For the first time in several years... the Jamestown School Board heard a lot of good news in the presentation of the next school year's budget. There will be no tax increase... and, no lay-offs in the 2016-17 budget proposal by Superintendent Tim Mains. Mains and Business Manager Vern Connors laid out the draft spending plan... which includes a projected 1.1-million dollar increase in state aid. However... Mains says there are a couple of other factors eliminating any need for a tax hike -- one is a major cut in pension contributions. Mains says the district cut 126 positions over the past several years... including 26 during his tenure with the school system. He says he would like to bring back some teachers -- but, adds they're not at that point yet. Mains adds they're also only using 500-thousand dollars from the undesignated fund balance to off-set spending... which will allow them to rebuild those reserves. He adds the tax levy is "flat" -- increasing by just 26-thousand dollars. Mains says that's due to an increased Payment-in-lieu of Taxes.
For the first time in New York state history... a woman is heading up the state Senate's Majority Finance Committee... a panel directly involved in budget negotiations. A Jamestown foundation last night hosted a special reception and program for that woman -- Olean's Cathy Young -- at the Robert H. Jackson Center. Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Director Randy Sweeney says they decided to do it after retired state Assemblyman Rolly Kidder told Jackson Center Co-Founder Greg Peterson "this is a big deal...." Senator Cathy Young says drove directly from Albany to make it to the event while budget discussions continue. However... Young, who has served about 10 years in the Senate, says she wanted to be there... and, was very "humbled and honored" by the special event. In turn... she thanked leaders of the Jamestown-area and the rest of her 57th District for getting her the information, and ideas to help her be effective in Albany. The Olean Republican was later interviewed about her career in public service by Peterson.
A New York state lawmaker from suburban Buffalo will seek re-election after being disciplined following allegations she sexually harassed a top aide. Republican Assemblywoman Angela Wozniak of Cheektowaga was reprimanded by Speaker Carl Heastie on Wednesday for violating the Assembly's policy on sexual harassment policy by seeking to tarnish the aide's reputation when he filed a complaint. The Assembly Ethics Committee determined that Wozniak and the staffer had a consensual affair before the complaint was filed. Wozniak's attorney issued a statement Thursday saying the matter is closed but that she is pleased that the committee did not determine that she used her leverage over the staffer to sexually harass him.
The next time a Chautauqua County Sheriff's officer responds to an accident or other emergency... it will likely be one whose a trained Emergency Medical Technician. Sheriff Joe Gerace and county Emergency Services officials have announced a new program that will provide training, and equipment to deputies who successfully finish Basic EMT Training. Gerace says the program will fullfill two needs. The first is to provide emergency treatment as first responders. Gerace says eight of his officers have already gone through the training... and, take their assigned equipment with them. County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone adds that this also provides an "another layer" of emergency service at a time where the volunteer fire services face a shortage of members. Leone says, sometimes it can "be a challenge" to get an EMT out -- especially when most people are working. Gerace and Leone say they're "excited" about the program... which is unique to upstate New York. The Sheriff says... from here on... new officers will receive the 160 Hours of EMT training through the Sheriff's Academy at Jamestown Community College.
Chautauqua County Emergency Services officials say they're pleased and excited that eight members of the Sheriff's Department have taken the EMT Training so far. One of them is Undersheriff Charles Holder... who says the 160-hour course is rigorous... but, necessary to use the intricate equipment that's involved. Holder pointed out the trauma bags each trained deputy will have with them when on patrol. Gerace says the Drug Asset Forefeiture Money means no tax dollars will go to fund equiping the deputies. He says those who have gone through the training will carry their own equipment in their patrol car. Gerace says he'll be taking part in the next class... which begins late this month. Officials add that some of the deputies have also joined their local fire department.
Two Cattaraugus County men have been indicted for allegedly defrauding several government agencies... including the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program. U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says a federal grand jury returned the indictment earlier this week against 64 year-old David Pfeiffer of Killbuck... and, 53 year-old Thomas Colton of Salamanca. Hochul says both are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud... and, mail fraud. He adds that Pfeiffer is also charged with making a false statement to a financial institution. Prosecutors say the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program is used by the U-S Department of Transportation to increase the number of minority and economically disadvantaged individuals who participate in construction projects that receive federal funding. Pfeiffer and Colton used Colton’s business, Sue-Perior Concrete and Paving, Inc., as a subcontractor on federal government contracts. Sue-Perior was used to allow Pfeiffer’s construction company to get government contracts they would have otherwise been unable to obtain. Hochul says the charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison... and, a one-million dollar fine.
The excitement has reached a fever pitch in the tiny south county village of Panama... as the community came out Thursday afternoon to send off the high school boy's basketball team to the state's Final Four. The team got a rousing escort out of town by local fire departments. The Panthers play Moriah of Section-2 in this morning's semi-final match-up at 10 AM at Glens Falls. Head Coach Ed Nelson says his boy's seem to have the right perspective on what's happening. Nelson says the team's Seniors have come through during the tough times... and, he feels they're ready for Moriah... which has made multiple-trips to the state championships. This is Panama's first trip. They earned that by winning last weekend's Far West Regional. You can hear this morning's semi-final game on sister station, WHUG, 101.9-FM beginning shortly before 10 AM.
Local police officials are looking for the owner of a drone aircraft that apparently struck one of the Sheriff's Department's radio towers in the town of Carroll last August. Officers say a Senior Radio Technician discovered the downed drone early Wednesday evening at the Erlandson Overview Park on Oak Hill Road in Frewsburg. Officers say they located the craft's data card... which indicated the flight and showed the last flight occured back on August 17th, 2015 at 8 PM. Deputies say they have partial identifying features of the owner and his vehicle. If the owner or public recognize the operator, please to contact them on-line at Sheriff-dot-US/#!contact-us