Legendary comedian and retired "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno will be the main headliner at this year's Lucille Ball Comedy Festival Jamestown. That announcement was made early this (Wednesday) afternoon during a press conference at the Gateway Train Station. Lucy-Desi Center of Comedy Director Journey Gunderson says they're "very excited" to have the 63 year-old Leno perform. Gunderson adds the "timing is fantastic" with the center vying to be home to the National Comedy Center. Gunderson says while Leno retired after just over two-decades of hosting "The Tonight Show..." he never expressed a desire to retire from doing stand-up comedy. In fact... she says the demand for Leno and his stand-up show has "skyrocketed." With that... his 8 PM Show on Saturday, August 9th... will be held at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. She says that's because the Rink "A" area can seat 22-hundred people. The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts seats 12-hundred-70. Gunderson adds that Lucie Arnaz... the daughter of the late Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz... will do a musical performance prior to Leno's appearance. Pre-sale tickets for the festival go on sale for center members, sponsors and supporters this Friday... and, public pre-sale begins at Noon on Friday, April 18th.
Almost lost in the excitement of the announcement Jay Leno will headline the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival this August is who the other headliner will be... and, he's no stranger to TV audiences, either. Comedian Tom Cotter will be performing at the Reg Lenna Civic Center for the Arts on Friday, August 8th -- the night before Leno's appearance. Cotter was runner-up after reaching the finals of "America's Got Talent." Prior to that... Lucy-Desi Center Director Journey Gunderson says Cotter won major comedy competition's in Seattle... Boston... and, Las Vegas. Gunderson adds that one positive about Leno and Cotter is they're both considered "clean comedians..." meaning their material is suitable for most ages. On Thursday night... she says the festival will host it's annual "Comics to Watch" stand-up showcase at the Reg Lenna. It will feature Comedian Caroline (Caro-Line) Rhea... who starred in the TV show "Sabrina the Teenage Witch..." and, was former host of "The Biggest Loser." The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival will feature several other events and personalities... and, runs from August 6th through 10th. For more information... go on-line to lucycomedyfest-dot-COM... or call 484-0800.
Chautauqua County Fire Investigators say someone intentionally set fire to a large apartment house in the village of Westfield early Wednesday morning. Westfield firefighters were called to the scene at 41-43 Clinton Street shortly before 2 AM. Westfield had help from Portland, Brocton, Fredonia, Ripley, Sherman and Northeast, Pennsylvania at the scene. Sheriff's Department Fire investigators say the blaze started in the rear portion of the house. They later determined that trash placed against the building was intentionally set on fire,...igniting the wooden exterior of the building. We have learned that the building was unoccupied at the time of the fire. There were no reports of any injuries.
The village of Forestville is continuing to work on ways to reduce a proposed, 445-percent hike in the property tax rate. If left unchanged... it could give Forestville the dubious distinction of having the highest tax rate in the state. That worse case scenario drew a large crowd for Wednesday night's budget hearing. We reached Mayor Kevin Johnson Wednesday. Johnson says much of the increase is due to two bank notes that have come due. The small village owes a massive total of 400-thousand dollars. The village is looking at a plan to pay off one of the notes... which totals 150-thousand dollars. That would help reduce the tax hike to a 250-percent increase. But... Johnson says using "cash on hand" puts other items they were going to pay on in jeopardy. The village is still hoping to get assistance from the state... but, so far Johnson says State Senator Cathy Young hasn't been able to find any help. Johnson, who just became mayor on Monday, admits there has been a lot of mismanagement in the past. But... instead of blaming previous leaders, Johnson says it's more important for everyone to work together to resolve the current crisis. The village has until April 30th to adopt a final budget.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area remain relatively stable as we end the week. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gas rose just a fraction of a penny this week to 3-dollars-72 cents. On the National scene... Triple-A says the average, national retail price at the pump is 3-dollars-59 cents per gallon. The Fuel Gauge says this is 3-cents more than one week ago... but, is still almost a penny per gallon less expensive than the same date last year. Motorists have enjoyed a year-over-year savings at the pump for 81 consecutive days. Gasoline prices in 36 states and Washington D.C. have moved higher over the last week. News that Libyan rebels have agreed to reopen two of four closed oil ports in that country added downward pressure to oil prices Monday. Following an eight-month closure, the two ports will return a combined 180-thousand barrels per day of crude oil supply to the global market.
A New York state contractor hired to handle paper tax returns cost the state millions in overtime and made mistakes in nearly one quarter of the returns it processed last year. The criticisms are outlined in an audit released Wednesday by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The audit estimates that the contractor introduced errors into 22 percent of the 2-million returns it handled. The contractor was also late in processing 90 percent of the returns. The three-year, $16 million contract is held by New York State Industries for the Disabled, who partnered with a business called SourceHOV to process the returns. The state's tax department racked up $6 million in overtime to correct the problems. The department says it improved its oversight of the contractor to prevent similar problems this year.