Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Time runs out for Uniland--again

From Business Today:


A proposal meant to help out Western New York's coal-fired power plants has been left out of the state budget. The proposal would have had the New York Power Authority buy energy from the region's coal plants for three years. Critics said it propped up an outdated, dirty mode of energy, but proponents of the bill said it would provide much-needed help for the region's struggling power plants.


Computer Task Group has landed three new contracts, expanding its reach in the electronic medical records business. Two contracts are with major U.S. health systems, while the third is with one of the largest hospitals in the western United States, the company said. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.


Since the financial crisis hit, the American public has become cynical about the banking industry, to put it mildly. In his annual letter to investors, M&T Bank Corp. Chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers calls for the restoration of banking's integrity in order to win back public trust and the industry's good name.


Uniland Development Co. has missed a deadline to hold up its end of the bargain in a deal that landed them $490,000 in federal aid money. But the developer has been given more time to secure a tenant for its Lancaster industrial park and meet job creation requirements. The company has received a series of extensions over the years. The Eastport Commerce Center is located on the corner of Walden Avenue and Pavement Road. The grants it received came through Erie county and the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

What a beautiful morning!


Natural gas prices too low?

From Business Today:


With natural gas prices dropping near a 10-year low, National Fuel Gas Co. has decided to pull back on plans to drill in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania until prices come back up. It's the second time it has scaled back in two months. Its natural gas production is still expected to increase significantly during the next fiscal year, and scaling back on this drilling should only have a "modest" effect on production, the Amherst-based company said. Natural gas prices are down 54 percent since June, to $2.25 per 1,000 cubic feet.


The Erie County Industrial Development Agency has put a moratorium on considering hotel renovation projects for tax breaks, but that didn't keep it from approving $275,000 in breaks for a project that fell outside the moratorium. The ECIDA Monday approved sales tax breaks on a $5.5 million renovation project at Cheektowaga's Millennium Hotel. Because the hotel qualified for the breaks under the agency's current guidelines, it decided to approve the breaks rather than risk a lawsuit from the hotel.


You'll soon notice a difference in Canadian currency the next time you cross the border. The money has undergone a redesign to make it more durable and secure and to prevent counterfeiting and fraud. $100 and $50 bills have already gone into circulation, $20 bills will come out later this year, and $10 and $5 bills are due by the end of 2013.


The ECIDA board was taken to task Monday for approving the controversial tax breaks on the Millennium Hotel. Just after the approval, members of the Occupy Buffalo activist group began vocally protesting the board's actions. The board's new chairman, retired Rep. John J. LaFalce, yelled at the protesters and told them they would no longer be able to attend such meetings. Public comment isn't allowed during the ECIDA's monthly board meetings--only during public hearings.


An advertising agency with offices in Buffalo has been recognized by its industry's premier publication. Advertising Age magazine ranked Eric Mower and Associates the 5th best place to work in its 2012 rankings. Winners were chosen through a rigorous process that included surveying employers and employees.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 It's a great day for the Moody Blues:


Business confidence increasing

From Business Today:


After 18 months of major renovations, the Genesee Gateway building is officially open with its first tenants. Two investment firms that spun off from the now defunct, 80-year-old Harold C. Brown & Co. investment firm have moved in: Winthrop Financial and Pratt Collard Advisory Partners. Other tenants include the U.S. Passport Office, the Department of State and NBT Solutions. The rehabbed complex is located in a very visible spot at the corner of Genesee and Oak Streets.


M&T Bank Corp. has released its Economic Outlook Survey, in which it posits that the U.S. economic recovery may now be more sustainable. Business confidence is increasing in upstate New York, jobs have grown and there has been an increased output of goods and services, the survey concludes. Among nearly 600 companies that M&T does business with in 7 states, about one-third plan to hire more workers within the next six months.


Check out what real estate sold in Erie and Niagara County for the week ending Feb. 17.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

From MoneySmart:


Want to send text messages for free? Learn how in today's MoneySmart cover story.

Happy Monday!


The seaway is open!

From Business Today:


The St. Lawrence Seaway kicked off its 54th navigation season Thursday. The Welland Canal bypasses Niagara Falls to connect Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and is an important part of the Seaway. An opening ceremony celebration was held at the canal, during which the captain of the first vessel to enter the waterway was honored with a beaver pelt top hat. The captain and his chief engineer signed the hat, which will be kept in a nearby museum, per tradition. The Seaway is expecting a 3 percent increase in the cargo that passes through this year. You can follow the ships in the seaway at this site.


In response to consumer concerns, several national grocers have taken ground beef with the so-called "pink slime" filler off store shelves. So who in Western New York is still using it, who is not and who never has? Pink slime refers to "lean finely textured beef," beef tissue that is treated with ammonia as part of the harvesting process and added to ground beef to get a leaner product at a lower cost.


Profits were down 70 percent at Ecology & Environment during the second quarter. The drop is attributed to higher administrative costs, higher indirect staffing costs and a loss on foreign exchange rates. Profits were $504,000, or 12 cents per share, from $1.8 million, or 42 cents per share, a year earlier. The company's revenues were down just 4 percent. Ecology & Environment is an environmental consulting firm in Lancaster.


The Communications Workers of America union is pressuring Verizon to extend its FiOS fiber-optic service to the City of Buffalo. Verizon has proposed a deal to purchase wireless spectrum from cable companies for $3.6 billion and cut deals with some cable companies, which has raised anti-trust concerns. The CWA wants the Senate antitrust subcommittee that is looking into the situation to put conditions on the deal that would make bringing FiOS to Buffalo possible.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Happy Friday:


From Business Today:


An elementary school teacher from Elma is campaigning to win Walmart's "Get on the Shelf" contest, for the chance to have her product invention sold on and possibly in Walmart stores. Tammy Gordon, who teaches in Clarence, designed something called the Study Flash, magnetic pockets for organizing flash cards. Winners are chosen according to the number of votes they get through Facebook and text messaging. Other entries with ties to Buffalo are Bubble's Q Sauce, Buffalo Games' Phone Frenzy party game and Buffalo Tom's Gourmet Hot Sauce.


Steven J. Baum P.C. is facing the music on charges it cut corners and committed abuses in foreclosure filings. Baum, the firm and a top executive in the company will pay $2 million in penalties, legal costs and fees to the state and $2 million toward programs offering assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure or who are victims of predatory lending practices, the attorney general said. They are also barred from representing lenders or servicers in new foreclosure-related cases for two years.


First Niagara Financial Group is just 60 days away from officially closing its purchase of HSBC Bank USA's upstate New York branches, and it's gearing up for the switch. It has begun practicing its systems transfer that will convert HSBC accounts and loans to First Niagara May 18. First Niagara sent notifications about the change to current HSBC customers a few weeks ago.


As it does every year, The Buffalo News hosted a panel of volunteer CPAs Wednesday night who took questions from readers by phone and online about their taxes. Nine volunteers from Western New York answered tax questions free for four hours. They're online answers can be read here.


Critics are protesting a State Senate budget provision authorizing the purchase of electricity generated by Western New York's coal-fired plants for three years. Environmental, energy and health groups don't think the New York Power Authority should pay "a premium for dirty coal power." Instead, it asked lawmakers to to invest in clean renewable energy.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here's a closer look at the Study Flash:


Local accountants answer your questions about taxes

IDA wars, again...

From Business Today:


A new proposal by Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, seeks to rein in the power of suburban industrial development agencies in Erie County and give most of the responsibility of doling out tax breaks to the Erie County IDA. Suburban IDAs would only be allowed to give school tax breaks if the school districts that would benefit from the taxes approve them. IDAs have come under increased scrutiny for giving tax breaks to retail and restaurant projects. The legislation is backed by County Executive Mark Poloncarz.


Mensch Capital Partners LLC, which is led by Andrew J. Shaevel and includes Paul Ciminelli and Paul J. Kolkmeyer, have closed the deal on the Westwood Country Club for $2.5 million. Jon Cohen and Todd Sugarman, who are leasing the property, will operate the club. They have launched a major marketing initiative and have cut rates drastically, which has increased membership by about 80 people.



The former Daffodil's restaurant on Maple Road in Williamsville has a new owner. Mike Rizzo, who owns Banchetti by Rizzo's restaurant and banquet facility, closed the deal Monday, paying $700,000 for the restaurant. It was most recently operated under the name Verbena, but has sat empty since 2010. It will likely become a restaurant and banquet facility again.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Speaking of Daffodils, spring has sprung!



Buying new cars again...

From Business Today:

Western New York is a terrific place to be in the car business. TheFord car sales feb 02 weather beats cars up, and the residents love buying new ones - and they are loyal customers. They proved it in February, driving up sales 6.4 percent from the previous year. Most dealers said they have not seen a big panic from buyers due to $4 a gallon gas. Seems we like our trucks and SUV's, too.


The former Bristol-Myers Squibb plant on Forest Avenue in Buffalo is apparently a world-class facility. For years the company made Kerri lotion and other ointments there. Then a Canadian thrid-party Bristol-Myersproducer bought the place, operated there for a few years and then moved its operations to Canada. The plant, near Buffalo State College, has been bought by a California firm that plans to lease it out in parts. But first it is auctioning all the stainless steel vats and other equipment.

U.S. Rep. Kathy C. Hochul, who seems to hold a press conference every other day now, is pushing for schools to work more closely with local companies to make sure students are learning skills that the local economy needs. She met withSchool to work KIRKHAM 01 educators from around the region to discuss her Workforce-Ready Educate America Act.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


Cultural tourism, it's for real.

From Business Today:

The hard work that has gone into the Frank Lloyd Wright homes DARWIN MARTIN HOUSEin the region and other cultural attractions is showing its value in the growth of cultural tourism. And local promoters expect it to continue to flourish.

The popularity of wings and weck and other Buffalo favorites is being spread across the country by a growing cadre of ex-pat Kirk Weaverrestaurateurs. From hot wings to Sahlens hotdogs and variations of beef on weck, Buffalo cuisine can be found from Florida to Arizona and beyond. We knew it was too good to keep to ourselves.

Some interesting thoughts about health care reform from the CEO of Independent CROPPHealth Micheal Cropp, who is also a doctor.

Next time a waitress comes up to your table and asks for your order, O'Leary, Khanyou can tell her "there's an app for that."

Recent real estate transactions.

Spending $1 billion...

From Business Today:

How does a region handle $1 billion in goodies from the state to boost economic development? It's a tall order, and Western New York is bringing in some Katzhelp. Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution think-tank is doing a study of the region and how best it can maximize the help pledged by Gov. Cuomo. Katz spoke about the process and the possibilities.

The N.Y. Energy Research and Development Authority is offering rebates for people who buy extremely Savasta,Huryefficient appliances. The savings in electricity and water is a longterm benefit to the state and globe, and that is worth promoting.

The Occupy Buffalo movement came to Clarence to speak to that town's Industrial Development Agency. The Occupy people don't like the way towns dole out tax breaks that are paid for by the entire region and state. During a cordial discussion, IDA members said they are careful to grant tax breaks only to projects that they think will boost the economy.

CPA's from the region are volunteering to answer tax questions at The Buffalo News Tax Helpon Wednesday, March 21, from 5-9 p.m. Questions can be submitted during that time online, at, or by calling (716) 849-6090.

Who is getting hired, promoted or honored?

« Older Entries