Authorities say a tornado touched down in northwestern Pennsylvania, where no injuries were immediately reported but some buildings were damaged and at least one mobile home was destroyed. The National Weather Service office in Cleveland, Ohio said a tornado warning was issued for Erie County shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday after a funnel cloud was sighted. Meteorologist Martin Thompson said the tornado touched down near Edinboro, with reports of power lines being brought down and structural damage to homes. The Erie County emergency management agency said one and possibly two tornados were reported, and one went through the Union City area.Training administrator Jack Cater said officials had confirmed that a mobile home was destroyed, and there were also reports of building damage, trees down, and a ruptured gas line.
Keeping access to "quality" health care in rural areas is the main focus of two pieces of legislation local Congressman Tom Reed is co-sponsoring in the House and Senate. Reed says the Rural Hospital Access Act is in response to proposed cuts in Medicare reimbursements to rural hospitals, and their patients. The Corning Republican announced Tuesday that he is teaming up with U-S Senator Charles Schumer... and, others... to back the bi-partisan measure. Reed says he's talked with several hospital administrators in the area about the situation. Reed says he is especially concerned because rural hospitals dot the landscape of his 23rd Congressional District. He says he's been told hospitals need those reimbursements continues to keep open... staff employed... and, services in place. Reed says the Rural Hospital Access Act does not entail ANY change in the current Medicare reimbursement model... but, would keep it where it is right now without change.
The second-bill Congressman Reed and other lawmakers are introducing is the Hospice Evaluation and Legitimate Payment provision under the Health Care Laws of America. Reed says he will be a "strong voice" for supporting Hospice and Palitative Care in the U-S... and, the 23rd District. Reed says the legislation just makes sense in providing "end of life" care to the elderly... and, others with terminal illnesses. He made his comments during hit weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media. Reed plans to talk more about the bills in the next several days across the district... beginning in Jamestown.
A special meeting called for tonight to clear up home rule legislation to renew Chautauqua County's 2-percent bed tax to maintain the county's lakes and waterways has been cancelled. The special legislature session was originally called by Chairman Jay Gould for 6:30 PM. It was to address a bill lawmakers received just a short time before last week's meeting. Legislators were unclear -- at that time -- whether the 510-thousand dollars that would be raised would be used mostly for Chautauqua Lake. After much discussion... the measure was approved, 16-to-8. However... questions remained... and, the special session was tentatively set. However... Gould said late yesterday the meeting was called off "due to a lack of need..." and possible lack of a quorum.
A group of about 60 Ripley residents is suing the school district to nullify the board's decision to dissolve Ripley High School... and, tuition-out students to the Chautauqua Lake High School. The Buffalo News reports the citizen's group also wants four members of the school board ousted. The News says the lawsuit, filed by Buffalo-area attorney Steven Cohen, seeks to removed Board President Bob Bentley, Vice-President Nancy Rowe... and members Ted Rickenbrode... and, Fred Krause. In addition... the group is reportedly asking the state Comptroller's office to do an audit of the district. They say the district -- quote -- "appears to have been engaging in an illegal and unethical course of fiscal conduct for several years." Tuesday afternoon... the district issued a printed statement... saying they are aware through media reports, about a group of people intending to bring legal action against the board -- or board members. However... they say the board is unable to comment at this point because "no lawsuit has been filed... and, we do not know any specifics about the purported claims.
The utility company that wants to repower its Dunkirk plant is taking issue with National Grid's analysis that was filed with the state Public Service Commission last Friday. The utility concluded that upgrading the transmission system was a better way to go. But... Jon Baylor, Senior Director of Development for NRG, says there were a lot of flaws in the report. He says that the report assumes the plant would not only benefit New York, but nearby Pennsylvania. He says that's a faulty assumption. Baylor also questions National Grid's estimated cost for the proposed tranmission upgrades. Company officials emphasized that the Public Service Commission, not National Grid will have the final word on the project. NRG has filed a request with the PSC for an additional two weeks, until June 5th, to file a response to National Grid's report.
Nearly seven months after Superstorm Sandy, a third of the money the Red Cross raised to assist storm victims is still unspent. The relief organization says it has roughly 110-million dollars remaining out of the 303-million donated specifically for Sandy work. Red Cross officials say having cash in reserve will help it address needs that weren't immediately apparent after the disaster. Some disaster aid experts say that's a smart move because the toughest and most expensive relief work comes in the rebuilding phase, after the public's attention has waned and new donations are scarce. But... others say the Red Cross isn't a long-term rebuilding agency and should give the remaining funds to local organizations better positioned to assist in the reconstruction effort.