A motor likely sparked the massive blaze that destroyed an Amish saw mill Monday evening in the town of Conewango. The Post Journal reports Multiple fire departments were dispatched just before 5 p.m. for a structure fire on Seager Hill Road. Heavy, black smoke could be seen as far away as Interstate 86. "When we got here the structure was pretty much already gone," said Randolph fire Chief Don McElwain. An exact cause of the fire has not been determined. However, fire officials said the motor used to power the saw likely was the source.
It isn't known who owned the saw mill.
The Jamestown City Council has approved about 1.3-million dollars in funding for two repair and renovation projects at City Hall... and, on Tracy Plaza. City lawmakers last night approved hiring CPS Construction Group of Cheswick, Pennsylvania to remove and replace the plaza's Parapet Wall. Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says this part of the approximately 2-million dollars in improvements will cost 841-thousand dollars. Lehman says they'll be tearing down the wall on all four sides of the plaza... and, replace it with a railing system that will "open up" the plaza. Lehman says the replacement work will eliminate the hazard of pieces of the concrete falling off. One large piece broke off a couple of years ago during a minor earthquake that hit the region. Lawmakers also approved 193-thousand dollars that'll be used to buy two-dozen windows at City Hall... and, replace ones that have fallen into disrepair. Lehman says it took about 3-to-4 years... but, they were able to find that D-and-S Glass of Jamestown could manufacture the needed windows... and, replace them. However... each window will wind up costing more to replace than they first expected.
A city man who wants to cut taxes for everyone, and make the county more business-friendly says he's running for County Executive. Jamestown's Edward Kurtz says he's now just a working man... trying to make ends meet. Kurtz adds that he's not a member of any political party... so he is running as an Independent. Kurtz made his formal announcement Monday... shortly after picking up petitions at the Board of Elections in Mayville. He needs 242 valid voter signatures. He says the area continues to lose jobs because the tax burden is too high. Kurtz says too many elected officials are staying with the status quo... and, not really trying to cut taxes for the ordinary man. The town of Portland native now lives in Jamestown. He did some business work with grape vineyard operators in the north county. Kurtz says he has an accounting degree from Jamestown Community Collge. He was in the miiltary for several years... and, has also done sales work. Kurtz says he has a five-point plan to improve the area... including finding ways to bring more jobs to the area... and, cutting government waste. But, he would increase the number of Sheriff's Deputies. Kurtz also supports selling the County Home to a private entity... and, eliminating the local bed tax.
Four local laws that would increase the salaries of most of Chautauqua County's elected officials have been pulled from the agenda from this week's legislature meeting. Chairman Jay Gould says he made the decision after two committees disagreed on whether any increases were in order for the County Executive... County Clerk... Sheriff... and, County Legislators. Since the proposals were released by the Salary Review Commission... there's been a lot of negative reaction. With that... Gould says he wants a more thorough discussion over whether a commission is practical in this day and age. Public sentiment has been strongly against any increases... and, Gould says he realizes it's a contentious issue. The Ashville Republican says one problem has been getting people to serve on the commission because the past few times they've made recommendations... they've been completely rejected... or not voted on. Gould says he wanted the fact that all four measures had been pulled from the Wednesday night's agenda announced publicly because some residents would have wanted to speak before lawmakers voted. He says they can still speak on the proposals... but, it would have to be during the legislature's second privledge of the floor.
Scientists have confirms that our Universe is growing. In fact... one the Week-One lecturers at Chautauqua Institution belives we actually have "multi-universes." This week's theme is "Our Elegant Universe." The main entity that has helped provide a glimpse of that universe has been the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A NASA Trailer is on the Chautauqua grounds this week with two employees. Math Educator Stephanie Brown-Houston is NASA's Cleveland, Ohio Space Center. Brown-Houston says she wanted to be a Math Scientist... so she enjoys her work with NASA. In fact... she calls it a "dream come true" to work there. However... she admits to being concerned about possible funding cuts for the space program. Public Affairs employee... Orlando Thompson says they have a Moon rock... and, other "hands-on" exhibits in the NASA Trailer. Co-Investigator Natalie Batalha with NASA's Kepler Mission is today's featured lecturer.