Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chautauqua County woman wins $1 million in lottery

November 24, 2009, 1:40 PM

A 45-year-old Chautauqua County woman today claimed an early Christmas present when she was introduced as the winner of the $1 million top prize in the new Super 9s instant game.

"I always believed that one day I would win a big lottery prize," said Sandra "Sandy" Olson, a mother of two from Falconer. "When I scratched the ticket and saw the word "Jackpot,' I knew this would be a great holiday for my boys."

Olson, who works in the human resources department at RHI Monofrax in Falconer, compared her winning experience to "waking up on Christmas morning when you're 8 years old."

As with most of the New York Lottery's instant games, the top prize on the Super 9s instant ticket is awarded as an annuity. Olson will receive her prize in 20 annual payments of $50,000 each, netting her $33,015 a year through 2028.

The money won't drastically change her life, Olson told a morning news conference.

"I have two teenage sons that will be going to college in a few years," she said. "The money will definitely help pay some of those bills as well as some repairs to the house."

But first she plans to go on vacation.

Today's press conference was held at US News on East Second Street in Jamestown, where Olson bought her Super 9s instant ticket on Nov. 5.

Olson becomes the second player across the state to claim one of the $1 million top prizes since the New York Lottery introduced the $5 Super 9s game in September.

Lottery officials say Olsen became the first Chautauqua County person to win $1 million this year. Five other Western New Yorkers have won at least $1 million prizes this year.


Monday, November 23, 2009

There are many young women in Chautauqua County hurting.

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

by Mary Pipher

Dr. Mary Pipher is a clinical psychologist and best-selling author. Dr. Pipher's work combines her training in both the fields of psychology and anthropology, examining how American culture influences the mental health of its people. She has received two American Psychological Association Presidential Citations. Dr. Pipher has appeared on the Today Show, 20/20, The Charlie Rose Show, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and National Public Radio's Fresh Air.

This is the groundbreaking work that poses one of the most provocative questions of a generation: Why are American adolescent girls falling prey to depression, eating disorders, suicide attempts, and dangerously low self-esteem? Dr. Pipher posits that it's America's sexist, look-obsessed "girl-poisoning" culture-one in which girls are constantly struggling to find their true selves. In Reviving Ophelia, these girls' uncensored voices are heard from the front lines of adolescence. Personal and painfully honest, this is a compassionate call to arms, offering strategies with which to revive these Ophelias' lost senses of self.

A therapist who has worked extensively with young girls reveals firsthand evidence of the damage that can be caused by growing up in a "girl-poisoning culture, " raises a call to arms, and offers parents compassion and strategies for survival. A perfect book to commemorate "Take Your Daughter to Work Day."
Publishers Weekly

From her work as a psychotherapist for adolescent females, Pipher here posits and persuasively argues her thesis that today's teenaged girls are coming of age in ``a girl-poisoning culture.'' Backed by anecdotal evidence and research findings, she suggests that, despite the advances of feminism, young women continue to be victims of abuse, self-mutilation (e.g., anorexia), consumerism and media pressure to conform to others' ideals. With sympathy and focus she cites case histories to illustrate the struggles required of adolescent girls to maintain a sense of themselves among the mixed messages they receive from society, their schools and, often, their families. Pipher offers concrete suggestions for ways by which girls can build and maintain a strong sense of self, e.g., keeping a diary, observing their social context as an anthropologist might, distinguishing between thoughts and feelings. Pipher is an eloquent advocate.

Civil War re-enactors honor Buffalonian

Union Army captain had commanded a unit of black troops in battle against Confederate soldiers
By Michael Beebe

Under a fittingly somber gray sky, Civil War re-enactors from the Union Army marched in formation through Forest Lawn on Saturday, as they honored a Buffalo captain who commanded a unit of the United States Colored Troops.

They honored Capt. Philip J. Weber, who like his younger, better known brother Col. John B. Weber, was a white man in charge of black troops. But that did not bother Luther Burnette, a black man who attended the ceremony.

"Because of what they did," Burnette said of the Weber brothers, who volunteered to lead the black troops, "I could retire as a colonel."

Burnette, who served in the Army during World War II and the Korean conflict and retired after finishing his service in the Army Reserve, represented the Bennett Wells American Legion Post 1780, made up of African-American veterans.

The ceremony Saturday was part of a nationwide Remembrance Day, established by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War to mark the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November 1863.

David C. Kreutz, with his beard, top hat and long coat, a realistic-looking Lincoln re-enactor from Depew, delivered the world's most famous two-minute speech at Capt. Weber's grave site.

"Four score and seven years ago," Kreutz began, "our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

The Weber brothers took that sentiment to heart, first enlisting as Union soldiers and then, after their commissioning as officers, in leading what was called the United States Colored Troops into battle against the Confederate Army in Louisiana.

Philip Weber, whose headstone was rededicated Saturday with wreaths and a marker, was the older brother of John Weber, and rose through the ranks to become captain of the 89th United States Colored Troops.

After the war, the two brothers returned to Buffalo, where Philip Weber died Aug. 5, 1879, at the age of 41.

His brother John's career took off after the war, when he served as the youngest colonel — promoted two days before his 21st birthday — in the Union Army.

John Weber lost a close election for Erie County sheriff to Grover Cleveland. But after Cleveland left Buffalo on his way to the presidency, Weber ran again and became the county's youngest sheriff at age 31.

William Tojek, a Lackawanna firefighter and bugler for the Col. John B. Weber Camp 44 of the Sons of Union Veterans, which led Saturday's ceremony, takes up the story from there.

John Weber became a congressman, was the country's first commissioner of Immigration, and built and opened Ellis Island, said Tojek, who has served as the city of Lackawanna's historian.

Weber helped bring Bethlehem Steel to Western New York, helped form the city of Lackawanna, established South Park, Cazenovia Park and the Botanical Gardens, and forced the railroads to build bridges over railroads in the City of Buffalo, eliminating dangerous street crossings.

But it was the Weber brothers' service during the Civil War that brought the two dozen men in their blue Grand Army of the Republic uniforms to Forest Lawn on Saturday — as well as retired Col. Burnette, and his wife, Georgia — to honor two men from Buffalo who chose to lead black men in their fight against slavery.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Parent of Quality Markets files for bankruptcy

Parent of Quality Markets files for bankruptcy
By Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Penn Traffic, parent company of Quality Markets grocery stores, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday for the third time in a decade.

The Syracuse-based company is seeking to sell all of its assets, including its 79 supermarket locations. The company operates 13 Quality Markets in Western New York at Attica, Dunkirk, Ellicottville, Falconer, Frewsburg, Jamestown, Lakewood, Lockport, Mayville, Randolph, Silver Creek, Westfield and Williamsville.

Its stores will remain open for business, according to a statement by Gregory J. Young, the company’s president and chief executive officer. The company said it will also continue paying its 5,700 employees and maintain their benefits. It indicated assets of $150.4 million and debt of $136.9 million in court documents.

Burt Flickinger III, managing partner of retail consulting firm Strategic Research Group, said there is “reasonable hope” the company could move forward profitably under new ownership and management with fewer stores.

“It’s rare for a company to go into bankruptcy three times and survive. Normally they would liquidate,” he said. “With good leadership and financing, [Penn Traffic] could be viable as a midsized supermarket chain. [But] they would have to reject two to three dozen store leases.”

Unstable, out-of-town management contributed greatly to the company’s problems, as did weak ads and a lack of support for local suppliers, according to analysis by Strategic Research Group.

On the upside, its research found top-notch customer service and staff at Penn Traffic stores, despite the ongoing corporate crises. Flickinger called the relationship between the workers’ union, UFCW Local One in Utica, and Penn Traffic one of the most constructive and productive in the United States and Canada.

Should the company be broken up, several grocery chains are likely to be interested in a piece of the action.

Tops Friendly Markets would “certainly be a logical bidder” for a number of Penn Traffic’s stores, Flickinger said. Delhaize USA, the Belgian parent of Hannaford Bros. Co; Price Chopper owner Golub; Pennsylvania- based Weis Markets; Giant Eagle; and Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op are likely contenders to buy one or two stores as well.

“It’s a sad day. We’ve been through a number of their stores,” said Flickinger. “They still have a lot of good locations; their staff is very strong; their customer service is excellent; their conditions and standards are excellent.”

Penn Traffic cited the economic downturn, fierce competition in the grocery business and legal troubles as contributing factors to the company’s bankruptcy.

The company lost $17.6 million last year, an improvement over its $42 million losses in 2007. It closed 20 stores, including one in Dunkirk, and sold off its wholesale division earlier this year.

In 2005, the company emerged from a nearly two-year bankruptcy reorganization but has continued to lose money. It also filed for bankruptcy in 1999. In 2007, two Penn Traffic executives were charged in federal court with artificially inflating the company’s earnings between 2001 and 2003.

Penn Traffic has supermarkets under the names Bi-Lo, P&C and Quality in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and New Hampshire.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Powell family has a happy homecoming

Powell family has a happy homecoming
By Jay Rey
News Staff Reporter
Updated: November 14, 2009, 5:55 PM / 39 comments

Delores Powell and her four children saw their new home on Massachusetts Avenue for the first time this afternoon, as "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" wrapped up its weeklong stay in Buffalo.

The Powells were greeted by a few-thousand neighbors and fans of the television show, who have been following the construction of the new Powell home at 228 Massachusetts Ave. on the city's West Side.

"It's a fun event," said Tim Sherry, of Lancaster, who came to watch the moment with his daughter, Alexandra. "My daughter watches the show all the time."

The Powell family — who spent the week in Walt Disney World while their new home was being built — pulled up in a limousine at about 4:10 p.m. Saturday, when they were greeted by Ty Pennington, and the rest of the cast of the show.

In usual "Extreme Makeover" fashion, a large luxury bus was parked in front of the home, blocking the family's view of their new house.

The enthusiastic crowd — many of them volunteers who helped build the home and work on related neighborhood projects this week — began chanting, "Move that bus! Move that bus!"

After a couple practice takes for the cameras, the bus finally moved, giving the stunned and jubilant Powell family the first glimpse of the house.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chautauqua Lake mansion sells for $3 million

By Robert J. McCarthy

The mansion built for the co-founder of the Packard Motor Car Co. on Chautauqua Lake has been sold for $3 million.

An undisclosed buyer purchased the manor, according to Richard Benedetto, co-owner of Real Estate Advantage in Jamestown and Bemus Point, which brokered the sale.

Known as the Packard Manor Estate, it was built in 1915 by William D. and Katherine B. Packard on 1.2 acres and 180 feet of lake frontage at the Chautauqua Institution.

"While property values have plummeted in other areas across the country," Benedetto said, "the jewels of Chautauqua Lake and Chautauqua Institution have held their value."

The manor was renovated in 1998 in a style that maintains its historic features but also included modern amenities such as air conditioning, Benedetto said.

The home features a large living room, den, office, dining room, sunroom, gourmet kitchen with pantry, eight bedrooms, terrace, third-floor apartment, nine full baths, recreation room, spa, whirlpool and sauna, an elevator, a four-car garage and eight fireplaces.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Half a million pounds of beef recalled on E.coli fears

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A voluntary recall was announced Monday for more than half a million pounds of ground beef because it may be contaminated with bacteria linked to at least two deaths, officials said.

Fairbank Farms of Ashville, New York, said the recall was issued Saturday for approximately 545,699 pounds of ground beef produced between September 14 and September 16 after the meat was "possibly linked" to E. coli O157:H7.

"Any customers from northeastern or mid-Atlantic states who have identified recalled ground beef products should remove the product from their freezers and return it to their stores for full reimbursement," the company said.

Lola Russell, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed a death in New York; Chris Nielsen, a spokeswoman for New Hampshire's State Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed another death in New Hampshire.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said it learned of the problem during an investigation of a cluster of E. coli 0157:H7 illnesses in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts.

The recall was for distribution centers in eight states, but the company said some retailers may have sent the affected beef to other states.

The bacterium can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and kidney failure.

Retail outlets include: ACME, BJ's, Ford Brothers, Giant Food Stores, Price Chopper, Shaw's, and Trader Joe's. The products affected are listed on the USDA Web site.

Other grocers may also be recalling the products, which are already at least 23 days past their expiration date, meaning they are no longer being sold as fresh.

"We're assisting our customers in conducting this recall, and continue to urge consumers to check their freezers for ground beef products that are listed in the recall," said CEO Ron Allen in a news release. "Consumers who identify these products should return them to the point of purchase for a full refund."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Case for Modesty, in an Age of Arrogance

By NANCY GIBBS Monday, Nov. 09, 2009

Virtues, like viruses, have their seasons of contagion. When catastrophe strikes, generosity spikes like a fever. Courage spreads in the face of tyranny. But some virtues go dormant for generations, as we've seen with thrift, making its comeback after 40 years in cold storage. I'm hoping for a sudden outbreak of modesty, a virtue whose time has surely come.

You can understand why this one went out of style. It was too often twisted into a demand — that a lady demurely contain herself, not make a spectacle, do nothing that makes a man feel like anything but a king. At least in Western cultures, that attitude did not survive the '70s and all the exuberant liberations attending. By the time the Reagan era dawned and a new Gilded Age beckoned, women were invited to swagger as much as they liked. For men and women, a global economy meant survival of the fittest, which did not involve playing down one's skills and gifts and certainties.

So self-aggrandizement became both fashionable and fashion, especially for girls, with everything dropping by inches — necklines and waistlines but not hemlines, which climbed upward until a skirt became little more than a strap. Professional athletes flaunted their immodesty, egos on steroids bashing at the plate and dancing in the end zones; where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, whose name was synonymous with greatness and grace? Developers etched their names into their towers in letters 6 ft. high; financiers built cottages the size of cathedrals. Politicians talked louder but did less, or declared Missions Accomplished that had barely begun.

Even technology conspired to inflate us. Modesty's power was mystery, its flirty allure, its clandestine strength, what lies hidden and unknown and requires patient excavation or intimacy hard-earned. We are not billboards; we are secrets and codes, except that the modern age of constant communication, each tweet and text, makes secrecy all but impossible and intimacy indiscriminate.

So in the face of all that deterrence, how is modesty to survive? First, let's strip gender out of it; use it more interchangeably with humility. Modesty means admitting the possibility of error, subsuming the self for the good of the whole, remaining open to surprise and the gifts that only failure can bring. There are many ways to practice it. Try taking up golf. Or making your own bagels. Or raising a teenager.

Modesty in private life is attractive, but in public life it is essential, especially now, when those who immodestly claimed to Know It All have Wiped Us Out. The problems we face are too fierce to accommodate arrogance. Humility leaves room for complexity, honors honest dissent, welcomes the outlandish idea that sweeps past ideology and feeds invention. We want to reimagine the health-care system, confront climate change, save our kids from a financial avalanche? The odds are much better if we come to the table assuming we don't already have all the answers.

I suspect that Barack Obama works at projecting that aura of postpartisan open-mindedness because he understands its political value. There's the chance his opponents will have a good idea; there's the certainty that independent voters will give him points for listening. And there's the need for inoculation against the charge that he is all sizzle, no steak, a need he admitted when he mocked himself at last year's Al Smith dinner. "If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility," he said. "Greatest weakness, it's possible that I'm a little too awesome."

Humility and modesty need not be weakness or servility; they can be marks of strength, the courage to confront a challenge knowing that the outcome is in doubt. Ronald Reagan, for all his cold-warrior confidence, projected a personal modesty that served his political agenda well. I still don't know what President Obama's core principles are, but the fact that he even pays lip service to humility as one of them could give him the upper hand in the war for the souls of independents — a group that's larger now than at any time in the past 70 years. He was aggressively modest acknowledging his inconvenient Nobel Peace Prize. He regularly makes fun of his ears.

But I heed Jane Austen's warning that "nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast." If Obama appears proud of how humble and open-minded he is, if he demonizes opponents instead of debating them, if his actual choices are quietly ideological while his rhetoric flamboyantly inclusive, he will be missing a great opportunity — and have much to be modest about.


Nancy Gibbs

Chautauqua's own, Nancy Gibbs!

Nancy Gibbs is the author of nearly 100 TIME cover stories, including four "Person of the Year" essays and dozens of stories on the 1998 impeachment fight and the 1996 and 2000 presidential campaigns. She wrote TIME's September 11th memorial issue as well as weekly essays on the unfolding story and its impact on the nation. Ms. Gibbs's article "If You Want to Humble an Empire..." won the Luce Awards' 2002 Story of the Year and the Society of Professional Journalists' 2002 Sigma Delta Chi Magazine Writing Award.

Ms. Gibbs joined TIME in 1985, first in the International section. She then wrote feature stories for five years before joining the Nation section.

She graduated in 1982 from Yale, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and also earned a degree in politics and philosophy from Oxford University. In 1993 she was named Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, where she taught a seminar on Politics and the Press. Her writing is included in the Princeton Anthology of Writing, edited by John McPhee and Carol Rigolot.