City lawmakers will soon be considering a new ordinance that will expand the smoking restrictions in Jamestown's parks system. The City Council heard about a proposed update to Jamestown's 2007 local law that banned smoking from playground and ballfield areas of the parks. The new ordinance is still being finalized by Mayor Sam Teresi... who says residents have asked for the added restrictions... and, it was part of his recent State of the City message. The chairwoman of the Council's Public Safety Committee, Maria Jones, says representatives of the Tobacco Free Coalition... and, the Chautauqua County Health Network... discussed the proposal in detail at their meeting. She says -- in addition to food preparation and eating areas -- the ordinance would also cover seating areas, lawns and parking areas. Teresi says the Parks and Recreation Staff is also on record as supporting the change.
The top official at WCA Hospital says she's "very, very pleased" that the Jamestown facility has been given a 26.4-million dollar state grant for infrastructure upgrades. President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright says they're happy to get word from state lawmakers in the area that the grant had been approved. It's part of about 88-million dollars in funding being issued to four local hospitals. Wright says the funding will be used to consolidate in-patient beds at WCA from it's Jones Hill Memorial Heath Center. She says the effort began a few years ago when Medical Rehabiliation facilities were moved to WCA's main campus on Foote Avenue... and, more recently the Inpatient Chemical Dependancy program was also moved there. Wright says each of the projects still require regulatory approval... but, she adds when they built the new Emergency Department several years ago... there were already plans in place to add inpatient beds upstairs -- above the Emergency Department.
The Jamestown Department of Motor Vehicle office has been experiencing computer outages for several days leaving staff... and, customers frustrated. County Clerk Larry Barmore says Time-Warner Cable has been working on the issue since late last week... but, the problem became an issue again Monday. Barmore says this happened after Time-Warner discovered the problem last Friday... and, they believed it was fixed. However... he says the problems started again intermittently Monday morning before the system went down completely for the rest of the day. Barmore says Time-Warner was back... and, they hope to have the issue resolved for today's opening. However... customers are advised to either call or check the DMV Facebook page for updates before going to the office. Customers may also visit one of the other DMV offices in Dunkirk or Mayville.
Fire has extensively damaged the second-floor of a two-story apartment house on Jamestown's westside. City Fire Battalion Chief Matt Russo says crews were called to the scene at 40 West Hamilton Street just after 10 AM Sunday... and, found smoke and fire coming from the second-floor on arrival. Russo says an occupant told crews that everyone was out of the house... and, the flames were knocked down fairly quickly. However... he says the three adults and two children are being helped with temporary housing by the local Red Cross. No one occupied the first-floor apartment. A dog perished in the blaze... which remains under investigation. Russo says an off-duty shift was called to the scene.
Local Congressman Tom Reed is co-sponsoring federal legislation that would help support working Americans who also become a primary caregiver to a loved one. The Corning Republican has announced he is introducing the "Credit for Caring Act..." which will benefit people who have become caregivers for their aging parents, grandparents or other relatives. Reed says the idea of a tax credit has been raised several times at his town hall meetings across the 23rd Congressional District. Reed says the "Credit for Caring" provides people earning at least 75-hundred dollars a year with a 30-percent credit for caregiving expenses... up to 3-thousand dollars. He says the proposal would cover a variety of costs associated with caring for a loved one at home... such as driving them to a doctor's appointment, or making bathroom modifications for them. Reed says he's sponsoring the measure with California Democrat Linda Sanchez. He made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media.
While there are still points of disagreement... it appears that a new, 145.3-billion dollar state budget for New York state will be on time again this year. That from State Senator Cathy Young... who chairs the Senate Majorities Finance Committee that's held numerous hearings so far on the 2016-17 spending plan. Young made her comments during last Friday's rally, sponsored by Rebuild-New York Now, in Falconer. Those at the rally called for more funding in the state's five-year capital budget for the state Department of Transporation. There are also differences on the proposed phase-in of a 15-dollar an hour minimum wage. However... there is general agreement on a proposed cut to the state's Corporate Tax. The budget is due by April 1st.
"March Madness" continues this week for both the Panama boys and girls Varsity Basketball teams after both won their Far West Regional games last Saturday. The Panama girls won a hard-fought 56-to-51 decision over Wheatland-Chili at Rush-Henrietta High School. Head Coach Jeff Angeletti says his girls had an 18-point lead at one point... but, knew their opponent would made a final run before they secured the victory. Angeletti says they returned home late Saturday... but, still received quite a welcome. Angeletti says his seniors... led by Emily Sperry and Taylor Bowen... played a big role in the win. On the boy's side... Panama defeated C.G. Finney, 70-to-57. Head Coach Ed Nelson says it was a close game through the first half... but, he adds his team turned up the intensity in the third-quarter... and, won by 13 points. The Panama Boys will take on Moriah from Section 2 in the state Semi-Finals at Glens Falls this Friday at 10 AM. The girls play Fort Edward from Section-2 at 9 AM Saturday.