Chautauqua County is under a winter weather advisory until 2pm today. Forescaster Bob Hamilton with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says we will see mixed precipitation this morning. Hamilton says there shouldn't be to much to deal with for this morning's commute with the possibility of an additional slushy half to one inch of accumulation possible on local roads. We'll still be cold Tuesday... with highs only in the upper 20s before there's a bit of a warm-up by mid-week. However... forecasters say expect more snow and below normal temperatures by late week.
Three people remain hospitalized for serious injuries following a two-car crash on Routes 5 and 20 in the village of Silver Creek after one of the vehicle was allegedly involved in an earlier accident. Sheriff's officers say they received a report of a vehicle leaving the scene of an accident shortly before 6:30 last Friday night. Deputies say they spotted the vehicle traveling east... and, tried to stop the car. However... the driver -- identified as 54 year-old Jeffrey Thompson of Irving -- accelerated away. Thompson's car then crossed lanes... and, struck a westbound vehicle. Officers say Thompson and his two passengers were flown to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for treatment. They adds that the driver of the second vehicle -- 50 year-old Francisco Padilla of Dunkirk and his passenger were treated at Lake Shore Hospital in Irving, and later released. The investigation is continuing and charges are pending.
A plan to raise New York's minimum wage to 15-dollars an hour is getting most of the attention around the country, but there's plenty of other big ideas in a new state budget approved by state lawmakers Friday. The 156-billion dollar spending plan also contains a plan to allow workers to take paid time off to care for a new child or sick loved one and a tax cut for middle-class workers. For schools, lawmakers set aside nearly $25 billion, which represents an increase of $1.5 billion. Other details in the budget include more spending on environmental protection and $21 billion for roads and bridge repair. One thing that didn't make the cut is ethics reform, despite a rash of recent corruption convictions.
New York state will spend 166-million dollars to expand and strengthen programs to fight heroin and opioid addiction. The money is contained in the new state budget approved by lawmakers on Friday. Lawmakers from both parties in the Assembly and the Senate pushed to increase funds to fight what they say is an epidemic of overdoses from heroin and opiates. Specifically... the funds will go to strengthen and expand efforts to prevent abuse and addiction and to help users get into recovery. The total investment was proposed by the Republican Senate majority. Senate Leader John Flanagan said last month that addiction is a ``huge'' problem throughout the state.
Among the final budget bills approved by the state Assembly last Friday was authorizing the transfer of up to 10-million dollars from the workers' compensation fund to implement paid family leave for New York workers. Some Republican lawmakers complained it's an expense for a new program pushed by Democrats that's supposed to be funded by workers through payroll deductions, the first of many expected surprises. Democratic Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo of the Bronx, says she and the others in the Majority have been regularly briefed and had their individual questions addressed. Arroyo says they know what's in the budget proposal, and it's the first time in 20 years they've been able to participate that way. Speaker Carl Heastie last year replaced ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver, who held the leadership post for two decades.
The new state budget includes 500-million dollars for environmental programs including water system upgrades and rebates for electric vehicle purchases. The budget for the fiscal year that started Friday includes 200-million dollars in additional money for clean water infrastructure improvements and $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, a $123 million increase. The Environmental Protection Fund increase includes money for lead testing in school drinking water, safe disposal of pharmaceuticals, and combatting invasive species. To decrease greenhouse gas emissions, the Environmental Protection Fund will provide rebates up to 2-thousand dollars to people who buy certain clean vehicles. The fund also supports land acquisition, farmland protection, state land stewardship, waterfront revitalization and environmental justice projects.
The first elected Hispanic mayor in New York says he would like to see Hillary Clinton become the nation's first woman president in November. Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas made it official late last week... announcing his endorsement of the Democratic presidential front-runner. Rosas made his announcement in a downtown restaurant that was packed with supporters. Rosas says next month's presidential primary is creating a lot of excitement and believes the Hispanic vote could play an important role in determining the winner. So does County Democratic Party Chair Norm Green... and, he credits Rosas with creating some of the excitement. Green says that block of voters has become a big part of the Democrat vote in the state -- and here in Chautauqua County. Hillary Clinton is being challenged by U-S Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. She is expected to be in western New York during the coming week. New York's presidential primary is set for Tuesday, April 19th.
The state's top court is refusing to hear a challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz's presence on New York's April 19th presidential Republican primary ballot. Plaintiffs Barry Korman and William Gallo maintain Cruz isn't ``a natural born citizen'' of the U.S. as constitutionally required for eligibility to be president. Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada. His mother was a U.S. citizen living there. His father is a native of Cuba. Last week... the midlevel Appellate Division agreed with a trial judge that the challenge over his citizenship was filed too late, missing the statutory three-day deadline. Cruz filed January 26th at New York's Board of Elections, but the objection didn't arrive until February 17th. The Court of Appeals without comment has now declined to entertain an appeal.
The Maid of the Mist tour boats are back in the water at the base of Niagara Falls. It's an early start for the popular tourist attraction after a milder than normal winter. This is the 131st consecutive season for the Maid of the Mist. The steamship-style boats sail passengers from the New York shore to the bottom of Niagara Falls... where they can look up at the walls of whitewater crashing from above. Hornblower Niagara Cruises offer passengers a similar ride from the Canadian shore.