A Lakewood-area business owner has been convicted for failure to pay payroll taxes... and, has been sentenced to one-year in prison... and, to make restitution to the IRS. U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says 57 year-old John Creighton of Bemus Point will have to pay the Internal Revenue Service just over 663-thousand dollars as part the sentence he received in federal court late yesterday. Assistant U-S Attorney Trini Ross... who handled the case -- says Creighton, who has been owner and president of Classic Brass, withheld payroll taxes in 2010 and 2011... but, failed to make payments to the IRS. She adds Creighton also failed to file payroll tax forms. Special Agents with the IRS investigated the case.
Chautauqua County has reached a tentative agreement with a Long Island-based health care company to buy the County Home in Dunkirk. County Executive Vince Horrigan late Wednesday announced the "asset purchase" agreement with VestraCare of Roslyn, New York for 16-million dollars. That's half-a-million dollars less that VestraCare offered the county last October. That purchase agreement -- which needed a two-thirds majority vote of the county legislature to be approved -- fell one vote short of the 17 needed last October. VestraCare also operates the Susquehanna Nursing Rehabilitation Center in Johnson City, New York... and, the Golden Hill Health Care Center in Ulster County. The former Ulster County Home has received national and state awards for it's treatment of congestive heart failure. Horrigan says the new agreement includes a provision confirming that VestraCare is looking to make up to one-million dollars in capital improvements to the Dunkirk facility. He says the firm is "not only committed to retaining the high-quality services currently offered at the County Home, but they also have expressed their interest in expanding on our facility's current services." Horrigan adds VestraCare has also committed to operate the facility for at least 10 years with preferred admissions for County residents... and, current County Home residents will have the right to remain. County lawmakers will hold a special meeting on the proposal next Wednesday, February 5th in Mayville... and, a final vote could be taken at the legislature's February 26th meeting.
The past two weeks of sub-zero temperatures... and, even lower wind chill figures... have created major headaches for many local school superintendents. That's especially been the case the past three days... as some schools closed all three days. However... it's also Regents Exam week... and, students who miss those tests will likely have to wait until June to be able to take them. Interim Cassadaga Valley Superintendent Tom Schmidt says -- first off -- he can't remember having to close school for three-straight days. Schmidt says his first thought on a day like Wednesday is "safety first." The Jamestown School District did have a regular day for High School students taking exams... but, officials opened the elementary and middle schools two-hours late. Superintendent Tim Mains says in making their calls to parents emphasized dressing properly. Mains says they have at least one snow day left.. depending on state law regarding all grade levels. Schmidt says he's swapping an In-Service Day in March so they didn't have to use a Snow Day yesterday. He says the March day will be a "student attendance day" they'll have to let everyone know about.
New York's top education official tells a state legislative hearing he will advocate for a 1.3-billion dollar increase in education aid to help schools that lawmakers portrayed as increasingly stressed by aid cutbacks and educational mandates. State Education Commissioner John King, Junior was peppered by questions Tuesday from lawmakers concerned about the rollout of the new Common Core learning standards... and, the ability of financially strapped school districts to adequately teach children. The hearing came as the New York State Association of School Business Officials released a study showing school districts have lost 10 percent of their professional staff since the start of the recession. Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed an $807-million increase in school aid in his budget. King and the Board of Regents are recommending a $1.3 billion increase.
Dairy farmers say they're pleased that a long fight over federal dairy subsidies has ended with a compromise farm bill. Farmers say the compromise legislation is fair and will be effective in keeping their farms from going under during hard times. The bill overhauls dairy subsidies, which farmers say has been sorely needed for years. Farmers got squeezed in 2009 by low milk prices and high feed costs and many went under. The federal government currently pays farmers if the price of milk sinks below a certain point, but it doesn't consider their costs. The legislation would scrap that program in favor of subsidized insurance to pay farmers when the difference between milk and feed prices becomes too small to cover their other expenses.
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is commending President Obama for his focus on a Middle Class economic agenda in his State of the Union address. During an earlier White House Meeting with women Senators... Gillibrand says she asked the President to work with her on her "Opportunity Plan Agenda..." which includes a Paid Family Leave Bill, a minimum wage increase... equal pay... and, Universal Pre-K. The New York Democrat says everywhere she travels across New York... "the issue that middle class families are still most worried about is the economy. They are finding it harder and harder to get by and they want action from Congress." She says the President last night "presented a compelling plan of how to achieve real opportunity for all hard working Americans." Gillibrand adds that there's "no doubt the state of our union will grow stronger when every middle class American has a fair shot to earn their way ahead in our economy." She says President Obama has always been "a strong champion for America's women."