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College having success recruiting, retaining students

PORTLAND — Prior to this fall, the State University of New York at Fredonia had a steep decline in enrollment. In fall 2015, SUNY Fredonia saw a drop of 369 students. However, since then, the college implemented its Strategic Enrollment Management Planning Process (SEM) and the ...

OBSERVER photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Candidates for the Chautauqua County Legislature’s District 3 seat debated at the Fredonia Opera House on Wednesday. Republican incumbent Bob Scudder and Democratic newcomer Bob Dando faced a number of questions that included lowering taxes, court consolidation, the sheriff’s budget and the County Landfill.

Battle of the Bobs

Editor’s note: This is a second article from Wednesday’s League of Women Voters’ debate that featured the race for the Chautauqua County Legislature’s District 3 seat. Candidates vying for the Chautauqua County Legislature’s District 3 seat sparred over various topics, including ...

Submitted Photo
Deputy Chad Wright is pictured holding K-9 Link.

K-9 tracks down man wanted on felony warrants

A K-9 with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office is being credited with helping to track down a Stockton man wanted on multiple felony warrants who reportedly attempted to enter a residence Thursday. Sheriff’s deputies responded at about 10:15 a.m. to a residence on James Road in ...

Dunkirk man pleads guilty to bank fraud charge

Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Dustin Walker, 24, of Dunkirk, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Assistant U.S. ...

Submitted Photo
The former St. Columban Center was sold by the Diocese of Buffalo to two investors.

Diocese sells Derby retreat center for $1.4 million

DERBY — The Diocese of Buffalo has closed on an agreement with two investors who have purchased the former St. Columban Center for $1.4 million. The property had been for sale since May 2016. “I saw this come up for sale and I was so surprised,” said Dr. David Johnson, who has been a ...

OBSERVER Photo
About 150 people turned out for the debates in Dunkirk and Fredonia that were sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Candidates not sitting back in final days

Area candidates can finally see a finish line. In four days, voters will make their decision at the polls from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. For those seeking office, it is a six-month journey that begins at a slow pace in the spring and heats up when the leaves start to fall. Over the last two weeks, a ...

Submitted Photo
Jonathan Bell, a local Airbnb host, went live with his Airbnb rental in February and has had a number of guests visit. The apartment is located in the heart of downtown Jamestown at Thurston Terrace.

County officials discuss room rental company as popularity grows

From Westfield to Jamestown and back again, a number of rooms and homes are being opened for visitors via an online phenomenon. Airbnb, an online marketplace for accommodations and experiences across the world, offers a variety of rooms and homes in Chautauqua County for visitors to rent. The ...

Multiple meth arrests made Wednesday

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office arrested four people on meth charges, all from different incidents, Wednesday. Shortly after midnight, deputies performed a street check of a male who identified himself as Dalton S. McCurdy, 30, of Alleghany Road. Upon further investigation it was ...

Last impressions

Fredonia village trustee candidates took to the Fredonia Opera House stage Wednesday to discuss their platforms and where they stood on key issues. The village’s water infrastructure was one of them amid the many breaks, and the seven candidates vying for open seats didn’t hesitate to ...

OBSERVER File Photo
Town of Sheridan Supervisor Lou Delmonte has been cited for illegal disposal of solid waste for this location.

Sheridan supervisor cited by DEC for illegal disposal

SHERIDAN — After completing a months-long investigation, Environmental Conservation Officer for the DEC Jerry Kinney found that Lou Delmonte, supervisor for the town of Sheridan, performed an illegal demolition of his commercial building located at 2799 State Route 20. Delmonte has been ...

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian: The remains of the structure owned by Louis Delmonte, who says he was ordered by the DEC to stop all demolition activity due to potential asbestos contamination.

Sheridan supervisor charged in illegal dumping

SHERIDAN — Town Supervisor Louis Delmonte has been charged in illegal disposal of solid waste, according to a news release issued today by the Department of Environmental Conservation. On Oct. 23, a conservation officer completed an investigation into the illegal disposal of a commercial ...

OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Pictured is one example of an empty flower bed Revitalize Dunkirk’s gardeners would like to assist the city of Dunkirk to maintain. The bed is located along the bike path behind the Clarion Hotel.

Revitalize Dunkirk wants to help city with gardens

The welcome into the city of Dunkirk may look different depending on which direction you drive in. The city has signs, but there is no standard for how the vegetation at the base is maintained. The Beautification Committee of Revitalize Dunkirk would like to work with the city to see that any ...

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
The bomb threat reported at Thompson Hall on the evening of Oct. 26 was the second in a nine-day span. The building was evacuated and taped off to keep people away as police searched the building. The first threat at Thompson Hall was reported Oct. 17. Both threats were unfounded.

University improving emergency procedures

The bomb scares last month put the State University of New York at Fredonia’s emergency response system to the test, and officials at the college have already made important strides in getting notifications to the campus community as well as staff and students. Law enforcement moved swiftly ...

Dunkirk on standby if Fredonia needs water assistance

The village of Fredonia has had a string of unfortunate water main breaks recently that could have happened to any municipality, according to Dunkirk’s Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury. In the event Fredonia’s hardship has not ended, Woodbury said the city is there to help ...

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon
This is what remained of the utility pole after a truck hit it Monday around 11 a.m.

Truck goes through pole, flips over

A Dunkirk man was taken to the hospital following an automobile accident Monday on in the town of Dunkirk. According to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, Michael G. Korytko, 33, of Gratiot Center, was traveling east on Route 5 near Willow Road around 11 a.m. when his vehicle veered ...

Swanson: Robbins did not use illegal firearm

Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson stands by the decision to go with a plea deal in the Robbins case. Swanson said he did announce the “Gun Done” initiative in January, but the Robbins case did not include use of an illegal firearm. The “Gun Done” policy involves not ...

OBSERVER Photo by Greg Bacon
This house on Douglas Street in Fredonia is ready for trick-or-treaters.

Time for treats

The Avengers, Disney’s Descendants, unicorns or more common animals will be roaming the streets tonight as costumed children head out on their quest for sweet treats. Local officials have set the following trick-or-treat hours: ANGOLA Trick-or-treating hours for Angola are from 6-8 ...

OBSERVER Photo by Ann Belcher
Town residents discuss the pros and cons of a new water district at a public meeting held Thursday. The Town of Portland was able to secure a competitive grant package in order to fix the problem of contaminated wells for Webster Road and surrounding residents, and will be moving to the next step of securing the funding following Thursday’s meeting.

Portland residents voice opinions on new water district

BROCTON — A proposed water district that could service 73 residents was discussed once again on during a public meeting held recently at the Portland Town Hall. The meeting was slated by the Portland Town Council and project engineer for Clark, Patterson, Lee in order to confirm support to ...