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Poll: Getting your thoughts on President Obama's inaugural address

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 21, 2009, 9:58am

Well, folks, we start the day with a new president this morning. Hopefully, you're invigorated by that, no matter what your political affiliation. There's no knowing where we'll go from here, but it feels like we've got a chance to climb back up and out of this ditch. President Barack Obama yesterday delivered his inaugural address from the steps of the Capitol. Much was said of how far we've come and how far we have yet to go.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed—why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

Whatever else this president may turn out to be, I'm glad to find him a skilled speaker, who knows not only how to turn a phrase but also how to instill it with meaning.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends—hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility—a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

So today we opt for the obvious poll. We would like to hear your thoughts on the presidential inaugural address. Please, feel free to leave comments once you've voted. This is worth a discussion. We have left in the "Didn't listen to it" option. However, we will also include this link to the complete text of the inaugural address in the hopes that maybe you will read it and then vote.

What did you think of President Obama's inaugural speech?
( polls)

Once you've finished voting, if you're looking for a laugh nd yet further proof that we live in an age of farce, please check out the article in the Financial Times about China's attempt at real-time censorship of the address. It is mentioned in that article that China's central Internet news hub, in its translation of the inaugural address, did not include the phrase: ”To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Coincidentally, their fists aren't the only the only parts of their body that need to be unclenched.

News roundup: Nearly 600 regional auto workers will lose their jobs

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 21, 2009, 8:08am

Dan Fischer reports on WBTA this morning that the General Motors powertrain plant in Tonawanda will begin laying off employees starting January 26. Some 340 workers, equal to about 30 percent of the plant's total workforce, will be let go. Reduced production demand has been cited as the reason for the layoffs.

Elsewhere, in Lockport and Hamburg, another 250 workers will be let go in the coming weeks. An article in the Buffalo News this morning reports:

At Delphi Corp.’s Town of Lockport plant, 175 of its 1,540 hourly workers received layoff notices last Friday, said Gordie Fletcher, president of UAW Local 686 Unit 1.

Ford Motor Co.’s stamping plant in Hamburg has 75 of its roughly 800 workers on layoff, and is preparing for a weeklong shutdown in early February, said Charles Gangarossa, president of UAW Local 897.

If "production needs increase," workers could be called back to the plant in Tonawanda, but no one's holding their breath. Forecasts for future auto sales are bleak.

Fletcher said he has “no idea” when the laid-off workers at Delphi will be brought back. “Obviously our hope is that we bring everyone back,” he said. “The current state of the economy is putting a crunch on everybody.”

Three injured in crash in Pembroke

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 21, 2009, 7:39am

A collision on Route 5 near the intersection of Indian Falls Road in Pembroke sent three people to the hospital Tuesday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Rachel A. Warren, 18, of 3233 Pratt Road, Batavia, was stopped eastbound on Route 5, waiting to make a turn onto Indian Falls Road. Cameron J. Smith, 18, of 3023 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, was also heading eastbound on Route 5. Smith claims that he took his eyes off the road for just a second and when he looked back saw Warren's car stopped ahead of him and did not have time to stop. Smith's vehicle collided head-on into the rear of Warren's vehicle.

Both drivers were taken to United Memorial Medical Center to be treated for their injuries. A passenger in Warren's vehicle, Ariel S. Bressler, was also taken in for treatment. All three were treated and released Tuesday. No charges were filed against either driver following the crash.

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Lancers dominate second half against Oakfield-Alabama with fresh bodies and press

By Brian Hillabush
Jan 20, 2009, 11:46pm

 The Elba girls basketball team has the potential to go a long way this season. They showed that Tuesday night with a solid 45-36 victory over host Oakfield-Alabama.

The Lancers had a slim 23-19 lead at the half, but coach Tom Nowak's strategy of subbing in five at a time to keep bodies fresh, and pressing his opponent like crazy worked.

The Hornets were getting to the foul line - a lot - in the first half, especially Brynn Perfitt, who scored a game-high 19 points with nine rebounds.

Perfitt kept O-A in the game with seven of those points coming in the first half and a constant scoring effort in the second.

Cassy Engle had a 3-pointer before  Meg Stucko and Julie Webster had consecutive baskets. After Oakfield-Alabama had one of its three shot clock violations, Sarah Schwartzmeyer hit a shot at the third quarter buzzer to put Elba up 34-25.

Engle hit another 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter and after Webster scored and had an and-1, Elba had a 43-25 score.

Oakfield-Alabama had a little run at the end to make the score respectable, but Elba mostly dominated the second half for the victory.

Hillary Bates also had 11 points with four assists for the Hornets, who fall to 6-7.

Engle led Elba with 10 points with Webster adding seven Chelsie Pangrazio had five points and had over five assists.

Elba is 8-0 in Genesee Region League Division II, one game ahead of Notre Dame as we head down the stretch run. The Lancers are 12-2 overall and will be watching Jasper-Troupsburg (11-1) and Keshequa (10-2) as the three are fighting it out for the top seed in Class DD.

Driver allegedly flees the scene of a car crash on Route 33 in Bergen

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 20, 2009, 4:33pm

Crews out at the scene of a one-car crash on Route 33, just east of West Bergen Road, tell us that the driver who smashed into a pole there allegedly fled the scene. We're still waiting on the exact details, but we were told that the vehicle's driver, after crashing the car, allegedly called for a ride and left before emergency crews or sheriff's deputies arrived on scene. This was the look of the car at the scene as the emergency personnel were packing up and leaving shortly after 3 o'clock this afternoon.

Video: Thoughts on the inauguration

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 20, 2009, 4:14pm

We had a great time this morning and afternoon at T.F. Brown's, where The Batavian crew hosted an inauguration party. We were happy to see some new faces come down, as well as some friends we;ve known since we first arrived here in Batavia. We would like to extend a big thanks to all who came out, especially those of you who were willing to stand in front of the camera and share your thoughts. Speaking of those folks...

Presidential inauguration: A bird's eye view, courtesy of Rep. Chris Lee

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 20, 2009, 2:50pm

Andrea Bozek, from the Office of Rep. Chris Lee, sent us some photos from the congressman. It looks like Lee snapped these shots from the Capitol steps, above and behind the ceremony. Some pretty neat shots here, including President Barack Obama's swearing-in. Please note that the photos have been cropped to best fit our site. You can view the full size photos by visiting the link above.

Earlier today, Lee got us his statement following the inauguration.

“President Obama’s inaugural address set the right tone for the work that lies ahead in repairing our economy and restoring the public’s trust in their government. I am hopeful that today marks the beginning of an era of progress grounded in a commitment to bipartisan solutions."

Historic inauguration breaks All color barriers

By Lorie Longhany
Jan 20, 2009, 2:24pm

It seems only fitting that we are celebrating this historic inauguration the day after Martin Luther King Day.  The barriers that were lifted by many hands, including the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, and all of the people who stepped forward and stood up, helped pave the way for President Barack Obama's momentous and historic swearing in as our 44th President today.  Only because of the unrelenting determination and unceasing struggle for the causes of human dignity and fairness during the tumultuous years since the beginning of the Civil Rights movement are we able to appreciate in President Obama that unique pragmatic quality of a true uniter, a quality that can reach past any divisions of black, white or any of the other shades that make up the tapestry that is America.  We are witnessing in President Obama a leader who will not only reach across the boundaries of race, but also extend a hand across the political divide with a genuine intellectual curiosity to understand all sides of the very complex and daunting issues that confront all Americans in the difficult days ahead. 

It is with great pride that I speak for Genesee County Democrats to declare that while we are  extraordinarily proud to celebrate this memorable day as a political organization, today is not about any one political party. As President Obama said in his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention;  "There is no red America and no blue America. There is only the United States of America".  Today is a wonderful day to drop all the color barriers -  black, white, red and blue - that divide us and celebrate what makes America great – the smooth, peaceful and celebratory transition of power and share in the hope that all of us have for a better tomorrow. 

Yes we can. And yes, we will.

Batavia loss to Letchworth doesn't matter, now ranked in the state (updated)

By Brian Hillabush
Jan 20, 2009, 2:08pm

 Batavia suffered one of harshest losses area wrestling has seen in a while, with the two final Letchworth grapplers pinning Batavia wrestlers to get a 1-point win.

Well, that performance against the 14th ranked Indians, combined with Batavia's 66-12 win over Hornell was enough to put the Blue Devils into the state rankings in the small-school division.

And it was more than just a small jump from receiving an honorable mention as Batavia jumped all the way up to No. 18, one ahead of Attica, which has an 11-9 record.

Attica dropped from No. 14 to No. 19. Batavia is 15-5.

This is the first time that a Batavia wrestling team has ever been ranked in the state.

"The kids are ecstatic because this was one of our goals," Batavia coach Rick Stewart said. "We put together a schedule of some of the toughest teams in the state so that we could reach this goal."

Holley is also ranked, surprisingly low, at No. 29.

Batavia has two tournaments (including the Monroe County Championships, where they have not had a champ since 1980) and three dual meets left to go before sectional time.

Fire scare at BOCES in Batavia

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 20, 2009, 1:19pm

City and town fire crews responded to a fire this morning at Genesee Valley BOCES on State Street Road in Batavia. A call went out shortly after 11 o'clock, after some employees and students at the school pulled the manual fire alarms, according to Nate Fix, town of Batavia fire lieutenant.

Fix explained that a washer in the laundry room of the school malfunctioned and burned out, which caused a small fire within the washer. Everyone had evacuated by the time crews arrived, and no damage was caused to anything other than the washer, which was a total loss.

City fire crews provided mutual aid. No injuries were reported.

Poll: Name the Muckdogs mascot

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 20, 2009, 10:57am

We just got up a post about a contest to name the new Batavia Muckdogs mascot and thought to give the readers of The Batavian a chance to share some of their suggestions. We've offered a few obvious choices—or maybe not obvious, who knows—but most folks will likely want to give their own. If that's the case, simply click the 'Other' option and type in your choice. We'll retrieve the suggestions from the poll site and post them in the comments field throughout the day.

If you would like to make your vote official, please download the official Name the Mascot form and drop it off at Dwyer Stadium.

What should we name the new Muckdogs mascot?
( surveys)

Name that pooch: Muckdogs adopt a stray dog as new mascot

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 20, 2009, 10:44am

This past December, at Batavia's Christmas in the City event, our sports editor, Brian Hillabush, snapped a photo of a stray dog decked out in a santa hat and a trench coat. That's him looking cool here to the right. Well, that dog was spotted a few more times after that, romaing the city, looking for a home.

Now, thanks to the Batavia Muckdogs, this stray dog has a home. He was adopted by the organization this morning and officially named as the Muckdogs new mascot. But there's one thing... He doesn't have a name! And the Muckdogs are hoping we can fix that.

Here are all the details:

On January 20th, 2009, in celebration of National Adopt a Mascot Day, the Batavia Muckdogs decided to officially adopt a very large, stray dog found sniffing around the City of Batavia.

The dog, which stands between five and six feet tall, weighs in at over 150 pounds, is brown with black patches, and has a very friendly smile.  He was first seen in early December at Christmas in the City.  The next sighting found him enjoying the sparkling lights at the Holland Land Office Museum’s Wonderland of Trees.  Apparently he likes to skate, because his travels took him to Falleti Ice Arena in early January.  Then he was seen meandering around TOPS where several children spotted him in front of the dog bone section. Recently, he drew lots of attention cooking it up at Pauly’s Pizza.

“I’ve seen the dog wandering around the area. He is very friendly and really enjoys being around kids. On top of that, he seems to love the game of baseball. For those reasons, I think he will find a good home at Dwyer Stadium,” said Travis Sick, general manager of baseball operations. “He’s a bit large, but we have a big yard here at Dwyer,” added Travis.

The new Muckdog’s mascot will make his first public appearance on Friday, January 23, 2009 at Jackson Elementary School in Batavia.

“Adopting a new pet is a huge responsibility. I think our staff and fans will do everything they can to make this dog feel right at home. I did a little research and I found this breed is really playful with kids, thrives on hotdogs, and excels at chasing batted balls,” said Casey Freeman, general manager of stadium operations.

The Muckdogs’ decision to adopt the dog was made when they learned the friendly canine needed a home.  The adoption took place at the Genesee County Animal Shelter, located in Batavia.

The Muckdogs will introduce a “Name the Mascot Contest” this week with entry forms available in the Daily News and at Dwyer Stadium. Fans have until February 13 to turn in their name suggestions for Batavia’s new best friend. The fan who comes up with the winning name for the pooch will receive a motorized scooter courtesy of Dr. Pepper and Snapple and four tickets to the Muckdogs’ home opener on Friday, June 19 vs Auburn. Fans interested can fill out the necessary form and mail it to Dwyer Stadium at 299 Bank Street, Batavia, NY 14020.

Reminder: Watch Obama's Inauguration with The Batavian at TF Brown's

By Howard B. Owens
Jan 20, 2009, 10:03am

Join us at 11:30 for a non-partisan celebration of a free country's peaceful transfer of power, to witness history and to see if Barack Obama can live up to the hype of his inaugural address (will it be Lincolnesque, FDResque or Clintonesque? If like Clinton, we won't be getting out of their until late in the afternoon).

We'll be at TF Brown's and The Batavian will be providing free finger foods (you'll need to buy your own drinks or own full lunch, if that's what you want).

On the Beat: Unlawful possession...

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 20, 2009, 7:50am

Brooke Humel, 17, of Corfu, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Monday, Genesee County sheriff's said. Brooke was found to be in possession following a traffic stop in Pembroke.

Timothy Beszcynski, 21, of Darien, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Saturday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Beszynski was found to be in possession following a traffic stop in Pembroke.

Dustin Benham, 19, of Darien, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Saturday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Benham was found to be in possession following a traffic stop in Pembroke.

Rebecca Athoe, 20, of 15 Kibbe Ave., Batavia, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana Friday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Benham was found to be in possession following a traffic stop in the town of Batavia.

Out at the Lazy Redneck Ranch

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 19, 2009, 5:21pm

All was quiet out at the Lazy Redneck Ranch this winter morning. Maybe you could have heard the sound of the sparrows tweeting and flitting up in the hayloft of the horse barn. Maybe the cats will chase the dog around the kitchen again. Maybe the grandkids are due for a visit. Soon enough, though, the ice will thaw and the endless work on the house that hometown tenacity built will begain again anew.

More than four years have passed since the excavator pulled up front of the Falker-Crandall homestead to dig the foundation for their new home (that's it up there). Since then, plenty of folks with the last name Falker or Crandall and plenty others, too, have visited that plot of land along Lockport Road in Oakfield, where a husband and wife decided that they weren't going to pay someone else to build their home. Nah. They would do it themselves.

You could see that house, too, standing proud, quite handsome, proof that as long as you've got the desire, the know-how and a few carpenters for relatives nothing can keep you from building your own home. Not that it's finished. Not by a long shot. Mark and Barb Falker-Crandall talk about their "expansion" plans with that audacity in their voice that lets you know they mean to keep on going, adding this, remodeling that, until they migrate to the big ranch in the sky.

"It will be one of those things that I'll work on until I can't pick up a hammer no more," says Mark. I can see him, too, decades from now, grizzled and grey, still swinging the ball-peen, tweaking this, patching that. It's his home, literally. Barb's too. They built it with their bare hands... and "with a little help from good friends and God," as Barb likes to say, they got it done.

Let's back up a little, though, back to that day the excavator arrived. It was August. Sunny and warm. Mark was stoked. He thought he was going to have off work a few months to lay the foundation and maybe even get up the walls of his new house. They would be out of the trailer in no time... Then the phone rang, and Mark was packing for Binghamton that same afternoon.

So he put in the call to his old school chum Wayne Shamblin, who was out at the site as soon as the plot had been dug. Wayne had the block all laid by the time Mark was home from Binghamton that weekend, and just like that, the Falker-Crandalls had a foundation.

That was how it went for the next couple years. They did what they could when they could and got help when they couldn't. Mark worked on the place mostly on weekends, until he started a night shift the following spring. Barb was going to school full-time and working full-time, plus the internship. "It was crazy," she admits.

"There wasn't a lot of sleep going on at that time," says Mark. He brags that the excavator work was the only part of the job that they didn't do themselves... with a little help from friends and family, of course. That's no exaggeration. They did the plumbing, the electrical, the drywall, all the structural work. Mark built a kitchen counter with a bar. Barb sewed the curtains and the doilies. Mark borrowed an aluminum break from one friend and got another friend to bend all the ductwork for the heating system.

When the trusses were ready to go up, Barb got together a bunch of folks from their church. Husbands and wives came out. They brought food. "It was like a good old Amish barn raising," says Barb. They raised the roof in a day.

What's more: they did it all with local goods.

Mark got the trusses from Potter Lumber Co. in Corfu. Most of the rest of the lumber, they had delivered by Trathen Logging Co. Windows and doors were got from Millwork Solutions in Batavia, where they scored an incredible deal on French doors for the back of the house. Their kitchen cupboards came from a shop in Indian Falls. Everything was local, got from hometown businesses, from people they knew who knew how to cut a deal. Heck, Mark even bought their furnace—brand new, mind you—at a garage sale.

Mark and Barb don't have the kind of spic and span credit that gets you a bankroll no questions asked. Like most of us. So they worked deals, borrowed from friends, even bartered. Once the trailer was hauled off the property, they sold that to pay for the insulation. When they needed dirt for fill—they also built the horse barn next to the house... from scratch—Barb negotiated with the construction crews who were then redoing the roads in Oakfield. She made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

"Twenty-two loads," she says, "and all it cost me was two homemade apple pies."

They got that raw, cabin-style look by going with rough cut lumber, as opposed to finished siding. That also saved them considerably. Aesthetics + cash in pocket = a job well done. "People tell us: 'Your place looks so nice. It looks like the little house on the prarie,'" says Barb.

Well, that's not exactly the name they went with.

"You want to know what we call it?" asks Mark. "We call it the Lazy Redneck Ranch." According to a sibling who shall remain nameless, Mark explains that he's been dubbed the lazy one—so lazy he built himself a house—and Barb's the redneck.

A redneck who knits doilies? "Yes," she says. "I play in the mud. I'll play tackle football, ride a horse, get out the four-wheeler... and... I like my guns."

She's also known to spoil a grandchild every now and then.

Byron-Bergen grad, McInally, wins state wrestling title for RIT

By Brian Hillabush
Jan 19, 2009, 1:28pm

Former Byron-Bergen standout Mike McInally won all five matches he wrestled over the weekend and was the only Division III grappler to win a championship at the New York State Championships Saturday at SUNY Oswego.

McInally's RIT team was seventh out of 18 teams in the team tournament. 

McInally was the No. 2 seed at 125 pounds and dropped Columbia's Kyle Gilchrist 6-2 in the semifinals and University at Buffalo's Dan Bishop 3-1 in the finals.

McInally is ranked fourth in Division III at 125 pounds and has a 22-0 record.

Batavia's business incubator celebrates 50th Anniversary

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 19, 2009, 12:53pm

From the Harvester Center:

The world’s first business incubator, The Batavia Industrial Center (BIC), is planning a year long celebration of 50 years of business development and job creation.

The businesses at BIC today employ more than 300 people in buildings that sprawl across 25 acres in the center of Batavia and were built over 100 years ago.  The companies that have “graduated” from the incubator employ thousands more and occupy properties worth millions of dollars in the region and across the country.  Events, new programs and announcements are being planned to recognize the success of the BIC, its entrepreneurs and the industry it spawned to help people around the world.  It is estimated that there are 5,000 incubators across Asia, North America, Europe and Latin America.  Jiang Zemin, the former President of China, hails business incubation as: “The most important creation of sci-tech industrialization in the 20th century.”

Business incubators are buildings that improve the survival and success of start-up and small businesses by providing rental space, shared equipment, support services and management guidance.  This concept was pioneered by Joseph L. Mancuso in 1959 as a solution to extremely high unemployment and the re-use of a large obsolete industrial building in the small city of Batavia, NY.  The organization responsible for business incubation in China erected a bronze bust of Mr. Mancuso at their incubator in Anshan China acclaiming him as the “founder of the incubator movement”.  January 19, is the late Mr. Mancuso’s birthday.

The Mancuso Business Development Group, led by B. Thomas Mancuso, SIOR, provides leadership to develop and operate incubators or small business centers that help people succeed.  They currently manage almost 3 million square feet of small business focused properties across Upstate New York.

For more information, please call B. Thomas Mancuso at 585.343.280 x 14 or email: [email protected].

On the Beat: Batavia siblings accused of conspiracy in assault, larceny

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 19, 2009, 8:35am

A pair of siblings from Batavia are accused of conspiring to "have an individual beat up" and driving the victim to "a remote location" in order to do so, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Adam M. Ganzhorn, 24, of 1 Cone St., Batavia, was charged with third-degree assault, sixth-degree conspiracy and petit larceny, all misdemeanors. Ganzhorn allegedly assaulted the victim on December 28, shortly after midnight. He is also accused of stealing the victim's cell phone. His sister, Teresa M. Ganzhorn, 19, of 4346 Batavia Elba Townline Road, Batavia, was charged with third-degree assault and sixth-degree conspiracy. She is accused of conspiring with her brother to have the victim "beat up" and transporting him to the scene of the assault.

Adam M. Ganzhorn was sent to Genesee County Jail Saturday morning in lieu of $500 cash or $1,000 bail bond. That same day, Teresa M. Ganzhorn was sent to jail in lieu of $250 cash or $500 bail bond.

Lori. A Wittkopp, 46, of Washington Ave, Batavia, was charged with a felony count of driving while intoxicated Sunday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Wittkopp was stopped by deputies after she allegedly nearly caused an accident while turning into the KFC restaurant on West Main Street in Batavia. She was also ticketed with failure to yield the right of way and uninsured motor vehicle.

Thomas Lukasik, 37, of Bennington, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and driving while intoxicated Friday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Lukasik was picked up by deputies following a car crash in Alexander that afternoon. He was also ticketed with a speeding violation.

Scott C. Stine, of York, Penn., was charged with a felony count of driving while intoxicated Tuesday, Corfu village police said. Stine was stopped for alleged traffic violations on Route 77 in Corfu. He was also ticketed with broken windshield, no seatbelt and inadequate plate lamp.

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