The state Department of Transporation will now move ahead with plans to reconfigure the West Third Street Bridge in Jamestown for two-lanes of traffic, and two bicycle lanes. The DOT and city held a public hearing last night on a joint plan to re-design the traffic flow on the bridge -- eliminating the four-lanes of traffic that have existed since the mid-1980s. The DOT's Paul Gavin was on hand for the hearing to answer questions... and, says they worked for more than a year on the project. The turning lane would also widen out to 10-feet at Third and Porter... and, Third and Hall Avenues. Third and Hall was the main source of concern for some people. One... Hall Avenue resident Jim Kress... is worried about westbound traffic getting bottled up behind westbound cars turning left at Hall. He says a turning light may help keep drivers from going to the right, and into the bike lane. One other person also expressed concern about that... and, Gavin says the DOT will monitor the situation.
During last night's voting session... city lawmakers approved Mayor Sam Teresi's appointment of Kevin Okerlund as Jamestown's new assessor. He'll replace the retired Randy Holcomb... who stepped down earlier this Summer. Teresi says Okerlund has been the city's Commercial Property Appaiser for the past several years. The appointment runs through September of 2019. The City Council also approved a new agreement with the town of Busti... which Holcomb worked for. However... the city will be paying the full salary for the assessor... while the other communities using Okerlund's services will pay a smaller percentage.
Prices at the gasoline pump are heading in the right direction. That from local Congressman Tom Reed... but, he still wonders why they aren't lower... and, intends to look into the matter. The Corning Republican says he has several questions he wants to ask Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz about why we aren't seeing a bigger drop in the cost of gas. During a conference call Reed held with Southern Tier Media Monday... Reed was asked whether he intends to inquire about why there is such a difference in gasoline prices across the state. He says yes, he will... but, he says it could be regional... or state border issues. Reed says he believes lower energy costs will help the nation's economy. He feels based on the price per barrel of oil reaching historic lows... gasoline prices should be closer to 2-dollars a gallon.
The closing of both Carriage House plants in the north county is still causing weakness in Chautauqua County's job market -- even several month later. That from State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker... who says the county's jobless rate rose slightly, from 6-percent in June to 6.2-percent in July. Slenker says Chautauqua County's job count fell from 53-thousand-200 to about 53-thousand last month. However... he says most job areas increased slightly... or held steady for the month. Slenker adds that a decrease at this time of year is not unusual... mainly because schools scale back at the end of the academic year... as do colleges. He says that's why one other sector is down from month to month. That's colleges and universities... particularily the SUNY College at Fredonia... which let out for the Spring Semester in late May. Slenker says the number of employed workers in Chautauqua County is also down 200 over the year. He says the jobless rate in July was down by half-a-percent from July of last year.
There were some significant job loss numbers... and, the unemployement rate in Cattaraugus County rose by 3-tenths of a percent in July. State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker says the jobless rate there was 6-percent last month. Like Chautauqua County... Slenker adds there were also government sector losses there with the school year ending... and, St. Bonaventure University closing for the year. However... he says other sectors at least held their own in July. Slenker says... overall... July was "a quiet month" in Cattaraugus County. He says July's jobless rate was 7-tenths of a percent down from July of 2014.
New York's comptroller reports tax revenues so far this fiscal year are nearly 10 percent higher than the same four months last year. According to the comptroller's office... the 25.3-billion dollars in tax receipts through July reflect stronger personal income tax collections. Comptroller Thomas DiNappoli says settlement funds have also boosted the state's available balance at the end of July to 9.6-billion dollars. New York has reached settlements with several major banks following state and national investigations into troubled mortgage-backed securities and currency transactions for nations barred from U.S. trade. The comptroller's report shows consumption and use tax collections of $5.3 billion through July, up nearly 4 percent, and business tax collections of $2 billion, down about $534 million from a year earlier.
One of the major highlights of the annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs at Chautauqua Institution took place last Sunday night with presentation of a major award. The Robert H. Jackson Center posthumously presented the Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement to lawyer Sergei Magnitsky... who died in a Russian prison after being arrested in late 2008. Acting Director of the Jackson Center... Tom Schmidt... says Magnitsky uncovered major fraud allegedly perpetrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Magnitsky wouldn't back down from his position... and, helped his law firm determine that a substantial amount of money had been taken from Hermitage Capital Management. Hermitage was once Russia's largest portfolio investor. Magnitsky's wife and 14 year-old son were on hand to accept the Heintz Award. It's given to a person who "demonstrates compassion, vision and dedication in the pursuit of international humanitarian justice." The law dialogs continue through tomorrow with the conference's annual statement.
Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony were the most cited nominees to be pictured on the 10-dollar bill during a town hall meeting with U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios in upstate New York. The hearing was held Monday at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls. Eleanor Roosevelt and Elizabeth Cady Stanton also had support as Rios took suggestions during an hour-long session Monday in the upstate city... where the original 1848 Women's Rights Convention was held.
New York's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance reports collecting more than 135-million dollars in overdue child support payments last year through specialized enforcement. According to the office, the collections on behalf of tens of thousands of children came in cases where parents fell behind on payments and had the means to pay but were unwilling. The state program says it collected 1.8-billion dollars altogether last year for nearly one-million children, administered by county and New York City social service departments.
Veteran running back and respected team leader Fred Jackson has been released by the Buffalo Bills. With nine seasons in Buffalo... the 34-year-old Jackson had been the second-longest serving active player and one of the team's most popular players among fans. The move came as a slight surprise, though Jackson's tenure was in question because of his age and the team's moves to restock its running backs this offseason. The Bills acquired LeSean McCoy in a trade with Philadelphia to take over the No. 1 spot, and also selected hard-hitting rusher Karlos Williams in the draft. Buffalo's depth chart at running back also includes Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown. Jackson was one of 12 players cut on Monday, when all NFL teams had to reduce their roster to 75 players.