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.
County approves $188M budget for 2007
… The budget includes a tax levy increase of 3.31 percent over 2006. It will require a tax levy of $41.2 million. The legislature adopted the budget to include amendments recommended by the Finance Committee last week: deferring of tourism grant program allocations to five chambers of commerce/business groups, including the Salamanca Area Chamber of Commerce; an increase in the interest earned from county investments from $700,000 to $900,000; an increase in funding for the Olean Municipal Airport from $22,000 to $27,500; and an increase in funding for bonded capital improvements at The Pines Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Olean from $866,650 to $870,000.
City moves closer to reassessing
OLEAN — Members of Common Council’s City Operations Committee agreed to move a plan to reassess all property in the city out of committee Tuesday.
Olean explores creating water, sewer authority
OLEAN — Olean Common Council members are considering creating a regional water and sewer authority to control the city’s water and sewer systems.
Allegany County should end year in the black;
BELMONT – After reviewing the 2007 budget, Allegany County Legislators heard good news from individual departments’ 2006 budget numbers.
Over 2,000 votes later, Szabo loses to Fanton by 19
WELLSVILLE – Even though she won four out of six districts in the Town of Wellsville, after absentee ballots were counted, Democrat Brenda Szabo still lost to Republican Dar Fanton by a margin of just 19 votes in the Nov. 7 election.
Voting machines out of date
BELMONT – Voters pulled the levers on the county’s voting machines in a national election for the last time on Nov. 7.
Tompkins told how he can make changes to sheriff department; Crandall feels legislature will back new sheriff 100 percent
BELMONT – Before Allegany County-Sheriff-elect William Tompkins takes office on Jan. 1, 2007, he wants to make sure some of his new ideas for the department will work.
New minority leader goes against tradition
ALBANY — When state Sen. Malcolm A. Smith is elected minority leader today — almost certainly by unanimous vote of his Democratic colleagues — he will bring a distinctly new personal, business and political background to the job.
Donohue may don robe yet
Anticipating that soon-to-be-former Lt. Gov. Mary Donohue’s appointment to the federal bench has been delayed or even doomed by the recent Democratic takeover of the U.S. Senate, talks are under way to find her a landing spot on the state Court of Claims, Republican sources say.
Extra school money is cut
The state’s highest court on Monday upheld a special panel’s ruling that New York City schools deserve extra funding but slashed the amount of extra money the state must provide those schools from $5.6 billion to $1.9 billion.
Plan targets lower courts
ALBANY — Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye will unveil a $10 million action plan this morning to reform New York’s nearly 1,300 town and village justice courts.
Pay, reform top new minority leader’s agenda
ALBANY — Newly installed Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith on Monday touted legislative pay raises and pledged to work toward reforming state government.
Hevesi probe gains subpoena powers
ALBANY — Gov. George Pataki on Monday signed papers giving special investigator David Kelley subpoena powers in determining whether embattled Comptroller Alan Hevesi should be removed from office.
Court: Pataki violated rights of sex offenders
ALBANY — The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that New York violated the rights of a dozen sex offenders who were forced into psychiatric facilities when their prison sentences ended.
Caution urged on spending by board
ALBANY — A state board is rushing through billions of dollars worth of spending and future debt during the last few months of Gov. George Pataki’s term, Comptroller Alan Hevesi charged Tuesday.
Report: Justice courts need $10M in updates
ALBANY — The state’s top judges called Tuesday for reforming New York’s nearly 1,300 town and village justice courts by requiring recordings of court proceedings, monthly electronic revenue reports to the state comptroller, more legal training for non-lawyer justices and assessments of courtroom security.
Pataki transfers campaign funds to travel PAC
ALBANY — Outgoing Gov. George Pataki, who is contemplating a presidential run in 2008, has transferred the bulk of funds left in his state campaign committee to a Virginia-based political action committee he uses to pay for national travel.
Top commissioner weighs exit
ALBANY — Paul Shechtman, a former Pataki administration official and head of the state Lobbying and Ethics commissions, said Tuesday he is contemplating stepping down from his posts.
Bruno details secret spending
ALBANY — Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno on Wednesday released a list of tens of millions of dollars in spending on member items, including the names of Republican legislators that he refused to identify until a court ordered him to do so.
GOP leadership comes into play
ALBANY — A battle is brewing for control of the state Republican Party, with Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno on one side and a former upstate GOP county chairman on the other.
Pataki adviser gets state Senate post
ALBANY — Senate Republicans opened a senior post for one of Gov. George Pataki’s top policy directors.
Jeff Lovell will become the Senate’s top fiscal officer, Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, said Wednesday. Bruno’s office would not say how much Lovell will be paid, saying only that it would be more than his $175,100 salary in the governor’s office.
Governor to push bill to commit sex offenders
ALBANY — Legislators will have to work through some major sticking points if they want to pass a bill allowing for the “civil commitment” of dangerous sex offenders who have already served their prison terms, officials said Wednesday.
Court asked to stay out of leak case
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Saturday asked the Supreme Court to refrain from stepping into another First Amendment battle featuring federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and The New York Times.
Schumer sees time for action
NEW YORK — Now that they have won control of both houses of Congress, Democrats must get to work on issues including raising the minimum wage, renegotiating prescription drug prices for seniors and lowering energy costs, Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday.
Rage, grief engulf Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq — At least 101 Iraqis died in the country’s unending sectarian slaughter Wednesday, and the U.N. reported that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll of the war and one that is sure to be eclipsed when November’s dead are counted.
Congress to focus on drug legislation
WASHINGTON — Efforts to allow Americans access to cheaper prescription drugs from abroad should blossom once Democrats assume control in Congress, but it won’t be a top priority, lawmakers and health care experts said.
Democrats raise security issues
WASHINGTON — Democrats poised to take control of Congress say they’ll work to implement the unfinished business the 9/11 Commission recommended to better protect America from terrorists. But it won’t be easy.
Gates had plan for Nicaragua
WASHINGTON — In 1984, Robert Gates, then the No. 2 CIA official, advocated U.S. airstrikes against Nicaragua’s pro-Cuban government to reverse what he described as an ineffective U.S. strategy to deal with communist advances in Central America, previously classified documents say.
Iraq violence upsets plans for summit
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran and the United States are playing a complicated diplomatic game, jockeying for influence in Iraq as violence there spirals out of control, but there is one major wild card in dueling summits planned for coming days: Syria.
Market pinched by oil firms?
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — In California’s lower San Joaquin Valley, petroleum has gushed up more riches than the whole gold rush. So the rumor that Shell Oil Co. would simply close its Bakersfield refinery seemed to make no sense. Yet it was true
Voting problems persist
After six years of technological research, more than $4 billion spent by Washington on new machinery and a widespread overhaul of the nation’s voting system, this month’s midterm election revealed that the country is still far from able to ensure that every vote counts.
Hopefuls seeking activists’ backing
CONCORD, N.H. — He does not come armed with posies and poetry, but when it comes to courting Democratic activists, John Edwards is a determined suitor.
Cheney meets with Saudi king
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Vice President Dick Cheney sought Saudi help on Saturday in dealing with Iraq’s spiraling violence and other regional trouble spots where U.S. policy is on the line: Iran, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
Democrats vow an array of investigations
WASHINGTON – The incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is promising an array of oversight investigations that could provoke sharp disagreement with Republicans and the White House.
Iraq group a study in secrecy, centrism
WASHINGTON – In the history of U.S. foreign policy, there’s been nothing like it: a panel outside government trying to bail the United States out of a prolonged and messy war.
The handwriting on the greenhouse wall
While the political debate over global warming continues, top executives at many of the nation’s largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable.
New issues likely to emerge under Democrats
Black lawmakers are likely to lead key committees in the new, Democrat-led House, and that means issues such as Hurricane Katrina relief, hate crimes and voting problems are likely to get much more attention.
Huckabee goofs may not bode well for ’08
… Arkansas’ Ethics Commission has admonished Huckabee for violations five times in 14 years, once for taking money from an organization whose donors have never been listed. He jokingly attributed his weight loss to a “concentration camp” diet and once called his state a “banana republic.”
Is America ready for a Mormon president?
BOSTON – A charismatic communicator with an actor’s good looks, a glowing resume and socially conservative politics, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney could be a dream candidate for Republicans in the 2008 White House race.
But is America ready to elect a Mormon president?
McCain stands alone on Iraq troops
WASHINGTON – As violence grips Iraq, some White House hopefuls want U.S. troops to start coming home now, or at least soon. Others say the United States must win at all costs. One has called for Iraq to be carved up along ethnic lines. And then there’s Sen. John McCain.
Reno, ex-Justice officials criticize terror law
WASHINGTON – Former Attorney General Janet Reno and seven other former Justice Department officials filed court papers Monday arguing that the Bush administration is setting a dangerous precedent by trying a suspected terrorist outside the court system.
How Moqtada al-Sadr Controls U.S. Fate in Iraq
Dec. 4, 2006 issue – One way to understand Moqtada al-Sadr is to think of him as a young Mafia don. He aims for respectability, and is willing to kill for it. Yet the extent of his power isn’t obvious to the untrained eye. He has no standing army or police force, and the Mahdi Army gunmen he employs have no tanks or aircraft. You could mistake him—at your peril—for a common thug or gang leader. And if he or his people were to kill you for your ignorance, he wouldn’t claim credit. But the message would be clear to those who understand the brutal language of the Iraqi Street.
Marines’ commander: Corps may need to grow
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Marine Corps may need to grow to sustain commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan and remain ready for other crises, the force’s new commander said Wednesday.