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

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

BEST

STUDENT EXPERIENCE – We want to applaud Savannah Karcz. The 17-year-old Sheridan resident got to spend 10 days in India, inspiring hope, spreading compassion, instilling knowledge and helping some of the country’s most vulnerable, destitute citizens meet their basic needs. Experiences like that can be life-changing, not just for the residents overseas, but for the person going on the trip. It will likely be an experience she will never forget.

BIG CHEESE – We want to welcome Nuova Castelli Group, a cheese manufacturer based in northern Italy to Chautauqua County. The company purchased Empire Speciality Cheese Company’s Blockville facility. The move saved about 80 jobs as well as assisted 92 Amish families who sell dairy to the factory. We hope the company finds success with its latest endeavor, its first in the United States.

PINE VALLEY SOCCER – Five years ago there was no Pine Valley boys soccer program at the school. Then in 2013, a program was started but the team only one won game. This year they’ve been ranked as high as number five in the state. Credit that work in part to coach David Pihlblad, who has worked hard at restoring the soccer program. While some sports like high school football seem to be in a decline, soccer continues to grow. We applaud the team, the school and coach Pihlblad for their recent success.

WORST

ALBANY CORRUPTION – Once again, we see some Albany insiders caught in a compromising situation. On Thursday, eight people were charged in a bribery and fraud case. Among those charged were Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s former executive deputy secretary and one of Cuomo’s most loyal advisers, and Alain Kaloyeros, president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which until recently, had been overseeing the Athenex Project scheduled for Dunkirk. Right now it appears Athenex is still on track, but these charges are discouraging nonetheless. Had the project not been shifted from SUNY Polytechnic Institute to Empire State Development Corporation, who knows what could have happened.

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

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

BEST

BUSY WEEKENDS – This weekend, catch the fun at the Silver Creek Festival of Grapes. There’s also the D’Vine Experience in Westfield today. Last weekend was the ever-successful Red, White and Blues in Fredonia, as well as the History Fair in Sinclairville. The weekend before that, Cassadaga held its annual Labor Day Festival. In most communities in snow country, community events are compacted between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But in Chautauqua County, there’s plenty to do all of September.

HERO OF SORTS – We want to applaud Don Kohlepp of West Green Street, Dunkirk. The city resident woke up the residents at 32 Lafayette Ave. after their house was on fire. The house was not severely damaged, but we’re always happy when neighbors are willing to take action when they see danger.

TRAILER DEDICATION – Ross M. Riley, 44, was a 17-year veteran of the State Police when he died three years ago in a training exercise in Zoar Valley. It was only fitting then, that the Gowanda Volunteer Fire Department dedicated its new equipment trailer in his name. “The fact that the fire department chose to dedicate it to Trooper Ross Riley is just absolutely fantastic. It just shows so many things,” said Tiger Schmittendorf, deputy fire coordinator for Erie County Emergency Services. We agree.

WORST

BILLS BEGINNING – One week ago, many of us were wondering if this would be the year the Buffalo Bills would finally break of not going to the playoffs – the longest streak in the NFL. But already the team is 0-2 and fired their offensive coordinator after the team scored 31 points – 24 on offense. Right now it doesn’t appear that 16-year playoff drought is ending anytime soon.

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

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

BEST

CITY POLICE OFFICER – Libby Korytko MacDougall posted this on the Dunkirk Police Department’s Facebook page on Aug. 31. We were asked to share it and we do so proudly:

“I just wanted to share this story that happened yesterday. We’ve had a pretty bad week. Details not needed but just know when it rains it pours. We live in Derby, NY but my 5 year old son Ian sometimes stays with my mom and dad in Dunkirk. I grew up there, am proud to say I’m from there and was FLOORED yesterday when my mother called me to tell me that Officer Bobby Fred paid for my son’s hair cut at Tommy Browns barber shop. Ian has sensory issues but he absolutely loves police and firefighters, so apparently when Officer Fred walked in, his 20(+) questions started flying.

“This gentleman took the time to show Ian his badge and everything else about his uniform. He was patient and talked to my son about all sorts of things. Ian starts school on Tuesday in the Lakeshore district and when my mom went to pay for his hair cut she was told Officer Fred paid for it.

“I cried. A lot. Kindness matters and is still prevalent in our community. Thank you Officer Fred. You have no idea how much I needed to see some good in this world. Congrats on being one of Dunkirk’s finest. Love, Ian and his family.”

What a wonderful gesture!

SUPPLING SCHOOLS – National Grid and The Teacher’s Desk teamed up to provide school supplies to the Dunkirk City School District. Purina employees donated a variety of supplies to Fredonia Elementary School. Gifts like this help both teachers and their students out tremendously.

WORST

FATAL CRASH – On Saturday night, a 22-year-old’s life was cut short. Charles Clutter of Stockton was killed after his vehicle was hit by a vehicle driven by Jude M. Gagliano of Lakewood. It is alleged that Gagliano was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Clutter was a Cassadaga Valley alumnus and a father of a young son, Caleb. Now that boy will grow up not knowing his biological father. Accidents can happen. But drinking and driving, that’s not simply an accident. It’s something that can be avoided. There’s never a reason to drink and drive. You’re not only putting your own life on the line, you’re putting other people’s lives on the line as well, and affecting entire families, including children like Caleb.

highs and lows Some of the best, worst of the week

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

BEST

STATE FAIR – Chautauqua County 4-Hers work hard all year long to show their prized projects or animals at the county fair. Some of those who do well get the opportunity to show at the state fair. Montana Pope, Gracie Morrison, Taylor Clark and Mikayla Reynolds, who are part of the local 4-H horse program, placed first in the State Fair 4-H Quad Team. There are many other local students who have won as well. If you get the chance to visit the state fair, be sure to keep an open eye for Chautauqua County participants.

NEW ERA – The New Era plant in Derby is getting a bit busier. That’s because the local plant was able to land a contract with the National Football League to make hats starting immediately. This contract will help keep the 250 employees at the Derby plant busy year-round and ultimately help the Western New York economy.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Friday night kicked off a weekly fall tradition – high school football. Good luck to all of the players this year. We recognize that there are fewer teams – Dunkirk, Chautauqua Lake and Lake Shore are the only local schools that aren’t teaming up with another district. At the same time, we’re encouraged to see local schools willing to partner in order to have football for students who want to participate.

WORST

SPEEDERS – In Westfield, residents near Grove Street, which winds through the village near Westfield Academy and Central School, said traffic there won’t slow down. Village officials are trying to figure out what to do. With school starting next week, drivers need to ease up on the gas pedal. There will be children out and about, waiting to get on a bus. Don’t put a child’s life in danger because you left your house 10 minutes too late.