Circling back on the issues

While mostly confined to home due to the pandemic I have had time to do a lot of thinking which my wife thinks is dangerous.

After reading about the drainage problem at the new Routes 20 and 60 roundabout several things came to mind. First there is the universally held law of nature that water runs downhill and can only go uphill if a pump or act of god is involved. So, I would have thought that engineers working for New York state would know and account for the fact that water flows downhill.

To understand this, I imagined myself standing in the middle of the roundabout. I notice that McDonald’s appears slightly downhill from me. Turning to face north down Route 60, I note that the road slopes gently downhill. Turning toward the Country Fair complex, I see that it is approximately at my level but just to its north there is a sharp drop to the Yokoso Japanese Steakhouse. Looking to the east-northeast up Route 20 I see that the road is at my level as is Wendy’s. Obviously not much water would flow into the roundabout from the north and northeast.

Then I turn west-southwest and see that the Rite Aid store is above me with a parking lot ready to catch a lot of water in a rain storm and ready to send hundreds if not thousands of gallons sluicing down access roads into the roundabout.

Behind Rite Aid the land slopes up to the Fredonia Central campus a complex of buildings and athletic fields with the potential to collect millions of gallons of water in a rain storm sending much of that water cascading down to the pond forming in the roundabout.

I’m not a civil or hydrological engineer but like most of us I lived near water and streams and seen what water can do If we ignore or dismiss its power. This makes me wonder why people trained in drainage and such couldn’t design and install an adequate drainage system the first time around.

However, I was impressed by the thoroughness of the directions for navigating a roundabout on the Department of Transportation’s website. I’ll bet they are probably almost as complicated as a pilot’s instructions for making an instrument approach to Kennedy International. My son and daughter-in-law live in Hamburg so I’ve passed through the roundabout where South Park becomes Buffalo Street on numerous occasions. Even during periods of moderate traffic navigating that roundabout is more like being in one of those free for all air battles over London in World War II, best described as “everyman for himself.”

Next. While I don’t live in Dunkirk and have no children in school anywhere, I was pleased to note that the Dunkirk schools took the time to survey parents on their feelings about the issue rather than simply imposing a solution from on high.

In my untutored opinion, although I do have experience as a child, I think that our children should be back in school next month. I remember that many years ago my school was closed for eight days because of a major snow storm and by the time we went back I was ready to go back and so was my mother.

Kids want to be around kids. That is just the way it is. In a previous column I mentioned that my 4-year-old Grandson told his parents that he was “bored” at home and wanted to go back to daycare even though both parents were working from home. I also mentioned that he went back two days a week with the result being a happier four-year-old. Well he is now going three days a week with the result being an even happier four-year-old.

Studies have found that children and adolescents are not likely to contract COVID-19 and that even if they do, they are unlikely to pass it on to other children or adults. So, I vote that using sensible precautions we get our children back in school. We can no longer short change them on their education. If teachers and their unions really believe “it’s all about the kids” they’ll be back at work.

Finally, here’s my opinion on mail-in voting. Don’t do it this November, in fact don’t ever do it. Already from around the country and from our own state we have heard stories of confusion, fraud, lost ballots and inordinate delays in determining results when mail in voting is used.

Imagine the Presidential election being decided a day before Inauguration Day. Don’t laugh it could happen. In addition, it will cost plenty to mail and then process the ballots but money has never been a concern for Democrats has it. We have a long history of voting either in person or by absentee ballot to which has been added early voting and that’s enough. If you can’t make use one of those methods to vote then I suspect you really aren’t interested in voting.

For now, whether you agree or not, those are my thoughts.

Thomas Kirkpatrick Sr. is a Silver Creek resident.


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