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Archived stories from Wednesday, October 7, 2009 through Sunday, December 6, 2009
11/16: Some thoughts on the license plate brouhaha... Paterson's excuse for the whole idea was that the current plates were getting old and needed replacement. I call BS. The last round of license plates came, if I recall right, back in 2001-- eight years ago. The plates before that (Statue of Liberty/Red White Blue scheme) debuted in the mid-1980s, about the time I was born (as far back as I remember, I don't recall any gold and blue plates on vehicles). That's 16 years. The current plates have plenty of life left in them.

11/12: Two stories came out this morning about how third-party ballot lines cost challengers thousands of apparent votes on Election Night. In Nassau County, former Democratic Party darling Thomas Suozzi appeared to have a narrow lead on election night, but reporters forgot to report his competitor's vote on a third-party line, which propelled Ed Magnano into the lead. The other was NY-23, where several precincts misreported Doug Hoffman's total votes as zero; Hoffman was running solely on the Conservative Party line and conceded after unexpectedly disappointing numbers in Oswego County-- numbers that were erroneous, as it turns out. Now, think back to 2008, and the congressional race that put Eric Massa into congress due in large part to an unexplained vote shift in Cattaraugus County. Is it possible that the same thing happened here last year? In the words of Sarah Palin, "you betcha."

10/29: Added the link "TCOT" to national, it's an aggregate of "Top Conservatives On Twitter" and political news.

10/29: It's been a while since I did one of these tidbits... OK, I've been watching with care the race for the 23rd congressional district seat up in northern New York (I attended college in that district). For those who aren't, it's a 3-way race for an open seat. One one hand, the Republicans nominated Diedre Scozzofava, a veteran assemblywoman originally perceived to be socially liberal but leaning conservative on the fiscal side... until she did what no House Republican would do and voiced her support for ARRA, the stimulus bill. Then there's Bill Owens, a typical hack Democrat spouting the usual platitudes of creating jobs and taxing the rich. The third guy is Doug Hoffman, a businessman who lives just outside the  district boundaries and is the surprising darling of the national conservative base. He's not always well educated on local issues, is a poor speaker and has dodged most of the debates in which he's had an opportunity to participate. However, he was the only borderline-viable Republican willing to buck the party nomination, so I'm guessing that's the best choice the North Country has. I feel sorry for Watertown.

10/14: OK, it appears we're back up on a semi-normal update schedule now, so thank you for your patience. We're still having some lingering issues with the shared Internet connection.

10/7: Rollover day.
Rumor patrol: Rumor has it that the Uni-Mart in Little Valley is once again slated for closure today... I haven't seen any "going-out-of-business" sale, so chances are that new ownership will move in and my sources say it's Crosby Marts (d.b.a. Dairyland here in Little Valley), but what happens to the old Dairyland building on Erie St. is still up in the air... UPDATE 12/3 10 AM: I went up to the Uni-Mart and the store was "closed for inventory;" a Crosby employee was seen inside discussing things with the Uni-Mart employees. 12/3

In related news, Quality Markets, which is part of Penn Traffic (the grocery store chain that went bankrupt recently), is expected to close its doors in February 2010, as soon as the state's WARN act will allow... my sources tell me that even if they find a buyer for the chain (which has stores in Ellicottville, Randolph, Frewsburg and throughout the region), that Quality is unionized, and the stores will temporarily have to close for at least 45 days to break the union and create a new business entity. Who will buy the stores is unclear at this point. Right now there's only a few grocery store chains in the area. I talked with Mike Brooks, owner of Brooks Market, and he doesn't appear to be interested, though he's bracing for a business boost in his Little Valley location when the stores close... no word from Parkview or any of the other small Shurfine-based outlets... Tops has a small presence in the area (Springville and Olean), Wegmans doesn't have much of a presence outside the cities... and then there's the discount outlets like Aldi and Save-a-Lot... Save-a-Lot has a store in Salamanca, Aldi has some in Olean and Jamestown. 12/3

Same-sex marriage shot down in Senate, 38 nays to 24 yays... Republicans united in opposition... eight Democrats (Stachowski among them) sided with the Republicans to oppose the bill... of the Gang of Four, three (Kruger, Diaz, Monserrate) say no, Espada says yes. 12/3

WNY Republican state senators propose nonbinding city-upstate split referendum... Catharine Young NOT among them (Gannett)... 11/30

The end of sports at West Valley (Springville Journal)... 11/27

Grab your guns, it's hunting season... shotgun season for deer begins this morning... 11/21

Suzanne's Restaurant and Pizza, Little ValleyThe return of a Little Valley institution: Many of you will remember Suzanne's Restaurant and Pizzeria (pictured at right), which had operated for over a decade up until a couple of years ago. Well, the old Park Place location is back under Suzanne's ownership and has reopened for business as of this past Wednesday. Suzanne's was founded circa 1994 in the now-vacant Lord's Texaco Garage building next to the skating rink/weight room. After moving out of that building, they moved into the former Peppi's/Hide-Out location in the center of town around 1997 or 1998 (my memories of the dates are a little fuzzy, so forgive me). That lasted until 1999 before they moved again to Park Place, where they ran, on and off, for the next decade or so, before going out of business circa 2006 or 2007. Two short-lived restaurants, "Park Place Pizza" and "Angel's Wings and Things," operated out of the Park Place location between Suzanne's closing and the present (though notably the Suzanne's sign, still hanging in the picture, remained up). To put it bluntly, Suzanne's has its work cut out for itself: since the entry of Brooks Market into the pizza-and-wings market back in 2003 (editor's note: I worked at Brooks from 2003 to 2009), several restaurants have come and gone in this town, none of them really getting a good foothold. Good luck, Suzanne's... you're really going to need it. 11/21

Paterson: OK, maybe it's not a three-billion dollar deficit (Jimmy Vielkind)... and in related news... Catharine Young doing what she does best: blame someone else... from WPIG's Gary Nease: " Senate Democrats refused to go along with proposed cuts in state aid to local school districts and health care facilities. Local State Senator Cathy Young said the Democratic majority is considering several tax and fee increase proposals, including a billion dollar increase in taxes on medical services." (These are likely the same cuts that Young decries as "devastating" every time we try to touch them.) 11/17

Eric Massa: pocketing campaign contributions (Buffalo News)... 11/17

Remember the proposed new license plates that the state was going to force on us? Well, that's not going to happen (Tom Precious)... see the "Tidbits" column for my thoughts. 11/16

How did school districts manage to hide away millions of dollars from their unions? Well, Governor Paterson wants those millions to replace the state aid he wants to cut (Tom Precious)... 11/16

Ho ho ho, it's Christmas music time in Buffalo: As scheduled, WJYE began its Christmas music this Monday morning at 7:00 a.m., complete with a live kickoff from none other than Donny Osmond. WTSS just wanted to be first and switched at midnight, going straight from a Lady Gaga song into an automated/board-opped selection of their usual Christmas hits. Both stations have streaming audio for your listening pleasure... and yes, I know it's going to be mostly sunny and in the 50s all week, which makes it awkward... but just be lucky you don't live in some cities, where the Christmas music starts the day after Halloween. See also Christmas Fullervision Style... 11/16

Governor Paterson loses his spine: he calls a special session to solve the financial crisis, then lets them go home after one day with no progress or anything (Buffalo News)... and thinks that back door secret phone calls in the middle of the night are his definition of good government (Elizabeth Benjamin)... 11/12

A must-read on the organized crime between the Iroquois along the Canadian border and the smuggling in downstate (New York Post)... 11/9

Legislature's attitude toward budget cuts? Screw that! We have to protect Long Island's Cadillac schools (Fred Dicker)... 11/9

Congressman Massa gives up on Afghanistan... refuses to see what's going on for himself, and if he were to go, would refuse to believe it... developing... speaking of Massa, he's voting no on the health care bill, even though the small single-payer coalition he was part of has collapsed... note in this little write up how much he mentions that he serves the 29th District... and remember his willingness to vote against the interests of his constituents. Ha. (Jimmy Vielkind)... 11/6

On now to Election 2010... coming soon to a TV near you: Paterson making the laughable case that he should be elected to a full term (WCBS-TV)... 11/5 UPDATE 11/6: He's getting some help from our neighbors in PA, where Ed Rendell is running a fundraiser for him (Liz Benjamin)... keep in mind one thing, though: Rendell had his own budget fiasco this year, demanding tax hikes and refusing to sign any budget without one.

Cattaraugus County D.A.: Ed Sharkey (D-Inc.) v. Lori Rieman (R)
Rieman wins in a landslide: 8282-5005
Olean Mayor: David Carucci (R-Inc.) v. Linda Witte (D)
Witte wins, 1808-1623, ousting incumbent
Chautauqua County Executive: Greg Edwards (R-Inc.) v. Cornell (D)
Edwards wins in a landslide, 16167-8926
Note: the races for Salamanca mayor (Jeff Pond, D-inc.), Little Valley town board (Bill Stoll and Jerry Titus, both R-Inc.) and Cattaraugus County sheriff (Timothy Whitcomb) are unopposed.
Fuller is issuing no endorsements this year for local races. I am not enthused with either of the DA candidates, and I don't know enough about the other opposed ones to make an informed decision.
Out-of-area races to watch:
NY-23 Special (Northern New York): Doug Hoffman (CP) v. Bill Owens (D) Fuller endorses Hoffman
Owens projected to win 49% to 46%; unusually high number of absentee, paper and impounded ballots, more than double the margin of Owens's lead... vote-tally irregularities in Jefferson County, evoking shades of NY-29 '08 all over again... teacher's union appears to have made the difference, sadly, making me wonder if it's even worth it for me to stay around in this state much longer... I'm really upset about this. UPDATE 11/12: As it turns out, the elections reporters from election night were phoning in phony numbers and there were several districts where Doug Hoffman's total was reported as zero... the race has narrowed by about 2,000 votes, with absentee ballots yet to be counted...
NJ Governor: Jon Corzine (D-Inc.) v. Chris Christie (R) v. Chris Daggett (Ind) Fuller endorses Christie
Christie wins, 50% to 44%
VA Governor: Bob McDonnell (R) v. Creigh Deeds (D) Fuller endorses McDonnell
McDonnell wins, 60% to 40%
I went to the polls today, cast my votes... turnout appeared to be fairly brisk, with a slightly different batch of poll workers this year... they're still running the old lever machines that they were supposed to get rid of this year, don't ask me how they got away with that.

Salamanca man commits suicide with stolen gun and stolen car on Little Valley-Salamanca town line (Dunkirk Observer)... 11/1

Another reason to hate the DMV: 12.6 BILLION DOLLARS intended for bridge and road repairs was inappropriately diverted to their coffers (Business First)... 10/29

Fall Foliage Report: Final Edition, Week of October 29
Peak foliage has past in all but a few places in upstate and northern PA now, with the Finger Lakes region the only remaining area with peak foliage in the region. Foliage is quickly falling to the ground and leaving the trees all but bare as we approach Halloween, though on my recent trip to Salamanca on Sunday there was still quite a bit of foliage on the south-facing hillsides. There’s some on the hills in Little Valley, too.
All in all, this year may not have matched the ultra-brilliant year we had back in 2007, but it is an improvement over 2008. It has also lasted about a week longer than usual. Other  than some hills with maples that changed later, there was very little yellow this year and lots of red, brown and orange.

Indians caught smuggling tobacco across the border-- India Indians, that is (Buffalo News)... 10/28

OK, so now Paterson is simply using the deficit as an excuse to really tick people off, like mandating new license plates and new numbers for a hefty fee (Albany Times-Union)... 10/28

The chickens have come home to roost: the 3 billion dollar deficit hits this December (Gannett)... 10/28

I couldn't make this up if I wanted to: wild pigs are now roaming Allegany State Park (Olean Times Herald)... 10/26

Four days notice.
That's how much time a judge gave all the bottlers and distributors of bottled water in the state to prepare for the collection of bottle deposits on bottled water. Four days. (Gannett)... 10/26 UPDATE: Just received word that they're going to postpone enforcing this until November 8. 10/31

Fall Foliage Report: Week of October 22
The recent killing frost and snowfall that hit Little Valley this weekend has had a devastating impact on the foliage.  The hill that is outside our house has gone from peak to nearly bare in a few days. The sun-facing hills still have lots of foliage, but instead of the bright colors, a dull brown now dominates the hillsides. Across the rest of the state, however, there is plenty of peak foliage, stretching from the Niagara Frontier all the way down the I-90 Corridor and the Finger Lakes through to Albany. The North Country and most of the Southern Tier have now progressed past peak, joining the nearly-bare Catskills and Adirondacks. Northern Pennsylvania reports past-peak conditions but that red maples and oaks are still at or near peak.

Trick-or-treat hours in Cattaraugus County are mostly set (Olean Times-Herald)... 10/22

RIP: Thomas P. Brooks, Sr. Tom was a former boss of mine, a longtime friend of the family, and was a founder and co-owner of T&H Brooks Market in Little Valley and Cattaraugus. He passed away Saturday night. Condolences to the family. Funeral will be at Little Valley Wesleyan Church, 10/21 11:00 a.m. 10/19

Paterson calling in the Feds over Indian taxation (Buffalo News)... 10/19

Remember this in 2010: I know this story's a few days old, but Andrew Cuomo, the guy the Democrats want to run for governor in 2010, wants to take away the elected comptroller's control over the pension system and put it in the hands of unelected government workers... great... just what we need (sarcasm), less taxpayer accountability. (Business First)... 10/19

Do it, Governor Paterson! Time to cut off funding to the schools (WCBS-TV)... 10/17

Catharine Young hypocrisy alert: Four months ago, Young was among those orchestrating the coup of the State Senate and gladly lured Hiram Monserrate to their cause, knowing full well he was under investigation for bashing his wife's head in with a glass bottle. Well, now he's been convicted, the coup is over, and now all of a sudden Senator Young is "outrage[d (!!!)] that he's still in the senate," her words, not mine (Buffalo News)... 10/17 UPDATE 10/22: Apparently this was a flip-flop-flip! According to the Times-Union, Young made a symbolic motion to oust Monserrate way back in December 2008! In related news, Long Island Republican leader Dean Skelos, who also supported Monserrate before he was against him, has placed Young on the panel that will decide his fate...

As of 2011, the village of Limestone will be no more, as voters elect to dissolve the village by a 71-26 vote (Olean Times Herald)... 10/16

Fall Foliage Report: Week of October 15
The big hill just outside our house in Little Valley has now past its peak, though there is still a significant amount of foliage still on the leaves. Other hills around the area are at or near peak foliage for the year. Elsewhere across the state, the state is reporting peak foliage in the Southern Tier, Capital District, North Country, and Mohawk Valley/Leatherstocking regions, as well as Rochester and the eastern Finger Lakes. The cities of Buffalo and Syracuse are near peak, while the ski country/Finger Lakes region from about Springville to Cortland is registering at midpoint. The Adirondacks are still past peak, and the Catskills have also progressed past their peak. In Northern Pennsylvania, the state reports peak foliage as well.

A tipster we will only identify as "S.R." has informed us that at least one of the Buffalo radio stations was playing Christmas music this morning... investigating... trying to confirm... I know it wasn't the usual suspects of WJYE, WTSS or WHTT... stunt perhaps? UPDATE: Apparently it was a one-song joke on WKSE, that didn't even show up in the playlist records. 10/14

Get ready to drop your jaw: just two counties to our south, Cameron County PA, the unemployment there is an astounding 18 percent (Bradford Era)... the only reason the others are lower? That county happens to not have a hospital within its boundaries... that alone should demonstrate what good that stimulus package has done for the private sector-- none. 10/9

Fall Foliage Report: Week of October 8
Around Cattaraugus County this weekend, fall foliage is starting to really show off. The dull shades we saw this past few weeks had me a little worried, but they’ve transitioned into bold oranges across many of the hills. The hill on the southeast side of Little Valley has turned a bright orange-yellow with all the changes. Hills in Ellicottville and Salamanca are a little more subdued, but I only checked Salamanca’s hills several days ago, so there is probably some significant change there as well.
Peak to near peak foliage is becoming prevalent throughout much of the state. The fringes of the Adirondacks and the entire Catskills, according to the state of New York, should be at peak foliage this weekend. The rest of upstate, with the exception of the Finger Lakes, is at least at midpoint. The central Adirondacks are the first to have progressed past their peak for the 2009 season. The Finger Lakes are still reporting as “just changing” (25% or less color change).
Northern Pennsylvania reports 50% color change, but expects it to reach peak rather quickly this weekend. Maple, beech and birch trees are the most vibrant, with oak trees still not showing noticeable signs of change.

Political rumors: Paterson considering an out by running for embattled NYC congressman Charlie Rangel's seat instead, which so far both are denying (Newsday)... the Collins-for-governor rumblings continue and WBEN has an analysis...

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