Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to all parties involved for agreeing to make this week’s arbitration hearing between the city of Jamestown and the Kendall Club Police Benevolent Association open to the public. Such hearings have typically been closed to the public, which is a shame because the decisions made during the arbitration have just as much effect on taxpayers as decisions made in open public session of the City Council. Having the hearing open means both the city and the union representing Jamestown police officers can have their cases heard publicly and judge for itself if the arbitrator’s decision is fair when it is released later this year. We hope opening Jamestown’s hearing to the public is a trend that continues in the city and spreads across the state.

Thumbs down to a delay in personal income tax donations making their way to the charities selected by taxpayers. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently released an audit that showed legislation enacted three years ago to get personal income tax check-off donations to charitable causes quicker hasn’t helped; millions of dollars still haven’t been distributed to designated recipients. An audit that showed more than $15.7 million remained in the check-off funds as of the end of the state’s 2016-17 fiscal year. The Breast Cancer Research Fund alone has more than $8.2 million waiting to be disbursed. How hard is it to find suitable organizations performing breast cancer research?

Thumbs up to John Latona, a Frewsburg native, for earning the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence at Buffalo State College. He was officially honored at the Albany Capital Center on April 10 for his work the past two years as a teacher at Charter School for Applied Technology in Buffalo where he teaches photography, graphic design and yearbook. Latona became the first student to choose a concentration on fibers and material studies while at Buffalo State College. Fiber art is made up of natural or synthetic fiber including fabric or yarn. For his senior thesis Latona curated and created an art gallery consisting of traditional weaving methods, screen printing and cable ties that was on display at the Indigo Art Gallery in Buffalo. Latona believes he was given the award because of his passion for his students and his artwork. He noted that his ability to take what he learned in Rwanda, Africa, and apply it to teaching helped earn him recognition in the form of the Chancellor’s Award. Kudos to Latona for making the most of his education and for making a difference in the lives of students here and abroad.