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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to TitanX, Jamestown Cycle Shop, Line-X of Jamestown, Peter Lombardi, Pete Scheira, Shawbucks Pressroom Restaurant, Gary Peters Sr. and Gary Peters Jr., Tim Shults, Digitell and the Lynn Development Group, all of which were honored this week by the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce and Jamestown Renaissance Corp. at the chamber’s annual Salute to the Finest event. Each of the honorees has done their part over the past year to make Jamestown a better place, and thumbs up to the chamber for doing its part to honor them for their work.

Thumbs down to a continued disturbing population trend. U.S. Census Bureau statistics show millennials – those 18-34 years old – aren’t as big a part of Chautauqua County’s population as they have been in years past. Those agest 18-34 made up 27.1 percent of the population in Chautauqua County in 1980. That percentage decreased through the years to 21.5 percent in 2000 while slightly increasing to 21.8 percent in 2013. Median earnings gradually decreased from $35,235 in 1990 to $26,876 in 2013. “If you’re in your early 30s for example, you’ve lived almost your entire life during the Great Recession,” said John Zogby of Zogby International, a polling company. “There’s been a recovery, but the fact of the matter is a lot of the new jobs being created are jobs which can be classified as underemployment. Young people have debt and (face) underemployment or unemployment – that’s the major factor (to recent trends).” Millennials are especially attracted to the Sun Belt, with Florida, California, North Carolina and South Carolina possessing the appeal of sunshine and warm weather, Zogby said. We are encouraged to see County Executive Vince Horrigan working to get a sense of what is important to millennials and reaching out to area colleges. “There are great opportunities in welding, hospitality and education,” Horrigan said, adding technology to be a key industry and referencing Digitell Inc. in Jamestown. “I have met several people (the company hired) out of SUNY Fredonia. We need more of these technology-related jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. There’s not enough of them here locally. I’m focused on trying to bring more of them here.”

A well-stated thumbs up to our neighbors in the north county for approving a north county water district this week. Spearheaded by Horrigan, the district will result in major capital improvements to the water systems, improve delivery of water for residents and businesses and lower rates for each entity. Thumbs up to members of the group who have approved the district – Richard Purol, Dunkirk town supervisor; Anthony J. Dolce, Dunkirk city mayor; Dave Hazelton, Brocton mayor; Dan Schrantz, Portland town supervisor; Nick Piccolo, Silver Creek mayor; Don Steger of the town of Pomfret; Stephen Keefe, Fredonia mayor; Keith Ahlstrom, county legislator; George Borrello, county legislator; and Robert Scudder, county legislator. It has been a long road to get to this point, but it is worth it to see the payoff.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to an idea worth pursuing from a task force studying efficiencies between the city of Jamestown and the Board of Public Utilities. Members recently discussed a centralized vehicle fleet, an idea that has been floated around in the past but which never materialized for a variety of reasons. The idea seems to be gaining traction now, however, with both city and BPU officials agreeing they discuss the idea with a Maryland company working with New York state on a centralized fleet. Research done by Patrick Monaghan, city fleet manager, indicates a centralized fleet may indeed provide major cost savings – the city of Winnipeg created a centralized fleet and saw its fleet and fleet budget decrease by 50 percent. It’s good to see the task force’s discussions resulting in something positive.

Thumbs down to those who continue to clam up with information into shootings in Jamestown neighborhoods. A man was shot in 2014 in Chadakoin Park, but police have been unable to identify the shooter because no one – including the person who was shot – will cooperate with the investigation. The discharge of several rounds into a house on 11th Street last week appears to be following the same course. Drugs are a scourge that create serious problems in Jamestown’s neighborhoods. We wish the public would get behind similar efforts to remove from our neighborhoods those who think nothing of shooting at other city residents.

Thumbs up, then, to area residents taking their tips to the police in the fight against drug dealers. Recently, public tips helped the Jamestown Police Department find Brandon Hogg, a 25-year-old city man who had been wanted in connection with a meth lab at 305 E. Fifth St., Jamestown, while department officials regularly credit city residents’ calls to the city’s confidential TIPS line at 483-8477 with helping generate leads that begin drug investigations. Such activity should reinforce for policy makers the public’s concern with removing illegal drugs from city neighborhoods.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

A Page 1 photo earlier this week reminded us of the team effort that takes place every time 9-1-1 is called, so thumbs up to the hundreds of men and women who spend their days and nights helping others. Gordy Overturf of Lakewood went into cardiac arrest on the evening of Jan. 27. He was alive and well enough this week to meet with and personally thank several of the individuals who helped him during his medical emergency. Overturf’s medical emergency was handled in approximately two-and-a-half hours from the time first responders were dispatched to his admission to the catheterization lab at Erie’s Hamot Medical Center. According to Debbie Weaver, chief flight nurse, Overturf’s case is described as a classic “tiered response” from various levels and agencies of medical personnel. It’s easy to forget the sheer number of people who respond to medical emergencies until you undergo a medical emergency yourself.

Thumbs down to a dormant Cockaigne Ski Resort, an area with plenty of snow, maintained equipment and no owner to make them available to the public. A 2011 fire that destroyed the resort’s Austrian Pavilion ski lodge, though a community effort that included neighboring resorts and businesses helped keep Cockaigne open throughout the rest of the 2011 season. The resort has been on the market since and, despite several interested parties, has not yet been sold. It’s a shame that no one has yet purchased Cockaigne, located in one of Chautauqua County’s snowiest areas and its proximity to the county’s developing equestrian trail.

Thumbs up to a youth group fundraiser with an added community benefit. On Friday, Feb. 6, members of the Emmanuel Baptist Church youth group took to the hardwood for a basketball game against the Jamestown Police Department at Love Elementary School. The fundraiser will help the youth group continue its activities. And, those attending got to spend some quality time with city police officers. “It gets the kids to be acclimated to the police department. That way they won’t be scared of them and respect them,” said the Rev. Carmen Taylor. “It’s a form of bonding.” Thumbs up to Sue and Keith Blake, leaders of the Emmanuel Baptist Church youth group and Police Chief Harry Snellings for their hard work organizing the game and all of the youth group members and police officers who took time out of their Friday night to participate.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to a pair of Jamestown residents who harnessed the power of social media to do a good deed. Audrey Ralstron and Georgeanna Culpepper noticed a Facebook post in another city in which people partnered with businesses to hang clothing items in Ziploc bags with cold weather items. The clothes lines were found last weekend in Jamestown along Riverside Park, near the viaduct across from Friendly’s, and Second Street – including outside Chautauqua Music – in what has been dubbed the “Cold Weather Giveaway.” Many of the items had been taken by 6 p.m. Saturday. The first donations, according to Ralston, were accepted by Culpepper and herself, along with First Lutheran Church, Something Beautiful Tattoo and Piercing and the Falconer branch of Jamestown Savings Bank. As the duo would like to perpetuate the Cold Weather Giveaway, Ralston said they are remaining in contact with the businesses involved with taking initial donations while also seeking out other businesses to become involved. Ralston said any winter-related clothing items – including hats, blankets, gloves, scarves and anything else that would keep people warm during the winter months – are being accepted for the Cold Weather Giveaway, but they must be placed inside Ziploc bags to protect them from exposure to the elements. Anyone interested in donating winter accessories can do so by bringing them to Chautauqua Music, located at 110 E. Second St., or by contacting Culpepper or herself on Facebook.

Thumbs up to a new educational attraction at the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum. Christopher Centi, space science coordinator for the museum, will host space enthusiasts in a revolving series of three astronomy-themed demonstrations on Saturdays, beginning this month, using his handmade cardboard planetarium inside the museum. There will be three separate demonstrations – 11:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. – on every given Saturday, starting today. The planetarium consists of a geodesic dome constructed from dozens of triangular cardboard pieces that were donated by Jamestown Container Company. Each piece had to be specifically measured and cut before being fashioned into a dome shape by gluing and stapling the pieces together. After the joints were sealed with joint tape and wood glue, the dome was then treated with two coats of off-white paint for reflective purposes. The planetarium is a wonderful addition to downtown and worth a visit.

Thumbs up to a benefit of this recent cold and snowy weather with construction of the ice castle in Mayville. Work on the castle has only been going on less than a week and organizers report the castle stands a little more than six feet tall thus far. This year’s castle will be longer along the Chautauqua Lake shoreline than in years past, eventually reaching a height of 12 feet. Continued cold weather means thousands of area residents will have the opportunity to see the finished product at the annual Presidents Day Weekend festival in Mayville from Feb. 13-15 in Lakeside Park. The annual event is in its 29th year and features many winter activities and events, contests with prizes, food and craft vendors, children’s activities, fireworks and more. For a schedule of events, go to mayvillechautauqua.org, or call the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce office at 753-3113.

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