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Kenmore Mercy nurses settle contract

The third time was the charm in the long process to hammer out a new contract for Kenmore Mercy Hospital’s registered nurses.
The roughly 280 nurses, represented by Communications Workers of America Local 1133, ratified a new four-year contract that will give then pay raises totalling 10 percent over the next four years. The agreement, which runs through January 2017, also will maintain their pension benefits and includes health insurance coverage that is expected to reduce the nurses’ premium costs.
The contract approval came after the nurses had twice before rejected tentative contract agreements by wide margins.
“This has been a long process,” said James Millard, Kenmore Mercy’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “This ratification enables us to provide competitive wages and benefits for our nurses, while positioning Kenmore Mercy Hospital for success under health reform.”
The two sides began negotiations last November and, after the second tentative contract was rejected in March, met with a federal mediator earlier this month.

- David Robinson


Miller on the move?

Ryan Miller's townhouse in the Elmwood Village is listed for sale with Realty USA, an indication that the Buffalo Sabres' season finale tonight could be Miller's last game with the team.

The asking price for the 2,700-square foot property is $659,900, according to an online listing. Miller bought it for $348,000 in 2007, according to county property records.

While Miller may be on his way out, the Buffalo Bills' new regime is moving in. Head coach Doug Marrone paid $1 million for an Amherst house that was owned by the Bills' former president, Tom Donahoe, prior to the home's most recent owner.

The same week in March that Marrone closed on the deal for his house, two members of his staff -- defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett -- bought their homes in Orchard Park, according to county property records.

AVOX Systems gets approval for $5.3 million project

 AVOX Systems received approval from the Lancaster Village Board on Monday night to proceed with a $5.3 million project that will boost efficiency by mothballing the company's oldest plant and reconfiguing its two remaining plants.

AVOX, formerly Scott Aviation, makes oxygen and respiratory products and systems for the aerospace and defense industries and is a subsidiary of French aerospace company Zodiac Group.

Work on the project should be finished by Nov. 1, Michael P. Brown, AVOX's vice president of operations, told The Buffalo News today.

The Village Board on Monday approved the project's site plan and accepted a finding that the project would not harm the environment, in both cases following the recommendations of the village's Planning Commission.

AVOX, which is located at Erie Street and Walter Winter Drive in the village, won't significantly expand its remaining Building 2 and Building 3 but will gain efficiencies by changing how it uses the buildings.

The company doesn't have plans to tear down or sell Building 1, which dates to the 1940s, at this time, Brown said.

-- Stephen T. Watson

Buffalo Niagara sends contingent to global BIO convention

A contingent including representatives from 12 area life-sciences companies and the major institutions on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is in Chicago this week for the BIO International Convention.

The delegation is attending the convention for the first time under the “Buffalo Niagara BIO” brand after taking part for the past five or six years as a member of the larger “New York Loves BIO” group.

The convention, which began Monday and runs through Thursday, is the largest international event for the biotech industry and typically draws 20,000 people and company representatives, offering important networking and business opportunities, according to Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, one of this year’s participants.

In addition to the BNE, local convention attendees include representatives of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute and companies such as Empire Genomics, QuaDPharma and Immco Diagnostics.

-- Stephen T. Watson

Double-dipping at Northwest

Shareholders of Northwest Savings Bank get to double-dip on their dividend in May, as the Pennsylvania-based savings bank's board of directors approved not just one but two cash dividends of 12 cents each.

The board said it declared the second, special dividend because it has too much cash on hand that it can't put to use in the current climate. It also recognizes that shareholders are being squeezed in their own finances as low interest rates hamper their investment yields. And the bank already paid its first-quarter dividend early, in December, so shareholders could avoid higher taxes on it resulting from the fiscal cliff crisis.

It was the kind of good news shareholders needed, too, since earnings were basically flat for the first quarter compared to a year ago. The biggest notable item: the heavy snow in the bank's territory this winter meant it had to pay for a lot more snowplowing, which drove its expenses up.

- Jonathan D. Epstein

Lancaster IDA approves tax breaks for Jiffy-Tite expansion

The Lancaster Industrial Development Agency voted today to grant an auto parts manufacturer $410,784 in tax breaks for a $3 million expansion of its Walden Avenue facility that promises to create 50 full-time jobs.

Jiffy-Tite Corp., which is owned by Steve Zillig, and the Zillig Family LLC real-estate holding company requested the tax breaks for a $900,000 expansion of its factory at 4437 Walden Ave. and for the $2.1 million in new equipment the company will purchase as part of the expansion. The $900,000 expansion of the factory, where Jiffy-Tite currently employs 144 full-time and nine part-time workers, includes a 1,700-square-foot mezzanine and a 5,000-square-foot addition, according to IDA records.

The IDA board voted 5-0 to approve $217,197 in sales-tax exemptions; a 10-year, payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement worth $163,765; and $29,822 in a mortgage-recording tax exemption, said Paul R. Leone, a consultant for the Lancaster IDA. No one spoke against the tax-break request at the public hearing that preceded today's vote.

-- Stephen T. Watson

Five Star executive shuffle

Five Star Bank has announced some changes in its management ranks, just months after replacing its CEO.

Warsaw-based Financial Institutions, the bank's parent company, said that Kevin B. Klotzbach has been named the bank's executive vice president and chief financial officer, in addition to his current role of treasurer. He had been a senior vice president since 2001, and was formerly chief investment officer of Greater Buffalo Savings Bank from 1999 to 2001. The Buffalo State College graduate and Western New York native previously held executive, finance and risk management positions at KeyBank, Empire Federal Savings Bank and Merrill Lynch Asset Management.

He replaces Karl F. Krebs, who served as CFO since 2009. Krebs will stay at the bank for a “brief transition period” to ensure a “smooth first quarter 2013 closing process” and for the filing and certification of quarterly financial statements, as mandated by federal law.

Klotzbach will work alongside Martin K. Birmingham, who was named president and CEO in March, succeeding longtime CEO Peter Humphrey, who abruptly resigned last summer. Humphrey, whose family controlled the banking company for more than a century and is still a large shareholder, remains on the board.

The bank also promoted Michael D. Grover to the new post of chief accounting officer. Grover, who joined Five Star in 1999 as a senior accountant, was previously senior vice president for financial reporting and tax. The longtime Western New York resident and graduate of the State University of New York College at Geneseo spent much of his career as a public accountant at Battaglia, Andrews and Moag – now Freed Maxick – and at KPMG LLP.

-- Jonathan D. Epstein

Levy to address students on entrepreneurship

Local venture capitalist and entrepreneur Jordan Levy  will speak with Levy University at Buffalo students on Wednesday, April 17, about why we need to change the way we think to foster entrepreneurship.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts on UB’s North Campus.

Levy, a UB alumnus, is a general partner at SoftBank Capital NY and managing partner at Seed Capital Partners, an early-stage venture capital fund that he co-founded in 1999. A serial entrepreneur, he is co-founder of Buffalo’s Z80 Labs technology incubator, Software Distribution Services (now known as Ingram Micro) and ClientLogic.


Jiffy-Tite Corp. requests tax breaks for Lancaster expansion

The Lancaster Industrial Development Agency will vote Tuesday on a request for tax breaks from an auto parts manufacturer that plans to hire 50 people as part of a $2.9 million expansion of its Walden Avenue facility.

Jiffy-Tite Corp. had 130 employees at its 57,000-square-foot factory at 4437 Walden Ave. as of last fall, when company officials announced they would seek a variety of state incentives to help finance a planned $10 million, five-year expansion that could create 80 jobs.

Jiffy-Tite officials said in October that they hadn’t yet decided whether to expand the company in Western New York, but the request to the Lancaster IDA indicates at least one piece of this larger expansion will take place in the town.

Jiffy-Tite, which is owned by Steve Zillig, and its Zillig Family LLC real-estate holding company are requesting a sales tax break, mortgage recording tax exemption and a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement on a $900,000 expansion of its factory and a sales tax break on $2 million in new equipment that will be purchased as part of the expansion.

The $900,000 expansion of the factory includes a 1,700-square-foot mezzanine and a 5,000-square-foot addition.

A public hearing on the Jiffy-Tite project begins at 8:30 a.m. in Town Hall, 21 Central Ave, with a vote on the tax-break request to follow.

-- Stephen T. Watson

App-writing "Hackathon" begins Saturday at UB

About 125 students from four area colleges are expected to take part in a 24-hour "hackathon" this weekend at the University at Buffalo.

Teams of programmers, code writers and others fluent in the latest technology will compete to develop new computer software applications in the event, which begins at noon Saturday.

Beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, the competitors will show off their work to a team of judges, who will award $2,000 in prizes to the best ideas as rated on usefulness, creativity, the elegance of their design and their technical difficulty, according to the university.

Students from UB, St. Bonaventure University, the Rochester Institute of Technology and SUNY Buffalo State will take part in the "hackathon," which was organized by UB's chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. UB sophomore Nick DiRienzo, a computer science and engineering major, is the lead organizer.

The judges include representatives from companies such as Synacor, SendGrid, InfoTech Niagara, Bloomberg, and Dow Jones, DiRienzo said.

The event will take place in Barbara and Jack Davis Hall on the UB North Campus. Visit for more information.

-- Stephen T. Watson


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