‘Persistence’ helped land college

Most in the Northeast consider the official start of summer when area school districts have finished their academic year. In northern Chautauqua County, however, there has often been the sense that the next season begins with graduation at Fredonia State University.

On some of those weekends, graduates and those in attendance have had to sweat it out. It does not appear that will be the case this year as temperatures are forecast to be in the 50s.

Besides the graduation, the county fairgrounds are alive with the automobile flea market, which brings in thousands from Buffalo and Pennsylvania. And, in one more sign, the Fredonia Farmers’ Market returns to Church Street outside of village hall.

Other major events, including Memorial Day parades and the city’s second Picnic in the Park event at Point Gratiot, are just around the corner.

This weekend, the OBSERVER is featuring two items worthy of our readers’ attention. The first is written by Sam Drayo, village attorney for Fredonia.

Drayo has done extensive research on how the village was able to secure a college. It was a bold and courageous move by early leaders, which received an added boost from some connections in Albany.

“This most important part of Fredonia’s history should not be forgotten,” Drayo writes. “Village residents have good reason to be proud of the State College. It was their forefathers, residents and officials of this village, who 148 years ago through their farsightedness, hard work, persistence and financial commitment were the moving force in bringing a State College to the village of Fredonia.”

A significant piece, the history regarding the beginning of Fredonia State University will be chronicled on Pages C4-5. We believe on one of the most important weekends of the year for Fredonia, Drayo’s article is a fitting addition to our newspaper. We extend our appreciation.

One other item, which will become a weekly feature for the coming weeks, will be a serialized novel on “The Plot to Kill Susan B. Anthony” by Cassadaga resident William Fleeman. Each chapter will appear on the antiques and horoscope page in the coming weeks.

” ‘The Plot to Kill Susan B. Anthony’ is a character-driven historical mystery,” Fleeman said. “Most of the people, places and events are historically accurate.”

The cover of the book, which also will be featured, was done by Diane Andrasik of Dunkirk. An introduction to the book kicks off the weekly series.

Devastation in Finger Lakes

Some readers may know I grew up in the Finger Lakes region and most of my family still resides there.

Many of their neighbors and a number of businesses are reeling after a major rainfall on Wednesday morning. Some areas received 3 to 6 inches of rain over the course of three to four hours that led to serious flooding in Penn Yan, which is on the north end of Keuka Lake.

For most, the storm came with little warning since many were asleep when the rains rolled through during the early morning hours.

It was a situation that mirrors what happened in Silver Creek and Gowanda in 2009, as buildings have collapsed, roads were destroyed and businesses are at a standstill.

Penn Yan, with a population of 5,131, has a major rebuilding process to go through.

The devastation is a reminder of what we have seen in the past: the weather can be wicked.

John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call 366-3000, ext. 401.