Local News Headlines
Another top-elected official in Chautauqua County is announcing she isn't running for another term. After two decades of service... County Clerk Sandy Sopak says she'll be retiring at the end of this year. Sopak won election in 1994... and, became only the third woman to hold the office of County Clerk since 1811. She admits to being a little sad about the idea of retiring. However... Sopak adds that she's done everything she set out to do when she first took office. That often times has been difficult. Sopak says she had to take the Clerk's Office from -- "the dome to sub-basement of the courthouse" -- and, get it organized and upgraded to join the information age. She says the biggest accomplishment by her and her staff was getting 1.6-million dollars in grants to help computerize records... and, bring electronic imaging to their documentation. Under her administration... Sopak says they were also able to develop a state-of-the-art archival facility to preserve hundreds of thousands of valuable historical documents. Her efforts have been recognized across the state, and the country with numerous awards. That included a 1999 Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society.
The city of Jamestown received a slight increase in sales tax revenue in the first-quarter of 2013. That from City Comptroller Joe Bellitto... who told lawmakers at last night's City Council work session that he just received the figures from the county. Bellitto says the city is getting 1.344-million dollars for the first three-months of the year. He says that's a just over 30-thousand dollar increase over the first-quarter of last year. Bellitto says the city received just under 23-percent of it's total sales tax for 2012 in the first three-months of last year. He says Jamestown officials budgeted 5.775-million dollars in total sales tax revenue for 2013. That's up slightly from last year. City Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce adds it's also good news because consumer spending was expected to be flat... or down in the first quarter due to reinstatement of the 2-percent payroll tax cut at the beginning of the year.
There will be an added focus on demolishing condemned buildings... and, improving infrastructure in the city of Jamestown's Community Development Block Grant... and HOME Programs in 2013. That from Development Director Vince DeJoy following last night's second, required hearing on the approximately one-million dollar program. DeJoy says since holding their first hearing... the city's receive a "lot of citizen input" on what should be in the plan. A representative from the Chautauqua Housing Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation spoke last night about CHRIC's (Cricks) plans to acquire homes through auction... and, other means to rehabilitate them into owner-occupied structures. DeJoy says that falls right in with the purpose of the CDBG Funds... which are doled out by the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development. However... the amount of money continues to go down in the program. DeJoy says they're received no specific dollar amount the city will be receiving... but, he says generally... the cut will be about 5-percent. The City Council will vote on the plan at next week's voting session.
A medical office on Jamestown's southside has been extensively damaged in an overnight fire Monday. City Fire Battalion Chief Sam Salemme says first arriving crews at the Ivy Street offices of Doctors Jeffrey and David Krempa found flames leaping from the building about 2:30 AM. Salemme says the building was heavily-engulfed in flames. Salemme says it was a tough fire to put out because of the way the roof ultimately collapsed. He says it caused a lot of "void areas..." which are hard to get water into. Salemme says they had to pull some debris back to get to the flames. Fire investigators have been making their way through what remains of the structure to determine what caused the blaze. There were no reports of anyone inside the building at the time. Salemme says one firefighter suffered a minor injury. In addition to the medical offices of Doctors Jeffrey and David Krempa... Podiatrist Dr. John Susz also had an office there. An off-duty shift was called into assist.
A 21 year-old man was arrested late Sunday for allegedly throwing a large planter urn through the window of a Greenhurst area bar. State Police in Jamestown... and, Ellicott Town Police were called to the undisclosed scene on a report of a disorderly subject. Troopers say Donald Paulson of Greenhurt allegedly became unruly when the bartender refused to serve him because of how intoxicated he was. Police say... as Paulson left the tavern... he struck the door -- damaging the window frame. He then allegedly threw the planter through the 4 foot-by-8 foot front window. Some bar patrons were struck by the glass... but, were not hurt. Paulson was arraigned in Ellery Town Court on Felony charges including third-degree criminal mischief... and, two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief... reckless endangerment... and, unlawful possession of marijuana. He was then sent to the county jail with bail to be set.