Local News Headlines
Much of the northeastern U.S. is preparing for a winter storm that could bring a foot of snow or more to some areas.  The storm is expected to hit eastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey with rain early THIS morning, before changing over to snow in time for the morning commute.  The National Weather Service predicted Boston and New York City would get 8 to 12 inches of snow and Philadelphia 6 to 8 inches.  Near whiteout conditions are possible, with snow expected to fall at a clip of 2 to 4 inches per hour at the height of the storm.  High winds, coastal flooding and power outages are also possible.  Many communities across the region announced winter parking restrictions and school closures in advance of the storm.
 
 
Western New York and Chautauqua County will escape the wrath of this Nor-easter that's moving in from the south and west to the east coast.  However... we may see some "wrap-around" lake effect snow once it starts moving out of the New York City Metro-area.  That from Forecaster Aaron Reynolds with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says we first saw some light snow last night... and, snow showers picking up during the overnight hours. However... Reynolds says we may see some of that wrap-around lake effect once the storm system begins moving away from the coast... later today and tonight.  He says, away from Lake Erie, we'll see some accumulation.  Reynolds says here are no watches or warnings at this time.  There will also be snow during the day today... with much colder temperatures than we saw Tuesday, and Wednesday.  Here in the immediate Jamstown area.... we'll reach about 20 for a high today.  The strongest lake effect is expected later this afternoon and tonight with 2 to 3 inches in the persistant Lake Snow areas.
 
 
New York state lawmakers took a hard look yesterday at spending on human services in Governor Andrew Cuomo's 152-billion dollar budget plan.  That was the major topic of the latest budget hearing... held at the state Capitol in Albany.  It's all part of the Legislature's ongoing review of Cuomo's 2017-18 spending proposal.  Lawmakers say they are likely to recommend significant changes to the governor's suggested spending plan.  The final product will be hammered out in negotiations between the governor and top lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly.  The Legislature hopes to approve a spending plan before April 1st... the start of the next fiscal year.
 
 
The state legislature is looking at a "very significant" increase as the starting point for public school aid in Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2017-18 budget proposal.  That from Executive Director Tim Kreamer of the New York State School Boards Association on the one-billion dollar increase lawmakers are now considering during deliberations on the 152-billion dollar spending plan.  Kreamer says the 25.6-billion dollar aid request is "step one" in the budget process. There has been some concern voiced over the policy that's been written into parts of the governor's proposal.  However... Kreamer says the school board's association is pleased with what's in the school aid part of the spending plan... especially with how it deals with measuring poverty, and deals with funding Pre-K.  However... he says there are a couple of concerns... namely over the fact that basic "foundation" aid disappears in 2018-19.  Kreamer says the school board's association will continue to voice it's position during the budget process... which is now underway in Albany. 
 
Organizers of New York's first-ever Hepatitis C summit are calling on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature to wipe out Hepatitis C in the state.  Public health officials, elected leaders, medical experts and patient advocates released a statement at the Tuesday summit in Albany calling for an official task force to fight the chronic disease that afflicts more than 200,000 people in the state.  The statement says New York's medical and research resources provide a solid foundation to enhance prevention, expand screening and provide access to affordable treatment.
 
A Dunkirk man has been arrested for allegedly selling quantities of cocaine to undercover drug agents in the north county city.  Members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force arrested 30 year-old Jeremy Echevarria of Washington Street late yesterday (Tuesday) on an arrest warrant for one count each of third-degree criminal possession... and, sale of a controlled substance.   Task Force agents say they took Echevarria into custody at the intersection of Fourth and Swan Streets in Dunkirk without incident.  He was arraigned in Dunkirk City Court... and, sent to the Chautauqua County Jail without bail pending further court action.  Task Force members continue to ask members of the community to call when they observe suspicious or narcotics related activity in their neighborhood.
 
 
As one fund-raiser ends... another begins for the Chautauqua County Humane Society near Jamestown.  The local organization has just wrapped-up it's "Hot Dog - Cool Cat's" Pet Photo Contest... and, this week kicks-off it's biggest fund-raiser... "Pennies 4 Paws."  Humane Society Spokeswoman Hannah (Hahn-uh) Braun says they're excited about this year's "Pennies" program because of last year's success.Braun says she and others at the pet shelter will be distributing canisters across the Jamestown-area for "Pennies 4 Paws..." which begins February 12th... and, runs until the end of April.  As for the "Hot Dog - Cool Cat's" photo contest... she says they recently named Deanna Cordosi's pet "Joella" this year's winner.  Braun says this year... they expanded the number of places they awarded -- from 12 to 23.  She says they also have the playing cards for sale... plus additional sets.  However... she says you need to contact her at the Humane Society at 664-2209... extension 213.