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Publisher’s notebook

Burns’ leadership shapes ‘fantastic’ force

Ann McCarron Burns was in unchartered territory when she was hired to oversee Public Safety at the State University of New York at Fredonia. In accepting the position, which was offered by then college Vice President Robert Coon, she became the first female chief in the SUNY system. “It was ...

Deadly masterminds put us on defensive

Fourteen-year-old Christian Helms was a powder keg ready to wreak terror in Socastee, S.C., in September 2010. He had an account on Twitter, which was still in its early years, that indicated a disturbing timeline. Paper journal entries in a diary were even more horrifying. Helms, who was ...

‘Big Daddy Duck’ still reaching new heights

LAKEWOOD — Matthew Terrill addressed more than 200 outdoor enthusiasts in attendance at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club on Monday evening to share his appreciation and admiration for someone he considers as his grandfather. The timing could not have been more perfect. James E. Farrell, a ...

Many got us hooked on idea for outdoors, fishing show

Former Harbor Commission chair Jim Nichols provided a gentle, yet forceful nudge when it came to making the first Lake Erie Outdoor & Fishing Show happen last spring. It began on a June afternoon in 2017 while I was in the OBSERVER offices. “You’re coming to the next Harbor Commission ...

Belated thanks boosts veterans’ morale

Vietnam veteran John Miga remembers coming home to what appeared to be an ungrateful United States after serving his country. Miga, a Dunkirk resident who currently serves as the Eighth District Commander of the American Legion, reflected on those moments from the 1970s during Wednesday’s ...

With company’s exit there’s a chance to reinvent our shores

Dunkirk’s waterfront, like so many other rust-belt cities, is a victim of its past industrial era. During the city’s heyday, waters were treated as an asset for transportation of raw materials and products. But when those same manufacturing plants and the steel mills were running full ...

Government has its hands in public access

Vicki Westling was only being polite. At the Feb. 28 Dunkirk Board of Education meeting, the city employee — and assistant to Mayor Wilfred Rosas — asked if the public access channel could televise the district’s scheduled public gatherings. Key word: “public.” City school board ...

Numerous positions, far too many visions

How many elected positions does it take to run Chautauqua County every year? Far too many. For the coming November elections — in the county, cities, towns and villages — around 200 seats are up for grabs. Those posts include legislators, treasurers, trustees, clerks, judges, supervisors ...

Albany’s ‘physical toll’ is one long road

Almost every Monday morning started with a similar routine for William Parment when he represented Chautauqua County for 28 years in the state Assembly. He would wake up early, leave his North Harmony home at 6 and begin his 386-mile, six-hour journey on Interstate 86 to Albany. “It was the ...

There’s lots to lose in separating state

Call it a potential self-destruction by separation. Once again, there is a call by an elected official in upstate to look at the possibility of splitting New York. Within the last month, an Albany-area Republican has asked Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to study the idea. “The state of New ...

Protests, petition have look of afterthought

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas had turned the page almost weeks after the first announcement came from the Brooks-TLC Hospital System to relocate the longtime health-care facility from the city to the town of Pomfret. “I want the residents to know the city and my administration did everything ...

Paving the way for visits to our waters

What is the best way for motorists or tourists to arrive at Dunkirk’s waterfront? That question has been a focal point by leaders and consultants in the effort to build on the city’s reputation of being a summer destination. Planners in recent years have held meetings and group sessions ...

Building the case for a new Brooks

Nov. 10, 2017, was a day of sadness and excitement in Buffalo. Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which had been located on Bryant Street for decades, was moving to a new state-of-the-art facility in the Queen City’s medical corridor on Ellicott Street. More than a year later, not many of ...

Achieving mayors have their critics

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas kicked off the 2019 campaign season last week in his State of the City address. Toward the end, Rosas left no question on his intentions to seek another term. “My administration and I have been working very, very hard for our city residents and our city ...

Cuomo’s evolutionary hue shift to true blue

Following his election win in November 2010, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo went to work and surprisingly mirrored a fiscal conservative. He understood the uneasy financial plight of the Empire State — and tightened the belt when it came to spending. Consider an early contract he negotiated ...

No comedy in errors for city resolution

For starters, let’s place the blame evenly when it comes to how Dunkirk Common Council and the county Board of Elections have handled a botched resolution on a referendum to increase terms of office in the city from two years to four. That guy on the left — yours truly — watched as the ...

Making one more trip for Welcome Center

Heading westbound on Interstate 90 and exiting New York state, it is not long until travelers are greeted by a Welcome Center. It highlights what the commonwealth of Pennsylvania has to offer, specifically along Lake Erie’s grape country. Travelers coming from the east, entering Chautauqua ...

In Shakespeare and life, Mac a class act

On a summer day back in 2008, I became reacquainted with Mac Nelson, English professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia. We both arrived at the Shorewood Country Club parking lot in anticipation of a Rotary Club meeting where he was going to speak about his book ...

St. Gianna’s mission is labor of love

Great gifts do not come only at Christmastime. Many are delivered daily, especially at the Brooks Memorial Hospital maternity unit in Dunkirk in the form of newborn babies. Often, those bundles of joy arrive to thrilled parents and family members. But sometimes, life gets in the way for those ...

We’re still not at ease with backup plan

It was supposed to be New York state’s greatest Christmas gift to Dunkirk and northern Chautauqua County. But five years later, it is — quite possibly — the city’s largest piece of coal in its stocking. How ironic. For decades, our region relied on that coal-fired power plant for ...