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Staff reports

Coming attraction at beleaguered mall: Movies

IRONDEQUOIT — A recent rumor about Medley Centre mall getting a16-screen theater complex appears to be true.

A lease between Bersin Properties LLC, owners of the mall, and Regal Cinemas Inc., of Knoxville, Tenn., was entered into April 9.

Developer Adam Bersin, who purchased the mall in May 2005, sold the 900,000-square-foot shopping center to Scott R. Congel, a principal with Pyramid Cos., the big Syracuse-based mall-development firm.

The agreement on file in the county clerk’s office does say that the mall has leased “a certain 16-auditorium motion picture theater structure” that will occupy about 66,000 square feet on the main level, plus mezzanine (or second floor).

It goes on to say that the theater will be part of a mixed-use project consisting of retail, residential, restaurant, entertainment and other commercial venues.

No timetable for the project is listed in the document.

The mall opened in 1990 with more than 100 stores but now has fewer than 40.

Little Falls City Hall will be more handicap accessible

LITTLE FALLS –  Little Falls Supervisor of Public Works Rick Zilkowski told members of the Board of Public Works on Monday that although the city spent over one million dollars in city hall upgrades to the core facility, an additional $1,000 will have to be spent in fixing door knobs.

A letter was sent to Zilkowski by Lindsey R. Spitler, a contractor and investigator for the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section.

“We had a complaint from someone about the handicap accessibility of the door knobs,” Zilkowski said. “We need to invest in a lever retrofit to make the doors handicap accessible. We were also referred to do some additional signage to indicate the wheelchair accessibility at the lower level entrance of city hall. It will cost a little more than $1,000 to retrofit everything. It’s an unbudgeted item, but we have to reply.”

Zilkowski received permission form the board to order the fixtures, which he did Tuesday. He will need to order at least 60, he said.

Taxman allegedly got scammed, too

ROCHESTER — John Nicolo used his three appraisal businesses for more than hiding kickbacks, according to federal prosecutors. It’s where he hid some of his income and got tax write-offs he shouldn’t have.

 Nicolo and his wife, Constance Roeder, are facing charges of tax fraud for allegedly filing false returns and taking deductions they weren't entitled to. Nicolo is also facing charges in an alleged kickback scheme that authorities say touched Eastman Kodak Co., IBM, Rochester Gas & Electric, Global Crossing and ITT Industries and the towns of Gates, Greece and Henrietta.

Prosecutors say former Greece town assessor Charles Schwab raised Kodak's assessments in Greece so that former Kodak executive David Finnman, and later his replacement, Mark Camarata, would have the company hire appraiser John Nicolo to negotiate a lower assessment. The prosecution contends Nicolo would split his earnings, which tallied in the millions, with Schwab and Finnman, and later Camarata.

Internal Revenue Service agent David Krysztof testified Tuesday that all of Roeder’s reported income came from Nicolo between 1998 and 2004. He also testified that Nicolo and Roeder made $11,339,172 between 1999 and 2004. The expenses and deductions they reported totaled $9,879,425, leaving a profit of $1,459,747, which was taxable income.

But the prosecution contends some of those deductions weren’t legitimate. Nicolo manipulated invoices to make it look like he shelled out money for supplies he needed for his three appraisal businesses, according to the government. Some of those invoices came from ammunition shops and antique dealers, or were for work on the couple’s Florida home, that had nothing to do with Nicolo’s businesses, the prosecution said.

New tourism site unveiled in Oswego

OSWEGO – After months of preparation, the new look of the Oswego County Tourism Web site was unveiled before the Economic Development and Planning Legislative Committee Tuesday afternoon.

The new site, which has been in its planning stages since the beginning of the year, is slated to officially launch May 12.

“We are hoping for that launch date to coincide with National Tourism Week,” said Dave Turner, director of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

New to the site are interactive features that will be of great benefit to those visiting Oswego County. Under accommodations, a tourist can locate a place to stay from listings across the county, as well as view a detailed map, directions and a direct link to the business’ Web site if available. The same features are available for the attractions, dining and nightlife areas; making finding eateries or places of entertainment easily accessible and convenient for visitors.

The fishing and hunting section on the new site gives prospective Oswego County anglers and hunters many features to enjoy. The site provides both visiting and local outdoorsman details about such activities, including each sport’s reports and conditions.

There also are expanded historical sites that can easily be linked to, detailing not only Oswego County history, but also the underground railroad, museums and genealogy, which includes a detailed account of all cemeteries in each township and city across the county.

There is also a section for visitors in search of a festival or special event. A news section will also be included on the new site to keep visitors current with all county and tourism happenings. The addition of streaming video is planned for down the road.

Plugging up the brain drain

IRONDEQUOIT — Keeping local talent local is a conscious choice of an Irondequoit-based company.

Most of the 17-plus employees at Em2, a full-service marketing and advertising firm that was incorporated as Evoke Media and Marketing are graduates of local colleges and many are local natives.

“We try to do programs with Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher and bring interns in ... give them a taste of what could happen if they do stay” around Rochester, said David Savine, president of Em2. “We’re focused on how to keep the talented 25s to 29s.”

The company  has 17 full-time employees and one intern.

Matt Best, a graduate of SUNY Geneseo, is director of public relations. “This firm believes in talent out of Rochester; most of us are graduates of Nazareth, Geneseo, SUNY Brockport or Fisher, and just about all of us are originally from Rochester,” Best said.

What separates Em2 from other firms, Best said, is that “hometown” appeal and the fact that “everything from idea generation to production is done inhouse ... We don’t outsource work.” The firm does marketing, public relations; graphic design, including logo creation and branding campaigns; promotional videos, commercials for TV and radio and prepares advertising for print media.