Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the state Department of Transportation for moving up the timetable to resurface West Third Street between the Third Street bridge and McDaniel Avenue. As anyone who has driven that stretch of Third Street knows all too well, the road has badly needed resurfacing for quite some time now. The city has filled pot holes in the past couple of years but the road has been a maze of uneven road that leaves teeth chattering and suspension systems on our cars crying for mercy. The state had the $250,000 project on its timetable for sometime in 2015 or 2016, but was able to move it up after months of lobbying from city officials, including Jeff Lehman, city public works director. The inconvenience for the next couple of weeks while the work is under way is well worth having a smooth gateway into the city.

Thumbs down to those who would try to make our roads less safe by illegally obtaining commercial driver’s licenses – and thumbs up to the Chautauqua County Motor Vehicles Department employees who smelled something funny when the scheme made its way to Chautauqua County. Police reported recently a cheating ring for CDLs that had made its way through several state DMV offices, with offices in Jamestown and Mayville targeted as well. Sheriff Joe Gerace said Akmal Narzikulov, an organizer of the ring, went to the local offices in April, but DMV officials were suspicious because Narzikulov had a New York City address, a backpack and could not speak English very well. Police were contacted and the information relayed to the FBI. More than 60 people cheated on the test and got a CDL, which allows people to drive such large vehicles tractor-trailers and dump trucks. Those who can’t pass the CDL test themselves shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a vehicle so large and powerful – and dangerous if in the hands of someone untrained. Kudos to the local officials who were able to help bring this statewide ring down.

Thumbs up to Nigel Eastman, a Jamestown High School junior who recently won the Best High School Film award at the 2013 Boonies International Film Festival in Warren. His short film, “Jiffy,” was screened at the Warren Public Library and the Struthers Library Theatre during the festival. He also participated in a question-and-answer session about the Insomniac Competitive Film Festival for which the short was originally created, and awarded, “best soundtrack.” Eastman plans to major in filmmaking in college and was previously awarded third place for his short film, Common Sense, at the Western New York Media Art Show held at the University at Buffalo. Eastman attended Jamestown High School’s Videoworks program in his freshman and sophomore years.