Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to plow drivers who have been hit with a double-whammy of heavy snow last weekend followed by ice, rain and then the likelihood of more snow this weekend. Despite the heavy snow last weekend that dumped a foot or more of snow throughout the county, roads were generally passable as long as drivers used caution. Clearing that much snow that quickly means there was a lot of work to be done in the aftermath Sunday and Monday opening up areas that were plowed in and plowing banks back, particularly on city side streets. That work took a back seat to salting when the area was hit with freezing rain and ice Wednesday morning. Not every street was bare and there were complaints from some homeowners who were plowed in until the plows came back to remove massive snow piles — but for the most part we could all get where we needed to get thanks to the yeomanlike efforts of our fleet of plow drivers.

Thumbs down to the arrest in Jamestown earlier this week of two Buffalo men who are part of a Buffalo street gang known as the “Fruit Belt Posse.” The men were taken into custody on Seventh Street following an investigation by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, New York State Police and State Parole. The gang, named for several streets in Buffalo, has been involved in weapons and drug trafficking for years while being linked to some of the violence seen in some Buffalo neighborhoods. Its presence in Jamestown surely isn’t a good thing.

Thumbs up to the improved financial status for Chautauqua County’s fly car system. It was about a year ago when concerns were raised that the program was losing money, prompting concerns whether or not the county would be able to keep the service. Fast forward 10 months, and the program is expected to be self-sustaining by the end of the year. Through the first few weeks of January fly-cars are answering 5.8 calls a day, a significant increase since the service went to operating 24 hours, seven days a week at the beginning of the year. Expenses have stayed the same, but revenues have increased because of the rise in the number of calls the fly-car system is answering. Fly cars are vital for a county like ours that has seen a decrease in the number of volunteer firefighters to respond to EMS calls. Paramedics operate three advanced life support vehicles stationed in Ashville, Arkwright and Falconer equipped with cardiac monitoring equipment, pain medication and anticonvulsant medication, among other equipment. There were never doubts about the need or the program’s positive impact on the community. Now, financial viability is no longer in doubt either.