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Power outage at United Memorial

By Philip Anselmo

From United Memorial Medical Center:

United Memorial Medical Center is experiencing difficulties with the electrical power redundancy system at its North Street Campus which will affect the main hospital. To repair this issue, the Hospital will be without power for 15 -90 minutes while the issue is diagnosed and repaired at approximately 12:20 pm..

United Memorial officials are working with the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management, City of Batavia Fire and Police, and the Department of Health to insure patient safety. The Hospital is on full diversion and all surgeries have been cancelled for the remainder of the day.

The Hospital has initiated an internal labor pool in order to address issues that may arise due to the lack of elevator service. Currently, there are 90 patients admitted to the hospital at North Street. The Hospital is working to discharge patients that were expected to go home today before the power disruption is expected.

Visitors to the hospital today should expect to see increased activity and emergency personnel on stand-by. Their cooperation while we address this electrical concern is appreciated.

Poll: What's your least favorite part of living in Western New York?

By Philip Anselmo

Earlier this week, we picked up an article from Forbes magazine that dubbed Buffalo the 8th most miserable city in the nation. Just or unjust, we thought that may have touched on a few of the less desirable aspects of living in this part of the country. Sure, we've got much to boast about here in Western New York—the people, the history, the landscapes, the fresh water—but surely they are a few things about our region that we would get rid of if we could.

So, what would you scrap if you could?

What is your least favorite part of living in WNY?
( polls)

Clarence crash: Coverage roundup

By Philip Anselmo

Identities of the victims of the crash of Continental Flight 3407 are not yet being released, but many are believed to be inhabitants of Western New York.

We put together this roundup of news coverage.

From the Buffalo News:

Forty-nine people died when a Continental Connection airplane crashed into a house in Clarence Center shortly after 10:15 p.m. Thursday, setting off a huge fire that could be seen miles away.

The dead included 44 passengers, four crew members and a person on the ground.

A nurse at Erie County Medical Center said the hospital's second shift had been told to stay late to treat survivors but was sent home before midnight.

"There were no souls to bring in and treat," she said.

You can also view video coverage of the press conference and footage taken from the scene at the Buffalo News video page. The site also hosts the final radio transmission received from Continental Flight 3407 prior to the crash.

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Comments from the scene, featured in today's Democrat & Chronicle:

“The whole sky was lit up orange,” Bob Dworak, who lives less than a mile from the crash site, told The Associated Press. He said that residents of the neighborhood, about 10 miles from the Buffalo airport, were used to planes rumbling overhead, but he took note last night when one sounded louder than usual and made some odd noises.

“We were thinking it was just another plane,” he said. “It kind of made some sputtering noises but they lower the landing gear over our house a lot so the noise from the planes a lot of time will change kind of drastically as they go over.”

Kathy Dworak said she and her husband stepped outside and saw a huge ball of fire.

“We could see nothing that told us it was a plane,” she said. “It was just a massive ball of flame.”

A follow-up piece in the Buffalo News looks into icing as a potential cause of the crash.

Just minutes after Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed, air traffic controllers began quizzing other pilots about the icy conditions over Buffalo.

A recording of those conversations Thursday night suggests ice may be one of the suspected causes of the nation's deadliest air crash in more than two years.

"Delta 1998, you getting any icing where you're at?" a Buffalo air traffic controller asked just minutes after Continental's 74-seat aircraft went down, killing 49 people.

"We picked it up on the way down," the pilot reponds. "I don't think it's building any more here but about 6,500 (feet) down to 3,500 (feet) maybe."

We received the following statement from Rep. Chris Lee, a resident of Clarence.

Congressman Chris Lee, who represents and is a resident of Clarence, will be on the ground this morning with federal, local and state officials. He has issued the following brief statement:

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic accident that occurred last night in Clarence. Our focus right now is supporting the first responders on the ground, who have done heroic work in ensuring the health and safety of people in the area. My website is continually providing residents and concerned citizens with updated information, as well as the opportunity to leave messages for the families of the victims, first responders, and the members of the community.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families at this difficult hour.”

Dan Fischer has audio of Lee talking about the location of the crash up on the WBTA Web site.

Update (9:45 a.m.): A report from CNN explains that this particular passenger jet is one of the safest around.

The turboprop plane that crashed in New York state, killing all 49 people on board and one on the ground, was one of the safest and most sophisticated aircraft of its type, according to an aviation industry expert.

The Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 was less than one year old and had flown for only about 1,500 hours, said Kieran Daly, of the online aviation news service Air Transport Intelligence.

Update (10:39 a.m.): Statement from state Senator Mike Ranzenhofer:

"On behalf of the citizens of the 61st District and the Town of Clarence, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families affected by the tragedy of Flight 3407.  Our thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the entire State of New York, are with you at this most difficult time.

"Our sincere thanks and gratitude go to our communities' first responders. It is times like these where our Western New York community comes together to help and console one another."

On the Beat: Two-year-old wanders outside of home in Oakfield

By Philip Anselmo

Raymond W. Schramm Jr., 22, of Oakfield, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child Thursday evening, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Schramm's son is alleged to have wandered out of their home some time around 6 o'clock yesterday evening and was outside for approximately 30 minutes before a passing motorist stopped to check on the child. The boy was taken to United Memorial Medical Center and treated for exposure. Schramm will answer the charge in court in March.

Frederick M. White, 71, of 10 Woodland Dr., Batavia, was charged with driving while intoxicated Thursday, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. White was located in his vehicle off the side of the road on Lewsiton Road in Alabama. His vehicle appeared to have gone off the roadway as the result of an alleged unsafe lane change. White was also ticketed with changing lanes unsafely and misuse of dealer plates.

Connie L. King, 37, of Oakfield, was charged with driving while intoxicated early this morning, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. King allegedly crashed her vehicle on Route 63 in the town of Batavia. She was also ticketed with failure to keep right.

49 people killed in Buffalo plane crash

By Brian Hillabush

The Buffalo News is reporting that 49 people were killed Thursday night when a Continental Airlines flight crashed into a home in Clarence Center.

Continental Flight 3407, flying from Newark, N.J. to Buffalo, crashed into a house located at 6050 Long St. in Clarence Center, starting a large fire.

Unconfirmed reports from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport told the News that 44 passengers, four crew members and a person on the ground were killed in the accident, which is being blamed on mechanical problems that happened as the plane approached the airport.

There are also several injured people that have been taken to Erie County Medial Center.

Ice dam on Oatka Creek causes flooding in LeRoy

By Howard B. Owens

An ice damn that formed on Oatka Creek caused some flooding in the Village of Le Roy, according to a report on the R-News Web site.

LeRoy Fire Chief Bill Wood told R-News that crews spent the day pumping water from basements along Munson Street.

There were also problems with the sewer system, according to the report, but those issues have been cleared up.

No word on an estimated amount of damage to any property.

Notre Dame hockey beats Batavia for first time in a decade

By Brian Hillabush

Scoring early and slowing down the game.

That was the plan for Marc Staley and the Notre Dame hockey team, which was facing an experienced Batavia squad with a lot more wins Thursday night at Faletti Ice Arena. 

The Fighting Irish scored twice in the first period and then shut down Batavia's powerful scoring line en route to a 3-1 victory. It was the first time Notre Dame has beaten its cross-town rival in a decade.

"We've been the underdog every time we've played Batavia High for the last 10 years," said ND coach Marc Staley. "We played that role. But the kid do understand that we are improving and we showed that tonight."

Freshman Jack Nenni had his second career two goal game, opening the scoring mid-way through the first period. It was his fourth goal of the season.

"We are two different teams," Staley said. "When we play from the lead, we are tough to play against. When we score first we are 7-2-1. We knew that if we scored first it would be big, we can play our game plan as we have it laid out. If we fall behind we have to make adjustments."

Nenni added an empty-net goal in the third period after Batavia had scored to make the game interesting. His first time scoring two goals in a game came as an eighth grader last season.

"He has been struggling and we told him to just come out firing," Staley said. "I was thrilled that he had a big game on a big night."

Batavia's other first period goal came from Jason Harasimowicz, who also had an assist.

Ivan Madaferri had two assists for the Fighting Irish.

The defensive game plan was to shut down Batavia's potent first line of Erik Pokornowski, Pat Finnell and and Cory Kocent, and Notre Dame did just that. All three are in the top 10 scoring in Section 5, but didn't manage a goal Thursday night.

Will Mulcahy had Batavia's goal.

"All four of our defensemen played great," Staley said. "We worked on clearing the puck. It sounds simple, but if we had to take some icing calls, we were fine. We wanted to slow the game down. They have speed so we backed them all into the middle and we knew Thomas (Dehr) would stop all the shots from the outside."

Dehr stopped 17 shots for the Fighting Irish, who improve to 8-8-2.

Notre Dame had not defeated Batavia (13-8) in 10 years, but took the Blue Devils to overtime twice last season.

Section 2 could fight NYSPHSAA cuts in number of games

By Brian Hillabush

 This passage from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association bylaws has opened up a chance for each Section to determine if they continue playing a full schedule and avoid the recent cuts made.

 "The maximum number of contests which may be established for interscholastic sports during a regular schedule shall be determined in the sections ... The maximum number of contests established for each sport during the regular schedule is subject to review by the state athletic associations and may be altered where it is found that disparities in the number of games contribute to unequal competition between teams in different sections."

Section 2 might fight the decision made by the NYSPHSAA because of this passage.

Jackie Friedman of writes that in the most recent meeting by the Section 2 athletic council, a mothing was passed to give member schools a chance to vote to overturn the state's ruling. 

If the majority of schools vote to overturn the state's decision, Section 2 will try to get an endorsement from the NYSPHSAA to stop the rule in that area. The votes will be collected by March 16 and a decision will be announced on April 1 at the athletic council meeting.

Section 2 executive director Doug Kenyon is quotes as saying that athletic directors and schools "should have control over their destiny."

Kenyon believe that even if the vote passes, the state may still not approve the decision because it would give Section 2 an advantage over the other Sections in state competition because the teams will have played more games.

There has been harsh criticism of the state's ruling to cut the number of games from people in every Section, so this could be a way to reverse the cuts. It would be interesting if other Sections - including Section 5 - were to try this as well.

Maybe a full schedule could return, with Section 2 leading the way.

Wind warning downgraded, flood warning extended through Friday

By Philip Anselmo

We may be in the clear for any further threats of severe wind damage for Genesee County, but Batavia is still under watch for a flooding of Tonawanda Creek. This is a clip of the roiling creek that looked set to swell up and over its banks earlier this afternoon out back of the county court house.

From the National Weather Service:

The flood warning continues for the Tonawanda Creek at Batavia until Friday afternoon. At 12:00 p.m. Thursday, the stage was 9.5 feet and rising. Minor flooding is occurring and minor flooding is forecast. Flood stage is 9.0 feet. Forecast: The river will continue to rise and crest near 9.8 feet this evening. Impact: At 10.0 feet, moderate flood, minor to moderate flooding along the entire reach from Batavia to Tonawanda, most focused in Alabama swamps, rapids and northern Clarence and Amherst, and also in the city of Batavia, west of Main Street.

On the wind advisory:

Southwest winds of 20 to 35 mph this afternoon could gust over 45 mph. The greatest chance for the higher gusts will be found over elevated terrain. These winds will become more westerly during the course of this afternoon before diminishing late in the day.

While the threat of widespread wind damage has diminished, shallow rooted trees, namely pines, will still be vulnerable in this event as their shallow root system has become less stable with the thawing of the previously frozen ground. Scattered power outages will still be possible from downed tree limbs and power lines.

On the Beat: DWI charges in Batavia and Oakfield

By Philip Anselmo

Robert J. Rudnicki, 36, of 4016 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, was charged with a felony count of driving while intoxicated early this morning, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Rudnicki was stopped for alleged traffic violations on Jackson Street in the city of Batavia. He was also ticketed with driving left of the pavement markings in a no passing zone, inadequate headlights and driving without a license.

Joseph J. Ferraro, 55, of Basom, was charged with driving while intoxicated Wednesday afternoon, deputies said. Ferraro was stopped for an alleged traffic violation after he was seen by an off-duty deputy driving erratically on Route 262 in the town of Oakfield. He was also ticketed with moving from the lane unsafely.

Smoke reported inside building at Stella's Collision in LeRoy - Updated

By Philip Anselmo

We've received reports of a possible fire at Stella's Collision on East Main Road in LeRoy. Reports on the scanner indicate smoke in the building. Fire crews from LeRoy, Caledonia and Pavilion have been dispatched. We will update as more information becomes available. 

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Update (11:45 a.m.): Additional manpower has been requested to the scene as a second alarm was just sounded over the scanner.

Update (1:05 p.m.): LeRoy dispatch reports that all crews have returned to base. No fire was present on scene. Firefighters reported a haze in the building that was not exactly smoke, but the cause of the disturbance has not yet been identified.

Road conditions deteriorate quickly in Genesee County and environs

By Philip Anselmo

Roads around Genesee County are getting ever worse throughout the day today. Snow and rain have added to the already bloated mix of melted ice and snow from yesterday. Some roads are barely navigable at this time. Add to that the winds that are bringing down power lines across the region, and you've got a messy situation out there.

In the past half hour, we've heard of two reports of downed wires over the scanner.

Poles and wires have come down on Molasses Hill Road near Chaddock Road in Alexander. Another pole along with wires are blocking a roadway in Attica. We haven't yet got the report on that exact location, but crews are out trying to get things cleaned up as quickly as possible.

Conditions are even worse in Wyoming County, where the winds are whipping even more fiercely. Dan Fischer reports that the office of emergency management there has put out a general travel advisory for motorists. It reads: "Caution should be used when traveling in Wyoming Co. due to damage from high winds including downed utility poles and power lines. Be prepared to seek alternate routes as some roads have been closed due to blockage."

You can find out more on area closings by visiting the WBTA Web site.

False alarm evacuates buildings at GCC Batavia campus

By Philip Anselmo

A faulty alarm caused an evacuation at Genesee Community College's Batavia campus this morning. Rick Ensman, director of external affairs at the college, told us by phone that the alarm sounded some time around 9:50 a.m.

"It was a faulty alarm head," he said. "We're not sure why it got set off, but we did clear the buildings and alert the fire authorities just as a precaution. The alarm head is back working, and we've got everybody back in now."

Ensman said he didn't know what could have caused the false alarm. It could have been dust, something in the air, or just an old head, he said. "There was no actual emergency."

People were allowed back in the buildings approximately 20 minutes after the alarm sounded and the administration got the OK.

"It was just a report in the C building," said Ensman. "So the technology and arts buildings and the arts center were clear. So we were able to move people inside pretty quickly."

And that's a good thing. It's not the kind of day to be standing around outside.

News roundup: Two school closures and power outages in the area

By Philip Anselmo

Attica and Wyoming central schools are closed this morning as a result of the fierce weather, according to WBTA's Dan Fischer.

We've also got power outages in the area: some 73 folks are without electricity in and around Alexander, and another 65 are in the dark in Darien. Wires have come down on Dewey Road in the town of Batavia. No outages yet reported in that region.

Truck stuck under bridge on Cedar Street in Batavia

By Philip Anselmo

We received this image of a truck stuck under an overpass on Cedar Street yesterday evening from one of our readers. The photo was taken by Brandon Fegley from inside a car.

A story this morning on the Daily News site informs us that this incident slowed up traffic on Cedar Street for an hour.

The driver got stuck when he “failed to obey” posted signs stating the bridge’s height, Sgt. Dave Kleinbach said. The 13.6-foot-tall truck attempted to drive under the 12.3-foot-tall bridge, he said.

Police were called to the scene at 12:20 p.m. and remained there for about an hour to close one lane and redirect traffic. The driver was issued a ticket for failing to obey a traffic control device, Kleinbach said.

All around nasty weather throughout the day throughout the region

By Philip Anselmo

We're in for an ugly cocktail of dangerous weather today. Right now, Batavia is under three separate warnings, issued by the National Weather Service. Ice floes and warm temperatures look to flood the Tonwanda Creek. Winds of sustained gusts at 40 mph are whipping up to 70 mph at times. And, just for good measure, we've got a snow storm.

On the flood:

The flood warning continues for the Tonawanda Creek at Batavia from this morning to tonight. At 5:00 a.m. Thursday the stage was 72 feet and rising. Minor flooding is forecast. Flood stage is 9.0 feet... The river is expected to rise above flood stage late this morning and crest near 9.2 feet this afternoon.... At the 9.0 flood stage: Flood protection at Chestnut Street Bridge begins to be toppd. There is also flooding in Kibbe Park area of Batavia.

On the wind:

Deep low pressure will pass by to our north today. Southwest winds of 30 to 40 mph will gust as high as 70 mph during the day today. The powerful winds will become more westerly this afternoon then will gradually diminish tonight.

Shallow rooted trees, namely pines, will be especially vulnerable in this event as their shallow root system has become less stable with the thawing of the previously frozen ground. The added weight from several inches of wind blown wet snow will likely increase the potential for some downed tree limbs and power lines.

On the snow:

A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 6:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Cold, moist air filtering in behind a departing low will bring 2 to 4 inches of snow to the area today. Another 1 to 3 inches is expected tonight. Strong winds will add to the problems and generate very poor visibility at times and make it difficult to keep roadways clear.

Things do not look pretty out at the Thruway right now. Please be safe.

Oakfield-Alabama clinches Division I title with win over Pembroke

By Brian Hillabush

  As the crowd chanted "just like football", the Oakfield-Alabama basketball team was looking wrap up a huge win and a second straight Genesee Region League Division I title.

The Hornets played some great defense against the Pembroke stars and gave coach Gary Kurkowski - who returned after a long hiatus from coaching varsity - a division title with a 61-39 win over Pembroke Wednesday.


The two teams have been powerhouses in football in recent years and O-A won the GR title outright by going undefeated this past fall. Many of those kids that played football, won another title in basketball with the win.

The Oakfield gym was packed and the atmosphere was just like the big-time football games the two squads play.

But this was nothing like the close games the football team plays. The Hornets dominated this contest from the start.

O-A built a 19-11 lead after one period of play as the defense of Noah Seward and Tim Smith was keeping Pembroke stars Ken Babcock and Andrew Wright in check for the most part.

Smith was a shooting machine in the first half.

He drained three 3-pointers and scored 11 of his 17 points to lead the Hornets to a 32-21 halftime lead.

Seward took on the scoring duties in the second half with 12 of his 20 points.

The final blow in the contest came early in the fourth quarter as Smith started it off with a basket and Sam McCracken scored five straight points to give his squad a 53-33 lead. O-A wound up outscoring Pembroke 15-6 in the final frame.

Seward had 12 rebounds to go with his points and Smith had five assists and four steals to go with his 17 points. Brad Riner was held scoreless but dished out seven helpers, with A.J. Kehlenbeck scoring eight points and  Tyler Tamblin adding seven.

Babcock scored 20 points for Pembroke (11-7), who will be playing Wilson at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Genesee Region/Niagara-Orleans League Showdown on Saturday. Steve Moser scored eight points and Wright was limited to just five.

Oakfield-Alabama (16-2) will be playing Akron in what is going to be the showcase game of the showdown right after the Pembroke game.


New Byron-Bergen superintendent is ready "to be a part of this"

By Tasia Boland

The calmness in Scott G. Martzloff’s voice assured me he was beginning to gear up for the challenges of his new position. On July 1, Dr. Martzloff will take over as the Superintendent of Schools of the Byron-Bergen Central School District. He will be succeeding Gregory Geer who is retiring after eight years on the job.

Martzloff’s voice raised with excitement as he spoke of the committment of the entire school administration. He knew this was the place for him when he first went to a Byron-Bergen basketball game and got to talk with staff, parents and those involved in the community. There is a sense that this is a real close-knit community, he said.

His visit to the area showed him the eagerness of the community members to help one another. After his visit he said, “I want to be a part of this.”

Martzloff has always been committed to his work. He earned Doctorate of Education at the University of Rochester, a Master of Science degree and Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership at SUNY Brockport, and a Special Education teaching certification at SUNY Geneseo. He published a book in 2007 titled: Transformational School Culture.

He knows the position is going to be a change from his last. For ten years, he was a school administrator in the Rochester City and the Rush-Henrietta Central school districts. Still, he feels he's ready to face all that comes with the title: Superintendent.

“It is a challenging position, but I feel I have prepared myself well to take on that challenge,” said Martzloff. He said the most rewarding part of his job is seeing students be successful. His number one priority as Superintendent is to listen, listen and listen.

“I plan to do a lot of listening. I want to have a lot of conversations with people in the community and hear their perceptions,” said Martzloff.

Enthusiasm took over his words when he spoke of the importance of community involvement.

“I am looking forward to being very active in the district, and working with all members of the community,” said Martzloff. He plans to set goals and see Byron-Bergen become a world class district. His wife, Kimberly, a school counselor at Rush-Henrietta Senior High School, and their three young children, 6-year-old Victoria, 4-year-old Elizabeth and 3-year-old Scott Jr., plan to relocate to the Byron-Bergen School District from their current location, Honeoye Falls.

Martzloff said that it's hard sometimes managing his time for work and family.

“Although I am very committed to my work, family comes first,” said Martzloff.  

He said he will spend more time talking with the current superintendent, Geer, when it is closer to July. Martzloff said he wants to be respectful to Geer, and allow him to continue to do his job in a positive manner.

From the Byron-Bergen Web site:

Mr. Ernie Haywood, President of the Byron-Bergen Board of Education, commented on the appointment saying, "After extensive input from the community and our staff, the Board of Education chose Dr. Martzloff because we believe his qualifications and experiences fit our District’s needs. His skills set is one that will continue the District’s efforts focused on providing each and every one of our students the best educational experience possible.”

Flash flood watch issued for Batavia

By Philip Anselmo

A flood watch has been issued for Genesee and Wyoming counties through Thursday evening. Ice jam flooding could break out on Tonawanda Creek.

From the National Weather Service out of Buffalo:

Ice jams were on Tonawanda Creek Tuesday near Varysburg and south of Attica. Warm temperatures and rainfall today will increase the flow on the creek and may cause the jams to move downstream. The higher water and ice will combine for a threat of flooding along the creek. With ice jams, flooding can happen at any time if the ice breaks loose and jams again. The flood threat of higher water will continue through Thursday.

A flash flood watch means the threat of flash flooding exists along rivers and creeks. If you are in the watch area, you should monitor weather conditions closely. Be ready to move to higher ground if flooding is observed or a warning is issued.

A Whig party revival!?

By Philip Anselmo

We often receive press releases from distant sources or from businesses that kind-of-sort-of have a tenuous at best connection with our region. For the most part, they end up in my trash bin, because they just don't have anything in them that would appeal to our readers.

Not so today.

We received a news release from a fellow from Buffalo, representing another fellow from Washington, D.C. They wrote to us to inform us of the up-and-coming modern Whig party.

From the release:

Founded by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Modern Whig Party has quickly attracted 20,000 members to go along with 25 state chapters. On the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, this grassroots political movement will announce the official modern revival of the historic Whig Party. Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, with Presidents' Day officially celebrated February 16, 2009.

The Whig Party is intimately intertwined with Lincoln's legacy. This vaunted president helped build the Whigs into a mainstream, common-sense movement and in fact served as a Whig legislator. While Lincoln joined the newly formed Republican Party after the demise of the Whigs, he always maintained the rational mentality of his longtime party.
Through the hard work and motivation of recently deployed service members, the Modern Whig Party was organized to be a home for those voters who place common-sense, rational thought ahead of ideology. Like the original party of Lincoln, the Modern Whigs cater to those who subscribe to mainstream values across the political spectrum.

During the organization phase of this movement, the Modern Whig Party already is recognized as the fastest-growing mainstream political movement in the country. Thousands of moderate Republicans and Democrats have signed on. With an executive committee and national headquarters in Washington, DC, the Modern Whig Party is recapturing the longtime ideals of Lincoln as they build toward being a true party for the rest of us.

Contact: Mike Lebowitz — 571-251-1490,

The Modern Whig Party
2141 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite C-2
Washington, DC 20191

For a little bit of background, here's a nugget of info from Wikipedia on the original Whig party:

Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from 1833 to 1856, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party. In particular, the Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the executive branch and favored a program of modernization and economic protectionism. This name was chosen to echo the American Whigs of 1776, who fought for independence, and because "Whig" was then a widely recognized label of choice for people who saw themselves as opposing autocratic rule.

My dictionary tells me that the word "Whig" is likely a truncation of the Scottish term: "Whiggamore," which was the nickname given to a band of 17th century Scottish rebels who fought against British hegemony. Cool.

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