Highs and lows: Some of the best, worst of the week

Here are some of the best – and worst – of the week:

BEST

VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS – A major fire took place in Fredonia this week. Hills Trucking on Webster Road, near Route 60, caught fire. Thick black smoke could be seen miles away. Although Fredonia does have a few paid firefighters, the bulk of those at the scene were volunteers. The building may have been destroyed, but there were no serious injuries reported and firefighters were able to contain the fire from spreading. We salute those who rush out to scenes like Monday’s, with a willingness to serve and protect others.

LAKE SHORE PHASE I – The emergency room at Lake Shore Hospital has received a makeover as part of a $2.6 million project. On Thursday, an open house was held for Phase I, which included private rooms, a larger trauma room, and a negative air flow room if someone needs to be isolated/quarantined. The next phase will include work on the triage room, a registration area, a waiting area, a director’s office and an access center. So far, about $1.9 million has been raised. Donations are still being sought.

SHAVEN HEAD – There’s probably not too many adults that are willing to shave their heads for their employment. But that’s what Northern Chautauqua Catholic School PE teacher Andrew Hamilton did. Hamilton agreed to dye his hair purple and later shave it after the students raised more than $1,000 for cancer research. He also had his beard and legs shaved as well. Now that’s dedication!

WORST

REVENUE VS. TAX – This past week the Chautauqua County Legislature has once again agreed to keep our sales tax 7.5 percent by seeking the higher .5 percent rate. Still, even with keeping the additional half percent, Chautauqua County’s sales tax rate is the lowest in the area. Cattaraugus County’s sales tax is at 8 percent. Erie County’s (N.Y.) sales tax is 8.75 percent. There’s only five counties in the state with a lower sales tax rate. But when four Jamestown legislators opposed the higher rate, County Executive Greg Edwards said they were “voting for the removal of almost $530,000 in revenue in the city of Jamestown.” That’s because sales tax is shared with municipalities. The “revenue” he is referring to is our taxes. Revenue sounds nicer, but taxes is what it really is.

Highs and lows: Some of the best, worst of the week

Here are some of the best – and worst – of the week:

BEST

STIRRING ANTHEM – On Wednesday, the Buffalo Sabres went to Boston to play the Bruins, the first sporting event following the tragic bombing. To open the event, Rene Rancourt started singing the National Anthem, but stopped part way through after fans began singing it. It was arguably one of the most powerful Anthems ever. When Whitney Houston led the National Anthem in Super Bowl XXV, tears were running down people’s faces. Wednesday’s singing equaled that emotion.

QUICK ARRESTS – Hearing that two people were murdered in rural southern Chautauqua County can make your head spin. But local police and investigators were able to follow up on a number of leads and took four people into custody a day later. Although there are a number of questions, it’s good to know that the alleged perpetrators are off the streets.

POMFRET CLERK TO RETIRE – Roberta Valentine has been a member of the Pomfret Town Board for a number of years – first as a councilwoman and now as the town clerk. She will retire at the end of June. We wish her the best in this new phase of life.

WORST

FATAL ACCIDENT – A van carrying 10 people crashed Thursday on the Thruway, killing three occupants, including a one-month old infant. Seven others were injured in the accident. Although the people are not from the local area, we still feel a great sadness for their loss. Police said at least some of the children weren’t wearing seatbelts. Wear your seatbelts. It could save a life. And insist your children do as well.

Highs and lows: Some of the best, worst of the week

Here are some of the best – and worst – of the week:

BEST

SUHR HONORS – Once again, congratulations to Fredonia native Jenn (Stuczynski) Suhr. The pole vault champion has been named the Track & Field News Indoor World Athlete of the Year. She will also grace the cover in May. Track & Field News is the “Sports Illustrated” magazine of the sport. It was an honor well deserved. Suhr has 13 U.S. titles, has set 10 American records – the most of anyone active in track and field in America – plus has a gold and silver medal from Olympic competitions. She also has the indoor pole vaulting world record. We’ll wait and see if Suhr decides to defend her title in 2016 in Rio. But for now, she’s continuing to compete across the United States and around the world.

CHERRY CREEK LIBRARY – It’s not easy to move a library, but that’s what Cherry Creek has done. The library is now located at 6778 Main St., in the former hardware building. It is now open 3-5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Hopefully the new location will draw more people to utilize the facility. Reading is important. Having an available facility helps.

NEW OFFICIALS – Many area villages have new trustees and mayors in place. We tip our hats to those who have served in the past and wish them well. For the new municipal leaders we ask you to think about what is best for the people you represent, and our community as a whole, not just for yourself.

WORST

CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN – Martha Robertson could be a good person for Congress. She certainly seems passionate about the people she serves. But she’s running against Tom Reed who’s been serving our region for about three and half months. Do you really think we’re ready to determine if Reed is a good or bad congressman after less than 16 weeks on the job? Give Reed a chance. Congressional terms are two years long. We don’t want the campaign season to be two years long as well.

Highs and lows: Some of the best, worst of the week

Here are some of the best – and worst – of the week:

BEST

GREEN ARCH – Weather permitting, today marks a monumental day in Brocton. The green arch, which was taken down last fall, will start to be returned. The arch was taken down on Oct. 22 in the middle of the night. This time, construction is set to begin at 9 a.m. As the only structure of its kind, the arch, which was constructed in 1913, has sustained its share of weathering and structural damage over the years. It needed to be rebuilt. We’re looking forward to seeing the famous symbol return.

GIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE – April is Organ Donor Awareness Month. Because of this, Karen George, owner of Karen’s Hairem, is holding a raffle for all those who sign up to become an organ donor. But for George, organ donor awareness is more personal. That’s because her husband Jeff, is the recipient of two kidney transplants. Sign up to be an organ donor. You never know the life you could save.

CLOSED TRAILS – For snowmobile enthusiasts, the winter of 2011-12 was one to forget. The trails were only open a single day all year. Although the season started late this winter, there was enough snow for snowmobiles to hit the trails a few times. We thank the farmers and land owners who graciously let snowmobilers ride on their lands. We also applaud the snowmobile clubs that put up the necessary signs and clean the trails. Without their partnership, not only would local snowmobilers not be able to go out, but riders from other areas would not visit our region, generating a lot of money for our local economy.

WORST

LAKE ERIE ALGAE – For years, Chautauqua County has been fighting algae blooms in Chautauqua Lake. Now, scientists are predicting more “mega-blooms” on Lake Erie. Why? A lot has to do with how no-till farming, which technically is good for the environment, keeps fertilizer in the upper soil. Then the phosphorus can get washed into Lake Erie. An international team of scientists are working on the problem, but there are no easy solutions. But in the end, if a solution is not found, problems Chautauqua Lake has been having will repeat in Lake Erie.