×

Newsmakers of the Month

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 ...

Setbacks and steps forward for area

Closings, a roundabout and a water district highlighted our 2018 monthly Newsmaker of the Month features. Here’s a look back — with some commentary — on each of the selections. ¯ JANUARY — After the dismissal of a popular principal, Fredonia district residents pleaded with the board ...

Plugging the leaks of change

New initiatives, no matter how celebrated and successful, often come with growing pains. Look no further than the North County Water District. Now online and providing water to areas west of the city of Dunkirk, there is an issue with billing that ultimately comes down to communication. Town ...

Where does that money go?

Within the last year, three communities in our region have been the recipient of a combined $7.5 million. The city of Dunkirk and the village of Gowanda won the smart growth grants from New York state last October while just two weeks ago, the village of Fredonia received the award. All three ...

Trustees allow misinformation to flow

Without the assistance of the village of Fredonia, neighboring municipal entities have become part of a historic and desperately needed cog to the region’s economy: a North County Water District. It is a shining example of cooperation that is being hailed by New York state officials, ...

Newsmaker of the month: Abusing executive sessions

Fredonia’s Maureen Blackburn and Michelene Comerford are two residents who have one thing in common: they do not appreciate — or accept — executive sessions. Both, at school and village meetings, have spoken out about the happenings. Blackburn has been more vocal recently, especially ...

News flash: government is ‘hostile’

Thursday’s phrase of the day in Fredonia was “hostile work environment.” That is how outgoing village administrator Richard St. George, at right, characterized the setting in the offices at Church and Temple streets. To understand how true that statement is, village residents need to ...

Region appears to have lost fight for NRG

Nearly 2 1/2 years ago, Oswego County was in the same boat as northern Chautauqua County. Its James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant was in a fight for its life. Instead of keeping its fingers crossed, officials there went on the offensive with ad campaigns aimed at pressuring the state ...

Building some trust for project

Building projects for area schools almost always are a waste of taxpayer dollars. Just how much expansion do we need at small schools such as Forestville, Brocton and Westfield where student enrollment has plummeted? School boards and administrators often tout the state aid formula, which can ...

Sounding off on public hearings

On the evening of April 12, a number of area residents gathered at the Fredonia Opera House in the hopes of getting their message across to the state Department of Transportation. Simply speaking, there were many more in the audience opposed to the proposed roundabout at Routes 60 and 20 than ...

No empty promises, just lots

Give an inch, they want a mile. For years, the Revere Inn was an eyesore in Silver Creek. In December, thanks to the Chautauqua County Land Bank, the building was demolished. But village officials still were not happy. In February, village Mayor Jeffrey Hornburg voiced his displeasure on the ...

Uneasy ride for retail in area

There has been quite a shake-up in the last eight months along a bustling Vineyard and Millard Fillmore Drive. It all started last spring with the announcement that JCPenney would be leaving the D&F Plaza in July. All those familiar with the store knew it was turning a profit, but ...

Unpopular choices often bring silence

Just like with any other government meeting, if a controversial issue is not at the forefront a Board of Education meeting is likely to seem inconsequential. Sure, there are bills, appointments and tenures to be approved. But controversy usually comes when it involves a personnel ...