Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the Cummins Inc. Jamestown Engine Plant for reaching a major milestone recently by manufacturing the two millionth engine in the plant’s history. The Jamestown Engine Plant employs 1,700 area residents and is one of the largest private employers in Chautauqua County. Jamestown, meanwhile, is a key part of Cummins Inc.’s overall engine production, making 14.7 percent of the engines Cummins produced company-wide in 2017. Thousands of area residents have played a part, both large and small, in manufacturing Cummins Inc. engines in Chautauqua County. Kudos to each and every one of them.

Thumbs down to the hiring of a consultant to bring County Executive George Borrello’s Economic Development Alliance to life. Borrello has said that, at times, there is no communication and no coordination between county municipalities when it comes to economic development. Borrello has identified 42 municipal, foundation and other community officials that should be part of the alliance. The alliance itself is a good idea — we just have a hard time believing the county needs to hire a consultant to bring people to the table. But, that is what the county is doing by hiring Camoin Associates to create a report/proposal on how to implement the Economic Development Alliance. The company will work for three months with a report to be completed by the end of the year. It’s hard to believe creating this group is really this hard.

Thumbs up to Isaiah Rashad II for restoring a historic statue in Lake View Cemetery to its former glory. Rashad recently sculpted and attached the right hand on a statue on the Dascum Allen plot at the cemetery. Trustees had wanted to fix the statue for 25 years but had previously been unable to find someone able to do the work. Enter Rashad, who has gone from the U.S. Army to police work and teaching at Erie Community College before finding his passion in old-school sculpting with a hammer and chisel. “I went from a life of complete sadness all the time to doing something beautiful,” Rashad said. “I’m an advocate for ‘do what you love.’ People listen to what matters.” Rashad’s work isn’t done in the Lake View Cemetery, however, as he will next work on the James Prendergast monument that is missing a pillar. We look forward to seeing his handiwork.