Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to New York state, and particularly state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, for supporting the Jamestown Audubon Society’s efforts to eliminate the water chestnut from the Audubon’s Big and Spatterdock ponds. Young recently visited the Audubon Society to see the society’s progress and present a $30,000 check to help combat the water chestnut. The water chestnut first became known to the Audubon in 2006. Staff began to hand pull the plant from the ponds with help from volunteers, but it was unsuccessful in eliminating or reducing the infestation on the Big Pond. Lundin said Spatterdock is 100 percent clear as staff will check the pond periodically throughout the summer while Chase Enterprises, based out of Oswego, is spraying Rodeo, a liquid herbicide, to treat about 21 acres of Big Pond that’s 95-100 percent infested with water chestnut. Eliminating the water chestnut from Chautauqua County’s watershed is a project of the utmost importance and a good use of state money.

Thumbs up to approval of a state environmental quality review report on the proposed sewer extension from the Goose Creek pump station along Route 394 to the Sherman Bay pumping station. The county and its sewer districts have been looking at the potential expansion of sewer services from Goose Creek to Prendergast Point and Midway State Park to Hartfield. Phase one of the project involves the installation of a force main, which would extend southeast from the existing Goose Creek pumping station along Route 394 to the existing Sherman Bay station. The county is also looking to modify the Goose Creek pumping station by adding new pumps to convey flows to the Sherman Bay pumping station. Approving the SEQR is a requirement for the type of large grants the county will need to pay for the projects and a sign that a much-needed project is on target for its anticipated construction start in 2018.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the First Congregational Church of Jamestown (the United Church of Christ), 70 McKinley Ave., which will celebrate its 200th anniversary on Sunday. The 10:45 a.m. service will be followed by a reception and a display of items from the history of the church. First Congregational was organized on June 16, 1816, by the Rev. John Spencer, a traveling missionary in the Holland Land purchase. The church first opened at the corner of Fifth and Main streets, the present location of the Tew Mansion, before moving in 1869 into a Gothic edifice designed by architect Aaron Hall at 317 E. Third St. The building, which now serves as a theater, was home to the church until August 2015 when the church relocated to the corner of McKinley and Forest Avenues, Jamestown. James Prendergast, founder of Jamestown, contributed the first building, land for the burial ground and financial support to the fledgling church. Early members of the church included the Hon. Elial Todd Foote, the Hon. Abner Hazeltine and industrialist William Broadhead. Church member Julie B. Hewitt has authored a history of the church in honor of the 200th anniversary. The book will be available for purchase at the reception, or copies can be ordered by calling 665-4777.

Thumbs up to the Southwestern Central School board for listening to the concerns of parents and athletes this week. Board members appointed Lauren Caldwell as the new girls swimming coach, replacing the popular and successful Glen Shoup. Caldwell, as a district teacher, has a contractual claim to the position over Shoup, who is not a teacher but had served as head coach for the past four years. Several parents spoke on behalf of Shoup, and board members decided to split the assistant girls swim coach position between the current assistant, Adrienne Barmore, and Shoup. “I believe it is a win-win for everyone including the kids. Instead of two coaches, we’ll have three,” said James Butler, board president. The board could easily have thanked Shoup for his time. Instead, they showed the students involved that speaking up can pay dividends.

Thumbs up to Connor Grey, a Frewsburg native drafted in the 20th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Grey helped Frewsburg reach three state final fours during his high school career before excelling during his four years of NCAA Division 1 baseball at St. Bonaventure University. Grey is now a member of the Missoula Osprey of the Advanced Pioneer League. Reaching such levels of success in athletics doesn’t simply happen – it is the product of talent, good instruction at a young age and determination to attain a goal few athletes reach. Congratulations to Grey, his family and his coaches. They should all be proud.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to Frewsburg as it takes its yearly turn in the community spotlight. The 92nd annual Frewsburg Gala Days will be held Wednesday through Saturday throughout Frewsburg to raise money for its resident fire company. The event will kick off at 6 p.m. June 15-17 and 3 p.m. on June 18 and includes rides, games, food, live music and a parade and fireworks display on June 18. Most of the activities and attractions will be held along a portion of Main Street and Hazzard Street, where the Station Two grounds are located. Frewsburg Gala Days is a wonderful event that raises money for an important cause. It’s well worth taking a few minutes’ trip to Frewsburg take part in the festivities.

Thumbs down to a brazen and heartless arson fire in Fredonia that destroyed a playground earlier this week someone set fire to the playground equipment in lower Russel Joy Park, destroying equipment installed in 2012 and causing $36,000 worth of damage. “This is something that the kids use every day in the summer, all day long. The thing that somebody actually went there with the intent to do it, I’m mortified and it’s extremely upsetting,” said Fredonia Mayor Athanasia Landis. Fredonia police are looking for any information to try to find whoever is responsible for the arson. We hope they are able to solve this case quickly – and whoever is responsible should not receive a simple slap on the wrist.

Thumbs up to Johnny’s Lunch, which will celebrate its 80th anniversary on Tuesday. To celebrate eight decades in business, the restaurant will open a half an hour earlier at 10:30 a.m. The Fairmount Avenue restaurant has a devoted throng of customers, and to thank them for their support, Gust and Dianne Calamunci are offering hot dogs, French fries and 16-ounce Pepsi products for 80 cents each throughout the day Tuesday. It takes a lot of hard work, long hours and determination to create a local institution from scratch. Congratulations on 80 wonderful years in business to the Colera and Calamunci family. We hope you enjoy Tuesday’s landmark anniversary as much as your customers surely will.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the more than 200 area musicians, and the parents, music teachers and guest conductors who freely give of their time, who combine to make the Chautauqua County Music Teachers Association’s annual Spring All-County Concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Chautauqua Institution’s Amphitheater a reality. The annual concert features the county’s best student musicians from the 20 school districts located in Chautauqua County, in any one of several music ensembles. Featured are the Elementary, Junior and Senior All-County Choruses, and the Junior and Senior All-County Bands. Grants from the Fund for the Region and the Betty Lenna Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation assist in making the festival possible by paying for multiple published scores of music for the students to study and perform. Tickets will be available tonight at the amphitheater gate 30 minutes prior to the concert. Adult tickets are $5 cash; student and senior tickets are $3. Parking in the institution’s main lot will be free. The concert is worth a listen for those with an interest.

Thumbs down to a situation in which all involved were apparently in the wrong. Jonathan Negron-Rosario, 28, of Jamestown was charged Wednesday after allegedly firing two gunshots from a handgun during an altercation near 811 Prendergast Ave. before fleeing and being found by Jamestown police on Sixth Street. Police reported finding a loaded .357 revolver that was later found to be stolen from Camden, N.J., in 1993. It isn’t as if the second person involved in this incident was an angel – police report the incident began when the unnamed individual confronted Negron-Rosario with a baseball bat. It is only blind luck no one was seriously injured, but the incident makes us wonder how our society has slipped so far that such behavior is accepted as normal, every day behavior.

Thumbs up to all those who participated in the Jamestown Audubon Society’s most recent water chestnut pull – and to all those who plan to participate in subsequent pulls this year. Ruth Lundin, Audubon president, recently notified The Post-Journal in a news release that the water chestnut hasn’t yet gone away, so Audubon officials are starting their pull earlier this year. “We simply must control this infestation to keep it from spreading to other lakes and waterways in the region, including Conewango Creek and Chautauqua Lake,” Lundin said. She’s absolutely right. Anyone who cares about the area watershed should join Lundin, Brandon McElrath, a Bemus Point resident and recent graduate of Champlain College with a degree in Environmental Policy, and the rest of the hardy volunteers pulling water chestnuts out of the Audubon Nature Center’s series of ponds. To volunteer or for more information, call 569-2345 during business hours, email waterchestnut@jamestownauduon.org or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org and click on “Water Chestnut.”