Local News Headlines

News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 3, 2015

Bemus Point-Stow Ferry shut-down for rest of year after mechancial issues cause broken drive system...

A mechanical problem with the drive system of the historic Bemus Point-Stow Ferry has led to it being shut-down for the season about two weeks early.  However... the long-time operator of the historic vessel says it'll be back and running again next Spring.  Bemus Point's John Cheney says the problem with the ferry began about two-weeks ago.  Cheney says a tree limb floating in the narrows between Bemus and Stow likely got into the ferry's hydraulic drive... and, it broke loose after a tree limb got inside.  Cheney says the "splines" inside the motor "let go" last weekend... after many of the bikers involved with the Chautauqua Lake Grand Fondo had riden the historic vessel as part of the ride around the lake.  It's disappointing news to people who like to ride the ferry during Labor Day Weekend... before it shuts-down for the year.  Cheney adds that... while it's disappointing... he's heartened by the many people... and, businesses... that volunteer to help him keep the ferry operating.  Cheney says he's also disappointed... because several local schools were scheduled to bring young students by to take ride the historic ferry. 

Cuomo says Common Core Program in NYS needs fixing...

Governor Andrew Cuomo says today that the Common Core program in New York is not working and must be fixed.  The governor issued a statement today announcing a review of the standards, curriculum and tests.  Cuomo says he'll seek recommendations by January from a group that includes education experts, teachers, parents... Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia... and, state lawmakers.  Cuomo says he agrees with the goal of the standards, which are meant to better prepare students for college.  But... he repeated his criticism that the state Education Department's implementation of them has been flawed.  He says he sympathizes with the parents who had their children sit out of this year's Common Core-aligned math and English tests.  Twenty percent of eligible students skipped the tests in April.  The Education Department didn't immediately comment.

Scott says Stateline ready to reopen Saturday night with full program of stock car racing

A legendary stock car racing track reopens under new operations this coming Saturday night.  Stateline Speedway had fallen silent since the end of June when the insurance lapsed on the previous operator.  However... retired Late Model Star Jim Scott... his wife, Jean... and, Jamestown-area businessman Brian Horner have leased the track... with an eye towards buying it.  Scott, who runs his own business in Garland, Pennsylvania, says one of their first orders of business was fixing the tracks configuration to make for better racing.  Scott says they are working "as hard as they can" to ensure good racing for the fans.  He says leveling-out the surface should promote more "side-by-side" racing... which had been lacking in recent years.  The cars were back on the track for a "practice night" last night.  However... Scott adds it also gave them a chance to test out the new configuration.  He says it's important to bring back the fans... and, good racing will do that.  The first show is scheduled for this coming Saturday night... and, will feature at 30-lap Super Late Model Feature... and, racing for the speedway's other six divisions.

Emergency Management officials in NYS still grapping with response to disasters involving Oil Trains...

Three years after Albany became a major hub for rail shipments of highly flammable crude oil from North Dakota, emergency management officials are still grappling with response plans to deal with a potential disaster.  As many as 44 100-car oil trains a week move through upstate New York to converge in Albany en route to coastal refineries.  The Department of Environmental Conservation is working with local agencies in 21 counties along oil train routes to develop spill-response plans, pre-position specialized equipment such as fire-suppressing foam, and train first responders.