Thumbs up to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for its continued support of religious, educational, arts and culture, youth and human service projects and initiatives in our area. The foundation's board recently approved the final 2013 grant awards from the foundation's designated and agency funds, bringing the total granted in 2013 to $649,431.03, an all-time high. Thumbs up, indeed.
Thumbs down to the latest example of the federal bureaucracy's idiocy. An EPA regulation that sought to replace millions of dollars-worth of stock fire hydrants in New York state because of new reduced-lead standards has been overturned in the U.S. Senate after Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio sponsored the Community Fire Safety Act of 2013. The bill had already passed the House of Representatives and is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama. Western New York will save a total of $554,900 in stockpiled hydrants and parts that can now be used after Jan. 4. Jamestown has 18 hydrants in reserve, saving $21,600. Dunkirk has three hydrants in reserve, saving $3,600. Immediately applying the law to fire hydrants made no sense and was done without justification by the EPA. It is a disquieting statement on the ability of the EPA to handle the country's major environmental issues if it can't get something like this done right the first time.
Thumbs up to the new creamery that will move into the former book store on Route 394 in North Harmony. Rico Chandra, co-owner of Reverie Creamery, plans to purchase and repurpose the former Barbara Berry's Bookshop building on Route 394. The plan was recently approved by the North Harmony Planning Board. "The location is ideal for a creamery ... and (the business) will fit with the local artisan businesses in the area," Chandra said. Along with making premium, specialty goat cheeses, Reverie plans to serve organic, local foods year-round by growing vegetables on the 4.7-acre lot behind the business and by partnering with local farms and wineries to provide fresh ingredients. The business should be a nice addition to the tourist offerings along Chautauqua Lake.