Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to yet another decrease in New York state’s youth smoking rate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently said the youth smoking rate is 4.3 percent, down from 27.1 percent in 2000. That is certainly noteworthy progress, though it is tempered somewhat by knowledge the use of e-cigarettes has nearly doubled to 20.6 percent in the past two years. While more research is needed into the exact health effects of e-cigarettes, the increasing use of e-cigarettes among youth is troubling. But, the continued progress in weaning youth from tobacco products is evidence that the behaviors can be taught if the state makes enough resources available.

Thumbs down to a sobering statistic — the Jamestown Police Department responds to a domestic incident every 5.4 hours in the city while a domestic violence arrest is made every 13.2 hours. Project Crossroads has seen domestic violence calls increase from 1,256 in 2013 to 1,630 in 2016. John Rader, a Jamestown police officer who coordinates with Project Crossroads, said the increase is largely caused by more people reporting domestic violence, a sign more people — particularly the young — are better educated about domestic violence. Until Jamestown sees a notable increase in the number of family-sustaining jobs while decreasing the family-splitting effects of drugs, alcohol and mental health issues, calls to Project Crossroads will only continue to increase.

Thumbs up to the Jamestown Public Schools District for proposing a budget with no tax levy increase and no further staffing increase. Of course, that is possible due in part to increased state aid. It is also due to the board and previous superintendents Deke Kathman and Tim Mains for making difficult decisions to cut staff, end programs and close buildings. This budget will be a good stopgap spending plan while the district finds its new superintendent.