Catching up on summer items

Already August? Afraid so, especially after a week filled with crisp autumn-like temperatures.

That being said, it is time to update readers on a mix of items that have appeared in this corner in recent months.

Colorful results

Coinciding with the beginning of summer was the Great Lakes Experience Festival in Dunkirk. By all accounts, it was a resounding success.

Besides having more than 40 exhibitors, there was plenty of foot traffic for the second event of its kind that was held at Memorial Park. Robert Fritzinger, outgoing State University of New York technology incubator executive director, was a key piece to bringing the festival to the city.

One of the items recently announced regarding the festival includes the coloring contest winners from area schools. More than 500 entries were received countywide. The winners include:

Kindergarten – Anisa Snow, first place, Fredonia; Maggie Galley, second, Northern Chautauqua Catholic School; Michaela Mead, third, Fredonia; and Leci Ferguson, honorable mention, Central Christian Academy.

First grade – Luca Gullo, first, NCCS; Jaylah Lozada, second, Fredonia; Alexcundria Lon, third, NCCS; and Daylani Taylor, honorable mention, Dunkirk School 4.

Second grade – Ariana Figueroa, first, Dunkirk School 5; Ryan Cerrie, second, Fredonia; Rylee Strefeler, third, NCCS; and Molly DiCara, honorable mention, School 5.

Student work will be featured on Page C2 on Sunday. All students listed receive ribbons and first-place winners receive a new fishing pole, which can be picked up at the OBSERVER. Please call ahead before coming to our Dunkirk offices at the number below.

Playing to the audience

Honesty is often in just how much information you are willing to reveal. Take the village of Forestville in its appeal for the $150,000 loan from the county.

Mayor Kevin Johnson, in addressing the Legislature in April, never once talked about his unwillingness to dissolve the village – one of the caveats to the loan. He did, however, address the issue in his letter to residents.

“My opposition to dissolution is well known and no secret,” he wrote in the letter. “I want you to know that I will continue to fight for the village and its citizens. I will fight to make this a better place to live. I will fight for us to exist.”

Forestville would be a “better place to live” if it had been living within its means over the past decade and was not doubling taxes for its residents. New committees and hirings will not solve the chaos in a 700-person village.

Spotlight on Lily Dale

It is a big couple of days for the Lily Dale Assembly. Not only is it Canadian weekend, but Saturday at 9 is the Morning with James Van Praagh.

Van Praagh is considered a spiritual pioneer and one of the world’s most celebrated and respected spiritual teachers working today. His show, which has been at the Assembly in previous years, is already sold out, said Susan Glasier, Lily Dale Assembly executive director.

“I think the season’s been doing well considering the weather,” she said. “We’re about par with everyone else.”

In June, Lily Dale had expectations of more than 30,000 visiting the grounds this year. With the daily workshops doing well – and the Van Praagh visit this weekend – the Assembly is on track to hit that number again.

“We have a great crew here,” said Glasier, who notes the summer season still has one more month. “Everyone pulls together.”

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