Local News Headlines 5:20am 3/29/13
New York State has a new budget in place... nearly three days ahead of schedule. The state Assembly approved all 11 budget bills by late last night... marking the three year-in-a-row New York's had an on-time budget. While there are parts of the 135-billion dollar spending local Assemblyman Andy Goodell likes... there are others he doesn't. Goodell says there are two main positives. One is a boost in Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS Funding. Assembly Republicans planned to debate most of the issues... and, they also introduced some what are called ``hostile amendments.'' In Albany... hostile amendments are proposed by the minority party to make clear their opposition to legislation crafted by the majority party. Hostile amendments are quickly rejected by the majority, but the required debate can be lengthy. One area hotly debated was the lack of restorative funds for the developmentally disabled. Goodell says he was "very, very disappointed" that only 30-million of the 120-million cut was restored. However... Goodell voted against the budget for the developmentally disabled. He also rejected 5.5-billion dollars in so-called "back-door" borrowing. The Senate has already finished it's budget work. The budget was due by Midnight Sunday.
Major elements of the budget negotiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders includes $350 tax rebate checks for most middle class families and a new minimum wage that will rise to $9 over three years. The budget also raises billions of dollars by extending two taxes that were due to expire _ an income tax surcharge on millionaire earners and a business tax on energy costs. Businesses will get additional tax breaks including one to encourage the hiring of recent veterans. Advocates are upset with cuts to cancer screenings for the uninsured and reductions in funding to care for the developmentally disabled.
A city man has been arrested for allegedly selling illegal drugs from a westside residence... and, stealing a number of flat-screen TVs. Jamestown police say their drug investigators and the State Police C-NET Team raided an apartment at 10 West Sixth Street about 9 AM Thursday... and, arrested 28 year-old Tyrone Smith. Officers say their investigation showed that Smith was selling narcotics from the dwelling... and, they alleged found the TV sets... which were reported stolen... and, cash. Smith was charged with Felony criminal sale of a controlled substance... and first-degree criminal nuisance. He is being held pending arraignment. Anyone with information about illegal narcotics sales in the city is asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
There was never anything said at a press conference Tuesday by minor league baseball officials that the Jamestown Jammers baseball franchise would be relocating to Morgantown, West Virginia. That from NY-P League President Ben Hayes... who says two published reports stating that Jamestown would -- or could be the team moving in 2015 are "totally" erroneous. The comment was attributed to both Hayes and Minor League Baseball Chief Executive Officer Pat O'Connor. Hayes does says there are 3 or 4 clubs that appear "ripe" for relocation. However... he says it's too early to say who may do that.
Hayes would not identify what 3 or 4 franchises are possibly looking to relocate... and, he would not speak to Jamestown's situation. He says the ownership would have to do that. Hayes did say the only mention of Jamestown was during a question and answer session regarding it's two-year player development agreement with the Pittsburgh Pirates... which runs through 2014. Hayes and O'Connor were in Morgantown for an announcement that West Virginia University plans to build a new stadium... and, that the NY-P League would be relocating a team there.
Residents have just over two weeks left to get their state and federal income taxes filed. But... for many people... being able to afford a tax preparer isn't possible. That's why the "Free File" program was started in 2003... and, the county's Congressman was in Jamestown yesterday afternoon to tout the public--private effort to help people do their own taxes... and, get a refund quickly. Corning Republican Tom Reed was joined by representatives of several human service agencies for a public briefing on the New York "Free File" program at Jamestown Business College. He says it's "available... easy... and, free" to people who earn less than 57-thousand dollars a year. Reed says they held the briefing, and training for several agencies directors, and others because there's still plenty of time for people to do their taxes. Computer and Communications Industry Association representative David Macklin says 70-percent of U-S taxpayers are eligible to use the "Free File" service. He says the program is "empowering" to lower-income residents... because program let's you know what tax credits you're eligible for. For more information... go on-line to Taxprephelp-dot-ORG.
Both ramps at state Thruway Exit 59 re-opened late yesterday morning after a crash involving a tanker truck closed them both down. The big rig carrying a food additive called Liquid Latex rolled onto its side around 7:30 AM Thursday. State Police Troop 'T' says first responders had to free the driver from the truck and then transport to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk. They described the injuries as "non-life-threatening." Firefighters from Fredonia and East Dunkirk responded to the scene. Both ramps were closed for about three hours. State troopers are continuing their investigation to determine what caused the crash.