New Fredonia trustees resolve photo dispute

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Fredonia’s Board of Trustees poses for a photo outside Village Hall on Saturday. From left are Nicole Siracuse, David Bird, Michelle Twichell, Jon Espersen and James Lynden.

It’s a new year and a new Fredonia Board of Trustees … but a terrible old issue, COVID-19, was the root of a swiftly resolved dispute at the group’s swearing-in on Saturday.

New Trustees Dave Bird, Jon Espersen, Nicole Siracuse and Michelle Twichell lined up in the lobby of the Fredonia Opera House after taking their oaths, joined by holdover Trustee James Lynden and Mayor Douglas Essek. All were wearing masks, as an anti-COVID measure resumed in December after the rise of the omicron variant.

After several photos were snapped, Bird asked if they could take an unmasked photo, “for posterity,” as he put it. Siracuse, who appeared to be wearing a double mask, objected to that.

However, the board compromised by heading outside to the steps of Village Hall, for an unmasked, open-air photo opportunity.

Earlier, after taking their oaths, each new board member made brief remarks.

Bird thanked his voters and said, “Hopefully, I can stand up to the level of commitment that you wanted me to.” He added that he hoped “2021 is well past us.”

Twichell said she looked forward to being part of progress in the village.

“We’re ready to go and we’ll make positive changes to the village,” Espersen said. Siracuse spoke of “a long road ahead” — but one where, like Twichell, she sees “lots of progress.”

Lynden also spoke. “We’re going to have a lot of challenges before us,” he said. “Hopefully, we will work together to meet those challenges.”

The board’s first regular meeting, in its usual second-floor Village Hall boardroom, will begin today at 6:30 p.m. with a workshop.

The Dunkirk Common Council also took oaths of office Saturday, in a ceremony that began at noon, the same time Fredonia’s did.

New council members David Damico and Natalie Luczkowiak join holdovers Martin Bamonto, Nancy Nichols and James Stoyle. They are set to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall.


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