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Dunkirk City Council names new fire chief

By Susan Chiappone

CHAUTAUQUA CORRESPONDENT

DUNKIRK – Fire Department issues dominated the City Council meeting Tuesday, with the naming of a new fire chief and approval of the purchase of new training equipment.

Capt. Michael D. Edwards was named to take over as fire chief after the retirement of Keith Ahlstrom on March 13. Edwards has 22 years as a paid firefighter with the department and seven as a volunteer. The mayor extended his thanks to Ahlstrom for 35 years of service to the department.

A live-burn simulator that will allow firefighters to practice rescues was approved for the training grounds on Brigham Road. The simulator will be purchased with $400,000 through an Assistance to Firefighters Grant and a $40,000 contribution from Chautauqua County. The city will be responsible for insuring the equipment. The training center has not had the capacity for burning training exercises in 15 years, officials noted. Chautauqua County also will purchase a maintenance contract on the equipment.

In other matters:

• The Council accepted an $11,000 grant through the Chautauqua County Health Department to study bacteria on the city’s beaches.

• Micheal Civeletto, historian for the city, presented information on state and federal grants available to preserve and repair homes and buildings in certified historic districts.

• Mayor A.J. Dolce said appointments to the board and other policies for the group are being considered. • The Council approved Mayoral appointments of Nicole Joiner, Cindy Gotowka and Matt Martinez to the Youth Recreation Board, and reappointments of Ron McWillson and E.J. Hayes to the panel.

• Councilwoman Stacy Szukala asked about the status of the deteriorating sea wall near the city’s water-treatment plant. Department of Public Works Director Tony Gugino said he plans to work on a hazard mitigation case with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The mayor said the city plans to apply for a grant to repair the sea wall.

• Councilman-at-large Willie Rosas said that he supports beautification projects of the Revitalize Dunkirk Committee, which will meet at 6:30 p.m. March 19 in SUNY Fredonia’s incubator building. The group hopes to raise funding for flower baskets in the city.

• H&K Services of Leon was awarded a contract to repair the Benton Street water tank for $216,500. Councilwoman Szukala asked if any other projects to improve the water system would be delayed because of the tank work. The 2 million-gallon tank has not been opened and cleaned for 12 years, according to Gugino. He said inspections and cleanings should be scheduled every five years.

• A meeting is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday in Fredonia Village Hall on the location and work on a water line between the city and village. The water line is part of the first phase of construction in the proposed northern Chautauqua County Water District.