• To help expand the company’s extensive product development program, MaxLite has appointed Jim Wang to Product Marketing Manager. MaxLite, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of the award-winning MaxLED line of innovative LED luminaires and lamps using state-of-the-art LED technology, also announces that Mr. Wang will report directly to Pat Treadway, MaxLite’s Director of Product Marketing.

    “Jim comes to MaxLite with a deep lighting background and extensive product marketing expertise,” said Mr. Treadway. “He provides a broad experience and knowledge in lighting design and research and development, as well as a strong understanding of the types of lighting that are needed for a wide range of key market segments and applications.”

    In his new role, Mr. Wang will oversee a variety of product categories including: LED Outdoor Lighting such as wall packs, security, flood and area lights, and garage and canopy fixtures; high bay LED and linear fluorescent fixtures; HighMax high output CFL lamps and fixtures; induction fixtures; and ballasts, transformers, sockets and controls used for fluorescent products. Working closely with MaxLite’s R&D, marketing, engineering, product development, design and sales teams, Mr. Wang will help introduce new products to market.

    Most recently, he served as Product Manager for Simkar, a manufacturer of fluorescent and HID luminaires, and as Commercial Design and Marketing Specialist for Hadco, a manufacturer of high-end outdoor and landscape lighting. In addition, he was Industrial Market Manager for Holophane, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Hubbell Lighting, Marketing Program Industrial Designer for Cooper Lighting, Industrial Designer, Development Engineer, and Product Planner for IBM Office Products Division.

    Mr. Wang received nearly 40 patents and more than a dozen industry honors including the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. IBM Design Excellence Award, six ID Magazine Awards for Design Excellence, two IF Good Design awards from Hannover Fair, and three IBM Invention Achievement Awards.

    His educational experience includes an MFA in Optical Kinetic Sculpture from the University of Kentucky and a BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois.

    Inheriting global manufacturing and marketing expertise that dates back to 1955, MaxLite was one of the first movers into LED technology in the industry. Committed to energy efficiency as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2009, MaxLite established the MaxLED brand, an extensive line of indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures featuring innovative LED luminaires and lamps using the latest state-of-the-art LED technology, ranging from the award-winning Flat Panel collection, to the best-selling outdoor lineup, Plug-and-Play light bars and lamps.

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  • While many of his pieces go to the museum to be put on display, Bascelli also sells some of his work and gives the proceeds to the museum.

    “I can take something and restore it, and for $50 of paint, I’m not going to lose my house over it,” he said. “I get my money’s worth out of the therapy of the project.”

    William H. Rehr III, a former Reading fire chief and president of the museum, said Bascelli’s restored pieces help the organization financially and add fresh items to the displays.

    “It’s wonderful,” Rehr said. “We don’t have a lot of funding and no regular source of income, so anything we can have donated to us is a real positive.”

    Bascelli said he doesn’t mind parting with his projects once he’s finished. He likened his hobby to big-game hunting and the rush of spotting the prize, capturing it and then cleaning it up. Once the paint dries, he’s ready to move on to the next challenge.

    Recently, he spotted an old, broken hydrant in a yard while driving through Exeter Township. After letting it go the first time, Bascelli went back recently to see if the homeowner wanted the hydrant.

    Turns out, the resident was trying to get rid of it but didn’t know how, so Bascelli went to work.

    Now the rusted hydrant sits in his garage with several others waiting to be restored by Bascelli’s hands.

    While he buys some pieces on eBay, Bascelli has been very successful with finding things in junk yards and flea markets.

    “When I first get it, it’s not much more than scrap metal, but it’s scrap metal that’s been telling a story for a number of years,” he said.

    He said he often has to beat them to death to get the old pieces clean or have them sandblasted. Once the pieces are polished up, Bascelli gets some paint and lets his creative side take over.

    “I’ll be sitting there and have an epiphany and put something together,” he said.

    He’s currently working on a coat rack and floor lamp, both of which he anchored to old fire hydrants. The coat rack is just about finished, but Bascelli wants to exchange the prongs with fire wrenches.

    Bascelli’s restoration of a rare Mellert hydrant caught the eyes of the webmasters for firehydrant.org and his workmanship was featured on the website for several months.

    While the Mellert hydrant was special, Bascelli said his favorite project was the restoration of an old hose cart that took about a year to finish. The cart will be on display at the museum with some of his other works that showcase intricate handiwork that dates back to the 1800s and early 1900s.

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  • The Christmas season of 1951 was celebrated under the dark shadow of the nation’s second major war in a decade.

    It also featured frigid, snowy weather and several tragic local and national stories. But, as always, the spirit of the holiday season shone through.

    The dominant news story of Christmas 60 years ago was the continuing war in Korea, which had begun in June 1950 and showed no signs of ending anytime soon.

    Just five years after the end of World War II, Americans had to contend with another costly war.

    Hundreds of local service members were stationed on the Korean Peninsula and many of them were in harm’s way.

    On Dec. 19, the Communist Chinese released the names of more than 700 American prisoners of war in their custody. Three of them were from Genesee County. Four other Genesee soldiers were listed as missing.

    The three POWs were Capt. William Preston of Batavia, Pfc. Nicholas J. Aramino of Le Roy and Cpl. Raymond F. Goodburiel of Bergen.

    On the Batavia homefront, the watch words were “snow” and “cold.” Winter weather arrived in the area by mid-December and it stayed on through the start of the new year.

    Aside from the weather, Batavians and other Americans closely followed the story of a mine explosion Dec. 21 at the world’s largest coal shaft in West Frankfort, Ill. The blast happened on the crew’s last shift before their Christmas vacation.

    For nearly three days, rescuers tried in vain to reach the trapped workers. But in the end 119 miners perished.

    A Buffalo man also reported that his Christmas tree was stolen from the top of his parked vehicle as he ate dinner at the Miss Batavia Diner on Christmas Eve.

    There was other news as well. St. Jerome Hospital opened its new $2 million building Dec. 15. The residents of scenic Redfield Parkway began a tradition that continues to this day — the lighting of small outdoor Christmas trees on their front lawns.

    Christmas shoppers jammed local stores, and the retailers ran huge ads each day in The Daily News. Vast malls had yet to be built in Buffalo and Rochester, so most residents did their shopping locally.

    Montgomery Ward offered girls and boys snowsuits for $7.88 and men’s dress shirts for $2.98.

    The Surprise Store at 315-317 Ellicott St. was selling Hopalong dungarees for $2.98, all-wool club sweaters starting at $3.98 and men’s ties for $1 each.

    Max Pies at 400 South Jackson St. was selling La-Z-Boy chairs for $65, RCA record players for $12.95, table lamps for $12.25 and television lamps for $6.

    JC Penney’s offered “55 reasons why Penney’s is your Santa” — including house dresses for $2.79, wool blankets for $10.90 and men’s sport shirts for $2.98.

    Dean’s Drug Store at 84 Main St. had plenty of less expensive options, including a pound of Whitman’s assorted chocolates for $2, cigarette lighters for $1.50, Old Spice shaving bowls for $1.25 and Brownie Hawkeye Cameras for $6.70.

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  • “It’s probably unusual for a zoo of our size to have a display this size,” said Jonnene McFarland, the zoo’s director. “We’ve learned a lot. Instead of doing a lot of things, we do a few things that work well.”

    Pat Ponce, a retired teacher, was the zoo’s marketing director when ElectriCritters started in 1993. She consulted with other zoos to learn how to establish such an event. The advice she got proved invaluable.

    “Three pieces of advice stuck with me: Always have music; don’t be afraid to charge admission; and don’t expect to make money for 10 to 20 years,” Ponce said during a telephone interview from her home in Baltimore.

    Today, music is a major component of ElectriCritters, with holiday songs projected through speakers throughout the grounds. Admission the first year was $1 (it’s now $6 for adults). And the event, which has 13 major sponsors, is a money-maker, netting between $50,000 and $65,000 annually, according to McFarland.

    “It’s really, really important to the zoo as far as keeping us operating year-round,” said McFarland. “I think the public doesn’t realize how much money we use to keep the animals warm, feed them, take care of them.”

    In McFarland’s estimation, electricity costs for the display are about $1,500. The biggest concern when the event started was being able to properly light everything without losing power everywhere else. Larry’s Electric helped increase and modernize the zoo’s electrical capacity; now special outlets are placed at locations all over the zoo grounds to handle the annual surge and provide walkway lighting for visitors.

    McFarland said she used to tease everyone by saying, “If we plug in one more thing, we’re gonna blow the whole South Side.”

    About 10 years ago, just as someone turned on the display to test it, the power went out. Everywhere. Fortunately, for everyone at the zoo, it turned out that a transformer on nearby Thatcher Avenue had blown at the same moment the ElectriCritters switch was flipped.

    LED technology has helped the zoo cut electric expenses significantly, although rising rates negate some of those savings. Each of the last four years, the zoo has spent $1,000 on new LED lights to replace some of the older Christmas lights. Eventually, the entire display will operate on the lower-energy strands.

    The original idea has grown to be a favorite holiday event for local families and, McFarland said, out-of-towners who enjoy the zoo’s smaller size and single-level grounds. More than 140 lighted animals greet the public, in addition to thousands of lights strewn on trees and fences and over walkways. Another display is added each year; 2011’s new resident is a fire-breathing dragon.

    Gloria Madrill, the zoo’s marketing coordinator, swears that even the residents get excited for the event. She said the zebras and red panda, in particular, appear to anticipate each evening’s crowds.

    The first year was nothing like the wonderland that awaits visitors today. In 1993, there were six displays and some decorated trees along the sidewalk between the zoo’s main building and the Ecocenter. Volunteers had to stand along the walk with flashlights so people could see where to go. Tarps were placed over the fencing because the zoo didn’t have privacy screening to keep passersby from viewing the lights for free.

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  • From the north, government core curriculum standards are squeezing out school recess.

    From the south, encroaching forces of electronic media and videogames are breaking through fortress walls.

    And from all sides, parental fears are seeping under the foundations.

    Play is under attack.

    Since the 1970s, kids have lost an average nine hours of free playtime a week. Kids are getting less free time outside. And when kids are given recreational activities, they are likely to be adult-led and adult-supervised.

    So say play advocates like Danielle Marshall, who works for KaBOOM!, a nonprofit which has built more than 2,000 playgrounds nationwide.

    “There is a play deficit in the United States,” said Marshall. “It’s having a detrimental impact on our children.

    “The sad reality is play is being taken away from kids,” said Marshall. “Some of it is adult-imposed. Other things are trends in society. The way children are playing today has definitely changed.”

    First, a lesson on the importance of play.

    Cindy Dell Clark, an anthropology professor at Rutgers University-Camden, studies how children use play to cope with chronic illness. It’s true that young animals roughhouse and fool around, she said, but play among human children is not universal. The way children play depends on how they grow up.

    “Kids don’t do pretend play in all societies,” said Clark. “In a lot of societies, kids have important work to do. Their chores are important for economic survival.”

    Cultures that encourage children to use their imaginations, tell stories or act out roles are offering a signal that it must be important. It has value, especially in a society that wants children to become independent.

    “In a society like that, where everyone is an agent that operates for themselves, play is important,” said Clark. “It helps kids to navigate what they’re experiencing socially and make sense of it for themselves.”

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