Actions Speak Louder Than Words In Failed Bids For Anew Center, Methadone Clinic

There is no argument that Chautauqua County needs a new home for the Salvation Army’s Anew Center or a methadone clinic that will help those suffering from drug addiction achieve sobriety.

Why is it so difficult, then, to find a home for these services?

Within the span of two days last week, the Ellery Town Board voted against a change to the town zoning law that would have allowed the Anew Center to move into a vacant building in the town while the Acacia Network, the organization proposing a methadone clinic in downtown Dunkirk, agreed to find a new site for the clinic because of concerns about the clinic’s proximity to the Northern Chautauqua Catholic School. While we disagree with the town’s action, we can’t argue with the reasoning of Mark Schlemmer, the Ellery Town Board member who cast the deciding vote against the zoning law change; Schlemmer acknowledged the need for a new home for the Anew Center but was doing the bidding of his constituents. Likewise, state officials and Dunkirk officials who pressured the Acacia Network to move the methadone clinic were doing so after constituents loudly voiced their concerns with the clinic’s location.

Their actions are understandable, but don’t change the fact that the Salvation Army’s Anew Center still needs a new home and that Chautauqua County still doesn’t have a site for a methadone clinic to help drug addicts. Chautauqua County residents say all the right things about helping victims of drug addiction and domestic violence. Our actions say something different.

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