The Rural Patriot

October 8, 2006

Weekly News Roundup 10/8/06

Filed under: Weekly News Roundup — theruralpatriot @ 11:54 am

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.

LOCAL

Town clears Wal-Mart to start expansion
After more than a year of scouring over the details of the proposed expansion of the Wal-Mart store in Allegany, the Allegany Town Planning Board has given the go-ahead for the project.

Mayor doesn’t see the reason for the fuss
OLEAN — When Mayor David Carucci missed Tuesday’s Common Council committee meeting, several council members wondered where he was.
When they found out there was an Olean High School tennis match two and a half hours before the meeting, they wondered if he was playing hooky.

Proposal to add three full-time positions to CCSD gains support
LITTLE VALLEY – The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office has Cattaraugus County committee approval to create three full-time positions, one an emergency services communications specialist and two corrections officers.

Allegany County committee proposes increase in landfill tag fees
BELMONT — Members of the Public Works Committee proposed a resolution Wednesday to increase the landfill tag fees from $60 to $72 per year.

Olean teachers OK contract
OLEAN — Olean school union officials confirmed this morning that union members approved a contract proposal presented by the school board last Thursday.

County asked to hire five more employees
BELMONT – The Public Safety committee was urged to hire a permanent public defender during their meeting Wednesday.

Tenetaive Allegany County Budget released
BELMONT – County Administrator John Margeson announced Tuesday the completion of the tentative 2007 County Budget, which includes a 4.41 percent property tax rate increase.

City manager idea revived in Olean
OLEAN – A committee that set out to review Olean’s 1994 City Charter is trying to clarify some terms and has dug up an old idea: converting to a city manager form of government.

Young announces grants to YMCA and library
The Olean YMCA and the Memorial Library of Little Valley have received state grants for renovations.
A $100,000 grant will fund the renovation of the YMCA and the addition of 3,000 square feet for Active Cattaraugus, a public health initiative. A fitness consultation room, a health resource center and new fitness equipment will be added to the existing Wellness Center

STATE

Spitzer ties same-sex marriage to civil rights
ALBANY – Eliot Spitzer paired same-sex marriage and protection of religion Thursday as part of “core values” in a civil rights campaign he said should draw people together, rather than divide them.

Poll shows Pirro far behind Cuomo
ALBANY – Republican Jeanine Pirro’s disclosure that she is under federal investigation for plotting to secretly tape-record her husband has had little effect on the New York attorney general’s race, a poll released Thursday found.

State GOP chairman wades into Foley mess
ALBANY – The state Republican Party chairman plunged into the Mark Foley sex scandal Thursday, accusing Democrats of hypocrisy for battering congressional leadership while forgetting what he said was their own “long and tawdry history” of impropriety.

Despite flap, Hevesi holds big lead
ALBANY – State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi remains far ahead of J. Christopher Callaghan, his Republican opponent, despite recent revelations that Hevesi had failed to reimburse the state for a government driver assigned to his wife, a new poll shows.

Hospital closings part of deal for health funds
ALBANY – The federal government is offering a major cash infusion to help the state restructure its costly health care system – but only if state officials can jump through a number of difficult hoops in trimming its Medicaid program.

Failing mark for students in need
ALBANY More than half the special education students in New York are in deficient programs, including 10 school districts in the Capital Region, the State Education Department said Thursday.

Racing adviser a big GOP donor
ALBANY — The financial consultant helping a state committee examine bids on New York’s thoroughbred racing franchise is a generous Republican campaign contributor, and is being paid $162,416 for the part-time job.

New York’s villages face financial difficulties
Neither Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano nor his Scotia counterpart Michael McLaughlin said they had seen a state comptroller’s report on the financial affairs of villages in New York released Thursday.
But speaking in general terms, both men seemed well-versed on the study’s central theme of villages having to make do with shrinking state aid and flatlining revenues in the face of steadily rising operations costs.

Pension payout among highest
ALBANY — Public workers in New York state contribute less than half the national average to their public pensions, but get the eighth highest benefit, a national study concludes.

Property tax burdens lead nation
WHITE PLAINS — Homeowners in the suburban counties closest to New York City — Westchester and Nassau — pay the highest property taxes in the country, a Census Bureau survey shows.

Parties get their green grades
ALBANY — State lawmakers got annual report cards on the environment Tuesday, and grades were good for both Democrats and Republicans in the Assembly, as well as for Senate Democrats.
But Senate Republicans, particularly Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, got an F.

Judge hands win to panel in Bruno plane ride probe
ALBANY — The state lobbying commission has the right to investigate a Loudonville businessman for arranging plane rides for Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, state Supreme Court Judge Joseph Teresi ruled Tuesday.

Marching orders hint at tension
Senate Republicans are being told explicitly to keep Assembly Republicans out of certain taxpayer-funded mailings — but they’re free to mention Assembly Democrats, according to an internal memo.

Questions for Spitzer, Faso
Q:Who pays the house bills and balances the family checkbook?

Hearing sought on Lake Ontario ‘safety zone’
A proposal for a permanent Coast Guard “safety zone” in Lake Ontario between Youngstown and Wilson is angering sportsmen and boaters, who say they have been left out of the discussions.
The homeland security safety zones, proposed throughout the Great Lakes, will be sites for live-artillery practice and restrict boating traffic several times a year.

Sorry, Linus; pumpkin crop doesn’t look great
SYRACUSE (AP) – The pumpkin crop looks scary this Halloween season.
Farmers and agriculture experts in the country’s traditionally leading pumpkin-growing area said wet weather has cut crops by up to 75 percent.

Spitzer way ahead of Faso in polls and funding
ALBANY – Republican gubernatorial candidate John Faso, still trailing badly in the polls, has not been able to make up a deficit in the money race either in his campaign against Democrat Eliot Spitzer.

Solution is closer on toll removal
ALBANY – The Thruway Authority on Thursday indicated that it may be willing to remove the Buffalo area’s Ogden and Black Rock toll barriers.

Secret funds, ulterior benefits
ALBANY — Taxpayers are footing the bill for election-year publicity for several Republican senators, who secretly steered state funds to a former top Senate aide to buy slick magazines featuring each lawmaker’s picture, a Times Union investigation has found.

Pirro’s finances get subpoenaed
WHITE PLAINS — Republican state attorney general candidate Jeanine Pirro and her husband owned several properties and made numerous stock investments when she was Westchester County district attorney, newly released financial disclosure statements show. One of those properties is a waterfront development and marina, where a boat at the heart of a federal investigation into Pirro’s activities is docked.

NATIONAL

Legislation delays border passport mandate
WASHINGTON — U.S. citizens returning to the United States from Canada or Mexico by land or sea won’t have to carry U.S. passports at least until June 2009.

House ethics panel will investigate Foley case
WASHINGTON – The bipartisan House Ethics Committee emerged from a three-hour closed meeting Thursday to launch an investigation into the spreading scandal over suggestive e-mails a member sent to pages.

Bush touts No Child Left Behind but concedes it is failing some
WASHINGTON – President Bush said Thursday that renewing the No Child Left Behind law would be a priority for him next year but acknowledged the law isn’t working as well for parents as it should.

Scandals in Congress prominent in minds of likely voters, poll shows
WASHINGTON – In yet another hurdle for Republicans, the scandals that have dogged Congress for the last year are prominent in the minds of many voters who say corruption will significantly influence their vote in November.

Hastert’s office told about Foley three years ago
WASHINGTON Hours after resigning Wednesday, a top aide to Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds said he first told Speaker Dennis Hastert’s office more than three years ago that he was concerned about Rep. Mark Foley’s “inappropriate behavior” toward House pages.

U.S. warns North Korea against nuclear test
WASHINGTON – The United States passed a warning to North Korea not to conduct a nuclear test, the chief U.S. envoy to stalled disarmament talks with the communist country said Wednesday. “We are not going to live with a nuclear North Korea,” he said.

Bush signs bill to fund fencing along border
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Standing before a mountainous backdrop in Arizona, a state that has been the center of much debate over secure borders, President Bush signed into law a $35 billion homeland security spending bill that could bring hundreds of miles of fencing to the busiest illegal entry point on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Reynolds aide tried to block Foley story
WASHINGTON A top aide to Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds last week approached ABC News to try to get its investigative unit to withhold sexually explicit instant messages that now-disgraced Rep. Mark Foley sent to teenage boys who worked as pages in the House.

Democrats bash Frist on Taliban
WASHINGTON – Democrats accused Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of waving a white flag of surrender for saying the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas never can be won militarily and favoring bringing “people who call themselves Taliban” into the government.

Bush raises intensity of attacks on Democrats
STOCKTON, Calif. – President Bush ratcheted up his campaign offensive against Democrats on Tuesday with perhaps his bluntest rhetoric yet as he accused them of being “softer” on terrorists and willing to allow attacks on Americans rather than interrogate or spy on the nation’s enemies.

High court term expected to show conservative shift
WASHINGTON A year after the nation’s capital was abuzz with speculation about a huge conservative shift on the U.S. Supreme Court, that move may be about to happen.

Senate within reach of Democrats
WASHINGTON – Democrats are within striking distance of taking control of the U.S. Senate on Election Day, a series of new polls for McClatchy Newspapers and MSNBC showed today. Democratic Senate candidates are tied, have a slight edge or an outright lead in every one of 10 pivotal battleground states. No Democrat trails in those races; no Republican leads. Democrats must gain six seats to capture control of the 100-member Senate.

Despite critics, Rumsfeld insists he will keep job
MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, coming under renewed fire for his management of the Iraq War, said Sunday he is not considering resigning and said the president had called him personally in recent days to express his continued support.

Budget cuts threaten FDA’s drug safety studies
WASHINGTON – When scientific advisers urged the Food and Drug Administration in February to put a strong warning about suspected heart risks on attention deficit drugs taken by millions of children and adults, agency officials said more clinical evidence was needed.
Now, the FDA-funded study designed to answer questions about the drugs for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder may be halted in midstream. The reason: The agency doesn’t have the money to finish it.

Number of injured Americans escalates
WASHINGTON – The number of U.S troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest level in nearly two years as Americans fight block-by-block in Baghdad to try to check a spiral of sectarian violence that U.S. commanders warn could lead to civil war.
Last month, 776 U.S. troops were wounded in action in Iraq, the highest number since the American military assault to retake the insurgent-held city of Fallujah in November 2004, according to Defense Department data. It was the fourth-highest monthly total since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Jeb Bush finds refuge in subway closet
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Protesters greeted Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on his way to a campaign event for a Pennsylvania senator, and he briefly took refuge in a subway station supply closet to avoid the anti-Republican demonstrators.

Candidate, a children’s advocate, blasts GOP conduct in Foley case
WASHINGTON – A Democratic congressional candidate who became a national advocate for missing children after her son was abducted 17 years ago said GOP congressional leadership failed to protect teenage House pages from former Rep. Mark Foley’s advances.

Gitmo guards bragged of beatings, lawyer says
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) – Guards at Guantanamo Bay bragged about beating detainees and described it as common practice, a Marine sergeant said in a sworn statement obtained by the Associated Press.

Marines killed Iraqi, medic testifies
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A Navy corpsman testified Friday that Marines in his patrol seized an Iraqi civilian from his home, threw him into a hole and put at least 10 bullets in his head after growing frustrated in their search for an insurgent.

Land owners try to fend off government ability to seize
PICABO, Idaho — Cheeks chapped, patience thinned, Katie Breckenridge had no trouble making up her mind about an Idaho ballot measure that would make the government pay property owners if zoning rules reduce the value of their land.

Health programs lacking security
WASHINGTON — Federal investigators say they have found serious computer security flaws that could lead to the improper disclosure of sensitive medical information on people enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid.

Security tighter around Kirkuk
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Thousands of Iraqi troops launched a crackdown in Kirkuk on Saturday, ordering residents to stay in their homes in an effort to put down violence that has swelled in the north amid efforts to rein in bloodshed in Baghdad.

Many questions in Foley scandal
WASHINGTON — Despite countless hours of TV coverage and reams of newspaper reporting on the House’s handling of the Mark Foley page scandal, numerous fundamental questions remain unanswered as the FBI and the House ethics committee begin their first full week of inquiries.

Rice’s terror response under renewed scrutiny
WASHINGTON — Three days after then-CIA Director George Tenet urgently warned then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that al-Qaida was planning to attack the United States, the veteran Soviet scholar mentioned “terror” four times during an address to the National Press Club.

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