Falconer High School's Class of 2014 is a "high-quality" group of kids... and, the statistics prove it. That from School Superintendent Steve Penhollow as 98 Falconer seniors walked across the stage at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts during last night's Commencement ceremonies. Penhollow says nearly half of their graduates had already accumulated a significant amount of college credit. Penhollow adds that 16 of their students received Regents Diplomas... as well as career and technical education from BOCES. He says this year's Valedictorian is Jesse Caprino... while the Salutatorian is Ellie Walters. Penhollow says both had a solid four-years in academic, and extracurricular activities -- including athletics. A reception was held afterwards on Tracy Plaza. Falconer hold's it's graduation a day before most local districts because Southwestern uses the Reg Lenna for it's graduation tonight.
A member of the Falconer High School Class of 1984... who's well-known in the Jamestown-area... addressed graduates last night. Superintendent Steve Penhollow says each graduating class traditionally asks someone who graduated 30 years earlier to speak to them about their "path" in life once they've left high school. This year... the keynote speech was delivered by Jamestown Community College Athletic Director Keith Martin. Penhollow says they felt fortunate to get Martin to present his thoughts to the graduates on their big night. Martin was JCC's highly-successful women's basketball coach before taking over as Athletic Director last year. Martin and his father were also well-known for their own athletic prowess around the county. Keith Martin has also been very involved in community activities... including holding a special fund-raiser for the St. Susan's Center last Fall.
Chautauqua County's top prosecutor says Wednesday's U-S Supreme Court ruling requiring police to first get a warrant before search the cell phones of the suspects they arrest will not have a major impact on local police. District Attorney David Foley tells us that he agrees with the 9-to nothing ruling. Foley says in most cases... police agencies in the county have been obtaining warrants before looking into the phones. Typically... they had been advising police -- even prior to this decision -- to get a search warrant. In the ruling against law enforcement, Chief Justice John Roberts said "cell phones" could today just as easily be called calendars or diaries.
Republicans are on the verge of losing control of the New York state Senate. That's because a faction of renegade Democratic lawmakers now say they plan to work to form a new coalition with the rest of the body's Democrats after this fall's elections. The group joined with Republicans two years ago, allowing the GOP to take control of the Senate.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area are up nearly 3-cents a gallon this week... due mainly violence in Iraq keyed by the militant group known as "ISIS." The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says prices this week have gone up to 3-dollars-88 cents a gallon... while some have actually reached the 3--90 level. Nationally... the Triple-A reports the average price for regular, unleaded gas is 3-dollars-68 cents per gallon. That's the highest price for early Summer in six years. The Fuel Gauge says the average price at the pump has increased for 13 consecutive days for a total of 4-cents per gallon. Today’s average is 2-cents more than one week ago. The Triple-A says the violence produced by the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" has expanded towards southern Iraq... where much of the country’s oil production is located.
More than 960-thousand New York residents have signed up for insurance under the state's new health plan marketplace during its first enrollment period. The state has issued a report detailing how many people enrolled in coverage through the marketplace... which is part of President Barack Obama's health insurance overhaul. More than half of the individuals signed up for Medicaid coverage. Another 274-thousand people and 65-thousand children who weren't eligible for Medicaid received a subsidized plan. Eighty-one percent of those who enrolled were previously uninsured. The report also says 31-hundred small businesses signed up for plans during the enrollment period, which began October 1st... and, ended April 15th. The numbers show New York is on track to meet its enrollment goal of 1.1-million individuals by the end of 2016.
More money available in the county's 3-percent bed tax fund has allowed Chautauqua County lawmakers to help preserve a major piece of the Dunkirk-area's history. The legislature last (Wednesday) night unanimously approved 35-thousand dollars for roof repairs for the 1875 Keepers House and Museum for the Dunkirk Lighthouse. Fredonia Republican Robert Scudder called this a chance to support one of the county's "historic treasures." Scudder says the lighthouse drew 44-hundred visitors last year... and, is already ahead of that pace this year. Fellow Republican Lisa Vanstrom represents the Ellicott-area of the south county on the legislature... but, fondly remembers the lighthouse while growing up in the north county. Silver Creek's George Borrello says through the county's Amnesty Program... they now have more registered north county bed tax contributors to the 3-percent bed tax fund. Borrello adds that the roof project at the Lighthouse is certainly a "worthwhile" project for those funds to be put towards.