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The state Legislature is set to adopt a nearly $140 billion budget that includes some tax breaks for businesses and homeowners and a 5 percent increase in school aid. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders reached an agreement on the deal Friday night into Saturday. Voting is expected today on the spending plan for the new fiscal year that starts on Tuesday.

 

The budget plan approved early last weekend by the Cuomo administration and legislative leaders contains the governor's proposal for tax relief to homeowners in localities that meet certain conditions.  Those conditions include staying within a 2 percent tax cap and take further steps to reduce costs.  The estimated 1.5-billion dollars in homeowner tax relief is tied to counties and their towns, villages and cities putting a lid on spending the first year, then getting state approval on local plans to cut spending in the second year.

 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he's excited about the 340-million dollars for pre-kindergarten programs in the proposed state budget.  The pre-K funding in the budget agreement between Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders includes 300-million for New York City... and, 40-million dollars for the rest of the state.  De Blasio called it ``an extraordinary and historic step forward for New York City.''  Details of the budget covering the fiscal year beginning Tuesday were contained in legislation filed late Friday.

 

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly threatening another person with a knife during a domestic incident yesterday afternoon.  City police were called to the scene at 27 Maple Street just before 5 PM... and, were told one person allegedly had the weapon in their possession.  Officers say their investigation revealed that 52 year-old James Hewitt had a knife... and, had threatened to "cut the victim up."  Hewitt was arrested without incident... and, charged with second-degree menacing.  He was being held in the city lock-up pending arraignment.

 

The recent "Community Drug Forum" on the county's opiate drug problem was "effective" in bringing the issue to the forefront... and, getting the conversation going on what needs to be done about it.  That from one of the people who took part in an afternoon panel discussion on the problem... especially regarding a spike in heroin abuse.  Director Pat Munson with the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council says she wanted to hear how prevention programs can help... and, that people stuck with the facts about the situation.  She says both those goals were met. Munson hoped to get some of the participants to take part in a media campaign regarding the dangers of opiates, and heroin.  However... the break-out sessions planned after the panel discussion never took place due to the weather.  As for the heroin spike... Munson says increased regulation on prescription drugs -- mainly pain killers -- has worked... because they're not as available as they were a short time ago.  With that... addicts who don't get into a treatment program turn to heroin because it's relatively inexpensive... and, easier to get than a prescription.  Munson made her comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Group stations.

 

Dozens of law enforcement officers from New York, Vermont and Massachusetts recently met in an upstate county that has become a crossroad in the trafficking of heroin to northern New England.  The Glens Falls Post-Star reports that about 90 local, state and federal officers met at the Washington County Sheriff's Office to discuss how to combat the growing heroin problem in the Northeast.  The county located on the Vermont border has two roads -- Routes 149 and 4 -- that carry motorists to and from Vermont.  Washington County has seen an increase in heroin arrests and overdoses as the drug's use has grown in Vermont and New York.

 

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford is offering awards that will enable students in three neighboring New York counties to attend the Pennsylvania school at in-state tuition rates.  The Bradford Era reports the deal available to students in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties is not, technically, a tuition discount... but, an award that enables qualifying students to pay $12,208 for annual tuition instead of $22,812, the rate out-of-state students pay.  The Bradford satellite campus, which is about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, is just six miles from the New York border.  The new award is available to full-time freshmen and transfer students who enroll beginning this fall.  Those students must maintain at least a 2.25 grade-point average to maintain the award all four years.

 

The Buffalo Bills will honor late owner Ralph Wilson with a public celebration and remembrance at the team's fieldhouse on April 5th.  The event will feature memorabilia, exhibits and a guestbook to allow fans to pay tribute to the Hall of Fame owner, who founded the former American Football League franchise in 1959.  A private family service was held in Detroit... Wilson's hometown... last Saturday.  The Pro Football Hall of Famer had a connection to Chautauqua County.  The Bills held their annual training camp in Fredonia for nearly 19 years before it moved to the Rochester area.  Valerie Pawlak, who is known locally as the "Number-one Bills fan..." recalled how Wilson enjoyed coming to the SUNY Fredonia campus. The 95-year-old Wilson died last Tuesday at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.  The private service -- attended by several Bill's personnel -- was held last Saturday in Detroit.  The Bills will also hold a private ceremony for staff, players, coaches and NFL personnel.  The date has not been set.

 

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