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Local News Headlines

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Three Brocton-area residents have been arrested for allegedly running a methamphetime lab in the Ellicott Estates Trailer Park.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Ellicott Road about 10:45 AM Saturday to check on the well-being of a woman in Lot-#4.  Deputies say they met one woman who lived there... 29 year-old Susan Spontaneo... who wanted officers to check on 35 year-old Austin Syper... who was inside the trailer. The deputy also checked on the well-being of a man living there... identified as 40 year-old Brian Saden.  But... while he was there... the deputy spotted a 'working' Meth Lab.  The officer detained all three suspects... and, called for further assistance.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force responded to the scene... along with two fire departments, and the county's Hazardous Materials Team.  Authorities rendered the scene safe.  Deputies then obtained a search warrant... and, the building was searched further by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency's Clandestine Lab Team... and, Task Force members.  All three suspects were charged with third-degree Unlawfully Manufacturing of Methamphetamine... arraigned... and, sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars bail each... which Syper posted.  More charges are pending.

 

A Westfield man working for the village's electric company was killed last weekend when he was electrocuted while trying to move a low-hanging live wire on Route 20.  State Police in Fredonia were called to the scene about 12:45 PM Saturday by Westfield Police.  Troopers say 62 year-old William Boneberg was an employee of the Westfield Electric Company was trying to move the wire when it broke... then fell on Boneberg.  Police say he was pronounced dead at the scene by Chautauqua County Coroner Larry Wilcox.  The investigation deemed the incident to be accidental.

 

A Morgantown, West Virginia newspaper is reporting the Jamestown Jammers minor league baseball team will be moved to Morgantown... and, will play in Monongalia County’s new baseball stadium.  West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck says the new stadium they're building will also be home to the Mountaineers' baseball team.  Luck tells the West Virginia Gazette, "we’re very excited about having a professional sports franchise in north-central West Virginia.  It’s another example of how baseball is catching on in the state."  The Jammers are owned by Rich Baseball... and, their current player development contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates concludes at the end of this season.  Jammers General Manager Matt Drayer declined to comment on the story or the Jammers’ future... and, referred us to Rich Baseball President John Dandes (Dan-deez).  However... we were unable to reach him yesterday.  A press conference has been called in Morgantown this afternoon to make the announcement.

 

Chautauqua President, Tom Becker, paid homage to two women who died this summer as he closed the Institution's season Sunday night.  Speaking at the annual 'Three Taps of the Gavel'  Becker remembered Ryan Kiblin, Chautauqua's Manager of Grounds... who died while pregnant earlier this summer... and Mary Whitaker, the Chautauqua Symphony violinist shot to death less than a week ago.  He said Kiblin's death was made intensely tragic by loss of her unborn daughter at the same time.  Of Whitaker's murder, Becker said it was made grotesque by the wanton violence of the act.  He sent Chautauquans home hoping they would have some 'action in mind... some way to contribute to the pursuit of justice and equality'. 

 

Two homeless men -- originally from Erie, Pennsylvania -- are in federal custody for the murder of a New York City woman who played many years with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says police in Erie, Pennsylvania arrested 43 year-old John Conklin... and, 30 year-old Charles Sanford last Friday without incident.  Gerace says the two men allegedly went to 61 year-old Mary Whitaker's town of Westfield home to steal 'something of value...' but, she refused to cooperate.  He says she was shot once in the chest... and, once in the leg... before they fled. Gerace says Conklin then used Whitaker's credit card... and, the attempts were tracked by the FBI's Financial Team... and, they were able to find him -- then Sanford.  Since the crime occured in New York... and, the stolen vehicle was taken to Erie... federal authorities were brought in.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says the pair face three charges... including carjacking during commission of a murder.  Under federal law... he says that charge carries a sentence of up to life in prison.  The other charges include use of a firearm in commission of a violent crime.  Conklin and Sanford were arraigned in U-S District Court... and, jailed pending a court hearing this week.

 

The quick arrests of John Conklin and Charles Sanford are being attributed to 'great' cooperation between local, state and federal agencies.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department was the lead investigative agency in the Whitaker murder case.  However... Sheriff Joe Gerace says the cooperation between the several agencies were involved allowed for the arrests to be made within three days. Gerace also touted his officers... and, investigators... as being among the best.  FBI Special Agent in Charge in Buffalo, Holly Huber, called the cooperation between agencies "unprecidented..." when you consider how other agencies don't cooperate as well, at times.  Huber says they've enjoyed their partnerships with police in Chautauqua County... as well as the local FBI office.    

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