The New York Senate and Assembly have advanced their own budget proposals as negotiations over state spending enter their final weeks. The two proposals endorsed Thursday represent the Senate and Assembly's priorities as they craft a final budget with Governor Andrew Cuomo. Both chambers say they want to spend more on education than Cuomo recommended. The Senate budget offers more tax relief while the Assembly budget contains a phased minimum wage increase to 12-dollars-60 cents. Both chambers balked at Cuomo's effort to link the budget to his proposals requiring greater reporting of lawmakers' outside income and his changes to teacher evaluations and tenure. Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos says budget negotiations are progressing and hopes the budget will be approved before the fiscal year begins April 1st.
A weight-bearing beam at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater failed early Wednesday afternoon... damaging a column in the northeast corner of the Amphitheater. Chautauqua's Communications Director Jordan Steves says the failure occured about 12:30 PM... adjacent to Gate 1. Steves says some people in the area heard a loud "crack..." and, the institution's operations staff was called in. He says the column was at the top of the Amphitheater seating area. Steves says Operations staff brought in a large crane to help support that part of the amphitheater's roof to access what happened. He adds most of the visable damage is to that column. Steves says the heavy snowmelt appears to be the cause. With the failure... he says the Amphitheater has been closed off to visitors, along with some of the roadway in that area. Steve says the crane and other equipment is being staged in that location. In addition to restricting the "Amp" to appropriate personnel only... vehicle and pedestrian access is restricted on Roberts south of Miller, and on Bowman west of South Terrace.
A north county man has been arrested for allegedly sexually attacking a woman while giving her a ride home a week ago last Sunday. Sheriff's officers say they've taken 35 year-old Philip Tirone of Oak Street, Silver Creek, into custory for the alleged incident. Deputies say the victim did not consent to the physical contact... which allegedly occured on Route 39 in Forestville just after 6 PM on March 1st. Following an investigation... officers took Tirone into custody on charges of first-degree sexual abuse... and, second-degree harassment. He was arraigned in Hanover Town Court... and, sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars cash bail.
A new, stand-alone grocery chain that has had some success in the Jamestown-area is moving a second store into the area in the village of Lakewood. The proposal is being made by the Florida-based owners of the former Super Duper-Jamesway strip plaza on West Fairmount Avenue. Mayor David Wordlemann says Save-A-Lot is planning to use the just over 17-thousand square feet of space formerly used by Super Duper for the new store. Wordlemann says Bocar Family Holdings is proposing one of the chain's "basic" type stores. Once the new store is up and running... it'll be the first stand-alone grocery store in the village since Quality Markets closed it's location in the Lakewood Village Center several years ago when parent company, Penn Traffic, went out of business. Wordlemann says the site plan now goes before the planning board... which is expected to make a recommendation by late April. Wordlemann says he doesn't expect any problems, and if all goes well, the new Save-A-Lot should be open by mid-Summer. He says Save-A-Lot sells a fairly large selection of brand name items.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has obtained indictments against 33 people accused of conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine in northern New York. Investigators in Watertown say wiretaps and surveillance used in the year-long probe helped identify four loosely-related networks were involved. They allegedly funneled illegal drugs into Potsdam, Edwards, Pierrepont and Stockholm in St. Lawrence County from Yonkers, the Bronx, Syracuse and Leominster, Massachusetts. Authorities seized more than one-million dollars worth of Heroin and Cocaine during raids. Schneiderman says addictive and deadly heroin has spread even into the most rural counties -- including Chautauqua.
Emergency management officials in Chautauqua County will be keeping an eye on area creeks and streams as the snow pack continues to melt. Temperatures have reached above the freezing mark for the past few days and it is forecast to reach 50 today. County Executive Vince Horrigan says no major problems have surfaced so far. Horrigan says they have been in touch with local communities that have a history of ice jam flooding. In addition... he says county officials have reached out to the Red Cross, and local fire departments, and, secured heavy equipment that may be needed at a moment's notice. Forecasters are concerned about a weather system that could bring a quarter to as much as a half inch of rainfall tonight through Saturday. There’s the potential for some minor flooding this weekend -- especially if temperatures climb higher than expected and rainfall exceeds the current forecast.
The wife and two children of the New York man who faces charges that he fraudulently claimed an ownership stake in Facebook have been reported missing. State police say 36-year-old Iasia Ceglia (SEHG'-lee-uh) and her two sons, 10-year-old Leeman and 11-year-old Joseffinn, were reported missing on Tuesday, the same day Manhattan federal court judge revoked bail for Paul Ceglia. Prosecutors say the businessman dropped out of touch with his pretrial services officer and was no longer at his family's rural home in Wellsville. Troopers say it's unknown if the wife and boys are with Ceglia, who's apparently has fled after circumventing his electronic ankle monitoring bracelet.
Mental health advocates are lobbying for a new tax check-off they say will help end the stigma around mental illness, which they say is common, treatable and far too often unaddressed. With hundreds of supporters in Albany this week, they say a new tax check-off -- similar to those where taxpayers can support Alzheimer's research or breast cancer awareness -- would send a clear message that mental health issues are equally important. Glenn Liebman, president of the Mental Health Association of New York State, says one in four people in the U.S. has a diagnosed mental illness and many don't get treatment. Advocates say many of those affected by the stigma _ and reluctant to acknowledge issues and get treatment _ are adolescents and their parents, as well as returning military veterans.
Pennsylvania's corrections secretary is scheduling two executions. However... a death penalty moratorium imposed by the governor two months ago means it's not likely anyone will be put to death in the near future. Secretary John Wetzel signed notices of execution Thursday that call for Albert Perez and Lance Arrington to be put to death on April 17th. The announcement comes two months after Governor Tom Wolf announced the moratorium, saying he had concerns about the state's system of capital punishment. Wolf's moratorium produced a lawsuit from the Philadelphia district attorney, a case the Supreme Court will hear.