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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 8:53 pm

GCC students ready to pitch Batavia Loop Trail project in statewide competition for funding

post by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Loop Trail, business, GCC

In something like a dress rehearsal for their big presentation in Albany on Friday, five Genesee Community College students stood before local officials and the media and made their pitch for a bike and walking trail that would surround Batavia.

The Batavia Loop Trail project is one of the finalists the Social Entrepreneurship / Nonprofit category in the fifth annual New York Business Plan Competition.

A win could mean a $50,000 prize for the project.

City Manager Jason Molino said at the end of the presentation, the project sounds like a winner even if it doesn't win the competition.

"Personally, I think it's a home run," Molino said. "It's closely accessible to residential property and adds a quality-of-life perspective that right now isn't there."

The Batavia Loop Trail would leverage an already-funded trail -- to the tune of $1.5 million provided by the state's Transportation Enhancement Program -- and create a closed circle around the city, providing safer, quicker bicycle access to the college campus from the city.

The total cost of the project hasn't been determined, but the students said their plan calls for it being completed by 2025.

"This is really a transformative project and we feel like we're the students to get it off the ground," Maryssa Peirick said.

Besides making the GCC campus and the city better connected, the trail plan passes within a block or two of 100 local businesses and several parks.

Students said the loop -- and Assemblyman Steve Hawley agreed -- will help attract bike riders from throughout the region. Hawley said he frequently goes to neighboring counties, such as those along the Erie Canel, to ride his bike.

If the students can win the top prize it would fund a feasibility study, which would help determine the final route and the project costs.

Molino said there are several potential grants from both public and private funders for such a project and winning the competition would certainly help attract more support.

"If you came back with $50,000 ready to roll, that would pull in a lot more interest," Molino said.

The students also anticipate doing local fund raising to help pay for the project.

Potential project partners include the city and town of Batavia, City Schools, the Chamber of Commerce, Genesee County Economic Development Center, Leadership Genesee, local civic clubs and Vibrant Batavia.

Hawley said he found the students' presentation impressive.

"Quality of life is an important issue for economic development," Hawley said. "It will help retain our current population and attract new people to visit and live right here in our area. All of this means new revenue, and spreading of the oppressive tax burden among more, thereby lessening the individual burden for all."

This is the projected trail map. It could be revised through the feasability study process.

Monday, April 21, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Bergen resident builds new store and gas station at routes 33 and 19

post by Howard B. Owens in bergen, business

Bergen has a new gas station and convenience store, along with a Dunkin' Donuts location, on Clinton Street Road, near the intersection of Route 33 and Route 19.

Owner Kamaljat Sembhi, who started operating a small, old gas station on the property in 1996, said he thought the location was ideal for an expanded store and gas station. He worked with Dunkin' Donuts to lease space inside the store and offer drive-up donuts and coffee.

"I thought it was a pretty good spot," Sembhi said. "The best corner in the area."

The new store is 3,000 square feet and there are three pumps outside along with two diesel pumps and a kerosene filling station.

The Bergen resident said business has been "pretty good" since opening a month ago.

"We've been busy. I'm happy with that."

Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Bar and music added to the mix at Yume Asian Bistro

post by Howard B. 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 B. 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 B. 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 B. 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 B. 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

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Insource Urgent Care, Sponsored Post

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

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