Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the Lakewood Village Board for hosting a public forum to allow village residents to voice their opinions about the village’s approach to Chautauqua Lake this year. Of the 14 individuals who spoke at the public hearing and shared opinions, 13 Lakewood residents said they wanted herbicides to be applied off-shore this year, and one member of the crowd voiced her disapproval of using chemicals to treat the lake. Herbicide use has been, and likely will continue to be, a divisive issue, so it was important to get a sense from village residents what should happen this year. Board members also heard, loud and clear, that herbicide supporters expect the village to find money in its budget to pay for treatments.

Thumbs down to a regional coaching story in which there are no winners. Sal Constantino, former Niagara Falls High School boys basketball coach, announced his resignation Monday claiming that extensive public harassment of himself and his family became too much to bear. “Even when we won, the negative people would be on me about not winning by enough,” Constantino told WKBW. “So, so wrong the things they would say. People love the game, whatever sport it is, but do you want to put up with all of the stuff outside of it?” Constantino recently led Niagara Falls to the state finals, but the final straw came after he was allegedly verbally accosted while in public with his 11-year-old son. If there is a silver lining to the story, it is that Constantino may return to coach special-needs children in the future.

Thumbs up to the Willett family of Ashville after being chosen for the Military Makeover With Montel show on the Lifetime network. Cody Willett is an employee of the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office who served two deployments in Afghanistan. It was during his second trip that his base was attacked and a rocket propelled grenade attack left him with a fractured lower spine, dislocated shoulder and a damaged ankle. He met his wife, Jessica, during his recovery. “My wife has been my rock through all of my issues, and she is the real hero,” Willett said. “It is hard to have to deal with work, children, life’s everyday problems and then to have a husband that is mentally suffering, this is something she signed up for not knowing what it all entailed. I have never really asked for any help before, but I would try just about anything to repay my wife for all she does for me.” The family’s home being remodeled isn’t the only positive from the experience. Willett said he wants to use the experience to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans — including the services available through the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Program, a county Veterans Service Agency program which Willett has begun helping with information technology services.

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