Local News Headlines

(Corrected) A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly stealing a bicycle... and, acting suspiciously near a church and the Fenton History Center in the Brooklyn Square area of the city.  

The Jamestown Police K-9 unit was called to the scene near the New Creation Assembly of God at 116 South Main St. just after 8 p.m. last Saturday.  Officers found 26 year-old Luca Brownlee behind a bush outside... but, he immediately ran off when police called for him to come out.  Brownlee allegedly left the bike behind.  K-9 "Mitchell" later found Brownlee reaching into his waste band near the Fenton History Center on Washington Street, and he resisted arrest.  However... nothing was taken from the center.  He was finally arrest, and arraigned on two counts of petty larceny... and others including obstruction.  Brownlee was sent to the county jail on $1,000 dollars cash bail.

New York state spent a lot of money to win the recent competition to land the second U-S headquarters for Amazon, but did the state and New York city, give up too much?  

A group of economists last weekend said while New York will bring in another $27-billion in new tax money over the next quarter century, the state's analysis does not consider added expenses... including costs to educate the children of workers, and public transportation needs.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says -- if the state had a better tax and regulatory climate -- huge incentives would not be needed.

Reed believes the $2.8-billion economic development package given to Amazon is a "slap in the face" to businesses currently here that did not get such sweetheart deals to locate or stay here.  He says, by his own admission, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that unless the state and city provided those incentives, Amazon was going to go to Texas.  Reed recently wrote a letter to the governor that calls for more tax and regulatory relief.  He adds that a deal that large should be approved by a three-fifths majority of the state legislature.

In New York state government news, good-government groups are cheering new restrictions on legislative moonlighting....  

A state compensation committee voted Thursday to raise legislative salaries from the current $79,000 to $130,000 over the next three years.  The raise is the first in 20 years and comes with restrictions capping lawmakers' outside income at 15 percent of their salary.  Government watchdogs say outside jobs can be a conduit for bribes, and groups such as Common Cause and Reinvent Albany say the new restrictions are a long-needed reform.  Meanwhile, members of the Assembly return to Albany this week to get ready for the start of the 2019 session next month and, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been tapped as vice chairman of the National Governors Association, a job sure to raise the Democrat's national profile.

It appears that state lawmakers may be getting their first pay raise in 20 years... 

However, that's not sitting well with at least one local state legislator.  A special panel created by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature voted to increase the base pay for state legislators.  However, State Assemblyman Andy Goodell is not pleased with the move and says he opposed the creation of the pay commission.

The move would raise annual salaries from $79,500 to $130,000 by 2021.  They would make $110,000 to begin 2019.  Goodell says he doesn't have a problem with the current annual salary, but, adds he can understand the concerns of downstate lawmakers.  He says he "knew what the salary was when I ran..." but, he says he understands the cost of living in the New York City area is "much higher" there.  The pay raises will take place unless the state Legislature decides to overrule the committee's decision.  Goodell believes there should be a vote. 

The Jamestown High School Acappella Choir was tested in an unexpected way Sunday, as more than 500 people gathered for the first of this year's Vespers Services....  

Brian Bogey, the choir's Director Emeritus and accompanist, said, moments before the start, one of the 4,000 pipes in the organ at First Lutheran Church developed a cipher, a note that wouldn't stop playing.  Bogey scrambled across the choir loft and played the entire program at the piano. Acappella President, Corin Derby, was very happy with the performance, saying "We rely on the organ, but we rely on Mr. Bogey more."  Acappella Director, Norm Lydell, gave credit to his students for being flexible as they adapted to the breakdown.  Brian Bogey said repair people will be summoned immediately, so the organ will be ready for the second Vespers, next Sunday, December 16 at 4 PM.

A coalition of New York education groups says schools will need a $2.2-billion increase in state aid to meet the needs of students next year....  

The Educational Conference Board's budget recommendation late this week includes a $1.3 billion increase in the base Foundation Aid, as well as $400 million more for reimbursements for services including transportation and special education.  An additional $500-million is being sought for priority areas like school safety and supporting struggling schools.  The conference board, which comprises agencies representing administrators, parents and teachers, cites increases over the past decade in students who are poor, disabled or are English language learners.  Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to release his budget proposal next month.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says legislation boosting federal investment in roads, bridges and other infrastructure must include efforts to curb global warming....  

Lawmakers have cited infrastructure investment as ripe for bipartisan agreement next year, but, the New York Democrat's position could complicate things.  The Trump administration has prioritized undoing the Obama administration's efforts to slow climate change.  Schumer said Friday in a letter to President Donald Trump that climate change will cause "untold human suffering and significant damage to the U.S. economy" if left unchecked.  He is calling for permanent tax credits to boost production of wind and solar energy and to make homes and offices more energy efficient.  Schumer also is calling for loans to communities that would invest in projects that limit the damage caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters.