TERRY FRANK

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DENNIS WEBSTER

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It's now been an even dozen arson fires in the city of Jamestown since early January after investigators determined that someone set the fire at a vacant, southside home early yesterday morning.  
 
Jamestown Fire Battalion Chief Andrew Finson says crews were called to the scene at 206 Charles Street about 6:45 AM and, found the blaze had a good head start. Finson says they found a lot of fire near the back side of the structure.
 
Finson says firefighters pulled two handlines to protect the structure and, then two others to battle the blaze in the back.  He says it took about 15 minutes to bring the flames under control.  
 
Finson adds there was a lot of fire damage mainly to the back part of the house. There was smoke and water damage throughout the house. Finson says the good news is, they prevented serious damage to the neighboring home.
 
Finson says crews were at the scene nearly two hours.  An off-duty shift of nine firefighters and a shift commander was called in. Finson says no services were hooked up to the house.
 
There is a new concern that needs to be addressed before the tallest structure destroyed in the March 22nd fire in downtown Falconer can be completely torn-down.  
 
That from village Mayor Jim Rensel who says contractor George Patti had to cease work Tuesday afternoon on the three-story brick building on West Main Street because of the threat at least part of a wall coming down on a single-story building to the east.  
 
Rensel says the shorter building was did have some water damage from the fire but, was not affected by the fire.
 
Rensel says crews had been making good progress up to that point and, two walls of the three-story building had been torn down.  However he says the contractor is also concerned about vibration caused by the demolition work damaging the one-story structure.  
 
Rensel says George Patti is currently trying to put measures in place to protect the other building, and resume demolition tomorrow. 
 
The March 22nd fire devastated the nearly half-a-block area from 29 to 39 West Main Street.  Some people and firefighters had to be treated for smoke inhalation but, no one was hurt in the fire and partial building collapse.
 
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

 

The contractor’s heavy use of a fire hydrant in the Village of Falconer has caused discolored water both in the village and on the northside of Jamestown.  Board of Public Utilitie's Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the discolored water is safe but, adds it may take another few hours this morning to clear.

 

New York lawmakers say they've reached agreement on a new state budget which is just over four days late now.  

 

However Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo says there's no deal and no need to rush. Cuomo says a two-month budget extension passed Monday ensures government will continue to function and that it could be a few weeks until a final budget is worked out.  

 

Lawmakers have another reason to seek quick resolution: They won't get paid until the budget passes.

 

One of the major items that's blocked passage of a final New York state budget is a proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18.  
 
Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell has concerns about "Raise The Age..." and, how it would impact local courts.  He says the legislation backed by state lawmakers from New York City doesn't take into account the significant differences in the court system between upstate and downstate.
 
Other differences include the number of secured juvenile detention centers.  Goodell says there is currently only one that serves most of Western New York and, that's an hour-and-a-half away in Buffalo.  
 
Supporters say that New York is one of only two states that prosecutes all youths as adults when they turn 16. The other state is North Carolina.
 
Jamestown school board members will vote later this month on an $83.8-million budget for the 2017-18 school year that adds eight more employees but, includes no tax increase.  
 
That from interim School Superintendent Superintendent Silvia Root after the board last night reviewed a second-draft of the proposal with Business Manager Vern Connors.  Root says the district has to move forward with a spending plan that doesn't include final state aid figures.  
 
That's because the state budget is late.  However, she says they're fairly confident the amount will be somewhere between the governor's proposal, and the legislature's.
 
Connors told board members that the district is in "pretty good financial condition" due mainly to the district winding up with a $2.8-million surplus in the 2015-16 budget.  He met last week with Root and Board President Paul Abbott and Vice-President Patrick Slagle and, agreed to no more staff and teaching cuts.  
 
Root says she's proposing to add seven more teachers, and one school psychologist next year.  However she's quick to add that all depend's on the public vote on May 16th.  
 
The school board will vote on a final budget at it's April 18th meeting. 

Local News

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