eastman House Film Festival (formerly the Rochester High Falls International Film Festival) since its inception in 2001. Armstrong has also acted as animation program director for the 360 | 365 GEH Film Festival.

He was instrumental in bringing filmmakers such as Faith Hubley (Oscar winner), Vicky Jenson (director of Shrek,) and voice talent Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson) to the festival. Through collaboration with the 360 | 365 George Eastman House Film Festival, Animatus Studio has also hosted animation workshops for disadvantaged and at-risk youth for the last eight years.

He is currently vice president of RAVA (Rochester Audio/Visual Association), a renowned organization of professional filmmakers and media industry people founded in 1956.

Over the last three decades, Armstrong has also worked on hundreds of live action film shoots as a key grip, where he specializes as a crane and dolly operator. He has even been an actor in many commercials and several feature films.

He recently taught “Business in Animation” as an adjunct professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Today, he continues to be involved in all aspects of filmmaking and animation for commercials, documentaries, music videos and businesses throughout the region.

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) is a private nonprofit organization, which believes that art and culture enriches, inspires and educates, while strengthening a community's identity.

Therefore, GO ART! initiates a broad range of opportunities for artists and cultural organizations, and facilitates cooperative efforts among the cultural, business, service and educational communities for the people who live in and visit Genesee and Orleans counties. GO ART! exhibits are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm

'Love Notes' symphony concert with violinist Michael Ludwig

post by Billie Owens in announcements, GSO

The Genesee Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert entitled "Love Notes" at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13, at Genesee Community College. It will feature special guest violinist Michael Ludwig.

This performance, to be held in the Stuart Steiner Theatre, is in partnership with the Cancer Services Program of Genesee & Orleans. It is being partially underwritten by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is dedicated to education and research about the cause and treatment of breast cancer.

Tickets are: $12 adults; $8 seniors 62 and over; $5 students 18 and under, including GCC students with valid I.D.; $30 for families, including children 12 and under.

Tickets are available at the GCC Box Office, or at the door one hour prior to the performance and at these locations: Hi-Tek Graphics in Oakfield; Bank of Castile in Le Roy; Roxy's Music Store; GO ART!; and The Enchanted Florist.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

Police Beat: Two men charged following fight at bar in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Le Roy

Thomas B. Streamer, 40, of 28 Grover St., Warsaw, and Thomas W. Sherman, 41, of 108 North St., Le Roy, are each charged with assault, 2nd. Both men are accused of getting into a fight with a 37-year-old Le Roy resident while at the Eagle Hotel on Jan. 23. The alleged victim suffered serious physical injuries to his shoulder, head and face. He was treated at UMMC. Streamer and Sherman were arraigned in Le Roy Town Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Le Roy Police say that further arrests are pending.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 10:31 am

GCC baseball signs two area players

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, GCC, sports

GCC's head baseball coach, Skip Sherman, right, is excited about two players who will be joining his squad.

Adam Pratt, above with his parents, signed a letter of intent to play for GCC and is receiving a two-year scholarship to play for the Cougers. Entering his senior season at Batavia High School, the southpaw has a 3.06 ERA with 106 Ks in 66 1/3 innings with a record of 6-4. He was the Rotary Tournament MVP last season.

Says Sherman:

Left-handed pitcher. I have been watching Adam for a couple of years now and we are very excited to have him join our program. He will be expected to help lead our pitching staff and will be tested very early to see if he is ready to pitch at a high level. He has great composure on the mound and was asked to pitch in some big games as a junior. I am expecting him to have a big senior year for Batavia High School and I am looking forward to working with him at Genesee next year.

Also signing on with the squad is Ken Urbanik of Lyndonville.


Kenny is a very versatile player and is an extremely hard worker. He will do very well in our program because of his work ethic. Right now he is projected to play a corner in the outfield and we are excited about having a player of his size, with his speed, in our program. He is the type of player that always succeeds in our program and it will be very interesting to see what happens after a couple of years in our program.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at 10:06 am

Photo: Photos in UMMC surgical wing

post by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, UMMC

Regular readers of The Batavian might recognize a couple of the pictures hanging on the wall here. As part of the decor in UMMC's new surgical wing, the hospital purchased 15 of my photos. Seven pictures are hanging in the waiting room and a barn shot is hanging across from the elevators. I'm not sure where the remaining seven photos are, but they're around somewhere.

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Legislature needs to hold GCEDC accountable

post by Lorie Longhany in GCEDC, genesee county legislature

I don't think many would disagree that we all want a robust and aggressive job-creating engine in Genesee County. We also can agree that unfair tax burdens created the need for IDAs with their enticements and tax incentives in the first place.

In the big picture, we all want our county to be chosen as the next home to companies like: Barilla Pasta, Google, Yahoo or Geico -- and without an IDA we don't compete at all.

Even the smaller companies with a vision to produce a new product or service can help make our county vibrant and offer those vitally important, but few and far between, living wage job opportunities. Jobs that can lift our median income and bring some of our citizens their own little piece of prosperity-- the kind that bring money to other businesses by circulating it around our communities.

The jury is still out on how I perceive the GCEDC's, or any IDA's  performance. But I do firmly believe that more stringent oversight on pay rates and elimination of performance bonuses needs to swiftly be put in place by the Legislature to restore the public's trust. I'm also curious about the $500 bonus given to a consultant.

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Labor letter knocks GCEDC on prevailing wage issue

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Upstate Medtech Center

When building the Upstate Medtech Center, the GCEDC should have ensured prevailing wage was paid to construction workers, according to a state Department of Labor (DOL) letter issued in November.

The letter came to light following an Authorities Budget Office report critical of GCEDC's staff compensation practices.

It was written by John D. Charles, associate attorney for the DOL, and issued in response to an unnamed person who asked that the department look into the matter. It concludes that the department's opinion was based solely on the material provided by that person and should not be relied on as a final answer.

Ask for a response to the DOL letter, GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde issued the following statement:

"While the LDC (Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp.) wholly disagrees with the Department of Labor's initial conclusions, we are actively working with them to ensure that they have all of the facts and circumstances of the Medtech project. A final determination has not been made by DOL with respect to the issues and questions raised."

Longtime local contractor Vito Gautieri is known to be concerned about how the bid for construction of the Medtech Center was awarded. It ultimately went to Batavia-based D.A. Tufts Co.

In an interview last week, when asked if the letter from Charles was addressed to him, Gautieri said, "No comment."

He then went on to complain about GCEDC forming a nonprofit corporation -- Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. (GGLDC) -- as owner and agency developing the project. He said if that's how government agencies are going to operate on construction projects, then "we might as well pull up our shingles and move out of town."

At issue is compliance with New York's prevailing wage laws, which require employees on public works projects to be paid an hourly rate based on a prevailing wage schedule set by the state.

The DOL letter says that according to information given to the agency, the GGLDC's Medtech project does not meet the standards for waiving prevailing wage.

It says that because the project was at first initiated by a public agency (GCEDC wholly owns the GGLDC and is the project's actual owner), it is not just a temporary title holder.  In addition, it is not acting "merely as a mechanism to facilitate financing." If it were just a temporary titleholder and holding title merely to facilitate financing, according to the letter, perhaps paying prevailing wage would not be required.

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 5:50 pm

GCEDC will hold public hearing Tuesday on Holiday Inn Express proposal

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCEDC, Holiday Inn Express

There will be a public hearing at 4 p.m., Tuesday, in Batavia's Town Hall, 3833 W. Main St. Road, on a proposal to provide tax subsidies for the construction of a Holiday Inn Express on the north side of the Thruway.

The hearing is being conducted by the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The public is invited to attend and provide feedback on the proposal.

GCEDC did not have information to release to the media today in advance of the meeting on exactly what is being proposed.

In response for a request for more information, Media and Marketing Manager Rachael Millspaugh wrote in an e-mail: "There is no additional preliminary information on the project except what was discussed at the December 2010 board meeting. We will have a project summary available at the public hearing. The GCEDC Board will be reviewing and acting on the request at this Thursday's regularly scheduled meeting."

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Today's Deals: Daily Grind, Matty's, Clor's, Kraving's and more

post by Howard B. Owens in Deal of the Day

The Daily Grind, 85 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: For Batavia's finest coffee, smoothies, as well as fast and convenient breakfasts and lunches, stop into The Daily Grind. We have a $10 gift card for $5.

Matty's Pizzeria, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Matty's, a great place for pizza, wings, subs -- eat in, take out or delivery. We have a $20 gift certificate for $10.

Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, NY: For the best, most flavorful, juiciest chicken or hamburger in town, hands down, stop by Clor's. Oh, and the steaks are great, too. And the sausage. Clor's also serves lunch and dinners from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. We have a $20 gift card for $10.

Kravings, Valu Plaza, 4152 W. Main St., Batavia, NY: Kraving's offers soups, salads and sandwiches, fresh and flavorful; Monday through Saturday. We have $10 gift certificates for $5.

Blue Pearl Yoga, 200 E. Main St., Batavia, NY: Exercise your soul as well as your body in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. We have a gift certificate for three weeks of yoga, 3 classes, a $30 value, for $15.

Alli's Cones & Dogs, 7063 Lewiston Road, Oakfield, NY: Full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu; new all-you-can-eat salad bar; ice cream served year-round; eat-in or take-out. We have $20 gift certificates for $10.

Stafford Trading Post, 6173 Main Road, Stafford, NY: Lunch or dinner, Stafford Trading Post offers a variety of fresh, homemade meals, as well as snacks and drinks. Now in a new, expanded location. We have a $25 gift card for $12.50.

NOTE: If you've never bought Deal of the Day before, or are otherwise unfamiliar with the rules and process, click here.

Blue Pearl Yoga

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Predicted storm for Tuesday and Wednesday upgraded to warning

post by Howard B. Owens in weather

A winter storm expected to hit Western New York on Tuesday night has been upgraded.

The National Weather Service has issued a "warning" (meaning a more severe storm than a "watch") for the expected weather pattern, which should hit the area after 10 p.m., Tuesday.

The warning is in effect until 10 p.m., Wednesday.

Accumulation of snow is expected to be 10 to 14 inches, with winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts of 30 mph.

Hazardous travel conditions are expected.

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Free Tax Service

post by Anne Rupert in Free E-filinf Federal and State taxes
Please post this in your announcements.
Batavia Senior Center
By appointment only   Call 343-1611
Mondays and Wednesdays at Senior Center
2 Bank Street
Batavia CAC
By appointment only     Call  343-7798
Tuesdays and Thursdays at Community Action Center
 5073 Clinton Street (Route 33 east)
By appointment only   Call 768-2740
Tuesdays at the Greens of LeRoy
1 West Avenue
Monday, January 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Two-car accident at Vine and Bank streets

post by Billie Owens in batavia, accidents

A two-car accident with minor injuries is reported at Vine and Bank Street in the City of Batavia.

Batavia Fire Department and a Mercy ambulance are responding.

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Trailer fire reported on Route 262

post by Howard B. Owens in byron, elba, fire

A passerby has called in a trailer fire in the area of Route 262 and Transit Road.

It's unknown if the trailer is occupied.

Byron and South Byron being dispatched along with a tanker from Elba and Town of Batavia's Fast Team.

UPDATE 1:41 p.m.: First responder reports heavy smoke upon approach.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: There are people outside the structure, still unknown if anybody is inside.

UPDATE 1:47 p.m.: Law enforcement was on scene first and vented windows. Still unknown if residents inside. All Elba equipment dispatched.

UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: A tanker from Bergen is now on scene. Mercy EMS also responded. A fire chief asks dispatch to contact Elba School to see if they have anyone registered at that address.

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: Byron and South Byron back in service.

View Larger Map

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 11:55 am

Police Beat: Le Roy man accused of stealing road salt from DOT

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, crime, Le Roy

Walter Lyle Knickerbocker, 53, of South Street Road, Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Knickerbocker is accused of stealing road salt from the DOT salt barn on routes 19 and 20, Pavilion. The alleged theft(s) occurred on and before Jan. 19.

Aaron D. Swimline, 24, of Main Road, Corfu, is charged with a felony count of DWI, a felony count of aggravated DWI (driving with a BAC of .18 or greater), unlawful possession of marijuana, speed not reasonable nor prudent, moving from lane unsafely. Swimline was reportedly involved in a one-car accident at 12:59 a.m., Saturday in the area of 2553 Main Road, Corfu. The accident was investigated by Deputy Howard Carlson.

LaToya Tamika Vialva, 19, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with trespass. Vialva is accused of being on College Village property after being banned from the property.

Monday, January 31, 2011 at 11:35 am

Minor injury reported from accident on Saturday night in Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident

One person suffered a minor injury Saturday after a car pulling out of a business on Ellicott Street Road reportedly struck her car as she tried to avoid it.

William B. Heany, 74, of East Main Street, Batavia, told a Sheriff's Deputy that he didn't see the headlights of a car driven by Victoria Lee Wood, 40, of Pavilion Center Road, Pavilion, as he pulled from the parking lot of 4818 Ellicott Street Road, Batavia.

The accident occurred at 8:27 p.m.

Lee, who said her headlights were on, was transported by ambulance to UMMC.

No citations are listed on the accident report.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

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