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Canceled picnic brings angst for residents

OBSERVER Staff Report

A missed Fourth of July picnic remains a sore subject for residents of the Dunkirk Housing Authority. At the meeting earlier this month, a resident again broached the topic with the board of directors.

“We were promised a picnic for the (July 4) holiday and we never got it,” said Anna Houser, resident of the Steger High Rise Apartments. “A lot of people are really upset about it. A lot people here don’t have anyplace to go.”

Donna Brisky, chairwoman of the Dunkirk Housing Authority, said the board does not handle the gatherings and noted the hiring of Elizabeth Cardona as new executive director as the person to reach out to regarding happenings at the Authority.

An annual event, the Fourth of July picnic got lost in major changes at the Authority. The board announced the termination of its executive director earlier that month and missing funds were attributed to the event not taking place.

An authority employee took $550 but paid it back after a report was filed with the Dunkirk Police Department. According to Richard Morrisroe, Dunkirk Housing Authority attorney, that employee has since left the agency.

Richard Goodman, Dunkirk Housing Authority board member, did indicate he would help with a picnic for the residents in the future.

“I think picnics are great,” he said. “If Ms. Cardona says it’s OK, I’ll be a volunteer to organize a picnic.”

Cardona, who officially took over the post on Tuesday, worked for 20 years at Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. as emergency services coordinator, manager of case management services and agency educator in providing Section 8 orientations. She noted in her resume that she has worked in many grant programs addressing the concerns of low-income residents, including the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

She is bilingual in Spanish and English and attended Medical Spanish Interpreter class at Jamestown Community College.

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