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Newsmakers of the Month

Newsmaker of the month: No planning in area budgets

This has been the year from hell. Due to something not even on our radar in late 2019, our nation, state and communities have been compromised. Some may have expected some type of economic slowdown, but no one could have foreseen one of the most bizarre and volatile times of our life. As a ...

Newsmaker of the month: Lack of action with water tough to swallow

Users of the Fredonia water system must be celebrating. As of today, they have not had to boil water for one month. Talk about a reason to raise a glass. But problems remain — and there appears to be little urgency for a fix from its leaders. At the most recent Village Board meeting, ...

Newsmaker of the month: Quick actions cool COVID-19 outbreaks

It seemed as though a disaster was imminent. State University of New York institutions began reopening during the middle of August and those returning to campuses appeared to be a bit too carefree. At Oneonta, five students were immediately suspended Aug. 30 after a large gathering. There, the ...

Is new facility still wishful thinking?

From all indications in recent weeks, New York state funding for the building of a new Brooks-TLC Hospital facility in Fredonia is still on the table. That information comes from both state Health Department officials and those at Brooks-TLC. But it still seems almost impossible. Brooks-TLC ...

Hoping for handout while on spending spree

Marsha Beach, city fiscal affairs officer, did not mince words when addressing Dunkirk Common Council on July 7. Financially, she painted a bleak picture. There is a severe cash flow problem, she said, and the city could end up having to borrow money to make ends meet. Think about that. A $24 ...

Newsmaker of the month: Budget votes prove area backs Albany’s policies

Many residents in Chautauqua County still — to this day — are quick to blame Albany for burdensome mandates and high taxes. While there is some truth to that, there is an even greater fact to how we are our own worst enemies. Consider the school budget voting that took place this month. ...

Unfinished business for the schools

Never before have schools closed so suddenly in New York state. But on May 1, the tough decision was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Students, who had a final day in the building to pick up materials in mid March, could have never envisioned the long break that they were beginning. COVID-19 ...

Plans still on ice for summer fun

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas last week went somewhere many of us do not want to visit when it comes to the future. Are summer events going to be postponed? Adding to the dilemma of the coronavirus in recent weeks, seen especially with the pro sports league uncertainties, is the seasonal events ...

Events on 3/11 began a great interruption

Wednesday, March 11, 2020. For years to come, it will be the day the United States of America — and New York state in particular — began a screeching halt. We had all heard of the coronavirus, which was greatly affecting China, Italy and Europe. We just never expected to be in its ...

Officials already pushing panic button

In New York state, Medicaid — no matter how much local leaders bellyache about it — is partly a county issue. Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo cited the program during his annual budget presentation noting that all counties may have to pay more into this system very soon. This sent up red ...

Food for thought at Fredonia schools

A recent donation to pay off the debt of students who could not afford lunches at Fredonia Central School was met with gratitude and appreciation earlier this month by the community. In making the $2,000 donation, Pravin Patel’s giving spirit touched 140 students and families who had ...

Insiders add to party’s struggles

Similar to what is happening nationally, it appears the Chautauqua County Democrats are facing some internal and external problems. This is extremely evident following the Nov. 5 elections where some of their strongest candidates showed vulnerability. In fairness, despite fairly close numbers ...

Republicans raise your taxes again

It seemed as though the spirits of former Republican Legislators James Caflisch, Fred Croscut, Larry Barmore and Doug Richmond were abruptly awakened last week. The group of longtime lawmakers never met a high-spending plan or tax increase they wanted to fight against. Instead, they were more ...

Reach out — and have a plan

There has been plenty of public outcry in the last two weeks regarding the Fenner House. Many are upset with the decision by the State University of New York at Fredonia to call for a demolition of the structure. Unthinkable, opponents of the razing say, when noting the history of the ...

Shrug your shoulders if you serve

Richard Morrisroe, in his recent commentary defending the actions by the Dunkirk Housing Authority, made some excellent points most residents — especially voters — almost never consider before going to the polls during the elections. In defending the authority board members who have faced ...

Worrying about what we don’t know

Earlier this month, Dunkirk Common Council member Don Williams Jr. tossed a softball in asking the city police chief to comment on how safe it is to live in the city. David Ortolano’s response was what you would expect. “I believe that we have a very safe community,” the chief said ...

Cap wipes out need for vote

In New York state, since 2012, school districts and municipalities have had to adhere to a tax cap. If the taxing entities went over the cap, there needed to be legislation that was approved by the municipal government or the school districts needed to have voters give 60 % approval to spending ...

Change is not always pleasant

On March 29, 2012, faculty and staff cheered as the State University of New York at Fredonia officially announced Dr. Virginia Schaefer Horvath as its new president. It was a celebration of sorts as the university had its first female president in its history. “As you can see, the ...

Deficit denials skew reality

Scoffing at the idea of a deficit is a dangerous mindset — and it sends an inaccurate fiscal picture to a community whose support is relied upon. Within the last month, the OBSERVER covered shortfalls in two accounts: the Dunkirk Local Development Corp.’s 2017 festivals line and the Dunkirk ...

You’re paying for a new Brooks

When it comes to dropping millions of tax dollars into improving or building on to our schools, residents hardly ever give it a second thought. Go ahead, they almost always approve through a vote, it is free money. But funds to communities, whether it be from grants or the state, always come ...