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Board considers checks on firefighters

The Fredonia Village Board is considering ways in which it can more fully assure that volunteer firefighters have no criminal background.
"We have a responsibility to our community," Mayor Frank Pagano said Monday during a board workshop.

Among the considerations is a background check on each new Fire Department volunteer with the state and county police agencies, as well as municipal police departments in Chautauqua County. This more extensive check would require a release-of-information form signed by the volunteer.

No action was taken on the issue.

In other business:

* It will cost the village an estimated $32,000 to repair one of the two wastewater treatment plant centrifuges. The same centrifuge broke last year. The board is negotiating a lowered price with the manufacturer.

* A representative from National Grid will be at the board's Jan. 8 meeting to talk about cutting down some trees.

* The board is investigating what it would take to bring additional historical recognition to the site of the first natural gas well in the United States, located in downtown Fredonia. The well was dug entirely by shovel in 1821 and was approximately 27 feet deep. Modern natural gas wells are more than 30,000 feet deep. State Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, has contacted the board, offering her support of the project.

* David Prince is retiring from the state Retirement System but will remain village justice. Thomas Castellana is retiring as waste-water treatment plant maintenance mechanic after 20 years of service.
A representative from the county chapter of the American Red Cross will attend the board's Jan. 15 workshop at 6:30 p.m. to talk about the Citizens Corps Program, which offers training "to harness the power of every individual to make our communities safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, public safety, public health issues and disasters of all kinds."

The board meets again Dec. 27 in Village Hall. There will be no workshop the week of Jan. 1. The first workshop and meeting of 2007 will be Jan. 8, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Village Hall.

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