A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 4 this afternoon for all of Western New York... including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Forecaster John Hitchcock with the National Weather Service says a storm system began in the southern Plains... then tracked through the Ohio Valley before snow developed about mid-evening. Hitchcock says storm totals will range from 6 to 10 inches through late THIS afternoon. Hitchcock says no lake effect is involved, so just about everyone will be getting several inches of snow. The greatest snowfall rates... and, worst travel conditions... are expected through about mid-morning today. Between 3 and 6 inches of the white stuff was predicted overnight... with another 3 to 5 inches predicted for today. However... the weather service is also calling for areas of blowing snow this afternoon, with northeast winds gusting up to 30 miles an hour.
The state Legislature has cancelled its session tomorrow because of a winter storm. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for much of upstate New York, including Albany. Forecasters predict more than 20 inches of snow could fall in some areas by late tomorrow.
A Lakewood man suffered non-life threatening injuries when his car was struck by a second vehicle at a busy intersection on Jamestown's southside... and, then spun and crashed into a brick wall. City police say officers and city fire rescuers were called to the scene at Foote and Cole Avenues shortly before 1 PM yesterday... and, found the 73 year-old man trapped in the car. Officers say rescuers had to shore up the wall before freeing the unidentified man from the wreckage. Police say he was northbound on Foote when his vehicle was struck by an eastbound car on Cole... driven by 67 year-old Ernest Strickland of Jamestown. Officers say Strickland allegedly passed a red light while making a left turn... and, struck the other vehicle. Both cars spun in the intersection... with the Lakewood man's car heading west. It then crashed into a brick wall at the Orthodontics office of Doctor Andrew Kohl. No one inside was hurt. The victim was taken WCA Hospital for treatment. Strickland refused treatment... and, was ticketed for passing a red light.
A community forum on the growing epidemic of Opiate -- or pain-killer -- abuse in Chautauqua County will be held in Mayville on March 12th. The forum was announced yesterday by County Executive Vince Horrigan... and, County Community Mental Hygiene Services Director Patricia Brinkman. Horrigan says the forum will begin at 9:30 AM at Chautauqua Suites. Horrigan says planning for the forum began shortly after he was elected... and, has been led by Brinkman. He says they want local... and, 'outside' experts and stakeholders will be invited. Horrigan and Brinkman say there will first be a panel discussion to discuss the data on current practices... the impact of drug abuse... and, barriers to help addicts. The afternoon session will include break-out sessions to identify action steps or strategies that can be implemented to help with awareness... and, educating and helping people. Horrigan says the public is invited to attend... because people from all walks of life have been affected by this problem. Several local mental health and substance abuse agencies will be involved in the forum... including the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council... and, the Mental Health Association. For more information on the forum... call the county's Department of Mental Hygiene at 753-4104... or the County Executive's office at 753-4211.
A handful of residents spoke last night -- mainly in favor -- of a partial tax exemption they could receive on their Jamestown school taxes. The school board held a public hearing at Washington Middle School to get input on whether to adopt the exemption. U-S Army veteran Joseph Viccaro fought in Vietnam for just over a year... and, favored the move... saying the cost to other non-veteran property owners would be minimal. School Board President Joe DiMaio -- a veteran himself -- says the cost range is about 12-dollars. DiMaio... though... feels the exemption represents a "tax shift." He adds that while veteran's who own property would benefit... those who rent apartments, or live in nursing homes would not. Viccaro says many veterans went straight from high school to war... and, deserve a break. DiMaio says the board will decide on the exemption at it's next meeting near the end of the month. Since he would benefit from the exemption... DiMaio says he would have to be excused from the vote.
The state's new health exchange reports more than 657-thousand New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while nearly 381-thousand of them have enrolled for specific coverage. The health department says enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes 241-thousand-242 New Yorkers in the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers in the exchange... and, about 139-thousand-500 in government-funded Medicaid. Open enrollments continue through March for 2014 coverage at state-approved rates. Applicants with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for tax credits to help offset premium payments. Another on-line exchange offers insurance for businesses with up to 50 employees.