Local News Headlines 6am 3/26/13
Firefighters were busy battleing a blaze on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution overnight. Chautauqua County Sherriffs report that just after 11:30 Monday night a deputy on patrol called in the fire at 30 Ramble Avenue. The Chautauqua Fire department was on the scene, assisted by Mayville, Ashville, Sherman and Battalion 2. National Grid was also called to the scene. The home was unoccupied, and there were no injuries. Fire investigators were called in, but no cause has been determined at this time. Crews were on the grounds until just before 4 o'clock this morning. WIVB TV News is reporting the fire damage is estimated at 100 Thousand dollars, but authorities are saying the homeowners should be able to rebuild.
A Gerry resident died following an accident Monday morning, according to state police based in Jamestown. The Post Journal reports that the 84 year old woman was crossing Harris Hill Road from her mailbox. A 34-year-old Falconer woman was driving a 2007 Jeep north when she crested a hill and observed the victim crossing the road. The driver took evasive action, but struck the woman. She pulled over and had a third party call 911. The victim was transported to Hamot Medical Center where she succumbed to her injuries. The driver did not face charges.
All New Yorkers receiving the STAR property tax rebate will have to re-register for the local school tax breaks because of reports of widespread abuse and fraud. The law concerning the 3-billion dollar STAR program is part of the state budget bills now being passed in Albany. Last month... Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe (ZOO'-guh-bee) reported his detectives found 679-thousand dollars of fraud or incorrect filing in just five towns. He said the tax break was illegally applied to second homes and some landlords were taking the credit for their homes and for rental properties and rooming houses. State Senator Cathy Young was caught up in the investigation regarding a second house she and her husband own in suburban Albany. However... they were apparently unaware they had been given the Basic STAR rebate when they bought the home. The matter has been cleared up.
New York is cutting funding for cancer screenings for the uninsured in a state budget that increases aid to the Buffalo Bills and Hollywood. Cancer Society Spokesman Blair Horner says the budget will cut 5-percent from programs that provide free screenings for breast, colon and cervical cancer. He says the plan being voted on this week also cuts 5-percent from the program to reduce youth smoking. The reductions amount to about 3.5-million dollars in the 135-billion dollar budget. Some advocates for the poor are questioning choices in the budget. It also includes an expanded 420-million dollar tax credit for film and TV productions, including the latest Spider-Man movie. The state will also spend 130-million dollars on stadium renovations to help keep the NFL's Bills in Buffalo.
A "major first step" has been taken in Albany towards allowing NRG to re-power its plant in Dunkirk. That from State Senator Cathy Young... who announced Monday that language has been included in this year's state budget that could help clear the way for the 500-million dollar project to begin. The Olean Republican tells us the language is "an affirmation" of re-powering... which is good news. Young is leading a coalition to repower the Dunkirk Plant... converting it from coal to natural gas. She believes having the language in the budget will require the PSC to consider the "overall benefits" of keeping power production in the New York State. The Dunkirk facility is the biggest taxpayer in the city of Dunkirk as well as in all of Chautauqua County. Young cautions that the PSC still has to complete an "objective" evaluation process which she expects will be finalized in April.
Chautauqua County's Congressman says he's pleased to see the U-S Senate finally submit a budget proposal that both houses can use to try and find ways to reduce the U-S deficit. The Senate plan offered late last week is the first budget proposal it's offered in four-years. Corning Republican Tom Reed says there are some stark contrasts between the two spending plans. The first is the Senate plan is NOT balanced... and, doesn't do so within 10 years, either. However... Reed admits both House Republicans and Senate Democrats agree they need to cut spending... which he calls "a good start" because that's the 'root' of the problem. He believes the Senate didn't put forth a budget for so-long because "they could play politics." Other critics of the Senate budget say it doesn't even address entitlement programs... such as Medicare... which will take up ALL tax revenues by 2025. House Republican Paul Ryan's proposal would reportedly balance the budget in 10 years... and, cuts the growth in annual spending from 5 to 3.4-percent.
There have been close to 20 people who have responded to the advertisement for a new Jamestown School Superintendent. That from School Board President... Joe DiMaio... who says at least 18 potential candidates have responded to the search for a new superintendent to replace the retiring Deke Kathman. The deadline for applications was a week ago... and, DiMaio says board members are very pleased with the response. He doesn't have any names at this point... but, says their search committee will be busy... and, the board will begin discussing it at it's next regular meeting. Kathman announced in early January that he is retiring next July 31st. The school board will meet behind closed doors on April 8th to likely begin looking at the Superintendent candidate's resumes. A search committee is also being put in place. Erie-2, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus BOCES Superintendent David O'Rourke is helping the Jamestown district with it's search.