Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs up to the cream of the crop of the fall sports season as they advance to regional and state competitions. On the gridiron, Randolph and Jamestown advanced to Far West Regional competition. The Randolph girls volleyball team will play in the state championships in Glens Falls. Meanwhile, Hope Pietrocarlo of Maple Grove won a state cross country championship while Pietrocarlo and her teammates Caroline Benson, Taylor Norris, Grace Auer and Kristen Kelemen finished second in the team competition. Megan Marsh, a Jamestown High School sophomore, will compete at the state swimming championships in the 100-yard breast stroke and 200 individual medley along with Southwestern’s Sydney Thomas, who qualified in the 100 backstroke; Deidra Osula of Dunkirk-Fredonia-Olean, who qualified in the 100 butterfly; and Southwestern’s 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Members of the 200 freestyle relay are Xiane Smith, Kelsey Powers, Sydney Burk and Katie Lawton. Joining Thomas on the 400 freestyle relay are Smith, Burk and Lawson.

Thumbs down to secrecy. In the past week, the replacement of the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department chief and treasurer and the resignation of the Cassadaga Valley Central School superintendent have come to light. Jim Pacanowski, former Westfield fire chief, wasn’t given a reason for his removal as fire chief and was notified in an email. Scott Smith, Cassadaga Valley superintendent, resigned after a lengthy executive session by the school board while a settlement for Tara DiDomenico, high school principal, was also approved after the same lengthy executive session. What is frustrating for the taxpayers in Westfield and Cassadaga is the lack of information available about the situations leading to such sudden changes. In both cases, the boards likely made the right decisions – but the closed-door actions and fight to get information only feed the small town rumor mill. Taxpayers deserve better explanations and more information from those in leadership positions.

Thumbs up to the Chautauqua Leadership Network, a year-long educational program designed to help members become more effective leaders for their companies, their communities and Chautauqua County as a whole. The Class of 2013 will graduate on Nov. 21 and joins nearly 500 area residents who, since 1993, have formed an ever-increasing network of community leaders throughout the county. CLN graduates can be found in leadership positions on various not-for-profits, companies and other agencies throughout the county and even in the state Assembly. The agency is a wonderful training ground for the future leaders of Chautauqua County.