A couple of preservation groups are boosting their public campaign to spare the historic amphitheater at Chautauqua Institution from demolition. That from Chairman Brian Berg with the "Committee to Preserve the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater..." who says five new billboard signs have been put up in the area surrounding the institution. Berg says the National Trust for Historic Preservation is backing the campaign... which he says renews their call for Chautauqua officials to hold an open dialogue on ways to renovate the Amp... not tear it down.
Berg says they have been trying to openly talk to residents about upgrading the facility... but, adds they haven't gotten very far with discussions with Institution leaders. They say the institution is continuing to pursue a complete tear-down... and, replacing it with a new facility. Berg says the billboards have been strategically placed so they'll be seen by the public. He says the idea of tearing down the Amphitheater is almost akin to tearing down Chicago's Wrigley Field -- or some other major historic location -- and replacing it with a new stadium.
A Chautauqua Institution official says they have "no issue" with the billboards that have been erected across the area... calling attention to controversy surrounding the amphitheater. Vice-President of Marketing George Murphy says Chautauqua remains committed to having an open dialogue about the amphitheater... and, how the project fits into the institution's long-range planning. Murphy says there will be plenty of opportunities during the upcoming 2015 season to learn more about what's being proposed. Murphy says the bigger the number of people attending those sessions... the better. The institution has planned three morning sessions each week for the first eight-weeks of the season -- devoted to the project. Murphy says the first one will be a tour of the amphitheater on Monday mornings. He says there will then be a "history" session on Wednesdays... and, a Q-and-A forum on Fridays. Murphy says each session will begin at 8 AM... and, the Wednesday and Friday sessions will be held in the Hall of Christ.
The Jamestown School Board has unanimously approved a new contract with the union representing support staff in the district. The panel adopted the five-year agreement... which is retroactive to July 1st of 2013... at last night's board meeting. School Superintendent Tim Mains says the Jamestown Support Staff Association represents about 160 employees... including most custodians, food service workers, and bus drivers. No details were released about the contract... which runs until June of 2018. With the agreement... the district now has agreements with five of the seven collective bargaining units they deal with. The only two that haven't include the district's largest union... the Jamestown Teachers Association. The other is the union representing the district's paraprofessionals.
A former Buffalo pub manager whose murder conviction was set aside has pleaded guilty in the death of a bar patron from Silver Creek who died months after being pushed down a flight of stairs. Jeffrey Basil pleaded guilty to manslaughter Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Buffalo in a plea agreement that will let him avoid another murder trial. In exchange... he faces 15 to 21 years in prison. The 37-year-old Basil could have received 25 years to life in prison had he been re-tried in the death last year of Air National Guardsman, 28-year-old William Sager, Junior. A jury found Basil guilty of murder in January, but a judge last month set the verdict aside after Basil's lawyers argued that one of the jurors concealed information about herself during jury selection.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he wants to meet with select officials in both the village of Fredonia and the city of Dunkirk before Thursday night's County Water Agency meeting. Horrigan says the earlier session is being held to respond to questions and concerns outlined in responses the county has received from the local governments. Village officials raised a number of concerns in a 6-and-a-half page document that was passed by the village board Monday night. Horrigan is asking for a meeting. But... it appears that at least one trustee has made up his mind. Joe Cerrie says that he won't support the district the way its is currently proposed. Cerrie says -- overalll -- "it's not a benefit to village residents and taxpayers." The city of Dunkirk issued its response to the proposed agreements last week... but, has not disclosed many details. The county Water Agency will meet at Shorewood Country Club on Thursday evening at 6:30 pm. The meeting is open to the public.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area are holding steady this week, with no change in the price of regular, unleaded fuel. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the price remains 2-dollars-94 cents per gallon... while the national price is now 2--75 a gallon. Triple-A says the average price locally is based on reports from 19 area service stations. Nationally... the Fuel Gauge Reports the average price has remained steady over the past week... and, continues to hover near at what many expect to be the highest average of the year. While prices across the country have increased since April... Triple-A says consumers are still saving 90-cents per gallon compared to this same time last year.
An annual event used to raise awarness about the need for kidney donors across western New York will be held this coming Sunday in Jamestown. The 6th Southern Tier Kidney Walk will be held on the city's westside...with activities beginning at 12 Noon at the Lillian Ney Renaissance Center. That from Walk Chairman Mitch Stone... who received a kidney transplant three years ago... and, has been involved for some time with the effort. Stone says he received a kidney from a "total stranger" through the Southern Tier Kidney Association and it's "Kidney Connection" program. He says they'll walk from the center, across the Third Street Bridge to Veteran's memorial Park... and, back. Southern Tier Kidney Association president Sam Pelleritto says you can find out details about the walk by going to their website at "southerntierkidneyassoc-dot-ORG. Pelleritto adds there will also be lunch served after the walk.