Jamestown has many attributes to its credit: scenery, landmarks, famous people, and people who are just good to know. As with any other area, there are topics that are important to the majority of the people. Topics that are discussed on street corners and in restaurants: topics that give rise to heated discussions, with outcomes that may potentially have profound effects on the residents of the area.
''While these topics may have great impact, there can be a scarcity of information on both sides of the issue that filters to the person on the street making it difficult to make informed decisions. Prendergast Library has decided it would be beneficial to the residents of the area if there were a forum that would provide information from experts on either side, in a discussion format. And what better place for that than the well-known source of information, the library,'' said a library spokesperson.
To that end, James Prendergast Library is scheduling a series of critical discussions on a number of topics over the winter, beginning with a discussion on gas well fracking on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Fireplace Room.
Doug Champ, who has been chairman of the Chautauqua County Energy Expo for the last four years, has agreed to chair this first discussion by putting together a panel of experts to discuss different aspects of this issue. This series is not proposing to solve issues, but to give residents a place to come and hear from those directly involved, and ask questions, enabling them to make their own informed decisions.
Panelists will be County Executive Greg Edwards; Bill Boria, water resource specialist with the Chautauqua County Department of Health; David Flynn, partner at Phillips Lytle, where he concentrates in the areas of environmental law and energy; and Mike Hogan, owner of Hogan Energy Consulting.
To kick off the discussion series James Prendergast Library will show two documentaries on the topic of fracking.
First is "Gasland: Can you light your water on fire?" created by filmmaker Josh Fox after learning his home in the Delaware River Basin was on top of the Marcellus Shale. This was shown in the Fireplace Room at the Prendergast Library on Thursday.
The second "Silent No More: Voices from the Women of the Shale," the stories of six women in search of what can save New York. This will be shown Thursday at 7 p.m. also in the Fireplace Room.
The second Critical Discussion topic is The Health Exchange, which will be chaired by Ann Abdella, executive director of the Chautauqua County Health Network. The discussion will be some time in November.
The Critical Discussion series will continue throughout the winter. They will be announced in The Post-Journal and at www.prendergastlibrary.org, or call 484-7135, ext. 225. The library is located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown, NY 14701.