Local News Headlines 6:22am 3/28/13
Chautauqua County Legislators have approved a proposal that will boost funding for the Chautauqua Lake Association by $40,000. Legislator Vince Horrigan says its an effort to avoid the out of control weeds that hit parts of the lake last summer. Legislator George Borrello of Silver Creek supported the increase, but says the county will have address issues involving another large body of water...Lake Erie. The legislature approved the proposal by a 20-nothing vote. CLA will receive a total of $90,000 from the bed tax funding that is set aside for lakes and waterways. The proposal also doubles the amount of funding the Bear Lake Association will get, from $750 to $1,500.
The Chautauqua County Legislature have approved accepting a 6-million dollar state grant to upgrade the county's Emergency Radio System. Sheriff Joe Gerace says the grant was one of four state-wide that was for the maximum amount awarded by the state Department of Homeland Security. Gerace says they're very pleased to receive the grant because it will avoid the need to borrow money for the new system. Gerace says the funding will be used primarily for "networking improvements" that will allow ALL police, fire and public works entities to cross-communicate with each other through a "repeater" system. He says the current system was designed in the 1970s... and, has several "dead spots" in it. Gerace says the new system will eliminate those. He adds that the grant should cover most -- if not all of the cost for the system. He says the move from an analog to digital system will also "narrowband" local communications from 25 kilohertz to 12.5... as required by the FCC.
One half of the state legislature has approved a new budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The State Senate approved the final spending bill about 4:30 yesterday morning in Albany. Lawmakers have been trying to complete an on-time budget for the third-year in a row. In a printed release... state Senator Cathy Young says the 135-billion dollar spending plan is balanced... and fiscally responsible. Young adds that it "includes many initiatives that are steps in the right direction to make our state a more affordable place to live, work and do business." The Assembly will begin voting on matching bills later today. In addition... Senator Young says the new budget includes a one-billion dollar funding increase for public schools. The Olean Republican says schools in her 57th Senatorial District will get about 19-million dollars of that. Final school runs were not made available... but, the increases were seen in two areas favorable for Jamestown. One was additional restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment... and, in foundation aid.
Good-government groups are slamming the New York state legislature for what one senator called ``vampire'' voting. That's because much of the new $135 billion budget is built on reviving taxes and the bills are being voted on in the dead of night. The Assembly is preparing to give final legislative approval to the budget, likely during a night-time session Thursday. The Senate is finished after debating billions of dollars in public spending during a session that lasted until just after 4 AM Wednesday. Meanwhile... Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are praising the budget. They portray it as not increasing taxes and say the process shows state government is functioning. The watchdog group Citizens Union says joint conference committees required by law to negotiate spending decisions in public were shown to be perfunctory and ultimately ignored.
Catholic Charities of Buffalo's annual Appeal is now at just over 80-percent of it's 2013 goal of 10.7-million dollars. Bishop Richard Malone says they've raised 8.58-million dollars of the goal as of the close of Appeal Week. Malone says that put's them slightly behind last year at this time... when the appeal had raised 83-percent of the goal. However... he's optmistic they'll reach this year's goal by the end of the campaign on June 30th. June 30th is also the end of Catholic Charities' fiscal year. Several people spoke about the need to support the organization's 70 programs and services... which are offered across 61 sites in the eight-county region. Diocesan Director Sister Mary McCarrick says one of those programs allows people who left school early to earn their GED. McCarrick says it's important because a lot of those people go onto college -- or some other higher education. She says that those people have twice the earning power of people who do not graduate high school. 2013 Appeal Chairman Stephen Ulrich emphasized the need to boost corporate donations... and, curb donor loss. Ulrich says part of that is due to the still struggling economy in Western New York.
A Jamestown area doctor who has practiced Internal Medicine at WCA Hospital for the past 30 years has been named as the hospital's "Physician of the Year" for 2013. For the ninth-year in a row... WCA Wednesday celebrated National Doctor's Day by presenting Dr. John LaMancuso with the honor. Dr. LaMancuso was selected by a panel of his peers... and, past presidents of the WCA Medical Staff. LaMancuso says he considers himself "very fortunate" to receive the honor. The Jamestown native says as he went through college and medical school... he always thought he would come back to the area. But... he says that almost didn't happen. LaMancuso says the most gratifying part of his job has been getting to know... and, helping his patients. He says what you learn from those patients is some that I would say is priceless." LaMancuso has seen a lot of changes over the past 30 years... and, says he's looking forward to what's ahead because he works hard... and, enjoys what he does.
New York's largest teachers union says standardized tests students will take next month should be used to gauge the state's progress in rolling out rigorous new learning standards -- but, not as a measure of teacher effectiveness or against students. New York State United Teachers tells The Associated Press it's spreading that message in an ad campaign it launched Wednesday. The ads urge parents to oppose using this year's English and math tests for third-through-eighth-graders in teacher evaluations or student placements. NYSUT said Tuesday teachers weren't evenly prepared to teach the new ``Common Core'' curricula on which the tests are based. Education Commissioner John King says in a memo to educators it's important for the state to move forward with standards meant to prepare students for college and careers.