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Local/Region

Free tax program wrapping up season

While the IRS has extended the tax season until May 17 local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance providers will be closing their sites at the end of April. The VITA program provides free income tax preparation to most taxpayers earning less than $60,000 per year, through the generosity of local ...

COVID forces cancellation of Scandinavian Folk Festival

The 2021 Scandanavian Folk Festival has been canceled by organizers. The next festival is scheduled for July 2022. Continued COVID-19 restrictions for large group gatherings and required quarantine for international travelers have prompted the decision. Thirty-two guest performers from ...

Bach event canceled, Fredonia Opera House run moved

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center announced the impact of the continued COVID crisis on two annual events – the 1891 Run and the Bach & Beyond Baroque Music Festival. The 1891 Run, a 5K Walk/Run usually held in late April, has been rescheduled for July 18-31. The Bach ...

State updates guidance on graduation ceremonies

New York state has updated its guidance on graduation ceremonies for schools, colleges and universities. The update takes effect May 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, and includes indoor and outdoor graduation and commencement ceremonies. “We’re once again approaching the end of the academic ...

Longtime Ellery Supervisor still has passion for job

ELLERY — Ellery Town Supervisor Arden Johnson, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, is believed to be the oldest and longest tenured town supervisor in New York state. Johnson graduated from Brocton Central School in 1949 and has a past filled with dedication to public service and ...

Unattended fire likely cause of blaze that destroyed cabin

BROCTON — The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team has determined the cause of a fire that destroyed a cabin and heavily damaged a pickup truck Friday near Brocton. The blaze at 6026 Ellicott Road in the town of Portland was reported at 3:20 a.m. Everyone managed to get out of the ...

Enjoying the outdoors

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Stephanie Schroeder and her Great Dane Rosie enjoyed the warm weather last week at the dog park in Dunkirk. Cooler temperatures are expected throughout this week.

Dunkirk clarifies water issues with Fredonia

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas and city Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury are pleased with the inter-community collaboration to link Dunkirk and Fredonia water systems on Vineyard Drive at Main Street. However, the following is offered to correct some details. “In two recent ...

Chautauqua County recognizes week 9 COVID-19 heroes

MAYVILLE — Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel and the COVID-19 Response Team recently announced the ninth week of COVID-19 Hero nominations for April 5-9. “This week we continue recognizing individuals doing a wide variety of work to make a positive impact on our community,” said ...

Several departments called to fire in Portland

Photo by Dan Kohler Several departments were summoned to a fire that broke out early Friday south of the village of Brocton. Firefighters were notified of the blaze at 6026 Ellicott Road at 3:20 a.m. Upon arrival, fire officials reported a fully engulfed structure. Everyone managed to get out ...

Senators call for emergency dredging of Barcelona Harbor

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are calling on the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to direct available funding toward an emergency dredging of Barcelona Harbor in the town of Westfield. Citing recent storms that have washed sediment over the ...

Seneca Nation to receive over $1.7M

The Seneca Nation will receive $1,745,554 in American Rescue Plan funding from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department. Marcia L. Fudge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary, said Thursday $450 million in Indian Housing Block Grants is being distributed to ...

Gowanda gets update on capital project

GOWANDA — During his superintendent’s report at Gowanda’s Board of Education meeting last week, Dr. Robert Anderson gave an update on the ongoing capital building project. Though school was not in session due to the second spring break, the project continues. In the high and middle ...

USDA gathers data about farm labor

HARRISBURG — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will conduct its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey starting the second half of April. The survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 4,000 farmers and ranchers across the ...

UPMC long-term care residents mount antibody response to COVID vaccination

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Elderly residents of long-term care facilities mount a detectable antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination, according to a recently conducted survey of UPMC Senior Community residents. Because it’s not yet known how long the antibodies persist, the authors’ urged ...

County’s Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services to retire

MAYVILLE — Patricia Brinkman, county director of community mental hygiene services, is retiring. Brinkman has led the department since 2000. She leaves the department in a position where it is largely funded through state and federal grants. Brinkman has worked to champion mental health in ...

State approves funding for Westfield water system

The village of Westfield is slated to receive $2,360,794 in long-term interest free financing for the replacement of a water main, upgrades to an existing booster pump, and improvements to the water treatment plant, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday. The project was one of many approved ...

Oscar nominees featured in Screening Room

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center has launched its latest round of films that can be streamed online in the Opera House Screening Room, featuring the 2021 Oscar-nominated short films. The Opera House Screening Room provides movies and other digital programming online to its ...