Ed Parson Memorial 2017 Softball League Season Underway League Pays Special Tribute to Commissioner James Hartley

by Renata Toney

Caption: (l to r) Deputy Commissioner Wayne ‘Doc’ Bolden, Acting Commissioner Demetrius Richards, Deputy Commissioner Sonya Fields.  PhotoCredit:  Darren 'Doc' Thomas

Caption: (l to r) Deputy Commissioner Wayne ‘Doc’ Bolden, Acting Commissioner Demetrius Richards, Deputy Commissioner Sonya Fields.  PhotoCredit:  Darren 'Doc' Thomas

The Ed Parson Memorial Softball League is in full swing; excited aboutthe fun season at the popular Fillmore Avenue field named in honor of the sports legend. 

Former deputy director Demetrius Richards has ascended the softball league management ladder to newly appointed Acting Commissioner.  “I’m excited about leading the 12-week regular season. The most important responsibility is bringing the experience that I learned from the best,” said Richards of his role change. “We would like to broaden our growing fan base; the public is invited to come out and join us for a good time and great softball. We look forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones and creating some awesome memories this year.” 

The League is paying special tribute to Commissioner James Hartley who is on a medical leave of absence. Hartley started going to Parson ballgames with his uncle in 1962, coached championship teams and managed the league for the last nine seasons.   “I miss having him around,” acknowledged deputy commissioner Sonya Fields. “His warm smile and sense of humor remain close to my heart. His claim to fame was ordering me ‘Sonya get on your job, go harass the players with your bullhorn!” 

“James brought the league back into existence when it disbanded for a couple of years,” explained Richards.  “We miss his leadership and keeping things under control. Get well soon James, we look forward to your return.”

The League extends a warm, deserving welcome to newly appointed deputy commissioner Wayne ‘Doc’ Bolden who credits James Hartley for rebuilding the league from a fast pitch to a slow pitch league. “He increased the number of teams and made the league more diverse,” said Doc. “We’re going to miss his tremendous connections with the city this season.  The league is in good hands and we will be holding it down until he gets back.”

“Doc has been a player in the league for many years,” said Richards who says he brings fresh ideas and professional leadership. Sonya Fields appreciates Doc for stepping in and giving them a helping hand. “He knows how to keep the league going- playing many years on teams. Thanks Doc, you’re the man.”

The season will culminate with two weeks of playoff games and the much-celebrated, annual major league championship throw-down.  “Photos and standings will be posted on our Ed Parson Memorial Softball League Facebook page; weekly standings will be in The Challenger,” said Richards. “We also sincerely thank Darren ‘Doc’ Thomas for the images accompanying this article and maintaining the Facebook page. Doc, you’re now our official photographer. We just need to tell you that,” laughs Richards. 

Founded in 1959, Ed Parson, Sr. launched the Sunday Morning Memorial Softball League with a bold vision to design a local African American baseball and basketball alliance. With the financial backing of the late Marshall Myles, a prominent East Side socialite and businessman, they recruited the city’s most versatile all-high players forming some of the most powerful squads in the region. 

Renata Toney is a Challenger contributing writer, rrrenata@aol.com

Renata Toney is a Challenger contributing writer, rrrenata@aol.com

“James Hartley taught us just how important this softball league has been to our community for so long and worked hard to keep it alive,” said Fields. “With all the talk of how the East Side has been ignored with all the development in other areas, the league is something we can take great pride in.  It started on the East Side and after all these years is one of the few things we can still call our own.” 

Come join the fun, games start Sundays at 11 AM on Fillmore Avenue at the Ed Parson Memorial Field, just south of the Kensington Expressway.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America Names

Robert F. Lowery National Professional of the Year

               Robert F. Lowery

               Robert F. Lowery

Boys & Girls Clubs of America has named Robert Lowery the 2017 National Professional of the Year. Lowery, who currently serves as Chief Program Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo (BGCB) had been named Northeast Professional of the Year in late 2016 prior to being named as the top professional nationally for the non-profit organization. As Northeast Professional of the Year, he was one of four Boys & Girls Clubs professionals chosen in distinct geographic locations. He accepted the award at a ceremony May 11, 2017 at Boys & Girls Clubs America National Conference held in Dallas, Texas.

Each year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America awardsProfessional of the Year Awards in each of four distinct geographic areas including the Northeast, Southwest, Midwest and Pacific regions who have made significant contributions to the work of professionals within Boys & Girls Clubs while in their current position. The award is presented to a national member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Professional Association who holds the title, duties and responsibilities of Assistant Executive Director, Director of Operations, Unit Director, or any Programmatic related full time staff member. 

Lowery, a 14-year veteran of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo, Lowery has served in a number of positions including as a Prevention Specialist and Director of Program Quality. He is a valued part of the BGCB team and has built a strong career track record of developing, implementing and overseeing programs that have a direct impact on youth and their ability to succeed. Lowery currently serves as the Trustee Chairmen of True Bethel Baptist Church. In addition, he is affiliated with the following community organizations Leadership Buffalo (Class of 2017), Resource Council of WNY, Emerging Philanthropists of Color, Say Yes Buffalo, and The President’s Committee Advisory Board at Buffalo State College.

The American Legion, Jesse Clipper Post No. 430, installed officers on April 26, marking what newly elected Commander Paulette Woods described as “a new generation in leadership.”

“The torch has passed to a new generation in the leadership of the Jesse Clipper Post#430 and with the guidance of our elders we will do even greater things to benefit veterans,” stated Elder Woods. “I am grateful for the confidence my fellow officers and veterans have placed in me as commander.” 

OFFICERS: Pictured 1st Row left/right; WWI Coordinator Papa Paul Woods, 3rd Vice Commander Kanasha Blue, Commander Elder Paulette Woods, Adjutant Annette Christian, Chaplain/1st Vice Commande

OFFICERS: Pictured 1st Row left/right; WWI Coordinator Papa Paul Woods, 3rd Vice Commander Kanasha Blue, Commander Elder Paulette Woods, Adjutant Annette Christian, Chaplain/1st Vice Commande

The installation was conducted byBishop Marion Richey, Pastor of the DAYSPRING Church of God of Prophecy. The newly installed officers include:  WWI Coordinator Papa Paul Woods, 3rd Vice Commander Kanasha Blue, Commander Elder Paulette Woods, Adjutant Annette Christian, Chaplain/1st Vice Commander Howard Patton; Past Commander Rev. Eugene L. Pierce, Finance Officer Frederick Eckles, 2nd Vice Commander Richard Hill, Sergeant-at-Arms Perry Civils, Immediate Past Commander Chaplain Henry W. Curtis III ; Service Officer Sam Feaster; Judge Advocate Felton Davis, Honor Guard Coordinator Samuel “Matt” Matthews; andHistorian George K. Arthur.

Jesse Clipper, a young Buffalo musician and private with the 317th Engineer Battalion, died Feb. 21, 1919. He is buried in Oise-Aisne, an American military cemetery in France.  

He was the first African-American soldier from Buffalo to die in the war . 

Clipper was one of nearly 380,000 African-Americans to fight in segregated units during World War I. Before he joined the service, Clipper was vice president of Local 533 of the American Federation of Musicians, which was founded in 1917. A year later its members formed a social club, the Colored Musicians Club.

Seven months after his death, 15 African-American veterans founded Jesse Clipper Post 430, American Legion. Today he is honored with a park and monument on Michigan and William Street and an American Legion post – all bearing his name.

For anyone who may suggest that Legislator Betty Jean Grant’s entry into the race for Mayor of the City of Buffalo makes her a “spoiler,”  her reply is simple.

In addition to her track record of being a people’s champion throughout her political career, in this 2017 election, there’s nothing to “spoil.” 

Grant officially tossed her hat into the ring this week. There is speculation among some that a Grant candidacy will hurt Mayor Brown’s re-election efforts by splitting the Black vote. Others feel that even if it does turn out that the other mayoral candidate, Mark J. F. Schroeder, benefits and emerges the winner in a three-way race, it will mark a change for the better in City Hall and for neighborhoods.

“The East of Main Street has been neglected long enough,” Grant said in a press release announcing her candidacy. “The lack of employment opportunities and rising crime are just some of the issues that must be addressed, and replaced with paid job training, revitalization of neighborhoods, infrastructure and economic development for all city-wide.”

For Grant the stakes are high. By running for mayor she will not be able to run for re-election to her seat in the County Legislature representing the 2nd District. So for her it’s all or nothing. Who will replace her? Two of the names currently rumored to seek her seat include youth activist Duncan Kirkwood and longtime community activist Charley Fisher.

The final inspiration and deciding factor to enter into the 2017 Mayoral race she said, was the blatant disregard of the public sentiment and outcry for the revitalization of the Central Terminal after the 17 member committee chaired by Mayor Brown selected the downtown site for Buffalo’s new train station. 

“That just pushed me to the point to say, ‘why not’? Why not give all communities an opportunity to be part of government? Why not run to be the Mayor to provide all with a fair, equitable and transparent government?”

-No Stranger ToGoliath-

Betty Jean Grant is no stranger to uphill battles. Her narrow loss in the 2012 State Senate primary against Tim Kennedy is proof that she is a force to be reckoned with.  Rather than allow that seat to be taken without a fight, she jumped in at the 11th hour and despite theKennedy campaign spending some $450,000, Grant spent $20,000 and lost by just 139 votes.

Betty Jean is aware of the challenge she’s facing in the upcoming election. However she says she is ready to give it her all to successfully champion every obstacle for her citywide supporters and volunteers already on board to assist her in the mission to represent, enhance and create the best for all of the City of Buffalo; a city where no community is forgotten!