Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008

Battery leak sends six to hospital

CANANDAIGUA — Six employees were hospitalized after inhaling fumes from battery acid at Pactiv Corp. this morning. A company spokeswoman said the workers were released after the local hospitals monitored their conditions. The warehouse is back in operation, said spokeswoman Lisa Foss.

The workers complained of nausea and throat irritation after hydrosulfuric acid leaked from a forklift battery, said Canandaigua Fire Department Chief Matthew Snyder.

Sheriff’s deputies and fire officials responded to the business, located just north of the city line, at around 5 a.m., Snyder said. Emergency responders quickly removed the battery from the warehouse, tested the air quality and helped ventilate the space, he said. They left the scene by 6:30 a.m., he said.

Snyder said excess pressure built up in the battery as it charged, causing it to release the fumes. The employees were all conscious, Snyder said, adding that their injuries “didn’t seem to be anything major.”

Officials from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as the manufacturer of the battery pack, were contacted to investigate what caused the leak, said Ontario County sheriff’s deputies.

Pactiv Corporation, which manufactures food packaging materials, is based in Lake Forest, Ill. Its Canandaigua warehouse is located at 2480 Sommers Drive. Its 2007 sales totaled $3.3 billion, according to the company’s Web site. Foss said safety is a top priority for the company.

Greek Peak Plans major expansion

VIRGIL — A popular ski resort is planning a major expansion.

The Greek Peak Mountain Resort, located near Cortland, has started construction on its new Hope Lake Lodge Resort, a $33 million expansion project which will include a 40,000-square-foot indoor water park and 106-unit condo/hotel.

“We wanted to have a facility that was not weather-dependent, like skiing or golf,” said Al Kryger, Greek Peak’s president and CEO. “We passed on the idea of a water park about 10 or 15 years ago but we had been watching the industry. This will stabilize the recreation business and give us a year-round attraction.”

Greek Peak is also planning a major upgrade to its ski resort and the construction of an 18-hole golf course within the next five years.

According to Kryger, Greek Peak attracts approximately 250,000 visitors a year.

With the addition of the water park, Kryger expects to draw another 50,000 visitors annually.

The expansion is expected to eventually create about 250 full-time jobs along with an estimated 270 construction jobs during the project, he added.

Slated for completion in the fall of 2009, the new hotel and water park is the first stage in a three-phase effort by Greek Peak.

The second phase will be a major upgrade to the ski resort, including the construction of new lifts and trails, a new welcome center, base facility and mountain-top lodge, as well as a remodeled ski shop and improved snowmaking capabilities.

The third phase will include the construction of an 18-hole golf course, conference facility and additional hotel units.

Little Falls Hospital CEO resigns

LITTLE FALLS — Jonathan I. Lawrence has announced his resignation as president and CEO of Little Falls Hospital, effective Dec. 1, according to a news release.

Lawrence has accepted the position of president and CEO of the Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York State based in Western New York.

“Little Falls Hospital is a stronger organization today, thanks to Jonathan’s leadership,” said John Bullis, chairman of Little Falls Hospital. “During a very turbulent period of LFH, Jonathan has remained focused on meeting the health needs of the community while addressing each challenge with energy, intelligence and strong commitment to our mission of community services.”

In announcing his resignation, Lawrence said, “My role at Little Falls Hospital has been the highlight of my career.”

The executive committee of the Board of Trustees, in concert with Bassett Healthcare, will be conducting the search process to appoint a successor.

Swim across Seneca Lake has become a family tradition

SENECA LAKE — What began as a “fun swim” to a bunch of teenagers over 30 years ago, has become “a tradition”  to some of Joe Mugavero’s grandchildren. Joe’s two eldest daughters, Sue and Cheri, accomplished the almost two- mile swim across Seneca Lake from a cottage along Log Cabin Road to the east side of the lake, near Lodi, along with about six other friends about 34 years ago.

Joe accompanied the young bunch of swimmers in his fishing boat, following alongside, to keep other boaters from their presence in the water.

Joe’s oldest daughter, Sue, remembers that swim from her youth and has challenged her own boys to the task.

Sue’s oldest son, Joe, swam the lake about five years ago. He swam the width by himself, with his grandfather along side of him in his fishing boat. This past Labor Day weekend, one of Sue’s other sons, Ben, swam the width of the lake, by himself again, with his grandfather by his side. 

“I remember that swim like it was yesterday,” Sue says.  “We were all such close friends, we did everything together. We hung out, we’d ski all day – we always wanted to “out-do” each other.

One day, we just decided we wanted to swim across the lake. We all started at the end of our dock and my dad rode his fishing boat along side to make sure we all stayed safe.  It’s  about a two-mile swim.  I remember it was a little choppy that day –I swallowed a lot of water. But I wouldn’t quit.”  

Sue has five sons, all of whom she hopes will eventually make the “traditional swim” across the lake.  “They have to do it – It’s a tradition!” she says.