Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to David and Marissa Troxell, members of the Jamestown Rotary Club who make their winter home in Asia, for the work they have done on behalf of the Rotary Club. Projects range from helping in the development of a women’s weaving cooperative in Nepal to installing playground grass at a charity school in Cambodia and building a clean water cistern and new toilet facilities in a rural school in northern Myanmar. The Troxells have traveled directly to each of the projects funded by the local Rotary Club over the past five years. Most recently, the Jamestown Club’s Vision Committee allocated $4,000 to build a cafeteria to house a free hot lunch program at a poor urban school in Ethiopia. It’s one thing to help fundraiser locally and watch as the money is disbursed. It’s entirely another to be elbow deep in the hard work these projects actually entail. Kudos to the Troxells for their hard work, compassion and dedication to helping their fellow man. For more information, visit jamestownnyrotary.org or cambodiaacademy.org.

Thumbs down to a shortsighted piece of state law that ties state library funding to local funding. Last week, the James Prendergast Library was notified it will lose $16,500 from its $65,000 state funding because the city of Jamestown has cut the library’s funding by $300,000 over the past two years. The Prendergast Library and the entire library system completed a Maintenance of Effort Waiver to possibly avoid the 25 percent cut in state aid, but local officials were told the waiver request wasn’t accepted because other city departments didn’t receive the same type of cuts the Prendergast Library did in the 2017 and 2018 budget. There’s one problem with that line of thinking — Jamestown couldn’t make similar cuts to the police, fire or public works departments because of contracted or imposed minimum manning agreements. That’s the whole reason the state has been giving Jamestown an additional $1 million in state aid the past couple of years. The library’s state aid will continue to be cut by 25 percent each year unless the city increases its funding by 5% over a two-year period. That’s not going to happen. The state needs to rethink this decision.

Thumbs up to Ejuah Sarvaiya, a third-grader at Southwestern Elementary School and son of Salim and Samantha Sarvaiya of Lakewood, who will join elementary school students from across the country at the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM, taking place in Pittsburgh. Pathways to STEM is part of the Envision group of programs that helps students explore their interests and experience learning outside the classroom. Ejuah was nominated to attend the forum by Troy Moran, one of his teachers at Southwestern Elementary School. Ejuah said he is looking forward to the forum, but is most interested in the engineering aspect and gaining hands-on experience the forum will provide in building and programming his own MBot.