In case you may have missed any of these articles! Covering mainly Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, but WNY regional, state, and national topics of interest are also added.
Six forums to address farm plan
LITTLE VALLEY – The public is invited to take part in six upcoming forums around Cattaraugus County where a draft Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan will be discussed and completed.
The document is a land-use planning tool for farmland preservation, increased profitability and agricultural development.
Deteriorated culverts rated as ‘poor’
ALBANY – Seven of the 10 culverts rated “poor” in New York State remain open – two are in Cattaraugus County – despite “considerable deterioration” to some or all of each structure, according to records obtained from the state Department of Transportation
Hyland looking to build $8 million power plant; County needs to approve use of property in Angelica
BELMONT – The Public Works committee heard a presentation Wednesday by representatives from Casella Waste Management about building a power plant in Angelica.
Business increases for police
SALAMANCA — With the increase in traffic in Salamanca due to the Seneca Allegany Casino, the Salamanca police force has been busy trying to keep up with an increase in activity as well.
Nearly $5 million OK’d for affordable housing
OLEAN – Almost $5 million in affordable housing aid has been approved to help working families, senior citizens and the disabled in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Livingston counties, State Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, announced Wednesday.
Senior citizen housing complex still on track in Cuba
CUBA — The Cuba Memorial Hospital senior citizen housing project could break ground in six months to a year, hospital officials said Thursday.
Scio fireman receives state’s Liberty Award
CUBA — In addition to being recognized for 15 years of service at the annual convention of the Southwestern Association of Volunteer Firemen Friday, Joseph Wiech IV of the Scio Volunteer Fire Department also received a New York State Senate Liberty Award, the highest honor the state gives civilians.
(Local News) County Awards Bed Tax Grants – Ellicottville Chamber Gets Creative: Turning $46,788 Into Over $180,000
The Bed Tax that has been enforced on lodging accommodations since late 2004 has been a controversial issue. I have kept my eye on the situation being closely related to the subject. Last Wednesday, July 26th, the Cattaraugus County Legislature met to discuss and approve – among other things – the Bed Tax Grant requests submitted by various Chambers and Business Associations throughout the county. Although the Ellicottville Chamber had requested a bed tax grant of $85,465, they were awarded $46,788.95. Executive Director of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, Brian McFadden, was pleased with the grant, which was almost $20,000 more than in 2005. “With the shortfall, we have to come up with new, non-traditional means of fundraising,” said McFadden. “We had planned to get $85,465 and we will find a way to raise the difference; the entire amount is slated for radio, television and print ads for the mid-August to December season.”
Six Flags Darien Lake trims operating hours
Six Flags Darien Lake is closing an hour earlier five days a week, at a time when its owner is trying to improve the financial picture across the theme parks it runs.
The Genesee County theme park now closes at 9 p.m., instead of 10 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays. The reduced schedule began on Monday. The park remains open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Power industry boosts Pataki
ALBANY — Gov. George Pataki has been the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from power companies that are now under scrutiny for blackouts in New York City, a study out Monday shows.
Government watchdog groups say that under the Republican, the state Public Service Commission has taken a “hands-off approach” to regulating electric utilities and failed to protect retail customers.
The New York chapter of Common Cause reports that Pataki, who has championed the deregulation of the state’s energy market, received $316,000 in campaign contributions from energy companies from 1999 to 2006.
Suozzi presses for more debates with Spitzer
Thomas R. Suozzi evoked the memory of one of the state’s most famous governors Wednesday in ratcheting up his campaign for a second mano-a-mano encounter with Eliot L. Spitzer in their fight for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Lawmakers push high-speed Internet for rural areas
Gov. George Pataki this week signed into law a measure that would begin the process of laying the fiber-optic cables needed for high-speed Internet access. Lawmakers called the provision a first step, hoping it will help small businesses — particularly farmers — in an increasingly technology-driven marketplace.
The new law would require the state Department of Economic Development to study how to bring high-speed access to the countryside economically and as quickly as possible.
Pataki gives job to ally’s daughter
ALBANY — Republican Gov. George Pataki gave the state Conservative Party chairman’s daughter a five-year appointment on the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
Pataki provided the $90,800-a-year job to Eileen Long-Chelales, a former deputy secretary who worked on two of his election campaigns. The appointment was made without fanfare July 12 and runs through Nov. 18, 2011.
State behind in trying to cut Medicaid abuse
It is estimated that 10 percent of the roughly $46 billion spent each year is related to fraud, while the use of unnecessary services may waste an additional 20 percent to 30 percent.
Six groups back suit against legislators
ALBANY — Six government-reform groups filed court papers backing a lawsuit against the leaders of the Legislature for withholding the names of lawmakers who influence the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayers’ funds.
The groups filed a “friend of the court” brief Thursday supporting the Times Union in its suit against Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.
Clinton adviser criticizes Pataki campaigning
ALBANY — As New York Gov. George Pataki set off on his latest national political foray Friday, a top adviser to a potential White House rival blasted the Republican for becoming “a full-time presidential candidate.”
“He’s clearly running for president,” Howard Wolfson, a key adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and other New York Democrats, said. “He’s now thoroughly uninterested in being our governor even though he has several months left in his tenure.”
State: Some limited-English students must take regular exam
ALBANY — Under federal pressure to improve testing of limited-English students, state officials say all children enrolled in a U.S. school for at least a year must take New York’s English Language Arts exam.
Until now, students with less than three years of U.S. schooling could take a different test, the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test.
State officials say the change will affect about 90,000 children in grades three through eight who speak limited English. The next test is in January.
Clinton’s focus turns rural
Clinton visited a farm in Cambria, where the Democrat outlined plans to save rural and small-town America by using new opportunities to develop alternative fuels and connecting farmers to new markets with the help of subsidized Internet access.
“We haven’t had a rural economic policy,” Clinton said, “and I think it’s long overdue.”
House coalition seeks delay of new mandates
WASHINGTON – A bipartisan coalition of 64 House members on Tuesday asked the House Appropriations Committee to delay imposing new identification requirements for U.S. citizens traveling to Canada.
In a letter circulated by Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, the House members asked the committee to endorse legislation passed by the Senate that would delay the mandate from the existing deadline of Jan. 1, 2008 until June 1, 2009.
(Local News) Shine Act: Early Diagnosis – Senator Clinton Introduces Bill Inspired by Hunter Kelly
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton last week announced introduction of bipartisan legislation with Senator George Allen (R-VA) inspired by the story of Hunter Kelly, the son of Jim and Jill Kelly, and his battle with Krabbe’s disease. The Screening for Health of Infants and Newborns or SHINE Act would help states increase their newborn screening capabilities so that all babies have the opportunity for early diagnosis and lifesaving treatment.
Last week, Senator Clinton also secured $500,000 for the Hunter’s Hope Foundation in the Fiscal Year 2007 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill.
Conservatism on the ropes
(E.J. DIONNE) Is conservatism finished? What might have seemed an absurd question less than two years ago is now one of the most important issues in American politics. The question is being asked by conservatives themselves as they survey the wreckage of their hopes, and as their champions in the Republican Party use any means necessary to survive this fall’s elections.
Consumers put at risk
(BUFFALO NEWS) Currently, makers of consumer products are obligated to tell the Consumer Product Safety Commission immediately if they suspect a problem with a product, especially if it poses a risk of serious injury or death. But all that is about to change, following the commission’s revision to an interpretive rule advising manufacturers, retailers and importers about how to comply with product hazard reporting requirements.
That has prompted warnings from consumer groups and from Commissioner Thomas Moore, the only Democrat on the three-member commission. The changes, they contend, will result in less reporting of safety hazards. They go as far as to say the new criteria provide companies with an excuse not to report a defect.
Spreading discontent on the right
(DAVID BRODER) My weekend visitor was one of the founders of the postwar Republican Party in the South, one of those stubborn men who challenged the Democratic rule in his one-party state. He was conservative enough that in the great struggle for the 1952 nomination, his sympathies were with Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio, not Dwight D. Eisenhower.
He has lived long enough to see Republicans elected as senator and governor of his state and to see a Republican from the Sun Belt behemoth of Texas capture the White House. His profession won’t let him speak with his name attached, but he is sadly disillusioned.
Has the press sold out?
(MOLLY IVANS) Do you think the Bush administration is going after the press? The San Francisco Chronicle said on the front page Wednesday morning, “Cameraman Jailed for Not Yielding Tape,” whereas the New York Times is reporting, “U.S. Wins Access to Reporter Phone Records.” I’m feeling like a bunny trying to outrun a pack of wolfhounds.
Sometimes the press enjoys scaring itself or pretending it is about to be made into a bunch of martyrs. This is not one of those times. We are under full attack now, and it is time to fight.