Local News Headlines 3/12/13 4:50am
City lawmakers will be acting quickly on beginning about one-million dollars in renovations to Jamestown's Tracy Plaza late this Spring and through the Summer. Public Works Director Jeff Lehman went before the City Council last night to lay-out the project... which will basically be the first part of a phased-in, 2-million dollar effort. Lehman says this project would mainly involved repairing the decking and replacing the concrete walls. Lehman adds this phase will NOT include replacement of the dozens of "joints" on the deck that have leaked for 10 to 15 years now. Lehman says a different kind of material would be used to replace the joints... and, stop the leaking. As for this project... he says they'll be closing the entire deck down... except for the entrace to City Hall. Public Works Committee Chairman George Spitale says lawmakers will be voting on hiring Greenman-Peterson Designers to do design work, and draw up bid specifications. Spitale says there are several items that will have to be bid out... with the big item being buying and installing guardrails to replace most of the concrete walls for 400-thousand dollars. Lehman says the money to pay for this phase is already in place.
A western New York firefighter who survived a Christmas Eve shooting ambush that left two colleagues dead is visiting the nation's capital. Webster firefighter Ted Scardino was hit in the shoulder Dec. 24 when a convicted felon opened fire as firefighters arrived to battle a blaze just east of Rochester.
U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, says Scardino will testify to the task force Tuesday. The Rochester-area congresswoman says Scardino will voice his support for legislation to make firearms trafficking a federal crime and impose stronger penalties for people who buy guns for those barred from making firearms purchases. The weapon used in the Christmas Eve shooting was obtained by the shooter through a so-called straw purchase.
The New York State Legislature is calling for more spending, tax cuts and a higher minimum wage, even a roll-back of a new gun control law in their budget counter-proposals. But... Governor Andrew Cuomo says money is short. He noted legislative proposals are often used for political posturing and often aren't likely to change the budget. Cuomo also says Monday he won't allow a Senate proposal to cut the funding out of his gun control law. That law raised the ire of a vocal minority of upstate residents who live in mostly Republican districts. Cuomo and legislative leaders plan to meet later Monday. Cuomo says a solid budget framework must be in place by the end of this week to hit the March 21st target to pass one of the earliest budgets in decades.
Flames extensively damaged the lower parts of a 2-and-a-half story home in the town of Kiantone yesterday morning. Investigators say the blaze was caused by a problem with a power strip. Second-assistant Kiantone Fire Chief Jeff Kibbe (Kih-bee) says crews were called to the scene at 14-88 Warren-Jamestown Boulevard shortly before 9:30 AM. Kibbe says they found light smoke coming from the single-family home on arriving... but, the smoke and fire was begining to pick-up. Kibbe says they called in mutual aid from Busti... Falconer....Frewsburg... Kennedy... Lakewood and Panama. He says it took about half-an-hour to bring the blaze under control... but, he says it took a while to make sure they got the entire fire out. Investigators say the fire started in the basement. Kibbe says no one was hurt... but, one dog died as a result of the blaze. The one resident home at the time was sleeping... but, she was awakened by working smoke detectors. The smoke detectors are credited with waking the resident up and allowing her to get out without injury. The public is reminded to frequently check the batteries in their smoke detectors.
President Obama has been reaching out to Republicans in recent days as lawmakers try to deal with sequestration and the nation's rising debt. Local Congressman Tom Reed of Corning believes the president is sincere. The Republican from Corning says he hopes a "grand" plan can be worked out that addresses both the short and long term. Reed... who held a conference call with area media Monday morning... says the president is expected to meet with the Republican conference later this week. The Corning Republican says he is eager for that "conversation" to occur.
The head of a Jamestown-area human service agency that helps families deal with mental health issues says she's pleased with how she's leaving the organization... and, is looking forward to retirement. A retirement reception was held Monday afternoon at the Lillian Ney Renaissance Center for Donna Vanstrom. Vanstrom is stepping down end of the month as Executive Director for Family Service of the Chautauqua Region. The Bemus Point native says her time with Family Service has been rewarding in two ways... one is the level of volunteerism in the community. VanStrom returned to the Jamestown-area in 1995... and, began as Executive Director of what is now the Southwestern Chapter of the American Red Cross. She says working at Family Service of the Chautauqua Region has been both rewarding... and, an education. Family Service provides family-focused health counseling services across the Jamestown-area. VanStrom admits to not fully understanding what Family Service did when she first began there... and, didn't appreciate the contributions the agency makes to the community.