Jamestown police say they are looking for one suspect who they believe have set 11 arson fires in vacant nad condemned homes in the city including five last weekend since the beginning of the year.
Police officials say the fires are being tracked by investigators from early January until last Friday night and into Saturday morning. City police have now released a video from the first arson fire last Friday night at 11:05 PM at 650 East Sixth Street.
The video shows a person walking out from the rear of the home and then proceeding to walk down the street towards Winsor Street and then to walk up Winsor Street. The person appears to be of thin build and is wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
Anyone who may recognize or know who the suspect is in this video is asked to contact the JPD Anonymous Tip Line at 483-TIPS that's 483-8477 or you can leave a tip on the Tips 411 App. This information will also be forwarded to Crime Stoppers at 867-6161, where tipsters can be eligible to receive a reward.
Demolition work has begun at the scene of last week's massive fire that devastated a half-a-block of commercial and residential property in the village of Falconer.
Mayor Jim Rensel told us late Thursday afternoon that work was underway, with equipment being moved into place to tear-down what's left of 29 to 39 West Main Street. Rensel says George Patti Construction is the contractor for the work which will involve taking the damaged area down.
Rensel says it will take some time to get the rest of the structure down safely. He says the collapse-zone fencing that was put up after the fire remains up because that remains a threat. However he expressed his appreciation to several people including building owners Art Bailey, and Jim Gronquist, Junior.
He also thanked Village Attorney Greg Peterson, County Executive Vince Horrigan, State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell and, Gebbie Foundation Director, and attorney, Greg Edwards. Rensel says they hope to have the building down by early in the weekend and, then have West Main Street reopened where it's been closed since the fire.
Top lawmakers say there's still no deal on a state budget for New York state as the main deadline approaches.
Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie conferred with Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo behind closed doors Thursday morning. They had hoped to pass a budget before the new fiscal year begins Saturday but that looks unlikely as negotiations drag on.
Sticking points in the more than $150 billion spending plan include a Democratic proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility so 16- and 17-year-old offenders aren't prosecuted as adults. Alternatively, Republicans propose creating a "youth court" within the justice system for violent youthful offenders.
Lawmakers are also negotiating increases in school funding and tuition assistance and a proposal allowing Uber and Lyft to expand upstate.
While Governor Andrew Cuomo appears committed to having an on-time state budget inaction in the Assembly is what is holding up a budget deal.
That from State Senator Cathy Young, who says the Governor and the Senate are working "in good faith" towards an on-time spending plan. But she says the Assembly is "holding the budget hostage" The Olean Republican says the state needs to pass a budget which contains education funding, job growth, and tax relief for middle-class families.
On another matter Young says she's introduced legislation that would ban the type of guardrail that was involved in a crash that claimed the life of a Fredonia native in Tennessee from being used in New York.
She says 27-year-old Hannah Eimers was killed in the crash last November on Interstate 75 after her vehicle struck an "X-Lite" guardrail. Young says part of the rail broke, and penetrated into the cockpit of the car and, killed Eimers.
Besides banning the use of "X-Lite" guardrail products, Young's legislation would also require that any existing "X-Lite" guardrail products be replaced.
A long time area school superintendent will be ending a 32 year career in education Friday when he bids farewell to his district.
Fredonia's Paul DiFonzo will be wrapping up his nearly 16 years as superintendent after serving three years as the middle school principal. DiFonzo says he has seen a lot of change in education, but there has been one constant at Fredonia Central.
Fredonia Central has faced some challenges over the years, many of them dealing with budget matters such as the loss of state aid. DiFonzo says he's proud of how district voters supported a failed merger with Brocton Central a years ago because both districts stood to "gain a lot" with a merger.
He says he doesn't have any definite plans for his future although he does hope to do some kind of community work.
Retired Amherst School superintendent Dr. Laura Pless will take over the reins Monday as interim superintendent. The district is conducting a search for a new superintendent.
Two more colleges have been authorized to participate in New York's industrial hemp pilot program.
The program allows farmers to partner with universities to grow and research hemp as an agricultural commodity. The program was launched last year and the first crop was harvested last fall.
Industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis without the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. It's used in a wide range of products from clothing to food supplements.
Binghamton University and SUNY Sullivan have been authorized to participate in the state's hemp program. Both are interested in the medicinal properties of cannabidiol, a chemical component of the hemp plant. Cornell University and Morrisville State started participating in the hemp research program last summer.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he wants to see tax reform that helps people to buy and afford a new home.
However he's not saying whether he supports a proposal in the most recent tax plan that would do away with the ability to write-off local and state taxes on homes. The "Better Way" Plan was laid out last year by House Speaker Paul Ryan as a simpler, fairer plan for Americans.
However it did not include the deduction. Reed says he's open to ways to improve the tax code.
Reed says another idea he would like to see is using a "tax credit" as opposed to a deduction to promote home ownership that would also help people that don't itemize on their taxes.
The Corning Republican says he's open to all possible options and, is confident that they can come up with a traditional or non-traditional solution. Reed is a majority member of the House Ways and Means committee which is tasked with driving and dealing with tax policy in Congress.
He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.