In what was the largest voter turn-out in many years -- and may have even set a record -- the Jamestown School District's 2016-17 budget was overwhelmingly approved. And... a past school board member was voted back onto the panel -- in a write-in vote. School Superintendent Tim Mains says he was very pleased by resident's approval of the 79.1-million dollar spending plan, 757-to-207. The past school board member is Joe Pawelski... who decided not to run again for the panel after several terms in 2008. He was second in the board tally with 638 write-ins... and, wins the seat being vacated by current Board President Joe DiMaio. Mains believes the huge voter turn-out was directly related to DiMaio's decision... and, the need for leadership and stability on the board. Board incumbant Patrick Slagle was leading vote-getter in Tuesday's election with 851 tallies. A second proposition to lease-purchase seven new buses for up to 930-thousand dollars was also adopted overwhelmingly, 772-to-191.
Both Joe Pawelski and Patrick Slagle say they are honored and humbled by the vote totals they received in Tuesday's board election. Pawelski was especially impressed by the voter support he received after waging a write-in campaign after Joe DiMaio decided it was time to step down from the board after the end of the current school year. Pawelski received more than 600 votes on the write-in line... while Slagle was leading vote getter. Finished third in the vote was Jeffrey Yeates... who received 258 votes... and, another newcomer, Todd Rushforth, was fourth with 198 tallies. Even though he withdrew from the race... Joe DiMaio was still on the ballot, and received 101 votes.
Residents in the Southwestern Central District have also overwhelmingly approved a 26.6-million dollar budget by a better than 5-to-1 margin. District officials say the vote was 287-to-56. A 290-thousand dollar transportation proposition was also approved easily, 287-to-53. Incumbant School Board member Bill Burk received 286 votes.
In Falconer... the nearly 22.4-million dollar, 2016-17 budget was approved by more than 150 votes. The final tally was 182-to-27 for a spending plan that included no tax increase. School Board member Jamie Zaranek was re-elected, unopposed.
In Bemus Point... district residents approved a just over 14-million dollar budget 162-to-63. A 225-thousand dollar bus proposition was also approved, 176-to-50. Both incumbant Barry Swanson and newcomer Brian Whalen were elected to the school board. Whalen had 205 votes... Swanson, 200.
In Sherman... voters approved a 9.6-million dollar spending by a 130-to-41 margin. They also approved a 360-thousand dollar transporation measure, 129-to-40. Jennifer Ferraira won a school board seat with 149 votes... while Gary DeLillis also got one with 112 votes. Robert Head was third with 67 votes.
The Frewsburg Central School Budget Passed 167-50. Proposition 2 regarding bus purchases also passed 172-47. Proposition 3 regarding establishment of capital improvements also passed 167-50. John Spacht, Polly Hanson, and Randle Wiltsie were all elected to the board of education.
Panama School district voters have also overwhelmingly approved their budget... a 13.15-million dollar spending plan, 104-to-19. In addition... school board incumbant Donald Butler was re-elected with 107 votes.
Voters in the Cassadaga Valley School District also overwhelmingly approved the 20.1-million dollar budget, 162-to-20. A 330-thousand dollar transportation proposition was also approved, 168-to-14. Marcus Clark was re-elected to the Cassadaga Valley School Board with 170 votes.
Brocton district voters approved the 2016-17 budget plan, 227-to-79. They also voted Michael Riforgiato to the school board with 202 votes... and James Rizzo, Junior was second with 158 tallies. Todd McFadden was a close third with 154 votes... and, Kevin Weaver was fourth with 97 tallies.
Voters in the Pine Valley District approved a 15.6-million dollar budget, 142-to-49. A 315-thousand dollar bus proposition was approved 149-to-45. All four candidates running for the school board, Lawrence Zollinger... Patricia Krenzer... Jeffrey Chase and Rose Kruszka were elected.
At Chautauqua Lake... residents approved a 21.4-million dollar spending plan, 203-to-90. Kim Weborg-Benson and Ken Shearer were re-elected to the school board.
The age to legally buy tobacco and e-cigarette products in Chautauqua County will increase to 21 at the beginning of next October. County Executive Vince Horrigan announced yesterday that he has signed a local law increasing the purchase age from 18 to 21. Horrigan says the measure was passed by a "supermajority" of county legislators -- 13-to-6 -- last month. He adds that he received a lot of comments... both for and against... during and prior to last week's public hearing. While he understands local business arguments against raising the age to 21... Horrigan says the evidence of the health risks and addictive nature of smoking are undisputable. He understands there will be some business loss... but, says the scales were tipped when he looked at the plus-side of signing the measure... mainly because of the legislature's overwhelming approval... and, strong testimony in favor of the higher age. Horrigan adds that it's true that 18 to 20 year olds will go to other counties... or Pennsylvania... to buy cigarettes. However... he says he also believes that surrounding counties -- and nearby states -- will soon begin adopting similar laws.
Fire has extensively damaged a house and attached garage at a single-family home in the village of Falconer. Falconer Fire Chief Charlie Piazza says his crews were called to the scene at 519 Central Avenue shortly before 4:30 AM Tuesday morning. Upon arrival... Piazza says they found heavy fire coming from the garage area of the home. Piazza says they had the blaze under control in within 45 minutes. But... he says there was heavy damage to several areas of the home. Piazza tells us they were joined at the scene by several mutual aid crews... including Jamestown... Kiantone... Gerry... Kennedy... and, Ellery Center. He says the Jamestown Board of Public Utililties and National Fuel Gas were called in to shut-off electric and gas services. The local Red Cross is helping the family. The mother and a son were home at the time... but, got out safely... and no other injuries were reported. The cause is under investigation... but, Piazza says it appears accidental.
Three people were hurt... but, not seriously... in a two-car, head-on crash on Route 83 in the north county town of Villenova. Sheriff's officers say the accident occured just after 1 PM Monday when a northbound vehicle -- operated by 39 year-old David Doner of Conewango -- crossed the center-line. Deputies say his car then struck an on-coming car... driven by 51 year-old John Korbar of Helox, Texas. Korbar and his passenger... 73 year-old Sandra Korbar of Gowanda... and, Doner... were taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Doner was issued a traffic ticket for failure to keep right.