Local News Headlines
Firefighters are battling a blaze in Westfield this morning. Chautauqua County Sheriff's say the call came in just after 4:30am for two structure fires at 7721 Martin Wright Road. Firefighters from Westfield, Mayville, Ripley, Portland, Fredonia and Brocton are at the scene of a House and Barn Fire. There were people in the home when the fire started, they all made it out safely. We'll have more details when they become avaialable.
Colder air has moved in from Canada to make it feel more like February than early April. Lake Effect Snow is expected to coat the hilltops through this morning. Forecaster John Hitchcock with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the higher elevations inland from Lake Erie were to get up to 2 or 3 inches through this morning... and, maybe another inch by late morning. Hitchcock adds, though, that April snow is NOT very rare in Chautauqua County... in fact we usually get a couple of shots each year. Hitchcock says the areas right along the Lake Erie shoreline will get an inch or less during that time. He adds that while last March was unusually warm... there were some accumulating snows that occurred late last April. The good news is the snow won't last long since we'll see temperatures rebound into the 40s on Thursday and Friday.
Our extended period of snow and cold temperatures have led one local ski resort to extend it's season through mid-April. The Holiday Valley Ski Resort in Ellicottville will be open until April 14th. Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh says they've actually had great conditions since early this past February. Eshbaugh says the snowfall... and, cold night-time temperatures made the decision a fairly easy one. She calls conditions there "mid-Winter" like. Eshbaugh says ALL slopes are open... and, their snow base is between 17 and 56 inches. Eshbaugh says the best part about the snow pack on the trails is the surface is basicall "packed powder..." as opposed to the more icy or spotty conditions you see late in the season. She says it's not completely making up for last year's lack of snow and cold weather... but, it's helping. Eshbaugh says they're "doing well." Holiday Valley will be open to skiers all this week until 4:30 PM daily. Eshbaugh says they received about 50 inches of new, natural snow in March.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has postponed his trip to western New York to sign the state budget that was approved last week by the Legislature. Cuomo's office says Monday morning that weather conditions have forced the postponement of the trip. The governor was scheduled to hold ceremonial signings of the spending plan at 12 PM Monday at the University of Buffalo's South Campus... and, at 2:15 PM at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. There's no immediate word on when the trip will be rescheduled. Lawmakers completed passage of the $135-billion budget late Thursday night, three days before the March 31 deadline. That gave the state its third-consecutive on-time budget. Cuomo and legislative leaders call the spending plan a family-friendly, business-friendly and middle-class-friendly budget.
There are both good and bad parts to the state's 2013-2014 budget. That from the region's other Assemblyman, Joe Giglio. The Gowanda Republican says the best part of the spending plan for Cattaraugus County is the fact it includes two-years worth of payments to the city of Salamanca due to the state's ongoing dispute with the Seneca Nation of Indians. He says the worst is that it severly cuts funding to programs for the developmentally-disabled provided by The Resource Center in Chautauqua County... and, the ReHab Center in Cattaraugus County. Chautauqua County Assemblyman Andy Goodell recently said only about 30-million of the 120-million dollar cut to those agencies is being restored. As for the city of Salamanca... Giglio says the city will get 2.5-million dollars this year... and, 2.5-Million more in the 2014-2015 budget to make up for lost revenues from the Seneca Allegheny Casino. The Seneca's are holding up funding for both the state and city due to an ongoing dispute with the state.
State police are beefing up patrols this week and enforcing both speed and so-called ``move over'' laws. The ``Move Over Law'' requires drivers to slow down when approaching stopped emergency or police vehicles on the shoulder or roadway with emergency lights activated. On multi-lane highways, drivers must move one lane over if they can do it safely.
Advocacy groups have started pushing in cooperation with Governor Andrew Cuomo to change New York's campaign finance laws. Calling themselves the Fair Elections for New York campaign, they've launched a two-week, 815-thousand dollar media campaign statewide with 30-second television ads saying political races ``are dominated by big money.'' Groups funding the initial campaign include the Working Families Party, Citizen Action of New York, Friends of Democracy, the Public Campaign Action Fund and investor and activist Sean Eldridge. A campaign spokesman said Monday they're working with Cuomo's staff and he joined a recent conference call to supporters. Cuomo has proposed reducing maximum contributions, requiring prompt public disclosure of contributions and voluntary public financing of campaigns. His own campaign fund shows nearly 22.5-million dollars on hand from traditional fundraising.
A country preacher in western Pennsylvania baptized his great-grandson on Easter Sunday. The Derrick of Oil City reports that 82-year-old Reverend Walter ``Bud'' Anthony performed the rite for his 7-month-old great-grandson. Anthony says it may be his last baptism. He's retired, but family members asked him to do the service. Anthony doesn't keep count of how many baptisms he did in 60 years of preaching, but the total includes all of his six children and almost all of his 30 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Anthony says Sunday's service included some of his favorite Bible verses about the importance of children.