Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and Jonathan Weston, owner of Panama Rocks Scenic Park, for this weekend’s Roger Tory Peterson’s Wild America and Nature Festival. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and include live music, opportunities to meet wild animals, speakers that include Lee Peterson, Roger Tory Peterson’s son, Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason of the State University at Fredonia, Jeff Musial, a nationally renowned animal expert and handler, Jennifer Ackerman, best-selling author of “The Genius Of Birds,” a local food cook-off and the opportunity to explore Panama Rocks, home to some of the most beautiful views one can find in Chautauqua County. Kudos to all those who have put in the hard work to bring this festival to life and show off Chautauqua County’s natural beauty.

Thumbs down to driving on the shoulder of the road at the intersection of Southwestern Drive and Hunt Road. Those driving to Lakewood, especially with the South Main Street bridge out of commission, likely have run into busy traffic at the intersection of Southwestern Drive and Hunt Road, which has seen additional traffic as more chain businesses open in Lakewood and West Ellicott. It’s a miracle there aren’t more accidents at the intersection, particularly with when drivers use the shoulder of the road to pass fellow motorists trying to make a turn across traffic. Vehicles coming up the hill by Sunset Hill Cemetery toward Southwestern Central School are nearly invisible to oncoming traffic if there are more than two vehicles waiting at the intersection — a dangerous situation. It may be time to investigate left turn arrows at the increasingly busy intersection.

Thumbs up to the Robert H. Jackson Center for its upcoming exhibit “A Model For Courage: The Life Of Charles E. Goodell” which opens Tuesday. Goodell was a five-term Republican U.S. Representative for the Jamestown area who was later appointed to the U.S. Senate. Goodell’s family, which includes his son, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, has donated their time and energy into this project. His second wife and widow Patricia Goldman Goodell donated video footage of Goodell’s momentous Oct. 25, 1970 “Lassie speech,” in which he proclaimed he would not drop out of the 1970 Senate race despite stiff competition from fellow anti-Vietnam War candidate Richard Ottinger and fellow Republican James Buckley, who would later win the election. The speech was retroactively titled the “Lassie speech” because the address preempted the famous television program. It has not been seen by the public since it aired. Charles Goodell left behind quite a legacy to follow — kudos to the Jackson Center for preserving it.

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