SENNETT â€” As one of 600 municipalities with a combined sewer system in New York, the city ofâ€¦
AUBURN â€” Mark DiVietro had his eye on the former Riverbend coffee shop on Genesee Street for awhile.
He was certainly in a position to: DiVietro has worked at Silbert Optical for the past 25 years, and owned the eye care business for the past 10. It was around the time DiVietro took over Silbert from his father, Joseph, that Tim Bridenbecker opened Riverbend in Lattimore Hall. He had opened its first location in Fingerlakes Mall in 2004, and a third later in Auburn Plaza.
Working less than 100 feet down Genesee Street, DiVietro would often stop in the shop. He came to love the experience, he said Wednesday. Its atmosphere was as relaxing as its drinks were replenishing. So after Bridenbecker retired several years ago, and Renee Slayton took control of what she renamed Maggie’s at Riverbend, DiVietro started to imagine what he’d do with the shop.
When Slayton started looking for a buyer last year, DiVietro got his opportunity. As of December, he is the owner of what’s now Historic Grounds Coffee.Â
DiVietro, who also serves as Owasco town justice and president of the Auburn Downtown Business Improvement District Board of Directors, is leasing the space from the owners of Lattimore Hall, WCBB Holdings LLC, of Rochester. The coffee shop is managed day-to-day by Beth Murphy, but at Silbert, DiVietro is never too far.
He’s already overhauled the menu: Coffee now comes from Coffee Mania in Cortland, Belgian waffle mix from New Hope Mills in Auburn and baked goods from Just Desserts in Auburn. The latter two are additions, DiVietro said. He’s also emphasizing soups of the day and deli sandwiches, which Riverbend introduced about a year ago, but “no one knew they were there,” he added.
Another highlight of the menu is Art’s Delight, a frozen coffee drink dedicated to well-known Auburnian and former Riverbend regular Art Wenzel, who passed away in 2016.
Since December, DiVietro has also worked on his coffee shop’s look. It’s been repainted and gotten new furniture, and new tables to replace the booths near the windows should arrive soon. DiVietro also added an area with an electric fireplace and leather seats. All the changes have been made to open up the floor and enhance the overall experience, he said.
“It’s nice walking in and seeing people relaxing,” he said. “Coffee makes people happy.”
DiVietro also hopes to add a newsstand area where basic items like pens, Band-Aids and aspirin are available â€” filling a need left by the closure of Cervo’s News in 2016. Opening the space to book clubs and live music is also in the cards. And the storefront will be repainted and receive a new LED sign, DiVietro said. The Historic Grounds logo features “1848,” the year Auburn became a city.Â
The shop’s hours have already been extended to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. Saturdays. In the summer, DiVietro hopes to push them back further, and add cafĂ© seating.
Though downtown Auburn is slated to add two more coffee shops in the near future â€” Octane Social House in the Nolan block and Sun Cafe in Auburn Public Theater â€” DiVietro is confident Historic Grounds fits in without competing directly with anyone. He thinks people will be happy to have somewhere to grab a quick deli sandwich â€” and the same cozy experience that drew him there.
“I just want a good experience,” he said. “For people to walk in and feel relaxed, as a coffee shop should be.”
Whether it’s a tea latte, a cup of coffee, gummy bears, a vaporizer or a pain cream, cannabidiol products are on the rise in Cayuga County.Â
More commonly known as CBD, it’s carried by a variety of Auburn retailers in different forms. All of them seem to agree on one thing: It works, and it doesn’t have any negative side effects.Â
At this time, the Cayuga County Department of Public Health said that there is no countywide regulation of CBD products, nor a license needed to sell the products.Â
Luciana Torous, the owner of 3 Leaf Tea at 25 E. Genesee St. in Auburn, said she first learned about infusing teas with CBD at a tea expo in Brooklyn last March. At the time, she didn’t know much about CBD and learned that it was legal in all 50 states, had anti-inflammatory benefits and could help people relax and relieve pain.
“People do get confused about it; there are some people that think it’s marijuana,” Torous said. “It’s different biologically, industrial hemp from marijuana is structurally different. … It’s not going to affect your mental state in any way, but you’re getting the benefits.”
Industrial hemp is naturally high in CBD and only contains traces of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. CBD does not cause any euphoria or a high, as the distillation process removes the THC.
Torous left the tea expo inspired, and decided to bring CBD-infused teas back to Auburn. In her store, she sells CBD-infused matcha tea lattes that she makes by adding a CBD tincture. The tincture itself isn’t flavorless, but it pairs well with the matcha and most people don’t taste it, she said. In store and online,Â Torous also sells a powdered matcha infused with aÂ CBD powder that is flavorless. In addition to the latte in store,Â she sellsÂ 900 mg bottles of the CBD tincture, as well as a topical salve.Â
“I’ve had the craziest testimonials,” Torous said, saying she often hears people say they’re sleeping better, their chronic knee or back pain is gone, or they’ve been experiencing less anxiety.
Rich DeChick, the owner of Vape Kult at 10 South St. in Auburn, also said that he’s heard from people who use CBD that it has helped with their anxiety, pain, arthritis and even post-traumatic stress symptoms.
In his Auburn store, DeChick carries versions of CBD oil that can be taken orally or by vaping, as well as a roll-on pain relief product. Vape flavors include blueberry, pineapple and peach. However, DeChick runs another store in Fulton called Evolve CBD sells a much larger variety of CBD products.
He said CBD is the closest thing to the legendary snake oil that people used to say would cure any ailment â€” “but it’s legit.”
In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a form of CBD to treat rare forms of epilepsy. DeChick said that he gives CBD products to his catÂ â€” which has epilepsyÂ â€” and he’s noticed that the seizures don’t happen as often, and are less severe.
Both DeChick and Torous said that there is no way to overdose on CBD, and effective dosages vary by person. But you can’t take too much, and there are no known negative side effects.
In addition to Torous’ tea lattes, coffee has also recently joined the list of beverages with CBD available in Cayuga County.
Serenity Wellness owner Robin Jackson now sells hot cups of CBD coffee in her store. People can also purchase packets or boxes of the instant CBD coffee, which include 5 mg of CBD per cup as well as chaga mushrooms, which have immunity and health benefits, Jackson said.
Located at 214 Seymour St., Serenity Wellness also sells a variety of CBD products from Hempworx and Bison Botanics. Products include THC-free oils, pain creams, pet oils and treats, CBD gummies, salve sticks and creams.
“I educate everyone who comes to the shop,” Jackson said. “I make sure everyone leaves with instructions on how to use (CBD).”
Starting up again at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Serenity Wellness is a general illness and CBD support group led by Vin Gleason, who also a certified CBD distributor.
Gleason leads the support groups, in part, as a way to share his knowledge and testimony of CBD products. He said he connected with Jackson last summer and began using CBD products in July for an illness he’d been battling since the spring of 2017. He’d been on more than 100 days of antibiotics, wasn’t getting better, and was eventually unable to work, he said.
After just two weeks of using CBD products, Gleason said he began to feel completely different. As someone who used to be a skeptic, Gleason said the Wednesday night support groups can also be a time for people to come and ask questions. If he doesn’t know an answer, he will connect with people to find it.
“Everything started really changing in my life,” Gleason said, adding he’s back to working full-time and is able to exercise again. “I’m still in shock everyday.”
The National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches for portions of upstate New York for Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning.
All of Cayuga County is part of the watch, with the weather agency saying as much as 14 inches of lake effect snow could fall in some parts of the region. NWS issued the watches on Tuesday afternoon.
For southern Cayuga County, the agency said snow accumulations could range from 5 to 9 inches, with wind gusts up to 40 mph. In northern Cayuga County, snowfall predictions range from 7 to 14 inches, with same potential for wind gusts.
“Travel could be very difficult,” NWS states. “Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commutes Wednesday through Friday.”
For more weather details, visit auburnpub.com/weather.
Nonprofit life insurance company WoodmenLife has announced that it will close its Auburn office in March, according to a representative.
Kerry Heinrich, director of marketing communications for the Omaha-based company, said it has decided not to offer new sales in the state of New York. As a result, it will no longer have independent sales representatives in the state after March 31. The Auburn office, located in the Plaza of the Arts on Genesee Street, is WoodmenLife’s only one in New York. ItÂ openedÂ in September 2015.Â
“In order to sustain long-term growth and continue providing high-quality service to our members, it was necessary to make this difficult choice,” Heinrich said.
Heinrich declined to elaborate further on the reasons for WoodmenLife’s choice.Â
The company has 13 full-time representatives, 19 part-time ones and five associates in New York who will be affected by the change. Heinrich said WoodmenLife will provide transitional packages for them.
Customers, meanwhile, will be served by the WoodmenLife team in Omaha. There will be no gap in coverage for customers, Heinrich said.
AUBURNÂ â€” For five and a half hours, sewage flowed from a manhole on Chapman Avenue Wednesday morning in Auburn, according to an alert issued by the state.
The street has been blocked off between crossroads Quill Avenue and Worden Avenue as crews work to make more permanent repairs. The section of the street will hopefully re-open Friday, saidÂ Auburn Municipal Utilities Director Seth Jensen.
According to the alert, root intrusion construction on Chapman Avenue for a replacement line was already in progress before the discharge was reported. Residents were cautioned to avoid the area. The discharge rate was estimated at 690 gallons per minute.
SENNETT â€” As one of 600 municipalities with a combined sewer system in New York, the city ofâ€¦
Under the 2013 Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, New York municipalities with publicly-owned treatment works or sewer systems must report any untreated or partially treated discharge to the state within two hours. Municipalities are required to report the same information to the public within four hours of the incident. The state alert for Wednesday’s incident was issued at 9:20 a.m. and it said the event started at 2:05 a.m.
“From time to time, issues in that area have happened,” Jensen said.
Wednesday morning’s “brief overflow” was contained and maintained, said Jensen. Centro Bus, the Auburn school district and local emergency officers have been notified of the road closure.Â
Wet weather conditionsÂ â€” a common overflow instigatorÂ â€” led to the discharge. When sewers are met with significant amounts of rainfall or snow melt, they’re designed to overflow into a waterbody. The state alert reported Oak Creek was affected by the discharge. Jensen said Oak Creek is not in the Owasco Lake watershed, so the city’s drinking water supply was not jeopardized.
“Oak Creek runs underground from Chapman Avenue until it daylights just behind the (former) Walgreens building at the intersection of Genesee Street and Columbus Street,” Jensen said.Â
From the intersection, the creek flows to Crane Brook, where it eventually leads to the Seneca River.