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Legislature committee approves loan, tax credits for Forestville to help deal with projected 445-percent property tax increase...

The county legislature's Audit and Control Committee has approved a loan... and, tax credits for Forestville so the village doesn't default on two bonds.  Audit and Control Committee Chairman John Runkle says the resolution includes a $150,000 loan from the county's Capital Reserve Fund.... and, would be paid back at 2.5-percent interest before the end of the year.  He says the second big part of the resolution, which was approved, 3-2, is returning $87,000 to the village it had paid in tipping fees for a demolition project in 2009.  Runkle also says a third key area the having Forestville start to obtain grant monies for a study into dissolving the village.  He says the village board will vote on that item next Tuesday.  Runkle says he's most concerned about the residents ability to keep their homes because a significant, one-time, property tax increase will still be needed to balance the village budget.  Runkle and fellow Republican George Borrello... along with Democrat Shawn Heenan voted for the measure.  Democrats Chuck Nazzaro and Pierre Chagnon voted against it.

Hitchcock pleas to endangerment charge in connection with incident with 6 year-old boy in March of 2013...

The Randolph Central School bus driver accused of inappropriate relations with a 6 year-old boy early last year has agreed to a plea deal in the case.  Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 67 year-old John Hitchcock pled guilty in county court to endangering the welfare of a child to satisfy and indictment against him.  However... Foley says seven counts of first-degree Sexual Abuse against Hitchcock were dropped after lengthy discussions with the family involved.  He says the plea covered the other charges in the original indictment relating to the student.  Foley says his -- "assistant District Attorneys worked closely with the victim's family throughout the investigation of this difficult case and the ultimate resolution."  He says the plea insures that the "very young victim" will be spared the trauma of testifying in court... and held the defendant accountable.  Foley says they met with the family several times... and, we all agreed that this plea was in the best interest of the child.  Cases with such young victims can be quite difficult, not only to prove, but also the impact they can have on these children.  Sentencing is scheduled for next July 14.

Nearly 1-million New Yorker's enroll in insurance coverage in state exchange...

The state Health Exchange says more than 960,000 New Yorkers have enrolled for insurance coverage by the final Tuesday deadline.  The Health Department said Wednesday enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes more than 435,000 New Yorkers in the exchange's 16 private insurers and more than 525,000 in government-funded Medicaid.  The department says about 360,000 people completed applications, but did not finish the process.  The state says more than 70 percent were uninsured.  Open enrollment ended in March for 2014 coverage at state-approved rates, but the deadline was extended until Tuesday for people who started applying but didn't complete the process.  Individual enrollments will continue for people with special circumstances. Enrollments for Medicaid and for businesses with up to 50 employees will continue.



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