Twenty years ago — 1998

The majority of people seeking permission for an on-off switch for an auto air bag are drivers who say they sit too close to the steering wheel hub, where the air bag deploys, according to government records. Starting today, auto owners can go to dealers and independent mechanics to have the switches installed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved about 5,000 requests for the cutoff switches. Some 6,850 people have applied for them and the rest of the applications are being processed. So far, the requests have not reached the huge numbers initially feared by automakers, who lobbied to restrict who could apply. The government recommends that short drivers keep at least 10 inches between themselves and the wheel hub, by adjusting the seats backward, so the air bag can deploy safely.

Thirty years ago — 1988

James J. Scott of Jackson, Mich., formerly of Dunkirk, has been named one of five Citizens of the Year by the Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Scott of West Fifth St., Dunkirk, he is head of the health and physical fitness department at Jackson Community College, where he is a promoter of “wellness.” Mr. Scott is an organizer of the Ultimate Runner, a popular Jackson racing event, and also of the Ultimate Health Experience, a month-long series of activities designed to “get people involved” in wellness. He graduated from Dunkirk High School in 1966 and earned degrees from Findlay College and Colorado State University.

Forty years ago — 1978

Dr. Stephen Warner, associate professor in the Department of English at Fredonia State University College, has been appointed executive assistant to the president for the spring term of 1978. Dr. Warner fills a vacancy created when Dr. Robert Heichberger was granted a leave of absence to dedicate more time to research.

Fifty years ago — 1968

Elmer G. Muench, 112 Seymour St., Fredonia and Joseph Woloszyn, 77 East Doughty St., Dunkirk qualified on state civil service examinations for positions as senior offset printing machine operator. A total of 50 persons took the exam last October and only 16 passed.