Doino was the dean of superintendents

OBSERVER Photo Dr. Rocco Doino with his wife, Carol, at the Wall of Fame honor at Fredonia High School in October 2014.

Today’s edition includes the obituary for Dr. Rocco Doino who died in Brooks Memorial Hospital on Tuesday. Doino was an expert when it came to school leadership and in helping to build up a community.

Fortunately, the district he so loved paid tribute to him in October 2014 as he was named the first member to the school’s Wall of Honor. “I’m very proud of this school district, as you know,” Doino said on that special evening with his wife, Carol, by his side. “I never intended to be a teacher and I never intended to come to this school, but I’m glad I’m here. We had a lot of fun building this school. We opened this building 50 years ago in 1964, and if you look at the building and walk around, you’ll see we built it with quality materials, and it’s held up very well.”

Indeed it has.

Beyond the school, Doino touched many other area organizations and individuals. He was on the Brooks Hospital board, which included serving a term as president. He also helped form the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, an organization that was told by a consultant it would never have enough resources to get started. Thirty years later, it’s an institution that has a value of more than $25 million and continuously invests in area agencies and initiatives.

After retiring from the district as superintendent in 1983, Doino credited others for his success. “I am proud of our schools and the young people they educate,” he said in his retirement letter. “No superintendent has everything exactly as he or she might wish, but Fredonia has come close to being the ideal spot.”

Rest in peace, Rocky. You made this community proud.

Flurries of fury

Snowplow drivers were taking more heat during the holidays in the city of Dunkirk. Randy Woodbury, city Department of Public Works supervisor, addressed the issue last week. “Our snowplow operators gave you everything they possible had,” he said. “Are the new guys still learning? Yeah. Are they just as enthusiastic as the veterans? Yeah. You can’t ask for more. Are we going to get better? Yeah, but what you got was every ounce of commitment of people who love the city of Dunkirk.”

Those who are complaining about road conditions, we might add, also love the city so much they live here. Just getting from one place to another in the city on Christmas was a major chore.

Area residents are patient, for the most part, when it comes to dealing with the weather. They understand the difference between a real weather emergency and a regular snowfall.

When the complaints come in for the latter, it’s a definite problem.

Just how long?

My tenure at the Dunkirk OBSERVER began on Jan. 1, 2000 — one week before the last Buffalo Bills’ playoff game against the Tennessee Titans. Without question, today’s society is much different than it was then. Consider some of the changes since that despised contest:

¯ Cordless phones were more popular than cell phones and smart phones had not even been considered.

¯ There was no such thing as a text message.

¯ Our OBSERVER was in only its sixth month as a morning newspaper, previously publishing in the afternoon.

¯ We had an OBSERVER web site highlighting three to four stories. Today, that site is filled with daily content.

¯ Big screen TVs were still popular, with the HD models still years away.

¯ We had just made it through the worries of Y2K.

¯ We also lamented the future loss of the Bills to St. John Fisher from Fredonia for summer training camp.

¯ Finally, back then, I had much darker hair.

John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to or call 366-3000, ext. 401.