Here are some of the best - and worst - of the week:
PRINCE SHARES HIS STORY - David Prince is well known in Northern Chautauqua County as a long-time judge in Fredonia, but recently, he shared about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. While in the military, Prince was sent to Selma, Ala. just weeks after the infamous "Bloody Sunday" which ended in a brutal assault on Civil Rights protesters. During that time, Prince briefly met Martin Luther King Jr. By sharing his story, Prince is helping today's young people understand what it was like in our country when racism was accepted as mainstream and how that changed.
HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPEAKS OUT - While David Prince's story is powerful, it's even more amazing to hear Sophia Veffer share her story about surviving the Holocaust. Sophia was just a child during the Holocaust and talked about what it was like to fear for your life just for being Jewish and how children were often taken away from their parents. Sophia lets us know the absolute horror of genocide and what it takes for it to happen - victims, perpetrators and bystanders. "Why am I standing here? I come and speak because I don't want you to be a bystander. I don't want you to judge people on certain traits," she said. It takes courage to share that kind of a story.
KOELMEL TO JOIN NYPA - The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees has a new member from western New York. John Koelmel, the president and CEO of First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. has been nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. With First Niagara Bank set to take over HSBC later this month in Dunkirk, hopefully Koelmel will realize the importance of NRG to Dunkirk, as well as the rest of Chautauqua County.
SEWER DISTRICT HIRE - Perhaps they have valid reasons, but it seems strange that the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District's Board of Directors went and hired Randy Peterson to serve as the next director, instead of combining the position with the other sewer districts in the county. Tom Carlson, director of the North Chautauqua Lake and the Portland, Pomfret, Dunkirk sewer districts said he could run all three districts himself. Granted, Peterson will be part-time instead of full-time like his predecessor, but Carlson said he could do the work cheaper. South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District board members were weary to share their reasons, other than to say they have some "major projects" coming up and added they weren't going to discus personal evaluations. But as we've said before, we have too many boards, districts and commissions in Chautauqua County. It's time to consolidate them. Here was a lost opportunity.