One of four men accused in of murdering a town of Carroll couple in April of last year has accepted a plea deal in exchange for testifying against the other defendants. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 19 year-old Steven Todd of Elmira has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree manslaughter and, will cooperate with the prosecution. Foley says Todd was not the only defendent offered a plea deal but, he was the first to accept. Todd was initially charged along with 35 year-old Davide CogginS 22 year-old Joshua McCormick and 19 year-old Rickey Knickerbocker with two counts each of second-degree murder. However the key defendant is Coggins who has some ties to the area. He, along with the others, were arrested in Elmira a day after they allegedly murdered 66 year-old Gordon Skinner, and his 59 year-old wife, Joyce. Even with the plea deal Foley says Todd still faces some major prision time. The four men are accused of invading the house the morning of April 17th, 2013 and, killing the Skinners before setting their house on fire to cover up the crime.
A no-tax increase budget will go before Jamestown school district voters next May 20th. That after the school board approved a slightly revised, 75.7-million dollar budget for the 2014-2015 school year last night. The vote was 6-to-1 following a detailed presentation by Superintendent Tim Mains, and Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow at last night's meeting. Mains says the presentation was based on discussions at a board work session Monday night where members said they didn't want a tax increase in the budget. He says they achieved that by making two non-instructional positions half-time another was elimination of the Advanced Learning Program. Mains says the spending plan does increase the budget for staff development by 300-thousand dollars. He says teaching a small number of teachers about such areas as the Common Core and, hoping that filters through the ranks hasn't worked. Mains says the teachers need to learn "more specifics." A public hearing on the spending plan will be held on Tuesday, May 13th at Persell Middle School while the vote is May 20th. Board member Patrick Slagle cast the lone "no" vote on the budget.
New York's comptroller says the state is in a favorable financial position, but relies heavily on borrowing and temporary resources. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report Monday showing the fiscal year-end general fund balance of 2.2-billion dollars was 432-million dollars more than projected in February and the state put money in a ``rainy day fund'' for the first time since 2008. DiNapoli says the new budget relies on 4.9-billion dollars in temporary state resources and, 2.7-billion dollars in federal aid related to Superstorm Sandy and the Affordable Care Act. The nearly 140-billion dollar budget authorizes $7.6 billion in new debt through public authorities and an increase of 5.4 percent, or $1.1 billion in school aid.
A required public hearing on the city of Jamestown's annual Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program funding will be held prior to next Monday night's regular council voting session. That from city Development Director Vince DeJoy who says Mayor Sam Teresi will hold the hearing at 6:30 PM in Council Chambers. DeJoy says his department is finalizing the 2014 Action Plan which will later be submitted to the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development. DeJoy says the amount of money available for the city in both the CDBG and HOME Programs is again about one-million dollars after seeing drastic cuts in recent years by the federal government. He says the allocation is only about 200-dollars lower overall. DeJoy says while funding remains down they're going to try and continue the programming they have started mainly for low to moderate income housing rehabilitation and demolition projects. DeJoy says HUD still requires 70-percent of the CDBG funding go towards low to moderate-income programs which in recent years have included Americans with Disabilities Act projects.
Five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders are suing the team, claiming they weren't paid for their time at football games or mandatory public appearances they say left them open to groping and sexual comments. Tuesday's lawsuit is the third filed this year against a National Football League team by its cheerleaders. The Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals also have pending wage battles. At a news conference with their attorney, Frank Dolce two members of the Buffalo ``Jills'' squad said they were wrongly classified as independent contractors by Stejon Productions, which failed to pay them for hundreds of hours of work. A Bills spokesman says the team doesn't comment on pending litigation. Stejon Productions didn't immediately respond to a request for a response.
A new poll of New York voters shows Governor Andrew Cuomo maintaining a double-digit lead over his Republican challenger. The Siena College poll released yesterday shows the Democrat leading Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino 58-percent to 28-percent. It was 61-to-26-percent in Siena's poll last month.