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State comptroller reports: Agricultural activity brings $37.6 billion into New York’s economy

Agriculture contributed $37.6 billion to New York’s economy in 2012, an increase of more than 22 percent from 2007, according to a report released recently by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The state ranks in the top 10 nationwide for milk and other dairy production, as well as wine, apples, maple syrup and other products.

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Former Caz Fitness building undergoing renovations

Albany Street building to revert to retail, office space

When Caz Fitness closed its doors at 51 Albany St. in early February, local residents wondered why and what would occupy the space instead. Current construction activity in the building and “For Rent” signs in the windows have only increased the curiosity. The new owner of the building at 51 Albany St., Eric Burrell, said he is now ready to make public his plans. He is renovating the structure to create retail space on the first floor and office space on the second and third floors.

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Owera Vineyards files suit in state supreme court against Cazenovia town planning board

The disagreement between Owera Vineyards and the Cazenovia town planning board over how the winery should be allowed to operate its business continued last week when Owera’s owners, Peter and Nancy Muserlian, filed suit in New York State Supreme Court against the town planning board. The Article 78 proceeding is a challenge to the planning board’s approval on Feb. 5 of Owera’s site plan application to construct a 6,300 square-foot permanent promotion and marketing facility on its East Lake Road property. That approval included numerous conditions on the business such as restrictions on hours of operations, number of events and number of people allowed per event in the building, as well as stipulations on how the winery must prove to the town that it is abiding by state agriculture and markets department rules — conditions which Owera claims in its lawsuit were not only “arbitrary and capricious” but also exceeded the planning board’s jurisdiction.

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Junior’s Caz Bar keeping it local

Local restaurant and pub Junior’s Caz Bar at 64 Albany St. is coming up on its one-year anniversary on April 1. The milestone is not just an achievement for Junior’s, but is one that also benefits the various local businesses that Junior’s owner Geoff Zimmer Jr. works with and supports.

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Hamilton hearing expands into Cazenovia

The Atwell Mill and its Annex on Albany Street are becoming a de facto medical center in Cazenovia, with current businesses there including a chiropractor, a dentist, a family physician’s office, a family therapist, a personal therapist, a psychotherapist, a physical therapist, a laboratory testing service and a Medicare insurance agent. And now, with the recent addition of Hamilton Hearing, LLC, there is also a hearing counselor and hearing aid dispenser.

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Tait funeral license lawsuit against department of health argued in state supreme court

More than two years after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of misconduct while running his Cazenovia funeral home, Brian Tait is back in court again. This time, he is the petitioner, bringing suit against the state Department of Health for reneging on what Tait claims was an approved deal regarding the suspension of his funeral directing license. Rather than a six-month suspension, the state is now looking to revoke his license altogether and decertify his funeral home. Attorneys for Tait and the DOH appeared in state supreme court Thursday morning, March 5, to argue their cases in front of Judge Hugh A. Gilbert.

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New Cazenovia hops processing and distribution center in Cazenovia to serve all of CNY region

After spending two months crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Germany, waiting in the port of New York City and braving the cold and snowy roads of Upstate New York, The Wolf recently arrived in Cazenovia. The Wolf is not an animal or a person, but an 11.5-ton hops harvester/picker that is now permanently in place on a Rathbun Road hops farm in Cazenovia. It will be the foundation of The Bineyard — a new hops cooperative and distribution center that has plans to be the main hops processing and distribution facility in the CNY region.

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Simple, handcrafted furniture: Route 20 Sofa Company now open in Nelson

After 35 years working in the furniture industry, Shawn Gilmore knows what type of furniture business he wants to create — one that offers high-quality, hand-crafted furniture at mid-level prices in a good geographical location. Gilmore also wants a place where he can indulge his love of art and music and occasionally cater to non-profit organizations for events. At Route 20 Sofa Company in Nelson, Gilmore believes he has found what he has been seeking.

Number of winter farmers’ markets in New York state set new record in 2015

Cazenovia markets continue to grow, find success

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office last week announced that winter farmers’ markets in New York have reached an all-time high, now with 120 markets located across the state – a 198 percent increase since the 2007 season. Cazenovia has contributed to this increase in winter farmers markets in the state with the establishment of the new 20/East Winter Farmers Market held in the Cazenovia Cut Block showroom on Route 20, as well as the continuing and growing success of the market at the American Legion on Chenango Street.

It’s a go: Town planning board approves Owera events building

The Cazenovia Town Planning Board last week approved the request of Owera Vineyards to construct a permanent 6,300 square-foot “Promotion and Marketing Facility” to replace its three-season events tent for special winery functions on its East Lake Road property. The approval came with numerous conditions and limitations, however, many of which, if ignored or violated, will revoke the approval.

Good Nature Farm Brewery to purchase 5-acre parcel for new facility

Good Nature Farm Brewery and Tap Room has announced plans to purchase a five-acre parcel of land just south of the village of Hamilton on the west side of state route 12B in the town of Hamilton. The land, currently owned by Colgate University, will be used for the construction of a 6,000-square-foot building to serve as a brewing facility with ancillary indoor and outdoor retail and event space including a tasting room.

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Owera wins double gold, silver medals at San Francisco Wine Competition

For the second time in two years, Cazenovia’s Owera Vineyards has won two medals at the annual San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

CACDA receives grants to support art and culture in Cazenovia

The Cazenovia Area Community Development Association (CACDA) was recently awarded grants from CNY Arts to support two annual events in Cazenovia. Both grants were made through the CNY Arts 2015 Decentralization Program.

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State of the area: U.S., N.Y. politics as partisan, detrimental as they appear

The partisan politics of Washington are as bad and gridlocking as they look, and the governor’s politics in Albany are crippling the finances of our school district and endangering our children’s education. These were the two major messages received by about 50 area residents last week during the annual State of the Area event sponsored by the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce.

4-H tractor safety and certification course to be held for youth 14 and 15 years old seeking employment on farms

Did you know that in New York State, farm employees must be 16 years old in order to be hired to operate farm equipment or machinery? Madison County Cornell Cooperative Extension will soon be hosting the 2015 4-H Agriculture and Tractor Safety Certification Program available to 14 and 15 year-olds interested in gaining employment on a farm.

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