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News update for Mon., Feb. 17, 2014


Cold temperatures greet early morning commuters in Jamestown-area...

After a light dusting of snow and cloudy skies very early this morning... the skys cleared... and, temperatures dropped.  It was zero here at our Media One Studios... then -2 about 6:30.  In Lakewood... it was 7-below in one location on Fairmount Avenue.  It was about 10-below in Busti.  The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department reported a 6-below in Little Valley at 5 a.m.  It was also 6-below in Warren... -13 at the Dunkirk Airport... and, -15 in Cassadaga.  However... temperatures will climb to about 27 this afternoon.  By Wednesday... temperatures will reach about 42... and, rain showers are forecast.


Buffalo-area couple hurt in Sunday Snowmobile accident...     
A Buffalo-area couple were hurt yesterday afternoon when their snowmobiles collided on the crest of a hill in the town of Chautauqua.  Sheriff's officers... and, Sherman Fire rescuers... were called to the scene on Redwing Road shortly after 12:30 p.m.  Deputies say their investigation showed the woman, 51 year-old Elizabeth Oswald of Williamsville, stopped on the "blind hill" crest ahead of her husband.  However... 52 year-old Eric Oswald was unable to stop in time... and, hit his wife's sled broadside.  Officers say Mrs. Oswald was treated at the scene for a leg injury... but, her husband was taken to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment of a head injury.  No charges were filed.


Great Lakes surfaces now 88-percent frozen...

It's been so bitterly cold for so long that the Great Lakes are almost completely covered with ice for the first time in 20 years.  The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 percent of the lakes' surface was frozen. As of Friday, ice cover extended across 88 percent.  That's according to the federal government's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.  Sections of the lakes harden almost every winter. But scientists say that over the past four decades, the average ice cover has receded 70 percent, probably in part because of climate change.  The deep freeze is more than a novelty.  It may help replenish water levels by limiting evaporation. It also could help sustain some species of wildlife.


Schumer to be in town of Portland today to rally support for local wine grape growers whose crops have been impacted by harsh Winter...

With the harsh winter taking a toll on upstate New York grape vines... U-S Senator Charles Schumer is telling the federal government to get ready to help.  Schumer plans to be at the 21 Brix Winery in the Chautauqua County town of Portland today.  He'll be joined by several upstate winemakers to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prepare to provide relief to vineyards should they need it.  It's too early to measure the full extent of the winter's toll on upstate's numerous vineyards, but growers say the brutal cold has killed a lot of buds on the vine and they fear extensive vine damage.  Schumer says the USDA should prepare to grant emergency help through the Tree Assistance Program that was just passed as part of the farm bill.


Teresi says Property Tax Freeze a step in the right direction, but, implementation could be a problem...

Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to mail property tax rebate checks to residents in qualifying municipalities to "freeze" their taxes for two years could be a "logistical and organizational nightmare."  Those are the feelings of Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi... who emphasizes that he and fellow members of the state Conference of Mayors agree with the idea of freezing taxes.  However... Teresi says they believe that sending out checks is not the most cost-effective way to do it.  He says there's also concern among localities -- like Jamestown -- that have been consolidating and merging services the past several years... that there won't be any acknowledgement of that.  Teresi says there needs to be a "recognition of that."  On this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group stations, Teresi gave ways he feels are better to provide the property tax relief that the governor wants to accomplish.  One is to use a "STAR" type program for those communities so relief can be provided immediately.  He says another way is to boost the state aid through New York's 'Aid and Incentives to Municipalities' -- or AIM Program.  Teresi says it's been proven that increasing AIM payments leads to lower property taxes.

 

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