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Monday, May 31, 2010

The Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan

The Chautauqua Lake Watershed Management Plan is complete in draft form and ready for public review and comment.

A long time in the making, the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission has finished drafting the document, which advocates a balanced approach to watershed management based on good science, broad community support and economic viability.

Chautauqua Lake's watershed takes in 180 square miles of land and includes 14 municipalities, including portions of Lakewood, Celoron, Ellery, Chautauqua and North Harmony as well as Sherman, Stockton, Panama and Busti.

After receiving public comment, the plan will be presented to local elected officials before being finalized. When finalized, the plan will inform decisions made about stormwater management, wastewater disposal, open space, and development.

Today's edition of The Sunday Post-Journal features a commentary by Rick Constantino, watershed coordinator. In his editorial piece, Constantino makes the connection between how "going green" can help keep the lake blue.

The plan recommends specific courses of action, many of them "green" solutions which address the root causes of impairments, not just the symptoms. The plan includes both immediate actions as well as long-range strategies which seek to remedy existing problems and to prevent future harm.

The plan is available at local libraries around Chautauqua Lake and can be downloaded from The Post-Journal's website as well as

The Chautauqua Lake Management Commission will be hosting a free public meeting entitled "Be Green or Go Green - Green Solutions or Weeds and Algae" from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on June 10. The public meeting will be held at Chautauqua Institution's Fletcher Music Hall.

An open house will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. before the public meeting from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

During the meeting, the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission will highlight strategies and recommended actions steps from the Watershed Management Plan. In addition to the CLMC, county staff and the CLMC's consulting team will be available to answer questions and take down comments. There will be no fee for entering and parking at Chautauqua Intuition for the event.

For more information, contact Rick Constantino by calling 661 or 8915 or e-mailing

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chautauqua County Announces the World’s Learning Center

Dunkirk, N.Y. - The Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau (CCVB) has announced its new brand, logo, and website redesign focused around Chautauqua County - The World's Learning Center. This new brand proclaims what visitors and residents have known for over a century; that Chautauqua County is a premier destination for leisure learning, as well as a hub for prominent writers, scientists, businessmen, politicians, and teachers of all disciplines to come and share their expertise and information in a relaxing vacation setting.

The brand initiative is focused on the idea of learning vacations. Simply defined, learning vacations offer experiences, such as interactive tours, classes, or workshops that visitors can participate in within the timeframe of a week. Some opportunities are a few hours, some might take a full day, and others might be a week long. In any case, the visitor will end their vacation with newfound knowledge, as they will have experienced or learned something they did not know before their trip.

The announcement of Chautauqua County's new World's Learning Center brand was presented at the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator and featured distinguished representatives from some of the County's key learning destinations. During a brief program, Gregory J. Edwards, Chautauqua County executive; Mr. Thomas Becker, president of Chautauqua Institution; Dr. Dennis Hefner, president of SUNY Fredonia; Dr. Gregory DeCinque, president of Jamestown Community College; and Mr. Robert Swenson, president of Peek n' Peak Resort at Spa, all offered their endorsement of the brand.

"Our area attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors because it offers so many different kinds of things to see and do," said Chautauqua County Executive Edwards. "It has never been difficult to attract visitors to the lakes, the great attractions, events, and so much more. What is exciting now is the promise of so many of us working collaboratively to promote the area as Chautauqua County, NY-The World's Learning Center."

Mr. Becker added, "As an Institution dedicated to lifelong learning for over 135 years, Chautauqua is very pleased to be a partner with the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau's efforts to make Chautauqua County become The World's Learning Center."

Chautauqua County is located in the southwestern corner of New York State, a region of lakes, pastoral countryside and small communities. A primary draw to the County is the world-renowned Chautauqua Institution, which opened its gates and assembly grounds in 1874 on the belief that everyone "has a right to be all that he can be - to know all that he can know." The Institution's annual nine-week summer program welcomes international speakers, artists, musicians, and experts in many fields to provide lectures, shows, and workshops in topics ranging from ethics in leadership and politics to cooking with local foods and photography.

Chautauqua County is also home to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, the Robert H. Jackson Center for Justice, the Lucille Ball - Desi Arnaz Center and Celebration of New Comedy, the Lily Dale Assembly, and the Peek'n Peak Resort with Learning Academies for skiing, snowboarding, and golfing.

The State University of New York campus at Fredonia and Jamestown Community College both offer credit and non-credit continuing education programs for personal development. And, a soon-to-be completed Grape Discovery Center will provide learning opportunities around the grape industry and agricultural heritage of the largest grape growing region in the United States, outside of California.

CCVB's branding team chairman, Ben Webb, articulated the World's Learning Center as an all-inclusive brand that should be harnessed by all destinations and attractions in Chautauqua County. Mr. Webb said, "Learning activities and experiences in Chautauqua County are not limited to museums, historic sites, and tours. These type of attractions offer great educational value, but there are additional leisure learning experiences that visitors can tap into as well, such as creative hands-on programs and workshops, camp activities, nature trails, culinary excursions, and artistic ventures. There are learning opportunities to be found within all of our attractions, if we change how we view one another."

The World's Learning Center branding initiative is an ongoing commitment and partnership of all agencies, businesses, foundations, and tourism attractions within Chautauqua County. It is a community-wide initiative that relies on the support of business and civic leaders, as well as the tourism industry to experience the greatest level of success.

CCVB Board President Don Anderson concluded, "The Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau is excited to collaborate with our local tourism, government, and business partners to bring awareness to every vacation-oriented learning opportunity available. By working together with the World's Learning Center as a primary focus, we can all do our part to develop Chautauqua County as a true learning destination."

For a list of more than 45 leisure learning ideas or for more information about learning opportunities in Chautauqua County, see the "What to Learn" section of or call the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau at 866-908-4569.



Stephanie Burdo

Communications Coordinator

Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau

PO Box 1441

Chautauqua, NY 14722

716-357-ILNY (4569)

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Buying a Chautauqua Home

Buying a house is no cakewalk, and applying for a mortgage may be the most time-consuming, important part. If you're not careful, a mortgage's fine print will cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars more than you want. With all the number crunching and mortgage lingo, it seems appealing to close a deal and start house hunting. But it's better to take some time.
Before you apply for a mortgage, there are a few things you should do. These steps will help you prepare and feel more confident in applying.
-Check your credit score. Most homebuyers do this with three companies, and it's best to get your credit checked about three months before you plan to buy a house so you can correct any inaccuracies. If you don't plan to buy for awhile, improve your credit by paying bills on time and paying down any debts.

-Figure out how much you can afford. Based on annual income, determine how large of a loan you can comfortably pay off. Some lenders may tempt you with huge amounts, four or five times your income. Try not to exceed three times your income. Don't forget, you'll have a down payment to cover, which could be as high as 20 percent pending your credit score.

-Study your local market. Learn what the average interest rate is in your area and how much comparable homes cost.
-Pick a <a href="">mortgage type</a>. If you don't plan to occupy the house for long, a 5-1 adjustable rate mortgage might be best, but if this house will be yours for generations opt for a long-term fixed rate mortgage. No two homebuyers have the same circumstances, so talk this over with your lender to find out which mortgage suits you best.

It's not a bad idea to calculate loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios. The loan-to-value is simply the loan amount divide by the value of the home you wish to buy. If this ratio is above 80 percent (0.8) rates start to soar. The debt-to-income ratio represents your monthly debt divided by your monthly income. Usually a ratio below 30 percent is favorable, but if it's higher you should pay off more debt.
Now that you're ready to apply, consider who you'll have on your side.
-Shop around for lenders. Find one who is honest and will tell you when your credit or financial reserves won't cut it. Selfish lenders only want to get you approved with little regard for your ability to afford it.
-Be a capitalist. Let the lenders know that you're shopping around and force them to compete with one another. It's not unethical to do, you're just trying to get the best terms for you.

-If you can afford it, get a lawyer. You're not in any trouble because you applied for a mortgage, but having an attorney to look over anything before you sign it is a big help with filing requirements.
All that's left is to get approved. Better yet, ask lenders if you've been pre-approved for a certain mortgage. Sellers see pre-approval letters as signs of serious buyers. Once you have a mortgage deal, it's time to search for your next home.

Provided by

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Realtors Look To Rates For Sales

With Tax Credit Expired, Market May Need Another Boost

By Dennis Phillips
POSTED: May 10, 2010
With the expiration of the first-time homebuyer credit April 30, realtors are banking on another aspect to help continue the growth in the housing market.
Low mortgage rates are the new influence state and local realtors are counting on to continue the 18 percent growth in the housing market that was experienced during the first quarter of the year.
''As expected, home sales in the first quarter were markedly improved from a year ago, thanks in large part to the federal homebuyer tax credit, low mortgage rates and available inventory,'' said Duncan R. MacKenzie, New York State Association of Realtors chief executive officer. ''We anticipate that these conditions will also result in a strong sales numbers between April and June as buyers strive to meet the tax credit program deadlines.''
Applications for home mortgage increased 13 percent in the final week of April, according to figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association as borrowers sought to take advantage of the expiring home purchase tax credits for new and repeat home buyers.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, it was the highest level of purchase applications since the week ending Oct. 2, 2009.
The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 5.02 percent in the weekly MBA survey, down from 5.08 percent the week before. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans fell to 4.34 percent from 4.38 percent the week before.
Jan Murray, Chautauqua County Board of Realtors executive officer, said the low mortgage rate is one reasons housing sales increased in the county between February and March, increasing 6 percent. She said with the low mortgage rates, there is more confidence among consumers looking for a new home.
''It seems to me that the confidence is coming back,'' she said. ''People are looking at higher-priced vacation homes and vacation homes are a very important part of our market. There is more activity and the outlook is hopefully good.''
Other factors like the unemployment rate and the overall economy is also important in keeping the housing market strong, Ms. Murray said. The unemployment rate in Chautauqua County dropped by .7 percent to 9.2 percent in March.
''The job market is a big, big factor,'' she said.
New York realtors sold 13,973 existing single-family homes in New York State during the 2010 first quarter, an increase of 17.7 percent from the 2009 first quarter. The March sales total of 5,329 was up 31 percent from the February total of 4,068.
Complete data is available at

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Chautauqua County Snowmobile Season a Success


April 30, 2010 (716) 753-4672

Mayville: -- With the final numbers coming in, Chautauqua County Executive Gregory J.

Edwards has hailed the County's most recent snowmobile season a major triumph.

"I am pleased to report that thousands of people from Chautauqua County, the

surrounding region and as far away as California used our over 450 miles of snowmobile

trails that are maintained here locally," Edwards proclaimed. "We truly enjoyed a great


Paul Weatherlow, Secretary of the Snowmobile Clubs of Chautauqua County, agreed

with Edwards that the 2009-2010 snowmobile season was a huge success.

"We had a great winter," Weatherlow said. "Missing from the typical weather was the

normal meltdown during the season. We only had one weekend in January where warmer

temperatures and some rain forced cancellation of our weekend events."

Weatherlow said the official County snowfall was just about the normal average with

223" (about 19') falling in Mayville. He stated that the combined membership from the

Chautauqua County Snowmobile clubs from the previous season totaled 3,380 Family

Memberships and over 5,000 snowmobiles.

"Of the 3,380 Family Memberships, 889 were from Pennsylvania, 545 were from Ohio,

and more from other states such as California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, West

Virginia, etc.," Weatherlow said. "Overall, the clubs had a double digit increase in Family


Edwards also received a financial report from County Clerk Sandra Sopak on the number

of people who registered their snowmobiles at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"Sopak reported to me that they had over 5,000 total snowmobile registrations," Edwards

said. "That was an increase of over 9% from last winter."

Edwards agreed with Sopak's assessment that the large amount of money these

snowmobilers spent in the County's numerous restaurants, bars and stores was a

significant investment in the local economy.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Chautauqua Lake Surf Club

New Group To Take Over Iconic Restaurant

By Sharon Turano,

BEMUS POINT - A new Surf Club is expected to open May 27.
Mayor Bryan Dahlberg said representatives who will be taking over the club have discussed their plans with him.

"We're just tickled," said Bemus Point Mayor Bryan Dahlberg. "We're extremely excited to have that building occupied."

Although some of the partners in the plan wish to remain anonymous, Niagara Falls restauranteur Jeff Taylor will be general manager as well as one of the Surf Club's owners, and Jamestown's John Frey, a Buffalo restauranteur and another Jamestown financial backer will all play a part in the Surf Club.

Frey could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"It's a good opportunity," said Taylor, who said it was "heart-breaking" to many that the Surf Club sat empty last year.

The group plans to change that by "trying to bring back the original Surf Club-feel," he said. There will be a family-friendly, affordable dining area with patio grill, outside patio, Sunday breakfast brunch and live bands on weekends. Taylor said there will be entertainment during the week, when a full restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner. A catering service, nautical theme and full-service bar will also be available, he said.

"It's a beautiful building and location. It's a prime spot," said Taylor. He said he is experienced in the restaurant business as owner of Niagara Falls' Justin Tyme Restaurant, which is located on the Niagara River.

"We are very excited," he said. Taylor's Niagara Falls establishment was selected Best Business of the Year for 2005 by the LaSalle Business and Professional Association, reports the restaurant's website.

The Bemus Point facility Taylor plans to open as a restaurant is at the corner of Main and Lakeside.

Another establishment, the Village Casino, is undergoing door replacement and insulation projects that officials hope will cut down on noise emanating from the club, which has caused neighbors' concern.

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