County Home Vote Disappoints
Written by Todd J. Tranum, President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
Unfortunately our County legislature, as a governmental body, showed last month week to be a microcosm of the dysfunction we recently watched unfold in Washington, DC. The County Legislature failed to approve the sale of the County Home by one vote.
The Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association have strongly supported the sale of the County Home, however we respect that some of those who voted no were honest and clear about their opposition, whether it was because of a philosophical view about the role of government or because they felt they were representing the views of their constituents. A handful of legislators stated their reasoning behind their no vote. For example Keith Ahlstrom was quoted in the Observer as stating, “The majority of residents in my district are against it (the sale). I would caution everybody that there will come a time that some of the legislators are correct, that it will not be a sustainable function." Although we would disagree with Mr. Ahlstrom’s decision to vote no, we respect his honesty and believe he is exactly correct regarding the sustainability of the County Home. On the other hand, there are some legislators that have a lot of explaining to do to their constituents and to all the registered voters and taxpayers in Chautauqua County.
We applaud the lawmakers who voted to sell the facility to VestraCare. They, and we, tried very hard to convince a handful of colleagues that this was the right thing to do at this time. Those voting yes were: Barmore, Borrello, Croscut, DeJoy, Erlandson, Gould, Horrigan, Hemmer, Himelein, James, Nazzaro, Rogers, Runkle, Stewart, Tarbrake, and Wendel. Those voting no were: Ahlstrom, Cornell, Coughlin, DeJoe, Duff, Heenan, Hoyer, Scudder, and Whitney.
The vote was identical to one taken last January when a different prospective buyer had an offer on the table. At that time, some of the opposition to the sale, had issue with the buyer. Interestingly this time around, the new buyer, VestraCare did not seem to raise concerns among the legislature in terms of their ability to operate the home. So, very clearly, for some on the legislature, their opposition really was not about the buyer.
This is a very disappointing turn of events. The sale of the County Home could have meant saving the jobs, the services, and the asset as a taxpaying entity. Now, the failure of a handful of lawmakers to make a difficult decision may mean an even more difficult decision in the future. The financial woes experienced at the County Home will likely continue and exacerbate due to the limited scope of services it is allowed to offer and the reimbursement rates it is stuck with.
We sincerely thank all of you who took the time to contact your County Legislator and make your voice heard on this issue. We will continue to press lawmakers to do the right thing toward creating an environment in the region where businesses can thrive.
Chamber Recognizes Community Service and Leadership
Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce recognizes leadership and community service during the annual Chamber Awards Banquet. Held this year at the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia, the event honored: County Executive Greg Edwards as Person of the Year; Lake Shore Savings Bank with the Economic Development Award; and Community Service Awards for each of the six Community Chambers of Commerce as follows – Doug Fenton, Dunkirk; Tim Eades, Fredonia; Matt Bogosian, Hanover; Terry Frank and Dennis Webster, Jamestown; Access Channel 5, Mayville-Chautauqua; and Nancy Hanks, Westfield-Barcelona. Congratulations to all of our 2013 award winners!
Chamber Inaugural Restaurant Week a Success
For the first time ever in Chautauqua County, 28 restaurants came together to participate in the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Week. With restaurants taking part from all over the county, the program created some interest and enthusiasm around celebrating the food culture in Chautauqua County and encouraged people to dine local.
Major sponsors for the week were Merritt Estate Winery and the Putnam Record Insurance Agency. Maplevale Farms was an additional sponsor. Merritt Estate ran special wine tastings at some Dunkirk and Fredonia area participating restaurants, and all participants received a Restaurant Week marketing kit and were included in a countywide advertising program.
We are already looking forward to Restaurant Week 2014!
Chamber Congressional Lunch November 8
Do you have questions for Congressman Tom Reed? Many people do right now, just weeks after the federal government shutdown and restart, and as Congress continues to ask questions about the Affordable Care Act and more. Each year the Chamber of Commerce provides a platform specifically designed for area business people to discuss vital issues with our representative in Congress. That event is coming up Friday, November 8.
We hope you will join us for lunch and conversation with the Congressman at noon at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown. The cost is just $18 for Chamber members or $21 for nonmembers.
This event is sponsored by Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Jamestown Mattress Company, Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, SKF Aeroengine North America, State University of New York at Fredonia, and WCA Hospital.
Anyone who wants to attend may call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101 to register, or may register online at www.chautauquachamber.org.
Oktoberfest in November at Southern Tier Brewing Company
One of the Chamber’s most popular Experience Chautauqua Networking Events is back! Join your friends for Oktoberfest at Southern Tier Brewing Company from 5-6:30pm, Wednesday, November 20.
Southern Tier Brewing Company offers unique, specialty beers in a beautiful setting! It’s a relaxed evening, time for fun and prizes, a little learning about the making of delicious beers, and some networking with other Chamber members.
This event is sponsored by Affinity One Federal Credit Union, Blackstone NEY Ultrasonics, Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro, Casella Waste Services, DFT Communications, Jamestown Jammers Baseball, Jamestown Mattress Company, Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, Liazon Corporation, and UBS Financial Services.
You can register online now for this event at www.chautauquachamber.org or by calling the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101.
Shop Local this Holiday Season
As we move closer to Thanksgiving, Chautauqua County residents start thinking more and more about holiday shopping. This year, the Chamber of Commerce encourages everyone to think about making purchases from local merchants. One of the ways to do that is to purchase and use Shoptauqua Gift Checks, available through the Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101, or visit our web site at www.chautauquachamber.org. We appreciate a few days advance notice for Gift check orders to allow for processing time.
JCC Continuing Ed Offers OSHA Training
The Center for Continuing Education at Jamestown Community College is offering courses to address OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard training assists organizations to ensure chemical safety in the workplace and information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals are available and understandable to workers. OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the development and dissemination of such information:
Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.
Training for supervisors and employees are available as follows:
- Thur 11/14 OR Wed 12/14 - JCC’s North County Extension Center, Dunkirk – Call 716-363-6500
- Thur 11/21 OR Wed 12/11 OR Thur 12/21 JCC Campus, Jamestown – Call 716-338-1005
The cost is $75 per person, and a 15% tuition discount is available to Chamber and MAST members. Please request your discount at registration.
Hockey Training Center Opens Programming at JSBA
The Jamestown Savings Bank Arena’s new Hockey Training Center has begun two programs as of Monday, November 4.
The first of which is a brand new ‘Learn to Play’ program designed to introduce the game of hockey to all ages and skill levels.
“The Learn to Play program is a great opportunity to get potential youth hockey players out on the ice to learn basic skills, rules and to gain an understanding of the game,” said Brian Cersosimo, Director of Hockey Development at JSBA. “By teaching these kids at a very young age, we can turn them into lifelong players and fans of the sport.”
The ‘Learn to Play’ program takes place on Mondays from 5 – 6:15 and will run in eight-week sessions with the first session beginning this Monday, November 4 and running through December 30. One day passes are $8 or an eight-session pass is $50.
All ‘Learn to Play’ participants must be playing hockey or have attended a ‘Learn to Skate’ program prior to registering. Participants must also be fully equipped and registered through USA Hockey.
JSBA’s semi-annual ‘Old Dogs’ Hockey Training Program also began on November 4, and is designed for beginner adults or former players who haven’t played in years. These classes focus on basic skills, stick handling and game situations and are instructed by Craig Hinderleider.
Classes are scheduled for Monday evenings from 8:30 – 9:20pm and will run through February 24. The cost is $12 per session or $55 for a five-session pass.
Registration for both programs is available in person at the Jamestown Arena located at 319 West Third St. in Jamestown or online at www.jamestownarena.com.
For more information, please contact Brian Cersosimo at 716-484-2624 ext. 213.
Edgewood Communities to Host Genealogy Seminar with Doc Hamels
Are you interested in documenting your family history? “Begin your search with one question that you want to answer and keep a narrow focus.” That is the advice of John “Doc” Hamels who will be presenting a seminar for community members who are interested in learning valuable tips regarding their genealogy quest.
Edgewood Communities on the Lutheran Campus in Jamestown is hosting another seminar in its Best of Times Series. John Hamels, Ph.D, a retired school superintendent from Ripley Central School and a local musician and author will present “Genealogy 101. Tips for Beginners.” His presentation will be based on his own experiences with researching his family history. The lively and engaging seminar will be held Thursday, November 14th, 6:30 p.m. in Christ Chapel located on the Lutheran Campus. The program is free. Reservations are appreciated by calling Patty Eckwahl at 720-9122.
“Too often people become overwhelmed, once they begin researching their family history because they broaden their scope and forget what they wanted to know in the beginning,” Hamels said. “It’s not unlike a ‘thesis’ where you come up with one specific question and you set out to find the answer. When I began, I just wanted to know about my grandfather.”
Over the last few years, Hamels has gained valuable insight on how to be successful in charting a family history. “There are a lot of good web sites and resources available and at times it can become frustrating. I’ll share my story and some of the lessons I have learned. The evening should be a lot of fun!”
Dr. Hamels was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. After completing his B.S. in Education, he began his career with the Chautauqua County BOCES. He taught for 15 years and then moved on within the system to Special Education Training Specialist, Assistant Principal, Principal, and Regional Administrator. During this time he received his M.S. in Education, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Administration and a Ph.D. in Education.
Dr. Hamels is also a familiar personality on the Senior Report on Cable Access 5 TV and writes a monthly column, “From Out of the West” for the Silver Magazine in the Post Journal. Throughout the tri-state area, he can be found playing Irish and American folk music in the popular duo, “Doc and Bill”. He currently lives in Ripley with his wife of 32 years, Barbara. They have four children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The Best of Times Seminar Series is sponsored by Edgewood Communities at Lutheran, the ‘go to resource’ for senior living. The series provides information and support to help people plan well so they can age well. Edgewood Communities is located on the Lutheran Campus off Falconer Street in Jamestown. Units include one and two bedroom apartments, duplex homes and the new Smartment® Building. For more information about the seminar or Lutheran Housing, call Ms. Eckwahl or log onto www.lutheran-jamestown.org/senior-housing.