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WJTN News Headlines

A native Western New Yorker has been hired by the Jamestown School District to be it's new Director of Finance and Business Affairs.  The school board last night approved Kevin Ziemba (Zee-Em-Ba)... who comes from the Cheektowaga-Sloan District in the Buffalo-area.  He will replace the retiring Dale Weatherlow.  School Superintendent Tim Mains made the appointment... saying Ziemba stood out in two ways... mainly the experience of being a school administrator for 24 years.  Mains adds Ziemba was also a "shared" adminstrator for three years with the  Cleveland Hill district through the Erie-1 BOCES. Mains says the other way Ziemba stood out was he has two certifications... one in Advanced Studies in School Business Administration... and, another as a School district Administator and School Business Administrator.  He adds that Ziemba did his homework on Jamestown... and, that came out in the interview process.  Ziemba also received the Western New York Chapter of the New York State Association of School Business Officials' 2013 Outstanding Service Award.  Dale Weatherlow has been Assistant Superintendent for Administration the past several years... and, will officially step down June 30th.


The union representing some 425 employees at the Carriage House plants in Dunkirk and Fredonia say they have negotated a "fair" severance package with officials from parent company ConAgra.  SEIU Local-#266 President Tom Dickerson adds that ConAgra has also agreed to selling the two plants with NO restrictions.  Dickerson adds he's glad -- quote -- "to report that we have achieved two of the three goals of our campaign for dignity and justice."  Dickerson says Local-#266 reached agreement with ConAgra Wednesday night after two days of bargaining over the impact of the scheduled closing of the Carriage House facilities in Fredonia by the end of this year.  Union officials credited the outpouring of support from local business, civic, labor, religious and political leaders in recent months with making the difference.  They also thanked local, state and federal leaders who fought to keep the plants open... or at least lift the restriction on who could buy the facilities.  Among those officials Dickerson credited were County Executive Vince Horrigan... and, Congressman Tom Reed.  Reed issued a statement... saying he was "extremely pleased" to hear about the two developments.


The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is preparing for the annual County Executive Breakfast that will be held tomorrow morning in downtown Fredonia.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum says this will be the first event for County Executive Vince Horrigan who took over the office in January.  Tranum says there are a number of issues that will come up. Tranum outlines the format for the forum that will be held at the White Inn.  He says Horrigan will give about a 10 minute presentation... then they'll have an "arm chair" discussion with questions the chamber... and, individuals have.  Tranum says registration for the Breakfast begins at 8 this morning... with the breakfast getting underway at 8:30 AM.


A conflict with the opening of the season at Chautauqua Institution means Jamestown High School's graduation ceremonies will be held at the institution a week sooner than everyone else.  That from Superintendent Tim Mains... who says the annual commencement will be held at the Amphitheater Friday night, June 20th at 7 PM.  On this morning's Dennis Webster Show on WJTN... Mains said -- aside from a few instances several years ago -- having graduation at Chautauqua has become a significant tradition for everyone. Mains says the one issue with an earlier graduation is the fact many students have state Regents exams the week following graduation.  He says students don't receive their actual diploma at graduation... it's mailed to them.  But... he says most either have already met graduation requirements... or only need to take one test.  He says, though, they want everyone eligible to cross the stage because they'll presume that they will have passed their test.  Chautauqua will open it's season on Saturday, June 21st. 


Since Jamestown is the largest district in the area... school officials are looking at adding a couple of extra graduation ceremonies to the annual calendar.  That from Superintendent Tim Mains... who says it's not unusual for larger districts to hold additional ceremonies for the smaller group of students who don't complete their gradutation requirements until after the summer, or Fall semesters. Mains says he's discussed the idea with most school board members... and, talked with two last night that he had not had the chance to before prior to the special board meeting.  He got the okay to add one extra commencement ceremony after the Summer session in August.  That will be voted on at next week's board meeting.


A dozen companies so far have taken the state's offer of tax-free zones under the Start-Up New York program.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the first set of businesses in the program during a visit to Buffalo.  The companies and employees will see 10 years of tax-free living for locating on or near college campuses.