Business

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 U.S.

“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.

Friday, June 23, 2017 at 12:34 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Warsaw, Business.

The Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism office recently held its annual organizational meeting at River Spring Lodge, Bennington. As per the bylaws, directors and officers are elected annually at the meeting and the staff present the annual report of the organization, says Chamber President Scott Gardner.

The following were elected directors:

One-year term:

    • Darren Long, Prestolite, Inc.; 

    • Michael Hardie, Tompkins Insurance Companies; 

    • Nicole White, Freed Maxick CPA; 

    • Becky Ryan, Wyoming County Board of Supervisors; 

    • Austin Fish, Complete Payroll; 

    • Brock Beckstrand, Upstate Door Inc; 

    • Jackie Hoyt, Arts Council for Wyoming County; 

    • Teresa Gibson, Pioneer Credit Recovery/Navient; 

    • Chris Lester, Arcade & Attica Railroad; and 

    • Daniel Burling, Rivellino Realty.

Two-year term:

    • John Wheeler, Bank of Castile; 

    • Daniel Egan, Beaver Hollow Conference Center; 

    • Norb Fuest, Apple Tree HR Safety Consulting; 

    • Lisa Seewaldt, Ash-Lin’s Elegant Rose; 

    • Jenifer Bannister, DeLaval Dairy Services, Inc.; and 

    • Andrew Rice, Five Star Bank. 

    • Andrew Stang from PrizmTech Document & Technology Solutions (remains on the board).

Elected officers for a one-year term include:

    • Norb Fuest, chairman; 

    • Hans Kunze, vice-chairman; 

    • Nicole White and Colleen Kennedy, treasurer.

“The staff and I look forward to continuing our work with this group of diverse and dedicated members and directors,” Gardner said. “Our board of directors are leaders in their respective fields and bring a great wealth of knowledge to the organization. We deeply appreciate their commitment to the membership and the business that the chamber serves.”

The following members have served multiple terms and are not returning:

    • Tom Carpenter from Clark Patterson Lee; 

    • Rachael Becht from Koike Aronson Ransome; and 

    • Jason Beck from Brixwood Realty. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, building, Warsaw, Business.

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It was two-and-a-half years in the making, but Warsaw will be home to a newly built senior living facility.

During a groundbreaking ceremony held late Tuesday morning, Calamar officials, as well as local and county dignitaries, and members of the community, gathered in the empty lot just off North Main Street to celebrate the project. 

Officially named Grandview Terrace, the county’s older community members will soon have the option of residing in Calamar’s 11th built, 55-year-old-plus independent living community in the Northeast region. 

The property will feature: a community room with kitchen for events and entertaining that is also available to residents free of charge for private events; a well-appointed lounge/library with fireplace for informal living outside the apartment home; a community laundry; a fitness center for physical well being; and much more for residents to enjoy. Garages are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at an additional cost.

Both one and two bedroom, pet friendly apartments are available with pre-leasing rents ranging from $849 to $1,185 per month. All apartments will be furnished with a washer and dryer as well as all major kitchen appliances. 

Not only will the 120-unit apartment complex be new to the county, the town will be gaining a new road. 

Grandview Terrace will have a yet-to-be-determined address on what will be called Conable Way, says Warsaw Town Supervisor Becky Ryan.

“Part of the contract with Calamar is that they build a roadway to the facility and we (the Town) will be responsible for it,” Ryan said. “Along with the maintenance of the road, it also fell to the Town to name it. It is the first time in a long time we’ve had an opportunity to name a road.”

The Town decided on Conable Way in honor of Judge John Conable, and the late Barber Conable. Both men were World War II veterans and local residents of note, says Ryan. 

The new residences, a $14.2-million capital investment project, meet the needs of the community and create job growth for the county’s residents, says Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Executive Director Jim Pierce. 

“This is the second-largest private-capital investment in Wyoming County,” Pierce said. “This is the first housing development project we’ve ever done. And adding a piece like this project adds to the overall quality of the county.”

Grandview Terrace is a private sector capital investment project in which the IDA is allowed to be involved. Calamar met the eligibility for IDA incentives, which in turn provided a commitment on the part of Calamar to build in Wyoming County. Additionally, the incentives were contingent upon local government approval, says Pierce.

Also, having the infrastructure already in place – the Town contracts through the Village for the water and sewer district – was an added incentive to bringing this project in, says Ryan.

“We are all about creating a better quality of life and (the project) provides a vital need in the community,” Pierce said. “My belief is this project may help spur some other commercial development projects in the county.”

One of the marketing strategies the IDA uses is the county’s cost competitiveness, citing project costs would be higher in a more urban area for all aspects of construction or remodeling. Pierce says this project shows that a company is not afraid to invest more than $14 million in the county. 

“It sends a message to developers that Wyoming County is a good place to do business and build a business. We are more laid back. Calamar did their homework and knows it’s a good investment for them.”

“Grandview Terrace will cater to middle-class-income households. Our model will enable our residents to enjoy comfortable living at competitive and economical pricing facilitating seniors to preserve their assets for their individual long-term goals”, said Northeast Regional Director Michael Morris. “The economic issues of today have greatly impacted seniors and we are excited to continue to forge forward and bring this affordable housing model to Warsaw.”

The apartment complex fills more than just the need of the county’s older residents, it also opens up housing stock for younger people or those who want to upgrade their housing situation, says Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism President Scott Gardner. 

“We know there are people looking for residential properties,” Gardner said. “This project helps out two generations at the same time. The other benefit is you create a community of 120 units and it gets new people to possibly come into this area.”

The senior living community is somewhat self-contained, but not so much where its residents aren’t going to go out into the surrounding towns and villages for goods and services.

“Potentially 120 new people moving into Warsaw to use the shops and services offered in the county. The potential for new business to grow, or pop up, or to move here, plus those family members that come visit…and they can maybe stay in a bed and breakfast or local motel. 

There is a multiplying effect in the county – the services and providers. Restaurants, the hardware store… People need furniture and decorations…Anytime you have something like this, it multiplies the impact in the county.”

And with new residents comes a gain in sales tax revenue generated by local purchases made, which has a direct impact on the county budget. Additionally, once the PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement has been completed – the program abates the real property tax on the increased value of the property once the project is complete – Calamar will be paying property taxes, says Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Berwanger. 

The IDA does not reduce the existing tax obligation; the base assessment value or assessed amount of the existing property remains billable at normal tax rates, IDA officials say.

“We are thrilled they are here,” Berwanger said. “It’s a major private investment for our county.”

But before the residents even begin to move in, the project will need manpower and building materials for the new construction, all in supply within the county, thus adding to immediate growth for the community.

“We are really excited about this whole project,” Ryan said. “It’s a great facility for the area and those who are in the middle-income level. It’s good for the snowbirds to come back to because the maintenance will be taken care of.”

Officials also anticipate the increase in population will bring further progress in the Valley, but at this point don’t really know what the next steps will be.

“It was a great effort and learning experience to get all the pieces together,” Ryan said. “A special thanks goes to Kathy Smith (Warsaw town clerk). She had a lot of work and time frames to work within. Not only did a multitude of agencies work together to get the project to come together, Calamar has been great to work with.”

Grandview Terrace is expected to be completed by late summer 2018. There are no entry fees, buy-ins or surcharges. For more information, contact Mary Beth at (716) 946-6444.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm
posted by Billie Owens in Warsaw, Warsaw Kiwanis Club, Business, Wine in the Valley.

Press release from Kevin Carlson, former chairman “Wine and Brews in the Valley” for the Warsaw Kiwanis Club:

It started as a fundraising idea and took off from there. Originally just "Wine in the Valley"; it brought people out and walking the streets, and seeing all the local businesses that we have here in Downtown Warsaw.

Over the last four years it has grown thanks to the support of the local businesses, and the loyal tasters that not only come back every year, but bring more friends. The Warsaw Kiwanis Club has been able to raise approximately $50,000 since it started. These dollars were spread around to about 25 different organizations and individuals.

The success of the event has also meant challenges in organizing and planning that have reached beyond what myself and our local Kiwanis Club can provide. In order for the event to continue, we needed to find a group that had enough volunteers to do all the tasks that were needed. Several groups were approached and in the end, the United Way of Wyoming County stepped forward.

We are pleased with the enthusiasm and spirit they have shown so far. They have divided up the various tasks and I am helping out in an advisory way when needed. I am confident that this event will continue to grow and be successful for them and the community. The additional volunteers that are on board will assure that the event will be the best it can be!

They have some new ideas that should make it easier for businesses to participate. They have a new website up already, www.WineAndBrewsInTheValley.com. If you have any questions, you can leave a message through the website, and the right person will get back to you.  

On behalf of the Warsaw Kiwanis, I'm pleased that the event will continue to grow and that the proceeds will help those in our community much the same as Kiwanis has. The Warsaw Kiwanis will still be present at the event, continuing the Basket auction and wine tub raffle at the check in location. Anyone wishing to donate a basket to this can contact me (Kevin Carlson at 786-2871).

I personally would like to thank the members of the Warsaw Kiwanis Club, my family (who put up with me), friends who volunteered, the Wyoming County Chamber, and members of the business community for helping me over the last four years with this event. I couldn't have done it without your support. It has been a pleasure working with everyone!

I hope to see you at “Wine and Brews in the Valley” -- 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16th(Note the new times, moved up one hour earlier.) Have a great day!

Friday, June 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Perry, Business.

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Press release, photo submitted

Perry resident Tyna Slocum was recently promoted to senior vice president – commercial loan officer at Tompkins Bank of Castile.

Slocum has been with Tompkins Bank of Castile for more than 20 years, most recently serving as vice president. In that role she was responsible for the bank’s managed asset portfolio and served as a commercial loan officer. In her new role, Slocum will focus on working with the bank’s commercial business customers.  

“Tyna’s extensive experience in commercial loans and her ability to work with our clients to come to a resolution is exceptional,” said Tompkins Bank of Castile President and CEO John McKenna. “She is an asset to this company, and most importantly, our customers.”

Slocum holds a degree in accounting from Genesee Community College, and graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado, Boulder, Colo. She is active in the community, serving on the fundraising board for Letchworth Nature Center, and volunteers for Wyoming County Kid Ventures, Wyoming County United Way, and the American Red Cross. 

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 on its website, www.bankofcastile.com.

Friday, June 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm
posted by Howard Owens in ridesharing, Business, news.

The demand for ride sharing in Western New York, including Wyoming County, is strong and has been growing for years, according to the two leading companies expected to provide service locally as soon as it's legal on June 29.

Representatives of both Uber and Lyft said they anticipate being able to provide service to communities such as Warsaw and the rest of the county that day and they're getting ready to meet the demand.

Both companies are eager to be ready for a potential surge in demand around the July 4 holiday.

Ride sharing services are a child of the mobile digital age, allowing private drivers to make themselves available to offer rides to people who hail them through a mobile app on a smartphone.

Both Uber and Lyft have become global companies with valuations in the billions of dollars and both companies compete fiercely for drivers and riders. It's been years since either company has been able to expand service in a U.S. market, such as Upstate New York.

Sen. Micheal Ranzenhofer sponsored a bill passed by NYS Legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make ride sharing legal upstate in time for the July 4 weekend, after the Legislature had previously approved ride sharing this year.

The lobbying effort by Uber and Lyft included more than $2.6 million combined in campaign contributions. Details do not yet seem available on how much in campaign contributions Ranzenhofer might have received.

A spokesperson for Uber said the company has been eager to start service in Upstate because the demand for the service has been so wrong. Certainly in Buffalo, but even in Wyoming County, said Alix Anfang, said drivers have been signing up in numbers that give the company confidence they will be able to provide fast and reliable service.

"New York, Upstate New York, is one of the last places in the country to have access to ride sharing and people in the area have been demanding it for years," Anfang said. "The governor and the Legislature listened to their constituents and their desire for better transportation options and we're excited we will be able to offer the service."

While there is a bus service, ride sharing helps enhance such services rather than compete against them, Anfang said.

"The reports show that more ride sharing available, the more people use public transit," Anfang said. "The real competition for ride sharing is personal car ownership."

Oftentimes, Anfang said, ride sharing is a "last-mile solution" for people who would want to use public transit, but a bus doesn't get them close enough to their intended destination. Many ridesharing customers, she said, take a bus and then use ride sharing for that last mile.

"If you can get reliable ride sharing, you're more likely to leave your car at home," she said.

Bar and restaurant owners may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of ride sharing. It's smarter to hail a ride, and even plan ahead, with an app on a smartphone than it is to risk a DWI arrest, which is one reason Uber and Lyft were eager to get the service legal and up and running by July 4.

Uber isn't just successful in large cities, Anfang said. Throughout the country, Uber has found willing drivers and demand for services in rural areas as well.

"We want to be everywhere and serve every customer as soon as we possibly can and we're working to make sure we can be ready, especially with the July 4 holiday coming," Anfang said.

Campbell Matthews, representing Lyft, provided the following statement:

"We are excited to officially become a part of communities across New York State,” said Jaime Raczka, regional director of New Markets for Lyft. “In every community in which ride sharing operates, it improves road safety, boosts local economies, and brings local families needed income. We thank the thousands of New York State residents who fought to bring these benefits to their neighborhoods and cities, and we look forward to becoming New Yorker’s ride-sharing platform of choice.”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 6:19 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Perry, Business, arts.
Event Date and Time: 
June 9, 2017 - 5:30pm

The Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism Office will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Rural Arts Center, 21 & 23 S. Main St., Perry, at 5:30 p.m. Friday. 

The Rural Arts Center offers a mixture of fine art and handcrafted items made by local artist and artisans. Additionally, the center will also be offering arts and crafts classes for all ages and is currently looking for workshop instructors.

The center is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. 

Friday, June 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, agriculture, agribusiness, Business, Castile.

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File photos

The seventh annual Agri-Palooza 2017 will be held at Southview Farms, 5073 Upper Reservation Road, Castile. It is sponsored by Wyoming County Chamber & Tourism and the Wyoming County Farm Bureau and highlights agriculture in Wyoming County. The public is invited to discover, experience, and enjoy farming and all that it entails by spending the day on a working farm. 

The free event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. June 4.

Agri-Palooza features educational displays, farm tours, and children’s games and activities. Attendees will also see the variety of Wyoming County products on both display and for purchase. 

For more information visit GoWyoming.com.

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