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Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Time Of Your Life, Right At Home

Are high gasoline prices forcing you to reconsider your plans for a summer vacation?

Imagine untold numbers of American families are dealing with the same choices about how to make high gasoline prices fit into traditional summer treks. And we are certain that a good many of them cannot stand the thought of giving up their annual vacation trip to — here. Our own backyard. Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. On this, the weekend where the imaginary line between spring and summer is drawn, let’s thumb our noses at what high gas prices might mean to us this summer by realizing what a wonderful place this is for a family vacation.How long has it been since you rented a boat for a day of fishing on the lake or in the harbor with the kids? Have you taken them canoeing or kayaking on the county’s waterways? Do you know what fabulous hiking is to be had in this region? Allegany, Lake Erie and Long Point on Chautauqua Lake state parks alone offer enough variety of activities to keep you and your family happily occupied for days on end. How long has it been since you visited any one of them? We have festivals and county fairs and concerts and antique and art shows all summer long. And then there is Chautauqua Institution with its plays, concerts, lectures, classes. The Beach Boys, Al Gore, Trace Adkins, Pete Bogdanovich, The Irish Rovers, Michael York, Lyle Lovett — these are just a few of folks who will be at Chautauqua this summer to amuse and inform.We have Lily Dale and baseball, the Summer Wind and lake nights at the movies in Bemus Point, walks on the beach at Barcelona and Point Gratoit, Midway Park and a rodeo, fishing tournaments and concerts in our parks.There’s more, and you can read all about it in our 2006 Vacation Guide. It was distributed last week and you can find extra copies at shops and tourist spots throughout the area. We also invite to visit our Web site for an extensive calendar of events for the coming months.So, no, high gasoline prices need not prompt you to cancel a family summer vacation. Everyone can have the times of lives right here at home.

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Back To The Lake
Watershed Conservancy, LCLC Team Up For First Annual LakeFest!


From noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center are hosting LakeFest! — a watershed festival of fun activities, displays and informative presentations that reflect both CWC’s and LCLC’s commitment to environmental education with a focus on Chautauqua Lake and its watershed. Providing the musical backdrop for the day will be the popular Jamestown-based band Big Leg Emma. LakeFest! is an important kick-off event marking a renewed and rejuvenated effort to engage the entire community on issues of importance to the continued health and vibrancy of Chautauqua Lake. It is a celebration of stewardship for all of us who live in this region and serves as a fun way for all of us to get together and to learn how best to care for the waters that support us. The festival will be held on the grounds of the Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center on Route 430 in Maple Springs, just 3 miles west of I-86. It is on these grounds that a vital partnership between CWC and LCLC began. As part of its Forever Beautiful — Forever Bountiful Campaign, the Conservancy has established a land protection agreement on 16 acres of the expansive and beautiful lakeside forest at LCLC. This site has been permanently protected from future development, thus protecting this portion of Chautauqua Lake from the ravages of watershed pollution. And now CWC and LCLC are eager to share this conservation success with the community — and to demonstrate that each of us has a role in protecting this region’s most valuable asset. ‘‘Chautauqua Lake is a fundamental recreational and economic resource for this region and this event is a way for residents to learn how to take care of this important resource,’’ said John Jablonski III, executive director of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.At LakeFest! you will have the opportunity to learn more about Chautauqua Lake, its watershed and the creatures that live in it. Plus you can discover how you and your family can practice good stewardship of the environment to ensure future celebrations like this one.Want to know how Chautauqua Lake was formed? Mark Baldwin, director of education at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, will be providing background on the geology of Chautauqua Lake. Learn the stories of those who have lived and played upon its shores with Paul Leone, local historian and storyteller, on a pontoon boat ride. Explore the lake’s secret depths with a peek at some artifacts presented by Sam Genco and other Chautauqua Lake scuba divers. And if you are scratching your head wondering just what a watershed is — rest assured you are not alone. You can remedy this by catching Carol Webster’s presentation explaining what a watershed is, how it works and why it is so important to each one of us.If your interest is in wildlife, be sure to discover all the live animals at LakeFest! Meet the birds of prey in our region by attending Ron Walker’s Friends with Feathers presentation. Talk with Elaine Crossely — also known as the ‘‘Bluebird Lady.’’ Go bird-watching with Dick Miga, proprietor of our local Birding Hotline. Get acquainted with local aquatic mammals, their natural history and how and where to observe them, with Wayne Robin’s of Nature Ed Ventures Ventures. And be sure to get an up close look with Kerry Kazial of SUNY Fredonia at those famous flying mammals (bats!) that we see at dusk swooping over Chautauqua Lake. There will be numerous hands-on activities such as building birdhouses for our wild feathered friends with the Home Depot team. And be sure to get some creative design tips on housing wildlife of all sorts from the students of Southwestern Central School as they model the backyard habitat they recently constructed. One tip in advance: Make it natural — and they will come. Natural is just a few steps away at Canadaway Wildflowers. Check out organic gardening products courtesy of Heather Johnson. Chat with the folks from Parable Farms. Take a few moments to watch the ‘‘Great Lawns, Great Lakes’’ presentation to understand how your choices for lawn care impact the watershed. You will also learn how to keep your garden and lawn natural and environmentally friendly. If you own lakeside property, you will want to talk to Universal Water Solutions — also known as the ‘‘Aqua Cleaner’’ — about properly managing the lake in front of your home so that it can be enjoyed and not destroyed. Consider your in-home habits as well in caring for your environment. Wendy Sanfillipo from the Cornell Cooperative extension will be on hand to provide you information on recycling. We all know good old-fashioned outdoor recreation is good for the body and soul. Be sure to say hello to the folks at Evergreen Outfitters who specialize in providing outdoor gear and equipment for just such adventures. Jim Fincher of Rails to Trails will also be on hand to offer information on the numerous trails available local hikers and skiers. The Bemus Point Boy Scouts will also be giving their Leave No Trace camping demonstration — especially good for young campers.And who can think of natural outdoor lake recreation without thinking of fishing? Anyone with an interest in fishing or fish management must attend one or both of the ‘‘fireside chats’’ given by Mike Sperry and Craig Robbins, local expert fishermen in their own right. Anxious anglers can try their hand at tying flies with Monte Kennedy.Children will have the opportunity to explore the natural world in the Fiesta Tent courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Jamestown. They will be providing a host of entertaining and engaging activities and games — including a fishing pool, a sink or float lab, animal puppet theater, an interactive Rocks and Gemstones display and more!Finally who can deny the beauty of nature? Local artists like Ralph Sandquist, who specializes in wildlife carving, will be creating beautiful works of art for your viewing pleasure. Photographers such as Wild Heart Photography will also be at LakeFest! to display, demonstrate and sell their work. Be sure not to miss Bill Tobbe’s ‘‘Barn Series of the Chautauqua Region’’ note cards that will be available for sale too.There is no admission to LakeFest! as we want the entire community to get out and enjoy what we already have in our own backyards. Food and drinks are available for purchase and free parking is provided. Vendors will be selling their products and crafts at the festival. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center intend to offer more events and programs that, like LakeFest!, will create awareness, provide knowledge and inspire people to care for the Earth and the region’s most valuable asset — Chautauqua Lake.

LakeFest! is proudly sponsored by Hogan’s Hut, Mayshark Builder’s, Mayville Marina and Webb’s Captain’s Table. Tina Cordner is the outreach coordinator at the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy. Tina Nelson is the environmental educator, Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Development moves ahead along Chautauqua Lake

With approvals in hand, Bemus Point Investment LLC is gearing up to begin construction on the appropriately named Bemus Point Condominiums.
The development cleared one of its final hurdles earlier this week when the Bemus Point Planning Board signed off on the project. Construction won't start until September.

Bemus Point Investments is proposing to construct the 40-unit complex that will front on Chautauqua Lake. Each unit comes with a garage and parking space for guests and visitors.
Every unit will have a view of the lake.
The first units should be available by late winter or early spring.

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Canadaway Creek is gem to Chautauqua County

5/26/2006 - The stream was originally settled by the Erie tribes and later by the Iroquois, who called the stream “Ga-na-da-wa-o”, meaning “running through hemlocks.” The early European settlers from Eastern and Central Pennsylvania pronounced the name as “Canadaway.”

The Native American name probably referred to the dense canopy that still covers the deep gorge at its headwaters. Early surveyors named the creek “Cascade” after the scenic falls located in the town of Arkwright. The first non-native settlement along its banks occurred on 1804 and was called Canadaway. This settlement later became the village of Fredonia. The mouth of Canadaway hosted the first naval battle in the War of 1812, where an American military company held off a British gunboat as it tried to seize a salt boat from Buffalo that had sought sanctuary in the creek. As the area became populated and settlements prospered along the stream, two preservations were created to protect the creek’s natural resources. A 33-acre Canadaway Creek Preserve located at the mouth of the stream is positioned on a major flyway. During the fall and spring migration, the sanctuary protects around 140 species of birds. The second preserve is the Canadaway Creek Wildlife Management Area, located on a 2,180-acre tract of land that protects the headwaters.Its dense hardwood forest provides the nesting areas for a large variety of birds, including the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Great Blue Heron. The history of the introduction of steelhead to Lake Erie is complicated. The fisheries in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York have, over the past 100 years, stocked many different strains and each strain has their own distinctive physical characteristics and spawning habits. Although all strains originally came from a few rivers in the Northwest, some of these strains have been manipulated over the years in hatcheries to assure the best returns from the Great Lakes.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lakewood Unable To Present Fireworks Display

5/23/2006 - LAKEWOOD — There will be no fireworks for Lakewood residents on the Fourth of July, but this time around it’s not because they’re too dangerous.At Monday’s meeting, village board members decided to abandon their pursuit of a fireworks display because new regulations at the national level have made them ‘‘impossible’’ for Hartley Park.‘‘Because of the regulations, we just can’t do it,’’ said Mayor Tony Caprino. ‘‘We won’t be able to have fireworks.’’According to village officials, as in previous years, a professional fireworks display for their Fourth of July celebration was something they were pursuing.‘‘We said we were going to have fireworks, but when we contacted the company they said they need 600 feet of space,’’ Caprino said referring to a comment he made at a previous meeting assuring residents there would be a fireworks display. ‘‘We only have 250 feet, so that’s impossible.’’‘‘We just can’t comply with that,’’ he added.The National Fire Protection Association policies that regulate the distance pedestrians must be from the pyrotechnics are based on mortar size. The fireworks Lakewood officials had in mind would require a 600-foot buffer, and Caprino noted the smallest ones the company could provide would still require a 350-foot buffer — still too much for Hartley Park.‘‘I don’t think we should put the Village of Lakewood in that position,’’ he said.Joe Troche, village board member, said he looked into another company with similar results.‘‘Even with his guidelines we’re still too short,’’ he said. ‘‘So we have a problem.’’Last year, Lakewood Village Board members decided fireworks were just ‘‘too dangerous’’ and cancelled the display, resulting in a backlash from residents. At the time, board members argued residents closest to the display felt the same way.‘‘It seems the farther you go from the actual fireworks, the more you want them,’’ Troche told The Post-Journal in May 2005.

As a result, a deal was struck with a waterfront property owner across Chautauqua Lake in Ellery, who set off fireworks from the shoreline. But the absence of the traditional fireworks display was blamed by some for a less-than-enthusiastic Fourth of July experience.
It’s unclear whether another such resident across the lake will come forward once again to salvage the holiday for those who celebrate it the old-fashioned way — watching things explode.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Discover Artworks Gallery opens in Mayville

5/21/2006 - MAYVILLE — The latest addition to the arts community opened recently with a special Mother’s Day grand opening. Discover Artworks Gallery, 51 S. Erie St., Mayville, opened with an exhibit featuring works created by and devoted to children and families in Chautauqua County.

Discover Artworks will kick-off with the Heart Gallery photo exhibit, ‘‘Framing Faces, Finding Families,’’ organized through The Coalition of Adoption and Foster Care Agencies. The exhibit highlights and presents foster care children through professional photographs. ‘‘We are pleased to be part of this grand opening and be part of the first exhibit,’’ said Roberta Anderson, Social Services Department representative and CAFFA representative. ‘‘This is a wonderful way for the community to learn more about the needs of these special and wonderful children.’’ County Executive Greg Edwards presided over the gallery’s special ribbon cutting ceremony, issuing a proclamation naming May as Foster Care Month in Chautauqua County. ‘‘For many of the children pictured in this exhibit, this is the first time they’ve had this kind of positive attention paid to them,’’ Edwards said. ‘‘So many times our self-image is what other people tell us we are. For these young people to see themselves in this light, through professional photography, and to be celebrated for what they bring to the world, says a tremendous amount about the importance of this exhibit.’’Judge Judith Claire also was present to express her support for the gallery on behalf of CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization for which Discover Artworks and Food Is Good Inc. are hosting a nine-month fundraising campaign. ‘‘This exhibit is incredible, as it features children who are waiting for adoption and a family. To see these pictures and read about the children is so compelling and beyond words,’’ Judge Claire said. ‘‘We can’t thank you enough for the support of CASA. On the last Wednesday of each month, Food Is Good is donating a portion of their profits to CASA. This is just a phenomenal thing. I hope that the public will find out about the work Food Is Good is doing and about this special exhibit.’’Edwards also expressed his appreciation to Discover Artworks and Food Is Good Inc. for their efforts with area youth.‘‘Every time we turn around, they’re making something good happen in Chautauqua County,’’ Edwards said. “They provide the spark that gets an idea up and running, or provide resources that allow good things to happen, such as this exhibit, which combines art with families. We’re a rare community to have all this come together in this particular exhibit.’’In addition to the Heart Gallery, Discover Artworks’ May show will feature three works by Chautauqua Lake BOCES students, a series by Forestville photographer Suzette Tweedie and an exhibit to honor the late Gabriel Klau, a former CLCS student and artist. The BOCES High School classes at Chautauqua Lake Central School have created three large canvas paintings over the course of four years, with various students in Jane Lewis’ and Chris Rammacher’s classes creating the artwork. The students also made time-lapse videos of the creation of each painting. The BOCES classes have been without art instruction for the past two years. According to Rammacher and Ms. Lewis, art education in the curriculum allows students to think beyond the parameters of structure, so learning can be free flowing and creatively expressed. ‘‘We are thrilled to be a part of this community, and are very excited to provide another opportunity to promote local artists,’’ said Jane Fischer, Discover Artworks Gallery manager. ‘‘Furthermore, we feel it is both our privilege and responsibility to support our local community, its organizations, and the people of Chautauqua County. We’re proud that our opening exhibit celebrates family and shows that, indeed, the people, businesses, and organizations of Chautauqua County have heart.’’

Discover Artworks will exhibit and sell the works of local and regional artists year-round. The gallery is open daily from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 269-ARTS (2787).

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Jamestown’s Secret River

By MARK BALDWIN, For the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy

Though hemmed in for much of its length by the remains of Jamestown’s industrial heyday, the Chadakoin River retains its original character along a few hidden, semi-wild stretches.

5/21/2006 - Chautauqua Lake is fed by a number of inlets and springs that spill down its 176-square-mile watershed, but it has only one outlet and that is the Chadakoin River. The Chadakoin not only drains Chautauqua Lake but it does so slowly; its shale streambed dams the lake, keeping it from draining dry like a bathtub with the plug pulled. The Chadakoin probably seems a bit mysterious to many local residents. In my role as an environmental educator, I often just get confused looks from students when I talk about the river and ask them what they know about it. Not surprising, because the Chadakoin is practically invisible to them. I’m sure it wasn’t always so. The very reason a community came to be here in the first place is because of the Chadakoin. In fact, Jamestown was known simply as ‘‘The Rapids’’ at first. Imagine what a May morning on the Chadakoin must have looked like through the eyes of James Prendergast prior to 1812 when he built the first sawmill along its banks: rapids, runs and riffles flowing over bedrock ledges and glacial cobbles, the overhanging branches of red and silver maple and black willow trees shading pools full of fish rising to snap at mayflies. But soon Prendergast and others built dams and millraces and placed wheels in the Chadakoin’s moving water to power sawmills, gristmills, and woolen mills. This water power enabled profitable businesses to not only mill trees into lumber, but the river itself could float the product downstream to markets in growing cities along the Allegheny, Ohio and even the Mississippi River, to which the Chadakoin directly connects via the Cassadaga and Conewango Creeks. Gradually, as manufacturers turned to more reliable power sources, the wheels of industry were removed from the river, but the river still served a useful purpose — as a sewer. Through pipes pointing out the back ends of riverside buildings flowed every kind of pollutant imaginable, from human waste to toxic industrial chemicals. The same buildings effectively sealed off the river from view and some were actually constructed over the river itself, effectively completing the sewer conduit metaphor. In time, improvements in sanitation technology and environmental protection laws prompted the good citizens of Jamestown to stem the flow of poisons into the Chadakoin. Each day, millions of gallons of wastewater from the Jamestown area are treated before being dumped back into the stream, in the lower reaches of Cassadaga Creek. Still, countless conduits take aim at the Chadakoin with pollution-laced stormwater all along its run through Jamestown and Falconer. And an incredible amount of illegally dumped trash litters its bottom and its banks. The Chadakoin still dutifully keeps Chautauqua Lake a lake and a few sections have been spiffed up for public use. There is even talk about the importance of the Chadakoin as the connecting link of a revitalized Jamestown to Chautauqua Lake. Time will tell whether we’ll succeed as a community in recognizing once again the Chadakoin’s status as its primary natural asset. In the meantime take a look at Jamestown’s river and take a moment to ponder its past and consider its future. It’s in your hands.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Drivers Beware At Chautauqua GC


5/20/2006 - When The Post-Journal Champions golf tournament is played on the Hill Course at Chautauqua Golf Club on Sunday, quite a few of the competitors’ drivers might have a light workload.Unlike the wide open Lake Course at Chautauqua, that was designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1924, the newer Hill Course, that was designed by Xen Hassenplug and opened in 1994, is a lot tighter.When it comes to using a driver, Chautauqua club champ Shelly Grant said, ‘‘Probably half the holes I leave it in the bag.’’ Grant is playing in the event open to club champions from regulation 9- and 18-hole course in The Post-Journal circulation area for the 11th time and he has won the title three times. But this is the first time he has competed as the club champ from Chautauqua. His previous appearances have been as the club champ from Hillview Golf Course or as the defending champion.Grant plays plenty of golf at Chautauqua and admits the newer 18-hole layout is growing on him.‘‘I like the Lake, but I’ve gotten so I like the Hill because you have to think a lot more,’’ he said. ‘‘There are so many different shots to have to hit.’’Grant recalled his lowest score on the par-72 Hill Course was a 66 or 67.When playing the Hill Course, he noted his driver stays in the bag mainly on the back nine.‘‘I never hit it on 10,’’ Grant said about the 353-yard, par-4 hole that features a tight landing area. ‘‘And most of the time on 11.’’The 11th hole is a 481-yard, par 5 with a severe dogleg to the left. He avoids the driver there because he can drive through the fairway at the dogleg.Grant also avoids using a driver on the 344-yard, par-4 14th, which also features a narrow landing area. And like at No. 11 a drive could go through dogleg of the 386-yard, par-4 16th hole.Looking back at No. 10, there can be more problems after hitting the drive. It features an elevated green and the approach shot can play 20 or more yards longer than the distance estimated from the pin.‘‘No. 10, it’s definitely long (for the second shot),’’ Grant said. ‘‘Most of the time if you don’t hit a solid shot there you’re going to come up short. That’s definitely my toughest hole on that side.’’And according to Grant, that’s the middle hole in the Hill Course’s toughest stretch.‘‘I would say 9, 10 and 11,’’ he said are the key holes. No. 9 is a 367-yard, downhill par 4 that also requires an accurate drive. And it’s another hole where Grant often skips the driver.When asked to pick a winning score for Sunday’s tournament, Grant predicted, ‘‘I would probably say 1 or 2 over would be a really good score.’’And in order to do that, Sunday’s participants can’t falter on the first four or five holes.‘‘I think it’s very important to get off to a good start so you can have yourself ready for that tough stretch (of No. 9 through 11),’’ Grant said. ‘‘It’s very easy to start bogeying when you get into that stretch.’’The Hill Course also features the longest par 3 among Chautauqua’s 36 holes, the 212-yard seventh hole. But Sunday’s competitors will also get to play the shortest par 3 at Chautauqua. Because a new men’s tee is being constructed on the second hole, the women’s tee will have to be used which leaves the players with a 106-yard shot.The defending champion is Corky Hull, who won the title last year at WoodCrest Golf Course. He is invited back as the defending champion while the remainder of the field won their club titles last year.The field dropped from 17 to 16 this week when Sugar Hill Golf Course club champ Dave Willebrandt had to withdraw. That forced a revision of the tee times and now there will be four foursomes playing.The Post-Journal Champions will again be an 18-hole scratch event and if there is a tie after 18 holes, a playoff will begin at No. 1. Chautauqua is providing the greens fees and light meal for the participants.

The Post-Journal will provide a sleeve of golf balls for each Post-Journal Champions player and
silver bowls to the winner and runnerup.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Chautauqua Lake Association Fights Weeds The Natural Way

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Woodcrest Golf Course Moving Ahead with Vacation Homes

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Rich History Of Westfield & Chautauqua

Cars came into vogue in the early 1900s, and for a couple of decades prior to the Great Depression, families prospered. After Main Street was paved in 1921, more automobiles were driven in the village of Westfield. Travel became a leisure activity, enabling people to venture from their hometowns to other destinations.

5/14/2006 - New ‘Images Of America’ Book Focuses On WestfieldBy ANASTASIA CONKLIN

Most people are familiar with Westfield’s ties to President Lincoln and William Seward — famous figures from the past. Others may not be aware of other people and stories that contributed to Westfield’s history. Not many know that Theodore Roosevelt visited Westfield in 1914 to campaign for the Progressive Party. Few may remember how Dr. Welch signaled the pressing of the grapes with an annual whistle blast. On April 24, Arcadia Publishing was released its newest book, entitled Westfield. The book covers the rich history of not only the village itself, but of Barcelona Beach and Lake Erie.The books authors are Kenmore, N.Y. native, Kathleen Crocker and London, England native, Jane Currie. The duo also wrote three other books about Chautauqua County including Chautauqua Institution, written in 2001; Chautauqua Lake Region, written in 2002; and Jamestown, written in 2004. According to Crocker, they began writing the books because they were curious about the role played by their ancestors in Chautauqua County’s history. They were eager to pool their talents and mutual passion for the region to not only learn of their heritage, but evoke a similar desire for their readers.‘‘For the most part we worked individually on our specialties,’’ said Crocker. ‘‘Jane located and scanned images and I researched and verified information. Together we organized chapters, assembled the layout and ultimately coordinated the images and cutlines.’’Both Currie and Crocker had a familiarity with Westfield which afforded them access to personal and family scrapbooks, albums, diaries, letters and other archival materials. They also found written dialogues with longtime residents and friends, including the current historian who remembered both of their fathers. With all the material that they gathered, they both learned things about the Westfield area that they had not known before, including Barcelona’s strategic location on Lake Erie that played a major role in opening up the Ohio Valley region for French and British exploration. This route was called the Portage Trail and was an essential route for both Native Americans and early pioneers.‘‘We hope that people will be amazed by the early days of Barcelona,’’ Crocker said. ‘‘Especially now since it is a simple lakeside community.’’Barcelona was also once a bustling port for commercial and passenger steamers between Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland and Detroit. They also learned that commercial fishing once sustained the Barcelona community and that Dr. Roswell Park, founding of the cancer research institute in Buffalo, traveled by train on weekends to assist at the Soules Training Hospital for Nurses.‘‘I think that people will be impressed that we have tackled a fourth Arcadia Publication in order to share and honor Chautauqua County’s rich history,’’ Crocker said. ‘‘People will find that Westfield had many ‘firsts’ and the number of renowned historical persons that were a part of Westfield’s past, including William Seward and President Lincoln.’’The book is available at several local retail stores and bookstores for $19.99, including Cadwell Cheese House and Gift Shop in Dewittville. The cheese house is owned by author Jane Currie. The authors will also be holding a book signing at Walden Books at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 16 and at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 17.

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Whatever Happened To The Stow-Bemus Point Ferry ...

Officials Upset Over Ferry Hours Of OperationBy PATRICK L. FANELLISTOW — Ellery resident John Cheney remembers what it was like in the old days.He said the Stow-Bemus Point Ferry once ran all day every day, from ‘‘ice out to ice in,’’ allowing motorists a nostalgic route across the Narrows of Chautauqua Lake.Nowadays, pedestrians are more likely to find the ferry out of operation during the summer months, making the Veterans Memorial Bridge — which is closed to bicyclists and travelers on foot — the only way to cross during much of the summer months.‘‘It’s upsetting to me that it’s not running,’’ said Cheney, who worked the ferry in one way or another for as long as he could remember until just a few years ago. ‘‘There’s no reason it can’t be running.’’According to Sally Carlson, North Harmony supervisor, the ferry only operated on weekends last year, and the reason for the substantial cut in hours of operation remains unclear.Also unclear is the ferry’s fate, and what’s in store for residents and vacationers this summer.‘‘I know there’s a great deal of interest in getting it running again,’’ Mrs. Carlson said.The ferry operates under the Chautauqua County Historic Vessels Company and the Sea Lion Project, a non-profit organization that was much more active 15 years ago — days when a group of members fought with the board of directors for control of the organization after a dispute over the Sea Lion vessel.Now, it’s unclear who board members even are.‘‘The board changed hands so many times,’’ said Roger Miller, a Stow resident who lives adjacent to the ferry. ‘‘The last time someone asked who the board members were, he gave them some names and they went to talk to those board members, and they didn’t even know that they were board members.’’The ‘‘he’’ Miller refers to is Jim Loutzenheiser, the only name that pops up among residents and officials when asked who runs the organization. Multiple phone calls to Loutzenheiser’s residence went unanswered last week.Like Cheney, Miller is concerned over the future of the ferry.‘‘It operated quite well until about six years ago,’’ he said.Mrs. Carlson is also concerned over the ferry’s fate. At a recent meeting of the North Harmony Town Board, town officials asked their district’s county legislator — Frank ‘‘Jay’’ Gould, R-District 19 — to take the matter to Mayville.At issue is a legal agreement between Chautauqua County and the Historic Vessels Company dated May 12, 1998. In exchange for operating the ferry ‘‘on a regular basis from Memorial Day through Labor Day,’’ the company was given ownership over the ferry and the property in Stow and Bemus Point.To officials and residents, however, the ferry’s limited operation is not ‘‘regular,’’ thus breaching the agreement.‘‘That’s why we feel they should enforce it,’’ Mrs. Carlson said.Miller said the ferry once operated ‘‘quite well’’ under the leadership of residents such as Cheney, turning a profit even after the Veterans Memorial Bridge became an alternative. He said it’s unfortunate since so many people come to use the ferry for the nostalgia of the experience.‘‘I had one guy come here, and he had his grandmother with him, and the ferry was closed,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s the biggest ball of wax you’ve ever seen.’’

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Second-Home Owner Survey Shows Solid Market, Appetite for More

RISMEDIA, May 12, 2006—A new survey of second-home owners by the National Association of Realtors® shows Baby Boomers continue to dominate the market, and a growing number of second homes – more than one-in-10 – are owned by minorities. A surprising majority of respondents own multiple properties in addition to their primary residence. David Lereah, NAR’s chief economist, said the market continues to be dominated by the baby boom generation. “Middle-aged, middle-income households are the driving factor in the second-home market, with favorable demographics providing a solid fundamental demand in this sector for the next decade,” Lereah said. “Boomers believe in diversifying their assets, and most second-home owners see their purchase as being a better investment than stocks. A surprising majority of survey respondents hold multiple properties, and they are interested in purchasing additional homes.” About six in ten respondents own two or more homes in addition to their primary residence. Minorities have become more active in the market, accounting for 11 percent of vacation home purchases between 2003 and 2005 in contrast with 6 percent of purchases in 2002 or earlier. In the investment property segment, minorities accounted for 17 percent of transactions between 2003 and 2005 compared with 11 percent in 2002 or earlier. An unexpectedly high number of vacation-home owners, 21 percent, own two or more vacation homes. In addition, 34 percent of vacation-home owners report they own two or more investment properties. More than half of investment property owners, 53 percent, own two or more investment homes and 12 percent own two or more vacation homes. Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are 6.8 million vacation homes in the United States and 37.4 million investment units in addition to 74.6 million owner-occupied units. NAR President Thomas M. Stevens from Vienna, Va., said the term “second home” appears to be something of a misnomer. “The fact that so many owners of vacation homes and investment property have additional properties is a bit of a revelation,” said Stevens, senior vice president of NRT Inc. “We’ve always known that a certain segment has invested heavily in the rental market, and some people earn their living simply by holding and managing investment property. What we see now is a crossover between largely vacation- and investment-home owners, with people recognizing the value of those investments and pouring more assets into real estate,” Stevens said.

The typical vacation-home owner is 59 years old, earned $120,600 last year, and purchased a property that is 220 miles from their primary residence, but 34 percent were less than 100 miles and another 34 percent were 500 miles or more. Eight out 10 drive to their property, and half of vacation homes are located within the same state as the owner’s primary residence. Eighty-three percent of owners are married couples. Three-fourths of vacation-home owners purchased for personal use, although one-third also wanted to diversify investments, and 18 percent intended that the home would become a primary residence in retirement. Only 13 percent of vacation owners listed rental income as a reason to buy. The typical owner spends 39 nights per year at their property, and three-quarters do not rent out. Of those who do rent their vacation home, the median number is 12 nights per year. The median age of an investment owner is 55, with an income of $98,600 in 2005; 75 percent of owners are married couples. Their investment property is located close by, within a median distance of 10 miles. Two-thirds of investment-home owners purchased their property to generate rental income, and half viewed the property as a way to diversify investments. Eight out of 10 spend no time in their property. Not surprisingly, 80 percent rent it out, with 73 percent renting for at least six months per year. For all second home owners, their most recent property was purchased a median of six years ago. However, most have held additional properties for longer periods. As for attributes desired in a vacation home, two-thirds want to be close to an ocean, river or lake; 39 percent close to recreational or sporting activities; 38 percent close to vacation or resort areas; and 31 percent close to mountains or other natural attractions. Leisure activities of interest to vacation-home owners include beach, lake or water sports, 57 percent; boating, 38 percent; hunting or fishing, 32 percent; golf, 21 percent; biking, hiking or horseback riding, 20 percent; ski or winter recreation, 17 percent; and tennis, 9 percent. Half of vacation homes are located in resort or recreational areas, 18 percent in small towns and 16 percent in rural areas. Four out of ten are detached single-family homes, 22 percent are cabins or cottages, 21 percent condos in buildings with five or more units, 7 percent a townhouse or row house, 5 percent a mobile or manufactured home, and 3 percent are located in two-to-four unit structures; 1 percent were other. Six percent said their vacation home was a timeshare unit. The median size of a vacation home is 1,480 square feet, 29 percent were new when purchased, and owners estimated the current value to be a median of $300,000 – 68 percent said the value of that property was lower than their primary residence. Sixty-five percent of owners said their vacation property was a better investment than stocks. Six out of 10 investment properties are located within metropolitan areas. Half are single-family homes, 21 percent are a duplex or apartment in a two-to-four unit structure, 13 percent condos in a building with five or more units, 8 percent a townhouse or row house, 3 percent a mobile or manufactured home, and 2 percent a cabin or cottage; 4 percent were other. The median size of an investment property is 1,520 square feet, 15 percent were new when purchased, and owners estimated the current value to be $200,000. Three-fourths said the value of their investment property was lower than their primary residence, and 70 percent said their property was a better investment than stocks. Four percent of vacation-home owners and 8 percent of investment owners said they intended for their child to occupy that property while in school. Among buyers of second homes in recent years (since 2003), two-thirds purchased through a real estate agent. Eighteen percent of vacation homes and 17 percent of investment properties were purchased directly from owners, while 14 percent of vacation homes and 7 percent of investment properties were purchased directly from builders. Thirty-two percent of all vacation-home owners and 24 percent of investment owners paid cash for their property. Combined with mortgages that have been paid-off, 82 percent of vacation homes and 75 percent of investment properties are owned free and clear. Of owners who purchased with a mortgage, the median down payment on a vacation home was 27 percent and the median down payment for an investment home was 23 percent. When asked about the source of down payment funds for more recent vacation-home owners with loans, who purchased since 2003, half said savings, 23 percent from the sale of other real estate, and 19 percent identified equity or sales proceeds from their primary residence. For more recent investment owners who purchased with mortgages, half said down payment funds came from savings, 28 percent from equity or sales proceeds of their primary residence, and 18 percent from the sale of other real estate. “With older baby boomers just now reaching 60 years of age, and younger boomers in their early 40s, the lifestyle preference of boomers will figure prominently into future demand for vacation homes,” Lereah said. Eleven percent of vacation-home owners said they were planning to buy another home within two years, and 10 percent said they planned to sell. On the other hand, ownership of investment property hinges on financial gains that can be expected from rental income and appreciation. “Mortgage interest rates, local economic conditions and the local rental market are more important factors in investment decisions. Cooling appreciation rates and greater loan oversight are expected to discourage the speculative element in the investment market, although that is likely to be a relatively small portion of the overall market,” Lereah said. Even so, 35 percent of all investment-home owners said they were planning to buy another home within two years. For those who currently own four or more investment units, 64 percent said they planned to buy another property within two years, and 17 percent said they planned to purchase five or more additional properties. Twenty-eight percent of investment owners plan to sell a property within two years. The 2006 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Second-Home Owners is based on an eight-page questionnaire mailed in January 2006 to a nationwide sample of 45,000 households who owned more than one residential property. It generated 416 usable responses from vacation-home owners and 619 from investment owners. The study can be ordered online here or by calling 800-874-6500.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Chautauqua Lake Revitalization Plan Awaits Approval From Two More Boards


5/8/2006 - It’s been on the drawing board for more than five years — a comprehensive plan for the revitalization of the Chautauqua Lake waterfront.Now, a draft copy of the nearly 300-page document awaits only the approval of two more municipal boards before it can be submitted to the state and sent back for final adoption.‘‘In the end, it will provide a framework for what the community would like to do,’’ said Don McCord, a planner with the county Planning and Economic Development Department. ‘‘It will help them realize their vision for their community.’’The draft copy of the Lake Waterfront Revitalization Plan includes a list of projects for each of the nine municipalities along Chautauqua Lake and a comprehensive inventory of each municipality’s lakefront resources — such as parks, landmarks and scenic overlooks. For instance, part of Lakewood’s plan includes the following projects: enlarging the beach and constructing a dock at Richard O. Hartley Park on Terrace Avenue; improving the boat launch at Lakewood Community Park on Summit Street; upgrading stormwater systems to prevent pollutants from entering Chautauqua Lake; and promoting the walking tour program through historic Lakewood.‘‘I think the underlying goal for all communities is to utilize the limited resources along the waterfront in such a way as to promote economic growth without compromising character,’’ McCord said.The project began in 2000. According to McCord, county planners worked with community members and municipal officials to develop a list of waterfront resources and objectives over the following two years.But then there were delays.‘‘We had some disruptions,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s been the slow process of fitting this into our workloads.’’A draft copy was completed by spring 2004 and was sent to the state for review. Once it returned, Planning Department officials sent it back to the public and the nine municipal boards.‘‘It’s not adopting it,’’ McCord said. ‘‘It’s just accepting it as a complete document.’’According to McCord, if each of the nine town and village boards accept it as a rough draft, it will be sent to the office of Christopher Jacobs, acting state Secretary of State. At that point, 75 state agencies will have 60 days to review it and then return it to the Planning Department’s offices on Harrison Street.It is then that town and village board members will make the decision whether to officially adopt it, he said.McCord explained the LWRP will serve two purposes. It will provide communities with a blueprint for developing the waterfront and it will also make state funding available for those projects.‘‘An LWRP presents a unified vision; it, therefore, increases a community’s chances to obtain public and private funding for projects,’’ states the state Department of State Web site. ‘‘Funding for both the development and implementation of Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs is available from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, among other sources.’’The draft LWRP needs the approval of Celoron and Lakewood village board members before it can be sent to the state for review. The other seven municipalities are the towns of Chautauqua, North Harmony, Busti, Ellicott, Ellery and the villages of Bemus Point and Mayville.For more information on the state Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, go to comments to

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Jungles Of Chautauqua Lake

By TINA NELSON, For the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy

A few stretches of Chautauqua Lake’s shoreline retain their jungle-like quality, which benefits both wildlife and people’s enjoyment of the lake. This is a lakeside view of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s Prendergast Point Preserve. Photo by William Tobbe
5/7/2006 - There is a jungle along Chautauqua Lake down Bemus Point way. Monkeys, jaguars, anacondas? Well, no, but an intrepid explorer may encounter many animals just as intriguing as Tarzan’s companions including small bright birds, shy mammals, sleek reptiles and spectacular insects. However, because the definition of a jungle applies here — ‘‘an area of thick tangled plant growth’’ — exploring this jungle may be a little difficult. This impenetrable quality is why the animals are there. The thorns of the brambles defend nestlings while the scrubby sumac trees provide a meal of tart red fuzzy berries for their parents. Thick shrubs screen White-tailed Deer from dangerous eyes. Fallen branches overgrown with grass and covered in old leaves are a roof over the tunnels and runways of countless mice, voles, moles and rabbits. Flycatchers and kingfishers find the branches overhanging the lake convenient perches upon which to survey their prey populations of flying insects and fish.Where is this wild place? Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center. It’s a jungle because, although the area was once part of a well-tended farm owned by the Welches (of Welch’s Grape Juice), it went untended when the farm was abandoned and sold to become part of LCLC. In 2003, the Lutheran Center and the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy entered into an easement agreement that stipulates that this 16 acres of the center’s shoreline remain undeveloped forever. LCLC’s jungle is not the only jungle on Chautauqua Lake. The CWC has entered into similar easement agreements or actually purchased shoreline property so that the land could remain in its natural, undeveloped condition in such places as Prendergast Point, Stowe Farm Lakeshore and Chautauqua Lake Outlet.The shoreline of Chautauqua Lake is a real estate gold mine. Everyone wants to live on the lake where there is swimming, boating and a beautiful view at your doorstep. That doorstep is located upon a piece of land where the jungle has been cleared away to make room for a house usually surrounded by a nice, neat landscape consisting of non-native plants. We humans manipulate nature to suit our desires. Jungles are undesirable. Thorns hurt. Scrubby trees are not neat. You cannot stroll through thick shrubs. Fallen branches will trip you. And shoreline trees get in the way of the dock and shade the beach.That impenetrable mass of vegetation on the ground is also an impenetrable mass of roots underground. That too serves an ecological purpose. Just as the vegetation prevents humans from strolling through, the roots prevent soil from moving through and into the lake. Sediment buildup is a major ecological threat to Chautauqua Lake. The sediment comes primarily from the erosion of cleared land in the watershed. Those roots of the jungle also absorb nutrients. Neat landscapes are fed lots of fertilizer, often too much. The excess fertilizer dissolved in watershed water flows into the lake where it feeds aquatic weeds growing on the built up sediment. But if the water with the fertilizer flows through a jungle the plants there will absorb the nutrients, grow and provide food and shelter for monkeys, jaguars and anacondas. Well, no, but the plants will provide food and shelter for the animals that do live in Chautauqua Lake jungles.

Dedicated to preserving and enhancing the water quality, scenic beauty, and ecological health of the lakes, streams, wetlands and watersheds of the Chautauqua region, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has conserved more than 490 acres of critical wetland and shoreland habitat, including the Stow Farm lakeshore, Prendergast Point wetlands, Elm Flats wetlands, Chautauqua Lake outlet/ Chadakoin wetlands, and other special places. Please visit our Web site at to learn more, or contact the Conservancy at 664-2166 or to schedule a presentation or to discuss implementing a pollution control project on your property or in your neighborhood. You can help support these efforts as a volunteer and/or with a membership contribution. The Conservancy’s annual membership campaign is underway. You are invited to send your tax-deductible contribution to the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, 413 North Main St., Jamestown, NY 14701.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Bemus Point Condo Development moves ahead along Chautauqua Lake

With approvals in hand, Bemus Point Investment LLC is gearing up to begin construction on the appropriately named Bemus Point Condominiums.
The development cleared one of its final hurdles earlier this week when the Bemus Point Planning Board signed off on the project. Construction won't start until September.

Bemus Point Investments is proposing to construct the 40-unit complex that will front on Chautauqua Lake. Each unit comes with a garage and parking space for guests and visitors.
Every unit will have a view of the lake.
The first units should be available by late winter or early spring

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wheeler Files New Assessments


5/4/2006 - BEMUS POINT — It’s official.DeaAnna Wheeler, assessor for four towns in central Chautauqua County, filed the 2006 assessment roll Friday despite repeated requests not to from town officials.‘‘I intend to go with it. Bill stands by it,’’ Ms. Wheeler said, referring to Bill Morrill, county real property services director. ‘‘The state certainly stands by it, too.’’Aside from changes made through the appeals process, the assessment roll now carries with it the force of law unless the state intervenes.‘‘Nothing can happen at this point unless for an act of the state Legislature,’’ Morrill said.The assessment roll for the four towns she assesses — Ellery, North Harmony, Gerry and Stockton — has been called into question due to unprecedented increases in the assessed value of some residents’ property in each town, except for Stockton.In one year, townwide assessments climbed 16.4 percent in Ellery, 24.8 percent in North Harmony and 7.8 percent in Gerry. In comparison, the increases in 2005 were 3.7, 3.4 and 5.3 percent, respectively.It’s not everyone who’s been affected, though — most assessments in the three other towns remained unchanged or rose only slightly. The dramatic increases in Ellery and North Harmony were mostly driven by the soaring value of waterfront property along Chautauqua Lake — leaving lakefront property owners with the threat of tax bills double or triple what they usually get.In response, many residents demanded Ms. Wheeler be fired and this year’s assessments be erased. Town officials did request they be frozen, but not simply because their constituents wanted it.‘‘We had heard several accounts that there are severe inequities in the assessment roll,’’ Pierre Chagnon, Ellery Town Board member, told The Post-Journal two weeks ago. ‘‘It wasn’t the emotion of the situation. It was numerous examples that leads one to wonder.’’Ms. Wheeler refused, in part because it wouldn’t be fair for other residents. She said most property owners — 75 percent in North Harmony, for instance — would receive a tax decrease if municipal spending remained the same.‘‘I’m disappointed the board is listening to the minority rather than the majority,’’ she said.Residents in that minority, though, have expressed their fears that higher property taxes might drive them from their homes.Their hopes have now fallen on the town-appointed Board of Assessment Review, which decides whether residents’ assessments should be lowered. Grievance Day, as it is called, will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. on May 23 for Ellery residents, May 24 for North Harmony residents and May 25 for Gerry residents.Though town officials have indicated their intent to request the state Legislature erase this year’s assessments, Morrill said residents should not count on it.‘‘I certainly don’t endorse doing away with the rolls and I certainly don’t endorse delaying the rolls,’’ he said. ‘‘The problem is people think they don’t have to go to Grievance Day.’’Any resident appealing his or her assessment must obtain the appropriate complaint form — form RP-524 — from the assessor’s office in Bemus Point.

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