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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Real Estate Advantage helps homebuyers take advantage of stimulus check

POSTED: April 18, 2009

JAMESTOWN - While the housing market continues to stammer across the nation, at least one local real estate firm is reporting a banner year in 2008.
The locally-owned Real Estate Advantage firm, with corporate headquarters located at 800 Fairmount Avenue, WE, Jamestown, recorded a banner year, distinguishing the firm as the area's market share leader based on data obtained from the Chautauqua County Board of Realtors, Inc., Multiple Listing Service.
Real Estate Advantage reported 465 real estate transactions in 2008, acquiring 21 percent of the real estate market in the area.
Real Estate Advantage co-owner and licensed real estate broker Richard Benedetto, stated although the market has been troubled nationally, local real estate sales continues to thrive. "Despite the tightened real estate market, we managed to have another good year," Benedetto said. "This is a tribute to the dedication of our experienced agents who really care about our customer's needs."
The housing market looks even brighter in 2009 as this year's tax credit found in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will certainly have a positive impact on the local housing market.
The new federal credit is designed to boost sales in the nation's sagging housing market. "The refundable first-time homebuyer government stimulus check of up to $8,000 is the centerpiece of housing incentives," Benedetto said. "The government housing stimulus checks are federal incentives to help revitalized the housing market, prevent foreclosures, and strengthen the economy. Using these and other sources of funds, we can help buyers by offering in-house bank financing and mange the entire home sale process from start to finish."
Rules for 2009 first-time homebuyers tax credit applies only to first-time homebuyers and some previous home owners, defined as those who have not owned a home within the previous three tax years. The homebuyer's stimulus check does not have to be repaid unless the home is sold within three years. The stimulus check is available only for home purchased between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 1, 2009. The stimulus check is restricted by income; phases out for individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or above and for married couples with a combined adjusted gross income of $150,000 or above. Stimulus check is for up to 10 percent of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $8,000.
"For example, a buyer of a $150,000 home could receive a tax credit of a maximum of $8,000, while a first time buyer of a $70,000 home would be eligible for a stimulus check of $7,000," Benedetto said. "Another great benefit of the stimulus check is that homebuyers can take advantage of the tax credit on their 2008 tax return even when they have purchased the home in 2009."
Homebuyers can take advantage of this filing exception in one of three ways: closing on the home prior to April 15, 2009, getting an extension to file taxes later in the year or filing an amended return.
Benedetto advises, "If people are considering the purchase of a home and want to take advantage of the federal stimulus check, we can help them get started. The new stimulus check is only available on purchases made this year, so we caution homebuyers to act soon."
Real Estate Advantage, specializing in residential, vacation and commercial property a full service premier real estate firm serving the western New York vicinity. Richard Benedetto and Earl Johnson, brokers and co-owners of Real Estate Advantage, along with the sales associates' team are widely known and respected for their in-depth market knowledge and represent home buyers and sellers. Real Estate Advantage has offices in Jamestown and Bemus Point.
"The agents at Real Estate Advantage love where they work and are committed and passionate about delivering the best possible real estate experience," said Earl Johnson, co-owner and broker at Real Estate Advantage. "That's the kind of company we've always strived to provide our community."
Real Estate Advantage provides a full-time support staff Monday through Saturday and 24-hour voice mail service. To take advantage of the federal housing stimulus check or to learn more about the credit, contact the Real Estate Advantage firm at 484-2020. For more information, visit

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Holiday Valley says winter paid off


By Rick Miller
Olean Times Herald

ELLICOTTVILLE - The 2008-09 ski season at Holiday Valley came to a close last weekend after nearly five months of skiing.

While the first three months seemed to be record-setting, when February came along, "attendance was a little bit below our expectations, but still very strong," Holiday Valley President and General Manager Dennis Eshbaugh said Thursday.

There was no traditional January thaw. That didn't come until March.

"It was an excellent year," Mr. Eshbaugh said record snowfall. "We had more than 251 inches of snow during the season. The months of November, December and January all had record snowfall."

Add Holiday Valley's vast snowmaking capabilities and its experienced mountain crew and you've got great skiing conditions.

"It had been great until February," Mr. Eshbaugh said. "People may have reached the point where they wouldn't ski anymore. With so many good days, the business spreads out more and you see fewer peak days."

Conversely, he said, a slow start to the season means more peak days.

While Holiday Valley expects a record year as far as revenue, skier visits were about 535,000, enough to put the season in the resort's top five, but down 22,000 from the peak of 557,000 in 2000-01, the year Yodler Lodge opened.

"There are some similarities between this season and 2000-01," Mr. Eshbaugh said. Besides an early start to the season in November, there was no January thaw and a mild March with a lot of great skiing," he said.

Holiday valley didn't close last Sunday because it ran out of snow.

"We could ski today (Thursday), but there are no skiers," Mr. Eshbaugh said. "After a long winter, people are ready to move on to a new season."

And speaking of a new season, the front nine of Holiday Valley's golf course opens today. There's still snow on some of the back nine.

Mr. Eshbaugh is quick to point out that if the spring snowstorm earlier this week had dumped a foot of snow on Ellicottville as the Weather Service forecast, Holiday valley probably would have opened up a number of slopes for the die-hard skiers praying for just one more day of skiing this season.

Mr. Eshbaugh is quick to point out that if the spring snowstorm earlier this week had dumped a foot of snow on Ellicottville as the Weather Service forecast, Holiday valley probably would have opened up a number of slopes for the die-hard skiers praying for just one more day of skiing this season.

While Holiday Valley saw some signs of the economic downturn in February, the resort often benefits in times of economic uncertainty.

"We can provide a destination experience, closer to home, so people spend less time traveling and less money," Mr. Eshbaugh said. "In that respect, the economy helped us."

Peak winter employment was about 1,200 full- and part-time jobs, according to Mr. Eshbaugh.

That will grow next year when the Tamarack Club, a $40 million residential lodge opens next December.

Holiday Valley and Terry Ellsmore of Fractional Strategies Inc. are partners on the new building. The Tamarack Club will have a spa and a new restaurant, John Harvard's, which will replace Founders (formerly The Hearth) in the Clubhouse Lodge, said Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley marketing director.

And Holiday Valley has plans for another $2 million in improvements for next season, continuing a tradition of reinvesting in the resort, she said.

Besides more snowmaking, a new mountain-top warming hut will be built atop Yodler slope, two new public pools will be constructed to replace those displaced by the Tamarack Club, and new designs for the Clubhouse Lodge will be prepared for the next phase of improvements.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at
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Thursday, April 09, 2009

AT&T expansion plans for Chautauqua County

AT&T Continues to Expand Nation's Fastest 3G Wireless Network Across New York

BUFFALO, N.Y., April 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As people's lives become increasingly mobile and fast-paced, and to address the growing demand for advanced wireless data products and services, AT&T* today unveiled its network expansion plans for Chautauqua County in the coming year. As part of the expansion, AT&T plans to roll out its third generation (3G) mobile broadband network in new communities including but not limited to Bemus Point, Brockton, Cassadaga, Dunkirk, Ellery Center, Findley Lake, Fredonia, French Creek, Gerry, Jamestown, Lakewood, Mayville, Mina, Panama, Poland, Ripley, Sherman, Sinclairville and Westfield.

"AT&T is creating economic opportunity in Chautauqua County by expanding critical wireless access, providing faster and better options for everything from reaching emergency services to conducting business to sharing information with family and friends," said Senator Catharine Young. "Expanding wireless infrastructure, particularly mobile broadband, is a valuable service to rural areas and small cities and towns in western New York, which will help grow the economy and improve the quality of life."

The planned network expansion builds upon previous investments in the territory. From 2006 to 2008, AT&T's total capital investment in its technology infrastructure in the state of New York was more than $1.3 billion.

The investment in its 3G wireless broadband network - the nation's fastest, according to recent data compiled by leading independent wireless research firms - is part of AT&T's ongoing effort to build the broadband networks that will create jobs and fuel economic growth, and enable its customers access to the content, applications and services that matter most to them.

In addition to extending its 3G wireless broadband network AT&T plans to add a new cell site in Clymer bringing new wireless coverage to its customers later this year.

"We continue to make significant investments to deliver dependable, high speed wireless access in more places across New York for consumers and business customers who need to stay connected to work, family and friends," said Jay Summerson, vice president of external affairs, AT&T New York. "Our ongoing investments in Chautauqua County will help us fulfill this vision while ensuring that New Yorkers have access to the advanced wireless broadband services that help drive economic growth."

AT&T's 2008 investment added 3G service to more than 400 cell sites across the upstate New York territory, which spans from Buffalo to Albany and includes the southern tier and the North Country.

"We are committed to providing quality service to our customers and have made significant enhancements to our wireless network across upstate New York in the past few years," said Bob Holliday, vice president and general manager for AT&T in upstate New York. "Expanding our wireless network to support a top notch experience for our customers every time they make a call, check an e-mail or surf the Internet on their AT&T device remains a key priority for us in 2009."

AT&T's wireless network is based on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technologies, the most open and widely used wireless network platform in the world. As a result, only AT&T can offer 3G data roaming in more than 70 countries, as well as voice calling in more than 200 countries, in addition to AT&T's continuous 3G expansion in the U.S. AT&T's 3G network is now available in nearly 350 U.S. major metropolitan areas.

AT&T operates 50 AT&T-owned retail locations in upstate New York. AT&T's products and services are also available at a number of other authorized dealers and national retail locations.

To find out more details about AT&T's coverage in New York or anywhere in the United States, consumers can go to The online tool provides up-to-date wireless coverage information for specific locations. The tool can measure the quality of coverage based on a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark.
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Monday, April 06, 2009

WoodCrest Golf Course Unveils Housing Plan

By Dennis Phillips
POSTED: April 5, 2009

MAYVILLE Despite a slumping housing market, Jonathan Wood, WoodCrest Golf Course and Development owner, is continuing his plan to build homes along his golf course to bring people back to nature in the woods of Chautauqua County.
The idea for phase one in what Wood hopes to be a multiphase project is to build 10 homes overlooking the 13th, 16th and 17th fairways of his course. The idea started five years ago with Wood coming up with the plan to build homes that sit right on the golf course, which he said is a huge idea elsewhere, but isn't common in Chautauqua County. Once the idea was hatched, Wood said it took him about two years to get legal authorization for the plan from local, county and state governments. However, since getting the OK in 2006, no homes have been built.
''After approval, we had a lot of interest. We had 15 to 20 clients look into the idea,'' Wood said. ''Shortly after, though, is when the housing market took a big slide.''
Even with the housing market slide and the downturn in the economy, Wood stays optimistic about the potential development and his first sale.
''It (the economy) has made people who are looking not take that final step to say 'Hey, I want to buy,''' he said.
Wood's optimism he said is from the new team he has developed for the housing project. Teaming with the global housing company, Lindal Cedar Homes, and Prudential Real Estate out of Erie, Pa., Wood believes he has the winning formula to start placing homes on the back nine of the golf course.
''I feel with this new team put together, I get some much needed exposure,'' he said. ''The new team is interested in getting out there and selling.''
Lindal Cedar Homes is the world's largest manufacturer of custom cedar homes. Founded in 1945, there are more than 50,000 Lindal Cedar Homes. Wood said the company offers 600 designs, with 12 being allowed to be built along the golf course. He said lots average size will be around 1.82 acres.
''I want to bring Lindal Cedar Home's lifestyle to the area. Not only on the golf course, but the surrounding area,'' Wood said. ''People want green space and they want to go back to nature. We offer that.''
Kim Leland, Lindal sales and marketing director, said the design of the house is to bring the outdoors inside a home.
''There are walls of windows to capture the views around. The design allows a lot of light, perfect for experiencing the outdoors while indoors,'' she said. ''This is an exciting opportunity for Lindal and Woodcrest, and the public to own one of these fine homes in a beautiful location.''
Wood, who also owns a construction company, said once the Lindal package is selected, his company will design the building with his architect Bill Laubscher and, once its built, will maintain the home too.
Wood said his goal is to reach the tourism market, to attract regional visitors to invest in a second, or even, a third home along the golf course.
''With the proximity to Chautauqua Lake two miles away, Chautauqua Institution two and half miles away and right next to I-86, it's a great location,'' he said. ''We're sitting in the middle of a bonafide tourist area.''
Wood said, of course, local residents can also look into buying a home.
''The overall goal is to hopefully have an economic starter,'' he said. ''The construction of the homes will create jobs and bring in sales and property taxes to the area as well.''

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Local Fish Hatchery Prepares For Trout Season

By Leann Austin
POSTED: March 31, 2009

RANDOLPH - Anglers know that April 1 isn't just a day for pulling pranks. It's the first day of trout season in New York state and the Division of Fish and Wildlife at Randolph's Fish Hatchery is gearing up for the day that brings out anglers of all ages to creeks, lakes and streams in the Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany region.
In September and the beginning of October, the eggs are brought inside and placed in incubators. Around the first of the year, the eggs are all hatched out, according to Barry Hohmann of the New York State Fish Hatchery. The streams are stocked with brown, brook and rainbow trout starting the second or third week of March and stocking continues through April, May and the first week of June.
Once the fish in the outside ponds are stocked out, the smaller fish inside are moved out in their place. This is the time of year to see the most fish at the hatchery, Hohmann said.
By May, thousands of fish have been moved out. The majority of the fish are stocked in the waters of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, with some going to Wyoming and Erie counties. The vast majority stays in the Southern Tier, Hohmann said.
There are 75 streams stocked by the fish hatchery and most of them are done twice and some three times. The department stocked 250,000 trout this spring. In the fall, they will stock the bigger breeders after they have taken their eggs. The crew will take up to five million eggs. The small fish inside are fed for 10 hours continuously, while the larger ones outside are fed twice a day. The brown trout are placed under cover, gradually reducing the amount of daylight to which they are exposed. Then when the covers are removed, the fish believe it's time to breed again out of their season. The large breeder fish are taken to the lakes only because they are too big for the streams to accommodate.
Randolph's Fish Hatchery is one of 12 in New York state - not all of which are trout hatcheries. Hohmann said Randolph's hatchery supplies a lot of the other hatcheries with eggs. The eggs are taken twice from the breeders and then they are stocked out. The average size of a stocked fish is 8-10 inches. The majority of those stocked are brown trout. The department works on the ''Put-Grow-Take'' strategy, said Hohmann. They hope that the anglers will catch the fish, and some will hold over and have time to grow in the streams where they are transferred. Another small group may also breed in the streams.
The streams are surveyed in July and August by the fishery crew out of Allegany during the worst possible conditions in the summer, to see if that particular stream is capable of supporting the fish. The theory is that if the stream can support the fish during the worst possible time of year, it can support them year round. Once the steams are surveyed they put in a recommendation to the hatchery as to how many more fish the stream could support. They report the amount of wild fish already in the streams, the water temperature, and conditions.
The fish hatchery has three trucks on the road every day at this time of year, in preparation for the first day of trout season. Each truck holds six 250-gallon tanks; each of which holds approximately 1,000 fish per tank, depending on the size of the fish. The fish are sampled and weighed by displacement.
The Randolph Fish Hatchery is funded by the purchase of conservation licenses and is open to the public. Tours are given all year. There is someone on the grounds to answer questions between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Anyone interested in booking a tour for their group, club, troop or organization can contact the Fish Hatchery at 358-4755.

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