Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to Alexis Barron of Lakewood for earning the Girl Scouts of Western New York’s 2019 Gold Award. Barron’s project, the Dock Project, was to build a floating dock for community use in Jamestown. The six-section dock, with a ramp and a concrete footer, is anchored at the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association’s boat house in Jamestown. Thumbs up as well to the LLAMA Club, Lake Shore Paving, Pikes Auto Repair, Lakewood Rod and Gun, Klinginsmith, the Good Time Saloon, Barron Sign, the Moose, Johnny’s Lunch, Crouch’s Garage, Ashville General Store, Tri-James and the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association for making contributions toward the project. Barron will receive her Gold Award at the Gold Award Ceremony on June 1. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls.

Thumbs down to the unwelcome, though not surprising, news that Chautauqua County’s population is continuing to decrease. The latest U.S. Census Bureau population estimates show the county’s population decreasing for an eighth consecutive year to 127,939 people. Since the bureau’s last full census in 2010, Chautauqua County has lost 5.2 percent of its total population. Only four counties in the state lost more: Chenango County (5.9 percent), Delaware County (7.2 percent), Hamilton County (8.4 percent) and Orleans County (5.3 percent), though none have a bigger population base than Chautauqua County. The news isn’t surprising, but it is certainly sobering for rural counties.

Thumbs up to a pilot project that will attempt to further explore the complexities of phosphorus loading and harmful algal blooms in Chautauqua Lake this summer. The program, slated to begin this June, will feature two biosensor buoys that will float in lake waters and collect data related to the genesis of harmful algal blooms, namely the amount of phosphorus content that leads to the creation of cyanobacteria, otherwise known as blue-green algae. It is hoped a full study will happen in 2020 with up to six phosphorus sensors and two nitrogen sensors. The weed problem on Chautauqua Lake has gotten most of the attention lately, but it’s good to see that no one has forgotten about the problem of harmful algal blooms on the lake.

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