Author: RaChaCha

RaChaCha

RaChaCha is a Garbage Plate™ kid making his way in a Chicken Wing world. Since 2008, he's put over a hundred articles on here, and he asked us to be sure to thank you for reading. So, thank you for reading. You may also have seen his freelance byline in Artvoice, where he writes under the name his daddy gave him [Ed: Send me a check, and I might reveal what that is]. When he's not writing, RaChaCha is an urban planner, a rehabber of houses, and a community builder. He co-founded the Buffalo Mass Mob, and would love to see you at the next one. He represents Buffalo Young Preservationists on the Trico roundtable. If you try to demolish a historic building, he might have something to say about that. He is a proud AmeriCorps alum. Things you may not know about RaChaCha (unless you read this before): "Ra Cha Cha" is a nickname of his hometown. (Didn't you know that? Do you live under a rock?) He's a political junkie (he once worked for the president of the Monroe County Legislature), but we don't really let him write about politics on here. He helped create a major greenway in the Genesee Valley, and worked on early planning for the Canalway Trail. He hopes you enjoy biking and hiking on those because that's what he put in all that work for. He was a ringleader of the legendary "Chill the Fill" campaign to save Rochester's old downtown subway tunnel. In fact, he comes from a long line of troublemakers. An ancestor fought at Bunker Hill, and a relative led the Bear Flag Revolt in California. We advise you to remember this before messing with him in the comments. He worked on planning the Rochester ARTWalk, and thinks Buffalo should have one of those, too (write your congressman). You can also find RaChaCha (all too often, we frequently nag him) on the Twitters at @HeyRaChaCha. Which is what some people here yell when they see him on the street. You know who you are.

With the Albright-Knox main campus closed for the expansion project, I recently took the opportunity to reconnect with Allentown First Fridays. I feel a personal connection to this monthly gallery walk as it started the month I moved to Buffalo from Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts, where I was involved in starting a similar event that became part of the regular rhythm of my life. Like Rochester First Fridays, Allentown First Fridays got me acquainted with the Buffalo art scene, which is bursting and overflowing with talent. But in recent years I had drifted away from the event, in large…

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The “Church on Fire” lecture series on church reform kicks off Thursday evening at Blessed Sacrament Church as scandal continues to dog the Buffalo diocese. After enduring months of bombshell after bombshell shaking the foundations of Catholic western New York to its foundations, the resignation of Bishop Richard Malone and the appointment of his temperamental opposite, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany as apostolic administrator seemed to signal a better day. Yet recent developments have proven worrisome. Last week the Diocese of Buffalo declared bankruptcy, something unimaginable just a year ago, and a private Mass last week with Bishop Scharfenberger that…

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Who knew I’d be writing a Mass Mob post while reading reports of the Diocese of Buffalo declaring bankruptcy? The declaration is primarily in response to hundreds of law suits filed under the Child Victims Act, passed last year. While the Diocese bankruptcy is gut-wrenching, it is nothing compared to the pain and anguish of those whose lives were irrevocably altered and even shattered by clergy abuse. Although Catholic parishes are not directly affected by the bankruptcy, they are roiled by the same troubled waters affecting the Diocese and individual Catholics. As I’ve written in recent Mass Mob posts, even…

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Last month, the new Niagara Falls train station got “Schumed.” And that’s a good thing. What is it to get “Schumed?” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz put it this way in his recent book, Beyond the Xs and Os, about the Bills lease deal: “Among political circles, Senator Schumer is known for his press conferences in which he comes into a community to speak on a particular issue regardless of what might otherwise be happening that day… . Often, the senator will fly in, hold a press conference on a subject…, and then fly away, stealing any media coverage… .…

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Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. – Francis of Assisi (attributed) I was born and raised in Rochester, the city that Susan B. Anthony used as her base of operations for her relentless nationwide campaign for women suffrage. How did she get everywhere in the nation from Rochester? By train, of course. Just blocks from her home, she and her famous “alligator purse” could catch a train directly to Washington, DC, at the station now occupied by Nick Tahou’s, Home of the Garbage Plate™. Downtown, she could catch a train…

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The new year is inauguration season. At City Hall, the council chamber was packed for the swearing in of two new councilmen, bringing new blood and new competence – if not, sadly, gender balance – to a body that sorely needs all of those things. Such events are not only happy occasions, but can provide valuable insights into those taking office. Some years ago I attended the swearing in of a newly elected official whose speech went into great detail about how he got where he was by aggressively seizing every opportunity that came within his grasp. He later left…

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Despite its decades of experience moving automobiles around, when it comes to remaking urban expressways our DOT can’t seem to organize a one-car parade. As I wrote here, the DOT’s decade-and-a-half effort to rethink the 198 corridor garnered such bad reviews that they finally threw up their hands and turned the effort over to our regional transportation planning agency, where perhaps it should have been in the first place. But on the long-sought effort to restore Humboldt Parkway over top of the trench of the Kensington Expressway, I thought there was no way they could get it wrong. Essentially, the…

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A look at any Queen City neighborhood this month shows how seriously we take holiday decorating around here. But it goes beyond homes: our churches and synagogues also pull out all the stops to lavishly decorate for holiday – literally, “holy day” – services and festivities. But unlike the bedazzling outdoor decorations of houses of residence, for houses of worship the greatest decoration is typically indoors – which is a good reason to go in. During the holiday seasons around Christmas and Hanukkah, and Easter and Passover, churches and synagogues see many visitors, with family members home for the holidays…

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Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. – Daniel Burnham, 1910 What artist, so noble … as he who with far-reaching conception of beauty and designing power, sketches the outlines, writes the colours, and directs the shadows of a picture so great that Nature shall be employed upon it for generations… – Fredrick Law Olmsted, 1852 It is on paper still, but, from having been one of Buffalo’s vague and almost hopelessly…

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Walking up to St. Benedict’s Church in Eggertsville, I could sense something special about it, but wasn’t sure just what. It was something unusual, something unique, but what was it, exactly? It wasn’t the architecture – in fact the last Mass Mob, at St. Bernard’s in Kaisertown, was held in a church designed by the same architect built about the same time using similar stone. But not wanting to be late for Mass, I’d have to figure it out later. Yet even after Mass, as I lingered to take photos of the exterior, the church grounds, the school next door,…

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