Local News Headlines 4:55am 3/21/13
A combination of cold air and winds crossing a wide open Lake Erie has led forecasters to extend our Lake Effect Snow Warning through Midnight tonight. The National Weather Service extended the warning late yesterday afternoon... with another 14 inches of snow possible in the snow belt areas between 4 PM Wednesday and tonight. That from Forecaster Jim Mitchell in Buffalo... who says we're seeing a "blocking pattern" in the Chautauqua Region for the first time this Winter... and early Spring. With that... parts of the county will see another 3 to 6 inches by this morning. Mitchell says we'll be "entrenched" in this pattern until about Midnight tonight. He adds that some parts of the listening area may see up to 2 feet of snow by the time the system begins moving out. Mitchell says the Chautauqua Ridge area... and, ski country will see the highest snowfall totals. The Lake Effect snow showers were "off and on" between Noon and late last night. However... Mitchell says much of the area was looking at up to another 6 inches overnight.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders say they have an agreement on a state budget that would include raising the minimum wage to 9-dollars an hour over three years. The closed-door agreement announced Wednesday puts Albany on track to pass the third straight on-time budget. The deal includes raising the minimum wage of 7-dollars-25 cents to 9 dollars within a couple of years. The 2013-14 spending plan would increase state spending just under 2 percent, to about 136-billion dollars. The total is almost 143-billion dollar when federal aid for Superstorm Sandy recovery is included. Now... the Senate and Assembly must print and pass the bills by next week to beat the April 1st deadline. Cuomo says he wants to avoid issuing orders to suspend the three days' public review of bills required under the constitution
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says one of the issues in protracted budget talks was a concern that Governor Cuomo is controlling billions of dollars of economic development without enough input from legislators. Silver says Cuomo's new system of nearly a dozen economic development ``zones'' statewide lacks enough input by state legislators who know their districts' needs.
The tentative 2013-2014 budget for the village of Lakewood increases taxes by about 1.3-percent... due mainly to increased state pension costs. Mayor David Wordelmann released his proposed spending plan Wednesday afternoon... and, says while spending is up by nearly 101-thousand dollars... revenues are up about 80-thousand. He says there are basically four areas where spending is going up in the 3.24-million dollar spending plan. The biggest... he says... is more than 37-thousand dollars in increased pension costs to New York state. The next biggest increase is about 32-thousand dollars in fuel and equipment for the police and fire departments. As for revenue increases... Wordelman says a key one is a change in taxing status for the Lakewood Village Center on Fairmount Avenue. They are changing to a payment in lieu of tax agreement... after the owner made a major investment to upgrade the center for new businesses. Wordelmann says the tax levy goes up by about 22-thousand dollars under the plan... the tax rate by 23-cents per thousand.
Jamestown School officials say both houses of the state legislature are negotiating to add about 300-million dollars in school aid to the final, 2013-to-2014 budget. That's "encouraging new" to School Superintendent Deke Kathman... who says the Assembly is looking to add about 299-million dollars... while the Senate is looking to add about 308-million. Kathman says the final amount will have to be reconciled. However... he says until they know the "formula" lawmakers are using... he can't determine a final, state aid figure for the district. The Jamestown district is currently planning to use reserve funds to fill more than half of a projected 4.6-million dollar deficit for next year. The shortfall remains at just over 1.9-million dollars. Kathman believes the added money will be in the form of "foundation" aid... or reducing the "Gap-elimination" adjustment. He says that will increase the district's operating aid. Kathman says they spoke earlier in the day with State Senator Cathy Young's office. Kathman says they were providing Young's office with information on what reserve funds the city district was using to plug it's projected shortfall. He expects they'll have all the information they need to offer a final draft at the board's April 9th meeting.
Three men -- two from Jamestown -- have been arrested for allegedly breaking in the door at one downtown residence... then allegedly attempting a home invasion at another. City police were initially called to the first scene on Prendergast Avenue just before 11:30 PM Tuesday for an possible attempted burglary. When they arrived... officers were told that 24 year-old DeMarco Latham and 28 year-old Laval Johnson of Jamestown... and, 26 year-old Fred Miles of Rochester... had allegedly kicked in the victim's front door. However... they ran off towards Fulton Street... where police believe the trio attempted the home invasion. Officers say Miles and Johnson were allegedly inside... and, all three were eventually taken into custody. They were taken to the city jail... where Miles and Latham allegedly lied about their identities. All three are charged with criminal mischief... and, obstruction of governmental administration... and, were jailed pending arraignment.
State Assemblyman Andy Goodell is supporting the keeping of 120-million dollars in the state budget to fund programming for the region's developmentally-disabled. Goodell recently met with clients and staff from The Resource Center... who visited the state Capitol to advocate for keeping the money in place. If the money was cut... The Resource Center would receive a 6-percent funding cut for it's programming. Officials say that's on top of 9 to 10-percent in cuts over the past three years. Goodell says while New York is facing a difficult budget deficit... "it is essential that state government make the decisions needed to protect important services for our most vulnerable citizens."
Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders plan to change to the new gun control measure that he pushed into law a month after the Newtown shootings. The current law outlaws any magazines that carry more than seven bullets, the nation's most stringent limit. But... seven-bullet magazines aren't made, so the law has to be tweaked to allow the sale of guns with 10-shot magazines, although New Yorkers will still be required to keep no more than seven bullets in them.