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Local News Headlines

News update for Fri., June 14, 2013


Jury selection in Nushawn Williams civil confinement trial complete... 
Jury selection has been completed in the civil confinement trial of Nushawn Williams in Chautauqua County Court.  YNN reports that three alternate jurors were selected and sworn-in Thursday.  Twelve jurors were seated Wednesday.  Williams has already served a 12-year sentence for rape and reckless endangerment.  Williams was accused of passing along the HIV Virus to about a dozen girls and women in the late 1990s.  He's still being held under the state's civil confinement law because the Attorney General's office still deems him a "sexual predator."  Williams' lawyer claims a recent test shows Williams does not have HIV.  The state asked for a hearing prior to jury selection to challenge the test, but the judge denied the request.  The trial is set to begin next Monday morning... and, last all next week.


Duffy comments on Seneca-NYS Casino agreement in Jamestown...

It's being hailed as "an historic agreement."  That from Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry Snyder, Sr. after signing a new Casino compact with Governor Andrew Cuomo Thursday afternoon.  Cuomo went to Niagara Falls to sign the agreement... and, end a long-running standoff over casino gambling.  Cuomo says the Senecas will retain exclusivity rights to casino operations in the region.  The Senecas will pay more than $600-million to the state, and, local governments involved.  In Jamestown earlier in the day... Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said once a deal was finalized... it would make a positive impact.  Duffy says sitting down "face-to-face" was the key to turning negotiations around.  Thursday's announcement came one day after Snyder met with members of the Cuomo administration for several hours in Albany.  The Senecas operate casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca under an agreement with the state that requires them to share slot machine revenues in exchange for being the only casino operators in the region.  But... the tribe had been withholding payments since 2009.


Cuomo's proposal for "Tax Free" business zones is just that, says Duffy...

Governor Cuomo's proposal of "Tax Free zones" around SUNY... and, other Campuses for new or expanding business means just that -- "tax free."  That from Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy during an appearance before local business, and manufacturing leaders... and, elected officials.  Duffy was at Jamestown Community College Thursday morning to provide some more details about the proposal.  He says... over the first 10 years... the new business, it's owners and managers, and employees... would pay no state taxes.  Duffy says the only exception is for people earning $200,000 or more after the businesses fifth-year.  He says he's not aware of any program like this in the country.  Duffy adds a lot of interest is already being shown in it.  He says some of the final details are still being negotiated... but, Governor Cuomo's proposal is for light to high-tech manufacturers that locate within a 200,000 square foot area around a local college... like JCC.  He says one of the keys is creating an environment that stops the "brain-drain" in New York.  Duffy says the best way to counter that is to provide good jobs to keep "those kids here."  He adds that there is more than enough space around SUNY's two and four-year schools... and, private colleges to accomodate the growth without taking land off the local tax roles. 


Money being restored to state programs for the disabled...

A key state legislator and the Cuomo administration say they've found a way to restore $90-million in funding to state programs for disabled New Yorkers.  Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg... a Long Island Democrat who criticized the cut proposed for the state's 2013-14 budget... says the administration plans to use savings from other state expenses to replenish the program cut by the March 31st end of the fiscal year, and otherwise the rest will be restored.  An adminstration spokesman says they've agreed to make up the balance if the savings plan being developed by a working group doesn't equal $90-million.  Weisenberg, who has a disabled son, has gathered most Assembly members as co-sponsors on his bill to restore the funding.


Western New York region already has "well-above" average rainfall for month of June...

It's been a very wet month of June... and, the national weather service has the facts and figures to prove it.  We're not even half-way through the month... and, Western New York has already exceeded it's normal amount of rain.  Forecaster Jon Hitchcock with the Weather Service's Buffalo office Thursday said we're more than half-an-inch ahead of "normal."  He says we've received about 4.5-inches so far this month.  We normally get an average of 3.8-inches for the entire month.  The current figure does not account for precipitation that fell between yesterday afternoon... and, overnight. 


New Gateway Train Station receives Business First Award...

The newly-renovated Gateway Train Station on Jamestown's westside has only been open a short time... but, has already won an award.  Business First of Buffalo earlier this week presented station General Manager Lee Harkness it's "Best Historic Restoration" award for all of western New York.  Harkness says he received a real brick with a plaque on it during a reception in Buffalo for award-winning real estate and development.  He says the business paper was very complimentary of the $11-million project.  Harkness says they did a power-point presentation on the station, adding that -- considering where they started -- where they ended up was "almost a miracle."  He admits he was a 'bit surprised' when he got the letter from Business First... but, he says it confirms for him that the station has become a "real jewel" in downtown Jamestown.  Harkness says they're seeing that already with the number of people and organizations that have booked the train station for wedding receptions... meetings... and, reunions.  In fact... he says the interest has been a bit "overwhelming."  For more information on the station... and, booking events... call Harkness at 483-3041.

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