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The OBSERVER’s View

FREDONIA Making noise can have benefits

Voices of the people still matter when it comes to local government. Within days after unveiling a proposed Fredonia budget that included a 17% property tax increase, Mayor Doug Essek had a change of heart after hearing plenty of criticism through social media and around town. He sent ...

COVID-19 City rabies clinic a success story

We have all learned to do some things in new ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these practices have been difficult while others are full of success. Dunkirk’s drive-through rabies clinics is one of these items that has worked very well. Within the last month, the latest clinic ...

SCHOOLS: What to do with windfall?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That old axiom must be ringing in the ears of local school board members and district superintendents as they finish their 2021-22 budget proposals and look ahead to future years. New York is promising a lot with its recently passed ...

IMMIGRATION Proposal is only a starting point

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has suggested a 90-day moratorium on immigration to give Congress time to make the issue a priority. He is right to try to inject a sense of urgency in tackling the issue. Most Americans cannot fathom living in a place where it seems preferable to live in ...

Hospital pitches in for protection

There is no shortage of personal protective equipment, but the need remains great for a number of providers. That was more than evidenced at Westfield Memorial Hospital. On Tuesday evening, the facility helped area first response departments take in some of that important gear. “Today ...

It’s time to talk about Gowanda Correctional Facility’s future

There is much about the closure of the Gowanda Correctional Facility that does not make sense. That shouldn’t be surprising seeing New York state government is involved. Now that the last prisoners are out of the facility, though, now is the time to stop thinking about what New York state ...

Vaccinations Shot availability was not the issue last week

For the first few months they were available, COVID-19 vaccinations were the hottest ticket in Chautauqua County. Clinics would be announced and fill up within minutes. Is that trend reversing? A clinic at Jamestown Community College announced late March 29 did not fill up quickly. In ...

New Ambulance EMS crews could become quite costly

A new county-owned ambulance in the north county will play an important role in backstopping volunteer fire departments in the region. Chautauqua County recently obtained a new ambulance by giving the village of Silver Creek $5,000 a year in Advance Life Support credits for six years to pay ...

Easter Familiar themes in an unfamiliar time

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you ...

COVID RELIEF Delaying mail not acceptable plan

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has an interesting plan for fixing the struggling U.S. Postal Service: lower expectations. In discussing an expected $160 billion loss for the agency over the next decade, DeJoy said he plans to slow mail delivery standards and cut hours at some post ...

Questionable actions by democratic legislators

What were Chautauqua County legislators thinking last week when they proposed appointing Loren Kent as the next Democratic election commissioner? We aren’t quibbling with Kent's qualifications, nor are we opposing the appointment of the Luz Torres, the Dunkirk resident chosen for the post ...

State must allow distancing changes

Friday’s decision by the Centers for Disease Control to change the federal guidance on in-school social distancing from 6 feet to 3 feet could be helpful to schools seeking to bring more students back into school buildings. We say that because the decision is only helpful if the New York ...

COUNTY Plenty to debate with vaccinations

It’s difficult to say that either Terry Niebel or Sheriff Jim Quattrone were wrong earlier this month when discussing COVID-19 vaccination of 110 Chautauqua County Jail inmates. Niebel, a legislator representing the Sheridan area, would have preferred to see those 110 doses go to senior ...

GOWANDA Mayor’s donation shows commitment

There is a hardly a negative word anyone will say about Gowanda village Mayor David Smith. By all accounts, he loves the community he serves while working hard to do what is in the best interest of his constituents. Last week, however, he outdid himself. After presenting a State of the ...

Newsmaker of the month: Signs of division are very evident

Discourse in America is not what it used to be. Today, many are not as welcoming of other points of view. Instead, they choose to stay in bubbles where what they believe becomes an echo chamber. In the last decade, lines have been drawn — in terms of party choice and where people get their ...

Fredonia: Trustees get thrown to fire

It appears to be a baptism by fire for relatively new Fredonia Trustees Heidi Powell and Scott Johnston. Their welcome to representation — through appointments by the Village Board — includes taking on a proposed budget that includes a more than 17% tax increase. For now, veteran Trustee ...

CAPITAL ISSUE How much voice does D.C. deserve?

Among the growing movements since President Joe Biden took office is the effort by some (read: Democrats) to grant statehood to the District of Columbia. The argument has some merits, most notably that the roughly 700,000 people who live in our nation’s capital are subject to paying federal ...

Virus creates other ‘tragic’ outcomes

It is one more symptom of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to residents being restricted — for more than a year — an unfortunate result has been the increasing rates of overdosing and deaths associated with it. Last week, Chautauqua County issued a news release indicating 54% hike in non-fatal ...

Power plant land has ‘challenges’

When it comes to the former NRG Energy Inc. property, it can be summed up in two words: it’s complicated. Last week, members of city economic development committee were presented with some insight into the mammoth property. While much is known concerning the environmental drawbacks ...

DISTRICT 23 Reed’s response quick, to the point

It would have been easy for Rep. Tom Reed to have asked for an investigation into his conduct nearly four years ago in a Minnesota bar. Reed did not do so, however, instead announcing Sunday that he will retire from elected politics when his term ends at the end of next year. While there can ...