Business

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Business, Warsaw, agriculture, agribusiness.

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Her excitement about her newest venture was evident in her voice and the light in her eyes.

“On Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 7) we are going to have a 'sha-bang',” said Burley Berries and Blooms owner Megan Burley. “We are going to have pumpkins, flowers, kid activities, apple dumplings, and we hope to sell East Hill (Creamery) cheeses as well and hope to have melted cheese on potatoes.”

Late last month, Burley officially opened the “Blooms” portion of her business at 6335 Route 20A, Warsaw, with a ribbon cutting and plans on expanding both berry and flower varieties next season.

“Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania I learned so much…and it's a good way to raise children. And it gave me the people interaction. So it's helped in this venture.”

Burley moved to Wyoming County five years ago following her marriage to Ryan Burley. Four years ago they planted strawberries. This summer she expanded her U-pick offerings to include U-pick flowers.

Although this is Burley’s first year experimenting with the flowers, this season was the third for her berry patches.

“I added the flowers because I love flowers and the garden in front was filled with flowers. I liked them growing up, so I decided to do my own. I didn’t want to go into debt to build the business so I am starting out small.”

However, Burley didn’t start out with an entrepreneurial career plan, after graduating from Penn State with a degree in Agricultural Science, she planned on doing crop consulting. Instead, she married Ryan and moved to New York.

“We met on Farmersonly.com and I presented the idea of my own business pretty early on in the relationship. I also work for Cornell Cooperative Extension and work with beginning farmers, so it’s helped me in what I’m doing as well.”

Although Megan grew up on a farm, she didn’t know much about cows until she met Ryan. Ryan continues to work his family farm – East Hill Farms – in Warsaw. Her family’s farm was focused on vegetable crops.

“Even in high school I grew strawberries. When we first moved here we put in a half acre of strawberries and added a half acre every year since. We are almost up to two acres of strawberries.”

Although planting the berry can begin as early as March, the picking season has a much shorter window – three to four weeks – and it takes two years for the plants to produce fruit. In order to extend the picking season as long as possible, Burley planted a variety of strawberry called Malwina. She hopes this will give her an extra two weeks of picking season.

“We’ve planted 15 varieties and next year we will have eight pickable varieties. We have Early Glow, which are the first strawberries of the season and are very sweet, and Jewel and Honeoye…they are all sweet varieties.”

To make the best use of the land, Burley plans on rotating the crops every few years. She intends on keeping a planting of strawberries for three to four years. By that fourth year, the yield is less. Subsequently, the patch of land Burley used for her initial crop of strawberries will now become a blueberry patch, she says.

In addition to her part-time employment with CCE and Berries and Blooms, Megan and Ryan have two toddlers – Judson, 2 years old, and Leena, 1.

“They are 11 months apart so it was a big surprise when we knew we were having them so close together… Strawberry season is more overwhelming than the flowers…there is more effort with the strawberries.”

However, she said she couldn’t do it without the help of her husband and augmenting child care with daycare.

“Half if not more of the people who come here are moms and they bring their kids. I’m a mom so I understand the juggling act, so I encourage them to bring the kids. I’m more in this for the people than growing the crop. However, I do hope to make this a full-time venture.”

In addition to the Warsaw location, goods from Burley Berries and Blooms can be found at the Geneseo Farmers Market from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 19, and in a possible new craft beer from the Silver Lake Brewing Project.

“They bought strawberries, blueberries and currants. The idea is to give the ale an aroma.”

Burley Berries is still offering U-pick flowers this year and are sold on a self-serve, U-pick basis. Flowers can also be bought at bulk pricing for weddings or events.

For more information about Burley Berries and Blooms call (585) 687-7050 or click here.

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Monday, September 25, 2017 at 6:52 pm

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Information sourced from a press release, file photos:

Wyoming County is commonly known as a leader in the agricultural industry, but it is not well known that manufacturing is one of the county’s top business sectors. The county is home to approximately 50 unique manufacturers making products that range from automatic girth welders used on oil storage tanks around the world, products used in the automotive industry, to baked goods stocked on Jet Blue airplanes.

On Oct. 5 Wyoming County will celebrate Manufacturing Day – a nationwide grassroots movement dedicated to overcoming the shared challenges facing manufacturers today. Officials say it’s a way to recognize and highlight the contributions manufacturing makes to the economy of the county.

Manufacturing has experienced unprecedented growth in Wyoming County in metals-based manufacturing jobs since 2010, Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism President Scott Gardner says. This increase is due to the workforce, low energy and operational costs, and easy access to 50 percent of North America’s population. According to DataUSA, manufacturing jobs represent 13.5 percent of the workforce in Wyoming County. Our manufacturers employ more than 2,500 workers, 40 percent above the national average, and those workers on average earn $56,516 per year.

However, one of the most pressing issues facing manufacturers today is finding skilled labor. The gap between job requirements and applicant’s skill set is leaving 600,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled in the United States.

Manufacturers' ability to address this gap has been hindered by the public perception that careers in manufacturing are undesirable and by insufficient preparatory education. Both of these problems stem from a lack of understanding of present-day manufacturing environments, which are highly technical, officials say.

Manufacturing today includes highly trained, well-paid employees who work on state-of-the-art equipment, although the perception persists that they are often viewed as antiquated factories designed for low-skilled workers. This change in public perception is the first step in addressing one of the main challenges faced by manufacturers today – a gap in skilled labor.

“We are very pleased and fortunate to have a solid manufacturing base right here in the county,” Gardner said. “We recognize the economic contributions these companies are making every day, and their commitment to the workforce of Wyoming County. We also recognize that these companies also need a skilled labor force and environment that is friendly to business.”

One of the main reasons motivating Manufacturing Day is to introduce students to the potential of manufacturing careers. The event is a chance to spark student interest in manufacturing that could lead to further studies, a new generation of skilled workers, and an eventual closing of the skills gap. Giving students early exposure to manufacturing careers is critically important to ensuring a long-term talent pipeline.

“It’s a constant pleasure to visit and work with many of our manufacturers and it’s always a treat for me to see firsthand the products that are made here and witness the pride the workforce takes in their work and the satisfaction they realize knowing their quality products are being sold throughout the world,” said Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director James Pierce.

“The general public drives by these businesses every day but does not have a notion of what amazing things are going on behind the walls. That is why Manufacturing Day was created, to raise the awareness and importance of manufacturing.”

More than 64 percent of students in career and technical education (CTE) programs say that their own interests and personal experiences are the greatest influence on their future career decisions.

A recent Public Policy Institute survey reported New York employers say, STEM positions (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are the most difficult to fill. Additionally, the projection is that these workforce shortages will persist over the coming decade. Skilled production is the category in which they anticipate the most severe ongoing shortage.

STEM positions comprise four of the top five categories of positions that New York employers are finding most difficult to fill.

The national average age of a skilled worker in manufacturing is 56, according to a Manufacturing Institute report. The study also projects a shortage of two million workers between 2015 and 2025.

Employers responding to the Public Policy Institute survey also predict severe shortages in engineering and information technology occupations. They anticipate a more moderate shortage in mathematics-intensive occupations. These are the same top four workforce categories employers reported the highest difficulty filling jobs currently. However, they are more optimistic about occupations such as social science and architecture.

To bring more awareness to the issue this year, in cooperation with the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency and Business Education Council, the Wyoming County Chamber is inviting area students in ninth and 10th grades to visit three local manufacturing businesses, Morton Salt in Silver Springs, Advanced Rubber Products in Wyoming, and the Marquart Company in Gainesville.

“We are excited to show our students the exciting opportunities that a career in manufacturing can provide them as they are making their future career choices,” said Wyoming County Business Education Council Executive Director Linda Leblond. “We want to keep our talented youth right here in Wyoming County. Each business is unique in the types of jobs and manufacturing processes that take place and will offer students an up-close look at potential job opportunities.”

To learn more about Manufacturing Day, visit www.mfgday.com. For additional information on manufacturing in Wyoming County, call the Chamber at (585) 786-0307 or the IDA at (585) 786-3764.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 3:14 pm
posted by Billie Owens in North Java, Wyoming County, agribusiness, farming, Business.

Press release:

NORTH JAVA NY -- U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched a major effort to protect funding for the Northeast Center For Occupational Safety And Health For Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (NEC), which administers critical farm safety programs for Western New York and farm workers throughout Upstate New York.

One example of this important work is the National Rollover Protection System (ROPS) Rebate Program. NEC’s research led to this life-saving rebate program which provides critical information to farmers on how to find and install the right rollover bar for their machinery and provides rebates to farmers to cover approximately 70 percent of the cost for a farmer to install a ROPS roll bar retrofit kit on their tractor.

Schumer pointed to data that says farm related deaths are 800-percent higher than many other industries, and that tractor over-turns are the most frequent cause of deaths on farms, at a rate of 96 cases per year. For this reason, Schumer vowed to fight and tooth and nail to reverse this proposed funding cut that delivers continued research and administration of life-saving programs like these.

“Keeping family farmers and farm workers who operate dangerous machinery safe should be a priority for us all. That is why I am urging my colleagues in Congress to reverse these harmful proposed cuts and restore funding for critical farm safety programs and research,” Senator Schumer said. “The work done by organizations like the NEC is exactly the type of work the federal government should be investing in: it’s cost-effective, informed by real industry experts, and helps save farmers’ lives every day.

"By slashing funding to this life-saving organization, we jeopardize successful programs that are providing critical resources to farmers, like a 1-800 safety hot-line number and on the ground experts in rural communities, so farmers can access the ROPS Rebate Program, which helps farmers correctly install rollover bars on their tractors just in case the tractor flips over. We need to do everything possible to make sure we are investing in developing new safety solutions for our farmers and growers and I will be doing everything possible to make sure this program which puts farmers first is protected.”

Schumer explained that the administration’s proposed 2018 budget would severely cut funding for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that conducts research, by more than 40 percent. This cut is significant because the funding that is threatened supports research in regional and community-based programs for farm safety, such as the Northeast Center For Occupational Safety And Health For Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (NEC).

The NEC, which is an affiliate of Bassett Health, serves a 12-state region and is headquartered in Cooperstown, NY. From Maine through West Virginia, NEC promotes health and safety research, education, and prevention activities in the high-risk areas of farming, commercial fishing and logging. With fatality rates in the agricultural industry up to 800 percent higher than many other industries, Schumer said the work NEC does is critical to the safety of Upstate New York’s farmers and farm workers and the loss of this crucial funding would hurt NEC’s ability to research innovative ways to protect farmers now and in the future.

An example of the importance of NEC’s work is the development and expansion of the National Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) Rebate Program. Tractor rollovers are the No. 1 cause of farm related injury and death, resulting in an average of 96 deaths year. In fatal instances, the cost of an overturn could reach nearly $1 million and nearly seven out of 10 farms go out of business within five years of an accident.

There have been four rollover accidents in Wyoming County reported since 1997, including two fatalities. In 2014 a farmer in the Town of Gainsville in Wyoming County was killed after his tractor overturned on a hill where he was operating in a field off of Route 19A. In 2004 a farm worker was killed when the farm tractor he was operating to move calf hutches overturned and pinned him between the tractor and a large storage trailer. Additionally, last month in August a man was fatally injured in nearby East Aurora when a tractor he was riding in rolled over him while he was dragging a stump.

In response to this hazardous environment, the NEC launched an effort to create the life-saving ROPS Rebate Program, which covers approximately 70 percent of the cost for a farmer to install a ROPS rollbar kit on their tractor. In most cases this means farmers only pay $500 or less for this life-saving equipment that can otherwise cost up to $1,200.

NEC also provides information to farmers on how to find and install the right rollover bar. Since its inception in 2006, the NEC reports that more than 2,150 tractors have been retrofitted with protective structures in seven states, with more than 1,500 of those retrofits occurring in New York State alone. The program has also been extremely popular in the nine-county Finger Lakes Region with over 200 farmers that have retrofitted, including 24 so far in Wyoming County.

Additionally, feedback from users has been extremely positive, with participants in New York reporting 221 close calls and 19 serious incidents in which death or injury were likely without protective structures.

Standing at Lamb & Webster, a Wyoming County-based farm equipment dealer in North Java, Schumer also underscored that the NEC relies on this federal funding to administer the National ROPS tractor rollover bar rebate program which supports local jobs. Lamb & Webster is one of many local businesses that work with NEC to install and retrofit tractors with the rollbar ROPS kit for farmers.

Schumer said in this way the ROPS program funding is a win-win-win: it helps farmers upgrade their tractors, it saves lives, and it supports local jobs at farm equipment suppliers like Lamb & Webster.

Schumer said that what makes this program so effective is that it is supported by the National Tractor Safety Council, an organization with representation from nearly 60 multi-sector industry and advocacy groups. Schumer added that by slashing funding for the NEC, we are not only putting this life-saving program at risk, but future development of new safety solutions will also be at risk.

The senator vowed to fight to reverse proposed NIOSH-CDC budget cuts so that the NEC can continue its valuable work with the ROPS Rebate Program and other initiatives that enhance the health and safety of agriculture, forestry and fishing workers in New York and across the country.

The NEC has been identified by the federal government as one of ten agricultural centers across the country. They partner with government agencies, hospitals, manufacturers, family farms, and industry professionals to identify and prioritize occupational injury and fatality patterns, conduct research on how best to address these hazards, and work to make safety practices more cost-effective and accessible to thousands of agriculture, forestry, and fishing workers throughout the Northeast. According to NEC, half of their staff was raised or currently lives on farms and they remain deeply rooted in the farm community.

Schumer was joined by New York State Farm Bureau District 2 Director Patrick McCormick, NYS Farm Bureau Field Advisor Amanda Krenning-Muoio, Local farmers Jeff Meeder and Sarah Noble-Moag who both used to the ROPS program to retrofit tractors for their farms, Vice President & CFO of Lamb & Webster Inc. Earl LeGrou, and Patrick O'Hara, clinical case manager at The Northeast Center For Agricultural Medicine & Health

O'Hara said: “Although the elimination of this program would obviously negatively impact the health and safety of farmers and their workers, it’s a particularly frustrating decision, given the increasing pressure farmers are under to eliminate hazards from a naturally hazardous industry. Our NIOSH funded program offers farmers expertise on farm training and safety assistance programs like the ROPS program all of which make safety changes easier and cost-effective for farmers. Eliminating programs like ours would leave only one solution for reducing occupational fatalities and injuries, OSHA and regulation.”

McCormick said: “This federal NIOSH funding is vital to continue the work of the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health, through the assistance of Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety (NEC) to provide training, farm safety research, and cost-sharing programs like the ROPS tractor rollbar rebate program. These efforts are vital to promote farm safety and safeguard our farm workers and farm families.”

Monday, September 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Business.

Information sourced from a press release:

M&T Bank, a company with a long history of supporting the communities it serves, recently debuted the Understanding What’s Important Business Challenge. This new initiative celebrates local businesses and the organizations they support to make a difference in their communities.

 “M&T is passionate about our business customers and our communities,” said M&T Bank Senior Vice President and Manager of Business Banking Eric Feldstein. “Whether it is supporting a local food bank or neighborhood arts organization, M&T wants to celebrate those businesses that support their local community.”

How it works:

    • Businesses within M&T Bank’s geographic footprint nominate an organization in their community that they support, via an online form through Sept. 29. The business should highlight the work their nominated organization does for the community and how winning the competition will help that organization make an even greater impact.

    • M&T will select five finalists, which will be announced Nov. 2. Each of those five organizations will win $1,000 and vie for up to a $10,000 grand prize.

    • Through Nov. 22, the public will have the opportunity to cast their vote for their favorite of the five finalist organizations.

    • M&T Bank will announce the winning local organization Nov. 28, which is also being celebrated globally as Giving Tuesday. The grand prize winner will be awarded up to $10,000. The remaining four finalists will each receive $1,000. 

“M&T Bank is proud to support the communities in which we work and live, and we know our local business owners feel the same,” Feldstein said. “Local businesses help drive successful, strong communities.

"They create jobs, boost local economies and support neighbors in need. With the Understanding What’s Important Business Challenge, we want to celebrate local businesses that give back to their communities and to support the organizations they care about.”

All businesses within New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia are eligible to participate in the Understanding What’s Important Business Challenge. 

To be eligible to win $10,000, local organizations can be focused on any community objective.

To get started visit: https://bank.mtb.com/BusinessContest

Official contest rules can be found at https://bank.mtb.com/BusinessContestRules

M&T’s business banking team is dedicated to understanding what’s important to each of its business customers. From cash flow and financing to employee benefits and operations, M&T strives to help businesses achieve their goals and objectives with custom financial solutions that contribute to long-term success. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 11:53 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Java, Perry, Arcade, Warsaw, Business.

Information sourced from a press release

The Arts Council for Wyoming County (ACWC) and the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism announce the fourth annual Wyoming County Women's Business Summit. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at Beaver Hollow Conference Center/Biggest Loser Resort Niagara, 1083 Pit Road, Java Center. The theme of this year’s summit is “Close to Home.”

The keynote speaker for the event is local business owner and entrepreneur Keirsten Schaffer. Participants will also attend several break-out sessions, a luncheon of locally sourced foods, and a panel discussion featuring Wyoming County business women.

"We are very pleased to co-host the fourth Women's Business Summit with the ACWC at Beaver Hollow,” said Wyoming County Chamber President Scott Gardner. "Our continued goal is to bring women business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs, a unique opportunity to hear from dynamic presenters on a wide range of issues relevant to the personal and professional lives of Wyoming County’s professional women in business."

Shaffer, the owner of Lila Pilates in Perry, began her career in community and economic development in Livingston and Wyoming counties. In 2001, she co-founded the Perry Farmers’ Market. She also spent four years as a healthcare marketing consultant for the Wyoming County Community Health System.

In 2006, Shaffer was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. Subsequently, she put her efforts on the study of bodywork, movement, and wellness. At the Summit, she will discuss her journey to wellness and how she found movement and massage therapy to be the key to her overall health. She says the therapy ultimately improves and enhances her work performance.

"Every year we incorporate the ACWC’s year-long theme into the Women’s Summit,” said ACWC Executive Director Jacqueline Hoyt. “I am eager to hear the different interpretations regarding ‘Close to Home’ within the context of our women owned businesses or women in the work place. I am especially eager to hear how our keynote speaker Keirsten Schaffer will weave her information about the human body into the theme.”

Other presenters include:

    • Negotiating Skills: Victoria Reynolds, deputy district director, U.S. Small Business Administration

    • Multi-Generational Workplaces – Finding the Strengths: JoBeth Rath, trainer/Goodwill Industries

    • Personal Branding: Kelly Tracy, recruiter, Pioneer/Navient

    • Social Media, Where do You Want to Be?: Jessica Seymour, partner MOTIV Digital Media 

 Panel discussion speakers include:

    • Sarah Keeler, owner/instructor – Genesee Dance Theatre, Perry

    • Lisa Seewaldt, owner – Ash-Lin’s Elegant Rose Florist and Gift Shop, Warsaw

    • Laura DeBadts, independent senior sales director – Mary Kay, Warsaw

    • Sarah Billings, owner / Lead Stylist – slb salon & boutique Inc., Perry

    • Sandra Pirdy, owner – Creekside Fabrics, and motivational speaker/ instructor, Arcade

 The daylong summit is co-sponsored by the Beaver Hollow Conference Center/Biggest Loser Resort Niagara, Women’s OB-GYN of Warsaw, and Silver Lake Brewing Project in Perry.

General admission is $80 per person; $70 for ACWC and Chamber members. Seating is limited.

For more information or to register email Kelly Ashcraft at kelly@wycochamber.org or call the Chamber office at (585) 786-0307.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at 11:40 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Business, Perry, Castile, Warsaw, Arcade.

Information based on a press release:

Tompkins Bank of Castile has announced the results of the fourth and final round of its quarterly Community Minute Challege.

Friends of Letchworth State Park, the local fourth-round participant, was not chosen.

That honor went to Gilda’s Club Rochester. Each quarterly winner is awarded $2,500.

Gilda’s has been serving the Greater Rochester community since 1959, first as Cancer Action Inc., and then in 2000 as Gilda’s Club. Its mission is to create welcoming communities of no cost support to those living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends.

The winning organization for each Community Minute Challenge is determined by public voting on the Tompkins Bank of Castile Facebook page. Visitors watch one-minute videos produced by participating nonprofits and then vote for their favorite.

The first-round and third-round winners were both in Wyoming County. Respectively, they were Going to the Dogs Rescue, Main Street, Perry, an organization dedicated to helping homeless pets find loving forever homes; and Community Action for Wyoming County, which seeks to improve the quality of life of all people they serve by focusing on their needs, and encouraging them to realize their goals and become self-sufficient.

The second-round winner was Arc of Genesee Orleans, a resource of choice for people with disabilities and their families in both Genesee and Orleans counties.

Other organizations that participated in round four included:

    • Delphi Drug and Alcohol Council Inc. (Monroe County)

    • Friends of the Richmond Memorial Library (Genesee County)

    • Genesee Cancer Assistance (Genesee County)

    • Geneseo Parish Outreach Center (Livingston County)                         

“As proud members of the communities where we operate, we’re thankful for the important services that are provided by not-for-profit organizations in our area,” said Bank of Castile President and CEO John McKenna. "We’re thrilled to be able to bring attention to their positive work.”

Launched in August 2016, the challenge has awarded $10,000 in funds to local not-for-profit organizations. The program has helped organizations with much-needed money, and has increased exposure within their communities. 

“Winning the Community Minute Challenge was a huge boost for our organization in multiple ways,” said Going to the Dogs Rescue President Melissa Nichols-Henchen. “The monetary prize went a long way in purchasing vaccines and microchips for community dogs, giving us the ability to provide some basic care for animals who might not have had it otherwise."

Likewise, Community Action of Wyoming County Executive Director Connie Kramer was also grateful.

“Like many non-profits, we are able to provide programs through grants and designated donations,” Kramer said. “Of course, we also have day-to-day expenses that allow us to deliver our programs, so we were thrilled to be selected as a winner and apply the prize towards our operating budget." 

Tompkins Bank of Castile is a community bank with 16 offices in the five-county Western New York region. Services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, and leasing. In addition, insurance is offered through an affiliate company, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Wealth management, trust and investment services are provided through Tompkins Financial Advisors. Further information about the bank is available at www.bankofcastile.com.

Friday, August 25, 2017 at 3:14 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Perry, Business.

Press release

Clark Patterson Lee, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for more than 40 years, is pleased to welcome three hires to its Rochester team: Bruce Billings as construction project manager, Brittany Nowicki as junior interior designer, and Christian Perry as architectural designer.

In his new role, Billings is responsible for construction management, contract specification reviews and job inspections. He has more than 40 years of experience in the construction industry, serving as a carpenter with Local 85.

Outside of the office, the Perry resident serves as a member of the Perry Rotary Club and village planning board, and previously as mayor and volunteer fire department chief.

In her new position, Nowicki is responsible for project relines, product and finish specifications, and creating project presentation boards. She joins Clark Patterson Lee officially after serving as an intern for the past year while completing her bachelor’s degree in interior design from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Outside of the office, Nowicki is an International Interior Design Associate member of the Rochester Chapter. She lives in the city of Rochester.

As architectural designer, Perry will work on health care projects through their various stages, including planning, design, development, and construction documentation and administration. He joins the team from Ewing Cole, where he spent two years as a designer.

Perry earned his bachelor’s degree from Alfred State College in Science and Technology. Outside of the office, he is the co-founder and board president of Little Angels of Honduras, a not-for-profit that works to reduce infant mortality in Honduras. Perry lives in Penfield.

Clark Patterson Lee is a full-service design firm that has provided professional services of exceptional quality and value to public and private clients for more than four decades. The firm maintains offices throughout New York, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, and offers expertise in architecture, engineering, planning, interior design and construction services. For more information on Clark Patterson Lee, visit www.ClarkPattersonLee.com or call 1-800-274-9000.

Monday, August 21, 2017 at 3:29 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, announcements.

At the Aug. 15 Wyoming County Board of Supervisors meeting held at the Pike Fair, the Board approved a resolution to allow the county’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to request admittance into the Erie County Foreign Trade Zone No. 23.

While the county could apply independently, it would have been cost prohibitive and there may have been a possibility of being rejected, says Wyoming County Planning and Development Director Bill Daly. Instead, the IDA is sending a letter of request to Erie County to be added to its FTZ.

“What really would happen is that the Erie County IDA would run Foreign Trade Zone No. 23 for Wyoming County,” Daly said. “Once Wyoming County is allowed into the zone, businesses that wish to become part of the FTZ would work with the Erie County IDA to become part of the zone.”

The foreign-trade zones (FTZs) program was authorized by Congress in 1934 to help “level the playing field and improve U.S. competitiveness” by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise. As it stands in the county now, if a business or manufacturer buys parts from a foreign country, the duty must be paid on the merchandise immediately. If Wyoming County is approved to become part of FTZ No. 23, those tariffs would only be paid on the part if it is shipped within the United States.

“What it does is allow for increased cash flow. The business wouldn’t have to pay a duty on the part(s) used as part of a whole product upon receipt. And, the duty wouldn’t be collected on items shipped outside of the U.S..”

Daly says being a part of the FTZ is a great economic development tool and could attract more business or manufacturers to the county because it would allow imported goods to be duty-free.

“We are seeing foreign companies wanting to put plants in the U.S. and we want Wyoming County to be considered for new businesses. A company cannot independently ask to be part of an FTZ unless the county is part of an FTZ.”

There are two types of zones in FTZ No. 23: general-purpose – involve public facilities that can be used by more than one company; and subzones – involve a single company’s site such as a manufacturing plant.

“The subzone is a marked-off area, approved by customs, within a business or manufacturing plant specifically for parts purchased from foreign countries. Everything is accounted for in this designated area. No duty is paid on it unless shipped to a company in the States. This allows American companies to participate in world trade and not be at a disadvantage with those with free-trade zones.”

However, being added to FTZ No. 23 is a three-step process. The county must be approved by Erie County, it is then sent on to the State for approval, once that is approved, the Federal Government gives the final say on whether the county is allowed to participate.

“There should be no reason for denial of Wyoming County’s application into the FTZ. And, any cost associated at this point of the process is paid for by Wyoming County IDA.”

Once Wyoming County becomes part of the zone, the county’s IDA would work with businesses to become part of the program with the Erie County IDA. While the IDA is picking up the tab to become a part of FTZ No. 23, it is up to the company to pay administration fees to the Erie County IDA if they want to join.

For more information on FTZs click here.

Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 5:04 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Arcade, Business.

The Little Red Caboose, Main Street, Arcade, is asking the community to keep its “eyes and ears open” due to alleged vandalism that had occurred at the business Aug. 5 and 6.

Owners of the business said the following on their Facebook page:

We were vandalized Saturday night and then broken into and vandalized Sunday night. They broke the door open to our storage shed and stole some things, cut and broke some things in mini golf, ripped up signs and Arcade & Attica Railroad pictures, cut holes into the new deck canopy, stole the mask from the “train guy” and broke things on top of the caboose.

“We are just a simple family trying to make ends meet while trying to create a place where friends and families can enjoy time together.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Arcade Police Department at (585) 492-3111.

Arcade Police officials are investigating the matter.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 7:12 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, events, Perry, Warsaw.

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When Gary and Betty Burley began farming in 1981 they had a dream of one day producing an added-value product. On Sunday, the Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism Office, along with friends, family, and local officials celebrated their lifelong dream with a ribbon cutting, officially opening the East Hill Creamery in Perry.

Plans for the creamery began in 2011 when thoughts of passing their farm on to the next generation took hold. The Burleys weren’t quite ready to retire and felt the timing was right to pursue their dream. Four years later, construction of the plant began and by 2016 the first of many cheeses began aging in the caves – an enclosed environmentally controlled area used specifically to age cheese.

The Burleys started their farm with a small herd of 18 cows on 100 acres of farmland on the East Hill (Route 20A) in Warsaw. Today, East Hill Farms milks 700 cows in a rotational grazing system. When deciding on what types of cheeses to make, they chose to make a product that would emphasize the flavors in the milk derived from the grasses, herbs and flowers their cows eat in the pasture.

All of the cheeses at East Hill Creamery are produced with raw milk, meaning, the milk is not pasteurized before it is made into cheese. The cheese goes through a 60-day aging process that naturally pasteurizes it. The French Alpine style of cheeses allows the Burleys to exhibit the high quality, grass-fed cow's milk that they use to produce the cheese.

“What a great day it is for East Hill Creamery, Wyoming County, and our business community,” said Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce President Scott Gardner. “We are so fortunate to have a great business that is sourcing local dairy, producing world-class cheese, and providing jobs. Congratulations to Gary and Betty Burley and thank you for making the investment here in Wyoming County.”

The couple also introduced their family and employees during the ceremony and gave an emotional thank you to everyone gathered for the strong support their business has received since opening.

Several local restaurants hosted food stations throughout the open house including the Hole in the Wall Restaurant in Perry, Glen Iris Inn in Letchworth State Park, and Wendy’s Pantry & Country Mouse Tea House, and Suzea’s Gluten Free Bakery and Café, both in Mt. Morris. The eateries provided food made with East Hill Creamery cheeses. The Wyoming County Dairy Princess, Kim Evans, was also on hand with members of her royal court including Dairy Princess alternate Danielle Herrick, and Dairy ambassadors Abby Schreiber and Brenda Martin.  

East Hill Creamery offers a wide array of products: including their signature cheeses, cheese baskets and trays; East Hill Creamery merchandise; grass-fed butter and crème fraiche from Kriemhild Dairy Products; fresh bread and baked goods from the Hole in the Wall Restaurant on Saturdays; olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Cosimano and Ferrari; fresh pasta from Bozza Pasta; truffles and barks from Dolce Bella Artisan Chocolates; local honey from Log Cabin Acres and Castile Cider Mill; beef sticks from Wilson Beef Farm; local eggs, and local maple syrup.

Regular business hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information on East Hill Creamery, located at 346 S. Main St. can be found by calling (585) 237-3622 or at www.easthillcreamery.com.

See related: The cheese industry is making a comeback in Perry

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 11:27 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Business, craft brewery, Strykersville.

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It was a huge leap of faith when they opened their business in March, says Windy Brew LLC owner Michelle Snyder. While the brewery has been open for several months the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, Snyder, her husband, friends, and family gathered at the local shop Saturday afternoon for an “official” ribbon cutting.

“My husband has been a home brewer for several years,” Snyder said. “When in Ohio we saw a place that made craft beer and the person we spoke with suggested that he try it on the weekends… And now we are a custom brew center.”

In addition to offering almost 20 varieties of craft beer, Windy Brew, 733 Route 20A, Strykersville, is also a custom brew center. According to Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism President Scott Gardner, they are Western New York’s only custom “make your own beer” center.

With their brewery, customers get the total experience of learning about the brewing process without having to buy the equipment, ingredients, bottles, and kegs. Various brewing session options are available.

The Tap Room offers beers from a light ale, seasonal brews, to IPAs. Windy Brew offers flights, by the glass, and growlers to go. They also offer one-half and one-sixth kegs for sale via request and deposit.

“On behalf of the Chamber and Tourism office we offer our sincere congratulations to Bill and Michelle and Windy Brew,” Gardner said. “We are excited to add one more food and beverage attraction to our outstanding group of craft breweries in Wyoming County. Windy Brew is unique in that it has an educational component as well, it’s certainly an added bonus and offers something for those who are interested in learning the techniques of small-batch brewing.” 

Regular taproom hours are Thursday 4 to 9 p.m., Friday 2 to 9 p.m., Saturday noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

For more information and how to make a reservation for a custom brew session visit the website or call (585) 805-4006. 

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 11:07 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Business, Warsaw, Perry, Airport.

Living in Wyoming County, or any part of Western New York for that matter, good snow removal equipment is inherent to any business. However, just having the equipment is only part of the preparedness, having a place to house and store the equipment is essential, too.

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) recently announced the Perry-Warsaw Airport was awarded a $45,000 grant to fund the construction of a new snow removal equipment building, thus extending the life of the equipment.

Last fall the airport took ownership of a 2018 Case loader but it was necessary to house it in one of the newer hangars, said Airport Manager Ken Moses. However, with the now rented hangar occupied, the loader has become subject to the weather.

“The governor agreed to fund an outbuilding for all the airport equipment along with giving us a place to maintain and repair as needed,” Moses said. “Storage for any and all equipment has always been an issue, so mowers and the like have been subject to Mother Nature from time to time.”

The funding, administered through the Federal Aviation Administration, follows a federal grant received last year to purchase snow removal equipment. This part of the grant will cover all the preliminary work such as design, bidding and prep work to the area where the building will sit. It will be large enough to house the Case loader and all the mowing equipment.

“Supporting infrastructure projects like the Perry-Warsaw Airport will bolster local tourism and improve air-travel efficiencies for incoming and outgoing passengers,” Collins said. “This is a prudent use of federal tax dollars that will help improve the quality of life in Wyoming County and throughout all of Western New York. I am glad this FAA funding is being invested in New York’s 27 Congressional District.”

“I have hopes of walking through the door by late next fall (2018),” Moses said. “One half will be insulated and just enough heat provided to do any upkeep or repair.”

In addition to this year’s funding, in 2016 the airport received $43,200 in federal funding to build an AWOS (automated weather-observing system) weather station on the grounds. The station will provide accurate, current, and site-specific weather information to pilots, which in turn will improve local air safety.

According to Moses, the construction for the AWOS project is set to begin in spring 2018.

Friday, July 21, 2017 at 12:03 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Perry, Business.

Press release:

Proving that a minute can matter, Tompkins Bank of Castile is launching the fourth and final round of the quarterly Community Minute Challenge. Each quarterly winner is awarded $2,500; by the end of the contest, a total of $10,000 will have been provided in much-needed funds to local not-for-profit organizations.

“In each of the first three rounds, the support for the Community Minute Challenge has been impressive, with thousands of votes cast for the participating organizations,” said Bank President and CEO John McKenna. “As proud members of the communities where we operate, we’re thankful for the important services that are provided by non-for-profit organizations in our area. We’re thrilled to be able to bring attention to their positive work through the Community Minute Challenge.”

The fourth round will begin July 24 and run through Aug. 7. The winning organization is determined by public voting on the Bank of Castile Facebook page, where visitors can watch the one-minute videos produced by participating nonprofits and then vote for their favorite. Each video explains how the nonprofit would use the awarded funds.

The seven organizations competing in this round are:

    • Friends of Letchworth State Park, Wyoming County;

    • Delphi Drug and Alcohol Council Inc., and Gilda's Club Rochester, both in Monroe County;

    • Friends of the Richmond Memorial Library and Genesee Cancer Assistance, both in Genesee County; and

    • Geneseo Parish Outreach Center in Livingston County

To show support for the initiative and cast a vote, participants should “like” the Tompkins Bank of Castile Facebook page and click on the Community Minute Challenge app. They can then select their favorite nonprofit after watching the one-minute videos. Individuals can vote once per day during the contest period.

Launched in August 2016, the Community Minute Challenge has awarded $7,500 to date. The first-round winner was Going to the Dogs Rescue in Wyoming County, an organization dedicated to helping homeless pets find loving forever homes. The second-round winner was ARC of Genesee Orleans, a resource of choice for people with disabilities and their families in both Genesee and Orleans counties. The third-round winner was Community Action for Wyoming County, an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of all people they serve by focusing on their needs and encouraging them to realize their goals and become self-sufficient. 

Tompkins Bank of Castile is a community bank with 16 offices in the five-county Western New York region. Services include complete lines of consumer deposit accounts and loans, business accounts and loans, and leasing. In addition, insurance is offered through an affiliate company, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Wealth management, trust and investment services are provided through Tompkins Financial Advisors.

Further information about the bank is available at www.bankofcastile.com.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, tourism, Warsaw, Letchworth State Park, Business.

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The photo is of one of the boxes that can be found along the newly launched Geocache Trail in Wyoming County.

Tourism is big business in Wyoming County and the state’s recent tourism report backs it up with solid and exciting numbers, says Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Scott Gardner.

Building on the momentum of previous successes, the program reaches out to more visitors with new promotions, targeted marketing, and strong partnerships.

According to the most recent data, the county’s tourism impact is up 6.3 percent. This represents $43.8 million in traveler spending over 2015 levels. Additionally, Wyoming County is the second highest in terms of growth in the Greater Niagara region, which it is a part of. Tourism in this region is a $2.5 billion industry.

Travelers are spending in several categories: the food and beverage industry leads the list with $12.1 million; second is homes with $10.7 million; retail sales at $7.2 million, recreation at $6.9 million, lodging at $5.2 million and transportation at $1.6 million.

Data from Tourism Economics, New York State's tourism economy showed a 2.7-percent growth in traveler spending. This reached a new high of nearly $65 billion or 22 percent above the state's prerecession peak set in 2008.

"I would like to recognize the tourism businesses across Wyoming County who have invested and work tirelessly to grow their businesses. I would also applaud the effort of the staff and board of directors who put together a strong tourism program for our County," Gardner said.

"We must also recognize state leaders for continuing to wisely invest in New York's tourism as an economic driver and thank the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors for continuing to support our efforts to strengthen the tourism sector in Wyoming County."

The report also details the effect of tourism on employment – the county's total labor income is $21.4 million.

Additionally, between state and local taxes generated from tourism, Wyoming County is collecting $5.25 million, which translates to savings for county taxpayers. Tourism-generated state and local taxes save the average Wyoming County household $338 annually. For the Greater Niagara region, that number jumps to $599 per household on average.

"The state's report is great news for Wyoming County and reflects all of the hard work that our tourism partners put in every day and each season. From beautiful and award-winning Letchworth State Park to our outstanding restaurants, attractions, and landscapes, Wyoming County really is a great place to recreate," said Marketing and Tourism Director Eric Szucs. "It is awesome when the data reflects what we all know about Wyoming County. We love to tell the story and welcome visitors from across the globe to experience all that we have to offer."

The Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism is the leading membership organization for local and regional growth, advocacy, and connection for the county's business community. Its mission is to serve the members and community; promote and grow the area's economic and tourism assets; and work collaboratively to create an environment that leads to the success and economic prosperity of Wyoming County.

For more information, or to become a member of the Chamber of Commerce, call  (585) 786-0307 or visit wycochamber.org or gowyomingcountyny.com.

Click here to view the Greater Niagara Region report.

Tourism Economics, headquartered in Philadelphia, is an Oxford Economics company dedicated to providing high value, robust, and relevant analyses of the tourism sector that reflect the dynamics of local and global economies.

Monday, July 17, 2017 at 3:47 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, announcements, Arcade.

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Press release, photo submitted by the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce.

Graphics designer, tattooist and entrepreneur Shannon Wojciechowski celebrated the opening of her new business with the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, friends and family July 14 with a ribbon cutting.

Although Wojciechowski has more than 20 years of experience as a graphic designer, she wanted a venture of her own and opened SW Designs Tattoo/Graphics Studio, Gallery & Gifts at 281 Main St. in Arcade. While she has been a tattoo artist for approximately six years, the primary focus of the business is graphics design.

SW Designs offers custom design work in various media, an art studio/gallery of different artists and a special veterans' corner to showcase the work of those who have served in the Armed Forces.

The endeavor was helped made possible through a Wyoming County Rural Arts Initiative and the NYS Micro-Enterprise program. These programs are designed to help new entrepreneurs establish businesses focusing on the arts.

For more information call (585) 653-5225.

Monday, July 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, Perry, announcements.

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Photos submitted, press release:

The idea of Silver Lake Brewing Project began in 2012 after a conversation about beer. Founders and managing members, Ryan Fitzsimmons, Pilar McKay and Tony Jones started the microbrewery to celebrate beer in a rural community.

The project kicked off in March 2015 and the brewery and taproom opened in March two years later.

On July 13, friends, family and local officials joined the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially opening the Silver Lake Brewing Project, 14 Borden Ave., Perry.

The founders say they recognized that there was a demand for a craft brewery in Wyoming County. As Perry was growing into a center of arts, culture and business, and the off Main Street location is on the way to the Perry entrance to Letchworth State Park, the owners found the old building perfectly suited as a gathering spot for locals and travelers alike.

Sliver Lake Brewing Project specializes in Belgian-style and classic American craft beer. The taproom sells pints, flights, growlers, crowlers, snacks, and merchandise.

The pub is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more information visit http://www.silverlakebrewingproject.com/, or call (585) 969-4238.

Monday, July 3, 2017 at 4:51 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Business, Attica, health.

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When Ryan LaVarnway was a child, 2 Market St., Attica, was Jim’s Deli and a general store. On Friday the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce welcomed LaVarnway, owner of Attica Pharmacy, to the address with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Local dignitaries, family and friends gathered at the corner of Market and Main streets to celebrate the official opening of Attica’s new independent pharmacy. The last time residents of the village and surrounding town had the option of pharmacies was in 1996 when Burling Drug closed its doors. 

“I had worked for Walgreens for 15 years and decided I didn’t want to be a staff pharmacist,” LaVarnway said. “I didn’t want to have to uproot my family to move up the corporate ladder.”

So, about four years ago he opened up his first pharmacy in Hamburg – a purchase he made from David Brooks. 

“Before I bought Brooks’ I thought about opening the pharmacy here, in this same building I’m in now, but it wasn’t doable at the time. But the real cool coincidence was in buying the store in Hamburg, the Brooks family used to live in this area.” 

The brick building that sits kitty-corner from the pharmacy was called the Duoform Company – a manufacturer of home remedies and medicines during the 1800s. David’s grandfather, Sewell Brooks, built the building. David’s father, Chester, was a pharmacist at a shop in the village. Sometime during the 1940s Chester moved his family to Hamburg to open up his own store – Brooks Pharmacy.

During the 1970s, David had taken over the pharmacy and in 2013 sold it to LaVarnway. While he still owns the shop in Hamburg, a couple of years ago he felt he could finally take the leap of bringing an independent pharmacy back to Attica. But he had a lot of work to accomplish first. 

“It’s totally different starting from new. There is a lot more involved in the process of starting a business from scratch.”

Licensing had to be obtained, a computer system needed to be installed and the building itself needed a bit of work.

“The building was a bank in the '60s and then sold to a store owner who had moved the door a few feet to the right, more in the center of the space. I wanted to make the front look like the old bank building.”

He not only renovated the interior, he restored the entrance back to its original facade – projects that were almost a year in the making. He also retained all the original woodwork and even repurposed an old door that he found in the basement that was labeled for the employee lunch room.

“This is my hometown. I saw a big need. The community hadn’t had a choice in pharmacies for 20-plus years. It’s a great community to open up in. To have done it on my own is rewarding, but the best part is seeing the people come in and the positive response of the customers.”

Attica Pharmacy leans toward a more traditional pharmacy in the sense that it sells prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and medical equipment. The shop has five employees: three pharmacists, of which LaVarnway is one, and a couple of part-time employees. 

The store is open from 9 a.m.  to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. For information call (585) 591-1111.

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Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, letchworth, Business.

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File photos.

It's been 30 years residents of Wyoming and nearby counties have seen his balloons flying over Letchworth State Park. While he's not quite sure how he's going to celebrate the milestone, Sean Quigley, no doubt, has something interesting on the burner. 

Although Quigley didn't buy Balloons Over Letchworth until 1993, the business has been a staple at the park since 1987, and this past Memorial Day weekend marked the 16th year he’s hosted the Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally in the park. To help celebrate the 30 years of the business, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. July 27 at the launch site – upper/middle falls picnic area – at Letchworth State Park.

“It’s an unusual festival because the pilots pay for themselves,” Quigley said. “It’s like an old-fashioned rally where flyers just come in to launch.”

And those flyers come in from as far as Minnesota just for this experience.

“They all come and pay their own way, there is no sponsorship for the event. But the reason they come is because it’s Letchworth (State Park). It’s the most beautiful place along the East Coast to fly.” 

Quigley has been enamored with balloons since he was a little kid – he would tie messages onto a balloon and let it go just to see if he will get a response and where it will come from. However, his first flight in a hot air balloon wasn’t until 1979, and it wasn’t until 1987 when he was able to buy his own.

The first free flight hot air balloon flight carrying a human was in Paris, France on Nov. 21, 1783, says the National Balloon Museum website. On Dec. 1, 1783, the first gas balloon was launched – also in Paris – and lasted approximately two-and-one-half hours and covered a distance of 25 miles. The first manned flight in America was on Jan. 9, 1793. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that airships – commonly known as blimps – began to be built.

The Van Zeppelin was the first large airship built and could travel 600 miles in two days. Not only were these blimps inflated by hydrogen – a highly combustible gas – they were also the first commercial airliners. 

On May 6, 1937 the German-built Hindenburg caught fire and burned in less than one minute, killing 35 of the 97 persons on board (one ground crew member was also killed, bringing the death toll to 36). Shortly after that disaster, airships gradually began to be phased out.

However, 1960, four men from South Dakota developed the modern hot air balloon and the propane gas burner which made sustained flight possible – and less dangerous. 

“When I was 10, I read in a 'Popular Mechanics' magazine about the concept and that really got me started in ballooning.”

To give the craft flight, the burner – situated above the pilot’s head – shoots a flame into the balloon which heats the air. Once the air in the balloon hits a certain temperature the aircraft goes up. Anything below that temperature and the balloon begins to descend. However, outdoor temperature makes a difference in how hot the air has to be to lift the craft. It takes more fuel to heat the air for lift during the summer than it does during the winter. 

The outdoor temperature isn’t the only variable that affects ballooning, pilots are also at the mercy of Mother Nature with respect to the direction of flight. 

“You just don’t really know where it’s going to go. Different wind directions are at different levels in the air so I really never know exactly where I’m going to go or where I’m going to land. You kind of steer by going up and down, changing directions with the wind. It’s not an exact science, but it’s how you do it.”

Quigley has flown in a number of states throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France. He has also flown in ballooning competitions.

Piloting a balloon however, requires more than just the desire to fly, one also needs a pilot’s license to operate the craft. 

“There are different classes of aircraft and ballooning is just one of the classifications so it requires a different license. And if you are going to sell rides, you have to have a commercial license to do so.”

Obtaining a LTA (lighter-than-air) pilot’s license requires training by a professional instructor and testing. The average time it takes to get a LTA license is approximately one year.

However, Quigley didn’t set out ballooning to start a business – he had been a real estate agent for 21 years in the Rochester area – but he walked away from his job on land to begin his venture in the air. 

When he started his business in ’93, his aircraft only held three occupants, today, his crafts can hold between eight and nine. The bigger the balloon, the more people that can be taken in the craft, however, there is a weight limit because of the size of the balloons. So for safety reasons, Quigley needs to know the weight of each passenger.

Additionally, he only offers evening rides – typically about two hours before sunset – and passengers are in the air for about 45 minutes to an hour, with the entire experience lasting approximately two-and-one-half to three hours, which includes inflation and deflation of the balloon. 

The morning flights would get fogged in and the winds in the gorge, called drainage winds, act almost like a wind tunnel. In the evening when it’s warmer, the air rises and there is no drainage because the warm air is going up. 

“The morning is the coldest time of day, so the colder air falls down, and because Rochester is at a lower sea level it makes a wind tunnel. However, there is no wind when you’re in a balloon. You can light a candle and the flame wouldn’t flicker. If you’re flying level, there is no wind chill. Cold nights are the best time to fly. It’s cold, but rewarding. Because you can’t steer a balloon, we only fly when it’s calm or there are light winds.”

Balloons Over Letchworth launches from the upper/middle falls picnic area of the park. Rides are offered seven days a week beginning around mid-May through mid-October, but are entirely weather dependent. Additionally, all rides are scheduled excursions and passengers are notified one day prior to flight if it’s a go. The flight is half at tree level and half at about 4,000 feet – high enough to see both Buffalo and Rochester. The most difficult part about the journey is landing.

Even after more than 2,600 flights, Quigley still gets a thrill out of flying.

“Once that balloon starts filling up, my adrenaline starts running. I love it! It’s the excitement of the people. I get the biggest kick out of the excitement of the passengers and spectators and the people when we land. The adults become childlike around the balloons.”

Visit Balloons Over Letchworth for more information or to schedule a ride.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 8:17 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, EPA, Chris Collins, agriculture.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins and local Farm Bureau presidents applauded the Trump Administration’s decision to either rescind or revise the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama administration.

“This rule was an example of reckless government overreach, that brought undue burdens to farmers in Western New York,” Collins said. “I was proud to lead the bipartisan effort in Congress to scrap the WOTUS rule and applaud President Trump and Administrator Pruitt for taking this common sense step to support our nation’s agriculture industry.”

Both Collins and Farm Bureaus located within New York’s 27th Congressional District have been vocal in their opposition to the WOTUS rule. In May 2014, Collins led a bipartisan letter signed by more than 200 members of Congress to former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of the Army Secretary John McHugh outlining concerns related to this rule. Collins believed the WOTUS rule was “built on incomplete scientific study and a flawed economic analysis” and formally requested the rule be returned to their respective agencies.

“Today’s announcement is a win for New York’s agricultural community. Wyoming County is a top agricultural producer in New York State and the repeal of WOTUS will help ensure the future of farming in Western New York,” said Jeremy Northup, president of the Wyoming County Farm Bureau. “We commend Congressman Collins for his aggressive efforts to repeal WOTUS and will continue to work with him on the issues important to Wyoming County family farms.”

“The WOTUS rule was an overreach since it was first proposed and we’ve seen the negative impact it has had and would continue to have on our local agriculture industry,” said Christian Yunker, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. “In the end, common sense prevailed and everyone’s hard work has paid off. I appreciate all of Congressman Collins efforts—this is fantastic news for all of agriculture, not just here in Genesee County.”

“Today’s announcement is great news for Ontario County agriculture and will help to protect the future of our region’s family farms,” said Lisa Grefrath, president of the Ontario County Farm Bureau. “We commend Congressman Collins for his efforts to repeal this burdensome mandate and look forward to continuing to work with him on the issues impacting local family farms.”

“For the last three years, we have worked with Congressman Collins to end this unfair federal overreach and protect local farms. Today’s announcement is exciting news for local farm families,” said Joe Swyers, president of the Livingston County Farm Bureau. “We will continue to work with Rep. Collins regarding protecting the future of family farms in Livingston County and appreciate his efforts to end WOTUS. No one cares about more about our environment than local farmers that make their living on our land and we will continue to be the best stewards possible.”

See related: The Farm Bureau and county board oppose the new Clean Water Act ruling

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 6:32 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Business, government.

Beginning on or about July 1, New York State will be implementing Paid Family Leave (PFL) coverage under the disability policy all employers must carry. According to the New York State website, the premium will be fully funded by employees through payroll deductions. 

The key difference between Disability Leave (DBL) and PFL is DBL can only be taken for the employee’s own injury or illness, while PFL can be taken to care for someone else, for example, a child or parent or after the birth of a child.

“The employer may choose to pay the insurance on the employee’s behalf, but that is a choice,” said Wyoming County Chamber President Scott Gardner. “It will affect all businesses who have employees and anyone who is an employee.”

Employers will be required to purchase a PFL insurance policy or self-insure. While both benefits premiums are paid by the employer, the employer has the option to recoup the cost through employee contributions. However, contributions are capped at the state-set maximum level – $.60 per week under DBL and .126 percent capped at the current average weekly wage of $1,305.92 under PFL. The wage under PFL is determined each year by Sept. 30 by the Department of Financial Services.

“Businesses must comply with the new regulations or be subject to penalties, claim costs, and fines. While the employee will be contributing to the policy, it is up to the employer to contact their disability insurance provider and put a policy in place. Additionally, the employer will have to establish a protocol for deducting the calculated contributions from the employees.”

Key differences between DBL and PFL include:

    • Full-time employees: Under DBL – a person working the specific employer’s normal work week and worked at lease four consecutive weeks for any covered employer(s). Under PFL – persons working 20 or more hours a week and employed at least 26 consecutive weeks at their current employer. 

    • Part-time employees: DBL – completed at least 25 work days at any covered employer(s). PFL – completed at least 175 work days at their current employer.

    • DBL will pay 50 percent of the average weekly wage (maximum $170 per week). PFL provides 50 percent of the average weekly wage capped at 50 percent in 2018 and gradually increased to up to 67 percent (capped at 67 percent once fully implemented in 2021).

    • While there is a seven-day waiting period before DBL benefits kick in, PFL benefits kick in on the first day of the qualified leave. Also, DBL will cover 26 weeks in a consecutive 52-week period, while PFL will cover eight weeks beginning in 2018, increasing to a maximum of 12 weeks in 2021. 

DBL and PFL benefits cannot be received concurrently, they have to be taken consecutively. However, if an employee qualifies for both benefits, the combined duration may not exceed 26 weeks in a consecutive 52-week period. 

    • There is no job protection when an employee is out on DBL leave. When an employee returns from PFL, an employer must provide the same, or comparable, position in wages and benefits.

“It is another regulatory burden on businesses large and small. The other issue for businesses with Paid Family Leave is when an employee takes the time for up to 12 weeks, the employer must hold the job for the employee. This leaves the employer in a very difficult position with regard to business performance. While they could hire temporary employees, not all employees can be easily replaced temporarily. In the end it could cost the business in productivity and other costs.”

State officials say employers should contact their current New York Disability Benefits carrier to learn more about adding Paid Family Leave coverage. If you renew or start New York State Disability Benefits in 2017, benefits won't start any earlier than Jan. 1.

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