Current Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards is responding to criticism his administration has received about its economic development record. Earlier this month... while helping to open County Executive candidate Ron Johnson's headquarters in Dunkirk... former Lieutenant Governor Stan Lundine accused the current administration of being a "caretaker government." Edwards today responded to those comments.The administration's job development record has also been criticized by Johnson... who says if he is elected... he would bring in a new Economic Development Director. Edwards stands by the current IDA Administrative Director and Chief Executive Officer Bill Daly. Edwards, who is leaving county government in mid-November, says there is a reason they call it "the silly season" and, that politics is in "full display." Johnson is challenging Republican Vince Horrigan in the November general election.
The Democrat candidate for Chautauqua County Executive says the county's Industrial Development Agency has not been as effective as it should have been the past eight years. Fredonia's Ron Johnson also says -- if he's elected in November -- he will bring in a new economic development director. Johnson says that's because of the record of job losses over the past eight years. He calls that a "terrible" record. Johnson says he wants someone new to not only lead the county's Department of Economic Development... but, the IDA as well. He says the county has 7-thousand fewer people employed than 7 years ago. He says the IDA "costs too much... and, achieves too little."
The Republican candidate for County Executive says he has a plan in place for job growth... and, will start in January 2014 with a "fresh slate" to move the county forward. Bemus Point's Vince Horrigan says his emphasis in the beginning will be on his "Growing Business Initiative... " which will deliver short-term job growth by identifying the top 200 existing businesses set for growth and new jobs. Horrigan says that momentum... along with stablizing the tax base... will attract new businesses for the long-term. He understands there are "plenty of empty buildings and space in the county." However... Horrigan says he's not running to "defend" outgoing County Executive Greg Edwards... nor the Industrial Development Agency. To the issues of IDA leadership... Horrigan says he will have a transition team in place after the election to find the best person available. However... Horrigan does say that if you look on the IDA's website... there have been a number of successes over the past seven years. He reiterated that he has a three-pronged approach to improving the local job picture... and, there's more detail at his website, Horriganforexecutive-dot-COM.
The cold front that brought some strong storms to the area late Wednesday night is ushering in some cooler temperatures through the weekend. Forecaster Aaron Reynolds with the National Weather Service says storms ahead of front produced a lot of lightning strikes overnight and into Thursday morning. Lightning is being linked to a blaze that heavily-damaged a portion of a barn on Route 20 near Fredonia Wednesday night. The same storm also produced a bolt that damaged a large tree in front of 50 Central Avenue in the village. Reynolds says the temperatures behind the front will be much cooler than the past few days. Our complete forecast is coming up.
More severe storms in eastern New York have caused local flooding even as crews restore power to customers who lost power during the first round. National Grid said power should be restored by early today to most of the 1,700 homes and businesses that don't have electricity. NYSEG reports about 1,200 outages.
Fire crews from four different departments battled a barn fire near Fredonia late Wednesday night that may have been triggered by a lightning strike. Fredonia fire officials say that village firefighters received mutual aid from Brocton, West Dunkirk and East Dunkirk in snuffing out the blaze that damaged a barn owned by James and Holly Kluck at 46-17 West Main Road just before 11:30 PM. Firefighters had the flames under control in about a half hour. Crews were at the scene for nearly four hours, with heavy damage reported to a rear corner of the structure. A 12-by-14 foot shed was also destroyed in the fire. No injuries were reported.