There have been a number of questions seniors in Chautauqua County have been asking questions regarding changes in the health care law... and, how that may impact their Medicare coverage. With that... the county's Office for the Aging is hosting three public forums next week on that... and, how to deal with a spouse that is not yet covered by Medicare. Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos says if you are now on Medicare... there are basically no changes. But... Spanos says there may be other circumstances... including which plan you're on.
Spanos says Chautauqua Opportunities, Incorporated is involved because they are the county's "exchange navigator." She says there's also the issue of Medi-gap coverage... and, Medicare Part D for prescription drugs. Spanos says the first forum will be held at the Findley Lake Community Center from 10 AM to Noon next Monday, October 7th. She says the other two forums are next Wednesday, October 9th. The first is in Fredonia at the Mason's Lodge from 10:30 AM to Noon... and, the second is at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Jamestown from 1 to 3 PM. For more information... call the Office for the Aging at 661-8940.
Jury selection has resumed in the trial of the Virginia man accused of murdering Clymer School Superintendent Keith Reed, Junior. That after a state Appellate Court Judge in Buffalo Monday rejected a motion to delay the trial. The Buffalo News reports that Justice Erin Peradotto denied the motion by Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone to stay the trial pending a decision on a separate motion. The paper reports that motion calls for moving the trial to a court in another county due to pre-trial publicity. The judge made the decision after reviewing arguments by Barone and District Attorney David Foley. Jury selection has moved slowly since it began August 19th.
The partial shut-down of the federal government isn't having a direct impact on local government services. But... the longer the shutdown drags on -- the greater the risk. That from Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards... who says it's 'business as usual' right now. However... Edwards says if the government is shut down for an extended period of time... there's a risk of losing federal dollars for two county agencies. One is Woman and Children's Services. Edwards says they county's Office of Veterans Services is the other program that could be affected. He says they are working locally... but, they will begin to experience problems in accessing records, and or pursuing claims because they have to go through the federal government for those. While there are stop-gap measures in place, Edwards says the county has to upfront the money and seek reimbursement. Edwards says that could lead to problems down the road.
Chautauqua County's job market in August was "very stable..." and, there's been slow, but steady improvement in the overall job situation. That from state Labor Department Analyst John Slenker... who says there was very little change between July and August... as the unemployment rate remained 7.4-percent. Slenker says private sector jobs were up by 200... with no one area outpacing the other. But... government-related jobs were down about 300.
Slenker says the number of people employed was up 200 overall to 55-thousand-100. As for the job count... he says there are several factors that play into his saying there's been "slow improvement." Slenker says there is claims data... among others. He says they're all pointing in the "same direction though." He adds were not "bleeding jobs the way we were a few years ago." Slenker says both July and August's unemployment rate in Chautauqua County were well down from August of last year... when the rate was 8-percent.
In Cattaraugus County... the jobless rate also remained unchanged for August. Labor Department Analyst John Slenker says the unemployment rate was 7.7-percent in August... the same as it was in July. Slenker says the biggest job losses were in the private sector... and, one area in particular. That's construction. He says there were 100 job losses there. Cattaraugus County's overall job loss for the month was also 100. Slenker says the jobless rate in August of last year was 8.5-percent
A judge will hear a lawsuit on October 11th that challenges the rosy language the Cuomo administration and Legislature made for the referendum to authorize seven Las Vegas-type casinos in New York. Attorney Eric Snyder tells The Associated Press Wednesday that the court date is set for his lawsuit against the state Board of Elections which approved the measure. The date was set for next Friday. The AP had reported that the referendum had been rewritten over the summer from a traditional, bare-bones question to voters. It now promises jobs, more school aid and lower taxes -- all of which are disputed. There's no immediate comment from Cuomo. Newspaper editorial boards have been criticial of the rewording.
Gas prices have dropped another 7-cents a gallon in the Jamestown-area this week to about 3-dollars-71 cents per gallon. That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge... which says that's also the average decrease nationally. The average retail price across the U-S this week has fallen to 3-dollars-39 cents a gallon. Barring a hurricane or other unexpected disruption to gas production and distribution... the AAA expects that retail prices will continue lower in the coming months, as sufficient supplies, flat demand and cheaper winter-blend gasoline mean motorists are likely to pay less.