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Monday, October 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Sarah Noble-Moag appointed to GGLDC board of directors

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, GGLDC, Pavilion

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. (GGLDC) has appointed Sarah Noble-Moag to the organization’s board of directors.

“Sarah Noble-Moag was selected to serve on the GGLDC board because of her extensive management experience with various dairy companies right here in Genesee County,” said Thomas Felton, GGLDC board chairman. “Her skills and background knowledge of the local agricultural industry will be a tremendous asset to the board.”

Noble-Moag is a personnel manager for Linwood Management Group, LLC, which provides management services to dairy companies, including Noblehurst Farms, and Synergy, LLC. In this role she coordinates staffing, employee payroll and benefits, communication and recruitment for the group along with being responsible for overseeing internal personnel controls and staffing.

In addition to her position with Linwood Management Group, Noble-Moag is very active within the community. She is the past president of the board of education for the Pavilion Central Schools, and continues to serve on the audit committee.

She maintains an active role in education and training for our rural communities, advocating for affordable, quality public education by serving as a board member on the Agricultural Affiliates, which provides leadership necessary to build a strong workforce for agriculture in the Northern U.S. She also is a member of the National Council of Agricultural Employers and New York State Agricultural Society.

Noble-Moag is a graduate of Cornell University and a graduate of Class VI of LEAD New York. She an elder in the Covington Presbyterian Church, and has served on the Committee on Ministry and Migration Working Group (a forum on immigration reform) for the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley.

She resides in Pavilion with her husband, Timothy Moag. They have three grown children.

Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 11:44 am

McDonald's holds ribbon cutting for East Main location

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, McDonald's

The Batavia High School band played, the franchise owner made a speech and a longtime local employee cut the ribbon to officially open the new McDonald's Restaurant on East Main Street, Batavia.

Batavia-native Holly Carney (in purple, top photo), who will manage the new store, told the story of how her career with McDonald's started. She was 16 and her parents picked up an application for her and made her fill it out and hand it in. Her mother drove her to the store and made her turn it in. With tears in her eyes, she handed her application to Kathy Eves (top photo getting a hug from Carney). Despite her misgivings, she got the job and worked her way up into management.  

Eves cut the red ribbon to officially open the store and received as a present a palm-sized glass sculpture of the original McDonald's Restaurant in Des Plaines, Ill.

This is the 10th location for franchise owner Harry Schatmeyer (in the white shirt), who also owns the McDonald's location on West Main.

The store made a $500 donation to the Batavia HS band.

Also pictured in the top photo, assistant manager Stephanie Bouter.

City Manager Jason Molino with the Hamburglar and Grimace.

Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 8:15 am

New McDonald's opens with long line

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, McDonald's

I got there too late, but Dan Fischer, WBTA, confirms there was quite a crowd lined up for the opening of the new McDonald's on East Main Street, Batavia. He said people were lined up before 6 a.m. The opening was at 8 a.m. He said at one point there were at least 100 people in line.

There is an official ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 11:30 am

Town planners give initial nod of approval to apartment complex on West Main Street

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business

Two members of the Town of Batavia Planning Board said they were initially opposed to plans for an apartment complex in an area zoned commercial on West Main Street Road, but after study and consideration, decided to vote in favor of the project.

Those votes were essential last night to early-stage approvals for Big Tree Glen, a planned 136-unit complex from Rochester-based Conifer Developers.

The board approved the environmental review process, a zoning variance and a preliminary site plan.

The zoning variance is contingent on agreements in the final site plan that will prohibit Section 8 and HUD-subsidized rents in the complex, as well as continued on-site management.

Conifer is applying for a state grant aimed at encouraging "workforce housing," and that subsidy combined with putting the complex in a commercial zone were stumbling blocks for board members Paul Marchese and Lou Pagnello.

After Pagnello did some research, however, spoke with an attorney friend and thought about it some more, he decided he should support the project.

He said factors included the solid reputation of Conifer and the quality they're promising for the new complex. 

He said he also realized that as a businessman, if he were expanding or building a new business, he would apply for whatever government aid might be available. Any business owner would, he said.

"The more I think about it, the more I think this benefits the community as time goes on," Pagnello said. "I was totally against it, but after doing a little research on my own, that's how I feel about it now. We want development in Batavia and we want to work with developers who are top-notch, not like some of the others we've dealt with before."

The complex, he said, will actually help spur commercial development on West Main, which is a key development goal for the town.

Marchese said he was with Pagnello.

"I was really against it, too," he said.

Because the county planning board recommended disapproval of the project, the town board needed at least five affirmative votes to approve the zoning variance. The vote was 5-1.

Paul McCullough voted no on the zoning variance request. He didn't state a reason for his no vote.

The board will need to approve a final site plan at a later date that will include the covenants and restrictions it's looking for to ensure the complex remains a quality housing project.

The state grant Conifer is applying for requires that the apartment complex meets the residential needs of people earning 50 to 60 percent of the area's median income.

That's about $65,000 for a a family of four in Genesee County. For the Town of Batavia, the complex will actually be meeting the needs of a family of four earning about $54,000 a year in gross income.

"This is truly workforce housing for the Town of Batavia," said John F. Caruso, representing Conifer.

Previously:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 10:56 am

Employee now the owner of Bob Adams Automotive in Le Roy

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy

Jamie Merica prides himself on being a good mechanic, and Bob Adams Automotive in Le Roy has a decades-long reputation for good service, so when Bob Adams decided to sell his business and retire, Merica said taking over the business seemed like the right opportunity.

After five years as an employee of Adams, Merica now owns the shop.

"As a lifelong resident of Le Roy, I know a lot of people," Merica said. "That will help. We offer honest repairs at a fair price and we try to take care of everybody we can."

Photo by Amanda Earl.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm

The Batavian now a member of the New York Press Association

post by Howard B. Owens in business, thebatavian

The New York Press Association has served as a membership organization for community newspapers in the State of New York for 161 years.

Today, The Batavian became the second member in the group's history that publishes news exclusively online.

The first was RiverheadLocal on Long Island.

We're proud to become members of NYPA, which has a distinguished history of serving the needs of news publishers in New York.

Here's a statement from NYPA about our membership:

The New York Press Association is delighted to welcome Howard Owens and The Batavian as our newest online-only member. 

The Batavian is a highly respected news organization which provides relevant local content to its readers,” said executive director Michelle Rea.“Readers should be able to access quality news content wherever and whenever they choose. Content and relevancy are the key, and The Batavian excels at both.  

"NYPA has a proudly supported New York’s community news organizations for more than 160 years, and as news organizations evolve, so do NYPA’s programs and services. NYPA continues to introduce best practices and new business models for print and digital platforms. We’re thrilled to have The Batavian join the conversation.”

Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 10:29 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 8:58 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 2:07 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 6:49 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.

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