Chautauqua County is now under a Blizzard Warning through 2 AM Thursday with hazardous travel conditions... and, the possibility of power outages due to heavy snow and wind. The National Weather Service issued the warning late last night after the path of a major storm moving our way took it's path to our south. Forecaster Jeff Wood says that means this will be an "all snow" event. Wood says we'll see some snow early on this morning... but, he says the snow and wind will intensify later this morning. Wood says travel along major roadways -- especially the State Thruway between the state line and Buffalo -- will become treacherous by late morning through the early evening hours. He says wind gusts may reach 45 to 50 miles an hour at times... and, with snow falling at up to two inches an hour at time... will produce zero visability at times. By the time the storm starts winding down by mid to late evening tonight... Wood says the region will see 10 to 17 inches of snow. There is also a wind chill advisory in effect from 2am to 11am Thursday.
If you don't have to drive today...the regional head of the DOT is urging you not to. Susan Surdej (Sir-Day) said late yesterday that they are anticipating heavy Winter weather by mid-morning today... with driving conditions "worsening as the day progresses." If you most drive... Surdej is urging motorists to use "extreme caution." She says the forecast is calling for steady snow accumulations... wind causing low visability... and, cold temperatures causing slippery conditions. Motorists are advised to plan ahead... and, call 5-1-1 for more information.
The Jamestown School District is holding the line on spending... but, if they want to keep the amount to be raised by taxes at the current year's level... they will have to exceed the state's 2-percent property tax cap. That's why Superintendent Tim Mains is "very frustrated" with the state... which he says won't eliminate what's called the "Gap Elimination Adjustment." The GEA has been used by the state since 2009 to take money away from school districts if the state is running a deficit. However... Mains says the state is not supposed to be running a deficit during the 2014-2015 budget year. Mains made his comments after Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow presented the first draft of the district's 2014-15 budget at last night's meeting at Bush Elementary School. Weatherlow says the 76.6-million dollar spending plan increases appropriations by 1.7-percent... which is lower than the spending cap. However... he says revenues... especially the lack of state aid... leaves them with an overall, 2.55-million dollar budget gap. Mains says that's because Jamestown is getting less state aid than it did 6 years ago. He says they're first going to get families, staff and others to lobby for more funding.
The leader of the Democrat-led state Assembly says their budget proposal will include a property tax ``circuit breaker'' instead of the rebate program sought by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Speaker Sheldon Silver made the comment to reporters Tuesday as the Assembly and the state Senate prepared separate budget resolutions staking out their positions on the fiscal plan due April 1st. Leaders of the two houses are negotiating with Cuomo on a final plan this month. Cuomo's budget plan to freeze property taxes through rebates to homeowners in jurisdictions that meet spending and shared services goals is unpopular with many state lawmakers and the local officials they represent. The Assembly is expected to instead propose expanding a ``circuit breaker'' that takes into account property tax burdens relative to homeowner income.
The long-time owner of a gas and service station on Jamestown's eastside is reportedly retiring... and, selling the business to a local company that's planning a gas-convenience store with a "retro" look to it. That from City Development Director Vince DeJoy... who says the Jamestown Local Development Corporation has approved a loan to help Neil Patel purchase the station... which is located across from city hall. DeJoy says the fact Ray Nelson is retiring and selling the business is bittersweet. DeJoy says Patel want's to make the station look like it did about the time it opened... yet offer all the modern conveniences of today's stores. He says the JLDC approved a 95-thousand dollar, 7 year-loan for the new business... which will be doing business as the "Downtown Convenience Store." DeJoy says Patel still has a few more hurdles to clear. They include environmental testing of the site... and, obtaining a liquor license to sell beer. There is no timetable for transfering the business at this point.
A Westfield man has been arrested for his alleged involvement in a number of day-time burglaries in both the town and village of Westfield. Sheriff's officers and Westfield Police investigated the recent cases... and, arrested 38 year-old Todd Reardon at his 55 Union Street home Monday. Police say they had obtained a warrant for Reardon's arrest in Westfield Town Court. Reardon was arraigned on two counts of second-degree burglary... and, sent to the County Jail on 50-thousand dollars cash bail... 100-thousand dollars property bond.