A Cattaraugus County man has been sentenced to at least 2-and-a-third years in state prison for possessing Child Pornography on his computer in the town of Villanova. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 31 year-old Christopher Travis of 43 1/2 Jefferson Street in Cattaraugus received the sentence in county court. Foley says it satisfies a plea deal in which Travis pled to one of several charges he was facing in the case. That was a Felony count of Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child Less than 17 years of age. Foley says he's pleased that Acting County Court Judge Stephen Cass handed down the maximum sentence for the Felony Count. He adds that both the plea and sentence send a clear message that his office is committed to prosecuting child sexual cases to the fullest extent of the law. Foley also commended the New York State Police and Investigator Steven Dibble for their "dedication to investigating this incident and their continued efforts in aiding my office in preparation of the case." He adds that he was pleased they were able to avoid the necessity and trauma of a trial.
An unattended cooking fire is the apparent cause of a blaze that caused "substantial" damage to a house on Jamestown's westside last Monday afternoon. Fire Battalion Chief Sam Salemme says crews were called to the scene at 52 McDaniel Avenue just before 3:30 PM. Salemme says firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof to vent the flames... which were brought under control within half-an-hour. However... there was major fire damage to the back of the structure. Salemme says no injuries were reported. The local Red Cross is helping three family members living there. An off-duty shift was called in to assist.
New York's highest court is considering whether municipalities can use local zoning laws to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas. However... The Court of Appeals held off on a decision yesterday after hearing arguments in two cases where a mid-level court concluded last year that state mining and drilling law doesn't trump the authority of local governments to control land use. A decision in this case is expected by July 4th. The challenges have been closely watched by an industry hoping to drill in New York's piece of the Marcellus Shale formation... and, by environmentalists who fear drilling could threaten water supplies and public health.
WCA Hospital was a busy place in 2013... with a significant number of in-patient and out-patient procedures performed. That from Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright... following this (Tuesday) morning's annual "Meeting of the Corporations" for WCA Corporation. Wright says they took time to look back on the past year... and, ahead through 2014. As for surgeries... she says WCA performed a number of surgeries in it's new Robotic Surgery Department. Wright says that's out of seven levels... and, that places WCA in the top-12 percent of all hospitals for electronic records management. She says they had about 75-hundred in-patients... and, provided over 260-thousand out-patient procedures in 2013. On the downside... he says WCA Hospital lost about 5-million dollars in reimbursements due to the on-going phase-in of the federal Affordable Care Act. Overall... Wright reports the hospital ended 2013 with about a 2.2-million dollar shortfall.
With the loss of more than 5-million dollars in reimbursement for services rendered... WCA Hospital finished 2013 in the red. However... close management by it's volunteer Board of Directors helped the primary care facility finish just over a 2.2-million dollar shortfall. WCA President and C-E-O Betsy Wright adds it's mainly due to the federal Affordable Care Act... which takes full effect this year. Wright says they are projected to lose another 38-million dollars over the next nine years. She says the "goals" of the ACA are laudible. The hospital had seen losses in recent years... due mainly to cuts in Medicare reimbursments. Wright says right now... they're seeing a move from a "fee for service" model to one that is mainly "value-based reimbursement." In fact... she says they are seeing monthly changes in that area... which is making it tough for ALL hospitals. WCA's "Portraits of Caring..." it's annual report to the community... shows the hospital bringing in just over 104-million dollars in revenues in 2013. However... expenses totalled nearly 106.3-million dollars.
A proposal to require labels on food products containing ingredients from genetically modified crops is inching closer to a vote in the New York State Legislature. The labeling legislation was endorsed Tuesday by the Assembly's Committee on Codes, a key panel that often signs off on bills before they proceed to a vote of the full House. Proponents say labels would inform consumers. Many agricultural and food companies disagree, noting that there's no evidence to suggest genetically engineered food is harmful. The bill would apply to genetically modified fruits and vegetables and products containing ingredients like oil or sugar that are derived from genetically engineered crops. Vermont has already adopted a labeling law. Maine and Connecticut have too, but their requirements won't take effect until other states follow suit.