One of the biggest turn-outs in recent years for a Jamestown School Budget vote produced a large margin of approval for the 77.6-million dollar spending plan. School Superintendent Tim Mains says he's very pleased with both the turn-out and the result. The budget approved Tuesday included a modest, 1.5-percent tax increase... or 219-thousand dollars. However... Mains says the spending plan was approved, 466-to-196. Mains says keeping academic programs and standards in place has been difficult... especially because the city district doesn't have the resources they should. He says the students deserve it. Mains says -- thanks to several retirements -- they're able to retain all teachers. But... he says some will likely have to be moved to fill all positions before the start of the new school year in September. Mains adds, though, he would like to keep all "teams" at each school in place.
Jamestown residents Tuesday re-elected a school board incumbant... and, a newcomer. However... the newcomer to the board is very familiar to people in the district. Nina Karbacka retired a short time ago after a 40-year career of teaching music in the Jamestown public schools. Karbacka received the most votes of the two board candidates Tuesday with 570 tallies. She says she ran because she "believes in public education..." and, "give every child the opportunity to succeed." Karbacka replaced Laurel Lucas on the ballot. After 13 years... Lucas decided it was time to step down from the panel... and, will finish her term on June 30th. The other incumbant... Dan Johnson... was re-elected. The retired Jamestown Police Officer recieve 527 votes in Tuesday's vote.
Voters in the Southwestern Central School system approved their budget... but, it was closer than most other districts. Still... residents approved the budget by a better than 2-to-1 margin, 284-to-136. The budget includes a "slight" tax increase. A proposition to establish a 950-thousand dollar Building Capital Reserve Fund over 10 years was also adopted. The vote was 223-to-65. All four people running for the school board were elected. The top vote getter was Edward Brooks with 295 tallies.
Voters in the Falconer School District have approved a 21.6-million dollar, 2015-16 budget overwhelmingly. District officials say the vote was 130-to-29. Falconer Superintendent Steve Penhollow says the school board and administration did their best to 'balance' a budget that's responsible both fiscally, and educationally. Penhollow says the spending is up about 25-thousand dollars... or point-12-percent. He adds there were no staff or teacher cuts this year. There were no other propositions this year. Two incumbant school board members... Robert Carpenter and Gordon Black... ran unopposed and were re-elected.
- It was a day in which most propositions passed in a big way in Chautauqua County. However... one proposition was defeated -- handily. That was a proposal to reduce the Pine Valley School Board from 9 to 7 members. It was defeated 202-to-70. One to add a student representative to the board was approved, 238-to-35. The budget was approved, 192-to-80... and, two transporation propositions were also adopted.
There were also five people running for four school board seats at Pine Valley. Nancy Stock received the most votes with 198... David Kohler was second with 197... Adam Lukasik was third with 195... and, fourth was Jeffrey Chase with 175 votes.
- At Cassadaga Valley... voters overwhelmingly approved a 20-million dollar, 2015-16 budget, 172-to-30. They also approved a transportation proposition for two buses and two new minvans for 371-thousand dollars, 176-to-27. Daniel Pavlock ran unopposed for the school board, and was elected to a five-year term.
- Voters in the Brocton School district approved the district budget by a wide margin, 172-to-21. Douglas Walter ran unopposed for one board seat.
- Residents of the Bemus Point School District overwhelmingly approved a 13.3-million dollar spending plan Tuesday. The vote was 167-to-50. A 245-thousnd dollars bus proposition also passed, 173-to-42. The three people running for the school board... Cari Auer... Randy Oste... and, John Novotny... were unopposed.
- In Panama... residents approved a 12.75-million dollar budget by a nearly 4-to-1 margin. The vote was 115-to-31. Residents also returned James Mistretta to the school board. He ran unopposed.
- Westfield voters approved their budget, 477-to-31. Four people ran uncontested for the school board.
- We also understand that Frewsburg's budget was approved... but, have not received results to confirm that yet...
The state Power Authority's board has approved allocations of low-cost hydropower to three Western New York companies... one in Chautauqua County. Governor Andrew Cuomo adds they also approved Western New York Power Proceeds awards for three other firms in the region. Together... Cuomo says they'll support nearly 100-million dollars in capital investments and 363 jobs -- including 157 new positions. The governor says Cummins Engine Company will receive 700 kilowatts of Hydro-Power to convert 40-thousand square feet of warehouse space into a new engine machine line. The heavy-duty engine maker... which has operated it's Jamestown Engine plant since 1974 in Ashville... and, employs more than 14-hundred people. Cummins produces three diesel engine platforms, along with blocks and heads, camshafts and crankshafts. The firm will invest about 47-million dollars in the new line... and create 10 jobs. Cummins is also working with Empire State Development, which has offered up to 2-million dollars in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in return for Cummins job creation and investment commitments.
WCA Hospital will celebrate it's 130th birthday this coming Saturday... but, got an early start in celebrating at yesterday's annual Meeting of the Corporations. WCA President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright reported on new programs, and upgrades in technology as part of the 20th meeting at the hospital. Wright says... despite the fiscal challenges in recent years... they've made great strides in robotic surgery. There have now been 500 such surgeries. Wright says they've also been able to make other investments. Despite on-going cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements... Wright reported the hospital finished the past year in the black. She says a "lot of hard work" by a lot of people made that happen. In addition to the hospital... Wright says there were also reports given by the WCA Foundation... WCA Services... Starflight Helicopter... and, Alstar Ambulance. Again... WCA's 130th birthday will officially be celebrated this Saturday.
Most local police agencies are taking part in the statewide "Click it or Ticket" campaign which got underway yesterday (Monday). Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says the Sheriff's Office will among the local police agencies participating in the safety operation. Gerace says air bags help... but, you still need to buckle up. He says air bags are only good for "straight-on collisions." Gerace adds that if the car were to go off the road, and rollover, or be hit from the side or side... airbags don't really help. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives across the nation in 2013. The campaign will continue through May 31st.
The New York state Senate has voted to create a public list of those convicted of violent felonies similar to the existing sex offender registry. The proposal is intended to prevent future crimes, in particular domestic violence, by allowing people to check if a new acquaintance has a violent past. Local Senator Cathy Young cited the case of the late Shannon Pepper in voting for the bill. Pepper... who died in an accidental fire this past February... was victimized by one of the most brutal domestic violence attacks ever in Cattaraugus County.
The Drug Enforcement Administration says it has seized a record 154 pounds of heroin worth at least 50-million dollars in a New York City investigation. However... it's not known what kind of impact the seizure may have. The DEA called the heroin seizure it's largest ever in New York state. Officials said late Tuesday that most of the drugs were found in an SUV in the Bronx following a wiretap investigation. Agents also made two arrests... and, recovered 2-million dollars in cash.
President Barack Obama has signed into law a measure to create a nationwide alert system to help catch anyone who hurts, kills or makes credible threats against police officers. The new system would be similar to the Amber Alerts used to find abducted children. The bill is named for New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu (WEHN'-jihn loo), who were shot in Brooklyn days before Christmas by a man who later killed himself. Families of the slain officers were on hand to see Obama sign the bill in the Oval Office. Obama says it's important for communities to do everything possible to ensure the safety of police officers. He says the alerts could help warn officers when there is an active threat against them.