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WJTN News Headlines

New York state lawmakers are questioning the price tag for Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to give middle class students free tuition at state universities and colleges.  During a hearing on the proposal Tuesday... legislators from both parties asked state higher education officials whether Cuomo's $163-million dollar cost estimate is too low.  The Democratic governor's proposal would cover remaining tuition costs for students from families making $125,000 or less after other sources of federal and state aid are factored in.  Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York system, said officials are continuing to refine the cost estimate.  Skeptical lawmakers said they wanted to see details before voting on the state budget, which they hope to approve by April 1st.
City lawmakers will vote next week on a proposed change to the Jamestown city code that no longer requires JPD officers to supervise the towing of vehicles from private property.  Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings and Corporation Counsel Marilyn Fiore-Lehman outlined the proposal for the city council's Public Safety Committee.  Snellings says... even with the change... officers would still supervise towing on public property.  Fiore-Lehman says... currently... the towing company would have to wait for JPD officers to arrive at the scene. Mayor Sam Teresi says the problem is, sometimes the tow operator would have to wait for half-an hour to an hour before city police can wrap up a call they're already on... and, then go to the scene.  Teresi and Snellings say the idea behind the change to the towing ordinance is to free up police officers to be on the streets... and, not unnecessarily tied up dealing with having to supervise a tow from a private residence... organization or business.  The measure will be acted on at next Monday night's meeting.
A staff recommendation has led the Jamestown Board of Public Utiliites to ask the city to begin the process of annexing property on the city line with the village of Falconer that's used for a major BPU substation.  The BPU voted Monday to request the city council begin proceedings to acquire the Dow Street Substation land from the town.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the board owns the property where the facility is located between Dow Street and Tiffany Avenue.  Leathers says it will save more than 300-thousand tax dollars for the city and BPU. However... Leathers says -- if the annexation goes through -- the BPU would still make "tax equivalent payments" to the city and Jamestown school district.  He says those would total about 80-thousand dollars a year.  He says the amount is based on a percentage of the asset's valuation.  Leathers says the land is assessed at about 7.86-million dollars.  He says the resolution gets the process going... and, says the City Councill will now have to discuss the measure... and will likely hold some public meetings on the matter before a vote is taken. 
The head of New York state's Public Service Commission is stepping down to take a job in Australia.  PSC Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman announced her departure Monday.  She intends to stay on until the end of March before going to work for the Australian Energy Market Operator, which oversees electricity and natural gas markets and networks.  Under Zibelman... the Public Service Commission worked to expand the state's use of renewable energy and approved ratepayer subsidies for nuclear plants.  She also oversaw votes on scores of decisions and regulations affecting utilities.  In a statement... Zibelman said it has been a "great honor" to serve in Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration and to assist in Democrat Cuomo's goal of increasing "affordable, clean and resilient" power for the state.
It was a total team effort that pushed the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County over it's 2016 Campaign goal of 1.3-million dollars. General Campaign Co-Chairman Anne Hedin at last night's celebration at Jamestown Community College and her husband -- and co-chair -- Paul... announced the final total raised was 1.338-million dollars.  He praised United Way staff members, and volunteers for their efforts to get them to the finish line.  Paul Hedin adds that they got more donations from several businesses... and, added a few others to the mix this year. United Way officials say they did a record number of workplace presentations to let workers know what the money they pledge goes towards.  There were 50 of those made during the just over three-month effort.  Several local workplaces were honored for increasing the number of donors they had in 2016... and, some others were thanked for taking part for the first-time ever.  More than 60 people were on hand for last night's annual celebration at JCC.  The money will benefit 42 programs at 25 partner agencies.
Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County have remained steady for the third-straight week.  The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the their local survey finds the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gas to be 2-dollars-56 cents.  On the national front... the average price has now fallen to 2-dollars-31 cents a gallon.  Triple-A says an increase in oil production has led to the 3-cent decrease.  The price is now down 4-cents per gallon on the month... and, have now fallen for 14 of the past 15 days.  Triple-A now says prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast have followed the national average down over the past week.  The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report shows that total Northeast gasoline stocks increased to their highest level since August of last year. 
New York lawmakers will again consider legislation that would authorize people with terminal illnesses to request life-ending drugs from a physician.  The bill introduced Monday in Albany would require two physicians to certify the patient's illness is terminal.  Physicians could refuse to agree to the request for any reason.  The bill passed an Assembly committee last year but didn't get a full vote in the Legislature.