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October 22, 2008 - 7:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, wbta.

Among WBTA's top stories this morning:

The city begins its annual leaf pick up Monday, Oct. 27. The pick up will end Dec. 5. The city asks that piles be free of sticks and foreign objects, and that cars be parked in a manner not to block access to the pile.

The County Legislature meets tonight, and besides the proposed tax increase of 4.2 percent from County Manager Jay Gsell, also on the agenda: State Senator Mary Lou Rath will honor Ricky Palermo for working to raise awarness of spinal cord injuries.

Be sure to tune into WBTA throughout the day for news updates.

October 21, 2008 - 10:16pm
posted by Bea McManis in weather, WNY, snow, winter.

I looked out my window a few minutes ago and was surprised to see that snow covered the cars in the parking lot. This morning's weather forecast hinted to snow mixed with rain, but not enough to accumulate. The winds carrying that cold air over the warm lakes should have been the first clue that we would see more than a dusting. I don't think I'll ever get over the thrill of the first snow. It seems to waken some primative need to stock the larder and bring out the heavier comforters and quilts for the bed. I wonder if others have this same urge. So today was a day to make apple butter; Harvard beets; roasted yam with roasted apples and corn relish. All staples that will hold over the winter. The apple butter is spiked with a good shot of maple syrup. The beets rest in a thick sweet sauce. The corn relish offers a blend of sweet and sour that is delicious on crackers for a snack or used as the base for sweet and sour chicken over rice and other recipes. The combination of roasted yams and roasted apples laced with brown sugar, butter, and apple pie spice freezes well. It makes a great side dish or a super stuffing for acorn squash. This is a dish that should be made when no one else is about. I find that friends like to spoon it on crackers and eat it as a snack. I put the light comforters away today. The heavier quilts now rest on the bed. Most likely, for the next few nights, I'll just kick them off because it will be too hot. But, it is nice to know they are there when needed.

October 21, 2008 - 8:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy.

On the Anderson Cooper 360 blog, Dee Davis, found and president of the Center for Rural Strategies writes:

Nobody is going to bail out rural America. No matter how bad things get, there is never going to be $700 billion of stop loss or reinvestment or economic stimulus for the countryside. Government is going to be there to look after besotted financiers in $5,000 suits and Gucci loafers a long time before it notices small town folks struggling to feed their families or gas up to get to work.

But that doesn’t mean that the Countryside can’t help us out of this mess. When the credit crisis abates and the debts of all the profligates have been forgiven, the nation will still have some tough choices. Will we rev up the same economic machine, built on the notion of cheap fossil fuel and limitless consumption, or will we shoot for something a little more sustainable? If it is the latter, rural communities have something to offer.

And here's his ideas:

  • Localize food systems so we support area farmers more and global transportation less,
  • Seek more sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticide production agriculture,
  • Open up the power grid so locally scaled and more environmentally sound approaches to power generation can compete for market share ,
  • Cap carbon emissions so that we begin to acknowledge the hidden costs of pollution and monetize the value of rural expanses where the sky is still clean,
  • Invest in clean, renewable fuels that we can create in the American countryside.
  • And rethink the inevitability of endless suburban sprawl built on housing speculation, loosey-goosey credit markets, and the expectation of cheap gasoline.

One thing to give Alice Kryzan credit for is she's talking a lot about Western New York playing a role in a new green economy. That isn't wacky thinking, but I wonder how it can happen without a concerted local effort.  This isn't really the kind of thing Kryzan (or Lee) can do for us at the Federal level. It's the kind of thing we must do for ourselves.

(link via The Rural Blog)

(The photo above was taken Friday in LeRoy.)

October 21, 2008 - 8:33pm
posted by Darrick Coleman in Pok-A-Dot, books, bill kauffman, John Gardner.

On Saturday October 18, 2008, Genesee County residents gathered to remember John Gardner, a well-known novelist and university professor who was born in Batavia, NY. He wrote more than twenty works of fiction, children's stories, poetry, and literary criticism. Among his most popular novels are Grendel (1971), The Sunlight Dialogues (1972),  Nickel Mountain (1973), and October Light (1976). Gardner died in a motorcycle crash near Susquehanna, PA, in 1982. He is buried in Batavia's Grandview Cemetery.

Ten people volunteered to read excerpts of Gardner's works for the evening's program including author Bill Kauffman and his daughter Gretel, a student at Elba High School; Tracy Ford, Associate Professor of English at Genesee Community College; Batavia Muckdogs President Brian Paris; and Erica Caldwell, owner of Present Tense bookstore. This was the 12th annual "Batavia Reads John Gardner" event at the Pok-a-Dot.


October 21, 2008 - 8:25pm
posted by DOUGLAS MCCLURG in batavia.

October 21, 2008 - 7:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

OK, I've never called out a listing placed in our classified section before, but man, I'm drooling over this boat.  It suits my needs and tastes so well -- wish I could afford it!.

Ever since moving to Western NY, I've dreamed of owning a boat. My boss has gotten me into fishing. There are so many neat lakes around.

October 21, 2008 - 5:54pm
posted by Brian Hillabush in batavia, Attica, football, sports, Oakfield, pembroke, Notre Dame.


 No surprise here.

The Oakfield-Alabama football rolled to a perfect 7-0 season and captured the Genesee Region League title, and nine players from that squad were named to the GR all-star team Monday night.

Coach John Dowd was named Coach of the Year as well for delivering the first undefeated regular season for the Hornets since 1986.

O-A has rushed for a whopping 2,242 yards as a team during the regular season. Week 7 counts as non-league games because the Class D teams were already in the playoffs.

That being said, two of the three running backs on the squad and three offensive lineman lead the way.

6-foot-3, 275-pound Chris Williams was a unanimous choice at guard and 6-foot-1, 275-pound center Craig Campbell also was a key on the best offensive line in the league. Both were all-state selections two years ago, with Williams making all-stars for a third-straight year.

5-foot-8, 200-pound tackle Derek Hicks also made the all-star squad.

The O-A offensive line opened many holes for Tim Smith and Brad Riner, who both earned all-star recognition as seniors.

Smith led the Hornets in rushing with 771 yards and 11 touchdowns through six games, then rested in the final game of the season against Holley. He was the offensive Player of the Week for Class C in Week 4.

Riner, a fullback, picked up 639 yards and 10 scores this season, including a three TD game in the final game of the season.

Noah Seward had 29 tackles, an interception and four sacks and Tyler Kowalczyk had 2.5 sacks, an interception and 23 tackles. Both made the all-star team as defensive linemen.

It is Seward's second all-star nod.

Linebacker John Koenig had 17 tackles and two fumble recoveries and is joined byA.J. Kehlenbeck - one of only two juniors - on the all-star squad. Kehlenbeck had three interceptions and 17 tackles.

The Hornets are ranked No. 10 in the state for Class C and open up the Section 5 playoffs with a home game against Dansville Friday night.





Pembroke ended the year one point away from the league title after its only loss came to Oakfield-Alabama, 25-24, in Week 6.

Quarterback David Kleckler had a stellar year and leads the group of seven Dragons to make the team.

Kleckler completed 30-of-56 attempts for 651 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions this season. He also rushed for 301 yards and two touchdowns.

Andrew Wright made the team as a wide receiver, but could have been selected as a running back. He gained 774 yards on the ground and got into the end zone 10 times, while catching 13 passes for 340 yards and three TDs.

He also had a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD, a 58-yard punt return for a score and returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Tight end Ken Babcock caught 15 passes for 275 yards with five touchdowns and made the team because of his big-play ability in the red zone. He is a two-time all-star.

Graham Jensen is 5-foot-11, 210-pounds and made the team as a guard while 6-foot-2, 235-pound Matt Klotzbach is an all-star defensive lineman.

Jensen had 42 tackles on defense and Klotzbach had 45 stops with a sack.

Josh Hanel - a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder - was selected as a linebacker and safety Mike Dibble was selected as a defensive back.

Hanel had 45 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery and Dibble made 62 tackles. Dibble also rushed for 522 yards and eight touchdowns.

It is the second all-star appearance for both Babcock and Jensen.

Pembroke opens up the Class C playoffs with Bishop Kearney on Saturday.



Notre Dame gets four all-star selections after going 4-2 in the regular season. The Fighting Irish are 5-2 and playing Perry on Saturday at East Rochester in the Class D semifinals.

Kevin Francis made the squad for the second straight year as a wide receiver. He caught 27 passes for 337 yards with five touchdowns in six regular season games.

Francis returned five kickoffs for 145 yards and nine punts for 142 yards and a touchdown.

Craig Houseknecht is a 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior and made the team as a guard while Rick Lair makes it as a linebacker.

Lair had 41 tackles and 34 assists with two forced fumbles and eight tackles for a loss.

Matt Thompson is only a junior but garners all-star recognition for the second time as a kicker/punter.

Thompson converted on 26-of-30 extra point attempts and had a season-long 35-yard field goal. He averaged 43.5 yards on kickoffs with 10 touchbacks while averaging 40.4 yards per punt, including four inside the 20.




Attica went 4-3 during the regular season and gets three all-stars.

Andy Ruddock earned offensive Player of the Week for Class B in Week 3 and is an all-star for the second time. He rushed for 936 yards with 10 touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 127 yards and a score.

Shawn Dupuis had 29 tackles with a fumble recovery and makes the team as a defensive back. He was the leading receiver for the Blue Devils, catching 26 passes for 530 yards and six touchdowns.

Kevin Gallinger was the defensive Player of the Week in Week 6 and had a huge year at linebacker. Gallinger had 54 tackles and an interception.


Barker went 1-5 and nearly shocked top-seed Clyde-Savannah in the Class D playoffs last week.

Defensive lineman Ray Paul makes the all-star squad with 33 tackles and a sack.


Honorable mentions: 

Alexander - Joe Aurrichio, Lucas Czechowski, Steve George, Jordan Leitten, Ryan Piechocki, Ryan Wilson.

Attica - Luke Pariso, Brandon Rollins.

Barker - Cody Blackley, Greg Brown, Rob Johnson, Josh Sonberg.

Elba/Byron-Bergen - Brent Crawford, Zach Green, Brandon Shuknecht, Cody Torpey.

Holley - Cory Blood, Guy Hills.

Notre Dame - Greg Barr, Nick Bochicchio, Eric Houseknecht, Kevin Schildwaster, Cam McDonald.

Oakfield-Alabama - Josh Athoe, Jon Fisher.

Pembroke - MIke Wells.

October 21, 2008 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alice Kryzan, Chris Lee.

It seems inconceivable to that Chris Lee, a well-funded, wealthy, hand-picked GOP candidate in a marginally Republican district, could lose the 26th congressional race.

I haven't seen any polls to suggest he could lose, but it seems Alice Kryzan, the Democrat's nominee, is putting up a good fight.

If Lee loses, it could come in part because of a GOP backlash over the war and the economy, but even in a relatively safe district like the 26th Lee probably couldn't lose to a progressive Democrat unless he did himself in.

Which is why, I suspect, his GOP handlers have him running a safe, cautious campaign.

But it is exactly such a campaign that could prove his undoing.

Lee's conduct of his campaign should also have us asking hard questions about his fitness to be a leader in Western New York.

It's difficult to tell at how much of Lee's campaign reflects the real Chris Lee, or whether his GOP handlers have him under such tight wraps that he can't stretch out and make bold moves.

Either way, Lee's conduct in this campaign should be of concern to WNY voters -- either he lacks the vision to take chances, or he lacks the leadership to throw off the shackles of party Plutocracy.

The last thing WNY needs is a congressional representative beholden to the party elite (of course, there's no guarantee we wouldn't get just such a rep in Alice Kryzan, either).

Lee is playing not-to-lose, rather than to win.  Sports teams that play cautious often find themselves on the wrong end of the score. I'm not rooting against Lee, just pointing out what I see as the glaring weakness of his campaign.

Consider, Lee has passed on debates with Kryzan, was slow to respond to the Wall Street meltdown, and declined a video interview with The Batavian, which doesn't hurt our feelings, but the reason given by his campaign manager speaks to the overly cautious nature of his campaign: Nick Longworthy was worried about how the opposition might use the video.

That's being too cautious and too calculating.  That's not how leaders behave.

Meanwhile, Kryzan has been out front on raising issues, such as her immediate (though wrongheaded) support of the bailout, and her push for green collar jobs in WNY (and more on her business plan here).

Lee's campaign has avoided specifics, spoken in platitudes (check this letter to the Democrat & Chronicle), and generally failed to articulate a clear message that sets him apart from a run-of-the-mill Republican.

When you compare Lee's campaign web site to Kryzan's site, you find that Kryzan's site is more dynamic, more frequently updated and a deeper source of information about the candidate and her take on the issues. Lee's site, reflecting the cautious nature of his campaign, is more of a paint-by-numbers brochure site with few specifics.  Look, for example, at his page on jobs. It has a scant three paragraphs of text.

The more information a candidate puts out, the more fodder for opponents to pick over. It's actually risky to open your mouth or write a policy statement.  The safe approach is to say as little as possible and avoid diving deep into significant issues.

On his own site, where Lee has his best chance at presenting an unfiltered message to voters, his brevity is revealing. Kryzan, on the other hand, floods site visitors with information.

Which is the more transparent way to campaign?

When it comes to Lee's commercials, they reflect the same play-it-safe approach. His "positive" commercials, the ones about himself, are filled with the same platitudes we get from him elsewhere, and his attack ads on Kryzan are filled with trite and hackneyed phrases like "liberal trial lawyer" -- the ads seem pulled from the same GOP playbook they've been using for two decades. At this point, Lee should be concerned that these predictable attacks have lost all meaning with voters.  They've heard it all before. These phrases ring hollow.

Regular readers have probably figured out that my politics lean more conservative than liberal, so you would think my inclination would be to support Lee.  Well, I'm not really taking sides here. I am concerned Kryzan is too liberal for my tastes, but really mistrust any candidate from either major party.

And, I've met Lee. I like him.  I don't buy into the attack ads from the DCCC and think he is at least minimally qualified for the job.  If he could maintain an independent mind, he might make a good freshman congressman. He strikes me as somebody with a solid human core who in the long run, if he avoids the pitfalls of power, could make WNY proud.

But, this lack of courage in his campaign is also a concern.  Is this a reflection of the true Chris Lee? Will we find ourselves saddled with a representative -- a representative likely to hold the seat through many terms -- who is kowtowed by his party leadership rather than stepping out on his own?

I just don't know.

Again, I'm not predicting a Lee loss. I'm not rooting against him. I'm not endorsing Kryzan. I'm not offering any suggestion on how you should vote.  I'm just raising a concern that has been on my mind for a few days. Make of it what you will.

October 21, 2008 - 4:06pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in crime, police.

Earlier this morning, we reported on a possible burglary on State Street in Batavia that had happened yesterday. Today, city police have found their suspect. Isaiah Munroe, 18, of 34 Buell St., Batavia, was charged with second-degree attempted burglary today. Buell is accused of breaking into the residence at 120 State St. A tenant of that residence awoke to the sound of someone forcing open the door to their apartment Monday morning, according to police. The tenant then observed two individuals on the hallway stairs exiting the home and subsequently contacted the police. Munroe was apprehended today and sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.

October 21, 2008 - 2:15pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in community, city council, Neighborhoods.

A few weeks ago, we started a series called Fixing up the Neighborhoods: a series we hoped would spark some further conversation on the topic of neighborhood improvement. Our first post featured a handful of questions on the issue and responses from Batavia's City Council President Charlie Mallow. We're hoping to have those same questions answered by a few other members of Council, as well. In our second post, we addressed some details from a "public nuisance law" that "failed" in a Council session three years ago.

In this third part, we offer up one man's story of how he perceived a situation of neglect at the home next door to him and what he did to try to get that problem solved.

Ryan Neal moved into his home on Ellsworth Avenue in 2000. A few years ago, the home next door to him was sold, and Neal watched as the condition of the property grew worse and worse under the new ownership. Below here is a photograph of the property's back yard taken by Neal over the summer:

In a letter he read to the City Council last month, Neal had this to say:

I have watched this property, which was originally a landlord occupied apartment home, deteriorate since it’s purchase by it’s present landlord.  The back yard needs desperate attention with parts of the yard containing weeds that are waist high, trees and shrubs that grow amuck, trees that grow from the foundation of the property, and a parking area that he had filled with gravel which is now filled with weeds and gravel.  This is my neighbor’s landscaping which I get to enjoy daily.  In addition, the paint is peeling from the garage, siding is blowing off the home and additional pieces of siding periodically disappear.  These pieces are not replaced, leading to further siding deterioration.  The windows on the first floor of the home are the original windows without storms and are rotten.  He has had his maintenance crew re-glaze some windows, but has never once painted them.  During wind storms, his rotten roof blows into my yard and adjoining drive.    Additionally, the home’s electrical service wire’s sheathing had rotted to a point that the wires within were visible, a safety concern which I also reported to the City.  The landlord’s response to this was to wrap the wire in electrical tape, which I can not believe is a code satisfactory solution to this unsafe situation.  This situation not only endangers my property, but the lives of his tenants.

Neal several times called the homeowner in the spring to ask for the property to be maintained, he said. Not receiving a response, he reported the situation to the City Council in June. When a Council member phoned the owner, the property was mowed once. That was fine, said Neal, but nothing had yet been done about the "major safety concern" of the exposed wires. Neal was told by his neighbors and tenants at the time that National Grid had at one time refused to turn the power back on after it had been previously cut off.

"To drive by the house, you wouldn't know the severity of the situation," said Neal. "But if you get close to the house, you'll see it's really shoddy work."

Some examples of what Neal describes as "shoddy work" includes the tape job on the wires, some of the siding that is held up by duct tape and the rotten window pane that was glazed over to keep it from falling out.

In the week following Neal's plea at the Council meeting, the property owner was "here more this week than ever before," said Neal. He only hopes that the maintenance will be ongoing and some of the stopgaps will be eschewed in favor of more lasting solutions, particularly in the case of the rotting roof and taped up service wires.

The Batavian attempted to contact the property owner. Our message was never returned.

What do you think? When does a problem property become more than just an eyesore?

October 21, 2008 - 12:40pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, genesee county, County Legislature.

Genesee County's tentative budget doesn't have much to recommend itself to a public already strained by a distressed economy. A proposed spending increase of 5.2 percent and an increase in the tax rate of 4.2 percent (41 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation) won't please too many folks, including the legislators.

County Manager Jay Gsell filed the $141 million proposed budget—and let's stress that: this is a work in progress, and the work has just begun—yesterday afternoon, according to the Daily News. Reporter Paul Mrozek says that Gsell expects that "lawmakers will work to reduce those figures before voting on the fiscal plan."

Gsell said this morning he is "cautiously optimistic" he and the Legislature will be able to get the tax rate down to its '08 level.

No jobs are expected to be cut, but 21 vacant positions may remain that way. Also, "all outside agencies" that benefit from some county funding, such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension, will receive the same amount of funding as this past year—except for Genesee Community College, which was already approved for a $50,000 increase.

Mrozek does a great job with this article, extracting the budget essentials and not getting too technical on us. I only had one question that I couldn't find answered: if no jobs will be added to the rolls and no extra funding will be going to outside agencies—why the increase in spending? I put in a call to Gsell to see if we can get a quick answer to that. We should hear back from him by the end of the day.

(UPDATE 2:33pm): County Manager Jay Gsell phoned to explain why the proposed budget shows an increase of 5.2 percent in spending if there are no increases in funding for new staff or outside agencies. He said that it's true that the county will take on no new programs and no new services, but the increased cost of construction materials, fuel and the increase in the funding needed for county health care push up the total spending for the county.

In other news, snow tubing will not be offered at Letchworth State Park this winter. This is a very specific instance of how the state budget cuts will be affecting folks in the coming months. Reporter Matt Surtel writes:

The tubing cost the park about twice the amount of revenue that the activity generated (Park Manager Richard Parker said). He declined to give an exact figure, but said the economic realities kicked in, when the park looked at ways to cut expenses.

Some staffers may also feel the pinch as the park does not plan to take on as many folks as usual this winter.

We encourage you to pick up a copy of the Daily News at your local newsstand. Or, better yet, subscribe at BataviaNews.com.

October 21, 2008 - 9:58am
posted by Holland Land O... in Announcements, Holland Land Office Museum.

I know its only October, but let’s start thinking about trees!

The Holland Land Office Museum is looking for community groups, businesses and other organizations help us in this annual event by setting up a tree.

This year, the theme is Frosty’s Holiday, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow the theme. Trees can be decorated in any style you want. It doesn't cost to participate and the only restrictions are: it has to be less than nine feet tall and artificial.

For more information and to see pictures of last year’s trees, check out the Museum website at http://www.hollandlandoffice.com/Wonderland%20of%20Trees.htm

If you have any questions, call the Museum at 343-4727.

October 21, 2008 - 9:00am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, crime, police, sheriff.

Batavia city police say that no charges have yet been filed, but they are talking with potential suspects in what was reported as a burglary Monday afternoon. An initial call came in shortly before 11:00am yesterday morning for a "burglary in progress" at 120 State Street in the city. A young male had been seen leaving the residence and was later spotted walking down the street with a young female.

Det. Richard Schauf said later in the afternoon that police were still looking for the male suspect.

"The person has not yet been found who was described at the scene," he said. "We're talking with anyone who has information. It was reported as a burglary to a home on State Street, but we're still determining if it is or not."

Several downtown businesses, at least one church and a school were burglarized over the past few months, including Dan's Tire, Ponderosa and Palace of Sweets in the mall. No information has yet become available that would link those crimes. Investigation continues.

Jeffrey T. Peyman, 19, of 5204 Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, was charged with petit larceny and unlawful possession of a hypodermic needle Friday afternoon, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. Peyman was picked up by deputies on an allegation of stealing from the K Mart store in Batavia.

Ritchie L. Kirkum Sr., 47, of Oakfield, was charged with second-degree unlawful imprisonment, fourth-degree criminal mischief and endangering the welfare of a child last night, deputies said. Kirkum allegedly prevented an ex-girlfriend from leaving his residence and pushed her several times while she was holding a child. When she attempted to call 911, he then allegedly took her cell phone and threw it into the yard. Kirkum was also charged with second-degree harassment and sent to Genesee County Jail in lieu of $1,000 bail. A stay away Order of Protection was issued.

October 21, 2008 - 7:44am
posted by Philip Anselmo in byron, emergency.

Jennifer L. Bobzin, 37, of Byron, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester yesterday afternoon following a crash in Byron, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said. She remains there this morning in guarded condition.

Bobzin was driving on Byron Road when an 18-wheel tractor trailer failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection of Walkers Corner Road. Bobzin's car passed underneath the tanker, shearing part of the roof as it struck the tanker and striking a few tires on its way out the other side.

Emergency crews took Bobzin to the hospital for a head injury. The driver of the truck, Ronald L. Sprague, 51, of Pavilion, does not face any charges at this time. State police did not find any "operating deficincies" on the truck. Investigation of the crash is ongoing.

October 20, 2008 - 11:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jon Powers.

Water Buffalo Press finds evidence that Jon Powers drew a salary from his campaign funds while running for office and even has cash on hand to live comfortably for a while yet.

Powers recent FEC filing gives us a better idea of just what these “reimbursements” were.  Remember that Powers was also being reimbursed already for credit card fees, meals, travel and health insurance.

It turns out these “reimbursements” are more accurately defined as a salary which Powers was drawing from the campaign account.

Powers latest filing shows a payment to the candidate in September in the amount of $5,000 listed with the true explanation of the amounts: Payroll.

This seems irregular to me.  I've never heard of a candidate drawing salary from campaign funds before.  But maybe it's more normal than I know.

October 20, 2008 - 7:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics.

The Democrat & Chronicle writes about The Clarks, of Batavia -- a home divided by the presidential race.

That's where they hatched the plan to bisect the exterior of their home with yellow caution tape from the tippy-top of the third story, through the flower bed across the lawn and to the sidewalk. On the right side of the tape is a blue-and-white sign showing support for Clark's preferred Presidential candidate: Republican John McCain. On the left side, Lexi and Katherine's pick: Democrat Barack Obama.

"Lexi is very interested in politics this year and as a parent when you see your child express an interest in something you try to expose them to more and more of it," said Clark, a driver for Golden State Foods in Rochester. He wants to encourage Lexi's interest in politics, just as he does Woody's interest in aerospace and Katherine's interest in art.

Who can argue with a parent encouraging his children to stretch their own wings? It's great that he respects his children's' choices on these issues.

But, what caught my eye was that his reasons for supporting McCain are rather spurious.

"My biggest worry as a parent is taxes," said Clark, who shares custody of his three children with ex-wife Patti Burey of Batavia. "And as a parent raising three children, I want to make sure the future is bright for them and make sure they are well off."

McCain's temperament, experience and demeanor make him the best pick for the White House, he said.

McCain "will bring great leadership to Washington," Clark said. And, he said, McCain's conservative credentials mean he's the one who will slash spending, cut taxes and put America back on solid footing again.

Taxes? As the debate over "Not-Joe Not-The Plumber" the past few days has made clear, Obama's tax plan clearly favors people like Mr. Clark far more than McCain's.

McCain's temperament? The man known for his fits of pique and floor stomping displays of rage?  Did you watch the third debate, Mr. Clark?

Conservative? McCain thinks the government should solve problems, not get out the way.  There's very little about McCain's world view -- such as it is -- that is conservative.  He's just another Big Government Republican, more interested in Empire and Plutocracy than caring about your kids.

Not that Obama is any better -- he's not. But those are thee pretty bad reasons to support John McCain. 

And neither man will be able to do much of what they say they'll do, not with $10 trillion in debt, Iraq sucking another $10 billion out of the Treasury each month, Bin Laden still uncaught, a financial system in apparent chaos, energy concerns and rising unemployment.  The pie-in-the-sky promises of either McCain or Obama will be forgotten by Jan. 21.

But let's end on a positive note:

Once the election is over, however, the family plans to heal their partisan divide.

"All of our arguments are all in good fun and whoever wins the election will have the full support of everyone in this house," said Mark Clark. "We're planning on putting out new signs then."

October 20, 2008 - 4:38pm

I had to go to Tractor Supply Co. in Batavia, NY on Friday 10/17/08 to return a ball mount that didn't have a deep enough drop for my camper. 

When I pulled in, I looked to my left and there was a wagon and four absolutely beautiful large work horses with wonderful halters on.  Now, I am absolutely curious, but I have to make sure that I don't get sidetracked and that I make sure that I keep my focus. 

I went in and made the return, trying to rush to get back outside to investigate.  After what seems to be hours, I finally get back outside and I start walking towards these beautiful creatures that are contently huddling around an odd looking wagon. 

As I begin to look at one of the horses, I hear some rustling to my left.  A middle-aged man comes walking around and we make the make our introductions.  With making conversation, I was able to to collect some interesting information: the man's name is Bob; his horses are of Percheron breed; their names are Doc, Dolly, Joyce and Dee Dee; he travels with his horses and wagon; and he is currently packing up to head back west. 

After chatting with Bob, I noticed some spectators starting to show interest, so I figured I would take one more look at the horses and then go on my way.  As I am walking back to my vehicle, I figure that I should take some quick pictures of this unique situation.  Though I am not a professional photographer by any means, I grabbed my camera from my vehicle and took as many pictures as I could before they could leave.  I figured this would be a perfect addition for my calendar that I plan to make of various nature pictures I have taken over the years.  So, photo after photo, I am scurrying to always get that last picture before they can leave. 

As they begin to exit the parking lot and make their way left, across Rte. 5,  I rush to my vehicle and slowly drive ahead of them.  I pull over into the parking lot of a small welding business that is about 300 feet in front where they are currently traveling.  I jump out of my vehicle with my camera and started taking pictures of them coming at me on the main roadway.  It is neat to watch these four horses loyally and proudly pulling their friend and his wagon. 

As they begin to pass by me, I wave to Bob and tell him thank you.  Thank you for being you, thank you for caring and keeping these beautiful animals, thank you for being so courageous and unique to travel all over the American north east with them, and a much bigger thank you for providing and showing this neat phenomena to the world.  In response to my thanks, he gave a very kind gentleman's nod and replied, "Your welcome." 

I snapped a few more photos as they continued down the road and muttered to myself, with the utmost amount of satisfaction, "Right place.  Right time."

 (For more info, visit their website: www.wagonteamster.com)


October 20, 2008 - 3:13pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in genesee county, history, Holland Land Office Museum.

Looks like we need to do some catching up with the Holland Land Office Museum's countdown of The 25 Things That Made Genesee County Famous. We left off with Charles Rand back at the end of September, but Pat Weissend has posted a few more in the meantime. What's more, we're about to break into the top ten!

Clocking in at No. 13 was the Pembroke driver's ed accident: a tragic crash in 1987 that claimed the lives of three students and an instructor. That accident, relates Weissend, spurned folks to act and got the blood alcohol content lowered from .1 percent to .08 percent and made it illegal for anyone under the legal drinking age to even possess a drink.

Darien Lake Theme Park earns a spot at No. 12. Weissend tells us that over 1 million people visit the park each year.

Seneca Indian Ely Samuel Parker makes his appearance at No. 11 on the list. Here's Weissend:

Parker is arguably one of the most famous people ever born in Genesee County. He spoke in front of the Supreme Court, knew United States Presidents, was one of the only Native American Generals in the United States Army and was one of President Ulysses S. Grant’s first nominees for a federal appointment.

Be sure to check out the museum Web site for more on these and the other "famous things" and plenty of other fun stuff, such as podcasts, official Muckdogs merch, the wonderland of trees and more.

October 20, 2008 - 12:59pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in politics, economy, Joe Mesi, Mike Ranzenhofer.

Republican Mike Ranzenhofer and Democrat Joe Mesi squared off on WBEN's Hardline with Hardwick Sunday in the only live debate between the two candidates who are vying to replace the retiring incumbent Mary Lou Rath in the 61st Senate District.

Unfortunately, that debate does not yet seem available online. Did anyone tune in? What was your impression?

The Buffalo News had this to say:

The real focus of the 90-minute debate was Buffalo Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano, who Ranzenhofer accused of illegally campaigning for Mesi through the Responsible New York political committee and its administrator— G. Steven Pigeon.

Ranzenhofer, a veteran member of the County Legislature, said he saw Pigeon and Mesi “joined at the hip” at about 40 campaign events earlier this year before Pigeon, the former Erie County Democratic chairman, signed on as point man for Golisano’s $5 million fund — required by law to be independent of any campaign.

“Steve Pigeon is the single person in charge of the Golisano money. It’s clear that Pigeon is directing the money and the message of the Mesi campaign,” Ranzenhofer said. “As a candidate, you have to know the difference between right and wrong, stand up and say that this is wrong and not take the money.”

Mesi, however, denied that he is participating in anything illegal.

Mesi's campaign sent out a news release the very minute that the debate wrapped up proclaiming: "Mesi Wins Debate!" His camp had this to say:

Mesi outlined his credible plans to lower property taxes and cut down Albany’s bloated budget.  He also discussed how he plans to bring good-paying jobs back to Western New York to give our young people more opportunities here at home. ...

The proposals of Mike Ranzenhofer (Mesi’s Republican opponent) were exposed as shallow efforts that would hurt Western New York.  Estimates show that Ranzenhofer’s “sledgehammer” budget cuts would take $210 million out of Western New York economy, eliminate 1,607 local jobs and do irreparable damage to our community's strengths, especially our local colleges and research centers.

Had anyone heard Mesi's plans on how to bring jobs back? Nothing specific is mentioned in the news release. In the Buffalo News article, it's said that: "He said he would try to protect workers with necessary jobs and would reform programs like Empire Zones and industrial development agencies to save money instead."

I don't follow here. Not sure what "protect workers with necessary jobs" means. What is a necessary job? How do you protect it? What about people whose jobs are not necessary? Who decides that? Reform of the Empire Zone program and the industrial development agencies to save money sounds like a fine idea, but how? How is money saved? As far as I understand, IDAs are not publicly funded. What would such reform entail?

Ranzenhofer was scheduled to come by The Batavian office this morning for a video interview. Unfortunately, he cancelled. We're doing our best to reschedule. Mesi is due in on Wednesday. We will still take questions to consider asking the candidates, if you have them.

A brief aside: The "sledgehammer" budget cuts comment reminds me of the Saturday Night Live skit—I linked to it in a comment last Friday—that mocked the final presidential debate. In it, the mock Barak Obama says that he will make cuts "with a scalpel not a hatchet," while the mock John McCain vows to use a "scalpel, a hatchet and a magical plunger." Ha!

October 20, 2008 - 12:52pm
posted by Raelene Christian in politics, Joe Mesi.

 I am writing this letter on behalf of Joe Mesi, candidate for the 61st State Senate.  Many know him as “Baby Joe Mesi”, former heavyweight contender in the world.  I simply know him as Joe Mesi, candidate for State Senate, a man that is looking to make a change for the betterment of Western New York.  Impressions are lasting, and I’m thankful my opportunity to meet him wasn’t based on just the notion of the “famous boxer”, but rather a man that has great humility, integrity, compassion, genuineness, and intellect he clearly demonstrated upon meeting him.  After discussing some of the issues we all face, my impression of Joe Mesi, is a man that truly wants to step into the political ring and do what comes so natural to him, fight.  I believe that Joe will fight for jobs, fight to lower our taxes, fight for universal healthcare that is affordable for all, fight for accountability how our money is spent, and bring fresh and new ideas to Albany.  In order to change Albany, we’re going to need a fighter, someone that won’t back down from the political pressures of any majority, someone that has the stamina to go several rounds if needed, someone that is determined to win, and that would be Joe Mesi.  I believe he will be our voice in Albany, and make the changes “we” so desperately need.  We can’t afford to put in office another yes man, a man that will misrepresent you, a man that might cost you your job and higher taxes.  This year’s election is not about voting Democratic or Republican, but rather about voting about economical sound issues, change, and restoration for all.  With our economy in such distress, it will take a true fighter to restore the true meaning of the “American dream”.  On November 4th, do not vote on your party affiliation, but vote for the person that is truly going to represent you and your family.  Let’s get Albany back on track.  If you really want change, the opportunity is here, vote Joe Mesi!            




Raelene Christian



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