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Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Photos: A visit to Roanoke Apple Farm, Bethany

post by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, business, Roanoke Apple Farm

Heading back to Batavia this afternoon, I stopped in at Roanoke Apple Farm, in Bethany, for the first time.

Above, Alex Kiefer, an employee, picks apples.

Scott Darron and his daughter Natalya load up a bushel of apples. Darron said he was planning on making pies.

Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9:58 am

The p.w. minor story told in new display opening at HLOM

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, history, hlom, p.w. minor

Jane Read and Anne Marie Starowitz were at Holland Land Office Museum on Saturday morning setting up a new exhibition about the history of local shoemaker p.w. minor. 

The grand opening of the display is Oct. 2.

Employees and retirees of p.w. minor are invited to a preview at 3 p.m. The public is invited to a ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m.

Many of the items in the display were provided on loan from The new p.w. minor.

 

Friday, September 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Hiram and Lucine are the Talk of the Town on WBTA

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, elba, wbta

The way Hiram Kasten and Lucine Kauffman see it, Genesee County is a great place to live.

It's beautiful, there's a lot going on, and you'll meet some of the nicest and most interesting people if you just get out on the town a bit.

It's these qualities that they want to highlight in their new weekly, one-hour radio show on WBTA, which debuts Oct. 1.

"Talk of the Town" will feature talk about what's going on and some of the region's interesting people.

It's a cultural show -- arts and entertainment -- but it's more than that.

"There's a national trend toward localism," Kauffman said. "It's not just shopping local. It's living local. We want to capture that idea."

Kasten and Kauffman like interesting people, but they are, of course, interesting people themselves.

Kasten has been a professional entertainer for decades with a long resume in New York and Hollywood that included recurring roles on "Seinfeld" (Hiram and Jerry came up through the New York comedy club circuit together) and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Diana Kisiel Kasten, Hiram’s wife, is from Batavia and operates Pinnacle Manufacturing on Harvester Avenue. She convinced Hiram to move here a year ago. The couple has a grown daughter who attends Cornell University.

Kauffman is the former town supervisor for Elba and has been active in local theater for years. She grew up in Southern California and graduated from USC. She moved to Genesee County with her Batavia-born-and-bred husband, Bill, 25 years ago. Their daughter attends Notre Dame University. Bill Kauffman is the author of nine books and the screenplay "Copperhead," which had its theatrical release last year.

"We're going to talk about the cultural aspects of Genesee County and the region," Lucine said. "It's more than just arts and entertainment. There are farm co-ops and local artisans and people who enrich life in Genesee County. It's all about quality of life and the quality of life here is very good."

Hiram said he often knows the comedians passing through Rochester and Buffalo, so that will be an opportunity to hear from nationally recognized talent, but they'll also feature the volunteers who make community theater so vital to Batavia.

"There's a lot to celebrate in Genesee County," Lucine said.

"Celebrate. That's a good word," Hiram added. "There is a lot to celebrate here."

The show will air Wednesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. on WBTA-1490.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm

True high-speed Internet finally coming to Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

A family-owned communication company that has provided phone service in Genesee County for more than 100 years is bringing true high-speed Internet to Batavia.

Empire Access, an affiliate of Empire Telephone, with a location in East Pembroke, is installing fiber optics throughout the city.

The network will be able to deliver business and residential service with download speeds of 100 megabits and upload speeds of 20 megabits.

Verizon DSL only offers a 10mb down and 1mb up service in Batavia and Time-Warner's top-end service locally is 30mb down.

Senior VP Jim Baase said the prices will be better, much better, too. That 100mb/20mb service will cost only $50 a month.

This is the sixth market Empire is introducing high speed Internet in, Baase said.

"We've had great success competing against companies like Time Warner and Verizon," Baase said.

Business customers can order high-speed Internet now from Empire, said local manager Tom Hare, and delivery is about 30 days out currently.

The first neighborhood to get residential service will be in the northeast quadrant of the city, Hare said, starting in about three our four months. The rest of the city should be covered within six months.

Empire is also offering phone service over the fiber network, as well as cable TV and security systems.

All of the regulatory hurdles at the state and federal levels have been cleared, Baase said, and Empire is just starting negotiations with the city for a cable franchise agreement.

As previously reported, the city is also in the midst of negotiating a new agreement with Comcast.

Empire Telephone is a third-generation, family-owned business based in Prattsburgh. For most of its history, it's been a rural telephone network in such places as East Pembroke, Pembroke and Indian Falls where it has some 700 telephone customers (that area is also scheduled to receive a fiber network service from Empire).

Baase said Empire decided to bring a fiber because it's an open market (Verizon has shown no interest in introducing FiOS here) and it will have a large enough customer base to support the network.

"It's a very attractive market for us," Baase said. "It's densely populated and we don't like to over build where there's FiOS. We don't like to go where there's already a company like ours."

On its marketing material, Empire Access bills itself as "The Local Company," and Empire will have an office in Batavia (while maintaining a switching station in East Pembroke, where the office was located). Baase said Empire will employ people locally and hire more and more people as its local network grows.

Another Empire advantage, Baase said, is when you call customer service your call is immediately routed to a real person, rather than a long telephone tree of button pushing.

Empire has plans to expand into other parts of the county, primarily along Route 5, once the Batavia network is built.

Interested business customers (not residential yet) can contact Tom Hare at (585) 813-9861 or [email protected]. (e-mail address corrected)

Top photo: High speed fiber-optic cable ready for installation in Batavia.

Tom Hare in Empire Telephone's current switching room in East Pembroke.

Empire Telephone's longtime facility in East Pembroke.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Batavia Radiation Oncology Associates to join Wilmot Cancer Institute

post by Billie Owens in batavia, business

Press release:

UR Medicine's James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute will soon introduce a full menu of cancer diagnosis and treatment services in Genesee County, anchored at 262 Bank St. in Batavia.

UR Medicine has agreed to purchase Batavia Radiation Oncology Associates, the longtime practice of cancer specialists Kevin J. Mudd, M.D., and Jan Dombrowski, M.D.

Once the deal is complete, Mudd will continue to see patients as a member of the University of Rochester Medical Center faculty. Staff within the practice will also become University of Rochester employees.

The purchase, which includes the practice and the building, requires approval by the New York State Department of Health to make the practice part of Wilmot’s parent hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital.

"Dr. Mudd is a skilled and experienced clinician who will make a wonderful addition to our regional team of physicians,” said Jonathan Friedberg, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Institute, a component of Strong Memorial Hospital. “His practice will form the hub for an expanded set of cancer services available right in Batavia.”

To further integrate care, Wilmot will renovate the building and introduce new medical oncology services, including chemotherapy and infusion services and will upgrade IT systems so that medical records and other information can be shared across Wilmot’s expanding network.

“This is part of our vision of bringing progressive cancer treatment directly into smaller communities throughout the region,” Friedberg said.

Mudd said "I have worked closely with the Wilmot Cancer Institute since coming to the region in 1996 and I look forward to continuing my practice as an integrated member of the University faculty."

The Wilmot Cancer Institute is the Finger Lakes Region’s leader for cancer care and research. As part of UR Medicine, Wilmot provides specialty cancer services at the University of Rochester Medical Center and at a network of satellite locations. Wilmot Cancer Institute is a component of Strong Memorial Hospital. The Institute also includes a team of scientists who investigate many aspects of cancer, with an emphasis on how best to provide precision cancer care.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

New Food Processing degree at GCC attracts international students

post by Billie Owens in business, food processing, GCC

Press release:

After 20 hours of travel, their first time so far away from home, two students from the southeast Asian island nation of Timor-Leste have arrived at Genesee Community College. Arsenio Ferreira, 21, and Jorguino (pronounced Jor-gino) Savio, 19, will spend the next two years at GCC earning an associate degree in Food Processing Technology (FPT).

GCC offers its first course in the brand-new degree program, Introduction to Food Processing Technology (FPT 101), beginning with the 12-week class session, which starts on Monday, Sept. 22. A few seats are still available in the class.

Savio and Ferreira earned full scholarships to study in the United States through the Timor-Leste Hillary Clinton Scholarship Program administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The IIE suggested GCC to the two young men.

"The program officer from IIE felt that GCC was a good fit for the Timorese students based upon their program of interest, student population, international student population, student services offered and GCC's commitment to diversity," said Carrie Sputore, International Admissions specialist at GCC.

Both Ferreira and Savio come from the capital city of Dìli in Timor-Leste. The city of approximately 190,000 people is the largest in the country, which neighbors Indonesia, and has an overall population of 1.2 million. The tropical climate is much different than western New York. Neither student has ever seen snow. "Everything is new for us," Savio said, including the way Americans cook and the foods we eat.

In Timor-Leste, wood stoves are used to prepare food, 90 percent of which is imported from Indonesia. Crops grown in Timor-Leste include corn, rice and cassava (a woody shrub whose starchy tuberous root resembles a potato; tapioca is extracted from it). The scholarship program aims to train youth to take skills back to Timor-Leste, contributing to the country's economic and social development as well as its democracy.

After two decades, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and near total infrastructure destruction, the country's independence from Indonesia was formally recognized in 2002, but it has faced great challenges rebuilding.

Timor-Leste has benefitted from oil procurement in offshore waters. Arsenio's father works for oil producer ConocoPhillips. He's excited for his son to study abroad as he earned a master's degree on scholarship in Norway. Arsenio is the second of five boys in his family. He also has two sisters. His mother is deceased.

Jorguino has a 21-year old sister studying engineering in Indonesia and a 12-year old brother. Both of his parents are primary school teachers.

"When I got the scholarship, my mother was very proud," he said. "It's very hard to get this scholarship. But when I left my mother was crying."

He already misses his family, but appreciates the educational opportunity he's earned.

Both Arsenio and Jorguino will live in College Village, adjacent to GCC, with American roommates.

"They are very friendly," Arsenio said.

Both he and Jorguino have studied English since high school. They also speak Tetum (official language of East Timor), Portuguese and Indonesian.

The Timor-Leste Hillary Clinton Scholarship program is funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Scholarships were awarded to academically talented and qualified Timorese students with the goal of strengthening the base of skilled, high performing professionals in Timor-Leste to contribute to the country's economic and social development.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Cross Fit trainer opens new gym in Harvester Center

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, health

The first thing Jason Harasimowszi thought when he saw Cross Fit on TV a few years ago was, "that's too hard."

He thought, "there's no way I could do that."

But he gave it a try and found, yes, it is hard, but, he said, "I wanted to keep doing it and get good at it."

Three years ago, he took a Cross Fit course in Chicago and became a certified trainer.

"It's nice seeing people succeed," Harasimowszi said to explain why he likes training others in Cross Fit.

Recently, Harasimowszi opened his own Cross Fit gym, Cross Fit Silver Fox, inside the Harvester Center.

Cross Fit is designed to be a complete, functional work out, often using heavy weights and complex, compound exercises that work more than one muscle at a time.

"(Cross Fit) is going to help you outside in life," Harasimowszi. "If you pick up boxes off the ground, it's like you're doing a deadlift. If you put a box on a top shelf, obviously, you're pressing something overhead. Everything is transferable to your outside life."

Silver Fox is equipped with about $20,000 worth of racks, weights, barbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, rowing machines, parallel bars, tires, boxes and other training equipment.

Classes are: Monday through Friday at 5, 6 and 7 a.m., and 4, 5 and 6 p.m.; Saturdays at 7, 8 and 9 a.m.; and Sundays at 11 a.m.

To locate Silver Fox, go into the Harvester Center through the main entrance and then down the hallway straight back from the door. The gym is on the left.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Fall Festival to debut in Corfu and Pembroke

post by Billie Owens in business, corfu, pembroke

A fun family Harvest Festival in the country will debut from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Kozy Kabin at 922 Genesee Street (Route 33) in Corfu.

Hosting are the property owners, Charles and Lenora Kohorst, who started the business three years ago. They build custom cabins and sheds of all sizes, with delivery, and custom-made polywood outdoor furniture, plus a colorful array of mums for the Fall season.

Why the festival?

"We have seen businesses in Corfu and Pembroke diminish these past few years, unfortunately, and have lost some great businesses -- The Market, IGA, Burling Drug, and more," Lenora said. "We see the need to come together as businesses and promote what the Corfu and Pembroke area has to offer the public. iI's a great place to live and visit (Darien Lakes)."

The scarecrow is the fest's theme.

Corfu and Pembroke area businesses are invited to participate in a scarecrow display that allows them to show off what they offer. They can dress it in any way that best shows the attendees their business with all their business information (addresses, contact info, specialties, etc.) also displayed alongside the scarecrow. Scarecrows will be displayed along the roadside (Route 33), craft vendors will have them at their booths, and they will be along the hayride that will go around the property.

There will be a bounce house, food vendors, craft vendors, kettle corn, hayrides, alpacas from Alpaca Delights, homemade desserts for sale, mums, pumpkins for sale. Browse Kozy Kabin, listen to live music, "needle in a haystack" game, face painting, balloon man.

There will also be a cabin raffle. First prize is a 10' x 20' cabin with a porch, or choice of $3,000 cash. Second, third and fourth prizes are a polywood folding Adirondack chair in the color of the winner's choice. Tickets are $5 or three for $10. Rain or shine. There will be tents.

For more information contact Lenora Kohorst at 409-7424.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 10:34 pm

City planners vote down proposed Dunkin Donuts for West Main location

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Dunkin' Donuts

There won't be Dunkin' Donut coffee addicts zipping into a new shop on West Main Street, Batavia, any time soon, it seems.

The City's planning board rejected a site plan for the propose fast food restaurant outright following a public hearing Tuesday.

Paul Viele, the board member who made the motion to reject the proposal, cited concerns over traffic and complaints from residents on Redfield Parkway and River Street.

The proposed location was a lot squeezed in between First Niagara Bank and Barrett's Batavia Marine.

Jett Mehta, president of the Pittsford-based development company looking to build a second Dunkin' Donuts in Batavia, said his company had looked at several properties on both the west side and the east side of the city before settling on a location they felt had sufficient traffic to support the franchise.

Donut stores and drive-thru coffee shops  need high-traffic locations, Mehta explained.

"We don't generate traffic just because somebody decides they want to drive across town to get a cup of coffee," Mehta said. "They might, but we generally don't generate traffic. We capture traffic."

Kip Finley, an engineer on the project, said getting coffee and donuts is more a matter of "impulse purchases from people who are already right there."

Board members and public speakers expressed some skepticism about the "captured traffic" motif. 

"Tim Hortons is not captured traffic," John Roach said. "People go there to get a cup of coffee, so I can see a lot more than five or six cars getting in line."

Mehta and his team brought their proposal to the city a couple of weeks ago and planners asked that the alignment of the store be changed so as many 20 cars in queue.

The developers did, even though they are vehement that there will never be 20 cars in queue.  

"Our company operates 19 Dunkin Donuts with drive thrus," Mehta said. "We've never seen 20 cars in queue. Twenty cars in a drive-thru queue just never happens. It's not how the business is run."

When board members expressed concerns about the reconfigured site dumping traffic on River Street, Finley said that was a result of trying to accommodate the request to have space for 20 cars backed up in line.

"We're pretty flexible on those things," Finley said. "We now have two plans and both work pretty well."

Neighboring business owner Mike Barrett called the project "ill conceived."

He said there was a 400 gallon propane tank at the back of the property, an auto parts store in the neighboring shopping mall that certainly stores a lot of chemicals. He wondered if the Fire Department had signed off on the project with access to those buildings being restricted.

He also said the DEC required access to the Tonawanda Creek from that location for grass cutting operations.

Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall said City Fire had been consulted and Chief Jim Maxwell had signed off on the plans.

Redfield Parkway resident Jim Owen said he loves Dunkin' Donuts and doesn't made a section location in Batavia, just not that location.

"We're really getting overwhelmed with the traffic," Owen said. "If you try to get out on certain dates and certain hours, it's just brutal."

After the meeting, Mehta said he and his team will need to convene and decide with to continue pursuing a second Dunkin Donuts location in Batavia. 

Mike Mikolajczyk, owner of the current franchise and prospective owner of the second franchise, said during the meeting that the number one request he gets from current customers is a drive-thru location.

Asked about possible locations on the east side of the city, Mikolajczyk said it doesn't appear yet that East Main has the traffic volume to support a Dunkin' Donuts.

Photo: Steve Pum and Kip Finley.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Grand opening of exhibit about p.w. minor footwear company at HLOM

post by Billie Owens in business, events

The grand opening of an exhiibit about local shoemakers p.w. minor will be held at the Holland Land Office Museum from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2.

Light refreshments will be served.

The museum is located at 131 W. Main St. in the City of Batavia.

Event Date and Time

October 2, 2014 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
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