County legislature salutes local heroes, recent retiree

Four local heroes were honored during this week’s Chautauqua County Legislature meeting.

County Executive PJ Wendel issued four separate Certificates of Recognition to Steve Smouse, Mia Goot, Joe Pollaro and Arden Johnson.

Smouse is the first assistant chief of the Lakewood Fire Department. On March 11, there was a structure fire at 2481 and 2477 Keller Road in Busti. One home was destroyed and another was severely damaged. Seventy-eight individuals responded to the call, which impacted eight structures total. Smouth coordinated the response.

“This is an example of strong work ethic, leadership, and community dedication,” Wendel said.

Goot was honored for rescuing a Portland man from the Barcelona Harbor on March 29. “Heroics acts like this inspire kindness and solidarity across Chautauqua County. Her heroic actions are appreciated not only by the residents, myself but also the individual, whose life she saved,” Wendel said.

Pollaro is an employee of the city of Jamestown. While driving a dump truck past the corner of Washington and West Seventh streets March 23, he saw flames shooting from the residence. He got out of the truck and helped two individuals escape the burning building by catching them as they jumped from the second story.

“I must say, to stand and to catch two individuals jumping from a window is no small feat. … Thank you for your heroics,” the county executive said.

Johnson this month celebrated his 90th birthday. He is the supervisor for the town of Ellery and believed to be the oldest and longest tenured acting town supervisor in the state. “His service to Chautauqua County and the town of Ellery is greatly appreciated. May good health and companionship surround him for many years to come,” Wendel said.

The legislature also issued a commendation to Patricia Brinkman, who retired from the position of director of Mental Hygiene Services. She had been the director since July 2000.

After the commendation was read, Brinkman thanked the county executive and the legislature for everything.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to have been able to serve the people of Chautauqua County for over 20 years. While the work has been challenging, it’s been exceptionally rewarding. I’ve been most appreciative of the support that I’ve received over the years from all of you and from the team within the county. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with county staff and community agency partners to make a difference in lives of people in the community,” she said.

In other business:

¯ a local law amending the Chautauqua County Code of Ethics was adopted;

¯ Diane Hannum was appointed to the legislature’s Ethics Board;

¯ the legislature accepted two $13,000 grants to defray operating costs at the Chautauqua County Airport in Dunkirk and Jamestown;

¯ the legislature accepted a $7,000 grant to purchase two mobile trail counters. The counters will be used on the Overland trails to track how many residents use them. The funding came from the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo;

¯ the legislature OK’d a proposal from the county Clerk’s Office to digitize its remaining microfilm that the public uses. The money will come from the department’s own budget; and

¯ county lawmakers heard from two residents who expressed their opposition to having students wear masks at school. Anther resident spoke up and expressed his opposition to the vaccine.


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