Twenty years ago — 1998

In an effort to improve housing opportunities and the quality of life in neighborhoods, Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. is preparing to launch a new program aimed at increasing home ownership in the city of Dunkirk. COI will purchase and rehabilitate homes for resale, a project that has already proven successful in the city of Jamestown. Two banks have agreed to support the program in Dunkirk and plans are moving forward. In addition to providing housing opportunities, the program features a good neighbor component, which focuses on upkeep and property maintenance.

Thirty years ago — 1988

In an OBSERVER photo, Chautauqua County Demolition Derby champion Wayne Clemens of Fredonia stands in front of the car he’s taking to the State Demo Derby Finals this weekend, a 1973 Chrysler New Yorker. Wayne qualified for the State Finals at the New York State Fair in Syracuse by winning at the Chautauqua County Fair.

Forty years ago — 1978

Efforts to create a water district in the Middle-Farmingdale-Werle Road section of Sheridan received a tremendous boost as word was received that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development approved a $60,000 grant for the project. The grant approval, coupled with a loan and grant from the Farmers Home Administration, totalling $94,000 and a $26,000 local share, gives the town all the money it needs to proceed with the water district, if the voters approve. Sheridan residents said their well water was undrinkable and bathing in it caused an itching sensation.

Fifty years ago — 1968

The Laona United Methodist Church has completed plans for a three-day observance of its 100th anniversary as the Evangelical Association, which began in April in 1868 and ended 100 years later, ironically in the same month, when it was united with the Methodist church denomination at a General Conference in Texas. It is now known as the United Methodist Church. On display throughout the three days will be relics of the past owned by the first members.