LOCAL HEADLINES 3/18/13 4:43AM
Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders had hoped to announce agreement Sunday night on the third straight on-time budget. However... in Albany budget negotiations, all deals hinge on the final one. After closed-door meetings Sunday, all sides claim they are a good distance apart. Some difficult sticking points are whether to raise the minimum wage to as much as 9-dollars an hour... whether to adopt business tax cuts... and, whether to extend a ``temporary'' income tax increase for the second time. State Senator Jeffrey Klein, who leads the Independent Democratic Conference which shares leadership of the Senate, said Sunday that there was no agreement on how much the minimum wage would rise. Republicans who share control of the chamber have opposed a minimum wage hike, but have been open to discussing it.
City lawmakers tonight will take the first step towards get much-needed repairs made to the decking and walls on Tracy Plaza in Jamestown. The City Council will vote on a contract with the Buffalo engineering design firm of Greenman-Pederson to draw up specifications for the project. Mayor Sam Teresi says the work is necessary because the approximately 40 year-old structure has developed major leaks over the past two decades. Teresi adds the leaks have caused problems for both the police and fire departments... which are headquartered in the plaza's basement. Teresi says the leaks have had a "deteriorating effect on the building..." and, work needs to be done to protect the structure. Greenman-Pederson will draw up plans... and, put out the specifications for replacing decking on the plaza... and, putting up a new wall -- using guard railing. Teresi says much of the money will come from the 4-million dollar bond the city issued a couple of years ago for a number of capital projects. He made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
An improperly installed exhaust pipe for a wood stove is being blamed for last week's fire that heavily damaged a Panama home. The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team was called to the scene late last Wednesday morning to investigate the blaze at 13 South Street. Investigators say the pipe led to a chimney... but, had not been working properly. No one was hurt... but, two occupants are being helped by the local Red Cross. Six local fire companies were called to the scene about 10 PM Wednesday... and, were at there about four hours. Panama was joined by Lakewood, Clymer, Ashville, and, Busti fire crews from New York... and, Bear Lake, Pennsylvania volunteers in battling the fire.
A New York college student faces arraignment on charges she bought guns for her neighbor, who later ambushed firefighters arriving at his burning home Christmas Eve. Dawn Nguyen (wehn) is scheduled to be arraigned on a three-count indictment in federal court in Rochester Monday. The 24-year-old from the suburb of Greece was charged last week with lying on a form when she bought a rifle and shotgun, transferring the guns to felon William Spengler Jr., and possessing guns while using marijuana. Spengler killed himself after fatally shooting two firefighters and wounding two others and a police officer in the town of Webster. Nguyen's (wehn's) lawyer, Matthew Parrinello, says he's awaiting documentation from prosecutors before responding in detail to the charges. Nguyen (wehn) also faces a state charge of falsifying a business record.
A Buffalo-area man faces charges after his car left a town of Chautauqua Road early last weekend... and, crashed into a steep ditch. Sheriff's Deputies say 75 year-old Joseph Mahoney of Lackawanna was westbound on the Hartfield-Stockton Road when he lost control due to slippery road conditions... and, driving at an unsafe speed. Officers say Mahoney's car left the road Saturday... and, overturned in the ditch. He had to be freed from the vehicle by Hartfield fire rescuers... and, he was taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital for treatment of unknown injuries. During the investigation... officers say a second car left the road and struck a mailbox. Deputies say Ashley Draggett of Stockton failed to reduce speed for the accident scene. The road was closed for about an hour to clear the scene.
The Dunkirk City School District is joining with neighboring Fredonia Central in seeking a state grant that will allow both to look at more shared services. School Superintendent Gary Cerne says the districts will now apply for the 50-thousand dollars in funding. He says that if the district's do receive grant approval, all areas of each district would be researched including busing. Each district will contribute 25-hundred dollars to cover the local share of the grant. The grant application comes on the heels of an announcement that the districts will be combining their Pre-K programs next September.
New York's new gun control law now requires federal background checks for private firearms sales. The provision, which took effect Saturday, requires checks by a licensed gun dealer, who can charge 10-dollars... and, issue a form showing the prospective buyer passed. Dealers already must use the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System before they sell guns. Federal law prohibits sales to many convicted criminals, people judged mentally defective, fugitives and illegal aliens. New York's statute, enacted January 15th, immediately banned in-state sales of guns newly classified as ``assault weapons'' because of a single military-style feature, like a pistol grip on semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines. Other provisions effective Saturday require mental health professionals to report patients likely to seriously hurt someone and set tougher penalties for many gun crimes.
A Cattaraugus County man is jailed for allegedly breaking into a town of Ellington home earlier this month... and, stealing property from inside the residence. Sheriff's Deputies say 20 year-old Adam Dimpfl of East Randolph is accused of breaking into the Waterboro Hill Road home during the late evening hours of March 7th while the residents were away. Dimphl is charged with second-degree burglary... and, petty larceny. Officers say the suspect was arraigned in Ellington Town Court... and, remanded to the Chautauqua County Jail in lieu of bail.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will revise the contract with a British company to manage the 3.5-billion dollar state Lottery. That after State Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the initial plan. In a statement issued late last Friday... Corbett's office says by revising the contract with Camelot Global Services, it will provide clarificant to Kane and her office... and, was ``the next step'' in the governor's oft-stated intent to ``securing predictable Lottery funding for senior programs'' in the state.