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Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm

UMMC president named Fellow of the College of Healthcare Executives

post by Billie Owens in business, Milestones

Daniel P. Ireland, FACHE, president of United Memorial Medical Center, recently became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the nation’s leading professional society for healthcare leaders.

Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development. In fact, only 9,100 healthcare executives hold this distinction. To obtain Fellow status, candidates must fulfill multiple requirements, including passing a comprehensive examination, meeting academic and experiential criteria, earning continuing education credits and demonstrating professional/community involvement.

Fellows are also committed to ongoing professional development and undergo recertification every three years.

“The healthcare management field plays a vital role in providing high-quality care to the people in our communities, which makes having a standard of excellence promoted by a professional organization critically important,” says Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, president and chief executive officer of ACHE. “By becoming an ACHE Fellow and earning the distinction of board certification from ACHE, healthcare leaders demonstrate a commitment to excellence in serving their patients and the community.”

Ireland may now use the FACHE credential, which signifies board certification in healthcare management and ACHE Fellow status. He attended the ACHE 80 Convocation Ceremony in Chicago on March 23.

Monday, March 24, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Casino developer threatens Western OTB with suit for filing request for investigation

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business, Western OTB

Via WBTA:

Tensions are rising over a proposed Seneca Casino in Henrietta.

The law firm for Rochester developer David Flaum -- who’s working with the Senecas to explore a Las Vegas-style casino in Henrietta -- has written a letter to Western Regional Off-Track Betting threatening legal action.

It’s over the complaint filed by WROTB to the state ethics board over alleged illegal lobbying activities. The complaint seeks exploration of potential violations of the state’s lobbying law between the Seneca Gaming Corporation/Seneca Nation and Flaum. Batavia Downs CEO Michael Nolan told WBTA at the time of the filing that “evidence exists to support the conclusion that Mr. Flaum and Flaum Rochester have been acting as unregistered lobbyists and have accepted a contingent-based employment from the Nation.

Also some evidence exists to support that the Nation and the Seneca Gaming Corporation are considered lobbying clients of Mr. Flaum and Flaum Rochester and have failed to submit required semiannual reports.”

The developer’s attorney called the complaint “fabricated” and that if it wasn’t dropped, they would sue OTB.

OTB officials say it’s well within their right to seek an opinion from the ethics panel.

“We just submitted the complaint to JCOPE, which is a state commission that’s tasked with interpreting if a contract of this type falls within the ethics law,” OTB President and CEO Michael Kane said. “That’s all we’ve done.”

Multiple municipalities and politicians have voiced their opposition to the casino, saying it would have negative effects on Batavia Downs and the area.

The Senecas purchased 32 acres of land in the Town of Henrietta earlier this month.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 5:10 pm

A new way for regional employers and job seekers to find the perfect employment matches

post by Howard Owens in business, GLOW, GLOWJobs.net

It's important, we think, that our regional economy grow. We work constantly to promote local businesses, but an important part of that picture is seeing people find good jobs and employers finding the right people to hire. As long as I've been running The Batavian, I've wanted to launch a regional employment Web site.

There's been a missing link, I think, in between Rochester and Buffalo, for finding and posting jobs in our rural counties.

I searched a long time for the right technology platform for such a site and I think I found it with a company called Real Match.

Today, with their help, we're launching GLOWJobs.Net.

Job Seekers: If you're both actively looking for a job or just want to keep your name out there waiting for the next great opportunity in your career, you'll love GLOWJobs. You can post your resume and have the site's technology match your qualifications with the right available jobs and then apply online. If you don't find the right match right away, the search engine will be working away in the background 24/7 watching for good job matches for you as they become available in the network.

Employers: Now you have a one stop, local shop to post your openings and have them distributed across thousands of job boards, including ones specializing in your industry, along with promotion on social media sites. You will also have access to our resume database and receive notifications of potential candidates with the right qualifications for your jobs. The job-matching engine will also notify you of potential candidates on LinkedIn.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 10:38 am

Batavia Daily News names new publisher

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia Daily News, business

Watertown-based Johnson Newspapers has selected the former publisher of Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times to head its Batavia-based news operation, which includes the Batavia Daily News and the Livingston County News.

Michael D. Messerly led the 12,000 circulation paper for three years. His prior experience includes time in the digital divisions in two other newspaper companies, Morris Communications and Gannett.

Messerly claims to be a digital publishing expert who has grown revenue and audience in his previous jobs.

According to Quantcast, the Portsmouth paper, with a slightly larger print circulation than the Daily News, has 70,000 unique visitors monthly compared to 98,000 for the Daily News. Quantcast measures 129,000 monthly unique visitors for The Batavian.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 10:02 am

Progess being made toward reopening Bed, Bath & Beyond, but it's slow going

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Batavia Town Center, Bath & Beyond, Bed, business

It's hard to say when Bed, Bath & Beyond will reopen in Batavia, but it will be awhile, the town's building inspector told the Town of Batavia Planning Board on Tuesday night.

It's not as simple as it might seem after a fire in a commercial structure to get the store ready for customers again, said Dan Lang.

"It's a full revamp of the store," Lang said. "It's not a quick process. It will be roughly the same layout, but there's a lot of components that go into a structure to make it safe and sound again that they have to look at when there's been a fire."

All of the electrical has to be inspected and possibly replaced. The fire walls need to be replaced. The duct work must be examined and possibly replaced. The fire suppression system may need to be replaced. And, of course, all new fixtures and shelving must be installed.

The store was heavily damaged by smoke, fire and water in January. It's been closed since.

Lang said contractors are on the job trying to get the store ready to reopen, it's just a long process. He said Batavia Town Center's owners, COR Development, have been cooperative and easy to work with throughout the process.

It's also a learning experience, Lang said, because a commercial structure fire isn't something the town has had to deal with in more than 20 years.

"Things are moving, but they're going to move slow," Lang said.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 12:26 am

Monster maker with role on reality show now living in Batavia, helping to make a Godzilla movie

Godzilla's got a new home. At least for a few months. Right here in Batavia, New York.

He'll be hangin' with Rashaad Santiago and Tim Schiefer and their associate from Watertown, Greg Graves, while making a moving staring himself, the King of Monsters.

It's a small budget production -- less than $20,000 -- but much of the filming will be done in Batavia and involve some very talented people, such as Santiago, a costume and monster designer, and Christopher Bloomer, a visual effects expert.

It's mostly a labor of love made for the filmmakers' own enjoyment with an eye toward showing it in Chicago at the 21st annual G-Fest.

That's right, there's a whole festival devoted to the creature who terrorized Japan in the 1954 classic "Godzilla," and went on to star in more than 28 other feature films.

It's that G-loving community that brought Santiago, Shiefer, Graves and Bloomer together.

Right now, Santiago is kind of the star of the show. After signing on to the Godzilla movie project -- the title of the film is "Godzilla: Heritage" (here's the Facebook page) -- Santiago won a sport on the Sci-Fi Channel's reality series, Faceoff.

Originally from the Bronx, Santiago moved to Batavia a couple of months ago, first to work on the Godzilla project, but also because he thought Batavia would be a better place for his two children.

Santiago has had a passion for monsters ever since he saw the original Godzilla for the first time when he was was 5.

"Just seeing something different than a dinosaur, because I was a big dinosaur guy, so seeing something that was like a dinosaur, but different, and the size he was, really got my mind going on monsters," Santiago said.

Already of an artistic bent, Santiago started drawing his own monsters.

And his fascination with monsters grew as movies such as Alien, Predators, Tremors and Jurassic Park, came along.

He went from drawing monsters to building monsters.

People who saw his work encouraged him.

"I didn't know this was a career when I was younger," Santiago said. "As I got older, people would say 'why don't you sell this or why don't you get paid for doing this', and me, being naive and young, I didn't know, and now I'm doing it."

He said he dreams of owning his own monster studio someday.

Faceoff might be a jumping off point to that next career level.

He was selected for the show after an audition in Burbank (where all the filming took place).

The show airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m., and on those nights, Santiago is appearing at City Slickers to watch the show and answer questions from the fans who watch it with him.

Ken Mistler, owner of City Slickers, is giving a good deal of support to the local moviemakers. City Slickers will be a location in the film, as well as other Mistler properties, and his former gym location on East Main Street will be where the filmmakers build their sets and do all of their interior shooting (some filming will also take place in Watertown).

Shiefer said watching Santiago build the Godzilla suit for the movie is truly seeing a master at work.

"After three our four hours he had only the body outline and we're like, 'that's really impressive,' " Schiefer said. " 'This is only the outline. There's not any detail,' he said, and we were like blown away. Then he started detailing the head, making the little grains of the scales with tweezers. It's just the most impressive thing you can possibly see."

Shiefer said that anybody who tunes into Faceoff will be impressed with Santiago's work.

Santiago -- the monster expert -- is also working, appropriately, at Foxprowl, the collectables store on Ellicott Street. So if you want to meet him and miss him at City Slickers, there's Foxprowl on week days.

Photo by the producers of Godzilla being made for the film "Godzilla: Heritage." Used with permission.

Monday, March 17, 2014 at 9:08 am

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

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, restaurants, YUME Asian Bistro

It was Kevin Xaio's cousin who suggested the young chef open a restaurant in Batavia.

Xaio, who lived and worked in New York City, tried to find out all he could about Batavia and the local restaurant market, Xaio said.

"It's six hours," Xaio said, "I drive here more than 10 times. I check out everything. Other businesses, Applebee's, dine-in restaurants, how are they doing, and how is traffic, how is the casino. I check all and the past history and see that the people here are nice and I think with the traffic here we're going to have a nice business."

A little more than a week ago, Xaio, and his partner, Chris Huang, opened Yume Asian Bistro at 4140 Veterans Memorial Drive.

An article in The Batavian helped alert local sushi aficionados to Xaio's and Huang's plans and the business is off to a good start.

"It's amazing," said Xaio with a broad smile.

He smiles often when talking about his new business. And he's most pleased that many customers have already been back three times within a week, trying something different on the menu with each visit.

There are a few facts to correct from that original article, which was based on a conversation at a public meeting that neither Xaio nor Huang attended.

Xaio doesn't own any restaurants in NYC. Neither he nor Huang are planning to return to NYC (Huang moved here from New Jersey, not NYC). They've both taken up residence in Batavia and both work at the restaurant full-time with no plans to leave.

Xaio grew up in a small town in Missouri, near St. Louis, which is part of the reason he liked Batavia as a possible location for his dream restaurant. 

"The location is good and the people are nice," Xaio said. "That is the most important. It is country-sized. I'm from country-sized."

Xaio's father has been a chef for 30 years and Xaio started working in the kitchen at 16 years old and has been a chef now for 10 years.

When he talked with a cousin, who lives in Batavia, about his ambition to open his own restaurant, his cousin told him Batavia had only three Chinese restaurants, no other Asian cuisine and no sushi.

"At first, I didn't think sushi would be good for people here, but I hang around and I ask people, do you like sushi and they say yeah, I do, but I need to drive 30 or 35 minutes to Rochester or Buffalo to get it," Xaio said. "Then I think, I need a sushi bar here, and alcohol, that's what I think."

Yume doesn't have its liquor license yet, but the blue-lit bar in back has three wide, empty shelves, and it's looking thirsty for clear glass and amber and green bottles of whiskey, scotch, gin, vodka and other spirits.

Huang is the sushi chef. He's been preparing sushi for 10 years. He became a popular sushi chef in New Jersey, Xaio said.

"When Chris started in a restaurant there, it is low business, right, but after Chris there, it is high," Xaio said. "The business is growing because of Chris."

Huang's English is not as good as Xaio's, so he answers questions in just a few words.

He said people should eat sushi because it's healthy.

"It's good for the body," he said.

Huang's sushi speaks for itself. 

There is an art to making sushi. It's about blending flavors, colors, shapes and dimensions on plates that are as pleasing to the eye as to the palate.

Batavia resident Michael Robbins is one of those customers who has already returned at least three times since the restaurant opened. 

Part of the appeal is that the menu contains rolls he's never tried before, such as the marble roll and the Godzilla roll.

He has primarily come back, though, because of the flavor and freshness of the fish. He's also impressed by the presentation, he said.

"It's really all about taste, but it's nice that they put such detail in it, because to me, if they're putting out a great presentation, it shows a lot of care," Robbins said. "It shows they care a lot about what they're doing. That's the thing that impresses me is they care a lot about what they're doing. That's what the presentation means to me. 'We worked hard on this for you.' "

Robbins and his wife have regularly driven to Buffalo for sushi and they were excited that Yume was opening across from Walmart.

"We kept checking and checking and it opened, and my wife and I said 'Ok it's open. Let's go.' And it was really enjoyable experience."

The sushi hits another sweet spot for Robbins. It's affordable and Huang serves up hearty rolls with plenty of fish. Robbins is saving the expense of a trip to Buffalo, he said, and he's not paying as much for the same quality.

"It's a big lump of fish mixed with a lot of good ingredients and there's plenty of it," Robbins said. "When you buy a roll you want to be filled up after you pay for the roll. A lot of times when you buy a roll somewhere else and it's not packed with sushi, it's not going to fill you up."

Jeff McIntire brought his family into the bistro for the first time Friday night and his three children seemed as to be excited to be there as he was. There was Derek 12, Kayla 11, and Randy, 8.

Soon after the children were seated at a table, they headed over to the sushi bar and clambered up on three chairs where they could watch Huang and his assistants work their magic on gorgeous creations of fish, rice and vegetables. 

Derek and Randy are more the California Roll-type sushi diners, but Kayla has already expanded her options, McIntire said.

Asked if she loved sushi, Kayla's eyes got big, she grinned and we learned that sometimes the word "yes" contains more than three letters. 

A former Marine, McIntire was deployed in Japan a few times, but never tried sushi in its country of origin. It wasn't until he was stationed in California that he ate sushi for the first time.

He started, as many neophytes do, with the California Roll.

Sushi was first introduced in the United States in Los Angeles in the 1960s. Chef Ichiro Mashita, at the Tokyo Kaikan restaurant, is credited with developing the California Roll by trying to incorporate avocado into a roll. A California Roll is comprised of cucumber, crab meat and avocado (though there are variations).

It's become a popular dish in the United States, though scorned in Japan.

But it's a place to start, McIntire acknowledged, especially for his children. You can work your way up to raw fish.

When you know sushi, you know what good sushi is, Robbins said. He compared it to the kind of hamburger you get at a place like Fudrucker's to what you might expect from a drive-thru joint. One is a meal made from fresh, quality ingredients, and the other is just thrown together for quick consumption.

An ironic comparison since sushi is kind of the original fast food.

Sushi as we know it today was invented, most likely, by Hanaya Yohei near the end of Japan's Edo period (roughly the 1860s). He created a meal that could be made quickly with inexpensive ingredients and eaten by hand (no chopsticks required) by people on the go.

When the government outlawed sushi street vendors, the cooks moved indoors into restaurants and became chefs and sushi evolved into an art form.

Though sushi has become popular in this country -- seemingly passing the trend stage many years ago and skirting the edge of mainstream -- Americans often eat sushi all wrong according to some.

To understand how to eat sushi, it helps to understand what it is and how it's made.

The key ingredient is vinegared rice. It is Japanese rice mixed with a dressing of rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Sometimes a wrapper is used. The wrapper is usually a kind of seaweed that has been dried, compressed and rolled paper thin. 

We generally think of sushi as raw fish, and while that might be the heart of the sushi experience, main ingredients can also be a variety of cooked meats -- octopus, squid and shellfish are always cooked -- or vegetables. 

When you get your plate of sushi, it will likely contain a dab of wasabi (a green paste similar in taste to horseradish). There will also be an empty dish where you might pour a little soy sauce.

You may also receive a dish of pickled sliced ginger, which acts as a palate cleanser between bites, the way a wine connoisseur might use crackers between tastings.

For a visitor to Yume Asian Bistro on Thursday, one of the sushi chefs, Jerry Zhao, explained the dishes and how to eat them.

Starting with a type of sushi called nigirizushi -- an oblong, hand-pressed serving of rice and a cut of raw fish placed on top -- Zhao said there are a few options on how to eat it. In Japan, it would probably be eaten as presented, with no soy sauce, no added wasabi (the chef has already placed some wasabi under the fish).

It's traditional to use your fingers to pick up nigirizushi, but chopsticks are acceptable.

Americans, typically, will place some soy sauce in a dish and mix in a dash of wasabi, Zhao explained. Some might put a dab or three of wasabi on top of the fish.

What's more important than how you use wasabi, or whether you grab the serving with your fingers or chopsticks, is what you do next.

What you don't want to do is try to cut the fish or let the rice touch the soy sauce (the rice will soak up too much soy sauce, destroying the flavor of both the rice and the fish, and cause the packed rice to fall apart).

Rather, you turn the nigirizushi-fish-side first into the soy sauce. Just a dab will do it.

You then put the whole piece into your mouth, fish side on your tongue.

For a roll, you would likely not dip it in your wasabi-soy-sauce mix.

For traditionalists, they eat sushi as served, and it's chef's choice, not the diner's. In Japanese, "trust the chef" translates into "omakase." In some sushi bars, diners have no other choice.

At Yume Asian Bistro, of course, the choices are much more expansive. There is a menu loaded with an array of sushi choices, such as chirashi, sashimi, spicy maki, eel dragon roll, thunder roll, Mexican roll and naruto maki. Sushi can also be ordered a la carte.

While Huang runs the sushi bar, Xaio is in charge in the kitchen, which provides both additional Asian flavors to experience, but also gives the person not ready to try sushi meal options while the rest of their party may be in the mood for some raw yellowfin tuna or striped bass. 

Xaio's kitchen is well equipped with all-new restaurant-quality ovens, burners and grills and he has plenty of helping hands to aid in fast and accurate meal preparation.

Yume's kitchen menu includes teriyaki, hibachi, and tempura dishes. Entrees include pad thai, curries, salt and pepper shrimp, duck, and pineapple chicken. 

Xaio admits to being a little unsure yet what Batavia's diners would prefer on the kitchen menu, so he will run regular specials to find out what people like.

"I know how to cook a lot of stuff, but I don't know if people like it or lot," he said.

He's also brimming with ideas.

"I have so many things on my mind to put on the menu, but I can't do it all at once, so I try maybe (to) switch menus, a summer menu, maybe," Xaio said.

Everything that is served out of the kitchen is prepared with the same eye toward presentation as the sushi. Great care is taken to ensure dishes are as artful as they are flavorful.

A customer favorite already is Xaio's pineapple fried rice, which is rice, shrimp, chicken and bits of pineapple served in half a pineapple husk.

Xaio and Huang put a great deal of thought into designing the interior of their restaurant, as well. A spare, contemporary theme of cut rocks along the walls sets the tone, with touches of Asian art. The predominant feature is water flowing through two panes of thick glass near the entry.

The chairs and booths are covered in leather and Xaio said he picked seating with extra padding to ensure customers are comfortable.

The lighting is kept low so those who want a romantic atmosphere will find it at Yume. The light across the room is actually gradiated. More light near the bar, where people can socialize, less light along the far wall; seating in the back is arranged for couples.

"I feel when people are eating, they need a comfortable place," Xaio said. "Music, good food and a comfortable place."

It took a lot of work to get his dream restaurant open, but now that he's serving food to happy customers, Xaio is glad to see the effort paying off.

"We try (the) best we can do," Xaio said. "Seven months. That is long story. I was just trying to do things perfect."

So far, it seems the customers like Batavia's new Asian bistro and Robbins thinks more local residents need to try Yume, and they should try sushi.

"Life is about trying different things," Robbins said. "You have to try different things, right?  Why have the same old thing all the time. Like traveling around the world and going to different places, and it should be the same thing when you eat. You should try different things to see if you like it. You might surprise yourself."

Chris Huang

Kevin Xaio

Friday, March 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

Photo: Cleaning up water after break in sprinkler system line at former Lowe's building

This morning contractors working on the former Lowe's location, getting the remaining space ready for new retail stores, apparently forgot to turn the water off to the sprinkler system before deciding to disconnect a pipe. The pipe needed to be relocated to make room for a new entrance to the new store. Workers undid two bolts and whoosh! An explosion of water. Perhaps as much as 1,000 gallons spilled out before the water was shut off. The break caused the water flow alarm to go off resulting in a response from the Town of Batavia Fire Department. Volunteer firefighters grabbed squeegees and brooms and helped clear the water out from inside the building.

Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Downtown businesses that keep their sidewalks clear get a little recognition

post by Howard Owens in batavia, business, downtown

A few of these signs popped up along downtown streets today. A couple of the business owners who found them in front of their store fronts this morning didn't know who put them out.

They hare the handiwork of Brian Kemp, of T-Shirts Etc.

Kemp took on the project himself -- not through the BID or Vibrant Batavia -- because he thinks local business owners should be encouraged to keep the sidewalks in front of their establishments. The ones who do so should be rewarded.

"They don't realize you've got to be able to see the cement," Kemp said.

He only made a few signs, so he'll rotate them around tomorrow, making sure businesses that haven't received the recognition yet, but deserve it, will.

Bottom photo submitted by Jessica Budzinack. She wrote, "My husband Christopher Budzinack works at The City Church. He was so happy his hard work was recognized during this rough winter.

Monday, March 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Genesee County Chamber announces opposition to Seneca casino in Henrietta

post by Howard Owens in Batavia Downs, business, chamber of commerce

Press release:

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has joined the growing opposition to the expansion of casino gaming in Western New York.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors has unanimously passed a resolution opposing any new proposed casino in New York west of Route 14 and specifically the location of a new tax-free, Las Vegas-style casino in Monroe County owned and operated by the Seneca Nation.

The addition of another casino located in Western New York would over-saturate the regional gaming marketplace and would have negative impact on Batavia Downs Gaming and its operations. Batavia Downs Gaming is located in Genesee County and has shown to be an outstanding partner in the community and is directly and indirectly responsible for thousands of jobs in our region.

An additional casino in such proximity to Batavia Downs will greatly jeopardize the livelihoods of those thousands of individuals who rely on the continued operation and success of Batavia Downs Gaming. Not only would Batavia Downs Gaming be affected, but the addition of a full Las Vegas-style casino has shown to have a negative impact on surrounding restaurant, hotel and other hospitality businesses as well.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce has asked fellow business organizations in the region to join in opposition to expanding gaming in Monroe County and all other locations in New York west of Route 14.

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