The Rural Patriot

November 19, 2006

Weekly News Roundup – 11/19/06

Filed under: Weekly News Roundup — theruralpatriot @ 11:35 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

John, new SNI officials take office
IRVING – New Seneca Nation President Maurice John Sr. was administered the oath of office by new Clerk Jackie Bowen, but not without a little controversy before the ceremony.

Finance Committee to consider $188M county budget
LITTLE VALLEY – Review of the 2007 tentative Cattaraugus County budget of $188 million has moved on to the County Finance Committee.

Chambers may get less than they expected from county in ’07
LITTLE VALLEY – The Salamanca Area Chamber of Commerce and four other chambers/business groups may be receiving less than they hoped for in tourism promotion grant funding in 2007.

GV to begin comprensive plan work
GREAT VALLEY – Great Valley Town planners will start work later this month on the town’s first comprehensive plan.
The decision to create such a plan was made after results of a resident survey were tabulated over the summer. The survey was sent to 956 residents in June. Darts said the Planning Board received 187 responses – 19.5 percent.

New water, sewer zones created for GV housing development
GREAT VALLEY – The town board voted to create a new water and sewer zone at its regular meeting Monday night.
The new zones will allow a new housing development on Route 219, across the road from the Fred Schultz vegetable stand, to proceed.

Wastewater plant upgrade could cost $13M if BPU takes casino sewage
SALAMANCA – Wastewater treatment plant capacity expansion, mostly to treat wastewater coming from the Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, may cost roughly $13 million, consultants told the Board of Public Utilities.

John praises upcoming traffic safety improvements on Broad St., Route 438
SALAMANCA – Seneca Nation President Maurice “Moe” John Sr. today praised an announcement by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) that two traffic safety improvements will be made on Seneca territory.

City taxpayers may see drop in county tax rate
LITTLE VALLEY – Cattaraugus County committees have sent the $188 million 2007 tentative budget to the legislature with a tax levy increase of under 4 percent. The legislature may approve the budget when it meets Tuesday.

Revisions to budget reduce tax burden by $325,000
LITTLE VALLEY — The Cattaraugus County Legislature’s Finance Committee on Thursday approved revisions to the tentative 2007 county budget that cut the tax levy by $325,000.
The revised property tax levy is $41.1 million, a 3.31 percent increase from the 2006 levy.
After Thursday night’s Finance Committee action, the budget now carries a full-value tax rate of minus 1.9 percent. When the tentative budget was introduced last week the full-value rate was down 1.18 percent, going from the 2006 rate of $12.65 per $1,000 to $12.50 in the 2007 budget.

Judge reserves decision in bid to stop mining near Gargoyle
LITTLE VALLEY — A judge may decide in the next few days to stop gravel mining operations near Gargoyle Park in the town of Allegany and city of Olean.

Mayor’s business told not to claim tax credits on reservation gas
OLEAN — Mayor David Carucci’s business, Premo Limousine Service, was ordered by the state Department of Taxation and Finance to stop claiming tax credits on tax-free gasoline purchased from Seneca Nation gas dealers.
The state investigated the mayor’s business at the urging of Scott Paoletto. Mr. Paoletto is a former driver for Premo Limousine and a former candidate for mayor. He lost the 2005 election that Mayor Carucci won. He’s also been a frequent critic of Mayor Carucci’s administration.

City asks county for double the help
LITTLE VALLEY — Olean Public Works Director Thomas Windus pressed for $142,500 for the city-operated Cattaraugus County Olean Airport at county budget meetings Monday.

City meets with state, company officials on parcel reassessments
OLEAN — Common Council members met with officials from the state office of Real Property Services and a company hoping to win the city business to reassess all 6,500 parcels in Olean Tuesday.

Cleanup of site will cost millions
OLEAN — An environmental consulting firm has determined that it will take $3 million to $50 million to ready the former Agway-Felmont industrial site in North Olean for development.

County tax increase dropped to 3.29 percent; Increase in dump permits means decrease in taxes
BELMONT – The tax rate increase in the 2007 county budget continues to tumble.
Legislators reviewed the 2007 tentative budget Wednesday in a Committee of the Whole meeting at the Allegany County Jail and Public Safety Facility and made a couple of tweaks that will lower the property tax rate increase to 3.29 percent.

County employees still take home cars
BELMONT – The Ways and Means committee reviewed exemptions for take-home county vehicles Wednesday and made no changes.
Several department heads went in front of the committee to plead their case for having a take-home vehicle and all those made exempt in 2005, continued to be so this time.

Alternative for tourism department to be presented next month
BELMONT – Local business owners and Chamber of Commerce members asked legislators to allow them to develop their own proposal for the county’s tourism department.
During Monday’s Planning and Development committee meeting, some of those who lent support for Tourism Director Jesse Case at Thursday’s budget hearing were back to talk about alternative plans for the tourism department.

STATE

State paid millions for Medicaid patients who already were dead
ALBANY – The state paid medical providers $3.6 million in the past three years for thousands of Medicaid patients who were dead, according to an audit released Wednesday.

New voting machines called unlikely in ’07
ALBANY (AP) – Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Wednesday that new voting machines likely wouldn’t be available in New York City for the 2007 elections.

Weapons training on lakes opposed
ROCHESTER (AP) – A group of mayors from 80 Great Lakes cities called on the Coast Guard Monday to drop plans for offshore weapons training on the lakes.

Mondello to take reins of state GOP
ALBANY – The longtime Nassau County Republican Party leader has the votes to become the next chairman of the state GOP, according to State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick.
The expected takeover of the party on Nov. 30 by Joseph Mondello from Stephen Minarik of Monroe County comes a week after the GOP suffered one of its most humiliating electoral defeats, losing every statewide office as well as seats in the State Senate and Assembly.

Campaign pledges are put to test
ALBANY — During his first trip to Albany as governor-elect Monday, Eliot Spitzer told legislative leaders he considers them “friends” and asked them to help him end the gridlock that has long gripped state government.

Tedisco still leads minority in Assembly
ALBANY — Assembly Republicans re-elected James Tedisco as their minority leader Monday despite the fact that they lost three seats on his watch in last week’s elections, shrinking their already small conference to 42 members.

Negative report on parks disputed
ALBANY — A park advocacy group’s claim of a $140 million repair backlog in the state parks system drew fire Tuesday from Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Bernadette Castro.

Key fiscal job expected to open
ALBANY — The top fiscal officer for Senate Republicans is departing her job and a key aide to Gov. George Pataki is in the running for the post, government sources said Tuesday.

$8.4M plan sees more public access to canals
ALBANY — Grants for 54 projects to improve public facilities along New York’s 524-mile canal system were approved Thursday by the state Thruway Authority.

Election hopes fade for Spano
YONKERS — State Sen. Nicholas Spano, a 20-year incumbent and assistant majority leader, called his Democratic opponent “the apparent victor” Thursday but held out hope that paper ballots would still give him the election.

Spitzer leans to ouster of Hevesi
ALBANY — Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer will almost certainly ask the state Senate to remove Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, who used a state worker as a chauffeur for his ailing wife, after the Legislature’s new term begins in January, people involved in the discussions said Thursday.

Advocate calls for spending on needy
ALBANY — Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer is catching a couple of breaks on the financial front, with a booming Wall Street likely to boost state revenues more than expected and Medicaid costs increasing more slowly than predicted.

Spitzer Names Policy Advisers for Transition to Governor
Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer yesterday announced the leaders and members of 13 policy advisory committees who will counsel him while he prepares to take office as the first Democratic governor of New York in a dozen years. The choices provide an early glimpse of whom his main advisers may be as he seeks major reform in Albany.

NATIONAL

Afghanistan drug trade cited in rising attacks
KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgent activity in Afghanistan has risen fourfold this year, and militants now launch more than 600 attacks a month, a rising wave of violence that has resulted in 3,700 deaths in 2006, a bleak new report released Sunday found.

Scientists promise stronger proof of global warming
NAIROBI, Kenya — A long-awaited report by an international scientific network will offer “much stronger” evidence of how man is changing Earth’s climate, and should prompt reluctant governments into action against global warming, the group’s chief scientist said Monday.

A photo, number, a grave untold
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Baghdad’s morgues are full.
With no space to store bodies, some victims of the sectarian slaughter are not being kept for relatives to claim, but photographed, numbered and quickly interred in government cemeteries. Men fearful of an anonymous burial are tattooing their thighs with names and phone numbers.

Bush and Iraq bipartisan commission exchange ideas
WASHINGTON — President Bush traded ideas on Iraq with a bipartisan commission Monday and promised to work with the incoming Democratic majority toward “common objectives.” At the same time, he renewed his opposition to any timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops.

Fewer troops in Iraq urged
WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders in the Senate vowed on Sunday to use their new congressional majority to press for troop reductions in Iraq within a matter of months, stepping up pressure on the administration just as President Bush is to be interviewed by a bipartisan panel examining future strategy for the war.

Swept into a lair of terror
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Signs of the abduction were everywhere. A splatter of blood smeared on the gray floor. A black telephone, yanked out of its socket, tangled in a mess of cords. And at the receptionist desk, next to a pile of papers, a single pink rose, abandoned in the chaos.

Warrant fans flames of violence
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The Shiite-led Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant Thursday for the top leader of the country’s Sunni minority — a move certain to inflame already raging sectarian violence in Iraq.
Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, a Shiite, announced on state television that Harith al-Dhari was wanted for inciting terrorism and violence among the Iraqi people.

U.N. calls on Israel to end operation
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. General Assembly called for an end to Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip on Friday, overwhelmingly passing a resolution in an emergency special session the Israeli ambassador blasted as a “farce” and a “circus.”

Bad start for Bush Asia trip
HANOI, Vietnam — President Bush, trying to stiffen global resolve to confront North Korea, failed to win South Korea’s support today for a tough inspection program to intercept ships suspected of carrying supplies for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missiles.

Modest goals on warming adopted
NAIROBI, Kenya — The U.N. climate conference ended Friday with a plan for a slow-paced timetable to get future cuts in global-warming gases. The deal reflected hopes that the United States, China and other outsiders will eventually join the controls regime.

States move to restrict mercury air pollution
WASHINGTON — Air quality regulators in at least 22 states — including New York — have concluded that the Bush administration’s approach to cutting mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants is too weak and are pursuing tougher measures of their own.

Convoy seizure spurs search
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The mystery surrounding the kidnapping of four American security contractors and their Austrian co-worker deepened on Friday, a day after their convoy was hijacked by about 30 gunmen in Iraqi police uniforms in a rugged desert strip near Iraq’s border with Kuwait.

A global problem is local in China
DOLKA, China — At the two glacial lakes that give birth to the Yellow River, a Tibetan nomad named Tsende stands at the river’s edge and rolls up his pants.

Democrats to focus on ethics reform
WASHINGTON — After railing for months against congressional corruption under Republican rule, Democrats on Capitol Hill are divided on how far their proposed ethics overhaul should go.

Drug used on troops could be a killer
BALTIMORE — A blood-coagulating drug designed to treat rare forms of hemophilia is being used on critically wounded U.S. troops in Iraq despite evidence it can cause clots that lead to strokes, heart attacks and death in other patients, The (Baltimore) Sun reported for Sunday’s editions.

A Tough Road Ahead for the President’s Closest Adviser
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 — Karl Rove, the top White House political strategist, is coming off the worst election defeat of his career to face a daunting task: saving the president’s agenda with a Congress not only controlled by Democrats, but also filled with Republican members resentful of the way he and the White House conducted the losing campaign.

U.S. Signals New Incentives for North Korea
HANOI, Vietnam, Nov. 19 – In a series of closed-door meetings on the edges of the economic summit meeting of Asian nations here, President George W. Bush and his aides have signaled that they will dangle a new set of incentives for North Korea to give up nuclear weapons and technology, United States officials said.

Unlike Clinton, Bush Sees Hanoi in Bit of a Hurry
HANOI, Vietnam, Sunday, Nov. 19 — President Bush likes speed golf and speed tourism — this is the man who did the treasures of Red Square in less than 20 minutes — but here in the lake-studded capital of a nation desperately eager to connect with America, he set a record.
On Saturday, Mr. Bush emerged from his hotel for only one nonofficial event, a 15-minute visit to the Joint P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Command, which searches for the remains of the 1,800 Americans still listed as missing in the Vietnam War.

Bush Compares U.S. Wars in Vietnam, Iraq
(AP) President Bush, on his first visit to a country where America lost a two-decade-long fight against communism, said Friday the Vietnam War’s lesson for today’s confounding Iraq conflict is that freedom takes time to trump hatred.

White House conducting its own Iraq review
WITH THE PRESIDENT, SINGAPORE – White House officials confirm that President Bush has ordered his aides to do their own review of the administration’s Iraq policy.

Pentagon money-saving travel site – doesn’t
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon that gave taxpayers a $434 hammer and a $600 toilet seat cover now has a half-billion-dollar travel booking system that is bypassed by more than eight in 10 users.

Florida opens criminal probe in Foley case
MIAMI – Florida has opened a full criminal investigation into sexually explicit Internet messages from disgraced former Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, whose resignation amid scandal helped Democrats win control of Congress, officials said Thursday.

Levin, Skelton may turn up heat on Iraq
WASHINGTON – The two Democrats who will lead the Armed Services committees next year indicated Wednesday they will not relent in opposing President Bush’s Iraq policies and may turn up the heat.

Democrats join to raise minimum wage
WASHINGTON – Democrats are readying a maximum effort to raise the minimum wage.
Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said Thursday that increasing the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 would be his top priority as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Sharp Divides in Congress Over Iraq
(AP) Congress remains sharply divided over U.S. policy in Iraq, casting doubt on plans by leading senators to make a bipartisan recommendation to President Bush by January.

U.S. Backs Landmark Nuke Deal With India
(AP) The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly endorsed a plan allowing the United States to ship civilian nuclear fuel and technology to India, handing President Bush an important victory on one of his top foreign policy initiatives.

Dismay Grows Over US Torture School
…. Founded in Panama in 1946 and moved to Fort Benning in 1984, the SOA has trained more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in military and law-enforcement tactics. The Pentagon has acknowledged that in the past the SOA used training manuals advocating coercive interrogation methods and extra-judicial executions, and over time SOA alumni have been linked to many of Latin America’s most heinous human rights atrocities, from widespread torture to massacres of young children.
A Sometimes Awkward Changing of the Guard
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 — It was a topsy-turvy week in the Capitol, one of resurrection and role reversal as ascendant Democrats — and a Republican or two — strutted back to power.
Most Republicans were trying to come to grips with their drastically reduced status as the new minority. Although they had contemplated the prospect of losing control of the Congressional apparatus, the reality was slow to sink in. The suddenly silent phones and the constant presence on cable news broadcasts of formerly obscure Democrats were unsettling, to say the least.

After 50 years, Holocaust archive going public
BAD AROLSEN, Germany – The 21-year-old Russian sat before a clerk of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate’s office, describing the furnaces at Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where he had been a prisoner until a few weeks previously.

Embittered insiders turn against Bush
The weekend after the statue of Saddam Hussein fell, Kenneth Adelman and a couple of other promoters of the Iraq war gathered at Vice President Cheney’s residence to celebrate. The invasion had been the “cakewalk” Adelman predicted. Cheney and his guests raised their glasses, toasting President Bush and victory. “It was a euphoric moment,” Adelman recalled.
Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that “the president is ultimately responsible” for what Adelman now calls “the debacle that was Iraq.

Democrats to push pocketbook issues
After retrieving control of Congress for the first time in a dozen years, Democrats will set out to redefine the domestic agenda through policies they say would address the economic needs of middle- and working-class Americans.
Striving for a few quick legislative victories in January and longer-term goals whose details — and viability — are not yet certain, Democratic lawmakers want to shift the dialogue on Capitol Hill to workers’ pay, college tuition, health-care costs, retirees’ income and other issues that touch ordinary families.

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