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Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Bar and music added to the mix at Yume Asian Bistro

post by Howard Owens in arts, batavia, business, entertainment, music, YUME Asian Bistro

Tonight, Yume Asian Bistro, on Veterans Memorial Drive, celebrated the opening of its bar with music played (as a DJ) and performed (vocals and guitar) by Brent Persia. The owners say if music on Friday and Saturday nights after the dinner hour goes over well, they will continue to offer it.

Previously: Pair of young chefs see opportunity in Batavia for Asian cuisine, especially sushi

Friday, April 18, 2014 at 9:01 am

Batavia resident opens new barber shop on West Main Street

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Fresh Cutz

Batavia has a new barber. Terry Smith has opened his own shop, Fresh Cutz, on the second floor at 218 W. Main St., above House of Kolor Tattoo and Piercing. Smith graduated from barber school in October and was eager to open his own shop. He said he saw a need for another barber shop in the city.  "Whoever needs a haircut, I'll cut it," he said. Getting a haircut yesterday was Kwame Richardson.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Photo: Crane used to place air-conditioning unit on roof

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, Turnbull Heating

Early this afternoon workers with Turnbull Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration hoisted a new air-conditioning unit onto the rooftop of a building on Liberty Street, Batavia.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

National Grid approves grant for agri-business park expansion

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) has been approved for a grant up to $130,000 from National Grid that will be used to continue the development of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (GVAB). The Agri-Business Park is home to Alpina Foods, LLC, and Muller Quaker Dairy, LLC.

The GGLDC, the real estate affiliate of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), recently acquired 37 acres of land adjacent to the Agri-Business Park. The grant from National Grid will be used to extend the current electrical distribution line along the newly constructed access road, as well as the engineering and design of the extension of the road, water and sewer lines.

The approximate $600,000 project is being funded by the GGLDC and the New York State Homes and Community Renewal Agency and is expected to create approximately 100 construction jobs.

“National Grid continues to be a phenomenal partner in our economic development efforts in Genesee County and you have to look no further than to the continued growth of Agri-Park to see the return on investment of the various grants the company has provided through the years,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC.

“Genesee County continues to be a model for how to do economic development in New York State,” said National Grid Regional Executive Dennis Elsenbeck. “We are confident that the job creation and capital investment made to date in the Agri-Business Park will continue to occur as Steve and his team expand its footprint.”

The approved grant will be paid out upon project completion and comes from National Grid’s Shovel-Ready Incentive Program, which was created to help make high-potential sites more marketable for the expansion of job-creating companies. Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Byron-Bergen rallys support for bill to make Greek yogurt the state's official snack

post by Howard Owens in agriculture, bergen, business, byron, byron-bergen

Photos by Howard Owens / Story by Sloan Martin, WBTA.

New York has several State symbols: the sugar maple is the state tree and the state gem is a garnet. What it doesn’t have, though, is a state snack and the fourth-graders at Byron-Bergen Elementary School are doing something about it.

In a fun school assembly Thursday, the students marked their accomplishment of getting a bill to Albany.

With pop hits like ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and Lorde’s “Royals” reimagined to proclaim the benefits of yogurt, along with funny skits, the auditorium was filled with B-B fourth-graders who’re amped up and extremely knowledgeable about yogurt.

“It’s very healthy for you and it has lots of good vitamins and calcium,” Sadie said.

“We’ve learned that we’ve been producing the most yogurt in New York State, especially in this area,” Grace said.

Learning about its impact on their bodies, the economy and the government, it’s been an interactive and engaging learning experience.

Superintendent Casey Kosiorek says he’s proud of the kids and their teachers for taking what they learn and putting it into action.

“It really lines up with everything Genesee County’s about with dairy farming and additions to our yogurt companies as well,” he said. “It really aligns well. It’ll be memorable for the students, especially after it becomes a law.”

“Absolutely, this is interdisciplinary,” Kosiorek said. “They’ve had to work on their writing, they’ve had to utilize their math, they’ve had to learn about social studies, they’ve had to learn about government. As you can see, they were singing and writing songs, producing films – all the skills that we look for as our young people move up to the junior-senior high school and then college and careers."

State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer says it’s government in action.

“They’re living it by writing us letters, by doing these skits today,” Ranzenhofer said. “We’re going to make this become a law.”

The bill to make yogurt the official state snack has been introduced in the Senate and once it passes both houses, it will find itself on the governor’s desk -- all because of the Byron-Bergen fourth-graders.

Mike Davis, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Kevin Williams, Muller Quaker Dairy, and Roger Parkhurst, Alpina Foods.

 

Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm

BEST Center training opportunities match job needs in Genesee County

post by Billie Owens in announcements, business

Press release:

The BEST Center at Genesee Community College has the training that can land you a job. In a recent report, the Job Development Bureau at the Genesee County Career Center cited 20 openings for service desk technicians at a Batavia computer firm. The positions require A+ Certification, for which The BEST Center provides the essential training and test-preparation courses.

The A+ Certification from CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) is the industry standard for validating the skills expected of entry-level computer technicians. This certification opens doors to exciting career options in computer technology. The BEST Center offers this training through ed2go, the industry leader in online learning for adults. The program is convenient, interactive and enjoyable.

Students can start this course at any time. Online learning offers maximum flexibility to fit the coursework into your life schedule. Students who successfully complete the program will: understand operating systems and software for both desktop and mobile devices; know how to install computer hardware; perform routine troubleshooting and more. They will gain the necessary knowledge and skills to prepare themselves to take the A+ exams to attain certification.

"These skills are very marketable right now," said Rosemary Jonientz, director of Business Skills Training at The BEST Center. "Technology is essential for almost every business today and these positions are in demand."

The A+ certification training program can be completed in 230 hours. The program costs $1,695.00. Scholarship training funds may be available for dislocated workers and low income earners. For more information on training scholarships, contact the Genesee County Career Center at (585) 344-2042.

"For those looking for a career change or in need of a new job, this is a terrific opportunity to retrain yourself in a field that will be growing well into the future," Jonientz said.

For more information, contact The BEST Center at Genesee Community College at (585) 345-6868 or bestcenter@genesee.edu.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Motorcycle safety instructor says it's time for riders to brush up their own skills

post by Howard Owens in business, motorcycles, safety, Stan's Harley-Davidson

It's spring. It's traditional each spring to remind car drivers in WNY that motorcyclists are going to be out on the road again.

Look for them.

But a big part of Jon DelVecchio's message to motorcycle riders is you're the one most responsible for your own safety.

Yes, drivers of four-wheeled boxes need watch the roadways better, but there are things that alert and trained motorcycle riders can do to avoid crashes, even when confronted with the most inattentive drivers.

"Riding a motorcycle takes years of practice and effort to master," said DelVecchio, who will be teaching a motorcycle safety course at Stan's Harley Davidson at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 26. "You have to do something to improve your skills every year. A lot of people say, 'I'm going to go out, hope for the best. Those damn car drivers. It's always their fault.' "

DelVecchio, a Churchville resident, is a certified Motorcycle Safety Instructor who teaches the basic licensing course at Learn to Ride in Rochester. He's also started his own motorcycle safety business, Street Skills. He writes articles, produces videos and podcasts and sells a deck of flash cards riders can use to brush up on their skills each spring.

Too often, he said, riders take the basic riding course, pass the test, get their license and they think they're ready to ride. They never take another course, read a book or even watch a training video.

He doesn't take credit for the saying, but somebody once said that the typical motorcycle rider who has been riding for 10 years really only has one year of experience. They just keep repeating the first year over and over and over.

"Your skills are never fully mastered and in the spring you're off your game, so do something different this season," DelVecchio said. "Take a class. Read a book. Do something to improve skills, not just this year, but every year."

DelVecchio started riding in 2001. He had a wife and two toddlers, plus he taught driver's ed at Rush Henrietta High School, so he already took safety seriously (he's also a business teacher at RHHS). By 2007, he was offered a chance to teach at Learn to Ride and found that teaching motorcycle safety combined his two biggest passion -- teaching and riding.

During this time, he also formed a group through MeetUp.com of riders who shared a love of bikes, but also took their skills seriously. They ride together regularly and take trips together throughout the Northeast.

He's found riders have varied attitudes toward bike safety. There are the riders who get big bikes, like to ride without helmets or only with small helmets, and combine riding with maybe a few beers along the way, then there's the younger riders who get fast bikes, ride them fast and take risks.

DelVecchio was careful to not criticize either kind of rider. "To each his own," he indicated, but he would clearly like to see all riders take to improving their motorcycle skills more seriously.

The most common kind of motorcycle accident is the car turning left in front of an oncoming motorbike.

Drivers are reminded constantly this time of year to look twice, take extra care, but even that isn't enough, DelVecchio said.

Riders need to be aware that even careful drivers are going to have a hard time seeing you and if they do, it is difficult for drivers to gauge a motorcycle's speed and distance.

A video on YouTube demonstrates how a motorcycle coming down the road looks small in the distance and continues to look small to the driver until suddenly it looks very big. A bike and rider also have a greater likelihood than a car of blending into the background.

Motorcyclists need to be acutely aware of these visual impairments for drivers and either weave in their lane of traffic when approaching an intersection with a car present (making themselves more visible) or take other defensive driving action.

The second most common type of motorcycle accident involve riders coming into curves. They might be going too fast (relative to skills and experience) or they might not be familiar with the curve, or they might hit a substance on the roadway. The less experienced or knowledgeable a rider, the less aware they are of how to handle turns.

Turning a bike involves something called a countersteering. With a four-wheel or three-wheel vehicle, if a driver wants to go right, he or she turns right. Go left, turn left. But on a two-wheel vehicle, a rider who wants to go right needs to turn the front wheel to the left slightly and then lean into the turn.

Most of the time, riders do this instinctively, but when confronted with a new circumstance, the rider might pull the wheel in the wrong direction causing the rider to be ejected.

That's one reason extra training, knowledge and experience are so important for riders, DelVecchio said.

While acknowledging that helmets are controversial in the motorcycle community, DelVecchio believes riders should wear them, even full-face helmets, which offer the most protection.

He said he often tells his students that if they could talk to a person who was killed or suffered a serious head injury in a motorcycle accident, how do you think that rider would answer a question about going back in time and wearing a helmet.

"If you could rewind the clock and crash again but with the helmet, how many people out of 100 do you think would actually say, 'no I want to crash again without the helmet.' Right? None," DelVecchio said.

The point is he said, "is how do you know when you're going to crash?"

That said, he isn't in favor of forcing anybody to wear a helmet.

"I'm conservative. I'm tired of the government trying to tell me how to do things, but in that conservative view, I think if a crusty old rider, who has 10, 20 years experience, wants to go riding without a lid and he knows the risk, to me, OK, knock yourself out," DelVecchio said. "But there are so many new riders out there (riding without a helmet)."

As for beer and biking, DelVecchio doesn't do it himself.

"I love a beer, but when I ride, I never even have one," DelVecchio said. "It could be that little edge I give up."

DelVecchio's last bit of advise for riders: Be nice. Riders who are rude just make car drivers care less about the safety of other riders.

"If somebody's a real jerk, they've got a real loud bike and they're doing a wheelie next to a car, that person is not going to necessarily be punished for that wheelie or loud bike," DelVecchio said. "It's the next person on a bike who comes to the intersection where the other driver thinks, 'they don't care about their safety and I'm going to worry about him.' They're not going to purposefully gun for him, but they're going to think he dosen't care about his safety and he's obnoxious and discount him a little more."

DelVecchio also sells flash cards for beginning car drivers on his Web site. The seminar at Stan's, located at 4425 W. Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia, is free and open to all riders.

Photo: DelVecchio on the front bike. Behind him are his friends, from left, Lennie Rugg, Paul Hendel, Matt Ostrowski and Gene Rinas. The riders meet regularly at the Leaf & Bean in Chili Center, which is owned by Bergen resident (and a motorcycle enthusiast himself) Bill Scharvogel.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 10:30 am

Sponsored Post: Insource conducting free seminar on the Affordable Care Act

Insource Urgent Care Center of Batavia is offering a free seminar for the greater Genesee County Business and Professional Community:

The following topics will be discussed in an Open Community / Town Hall Forum:

  • The impact of the Affordable Care Act on Employers and Patients
  • Telemedicine and Telehealth improving Access and Quality
  • Obama Care...from the physician's perspective (special guest, Dr. Victor DeSa)
  • Services offered to the community by Insource

Date: Friday, April 11

Registration: 8 a.m.; Continental Breakfast 8:15-8:45

Seminar: 8:45-10 a.m.

Location: Homestead Event Center in the City Centre.

Please RSVP to Tina Wilcox via e-mail at tinawilcox@insourcehealth.com or by phone 585-750-2794

Friday, April 4, 2014 at 11:37 am

GCEDC board approves Koolatron and Premiere Credit projects

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Koolatron, Premiere Credit

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved applications for two projects at its April 3 meeting.

Mega Properties, Inc., (Koolatron) will implement a 20,000-square-foot expansion to its current facility in Gateway I Corporate Park in Batavia. The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of approximately $39,200, a mortgage tax exemption of approximately $6,250 and a property tax abatement of $144,648 based on incremental increase in assessed value. The planned capital investment will total an estimated $775,000 and is projected to create 5.5 new full-time equivalent jobs in three years after a certificate of occupancy is issued.

Mega Properties, Inc., is a Canadian company headquartered in Brantford, Ontario, with locations in the United Kingdom and the United States. The company began business with its flagship product line of 12-volt portable thermoelectric coolers and has expanded to manufacture, market and distribute a wide range of items through dealer/distributor network and the Internet. 

Premiere Credit was approved for a sales exemption of $32,000 to expand is call center in the City of Batavia. The capital investment of the expansion project is $400,000 and the company has pledged 25 additional jobs, bringing the facility’s total employment up to 150 full-time equivalent employees.

In 2012, capital expenditure of Premiere Credit was $350,000 with 100 pledged jobs. In 2013, capital expenditure was $325,000 with 50 additional jobs pledged, resulting in the creation of 134 positions at the Batavia location.

“Companies in our county keep expanding operations at their facilities due to the increasing success they’ve experienced with the business climate here. The growth of these companies will continue to positively contribute to our job creation efforts,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

Friday, April 4, 2014 at 9:33 am

Darien Lake's new manager combined love of coasters and teaching young people into one career

When Rod Rankin -- the new general manager of Darien Lake Theme Park -- was a young man, he never thought he'd wind up running facilities with rollercoasters and waterslides.

"If you'd asked me I would have said you were crazy," Rankin said. "I was going to be a high school teacher."

He studied secondary education at the University of Southern California and was working as a production manager at Paramount Pictures when Paramount bought a chain of six entertainment parks. Paramount transferred him to the theme park division. He's been working in and running theme parks for 25 years now.

But it's worked out for the would-be high school teacher. Asked what his favorite part of his job is his first response is that it's working with the youngsters who take jobs in the parks each summer.

"It's the good and the bad of this industry," Rankin said. "You're training a new generation of children every year, because this is really kind of a first job. That's the good part." Then he laughs (Rankin, a big man, has a hearty laugh). "The bad part is you're training a new generation of kids every year."

Rankin replaces Bob Montgomery, who ran the park for two years, but decided over the winter that he wanted to return to his native Canada to pursue opportunities closer to home.

Under Montgomery's leadership, Darien Lake was working on developing more of a local flare, bringing in Anchor Bar to serve wings, serving Weber Mustard and Dippin' Dots. That's a trend that will continue, Rankin said.

Besides hiring Nik Wallenda to provide entertainment throughout the season, Three Brothers Winery has agreed to set up a wine-tasting area, a wine shop and will cross promote Darien Lake with tags on its bottles at retail locations.

Another change coming to Darien Lake is a redesigned menu for Beaver Brothers and Maria's Italian Kitchen. The new menu will focus on lighter fare for health conscious diners, Rankin said. Just this week he hired a new chef to oversee the creation of the new menu.

With Paramount, Rankin started out as a project manager and was involved in rollercoaster development.

He describes himself as a coaster junkie. A native of the Los Angeles area, Rankin had plenty of access to coasters at numerous theme parks growing up, notably, of course, Disney and Knotts Berry Farm (he spent a lot of time at Knotts, he said).

Does that mean there's a new coaster in the works for Darien Lake? He won't say. He did say, "It's really fun when you go into a facility to learn the new coasters and then hopefully, eventually, build a new coaster."

Rankin spent 22 years with Paramount and its successor company, before leaving in 2007 as the Western regional vice president. He's been with Herschend Family Entertainment for four years, most recently as general manager of the company's park in Denver (unrelated side note: Herschend recently acquired the Harlem Globetrotters).

A certified master gardener, Rankin is looking forward to putting down roots in Genesee County.  He was excited that he had no trouble selling his home in Denver. He's looking forward to visiting the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Batavia. His gardening interest drifts toward heirloom tomatoes and roses. In fact, he's started a rose garden at every theme park he's run and Darien Lake will be no different, he said.

Darien Lake Theme Park's opening day is May 10. The park is hiring now for seasonal positions.

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