Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the Lake Erie New York Chapter 4 of the Blue Star Mothers and the organization’s annual Christmas care packages. Donation boxes had previously been placed in dozens of stores and businesses across the county. Today, volunteers are meeting at Fluvanna Community Church to begin putting together the care packages that will be sent to troops serving overseas. Kudos to everyone who dropped items in the donation boxes, who are supporting the effort with donations to help pay for the estimated $20,000 cost to ship the packages to troops overseas and to the volunteers who have spent days sorting the donations to prepare them for the items to be packaged today. The care package effort is a huge effort for the Blue Star Mothers, but it is well worth it for the soldiers who will receive a little bit of home for the holidays. We heard Friday the drive is falling short, so anyone with last-minute donations can bring them from 8 to 10 a.m. today to Fluvanna Community Church.

Thumbs down to what could be a useless grant. Earlier this week, the state awarded Jamestown $567,492 as part of a $20 million statewide program to lead service lines in residential drinking water. While Jamestown has issues with its water infrastructure, lead isn’t one of them. Most of those lines were changed decades ago, according to a 2016 Post-Journal story. The BPU’s water lines are made of cast iron and ductile iron, which is iron lined with a mortar coating to protect the metal from corrosion, Saar said. The lines are mostly copper and galvanized or wrought-iron service lines that supply water to BPU customers. In past years, lead water main joints were used. Today, however, pipes are sealed using rubber fittings at each joint. As lead joints are uncovered through any excavation, lead joints are replaced with new rubber fittings. It is difficult to thumb your nose at any state grant, especially for a city that has as many needs as Jamestown. But, it doesn’t appear this particular grant is particularly necessary in Jamestown.

Thumbs up to signs of interest in the former Vikings Temple building on Washington Street in Jamestown. The building has been vacant for several years, and giving it a new life is another important step in creating activity downtown. Martin Schwab, the former building owner, and his father, James, are planning to turn the building into a beer venue The Schwabs are looking for $1 million — roughly half of the estimated $2.5 million project — in state RestoreNY funding with convention space on the second and third floors. Like the Northwest Ice Arena before it, the National Comedy Center is spurring interest in long-vacant buildings in Jamestown.